Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Demonseed Elite wrote:
Arenamontanus, I didn't mention it explicitly, but I changed Silttown to Silt Town because I thought the later was a bit less awkward to read. Not a big deal, though, I figure those are details that can be worked out down the line if we compile all these pieces.

Ah, good point. I'll change that in the future.

BTW, do any of you mind if I start putting together the texts we have crafted here into a bigger PDF to put on my site? (original authors of course acknowledged) It would be the ongoing "Meltwater sourcebook".

My next text will likely be about some of the other local companies, including the building contractors raking in money from the boomtown.

Extropian

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Arenamontanus wrote:

BTW, do any of you mind if I start putting together the texts we have crafted here into a bigger PDF to put on my site? (original authors of course acknowledged) It would be the ongoing "Meltwater sourcebook".

I don't mind at all. I think that would be great!

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

I just downloaded the digital elevation maps from
http://gis.ess.washington.edu/uwmola/download/index.html
but the resolution near Meltwater is not that great - the canyon hardly shows up. Still, might be useful for making some renderings of the general panorama. (The real thing is the HiRISE data, http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/dtm/ but they only exist for a few places since it has to be computed through an expensive computer vision method)

One interesting thing I noticed that might be worth remembering: the floor of Niger Vallis is about a kilometre higher than the floor of Dao Vallis.

The Cloudtop falls are actually impressive. Even more so since the low gravity makes the water move slowly - when it is windy it spreads out into broad veils. I assume the utility water for the orchards are sent down in pipes, while the falls are aesthetic and to maintain a swath of terraformed land. In the winter, the water in the falls turns to ice, producing a wall of ice that is nearly irresistible for climbers - and quite deadly.

I like the HiRISE site, they even have a suggestion box for where else to image. Someone named polita has already suggested imaging the Meltwater valley:
http://www.uahirise.org/ESP_013133_1445
(the top picture just shows a tiny part, click on the links) You can see that it is not that straight, but actually snakes a fair bit. This is likely a good start to draw street maps on!

You can get some impressive dust and snow avalanches (or at least clouds) blowing down from the Dao and Niger valley edges when the winds are right. Here is a polar version:
http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/HiBlog/2010/03/10/springtime-for-avalanches/

BTW, some places in Hellas look positively Lovecraftian:
http://www.uahirise.org/ESP_016022_1420

Extropian

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Arenamontanus wrote:

One interesting thing I noticed that might be worth remembering: the floor of Niger Vallis is about a kilometre higher than the floor of Dao Vallis.

The Cloudtop falls are actually impressive. Even more so since the low gravity makes the water move slowly - when it is windy it spreads out into broad veils. I assume the utility water for the orchards are sent down in pipes, while the falls are aesthetic and to maintain a swath of terraformed land. In the winter, the water in the falls turns to ice, producing a wall of ice that is nearly irresistible for climbers - and quite deadly.

Yeah, I spent a lot of time looking at maps this past weekend and touring around in Google Mars and I got the impression that the Dao Vallis side could make for an impressive waterfall. I couldn't resist putting it in. I figured the water for the orchards was probably collected at the bottom of the first major waterfall and then distributed through irrigation piping.

It looks like there are some lower plateaus in Dao Vallis after the first major drop, so I thought maybe the primary waterfall then splits into a few secondary falls on its way down to the valley floor. Those secondary plateaus could be home to greenhouses, orchards, and terrariums.

Arenamontanus wrote:

I like the HiRISE site, they even have a suggestion box for where else to image. Someone named polita has already suggested imaging the Meltwater valley:
http://www.uahirise.org/ESP_013133_1445
(the top picture just shows a tiny part, click on the links) You can see that it is not that straight, but actually snakes a fair bit. This is likely a good start to draw street maps on!
http://www.uahirise.org/ESP_016022_1420

I love that grayscale high-res image! That's really amazing.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Good jobs all around, so far. We need to compile this all in a PDF or something, update it once a month or so and put it up for download.

Also, since children have been mentioned, I might as well add something along that vein...

The Sandman

All children have bogeymen. Even children who can visualize an AR overlay of their rooms when they close their eyes, and see in so many spectrums as to make darkness a non-issue, will leap at noises. Their minds conjure fearful creations that could not possibly exist... Could they?

The Sandman is one such bogeyman; a man made of ice, wrapped in a robe of Martian sand, who wears an antiquated breather mask. He is said to lurk in the deserts, engaging in all kinds of mischief and murder. Sometimes, he devours whole caravans in his cloak and sends them into terrible realms of nightmarish horror. At others, he is a mischievous prankster, who merely toys with prospectors by stretching out his icy limbs to incredible lengths to make them think he is an ice depost. Mostly, he just eats children. It all depends on who tells the story.

Many children around Meltwater spoke of the Sandman, but far more now than they ever did before, since the tragic death of Chen Tao four years ago.

Chen Tao was a young boy of the age of three, the son of a Layabout and a local woman, born in the old fashioned way. One day, when playing with friends near his father's camp, Chen wandered off on his own. His friends gave mixed accounts of what came next, but what is clear is that Chen walked of his own accord into a strong-flowing river. It is presumed he was dragged under or taken by a large piece of ice and carried down stream, where was caught in the intake of a small hydroelectric generator and dragged into its ice-crusher. When the boy's body was recovered, his cortical stack had been too badly damaged to recover anything but a vapor, and, being so young and from such a poor family, Chen had not yet received backup insurance.

By far, the most disturbing part of the incident is the discovery in the aftermath. The last recorded thought in young Chen's mind was a single word, played over and over again in his calm voice.

Sandman.

Since that time, there has been an explosion of fear amongst many low-income residents of Meltwater. Though few dare voice it openly, many are fearful for their children's safety. They scoff at the notion that the death of Chen was anything more than an accident, but, at the same time, they secretly wonder just what led the child to walk into the dangerous waters. They calm themselves, suggesting he just walked off... And yet...

Amongst the Layabouts, the Sandman has become a figure in art, used as a sort of folk demon. Paintings of a tall, lean figure with a breather mask for a face, a robe of sand, and long, crystalline arms has begun to grace the walls of Layabout caves, with varying degrees of artisanship throughout. Few take it seriously, but there are those who will avoid touching or walking near such an image, and there is already a small but growing collection of grainy, blurry XPs that claim to contain actual footage of the Sandman, as well as one rather low quality horror XP based around the legend.




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Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Very nice! I love how that entry adds some local mythology to Meltwater.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Thank you kindly, glad you liked it! I'm sort of limited on time at the moment, got a news broadcast to do at 2, but when I get back, I'm thinking of detailing a Layabout hideout or a very disappointed synthmorph rights activist ("Damnit, stop being so tolerant!").




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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Nabar Kozyra Machan Inc.

Construction engineering firm based in Lockyer, down in the Hellas basin. NKM is a major contractor for digging channels, building dams, roads, protective coverings and other parts of the terraforming infrastructure. In Meltwater NKM is a big employer, second only to HAMC.

NKM is rapidly growing in size and importance in Hellas. Being independent of the Floating World frees it from the usual bureaucracy and political uncertainty: whoever is going to win that struggle is going to need NKM engineers and workers. CEO Rex Talamas is famously optimistic about the future of the company. The current upswing around Meltwater has made the local division the top performer, and being chief of the Meltwater office has become a hotly sought after position. Chief Gilma Schnitman fought tooth and nail among other corporate climbers to become boss and she intends to keep her job and excel no matter what.

Most of NKM work is done using remote consultants and indentured infomorphs planning and designing operations, followed by rapid deployment of a mobile infrastructure of construction engineering systems - everything from massive terrain transport vehicles to mobile nanohives to large teams of tool-synthmorphs run by indentured workers. Like HAMC NKM sleeves workers in fairly nonhuman synthmorphs in exchange for better pay or shorter contracts, a practice the IWA and other unions abhor. The joke is that chief Schnitman is the only NKM employee in Meltwater who breathes... but not even she has a heart. Actually NKM has a fair amount of biomorphs and non-indentured workers, but its opponents like to paint the company as more of a machine hive mind than a normal company.

While HAMC (one of its main customers) tries to play nicely at least sometimes with the nomads since it profits from them finding ice, NKM has never gotten along with them. There have been enough lawsuits, claims of trespassing, sabotage, theft, espionage and even violent confrontations between the nomads and NKM that standard corporate (and nomad) policy is to assume the other side is hostile. The same is true for the Ryukyu Uumakus: while NKM is not Red Eden, they were complicit enough in bad flood management to be on the acceptable target list. NKM has responded to the robberies and conflicts with hiring tough security from Monterrano Inc, a bunch of ex-Hertzog mercenaries. Rumour has it that the company is quietly trying to steal Hogo-Aegis' contract with HAMC too.

Chief Schnitman is often seen with chairman Suetsugi, chief Esashi or CEO Koolhoven, or running brunch meetings for other executives in the terraforming business at the Vista Grand Hotel. A consummate networker, she never seem to be alone or do anything that isn't good for the bottom line.

The truth is that beneath the amazing career-mindedness she is a deeply unhappy woman, and working is the best way of ignoring those desires she refuses to acknowledge. What she considers her affliction (insofar she even acknowledges that she has a problem) is that she wants the outré: she wants radical transgression, she wants morphs beyond anybody's imagination, she wants to shockingly exotic. She yearns to travel to the Carnival of the Goat or Carnivale and just throw herself into it. She is aware that 3509 lives in Meltwater but refuses to even conclude a thought about them. Instead she works and plots - it is the only way of keeping her dreams at bay.

Wren Architecture

A boomtown needs buildings, and Wren Architecture is happy to supply them. It is a customisation and construction company that specialises in housing, producing many of the mid-range homes around Meltwater. The cheapest and poorest neighbourhoods make use of open source blueprints or remixed emergency housing, while the villas of Cloudtop are of course all individually designed by consulting architects. WA instead focuses on the people who want to have a good house or minor factory building but without spending a fortune on designers. It produces a line of standard buildings that can easily be tailored to fit whatever demands there are: under the hood they might all be the same, but they can look like anything from shiny crystal domes to alpine chalets.

WA is a popular supplier in Meltwater. It is a subsidary of NKM but has a far nicer image.

Hellas Dawn Developments

A subsidary of HAMC and the East Development Sub-Project of Floating World, HDD is a very successful property developer around Meltwater. It bought land from HDC before Meltwater started booming and now reaps significant income from it. It is developing the Northern Basin some 20 kilometres north-east of Meltwater to become a fully terraformed and partially enclosed area, a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Meltwater.

Around Meltwater HDD seems to be everywhere when there is property business, but it rarely shows up visibly. A true hypercorp it almost entirely functions through just-in-time subcontractors and remote workers.

HDD is partially a safeguard against Red Eden. Some senior Floating World executives wanted to make sure they had something secure, so they developed HDD as a public-private partnership. Using some bureaucratic wizardry they have managed to decouple HDD legally from Floating World, while it is enjoying the benefits of getting privileged information. It is not a coincidence that former HDC CEO Victory Faborode now is CFO of HDD - it is turning into a nice place of retreat for Floating World executives who have reason to fear Red Eden. The investors that run Floating World seem to have overlooked HDD for the time being. Or maybe it fits into their plans.

The North Basin development project is one of the larger construction projects near Meltwater. Right now the main work consists of covering parts of the valley with plastic bubbles and ensuring that there is enough water to maintain a proper ecology. The nomads from Chaabane EcoDev are camping in the valley, tending the aquifers and seed ecosystems. If there is enough (which is what HDD is betting on despite scepticism from MGRAC) then a full terraforming can take place and HDD can sell off prime estate at a huge profit. If there isn't enough there is some talk about convincing the right people that the new Niger-to-Dao connecting channel should be drawn through the basin. That will likely take some deft lobbying since the interests of HDD are so transparent, but given their contacts in the TTO bureaucracy it might still get through.

Extropian

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

I have put a first version of the collection of our texts at
http://www.aleph.se/EclipsePhase/Meltwater.pdf

Feel free to suggest improvements and updates.

Extropian

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Thanks for putting that together!

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Helianthus Inc.

Helianthus is a company making aquifer heating rods. Based in Meltwater it is one of the local success stories: as the terraforming operation has grown, so has demand. What started as a workshop with an industrial fabber now is half a dozen shiny factory buildings.

Heating rods consist of a solar panel ("the flower") that efficiently absorbs sunlight and transports the heat down the "stem" using nanotube thermal conductors to the "root", a branched structure that dissipates the heat into the ice. The energy also maintains onboard sensors and in newer models self-repair and root extension. Typically the rods come as pluggable sections: drillers drill a hole down to the right depth and rod sections are inserted, with a "bud" inserted at the top. The bud unfolds into a lightweight and stiff solar panel, sends nanomachines down to connect the sections and and to begin building the roots. Once a rod is functional it can survive nearly indefinitely. The usual reason for failure is ground settling that breaks the rod or leaves it in an ice- or water-free cavity, or that a severe storm breaks the flower. Normally rods survive for decades.

A forest of heating rods acts as a small mesh network. The onboard processors are not intended to do anything but monitor the rod and its environment, plus report back the state of the forest to the owner (and TTO, which insists on getting accurate readings from all rods - together they produce plenty of valuable data, and minimizes the risk of false water production claims).

Helianthus was founded by the Shima family. After trying their hand on some terraforming work they decided that the real money was in selling better equipment. Grandfather Tokai began designing a cheap and sturdy heating rod that was easy to transport, taking into account the problems he and his friends had encountered in the planting work. The early rods became popular, and over time the family firm has expanded and developed more and more advanced rods. The current models are about as advanced as is viewed economical and acceptable (nobody likes the idea of self-reproducing or self-extending heating rods, except for some crazies in the Red Eden Foresight Division).

The Shimas have good relations with everybody: the company is customer-oriented, happy to sell to small-scale operations (and in return it gets honest stories about how things work out in the desert) as well as giving reliable supplies to big firms like HAMC. When there is a tour for important visitors to Meltwater Helianthus is usually shown as a nice example of entrepreneurship.

Grandfather Tokai is still occasionally helping design new models, but he has left most of the work to his daughters Hikari and Kiku. He is considering retiring, perhaps to join the Fumeikyo order of Buddhists at Mons Rin in the Coronae Montes. The rest of the family are loath to lose him, but he seems to be steadily drifting towards that decision. His son-in-law Minoru is the current CEO. He is seriously torn about the possibility of becoming patriarch of the family.

Helianthus has another, unknown problem. Somebody hacked their servers a while back and introduced some secret code in the designs of the Soraya series of heating rods. It simply adds a few extra processors along the rod, turning it into a general purpose computer. Under the right conditions these can come online and link to a VPN. A forest of Soraya rods is a potential server farm. Exactly who and why is unclear. It might just be hackers setting up space for a petal server network or a deniable source of mesh attacks, it might be a terraforming company wanting to get the scoop on competitors, or it might be something far more sinister - distributed computations running across forests of heating rods in the high desert might be very hard to stop.

Extropian

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Nice work on Helianthus! I was just thinking the other day that the people who make the heating rods must be pretty important in the area.

I'll have some more material up this weekend. I have a few pieces in the works: a Martian Ranger, a conman/gambler Firewall proxy, and a small group of Maker nomads who winter in Meltwater as entertainers and troublemakers.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Dustin “Dusty” Westlander

To those hard-up Red Hourglass regulars who know Dusty, he is little more than trouble that blows into Meltwater every now and then. He’s a wanderer and a gambler who has made more than his fair share of hasty exits from the private cabinet poker games at the back of the Hourglass. He always seems to come upon the money to get in on these games, though no one has any recollection of seeing him do any work. Then again, no one can say for certain where he is or what he is doing in the months-long stretches where he vanishes from town before strolling back in covered in the red dust that helps perpetuate his nickname.

If only his fellow dead-enders at the Hourglass knew that in truth, transhumanity probably owes Dusty for their continuing survival.

Dustin Westlander has had a hard life. He was born into a West Virginian military family that could trace back its service to the Civil War. Despite this extensive history, none of the Westlanders had ever advanced far enough to make a comfortable living for their families and the Westlanders continued to eke out an existence at the edges of the Appalachians by alternating through military service and coal mining. Dustin continued this tradition, being recognized repeatedly for valor in three tours of duty in the United States Army’s 10th Mountain Division, but failing to rise significantly in the ranks because of disciplinary reports and personality conflicts.

Frustrated by being passed over for promotion in the Army, Dustin went on to join a series of private military contractors, jobs that paid more than he’d ever seen before but were increasingly dangerous. Untroubled at the time by the murky ethics of his work, Dustin Westlander became a very successful corporate operative, engaged in deadly work for corporate paymasters in volatile parts of the world. When the Fall came, it was his unique skills and connections that got him an Offworld Consortium egocast to Olympus, where a sleeve and a job were waiting for him. Once again he was doing the dirty work for the corporations, this time against Martian nomads and radicals.

His successes were noticed. He turned down opportunities at Direct Action and passed on promises from even more mysterious players at the Planetary Consortium, possibly from Project Ozma. He became increasingly self-destructive, tired from the years of working for questionable corporate motivations. After a particularly harrowing mission to stop an exsurgent threat in the TITAN Quarantine Zone, he was approached by Firewall. This time, he accepted.

Now, unknown to any of his fellow Red Hourglass patrons, Dusty Westlander is a Firewall proxy and a mission router tied closely to Firewall’s erasure squads. He drifts in and out of Meltwater while keeping a close eye on the Martian corporations and existential risks. He knows all too well the lengths the corporations will go to in the search for profit. He helps Firewall identify local x-risks and coordinates missions, sometimes recruiting from Martian talent. He’s also one of the people that has to make the call when a mission goes pear-shaped and an erasure squad needs to be called in. Most would still consider him self-destructive: the drinking, combat drugs, and gambling have taken their toll, but working for Firewall keeps him alive and gives him purpose.

There is one secret about Dustin Westlander, however, that not even he knows. Dustin has turned his back on Earth completely, partially as a way to cope with the survivor’s guilt of leaving his family behind when the Offworld Consortium offered him his only ticket. Unknown to him, parts of the Westlander clan still live on Earth, survivors huddled in the Appalachian coal mines. If he were to learn of this, there is a chance that Dusty would use his influence in Firewall to try to covertly authorize a mission to rescue his family; a mission that is a long-shot at best.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Hendrika Jansen

Blonde and fine-featured but with broad shoulders and a muscular physique, Hendrika looks a little like the result of a supermodel pumped up on military steroids. Saying this to her face, however, is likely to end with you face down in the red Martian dust, a smart wolf snarling menacingly at you. Jansen, as her comrades call her (she’s short on true friends), is a Hellas Ranger and is every bit as fiercely independent as that branch of the Martian Ranger organization. Jansen is far from a people person but she is a skilled enforcer of frontier law and is about as fair as anyone could hope for, beholden to neither the Barsoomian Movement nor the Planetary Consortium. Overall, this attitude is in line with the Hellas Rangers, who are known for a stoic indifference towards the Movement and the hypercorps, which makes them unpopular with some but generally respected by the locals.

Jansen regularly patrols the small settlements of Dao and Niger Vallis, passing through Meltwater to move between the two canyons and to generally unsettle Hogo-Aegis, Sheriff Mauriello’s militia, and the local criminals equally. Her only friend, a smart wolf companion named Grauw, is not technically legal in Meltwater, but no one risks telling Jansen that. Grauw has been by Jansen’s side since he was a pup and is unquestionably loyal to her, interpreting her as a sort of pack alpha surrogate. His intimidation factor is undeniably valuable to Jansen in her line of work and Grauw has chased down more than a few criminals who made the unwise decision to flee from arrest.

Jansen would like very much to shut down the Ryukyu Uumakus for good, but their popularity with the Okinawan settlers makes it difficult. She has been able to take some Uumakus to Magistrate Ventola for sentencing—sometimes just a handful of cortical stacks—but she hasn’t been able to challenge the Ryukyu leadership without alienating the locals. While she is unafraid of offending their cultural sensibilities, she knows that getting shut out of the Vallis settlements will make her job that much more difficult.

Ranger Jansen is sleeved in a modified (and mortgaged) Fury morph, built for combat but also built for the Martian environment. Her morph and her smart wolf are the only two deviations from an otherwise humble lifestyle. She has a spartan mini-dome habitat on the fringes of a Dao Vallis settlement, but she spends little time there, instead stopping over in settlements along her patrol routes or setting up a temporary survival tent in caves and canyon niches.

Jansen does not talk about her past (when she talks at all), but she is Martian born and raised. She is the only child of Dutch terraformers who were killed by bandits when Hendrika was young. The bandits kidnapped the young girl and abused her until she was rescued by a Hellas Ranger named Zhao Fa who raised her as his own. Zhao Fa, a staunch traditionalist, died a few years back and left Hendrika with a modest inheritance that she used as a deposit for the Fury morph and to buy the smart wolf pup from a genehacker.

The biggest risk to Ranger Jansen’s livelihood is her own isolation. She would never admit this as a weakness, but she operates alone in a dangerous frontier and lacks people she can turn to if she needs help. And with the enemies she is likely to make in Meltwater’s criminal world, she may find that she needs help sooner than she thinks.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Father Lu

Father Wei Lu is the local priest of the Meltwater Baptist Church, a conservative evangelical church. While the church is not the most popular religious group in town, thanks to father Lu it tends to be the loudest.

Father Lu is an energetic preacher, often holding impromptu sermons whenever he finds listeners (willing or unwilling). He has made a point of trying to meet with as many town residents as possible, talking to them and if possible helping them. While he is viewed as a luddite busybody few doubt his sincerity.

Besides preaching about the need to be born again in Christ, spread and respect the gospel, and avoid sinning, he is seriously concerned with technological sins:

"Thanks to VR games every kid is now a murderer and rapist before ten years of age! What difference does it make if they are killing simulated people, when they are told that thanks to their stacks they are little else? If they are told it is fine to disrespect the simulated characters that are in practice indistinguishable from their real friends and parents, what does that tell them about how to treat real people? Sins are real even when they happen in virtual worlds!"

Rather than focus on the big bioconservative issues he is concerned about how modern technology affects people's morality. Uploading, stacks and life extension do not disturb him that much ("If God wants to bring you home, He is going to succeed no matter what your backup insurance is!") It is rather the human immorality they allow. People treating their bodies like disposable containers or coveting their neighbour's body. Others are obsessed with living forever, saving money for future incarnations rather than helping other people in need. Infugees and indentured labour are treated with contempt and as a resource on par with robots despite being just as real humans as everybody else. Psychosurgery, drugs and therapy are used to fix mental problems and mere inconvenient thoughts rather than learning to control them through character, willpower and faith.

Locals jokingly calls him the Jovian, and he has actually publicly defended the Republic. While he cannot condone their methods, at least they are aware of the corrosive effects of many technologies people elsewhere do not question.

Originally born on Earth and active as a priest in Shanghai and San Francisco, he became an infugee during the Fall. He ended up working off indenture for Experia's religious broadcasting subdivision, something that fuelled his negative views of how modern society treats infomorphs and virtual people. He managed to get out of indenture fairly quickly thanks to help from Onesimus, a Christian charity helping to buy out indenture contracts of believers. After a few years in Valles New Shanghai he began to travel as an activist preacher.

While the Consortium would never try to infringe on anybody's right of free speech, it has nothing against inoculating memetic resistance against contraproductive ideas. One reason father Lu left Valles was the subtle pressure he felt against his preaching, a pressure he believes is less intense in the more rural areas. Of course, out here he has to contend with the down-to-earth mentality of frontier people, the high degree of dependence on hightech support and rival preachers. But it is far less annoying than just being filtered out by the AR of people who actually need to hear the word.

His estranged son from a previous marriage works as a middle manager troubleshooter for Isonautics Corporation up in orbit; they do not keep in touch. His current wife is in transport (working for the Floating World Project) and helps him run the church whenever she is in Meltwater.

In Meltwater he has found the Sheriff to be a sometimes reliable ally; while they do not share the same religious views they both often agree with each other and find mutual support helpful. His main nemesis is Wild Bolchazy - after an unsolicited sermon received when suffering an epic hangover the areologist has gone out of his way to annoy or play pranks on the preacher. One of them, the Meltwater Xenodeist Society, seems to have taken a life on its own after Wild started it as a joke.

Extropian

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

I'll start proof-reading the PDF as my time allows.

I suggest moving the Mars Habitat Community Project to a wiki. That would ease editing. It might discourage participation relative to the forum thread, but I think the improvements in editing and organization would compensate. Recent versions of MediaWiki allow you to download articles in a variety of formats, including PDF, so that move would also permit easy downloads.

Please add Meltwater to the Eclipse Phase Mars KML file.

Finally, has anyone got Actual Play reports for Meltwater?

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Jay Dugger wrote:
I'll start proof-reading the PDF as my time allows.

Thanks!

Quote:
I suggest moving the Mars Habitat Community Project to a wiki. That would ease editing. It might discourage participation relative to the forum thread, but I think the improvements in editing and organization would compensate. Recent versions of MediaWiki allow you to download articles in a variety of formats, including PDF, so that move would also permit easy downloads.

Might be tricky, critical mass-wise. We have enough interest here on the forum to keep it going, but if people need to remember to go over to a wiki somewhere else the effective number of contributors is going to be lower - and that might bring us under the critical mass of participants. So I would recommend not doing that.

Quote:
Pease add Meltwater to the Eclipse Phase Mars KML file.

Will do!

Quote:
Finally, has anyone got Actual Play reports for Meltwater?

Not yet, but one of my EP campaigns is dealing with rural Mars and will no doubt end up in Meltwater before the week is over...

Extropian

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Arenamontanus wrote:

Might be tricky, critical mass-wise. We have enough interest here on the forum to keep it going, but if people need to remember to go over to a wiki somewhere else the effective number of contributors is going to be lower - and that might bring us under the critical mass of participants. So I would recommend not doing that.

I'm also recommending against moving it to a wiki at this stage. Maybe down the line. I like the steady participation we've had so far (though I'd love to see more people jump in for a piece or two). So far it's also been pretty easy to compile the material into a single PDF and some day I'd love to see it edited and put together into a true fan-made Creative Commons EP setting book. Maybe even with some artwork! I think that would be much easier to accomplish with the way we've been going than if it were on a wiki.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

MirrorField MirrorField's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

(Here is a hypercorp, meltwater branch and a person with secrets)

Colonial Biotechnologies (Hypercorp)

Major Industries: Biomorph Brokerage, Biotech, Genetics
Major Stations: Olympus (Mars)

Colonial Biotechnologies (CB) is a chain of quality morph storages cum morph brokerages cum medical clinics which also licenses several high-quality morph lines. If you want an artist to upgrade your face, update your implants, morph storage or an entirely new morph, discreetly and at reasonable price, CB offers just what you need at reasonable pricing ("Bit more expensive. Much better quality.").

CB was spun off Skinaesthesia in rather acrimonious circumstances when minority stockholders disagreed with Skinaesthesia's policies. After failure of their bid, they liquidated their share, founding Colonial Biotechnologies as a rival. The Acrimoniousness between corporations culminated in a (barely) failed assasination attempt against CB CEO, after which the Oversight stepped in and brokered a deal which prevented an all-out corporate war. Nevertheless, the business rivalry remains strong and despite common history there is very little cooperation between the hypercorps.

CB morph designs have reputation for quality. CB is especially famous for it's lines of martian biomorphs (rusters, alpiners, etc.) which do not requiring GSP therapy and are known for their rugged endurance. They are also notorious for offering several "barely legal" Argonaut Open Source morph lines and making profit thereof by providing bioengineering expertise, clone tank capacity, etc. in classic Open Source business model.

CB has seen moderate success in it's short history and archieved one of the "least bad" hypercorp reputations among Barsoomian Movement due to their stance regarding planned obsolescence and indentures. CB indenture plans are liberal, do not add surcharges or extra time and CB management is usually quite willing to let an indenture to continue as an employee after his time is complete.

%%%%

Colonial Biotechnologies - Meltwater Branch

Local CB branch is the "snootiest" morph brokerage and medical clinic in Meltwater; Skinaesthesia or even Skinthetic do not have true branch offices and probably won't in future, as CB has large enough edge as a pre-estabilished operator to make competition uneconomical as long as CB branch keeps it's act together.

The Physical facilities of Meltwater branch consist of a single shop in the more fashionable parts of CloudTop. CB operates mostly on appointment basis (easily obtained via mesh), but they do maintain AI receptionist.

The Current manager of the Meltwater branch of CB is Clarissa Bonds, who was appointed by CB's senior management from outside; everyone believes this to be a nepotistic sinecure for an old pre-fall friend to CEO Alandra. However, after few months everyone was impressed by her talent: She may have been a nepotistic appointment, but even her worst critics acknowledge she has talent.

The Current personnel of Meltwater branch aside Clarissa consists of three biotechnicians running the morph tank arrays and four medical technicians running the Healing Vats. Design artists, etc. are consulted via telepresence.

%%%%

Clarissa Bonds (aka. Alandra Sands)

HAMC CEO Yoichi Suetsugi believes to be the richest person in Meltwater. He is mistaken.

Born to wealthy Chinese-American parents, Alandra Sands survived the Fall unlike her parents by the virtue of being on student-exchange program in Olympus when the Fall happened. Her parents and family were confirmed killed in the earlier exchanges and their backups were corrupted during attempt to beam them to Luna. Thus, at tender age of 19 terran years Alandra became a heiress personally owning 11% of Skinaesthetic. She also had about the best education money could combined with long-term psychosurgical therapy to boost intelligence and creativity. After grieving her parents for two months she got a job as a supervisor at Skinaesthesia design labs.

Eight years of booming business saw her designing several morph lines that made her rich beyond dreams of avarice. However, her uneasiness regarding Skinaesthetic's corporate policies had only deepened, culminating in a failed bid to stop using Planned Obsolescence genetic sequences. Note that this was more of engineer's irritation on selling deliberately crippled product than anything empathic; before her arrival at Meltwater she had very little contact with lower classes. After losing that particular fight she liquidated her Skinaesthetic stock and struck it out on her own, founding CB as a competitor.

However, Skinaesthesia management neither forgave nor forgot the slights. Alandra was assasinated in AF9 in a bid that barely failed to reach her backups. The Hit team crowned the bungle by leaving enough evidence to solidly implicate Skinaesthetic. Oversight, in order to avoid a destructive corporate war, brokered a peace treaty with blame being assigned to an "over-enthusiastic" marketing executive who "exceeded his authority". Said exec got 65 years in storage, dozen underling got sentences varying between 5 and 40 years, Skinaesthesia paid small reparations and both sides swore to stay out of each others' way.

Nevertheless, Alandra decided that it would probably be better to go underground for a while as emotions cooled down. She activated a persona of "family friend recently recovered from infugee dead storage" and stepped into the role while a decoy faked (and continues to fake) her curtailed social life while Alandra herself handles the real management remotely via quantum-encrypted satellite-relayed laser link between CB HQ and her mansion.

At Meltwater Ms. Bonds is a semi-regular sight at local upper-class social circuit, such as it is. However, her real interest and hobby which lifted her from the funk of depression originating from her assasination and surrounding cynical political maneuvers are her regular "slumming" trips around Meltwater while wearing an attractive but nondescript ruster sleeve. As "Alanis Grey", she haunts local watering holes and low-to-middle class social scene while playing the role of amateur anthropologist to the hilt, soaking up the local atmosphere while listening to people's opinions, worries, griefs and joys. Almost without noticing she is starting to generate positive rep as a razor-sharp intellect willing to talk and debate about nearly any subject, be it politics, economics, terraforming or TITANs.

She naturally has a discreet but extremely capable security team backing her. At least two would-be robbers have ended up tasered from behind, wondering WTF happened when they woke up in Sheriff's lockup.

Ms. Bonds lives in a nice mansion at the edge of the "good part" of CloudTop. It is a rather typical example of upper-middle to lower-upper class martian mansion with smartmatter interiors, about dozen servitors, cornucopia machinery, etc. The Mansion also houses her security detail (contracted from Medusan Shield), research lab (fully equipped and located in basement), barely-legal server farm and a miniature fission reactor to power everything.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

The Belaid family

The Belaid is a small clan of nomads active in the Meltwater area, ranging across the eastern Hellas uplands looking for aquifers, ores or other opportunities.

The head is Bassam Belaid. He is known as a jovial and experienced, if slightly eccentric, prospector. He has been active longer than most: he can remember when nomads were the only one's living in the Hellas lowlands and the Floating World Project was just a twinkling in some Earth bureaucrat's eye.

Since the Fall and discovery of the Martian Gate Bassam has become obsessed with finding another gate. He was already interested in fringe theories before the Fall, and now he is weaving his own. According to his analysis of where the gates were found the Gatemakers were aquatic beings and put gates at certain psychically important spots - which clearly indicates that there should be one in Dao, Niger or Harmakhis Vallis. In order to find it he is using various dowsing techniques, trudging up and down the length of the canyons looking for the right psychic hints. While most people view his theory as little more than a delusion (that it took so long and the Fall to crack him is frankly amazing), his thorough searches do find useful aquifers or the occasional mineral outcrop.

The Belaid family is divided over Bassam's ideas. His son Sami seems to accept them, as does their friend Hassan. His daughter Samia is an outspoken critic. A few years back there was a split: Bassam leads a small prospecting team, while Samia runs the main camp while he is away. This has worked well: she has good skills for negotiating ecosystem maintenance deals with terraforming corps, while the occasional water finds brings in more than enough money to keep the wild prospecting going. The only problem is when the whole clan meets and Bassam and Samia have to deal with each other. Not to mention when Bassam begins his usual "HAMC and the other Japanese are trying to steal our gate" rant.

The Belaid's make use of several pressurized trailers and off-road tracked vehicles. They often form camps by circling them and covering the space with protective plastic film covers. They have several stashes of equipment in the up-back, as well as good mutual help deals with other nomad groups. From time to time they converge for informal fairs and potlaches, in the winter close to Meltwater.

Extropian

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

On the subject of proofreading...

I corrected obvious misspelled words in-text, and I standardized on American variants. I also corrected obvious grammatical errors in-text. Less obvious errors, such as passive voice, run-on sentences, or long parenthetical phrases, I simply marked with comments. Those comments usually have suggested corrections in this format.

s///

E.g.,
s/Thq quick browns fox/The quick brown fox/

I'll upload the proof-read version to Google Docs with broad sharing when opportunity allows. This will make the document widely available, permit export in a variety of formats, and most importantly, allow players in my campaign to research the settlement where lies
Spoiler: Highlight to view
the cornucopia machine for which they traded a cache of cortical stacks. Too bad they've deleted their memories of arranging the trade...

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

You can find a proof read, but not perfectly corrected, copy of the collected Meltwater PDF at the link below.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MG6h6jRnI1DqMfdP5C4TfCyNyTpZCAVPF10zyQb-e6U/edit?hl=en&authkey=CIySruUJ

The Google document should provide read and edit permissions. You should also have the permission to download a PDF if you want one. None of the comments survived the import.

Post if you find any problems, or better still, please fix them.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Jay Dugger wrote:
You can find a proof read, but not perfectly corrected, copy of the collected Meltwater PDF at the link below.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MG6h6jRnI1DqMfdP5C4TfCyNyTpZCAVPF10zyQb-e6U/edit?hl=en&authkey=CIySruUJ

Cool!

I am a bit concerned about how to maintain a "master" copy for my site (I sadly used Word for that document) - if we can do something with the formatting so it can be exported into good-looking PDF I can use we could make the google document as the "master".

Extropian

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Quote:

I am a bit concerned about how to maintain a "master" copy for my site (I sadly used Word for that document) -

I noticed you used Word from the PDF's metadata. It made the import a little flaky, but no big deal.

Quote:

if we can do something with the formatting so it can be exported into good-looking PDF I can use we could make the google document as the "master".

I haven't tried doing much export to PDF from Google Docs. My ideas for "good-looking" match GDW's Little Black Books for Traveller, first or second edition Kult, or second edition Nobilis. Having such minimalist standards, I leave it to others to judge "good-looking."

The best export results would probably come from using the extant Styles in Google Docs. I'll play around with it a bit and see what I get.

I also put a copy of the KML you made on Google Docs, but currently shared only with players in Martian Autumn, the campaign I run. I've no objection to sharing that more widely. It's your work, after all.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

I think it might help to cut down the document conversion. Arenamontanus, did you create that PDF by first creating a Word document (.doc, .docx) and then converting it to PDF? If so, it might help to import the original .doc file into Google Docs instead of the PDF and then just export from there as PDF.

I also have access to all the lovely Adobe products should we need them at some point. Document layouts aren't my specialty (I usually work with web/audio/video), but this could be a good excuse for me to toy with InDesign. :)

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

The Carver Clan

When it comes to the Carver clan, one of Meltwater’s organized crime families, the road to hell was paved with good intentions. The Carvers share a story similar to those of many Fall-evacuated families: their British evacuation barge made it only as far as Mars due to disrepair and the Carvers were dumped in Olympus to fend for themselves. Those days in Olympus were harsh and chaotic and the Carvers set out into the Martian frontier to try to re-establish themselves. This was not an easy task for an extended family of seven splicers in the unforgiving Martian landscape, but they persevered. The family’s patriarch, Edward Carver, was an experienced surgeon who took his family to Meltwater where he set up shop as a frontier doctor. The pay wasn’t great, but being a doctor in a town as far away from civilization as Meltwater comes with influence and respect and soon the Carvers were a well-known name in post-Fall Meltwater.

And so it may have remained if Edward’s eldest son, Marcus, had not made a prodigious discovery. Marcus was a talented genehacker virtually destined to follow his father and grandfather before him into the medical field. Using do-it-yourself tools, Marcus developed genetic patches to many ailments caused by the hypercorps’ planned biomorph obsolescence. So many of Edward’s patients were poor terraformers and miners who could hardly afford the genetic service packs, so Edward began to distribute Marcus’ patches for free to the most desperate. As demand grew, the Carvers were forced to charge for the unauthorized patches, but they did so at reduced prices or with generous installment plans.

Due to these hacked patches, the Carver clan grew more powerful in Meltwater. Edward continued his medical practice and left the sale of the patches to his three sons: Marcus, Peter, and Jacob. Edward’s wife, Abigail, started an ego bank in Meltwater and opened a mortuary to safely dispose of biomorphs that were too damaged to be reused. The ego bank included a simulspace memorial for the dead who were too poor to have backup insurance. Here families could inter digitized memories of their deceased for free and were always welcome to visit and pay respects to those they had lost. The Carvers’ two daughters, Merelise and Eleanor, helped their mother run the ego bank, mortuary, and memorial space.

Unfortunately for all, power corrupted the Carver clan. The militia had ignored the Carvers’ unauthorized gene-patch business because of the public good it brought, but slowly the three sons turned it into a criminal operation. The sons threatened those who couldn’t pay for the gene-patches or forced them to pay high interest. Soon the sons’ business expanded beyond the patches, loan-sharking to the desperate or extorting people who were under the Carvers’ medical care. Edward protested his sons’ actions, but soon after he died of mysterious causes, his ego in the family’s bank coincidentally corrupted. Abigail took control of the Carver clan as a ruthless matriarch enamored with her family’s burgeoning criminal empire.

Though they are irredeemably corrupted, the Carver clan does still help the poor receive genetic biomorph patches, even if the long-term cost may be too much to bear. They also still run a partially legitimate discount ego bank and they continue to expand and support the free memorial space. For these reasons they are both loved and loathed by the Meltwater population, some of whom rely on their generosity while others suffer under their cruelty. Black market gene-patches, loan-sharking, and extortion still make up the majority of the Carvers’ criminal enterprise, though they have begun to branch out into black market biomorphs and pods and illicit drugs. Though the six surviving Carver family members still run the business, they’ve expanded to support a lot of “hired muscle” which many believe are actually illegal beta forks of the Carvers themselves.

Radek Tichacek, who has taken on many of Edward Carver’s former patients, has become a thorn in the side of the Carver clan. After seeing too many of his patients suffer under the Carvers’ extortion, he has begun to dangerously speak out against the family and he continues to try to convince the militias to crack down on the Carvers. Ctirad, worried about threats against his brother and the Corporium, has tried to quiet Radek’s calls for action, but so far has not made much progress.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

I think I'm going to work on some more introduction sections that could be used as openers to various chapters or as background for broader topics. That might help in organizing the PDF content a bit and in providing a generalized overview for people who might want to use the Meltwater setting in their games.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Sounds great. Anything I ought to work on?

Extropian

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

It would help me a great deal to know travel times by various methods to there from other Martian cities and settlements. I've a game session tomorrow with one player character leaving for Meltwater.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

It would help me a great deal to know travel times by various methods to there from other Martian cities and settlements. I've a game session tomorrow with one player character leaving for Meltwater.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

It would help me a great deal to know travel times by various methods to there from other Martian cities and settlements. I've a game session tomorrow with one player character leaving for Meltwater.

How very strange. I didn't realize I'd forked three times. I should get those other alphas to do their fair share of the GM work.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Jay Dugger wrote:
It would help me a great deal to know travel times by various methods to there from other Martian cities and settlements. I've a game session tomorrow with one player character leaving for Meltwater.

That's a really good question that I haven't given much thought to yet. We've brainstormed a bit about the highway development near Meltwater, but I'm not sure where the nearest maglev train station would be and what routes would be connected to it. Transportation infrastructure around Meltwater is something we haven't talked much about yet and that is definitely going to influence travel times (unless you're traveling by air).

Arenamontanus, if you have any thoughts on that, feel free! Anyone else too, for that matter. :)

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Travel near Meltwater

Meltwater, like many boomtowns, suffers from an under-developed infrastructure.

Roads

The main road to Meltwater, the Hellas 47, began as merely a designated path along the smooth Dao Vallis floor, suitable only for terrain vehicles. As the water started to occasionally flow down-vallis the path was repeatedly washed away and a paved road was added along the side of the Vallis, but it is still too narrow and slow (and tends to get damaged by the occasional landslide and flooding). If you meet a convoy of big trucks going the other way you will have to drive to the side and let them pass - bigger goes first is about the only rule along the 47. The road surveillance system is rather good but cannot do much except warn when there is a break and advice when to stop and wait for temporary repairs.

It begins down at the Hellas 53 at Starck Junction, and then winds its way up along the vallis. There are a few stops, fuel and repair stations along the way, most notably at Big Bend, Apia and Confluence Gardens. Especially the section up along Broken Mesa has a bad reputation for frequent and unexpected flooding, as well as the side-valleys being a hideout for Uumakus. The 47 continues past Meltwater into the source basin below Mons Hadriacus, although the upper section is less developed and mainly the path for heavy HAMC equipment. The more chaotic vallis floor also makes it twist more.

Meltwater really wants a proper highway, and HAMC, HDC and the mayor are doing their best to convince the infrastructure authorities to build it (and he real dream nobody dares hope for is of course a proper railway). If that happens there will be a lot more people around working the bot teams and analysts expect Meltwater to pick up the pace further - which is going to increase tensions between the union and corps even more.

There is a small, unpaved road along the Niger Vallis (with a side-road to the ruins Waddell in Cue) meeting the 47 at Confluence Gardens. It is sometimes used when people do not want to be tracked during the approach to Meltwater - surveillance is nominal until one reaches the outskirts of town.

There are a number of similar rough roads leading into the uplands around the area, most lacking names and having no official owner.

Near Meltwater there is the North and South Mesa Roads, running on top of the mesa between Dao and Niger, meeting at Meltwater and sending down ramps into Dao and Niger. The North Mesa Road runs all the way to the Northern Basin development project, and thre is talk of extending it further. The South Mesa Road runs for about 50 kilometers until it ebbs out in the canyons of Niger Vallis, where it connects to the Niger Vallis road. Both roads are fairly well developed within 20 km of Meltwater, but then rapidly deteriorate. Especially the North has problems with occasional sinkholes.

Flying

The airspace around Meltwater is open and fairly unrestricted. There are safety restrictions and flyways near town, but the nearest controlled airspace is down in Hellas.

Meltwater airfield is located north-east of the town on the mesa. It is a no frills airfield, with a group of protective domes and landing pads but little more. It can handle air cars and bigger aircraft, although the runway is short. The local weather is variable enough to force closing fairly often - dust storms blowing in from Hesperia are a regular occurrence especially in winter.

Fabian Hamelin is the air guy. He runs most things at "his" airfield, using beta forks far more widely than is healthy. Still, there are few complaints about his enthusiastic management and friendly air traffic control.

Extropian

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Meltwater, near as I can tell, lies near (areo:lat=-36.8, areo:lon=90.2). I updated the KMZ file with a marker at that position and uploaded it to Google Docs. You can find a copy of it at here.

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BwY8iyNeuVgwOTMwZmViMTctZWM4MC00NjgwLWFjNDgtZTc5ZGQ2NzlkM2Vj&hl=en&authkey=CN3P_L0P

The file should have public editing. Please let me know of any problems.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

A general introduction for the business/economy section:

Business in a Boomtown

Meltwater’s growing economy orbits around one central commodity: ice. The most powerful hypercorps operating in Meltwater are either mining the ice, building the equipment to mine the ice, or terraforming the land with the water created by the ice. Beyond that, there is a thriving economy built on catering to the needs of the miners themselves: food, shelter, entertainment, gear, sex, you name it. At the bottom of the Meltwater economy are the independents: nomads, claim-jumpers, and criminals who subsist on the fringes of the economy or fight to carve out a piece of someone else’s prosperity.

Most of the development of Hellas Planitia is home-grown, and as such the influence of the Planetary Consortium is comparatively weak. Local hypercorps descended from pre-Fall quasi-governmental cooperatives make up the backbone of the region’s economy and few are members of the Planetary Consortium. A long nurtured predisposition towards independence and self-sufficiency has made life difficult for Consortium initiatives like Red Eden, which find themselves stymied by the locals.

Meltwater is a transitional economy, though life on the frontier makes the boundaries blurrier than back in the Martian mega-cities. Black market merchants and smuggling rings operate with much more freedom in Meltwater, meaning it isn’t too difficult to find nanofabrication templates for illicit goods like drugs, weapons, and explosives. On the other end of the spectrum, though, the local hypercorps have had a long history dealing with the nomads and independents, meaning that the Movement has had an easier time making in-roads in Meltwater.

The Consortium may be late to the party, but they are not willing to let the opportunities in Meltwater pass them by. Meltwater’s economy will only go so far without outside investment and the Planetary Consortium is making sure the only possible outside investment comes from them, with the requisite strings attached, of course. No one quite knows how long Meltwater’s independent streak will hold up against being painted into a financial corner or what the repercussions could be.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Jay Dugger wrote:
Meltwater, near as I can tell, lies near (areo:lat=-36.8, areo:lon=90.2). I updated the KMZ file with a marker at that position and uploaded it to Google Docs. You can find a copy of it at here.

Actually, your location for Meltwater is off a bit there. Meltwater is located in the hanging valley at approximately 35 degrees south latitude and 92 degrees east longitude. Judging by Arenamontanus's entry on transportation above, the marker where you have Meltwater is likely a smaller settlement named Confluence Gardens.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

I moved the Meltwater marker and uploaded a new version of the KMZ file.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Updated the KMZ file again. Added other noteworthy locations near Meltwater: Waddell, Confluence Gardens, Apia, Big Bend, and Planck Junction.

Arenamontanus, I made my best guesses on where those locations were based on your material. I was going to add the Broken Mesa region, but I wasn't sure where that is located.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Demonseed Elite wrote:
Arenamontanus, I made my best guesses on where those locations were based on your material. I was going to add the Broken Mesa region, but I wasn't sure where that is located.

Looks good! Yes, you got the locations right. I imagined Broken Mesa to be close to the system of side valleys near the Dao Vallis marker.

Extropian

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Arenamontanus wrote:
I imagined Broken Mesa to be close to the system of side valleys near the Dao Vallis marker.

Updated the KMZ file again to add the Broken Mesa region in.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

I spent some time with InDesign and Illustrator tonight and it's coming along nicely.

Meltwater sample

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

I updated the KMZ file, renaming "Planck Junction" to "Starck Junction" to match the Meltwater text, and adding the Hellas 47 road. (Upstream of Meltwater that road makes Maui's fabled Road to Hana look straight.) I haven't added side roads.

I updated the Meltwater OpenWriter file with "Business in a Boomtown" and Arenamontanus's travel section.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Hey guys, I was wondering two things ...

First, has anyone claimed this area yet?
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/TestingRangeandDevCenter.png

I don't really need all of it, just, say, half of that side valley and maybe a quarter of the desert included in the polygon ...

Also, would you have any problems with having a small (and secretly Barsoomian sympathetic) part of the martian military industrial complex, in the form of a vehicle/weapons/miltech R&D facility, in that area?

Most of the design and testing would be in simulspace, of course, but after that, well, you still have to drive it until it breaks, and test the firepower under field conditions ...

I just ask because I have already committed to developing the corp in question ... And it's going to be on Mars ... And I've already established in the text that the CEO hates big cities and is down with B ... And a town of 30,000 nearby would take care of a large portion of the infrastructure question ... And if they can maybe puts some extra hard to notice "storage space" in those cliff, to store some, well, call it "miscellaneous surplus inventory" that might be useful to the Barsoomians in the future if there were to be any, uh, "unpleasantness" with the PC and it's stooges ... And it might be a good way for the area to get the railroad out that way with the corp defraying some of the costs, since, you know, they'll need raw materials ... And maybe a branch off of the tracks could go over a rail bridge on the river there to reach into Meltwater ...

Yeah, he's totally expecting a revolution/civil war.

The corp is going to go into The Eye, in fact a subsidiary has already made an appearance there in the first issue and I was thinking of putting the corp HQ/labs in that valley, and the driving course and firing range in that desert there. It'll all be on the up and up, except for the surplus inventory ... and maybe a few designs that never get publicized, or sold to anyone.

If not, that's fine, I can put it elsewhere. I just wanted to see if any of you who have contributed to the area had any objections or thought it was unfeasible or just didn't fit.

[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/ult_userbar.jpg[/...
[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/remade_userbar.pn...
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Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

I'm not quite sure where that spot you marked is in relation to Meltwater, but the idea sounds good to me. Works pretty well with how Meltwater sits in the middle of the Barsoomian/PC conflict without being totally invested in either side.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Oops, sorry. Meltwater is here, in yellow. Yes, I'm asking for a bit of a big space.
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/TestingRangeandDevCenter-1.png

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I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Gotcha, I see where it is now. And yeah, we're not using that space for anything yet, so go for it! Between this military R&D facility and all of the mining explosives, Meltwater really is putting the boom in boomtown. ;)

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Sounds fine to me. Actually, in the early stages of the writing we were mentioning explosives manufacturing to supply HAMC, so this might be quite suitable. They might not be the first company making octanitrocubane nanoplastique in the neighbourhood, but establishing it here makes economic and practic sense.

Also, putting it across the canyon makes it nicely safe if something goes wrong. Meltwater is not that keen on explosives going off too close to town. That valley might have been one of the first prospected, and all aquifers have now been mined out. Which incidentally produces some nice underground spaces...

Extropian

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Sweetness. Give me a few days to finish the writeup, I'm kinda busy. Then I'll chop off a few pertinent pieces on the location, corp, and CEO and post them here.

You know, before long you're gonna have to actually start making a street/area map for this happenin' little burg.

That Google Mars setup you got is pretty cool by the way. I'd never used it before this morning.

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I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Tachi wrote:

You know, before long you're gonna have to actually start making a street/area map for this happenin' little burg.

I'm pretty terrible with drawing up maps, but I do know a few people and might be able to call in a favor. ;)

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Meltwater: Mars Habitat Community Project

Tachi wrote:
You know, before long you're gonna have to actually start making a street/area map for this happenin' little burg.

I have been thinking about doing it myself, but I haven't got the right tools right now. Also, I dream about making a proper height map - as I said earlier in the DEM-post, we are *almost* there, but not quite. So if you feel up to it, please do!

Hmm, 'happenin' little burg' - what else is there to do in the evenings in Meltwater than the Candy Box and the Red Hourglass? I have the image of the Vista Grand Hotel bar and restaurant being one of the new watering holes for the "upper crust", but surely there are more bars, games and other fun stuff to do.

Extropian

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