A cover for a collection of Isaac Asimov's short stories by Peter Elson
- Science Fiction setting; a just-colonized planet
- Inspired by Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Philip Dick and Peter Hamilton; all sci-fi authors.
- The colony is just getting set up; soil detox, water purification and building homes, as well as prefab buildings.
- Rip van Winkle themes; the colonists have been in suspension way longer than anticipated due to unforeseen difficulties. Some of them died in the tanks due to mechanical failure.
- Technology level is roughly equivalent to what was shown in the Aliens movies, though there is AI, AI-assisted auto-fabrication and other advanced technologies.
- Advanced level RP, but see below; I have a little note on advanced posting standards and the posting for this RP.
- G-Docs and IRC(chat) may be used to help collaboration.
- Characters ought to come from a pool of generally talented types; the people chosen for the colony are at the top of their fields, but are generally younger and idealistic, the sort of people that are willing to give up Earth for a fresh start.
- This is one of my old group RPs that I'm converting over to 1x1 for a streamlined process of organization and collaboration, but we should probably divide up several roles between us. I have a very strong plot idea going on, and I'm cool with sharing it so we can write toward that goal.
In Character Info:
In 2182, Voyager Industries offers a new life to the bold and the intelligent, the cream of society; others have to pay companies to take them to a new life on an established planet or buy criminals or hire the desperate as slave labor to hack out the wilds and turn them habitable for follow-on colonists, but Voyager instead looks for people with the right skills, talents, fitness and psych profiles to staff their colonies; it's a long term investment. The colonists come to the new planet, carve civilization out and earn their keep as workers, using their industriousness and natural talent to set up the planet for those who come afterward. They are not paid wages, but are given a stake in the planet's profits, a hefty incentive that brings the best and the brightest marching for Voyager's offices.Out of Character Info:
Voyager Incorporated started in the early 2100's as a communications satellite manufacturer using the latest in materials and communications technology. However, in 2164, a team led by Dr. Neill Scott used original work by the young MIT graduate to create the Nagashima-Ashley-Scott Communications Array (NASCA) that stretched the boundaries of viable communications between colony worlds of Earth, at the time limited to Mars and the Solar System and very nearby stars, for which communication, limited to light speed, was viable. The technology was initially meant to enable faster communications uplink between extra-solar probes and Earth, but also, as a consequence, made colonization beyond the Solar System viable.This did not speed up the ability of ships to arrive on new planets and return to Earth, but it did allow for faster communication once those links were made.
Before NASCA, colonization beyond Pluto wasn't happening because there was no way to really keep in contact with the colonies, but now it was possible...though colonization focused on buying convicts and undesirables from various regimes in an attempt to gain cheap labor that no one would care about, disposable people. Only a few really worried about the welfare of convicts, for the most part, or really concerned themselves with the conditions they worked under in these mining colonies. But what did rankle, particularly in the scientific community, was that their innovations were taking convicts and corporate suits to the stars and benefitting the suits, but the rest of humanity was generally stuck on Earth, or maybe the Lunar or Martian colonies, or perhaps the Jupiter or Saturn moons. The main adventure, colonizing an actual planet on the fringes that could support life, seemed unlikely.
Voyager was doing well though; it monopolized communications technology through NASCA patents and an army of the sharpest lawyers on Earth, and it managed to spin off technologies allowing limited use of faster-than-light travel derived from the initial breakthrough in order to create probes that could stretch further out into space, and report back. When a suitable planet was developed, the Aeneas project was announced, fueled largely by the passion of Dr. Neill Scott, who very publicly signed himself on as the first colonist and took on the role of the Executive of Aeneas...to the secret relief of much of the board of Directors of Voyager, who were looking for a way to be rid of the brilliant, but troublesome doctor.
Scott, always the visionary, announced the following: Aeneas was a colony by scientists for humanity, a better way forward than sending slaves into space to finish out their lives mining out of some airless rock, and that the Aeneas Project would return on investment immensely by facilitating research beyond Earth's wildest dreams of what could be accomplished back at home. It was a one way ticket, but it brought the idealists marching; there was risk, but the prospective colonists reckoned the price worth paying for a variety of reasons. They had a chance to leave Earth, with all its man-made discontent and grudges, there was the chance to make a better society away from it, the opportunity to engage in unparalleled research and make exciting new discoveries, a sense of mission in one's life work, a sense of calling in finding and taming a new place. That idealism infuses the scientific side of the venture. Even some of the people on the corporate side are buying into the party line, though the company sent minders to keep the project on task. So much was invested in the project, because Scott was a heavy hitter in not only the company, but as a stockholder and to the scientific community at large; he used his influence to purchase the development projects he needed, the technologies he wanted and saw use for. He drove Aeneas from a pipe dream and steered it into a reality.
With great fanfare, a sleepship, a particle sail-driven colonial ark that would carry the colony in stasis, was launched with a cargo of Humanity's best and brightest, its adventurous idealists who were willing to translate word and thought into deed and example.
And it was never heard from again.
At the end of the voyage is a new world. The colonists arrive seemingly on schedule but with several systems failures in their colonial ark, things that the maintenance log does not explain. The maintenance staff on ship at the time died, and no one was 'thawed' out to take up their shift for some reason. The colonists emerge on their new planet, expected to build the fundamentals of living with their equipment; set up sustainable food, power sources, habitation and terraforming. They send signals to Earth through the NASCA and grow restless as they get only silence in return...
The characters will be colonists on this new planet, very bright, accomplished people (probably young and just finished their educations for the most part, people that have the physical strength and mental adaptability to hack it in the wilds) and then trained by Voyager in basic survival skills, including how to operate weaponry (just in case.) It is almost like military training, but it's more oriented toward how to build and repair things, how to dig ditches and encampments, and the fundamentals of sanitation and so forth. People would come in with skills and educations in various areas, but they'd also be cross-training to learn how to do the jobs of others; the idea is to set up a colony that can sustain itself while expanding for follow on colonists. It is a first; colonies have never been established so far out in space before; most of the colonies are closer to Earth; this colony will be fare more autonomous.
The colony isn't just about survival, of course, it is about marketability; they are trying to make a nice place to live, a space colony version of the surburban American dream, a place you want to spend time, a lifetime, living in. The idea is to provide good jobs, a nice environment, amenities, comforts and the sort of society they want to live in. It's an attempt to create an ideal place to live for their sort of people; the idea is to also find and capitalize upon what native resources exist; stocks of food, medicine and technological parts will need replacing, and that means setting up the means to produce medical compounds and parts, as well as the difficult task of setting up sustainable agriculture on-planet. But the technology Voyager provide and the skills of the settlers should be sufficient for the task and then some; it is expected that there will be coffee shops with wireless internet within the first year of operation, if all goes according to the plan; yet the expectation is that the colonists will move ahead of schedule, because these are energetic and educated people, the cream of the crop, deliberately recruited for their motivation as much as their skills.
In short; they're highly educated people, most of them anyway, with magna and summa honors from graduating college, probably with some postgraduate degrees, possibly doctorates, and they largely are fleeing Earth's bullshit and are trying to start over. Colonization by this sort of person is viewed as a slightly innovative concept, or one doomed to fail, because most colonies are started with industrial goals in mind, such as mining, and the colonists are often deportees and otherwise signed under duress rather than a sense of adventure -- troublesome political groups, ethnic/religious groups and outright criminals are often your typical colonists in the first wave, worked under what amounts to slavery conditions. Voyager's concept is different, billed as the way forward and much rides on the success of this colony.
Of course, there is a twist. The colonists are several hundred years out of date when they finally do land; the trip was supposed to take decades, but there was a miscalculation in navigation; an asteroid or other anomaly got in the way of the ship and the navigation computer automatically corrected course to avoid this, throwing off the ship's arrival time...and disabling some of the drive systems in the process. To make matters worse, the computer system had to switch to a backup near arrival; the clock and calendar do not reflect the true date; as far as the colonists are aware, they're on schedule, though they arrived with dead crew because the maintenance shift that was on duty when the disaster happened died and no other maintenance shifts thawed out. The ship arrived pretty battered, but managed to survive intact enough to do its job.
What the colonists know when they land is that they gotta get to work and wait for the follow-ups, the contact from Voyager Inc, and the infusion of people paying to live on their planet. They don't realize that anything is chronologically amiss at first, because the building of the colony is consuming them; it's a hard, spartan life akin to that of colonists on Earth's North American continent in the 17th century; making something out of a wild and untamed land, living rough and making do without a lot of the creature comforts of modernity; but they signed on for a different life, out of a sense of idealism.
As it turns out, that idealism is out of date and they are an anachronism.