Serenity Articles : The Terraforming Consortium

(Originally published on on October 6, 2006)

There is a group in the ‘Verse that changes whole worlds but never gets any screen time. I felt it appropriate to document the ‘world-builders’ in some way and express their role in the current ‘Verse. Enjoy!

The Terraforming Consortium

Before the War, before even the Alliance, when humanity was still trembling from its multi-generational voyage from Earth-That-Was, there was the Terraforming Consortium. Combining the resources of all the major governments, corporations, and groups of people, it was founded to fashion the dozens of worlds into places for humanity to settle. Wealth of a kind almost unimaginable was poured into the endeavor and technological research focused on little else for several decades. Slowly, the TC began to visit more worlds in the Core, making ‘adjustments’ to climate, atmosphere, water, plant life, etc., always striving for more ‘Earth-like’ planets.

In most respects, the TC was amazingly successful. Few ‘blackrocks’, or uninhabitable planetoids, remain from their early failures and they have shaped dozens of worlds in the ‘Verse for mankind. True, some require a hardier folk to want to live on them, but with populations exploding on the Core worlds, the push to settle and seek new lands is inexorable.

These days (circa 2517+), the TC is less of a Colossus across humanity’s consciousness, but a titan slowly being forgotten. They have active projects on only a handful of worlds now and much of their gargantuan machinery has been abandoned on ‘finished’ worlds, or floats in the black unneeded. They no longer recruit scientists from the Universities and few study the science of it any more.

But where the TC is still active, there are good men and women trying to play God. They breed stock of plants and animals of a stunning variety from the DNA Banks from Earth-that-was. They watch newer planets carefully to detect signs of seismic instability or ecological breakdown. And there are still a few rocks within the warmth of the sun that await the breath of life.

A TC Monitoring Outpost

The most likely way characters will encounter the Terraforming Consortium is at one of their Monitoring Outposts. Placed late in the terraforming process, some sit in what are now cities while others lie in the most remote parts of a planet. They interface with TC satellites in a mesh over the planet, watching countless aspects of the world and waiting for it to fall out of required parameters.

Each Outpost is fairly small, usually a block building or small compound to house the scientists who analyze and direct the data gathering as well as a support staff to secure the valuable computers, sensor equipment, and data. These will likely be poorly-paid, non-Alliance guards, though some are devoted to keeping their charges safe.

Adventure Suggestions: While a petty theft attempt on an Outpost might bring heroes in to save them, it’s also likely that someone will pay top dollar to get some of the information the TC collects. The TC only shares a fraction of what it collects with the general public and on poor worlds, the rest would provide significant economic advantages to miners, farmers, etc. For something more cataclysmic, a world might start to go ‘bad’ (earthquakes, disease, blight, foul air, etc.), drawing in the TC into a crisis which can’t help but affect the people on the planet.

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