Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Telajan B: Mattigar

Telajan (Coord.: 06.01)
Part One: System Overview
Part Two: Inner Zone
Part Three: The Planets
     A) Aldrin
     B) Mattigar
     C) Shelg
     D1) Ju-Hai
     D2) Molat
     E) Saxo-Mara
Part Four: Outer Zone
Part Five: Past, Present, Future Imperfect (Telajan)

The Telajan system has five planets and one moon. No debris belts, no asteroids, no dust, ice or gas intrudes upon the Habitable Zone (HZ) more than a few hundred miles past the Pylons. The Pylons are mysterious, Precursor-built structures that manage and maintain the hyperactive and volatile regions of the Inner and Outer Zones. The Habitable Zone is a deliberate construct, an arranged garden, but is it still under conscious control or just running on automatic?

Slightly larger than Aldrin, Mattigar is cooler, calmer, and much less populated than its neighbors. The turquoise seas of this world are far shallower than they at first appear, with only four known vents extending deeper than the smoothly undulating sea-bed that is rarely more than 3,000 feet deep. The majority of the land-masses of Mattigar fit into one complexly-braided archipelago noteworthy for being built-up upon the fractured and heavily eroded and overgrown basaltic remains of now extinct volcanoes. This is a tectonically stable world. The lingering heat locked away in its core is regulated by the four vents, elaborate labyrinth-like passages the extend down through the crust to the hot, magma-rich regions deep within the planet. The vents curl, wind and wrap themselves into complex knot-like formations, giving them something of an almost organic aspect, yet for all intents and purposes they were most likely formed through some sort of controlled erosion process unlike anything seen before on any other world.

Mattigar has no moon, only a thin ring of icy particles and dust. The composition of elements within the ring of Mattigar corresponds almost exactly with the proportions of elements to be found within a normative (Pre-Transition) human body. A number of wild theories have been put forth regarding this peculiar anomaly. So far no one has come up with any hard data to back-up or confirm any particular theory. Of course, that also means no one has effectively dis-proven much of anything either. While many theorists, pundits, cranks and would-be demagogues spout all manner of gibberish and crapulous creeds inspired by the Mysteries of Mattigar, few ever go there. The Dolphins have a tendency to not take them seriously and often take great pleasure in mocking them publicly. Several notorious cult-leaders ended their careers in flames, bloodshed and class-action litigation while attempting to stake out a claim to Mattigar. While it is not off-limits by any means, it remains a dusky, unplucked jewel seemingly forever out of the reach of the more cautiously unscrupulous members of the spiritual community. Missionaries have a way of not lasting more than a week on Mattigar.

Life on Mattigar
Interestingly, there are no coral reefs within the milky-blue seas of Mattigar. No ice at the poles. Temperatures rarely budge beyond a cool 60 degrees Fahrenheit. And the weather is exceptionally gentle, with a short rainy season every three months that lasts for one or two nights. The rains of Mattigar are soft, never windy, and any lightning tends to remain at a high altitude, often producing pastel aurora in the upper atmosphere that give the rains a colorful, fairy-tale aspect that has captivated poets and children alike for centuries.

The predominant native life-forms on Mattigar tend to be mosses, ferns and lichens. The carboniferous mosses are most numerous, having developed hundreds of aquatic varieties unique to this world. Any structure that has been erected upon Mattigar has quickly been encrusted with dozens of colorful lichens. And yes, there are aquatic lichens as well.

Ferns fill the niches usually dominated by grasses and trees. Wonderfully diverse clusters of ferns form stands, copses and groves, and in some cases have formed densely-packed old growth 'forests' of sorts. Other types of ferns have developed a form of pseudo-mangrove swamps along the low-lying regions of some of the more equatorial islands. These fern-sloughs are home to hundreds of gaudily-frilled slugs, snails and dozens of wildly varying Pseudo-Meganeura; iridescent dragonfly-like insects that are the apex predators of Mattigar. It should be noted that almost all of the slugs and similar species are nearly always caught-up within a complex symbiosis with one or another species of lichen, moss or fern. These creatures are not completely animals, nor are they exactly plants, but occupy a place in-between. Xeno-biologists have been studying these species for decades and so far no one has completely unlocked the puzzle of how these animal/plant hybrids developed. The more this matter is investigated, the more it appears to have multiple, simultaneous, often contradictory answers. More than one xeno-biologist has succumbed to a professional  obsession with life on Mattigar.

Mattigar hosts hundreds of small scientific enclaves, lab-camps and the like. Most are confined to the islands of the Mega-Archipelago. They are overseen by the Peer Review Authority based in New Galapagos. Corprist-backed expeditions and missions to Mattigar are allowed, however they operate under much more strict rules and regulation than academically-aligned efforts. The Corprist-sponsors often balk at having all their communications monitored, all their findings re-evaluated by independent third-parties, and other such requirements, making any such effort on Mattigar more of a PR-stunt or goodwill gesture than anything serious. All Corprik-types, 'employees,' 'investors,' or other so-called 'stake-holders,' must register before entering the airspace of Mattigar or be subject to immediate termination by disassemblers. Those that do register properly are restricted to those islands noted in red on the public access atlas. Straying outside the prescribed zones results in immediate disassembly. Merellon Corp has tried to re-gain some measure of public trust on Mattigar, but their efforts have been continually undermined and sabotaged by out-system do-goodniks and other idealists, agitators and 'freedom fighters.' It is a costly on-going effort. Many wonder why the Corprists bother. Perhaps they are caught-up in the Mysteries of Mattigar just like everyone else?

Wide swaths of the Mega-Archipelago are open to investigation. Everything else is under the aegis of the Dolphins. The Dolphins will gladly receive delegates, embassies, tribute, even sycophants or fans, so much so that they have had a huge underwater globe-city built at the base of a majestic seven-sided tower of polybonded basalt that rises above the sluggish wavelets of the Colo-Cyprian Sea over three miles high. Few supplicants or petitioners ever make it past the intricate, ever-shifting maze-like interior of this structure. The Dolphins seem to like it that way.

Six Scenario Seeds for Adventuring on Mattigar
  1. Miranda has come to Mattigar on a mission. She has uncovered a disturbing bit of information while digging through the recently unsealed stacks of the Archive of Public Welfare. She just dodged a gene-stinger (autonomous gene-locked kill-drone). Someone must be concerned about what the young girl thinks she knows. She found your pricetag on the localnet. She wants to option your team for some protection.
  2. For the last two years rumors of a 'Lost Pod-ship' have been circulating around the seedy underbelly of New Galapagos. For the most part it has been so much loose gossip or the game of bored mercenaries, or so pretty much everyone thought. The coordinates to a site well outside the Red Zone just downloaded to all your team's accounts. A Merellon Rep wants to discuss a few murky dronecam images. This is a high discretion operation they are offering your team. Refusal will result in summary deportation; that's how these Corprik-types like to operate. Who knows, maybe they have discovered a missing Pod Ship from the old Cetacean Wars. You were getting bored anyhow...
  3. A Corprik-PR cruise has gone astray, veering out dangerously close to the limits of the Red Zone. The Agent that has contacted your team claims it is deliberate sabotage. Some outworld wackjob has hijacked the slowfoil cruise-ship and intends to liquidate some fairly high-level V.I.P.s by forcibly taking them over the line to be disassembled, scrambling their personal nodes past recovery, setting them back considerably, especially since some of those V.I.P.s are old enough that they still distrust the now ubiquitous back-up tech. She will provide your team with cutting edge quick-skitter airfoils, so you can reach the cruise-ship before it goes across the line. You're to eliminate the wrong-doers if necessary, redirect the ship if possible, but above all rescue the Corprik V.I.P.s trapped on the ship. If you are unsuccessful, you'll most likely get disassembled. If you escape without saving the V.I.P.s, you can rest assured that you will become the PR-agent's full-time personal project...
  4. A bathysphere module compiled from schematics and plans for similar vessels used to explore the upper atmospheric layers of Gas Giants has been suspended over the Vent, across from the Dolphin's Spike in the Colo-Cyprian Sea. It took several years of intense negotiations, but finally, an expedition is about to be allowed to descend into the Vent. Merellon Corp has invested heavily in this effort. It might not have even been possible without their backing. Now, on the eve of the Great Descent, agitators have abducted some of the scientific crew slated for this mission. They were taken from within a high security compound. The Chief of CorpSec is missing, presumed detained. The Oversight Committee has opted to bring in some outside talent to get things sorted out. There is evidence that this might have been an inside job. There is also evidence that it might be corporate espionage on the part of a rival Corp. Your team could be hired-on as the outside talent, work for the rival corp as agents provocateurs, be among the anti-Corprist abductors, or maybe you've been contacted deniably/discretely by the Chief who is now in disrepute in order to salvage his reputation or just deliver him from his abductors...and then there is the option that your team might be the back-up crew for the Bathysphere...
  5. A Dolphin, K'tik-tik-Ba, has hired your team to escort it to a special function in New Galapagos. High level negotiations with ZanderLal GMBH. Your brief is to keep things as far off the radar of Merellon Corp as possible. The Dophin's Sec-Team did a very good background check on your team, however the Sec-Team opted to use your team despite your previous associations with Merellon Corp. Perhaps you are not the only ones with conflicted loyalties. There is a leak in the info-stream, and the Sec-Team is blaming your team. Who is on what side? What is this Dolphin Agent up to, really? Why did you get picked? Where is this all going?
  6. A small group of scientifically-minded utopists from Aldrin are in New Galapagos petitioning the Dolphins to establish an aerostat-commune here on Mattigar. Who'd have a problem with that? Apparently someone vicious. Someone who likes to use Conversion Protocol Wetware to slowly torture their victims to death by incrementally altering their blood into an exotic fluorine-based compound. Two petitioners have died so far. Will you help them?

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