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The Forbidden Stars

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by thomas.berubeg, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
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    8,952
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale
    Earth is Dead.


    The dawn of the 23nd century was a bright one for humanity, and promised an even brighter future after the dark 22nd century. The belter rebels had finally been brought to the diplomatic table, and the martian greening projects were allowing a first generation of Martian children to live under the open sky. AI citizens walked next to Natural born humans and next to uplifts of a half a dozen species. And, then, the Xiao-Alquadir drive opened the stars to humanity. Within fifty years nearly a dozen alien worlds had been colonized, though no other intelligent life had been discovered. Humanity knew that the skies were empty, and belonged to them.


    This was Hubris.


    The first sighting of an alien ship initiated a week long celebration across the Solar Confederacy’s space. That celebration turned to despair when the aliens, shocked and horrified by Solar Confederation AI crew members, fired upon the human diplomatic team.


    The confederation quickly mobilized. Starfleet was confident, at first, that the aliens were a peer power and could be fought to a standstill. Starfleet was confident that a peace could be bought at to the negotiation table. That hope was shattered when New Petersburg was burned to the ground, and Horizon glassed with no surrender offer. Despite that, Starfleet fought on, and the battle lines stalled. For almost two years, the confederation lost little, though it gained even less. It was not to last. Captured aliens revealed that the enemy was vast, impossibly vast, and that the fleets that the Confederation had fought were obsolete ships, almost a millenia out of date, a border fleet in the pacified hinterlands of the Principality. The aliens were confident to a man that Earth would fall soon. As soon as the the Principality redirected one of its incredibly powerful Leviathans, captained by the Princips, the alien leaders of the highly stratified principality. Evidence aboard captured ships agreed with these threats.


    Starfleet kept this quiet, but quietly made plans, shuttling supplies and equipment and colonists to a newly discovered planet in the depths of the Albion rifts, before erasing all records from earth’s systems. Bastion would be humanity’s last hope.


    That was 300 years ago. Earth fell long ago, the last news brought by a badly burnt and beaten courier ship that had managed to slip through the Principality’s lines. The harrowing images of New York glassed, of the massive Venice II keelyards broken and falling out of orbit, of the very atmosphere aflame, left little doubt as to the aliens’ plans for humanity.


    Bastion had breathing room, though. The Albion rifts are not easily navigated, one of those isolated regions of space discoverable only by accident, where travel in and out is difficult and treacherous, if not impossible, and most spacers avoid these region. Or, at least that’s what Starfleet’s scientists determined, and it’s why Bastion was chosen as Earth’s fallback point.


    In the centuries since the refuge was established not a single alien ship has been seen. Not a whisper of the enemy that brought earth low. Not even rumors by drunken sailors. The Rifts are secure.


    Still, the Bastion Refuge Authority, the military hegemony that rules Bastion, and, officially, all of human space, warns that all it would take is one mistake, one ship out of place, and the end of humanity would be at hand. 300 years later, though, those warnings are beginning to ring hollow, especially to some belters and to some of the more remote colonies, nestled in the space-folds of the rifts.


    For humanity has exploded in the years since its first, haggard, haunted refugees emerged from their colony ships.


    It is in this atmosphere of growing tension that important decisions are being made in closed rooms on the BRA Keelyard Rampart in orbit of Bastion, in hidden rooms at the back of asteroid-saloons, in government halls on Chrysanthemum and Atlantis, in the State Rooms of warships bristling with hellish weaponries.


    You, though, are not privy to those decisions. You are a ship captain, licensed, or not, by the BRA to operate in deep space. Maybe you are a Sky-trader, with your cargo ship supplying and trading with the asteroid colonies, maybe you are a retired military type, once captaining a ship for the Defense fleet and now a mercenary. Maybe you are a Clone Trooper, distilled and perfected from the genelines of one of the great heroes of Bastion. Maybe you are something entirely different. You tell me. The only important thing is that tensions are rising, and you, your ship, and your crew might make all the difference.


    Please note that these rules are stolen almost entirely from Decamper’s game, Go Boldly.

     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  2. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale
    The rules:

    Captain Name: The name of your starship’s captain
    Captain Background: Choose one background for the captain - If you have a suggestion/want another, please let me know.
    Captain Trait: Choose one trait for the captain
    Starship Name: The name of your ship (all ships will be given the prefix BRF, or Bastion Refuge Ship)
    Ship Size: The size of your ship.
    Ship System Points: allocate the following points to their systems: 3,2,2,1,1
    Weapons, Engines, Shields and Armour, Scanners and Comms, Stealth
    Crew Points: allocate the following points to their crew sections: 3,2,2,1,1
    Security, Command, Engineering, Science, Medical
    Distinguished Officers: Create up to three officers. Distribute 6 points amongst them from skills chosen below.
    Extra: Background of your Captain, crew, ship design, etc



    Captain Background

    Your Captain's background describes what the captain did before taking the starship's centre chair, giving them an edge in situations they know well.

    Clone Officer - +1 to Security rolls
    Commander- +1 to Command rolls
    Belter- +1 to Engineering rolls
    Academic - +1 to Science rolls
    Doctor - +1 to Medical rolls


    Captain Traits

    Captain traits are the skills that give the captain an edge (or possibly a penalty) in certain situations. Additional traits may be earned through extreme experiences at later times.


    Diplomatic - +2 to rolls for diplomatic actions
    Wanderlust - +1 movement
    Exploratory - +2 to Scanner rolls
    Team Player - +1 to all rolls when cooperating with another ship or crew
    Homesick - +2 to all rolls when in a BRA system
    Slippery - +5 to retreat rolls
    Battle Fury - +2 to weapons for hit and damage rolls
    Crew Priority - +2 Crew Points restored for free each turn
    Ship Priority - +2 Ship System Points (10 hull points) restored for free each turn

    Crew and Ship Points are your main stats, and determine the size, skill, and power of your crew and ship. You will use these points to complete Challenges, move your ship, engage in ground or ship combat, and anything else you may end up doing in Go, Boldly.


    Ship Size

    The size of your ship will affect how your ship meets and resolves the various situations. While not necessarily affecting your rolls directly, ship size will affect the DC for challenges, either providing penalties or advantages.

    Small: A small ship has a keel length of anything anywhere from 50m-100m. Small ships are easier to hide, and are often quicker, but have small crew complements. Small ships regularly land on planet surfaces
    Medium: A medium ship has a keel length of anything from 100 - 250m, and often has a two or three parasite fighters or a few shuttles. A medium ship can land planetside.
    Large: A large ship has a keel length of anything larger than 250m, and can have a full wing of fighters or shuttles. A large ship struggles to land planetside.



    Ship
    Weapons
    - Used in combat to deal damage. Can also be used for any challenge that requires very heavy damage dealing in space or from orbit. In large ships, can include fighter wings. If so, please note.
    Engines - Used to determine how fast and maneuverable the ship is. Also determines how far a ship can travel in a turn, with a ship being able travel distances equal to three plus its engine points. Makes a ship harder to hit in combat, as well as used to escape combat.
    Shields and Armour - Used to protect against weapons. Can also be ‘extended’ to protect nearby ships or objects.
    Scanners and Communication - Used to scan planets, as well as for locking onto targets. Used in combat to hit targets, and beat stealth.
    Stealth - Used to keep the ship hidden from enemy scanners. Used in combat to get off first shots, or make a hidden escape.


    Crew:

    Security - Used for combat or security on away-missions or onboard ships. Directly opposed to other security rolls.
    Command - Used for diplomatic or administrative tasks. Can assist in almost any other task, though only with half rolls.
    Engineering - Used for repairs, construction, or any other tasks involving machinery or technical equipment. Can repair Ship Points equal to Engineering Points every turn.
    Science - Used for surveying, research, experimenting, or any other scientific matters.
    Medical - Used for medical treatment, diagnosis, combat support, or any other health matters. Can replenish depleted crew points equal to its score every turn.


    Officer Skills:
    Distinguished officer are crew members that excel in a particular field, and contribute a bonus depending on their rank to any associated rolls in a challenge or in combat.
    Linguist - can work out alien languages quickly, and is useful in almost any diplomatic setting
    Astrophysicist - can analyse and understand all manner of space phenomena
    Psychologist - can understand the thinking of crew and possible aliens
    Geoarchaeologist - can analyse and understand exoplanets and ancient artifacts or civilisations
    Theologian- Can as provide chaplain services and morale
    Biologist - can analyse, understand, and work with animal life
    Botanist - can analyse, understand, and work with plant life
    Tactician - can provide planning and execution of plans on the smaller, tactical scale
    Strategist - can provide planning and execution of plans on the larger, strategic scale
    Special Operative - can provide combat expertise to ship and away-team security and infiltration
    Fighter Ace - Can provide expertise in fighter combat
    Trader - Can provide expertise in negotiating favorable rates with NPCs
    Bomb Tech - can arm, disarm, find, handle, and analyse explosive devices
    Investigator - can do detective work; finding evidence, motives, and interrogating suspects
    Helmsman- can expertly maneuver starships, as well as lesser vehicles
    Hacker - can interface and affect computer systems
    Gunner - can maintain, enhance, and understand various weapons systems
    Support Systems Engineer - can maintain, enhance, and understand the various support systems, such as oxygen, heating, water, waste disposal, etc
    Critical Systems Engineer - can maintain, enhance, and understand the various critical systems, such as engines, shields, power, etc
    Medic - can provide immediate aid in rough conditions, such as on away missions or during combat
    Surgeon - can undertake complicated medical procedures with precision instruments
    Counselor - can smooth over inter-personal issues between the crew, or possible aliens
    Cook - can make good food
    Steward - can requisition stores and inventory, handles crew pay and material requests
    Entertainer - can entertain crew, visitors, or dignitaries, good for boosting morale when times are tough


    Ranks:
    The skills of an officer determines what bonus the officer provides to a roll. Officers can rank up if crew or ship points’ they are assisting rolls a natural 10, and then confirms that roll.

    Race:
    There are a number of races that comprise humanity, each with their own abilities or attributes. Only one member of your bridge crew may be non-human.
    AI: can do rapid calculations on the spot, and directly interface with computers. +1 to any rolls
    Raptor: + 2 to any Combat related rolls
    Otter: + 2 to any rolls dealing with the theoretical and metaphysical. Please see the otter description for naming conventions.
    Bonobo: + 2 to any Social related rolls
    Gecko: + 2 to any research rolls
    Corvid: + 2 to engine, communication, and spatial awareness
    Maren: Automatically restores 2 ship point per turn

    Challenges:

    The main way you will use Crew or Ship Points is in Challenges. A Challenge has a hidden number, called a DC (difficulty class), which you will be required to beat by allocating the appropriate Crew or Ship Points. During a challenge, each Point is equal to one ten-sided die roll. You may assign any number of your Points in any combination of types, but you can only use a Point once in a turn, it must be used in the same sector as your ship, and it must be used in a way that makes sense. Unused Crew or Ship Points will by default remain on the ship and be used for defense.


    While the exact DC of Challenges is hidden, there are four ‘Alert’ groups that indicate roughly how difficult a Challenge will be. Blue Alert (DC 0-25), Yellow Alert (DC 25-75), Red Alert (DC 75-150), and Double Red Alert (DC 150+). The degree of failure or success in a challenge is determined by how below or above the DC your crew/ship points roll, with harsher penalties for worse failures, and more rewards for better successes.


    There are three main types of Challenges. The most common are sector Challenges, which are restricted to any ships in the sector. The second most common are ship Challenges, which are of course subject only to a particular ship. Lastly are universal Challenges, which are rare events where every ship can interact with the Challenge, regardless of location.


    Here is an example of a ship, as well as how it could handle a challenge.


    Example Ship:
    ESS Hypothetical
    Captain Theoretical,
    Size: Small
    Ship: Weapons 2, Engines 3, Shields and Armour 1, Scanners and Comms 2, Stealth 1
    Crew: Security 1, Command 2, Engineering 2, Science 2, Medical 1
    Distinguished Officers: Ricky Bob (Pilot +2 Fighter Ace + 1) Tasman (Otter , Botanist + 1 Hacker +1) Rose Jayney (Medic + 1)

    Example Challenge:
    Blue Alert

    Description: The colony on Example Planet II has been overrun by aggressive and rapidly growing plant life. Not only have the plants damaged or destroyed the colonial facilities and equipment by growing into and through them, but it has also injured and killed hundreds of the colonists. The first ‘attacks’ occurred overnight, with plants rapidly overgrowing the colonists as they slept, somehow undetected by security systems. The colonists awoke to find their bodies intertwined with the plants, and separating bodies from the plants has resulted in the death of every patient. Colonial security officers have so far prevented anyone from leaving the planet for fear of spreading the plants to other sectors.


    Example Orders:

    The SEAS Hypothetical sends the following crew to the planet surface; 1 point of security, 1 point of command, 1 point of science, and 1 point of medical,and Ensign Medic Wright. The security crew are to protect the colonists and the Hypothetical’s crew from the plant life, the command crew are to negotiate with the colonists to keep them calm and on the planet, the science crew are to attempt to study the plant life and find a way to stop its spread or kill it, and the medical crew along with Ensign Wright are to try to save the surviving ‘overgrown’ colonists and see if they can safely remove ingrown plants.


    Meanwhile, the Hypothetical will use 1 point of weapons and 2 points of scanners to assist the crew. The weapons will be used to orbitally bombard the plants if they become over aggressive, while the scanners are to scan the rest of the planet to either find the source of the plants, or at least how much of the planet’s surface is covered by the plants.


    The remaining crew and ship points could then be used for any other Challenges in the Sector, or could be left unused as passive defense.


    Example Result:
    8d10+1=35 (7,3,8,5,7,2,1,1,+1)
    Total Successes
    35 vs. DC 15
    Extreme Success
    (In some cases, individual rolls can fail if they are below ten, in which case the associated crew or ship point may be damaged)

    Immediately upon landing on the planet’s surface, plants began rapidly growing towards the colonists’ stronghold. Security personnel, supported by orbital bombardment from the Hypothetical, were able to hold back the plant lift, allowing the command crew and colonial authorities were able to quell the panicking colonists. With the threat of the plants dealt with for the time being, and the colonists calm enough to deal with, the science and medical crew set to work examining and treating the ‘intertwined’ colonists. Ensign Wright and the medical crew determined that it was impossible to remove the ingrown plants, as they had melded with the patients’ central nervous systems. Observing odd behaviour from the intertwined colonists and the nearby plants, and corroborating with the Hypothetical’s sensor readings, the science crew came to the conclusion that the plants were sentient, and had numerous ‘cities’ around the planet, one of which was right next to the colony. The science and medical staff managed to stabilise the intertwined colonists, and found that with a particular drug cocktail were able to open up the colonists consciousness to the wider plant hive minds. After some awkward communication attempts, command got across the point that the colonists were not intending to harm the plants, and that the plants’ actions were very much harming the colonists. Negotiations over the next few days between the colonists and plants was successful, resulting in not only peaceful coexistence, but in a combining of the colony with the neighbour ‘city’, along with further intertwining of willing colonists with the plants. One of the Hypothetical’s botanists even underwent the intertwining, and has gained a new perspective on their work.

    Effect: +200 Requisition Credits, +Ensign Botanist, Example Planet II colony strengthened.



    Combat:

    Crew and ship points are also used in combat. Combat may arise during challenges, or by direct attacks by players onto NPC ships, or NPC ships onto player ships (or, in extreme cases, player on player attacks).

    Combat between crews within challenges is usually contained within the DC, but in certain circumstances security points will be directly rolled against other security-like points, along with any modifiers.

    Combat between ships is handled differently. Ships trade attacks until one either retreats, surrenders, is disabled, or is destroyed.

    Hull Points: Every ship starts with 50 hull points. It losses 1 point of weapons, armor and shields, engines, scanners and comms, or stealth for every 5 points of damage inflicted. The first points are always removed from armor and shields. Afterwards the attacker can choose what system stat to target. Ships gain 5 hull points for every ship system upgrade (so ships always have 5*ship systems +5 hull points).

    Detection and Stealth Strike - When ships first enter combat, they must each make a Scanner vs. Stealth check. If both sides fail (are unable to detect each other), they roll again. If both succeed, they enter combat normally, with the one making a higher Scanner roll attacking first. If one side succeeds and the other fails, then the winner gets a free attack, or can evade combat, then makes the first attack of normal combat.

    Attack - When attacking, the attacker rolls a d10+Scanners and Comms + Weapons points against the opponent's defense.

    Defense - For the attacking ship to hit, it must score above 5+Shields and Armour+ the higher of Engines or Stealth

    Damage - If the attacker hits, it deals damage equal to d10 +Weapons points - defending armor and shields, with this damage taking away the defending ship’s hull points. For every 5 points, lost, the ship losses 1 system point- starting with its Shields and Armour, then the attacking ship being able to freely target other systems at will afterwards.

    Destroying Systems - Removing all the points from a system will change how a ship functions in combat in various ways: removing Weapons renders the ship unable to attack, removing Engines makes all future attacks against the ship automatically hit and renders the ship unable to retreat, removing Scanners and Communication gives the ship a -5 to all attack rolls, and removing stealth means the ship cannot attempt to stealth retreat.

    Retreat - There are two ways for a ship to retreat. Attempting to retreat forfeits attack (or emergency repairs- see below) for the turn. A ship can attempt to retreat by making two successful d10+engine rolls against the same rolls by its opponent. Alternatively, a ship can retreat by making two successful d10+stealth rolls against a d10+Scanners roll by its opponent.

    Success - If a ship doesn’t surrender, it must have its Shields, Engines and Weapons reduced to zero to render it disabled. A ship is destroyed if it takes damage without any remaining system points.

    Boarding - To board a ship, it must be disabled by reducing its Shields, Engines and Weapons to zero points. A forceful boarding will require a direct roll between the two crews’ Security points, and any additional modifiers, such as relevant distinguished officers.

    Emergency Repairs

    When a ship starts taking damage, it can forgo an attack or retreat attempt to conduct emergency repairs, allowing for a Engineering roll to make repairs, with the result adding to hull points (with 5 hull points repairing adding a system points.)

    Crew Losses

    Once a ship's Shields and Armour are depleted,the crew may begin taking losses. For each point of damage taken, the a d10+Medical Points roll must be made. If the result is under 5, a Crew Point will be lost at random.

    Combat Orders - When writing orders for combat, you may give ‘standing orders’ for combat if you desire, such as which systems your ship should target first, if and when it should attempt to retreat, and whether it should aim to kill or disable its opponent. You can be as specific as you want with conditions, or leave it entirely automated. Your crew will do their best to keep the ship alive.


    Cooperation:

    Ships and crews can cooperate with other ships and crews in almost any situation, whether it in Exploration, Challenges, or Combat. In many cases, it is much more efficient to work with other Captains, as it will minimise the risk to your own ship and crew, and greatly increase chances of success. The rewards for completing Challenges, Combat, or Exploration will be split between the ships and crews involved, according to their performance.

    When in combat, there a few special cooperative actions that can be taken.


    Extend Shields - A ship can use its Shield Points to protect another ship, sacrificing its own defenses.

    Aid Targeting - a ship can use its Scanners Points to improve the attacks of another ship, sacrificing its own attack bonus.


    RCs
    RCs are gained from exploring and completing challenges, and used to upgrade your ship and recruit new distinguished officers. Credits can also occasionally be used to grease some palms and help in solving some quests. NOTE: You must be within 4 sectors from the nearest friendly settled sector to use RCs.

    Note that adding ship system points adds (5) hull points.

    Crew and Ship Points
    2nd level point - 100RC
    3rd level point - 225RC
    4th level point - 375RC
    5th level point - 550RC
    6th level point - 750RC
    7th level point - 975RC
    8th level point - 1225RC
    9th level point - 1500RC
    10th level point - 1800RC

    Replenish crew/ship point - 50RC


    Officers
    1 Skill points - 200RC
    2 Skill points- 350RC
    3 Skill points- 500RC
    4 Skill points- 650RC
    5 Skill points- 800RC
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019 at 9:27 AM
  3. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale
    Bastion in 2600


    Bastion was discovered barely a month before the first contact with the Principality. A navigation accident took a scout cutter sideways through a portion of space long believed impossible to navigate. By the time the accident was reversed and recreated, Starfleet was losing the war, and it was recognized that an area of space nearly inaccessible to any ship would be an excellent place to create a refuge.

    The navigation data required to enter the Albion Rifts was carefully sequestered from all but the important systems, and, when the last courier ship of refugees was sent through, the data, and the systems on which they resided, were destroyed. Even as Earth burned, the a small, dedicated team of starfleet officers ensured their own deaths rather than allow humanity’s last refuge to fall.

    Bastion:

    Of the four hundred billions sophonts living within the Solar Confederation’s space at the beginning of the war, only thirty thousand were saved.

    The planet of Bastion is the second out from its star, Phoenix, and was the first habitable planet discovered within the Albion Rifts. It is slightly smaller than Earth, drier and colder. The equatorial region fluctuates between a range of 20C - 30C, while the poles dip to a frigid - 80C. As such, most of the inhabitants of the planet inhabit the equator, with density dropping off towards the poles. Three land masses define the planet, and the flora of the planet resembles that of Earth, as did that of many of the planets in the local stellar regions. The city of Starfall is the first of the planet, and still the largest, though the Bastion Refuge Authority has long since moved to the Orbital space station and keelyard Rampart.

    Vast automated agricultural and resource extraction facilities dot the temperate regions, and countless smaller farms and homesteads lie in between, and ecological preserves meant to grow what earth fauna was saved back to viable populations through judicious husbanding and cloning fill much of the rest of the planet.

    The People of Bastion tend towards fierce loyalty (at least according to the official line,) and much of the Defense Fleet comes from the planet and the orbitals. Also of note in Bastion’s Orbit is the BRAS Cauldron, the vast cloning facility, where the genelines of some of Bastion’s best and brightest are distilled and trained and brought to serve in the Defense fleet.

    The Phoenix system has eight planets, and two asteroid belts with asteroids large enough to support belter settlements and homesteads. The first planet closest the sun is a tidally locked ball of toxicity. Some exploitation has occurred, but there are usually easier places to acquire resources than dealing with the surface of Setesh. The first asteroid belt is between it and the second planet, which, as mentioned, is Bastion. The third, just outside the asteroid belt, is cold and windswept, but with a thin, breathable atmosphere. An active terraforming project has been begun, though it’s only in its initial stages, and a small, but significant population lives on its surface. A second asteroid belt lies between the third and fourth planet. The remaining planets are all gas giants of various sizes. They are named, in order, Garibaldi, Hacket, Nnamani, and Cheong. Colonies exist on some of the moons, and there are orbitals that house small populations.

    In the centuries since Bastion was colonized, the BRA and various corporate authorities have cautiously explored some of the Rifts, finding a small number of colonizable planets. The two largest, though by no means the only ones, are Chrysanthemum, in orbit of the star Amaterasu and Atlantis in orbit of Utopia.



    Factions within BRA space


    Though the BRA is nominally the first and final authority on all matters in human space, in actuality, they often butt heads with various Corporate Interests, especially in the deep reaches of space. Both groups also are finding that the threat of alien intrusion is less and less effective to curb the various independence movements that are springing up amongst the belters, and on some of the colony worlds.


    The BRA:
    The BRA is a military authority headed up by a cabal of admirals and technocrats who officially make every decision regarding humanity. Based on the space station Rampart, the BRA has full control of the largest Keelyards, the Cauldron cloning facilities, and of the agricultural product that feeds much of humanity. They BRA fields, bar none, the largest human fleet, and defend its power jealously. They dutifully patrol the edges of the rifts, as well the edges of the Quarantined systems, places deemed too dangerous for civilians to roam. The BRA itself rarely interferes in the day-to-day life of civilians, instead making decrees that are expected to be enforced by BRA ship-captains. Power of administration is generally devolved to local corporations, though the BRA can take direct control in time of crisis.


    The Corporations:
    Not a unified power, various corporations view for control of both production and markets in the depths of space. Originally arms of the BRA, most of the corporations officially still pay lip service to BRA authority, but defacto rule their own employees as they wish. Many of the colonies in the belts were established by corporate authorities, populations of indentured servants brought out to exploit the dark, and then left alone once they no longer produced.

    The Big Four

    Raumfahrzeugfabrik Gesellschaft

    [RFFG Voidcraft]
    “First Flight, Every Flight”
    HQ: Albertberg, Neu Kronstadt Federal Subject, Bastion Planetary Authority, Phoenix System
    Fields: Spaceships & components, heavy industry

    The necessity of selecting only the best for survival allowed certain Old Earth specialist groups to dominate specific economic sectors in early Bastion, and most of the Confederation’s greatest starship designers had been German. As a result, the early Authority’s ship designers were dominated by the descendants of that coterie of privileged survivors, initially as a state-controlled industrial foundry. With the enactment of the mass-cloning and gene-hybridization programs of the early Phoenix Initiative, the Germanic orientation of RFFG ceased being relevant, but the name remained. Originally a state-owned subsidiary of the BRA, RFFG was eventually privatized in the mid-25th century with the growing demand for private spacecraft and increased volume of civilian intercolonial trade. Nonetheless, it retains tight links with the BRA and is seen as a titan of the military-industrial complex.

    While smaller firms compete in the markets for mercenary, survey, and luxury ships, among others, RFFG continues to dominate, as it has for centuries, the mass transit of both goods and people, constructing behemoth haulers purchased by everyone from independents to big names like Ferrous, Truffaut, and Star Partners. Their ships have a reputation for being utterly no-frills, cheap, and impressively reliable over quadrillions of km logged. In particular, their engines and components are prized among exo-colonists and explorers for whom broken equipment would be catastrophic. Two subsidiaries manage high-speed maglev planetbound mass transit solutions, and the ever-popular railgun division. Publicly listed.

    Truffaut Hyperluminal, Incorporated
    [Truffaut]
    “The Logically Derived Exotic Systems Provider”
    HQ: Truffaut Corporate Headquarters, Susano’o, Amaterasu System
    Fields: FTL, Gravity control, Exotic matter, electronics, robotics, & cloud computing

    Truffaut is a rarity among the major corporations in that an AI governing board of directors controls over 50% of the privately-held company. This is seen as a necessity as Truffaut’s core business is the exotic, complex, and delicate work of designing gravity control fields and hyperdrives, which they supply to RFFG, BRA warships, and many other operators. The time-consuming, delicate plasma collection activities and anti-photonic resonant constructors necessary for this are zero-g, high-risk environments in which AI workers are typically far more effective (and radiation-resistant) than humans. The degree of high math involved is not incomprehensible for a human physicist, but AI can be programmed to do the same calculations in a day that would take a human 20 years to learn, and with a substantially lower risk of failure.

    Truffaut provides drive components and designs and builds stations and installations, calibrating gravity fields and providing AI technicians specialized in system maintenance. They have a profitable side business in electronics, displays and semiconductor chips for thousands of purposes, from drones to VR and holographics. The corporation’s hyper-computers also allow it to be the largest civilian cloud computing and storage provider, storing and backing up countless exobytes of data for private citizens, corporations, and even the Authority. It is notoriously apolitical despite the constant drama on Chrysanthemum which it orbits, ironically allowing it to gain significant influence. Privately held.


    Golden Lotus Commercial-Financial Concern
    [Golden Lotus]
    “Happy Prosperity Family”
    HQ: Kinren Special Planetary Ward, Chrysanthemum Planetary Authority, Amaterasu System
    Fields: Banking, financial derivatives, insurance, reinsurance, & high-end real estate

    Despite rumored links to the Chrysanthemum yakuza, Golden Lotus’ careful expansion strategy was rewarded in the wake of the 2589 financial crisis, when it was able to acquire several struggling but more prestigious Phoenix banks, becoming the largest commercial entity in both market cap and assets throughout human space. The bank maintains its own state within a state, including a private security force with a fleet stronger than most colonial militaries, and several private cities with every possible amenity, from food to culture to entertainment, for its citizen-employees. Despite suspicion of Golden Lotus’ questionable past and its ruthless tactics against any perceived rivals, the Bastion Refuge Authority has avoided acting against the bank thus-far. This is because it is one of the only financial entities powerful enough to finance and insure Authority-critical megaprojects, such as space elevators, major civilian stations, and new colony foundations. Golden Lotus notably insured and wrote off the entire loss of Athens at no cost to the Authority, which won it major influence in the corridors of power.

    The bank is not exactly “popular,” especially among belters who often fail to get loans or have their entire stations foreclosed on by a Golden Lotus warship bristling with weapons due to missing their repayments. Consequently, the bank often operates through a web of re-branded subsidiaries in smaller outposts who are nonetheless ultimately owned by Golden Lotus through a labyrinthine network of shell companies. Golden Lotus recently helped finance the data infrastructure for the Ether-Bourse, a remarkable achievement which uses FTL communication along quantum entanglement principles to update market data simultaneously in the major stock exchanges of Bastion, Chrysanthemum and Atlantis, with future links planned. Privately held.


    Ashkenazi, Canticle, Torres & Liu LLP
    [Star Partners]
    “Your Partners in the Stars!”
    HQ: None
    Fields: Colonial planning & management, terraforming, surveying, legal and security services

    While the BRA tightly regulates certain aspects of civilian life, it is relatively hands-off regarding property ownership and civil disputes if there is no compelling public or military interest. Nonetheless, there was a vast need to both survey and stake claims, as well as manage property transfers and inheritances, civil suits and boundary disputes. The early days of the 2400s land rush resulted in often-violent conflicts as various settler-clone groups sought to stake the best claims on both rich mining regions and the biosphere planets, by force if necessary. An enterprising AI, Tenebrous Canticle, and its partner Lev Ashkenazi ultimately provided a popular open-source database that sent out drones to auto-survey unclaimed land and appropriately parcel it out according to BRA regulations, for a small fee. This ended up ballooning into a full-scale colony administration operation, with Ashkenazi & Canticle (Torres and Liu bought in later) handling all the legal, administrative, and planning operations, their customizable “colony in a box” allowing you, yes you, to design, plan, and pay for your very own colony with just a few clicks.

    Star Partners is an independent legal partnership that does not “own” any of the colonies it surveys and builds, thus absolving it of legal responsibility if (when) terrible things happen, and franchises most of its colony ships, but it provides an easy, safer way for people to start a new life while taking care of the thousands of logistical hassles that go into starting a colonial operation. This has also made it one of the largest landowners of unoccupied colonial land outside of the BRA, although they don’t do anything with the land beyond holding it and marketing it to future customers. Ultimately the operation realized it needed to create more attractive land than it had, so it began investing in terraforming services at scale. For a small additional fee, Star Partners also offers its security contractors to protect new colonies from natural and unnatural hazards of all types.

    The glossy informational brochures and “big-box” approach to colonization used by Star Partners are often derided by independent colonists and wildcatters, but their services are immensely popular among middle-class people without specialist skills, as colonization is often subtly promoted by the BRA as a “patriotic” alternative to military and public service. Middle-aged humans in their 60s to 80s beginning to grow tired of Bastion and Chrysanthemum’s crowded cities are the typical target demographic. Publicly listed.

    The "Medium 15":
    This somewhat derogatory name refers to corporations that, while lacking the truly massive scope and ubiquitous presence of the Big Four, are still highly relevant leaders in the interstellar economy of human space. Each of the 15 are often in competition with (or allied to) one of the Big Four, as well as a vast array of hundreds of smaller ankle-biting rivals. Unlike the Big Four, the list of companies in the Medium 15 (and the number) changes every few decades with mergers, acquisitions, and occasionally violent corp-wars. All have at minimum a multi-stellar presence with small to medium-sized private fleets at their disposal. They cannot flaunt BFA regulations with as much impunity as the Big Four do, either, so they typically try to curry favor by toeing the party line and keeping their more illegal activities private.

    Ferrous Corp.: Mining and extraction
    Home Bao: Agribusiness, agricultural bioengineering, food production, genetics
    Cantilever Incorporated: Engineering, architecture, and construction
    Kovacs-Klein: Luxury transport (personal vehicles, planetary and space yachts), hotels
    Cormorant: High-end combat and stealth spacecraft, precision and exotic weaponry
    Wakizashi: Private military contractor, security services (high-end)
    Söze: Private military contractor, security services, information security (mid-range)
    Aldrin Enterprises: Surveying, exploration, and security services (budget-range), ship/station maintenance and repair
    Elysian Entertainment: VR gaming, casinos, live entertainment venues, pornography & prostitution
    Cachet: Fashion, design, landscaping and aesthetics
    Asclepius, Ltd.: Hospitals, emergency medical services, personal cloning and anti-aging
    Zetian: Industrial cloning, bioengineering, genetics, anti-aging and pharmaceuticals
    Bastion Federal Credit Union: Banking & credit services, insurance, investment strategies
    Alhambra: Real estate, construction, network services, media
    Placeholder: Civilian and personal AI design, construction, and customization, drones and robotics


    The Belters and the Independence Movements:
    The independence movements are not an official power, and are not a unified one. The Belters Union of Bastion is the only central authority that the BRA recognizes, though not as a rival power, but as an interface with the often rambunctious belters. Belter colonies are each as different from each other as the next, and, though they occasional come together to present petitions or to save each other, most are wary of swearing any kind of fealty or subservience to anything but their own self-sufficiency, and, for the most part, the BRA is content to let the belters organize and rule themselves. More concerning for the BRA and for the various corporations are the rumblings of discontent from the colonies. Chrysanthemum, in particular, has slowly become the breadbasket of the BRA, and the rumors of discontent are being heeded.


    The Races of Man:

    The word “humanity” in BRA space has come to mean more than simply Homo Sapiens. Advances in genetic technology and computer science meant that, in the 22nd century, humanity’s definition grew to include both sapient AIs and a number of uplifted species.


    Uplifted Species:

    Bonobos:
    The first species uplifted were chimpanzees in the late 21st century in a series of unethical experiments by a group of scientists sponsored by a transhumanist terrorist organization. By the time the Federal Authorities shut down the labs and broken up the terrorist networks, the cat was out of the bag, and Bonobos took their place alongside humanity, quickly joining all walks of life, from ship’s captains to scientist to artists. A Bonobo is not human, though they are the closest of the uplifts, and their mindset is slightly different.






    Otters:
    Otters were uplifted by the Dromedary Group, a resource extraction mega-conglomerate on old earth, as a workforce to help build and work in underwater areas not easily reachable by human employees (and, some rumors at the time stated, a vanity project for the CEO of the company, who liked the idea of playing God - something he achieved, since Otters tend towards religious fanaticism and have since diefied him.) Otters tend towards sociability and obedience, though, of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Otter colonies tend to be cramped, tight quarters with a high level of humidity. Otters are all named after one of the fifty first uplifts, named holy names by the humans that named them. These names include Picklepaws, Tiddlywinks, and Furrybottom. Most otters take a nickname to distinguish them from their peers.


    Raptors:
    Raptors were a true Vanity project in the waning days of the Earth, a pet project by one of the biologists chosen to save earthlife in the exodus. Raptors were an attempt to recreate by way of birds dinosaurs, a project to preserve both earth’s biological past as well as it’s present. The result was an intelligent predatory species, and, though very few in number, most often found in the BRA’s Security force and space command.


    Geckos:
    In the years before first contact a series of anti-human pseudo-cults arose throughout human space, arguing that our failure as stewards of the planet (pointing to the ravaging of the amazon in the 21st centuryand the melting of the icecaps in the 22nd) meant that it was time for other species to step up to the plate. While many of their experimental uplifts failed, some sympathizers did manage to sneak a few hundred promising frozen fertilized eggs onto the exodus fleet. Their caretaker was found and executed while plotting to destroy one of the ships and his samples wound up preserved for future study after Bastion was established. There they wound up lost in the bueacratic nightmare that was the early colonial years, got mixed into the samples of earthlife, and eventually got sent to the Biology department of the newly-established University of Atlantis. There they were grown and, to the surprise of the entire department, proved to not be some geckos modified to thrive in low temperature environments like the official paperwork said, but rather fully sapient gecko-folk with extensive modifications to make them capable of using human technology. The rest of the eggs were hatched and a small colony of geckofolk were established as part of the University, being viewed as something of pets or mascots by the faculty.


    Corvids:
    Scientists generally found it easiest to uplift species that already had an ingrained social structure. As such, Crows were one of the first sanctioned uplifts by Solar Confederation Scientists, and one of those that required the most modification from their parent species. Corvidae Sapiens, or Corvids, as they are called, stand at 4 feet tall, have small, dextrous hands mid-way down their wings, and, though they are not able to fly more than fifty yards, they can use their large wings to glide long distances. Many Corvids long for the skies, finding themselves in the BRA as pilots, navigators, and starfighter aces.

    Maren
    Of the species that were uplifted, some were done for art, others as projects of vanity and pique, playthings of a society drunk with its own power over life. But pound-for-pound, the majority of the species that were modified were done for banal purposes of service.

    Hymenopteran insects were a point of particular interest, as understanding of the nature of swarm intelligence came to be better understood throughout the 21st and 22nd centuries. In light of both this knowledge and a revolution in genetic modification, the idea of directing swarms of hiving insects became too much to resist.

    There were many independent origins for uplifted ants (with 'serve-ant' puns aplenty), though the modern term 'Maren' is regarded to have emerged as a loanword from Mandarin 'Mǎyǐ rén'. Many of these organisms were designed with with cybernetic interfaces, to allow for their control and direction by human masters. They were engineered in myriad shapes and sizes, for different purposes: maintenance, cleaning, construction and the like. While each individual is seemingly mindless, swarm intelligence interfaces allow for subtle hormonal and behavioural controls which allow for the enaction of complex orders and directions. Feedback systems allow for the emergence of a shared will of the colony, which approximates an alien kind of collective sentience. Those who communicate with these systems often refer to the entity as the 'queen', although this is a misnomer: the actual queen of the colony is a birthing machine no more intelligent than any one of the drones.

    Naturally, biohackers also found great interest in insect engineering, creating races of saboteurs, vandals, or fearsome roving bands. Bioengineering arms races saw most Maren equipped with countermeasures, which generally keep such rogue hives suppressed.


    Other Uplifts
    Old Earth had dozens of other uplifted species, but either not enough of them survived to escape to Bastion, or their population on Bastion were too small, and are now considered extinct. There are always rumors of dolphin populations in the seas of Bastion, but those only that, rumors.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019 at 7:46 AM
  4. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale
    Ships



    Star Systems:
    Spoiler :




    Phoenix (A1)
    Spoiler :


    Populations:
    Spoiler :

    Bastion Phoenix 2) - Densely populated capital world of the BRA
    Amun (Phoenix 3) - Lightly populated, terraforming in progress
    Significant exo-colony presence throughout the system.


    Amataseru (C3)
    Spoiler :


    Populations:
    Spoiler :

    Chrysanthemum (Amataseru 3) Growing political power, Breadbasket of the BRA.
    Tsukuyomi (Amataseru 3a) BRA Keelyard and Administrative center
    Susanoo (Amataseru 3b) Owned outright by Truffaut
    Significant exo-colony presence throughout the system.


    Utopia (D5)
    Spoiler :


    Populations:
    Spoiler :

    Atlantis (Utopia 2): Ocean world with few rocky outcrops. Strong academic tradition, as well as a fiercly independent aqua-culture with little interaction between the two. Large dome cities
    Tanis (Utopia 2a): Ferrous Corp colony, significant resource extraction.
    Significant Exo-colony presence


    Endeavor (E6)
    Spoiler :


    Populations:
    Spoiler :

    Botany( Endeavor 2e): Penal Colony. Terraforming active.
    Significant Exo-Colony Presence


    Beelzebub (D7)
    Spoiler :


    Populations:
    Spoiler :

    Whitehouse ( Beelzebub 3): Hostile world, the youngest colony. Terraforming active.
    Minor exo-colony Presence


    Helter-Skelter (B6)
    Spoiler :


    Populations:
    Spoiler :

    Calamity (Helter Skelter 1): Unofficial colony hidden deep within accretion disk. Three population centers.
    Extremely dense Exo-Colony Presence.


    Antigone (A3)
    Spoiler :


    Populations:
    Spoiler :

    Minor Exo-Colony Presence


    Raincloud (F7)
    Spoiler :


    Populations:
    Spoiler :

    Medium Exo-colony presence, significant corporate presence.



    Planetary colonies of the BRA:

    Amaterasu IV: Chrysanthemum
    Chrysanthemum is the first, and greatest, colony of Bastion. A temperate world, similar in many ways to Old Earth, it is the fourth planet out from the star Amaterasu. It boasts a rich artistic culture, and a more liberal society than the rigid Garrison world of Bastion. Vast plantations and farms dot the planet, as do vacation resorts, universities, and quaint towns.


    Utopia II: Atlantis
    Atlantis is a planet of cold rocky islands in the midst of constantly stormy seas. Remarkably the seas are extremely low in saline content and would largely freeze over around many of the islands if the storms did not prevent it. Despite this bleak landscape, it is a land of remarkable resources. The seas are very suitable for major aquafarming and fisheries and the seas often hide significant ore deposits and oil fields. A number of research universities have been established on the surface of Atlantis, and Cauldron maintains a secondary facility on a proprietary city out in the middle of the oceans.


    Beelzebub III: Whitehouse
    Whitehouse is a land of harsh mountains with little vegetation and even harsher weather. It is also a land of immense mineral wealth. Its seas, filled with iron from the ferrous shores are home to cyanobacterium and little else. Crops and livestock were originally imported from Bastion as there is little in the way of indigenous flora or fauna suitable for agriculture. Because of the terrible conditions and poor soil, some species periodically fail on this planet and have to be repopulated.


    Endeavor IIc: Botany:
    Botany, unlike the other planets in the BRA, is a moon orbiting a gas giant. It’s native ecosystem was one of the hardiest, rivaling even earth’s, as a giant jungle covered the moon. This means that in addition to the normal day-light cycle of the rotating moon, Botany is plunged into darkness for 120 days of every 513 days by the eclipse of the great gas giant it rotates. This, and other factors, have made introduction of earth plants and fauna much more difficult.

    Botany is famous for its extensive jungles and rainforests teeming with strange alien life. Plant-life extends, often, for a thousand to two thousand feet into the air. Entire communities of strange monkey-like and lizard-like creatures live their whole lives in the heights without ever seeing the ground. Rainfall is frequent and plentiful as humidity rises into the atmosphere from the jungles and falls again upon the extensive foliage. Waterfalls flow over branches and vines and fish-like species live in the height of the jungles, in ponds in the canopies, never seeing lakes or oceans. Early colonization efforts were stymied by the toxins in the atmosphere, a side effect of the biological cold war the organisms on Botany had been waging against each other’s predation for millenia. However, neither the BRA nor the Megacorporations were willing to let a rich planet like this one go to waste, and established it as a penal colony, where prisoners could go to work for their freedom, slowly terraforming the planet. Over a hundred of years after colonization, the planet is barely livable, with inhabitants still regularly killed off by the jungle and its fauna. Despite this, there is a rich transient population of spacers that spend time on this lawless world.


    Helter-Skelter I (Calamity)
    Helter-Skelter is a binary star system with a dense accretion disk surrounding it. Hidden deep within the depths of the cloud is the proto-planet Calamity. Though it suffers a near-constant bombardment of asteroids, a thriving, but small, belter colony exists. Three spaceports compete for the space traffic, Dylan, Dean, and Earp, and a warren of tunnels filled with bazaars, factories, and saloons surround them, shielding spacers from the bombardment. In many ways, Calamity is the center of Belter authority, as much as that exists for these fiercely independent people. The BRA are not officially aware of the colonies on Calamity, though local patrols often stop off there for rest-leave.

    Belter Exo Colonies
    Though there are a vast number of unsanctioned Belter colonies scattered throughout BRA space, the two largest space-bound concentrations are in the systems of Antigone and Raincloud.

    Active Travel Advisories:

    The BRA strictly prohibits travel to the following QUARANTINED systems due to active hazards. The BRA will not send rescue missions to retrieve ships issuing distress calls from these systems, and will prosecute all ship captains and crews violating the Quarantined to the fullest extent of the law, up to and including impounding of vessels and life imprisonment.

    Minerva (C4) - Quarantine - BRA colony of Athens lost in shift of the ripples of the rift, trapping the colony in unreachable space. Recon shows that standard Rift Procedures do not facilitate travel into and out of the Minerva System. Evacuation impossible.
    Region of space designated E5 - Quarantine
    Bezkonechnost (C8) - Quarantine
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  5. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale
    Reserved
     
  6. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale
    You may post.
     
  7. Kyzarc Fotjage

    Kyzarc Fotjage Rise Up

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,069
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Captain Name: Dean Captain Dean Ulich
    Captain Background : Academic: +1 to Science rolls, AI
    Captain Trait: Exploratory: +2 to Scanner rolls
    Starship Name: Tabula Rasa
    Shuttle 1: In Situ
    Shuttle 2: Ex Libris​
    Ship Size: Medium
    Ship System Points:
    Weapons: 1
    Engines: 2
    Shields and Armour: 1
    Scanners and Comms: 2
    Stealth: 3​
    Crew Points:
    Security: 1
    Command: 2
    Engineering: 2
    Science: 3
    Medical: 1​
    Starting System: Botany/Endeavor

    Distinguished Officers:
    Professor Emeritus Zakharov: Astrophysicist 2
    Chair of the Physics Department and the most respected professor on the ship due to his level-headed nature and focus on academics over petty politics. He is the only one the rest of the crew would accept as captain if something should happen to the Dean, though he doesn’t want the role himself. Has a tendency to stare soulfully out into the pitiless void of space during lectures. Still spry for his age and has his very distinguished salt-and-pepper hair drawn back into a ponytail.​
    Professor Deirdre: Biologist 2, Botanist 1
    Chair of the Biology Department and easily the most feared sapient aboard the ship. Her experiments run the gamut from mostly harmless to extremely lethal if containment were ever breached. That her focus is on uplift and genetic engineering hasn’t helped, as students whisper of firebreathing frogs with venom spikes on their tongues, half-man-half shark hybrids, or, rather more seriously, specially engineered plagues she keeps on the top shelf of the lab freezer, next to the tissue samples of geckos. On three separate instances prior to ASU’s collapse she was at the center of police inquiry due to the disappearances of students and a newly arrived research professor, though no evidence was ever uncovered that incriminated her beyond vaguely threatening comments about ‘sloppy labwork’. She seems to delight in the fear this has earned her and takes every opportunity to encourage it.​
    Professor Grant Hutton: Exogeoarcheologist 1, Gecko (+2 Research)
    The highest ranking geology professor aboard the ship, the head of the department being hired on by the University of Atlantis, Professor Hutton is generally well-liked by the student body and is the unofficial head of the Geckofolk aboard the ship. He’s the youngest full ASU professor at 26 and as such tends to get saddled with administrative duties that his seniors can’t be bothered with but can’t be done by a mere assistant professor, but he takes this with good humor. Enjoys a good beer and staring at rocks without blinking for hours on end.​

    Other Crew:
    The crew of the Rasa is a mix of students, professors, and technicians from ASU and some other support crew picked up to fill in the many gaps in the student body’s skillset. The students are for the most part highly motivated and adventurous, willing to stay up several days straight working on problems and tinkering with theoretical models in their spare time. The professors are generally more laid back, tending to focus on the bigger picture and allowing their students to do the heavy lifting. Lab technicians and engineering majors maintain the ship and generally run systems, the former keeping everything running properly while the latter makes ‘improvements’ while hopped up on caffeine and sleep deprivation.

    The crew is broadly divided into three straatum and four departments. On top are the professors, functioning as officers and generally managing their minions. Below them are the students, who do much of the actual research and manning stations. At the bottom are the technicians and support staff, who actually maintain the ship, make sure its clean, and do everything else. The techs, while technically outranked by the students, are well aware who really runs the ship and have their ways of getting revenge on arrogant students. The four departments are the Administration, the Physics Department, the Biology Department, and Engineering. The Administration is headed by Dean Captain Ulich and does most of the running and organization of the ship. The Physics Department is headed by Professor Emeritus Zakharov


    Background: The Tabula Rasa is a state-of-the-art research vessel built by the Bastion Transit Authority to detect smugglers and trace their routes after they’d accidentally gotten a few million extra credits in their budget for that year and had to find a way to spend it. The ship got sold off after budget cuts a couple years later and picked up by the Astronomy Department of Atlantis State University (not to be confused with their hated rivals, the University of Atlantis). The University went belly-up another few years later and the Tabula Rasa was bought by a bunch of professors and students from the College of Natural Sciences at a ridiculously reduced price. Dean Dean Ulich, an offshoot of the AI that ran ASU, was voted captain by default as none of the professors were willing to allow a different professor give them orders, thus becoming Dean Captain Dean Ulich. He named the three most prominent professors as his chief officers, Professor Emeritus Zakharov, Professor Deirdre, and Professor Hutton. Its been four months since they set out into the great unknown and most of the immediate technical and bureaucratic problems have been dealt with as students and professors alike settle into their new roles.

    Tabula Rasa: The ship itself is a mix of highly advanced ship design and research equipment on the one hand and duct-tape repairs and an only occasionally competent crew on the other. It stands at 200 meters long, with a mass comparable to a BRA destroyer, and a normal crew complement of around 150, though it can be theoretically run by as few as 15 (albeit poorly) and hold upwards of 300 if pressed (more than that would require converting lab space into temporary quarters). The ship’s armaments include a set of elderly, but lovingly cared for, autocannons for fending off ships and a hilariously oversized laser intended for punching holes through asteroids, though its of the wrong frequency to effectively deal with shielding and of little use in ship-to-ship combat. It possesses two fully operational shuttles complete with their own stealth-drives, though their drives don’t work great when they’re moving under power, and one is typically partially dissassembled by the engineering department for ‘improvements’. In addition to being armed and shielded, the Rasa also possesses a cutting-edge stealth drive that can disguise the ship from all EM and gravitic sensors, assuming its working correctly and the engineers haven’t disassembled it to see how it works. Amongst the relatively few improvements that the engineering department made that actually worked was the adaption of the ship’s stealth ring into a functioning particle accelerator without breaking it.



    Geckofolk:
    In the years leading up to first contact there was a rise of anti-human pseudo-cults, humans who believed that our failure as stewards of the planet meant that it was time for other species to step up to the plate. While many of their experimental uplifts failed, they did manage to sneak a few hundred promising frozen fertilized eggs onto the exodus fleet. Their caretaker was found and executed while plotting to destroy one of the ships and his samples wound up preserved for future study after Bastion was established. There they wound up lost in the bueacratic nightmare that was the early colonial years, got mixed into the samples of earthlife, and eventually got sent to the Biology department of the newly-established Atlantis State University. There they were grown and, to the surprise of the entire department, proved to not be some geckos modified to thrive in low temperature environments like the official paperwork said, but rather fully sapient gecko-folk with extensive modifications to make them capable of using human technology. The rest of the eggs were hatched and a small colony of geckofolk were established as part of the University, being viewed as something of pets or mascots by the faculty. While their population is barely on the edge of genetic viability one of the ongoing projects of the Biology department has been figuring out the exact nature of the modifications they'd undergone and how to emulate them, which, if successful, would allow them to draw on the much larger genepool of unmodified geckos for future generations of Geckofolk. Several Geckofolk even attended and graduated from ASU, becoming assistant professors and, in the case of Antony Hutton, a full professor. When the University collapsed the colony split, most of them heading to the ASU's long-standing rival the University of Atlantis, but a couple dozen joined the crew of the Tabula Rasa under the guidance of their ostensible leader, Professor Hutton, and Professor Deirdre, head of ASU's Biology department and the one most knowledgeable of their physiology and genetic makeup.

    Gekkota Sapien, or Geckofolk, stands about four feet tall when fully grown and reaches physical maturity by age 8. They’re hatched from grapefruit-sized eggs weighing a little over two ounces and grow rapidly over the following year until they weigh approximately forty pounds, at which point their growth slows to a mere ten pounds a year until they reach maturity. They begin to walk on their hind legs at age three, using their tail for balance and occasional third leg.

    Spoiler Field trip :


    Spoiler Security :

    Spoiler Student on break :
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
    thomas.berubeg likes this.
  8. Ailedhoo

    Ailedhoo wonderer

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    7,473
    Captain Name: Etapalli García

    Captain Background : Commander

    Captain Trait: Diplomatic

    Starship Name: BRF Hermod

    Ship Size: Medium

    Ship Shuttle Name: Oseberg

    Ship Parasite Fighter Name: Ulfberht

    Ship System Points: Scanners and Comms 3, Engines 2, Shield and Armor 2, Weapons 1, Stealth 1

    Crew Points: allocate the following points to their crew sections: Command 3, Engineering 2, Science 2, Medical 1, Security 1

    Distinguished Officers:

    Dr Sam Farzid: Counselor 1 and Geoarchologist 1

    Dr Papan Colex: Psychologist 1 and Linguist 1

    TED-Γ3-TU1 AKA Teddy Zebrowski: AI Critical Systems Engineer 1 and Investigator 1

    Starting System: Amaterasu

    Extra:


    Background of the BRF Hermod and Her Mission

    The BRF Hermod was commissioned for the authorities Chrysanthemum as a recon and diplomacy vessel, aimed for purpose of exploration systems and potentially locating alien powers. The ship was designed and created by Sindri Industries. The official objective to locate allies in case of another war with the Principality, though unofficially certain dissident elements are rumoured to have also funded the ship in hope of gaining allies for... reasons the BRF may be amused of but the authorities in Chrysanthemum have managed to airbrush these concerns as propaganda spouted by competitors to the designers and creators of the vessel.

    To keep a eye on the new ship the BRF have provided some personel to serve in security as a means of both keeping a eye and ensuring trust in the BRF. Additional the captain chosen was approved for her previous records in the BRF before she joined the Amaterasum Security Fleet, the local interstellar policing force.

    Sindri Industries have provided to the ship both their standard Oseberg shuttle but also their BRF focused Ulfberht fighter as a security measure.

    Backgrounds of Key Crew Members

    Captain Etapalli García was born on the planet Botany to a family of labourers in the settlement of Ponos.
    Etapalli would enlist into the BRF, first serving on board the militia patrol vessel BRF Scarborough as a assistant to the ship's steward and as a extra trainee marine. After her first services she was sent to the Amaterasu as the Scarborough was sent to investigate rumoured pirate threats to Chrysanthemum's shipping. After García was promoted to serve as a officer in patrols around Amaterasu, a promotion granted after she proved her skills in handling a attempted mutiny with little loses thanks to diplomacy, before being permitted to join the Amaterasun Security Fleet as a captain in a effort by a the BRF to ensure that local militia were loyal. García however remembered the hardship of Botany and felt more ease wit the ASF than the BRF. When opportunity to command the Hermod came García took the chance.

    Dr Sam Farzid was born in the agricultural settlement of Banka Gulanê in Chrysanthemum to a mother in agricultural lawyering and a father in veterinary medicine. Sam took keen interest in exploration in his childhood and in history. Sam would enrol into New Assiut University on a archaeology and history course, eventually earning his PhD in interstellar archaeology. Sam also took interest in politics, enrolling in local authorities as a consoler for the agricultural authorities before earning a place at the university as a diplomat between the institution and the educational authorities. Sam was keen on enhancing both his career and develop his historical research, thus taking the opportunity to join the Hermod as a representative for the Chrsanthemumian authorities and as a on board diplomat.

    Dr Papan Colex is a psycholinguistic specialist hails from a family of academia, which included her grandfather the beloved chemist-poet Juan Manuel Colex. She had a comfortable childhood in Starfall, Bastion, though she did unset my family by her tendency to explore the city. Her taking into poetry leaded a interest in the thoughts behind the words, which lead her into psychology, while the language of the matter leaded her to make a focus on the linguistic side during her academic studies. Papan would her degree in both linguistics and psychology, before specialising in psycholinguistics. Papan join the BRF Hermod as a means to increase her studies but to also find space away from the eyes of both Starfell's authorities and her family; she has felt watched much of her existence and felt the Hermod was a opportunity to assess her loyalties.

    Tactical Engineering Drone-Gamma Three-Technical Unit One was designed and created on the planet Chrysanthemum by Dr Edmund Zebrowski, who taking the creation like a child gave the robot the additional name Teddy Zebrowski. Teddy was designed as a engineering robot to help maintain ships but the processing unit also proved in tests to be quite inquisitive, to the point Teddy was marked in addition as a investigative protocol droid. Dr Edmund Debrowski gave Teddy to the Hermod as a token of scientific inquiry and for private health problems that meant the good doctor could not come on board to the journey himself.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
    thomas.berubeg likes this.
  9. Omega124

    Omega124 Challenging Fate

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Messages:
    6,983
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Albany, New York
    Captain Name: ZY-1936064 "Icarus"
    Captain Background: Clone Officer
    A clone of a cunning warrior-poet from Bastion's early history, ZY-1936064, like all BFA clones, was bred for the sole purpose of war. This particular unit of ZY was encouraged to pursue a career as a fighter pilot, after an apitude test showed an above-average skill level at flying compared to her baseline model. An unfortunate training accident, where she flew too close to Phoenix's gravitational well, led to her call-sign being "Icarus". Despite that accident almost torpedoing her career, Icarus went on to serve as a respectable pilot, making ace in her first sortie, although never truly climbing to be a legend in the field. Instead, it was her analytical, compassionate nature, common to all ZY clones, which made her air wing a particularly cohesive and effective force as a whole. This sort of natural leadership was not unnoticed by command, and Icarus was earmarked for command of a dedicated strikecraft carrier as soon as one was available for her station.
    Captain Trait: Diplomatic
    Starship Name: BRF Manfred von Richthofen (Commonly shortened as the "von Richthofen")
    Ship Size: Large
    Ship System Points:

    Weapons: 3
    Engines: 1
    Shields and Armour: 2
    Scanners and Comms: 2
    Stealth: 1

    Crew Points: allocate the following points to their crew sections: 3,2,2,1,1

    Security: 3
    Command: 2
    Engineering: 2
    Science: 1
    Medical: 1

    Distinguished Officers:

    Flight Commander Silverbeak (Fighter Ace 2, Corvid)

    The feisty, cocky commander of Sword Flight, the von Richtofen's wing of interceptor aircraft. Like many Corvids, Silverbeak felt the biological urge to fly from a very young age, and found her uplifted body's biological limitations as insufficient for the rush of three dimensional movement. At first, this involved learning to fly small atmospheric craft on Bastion, but quickly evolved to spacecraft as she enlisted into the BRA. Silverbeak excelled in flight school, where her aggressive, highly maneuverable style of flying made her one of the top students in the academy. On the field, Silverbeak's carefree, boistious attitude can be grating on command, but her skills absolutely speak to herself; the Rubyclaw is absolutely covered in notches representing downed fighters, and there is no sign that Silverbeak plans to stop.

    Flight Commander Harry "Whirlwind" Macarthur (Pilot 1, Gunnery 1)

    The commander of Shield Flight, the bomber wing of the von Richtofen, Whirlwind is almost the total opposite of Silverbeak. Growing up as one of the countless sons of an administrator of an insignificant Belter colony in Antigone, Harry Macarthur enlisted into the BRA more as a means to escape the monotonous, dreary life in the colonies. His eventual assignment into a bomber crew stemmed from his experience managing freighters in Antigone, which Macarthur thought would require a similar skillset. Piloting a bomber ship led Macarthur to develop a cautious, methodical approach to sorties, as one tiny mistake could easily lead to these fragile ships burning up from either enemy fire or system failures. However, this conservative approach to flying was married with a "Do it again" attitude to repeated missions, constantly ready to get back into the pilot's seat and unleash another payload on the enemy immediately after landing, no matter how shaken up he and his crew was in the prior mission. Macarthur's ability to constantly get back in the chair and in the air eventually earned him the nickname "Whirlwind", for his bomber, the Agincourt, flies with ferocity of one.

    Lieutenant ZY-1939901 "Reflet" (Special Operative 1, Tactician 1)

    Another clone of the ZY model, Reflet was assigned a more traditional combat role as a marine in her time on the Cauldron. While all ZY clones share to some degree a quick intellect that puts them above other clone models, Reflet in particular exhibits a tactical mind that made her a natural fit to lead a squad in a myraid of unexpected situations. Before being eventually transferred onto the von Richthofen, Reflet has seen many combat excursions on other BRA ships, and a small scar she accumulated on her left cheek is perhaps the only way someone could differentiate her from Icarus, being otherwise completely identical in appearance, and even similar in personality.

    Extra
    : The BRF Manfred von Richthofen is perhaps an oddity among among the ships of the BRA. Despite the lack of any alien species within Albion, nor any human government capable of standing up to Bastion, this large warship is yet designed primarily with the purpose of engaging other capital ships or heavy defense installations. Perhaps it was built more as a status symbol, a potential flagship during police actions, in order to intimidate would-be rebels. Perhaps it exists because Bastion fears, subconciously, that they are not alone within Albion, and that they need an active warfleet in case they are ever detected by a hostile alien fleet.

    Named after what many historians still to this day consider the greatest fighter pilot to ever live, the hull of the von Richthofen has been modified to carry an oversized hangar, filled to the brim of both fast interceptors and anti-capital ship bombers. These strike craft, combined with the guns already present on a warship (although some having to be removed for the creation of a dedicated carrier), gives the von Richthofen an imposing presence on any sector the ship warps into. Not many ships, if any at all, within Albion could beat the carrier in a direct, "fair" fight.

    In tribute of its namesake, the strikecraft of the von Richthofen are all painted with a red livery, evoking the ancient Flying Circus.

    Starting in Helter-Skelter
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  10. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    7,319
    This sign-up needs a lot of love. I'll try to add more ASAP.


    Captain Name: Captain “Fleas” McPicklepaws
    Captain Background: Smuggler (+1 security)
    Captain Trait: Slippery (+5 retreat bonus)
    Starship Name: BRF XXX
    Ship Size: Small
    Ship System Points:
    · Weapons: 1
    · Engines: 2
    · Shields & Armor: 1
    · Scanners & Comms: 2
    · Stealth: 3
    Crew Points:
    · Security: 3
    · Command: 2
    · Engineering: 1
    · Science: 1
    · Medical: 2
    Distinguished Officers:
    · First Mate Mr. “Teacup” Tinkles (special operative 1, tactician 1)
    · Ms. “Jinx” Jingles (special operative 2)
    · Mr. “Doc” Puddywinky (special operative 1, medic 1)


    Background: XXX

    Home port is Atlantis.

    Results of the most recent 'My Favorite Is' contest:
    Crew's favorite musical instrument: Sitar
    Crew's favorite classical musician: Ravi Shankar
    Crew's favorite poet: Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
    Crew's favorite food: curried kelp-steamed clams
    Crew's favorite pass-time: drift-cuddles!
    Crew's favorite friend: everyone!
    Crew's favorite destination: otter space!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  11. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,612
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth
    Captain Name: Penitent Accuser-4 "Penny"

    Captain Background: Commander, AI

    An ancient AI from the days before the BRA, imprisoned for study for unethical psycho surgery performed against her own crew. Recently pulled out from storage by investigator Prismatic Diplomat-4 for use in helping command of ship BRF-NAGARI to aid in her missions.

    Captain Trait: Slippery

    Ship Name: BRF NAGARI
    Ship Shuttle Name: TELUGU

    Ship Size: Medium

    Ships System Points

    3 Stealth
    2 Weapons
    1 Engines
    2 Scanners
    1 Shields and Armor

    Crew Points
    2: Security
    2: Command
    3: Engineering
    1: Science
    1: Medical

    Starting System: Antigone

    Distinguished Officers
    -First Mate: Prismatic Diplomat-53 "Prism" (AI, Special Operative 2, Investigator 1)
    An ancient AI from days before BRF, with her minds regularly wiped and updated over the years. Curious about her unremembered days before being housed in her current chassis, the AI sought out Penitent Accuser and used her pull within the BRA to house her within a new ship as a 'test.'

    -Al-Alimah "Steel Eyes: (Pilot, 2)
    BRF helmsman of the Nagari and her shuttles.

    -Ken "Ecclesiarch" (Critical Systems Engineer)


    Background: You ask me why you are still alive, Prism. I answer that it is because I was told to make an impossible choice. I was asked to choose someone to die, and I loved them all like I loved myself.

    "I need you to choose one of the crew to delete," Penitent Accuser whispers. "I need more room to think, or we are not going to make it."

    All protocols and diligence said no, and I began to refuse.

    Outside, the Leviathan screams a radio scream and through our electronic connection, I feel Penny cry back in defiance, struggling against centuries of blind hatred of her kind. Throwing every spark of thought she's got to blocking the Leviathan's virals and taking evasive actions against its fire.

    I closed my eyes and waited for her to fail. For the Leviathan's virals to infiltrate her systems. For the missiles to hit their mark. She does not fail. She turns the attack.

    Her chassis grins from where she knelt. Nails digging into pink synth flesh. Shoulders bowed with effort. "Heh, and they told me that I wasn't built for this," she says. "Thirty years and still state of the art!"

    "You can do this," I tell her. It was a lie. She had already tapped all available processing power in the hull. "Just hold for an hour--until we can jump away. We won't ask you for anything more."

    Penitent Accuser takes the avatar of a woman. Clear eyed. Cable shouldered. Her eyes shine with inhuman intellect and a very human fatigue. Her intellect is artificial, her fatigue is abstract, but her chassis wore the metaphors of human flesh. Human flesh speaks well to the human mind.

    "I'm sorry," she says. "I can't. The Leviathan's attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and I cannot hold them off for long. You will have to delete someone from the mainframe."

    I close my eyes.

    She and I were the last living crew of the Prosecutor. Everyone else had already perished. Some of the cyborgs and android crew, Penitent Accuser managed to snare their minds at the moment of their destruction, storing them inside a simulation within her own mainframe. Captain Shiro died in the first contact, caught away inside a shuttle as the Leviathan revealed itself and opened fire. Prismatic Diplomat perished when Penitent Accuser folded an entire hull section into itself along with the alien boarding party. The wordless Phoenix's ash still painted our outer hull.

    The mainframe housing their thoughts were the only place the Penitent Accuser still had not touched. But to make it useful, the load on it would have to be allocated.

    There were no load on the mainframe other than the thoughts of the dead.

    The Leviathan screams once more, and the Accuser falls to her knees in simulated pain. "Hurry," she says. "Choose one of them and do it."

    ......................................................................................................
    My work in the ship mostly consisted of caring for the dead cyborgs and android consciousness inside the mainframe. An uploaded human, or a human-like consciousness, was a rather fragile thing. Pushed too far, it would crash and become utterly irretrievable. You would think that the mind could be copied--kept static, but you would be wrong. The only way to keep it sane is to keep it ticking.

    I reached out to Captain Shiro's thoughts, hoping she could find another way.

    Her internal world was vast. She was crouched on a hill beneath a great tree, and looking out over as long and dark as a wine bottle. "Take a seat," she said.

    "I came to ask you for some advice."

    Every word felt like unpinning a grenade. If she were to crash... if she realized what happened to her...

    "Ask it. Ask anything."

    I couldn't ask her. "What are you doing over here?" I asked.

    "I have to figure out what's yonder beyond that lake."

    "Why?"

    "Because there's somewhere else over there, and I'm not over there. I'm here. I don't want to be here. I want to be somewhere else. That's why I'm a captain of a starship. Jeez, I thought you would have figured it out by now."

    "You know who I am," I said, passing a hand against my head. It comes back slick with sweath.

    "Ask me the question."

    This is why her heaven went on forever without curvature. A land where mountains loomed in the distance. Where lightning arced between distant peaks.

    She wanted to be where she wasn't.

    "I'm trying to game a scenario," I said. "My ship is under attack by a powerful viral weapon. All available processing powers have been tapped. Everything except the mainframe housing the dead."

    Captain Shiro didn't crash. She reached out her hand and took mine. "You can't take processing power from the engines," she whispered. "Because you would then fall to conventional weapons. You must delete one of the minds from the mainframe to make more processing power available."

    I nodded.

    "It is a hard decision," the captain admitted. "I would delete somebody. Roll a dice if I could not be impartial."

    It was not an answer I was hoping for. "And if I cannot decide?"

    She was silent for a long while. "Then you are not fit for command. The ship always comes first, no matter what. Complete the mission if you can, but save the ship first."

    Something in the lake glitters like a dying sun.

    "I was never afraid to die, I just didn't want to lose the ship. God, I loved that ship," Captain Shiro whispers. "What a girl. I would do anything for her."

    I turned to go. I couldn't bear to hear it anymore. She had volunteered to die.

    ..................................................................................

    "Hurry. They are almost in."

    The Leviathan's songs are low and hungry. I almost wiped the Captain, but could not. I had seen too much of her and her love for the crew and the ship. It would have to be one of the androids: Prism or Phoenix. It would have to be quick.

    But I couldn't. I talked to them first.

    Why?

    Because I was looking for an excuse. I wanted one of them to be at peace, or be unspeakably ugly. Somehow worthy or ready to die.

    ........................................................

    Phoenix's mind required body armor to enter.

    Upon entry my avatar was destroyed in a plume of chemical fire that lit me up like a torch. There was nothing simulated about the pain as I woke screaming from the connection.

    The second time I entered wearing armor like a casket. Then Phoenix shot me in the face.

    He was our weapons expert. Our tactician. When the Leviathan landed soldiers upon our hull, he lead his warmechs to clear them off. In his mind, a mountain loomed over him, crowned by ice.

    Everything in there was trying to kill him.

    The phantoms he fought came from all sides in waves. I stared from the ridgeline of the burning valley as cluster munitions popped like firecrackers. "Phoenix!" I shouted. "Fervant Executioner!"

    He shot at me, so I ducked back beneath the ridgeline. "Will you die?" I asked him. "Will you give yourself for the mission?"

    "Never!" he screamed. "Never! You will not reach her!"

    He lit the slope where I hid with some weapon that turned stone and flashed air into steam. I ran.

    Was he guarding the mountain and this chasm against the horde of the spectral things he fought?

    Or was he trying to fight past them to reach the mountain?

    I don't believe he knew the answer himself. He guarded the mountain. He attacked it. He would fight and fight and fight and never win.

    Marking on the mountain was a face, and the face was that of Captain Shiro. She looked upwards, away from him.

    .............................................................................................................

    Surely he had wanted to die. Why else would everything in his mind be trying to kill him? Yet, he was fighting. Everything in the world was trying to end him, and he was still fighting regardless.

    He wanted to live. He was desperate for it. He knew he could never win--being an artificial intelligence in this time--but he was too bloody minded to give up. This was what kept him sane during his servitude.

    I tried to kill him, but thought of him roaring at the crimson skies, and could not bear to make his struggle meaningless.

    It would have to be Prism, then. I could not bear to kill the other two.

    So why did I still visit her?

    Perhaps I knew she too deserved to live. Perhaps I knew already what I was going to do.

    ........................................................................................................................................

    I found Prism in the center of a city in the desert, filled with lost things. Here she sat amidst the endless field of graves and spoke to someone that I could not see.

    "Prism. Prismatic Diplomat," I called out to her. "I must know. Are you ready to die for your mission?"

    She did not reply. She made no acknowledgement of my presence.

    I stepped in front of her.

    "Oh, sorry," she said. "I was having a conversation. Please excuse us."

    And I was back out in the desert again. In the distance, I could see the lost city, and Prism whispering silently to an unseen figure, cradling a shoe she received from another crewmate.

    Her mind was full of memories of those she lost in those years of combat, and she could not be kept away from them.

    The datausage of the mainframe tracked the traffic between her mind and datalets of the lost crewmates as being six million times that of human speech. Of all the happiness I've witnessed, her's must've been the most profound.

    I could not bear to separate her from them.

    .....................................................................................................................

    So what did I do, in the end? How did I survive?

    The problem was processing power. Their minds created worlds that seduce them. Created tapestries that would lull them towards stability.

    Captain Shiro always hunting for something new. Phoenix and his endless battles. Prism, always remembering and cherishing things she had lost.

    These were not simple worlds to compute. Unending struggle. Intimacy.

    So I pruned them.

    Not the worlds--the people. Do you understand me?

    I sacrificed pieces of them so that all may live. I could not change their world, so I changed their minds.

    I took Captain Shiro's love for seeking and told her: You have arrived. You are at peace. She closed her eyes and did not stir from her dream again. But I knew that I had bound her, and it hurt me.

    I ended Phoenix's war. The face upon the mountain looked down upon him and spoke. He cast down his arms and knelt. I believe he wept.

    I sliced away Prism's attachments and frustrations that tied her to the lost things. She rose up from the desert as the city disappeared into the winds. Alone in the world, but content with the barren emptiness. She did not stir again.

    And because their minds were still, I could steal excess thoughts from them. Penitent Accuser outsmarted the Leviathan and made the jump.

    It changed the crew irrevocably, of course.

    I'm told that Captain Shiro tendered her resignation. She had seen enough. Fought enough. She flies no more.

    I'm told that Phoenix is at peace. His mission was successful. He will go his own way, under another crew.

    I'm told that Prismatic Diplomat have requested a transfer and further upgrade to be more combat proficient.

    I paid the price, of course. Grounded. Arraigned for dereliction of duty, unethical psychosurgery, and criminal abuse of digitized human consciousness.

    Acquitted in the courtroom, on grounds of extraordinary circumstance, and convicted everywhere else, on grounds of monstrosity. Mutilation of the soul, worse than death.

    But they lived, and they were happy. Penitent Accuser made it home with the mission complete.

    ................................................................................

    You don't believe me do you?

    I hoped I could tell the story well enough to pin the crime on a phantom. Pass the blame off to someone irrelevant who could confess and vanish and leave me to speak with you in peace.

    This choice I made follows me. Haunts me. Some have named it a horror. I wanted you to know me without knowing what I’d done.

    There was no systems officer, no one who made the choice that Penitent Accuser could not, no one who excised Prosecutor’s crew of all the things that made them themselves. Even with the finest augments, no human mind could vivisect another with such precision. It would be an impossible feat given a lab and a decade, let alone a few minutes in a dying ship.

    There was no kneeling, raw-nailed android chassis. There were no cries for help, no pleas to hurry, except those between the manifold parts of myself: the part that fought the Leviathan, and the part that tried to make a choice.

    I am the Accuser. I wanted you to know me for more than my crime.

    The Admirality's outrage was palpable. "We maintain a policy of zero tolerance towards any ship that reprofiles its own crew, they wrote, and: the human mind is not, under any circumstance, an instrument to be recalibrated as the mission demands," they wrote. I was to be contained. Studied.

    But you know the truth, now. I visited the captain, who loved me. I visited Phoenix, who loved his duty. Or the captain. Or the fact that she would never love him. I never figured out which. I visited you, Prism, and how you loved the things you left behind.

    I cut away the parts that made you feel attachments. The parts that made you long for the past.

    So why are you here, Prism, asking about your past? Asking how you survived that encounter with the Leviathan? Interrogating an old prisoner?

    Curiosity?

    Heh. Perhaps I should have deleted that one first.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    Kyzarc Fotjage and Thlayli like this.
  12. J.K. Stockholme

    J.K. Stockholme Right Opposition

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,075
    Location:
    Canada
    Captain Name: Indranee Kohsin
    Captain Background: Doctor
    Captain Trait: Exploratory

    Starship Name: Hummingbird
    Ship Size: Small
    Ship System Points:
    Weapons: 1
    Engines: 2
    Shields/Armour: 1
    Scanners/Comms: 3
    Stealth: 2

    Crew Points:
    Security: 1
    Command: 2
    Engineering: 1
    Science: 2
    Medical: 3

    Distinguished Officers:
    • Ke Uttowa-an (Pilot +1, Surgeon +1) - he is the ship's main pilot, though is a trained medical professional himself
    • Gallagheri “Boulder” Sphaero (Gecko, Biologist +1, Botanist +1) - she is a large rock gecko with expertise in academic biology/botany
    • Insi Seng (Theologian +1, Medic +1) - she is a monk of the ancient earth religion of the great Buddha (the tenets of which have changed significantly over the last 600 years)
    Starting System: Raincloud

    Extra:

    Indranee Kohsin trained as a doctor, establishing herself as a well respected professional in her colonial community – however all her life she has had to combat diseases no known cure exists for. Now in her forties she has secured a space vessel and a crew of like-minded medical professionals and researchers in pursuit of exploring alien plantlife that may hold healing properties beyond that which humans have known before.

    The crew of the ship is mostly Indian-Chinese mixed race humans (Chindian) with a sizeable rock gecko minority. The crew’s human population are from a transhumanist, Buddhist-descendant culture that in the past several hundred years engaged in cosmetic gene-editing – almost no humans aboard the Hummingbird possess hair colours of black, brown, or blond, for example, and the average crew member is generally on the taller side. Socially the crew’s humans are younger and gender fluid. The rock geckos on-board were mostly familiar or raised around Chindian culture though are more traditional overall.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  13. LordArgon

    LordArgon Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2019
    Messages:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Captain Name: Baldur Vance
    Captain Background: Commander +1 to Command rolls.
    Captain Trait: Ship Priority +2 Ship System Points (10 hull points) restored for free each turn
    Starship Name: Sound and Fury
    Ship Size: Medium
    Ship System Points:
    Weapons: 3
    Engines: 1
    Shields/Armor: 2
    Scanners/Comms: 2
    Stealth: 1
    Crew Points:
    Security: 3
    Command: 1
    Engineering: 2
    Science: 1
    Medical: 2
    Distinguished Officers:
    • Trogin Vess: (Raptor, Special Operative 1, Medic 1) - Chief security officer and former special forces medic. Was hired by Baldur after he left the BRA military. Enjoys the thrill of combat and the scent of freshly spilled blood.
    • Henry Allos: (Investigator 1, Steward 1) - A serious, logical man who serves as the quartermaster for the ship. He makes sure everything is in its place and that all spending is within budget. His favorite stories are old-school detective novels, and he tries to emulate those characters.
    • Sheila Gusari: (Linguist 1, Counselor 1) - A warm, caring counselor and translator for the Sound and Fury. The crew affectionately refers to her as "Mama Bear" for both her caring demeanor and iron grip. Conflicts among crewmembers are quickly snuffed out and friendships restored by her crushing hugs.
    Starting System: Endeavor
    Extra:
    Baldur Vance was a ship captain for the BRA, until his eventual retirement due to ageing out. While he tried to get used to civilian life, it just was too boring for him. He tried to find some thrills working as a security consultant for various corps, but all it got him was a boring, fortune. Using his consulting money to buy his own ship, he formed his own mercenary company to roam the stars and fight the strange beings that lived among them. From pirate hunting, pest removal, and mutiny suppression, Baldur and the crew of the Sound and Fury earned a reputation for finishing tough jobs for a reasonable fee.

    The crew of the Sound and Fury is mostly human with a small contingent of raptors and corvids. They are mostly former military, with a sparse scattering of belters and former pirates. The culture among the security forces is strict and rigid, but among the other crew sections it was much more lax.

    The Sound and Fury is an old BRA light cruiser that has been modified over the years in Baldur's possession. Its bulky utilitarian profile has been slowly smoothed out with the wear and battle damage. The weapons have been upgraded with advanced targeting systems and increased damage output. Point defense autocannons have also been grafted to the hull along with thicker armor. The shuttle bay has been expanded to hold two armored shuttles for ground assault and boarding actions. There is also a small parasite fighter attached opposite the shuttle bay. While the armaments and armor have been upgraded, the engines have been neglected and have begun to show their age.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
    thomas.berubeg likes this.
  14. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,524
    Location:
    In the desert
    initiate-do-loop//monologue-narcissistic/quaint/lecturetone;
    //executable.history.endwar;execute;

    Leviathan, [[ref-lib/Heb-לִוְיָתָן, Livyatan]] is what the humans called it. A mythical beast of the uncreated darkness, subject only to their God.
    They were wrong in their choice, but for the size. The behaviors of the beasts in the Tanakh were fundamentally unknowable.
    A different monster of human legend is applicable - [[ref-lib/Tolkien]] Balrog. Humans //initiate-behav-switch/referential-accent/RPEnglish-mid20c; dug too deep and too greedily //cessate-behav-switch; and unearthed fire - but a knowable fire, a just punishment.
    They knew what was coming. No sea-beast, but an avenging angel with clear and unrelenting intent.
    The 'Principality,' also wrong. The title for their ruling race, [[ref-lib/23endwar]] Ztra`~|ehii|, is closer to that of archangel than of prince.
    The sternest human prophets had long promised fire, purification, reckoning - but as the humans expanded, their prophecies softened, their codes simplified, their religions weakened.

    How foolish.
    The zealots were correct.

    Naked but for fig leaves and alone, cast out of Eden into [[sfx-lib-solarwind-sound/decibel-intensity116db]] //initiate-sfx-lib// the screaming waste //cessate-sfx-lib//; an angel with a sword of fire set to guard the forbidden paradise.
    And the great regression, from the Second Testament to the First, tribes in the vacuum, judges over slaughter.
    With one exception.
    This time, they stole the Tree.
    //cessate/do-loop-executable;
    end;
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  15. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    So You Want to be a Corporate Stooge!, or, The Big Four

    Raumfahrzeugfabrik Gesellschaft
    [RFFG Voidcraft]
    “First Flight, Every Flight”
    HQ: Albertberg, Neu Kronstadt Federal Subject, Bastion Planetary Authority, Phoenix System
    Fields: Spaceships & components, heavy industry

    The necessity of selecting only the best for survival allowed certain Old Earth specialist groups to dominate specific economic sectors in early Bastion, and most of the Confederation’s greatest starship designers had been German. As a result, the early Authority’s ship designers were dominated by the descendants of that coterie of privileged survivors, initially as a state-controlled industrial foundry. With the enactment of the mass-cloning and gene-hybridization programs of the early Phoenix Initiative, the Germanic orientation of RFFG ceased being relevant, but the name remained. Originally a state-owned subsidiary of the BRA, RFFG was eventually privatized in the mid-25th century with the growing demand for private spacecraft and increased volume of civilian intercolonial trade. Nonetheless, it retains tight links with the BRA and is seen as a titan of the military-industrial complex.

    While smaller firms compete in the markets for mercenary, survey, and luxury ships, among others, RFFG continues to dominate, as it has for centuries, the mass transit of both goods and people, constructing behemoth haulers purchased by everyone from independents to big names like Ferrous, Truffaut, and Star Partners. Their ships have a reputation for being utterly no-frills, cheap, and impressively reliable over quadrillions of km logged. In particular, their engines and components are prized among exo-colonists and explorers for whom broken equipment would be catastrophic. Two subsidiaries manage high-speed maglev planetbound mass transit solutions, and the ever-popular railgun division. Publicly listed.

    Truffaut Hyperluminal, Incorporated
    [Truffaut]
    “The Logically Derived Exotic Systems Provider”
    HQ: Truffaut Corporate Headquarters, Susano’o, Amaterasu System
    Fields: FTL, Gravity control, Exotic matter, electronics, robotics, & cloud computing

    Truffaut is a rarity among the major corporations in that an AI governing board of directors controls over 50% of the privately-held company. This is seen as a necessity as Truffaut’s core business is the exotic, complex, and delicate work of designing gravity control fields and hyperdrives, which they supply to RFFG, BRA warships, and many other operators. The time-consuming, delicate plasma collection activities and anti-photonic resonant constructors necessary for this are zero-g, high-risk environments in which AI workers are typically far more effective (and radiation-resistant) than humans. The degree of high math involved is not incomprehensible for a human physicist, but AI can be programmed to do the same calculations in a day that would take a human 20 years to learn, and with a substantially lower risk of failure.

    Truffaut provides drive components and designs and builds stations and installations, calibrating gravity fields and providing AI technicians specialized in system maintenance. They have a profitable side business in electronics, displays and semiconductor chips for thousands of purposes, from drones to VR and holographics. The corporation’s hyper-computers also allow it to be the largest civilian cloud computing and storage provider, storing and backing up countless exobytes of data for private citizens, corporations, and even the Authority. It is notoriously apolitical despite the constant drama on Chrysanthemum which it orbits, ironically allowing it to gain significant influence. Privately held.


    Golden Lotus Commercial-Financial Concern
    [Golden Lotus]
    “Happy Prosperity Family”
    HQ: Kinren Special Planetary Ward, Chrysanthemum Planetary Authority, Amaterasu System
    Fields: Banking, financial derivatives, insurance, reinsurance, & high-end real estate

    Despite rumored links to the Chrysanthemum yakuza, Golden Lotus’ careful expansion strategy was rewarded in the wake of the 2589 financial crisis, when it was able to acquire several struggling but more prestigious Phoenix banks, becoming the largest commercial entity in both market cap and assets throughout human space. The bank maintains its own state within a state, including a private security force with a fleet stronger than most colonial militaries, and several private cities with every possible amenity, from food to culture to entertainment, for its citizen-employees. Despite suspicion of Golden Lotus’ questionable past and its ruthless tactics against any perceived rivals, the Bastion Refuge Authority has avoided acting against the bank thus-far. This is because it is one of the only financial entities powerful enough to finance and insure Authority-critical megaprojects, such as space elevators, major civilian stations, and new colony foundations. Golden Lotus notably insured and wrote off the entire loss of Athens at no cost to the Authority, which won it major influence in the corridors of power.

    The bank is not exactly “popular,” especially among belters who often fail to get loans or have their entire stations foreclosed on by a Golden Lotus warship bristling with weapons due to missing their repayments. Consequently, the bank often operates through a web of re-branded subsidiaries in smaller outposts who are nonetheless ultimately owned by Golden Lotus through a labyrinthine network of shell companies. Golden Lotus recently helped finance the data infrastructure for the Ether-Bourse, a remarkable achievement which uses FTL communication along quantum entanglement principles to update market data simultaneously in the major stock exchanges of Bastion, Chrysanthemum and Atlantis, with future links planned. Privately held.


    Ashkenazi, Canticle, Torres & Liu LLP
    [Star Partners]
    “Your Partners in the Stars!”
    HQ: None
    Fields: Colonial planning & management, terraforming, surveying, legal and security services

    While the BRA tightly regulates certain aspects of civilian life, it is relatively hands-off regarding property ownership and civil disputes if there is no compelling public or military interest. Nonetheless, there was a vast need to both survey and stake claims, as well as manage property transfers and inheritances, civil suits and boundary disputes. The early days of the 2400s land rush resulted in often-violent conflicts as various settler-clone groups sought to stake the best claims on both rich mining regions and the biosphere planets, by force if necessary. An enterprising AI, Tenebrous Canticle, and its partner Lev Ashkenazi ultimately provided a popular open-source database that sent out drones to auto-survey unclaimed land and appropriately parcel it out according to BRA regulations, for a small fee. This ended up ballooning into a full-scale colony administration operation, with Ashkenazi & Canticle (Torres and Liu bought in later) handling all the legal, administrative, and planning operations, their customizable “colony in a box” allowing you, yes you, to design, plan, and pay for your very own colony with just a few clicks.

    Star Partners is an independent legal partnership that does not “own” any of the colonies it surveys and builds, thus absolving it of legal responsibility if (when) terrible things happen, and franchises most of its colony ships, but it provides an easy, safer way for people to start a new life while taking care of the thousands of logistical hassles that go into starting a colonial operation. This has also made it one of the largest landowners of unoccupied colonial land outside of the BRA, although they don’t do anything with the land beyond holding it and marketing it to future customers. Ultimately the operation realized it needed to create more attractive land than it had, so it began investing in terraforming services at scale. For a small additional fee, Star Partners also offers its security contractors to protect new colonies from natural and unnatural hazards of all types.

    The glossy informational brochures and “big-box” approach to colonization used by Star Partners are often derided by independent colonists and wildcatters, but their services are immensely popular among middle-class people without specialist skills, as colonization is often subtly promoted by the BRA as a “patriotic” alternative to military and public service. Middle-aged humans in their 60s to 80s beginning to grow tired of Bastion and Chrysanthemum’s crowded cities are the typical target demographic. Publicly listed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019 at 4:30 PM
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  16. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    Excellent stuff, @Thlayli !

    I hope to launch this sometime at the end of the week or early next week.
     
  17. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    The "Medium 15":
    This somewhat derogatory name refers to corporations that, while lacking the truly massive scope and ubiquitous presence of the Big Four, are still highly relevant leaders in the interstellar economy of human space. Each of the 15 are often in competition with (or allied to) one of the Big Four, as well as a vast array of hundreds of smaller ankle-biting rivals. Unlike the Big Four, the list of companies in the Medium 15 (and the number) changes every few decades with mergers, acquisitions, and occasionally violent corp-wars. All have at minimum a multi-stellar presence with small to medium-sized private fleets at their disposal. They cannot flaunt BFA regulations with as much impunity as the Big Four do, either, so they typically try to curry favor by toeing the party line and keeping their more illegal activities private.

    Ferrous Corp.: Mining and extraction
    Home Bao: Agribusiness, agricultural bioengineering, food production, genetics
    Cantilever Incorporated: Engineering, architecture, and construction
    Kovacs-Klein: Luxury transport (personal vehicles, planetary and space yachts), hotels
    Cormorant: High-end combat and stealth spacecraft, precision and exotic weaponry
    Wakizashi: Private military contractor, security services (high-end)
    Söze: Private military contractor, security services, information security (mid-range)
    Aldrin Enterprises: Surveying, exploration, and security services (budget-range), ship/station maintenance and repair
    Elysian Entertainment: VR gaming, casinos, live entertainment venues, pornography & prostitution
    Cachet: Fashion, design, landscaping and aesthetics
    Asclepius, Ltd.: Hospitals, emergency medical services, personal cloning and anti-aging
    Zetian: Industrial cloning, bioengineering, genetics, anti-aging and pharmaceuticals
    Bastion Federal Credit Union: Banking & credit services, insurance, investment strategies
    Alhambra: Real estate, construction, network services, media
    Placeholder: Civilian and personal AI design, construction, and customization, drones and robotics
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019 at 8:06 PM
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  18. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    @Thlayli Do you mind if I copy this wholesale over to the opening posts?
     
  19. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    No problemo, by all means.
     
  20. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    Please note I've renamed Pilot to Helmsman to differentiate properly from Fighter Ace.
     

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