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Onyx . Head starts spinning round... Fall down to the ground... Feel your body heave... Death's hand starts to weave . Meekly going where others have boldly gone before! The Onyx is fairly derivative -- as far as microspace goes, the color scheme has been done, the hinged SNOTwall construction has been done, the basic shape has been done pretty much to death. But I still like it. I almost went with Hand of Doom for the name, after my favorite Black Sabbath song, and didn't for two reasons. First, all my spacecraft so far have had one-word names, so I figured I'd continue that theme. Second, Hand of Doom would have been, in an odd way, Halo-inspired. And I couldn't have that. I don't know or care much about Halo as a game. I've played it a very few times with friends, but I don't know the storyline. However, you can't spend much time around MOCpages without picking up a few Halo-related things. Like there are apparently spaceships in the game with some fairly cool names -- Pillar of Autumn, In Amber Clad, Forward Unto Dawn. If I was to have a three-word name for a spaceship, it might be because, subconsciously, the pernicious Halo Lego phenomenon managed to have some influence. You can't afford to take chances in circumstances as serious as these. Halo Lego is pure evil. The only way to be safe is to burn those seeds before they can take root. So anyway, onyx is a stone, generally black but not always, usually with banded colors in it. I would have loved to have made the stripes light blue rather than yellow, but I don't have enough of the necessary small plates in that color. I could maybe have done orange, but that would have been too Halloweeny. Blue and red were too dark. White or tan was a possibility, but are not much different from yellow. Black and yellow is tried and true, it's nature's way of warning you (wow, singsong) -- wasps are that color for a reason. So this would be a destroyer, or a frigate, or a gunship, or a warship or something. Who cares, anyway? The important thing is it's got a lot of guns, and looks menacing. Two mismatched antennae -- my halfassed nod to asymmetricality. I tell myself that one day I'm going to try to make an asymmetric spacecraft. I don't know if I'll be able to do it. Seriously, it's like an OCD thing. My hands start shaking and I break out in a cold sweat at the thought of building a ship that lacks bilateral symmetry. So I glance over at my bookshelf as I'm writing this, and my eye falls on a book I bought recently but haven't read yet: Orion Shall Rise, by Poul Anderson. That's not a bad ship name either, I muse. NO!!! Don't even think it! It's three words! DAMN YOU HALO!!!!! Used bookstores are great. Orion Shall Rise, in hardback, for $1.99. Even if it sucks I can't say I wasted my money. I've been burned, though. I once bought a used copy of The Thorn Birds, hardback, at a good price. I eventually get around to reading it, it's a nice long book, I get to the end... and fifteen or twenty pages are missing from the last chapter! It was so unexpected, because the book was in fine shape otherwise. I had to wait for it to come in and check it out from the library to find out how the damn thing ended. And then I'm stuck with this amputated book. I couldn't return it (receipt long gone), I couldn't sell it back (I was so traumatized at the missing pages that I couldn't bear the thought of someone else buying it and having the exact same horrible experience), and I couldn't keep it on my bookshelf. I had to throw it away. Do you know how hard that was? For ME? To throw away a BOOK? It felt like a criminal act, somehow. It's like throwing away broken Lego pieces. I've done that, but it doesn't come easy either. Your mind says, "No, hang onto it! You never know when it might come in handy! Just use your imagination, there's a use it can be put to!" Those are speed holes. They make the ship go faster. And while we're talking books (and my mind is drifting because I'm tired from literally staying up all night building this thing, and my eyes are aimlessly wandering over my bookshelf again), may I recommend Aztec, by Gary Jennings? Great book. You don't need to bother with the sequels. At least one of the sequels was written by someone else after he died. God, I hate that! Like Gone With the Wind -- another great book, but hey, if Margaret Mitchell wanted you to know if Rhett and Scarlett ever got back together, she'd have written a sequel herself! I will never read that travesty of a sequel some hack put out years ago... I literally scowl every time I see it on a library or bookstore shelf. If I ever get my book published I think I'll put it in my will that I don't want anyone writing any sequel to it if I die before I can do it myself. And I want a green burial. No formaldehyde and hermetically sealed lead-lined casket for me. The point of dying is that you decay and the minerals and nutrients that make up your body get naturally recycled back into the Earth. What do you want to try to hang onto them for? What, we're at the end? Probably a good thing. This crazy train of thought was chugging off towards a weird place anyway.

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