Earthrise Developer Journal: The West Horizon


Back when the Pioneers were making their first uncertain steps onto Enterra, they found the West Horizon - a savage coastline located in the inhospitable territory yet to be named the Valley of Sal Vitas. The area was heavily polluted by chemicals brought in by ocean currents, and was inhabited by vicious, amphibious mutants accustomed to living in the deadly environment.

The cleansing of the Horizon was vital to the colonization plans for Sal Vitas Valley, and it underwent massive terraformation changes very quickly. Even though the cleansing operation was carried out in haste, the Pioneers made sure the changes would remain intact. Once a rocky beach covered with toxic mud, the West Horizon was chemically cleansed and covered with artificially synthesized sand and soil, made in a way that prevented mutants from drawing nutrients from it. Few gene-modified plant “ACDC” species were able to grow there, so the beach retained its barren appearance.

The West Horizon remained an uninhabited area for more than 20 years, during which the magnificent Sal Vitas and its polises (Hope, Foresight, Unity and Determination) were erected in the neighboring Valley. The aesthetic and urban standards of Continoma wouldn’t allow overbuilding in the area, therefore the available building space in the Valley became scarce. When the administration made plans to build two additional facilities on the Horizon, mysterious things began to happen within the population.

During the early years of Sal Vitas, several scientific groups were tasked with investigating rumors and reports from Continoma administrators about their subjected citizens. Reports indicated that these citizens had repeating nightmares, panic attacks and sometimes severe mental trauma, leading to insanity and psychosis. Both traditional treatment and re-vesselment proved useless in attempts to cure the distress.

The alarming rate at which the reported events emerged drew the attention of the government, as it was viewed as potential danger to the future of the entire society. The government feared that the Crystomatrix technology, which was not fully understood, had begun to fail and soon the administration would face the terrible choice between letting the population breed into mutants or go utterly insane.

The subjects of the distress were taken to isolated compounds, where they showed amazing recovery, as if isolation from the overcrowded Capital rejuvenated them. This led the investigation to explore a different cause than potential Crystomatrix failure, and soon a secret project was formed under the patronage of the government.

Using the momentum from the secret project, the administration ordered the construction of a new polis in the West Horizon called Haven. It was intended to host the new group of deviant citizens, which were to be transferred from the secret research facilities. The administration’s fear of the subjects’ condition kept the group confined in Haven under the watchful eyes of governmental agents.

After the division, a documentation leak indicated that these citizens were natural psionics. A natural psionic is a person who possesses a combination of neural patterns and specific Crystomatrix feed which allows him or her to affect the ansible process on an unwilling, sub-conscious level. This results in increased empathy and several effects described or codenamed as "scrying", "telepathy" or "telekinesis."

The group of affected citizens formed their own unique culture based on their psionic gift and their shared thoughts and emotions. They began calling themselves Seeyen, a puzzling name that meant nothing on its own, but monitoring scientists believed it was drawn out of concepts of unity on sub-conscious group emotional levels.

Another strange group resides on the West Horizon. The Alpha Principle, a project formed under the patronage of the Eight, had allotted a remote part of the coastal area to devote their time to a ground-breaking experiment. The Alpha is a group of scientists that research the properties of Crystomatrix technology and invent new ways to use it. The forming of the cell project was stimulated by the discovery of the “psionic problem” and the Alpha was tasked with finding a solution. A few months later, with a major investment in the project, the government managed to construct a research and residential center on the northern part of the beach, where the Alpha still reside today.

After a few years of research, the Alpha managed to develop a new Crystomatrix design that was impregnable to the defects of the previous one. To this day, the Alpha remain the primary scientific resource for Continoma in the area of medical research, as their specialists developed the bodies and crysto-nodes for the population of Sal Vitas and the polises. The Alpha continues to create ways to resist and overcome impurities and has earned the trust of Continoma administration.
During the Crystomatrix research process, the Alpha discovered new applications for the technology that was used to store and reproduce human conscience. The new findings were related to the possibility of achieving intuitive control over matter and energy, much like the abilities that the Seeyen manifested, but without exposing the subject to the dangers of the defective Crystomatrix.

The research results indicated that only select individuals possess the mental discipline and cognitive capabilities to achieve control over the energy flows. Even with the technology in place (machines that could generate and direct immense energy fields), it proved extremely difficult for someone to try navigating the operation without the help of a computer system. For this reason, the Alpha concentrated their efforts on re-inventing concepts of the self and the mind. They developed a complex training program that incorporates precise selection of candidates. The trust invested in their organization allowed them to create a selective program for new candidates that permitted them to accept new members if they passed meticulous screening and at last – a confirmation from the leaders of the organization. For reasons unknown, and unquestioned, the Alpha ranks consist only of women, for which reason most of the people know them as the Sisterhood.

With years of progress towards their efforts, the Alpha evolved into more than just a scientific organization. They formed a unique mindset, inevitably accepted by any candidate that passes their rigorous training and testing. What they believe is that humankind has to be kept clean and clear from taints, both physical and mental. This is the only way that humanity can evolve; the only way left after the physical immortality granted by the Crystomatrix system.

The West Horizon has undergone a significant transformation due to the influence of both groups. Even though they are kept under observation, the Seeyen are given a certain amount of independence, especially after their valiant defense against the mutant swarms during the Backlash events. The Alpha, backed by their powerful political supporters, has turned vast areas of the Horizon into training grounds where their candidates undergo rigorous tests in force-field machines. The Seeyen believe they share few common traits with the citizens of other settlements and are trying to maintain their independence from the economy of Sal Vitas, constructing facilities that harvest resources from the ocean.

Life on the West Horizon isn’t easy for its two peculiar residents. The bandits of the Autonomy try to rob the two organizations, and the Syndicate takes great interest in the research projects of the Alpha. To make things worse, the coastline is undergoing another infestation from a mutant species known as the Seadwellers. The hasty cleansing of the area and the influence of the Backlash created a suitable living area for a new symbiotic mutant colony, similar to the life that inhabited the Horizon before the Pioneers ever set foot on Enterra. Large mutant nests have sprouted from the sand in a few areas of the beach, giving sustenance to a myriad of mutant creatures. The Seeyen see these mutants as a fatal threat, not only because they ruin their facilities on the Horizon, but also because they can perceive the emotions of the mutants (mostly anger and hate) and have no protection from them. The few Seeyen veterans that fought the Backlash remember the pain of their enemies and dread returning to battle against them. Their neighbors, the Alpha, look upon the infestation with utter disgust as they detest any sign of taint and devolution, but also hope to draw credit for the destruction of the mutant infestation, much like the Seeyen did not long ago.

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