ENTRY 106: Modular Ganges
Trailing from the outskirts of New Varansis are a series of triangular arches, fifteen feet at the apex, and between them are sloping transparent walls through which a ribbon of gleaming blue can be glimpsed, and down each bank of this captive river bounce individual pilgrims and tourists. Sometimes visitors may even catch the rare cremation ceremonies, where the ashes of the pious deceased are immersed in the river for their salvation, and then almost immediately removed by scuttling filter-bots so the waters run pure as Lunar ice-melt once again.
One of the major community projects of the ethnic religious communities in New Varanasi on Luna is the recreation of the sacred river Ganges—eventually. Given that it is not currently feasible to reproduce the entire 2,000+ kilometer river in scale on the lunar surface, devotees of the project have embarked on a more workable approach, stringing together a series of 100-meter-long self-sustained habitat bubbles with separate airlocks for foot traffic along the riverbank and water locks that permit continuous waterflow from one module to the next. Each section has separate solar powers and back batteries for power, temperature control, oxygen supply, air filters, water pumps, and filtration system managed by an AGI. Like with most distributed habitat projects, in the event that a micrometeorite strike or other such incident punctures one or more of the bubbles, the remainder of the river network will automatically seal itself off to prevent loss in the non-damaged modules.
Currently, there are fifty-two sections of the Modular Ganges, for a total of 5.2 kilometers of river. Artists and ecologists are sculpting the first twenty modules into an arboretum, filled with traditional Indian flora to grace the walking trail. Long term goals for the project include a re-establishment of a freshwater ecosystem, including the eventual reintroduction of the Ganges river dolphin via cloning, though pragmatic estimates suggest that the river may take generations to complete at the current rate. Still, for the time being the ethnic communities in New Varanasi that view the river as sacred and the Modular Ganges River Trust, which maintains and extends the sight, has authority on all public and private usage of the river.
- Not everyone in New Varanasi is in favor of the Modular Ganges, with some traditionalists considering it an affront to the true sacred river which (presumably) still exists on Earth and some non-believers that think it simply a waste of resources and sentiment. To this end, a group of local art provocateurs ask the PC’s help for a monumental prank—rearranging six segments of the modular river into a self-contained loop, an “infinite river.” All they need is some industrial vehicles and a big distraction…
- Citing concerns over radiation exposure to regular hikers, the Modular Ganges River Trust is exploring the possibility of partially burying the modules. A test module (#53) in the new configuration was placed at the end of the line and seemed to work perfectly, but soon operation malfunctions became apparent throughout the Modular Ganges as temperature and air controls became erratic, sometimes toxic. The Trust suspects a hacker or even a rogue AGI, and wishes to hire the player characters to find and eliminate whatever is causing the problem. This is a high-profile assignment that’s good for a bit of cred and rep.