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Capt. Muhammad Sarr blinked groggily, trying to bring the blur in front of his face into focus. He knew that the blue and white smear was Hector but convincing his eyes to work was a struggle. Fortunately, his first attempt at speaking went better than his first attempt at seeing. â€œWhat is it, Hector?â€ â€œWe have arrived, Captain.â€ Hectorâ€™s pleasant voice confirmed his suspicions despite his eyes unwillingness to discern for themselves. â€œWe are on the primary approach to Taraâ€™s orbit.â€ â€œGood.â€ Sarr rubbed his eyes and sat up, pleased that his abdominals and fingers were working better than his opticals. You always have the most trouble with your eyesight, he reminded himself as he held out his hands. A warm mug of coffee was placed in it, Hectorâ€™s cool, smooth fingers curling over his own until the personal robot was sure he had a secure grip. â€œWhat is the status of the Melbourne?â€ â€œThe ship is in good repair. I have a list of minor services that should be made to the parts that will be used once we make planetfall.â€ Hector helped him out of the white cryotube, stabilizing him when he slipped on the water that had melted off the outside of the module. â€œAdditionally, Commanders Yuan and Bellamy are waking well. I am uncertain as to Mr. Ferroâ€™s status as his personal assistant is tending to him.â€ The coffee was an assault on his tongue, a symphony of heat and taste on an empty stomach. â€œAnd the third Jeeves?â€ â€œLex is assisting Cmds Yuan and Bellamy.â€ His eyes were finally working and Sarr took a good look at the room he had slept in for most of the last decade. The long area held a triple row of cryobeds which stretched to the back of the room. He was in one of the menâ€™s areas; the only woman in sight wasnâ€™t really a woman. Sakura bent over another tube, her rosebud lips turned up in a smile as she helped Ferro sit. The engineer wasnâ€™t entirely upright yet as he hunched forward over his knees. Sarr glanced at Hector against, taking another sip before asking, â€œWhat of our guest?â€ Hectorâ€™s facial matrix allowed for minimal expression but Sarr caught a definite sense of disapproval. The robot didnâ€™t have emotions so he was merely mirroring Sarrâ€™s own irritation. â€œSleeping well, sir.â€ â€œKeep her that way.â€ Sarr turned and headed to change out of the shorts and t-shirt heâ€™d slept in. He had work to do. * * * Leonardo Ferro took a cautious sip of his hot tea, pleased when it stayed down. Waking from cryosleep always left him a little nauseous. Next to him, Sakura waited patiently with fresh clothing. â€œOh, I love traveling but I hate cryosleep so much.â€ â€œThe hangover is better than Temporal Distortion Jumping Sickness.â€ Sakura spoke with a wry smile, her programming aware that he preferred a flippant remark over somber ones. Leo tsked softly. â€œToo true.â€ He smiled fondly at her as he tugged at his boxers. â€œLetâ€™s get me presentable. I wouldnâ€™t want to scandalize people by showing up in my underwear.â€ â€œItâ€™s too bad. You do your best work when inappropriately dressed.â€ Despite her playful tone, his personal robot shook out his clothing, preparing it for him to wear. Leo chuckled as he traded his damp boxers for clean, unabashed about being naked in front of Sakura. â€œDo we have a list of repairs to do?â€ â€œHector has provided one and I uploaded it to your PD.â€ The robot smiled demurely. â€œI look forward to working with you again, Leo. Astrophysics is dull stuff.â€ â€œDonâ€™t let Bellamy hear you say that.â€ Leonardo chuckled as he stepped into his pants and reached for the slim device she held toward him. He turned it on and opened the list from Hector, scanning it quickly. Despite the distraction, he told her, â€œYouâ€™ll get a lecture. Iâ€™ll switch out your programming as soon as weâ€™re planetside, okay?â€ The robot made a face, her faux-skin allowing for a wide range of expression. â€œIâ€™m sure sheâ€™ll want your help taking readings as we descend. After all,â€ he laughed, affecting an accent like the UE woman, â€œweâ€™ll never get a chance like this again.â€ His personal bot rolled her agate-brown eyes. â€œThe other ships could take readings as well as I could. And I notice Hector and Lex didnâ€™t have to help her.â€ â€œLex is an older model and Bellamy didnâ€™t want it working on her equipment. Hectorâ€™s duties to the Melbourne took priority.â€ Leo looked up at Sakuraâ€™s soft sound of irritation. â€œSaku-chan, itâ€™s the agreement we made so you can be here.â€ â€œIâ€™m aware. I donâ€™t have to like it.â€ Sakura pouted cutely. She was silent until he pulled on his shirt. â€œYou havenâ€™t asked about the girl.â€ â€œI assumed she was still safely in cryo and youâ€™d tell me otherwise.â€ Someone might have thought that she was chastising him but Leo had programmed her; he knew she was acting in her role as an assistant, reminding him of important events. He peered at her inquisitively. â€œIs this you telling me otherwise?â€ â€œNo, Leo.â€ The fake woman smiled as she reached out and finger combed his damp hair away from his face. â€œThere. Presentable.â€ â€œThank god you didnâ€™t say professional.â€ Leo squeezed her arm before leaving. Sakura followed, breaking away at the hallway to the astrophysics sensor array. The personal assistant made a final face as Leo waved to her and continued to the bridge. * * * Darya Bellamy checked on Valentina one more time, studying her daughterâ€™s sleeping face. One of her biggest worries about coming here had been the children. Oskar and she had talked about it for hours before deciding to bring it up to the kids. Their reactions had been mixed but she was so proud that in the end, all three of them had seen this move as an adventure and a chance to be part of scientific discovery. With a final smile, she glanced over at Yuan and the other Jeeves. The other woman was having a harder time adjusting to the transition to wakefulness and Bellamy left to give her privacy. Moving through the halls, she went to the menâ€™s bay, pushing open the doors despite the rules on gender segregation. â€œCommander Bellamy.â€ Hector straightened from the monitoring screens on a cryo pod, its Euro-Russo flawless. â€œYou cannot be in here.â€ â€œSave it.â€ Her words came out sharp. â€œI am checking on my family.â€ Hectorâ€™s expression became mildly reproving. â€œThey are well, I assure you.â€ â€œI will assure myself.â€ The scientist brushed past the robot, knowing he wouldnâ€™t physically stop her. With all of security still in stasis or recovering from waking up, no one could stop her. Sarr or Ferro could try but the former was no doubt wrapped up in preparations for landing and the latter didnâ€™t have the balls to deal with her. She stopped first at Oskarâ€™s pod, smiling fondly at her sleeping husband. While glad to see heâ€™d arrived safely, a motherâ€™s worry propelled her to the next two tubes, peering inside them in turn. Dmitri and David slept peacefully, their frozen poses unconsciously mirroring each other. Bellamy felt something ease in her chest as she confirmed that her darling twins were safe. Sheâ€™d never admit it but if forced to pick a favorite among her children, it would be the twins. Not one of them but the two of them as a unified being. In her mind, they were almost the same: brilliant and charming children who never failed to amaze her. â€œCommander, Captain Sarr requests your presence on the bridge. You are needed for a pre-landing meeting.â€ Hector sounded flustered but Bellamy knew she was projecting onto it. It was a complex, mobile computer and nothing more. Instead, she glanced at her sleeping darlings one more time. Let Sarr wait just a moment longer. Nothing he wanted mattered more than her family. * * * Yuan finished her last stretch, straightening gracefully. Waking from cryo was harder for her than others and few things helped her transition faster than yoga. It left her refreshed and warm after her cold sleep. Ready to face Tara, she pulled on her combat gear. Lex stood nearby, its face set in a vague, pleasant smile. â€œDo you require anything else, Commander?â€ Itâ€™s Standard Chinese was perfect, of course. Yuan didnâ€™t expect anything else but the occasional mistake would make the constructs seem more human and less robotic. â€œIs my interpreter awake?â€ She couldnâ€™t quite stop her scowl at her question; had she known that she would need to know other languages when she was in school, she would have made time for them. Sheâ€™d planned on working for the PRA until retirement. The Zheng flu had altered those plans and forced her to remove her family from the stations. Tara had been the only option but her lack of foresight left her dependant on another person. â€œNo, Commander, he is scheduled to be awakened among the secondary personnel. Captain Sarr believed that Hector and I could serve you as translators until Mr. Zu is revived. The captain is also fluent in Standard Mandarin as well.â€ The Lexus-model Jeeves stared at her with infinite calm. Yuan stiffened, frowning tightly. Sarr knew she didnâ€™t trust a Jeeves and preferred her human translator. â€œShall we, Commander? The captain is waiting for us.â€ Lex gestured toward the door, the sweep of his arm as demure as any properly-trained servant. Yuan stalked out of the room, ignoring the robot. It followed in her wake, passive and subservient. When they passed the menâ€™s room, Lex broke off to start reviving the security team. By the time they landed, she needed to have her commandos on their feet and ready to go. She didnâ€™t know what waited for them on the surface of the planet but she would be prepared to protect this ship and crew. * * * Sarr nodded to Yuan as she arrived on the bridge last. Heâ€™d expected that; her files indicated that she had a hard time waking up from the cryosleep. She returned his greeting with a nod of her own, ignoring the Jeeves hovering over her station. Hector stepped back when she took her seat, relinquishing full control to her. The captain turned back to the screens in front of him, reviewing each one for data about their coming landing. This would be the hard part of the immigration to Tara. Though he was far from a devout man, he still whispered a prayer to Allah as he ran his gaze over the readouts. â€œCommander Bellamy, what is our status for landing?â€ The brunette woman twisted her chair around to nod to him. â€œAll our calibrations and vectors have been checked three times, once by me and twice by the computer. SciDiv is ready.â€ Her catâ€™s smile smile was smug and assured, and Sarr hoped that she was right in her self-assessment. He knew all these people but they hadnâ€™t had time to truly bond as a crew. That took more than one flight together, and theyâ€™d spent this one asleep. In the back of his head, he also knew that this was temporary. They were a crew only long enough to get to the planet and do the initial set up. He suspected they would drift apart once the remaining ships arrived and the permanent government for the settlement became established. Before Sarr could ask, Ferro spoke. â€œMy boards are green, or whatever color they should be. The ship is ready for the landing approach.â€ â€œLetâ€™s hope itâ€™s a landing, Mr. Ferro, and not just an approach.â€ Sarr covertly checked his restraints, making sure the silver straps were snug around his torso. â€œThe Melbourne can make multiple attempts at landing but I want to do this once, if at all possible.â€ Reminding himself that he was stating the obvious unnecessarily - he had a better crew than that - Sarr turned to Commander Yuan. â€œAre you prepared to make the landing?â€ He had learned Chinese many years ago so she was able to speak to him directly. â€œWe are. Lex is currently waking my initial task force. They should be ready by the time you are ready to unseal the doors.â€ â€œVery good.â€ He turned back to the console, noting the twenty tiny windows that monitored the few crew members who were awake. Sarr watched their soft green glows, all the vital stats hidden until he focused on them, drawing them up with a flick of his fingers. â€œHector, what is the status of the Melbourneâ€™s computers?â€ Hector was quiet for a second, the blue LEDs on his shoulder flashing. â€œThe Melbourneâ€™s internal systems are ready.â€ â€œCaptain, before we go, can we see it?â€ Ferroâ€™s request was not part of their procedure but after he spoke, Bellamy and Yuan looked at the captain hopefully. Sarr studied the hopeful expressions in front of him. In truth, when it was mentioned, he was just as eager as the other three, and he smiled as he tapped the controls to show a live image of the planet. It appeared on the largest screen in the room, the central bridge screen. The green and blue globe looked like old images of Earth. Sarr felt his breath catch in his throat at the sight. So far from our homeland, yet I feel right. I feel like I am in the right place. I feel like this is Home. Keeping the video feed active and on the main screen, Sarr turned back to his console. In front of him were the controls that would start their descent. Everything was ready; all that was left was to start the process. The moment seemed to require that he say something profound and Sarr had thought about it. He just hadnâ€™t been able to come up with anything good enough. Now though, the words came. â€œWelcome home, everyone.â€ The command crew smiled at him, unified completely for one moment. Sarr cleared his throat and said, â€œBeginning descent.â€ His fingers almost paused over the controls but he refused to hesitate on the cusp of their homecoming. He was one of the new people qualified to land the Melbourne but was the only one who had run through all of the disaster sequences in the simulator. The entire bridge crew had prepared for landing but not like he had. This was his last action as captain and he wanted it done right. The computer began to relay all pertinent data for their descent, a complex and varied rainbow of information. â€œWe are entering the thermosphere,â€ Bellamy reported calmly but a current of excitement ran through the room. â€œI am releasing the weather and communication satellites.â€ â€œThank you, Commander.â€ Sarr kept his focus on his screens, trusting that his science officer could handle the launches of the various platforms they were leaving in orbit. They lowered in silence for twenty minutes, each person attending to their station. They continued smoothly through the layers of atmosphere, passing through each on schedule. Bellamy broke the silence to announce, â€œWeâ€™re at fourteen kilometers, and just passed into Taraâ€™s troposphere.â€ A shudder ran through the ship and the captain looked at his science officer. The brunette answered his unasked question. â€œMinor turbulence, to be expected in the troposphere.â€ â€œStress to the Mel is well within tolerances.â€ Ferro sounded bored; Sarr shot a quick look at him and saw the man was slumped in his seat, hands on the arm of his chair instead of ready on his controls. â€œLook sharp, Mr. Ferro.â€ The captain didnâ€™t bother to hide his irritation. They couldnâ€™t afford any problems due to a lapse in judgment on the engineerâ€™s part. This was exactly why heâ€™d wanted a military engineer rather than a civilian. â€œI am sharp, Captain.â€ The engineer turned to give him a quick smirk. â€œTrust me, the ship is fine.â€ Sarr spared him a single hard glare before returning to his screen. â€œHumor me, please. Weâ€™ll soon be to the surface and where it is more interesting.â€ Ferro sighed heavily but did as asked, sitting up and taking a more active interest in the screens. The captain sighed in relief and returned his full focus to their chosen landing site. It was a low, flat plain above an underground aquifer. It was a bit higher above sea level than the area around it, making it ideal for keeping an eye on their surroundings. It was close to mountains and a large inland sea and not too far from the coast. Sarr was looking forward to claiming some beachfront property and building his final home there. Just two more kilometers to home-- â€œSir, we have a mass rising from the planetâ€™s surface.â€ Bellamyâ€™s voice cut through the quiet atmosphere on the bridge. â€œItâ€™s organic and itâ€™s on an intercept course to us.â€ â€œWhat is it?â€ Sarr pulled up the feed on the main screen, spotting the black dot instantly. It was growing as the Melbourne approached it. â€œI think itâ€™s indigenous flora - yes, some of the flying creatures reported in the survey.â€ She swallowed tightly. â€œThe reports never showed a flock of this size. Sir, I donâ€™t think theyâ€™re going to break off.â€ â€œAbort the descent.â€ They were only a kilometer from the landing site; the knowledge was bitter to him. So close yet so far. Sarr knew that the spaceship could take some damage but they knew nothing about these birds. If they flew through a flock, it could do quite a bit of damage. â€œComing up fifteen degrees--â€ â€œCaptain, theyâ€™re altering course to follow.â€ The alarm in Bellamyâ€™s voice spiked Sarrâ€™s heart rate. He didnâ€™t reply, merely adjusted their heading more. The computer offered several suggestions but he took one of his own, turning hard to starboard and increasing their speed. â€œSir, theyâ€™re still adjusting! Impact in twenty seconds!â€ Cursing under his breath in his native tongue, Sarr quickly set the computer to pick a spot for emergency landing in their path. We might not need it but-- The first impacts with the flock went unnoticed but the culmulative weight of the animals began to rattle the ship. Sarr ground his teeth as he considered the sheer number of birds hitting them to have that impact. â€œHull integrity is dropping!â€ Ferro called out from his station. Something boomed deep in the ship and the engineer cursed in Spanish. â€œTheyâ€™ve penetrated the hull!â€ Sarr reversed his attempt to ascend. A hull breach meant they couldnâ€™t escape into space again. â€œWhere!â€ â€œB-55, itâ€™s communications. But itâ€™s next to the engines and theyâ€™re attacking them.â€ Ferro looked toward him, his brown eyes wide. â€œWeâ€™re going down.â€ â€œI know.â€ Sarr kept his voice soft and calm. Panic wouldnâ€™t help, especially once warnings began to flare on the screen as more and more systems took damage. â€œWeâ€™re going to make a hard landing.â€ Dread filled the bridge. Theyâ€™d prepared and practiced for it but had hoped and prayed to avoid that scenario. Turning to his security officer, he ordered, â€œCmd. Yuan, please go down to the cryotubes that hold your security team and be ready to brief them.â€ â€œYes, Captain.â€ Her voice faded at the end as she hurried out of the room. Sarr fell back on every trick heâ€™d learned in the simulations to keep the Melbourne in the air and give her more time to prepare. With hostiles aboard, and more likely to attack once they had landed, she would need all the help he could give her. Despite his best attempts, the screens filled with the image of the new landing site. Sarr hoped it was safe enough, as it had been chosen by physics instead of his intent. That was his last thought as he pulled up the nose and they slammed into the earth of their new home.
System: The Fifth Column, Alpha Rules - Echelon: Veteran Genre: Survival/Sci Fi STs: Dawn, OOC and Malachite Drake (submit characters to both) Setting 2147. Humanity has exceeded the capacity of Earth due to population and the rise of the oceans. Several countries expended the materials necessary to protect their coastal cities, while others focused on relocation. The wealthy live planetside on Earth, while the Moonâ€™s lunar colonies have covered the satelliteâ€™s face. Numerous space stations around Earth, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt are in constant states of growth, expanding ever outward like a fungal organism. Sickness and disease have started to impact the stations, where the majority of humanity lives. Strange new illnesses crop up that prove more fatal than they should, given the level of medical expertise that exists. One immunologist, Dr. Dinesh Shankar, has a theory: most of humanity needs to live on a planet in order to thrive. â€œWhen denied access to a living ecosystem, the human system fails.â€ He calls it Environmental Autoimmune Collapse (EAC) and it gains popularity. To offset the population crush and the rise of EAC, the Five Great Alliances have put together a plan to colonize another planet. After the failure to terraform Mars, they search for and find a viable planet capable of supporting human life. Naming it Tara, they build and launch the first of the colony ships, named after the lost city of Melbourne. The Melbourneâ€™s task is simple. Make planetfall and use the supplies to set up the base colony city. Two years after the Melbourne left Earth, the Sydney launched, bound for Tara with the second wave of colonists. Two years after the Sydney, the Venice left. It has taken the Melbourne ten years to get to Tara and five more ships are staggered behind it, each two years apart. They are relying on the Melbourne to to have basic amenities set up at the landing site. The crew and passengers were chosen with this in mind. In 2157, the Melbourne arrives at Tara and the crew and colonists awaken from cyrosleep, ready to see their new home. Character Types The PCs should be "Average Joes" from sensible walks of life; while PC staples like security will be needed, players should also consider occupations like cook, horticulturalist and scientist. Other good choices will be engineer, pilot and doctor. A character that can do more than one task pretty well would also be advisable. If you can imagine a wagon train out West needing your PC's services, then you probably have a good concept. Families are not discouraged, but children smaller than ten are not allowed and would disqualify the entire family. The same for pregnant women; small children would face an unconscionably high mortality risk. PCâ€™s will have several background options. They should choose one of five political conglomerates: North America Alliance (NAA) - U.S.A., Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, and Australia; their focus was primarily on the relocation of displaced people. Only major coastal cities such as Miami, Vancouver, New York, etc, were saved. Some places. particularly in California, are built on top of the previous cities, creating Venice-like canals: Los Angeles is one of them. Many of those relocated were sent to the Moon, where the NAA has the largest (but not most populous) lunar colony. Primary language: English with some Indian and Japanese words and phrases adopted Naciones Unidas de AmÃ©rica del Sur (NUAS) - includes all of S. America, Central America (sans Mexico); only Rio de Janeiro was saved. People have been primarily relocated to the Casebres (Portuguese for hovels), the nickname for the NUAS space stations. Primary language: Spanish (which is a mix of our Portuguese and Spanish). Umoja Uislamu (United Islam, UU) - includes all of Africa and the Middle East; largely unaffected by the flooding, the UU rose to prominence and united the two areas through religion. While other faiths are allowed, the UU remains mostly Muslim. They are also generous, opening their borders to other people of Islamic faith if they need a place to go. They have limited presence on the Moon but have some of the largest and most spacious space stations with the lowest population densities. Primary language: AraSwahili Peopleâ€™s Republic of Asia (PRA) - includes everything in Asia and the subcontinent save Japan and India; China provided economic support in exchange for incorporation into their country. The Chinese empire now covers most of Asia. Relocation to the moon and the stations were the primary means of dealing with the flooding but the PRA was criticized for the extreme population densities they packed into the space stations and their lunar bases. Primary language: Standard Chinese Unionem Europaeam (UE) - Europe and Russia; This union of countries is modeled upon the old EU but taken to an extreme. Militaristic and expansionist, they have a firm presence on the Moon and are seeking to expand it. Their stations are often armed heavily, both internally and externally. Primary language: Russo-Euro In addition, the player should pick the type of place they grew up in. All of the alliances have a presence in each of the following places of origin: Earth - A character from Earth is generally more wealthy or someone in direct service to them. They are still middle to upper class status regardless of their job. They also have the least economic reasons to be on the colony and would be selected only if there were no other suitable candidates from the Moon or a station. The Moon - The Lunar Bases are more mixed, with lots of factory middle management. These are middle class people, able to escape the stations but not quite wealthy enough for the worst places on Earth. Space Stations - The stations are generally more lower class with a few scientists and their families. Given their higher levels of education, the scientists are often part of the leadership of the stations. Someone has to watch the desperate people. Important People Dr. Dinesh Shankar - NAA citizen, Los Angeles resident, Earth. The genius who outlined the EAC theory, Dr. Shankar is also the driving force behind the colonization effort. While heâ€™s been criticized for supporting the EAC theory, his critics admit that heâ€™s got the worldâ€™s best interests at heart. A genuinely good person, he has put his personal safety on the line by joining them on the Melbourne. His grown children remain on Earth. Capt. Muhammad Sarr - UU citizen, Lahb Allah, Lunar city. Born to a poor miner working for the Pretoria Mining Company, Sarr grew up dreaming of bigger things. He joined the military in the hopes of getting high enough rank to return to Earth, sacrificing family and all other goals to that ambition. Despite the UU holding the largest amount of land, he never managed to reach quite high enough for that reward. When the Tara colonization mission was announced, he pulled every string and called in all the favors he could to receive a posting. He was rewarded with the Captainâ€™s Chair on the Melbourne. Head of Security: Cmd. Ming-hua Yuan - PRA national, Shengchan PRA station resident. Lt. Yuan was never bothered by impoverished status of her family. She was born with an innate confidence that sheâ€™d improve her lot in life and draw her family up with her. She worked her way up through the ranks, both through hard work and between-the-sheets work. Those efforts paid off when she was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and became head of security for her station.. Not long after, many members of her family died in an outbreak of Zheng flu. She was the first pick for the head of security for the Melbourne, and the remaining members of her family are en route on the Venice. She brings no born children but three of her embryos are on ice for later use. The fathers of those embryos are the subject of much speculation. Head of Engineering: Leonardo Ferro - NUAS citizen, Rio de Janeiro resident, Earth. When the question of who should head engineering for the colony ship arose, Leonardo Ferro contacted the joint committee and volunteered. Brilliant and insane, the Brazil native is globally famous as a modern-day mad scientist; he even changed his name because his birth name was â€œboringâ€. Though it took some discussion and negotiation, he was awarded the spot despite his civilian status and the inclusion of his personal Jeeves, Sakura. Chief Science Officer: Cmd. Darya Bellamy - UE citizen, Budapest Station resident. Cmd. Bellamy comes from a military family. Her parents were disappointed that she chose to pursue science. They would likely change their stance if they knew their daughter had helped design a number of classified weapon systems. The UE was reluctant to let her go but her husband, Oskar Worthington, secured a berth and she insisted on joining him. Their three children, thirteen year old twin boys, Dmitri and David, and their eleven year old daughter, Valentina, are with them. The Melbourne Jeeves: Hector - Colony property. Hector was built for the Melbourne mission. His programmed personality is subservient and helpful, but someone buried a streak of wry humor in his code. His primary functions are to protect and aid the crew of the ship. Technology The following are major technological advances in the Tara setting: Transwave Reactor - TWRâ€™s have replaced nearly every type of power station on the planet and have made long-term colonies on the Moon and space station habitation possible. The TWRâ€™s use spent uranium rods as their fuel source and consume the entire rod over the course of centuries of power generation. This has created an energy boom for humanity, and while the rods will eventually run out, that timeframe is measured in thousands of years. Each colony ship is powered by a TWR and carries enough rods to see Tara through complete colonization of the planet through the next two thousand years. Cryogenics - This is one of two complementary technologies which allows the colonization of Tara to work. The ability to put people in an artificial slumber and awaken them safely allows the use of the jump engines without ill effect. The wealthy on Earth have also adopted cryogenic freezing as a â€œdeath alternativeâ€, choosing to freeze themselves upon the discovery of any terminal or incurable illness and wait until medical technology provides some sort of cure for them. The companies that provide this now popular service are derisively referred to a â€œpopsicle standsâ€ by those too poor or morally opposed to the practice. Jump Engines - A major breakthrough in transportation technology that occurred only about 40 years ago, jump engines allow a ship to break the light speed barrier. The energy cost is enormous, but TWRâ€™s have made it possible and the colony ships are the first massive, manned ships to use the engines. Smaller science vessels, usually exclusively manned by Jeeves, were sent out to explore the local cluster of solar systems shortly after the engines were designed. One of these vessels discovered Tara, leading to the development of the colony ships. Highly developed organisms (generally anything that actually sports a brain) must be placed in cryogenic suspension while the ship is in jump-space otherwise they suffer Temporal Distortion Jump Sickness. TDJS manifests as an inability properly order events in memory and also usually leads to hallucinations (overlapping memory episodes) and psychosis. The first cases of TDJS were experienced by the small crews of the earliest scientific vessels sent out with jump engines. Cryogenic freezing is now mandatory for all crews and passengers. Personal Robots - Though not artificially intelligent, these artificial personal assistants are a staple in most companies and the homes of the wealthy. They serve as nannies, assistants, security, and virtually any role which requires the ability to act without independent thought. A series of cascading programming allows them to act appropriately in almost all situations. They can take any shape, from nearly perfectly human to totally alien. Cybernetics - Continuous improvement of cybernetic technology over the past century has lead ubiquitous use of artificial organs and limbs. This has increased the average lifespan of those able to afford the cybernetics to around 100 years, with the later years also enjoying a much greater quality of life. The black market of cybernetics has also boomed, including technology that can influence minds through manipulation of brain waves, can addict users to direct-to-brain stimulation, and can fool both electronic surveillance and forensic science through various means. Each alliance has its own laws on what cybernetics are legal, restricted, or banned and in general the wealthier a person is the more likely they are to possess some sort of cybernetic enhancement. Weaponry - Though lasers are not yet practical for personal use armaments, the advances in aiming, ballistics, and engineering has created top of the line firearms. Metallurgy has progressed as well, giving rise to razor steel, a type of metal that holds an edge well for long amounts of time. Mace, tasers, and harmonic neutralizers are all available as well, though they may not be available to all civilians. Health - Medical personnel of the future have access to portable bio-scanners, bio-printers, and mini-chemical labs, allowing for diagnosis and nearly instantaneous medical care. In particularly, the bio-printers are utilized for food production, creating food with the perfect balance of nutrition without requiring the use of land to grow the food. Setting Equipment Examples When you construct your own equipment, please include the IC reasoning behind the mechanics so that we can verify it does what you want it to do. Glock 121AH - A superior sidearm, the latest iteration of the Glock comes with their Aim Help system. Using laser sights and a compensation system in the barrel, this pistol gives incomparable help aiming. Mechanics: +1d6 to 4 - Pistols [Athletics], -1 for Equipment; Cost: 3 Omnineer 5.1 - This hand held computer has a databank full of every technical data for every ship, tool, and system known to humans. The search function, TOC, and index are all state of the art, ensuring rapid location of the needed knowledge. Mechanics: +3 to 2 - Engineering [Craft] rolls, -1 for Equipment; Cost: 6 Fuji CyberEye - â€œBetter than Humanâ€ is Fuji Corporationâ€™s motto, and in the CyberEye, they hold true to that claim. For those who have lost an eye or donâ€™t mind replacing theirs, the CyberEye is a basic model that provides superior optical enhancement. Mechanics: +1d6 to visual 3 - Perception [Education] rolls; Cost: 7 Subaudio Harmonic Modulator - A black market item, this device creates inaudible sounds that alter brain waves. The alterations allow the targets to be more easily manipulated. Mechanics: +1d6 to 4 - Negotiate [socialize] rolls, -1 Equipment; Cost 3 Additional Options Cybernetics are allowed and should be built through Advantages. However, you donâ€™t get to buy them as equipment so they donâ€™t have the 1 AP cost break. Equipment specific to the game can be suggested by the players. The players do not start with access to their Fifth Column but may spend their starting points on the powers. They may also hold the powers for when the Fifth Column becomes available in play.
WebMD Factsheet â€“ Environmental Autoimmune Collapse (EAC) Overview This disorder has no known cause or cure. EAC progresses through four stages, which will be outlined below. The only treatments for EAC are immunostimulants and thus far, they have only worked temporarily. The cause of EAC is believed to be environmental and it has not been shown to be transmittable by any other means, including through blood transfusion. Most people exhibit their earliest symptoms in early adulthood but that average has been trending downward over the last several years. Children as young as twelve are now exhibiting Stage One symptoms. Symptoms Stage One is characterized by fatigue, with headaches showing among a percentage of the population that is exceptionally susceptible (roughly 3% of those affected show this greater reaction to the disorder). At this point, the disease is its most treatable, with metabolic boosters having the strongest effect. Exercise and high-protein diets are recommended for all who suffer from the disease. Patients can linger in this stage for a maximum of eight to ten years. Sufferers at Stage Two exhibit increased fatigue and a noticeable effect on all body systems. Digestion becomes trickier, necessitating a diet similar to Celiac Disease. The kidneys require medication to continue full function though that is not necessary to survival, and so. All bodily systems show decreased function. These symptoms vary in severity, increasing until the diagnosis of the next stage. The average duration of someone at this stage is three to four years. Stage Three requires advanced health care for all bodily functions. This is the worst stage for those with the disorder, as it requires invasive procedures such as dialysis and oxygen catheters. This stage usually requires hospitalization and EAC wards have become popular in the major cities. The body fails quickly at this point and usually third stage only lasts a year or so. The final stage is marked by a coma. The body lapses into full failure and death follows shortly.