The Ghost of Mali

Description

Filled with tracts of artificial farmland, Ghost of Mali had few cities when the Catastrophe hit. Even so, the destruction wrought by that day rocked the survivors to their core. After seeing the failure of the machines they’d depended on, they sought a new path. Eschewing technology wherever possible, they turned instead to tools powered by hand and sweat. Indentured servants scaling massive, genetically engineered plants are a common sight, and visitors often stop by the fields to watch as people dangle from the limbs to harvest the crops.

Statistics

System: Alpha Centauri A
Affiliation: Consortium
Level: 8
Legal: Strong
Orwellian: Poor

Areas

Bank (Consortium United Finance)

Mostly ignored by the station’s technology-suspicious residents, the bank’s customers are usually travelers and merchants visiting the station for trade.

The bank has a neglected appearance born from ages of infrequent use. Though built here to promote commerce, the scars of the Catastrophe run deep, and many on The Ghost of Mali are reluctant to trust the technology behind the Consortium’s banking system. The majority of its customers are visitors passing through on their way to other locales, or else wealthy landowners who have too many credits to bury under their beds.

Brig (Prisoner Holding and Jail)

The stone walls of the jail are lined with spreading cracks. No one guards it or the inmates. Every now and then Consortium officers emerge from the security station to deliver a scant meal to the prisoners inside. Those accused of major crimes, or who require residence in a higher level penitentiary, are shipped to the Consortium sister station in Alpha Centauri: Spirit of Botswana.

Located a few hundred feet from the security building, it’s hard to tell what the jail might have been in the days Before. Cracks creep up the side of the squat building’s walls, urged along by the station’s many breeds of invasive plant life. Security volunteers make regular sweeps to keep the vegetation from completely overrunning the building. Even so, a careful eye can find vines worming their way into its exposed fissures. Outlines of bricked over windows can be seen; the only way in and out is the front door. Every few segments, Consortium officers from the Security post rotate in shift and walk down to check on the inmates held inside. The local volunteer force prefers to ignore the existence of the detainees. Tensions exist between proper Consortium protocol and local custom on this matter.

Decommissioned Area (Champ D’Espoir)

From a distance, the Fields are an idyllic blend of green and brown, punctured only by the occasional squat ruin of the old city. Up close the fields are less picturesque, filled with engineered crops ranging from gargantuan cotton trees to bio-meats that suck nutrients from the soil through thick fleshy veins.

A massive expanse of land, the fields have been carefully cultivated over generations to be the perfect growing environment for a wide range of produce. Divided into tracts of all shapes and sizes, the bulk of the farmable land is held by wealthy landowners. Scattered among them are smaller farms owned by families struggling to eke out a living, often built around the cracked structures of the old wrecked city. The crops they tend are varied and engineered to maximize the land they sprout from, with many grown on vertical plots. Twenty-foot corn stocks, ten-pound tomatoes, spire-like cotton trees; some of the plants are so tall the workers have to wear safety equipment to harvest them. One corner is dominated by bio-meat fields. Pulsing rhythmically like massive arteries, the lab-developed meat plants supply the sector with a bounty of artificial beef, poultry, lamb, venison, goat, and pork. In strategic locations of convenient division, hand cranked conveyor belts carry the bounty back into the packaging depots, located all along the tracts of fertile land. Imported from Spirit of Botswana, ice is set atop lofty grates where it melts into cylindrical pods for use as a liquid. The precious water rushes through irrigation aqueducts where it commingles with Daedalus phosphorus, creating a potent coagulated gel fertilizer for use on the croplands.

Government Center (Administrative Services of The Ghost of Mali)

The one-time meeting hall of the heads of houses on The Ghost of Mali, this grand stucco building has been relinquished to support the Consortium presence on the station.

A towering, multi-tiered stucco structure, the Administrative Services building offers apartment living quarters to persons representing the Consortium: security officers, medical professionals, clone researchers and technicians, and bank officials.

Emergency Shuttle to Tau Station: 5090 cr

Inn (Mirepoix Inn & Cafe)

Cozy and functional, Mirepoix Inn & Cafe has only a few rooms for visitors. It makes up for its small size with a galaxy-renown menu of foods made from local produce. Large tables are lined with filled stone bowls featuring local fare and a variety of one-pot meals. Rooms for weary travelers are available for rent, above.

Positioned near the port, Mirepoix Inn & Cafe is comfortable, but basic in its appearance and function. The only area where it truly stands out is its food. Supplied daily with fresh produce from the station’s fields, its kitchens are famous in Alpha Centauri for their rustic and delicious meals. Bio-chicken potpie, gargantuan baked potatoes, five-foot candied carrots - many people visit Ghost of Mali just to sample the inn’s unique menu.

NPCs

Bar (Baies Bar)

The floors and bar are always dirty from the traffic of laborers seeking a drink of comfort after the grueling difficulty of their days. The atmosphere is a friendly one, as if relief exists in the possibility of the slightest relaxation.

The primary meeting place for visitors and traveling merchants, Baies Bar hosts workers and servants at the end of their day’s duties. Dirt, pollen, and grime often come in with the laborers, causing some discomfort to visitors who have never experienced the irritants before. However, travelers are usually willing to overlook the allergens and muck for the quality of the drinks and company.

Menu
NPCs

Hotel Rooms (Hotel Agricoles)

The guest rooms of Hotel Agricoles are small, but generally elegant in their minimalist design.

Originally designed with traveling merchants in mind, the rooms of Hotel Agricoles were created to provide more comfort than luxury. The design atmosphere suggests that those traveling are welcome to conclude their business and move on.

Prices
  • 1 day: 65.8 cr
  • 5 days: 263.2 cr
  • 10 days: 460.6 cr
  • 30 days: 1184.4 cr

Lounge (Vert Brasserie)

Whether in search of a lively conversation or a quiet corner, both can be found at The Ghost of Mali lounge Vert Brasserie, provided you’re the right type to enter. The only residents of the station with clearance to enjoy Vert Brasserie are the members of the land baron families.

Designed as a resting place for the ruling class of The Ghost of Mali, Vert Brasserie is a clean and calm destination that offers raw foods and juices to all who enter; yet not all are welcome. Visitors and traveling merchants are allowed to relax in the lounge, provided their behavior, demeanor, or presence does not offend the regulars: the owners of the farmlands of The Ghost of Mali.

Employment (Agency of Opportunity)

The shack is a rare hub of technology in this station, adorned with a dozen rusted and half-flickering job terminals, grimy with the soil of their users' hands. Located upon the edge of the Fields, it is frequently used as a meeting place for farmhands each morning, hoping for an opportunity to finally earn a decent wage.

A line of would-be laborers stretches out of the shack's entrance, waiting for their turn to find employment. Many of the hopeful wipe away at the screens to try and get them to respond to their touches, the terminal's reactivity diminished by time and neglect. Beyond these machines, hand-written signs and plastic scrolls adorn every wall, some of them notices of employment from those who do not trust the official system, others in the form of lewd jokes and insults from worker to worker, or advertisements for loans and scams. One of them speaks of a wealthy freebooter prince who needs to temporarily put funds in the account of a lucky individual. It has been printed and defaced by numerous laborers, many of whom have drawn childish images upon its surface.

NPCs

Side Jobs (Dougie’s Odd Job Outpost)

The boards of the job center are covered with reusable plastic notes describing an endless string of small odd jobs. “Fix the pipe in section 2.” “Heating down in shipping block 8.” There are so many that they’re beginning to layer over each other.

One scratched computer terminal sits in the corner, the display shimmering unevenly after eons of neglect. A clerk sits behind it, managing a line of people reporting new and completed jobs. The clerk looks like he’s been doing this forever, and judging by the number of people crowded in the office, he’ll be doing this for a long time to come.

Name Description Credits Statistic
Crop Harvesting We have crops and they need harvesting. If you can keep up, you can get paid. Good money for hard work 33 Agility
Meatweed Disposal Recent vacancies in our biomeat farm have left us shorthanded. Help us clear away excess meat roots and earn credits. Post-job showers included. 29 Strength
Ship Repair We need folks with the knowledge and skills to fix a ship. Got those? Use them in the port and earn credits. 33 Intelligence
Visitor Guide Many people boarding our station need help finding where they're going. Give them directions as needed. 29 Social

Market (Farmers' Market)

The market hosts an eclectic blend of local flavor, offering produce, and visiting merchants, peddling low-tech necessities, to the station’s residents. The traveling traders sell pots, pans, shovels, and farm tools; things that might draw little interest elsewhere sell for high prices here while the well-represented farming families offer a plethora of produce. Local storytellers, the respected Conteurs, identified by the cloth crowns they wear, can be found weaving tales of times past in the plaza of the market. The gift of a tale and wisdom from days gone by is offered to ears willing to receive.

A hodge-podge of traders and salesman fill the green clearing that serves as the station’s market. Many of the visiting merchants attempt to peddle their wares as they do on other stations, setting up formal booths and trying to fast-talk potential customers into sales. But the visiting sellers are segregated to one side of the market, while the locals hold court on the other side. The ruling-class landowners establish themselves under attractive pavilions, and assign their most charismatic of servants or workers to peddle from the stalls. Produce may be bought outright or ordered in bulk. Much of the stock here is tailored toward the station’s precious agricultural economy, but it’s still possible to find products with a wider appeal.

NPCs

Vendors (The Vendors of The Ghost of Mali)

Either high-level serfs, or low-level relatives work the family stalls of The Ghost of Mali Farmer’s Market. Here, the visitors of the station may peruse the rare fresh produce that the station has to offer, from coffee and corn to cotton and rice.

Storage (The Holdings)

Well attended by shoppers from the nearby market, the storage building on The Ghost of Mali always seems busier than others.

Rows of storage lockers are mounted to the walls in columns and stand in rows along the center of the rectangular building. Attendants patrol up and down between the locked units. At peak sale time, the aisles between the storage lockers can become quite congested. Despite the presence of the sentries, when the crowd grows the thickest, muggings have been known to happen.

  • Small: 164.5 cr
  • Medium: 394.8 cr
  • Large: 987 cr

Port (Station of Arrival and Departure)

The port reflects the overall mood of The Ghost of Mali: It welcomes travelers while also awaiting their swift and unceremonious departure.

The arrival and departure docks for local shuttles and interstellar transporters are maintained by Consortium employees whose attention is focused on luring tourists to this destination. The cargo bays and shipping docks are less carefully attended, as is the shipping terminal, where teams of workers from the lowest social echelon pull crates filled with crops and cargo to and from the waiting starships.

NPCs

Shipping Bay (Shipping Services)

The sending and receiving of products and goods in the shipping bay takes place among towering stacked crates of agricultural items yet to be loaded.

Local Shuttles (Short Transit Depot)

No one seems to linger here and the flow of people is steady, both coming and going.

Residences (Nouveau Bamako)

While there is no doubt that the crop-baron families live well in their stately homes of hemp-concrete, those opulent buildings are a minority among the sea of servant shacks and worker huts. Each family villa possesses ownership of all that dwell within their respective border walls.

The majority of the domiciles are little more than archaic-style huts of biocomposite, plant-fiber construction. Encapsulated behind border walls of dominion, the clusters of shanty huts congregate around the towering villas which house the wealthy crop-baron families. The lines of division and ownership are stark and obvious while the region of the district spans from points of palatial living to areas of abject poverty. In relation to which house those in the shanties serve, some live much better than others.

NPCs

Ruins (Fields of Waste)

Generations of chemically-processed excrement drip down as discharge from the destroyed pipework above the one-time plentiful field of growth. Decomposition has been an ongoing process from the destruction of the Catastrophe. The only denizens of the vile landscape of the Fields of Waste are run-away workers, confident that their former employers would be hesitant to seek them out in such a place.

The ruins of The Ghost of Mali, locally known as the Fields of Waste, are a putrid vista of molds and mildew. The Catastrophe caused a sewer leakage to rain down atop what was once the district’s bountiful harvest. The slushed soup grew hazardous and decaying matter. Left unrepaired and unattended, this decay continues and visitors are cautioned to avoid. The place stinks of death and a heat rises from the bed of bacterial growth. The bio-meats have aged particularly poorly.

NPCs

Security (Consortium Security Office)

Housed in a converted silo, the security building is staffed by a professional contingent of Consortium officers who work in tense concert with a small number of local volunteer law keepers, armed with simple weapons and homemade armor.

The Consortium has officers stationed on The Ghost of Mali to confront any major unrest on the station, while a small unit of volunteers tend to the day-to-day station conflicts. A collection of notes describing problems and disputes from around the station are pinned to a bulletin board near the entrance. The volunteer guards stop by the board seemingly at random to look over the notices, and when they see a problem they like they snatch it up and head off to solve it. Occasionally they also visit the building’s armory, a motley collection of beat up weapons and armor stored in an old storage barn. The Consortium officers are as uncomfortable and suspicious of the volunteers as the volunteers are of Consortium.

NPCs

Sick Bay (Moemedi Outsider's Clinic)

Frequented far more by travelers and visiting merchants, Moemedi Outsider’s Clinic offers the most state-of-the-art care possible under constant scrutiny. While not overtly disallowed to provide medical care, the medical professionals feel as though they are under constant threat from disgruntled locals.

Shortly after The Ghost of Mali was claimed as a Consortium territory, the government required the station to supply visitors with both a medical centre and a cloning bay, neither of which were previously welcomed on the station, post-Catastrophe. Locals of every rung of the station’s social hierarchy regard the clinic as suspicious and unnecessary. As such, many station-dwellers perish from preventable illnesses due to simply refusing to seek treatment. The ease with which this decision is made, coupled with the warm relationship the locals enjoy with the Promethean Sect of Daedalus, suggests that The Ghost of Mali inhabitants are likely quiet followers of the One Life Doctrine and philosophy. Fortunately for the clinic, the Promethean Sect harbors no ill-will to the medical professionals and have, from time-to-time, served as liaisons between the clinic and locals to soothe hostilities.

NPCs

Gym (Training Park)

A rough obstacle course has been set up near a tract of farmland. People of all ages climb up trees and run laps on a foot-flattened forest trail.

The fence that marks the perimeter of the training park is the only obvious outward sign that it’s more than just another tract of ruins. Scattered over its grounds are the same dilapidated buildings that fill the station’s other less tended sections. Deeper in, a well-trodden running trail becomes visible. Trees marked with bright neon paint mark its course like gaudy totems. Carved handholds run up the lengths of their trunks, transforming them into living climbing structures. The sounds of exertion can be heard echoing throughout the park as visitors and residents alike take advantage of its unique exercise equipment.

You must have minimum combined physical stats of 36 to avoid injury at this gym.

NPCs

"Galactic Destinations" Introduction

“It turned and bit! It turned and bit,
And what was left behind them?
The tractor swallowed soil and soul,
And threw out blood behind them.”

Local Oral History, The Ghost of Mali, Alpha Centauri System.

For those that live on The Ghost of Mali station, the Catastrophe marked the end of an era of unquestioning trust and the beginning of an age of skepticism and fear of technology. Once a highly automated agricultural station, the mass destruction that occurred during the Catastrophe was credited to the malfunction of the multitude of machines and, despite the First Law, residents have grown hateful and suspicious of technology ever since. For some, that ignorance-bred fear may be authentic, but for others, this convenient excuse is seized upon in order to exploit cheap labor in the form of bond servants.

Words of a Laborer

I have worked my hands to the bone on The Ghost of Mali. My sweat feeds the ground and pumps through the vines for the nourishment of fat stargourds and towering sugarcane. The bladed leaves gnaw and tear, painting the stalks with the blood of my dying lineage. For my family, the station has been a labor prison, now three generations deep. We are exploited as the punchline of a joke, bathed in ignorance and fear. Here, they fear technology and higher functioning machines. Here, the demand for constant productivity is so thick that they use bond servants for the on-going agricultural work. People are kept quiet and in-line with this pervasive fear painting the boundaries of our freedom.

The preparing.
The planning.
The planting.
The tending.
The tiling.
The harvest.
The clearing.
The preparing.
The planning.

On and on, this cycle flows, momentum motivated by the belief that the Catastrophe devastated The Ghost of Mali only by the use of their own machines as weapons. It is a strongly held, strange belief. There was a great shaking of the station, the full power grid flickered, then stabilized. All of the station’s technology seemed to turn of us. We were to be purged and tilled over like the turning of the fields. The storytellers of the Farmers’ Market, with the cultural tradition of history being that of an oral nature, sing warnings to those that pass by. Not to celebrate a time that has passed, but rather to incite pride on that what will be: the resistance to change and the station’s wealth, ever growing through the production of produce.

The Aftermath

My family was never found guilty of a crime. This sentence is one of forced social strata. When the machines turned on the station, having churned bodies and flooded fields, those families with the ability to claim and defend strips of farmland, uncontested, were the victors. Human progress which feeds upon class discrimination knows no boundaries of humanitarian ethics. I come from gentle people, but the gentle people were starving. All of us who wished for unity, community, and negotiation were overwhelmed and outnumbered by the aggressive few. We were eventually offered food, but the price was to submit and to serve. Our survival depended on this submission and servitude. So, we did, and so we still do.

The Ghost of Mali remains largely unchanged since those early days after the Catastrophe. A handful of families hold control of the local oversight of the station while the rest of us work under the guise of paying off the debt of our existence. We are reminded to be grateful to those we serve: without their mercy we would have starved. But perhaps the time is coming where those in control will falter. It doesn’t take long for humanity to swallow their fear and begin to fight with an uprising. Allies can be found in the strangest of places.

It doesn’t take long for a resistance to be born.

About three generations.

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