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PostSubject: Purgatory Slab   Sat Feb 16, 2008 1:23 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Purgatory Slab   Sat Feb 16, 2008 1:24 pm

The Purgatory Slab stems from an old tradition.

First Terraformers (Caste of the Pounder, to this day dissolved) didn't like too much to leave the corpses over Mars.
Born from old esoteric ancestral fears, a kind of legend told that some nights the corpses moved.

To avoid any philosophical questioning, these Terraformers (tough guys from the beginning) preferred to dispatch the deceased in space, thanks to a kind of catapult.

On the basis of the principle which gravity is of approximately a third compared to Earth, they imagined a rudimentary way with a simple physical push, to send out of planet Terraformers deceased.
After all, a launched object goes very far with less efforts.

But this too powerful catapult dismembered bodies during the ejection, which horrified part of the small colony.

The name “Pounder” of their Caste comes from there, because of that fact that they crushed the bodies on takeoff by mechanic means, although this result wasn't wished. They spent more time to recover frozen, scattered body parts than being reassured.

These Terraformers were not fundamentally bad, but rather superstitious.
March doesn't generate so much compassion, survival counted more, especially at their time, they were hard in their mind, hard in their body, hard in their heart.

The Firm negotiated with the Caste of the Pounder in order to modify the catapult system and started also with time, to set up the first martian cemeteries.

The agreements were long because the traditions also are thick-skinned, like the Caste of Pounder.

Today, the corpses are not sent any more in space but buried.
The Purgatory Slabs are put in low-orbit 48 hours of duration, before their return.

Rovers can locate the lifeless bodies of Terraformers lost, even forgotten.The Firm'll buy them for DNA identification and placement in the referred cemeteries.

But the tradition has remained, the system of catapult has been improved and the Firm has its proper Robots welders units.

The Purgatory Slab is a metal triangle equipped with fastenings to attach one Terraformer with its life-suift.

A railing makes it possible to rest the heaume and straps hold the Terraformer spread on the surface.

Round shackles 27 cm in diameter allow to tighten handles and ankles with the Life-suit.
A flexible reinforcement is positioned morphologiquement along the backbone and the pelvis, to avoid all crack during launching.

The bottom of the Purgatory Slab is equipped with a conventional push engine, with a technological safety “reheat” (small kerosene reserve of 2 liters) allowing boost for putting it in orbit.

An heatshield is riveted on all surface and maintained with metal straps, because sometimes the Slab can return with its occupant (50% of chance).

The Purgatory Slab, thanks to its triangular form, its chamfers and side wings, planes but with a calculated strong re-entry angle the thermic shieldsis not disintegrated of 24 seconds.

If the Slab does its re-entry without damage, it lands by parachute-brake and the Terraformer of the Purgatory is washed, his name is striped from registers.

The Purgatory Slab allows harmful Terraformers thinking about their microscopic condition in the universe.

Strapped, welded, they are breathing the air of their life-suit and are facing the stellar vacuum.
The small Life-suits resist badly intense cold of space and thus provide not much air reducing the chances to survive ; it happens sometimes that the Purgatory Slab returns with a lifeless body, completely frozen.

Over Mars there is a saying, he talk about the dead angels : the very bright shooting stars that one sees from the ground are Purgatory Slabs in full reentry which carbonize, the sharp flashes coming from alloys and biochemistry combustion of the occupant.

Mars must be the only planet of SOL system where nobody makes a wish by seeing a shooting star, it brings bad luck.

This system is perennial, the Purgatory Slabs are mass-produced and have good influence for mundane people . By extrapolation, we can say that the Caste of the Pounder wished to protect its close relations by removing “the bad things”. Actually, the Purgatory Slab continues to protect the populations.
The youth is educated and assimilates very early the welding ritual.

At the psychological level, the returns are appreciable, it is an important safeguard.

This popularized form is put at provision of the formation schools.

Nothjau Borlskval, executive Psychiatrist of DHR service and consulting in sociological impacts concerning the spatial colonies populations
Intern Ex.
Terraforming Institute chair.
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