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Sand-Mold Extract

Sand-mold growths are well-camouflaged in their natural habitat, visible only as a slight discolouration on the underlying substrate.

Sand-mold Extract is derived from a species of mould found on various desert planets in the Betelgeuse Sector, which has spread to several other desert worlds across the Orion Sphere on the boots of space travelers. The Sand-Mold plant itself is very inconspicuous, growing in very thin mats on loose aggregates and sand. The thinness of the mould makes it hard to spot, as it presents as a mild greenish-blue or pinkish discolouration of the underlying sand, and it does not possess enough density to be visible as an independant structure. Sand-mold is hard to spot in the field and is also difficult to detect using scientific equipment - sand-mold emits tiny spores daily, which float 1-3m above ground level, so when an area is scanned it can appear as if the mold's DNA is everywhere, although the useful plant colonies must still be located manually.

Sand-mold has evolved to be able to cope with extreme temperature variations, as the desert worlds on which it makes its home are frequently baking hot during the day, but become cold at night due to lack of moisture and a sparse greenhouse effect. Typically the mold thrives in shade, allowing it to photosynthesize during the day and enter a biological stasis by night, pulling some additional sustenance from the underlying substrate. However, as it grows on loose sand and soil, and is not suficiently dense to hold the surface together, it is frequently disturbed by wind or ground movement into the face of direct, baking sunlight. When this occurs, the plant transitions its metabolism to a high-temperature variant to prevent baking and dehydration, using a cocktail of various chemicals to provide protection for its cells - these chemicals form the Extract for which it is prized. It is during this transition that the mould releases its tiny spores into the atmosphere, hoping to be carried upwards by the wind and scattered around the planet. At night, when temperatures drop, the mould releases specialist sequestration enzymes which “lock up” key chemicals and cause a cascade which rapidly ends the heat resistant effect.

The mould's spores are extremely hardy, and are able to survive for long periods of time and extreme temperatures until they find themselves in ideal conditions. Unfortunately, these ideal conditions are hard to find - Sand-mold seems to have difficulty growing in areas with high electromagnetic radiation, especially in the radio-frequency & microwave bands. As such, on colonised planets it tends to only be found in the most outlying areas, far from any civilisation or outposts. It has also proved nigh-impossible to cultivate deliberately, even though the hardy spores have allowed it to spread to many other worlds. Finding sand-mould in the wild is a frustrating and time-consuming task, which is why although it is valuable, no organisation has successfully been able to produce the Extract at any scale. Those in search of the plant must travel to the most remote corners of hostile desert planets, inspecting likely areas on foot and by eye for the tell-tale signs of sand-mold colonisation.

Once it is located in enough quantity, Sand-Mold colonies can be harvested and the extract prepared fairly easily by a competent botanist. The chemical extracts can be stored and administered to individuals, typically by inhaling a prepared powder. Sand-mold extract causes metabolic changes in the body to protect against extreme temperatures, diverting fluid flows around the body to channel heat away from the core organs and reducing heat stress responses in cells. These changes are relatively long-lasting and typically last for the remainder of the day of administration. However, the effects make the body much more vulnerable to the effects of cold - core heat is lost much more quickly and the body's protective mechanisms are suppressed. Exposure to temperatures below 10C can cause rapid onset hypothermia in individuals treated with Sand-mold extract. Treated individuals should wrap up well in most “comfortable” environments, and in colder climes should urge their fellows to watch for signs of drowsiness, extreme shivering or confusion, which can be a precursor to serious hypothermia.

OOC Game Information

Sand-mold Extract is a type of Exotic Biotic - an Exotic Substance related to Life Science. A physrep of some kind of pale green powder or closed sample container can be used to represent measures of this substance. Small samples can represent one or two measures, while larger physrep samples can hold more.

A measure of Sand-mold Extract can be applied to a Character to provide some protection from Major HEAT Environments. This stacks with other sources of protection from HEAT Environments. If you are entering a HEAT Environment, the Encounter Referee will usually let you know, and may ask if you have any relevant protection. Even if the Environment effect is more powerful than this substance can protect from alone you will still have greater protection than none - you may be able to go longer before suffering a Condition, or may suffer a less severe version of a HEAT Condition. It is important to note that this substance does not protect against weapon attacks or other direct sources of harm - only to the more distributed hazard of an Environment. The boost provided by this substance wears off at the end of the current Day (effectively at dawn the following day).

Sand-mold Extract also makes the target character more Vulnerable to COLD Environments. If you are entering a COLD Environment, you must inform the Encounter Referee that you are VULNERABLE TO COLD.

As with all Exotic Substances, a character with at least 1 rank in the relevant speciality (Life Science in this case) can spend 1 minute of appropriate roleplaying to apply 1 measure of Sand-mold Extract to a character. After this roleplaying, they should unpeel the sticker that represents this substance, and stick it to the affected Character's Character Passport. Most characters can only be under the effect of one Exotic Substance at a time, and applying Sand-mold Extract to a character will cover up and negate any other Exotic Substance that is already affecting them.

sand-mold_extract.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/26 16:05 by conan