- 8 Life Support Systems
The Alphans are dependent on fragile life support systems. The
life support systems are very centralised and often threatened.
Simmonds steals the power storage core in Earthbound, and the
creature steals the life support core in The Beta Cloud. Cantar
& Zova modify life support in The Exiles causing explosions,
and the duplicate Alpha is depressurised from here in One Moment
Of Humanity. Helena is able to anesthetise the entire base in
TBOW2 from life support. Aliens often leave the Alphans on minimum
life support (The Testament Of Arkadia, One Moment Of Humanity).
The systems often need small quantities of very rare minerals:
tiranium (Catacombs Of The Moon) and dylenide crystals (The Mark
Of Archanon) are found in the catacombs under Alpha, but milgonite
(All That Glisters) and titanium (The Metamorph) must be found
on alien planets.
By MFMBA the Moonbase life support systems are slowly decaying
and are expected to fail, leading to the decision to abandon
8.1 Artificial Gravity:
Artificial gravity is used inside Eagles and the Moonbase. In
Black Sun Bergman introduces the gravity system: "These
eight anti-gravity towers stabilise our gravity here inside Alpha".
He creates a forcefield by "linking and cross-linking the
screens in each of the towers". In Another Time, Another
Place a checklist includes "artificial gravity". In
War Games Kano states "Anti-gravity units in all areas are
smashed beyond repair", while in Space Brain Bergman explains
"we had to turn gravity control right down". Strangely,
astronauts bounce as if in low gravity in the immediate vicinity
of the towers, seen in Black Sun, Ring Around The Moon, Alpha
Child and The Last Sunset. Even more strange is the tower seen
on Earth in Another Time, Another Place. Nuclear Disposal Area
One in Breakaway had an "artificial gravity system",
now deactivated, although the modified anti-gravity towers can
still be seen. The model towers are also seen in Earthbound,
The Last Enemy (providing the forcefield), Brian The Brain &
The Bringers Of Wonder part 1. "Anti-gravity screens"
are forcefields used by Eagles in Black Sun, Ring Around The
Moon and War Games. These screens are also referred to in Space
Brain & The Exiles. In War Games the Eagles have "Compensators
at Earth gravity", while in Earthbound an Eagle extends
it's gravity to an alien spaceship, under control from Main Mission
("Activate gravity control").
- 8.2 Atmosphere
The base can be depressurised in its entirety (One Moment Of
Humanity) or specific sections (End Of Eternity, airlocks and
launch pads areas). Explosive decompression is a risk (Breakaway,
War Games, End Of Eternity, Space Warp, The Dorcons, the melting
atmosphere seals in Matter Of Life And Death). In The Bringers
Of Wonder part 1 we see an "Emergency Depressurisation Unit"
oxygen supply, while War Games demonstrates how window cracks
are sealed and The Seance Spectre shows a similar procedure in
an Eagle using a plastic sheet and a hardening agent sprayed
on it. The catacombs in The Mark Of Archanon have "Pressure
Normal" warning signs. The launch bay in The Last Enemy
has a "Pressure Difference" sign (the categories are
"Low- Balanced- High") as does the airlock in The Last
Sunset. Airlocks are seen in Ring Around The Moon, The Last Sunset,
Missing Link (Airlock West), End Of Eternity (Airlock E), Space
Warp (Airlock 7 & a moonbuggy airlock) and The Dorcons (Airlock
2). A vacuum chamber is shown in The Beta Cloud, as is the capacity
to flood Hydroponics with a chlorine atmosphere. Luckily, ventilation
ducts are not normally sealed, allowing Maya to use them in The
Beta Cloud and The Bringers Of Wonder part 1. Ironically the
base is inadequately sealed against external pressures, as in
Space Brain when the foam bursts in, or The Seance Spectre where
Tora's atmosphere could contaminate the recycling system.
Spacesuits supply oxygen through a wire from backpack to helmet
(seen in TBOW2), which according to War Games stores about 100
minutes of oxygen. In some episodes backpacks are not worn: they
are replaced by EVA packs in Space Brain & The Exiles, and
by fire extinguishers in The Bringers Of Wonder part 1 (fighting
fire in vacuum is a rare experience). Eagles have to depressurise
and repressurise the entire passenger module for EVAs, although
Earthbound shows a vacuum chamber which can be separately depressurised.
Eagles have an "oxygen recycling plant" (The Seance
Spectre) which can normally support life for at least six months
The Moonbase also uses recycling. The "oxygen recycling
system" is mentioned in Seed Of Destruction, and "recycled
survival gases" in The Seance Spectre. The recycling plants
may recycle air, water, food and waste together, perhaps using
algae and higher plants. In War Games Sandra notes "The
food production and recycling plants have been very badly damaged."
Eva in The Seance Spectre reports a spurious medical emergency
in "Recycling Plants One and Two." When power is cut
in Force Of Life, Paul itemises the deterioration: "In twenty
minutes, all our sick in the intensive Care Unit will die. Thirty
minutes, our recycling plants will be damaged beyond repair.
At forty our oxygen will give out." Alpha experiences these
problems in Seed Of Destruction: "Water in the recycling
plant is frozen. Hydroponics frozen. Protein production unit
inoperative." Shortly after Alan reports "the oxygen
units have failed." The decay is more rapid when the life
support cores are removed: thirty minutes in Earthbound, while
there is an instant 5 degree temperature drop in The Beta Cloud.
Hydroponics Units are seen in The Troubled Spirit, A Matter Of
Balance, & The Beta Cloud (although the plants are shown
growing in soil, not gravel), and hydroponics is mentioned in
Dragon's Domain, The Mark Of Archanon, The Taybor & The Rules
Of Luton. The wall map identifies two "Hydroponic Farm Areas".
Plants grown on the base include soybean (for hamburgers, The
Mark Of Archanon), hops and barley (A Matter Of Balance), lemon
(The Last Sunset), flowers (Dragon's Domain, The Rules Of Luton,
the magnus solarium in A Matter Of Balance) and even a bonsai
tree (The Taybor). The manna from The Last Sunset is "amazingly
rich in second class protein and many of the essential vitamins.
We can grow almost limitless crops, once we've removed all the
hallucinogenic elements." A Protein Store, containing seeds
from Earth, is seen in The Testament Of Arkadia (door combination
40980428). Evidently this is only required for reseeding should
the crops fail, and during normal recycling it is not used. The
only animals seem to be the doves in The Mark Of Archanon.
Many foods seem to be synthesised (hamburgers in The Mark Of
Archanon, the imitation coffee in The Dorcons) although a good
variety is available (including chocolates in The Beta Cloud).
Bergman has a bottle of 60-year old brandy in Black Sun, Tony
brews his own beer (The Taybor, Journey To Where, A Matter Of
Balance- Verdeschi's brew number 29- , Catacombs Of The Moon,
plus mentions in The Rules Of Luton, Dorzak), and punch is served
at the party in Guardian Of Piri. Dining arrangements are rarely
seen: a meal is shown in The Taybor in Koenig's dining room,
and a camp meal in The Full Circle. The Recreation Centre in
The Mark Of Archanon has mugs and cutlery, and Alan refers to
"a little place just down the corridor", but we never
see any restaurants, although four are indicated on the wall
- 8.5 Power
The main sources of power for Alpha are nuclear reactors, seen
in Force Of Life (four Nuclear Generating Areas are mentioned),
Alpha Child (the Generating Area), Earthbound (the Nuclear Power
Station), Black Sun (the Main Power Unit, the same design as
that in Earthbound), and the power rooms in The Exiles, One Moment
Of Humanity & The Mark Of Archanon plus the life support
centres in The Beta Cloud and TBOW2. The Main Power Unit is also
mentioned in Ring Around The Moon. Solar batteries are mentioned
briefly as back up power sources in War Games. The wall map identifies
a "Sola Energy Plant" (sic).
Heating and lighting can be set in individual rooms (Force Of
Life) within centrally controlled limits (The Testament Of Arkadia).
Power cuts are frequent (Black Sun, Force Of Life, The Testament
Of Arkadia, One Moment Of Humanity); the opposite situation occurs
in Catacombs Of The Moon, temperatures reaching 40 degrees. Temperature
gauges ("temperature centigrade", in 5 degree intervals
from -5 to +50) are seen in Catacombs Of The Moon and The Beta
Cloud. Power packs stripped from Eagles are used for power in
Black Sun and One Moment Of Humanity; portable nuclear generators
are featured in A Matter Of Balance & The Lambda Factor.