Rat Barrel, The

Station where the first Rat provolves were created

Rat Barrel
Image from Steve Bowers
Over thousands of years the Rat Barrel has grown larger and more complex. Once a centre for medical research, today it is famous for reversably-addictive hedonic pharm

Originally the Rat Barrel was an Interplanetary Age genetics research station, known as the Barrel, located at the Earth/Sun L4 position, far from any regulatory interference. The most common species of Rat Provolve, Rattus sapiens, was produced here in 210 AT, as well as other unrelated forms.

During the Nanodisaster most of the Barrel's genetic database was destroyed. Whether this was a genuine accident, a deliberate human act of aggression or an instance of hyperturing intrigue, was never resolved, or if so the details and all records have been carefully erased. However the inhabitants rescued most of their database of rodent genetic material. With only this to work with they began to experiment. Quite a few young geneticists in the area actually memorized large chunks of the more common rat genomes because they were so often called upon.

By the establishment of the First Federation the geneticists of the Barrel had produced a wide range of rodent species. These included "defletermauses" (flying rats), sewer-pigs (rats given swine-like qualities and farmed in waste reclamation areas), steerpike (aquatic, gilled creatures of rat descent), bristle-spiders (which actually use facial whiskers as walking appendages), etc. Most of the inhabitants of the Rat Barrel by this time were either Rat provolves themselves or human/rat rianths and splices.

As well as rodent genetics, during the Federation era the Rat Barrel diversified into high quality pharmaceuticals. According to Federation law any drug or process which was addictive had to come with a counter-drug/process which would be available at lower cost. This led to a proliferation of quite powerful pharm, each with its own cure. The diverse Rat clades that trace their ancestry back to the Rat Barrel were (and still are) often involved in the supply, distribution and promotion of such drugs.

Among their most successful products is a drug called "White Rabbit", a drug which (according to its enthusiasts) 'takes you to Wonderland'; but many other types of pharm are made as well. The Rat Barrel, now fabulously rich, is a vast, ancient complex of conglomerated structures, with the original 200 metre habitat at its core.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Peter Kisner; updated by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 22 December 2001.

Stories Involving Rat Provolves

Travellers's Notes - Ribblehead
Deceleration Phase