< BACK TO APPENDIX
EXTRACTION DYNAMICS: HOLO-FLARE
The holo-flare is a visual emergency beacon designed to be seen by the unaided human eye by orbiting spacecraft.
The technology was developed by Extraction Dynamics, a subdivision of General Appropriations Corp. The flare itself is the observable result of several “recipes” of the expanded electromagnetic spectrum (EEM; which in and of themselves may not be visible to the human eye) as they react with one another at a predetermined location “nexus.” Because the visual results of the holo-flare can be “projected,” the EEM components can typically traverse solid objects (porous materials allow for greater target distances of holo-flare visual manifestation). Put another way, if the selected wave pattern can penetrate the solid, the actual nexus point can be selected as needed well past it.
Weather and other circumstances can dramatically affect visibility of the holo-flare and reduce its effectiveness as a beacon. Where deemed safe, small amounts of radioactive isotopes can be integrated into holo-flares set off on the surface (ie- not projected, as the isotope’s radiological signature is less likely to traverse through any solid matter). The amount required is minimal, but the embedded radioactive signatures (various isotopes are assigned different meanings and are stored in all Conglomerate scanner devices) in conjunction with the resulting “light fountain” can help differentiate between a genuine holo-flare from a flash of lightning. Examples of isotopic signatures include variations of Phosphorus (indicating a large, base-sized party in need), Iodine (indicating medical casualties), Bromine (indicating rapidly decaying, catastrophic breach of craft hull) and Osmium (indicating the need to replace broken communications equipment and immediate resupply request). This list is by no means comprehensive. It is offered as a small demonstration of the flexibility and sub-messages that can be integrated into the beacon technology.
Another advantage of the holo-flare extends well beyond simply locating a party in need. Pre-coded EEM variables can be adjusted to alter the light fountain pattern to contain specific messages to sensors programmed to decipher them. This information may include ship name, mission number, specific needs on the ground (ie- medical), etc. EEM messages are the preferred means of conveyance for a number of reasons, but the isotopic variant has saved more than one crew since the holo-flare's creation.
If the ability to adjust the EEM message was damaged, but the unit itself remains functional, a blanket EEM discharge can be fired into the sky to react with the planet’s atmosphere (if one is available). The effect is described as a “Reversed Borealis.”