The O'Neil Cylinder
The O’Neil cylinder is 2 miles in diameter and ten miles long. The markings on the outside indicate that it Is called “Haven”. When the party approaches (presumably using either the Perfect Circle, the Anemone, or some other spacecraft), an automated transmission will send a dictionary file and phonetic file to the ship. Once the ship’s AI has decoded the files, it will be possible to understand any further transmissions from Haven.
A prerecorded message broadcasts to the party. It features a rabbit humanoid with glossy white fur and pink eyes. It is likely a female (although it is difficult to determine conclusively). The speaker is wearing a military uniform of some kind, as indicated by the deep blue fabric, chevrons denoting rank, and several small medals on her right breast.
The rabbit humanoid makes the following statement:
“Greetings unknown strangers! If you are receiving this message, I am Captain Gossamer Pink. Know that our automated sensors can discern the difference between people and chunks of rock. You are probably very different than my people, but you certainly must qualify as ‘people’. Accept my apologies for greeting you en absentia. Please know that our colonization mission was successful. We settled a Class M3 planet that is 91% similar to our homeworld. We left our world to explore and to experience the universe. For our ancestors looked into the night sky and viewed the distant stars and declared “to those places we must go.” As so we have.
“We did encounter a few mishaps along the way, but we adapted, changed, and persevered. No plan survives reality intact. We had to make numerous course corrections and had to make more repairs than we had anticipated. So it came to pass that we had enough fuel to reach our destination but not enough to stop this ship. We evacuated the Haven with shuttles rather than landing it on the colony world.
“If you are a spacefaring race – and you must be if you are receiving this message – please consider the Haven as a gift to your people from ours. If this ship is something not useful to you, can you kindly point it towards a star system with people who might need it?
“While the star drive is depleted, we left the fusion cores activated on minimum maintenance, so the air is breathable – for us at least. Your results may vary. If you want to live here, you will need to bring your favorite crops and animals with you. Also, you will want to replenish the water reservoirs. We left 5% in the tanks in order to keep the plumbing from corroding. Please don’t drink it without flushing the whole system first. If you are a spacefaring race – and you must be – you will know how to harvest comets for water.
“And so, I must bid you both welcome and farewell. The docking code is Delta Echo Delta Bravo 9 3 2 7. May the Holy Engineer bless you and keep you. May she always guide you have faith in the blessings of science, reason, and rational skepticism. May your minds be hungry for wisdom, but may your stomachs never be hungry for food.
“Captain Gossamer Pink, signing off.”
As the party’s ship approaches the Haven, it is apparent that the O’Neil cylinder once had hundreds of shuttles that are now gone. The outer shell has also been patched dozens of times. A more recent impact is currently being repaired by a team of service drones with welding equipment. A temporary forcefield covers the hole.
Atmospheric composition inside the Haven: 78% nitrogen, 17% oxygen, 3% helium, 1% CO2, and 1% trace gasses. The humidity is 7%. Atmospheric pressure is 850 millibars.
The interior has a narrow ribbon of “city” that comprises 15% of the inner surface while the remaining 85% had been reserved for farmland, forests, and parks. Of course, all of the green spaces are long dead because the space station is abandoned. The maintenance drones are only tasked with making structural repairs. A five-mile long lighting tube shines brightly in the same spectrum as a G6 star. A kaleidoscope filter rotates in front of the sun-tube in order to simulate a day-night cycle (which appears to be 20 hours). The gravity is 0.85g.
The Haven station Constructs are non-sentient and can only answer simple questions within the narrow frame of reference that pertains to their function. Presumably, the Havenites took the sentient Constructs with them when they settled the colony world.
The “city” section is a 1500’ stripe that runs the length of the cylinder. It has various residential areas, government blocks, museums, parks, schools, universities, entertainment zones, and merchant complexes. There are even two amusement parks. Most of the buildings are between three and ten levels high, with the tallest maxing out at 20. Of course, the city is utterly vacant and quiet as any tomb. The light of the artificial sun tube has bleached the color from all of the structures. The air is very dry and has a chalky taste. While breathable, the party will fatigue quickly under heavy exertion, thanks to the lower oxygen content and lower air pressure.
The city was evacuated in haste. While many shops and warehouses have been partially emptied during the mass exodus, the city still retains vast material resources for the taking. Tools, clothes, books, spare parts, and raw materials are all plentiful – should the party be enterprising enough to go look.
An interesting thing about the buildings is that it reflects the physical stature of the Havenites. The rabbit humanoids are shorter than a human, and thus most doorways are 5’ and most ceilings are 7’ tall. Stairs are taller and steeper, as Havenites tend to “bound” upstairs.
The stardrive uses very large, incredibly dense negative energy batteries as its power source. The battery array is 100% depleted. The party could begin the process of recharging the battery by harvesting Dark Halos and Empty Silhouettes from Gaianar (or anywhere else where that kind of Undead may be found). The party could also take the more dangerous option of opening a portal to the Plane of Shadow and siphoning off negative energy into the batteries.
If the party makes the correct research checks, they will discover that the stardrive’s FTL capability functions on the concept of altering the curvature of spacetime. While the stardrive is configured differently than the one on the Perfect Circle, it operates on similar principles – and on a much larger scale. If the stardrive can be charged, it would theoretically be possible to fly the O’Neil Cylinder in front of the Stranglet Ribbon and curve the path of spacetime in front of the object. It may require several course corrections in order to get the object on a path out of the galaxy and away from other planets.
Of course, the “church” would have a lot of physics texts in both printed and digital form.
The religion of The Holy Engineer
The actual person of the Holy Engineer has been lost to time. But it is accepted by the Havenites that the Holy Engineer was a hyper-intelligent female who was blessed by the Universal Cosmic Intelligence with the gifts of observation, deduction, extrapolation, and skepticism. She led the Havenites out of a stagnant (but stable) stone-age agrarian culture into one where mathematics, metallurgy, and medicine were cherished professions.
Clergy of the Holy Engineer are generally Mathematician/Priest or Necromancer/Priest hybrids. Thus, they primarily deal with physics and medicine and have some clerical powers as a backup. Unlike most religions, skepticism is valued over blind faith. However, the Faith score is still very relevant as it is also a measure of one’s belief in one’s self and one’s capabilities.
The Holy Engineer’s alignment is Benevolent (NG). Her portfolio includes mathematics, medicine, physics, construction, biology, chemistry, and engineering. She does not have ranks in war or destruction. The religion of the Holy Engineer does not have any particular sexual mores or any hang-ups about what consenting adults want to do in the bedroom.
Some facets of this religion include:
· The Holy Path of Wisdom: Make an observation, ask a question, test thine hypothesis, collect data, examine the results, draw a conclusion, report the results.
· Beliefs than can be destroyed by truth should be destroyed by truth.
· There is no shame in lack of intelligence. There is shame in adherence to ignorance once wisdom is granted. A person should learn to the limits that one can, and never less.
· Skepticism is the doorway to divine inspiration. Question everything you do not understand.
· Let not conformity and tradition inhibit creativity and innovation.
· If art and science can be united, let it be so.
· Science and mathematics are the truest words of the Universal Cosmic Intelligence. We honor the Creator by learning the Creator’s words and methods.