A Functional and Fertile Crescent: Technological Advancements in the Cradle of Civilization

A Functional and Fertile Crescent: Technological Advancements in the Cradle of Civilization

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The Fertile Crescent is the name given to the arc-shaped area of land that stretched across the Middle East from the northern end of the Gulf in the East to the Nile Valley in the West. It was here that the earliest civilizations appeared, hence its alternative name as the Cradle of Civilization. Agriculture was one of the first big changes to society, and following that several major technological advances were made to better adapt to a new way of life.

Where Was the Fertile Crescent?

The area known as the Fertile Crescent today, covers modern day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and Egypt, as well as the southeastern part of Turkey and parts of western Iran. This was land that was relatively fertile for agriculture, thanks to several important rivers, including the Nile, the Tigris, and the Euphrates.

Map of the Fertile Crescent. (Nafsadh/ CC BY SA 4.0 )

The term ‘Fertile Crescent’ is a fairly modern invention, and it is commonly believed to have been first coined by James Henry Breasted, an American Egyptologist from the University of Chicago, in his 1916 book, Ancient Times: A History of the Early World . The term became popular quite quickly, and has since been used to describe the geographical areas that were mentioned previously.

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It was the area in which the first civilizations came into being. One of the major reasons for this was the development of agriculture. The fertility of the land, in addition to the presence of rivers that made irrigation easier, contributed to the adoption of agriculture in the region. This led to various significant changes in the lives of the people living there.

Ancient farmers. ( Heritage of Japan )

To start, in the areas where agriculture developed, communities changed from being hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists. This also meant that they no longer needed to live as nomads moving from one place to another in order to obtain food, but could settle down in an area to tend to the land.

As agriculture provided a more secure food income than hunting and gathering, it also resulted in an increase in population. And in addition to planting crops, animals were also domesticated. In the Fertile Crescent, four of the five most important species of domesticated animals – cows, goats, sheep, and pigs - were available. Whilst horses were not found there at that time, they lived nearby.

Fertile Crescent Technology

This population growth led to other advances in the civilizations of the Fertile Crescent. For example, apart from providing a more stable source of food, agriculture also produced a surplus. This meant that a part of the population was now free to pursue other occupations, as there was no longer the need for everyone to produce his / her own food. This was the beginning of the division of labor, and social stratification in the Fertile Crescent. Apart from farmers, other classes in these emerging civilizations include rulers, merchants, and artisans.

‘The dawn of civilization - Egypt and Chaldaea’ (1897). ( Public Domain ) Apart from farmers, other classes in these emerging civilizations include rulers, merchants, and artisans.

This stratification led to further technological advances in the Fertile Crescent. As an example, the artisans, as they need not worry about obtaining food, were free to hone their craft and improve their products. This led to technological advancements in such areas as pottery making and metallurgy. Moreover, creative expression thrived hand-in-hand with these technological developments, as the objects produced by these craftsmen had practical and/or aesthetic value.

Pottery and cone mosaic pieces e xhibit in the Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA. ( CC0)

Another example of an important change brought about by social stratification was the development of writing, which was used for numerous purposes. For instance, in Mesopotamia, writing was used to as a means to maintain business records, such as the amount of grain that was traded. These records have been preserved on clay tablets, and thanks to them, we also know that a system of counting was developed to keep track of the amount of goods being received and given away. It is often thought that writing first served a practical purpose before being used to for more abstract purposes, for instance, to create literature.

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An account of barley rations issued monthly to adults (30 or 40 pints) and children (20 pints) written in Cuneiform on clay tablet, written in year 4 of King Urukagina (circa 2350 BC). From Ngirsu, Iraq. British Museum, London. ( Public Domain )

To conclude, it was in the Fertile Crescent that many important developments took place. Many of these continue to play a significant role in of our lives and societies even today, whether we realize it or not. Without them, civilization as we know it would be quite unimaginable.

Grand Deluges (2010)

Having spent considerable time staring out a wheelhouse window, where the only thing before you is sky and water, with no land or creature in sight, I could very well imagine what it would be like if the earth were to be engulfed in water. Once being a skipper of large vessels, I often wondered how I could have fit every creature on the planet on board, and of course what would happen when the fuel and food ran out, or in Noah’s case, when the wind died down. The smell and noise would be unbearable.

Considering the fact that 70% of the earth’s surface is water, it is of no wonder that most all creation myths contain a story of a great flood that, in most cases, erases all life from the planet. Though millennia ago, the earth was not yet known as a planet and nearly everyone had rarely ventured much farther than ten or so miles in any direction from where they lived. This is true even today. So if that area were to flood, to them, their whole world indeed was flooded. For even if a particular flood was on a global scale, there would be no way for the earliest peoples to know this. Indeed only a few hundred years ago we still believed the world to be flat, with the earth at its centre. Though any flood, at any point in time, most often devastated the known world of the people who lived there. Even today, a rise of only half a metre in the sea level would be devastating to many areas on the planet.

Reality is that the earth is a couple of a billion years old. Hominoids have been around for a million years, while anatomically modern humans, who evolved from an Archaic Homo Sapiens, have been around for only 200,000 years. Suffice to say, there has been flooding of the earth since, like forever. In truth, floods have only really affected humans to a large extent, since we stopped our endless wandering, hunting and gathering way of life. When our wandering began to intrude on other wanderer’s, when we had hunted, many to extinction, most of the larger animals residing with us on the planet and when our populations rose enough to never have enough food for everyone, the climate began to change as the last ice age slowly ended. It had changed enough by 12,000 years ago that we eventually figured out how to grow our own food.

Some might look at the number, twelve thousand years, and think, wow that’s a lot of years. While in reality it is but a blink of an eye compared to the lifespan of the planet earth. One needs perspective to appreciate the time it really represents. Imagine if you will a true tome of a book, one thousand pages long and titled, The Story of the Earth. Near the end of the book, as you begin to read page 998 you’ll read about how the continental drift of the African land mass bumped into the European land mass and began to form the Alps. At the top of page 1000 you’d read about the first Hominids to appear. The last line on this final page would be about the Neanderthal, with the last eight letters representing the beginnings of the first great civilizations that we know of, Sumer and Egypt. The final two letters would describe the Roman Empire and the period at the end of the last page, of this 1000 page book would barely represent the last 100 years. This would conclude that, as far as flooding goes, it’s been happening for much longer than how it has affected us as a species and in truth is far more natural to the planet than we think we are.

Before 12,000 years ago much of humanity lived along the shorelines, as we still do today, though at that time the shorelines were on the edges of the earth’s continental shelves. In some areas of the earth, these shelves lay dozens, even hundreds of miles off of our present day shorelines. So it only makes sense that as the ice age ended and the water rose, humanity would be affected by flooding. Only after 12,000 years ago would floods and other natural events of the earth begin to have a more profound effect on us as humans as we began to evolve from being simple nomadic bands into sedentary farmers. We were basically large family groups who wandered about hunting game, scavenging and gathering wild foods such as fruit, berries, seeds, grubs and roots, into stay at home farmers who began to grow our own food.. And of course the most fertile ground was nearest the water. In truth we had always lived near water, as do most all flora and fauna, because all life needs water to survive. Whether in river valleys or alongside their banks, within their deltas or along lake and sea shores, most all living things are dependent on their proximity to water. The earliest humans, who existed only by hunting and gathering, would move their encampments every few weeks, and would set up each new camp near a water source, but were able to move on more quickly after any flooding, for any materials they had they could carry and in most cases were very aware of what nature was doing around them, and were probably more proactive with nature than we are today. With the development of agriculture, flood and famine would begin to affect the human race more severely and on a larger scale though the truth of the matter is flooding has always affected all that has lived upon the earth. The Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Chinese, and Native Americans all thought that the earth had been covered in water many times, and of course their regions were affected by flooding. Many of these stories of catastrophes and upheavals were not all just simply great flood stories brought about by an angry divine being. There were and are many reasons why they happened.

Many of the ancient flood stories share similarities such as the sky turning red, earth tremors, and torrents of muddy rain, thunder and lightning. This seems to suggest that most of these floods were caused by the upheaval of the earth. Nearly each and every story also tells that after such days of darkness and chaos, some humans survived and continued on, persevering against all odds, which must have been uplifting to the people, who would later hear these tales. The ancient peoples led sometimes hard and punishing lives, and to hear stories of people surviving the most terrible things that nature could bring upon them, no doubt brought hope to their daily lives.

Natural flooding provides water resources to areas in arid or semi arid regions. It recharges ground water tables and makes soil more fertile by providing needed nutrients. Freshwater flooding is very important because it maintains eco-systems along rivers for flood plain diversity. The nutrients are so very important to everything that lives in the water, especially when it comes to spawning. Indeed periodic flooding was essential to the growth and well being of ancient communities along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Nile, Indus, and Yellow Rivers, among others.

The earth has been changing and evolving for millions of years, with each geological era lasting millions of years, each ending nearly every time from the effects of an impact from a large celestial object on the earth. These impacts could even have been the source of putting water on the planet in the first place, when it was still believed to be still just a big rock covered in lava, billions of years ago. Meteorites and asteroids slamming into the planet, over millions of years could have brought billions of tons of water vapour and carbon dioxide with them. This vaporization in the atmosphere from the impacts could have covered the earth with seas. The theory is the condensation in the atmosphere accumulated over about 20,000 years or so, and delivered enough water to cover the planet at least one inch deep. Then over millions of years a greenhouse effect would have made the earth warm and wet enough in which life could grow.

Since that time, truly great flooding has been caused by either the process of expansion, which is the movement of the earth’s crusts, the impact of celestial objects, the melting of glaciers, or deluges of monsoon proportions. Flooding would become the natural actions of water runoff from substantial rainfall and/or rapid snow melt and caused by monsoons, hurricanes, tropical depressions, thunderstorms, cyclones, or earthquake generated tsunamis. All these also cause sea tidal and storm surges. Most great floods today, and for the last many millennia, have occurred locally or regionally, not globally. There are two reasons for this, earth has not been hit by a very large celestial body for many millennia and though most of the planet is covered with water, there is simply not enough volume to completely cover the earth. But when something very large slams into the earth everything changes.

About 60 million years ago a giant comet, asteroid or meteor, slammed into the earth where the Gulf of Mexico is today. Estimated to have been about 10 kilometres wide, it hit the earth with the force of at least one thousand times the power of all nuclear devices on the planet today. The initial crater was more than 300 kilometres across. The cloud plume of the impact would have pushed through the atmosphere. Its fireball radius would have expanded outwards for thousands of kilometres with three hundred mile an hour wind sweeping around the globe. It would have completely dried out much of the flora, including most trees. Two thousand degree rock vapour would disperse into the atmosphere, and then fall as white-hot grains, starting fires worldwide. It filled the atmosphere with dust so thick that for years the sunlight was completely cut off. Temperatures dropped to near freezing, worldwide. In a fairly short time 50 per cent of all plant and animal life, including the dinosaurs, became extinct. Mass extinctions like this happen on the earth about every 26 million years, and of all the creatures to have ever lived upon the earth, 99 per cent of them, are extinct.

When an object of size arrives from space and slams into the earth, it is travelling at about one hundred and sixty thousand kilometres per hour. It is one of the fastest things in the universe. When comets are shooting around in space, their tails alone can stretch a hundred million kilometres behind them. Large impacts are cataclysmic to the climate and to the earth itself. Even passing by too closely would prove fatal to earth. Millions of years ago the earth was hit with asteroids, several hundred kilometres across. Some so large that the meteorite’s tail-end did not feel the impact, or be near the atmosphere until the front was buried 20 kilometres deep into the earth.

As recently as thirty-five thousand years ago, a meteorite about 50 metres in diameter and travelling about 11 kilometres per second crashed into present day Arizona, its crater, the Barrington Crater, is 200 metres deep and 1.2 kilometres wide. The earth is covered with many impact footprints. Comet and asteroid impacts are actually happening all the time, fortunately the majority of the earth is water and desert, and most explode at high altitudes when they enter the earth’s atmosphere. Fireballs are recorded fairly regularly all over the globe. The 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia was an airburst of an asteroid about five miles above the earth, levelling an area of uninhabitable forest of more than two thousand square kilometres. On average, a large meteorite, weighing upwards of 50,000 tonnes or about the size of a cruise ship hits the earth once every 100,000 years.

Besides asteroid hits, the earth is constantly in turmoil, undergoing dramatic change from within its depths and from the movements of its crust. There is nothing that happens in nature that is by chance. Some of the changes are slow to happen, while others happen very abruptly, often without warning. Even today more than six-hundred active volcanoes spew sulphurous smoke and fire into the earth’s atmosphere, with more than a million earthquakes recorded annually. Japan alone registers up to one-thousand tremors a day. Ninety per cent of the three thousand earthquakes of various intensities recorded every day worldwide occur around the Pacific Rim, with most others in a band running from Spain, through the northern Mediterranean to the Himalayas and Indonesia. Imagine all this natural activity happening over millions of years. And then, very recently, frail and minuscule, Homo sapiens appear.

At the peak of the last Ice Age the sea level in most areas was about 120 metres lower than it is today. This suggests that there could be evidence of earlier peoples we have not found yet, as the remains possibly lie under water. Consider the continental shelves, mentioned earlier, which at one time were the shoreline. It would have been easier to travel along its shorelines than inland and over valleys, swamps, deserts and mountains.

The greatest sheet of ice at the peak of the last ice age was an unbroken land mass that ran from deep in Siberia, across the Bering Shelf and 640 to 800 kilometres into North America. Many scientists call this ice sheet, Beringia. Covering much of North America were two huge ice sheets, the Laurentide and the Cordilleran. About 18,000 years ago the ice slowly began to melt. At the peak of the last ice ages, many of the glaciers that had crept southward from the Arctic, and to a lesser extent northwards from the Antarctic, were upwards of three kilometres in height. Their weight alone is hard to comprehend. Roughly 12,000 years ago the melting accelerated, and the glaciers began slowly retreating, leaving behind a gouged out and compressed landscape, covered by tundra. When Beringia eventually separated the earth into two huge land masses, Eurasia-Africa and the Americas, it also separated two groups of humans, who would each further develop, for the most part, unaware of each other’s existence. In North America, the retreating glaciers were leaving behind massive lakes. One of these has since been named Lake Bonneville, and was centred on the present day states of Utah, Idaho and Nevada, in the United States. One of the lake’s remnants is the Great Salt Lake. It was at least 350 metres deep and covered more than 51,000 square kilometres. It was formed about 32,000 years ago and 14,500 years ago it broke out and through a natural mountain pass called the Red Rock Pass. Breaching Red Rock Pass, the flood crest was perhaps 120 metres high and travelled about 110 kilometres per hour. The flood scoured out the present day, 180 metre deep, Snake River Canyon, with the waters eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean, via the Columbia River causing sea levels to rise about 9 inches, in many parts of the world.

Around 12,000 years ago the earth seemed to have gone through another series of great upheaval. Many different events all over the world were happening. The earth seemed to be in a fight for its life. According to D.S.Allan and J.B.Delair in their book, “When the Earth nearly Died – Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic Catastrophe of 9500BC”, they suggested that some cosmic body, whether a giant meteor or a fragment of an exploding nova, was thrown through our solar system. Though not actually hitting the earth, it was close enough that as it sped by, it left a trail of wreckage in its wake. They surmised that it tilted Uranus on its side, tore away a moon that went spinning off into space to become the planet Pluto, and created a field of asteroids. As it passed earth, it increased the tilt of the earth’s axis, causing the earth’s crust to shift.

Egyptian writings based on oral histories, tell of a great shaking of the earth around this time, and that a flood had nearly destroyed the earth. Some have suggested this is related to the Egyptian word that calls this time, Zep Tepi (the Beginning). Another nearly identical tremor and flood story could perhaps be associated with the Haida Gwaii, off the west coast of Canada, who say that their forefathers had once lived in a global community, but then there had been chaos in the world, the earth shook and the earth was flooded. The myth tells how the Haida survivors escaped in large canoes and made their way to safety, landing on a mountain top that had risen out of the water.

In “The Cradle of Man” by Arthur Posnansky, it is asserted that this is the time the Andes rose up as well, where the area of Tiahuanaco in the Andes was destroyed and rose more than a kilometre above sea level and is present day Lake Titicaca. At the same time in North America, at least 25 animal species, including the mastodon and sabre tooth tigers were wiped out in a few short years, though this could also be attributed to early man and his evolving hunting prowess and technology. As well as the fact that in the earliest times large animals were not afraid of humans, as we were simply a smaller and weaker species and could get up close. Other theories suggest North America was hit by an asteroid that had broken up as it passed through the atmosphere and slammed into the continent like a shotgun blast the fragments spreading out like pellets.

At the same time the ice sheets of the last ice age began to melt and the sea level began to rise. The introduction of farming around 8000 BC began to change many aspects of a human’s life. Not everyone had to go out every day to forage and hunt. Populations began to rise. Life expectancy rose. Agriculture was becoming more and more relied upon to feed everyone, just as more and more people had less to do. By about 6500 BC, farming had nearly become global. Even today we still survive on the same four basic foods that these early farmers grew and survived on, potatoes, rice, wheat and corn. Though today, the largest crop in the world, by far, is sugar cane.

Nearly all of the earliest civilizations had a constant struggle against nature and the flooding of its arable lands. Myths and stories began to develop through oral history. Many of these great flood stories could have been inspired by ancient observations of seashell and fish fossils found inland and upon mountain tops. This hypothesis by Adrienne Mayor, in her work, “The First Fossil Hunters” makes sense when one considers that before the last ice-age much of the land that was above sea level, at its height, had at one time been beneath the water.

As elsewhere, Europe was also experiencing continual change. Many millions of years ago a severe earthquake dropped the surface of the Mediterranean more than 1500 metres below its present level, then over the millennia and through the process of expansion Africa was and still is, slowly moving northwards. About seven million years ago Africa bumped up against the European land mass, trapping the Mediterranean Sea by closing off the Strait of Gibraltar. Because not enough rivers ran into it at the time, the basin dried up to form a group of three to four lakes, each separate from the other, much like the great lakes of North America. The Nile and Rhone rivers have deep gorges in solid rock under them, suggesting these rivers once poured great torrents of steeply, dropping water into the Mediterranean basin. Then about five and a half million years ago the Atlantic started to break though again at the Strait of Gibraltar. Caused by continental drift, it was perhaps the greatest waterfall in history, and maybe fifty times higher than Niagara Falls in North America. But had maybe more than one thousand times the greater volume of water pouring through to fill the Mediterranean basin, though it would take about a thousand years. The Mediterranean basin is as much as 4800 metres deep in places, however by 18,000 BC the sea level had risen to a height that was still at least 120 metres lower than it is today.

Much of Europe at this time was still very near to the retreating glaciers and would have been a harsh environment while most of Africa was a semi desert. Comparatively the Mediterranean would have been a temperate, if not warm, climate for much of the year, and it was fairly well populated with early peoples, especially the area known as the Fertile Crescent, where agriculture would soon begin.

A thousand or so year go by, and in about 7545 BC, another great flood happens, caused by the impact of not just one comet or asteroid, but according to the theory put forth by geologist Alexander Tollmann and his wife Edith, by at least seven hits. They surmise that one great celestial object broke up into seven chunks as it passed through the earth’s atmosphere. It is recorded in many myths and oral histories that around this time seven Stars fell to the earth. “The Book of Enoch” speaks of seven burning mountains hitting the earth. In other accounts the earth was attacked by seven burning suns. The Tollmanns’ suggest the impact sites included the south-western tip of South America, west of Panama in the Pacific Ocean, the mid-Atlantic, the North Sea, the Indian Ocean area, Southeast Asia, and south of Australia. These impacts would have been truly devastating and would have caused huge tidal waves around the globe, with much flooding. The sky would have been darkened for years by the dust and there would have been extreme climate change, including drought. The land bridge that had once existed and nearly connected Asia and Australia is thought to have been submerged by the rising waters caused by these strikes.

Another thousand years go by and then perhaps one of the greatest floods of all time occurs. This flood caused a series of events that would greatly impact the human populations of the Mediterranean, Eurasia, North America, the Middle East and various other places around the globe. All of these people would include some of the aspects of these events in their creation myths and religious beliefs, which were soon to be created.

The cause of this particular flood was a great prehistoric lake of ice located in northeast North America, now named Lake Agassiz. At its greatest extent, 13,000 years ago, it covered Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Western Ontario in Canada and Northern Minnesota and Eastern Dakota in the United States, perhaps covering as much as 1.5 million square kilometres with a volume equal to at least fifteen Lake Superiors. It was formed from glacial melt-water. As the ice sheets which lay atop Lake Agassiz melted the water drained north into the Arctic Ocean, adding much to the rising sea levels worldwide. By about 9900 BC Lake Agassiz had refilled, but then in 8400 BC it drained completely. The deluge initially broke through at Hudson’s Bay in Canada, and eventually also surged down the Mississippi River valley to the Gulf of Mexico, into the Atlantic by way of the St. Lawrence and Hudson River valleys, and north into the North Atlantic.

Since the peak of the last Ice Age, the sea had risen in surges, and after nearly 10,000 years the sea level was now a couple hundred metres higher than what it was at its peak. But so great was the Lake Agassiz flood that the sea levels in many areas rose possibly 6-10 metres, with the global sea level rising at least 2-3 metres in the first couple of months alone, and then eventually raising the sea levels to their present levels.

The Yaghan people, who have inhabited the islands of the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, on the southern tip of South America, for at least eight thousand years, have an interesting creation story. “Lexuwakipa, who was very moody, felt offended by the people. In revenge she let it snow so much that an enormous mass of ice came to cover the entire Earth. When it eventually began to melt, there was so much water that the Earth became completely flooded.”

Lake Agassiz’ final outburst occurred beneath the massive glacier called the Laurentide ice Sheet, which was under so much pressure from the gushing lake water that is was lifted by the outflow and moved northwards across Hudson’s Bay. It poured forth millions of tons of freezing water into the seas. Soon other parts of the great Canadian ice sheet followed, and in a couple of years the glacial Lake Ojibway, centred over the present day Great Lakes area, overflowed into the Atlantic and added perhaps over a metre of water to the rising sea levels.

The effects of this great flood would be felt for hundreds of years. Indeed the retreating glaciers and subsequent floods of these humongous volumes of fresh water had cleared a path for the first peoples to enter North America’s prairie regions. The lakes of freezing water took at least a year to drain with many theories suggesting that this caused, what is now known as the 8.2 Kiloyear event. The freezing waters caused a sudden decrease in global temperatures causing worldwide cooling which affected the planet for at least 400 years. The flood’s waters entered the Mediterranean Sea with such force that the island of Malta, which sits east of the narrow Sicilian Channel, sustained incredible damage. Temples and stone block walls collapsed, with some of the larger temple stones thrown distances up to eight metres. Most of the destruction was primarily on the western side of the island, the direction from which this deluge arrived from.

When the flooding mass of water reached the eastern end of the Mediterranean the surge raced through the narrow channel of the Dardanelles and confronted the natural dam at Bosporus, in present day Turkey. It is now about 5800 BC and the Black Sea was an inland lake with its sea level at least 100 metres lower than what it is today and was fairly well populated. For at least two years the sea level of the Mediterranean rose and eventually caused the waters to breach at the Bosporus gap. At first, it no doubt started as a trickle and within a year the flow was twice as strong. Finally the barrier began to crumble causing the water level of the inland lake to rise about half a metre a day. The torrent’s current poured in at about 100 kilometres per hour. The waterfall itself was at least 110 metres in height. The peoples that lived there would have had to move northward at the rate of a mile per day just to keep ahead of the flood. Eventually the entire area was transformed into a giant sea, but oddly enough, it would become a sea where the water would not circulate, and would be called the Black Sea.

Elsewhere in the Mediterranean, the rising waters flooded the Nile Valley with the seawater reaching as far as Aswan, 900 kilometres inland. There is proof this flooding of the Nile reached nearly four metres above today’s highest flood line.

By 4800 BC groups of people were on the move. Many made their way to Mesopotamia plain, and with the people that had already been there, settled along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and formed communities. Some of these people could have been survivors of the great Black Sea flood, bringing with them their myths, beliefs and oral history.

The Mesopotamia plain was an environment of levees and marshland, with much of the travelling having to be done using canoes. The arable land they found was rich and fertile. Farming a couple square kilometres of good soil brought them the ability to support a farming village of more than one hundred people, with the people mostly living in fragile reed huts. Lacking metal and stone, their tools and utensils were made from fired clay. Their society was egalitarian, with little distinction between class and rank. The plain they lived on was extremely flat, only rising a few metres over hundreds of kilometres. At the time one of their first cities to be built, Ur, was located about 160 kilometres inland from the sea. Today its location lies 240 kilometres inland, and even at this distance the plain is only about four to five metres above sea level. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers flowed within levees and banks that were higher than the surrounding land. Though these rivers would flood annually, their deluge was usually withstood by the channels, small canals, and crude reservoirs that even the very first settlers had learned to construct.

These people advanced and grew to become one of the first civilizations of man, the beginning of the Sumerian dynasty. By 4000 BC they had already devised ways to keep track of inventory, using tokens and beads and soon were well on their way to inventing written script. Born from administrative needs, the more organized they became, the greater the need for record keeping. The first written records were mostly bookkeepers’ records, including transactions or listings of commodities and would eventually evolve to include stories and poems. Over the generations, one of the first legendary stories of the Sumerian, and then Akkadian age, would become known as the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” which was derived from songs that minstrels had sung for hundreds of years. First written down in about 2000 BC, it was a story based on the trials and tribulations of the great and adventurous Gilgamesh Ruler of Sumer, King of Uruk (2500-2450 BC). One of his adventures was the story of a great flood. It tells that sometime after man, plants, and animals had been created kingships are established in five special cities all along the shores of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Because of the disobedience of the people that lived in these five cities, the gods decided to bring a flood and destroy mankind. Some of the gods didn’t necessarily agree with the extreme severity of this decree. One of them, Enki (Ea), told the mortal human Ziusudra (Utnapishtim), who was known for his humility and reverence, that he should build a large boat to ride out the coming flood “To save himself, his family, the seed of all living creatures, the game of the fields and all the craftsmen.” And a flood then swept the land, “raining for seven days and seven nights.” After surviving the flood, Ziusudra kneeled before, An and Enlil, two of the leading gods. They were so pleased with his god-fearing humility that they gave him the “Life of God” and “Breath Eternal,” and carried him off to the paradise-like island, Mount Dilmun, “the place where the sun rises.”

Similarity the flood as described in the Bible, was about a man called Noah, a man of virtue, a good man. While praying one day a voice carried on the wind spoke to him and told of a coming deluge. The voice said it would rain for forty days and forty nights and that he should build a boat. Specifications were even given as to its size three hundred cubits long (138 metres) and 50 cubits wide (23 metres). It took Noah and his sons eighteen months to build the large reed, bitumen covered ship. All the animals were to be saved and somehow taken on board, all 1.8 million species of them, in pairs. If they were unclean animals, such as crawling creatures, eagles, owls, tortoise, swine, snails, and ravens then it was a pair and seven of every clean animal such as cattle, goats and sheep. According to the book of Genesis, before the flood a human’s lifespan was about 900 years. By the time of Abraham, this would drop down to 175 years. The flood wiped out the human race but after the waters had receded, Noah, his wife, and three sons were able to begin repopulating the earth.

The Epic of Gilgamesh and the story of Noah bear many similarities, and what no doubt ties them together, is Abraham, who will be discussed later in the text. In each story after the deluge, birds were sent out to find land and there appeared a symbol of divine remorse to signal the end of the flood. According to the book of Genesis, it took 150 days for the flood to subside. It is generally believed that the flood of Gilgamesh could also have been a memory of the earlier Black Sea flood, the story which had been passed down orally over the generations. Though for the most part, it was describing the flood that devastated the Mesopotamia plain around 3100 BC, with the story of Noah, based on the earlier flood of Gilgamesh. For around 3100 BC, the earth once again goes through catastrophic turmoil.

Though there is still some debate over the actual cause, about 3119 BC, the world would become engulfed in chaos. Immanuel Velikovsky, in his book, “Worlds in Collision,” theorizes that at that time a giant planet, he named Jupiter as the culprit, underwent an explosion that hurled large pieces of itself into space. One planet-sized chunk was thrown down a long orbit toward the sun. This new, blazing red-hot planet would become Venus and as it passed the earth he surmises that it would have caused devastating damage.

Minoans, Chinese and Mayan all record some sort of celestial change at that time, in fact the Mayans start date of the present Mayan earth cycle is 3114 BC. They then declared that the planet Venus was “born,” but it could also have meant that some passing meteor caused Venus to start revolving in the opposite direction. A Mayan earth cycle is some 5,200 years and the present cycle is due to end in 2012 AD. The Mayans also record 3114 BC as the start of the “sun cycle,” which they calculate to happen every 18,139 years.

What we do know, is that many scholars and scientists of today agree that in about 3119 BC, the earth did indeed go through much upheaval, starting with a massive eruption in the Aleutian Islands, which would prove to have worldwide effects. Millions of tons of ash and sulphuric acid were thrown up into the atmosphere. For years people worldwide endured extreme change in temperatures, which affected the crops and brought famine and events that were worse than death itself. The world would become a continuously deep grey, cloudy existence on the verge of becoming total darkness.

In Mesopotamia, the build-up of snow and ice in the Zagros and Taurus mountains did not melt that spring and summer, so the next year’s spring flood waters did not arrive. The land began to dry up and crack. Famine became more severe with each passing failed harvest. According to the Sumerian epic, Atrahasis, “When the second year arrived, the people had depleted the store houses. When the third year arrived, the people’s looks were changed by starvation. When the sixth year arrived, they served up their daughters for a meal then served up a son for food.” Tales of these hard and trying times are recorded by many people all over the globe.

After six years the sun started to penetrate the dark, grey clouds, which were saturated with sulphuric acid crystals, and soon the air in the highlands began to warm and the ice and snow that had built up upon them began to melt. By the seventh year, the rivers and the seas were rising and the sudden heating up of the atmosphere triggered great electrical storms, while great winds would ravage the land. The rising water levels, caused by the melting ice from the mountains and the torrents of acid rain from the skies, soon poured over the flat Mesopotamia plain. Globally, the world became a very violent place to be, if one was a human. Nature acted in a nearly uncontrollable frenzy of destruction. If there were gods, they had gone mad, and had completely lost it.

The flooding of all the habitable land on the Tigris and Euphrates delta, surrounded by mountains and desert, covered more than 128,000 square kilometres. To these early Sumerians it would truly seem to be that the whole world had flooded.

For the survivors of the flood, life was to be very tough and unforgiving. They had lived through seven years of incredible depravation, starvation and death, but these early Sumerians had seemed to have found a new resolve for stronger and more resilient communities. They became galvanized to somehow, someway, better protect themselves from nature, which to them, were represented by gods. In places all over the globe early peoples began to form civilizations and build temples and pyramids. The original cities of Sumer were rebuilt on a much grander scale, with much of their traditions now being recorded as before-flood and after-flood. Their great temples (ziggurats) were rebuilt on enormous mud-brick platforms. Civilization slowly began to reassert itself. And the myths and stories that arose from the previous years of utter chaos began to develop and become oral history that was passed on through the generations until writing came into being hundreds of years later and they were finally recorded.

The Sumerians especially, were convinced that they were alive for one reason only, and that was to serve the gods by paying regular tribute, through praise, worship and sacrifices. The Sumerians believed they had originally been made from clay by the gods, to serve only them, and believed that humans were helpless in the force of their divine wrath. And like most of the people the world over, it was believed that a human’s life was to be beset with uncertainty and insecurity. The people were not troubled at all, unlike modern man, with the question of “free will.” They were peoples convinced that they were created to be slaves and servants of their many gods. They were a meek and timid people, accepting all divine decisions of their priests and shamans, unjustified or not.

One of the tribes within this ever expanding population included the descendants of Noah, and in about 1900 BC with the Sumer dynasty experiencing its final days, an Amorite of the Sumer city of Ur and descendant of Shem, son of Noah, Abram (Abraham), took up the calling of the tribal god El (god of the moon) and began shepherding his people toward their promised home in Palestine. Migrating across the Syrian plain, he brought with him the knowledge of his peoples’ history, including the popular epic story, of Gilgamesh. And a thousand years later this tale of a great flood would be recorded by Israelite scribes as the story of Abraham’s ancestor Noah.

One of the final, ancient, great floods to occur happened at about the same time that a Hebrew named Moses led his people out of Egypt. When considering what the world was about to go through, it was probably a decision made on the basis of survival and not the word of any God.

The year is now about 1400 BC and in its wake there would rise stories such as the Greek epic, the Story of Deucalion. About a man who is told to build a boat and then survives a deluge that destroys the known world. This could also be when and where the story of Atlantis arose. What is interesting about this catastrophe, other than the same global problems of extreme climate change afterward with the sunlight blocked by clouds of ash, cooler temperatures and crop failures, was that at the exact time, major civilizations began to go into decline, such as the Egyptian, Sumerian/Akkadian and the Harappa kingdom of the Indus valley. One civilization, the Minoans, disappeared completely.

One area that continued to undergo change was the region of eastern Turkey and western Greece. It is an area of full scale collision between the African and Arabian land masses driving north upon their plates of the earth’s crust and colliding with Eurasia. Proof of these collisions is the Alps in Europe, but also a swath that runs from Spain eastward to the Himalayan Mountains. In the past two thousand years alone, this area has experienced more than 600 earthquakes greater than 7.5 magnitude.

Seventy miles north of the island of Crete, in the Aegean Sea was an island named Santorini (Thera). It was a part of an area called the Kikladhes (Cyclades), which today is a chain of islands that includes Milos, Paros, and Naxos. The island of Crete was the center of the brilliant Minoan civilization, with a population of about one million people. They developed a sophisticated form of writing, enjoyed sports such as boxing and wrestling, used an early concept of the flushing toilet, channelled winds to air-condition their homes, as well as produced superb vases, ornaments, and art. Minoan ambassadors and merchant fleets roamed the oceans of the ancient world. Then they vanished, the entire Minoan race and culture just seemed to disappear. The reason was an island called Santorini.

At the center of Santorini rose a 1500 metre mountain, which in about 1400 BC, literally exploded. The volcanic eruption had to have been, pure unimaginable violence. Its force was perhaps 90 times that of the Mt. St. Helens eruption in the United States, thirty-five hundred years later. The aerial energy released by Santorini was equivalent to the simultaneous explosion of several hundred hydrogen bombs. As it began to collapse upon itself, seawater began to enter its vent, causing another explosion of magma and gases. The amount of steam that blew off then exploded as well, making the blast, what’s called ultra-explosive, simply hell itself.

In comparison, the Krakatoa eruption in the East Indies in 1883, blew a column of dust over 450 metres across, well over 50 kilometres into the air. It hurled huge parts of itself 80 kilometres away. Its dust cloud circled the globe. When the eruption had spent its force, the empty shell of the volcano collapsed into a 200 metre crater in the sea. This caused tidal waves that destroyed nearly 300 towns and drowned 36,000 people. A ship was hurled three kilometres inland. The roar of the blast shook houses 760 kilometres away and could be heard some 3200 kilometres away. Krakatoa deposited nearly half a metre of ash over thousands of square kilometres worldwide.

What remained after the Santorini blast was buried beneath over 30 metres of burning ash and because the wind was blowing from the north, most of it spread over a 128,000 square kilometre area to the south and west. This caused Greece, just to the north, to escape a lot of the volcanic fallout but was almost wiped clean by the blast and the waves that soon followed. Even today, southern Greece is mostly bare rock.

After it had emptied itself, the central portion of Santorini dropped into a deep gaping hole 360 metres below sea level. The sides of the now hollowed out mountain continued to collapse into this hole creating tidal waves and surges which lasted for weeks or even months. The initial tidal wave is estimated to have been at least half of a kilometre high at the vortex, roaring away at about 320 kilometres per hour. It very quickly smashed into Crete with successive walls of water more than 30 metres in high. Less than three hours later it engulfed the Egyptian delta, 720 kilometres away, and still had enough force to drown cities in Syria, 1000 kilometres away. Egyptian documents from the time of Moses’ “Exodus” described “The land is perished, and the sun veiled and shines not. Darkness covers the land for three days.” It tells of tidal waves surging up the Nile for weeks afterwards and in one instance, “the army is drowned beneath the waters.”

There have been and always will be disasters related to the natural changes in the earth and the universe. As far as earthquakes go, they are so devastating because we have always lived near fault lines. Indeed, today ten of the largest cities on the planet are situated near or on a fault-line, because this is where the cracks of the earth are and where the resources important to us such as minerals, metals and water are brought up from the earth’s core. We have always needed to live near a water source. In the ancient world they did not think of them as natural so much as the wrath of the god, who brought forth disasters upon the people who thought they had done something wrong or inflammatory to the gods. By 3000 BC, cultures around the planet, simultaneously and independent of each other, became fixated on being able to forecast and keep time. The purpose was to mark seasonal changes for the growing and harvesting of crops, and more importantly to keep track of rituals and to keep their gods happy. To do this, temples, pyramids and ziggurats sprouted up everywhere on the planet. They became instruments by which to study the skies and were used as places of worship for the people and a place to communicate with the gods to hopefully cease the assault of such disasters upon the world.

In summary, considering that the modern era we currently dwell in is only a few hundred years old, and that millions of years of changes have happened to the earth and are still to happen, the belief we have of our newly discovered technologies and progress has made us think we are much more in control of our world, than say the Sumerians, or even Neanderthal man. Natural disasters today are thought of as inconveniences that nature has untimely brought upon us. “How dare that hurricane destroy my car and house” or “Damn it! I had things to do today.” Today we have replaced the temples and pyramids with malls and sports arenas.

Drought, famine, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods still happen every single day. But unlike the situation a millennium ago, we humans are in greater numbers and are using up the earth’s resources much, much faster. At the height of the Roman Empire in 200 AD, the world’s population was estimated to be about 200 million people. The addition of the next 200 million took over fifteen generations, while the last 200 million were added to the planet in the past three years. The world presently has a population of well over six billion people, with more than 75 million added every year. One million children are being born every four days. The rate of growth is staggering. Consider that the 54 million lives lost during World War II were replaced by the natural occurring process of the surplus of births over deaths in only ten short months. The latest estimates (2009) put the world’s future population at about nine and a half billion by the year 2050, with most of this increase happening in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The scary thing is that most of this growing population will be concentrated in the countries that will be the least able to feed themselves, and will represent almost 45 per cent of the global population growth by 2050. Consider that currently two-thirds of the most malnourished people on earth live in seven countries. Over the next few generations there is going to be about one billion people born in these seven countries. The acceleration of the rising world population is currently putting incredible strain on our planet let alone what would happen in a couple of decades from now. China alone is adding a city the size of Chicago, Illinois to its region every three months. This rise in population will be the world’s next greatest deluge, a flood of humanity.

No matter our advancement in technology or our attempt to ignore the natural occurrences of the planet through regular delusional routine, if we open our eyes and actually look around, we will see how vulnerable we humans are to the forces of our environment much like the people of ancient times.

What is most concerning about floods is that the flooding is usually salt water which is of no relief to crops and makes rivers, streams, and lakes of fresh water undrinkable to humans, animals, in addition to the crops. Floods have always proven to be very good at not only damaging crops and soil, which affects the ability of the planet’s inhabitants to feed themselves, but also very adept at killing humans and animals with equal abandonment. What usually goes hand in hand with flooding is its opposite, drought, which is just as devastating because once again, it affects the planet’s food supply and available fresh water.

Estimates by numerous international institutes state that by 2010 around 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone, nearly a third of their population, will suffer from malnutrition because of intensifying drought. The United Nations Environment Program reports that 450 million people in twenty-nine countries currently suffer from water shortages, and by 2025 an estimated 2.8 billion people will be living in areas that will have increasingly scarce water supplies. Even today, 20 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to safe drinking water. The Peruvian Andes have lost at least 22 per cent of their glacier area in the last 30 years alone, with two-thirds of Peru’s 27 million people living on the coast, where only 2 per cent of the country’s water supply is found.

Along with drought and the growing lack of fresh water, floods still happen, but now because of the increasing population, the majority of which live along rivers, lakes and coastlines, each one can be more lethal and have farther reaching effects.

In the last five hundred years, floods in China alone have killed more than four million people. The 1931 flood of the Huang He (Yellow), Yangtzee, and Huai Rivers killed more than three million alone and it is estimated that 200,000 drowned in their sleep. The Yangtzee river valley had just over half a metre of rain fall in less than a month. At Hankou, the river rose 16 metres above normal, flooding more than 87,000 square kilometres. In northern China, in 1969 -71 famines caused by flooding, killed about 20 million people. More recently, in 1998 the Yangtzee flooded and left 14 million homeless.

Paris, France in 1910 saw three months of heavy rain and snowfall causing the river Seine to rise more than eight metres above normal. An estimated four billion cubic metres of water contaminated with sediments and municipal sewage flooded nearly 25 square kilometres. There were 150,000 casualties, and more than 20,000 buildings affected.

The 21 st century has brought some of the worst floods in recorded history. The cost to humanity in deaths from natural disasters in 2010 alone is more than 260,000 souls and will probably be much greater when Haiti’s final death toll is included. In fact 2010 has been the deadliest year since 1976, with more than twice as many people dead from natural disasters than from global terrorism in the same time frame.

The 2007 African floods have been quoted by the U.N. as being one of the worst floods in recorded history. On Sept.14 th , 2007, it began to rain and eventually flooded more than 14 countries through the middle of Africa from Senegal on the west coast, through Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. More than 2.5 million people were affected. They were hit again with similar flooding in 2009, which caused more than $152 million in damages.

The worst natural disaster to occur in Europe in nearly 200 years began with heavy rainfall in May 2010. Two months of rain came down in one 24 hr. period. In what would be called the Central European Floods, most crops, especially wheat, would be destroyed. Hardest hit was Poland, but Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, and the Ukraine were also affected. At the same time the Cumberland River in the United States, would gorge on torrential rains and crest at a height of nearly 16 metres in Nashville, Tennessee.. The end of 2010 saw three-quarters of the state of Queensland, Australia, engulfed with surges from a cyclone. The flooded disaster zone covered more than 70 towns, with more than 200,000 people affected and $30 billion in damages.

Besides loss of life, natural disasters now come with huge price tags. The 1987-89 drought in the United States, covered 36 per cent of the country, which was less than 70 per cent of the area affected in the 1934-40 Dust Bowl, but at an estimated cost of $39 billion makes it one of the most expensive natural disasters in American history. In comparison the damage associated with 2005’s hurricane Katrina has, as of 2008, cost $81 billion and continues to rise. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake killed more than 250,000 people in eleven countries. The tsunami’s waves were as high as 30 metres. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. With a magnitude of 9.2, it was the largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. It lasted about nine minutes and caused the entire planet to vibrate, which triggered earthquakes all over the world. Humanitarian aid to date has been more than $7 billion. The energy released by this earthquake, on the planet’s surface alone, is estimated at 26.3 megatons of TNT, more than fifteen hundred times that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, by the Americans in 1945. Humanitarian aid to date has been more than $7 billion.

Since our first ancient civilizations developed, we as a species have advanced considerably. As the gods of our man-made organized religions instructed us so long ago go forth and multiply and subdue the earth and all upon it. Well we have. Our current unrestrained exponential growth began five hundred years ago in Europe, which at the time had a population of perhaps sixty million people. At the time, European society was heading down the toilet, the stench of despair and misery were everywhere. Both in substance and spirit, the people were lost. They had no belief in anything other than to survive another day and hopefully stave off ever present disease and hunger. They had no values to rely on, nor governments to lead the way. Everyday life was simply survival, filled with violence, starvation and plague. Many felt the world was truly dying and that the end was near. But then a fellow who strongly believed the inevitable end decided to head out into the ocean and seek salvation or wealth, whichever came to him first. This is where our Modern Age began and our current deluge started, over five hundred years ago.

In his lecture, The Columbian Legacy and the Ecosterian Response, Kirkpatrick Sale details four essential components by which the Europeans spread across the globe and dominated not only other peoples but other species as well. Such exploitation would bring us to our present day crisis where once again people are lost, in spirit and substance, with the world seemingly headed for the abyss. The difference today is that far too many people aren’t willing to recognize this reality because they have drunk the cool-aid, living within an illusion.

The four characteristics Sale outlines which would get the current age started are, firstly, the rise of humanism “The declaration and celebration of the human species as the most important species of all.” This brought forth the God-given right to have dominion over other species, the elements and the resources of the earth. Secondly, the rise of rationalism, which through reductionism, would spawn science and would become our way of asserting control over nature. The third component is materialism. Things of the world would become corporate and everything had a measure of value, which led to accumulation and possession, with the only consideration being to not let anything interfere with the always and immediate goal of profit with the exchange of goods. This would become our new belief-system. The final component is nationalism, where various “royal families” would create institutions which would become nation-states, which would eventually lead to the central institutions in our daily lives. Deposing churches, associations for mutual aid, the promotion of common interests, city-states and community and the individual would become acceptable. To sustain these nation-states, standing armies became the norm and the philosophy of militarism. The crest of this wave grew with each passing century and is now upon us. What we must realize today is that these characteristics of the modern world are not natural, inevitable or eternal conditions they are constructs, inventions of a particular time, place and people.

These characteristics of our societies and our present day technologies have indeed changed much of our lives and the planet, but the changes we have made in our environment and to our planet are not necessarily in our best interest. The industry of living on this planet, using up its resources for an ever growing population, is warming the atmosphere globally. This causes climate change. Some places will become wetter, other places drought stricken. Some areas will become much colder in the winter and then much warmer than usual in the summer. It is becoming all about extremes. Temperature changes in the Polar Regions, north and south, are resulting in continuing glacier and ice-sheet melting, sea ice retreat, coastal erosion, rising sea levels and extinction of species of birds, animals, and marine life. Deforestation, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, ocean acidification, soil erosion and other aspects, all related to our present climate crisis, will only intensify. With the warming by only a couple of degrees, the Greenland Ice sheet would be in danger of disappearing thereby raising the sea level perhaps as much as four to five metres. As of the summer of 2007, the Polar Ice sheet shrank to its lowest extent in recorded history. Further melting of the earth’s ice sheets would submerge the lowest lying countries and all it will take, is for the earth’s temperature to rise by only a few degrees for flooding to change the world as we know it.

If the present sea-level rises one metre, or even say the length of your arm, the cities of Miami, Venice, and New York, among hundreds of others, will have to be hidden and protected by dikes to survive. In New York, if it was not for subway crews and 753 electric pumps, within a half an hour the subway system would fill up with water and reach a level where subway trains would be unable to travel. Within 36 hours everything beneath New York’s streets would be filled with water, and overflowing into the streets themselves. The eastern shoreline of the United States sea level has risen one foot in the last one hundred years. Adding another foot of water, the high-water line in Florida will move inland over 300 metres, in Louisiana it will be several kilometres. Let alone sea levels rising, present levels of coastal erosion projected over the next couple of decades on the same shoreline, will take out all homes located up to 150 metres inland. Low Countries everywhere will be devastated with places like Bangladesh completely under water. Consider the $21 billion English Channel tunnel, the Chunnel. The Coquelles, France terminal, on the Calais Plain, is only about five metres above sea level.

In the past, most all natural disasters were happening naturally, something we of course had no control over, and even to this day we never really plan and prepare for them at all. The difference now however is that rather than say an asteroid hitting the planet, or a great flood happening, or the earth’s plates violently shifting, or thinking it to be the wrath of a god, today, many of the natural disasters, we the people, cause. We are the ones polluting our rivers, lakes and oceans, and filling our atmosphere and ourselves with toxins. Over 70% of commercial fish stocks are depleted, over-fished, and exploited beyond maximum yield sustain-ability. Today one in every three fish eaten by humans is farm raised. Soon the oceans will be left with the smallest fish and plankton and with the continuing acidification and oxygen depletion of many parts of our oceans these too will disappear. By then the remaining sustainable areas of the oceans will probably be overpopulated with jellyfish, which are immortal. Consider the tiny sea creature, the Turritopsis Nutricula. It is a jellyfish-like hydrozoan, about five millimetres in length. While most all jellyfish die after they produce their young, this hydrozoan switches back to its juvenile form once it reproduces through a process called transdifferentiation.

We continue to clear-cut our forests, erasing entire species of animals off the planet. Knowing how silly and ignorant we have become could fill volumes, but then that would take up a lot of trees. Yet nearly three billion, or half the world’s population, still use wood as their primary source of energy. And 85% of the energy the world’s commercial industry uses is from fossil fuels. In fact, the root of most socioeconomic problems in many developing countries is land degradation. Included in our thirst for wood, over 1.8 million board metres of temperate and tropical hardwoods of mahogany, walnut, and teak are cut down every year just to make coffins, which are then buried back underground. How crazy is that?

I find our biggest challenge is to just admit that as a society we have been fooled and deceived since the 1970’s into believing global warming and climate change was a debate, where in actual fact the earth is in crisis. We seem to have an inability to face up to the fact that the environmental crisis of this planet is human induced. Any policy to do something about it gets postponed, ignored or defeated. Humanity’s efforts so far remain inadequate. The earth has always gone through cycles of global warming and cooling, the difference now is that it is not just a natural cycle the earth is going through but a cycle we have brought on ourselves. And we’ve got to stop denying the fact. If we continue to deny the effects of global warming, we will reach a point where it will be too late to reverse it. We will have gone from denial right into the arms of despair. If we continue on this path we are walking, we will run out of fresh water to drink and will be unable to grow enough food to feed everyone, and then when that happens, it will become a very, very scary world. As it is, more than nine million people starve to death each year.

But looking back over the ages, there is one thing we must remember and that is, after each natural catastrophe humans have dusted themselves off and adapted. We are now at the point where, because of the sheer number of people on the planet, we must not settle for any short term responses or remedies. Instead we must get past our ignorance and provide massive intervention on an international and long term scale. Climate change is a planetary issue. We cannot continue to think of only the drought problems in our own backyards or in our own countries. Drought is a global problem. We are all interconnected and until we start believing we are not and never have been masters of the natural world, we are surely doomed as a species.

An indicative article, The Deepening Crisis, written by Jeffery D. Sachs seems to explain quite well our dysfunction toward the earth’s growing climate crisis. The risks cited in the article, about sustaining our cultures globally, have developed rather quickly over the past two generations. The problems are scientifically complex and involve many uncertainties, which both public opinion and certain sciences must address. The problems are global and unfortunately politics is local and nationalistic. This does not bode well for timely, coordinated, international action. Many governments are in power for four years or less and more often than not, decisions and reforms are based on the next election, while instead much of the earth’s problems are unfolding over decades. While corporate interests control the media, they have the dissemination of propaganda and deliberate misinformation, down to an art form.

We must stop forcing our own agenda upon nature. Many of us must also stop thinking that the end of time will be taken care of by a god. Believing in the “rapture,” is a cop-out and as the bumper sticker correctly implies, is simply not an acceptable exit strategy. Many millions of people are actually looking forward to the end-times and put no effort whatsoever into fending off such catastrophic events although we humans, will be the cause. Many fundamentalist Christians and extremist Muslims are quite happy in fact, that things are getting worse rather than better. These believers are not concerned with the planet at all, instead only their own individual salvation. They believe a time will come where all the unrighteous and nonbelievers will die horrible deaths. But they also believe the dead will be resurrected, though they continue to disagree about who is righteous or not and to what sort of planet they will be returning to.

Buddhism and Hinduism on the other hand believe that everything will start over from scratch. But science does not offer such principles, beliefs, or criteria. We must begin to control our appetites and our rising population, and to gain the courage and the wisdom to make, sometimes agonizing and disturbing decisions. As draconian as it may be, limiting every human female on the planet to bearing only one child, no matter the sex, would be a huge step in the right direction. As it is, the poorest countries in the world have the highest birth rates. If the status quo continues to dictate that we stay on this course of unsustainably and with our reluctance to change course, the end-game may very well be where it’s simply not allowed to have children, at least not allowed to have children because of egotistical and careless thinking, that copies of ourselves will make the world a better place.

We must become partners with the natural world once again, to show it the respect it deserves and to show each other more respect, and become an ecologically sustainable culture. We need to get reconnected to the earth’s ecosystem and prepare for natural events, before they occur, instead of being shocked when they do. We have got to put our heads together and develop a way of life that meets our present needs without threatening the environmental legacy of future generations. We already have the technology, but it is being used in other materialistic endeavours, such as war. We must not overlook or forget one of our greatest assets which are opportunism and the ability to adapt.

Perhaps our optimistic nature is what causes us to be inflexible and persistent in our unwillingness to accept that the worst may actually occur. A human’s survival instincts have always included optimism, but also denial, defiance, and ignorance to such portents. We are afraid of the changes that could occur and of the fright that would be inevitable. But if we allow these traits of ours to fool us into waiting until it is too late, then we have lost. Instead, the fear of such portents should fortify our resolve, and propel us into action. Even if one does not believe the earth is in trouble that should not take away the fact that we must change the way we use the earth’s dwindling resources. Even the Catholic Church recognizes that the present ecological destruction of the planet is a moral problem. The current Pope has stated that, “there is and always has been a covenant between human beings and the environment.”

But before we can be optimistic we must be realistic. Environmental crises have been driven mainly from the consumptive habits of the richest 15% of humanity with economic growth driving up our energy use. Our societies have created too many elitists, who all demand the best of everything, to excess. We must learn to control our ravenous appetites, which for many will be very difficult, for most of us are ego-driven, which can never be satisfied. But no one wants or is willing to slow down the world’s economies. Capitalism moves ever forward, so very flawed, in that it is based on infinite growth operating in a finite system. We must seek an economic alternative. Because the issue is not to make sure everyone on the planet has equal opportunity in owning a house, a car, a big-screen TV, but it’s whether they will be able to feed themselves, breath the air, and have enough fresh water to live on, no matter their material wealth. Much like the often quoted adage, insanity is doing the same thing we have always done, while hoping for a different result. The reality is our environment is the economy, and we must start living within our ecological means, instead of arguing over the spoils of its industrial wealth. For what is behind the threats of habitat destruction, loss of wetlands, unnatural flooding, urban sprawl and pollution is capitalism and the fact that 40% of deaths worldwide are caused by water, air and soil pollution and with the rising growth in world population, rapidly increasing human diseases. We are killing ourselves and the planet for economic prosperity. But we are not moving fast enough in making changes to our environmentally destructive mind-sets because of the constructs that shape our daily lives, such as religion, politics, the economy, current and past ideologies, marketing and the media, and our consumption patterns. We think technology and science will save us from ourselves and our exploitive nature, our unchecked population growth and deem everything on the planet as a resource. Though there are many scientists working on ways to use technology for the betterment of the planet, no one technology can do it. They must combine their discoveries and work together. The challenge is that all the technologies that could slow or cease carbon emissions, everything from geo-thermal technology to solar panels are still extremely expensive. Once we put enough effort into making them cheaper, only then will we begin to make a difference. Many technologies, such as wind power are very effective but unfortunately no one wants it in their backyard.

Sadly though, human society oversees the planetary controls. The sheer size of the human population, our perceived affluence, our consumptive habits and our technology, which we only use to meet our perceived needs are driving global disintegration and destructive changes. We have come to dominate the planet without taking the responsibility of managing it, including the balancing act of maintaining populations of all species and ecosystems on one side, and maintaining the flow of goods and services that provides for humanity on the other. Unfortunately, far too many of us cannot even manage ourselves. Even if all growth in population and economic activity were to cease right now, this very moment, just continuing on exactly how we do today would still bring about serious molestation and destruction of the earth’s habitat and its resources. The price of our economic success extends beyond environmental deterioration. For it includes widespread loss of livelihoods, social tensions and conflict and staggering economic costs. To save our planet we have to realistically and morally change the way we think. It’s not so much, are we responding properly to environmental threats, which we aren’t, what we should be worried about and should be asking ourselves is why are we not responding.

James Gustave Speth, who wrote the book in “Red Sky at Morning,” believes that we used to have some slack with Mother Nature, but that is now gone and we are currently playing out the end game with our traditional, historical relationship with the natural world. Any aware person, opening their eyes and really taking a good look around would surely have to agree. For most of us the real and only concern of our daily lives is our next meal and pay check not worrying about the destruction of the planet or that half of the people living in the developing world, who get by on $2 a day. It is estimated that 57% of the global population is malnourished. As to the environment, many don’t care because they believe it probably will not be at the 11 th hour until after they are dead and gone. Others, especially the very wealthy, think they will be able to buy their way out and that their wealth will insulate them from the earth changing. How unrealistic is that?

We can’t just run and hide anymore, cloaked within routine, ignorant to the environment. We seem to be playing the delayed reaction game. We think about preparedness and only take action after a catastrophe has happened. And when enough time passes we ignore it until the next natural disaster happens, where we are once again shocked and unprepared for the disruption in our daily routine. As our world continues to change so must we, but what is most important, this time we are going to have to be much quicker, and decisive about it. We simply cannot wait any longer or it will be too late. We must all start working together for the good of the earth, and we who live upon her. Simply start to treat our environment with more respect, and just as importantly, for each other, because we are all in this together.

As humans we tend to be overwhelmed, uncomfortable, and feel alone when faced with such large scale problems. Thinking we cannot make a difference or that we have to change immediately and completely. This “all or nothing” mentality creates pressure and is the best way to fail at changing. This type of attitude also takes away the impetus to change. It would be better to break issues down to a more local level and stop trying to jump four stairs at a time. Just take one step at a time. Some people will have a sense that they must do something as unwillingness to act is simply not acceptable to their strong moral code. This is where discomfort in an individual comes from and we scramble to bury it. This is the stage where one’s character takes over to have the courage to seriously look at their discomfort and ask why. This is where the beginning of hope dwells. To be brave when being asked to make changes is really asking, what it is do we believe about ourselves. Change doesn’t have to be a great act. It is being the change you seek.

Our best tools are information, human adaptability and strong leadership. Though what we use instead is disinformation, denial, and allowing a lack of leadership. Over the last decade there has been a groundswell of support and agreement among people trying to create change. Many on the planet are trying to make a difference, for our consciousness is evolving. Nationalism effects the need to change as well because one country can strive to be responsible for the welfare of the environment, while another can continue to soil the nest they live in. Reality is, we all live on the same planet.

So what can one do about it? The answer there’s lots we can do, but the importance lies in the fact we must do something now. Stephen Hume of the Vancouver Province newspaper and Rex Weyler, one of the founders of Greenpeace, both argue for getting the right information to get out there and do your homework, research national science academies and organizations. Get educated on how society and nature work. Be engaged citizens and not simply consumers. Most importantly, don’t be intimidated by the consequences of having a conscience. Practise self-reflection, for our greatest failures are most often ego driven. Possess the “quiet courage of decent people doing the right things.”

Among the many who are concerned, the consensus is that we must all start thinking globally but acting locally. One can’t force another country to act, but one could lead by example. Hume, as well as many others, has the most excellent idea to shift certain redundant taxes to provide incentives for good behaviour, while discouraging bad behaviour. This should be implemented on many levels of our societies. Many on the planet, the most fortunate anyway, are supposedly living in democracies. Well then, speak out. Let all levels of government know empty rhetoric will not be tolerated, regardless of their “party.” Many people have completely tuned out politics, simply not interested. Some people, especially the young, believe there is nothing they can do individually by voting, that it would not make a difference in the result, with most people merely concerned with just trying to make a living. It’s sad that in totalitarian states people will risk their lives for the right to vote while in democratic states the majority of people don’t even bother to vote.

We must rebuild community ethics and attack urban sprawl. There should be incentives for people who develop under-used urban space. Underdeveloped property should have high tax rates, while high density developments, lower tax rates. Public transit must be convenient, efficient and inexpensive, because it can, but refuses to be.

Make it so anyone who removes a tree has to replace it with six, and then plant them everywhere. Harvest forests in 300 year cycles. Rethink work schedules, because most businesses today are working hours based on 19 th century factory models. If one has to attend a work-site on a regular basis, make public transit a benefit. Continue to invest in wind, tidal, solar, geothermal, and hydrogen power, in fuel cells, carbon sequestration, electric and magnetic rail technologies, electric car grids, desalinization technologies and most important, more efficient air, land, and sea transportation.

Begin to hold one’s own self accountable. Drive less, walk more, ride a bike or take the bus. If you eat meat nearly every day, cut it back to a couple of days a week. Don’t flush every time you take a leak. Grow a garden. Mandate recycling and then recycle everything. Shop second hand. Turn off the television. Above all else, believe in your abilities to change.

We are facing an expanding population deluge, which will affect everyone equally no matter where you live. The most important way to control such a flood is we’ve got to start controlling our behaviour. We continue to try to control human behaviour with laws, fines and treaties. Punishment is always after the deed is done. We abuse the planet or each other and after the damage is done we pay money or we are jailed. What if instead we start to focus on changing the physical conditions most responsible for wrong behaviour in our communities, such as poverty, malnutrition and homelessness? To be concerned that far too many of our children lack direction or interests because they have very few good role models to emulate. They are bombarded with violence in the media and in sports, dealing with stresses in their daily lives and dwindling family life. Society has become impatient and arrogant. We define success in money and not character, thus women have it harder because instead of character they continue to be judged by their sexuality. There is unfortunately no positive vision for many communities to work toward. This is our fault, each and every one of us. But we can create change.

As far as unnatural flooding and as to what we can do about it, reality is we can’t do much about it. But we can prepare for the inevitability of it happening and apply common sense in where and how we live. Climate change has altered the way the planet earth operates it has and will continue to affect its natural cycles and rhythms. And what must be stressed is that the pace of the earth’s deterioration is quickening. We are hugely affected by unnatural flooding and drought. Besides loss of property and lives, it jeopardizes our food supply, which of course affects everyone. The two largest wheat producers in the world, Canada and Russia, lost much of their 2010 crops because of unnatural flooding. We also should not worry so much about a global, grand deluge happening, for any river in any country, alone can kill millions all by simply overflowing its banks. What is needed most is a deluge of consciousness, to rid ourselves of and dispel the grand deluge of illusion that our materialistic and capitalistic societies have thrust upon us. History has proven that when humanity acts, it extinguishes the feeling of hopelessness and that daily actions by individuals can make large-scale changes possible.

In spite of the changing climate, doom or die world economics, rising seas levels and quickening of the size of the earth’s population, there is now more than enough food and material goods on earth to take care of everyone’s needs. But resources need to be managed properly and not strictly controlled to gain wealth as they have become today. There is enough for everyone to have a decent standard of living, as long as we use technology intelligently so that it’s not harmful to people or the planet and which doesn’t waste time and energy. We must start managing our resources, just like we have to start managing ourselves. The corporate and economic models we are operating have seriously misjudged the importance of the earth’s environment and the impacts of industrialization. It is now time to change. We are seeing the effects now. The real worry should be for children and their children and their children, who will be faced with what we have left of the planet after we are gone. This is the most important aspect indeed, it is what drives environmentalism and the only reason we should care about saving the planet. For heaven or hell is a condition not a place. We are racing for the edge of the abyss and we’re all fighting over who should steer, or at least who gets to sit up front. Not realizing that if we do drive off into the abyss, we might be taking nearly every other species of plant and animal, and most of the earth’s ecosystems along with us. Today there are about 1.8 million species of living creatures known to science, including us. Nearly 40% of these organisms are currently endangered and soon to be extinct. The bottom line is that it is time to get our priorities straight and, in the language we can all relate to, we have got to seriously get our shit together people.

“Making a stand for a principle sharpens our own ideas and induces others to sharpen their ideas. When one person stands up, others are inspired to stand up.” Rex Weyler.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” Confucius


Where are they dreaming of you?
Humanzee. You are our bellwether.

I have lived long enough to recognize you.
Your bones betray you.

You were, you are not.
You are yet to come.

The world will welcome you.
You will destroy them as before, and they know it not.

Oh Antediluvia of long ages gone!
You conquered the Solar system.

In your arrogance, you raised a monument on a far away world
to the seed of your own distruction.

They do not see, they do not know.
How they will wonder when they meet you again, in the city of our past.

Forums of the Megaverse®

Plus it epitomizes 'Clown Car Metaphysics'. a 9-shot revolver shooting 40 rubber chickens? ARMOR-PIERCING rubber chickens?
When Ludicrous Magery and TechnoWizardry collide. wooohhhboooyyy.

Illu for the 'Raging Looney' will come tomorrow.

"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

let your YES be YES and your NO be NO but plz no maybe

Paladin Steel SSN-11(Mc) ‘Minnow’ Miniature Submarine
(aka ‘ratboats’, ‘spit pipes’, ‘death-kazoos’)

“You know, rats are supposed to ABANDON sinking ships, not sitting out in miniature submarines and deliberately sinking other ships.”
“They volunteered for naval duty, and since we have the capability to build the equipment, why shouldn’t we make use of the manpower?Already we’ve gotten reports from our coastal affiliates that piracy has gone down over fifty percent in some locations since we started deploying submarine ‘rat packs’ in those areas. And the SEAL teams have been writing grudgingly respectable reports on the Nomanser Marine commandos. I’d say that’s endorsement enough for the program.”

The ‘Minnow’ shares overall size and configuration with the WW2-era Japanese ‘Ko-Hyoteki’-class mini-submarines mainly a long cylindrical body, small conning tower, and twin-torpedo armament. Paladin Steel, however, has configured the interior for Smallkin crews. With the accommodations scaled to the much smaller crewbeings, the submarine is much more comfortable on extended missions.
While the original ‘Ko-Hyotekis’ were meant as stealthy special operations submarines, PS envisioned a more versatile range of duties for the Minnows. Advances in materials, powerplants, and propulsion have made for faster, longer ranges, allowing the submarines to operate at longer durations away from the support of a mothership, and to keep up with larger vessels. Secondary armament is also possible, consisting of a variety of remote-operated gun systems.
‘Minnows’ serve most effectively as special operations subs, spy craft, recon subs, escort craft, and defensive patrol vessels(in the latter roles often operating in ‘packs’ of 4-10 submarines). Paladin Steel has also worked on ways of air-transporting the midget submarines, slinging them under large aerial cargo carriers such as the Aethon heavy air transport, and airdropping the subs for rapid deployment.

Type: PS-SSN(Mc)-11 Minnow
Class: Midget Submarine
Crew: 10 Size Level 1-2 sentients, plus 1-10 passengers/troops of similar size
MDC/Armor by Location:
Main Body 700
Reinforced Crew Compartment 100
Sail Mast 100
Stern Propulsion Cluster 110
Forward Torpedo Tubes(2) 100 each
Height: 9 ft
Width: 5.11 ft
Length: 78 ft
Weight: 47 tons
Cargo: Can carry about 500 lbs of additional gear
Powerplant: Electric (w/ 300 mile range) or nuclear(w/ 15 year energy life)
Speed:(Surface) 42 knts/48 MPH
(Underwater) 40 knts/46 MPH, maximum depth 600 ft
Market Cost: 4 million credits for electric, 6.5 million for nuclear
Systems of Note:
Standard Submarine/Robot Systems, plus:

*Periscopes---Standard, low-light, and nightvision optics

*Stealth---Sonar-absorbent coatings on the hull, ducted propellers, and acoustic baffling combine to make the Minnow extraordinarily quiet and stealthy. The sub has only an 20% chance of being spotted by radar and active sonar and a 10% chance of being detected by passive sonar.The benefits of this system are negated if the submarine is moving at greater than 7 knts.

Weapons Systems:
1) Heavy Torpedoes(2)---The bow mounts two ‘over-and-under’ single-shot torpedo tubes for heavy torpedoes.
Range: Varies by Torpedo Type(Heavy, generally 20 miles)
Damage:Varies by Torpedo Type(Heavy, generally 4d6x10 MD)
Rate of Fire: Volleys of 1-2(all)
Payload: 2 heavy torpedoes

In the alternative, the following alternate weapons configurations have been developed, each one filling the space of a single torpedo tube.
a) Mini-Torpedoes---20 per tube

b) Short Range Torpedoes---5 per tube

c) Medium Range Torpedoes---2 per tube

d) Harpoon II Missiles
Range: 40 miles
Damage: 2d6x10 MD to 40 ft blast radius
Rate of Fire: Volleys of 1-2 (all)
Payload: One each tube
Bonuses: +5 to strike
Cost:(Sub-launched) 20,000 credits

e) SeaFire Missile/Torpedoes
Range:(Underwater) 20 miles
(Air) 75 miles
Speed:(Underwater) 400 MPH
(Air) Mach 3
Damage: 4d6x10 MD
Rate of Fire: Volleys of 1-2 (all)
Payload: One each tube
Bonuses: (Torpedo)Because of the torpedoes’ higher speed and advanced targeting systems, the Sea Fire doesn’t suffer the same range and accuracy penalties as conventional torpedoes. The Sea Fire has a +1 to strike, and a +3 to strike within 3,000 ft of the target.
(Missile)---Not quite as accurate as a Harpoon III, but more powerful. +3 to strike

f) Sonic Cannon(PS-UHFSC-03)
Range: 3,000 ft
Damage: 1d6x10 MD per blast, plus 3d6 MD to a 10 ft diameter area around the blast area(double damage and range underwater)
Characters in EBA will take HALF that damage in SDC even through their armor, while vehicle crew will take 1/4 damage in SDC through their vehicle’s armor due to shock and excessive vibration. Vehicles with more than 300 MDC in their main body, or forcefield protection, will NOT be affected.
Rate of Fire: ECHH
Payload: Effectively Unlimited
Cost: 98,000 credits

g) Blue-Green Laser Cannon(PSMBL-5000B)
Range: 6,000 ft in air or underwater
Damage: 4d6 MD double blast, 1d4x10+8 MD quad blast, 1d6x10 MD full 5-shot blast
Rate of Fire: ECHH
Payload: 200 shot battery. Effectively unlimited if attached to a nuclear powerplant.
Cost: 270,000 credits

h) Ion Cannon(H-Ion)
Range: 6,000 ft in air or underwater
Damage: 3d4x10 MD per shot
Rate of Fire: 4 times per melee
Payload:100 shot battery. Effectively unlimited if attached to a nuclear powerplant.
Cost:800,000 credits

2) Bow Vibroblade Cutter---A nod to the original serrated bow rig on many old-era submarines, for cutting the underwater wire booms of harbor defenses. This mechanically articulated rig slides out of a housing in the bow and is used mainly for cutting obstacles. However, its discordant buzzing can be easily picked up by passive sonar systems, so the system is used sparingly when trying to penetrate sophisticated underwater defenses.
Range: Melee
Damage: 3d6 MD

*Escape Systems---These are individual life capsules(roughly the size of a bowling ball) that each hold one crewmember and launch like SLBMs from the back of the sub. Each pod has 50 MDC, is positively buoyant, can handle depths down to 2,000 ft, and carries a mini radio homing beacon, solar cell array, osmotic water filter system, and pill rations for 2 weeks . In the alternative, these can be power armors such as the ASEVAM(Mc)-11(Mc)DSV(Aquatic version of the ASEVAM(Mc)-11 ‘Lange’ ExtraVehicular Activity Module/ Hazardous Environment Work Pod, reminiscent of the WASP diving suit). Cost: 7,000 credits per pod.

*Deep Flare/Acoustic Countermeasure Launchers-------Screamers are specialized one-use munitions that when fired, broadcast a massive burst of noise across all audio/sonic frequencies, with the intended effect of destroying acoustic target(sonar) locks, and allowing the sub to escape opponents using sonar to detect or track them. -60% to track the sub via sonar while the Screamer is in effect, while sonar-guided weapons are -10 to strike, plus accoustic-homing weapons will break target lock to attack the decoy.
Screamers also have the effect of stunning dolphins, whales, and other creatures using natural sonar and echo location. These creatures are disoriented/stunned for 1d4 melees.
A typical screamer will last 1d4 melees until it burns out or is destroyed.
Screamers can also be fused to ignite/activate anywhen up to a minute(4 melees) after deployment.
Note: Screamers will affect the user’s own sonar systems.
Range: 6,000 ft
Damage: None
Rate of Fire: Can fire off Screamers in salvos of 1 or 2
Payload: 10 per launcher.
Cost: 9,000 credits for the launch system. Individual decoys cost 200 credits each.

*Deep Flares---Deep Flares are fast-burning underwater illumination sources used as distractions in deep sea operations. Though fairly useless as weapons, Deep Flares are effective at night and against deep-sea creatures sensitive to bright light.
Deep Flares will blind surprised targets for 1d4 melees(half all combat bonuses and skill rolls while trying to overcome temporary blindness). Useless against targets using sonar, or without eyes.
Range: 1000 ft
Damage: 1d4 MD if it scores a direct hit on a target Otherwise, no damage, aside from possible flash disorientation. : Area of effect: 100 ft area in diameter(suspended silt/debris in the water may limit this).
Rate of Fire: Volleys of 1 or 2
Payload: Each pod can hold up to 6 Deep Flares
Cost: 9,000 credits for the launch system. Individual decoys cost 200 credits each.

*Deck Gun(s)(1-2)---Mounted in retractable housings, these are either energy weapons or projectile weapons firing supercavitating projectiles. They are meant for close-in defense and can be operated manually by gun crews, or remotely from inside the sub.
a) Machine Gun(.50 caliber)
Range: 6,000 ft in air, 1,200 ft underwater with supercavitating ammunition
(Heavy Barrel) 9,000 ft in air, 1,800 ft underwater with supercavitating ammunition
Damage: (.50 Standard) 1d6x10 SDC per rd
(WI Exploders) 2d6 MD per 20 rd burst
(PSX-1) 1d6 MD single rd, 2d6x10 MD per 20 rd burst
Rate of Fire: Standard
Payload: 400 rd box magazine
Cost: 7,000 credits, 9,000 credits for the Heavy Barrel version.

b) Rail Gun(PS-100)
Range: 4,000 ft in air, 1,000 ft range underwater
Damage: 1d4 MD single rd, 1d6x10 MD 60 rd burst
Rate of Fire:EPCHH
Payload:12,000 rd drum(200 bursts)
Cost: 100,000 credits

c) Micro-Torpedo Launcher
Range:(Pattern-MT1A)2,500 ft underwater, 500 ft in air
(Pattern-MT1B)2,500 ft underwater, 500 ft in air
(Pattern-MT1C)3,200 ft underwater, 700 ft in air
(Pattern-MT1D) 4,000 ft underwater, 900 ft in air
Damage:(Pattern-MT1A)6d6 MD to 3 ft radius
(Pattern-MT1B) Screamer RoundScreamers are specialized one-use munitions that when fired, broadcast a massive burst of noise across all audio/sonic frequencies, with the intended effect of destroying acoustic target(sonar) locks, and allowing the sub/diver to escape opponents using sonar to detect or track them. -60% to track the sub via sonar while the Screamer is in effect, while sonar-guided weapons are -10 to strike .
Screamers also have the effect of stunning dolphins, whales, and other creatures using natural sonar and echo location. These creatures are disoriented/stunned for 1d4 melees.
A typical screamer will last 1d4 melees until it burns out or is destroyed.
Screamers can also be fused to ignite/activate anywhen up to a minute(4 melees) after deployment.
Effective radius of effect of the 18mm screamers is aproximately 1,000 ft
(Pattern-MT1C) Sonic Warhead---2d4 MD per blast to an 8 ft blast radius, 1d6x10 SDC to another 10 ft beyond that, Does only 1d4 MD to a 4 ft radius in air
Sonic weapons do HALF damage through light ‘soft’ armors like MDC barding and padded armor(such as wetsuits).
(Pattern-MT1D) 1d4x10 MD to 3 ft blast radius
Rate of Fire: Volleys of 1-10
Payload: 60 micro-torps ready to fire
Bonuses:(Pattern-MT1A) None unguided
(Pattern-MT1B) None unguided
(Pattern-MT1C) (+1 to strike in water. Micro-Homing Sonar Chip) Can also home in on a tracer beacon, and can track moving targets.
(Pattern-MT1D) (+3 to strike in water. Micro-Homing Sonar Chip)Can also home in on a tracer beacon, and can track moving targets.
Cost: 78,000 credits for the launcher
(Pattern-MT1A)250 credits
(Pattern-MT1B) 220 credits
(Pattern-MT1C) 360 credits
(Pattern-MT1D) 400 credits

d) Mini-Torpedo Launcher(w/ mini-laser)
Range:(Mini-Torpedoes) 1 mile
(Laser) 2,000 ft in air/Underwater
Damage:(Mini-Torpedoes) (HE or Plasma)1d6x10 MD to a 6 ft blast radius
(Laser) 2d6 MD per blast
Rate of Fire:(Mini-Torpedoes) Volleys of 1, 2, or 4
(Laser) ECHH
Payload:(Mini-Torpedoes)20 per launcher(10 per launch tube)
(Laser) Effectively Unlimited attached to an external generator
Cost: 48,000 credits

e)Blue-Green Laser(PS-RFL2-33N navalized Blazer )
Range: 4,000 ft in air, 3,000 ft underwater
Damage: 3d6 MD single shot, 6d6 MD short burst, 1d6x10 MD medium burst( 20 shots, 2 attacks), 2d6x10 MD long burst(40 shots, 2 attacks), 4d6x10 MD full magazine burst(80 shots, no bonuses to strike. does 3d6 MD to 4d4 targets if in a spray attack).
Rate of Fire: Standard
Payload: 400 shot battery. Effectively unlimited if attached to a nuclear powerplant.
Cost: 78,000 credits

f) Ion Blaster
Range: 4,000 ft in air or underwater
Damage: 1d6x10+10 MD per blast
Rate of Fire: EGCHH
Payload:200 shot battery. Effectively unlimited if attached to a nuclear powerplant.
Cost: 230,000 credits

g) Sonic Cannon
Range:(Sonic Blast) 1,800 ft underwater, 600 ft in air
Damage::Wide Beam: 4d6 MD to a 30 ft area
Concentrated Beam: 1d4x10 MD per blast
Sonic weapons do HALF damage through light ‘soft’ armors like MDC barding and padded armor.
Unprotected personnel must save versus non-lethal poison (16 or higher) or be stunned for 1d4 melee rds. People in sealed power armor save at an 8 or higher for the wide area blast, but make a standard save for the concentrated blast.
Sonar Blast----This is an enormous ‘belch’ of sonic cacophony that can blind sonar systems within range with a mass of ‘white noise’, knocking them out for 1d4 melees. Sonar and acoustic homing systems will lose target lock, and sonar-using creatures will be stunned and ‘blind’ for 1d4 minutes.
Vibration Blast---This takes up ALL attacks per melee to initiate and maintain, and consists of focusing a low powered beam on a sealed ship(submarines are ideal), and gradually inducing an ultra-low frequency vibration throughout its structure. While this doesn’t do any damage per se, it does affect the hearing and inner ears of crewmembers, causing creeping disorientation and increasing unsettledness, leading up to nausea. After one melee people with unprotected hearing(or uninsulated contact with the ship’s hull structure) will be -1 to strike, parry, and dodge, and -5% to skills(they become easily distracted). After two melees they are -2 to strike, parry, and dodge, -10% to skills, and are -10% to their sense of balance. and so on. People with protected hearing are immune to the effect, but beings with enhanced hearing are TWICE as susceptible to the effects.
This setting is most effective against vessels 60 ft long or smaller. larger vessels will take an extra full melee per 50 ft of length for this to work. or several cannon working in concert, to be effective.

Rate of Fire:(Sonic Blast) ECHH
Payload: 200 shot battery. Effectively unlimited if attached to a nuclear powerplant.
Cost: 90,000 credits

*SSN(M)-11(m )--’Midget’ version, with a normal-sized two-man crew. In the alternative, crewing the submarines with combat-programmed humanoid robot drones has also been proposed.

*SSN(UUV)-11 ---Robot or remotely-operated variant.
Pilot Submersibles: 95%
Navigation: Water/Underwater 85%
Radio: Basic 90%
Read Sensory Instruments 85%
Can recognize over 2,000 various national symbols, equipment, vessel types, weapons, and monsters
Actions/Attacks Per Melee: 6
Initiative +1
Strike w/ Ranged Weapons +3
Dodge +1

"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

let your YES be YES and your NO be NO but plz no maybe

I hate it when my mind wonders,
Because I have no idea what it will bring back with it.

taalismn says -- Librarians assume the role of scholar-priest-kings in an increasinly illiterate society.

taalismn says -- Abtex. Unofficial archival mole for the fictional arms industry again with the sites that make you blink.

Yep, it can be customized. different colors, stickers, glow-in-the-dark patterns. maybe even made to look like it's made of chocolate.

"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

Paladin Steel BSS-VcR01 ‘SteemKleen’ Vac-Rifle

“You’re a stain on history, a stain on society, and a stain on your species. But today, you’re getting cleaned up and disposed of!”

“Sure, it’s heavy for a hand weapon, but pound for pound there’s none more versatile!”

“You no longer have a gun. You are no longer in charge.”

Developed to meet a contract for a multi-role portable vacuum-cleaner with combat capabilities, PS’s SteemKleen is a potent multi-option weapon in the war on grime.
The SteemKleen gets targets coming and going. A potent high-pressure sprayer system can project a variety of chemicals, detergents, and solvents at a surface, preparing it for cleaning. At closer ranges, the SteemKleen can fire a jet of hot steam and boiling water. Once the target area has been thoroughly saturated and the dirt breaking up, the vac-rifle’s powerful cyclonic action pulls apart the stain and sucks it in for disposal. Fully wet-vac rated, the SteemKleen can even act as a water pump if need be, but it works best with moist and dry surfaces. With a flip of a switch, the device can reverse its cyclonic action to punch out a ‘bullet’ vortice of compressed air that can hit like a punch, shatter objects, and knock down people.
The SteemKleen hasn’t caught on as well as its companion ‘kleeners’, such as the VibroPlunger and VibroMop, in part due to its heavier weight and much lower damage potentials, but among professional cleaners, the Vac-Rifle has a strong following.
Weight: 17 lbs
Range:(Chem-Spray)200 ft
(Steam Jet) 80 ft
(Vacuum Pull) 100 ft
(Reverse Air Blast Mode) 180 ft
Damage:(Chem-Spray) Varies by chemical used typically detergents and mild corrosives are used. Sprayed in the face or other sensitive body tissues, the irritant factor causes the victim to be -6 to all combat rolls and -25% to all skills for 1d6 minutes.
(Steam Jet) 3d6 SDC, covers a 6 ft wide area
(Vacuum Pull) None but the vac-pull pulls with a P.S. equivalent of 40 out to 15 ft. Roll versus P.S., or small handheld items wil be sucked out of one’s grip.
(Reverse Air Blast Mode) 4d6 SDC at ranges of less than 50 ft, 2d6 SDC out to 100 ft. Roll versus P.S. of be knocked down(lose initiative and one APM getting back up) or lose whatever is in a targeted hand, for anybody caught in the full 180 ft range.
Depending on whether the dustbag is full, and its contents, the ejecta can be added to the airblast, doing an additional 1-1d6 SDC(GM’s discretion if the bag contents are coarse/sharp enough to do additional damage) and can act as a smokescreen for 1 melee.
Rate of Fire:(Chem-Spray) ECHH
(Steam Jet) ECHH
(Vacuum Pull) ECHH
(Reverse Air Blast Mode) ECHH
Payload:(Chem-Spray) 30 shot reservoir a belt tank with an additional 20 shots, or a backpack tank with 100 shots can be connected
(Steam Jet)30 shot reservoir a belt tank with an additional 20 shots, or a backpack tank with 100 shots can be connected
(Vacuum Pull) E-clip provides 1 hour of operation for a standard e-clip, 2.5 hours for a long e-clip, 6 hours for an e-canister
(Reverse Air Blast Mode) 300 shots per e-clip, 600 shots per long e-clip
Special Features:
*10 Horsepower draw power
*Fore and aft folding pistol grips
*Hose Attachment
*NonAllergenic HEPA Bag Filter
*1.5 gallon bag capacity
*Can be hooked up to a backpack for extra battery/water/chemical supplies
*18 ft power cord for attachment to external power supplies
*Molecular Analyzer---Analyzes bag contents and delivers a readout on a small LCD screen.
*Headlight---Switchable normal light/infrared/ultraviolet light source(range: 25 ft)
Cost: 10,000 credits
*Omni-Pack----The Omni-Pack is a three-in-one service/supply module that provides 150 extra shots/ 12 hours of extra battery power, enough water for 50 extra steam shots, and 50 chemical doses. Also comes with an extra external vacuum bag able to hold an additional 10 lbs of waste. Backpack has 18 MDC. Cost: 9,000 credits

"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

let your YES be YES and your NO be NO but plz no maybe

Last edited by ZINO on Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

So something to clean after a Fun Gun battle, right.

To cut down on the weight of the rifle, they do make back pack Vacuums now days. Maybe a single hand grip SMG style with hose. Please no twin hose designs for two fist-ed cleaning.

I hate it when my mind wonders,
Because I have no idea what it will bring back with it.

taalismn says -- Librarians assume the role of scholar-priest-kings in an increasinly illiterate society.

taalismn says -- Abtex. Unofficial archival mole for the fictional arms industry again with the sites that make you blink.

So something to clean after a Fun Gun battle, right.

To cut down on the weight of the rifle, they do make back pack Vacuums now days. Maybe a single hand grip SMG style with hose. Please no twin hose designs for two fist-ed cleaning.

Just be careful using it around small animals and Smallkin.

"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

Paladin Steel UT-11LMRLS Light Multiple Rocket Launch System
(aka ‘Scud-Dumper’)
“What the He---?! WHERE’S THAT ARTILLERY COMING FROM?! These guys aren’t supposed to have heavy weapons. WHAT’S WITH THE ####ING ROC-”

Sometimes Paladin Steel wants to hide the extent of its operations without sacrificing operational security. Sometimes Contract Engineering needs more than a fence and a few riflemen on watch. Sometimes a resource development contract has to contend with local warlords. To mask the true extent of their involvement in a given area, as well as to conceal the movements of its military forces, Paladin Steel has developed a number of deceptions. The UT-11LMRLS is a perfect example of this.
The UT-11LMRLS resembles a standard 4x4 dumptruck in widespread use across the GNE and sold inexpensively and extensively elsewhere. In reality, PS took a page from pre-Rifts history and accounts of the South African Valkyr rocket system, which was mounted Katyusha-style on a standard commercial utility truck base, and disguised under a false canvas-and-frame top. Simlarly, the UT-11LMRLS’s dump bed is really a modular rocket/missile launch system, disguised under a false top of surface-deep glued-on ‘rubble’ and a fabric dust-cover. When called into action, the truck locks down extendable jacks, raises the dump-bed, opens the covers at the front , and can swivel the raised launcher to firing position, ready to open up on distant targets.
Compared to other combat vehicles, the UT-11LMRLS is only lightly armored, and is not expected to engage in close combat, instead standing off and barraging the enemy with missile fire. If the enemy attempts to close range, the launcher trucks are expected to retreat, ideally to a new position to reload and continue their bombardment.
A number of variants of the UT-11LMRLS exist, almost all of them cosmetic variants, with applique body paneling altering the lines and color schemes of the launcher trucks in order to disguise their true nature.
Paladin Steel maintains a number of UT-11LMRLS vehicles around its work sites and with Contract Engineering units. The GNE maintains multiple batteries of these vehicles with Militia and garrison units around GNE and Affiliated territories, typically camouflaged in ‘civilian’ vehicle pools or work sites.
Type: PS- UT-11LMRLS
Class: Utility Truck, Medium, Light Multiple Rocket Launch System
Crew: 2
MDC/Armor by Location:
Main Body 90
Reinforced Cab 50
Wheels(4) 25 each
Launcher 100
Height: 9.3 ft
Width: 8.2 ft
Length: 25.9 ft
Weight: 28,000 lbs w/o the missile launcher, 13.5 tons with loaded missile launcher.
Cargo: Small amount of space in the cab for personal sidearms, survival packs, and a few personal possessions.
Powerplant: Liquid Fuel(w/280 mile range), Electric(w/300 mile range), or Nuclear(5 year energy life)
Speed: 45 MPH
Market Cost: 100,000 credits for Liquid Fuel, 120,000 credits for Electric, 800,000 credits for Nuclear
Systems of Note:
Standard Truck/Autombile Systems, plus:

-NBC Shielded Cab---The cab has its own closed cycle life support system, positive overpressure, air conditioning, and air filters. It also has radiation shielding. In a pinch the cab can be sealed up against poison gas, pathogens, and fallout for up to 48 hours, though the system’s most regular use is against smoke/efflux intake from the launching rockets.

Weapons Systems:
1) Missile Launcher System---The back of the UT-11LMRLS is a trainable modular launcher, that can be quickly reloaded by simply swapping launch tubes/casings for fresh ones when available.
Note that the UT-11LMRLS does NOT carry target acquisition or active targeting gear. Unless the missiles are pre-programmed ‘fire and forget’ or are equipped to seek their own targets(based on programmed sensor profiles), the missiles are ‘dumb’ or ballistic artillery and the launchers are simply that launch platforms. For more sophisticated targeting, the UT-11LMRLS must rely on other specially-equipped vehicles or a fire control network.
a) Mini-Missiles----60
b) Mrk 3 Mini-Missile ‘Calliope’ Launcher---A larger version of the Mrk 1, with sixty tubes as the the Mrk 2, but with ‘metalstorm-stacked’ mini-missiles similar to the PS Missile Rifle.
Range: Varies by Missile Type(Mini-Missile)
Damage: Varies by Missile Type(Mini-Missile)
Rate of Fire: Volleys of 1,2, 4, 6, 12, 20, 30, or 60
Payload: 60 tubes, 4 missiles each tube, 240 mini-missiles total
c)Short Range Missiles----40
d) Medium Range Missiles---16
e)Shrike III ‘Brilliant’ anti-aircraft missile.
Range: 75 miles
Damage: 3d4x10 MD
Rate of Fire: Volley of 1-8
Payload: 16 missiles ready to fire
Bonus: +7 to strike
f) Long Range Missiles or RPVs----4
g) ‘Katyusha’ Artillery Rockets----Basic, much-copied, free-flying solid-rocket artillery projectiles:
Range:(Short) 7 miles
(Long) 13 miles
Damage: Both missile types use a 122mm warhead, typically the following warhead types(damage may vary as much as 50% by the quality of warhead manufacture):
(Fragmentation) 1d6x10 MD to a 60 ft blast radius
(Incendiary) 1d4x10 MD to a 50 ft blast radius, plus 01-75% chance of setting combustible materials aflame
(High Explosive) 2d6x10 MD to a 20 ft blast radius
(Plasma) 3d4x10 MD to a 40 ft blast radius
(Smoke) Covers a 100 ft area in thick obscuring smoke. Typically disperses within 1d6 melees, depending on local wind and humidity conditions.
(Chemical) Varies, but typically used to dispense CS or nerve agents(currently only the Sovietskii uses chemical munitions, though it is rumored that Warlord Sokolov has been seeking to acquire such weapons). Typically covers a 100 ft area. Like the smoke, local weather conditions determine the dispersal rate.
(Submunition)---Detonates airburst style over the target and scatters a small cloud of grenade-like sub-mines, that can be used to infilade an area with contact explosives or delayed-fuze mines. Carries over 18 submunitions, scattering over a 100 ft area, and doing 5d6 MD to a 10 ft blast radius each.
Rate of Fire: Volleys of 1-30
Payload: 40-tube array
Penalties: Katyushas use the standard rules for unguided artillery with regard to deviation from target. Best fired in salvoes of 4 or more rockets.
Cost: Basic Katyusha launcher costs 400,000 credits, missiles cost 5,000 credits for short range, 10,000 credits for long, plus the cost per warhead Fragmentation costs 45,000 credits, Incendiary 60,000 credits, High Explosive 70,000 credits, plasma 100,000 credits, smoke 800 credits, sub-munitions 120,000 credits.

h)Harpoon III Missiles---Common with coastal defense batteries, Harpoon IIIs are medium-range, plasma-explosive, wave-skimming, “smart” missiles designed to close with an enemy vessel under effective radar coverage, then jink up and dive, so as to penetrate the thinner upper works armor, or else can be set to penetrate below the waterline armor belt.
Range: 40 miles
Damage: 2d6x10 MD to 40 ft blast radius
Bonuses: +5 to strike
Rate of Fire: Volleys of 1-4
Payload: 16

i)ASROC---(Anti-submarine Rocket)---Another weapon common with coastal defense batteries. The Paladin Steel Asroc is the post-Rifts adaptation of the rocket-propelled torpedo commonly used by old U.S. Empire warships. It consists of a short-range torpedo mounted atop a short-range missile booster, and is compatible with most short- and medium-range missile launchers. The chief advantages of the Asroc over conventional depth charge and torpedo launch systems, are response time, stand-off range, and the fact that the sudden arrival of the torpedo from above gives the enemy little advance warning.
Range:(Booster) 5 miles(Torpedo) 5 miles
Damage:2d4x10 MD (HE) or 1d6x10 MD(Plasma)
Bonuses:+3 to strike within 1,000 ft
Rate of Fire: Volleys of 1-4
Payload: 16
Cost:10,000 credits per rocket

2)(Optional) Cab-mounted Weapon---A pintle-mounted gun position for an energy rifle, machine gun, or light rail gun can be installed on the cab for self-defense.

* UT-11 ----This is the standard 4x4 vehicle without the missile launcher, NBC system, and hull armor(only 30 MDC main body). Market Cost: 30,000 credits for Liquid Fuel, 40,000 credits for Electric

* UT-11MRLSCC ----Meant as a battery command vehicle, with the dump bin concealing a fire control command-and -control center staffed by up to 4 people with map tables and fire control computers. Typically linked by short range directional cellphone systems or fiber optic hardline links to the other vehicles in its battery.

"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

I hate it when my mind wonders,
Because I have no idea what it will bring back with it.

taalismn says -- Librarians assume the role of scholar-priest-kings in an increasinly illiterate society.

taalismn says -- Abtex. Unofficial archival mole for the fictional arms industry again with the sites that make you blink.

"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

I hate it when my mind wonders,
Because I have no idea what it will bring back with it.

taalismn says -- Librarians assume the role of scholar-priest-kings in an increasinly illiterate society.

taalismn says -- Abtex. Unofficial archival mole for the fictional arms industry again with the sites that make you blink.

Fulfilled a personal dream of mine today flew out of, and over, my hometown. Now, I'm an acute acrophobiac(fear of heights) but I love flying, which makes me uniquely neurotic, I guess, but when your house is under the orbit path of the local small airfield, watching planes go overhead for 45 years makes you wonder what it must be like to look down from there.
Well, for about ten minutes I did just that. Sorta. when you're in a Piper Cub with the doors down on one side, puttering across the sky, you feel every little sway and jolt. It's like flying in half a plane, or going airborne in a canoe. To my credit though, I didn't freak out, although a few times I found myself clutching the back of the pilot's seat with a grip that must have embossed my fingerprints permanently into the leather, and I had to focus on the distant horizon rather than look down(and when you're flying over cliffs, DOWN suddenly becomes a whole lot more. down. you really get a feel for the topography you're cruising over with nothing but some thin metal plates, hollow tubing, and a thinly -padded seat between you and a LOT of empty space. And a steep banking turn? I had to reassure the pilot that, yes, I was still behind him.
It was terrifying, it was exhilarating, it seemed to last hours, it seemed to be over in seconds. I can hardly wait to go up again. one day. maybe once every five or so years. or maybe next time I'll chose something a bit more enclosed.

And yes, I COULD see my house from the air.

"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

Fulfilled a personal dream of mine today flew out of, and over, my hometown. Now, I'm an acute acrophobiac(fear of heights) but I love flying, which makes me uniquely neurotic, I guess, but when your house is under the orbit path of the local small airfield, watching planes go overhead for 45 years makes you wonder what it must be like to look down from there.
Well, for about ten minutes I did just that. Sorta. when you're in a Piper Cub with the doors down on one side, puttering across the sky, you feel every little sway and jolt. It's like flying in half a plane, or going airborne in a canoe. To my credit though, I didn't freak out, although a few times I found myself clutching the back of the pilot's seat with a grip that must have embossed my fingerprints permanently into the leather, and I had to focus on the distant horizon rather than look down(and when you're flying over cliffs, DOWN suddenly becomes a whole lot more. down. you really get a feel for the topography you're cruising over with nothing but some thin metal plates, hollow tubing, and a thinly -padded seat between you and a LOT of empty space. And a steep banking turn? I had to reassure the pilot that, yes, I was still behind him.
It was terrifying, it was exhilarating, it seemed to last hours, it seemed to be over in seconds. I can hardly wait to go up again. one day. maybe once every five or so years. or maybe next time I'll chose something a bit more enclosed.

And yes, I COULD see my house from the air.

let your YES be YES and your NO be NO but plz no maybe

It was terrifying, it was exhilarating, it seemed to last hours, it seemed to be over in seconds. I can hardly wait to go up again. one day. maybe once every five or so years. or maybe next time I'll chose something a bit more enclosed.

And yes, I COULD see my house from the air.

I hate it when my mind wonders,
Because I have no idea what it will bring back with it.

taalismn says -- Librarians assume the role of scholar-priest-kings in an increasinly illiterate society.

taalismn says -- Abtex. Unofficial archival mole for the fictional arms industry again with the sites that make you blink.

Full 180 today. My great day yesterday was, I was unaware, a truly dark day for a close family member. I may be much slower in updating on these threads for the foreseeable future, and may even go on hiatus, while we deal with the fallout and the ripples, but things could have been MUCH worse. But I am truly ####ed at the callousness of modern American business culture.

Paladin Steel Merchants
“We’re not simply in the business of selling goods, we’re in the business of selling the future!”

“Measure not your success or failure by what has passed. the achievements you have made or the opportunities you have lost. Your achievement should be measured by what lies before you, what opportunities have yet to be seized, what vistas lie open to you!”

The economic machine that is Paladin Steel develops and churns out products and services with impressive speed and scale, but it may as well be dumping all that effort into the ocean if not for the constant efforts of its salespeople and venture capitalists pushing into new markets and keeping the faith in old ones. The most prominent figures in the Paladin Steel Sales Division are the Merchants, who are the defacto managers and organizers. They are also the senior officers, the field generals, of the economic juggernaut that is Paladin Steel. Chief Executive Officers may direct policy and issue directions from boardrooms in Burlington, but it is the Merchants who execute those policies, rally the troops, and run the enterprise out where it matters. They are the day-to-day stock orderers, streetwise listeners, and deal-cutters. It is they who open up new markets, consolidate and secure old markets, listen to established customers and keep an ear out for what new ones want. And like the Yankee traders of old, Greater New England again sends out its men and women to open up the arteries of trade.
There is no distinctive Merchant OCC PS draws its merchants from the Scholarly, Men at Arms, and even Magic and Psionic classes. While many hail from the Smuggler profession, many others come to trading from service in military logistics, or magic dimension-shifting. Sailing captains, starship pilots, diplomats, engineers, freemen and ex-slaves, all have risen to become Merchants, plying their craft and experience into business-savvy. Sometimes it’s a working knowledge of how a particular technology works, sometimes it’s leveraged good luck, sometimes it’s just knowing how to listen to potential customers, those with the edge or the knack can become Merchants.

Nor do Merchants constitute the entirety of the sales force for every Merchant, or even Undermerchant, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of payrolled actuarials, clerks, stockworkers, stevedores, supercargoes, and contract workers. However, Merchants are the recognized officers in charge of a given mercantile endeavor.

Paladin Steel’s Sales Division has a rank system that would be recognized from the ancient Dutch East India Company:

-Assistant(Levels 1-2)
Assistants are novice traders, usually young apprentices learning the details of the craft of trading. As such, they work mostly as ‘gofers’ for higher-rank merchants, doing such things as setting up displays, manning sales booths, and hawking products, in addition to the normal scut-work of gofers. Assistants are rarely allowed to conduct business on their own or handle anything beyond petty cash. Assistants may receive compensation in shares in an expedition or venture, usually one or two, rarely more than a dozen shares.

-Undermerchant(Levels 3-7)---Assistant Merchants are still regarded as ‘understudies’ to the higher-ranking merchants, but they carry a greater weight of responsibility in handling sundry details of trade. Undermerchants may be assigned such tasks as managing warehousing, running a small store or sub-department outlet, and overseeing sales presentations and demos. They may also be given charge of a small convoy or minor trade expedition, typically through familiar(well-patrolled) territory.
These duties are rewarded by an increased number of shares, usually around a dozen or so, depending on the number of staffers on an expedition/venture.

-Merchant(Levels 8-12)
Domestic trade expeditions and major franchises are typically run by Merchants, who may have staffs of 1-6 Undermerchants and dozens of Assistants under them. In general terms, outlets of supermarket size and small freighters/starships can be considered to be under the command of a Merchant.
A foreign trade mission may have up to several dozen merchants, depending on the size of the mission and the size of the territory being traded with, each merchant being assigned a particular territory within the greater whole.
Merchants can expect to be well-compensated for their efforts, receiving correspondingly more shares in the venture’s success.

-Chief Merchant(Levels 13-15)
Chief Merchants are senior officials with experience and the contacts, social and political, that comes with that experience. They lead the larger, overseas and outworld, expeditions and commercial ventures. These are the people in charge of department stores and mall-sized trade complexes, large freighters and heavy starships. When they speak, it is with the authority of the Company. There is typically only ONE Chief Merchant in a given expedition or trade mission any others defer to the authority of the appointed Chief.

Useful Skills:
In addition to their original OCC skills, Merchants are most likely to have one or more of the following useful skills:
(OPTION) Trained/Apprenticed Merchants may have 1d4 of the following:
-Appraise Goods
-Public Speaking
-Wardrobe and Grooming
-Language/Literacy(Foreign Languages)
-Appraise Goods

(OPTION) GMs may allow CAREER Merchants a +5 or +10% skill bonus for the aforementioned skills this represents constant experience. apprenticeship, or an indoctrinated family tradition of trade.

Equipment: Presentation is as much part of a sales pitch as the quality of the products being sold, so proper Merchants will select their personal gear with as much an eye towards good appearances as rugged functionality in addition to their usual gear, a Merchant will have at least two suits of formal clothing, a small concealable commlink and/or audio recorder, and a suit of plainclothes armor(ideally MDC). A set of easily portable sample cases or a high quality video/holo display system, loaded with the latest released Company Catalogue, is also a handy accessory.
The standard ‘uniform’ of PS Merchants is typically green in color, but much more lively than the military khaki drabs and solemn greens of the Diplomatic Corps. However, Merchants tend to be rather more flamboyant in their dress styles, with a greater freedom of personal expression, and they often alter their dress standard to meet the attention and approval of potential customers.
Merchants may also have access to a common ‘pool’ or a provided allotment of Company equipment, and may request special equipment(approval based on the nature of the requested gear, its intended purpose, and the requesting individual’s past record). They may also be able to dip into discretionary funds(see below: Money) to acquire extra equipment for personal use, or to dip into Company inventory(i.e. such as a cargo load of weapons) if the circumstances force the issue. Under such circumstances, the Merchant is expected to submit a report to Accounting on such dipping.

Varies depending on how intimate their affiliation with PS, most Paladin Steel Merchants will recieve a basic living stipend(covered by their room and board if assigned aboard a ship or station) and a salary, adjusted upwards for their experience and station. However, unlike functionaries and company bureaucrats, Merchants can make additional money through commissions(a percentage of sales they are personally responsible for) or shares(percentage-shares in the profit-figure) in an overall venture. The more successful trade missions are, the more the Merchant stands to make. While this may seem haphazard pay security, many Merchant-path employees relish the potential of striking it big, rather than be reliant on (to them) even more uncertain job promotion and pay adjustments that a regular salaried employee gets.
Merchants are also likely to have company discretionary funds available to them for an assignment depending on the assignment and its importance, the amounts available for a given task can be quite substantial. However, these funds are effectively LOANS, and the Merchant responsible for them must account for them in his or her reports and expense logs to the Company. Depending, again, on circumstances, the presiding Merchant may be rewarded a bonus for not using up all the money loaned out on a mission, though if the officer tries to cut corners and the mission fails in its objectives, he may be held responsible for the lost loan amount, so excessive cheese-paring is not recommended. Similarly, equipment bought with the funds must also be accounted for a successful Merchant(and her associates) may be permitted to keep for their own personal use equipment they have acquired with company funds, or it may be expected to be turned in at the end of a mission/expedition for use by other Company personnel.

Maccas VanRu---Merchant
Maccas VanRu started live as a slave on Atlantis, the property of a Minor Demon who tried to make a champion gladiator out of the human boy by sinking a goodly sum into having the slave made over into a BioBorg. Thing was, Maccas, for all his new bio-engineered power, wasn’t a natural-born killer and didn’t do so well in his early, luckily not-to-the-death, big fights, though he did well in many smaller out-of-arena dirt lot fights. Desperate to make SOME profit from the dud, Maccas’ owner put him to work between bouts as a stevedore at Splynn’s docks, loading and unloading cargo pallets and ships from across the megaverse come to trade at Splynncryth’s little dimensional hub.
Maccas found he actually enjoyed working in the port, although most everybody else there regarded him as big dumb muscle, an organic robot humping heavy loads around. However, Maccas enjoyed the flow of trade, the sense of adventure. and the implied freedom enjoyed by the travellers from all over. He loved listening to people making deals, assessing goods, and trading in exotic goods. To him, it all bespoke of freedom and choice, and of vistas beyond Atlantis and the slave pits.
It wasn’t too long, however, before Maccas learned that his master was planning on moving the BioBorg to more serious fights with a greater potential for fatality, and that Maccas was likely to be fed as an ‘appetizer’ to the favored gladiators in return for a healthy kickback to his owner. Maccas immediately began planning his escape, although he knew he was doomed his massive size made stowing away on a ship or sneaking through a dimensional gate unlikely in success. Still, he was determined not to go quietly to his death.
However, when the ZOT made its smackdown attack on Atlantis and triggered the Great Exodus, Maccas saw his opportunity. In the midst of the confusion, Maccas managed to squash his owner under a pile of heavy crates(Maccas believes he killed the minor demon), then joined the wave of other escaping slaves (though not before grabbing a crate or two of high value goods for himself as ‘severance pay’ from his late employer).
When he arrived on the shores of North America, he plied his ‘retirement bonus’ into opportunity, cutting his first deals with GNE Military Intelligence selling some of the military items to them, and to a merchant in exchange for a job as a bodyguard on a caravan heading west. He would make several trips to and fro across North America, gaining in experience, acquiring contacts, and gaining the confidence of his fellows. In time he was increasingly entrusted with dealing with customers at trade stops, and eventually was trusted with making sales directly. Maccas’ heart soared when he was formally inducted as an Undermerchant with PS Sales, sponsored by the Merchant he’d first signed on with. He has since been slowly advancing in experience and assigned more responsibilities in the PS organization.

As a Merchant with Paladin Steel, Maccas is happier than he’s ever been, travelling, wheeling, and dealing. Though some people are put off by his monstrous appearance and his Atlantean origins, those who aren’t immediately scared off find the massive merchant a congenial and gentle giant who will cheerfully share news from the road and travels with his hosts.

Maccas has been given charge of a trade caravan that runs a regular circuit among communities on the Eastern Seaboard, mainly up into Appalachia, just beyond the borders of the GNE. Of late, he’s been given an assignment to challenge him make contact and establish a trade treaty with the town of Finton(See Rifts Sourcebook One) and its monstrous champion, Lord Frommalaine. Ideally, Paladin Steel would like to construct a solar-powered electrical recharge station for its caravans traveling through the area, but it will take what it can get in way of safe harbor assurances in Finton(i.e. safe passage through its territory, and the oportunity to stop and resupply). VanRu has made several visits to Finton and has met with the man in question several times Frommalaine has treated the upbeat and cheerful Maccas tersely, gruffly, and seemingly as an annoyance every time, but hasn’t attacked or thrown out the trade caravan, and seems to tolerate the Merchant’s presence for longer times each visit, so Maccas figures he’s making progress. Nothing has been signed yet, but Maccas is confident he’ll have something more substantial before long. A quick study of a potential customer, upon learning of Frommalaine’s interests in art, Maccas has been studying up on art, and acquiring interesting pieces he comes across in his travels, or getting reproductions from GNE’s libraries and museums, in part to lubricate future dealings with Frommalaine.

Level of Experience: 8th Level BioBorg
Rank: Merchant
Race: Human Bio-Borg
Alignment: Scrupulous
Land of Origin: Atlantis
Age: 45
Sex: Male
Height: 10 ft
Weight: 450 lbs
Physical Description/Appearance:
A hulking humanoid mountain of hairless muscle and bone that looks like it’s been coated in dull dark gray cracking asphalt, with massively wide shoulders, long ape-like arms, and a ridiculously misproportioned small head. His eyes are small and dark, with heavy eyelids, his ears small and shell-like. When he smiles, his normally smooth hard skin seems to crack and wrinkle in an effect like a chainmail mask. He favors long trenchcoat-style merchant robes.
For all his past bad experiences, VanRu is actually a very jovial, happy, carefree guy who enjoys his freedom and his simple pleasures. He LOVES haggling with people, making deals, and closing agreements. He is a good listener and keeps his own side of conversation simple and to the point, but he is also developing his talents as a traveling gossip and story-teller. He can be somewhat harsh and a hard boss who doesn’t tolerate negligence on the job, but he’s also quick to forgive, and goes out of his way to treat his underlings for a job well done and a profitable trip. He appreciates the freedom he now has.
He will also defend that freedom and happiness with a ferocity he hardly exhibited in the gladitorial arena.
Physical Attributes/Superlatives:
IQ: 14
ME: 19
MA: 14
PS: 43(Supernatural)
PP: 22
PE: 18
PB: 5
SPD: 25

Hit Points:---
MDC: 209
Horror Factor:---
Special Abilities/Characteristics/Powers:
-Healing Factor---Regenerates at 1d6+10 MD per day.
-Supernatural Strength
-Enhanced PP
-Retractable Forearm Blades---VanRu can extend a long and wicked bone blade from forearm sheathes. Each does 3d6 MD
-Retractable Elbow and Knee Spikes---1d6 MD
Magic: None
Psionics: None
Cybernetics/Bionics: None
Barter 67%
Appraise Goods 90%(plus knowledge of the category of magic items)
Wardrobe & Grooming 66%
Performance 75%
American 90%
Dragonese 90%
Gobbley 90%
Lore: Art 40%(Macca is trying his hand at sketching and watercolors)

Pilot: Truck 64%
Land Navigation: 75%
Radio: Basic 85%
Mechanics: Basic 70%

Physical Labor
Kick Boxing
Swimming(+5%) 95%
Climbing(+10%) 90%/80%
Body Building

Concealment 57%
Rope Works 70%

Hand to Hand: Expert
W.P. Blunt(+3 strike/parry)
W.P. Axe(+3 strike, +3 parry, +2 throw)
W.P. Paired Weapons
W.P. Pole Arm(+2 strike, +3 parry, +2 throw)
W.P. Heavy MD(+2 strike)

Actions/Attacks per Melee: 6
Parry: +10
Dodge: +10
Roll: +4
Pull Punch: +6
Restrained Punch 1d6x10 SDC
Punch 6d6 MD
Power Punch(2 attacks) 2d4x10 MD
Roundhouse Kick 3d6 MD
Axe Kick 2d8 MD
Knee Strike 1d8 MD
Leap Kick(2 attacks) 3d8 MD
Critical Strike on Unmodified 18-20
Judo-Style Body Flip/Throw
Vs Coma/Death+6%
Vs Magic +2
Vs Psionics/Insanity +2
Vs Possession +2
Vs Horror Factor +3
Notable Possessions/Equipment:
Armored Overcoat/Robes(Arms 25 each, Legs(partial covering) 25 each,
Main Body 50), Portable Language Translator, sketch pad and pencils, 1d4 road flares,
Favorite weapons are a Neural Mace, Kittani Plasma Axe, and two smaller vibro-hatchets (2d6 MD)Maccas keeps in holsters under his jacket, ready for paired combat or throwing. His favorite ranged weapon is a Paladin Steel PPR-3 ‘Serap’ Heavy Plasma Projector, though he also has a fondness for the big and loud PS-MMLR-14 Mini-Missile Launcher .
Because of his large size, VanRu’s vehicle of choice is a large modified-cab PS Katir variable-wheelbase truck

Shanza Arcobi---Merchant
Shanza Arcobi is the ‘station master’ at the trading post on Tscheka, a world accessed via regular Rift activity, and part of the extradimensional trading network being established by Paladin Steel. Unfortunately, this ‘bleeding edge’ campaign has foundered somewhat on Tscheka, a terrestrial world roughly equal to the Palladium Fantasy World with regards to ambient magic and universal conditions. Whether a property of the particular planet or of the universe as a whole, advanced technology does not work on Tscheka, limiting available technology to nothing more sophisticated than internal combustion engines and basic electrical systems, and weapons to projectile weapons. Nevertheless, reports of rich deposits of various minerals have compelled Paladin Steel to establish several trading posts on the planet, and to seek to make deals with the local human population. Shanza Arcobi is in charge of the largest of the trading posts and has been tasked with making nice with the natives and keeping trade flowing through her assigned area, with the long term goal of securing long-term trading for ore or acquiring wholesale mineral rights.
Shanza’s fifty-man fortified trading post straddles an important pass in the mountains between the dimensional gate ‘base camp’ and prosperous lowlands that have been eagerly buying finished goods from Paladin Steel’s traders. While the lowlanders have been happy to sell what minerals they can scrape up from river deposits, PS geologists are convinced the motherlodes are in the surrounding mountains and high valleys, and want access to find the deposit-sources. Shanza’s diplomatic duty, therefore, is to play to the highlanders and secure their good will in facilitating these explorations into the mountain regions, as well as to secure safe trade routes to the lowlands.
Frankly, Shanza is at her wits’ end dealing with the locals, who are stodgily uncooperative and unreliable to the point that she regards the difference between the local lords and the bandits to be a moot point. No sooner is a deal brokered with one of the local factions than it is broken and new terms demanded, amounting to little more than leveraged bribery, or extortion. In some cases, turnover of leadership in the upland clans has meant that a regular trade negotiation party might be ambushed by the new clan head, seeking hostages or trying to make a point of negotiating from a position of strength. Worse, the lowlanders have been getting into the act too, alternately jacking up their prices or refusing to meet the trade contingents halfway, claiming the bandit activity has threatened their own merchants and prevented them from traveling into the highlands. While the GNE/PS parties have the edge in technology with their advanced firearms and megadamage body armor, they are still at the mercy of ambushes in the close terrain, as their more advanced sensors don’t work, and are still vulnerable to triggered avalanches and rockfalls. The constant bandit activity stretches the available manpower resources in protecting the local caravans, and keeping the trade routes clear of bandit ambushes and obstacles to the PS vehicles.
Shanza would LOVE to have a full military contingent backing her up to escort caravans and traders in the region, but the cost of mounting around the clock escort and garrison would be greater than the currently projected profit in the region. However, Shanza feels that if something isn’t done and soon, the bribery and raiding will overtake the existing profit ratio, and force PS to cut its losses by abandoning the region, and Shanza is NOT about to concede defeat to the locals. She’s currently been looking into requesting a Smallkin Special Operations Group to do some ‘regime change’ among the more obnoxious and obstructionist local factions. She’s been on the recieving end of enough attempted ambushes and kidnappings by the local warlord elements that she wouldn’t shed a tear to see some of them met permanent and fatal ends.
She currently rides herd over a small team of multi-discipline traders/scouts/scientists who want to move up into the hills and explore, but are stymied by various local customs, warlord decrees, and bandit activity.

Level of Experience: 7th Level Wilderness Scout
Rank: Merchant
Race: Elf
Alignment: Unprincipled
Land of Origin: Vermont Free State, Rifts Earth
Age: 55
Sex: Female
Height: 6 ft
Weight:110 lbs
Physical Description/Appearance:
A tall, slender-build elven female with dark skin, ash-blonde hair, pointed ears, and purple eyes. Attractive(being an elf, she looks a lot younger than she really is), but her good looks are offset by her rugged clothing and put-upon demeanor. Typically has a pinched expression on her face, like she’s fending off a headache. Typically dresses in practical workaday clothing appropriate to the colder highlands.
May have once been optimistic and ambitious, but currently is annoyed and ill-tempered. Shanza joined the Exploration Corps to blaze trails and expand the GNE’s presence across the Megaverse, but she’s finding herself rather gulched by the current state of being stymied by the same sort of foolishness that she tried to escape back home. She knows that her field skills have slipped somewhat since taking a management position, and she can be quite gruff with newcomers who promise to make her job more difficult with the need to babysit them. However she regards her people with concern and a strong sense of responsibility. She shares the sense of frustration many of her subordinates feel at not being able to do their jobs because of the local idiots. She’s also developed a love-hate taste for the local mountain booze, a disgusting fermented goats’ milk drink she claims keeps her in an appropriately nasty and alert mood when dealing with the local bigwigs.
Physical Attributes/Superlatives:
IQ: 16
ME: 13
MA: 12
PS: 12
PP: 15
PE: 24
PB: 15
SPD: 25

Hit Points: 72
SDC: 41
MDC: By armor and magic
Horror Factor:---
Special Abilities/Characteristics/Powers:
Magic: By item/artifact only
Psionics: None
Cybernetics/Bionics: None
Skills of Note:
Trail Blazing 55%
Cross-Country Pacing 70%
Cartography 75%

Radio: Basic 90%
Radio: Scramblers 60%
Basic Electronics 65%

Math: Basic 98%
Computer Operation 50%
Dragonese/Elven 98%
American-English 98%
-Gobbley 98%
-Faerie 98%
-Tschekan 55%

Pilot: Motorcycle 92%
Automotive Mechanics 60%
Horsemanship:General 88%/68%
Horsemanship:Exotic Animals 70%/60%

First Aid 90%
Barter 58%
Track Animals 80%
Wilderness Survival 90%
Cooking 85%
Fishing 90%
Fasting 81%
Identify Plants and Fruits 80%
Land Navigation 84%
Rope Works 80%
Carpentry 80%
Sewing 75%
Detect Ambush 70%

Climbing 85%
Forced March
Prowl 75%

Hand to Hand: Expert
W.P. Knife
W.P. Archery
W.P. Paired Weapons
W.P. Handguns
W.P. Rifle
W.P. Energy Rifle
W.P. Shotgun

Actions/Attacks per Melee: 4+1
Perception: +3
Strike: +2
Dodge: +4
Roll: +6
Pull Punch: +2
Disarm: +2
Critical Strike on Unmodified 18-20
Karate Kick
Backhand Strike
Vs Coma/Death +30%
Vs Magic +5
Vs Horror Factor +3
Vs Poison and Disease +7
Notable Possessions/Equipment:
Bushman-pattern EBA, VibroKnife, Wilderness Scout survival kit/gear. Portable language translator, rangefinding binoculars, optics headband. On Tscheka, Shanza favors using a 7.62mm Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle (*PS ‘Dragontooth Sniper’) as her weapon of choice, but has also been known to carry a repeating crossbow.
Though Shanza owns a PS-made trail bike similar to the Wastelander, she prefers a live mount (a chestnut mare with MDC barding) to get around on Tscheka.
Shanza is looking forward to PS getting several LTA airships on Tscheka.

What little of Tscheka that has been explored show it to be an Earth-like world with two small moons, and a predominately Human population, although some of the local tales hint at possible populations of elves, ogres, orcs, and possibly goblins and changlings in distant lands.
Tscheka has the curious property of a tech-limit beyond basic electricity, high technology becomes useless radio degenerates into static, radar systems go snowy, and nuclear power systems go inert. While megadamage materials retain their resilience, megadamage weaponry, including explosives, appear to lose their tremendous damage potential. Nuclear weapons will not work at all.
Local technology is iron age and early gunpowder age. The lowlands are the most advanced, having developed muskets and cannon, but the secrets of gunsmithing and gun powder have made their way to the highlands. Magic is confined primarily to mysticism among the locals.
The most advanced technologies on Tscheka are those imported by the Paladin Steel merchants internal combustion systems seem to work fine, but associated electrical systems are problematic(simple battery and spark systems work just fine, but more sophisticated onboard computer circuitry is effectively useless, and even crude radio systems are only good for 1d4x10 miles in range before sputtering into static.
Paladin Steel has about 500 people on Tscheka, most of them grouped around the rift-gate or at the midpoint trading post, with the others scattered in small groups along the trade route to the lowlands, or scouting alternate routes out of the mountains. The scientific group at the rift-base is working on seeing if more advanced equipment can’t be made to work, which would greatly facilitate exploration and trade efforts. Currently the most advanced equipment are a number of ground vehicles, but for negotiating the narrow and unimproved trade trails, the trade expeditions have to use animal transport much of the time. Ideally, PS wants to build a rail line from the Gate-head to the lowlands, but the uncertain state of affairs with the highland clans makes such an undertaking a no-go at the current time. Engineers have been looking at adapting several Lighter Than Air vehicles(blimps or rigid airships) powered by either solar-electric or internal combustion engines in an effort to get airborne transport available.
Before their more advanced sensors conked out, the Exploration Corps’ scientists were able to get indications of large deposits of various exotic minerals in the highlands and mountain ranges, but not exactly where. This makes getting eyes into the mountains to do direct survey all the more important and imperative.

Lady Fadejah Armana---Corporate Executive
Lady Fadejah Armana is a minor executive, more of a private contractor, in the service of Paladin Steel, managing part of the shipping and transport operations on the West Coast at Paladin Steel West. Not everybody particularly likes the beautiful, but cold and arguably amoral, young woman, but they all agree she is an excellent negotiator and businesswoman, acquiring and using leverage in her negotiations, wringing the most out of a deal, and operating her corner of the company efficiently and effectively. She’s made enough off her earnings, commissions, and a load of Splugorth hardware she sold off to afford a comfortable living in a small private estate for herself, her twin sister Ajidae, and a small staff of hired help.
Lady Armana speaks little of her past, but what IS publically known is that she is an expatriate from Atlantis, one of the privileged few humans to be able to live relatively unmolested on the dark continent among its many monstrous races, although she is not a powerful magic user or metabeing. While that in itself may make her suspect, those liberated slaves who know of her have had nothing but good things to say about her.

Armana’s dark secret is that she was once of a world at the far edge of the TGE in the Three Galaxies. Armana grew up as part of the limited human aristocracy allowed under the bootheels of the Krreeghor. She grew up in a cutthroat environment of appeasement, petty scheming, collaboration, vicious entitlement, and advancement at all cost(to others).
Then a rebellion started up, led by a man who Armana now only refers to as the General. Rallying the people, the General dared defy the Kreeghor colonial governor and his troops. Though most of the pet aristocracy maintained by the Kreeghor opposed the rebellion as a disruption to their stable (i.e. comfortably stagnant) status quo, Armana hedged her bets by quietly backing the rebellion. When the liberation succeeded and sent the Kreeghor packing, she was able to preserve herself and many of her peers by appealing to the General, by promising to use her influence to keep the infrastructure going and the money from leaving the planet in the hands of fleeing aristocrats. Eager to maintain the planet’s economy and curry favor, the General agreed, making Armana a quiet accomplice in his new government.
When the General himself began to betray the principles of the revolution that had swept him to power, repressing the people with an iron heel, Armana saw the winds change again. and saw a rare opportunity. When the General’s own fiancee(and former revolutionary cell leader) tried to lead a new revolution against her former lover and was quietly captured, sentenced to be executed, in a moment of inspired cruelty Armana had a particularly cold-blooded idea. Dying herself of old age and congenital illness, with the General’s permission, she arranged to have her brain surgically transplanted into the younger woman’s skull, the idea being that Armana would become the General’s partner in giving the people the impression that no second rebellion had taken place at all. Armana expected to be an equal in running the planet and shaping its future, as well as claim the love and support of the charismatic General.
It didn’t take long for the honeymoon to be over. Armana quickly realized that the General was more interested in power for himself, and that he was dabbling with dark forces, increasingly fraternizing with a Dark Coven that had established itself on the planet after the Kreeghor had been driven out. He began to rave of true immortality, the cleansing of the planet of all abomination, and the rise of a great darkness that he would be a privileged servent(and ultimately master) of. Mass executions and other atrocities began to mount across the planet, more horrible than anything carried out under the Kreeghor. Armana might have been a cold-blooded opportunist not above shedding some blood to achieve her goals, but wholesale genocide made even her pause, and the realist in her could predict that the General’s insanity was not containable. Seeing that the evil she’d helped rise to power was turning out of normal avenues of control, she sought a better deal from somebody else, somebody more powerful, powerful enough to knock off the General. She found it in the Splugorth,who’d begun sniffing around the system after the ouster of their enemies, the TGE.
Armana sold out her world to the Splugorth, providing them with information on the General, his associates, the planet’s defenses, and a list of those peers of hers that could and could not be trusted. The Splugorth, Splynncryth, apparently liked Armana’s self-serving nature more than he liked the General’s megalomania the Splugorth promptly invaded the planet and slew the General before he could summon a demonic army to his assistance. Armana would then see her much-abused planet enslaved by Kydian and Kittani legions. Seeing yet another wave of enslavement and slaughter, Armana figured that it might be safer for her to leave the planet, before somebody realized that she and a circle of others seemed to weather the constant troubles without any problems, and came after her.
The Splugorth, bemused by Armana’s treachery, were generous to her. They allowed her to keep her ill-gotten earnings and a small staff, and allocated her a modest, if hardly pretentious, dwelling in the city of Splynn. They even granted her unusual request to clone her current body and transfer the by now insane brain of her former rival for the General’s affections, trapped inside her old body, still living but on life support in a prison dungeon, into it. They even went so far as to augment both women with limited biowizardry improvements, the better to fit into the scene in Splynncryth’s capitol of Splynn.
In Splynn, Armana lived a live of quiet exile with her ‘body double’(now going by the name of ‘Ajidae’), eating the bitter bread of her acts, occasionally earning a commission fronting for the Splugorth in dealings with other cultures(especially human-dominated ones) in other universes. Increasingly she found the city of monsters no great improvement on the General’s charnal house of her homeworld. And she discovered that Splynncryth’s lukewarm favor would not grant her total immunity from the attentions of the monsters of Splynn. Once again she began to look for a way out.
When The ZOT and members of the New Pantheon attacked Atlantis and forced Splynncryth to release several million slaves, Armana saw her chance. She loaded herself, Ajidae, what valuables she could lay hands on, and as many slaves as she could grab, aboard her private float-yacht, and set out as part of the Exodus for North America. There she banked her new reputation as a ‘liberator of slaves’, her boatload of alien loot, and an offer of her services as a knowledgeable galactic wheeler-dealer to the Greater New England authorities into a promise of sanctuary and a later job. She’s parlayed that all into her position as a shipping exec under the new name of ‘Fadejah Armana’ and set herself up nicely with a small estate for herself and her ‘sister’ in the Paladin Steel West enclave.

Armana is a survivor, through and through. A product of a grasping paranoid aristocratic culture, she uses whatever means available to get what she wants, or just to survive against those who want what she has. Experience has taught her how to ferret out weaknesses and opportunities, and turn them to her advantage. Growing up she knew that today’s friends could be tomorrow’s useful allies, or bitter enemies, dangerous liabilities, or victims of a political purge, so she never got close to anybody, and there are few people she would consider genuine friends.
However, deep down inside Armana has a niggling conscience that remembers what it was like to want friends, and want something other than pragmatic relations and cold alliances. To be treated as an equal, a partner, and more, rather than the useful dupe of the moment. Having weathered so many betrayals, so many atrocities, and so many disasters has worked to change Armana’s mind and affect her deeply. Part of her growing change of mind is her treatment of her ex-enemy, and the apparent sense of guilt that Armana feels about her.
Armana isn’t sure exactly what her relationship with Ajidae is on one hand the younger woman is a painful reminder of Armana’s criminal misdeeds and cruelty on her ex-homeworld. On the other hand, she’s the one person Armana has PERSONALLY harmed in a truly horrifying and intimate fashion, and the only one of Armana’s victims that she might stand any chance of making restitution to. While the cold-blooded pragmatist in Armana insists that she’s keeping Ajidae around as a convenient body double against assassins, she’s come to feel a strong bond of sympathy for the woman who lost everything to ultimate betrayal, and she’s also grateful to the amnesiac woman who helped defend her during several incidents in Splynn. Armana has quietly vowed to herself to take care of Ajidae and help her back to a semblance of a normal life, but at the same time she’s terrified of what might happen if the former rebel firebrand ever remembered ALL the details of what happened and decided to take it out on Armana. No idiot, Armana had several control and tracking chips implanted in Ajidae’s clone body when it was grown on Atlantis, and had her conditioned to fall unconscious or lose voluntary control of herself when exposed to certain stimuli(such as a spoken codeword). That makes Armana’s newfound conscience feel even MORE guilty for boobytrapping the person she is coming to regard as the only real family she has. It’s perhaps a sign of Armana’s turnaround in attitude that should she ever flee again, she’d place at LEAST as much priority on making sure Ajidae got out safely as well(proving that she no longer regards the girl as a ‘decoy’).

Of Armana’s original homeworld, Armana has heard little since leaving it. She doesn’t even know where it lies in the Three Galaxies. It’s possible that the planet is still a Splugorth slave world, or that the Kreeghor have come back to reclaim the planet from their traditional enemies, turning the planet once more into a battlezone. Frankly though, she could care less, and has no desire to know, or to ever go back, on account of all the bad memories.

(Note: Paladin Steel Coporate Security knows of Lady Armana’s shady past as far back as Atlantis, but nothing earlier. They have no evidence of her being anything other than a suck-up or privileged pet of Splynncryth’s court, who did little of much that could be considered grounds for arrest, especially in comparison to others from Atlantis who have been hired/employed by PS. For now they monitor her actions and movements, obstensively as part of her corporate security detail, against any chance of a double-cross, or for evidence that the Company could use as additional leverage against her if Armana steps over the line.
For the most part, however, the Paladins are quite pleased with the work Armana has done for them, and a few of her closer working associates are actually warming to her, especially as she grows more sociable and open.)

Level of Experience: 11th Level Noblewoman
Rank: (Minor)Executive in Paladin Steel
Race: Human
Alignment: Anarchist(with leanings toward Unprincipled), was Miscreant.
Land of Origin: Outdimension
Age: Appears to be in her mid 20’s, but her mind is over one hundred years old
Sex: Female
Height: 5’ 6”
Weight: 100 lbs
Physical Description/Appearance:
A slender, attractive, buxom human female with a light muscular build, light skin, long black hair with a blue-green tint, and green eyes. She is typically well-dressed in the best of fashion, and she keeps in shape through diet and exercise(she’s become something of a health fanatic in her second life).
Lady Armana is a cool, collected, level-headed businesswoman who mercilessly grinds people down in negotiations using every wile, pressure-point, and scheme she can get away with. She is one to be wary of in business dealings, being manipulative and ever on the watch for advantage. She can be downright charming, or scarily intimidating, and she uses her good looks to her advantage. She rewards well those who help her, but doesn’t let anybody get too close to her. About the only person she really seems to care about is her sister, Ajidae.
She is not a combatant, and prefers to have others do the physical dirty work, while she stands back or escapes. However, she is a mean shot with a pistol, and a sharp knife, and not above using either in a desperate situation. or at least use them, in combination with her considerable personal charisma, to bluff or intimidate other people.
Inside, Lady Armana is a conflicted person having done great evil in the past, she now seeks to do good, or at least less evil. She tries NOT to use every piece of dirt she digs up on people against them, and is trying to actually get to know the people around her, rather than distance herself from them against some future time when she might exploit and discard/betray them. For once she’d like to use her fresh start to have the sort of life of trust and friendship that she envied, and to build something positive.

-Depression: Armana is given to periods of dark introspection and brooding guilt. She’s too health-conscious to drink or drug herself into a stupor, so she toughs out these bouts of conscience.

Physical Attributes/Superlatives:
IQ: 17
ME: 14
MA: 21
PS: 14
PP: 17
PE: 13
PB: 20
SPD: 26

Hit Points:---
MDC: 80
Horror Factor:----
Special Abilities/Characteristics/Powers:
(BioWizardry Modification)
-Megadamage Transformation: 80 MDC and regenerates 1d4+10 MDC per day.
Magic: None
Psionics: None
Cybernetics/Bionics: None
Skills of Note:
Math: Basic and Advanced 98%
Computer Operation 98%
Radio: Basic 98%
-Atlantean 98%
-Dragonese/Elf 98%
-American/English 62%
-Trade Six 95%
Lore: Galactic/Alien 95%
Law: Space 95%
Lore: Demons and Monsters 55%
Wardrobe & Grooming 98%
Breed Dogs 98%/90%
Falconry 95%
History(Galactic) 98%
Research 98%
Seduction 75%
Forgery 82%
Gambling 90%
Gambling(Dirty Tricks)69%
Intelligence 81%
Interrogation 75%

Dancing 95%
Performance 90%
Play Musical Instrument(Keyboard) 90%

Pilot Hovercraft 98%
Read Sensory Instuments 85%
Horsemanship 44%/34%

Swimming 98%
Aerobic Athletics

Hand to Hand: Basic
W.P. Knife(+4 strike/parry, +4 throw)
W.P. Energy Pistol(+6 strike)

Actions/Attacks per Melee: 6
Pull Punch:+5
Damage: +2
Kick +2
Disarm +1
Critical Strike on Unmodified 19-20
Judo-style Body Flip/Throw
Sense of Balance 55%
Maintain Balance +1
Vs Coma/Death +5%
Vs Magic +1
Vs Poison +2
Charm/Impress 50%
Trust/Intimidate 65%

Notable Possessions/Equipment:
Plainclothes body armor, PS Skinsuit, and a Splugorth Talisman of Armor. Maintains a full wardrobe of expensive designer clothing. She typically carries a concealed energy derringer or PSLP-3 ‘Asp’ Light Laser Pistol on her person when leaving the house. She also likes to carry at least one concealed, non-metallic throwing knife(and has ben known to have them coated with narcotic poison). Her jewelry frequently hides high-tech gear, such as comm units, surveillance feeds, and micro-recorders. She frequently carries a small lap-top computer with wireless connection, scrambled feed, and an encoded, self-destructing, memory cache.
Has a comfortable estate, with about a dozen servents, in the Washington Free State.
Lady Armana also has about 4 million credits in the bank, and another 3.5 million in barterable goods.
As a relatively well-heeled corporate executive, she has access to several vehicles. She still holds title to a small grav-yacht(currently docked in the New Seattle docks), but engages the use of a chauffered Silken Swift limo to get around.

Lady Armana has lots of contacts, but not many people she would genuinely call friends. She currently enjoys the support of Paladin Steel, and she could likely call on a few favors from the ex-slaves she rescued. She has a small, but loyal, household staff, and she retains the services of Jaggernath’s BodyGuards service, some of whose employees she helped flee from Atlantis during the Great Escape. .
Her rather reclusive lifestyle in Splynn has also served her well few witnesses associate her with Splynncryth’s court, and there are many ex-slaves who only know her as the woman who helped them escape. These grateful freemen would consider helping out Lady Armana as returning a favor(or life-debt).

Lady Armana still has a few enemies left back on her homeworld former associates and peers who know she betrayed them, surviving rebels who blame her for the disappearance of their leader, and agents of the Dark Coven the General was part of. Any of these people may have been slaves transported to Splynn and may have also been liberated during the Exodus, and have been simply bidding their time since then, trying to find her and exact revenge. There’s also the rumor that the General survived the Splugorth invasion and is now a Greater Demonic Mortal , leading demon hordes in war across the Three Galaxies. If this is true, the General may harbor a grudge against his old ‘partner’ that may lead him to Rifts Earth in search of payback.

Lady Ajidae Se-Armana---Civilian Dependent
Ajidae is known as Lady Fadejah Armana’s twin sister, though she is rarely seen in public, spending most of her time wandering the grounds of their shared residence, or exercising there, always escorted by a burly nursemaid. The few occasions she has appeared in public, she has seemed subdued, disoriented, distracted, submissive and deferential to her twin sister. The Armana’s neighbors sometimes wonder what the true relationship of the two women is master and servent, keeper and pet, or what? Most people, knowing that Lady Armana is an expatriate Splynn resident, just assume that Ajidae was traumatized during their stay in Atlantis, and has yet to recover fully. Likewise, they see Fadejah’s behavior as that of a sometimes over-protective sister.
Once a proud and courageous revolutionary seeking to liberate her people from tyranny, she instead saw all that she knew and trusted betrayed, in the most part by the very man she loved and trusted. Her betrayal, psychological torture, and condemnation to a living death trapped in a decaying body, several clinical deaths, rebirth at the hands of inhuman monsters, and several types of conditioning and brainwashing have shattered Ajidae’s once firm sense of self and resolve. She frequently cannot remember who she is, and reacts badly to certain stimuli. Though highly trained and proficient in a number of skills, she spends most of her time apparently unaware of them, and comes across to many outsiders as mentally childlike and oblivious.
Ajidae isn’t sure of her relationship to her supposed sister, either. At times she finds herself irrationally hating and fearing the woman, other times she clings to and adores her. She’s protected the woman in the past, but other times she feels strangely uneasy around her. She recognizes that Fadejah cares for her, and sees to her care, but just can’t figure out why at times she’s decidedly uncomfortable around her. It confuses Ajidae painfully, so she tries to avoid thinking of it.
Though she may be disoriented, Ajidae’s combat reflexes and training lie just below the surface and she can still access them during their stay in Splynn Ajidae instinctively found herself able to use weapons to defend Fadejah against monster-miscreants who broke into their Splynn residence in search of human meat.

Level of Experience:7th Level Freedom Fighter
Rank: Civilian(Dependent)
Race: Human
Alignment: Scrupulous
Land of Origin: Outdimension
Age: Appears to be in her mid 20’s
Sex: Female
Height: 5’ 6”
Weight: 100 lbs
Physical Description/Appearance:
A slender, attractive, buxom human female with a light muscular build, light skin, long black hair with a blue-green tint, and green eyes. She’s a bit more tan and muscular than her sister due to her constant exercise and exposure to the outdoors. She’s typically as well dressed as her sister, although more frequently in more practical or leisurely outfits, and isn’t quite as well groomed.
Quiet, meek, always seems on the verge of zoning out or fidgeting when in conversations with people. She is hesitant to discuss her past, and even then, when doing so, can become almost incoherent. She is easily frightened by various things and can go outright catatonic if she cannot escape(but isn’t threatened life-or-death). When she’s exercising, be it swimming or marksmanship, she’s all focus, though. She has an almost instinctive combat sense, though if questioned afterwards about what happened, she’ll more frequently than not draw a blank on what she did and why or how she did it. Some might say she’s a borderline schizoprenic, her competent and lethal warrior-self surfacing in times of danger from under her dithering and wandering everyday personality. Her pleasures are simple dancing, exercising, looking at art, wandering through the household gardens, and listening to music, though she has expressed no artistic talent herself , gardening ability, or desire to play an instrument.
-Phobia: Hospitals and Surgical Procedures, both stemming from her incarceration in Armana’s discarded paralyzed body and from her Bio-Wizardry modification. Any trip to the health center for anything more than a quick remote scan requires sedation.

-Amnesiac---What little Ajidae remembers of her past is scattered, incoherent images and impressions, and horrible nightmares. Sometimes it’s her own sister tormenting her in those night terrors, other times it’s a handsome man who seems to embody all evil. Ajidae probably wouldn’t even recognize her own (old) name if it was spoken to her, so scattered is her recollection of her past.

Physical Attributes/Superlatives:
IQ: 14
ME: 13
MA: 10
PS: 20
PP: 22
PE: 18
PB: 21
SPD: 27

Hit Points:---
MDC: 96
Horror Factor:----
Special Abilities/Characteristics/Powers:
(BioWizardry Modification)
-Megadamage Transformation: 96 MDC and regenerates 1d4+10 MDC per day.

Magic: None
Psionics: None
Cybernetics/Bionics: None, unless one counts the special ID and tracking bio-chips in her spine.
Skills of Note:
Pilot: Hovercraft 95%
Navigation 75%
Weapons Systems 85%
Read Sensory Instruments 75%
Horsemanship 61%/41%
Horsemanship: Exotic 35%/25%
Radio: Basic 90%
Computer Operation 80%
Cooking 70%
First Aid 80%
Math: Basic 80%
-Atlantean 98%
-Dragonese/Elf 98%
-American/English 62%
Concealment 53%
I.D. Undercover Agents 63%
Detect Ambush 70%
Intelligence 65%
Recognize Weapon Quality 70%
Camouflage 65%
Prowl 75%
Sense of Balance 85%
Climb Rope 84%
Work Parallel Bars & Rings 81%
Back Flip 98%
Dancing 35%
Climbing 82%/72%
Swimming 85%
Aerobic Athletics
Kick Boxing
Hand to Hand: Martial Arts(Jujitsu equivalent)
W.P. Energy Pistol(+4 strike)
W.P. Energy Rifle(+3 strike)
W.P. Knife (+3 strike/parry, +3 throw)

Actions/Attacks per Melee: 5
Pull Punch:+3
Disarm +2
Kick +2
Knee/Elbow Strikes
Palm Strike(2d4)
Drop Kick
Tripping/leg hook
Backward Sweep Kick
Critical Strike on Unmodified 18-20
Critical Strike from Behind
Judo-style Body Flip/Throw +1
Axe Kick 2d8
Roundhouse Kick 3d6
Knee Strike 1d8
Leap Attack(2 attacks) 3d8
Sense of Balance 85%
Vs Coma/Death +6%
Vs Magic +2
Vs Poison +7
Charm/Impress 55%
Notable Possessions/Equipment:
Ajidae doesn’t have much in the way of personal possessions, but her sister has provided her with a wardrobe of fashionable clothing, comfortable living quarters, an assortment of jewelry and other small personal possessions, and for protection a set of Plainclothes body armor, PS Skinsuit, and a Splugorth Talisman of Armor. While not usually trusted with weapons, she finds she has a proficiency with and preference for heavy energy pistols, like the NG-45LP Long Pistol, or the PSLP-1B ‘Adder’ Heavy Laser Pistol.
Ajidae is not trusted with motorized vehicles, though if pressed, she’d find she has the ability to drive hovercraft with a fair amount of skill. She’s also learned to ride horses(and horse-like animals) in the private stable on the ‘family’ estate.

Many of Armana’s current associates can be considered Ajidae’s allies as well, if only because of their dealings with Armana, and could be countered on to do the girl a favor or two. Most people who associate with the Armana clan are sympathetic towards the more introverted woman. Ajidae’s closest friends are the two bodyguards/nursemaids Armana has hired to keep an eye on her(and who have come to be quite attached to their charge), and the domestic staff of the manison(about 6-12 people total).

Ajidae can be considered to have the same enemies as Lady Armana. Even some of her ex-associates in the original revolution don’t know about the body-switch Armana pulled, and might remain convinced that she’s a traitor. There’s also possible bad blood lingering in the minds of several Minion hooligans she beat up back in Splynn. And, if the General DID survive and ever came after Lady Armana, he likely wouldn’t hesitate to harm/kill Ajidae in the bargain.

"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

Last edited by taalismn on Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.