It happens to all of us. You write or say something short, sweet and to the point. Then, someone doesn’t get it — or you think they won’t understand it — and you write another two paragraphs explaining that one sentence fragment.

Mister Stein calls out, “Bow! Raise to two thirds, and back full.”

8 words — of technobabble. Simple, meaningless language to fill space, and have one character tell another character to do something specific within his technical profession. The audience doesn’t really have to know what it means — as long as the characters do.

You might start seeing a trend here.

Striving to make Flying Pirate Ships! as internally consistent as possible means the technobabble has to sound meaningful. In turn, that means it has to be applied the same sort of way every time it is used.

Mister Stein’s job is the giving of commands for how to move the Britannia’s “sails” to achieve a desired effect. So we didn’t have to explain that command — we had to explain every possible variation of all commands to the people who actually move the sails. Well, not really. We just needed to know what information would be conveyed and in what format.

We wrote a script (tiny computer program) to figure out the timing of travel using completely fictional technology. To explain those 8 words, we wrote a 758 word article on the issuing of sail commands and crew hand signals, along with examples.

Then we wrote 248 words to tell you about it.