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Cinder

Classification: TOP SECRET / YELLOW KING ACOLYTE EYES ONLY

Type Satelite of Gravity Diameter Atmospheric Pressure
Terrestrial Moon (Tidally Locked) Policy 0.18g 3,500 km 0.01 atm
Atmospheric Composition Surface Temperature (Mean) Day Length Orbital Period Gate Access
Trace Potassium -100 C 8 hours 8 days Vulcanoidand and Portal Gates

Cinder is an impressively worthless extrasolar moon. It’s a well-scorched rock 3,000 kilometers in diameter orbiting an equally scorched planet orbiting a white dwarf star. The planet, called Policy (apparently a joke about scorched earth), has a Pandora gate and was visited five years ago by a team of gatecrashers and then largely ignored. Researchers say Policy may once have been an Earth-like world, but that was back before multicellular life evolved back home. Around that time, Policy’s star went red giant and roasted both planet and moon before shrinking down to a white dwarf, leaving Policy and Cinder as charred, frozen, airless rockballs.
After a few visits by astronomers, people stopped coming to Policy, which makes it perfect for our purposes after we also found a route there via the Portal Gate. Policy is a planet no one wants, so no one is going to visit, and even if they do, they’re even less likely to travel to its moon. Thus, Cinder makes a very useful location for a secret facility. Even should someone come through the gate and find evidence of our periodic shuttle flights, we have established a cover claiming to be an astronomical survey project.
So, what is Firewall doing a few hundred parsecs from home? Hiding really dangerous stuff, of course.

The Cinderblock

The vault we have hidden away on Cinder, known as the Cinderblock, is where a cooperative of pragmatist servers store TITAN and exsurgent artifacts that are too interesting or potentially useful to destroy, but too dangerous, or more often too unknown, to allow anyone to work with anyplace in the solar system. In addition to storing these items, the crows here catalog and perform various non-invasive tests on everything in the facility and then perform further research and experimentation on the artifacts that seem to be safe enough to work with. We move anything that we learn to operate to another facility. The Cinderblock originally housed alien artifacts as well, but as the collection grew, these were moved to [REDACTED: TOP SECRET / NECRONOMICON ACOLYTE EYES ONLY]. Additionally, after an unfortunate accident involving one of our researchers, any artifacts that are shown to be sensitive to async abilities were also relocated to [REDACTED: TOP SECRET / EPHEMEROL DOSE EYES ONLY], where they could be stored and studied under even more controlled conditions.

Security

Given its contents, the Cinderblock is designed not only to keep intruders out, but to keep anything hostile from escaping within. The standing policy is to see these objects destroyed rather than let them escape or fall into the wrong hands. Aside from state-of-the-art security systems, the facility itself is wired with antimatter bombs that can be manually or remotely detonated, enough to turn the base and the surrounding 200 kilometers into a nice big crater. Every staff member has the detonation codes, and they are also programmed to go off should a certain threshold of alarms be triggered. The shuttles are also equipped with conventional explosives, to cut off access/escape if needed. Buried weapon platforms around the base provide further protection. Finally, an antimatter bomb is buried under the gate itself, overseen by an AI with authority to trigger it should a hostile force emerge or a shuttle approach from Cinder without the proper authorization codes. That bomb probably won’t destroy the gate, but it will hopefully bury it in enough debris and condensed rock vapor that no one will be using it for a good long time.

Classification

The Cinderblock is a top secret project (YELLOW KING ACOLYTE clearance), with knowledge only given to confirmed pragmatists with YELLOW KING clearance. The reason for this is due to potential hostilities from conservatives within Firewall. Though it is common knowledge that Firewall maintains facilities like this, their locations and contents are deliberately classified to keep them safe. In fact, many of these artifacts have been reported destroyed. There are a large number of sentinels and proxies who would love to eliminate all TITAN and exsurgent artifacts. Some of them see the value of experimenting with the devices that we almost understand or at least hope to soon be able to comprehend. However, they’d love to toss all of the wildly dangerous stuff and artifacts that currently keep us baffled, believing that these inexplicable and inert artifacts are time bombs waiting to go off. We can’t say they’re wrong, but you also can’t un-destroy something. If the TITANs return or we encounter some other invasive x-threat, we’re going to need every possible edge we have, and something here might provide the help we need. We’ve already had incidents of sabotage at our other facilities. Three years ago, a Firewall operative left a concealed antimatter grenade with a QE-comm detonator at another vault. We let them think we hadn’t discovered it. We disabled the grenade before they left and hacked the inputs on the bomb’s QE comm so that their signal appeared to detonate it. We believe the conservatives think that facility was destroyed, and we mean to keep it that way.

Sidebar: Operation Double Tap

# Start Æther Jabber #
# Active Members: 2 #
< How goes the research?
> Damn good. We uncovered another pragmatist black lab this week. Those fuckers think they can hide what they’re doing from the rest of us, but no way are we going to let them.
< Excellent. That makes three known sites then. We need to find every single one, though, no matter how many they have. If even one escapes our search, it could be the end of us all. Arrogant bastards.
> We’re on it. We’re taking all of our recon slow. We don’t want to accidentally trigger any of their defenses—assuming they were even smart enough to set them up. Last thing we want is to create the conditions where something they have contained is able to get out.
< The longer we wait, the more chance something goes wrong and we all pay for their hubris.
> We understand, but this type of surveillance takes time. We are keeping tabs on several of their key players, and we’re confident they will eventually lead us to the others. Once we have their sites all mapped out, we can strike them all at once. Hit ‘em, before they have any warning. We can’t risk any sloppy surveillance that will tip them off.
< Spoken like a true conservative. Have we come any closer to getting an inventory on what any of their labs hold?
> Not yet. It’s … in progress. That’s all I can say right now.
< Fair enough. I’ll check in next week then.

# Channel Closed #
# Channel Opened #

< I just checked in on my active little puppets. They just ID’d a third site, but no word of the package we’re looking for just yet.
V The longer we wait …
< They’re taking their time, and I don’t have the influence to rush them.
V I suppose if they can’t be manipulated into pinpointing the exact location for us, we may just have to hit every site.
< They’re planning to do exactly that in the long run.
V Yes, but we need to do it first. We need the package. Without it, our deal with You-Know-What falls through.
< They’re keeping me in the loop. They’re convinced I’m one of theirs.
V Maybe you need to get a bit closer to them, find a position where you can apply some pressure.
< I’ll look into it.
V Good. Make sure they don’t do anything stupid. If the pragmatists feel the heat, we may lose the trail for good.

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