The Let's Play Archive

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

by nweismuller

Part 5: 2131-2140: What Is Your Profession?

What Is Your Profession?

By 2131, a cluster of small firms in the Morgan settlement have completed reprocessing plants that break down the organic waste of the settlement, refining biofuels, water, industrial chemicals, and fertilisers from sewage, garbage, and the dead. The recovery of resources this allows is, perhaps, modest, but the precarious situation of Chironian settlements nonetheless makes it a welcome buffer between viability and starvation.

Recycling Tanks provide +1 nutrients, minerals, and energy- a small bonus, but one that can make all the difference when you're struggling with feeding and building in your settlements.

Meanwhile, Rat Patrol, exploring north, found yet another of the strange monolith complexes which have been found to litter Pholus. It reported the location and moved on, along the western face of a major north-south ridge.

By 2135, Rat Patrol had located another Unity cargo pod, this one containing the wreckage of a portion of the Unity's comms sections. Although the wreckage was almost entirely useless, logs were recovered from its memory banks providing codes for the original communications array for Pod 6. Using these codes, Morgan Industries, on behalf of all the settlers of North Pholus, attempted to make contact with Pod 6 and confirm if they had survived.

Communications were successfully established, and initial discussions revealed that Pod 6 had founded its own nation- the Spartan Federation. The Federation currently operates under a provisional military government, which dips heavily into their colony's industrial assets for the development and manufacture of military equipment. They have already deployed laser weaponry in their military, their standard assault rifle has been re-engineered from the old UN 7.62mm standard to a new 6mm standard with significantly higher muzzle velocity and accuracy, and their troops, on average, are well-disciplined and trained, while their civilian population has been conditioned to emergency drills so that they will respond in a smooth and orderly fashion in crisis situations. Like the South Pholus colonists, the Federation has significantly lower consumption and living space per capita than the North Pholus colony. Corazon Santiago, as Colonel of the Spartan Army, was now their chief military and political leader.

The Spartans get +2 MORALE due to excellent training and equipment quality for their troops, and +1 POLICE due to a culture that has been drilled to accept emergency necessities and martial law. Their gearing of their industry for top-quality military equipment lets them build prototype units at no added cost, and they start with a free scout rover. On the other hand, they suffer -1 INDUSTRY, slowing their production at their settlements, due to an economy and industrial base which needs to support their very expensive military.

Although Colonel Santiago attempted to extract technical information from the North Pholus colony by veiled threats, Morgan stood firm against any deal that did not end with a mutual benefit, and the Colonel was eventually persuaded to release information on Spartan tactical and strategic doctrines and the designs for high-speed buggies which could be adapted to military use.

With this new information, security forces throughout North Pholus would soon struggle to digest and internalise the lessons of Spartan training and tactical doctrines, and plans would be drawn up for potential new vehicles which could allow for rapid attacks and retreats.

Speeders not only move quickly, but have a chance to disengage if a battle is going poorly and gain a 25% attack bonus in flat or rolling terrain due to their maneuverability. It is more expensive to fit speeders with armor than it is to fit infantry with armor, however, so they tend to make poor fixed defensive units.

With that business concluded, Morgan was able to negotiate a mutual recognition of borders and an agreement to let trade pass over them- at least, once travel between the two nations was practical at all. Added information on North Pholus computing technology was sufficient for Santiago to agree to share the Federation's location, along with their cartographic data, which would allow for eventual trade traffic.

The Federation proved to be built on a large island, dubbed New Lacedaemonia, just east of the eastern tip of Pholus, created by the action of the largest active volcano on Chiron, Mount Planet. The sheltered valley west of Mount Planet that held Sparta Command was a rainy and fertile place, friendly to settlement, while the slopes of Mount Planet itself were rich with metals and minerals deposited by magma flows and rich with geothermal heat. North of New Lacedaemonia, a broad shallow region of the ocean likewise enjoyed significant geothermal activity, while a chain of tiny islands connected New Lacedaemonia to the eastern tip of Pholus.

We have, so far, found four unique geographical features with bonus resources inherent to them. The Freshwater Sea provides +1 nutrient per tile due to its fertility and abundance of life, while Pholus Ridge, stretching to our north, provides +1 energy to tiles along its crest due to geothermal activity. Mount Planet gives +1 minerals and energy to every tile on its slopes, while its summit is molten and unusable. Meanwhile, the Geothermal Shallows provide +1 energy to every tile in their area.

In 2138 a swarm of mindworms emerged from the xenofungal forests north of the Morgan settlement, prompting the local security forces to engage and destroy them, although not without some losses due to the terror and madness inspired by the worms. More thorium pellets were recovered from their carcasses, used to fuel the industry of North Pholus as it outfitted colonists for a new venture to the eastern reaches of its territory.

By 2140, the growing sophistication and specialisation of economy of North Pholus was beginning to show. Sophisticated financial markets and business plans were being developed, and the currency of the nation was formally fixed on a thorium standard, as the constant demand for thorium as a power source and its widespread distribution should provide for a relatively stable price for the currency. With the continuing development of the economy and the liquidation of IDC assets, Morgan announced the planned dissolution of the Morgan settlement IDC in three years, with the few remaining functions related to security and governance of the Morgan settlement itself spun off into the Morgan Settlement Authority, to be governed by a board of directors drawn from a number of the prominent and respected firms in the settlement. The remaining stockholders in the IDC were to have their shares of ownership converted into cash and paid off. The Torrson and Tellus settlements were likewise nearly ready to dissolve their own IDCs, having developed their own healthy ecosystem of firms.

We have unlocked our first new Social Engineering choice, which we can and will implement once we have 24 credits to pay for the costs of the transition. Free Market provides +2 ECONOMY, -5 POLICE, and -3 PLANET. With a total of +3 ECONOMY, we will get +1 energy in every tile and increased commerce income, which will greatly increase our overall income and research speed. -5 POLICE indicates a complete inability to exert control over the civil populace by force, and a backlash amongst the civil populace when we have military units other than the Rat Patrol itself operating outside of our borders, with a wide divergence of uncontrolled power centers outside the government itself. -3 PLANET gives us a 30% penalty in psi combat, as we systematically exploit our holdings for the good of humans.

Now that we shall shortly have a Free Market economy, I will institute formal voting related to a Free Market, reflecting the influence of consumer spending and the initiatives of private firms. Each update, everybody (including myself, as the LPer) gets four votes to spend on research priorities and 10 votes to spend on energy allocation priorities. Research priority votes are to be divided amongst Explore (planetary sciences and population growth), Build (infrastructural and economic development), Discover (pure science), and Conquer (military applications). Energy allocation votes are to be divided between Economy (cash income), Labs (research), and Psych (luxuries and quality of life). Your votes for Economy and Labs may not diverge by more than 1, and your votes for Psych should be some value between 1 and 4. The OP has been updated with this new voting policy.

The North Pholus Colony as of 2140

The stockpiled industrial materials intended to give the Pod 5 colony a head start have been entirely depleted, having helped complete the network hub in the Torrson settlement and provide equipment for a new IDC led by Lovelace Software and Dreamland Games to establish a new settlement in the eastern reaches. North of the settled regions of North Pholus, the Great Pholus Ridge is being explored by the Rat Patrol, which reports signs of intense geothermal activity there, while Talon Security Solutions is being retasked to turn east to provide temporary security for the colonists assembled by the new IDC.

The Morgan settlement now takes advantage of a major mining operation on the rocky bluffs to its south, a major railhead delivering industrial metals to the foundries and factories of the settlement. With this industrial productivity, firms in the Morgan settlement have begun investment into top-of-the line medical research equipment, hospitals, and computer equipment, hoping to provide a complete sequence of the human genome and develop improved anti-agathic methods and repair of genetic disorders. The project is a massive investment of money, resources, and effort, but the potential benefit is immense.

The Human Genome Project is our first Secret Project we are attempting- only one of each Secret Project may be built in the world, ever, and the cost to build even the cheapest is far higher than that of ordinary base facilities. The rewards, however, are frequently worth the cost.

The Torrson settlement is still adjusting to the loss of much of its skilled workforce recruited for the general operations of the proposed eastern settlement, and industrial work proceeds slowly here, for the moment. It seems likely that the settlement will recover before long, however. Networking has penetrated thoroughly through the Torrson settlement, and the nascent Pholus Internet now allows high-bandwidth data transfer between the Torrson and Morgan settlements.

The Tellus settlement has extensive modern farms and thorium sifters along the peninsula to the northeast, with a local road and railroad connecting these work areas to the settlement. Terraformers are working to develop the lower-efficiency subsistance farms to the southwest to the same modern standard. The settlement still lags the older settlements, but it is well on its way to developing its own series of reprocessing plants for its organic waste, which it expects to greatly improve local conditions.

The North Pholus Colony stands on the brink of a new era of development, and the wilderness of North Pholus is slowly being tamed by the labor of its people. The challenges of creating a new economic system out of the most unpromising imaginable start have been overcome. It seems likely that the colony will continue to survive into the future, and overcome the challenges set in its path.

Remember that a new formal voting system on research priorities and energy allocation has been instituted this update. Don't forget to vote!