Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 43

The entry this week for Serial Setting 1 for Ubiquity further details an effect of the South Pacific anomaly on the beautiful yet deadly Windlet Islands. The Serial Settings series of posts is intended to provide usable setting material for busy GMs. Series 1 is for those looking to run Daring Tales of Adventure or Hollow Earth Expedition.

43) South Pacific Anomaly – Vegetation, spores, molds, and fungus, Windlet Island Chain

The Windlet Isles are Nature’s home for extreme behavior. Apart from the weather, which usually escapes notice until it turns surly, two factors drive this point home with force – the flora and the fauna.

To the untrained eye, the verdant growth clinging to the rocky terrain of the volcanic slopes, and rooted deep in the rich soil of the interior, seems like any other tropical island jungle. Close inspection, however, reveals advanced growth rates, rapid formation and subsequent spoiling of fruits and other edible byproducts of life, and a very real war among the indigenous plant-life, and those the settlers have introduced. On a smaller scale, fungus – always a problem in the jungle, is more of a scourge. It gets everywhere, it grows insanely quickly, and it refuses to give ground which it has taken.

Leather and cloth goods used in the interior, particularly once wet – which is impossible to avoid in the crushingly humid depths of the jungle, soon become so weak and rotten as to be useless. It is a joke among islanders that the most prosperous men on the islands is the outfitter at the company store, followed by the laundry crew.

Intense inspection will yield a deeper secret. That which is grown on the island is somehow enhanced over whatever it is supposed to be. The satisfyingly crisp first bite of a piece of fruit is so much more refreshing when taken from a tree on the islands, and the nutritional content is much, much higher. Folks find that they eat less, and can do much more on the fuel that nature gives them. In fact, in the early days of the settlement, survival would not have been possible without this quality. Now, of course, with more regular Company ship and air traffic, access to supplies has increased threefold.

By unspoken agreement, imported food stocks are used first for visiting crews and in the hotels and restaurants most easily accessed by strangers. Local produce is distributed first to the permanent residents, then to company researchers. Scuttlebutt has it that the Company is seeking ways to green deserts, and bring an end to famine in some of the bleak places to which the Administrator and his aides have traveled over the years.

Usual Suspects:  David Douglas

Dr. David “Doc Dave” Douglas has a boyish smile, endless energy in the field and in the lab, and is single-mindedly devoted to the pursuit of chemistry. He can often be heard waxing poetic, even to himself, about the elegant alchemy of Nature, and how one day, she – after sufficient wooing – will surrender herself and her secrets to him. Islanders think he is cute.

Doc Dave is as earnest as the day is long, and often has to be reminded to do things like eat and sleep. Since coming to the islands 3 years ago, he has concocted two beverages he regards as failures, but which have proven to be both delicious and energizing. These ‘energy drinks,’ called Lemon Lightning and Body Slam by the locals, are available for sale from Company stores. Rich in vitamins and minerals, loaded with calories, and being rich sources of fiber, the drinks are something of a wonder, but they fail to satisfy Doc Dave. Lemon Lightning is the most popular, and although it contains no lemons it has a bright yellow color, and a very sharp and somewhat addictive tang. Body Slam is a more full-bodied, reddish concoction closer to a mixed fruit punch, with visible pulp, and a hint of natural fizz.

The Doc himself is in his late twenties, originally from Atlanta, and made an instant hit with the locals by inventing a burn creme, a sun screen creme, a cleaning solution effective in the heat and humidity of the islands, and an air freshener spray within two weeks of arrival. Lemon Lightning came along just a few months later. Body Slam was the result of the next year’s study. From his agitated and forgetful behavior, the locals know another big discovery is close, and they are watching him carefully.

Of average height and build, Doc Dave has a plain and honest face, under a somewhat eccentric head of tight curly hair. His hands are large, and stained and burned by chemicals. His dark brown eyes tend to look like they are seeing something that your cannot.

Rumours:  Usually heard only among locals – particularly those cooling off with a fruity beverage.

    • He gave up a prestigious position at a renowned university to join the cadre of specialists here
    • He became inspired to feed the world after touring Africa with the Administrator
    • He started his career working for the War Department
    • Kids are very curious about the large model of the Earth they have heard is in his office
    • He always volunteers with medical teams after disasters
    • He was hired to develop new fuels for the Company but is working on nutrition instead
    • He once poisoned a man and got away with it
    • He survived a fall from an airplane and no one knows how

    2 Responses to “Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 43”
    1. Daniel says:

      Hey ‘slinger. I’m getting caught up on this very cool setting that you’re developing. I’ve been enjoying it a great deal, but thought I’d pick a nit here — There was no DoD until the late ’40s. It was the Department of War (more commonly called the War Department) at the time.

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