ENTRY 169: Firebase Shaka
The TITAN Quarantine Zone on Mars. One of the last bastions of transhumanity’s would-be exterminators. Even the Planetary Consortium isn’t sure what is left in there—art and technologies dreamed of by minds freed of human desires, morals, ethics, and goals, rigged with whatever traps, leftovers, and experiments they remained. Too dangerous to explore, too valuable to destroy outright, transhumanity can only seek to contain the Zone. Some of the safeguards are obvious—walls, fences, signs, mine fields. Others are less intrusive: a surreptitious sensor network monitoring everything going in and out of the Zone, regular satellite surveillance, laser emplacements built into the Martian landscape and camouflaged from view.
High above all of this in geosynchronous orbit is Firebase Shaka. An autonomous fortress-habitat, little more than a platform primed to deliver its payload of tungsten harpoons upon the Zone. Designed as a final failsafe in the event of a TITAN resurgence, Firebase Shaka has enough orbital artillery to level any conventional and most unconventional structures. Whether that will be enough has not yet been put to the test.
- Unmanned and carrying a payload of orbital weaponry, Firebase Shaka makes a tempting target to any criminals insane or desperate enough to try and rifle it. After several thwarted attempts, the Planetary Consortium offers the player characters a reward to act as “white hats” by attempting to bypass the latest security measures they have installed. The mission goes critical when an accidental intrusion in the Zone causes one of the orbital weapons to arm…and only the PCs are close enough to stop the countdown.
- An unarmed duplicate of Firebase Shaka occupies an orbit closer to Mars’ south pole—initially designed as a testbed for orbital weapon technologies and later decommissioned, it is now mainly used as a setting for various cinematic efforts. The PCs are hired to come along and provide security and technical assistance with one such effort, which includes installing a massive “prop” tungsten rod…are the people who hired the PCs really there to make a movie, or at they trying to make the station operational?
- Firebase Shaka has suffered a failure in its navigational thrusters and slipped into a decaying orbit. The PCs are hired to get aboard the falling space station and try to correct or allay its descent…and failing that, to direct it to fall onto the Zone instead of any of the occupied habitats on Mars.
- Exsurgent terrorists have seized Firebase Shaka, and are reconfiguring the weaponry for some purpose. While the Planetary Consortium debates the best course of action—trying to destroy the station versus trying to recapture it—Firewall asks the team to discover what is really going on. Unknown to the Planetary Consortium, Firewall has a miniature resleeving station set up inside Firebase Shaka itself loaded with six micro-morphs – synthmorphs only fifteen centimeters tall. This could be a valuable opportunity to find out what the exsurgents are planning and stop them at the same time.