The main living deck of the voidship known as the Typhoon Maiden generally resembles a lowrise city. The ceiling is some four stories from the floor, and living spaces are built just like free standing buildings within that space. This creates streets, alleys, crossroads, and courtyards, and gives the whole space an organic feeling.
Originally the roof was painted in pleasing shades of blue with some cloud and was lit from concealed lamps that simulated a normal terrestrial pattern. However, over the years the roof has become dirty with smoke from cooking fires, pock marked from gun fights and generally stained to a sepia colour through countless exhalations and no maintenance (much like the polluted atmosphere of Earth, I guess). Many of the lamps have expired and have never been replaced, leaving a variable lighting system of some electric light and predominantly local solutions such as burning torches.
Architecturally the orginal design of the city was based on psychosocial engineering principles to make the spaces pleasant for human life. This tended to resemble medieval alleyways and gothic buildings, with walled courtyards, centralised fountain squares, and numerous nooks and crannies, balconies, stairways and ‘hidden treasures’. It is a very ‘human’ environment, consciously mimicing the structures of the distant past that grew from organic action rather than cold calculation of efficiency. This irony: planning to look unplanned, produces many side effects. At the simplest level the designer’s goals were achieved. Humans live and move in the spaces provided, discovering and creating ‘homes’ and finding privacy in a very densely occupied area. On the other hand the same town planning principles produces havens for filth, dark corners where murders can occur, and an almost endless choice of warrens where the venal can congregate. It is a place where washing lines are strung accross the lane, where excrement is thrown in the street, where bodies are found in the gutter, where wild street parties end in druken orgies and riots, where you can get a great meal from a trattoria that you have to find by personal direction because it is not signposted, and where you can slip into a basement bar and arrange a robbery.
This is the home of the majority of the 18,000 crew of the Typhoon Maiden: a space 1.5km by 500m (75 hectares or 185 acres).
One’s accomodation is a reflection of your wealth and power. The trading barons, for example, have multi-story homes that have walled gardens attached, where they can retire under a comparatively high ceiling and hold their parties or just meditate. The poor, of course, can be found in limited comfort apartments in one of the crumbling, sweating brown-stones.
I’ll try to be more specific on some of the streets, shops and houses in the future. But that will do for a general impression now.
Along the sides of the city, closest to the outer hull, runs a pair of canals. These canals collect the ‘rain’ water that is periodically sprayed over the city to clean it, and also any other waste water of products that is ejected from the houses. The water flows from nose to tail of the ship, where it is returned to the engine spaces for sterilisation and recycling back into the general use water. Gigantic pumps force the ‘clean’ water to the nose of the ship, producing a constant flow down the lateral canals. It is a popular place, therefore, for little boys to sail boats, lovers to sit beside, and for use as a dumping spot for bodies.
On the far side of the canals, over decorative bridges, access can be gained to the galleries that offer panoramic external views. These galleries make excellent private meeting spots and are popular places as the ship moves in system to view the planets. When in the Warp the galleries are generally shunned for fear that looking out might attract the attention of something that might want to look in.