Project Blackbird: A Mars Colonial Setting

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My Concerns

I have had some reservations about the setting that I could not put my finger on.

At first blush, it sounds easy. Then you dig a little. We all know gamers will only accept so much hand waving. So then there will be details. Even if you follow just "one plan" for how this would go, there are things that need to be addressed.

I have been boxing out pieces for this setting and related chronicles. Taking on chunks that would be manageable. (I have not done Mars Geography, but I have a bunch of good sources so only a matter of doing it.)

The Design Line for this is a "setting that you can put other chronicles into". So all the Mars stuff is there as background OR to make it interesting/ complicated. That is why I decided on Silver Era of Colonization, 20-30 years after the first hard years of landings and buildings. It would make things easier. The more I worked on this, the more I came to conclusions.

1) The Mars stuff (Big or small plots) are okay. They are easy. You just need to apply extra effort to link it to both the various plots and the environment you are in. A bit of work, but I think any interested GM might put in that effort. (And a straight Mars(B/s) chronicle with the occasional other plotlines might be better to do.)

It is the environment that is the thing. Things we take for granted in planetary gaming can not be. If you have ever played in a space ship sci-fi game and realized that one of your players did not get it? They did not really understand what would happen if they fired a gun and it went through the hull, or gravity plates breaking or all the odd parts of the tiny ship. Sure, lots of science fiction takes some understanding... but this setting is surrounded by understandings.

The environment here is more contained than an Earth town/ city/ castle. And there are no shortcuts, you have to follow the tunnels. The furniture is all light and modular. There are no cars, just trucks and maybe you can hitch a ride. The food is odd. Even with domes, there is not that much open air - unless you are in an environmental suit (then it is just open space).

2) These chronicles will have a learning curve as players learn about the Habitats and Life on Mars. I am thinking it might be more than most players would be willing to learn. Even breaking sections down into tiny bits and using quick lines, it is a lot to absorb. It is a great setting. Would players be willing to buy in?
Thrown to the wall to see what sticks Organization

Intro - gobblygook
The Mission
(MARS Dump?)

Life in the early days
>>The Trip/ Landing
>>Odds were good they were never going back to Earth.

Colony changes over time
>>Fuel processes and Engines improve
>>More complete habitat process
>>People keep coming.
>>Factions Form

Outside Habitat- Colonies

>>Other systems
>>What is it like inside

>>What is society like
>>>bits and pieces

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da LIfe goes on​

Other chronicles inside it

Character Creation

Building Habitat


Brief Sketch of the Sol System

Why of some of this #7 post 38

Mars Planetology
Mars Geography

Chronicle Framework
Big Mars
Little Mars

Make sure the players ae on board and know things.
Random Thoughts 6 - The Cousin of 4 and 5

I am still not sure that I want to finish this completely. I do have a lot of words and effort invested, but could someone play it accurately without doing a ton of research beyond what is in the book. (I mean how many things can I have hyperlinked in the pdf and ignorable in a print copy (if such a beast existed)?) Yet stumbled over some things and concepts in my feed (as it still remembers I have been searching Mars, Ikea, and too many Ultraman episodes -thus a lot of things about Japan). So here are two things that popped up and one video

1) Furniture - Son of 4 #13

This video dovetails on The Ikea Initiative. More population, and less space, require more efficiency of living.

2) Japanese Style Bath Spaces.
While everyone will have vacuum machines and stations, (every changing area and some doors/ airlocks), washing with water is a luxury on Mars. One that most Earth Transplants will not want to live without. So, filtering water, for baths.
1) There are misting showers that you need to do before. It is impolite and hard on the filters if a very dirty person gets in (some areas tax you or assign you filter duty for a while).
2) Some Habitats are okay with naked, others require bathing suits if more than one person is in at a time.
2b) Some might be segregated for genders.
3) There are quick circulating pools for those who actually want to use soap/ shampoo. Mostly they simply soak off the dead skin and such.
4) Most are for long soaks to warm the body and soul.
5) Some habitat baths have steam rooms or saunas as well.
6) The drying space or middle spaces in the Baths are often social spaces to talk, socialize, play backgammon, and such.

3) Org, slightly strained... Originally I just had a thought for a better organization for the intro. Then I found a better spacing for things. Then separated The Dome life out and stuck it. It just kinda expanded... but it makes more sense now.

>Story bit
>Mission Statement - both to make a mars colony and to create a setting you can apply your own chronicle to - made more interesting because it is a Mars Colony
>Gamer's Guide to Mars (maybe some of the pieces from post 39)
>Gamer's Guide to The Mission (Infographic in RT 5 #7)
>Psuedo History - Things that needed to happen (about 1/3rd of things in the "The way Sol system is" and "Things that happen Plotlines") into the Silver Age
>Modes - What you will choose and what we the example chronicle has (i.e. what we played).

Life in the Domes
>Life in the early days
>>>The Trip/ Landing
>>>Odds were good they were never going back to Earth.
>Colony changes over time
>>>Fuel processes and Engines improve
>>>More complete habitat process
>>>People keep coming.
>>>Factions Form
>Outside Habitat- Colonies
>>>Other systems
>>>What is it like inside
>>>Physically - briefly most in small encyclopedia entries

Character Creation
Core Trait
>Kinds possible
>>Human - we have yet to differentiate (most of it is expanding)
>>Well of course players will want to play not people. They always do.. so AIs, Synthetics, etc)
>Archetypes - the huge list up there, expanded (explanation and Core Focus)
>Milieu - Technically just one, but we will define it as the sub-section you were raised in.
>>Expanding Trait to define "native environment and Gravity"
>Core Aspects (PHY, DEX, MEN, EMO, MPY, CHA)
>>Are there traits that best fit Mars? Defining build, look, outlook.
>Persona Aspects 2 parts
>>General Traits
>>Mars Faction Beliefs
Gifts/Flaws (Assets/ Burdens) that are tied to a Mars Chronicle
>>Which ones are locked to certain modes?

Equipment (Subsection or big section?)
> Basic Equipment
> Equipment Bundles for professions
> Equipment for Miners and Construction

All the Section 50.0 things. Most are built using core rules, but we are not breaking out rules except for Habitat elements )
>Robo Corral (The EI we have)
>Vehicles Corral The Designs and names used on Mars. Some are originals from Earth. Some are Rebuilds or actual Builds on Mars
>How to build your habitat (This is the only building section, using the core rules. It will list all the notable features a "Town"/ habitat will have. Importance to the chronicle (really should default to 5) x size (usually around 3) for 15 features of note.

>Here will be more science details/ Geology/ Planetology
>Here will be Geography
>Here is why ecoforming in a gameable scale is a myth, but should we start?

70.0 Players Advice
>>Mostly it is about how to read over this
>>Get on the same page
>Add elements of description that fit to your actions (by describing some element) Get bonus points for doing this.

80.0 GM Tools and Techniques
>>GMing at the Table and techniques handy to have (Note: ADD C&C dispatch )
>Story Weave of Big Mars, Small Mars, and your plot.
>Any Advice on running Mars. (Descriptive wide shots of the Outside, maybe with colony motions)

90.0 Mars Chronicles
> Build a Framework - some examples
> Build a Chronicles - general modes and specific modes
> Big Mars/ Small Mars lists
> Encyclopedia These will include sections that explain certain things in detail. It will include core points of each mode for the game (and each Mode might have a few plotlines tossed with it. Factions - Red vs Green.) And lots of these little entries might be included, as they color and define. Factions, Corp (and names). Mars Changing Plot Points.

4) Add a section on Notes for changes for NeoFrontier (applying tech mostly).
4b) Add section for making a sci-fi world out system (changing how ships get here, probably MAV and MDV) So you can use this for other things

5) Launch and Descent: Mars Ascent Vehicle and Mars Descent Vehicle MAV and MDV These will need two sections - equipment (and might be early vehicle and later vehicles) and a section on the 90.0 Encyclopedia explaining use. Since we can launch up, metal and resources can be shifted up to Earth... and travel.
5b) Borrowing from Ares Mission (The Martian) do we still have a ship doing to the loop between Mars and Earth. Has it been changed? Do we have other looping ships? Are they getting bigger and more habitat like?

6) Never use the word Colony, comes up with bad associations. Habitats and Habs (towns and cities) are more correct. Outposts on Mars is a more poetic way to put it. Eventually we will have outposts on other places, such as real habitats on larger asteroids being mined. And various Jupiter and Saturn Moons. Stationaries and Orbitals (habitats with some notable motive power put in solar or planetary orbit).

7) A collection of important Mars-related Time events that could derail Mars Colonization by decades if not more.

  • August 6, 1672: Polar Ice Cap Observed. ...
  • September 5, 1877: Opposition and Exciting Discoveries. ...
  • April 12, 1963: The Air up There. ...
  • July 14, 1965: Encounter with Mariner 4. ...
  • November 14, 1971: Mariner 9 Comes to Visit. ...
  • July 20, 1976: Viking 1 Makes Contact. ...
  • August 7, 1996: LIFE!…or Something.
  • July 4, 1997: Pathfinder Blazes a trail
  • Sept 28, 2015: Liquid at Last
8) Book to read later

You know, for a setting I am not sure about... I seem to have a lot of stuff about it. Is it interest or just stuff I can stumble over? (and Thank You Elon Musk for making this topical.)
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So all the posts are locked in and can not be added to or edited. I am going to work on the "parent setting" of Neo Frontier for a bit (See post 36). I solved part of its problem AND I need to make it back compatible with Blackbird (as this is in New Era's effective Past). So unless something brilliant comes up, this space will be quiet for a while.

Unless you have a question or comment. Post it up and I will respond.
Random Thoughts 7
Okay, I swore I was taking a few days off to work on Neo Frontier and make sure the traits are back compatible. But my feed did not get that memo. And to be honest, if I am working on Spacers in Neo Frontiers, I am going to have overlapping ideas for Blackbird/ Mars.

1) Housing homesteads beyond Habs. Suburban Housing outside a Habitat proper.
Okay, this is a memory piece - It is a cob style home, using "adobe" (dirt, water, and fiber if you can). Martian Concret is the local dirt plus liquid water (with or without any fibers). It will set up and be stable. (Though you might want a sealant for moisture.) Note: it is all inside a dome. It manages to keep internal heat. (on Mars it would have more water and air recycle points) This would be ideal for mid to late period colonization. It would not be full underground, which would be a bit of a luxury. (and changing dirt to soil with lots of human byproduct and maybe worms.)

Note the "first floor" is actually above ground level because of hill. This would be important on Mars to prevent grit from building up on the first level. (the under level would have to be swept and dug out from time to time.)

Note: Sweeper Robots (EI or dumb bots could be used as dome cleaners and sweepers around properties. A personal home might have one special small EI bot responsible for clearing this.

1b) Habitats might have a "cab" or "bus" that ferries people around to suburban areas or remoter work spots (like the Power Plant or the Mine). Sure some of this would be underground, but sometimes the road is easier. It could also be a cab - call to C&C and ask for a ride if one is available.

2) Cubbies and Lockers: This is a fact of life in Habitats. Some of them will be assigned to you and some will be ones you just use on a given day (or maybe assigned to a given living space in the case of Baths). It is rude to mess people with someone's cubby (or locker), more so than any illegal activity you might do. So your key might open your living space and a locker or three.

3) Three Pairs of Shoes:

You have outdoor shoes, used for outside the habitat/ martian environment. Dirt Shoes they are called. These are separate from an environmental suit (as you may have a specific one or one that is off the rack). You will never, ever wear these deeper in the hab without people giving dirty looks (akin to you @#$@$@-ERR#$$ bastard) for tracking Grit into the hab. Even if you properly vac them (and Martians/ Habitat folk can tell a properly cleaned pair by looking at them), it is a bit rude to wear them in any part of the Hab except maybe a dome that has dirt/ soil or a full dirt tunnel (unfinished). Even then you are expected to wipe them off or even vac them if you wear them there. Note: many outdoor workers will be walking barefoot and carrying their outdoor shoes in a bag (if not wiped or vac-ed).

Note: Martians notice shoes.

You have habitat shoes: These are the things you wear when you are in the habitat. Given the martian concrete floors or syth tile in much of the habitat, going barefoot is less than ideal. Now often these are "ballet flats" for both genders, but more interesting shoes are worn. Some are stylish and look like Earth Shoes. Many are just velcro or elastic slip-on shoes that handle "athletics". Many people "make their outfit" by coordinating colors including their shoes.

Random 2 #7 Fashion - Yes, many science fiction authors' view of the jumpsuit future did not quite come true. While the jumpsuit is very common (along with what we would call Athleisure wear), it is customized with a ton of colors, prints, and trims (often near neon or LED trims). Remember, Mars clothing does have a very 80s vibe. Note: Habitat designers sort of expected people to just wear "mission clothes" or their "space uniform" while here. That worked for a little bit, but eventually, personalization and just clothing came into play.

You have Home Shoes. These could be retired habitat shoes, lighter weight more slipper-like ones, thongs, or special socks. You wear them inside your home area. Ideally, one's home should be clean so you could wear bare feet. However, grit and stuff really does get everywhere... so home shoes are great. You tend to take habitat shoes off (either outside or just inside on a mat ) and put on indoor shoes. Some habitats have you put the shoes on outside (with huge social and legal penalties for messing with them); while others keep them inside. Some places have them off to the side, adjacent to the door; while many have cubbies (inside or out).

4) Windchimes: Air circulation is important in a hab or habitat. So light windchimes that make a little, but not too much noise, are placed so vents and currents will "tinkle" them. If the area is silent, you know the air could be bad... so a martian/ habitat person will search out a vent and see if it is working.

5) Rude: Habitats and workgangs are relatively small l groups and in the early days "everyone's life depended on everyone else". Being rude in a small community like these is a good way to ensure you might be dead or not rescued in time. The group functioning together has been important since the beginning, so it continues to be a societal trend. So everyone is always polite (ideally in words, actions, and tone... but).

5b) Martians tend to be "formal" and will address each other by title or title and name (first or last depending on their importance). So Miner John or Scientist John or Scientist Smith (if the lead scientist or you don't know). Some of the older habitats still make sure nametags or velcropatches are worn. Newer habitats do not. Since the populations are so small, everyone knows everyone else.

5c) The exception: Rude to be funny. Usually, such rude comments are notably stupid and not that hurtful. Sometimes they are even sexual in nature. They are a way to blow off some steam and show someone that you are their friend (because you would never do this to someone who might actually be offended). This is confusing to Earth folks. For some unknown reason, the term Wanker has fallen into the Martian Lexicon. So instead of Miner John, it would be Wanker John.

6) Whittier Alaska and the Hodge Building - Almost an arcology, almost a habitat, and an entire town of 200 in one building.

7) Money Originally everything was supposed to be for the common good. Well, that did not stick, as it started with barter... then using Earth Money between outposts, corporations, and other habitats. (Then there were people using their earth money for exchange or were still being paid for writing or coding by an Earth company.) Then The First Colony started to use Martian Dollars (tied to American Dollars). They made bamboo paper money, but only in small amounts (i.e. not worth the effort to forge enough to be rich). Mostly, the money is transferred digitally via a banking app. The Chinese are trying the common good, but they have access to the Chinese Yuan/ Renminbi. They are not allowed to use any other currency, so the Chinese Outpost is stuck losing money to convert to acceptable currencies or creating a trade set up and a "well" of Martian dollars to pull from.

8) We wash with Vac and Light, not so much with water.
Things are cleaned with towels that have static electric properties and fibers that pick/ cling things and lock them in the towel fibers. Things are sterilized on Mars using UV lights (usually little personal hand held units). You can wash things with water (or with chemicals in water), but water is expensive (relatively). So mostly we wipe things (and clean those with ultrasonics). We Vac up things. We sterilize with light (or put it outside for ten minutes in the sunlight). And if we must, we clean things with water and water products.
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Add to MAV and MDV :
"If you can walk away from a landing, it's a good landing. If you use the airplane the next day, it's an outstanding landing."
- Chuck Yeager


I like this one, but it requires some technology that has not been invented or perfected yet.

* * Colonizing Mars | The Mammoth Task of Supporting Humans in a Martian Colony * *​

I like this one as it is "likely", but it requires some technology that has not been invented or perfected yet.

Look at:

THE FIRST 10,000 DAYS ON MARS (Timelapse)​

This is a big bit of fiction and handwaving.

SpaceX's plan to colonize Mars, explained (from Verge)​

It is a great idea. It gets handwavy in spots, but not outrageously so. The technology is there for all of this (but not yet assembled). The project takes wealth and resources that I do not think Musk and Space-X investors can muster.
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Random thoughts 8

- -
Note: Do we need a magnetic shield set up for each Hab?
Archetype: Ice Runner - a variation of Rust Runner, they move from the poles to habitats bringing ice/ water.
Archetype: Sparkers is the nickname for people who work with power sources. Now many of them monitor and work with power cell systems. Many of them work with fuel cell systems. Some of them work with pebble nuclear arrangements. They also do the electrical work and wiring. Given the frequency of solar flares and all the other things working with longer wires or a powered system is actually a little more dangerous than it should be or would have been in decades past or centuries future.

Hydroponics - Habitat element
Fish Ponds - Habitat Element
Jail/ Isolation - Habitat Elements
Medical Center - Habitat Element
Exercise Center - Habitat Element
Landing Center - - Habitat Element
Refurb Center - Habitat Element (take things shipped to be used and change them up)
Recycle Center - Habitat Element

Genetic Modified Plants to exist on Mars?
Microbes to make the dirt to soil.
Genetic Modified Humans to make them radiation resistant and more immune to gravity disorders.

Star Link System:
WE have a Com Sat System
We have an observer sat systems which become weather and geo monitoring.

Augment Suit: Framework: For Martians Visiting Earth.
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Okay, Today I have found "traction" on my projects. It is the Neo Frontier (see post 36 of this thread). The Neo Frontier is an Alt 70s Retro(near)future based on the Anime of the 70s. It is a world of Spacers, Espers, Synthetics, Aquahabitats, Arcologies, Wartorn Lands, and Wild Ecology and Weather due to mismanagement of the planet. Now Mars outposts (and spacer habitats) was a big part of the Neo Frontier.

Blackbird is from our time line, a near future. However, it was all things I was looking at for Neo Frontier. It took on a life of its own. Blackbird can be used to build "Mars Towns" for the Neo Frontier by adding a few elements.

If you want to see what I am working on (or what inspired this) here is a proto-introduction.

Introduction (prototype) - Neo Frontiers

The Neo Frontiers started long before anyone declared the Neo Frontiers open. It all started in the late '50s early '60s when humanity began to explore space. The progress was slow. Space exploration had highs and lows over the decades. Exploration of other frontiers such as the ocean and the human mind continued on. The tidal wave of scientific change began. All that was missing was The Drive.

Humanity took steps forward. Humanity took a step back. Sometimes there were side shuffles. Humanity stumbled on in the drunken progress of history, as seemingly random events pushed and pulled society. Societies and Humanity itself changed and developed. The Esper era began. Things unresolved slowly came to a head. Little conflicts occurred, fizzling out or smoldering. New technologies were driven ahead by need or greed rather than the benefit of humankind. Until The Pop. The postmodern era ended during the first big explosions of the Six Year war.

The Six Year War (or some people like to call it World Wide War 3) was a set of interlinking conflicts. Scholars argue if it was six wars and a defensive battle or four wars, twelve conflicts, and two police actions gone wrong. No part of the Earth or near Earth orbit was left unscarred by the conflict. Weapons of all kinds were eventually used in one conflict or another. Limited use of the most dangerous weapons kept the ecological and economic damage to a minimum.

Towards the end of the Six Year War the United Nations moved beyond an advisory and negotiation forum and renamed itself The United Zones. It began with relief, rebuilding, repairing infrastructure, and meeting physical and emotional needs. It defended what it could from violent intrusions – through diplomacy or mag gun.

Thus the beginning of the new era was declared by UZ Chief Director [@insert name here]. Humanity needed a new goal - a new vision and [@insert name here] provided it. It would drive economic recovery. It would give society something to do. It could solve many of Earth's problems all the while wiping out the malaise and fears left from the War. The key was dispersing the population so no one war or disaster could wipe us all out. The exploration and expansion would lead to new solutions yet unknown. (Hopefully defeating the Ills of Old.) However, the Grand Idea of the Neo Frontiers was to give people hope when there was little and kickstart the next chapter of Humankind’s history.

While The Neo Frontier was to be all about Space - the restarted Mars outpost and solar exploration, the spirit of exploration was expanded to other areas. It was to be an age of exploration and discovery - be it in space, be it in the ocean, be it the power of the Human mind, be it in every realm of science. All of humanity’s challenges would be tackled as we confronted the frontiers.

Of course, humanity would bring its best to these new frontiers. Unfortunately, it would also bring some of its’ worst or the ills of old as it's poetically been put. There was still some crime, some excessive greed, and unfortunately some lingering fears and hates. The embracing of the Neo Frontiers has helped to alleviate many of these problems. Perhaps once humankind moves beyond “the frontiers”, humankind will move beyond those ills of old.


It is now 2025. Humanity is spread to other planets, other habitats, and stationaries. Humanity lives on Mars, in spacer habitats and ships, under the seas, underground, in arcologies, and in traditional cities - trying to return to normalcy. Espers are a notable part of society, rather than a confusing side element. Biologic Science has brought us clones and constructs in an attempt to supply "people" and lifeforms to a depleted world. Data Science has brought us the global Compunet and Artificial Intelligence/ Expert Intelligences to control mechanoids and robots. Space travel to the stars is "this close". It is a time of exploration of the planet, the solar system, and what it means to be Human.

The Series 1 Book gives you a tool kit for the basic style of game, which you can emphasise the Mode or Element you want to. (All Spacer chronicle? An Esper one? Underwater City Folks against biological mistakes? Robo freedom fighters? and all such.)

(From Blue Seed, but sort of the collection of characters you might see in a Neo Frontier Chronicle)

Series 2 will include: Magic/Horror elements, Vampires/monsters, Magical Girls, Kaiju/ Daikaiju, and Sentai-styled Vector Forces.

575 Thoughts? Ideas? Smiley emoticons?
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Look at the post above and comment.

This is about the Moon and part of the NASA plan for Mars.

By the way:
Three Artemis missions are currently in progress; Artemis 1, an uncrewed test flight around and beyond the Moon, planning to launch between 12-27 November 2022 (exact date TBC). Artemis 2, a crewed flight beyond the Moon which will take humans the farthest they’ve ever been in space. And Artemis 3, a mission that will land the first female astronaut and first astronaut of colour on the Moon to spend a week performing scientific studies on the lunar surface.

And check out the Wikipedia page for this and Constellation.

A post from another site that I did. It was about time patrol/ time watch adventures. It dovetails with this.

I did another time watch post here

Ion thrust engines are practical only in the vacuum of space and cannot take vehicles through the atmosphere because ion engines do not work in the presence of ions outside the engine; additionally, the engine's minuscule thrust cannot overcome any significant air resistance. Still, it was fun.

Inventory: Cold Plasma Sterilizer and tissue energizer. For Blackbird and Neo Frontier
This little hand held unit, combines cold plasma with very specific wavelength UV projection, helpsing sterilize small areas (2cm radius) and stimulating tissue growth. This device when used will give a bonus to recovery rolls equal to 1+the skill of the medic using it (AoE for Science-2 for lack of trait)),
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Check this post and the two above it for today....

Best Evidence of Liquid Water on Mars and an active core.

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My feed is golden....


Actually they should put a small dome over the scene... maybe clean oppy off some... and make it a "planetary park" or historic site (with a blue marker)... like they did (will have done) with Armstrong's footprint on the Moon.
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Ion thrust engines are practical only in the vacuum of space and cannot take vehicles through the atmosphere because ion engines do not work in the presence of ions outside the engine; additionally, the engine's minuscule thrust cannot overcome any significant air resistance. Still, it was fun.
Not sure how hard SF you are looking for but not exactly on the above. They can technically work in an atmosphere (or ions outside the engine) just a poor practical choice. Has more to do with the energetics and reaction scattering dynamics, that and gravity if leaving a planet, that and you really, really want to get through the van allen radiation belts fast when leaving Earth.

Ion engines though are clean....just some Xe as exhaust. Combine them with He3 fusion and you may have cheap, if slow, interplanetary transport.

Not something you would necessarily use for humans as the more time it takes the more air, water and food you need to carry but for robotic transport vessels.

You may not even need to slow these transports down, rather put them on an orbit/trade route and boost the payload (and fuel) to them and the deceleration of the payload can happen on the receiving end....perhaps the reverse of an electromagnetic catapult orbiting Mars.
From the wikipedia.
Spacecraft electric propulsion (or just electric propulsion) is a type of spacecraft propulsion technique that uses electrostatic or electromagnetic fields to accelerate mass to high speed and thus generate thrust to modify the velocity of a spacecraft in orbit.[1] The propulsion system is controlled by power electronics.

Electric thrusters typically use much less propellant than chemical rockets because they have a higher exhaust speed (operate at a higher specific impulse) than chemical rockets.[1] Due to limited electric power the thrust is much weaker compared to chemical rockets, but electric propulsion can provide thrust for a longer time.[2]

Electric propulsion was first successfully demonstrated by NASA and is now a mature and widely used technology on spacecraft. American and Russian satellites have used electric propulsion for decades.[3] As of 2019, over 500 spacecraft operated throughout the Solar System use electric propulsion for station keeping, orbit raising, or primary propulsion.[4] In the future, the most advanced electric thrusters may be able to impart a delta-v of 100 km/s (62 mi/s), which is enough to take a spacecraft to the outer planets of the Solar System (with nuclear power), but is insufficient for interstellar travel.[1][5] An electric rocket with an external power source (transmissible through laser on the photovoltaic panels) has a theoretical possibility for interstellar flight.[6][7] However, electric propulsion is not suitable for launches from the Earth's surface, as it offers too little thrust.

On a journey to Mars, an electrically powered ship might be able to carry 70% of its initial mass to the destination, while a chemical rocket could carry only a few percent.[8]

Now we will move on to Ionic Drives

An ion thruster, ion drive, or ion engine is a form of electric propulsion used for spacecraft propulsion. It creates thrust by accelerating ions using electricity.

An ion thruster ionizes a neutral gas by extracting some electrons out of atoms, creating a cloud of positive ions. These ion thrusters rely mainly on electrostatics as ions are accelerated by the Coulomb force along an electric field. Temporarily stored electrons are finally reinjected by a neutralizer in the cloud of ions after it has passed through the electrostatic grid, so the gas becomes neutral again and can freely disperse in space without any further electrical interaction with the thruster. By contrast, electromagnetic thrusters use the Lorentz force to accelerate all species (free electrons as well as positive and negative ions) in the same direction whatever their electric charge, and are specifically referred to as plasma propulsion engines, where the electric field is not in the direction of the acceleration.[1][2]

Ion thrusters in operation typically consume 1–7 kW of power, have exhaust velocities around 20–50 km/s (Isp 2000–5000 s), and possess thrusts of 25–250 mN and a propulsive efficiency 65–80%[3][4] though experimental versions have achieved 100 kW (130 hp), 5 N (1.1 lbf).[5]

The Deep Space 1 spacecraft, powered by an ion thruster, changed velocity by 4.3 km/s (2.7 mi/s) while consuming less than 74 kg (163 lb) of xenon. The Dawn spacecraft broke the record, with a velocity change of 11.5 km/s (7.1 mi/s), though it was only half as efficient, requiring 425 kg (937 lb) of xenon.[6]

Applications include control of the orientation and position of orbiting satellites (some satellites have dozens of low-power ion thrusters) and use as a main propulsion engine for low-mass robotic space vehicles (such as Deep Space 1 and Dawn).[3][4]

Ion thrust engines are practical only in the vacuum of space and cannot take vehicles through the atmosphere because ion engines do not work in the presence of ions outside the engine; additionally, the engine's minuscule thrust cannot overcome any significant air resistance. Moreover, notwithstanding the presence of an atmosphere (or lack thereof) an ion engine cannot generate sufficient thrust to achieve initial liftoff from any celestial body with significant surface gravity. For these reasons, spacecraft must rely on other methods such as conventional chemical rockets or non-rocket launch technologies to reach their initial orbit.

A side note: Artemis 1 (if it ever launches... come on people) will include a testing of the newest Ionic Thrust Drive.

There are more... and we can follow up with the references.

An ion-propelled aircraft or ionocraft is an aircraft that uses electrohydrodynamics (EHD) to provide lift or thrust in the air without requiring combustion or moving parts. Current designs do not produce sufficient thrust for manned flight or useful loads.

Yes, technically they can work in an atmosphere, but no design yet provides could produce enough thrust to overcome the weight ratios for much life nor deal with electrical disturbances in an atmosphere (as found in higher flying aircraft).

As to:
You may not even need to slow these transports down, rather put them on an orbit/trade route and boost the payload (and fuel) to them and the deceleration of the payload can happen on the receiving end....perhaps the reverse of an electromagnetic catapult orbiting Mars.

Yes, yes you will to make it easier and SO MUCH SAFER to onboard and offboard cargo and to maintain orbits on Earth and Mars. Also The MAV and MDV vehicles may or may not be local to the planet of choice, though reusable MAVs and MDV (as well as Earth Versions) would be more efficient... but requires a fuel port in orbit. So if it is carrying the descent unit, it will need to slow to improve the landing window.
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Technically the presence of ions outside the ion engine does not prevent them from working... base this not on wikipedia but my own research from the 90s that was used by engineers to design ion engines. :smile: We weren't going to trust just what the Soviets did back then. No the wiki did not cite us but it was pretty fundamental stuff on reaction scattering dynamics, not the glamorous engineering stuff, however if you find it you can PM me for confirmation. Yes, technically was a "rocket scientist" at one time I guess. :smile:
For those that followed this, I have not abandoned the project. I have been writing on this and the "mother project" The Neo Frontiers. (Which is defined as an alt-retro-future world line.) I just have not been posting here.

1) I have been restricted with the amount of science I can include. I will go with the simple components or possibilities, rather than doubling the word count for those sections to explain exceptions or complications. I am also going to lose readers by going too far into The Science.

2) While there are many research projects going and new plans, I am still going with the "old plan" because the person/ group "funding this" is going to have their ideas be done. So Space X/ Musk plan is currently dominant. (with a dash of the NASA plan thrown in.)

3) A lot of the tech being proposed for the new plans are "not yet in existence" but "in the foreseeable future". We will minimize that.

I am going to add a 4)
4) There is lots of hype about the project, the potential go date, and the possibility of a new engine to shorten the trip time. In short, I feel Gibsoned - reality has caught up with my near future science fiction and is going in unpredicted ways. I would hate to write this one way and three years from now be completely wrong as the reality of the situation is different.

So here are some things I need to stash: They may be useful to you if you are following this thread or like this idea.

This is part 2, read the post above first.

Who knew you could only put five pieces of media into a post?

USA & Elon Musk FINALLY Reveal New Light Speed Engine That Defies Physics

Helical Engine And Warp Bubble Tech? Can these things work?
671,080,887.616 mph

Warp Bubble Research -

Also this piece

Artificial Gravity. 1 G acceleration consistency through thrust.

Vera Station - prototype for our orbits (thought they might make it 1G

More on The Build


And Mars/ China as the "bad guys"
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I am taking a break from the six plus pages of material I added to the Neo Frontiers Project today.

Blackbird is still out there. I think I know what I am going to do with it and how to get around points 3, 4, and such in post 52.

It will be the Martian Town Project. The first part of the book will define the world, the characters, and how to define habitats (using section 50.0 from the core rules). (See Random Thoughts 6 post 42) The changes would be a big section added to the 90.0 section. They define the universe for the chronicle (which affects a couple of things), with three subsections.

1) Neo Frontiers Era universe. (You can see the example character for it.) This is a generation or two past First Down. This lets you have any chronicle with those things in the background. It will also have linking plots for the OVA (System War).

2) Alternate Near Future - This world is not our world. It is a world like x, given a number of descriptions of various earth lines options and how they change things. Thus you can have it all set in "the future of your choice". Again, the choice may limit or cause certain things. (Sparkers if you want solar storms)

3) Other World - In the Colonial Era, these people didn't stay in the system, they were gated /jumped to different stars. Then they built habitats with some support craft coming. This is a Mars like world and you are in the habitat. (with mini elements if you want to do the NF Colonial Era.)

I could just make it a Neo Frontier Era supplement and kill the other two. Simpler, but less useful to the end gamer. Thoughts?
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This is for Project Eden. That makes it mostly for Neo Frontiers, but could be for Mars. Imagine Ectogenesis Pods brought to Mars, cloning and developing trees for those internal grottos and oxygen points. This would be the tool from the lab to location.

Red/ Green

Red Martians: Do minimal to no ecological terraforming. Humans should adapt to mars, not the other way around.

Green Martians: Ecological Terraforming all the way. Mars should adapt to Humanity.

Brown Martians (Gift or Flaw) Somewhere between Red and Green (hence brown because mix red and green you get brown). However, they are all about genetic engineering humans (and other life forms) to deal with the slightly improved atmosphere. (Human vs Martian) How far do you want to genetically change humans. Now some Greens are pro genetic manipulation of Earth plants. Red Martians might be pro genetic manipulation, but limited.

Red, Brown, and Green are factions.
Cool factions. I assume they're based on Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, but they also remind me of an old RTS/colony sim game Outpost 2: Divided Destiny, which was probably influenced by KSR's seminal work as well.

It also reminds me of Civilization: Beyond Earth's affinities, which you were likely influenced by- how should humanity respond to the challenges of an alien environment? Adapt to the environment (Harmony), adapt the environment to humanity (Purity), and augment humanity to overcome any environment (Supremacy). It seems like unlike that game's somewhat contrived Harmony means biological super-science and Supremacy means cybernetic super-science, you have the Brown Martians, who seem rather Supremacist, pragmatically embrace genetic engineering rather than restrict themselves to any specific form of enhancement.

I wonder if there could be even more factions, other than variations along this spectrum.
Cool factions. I assume they're based on Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, but they also remind me of an old RTS/colony sim game Outpost 2: Divided Destiny, which was probably influenced by KSR's seminal work as well.

Nope. Never heard of those until recently.

Some of the ideas came from Alpha Centauri and the work I did on Rock Raiders - (Sci Fi inspired by Alpha Centauri elements and Ridley Scott movies - a place where we have a mining corp and several colony groups each with their own goal/ need.)

I created Red and Green Martians for a Trek Character who was from Mars. It was a flavor piece to include and why he was so odd (as he was from a Red Martian family).

And remember, the Martians won the War between them and Earth... and forced them to take on certain civil rights legislatures. A fact that I occasionally intimidated Klingons and Romulans with. "Oh really? Don't mess with me. WE fought the Humans/Terrans and WON. How about you? and Now I am on "their side".

So it was an obvious port. Plus similar discussions are going on various "Colonize Mars" boards/ sites.

It also reminds me of Civilization: Beyond Earth's affinities, which you were likely influenced by- how should humanity respond to the challenges of an alien environment? Adapt to the environment (Harmony), adapt the environment to humanity (Purity), and augment humanity to overcome any environment (Supremacy). It seems like unlike that game's somewhat contrived Harmony means biological super-science and Supremacy means cybernetic super-science, you have the Brown Martians, who seem rather Supremacist, pragmatically embrace genetic engineering rather than restrict themselves to any specific form of enhancement.

No. OH NO. SOMETHING I was unaware of. Now another Sid Meyer game to be addicted to. I need to go over the wiki for this.

I wonder if there could be even more factions, other than variations along this spectrum.

Along those spectrums, no. Neo Frontier is currently 20 years into Mars, in a 70s retrofuture - alt history line. Since Ecoforming could take centuries... out of scope.... but needs to be planned and started soon. There is adapting Humanity to Mars plot point, but with very limited success... and making an honest Martian will make "people" outside Human scope (given the temp, the limited O2, and the radiation/pressure). Insect "people" might be the only option. Bionics to adapt, might happen.. is suggested again as a plot point... but currently not as useful as it could be. If you have seen the Neo Frontier Characters, Bionics and Synthetics are key points to the setting (with Crisper real world modifications not a 70s invention yet... so downplayed). So both are open to use.

(They are also still checking that Mars does not have native life (microbial or underseas). That would clinch the red/green arguments for some.)

Only on Mars do we have these conversations. Everywhere else in the system is too hostile. Everywhere else it is either "betas" or modded humans adapted to reduced G and enclosed habitats (blister domes or dig ins) or ship towns. Now if Humanity goes to "The Stars" (get that FTL working people), these conversations would happen again. Probably along the Live with it / Change it/ Work with it (Red/ Green/ Brown) lines.

Our political/social leanings are not "splats" or dividing lines, so everything possible in the setting will be applicable (within acceptable limits).
Nope. Never heard of those until recently.
The Mars trilogy sort of invented the Green and Red Martian dichotomy (well, besides the Edgar Rice Burroughs and DC Comics version), and it's one of the influences of SMAC as mentioned in the instruction manual, so the ancestry is unintentional, even if distantly present.
No. OH NO. SOMETHING I was unaware of. Now another Sid Meyer game to be addicted to. I need to go over the wiki for this.
Oh, don't worry about it. While C:BE has some fans, and the Affinities system was intriguing (the hybrid affinities introduced in its sole expansion, imo, less so), the overall consensus is that it was a disappointment as a spiritual successor to SMAC. It's never given me a "just one more turn" feeling, which is pretty damning for a 4X game.
Neo Frontier is currently 20 years into Mars, in a 70s retrofuture - alt history line. Since Ecoforming could take centuries... out of scope.... but needs to be planned and started soon. There is adapting Humanity to Mars plot point, but with very limited success... and making an honest Martian will make "people" outside Human scope (given the temp, the limited O2, and the radiation/pressure). Insect "people" might be the only option. Bionics to adapt, might happen.. is suggested again as a plot point... but currently not as useful as it could be. If you have seen the Neo Frontier Characters, Bionics and Synthetics are key points to the setting (with Crisper real world modifications not a 70s invention yet... so downplayed). So both are open to use.
I like that. It's a lot more closer to reality than SMAC with its far future horizon gets to be. Actually that's when Red Mars takes place, in the 21st century.
Only on Mars do we have these conversations. Everywhere else in the system is too hostile. Everywhere else it is either "betas" or modded humans adapted to reduced G and enclosed habitats (blister domes or dig ins) or ship towns. Now if Humanity goes to "The Stars" (get that FTL working people), these conversations would happen again. Probably along the Live with it / Change it/ Work with it (Red/ Green/ Brown) lines.
I'm not sure if any of the Jovian moons could potential work (Europa or Callisto's oceans), but there's one underrated colonization spot: Venus' upper atmosphere, from which a potential terraforming project might take root. From that same discussion I found this gem of an idea that introduces a potential Green perspective:

colonizing Venus with extremophiles that currently live in Terran ocean vents might be a good humanitarian (vivarian?) project. Life finds a way and all that, it'd be neat to offset the current great extinction with a new cambrian explosion on our sister planet.

Terraforming Venus by reducing its sulfuric atmosphere with Earthborn microbes, who are given a chance to survive outside our delicate biosphere at the cost to Venus's natural state, seems like a Green-Red sort of dilemma, though the colors would be different there.
3 +31) John Carson Esper Kid of Helium Chronicle/ Silver age Colonial

I am not sure what Blackbird characters I should make.
Maybe an actual DECker. (Habitat Emergency Services - tackling breaches, fires, and habitat threatening events... plus the occasional rescue inside the Habitat.)

Maybe a Spacer on Mars Sentinel (orbiting platform above Mars).

Astro-archeologist (the only one on Mars and guaranteed to find something to screw up the status quo)?

Space Marine? Do we have any yet? US/ UZSDF have a couple "just to protect their interests"

Marshall - Someone should be there for law and order. Just how many Marshalls do we need?

Maybe - Chinese Scientist pressed into military service during an attack.
So. I am still going back and forth between making this a NF dedicated project or a general project (still convergence point) with an "adapt to Neo Frontier" section.

This would make Project Blackbird a half book. It is a book focused on a sub section of the setting, in this case "Small Town/City Mars". Mars would be a bit different than other areas. Nothing would radically change the view of things, but expanded so it can be more useful.

The other two half books are:

Heroes of the Neo Frontier - this expands the vigilante subsection of the core book. (I mean there are three paragraphs and six plot lines.) In a world with ESPERS and people with BIONICS, and Powered Suits (like Bubblgum Crisis sort of), and if you include the Series 2 books - magic and monsters, you could have people who might "fight crime" or fight some conspiracy using their special abilities. This would include an expanded mutant section from Tales and how to build a straight up metaform characters that fits the Neo Frontiers (meta powers are part of the Convergence Point Core Book). I admit, I live for super heroes. This gives me superheroes and a world with advancing technology.

Neptune's Frontier - The Aquatic Habitats, Floating Towns, and Ship Towns, are all quickly mentioned (and mechanics are quickly gone through - adapting the mechanics from the Convergence Point Core Book). This would expand the Dark Blue World and what could be going on in and under the water. Now this book has the potential to become huge, as I would be pulling things from a project of mine - Neptune's World. Neptune's world is a bluepunk science fiction setting where a self styled Dr Neptune threatened the Earth with flooding, and it happened. His same technology allows for people to move into the water (and gives them all sorts of related tech). It becomes a cyberpunkish world on dry land, on the surface, or in the blue.

The Honorary Half book is The OVA project. The OVA book (which is a full book) is mostly a spacer chronicle book... with all the spacer details and things not included in the Series 1 Book. If I didn't have to put all the stuff for the First System War and The Opposition, it would be the Spacer Supplement.

So yes. I am on the Neo Frontier Binge. However Blackbird could just be a tool kit for Martian Colonies.
Links to make people lives easier if you are following things:

General Neo Frontiers Project Summary

About the OVA

Native to the board, Neo Frontier Characters. A few post up thread have the blackbird character links...

1) Simone Williamson Synth-zed Student of the Neo Frontiers Era

2) Kaede Tanaka Esper Student of Neo Frontiers

3) Kathryn Puppe Synth - Mekenoid/Ai Assistant of The Neo Frontiers Era

4) Racheal Brown Alpha Student of The Neo Frontiers Era

5) Jill and Jane Human Athletic Students of the Neo Frontiers Era

6) Roberto "Mango the Great" Yee Human VR Gamer of the Neo Frontier Era

7) Dr. (Albert) Williamson Core Trait: Human BioScience Researcher in The Neo Frontiers Era

8) Josh "Hornet" Williamson, Cpt Retired US/UZ SDF Human Space Marine Pilot of The Neo Frontiers Era

9) Eugene "Kato" Lunan Esper Navigator of the Neo Frontiers

10) Buddy Meken General Purpose Robot of The Neo Frontier Age

11) Sarah Tanaka Human Smuggler of The Neo Frontiers

12) Uncle Sterling Tanaka Esper Third One of the Neo Frontier

13) Mr (Deming) Chen Human Teacher of The Neo Frontiers Era

14) Mr. Black Human Agent of the Neo Frontiers Era

15) Mr. Blue Human Augment Agent of the Neo Frontiers Era

16) Ms. Alzonz Human Social Worker of the Neo Frontiers Era

17) Jonas Howerhousen Human Entrepreneur of the Neo Frontiers Era

18) Ms. Puppe Core Trait : Synth - Mekenoid Assistant of The Neo Frontiers Era

19) Chet Baker Esper Body/Mind Guard of the Neo Frontiers Era

20) Chief Kenzo Sato Human Police Officer of The Neo Frontiers Era

21) Chris (Christa) Sato Human Wrangler of The Neo Frontiers Era

22) April/ Sakura Sato Human (Middle School) Student of the Neo Frontiers Era

23) Richard Husband Human A.A. Administrator of the Neo Frontiers Era

24) Norma Jean 0437 Ozco Bio-Meken Performer of the Neo Frontier's Era

25) Subrata Pal Human Student of the Neo Frontiers Era

26) Junior Hoilett Human Sparker of the Neo Frontiers Era

27) Chloe (237653) Emét Synth-Gamma Escort of the Neo Frontiers Era

28) Dr. Gann Windmore Esper (Mad) Scientist of the Neo Frontier Era

29) Walter aka The Source aka Walter the Wackadoodle
Core Trait: Human Conspiracy Expert of the Neo Frontiers

30) Ms. Scarlet or Ms. Xīnghóng Esper Agent of The Neo Frontiers Era

Found a fascinating proposal for a Mars edition of SMAC, written in 1998, containing storyline and faction ideas. Might be useful to this project:

Thank you. I was unaware of this.
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Actually Bamboo (or some vat grown bamboo/reed material) is an interior material of choice by most designers/ developers. It seems to be the one that many have used. (A section up about having modular furniture with "material joints" to plug long bamboo rods into (Ikea Initiative in Son of Random Thoughts 4). )

The rest of that article is really interesting. Especially the bit about the regolith. (Though Bioplastic - if we went with a neo frontiers way - could be possible.)

The bamboo/ reed growth would be useful to make Martian Adobe. This could use martian regolith plus a lot of fiber.. if enough water can be captured to make adobe. On Earth, you just need the sun to dry them for a day or three, on Mars they would need heat (if not a low level kiln).

As the Outpost digs down and tunnels to connect various surface elements, they will have a lot of soil to use on the surface for either a "soil radiation blanked" to cover surface spots or for adobe.
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I was originally thinking that the Neo Frontiers OVA - The First System War would undo and rework a lot of Mars. There is only one big battle after the space fight for the Mars Guardian Satellite. It occurs after Kaede (or Agent White) and Hornet/Kato meet on Mars. She is the reason why he is there when the battle goes on.

The Chinese begin to make their move to consolidate other holdings from The UZ (and maybe corps). The Hornet is there to help stop the Chinese offensive, help the local Martian forces (rebels and mecha mostly), and stop the UZSDF from following their commander's orders to take out The Dome of a known "Rebel Stronghold" (Just a Martian City with civilians in it and doing a warcrime). He takes down the SoB UZSDF commander who has questionable morals/ Humanity.

This all occurs just before "The Reveal" and Titan Battle.

In short, little to nothing from the OVA affects Blackbird. (I see "The Blackbird Era" is during Series 1 and into The OVA, so a twenty year span - roughly.) If "gravity pumps" and the tractor beams (Psi-Tech) are "The new tech" just innovated before the conflict, then it has yet to trickle down. (They are only found on new big UZSDF and "cooler" ships that follow Bottino.) Mecha are innovated during the early part of the OVA, but would not really impact Mars. Late Series 2/ during The Tales is when this cool Psi-Tech becomes common.

NOTE: There are continuity errors in the time between series 1 and 2, and the "time of the System War". It is gaffs like this that make even diehard fans (which really the only kind as most people blew off this anime) cringe and try to come up with clever excuses about the discrepancies.

PS: I am doing so much for the OVA, that I am not doing what I need to finish on Series 1.
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Things I wrote today that could impact Blackbird

Beta [Entry] (Synth) (Spacer)
Betas are Humans modified to better function in a new frontier. Human genetics are tweaked beyond Human norms (almost to the point of being zeno genes). Each company (or its license) has its own features for Betas. Thus not all Betas for an environment will have the same exact functions But most will. It should be noted that Beta Class Synths tend to have zeno-genes, genetics from outside the direct human genome. At this time, there are only two notable subcategories of Betas at this time – Hydro and Spacers.
Spacer Betas all have genetics that allow them to function in low gravity and higher radiation environments. (Many Spacers have illegal genetic treatments that grant them these advantages.) Betas are born with these genetic tweaks. (Thus they have little to no body hair.)

Most Betas have prehensile feet and a tail (akin to a monkey line). This allows them to function better in null gee environments. They can easily hold on to locations and work without need for velcro. (If space had a sound, it would be the sound of velcro tearing off and attaching.) While these are technically zeno genes, sourced from outside, they are within the Human Genome. Spacer Betas are officially "Nears" (Near Zed or Near Clones). (Also note that they can easily interbreed with zeds, with the hybrid having either spacer lower hands or small feet with very long toes.)

If you know what to look for, you can spot a spacer beta. They could pass "the street test" (if they hide their tail). They have large expressive eyes (with excellent low light vision), a small nose, and a wide mouth. They have a prognathic face, with a slightly elongated mouth and very weak chins. They also have substantial brow ridges and flatter noses (almost like a nasal channel, rather than a bridge). In gravity, they will be the ones in a wheel chair or a framework.

At one time, it was thought that Betas, especially spacers, would be common. However, at this point in time, that has not come to pass.

Sidebar Other Betas
Other Beta Options are possible. Just they have not been developed or accepted yet.

Martian Betas or Project Ares [Plot Point]
Many companies on Earth and Mars are trying to develop a Martian who can survive outside the dome. They need to handle a very cold environment and a very low oxygen level. Now some might require less protection and minimal oxygen supplements, but the goal is the ability for a Martian to survive and work with no support outside.

Perhaps the solution is not mammalian. They could be insects or insectoids. This would most likely be a gamma/ construct.

Sparker [Enty]
Sparkers are the nickname for people who work with power sources and lines/ connections. Many of them monitor and work with power cell or fuel cell systems. Some of them work with pebble nuclear arrangements. They also do the electrical work and wiring. Given the frequency of solar flares and other things, working with longer wires or powered systems is actually a little more dangerous than it should be or would have been in decades past or centuries future.
I want to enter this before it gets lost in my general notes

Freak out the Players: Two world portal chronicle
You are here or you are on Barsoom. (or a Barsoom like world) or Ice warriors.

Okay, this seems unlikely. It would freak out the players.

Info: Series 1 Series 2 So you know what I am talking about.

Neo Frontiers: Series 1 has a "mode" which can be included in an early chronicle: Harkone (Gate). Now the NF:Series 1 era is working on a "star gate" a system to jump FTL. (In fact it is also a secret project in the Neo Frontiers: First System Wars (OVA). It is also an insurance plan for GMs, in case things go wrong.) This star gate is to be used for Tales of The Neo Frontiers when we have colonization of another star systems (and the set up for another systems war).

The Harkone Gate project is the planetary part of the Star Gate Program (and was the first part). The Gates need to be aligned with weak points in the matrix of reality/ veil between worlds. There are some plot points for this in NF:Series 1 you can use. The game would allow you to step to other places - not even in this dimension. So you could travel to stars or different realities through these gates (depending on focus).

It is NF:S2 that uses these. The supernatural use the weak points to do some of their interesting things. The Mystical Beings (opposed by the Mystic Warriors (proto-magical girls) ) use these to cross over. There may even be a Kaiju (and Daikaiju) connection. When they fire up Harkone successfully, is when all heck breaks loose.

However, maybe someone gets smart and goes, "Maybe linking Earth to other dimensions or other worlds in this one is not safe. Maybe we should do this somewhere else." Okay, that actually makes sense. So Mars gets nominated.

We could have a Harkone project here, with the same plot points that are in NF:S1. (Minor disruptions to things, weather, shifting items, oh and the reason why the AI tanks in the 6YW got smart... causing so many problems). We could take it to the NF:S2 level.

And then we could really screw things up, creating anomaly points (gate fields to be waunders way about it) where you can go to alternate dimensions. Barsoom would be a favorite. You could go to the Invaders world (bring the germs early to the War of the Worlds). But other things like Bradbury's Mars. (Or have the dreamers come here.) Or Dr. Who's mars. Or surprise the heck out of the Paratime Martians.

Now this is definitely worth a mention in the back of the book where "all those weird things you can do with this" are included.
IMPORTANT From post 43 as well

We do not call them colonists. We call them Outposters.

We do not have colonies, we have Outposts.

Outposts will become settlements.
NF: Red Planet vs Blackbird - The joining up of the two.

Blackbird is the more universal set up, which does not have to be linked to the Neo Frontier Line. This has advantages.
However, in the near future it will be Gibsoned - where "reality" catches up, actually passes, or shows the reality of, the near future fiction.

The Drive Speeds in Neo Frontiers make many of the issues for Blackbird go away. It is not a month or four trip, it is a couple of hours or maybe a day. Thus we have "trucking in" on a fairly regular basis, rather than a bunch of ships every few months. The change of supply influx and manufactured goods influx. [Perhaps some law that restricts some things, to force the Outposts to be self sufficient so the collapses that happened during the Six Years' War could not happen again.]

Then I go to NF:Red Planet. However, the setting begins to fall apart with the addition of Synths, a Neo Frontiers staple. Sure there are Hard Meken here. None of them are humanoids, let alone look like humans. (Softs could be included... but we move on). The existence of meken could replace a lot of the workforce, as they don't need life supporting supplies.

Follow this up with Bio-Synths. The population is a big thing here. Worker Clones would eliminate much of the need for outposters. With a synth worker class, much of the scarcity on Mars Outposts goes away. You might as well be in an Earth Arcology. (Plus. gravity pumps would eventually make it the same).

Do we need some obscure/ arcane law to restrict bio-synths? The reason for off world habitats is to spread humanity out and keep it from being wiped out in a single disaster (such as the pandemics during and after the 6YW, meteor strikes, or collapses).

Note: Alt-Cultures for various habitats is something discussed in NF:FSW/ OVA and lightly touched on in Blackbird. We could implement it more seriously here. Now the Alt-cultures in Blackbird were all social. So that changes up the moment we add bio-synths and even meken here.

Am I just overthinking it? Will people not care?
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Welcome to the Basis of Neo Frontiers Space Ships


The front part is a small term function pod - what we call a small pod or command pod. Slightly bigger pods with "collars" can be detached. The track with the engine mounts carries one or two cargo units. More could be set up, often by elongating the track. One of the cargo units could be another function such as gear carrying, extended stay, or extra power supplies. Bigger primary engines in the back allow for faster thrust ratios... given they are CT (Constant Thrust Engines).

On these ships, even on Mars, use a sled... a "flatbed" with a back mounted engine. (Some sleds will have a low frontal pilot zone,) The Sled has massive power for a short term, able to bring its cargo (a ship of this type) to a low orbit or near orbit. (Because let us face it, those "engines" on back or in the blocks are not enough power (thrust from fuel) to lift it out of a real gravity well.)
Tuesday Matinee

Yesterday, I found an Image... it spawned yesterday's post. It was not something novel or exciting. The Space 1999 spacecraft makes a great deal of sense (especially for multipurpose vehicles). The NF ships looked like a cross between an airplane/shuttle and the space 1999 ships. The engine section needs to b a bit bigger, but okay. Now the way they used them in the show, ignored some basic physics. (Not on the moon or in space, but when these things landed on planets... like okay.) Still, the Pod or main crew space is key. (because they do detach and can fly around a bit on their own). Bigger Pods could give additional abilities, speed, and survivability. The ability to extend the backbone and put several modules (cargo, crew, science, etc.) gives flexibility to a single design. Launching these things from a gravity well, especially Earth's, would need a sled or support vehicles.

Continual Thrust Engines

Fuel in space sucks. Reaction mass takes up a good chunk of the ship. It's also not very quick. When we see ships flying in the OVA and in other Neo Frontier series they seem to operate like airplanes. (Even the ones that are not shaped like airplanes - see above.) They're continuously moving forward unless they're in hover mode or something like that. Now we realize that this is because the animators understood how airplanes flew and knew how to animate that sort of thing. So that's really why they did it. However, as always, the fans came up with an excuse.

Continuous thrust engines. It takes a while for CT engines to warm up. Once they're going a certain volume or speed it's hard for them to slow down or change. It's a stepping process. (Much like shifting of gears.) So if you want speed you need to keep the engine going. (Again think of it like a gear system. You can only go so fast in first, even if you give it full power. You go much faster in 4th, with full power.) The quick shifting of speed would be dangerous (Think Damage to the transmission in a car, if you redline a gear too much or try to slow down the thrust dramatically - drop the transmission.)

You can't turn it off rotate a couple degrees and then turn it back on pivoting like a proper spacecraft unless you are operating at very low speed. No. You have to make the slow working turns like you do as aircraft. So continuous thrust engines are our excuse for why everything flies like an airplane.

We are using energy - ions or straight electrons - to move things. VTOL and maneuver thrusters would be energy channeled off the main engine and redirected. It is a fractional thing, so your forward flight is your forward flight.

The Engine output has Glowy Bits on the back. They used odd looking rocket nozzles, much like Space 1999 or 60s era rockets used. Ideally, we would just use circular radiator dishes for this power. So you get the cool image of a glow of the engine firing.

But this way they have no reaction mass. You're just powering the generator. And you can get up to some pretty high speeds with these things.

Not yet determined if these CT engines are useful in or against Gravity Fields of note. Lifting Sleds seem to be required in the NF Animes, so they might not be.

Again the NF Series screws things up slightly

There is some great technology we see in the OVA (Neo Frontiers: First System War NF:FSW): Inertia Fields and Simulated Gravity (gravity coils in the ceiling to push down or coil on the floor to pull) are only found in the newest and greatest ships. Everyone else has to strap in or get smashed about (like poor Kato) and float around once acceleration happens. Yet only the cool "Battle Ships" of the UZSDF had these. They are obviously PSI-Tech. PSI-Tech is a field of bionics - the study of nature to duplicate it with machines. It comes from, no surprise here, the study of esper abilities. It is applied subtle field physics.

This came from a Fan-Fic I read. It made sense that people would study psionics and try to duplicate it with machines. [ The drama of the story was the cabal that was anti-esper were the people doing this... abusing espers and trying to make espers irrelevant. Black's OGA rescue the sacrificial study espers and once again "liberates" technology... letting it be free.] Inertia fields will make faster ships, with faster acceleration possible.

Okay- most Blackbird Chronicles would be during the late Series 1 period to just before the First System War. So this is just being discovered sometime before FSW.

For Blackbird/ Mars, simulated gravity has an impact and some societal questions. Should Habitats and Outposts have Gravity Generators and coils to have "Earth Gravity"? Should Outposters and Spacers live under the Earth Condition tyranny? (Well Humans without genetic manipulation (which is illegal, but seems to be pretty common on Mars and Space) do not do well in prolonged lesser gravity exposure. ). Yet are they really Outposters and Natives, if they don't attempt to adapt to standard conditions. Who wants to be a visitor on their home planet/ planetoid/ outpost. Sure this is not a "now question". It is a plot point that should eventually be addressed in a Blackbird Game. And do outposts want to lay out for this new support equipment?

Note: There are tractor beams, repulsor beams, and repulsor fields... that are obviously telekinesis derived technology on ships in the OVA. The fields seem to be everywhere, but beams seem used as "tools" and Free Spacer Weapons. They are big and bulky tech, so no personal units.

Speaking of Plot Points

There are three sections which are actually part of Series 2 and Tales, but they will come together. Mad Science is about just that, pushing the boundaries of science a bit too far... and without ethical regards. We will have Science Villains in Series 2 (Windmore) keeping the Squadron and the OGA busy. However Mad Science dovetails to two other sections: Big Science and Psi-Tech. Big Science is just that, larger than life science projects to provide power, water, and environmental repair. These things are more "background things" that could go wrong... thus having the Tales fiction of UZRF - Rescue Force. (Think Thunderbirds and International Rescue and all those crazy science plants they have to rescue.) PSI-Tech is applied Subtle Field Physics, generated by the study of ESPERS. Psi-Tech is the in-world explanation for some very science fiction things. Simulated Gravity, Repulsor Beams, Tractor Beams, Shields, etc are all Psi-Tech.

Now we had Gravity Generators as a plot point above. There are more: (See what you get when you let your mind wander some?)

Atmosphere attractors: using gravity and shields they can create big very porous shields that will hold in the atmosphere. This will increase atmospheric density, important to stopping radiation and geoforming the planet.

Grav Fields in Habitats/ Domes: Discussed above.

Atmo Dome: Like an attractor beam, but to hold air in. (and material stuff, it feels tough to pull out of it.) Thus you might have an area around a city, town, outpost, group of habitats that might have a nearly breathable atmosphere and some radiation protection.

Heating Domes: Like an Atmo Dome, but prevents heat from escaping, so warmer. May or may not be associated with an Atmo Dome. Again, a radius around a city, town, outpost, or group of habitats, to be warmer.

The best one of the bunch: Flight Tunnels

Once PSI Tech discovers a way to null gravity, then launches will be easier. Until then, we can use it to help.

"Flight Tunnel"

The tunnel isn't a solid tunnel it is a flight path, often with little floating beacons helping you maintain the course.

There will be a foundation of the tunnel with generators and repulsor dishes. (And probably a "traffic control office").

There will be an array of repulsor dishes defining the size of the flight tunnel. Your ship would "hover" into the tunnel space. It would be pushed upwards, negating most of its weight/ drag. Switch the ship's orientation to skyward and hit your drive. Stay in the beam and you will save a ton of energy (and time, and not need launch sleds, and maybe fuel).

There will be up and down tunnels, probably with an orbital at the end of the tunnel (maybe it has a tractor beam array to help ships up or slow descent).

Down Tunnels will have the same low-level repulsors aimed up to give a slow, calm, decent.

Okay, I did not write anything specific on the NF:S1 or OVA book today. However, I did do 1400 words on this post... which will contribute. Eventually. (Plus I did a character in the CCC Continuation thread... a guest, but editing and this one was tricky)
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Friday Morning Showing....

I needed to list things for the OVA, as there are some "battles" on Mars. They usually revolve around The Cities/ Big Outposts and the Chinese Science Outpost... as well as some minor ones in the far south were "rebels" are involved.

I am going to list three notable habitats. They are Wells, Bradbury, Burroughs. They have been implied to exist in the Blackbird Material. I let them vague so you could insert your own cities/outposts. However, I needed some "more concrete" places for the OVA. Here is what rattled out.

Wells and Bradbury are two of the most prosperous outpost on Mars. We actually call them cities because of the number of people they have in them and their size.

Bradbury has a significant launch facility which is its main claim to fame. It has a white jumpsuit/ administrative emphasis here. They also do a great deal of science. The Athena University (of Mars) and Ignatius University and School of Divinity (of Mars) are both in Bradbury. Resources all flow to Brabury, mostly to launch off word. However, so do a lot of Mars Products. Not for launch, so much, but to support the population. (Soya and food stuff are launched to Belt Habitats and to be sold to passing ships.)

Wells is just the first and it has slowly grown into a diverse and vibrant culture and economy. Every kind of processing and manufacturing done on Mars is done in Wells. It is not a "blue jumpsuit" city like Burroughs. Scientists, Technicians, Fab Techs, and Workers are the majority. The rest are are civies, or people who do not work for the corps or the habitats/outpost. Civies use the manufactured and refined things to make domestic products and services.

Burroughs is simply an overgrown habitat cluster. It is focused on mining and nothing but mining. The company that sponsored most of Burroughs did not allow for civilians. Thus not too far away is a town outpost called Helium. Helium is your first suburb on Mars. Where people have their family and things in helium and then drive/ride the 20 to 30 minutes in the underground tunnel road to get to work in Burroughs. Burroughs has the dubious honor of having the first Martian Traffic Jam and Rush Hours.


Blackbird is a town and is happy to be called to town. In some areas of Earth might be a city but a very small one. Diversity was the first thing that happened in Blackbird. Blackbirds diversity in economics is based on the fact that it had a civilian population and quite a large one. When the owning mining company scaled back its operation, the locals simply just took over. They're slowly paying off the company.
"Rest Stops" [Entry]

Every now and then you'll find one. In the middle of nowhere (and there is a lot of nowhere on Mars). It's an old hab. Probably not kept in very good shape. Still a generator/ battery system working. Probably barely supplied. There might be an oxygen scrubber or some air there. Maybe a couple of tins of used supplies. But it's a hab.

It's an old hab, probably a salvaged hab, but it's a hab. In the middle of freaking nowhere. Not necessarily even along a road or a path that is regularly used.

Someone in the past literally just towed a hab here and dropped it.

Normally, it doesn't mean much. To someone who's running low on oxygen or heat or has been traveling for a while, it could mean the difference between life/ sanity vs death.

It could of been a prospector's camp for a while.

If it is not too far from a hab cluster or outpost, someone might of used it as a "club house" or a place for some privacy.

A common theory is that the hab is owned by a corp and someone is screwing with the corp by hiding it out here. (A couple of Rust Riders smile at that theory.)

A very common theory is that "if you are here" someone else might have been here before... and not been well supplied. Thus after they were rescued or the body was found, someone might have brought a hab here... so the next guy will not be screwed over.

Maybe if it was good to you, you might come back (or have someone do it) and bring some spare supplies or tanks or something. After all, who might need it next time.
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