Detailed Unit Descriptions

Here you will find detailed descriptions on all in game Buldings


A colony runs on its stomach, and the Agridome is the breadbasket that keeps your colony running. Using a variety of advanced agricultural techniques, including accelerated growth, hydroponics, genetically engineered plants, and efficient management that times harvest and replanting down to the minute, an Agridome can feed up to 40 Colonists. An Agridome not only produces enough food, but enough variety and a constant turnover of fresh products to keep your Colonists both healthy and happy.

Growth Equation

F=.15M+45 F is food, generated by M, morale

Side Notes

Note: Just like many other structures such as the Smelter and Spaceport, you can dock a cargo truck to load and unload food. This feature is useful for fulfilling objectives in Campaign games, and in multiplayer games for transferring food to another player. There is however no need to transfer food from one of your own Agridomes to another under any circumstances, as they all deposit and withdrawal food from the same pool, even if they are not physically connected.

Command Center

The Command Center is your colony's heart and brain. Equipped with multiple Savant-series computers, communications hubs, a small power plant, and a flexible interior space that can be used for storage, governmental offices, public meetings, and even emergency shelter, it is the most self-contained of all structures and the most versatile. A Command Center is the first building constructed for any installation or colony site, and it is the last place where Colonists gather for evacuation.

Operational Notes: The Command Center distributes Workers and Scientists to structures and also generates 50 units of Power.


DIRT stands for Disaster Instant Response Team, and there is no greater comfort to the Colonists than to know that a nearby DIRT stands ready to handle any emergency. These dedicated professionals (active DIRT members are commonly known as “Grubs”) are highly skilled in the use of their high-technology equipment, which includes power-assist rescue armor, smart-foam fire suppression cannon, auto-med trauma-control systems, and rapid-response mag-lev tunnel trucks. DIRT teams can handle fires, explosions, haz-mat spills, radiation leaks, biohazards, medical emergencies, building depressurization, and other crises.

A colony adequately served by DIRT can minimize the effect of accidents, disasters, and combat damage. The DIRT houses all emergency equipment and provides on-duty housing for Grubs (who often sleep in their powered armor). A small shop/lab provides for maintenance and upgrades of DIRT equipment and production of expendables such as smart-foam, chemical absorbents, and some medical supplies. An integrated virtual-reality training system keeps the experienced Grubs in constant fighting trim and also allows for schooling of new recruits.

Operational Notes: The DIRT prevents up to 25 percent of damage (from disasters, attacks, or explosions) to connected structures. Each DIRT can fully protect up to 10 structures to which it is connected by Tubes. A lower ratio of DIRTs to structures reduces the percentage of damage prevention.

Factory, Arachnid

While both colonies make extensive use of small robots and drones in maintenance, construction, agriculture, medicine, and even child care, only Plymouth has taken the concept a step farther, creating the Arachnid series of heavy robots. The Arachnids combine basic robot technology with compact versions of vehicle power and drive-train components. The result is a large, versatile robot, with the speed, range, and independence of a much larger vehicle. The Spider was the first Arachnid design, and went through a number of prototypes. Initially intended for use in construction and in vehicle and building maintenance, it has since found use in combat situations as well. The Spider's multiple limbs are mobile and agile, and through the use of retractable tool and manipulator pods, can be used for lifting, holding, welding, assembly, disassembly, and computer interface attachment. While it is most mobile using all its legs, the Spider can continue to move and function even with several of them damaged or occupied with other work tasks.

The final production version of the Spider retained all its peacetime utility but added enhanced power and drive systems capable of carrying shielding against Plymouth's new EMP weapon without any loss of performance. In combat, the Spider is able to approach enemy units disabled by the EMP weapon, interface with the enemy unit's computer as it reboots, and effectively capture the unit for Plymouth use. The Scorpion uses a version of the Spider chassis, with even greater enhancement of power and drive. The increased payload is used to mount a Mark II beam rifle and enhanced conventional armor.

The Arachnid Factory is a highly automated production facility that handles primary part fabrication, assembly, testing, and programming, with a minimum of intervention by human Workers. It can produce both the Spider- and Scorpion-series Arachnids.

Operational Notes: The Arachnid Factory produces Spiders and Scorpions. NOTE: This structure is available only to Plymouth.

Factory, Consumer Goods

Deciding that Morale is as much a survival consideration as food, water, and air, Eden has designed a special factory for production of consumer goods. The factory is designed to produce small, short-lived, low-complexity items for consumer use. The factory is oriented toward producing a wide variety of items in short production runs, thus increasing the variety of products available, while at the same time increasing the rarity of individual items, and thus their perceived value.

Because of the emergency situation, Eden has never been able to adopt the true free-market capitalist economy that its founders intended, but Workers are paid in chits that can be traded for the few luxuries and privileges that the colony offers, including improved food rations, increased recreational privileges, longer showers, and of course, consumer goods. The Consumer Goods Factory incorporates a small retail shop where products are displayed and sold (Eden Scientists have discovered that shopping for goods has almost as much positive effect on Morale as buying and owning them). A catalog of goods can also be accessed through any colony computer terminal, goods ordered electronically, and delivery made by courier drone, or, in the case of smaller items, by transfer chute.

The factory produces batches of three different classes of consumer goods. The larger and more elaborate the goods, the greater the effect on Morale. The classes are:

Impulse: Small, usually pocket-sized objects, including personal care articles, toys, games, jewelry, clothing accessories, candy, snacks, and small decorative items. They are cheap and easy to produce, but provide only minor, short-lived, improvements in Morale.

Wares: Larger or more elaborate goods, including household items, larger decorations, larger toys and games, entertainment products, simple clothing items and accessories, luxury food items, and jewelry incorporating small natural stones and alloys containing Rare Metals.

Luxury Wares: The most expensive consumer goods, with the greatest impact on Morale. Luxury Wares include large and complex toys and games, natural-fiber clothing, Residence furnishings, larger and more elaborate decorative objects, luxury entertainment products, and jewelry made entirely from natural stones and Rare Metals. Happiness is transitory though. Statistics show that after an average of six months, even most Luxury Wares find their way to the GORF for recycling. But don't worry, the Colonists will already be in line to purchase more.

Operational Notes: The Consumer Goods Factory produces temporary Morale improvements. NOTE: This structure is available only to Eden.

Factory, Structure

Rather than attempting to fabricate structures piecemeal on site in a hostile environment, the colony designers determined that it would be quicker, safer, and more efficient to produce buildings in the form of prefabricated kits that could be assembled on-site by fully automated ConVecs. These kits are produced in the Structure Factory. Structures employ advanced smart-composites using millimeter-scale folding. Such materials arrive at the site in the form of compact blocks, but when an electric current is correctly applied, they self-deploy into their final forms, panels, girders, trusses, conduits, and ducts. The resulting structural elements are light and filled with billions of individually sealed pockets, having many of the desirable structural characteristics of natural materials such as shell and bone. The material is especially good at absorbing kinetic energy, and thicker hull panels act as effective micrometeor buffers.

Optical pathways and wave guides can be built into the structure, eliminating the need for conventional communication and control wiring. Some power wiring must still be manually installed and connected, but whenever possible, cables are anchored into the structural units at one end, and the rest of the cable coiled on reels. In this way, the deployment of the structural unit will automatically pull the cables through the conduits as the unit takes final shape. Once the unit is installed in the structure, hookups need only be made at each end, and the cable is ready to use.

The Structure Factory maintains several assembler vats for continuous production, folding, and storage of smart composites in any length, and widths of up to seven meters. Separate automated production machines produce cables, flexible piping, fixtures, life-support modules, storage tanks, trim-work, windows, doors, and armor plating. All of the Structure Factory's production lines are completely non-specialized, and it can, on command, immediately fabricate any structure kit for which it has a template stored in its master computer.

Complete kits are packed together like three-dimensional jigsaw puzzles according to the pattern included as part of the template, resulting in a compact module that is easily stored and transported, and that deploys in the order to be assembled with maximum efficiency.

Operational Notes: The Structure Factory produces structure kits required for most structures. It can store up to 6 kits. ConVecs can dock at the Structure Factory to load or unload structure kits.

Factory, Vehicle

The Vehicle Factory is responsible for fabrication and assembly of all colony vehicles. While Arachnid robots use much of the same basic technology, the Arachnid's miniature power components, bio-optic computers, and linear response actuators require the specialized fabrication systems and precision assembly provided by an Arachnid Factory, and they cannot be produced in a Vehicle Factory. The Vehicle Factory is designed for rapid one-off production of vehicles based on any template stored in its computer systems, starting with raw materials, continuing through parts fabrication, and on to final assembly, testing, and computer programming. While a wide variety of vehicle designs are used in the colonies, extensive use of standardized parts and technologies is used to simplify production, and also later maintenance and repair.

Operational Notes: The Vehicle Factory produces all vehicles (except Spiders and Scorpions).


The Forum is Plymouth's low-tech solution to colony Morale problems. The Forum is simply a theater/auditorium. Commonly configured as a theater in the round, it can also be easily converted into several different seating configurations, and into a gymnasium for cooperative, non-competitive, sporting-challenges. The Forum serves as a social gathering place, a town square, a cultural hub, and a community center for Plymouth. Colonists can be found gathered there any hour of the day or night, in small informal groups, or for larger and more organized activities. On any given day, at least one major event is planned, be it a play, a debate, a musical performance, a dance, or a spirited poetry reading (a Plymouth favorite).

Note: The Forum improves Morale. It is designed to serve up to 75 Colonists. This structure is available only to Plymouth.


The Garage is the primary repair facility for vehicles. Most of the interior is a single open space subdivided with retractable partitions into individual work-bays. The entire vehicle bay can be pressurized, or individual bays can be sealed and pressurized as needed. Each bay is equipped with overhead hoists, multiple floor lifts, a heavy-duty robotics lifting arm, and two Robot Assist Mechanic (RAM) units. A RAM consists of a long, flexible, mechanical arm attached to the ceiling at one end, and terminating in a fan of special-purpose tool-arms, cameras, and sensors. The RAM is capable of most routine assembly and disassembly tasks, allowing a single human mechanic to oversee the repair of several vehicles at once. The Garage also incorporates several small offices, a storeroom where common parts are stored, a miniature parts fabrication plant, a machine shop, and a computer bay for checkout, repair, and programming of vehicle and robot “brains.”

Notes: The Garage repairs and stores up to 6 vehicles. Any kind of vehicle can dock at the Garage, except Spiders and Scorpions. Vehicles stored at a Garage are protected from damage, even if the Garage itself is damaged. However, any vehicles inside a Garage when it is destroyed are lost.

Geothermal Plant

Eden has developed a variation of Robo-Miner technology that allows cheap, nearly unlimited energy to be extracted from the crust of New Terra itself. The Geothermal Plant, like the various mines, starts life as a transforming vehicle, the Geothermal Constructor (GeoCon), a self-deploying structure kit with its own power-plant and drive train. The GeoCon is able to move itself to an appropriate geothermal site, such as a fumarole, where it converts into a fixed Geothermal Plant. While geothermal power generation was common on old Earth, a new technology had to be developed on New Terra, where natural ground water does not occur (the outflow from fumaroles on New Terra consists of inert gasses and molten salts). The GeoCon uses a fusion drill to open a shaft into the hot rock of the upper crust, where it fans out into an array of energy collection shafts. Each of these shafts is equipped with a molten salt heat pipe (exploiting the natural liquid salts), which transfers the heat back to the surface, where it is used for Power generation.

Notes: The Geothermal Plant generates 500 units of Power. It does not require a structure kit; it is deployed over a fumarole by a GeoCon. This structure is available only to Eden. It explodes when destroyed, and may spontaneously explode if damaged.


While New Terra is rich in mineral resources, refined materials are still precious and must be recycled as much as possible. The Garbage and Ore Recycling Facility is an advanced facility for converting waste, garbage, building rubble, and unused structures into usable raw materials. While residential and industrial wastes are processed through the GORF, their contribution to its output is statistically minimal. Its real importance is in recycling buildings, and other large items such as starship components. While the GORF is capable of dealing with chunks of material of fair size, structure kits must first be disassembled by the Structure Factory for further processing (high-value parts are also stripped out and used for spares), starship components and satellites are disassembled at the Spaceport storage facility, and buildings must be demolished using a ConVec. Most building rubble is small enough for direct recycling. Larger rubble can generally be broken into manageable chunks by the Cargo Truck's loader-manipulators as it is placed in the truck. The GORF incorporates a fusion/electric smelter and an advanced hot-cracking column for separation and condensation of Rare and Common Metals. This is the same process used in Magma Wells, and thus is not without its risks; however, the flow from the smelter is much more constant and pure than that of a Magma Well, and thus much easier to manage. Multiple safeguards have been put in place to provide a safe shutdown in case of process instability. In addition, several Workers man the facility at all times to monitor GORF systems and carry out a constantly ongoing series of safety inspections. As a result, there has never been a major accident in a GORF facility.

Notes: The GORF recycles structures, structure kits, starship components, satellites, and rubble into usable Common and Rare Metals. Cargo Trucks carrying Common or Rare Rubble can dock at GORFs to unload; other materials to be recycled are sent through the Tube system.

Guard Post

Guard Posts are simple unmanned defense-sentry installations. The offensive element of the Guard Post is any one of the available combat vehicle turrets, with that turret's normal capabilities and limitations. Lacking the vehicle's computers, sensors, and power system, the Guard Post incorporates a power receiver, allowing it to operate from the colony's power plants, a targeting sensor array, and a simple electro-optical targeting and fire tasking (TAFT) computer. The TAFT is not as sophisticated as the primary computers used in vehicles and arachnids, and in fact, is derived from an emergency-backup computer commonly used in such units. While the electro-optical logic unit handles most of the TAFT's functions, a protein-based pattern recognition unit is used to identity hostile and friendly units, and to select an appropriate threat response. The TAFT's effectiveness can be improved by connecting the Guard Post to the Command Center through the Tube system, which provides a secure data channel to the Savant computers. This allows for pinpoint targeting, increasing the effective damage from most weapons by 50 percent. While Guard Posts normally operate independently, they can be directed at individual targets in response to commands from the Command Center.

Notes: Due to the energy charge and/or chemical compounds associated with each weapon type, a guard post that is left in a damaged state for too long has a chance to spontaneously explode that could cause splash damage to nearby units.

Laboratory, Basic

This simple laboratory structure was designed on Earth, and first deployed in the first days of the Eden colony. While this lab is very flexible and does a number of things, it does none of them especially well. Designed to support several research projects in different disciplines, in practice it has been found that these projects tend to interfere with one another, limiting the utility of the laboratory. It was quickly replaced by the Standard Laboratory, a structure with less versatility but more robust support for any given lab configuration. After the disasters at the Eden and Plymouth colonies, the Basic Lab design was pressed into service to support essential survival-related research, and to aid in deciphering scrambled starship scientific databases.

Laboratory, Standard

The Standard Laboratory structure was designed to replace the flawed Basic Laboratory design. The new design philosophy calls for a lab that can be converted for dedicated use in one field of study, making it ideal for “crash” programs where large amounts of resources are thrown at a single task. While the Standard Laboratory can easily be reconfigured for use by a different discipline, this requires a total shutdown while changes are made, a cold restart of the lab's systems, and several days of down-time in the process. The Standard Laboratory also includes improved built-in hazard containment facilities designed to deal with bio-hazards, toxins, and radiation hazards. This makes the Standard Lab safer for long-term use in the colony, and allows it to work on more advanced projects.

Laboratory, Advanced

The Advanced Laboratory, often known as the “Hot Lab,” is an outgrowth of the Standard Laboratory, and maintains the same philosophy of task-dedicated design. The Advanced Lab has been completely redesigned specifically to handle difficult and dangerous technologies, such as those used in weapons research, high-energy physics, and space technologies. All building doors are protected by a triple airlock system, each with a self-contained decontamination system and hazard-sensor interlocks. Other than power, the Advanced Lab is completely self-contained, with no water, air, or other connections to the colony. The internal pressure of the structure is kept slightly lower than the rest of the colony, so that in the event of any leak, air will tend to flow into the structure, rather than out. The shell of the Advanced Lab is belted with special wound composite shielding to help contain explosions within the structure, and a triple-walled, self-sealing liner helps prevent leaks into the environment or the rest of the colony. Despite all these precautions, things do go wrong and lab accidents aren't unknown. Still, Eden leaders were satisfied with the Advanced Laboratory's record, and were confident that at least its biological containment systems were foolproof. The disaster that followed proved them wrong.

Light Tower

Light Towers provide illumination for nighttime colony activity. The strategic advantage of light towers comes from the fact that enemy units that enter their radius will always be visible on the mini-map, even if their lights are off.

Magma Well

The Magma Well begins its life as a specialized transforming vehicle, a Robo-Miner. Like the off-shore oil-platforms on old Earth, colony mining structures are designed to be built in one location, then moved to a promising site to put down roots and fulfill their main function. The Robo-Miner is also capable of being deployed in a conventional mine configuration used for both Common Ore and Rare Ore Mines. These are described elsewhere. The Magma Well process is an exotic and dangerous method of extracting Rare Metals directly from the planet's molten mantle. Magma Wells take advantage of naturally occurring magma vents in New Terra's crust. More important than the vent itself is the thin spot in the crust that it represents. Dutch miners, crab-like mining heads connected to the magma tap by long umbilicals, open the upper parts of the vent to allow for free flow of molten material, while nuclear drill charges liquefy rock in the deeper crust, providing the initial flow. This begins a siphon effect that, in ideal conditions, provides a constant and uniform flow of mineral-rich molten rock. The process is imperfect, however. The molten flow can go out of control or become blocked, causing an explosive pressure buildup. The hot-cracking process used to purify ore is subject to various kinds of instabilities and reaction run-aways. Though there are many failure modes, they have one thing in common. They are all violent.

Medical Center

The Medical Center is an integrated hospital and infirmary unit providing complete medical care for Colonists. The facility includes medical offices, examining rooms, treatment rooms, an automated medical lab/drug-synthesis unit, a morgue/autopsy room, a small isolation ward, a surgical suite, a virtual reality training and education center, and several beds for critical in-patient care. The heart of the Medical Center is the med-station, a self-contained diagnostic and treatment unit. The med-station incorporates a fold-out unit that serves as examining table, surgical table, and critical care bed. The med-station incorporates remote telemetry of patient life-signs, multiband diagnostic EM and field imaging, and a small biochem lab unit for testing and treatment synthesis. A built-in computer aids in patient diagnosis and monitoring. A backup power supply allows the unit to function at reduced capacity for up to eight hours in the event of a power failure. The med-station is a generalist, good at many things, excelling at few, and works best when supported by the more sophisticated facilities available at a Medical Center. Remote monitoring via biosensors is also built into all Residence units, allowing all but the most serious illnesses and injuries to be treated on an out-patient basis. The Medical Center coordinates closely with the DIRTs (Disaster Instant Response Teams) to provide emergency medical services, and many Colonists receive special medical-aid training, so that they may be pulled from other jobs to supplement the medical staff in times of crisis. Since surgical facilities, advanced medical technology, and medical staff are limited, stasis units derived from starship technology may be used to suspend the life functions of critical patients until such time as the resources are available for proper treatment.

Mines: Common Ore and Rare Ore

Both the Common Ore Mine and Rare Ore Mine begin their lives as a vehicle, a Robo-Miner. Like the off-shore oil-platforms on old Earth, these mine structures are designed to be built in one location, then moved to a promising site to put down roots and fulfill their main function. While the Common and Rare Ore Mines use a common mining technology, the Robo-Miner is also capable of being deployed in a Magma Well configuration, which is described elsewhere. Both Common and Rare Ore Mines use “Robo-Mole” technology. This technology employs remote-controlled robot mining heads connected to the Robo-Miner by an umbilical. These Robo-Moles burrow into rock and soil, extracting useful ore and returning it in the form of a suspended slurry, which is pumped through the umbilical to the Robo-Miner for further processing. The umbilical also provides power and control linkages to the surface facility.


When little Colonists ask, “Mommy, where did I come from?” the answer is, of course, “the Nursery, dear.” Given that birth rates are an important element in colony survival, that all able-bodied adults work, and that maternity leaves are necessarily short, the Nursery's functions are nothing less than vital to colony survival. The Nursery provides a wide range of services for Children from conception through teens. This starts with a fertility clinic. While about 50 percent of the colony's Children are conceived naturally, the rest are born of DNA taken from the colony's Gene Bank. The bank represents the full genetic diversity of Earth's population, and it saves the colony's small population from excessive inbreeding. Genotypes taken from the bank are carefully chosen to represent the 99th percentile in key survival areas such as intelligence, strength, life-span, health, productivity, and emotional stability. The decision to engage in such a eugenics program is an ethically uncomfortable one; it was judged necessary for the survival of the species. The intent has always been to pick genetic material at random once a permanent and stable colony has been established. After conception, the Nursery provides birthing classes, routine prenatal screenings, routine deliveries, infant care, child care, and limited primary schooling (the rest being provided by home schooling, online classes, and mentoring programs throughout the community). The Nursery coordinates closely with the Medical Center on birth and Children's health issues. The Nursery manages all this with a tiny staff, thanks to extensive use of robot “nannies” and of volunteers from the community. Research has shown that participation in child care substantially raises colony Morale, and the Nursery provides an important emotional hub for the community.

Observatory/Meteor Defense

Still the risk was minimal throughout the colony's early years. But unknown to anyone, an event that had happened years before was about to change that. Two of the larger asteroids with orbits near New Terra had collided, sending out an invisible spray of billions of particles, some as small as grains of sand, some several meters across. Now those particles are being swept into New Terra's gravity well, causing a meteor shower that never ends, and New Terra's thin atmosphere offers almost no protection from the bombardment. While most of these meteors can be handled by the micrometeor shielding incorporated into all buildings and vehicles, some are large enough to cause major damage to the colony. Unfortunately, these chunks are still too small for early detection, and too large to be easily destroyed. Plymouth's reaction to this was simply to grin and bear it, but Eden's Scientists weren't satisfied to sit and wait. A special Observatory was designed, employing radio and thermal targeting, along with special wide-field, computer-guided, optical telescopes. The Observatory provides minimal advance warning of approaching large meteors, allowing some time for Colonists to get to shelter, for emergency airlocks to be closed, and for other measures to be taken to minimize loss of life. This offered small comfort to worried Eden Colonists, however, and a method was sought to eliminate the threat of incoming meteors. The Meteor Defense they developed works in conjunction with the Observatory, which provides targeting information. A huge bank of underground volt-sinks stores power for the weapon, a High Energy Ray-Composite (HERC). The HERC system produces pulsed beams of energy in optical and microwave wavelengths, as well as a particle beam. The effect is to rapidly pump energy into the meteor in such a way as to cause it to crumble into harmless dust. Despite a pilot laser that detects and corrects for atmospheric disturbances and the best efforts of Observatory Scientists, tracking and targeting aren't always exact, and the weapon's long cycle time usually doesn't allow for a second shot. Still, Eden's Scientists reason that any protection is better than none.

New Terra's orbit is near a huge asteroid belt, much larger than the one in Earth's solar system. A large gas giant located beyond the belt disturbs the movements of these asteroids, causing occasional collisions and orbital changes that have provided New Terra with a slow, constant rain of meteor impacts throughout its history. The geological record also shows clear signs of multiple asteroid impacts, hardly a comfort for Colonists from a planet whose ecosystem was destroyed by just such an impact.

MHD Generator

New Terra's magnetic field is currently in a period of flux, as fossil records indicate Earth's was during several periods of prehistory when the north and south magnetic poles flipped repeatedly. Though this phenomenon was known, it has never been observed. One of the biggest surprises was to learn that during the flip, the planet's magnetic field begins small but rapid movements. Such movement suggested that it might be possible to extract free and almost unlimited electric energy from the planet itself, but a new method had to be developed to tap the vast, but relatively weak and slow moving (by electrical generating standards), magnetic fields. The MHD Generator uses an array of coaxial Buckytubes, a few nanometers in diameter but tens of kilometers long, which are drilled outward from the plant through the soil using microscopic drill tools. Through this array of tubes, bursts of conductive plasma are sent at significant fractions of the speed of light, where they interact with the planet's magnetic field, are recirculated, and run through a Patterson coil: several more miles of Buckytube wound on a superconducting core and surrounded in turn by a second superconducting coil. The Patterson effect causes induction between the coil and core, creating electricity. The MHD Generator requires no fuel, but maintenance is a consideration. Though Buckytubes are pound-for-pound the strongest substance known, they are also very thin, and in this application often buried only a few centimeters under the surface. They are easily damaged, must be constantly monitored, and when appropriate, repaired or replaced. This task is highly automated, however (just as well, considering the nano-scale of the tubes), and the need for on-site human maintenance is minimal.

Recreation Facility

The Recreation Facility provides a utilitarian play space that can be configured to support a variety of games, activities, and modest indoor sports. Favorite Rec Facility activities in Eden include handball, tennis, billiards, basketball, bridge, and poker. Among the favorites at Plymouth are gymnastics, volleyball, ping pong, go, and a primitive electo-mechanical game called “pinball.”


While their function may not be glamorous, Residences are possibly the most important structures in the colony, and they are deceptively sophisticated in their construction and functions. The interior of each Residence structure is divided into two major sections: the living level(s) and the lifeworks. The living level is in turn divided into the commons and the living suites. The commons is a shared living area usually located in the center of the structure. It provides lounging and play space, along with limited entertainment and educational facilities. Potted plants located around the commons help boost Morale, contribute atmosphere purification, and even provide occasional fresh vegetables. Men's and women's communal bath areas are located at one end of the commons, along with a small exercise room. At the other end of the commons are small privacy rooms, which provide Colonists living in shared quarters an oft-needed retreat. Use of the privacy rooms is much in demand, and time is granted through a lottery system. The area devoted to living suites can be flexibly subdivided according to colony needs. The various suite configurations include singles (housing one or two unpartnered singles), doubles (housing childless couples), and quads (for families with up to two children). While a quad can also accommodate a family with two older children and an infant, larger families are generally given a quad plus an adjoining single. There are also VIP suites for Elders and a few of the colony's elite. While such suites generally aren't vastly larger than normal suites, they do have more flexible space and luxury furnishings. Most are located on the outside of the structure, incorporating at least one window with a view. VIP suites are built to individual specifications, and vary considerably in floor-plan and size. More than just apartments, the living suites provide extensions of many colony services. Computer links and smart-paint wall-sized screens can be used for entertainment and education, as well as job-related and personal communications. Bio-sensors built into the beds can be used to monitor Colonists receiving out-patient care from the Medical Center, and can even occasionally be used to make a remote diagnosis of a minor ailment. Simple exercise equipment is built into the walls, as is a small personal cooking facility (while most colony meals are centrally prepared, access to home-cooking is again a Morale issue). While quarters are small and crowded, human-factor engineering is used to make them as comfortable as possible without sacrificing efficiency and utility (the Plymouth colony seems to be better at this than Eden). In an emergency, Residence capacity can be temporarily increased by installing beds in the common areas, removing some partitions to create larger suites, and hanging hammocks for additional bedding. While this is possible, it should be a matter of last resort, due to its detrimental effect on Morale. Hidden from view is the other vitally important section of the Residence, the lifeworks. The lifeworks is an integrated life-support system for human habitation. It provides climate control, air recycling, water recycling, waste treatment, automated food preparation (supplying dispensers located in the commons), and even clothing (made to order from syntharoy fabrics, which are synthesized and cut on-site, then assembled using laser-welded seams). Each colony has developed its own specialized variation on the basic Residence design. Eden has created an Advanced Residence. Its redesigned lifeworks serves a larger structure, housing more Colonists, but with the same Power and Worker operational requirements as the earlier Residence. Plymouth has developed the Reinforced Residence. This version incorporates increased shielding, self-sealing bulkheads, extra safety gear, heavier construction, and a quake-resistant foundation to help the structure survive in especially hostile and dangerous conditions. While this structure has less interior space than the standard Residence, Plymouth's advancements in human engineering have made it no less comfortable.

Robot Command Center

The Robot Command Center supplements the main Command Center in coordinating vehicle operations, and offers a remote assist to a vehicle's brain power. Using a dedicated Savant-series computer and a powerful communications array that incorporates multiple layers of hardware encryption and anti-jamming circuitry, the Robot Command Center increases the piloting and navigation capability of all colony vehicles and Arachnid robots, increasing their efficiency and allowing them to operate with less human intervention.

Note: The vehicle list, available from the Status display for the Robot Command Center, only shows those vehicles that are “in the field.” Vehicles in storage at Garages are not listed here.

Smelter: Common Ore and Rare Ore

Because of heavy asteroid bombardment several times in its early geological history, the planet's crust has been melted and resolidified several times. This process has resulted in a fairly homogeneous crust without the wide range of mineral and rock types found on Earth. In this respect, New Terra more closely resembles Earth's Moon, though it is much richer in heavy metals. In fact, any surface rock or handful of soil on New Terra is going to have a fair amount of useful metal in it; it is just that the extraction of that metal from common materials is difficult and expensive, and the concentrations, while considerable, are far below that of even poor ores on Earth. Fortunately, the crust is not completely uniform, and veins of material richer in valuable metals have been found. The processes under which these veins were formed is unknown, and largely irrelevant to the colonies since they are easily detected without knowing their origin. Two general types of ore are known, each made from a soup of various metals. The first is simply called Common Ore, and it is rich in lighter metals such as aluminum, titanium, magnesium, yttrium, and chromium, as well as a few common heavier metals like copper and iron. So-called Rare Ores are rich in heavier metals including radioactives. Metals in this group include gold, silver, lead, cobalt, nickel, palladium, osmium, platinum, cadmium, zinc, mercury, thorium, and uranium. The technology used in both the ore smelting structures is similar to that used in the GORF recycling structure. Ores are pretreated to maximize the concentrations of useful metal, then crushed to a uniform pellet size and fed into a fusion-electric smelter and pumped under pressure into a hot cracking column for separation into individual metals. While most metals are extracted in pure form, some, such as uranium and aluminum, require additional processing. The resulting molten metal streams are solidified into micro-pellets, which are mixed into a synthetic oil-based medium to create a slurry, which can be pumped through pipes, stored in tanks, and easily provided to factory machinery in the form of a constant flow. While both the Common Ore Smelter and Rare Ore Smelter use similar technology, the smelting temperatures, operating pressures, and cracking column configuration for each is completely different, thus the need for two different dedicated structures. The Rare Ore Smelter also contains special equipment and facilities for handling radioactive materials and toxic heavy metals.

Solar Power Array

The Solar Power Array is the service end of the space solar satellite power system. The satellite in high planetary orbit collects sunlight and converts it using photovoltaic cells into electricity, which in turn powers an array of MASERS, the microwave equivalent of a laser. These produce a narrow, high-energy beam of microwaves that must be aimed precisely at the small target the Solar Power Array provides, but which can be collected by a relatively small antenna array with negligible losses. This antenna converts the beam back into electricity, which in turn is broadcast for use by colony structures and vehicles.

Operational Notes: The Solar Power Array produces 400 units of Power. This structure, unlike the other Power generation facilities, is not prone to explosion when damaged. Each Solar Power Array requires its own Solar Power Satellite in orbit to produce Power; an Array is disabled without a matching Satellite.


While the Spaceport is treated as one structure for administrative purposes, it is actually a complex of tightly integrated structures that carry out a wide variety of space-related tasks. First, the Spaceport is a factory. The Spaceport can build launch vehicles as well as various satellites and starship components bound for planetary orbit. The Spaceport is also a warehouse facility, where satellites and starship components can be stored until needed for launch. Launch vehicles must be assembled on the launch pad, and may not be moved to the warehouse for storage. The Spaceport is also a fuel production and storage plant, capable of providing a number of exotic fuels and oxidizers. Of course, the most obvious function of the Spaceport is to launch rockets, and that it does. In the interest of efficiency, a single pad is used for rocket assembly, fueling, loading, and launching. This pad is also used for landing Reusable Launch Vehicles, and for servicing and refueling them while they are on the ground. There are two main classes of launch vehicles. The expendable Single-Use Launch Vehicles (SULVs) are operated by both Eden and Plymouth. These vehicles are constructed primarily of composites and lightweight metal alloys and are usable only once. While their payload capacities and capabilities are much the same, Eden and Plymouth use somewhat different configurations. The Eden SULV is a two-stage rocket, using hydrogen/oxygen fuel in both stages, an aerospike engine in the first stage, and more conventional expansion nozzle engines in the second stage. The Plymouth system is a two and a half stage system using somewhat less advanced technology and ejectable strap-on solid-rocket boosters providing the “half” stage. All liquid engines are fueled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen, and use conventional expansion nozzle designs. Eden has also developed a much more advanced Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV). The RLV uses an all-composite airframe construction for maximum strength and minimum weight. The aerospike engine uses a unique hybrid propulsion. Exotic monoatomic oxygen is used as the fuel for takeoff and final landing burns. For most of the flight, the engine is powered by a gas-core fission reactor, heating liquid hydrogen as a reaction mass. Bleed liquid-hydrogen from the fuel tanks is also used as a heat-shield and critical-component coolant for reentry and landing.

Storage: Common Metals and Rare Metals

To maximize efficiency and automation, most ores and metals are processed in the form of a slurry: particles are suspended in a recyclable carrier fluid. In this form, both the ore and processed metals can be pumped through pipelines, stored in tanks, then pumped as needed directly to smelters and manufacturing facilities. Once the slurry reaches its final destination, the solids are extracted, and the carrier fluid pumped back for reuse. If any of these slurries is allowed to sit for any length of time, the particulates will settle out, and must be remixed before the slurry can be pumped and transported. The Storage Tank structures are equipped to solve this problem. While the problems and technology are the same for both Common and Rare Metals, somewhat different structures and strategies are needed for both. Common Metals are normally stored in large bulk quantities, and are often moved and used in bulk as well. A Common Metals Storage Tank is subdivided into only a few large compartments, each equipped with stirring paddles that rotate through the mix just quickly enough to keep the particles in suspension. Despite this, problems still occur, and what has become known as “the Ketchup Bottle Effect” will sometimes clog outlet chutes, requiring human intervention. Rare Metals are stored in smaller quantities and larger varieties. Typical storage periods are longer, and the quantities used are smaller. Thus, Rare Metal Storage Tanks are subdivided into numerous small compartments. While these compartments can be continuously stirred when demand is high, typically the stirring paddles will be turned off, and the slurry allowed to settle out of suspension. Thanks to the small size of individual compartments, it takes very little time to stir up a given tank when supplies are needed. Though these structures are relatively low maintenance, they do require constant supervision for inventory control, security, and handling clogs and other breakdowns.

Tokamak Fusion Reactor

The cool-fusion process used to power vehicles, Arachnid robots, and some self-contained structures like Light Towers and Guard Posts is best used when small, simple, and lightweight power is required. However, the cool-fusion process does not scale up well to the sizes required to power a colony. For this, a Tokamak Fusion Reactor is used. This ancient, brute-force power generation method works very well at city-sized scales. A ring of superconducting magnets is used to compress a ring of hydrogen plasma to the incredible pressures and temperatures necessary to create the hot-fusion reaction. The design used is a model of automation and efficiency, and the plant normally operates totally unmanned, requiring only occasional visits for repair and service. The system is not without its flaws, however. The Tokamak Reactor harnesses powerful and violent forces, not only nuclear, but magnetic. Failures can be spectacular and destructive. For that reason, Tokamak Fusion Reactors are usually located a safe distance from other colony structures.

Trade Center

The Trade Center provides communications facilities for diplomatic transmissions, trade negotiations, barter-transfers, and contract verifications. A colony with a Trade Center can trade with any other colony.


The University provides for secondary and ongoing training of Colonists qualified for science/technician careers. It includes conventional classrooms, offices, small labs supporting each of the major scientific disciplines, and study areas. Important secondary functions of the University include helping coordinate the research efforts of outside labs, limited decoding of the damaged starship scientific databases, and support of educational programs for younger students, including teens in trade apprenticeship programs.

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