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Community Campfire 5/12/2015

Posted by dunkelza , 12 May 2015 · 1,996 views

Lore Medicine Aisha Life on Earth Campfire Community
Community Campfire 5/12/2015 Howdy, folks!

Things are heating up here at Descendent Studios as we get ready for our first livestreamed design meeting tomorrow. The topic is mining resources and how those turn into powerups. Tune at 11:30am CDT (1630 UDT) to get a sneak peek at what Underground members will get to see!

We've also been touching base with our "Share The Wealth" and "Ultimate Creator" Kickstarter backers, getting a lot of great ship and megacorporation names. Keep your eyes peeled for those in the near future!

We're also hard at work evaluating the game idea submissions that many of you posted in the Kickstart Contest. The design team is pouring over the entries looking for the shiniest gems in a pile of shiny gems!

Don't forget to tune into our Twitch Channel at 11am CDT (1600 UDT) on Friday, May 15, for another fun-filled Wingman's Hangout, and be sure to submit your questions for FFFForum FFFFeedback!

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to get the latest updates as soon as they appear!

Thanks for all your awesome support!

Until next time - Fly Safe!


P.S.: How about some lore?

=== LORE ===

The Icy Fingers Of Night

The rising sun is warm on my cheek. A frigid wisp brushes the back of my neck, the last icy fingers of night reminding me that I'm supposed to be wearing my helmet. I hate the helmet. It makes the locals think of us as different, alien even. They call us "sky people", as if we all lived in the arcos or in those space stations they see in the vids. Besides, as a doctor, I know that most of the time we don't need the helmet. The air around here isn't too bad, mostly particulates from smoky cooking fires. Basic clinical hygiene would suffice for most of my work. But the company regs are specific. I have to wear my helmet.

By the time I get the damn thing fitted and sealed, the rest of my team are piling into the mobile clinic. I don't know why we have to wear the stupid helmet inside the clinic- it has better environmental controls and filtration than any high-tech clean room a century ago. Molly fires up the flywheels and a few heartbeats later I feel a perceptible shudder when our Jedlik fields get strong enough to draw power from the Earth's magnetic field.

While Molly bounces us along the crumbling roads, we review patient files. Kiko's been working this area with me for a year now, but Mike's so fresh out of nursing school that he still tries to wear that little cap inside his helmet. Our target today is one of the cotton farming villages in the northern part of the EOZ.

The map display on the wall reminds me how outnumbered we really are- five mobile clinics for 137,565 km2 worth of Economic Opportunity Zone. Sure, local governments still provide some basic services and the so-called "state" tries to maintain the roads and such... but they can't keep up. That’s where we come in- my company and I.

It's funny, a lot of people think I'm named after my company. I’m actually older than it by at least twelve years, though I sometimes think we came into this world together. I’m here to be a doctor and they’re here to make sure doctors like me can operate where we are most needed. A lot of the other gigacorps, they wouldn't waste money on clinics- not for this zone. What's here? Some cotton farmers, some peanuts, a little light manufacturing? If Chengchao or Torchlight owned the arco here, they'd have just automated it all and pushed the locals to the Barrens.

Instead, we buy what the locals can sell, and in turn we sell them things they desperately need- water purification, better cookstoves, medicine... That's where I come in. We provide a lot of basic services for free or below cost, but I've got to upsell. I hate upselling. The mobile clinics still lose money, but if I don't meet quota, they'll find another doctor for this rig. Expense control is king when accounting labels you a "cost center" instead of a "profit center".

By mid-afternoon, my team and I have conducted twenty-five physicals, delivered two babies, wrapped two more for burial, set or reset four broken bones, amputated three gangrenous limbs, and sold enough odd-and-ends of medical mojo to cover our materials and Mike's salary. All in all, a pretty good day. Looking outside, I can see the old-timers, the thirty- and forty-somethings shuffling into the crude pine cabin they use for a town hall. The younger folks probably won't come in until dark, there's simply too much work to be done.

I leave the team to clean up the clinic and drift over to the hall. Even through this damn helmet I can hear some muttering as I come in. Inside, the room is mostly dark except for a projector lighting up a sheet on the wall. It shows a countdown until the next CPIA match, a minor bout between some corps I've never heard of. The only other light comes from the locals' slates, really archaic models- probably leftovers from back when "Plastic For The Planet" was a popular pipetag on Allme. That was about thirty years before my grandmother was born, in case you were wondering.

Glancing over at the guy to my left, a grey and bent fellow named Earl, I can see that he's commenting on the odds for the upcoming bout. I never really got into the Underground Games myself, no time for it in med school; but the locals can't get enough of it. For them, it must be like science fiction, an imaginary otherworld where people have clean clothes and enough food to eat. In a way I guess, they need it- the prospectors bring hope, and hope is probably the only thing Earth needs more than safe water and food.

A shout from the clinic spins my head around. I'm running back even before I can assess the situation. This stupid helmet cuts off my vision in all the wrong places!

Skidding around the corner to the main entrance, I see Mike arguing with a tall, crooked man. Behind the man cringes a very pregnant woman doubled over in pain. Even from here I can tell she's gone into contractions.

"I'm sorry, sir, but the clinic is already closed," Mike protests.

"But muh wife, she needs a doc." The man is building up to an explosion.

Stupidly, I lay a hand on his shoulder, trying to calm him down. I say stupidly, because about half a second later, I’m laying next to the clinic all ass-over-teakettle trying to clear my head. The big man is laying on the ground, Molly must have shocked him right after he cold-cocked me. I decide I'd best get up and salvage the situation before my team does something even more stupid.

"Wow," I started. "That fellow might be half-starved, but he's damn strong!"

Molly starts to ask to ask if I'm alright. I wave off her concern.

"I'm fine, just a bit shook up. Prep the delivery. We're not going to leave this lady alone through labor with an unconscious husband." Mike starts to protest, but he catches my look and thinks better of it.

Within minutes, I know that if we hadn't stayed, tomorrow the villagers would've been burying both mother and child. The umbilical is wrapped around the baby's neck, forcing him into a breach position. Back when my grandmother was born, they used to solve this by Caesarian Section. We have better methods now, but timing is critical.

I'm not sure we are in time.

"Seven CCs of Plastacin!” Kiko, cool and experienced, already has it drawn. She injects even as I give the order.

"Molly, set the arm to 12 centimeters. I think we can clear it there, and even with Plastacin I'm worried about hemorrhaging." As the automated delivery system kicked in, I flip over to virtual surgery mode. My visor displays three-dimensional overlays showing me the mother, the baby, and all the other factors at play. Blood pressure, vital organs, unneeded tissue, heartbeat, all clearly visible.

My gloves take control of the robotic surgeon. Gently, I try to right the baby. Once I cut the umbilical, there will be precious little time to get him out before hypoxia sets in. Dammit! He won't budge! I need more room to work.

"Kiko, three more CCs of Plastacin. Molly, get set to take the arm to 16 as soon as it's safe. Mike, monitor her sedation. She's starting to show Theta activity."

Through the audio feed from outside, I hear groans of frustration. The match must not be going well.

"Okay, take it to 16, Molly." The autodelivery bot gently widens the gap. I guide the surgery unit carefully around. With the extra room, I easily unwrap the infant's head. Still showing a pulse, good. "I've got him in position, separation in three, two, one."

Gasps from the crowd in the cabin. Mike was supposed to shut off that damned audio feed before we closed up shop. One more thing to add to the list of his faults.

"I'm extracting. Pulse is good. Prepare the blankie..."

The infant cries.

As if on cue, a joyous roar erupts from the assembled crowd watching the mineral sports match. In their minds' eye, they were each a billion kilometers from this dustball of a no-name town. Yet, I feel sorry for them. To me, this new life is the real victory- and they are missing it.

Half an hour later, with both husband and wife revived and recuperating with the villagers in the hall, we set out for home. The early evening twilight casts sharply contrasting lines across the road. To the south, the Montgomery arco rises up like a beacon, awash in white light and the blinking markers of aircraft.

As we’re pulling back into our forward base, Kiko taps me on the shoulder.

"Have you seen the back of your helmet, Aisha?”

"No, what of it?" I fumble with the seals and whip it off. The entire back of my helmet is creased by a long, jagged gash.

"That could've been the back of your head!" She laughs. "I guess the lawyers were right to make us wear them."

We stop. I step out of our mobile clinic, the damned helmet that saved three lives today cradled under my arm.

The setting sun is warm upon my cheek... and the icy fingers of approaching night brush a frigid wisp of breeze across the back of my neck.

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First streamed meeting is free for everyone, the rest will be just for underground members only.


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