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Copyright © 2005-2006 Runestone & Seed

Next: Life on Da Vinci


Journey To The Stars

The building and launching of the seed ships.

Having successfully colonized the Moon and Mars, Earth was looking further away for the purpose of spreading humanity wide across the universe. The recent development of ram scoop propulsion made the bold vision possible.

During the course of several years five huge spaceships were built. Each a kilometre long and filled with machines needed for terraforming a suitable planet into a habitable environment for humans. To act as shields against meteors and other hazards giant icebergs were mounted on the front of the ships.

The humans themselves were not to populate the ships. Instead DNA codes, sperms and eggs were carried along in cryocoolers leaving it to the TAU computers aboard to hatch the colonists at the right time.

TAU was also to contain any relevant Earthly knowledge. This proved to trigger a long and heated debate about what to store in the database. At the end it was decided to make the colonies idealistic societies based on community and co-operation, thus no references to violence, wars and the like was included.

After searching the universe for several years, the first suitable planet was spotted near the star Beta Hyi 24.4 light years from the Sun. Probes indicated that the planet had an atmosphere, water and living micro organisms. It was to be the destination of the first seed ship.

A giant leap towards a glorious future was taken.

The Perfect Planet

The landing and the uncooperative environment.

After travelling for 250 years the seed ship arrived at the planet in the Beta Hyi system.

To kick off the terraforming process the remains of the protective iceberg was slammed into the surface of the planet. In the crater TAU constructed a tower to house the terraforming machinery, and everything seemed to go according to plan.

Soon however, the weather on the planet started to worsen. In the beginning it was just a matter of frequent showers and windy weather, but during the following years it gradually became more devastating. Maybe the iceberg ramming had changed the planet a bit too much.

90 years after landing on the planet, the storms and hurricanes jeopardized the tower and the entire colony project. TAU determined to build a new tower further south and deep down in a canyon.

The old tower was stripped down and the ruins left as a reminder of the fragility of the project.

The Human Factor

Hatching of the first living beings and the naming of the planet.

As years went by TAU tried to keep the environmental hazards at bay around the new tower. After another 550 years, now 900 years since the seed ship left Earth, it was clear, that something extraordinary was needed, if the colony project should have any hope of surviving.

As a last resort TAU hatched 100 humans from the floatbeds. They were speed-grown and speed-trained in every known aspect of planetary engineering and all were full of enthusiasm and ideas.

The colonists named their new home planet Da Vinci in honour of human ingenuity. However, the ingenuity soon resulted in ideas and projects working counter to one another. The half-measures ended up causing even more disturbance in the planet ecological system.

Microbes and bacteria began infecting the tower, and the first colonist fell victim to the alien environment. The culprit was believed to be an unchecked mutation of a terrestrial bacteria released into the environment.

And more casualties were to come.

The Downward Spiral

Disaster upon disaster striking the colony.

Over the course of 30 years several disasters hit the colony tower.

It began with an enormous flash flood thundering down through the canyon and ramming the tower flooding the lower levels. It turned out that a black alga designed to raise overall temperatures through greenhouse effect unexpectedly had climbed a huge glacier to the east and managed to melt it. As the alga spread, flash floods became an annual event, and warning systems had to be constructed and put in place.

A few years later a storm-of-the-century slammed a huge rock into the tower top taking it almost clean off. The tower dropped almost a kilometre in height, and many colonists as well as valuable space and machinery were lost. It was feared that the incident caused substantial internal damage to TAU, soon to be indicated by an epoch-making event in the colony history.

Large clusters of floatbeds suddenly began growing humans at a rapid pace. It took some time before the colonists became aware of it, and it stirred controversy amongst them.

Everybody feared the consequences of a massive increase in population, and many argued that the process should be stopped. In the end a majority decided that human life were to be saved at all cost, and everything else was dropped in order to up the life support capacity.

In the span of two years almost 40,000 people was added to the population of a tower, which was never meant to be inhabited by humans. Resources were soon placed under an even more chronic strain.

The incalculable consequences led a small group of colonists to do the unthinkable. They ventured into the heart of the machine and started flushing floatbeds. The idealistic peaceful society suddenly had to deal with killings.

The perpetrators were soon called murderers. As a punishment they were all equipped with blockers, a program in their link that keeps designated doors, tubes, machines and tools from working for them. Facing a life as social outcasts some ended up taking their own lives.

Decision Time

The situation and challenges at game launch.

Almost 20 years after the tower top being ripped off, 750 years after landing on Da Vinci and 1000 years after launch from Earth the colony is in a sinkhole of trouble.

The environment is running amok, the population count is through the roof, social systems are outdated and creaking, resources are strained, flash flood warning systems are deteriorating, machinery and critical life-support systems are wearing down. The colony has yet to figure out where exactly TAU's presumed damage is, and meanwhile new humans keep popping out.

Meanwhile the colonists forget to coordinate their efforts, or the efforts become political issues. Everybody is devoted to their own ideas and work, and resources are wasted as people fail to co-operate.

Should they terraform or not? Make a habitat underground? Attempt to get off the planet? Scrap the air purifiers to make room for more people? Alter their genetic structure to be more resistant to the alien environment? Keep living in a suspended state unable to eat and have children? Time is running out?

Next: Life on Da Vinci

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