Welcome to the second identity spoiler for Uprising. Today, see the Space Elevator Authority rise above the troubles of the Fracture, and reinforce their great fortress…
By Laury Plant & Iain Fairclough
“It has been a difficult journey, but today cannot be considered anything but an absolute success for the good guys!
“As of o-five hundred hours today, Downstalk shipments of vital helium have matched the pre-Incident flow for the first time. Normal service has resumed. Across the planet, hospitals have power. Desal plants have power. Agroplexes. Have. Power. The world can breathe easy again – thanks to the hard work of every single person at the Space Elevator Authority.
“Look around at your teammates, your comrades in arms; we are here, and here we will stay.
“I could not be prouder of each and every one of you. Our job is hard… sometimes difficult choices have to be made, but we are the custodians of the single greatest feat of ingenuity in human history. We are the thin line between civilisation and darkness. We open our arms to individuals from diverse backgrounds and countries because we need the very best.
“We are the ones who keep the world turning. No one else.
“The actions we take are justified by the gravity of our mission. Estimates say that the disruption of the Incident cost a quarter million lives on all the Worlds. When going about your duties, hold that number clearly in your mind. When spot-welding repairs, think of the family freezing to death in Siberia. When foiling saboteurs, think of the child in Heinlein that’s missing out on their meds.
“Do not hesitate to do what is necessary.
“I hope all of you are as glad as I am that the Steering Committee have relented. Some of the profits will be reinvested in security; surplus helium will be directed into a strategic reserve. No cowardly cyberterrorists will threaten the Elevator again. No future energy crisis will put our families – everyone’s families – at risk. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumours, but more improvements are coming. Our smartest minds are working hard to strengthen the Project’s integrity.
“Big, bold ideas got us to where we are, and big, bold ideas will save us in the future.
“Thank you all so much, and let’s get to work.”
—Transcript of Director Lieu’s speech, Post-Incident All Hands
Nestled into the side of the Volcán Cayambe, in the heart of the Chakana District of New Angeles, lies the Root. The base of the Space Elevator commonly known as the Beanstalk; where the wider cosmos is tethered to humanity’s home. At the very heart of the Root, a bustling district of trade and commerce in itself, lie the Space Elevator Authority’s headquarters. The source of the SEA’s ever vigilant watch of the Beanstalk resides in a fortified compound prosaically known as Earth Station, the first of the Beanstalk’s three stops. Unlike other corporations, this is not a subsidiary of a larger corporation’s interest. The SEA has only one objective: keep the Beanstalk safe, operational, and profitable.
Ostensibly, the SEA is an arm’s-length corporate- and government-neutral organization created by the Treaty of Heinlein to oversee fair and equal access to the Beanstalk for all of humanity. In practice, they know very well who greases the wheels, and the giant Weyland logo glowing above the front gate of Earth Station lets everyone else know they are well aware of it. Though often accused of giving preferential treatment to United States interests above the rest of the three Worlds, no one publicly bats an eye that Jack’s Beanstalk is very clearly still a Weyland asset, even if the Treaty says otherwise.
The fortress compound that makes up Earth Station is guarded by a small army of corporate security personnel who are often accompanied by US military forces – who are oh-so conveniently stationed nearby – for physical protection. Digital protection is also exceptionally beefed up, with additional countermeasures that can be called in at a moment’s notice. The SEA has a simple and elegant design for their fortress, digitally and physically; one way in, one way out. The gates at the front of Earth Station are enormous thick metal plates that allow passenger shuttles to come and go, but can be closed quickly if there is a threat to the station itself. Likewise, their digital network has very few ties to the Net directly, and is heavily firewalled. Any Runner hoping to gain access to Earth Station’s systems will need to bring some exceptional CPU power to get in the front door. Like their physical barrier, Earth Station’s digital pipeline can also be re-routed in times of crisis… or in times of corporate “necessity.”
So, what does all this look like in our game? Let’s take a peek! There are some surprises in store here, so I’ll start with the absolutely stunning art by Kira L. Nguyen. The flow of traffic, the Beanstalk in the distance, the giant Weyland logo (leased advertising space from the gracious Space Elevator Authority) naturally, and the colors of New Angeles. The eagle-eyed might spot this forms a combined piece with Cayambe Grid.
With Earth Station, we have a standard 45-card deck with 15 influence. Nothing too tricky so far, so what did our design and dev teams come up with to represent such a tightly guarded headquarters? Well, they guarded HQ…
Okay! Here we go. The Runner has to spend an additional credit to make a run on HQ. An extra tax that represents the extra effort required to break into one of the most highly guarded facilities in the solar system. Gagarin has its installations so distant that it takes the Runner extra effort to hack into the different remotes they create, but in this case that extra effort is needed just to find a starting point to get into HQ. However, a simple tax on HQ doesn’t seem like it’s worthy of the very heart of the Beanstalk, does it? Let’s go further.
Wait. Hold on. Read that again. Limit 1 remote server. You can only create one remote. Ever. The Space Elevator Authority isn’t a business itself. It doesn’t need to branch out and shuffle assets around, it already has its greatest asset, the Beanstalk, and that’s all it concerns itself with. This philosophy of One Way In, One Way Out security applies to remotes as well. The more remotes a corporation has, the more difficult it is to defend each of them. For some corporations that’s an acceptable risk. Sometimes having so many options out there makes it impossible for the opposition to check everything in time. Not so for the SEA. So if they can’t have more than one remote, and HQ is more taxing to get into, that can’t be all there is to this supposed fortress, can it? That limitation can’t possibly be worth the tax alone. Remember what I said about the ability to shut out access to the important parts quickly? Well…
That’s right. It’s a flip ID. A single click will divert power away from HQ and into defending where the SEA believes it’s needed most. They only have one asset to protect, one remote server, so that’s where the power goes. It goes… Up.
Beautiful. Getting one wonderful art piece by Kira was good. Getting two on the same card? Amazing. I absolutely love this angle of the Beanstalk stretching out from its anchor dug into the side of the Volcán Cayambe, New Angeles spread below, a beanpod making its way up to orbit.
If a corporate agenda needs hiding, why not stuff it in the most heavily defended, least accessible place on the planet? There is only one way in, and it’s hard-lined directly to the SEA headquarters in Earth Station. Sure, a Runner could brute force their way in from above, through some satellite link from Midway Station, or maneuver in a hacked repair bot, but all these extra bits require a great deal of effort. Six whole extra credits worth of extra effort in fact. Even a stimmed-up Runner is going to need some extra computing power to do that in one go. Their solution, of course, is to hack into Earth Station down below first, then hop a link over to the Beanstalk itself and ride that up to the remote. A situation the SEA is undoubtedly aware of, and likely has layered their own ice in preparation for.
I can almost hear the gears grinding of deck builders everywhere contemplating what you can do with this Corporation, but let me point out one already exciting example spoiled earlier with the Uprising Booster set: Cayambe Grid (again illustrated by Kira!) will make that remote even more taxing. Couple it with Crisium Grid on HQ and you have a potent one-two punch of expensive runs that the SEA can only make more taxing with ice.
There you have it. Earth Station: the Space Elevator Authority’s headquarters. Happy janking, fellow Netrunners!
Earth Station: SEA Headquarters
Limit 1 remote server.
As an additional cost to run HQ, the Runner must pay 1.
: Flip this identity.
The First Step…
Earth Station: Ascending to Orbit
// Flip Side:
Limit 1 remote server.
As an additional cost to run a remote server, the Runner must pay 6.
When the Runner makes a successful run on HQ, flip this identity.
Illus. Kira L. Nguyen