Tuesday, May 14, 2013

134: Marsfall

ENTRY 134: Marsfall

The history of Mars is a damaged recording, broken and burnt by the conflict with the TITANs, and only partially restored and filled in. No-one now remembers the name of the first baby conceived on Mars, or what happened with the diamond cremain time-capsules favored by the first settlers, and most of all no-one knows where and when exactly humanity first fell through the atmosphere and made Marsfall.

Not that ignorance stops any of the Martian city-states from claiming the distinction, particularly Ashoka and New Shanghai. Yet even those habitats, which can show off some of the oldest man-made structures on Mars, relics first built on Earth or Earth-orbit, cannot point to the exact location of Marsfall—though they have tried, and Ashoka even offers an augmented reality-based annotated “Marsfall Trail” for tourists, though it sees frequent defacement from history buffs and revisionists in a bitter and seemingly never-ending battle.

Perpetual squabbling aside, many historians worry that the actual location of Marsfall—or at least, any surviving records that would point to its location—are located in the TQZ. Even given the cultural significance that the Marsfall site might have to the peoples of Mars, the Planetary Consortium and the Hypercorp Council would rather see it lost and buried forever beneath the sand and dust than have anyone upset the remaining TITAN-tech to uncover it.


  • Three diamond capsules created from the cremains of the first Martian settlers have been put up for private auction in Noctis-Quianjiao; historians in Ashoka believe the drops of blood held within could be matched against Martian DNA databases to more accurately indicate the Marsfall site by tracing their descendents, and successfully bid on them. Fearing intercession by revisionists from New Shanghai, the Ashokans have hired a dozen small groups of secure carriers, including the PCs, to transport the gems back to Ashoka—of course, most of the groups are decoys carrying counterfeits, but as far as each of them knows they’re carrying the real thing.
  • A data archivist doing restoration work has noticed a small detail—a tiny crater some fifty kilometers west of Ashoka that is present on most pre-Fall maps after Marsfall, but not present on any pre-Fall maps from before Marsfall. Given its small size, the crater could have been overlooked even on planetary surveys—but what if? She asks the PCs to help her investigate, with the promise that they can share in the glory. Unfortunately when they get there they find a group of sickly Barsoomians, combing the radioactive dust of the crater for Martian trinitite, a glassy product of early radioactive drives…and the rusters aren’t eager to share.
  • Firewall knows that human migration to Mars was not a singular event, and different nation-groups and hypercorps each recorded their own Marsfalls over a given period. That said, they believe that the original Marsfall did occur in the Zone—and they have come across a journal from one of the early settlers that suggests that the original site was deliberately hidden for some reason. While Firewall does not know for sure that this has anything to do with the TITANs, it cannot ignore the possibility that the first man or woman on Mars might have found something…maybe a proto-TITANs artifact, or an indicator to the Martian Gate. Either way, Firewall wants the PCs to penetrate deep into the Zone and find out.

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