Nu Earth

On the spinward border of the Aku Corporation lies the system named Nu Earth. Its' single solid planet, also called Nu Earth, has been one of the primary battlegrounds in the ongoing war between the Aku Corporation and the Toranaga Cluster, despite its position at the far side of the Aku Corporation to the Cluster.

However, its border position and the fact that ships with jump tanks can jump across the Aku Corporation to it make it theoretically vulnerable to attack; its almost perfect terra-normal environment made it a desirable planet for anyone to control; and most of all, strategically it represents an opportunity to split the Aku Corporation neatly in two across the thin "neck" of Corporation systems to rimward of Nu Earth. As a result, the Toranagans have been trying to acquire Nu Earth for most of the war.

Early in the Nu Earth campaign, both sides made extensive use of atomic, bacteriological and chemical weapons. The ecological consequences of this were disastrous; Nu Earth's entire atmosphere (with the exception of a very few tiny pockets) became one of the most noxious, corrosive and poisonous gas mixtures in known space. Exposure is fatal within 30-50 seconds. Normal at mosphere suits are virtually useless against it, and battledress is even less effective; only at TL 13 does a suit appear which can ward off Nu Earth's atmosphere for any length of time. Called a Chem Suit, it costs Cr10,000 and is largely similar to a TL 13 vacc suit in basic features. Even a chem suit, however, is no protection at all against the scum seas of Nu Earth; immersion in the sea will eat through any protective suit in around 50 seconds; death from combined suffocation in the chem atmosphere and dissolution in the acid seas is very rapid thereafter.

The high levels of ambient radiation on Nu Earth also make communications much more difficult; only meson communicators can transmit accurately at greater than Regional range.

Normally, a planet within the borders of one state should be easy to rid of an invasion force from another; however, in the case of Nu Earth, the environment is so hostile that warfare has necessarily descended to thousands of isolated conflicts of a basically regional nature. The basic planetary objectives (spaceports, fuel production plants, cities and air recycling plants) are individually fought for. In many cases, the ongoing warfare has an effect on the targets themselves, with spaceports and fuel dumps often being destroyed in the fighting to control them. In many places, the soldiers of each side fight each other simply because that's what they are there for.

The Genetic Infantryman

To cope with the extreme conditions of Nu Earth, the geneticists of the Aku Corporation set out to design the perfect warrior, tailored to endure and even flourish in the hellish environment of the chem-clouds. Aku Corporation genetic designs are among the best in Foreven, with an effective tech level of around 17 (as of 1109). The scientists tested and studied and finally (after a couple of failures) came up with the Genetic Infantryman.

Technically an android, the GI is grown in clone batches of between ten and a thousand, depending upon projected need; remembering that each GI costs a total of MCr8 to create, train and equip, smaller numbers are more common. All the clones are initially identical; however, during their early life and training, they tend to develop individualities and separate personalities. They are similar in appearance to humans, with a slightly more muscular build, blue skin and yellow eyes without visible iris or pupil which are impossible to dazzle or confuse (iris dilation is under conscious control) and provide limited (passive) IR sensitivity. They have no body hair except for a "mohican" style crest on their heads. All GIs are ambidextrous. Internally, their make up is a little more specialised. They have two hearts; a primary heart which operates in the same manner as a human's heart, and a secondary heart which accelerates the flow of blood (red blood; the skin pigment is part of the rad shielding) so as to provide a faster rate of oxygen extraction when the O2 concentration of the air drops. The secondary heart also allows performance "boosting"; extra air and sugars can be sent to the cells allowing a greater output of energy at need. The healing processes are much faster in a GI; especially whilst asleep, the secondary heart may be mobilised and all the extra energy available concentrated on tissue regrowth. The GI heals at a rate up to five times that of a normal human; even better in normal atmospheres. The GI's lungs are designed with a much greater variety of filters, allowing the straining out of any poison or anaesthetic gas known to man. The GI is also perfectly at home in normal atmospheres. The skin is not only proof against the chem-clouds, it can also survive limited periods of immersion in the scum sea, and, even though the sun almost never penetrates the chem-clouds, GIs are completely immune to sunburn. GIs are also immune to every ingested and injected poison known to Aku Corporation science. Psionics have no effect on GIs in the same way that they don't affect Hivers.

Possibly the most remarkable (and controversial) feature of the Genetic Infantryman is the biochip. Each GI has a small (1"x2"x") microchip component emplaced in his skull, cybernetically linked into the frontal brain lobes. If the Genetic Infantryman is fatally wounded, the biochip senses the approach of brain death and takes a complete copy of the personality, training, skills and memory of the GI at that moment, effectively transferring the dying GI's persona to the biochip. From that moment, there is a time lag of three minutes, during which the biochip must be surgically removed from the corpse's head and attached to a specially prepared power source. Each GI is provided with three of these, built into his rifle, helmet and backpack. From then on, the chip actually "lives" as the dead Genetic Infantryman. While attached to the equipment, the chip can operate it in a limited way as if it were a robot brain.

If a chip is brought back to the genetic labs on Aku, a new body can be grown for it and the GI can live again. This renders a GI effectively immortal, although there is wastage from GIs who die alone (if no one cuts the chip out and powers it up in three minutes, the pattern is lost and the GI is truly dead), GIs who have their chips damaged or destroyed in their deaths and so on. In addition, a GI may only be re-cloned four times; the process does not work after that.

The GI brain has been specifically geneered with this process in mind. No brain without that design can operate a biochip; therefore normal humans cannot be fitted with them.

Chipped equipment provides many benefits. The GI rifle is basically a short gauss rifle with a few extra circuits; if chipped, the rifle may fire under the control of the chip without any other intervention at all. The chip may also operate as a superior rangefinder/analyser; any chipped rifle is at +2 to hit over and above other DMs.

A GI's commo and sensor equipment is carried in his pack; normally it is controlled with a hand held unit, but if the pack is chipped the chip can verbally feed intelligence to the GI. It can also unpack and pass to the GI equipment stored inside it, and defend itself to an extent with grenades and mines.