Friday, January 17, 2014

The Colony - Part 1

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here. Any regular readers will know I pretty much agree with Kirith Kodachi's vision of CCP will bring in the new space for 2014. My first bit of fiction for 2014 followed the same vision.

I have a draft post for next week about how Planetary Interaction could be done as a separate game outside of the Eve Client. This 'short' came from the idea for that game. It is a short-short as it is my birthday weekend, I'm transitioning from "mid-30s" to "late-30s" tomorrow and have gone away to get drunk with the wife and some friends. Its been a busy week as I needed to get a lot done at the office because of only working 4 days.

The Colony - Part 1

"Build Your Own World!"

Chao looked at the title in big purple letters on the info-sheet that had been handed to him as he entered the hall. He had taken his seat and glanced over the shiny brochure. The Quaffe Corporation logo was all over it, along with a lots of promises and interesting statistics. They were really trying to sell this.

A few more people had entered the hall. Chao scanned around casually. Young, old, men, women, Caldari, Gallente, Amarrian and Matari. There was no one type of person here. They were all different and had come for different reasons.

Chao reason was he was tired. He'd worked at Caldari Constructions for twenty years. He'd slaved away hard as all good Caldari did. And what had he'd got for that? Nothing. His managers and supervisors had been promoted and rewarded, but not the guys who actually did the work. Then Tibus Heth came to power and they expected all this to change. Heth was one of them, a man of the people, one of the down trodden workers. However, it had become clear that whilst Heth might have been wanting to change the State for the better, but his hatred of the Gallente had distracted him. Chao knew things would never change in the State and he had found a group of people who felt the same. Their pooled savings was enough to buy this promise of a better life.

"Leaders of tomorrow! Welcome!"

Chao looked up to the stage to see a thin Gallente man stride to the podium. His suit was purple, the same as the huge Quaffe logo and made Chao feel slightly queasy. He doubted he'd ever get used to Gallente fashion. He longed to get back to Caldari space if not just for the plain attire.

"You are here because you are brave! You are here because you want to be free! Why bow down to a government when YOU can be the government? Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Quaffe Corporation Colony Starter Unit!"

The room lights dimmed and a holographic projection appeared above them. It showed a massive drop-ship with a large object slung underneath. The simulation showed the dropship landing in a planet in a lush valley with vibrant vegetation and a babbling brook. The dropship took off again leaving the large object on the ground. Very slowly the object unfolded and deployed into an outpost. It looked rather Gallente. Lots of curves and green featured predominantly. It sort of stung Chao's Caldari pride. However, he noted on the brochure that the basic outpost came in four variants, a style for each of the four empires. The presenter was continuing to talk.

"The Colony Started Unit has everything you need to get you started. It can house 15 people initially and provide food, water and even air, if the planet you chose is not temperate. The recycling systems and hydroponic gardens can keep you sustained indefinitely just in the starter unit. But wait, you didn't come here to sit back did you? No, you came here because you want to build something special."

Chao noticed the hologram highlighting what appeared to be drills to one side of the outpost.

"Resource collection starts immediately after deploying. Tritanium deposits are pre-scanned before set-down to ensure your outpost is able to start mining immediately. Whilst the in-built mining system will never be sufficient for large-scale expansion, it gets you started! The internal factory can produce further buildings which will allow you to expand your colony. Better mining buildings, factories, power plants, habitats, research labs, food production. The Quaffe Corporation Colony Starter Unit has blueprints for all the basic buildings you will need to found and expand your own colony. With a good site you can have several more buildings within days with the Quaffe Corporation Colony Starter Unit!"

The holographic simulation continued. It showed more buildings being created and time sped up until there was a small town surrounding the now small looking original outpost. Dropships arrived and departed from the small spaceport, collecting containers that appeared to come from some form of factory. Resource processors were connected by tubes, obviously supplying raw materials that they were mining from below the surface.

"And you'll never be on your own! Quaffe experts are only a comms-hail away! Need some short term expertise on mining? Hire one of our specialists to boost your output. One of your neighbours threatening your borders? Our defence specialists can speed up deployment of railgun turrets, shield projectors or production of automated light tanks. We can even provide brokerage between you and cloned soldier mercenaries when the going gets a bit too hot! But it is not just personnel we offer. The included blueprints become a bit too basic down the line? You can purchase advanced blueprints direct from us and save time researching them! Advanced laboratories, Zero-G Ball Parks and of course the crown in any colony's crown, the space-elevator!"

Chao noted the very quick flash of text as the holographic simulation played out. "Additional fee's apply huh?" he thought. "So that's how they make their money, selling additional services and blue prints!"

Time sped on more and more. Chao thought it must be getting close to the end. The town had now grown into a sprawling city. Hundreds of vehicles and craft buzzed around the city with the impressive space-elevator serving as the main focal point of the scene. The camera flew around the city a few times before zooming towards an ornate palace. It entered the front doors and flew through the corridors before entering a magnificent throne room. In the raised chair sat a faceless human. Chao couldn't tell if it was male or female. Suddenly the face started changing and morphing into lots of different faces. He saw his own for a brief second. Finally the face returned to the blank and the words "You" appeared at the bottom.

The lights in the hall brightened and suddenly dozens of smartly dressed people entered via side doors and lined the walls. Sales people.

The man on stage was still giving his sales pitch, something about 'claims' on deep-space planets. Chao wasn't listening, he was now staring at the sales brochure and the small outpost in the green valley. The 12 peoples life savings would just buy one of these with a little cash to spare if they wanted some extras from the Quaffe Corporation early on. The ultimate gamble. They may fail and end up with nothing, or they could be ruling their own city where everyone was equal and hard work and effort was truly rewarded.

He stood and walked over to one of the smarmy sales people. A stunning young Gallente woman with jet back long hair, high cheekbones and a skirt-suit so short she would probably get arrested in the Amarrian empire dressed like that. He also know there was no point in asking her technical questions. She and the others like her, both men and women, were the eye-candy to get you to sign on the line. However, he didn't need any more sales pitch, he had made his decision.

"Where do I sign" was his curt introduction.

1 comment:

  1. One thing I particularly like about your fiction? You do well in putting yourself in the mind of the "common man" in whatever situation you find yourself, with a minimum of value judgements. Chao, for example, feels like a Caldari who still wants to be Caldari, just in different circumstances to the ones he's currently in.

    Similarly your Reykjaa series, and others.