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File: 1476965018923.jpg (347.43 KB, 760x495, singapore.jpg)

 No.22814[Last 50 Posts]

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.


Well, well, well. Maybe it's a place for us to be directed towards a grander venue? Seems like no one finds it odd. I'll just keep holding onto my briefcase and head on in.


Time to see if this place is for real. At least their structure is well made?


Out of the sun, at least. The inside is tiled, walls painted a humble white. No-one here in the waiting area, how odd… There is a little ticket counter and a set of double doors, presumably into the theater proper. A fellow Chinaman, likely a local, sits at the counter. He straightens upon seeing you enter, perhaps distracted by a magazine. The room's only sound is the faint droning of the fan behind the man at the counter.

There's no mistaking that this is the place, though. There's a sign sitting on the floor.

International Conference on the Defense of Scientific Integrity

Sponsored by the American Nautical Society for the Advancement of Scientific Research

The man at the counter surprises you with an English greeting instead of something more local. "Are you here for the conference?"

The vast majority of construction going on is in a British style - owing to their Western overlords. Steel - a valuable commodity. There must be a great deal of wealth flowing through this place.

This structure in particular is not so fortunate. It's old - but not predating Western rule. Built in an old Iberian style, it stands out against other buildings due to its tile roofing and ornate handrails. Portuguese, perhaps? It would fit the bill…

Looks like a Chinaman in a suit just went inside. Is he a local? Here for the conference?


"Yes, actually. Is, uh, is this the place?"

Look around the surroundings. I do wonder if it's actually going to be here after all.


Besides the little ticket booth, the room is less than impressive. The tile floor, a red-brown, is even dusty. Light filters in through two large, barred windows which give a view out into the street. You can see a European outside appraising the structure.

"That's right. Do you have your letter of invitation. I'm afraid it's required."


That means the place isn't abandoned, and is newish. Step on inside before I'm late.


Out of the sun, at least. The inside is tiled, walls painted a humble white. No-one here in the waiting area, how odd… There is a little ticket counter and a set of double doors, presumably into the theater proper. The chinaman you saw enter before has approached the counter and is speaking with the ticket taker. You can hear the faint droning of the fan behind the man at the counter.

There's no mistaking that this is the place, though. There's a sign sitting on the floor.

International Conference on the Defense of Scientific Integrity

Sponsored by the American Nautical Society for the Advancement of Scientific Research


"Yes, I do."
Show the letter of invitation, but try not to give it to him.


He examines it and then holds up a paper - no, a photograph - glancing between you and it. Finally, he sets it down and makes a checkmark on a sheet of paper.

"Mr. Sun, we are glad you were able to make it. Please, go right in."


That Chinaman must already know what to do. I stand in line behind him at the counter.


Finally, someone says my name right. The u sounds like in use.

Oh, someone else. I'm sure I'll see him inside.


The man at the counter waves up the westerner.

"Are you here for the conference as well? Do you have your letter of invitation?"

Hm. English. Well, it's to be expected, since this is sponsored by Americans, isn't it?


Pretty typical. I'll walk into the presumed hall in the meantime.


This is quite interesting. I smile and wave back at him, my hand gesturing more as I speak.
"Yes, Hello. I have the letter for the ..International Conference on the Defense of Scientific Integrity, right here." I show him the letter and let him hold it if likes.
"Is everyone else inside?"


The double doors are unpainted, but are a proud local variety, and likely date back decades. You are familiar with this kind of wood, called keruing. It comes from a type of tree native to this peninsula, but which does not grow as far north as China. The door itself is rather heavy, and you give it a firm tug. The lights are kept rather low, and there is a hushed whispering. Sure enough, there are a number of individuals in suits here, in seats in the theater. Less than you would have expected, but still perhaps forty or fifty. At the bottom of the room you spy a large projector screen. Well, this is all looking more familiar. This is very exciting - better find a seat before things start.

"Yes, almost all of the guests are here Mister…"

He holds up a photograph and compares your face to it, before checking a name off a list. "Mister Quatrocki. Thank you for coming, please, find a seat inside."

His Chinese accent is quite strong.


These are more enjoyable with a partner… Turn around, that gentleman seems to be in a good mood.

"Looks like we're both on time! It is more impressive than it seems on the outside. Here for the conference, too?"


Traditionally, conferences are about making connections - you have a good point!


Well he didn't get close at all.
"Thank you. Have a nice day."

I nod at you. "Yes, yes! I'm Mr. Alberich Quattrocchi. Engineering of course." extending a handshake. "What's your name?"


"Of course."

"Johann Sun. That's spelled with a u even if it sounds like 'soon', by the way." Take the hand and shake it eagerly before finding us both seats.


"Pleased to meet you Mr. Sun." I walk with you since you seem to know the way. "The trip down here wasn't so bad, at least from the air port. Lots of parking, traffic's nothing like in London." I make a relaxed gesture with my hand.
"Bit of a relief you know?"


"Oh yes, traffic can get quite bad in busier cities. I can see this place reaching that sort of thing in a few years, actually. Couldn't believe that the weather here could be any hotter than it is in the Hong Kong summers, but it is, just a little… you taking the heat well?"

Sit down and wait for it to begin, after offering Mr Quat… Quatrocchi a seat too.


Sit next to you naturally.
"It hasn't bothered me so far, maybe if we stick around a bit more. Haven't had time to walk about the city much."
"I hope they follow more of the British trends in structure for expanding, more stable than the old Portuguese design here."


The two of you find a pair of seats next to each other and chat quietly for another ten or fifteen minutes. The occasional guest comes in through the door to find a seat. In all, it seems around fifty guests arrived before the lights started to dim. All eyes are called to attention in the front as a beam of light shoots forth from the projector, landing on the screen at the bottom. You see the image of a man sitting at his desk. The film is very smooth, running at least ten frames per second, and the sound which emanates from the projector box is almost within a single second of being synchronized with the lips of the man on the screen.

"Gentlemen. Just over thirty years ago, one of our colleagues, Henri Becquerel, discovered the phenomenon of radiation. His work was continued by his student, Marie Curie, whom I have the very great pleasure of corresponding with to this very day, in spite of her illness. Miss Curie once said that - 'when we first discovered Radium, no one knew of any of its applications. It was a pure scientific pursuit.' Less than ten years later, it was being employed in the Great War. The war, they said, which would end all wars. And yet in spite of that, the world seems to be more distressed than ever. Tensions are rising in the West. The Communists rage throughout in the East. And the entire economy of the world has collapsed only two years ago. This world is not safe from war by any stretch of the imagination. And yet pursuits of true science cannot be made in a vacuum. We are left with a question. How could the integrity of research be guaranteed? How can we continue to discover and create without our discoveries ending up in the hands of soldiers, as more effective killing tools?"

There is a dramatic pause for the audience to absorb the statement.


"Oh, they will. At least for as long as they're here. Oh, I never told you what I work in, did I? Biology."


Form our own state and use our technology to destroy anyone who tries to disturb us, of course. But I'm being delusional. Wonder what he's going to say.


I look as if I'm about to make a joke but then the show comes on and I lose the thought.

How dramatic.


"The answer to this question is the reason this conference has been called. You have each been vetted as exemplars in your field who surely believe in true, pure, and unrestricted science. Can we live among the Luddites and the Scholastics any longer? I say no. And with your help, we can make that a reality."

The view on suddenly snaps from a man at a desk to a factory assembly line.

"I have already secured a contract with the President of the United States. This country, which has been devastated by depression, has suffered catastrophic loss of jobs because its factories no longer run. Why? Because there is no need for plate steel for tanks. For guns. For bullets. I have put them to use for a new purpose. As part of the New Deal offered to Americans, jobs will be fostered in their country. And we will be the beneficiaries of that labor, purchasing masses of steel at exceedingly low prices. With the financial backing of our always scientifically-minded fellows in the Geschellschaft für Meerskolonization, we have already drawn up plans for a new sort of research facility. A lab unlike any other. Unreachable by the iron birds that now prowl every corner of the sky. Unspyable by the all-seeing eye of RADAR. I speak of course of the final frontier of humanity which remains unexplored. The Abyssal Plane."

The camera shifts once more to a camera shot of what appears to be the sea floor, dimly lit by powerful lanterns. A coral reef is depicted amongst a sea of kelp.


…Fascinating. Very nice. But what's the catch, I wonder?


Surely this isn't real, a film trick, he's not underwater.


"Gentlemen. Ladies. The Abyssal Plane makes up almost half of the surface of Earth. Already I have at great expense charted much of the Pacific Ocean over the last twelve years since the end of the Great War. I have consulted with cartographic experts - some of which are with you today. And there will be more details to come - about how we can build this society TOGETHER. But it will require unity, and a belief in the true, inalienable purity of science itself to proceed. It goes without saying that your non-disclosure agreements apply, but I offer you now the choice. If you do not have the will to undertake this project, please, by all means, leave now. Take your ticket home, and think nothing of our conference. Those of you who stay, and are privy to my plans - OUR great plans - will find lawsuits the least of your troubles if you should blow the whistle on our last hope at protecting the purity of the scientific community."

The film cuts to black, with only lettering spelling.

As the film cuts off, you hear interested muttering fill the room. Someone, probably an American, claps.


"Sounds like a grade A nutcase. Dangerous and insane plan. I'm up for it."


"I agree Sun, I didn't come all the way down here to leave now. An undersea lab? If he's serious.. Imagine if its serious."
I chuckle a bit. "And if its not then we might as well see it their punchline."


"Imagine all the things we could do! Of course, I'm waiting for the catch. There's always one, and we should be far more careful if he doesn't mention any."


"Perhaps they somehow abuse squids in the project." I suggest.


In the end, no one leaves. Either the Talkie was convincing, or the attendees were well-vetted. Finally, the lights begin to raise in the theater and an individual walks out onto the stage below.

"Thank you all for coming. Over the next three days, we will lay plans for an underwater research lab for longterm studies on a scale that is currently unprecedented. For now, however, I would like to encourage you to examine your invitations. You should have a colored dot sticker on your card. They correspond as follows. February, the slide."

The projector turns back on, but this time, it's not a film. It's just a single still, indicating color coding.

It seems Alberich's green dot indicates Engineering group, and he's due for a meeting at 4pm today. Johann's pink dot matches the Medical-Science conference for later this evening. There are others, too… Personnel, Literature, Defense, among others. How large is this lab really going to be?


Evening, huh? I could go out and have lunch, or just hang around here to wait…


"I suppose the estimate for this lab is more impressive than the group gathered here.." I comment already dreaming up a grand bubble shaped building, how thick the glass might need to be, the angle of the metals..
What time do I have now?


I sure hope they have snacks here


The rest of the conference passed almost as a blur. A flurry of activity over three days, and then a ticket home. It almost seemed as if it was a fever dream going back to your home country. Did it really even happen? You have no proof but to look at the little invitation in your bag. In spite of all the hopes you built up, it seemed to be nothing but a hoax in the end. After all, a year passed without word. Then another. And another. And another. And so on. The War in China intensified. A New Great War began in Europe, as expected. With the needs of the conflict urging you on, you had little time to daydream about those things you talked about. But you still remember the most interesting thing about the conference. On the second day, you talked about…


Biological research. You were of course familiar with breeding and eugenics, very popular scientific ideas during this period. Breeding can take excessively long times in mammals due to reproduction viability periods, but you were consulted heavily on the subject. They wanted to know if you were more interested in…
>Island Dwarfism
In our research of islands of Southeast Asia and Oceania, we have discovered that it is possible over several generations to "breed down" the size of large animals to make them more manageable. Research into dwarfism could make it possible to bring useful animals like beasts of burden such as horses or those which produce useful materials such as alpacas down into the research lab below the sea.
>Deep Sea Giganticism
One of the most fascinating discoveries we have made when charting the seafloor is the uncanny ability for sealife to grow to extremely large sizes. By taking advantage of this, we could potentially breed up ranchable animals like crabs to very large sizes to be useful for a meat industry, or potentially breed trainable animals such as dolphins to be large enough to serve as a sort of watch dogs and early warning for the laboratory.


Location. Several locations for the laboratory have already been proposed by the cartographers in the employ of Mr. Wilkes. Already vetted for quality, you were consulted for your technical expertise on which would offer the best options for the lab.

>Tombilon Seamount

This is the highest altitude option. Situated very close to Singapore, it would be ideal for trade but the least secretive. Its position would make it the best option for hiring cheap Asian labor for contract work. The higher altitude of the submarine mountain would make early construction easier before better pressure technology can be developed. This site would be ideal for a Free Market focused sea lab.

>Lesser Foundation Magma Vents

In the shadow of the Foundation Seamount, this site would be the best option for use of the Earth's natural thermal vents for power. Highly isolated from any country except Australia, it would also be the most secretive location. It is very deep, and the local vents would make it more difficult to build right away, as you would need to build around them. However, it could be more rewarding in the long term. This would be an ideal location for a Nationalist or Jingoist ideology.

>Great Astrolabe Reef

Shallow like the first option, and isolated like the second option, it is near the savage island of Fiji. One of the largest reefs in the world, this would make an excellent place to study aquatic biodiversity in isolation. Longterm expansion could be difficult without cutting into the reef itself, however. This would be an ideal location for a Pacifist or Moralist ideology.

>Ross Gyre Deeps

The option furthest south. Totally isolated beneath the Southern Ocean, the chances of discovery are slim and the chances of being attacked successfully almost nil. With plenty of room for expansion and a wide open plane, construction should go unhindered. The gyre itself sometimes traps interesting objects from all across the world, which could provide interesting avenues of study. However, isolation makes trade an almost impossibility, and the cold of the arctic only adds an extra complication to your job in engineering. This would be an ideal location for a Protectionist or Pacifist ideology.


It wasn't until years later that you received another fateful letter. With the war on, it couldn't have come at a more fateful time. Whether you're fleeing the murderous, raping Japanese or the Nazi firebombings, you can always escape to


[End Protocol 0.1]


Another mysterious letter has arrived, and with it, a ticket. This time, to Eagle Farm, Australia. If that's not the kind of name that will cock an eyebrow, nothing will. When your flight arrived, it seemed to live up to its name in sheer oddity. The architecture was the kind of stone cold industrial concrete that you'd expect of a prison, but instead you see all sorts of strange sights. On the south end, maize fields as far as the eye can see, and out west, a tent city of aborigines, many of them drunk. The airport is not highly developed - pigs wander between the tracks freely - and when you've finished disembarking, the only sign of high society is the distant racetrack, where you can faintly hear the thoroughbreds making the bend. What a menagerie of strange sights and sounds - to see this mish-mash of cultures. What history could lead a place to be built up like this?

Your letter directed you to the port, and with how little the city is built up, it's quite easy to make out from the airport terminal, down on the beach. You can make out the ship that must be your destination from here: an old World War I American Cincinnati-class cruiser, guns still mounted. You wonder how a scientific organization managed to swing that.

Just as you're about to walk the gangplank to board and see what this new meeting is about after eight long years of no communication, you see a familiar face. He's a changed man. In 1932 he seemed younger, more full of hope - but now he has seen the horrors of war. Not firsthand, but had to live through the war effort of his own country. This is an escape for him as much as it is for you. What can you say? Does he know more than you? Is this another meeting without results, or is there a future for the sealab?


Is that him? That Quattrochi fellow?


It looks like him, though eight years may as well have hit him like sixteen. The years haven't been kind to you either, though. Just when you thought the Communists would run you out, it looks like a more dangerous foe still is completely despoiling the northern half of the country. It's only a matter of time until your own home in Hong Kong is in flames.


I wonder if that man remembers me after so long


Are you going to say something, or just stare at each other?


"You look like you haven't aged a day! More like a century, hahahaha."


Might as well approach.
"Hello, are you going to the meeting as well? "


I laugh at that.
"I thought it was you, Sun. Imagine seeing you again after so long."
"How was your trip? "


"It was fine. Nice to leave it all behind now. But enough about me, you holding up alright?"


I sigh heavily my head shaking slowly and my hands making gestures of distance.
"As well as can be expected. I can't even feel safe in London these days.."


It's a little intimidating, being on a battlecruiser, even a small and old one like this. Still, there's a certain level of comfort knowing that once you're belowdecks, 2.5 inches of steel plating will be protecting you from any assault. The crew are definitely Americans – you can see the symbols of the U.S. Navy. Do they still own the cruiser? Is the U.S. running the show? Was this all some kind of American scientist recruitment scheme? America isn't part of the World War, so at least you'd have some peace if so.

Signs direct you past an airlock, down a flight of stairs, past a bulkhead, and to the fortified steel door of a strategic planning office, a sort of small conference room where the officers of the vessel would meet. That's nothing to sneeze at, even a light cruiser of this size could have up to seventy officers and a thousand crew.

When you enter, not even a third of the seats are taken, but James Wilkes is waiting for you in person at the foot by a map.

"It seems our last two guests have arrived. Barring any objections, are we ready to get started?"

This might be a good time to ask a question if you're dying to, or on the other hand, it seems like he might be able to present something?


"Nowhere is. I'm glad we're here. Under the sea seems kind of safe compared to everywhere else."

I'm good.


Just like an American to be so rude, I bet this is their plan.

"It can wait, we all came here for you. Mr. Wilkes." I reply and look expectantly at him.


Nod in acknowledgement of the sentiment.


File: 1477320116657.pdf (1.48 MB, Dossier 1940.pdf)

"Please, have a seat. The rest of the assemblage have already begun looking over their dossiers, I don't expect you to read it now, but soon. I should add, of course, that all of this is highly classified and never to be communicated outside of this room or on the lab itself. That includes to the crew of this vessel."

As suggested, when you sit, there seems to be a dossier waiting for you…

"I will summarize the contents for you, but first, let me discuss the current climate. We had hoped to have another two to seven years at least to get Sealab into working condition. It has not even been christened with a name yet, but the war is worsening. Of my original fifty academics selected for excellence or potential, you are the nineteen best who remain alive and willing. That is how many we can afford to take. Slide."

A projector blinks to light, casting an image of a structure that is apparently underwater and anchored with iron supports.

"The sealab is extraordinarily small at this point. Most of you will not be able to visit it for some time, mostly because it would be impractical to keep twenty people there. You will have to stay in America, where you are safe from the war, since there is little chance of the isolationist United States being drawn into this second World War, they have assured me. The few hot bunks we have will be shared among engineers who will help with securing the prefab structures, and a few key researchers who can begin work - mostly setting up the labs and beginning observations. This will be a slow but critical year, and important decisions will have to be made. With that being said, I want to introduce our sponsors. Slide."


File: 1477320274641.jpg (68.57 KB, 576x583, post-17938-0-75392000-1424….jpg)

An image of some noble-looking German officers flashes on the screen.

"These are our primary contributors, members of the Society for Ocean Colonization. Not the ideal sponsors, but they have deep pockets. They would like us to explore the possibility of residences below water, expanding sustainable living at the ocean floor. Please note that these Germans are not Nazis. They've been run out of the country, essentially. Slide."


America? I heard they have to tip people who look at them funny.

Keep watching.


File: 1477320478670.png (406.49 KB, 510x500, op20g.png)

An image of some American naval officers.

"Meet the American Navy's Communications Security group. They are, essentially, spies and counterespionage units, crytanalysis, et cetera. They would like us to develop weapons, as is rather typical of military organizations. It is probably worth noting that OP-20-G is notable for being responsible for our safety for the time being. The United States has issued a guarantee of our independence so long as we remain in their good graces. Hopefully this will deter the Japanese from anything hasty."


Japs halting their raging war machine to poke the US with a stick would have to be the most retarded decision possible, no way they'd do anything like that.


File: 1477320673680.jpg (59.05 KB, 495x347, oddfellows.jpg)


A bunch of robed individuals. Even women, in this group.

"The Illuminated Order of Oddfellows is an international 'friendly society'. They organize charity work. They are very interested in science for the sake of science, which makes them my favorites. They do have great interest in animal research, so I am sure our biology team will get along with them swimmingly. I should say they have some rather esoteric political views, but you know what they say - strange times make for strange bedfellows. Oddfellows, in this case. Slide."


Was this an attempt at humor? Smile at him.


File: 1477320823089.jpg (68.07 KB, 800x604, soj.jpg)

Priests this time?

"I do not personally put much faith in religion, but it seems religion puts its faith in us. Allow me to introduce the Jesuit Society, or Society of Jesus. They are a Catholic monastic order, and they are interested in our research because they believe that science can bring us closer to an understanding of their God. Please be polite regardless of your own views, they are paying us quite a bit of money and really only asking for medical research, which is something that already interests me. Slide."


I sure hope that's all there is this to this bunch.

At least these bunch seems straightforward. For now.


File: 1477321007538.jpg (8.46 KB, 191x264, download.jpg)

These are clearly Chinese people.

"Istana were our hosts eight years ago in Singapore. They are a coalition of local wealthy business owners in the city who have grown disgruntled with British rule. They have given us a meager starting investment, but I believe that if we can demonstrate some profitability with the right kinds of research, they can really help us develop our trade, and we might leverage some more funding from them. That's exactly what we need for sustainability. These five make up all our Board of Trustee members and are all of our largest donors. I don't mind pointing out that even I remain accountable to the board, and to ease some of your minds on executive decisions, I will also be putting together a council consisting of some department heads - including the head of research and general contractor - to help guide our lab's development."


Medical research, very important indeed.


"At this point, I'd like to field any questions before moving on to discuss our plans for the future. Anyone?"


We can work with that.

Nothing for now.


"It sounds like your sea lab will be answering to a lot of people. Will this really be the safe haven of scientific discovery you spoke of on that talkie so long ago?"


"I am fully confident in our ability to remain independent. We are not a subject of any of these backers. Our lives will become more difficult if we lose one or two, yes, but I believe that all five of these major contributors are backing us in good faith for the advancement of science. It seems only fair they should reap some of the benefits in return for that investment. Slide please."

The next slide appears, showing a readout of oxygen, power, and food production, as well as income. They're all 0.

"We are totally unsustainable now without donors. But we don't have to remain that way. By our efforts, we can make sealab stand on its own legs. But that will mean we need to give it everything we can in these early years to get there. Don't you agree?"


He even had a slide prepared for that. Ha.
"I can hardly disagree when you put it that way. "


"Good. I'd hate to have doubts from my new general contractor."

Wow, that's quite a promotion. A general contractor is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction site, management of vendors and trades, and the communication of information to all involved parties throughout the course of a building project. Basically, that makes you head of all construction projects.

"I'll need ingenuity and careful thought to help make the lab a reality. We have some foundations laid already - those are the white spots you can see in your dossier. Why don't you get started on some proposals?"

Wow, it's a lot to take in at once!


Open up the hand out to the right page so we can get started then.


"Congrats. You seem excited."


"Thankyou. Its a very exciting project to be a part of. Such a big part even. A lesser man might be overwhelmed." I smile. "Looks like we have a good base to work with here."


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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