Friday, May 15, 2015

135. The Guns of Tharsis

The Mars Authority, with the support of the Planetary Consortium, are embarking on a great project to ensure the security of Mars against TITAN remnants and Barsoomian terrorists. Located at the equator, the tips of the great guns emerge from the sides of Pavonis Mons, into which they have been built. The promise of the guns is rapid deployment of soldiers from the air; the authority maintains QRT teams around the clock, even saving time by conducting briefings in midair.

The guns are massive railguns, with a one meter bore.  Biomorphs and pods are can be fired while within specially designed disposable pods, while synths can simply be bolted into a special framework. The pods and frameworks contain expandable wings allowing them to glide and control some of their flight, as well as drogue parachutes for landing. Once landed, the pod/framework is blown apart by explosive bolts, allowing a soldier to get into action immediately.

A morph launched from the guns travels at ~10,000 km per hour, or 1,000 km every 6 minutes. At any given time, a Mars Authority quick response team is ~6 minutes from Noctis, ~9 minutes from Olympus, ~18 minutes from Valles-New Shanghai, Pathfinder City and the Martian gate, ~25 minutes from Elysium, and between 2 and 24 minutes from any point in the TITAN Quarantine Zone.

Mechanics

If the players have earned a fast response from the Mars Authority, roll 1d4 to represent the number of minutes it takes the QRT to prepare, and add that to the travel time. Even the shorter, 6 minute travel times gives players key preparation time, but keep in mind that if the Mars Authority are using the guns, they will also devote some of their powerful surveillance to the mission, and the team won't give up without tracking down whatever called them out.

Plot Hook: The Barsoomians are obviously very unhappy about this sword of Damoclese hanging over their heads. They are willing to pay the players a very large amount of credits, rep or favors if they sabotage or destroy the guns. Of course, the guns are one of the most important and well protected military sites on Mars. One of the Barsoomians suggests baiting a remnant warmachine out of the TQZ and drawing it towards the base as a distraction, or infecting the base with an exsurgent virus sample. Firewall, however, would not be happy about the possibility of exsurgents gaining control of the guns and raining down on Mars.

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