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 The Beacon Settlement 
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Post The Beacon Settlement
Here's a little campaign world I'm working on at the moment. Comments / Critiquing always appreciated!



Patefacere vestros oculus, et celeriter specere ad astra!
Open your eyes and look swiftly to the stars!

-Old Earth Colonization Corps motto


• Pre Cataclysm
Late in the 27th Century, Earth began to colonize extra-solar worlds following successful terraforming experiments on Luna, Mars and Venus. While Faster Than Light travel was still deemed impossible for any mass larger than an ounce, quantum-teleportation via receiving probes became relatively economical and were soon sent off in all directions to possible colony planets. The first one to come back with a positive match for location was the Beacon Probe, which catalogued a small, fast-moving planet circling a stable white-yellow star with minimal nearby celestial activity. The monumental task of assembling a terraforming package was completed in five years, and twenty after that, the planet Beacon was deemed suitable for human life. A mass rush into the stars occurred from Earth as the promise of adventure and a new start lured all walks of life to the mission.

More quantum probes were sent and the bandwidth became wide enough for groups of people to travel with relative ease. It wasn't long before Beacon boasted a flourishing population of half a billion souls. But even as the terraforming elements continued to improve the biosphere to near-Earth like comfort, using massive bio-machines, nanites and good, old-fashioned hard work from the colonists, the settlement was not quite self sufficient when a massive gravity well cut off communication with Earth. The people of Beacon waited patiently for the celestial event to pass, but it never did. A neutron-star-core fragment had lodged itself within a wide, steady orbit of Beacon's sun, and over the course of a terrible century of tidal shifts, quakes, and dramatic biosphere events, Beacon was caught in a dramatic elliptical tug-of-war between the two.

Millions of souls were lost as the chaos and subsequent ice-age that followed the planet being pulled from its stable orbit. Fearing the worst, the remaining population took to nanite stasis, hoping that Earth would one day be able to forge a rescue attempt once the core-fragment left the system. Centuries later, however, the Beacon star-system had reformed to include the core-fragment, and the planet of Beacon's new orbit, one with a hellishly long frozen winter, left what little chance there was at a rescue up to the development of large-scale macro FTL travel, since the gravity well of the core-fragment would disrupt any currently known method of contact or travel. Hope faded quickly, and soon, only survival was important as the inhabitants saw another centuries long winter approaching after only a decade of sunshine.

Knowledge fades. Earth has mostly been forgotten, and exists as a kind of fairy tale Camelot or Eden. Cults still exist that worship the Earth and pray for salvation in the form of a rescue ship, but membership and interest in this possibility fade more after each age. Even the name of Beacon has little meaning except to the historians, and like so many other things, has eroded, changed and become something new. Now, the inhabitants know their planet as Beko.

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Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:59 am
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Post Re: The Beacon Settlement
• The New Year
Wildly elliptical and influenced by strange resonances in the warped gravity well now inhabiting the Beacon system, the planet's orbit was reformed into five dramatically different seasons.
o Wake (Spring) - Once the planet is sufficiently warmed from approaching the star, nanites reactivate, the biosphere generators kick back in, and the painful thaw of the land occurs. Oceans crack back open, other bodies of water thaw and some evaporate all together. Great quakes and storms ravage the land long before any human wakes up from their stasis naturally, but scientists say the Spring lasts five full Earth years, with the first six months being too cold and chaotic for anyone sane to want to live through above ground.
o Sunpeace (Summer) - Now resembling at least a wilder, shattered version the paradise it once was, Beacon spins closer to the star in an average approximation of what its year had been before the cataclysm. Three short, hot years occur in sequence before the tidal forces of gravity once again nudge the planet towards the Abyss. The solar-energy based terraforming and high-tech items still functioning on Beko are working their best, and for the most part, a stable, safe, plentiful world is brought back to life.
o Sunfall (Autumn) - Once the planet begins its slow journey back to the LaGrange point between the star and core-fragment, things cool off considerably. While life is still reasonably comfortable until the last few months, resources begin to wane, farms slowly begin to produce less, and the environment becomes less stable. Storms return, especially near the coasts where the oceans have taken in much of the summer heat and fight the sky to keep their warmth. Ten full Earth years occur before natural human life becomes impossible due to sub-artic temperatures, though many return to stasis by year nine. Battles for resources, shelter and technology are often fought during this time as the comfort of summer fades into the inevitable winter coming.
o Dragon Night (Winter) - Though the Dragons wake throughout the year, especially in Sunfall, it is Wintertime that spurns them into action. Ancient bio-machines designed to reshape the land to allow for terraforming, these beasts range from the size of a dog to mountain-tall behemoths. Most who live in these sub-arctic years that stretch on for a full century tell of dramatic battles seemingly orchestrated by some higher will. Dragons will battle each other for territory, for resources, or simply for unknown reasons. Able to rip the land like massive ploughs, rain fire and ice from their maws, and cause dramatic damage to the semi-restored planet. This season's peak occurs when Beko travels closest to the core-fragment and is peppered by meteors before finally changing direction and falling back into a reluctant orbit of the star.
o Long Night (Stasis) - It takes two and a half centuries for Beko to travel back to Wake. In this time, even the dragons are silent and the land tries to heal with what little energy it has left. The remnants of dragons, of core-fragment meteors, and all the wars of the previous seasons are slowly dissolved.

Due to the eighteen years of human reign being but a fraction of time in the cosmic scale of Beko, it is common for scientists and historians to use the Old Year Scale, still based off of Earth Years and accurately dated back over thirteen millennium since the Cataclysm. Most people, however, simply use the Age and New Year: Each Wake brings about an Age, and Years range from One to Twenty. Because Stasis is hard on the minds and bodies of young children, and the logistics of breeding, a large percentage of new babies are born in Wake, and thus, mature before the end of their first Age (usually sixteen to nineteen years old). The first Stasis is known as the End of Innocence, and marks every young person as an adult with the full duties and rights of that title.

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Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:01 am
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