Author Topic: Nordland III: Fimbulwinter Saga  (Read 923 times)

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Offline Abridal (OP)

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Nordland III: Fimbulwinter Saga
« on: January 25, 2020, 12:18:29 PM »
Off-Topic: OOC • show
Probably my first and last VB6 Aurora 7. 1 fiction.  Conventional Start, all spoilers active, no real stars other than Sol because I'm tired of real stars games and because it is more interesting in combination with the Norse Mythology theme.  2% Sun Cooling and SpaceMaster addition of atmospheric dust to Earth to really push the need of getting out of the cooling Sol before it's too late, hoping all worlds with terraforming potential a few jumps away from Earth.  In theory heavy terraforming could delay that, but I'm not sure how long the amount of atmospheric dust to lower Earth's temperature to -40C would take to vanish, but it is likely long enough to make trying to buy time mostly futile with 2% sun cooling.   This first entry is mostly an Introduction to the setting.  Finally, English is not my first language so there might be the occasional poorly constructed sentence here and there.  Hope this is entertaining enough either way.

Personal Logs of Arch-Technocrat Geirrson, Year 164 After Fimbulwinter (2042 Old Calendar)

Over a century ago, the industrial revolution brought into the late nineteenth century OC a strong spirit of optimism, everlasting progress a common fever dream in the minds of many Western thinkers.  Then, in the year one BF (1877 OC), everything changed when the asteroid Surtr fell, heralding Ragnarok.

Oceans were swallowed in ice, all traces of civilization buried in a cold, snowy grave.  Humanity was almost extinguished, their spirits becoming part of the atmospheric dust which blanketed the Earth.  A cold darkness fell across the planet, lasting to this day.  Few survived the glaciation, some were fortunate enough to find shelter in small cities built in rush around the great cores of steam reactors, the final legacy of world powers from the United States to Japan.  None survived, yet their construction and the research done in them were not in vain.  Our ancestors brought lost technology salvageable from every icy necropolis like New London and Tesla City, sometimes a few survivors as well, expeditions from which many never returned.  We all owe our lives to such heroes who now feast in Valhalla.

Unlike those who warmed up around the heat of steam engines with an unending hunger for coal, I exist due to a path to survival some biologists believe sea creatures resorted to by instinct, chosen by my people long before my birth: to approach the heat not from a steam core, but from the core of the planet: geothermal sources, which Iceland, already cold before this new Age of Ís, had aplenty.

However, no matter how close, eventually no naturally produced heat would be enough.  Mastering techniques to tap and amplify this previously neglected power source ensured the survival of our people, and once even that was not enough, the discovery of nuclear fission secured more centuries of continued survival.  Environmental pressure culled decadent pursuits of wealth above all else and stripped the useless, parasitical rich who never craft, research or invent anything from their status, erecting a new, technocratic pyramid, ruled by geniuses from several sciences.  It was inevitable.

Likewise inevitable was the return to the true religious roots of our folk, the worship of the All-father and other true gods, predictions of the end of the world proved with cold accuracy more than enough to rekindle such forgotten faith.  In clockworks outside and altars inside modest recreations of the greatness of lost Gothic architecture, the paradigm of the Faustian civilization and its strive to infinity we belong to in physical form, the hammer of Thor marks our true faith.  Odin’s wisdom is for now more important than the art of war, and may it remain so at least until we find a new home planet, for the forces of nature defying our survival are already pushing our people to the limit.

Here where Leif Ericson once lived another, astronomically greater expedition starts.  The discovery of elements that defy the previously known laws of Physics by Eric the Mad Seer open greater possibilities than to merely try to survive as long as possible, for the scant satellites before will soon be tiny next to what such discovery can expand our capabilities of space exploration into.  Such elements are now the last hope, for the time for life to have any chance of survival on this iced Earth is ending.

Astronomical observations confirmed that, in addition to the ongoing effects of atmospheric dust from the collision of Surtr, making the current average temperature of Earth a freezing minus forty degrees Celsius, the next phase of Ragnarok is here: This year, Sól began to wither, eventually she will become so cold even the gasses of Earth’s atmosphere will freeze over in a not so distant future.  Through hope and determination, our unwavering forefathers carried the lit flame of civilization across a mass extinction event, and now the time has come to start our journey to the stars, to find or perhaps even forge our new home by applying the wisdom on unorthodox and exotic elements shared by the All-father through Eric the Mad before it is too late.  This is not and cannot be the end, but the beginning of the last and greatest saga on Earth.

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Nordland III: Fimbulwinter Saga
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2020, 02:22:54 PM »
Interesting premise! It's pretty difficult to get up & running quickly with all the problems you face, so hopefully, you can get away before complete freezing happens. I assume you used SM to put sufficient Infrastructure on Earth?

Offline Abridal (OP)

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Re: Nordland III: Fimbulwinter Saga
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2020, 10:13:41 AM »
Quote from: Garfunkel link=topic=10567.  msg118312#msg118312 date=1579983774
Interesting premise! It's pretty difficult to get up & running quickly with all the problems you face, so hopefully, you can get away before complete freezing happens.   I assume you used SM to put sufficient Infrastructure on Earth?

Yes, enough(barely) for the initial population of 99 millions, 20 labs and everything else kept at default levels for such pop at Meritocracy government.   I tried something similar before with less population and labs and it took way too long to finish up all needed research to start interstellar exploration, but adding more labs than the default for the starting population has a drawback which will become quite clear in this update. 


Personal Logs of Arch-Technocrat Ormulfr Gagison, Year 165 AF (2043 OC)

Seniority? A selfish desire of stability at the expense of what is best for everyone, something left behind long ago, buried under several feet of ice.   I am more competent and just graduated in June of the last year, since then I am the Arch-Technocrat, simple like that.   We are good people, there is no resentment from my predecessor and in the unlikely chance someone better than me is ready to take the responsibility, I wouldn’t mind stepping down either. 

This is a year with good and bad news.   The observations were not just an error, Sól is now only at 98% of its previous luminosity, and it is expected to lose about 2% of its warmth every year.   It is a cruel twist of fate that parallel to this the atmospheric dust now diminishes faster than before, and even before the end of this century, were it not for that, the oceans would defrost again and this world become full of life.   For now, average temperature is around minus thirty-eight degrees, but eventually the cooling of Sól will outstrip the warmth provided by the gradual end of the dust blocking its light.   Some see terraforming as an option, but why? All such efforts would ultimately be a waste because Sól will die, devoid of light and warmth, and the reserves of the materials that “bypass” Newtonian physics on our planet required for a project of such scale are very finite, not enough to both terraform Earth to buy time and build longships to the stars in enough quantity to move everyone to a new world. 

Every method of faster than light travel hypothesized so far using such elements remains pure speculation.   This year is just the beginning of the transition of our industrial technology, research to make it possible concluded at the beginning of March, the conversion of previous factories, mines and fuel refineries to the use of mostly autonomous machines and other things made possible through these curious materials starting as soon as the second backup fission reactor has its construction finished.   With twenty research facilities, mostly built using recovered components from ruins of other post-glaciation cities, most of our energy-based economy is on a tight budget and the last thing needed now is for critical sectors to operate with reduced efficiency because their power must be diverted to keep the heaters working.   Someone thought it was amusing to register these reactors in the ledger as “Financial Centers”, fiat currency would help us to not freeze to death, sure. 

On a related, small thing, after some talks the more pious won the inane debate on nomenclature and now those materials, with names like Duranium and Sorium, are officially termed Valhalla Matter, our way out of this doomed world.   The infrastructure built in the last hundred-plus years to make Earth livable despite the frost cannot be converted into something capable of also providing breathable air or controlling atmospheric pressure, thus it will stay here and VM-infrastructure will have to be constructed from scratch should the only worlds with potential anywhere beyond the nearest interstellar shortcut lack a breathable atmosphere.   All those reactors, boilers and heaters will be abandoned here and buried under ice in the end. 

Right now every lab is dedicated to the research of a new, VM Pressurized Water Reactor.   Some speculate that it would be wiser to research more propulsion before starting the search for a path away from this dying sun, but we are out of time.   Once that is over and the first VM propulsion system requiring it ready, construction of the first manned spacecrafts in our history will finally start.   Eylaugr Auðmansson, the only power and propulsion specialist with experience in managing major projects we have, who also finish the basics of VM technology research this year despite not being a specialist in that, stated jump points exist.   As soon as the first propulsion prototype is done, that and the methods to survey and travel through such jump points shall be the immediate research goals.   We have to locate them and survey what lies on the other side of such portals as soon as possible.   And if this theory is proven incorrect, VM cryonics in a sleeper ship to Alpha Centauri will be the only option then, but I’m confident in the wisdom and knowledge of Eylaugr, there must be a faster and surer method than that. 

Year 166 AF (2044 OC)

Those backup reactors, they will be buried under the ice in the end, no way to ship them off Earth.   Yet they are more needed than ever.   By May, our energy currency reserves went negative.   Only 16 conventional industries were converted to construction factories using Valhalla Matter so far and that is already pushing our pre-VM fission and geothermal reactors to the limit.   At least Jump Point Theory research just got completed in July and expansion of the only shipyard for spacecrafts available will take some time.   Having too many people busy working in such reactors will delay the primary goal, but for now until an energy surplus happens the only choice will be to keep building more.   Hopefully just a few more reactors will suffice, because with the barely converted to VM technology industries and limited workforce, 18 backup reactors will take almost a decade to get finished. 

Meanwhile, every focus is on gravitational survey and so called jump drives that will allow for ships to open up those jump points which indeed do exist so other ships can travel through them.   Still a long way to go, a commercial shipyard would be good for so called, still theoretical jump tenders but until energy is at a surplus those reactors that persistently show up as “Financial Centers” in the logs will be all the focus of the existing industries.   Also, to avoid a worse delay, some research facilities will be temporarily powered down and remain idle until the energy scarcity is solved. 

Year 167 AF (2045 OC)

The Áslason-Úlfarrson Dockyard now can build ships with up to 2000 tons.   I doubt it is enough, having such tight limit will be very bad for maximum speed and speed is of essence for a survey ship.   Therefore, considering the situation of the energy reserves that still delays the full conversion of the remaining conventional industries, I authorized more 10000 tons of capacity expansion for such shipyard.   By the time that expansion is done, everything should be ready for the construction of mankind’s first manned spacecraft.   For now I have to keep 18 labs powered down due to lack of enough energy.   The spike in energy demand VM technology caused was never predicted and it is my problem to solve.   Past rulers of the Technocracy did their best with the limited knowledge they had just like I’m doing my best.   Worst case scenario if this takes longer, at least better engines than nuclear thermal ones will be used in the first VM spaceship.   Not really the worst case scenario which is failing to leave this planet in time and extinction, but that is not going to happen. 

Work is really cut for me.   By March the fuel production from conventional industries is failing due to Sorium shortages and the total reserves on our planet are estimated to be little more than 100,000 tons.   I ordered the conventional refineries to shut down for now.   While this solar system is useless in the long term, surveying its gas giants might be necessary for fuel production in the near future, but gas giant mining technology will require more research and energy production can’t keep the 20 research complexes active without shortages yet.   At least average temperature is now at -36 degrees, is a false hope but a temporary relief nonetheless.   Besides Sorium, the situation of Duranium, Neutronium, Corbomite and Uridium reserves is also quite tricky, but for now none of those is a true shortfall causing losses in productivity.   A limited mining operation in other bodies of this freezing solar system may be needed as well to fix that. 

In May energy reserves finally were positive again, which is good, yet having idle labs and delaying conversion of conventional industry because of such scarcity is a problem that is costing too much time to be fixed.   I’d rather not be remembered for keeping most labs inactive once my time as ruler comes to an end.   By mid-year nine out of twenty research facilities were fully running once more and the first step of research towards the most inefficient, first jump drives, which shall require 25% of the mass of the largest ships they can support, will finish after November, what is not even close to enough for what is needed.   

Maybe VM nuclear thermal engines will never exist outside of theory, being obsolete on arrival because there is not enough infrastructure to try building a spaceship that won’t be horribly slow and the researches needed to have something capable of exploring more than our home system aren’t yet finished, plus colonizing any planet here is ultimately pointless.   The expansion of the only shipyard will take almost a decade.   Ordering that shipyard to have a continual capacity expansion would be better according to some, but is it really that better? Considering the energy economics situation at large and that continual capacity expansion for it would increase energy demand immediately I don't think so.   This great expedition won’t be ready as soon as my predecessor hoped for, but it will happen in my lifetime and it must not and will not fail. 
« Last Edit: January 26, 2020, 10:16:09 AM by Abridal »


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