Saturday, May 10, 2014

MIssion Log

What you are about to read is a transcript of a play session of the game Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.  There has been a bit of editing and the name of one secret project has been changed to protect my philosophy.



We’re alive.

We have landed somewhere on the surface of the planet Chiron in the Alpha Centauri A system.  This is after a series of errors, accidents,  and an outright assassination. So far we have survived the disasters -- barely.

The atmosphere of the planet is mostly nitrogen and carbon dioxide and therefore we are unable to breathe it.  But we can walk around in normal outdoor clothing with oxygen tanks or an oxygen generator.  And we can grow the Terran plants that were brought on the Unity.  We immediately planted farms in the vicinity of the base. 

Of the eight colony landing pods, one was apparently destroyed during the launch sequence from the Unity and the locations of the other six remain unknown to us.  Our apparent location is near a sea on a continent. The only result to our attempt to locate the other colony pods by radio is static.

We have picked up the transponder beacon of a Unity pod nearby.  I sent out an ad hoc scout team to investigate under the command of a former Gunnery Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps, George Strong.  He reports that it was a probe unit from the Unity that located a nutrient rich area of soil.  We’re seriously going to need it.

We have begun formal organization of our colony and the training and equipping of a proper scout team.  Once we are finished with that task we shall attempt to explore and locate possible spots for further settlement.

And we shall also try to understand what happened and how the Unity mission came to this appalling state.



There have been a number of changes in the last mission year.  The first is the establishment of our political organization and goals. 

Our group was originally centered around Academician Prokhor Zakharov, a major scientist from the Russian Republic.  The groups, or factions of colonists, formed after the mission commander Captain Garland was murdered by an unknown party.  This in turn happened after the major failure of the main fusion reactor on the Unity.  It appears to be a bloody miracle that any of us are here at all.

Before we were able to separate ourselves from the Unity there was an attempt to seize the landing pod by another faction led by the executive officer, Sheng-ji Yang.  There was a fight and Doctor Zakharov was mortally wounded.  Before he died I promised him that I would raise his daughter Katerina and lead our people to safety.

Before our respective departures from the Unity there was a strong discussion of how we should carry out the Unity mission of assuring the survival of Humanity on the planet Chiron.

Doctor Zakharov had the idea that the most effective way to assure our survival was to focus on the rediscovery of the technology that allowed us to come here and to discover new technology to assure our survival and the ultimate utopian future.

To a large part I did agree, but in my opinion it is not enough to focus solely on the development of technology.  We must assure intellectual and political freedom across the entire spectrum of human endeavor because though this we can survive and reach our full potential as a people.  To this end we have established the Republic of Chiron as our political body.


We have doubled our population and are sending out a newly constructed colony pod. 

Meanwhile Katerina is clearly growing up.  The boys her age are noticing.  As a result I have to upgrade my vigilance.


We now have a theory of how to perform systematic terraforming on this planet.  The commons kitchen has also learned to make something other than flavorless glop.  It’s about bloody time too.


Founded our second base on this planet.  We called it Second Base.  Perhaps that was too obvious and simple?


Our first Terraforming unit is now actually operational.  And another scout patrol has been equipped and sent out.


Started work on a second colony pod.

Katerina is dating, but she is also complaining about finding the boys at her age boring.

What can I do?


The scout patrol from Second Base found another Unity probe that landed on nutrients.  They also encountered swarm of an animate lifeform they called mindworms.  As named these animals use an apparent psychic power to paralyze the victims of the attack to directly enter the brain.  A damned good thing that some of the team survived. 


The boffins have just designed a rover with a fission power source that we can theoretically build with our available resources and facilities.  The fun part will be to actually build it.


The scout patrol from Second Base thought they had detected a Unity pod beacon in a patch of pink xenofungus and proceeded to investigate it.  They found what the team leader described as an alien monolith with unreadable inscriptions on it.  The team members also report that their health has improved and that they are feeling more confident after encountering the monolith.
Katerina has completed her masters degree program.  She’s proceeding towards a doctorate in biology and continues to complain about being bored with young men of her age.


A swarm of mindworms came within sight of Second Base.  They were detected, engaged and destroyed.  The Second Base security team has gained combat experience.

Primary Base has produced a second colony pod.  The workshop is now cleared to build a recon rover.


The scout patrol from Second Base has found a second monolith.


The scout patrol from Second Base has found another monolith.

Who put up these things?

We built Third Base.  To do this we sent a colony pod across and group of islands and shallows and set up the base on the other side of a channel.

The question has been raised.  Where is everyone else?   Where did the other landing pods land?  Are their passengers still alive?


Our researchers claimed to have found the Secrets of the Human Brain.  I’m not so sure about this.  One of our researchers actually quoted Immanuel Kant when the paper was published.  In fact Kant was to a large degree responsible for the cultural disintegration of our civilization prior to the launch of the Unity mission.  The boffins also worked out how to build functional water craft.  Meanwhile Second Base has built a colony pod.  They will now construct our first water craft as there is a Unity pod transponder beacon going off right in the channel north of the base.

Katerina now has her doctorate in Biology.  She continues to express disappointment with the young men around her.


Second Base scout team found a Unity pod with a working rover in it.  Good job guys!

Katerina and I had an interesting conversation.  It happened as we were waiting for her to undergo her first session of antigeria treatment.  The age of thirty five may seem a bit young to start an anti-aging program but why otherwise wait?

She started with a question.

“When are you getting married?”

I was shocked.  I really hadn’t thought about it and said so.

“I‘ve been busy.”  I said.  “Working on our survival and raising you to be a proper adult.”

“I’ve noticed.”  She replied.  “And you’ve succeeded on both counts, but you really should live a fully human life.”

“But I’m in charge of growing and protecting our civilization!”

“Yes, but you are still a human being, and you’re missing part of a full human life.”

“Okay,” I said, “Did you have anyone in mind for me to marry?”

“Me.”  She replied.

I was stunned.  And my initial reply may not have been the brightest.

“Katerina dear, I was your legal guardian.”

“And you clearly did it well, but I’m a fully rational adult now.  I have to live by my own rational judgement and I am doing so.”

“Kat,” I said, “there are other men on the planet.”
“And you are the standard by which I judge them and I haven’t found one that matched up to you.”

“I’m in a position...two positions of authority with respect to you.  Authority is not something to be abused.”

“Authority is based on knowledge.  What do you know?”

I was stunned again, it took time for me to answer the question.

“You are a rational young woman who...who would be a wonderful partner for someone for life.”

My brain may have kicked back into gear at this point.

“You do understand you that you are following the path of least resistance here?”

“So we’re supposed to live our lives the hard way?”

She clearly had me there.


Our little terraformer has just complete setting up farms, solar collectors and access roads in the grid square north west of Primary Base.  It’s still running.  Good.


Found another Unity rover pod.

Katerina and I have formally married.  There was some criticism and much rejoicing.


Fourth Base founded.  One wag suggested that we call it Home Plate Base.  While I wasn’t a baseball fan back on Earth I do understand the jest.

Our fist son was born.  We named him Prokhor for his maternal grandfather.


Our first daughter was born.  We have named her Alice.  In some respects this planet is a wondrous land.


Second Base has finished the prototype water craft.  It is a hydrofoil configured as a transport.  It was sent out to investigate the pod beacon north of Second Base and found something else.  An alien artifact.  They’re bringing it back to base.


Researchers at Second Base believe that the alien artifact is having a positive impact of their research operations.

What?  How?

Apparently they literally hardwired it to the base computer mainframe.  Whatever gave them that idea?


Fifth Base founded.  Complaints about the lack of imagination in naming our bases are rising.

The rovers and the hydrofoil are making progress in our exploration of the planet in spite of the numerous xenofungus patches.  With the rovers now in action we are converting the foot mobile infantry scout teams into base security units.


Primary Base has completed the recycling tanks base facility.

A rover scout team encountered a mindworm swarm and was forced back to survive.


The hydrofoil has reached the northern end of the channel that divided our continent.  During the survey the crew has seen swarms of mindworms on the shoreline of the channel.  The current theory on the mindworm phenomena is that they appear as a response to the presence of intelligent life, such as humans or the aliens that may previously inhabited this planet. 

The presence of mindworms that we have not provoked clearly indicates that there may be someone else on the yet unexplored part of this continent.  Possibly another group of human survivors.

A rover team also survived attacks by two mindworm swarms.


We have begun a more extensive exploration of the region west of Third Base.  Yes, I know the statement sounds silly and pompous but it’s about bloody time we got around to it.


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