Catacombs Moonbase Alpha Operational Guide


8.1. Navigation

Positions in space are now fixed with reference to the Moon, borrowing terms from space probe navigation. The Moon is regarded as being at the centre of a celestial sphere with an axis along the direction of movement towards a north pole and a lunar meridian passing through Moonbase Alpha. The celestial sphere is often divided into north, south, east and west quadrants. Coordinates within a quadrant are expressed in orbital references. The first set of three digits represents the angular distance above the axis at 000 to the reference equator, while the second set (sometimes omitted) represent the angle from the meridian.

Most installations on the lunar surface have navigation beacons which transmit radio identification signals. Between one and three unmanned satellites orbit the Moon, transmitting navigation signals and data from their sensing equipment.

8.2. The Moon's Motion

Before 1999 Wilding fields were a theoretical "shockwave" effect of large but mass-deficient fusion explosions, related to Yasuda graviphoton theory. The velocity and mass of the Moon when it was blasted from Earth orbit created the conditions of a Wilding field, effectively reducing the inertia of the Moon's mass. In interstellar space velocities approach that of light, with associated time dilation, so that tens of light years are crossed in days. The exclusion properties of the dynamic kiral structure in a Yasuda field also apply to the Wilding field: it forms a shield against the intense cosmic radiation at those velocities. In other gravitational fields the Wilding field weakens, slowing the Moon as it passes stars and planets.

The Moon's course is influenced primarily by gravitational forces. Electromagnetic fields can affect a strong Wilding field, and other Wilding fields can influence the Moon's course. Unexplained changes have been caused by alien technologies, including those of Triton, Piri, Arkadia, and New Earth.

Occasionally the Moon is abruptly transported across vast distances of space and possibly time by space warps. These are believed to be related to Isaru gateways, but translating objects into a "hyperspace" condition, beyond the kiral state. This state is "detached" from the ordinary Universe, not interacting with normal matter and energy, but able to dilate and move through Einstein-Rosen bridges (wormholes). Current theories propose space warps are metastable remnants of Wilding field implosions, on the scale of the Planck constant. They translate objects in a single packet (as defined by a kiral structure), preserving the dynamic structure. According to the angle of entry the object is projected to a position light years away. Most Eagles now carry a Betanon space warp detector, allowing them to navigate through space warps. However, though the Betanon scout cruiser Menon was recovered, the photon drive propulsion system was too badly damaged to be decipherable, and no Eagle has the endurance to cross the hundreds of light years that separate space warps. Practitioners of teleportation, matter transport technology and "jump drive" spacecraft are believed to use the same principle of hyperspace translation.

8.3. Contact Procedures

The following basic procedures are intended as guidance, to be used flexibly and prudently, not as restrictions upon the actions of the commanding officer.

An Eagle with duty pilot should be available at all times, equipped with laser, scanning equipment and interstellar frequency.

The range of responses according to depth of investigation required and perceived danger can cover the following:

Operation Exodus is an emergency evacuation plan to transport the entire population of Moonbase Alpha to a habitable planet. It involves three phases: a remote survey phase, a detailed surface exploration phase, and the actual evacuation phase.

Phase One:
Typically an orbital and aerial probe by an Eagle with two pilots (though any of the previous responses is possible). No landing is attempted unless time is limited, in which case it may be run into phase two.
Phase Two:
A thorough analysis conducted by a landing party of between four and eight, comprising a senior officer, pilot, science and medical officers and environmental scientists as required. If time permits a Base Camp may be established near the Eagle, and a second Eagle may be involved. The site selected for the survey would be the most favourable located by Phase One, typically a geologically inactive temperate coastal region in the spring or summer hemisphere.
Alpha should be informed of the mission progress at intervals of no more than 30 minutes. The crew should each carry stun guns and report their position regularly to the senior officer. Crew members should always remain in groups of two or larger and should not leave their designated areas without permission. They should use radio markers if the terrain is not open. Comlock locator beams can guide crew back to the Eagle. A quarantine lasting no less than half the time allowed for Phase Two now applies to all planet vegetation and water, but in any case careful analysis must be undertaken before it is consumed.
Should any danger become apparent the party should withdraw to the Eagle immediately and leave the planet. In the event they are stranded Alpha will attempt to return the Eagle by remote control, or will despatch one or more rescue Eagles.
Phase Three:
Evacuation of the base and necessary equipment. An emergency evacuation is feasible within six hours, but a full Phase Three operation requires between one and two days, depending on the Eagle transit time.

The full operation has been completed only once, to the planet Piri.

Responses to hazardous situations include the following range, according to the scale and nature of the danger.

Collision courses can be averted by two main means:

The levels of defence include:

Robot Eagles and Moonbuggies packed with explosives can be used in certain circumstances. Hand armament includes heavy duty lasers, laser rifles, large and small rocket launchers, stun guns, and anaesthetic dart guns.

Invaders within the base can be manoeuvred and constrained by instructing Computer to limit access. In a confined area anaesthetic gas can be introduced or the area can be depressurised.

8.4. Alien Life

8.4.1. Space life

The most unusual forms of life have been those found in space, particularly the nebulous space phenomena. The largest was the so-called space brain, a small and dense nebula rich in organic materials, 0.1 A.U. in diameter. It seems to have been a Hoyle cloud, with a complex internal organisation of organic molecules adhered to ice particles and magnetic fields circulating gases for feeding and cleaning. This structure is full of radio signals, protected within an ionisation shield, at least as complex as the nerve signals within a human brain. The Hoyle theory portrays the clouds as travelling between stars, around which they briefly form a disc and boost the synthesis of organic molecules. Any planets around those stars will be seeded with organic molecules with structures as complex as viruses. The space brain was able to communicate with an Alphan astronaut, and through him it was recognised that it had intelligence. The Moon passed through the brain and may have destroyed its internal structure.

The Beta Cloud was a very small cloud with a solid core of unknown materials. It is believed to be an artifact of another alien culture, being able to communicate with Alpha and using a robot to try to steal a life support cold fusion core for its own uses. The Triton probe was a similar artifact with a much more complex magnetic structure and little if any solid form. The intelligence of the probe may have been patterns within the magnetic fields, rather than a physical operator, though its creators, from the planet Triton, must have had a material form. The Beta Cloud and Triton probe were some 5000 kilometres in diameter.

Another type of space life appeared in the form of a blue light, just five metres in diameter and with no detectable material content. It absorbed itself into the body of Alphan technician Anton Zoref, using him to draw heat from human and power sources. We cannot guess whether it had intelligence, or even if it was anything more than the equivalent of a virus, parasitic on a host. It seems to have been a purely magnetic pattern. There are remarkable similarities between this phenomenon and an intelligence on the planet Tellus. This Gaia life form had assimilated its magnetic pattern into the living and unliving forms of the entire planet; it had become the planet and its biosphere. Like the Zoref phenomenon it tried to absorb Alphans and other humanoid aliens into its structure, but its lack of understanding of their alienness made the communication fatal to humans. It manifested itself in a similar small luminous magnetic form to the Zoref light.

More mysterious was the black sun intelligence. Most Alphans reported conversations with a female voice when the Moon passed through the black sun. This may have been a "cosmic intelligence", a pantheistic entity living in black holes and stars, or an hallucination.

The Cellini dragon was a carnivorous tentacled creature first encountered in an alien spacecraft amongst a graveyard of other ships behind the planet Ultra. The ships drifted and were encountered again by Moonbase Alpha after the breakaway. The dragon was strangely undetectable by lambda wave life form detection and was unaffected by energy weapons.

8.4.2. Planetary life

Alpha has accumulated a great deal of data on other worlds. This data has come from the solar systems encountered by the Moon, the knowledge of the Psychon civilization, the Voyager interstellar probe, and other space travellers. The pattern of rocky terrestrial planets near the parent sun and gas giants further away seems typical of most solar systems. Most also seem to contain an Earth type planet. The range of planets known includes protoplanets like the hot gaseous Funayama cloud and the solid Tora in its thick primary atmosphere; planets who died when their suns unexpectedly went nova, like Triton and Hermosia; frozen planets in ice ages like Ultima Thule and Vega; worlds with great climatic variation like Aurora with its chlorine atmosphere; and planets gripped in other natural disasters, like Psychon, Kaldor, Pyxidea and Daria.

Most terrestrial-type planets with life have large water oceans and oxygen atmospheres. Bacteria, algae and other one celled organisms are always present, with fungi and plants in familiar forms. Animal life often includes recognisable sponges, coelenterates, worms, arthropods, molluscs, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and sometimes birds and mammals.

The exceptions to the oxygen atmosphere rule are usually simple, but prolific, bacterias found in carbon dioxide and methane atmospheres. Kreno and Aurora are worlds where chlorine can make up 2% of the air in volcanic regions. Advanced life, including humanoid forms, evolved to use chlorine in a hydrolysis reaction unique to their metabolism. The extreme Milankovitch cycles of Aurora, changing between severe ice age and interstadial every 500 years, necessitates decades of hibernation for most animals. The advanced humanoid culture used subterranean hibernation caves. Other animals are genetically engineered for specific conditions. The larren and the fenor are proto-humanoid animals from Psychon which were modified to work as slave animals, controlled by mental suggestion, on the Psychon moon. Magus created many such animals on his planet of New Earth, from giant lizards to hirsute, rather ape like bipeds and intelligent humanoids.

Humanoid aliens can be classified by a percentage as to how human they are. Most are greater than 95% human. Though convergent evolution can account for gross similarities of form, this degree of resemblance is suggestive of the widespread colonisation of a very human- like species. The Arkadian migration may account for this, though whether Earth shares this ancestry is confused by the clear evidence of evolutionary links between a common ape ancestor and modern man.

8.4.3. Lambda skills

Psychon knowledge, particularly of the "telepathic" abilities, has greatly expanded the understanding of alien races and cultures. They involve lambda waves, a property first associated with the lambda baryon in cosmic radiation products. It was found in the early 1990s that such particles can decay more rapidly than expected: the explanation turned out to be the proximity of humans and other sentient animals. This property was used for life form detection. Lambda abilities appear to use energy stolen from subatomic decay to influence atomic structures with fine electromagnetic fields, in a form of controlled mutation. Advanced forms can temporarily store baryons in Kiral states, allowing apparent violations of conservation laws. Lambda skills are minimal or non existent in Earth humans, though the Mateo and Powell incidents, both related to external lambda wave stimuli, indicate the potential. The major lambda forms are those described below.

Low level telepathy :
the art of communication, widely practised by intelligent humanoid races. It is a form of telepathy used whilst speaking or signalling; a skilled practitioner can appear to speak in any language.
Mental Suggestion/ Illusion :
projecting suggestions, commands or illusions into another mind: often used on lower animals to make slaves; difficult on species with higher intelligence.
Mind reading or mind probing; the subject must be unconscious.
Ability of the mind to influence matter, time, space, or energy. Metamorphosis and teleportation are the only forms valued by Psychon culture; few individuals ever learn both skills.
Metamorphosis :
most powerful of the telekinesis skills in Psychon culture: the art of shape-shifting. The simplest form is self metamorphosis, in which the practitioner can change themselves into other life forms. The intelligence that is held in the changed form is limited by the nervous system of that form: lower animal forms can be dangerously unpredictable.
An advanced form is metamorphosing other objects; other life forms cannot be changed. It is only feasible by the combined efforts of many practitioners, though Mentor used an organic computer which had absorbed the minds of many unwilling subjects.
Metamorphosis resolves large matter deficits by storing energy within the subject, which can be detected. It can only be maintained for a certain period before the energy cannot be converted back; the remaining stored energy is released abruptly. The period is typically an hour; beyond this the practitioner dies.
Near-instantaneous relocation of matter, also of importance in Psychon culture.
An advanced form of mental suggestion in which the practitioner permanantly changes the brain of the subject, replacing the mind with their own. The most reviled of the mental skills.

The lambda forms were central to Psychon civilization and became highly developed. A few species may have had more powerful telekinesis skills. Most notable was Magus, last of a race of "cosmic magicians", who held together an entire planet using his powers. The use of the mental suggestion and telepathy is widespread. Jarak's species was the only people encountered by Alpha to use possession.

Many species have limited teleportation skills, though most cultures have discovered technological methods. Only Psychons and Alien Transport on Luton have the true biological skill. However it is created, it requires excessive amounts of energy and has to be used sparingly.

The scientific principles behind teleportation are the most readily understandable of the biological arts, and are readily recreated by technology. The technical concept was known on Earth as Isaru gateways, and was utilised in "interstellar frequency", neutrino packets in a kiral state broadcast between spacecraft light days apart. Unlike Wilding fields they are instantaneous, not limited by the speed of light. A very much more powerful interstellar frequency signal was produced from Earth (Earth date 2120, Alpha date March 2001). It was able to transport human beings in a single packet, demonstrating matter transportation across intergalactic space, and, as it turned out, time. Once created, the gateway remained open, allowing basic interstellar frequency contact between the Earth and the Moon and the eventual return of the subjects. The Golos exiles proved Moonbase technology could be adapted to generate such a gateway, to their parent planet eight light months away, but the life support system was critically damaged by the attempt. Most technologies seem to be powered by antimatter, especially positronic transfer. Even a single atom can disrupt the reconstrution as the packet is "unfolded" at the destination. Therefore most technological solutions require a reception chamber with precisely controlled conditions: for instance the transbeamer on Ellna and its moon Entra, and the Earth 2120 attempt. Many cultures can transport individuals by Isaru gateways: this has been encountered on Piri, Triton, Betha, Zenno, Ellna, Vega, Golos, and Earth. The Dorcon meson convertor can be used for entire spaceships, while the jump drive of the trading planets is even more powerful.

Mental suggestion abilities are critical to certain life forms who are generally immobile and lacking in manipulative organs or sophisticated senses. They may be vulnerable in certain aspects and perhaps evolved illusionary abilities in response to predators. With powers of suggestion they also evolved intelligence, using more active animals as their senses and slaves. An example of this mode of existence were the living rocks of Perdix. These were in fact small soft organisms which lived in rock vesicles which they excavated or mineralised themselves. In larger porous rocks many linked themselves in symbiosis forming a potentially complex nervous system. They must have built a complex technological civilization using animal slaves, as they were able to use Alphan technology as well as enslaving Alphans. As the major oceans were polar an ice age quickly trapped all the water in ice caps, aridifing the rest of the planet. Similarly, the intelligent plants of Luton were actually animals, large fibrous soil organisms parasitically connected to the root systems of plants. They protected their plants and themselves with electrical discharges and suggestion abilities, though in destroying animal life they tended to destroy the local ecology. The radiation species who masqueraded as a Superswift rescue mission must have led a similar existence.

8.4.4. Alien societies

There have been very many cultures, with their own set of morals, on Earth. Alien societies are at least as complex, often with key technological and biological elements that shape their world. A few simple generalisations can be made.

Many planets are governed by a single hierarchy. The leader is often hereditary or elected from a number of prominent families. The lower ranks are generally treated fairly; the establishment is focussed on resisting political agitation within the higher ranks. Golos, Ellna and Dorca are typical. Also common are the anarchist and syndicalist societies with no central government. These worlds, placing great value on the freedom of individuals, are highly dependant on technology or embraced by an unusually strong and universal philosophy. Some of these societies are very vigorous, particularly in scientific pursuits, while others are stagnant, particularly if too dependant on technology. Psychon, Zenno and Kaldor are typical anarchic societies. The inhabitants of Deimus absorb individuality into a group mind, a brain that is an harmonious combination of brains. A different morality can make the abhorrent acceptable, even desirable. The interplanetary war between Betha and Delta was generations old and the basic foundation of the cultures of both planets. The fight for survival drives many societies and individuals; it is the greatest purpose, the most basic morality, the clearest logic.

8.4.5. Space technology

There is great variation in the extent of space exploration by alien civilizations. Many do not range farther than their own solar systems, confined by technology or insular attitudes. Where several solar systems exist in close proximity the Earth like planets are often colonised. Astronomical distance limits trade and political influence, so most alliances are loose and decentralised, with the parent planet indistinguishable from its colonies. The Sidon and Croton systems were typical federations of planets with loose but cooperative ties. Both systems possessed photon drive spacecraft, which use effects related to Yasuda fields to achieve velocities close to the speed of light. The smallest scale system was that of Betha and Delta, two inhabited planets in a single solar system, which had an antagonistic relationship.

Many civilizations are forced into interstellar spaceflight when conditions on their parent planet deteriorate. Increased solar radiation is a frequent cause, prompting cultures like those of Arkadia, Kaldor and Daria to flee mutations and sterility. The Kaldorian craft were small, manned by just six and using an ion drive to travel to a wide selection of planets they considered might support life. The Darian craft was a huge ark of fifty thousand people, driven by nuclear rockets to one planet. It is unknown what the Arkadian ships were like, though most of the human worlds which have been encountered may have been founded by their migration. The Superswift radiation species evolved to withstand the intense radiation from their parent star, and were forced to leave when the activity of their star declined again.

The Federated Worlds Of Dorcon was particularly large, controlling thousands of worlds, due to their mastery of the meson convertor. Powered by antimatter, this transformed their spaceships into a Kiral state, which could then be projected in a process analogous to Isaru gateways. The ships and power rested with the planet Dorca, seat of government of the Imperial Archon, though several subject planets, including Archanon, the Peace Planet, also possessed the technology and enjoyed some influence. The Dorcons discovered that using transplant surgery from Psychons they could make themselves immortal, but Psychon remained unaligned by using shape-shifting in defence. The Dorcon attacks nevertheless confined Psychons to their planet until the geological degeneration forced migrations. Otherwise the Dorcons were not expansionist and avoided conflict, with subject planets joining by choice rather than submission. Subject planets such as Betanon enjoyed considerable autonomy, and were free to use photon drive versions of Archanon ships for exploration. The cruiser Menon, scout to the mothership Admenon, was recovered by Alpha. Use of space warps by the Betanon ships seems to have been at an early exploratory stage.

Most widely ranging are the trading worlds, including Azoth, Kantonrek and Aion Five. Their trade is intergalactic, mostly in luxury goods and data. Merchant ships use jump drives, which create ephemeral space warps and project the craft in a hyperspace state to its destination. Ships are small, generally controlled by individuals, and registered by the trading worlds; dissemination of technology to less advanced worlds, in particular jump drives, is strictly prohibited.

A number of aliens seem to have visited Earth. The most ancient, perhaps 25,000 years BP, may have been Arkadian migrants. About 3000 BC there is evidence that a phenomenon similar to a Triton craft was seen in the earliest kingdom of Ancient Egypt. The alien Magus claims to have been present on Earth in 1200 BC (as an Egyptian magician; Exodus 7:11- 9:11), 10 AD (as Simon Magus; Acts 8:9- 8:25), 500 AD (as Myrddin- Merlin), and 1550 AD (as Michel de Nostrame- Nostradamus). About 1000 AD an Archanon base was created on the Moon at the present location of Moonbase Alpha, evidently to use the catacombs and water supplies. On New Year's Day 1339 three Alphans arrived in Scotland, having been projected back in time by neutrino transfer. Triton, Atheria and Ariel claim to have observed Earth for many years.

8.4.6. Alien Glossary

This glossary of alien proper nouns includes many of the important names of people, spacecraft and planets encountered by Alpha. It excludes most Psychon names, which can be found in the English-Psychon Dictionary. Note: many of these words are actually associations created by low level telepathy.

Chief Justifier of the Federated Worlds of Sidon
Betanon mothership
Aion Five
Leader of trading worlds; colony of Azoth
"Planet of Peace"
Archon, Imperial
Leader of Dorcon empire
Planet, former home of ancestral race
Queen of Atheria
Azoth pleasure complex; Rainbow Room restaurant rated 2 starbursts
Home planet of Arra; 34 times the size of the Moon
Leader of trading worlds; site of Three Worlds Fair and the Astra
Immortal Progron scientist & criminal
Planet; home of Captain Duro
Planet, enemy of Delta; home planet of Dione
Prisoner on Entra penal colony
Leader of Golos exiles
Member of Sahala's crew; vulnerable to Dorzak's influence
Prisoner's spokesman on penal colony on Entra
Large alliance of planets
Solar system of planet Zenno
Planet, now destroyed, & ark ship carrying 50,000 Darians on 1000 year voyage to a virgin planet
Planet, enemy of Betha
Bethan commander of gunship Satazius
Imperial planet of the Dorcon federation of worlds
Psychon philosopher & poet; devastated Norvah & exiled to Theselena
Duro, Captain
Commander of Betanon Scout Cruiser Menon
Mistress of penal colony on Entra
Mother planet of Ellna- Entra system; population killed by virus
Taybor's ship; with jump drive; registered in Kantonrek
Moon of Ellna; site of penal colony
Son of Archanon leader Pasc
Genetically altered slave animal used on the Psychon moon
Prisoner on Entra penal colony
The "Peace Planet"; home of Cantar
Gwent, Delmer Powys Plebus
Zemo scientist; personality preserved in machine
Leader of survivors of level 7 on ark ship Daria
Planet, now destroyed; origin of perfume drug "Infidelity"
Leader of 120 refugees from genetic conformity
Prisoner on Entra penal colony
Planet, now sterile; home of Zantor
Planet, now destroyed; heart of Kalthon was seed storing entire civilization in a crystal asteroid
Trading world
Director of reconstruction on ark ship Daria
Member of Archanon mission to Earth; killed by Pasc
Prisoner on Entra penal colony
Chlorine world
Krom Two
Advanced planet, with trading and scientific relations with Psychon
Genetically altered slave animal used on the Psychon moon
Member of Archanon mission to Earth; killed by Pasc
Vegetation rich planet
Deputy of Archanon mission to Earth; mother of Etrec, mate of Pasc
Last of a race of "cosmic magicians"; created New Earth
Dorcon lord, nephew and heir to the Imperial Archon
Golos life support centre operative
Archanon leader, descendant of Lyra
Psychon metamorphosis scientist artist; daughter of Mentor
Minor trading world with popular tourist industry on islands
Betanon Scout Cruiser; survey vessel of mothership Admenon
Psychon scientist; father of Maya
Chief counsellor of Golos; descendant of Ragnar
Commander of ark ship Daria
North Iridescent
Ice planet; origin of mesmerising jewellery
Planet in Croton system; devastated by Dorzak's visit; home of Sahala
Leader of Archanon mission to Earth; father of Etrec
High Priest of survivors of level 7 on ark ship Daria
Prisoner on Entra penal colony
Pinvith the Lesser
Minor trading world on Inner Vesica Route; home of Taybor
Planet; civilization died but maintained by Guardian
Home planet of Balor
Planet, now destroyed; home of Maya
Planet of the Cryptodira (former code name Havana)
Zennite scientist
Former chief counsellor of Golos; exiled Cantar
Mate and deputy of Jarak
Commander of Croton ship; home planet is Norvah
Leader of the Hunt on Entra penal colony
Bethan gunship; commanded by Dione
Minor trading world; mountain "mystics" produce memory mirrors
Slave trading planet; minor trading world
Shmagod, Frontier Worlds of
"Notorious", according to Taybor
Federation of Worlds; see Aarchon
Golos life support centre operative
Strat Beron
Prisoner on Entra penal colony; released to Ellna
Planet of 19 Pintarus; linked to antimatter world
Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Delta
Trader; captain of S.S. Emporium, a jump drive ship
Sunim animal used as guard
Chief Commissioner of Bethan Defence
Distant Croton planet used for exiles
Planet, now destroyed; dispatched many probes to explore Universe
Jump drive ship (eg S.S. Emporium)
Daughter of Zennite scientist Raan
Dorcon Consul to the Imperial Archon
Ice planet; formerly ruled by androids; see Zamara
Vesica Route
Alliance of planets on 2 trading routes, Inner & Outer
Leader of antimatter people of Sunim
Member of Sahala's crew
Leader of Vegan androids
Leader of Kaldorian exiles heading to Earth
Vegan android; deputy of Zamara
Planet; home of Gwent
Chief planet of solar system Cryton; 5 million light years from Earth
Leader of alien mission to planet Tellus
Mate and deputy of Cantar

© Martin Willey