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Okay /tg/, I'm going to run a game of Dread for my pals sometime. I've been told that I have to set it in space, so I've been brainstorming and need your help to flesh things out.

Mars is cliche, so I've decided to set it on Venus. The gravity is essentially the same as the Earth but it's even deadlier than Mars. The players will be based in a floating habitat (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_Venus#Aerostat_habitats_and_floating_cities ) working for a Weyland-Yutani-esque company that's mining Venus for various valuable resources. Most of the work they do is monitoring the semi-autonomous drones on the surface and feeding them information on where to dig, and occasionally going to the surface to deliver payloads to an orbital pickup location or to perform maintenance on the drones.

The basic framework I've got so far is for one of the drones to have broadcast some erratic signals and then stopped functioning, requiring some of the crew to go down to the surface and take a rover out to recover/repair it. Near the drone they will find some kind of wreckage, and upon exploration they will discover it seems like a habitat just like theirs, only crashed to the surface an indeterminate amount of time ago. Backstory is that there WAS another Company habitat that crashed down decades ago, but was hushed up. The players may or may not discover what caused the habitat to crash, but while exploring they will also awaken one of the crew members, who wasn't human at all but a Company bioroid sent to monitor some of the other crew because of suspected corporate espionage. The bioroid, malfunctioning, will commandeer the rover, go back to the functioning habitat, and eliminate all the unauthorized individuals there.

>>34507091 continued
I could make a decent story out of the concept, but as far as running a several hour session, I'm not sure I've got enough material to keep tensions high, especially for anyone staying back on the habitat to give support to the ground team. If anyone has more ideas, or even suggestions for a completely different direction for this game, I am open to suggestions, just please, let's keep it on Venus.
Love it, what if the broadcasted signal is some sort of computer virus, which could lead to more clues on what actually happened to the other habitat.
Bro, you DO know the climate of Venus? Coz even in SF setting I find it hardly possible that someone would like to set up a base of operation there and evenn if so, nobody would go out.
OP, you MUST read Ray Bradbury's story 'The day it rained forever'. Venus is covered with a wet, pale, jungle where all the colours seem to have been washed away by the constant raining. Everything you hear is the rain smattering on your body, and everything you feel is how you're soaked to your very bones. The only way for humans to stay sane is a few domes with simulated sunlight, the only dry places on the planet.

Also add hostile, aquatic natives and violent lightning storms, and Venus becomes a place that will either drive you crazy or kill you.
Depends where these habitats are in the atmosphere, still going to the surface would require suits which could resist huge amounts of heat and radiation, that bioroid would need a functioning suit too.

Yeah, I know the climate. Why do you think they have robots doing all the mining? They only go down to the surface if absolutely necessary.

On the surface they'll be driving inside of sealed vehicles, and if they're going out they go in hardsuits that look like they're used for deep-sea diving.

The floating habitat wouldn't require pressure suits to go outside though, just sealed outfits to keep the acidity out. (See the Wiki link)
The ground team will be stranded with depleting supplies and no way to get back, they need something to do, like trying to contact their habitat, finding supplies or another vehicle.

I'll have to track a copy down.

Let's think about this direction, then: It's a constantly raining jungle world. Why are the players there? Do they live there by choice? Was it a vacation gone wrong? Is it some kind of penal colony?

The direction chosen there can form ideas for the kinds of obstacles they might encounter outside of the environment itself.
In the short story, the human characters were a group of soldiers whose rocket (this was back when rockets were still the standard sci-fi mode of transportation) had crashed in the jungle, and were trying to make their way to a dome without losing their will to live first.

So they were traveling from one dome to another? I like the idea of them being crashed during transport, although I don't think I'd have more than one player be a soldier/security force.

Maybe they come across a hidden dome? Something not on the official charts, that they couldn't travel to in their automated shuttles. There could be a ton of reasons why the dome isn't on the charts.

-Could have been removed because of some horrible accident
-Could be left off to allow for secret experiments
-Built by some kind of crazy isolationist cult
I don't remember exactly where they were going when they crashed, I think humans were in the process of fighting the native venutians so they could exploit whatever natural resources Venus has. The usual.

In the story, they know where the closest dome is, and the promise of dryness, simulated sunlight and hot cocoa with cinnamon buns is the only thing that keeps them going. Then they eventually reach the dome and find that it's been completely trashed by venutians, and is now just a wet, dark ruin. And that's when things go really wrong.
Should probably point out that the aliens are really just an off-camera detail here. You know how it feels when you're caught in the rain and you're cold and miserable and it's seeping into every fiber of your clothes and you wonder if you'll ever be dry again? Ray Bradbury's Venus is a whole planet of that.
Excellent! I believe you mean the Bishop android concept, but calling it Bioroid shows impeccable taste!

I would use a strange radio signal. Numbers stations are awesome, even on Venus. It means at least part of the mystery is man made. And there already is a previous habitat... Just don't go full Dharma Initiative, mysteries need a solid core.

Working for Weyland-Yutani they''ll have some very clear protocols to follow in most eventualities, although the protocol might not be the same for everyone. Just don't make the droid the traitor yet again. Eventually those protocols will appear contradicting the survival instinct and the characters will have to take the responsibility of making their own plans. That's when things get interesting.

I'm working on much the same think, a Dread one-shot set in an ocean floor habitat. Although I want mine to be more about the players deceiving each other, with secret character motivation and basically everyone's playing Paranoia but doesn't know it yet.
>calling it Bioroid shows impeccable taste!
That depends...
The precusor to Appleseed was called Black Magic M-66, and was actually based on Venus and used Bioroids. Masamune Shirow, for all his flaws, writes a good story.
I only know the anime movie where Black Magic Mario-66 are battle droid prototypes lost and activated in a transport crash.
So I'm an aerospace engineer, and I just did some work for a project to develop the Venus atmospheric exploration and colonization concept. I was specifically tasked with exploring a couple of details of entry, but here are some pieces of information about Venus and Venus exploration that I learned along the way.

The surface is basically the worst place in the solar system. Temperatures run in the hundreds of degrees (in any temperature scale), hot enough to melt lead and tin (and thus solder). Liquid water does not exist on Venus -- the clouds are made of sulfuric acid droplets. Surface air pressure is 90+ atm (Earth atmospheres), comparable to being a kilometer underwater. Gravity is ~0.9 G's, which is okay.

However, life is pretty nice 50 km up. Above the clouds (where most of the heat is trapped), the average temperature drops below 80 C max, average 50 C or so (hot but not beyond our ability to mitigate) and the air pressure is 1.1 atm. At 53 km, the ambient temperature drops to 25 C (room temperature) but the air pressure is something like 0.7 atm. Sulfuric acid concentration is pretty low in terms of how much there is per cubic meter, but it's still present in very concentrated (75-85%) droplets, so anything facing the outside (especially solar panels) or going outside needs protective covering (we discovered during testing that Teflon works very well).

I have more to say, but the post was too long.

I'm not too big on the idea of Venusian natives, if only because it might be a point of incredulity for my players. There might be some dangerous wildlife around, but it'll probably be imported.

Unless they came from that abandoned dome...
The natives are really only there to trash the dome, they don't show up in the actual story. The only direct "action scene" is when the group suddenly get in the way of a "monster", an incredibly vicious and sudden lightning storm.
That is awesome!
I don't think a habitat would survive decades on the Venusian surface intact enough to be recognizable. Hot enough to melt lead, sulfuric acid leaking in through rents in the hull caused by the crash- it beggars belief that anything would survive after decades in such an environment, much less something as complex as a bioroid.

Besides, I don't think there's actually anything worth mining on Venus that would justify the effort of setting up a mining operation on fucking Venus. I'd recommend moving the setting either to pulp-SF Venus, or to Mercury. Extremely rich in heavy metals, drenched in solar energy, relatively low surface gravity (.38 g). It's an ideal spot for heavy mining industries and possibly high-energy physics projects/antimatter factories thanks to the plentiful solar energy and readily available raw materials. Thus, there's lots of room for megacorp shenanigans.

Because the clouds are so reflective (Venus is actually the brightest object in the sky, besides the Sun and the Moon, and can even cast shadows when it's "full"), a colony can extract solar power from both top and bottom surfaces. Because the atmosphere is 96% CO2, regular breathing air can be a lifting gas, so people could live inside the envelope rather than living underneath in a gondola (this could be supplemented with helium cells for additional buoyancy, or the colony could breathe "heliox" like deep-sea divers do).

However, temperature and pressure increase very rapidly once we descend through 45 km or so (because that's where the clouds start), so altitude control is very important to a colony's survival.

I only did this work for a few months; there are people who do this stuff for a living. For more information, check out VEXAG, NASA's Venus Exploration Analysis Group (I wasn't a part of this, but we did get some information from them): http://www.lpi.usra.edu/vexag/

I hope this helps! I'm happy to answer more questions about Venus (or about space systems and missions in general -- that's what I focused on as an undergrad and am focusing on now as a grad student).
When will biospheres start working indefinitely?
OP, another article you might find interesting is Wikipedia's article about terraforming Venus. In particular, Carl Sagan and James Pollack calculated that 2000 asteroid impacts would do the trick to blast away most of the atmosphere and make the surface relatively habitable. There are other ways to go about it, but they all take even longer.

Thanks! Yeah, it was a great project.

I mostly agree with you, but stuff doesn't really "crash" onto Venus -- the atmosphere is so thick that the Venera probes didn't even bother with parachutes for the last 30 km or so of their landing. They just sank easily to the ground. They were however built like submarines -- they took pictures of the surface with a camera sitting behind a 5-inch-thick single-crystal quartz-glass window.

Do you have any biospheres in mind specifically?

In general, the challenge that we face with closed habitats (e.g. the ISS, submarines, the like) is that they require some external physical resource, especially water, fuel, and spare parts. NASA and other research organizations are working on something they call "In-Situ Resource Utilization" (ISRU). The idea is that, rather than sending (for example) all of the fuel and water and metal that a Mars mission will need all the way to Mars, we could instead launch a power plant (either a solar farm or a nuclear reactor), a refinery, and a machine shop, and let them make what they need out of the raw materials available at the destination. This isn't practical for the ISS because there are no resources to be gathered up there, and not terribly useful for a short-term mission like the Apollo moon landings, but it will make long-term missions and permanent colonization much more feasible.
There were some biosphere projects starting in the 80s where they attempted to have a completely sealed habitat with its own water cycle, oxygen-CO2 cycle, food production, etc. The first one failed miserably because the concrete it was build from hadn't finished curing. But I haven't heard of a successful one yet. I would naively define the challenge as 'Add nothing but sun light'. Of course the idea is to explore the feasibility of life in very small ecologies over long times. A Mars base would have more support.
Okay, thinking on the "crash land outside the domes" scenario, here's my framework:

The shuttle crashes and everyone has to escape from the flaming wreckage. Depending on checks people may be able to rescue other people or they might sustain injuries.

Then, depending on skills, they will either figure out which way to head towards a dome, or they will argue and pick a direction.

The terrain and weather will present a number of hazards for them, and depending on who all survived there could be a fair amount of bickering in-group as well. May introduce some kind of nebulous threat stalking them, if tensions start to fall.

They come across the unknown dome just when they're desperate enough to welcome any kind of relief. Exactly what kind of terrible disasters await in the dome will be determined by how players fill out their questionnaires.

Despite not having this idea for very long I feel a lot more confident about it than the one I originally proposed in the OP.

I might do some research and try setting a harder SF session on Mercury sometime later on. Thanks bros, I might stop back later once I've started plotting the sheets for the players.
I would make the crash more of a malfunction. A full on crash implies that there's serious damage, and that would make survival unreasonable. But if the main thruster is out and beyond repair because they nicked a protruding rock formation and now they can't take of then they can get into the suits and make a plan. Maybe give them a time limit with a small atmo leak they cannot find.

You should preempt waiting for rescue somehow because it will be boring. Maybe weather prohibits dispatching another shuttle, and will continue to do so predictably until after the air has run out.

You have to lead them to the derelict habitat somehow, A weak radio signal that can only be detected close by could work.

Give them a leg up. There's a rover in the shuttle that was damaged but still works.

Are you thinking creature for the reveal? Or something more muindane? Or dimension rift, time travel, Carcosa shenanigans?
Oh man, that's hilarious! For my senior project class last year, one of the other teams did some stuff involving testing balloon stability in a wind tunnel, and they had some fun with the leftover helium at the end.

Surface personnel sometimes use equipment to artificially reduce the pitch of divers' voices to the usual levels (I assume the divers/astronauts/colonists themselves get used to it after a little while).

I see. Yeah, I'm not aware of any human-supporting fully-closed (except for sunlight/power) habitats up and running, though there is certainly work being done on it.

There are lots of mundane emergencies you can throw at them. If something critical fails, the crew may need to sacrifice something (the Apollo 13 crew had to turn off their heaters, so they ran into hypothermia issues) to reduce the load on their systems.
>don't do this. Make being rescued a real possibility, but keep careful track of resources.
Raise the stakes. Repair a broken drone and have a bad day is a lousy premise.

If the drone sends back a mysterious image before it goes down and the company promises huge boni if they find something valuable then it could work.

For more pressure have the thing be manned and the crew on board includes one PC's love interest who is another PC's sibling and the best friend of yet another.

For more player motivation and less character motivation make the mysterious image the drone sends really interesting. It could be alien. There could be a marking the players recognize from their (secret?) background. Or it could look like an old container of something the station desperately needs like a chemical to catalyze the mined product and quadruple their profits.
That's what I meant.

>You have limited air and help is coming but it will be too late
>You have to extend your air supply somehow
>There's a mysterious radio signal coming from close by and you have a rover.

They could also have a few volunteers surrender their air supply to the others or jerry rig a cold sleep setup in the wreck. It's Dread, watch where the players take it.
I've got three character archtypes figured out so far:

The Soldier
The Journalist
The Ex-Con

I'm not sure what other two kinds of characters I want to make questionnaires for.
That's Aliens and Alien III, I was thinking more Alien. There'd be cargo and flight specialists, command, engineers, possibly a medic. Industrial workers, not a strike team.

I'm rolling with the scenario presented here >>34508777 rather than in the OP.

Alien is definitely an influence for the other scenario, but that's gone onto the back burner for the moment.
Lovecraft wrote a short story set on venus. I remember it being quite good, also fairly different from his usual subject matter.
Okay, how do these questionnaires look?

1. Why did you join the military, against your family's wishes?
2. What was that nightmare you kept having when you were a kid?
3. What was it you excelled at during boot camp?
4. Why weren't you allowed to have any pets growing up?
5. It is said that being in combat zones is ninety percent boredom and ten percent terror. How do you deal with the boredom?
6. What do people first notice about you when they meet you, and why does it make you so self-conscious?
7. If you're fine with having been passed over for promotion, why do you keep lying about it to others?
8. Why have you decided to see your family again, after all this time?
9. What is it that makes you uncomfortable around groups of civilians?
10. What's that book you keep reading again and again?
11. You promised yourself you'd never do that again. What did you do?
12. How are you feeling today?
13. What is your name?

1. What was it that inspired you to become a journalist? Why do you tell people a different story?
2. Growing up, what nickname did they give you at school that you hated?
3. You suffered some sort of injury and now have a cybernetic prosthetic. What do you miss the most about having your original body part? What is the best part about having a prosthetic?
4. What was the your least-favorite subject in high school, and why you were so good at it?
5. A good journalist isn't supposed to get too close to their sources, so why do you keep visiting him, when that story was finished years ago?
6. When was the last time you had a smoke?
7. What rumor have you heard that's brought you here to Venus?
8. Why are you on such thin ice with your editor?
9. What is your most attractive feature?
10. Why did you pass on early retirement?
11. Who was that person, and why did they send you all those threatening letters?
12. What is that thing you keep carrying around, and why does it mean so much to you?
13. What is your name?
1. For a long time, you made a living running confidence games. Before you were arrested, did you ever consider going legit? How come?
2. It's been five years since you got out of jail. What's the hardest part of readjusting to the outside world?
3. What is your favorite thing about living in a dome on Venus?
4. What do you consider to be your defining feature, and how do you de-emphasize it?
5. Whatever happened to that sister of yours?
6. What convinced you that there is a God, after all?
7. What do you have hidden under your bed?
8. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
9. Who was it who kept trying to visit you in prison, and why did you refuse to see them?
10. What surprised you the most about your new job?
11. What do you do when the stress gets to be too much?
12. Why is next month so important?
13. What is your name?

Still need to come up with a couple more questionnaires, so any suggestions for more questions or alterations to these are welcome.
Can you make them shorter? Seems like about half as much would do the trick.

Already made an alteration, question one is now just "Before you were arrested, did you ever consider going legit? How come?"

I've always wanted to run a survival horror type game set on mercury. I read a concept that envisaged a habitat on rails. The expansion of the rails due to heat on the sun-ward side of the planet constantly pushes the habitat around the planet, always fleeing the dawn although the process is quite slow.

The game would start, with the habitat coming to halt. The crew have to figure out to restart the movement, and figure out who or what is sabotaging their efforts. The dawn is 6 earth days away. Clock is ticking until everyone bakes alive..
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Do you mean fewer questions, or shorter questions? Take a look this official scenario, I've based the number and length of questions off this and the other examples provided in the book. (Character questionnaires start on page 7.)
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>Mars is cliche
Fuck you, Mars a best.
A supply ship arrives at a research station attached to the underside of the Ice Sheets of Europa. The station was being used to explore the watery depths of the moon, but the supply ship's crew find the place deserted, and in places partially flooded.

They can't leave until the water crackers produce enough Hydrogen to refuel.

Then they find a single crew log set on repeat. Over and over again.

"There is something in the water. Something in the Deep. There is something in the water. Something in the Deep. There is..."
I like this thread.
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Someone needs to end up tied to the tracks, Snidly Whiplash style.
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>Shirow will never be good again
I ran a deadly planetary surface adventure on Venus using GURPS Transhuman Space. I can storytime if you want.
>I can storytime if you want
>storytime if you want
>if you want
/tg/ always wants.

I'd love to hear it, Anon. I went and had dinner and am still thinking about the rest of the questionnaires for my players.
>Running GURPS Transhuman Space
>Players are a contract team of space bounty hunters that are totally not ripping off Cowboy Bebop
>Party consists of Slavic supersoldier, American street urchin with an engineering degree,and the ship's AI.
>NPC sponsor sends them their next assignment which will be on Venus
>This is the year 2101 and although the whole Solar System has been colonized by Humans or their machines....
>Venus is somewhat sparsely populated. Because of the hellish conditions and high gravity well there are really only two things Venus is useful for.
>Scientific Research, and Hiding. Turns out the bounty they are after is doing both.
>The bounty is for a scientist war criminal who has recently been tracked down to an outpost on Maat Mons that has recently dropped out of contact.
>Players accept and fly their ship on a 20 day trip from Earth orbit to Venusian orbit
>After arriving they ride a special transport ship down into the atmosphere and land on a floating research platform.
>The sponsor arranges for them to rent one of the heavy armored research rovers down to the surface to track down the bounty.
>The bounty hunter team and two russian scientists descend via cable into to Hades
>As they near the surface the floating platform sends out a distress call and the cable suddenly snaps sending the rover plummeting.
>thankfully the thick atmosphere slows the descent somewhat and the team uses emergency thrusters to slow themselves down to a soft touchdown.
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>They only have eight useful hours inside the rover, while life support and internal power are not a problem, heat dissipation is.
>They drive along using a surface map to carefully navigate obstacles on the way up the mountain.
>Along the way they are attacked several times by a floating aerobot shooting missiles down on them from on high.
>The AI manages to fend off the attacks but is unable to disable the aerobot and it escapes each time.
>Eventually the get to the entrance of the abandoned base where to their dismay the garage airlock seems to have been breached during some kind of struggle.
>This means two things, firstly it means they can't park the rover inside a shelter to dissipate heat, and second that they have to go outside in order to get inside the base.
>The two bounty hunters suit up in hardshell Venus EVA suits which give them about an hour of EVA time before heat and pressure overload
>They take the AI with them inside the supersoldier's neural computer.
>That's this player's least favorite place to be because he lacks the ability to do very much unless he's hooked into a stronger computer.
>They examine the garage and see charred desiccated bodies and a destroyed rover.
>Apparently this was a team of bounty hunters that had come her previously
>It takes about a half hour of effort but the players manage to enter the base through an emergency airlock.
>After doffing their suits they notice something strange off the bat
>The place smells like rotting flesh
>They find out why moments later when they check the living quarters
>The rotting bodies of the entire compliment of the base are all dead in their bunks.
>The players find no sign of struggle or anything odd, it looks as if they simply all went to sleep and never woke up.
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>After making this grisly discovery they try entering the security wing which turns into a fight against a small compliment of security drones.
>The manage to survive with a few scrapes and the AI is plugged into the security mainframe and starts checking everything
>The first odd thing he notices is that there's no connection, and no contact with the lowest layer of the complex
>He decides to check the surveillance data. What he finds is shocking.
>The crew of the station seem to work as a normal planetary research unit through months of surveillance data
>Until one day the base is attacked. The defenders unseal the garage airlock to fend off the invaders but then something odd happens.
>After the danger passes the entire compliment of the base stops what they are doing as if possessed and march in unison to the crew quarters.
>They crawl into bed and seemingly go to sleep without ever waking up again.
>The team finds this pretty weird and decide to check downstairs
>The find the primary computer mainframe room and this is where the encounter the Doctor.
>Apparently the war criminal they are after uploaded his mind to the mainframe and took complete control of the operations there.
>The upload wasn't exactly perfect so the ghost of this old Doctor is slightly mad
>He starts cursing at the players for interrupting his thinking and sends out security drones to dispatch them
>The two players have to fight off several waves of these guys while the Doctor starts monologuing
>He has the standard mad scientist background. "THEY THOUGHT I WAS CRAZY BUT I SHOWED THEM!" Kinda stuff
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>His insane plan involves his own secret megaprojekt underneath the mountain.
>STEP 1. Build mass driver underneath mountain.
>STEP 2. Start pumping atmosphere through mass driver into space
>STEP 3 Use ejected mass to increase Venusian rotational speed, decrease the atmosphere. Within three decades the planet will be ready to terraform.
>STEP 4 ???
>STEP 5 PROFIT!! Now I know you're there saying that's the stupidest idea they've ever heard, and you might be right. The players certainly thought so.
>But that's what his plan was, and despite the disbelief of the players they soon found evidence that he was not bluffing.
>The AI calculates that the amount of CO2 that would be ejected into space would be enough to cause major disruptions on Earth far worse than even 21st century global warming.
>He says the human compliment (who all had been given special neural interfaces by him) had outlived his usefulness and he intended to use his nanofabricators to build a deeper base underneath Maat Mons to complete his plan.
>At the end of the monolouge the Slavic supersoldier decides he has had enough and blasts through the next wave of drones then runs toward the mainframe and plugs the AI character in.
>The Doctor didn't anticipate this and he soon finds himself facing 200 buildpoints of digital fury.
>The AI easily bags the Doktor and shuts down all the drones
>The players decide to destroy the base and set the self destruct sequence
>The make it back without major difficulty to the rover which is beginning to show visible signs of stress while sitting out in the Venusian heat.
>The drive down the side of the mountain with probably no hope of rescue
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>To add insult to injury they are suddenly attacked again by the aerodrone from earlier
>The AI player gets irritated enough to risk jumping himself over to the Aerodrone.
>He manages to shut down it's flight systems but he fumbles his roll to take over full control and the drone automatically self destructs.
>Fortunately the AI manages to hit the threshold to jump back down the rover.
>The Rover has less than an hour left of time. The engineer uses his map of the surface to find an old pressure shelter from an early manned mission.
>They find is surprisingly still in use and convince the guy living inside to let them in out of the heat
>The guy is friendly enough, looks like he's lived here long time by himself, growing plants and drinking with recycled moisture.
>The AI finds out this guy actually has a bounty on his head from a major corporation
>The two human players have an argument about what to do with him. Steet Urchin Engie wants to to bring him in, Slavic Supersoldier wants to honor his hospitality and not.
>Eventually Supersoldier moralfags his way into a convincing argument and they share dinner with the Venusian hermit.
>Four days later the platform they left swings over again. One of its balloons had been hit by a missle but they had used the other four to ascend into the cloudtops and drift with the super rotating atmosphere.
>The platform winches up the crew of bounty hunters and russian scientists after they bid the hermit farewell and within hours the team is back in space
>They make it back to Earth with the mad scientist ghost and turn him in getting their biggest payout yet.
>But after subtracting the rover rental costs, supplies, ammo, fuel, and other expenses they barely have enough left over to enjoy, which they blow promptly by taking a weekend trip to Vegas.
find and read up on the Eclipse Phase books. Ignore the system (sinc eyou are playing dread) but use its incredible scifi setting. There is a whole section about Venus and the efforts to colonize and terraform it.

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