Random Interstellar Empires/Star Kingdoms - Page 19 (2024)

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Food Production and United Systems Alliance Soft Power
“They’ll feed you when you’re down and while you’re eating, they’ll work to fix your world if they can.”

“When the call went out about the solar flare-caused famine looming on Tessburghen. it was hardly a week before the first usan relief ships arrived unannounced from their nearest worlds, their hulls packed to the rivets with foodstuffs and agro-gear. Furthermore, they weren’t afraid of the rioting that had begun on the surface; they brought their own security to protect their people and equipment while they landed the supplies and secured the distribution centers. We found out that a lot of the usan crews were from shatterworlds that had suffered their own problems and they knew what going hungry was like from personal experience.”

“Pirates on the Rim are now just as likely to try going after usan crop-worlds and food transports as more traditionally valuable cargoes. Even with the stepped-up usan anti-piracy campaigns hunting them, the bandits are twigging to the real value of the increasing agro-business shipping. They used to pass on hitting grain transports, warehouses and canneries, but somebody realized that to a lot of people calories and proteins are worth more than gold.
That having been said, there’s no shame in riding security escort on a larder-ship or harvest convoy, because more than likely you’re going to see action and earn combat-pay at some point.”

“I don’t know if it’s forgetfulness on their part or a subtle psychological campaign, but I note that in a number of the USA’s relief aide programs, their aid parcels give credit to the Dynasty, though I know that in many of the efforts, our participation has been only very indirect. So either it’s a series of misprints, a dig at us, or members of the Dynasty have been writing checks on the side and not reporting them to the Financier Grandee. Regardless, the PR feedback has been most positive for us.”
----Tralv Maldan, Deputy Manager of the Financier Grandee, Altess Dynasty.

“It’s understandable why many Usan worlds are obsessed with food production; many have been only one or two meals away from anarchy in the past and want to secure their food supplies by various means. Once they did that, though, and built up comfortable surpluses, they began supplying their neighbors with exports and feeding others, in part to secure alliances and making sure their trade wasn’t interfered with. It seems to have worked out well for them so far.”

“Admittedly, a steady diet of the same-pattern magically-conjured meat and vegetables can get rather monotonous after a while, but it beats the alternative. The usans could sell their magic insta-food spud buckets, rock-meat convertors, bread-makers and salad-balls for a LOT more than they typically ask and they’d still get the money. They HAVE to know what the black market gouges in sales of second-hand wiztech food-makers.”

Between their opening up new colony settlements, their biotech, and their food synthesis technologies and magic, the USA has considerable food production resources at their disposal. Originally intended to give their members food security, storable reserves against future need, and leave a little for offworld trade, their food production programs have since blossomed into powerful political tools. The USA emergency relief projects and food shipments to distressed worlds have given them great clout with the mainstream galactic community. Regularly-scheduled ‘larder ships’ travel between the various member worlds and colonies, transporting foodstuffs for sale, encouraging trade and economic development, familiarizing USA citizens with what their neighbors are producing and eating, and setting aside some of the surplus for leaner times and emergencies. The USA maintains a number of such warehouse caches of foodstuffs and equipment against food crisis contingencies.
Besides warehousing agricultural surplus, the USA also stockpiles TW food-producing gear, terraforming/bioremediation equipment, and ready-to-go agricultural modules that can be set up to ‘hot box’ crops, such as forced-growth hydroponics.
The USA is also promoting ‘food tourism’, inviting outsiders to visit their worlds to sample unique foodstuffs and regional cuisines. Surprisingly, the Altess have done much to promote USA-produced ‘luxury’ foodstuffs, often through conspicuous consumption of them(though some of the promotionals have been decidedly cheesy in execution, as with the much-parodied ‘Altess Rim-Yummy!’ ads seen in many sectors, while other ad-spots have bordered on outright food-snobbery). But people have taken notice of what’s being served at Altess social functions and of the heavily-escorted ‘special delivery’ freighters making runs between the Altess homeworlds and the Rim.
The result has been that the USA has enjoyed considerable diplomatic goodwill for its humanitarian efforts, and respect for being both self-sustaining and self-assertive(especially when the USA runs blockades in the many fringe rim-wars to deliver much-needed food supplies to beleaguered populations). One CCW official called it ‘sandwich diplomacy’, referring to both the giving away of food and analogizing food relief as a ‘ soft nutritional filling between two slabs of armor’.

Agrobots----
“The GNE KNOWS by now that many of its robots are being hack-possessed by psionic entities, but as long as the things don’t pose a danger to organics, the geeners don’t mind them. Why? Turns out the possessed robots are actually MORE efficient, even with sleep breaks, at taking care of the crops and increasing their yields. So they let the ‘bots take their naps and their contemplation breaks, let the poetry flow from the fields, and watch the bumper harvests come in at the end of the grow-season. ”

The USA is also a big producer of agrobots of various types which are sold, often at cur-rate prices, to developing worlds along the Rim. Just as the USAJC uses robots and drones as ‘force multipliers’ for its forces, the USA’s agrobot programs effectively increase the labor pool for starter colonies and terraforming efforts. Worlds like Kendelson, New Styx, Cenax and Kaxxion make use of large number s of ‘bots to expand their croplands and food production.

‘AgroBob’---Agricultural Labor Robot(s)

‘AgroBob’ is just another of the United Systems Alliance’s growing stable of agricultural robots, ranging from drone farm tractors to giant walking nomadic agrarian forestry platforms.
‘AgroBob’ specifically is a farm-adapted Paladin Steel PS-Rb-02 ‘Magnus’-frame humanoid robot skinned in stain-resistant, dirt-shedding plasteel, fitted with various environmental sensors, and programmed for crop or livestock management. Agrobobs are counted among the smarter agrobots, and cannot only directly tend crops, but can also supervise other drones, such as crop-scanner fliers and robo-plows, to specific fields and farm areas. They are also humanoid enough to drive/pilot most agricultural vehicles such as plows, tractors, and harvesters.

Other robot types may be used for wrangling larger livestock and protecting croplands from various local pests.

Typical Stock Agrobot Conversions:
- PS-HULR-02b Busbee Light Bipedal Utility Rbot Drone
-PS-R-DWB-01 ‘Dweeb’ Domestic Work Robot, Light
-PS-R-10 ‘DanBot’ Humanoid Utility Drone
-PS-Rb-02 Magnus Semi-Autonomous Humanoid Utility Robot
-PS-R-15 Semi-Autonomous Utility Robot (Fully robotic version of the Maczek Full Conversion Cyborg)
-PS-TAA02 ‘CyberSpinne’ Semi-Autonomous Android, Cybernetic Intelligence Life Assistant(typically assigned to running greenhouses and maintaining farm equipment)
-PS-HLUR-03 ‘Atlas’ Heavy Labor Utility Robot
-PS-ROVAR-02 ‘Rovar’ Ground Exploration Robot, (Remote Observation Vehicular Autonomous Robot)
-PS/ASI-R-BS5-0 Semi-Autonomous Police Security Drone(Interior prisoner cage replaced with a small animal cage, sprayer tank, planter rack or harvest bucket)

-A number of FALSTAFF, CILA and MARI androids have also been programmed with farmwork in mind, often as supervisors and administrative assistants on farms.

Typical Modification Upgrades:
*Environmental Sensors---- Soil chemistry probes, molecular analyzer, IR optics. humidity sensors, weather gauges. Livestock-wrangler ‘bots may be fitted with medical scanners for examining animals. Can include cell-sample biopsy probes.
*Stain/Dirt-Resistant Skin---Sheds dirt, sap, and agricultural chemicals.
*Soft Earth Footpads---For those ‘bots with feet or treads, wider foot-soles or tread-’grousers’ allow the drones to cross soft soil and mud more easily.
*Water/Chemical Sprayer-----For spot irrigation or dispensing of fertilizers and pesticides.

Typical Programming Packages:
(Agriculture)
*Farming and Gardening 85%
*Identify Plants & Fruits 92%
*Botany 84%
*General Repair and Maintenance 90%
*Carpentry 85%
*Hydrology or Landscaping 84%

(Livestock)
*Herding Livestock 80%
*Biology 84%
*Tracking(Animals) 88%
*Animal Husbandry 65%
*Lore: Cattle & Animals 92%
*General Repair and Maintenance 90%

Agricultural ‘Farmworlds’ of the United Systems Alliance:
“A lot of soldiers in the AJC speak of ‘buying the farm’ when their tours end ...it’s not a euphemism, it’s a reality; a lot of ex-service personnel get preferential treatment for land grants and agro-startup funding when they muster out. A surprising number of them actually do go ahead and go into farming and ranching, though they also remain in the Reserves, so the USA’s farmworlds are rather well-defended. More than a few would-be invaders have ended up fertilizing the fields when they tried knocking off the ‘helpless’ dirt-tillers.”

“You should know this; usan worlds may not be hives like the metroworlds, but if you decide to attack them, you’re more than likely going to discover that the militias are surprisingly well-armed, the civilians are surprisingly well-armed, the farm animals will likely attack you, and if you’re REALLY unlucky, the crops and the soil will attack you. I kid you not on that last one; I watched my brother’s dropship landing right as a chasm opened up under it, then swallowed it up, no survivors. Meanwhile, I was too busy fighting a patch of very aggressive jungle that wasn’t there a minute ago. Never did get revenge, which in retrospect was probably a good idea...my brother would have kicked my ass in hell for getting myself killed not learning from his death, and the lesson is this; don’t #### with Usan farmworlds.”

The following are worlds where agriculture and biotech account for 50% or more of their offworld revenue and which have an Economic Rating on the Kauffin Scale of 4+ or better(Mestos is listed because of a currently surging rise in prosperity).

Member Worlds:
Abelon(Member)--Biotech. ER: 5+
Anduv(Member)--Livestock/Foodstuffs, Vehicles. ER: 6
Balsar(Member)--Livestock/Foodstuffs. ER: 6+
Gevadan(Member)--Livestock/Foodstuffs. ER: 7+
Gremar(Member)--Agriculture ER: 5+
Gwyer/Api-NorDwyri (Member) --Biotech. ER: 8+
Jovenis(Probationary Member) --Agriculture(Cave Crabs, Steak Mushrooms). ER: 8+
Kellest(Member)--Agriculture/Aquaculture/Foodstuffs. ER: 5+
Kestra(Member)---Agriculture. ER: 6+
Manticus(Member)--Biotech. ER: 6+ )
Mestos(Member)--Agriculture/Foodstuffs(Moho fruit, Unity Ales). ER: 4+
Mynu(Member)--Agriculture ER: 7+
Paloii(Member)---Agriculture(Glennriver Vingreen wines). ER: 8+
Repti: (Member)---Agriculture. ER: 5+
Quin’esh(Member)---Agriculture. ER: 6+
Silkra(Member)-- Agriculture/Foodstuffs. ER: 6+
Skensi(Member)--Livestock/Foodstuffs. ER: 6+
Vanderlund(Member)-- Foodstuffs, Tourism. ER: 7
Venhest IV(Member)-- Agriculture/Foodstuffs. ER: 8+

Felson(Colony)---Seafood. ER: 7+
Gerundi(Colony)---Seafood. ER: 8+
Kampadow(Colony)---Agriculture, Manufacturing(military vehicles). ER: 6+
Metha----Agricultural Colony. Agriculture/Aquaculture/Foodstuffs. ER: 4+
Nuegarten(Colony)---Agriculture. ER: 5+

Davasgar(Protectorate) --Seafood. ER: 5
New Vita---Colonial Protectorate--Livestock, timber. ER: 6+
Styx(Protectorate)--Agriculture/Aquaculture/Foodstuffs(Styxian Tea). ER: 5+

-GNE territories(by extension USA-affiliated)

Atium---Agricultural Colony--Agriculture/Aquaculture/Foodstuffs. ER: 6+
Giland---Agricultural Colony(Extradimensionally located)--Foodstuffs. ER: 7+
Kaxion Station----Transit Colony(Extradimensionally located)--Agriculture. ER: 6+
Tennison---Agricultural Colony. ER: 5+

Some Notable USA-sourced Foodstuffs/Products:
Gremar:
*Brye-root tea,--- A thin tea with medicinal qualities.
*Cinba-grain --- Striking in its prismatic colors, cinba-grain is also highly nutritious.
*Liago-dyes --- Natural dye-stuffs that create a prismatic effect in fabrics they are impregnated into.
* Darva-extract --- A taste-enhancer, described as having a flavor akin to pepper-infused chocolate or mocha. Often added to sauces.

Kamasaugh:
*Vrilsah, a potent alcoholic drink brewed from a cranberry-like fruit grown only in the KSC.
*Tsaokola is another beverage that has caught Galactic attention; the mead-like, but non-alcoholic, drink being commended for its refreshing taste and mild stimulant properties.

Kaxion:
*Kaxil(or Kaxilian Ginger)----A ginger-like root, natve to Kaxion, that is quite tasty and has some uniquely beneficial phytochemicals.

Mestos:
*Moho Fruit---A ground-growing tuber-like fruit native to Mestos, and the planet’s primary export/cash crop. Moho fruit is nutritious, fast growing, easily digestible and utterly without redeeming taste. However, agronomists in the United Systems Alliance have discovered that fermenting moho with a secret blend of other ingredients(though it’s rumored that Skenzian hops are involved) yields the fine Syngy(or Synergy as it is sometimes known) Ale.
Heavily processed and flavored, moho-paste also serves as the base of a number of nutrition supplements and famine-relief rations.

*Gimro-Tails----Cattail-like marsh weed with a large seed-head that can be roasted and eaten.

Silkra:
*Melvec Caviar(sand-newt roe)------Actually the marble-sized eggs of a local newt-like amphibian native to Silkra, Melvec Caviar is acquiring a following, especially on Altess tables(which explains why the Altess have invested in efforts to commercially raise and cultivate the Melveca sand-newts).

*SpiceFern----A local Silkran plant that produces large edible spores, prized for their zesty taste. SpiceFern is still harvested wild, but there are some beginner efforts to cultivate the plant commercially.

*Krartree----Krartree is a thin, reddish and lightly carbonated liquor from Silkra. Again, universal metabolic compatibility make it a pan-USA distributable commodity, sociable intoxication levels, and side effects that include creative fugues and an ‘aura effect’ that increases the drinkers’ charisma to others(+1d6 to MA, +1d4 to PB, for 2d4x10 minutes). Considered the ‘artist’s drink’ by many on Silkra who drink it to boost their creative energies, it has the unfortunate side effects of being mildly toxic and inducing painful hangovers(regarded as the ‘price one pays for prompting the inner muses’). Still, Krartree is gaining its share of imbibers across the United Systems Alliance and beyond, similar to Terran absinthe.

Tennison:
*Tannim Moss----A thick nutrient-rich moss that dries well into a stable form and is compatible with a number of physiologies.

*Agrain Spagna---A lichen that grows prolifically on rock slopes. It has been shown to be a rich source of anti-bacterial chemicals.

*Tema Vella---A thick lichen that forms peat-like layers. Though slower-growing than Tannim Moss, Tema Vella is just as nutritious and viable as a food crop.

Paloii:
*Glennriver Vingreen Wines---Fine alcoholic drinks from Paloii

-TemsenSkoya:
*Beetle Fur--- A non-allergenic fluff shed by the insect life on TemsenSkoya. It can be chemically stabilized and made into light fluffy water-resistant fabric.

-Kalipsis:
*Kalipsian Kotton-----Brought by the refugees from now-destroyed Memphis-Sudar, the seeds of this plant have thrived in Kalipsis’s soil. The fiber is considered exceptionally silky yet strong, and is beginning to command good prices in offworld markets.

*Thoughtstone----A clay-like material, laced with granulated psylite, thoughtstone can be reshaped with thought. Though too soft to make tools from, thoughtstone is currently sold as a novelty item, though some researchers are exploring the possibilities of creating regenerating stonework or amorphic golems from the material.

*Aeroroc----Pumice-like stone that attracts and traps airborne contaminants. Raw aeroroc is sold as air fresheners, while processed sheets of it are part of air filtration systems.

*Ril-Stones---Ril-stones are billardball-sized spheres of polished stone that have proven useful as meditation aides for Earth Elemental Warlocks and Earth-oriented Elemental-Fusionists. Holding one in hand while meditating gives a +1d4 PPE per hour(yes, holding two will give a +2d4 per hour, but holding a third in your lap will not add additional PPE recovery). Ril-stones will also begin quivering in the presence of Earth Elemental magic within a 500 ft radius.

-Pikta:
*Thermaskin---Leather from a native Piktan herbivore; it is completely impervious to normal fire, and takes only HALF damage from magic heat and fire.

*Sternofruit---Natural wax candle. Lighting the stem of this apple-like fruit, it can be used like a candle or small heat source, an average sternofruit burning for 1d4 hours.

*Oxoo---A bamboo-like plant saturated with oxygen-rich compounds. If ignited, it actually gives off breathable oxygen, seemingly in reverse of normal combustion chemistry. An average foot-long piece of oxoo can burn for 30 minutes and produce enough oxygen to supply a small room.

*Cindeye Drops---The extract from a native plant; when squeezed into the eyes, the drops protect the eyes from the irritant effects of smoke and chemical agents such as acid vapors ad tear gas. Effects last for 45+4d6 minutes.

*Scorklaw---Talon or claw from a native predator. When infused with 2 PPE or 4 ISP, the claw glows white hot, doing 4d6 SDC touch damage. Effect lasts 3 minutes before the claw cools down.

*Piktan Blue Ginger----A locally harvested spice-root that causes consumers’ breath to sparkle. In high enough concentrations, it can also cause Blinding Flash breath, though this has the unfortunate side effect of also blinding the consumer(unless they’re prepared, by shutting their eyes or donning eye protection beforehand) and temporarily knocking out their tastebuds for 2d4 hours. The active ingredient in the recently-introduced Pikta-Plazi Sparkla Na-Ale soft drink.

*Doslor Joss-Sticks---Made from the dust of aromatic Piktan woods, these incense-sticks are growing in popularity as meditation aides with Fire Warlocks and Fire-Elemental Fusionists(they gain an extra +1d6 PPE per hour of meditation with these burning around them), and they seem to have a calming effect on Fire Elementals(GM’s prerogative as to the extent of the effect; maybe the Fire Elemental only does HALF damage to whoever is blowing joss-stick smoke at them, or may ignore them completely). Altess claim the smoke adds a tangible sense of ‘zing’ to negotiations or other social activities, and others are following their lead in buying these things.

*Gantina Fire-Blossom Rum----A beverage made from the fermented sap of a plant found on the Gantina sub-continent of Pikta. Said to contain life-tapped essence of the Elemental Plane of Fire, Gantina Fire-Rum is available in several grades of ‘fire’, from sweet and warm, to ghost-pepper hot and spicy. The highly potent (even the Splugorth have reportedly developed a taste for the high-grade stuff) and flammable drink tends to explode in its undiluted state if not handled gently and with care....Careless sap-jug handling is the leading cause of death and instant cremation among Gantineze harvest-hands....

*Piktan Flare-Silk---A fabric derived from a Piktan plant, properly-woven flare-silk exudes an energy field that resembles dancing flames that are warm to the touch, but are harmless and have the benefit of keeping the wearer warm even in a raging cold gale(normal cold/exposure does NO damage). However, the effect is readily visible to PPE-sensitives and the spectral glow-flames can be distracting and are impossible to conceal. Flare-silk is sold as a luxury textile, with a yard of the cloth going for 300 credits to start.

Jovenis:
*Jovenian mushroom-steak----A popular Jovenian dish made of large fungi found on the roots of Jovenian mangrove analogues.

*Jovenian Cave-Crab--A Jovenian crustacean, large and blind, found dwelling in the ‘spongey’ limestone cave networks underlying the globe-spanning mangrove-analogue swamps of the planet. Cave-Crabs live off other small animals in the cave complexes, and off the rotting roots of trees on the surface above. Cave-crab meat is considered a delicacy, reaching, it is rumored, as far as Altess Dynasty tables.

Anduv:
*Fering root extract---A peppery distillate said to have medicinal properties, at last for elves.
*Marsh-figs----Actually a plant/fungus symbiote that produces large tasty fruiting bodies similar to truffles.
*Swampig-----A largish amphibian with succulent flesh.

*Febosh---A softwood native to Anduv. It has a fibrous bark that can be harvested to yield a strong, but soft and flexible hemp-like fiber that can be braided into rope. Febosh has a (non-allergenic) scent like cedar, and its wood and fibers release aromatic oils that drive off native insects, but have a mild euphoric effect on humans through both skin contact and inhalation. Once the fetishists learned of it, febosh fiber became VERY popular, especially in the Paradise Federation.
The theocratic Seljuk of Anduv are frankly bemused that a ‘trash wood’ has turned out to be a lucractive cash crop that caters to human sexual rituals.

Atium:
*Atuna---A genetically-modified fish raised in quantity on Atium. Its flesh is considered quite succulent(the Altess import a good quantity of it, and by association this is leading to other metroworlds taking an interest in Atium’s exports).

Harrisar:
*Harrisar Scarlet Tuna ---A foodstock fish native to Harrisar. Global overfishing and oceanic pollution devastated its numbers until the only examples left were a few degenerately-inbred aquarium specimens and some preserved DNA in museum drawers. The USA has launched, in parallel with efforts to restore Harrisar’s ocean ecologies, a program to clone back the Harrisar Scarlet Tuna, with the ultimate goal of reintroducing them into the wild when Harrisar’s oceans are clean again. A population of the fish exists on Manticus’s genetic engineering moons, and the species, or genetically-tweaked variants thereof, have been introduced to several other terraformed worlds. Cloned or offworld-farmed Harrisar Scarlet Tuna is gaining a following among seafood lovers.

Repti:
*Krag-melon, a round, tough cactus-like pod whose moist and nutritious contents are very stable and long shelf-lived stored at room temperature (Qoulkarg traditionally use their forearm spines to break open the pods).

*Sanhawg, a large fat worm-like animal that is easily digestible, especially after cooking.

Vivasanda:
*Johaghem Pearls--Though not a mineral resource as such, native Vivasandans were discovered to wear strings of these pearls harvested from their home’s waters. The prismatic pearls have caused a sensation amongst merchants who have examined them, and not just for their beauty; the pearls radiate an energy field that fights infections and accelerates healing(the strength and power of the healing apparently related to the size, gestation period of the pearl, and the age of the pseudo-oyster). The harvest and sale of these pearls, if well-managed by a smart fishery, would net whoever holds Vivisanda a very nice profit. While PS/ASI and their Sapphian allies have become aware of them(the Vivisandans have offered some in payment for weapons, not realizing just how potentially valuable they are), the Golgans have just recently become aware of something about the pearls, and so may be even less inclined to give up their claim.

Panmandu:
*dahooz---A potent liquor distilled from a Panmanduan cactus. It is rarely available off Panmandu.

Klavia:
* Thesleen-----A drink produced on Klavia from a combination of fermented fruits flavored with corol secretions. It is best served chilled in glass. It is reddish in color, beer-watery in consistency, is lightly carbonated, tastes fairly good, and has a tremendous alcoholic kick, while being utterly nontoxic, It also causes humans to have psychedelic artistic fugues, On Klavia it costs 10 credits a bottle, while offworld it can bring 50 credits or more a bottle, especially from artists.

Malatrax:
*Gargan, a thick dark high-calorie yeasty beer-like drink. It has begun to be exported, and is acquiring a following among ogres, orcs, Kai-Shem minotaurs and Haranasya Vadyra.
* Shalbec, a fatty bratwurst-style sausage made from a mix of Shellback and local sauroid meats.

Styx:
*Styxian Black Tea--- A potent stimulant drink derived from a coastal marsh plant native to the Styx colony, and growing in popularity in the USA and beyond.

Tavaza:
*Brovta----A fermented beverage from the Tavaza protectorate. It is a mix of various berry squeezings, but ideally is served heated like sake.

*Amazon Moonshine---Another fermented and distilled whisky-like drink from Tavaza.

*G-Force Coffee---Nobody knows how it’s made, but since it doesn’t show necromantic properties(like being the squeezed-out lifeforce of babies), nobody cares to inquire too deeply as long as it’s proven safe to drink. It’s pretty much the official working beverage of the GNE, USAJC, and USA government functionaries and has begun acquiring a following outside the Alliance as well. Tankers of GFC concentrate sail regularly from the USA to foreign ports, and port workers have been specially trained to handle the loading and unloading safely.

*Rockwheat---A genetically-engineered grain developed by Cambridge Jungle biotechs, rockwheat is a symbiotic hybrid of grass and lichens that can take hold on and subsist on rocky soils, breaking them down to leach out the nutrients the plant subsists on. Extremely hardy, it can even survive percholate-laced soils, arid conditions, and cold weather. Yields tend to be modest, the grain nutritionally weak, but rockwheat is a mainstay of terraforming programs, because it takes hold on undeveloped ground and still produces edible crops on what other plants would consider barren, even toxic, soil. The plant breaks down stony soils and its own stalks and chaff prepare the ground for later crops. Rockwheat produces a coarse flour and can be made into pumpernickel-like bread(variously called ‘Colonial biscuit’, ‘hard-crop hardtack’, and ‘rock--bread’), but it is also used as the feedstock for distillation into grain alcohol, and the basis of a variety of colonial intoxicant beverages.

Agrotechture---Growing Living Buildings and Structures
(aka ‘Botanotechture’)
“We’re literally growing new homes out here. The future is looking really green.”

“A lot of asteroids in Usan space are turning green and fuzzy with exogrowth. A lot of spacers I’m familiar with look at that with suspicion, but a lot more like the idea of more places to get fresh food and water that doesn’t taste chemically reprocessed a hundred or more times.”

“Ideally we set up self-contained structures on normally inhospitable worlds, with the agrotech able to thrive off the reducing or otherwise toxic atmosphere, and able to live off the geology, growing and expanding, while producing potable water, air, power and food as byproducts usable to the inhabitants.”

“The symbol most often associated with Greater New England is a spreading tree...it seems they decided to make that a more literal part of their culture.”

Agrotechture is the latest craze in the United Systems Alliance, and it is largely the result of the collision of the Streleg gene-smiths of Manticus and Greater New England’s Splicer tribes of the Cambridge Jungle. Agrotechture can be broadly described as the process of using genetically-engineered plant life to create building structures and infrastructure, utilizing local materials to ‘grow’ them on site. Magic and psionic enhancement of the growth process came later in yet another synergistic effect. Agrotechture has encompassed such structures as colonial buildings on terraforming worlds, ‘green’ space stations and asteroid colonies, and self-repairing arcology communities.
Though many critics fear the vulnerability of biotech to various environmental hazards and deliberate sabotage, the gene-techs of the USA have tended to choose hardy extremophiles as the basis of their agrotechture toolkits. This has included plants such as the Manticean span-trees, massive skyscraping trees that have thrived in Manticus’s staggering gravity field(over four times Earth’s), though this required permission from the Streleg religious authorities to use span-tree DNA. Exolife and extremophile organisms provide additional inspiration and base genetic material for the creations of agrotechture genengineers.
Agrotechture typically uses macro-organisms to lay down megadamage support structures using material synthesized from the local ground. These structure are then sealed in using more conventional construction materials and methods, along with electrical wiring, plumbing, and accessories. Additional biotech is then layered on that, providing additional resilience and redundancy. Other processes simply use tailored organisms to lay down layers of composite materials in various shapes, before the layering organisms die off, leaving behind coral-like ‘skeletons’ to be outfitted for occupancy.
Though initial growth can be tightly controlled by nutrient feed and inhibitors, agrotechture is best used when one doesn’t mind a bit of randomness in a structure. Test-growths on worlds like Saveoresc showed excellent results when the macro-growths could spread freely(one Altess investor in an agrotechture venture described a new building complex ‘bubbling out of wasteland sands’). The science(some describe it as an art) is (literally)spreading, as more venues for experimentation and implementation are approved.
Agrotechture is proving useful on borderline shatterworlds where ‘green’ structures are proving useful in reducing airborne pollutants and lowering energy demands for keeping habitable indoor environments maintained. Worlds like Harrisar and Khaldar have seen greentech factor in their planetary recovery, and it is hoped that similar success will be achieved with worlds like Tenlen.

Biotech and the United Systems Alliance
“It was bad enough when it was just those Earthers who were getting ‘juiced-up; now they’ve expanded the candidate pool, the Rim is seeing a lot more of their supersoldier types and meta-talent operatives in the field.”

Though originally regarded as a Human(and in particular Rifts Earth Greater New England Humans), biotech augmentation is becoming more prevalent on the United Systems Alliance and more available to non-(baseline) humans and other species.

Together with the Agrotechture Revolution, bio-modding is gaining more and more acceptance among USA members and affiliates. Not everybody, but an increasing number.

-Kellestans(Human variant)---Already marked by an ancient plague, the Kellestans are of an ambivalent mind when it comes to genetic modification, though individuals are free to make the choice to be bio-modded.

-Besorans(Human variant)---Survivors of the aftermath of a nearby supernova that left their genepool heavily damaged, the Besorana are enthusiastically all over any genetic medicine that can repair their chromosomes, restore fertility to their people, and reduce infant mortality.

-Zolann(Human variant)---The Zolann are already heavily altered enough by their environment that they don’t contemplate anything more than mild augmentation(and that for medical reasons).

-Tavazan Amazons(Human variant)--- Those courageous enough to go offworld in search of employment and adventure are often open-minded enough to accept bio-modding. Of course, what many of the Tavazan Amazon tribes want is a means of restoring their people to the physiological prime of the Amazons of Atlantean yore, even if it means breeding with others to acquire that state of what they regard as blood-power.

-Casserine(Human variant)---An engineered ‘servant’-class liberated(in part) and adopted by the USA, Casserines refuse cybernetics and bionics for anything other than medical reasons. They also refuse bio-modding for ‘power-ups’, though travel-oriented and work-assistance mods such as FROST DOZE, DUST ANGLER, MANILA ADJUTANT and CORAL SNOW are increasingly common, and those on the waterworld of Atium have taken to mild bio-modding and aquatic adaptation packages such as TURQUOISE ECHELON and AQUA PHOTON

-Elves---Elves generally do not go for augmentation, even bio-modding, unless there is a mystic element involved. ZINC FAHRENHEIT, OBLIQUE NARCISSUS, CEDAR PROPHET, WHITE PLUTO and HUMBLE STAR are among the more popular bio-mod packages among those elves who make the jump.

-Ogres---These close relatives of humanity are easily bio-modded and many see no problem with the procedures.

-Dwarves----Dwarves prefer cybernetic and bionic augmentation, but a few are warming to bio-modding, especially those that involve a heavy technologically-oriented component, such as GRIZZLY HURRICANE, CELESTE DYNE, COBALT EPIC, BLUE RIOT, PEARL LIGHTNING and NEON GLACIER.

-Orcs---Orcs, even the arguably more reasonable ones in the USA, are game for just about any form of power-up. Those in United Systems Alliance service see it as a way to keep up with their comrades.

-Minotaurs---The USA encompasses several Minotaur cultures. While their cultures as a whole frown on augmentation, they leave the ultimate decision to individuals. Most take up cybernetics and bionics to replace lost limbs and rehabilitate injured bodies, while bio-modding is generally of the environmentally-adaptive or protective variety.

-Chai-Chuks---- The GNE already had come up with compatible biotech body-mods to power up the descendants of these high-grav worlders on Rifts Earth that the idea caught on with their rootstock when the GNE made contact with the Chai-Chuk homeworld.

-Smallkin---The GNE already had a number of bio-mod packages for ther Smallkin citizens, the mere mention of which sends shivers of terror through the rest of the Three Galaxies’ espionage co mmunities.

-Wynaro----The GNE has begun to develop a few bio-augs, such as subcutaneous bio-armor) for their Wynaro citizenry, but most Wynaro balk at anything radical.

-Pinarii---Pinarii will only accept regenerative biotech to heal what their already impressive regenerative abilities cannot fix, and they do not accept more radical bio-mods that would interfere with their natural abilities. Likewise, they reject cybernetic and bionic enhancements.

-Wolfen-----The Wolfen generally distrust bio-modding(despite the GNE having proven they CAN adapt their bio-mod packages to Wolfen/canine physiologies) , but have no problems with cybernetic and bionic enhancements.

-Coyle----- The positions of the Tme in relation to the great galactic powers means that more than a few Tmelain are willing to undergo bio-modding, with the joke being that the coyle are benefitting from what the wolfen passed up.

-Klia----Generally dismissive of or unable to accept most bio-modding, except for the MAGMA DEVA heat-tolerance package.

-Squilb---The Squilb are more accepting of Bio-Mods than of cybernetics and bionics, as long as the process doesn’t interfere with their natural abilities. If they can, they will go for bio-packages that allow them to more effectively fight supernatural forces and other great threats.

-Vintex----The Vintex are open to cybernetics and bionics and are simply agog about biomodding, due to the sheer audacity, creativity and expertise shown in it. The few bio-mods that have so far been made available to the Vintex have proven immensely popular with this warrior people.

Other USA-member or affiliated species either have refused bio-modding, cannot accept it for various physical reasons, or else have not had enough research done on adapting the technology to them that it is an issue.

Random Interstellar Empires/Star Kingdoms - Page 19 (2024)
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