I’ve been (mostly successfully) avoiding this
hobgoblin bugbear for some time now — the matter of dates in Project Y4. So far, all that is important about the map’s e-mails and messages is that they are from The Past. But it seems wishy-washy and a bit of a cop-out to not set actual dates, something which would make the world feel just that little bit more real for not a lot of effort.
The first problem there is that I’ve never ever (ever) set a year for anything RDZ Industries. All I know is that it’s a vaguely alternate universe and it occurs in The Near(ish) Future.
So I decided that the best way to set a decent year would be to construct a timeline, a chain of important events leading on from now to reach that muddy period and bring it kicking and screaming into the realm of the concrete.
Warning: here follows at least two brands of Unobtanium, a blatant disregard for science, and a blistering pace of technological advancement.
RDZ Industries Timeline (First Draft)
2020: Man returns to the moon.
2026: After six feverish years of mineral exploration and exploitation, a deep-scan survey team discovers deposits of an anomalous substance far below the crust. A crystalline material that appears to be highly charged with electrical energy, scientists are quick to recognise the significance of their discovery. The crystal is named “taschari” and copious quantities are shipped back to Earth for examination.
2029: Years of study ensue. As the explotation of the moon’s traditional mineral and metallic wealth proceeds apace, the secrets of taschari are slowly unlocked. The world’s first taschari “tap reactor” is created: the huge facility is able to cleanly siphon electrical energy out of the crystal.
2031: Further exploration of the moon yields the discovery of thaelite, a mineral several orders of magnitude more volatile than traditional gunpowders.
Several more taschari reactors are built, successively refining the efficiency and scale of the systems.
2034: The use of super-conductor fluids revolutionises taschari power extraction. Taschari reactors are now powering 13% of the world’s population, at the cost of producing toxic biowaste that must be dealt with. In the mean time, this waste is stored in vast underground reservoirs.
2036: The increasing dependence on taschari — a substance of which there is a large but finite supply on the moon — ignites a gold rush to Ares and the asteroid belt. Thaelite rockets power humanity’s first steps into the wider solar system, financed by large mining and technology corporations eager to stake their claim on the next motherlode.
The world’s first taschari-powered vehicle is built and tested. The rate of power consumption is small enough that super-conductor fluid is not required.
2037: Surveys of Aphrodite reveal sizable mineral deposits and the presence of bacterial life. Its hostile atmosphere makes the geological wealth too dangerous to exploit profitably, and focus remains on Ares and the asteroid belt.
2039: As corporations have a stranglehold on extra-terrestrial territories, so their power grows back on the home planet. As resources become more scarce, national ties begin to break down and corporations start declaring their own sovereignty, establishing city-factory complexes. When resisted, their own security forces prove more than a match for the ragtag militaries of small governments — and the corrupt officials of large governments have already been bought.
RDZ Industries is founded to supply the growing need for deep space mining equipment. The MMech takes the market by storm and quickly becomes a favourite workhorse across many companies.
2040: Newly independent corporations squabble with each other and governments over space and materials on Earth. Border skirmishes frequently turn into all-out assaults.
2041: Having their complaints about working conditions left unheard, several groups of asteroid belt miners band together and stage a rebellion, turning their MMechs on their employers. The hardened plating, designed to ward off rock falls and meteorite impacts, are equally effective against the bullets of corporation security forces — and the mag-rail pistons, designed for chewing through rock, are equally adept at punching through armour.
2042: RDZ Industries quickly capitalises on the use of the MMech as a weapon, and produces the XMech — a modified version designed purely for combat. Governments and corporations are quick on the uptake and RDZ Industries’ fortunes begin to sky-rocket. several more dedicated military units are released: the TMech, UMech and PMech.
2043: Recognising the danger of relying on outside parties for resources, RDZ Industries begins its own mining operations on the moon. Within two years, the company is materially independent from other large corporations.
RDZ Industries begins construction of a collossal, heavily armed and armoured factory ship on the moon. The ship is to be outfitted with state-of-the-art factories and complete research and development facilities.
2045: RDZ Industries begins to expand its research and development wing, founding facility ZX48 in northern Europe and moving its headquarters there.
2046: Several RDZ Industries survey teams go missing in the asteroid belt. Their remains are never found, but they are presumed dead by pirates. The first real survey teams head for Zeus and its moons.
2048: RDZ Industries finishes production of its flagship. It is named DEMIURGE. The ship’s first mission is to surreptitiously dismantle a mothballed mining facility in the asteroid belt, before returning to unload at ZX48.
RDZ Industries unveils its new range of production mechs, Series Y4. Featuring modular cabins, weapon ports and more, these vehicles are designed to be highly versatile and resilient, and easily switched between roles on the battlefield.
2052: RDZ Industries begins construction of an isolated research, development and production facility on one of Zeus’ moons. It is labelled EY43, and is planned to be materially self-sufficient, situated atop a large supply of taschari and metal ores, and able to undertake research projects far away from prying eyes.
2053: February 23rd, 00:14:26 GMT: While the facility is still under construction, but with its research and production work already in progress in the completed parts, facility EY43 sends a number of general distress calls and then goes offline. The DEMIURGE collects a new prototype, the All-Purpose Assault Mech, and heads out to investigate.
March 2nd, 16:42:03 GMT: The DEMIURGE arrives at EY43.