Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Where are the space dragons?

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[In a better world this would be edited, polished, improved, and so forth.  In this one I'm just copying and pasting some comments.]

Watch something like Legend of Voltron and you quickly notice that it heavily revolves around space elves and the magic-based technology they have constructed. This even though there are only three and a half known space elves remaining in the universe.

This is a good thing as elves are too often relegated to eternally medieval settings.

But there should be everyone else too. The space orcs and space ents other than Groot and space dwarves, and space . . . everything.

Which brings us to my usual example of choice: space dragons.

Imagine that a crew of salvagers finds a seemingly abandoned ship that seems to be promising some very valuable materials. They board the ship and find that the interior design is massive. The rooms, the halls, the doors, everything is huge. They consider that this ship could have once belonged to giants, but it slowly dawns on them that this is a dragon's ship.

It's not abandoned --the dragon is just taking one of those long dragon naps, the readings that brought them there were the dragon's horde, and they really should get out before the dragon wakes lest the dragon dispose of them as thieves.

And then the question becomes what do dragons horde. A generic space dragon might horde materials used in the production of electronic components (gold and copper and such) or as space craft hulls, as these things all seem valuable for space faring cultures and dragons are known for wanting wealth they can touch (credits that exist only on a computer are for plebeians, not the grand and mighty dragons.)

A space dragon in Star Trek would surely horde dilithium.

There's also, though, the possibility that a larger scale means larger things. One could imagine a dragon hording space ships. With an entire universe to expand into, dragon owned planets are probably more likely than not. Having more than one planet in one's horde would be difficult without the proper portal/teleportation technology because dragons tend to like one central stash.


The thing is, dragons are often intelligent beings that might talk philosophy with you before eating you, so of course they can have a space faring culture.

And yet . . . space dragons, where are they?


Photon noted:
In general dragon don't seem that much into building stuff in normal fantasy either.

I responded:

Dragons aren't much into building things, but surely they can commission. I mean, the night sky is full of jewels, and they'd want to get in on that even if it meant somewhat undragonish dealings.

Since dragons tend to be solitary, once their hatchlings are old enough they get dropped off on nice inhabitable planets rather than kept on the ship. Since inhabitable planets are useful and dragons have long lifespans, eventually something will happen.

Underling: Sir, there's a dragon outside!
Overling: Um . . . what?
Underling: Apparently this land belongs to it.
*Overling mentally calculates odds of surviving disputing the claim*
*Overling determines that the land belongs to the dragon whether legitimately or not*
Overling: Dragons claim all this . . . stuff, take a nap for five hundred years, and then get angry when someone builds a colony. Would it have killed it to post a sign?
Underling: I asked. It said, 'Dragons don't do signs.'
Overling: Well what does it want.
Underling: It demands tribute.
Overling: I swear, if it wants a human sacrifice--
Underling: It wants a space ship.
Overling: What does a dragon want with a space ship?
Underling: I asked that too, sir, it said, 'To sail space, what else?'
*Overling sighs*
Overling: How big is this dragon?
Underling: Too big for any of our ships.
Overling: It understands that it takes time to build a custom space ship, yes?
*Underling nods*
Overling: Fine. Tell the dragon that we will acquiesce to it's demand for tribute, provided that it personally explains to the entire colony, its claim and chosen reparation.
Overling: (under breath) Because I'm sure as fuck not telling everyone that their income for the forseeable future will be docked on account of needing to build a space ship for a dragon.

And then you've got another dragon on a space ship.


I can also totally imagine a dragon keeping some humanish people around because the space ship has a lot of small parts and the robots kept breaking down (and the robots have even smaller parts.) Though that is not even close to my first thought.


Photon had also noted the idea of dragons hoarding planets ("This star seems to be orbited by 132 planets in orbits that are definitely not natural"), the idea of dragons hoarding celestial objects led to this exchange:

It wasn't until significantly later that it was discovered that the star rich clusters surrounding galactic-center black holes were not, as previously believed, a function of natural galactic formation but rather the hordes of particularly large dragons.
Do you mean the 'hoards' of large dragons, or are these hordes of dragons able to transform into stars? I'll happily accept either version :)
I will never forget when I accidentally invented "one word currency".


  1. Dragons need spaceships about as much as they need aeroplanes, and for roughly the same reasons.

    You can spot a hoard system by the Klemperer rosettes. And the shininess of the planets.