This thread on TheRPGSite looks for some ideas about how to populate a story based on the theme “Traveller: it came from jumpspace!. Some of the ideas are very good while some of them are little more than a re-telling of Alien.
Look outside of the genre. Watch some movies which are not typically sci-fi. I’m sitting watching The Great Escape as I write this. It’s filled with great scenes. What about Hidalgo? What about The Chronicles of Narnia? Misjump creates breach and characters are forced into a world where time moves differently. And where there are strange alien creatures. And a war.
I could even make a plot out of this.
So, some examples from the horror genre.
Watch “HP Lovecraft’s From Beyond”.
With the jump drive as “the machine”. The jump drive malfunctions and everyone feels ill, on edge, skin sensitive to touch. If you have psychics on board they start to broadcast their nightmares. The creatures which exist in jump space are finally able to catch up with this static ship which is trapped half in and half out of jump space. These creatures can be seen as ghosts and are able to flow through the solid walls of the ship. Close to the drive however they are not only visible but solid and attack. Anyone who spends too much time in the presence of the jump drive starts to be affected…and THEY become the monster prowling the ship…
Watch Carpenters’ Prince of Darkness.
Jump drive fails and people start dying – one kills himself by drinking sealant fluid, another kills herselfby bathing in a technobabble energy vortex. There isn’t anything evil here but the flailing jump drive has attracted the attention of something unspeakably alien which is sending it’s base desires. It can drink sealant fluid, it bathes in energy vortices. We pick up on it’s base desires and emulate them. It possesses a couple of NPC crewmembers and uses their minds and eyes to explore the ship, taking time to dismantle equipment and people just to see how they work. Eventually it will become bored and move on or perhaps it will take a liking to this brave new universe and try to cross with the help of it’s possessed souls.
Watch 28 Days Later
Take the example given about low berths being used to transport animals. Think how dangerous an angry chimp or even the ships mascot could be. Give the mascot psychic powers and heightened intelligence and watch it save those who were nice to it and murder those who were nasty to it. Watch how it takes some people and reduces them from being thinking feeling individuals and lobotomises them into becoming animals fueled only by hunger and fear….