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 No.22814[View All]

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It was a peculiar letter of invitation that brought you here. It had arrived almost as a cold-call. Out of the blue, without any provocation. Inside, it promised all the right things - as though written to tempt you and you alone. It promised discovery, wealth, and above all - escape. There was a resume contained within, filled with the most peculiar questions. You sent it off, and thought nothing of it for months. You began to wonder if the letter was a dream.

Until recently. Three days ago another envelope arrived, but this one was different. Enclosed within was not a letter, but a flyer for an academic conference, and two tickets. One, a two-way ticket to and from Seletar Airport in British-controlled Singapore, and two, a letter of invitation to the conference described on the flyer. What a strange place for a conference. And equally strange was the name. American Nautical Society for the Advancement of Scientific Research (ANSfASR). Quite a mouthful, so it's a good thing you've crossed paths with the Brits before - enough to speak the language.

Landing in Singapore was something out of a dream. The airport had been an RAF base only two years ago, and it still looked the part, fortified against potential attacks, but the city of Singapore itself was something amazing in itself. On the Malay Peninsula, you might have been forgiven for expecting a backward tropic of savages, but this city is anything but. The city sports colorful red architecture which shines against the blue sea and the backdrop of the forested cliffs, but more than anything there is the sound and scent of industry. Progress. As far as the eye can see, all land is under development and construction. As a hub for western trade, like Hong Kong itself, this port is undergoing rapid expansion and development. It's a far cry from the economic depression hitting London like a hammer.

You follow the flyer to an address - across a great red bridge - and find that rather than a conference center, it leads to a small and unassuming performance hall. How can a conference with the budget to pay the way of scientists from any corner of the globe afford only a tiny little building like this? How many could be in attendance? You doubt more than a hundred could fit comfortably in that building. Could it be the wrong address?

It seems the only way to get answers is to go in. In any case, the local Chinese and British seem to pay the building little mind.
76 posts and 6 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.


You can see a map of the sealab. It looks like it's quite small, but has a lot of room for growth. Specifically, foundations. You also see several sealed letters here that, based on their address (Attention: General Contractor) you're assuming no one else got. It looks like you've received communique directly from several members of the Board of Trustees, specifically Oskar von Hindenburg, Charles McVay Jr., and Cane Mitchell. They are probably intended to give advice about how to proceed on construction projects.

Wilkes begins introducing several of the other people in the room, though you're too distracted with your own work to make their acquaintance right now. You do overhear the titles 'head of personnel', 'director of strategic alliances', 'treasurer', and 'public liaison' thrown around, though.

"As we continue to grow, there will be need for more leadership positions - eventually a head of security, executive broker, and chief medical officer, for instance. However, until we have the capacity for those positions, I won't assign them. That brings us to Mr. Soon, our new Research Director. I am sure you'll be seeing a lot of him, although I expect this first year will involve a lot of archiving."


Oh, my!

"I'm flattered! This is a wonderful opportunity."


"We expected fifteen years to get Sealab prepared for the arrival of researchers. We've had eight. Now the world looks like it may tear itself apart, and we can't risk losing everything to another dark age. Most of the facilities we had hoped to have are not yet present, so I am glad to see you are already familiar with Mr. Quattrocchi."


Might as well open them up.

"Looks like you deserve a congratulations too Sun." I pat your back.


"We'll work together to build up sealab into something worthy, no doubt about it. Now, I believe the state of the world, though terrible, will bring us a few opportunities we can't miss."

"Ooh, thank you, thank you."
Resist the urge to high five


You pick one at random.

Welcome to your new post, General Contractor. It is the understanding of the Society that you are responsible for making all decisions governing the construction of buildings in the sea lab for the immediate future. As is the current situation, the Society controls a plurality of seats on the Board, as we should, having contributed more than any other group. We believe that the colonization of the sea is not in a test phase, but immediately about to get underway. Therefore, we are making a formal request that this year you spend no less than $76,750 on oxygen production and no less than $25,000 on residences. Should total annihilation come, the human species must be carried on with enough genetic diversity to survive. To this end, we hope to hear your plans on resettling civilians into the ocean over the next decade.

Deepest regards,


"The trip to the site will take about five and a half days at our current cruising speed. At that time, I will invite you to join us for a trip down to visit the premises. Perhaps now you would like to retire to your quarters and look over your research plans? You may want to think about the direction we're taking so that you can advise our contractor."


That's a lot of pressure. Open the next one.


"Sounds like a good idea. I'll think over it the best I can."

Guess I have a cabin on the ship?


It seems you have a key with your packet!


General Contractor,

I represent the interests of the United States Navy, and write to you on the behalf of the force which currently guarantees the independent sovereignty of your research lab. In other words, in addition to having three seats on the Board, we are responsible for ensuring you do not die.

We believe it is in the strategic interests of the United States Navy to have a hospital which we can access in the South Pacific outside of the theater of battle. To this end, I am ordering the immediate commission of a medical pavilion on your submersed laboratory.



Well that's reasonable at least. Another one?


This one is hand-written, instead of typed.

Alberich K. Quattrocchi,
You are known to the Illuminated Ones.

This year, construct a Menagerie.

It was foretold,


Give me a window cabin, please


Pity it's not below sealevel so you can see underwater, but maybe that's only something they do on cruise ships. It does seem like it might be a structural disadvantage on a light battlecruiser like this.

In any case, you do have a bolted porthole in your cabin which lets in some natural light. And your furnishings are surprisingly posh - carpet, drapes, a painting of the ocean, and a birch desk with all the writing accessories a man could ask for.


Well! At least they know how to pay for talent.

Get myself comfy and look at whatever documents they have waiting.


You're about to sit down when you hear an incessant barking from under your bed. Getting down on your hands and knees, you can see a cage below it which contains a Pomeranian. Perhaps left as an example of the research into small, easily transportable animals. This toy-class dog weighs around 4 pounds. Resisting your natural Chinese urge to eat it, you wonder what other diminutive land animals are aboard the ship.


Well that was all three of them. This job certainly won't be dull.


How cute. Is there a catalog of these?
Miniaturisation would allow us to fit these animals into an undersea colony. I was more in favour of using native fauna at first, but I think we'll have more use for these first.


Flipping through your manual, a few things become immediately apparent. You'll need to balance McClures (the amount of oxygen one human consumes in one day), electricity, and ideally, rations. Building farms and biodomes is one way to get more McClures, but the fastest way would be to build an air pump from the surface. Only problem with that investment is that it's highly expensive, leaves a huge weakpoint, and also gives away your position.

Right now the lab is in what you could loosely call a visitable state. There's air down there, but you're not supposed to breathe it. You wear a mask and air tank so you won't mess up the emergency air supply. No lights, going to need a flashlight until you can get a generator going. And of course, no food. That will have to be imported along with flashlights and oxygen.

Equally troubling are the room accommodations. One hotbunks has 12 hammocks, designed to stuff 24 people inside with no personal space (you alternate shifts, one bed is not your own).

You have a lot of growth to get out of the way before you even consider which research labs to build. Where would you like to begin?

It seems your dossier included a few of the successes they've had so far. The ones that immediately jump to your attention are noted as:
Reformed Falabella (pony): 36" tall
- Intelligent, more spirited than we would like
- We believe we may be able to further miniaturize without health problems (see notes on toy dogs).

Vechur Pureblood (bovine): 36" tall
- Acquired from Asia at great expense, further bred in an uncontaminated bloodline
- Very docile, excellent for ranching
- Weak legs cause it to move very little
- Cannot miniaturize further without sacrificing meat percentage. Currently sitting at an almost ideal 7.5 FCR by mass.

Kunekune (pig): 24" tall
- Our choice for lab rat replacement
- Highly intelligent, able to solve basic tests
- Pig gastrointestinal system closest to human outside of primates, extremely ideal for testing products
- Docile temperament makes excellent lab testing material
- Poor FCR percentage, sacrificed for lab utility

New Borneo (elephant) - 55" tall
-Smallest elephant in world, shorter than Shire Horse
-May be able to reduce size further
-Ideal for working plots of farmland
-Long lifespan, easily trained

Assorted Toy Dogs (Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrior, Maltese, Pomeranian)
-Wide variety for staff companionship
-Miniaturization not possible. Below 4 pounds, health issues begin, including neurological issues


Protein is probably more effectively obtained from local fauna…

For now, the kunekunes seem to most ideal for our short term plans. We should be able to use much of them for our incoming healthcare development and research. The ponies look cute, but I can't justify having them around…


Do you want to go through your research dossier now, or inspect the livestock?


Keep going through the dossier.


How much space will power generators and biodomes take up?


First, let's look at options for generating O2.

Oxygen Pumping Station [1x1] - 100 McClures - $100,000
Pump your oxygen from the surface. The presence of the platform will telegraph your lab’s position and remain a highly exposed weakness.

Oxygen Filter [4x5] - 1 McClure - $1,500
Oxygen exists in the water at a 1% concentration. By building a very large filter, we can produce air totally renewably. It should not affect local wildlife. An inexpensive option that consumes large amounts of space.

Oxygen Tank [0x0] - $1,000
Increases the O2 volume of your lab by 1 Hab. Typically built on rooftops to avoid using up foundations.

Biodome [5x5] - 5 McClures - $15,000
Biodomes are an attractive option for a variety of reasons. They allow us to store a variety of plants and animals and can be useful in studying plants and animals. Biodomes improve staff morale.

Potato Farm [2x1] - 0.4 McClures - $1,200
Potatoes convert CO2 to O2 at around a 2% efficiency, but they are one of the most efficient options for food. Every year, they produce 50 rations, but we are hopeful that research will improve output.

Sugar Farm [2x1] - 2 McClures - $1,200
Sugar is highly efficient at converting O2, but it won’t help with rations. Natural sugar farms tend to make people more happy around harvest time.


Before you can begin specialized research, you should look into these structures which will allow you the environment you need for special research tasks:

Animal Control Habitat [1x1] - $1,000
Configurable with prefab walls to contain animals of various sizes. We can comfortably store two of our elephants, twelve of our horses, or twenty of our dogs.

Menagerie [6x6] - $36,000
An extremely specialized lab for the research of a wide variety of animals. Equipped with aquariums, terrariums, and aviary cages.

Chemistry Annex - $60,000
An organic and inorganic chemistry lab, complete with burners, fume hood, chemical shower, and biotic disposals.

Medical Pavillion [3x3] - $80,000
Includes one surgical theater, one radiology lab, phlebotomy lab, one pharmacy, three patient rooms, one medical storage room, and a waiting room. Requires 2 doctors ($3400/year each) to operate.

Viral Safe Room [1x2] - $30,000 *Requires X-Ray Advances and Medical Pavilion*
A separate habitat with its own life support systems, completely sealed with a two-step airlock. Used ot archive and mutate viruses.

Computer Laboratory [5x5] - $55,000
Equipped with the latest in punch card computing. These fabulous machines are like adding members to our staff, multiplying our productivity.

It is simply not in the budget to get all of them right away, or to expand any of them - you have no doubt that Alberich will already be hurting for cash trying to build up the structure, so you should choose very wisely about what you want to look into most.


Pretty tough choices. The filter looks best for long term, potatoes or sugar might be better short term. And the tanks are a good idea. Pipe is just way too expensive since we need other things too. And it wouldn't really make our sea colonist sponsor happy to have to be connected to the surface that way.


Does the medical pavilion allow for medical research?


As a reminder, here are some of the recommendations you received:

- no less than $76,750 on oxygen production and no less than $25,000 on residences
- medical pavilion
- menagerie

Yes, and it also allows you to treat patients on site. However, a lot of the research you can do into medicine isn't a commodity. You can solve problems like the bacteriophage debate, or develop the first successful open heart surgery. Not easy things to sell - but there are some things, like grasping prosthetic.

The chemistry annex is the best option for sales. You can develop cheap synthetic materials like polyethylene, or pharmaceutical antibiotics.

Quite a very large amount of research that seems promising also branches off from studying animals, like echolocation or primatology. That means getting a menagerie for research would be required before branching off into those new fields of study.


Right now, it's either the pavilion or chemistry, then. I'll have to ask Quattrochi about our funding situation when I get the chance. Menagerie can wait.

What else to know?


You have several letters addressed to the research director from Rene Caulfield, Bernard Lonergan, and Lee Hoong Leong.

There are also some research projects you could initiate this year because they have no requirement except a central research hab. You could view those next.


Read all these letters first. Let's see what's being demanded.


Right. What are resident building options?


Dear Brother,

It is with great happiness I write to you on this occasion. Although work in the laboratory is starting prematurely, it has always been my belief that necessity is the father of innovation. I understand that one of your first tasks this year will be to construct a research library for the preservation of human knowledge. To that end, I would like to offer to you as a gift our library's copies of twelve translations of the Holy Bible, as well as the Roman Catechism, Catechism of Saint Pius X, the complete works of William of Ockham, and our collections of Aquinas. Of personal interest to you may be an original copy of "Versuche über Pflanzenhybriden", signed by Gregor Mendel.

God Be With Ye,


Hot Bunks [1x1] - $500
As cheap as they come. By alternating shifts, it sleeps 24 in dingy hammocks. With no security or privacy, this is a very unpopular option. No toilet.

Barracks [1x1] - $1000
Sleeps a mere six, but each area is separated with dividers and locking personal chests. Sharing space so closely limits privacy and happiness. No toilet.

Personal chamber [1x1] - $1250
An empty hab with locks and a window to look outside. Having a personal room will make staff happy. No toilet.

Apartment Complex [2x3x3] - $3250
Stacked three high, and capable of being stacked further up to nine (two additional apartment units). Stores up to three whole families comfortably, and contains a private bathroom.

Lavatories [1x1] - $1000
Waste can be flushed onto a farm for processing or into the ocean.


I don't have any use for the rest, but this original copy of Mendel's work is fascinating, even if I can't read it.



This one is handwritten instead of typed.

Johann Sun,
You are known to the Illuminated Ones.

This year, construct a Menagerie.

It was foretold,

This is really the kind of request that should go to the general contractor, but they must be really interested in animal science!


These luddites don't know how to use a typewriter? How disturbing.

Let's see the last request.


This one was written to you in Traditional Chinese.

Profitability should commence immediately lest investors lose faith in their investments.

Good luck with your financial endeavors. Please write if you require advice on trade markets.

From the Desk Of Lee Hoong Leong


I'll ask another time once we figure out what we're going to produce.

Now let's see those projects.


It seems there are a ton of proposed projects that require one of the proposed buildings, most of which need a menagerie for animal study. Some of these projects would require structures that are probably too complex to even think about building now - and would require basics in other types of research. For now, the proposals are…

Mathematical Cryptography
Cryptography is already a popular topic amongst generals, and in fact one of our sponsors is a cryptanalysis group. We think that we could use mathematics to create a proof for perfect secrecy. This would also allow us to better protect our own research from falling into the wrong hands.

Humane Trap
Developing humane traps will make capturing live samples much easier. Right now we’re subsisting on tranquilizer darts on land and whatever happens into our nets at sea, but if the drugs aren’t just right the animal may get away or die, and nets are random, let small creatures slip through, and strangle large creatures. We think we could devise a better mouse trap. Or, you know, whatever kind of trap.

Grasping Prosthetic
The concept of a prosthetic arm has, in the past, been essentially limited to decoration or a bludgeon. Working with amputees and veterans, we may be able to develop new designs that have a little more functionality.


Both the cryptography and prosthetic seem good. The prosthetic should allow us some cash inflow soon and secure some confidence for the Istana. Then we can splinter off into other projects.


That seems to have secured most of your immediate work, at least until you arrive at the laboratory. Perhaps now would be a good chance to appraise the livestock or see if there are any interesting folks to talk to on the vessel. You might even want to go hassle the contractor for information about construction plans.

Based on your project limitations it seems you are very much at his mercy for what you can research!


I'm just going to walk around and see if I run into the animals or people first. I'll give the contractor more time to plan.


Exiting your domicile and heading for the stairs, you're offered the chance to go up or down.


Let's see what's further down


Through a porthole, you can see you've arrived at the hatch to the primary cargo hold. It's very large, and lit up by huge floodlights. A faint braying in the distance.


Let's see those cute donkeys


From here on the catwalk, you can see a wide variety of livestock being transported below. Partitioned off animals ranging from elephants to toy dogs – and yes, donkeys. You can make out a sign which reads: Sicilian Donkey - 36"

If there's a specific animal you'd like to wander around in search of, you should start looking now. They seem a little haphazardly organized.


For refrence family means the typical mom dad and 6 kids?

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