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 April 5, 2004

Super Tiny Paradise
Purple_Dave: Not all sentient species are in the same scale with each other, so a proper Moonbase should have areas that cater to extremely teeny tiny people. In about the same scale relative to minifigs as minifigs are to real people, the denizens of this Moonase module are roughly 1/32" tall. The two main industries supported by this module are microtech (consider how tiny we're able to make microcircuitry now, and then consider how much smaller a person who is 1/2304th the size of you could make it), and nano-fig tourism. A military presence is maintained to protect them from the devastation that could be caused by their much larger neighbors, and certain factions of their own kind.

Half of the inspiration for this module came from building Neptune's Moon Lagoon. Or rather, buying the parts to build it. One of the Bricklink orders that I made had a rather steep minimum purchase level, and I had to pad my order a bit to meet it. While looking through the inventory for things that might interest me, I ran across the trans-neon orange rock pieces. I was previously unaware that they'd made this piece in anything but brown, so that immediately drew my attention. I'd been contemplating doing a nano-fig scale MOC for a while, and this was exactly what I needed to really give me a direction to go with it. The design is intended to be vaguely reminiscent of the brightly colorful coral reefs found in our own oceans. The lone Moonbase corridor connection point contains a side-by-side pair of airlocks for small nano-fig scale vehicles, and the small hole towards the bottom leads to a transport tunnel for foot traffic.

On the outer surface of the main reef is where all of the industrial functions are hidden, so they don't detract from the views enjoyed by the tourist domes. Five large service habitats are stationed around the reef to house all of the non-military employees of the various functions. One such function is waste reclamation. Capable of generating a few dozen grams of trash and other debris per day, Crystal Reef would be swimming in junk in a matter of months without a means of recycling it.

Three landing platforms service this module. The first one is for a large cargo vessel, and the other two are for military cruisers. Each of the platforms has an adjacent mini-dome for housing the various tools and machine shops required to service large ships. Above the two military platforms are large defense systems, each featuring a single phased plasma cannon and quad missile launchers. Due to the tremendous power requirements of operating the weapons, there are large power plants located at the base of the plateau nearby. During a crisis situation, the power output can be redirected from the nonessential functions in the service and tourist areas and pumped directly into the defense systems.

These are the other half of the inspiration for the module. Quite a while ago I saw a post on LUGNET, where someone asked for people to design ships that could fit in these bays. Noone responded, but I thought it was an interesting challenge, so I came up with a few designs. I didn't really have anything I could do with them, though, so they basically just sat next to my computer for about half a year until I started building the groundwork for this module and could finally add them to it.

The place where most of the important decisions are made is the Capitol Dome, situated on the upper terrace with a clear view of most of the surrounding area. On the outside of the airlock system is the C&C area, where the airlocks and tunnel transport are controlled. Customs is managed in two ways. At the end of the transport tunnel is the Customs dome, where foot traffic is processed, much like in an international airport, before they're allowed to board underground transports that quickly take them to the far reaches of Crystal Reef. The airlocks have their own dedicated Customs staff that can search any vessel before allowing it through, but they're not always prepared for what they might encounter. As you can see, right now a Blacktron spy vehicle is making a break for it, and one of the military intercept vessels is taking off to begin pursuit. Little do they know, but the problem is bigger (relatively speaking, of course) than they imagine, as an entire base has been secreted away in the far side of the plateau.

On the inner side of the both the large reef and the small island located nearby, the tourist Domes are clustered. The small island hosts three of them. The first is the Chrome Dome, and noone really knows for sure what kind of activities take place there, but the people mostly seen going in there are a lot of guys wearing dark suits and sunglasses. Next to it is the Arena Dome, where all of the exotic sports (like Rollerball) take place. At the base, surrounded by a lot of the themeless micro-domes (where the less wealthy tourists stay in cramped quarters so they can wander around in the big Domes during the day) is the home of the various secret lodges. Dubbed the ScorpiDome, it has a building shaped like a large black...oh my. Looks like a fleebnork must have found a way in when it was still really tiny, and pretty much consumed everything inside. Fortunately, there doesn't appear to be a way for it to get out, so the rest of the Domes might be safe for now.

Starting at one end of the large reef is the RoboDome, which is designed specifically to cater to visitors of a mechanical nature (think oil baths and machine shops). Moving inward is the Cookie Dome, renowned galaxy-wide for the wide array of delicacies produced by its exclusive staff of chefs. Up on the mid-level terrace is the Bubble Dome, which features aquatic environments for water-dwelling tourists. Directly below is the Spire Dome, home of a powerful and very wealthy individual who wishes to remain somewhat anonymous.

Again, up on the mid-level terrace, is the Crystal Dome, where most of the expensive shops are located. Below is the Casino Dome...which is pretty self-explanatory. Lastly is the AgriDome, which is largely dedicated to gardens filled with exotic wildlife, but a few special delicacies are grown here in the lower levels for the tremendously wealthy.

Speaking of the tremendously wealthy, the most wealthy individuals don't stay down with the "merely wealthy" in the Domes (except the one guy who owns an entire Dome for his own use). Instead, they stay in the Tower. The side that looks out over the tourist Domes is for visitors, while the side that looks out over the industrial area is where the top level management and Board of Directors of Crystal Reef make their homes.

Of course, you can't expect everyone to use the underground transport systems to get around everywhere. There are four general classes. In the upper right is the mini-cruiser, mostly used by the military, which also serves as the local police force, though a few of them have made their way to the black market. In the lower right is the light patrol vessel, a fast and agile vehicle which is relatively new to the scene, and is limited to purely military use. The lower left is the standard utility vehicle, which sees use both as a cargo transport, and a military intercept vessel. The upper left is a very rare luxury yacht, used solely by those who simply have too much money to know what else to do with it.

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