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The Scientific Directorate of Tartessos

Discussion in 'Lore Submissions' started by Neon1ight, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. Neon1ight

    Neon1ight Chef

    tl;dr - An independent colony ruled semidemocratically by a council of engineers and scientists on a planet with inimical biospheres, extreme weather patterns, and alien artifacts in equal measure.

    New to this sort of thing. Very rough draft is as follows:

    Pictured: Computer generated image of Tartessos. Orbital shipyard and particulate smog not shown. [​IMG]
    (Created with Space Engine, Space Engine by SpaceEngineer)

    Geography, climate, and atmospheric conditions:

    Located towards the warmer side of the goldilocks zone of her host star, Iridaceae, Tartessos is a warm planet characterized by a continuous ocean spanning around 85% of the surface, large ‘islands’ connected by narrow isthmuses, and constant and massive storm systems that carry the spores of the native flora distances that would otherwise not be possible. Additionally, daytime light levels are akin to what would occur at twilight on Earth, due to a massive quantity of naturally occuring particulates forming a constant atmospheric smog. While normally this would lead to a cooler surface, the dense atmosphere (1.7 ATM) and the aforementioned smog leads to a significant greenhouse effect. Finally, gravity is a comfortable .75 Gs, with the planet itself being considerably smaller than Earth.

    In terms of biomes, much of the planet is characterized by dense forests which can spring up in a matter of months, massive mangroves at the coasts near the equator and hellish bogs and swamps nearer to the poles.

    Native flora and fauna:

    Exempting the old-growth mangrove-analogues that populate the equatorial coast, the flora of Tartessos is fast-growing and short-lived, forming thick jungles of fungal-analogue ‘trees’ that resemble bamboo, and carpets of mycelium covering the fertile chernozem that is regularly enriched by the constant storms. Due to the dusk-like conditions, photosynthesis is either absent or supplemented by other methods in terms of nutrition.

    Predominantly cold-blooded and generally existing as either reptilian, amphibian or insectoid analogues, animal life on Tartessos is relatively primitive. Omnivores and scavengers abound in the ranks of Tartessos’ fauna, as the inclement weather lends itself to such a lifestyle. Also of note are the great herds of tiny grazing herbivores, which seem to have an anemic threat response, instead allowing predators to take some of the herd while the rest continues on; the dog-like insectoid packs are source of great grief to the colonists of the planet, and the omnivorous amphibian megafauna that rise from the stagnant lakes and swamps of the planet to feast following great storms provide another source of terror to security personnel and long-range expeditionary teams. There also exists flying, megafaunal carnivores that follow storm systems and swoop down to capture disoriented wildlife-- the principle atmospheric adversary to the Aerospace Guard.

    Another unusual trait to be noted is the biosphere’s inclination towards bioluminescence. It is estimated that a majority of flora is bioluminescent, and at least a large plurality of fauna.

    Artifacts and anomalies:

    While Tartessos is somewhat notable for its biosphere – a trait which does attract some biologists’ attention – it is mostly notable for the massive lattice that surrounds the planet, and the sparse ruins that mark its surface. Officially deemed the “Xenoartifact Manufacturing Object,” it is more commonly known as “The Shipyard,” or less commonly, “The Harbor.” Fed by minerals carted up by way of a heavily reinforced and mobile space elevator, the shipyard works much like a 3D printer-- Producing starcraft hulls of an unknown origin as long as the relevant materials are supplied. The Shipyard itself is poorly understood, and even the brightest of Tartessian engineers can only guess at how the designs are selected and how the object autonomously functions without any input-- except the resources necessary to construct its ships. While a number of vessels have been produced, the overwhelming majority are malformed and completely non-functional, and many that do work require significant investigation to understand. Solar intelligence estimates only three dozen vessels are operable and fully understood by the engineering and security corps of Tartessos, and few of these are warships.

    Also notable are the structures on the surface themselves. Tall, organically shaped spires mark the surface, and their exploration is considered a perilous task-- Many have suffered damage over the millennia, and some still possess functional security networks. To the best of the directorate’s knowledge, most of these structures were either military garrisons, mining facilities, or laboratories. The extent of the planet’s development by the original occupants is unknown-- It is possible that more than these reinforced spires once existed, but were wiped away over the years. New structures are occasionally found, buried underneath tons of mud or having been swept into the sea.


    • 2321 - Tartessos is discovered. The presence of the lattice and apparent xenoartifacts attracts the attention of Human megacorporations and exploratory organizations, and many expeditions are dispatched.

    • 2329 to 2341 - The nature of the Shipyard is discovered, and a joint Haakon Group-Hephaestus Industries partnership lays claim to the planet, and settles the first colony-- Odysseus Compound, with staff from Haakon Group and Hephaestus’ engineering corps, a significant research component, and a large number of support personnel.

    • 2345 - While initially promising, the Tartessos initiative hits a number of significant holes in the road. The weather, distance from Human territory, and inimical biosphere is a source of significant grief. In time, the project is already at risk of going over the twenty year budget. Odysseus Compound is fortified, and blueprints are changed to convert it from an open-air, campus-like unit, to a single structure.

    • 2349 - To supplement the colony’s exploration force and to bolster defenses, security personnel are dispatched to form the basis of the Tartessos Security Forces-- Lead by Eirik Nielsen.

    • 2355 - A second, smaller compound is constructed. Tsiolkovsky Compound is devoted to the study of the space elevator and the lattice itself, along with being the center for xenoartifact study on the planet. Colony population is now in the hundreds of thousands-- A mixture of engineers, scientists, security personnel, and laborers.

    • 2357 - The first functional craft is finally produced under Human supervision. While the initiative is massively overbudget by now, the study of the small, freighter-like ship grants it a few more years. Václav Zmeškal is dispatched to work as the colony administrator.

    • 2362 - Despite the promise of the results achieved five years prior, the budgetary deficit only grows as Haakon Group terminates its involvement in the project.

    • 2365 - A second functional craft is constructed, believed to be a patrol skiff of some kind. However, the on-board reactor fails, and the team evaluating the vessel is killed. In the face of the growing cost of the initiative, Hephaestus industries announces its intent to terminate the initiative and pull it’s assets from the colony, instructing Václav Zmeškal to gather research of value and any material that may be of use.

    • Early 2366 - In the face of immediate termination of the project and the loss of decades of work, Director of Research Luule Talvik convinces the aging Eirik Nielsen to plan a coup d’etat against the colony leadership before the work can be taken and the planet abandoned.

    • Late 2366 - A few months prior to the transfer of the one functional ship and all research documents back to Hephaestus control, Eirik Nielsen attempts his coup-- However, Václav Zmeškal is informed by loyalist security forces prior, and the coup turns into a shooting war.

    • Mid 2367 - While Václav Zmeškal was informed of the plot and was able to prepare himself for it, he brokers on Hephaestus Industries support that never comes-- With the megacorporation refusing to invest any more funds into the colony, no additional help arrives. Eventually, his militia and loyalist forces are defeated by the more numerous and better equipped plotters.

    • Late 2367 - Consolidation of the colony is complete, and Luule Talvik declares the Scientific Directorate of Tartessos an independent state.

    • 2367 - 2450s - While many initially believed the upstart scientist-ruled nation would collapse in on itself, the compounds of the planet prove to be relatively self-sufficient. What they cannot produce is acquired through trading recovered xenoartifacts.

    • 2450s - Present - A third compound, Talvik-Nielsen Base, is constructed as a manufacturing and military post. The population of Tartessos manages to reach the millions-- Almost entirely through the process of native reproduction and supplementation with state-raised Nonborns, as immigration to the spartan existence of the colony is largely not present.


    The economy of the Directorate is wholly planned internally. Principal exports include xenoartifacts of little use to the Directorate, the reverse-engineered small arms, body armor, and mechanical equipment produced at Talvik-Nielsen Base, and biomass. No functional vessels have ever been exported, except two craft given as a gift to the SCG and the Skrell, respectively.

    The People, culture, and settlements:

    Today, the Tartessians see themselves as a distinct ethnic group. Having spent decades in isolation, they're a decidedly unique example of colonial insularity. Originally descended from those the mother corporations hired and sent there, as well as the many Nonborn Humans that the Directorate had created. Nonborns occupy an interesting position in society-- The Directorate is arguably one of the better places to be a Nonborn, in terms of ethics, though they are still raised and indoctrinated by the government. A cultural trait of the Nonborn of the Directorate is the process of choosing surnames-- If a Nonborn decides to drop their identifier and choose their own surname, names related to mythology or otherwise classical Greek names are often chosen, as opposed to traditional Human names. In fact, as a result of this practice, a significant number of people from Tartessos bear surnames rooted in classical Greek.

    Culturally, the Tartessians are a people well-adapted to their circumstances. Academically inclined, literature is a cherished medium on Tartessos, and discovery and exploration are often touted as great ideals. A Tartessian might be seen as unusually aloof by the average Solar, and oftentimes their interests might be considered strange. Tartessians who have acquired Solar citizenship and emigrated oftentimes find themselves drawn to the Expeditionary Corps-- Or, on account of conscription into the Security Forces being mandatory for those not on the path of becoming an academic, to the military.

    Three large settlements exist on Tartessos. They are, in order of size,

    1. Odysseus Compound - The largest compound, and the most residential. Located in a valley near the equator, which grants it some small respite from the weather.

    1. Tsiolkovsky Compound - The second largest compound, devoted primarily to research and development. Located near one of the first spires properly explored.

    1. Talvik-Nielsen Base - The smallest and youngest compound, and the location of the security forces’ primary basing location on the planet proper. Also significant manufacturing basis, creating the colony’s (in)famous small arms and any spacecraft that isn’t imported or manufactured in orbit. Located in the ore rich northern region.

    A number of smaller settlements exist, but these are generally temporary or established for very special reasons if permanent.

    Education is provided by the Directorate, and generally considered to be of excellent quality. Higher education is the determining factor of whether or not one will be conscripted into the Security Forces-- Those who choose not to go forward with receiving a degree will be forced to serve active-duty for two years and remain in the security force auxiliary for a further eight.

    Religious people are uncommon on Tartessos, and those who are not Atheist, Agnostic, or Non-religious tend to broadly define themselves as “Spiritualist”. This is widely considered a result of the Directorate’s lack of support for religious organizations on the planet.

    Government and military:

    Tartessos is governed by a council of scientists and engineers, with nine people each elected internally by people within those fields. Additionally, the head of the security forces also sits on the council. Generally considered semi-democratic, but very much authoritarian. Some members of the security forces are advocating for the addition of another nine seats at the council-- Who would be either retired or active-duty members of the security forces, in an effort to better represent their interests and allow those who do not hold a degree to participate in government.

    Defense is provided by the Tartessian Security Forces, who mostly focus on keeping pirates out of the system and maintaining order. The overwhelming majority of action conscripts and regulars alike will ever see is against the native wildlife. Notably, the Tartessian Security Forces also operate anywhere from a half dozen to a dozen warships designed by the shipyards, only two of which are believed to be larger than a frigate. Regardless, the Security Forces once made a show of their flagship, the TSV “Nike of Samothrace” (A ship roughly equivalent to a light cruiser in size) and her escorts destroying a considerable pirate force that attempted to interdict a maritime convoy. While the force they were up against was not a true military unit, it is still believed that the Shipyard designs can punch well above their weight class by outsiders and insiders alike. It is believed that as the Tartessians get a better understanding of the shipyards and the ships themselves, the Human designed vessels of their fleet will be phased out all together.

    There are three branches of the Tartessian Security Forces, being the Gendarmerie-- Who are responsible for law enforcement, the Rangers (Oftentimes referred to as the "Park Rangers"), the branch devoted to maintaining security from threats related to the biosphere and the environment-- As well as providing security to planetary expeditions, and the Aerospace Guard, who maintain security in the planet's atmosphere and the Iridaceae system's space.

    Tartessos today:

    The Tartessians make an effort to be diplomatically cordial, but are otherwise neutral and largely keep to themselves. Contact is highly limited with alien governments, and the Directorate mostly focuses on relations with Human governments-- In the wake of the Gaia war, the Directorate does their best to be on the good side of both conflicting factions, with cooperation with Sol in certain fields of research, and on the other hand selling small arms and munitions to the ICCG.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
    Tristan63 and ThatOneGuy like this.
  2. Eckles

    Eckles Senior Administrator Game Administrator Skrell Species Maintainer

    Questions and concerns abound.

    Please explain this specific spread:
    "they are predominantly descended from the Rhinelanders, Western Slavs, and a small number of Norwegians from the colony’s founder companies."

    Why is the planet so limited in 500 year old earth geographic distribution. What caused the colony to be made entirely of these specific groups? Especially given the colony is from 2321, in a time when Earth isn't particularly as important as it was and many humans are elsewhere.

    Why is lower than average light causing an albinism mutation in larger than normal parts of the population?

    Millions seems a bit high given you've framed it as a small corporate colony focused on the study of some specific things.

    Just some oddities I'm happy to discuss/go over when you have the time.
  3. Asclepius

    Asclepius Bartender

    Interesting concept, I look forward to seeing you continue to improve and develop this in the future.
  4. Tristan63

    Tristan63 Senior Enlisted Advisor

    This is a pretty good and interesting little Directorate you have here. It can be a hidden hand that has extreme power in human space. I wouldn't be surprised if those automated shipyards produce a ship capable of faster than bluespace technology, or that the system has more hidden treasures awaiting discovery.
    Neon1ight likes this.
  5. Eckles

    Eckles Senior Administrator Game Administrator Skrell Species Maintainer

    Uh, right, fair enough this can go ahead for now I think. Feel free to make a wiki page for it.