Started by TC, Feb 13, 2020, 04:09:47 PM
QuoteA L I E NR E D U XT V S E R I E S 4 S E A S O N S : 4 x 10 E P I S O D E SBACKGROUND AND SETTINGPlanet Thedus is in the farthest region of human colonisation in the galaxy, hard up against the interstellar border that is the Outer Veil. This sector is the latest to be opened up to commerce and other private interests. Thedus is the region's first, and therefore oldest, colony of agri-farmers. In orbit around Thedus is a large space station called Thedus Highpoint. It serves to intercept all space traffic passing to and from the Outer Veil and is owned and run by the Spaceway Authority, an arm of Earth's United Federal Government. Day to day activity aboard the space station is the comings and goings of colonists, explorers, survey teams, exoplanetary miners, and scientific researchers of all kinds.Among the many occupants on Highpoint are the four major corporations that dominate humankind's present day space-borne civilisation:1. Weyland-Yutani Corporation (W-Y)2. Conglomerated-Amalgamate (Con-Am)3. Tyrell Corporation4. Seegson Industries1. Weyland-Yutani Corporation specialises in off-world colonisation. They are a major space vehicle, terraforming, and habitat manufacturer for that purpose. Colonisation is a burgeoning industry. Now that FTL (Faster Than Light) space travel is possible, Earth's disenfranchised minorities can escape the persecution they feel subjected to by general society, and are able to set up their own cultures on their own planets far away from their fellow humans, much like the exodus of the Pilgrim forefathers from Europe to North America. All they need is the money to mortgage the planetary real estate and other set-up costs. (W-Y operate a very profitable financing division to facilitate this.) There is no vetting process determining who is, and isn't, allowed to build a new society on any of the new worlds, so many of them are made up of rather fringe cultures. However, if they wish to benefit from Colonial Administration's assistance, they must demonstrate their allegiance to the United Federal Government's constitution and laws. Enforcement of these laws is the responsibility of every colony's local police unit. These are, in turn, under the auspices of the Federal Marshalls of the Federal Security Agency. The FSA has posts dotted around the galaxy (one of them situated on Thedus Highpoint). Where an even greater use of power is required - for the interests of peace and security - the Spaceway Authority has a military force of Colonial Marines.2. Conglomerated-Amalgamate designs and manufactures the FTL engine known as the hyper-engine. This is what makes W-Y's colonisation business viable. Hyper-engines achieve FTL capability by "phasing" the space vehicle to and from hyper-space. Hyper-space travel, as opposed to normal-space travel, is what makes a journey to Earth's neighbouring systems last only a few weeks. Hyper-space is a higher dimensional space through which the FTL ship travels by navigating through "wormholes." These are a natural network of connective passageways like an interstellar canal system. Because wormholes are fixed in their crossing points (that is, the doorways where a phasing ship can jump to or from hyper-space), a typical journey will require a ship to make several hops in and out of hyper-space, jumping from wormhole to wormhole, until eventually arriving at its destination. Prior to the hyper-engine, humans had relied on the warp-engine for space travel. The warp engine is an older technology that boosts spaceship speeds to 95% of light speed, and by which the journey to the nearest star system would take about 5 years. As an example: The journey time from Earth to Thedus, which is 26 light years away, by the older warp-engines would be about 28 years. With the newer hyper-engines, this same trip would take 3 weeks.In actuality, modern FTL ships contain both types of space drive: The hyper-engine for hyper-space travel, and a warp-engine for normal-space propulsion. Examples of normal-space usage is the transit from one wormhole to the next, and also intra-system travel, like a trip from Earth to Mars. Also, a ship will have an additional assortment of chemical and anti-gravity engines for planetfalls and lifts, and close-in manoeuvring.Wormhole crossing points must be marked by an XNB (Cross-dimensional Navigation Buoy), another item of Con-Am technology. Without an XNB to home onto, a spaceship in hyper-space would be unable to locate the crossing point to exit from and may well be lost in hyper-space forever. Exploration of new parts of the galaxy require explorer ships to use slower warp engines to travel to those regions first, a journey that could take decades. Upon arrival, they would then survey the region for a suitable crossing point and anchor an XNB there. With the XNB in place, FTL ships can then follow. But there is another problem, a problem so huge it severely cripples human civilisation from evolving into a true star-travelling species: Hyper-space is deadly to all known life. Thus, for an organism to survive in hyper-space it needs the protection of a stasis field. Humans (and other life) receive the protection of the stasis field by entering a stasis capsule, in which the occupant goes into a state of suspended animation known as hyper-sleep. But there is a complication: Prolonged exposure to a stasis field has the side effect of permanently corrupting the cellular process of meiosis, rendering infertile all higher organisms that propagate via sexual reproduction. This means all lifeforms more complex than bacteria are unable to reproduce once they've experienced a build up of stasis exposure totalling more than a year. To summarise: Stasis is necessary to survive hyper-space, hyper-space is a necessary part of FTL travel, and FTL travel is what makes colonisation of the galaxy economic and viable. The question is: How to maintain reproductive fertility while migrating the galaxy? There are a few partial solutions to this problem: A space-faring couple (wanting to eventually raise a family) can take the slow journey to their destination via a warp-engine ship.Or they could take the faster - and more expensive - hyper-space option, but have their children before leaving Earth. However, this merely delays the problem of infertility for the next generation to solve, since those children will, of course, be infertile.The final option is for the wealthy only: They can voyage via hyper-space but have children by a means other than conception: Namely, cloning.3. Tyrell Corporation is the master cloner. They offer a service to childless couples made sterile by excessive stasis exposure, in which a genetic engineer will artificially duplicate the donor's exact genetic makeup, resulting in an otherwise normal zygote/embryo/foetus. This is implanted in the mother's womb for a normal term of pregnancy, and once born will grow at the normal ageing rate. Eventually, as an adult, the clone will be identical to his or her donor. Tyrell is the only company that has perfected this technology and as such is paid handsomely for its services.(One of W-Y's greatest ambitions is to solve the stasis-induced infertility problem and thereby boost the popularity of colonisation. Putting Tyrell out of business along the way would be an added bonus.)4. Lastly, there is Seegson Industries, dominant in robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence). The pinnacle of their work on an industrial scale is the primitive, but indispensable, "Working Joe" robot.There are rumours that other more advanced androids exist (perhaps as experimental prototypes only), that are indistinguishable from humans. Besides robotics, Seegson is successful in a few other industries, also electronics related, where their AI, operating systems, and other computing technologies, are deeply embedded in society. For example, Seegson run an interstellar communications operation widely used throughout colonised space called the commRAT (Communications Relay Automated Transporter). Since space vehicles with their FTL technology can fly much faster than radio waves, interstellar messages are radioed only as far as a space-borne communications drone: the commRAT. This is an unmanned, miniature space vehicle that records a package of messages and flys (via hyper-engine) to its destination, navigating the various hyper-space wormholes automatically. On arrival, it radio broadcasts the messages and then goes into a holding state awaiting receipt of a new batch of messages. So it's a kind of latter-day courier pigeon. Seegson's competitors also manage their own private commRATs for security reasons.Incidentally, radio broadcasts are not possible in hyper-space, so spacecraft are completely incommunicado when FTL. The rivalry between these four corporations has reached intense "cold war" levels. Industrial espionage verges on military. The power they exert by commercial influence equals, or even exceeds, that of the United Federal Government and its various sub-authorities.
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