Lutra Colony

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Lutra Colony was an experimental colony started by the Gudersnipe Foundation in the late Sixth Age. The colonists came from the failed Eutra Colony experiment. And while the project was largely deemed "sadistic", the Foundation felt there was a great deal to be learned. Lutra Colony actually out-lived Eutra Colony, surviving well into the Long Night.

Premise

Following the closure of Eutra Colony, the Foundation re-located as many colonists as possible and re-integrated them into Foundation society. They were left with around forty thousand mostly young men and women who were, effectively, useless. Many had not completed even compulsory education, and while all could read and write, they were unemployable. The Foundation considered sending some of the younger individuals to reform schools, but finally decided on a slightly different approach.

Rather than release all of these people into society and let them fend for themselves, each new colonist was equipped with an implanted bio-monitor, a hatchet, a water-proof lighter, a sturdy pair of boots, and a warm coat, and marooned on an otherwise un-populated planet.

The experiment began in early spring, and the bio-monitors were used so a ship in orbit could dispatch medical aid as needed. Additionally, each and every colonist was provided with a copy of the Technological Review. The forty-eight volume reference set is usually provided with a sturdy, weather-proof container. Given the circumstances, each container also included a handy set of all-terrain wheels.

The colonists were instructed that they would be allowed to leave the planet if they could construct a radio transmitter and hail the ship in orbit.

History

In addition to a starship, the Foundation placed several high-resolution imaging satellites in orbit to watch the colonists' progress. Quite sadly, they watched as many destroyed their potentially life-saving reading material, using the materials to construct crude shelters.

The particular location was chosen because with a fairly wide dispersion, the colonists would have no difficulty finding ample food, even if they only gathered it from the forest. The experiment was also begun in early spring so that, given even a modest amount of effort, the colonists should have plenty of time to construct shelters and build stores of food and fuel to survive what was projected to be a reasonably mild, if cold and snowy winter. About three thousand colonists had to be rescued due to malnutrition or exposure, and were returned to the surface the following spring.

All told, about a thousand colonists died the first year. Some from preventable illness (the books provided included a reference on finding medicinal plants on that planet), some in accidents. The vast majority were killed by other colonists. With edible plants even in winter, acts of cannibalism were still observed.

The survivors split into groups and began forming rudimentary government. They used primitive weapons and the environment to fight, often raiding each other for food stores, women, and surviving copies of the Review. Over the first three years, another five thousand colonists died in these skirmishes; which over time assumed the character, in retrospect, of heroic legends, while the Review had become a sacred text. At least five hundred more died due to ingesting psychoactive plants they had discovered. Most were not poisoned by the plants directly, but died from malnutrition and exposure as their addiction grew and they focused all their efforts on finding more plants.

One group, consisting of about four thousand, organized and trekked over one hundred miles to the coast. From there, they headed south until they reached more temperate regions, and founded a settlement called New Eutra. It took them close to thirty years, but they were eventually able to construct a radio and hail the ship in orbit (not the same ship that dropped them off: the Foundation rotated different vessels through the duty about once every six months).

Despite the promise, few colonists actually asked to leave. The rest were more interested in trading for things to make their lives easier. The Foundation agreed.

Those that remained in the mountains died out in a little over a century, despite being surrounded by a very adequate food supply. Auckland Strake, an anthropologist who studied the area, believes that the addictive qualities of a local plant were responsible. The Foundation has made no statement on whether or not they knew of the plant before placing the colonists, or if it had shaped their decision.

Conclusions

While many studied have been done on the events surrounding Lutra Colony, the only official statement as far as the Foundation is concerned, is that it was a good test of the Technological Review; proving that, with concerted effort, a civilization can build itself.