Tuesday, October 22, 2013

295: Candee Apple Island

ENTRY 295: Candee Apple Island

"They look like...apes?"
- Yeshiva Candee, gatecrasher

Three months ago, a group of gatecrashers stepped through the Pandora Gate, and walked on sweet-smelling green grass under blue skies whose white fluffy clouds promised rain. All initials tests had suggested the statistically improbable - a near-Earth-like planet, with an active biosphere and characteristics tantalizingly close to old Earth. Gravity, sunlight, oxygen content, temperature - it was almost perfect. Of course, it was also already inhabited.

Initial, covert surveys identified that the gate opens on a grassy bald near the top of a mountain on a sizable island in the middle of a salt water sea, with no other landmasses in sight. Rough early estimates give a population of perhaps four thousand six-limbed hominoids on Candee Apple Island, as well as associated flora and fauna suggestive of considerable evolutionary development. The hominoids themselves are lumbering figures somewhere between hairy reptiles and monotreme mammals, with a partial bipedal gait and evidence of some tool use and spoken language, though usage of fire and stored energy (spring traps, bows, etc.) is only incidental. They are omnivorous, with a few natural predators in the form of viscious six-limbed toothless carnivores with a caustic slobber and long, rough tongue, and are divided into three rough tribes based primarily on fur color (pink, blue, and green, though many stippling patterns are evident).

Faced with a thriving population of possible sapients, the gatecrashers quietly finished their survey and withdrew without attempting to make contact, and taking care to conceal signs of their intrusion. This has sparked an ongoing debate about the further development and exploitation of Candee Apple Island - whether it is appropriate to interfere with their cultural and technological evolution, the benefits of exploiting the planet for transhuman colonization and resource development, etc. Currently, the factions that argue for study and observation have won out with the hypercorp that sponsored the expedition to discover the world, a research-oriented venture out of Titan known as Kessler-Tycho AG. Emphasis has been placed on further exploration of the biology and geography of this new world, taking considerable pains to avoid direct contact with the native "apes," even to the extant of disguising drones as native creatures.

Using Candee Apple Island

CAI is classic Prime Directive bait, but with a couple twists. First, the gatekeeper for this "untouched" country is a profit-minded hypercorp, and while right now they'll listen to the ethists and scientists that want the Island to remain untouched, eventually the data needs to lead to something to justify the expense of discovering and exploring the world. Further, the "apes" of Candee Apple Island may or may not be all that they appear - while there are several indications of sentience, it is difficult at a remove to distinguish these behaviors from the actions of pre-uplift animals like Earth-based gorrillas and elephants - and nothing about the level of technology they possess suggests how the "apes" got here from wherever their parent land mass is, and there is no immediate indication that they evolved on the relatively small island. There are mysteries here as well as morality plays, and some of the long-time researchers wonder if they haven't stumbled upon an artificial habitat, not a natural one, and wonder quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


  • The Prosperity Group is making a bid to buy out Kessler-Tycho AG, and that has xenobiologists and xenosapient watchdog groups going nuts. Different factions approach the player characters to intervene, hoping to dig up the PG's real plans for Candee Apple Island, or at least see if K-T AG is hiding any dark secrets. Surprisingly enough, the PCs do turn up a reference to an early report that was buried, the various gatecrashers involved mysteriously died or disappeared not long afterwards, all pointing toward a possible ruined settlement on the barren north coast of the island. If the PCs follow through, they'll have to pass through the gate to Candee Apple Island, possibly with Prosperity Group counteragents on their tail, and come across a perfect circle of fused, slightly radioactive glass and ruined buildings and monuments that the "apes" are the degenerate, inbred remnants of what was once an advanced culture...possibly the last survivors of their own extermination event.

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