The Hyacinth Disaster

The Database

Details about the world of The Hyacinth Disaster are below. If you're the type who likes figuring things out from context clues, feel free to listen to the series right away: I wrote the script with that approach in mind. If you prefer to have all the (non-spoiler) info on the table, so you can have a clear picture in your head, keep reading:



+ The Solar System, 2151
Earth's climate has been stabilized, and amid the rise and fall of the world's greatest nations, much has changed. The Netherlands have become the world's dominant superpower, a combination of excellent leadership and economic innovations allowing it to thrive in the difficult decades of the late 21st century. By 2080, Dutch ingenuity has spearheaded colonization of the moon. By 2100, the moon is a thriving spaceport used for launching great terraforming ships to Mars. A decade later, the red planet's atmosphere is well on its way to habitable pressure.

With Mars promising a green and blue future, effort was mounted in the 2110's to begin the thinning of Venus' atmosphere, subterranean installations were established on Mercury in the 2120's, and the 30's saw research stations assembled on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

For the most part, however, the asteroid bases are ungoverned. Some attempt to establish colonies in the 2120's resulted in relative failure as few families wished to live so far from a blue sky. In 2129, Dutch government finally left the administration of the asteroids to whatever corporations were willing to maintain mining operations. Many hardened adventurers opted for the skyless rocks in hopes of getting rich, and the economy grew despite the absence of "civilization".

+ Jovian Asteroid System
Dozens of corporations vie for resources in the free-for-all grab-bag of asteroids in the Belt, but only a few were large enough to brave the further isolation of the great Trojan fields in Jupiter's Lagrange 4 and 5 regions. These untapped rocks rivaled the Belt in number. By 2145, the first trojan bases were established, and two companies became the primary operators of trojan claims: Lykaeon Minerals and Halaesus Mining, in L5 and L4 ("trojans" and "greeks") respectively. For the most part, the two companies have kept to their lagrange regions.

+ Halaesus Mining Company
Established in 2092, Halaesus Mining was one of the first companies to begin operations on the famous Psyche 16 asteroid, becoming fabulously wealthy and monumentally powerful. Various uncharacteristically-prescient legislators had made sure no one company could claim a monopoly on Psyche, however, so eventually others arrived to make their own fortunes. Halaesus' move into the Jovian Lagrange regions in 2143 was a way of re-asserting its status as "First Everywhere™". By 2151, the company has multiple asteroids under the nets of its MRS vessels, and is getting more confident in its influence and power.

+ Lykaeon Minerals Corporation
Lykaeon Minerals was the result of a merger of several smaller corporations that saw the need for cooperation after the government pullout in 2129. Thus, while it is relatively young as a business entity, it has a great number of seasoned executives looking to grow profit. This led to a base being started in both L5 and L4, but when it became clear that Halaesus Mining was determined to stake claim in the L4 "greek" camp, Lykaeon's board decided it wasn't worth being spread too thin. They meticulously annihilated their installation in the area and moved all assets to the L5 trojan camp. They remain suspicious of Halaesus despite the vast space between L4 and L5, and maintain slightly more "security" ships than could be considered reasonable for a mining operation.

+ MRS Corvus
The Corvus (formerly the Bellis) is a mining vessel under the command of Ember Roth, contracted under Halaesus Mining Company. Ember has been in command of the ship since its previous captain had been hired into corporate bureaucracy - a rare move for a mining captain. Upon taking command, Roth changed the ship's name to Corvus.

+ Algenor 32339
An asteroid just inside whatever "borders" have been observed in the Trojan camp of Lagrange asteroids. This rock - a Class 8 - is especially valuable for its high concentration of rare metals. Halaesus managers deemed it worth the risk to send a ship to encroach on Lykaon's territory.

+ MRS Hyacinth
One of the older mining ships in operation, the Hyacinth was already approaching obsolescence when Conlin and Famke Hynes lucked into a job that brought them in contact with its owner - Boran Solak - who was about to retire along with the ship. The two convinced him to "lease" the ship to them as a promise of a small continuous income, and played rock-paper-scissors to determine who would be captain. The pair managed to keep the ship running profitably, partly because of Famke's catching the heart of a young corporate clerk early on. This guaranteed preferential treatment, which disappeared two years later when Famke took a job as captain on a much newer ship working directly for corporate.

+ Saniss 130991
An asteroid squarely within the Greek camp of asteroids, Saniss 130991 has been classified by a surveyor as a 1 - not worth prospecting until all the millions of other asteroids have been exhausted.

Hyacinth Crew

+ Con, Captain
Conlin Hynes was raised on Earth, in Amsterdam, by his mother, Anja Dekker. He was not an ambitious man, and ended up working a job as a logistics manager for a small company. It was not until his early thirties that a conversation with his younger sister ignited a sudden desire to see space beyond the short trips he'd taken to orbit.

A mere two years later, he had achieved an education in asteroid mineralogy. With his sister, he took passage to Carnellion Base, the largest mining hub in the Belt. After 11 months crewing various ships, Conlin became captain of the Hyacinth.

+ Blue, Comms
Famke “Blue” Hynes was raised alongside her brother, Conlin, in Amsterdam. An artist at heart, Famke was drawn to space as inspiration at an early age, and Saturn in particular fascinated her. Art being less than ideal for generating the funds for regular interplanetary travel, Famke joined her brother Conlin in the mining business. She did manage to minor in the arts, and her thesis project showcased her advancement of the Explosionism artform. Despite her change of career path, Famke found she enjoyed working in the depths of space. Even as a miner, she satisfies her interest by blasting art, leaving a creative mark on every asteroid she prospects.

Two years after acquiring the Hyacinth with her brother, Famke was offered a job as captain of a ship working directly for Halaesus. Despite the company's obsessive oversight, the pay was good enough for her to take it. She is on board the Hyacinth again for the ransom mission as comms monitor.

+ Finch, Engineering
Gifted with a tremendous amount of talent and intelligence, Finch has earned respect on several ships as an expert on seismology and geology. She often pinpoints trouble areas of an asteroid’s interior, and where to safely blast for minerals. Despite serving on the aging Hyacinth, where her engineering talent keeps the ship working, Finch helps other crews out by consulting on detailed scans they send her for analysis. This often earns her favors and connections, including with a young surveyor nicknamed Dreadnought.

On the ransom mission, Finch is pulling multi-duty as a one-person engineering team.

+ Argus, Exosuit 7
Born on Earth, raised on Mars, having worked on Mercury and Venus, and at Jupiter and Saturn, Argus has seen it all, and decided space is awesome. He settled on a job that was reasonably positioned in the middle of everything, so that he would be well-placed to go anywhere again. Deeply interested in all things cosmic, Argus has amassed a great deal more knowledge than could be considered necessary for an asteroid miner to know, to the point that his friends wonder if he might be a simple miner just because he likes it.

Argus had worked on several ships in the Belt before meeting Grimm on board the Grissom, and the two developed a volatile friendship that carried them through quite a lot of dangers. On the ransom mission, Argus is helping Grimm set up the receptors for the Squealer’s radiation scanning burst.

+ Grimm, Exosuit 4
Born on Earth, raised on Mars, having worked on Mercury and Venus, and at Jupiter and Saturn, Grimm has seen it all, and decided space is overrated. Despite being less experienced than Argus as a miner (Grissom was his first post), Grimm has done quite a few more jobs, even flying a fighter as a mercenary in a small conflict between now-defunct corporations.

Grimm enjoys playing pranks with (or on) Argus, and every so often lets himself get attached to a person he respects. This does not keep him from getting bored with his surroundings, and so he has remained a free agent, moving from ship to ship after every couple of jobs, with Argus (by cheerful choice) in tow. Thus far, working aboard the Hyacinth has held Grimm’s interest for the longest time, largely due to something new going wrong on every shift. On the ransom mission, Grimm is setting up receptors with Argus.

+ Dreadnought, Exosuit 2
Flying one-man missions in his small ship, Dreadnought's regular job is to provide Halaesus Mining with basic scans of rocks, which can be used to determine the merits of prospecting. Having taken the position with guarantees of lucrative opportunities, he quickly became frustrated with corporate’s lack of follow-through on promised commission.

In the midst of the very public event of the Corvus’ capture, Dreadnought realized the asteroid he'd been surveying was unusually promising, and decided to file a false report on its value. He then contacted Finch and asked if she knew anyone who was interested in helping him go behind corporate to maximize their take from the asteroid’s resources. On the ransom mission, Dreadnought is drilling into the asteroid to prepare for the squealer’s scanning burst.

Other Characters

+ Eric Temple, Captain
Temple is the Captain of the Tesseract, a security frigate of Lykaeon Minerals Corporation. He means everything he says.

+ Station
Who cares? He doesn't.

+ Ember Roth, Captain
Ember Frances Roth was born to be a starship captain. She knows it, her crew knows it, and it doesn't bother her one bit that she commands a humble mining vessel. No matter what the ship is, she's going to be captain, and by hell that ship will run efficiently. Despite her reputation as a fierce officer, Ember has an equally-high reputation for fairness, not for one second hesitating to credit those who work hard under her command. During her brief stint as 1st Officer aboard the Bellis (now Corvus), the ship gained the unofficial record for most problems fixed in the worst circumstances in the least amount of time. When the captain left for a corporate office, Ember's crew pooled their money and bribed a clerk to assign her as captain.

Ember has no desire to follow in her previous captain's steps, preferring the dangers of space to the dangers of the boardroom. That said, she was furious when she was ordered to take her ship into hostile territory, opting to obey only when threatened with the loss of her job and the jobs of her entire crew. Her concerns were justified when the Tesseract appeared and brought its 58 electromagnetic cannons to bear on her mining ship and its pitiful complement of mining probes (small, slow missiles)


+ MRS Mining Ships
A typical Lilium-class “Mineral Retrieval Ship” (of which the Corvus and Hyacinth are two among hundreds) can sustain a crew of up to 60 people on the week-long "shifts" a typical contract entails. Massive combinations of freighter and drill rig, these ships usually reach 400 m in length, most of which is taken up by the ship's "mast," a giant column on which the various ore storage containers and semi-refining "smithies" are strung like beads. The main control and living area of the ship takes the form of a giant flower, with four engine pods radiating from the base. These pods can rotate and flex in most directions, depending on whether the ship needs to be pushing or pulling its burden.

Standard mining procedure involves attaching the ship to the surface of a target asteroid with the tether. After this, a giant net is extended from the end of the mast, covering as much of the asteroid's surface as possible. This net catches debris as teams of exosuited miners blast the surface with C4, and funnels it toward the smithies waiting on the mast.

+ Exosuits
Exosuits (or Exos) are the standard equipment used by miners working the surface of an asteroid. They are distinct from “Vacsuits,” which provide the actual pressure and air regulation. Exos can be fitted with many tools such as impact hammers, drills, welders, pneumatic pincers...basically anything a crew can think of that might be useful and/or look badass.

+ The Squealer
The Squealer is a large device that does little more than cause a burst of radiation which allows separate receptors to analyze the detailed composition of an asteroid. The deeper the hole a Squealer can blast into, the better the results. It is so-named for the audible havoc it wreaks on comms and sensors. Prior to a blast, crews must “lock” comms (turn off and shield them) to avoid permanent damage.

+ The Shuttle
Most ships carry a shuttle of some model docked to their primary airlock for the purpose of small supply trips or escapes. Unlike the mining ships that carry them, shuttles often have some sort of armament for light defense. Most shuttles can comfortably hold 30 people, and can uncomfortably hold a full MRS crew (60) in an emergency. First-time crewmembers who think they're funny commonly ask what, exactly, does the shuttle consider an emergency?