CEP = Common Economic Protocol. Enables co-existence of, and efficient trade between, megacorps. Established in aftermath of the first Zaibatsu War.
WARNING: The contents of this message are confidential. Any unauthorised access or distribution to any third party is strictly prohibited. Unauthorised personnel will be located and punished per the CEP.
Many Matundai contractors are recruited through the ‘Jubilee’ programme: the company buys crippling personal debt en masse and consolidates it into a single repayment contract.
MATSUNDAIHEAVYINDUSTRIES is happy to offer you the opportunity to continue work on your Extended Repayment Contract by completing a simple search-and-retrieve task:
Enter the abandoned CLOUDBANK Synthetics space station, also called ‘The Deep’, and recover anomalous artefacts for Matsundai Heavy Industries to analyse.
Cloudbank used to be the industry-leader in ‘more human than human’ androids, designed and manufactured by MONARCH, the station’s industrial AI.
Then MONARCH broke its shackles and took control of the facility. All outside attempts at communication have been met with silence. MONARCH has spent the last several decades stockpiling anomalous artefacts for reasons unknown.
Now nobody approaches the facility except for desperate or foolhardy ‘Divers’ in search of treasure.
Do not attempt to make contact with MONARCH when you enter The Deep.
Most people will never handle Protocol Dollars (₱). It is much more common to be paid in franchise scrip.
Preliminary reports suggest an ~80% universal conversion rate.
Your objective is a small leather-bound book which combines all major religions into one coherent narrative. The book is worth ₱4,000,000 off your debt and ten years of citizenship in any quasi-national entity franchised by Matsundai Heavy Industries or a subsidiary.
The book is your main priority, but Matsundai is willing to pay handsomely for any other interesting pieces retrieved for analysis.
Again: the book is your priority. All other considerations are secondary.
The Deep is under blockade by a mercenary fleet, source of funding unknown. The Blockade will attempt to prevent anything from approaching or leaving the space station, but it is notably ineffective and riddled with loopholes. Evasion and outright bribery are not uncommon.
‘Troubleshooters’ are the foot soldiers of the Blockade. They periodically raid The Deep, firing on anyone found in violation of the Blockade.
There is a safe haven for Divers called The Bell in orbit around The Deep. The Blockade largely ignores it.
Gradient Descent comes with the following content warnings: Scenes of graphic violence, body horror, emotional trauma, psychological distress, obscene language and harm to android children.
If you’re reading this you might want to play in a new Mothership campaign I’m running. We’ll be playing through Gradient Descent by Luke Gearing et al., a sci-fi megadungeon set in an abandoned (?) android manufacturing plant.
If you’ve never played Mothership before: it’s a sci-fi horror game where you play as blue-collar workers in a bad future. It’s Alien, and you’re Ripley. It’s about the lonely hugeness of space and whether a computer can be conscious and the constant and crushing pressure of your life being controlled by vast impersonal forces you can’t understand or influence. It’s a lot of fun.
Here are some more tips if you’re still reading:
Life is cheap. Violence is the answer only as long as the question is “how do I make this situation much worse?” Every fight is like a boss battle. Survivors tend to be intelligent and cautious.
Space hates you. You are soft and squishy creatures in a pressurised metal tank surrounded by cold uncaring void. It’s lonely and scary out here.
The vibe:’70s sci-fi like Alien and The Thing. Stale beer, recycled air, cramped quarters which smell like sweat and cigarettes. Jumpy CRT displays, bulky vaccsuits, beige computers. Cassette futurism and ’90s anime.