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Never fire a laser at a mirror.
~ Larry Niven

Spheres is a Normal Mystery storyline in Surviving Mars.

Overview[edit | edit source]

When the scientists discover a mysterious sphere on the Colony of Mars, it is revealed it has a thermal absorbtion effect that could plunge Mars into its own ice age. Great care must be made in the experiments on the Sphere unless the humans on Mars enjoy becoming human popsicles.

Strategies[edit | edit source]

Recommended sponsors and mission commanders[edit | edit source]

Events[edit | edit source]

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Spheres: The Trusty Screwdriver[edit | edit source]

Whatever lies within the Sphere is pretty capable of harnessing any energy projected at it. Furthermore, the energy used by our instruments seems to have furthered its power-up process.
  • Effect: The Sphere charges a bit

Spheres: Metallic Silence[edit | edit source]

So thorough is the absorption process that we fail to detect even the slightest reflected wave being thrown back at us. Aside from that the Sphere remains, unsurprisingly, quiet.
  • Effect: The Sphere charges a bit

Spheres: Is it Alive?[edit | edit source]

While energy direction by itself is not something so unusual, utilizing it for a purpose implies intent or at least programming of some kind. Our current test-grade proof will most certainly help encourage our scientists currently tackling this mystery.
  • Effect: The Sphere charges a bit

Spheres: A Buried Secret[edit | edit source]

Its surface is perfectly smooth and also seems to sport mirror-like features.

The way this sphere reflects its surroundings has struck our team as being especially odd. It reflects not what one would expect, and in some instances seems to entirely ignore the observer from the reflection.

This has the potential to be something monumental. Further excavation is most definitely encouraged by everyone here at Mission Control.

  • Effect: A half-buried sphere is revealed

Spheres: System Shock[edit | edit source]

Our most sensitive instruments detect a very weak, yet constant low frequency vibration, giving the Sphere a sort of hum. At least no harmful particles are detected.

We will be waiting for further test results.

  • Effect: The Sphere begins charging.

Spheres: Hello, Goodbye[edit | edit source]

Mission Control was struck speechless as the half excavated Sphere finished the job itself and un-burrowed fully on its own, then began moving - levitating with the aid of some propulsion method unknown to us.

Around it, temperatures fell drastically, creating a cold area that moved around with it. Mission Control is scrambling to predict where it's headed to and if this cold zone is a byproduct of its propulsion method. Or more like its function.

These are exciting times - scary, but exciting.

  • Effect: The Sphere begins moving.

Spheres: The Sphere is a Sucker![edit | edit source]

While we aren't sure if the Sphere has any set destination it is hovering towards, we have enough evidence to say that a new process has been initiated by the Sphere. For what purpose, we cannot say as of now.

<hint> The Sphere drains batteries and charges quicker.

Spheres: Bad Vibrations[edit | edit source]

While it does not seem to be lethal in any moderate doses, any Colonist, subject to the Sphere's influence, shows signs of deteriorating health and needs a solid few days at the Infirmary.

Our researchers have several theories on what this phenomenon is and should we prioritize it, we may be able to come up with a way to protect our citizens from the harmful influence of any such Sphere.

  • Effect: Sphere Protection research available.

Spheres: More to Come[edit | edit source]

In a moment of pure awesomeness the Sphere split into two identical Spheres. The new objects have grown to the exact same size as the previous one.

The second Sphere is now entirely independent from the first, moving in a direction of its own choosing, yet the two Spheres are clearly interacting with each other at a distance. Their humming frequencies are changing simultaneously and the more they resonate, the more a slight ionization of the atmosphere around them becomes evident.

At the moment of the splitting, vast amounts of data were gathered by our instruments, so we may have the means to dig deeper within this mystery. Until then we can only predict that some event will trigger when a certain resonance frequency has been reached by both Spheres.

  • Effect: The Sphere divided into two separate Spheres.

Spheres: It Works![edit | edit source]

Apart from controlling where it goes and what damage it does, this is of little use to us at the moment as we can't dismantle them or even hinder their function in any way.

However, this is critical for closer observation and research.

  • Effect: A Sphere is being held motionless.

Spheres: Choose Your Poison[edit | edit source]

The Sphere is converted back to its precious ingredients.

Our scientists are quick to inform us that any Sphere free from our decoy buildings will roll back to its splitting phase and will most probably try to retrieve the critical amount needed for their collective purpose.

We feel we have gathered enough information from these Spheres. It's been deemed that decomposing all the Spheres is our best road of action.

  • Effect: A Sphere was converted into resources.

Spheres: 3 Up, More to Come[edit | edit source]

The new Sphere also exhibits the humming of the previous two and is also resonating with them and the atmosphere around it. We have adjusted the predicted trigger point of the unknown event, as now it is expected to come earlier due to the higher Sphere count.

The good news is that the more there are, the more observation material is available for our scientists.

We should be able to paint a general picture of their purpose after investing some time to research them.

  • Effect: Purpose of the Spheres research available.

Spheres: Climate Change[edit | edit source]

What or who needs to lower the atmospheric temperature of contemporary Mars is beyond any of us - yet it is most evident that the Spheres are effective at what they are doing.

If we want to stop the change, we must find a breakthrough based on what we already know and learn how to control or cancel this process.

  • Effect: A prolonged, extremely strong Cold Wave has begun.
  • Effect: Xeno-Terraforming research available.

Spheres: To Future Generations[edit | edit source]

The Cold Wave that had gripped our Colony has finally been dispelled. Temperatures have returned to the normal, cruelly cold levels we are used to.

Our scientists are confident that we have recorded and gathered all data necessary for making sense of this encounter in the coming decades. Also, they are confident that the Spheres themselves had overstayed their welcome.

Keeping them around would have meant living with the ever-present danger of re-activating the endless Cold Wave once more, even if we had managed to find a way to halt it without destroying all the Spheres.

And despite the risks, despite the purely pragmatic reasons for destroying all the Spheres, one can't help but wonder how the generations to come will feel of this deed. Will we go down in history as cowards? Or maybe as too insensitive to the magnitude of the encounter, the very first non-man-made technology ever found?

When our scientists give up on trying to determine the origin of these Spheres, will textbooks mention that because of the rash actions and fears of the few pioneers that lived on Mars at the time, the riddle will never be solved?

  • Effect: No more Spheres are left.
  • Effect: Cold Wave dispelled.