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Siccaria 2

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Anonymous
May 2, 2005 2:00:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

The planet Siccaria (Zazhar III) was terraformed (as has been
previously told) in that time that would be known on Earth someday as
the Permian. It was always a borderline-candidate for terraformation,
even by the standards of the Eldren, who undertook the project to some
degree simply as an experiment in planetology.

Their efforts succeeded in transforming a world that was well on its
way to becoming a mild version of Venus into a very hot version of
Terra. It was also on the dry side, for a terraformed world, with
broad but shallow seas holding far less water than the vast oceans of
worlds such as Earth or Eosia. The climate was moderated and sustained
by a biosphere, which maintained Siccaria _just_ inside a stability
envelope. The 'infra-sinks' around the rotational poles drained off
just enough excess heat to make the planet a viable biological
environment.

The Eldren had plans to 'fine-tune' their work on Siccaria, making it
more stable and more clement, but at just about that time, NEMESIS
launched its great assault that brought about the end-Permian
extinctions all over the Greater Milky Way. This plus the aftermath of
that struggle kept the Eldren fully occupied for millions of years, and
Siccaria was pushed to the side-lines. Ironically, one of the reasons
Siccaria was shuffled down the priority queue was that it was one of
the handful of worlds NEMESIS entirely overlooked in its great assault.
The local biosphere came through the Permian Extinction untouched.

Despite the fact that Siccaria's biosphere was perpetually on the edge
of the stability envelope, it endured with remarkable tenacity for a
very, very long time. However, two things worked against that
stability.

One was the slow, steady increase in energy output of Zazhar, which
grew more intense with time in the natural evolution of Main Sequence
stars. This tended to make Siccaria hotter, and to place greater and
greater strain on the biospheric ability to moderate the climate. The
other was the half-terraformation of the planet. It lacked many of the
features of fully-transformed worlds, especially in its tectonic
regime.

As Zazhar grew hotter, Siccaria began to lose small but steadily
increasing water to space by photodissociation. Siccaria did not have
any large excess of water to spare. Bit by bit, over millions of
years, the shallow seas began to evaporate, and the total planetary
water budget began to fall.

The biosphere strained to adapt, and succeeded for a long long time,
but it was fundamentally a losing struggle. Around the year 50,000,000
BC, give or take a few hundred millennia, some critical point was
passed and the rate of environmental collapse began to accelerate
sharply. The shallow seas began to evaporate rapidly, leaving vast
salt plains in their wake. The water vapor content in the atmosphere
rose sharply, producing a greenhouse effect that further raised the
temperature. Siccaria was perilously close to a runaway greenhouse
which would have left the planet in something like its original natural
state: a 'mild Venus'.

It was around the year 20,000,000 BC that the Eldren finally took
notice of how close their experiment here was to total collapse.
However, it was still a low priority, and the handful of Familiar
Eldren assigned to deal with it took something of a brute-force
approach, increasing the efficiency of the polar 'infra-sinks' to
reduce the planetary average temperature, and adjusting the atmospheric
composition just a bit. It worked, in that it stopped the runaway
temperature increase, and caused the remaining seas of the planet to
mostly cease evaporating.

After that, Siccaria was mostly ignored by the Eldren for quiet some
time, which proved to be unfortunate for the planet, because the 'quick
and dirty' adjustments proved to be a little _too_ quick and dirty.
The infra-sinks had been made a little _too_ efficient, the poles were
colder than was ideal for the situation. Without a single planetary
ocean like that of Earth or Eosia, heat-flow was inefficient, so the
equator remained hotter than the Eldren had planned, the poles colder.
The net effect was that water began to accumulate at the poles in the
form of ice.

As ice began to accumulate at the poles, the increased albedo added to
the polar cooling. Meanwhile, the hotter-than-intended low-latitude
temperatures encouraged evaporation, accelerating the transfer of water
from the low-latitudes to the growing polar icecaps. Heat transfer was
mediated primarily by the atmosphere and crustal conduction, since
ocean currents were non-existent.

As the seas dried up, the continents became barren. Rain slowed, and
finally essentially stopped. The formerly fertile continental
highlands became trackless, eroded desert. The former seabeds retained
some moisture, but much of the land area that had been seabed was now a
vast stretch of salt plain or basalt. However, erosion began to
transfer soil from the highlands into the new lowland plains, gradually
producing regions where the remaining moisture and the new soil could
sustain a thin but viable biota. Siccaria, which had escaped the
Permian Extinction ages earlier, now experienced a comparable mass
extinction as the local life adjusted to the radically transformed
planet.

The surviving life forms adapted to a dry new existence. Plants
developed the ability to store water with amazing efficiency. Animals
evolved capable of finding water in the most obscure places.
Eventually, too, the planet reached a new state of semi-equilibrium.
The remaining seas (really huge highly saline lakes) stabilized, and an
oscillating cycle emerged in which the climate shifted back a warmer,
slightly wetter state in which some of the polar ice melted, and the
deeper dry seabeds partly refilled, and a colder, drier state in which
the water again gathered at the poles as ice and permafrost. [1][2]

So matters stood around ~73,000 BC.

Shermanlee


[1] Though it seems counterintuitive that a planet always rather hotter
than Earth was dry because it was not warm enough, but Siccaria was a
peculiar special case because of the Eldren manipulations.

[2] The cycle derived from subtleties in the 'infra-sinks' around the
poles, and from the combination of variations in Siccaria's orbit,
Zazhar's intensity (it was very slightly variable over long periods),
and a few other factors too.

More about : siccaria

Anonymous
May 2, 2005 1:49:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

>
> The surviving life forms adapted to a dry new existence. Plants
> developed the ability to store water with amazing efficiency.
Animals
> evolved capable of finding water in the most obscure places.
> Eventually, too, the planet reached a new state of semi-equilibrium.
> The remaining seas (really huge highly saline lakes) stabilized, and
an
> oscillating cycle emerged in which the climate shifted back a warmer,
> slightly wetter state in which some of the polar ice melted, and the
> deeper dry seabeds partly refilled, and a colder, drier state in
which
> the water again gathered at the poles as ice and permafrost. [1][2]
>
> So matters stood around ~73,000 BC.
>
> Shermanlee

It so happened that in that period, Siccaria was in one of its 'warm,
wet' phases. The cyclic oscillation between warm and cool mainly
affected the polar regions, the lower latitudes changed less,
temperature wise. The ice buildup at the poles was reduced, and some
of the lowlands were underwater again. The shallow seas so produced
were only a shadow of what had existed in Siccaria's ancient past, but
they did make for a relatively clement environment compared to the 'dry
phase'. There was even some rainfall in some areas, and rivers flowed
into the lowland seas.

It was at this point in history that the Familiar Eldren were
evacuating the newly-discovered Homosentients from their Terran
homeland to the new colonies, and it was at this point that the
interference from a Rival faction of Eldren led to the disastrous final
stage of that effort. What had been intended to be a carefully planned
resettlement went totally wrong, and the Familiar Eldren found
themselves scrambling to deposit their stasis-bound involuntary
passengers anywhere they could that could support life at all.

One such stasis-sphere came to rest on Siccaria. It was meant to be a
temporary expedient while the Familiar Eldren regained control of the
entire debacle, but when it was over, the Watcher and some of the other
leaders of the Familiar Eldren were trapped in semi-consciousness on
Earth, along with the Rival and a few of its associates, and all the
rest of the squabbling Eldren had been commanded by a Celestial Eldren
to cease and desist their struggle and to stand down.

Thus, the Homosentients who had been deposited on Siccaria remained
there.

They had been deposited on one of the most clement places on Siccaria,
near the equator on the shores of a shallow sea, where several rivers
converged. To the immediate east, the land rose steadily toward a
former continental highland, providing a topographical rise that caused
water evaporating from the shallow sea to their west to fall as rain.

The stasis-globe that came to rest on Siccaria contained several
species, including _H. sapiens_. However, unusually for a
mixed-species colony, _H. sapiens started out as a small percentage of
the total, four other species were also present, all of them in greater
numbers than the few hundred _H. sapiens_.

Just as was happening on Eosia, from the POV of the new 'colonists', it
was as if one moment they had been in their familiar world on Earth, in
places scattered across Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in the blink of
an eye they found themselves...elsewhere.


The magnitude of the change is hard to convey, for people of a TL0
background. Lacking the background to conceive of 'other' worlds, all
they could perceive was that 'the' world had transformed around them.
The air tasted different, the soil and the wind were different, the
waters tasted different, it was hot in a way Earth never was. Where
the sky had been blue, now it was bluish-green, with a faint metallic
shimmer at times. [1]

Altogether, perhaps 50,000 people were brought to Siccaria in that
stasis sphere. In the first few nightmarish years, over half of them
died. Siccaria, even in its 'warm wet' phase was a far less welcoming
world than Eosia, especially at TL0. Enough did survive, however, to
establish a viable breeding pool for each species, and by 200 Terran
years after their arrival, they had grown to a population of 100,000.

Over the course of the next 10,000 Terran years, the new arrivals
reproduced, their population growing relatively slowly (even the
humans) because of the harsh environment and limited resources of food
and water. They adapted to the local environments, and by ~60,000 BC
they had begun to spread across the lowlands of Siccaria. By ~50,000
BC, there were Homosentients living, and sometimes thriving, across the
lowlands between 30 degrees N and 35 degrees S latitude, and a smaller
population north and south of those lines. [2]

A long period of near-stability in social, technological, and cultural
matters set in, until about ~32,000 BC. This was the period when the
Eosian Hegemony was enjoying its 'golden age', spreading from star to
star and achieving an existence literally incomprehensible to the
people of Siccaria at that time, who were at TL0. That incomprehension
hardly mattered, however, since the Zazhar System was far beyond the
further edges of the spaces the Hegemony explored.

At just about the time that Koalidi Byth-Kormadois was creating his
race of monsters on Maladara, the first TL1 culture arose on Siccaria,
around the shores of the R'kartyan Sea. Over the next 2000 Terran
years, this culture became the seed of a group of cultures, much like
ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia on Earth would, far later. By ~30,000 BC,
the Siccarians had developed a regional culture at TL3, verging on TL4.
With such a technical/industrial edge, these cultures naturally began
to expand across Siccaria, displacing and/or absorbing more primitive
peoples as they did.

By ~29,000 BC, a global culture was emerging on Siccaria. The societal
tech level was about TL6, at least for some of the Siccarians.

The culture that emerged as dominant was not a human one.

The species that controlled the most advanced culture on Siccaria would
come to be known to Terrans, far later, as _Homo siccaris_, named for
the planet on which they were discovered. Originally, tens of
thousands of years earlier, the major breeding population of _H.
siccaris_ had lived in the hot desert regions of Eurasia and Africa,
and this had given them a head start on Siccaria. The vagaries of
cultural evolution on Siccaria led to each species (as a rule) forming
its own set of cultures. They certainly interacted, in war and peace,
they certainly traded, but they didn't merge into single cultures until
very late, and even then a strong species-based sense of separation was
retained. [3]

The _H. siccaris_ society was TL6, the subordinate cultures of the
other races tended to be TL5 at that time. One of the great advantages
of the _H. siccaris_ was that they unified, as a species, while their
fellow species were still engaged in fratricidal struggles. The _H.
siccaris_ were able to hang onto this sense of species-wide unity for
ages, it became ingrained into their psyches.

None too soon did the new technological civilization emerge on
Siccaria, because luck was running against the Siccarians. It so
happened that the Eldren had deposited their ancestors on Siccaria near
the end of the 'warm wet' phase. At the time of their arrival, the
planet was already well along the way toward the 'cold dry' stage, and
that tendency was accelerating throughout the time since the arrival.

Now it was becoming clear to those who studied the planet that the
retreat of the seas and the growth of the polar ice was only going to
continue, and indeed accelerate. A critical point was approaching,
according to their models, at which the process would accelerate, and
much of the vast lowland of Siccaria would desiccate. The models
suggested that it might be as long as 100,000 to 500,000 Terran yeas
before the process began to reverse.

Already, lands that had been steppe or dry grassland (there were
grasses on Siccaria, introduced by the Eldren on a whim) only centuries
earlier were changing. The characteristic terrain of the lowlands far
from the seas was advancing toward the seashores, and the seas were
retreating slowly but steadily. Grasses were replaced by the dry-land
plants that throve during the dry phase. The always small woodlands
were turning into grassland.

By ~28,500 BC, the _H. siccaris_ had achieved a full TL9 tech level,
and had sent manned expeditions through most of the Zazhar System.
They had sent ships all the way to Oceanus, discovering to their shock
the vast rich oceanic biosphere present there. With that discovery
came the shock that clearly related species were to be found on the
separate worlds. The common biochemical and cellular basis of life on
both worlds presented the usual shock for the bioscientists of the
Siccarians.

The major problem facing the Siccarians never changed, though. Their
world was dying. They did have a theoretically habitable world
available in their star system to voyage to, but Oceanus was clearly
ill-suited to maintaining a technical civilization, lacking any dry
land. Coming as they did from a world that was mostly dry land (even
at the height of the 'warm wet' phase), it seemed even more forbidding.

Eventually, a plan emerged to stave off disaster as the planet moved
toward the 'cold dry' phase. It involved the greatest single
coordinated mega-engineering project in Siccarian history. Indeed, it
would prove to be one of the greatest planetary engineering projects
ever undertaken by Homosentients, though they had no idea that there
were other Homosentients in the Galaxy.

The project required the bulk of the attention, resources, technical
skill, and labor that the _H. siccaris_ civilization could spare, and
then some. At times, the society was strained near the breaking point
by its requirements, but the work got done. Over the course of a
period of nearly 3,000 Terran years, the great canal system that would
one day fascinate the Oceanans was designed and implemented.

It was far more, of course, than just a network of gravity-powered
channels for water. It was a world-wide and very sophisticated system,
designed to be as robust as the designers knew how to make it. Deep
core taps were created to draw on geothermal heat to melt the ice at
the poles, (in addition to the normal spring/summer melting brought on
by Siccaria's axial tilt). They could have used nuclear power, or
solar power, but geothermal power was regarded as more reliable on the
long term, requiring the least maintenance.

The canals were not mere channels. They were lined with a specially
made synthetic material, both incredibly durable, and highly porous.
Nanomachines were used to alter the rock and soil around the canals on
either side and to some depth, to maximize the efficiency of the
aquifers they were creating. Vast settling pools were designed into
the system to keep sedimentation under control.

Constructed periodically along the edges of the major canals were
vapor-condensers, machines which captured water vapor from the air and
returned it to the canal. These played a major role in keep
evaporation from draining the water from the canals before it reached
the lower latitudes. These machines were powered mostly by solar
power, sometimes by geothermal power, occasionally by the force of the
water flowing in the canals through hydrogenerators. Nuclear fission,
usually the mainstay of high TL societies, was avoided where possible,
because for all its advantages on most scales, it required too much
maintenance and too much refueling on a scale of centuries and
millennia.

The system was designed not to merely send water flooding down the
canals, but to create saturated aquifers along the length of the
canals, with the canals replenishing only the water lost, rather than
refilling the entire aquifer year after year. A significant percentage
of the water that would otherwise have remained frozen at the poles was
to be transferred to the new artificial aquifers. Calculations showed
that it would take many years for the canals to 'charge' the aquifers,
but if all went well they would then only have to replenish losses.

Massive programs of genetic engineering were used to modify various
plant forms for various roles in the project. Plants were bread that
would hold soil in place against erosive winds, that would trap water
in the soil and restrain evaporation, that would actually store water
in hollows in their structures.

Where possible, always with an eye for robustness and minimum
maintenance, the Canal Makers designed their canals to operate from the
force of gravity alone. In places, though, where water _had_ to be
sent uphill, pumping stations were installed. In each case, robustness
was the ruling design consideration. Geothermal power was the
preferred source of energy, being nearly inexhaustible and relatively
simple to implement (at TL9/10, anyway). Where that was not workable,
solar power was the next preferred
choice. Sometimes wind power was
useful. In a few cases, they had to fall back on fission, and hope for
the best. [4]

MORE LATER.

Shermanlee


[1] That occasional 'metallic' look to the sky had a specific reason
behind it, as we shall see.

[2] It so happened that most of the lowest of the lowlands were in the
equatorial zone, so that when the 'warm wet' phase began, that is
where the seas reformed and conditions were most clement.

[3] This was not a universal pattern. On many worlds, societies
emerged where the various sp
ecies intermixed freely.

[4] Siccaria was rich in fissionables, and had received more than the
usual share of potassium-40 during its formation. This meant that it
was geologically active, and geothermal power sources were quite viable
in many regions.
Anonymous
May 3, 2005 1:54:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

Johnny1a wrote:

>
> By ~28,500 BC, the _H. siccaris_ had achieved a full TL9 tech level,
> and had sent manned expeditions through most of the Zazhar System.

Slight error correction, that should be 27,000 BC.
Related resources
Anonymous
May 3, 2005 2:17:41 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

Johnny1a wrote:
> >
>
> Where possible, always with an eye for robustness and minimum
> maintenance, the Canal Makers designed their canals to operate from
the
> force of gravity alone. In places, though, where water _had_ to be
> sent uphill, pumping stations were installed. In each case,
robustness
> was the ruling design consideration. Geothermal power was the
> preferred source of energy, being nearly inexhaustible and relatively
> simple to implement (at TL9/10, anyway). Where that was not
workable,
> solar power was the next preferred
> choice. Sometimes wind power was
> useful. In a few cases, they had to fall back on fission, and hope
for
> the best. [4]
>
> MORE LATER.
>
> Shermanlee

There was no one single 'activation day' for the system, of course.
The core of the network was operating long before the outskirts of it
were completed, and even after the basic canal network was up and
running, there were countless secondary waterways to excavate and
prepare. Since the work involved altering the soil substructures and
producing enormous amounts of synthetics for linings, it was inherently
slow work.

As the new artificial aquifers filled, life began to spread up and down
the length of the enormous Grand Canals. The new aquifers were tens of
miles wide, sometimes more, and the altered soil could store water to a
considerable depth. Once the aquifers were fully 'charged', the canals
could have ceased working entirely for some years at a time, and
agriculture would still have been possible for a while. The canals had
only to make up the loss year-to-year, large amounts of water remained
in the ground from year to year.

The completion (more or less) of the planetary reengineering project
left the _H. siccaris_ society with seriously strained resources, but
their success also encouraged further confidence. On the other hand,
just as their planetelogical models had predicted, Siccaria reached and
passed the forecast critical point during this period, and the seas
began to dry out in earnest. Agriculture and other civilized
activities became highly dependent on the canals and their related
aquifers.

Had events continued on that path, the _H. siccaris_ society might have
been able to move on to new heights, since their planetary engineering
project enabled their society to function in the 'cold dry' period.
Unfortunately for them, fate had other plans.

Those plans manifested themselves in 23,853 BC, by Terran reckoning.
That manifestation took the physical form of the arrival of a starship
from outside the Zazhar System, a starship crewed by entities unlike
anything in the experience of the Siccarians...a starship that crashed
in the remote desert lowlands far from the fertile Canal Zones, a
starship that carried a crew of monsters.

MORE LATER.

Shermanlee
Anonymous
May 3, 2005 6:02:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

Johnny1a wrote:

> Those plans manifested themselves in 23,853 BC, by Terran reckoning.
> That manifestation took the physical form of the arrival of a starship
> from outside the Zazhar System, a starship crewed by entities unlike
> anything in the experience of the Siccarians...a starship that crashed
> in the remote desert lowlands far from the fertile Canal Zones, a
> starship that carried a crew of monsters.

??? Beasties, or something new? If new, why haven't we heard of them
before now? ("Because I just made them up" is a valid reason."

Jefferson
http://www.picotech.net/~jeff_wilson63/rpg/
Anonymous
May 3, 2005 4:56:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

Johnny1a wrote:
> Those plans manifested themselves in 23,853 BC, by Terran reckoning.
> That manifestation took the physical form of the arrival of a starship
> from outside the Zazhar System, a starship crewed by entities unlike
> anything in the experience of the Siccarians...a starship that crashed
> in the remote desert lowlands far from the fertile Canal Zones, a
> starship that carried a crew of monsters.
>

I was wondering why, if the planet developed a robust tl9 civilization,
that the oceanius colonists didn't find them, or visa versa.

Oh me oh my, after all that work to run _away_ from the beasties, the
poor oceanians find them, again, right in their backyard ....

-- Pat
Anonymous
May 3, 2005 11:27:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

Patrick Spinler wrote:
> Johnny1a wrote:
> > Those plans manifested themselves in 23,853 BC, by Terran
reckoning.
> > That manifestation took the physical form of the arrival of a
starship
> > from outside the Zazhar System, a starship crewed by entities
unlike
> > anything in the experience of the Siccarians...a starship that
crashed
> > in the remote desert lowlands far from the fertile Canal Zones, a
> > starship that carried a crew of monsters.
> >
>
> I was wondering why, if the planet developed a robust tl9
civilization,
> that the oceanius colonists didn't find them, or visa versa.
>
> Oh me oh my, after all that work to run _away_ from the beasties, the

> poor oceanians find them, again, right in their backyard ....
>
> -- Pat

Well, sort of, remember that the Oceanans haven't reached the Zazhar
System at this point yet. (Which is interesting in itself, and
peculiar, if you think about it.)

As for why they didn't find them, the Siccarians had no orichalcum, and
at TL9 you can't do FTL travel without it. They didn't even know that
orichalcum _could_ exist. They were confined to the Zazhar System.
Ironically, there _was_ a little of the miracle-material on Siccaria,
it's one of the tiny handful of habitable worlds where some can be
found in the crust, but they hadn't discovered it.
Shermanlee
Anonymous
May 8, 2005 4:03:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

Johnny1a wrote:
>
> Those plans manifested themselves in 23,853 BC, by Terran reckoning.
> That manifestation took the physical form of the arrival of a
starship
> from outside the Zazhar System, a starship crewed by entities unlike
> anything in the experience of the Siccarians...a starship that
crashed
> in the remote desert lowlands far from the fertile Canal Zones, a
> starship that carried a crew of monsters.
>
> MORE LATER.
>
> Shermanlee

The starship came crashing to the surface, and crashing was the right
word. The vessel retained sufficient power and control to make a
_controlled_ crash, but contrary to the old saying, there is a
difference between a controlled crash and a landing.

The vessel was heavily damaged, limping, its main drive damaged and its
secondary engines not much better. The entire bow was misshapen,
having partly melted and then resolidified after an encounter with a
hundred gigawatts of hostile ultraviolet laser light. Even through the
ship's main shield, that flood of energy had been devastating.

The ship came shooting across the dry seabeds of the eastern hemisphere
of the planet, using aerobraking to shed speed, melting away much of
the hull and the already-uninhabitable bow in the process. It passed
across a dozen Canal Zones like a meteorite, before it finally came to
rest in the deep desert, over 500 miles from the nearest Canal Zone
edge and digging a trench in the sand four miles long. Most of the
surviving crew were killed by the impact, but in the shielded,
cushioned, liquid-supported emergency shelter within the heart of the
vessel, a few of them survived, alive, sane, and intact.

The ship had been detected, of course. This was the glory days, the
height, of the _H. siccaris_ civilization, which was TL10/11 in most
areas. Their limited resources and lack orichalcum prevented them from
reaching out to the stars, but otherwise their technology was generally
equal to that of the Eosian Hegemony before its fall, and in some areas
they were actually ahead, especially in robotics and planetary
engineering.

By the time anyone reached the crash site, though, the surviving
monsters had made their escape. The investigating teams that arrived
found the half-molten, twisted, broken rubble of the vessel, and they
found the corpses of the Beastie crew, for it had indeed been a Beastie
ship.

Not, of course, that any Homosentient on Siccaria had any idea what the
creatures were, what they had been, or the danger they represented.
More importantly, they had no way to know that an even two dozen
Beasties had made their escape, carrying some basic weapons and
equipment, enough water to survive for a while...and one more item,
possibly the most dangerous single thing a Beastie starship could have
brought to Siccaria.

Two dozen Beasties...in the middle of a vast desert of rock and sand
and salt, equipped only with some basic weapons and equipment, on an
unfamiliar world. By all odds they should not have lasted a month.
Indeed, seven of them were dead within the first two weeks.

But the long-dead Koalidi Byth-Kormadois had done his deranged, evil
work well. The Beasties were supremely adaptable, and dangerously
cunning, and these were veteran, experienced Beastie warriors and
spacers. Beasties as a species averaged slightly less intelligent than
Homosentients, but these were the elite of the species, smart and fast
and experienced. By two months after their arrival, they had stolen
transportation from the investigating teams who were pouring over the
crash site, making it look as if accident had claimed their first
victims.

(In actuality, the original operators of the stolen vehicles were
eaten.)

Using their stolen vehicles, the surviving Beasties made their way to
the well-watered, life-rich environs of a Canal Zone. Far too canny to
risk going to the nearest such area, they instead travelled to one over
1000 miles from the crash site, probably the sixth closest. They had
access to some space-based observations of the planet to work with, and
some maps and other information raided from the investigating teams.

By six months after their arrival, the surviving 17 Beasties had become
30 Beasties. They had chosen a region of a Canal Zone far from any
population center, feeding on local animal and plant life, and
reproducing. They also selected a site for their special item, the
thing they had brought from their crashed vessel that carried such
peril for the natives of Siccaria.

They chose a site about a mile from the edge of a Canal, a place where
the soil was deep and rich, well-watered and where plant and animal
life was common. In that soil, the surviving Beasties planted their
one and only surviving broodwyrm egg.

MORE LATER.

Shermanlee
Anonymous
May 11, 2005 1:26:59 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

Johnny1a wrote:

>
> They chose a site about a mile from the edge of a Canal, a place
where
> the soil was deep and rich, well-watered and where plant and animal
> life was common. In that soil, the surviving Beasties planted their
> one and only surviving broodwyrm egg.
>
> MORE LATER.
>
> Shermanlee

The Beastie starship that had limped its way to its spectacular
crash-landing had carried an even eight of broodwyrm 'eggs', each an
unexploded bomb of disastrous potentials, wrapped in a scaly hide. To
the great good fortune of Siccaria, seven of the eight were destroyed
either by the original damage to the ship, subsequent exposure to heat,
cold, and ionizing radiation, or the final crash itself. [1]

Unfortunately, even one viable 'egg' had the potential to bring
disaster to Siccaria.

The Beasties themselves had long since lost their initial tremendous
reproductive ability, their fertility reduced to a lower level by
factors unknown to them. Still, they remained relatively swift
reproducers, and given time the initial few survivors could have bred a
dangerous number of Beasties, but that would have taken decades,
perhaps a century or two, with a concomitant risk of discovery by the
Homosentients who vastly outnumbered them. [2]

The broodwyrm changed that equation. The Beasties chose a superb
location, far from Homosentients, but rich in nutrients and watered by
two intersecting Canals. The broodwyrm grew rapidly in its new
environment, its 'roots' spreading through the rich soil and all the
way, eventually, to the sweet waters of the Canal itself. The
surviving Beasties kept it well fed with hunted fauna and after it was
solidly rooted, it began to photosynthesize.

The great danger of this monster, of course, was that once it was
firmly established, it could begin growing Beasties in huge numbers.
Every broodwyrm contains the necessary genetic templates to create
hordes of Beasties, this one was no exception. The surviving Beasties
remained carefully hidden for two Terran years, which was long enough
for their broodwyrm to grow large enough to begin 'manufacturing' more
of their kind.

It was far from fully grown at that point, and at this size (and given
the available supplies of nutrients) it could grow no more than 100
Beasties at a time. It could do this, however, once a Terran month or
so. Thus, a year after the broodwyrm reached minimum operating
maturity, the 30 Beasties who planted the broodwyrm 'egg' were joined
by over 1200 new Beasties. They were new and untrained, but that was a
temporary impediment. With more Beasties to feed the creature, the
creature could grow faster, as well. By the time they reached the
fourth anniversary (by Terran reckoning) of their crash landing on
Siccaria, the 17 surviving Beasties had become the leaders of a small
horde of over 4000 monsters, and the broodwyrm was still swelling their
numbers.


The Siccarians were about to be faced with a threat out of their worst
nightmares, though as yet they had no idea that anything or anyone had
survived the crash of the starship a few years before, a ship that was
still the wonder and joy of their science community.

As the unsuspected menace swelled in the shadows, the clock was ticking
for the _H. siccaris_ civilization. About this...MORE LATER.

Shermanlee


[1]As a minor aside, Beasties generally tended to use base-8 math, and
thus their tendency to do things in sets of 8.

[2]Recall that the Helialisks had secretly engineered this precipitous
decline in Beastie fertility, during the great Beastie Wars that had
wrecked the Eosian Hegemony.
Anonymous
May 11, 2005 1:32:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

Johnny1a wrote:
> As the unsuspected menace swelled in the shadows, the clock was ticking
> for the _H. siccaris_ civilization. About this...MORE LATER.

Waiting on tenterhooks for the next installment.

-- Pat

p.s. total aside, but here's a neat entymology for "tenterhooks":
http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-ont1.htm
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 1:35:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

Johnny1a wrote:

>
> The Siccarians were about to be faced with a threat out of their
worst
> nightmares, though as yet they had no idea that anything or anyone
had
> survived the crash of the starship a few years before, a ship that
was
> still the wonder and joy of their science community.
>
> As the unsuspected menace swelled in the shadows, the clock was
ticking
> for the _H. siccaris_ civilization. About this...MORE LATER.
>
> Shermanlee

The original Beasties from the crashed starship had to juggle several
conflicting requirements as they prepared for their attack on the local
Homosentient population. They were vastly outnumbered by a
high-technology enemy, who had 'home team advantage' in terms of
knowledge of the planet, the situation, and available resources. Thus,
the more Beasties their broodwyrm manufactured (no other word seems to
fit) before they launched their attack, the better.

On the other hand, the longer they waited, and the greater their
numbers became, the higher the odds that the local Homosentients would
discover their existence by accident. Greater numbers increased the
odds of accidental discovery, which meant that time was of the essence.
Yet if they struck before they were ready, the odds of success fell
enormously.

The broodwyrm could grow more Beasties (and other living things too if
necessary), but they also needed weapons and vehicles and fuel and
other resources. The broodwyrm could grow a Beastie, but not an
energizer or the uranium to fuel it, not a battlemecha or the
nanoprocessors to control it. [1]

The only source for the resources they needed was the Homosentient
civilization they opposed. They would have to seize resources from the
enemy almost at the same time they attacked. This promised to be a
challenge, to put it mildly. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately
for the Siccarians, one of the Beasties who survived the initial crash
was the Beastie version of a military genius.

One thing was apparent from the start: the canal system was the key to
the whole business.

In the few thousand years since the Canal System had been completed,
Siccaria had dried out considerably, the planet having passed the
tipping point in its slide toward the 'cold dry' state. Already, the
Canals and their related aquifers and other systems were absolutely
vital to maintaining a civilized culture on the planet. The Beasties
knew that they would need that canal network just as badly if they won
their war against the Siccarians, they dared not seriously damage it.

By the same token, though, the Homosentients would not dare risk
damaging it, either, if they were rational, and the Beasties could see
that. They had already intercepted enough information, stolen enough
data, to grasp the basics of the climatalogical situation on Siccaria.

The plan that the Beastie leaders formulated required that the Beasties
carry out a complicated sequence of related events, with close timing,
and do so almost without a hitch. It was a plan with a lot of moving
parts, something military planners hate, but under the circumstances
they had no real alternatives.

The plan was for small groups of Beasties, armed with weapons
constructed from stolen equipment, to attempt to seize and hold key
pumping stations and junction points in the Canal system, digging in
and counting on the reluctance of the Homosentients to damage to system
to protect them from the use of weapons of mass destruction or the
like. Meanwhile, other Beasties would be doing what they could to
distract attention elsewhere, and still others would be trying to
inflict sufficient damage to key infrastructural and communications
systems to hobble the enemy response.

They had reasonable amounts of information about their targets, from
spying, intercepted signals and messages, and interrogation of captured
prisoners, but there was no such things as 'too much' in such
situations. They were going out on thin ice, and they knew it. They
hardly had a choice, however, given their instincts and their
situation.

When the time came, some ten years after the starship brought this
menace to Siccaria, the Beasties were as ready as they were going to
be. They had concluded that more delay would not help their cause, and
that their numbers were sufficient if all went well. If things went
badly wrong, even their broodwyrm could not hope to create an army big
enough to take on the intact Siccarian civilization on its home ground.

Thus, in a year that by Gregorian reckoning would be called 28,843 BC,
on a spring day in the northern hemisphere of Siccaria, the attack
began. About what followed...MORE LATER.


Shermanlee

[1] The term 'battlemecha' is not a reference to a humanoid machine!
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 1:24:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

mike wrote:
> On a dark an dismal 16 May 2005 21:35:34 -0700, in flickering
> lamplight "Johnny1a" <shermanlee1@hotmail.com> scribed with phoenix
> quill:
>
> >Johnny1a wrote:
> <#>
> >The broodwyrm could grow more Beasties (and other living things too
if
> >necessary), but they also needed weapons and vehicles and fuel and
> >other resources. The broodwyrm could grow a Beastie, but not an
> >energizer or the uranium to fuel it, not a battlemecha or the
> >nanoprocessors to control it. [1]
> <#>
> >Shermanlee

> Two questions, if i may.
> 1. Why did the broodwyrm not make a few more wyrm eggs to boost the
> rate of beastie production?

Ah, but remember the circumstances: the Beasties were crashed with
most of their equipment and tools either destroyed or unavailable,
since their wrecked vessel was in the hands of the locals. This
included the pheromonal substances and chemical tools normally used to
control a broodwyrm.

This particular broodwyrm was not sapient at that point in time (like
all broodwyrms, it had the potential for such, but at this stage it was
mindless), so absent the tools to make it generate such an egg, they
had to wait for it to do it on its own in its own intinctive rhythm.

Also, the limiting factor on Beastie production even with just one
broodwyrm was not capacity, but the need to balance secrecy against
striking power when the moment came.

> 2. Nanoprocessors could've been built from organic components, so the
> broodwyrm should be able to make them. Why can't it?

Some things just don't work as well with one material as another, you
can't make full-capacity nanoprocessors out of organics. It could do
something else, though, and it did do that, as we shall see...

> I can also see that they'd build an organic version of battlemecha.
> :-)
>
> Were i the Beastie boss, I'd build a few nasties for the natives.
> How about some flying insects that contain some beastie venom?
> A few things for the canal system too....

We shall see... :) 

Shermanlee
May 19, 2005 2:39:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

On a dark an dismal 16 May 2005 21:35:34 -0700, in flickering
lamplight "Johnny1a" <shermanlee1@hotmail.com> scribed with phoenix
quill:

>Johnny1a wrote:
<#>
>The broodwyrm could grow more Beasties (and other living things too if
>necessary), but they also needed weapons and vehicles and fuel and
>other resources. The broodwyrm could grow a Beastie, but not an
>energizer or the uranium to fuel it, not a battlemecha or the
>nanoprocessors to control it. [1]
<#>
>Shermanlee
>
>[1] The term 'battlemecha' is not a reference to a humanoid machine!
>

Two questions, if i may.
1. Why did the broodwyrm not make a few more wyrm eggs to boost the
rate of beastie production?
2. Nanoprocessors could've been built from organic components, so the
broodwyrm should be able to make them. Why can't it?
I can also see that they'd build an organic version of battlemecha.
:-)

Were i the Beastie boss, I'd build a few nasties for the natives.
How about some flying insects that contain some beastie venom?
A few things for the canal system too....

I'm really enjoying this ! Keep it Going.

:-) mik




--

mik :-)



Is the Tower of Pisa a listed building?
!