Monday 31 October 2011

Flufftastic - Ferron Proxima and the 'Caffeine Wars'

As I was writing my last STC post for the 'Ruined Caffeine Plaza Market' things kidn of got out of hand. A lot of ideas surfaced, fluff-wise for Ferron Proxima, far more than one post deserved and it would have taken away from the fact a new STC had been found! So I decided to split the fluff and create another new series 'flufftastic'. I've a couple of ideas of how this is going to go to bring Ferron Proxima to life but the very process of writing things down can build a rich tapestry and exciting new options arise, for example who knew there are a couple of sister planets - Ferron Ultima and Ferron Minima? So I give you my first efforts [although there's plenty of fluff already been written in the blog], 'The Caffeine Wars'

The flora and fauna on Ferron Proxima has always had a profound effect on how settlers and natives interacted with their environment. Unlike Caliban with it's mass of ancient woodlands [before it was destroyed] Ferron Proxima is a much more barren, desert like environment, rich in iron deposits, basking under sulphur skies. Many plants have had to evolve to cope with such a hardy environment. One of these is the Ferron Bindweed (Fallopia ferrousica). Ferron Bindweed is a species of flowering plant in the Bindweed family known by several common names, including Ferron vine, Guarana fleeceflowerCaliban fleecevine, Caffeine lace vine. It is native to Ferron Proxima and it can be found growing wild in parts of the Heartlands and has been bio-engineered for crop reasons. It is grown for its seed-laced vines, and is extremely fast-growing plant that has the capacity to become an invasive speces by spreading beyond its intended limits.

The Bindweed seed is an effective stimulant: it contains about twice the caffeine found in coffee beans (about 2–4.5% caffeine in Bindweed seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee beans). As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels pathogens from the berry and its seeds.These seeds plays an important role in the native cultures. According to a myth attributed to the Bear Claw tribe, Bindweesd's domestication originated with a deity killing a beloved village child. To console the villagers, a more benevolent god plucked the left eye from the child and planted it in the forest, resulting in the wild variety of Bindweed. The god then plucked the right eye from the child and planted it in the village, giving rise to domesticated Bindweed. The fact that the Bindweed seeds were in fact bio-engineered to deliver a purer and more refined fruit by the early settlers had been lost for millenia, although the tribal tales, passed down from shaman to shaman, remain to this day.

The natives would make a tea by shelling, washing and drying the seeds, followed by pounding them into a fine powder. The powder is kneaded into a dough and then shaped into cylinders. This product is known as Bindweed bread, which would be grated and then immersed into hot water along with sugar. This highly potent 'caffeine' brew has become renowned among the subsector and over time Ferron Proxima became awash with competing franchises.

Caffeine shops, plazas and markets are a massive part of Ferron life, including Ferron Proxima, Ferron Ultima and Ferron Minima [although the sister planets produce their own Ferron Bindweed it is not of such high quality as Proxima Bindweed seeds so a huge export operation accounts for a good portion of Proxima's GDC]. Caffeine joints sprung up across the planet, the sudden increase of consumption and competition even raised questions among the Inquisition as to whether the Bindweed seeds were at worst warp tainted or at the very least addictive. Declassified documents pertaining to the Caffeine Wars of 4541942.M40 show close examination of the gene-structure by Inquisatorial MechAdepts revealed discrete but recognizable STC matrix components. This led the Inquisition to publicly close their investigation but privately they approached each franchise with a mandate to claim compensation on behalf of the Emperor and the Adeptus Mechanicus for the use of  STC technology in their brew. Forced to capitulate to these new 'tithes' the cartels pressed harder to expand and compete against each other to cover the new expenses. 

Competition grew to the point where open warfare in the 'caffeine plazas' between franchises took place, with some franchises stepping up their protection by employing mercenaries and off-world gangers. Much like gang warfare in many of the Hive's sectorwide the 'caffeine loyalists' would band together to assault rival franchises, bringing new meaning to the term 'hostile takeover'. Regardless of the victor the battlefields were the caffeine plazas, the terraces awash with blood, spilled beans and latte foam. Many of these ruined plazas have long been abandoned, as it's not good for business to associate with the lowest point in 'barrista history'. Many independent retailers were obliterated including some large franchises, as well as renowned 'caffeine dynasties' dating back to the early settlers, who learned of the properties of the Bindweed and shared 'tea' with the Bear Claw Tribe. Since the cessation of all attacks in 4541947.M40 Starforts Caffeine has remained dominant in the Ferron market but Codex Coffee waits in the wings, plotting and vying for another chance to take control...

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