Monday, December 12, 2016

Emmerich's World

Emmerich's World
Type: Terrestrial Jovian Moon
Primary Star: K6V (Orange dwarf)
Secondary Star: M7V (Red dwarf)
Tertiary Star: sdL9 (Red-Brown dwarf)
Satellite Of: Anchorhead (9 Jupiter Masses)
Gravity: 1.25 g
Diameter: 17,796
Atmospheric Pressure: .4 atm
Atmospheric Composition: 71% Nitrogen, 18% Oxygen, trace other gasses
Surface Temperature (Mean): 22 C
Day Length: 24.9 Hours
Orbital Period: 45 Days
Gate Access: Fissure Gate, Nihilus Gate
Notes: Significant Lagrange Point Bodies, Planetary Ring, Frequent Natural Phenomena, Alien Life (Microbes and Fungus), Advanced Alien Artifact (Case WETWARE AUTOMATA)
Emmerich's World in an interesting case in a lot of little ways. First, it is an almost Earth-sized moon in orbit around a super jovian planet. While its atmosphere is too thin and gravity too high for unmodified transhumans to survive normally, it is otherwise a fairly personable world with a decent temperature which has an orbit around what is technically a trinary system, with a rare T-type "red-brown" star as the third companion. It's also been observed that this star system has a large volume of asteroids or even dwarf planetoids in its lagrange points (Trojans) trailing the Jovian, hence it's name "Anchorhead". Second point of interest is that Emmerich's World has a breathtaking sky, both from Anchorhead's visible ring activity and the frequent auroras caused by a variety of radiation interactions. The last is that Emmerich's World is host to a variety of primitive microbes and fungal creatures, many of the latter produce mycotoxins which have a number of interesting effects on transhuman biology, from narcotic to hallucinogenic. Biohackers and growers can further adjust these principles. Eager to see a second Carnivale, Emmerich's World has been settled into a loose Autonomist city called "Neon Night" a short jump from the Gate where cycles of curious Scum and a variety of Anarchist "science nerds" of multiple stripes conduct experiments of many varieties. Neon Night is a veritable "hobby city", with every resident tending to pursue his or her own personal predilections with delight, from astronomy nerds to the pharmacists experimenting with fungi, to everywhere in between. Its renown has caused other hobbyists to move in, causing growing cottage industry in exotic cybernetics, chemistry and even arts. Due to the open source nature of everything in Neon Night City, there are also a number of visitors from Inner System polities looking for valuable research to monetize back in the System. Hobbyism has led to a weird mish-mash of cultures, mostly with architecture which reflects high levels of "neon" lighting or is made to resemble mushrooms, and a combination of Otaku cultures from the northern seaboards of the North America, with English, French and Dutch the most common languages, though hearing Japanese is not unheard of. The Emmerich Gate links to a region of stone columns or spires which are covered in native lichens.

[Sidebar] Emmerich's Second Gate - Case WETWARE AUTOMATA
Operation NECRONOMICON eyes only
It turns out Emmerich's World doesn't have just one gate. It's second gate is located roughly antipode to the first, and connects to the gate on Nihilus. But, Pathfinder has no official record of such a connection, and the Emmerich-Nihilus link is blacklisted from the latter end. They don't even have a name for the address, just a serial number. Because of this, it took Firewall a long time to make the connection. As far as we can tell, some UMars guys were poking around in Nihilus' library to find a likely source for the "Diggers", and came across Emmerich's World. What happened to that team must have freaked them out a lot, because it went all the way up Pathfinder's grapevine to we presume Project OZMA. Intercepted communiques indicates OZMA poked the bear too, but decided to sit on it and block the address. Why exactly, we're not sure. Maybe they poked too hard and it burned them, maybe they know something we don't... maybe the Scum just set up shop on the far side of the planet and they decided making a big fuss would just make it worse. Either way, we have no record of further investigations from that angle, just some scattered descriptions that turned NECRONOMICON servers on to this idea. So we sent some Sentinels out to hike over from Neon Night City and check it out. The second Gate (why we say "second" should become apparent in a moment) is located on top of a reddish-black artificial structure which can only be described as a pyramid and a triple-helix had a baby. The base is just under 250 meters in length and it's tips reach over 180 meters in height, bigger than the old Great Pyramid. It also has an extensive underground component, meaning it's exact cubic volume isn't known. The composition of the Pyramid seems to be a mixture of metallic polymers and fullerened carbon, making a tough shell which works like a faraday shield. It's surface is completely undetailed, too. But that's not the freakiest thing.
Case WETWARE AUTOMATA is a strange object which is described as a "monolith" or "marker" stone in the decrypted communiques, and is a vaguely serpentine object of a dull reddish coloring which stands about 3.3 meters in height. It sits on a small plinth in the dead center of it's pyramid, which is a giant open space which appears lit by no known source. The WETWARE AUTOMATA object is warm, appearing to emit heat at a steady 38 C, and is completely opaque to all sensor systems, and confused the fuck out of any attempt of composition analysis via the backscatter. It's completely hydrophobic, all liquids slide off it without interacting in anyway, and we can't be sure of it's exact weight, other than "very heavy". It has yet to be scratched by exposure to lasers, flamethrowers, antipersonnel and anti-armor rounds and a diamond axe. It's also been universally said by all who examined it to be "unpleasant" to look at. Of course, the real freak show is that any sapient being which gets too close to the object immediately begins to develop a fixation on repeated minor tasks and trivial matters which basically renders them "nonfunctional" by normal circumstances, unable to actually work on meaningful objectives. They'll continue to do whatever thing they decide to focus on until they pass out or die. This applies to both biological and cyberbrains, to humans, uplifts and infolife and even seems to affect infomorphs in conventional emulation software. It does not, however, affect ALI, pruned forks or smart animals. Trial and error has also concluded it can't affect Transhumans through faraday suits, analog or otherwise degraded sensory feeds, or through certain kinds of teleoperation of drones. As far as we can tell it's some kind of Basilisk Hack system, possibly doing EM interference with brains, but we've yet to find a type of sensor which can detect any meaningful activity inside the pyramid complex. Firewall has yet to elect to send an Async specialist close to the object, despite several requests from more pragmatic members of the case team.
The fact that the autonomist colony at the opposite gate is known as a "hobbyist's paradise" where they fixate on non-essential tasks is not lost on the team. It is but one of several questions we have. Since we can't date the object, all we know is that the pyramid is not of TITAN origin, rough dating puts it somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 years old. If it was made to contain the object, or the object was made after is unknown. It's also interesting that the Gate is positioned prominently on top of the structure, obviously the builders were able to reposition it. But there are no other visible structures like it on Emmerich's World. There's also some interest if this "obsessive-compulsive" behavior has anything to do with the methodical mining out of Nihilus by "Diggers". We're unsure of it's purpose or exact nature, other than that it was obviously built to last. There's also some wonder if it might be a variable object which can be interacted with somehow, possibly with interface elements on the plinth. This could mean it's output could be fine-tuned, and the current one is just some kind of area denial mode. Firewall's primary concern other than just figuring out what it's deal is is to move or contain the object before the locals decide to hike out here. Theoretically a covering could be engineered which would contain WETWORK AUTOMATA, but it wouldn't be as tough as the pyramid, and moving it has not gone well. A puppeted Daitya tried to lift it and practically tore an arm off. It's suspected there may be technology similar to the Fixors (which date to around 900,000 years ago) which holds it in place, which would probably mean a very complex system to generate a lot of force. One advantage is that all of the material seems to be made out of conventional matter, so four antimatter grenades have been rigged around the object in a cross pattern, with optimal shaping that if the failsafe is triggered the monolith, it's plinth and a good chunk of the pyramid itself. Some have argued for just a singular wide device to evaporate the pyramid and the rest of the area around it, but given how obstinate the object is nobody wants to take any bets on a wide dispersal. Either way, blowing the failsafe will cause a heap of conspiracy theories in the future, so here's hoping we can figure out how to move the damned thing. What bugs me the most though is if there are other structures on Emmerich's World which might have similar properties. Worse, what if there's vaults full of these devices in a "disarmed" state out there?
-Armitage, Firewall Crow

No comments:

Post a Comment