RAMA a ten million
megaton starship which passed through the Sol system in
Since Rama was in
free fall when it entered our system, it was naturally assumed to
be an asteroid and routinely cataloged as "31/439" by
Spaceguard. As its peculiarities surfaced, 31/439 earned the
astronomical name Rama.
It was soon
realized that the asteroid was in fact a cylindical artifact 50
kilometers long and 20 kilometers in diameter. The Solar Survey
ship, the Endeavor, intercepted and explored Rama.
exploration posed more questions than it answered, Rama is
believed to be a "space ark" on a voyage of staggering
proportions. Rama's last solar fly-by was probably 200,000 years
before its arrival in the Sol system. Rama was pointed directly at
the Magellanic Clouds when it left our system. However, Rama's
actual embarking point and ultimate destination are unknown.
The exterior of
Rama is a perfect, unadorned cylinder. Air lock facilities are
located at one end, Rama's reactionless drive is at the other end.
This drive is capable of a cruising speed of 2000K per second,
roughly one percent the speed of light.
The interior of
Rama is a single "room" using the inside of the outer
shell as a floor. The floor space is broken by three pair of strip
lights bordering each shore of a 10K "sea." The sea
forms a "ribbon" around the cylinder's epicenter.
(Imagine a stripe painted around the inside of a basketball.)
The sea is actually
an "organometallic soup" densely packed with spherical
single-shelled organisms similar to Terran plankton of prehistoric
times. The sea's apparent purpose is to supply raw materials for
BIOTS and other artifacts. Biots are fabricated in a number of
automated factories located on an oval island (10K x 30K) in the
cylindical sea. The biots perform maintenance tasks during solar