Chapter 1: Planetfall

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Chapter 1: Planetfall

Post  Siggmund on Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:32 am

"Good morning, Captain Andreysan. The time is currently 2:34 hours, Earth time. The date is April 7th, 2543."

As the tube hissed around her, Helena fell forward out of her Cryo-Pod. As the tube slithered from her mouth, she fell to her hands and knees, dry heaving. Even though her body was wracked with pain, shuddering as it strained to expel nothing but bile dust, a terrified thought drifted through her mind.

She had been Flash-popped. That meant emergency.

As she struggled to find something to replace the embarrassingly skintight suit she was wearing, the Computer chimed at her once more.

"I apologize for waking you, Captain, but there is a situation beyond my capacity to handle. I require you upon the deck as soon as possible."

No time for anything fancy. Leaving the suit on, she quickly threw a jumpsuit over it. It was uncomfortable as hell. Slippers. Running.

She arrived at the bridge just as her pilot did.. He looked about as crappy as she did, but even moreso... apparently, even cryo-stasis couldn't stop a 5 o'clock shadow. As they dashed to their positions, they were granted a breathtaking sight.

On the viewscreen ahead laid a new world... their salvation... the safe-keep for the human ra-... no. Wait. Something was wrong.
The atmosphere. It was thick. Soupy. That red-orange tint... that wasn't oxygen. What the hell? Did they get lost?

"Computer! Full report. Where the hell are we? Did we stop short of the destination?"
"No, Captain. We have arrived at the destination."

"Then... then what the hell is this? Did we miss the planet?"

"Negative. This is the Planet, Captain. This is the nature of the emergency. I have performed preliminary scans. The atmosphere is toxic. It's pressure is around 16 atmospheres. Temperature on the day side: 176 Degrees Celsius.
Analysis: This planet is incapable of supporting life, Captain."

Helena stood on the deck, a grimace plastered on her face. Cortez was aghast.

"Wha... I mean... do we keep looking?"

"Negative. Resources are low. I have already recycled much non-essential cargo in order to continue operations."

"But... if there's no world... then what..."

"Cortez!" she snapped. "To your post! Computer! Perform a full diagnostic of the system. I don't care how much juice you pour out, we aren't in hostile territory. We aren't in ANY territory."

The viewscreen flared to life as the flabbergasted Cortez ran for his seat. Her face was set with grim determination as the Solar data came in... other stellar bodies, debris, moons, Solar Statistics(A viable Yellow), orbits, ships, asteroi---


"Captain. I have picked up other spacecraft in the vicinity; Seven other Exodus-class cargo ships. They appear to have entered on approximately the same vector as us."

"Can we hail them?"

"Negative. Communication equipment was non-essential."

Dammit. Stupid V.I's.

"Captain. I am picking up a stellar body within close proximity to us. It appears to be orbiting The Planet. I am scanning now."

"Put it on vidscreen."

...By any other standard, it would be an ugly little dirtball: a mass of rock and liquid, not worth another glance.

But there was blue. And there was green. And there was even a bit of white in the sky.

"Computer, begin scans. Bring us around, full Burn."

"Aye Aye... but... we're running on fumes, Captain."

"Then make them count. And don't miss the planet. That's an order."

"Scan complete. Atmosphere is a Carbon-Dioxide/nitrogen mix, with trace amounts of over 14 other elements, one of them Oxygen. Readings on the landmass and bodies of liquid are being disrupted by interference on the surface. Day temperature is reading at 5 degrees Celsius. Pressure is estimated to be approximately 2 atmospheres of pressure."

There was a pause.

"It's not perfect, but it'll do. Cortez, bring us into orbit, I want a..."

"Captain, I'm afraid that would be a disastrous choice. I do not have the fuel for sustained orbital operations at this point. We must make a landing."

She snapped her eyes on the planetary readout. On the edge of the Viewscreen, a little fuel icon winked distressingly.

"We must initiate emergency landing sequences. ETA for atmospheric entry at optimal rate is in T-5:01... 5:00... "

5 minutes. Five measly minutes to determine the fate of a Hundred thousand.

It took her only one.

"There," she said, with absolute confidence. "Put us down there."
"Are... Are you sure? I mean..."

"This isn't a committee, Helmsman. Put us down There."

"Aye aye, sir."

As she streaked towards the Moon, she wondered if she had made the right choice.

":05... :04 ... :03... :02.... :01... :00..."


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Re: Chapter 1: Planetfall

Post  Siggmund on Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:06 am

Welcome to the First Chapter of A Brave New World. This chapter will cover, step by step, the coming of these people to the new world, their initial struggles, and just how they will form the stepping stones to the rejuvenation of the human race.

In other words, the basics.

There are some elements of gameplay that will be temporarily delayed until after the first turn: Explain them how you will. The reason I dedicate this first part is simply to proactively avoid the confusion that arose last times ruleset, and make sure that everyone is comfortable with them by the time we get to the more complicated stuff.

In addition, these chapters will allow me to tell the story of the ESA, so that I can get a chance to do some empire building too.

The first order of business, of course, is a matter of picking where to land. You can see the Map of World above... Yes, it's a bit teeny- tiny, but then again, that's what your sensors are giving you.
Your respective heads of state are in much the same condition as the ESA... Ship's low on fuel, low on power, and can just barely chug to the nearby moon of this worthless planet. They've got about 5 minutes to choose where they'll land. You, of course, have more time, but for them, it's quite dramatic.

Some criteria to look for:
Green: Green is good, lemme tell you what. It likely means food, and that's something everyone needs.
Blue: Blue is also good, because your people and industry needs water. You'll need to aim to either be adjacent to a lake/ocean/sea, or right on top of a river tile, so they can get some of that good stuff.
Rounded: Looks like the hills and mountains of this place are pretty rounded, huh? Well, here's a hint: The bigger the round, the more likely it's got tasty minerals. Try to aim for some rounded spots also, if you can manage.
Brown, open areas: Mostly worthless, but with great long-term potential. Keep these in mind, as they are your source of later expansion.

Notice all those tiny squares? Yup, those'll be in use. However, at this level, they're way too tiny and bent to make any use of them. Instead, use this much larger coordinate system to help your landing... Just give me the coordinates, BY PMING THEM TO ME, NOT POSTING THEM HERE(Just making sure people notice), and a landmark you'll want to land by, and I'll make it so. Don't worry about not knowing everything... Your nav-system is pretty sure it wants the human race to survive, so it won't dick you over on landing spots. There is one problem, though... If you and another person opt for the same spot, or a spot that's way too close, you'll end up veering off at the last minute, and scatter to nearby. So, if a spot looks particularly juicy... well, someone else might think so, too. It's kinda like the prisoner's dilemma.

Happy Landings!


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Re: Chapter 1: Planetfall

Post  Siggmund on Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:31 pm

Helena woke up on the slanted floor.

"Ow," was about all she could manage.

She picked herself up gently, minding the incline. The landing had been a little bit harder than the ships specifications had called for... a natural consequence of having to spend the last half minute before impact in complete freefall. The viewscreen had a big fissure through the center, so that was probably broken. Cortez was still strapped into his seat... She figured she could let him sleep a little longer.

"Computer," she said, wincing. "Report."

It took the typically punctual computer a moment to collect itself.

"On-line, captain. Structural damage throughout 43% of the ship's hull, but the damage is minor. All internal systems are still operational. Landing struts are being brought online... Ship will right itself now."

The whole bulk groaned a bit as the floor righted itself. Helena, still mindful of her injuries, tested the weight of her arm... Hrm. Gravity felt like Earth.

"Computer, begin scans of the planet."

"Already begun, captain. Automated systems are already underway. Those terra-drones that were not recycled are currently modifying the nearby landscape to accomodate human life. We should receive data from them presently."

A thought was ringing around in her head... What was it? Oh!

"Computer, what the heck's going on? There were at least seven other ships out there. I thought only Earth had knowledge of this planet. Who are they?"

"I am uncertain, captain. I am unable to transmit: The atmospherics and magnetic flux on this planet are disrupting communication. Nor could I communicate with the other ships while in orbit. I was tracking their descent, however, and have a rough estimation of landing coordinates.

"Give it. Route it to the Captain's chair."

"Affirmative, captain."

Helena considered the image.
"Computer, what do these colors mean?"

"Nothing, captain. They are randomly color coded to indicate possible radius of descent for any given colony ship."

"And you can't raise them? Get through to them?"

"Negative, captain."

Helena sighed.
"Fine. Another time then. Computer, give me our best birds-eye view of outside."

"Affirmative, captain."

The chair's readout flickered for a moment. Then;

Helena scowled. "Computer, what is this? Are those forests? And... blue crystals?"

"I'm sorry, captain. We have no overhead drones to spare toward creating a more accurate representation. I have created a simplified version that represents the planetary surface with certain keys. The forests, as you see them, are actually large vegetative growths: Although they bear some resemblance to trees, they are not complete analogs. The crystal formations indicate caches of mineral deposits I have detected not far beneath the surface; the yellow orb is indicative of especially large deposits. I will have more data on these when geo-drones reach them for core-sampling. The towers are a crude representation of the estimated final range of the basic terraformation.

I do have some preliminary results available, if you would like to review them."


"Native vegetation appears to be carbon-based: Sampling of the smaller vegetative species has shown that they contain no compounds poisonous to humans. The larger vegetative species is not poisonous, but is comprised of heavy fibers that are unsuited for digestion."

"But we'll have a steady source of organic carbon. Good. That'll work well for building material, and a reinforcing agent"

"The crust is by and large a mix of iron oxide, calcium, silicon, and nitrogen. Much of it is free-floating, as there is little soil as of yet except in areas of heavy vegetation. Unfortunately, the abundance of iron oxide has locked much of the atmosphere's oxygen.
I am now receiving some hydrology reports... the river we are settled on appears to be freshwater, apart from an abundance of the previously mentioned free-floating particulates. I am detecting some simple multicellular lifeforms, but if more complex ones exist, they have not populated this particular stream. There is..."

"Enough, enough. I get the picture. Anything dangerous in the atmosphere? Apart from the lack of Oxygen, I mean."

"Scanning... Preliminary scans show no caustic, poisonous, or bio-hazardous elements that could kill an adult human. Radioactivity is slightly higher than Earth norm, but within human survivability. It may be concluded that, with adequate face protection, air supplies, and protection against the cold temperatures, long term operation outside should carry little hazard."

"Finally, some good news."

She leaned back in her chair, staring at the crude map. Mineral resources... Water... Food... Carbon... As much as a fledgling colony could ask for. She HAD made a good choice. That sent a warm feeling up her spine.

Cortez began to stir. Well, spew obscenities, to be more precise.

"Computer," Helena continued, " how long until preliminary terradrones have completed their use cycle?"

"Approximately one Earth week, captain."
Helena stared at the map. Yes. Yes, they could make this work.
"Good. Then we follow the plan. Begin a slow thaw of Medical assistance, and then our first 10,000. By tomorrow, I'll want a preliminary concept for urban design for the colony."

"Of course, captain. What shall I entitle the project?"

Helena paused. A name popped into her head.

"As good as any. Name the project 'Plymouth'. And get me manifestos for the first 10,000. I'll need to determine workload as soon as possible."


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Example Turn:

Post  Siggmund on Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:59 pm

Now, let's look through a year in the life of Captain Helena Andreysan. Within a short time, Terrabots are going to give her her starting territory, which is defined as any square that on or inside that rectangle of sensor towers. She's doing pretty well for herself: Counting up all the terrain squares she has, there are 12 Vegetation squares, one of which is under Plymouth, so 3 of her population units can work it. As such, she is set for food for a long, long time. She's got 3 forests, which should allow for carbon production at a reasonable rate. She has 4 light mineral deposits, and 1 heavy mineral deposits.

...Okay, first things first. We need to be able to tell what square is what. Measuring by a global system would be madness... the place is just too big. Instead, let's declare our little Plymouth as Cartesian coordinates 0,0...

There we go.
You'll notice that the deposits are numbered: This is so that we can keep track of their contents, their strata, and how much remains in each strata. Of course, the grid in this case is just for show... You won't have to have big purple numbers cluttering up YOUR map. You will need to number deposits though.

Helena's goal is to produce a new settlement as quickly as possible: having all her people centered in one place is just asking for trouble. She even has a nice little spot picked out at 2,-2. A new settlement takes plenty of stone, carbon, and a Fissonable unit: although you guys will start with some equipment, let's assume that the poor ESA has nothing in their bays except enough food to feed their starting population.

However, before we concern ourselves with minerals or carbon, Helena needs to get the most vital thing out of the way first: Food.
We can assign a maximum of 2 units of population to any piece of terrain without a stronghold. This means that, with 12 vegetation squares, Helena could assign up to 24 population to collecting food from vegetation: Since Plymouth settlement is providing a +1 worker cap, this actually increases to 25. We don't need even near that much.

A vegetation square will yield 4 food per population unit working it, and we have 10 population to start with. To feed them, She'll task 4 units of population to gather food: come Fall, that'll provide 16 units of food, more than enough.

With that essential task out of the way, Helena will now check those geological reports...

H. Minerals 1: Strata 1: metals, 37 Units
Strata 2: metals, 36 Units
L. Minerals 1: Strata 1: PUE, 39 units
L. Minerals 2: Strata 1: metals, 38 units
L. Minerals 3: Strata 1: metals, 37 units
L. Minerals 4: Strata 1: PUE, 32 units

Plenty of metals... Hardly surprising, considering the planet. However, nothing particularly helpful to her right now... she could spend some manpower and time searching deeper, but right now what she really needs is Stone. As such, she tasks 2 Pop to mining for Stone on the H. Mineral deposit, for the 4 stone she'll need.

She has 4 population units left: She plops all of them down on two of her forests, which should help her along her way to getting all the carbon she needs.

All of her Pop units assigned, there's nothing left for her to do this season.

Unlike MD, however, this is not the end of her story. The season rules are made to be concise and completed in one turn. Therefore, we continue to Summer.

Summer! Nothing happens during summer. How dull.

Fall strolls around, and she collects up her total resources gathered: From the vegetation, 16 units of food, from the H. Mineral deposit, 4 stone, and from the Forests, 16 units of Carbon. Since Fissionable materials is the effective currency of this Brave New World, she goes ahead and jams 15 units of Carbon into her Matter Converter, and receives a Unit of Fissionables in return.

Now is also when she allocates food to her people. Seeing no immediate reason or benefit in hoarding food, she goes ahead and gives all 16 to the people, hoping to stimulate growth. Unfortunately, she doesn't have any resources with which to craft anything yet, so she has 10 units of dudes doing nothing. This will not stand: There's really no time for people TO slack off. As such, she orders half of them to grab their spectrometers and flashlights: they're going to survey those Mineral deposits. Unfortunately, she's got nothing to do for the other 5, so they get to slack off a bit.

She puts 1 population unit on each mineral deposit: Unfortunately, the Survey action can only go one strata deep per use as new shafts are dug and veins prepared. However, that action takes 2 seasons, so we won't find out about what's there till next spring.

Winter comes, and everyone freezes their ass off. Hooray, GOD It's COLD GRRARG STUPID DUSTBALL

And that's one turn on Planet... Well, I guess we haven't really named it yet. However, let's not name it during the Winter. It might be a bit pessimistic. However, we are well on our way to building our second settlement. And from there... well, who knows?


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