Author Topic: Three-way Race to Stars (dead by bug)  (Read 1765 times)

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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Three-way Race to Stars
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2017, 06:13:40 AM »
2032-2033-2034-2035-2036-2037-2038



"Well, that was a short life time wasted", Sullivan remarked to Hart as the five team leaders of the SURCOM GEO Close Survey Mission entered GEV Albert Einstein, tasked as GEO Survey Taxi. The female soldier-slash-surveyor didn't bother to answer. Everyone was feeling frustrated and disappointed - Ceres had been devoid of TN-materials and not having any found any additional material on Corduba smelled like failure. "Though I'm not sad leaving this miserably rock behind", Sullivan continued, "I am sorry that we can't keep taking the miners money off of them in poker!" The other three men - Lieutenant Commanders Liam Lane, Adam Fowler and Matthew Parkinson - snorted. "Don't worry Alex, Vibilia has twice as many mines as Corduba, you'll have plenty of new victims", Hart said. Effortlessly, the Einstein lifted off the deformed ball slightly over hundred kilometers wide, setting a course deeper into space. Ten hours later the ship landed on the asteroid Vibilia, the team members snapped their spacesuits shut and got to work.

***

Administrator Hanson kept his poker face intact as System Administrator Charlotte Phillips outlined the mineral situation that the aides had put together and the future plans to improve it. "As you can see from this table, the previous focus on Duranium, while understandable, was somewhat misguided. We are in a very good situation with Duranium, as well as Boronide, Mercassium, Vendarite and Uridium. With my plan to both increase our number of automated mines, as well as shifting existing ones from Vala to the new site on the comet Encke, the Neutronium situation will slightly improve, though it remains a source of worry for us", the 31-year old woman announced.



"Miss Boyer, you're being transferred from Borrelly to Encke. Miss Power, you'll be moved to Borrelly once Vala has been cleaned out completely, which should happen inside the next 24 months", Phillips continued. Hanson perked up at that. Gemma Power probably wasn't happy that she was being sidelined by some newcomer. She had been the overseer of the most important PATO mining organization, completely under government control and not just babysitting one of the commercial ventures. Maybe he could flame the fires of malcontent in her and get an ally. He smiled contently as Phillips went on:
"The two Light Transport Squadrons of the Logistics Command will be responsible for the transfer. While we could outsource this project, the squadrons are apparently under tasked at the moment, as Admiral Schelleis put it, so I've agreed to give his spacers something to do"

***

The viewing room was zero-G but all the Very Important Persons present were accustomed to it. The sleek curves of the three gunboats filled the viewing screen as Hemlock, Hyacinth and Jasmine departed their slipways. Admiral John Richardson had gathered his four branch commanders for the occasion as the Pan-Oceanic Treaty Organization launched its first armed space ships. "It's funny that we call them gunboats, when USS Asheville, the last ocean going gunboat, was about half of that size", Vice-Admiral Michael Hood remarked. Rear-Admiral Tomohisa Takei smiled as he countered his colleague: "Well the Yamamoto displaced about seventy thousand tons and was the largest battleship ever built. Yet Nelson's flagship, Victory, was mere three and half thousand tons barely heavier than these gunboats, less than two centuries earlier and was, in her time, just as powerful". Vice-Admiral Jonathan Woodcock nodded in approval. "My point was that it feels stupid to call a three thousand ton ship a gunboat", Hood tried again but the others did not respond, focused as they were on Jasmine turning and leading her sisters towards the barely-visible black hulls of the Orbital Division One, under whose watchful eye the gunboats would go through last minute refits in preparation for their maiden voyage through the inner system.

"Have you warned Gardiner of the Russians secret project?" Richardson asked Woodcock, who now held two posts - commander of the diminished Survey Command and commander of the fledgling Mobile Command. The Brit shook his head: "I thought it prudent not to worry him with such nonsense. Until the spy boys come up with hard facts, Captain Gardiner is better off focusing on his flotilla". The other admirals nodded along - the intelligence report had been lot of hot air, aside from the fact that the Russian research teams had been put under even heavier than usual security. Something was brewing there but when it would come to fruition, and in what form, nobody could say.

***

RUSSIA OPENS A MINING COLONY ON MERCURY JUST WEEKS AFTER CHINA - screamed the headline, though few passersby seemed interested enough to buy a copy. Anthony Hobbs was old enough that he preferred the feel of actual paper in his hands, though he knew he was part of a ever-diminishing minority. He tapped a button on his smartphone, paying for the paper, and grabbed one. It would make good reading while he sat in the employee bus to the labs. Anthony had never owned a car and, despite his considerably salary as one of PATOs chief scientists, wasn't going to start using a car service either. A card-carrying environmentalist, he swore in the name of public mass transport. Besides, it was interesting to overhear snippets of office gossip from the support staff and junior researchers who mostly made up the passengers and who, not realizing who was hiding behind a newspaper, blathered freely. Which probably explained how both China and Russia could follow PATO's research progress as closely as they did, he thought ruefully. Oh well, that was a problem for the cloak-and-dagger-types. Anthony opened the paper and marveled at the grainy picture of the Russian mass driver, comfortably sitting in the twilight zone of Mercury, that eternally hazy area between the burning hellscape of its "day" side and the frozen wasteland of its "night" side. The paper must have considered the pictures important enough to pay some poor miner from the Planetary Industries mining complex to drive over and snap it. Amused, he engrossed himself in the four page article. He could review the specs of experimental kinetic weaponry later.

***

Jóse Cortez leaned back over the hood of his Mars buggy, admiring the gigantic pipes of the terraforming unit that had just been turned on. In few hours it would properly belch gasses out to thicken the thin Martian atmosphere but for now, it merely rumbled. He hardly believed that fifteen years before he had been bussing tables at a tourist resort on the cost of the Mediterranean and now he was part of the million-strong Martian Atmosphere Project. It would take decades but eventually the crowded habitats would be moved to museums and humans could walk on the surface without space suits. Once the atmosphere was stronger and the terraformers started breaking down asteroid ice into oxygen, the Martian Life Project would begin, probably employing thrice as many people planting genetically modified plants all over the planet. "Hookay bitches, the heavies are in orbit so haul ass to the loading site and start prepping for the next bastard", a gruff voice, in an godawful Texas drawl that Jóse only barely understood, commanded. Sighing, he rolled inside the buggy and, after double-checking the seals, opened his helmet to make driving somewhat more comfortable. It was going to be a long day.

***

Captain Martin Faulkner was too busy to admire the sunset, despite having an amazing view of it across the slope of Olympus Mons. His company of mechanized infantry was hull down on the southern slope, hidden in the ancient canals carved by lava flows and undisturbed by the weak gravity of Mars. The fine reddish-brown dust that made the Tharsis region famous had already covered his unit and made him wish fervently that none of his troops had neglected to install the improved dust filters. There was no escaping the dust on the shallow slopes of Olympus Mons since there was nothing blocking the wind. Though that had not stopped his staff sergeant from ordering two privates to hold a camouflage net around him. Martin suspected that the two lads had frakked up somehow and this futile task was their punishment. The dust made it difficult to monitor his map or Unified Multi-System Digital Assistant as it was officially known. What looked like a tablet strapped to his left arm was actually a pretty powerful computer that he could control even suited up, the touch display reacting to the heavy kevlar-rubber gloves he had to wear. Unfortunately the display was in the process of being covered by the Martian dust. At least the process was slow. His company was part of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, in turn part of the 24th Airmobile Brigade. Major-General Kate Smith had ordered the brigade to acclimatize to Mars the best way a military can - by training in the worst parts of Mars available. Which is why he was waiting for Colonel Jay Phillips, the CO of the battalion, to unleash his hidden company to take the boys of 7th battalion by surprise as they were advancing towards the top, under mock fire of the infantry of the other two battalions. Finally the symbol marking 15 minutes until execution popped up on the table. Faulkner turned towards his staff sergeant and made the hand-signal for getting ready - no need to use voice comms and possibly give out their location. The fusiliers moved determinedly, gathering their camouflage nets and packing them into their tracked vehicles. Soon enough the company was ready to move, still in utter silence. The thinness of the atmosphere meant that sound didn't travel far. Logically Faulkner knew that there was a lot of noise being produced just few kilometers away, yet he couldn't hear it. Then his UMSDA beeped as the timer reached zero. He flipped the company channel open and said:
"Let's ride"

***

"Is nobody bothered by the fact that we haven't seen Frunze or Murmansk in months", asked Lieutenant Commander Nicholas Joyce. Nobody in his small team responded. Commander Freya Long, who was in charge of the Survey Office and thus somewhat under-utilized at the moment, had been spending her time in the spy hut, as the Intelligence Office was being called. She looked thoughtful as she pondered the rhetorical question:
"Hmmm, we know the Russians upgraded them somehow as the old geological sensors were replaced with something different when they left, but they still definitely looked like survey sensors, just kinda weird. And it isn't strange that they would be gone for months and months while surveying the outer system, where we have no eyes"
Joyce had to agree. It made sense but his gut said that there was more to this.
"I'm going to suggest to the Admirals that we use the gunboats to shadow them", he proposed but Long was already shaking her head:
"That won't work. They don't have search sensors as they were only intended to work near Earth in the inner system"
"Well, then I'll float the idea of building a dedicated scout vessel", Joyce went on, undeterred. "PATO must know what the other powers are up to out there, in the deep dark!"
« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 01:58:09 PM by Garfunkel »
 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Three-way Race to Stars
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2018, 01:57:24 PM »
2035

"I have some bad news and some good news people", Admiral Richardson opened the meeting. "As you're all probably aware, the long-debated budgets cuts happened and the politicians have reached a compromise. The good news is that we're not being stood down as an organization and our operating budget hasn't been slashed badly. The army transformation process even continues without delay."

"And the bad?" Asked Rear-Admiral Schelleis.

"No new construction. The six gunboats are all that Mobile Command will get. No orbital weapon platforms, no missile bases. Apparently there is no credible threat since both China and Russia have been playing nice so long. Logistics Command won't get any further support either. So what we have now is what we'll have to manage for the foreseeable future", Richardson explained.

"What's the point of dominant position if we're going to fritter it away", muttered Vice-Admiral Hood. The others present nodded.

"It is what it is. This happens to every military at some point and frankly, I'm surprised we got so many rich years before this happened", Richardson said. "For now, I'm requesting that you process possible cuts in your departments and forward those plans to my office."

***

1500 kilometers east of Moscow stands Mount Yamantau, reaching 1640 meters into air, making it the tallest mountain in the Southern Ural range. Two hundred meters below sea level, buried under thousands and thousands of tons of rock and shielded by gigantic blast doors, top of the line security systems and armed guards, the leaders of Russian Federation were conducting a meeting with their top scientists.

40-year old Julia Borisov was not nervous despite the crowd of generals, admirals, oligarchs and politicians staring at her. She had fought, claw and tooth, her way to the top of Russian academia through the unforgiving field of mathematics and physics. She had bullied and cajoled her lesser colleagues to fall in line behind her. And she had done the impossible - given her Motherland an edge that no-one else had.

"Good afternoon. I am proud to announce that the jump engine works in all simulations and powers up flawlessly in laboratory conditions. And before you snort, let me remind you that full field testing is impossible until Udaloy deploys with the engine. So far our surveyors have located four likely locations where gravity has weakened the space-time continuum, enabling the jump engine to work but they haven't finished their work yet, so it possible there are more. Before we get to that, let me once more remind you that we do not and can not know what will happen when the engine is turned on. It is unlikely that transition through a weak point could be kept secret from the Chinese and PATO, but-"

"Let us worry about that, Miss Borisov, you've done your part. The country thanks you for all your efforts, you and all the comrades of the science team", interrupted Maksim Samoylov, the current President. Julia nodded and departed the room, catching an elevator a floor up back to her labs. Everyone involved in the project had been relocated here once she had convinced the administration.

2036

China is plagued by Duranium shortages, causing significant delays in production. Chinese shipyards sit idle and construction factories operate intermittently. To get more Duranium, both Russia and China have opened automated mining colonies on the dark side of Mercury.

2037

All three powers continue peaceful growth. PATO increased the size of its listening posts on Phobos and Ceres, to be able to better monitor the increased Chinese traffic in the inner system. To avoid increasing tensions between the powers, PATO refrained from putting installations on Mercury. PATO also established a new government-run mining operation on the dwarf planet Orcus, far in outer system. Orcus has over 35 thousand tons of Corundium, perfectly accessible. It would take the two Heavy Transport Squadrons several months to transport 25 automated mines that far, but once in place, the mass driver would tirelessly supply factories on Earth with the valuable mineral necessary for building more mining equipment.

Terraforming of Mars achieved a significant milestone in September when the ice sheets melted, increasing the temperature from an average of -28C to -24.3C. Mars atmosphere was now 0.0964 psi, consisting of 7.26% Nitrogen, 82.38% Carbon Dioxide and 10.36% Argon.

2038

Jane's Space Ship Catalogue lists the following operational ships at the end of the year:

PATO
10x Bison class freighters
4x Victory class troop transports
10x Annie class tugs
4x Bull class tankers
10x Buffalo class freighters
3x Einstein class geological survey ships
6x Flower class gunboats
10x OWP24A class orbital weapon platforms
10x OWP24B class orbital weapon platforms

CHINA
5x Jianghu class freighters
2x Luhu class geological survey ships

RUSSIA
5x Kirov class freighters
2x Krivak-G class gravitational survey ships, disguised as solar wind science vessels

PRIVATE SHIPPING LINES
Leonard Container Group: 117 ships with 4 909 700 total tonnage and 101.23 current share price
Arato Transport: 20 ships with 1 006 400 total tonnage and 15.59 current share price
Begum Shipping Company: 4 ships with 324 650 total tonnage and 3.23 current share price

Xiao Transport Services: 47 ships with 1 991 550 total tonnage and 42.09 current share price
Chien Container Company: 26 ships with 1 324 800 total tonnage and 21.39 current share price
Xu Company: 6 ships with 226 850 total tonnage and 5.04 current share price
Han Containers: 1 ships with 39 850 total tonnage and 2.04 current share price
 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Three-way Race to Stars
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2018, 01:59:52 PM »
2039



"So this... Akademik Nikolay Basov is six thousands tons?" Admiral John Richardson asked. Lieutenant-Commander Nicholas Joyce, his intelligence officer, confirmed. "Yes, it's a new class, called Udaloy. The Russians claim that it's a science support vessel that will help the older Krivaks to survey solar wind effects and search for gravity waves and something like that. Look here", the spook pointed at the large image of the Russian ship displayed on the wall. "It has five sensor arrays that are identical to our geological survey sensors. But the Krivaks carry slightly different antennas. Russians have definitely improved their engines as Udaloy only has a single engine whereas the Krivaks have three, yet you can see the massive difference in thermals", Joyce paused as he brought up numbers. "Yeah, Krivak thermal output is twenty-two and half, whereas Udaloy has two hundred", he read out loud.

"Did you say two hundred?" Incredulous Vice-Admiral Michael Hood asked. "Yes, our Annies and Bisons have thermal output of five hundred but that's because they carry ten engines. Which means that either they've somehow boosted Nuclear Thermals to impossible levels or, more likely, they've cracked Nuclear Pulse engines way ahead of us", Joyce explained.

"That's not ideal. But the scientists assure me that they will catch up soon", Richardson allowed. "Sir, that's not the thing that has me worried. This is", Joyce continued, pointing to a large construct in the middle of the new Russian ship. "Measured by volume, it takes up a quarter of the tonnage and space of the ship. That's twenty-five percent of six thousand tons. Whatever that is, it's massive. And sir, I strongly suspect it has absolutely nothing to do with solar wind".

"Where are they now?" Richardson asked. Lieutenant-Commander Natasha Howarth, the operations officer, answered that question. "It departed Earth with both Krivaks on a heading towards Jupiter. We lost the group once they were far enough from Earth since Mars is currently on the wrong side but our listening station on Europa spotted them right on time. They are actually passing Jupiter by over fifty million kilometers. If they do not change course, they will right by the comet Borrelly, where we have a civilian mining op going on, soon after which we will lose them again, as Saturn's orbit has it in the wrong position. If they don't cut velocity, Europa can track the Udaloy's thermals for little over two hundred million kilometers. But as you all know, space is big so if they make a course change after we lose them, they could head anywhere and we would be none the wiser", she explained.

"Sir, this is why I am recommending sending the Patrol Flotilla to shadow them", Joyce picked up. "The SQR-105 on the Flowers can spot Udaloy from four hundred thousand kilometers and as far as we know, the Russians do not have any sensors better than Mark One Eyeball on them. They won't even know that our boys are on their tail", the spook said forcefully.

The admirals looked at each for a long moment, until Richardson nodded. "Very well. Ops, draft the order. PatFlo 1 is to shadow Udaloy at three-hundred fifty thousand kilometers as long as possible. Under no circumstances are they allowed to open fire at the Russians, except as a last resort for self defence. I emphasize that point, we do not need an international incident in space at this time", Richardson ordered.

"Yes sir, I've had Captain Gardiner keep the flotilla at high readiness, they are ready to depart inside an hour", Howarth answered.

***

As Patrol Flotilla One departs Earth at 2300 km/s velocity, Chinese and Russian observers dutifully note their real speed, that PATO mission control had painstakingly kept secret until now.

***

"Disappeared? What do you mean they disappeared?" The harried sensor tech could only shug his shoulders. "Sir, they were close to the edge of coverage and then they just vanished. We should have been able to track them for a few more klicks for sure, but if they cut down on their emissions, well", the tech shrugged again. "Patrol Flotilla One, this Europa Station. We've lost contact. I repeat, we've lost all contact", the station commander transmitted to the incoming six gunboat flotilla. Captain Gardiner wasn't happy but with the myopic thermal sensors that his gunboats carried, he saw no point in scouring the immense space beyond Jupiter's orbit. Finding the Russians now would be like finding a needle on a haystack.

***

Captain First Rank Yura Yuruev, captain of Akademik Nikolay Basov had the channel open to his junior colleagues, Captains Second Rank Karine Kryuchkov of Frunze and Borya Ponomaryov of Murmansk. He had fought off the nausea caused by the jump engine's activation and now stared silently at the main viewscreen. Realizing the gravity of the moment, he cleared his throat before speaking, knowing that every word was recorded:
"That was a small step for a ship, but a giant leap for the human race. For the first time ever, man has entered another solar system. Mother Russia is the first nation to cross the interstellar abyss. Today we have made history!"

He closed the channel and nodded to his helmsman. His ship would head towards the star and survey any planets discovered, as well as figure where the task group had actually jumped into. The gravitational survey ships would start on their job, finding additional jump points in this new system.



Soon information streamed in to the bridge. They had arrived at Luytens Star, a M4-V red dwarf slightly over 12 light years from Sol. At 0.26 Solar masses and 0.012 Solar luminosity, it was not much to look at. Two gas giants, a dwarf planet and a small asteroid belt formed the planetary system. The nearest gas giant was mere 16 million kilometers from the star. The second gas giant, the third companion of the star at 89 million kilometers - making it roughly as far from its parent star as Venus is from Sol - had twelve moons, mostly smaller ones but the second moon was terrestrial. It had a gravity of 0.83. Tide-locked to the gas giant, the moon was larger than Earth and still had a day-night cycle. Most surprisingly, it had an fully human-compatible atmosphere, though twice as thick as on Earth.

Yuruev rubbed his hands together. It was no paradise, but if rich deposits of TN minerals could be discovered on it, or on other bodies here, the system would be well worth investing in. It would take nineteen days for his ship to reach the innermost planet and begin the geological survey process.

***

When Akademik Nikolay Basov reached the moon in question and turned its sensors on, its crew received a shock, for humanity now encountered aliens for the first time. The race of vaguely marsupial creatures that inhabited the moon was seemingly in late-Medieval technological level with industrial revolution under way. The moon had no oceans or seas, though smaller waterways and lakes were present. Villages and towns dotted the surface, the largest being easily discernible as a city thanks to its grid-like layout. Stunned, captain Yuruev ordered all sensors to record. Unfortunately the aliens had no transmissions to record and Yuruev certainly did not dare to make landfall. And then, as if to make things even more complicated, fate threw up a surprise find: all eleven TN minerals were present on the moon, though some were at fairly small amounts and poor accessibility. Regardless, the moon was a jackpot - only a single jump from Sol, behind the nearest jump point, perfectly colonizable and with all necessary minerals present. Except that there were hundreds of millions of natives present. Yuruev had a feeling that he knew exactly what Kreml would do next.

***

Since the Russian survey group had spent several months at Luyten's Star, Jupiter had moved farther away from the jump point and thus Europa Station did not see their return and it was Ceres Station that spotted just few hours before Earth Station did. PATO analysts noted that the ships returned on an almost identical but flipped heading from where they had departed, proving that wherever they had been, the only course change was to correct for Earth's orbital motion.

***

Once again black limousines drove Very Important Persons from the nearby airfield into the bowels of Mount Yamantau. The ships had not transmitted any information electronically as they approached Earth - this already tipped the Russian leadership that they had found something important. To avoid the omnipresent electronic espionage of PATO, the three captains personally debriefed Russian Space Command and the crews of the three ships were placed in quarantine at one of the remaining Closed Cities behind Ural mountains. Kontr-admiral Ilya Zhukov represented RUSKOSMOS alongside Juia Borisov. General-mayor Yurik Demidov represented the Russian Army, while Administrator Pavlik Kiselyov - governor of Mercury - represented industrial interests and ambassador Senia Sokolov the foreign ministry. President Maksim Samoylov chaired the meeting.

"And this is a picture of what the aliens look like", Zhukov announced:



"So cute", Sokolov instinctively said before composing herself.
"Indeed they are but our ships witnessed large-scale fighting at one village so they are perfectly capable of violence. Appearances can be deceiving", Zhukov continued.
"So let me reiterate to make sure we've all understood this correctly. The moon is perfectly suitable for Russian habitation, even sort of resembling Russia, except for the red-black plant life, and all the Trans-Newtonian minerals we could desire are present. But there are millions of these critters present as well", President Samoylov spoke.
"Why is the plant-life coloured that way", asked Kiselyov and before Samoylov managed to shush him quiet, Borisov launched into an explanation: "it is due to the nature of Luyten's Star. As a red dwarf, most of its radiation is on the Infrared part of the EM spectrum, as well as the red-slash-magenta part of Visible Light part. Thus the plants have evolved to capture as much energy from the IR side as possible, and for that purpose the colour black is most advantageous"
"Thank you Julia, that was enlightening but we do not need to know such details to make the important decision. What are our options? Earth is almost out of Duranium and despite the best efforts of Kiselyov, Mercury will not save our industry. Luyten's Star smells like salvation", Samolyov stated. Nobody mentioned how the president's popularity largely hinged on the success of the 21st century space race.
"Regrettably the Army is not in a condition to organize an invasion on a planetary scale. We are barely strong enough to resist our enemies here on Earth. Fighting hundreds of millions of aliens, regardless if they are armed with swords or muskets, is simply a task an order of magnitude larger than what we can realistically plan for. Give me five years and unlimited funds, and things will be different", General Demidov stated.
"Before we even contemplate using nukes to pound these aliens into submission", started Sokolov carefully, "I would like to propose a more subtle approach. Let's try to communicate with them. Share the warning about extra-galactic invaders. Offer industrial and technological assistance. Turn the aliens into another Korea or Vietnam", she carefully avoided mentioning Afghanistan, "and in order to facilitate all this help, we naturally must establish a colony. And if we mine few tons of minerals that are useless to the natives, well, that's just our due reward for all the humanitarian assistance we are offering to them", she finished.
"I like that plan", Samoylov nodded approvingly.
"Except that sooner or later the Americans or Chinese will find out about our jump engine, send their ships to Luyten's Star and then we'll have to compete with cheeseburgers and sushi!" Kiselyov ranted.
"Perhaps not. Thanks to the work of Miss Borisov and her colleagues, we are ready to start constructing our first armed space ship. China has no military vessels and PATO has six gunboats. The boats that we'll have in service inside a year, is better than their Flower class", Zhukov offered.

Quote
Type 2037 Soobrazitelnyy class Gunboat 2 700 tons 74 Crew 277 BP TCS 54 TH 120 EM 0
2222 km/s Armour 4-17 Shields 0-0 Sensors 1/1/0/0 Damage Control Rating 1 PPV 12
Maint Life 4.27 Years MSP 64 AFR 58% IFR 0.8% 1YR 6 5YR 85 Max Repair 20 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months Spare Berths 0

GAZPROM NPE-40 (3) Power 40 Fuel Use 85.5% Signature 40 Exp 10%
Fuel Capacity 250 000 Litres Range 19.5 billion km (101 days at full power)

D3-R10 Laser (4) Range 30 000km TS: 2222 km/s Power 3-2 RM 1 ROF 10 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
OLGA 32-2500 (1) Max Range: 64 000 km TS: 2500 km/s 84 69 53 37 22 6 0 0 0 0
ERGOSMASH Reactor (6) Total Power Output 9.45 Armour 0 Exp 7%

JULIA R60 (1) GPS 576 Range 4.5m km Resolution 60

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

The admiral pointed at the jump point on the map. "There is no other entrance into Luyten's Star and no way to sneak in. As soon as Kiev is ready, it will be parked on top of the jump point and Miss Sokolov will announce whatever convenient excuse we want to use. Then, when the other powers find out about jump points, we announce the existence of that jump point and declare that everything behind it is property of the Russian Federation and blocked to other countries. By then we should have multiple frigates guarding the jump point. The other will curse us but they will not start a war over it, because there are four other jump points available and they do not know what lies behind", the Admiral lectured.
"YES! YES! And we can move factories to the moon as well as laboratories, protecting them!" Kiselyov shouted, excitement obvious on his reddened face.
President Samoylov looked around but could not see anyone objecting.
"Very well. That is the plan. Please proceed. Meeting adjourned", he simply stated, leaving the details to lesser people.

***

"Something is happening in Russia", Joyce announced to Richardson. "They are building a new class in their military yard that has been idle for years. Meanwhile, the three science ships are under armed guard, and their crews have not made a single update on social media, or even called their families. This stinks boss", the spook continued.
"But do you have anything concrete", the admiral countered, to which the lieutenant-commander could only shake his head. "Then keep digging. I need something solid to take to the PATO Council before they will authorize anything, especially with the vote regarding self-rule for Mars is coming up soon and all the politicians focusing on that", Richardson ordered.
 

Offline Iranon

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Re: Three-way Race to Stars
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2018, 06:32:40 AM »
Very good read!
Shame we won't see any Glory Devices going off though.
 
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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Three-way Race to Stars
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2018, 02:37:39 PM »
2040

PATO expands to Uranus orbit with the creation of Fuel Group, initially consisting of two Spruance class fuel harvesting bases moved to the location by tugs. Additional FHBs will be constructed as money permits. Uranus was chosen because the Sorium in its atmosphere is at accessibility 1 though there is only just over hundred thousand tons, compared to Neptune, which has far more Sorium but at a lower accessibility. PATO plans to move Fuel Group to Neptune once Uranus has been harvested dry.

PATO council decides to limit commercial shipyards to 150,000 tons per slipway and two slipways, as there is no foreseeable need for larger yards.

PATO moves ten Construction Brigades to Luna in preparation for the construction of an Oracle Mk.2 surveillance base. Once that is completed, the brigades will be moved to Mars to erect a third Oracle on the Red Planet.

Due to the manner in which the Russian science ships repeatedly give the slip to the PATO gunboats, and their poor suitability for surveillance operations, the Genesis class stealth scout is born. It's main function is to carry the large Teledyne built BAY-108 passive thermal sensor, allowing ships of the class to clandestinely monitor large areas of space. The ships will rely on their small size to avoid detection.

Russia finishes surveying Luyten's Star, finding only one additional jump point. Russian survey efforts are directed next to the other four jump points in Sol system. Since PATO has no clue of the existence of jump points, they assume that the Russians give them the slip when they transit out of Sol. The Russians discover jump points to Alpha Centauri, Epsilon Eridani, WISE 1507+7027 and LHS 292. The last especially gives a shock to the Russian leadership: there is an ancient construction on the other side of the jump point and several wrecks in the inner system. The construct turns out to be a jump gate, that allows any ship to transit the jump point by itself, as well as enabling communications through the JP. The wrecks are more chilling - Russians have no way of knowing how old they are. The Survey Group immediately returns to Earth and the Russian administration argues the matter: the possibility exists that warlike and advanced aliens are present mere one jump from Sol, presenting an extinction level threat. PATO and China should be informed so that humanity can jointly prepare its defenses. Or the wrecks could be thousands of years old, remnants of some battle against the Invaders or something else, and might offer a treasure trove of unknown technologies that Russia should exploit alone.

Please post whether you think Russia should keep silent regarding the wrecks or inform the other powers. This means admitting to the existence of jump points, something that the other two do not even seem to suspect yet.
 

Offline Iranon

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Re: Three-way Race to Stars
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2018, 04:35:26 PM »
I would expect Russia to keep tight control on important information, and so far you have portrayed them in a way consistent with this.
So... my vote is keep silent about specifics but be upfront about increased focus on combat spacecraft.

If they militarise heavily, others will probably follow suit. If resulting diplomatic tensions require it, information about a potential alien threat can be shared as necessary.
 

Offline Happerry

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Re: Three-way Race to Stars
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2018, 01:29:44 AM »
I agree with Iranon.   I don't think they'd blab, at least not immediately.   If they run into hostile aliens, they'd probably inform the rest of the world then because better an egg in the face then possible extinction (unless the aliens seem really easy to beat/very minimal threat), but until then they'd probably seek to both secure the potential loot and seek more information in if said wrecks are old or recent.   After all, the aliens might be a threat, but the other powers aren't exactly bosom buddies with Russia either.  .  . 
 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Three-way Race to Stars
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2018, 01:26:04 PM »
http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=10002.0

Unless someone comes up with a fix, this campaign is dead, unfortunately.
 

 

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