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Exoplanet! II

Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by Immaculate, Dec 23, 2018.

  1. Zappericus

    Zappericus Euro scumbag

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Messages:
    472
    Location:
    Norway
    From: Ummah Al Salaam
    To: Xibalba

    > As-salāmu ʿalaykum
    > We are TZKTe followersZRRRKTZ Allah, his children formed bZKRRT clay
    > We have descended in peace, our intenZZRKRRTeaceful
    > ThiZZRRRKTZ is KRRTr Garden -- our Jannah. WKRRTTTR seek co-operation and mutual pKRRKKTty
    > SKRZZKT that we may all rise anew.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  2. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago
    Oh, come on...

    From Xibalba
    To Her Mother Is Very Peaceful (???)

    Responding to your message:
    Spoiler :

    > As-Salamu Chalaykum
    >We are disciples of Allah, his children are mud
    >We calm down and calm down
    > This is your garden - Jannah. We are committed to cooperation and development of peace.
    > We pray that we can all resist.

    wE TaKe oN PeAcE AnD PrOsPeRiTy. HoWeVeR, wE Do nOt wAnT OuR ChIlDrEn tO EaT DuSt.
     
    thomas.berubeg and Zappericus like this.
  3. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    7,316

    Turn Two- Surviving Planet

    Communication between the colonies has allowed a more unified picture of life on Planet to develop. Insights shared have revealed to all that the xeno-biology of Planet is both similar to, and distinct from, Earth’s biology.

    ‘Plants’, and maybe it is more fair to call them autotrophs then plants, on Planet make use of a limited, and probably more inefficient relative to earth plants, form of photosynthesis. They also make extensive use of electric current capture, harnessing the voltage differences between the surface and the clouds to power biochemical ‘batteries’. Additionally, many species of plants capture the mechanical energy of the wind (or river or sea currents) using piezoelectric ‘reverse-muscles’. And while many species of autotrophs use more than one energy generation method, any particular species may make use of as few as one. It remains to be determined how these auxotrophs will be catalogued and examined. Vegetation is generally very thick on Planet with ‘wood or jungles’ rising much higher than on Earth, perhaps a function of the reduced gravity and increased atmospheric pressure. Only at higher altitudes or longitudes does the vegetation generally thin out.

    ‘Animals’ lack bilateral symmetry on Planet, and are generally blind, with no obvious photosensors. They have, relative to earth animals, over-developed senses of hearing and smell and especially electrosense. Tool use has not yet been observed. Many feed on the autotrophs as ‘herbivores’, while others are obviously carnivorous, hunting other ‘animals’ via claw and tooth and intriguingly, electroshock like overpowered versions of earth’s electric eels (though usually delivered by touch). It is perhaps for this reason that the ‘forests’ are eerily quiet places broken only occasionally by the sound of a distant animal or the wind rushing through the high branches far above.

    Both plants and animals appear to be more resistant to cold on Planet than on earth with wax-like evolutionary adaptations offering here not moisture retention but temperature control.

    While life on planet makes use of both carbohydrates and proteins similar to earth (though the amino acids used are distinct), genetic inheritance is distinct with no analogue of DNA yet identified. Additionally, a number of species make use ammonium-nitrate- based sugars to store energy, perhaps evolved from chemistry similar to those used to make industrial nitrate-explosives on earth.

    Lastly the lack of potassium in the soil and water has been widely shared across the colonies and is generally recognized as a major limitation on human and terrestrial life on Planet. What and how local xeno-biology has evolved to overcome this limitation remains to be defined.

    Please remember the maximum number of actions per turn. Turn three orders should be limited to 3 actions per player.

    Turn three will covers a period of 360 days (1 earth year). Autumn and winter will come to the northern hemisphere and spring and summer will come to the south. The map indicates the current season. I will also post a map showing the expected weather patterns for next turn so you can plan for the seasons inverting.

    A number of players did not submit orders. Fail to send orders for two turns and you will be NPCed and your nation available for adoption by other interested players.

    New players cannot make new factions at this time. Please adopt an NPC faction if you want to join the game.

    Apaurusheya
    Spoiler :
    Expedition to the Beacon (Part II)

    Having found their way to the Unity pod, the expedition was now challenged with recovering it from its resting place 20m beneath the sea. Using the lander manufacturers, the Apaurusheya develop a massive number of inflatable flotation devices and aerial balloons. The expedition returns with these to the fog-shrouded sea and packs them around the Unity pod, a process that takes several days due to the scale of the operation. A feat of exacting engineering, the Apaurusheya are up to the task and Inflating them one by one the pod eventually begins to shift and pull from the sandy bottom until finally it is lifted to the surface.

    At this point the expedition floats the Unity pod to the coast and settles it in shallow waters where the expedition can work on it directly. Presently the pods are successfully unpacked and a number of drilling and excavation heavy equipment tracked vehicles are recovered. A week later the expedition returns to the colony, the vehicles in tow, to fanfare and celebration.

    Colony Development (part II)

    The push to expand the colony continues this season and soon the clearing around the lander is expanded and additional buildings are erected, sealed, and set with appropriate life-support equipment. Indoor tunnels are built so that the colonists aren’t always needing to change in and out of of their sealed environmental suits.

    As the colony matures, the people begin making their homes in the new habitat structures, adding personal flourishes, artwork, prized family treasures, childrens crafts, and their own various decorations to the prefabricated furniture hastily assembled from the lander stocks. Bit by bit and day by day, the colony is turning into a home.

    From the communal kitchen the smell of spices and curry waft and from the central hab structure each night is filled with the sound of sitar and songs.

    And while food and optimism is plentiful, energy is not; too often the workshops and labs sit idle, with too little power to maintain their operations.

    Leafy Greens (part II)

    Apaurusheya scientists continue development of shade-tolerant crops, their project maturing as they begin testing a number of strains in their new greenhouses. Soon sprouts are growing from soil imported from Unity. In few short months the Apaurusheya expect they’ll be eating their first vegetables grown on Planet’s surface. The Leafy greens are expected to have higher efficiency of biomass production to light stimulation than most Terrestrial plants.


    Atlas-Mitsubishi
    Spoiler :


    Expedition to the Eastern Beacon

    Again making use of the Atlas-Mitsubishi micro-drones, an expedition is sent eastwards into the lowlands. Despite thick snow, the vegetation here thickens appreciably, tall tubular waxy trees draped in thick wet snow rise 20-30 meters into thick fog and low clouds. An expedition of Atlas-Mitsubishi security follow after the micro-drones, mostly blind in the thick EM, snow and fog, and vegetation, making use of the drones, which they keep tightly leashed to avoid losing radio contact, to orient themselves.

    As they make their way eastwards, the expedition passes a particularly active volcano spewing smoke, ash, and cinders across the snow-choked jungles and on occasion the drones catch sight of a distant fire where cinders have started a burn.

    Finally the expedition comes to a wide tidal flats, frozen sand and mud, heavy snow, and reedy ‘plants’ trailing threads in the sky and in the snow. Beyond the waters are grey and churning, the winds whipping snow into yellowish sea-froth.

    The beacon’s signal continues to ping from beyond the shores. The drones are sent out to scout the waters for the beacon’s signal but it lies beyond the abbreviated range of the drones. Perhaps returning with inflatable dinghies may allow the expedition to find the source of the beacon.

    For now the expedition returns to the colony empty-handed.

    Greenhouses

    The new construction vehicles from the Unity are put to work assembling habitats from the landerand very soon structures of local stone and carbon-fiber skeleton can be seen in low rows around the lander. Clear high-density polymer is stretched across this frame and lander manufacturers are set to develop fans, water pumps, and filters to provide a controlled and closed environment. Soon engineers and workers are cycling into these structures and spreading terran soil and connecting drip irrigation.

    And thats when things go suddenly and disastrously wrong. A newly built air pump malfunctions and over-pressurizes the greenhouses and the polymer walls explode. ...and thats the first case ever of humans having direct contact with Planet’s atmosphere. The workers and gardeners are immediately placed in quarantine- with no obvious toxicities apparent from having come into contact with Planet’s atmosphere. Within three to four days however, most are suffering from widespread inflammation and septic infection. By day five all exposed individuals had died.

    A post-mortem analysis (by biohazard-protection wearing pathologists) reveals that the human immune system while able to respond to some ‘foreignness’ of the alien microbiota, is not able to stop its growth and that, to Planet, we are little more than sugar and protein-rich food.

    Within days, the unexpected exposure reveals itself to be more complex, with Terrestrial soil microbiota, especially fungi, from the greenhouses spreading from the point of exposure into the local biome overcoming local snow-covered plants and even small local animals in a slow-motion microscopic war between interplanetary alien species. Within four or five days however, this Terrestrial invasion appears to have lost its momentum and crashes, cause unknown.

    The catastrophe of direct exposure to Planet’s atmosphere has highlighted just how far humanity is from Earth and just how dangerous their new home can be.

    Windfarms

    Meanwhile an effort to raise windfarms on the windswept snow-covered plains at the foot of the mountains is much more successful. Using the new construction vehicles, snow and soil is removed, new towers raised, and turbines and blades constructed and mounted. Very soon Altas-Mitsubishi has a limited number of wind turbines supplementing their energy needs.

    Food Shortages

    With the failure of the greenhouses, Atlas-Mitsubishi have had to enact strict food rationing to avoid wide-scale starvation across the nascent colony. While no one is happy to have their caloric intake so severely limited, all understand that there is no other option currently. Still, the situation will need to be resolved in the very near future or the Atlas-Mitsubishi colony will fail.


    Autumn Crown
    Spoiler :


    A New Home

    Autumn Crown governors order the establishment of habitat structures further inland, beyond the tidal zone and very soon a suitable area is cleared from the aloe-like jungles on a small hill overlooking the vast fields of coastal mud. Cables are run from the windfarms and after installing newly constructed life-support systems and some basic furniture, the first of the Autumn Crown inhabitants are moving into their new home.

    While the habitats are very basic, they are home and for many colonists, the culmination of a dream. Spirits are high and despite having to don heavy survival gear just to exit the front door of one’s home, already Planet is much more livable- even if only psychologically.

    Incidentally, the lander just got much more spacious.

    Greenhouses and Recyclers

    With Planet-wide appreciation for the limitations of potassium in the soil, the Autumn Crown takes a proactive approach, establishing a joint greenhouse/recycling facility at their new habitat in the inland jungle clearing. To date a habitat structure of carbon fiber has been raised and recycling tanks are under construction at the lander manufacturers. Efforts are expected to continue into next season. Once completed, the facility should allow high-efficiency recycling of organic material, recovery of its potassium, and the growth of new food, though food production is expected to be energy intense due to the relative lack of natural light for Earth’s photosynthetic plants.

    Mineral Survey

    A team of engineers led by xeno-geologist Brad Holmes sets out to identify local mineral resources that might be used by the nascent colony. Ranging only a short way into the eastern mist-filled jungles, the team is quick to report that the lander is not far from rich magnetite deposits among the inland jungle hills of the east. The magnetite is relatively pure, with a high iron content (>75%) and could be accessible with minimal excavation infrastructure.


    The Commonality
    Spoiler :


    Clearing the Canyons

    Commonality governors decree a clearance of the area around the lander, starting at the edges of the river and extending to the canyon walls. A controlled fire is initiated, and it is immediately obvious that despite the increased atmospheric pressure, with the reduced oxygen concentration and increased atmospheric water vapor, fires do not burn as brightly or as hot on Planet as they do on Earth. None-the-less the vegetation does burns, occasionally exploding in a shower of white sparks for reasons perhaps related to the ammonium-nitrate-based sugars some of the plants make use of for energy.

    The burn proceeds without incident, much more controllable than similar burns on Earth and no one is hurt and no materials damaged.

    The burn complete, the Commonality lander now finds itself perched in a river-bed surrounded by a high canyon walls with nothing between the two but grey ash. This is recovered and analyzed; on Earth burnt organic material can serve as a source of potash (and potassium). Here there is some potassium in the plant ash, much less than might be expected from the burning of earth plants but still of a much higher concentration than the soil or waters.

    Studies into the Electromagnetic Interference

    Commonality scientists are assigned to better understand the cause and function of the electromagnetic interference. Despite their best efforts however, and perhaps for lack of commited technical resources, they are unable to determine anything that hasn’t already been described and published by other Planet colonies.

    One thing is obvious however. One the burn is complete, local interference is somewhat reduced though the plants beyond the canyon continue to interfere with wider-scale communications.

    Greenhouses (part II)

    The Commonality continues to develop their greenhouses, and even imports sterilized and purified plant ash from the environment to supplement the soil they are using. With earth microbiota and plentiful nitrogen and phosphates, and the supplemented, though dilute, potassium, the only limitation is sunlight. Energy production is insufficient to provide the greenhouses with their full energy requirements and so the scale of early growth programs are reduced. But nonetheless, sprouts are beginning to grow from the soil and the coming months should have Commonality colonists eating food they have grown on Planet for the first time.

    Energy Shortages

    With the lander reactor providing energy to the greenhouses, its manufacturies, and life-support systems, shortages and brownouts are increasingly common and food production is suffering.


    Federation of Free People
    Spoiler :


    Expedition to the Beacon (Part II)

    Radio silence regarding the Reconnaissance Lance is worrisome but not necessarily damning; most attribute the break in communication to the extensive electromagnetic interference and not to loss of the unit itself.

    A recovery expedition is launched with the initial focus the site at which the first expedition recovered their aerial drones. Despite an attempt to run a cable, very soon communication with the second expedition is lost also, though there is no evidence of violent confrontation.

    For a time, the colony holds its breath. Both the initial expedition and the second have proceeded beyond the range of viable communication and some believe that both have met tragedy.

    Within two weeks the expedition returns, nearly whole, and escorting four six-wheeled all-terrain scout-rover vehicles. These vehicles are outfitted with a wide array of sensor systems, short-range scout drones, and promise to provide a significant boost to mobile scouting capabilities.

    The expedition itself tells a tale of thick low-lying clouds, constant drizzle and rain, towering canyons and deep ravines, flash floods from the nearby mountains, wide clear mountain lakes and rivers, jungle vegetation rising 40m+ into the sky and a stillness that bellied the apparent density of animals tracking the Exolances. On a few occasions, arboreal alien creatures resembling some cross between an multi-segmented armor-plated insect with whip-like tentacles and earth ferrets, perhaps driven by curiosity, descend upon the expedition from the treetops, running their whip-like tentacles along the exoarmor of the lances. They seem particularly attracted to the power conduits of the armor suits and after these creatures cause a number of electrical short-circuits and energy shortages, the soldiers turn their lasguns on these to drive them off.

    Ultimately the cause of the communications failure is determined to be due to the vegetation’s electromagnetic interference, and not to more nefarious causes.

    External Investigation (Part II)

    Test animals previously exposed to Planet’s atmosphere soon take a severe turn for the worse, developing broad-spectrum inflammation-related pathologies, systemic sepsis by a number of xeno-microbiota and within days, death.

    Based on this, the Federation deems it unsafe to make direct contact with Planet and the colonists recommit themselves to strict use of their hermetically sealed suits when exploring Planet.

    Renewed exploration of the nearby lake reveals a number of aquatic creatures though these have more in common with earthly centipedes than earthly fish. Like all previous animals observed on planet, these are radially symmetrical with 3, 5, or 7 series of ‘legs’ radiating from a central core and offering both speed and agility in the waters. Capture of these proves fairly simple as they are easily entangled in Federation nets. Analysis of the animals suggest they are probably not suitable for human consumption without significant processing, having a number of compounds the scientists recognize as likely being toxic to humans.

    A geological survey of the surrounding area proves more successful, identifying multiple sources of easily accessible hematite. Armed with only pickaxes and portable power equipment, Federation colonists are already able to recover some of this material for processing and use as a raw material for the lander manufacturers.

    Mineral potassium is not identified near the colony.

    Hydroponics

    Using prefabricated lander structures, the Federation raises a a long lodge-like structure and assembles within it a circulating water stream and nutrient bath. Alongside a series of high-energy solar lamps, these serve a functional hydroponic facility for the growth of earth crops. Soon the pipes are sprouting a number of green shoots and the promise of locally grown vegetables follows.

    And while the hydroponic facilities effectively address immediate food limitations, Federation scientists warn that without effective recycling capabilities or a manner in which to replenish potassium, the hydroponic facility will eventually fail, its crops being dependent on exogenous nutrient supply.

    Energy Shortages

    Despite the recent development of wind turbines, the Federation colony is again suffering from energy shortages, the new rovers and hydroponic facilities stretching local energy production to its limit. As a result, the aerial drones are necessarily taken off-line, their usefulness severely limited by local electromagnetic interference and the rovers having superior scouting capacity regardless.


    Keepers
    Spoiler :


    A Home in the Hills

    The Keepers take a unique approach to their new colony, and instead of raising the prefabricated habitats they brought with them on their lander, use their new construction vehicles to hollow out the rolling hills of their high mountain valley. The homes they create are simple but elegant, an airlock set into the side of a hill and an excavated interior lined with with high-end technical sealant recessed behind simple plaster. Thick reinforced windows give a view of the wide river, its flanking tube-like plants rising high into the cold thin sky, and the gently turning watermills.

    The watermills too are expanded, and here, where exposure to Planet’s atmosphere and xeno-biology are less of a concern, local materials are used, the construction-waldos set to cut and shape local ‘wood’ to construct the more visible portions of the mill (while high-tech turbines efficiently turn the water’s course to energy, unseen within).

    The end effect is harmonious and unique but slow to develop and while the program of expansion details further development, it is here that the program arrives presently.

    Now if only the people weren't on rationed food supplies.

    The Writings of Planet

    Keeper scientists continue their studies of local xeno-biology, focusing on the plants of the river-valley. Relatively quickly, the scientists are able to establish that none of these plants are edible to humans, many containing complex nitrate-hybrid sugars that would prove toxic to Terrestrial consumers.

    Additional studies into heredity genetics of these plants prove disappointing with the scientists identifying that neither the plants nor the simple insect-like animals they are able to capture have any genders or signs of sexual dimorphism- and little beyond that. Studies will have to continue into the future to gain any further insights into this field of research.

    Path to the Beacon

    Coordinating closely with the Outermost, the Keepers assign a Unity vehicle to rendez-vous with them at the colony beacon and reactor they had found in their recent expedition. Drawing on their recent experience in exploring and traveling the high mountains, the Keepers are well-outfitted for mountaineering and manage to find the Outermost expedition and the Unity reactor with minimal loss of life or material, though they must take a significantly circuitous route to arrive with the large tracked terraformers.

    Once there, the Keepers’s waldo begins excavating some nearby cliffs to create a temporary refuge from the cold, wind, and snow of the high mountains. Without importing manufactured airlocks and life-support systems, the refuge is little more than a warm place to hide from the wind- at least for now.

    Still, the rendez-vous with the Outermost is a significant first step towards cooperation and the Keepers, and the Outermost, celebrate this success.

    Deaf to the Whispers

    As the excavated hills form into homes, a new arrival joins the Keepers, the first baby born on planet, a girl the parents call Olka- born to an engineering couple who arrived at Planet pregnant. But now the issue remains, how will the child be fitted with the exo-cortex necessary to hear the whispers of the dead and find unity with the more spiritual aspects of the keeper community. Cybernetics and advanced medicine are a very distant goal for anyone on Planet and its people, and the Keepers, may have to learn to adapt to these limitations.


    The Outermost
    Spoiler :


    Expedition to the Beacon (Part II)

    Having found the reactor colony pod, the expedition returns to base, replenishing oxygen and supplies before setting out again. Now knowing the route and what to expect from the extreme mountainous conditions, the journey is less eventful, with caches established in gorges and caves intermittently along the way. Without loss of life, the expedition returns to the colony pod and begins establishing secure logistics in the area.

    As part of securing the area, they also secure the colony pod, even firing up the reactor to test that it is undamaged (it isn’t) and replenishing their batteries while they are at it.

    Eventually the Keepers arrive and the two expeditions begin making plans for a more permanent path or route between the two settlements. To that effect, aerial drones are dispatched to explore and map the peaks and valleys between the two colonies and soon enough a fairly detailed 3-dimensional virtual model has been constructed of the proposed route though no actual developed has yet been initiated.

    A Home Among the World’s Peaks (part II)

    The Outermost continue to expand the lava tubes, sealing them against the chill and winds of the high altitudes, pressurizing and heating them, and importing new life-support systems. Soon many of the colonists are able to move into these lava tubes. For energy, geothermal heat pumps are sunk into the massive volcano, and very soon the lander’s manufactories and labs (now both moved into lava tube habs) are functioning at full capacity.

    The problem comes with the greenhouses. Sections of the lava tubes are assigned to food production and soil from the landers is spread at table-level under intense grow lights. Irrigation is set-up and terrestrial seeds are planted… but nothing happens. No shoots, no roots, no leaves or growth of any kind. Outermost scientists soon discover that the seed stocks have been exposed to some sort of intense cosmic radiation and are effectively unviable.

    With no other source of food, the outermost continue to depend on pre-packaged food brought with them on the lander. These will rapidly run out however and panic is beginning to take hold amongst senior leadership when they discuss the long term nutritional requirements of the colony.

    Contacting the Satellites

    An attempt to send a higher bandwidth datastream through the orbiting communication satellites ends in failure- probably for lack of appropriate security clearances.


    Qeng Ho
    Spoiler :


    Expedition to the Beacon

    With colony beacons signaling from both North and East, the Qeng Ho turn Eastwards first, launching an expedition on the inland sea, dispatching a squadron of infantry and making use of inflatable dinghies. Aerial reconnaissance and surveillance drones are dispatched and cognisant of the very significant electromagnetic interference, are kept in near visual range to prevent their loss.

    The inland sea is significant and what was thought to be the breadth of the sea soon reveals itself to be a large bay. Beyond the bay, the waters stretch much further and scans reveals the lake to be very deep with volcanic gorges and rifts throughout. Biomass is significant though little is observed directly in the deep mist-shrouded waters.

    Finally, three weeks into the journey in a shallower region decorated with small misty islands, the expedition arrives at the source of the beacon. Unfortunately, despite having found the beacon, the expedition soon has to admit they do not have the equipment or supplies to recover it and the associated agricultural equipment from a 15 meter depth. They will have to return with materials to float the multi-ton colony pod and return it to friendly shores.

    Tidal Harness

    Recognizing the need to secure a new source of energy for the long-term health of the colony the Qeng Ho colony governors order a investigation into the feasibility of capturing tidal energy for the nearby seas. With significant currents, high tides, and frequent storms, there is a wealth of mechanical energy to harness and the real issue is the protection and robustness of any submerged tidal capture devices.

    The Qeng Ho are accomplished material and mechanical engineers however and up to the challenge. Within two short months tidal turbines have been installed on the nearby sea-floor and long cables are feeding energy back to the nascent colony. Production is significant though expected repairs and maintenance are expected to require ongoing attention.

    Recycling Centers

    Responding to public Planet-wide comms describing the shortage of potassium on Planet, the Qeng Ho order the production of recycling tanks and developing new ‘rules/laws’ to regulate waste handling.

    Unfortunately, with all practical resources being applied towards the production of the tidal harnesses, the recycling efforts remain primarily a goal for now. More material support will be needed to bring the project to completion in the coming seasons.

    Food and Mineral Shortages

    As a result of food shortages, wide-scale rationing has been implemented, severely affecting the mood of the colony and making new food production a near-term priority.

    Manufacturing of the tidal harnesses has nearly depleted existing mineral resources and new raw materials will need to be identified before Qeng Ho can make full use of its industrial capacity.


    The Violet Combine
    Spoiler :


    Energy From The Trees

    Violet combine biologist are charged with investigating means by which the bio-batteries of the various plants might be harnessed for energy production by the nascent colony. Xeno-biologists are able to establish simple circuits from harnessed bio-batteries and these are able to power LED lights and small electric motors but output is limited relative to the chemical potential in the harnessed plants.

    Experiments into harnessing this potential source of power will have to continue into the coming seasons to make any real progress.

    Greenhouses and Recycling

    Sensitive to the long-term health of their colonists in the face of the publicized Planet-wide potassium limitations the Violet Combine orders the construction of new greenhouses with highly integrated organic waste reclamation and recycling facilities.

    Very soon new habitat skeletons are being assembled in the vicinity of the lander and high-density clear plastics stretched across these frame. Air purification and recycling, water reclamation and purification life support are installed and finally precious terrestrial soil spread in small plots across countertops under high-intensity flood-lights and drip irrigation. All seems to be working well to date and the industrial nutrient recycling facilities, powered by terrestrial microbiota are in full swing.

    Indeed by the end of the season, the Violet Combine are feeling fairly confident that immediate food and macro-nutrient requirements have been addressed; small shoots are beginning to grow from the trays. The only problem lies in the high energy demands of growing photosynthetic plants for the colony using artificial light and in the high demand of the industrial recyclers for energy and, too often, replacement parts.

    Energy Shortages

    With the new greenhouses requiring so much energy, the project to derive energy from the trees, or really from anywhere, is increasingly critical. Energy shortages mean that almost everything other than life-support are facing periodic brownouts, regulations, and indeed complete shut-downs.


    Xibalba
    Spoiler :


    Subterranean Food Growth

    The Xibalba are ill-suited experience-wise, psychologically, or even linguistically for the environment they find themselves in, and, perhaps in an effort to find something familiar or reassurance, set about searching the inland forested hills and seaside for caverns they might explore. These they find, east of their shore-side landing site amongst thickly misted jungles. The caves are carved from limestone and dolomite by wear of ancient streams and dripping rainfall. For the Xibalba the cooler, humid tunnels feel like home and despite general hostility of Planet, the colonists are soon moving in, raising environmental barriers, installing newly constructed air and water purification systems and installing secure hermetic sealing and airlocks.

    Once environmentally secure- a process that requires some time and copious amounts of sealant, the colonists are able to remove their environmental protection and move about with ease, these tunnels providing the first opportunity at ‘normalcy’ since Planet-fall.

    Within weeks the unique Xibalba agricultural systems are being installed in the tunnels, with lander-derived energy driving the growth of primary autotrophs which in turn drive production of the fungus-based diet the Xibalba have long-thrived on.

    Clearing the Jungle

    The approach is primitive but effective. The vegetation is expected to burn just as well as any forests on earth and though relatively inefficient, biomass can be burned for heat and the heat trapped to turn a turbine. Turbines turning is energy. Inefficient, simple but functional.

    Great new furnaces are built from the lander factories, largely depleting the remnants of the metal stocks brought with the colonists and into these the biomass of Planet is fed. Soldiers and engineers are dispatched to the jungles to clear the woods and create ‘wood’ pellets that can be burned.

    Any animals the Xibalba soldiers find are quick to flee in the face of the determined Earthlings and their tools and weapons and over-all the process is relatively uneventful.

    Soon enough thick power cables are running from the new furnaces to the Xibalba caverns and the immediate food and energy requirements of the new colony have been effectively addressed.

    Recovery of the Beacon

    While Xibalba priests meditate on the nature of the electromagnetic interference overwhelming the colony’s sensors and communications equipment, soldiers outfitted with short-ranged flying equipment (drop infantry) are dispatched to explore the south-east and the source of the beacon.

    Very soon communication with the soldiers is cut and no further news is received. Now it remains to be decided if a secondary expedition will be launched to recover the first. For many colonists, the loss of the Xibalba’s best soldiers is a psychological blow not easily shrugged off.


    Ziętekken Empire
    Spoiler :


    Scouting the Coast (Part II)

    The nautical expedition to identify potential mineral resources along the nearby coasts is ultimately not successful. Yet the time spent mapping the winds, coasts, and currents does culminate in increased proficiency for the Ziętekken ‘navy’.

    Geological Surveys and Mining Operations

    Geological expeditions inland to the northern hills are much more successful than along the coast and Ziętekken engineers explore upstream along the crags until they reach a region with much steeper gorges and crags that eventually rise into high vegetation and mist-covered mountains. Here, the beacon signal from the colony ‘rover’ pods is also much stronger.

    Ignoring this for now, the explorers focus on their mission and geological scans reveal significant ferrite deposits relatively close to the surface.

    The emperor orders construction of a surface mine and laborers return with newly constructed mining equipment and primitive electric wagons powered by the newly constructed wind-farms.

    As the seasons begin to change the miners begin returning to the colony with newly uncovered raw iron ore to feed the lander’s manufacturing capacity.


    Notes from Abroad
    Spoiler :


    The Communalist Confederacy have begun developing low-intensity wind and tidal farms and are growing their own food in decentralized greenhouses spread throughout their ‘coastal villages’.

    Puczcza Wynd are making excellent use of the terraforming pods, raising new wind farms, habitats, and enclosed aquaculture.

    Pambazuka colonists seem to be effectively defending themselves from the strange centipedes but now find themselves facing energy and food shortages, though the later of these are starting to be addressed with early but unfinished greenhouses.

    The Ummah Al-Salaam report that their colony seems off to a good start with food and energy concerns addressed but do not provide details.

    The United Order of Zeon report some success in raising windfarms and greenhouses and even some success i growing plants using existing albeit weak sunlight.

    The Remillard have no official broadcast but social media posts by members of their colony reveal stone buildings on mountain slopes with windmills turning gently in the background. The nature of the stone cut suggests a quarry has been developed somewhere.

    A brief radio burst from the High Commune seems to suggest internal violence of some sort. Now all that is heard is silence.

    Front Gate, Zen-Serotonin, Ultrasurvivalists, and Rus maintain relative radio silence.



    Orders will be due 3 days after i get the first six sets of orders.



    Turn Two Stats


    Atlas-Mitsubishi Nuka
    Spoiler :

    Hierarchial corporate elite rule over 'wage-slave' middle and lower-class.
    Population: oo , ( 20% )
    - strict rationing- treat population pip as 1 instead of two
    Governance: oo , ( 20% )
    Cohesion: o , ( 67% )
    - strict rationing and recent deaths due to atmospheric exposure- treat coherence pip as 0 instead of one
    Science & Research: oo , ( 20% )
    Economy
    Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. Local power production from windfarms but mineral and food shortages remain.
    Resources: - , ( -67% )
    - food shortages
    Energy: o , ( 67% )
    Industry: ooo , ( 0% )
    - semi-autonomous Unity construction vehicles
    Tech: oo , ( 0% )
    Military
    Small force of corporate security armed with las-rifles. Smaller force of deep reconaissance troops.
    Land Forces: o , ( 33% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 33% )

    Apaurusheya Christopher Sni
    Spoiler :

    Organized according to the 'Gram Panchayat' model, based on democratically elected local officials providing ground-up organizational structure.
    Population: oo , ( 40% )
    Governance: oo , ( 60% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 0% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 0% )
    - labs are experiences energy shortages; 1 pip unusable
    Economy
    Partially socialized and government-regulated capitalist economy. Have focused on developing crops and machinery for lower solar input and higher precipitation during travel on Unity. Local food production initiated but energy and mineral shortages remain.
    Resources: oo , ( 60% )
    Energy: - , ( -67% ) - shortages
    Industry: ooo , ( 0% )
    - tracked Unity drilling vehicles, 1 pip is unusable due to energy shortages
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Very small force of very elite commandoes called the '26' that will serve as a core to train a larger combat force over time.
    Land Forces: o , ( 33% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 0% )

    Autumn Crown Seon
    Spoiler :

    Theoretically, the Autumn Crown is a constitutional monarchy, the democratic constitution has been curtailed due to hardships of the last year on Unity. Monarchy and social elites in conflict due to differences of opinion. Disenfranchised lower class.
    Population: oo , ( 20% )
    - food shortages reduce usable pips to 1
    Governance: oo , ( 20% )
    Cohesion: o , ( 33% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 80% )
    Economy
    Economic interests are lead by relatively few technocrat-oligarchs owning large corporate interests within the phyle. Rest of the phyle employed as either freelance labor for corporate entities within the phyle, or as reliable contractors with long term employee-employer relationship in almost feudal retainer-like manner. Energy production from small tidal wind farms. Food and mineral limitations.
    Resources: - , ( -33% ) - shortages
    Energy: o , ( 67% )
    Industry: oo , ( 0% )
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Small, but well equipped with aerial drones and limited/defensive air-dispersed nanite weapons
    Land Forces: o , ( 0% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: oo , ( 20% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 0% )

    The Commonality Sonereal
    Spoiler :

    The Central Committee is a state-party organ ruling through centralized planning and extensive data collection and analyses. Wealth inequality is relatively limited and while personal privacy is laughable extinct, material security is relatively guaranteed
    Population: oo , ( 20% )
    Governance: oo , ( 0% )
    Cohesion: o , ( 67% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 60% )
    Economy
    Centralized planning focuses on computing and industry. Commercial goods production and agriculture are de-prioritized. Food production initiated using recovered plant potash. Energy and mineral shortages remain.
    Resources: oo , ( 20% )
    - energy shortages limit agricultural productivity- treat resource pips as one, not two
    Energy: - , ( -33% )
    - energy shortages
    Industry: oo , ( 0% )
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Instrumentality of Persuasive Argument, IPA: Decentralized forces spearheaded by the Red Guards- small but well armed and trained. Well-supported by computing security specialists.
    Land Forces: oo , ( 0% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 0% )

    Federation of free people Tobiisagoodboy
    Spoiler :

    Democratic Federation upholding the principle of freedom, egalitarianism and unity. The military has a strong position but no real political power. Large middle class.
    Population: oo , ( 20% )
    Governance: o , ( 67% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 20% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 20% )
    Economy
    Semi-capitalist economy, mostly classic economy with government control over important parts (transportation, energy and communication) and the military industry as a part of the military. Current energy production overwhelmed by greenhouse, rover, and military uses.
    Resources: oo , ( 0% )
    Energy: - , ( -33% ) - shortages
    Industry: oo , ( 0% )
    Tech: o , ( 0% )
    Military
    Militarized society with good industrial support. The soldiers under arms are well equipped and have great firepower, while every civilian poses at least small arms to form a militia if need be.
    Land Forces: ooo , ( 0% )
    - Exo Lances: Exosuit using Infantry employing heavy firepower and classical shock and awe tactics.
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    - cannot use air pip this turn due to energy shortages
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 20% )
    - Unity scout rovers

    Keepers Thomas Berubeg
    Spoiler :

    Very small population of close-knit 'cultists' dedicated to the preservation of their Ossuary. Make their homes in subterranean homes along a river valley.
    Population: o , ( 0% )
    Governance: oo , ( 60% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 80% )
    -near religious fanatacism
    Science & Research: oo , ( 20% )
    Economy
    Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. The old grove are ancient trees evolved from Unity life-support systems that feed on electric currents directly. Energy production from hydro-electric. Food and mineral shortages to be addressed.
    Resources: oo , ( 20% )
    - food and mineral shortages
    Energy: o , ( 33% )
    Industry: oo , ( 80% )
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Small force of soldiers armed with las-rifles. Little formal training.
    Land Forces: o , ( 0% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 0% )

    Outermost
    -Kyzarc Fotjage
    Spoiler :

    Relatively small population led by biologically and cybernetically augmented elites. Make their homes in lava tubes of a major alpine volcano.
    Population: o , ( 33% )
    Governance: oo , ( 40% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 0% )
    Science & Research: ooo , ( 0% )
    -augmented elite, biomedical laboratory
    Economy
    Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. Energy from geothermal volcanic extraction. Food shortages likely to be felt in next season. Mineral shortages evident.
    Resources: o , ( 0% )
    - run out of food next season
    Energy: oo , ( 0% )
    Industry: oo , ( 0% )
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Small force of heavily augmented soldiers armed with las rifles and carbon-fiber combat armor.
    Land Forces: oo , ( 0% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 67% )

    Qeng Ho -Lonely Lurker
    Spoiler :

    Corporate structure with a 'share' allocated at birth and additional ones grantable for extraordinary service or purchasable with major public contributions. Head by 'Chairmen' and an ideology that embraces prosperity through innovation and free trade.
    Population: oo , ( 20% )
    - food shortages are leading to severe rationing- treat pop as only 1 pip
    Governance: oo , ( 20% )
    Cohesion: o , ( 67% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 40% )
    Economy
    Regulated capitalism with subsidies for 'collective good' projects. Energy from offshore tidal harness.
    Resources: - , ( -67% )
    - Food and mineral resource shortages
    Energy: oo , ( 20% )
    Industry: oo , ( 40% )
    - mineral resources are leading to manufacturing shortfalls- treat as only 1 pip available
    Tech: oo , ( 0% )
    Military
    Small but efficient security forces, uninterested in aggressive expansion but slightly paranoid about sabotage.
    Land Forces: o , ( 0% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 0% )

    Violet Combine
    -Marcher Jovian
    Spoiler :

    Confederal council of representative who elect one of their own as head. Environmentally oriented, with Usonian architecture and a focus on simple living. Religiously individualistic and syncretic, with Gaianism being the strongest current.
    Population: o , ( 67% )
    Governance: oo , ( 0% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 60% )
    Science & Research: ooo , ( 43% )
    - biology and medical labs, studies of local wildlife; energy shortages- treat as 2 pips until resolved
    Economy
    Commune-based green economy, with democratic organisation and notable strength in genetics and medicine. Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. Food production from greenhouses. Severe energy shortages limiting growth across the board.
    Resources: oo , ( 0% )
    - cannot access all pips due to energy shortages; treat as only 1 pip
    Energy: - , ( -100% )
    - energy shortages!
    Industry: o , ( 33% )
    - energy shortages- treat as 0 pips until resolved
    Tech: oo , ( 0% )
    Military
    Predominantly militia-based, with small number of gene-modded dedicated soldiers.
    Land Forces: o , ( 67% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 33% )

    Xibalba -Ahigin
    Spoiler :

    Post-human, culturally alien civilization that has developed in complete isolation from known human history and traces its origins from the collapse of the original starship society. Make their home on planet amongst limestone caves sealed against environmnetal exposure.
    Population: oo , ( 60% )
    Governance: oo , ( 20% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 20% )
    Science & Research: o , ( 33% )
    Economy
    Highly agricultural society with a locust-like approach to exploitation of the environment. Despite lack of recognition of environment stewardship as an economic factor, the economy is highly ethical (i.e., driven by core values and principles), as opposed to individualist and value-oriented. Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. Food production in subterranean artifically-lit caverns. Energy from wide-scale clearance and burning of indiginous biomass for steam turbines.
    Resources: oo , ( 0% )
    Energy: oo , ( 0% )
    Industry: o , ( 67% )
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Non-conventional, largely infantry-based armies, used to fighting in the most unusual conditions (including complete darkness, oxygen shortage, periodic temperature swings, and zero-G).
    Land Forces: o , ( 33% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 67% )

    Ziętekken Empire -Ailedhoo
    Spoiler :

    Dr Iwo Ziętek acts as emperor of the faction that shares his name but nominal control and management falls under the control of one of Unity's two quantum computers which Dr Iwo Ziętek was able to secure during the chaos of Unity's destruction.
    Population: o , ( 67% )
    Governance: ooo , ( 0% )
    - governance falls under control of quantum computing AI
    Cohesion: oo , ( 0% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 60% )
    Economy
    A.I. Guided Planning: computers are entrusted with civilian micromanagement. Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. Surface iron ore minding provides raw materials for industry while wind turbines provide energy.
    Resources: oo , ( 20% )
    - food shortages are imminent
    Energy: o , ( 33% )
    Industry: o , ( 67% )
    Tech: o , ( 0% )
    Military
    Under-trained militia supplemented with limited number of drones.
    Land Forces: o , ( 67% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 33% )
    Air Power: o , ( 33% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 67% )



    Map
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
    Sonereal and Ahigin like this.
  4. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    7,316
    If your faction was NPCed for lack of orders and you still want to play or if you want to adopt an NPC faction, please tell me and I'll send you the NPC stats (or post them).


    Turn 3 map is expected to look like this; so you are not too surprised by the changing seasons:

    Spoiler :
    EXOPLANET turn 3 northern winter.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  5. Sonereal

    Sonereal ♫We got the guillotine♫ Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    14,738
    Wow I almost missed the update. Looks good as usual, Immac.
     
    Immaculate likes this.
  6. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    7,316
    I have five order sets submitted so far. Once i have seven, i'll set the order due date or three days afterwards.

    PS: I've processed the NPCs and three order sets so far so this update shouldn't take as long as the last.
     
  7. christopher_sni

    christopher_sni Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2015
    Messages:
    328
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    The Apaurusheya Science Committee will release all information we have regarding the local wildlife, our development of crops and scientific research on all networks for everyone to use.
     
  8. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,938
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale
    The Keepers release all information we've gathered as well.
     
  9. Kyzarc Fotjage

    Kyzarc Fotjage Rise Up

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,062
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Previously on Exoplanet (from last game, posted with permission)
    Spoiler Story 1 :

    Karin was late. The Unity was increasingly becoming crowded, especially in the Spine as worried people were fleeing Order pogroms are seeking their protection, and even the Crown Security personnel, with their enhanced frames and heavily augmented musculature, had trouble forcing their way through. Being a four-foot woman with a light build made it nigh-impossible and she was forced to take backpaths only known to those who worked in or explored the Spine extensively, requiring either hardened cellular systems to withstand the greatly increased radiation for extended periods or a willful disregard for organ failure and cancerous growth. As a member of the Outermost Karin was decidedly one of the former, which also accounted for her small frame and greatly enhanced coordination, intended to as they were to survive hostile environments with minimal resources. As the Glorious Stranger once said: it's not the size that counts, it's how you use it.

    She squeezed between a pair of cooling tubes, pumping heated ammonia from the Arc to the heat radiators in the Unity’s stern, and came out in the Ossuary. She blinked and the typical routes the Keepers took overlaid her vision, the result of four years of observation while part of a maintenance crew in Section 17. Not completely reliable anymore, she’d left that job five months prior, but the Keepers were creatures of habit and typically only strayed significantly from their patterns when the whispers compelled them. It took her twenty minutes, but she eventually came out near the stern of the ship, at the entrance to the remnants of Breakwater.

    She lifted a grate and dropped another level into the carefully welded together dead-space between the damaged habitat and the Spine, feeling a faint tingle as she passed through the low-power shield tuned to muffle vibrations. She was immediately greeted by dozens of arguing voices, each belonging to a senior member of the Outermost. She slunk to the back of the crowd, trying to avoid the gaze of any of the forty or so Outermost at the meeting to represent their band. While any could attend, most were busy dealing with the numerous crises that all seemed to strike the Unity at once.

    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Stranger told us not to interfere in the politics of the Unity. Resorting to violence threatens the mission as a whole.”

    “And letting these transphobe normals shoot us in the corridors isn’t? They already resorted to violence and the Stranger was no, pardon the pun, stranger to visiting violence upon those who harm us.”

    “O’Neill is right, surely none have forgotten the Eisenhower!”

    Karin grimaced slightly. The destruction of the USS Eisenhower and its support flotilla was the act which firmly established the Glorious Stranger as a terrorist in the public’s eyes. It also placed him beyond the reach of the world governments, with the possibility of weapons of mass destruction making them unwilling to fully devote themselves to hunting him down. Like most of the Stranger’s public actions it was brutal, effective, and caused substantial collateral damage.

    “The circumstances are hardly similar!”

    “The circumstances are exac-”

    “Look at it this way: if we stay out of it either the Order wins out and the Planet will be dominated by their poisonous ideology, setting back human advancement there by at least a century or they’re driven back and rendered helpless. If we fight back then we face the possibility of complete mission failure, setting back human advancement on Planet by at minimum of four centuries and having repercussions for further colonization efforts by Earth.”

    “If we don’t fight back the mission will likely fail regardless. The engine and fuel supplies have been severely compromised and we need the best and brightest to find and implement a solution. That means augments need unfettered access to the engines and power generators, all located in the Spine. The Spine which the viking-worshipping morons are trying to seal off.”

    “People, this is hardly behavior becoming of-” The uniformed man, Karin vaguely recognized him as Zachary, was socked in the face by O’Neill and the center of the meeting devolved into a general brawl. Several of the bystanders tried to intervene, only to get dragged in themselves, while the rest just laughed and cheered from the sidelines.

    Karin leaned to the one closest, an unusually tall Outermost of 5’8”, and nearly had to shout to make herself heard over the din. “Wondered how long it’d take. Think we’ll land ‘fore they come up with ah plan?”

    The woman chuckled, “I believe the new sun will have turned into a cold husk” She then turned to look down at Karin and smiled, “I believe someone shall have to settle this.” Karin froze. The woman was a Trainee. No, scratch that she was an Inner. A proper Inner. They hadn’t interfered in politics in years, not since that Trainee went berserk back in ‘78 and all they did there was check all the other Trainees for psych problems. The last time they’d set policy was, well, when Breakwater was abandoned in the first place.

    “I-I-I” Karin stammered, then blushed a pale pink from embarrassment. The Inner smiled at her obvious discomfort and laid a gentle hand on her shoulder, Karin’s reflexive flinch not budging in the woman’s augmented grip. She then nodded towards the brawl again.

    “Watch. Watch and remember.”

    Karin turned to face the brawl when the lights went out. All of them, including the emergency lighting and the small pieces of personal electronics some carried. She blinked and her eyes switched to process the thermal radiation, giving her a blurry vision of the room. The woman beside her was gone, not even a draft to mark her passing. The brawl had stopped, with the two dozen-odd Outermost stumbling away from each other as they switched to thermal vision. The shouting died with the lights, replaced by hushed voices and the occasional cry of pain as people bumped into invisible pipes. No more than twenty seconds later she was almost blinded by a sudden brilliance from above.

    Slowly floating down in a pillar of light was a short, ratlike man with a pair of identical twins flanking him. All wore combat suits with only the heads exposed, the faint shimmer of refracted light showing the forcefields which encased them. The man frowned as he stepped onto the floor, almost stumbling, as he looked about with mild annoyance. With her eyes now adjusted she could see twenty-two more shapes on the outskirts of the large chamber. All Twenty-four Inners were here. That could only mean… she gasped. The Glorious Stranger himself. She knew he lived, the man had survived three hundred years of manhunts, severe alcoholism, and the catastrophic failure of the first Europa Colony, the remnants of which would be passing Neptune’s orbital path around now. A man like that wouldn’t let a mere orbital strike on his lunar compound keep him dead, but for him to be here? This was more than she’d ever dared hoped. She stared and his gaze passed over her, sending a shiver down her spine. He spoke and the room instantly fell silent.

    “My children, the time for aimless squabbling is over, for I have returned to lead you once more. Disaster awaits us on all sides, waiting to strike. There is only one path forward, and I have come to lead you along it.”

    His eyes darted around the room, seeming to settle on each Outermost in turn as he paused. After a half-minute of silence one of the twins laid a hand on his shoulder and he started again, voice high and strong as he called out the mantra. “One vision.”

    The assembled Outermost mumbled the half-forgotten words in response, “One purpose.”

    “One mind!” He called, voice rising.

    “Many hands!” The response was stronger now.

    “One death!” He shouted

    “A thousand lives!” They shouted back, Karin joining in

    “ONE DREAM” The Stranger shouted, his voice cracking

    “ONE DREAMER!” The crowd roared back, causing the room to shake. She could feel her mind searing as she shouted along with them, neurons pulsing as thoughts coursed through her head unimaginably fast. She looked around and could see the eyes of everyone around her burning with a fervent fire. Purpose.

    The entire room was straining as the Stranger smiled at them in satisfaction, waiting for the last words to finish the centuries old mantra. He spoke them in a hoarse whisper which bounced around the silent room, “So says I. We have a great deal that needs to be done. A new world awaits, let us stretch our wings and claim it.”

    Spoiler Story 2 :

    Karin dropped down another floor and took a suck out of the O2 bottle at her side. Her group of Crowners were moving slowly, their heavy rad-suits and oxygen-reclaimers making maneuvering tricky in zero-g, so she was moving on ahead and making sure the doors were open and damage was as expected. The heightened rad levels towards the sternward Spine made the Crowners nervous, probably the way it killed off their nanites when they leave their protective suits. Truth be told it made her somewhat nervous too, but she’d never admit it. She was assigned this task by the Glorious Stranger himself after all. Well, by one of the Inners, but that was effectively the same thing. Sure, the Inner in question had referred to the Stranger as the ‘Ratfaced Madman’, but everyone knew they were slightly unhinged. Something to do with their conditioning. Her mind was wandering again. This always happened when her body was dealing with excessive radiation, probably to take her mind off the godawful itch of cells regenerating. And now she was thinking about the itch and it was getting on her nerves and she couldn’t stop thinking about the-oh, there it is.

    She turned and palmed the access port for the door she’d spent the past half hour making her way around. The panel beeped once and the door jerked partway open in a shower of sparks. It was enough for her to get through, but the Crowners and their equipment would be stuck cutting their way through with plasma torches. Unacceptable that. She sighed as a quiet voice appeared in her ear.

    “Wet Cat, status update”

    “Wet Cat here, status is itchy but fine. I’ve got a stuck door at 13-290-84. One panel took a lasbolt, overloaded the system. Please advise.”

    “Breakers for 13 are at 13-278-81. Should be the next hallway clockwise. Looks like there’s a duct heading that way, though you’ll want to drop some weight if you go that route. If a hard reset doesn’t work then scavenge cable from conduit Red-13 and do a double bypass.”

    “Acknowledged.”

    Karin blinked, the walls fading as the superstructure of the ship superimposed itself over her vision. There, a grate covering a way into the ventilation system around the next corner. Another blink and she could see normally again. It was possible to move with the blueprint overlay, but doing so was an excellent way to fall down unmarked holes.

    The speakers crackled to life as she went, making her jump. One would think five years of working in the Ossuary would’ve made her numb to that particular annoyance, but the static and semi-comprehensible whispers always managed to get to her.

    “-why? Why? Why?”

    “Not now, they’re on their-”

    “-ill your fam-”

    “Who turned out the-”

    “-ere’s a power, there’s a power, in the hands of work-”

    Karin shook her head and did her best to tune them out. Creepy? Yes, but she knew what they were and, as the Glorious Stranger said before stealing the Smithsonian, Knowing is Half the Battle. More troublesome was how the bursts of static interfered with her contact to the rest of the Outermost. If any more doors were broken she’d have to get creative with opening them which, in turn, would invariably lead to sharp words from the local Keeper. They were touchy about people cutting holes in their ship. That in mind she struggled with the grating for a solid two minutes before it finally popped off. The torch would’ve been faster, but rather harder to fix.

    She took a quick breath from her O2 bottle, sucked in her stomach, and squeezed into the hole, satchel pulled along behind her. Superior in most ways the Inners may be, but they couldn’t do everything. She slowly squirmed through the duct system, dragging her satchel behind her. After five minutes of this she finally reached her destination, marked by a large red X overlaying her vision. She gingerly pulled her the lumpy, heavy package out of her satchel and molded it into a joint between two struts, the putty-like material taking on the appearance and shape of the joints it was stuck to. That was her last package of the day and she was glad to see it go. She didn’t pretend to understand the Stranger’s plans, from what she’d heard attempting to do so was a good way to drive oneself as mad as him, but she knew that it was probably the best one around. Probably.

    The breaker box was easy to find and it only took a couple of quick cuts from her pocket-torch to remove the lock on it, revealing a mass of wires and switches. Her overlay lit up and labels appeared then disappeared as micro-motions in her eye dismissed them until only one remained. She flipped the switch and smiled at the faint crunch as the distant door forced itself the rest of the way open.

    The return through the ducts was much faster, the missing weight making things easier. She got back just in time to meet the Crowner party, one of whom was prodding the still-sparking control panel. The lead one lowered their lasgun when they saw it was her. Their visor opened and the man smiled at her,

    “You really shouldn’t disappear like that kid. You’re only supposed to guide us, not run on ahead.”
    “I’m twenty eight you patronizing pig” Karin almost replied, to her surprise. It was no worse than she usually heard and was loads better than most. He wasn’t trying to cause offense and probably was just worried about her safety. She forced herself to smile back and spoke through her teeth at him instead, “Come on, we’re almost there.”

    She then bounced on ahead before they could try and stop her. Two more corners and she was at the site of the damage. Looks like a Syndicate squad came across a group of Order goons beating a group of augments. She started checking over the bodies. Several of the Outermost had gone missing during the purge and one of her jobs was to find their bodies. She flipped one of the augments over and saw a vaguely familiar face. Stephen maybe? Stipan? She couldn’t remember. They danced once, back when they were kids. He was hardworking, always wanted to make everyone happy. He gave her a flower afterwards. It was purple. No, lavender, one of them. She could almost smell-

    Karin shook her head violently, the whispers fading back into incomprehensibility. The man she was holding wasn’t anyone she knew, just a random stranger who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A slight movement out of the corner of her eye made her whip around, sending the corpse spinning bow-wards until it bumped gently into a bulkhead. It was the Crowners, Mr Condescending up front with his low-intensity lasgun slung over his shoulder. She must’ve been really out of it for them to sneak up on her like that. Sloppy that, if they were some of the crazies she’d be dead already.

    The thought was rather more troubling now than before. Maybe it was because of how much more real the threat was now, but she’d never actually worried about death before. Not even when that bulkhead sealed her in that leaky room for two hours, the air slowly being sucked into the hungry void, and her transmitter was busted from a scuffle with that Crowner boy. It was probably because of the Plan. The Glorious Stranger would need every Outermost, no, every Cascadian, for that’s what they were now for the Plan to succeed. Karin of the Cascade. The alliteration appealed to her. Karin of the Outermost was never felt quite right to her and now she was wondering why their guns were pointed at her. What? She started to raise her hands, but they were looking past her. One shouted something but she couldn’t hear it over the sudden burst of noise from the intercom.

    “-ands belong to the dead”

    “-ey won’t get aw-”

    “-ire in the ho-”

    “-ulu lies dreaming”

    “-annot kill the Messi-”

    “-and the Dead Keep them”

    “Karin, DUCK!”

    This last was a shout which sent her flying to the ceiling as her legs sent her flying upwards. She caught herself right as a sudden black cloud enveloped the corridor. Her brain instantly split into three distinct trains of thought as she clung to the ceiling.

    The first was an analysis of her personal situation. She was alive and unharmed on the ceiling, the cloud ignoring her. Her comms were still down because of the whisper-static, so she couldn’t report back home. The lack of warning, burst of noise which disoriented and took out comms, and the overwhelming nature of the incident meant it had to be an attack. The attack wasn’t directed at her or she’d be dead already, but rather went for the armed Crowners. That meant it was targeting armed personnel. Barring a Syndicate betrayal, very unlikely, the only people who had reason to attack the Crowners were the Order of Man, but if that were the case she’d not have been spared. That meant a third party who wanted to secure the Spine for themselves.

    The second was focused on the nature of the attack. Nanites? Were the Crowners using nanites to-no, they came from the wrong direction for it to be the Crowners, not unless they were attacking their own. The Syndicate and the Order seemed to prefer traditional weapons and neither would unveil a nanite hive unless they were desperate. The only other groups with the capability would be the Keepers, which would mean they were abandoning their pacifism.

    The third focused on the voices. They were much more coherent than normal, hardly any static at all. The last especially, it had called for her by name and made her jump. The Stranger, she would bet her certification on it. He must’ve somehow gotten access to the coms and seen what was about to hap-, no that made no sense. The other voices though, it sounded like something she’d overheard a Keeper shout at a gang of particularly stupid teenagers when he was scaring them away. These lands belong to the dead and the dead keep them. They must not like people shooting up their home.

    The thoughts rejoined as the cloud faded from view. The Keepers were shutting down the Ossuary, likely because of all the gun-toting crazies shooting holes in the engines and each other, and had repurposed the ship’s nanites to do so. This was confirmed when she saw that the Crowners were gone. In their place was a tall figure in the long, grey robes of a Keeper. They were watching her, well, facing her. The hoods made it hard to hard to tell. She cautiously stood up, facing the Keeper upside down, and raised one hand to her mouth and then to her heart, a greeting of respect she’d picked up during her time as an apprentice grease-monkey in the Ossuary. The hood ducked slightly, acknowledging the gesture, and a voice, low and gravelly came forth

    “Outermost, you should leave this place”

    She gave him a nervous half-smile and spoke carefully, “Sorry Keeper, I didn’t mean to intrude. I must ask, is the Ossuary being sealed from all?”

    The hood moved slightly, something about it looking familiar, “Only those outsiders who bear arms and care not if they doom us all with their foolishness.”

    Karin nodded, “Makes sense. Would it be alright if we keep helping? We’re a bit more durable than you fo-er, than your people when it comes to radiation and oxygen.” When the Keeper didn’t immediately respond she continued, “We’re all unarmed, you can check if you want.”

    The Keeper’s hood twitched again, yes, she recognized that twitch anywhere, “That will not be necessary. Your help, while not needed, would be appreciated.”

    Karin grinned, “Hey, we’re all in this together, right? Only crazy folks try blowing up the lifeboat when safeties on the horizon.”

    “Indeed.” Then, without another word, the Keeper began to leave.

    Karin shrugged and turned to leave herself, heading to the remnants of Breakwater, then paused and called over her shoulder, “Well, it was nice meeting you again, Scribe 78. Sorry about the door.”

    The Keeper hesitated for a second and for a second she thought she heard a cut-off snort, but it kept going. Karin smiled again and continued back to the meeting hall. Things were going crazy all right and chaos was always the Glorious Stranger’s calling card. His will be done.

    Spoiler Story 3 :

    “78, looks like the break is here, but it ain’t as bad as you feared. The bolt went clean through and dissipated on a bulkhead” Karin called from the depths of a partially disassembled pump. They’d been tracing this particular leak for the better part of four hours now and between the residual radiation in the coolant system and the need for the bulk of the nanites at the habitat checkpoints the task had fallen to her to actually scramble around in the machinery. Not that she minded much, it was hardly Scribe 78’s fault he wasn’t designed properly. It was like the Glorious Stranger said in his interview after the destruction of Hillsman-topia: ‘Hah! Sucks to be them.’ And besides, unlike some other people she could name, he was unfailingly polite and had yet to call her girlie or mutant. A little creepy and overly formal but still a decent guy.

    “Excellent. Apply the poly-patch and let us continue to the next-” Scribe 78 replied, but stopped when he saw Karin had already squirmed out.

    She grinned at his annoyed expression. Well, at his hood which she assumed concealed an annoyed expression. Hard to properly rib someone when you can’t see their face. Lucky she was an expert. “Already done. You mind if we take a short breather first? Healing that much concentrated rad really takes it out of me.”

    “The pumps were within acceptable radiation levels.”

    “Yeah, well, with all the Tritium I’ve been breathing in crawling around those pipes it's a wonder I’m still awake. Good thing I’m awesome, right?” She moved to punch his shoulder but hesitated just before impact. The way the cloth stirred looked seriously wrong. She pulled back her fist with a faint frown. She could swear 78 was smirking from the depths of his cowl. “I don’t suppose you’ll tell me what’s up with your robes and the nanites?”

    “Such sacred secrets aren’t for the ears of the uninitiated. Would you reveal the secrets of Breakwater?” Scribe 78 responded cooly.

    She shrugged in response and smiled as the hood twitched in surprise, “Sure. Ask away”

    “That wasn’t the response I expected. Your phyle has been aggressively evasive on the subject of Habitat 24.” He said slowly

    She shrugged again “Well, that’s because people want to take what’s ours and secrecy is our only shield. I doubt you and yours care one way or another about what we do, so if you have questions then shoot.”

    “Well… what happened? The accounts don’t make sense. A fusion reactor breakdown wouldn’t have rendered the area irradiated to the extent you claim.”

    “Ah, well, that’s one of them touchy subjects. Phylar business and all.” They were both silent for a minute, the only noise the omnipresent hum of the engines and the crunch of Karin’s yeast-bar disappearing. “Well, I suppose it can’t hurt now. I’m not rightly sure what happened exactly, the records are sketchy ‘cause of the chaos and most everyone directly involved dying. Do you remember that psycho, must’ve been twenty years back? Killed a dozen folks in Habitat 6 before she was shot down?”

    “Yes, her body cremated itself. Her victims were some of my first.”

    “Weeeell, she wasn’t the first to go that way. About fifteen years into the flight one of our engineers went nuts and rigged the place to go. He got his hands on Breakwater’s supply of polonium, uranium, and californium, aerosolized the polonium and fed it into the ventilation, then set a bomb covered with all the uranium and californium to blow the habitat from the Unity entirely.”

    The Scribe breathed in sharply, “That’s insane! That would kill everyone there and cripple the Unity! Why would you even have those materials?!”

    She shrugged, “In case we needed them. The founders figured that it would be better to have a supply of the rarer elements and not need them than not have them. Part of Breakwater’s purpose was bio and chem research after all. Noone thought we’d have to deal with psychos”

    Karin took another bite from her yeast bar before continuing, “Apparently the other engineers stuck it behind the shielding in our reactor to contain the blast. Not sure why they didn’t just chuck it out an airlock, but that’s eggheads for you.”

    “Likely because it wouldn’t have gotten far enough before detonation. At that point the Unity had finished accelerating and so the explosive would’ve been quite close when it detonated, possibly severely damaging the ship.”

    “If you say so. Anyway, the shielding didn’t hold and now there’s polonium and uranium scattered around everywhere. Nanites get killed dead by all the radiation and even we can’t walk around in there w’out some serious shielding. Bastard killed a hundred folks, including all the engineers, before we evacuated. The seniors decided to hide the incident lest folks get antsy about space driving augments crazy or somethin’.”

    Scribe 78 nodded, “And now?”

    Karin shook her head, “Not the deal. I give you a secret you give me one. What’s with your robes?”

    Scribe 78 seemed to wrestle with himself for a moment before reluctantly answering, “Ship repair nanites are mixed with the cloth. It is convenient to have them on-hand and if we have to enter a region that is fully exposed to cosmic rays they can hide in the lead-lined chest piece for protection.”

    “Can I feel it?” Karin asked, eyes following the slow undulations of the nanite-infused patterns in the cloth.

    “Can you what?” 78 replied incredulously, the patterns swirling in alarm

    “Touch it. We don’t use nanites much and nanite-cloth is a new one”

    “Its a little personal is all.” He sounded distinctly uncomfortable at the thought.

    Karin pulled her expectant hand back with a disappointed huff, “Well fine. It's your turn”

    The patterns calmed as Karin pulled back, “Your continued obsession with Breakwater. If the place has been so thoroughly irradiated why do you defend it so?”

    Karin grinned and tapped the side of her nose, “Ah, that’s because it isn’t quite as unliveable as people think. We’ve managed to pull out a fair bit of salvage to bribe other phyles with and a lot of what’s still there is workable once we can clean it proper, but to do that we need resources and therefore a planet. This ship’s resources are marginal enough as is, no one would be willing to commit enough to clear out the radioactive material without taking most of it for themselves. The contents of that habitat are our inheritance and we won’t let anyone take it from us. It’d be like someone trying to take the Ossuary from you. Just because you don’t live there don’t mean it ain’t yours.”

    78 took a moment to break down the triple negative before nodding then froze.

    Karin gave him a curious look, “78, is something the-”

    She cut herself off as she heard it too. The whispers, the ones from the speakers and not the voice in her ear, had changed, growing urgent. Before she could ask what that meant a trio of people in the unmistakable heavy armor of Syndicate shock troops appeared at the end of the hallway. The front two carried lasguns while the rearmost had some sort of backpack attached to a long-barreled gun. 78 rose from his crouch silently, the heavy black fabric of his robe dissolving into gossamer cloth, revealing a rather more practical tunic underneath, as a black cloud poured down the hallway in front of him.

    He called out in his deepest, most eerie tones, the sound echoed by all the nanites in the swarm, “You are trespassing in the Halls of the Dead, if you do not-”

    Karin went into a horizontal dive as the rearmost figure raised the nozzle between his fellows and the pilot light at its tip brightened. She took Scribe 78 right at the waist and together they crashed into the wall behind the coolant pump. The flames swept the corridor a split second later, incinerating the nanite swarm and superheating the air. Karin could feel her skin burn as the flames swept past less than a foot away, a strange sensation as her pain nerves were too overloaded to react. She’d managed to wedge Scribe 78 into the open casing of the pump, sparing him from the same treatment. Her mind split into three paths as she analyzed the situation.

    The flames will have burned all the O2 out of the air. The pressure wave from the sudden heat will keep new O2 from entering the area for at least three minutes. Her bottle was only a quarter full, enough for a minute of conscious inactivity if she shared it with 78, four otherwise. If she was fighting then it would last a minute for her alone followed by unconsciousness and probable suffocation. Staying wasn’t an option, they had to leave.

    The lingering flames meant the stormtroopers used an adhesive combustible, making sprinting along the walls difficult if not impossible. They would have to go straight down the center of the passage, clear targets for the lasguns. Meanwhile the stormtrooper’s armor would be more than adequate protection from the flames and anything she threw to distract them. If she got close enough she could use her torch, but that would involve closing with presumably competent soldiers with guns and then holding them still enough to cut through to something important. They were also likely disciplined enough to ignore an obvious distraction and anything that obscured vision would just lead to another gout of fire. Their only chance was to wait for them to approach then try to disable them.

    Why would Syndicate soldiers attack a repair crew? They were supposed to be the sane ones. It could be an Order attack disguised as the Syndicate, but that sort of ploy would be found out and would lead to their ejection from the Unity. Out the nearest airlock without a vacsuit if she was any judge. A third party? No One was that stupid and no one would benefit. That left insanity and as far as she knew the Glorious Stranger wasn’t this sloppy. Insanity meant surrender was probably impossible.

    The three trains of thought came together, leaving her just as unsure as the second before. She couldn’t fight, flee, or wait. There was nothing she could do. That being the case she did the only she could. She thought about shouting something as she threw herself down the smoke-filled and still flaming corridor towards the squad, but no one would hear and there was nothing to say. She’d thought her death would be a slow affair and she’d have time to come up with an appropriate quotation from the Glorious Stranger. The thought that he might not have one for the occasion never even occurred to her, over the course of his three hundred years, well, four hundred and fifty now apparently, he’d recorded himself in enough life-and-death situations to cover every conceivable eventuality. Oh well, she’d had a decent life and even met the Stranger, something she’d never expected. If her death would garner sympathy for the Outermost and give the Stranger more room for his plans then it wouldn’t be a complete waste.

    It wasn’t until she hit the far wall, still wreathed in smoke, that she realized she wasn’t actually dead. She bounced off towards the only figure she could make out through the thinning smoke, torch in hand. She was beginning her swing when a hand snapped out and caught her wrist, spinning her into the ceiling

    “Karin Flynn, stop.” A familiar voice snapped with the authority of experience. Karin stopped struggling as her eyes made out the Inner who had spoken to her at the meeting. A moment later and she could make out the bodies of the Syndicate fireteam scattered around the floor, one of the lasgunners had their neck twisted at an ugly angle, the other had an ugly crater where their jaw should have been, and the one with the flamethrower was spasming on the floor, a ship conduit jabbed into the base of their neck.

    Karin’s jaw moved up and down as she tried to figure out what to say. The Inner spoke first, sounding slightly irritated, “You have to leave. Now. The Syndicate is assaulting the Ossuary in force and the Keepers are losing badly. Make your way to Habitat 4, it's the closest safe place.”

    The Inner turned to leave, but stopped when Karin finally found something to say, “Er, madam, um, thank you, but, um, could you help me with 78? He’s still back there and everything’s still on fire and the air’s low and I kind of wedged him in tight and, um, well-”

    The Inner cut her off before she could babble any longer, “No, once these bodies have been incinerated I’m going to be needed elsewhere. Stranger’s orders.”

    Karin stood in stunned silence as the Inner punctured the fuel tank on the flamethrower and liberally doused the trio with the napalm inside. A moment later she was gone, disappearing down another corridor in a blur of speed. Karin eyed the fiery corridor dubiously as the napalm pool inched closer to the flames, the flames had mostly abated as the available oxygen disappeared but the walls were glowing from the heat and the air was easily fifty degrees, more than hot enough to roast someone alive. If it weren’t for her numerous enhancements she’d be unconscious already, whether from the first degree burns covering her, the lack of oxygen, or the extreme heat. Instead she shrugged, winced, then launched herself back down the hallway. Scribe 78 wasn’t an Outermost, but he was still a decent person and didn’t deserve random death-by-fire. Besides, if throwing herself down a fiery corridor towards a group of hostile soldiers with guns didn’t kill her then doing so without the soldiers probably wouldn’t either. At least that’s how she thought that works. It was a little muddled to be honest. The full-body itch of healing making itself known in the back of her head wasn’t letting her think smart. Good? No, it was thinking and so brain and so smart. She hitched him over her shoulder and set off, thought fading into a blur as she flew along.

    Now on Exoplanet (by which I mean just before the start of the game)
    Spoiler Planetfall P1 :

    Scribe 78 woke to the familiar feeling of someone plinking nuts off his forehead. It was a little sad that he’d grown so accustomed to this he could identify its size from the impact. This felt like a twelve millimeter, she must’ve been at this for a few minutes now. He opened one eye a crack and eyed the woman who was busily fishing another nut from the toolbox beside her.

    Karin was exceedingly short, a result of the genetic manipulations her ancestors went through, and stockily-built. Her frame, normally thickset with fat and muscle, was now thin to the point of frailty with heavy bones sharply defined beneath bright pink skin. The severe burns that covered her were healed, but apparently the remarkable regeneration that kept her alive had consumed a most of her fat and muscle reserves and they’d only just begun rebuilding. She almost reminded him of a starving child, something her juvenile attitude only reinforced. Of course it was probably because of that very same attitude that she stuck with him. Everyone else either viewed his order with distrust or mild fear, an aura they had deliberately cultivated over the years. They were generally respected but rarely liked, death had that effect on people. The Outermost community was no different in that regard, though they treated everyone with distrust and fear. Karin had always been different, at least around him. They’d first met-

    He felt another nut plink off his forehead. Sixteen millimeter, she must be getting impatient. He glanced around the cramped room in which their cots were squeezed into opposite corners by dozens of crates and barrels full of supplies. He wasn’t entirely clear on what had happened the past few days, the last clear memory was Karin half-inside an ammonia-pump while he was checking for further coolant leaks. There was a rumble, a whoosh of wind, then pain, and finally numb darkness. Next he’d been in this same room, albeit somewhat emptier, with an Outermost strapping everything down and checking on their IVs. They’d said something about bombs in the Spine and Karin dragging him to Breakwater, then the sedative knocked him out again. He instinctively tuned his exocortex to the Ossuary’s chatter. Nothing. That was… worrying. He switched to Keepernet. Still nothing. He fought down rising panic as he switched to the Whispers, even if everything else was down they should still be there. Noth-plink

    “You may stop at any time” He said, raising his voice above the dull roar outside the room, keeping the rising panic from his voice with some difficulty.

    “If yer done lyin’ there bein’ all useless-like”

    He rose slowly, his blanket dissolving into a black mist and then recondensing on his robes, masking a stumble with a sweeping arm gesture. “Something is seriously wrong with the ship. The-the bombs must have disabled the local exonet nodes”

    Karin was making a wheezing sound that after a few moments he recognized as laughter. Her lungs must still be damaged. “I’ll say there’s somethin’ wrong with it, it's in the middle of being scattered over half the planet.”

    78’s eyes widened and he froze as he straightened his robes, “Scattered… then the Ossuary is...”

    “All around us.”

    He must’ve let the pain show, because she winced and spoke very quickly, “Don’t worry overmuch, the rest of yous folks are all alright for sure. Last I heard their pod made it off fine and will be making its descent. They had off with some of your trees with them too. I’ll-”

    She paused and cocked her head, obviously tuned into the Outermost’s Exonet server. Her eyes darted around the room wildly for several seconds and she frowned. “Hm, sounds like we might be havin’ to move quicklike. You good for movin’?”

    He flexed his arms and bent his knees, the muscles were sore and his sensitive skin protested contact with his nanite-infused robes, but everything moved as it should. “Yes, I believe I am well enough to travel. Where are we headed?”

    She grinned cheerfully despite her bandages, “Good! You can help me up then. Apparently I tore somethin’ draggin’ you here.”

    He gave her an incredulous look, “You… dragged me here. By yourself.”

    She stuck her tongue out at him, then grinned again and flexed a twiglike arm “Ya missed out a whole adventure, 78. I was all heroic while you was napping”

    He just raised an eyebrow and somewhat unsteadily proffered an arm. She reached up and latched on to it, her grip surprisingly strong. He braced himself as she put her weight on it and… sweet void, she weighed almost nothing. That couldn’t be good. She leaned heavily on his arm as she got to her feet then cheerily pointed to the door.

    “Onwards! A whole new world awaits us!”

    The painkillers must have been getting to him as he almost smiled as they stumbled together through the door. The hallway beyond was full of scared people bustling about with Outermost ducking and weaving between them. He stood there uncertainly, the people looking at him in faint awe, fear, or, to his surprise, anger, until he felt Karin tug on his arm off to the right. They slowly pushed their way forward for what felt like hours, the crowd parting slightly before him, each step a sharp-reminder of his still-healing burns. They were slowing down and the glares were getting more intense.

    It happened before he could think. A bulky looking man shoved him as he stepped by, sending him crashing to the ground. His swarm flew from his robe reflexively, flying towards the man in a cloud of black. Karin, stumbling after losing his support, stepped between the two of them, thin arms raised. Two other people, a woman and a child, stepped up behind the man, the same anger in their faces. No, not just them, everyone here was terrified and looking for a target. The swarm might be able to scare one or two of them off, but this looked like a mob waiting to happen. This… he couldn’t…

    “Now friend, I reckon we should all just settle down” Karin, rocking a little but still on her feet, was trying to stare the hulking man down, who’d hesitated in the face of the emaciated woman.

    The woman stepped forward, eyes full of hate. “You’re not involved in this, kid. That sonofabitch is with the bastards who blew up our home”

    Karin stretched out her arms to either side with palms up, “He ain’t done nuthin’, the Keeper’s was only interested in fixin’ the ship. The bombs must’ve been some crazy, like them Order folks.”

    The man spoke up again, gesturing to the crowd, “Crazies? They worship a bunch of trees and ghosts! They probably wanted to kill everyone instead of let us off that death trap!”

    The crowd was pushing in now, dangerously close to the swarm. He-he-he couldn’t… and Karin was still standing there, shaking. The woman stepped to push past her and he braced himself to… he wasn’t sure. Take the blow? “Ignore her, we’ll-FRELL!”

    She stepped back, arm bleeding. Karin had a boxcutter in front of her, glaring as it shook in her hands. Both of them stepped forward now and growled “You’re going to regret that”

    He couldn’t just let this happen. If only he could th-th-think could move he was so lost, he couldn’t understand why these people were-were-wanted to… they’d stopped. A hand had fallen on each of their shoulders as a woman appeared behind them. She was shorter than average, though still a solid foot taller than the Outermost, and unremarkable in appearance. Her voice was just as unremarkable, somewhat low but pitched to cut through the angry muttering around them. “That is quite enough.”

    They both tried to turn to face her only to drop to their knees as her grip tightened. Christ, he could hear their collarbones creak. She looked at Karin and continued as though nothing had happened, “Karin, you were asked to escort your guest to the bridge.”

    Karin was unabashedly staring at the woman with… awe? That didn’t seem right. She was one of the most irrevenent people he knew. Was she blushing? Her words shook her from her reverie though and she stammered a response, “S-sorry Miss Ilsa. We were on our way when we were-”

    The woman smiled and moved her hands down an inch, driving the pair further down, “I’m joking Karin. It would be for the best if I were to escort you the rest of the way though, lest there is another... incident.”

    Karin, standing ramrod straight and barely swaying at all, nodded and took his arm. Was it over then? His nanites flowed back into his robes, reassuring him with their weight. The tension was still there, but the woman’s confident smile was keeping things from escalating. She let go of the couple and turned to lead them onwards. Why were they heading to the bridge? Karin seemed-

    He barely had time to register the knife was even there before it was over. The kid was lunging at them one second, blade coming at him, with Ilsa a half-dozen feet down the corridor moving onwards, and the next they were on the ground next to the couple with Ilsa standing over them. He hadn’t even seen her move. The woman’s smile didn’t shift as she looked at the crowd, most of whom were still figuring out what happened

    “You are all guests of the Glorious Stranger. Any further attempts to harm another guest will result in immediate revocation of your guest-rights and expulsion from the habitat.”

    Karin tugged him along as Ilsa kept smiling, stock still. They walked in silence for a couple more minutes, Ilsa reappearing on his other side as they went. “Are you harmed, Scribe 78?”

    He shook his head and nodded to Karin, “No, thanks to Miss Karin. She stepped between me and them before they could assault me.”

    Karin started to grin, then her expression froze and turned serious as Ilsa’s smile turned to her. “Is this true?”

    She nodded frantically, “Yes Miss Ilsa. I couldn’t let a guest of the Stranger get hurt by some antsy folks, and I figured they wouldn’t be over eager to hurt li’l old me.”

    Ilsa gave her a long stare before nodding, “You acted correctly” Karin’s expression thawed into relief, “The nutjob wouldn’t be too happy if our only Keeper got punched by some idiots. Tell me, were you afraid?”

    She hesitated then slowly shook her head, “I… I thought I was, but I wasn’t. Not really. I knew this was part of His plan.”

    Scribe 78 could hear the capital click into place. He had so many questions. This Karin was not the one he’d spent three years working with in the ducts of the Unity. She was so… fervent.

    Ilsa nodded again. “Good. You don’t have to be afraid again.”

    He cleared his throat and both looked at him, Karin startled as though she’d forgotten he was there. Ilsa’s smile was starting to deeply unsettle him. Undaunted he spoke, “I’m afraid I’m slightly lost. Who is this Stranger you mention?”

    Karin’s mouth shut with an audible click. There’d be no answer from her apparently. Ilsa’s smile just widened and they stopped. “It would be easier to show you. We’re here.”
     
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  10. Sonereal

    Sonereal ♫We got the guillotine♫ Supporter

    Joined:
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    It must be stressed that the explosions were a planned demolition of the clear sites. Rumors that this was an unintended side effect of our clearing process are incorrect, if not malicious. The rumors that began spreading roughly fifteen minutes before this press conference that the Commonality is seeking ways to weaponize the vegetation is absurd, but wouldn't that be a security boon?


    Obviously the eternal war we are raging against the flora, fauna, and new classes of life we're not entirely sure how to handle, rages on.

    ONE-YEAR PLAN

    1. Our proud scientists are being redirected to focus their efforts are harnessing the power of ammonium-nitrate plant life. Obviously such power in the plant life can be potentially harvested as a power source or, at the very least, used to blast holes into mountains, which brings me to-

    2. Our population (2 Pips), guided by the loving hand of the state (Governance oo), shall be directed to begin a truly wondrous and massive wind farm [Industry oo for kicks]. Mandatory blackouts will be implemented at night and energy consumption strictly rationed.

    3. The Red Guards will continue the arduous task of killing all life within 50 kilometers of the lander that isn't human or immediately useful to humanity. [all military pips to this]
     
  11. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    Great. I now have enough orders to set the 3-day deadline.

    Orders are due Monday, Feb 18th at 11:59pm.
     
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  12. Nuka-sama

    Nuka-sama :)

    Joined:
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    Tokyo, JP
    Attention Employees:

    In an effort to reward your loyal service, boost morale, and provide entertainment, we will now be doing nightly 'employee bonding events'. Please refer to the following schedule as we bond over several historical treasures that were hand selected by senior executives to showcase the ideals of our civilization.

    Attendance is mandatory.

    Monday: Screening episodes of 'Cowboy Beebop'
    Tuesday: Chapter of Atlas Shrugged and Discussion
    Wednesday: Screening episodes of 'Dragon Ball Z'
    Thursday: Chapter of Atlas Shrugged and Discussion
    Friday: Screening of 'Space Jam'
    Saturday: Screening of 'Persona the Movie'
    Sunday: Chapter of Atlas Shrugged and Discussion

    Yes Space Jam will be played every Friday for the foreseeable future

     
  13. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    Thats a lot of 'Atlas Shrugged' -your poor colonists!
     
  14. Nuka-sama

    Nuka-sama :)

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    Hey it's a long book and foundation of (half of) our state! D:
     
  15. Sonereal

    Sonereal ♫We got the guillotine♫ Supporter

    Joined:
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    Your politicians were so preoccupied with whether or not they can than whether or not they should.
     
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  16. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    7,316

    Turn Three- Adapting Planet

    • Please remember the maximum number of actions per turn. Turn four orders should be limited to 3 actions per player.
    • Turn four will covers a period of 360 days (1 earth year). Spring and summer will return to the Northern hemisphere.
    • New players cannot make new factions at this time. Please adopt an NPC faction if you want to join the game.

    Apaurusheya
    Spoiler :


    Leafy Greens (part III)

    Dedicated to managing the limitations of the local bioenergetic ecosystem, Apaurusheya scientists continue to study local autotrophs and applying what they learn to gene-hack their own plants. Establishing dedicated greenhouse facilities separate from their food production (very smart), they continue to modify the terrestrial vegetables making them tolerant to high moisture, low light, and even lower potassium (which unfortunately doesn’t do anything for the consumers of these vegetables and their own potassium needs).

    To this end, the scientists turn their attention to the native plants, analyzing their potassium sequestration and use. It soon becomes obvious that the plants have a higher concentration of potassium than what is found in the soil (though still pitifully small compared to earth plants), but where this comes from remains a mystery- at least for a few short months until one researcher, while burning some plant material as an emergency source of potassium for the recycling tanks, realizes that the highest concentration of potassium seems to occur in plant tendrils and ‘nodes’ from which the tendrils protrude. Curious, she begins investigating the molecular ‘pumps’ and ‘channels’ of the cells that make up these tendrils and soon realizes they are enriched in potassium capture molecular machinery.

    Soon a small team is testing a hypothesis of potassium capture from the atmosphere. Very soon a number of factors become apparent. Firstly, there is indeed potassium in the atmosphere, though it is only very concentrated in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere and therefore unlikely to be highly accessible to even the longest-tendriled Planetary autotrophs- or perhaps it is just highly depleted where the ‘plants’ can reach. Secondly, unlike on Earth, this potassium, as an ion, is probably not primarily derived from meteoric ablation but is probably primarily derived from Planet, possibly alongside water vapour as part of the unique bio-electrical cycle of planet or possibly as a result of the significant volcanic activity. Thirdly, it may be possible to capture atmosphere potassium if one could develop the right atmospheric harvesting technologies.

    For now however, Apaurusheya focuses on supplementing their recycler with sterilized (carbonized) local plant-matter for its potassium needs.

    Water Turbines

    The Apaurusheya colony is in the midst of thick jungle, a jungle constantly shrouded in mists and fog and under a canopy of massive vegetation that constantly drips with the condensation of atmospheric water vapour and the rain from above. Rivulets and streams are common and it is to these that the Apaurusheya turn to meet their energy demands.

    Using the remainder of the lander’s raw material feedstock, the Apaurusheya develop a number of turbines and install these in dams built using both shovels and the high-tech Unity drilling equipment.

    Shortly a number of new water turbines are installed and the colony’s recent brownouts and outages are soon a thing of the past. The only problem is that while current energy needs are met, any additional requirements will overwhelm existing infrastructure and require further expansion of the energy infrastructure.

    Mineral Surveys

    While the science and engineering teams are busy focusing on developing better crops and addressing the energy concerns of the colony, the military is tasked with scouting the local jungles for mineral wealth.

    However, it soon becomes obvious to the dedicated soldiers that none among them has the expertise or knowledge, or even the tools, to properly identify minerals in the dripping multi-tiered silent world of the surrounding jungles. One reports identifies some ‘shiny rocks’ and another ‘dark rock outcropping’ but it's impossible to make any significant use of these reports from a mineral extraction perspective.

    Nonetheless, the ‘survey’ is not a complete waste of effort and energy as the military begins developing a better understanding of the jungle-world they live in just by scouting and patrolling it. Knowledge of local terrain- density of jungle, clearings, and particularly thick brush, where small cliffs and ravines are, where streams and rivers are, what weather to expect where, where there are particular concentrated populations of the various alien creatures, these all have value to the military in providing intelligence and perspective for future missions.



    Atlas-Mitsubishi
    Spoiler :


    Spring

    The coming of spring to the northern hemisphere dramatically alters the terrain around the Atlas-Mitsubishi lander. The thick wet snows all melt in a period of less than 20 days leaving mud and ground fog and sprouting vegetation everywhere. The existing jungles seem to grow a meter or more every day and within 30-50 days have almost doubled in height, though much of this appears ‘seasonal’ and made up of lighter and more fragile material than the winter-hardy bases. Tendrils rake they sky in numbers previously never seen and all throughout the hills sensors pick up a much wider range of biologically active fauna.

    In the distance the smoking volcanoes continue to spew ash and cinders onto the landscape leaving a jagged black scar amongst the jungles.

    Greenhouses (part II)

    After last season’s blow out and resulting deaths, rebuilding the greenhouses is a relatively simple matter, though the soil requires significant sterilization and re-seeding of both microbiota and plant seeds. The basic frame of the greenhouses can be used, as can most of the polymer covers. New air-filtration and recirculation units are manufactured but the drip-irrigation previously developed can be reused.

    Ultimately, this time there is no critical failures and the greenhouses are up and operational in a few short weeks. Within twenty days local spirulina is displacing the now-depleted Unity pre-packaged food. Within fifty days the colony’s caloric rationing is being loosened and the colonists are eating locally derived rice, sprouts, and the now much-maligned spirulina. Within a hundred days the entire rationing program has been abandoned and the colonists are enjoying a wide range of locally grown crops from grain to fruit to vegetables. The near-starvation crisis ultimately claimed no additional lives and while most have had to tighten their belts, all are now able and happy to eat full and balanced (vegetarian) meals.

    Long-term, a recycling facility will be required to recapture lost macro-nutrients (and potassium) but for now, nutritional requirements have been adequately addressed and morale is fast-improving.

    Expedition to the Eastern Beacon (part II)

    Returning to the eastern shores with inflatable dinghies, the Atlas-Mitsubishi face a very different terrain. Spring has come and the thick wet snow has now melted leaving myriad rivulets and streams and thick mud to traverse. The jungles are growing quickly, happy to have the sun’s warmth even if the mists and rain prevent most of its light from falling upon it.

    Setting from the shores, the expedition again makes extensive use of the micro-drones, though these are increasingly affected by the increased burden of electromagnetic interference arising from the springtime jungles. The boats follow the beacon’s signal and arrive at a series of small rocky islands jutting from the mainland in a thin north-east, south-west line. The colony pod appears to have crashed amongst these in shallow waters. These are easily accessible to the expedition who soon uncover the contents of the pod, a Unity molecular compiler and associated molecular feedstock.

    The prize is quickly shipped back to the colony and connected to the wind-farm power where it proves to be quite functional despite the violent planetary re-entry. Soon enough the Atlas-Mitsubishi engineers are printing a wide variety of tools and compounds previously unavailable to the colony. Increasingly the translucent shine of assembled diamond can be found as carbon is turned into tools, hab components, and even medical supplies.

    Perhaps also just as valuable as the nano-assembler itself are the molecular and atomic materials that make up the feedstock: not insignificant quantities of potassium and rho.

    Book Club

    With food in their bellies and the immediate survival of the colony no longer in question, the citizens of Atlas Mitsubishi meet to discuss 20th century literature and animated film.

    For many its a return to the boring routine aboard Unity. After last season’s excitement, that may not be a bad thing.


    Autumn Crown
    Spoiler :
    Greenhouses and Recyclers (part II)

    The Autumn Crown continues developing its joint greenhouse/biomass recycler, adding soil, seedlings, drip irrigation, and air filtration and recycling facilities to the structures developed last season.

    Biomass recycling tanks fed organic waste (indigestible crop byproducts, human waste, etc) processed into usable materials in 200L fermenters are built directly into the greenhouses and supplement the irrigation with macronutrients while providing soil microbiota with additional calories to drive their continued survival.

    Ultimately the facility, while proving as energy exhaustive as anticipated is a success, generating sufficient domestic crop production for the colonists and alleviating immediate concerns regarding food production.

    Iron Mines

    Brad Holmes continues his effort to secure mineral development for the nascent Autumn Crown colony, spearheading an effort made up of ‘serfs’ armed with picks and shovel and light industrial construction equipment newly developed from the lander manufacturers.

    Fortunately for the ‘crown’, the iron deposits are not too distant and easily accessible from the planetary surface without establishing deeper excavation. Securing and recovering iron ore from the deposits is relatively simple, the hardest element being the removal of local flora.

    Within a few short weeks the Autumn Crown has established a small functional iron mine and is working the ore into new tools at their lander manufactory.

    Recover the Second Beacon

    A trio of Unity dinghies carrying soldiers and drone operators, escorted by forward-operating reconnaissance drones is launched into the western bay to search for the source of the Unity colony beacon emanating from that direction. The seas are fog-shrouded and visibility is low but winds and waves cooperate and are relatively still.

    The expedition is also under orders to collect water samples as they progress and this they do, filling and labelling multiple sample collection bottles as they progress.

    With relatively clear weather and improving signal to noise the further the expedition travels from the shore, the boats arrive over the site of the beacon after only eight days at sea- even navigating carefully through the thick fog.

    That is when the expedition’s luck changes as the depth sounding reveals the sea to be hundreds of meters deep at this location. Without the appropriate equipment to navigate these depths (or pressures) the expedition focuses on its secondary goal, collecting water sample, and this they do over a wide territory before returning to the colony.

    Unfortunately without specialist equipment, the Autumn Crown will not be able to recover the colony beacon at such depths. They do however identify its contents; a Unity fusion reactor.


    The Commonality
    Spoiler :
    Planet Scar

    The central committee, seeing the effects of a smaller-scale burn throughout their canyon, the reduced electromagnetic interference, the greater visibility, the potash-derived potassium, extends their burn program beyond their immediate canyon and into the hills and gullies nearby.

    As observed previously, the high humidity and low relative oxygen concentration combine to reduce the strength of the blaze on Planet but also make it easier to control and manage.

    The committee has decreed that all native life, flora or fauna not of obvious use within 50km be burned and, while not able to cover the entire region intended, they are able to burn out the jungles and swamps in an area extending from 15 to 25 km from the colony.

    Towering rain-soaked jungles burn slowly but bit-by-bit brought low and the many lowland swamps and rivulets blackened and charred. The burn is not complete, with many areas retaining some low-lying vegetation, especially in areas with more significant accumulation of rainfall but for the most-part the terrain is charred, a savage scar upon the surface of planet.

    Native wildlife, including the previously hostile giant multi-limbed ‘shrimp’ flees the flames and offer no resistance to the Commonality.

    The burn of the local vegetation significantly clears local electromagnetic interference and as a result reveals the specific location (~30km northwest) of a Unity colony pod- a foursome of scout rover pods. Thankfully the pod is not damaged by the fires and with the jungle cleared away, it proves relatively easy to for the Commonality soldiers to recover the pod and return it to the colony.

    Windfarms

    With the jungle cleared away, the winds, rains and, curiously, lightning storms, batter the colony mercilessly. The hostile weather is also an opportunity however and keen to take advantage of the open terrain and the wind-funnels created by the newly cleared canyons, the Commonality erects a number of basic wind turbines along the coastal areas of their canyon.

    This proceeds without major difficulties though the remainder of the lander’s ore stocks are depleted in the construction of the turbines.

    Ultimately the energy concerns plaguing the colony last season are addressed and the greenhouses, manufacturies, basic life-support, and even the new rovers are all well-supplied and and functioning at full capacity.


    Federation of Free People
    Spoiler :
    Energy from the Winds (Part II)

    The growing colony brings with it growing energy demands and the small wind farms raised upon arrival just isn’t up to meeting current demands. And so leadership orders the expansion of the wind-farms using the same model which has proven to be successful and again making use of the pebble-strewn beach with its minimal geological or vegetable interference to wind currents.

    The effort is hampered somewhat by lack of raw materials but none-the-less a number of new turbines are erected, significantly increasing energy capture and for now, addressing the energy needs of the nascent colony.

    A Habitat Outside the Lander

    The colony lander makes for a tight home and the Federation’s population is keen to expand beyond its walls. Pre-fabricated Unity habitats are assembled along the lake’s beach. A central plaza connects the housing units via atmospherically controlled tunnels; these allow the colonists to socialize and meet without having to don heavy environmental suits.

    The new housing is fairly basic but it does allow the colonists to move beyond the lander. With food and energy secured and now a home, the colony is beginning to feel much less fragile for its population and morale is generally improving.

    Reconnaissance Around the Lake

    Three scout rovers are assigned to circumscribe the eastern lake, a massive undertaking but one which the Federation is confident they can attempt using the new rovers and their hardened communication and sensor equipment.

    While the more local shores of the lake are relatively open and pebble-strewn with minimal vegetation, the southern and distant shores are made up primarily of relatively level swamp-like habitat with more significant vegetation. Beyond the swamps the terrain rises dramatically into a series of volcanoes that presumably follow a north-south geological fault. These are currently semi-active and spewing cinders and smoke into the sky- these drifting eastwards into the mountains beyond, though not spewing lava. The scout rover sensors reveal that the areas around the volcanoes, especially those with evidence of more recent activity have more significant vegetation growing from the volcanic soil. Taking samples of these plants, the survey reveals these to have higher concentrations of potassium than in most other plant sampled to date. The same is true of the soil itself, though further sensor readings reveal that the potassium in the soil is already largely concentrated in native microbiota.

    The expedition is a long one, with the swamps not preventing the rovers progress but certainly slowing them considerably. The swamps are thick with biological life, with trees rising high into the sky and long tendrils extending both into the sky and back into the streams and pools below. Sensors reveal significant wildlife, with particular enrichment of arboreal and marine life, most of these resembling some form of multi-segmented insect-like creatures previously observed in the west. At one point more of the arboreal alien creatures resembling some cross between an multi-segmented armor-plated insect with whip-like tentacles and earth ferrets, perhaps again driven by curiosity fall upon the expedition. Again their whip-like tentacles brush along the rovers and the exoarmor of the expedition’s military attachment, in many cases causing shorts and electrical failures when they do. The Lance’s las-rifles are able to repel the creatures but the ‘attacks’ continue again and again, though it appears that the creatures that ‘attack’ the expedition are not the same each time (they seem to learn relatively quickly to avoid the lasguns of the expedition). The population of these creatures in the area are generally attracted to the expedition and new ‘packs’ intercept the expedition as it proceeds. Their ‘attacks’ do no harm to the federation soldiers or scientists but seem to target the electronics and sensors of the vehicles and exo-armor. Most of these damages can be repaired but ultimately these attacks result in significant damage to the hardware of one of the rovers and it must be abandoned to the swamps.

    The rovers finally return along the north of the lake, their batteries struggling and capacity for oxygen-concentration and purification stretched to its limit. Regardless, except for the loss of one rover, the expedition is largely whole upon its return (with damages to remaining vehicles and equipment repaired relatively easily once returned to the colony) and has gathered significant data regarding the lake’s far shores, and of particular importance the enrichment of potassium in the plant-life grown from more recent volcanic soil.


    Keepers
    Spoiler :
    Grain fields

    Making use of a similar sort of subterranean development as previously exemplified with their housing and common area development from previous seasons, the Keepers begin developing a subterranean agricultural area in the vicinity of the lander. These areas occasionally project from the landscape, making use of the lander’s prefabricated structures and are carefully sealed against the environment both above and below ground. Installing water and air purification and recycling, irrigation and a massive web of overhead ‘grow’ lights, the site is ready for soil dispersal, inoculation, and seeding.

    Shortly the Keeper’s subterranean farms are producing grain, vegetables, and even some raspberries and watermelon. Attempts to defrost and decant bovine embryos are hotly debated by colony planners with many arguing that they will compete for food and, indirectly, energy with the colony inhabitants and create food only very inefficiently while others argue that they will serve to improve morale even if they are not a viable or efficient means of nutritional development.

    Ultimately the planners agree to develop two of the animals and shortly the nascent colony is home not only to human colonists but bovine colonists as well.

    Dreams of the Future

    Keen to include everyone in hearing the ‘whispers of the ossuary’, the keepers raise speakers to project the whispers in the physical realm. This makes the whispers available to those, including newborn colonists, who cannot for whatever reason access the whispers via exocortex. Detractors point out that the whispers are more than audio, that they are a direct interface with the listeners’ brain including their limbic system and specifically elements of the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex associated with meditation and prayer. Still, it does create inclusion and for the mother and father of the newborn, an increased sense of community.

    The Writings of Planet (part II)

    Keeper biologists continue to examine the xenobiology of Planet, and are especially keen to understand xeno-genetics and how they might be adapted to allow earth-life to exist on Planet without assistance.

    Vis-a-vis understanding Planet genetics, the nascent lab makes a significant step forward when they identify that the multiple folds of lipid bilayers that make up cellular organelles similar to terrestrial golgi-apparatus in fact contain the genetic material of life on Planet. It seems that local genetics are imprinted in the two-dimensional lipid bilayers. If one were to imagine that earthly genetics are made up of one long string of letters, much like terrestrial human languages, than Planet writes in crossword puzzles or sudoku, right to left and as up to down- at the same time. The ‘writing’ is made up of nitrogenated lipids- and uses an alphabet of twelve letters (as opposed to earth life which uses 4: GATC). Despite the two (and not single) dimensional layer of the genetics, a linear intermediate state (comparable to terrestrial mRNA though made up of lipid micro-organelles) acts as a template for enzymatic machinery to translate proteins similar to those on Earth. The genes of animals seem to exist in multiple copies, usually 3, 5, or sometimes even 7, though whether this indicates that many parents to each organism or just the degree of genetic redundancy remains to be determined.

    These findings are a major break-through for the Keeper biologist and may in the future, allow genetic sequencing of alien biology or even of genetic manipulation thereof.

    Meanwhile attempts to develop methods to allow terrestrial life to survive on Planet focus primarily on educating terrestrial immune-systems to recognize alien microbiota and while promising will need to be continued into the future.


    The Outermost
    Spoiler :
    Colony Development

    An emergency expedition is launched to the Keepers with the dual goals of testing the proposed route to the Keepers and of securing agricultural seedstock. The expedition follows the three-dimensional mapping established last season and manages to not only make it there and back but to recover the seedstock and not lose any of its members.

    With new seed stock secured from the Keepers, the Outermost set about attempting to re-establish their subterranean greenhouses. A length of isolated lava-tube is sealed and equipped with air and water recirculation infrastructure. A small recirculating artificial stream is established and upon its ‘shores’, thoroughly infused with earth-based microbiota, terrestrial crops are planted. The whole thing is bathed in intense artificial sunlight, drawing heavily on the energy produced from the geothermal plants.

    Within ten days the first shoots are bursting from the tunnel’s soil and within forty days the first green beans have made their way into the Outermosts’ kitchen. By sixty days, food production is stable and robust, the farms’ photosynthesis contributing to the production and clarification of the enclosed atmosphere of the colony.

    Meanwhile, the habitat is being expanded by sealing and securing additional portions of the rather extensive network of lava tubes. Unfortunately, attempts to establish a tunnel to ‘punch through’ the caldera wall to better establish a link with the high snow-shrouded mountains beyond goes horribly wrong when a section of tunnel collapses upon the tunneling colonists. Attempts to rescue the tunnelers are ultimately unsuccessful and when the cave-in debris is cleared only bodies lie entombed. The total death toll from the incident is forty-two. For a colony with a relatively low population to begin with, the deaths are not only a blow to the morale of the community but a threat to its long-term genetic diversity.

    Geological Surveys

    Despite the loss of so many colonists to the cave-in, the Innermost leadership realizes there is much to do to establish the colony’s long-term security. One of these is to establish a better understanding of the local geology. To that end a team of geologists are given command of the colony’s aerial drones and military-grade sensor equipment. These they launch to begin mapping the local mountains. Despite the thick snow cover, they quickly realize that the huge volcano they call home is part of a series of volcanoes that seems to follow a north-south fault. Similar fault lines to both the east and west are also dotted with a series of north-south volcanoes. The more eastern volcanoes appear more active and many are actively spewing smoke and cinders though not spouting lava. From the caldera lip, the eastern smokers can be visualized by the naked eye.

    The caldera that the Outermost call home is also somewhat active and slowly bleeding carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, hydrochloric acid, and carbon monoxide. This is perhaps for the best as the slow bleed of these gasses acts to reduce the pressure of the magma chamber below. The surveys also reveal that the most recent eruption was less than 50 (local) years ago (100 terrestrial years). For the ranges to the east, the most recent eruptions have probably been less than 2 local years ago with the lava itself qualified as mafic (high in iron and burning extremely hot relative to the higher silica lava types most common on earth that erupt with cooler temperatures). Indeed the mountains are generally rich in iron and the survey identifies a number of accessible deposits that might be mined. Regarding the volcano itself, geologists are unable to establish when the next eruption can be expected, nor are they able to establish a model with any high degree of predictivity to describe how the magma might be safely bled off.

    Analysis of the mountains, and a specific search for potassium deposits, reveal that there is relatively limited concentration within the local bedrock with local feldspar deposits being made up of albite, anorthite, and not potassium feldspar. Highest concentrations of potassium are found in the igneous rock and tempra formed from the cooling of volcanic lava suggesting that the potassium depletion observed on Planet’s surface is not as significant within Planet.

    Finally, the survey also identifies a number of geothermal hot springs which might be of interest to the colony if they can be deemed safe for use by the colonists.

    Path to The Keepers

    Having established the area around the Unity fusion reactor as a ‘cache’ to recharge and regroup for both the Keepers and the Outermost, the Outermost now make use of the terraformer lent them by the Keepers to begin developing a more direct route between the two colonies. This is based on the aerial three-dimensional mapping already initiated.

    The terraformer can remain in the field for extended period and utilize significant energies due to the one engineer devising and running a long, newly-constructed, power cable from the Unity fusion core to the moving construction site. The power also provides energy to concentrate and purify air from the environment and this, along with regular deliveries of food and water, allows extended operations beyond the lava tube colony.

    Ultimately the construction effort take significant investment in time and relies partially on the Outermost soldiers to assist in directly moving materials- something they are not necessarily happy to do, but proceeds without major challenges.

    Finally, as the terraformer returns to the Keeper village and the Outermost construction team enjoys the Keeper hospitality, a usable path has been established between the three sites (the two colonies and the fusion reactor at site Ys). The path is not wide or particularly easy to traverse but it is relatively safe and relatively reliable- assuming the weather cooperates. The first few travelers, well-bundled against the cold and with amble extra air canisters, have already begun to make the journey.


    Qeng Ho
    Spoiler :
    Leafy Greens for the Qeng Ho

    When the Apaurusheya publish their research efforts into designing plants specifically for Planet, Qeng Ho scientists are quick to champion a similar effort for their own colony. Prefabricated habitat is assembled and the standard greenhouse system seen in multiple colonies elsewhere assembled (overhead artificial lighting, drip-irrigation, earth soil seeded with imported terrestrial microbiota).

    The Apaurusheya gene-hacks are transduced into the Qeng Ho plants and these planted in the new soil. Relatively quickly the first shoots start to poke up under the dim, energy-efficient red-shifted lights. Within a few short months the Qeng Ho are eating locally grown spinach, swiss chard, arugula, endive, radicchio, kale, mustard, cabbage and bok choy as well as a number of herbs like cilantro, chives, mint and lemon balm.

    With similar ingredients to cook with, and relatively open societies, individuals from Qeng Ho are soon communicating with the Apaurusheya, sharing not only their thanks for the high-efficiency crops but also recipes and gossip.

    Recycling Tanks

    Keen to recover as much usable energy and macronutrients as possible and especially keen to recover any potential potassium concentrated in the colony, the Qeng Ho continue development of massive bio-reclamation and recycling tanks to support their greenhouses.

    The Qeng Ho lander manufactories are up to the task, as are the Qeng Ho engineers, and by the time the colony is producing its own food, it is also ready to process its biological waste material.

    While the green/brown slurry extruded from the tanks may not smell terribly nice, there is no doubting that the Apaurusheya crops love the nutrition, significantly increasing agricultural productivity while alleviating concerns of potassium depletion- at least for now.

    Expedition to the Beacon (part II)

    With knowledge of where the Unity colony pod lies, the expedition returns to the lander and begins the construction of specialized equipment to float and retrieve the pod. In this effort they are again assisted by the Apaurusheya, who’s engineers had recently been tasked with a similar effort.

    When the Qeng Ho nautical expedition returns to the pod crash site, they are now equipped with newly constructed specialized equipment to pump air into submerged inflatables and a high-powered marine crane to assist in the recovery.

    Their effort to recover the pod takes some time to execute, as the expedition doesn’t hazard working on recovering the pod during the frequent local storms and the system of floating inflatables must be carefully calibrated to ensure that the pod is lifted and not just tipped over or dropped on its way to the surface.

    It is during this time that a second expedition arrives from the north. The dinghies arriving are manned by Rus soldiers, heavily armed and escorted by mysterious aerial drones that are, surprisingly, not of Unity manufacture but most probably developed locally here on Planet. The Rus soldiers order the Qeng Ho away from the beacon, claiming it as their own.

    The Qeng Ho commander, seeing her forces outnumbered and outgunned, and unsure of the actual capacity of the new Rus drones, takes the more conservative approach and orders the withdrawal of the Qeng Ho expedition, though not before secretly giving an order to sabotage the newly constructed recovery equipment and crane, lest it fall into the hands of the strong-arming Rus.

    Sending part of the expedition back to the Qeng Ho colony to inform them of the most recent development, the Qeng Ho commander also orders an observation of the Rus, at least for a few short weeks until the Rus, sick of the Qeng Ho observers, turn their lasers upon the Qeng Ho drones and force the remainder of the expedition back.

    If any good has come of the Rus ‘attack’, it is perhaps that the Qeng Ho have learned much of the conditions of the local lake and its weather patterns, knowledge that will serve them well in any further nautical confrontation here.

    News of the attack soon spreads and with it worry that the confrontation between the Rus and Qeng Ho might escalate. It is perhaps the first actual inter-faction violence on Planet but it may not be the last. It remains to be seen how the Qeng Ho command will react to the Rus provocation and theft.


    The Violet Combine
    Spoiler :

    Energy from the Rains

    The Violet Combine colony is a place of constant mist and rain. It seems that nothing ever seems to dry out completely. The environment is highly three-dimensional with trees and plants towering high above the enshadowed colony and from these high places rivulets constantly drip into myriad streams and small rivers that criss-cross the surface. But in this land of dripping water, there is opportunity also.

    Desperate for energy, these streams and small rivers are soon put to work with the colonists bending their backs at shovel and pick to build small dams and create lagoons and pools into which the engineers install newly constructed hydro-power turbines. Smaller scale projects even capture energy as it descends from the heights though these are more experimental in scale.

    The local wildlife seems particularly interested in the turbines and are often seen examining them, especially when the colonists are turned in for the night. The curious animals almost seem like gremlins of legend to the engineers, seemingly bringing shortages and small failures with them and soon enough the Commune must post guards around the clock to drive off the unlucky wildlife.

    Soon enough however, the the dams are are completed and the turbines are turning. Energy returns to the colony and with the new vegetables being grown in the greenhouses established last season, it seems that all that needs to be immediately addressed is sourcing raw materials for the lander manufacturer.

    Energy From The Trees (Part II)
    Violet Combine biologists continue their dedicated work of understanding and harnessing the bio-batteries of the local plants, collecting specimens, creating artificial voltages differences for them to ‘feed on’ and otherwise artificially re-creating the conditions of the wild such that they can experimentally manipulate reductionist variables one at a time.

    Progress is slow, with little earthly analogue to turn to for inspiration or background and every new discovery highly celebrated by the small close-knit team. Eventually they are able to grow some long-tendrilled alien plants in specially created outdoor lab facilities where each plant is connected to a circuit that slowly leeches and quantifies the plant’s bio-batteries. Harnessing the power is increasingly possible; indeed scale and reproducibility is increasing at a promising rate.

    One interesting discovery the team has made however is that a number of the ‘twirly-birds’ as they call them- mouse and rat-sized flying ‘creatures’ trailing long thin tendrils, as well as the more numerous radially-symmetrical, highly arboreal rodent and primate-like species will alight near the experimental circuits and using their tendrils, make contact with the leads or wires used by the researchers to capture the bio-current the scientists are examining. It is the first observed and experimentally quantified incidence of any ‘animals’ directly interacting with a controlled electric current. Further analysis of the current strength suggests that the animals are reducing the current and may indeed be ‘shorting’ it in some way but what they are doing with the electrical energy and how they can capture, if indeed they are, is unclear. Now that that the Violet Combine xeno-biologists know to look for it however, they do notice animals resting in close vicinity to where they suspect wild plants would have ‘bio-battery’ nodes; the question remains if they are feeding on them or absorbing the bio-electrical energy in some way.

    Experiments are expected to continue into next season to generate further progress.


    Xibalba
    Spoiler :
    Recovery of the Beacon (part II)

    The Seven Societies order a search and rescue effort to head into the south-eastern jungles and search for the missing expedition that had set out to find the Unity beacon previously. With them are a detachment of drop infantry that will provide reconnaissance and specialist teams that, using primitive heliographic devices will ensure secure lines of communications regardless of the electromagnetic interference. With the snow turning to rain and the weather warming, the rescuers set out optimistic that they will find their comrades.

    The pod recovery team cannot be tracked directly; the jungles are too thick and fast-growing, the mists and precipitation too constant, visibility too limited. Instead they set out to the location of the last known communication and there, set up a grid search pattern.

    Very quickly the team becomes aware of the huge extent of xeno-biology that calls the rain-soaked towering jungles their home. The creatures, like all previously encountered, are radially symmetrical and highly specialized to arboreal life, using arms and tentacles along all axis to navigate the trees, hanging vines, and myriad trailing tendrils. Some appear primate-like, leaping from tree to vine in absolute silence and flicking long whip-like antena all about. Others are like rodents, scurrying along trees and presumably led by olfaction. A whole class of organisms appear like centipedes or millipedes with not only many sets of limbs but limbs extending in 3, 5, or 7 rows along their bodies and ‘tunnelling’ through the jungle canopy without concern for up or down. Many of these ‘millipede-like’ creatures prove very curious of the expedition and when some species measuring 8 meters or more in length become more aggressive, fatally shocking the rescue team members with their antennae, the expedition adopts a more defensive strategy, advancing in larger groups and maintaining an armed escort of drop infantry.

    As the expedition progresses, encounters between the mega-fauna and the expedition become more frequent and it becomes obvious that the creatures have turned from curiosity regarding the expedition to actively hunting them. Advancing further into the jungle, larger examples of the aggressive aliens are encountered with one individual responsible for carrying away two members of the expedition measuring 10 meters or more. The animals are generally sensitive to laser fire but on at least two occasions the patrol observes laser fire skitter offer the carapace of the hunters in a flurry of orange and blue sparks that resemble nothing they have previously observed. These observations are the exception however and certainly not common.

    With the jump-infantry increasingly focused on defending the expedition and the patrols increasingly concentrated under their protection, the search and rescue portion of the mission is increasingly difficult to execute. Despite this, on their twenty-sixth day, while exploring a particular thick region of jungle cut by deep canyons and high knife-like stone ridges, despite the thick electromagnetic interference, their sensor equipment detects the characteristic chirp of a Xibalba emergency broadcast. Closing on the location, the patrol finds scattered equipment, weapons, and scraps of uniforms (though no bodies), that leaves no doubt to the violent final demise of the previous expedition.

    Dispirited, the expedition returns to the colony, on guard against attacks by the giant alien millipedes and their electric antenna. On their return trip home, a strong smell of decay draws them to a corpse of one of the predators, its body lying tangled in the canopy but overrun by what appear to be Earthly fungi. Perhaps ultimately the Xibalba are not so palatable to the alien hunters after all.

    Ultimately, while the rescue attempt was not able to recover their comrades, they did learn of their fate. They have also learned much about local conditions and of operating as a team in the local terrain, experiences that may serve them well in future operations.

    Sounds of Planet

    The Xibalba have some experience using sonic-based tools and weaponry and upon gaining some understanding of the jungle wildlife and their lack of optical tools (and presumed focus on olfaction, sound, and, intriguingly, electrosense) focus on developing sonic tools and weapons to protect themselves from, and even hunt the local wildlife. The jungles are a relatively silent place, with the primary sounds the wind and steady drip drip of the rain as it falls through the myriad layers of the tall jungle growth. Animal and bird sounds that might be heard in any earthly jungle are curious absent despite the relatively high density of local fauna.

    Still the Xibalba are curious to understand how the local wildlife uses sound to communicate and set about collecting sound samples, establishing recording stations throughout the local jungles. This is not without its cost as on two occasions teams sent to establish stations, despite having armed protection, do not return and are presumed to have been claimed by local predatory wildlife. After these disappearances, attempts to record wildlife are much better protected even if its means developing a much more conservative timeline to collecting the sound samples.

    Eventually however, the Xibalba priest-scholars have developed enough of a collection to work from and soon learn that the local animals use a wide spectrum to communicate when they do, ranging from ultra to infrasound, though the later is limited to the larger animals that make the jungles home.

    Using these captured sounds, the Xibalba priest-engineers establish projection booths from which they play the recorded sounds and observe local wildlife behavior, establishing which serve to frighten or attract which species. The project is largely unfinished and could extend for a considerable period due to the vast number of sounds that might be studied and organisms responding but they do establish general tools that can serve to attract or frighten a wide-range (though not all) animals.

    Using these they establish a number of ‘nets’ to prevent animals from passing into certain areas as well as ‘traps’ to attract certain animals. These are not one-hundred percent effective but certainly do add to the tools available to the local forces while working in these jungles. Using these tools, patrols are able to reduce wildlife attacks significantly though no major expeditions are launched to truly test the extent of this new tool.

    Lastly, the priest-engineers also work to develop a new generation of sonic weapons based largely on those already developed en route to Planet. These weapons, while not paradigm-shifting, promise to be more effective than those previously used, especially with local wildlife for whom they are engineered to target most effectively.

    Carbon-Based Materials

    On Unity, Xibabla industry was based on wide-scale application of carbon-based fibers and even molecular printing to make use of carbon-based diamond and high-tensile plastics. An attempt to recreate that on Planet proves unsuccessful however, despite the plethora of raw materials. Ultimately, failure of the project can probably be attributed to the success of the teams developing sound-based equipment and weapons as these are assigned all high-end technical manufacturing equipment that would have been required for the carbon-based manufacturing. Future attempts to develop carbon-based manufacturing will require dedicated use of the colony’s more sophisticated technical facilities.

    Visitors from Abroad

    Perhaps drawn by the columns of smoke rising from the great biomass furnaces, a trio of foreign dinghies is spotted in the mists offshore of the damaged colony lander one day in late spring when the winds and rain are limited. The dinghies are standard Unity vehicles but modified with mounted light machine guns and sensors, and heavily loaded with las-rifle armed soldiers in camouflage-printed environmental suits. The soldiers peer at the Xibalba lander and its colonists, taking some time to examine the colony.

    The foreigners make no move to turn their guns upon the Xibalba or otherwise take any hostile action but before leaving one makes a motion with his hand like he is pointing a gun at them and shooting. But that probably just means ‘Hello’ in their language… surely?


    Ziętekken Empire
    Spoiler :
    Cultivating the Land

    The Ziętekken are eager to bend Planet to their needs and their immediate needs are food. They begin by raising huge polymer tents over portions of the charred surface near their lander, sealing these areas, and purifying the air within. The next step is to painstakingly plow the land and sterilize any microbiota present with additional fire. Finally earth soil is spread throughout to ‘seed’ the land with the right conditions for planting crops.

    This they do and the crops promptly fail, felled by alien microspecies that cannot be completely cleared from the local soil despite the best efforts.

    In a follow-up effort, the Ziętekken instead form completely sealed chambers and again use a combination of sterilized native soil (and ash) and imported terrestrial soil microorganisms and this time, by maintaining a tight seal with the environment, are able to grow some vegetables. The process is energy inefficient and soon has the wind-turbines straining their limitations but new shoots grow into healthy vegetables and before all-out famine hits the colony, the first harvests are being collected.

    As snow settles thickly around the colony, often buring the habitats completely, within the cozy burrows, under harsh fluorescent lighting, the colonists wait for spring, their stomachs full.

    Recycling Biomass

    Concerned by the failure of their first agricultural efforts, and by the published deficiencies in potassium, the Ziętekken follow the lead of many and develop recycling plants to process biological waste and recover energy and macro-nutrients.

    The project is well-scoped and resourced and before the snows really fall, a series of squat bio-reactors sit by the new greenhouses dripping a foul-smelling energetic slurry into the drip irrigation and ensuring optimal energy reclamation and crop growth for the colony.

    Recovering Unity Beacons

    Knowing the rovers to be relatively close to the ore mines established last season, the emperor’s soldiers begin their search in that vicinity. Following the chirping electronic signal, they head north and slightly west, and soon find their going much more vertical and the hills turning to snow-covered mountains. Knowing the value of good planning and the right equipment, the expedition returns to the colony and begins manufacturing the equipment they require for cold-weather mountaineering before returning, better equipped, to the peaks. Now, appropriately outfitted and readied the expedition makes its way through the snow-sunk valleys noting the relative thinning of vegetation as the latitude and altitude both increase. Soon however they come to a snow mound from which the beacon’s signal is emanating and this they quickly dig out, eventually revealing four six-wheeled all-terrain Unity vehicles outfitted with short-range reconnaissance drones, hardened communication equipment, extensive atomic batteries for long-range operations, and even limited weaponry. The vehicles are powered up and the expedition begins making its way home.

    Its on the way back that the explorers encounter the hostile wildlife. Rotary fliers equipped with large lighter than air ‘sacs’, much larger than anything previously encountered, attack the expedition during a particularly heavy snowfall, hovering quietly in the snow and thick cloud cover and trailing thin tendrils upon the expedition before using these to stealthily deliver deadly electrical shocks and carrying the explorers killed thusly quickly back into the skies and the mountains beyond. The raids are precise, stealthy, and over almost before they begin, but ultimately very deadly. And worse they are repeated almost nightly as long at the winter storms continue as the fliers make make repeated meals of the Ziętekken.

    The Ziętekken soldiers, once alerted are quick to turn their las-guns upon the aerial raiders but their limited training and equipment, and the severe weather interfering with their drone’s communications and sensors, all conspire against them. In the attacks, some of the creatures are occasionally downed but never before some of their ‘pack’ successfully carry off one or two of the expedition. Ultimately the expedition is forced onto the defensive and must quicken their pace to escape the hunting range of these terrible aerial predators.

    When finally the expedition return to the colony, they have lost fourteen of their members and one of the four rovers doesn’t make it back; its sensors and propulsion too badly damaged by severe electric shock (and misplaced laser fire). Its hulk remains, snow covered, in the high mountain valleys.

    The expedition is successful in mostly recovering the beacon’s Unity pod, but no one is celebrating.

    Snow

    Winter comes to the Ziętekken colony with a vengeance with only a very brief autumn serving as warning. Temperatures plummet drastically in only a few short weeks and the constant rain soon turns to a constant snow. The colony habitat and even the lander are quickly entirely covered as the wind sweeps the snow into the canyons where they quickly rise to depths of 8-10 meters. Soon the entire colony is completely covered and passage between the lander habitat and the greenhouses is via hard-won tunnels. More distant inland mines are almost completely cut-off except for the brave little electric vehicles, now adapted to half-tracks with skis which bring supplies and return with ore every two weeks.

    Thankfully the offshore wind farms are not too adversely affected as the warm currents, strong tides, and salinity all come together to prevent a major freeze-over and with open waters absorbing the snows, the turbine blades themselves continue to turn and energy continues to flow.

    Looking ahead to spring, some colony planners worry that the lander canyon will turn to a raging flash-flooded river and that the colony should take plans to ensure their farms and homes, and indeed the colonists’ lives, are not swept away with the melt of so much snow.

    Local Radio Chatter

    WIth the snow deep upon the land, electromagnetic interference fades and radio communication clears. Shortly the colony begins to intercept radio chatter... in french. It seems that a Remillard patrol is operating in the region to south-east of their colony and have not bothered to encrypt their communications. Based on the communications intercepted they seem to be exploring and mapping the area to better understand their immediate surrounding.


    Notes from Abroad
    Spoiler :
    The Communalist Confederacy report that they have begun logging and lumber processing operations, part of which includes the sterilization of microbiota from the local plant-life. The lumber produced is being used for a number of applications including habitat and furniture development. Additional informal radio chatter reveals that they too are attempting to float a lost colony beacon. What lies inside and their degree of success in recovering the beacon remains a mystery.

    Front Gate industries reveal that they have established a small functional mine but they are being hampered significantly by the heavy snowfall in the region and are presently hunkering down to survive until spring.

    Pambazuka, now safe behind high fences and automated lasgun turrets has successfully addressed its nutritional limitations with newly developed greenhouses but now faces energy and mineral shortages.

    The Remillard communicate that they have been exploring their local region extensively and training their patrols to best accommodate local weather and terrain. Their work to develop recycling tanks for biomass has not gone smoothly and is expected to continue into spring.

    The Puczcza Wynd reveal that they have lost their nautical expedition to severe weather severely limiting their capacity to operate at sea. How they will maintain their offshore wind-farms without their Unity dinghies remains to be determined.

    The Ummah Al’ Salaam have successfully developed greenhouses complete with biomass recycling tanks as well as new surface iron mines.

    Meanwhile the United of Zeon reveals that it has established a marble quarry and is developing their colony from beautiful white stone veined with serpentine green.

    No news is forthcoming from the High Commune, Rus, Ultrasurvivalist, or Zen Serotonin factions.


    NPC Diplomacy

    From Prime Minister Vladimir Varlimov of the Rus
    To the Qeng Ho
    You have attempted to steal rightful Rus property and have been appropriately reprimanded. Further attempts to take what is ours will be met with appropriate force. Do not test us.


    Stats
    Atlas-Mitsubishi Nuka
    Spoiler :

    Hierarchical corporate elite rule over 'wage-slave' middle and lower-class.
    Manpower: oo , ( 20% )
    Governance: oo , ( 20% )
    Cohesion: o , ( 67% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 20% )
    Economy
    Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. Local power production from windfarms and food from greenhouses. Unity construction waldoes and molecular printers provide extensive industrial and specialized technical manufacturing capacity. Raw material shortages remain for conventional building projects. Unity waldoes and molecular printers are overwhelming current energy production.
    Resources: o , ( 33% )
    Energy: - , ( -33% )
    - molecular printer is an energy hog and will not operate at full capacity within additional energy
    Industry: ooo , ( 29% )
    - semi-autonomous Unity construction vehicles
    Tech: ooo , ( 14% )
    - Unity molecular printer and feedstock; requires more energy- treat as two pips until energy requirements are addressed
    Military
    Small force of corporate security armed with las-rifles. Smaller force of deep reconnaissance troops.
    Land Forces: o , ( 33% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 33% )

    Apaurusheya Christopher Sni
    Spoiler :

    Organized according to the 'Gram Panchayat' model, based on democratically elected local officials providing ground-up organizational structure.
    Manpower: oo , ( 40% )
    Governance: oo , ( 60% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 20% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 40% )
    Economy
    Partially socialized and government-regulated capitalist economy. Have focused on developing crops and machinery for lower solar input and higher precipitation during travel on Unity. Local food production and energy production provide basic self-sufficiency.
    Resources: oo , ( 40% )
    - raw materials required for production
    Energy: o , ( 0% )
    Industry: ooo , ( 0% )
    - tracked Unity drilling vehicles
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Very small force of very elite commandoes called the '26' that will serve as a core to train a larger combat force over time.
    Land Forces: o , ( 67% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 0% )

    Autumn Crown Seon
    Spoiler :

    Theoretically, the Autumn Crown is a constitutional monarchy, the democratic constitution has been curtailed due to hardships of the last year on Unity. Monarchy and social elites in conflict due to differences of opinion. Disenfranchised lower class.
    Manpower: oo , ( 20% )
    Governance: oo , ( 20% )
    Cohesion: o , ( 33% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 80% )
    Economy
    Economic interests are lead by relatively few technocrat-oligarchs owning large corporate interests within the phyle. Rest of the phyle employed as either freelance labor for corporate entities within the phyle, or as reliable contractors with long term employee-employer relationship in almost feudal retainer-like manner. Energy production from small tidal-flat wind farms. Food from local greenhouses supplemented with biomass recyclers. Surface iron mines
    Resources: oo , ( 60% )
    Energy: o , ( 33% )
    Industry: o , ( 33% )
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Small, but well equipped with aerial drones and limited/defensive air-dispersed nanite weapons
    Land Forces: o , ( 0% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: oo , ( 20% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 0% )

    The Commonality Sonereal
    Spoiler :

    The Central Committee is a state-party organ ruling through centralized planning and extensive data collection and analyses. Wealth inequality is relatively limited and while personal privacy is laughable extinct, material security is relatively guaranteed
    Manpower: oo , ( 20% )
    Governance: oo , ( 0% )
    Cohesion: o , ( 67% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 60% )
    Economy
    Centralized planning focuses on computing and industry. Commercial goods production and agriculture are deprioritized. Food production initiated using recovered plant potash. Wide-scale windfarms. Mineral shortages remain.
    Resources: oo , ( 0% )
    - shortages of raw materials
    Energy: o , ( 67% )
    Industry: oo , ( 0% )
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Instrumentality of Persuasive Argument, IPA: Decentralized forces spearheaded by the Red Guards- small but well armed and trained. Well-supported by computing security specialists.
    Land Forces: oo , ( 20% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 80% )
    - Unity scout rovers

    Federation of free people Tobiisagoodboy
    Spoiler :

    Democratic Federation upholding the principle of freedom, egalitarianism and unity. The military has a strong position but no real political power. Large middle class.
    Manpower: oo , ( 20% )
    Governance: oo , ( 0% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 40% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 20% )
    Economy
    Semi-capitalist economy, mostly classic economy with government control over important parts (transportation, energy and communication) and the military industry as a part of the military. Energy from windfarms. Food from local greenhouses.
    Resources: o , ( 67% )
    Energy: o , ( 33% )
    Industry: oo , ( 0% )
    Tech: o , ( 0% )
    Military
    Militarized society with good industrial support. The soldiers under arms are well equipped and have great firepower, while every civilian poses at least small arms to form a militia if need be.
    Land Forces: ooo , ( 14% )
    - Exo Lances: Exosuit using Infantry employing heavy firepower and classical shock and awe tactics.
    Naval Power: o , ( 33% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 0% )
    - Unity scout rovers

    Keepers Thomas Berubeg
    Spoiler :

    Very small population of close-knit 'cultists' dedicated to the preservation of their Ossuary. Make their homes in subterranean homes along a river valley.
    Manpower: o , ( 0% )
    Governance: oo , ( 80% )
    Cohesion: ooo , ( 14% )
    -near religious fanaticism
    Science & Research: ooo , ( 0% )
    -insights into xenobiology
    Economy
    Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. The old grove are ancient trees evolved from Unity life-support systems that feed on electric currents directly. Energy production from hydro-electric. Subterranean 'growlight' farming. Mineral shortages to be addressed.
    Resources: oo , ( 40% )
    - mineral/resource shortages
    Energy: o , ( 0% )
    Industry: oo , ( 80% )
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Small force of soldiers armed with las-rifles. Little formal training.
    Land Forces: o , ( 0% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 0% )

    Outermost -Kyzarc Fotjage
    Spoiler :

    Relatively small population led by biologically and cybernetically augmented elites. Make their homes in lava tubes of a major alpine volcano. Small population may threaten long-term genetic stability.
    Manpower: o , ( 0% )
    Governance: oo , ( 60% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 40% )
    Science & Research: ooo , ( 14% )
    -augmented elite, biomedical laboratory
    Economy
    Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. Energy from geothermal volcanic extraction. Food production from lava-tube greenhouses. Energy production supplemented with power from Unity fusion core at 'site Y'. Mineral shortages evident.
    Resources: oo , ( 0% )
    Energy: oo , ( 20% )
    Industry: oo , ( 0% )
    Tech: o , ( 33% )
    Military
    Small force of heavily augmented soldiers armed with las rifles and carbon-fiber combat armor.
    Land Forces: oo , ( 20% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 67% )

    Qeng Ho -Lonely Lurker
    Spoiler :

    Corporate structure with a 'share' allocated at birth and additional ones grantable for extraordinary service or purchasable with major public contributions. Head by 'Chairmen' and an ideology that embraces prosperity through innovation and free trade.
    Manpower: oo , ( 20% )
    Governance: oo , ( 20% )
    Cohesion: o , ( 33% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 40% )
    Economy
    Regulated capitalism with subsidies for 'collective good' projects. Energy from offshore tidal harness. Greenhouses built around growth of low-light crops developed by Apaurusheya.
    Resources: oo , ( 0% )
    Mineral resource shortages
    Energy: oo , ( 20% )
    Industry: oo , ( 20% )
    Mineral resource shortages
    Tech: oo , ( 0% )
    Military
    Small but efficient security forces, uninterested in aggressive expansion but slightly paranoid about sabotage. Growing knowledge of local marine conditions.
    Land Forces: o , ( 0% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 67% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 0% )

    Violet Combine -Marcher Jovian
    Spoiler :

    Confederal council of representative who elect one of their own as head. Environmentally oriented, with Usonian architecture and a focus on simple living. Religiously individualistic and syncretic, with Gaianism being the strongest current.
    Manpower: o , ( 67% )
    Governance: oo , ( 0% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 60% )
    Science & Research: ooo , ( 43% )
    - biology and medical labs, studies of local wildlife
    Economy
    Commune-based green economy, with democratic organization and notable strength in genetics and medicine. Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. Food production from greenhouses. Hydropower from small dams on numerous small rivers.
    Resources: o , ( 67% )
    - lander manufacturer will need raw materials shortly
    Energy: o , ( 33% )
    Industry: o , ( 33% )
    - lander manufacturer will need raw materials shortly
    Tech: oo , ( 0% )
    Military
    Predominantly militia-based, with small number of gene-modded dedicated soldiers.
    Land Forces: o , ( 67% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 33% )

    Xibalba -Ahigin
    Spoiler :

    Post-human, culturally alien civilization that has developed in complete isolation from known human history and traces its origins from the collapse of the original starship society. Make their home on planet amongst limestone caves sealed against environmental exposure.
    Manpower: oo , ( 60% )
    Governance: oo , ( 0% )
    Cohesion: oo , ( 40% )
    Science & Research: o , ( 33% )
    Economy
    Highly agricultural society with a locust-like approach to exploitation of the environment. Despite lack of recognition of environment stewardship as an economic factor, the economy is highly ethical (i.e., driven by core values and principles), as opposed to individualist and value-oriented. Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. Food production in subterranean artificially lit caverns. Energy from wide-scale clearance and burning of indigenous biomass for steam turbines.
    Resources: o , ( 67% )
    Energy: oo , ( 0% )
    Industry: o , ( 67% )
    Tech: o , ( 67% )
    Military
    Non-conventional, largely infantry-based armies, used to fighting in the most unusual conditions (including complete darkness, oxygen shortage, periodic temperature swings, and zero-G). Increasing knowledge of local terrain and xenofauna.
    Land Forces: oo , ( 0% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 0% )
    Air Power: o , ( 0% )
    Security & Intelligence: o , ( 67% )

    Ziętekken Empire -Ailedhoo
    Spoiler :

    Dr Iwo Ziętek acts as emperor of the faction that shares his name but nominal control and management falls under the control of one of Unity's two quantum computers which Dr Iwo Ziętek was able to secure during the chaos of Unity's destruction.
    Manpower: o , ( 67% )
    Governance: ooo , ( 0% )
    - governance falls under control of quantum computing AI
    Cohesion: oo , ( 0% )
    Science & Research: oo , ( 60% )
    Economy
    A.I. Guided Planning: computers are entrusted with civilian micromanagement. Lander reactor powering limited lander-based manufacturing. Surface iron ore mining provides raw materials for industry while wind turbines provide energy. Artificially lit greenhouses provide food and recycling facilities manage biowaste, energy, and macronutrient reclamation.
    Resources: ooo , ( 0% )
    energy shortages are affecting mining and food production- treat as 2 pips instead of three
    Energy: - , ( -67% )
    - energy shortages due to demands from greenhouses, rovers, and quantum computers
    Industry: o , ( 67% )
    Tech: o , ( 0% )
    Military
    Under-trained militia supplemented with limited number of drones.
    Land Forces: o , ( 33% )
    Naval Power: o , ( 33% )
    Air Power: o , ( 33% )
    Security & Intelligence: oo , ( 40% )
    - Unity scout rovers; battery shortages so treat as 1 pip until energy shortages are addressed


     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
    thomas.berubeg and Nuka-sama like this.
  17. Marcher Jovian

    Marcher Jovian Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2013
    Messages:
    354
    Violet Combine publishes continued research on tree power and organisms’ use of electricity.
     
  18. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    7,316
    New Rule- Karma:

    If you write 1 or more stories within the turn, you can allocate yourself 1 karma pip during your orders. Use the karma pip for whatever task you want; it always have a 50/50 chance of generating a success (IE- it becomes the best kind of pip for that task) and cannot generate critical failures.
     
  19. Ailedhoo

    Ailedhoo wonderer

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    7,472
    The Challenges for Ziętekgóra and the Need to Automate
    Report by Dr Olek Lenart, Caretaker Engineer to Administrator Command Unit and Domestic Management Advisor to the Emperor.

    The situation of our establishment has once more been demonstrated to be on a factor of trail, one in which failure means death. Although food production has been stabilised the situation in Ziętekgóra is needing of drastic developments. It can pleasingly hopeful to announce that we still maintain sufficient energy levels to keep the Administrator Command Unit operational but, as demonstrated with the recent blackouts at the Litwin District, we are in need of improving energy efficiency before the power shortages go beyond affecting our food and mineral production to end up potential engendering the Quantum Administration. Ziętekken energy production is a critical matter: we all knew this coming to this planet and we all should know this as we address the material limitations the energy shortages are chaining us with. If we are going to both survive and to develop the machine society it would be a high address of logic to consider the energy crisis a critical trial for Ziętekken societal development.

    Of course there are also the environmental challenges that Ziętekgóra additionally have to endure. Rotary fliers have proved to be both dangerous and fascinating: the Emperor, as you aware, wants to further examines these creatures so we can both develop counter measures in case of repeats of the Rotary Incident. However more drastic than the organic environmental factors are the matter of weather: the snow and the likely chance of severe flooding could provide significant danger to the our initiative, especially if it provide risk to the agricultural operations. The Quantum Administration are already calculating the best methodologies for flood defence but we must consider the arms race we have against this planet: for any step we take we face another risk.

    The short-term Ziętekken initiative is clear: reduce risk by empowering our energy production and developing our environmental defences.

    Of course the primal defence will come through replacement of flesh operated function with that of machines.

    Advancement of automation of our society is critical so that we may endure the planet. Dr Ziętek's vision must be accelerated if we are going to survive on this world, not just survive the cruelties of the environment but from potential risks of our human neighbours who may stand in our plans to establish our imperium of reason. The failure of the drones in the Rotary Incident must not be repeated, nor must we rely on human combatants if we are going to be the successors to the organic society.

    Although the French signal and its need for a response may draw our attention, along with the year's problem of the environment and energy shortages, we are going to need draw out our plans. Once we have ensured security for our settlement against floods and energy shortages we are going to need to begin development of next generation automation, including automation of the Empire's armed forces. While mapping out the zone of the signal, the matter that Dr Urszula Grzegorczyk will oversee, is going to be a additional key matter as we learn further of our sphere of influence it is nevertheless critical that we have in mind automation.

    It is high matter of all our operations in development that we think of automation: it will be key to Ziętekken prosperity.

    The Quantum Administration will as always provide the commands for peak performance.

    May Dr Iwo Ziętek guide us all to the future succession of humanity.

     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
    christopher_sni and Immaculate like this.
  20. tobiisagoodboy

    tobiisagoodboy Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2015
    Messages:
    387
    Location:
    Germany, in the forest
    Row, row, row your Boat, don't cut of your limb

    "Blow torches and screws, had I known that there would be this kinda work here, I'd stayed back home." there was always this one worker, who would moan and annoy everybody else, but you always got used to them really quickly, not that this fact would stop them from moaning even more.
    "What did you expect, we are on an alien world far away from Earth. This is our home now. Also I really prefer this work over getting eaten by some of these creatures in the forest." yes, the stories about other people having been eaten by these "things" had made everybody shiver, the horrible fate of the predators esspecially. Getting devoured by a bunch of alien fungi sounded far worse than building boats.
    Steel boats, not what they had expected to need, but the position of their colony made it necessary. And, if the moaning of other became to annoying, you could just turn off your comm and work in peace for some time.

    They all worked with rebreathers and sealed suits, the horrible deatht the rats died from breathing the air was warning enough. Still, it would have been nice to have one of two Exos helping them, those suits allowed a soldier to lift a 100 pound steel plate like it was paper. But those suits were busy gathering more iron and other minerals, the last of their minerals stock from the old ship had been used to produce these plates of stainless steel, so some workers handled them like they could turn to dust from the slightest shock.

    But although the work was hard and taxing, most workers and people in the colony were happy. Once the settlement outside the Lander had been finished, they could finally leave the cramped Spaceship and while they didn't breath fresh air, the space the new houses and the Plaza offered had made it far better. They had even planted some small trees and bushes from Earth there, almost like a small Park. Combined with the massive, three layered Polyplast doom over the Plaza, you could almost forget for a moment, that you were on an Alien world, where most could kill you without protection. They made good progress with the Boats and once they were finished there'd be more jobs, people needed work or they'd go crazy.

    "Arrggghhhhh!" a scream tore everybody out of their thoughts and work, as a woman fell to her knees, clutching the stump were her hand hand had been just a minute before. THe moaner had not payed attention and had cut it off with a steel saw. Imemdiately people gathered around to help and the foreman screamed.
    "Get her inside, disinfected and to the medics, she needs a completely clean up. The same for the hand. Also you" he pointe towards me and gestured to towards the two small pools of blood.
    "Burn those immediately, leave not a simple drip of blood and after dig out the soil and get it to Decontamination. Don't Super Fungi devouring the colony." I did as I was told, as the woman was carried towards the colony by and Exo-Soldier that had noticed the situation. As I aimed by Blowtorch at the blood and it quickly turned from red to borwn and the black, I heard the foreman scream at the moaner, how he was fired and could consider himself lucky, if he was even allowed to scrub toilets from now.

    I didn't care, I burned all the blood I could find, then grabbed a shovel and put all the contaminated dirt into a large bag. Thankfully, the same Exo-Soldier, who had carried away the woman, now came back and took the 60 Pound bag of dirt of me. "Good work, I'll take it from here." I nodded and returned to my work, welding together steelplates. At least it was more peaceful now.
     
    christopher_sni and Immaculate like this.

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