The Catacombs The Production Guide
Writer's Guide
by Martin Willey

1. INTRODUCTION

Consider that it is the year 1999.

Some years back, the major powers on Earth, having determined that life exists outside our solar system, have united and created a manned, permanent base on the moon, with the purpose of maintaining surveillance of deep space, and of becoming the first outpost of Earth's defence system


2 MOON BASE ALPHA

Layout / Moon Base Alpha

Moon Base Alpha, the centre of our series, is a complex of interconnected command centres, laboratories and living areas; each building self-contained as to gravity and atmosphere production and each building linked to the other by a series of "travel tubes" which allow movement from one to another, above ground and within view of the desolate Moonscape.

Organisation / Moon Base Alpha

Moon Base Alpha is designed to be spectacularly self-sufficient. All of its wastes are recycled, its food and water chains are perhaps 80 percent chemically produced. The rest is supplied by regular space shuttle which goes to and from Earth, bringing replacements, visitors and personnel. Alpha is organisationally in constant communication with Earth control, is basically under its control, though the operations' chief is the Moon Base commander advised by a council composed of Section Chiefs

Personnel / Moon Base Alpha

The personnel of Moon Base Alpha consists of approximately 300 men and women, specialists in their field, who have signed on for an 18 month tour of duty. These people work in one of six sections. Each section has its own building commander who takes part in the major decisions affecting the base. Members of each section are visually distinguishable by the colour of the left-hand sleeve of their uniform. This colour coding will be extended to the work location of the sections and to the living quarters of the personnel who comprise them. The commander will wear a sleeve colour that is unique on Moon Base Alpha.


3 THE SECTIONS

Main Mission (colour code to be decided)

The Main Mission, basically, is the scientific investigation of space and defence of Earth. The Central Control office of Main Mission is the place from which probes are launched, rockets sent off and communication with Earth maintained. All this is done with the aid of computers, visual equipment, audio equipment and sophisticated telemetry. The commander of this section is also the commander or the entire Moon Base.

Medical and Psychological M&E (colour code to be decided)

(Maintenance and Experimentation) This section is charged with maintenance of the physical and mental health of base personnel. The work also involves mental and psychological experimentation upon all factors affecting people in space. On occasion, the head of this section will be called upon to make decisions involving choices of base personnel for specific missions

Technical and Engineering (colour code to be decided)

This section is composed of the lower echelon computer people, rocket people, air people, all the engineers who keep the complex machines working

Reconnaissance section (colour code to be decided)

This section consists of space people who make the deep probes into space They are spearheads and the chartists for many operations.,

Security (colour code to be decided)

This is a composite small force of people trained as security guards for Moon Base installations. They also, being trained as space arms specialists, form a highly effective mobile force of space soldiers who, when actual warfare is imminent, are in the forefront. They will wear over their uniforms a distinguishing band over the shoulder and across the chest.

Service Unit (colour code grey)

These are the people who have the basic working responsibility for the environment of the buildings, the food services, etc.


4 ALPHA ROUTINE

Living

The living arrangements of the base personnel are somewhat spartan, though exceedingly functional, and resolve themselves into units which are occupied by either a married couple, or a single inhabitant. There are no children at ALPHA: the 18-month tours of duty obviate that.

But in spite of the spartan modular similarity of the basic structure of the living quarters, they will nevertheless strongly reflect the personalities of the people who occupy them. Eighteen months in a totally strange and unsympathetic environment is a long time and we can assume that, in the interests of keeping the personnel as contented as possible, provision would be made for them to pursue their normal Earthbound leisure interests. Psychological advice would be available to them before being posted-advice as to what in the way of objects from their Earthly lives they like to take with them to make their stay on Alpha as palatable as possible. Each person would be restricted to predetermined limits of volume and weight, but within those limits, a weird collection of idiosyncrasies would be reflected in the incongruous Earth objects that they took to decorate their space environment: a collection of butterflies, perhaps, or an antique chair, even actual, leatherbound, printed books as an alternative to the microfilmed literature that is pumped, on request, into the videoscreens in their rooms. This is one way in which we hope to populate Moon Base Alpha with credible human beings with whom we can readily identify.

The base personnel live a structured life. They work for a stated period of time and, if there are not alerts, are on their own for whatever recreation the base affords. These may include all kinds of Earth-sent and cassette entertainments, such as 3-dimensional film transmissions, holographs, current music, television, etc. It is postulated that within the limits possible, the Earth Command has done all it could to keep Moon Base life as normal as possible.

Feeding

As an instance of the above, the personnel, when on duty, take their meals in a very pleasant, though highly automated kind of restaurant (no restaurant personnel can ever be seen, all of the installations are almost 100 percent labor-saving, thus eliminating manpower requirements).

When they are off duty they might choose to relax and eat in the privacy of their own quarters, in which case the meal of their selection would arrive automatically as one of the service facilities, adding a touch of recognisable domesticity to the flagrantly futuristic setting.

Relaxing

Since there is no Sun, with its healthful rays, upon this base, the medical department has had constructed a gymnasium with very special exercise equipment, and a solarium, with an artificial Sun giving off the needed spectrum so that base personnel, sunless though they are, have healthy looking tans.


5 TRANSPORT

Travel Tube

Movement about Alpha itself is by travel tube. This is a basic travel capsule with seating for up to 10 people. Every room or corridor has a door, which will give access to the travel tube. When an individual wants to move from one part of Alpha to another, he goes to the travel-tube door and selects his intended destination on the exercise scale of his IDX (see Section 6(a)). He then points the IDX at the key-plate beside the door and the tube capsule will appear, the door will open, the traveller will enter and the door will close automatically after him. His destination has been cued by the IDX and so he has to do nothing but act out when the tube stops and the doors open. As with passing through doorways, the movement is handled by the Central Computer (see Section 6(b)) so that if the individual requests the tube to take him to an area for which he does not have clearance then it will refuse to take him.

For travel to the Moon's surface, the travel tube will take people to an airlock, which will not let them out unless they have been authorised, and are wearing appropriate spacesuit. The travel tube will also carry astronauts and passengers from Alpha to the Multiple Transportation Units which wait on launch pads, ready for blast off. In this case the travel tube itself will telescopically extend to one or other of the two entrances to the vehicle, so that people will be able to walk from the travel tube compartment into the passenger capsule of the MTU without necessarily having to don a spacesuit.

The M. T. U. (Multiple Transportation Unit)

The MTU is the only space vehicle that Alpha has left to it after Episode One. Originally intended to provide a shuttle service between Alpha and the orbiting space station onto which docked the deep-space penetration vehicles and Earth ships, the MTU has had to be adapted to all space travel purposes after the catastrophe which blasts the Moon out of Earth orbit and away on its random trajectory through space.

Basically, it's a workhorse a thoroughly utilitarian Spacecraft. It consists of a basic frame section - a container platform driven by three main nuclear motors. It can land like a helicopter, and once in flight the main motors will drive it horizontally, like an airplane. Attached to the main platform are four fuel pods which also support the undercarriage sections. On the outer edge of these pods are vernier motors for directional control.

The whole Craft is manipulated from the Command Module where there is seating capacity for two people pilot and co-pilot. Under normal circumstances they will have access to the Command Module through the main passenger cabin of the MTU, via an airlock. In the event of an emergency, the Command Module can be detached from the main MTU and used as a "lifeboat". In this case there would be room for more people to crowd in uncomfortably and for a short period of time. There are attached to the Command Module also small vernier motors which will give it very limited propulsion power and a modicum of directional control.

In this form the Command Module could also be used by not more than two people for short-haul trips over the surface of the Moon itself.

On occasions such as this, when the Command Module is used in separation from the main MTU, the crew gain access by a subsidiary entrance in the side of the Module itself to which the travel tube can be connected.

But under Most normal circumstances the MTU will be used as a complete unit. That is, as a main frame with main vertical and horizontal engines and with a Command Module attached. And to this main frame different containers would have seating for 10 people plus cargo holds. But from time to time new containers will be devised for specific purposes, e.g. a fuel container, to give the MTU deep-space range, or a self-contained laboratory and living quarters for a couple of scientists which can be put down on the surface of an alien planet and left for a while. Should it be necessary for Alpha to repel an alien attack, then the container could house a complete weapons system. There are a lot of these MTUs at Alpha-but they are all the Moonmen have.



Copyright Martin Willey