Quake-pocalypse: Don’t Mess With Gravity

Sometimes coming up with Questions in Microscope can be harder than you expect. But a lot of the time there are perfectly good Questions — critical Questions — staring you right in the face. Questions you never consciously considered, but once they hit you they’re blindingly central to understanding your history.

Case in point: Quake-pocalypse, game 3. We finally ask, and find out, what caused the catastrophic earthquakes that toppled all of civilization in the first place.

It all starts when we finally see an Infinity Box with something good in it. Anti-grav tech, good enough to build a floating city, drifting safely above the savages and scavengers on the cracked world below. We play a scene showing how the dwellers in this new paradise get to lounge around rationalizing why they aren’t helping the wretched masses. Thanks, science! Sorry we doubted you for so long.

But come to think of it, it does seem a little strange that an Infinity Box sealed in basically modern Earth-times has anti-grav technology. What’s up with that? Looks like Fruitful Mistake time. So we jump backwards to before the first quake-tastrophy and see an alien ship getting shot down over Washington D.C. and captured by the government. One extraterrestrial survives but attempts at diplomacy go South, fast — on the universal First Contact scale, it’s somewhere between “Is this glass bulletproof?” and “It’s a cookbook!”

Fearful military scientists, expecting (rightly) that alien invasion is imminent, experiment on the crashed alien vessel. If they can just unlock its advanced technology, they can meet the aliens on equal footing! One scientist correctly warns that tinkering with it Will Bring No Good, but he’s ignored because of old grudges with the leader of the project (read as: that girl we both liked in university).

They flip the switch and activate the gravitic drive, designed to hurl ships between the stars. Unfortunately the would-be student drivers did not anticipate just how indiscriminate the force of gravity is, or how to drive an alien stick shift. The drive interacts with mass around it, which just happens to be Planet Earth. Crash, boom, bang as the planet’s own gravity tries to tear it apart.

Three games in and now we know how our history started and why civilization was destroyed.

next session: But A Very Dignified Squeal

    Ben Robbins | June 1st, 2011 | microscope actual play | show comments