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design by Mark Clark
One of the most difficult probles aboard a starship is keeping things clean. Dirt, dust, and waste products can clog filters, line ductwork, and generally make the ship look and smell like a pigpen. Ship's with sub-standard life support systems, such as the standard type S Imperial scout, are even more prone to problems of bad smells and mold growth.
As an aside, one of the biggest problems is the ship's crew and passenger complement. Humans sweat, cough, and most notably, slowly shed their hair and skin. In a starship, as in dirtside dwellings, as much as 90% of dust and grime is human hair and exfoliated human skin, which is a lovely food source for microbes.
The schloobie, a genetically engineered animal first produced in the Solomani sphere but now generally avalible in Imperial space, is one solution to this problem. Looking rather like a furry rug, the schloobie has no bones - it moves by a rythmic motion of its hair. It can flow into the smallest spaces, and eats a wide range of organic materials, including dead human skin, mold, and other organics. It keeps ductwork and crew quarters clean, eliminating the need to dust most surfaces.
Schloobies mass roughly 2 kilos, and come in a wide variety of colors so that one can match them to a ship's decor. They live from three to five years. They do not reproduce - they are in effect manufactured by biotech companies.
A typical ship will carry one schloobie for every 10 persons on board - luxury liners often carry more to insure higher standards of cleanliness.
Shloobies can also be used as a substitute for showers or baths. When rubbed over the body, they remove dead skin and dirt, though care must be taken to avoid removing hair, since a schloobie left on too long will digest it. As a result, schloobies are common on desert worlds and other places where water is scarce.
Schloobies work best with Human or Vargr waste, since they are designed to digest organics based on Terran biology. Vargr do not care for schloobies, however, since they often will eat a vargr's fur while he sleeps.
Cost: 100 Cr
DMs: +2 in Solomani Sphere, -6 outside Imperial or Zhodani Space