Author Topic: Rise of the Wrix  (Read 17942 times)

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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Rise of the Wrix
« on: June 19, 2012, 03:15:09 PM »
I am rather new to these here forums, seeing as a number of people have posts from as far back as 2006, but reading all the (mostly) excellent fiction posted here has inspired me to try my hand at it.   I have always regarded myself as reasonably literate, so I hope it will not be too offensive to the eyes. 

The basic premise for my game is thus:
Sol starts are boring.   Unless you are doing multi-faction or non-earth games, Sol starts are all the same.   So that was out. 
Instead, I wondered what it would be like to play the other side of the coin.   Instead of playing the daring earthlings attempting to face the horrors of the deep unknown, how about playing one of those horrors trying to eat all the squishy earthlings? Surely the Bugs from Steve's Rigellian campaign (some inspiration there) did not start out as the menace they became? What was their story?

While a hive-mind race was tempting, it made for very boring storytelling and as you might have noticed by now, I bore easily.   Instead, the more fragmented and broken the leadership, the more space exists for intrigue and politics.   Thus were born the Wrix. 

Introduction
The Wrix are a race of humanoid-insectoid predators based loosely on ants.   Each underground hive consists of drones governed by a queen.   The drones are fanatically loyal to their queen, but tend to be less intelligent than the average human.   Queens, the only members of their race that can reproduce, are vicious, ruthless, intelligent and care very little for the lives of their drones, except as a resource to be used.   As their homeworld is covered with a large number of hives, no central government exists (as yet) and the queens fight each other for territory, resources and sometimes just because they can.   However, queens aren’t stupid.   While a number of hives have developed nuclear weapons, those weapons would destroy the very resources the hives seek to acquire far easier than the vast underground hives.   Only small warheads with limited yield have been used in tactical situations. 
As a race, they are very industrious and reproduce rapidly, but constant war has restricted their starting population to a mere 322 million with a single shipyard and research laboratory.   Their government can best be described as a collection of Feudal States, each hive being its own state. 

As you might have guessed, I used a conventional start. 
Comments are welcome.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 03:20:27 PM by Rabid_Cog »
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 03:17:13 PM »
Nov 2000
The Queen of Kappa Hive sat in front of the large computer in her chambers, her finger paused on the button that would change everything forever.    She hated the uncertainty, but when the only certain choice is death, there is no other way.    She couldn't afford not to do it.   
Finally, she pressed the button.    Then she leaned back and sighed.    It was done.    There was no backing out now.    The data was sent.    Now, for a few hours at least, there was nothing to do but wait.   

Later
“Alright, Kappa, what is this?” the Queen of Gamma hive demanded over the video link.   
Eight of the eleven largest hives on the planet had responded to the data and joined the video conference, of which Gamma was the largest and most powerful.    Even moreso than Kappa herself.    But Kappa was the most technologically advanced hive.   
“What did your science drones tell you it was? It’s not that complex” Kappa replied snidely.   
“So, “ Lambda hive responded, “are you trying to tell us that the sun is going to explode?”
Lambda was a smaller hive and had neglected to provide a video feed, along with two others.    Paranoid about security no doubt.   
“No, I’m telling you that the sun might be cooling down.    What that means is anyone’s guess.   ”
“Might?” one of the other hives without a video feed asked.    Delta, the computer said.   
“Unfortunately I do not have enough information to make a definitive statement.    There are so many different periodic fluctuations that it is very hard to make accurate observations.    What I do know is that if this is indeed the case, then we are most likely facing extinction due to freezing.   ”
“Wait a second, how do we know you didn’t fabricate this whole thing? Where did you even get these observations.    These go back almost twenty years!” Gamma hive said.   
“We have all made observations and measurements of various solar bodies at various times during our astronomy research.    Mine just happened to be more complete.    Recent cross-correlation efforts brought this information to light.    As for its legitimacy, do any of these observations contradict any of your own?”
Kappa was answered by a chorus of begrudged no’s.   
“Now tell me, how would I know when you had taken your measurements? Besides, even though queens have only ever spoken on exceedingly rare occasions, here we are in a conference with no less than nine of the most powerful Queens on the planet.    Why, if you don’t believe what I’m telling you?” she asked.   
“Why tell us this at all?” Delta asked.    Another smaller hive, but also rather advanced.   
“Now we are getting to the heart of the matter and the entire reason I have called the conference.    You see, I have spent the past month doing almost nothing but watching my drones run simulations in that new research facility many of you have no doubt discovered I had constructed.    We might have as much as a two hundred years before we even start to feel a chill, but it might be as few as eighty before we are living on an iceball.    Even assuming we have a hundred years before additional infrastructure is required to support our lives, my hive alone would never be able to establish any sort of meaningful colony on any other planet.    Our industrial capacity is simply insufficient.    Even were any two of us to band together, we would still be unable to make it in time, considering the inevitable wars we would be involved in with the rest of you.   ”
All of the other queens were silent, so Kappa Queen continued.   
“Together, the nine of us control over 40% of the planet’s combined manufacturing capacity and command more than 50% of its armed forces.    Together, we can force all of the smaller hives in line with our plans and the larger ones remaining will have to choose between falling in with our plans or falling victim to our unstoppable, combined, military juggernaught.   ”
“So, ‘together, we can rule the world!’ is your pitch? How does that help us? And what is in it for us?” Gamma hive again.   
“Good question, my dear Gamma.    With the industrial might of the entire planet, my analysts have determined that it would be possible to have a colony on another world in as little as ten years time.   ”
“As to what you stand to gain, out there are enough planets so that each current hive can have several of their own.    If that is not enough territory for you, I do not know what would be.    In addition, soon I will have no choice but to share certain technological advances with you, purely for practical reasons.    Finally, if we do not do this, we all die.    It is as simple as that.   ”
“In conclusion, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.    Now, decide.   ”
The decision was unanimous.    The Wrix Swarm was now in existence.   
In less than a month, most of the other hives fell in line, even the ones who had declined to attend the conference.    Between the promise of technology if they agree and the threat of destruction if they do not, the choice was easy.   

The Wrixen system is a binary system with 6 planets around both the primary and the secondary.    Wrixom, homeworld of the Wrix, is the sixth planet around the primary.    There are a total of six planets and moons that are close to being habitable, requiring minimal infrastructure to sustain life.    Of course, any orbiting the primary would help little against the cooling sun, but the secondary held four of these worlds and had no such problem.    Yes, the Wrix would survive.   
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 03:24:36 AM by Rabid_Cog »
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Offline Ektoras

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2012, 01:12:48 AM »
Intersting start. I am waiting for more small politics and interfighting.

 

Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2012, 02:21:13 AM »
Of course, the game only actually starts in 2001.  This was setting the background.

Just a note, this is a single faction start so don't expect Steve's 'I'm tired of managing so many factions' style infighting.

Also, the text isn't readable enough in my opinion.  I might play around with the font/spacing at some point to see if I can give it a boost.  But not right now.  Time for more story!  :D
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 02:28:53 AM »
1 Jan 2001
“Gamma, you control the only shipyard capable of building something useful.    In time we will construct more, but for now you need to increase its size as quickly as you can.   ”
Another conference.    This time it was on the practicalities.    Despite all the projections she had thrown around, Kappa Queen still had no real way to get her fledgling alliance which had now become known as ‘The Swarm’ off the doomed rock that was their homeworld.    Still, certain things would have to be done regardless, and problems would be tackled one at a time.   
“Lambda, Delta and Rho, I need you to take care of the rest of the hives still holding out against our influence.    Remember, we need their industry intact if possible.    In fact, the less damage done the better.    It would be best if they joined of their own will, but join they must.    We cannot afford to have to watch our backs against opportunist raiders.   ”
“Excuse me, “ the queen from Beta hive, one of the larger hives who had originally neglected to attend the conference but had since seen the light, at least somewhat, interrupted.    “Why exactly are you the one giving orders? We might be working to a common goal, but that does not make you our leader.   ”
“Then how about this.    Unless someone can think of something better to do, we do what I say.    If anyone ever does, we will discuss it and handle the situation then.    Now, I need all possible industry at our disposal to start producing infrastructure to support both our offworld  colonies and our hives here once the temperature starts dropping.    It might not be for a while, but we have a lot of Wrix that will need it and nothing better to use it on.   ”
“How about weapons?” one of the other queens chirped.   
“Why would we need more weapons? We already have enough between us to kill every living thing on this planet three times over.    Besides, Delta hive passed on something that they had been working on a while, but just didn’t have the facilities to properly analyze.    It’s a new kind of metal, and my science drones tell me it will make all our current technology completely obsolete” Kappa said.   
“Which you will share with us, I am sure?” Gamma asked.   
“Would you believe me if I said absolutely?” Kappa replied.   
“Not in the slightest, if you thought you could manage without us.   ”
“Then why ask the question?”

An explanation is perhaps in order.    No hive can be larger than the number of drones each queen can hatch in the lifespan of a single drone, which isn’t that much.    Even with technology severely pushing the limits of what is naturally possible, a hive is limited to about 25 million drones.    This is an upper ceiling, but reaching that number is impossible in practice due to war, accidents, disease and food supplies.    Hence, no single queen can gather the industrial might necessary to even consider getting off the planet.   

What exactly is happening:
Kappa started her research on transnewtonian metals as she controls the only (modern) research facility.   
Gamma began enlarging the 1000ton shipyard as that's what she controls.   
Everyone (all the industry) began building infrastructure for the forseeable future.   

In case you haven't realized, Queens get the names of their hives as they 'are' the hive.   
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 03:23:48 AM by Rabid_Cog »
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2012, 02:38:40 AM »
All other queens in a hive beside the Hive Queen are known as subqueens, and they are forbidden from laying eggs.    They can only ever obtain their own hives and reproduce if they succeed the Hive Queen or if they break off to form their own hive.    With nearly all territory on the planet claimed by at least one queen, breaking off had a very low chance of success so most stuck around, doing their best to accelerate the demise of their Hive Queen and each other without getting executed in the process.   

2 June 2002
The squabbling between the queens had reached a flashpoint.    For a year and a half the tensions had been building and all of them were trying to gain an edge, refusing to release needed minerals to others while some were slacking, building weapons and stealing each other’s territory while they were occupied.    It had to stop.   
“Enough!” Kappa exclaimed.   
Unfortunately, the conference she had called to address the issue had turned into a shouting match.    Nobody could be heard because everyone was talking, accusing or threatening at once.   
“I said enough!” Kappa pressed a small button on the side of her console and covered her ears.    A loud, high pitched whine blasted out of the speakers of every queen, completely drowning out even their own words but not doing any permanent damage to their hearing.    Comms drones quickly cut the sound, but, for a moment at least, she had silence.   
“Listen to me! Clearly it is impossible for us to continue working without a single leader.    Our own tendency for backstabbing and lust for power will prevent any sort of willing cooperation between us.   ”
“Trying to nominate yourself for the position?” Beta asked.    She had become possibly the most disruptive influence within the Swarm, but controlled the largest hive on the planet, so they were stuck with her.   
“Hardly.    None of us can be named leader, as each would only use it to further her own ends.    Therefore I suggest another option.    We select from among our hives an Infertile most capable at managing the logistical task of getting resources to factories.   ”
Kappa’s suggestion was met with a few seconds of stunned silence.    The idea was outrageous, that an infertile would rule over Hive Queens? Preposterous! Yet, as many of the others quickly realized it was the only workable solution.    Except Beta.   
“An infertile? That is the most ludicrous idea I have ever heard.    We kill our Infertiles as they hatch.    They are disloyal and produce nothing worthwhile.   ”
“On the contrary, “ Delta countered, “while infertile subqueens might not have the fanatical loyalty of drones, they do not have the driving ambition of fertile subqueens that forces us to watch them so carefully and their intelligence level is far above that of the average drone.    Both Kappa and I have used them in our laboratories.   ”
Eventually, even Beta was forced to give in.    Now, the correct Infertile just had to be found.   

As the Wrix had no equivalent to mating, gene variation was achieved using an extremely complex and extremely ingenious natural gene randomization mechanism as part of their reproductive process.    This happened each time a queen was hatched.    Unfortunately, this meant that many of the queens didn’t survive or were born completely infertile and unable to enter the reproductive cycle.    Most hives used to kill any infertile queens shortly after they hatch as they were seen as a pointless drain on resources and even a possible danger - fertile queens constantly tried to replace their ‘mother’ as the Queen of the hive and it was feared they would try the same.    In recent times, however, this primitive practice had all but died out among most of the modern hives as Infertiles proved to be excellent leaders and scientists.    They were creative and smart, and far more trustworthy than the ambitious fertile subqueens as they could not take over a hive even if they tried.    No drone would follow a queen that could not reproduce.    Never before had one been given power over more than a few hundred drones, however.   

What is really happening:
Mineral shortages in duranium slow my already slow construction. 
I realize I had forgotten to assign a planetary governor, and that it wouldn't have made sense RP-wise to assign one anyway.   So time to fix that. 
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 03:23:30 AM by Rabid_Cog »
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2012, 02:48:47 AM »
3 June 2002
IM-39-VVU lay on her side, resting while scanning a tablet with some of the latest results from the factories.  Although she was an Infertile, she had played an important part in the construction of Lambda’s industrial backbone.  Nowadays, however, with the shift towards the almost single minded dedication to the construction of the habitats and other life supporting infrastructure, her tasks had become very simple and very tedious.  All of the bottlenecks were elsewhere and there was nothing she could do about them but wait.
A drone came running up.  Only the queen had private chambers.  Everyone else slept wherever they could find room.  The idea of personal space didn’t exist.
“IM-39, the Queen wants to see you” it said.
“Coming” IM replied and began putting down the tablet, but then changed her mind and brought it along.  Might as well have the figures on her when the Queen demands to know why progress has been so slow.
As she headed towards the heart of the hive, she wondered whether the queen would have her killed.  Queens held absolute power over life and death in their hives and no drone would hesitate to kill another at their Queen’s command.

“Your Majesty?” IM asked tentatively from the edge of the chamber.  Protocol demanded she be invited in before daring to enter the Queen’s private area.
“Enter, IM-39” the Queen of Lambda Hive called from inside.  This was most unusual.  Queens never deigned to learn their drones’ designations unless they had very regular contact.
Queen Lambda was stretched out at the back of the chamber with a console and large screen in front of her.  Behind her her bulging egg sac was starting to take shape.  She was in the middle of her reproductive cycle.
“Your Majesty, if this is because of our factories not meeting their production quota this month, I can assure you…”
“Be quiet and come sit down next to me, IM-39.  The conference is about to begin.  I will speak to you afterwards. ”
Confused and just a little apprehensive, IM sat down next to her Queen as the screen came to life.  Several other Queens’ images appeared on it.  After a few seconds, Queen Lambda managed to move the camera to capture both her and IM and the conference started in earnest.
“So is this the one?” the Queen marked Kappa asked.
“Indeed.  This is the one I was talking about.  She has a real knack for organization” Lambda replied.
“Have you told her anything?” Kappa asked again.
“Nothing yet. ”
“Very well.  Then I shall explain. ” Kappa and all the other queens turned to IM.  “Your designation is IM-39-VVU, am I correct?”
IM-39 felt her throat contract and her two hearts beat faster.  Another Queen knows her designation? What was going on? All she managed was a faint nod.
“You have been chosen as the most capable Infertile to lead the production efforts of the Swarm.  You will be given control of all our industry.  You will be expected to manage these assets to the best of your abilities to achieve the goals we set for you. ”
IM just sat in stunned silence, so the Queen marked Delta continued.
“You will be assigned resources to help you achieve this.  Whatever you need, you let us know and we make it happen somehow.  To force the compliance of those queens that are less than willing to accept your orders, you will also have provisional command of a significant part of our combined armed forces to enact punitive measures.  Of course, we retain the ability to veto any such orders should we desire.  Do you understand?”
This finally snapped IM back, but her attempt at speech failed so she just nodded.
Kappa once again spoke: “Normally a Queen would not ask this of a servant, but I think considering this rather unique case and the rather unique position we find ourselves in, it is necessary.  Do you accept this task and promise to do it impartially and to the best of your abilities?”
After a few fish impersonations, IM-39-VVU finally managed to find her voice.
“Yes, I do. ”
“Then we welcome you, first Governor of Wrixom. ”

What exactly is happening:
Planetary governor assigned.  I decided to make the various leaders infertile queens.
Excuse the naming scheme, anything but machine-like designations wouldn't have fitted with the race.  And I will make sure the first two letters are unique identifiers.
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2012, 03:27:40 AM »
19 July 2002
It had taken nearly 15 days just to get a handle on things, but now IM-39 was ready to make some changes.   The current system was a mess of interference, politics and exploitation by the Queens.   Mistrust and deceit prevented almost anything from getting done, but that was going to be changed. 
“You want WHAT?” Gamma asked at the latest conference.   IM was now a regular participant. 
“I want staff.   Specifically Infertiles.   More specifically, I want competent people to put in charge of things.   I can’t run everything myself” IM stated.   She had become more at ease with speaking to Queens. 
“What exactly do you mean by ‘things’?” Kappa inquired. 
“The first thing that springs to mind are those military divisions you said were under my command.   They currently have no real command structure and I don’t have time to micromanage them.   Some of them consist of drones from several hives thrown together.   I would feel much more comfortable if some Infertiles were running the show over there, getting them ready as fighting units.  ”
“Are you perhaps trying to wrest control from us, Governor? Your command is only provisional.   In other words, as long as we allow it” Gamma stated menacingly. 
“I am aware of this, your Majesty, but the drones comprising the troops would still be absolutely loyal to their own hives, just as it is currently.   I am merely attempting to ease the command and control situation.   How am I supposed to be able to perform any credible punitive action with such a motley collection of soldiers? They need leadership and they need training.  ”
“Very well.   Make it so” Kappa said with finality, cutting off all argument from the other queens.   “Stop wasting my time.  ”

20 August 2002
Gamma’s shipyard had been expanded to twice its original size, but still had nothing to build in it.   Whenever pressed on when designs for ships to build in the yard will be available, Kappa simply asked for patience or evaded the question.   With nobody else in possession of a research facility of sufficient complexity to undertake such work, the yards lay idle. 
“What then, exactly, are we doing?” IM asked.   Her management had increased the effective mining yield by 20% and industry operation by 10%, but so far all she had been doing was constructing life support equipment.   “I get the feeling we are stalling for time, but time is the one thing we do not have! What is going on?”
“Soon, little one.   Anything else we produce now in terms of ships or factories will be completely ineffectual and soon obsolete as well.   Just perform your task and let me worry about the big picture” Kappa replied mysteriously. 
“What, then, is my task at present?” IM asked again. 
“You are already doing it.   Keep manufacturing infrastructure and expanding the shipyard.   Also have your miners keep their eyes out for certain kinds of minerals.   My scientists will send you the details.  ”
“What am I to do with these minerals?”
“Nothing, just begin stockpiling them.   We will need them soon enough, and probably in greater quantities than we can obtain here on Wrixom.  ”

What exactly is happening:
Leader autoassign is enabled.
Shipyard expansion is completed, but still nothing much going on.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 03:31:23 AM by Rabid_Cog »
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2012, 07:52:53 AM »
25 October 2002
IM couldn’t take it anymore.  Each time a drone encountered a problem without an obvious solution, it halted whatever it was busy with and requested instructions.  Each time IM-39 would have to respond, analyze the situation and solve the problem.  With about twenty million workers, this situation rapidly spun out of control.  Her staff helped a little, but most of them had less experience than the drones and just asked IM anyway.
“I have slept less than four hours in the past three days, mostly naps while I travel.  If this continues, my health will start to deteriorate and I will be unable to perform my function effectively” she said to the queens in the video-conference.
“The other Infertiles, are they of no assistance?” Delta asked.
“They would be of immense assistance, except they have little experience and no training, and with all my current obligations, I simply do not have the time to train them.  I barely have enough time to eat. ”
“Do you have any suggestions?” Delta asked again.
“Yes, I do.  With your majesties permission I would like to cease construction of life supporting infrastructure” IM answered.
She could imagine all the eyes of the Queens turn to Kappa.  The infrastructure construction project was her idea and it was unlikely she would let a mere Infertile challenge her authority like this.
“Impossible.  We will need that infrastructure and in quantities far greater then you have been able to produce” Kappa stated.
“The interruption would only be temporary, and I do not suggest letting the drones lie idle.  Instead, we focus all our industrial effort on constructing a massive academy where Infertiles can be trained on the latest technology.  This would lead to far more capable project managers, perhaps even more capable than I.  After all, wasn’t the entire reason you ordered the construction of infrastructure ‘because we have nothing better to do?’”
A discussion followed between the Queens, but IM dozed off.  When Kappa was finally convinced of its necessity, IM was fast asleep.  The Queens gave one of her staff the necessary instructions and let her rest.  She deserved it.

7 December 2002
Things had gotten better.  Despite the academy not even being anywhere close to finished, the change from a multitude of individual things being built in parallel to a single project had reduced the management overhead by a massive amount.  This, in turn, had given IM the chance to train some of the other Infertiles to where they were capable of taking some of the responsibilities.  The mineral shortages had also pretty much dried up and they had even started to stockpile some for the eventual leap to the stars.  Things were looking up.

11 December 2003
“Our shipyards are now at three times their original size, but we still do not have anything to build in them! A massive three-thousand tons capacity, with nothing to do! Kappa, you said you would give us designs for ships and that we should leave everything to you.  So far, you have not exactly delivered.  Perhaps I should start designing my own vessels to start moving my hive. ”
“Gamma, please,” Kappa chided, “even if you started right now, the ships I could give you would be at the secondary by the time yours reach the closest planet.  That is taking development time into account as well! You just need to have a little patience.  Besides, go do the math.  How many drones do you think you could fit in a three thousand ton hull? A microscopic portion of a single hive.  It would take us a million years to move our hives that way. ”
“If, instead of waiting, we clutter up our shipyards with obsolete tools and bits of ships, it sets our schedule back months while we try to get ready to construct my new ships.  There simply is no point.  However, I would suggest we stop increasing the size of the shipyard.  It is consuming valuable resources that could be used elsewhere in the future and I feel it is now of sufficient size. ”

What exactly is happening:
Construction changed from infrastructure to military academy.
Shipyard expanded to 3000 tons.  No further expansion planned (for now).
I have my own subforum now!
Shameless plug for my own Aurora story game:
5.6 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,4988.0.html
6.2 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,5906.0.html

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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2012, 07:54:25 AM »
25 April 2004
The Swarm, a rather fragile entity at the best of times, is under threat of being torn apart once again. Kappa’s lack of results had resulted in a the other hives beginning to doubt she was even really doing any research at all and a few were openly advocating dissolution. The only reason it had held together so far was that Kappa had not obtained any advantage so far and had, in fact, given up a significant advantage in industrial technology when the Swarm was founded. So far, she had been given the element of the doubt, but this situation could not continue forever.
“I know many of you are wondering why I have called this conference” Kappa addressed the other Queens on the video conference. Queens never left the safety of their hives, so all communication was through the video links. “Some of you have even gone as far as to suggest that all of my promises, predictions and warnings were a sham and that the Swarm should be dissolved.”
“You have that right” Beta interrupted. “You are doing nothing but using lies and empty promises to keep your little empire afloat.”
“Please, if you let me finish. What I am going to show you now is a test performed by my science drones in my underground research facility. Now please observe.”
The picture changed to show a barrel of some kind pointing at an empty, marked space on the floor.
“Here you can see what my science drones tell me is a 1 megajoule laser. What that means I have no idea, but apparently it is quite powerful.”
Four drones are seen wheeling a large block of metal from somewhere off camera and positioning it on the marking, right in front of the barrel.
“This is an ordinary metre-cubed block of steel. Now observe.”
A thin red beam leaves the barrel, hitting the block of steel solidly on its side and within seconds a hole is burned straight through and the laser switched off.
“What are you getting at, Kappa?” Gamma asked as the team of four drones returned and wheeled the block back off screen.
“Patience, Gamma. Now here you see a sheet of one of the new metals that I have been talking about. It is called Duranium. It is no more than a single centimeter thick.”
This time only a single drone came in, carrying a meter squared plate of brownish metal. Originally two drones carried the plate in, but Kappa had had the experiment reshot with a single drone for maximum effect.
“Now, observe.”
Once again the thin red laser beam reached out and touched the piece of metal. This time, it stayed on for a full thirty seconds before being switched off. The camera zoomed in on the point where the laser had hit the metal until the pit could be clearly seen. It was no more than a few millimeters deep. The plate was then turned around by two drones as the camera zoomed back out. The back was whole and unbroken.
After a few seconds of silence as the Queens tried to make sense of what they just saw, Gamma finally spoke up: “This means nothing, Kappa. Even I can think of a multitude of ways in which this test can be faked, from setting the laser’s power lower to editing the video. In fact, I can clearly see places where the video was cut between the two tests. Do you think we are stupid?”
Kappa raised her hand to quiet the other Queens down. “I freely admit that the video was edited, it was never intended to be proof, merely an appetizer. I assure you that the test was entirely real, but in case you do not believe me, I have taken the liberty of having a smaller piece of this metal transported to each of your hives so that you may repeat my experiment or perform any other you see fit. Try detonating a small tactical nuclear weapon next to it. The results are quite spectacular.”

27 April 2004
“So I assume you have all completed your own tests?”
There was a collection of nods from the other Queens. All of them had found the new metal to be durable beyond all belief.
“Good. Now that I have your attention, I can reveal that this is just a little teaser of what is to come. Duranium is the simplest and most common of these new metals that we have dubbed the ‘trans-newtonian metals’. Its function is simple, but the way in which it performs it… well… that is the entire reason my research has been taking far longer than I had anticipated. It has forced us to completely rework the laws of physics as we… as you knew them.”
“Together with the other trans-newtonian metals - which I assure you can do things even more impressive than this – we will make anything we can produce now completely obsolete.”
“And in my final good news, my science drones have informed me that they are within one year of finishing their full analysis of the metals.”
“Very impressive, Kappa” Gamma finally said after several seconds of silence. “I think I speak for all the hives when I say that, at least for now, we will stick to your plan.”

What exactly is happening:
Well, nothing really. Which is why I wrote this. Have to keep things going somehow.
At least transnewtonian research is almost complete.
I have my own subforum now!
Shameless plug for my own Aurora story game:
5.6 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,4988.0.html
6.2 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,5906.0.html

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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2012, 05:09:56 AM »
4 February 2005
“Queens of the Wrix, I have an announcement” Kappa said, a smile on her face.
Many of the other queens were grinning as well, barely able to contain their excitement and hunger for power. It was no real secret what the announcement was going to be as Kappa had recently leaked more and more ‘appetizers’ about the capability of the new metals and everyone had known that it was only a matter of time until she made the official announcement.
“My research into the trans-newtonian metals is complete. My science drones have completed their study and documented all their findings in this single forty thousand page electronic report. Included are a number of suggestions on applications and future directions of study. As a gesture of good faith I will send every hive in the Swarm a copy of this document.”
The other Queens were almost drooling by this time. They wanted the technology and the power, and they wanted it now. Many had made plans on how to best take advantage of this new technology as quickly as possible. The first to get the most of the newest weapons would rule it all, of that they were certain, and many had secretly decided that Kappa would be their first target. That research facility was a juicy target.
“For the first time we have several choices on how to proceed, but outlining them here before you have had a chance to study the document for yourselves would be senseless. To that end, I am beginning the transfer now. We will speak again in two days.”
Inside, Kappa was smiling. The other Queens were in for a surprise.

6 February 2005
“You lied to us!” Gamma shouted.
“We never should have trusted you!” another unnamed hive added.
“This is nothing but theory!”
Kappa tried to calm them down.
“Please, be quiet and I will explain. Yes, it is mostly theory. That is exactly what I told you from the start. My facility was working on theory that would form the backbone of an entire host of applications, from weapons to engines. Never did I promise anything different.”
“Then what good is this for us?” Lambda replied. “My own science drones have taken a look and they have no idea where to even begin developing these applications your drones suggest! They say developing them would be even more complicated and time consuming than this theory you have given us. Even that Duranium you showed off to us is near useless as armor as it is completely unworkable!”
“All of you! This is not useless, far from it. It opens up a whole new dimension in research to us. Perhaps more importantly, if you had read the report thoroughly you would have realized that it included designs for cheaply and easily altering our existing industry into a next generation of manufacturing power, and that is what we must now do. Our existing industry will find it extremely difficult to produce anything with these trans-newtonian metals anyway. We need to upgrade.”
“Governor! It is required that you cease construction efforts on the academy immediately. Instead you must begin the process of converting all our industry.”
IM groaned softly. Back to hundred hour weeks. At least she had had the opportunity to get her staff up to scratch, so maybe it wouldn’t be that bad.
“While this is ongoing, I will continue to develop new technologies until it becomes viable to begin operating in space. These would only be shared on a need to know basis.”
“You said we have multiple options on how to proceed. That we could discuss them” Delta asked. She was more level headed than most of the others.
“On running further simulations, this proved to be untrue. Any path but the one on which I put us would be suboptimal. Now this conference is over.”
All of the Queens were grumbling to themselves as they logged off. All of them, but Delta. The Queen of Delta hive was not upset at all. In fact, she was quite pleased. Soon, things were going to become very interesting indeed.

What exactly is happening:
Transnewtonian research is done! Yay! Finally!
Now to spend as much again on researching geological survey sensors and four times as much to develop TN engines.  :(
I have my own subforum now!
Shameless plug for my own Aurora story game:
5.6 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,4988.0.html
6.2 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,5906.0.html

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Offline Ektoras

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2012, 05:28:19 AM »
I like your story  :)

1 lab makes things very slow.
 

Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2012, 07:12:48 AM »
Yep. Very, very slow. But I knew it would do that going in, so I planned accordingly.
I ran a test of this scenario before I began this one, so I don't expect to leave the system in the next 30 years.

Also, I have to admit that to balance the slow start out a bit, I gave the Wrix a 25% manufacturing bonus. Suits the industrious drones thing.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 07:14:34 AM by Rabid_Cog »
I have my own subforum now!
Shameless plug for my own Aurora story game:
5.6 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,4988.0.html
6.2 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,5906.0.html

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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2012, 02:47:24 PM »
15 April 2005
“Delta, I’m concerned” IM-39 said.
Their link was a private one, because the matter was a private one. At least for now.
She continued: “Your production output is considerably lower than my estimates indicate it should be. Any particular reason?”
Delta shrugged. “Your estimates must have been wrong.”
“Yes, that could be the reason. Only, I had a few of my staff check out some of the factories that you had reported as ‘upgraded’. Besides a fresh coat of paint, nothing has been done. So that makes me wonder, Delta, what ARE you up to? I would like to remind you that it is within my power to confiscate by force the assets of any hive which I feel is not doing its part.”
Delta sat for a moment in contemplative silence. Finally she replied: “Alright, you got me. I have in fact been working on a private project, but it is for the good of the Swarm. My hive has been expending all its energies on constructing a research facility similar to the one currently under the control by Kappa. Perhaps even better.”
“Delta, that is against the standing production orders of the Swarm.”
“The standing production orders of the Swarm were determined by Kappa. The Swarm belongs to her in all but name, all because she has the only modern research facility. You know as well as I do that our greatest bottleneck currently is research. Kappa is holding us back because she does not want to lose her monopoly on research.”
“Kappa and her predecessors took over a hundred years to get her facility to the point it is now, and her hive is larger than yours. I do not think we can waste the manufacturing power…” IM tried.
Delta interrupted: “But Kappa did not have the new metals! Or the new industrial methods brought about by them. They have both made the facility smaller, simpler and cheaper to construct and the process by which we can construct it faster and more efficient.”
“The other Queens will find out” IM tried again, a last defence against the wall of logic she was being confronted with.
“Not unless you tell them. You are the only one who really sees the big picture. They all just get reports from you, and the drones are not smart enough to figure it out. Come on, IM-39, you must realize how important it is to get our research done faster. Kappa hasn’t even realized it is possible.”
“Very well, but I’m not going to jump through hoops to keep your project secret. And you understand that it will mean war when the other Queens find out?”
“Don’t worry your little head about it, IM. I have that all figured out.”

26 April 2007
“Cause of death looks to be the gunshots to the chest, but I can’t be sure until I’ve done a more thorough examination.”
A medical drone was bent over the body of UG-92-GEK, an Infertile from Gamma Hive IM had put in charge of one of the infantry divisions. Her torso was riddled with large bulletholes.
“Really? You think?” IM said sarcastically. She and several other drones and Infertiles were crowding around the body. “Would someone like to explain to me what the hell happened?”
An infertile cleared her throat to get attention. “She just jumped up in the middle of our live fire exercise.”
“And who are you?” IM demanded.
“I am RZ-67-CGA, commander of the armoured division which was playing the role of the opposing force in this exercise” the Infertile replied.
“What? And why did we need actual bullets flying around and killing one of my appointees?”
“Perhaps I should explain. The purpose of this exercise was to get the drones used to the noise and confusion of combat and to get them past their instinct for suicidal charges when they feel under pressure. Modern weaponry has rendered such tactics ineffective. My soldiers were playing the role of the enemy and we were using live ammunition for the most accurate combat simulation.”
“So they shot UG under orders?” IM asked.
“No, their orders were to shoot over the heads of the soldiers. UG just jumped up, right into the line of fire. She was hit before anyone could react” RZ answered.
Several of the drones corroborated the story. They didn’t have the imagination to make up lies, but they could follow orders to the letter. Even orders to lie.
“Alright, get me a detailed autopsy” IM eventually said to the medical drones waiting to take the body. “Something doesn’t smell right here. I want to know exactly what happened during the last few seconds of her life!”

28 April 2007
“She was poisoned.”
IM was in a conference with four of the Queens: Kappa, Gamma, Delta and Lambda. They had at first been dismissive about the report of a dead infertile, but this got their attention.
“She died from poison? What about the bullet wounds?” Delta asked incredulously.
“No, no, she died from the bullet wounds. But she had been poisoned before that happened. When she died, there was a sizable dose of a toxic compound in her system” IM explained. “As I understand it, if the poison had been allowed to run its course, it would have broken down into natural substances even as it killed her. There would have been no trace. Only her premature death allowed us to find the poison at all.”
“I heard she jumped up in the middle of a live fire exercise” Gamma said.
“Yes, she did. The medical drones believe she may have gotten confused in the middle of the exercise due to the poison interfering with her mental functions and reacted instinctively.”
“Who did this?” Gamma asked. The life of the Infertile might have meant little to her, but Queens consider it a personal insult if any member of their hive is killed by the member of any other hive. It was their right to end their drones’ lives, and nobody else’s.
This was the bit IM had been dreading, and the reason she had contacted only four Queens. “It is a bit complicated. You see, I believe UG had not been the real target, but rather me.”
“Explain” Kappa demanded.
“That morning we all ate together in the communal hall as usual. Only, I was feeling a little jetlagged from my recent trip to Delta’s hive to sort out that little mixup with the industry upgrading process. The wrong minerals got shipped to the wrong hive, then the drones tried to proceed anyway, using the wrong metals…”
“Yes, yes, IM. I am aware of this. Get to the point” Delta said.
“Anyway. The point is I felt too sick to eat, so I told UG she could have my ration. To make a long story short, a search of the drones with access revealed a small vial on the person of a drone from Beta hive. Toxicology is still analyzing the substance, but I strongly suspect it will be an exact match to the toxin found in UG’s system.”
“So Beta is behind this? I will tear that bitch a new…” Gamma began.
“Gamma, wait” Kappa said. “If punitive action was the answer, I am sure IM would have initiated it already. She does not need our blessing. Why call this meeting, IM?”
IM answered: “The truth is I feel that the costs of military action are far too high. Beta is the largest hive and her drones are spread everywhere, operating in most of the factories we have. The collateral damage from a war would be quite large. Besides, if Beta felt she had no other way out, she does have nuclear missiles. We could end up setting our exodus back by months, if not years.”
“This is true” Delta stated. “What we need are alternative options in dealing with her.”
“What about a preemptive nuclear strike?” Gamma suggested. “We kill her before she can order her own launch.”
“No, her hive would most likely frenzy. That could be very destructive” Kappa said. “What if we just marginalize her? Move her drones out of positions where they could do any damage then leave her.”
“She tried to kill me! And she will try again” IM protested. “Besides, she has too many drones, we need her dronepower to operate all our industry and she has most likely already found out about the drone we caught. She would be on high alert for anything suspicious like moving her drones around.”
“Leave it to me” Lambda said. She had been quiet for the entire meeting, until now.
“Care to explain?” Kappa asked.
“No. Just give me three days and I’ll fix this” she replied cryptically and closed the connection.
“That was interesting” IM said.
“Let’s give her three days. I am curious what she intends to do” Delta suggested.
“Alright, “ Gamma said, “but after three days I’m sending in the troops.”

What exactly is happening:
Starting construction of a second research facility and setting the stage for its reveal.
A random ground commander died and I felt bored and creative. And so we have drama!
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 03:32:29 AM by Rabid_Cog »
I have my own subforum now!
Shameless plug for my own Aurora story game:
5.6 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,4988.0.html
6.2 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,5906.0.html

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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2012, 03:34:46 AM »
1 May 2007
“Your majesty, we are detecting an open transmission from Lambda hive” Kappa’s comm drone reported. “It seems to be a conversation already in progress.”
“Put it on, I want to see.”
The faces of the Queens of Lambda and Beta hives appeared on screen. They seemed were in the middle of a video conversation which was now being openly broadcasted for some reason. Any drone, Infertile or Queen could listen in.
“This is your last chance, Beta. Accept my offer and allow yourself to be restricted from rule and we will let you keep your reproduction privileges. Your progeny will be safe” Lambda said.
“I would rather see my hive and this entire world burn before I give in to you. You or your pathetic swarm. We shall keep warm as the temperature drops by burning your bodies!”
‘What is that idiot doing?’ Kappa thought to herself. ‘She is giving away the element of surprise just so that she can try this ridiculous attempt at diplomacy! Her hive is half the size of Beta, there is no way Beta would undergo the humiliation of surrendering to her.’
“Then, “ Lambda continued, “for the attempted murder of individuals important to the business of the Swarm, in the name of the First Governor of the Wrix Swarm I declare you an enemy of the Swarm, to be hunted down and killed. You and all your progeny.”
“What? She can’t do that! Only the First Governor may do that without consulting the rest of us!” Kappa shouted, not sure anymore whether she should be more outraged at Lambda’s stupidity or her arrogance. Not that it mattered. Nobody could hear her. The video link between Lambda and Beta was private, even if the output was being broadcast.
“Hah! I spit on that disgusting Infertile who has presumed to consider herself my equal. She will die, as will all the other worthless abominations your Swarm has seen fit to let rule. I know I will not survive an attack, but I will have my drones burn everything they can find to the ground. Every factory, every plain, every mine. I will leave you NOTHING TO ESCAPE THIS WORLD WITH AND YOU WILL ALL DIE WITH ME!”
Beta’s voice had been getting higher and louder as she built to her finale, but the brief silence that followed was broken by a loud crack and blood splattered on the video screen. Beta slumped forward so that only the back of head was still visible. Most noticeable was that a part of it was no longer there.
“Oh no” Kappa thought to herself. Beta could be reasoned with, bargained with, but now… If Lambda had killed her, there would be a Drone Frenzy.
Kappa had only seen one Frenzy in her lifetime, and that time it had been a tiny, nearly insignificant hive. The five hundred thousand drone hive had charged out as a single wave at the invading troops and using nothing but claws and teeth had torn the heart out of a trained, hardened, armed military force of nearly three quarters their number. There had been reports of drones who had had their entire lower body shot away, but still kept crawling towards the nearest enemy, intent on clawing it to death.
Beta had nearly 22 million drones. If her hive Frenzied, they would fight until the last one of them was physically blasted to pieces.
On the video screen, which was still active, there was a commotion. Beta’s corpse was being dragged away from the screen. Finally, a new face took her place. This Queen was clearly younger.
“Being both fit and able to bear eggs and being daughter of Queen Beta, I hereby pronounce myself the new Queen of Beta Hive. The killer of the old Beta was another fertile subqueen and is in my custrody. As my first act, I put all the assets Beta Hive has at the Swarm’s disposal and withdraw the decree of sabotage. I also apologize to IM-39 for the rash actions of my mother, and wish her a long life. Long live the Swarm!”
Only now as she finally breathed out did Kappa realize she had been holding her breath ever since Beta had been shot.
Lambda, who had been nearly forgotten as she had done nothing but stare at the screen impassively now finally spoke up. “On behalf of the Swarm I welcome your succession, Queen Beta, and withdraw the order of death spoken against you and your Hive. May you have a long and fruitful reign, and may your offspring be numerous.”
Then the transmission was cut.
“That bloody Lambda!” Kappa shouted. “She had this whole thing planned out!”
Then the first implications began to sink in.
“Drone! Have my security doubled and have all the fertile subqueens put on lockdown until further notice. If she could do it to Beta…”

If any hive is ever left without a queen, or sometimes even if they do have a potential successor but their Queen was killed through violence, the drones of the hive can become enraged. Due to their almost hive-minded nature, this rage builds on itself very quickly as it spreads among the drones. Something akin to a mob mentality takes hold, but far worse. Fuelled by this anger at whatever harmed their hive or their Queen, they lash out as a single entity with millions of claws and teeth until not a single living drone remains.
Cutting off the head of the snake does nothing but leave you with a very, very angry body covered with sharp things, and it is for this reason that Queens are very loathe to strike directly at each other.
When the drones do not Frenzy, however, what is left is the purest kind of democracy. Since drones are only loyal to their mother or whatever progeny of their mother they choose to follow, they are suddenly left without any loyalties, and that is the way it stays until all the drones in a hive have made a unanimous decision to support one of the remaining fertile subqueens. Usually, at this point, the subqueens scramble about, trying to gain support among the majority of the drones and proclaim themselves Queen in the most public fashion.

After a few tense hours, the other Queens receive the message that the drones of Beta Hive had accepted their new queen. The combination of the capture of the murderer and her position on the Swarm and the continued survival of the species had convinced most of her drones that she was the one to follow. It hadn’t hurt that many had been watching the broadcast directly, and no other subqueen had been able to contest her proclamation for nearly thirty minutes.
It wasn’t long before all the other subqueens had been exterminated or escaped and the new Beta’s rule was uncontested. All but the murderer, who, by the unofficial laws that governed the Hives, could never succeed the Queen they had murdered unless she was the last remaining fertile queen in the hive.
As soon as the drones accepted Beta as their Queen, she made a startling proclamation. She was going to cede a portion of her territory to the murderer of the old Beta to allow her to start her own hive, which was going to be named ‘Alpha’. Clearly Lambda had had a hand in this, but what exactly her role was beside broadcasting the conversation between her and Beta was a mystery she had no intention of dispelling. It sent shockwaves through the other hives, however. The ease with which Beta had been replaced had been frightening.

What exactly is happening:
Precisely nothing. Just wrapping up the drama, although it makes no change to the actual aurora game.
Nice character development, though.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 03:56:15 AM by Rabid_Cog »
I have my own subforum now!
Shameless plug for my own Aurora story game:
5.6 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,4988.0.html
6.2 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,5906.0.html

Feel free to post comments!
http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,5452.0.html