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Earthrise: First Impact Dev Journals: The Cascade Mountains

By Guest Writer on July 24, 2009

Long before the construction of Sal Vitas had begun, the Pioneer scouts roamed the hostile island of Enterra prospecting its natural treasures and outlining their path for future expansion. During their exploration of the unknown territories of Enterra, the first wave of Pioneers encountered mutated wildlife in the northwestern parts and fought back against the mutants with all the means at hand. They built facilities and machines to be used for terraforming the area into humanity's new home, but in the process major parts of the island were contaminated with the chemicals used for the decimation of various mutated life forms. Knowing that the citizens had the technology to remove such contaminants, Continoma continued with their efforts to terraform the western parts of Enterra, leaving the reclamation of the contaminated and rugged eastern region as an afterthought.

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Eventually, steps were taken to begin the terraforming of the eastern region and the Core - a vast underground base of operations from where the Pioneers would launch terraforming missions in the heart of the wilderness - was constructed. The largest part of the eastern fringes was named the Cascade Mountains after the wide network of rivers and canals that sprawl the rocky terraces of the mountain.

When Noir split from Continoma before the terraform process was complete the rebels naturally occupied the Core as many of them already worked and lived there. Serving as the fortress-capital of Noir, the Core endured the long siege of Continoma forces in the first days of the civil war and became the symbol of freedom, security and resilience for the resistance. The rebel bio-engineers left much of the Cascade Mountains in their natural form, ensuring the reduction of atmospheric, water and soil toxicity to suitable levels while the wildlife was only at the initial stages of remodeling. Scientists developed ways to control the populations of the aggressive mutants in such ways that they didn't interfere with the rebel activities, but instead protected the outer sectors of Noir territory.

Unlike the buildings Continoma used to construct, all installations and camps outside the Core are compact structures built from lightweight materials in order to accommodate the guerrilla warfare strategy Noir has adopted. The only man-made structures that dominate the landscape are the Mainframe Bastions, giant towers used to observe and protect the territory of the Cascade Mountains. Noir teams are always ready to launch an intercepting teleport strike against enemy trespassers. Thus, the trained rebel forces could easily defend the rugged plateaus, overgrown ridges and the narrow bridges that connect them against any enemy attack, while exploiting defensive advantage of the mountainous terrain.

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The many rivers that flow down the primeval ridges of the Cascade Mountains pour into a giant swampland at the bed of the mountain. It is here that Noir has decided to leave the dangerous mutants that inhabit the area to breed freely as the rebels have no use for this outlying region yet.

The dreaded Strangler is derived from the mutated Rana genus of frogs. Its body is covered with a thick liquid-filled membrane that sustains a comfortable level of humidity when the creature leaves its usual habitat in the ponds and goes in search of prey beneath the jungle canopies. Its skin color varies in hue from pitch black to deep blue to olive green enabling the amphibian predator to often remain unnoticed by its victim until the moment it jumps from its cover within the shadowy thickets. Its perfect camouflage, combined with its ability to navigate the forest floor in almost complete silence, make this creature a threat to be reckoned with.

Earthrise

The aptly named Boghorror is a species of crocodilian reptile that employs an intelligent hunting technique. While swimming in the shallows of their river habitat they swallow great quantities of freshwater clams and crustaceans which they later vomit in a semi-digested condition upon a shallow bank that they've chosen as their hunting spot. The putrid smell emanating from the regurgitated remains soon attracts bigger scavengers which in turn become the main dish in the Boghorror's diet. Lying in wait perfectly still on the riverbed, upon detecting its prey the large reptile springs its ambush with one powerful propelling motion of its muscular tail and in a split-second its jaws lock onto the unsuspecting victim.

Earthrise

The Dreadmoth is a real bane for the unwary explorers of the Cascade Mountain foothill jungles. Purportedly belonging to the Lepidoptera order, this creature has so far defied further classification as its sub-species have exhibited parts of the genetic make-up associated with wasps, spiders, reptiles or even mammals. The Dreadmoth actually reproduces by stunning the chosen host creature with a high-pitched, ultra-sound scream that directly assaults the nervous system of the victim, thus gaining the time to inject it with paralyzing venom from its stinger. After the victim is immobilized, the parent Dreadmoth dies still attached to it and its body releases an enzyme that fuses its husk to the host. Some scientists speculate that it is during this period that the Dreadhmoth larvae actually assimilate beneficial genetic traits from their host species during their gestation period. Regardless of the truth however, excruciating agony is assured for the hapless host when the moth larvae hatches and burrows from its mother's body inside the host's flesh to proceed with eating it alive from the inside out.

These and other peculiarly mutated creatures make the approach from the swamps to the Cascade Mountains a dangerous and deadly challenge fit only for the experienced few who have reasons to brave it.

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