Author Topic: Symbiosis  (Read 1831 times)

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Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Symbiosis
« on: December 04, 2020, 02:22:13 AM »
Forward: This is C# fiction, but I'm not really sure if it's an AAR?  Based on what I have typed up so far, this might end up more as a series of vignettes into important turning points of a C# game rather than an exact play by play.  I plan to eschew reporting on a lot of 'details' - what exactly I am researching, building, etc.  This is kind of a writing exercise for me I guess.  Feedback appreciated, let me know what you like/hate/want more of.  Apologies in advance, I'm no David Drake :).       



Prelude:

YR-0, June 12

Shahrewar:

Tall pillars of cotton sprouted forth from the lands of the Perugi, capped by fire and glinting steel.  Clan Indar was the first to launch - but not by much.  Before the trajectories could be resolved, both Clans Sawar and Xeshm had launched as well - and not only at Indar.  With Shahrewar’s 12400 km diameter, there was adequate time for many pillars to rise into the atmosphere, petering out in the troposphere.  There, the glimmering metal caps pass each other, hanging like the sword of Damocles for an instant, before they fell.     

Of the 14 some billion Perugia, roughly 190 million made it into the bunkers, primarily the young and their caregivers.  The remainder watched the sky.     

The Clan Heads were duty bound to lead from the front.  Not a one would leave their posts across the world-spanning continent of Azar.  Those posts, of course, tended to be ground zero for thermonuclear detonations.       It was of no consolation to the average clansman that those who authorized these launches had been among the first atomized.  In the years to come, all would envy such a peaceful demise.       

Some say it is darkest before the dawn, but this is false.  In the glowing solar fire the Perugi would learn that in fact, the brightest dawn precedes the coldest and darkest of nights.       



Gaia:

A torrential wave of radiation burst forth across the small, methane tinged globe.  But, the wave front did not simply wash over and past unnoticed.  A fraction of it's energy would be absorbed by a massive and carefully attuned array of detectors - and in turn would be relayed to millions of Kapetyn domiciles.  The massive radflux would blow out safety fuses in the millions of living quarters tuned to the feed - but not before a staggering flux was output.  Dorsal electroreceptors overloaded, Kapetyn stumbled, stunned and jammed.  Some aging individuals experienced a full overvoltage, shearing their connection to the weave.       

The wash of EM, the dying light of billions of souls, was felt by the millions tuned to the feed viscerally, as though the strikes had hit their very communities.       

Soon, a second wave of radiation would sweep across the globe.  The weaving song was one of three parts - A high pitch trill of shock and horror.  A dull thrum of loss and confusion.  A rising tone of conviction.     

Something unimaginable had occurred on the third planet of their star.  Something that defied all reason.  And, as they watched, the shock of that event was overridden by a dawning realization.  Massive clouds of irradiated materials - formerly fertile soil, homes, sentients - hung in the air of Semichi III, spreading, blotting out the sun, fuzzing out the remaining incoming transmissions.       

When that cloud fell, the real horror would begin.  This had only been the prelude.       

Something must be done.       

« Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 02:30:11 AM by Potat999 »
 
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Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2020, 02:49:09 AM »
I guess I'll alternate between in character vignettes and OOC posts with more AARish details for context?  Not really sure what I'm going to end up with for a format here.   

Anyhow, a quick overview of the game setup:

I'm playing two races.     
The Perugi are a vaguely anthropoid/reptiloid oxygen/nitrogen breathing race from a hot Earthlike world.  They are a conventional race.  Initial pop 10B (the nukes killed 4 immediately).  To help make them relevant later, I gave them a high growth rate and high pop density.     

The Kapetyn are low-grav methane breathers (through SM hax) dwelling on the cold moon of a gas giant in the same system.  They are a TN race - with a proviso.  They have no ships, just some old yards.  Initial pop ~2. 6b.  To kneecap them a bit, I gave them low growth and low density, although I also gave them a research buff.   


The two races will also have different psychologies and physiologies.  The Perugi will be more 'human-ish', while I'm going to attempt to play/write the Kapetyn as a bit more alien in terms of decision making/thought process.   

To simulate a massive nuclear exchange and corresponding nuclear winter, when I created the Perugi, I deleted 90% of their default factories and and a good bit of their research facilities, as well as all shipyards.     

Then to really stir smeg up I dropped . 2ATM of frigisium on their planet to give them a nice ~-15% growth rate.  I tossed them a few thousand infra to house ~200m, call them bunkers.     

For story purposes, think of the frigisium not just as nuclear winter, but also fallout, general societal collapse, etc.   
 
« Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 02:58:34 AM by Potat999 »
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2020, 11:10:55 AM »
This seems interesting and different. I'm game for a fiction that's more narrative and less reporting in scope. With two races recovering from catastrophes, there's lots of potential for not only cooperation but also mistrust and power dynamics to spice things up.
 
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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 11:18:18 AM »
Forward: This is C# fiction, but I'm not really sure if it's an AAR?  Based on what I have typed up so far, this might end up more as a series of vignettes into important turning points of a C# game rather than an exact play by play.
That's absolutely fine, we've had similar style stories for VB6 Aurora in the past and they make for an excellent change of pace! Keep it coming.
 
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Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2020, 08:46:03 PM »
Part I: The long night

YR 1, January

Shahrewar:
   
Clan Spuzgar, one of the last to launch, was also one of the first to re-emerge onto the surface of their new world.   Spuzgar had wanted to believe that the doctrine of mutually assured destruction would be able to hold the peace - after all, it had held for 47 revolutions, perhaps the longest peace on the surface of Shahrewar since the first Perugi learned to sharpen a stick.   Sadly, they were incorrect.   

Not truly believing this day would come, Spuzgar's emergency shelters were inadequate, their stockpiles of food sparse.     It would seem that the daemons above and below had deemed their sin of optimism required payment in blood.     

A mere few months after the end, volunteers from the childrearers and non-combatants of the Spruzgar in Bunker III wrapped themselves in whatever they could to stave off the radioactive dust and ventured forth to search for food and fuels.    They would be greeted by a new phenomenon - frozen water, falling from the sky- unheard of outside of the polar regions.   Their world of chaparral and savanna had in the course of a few months become a tundra from pole to pole.   

Another surprise would greet them: other Perugia, gaunt and haunted.   The blasts had effectively leveled every city center and major military emplacement across the the planet.   However, Perugia were a hardy species, armored and squat, adept at digging - not easily killed by a trifling structural collapse or flying glass.   In fact - the majority of the species had survived the initial catastrophe, save those directly atomized or broiled in their own carapace by gamma rads.   The largest killer in the last months had been starvation, followed closely by hypothermia, disease, and murder.     



The survivors of Bunker III, lead out by Abbaseh Zirakzadeh, regarding this desolate landscape of dust and frozen water with dull acceptance.     They knew that they were already dead - his team had not volunteered for this duty out of hope.   In fact, quite the opposite.   Once one has resigned oneself to one's inevitable demise, going through a few final tribulations seems a fairly minor inconvenience upon the path.   

As they walked the empty streets of what had once been a quiet exurb of the capital, it became apparent that while some fuel for the generators may yet be scrounged, there would be little food.   The hungry gaze of those who had once been his clanmates mere months ago made it readily apparent what the primary source of metabolic protein had been in the past months.   Fortunately, their team was still relatively hale, and none of the shattered wrecks of what had once been Perugi favored their odds.     

The results of their survey would be relayed to the remainder of the clan in the bunker below.   The reality set in quickly - many of the older or less attached individuals would volunteer to end their struggle now to provide some additional sustenance to the clan.   There was no reason to say no.   Efforts to nurse more productivity from the limited hydroponics facility would be redoubled, with scavenged piping and mostly-filtered water at least being in good supply, and enough fuel to run the lights for now.   

In this time, the course of action was very clear - try to survive.   There was no real question of what must be done.   As such, there was no question of leadership.   No new clan heads were appointed - no clan councils were convened.     

The Perugia had been totally shorn of their bonds of fealty - those who they were oathsworn to had been proven by events to have miscalculated badly.   They had paid their debts to their suzerains with nuclear fire.    There was no bustle to fill their positions, which were stained with the blood of billions.   

In this time, it was not those who's great deeds and great pedigree demanded fealty who would step forward to lead.   The age of great deeds lay dead and forgotten.   Rather, responsibility would fall upon those who were bilked into the job by those with more sense.   Abbaseh's act of being the first volunteer for the surface team had somehow segued into a role of clan chief in all but name, much to his chagrin.   

Thus, one week later it fell to him to adjudicate the fate of the first Perugi within the Bunker III community to be found guilty of murder with intent to metabolize.   Being an eminently practical Perugi, he dictated that the punishment would be death and metabolization.   This was met with tail flicks of assent by the others present.     

Of course, the carcass of the victim would not be allowed to go to waste either.     



YR1, March

Gaia:

Cronos of Argyroupoli surveyed the yard which was his chosen post for the relief effort, floating in the great void and feeling the flux wash and crackle along his spines.   It was good to be out in space again, rather than digging up tubers - he was one of the few Kapetyn who enjoyed the sharp, unfiltered feel of the flux here, unshielded by atmosphere.   At times, floating in the darkness, he thought he could hear the quiet background song, echoes of the start of the universe.   

The Argos yard was a bustle of activity for the first time in 42 cycles of Gaia about Semichi.   The yard was now fully out of mothballs, and in her dual slipways lay the frames of the first two ships built by the Kapetyn in a generation.   

To darkward, the Aphrodite’s bare spine lay in her slip.   Her intended mission - to deliver tens of thousands of tonnes of terraforming equipment to Semichi’s third planet, as well as the infrastructure to support its operation, aide supplies for the inhabitants - shelters and rad scrubbers, generators, heaters, blowers, pumps, pre-mixed duricrete, filtered water and every conceivable sundry.     

To sunward, a sister of the Aphrodite lay in an identical slip.   To moonward the Assus yard could faintly be felt flickering to life as well, ready to birth the third of the triplets.     

It may have been 42 cycles since the last launch from the Argo yard, but it had been far longer since both yards had been online at once - if ever they had.   The archivists had confirmed records from the last system survey 8200 cycles ago which indicated 3 yards were involved, but records further back were now corrupted.     

Cronos was not one prone to spine-spinning.   Shaking himself from his reminisce, he drifts closer to the yard and within minutes has unfurled his spines to lay into an unfortunate Kapetyn laser welder with a wave of oscillating microwaves, blatting out safety protocols, inertial equations, and grounds for dismissal in a high definition over all 88 channels.   A weak four channel signal of acquiescence with undertones of guilt is all the unfortunate dockworker is able to sqweek out past his overbearing jamming.   His compatriots rustle anxiously, triple checking their safety lines and maglocks before continuing their work with somewhat more trepidation.       



On the planet below, Alphios of Myndus’s massaged his lateral spines with a forelimb and sighed.   His posting as Master Guru of Gaia had, until recently, been heaped with significant prestige and precious little actual responsibility.     The Commune of Kapetyn seldom engaged in any activity without full consensus - which is to say it rarely did much of anything.   This had been regarded as an ideal form of government by all parties - governor and governed.   Unfortunately for Alphios, there was consensus now - consensus that something actually needed to be done, and oh what a task! 

His spines re-aligned, he would replay the latest reports on factory output - strangely, the waveforms did not change on the second repetition.   For the first time in a generation, there were reports of significant migrations of Kapetyn in from their freeholds and communes in the rift valleys to the city centers, to work in the factories.   Kapetyn who previously had tilled the soil of their ancestral homes found themselves working long shifts building the goods that the relief effort would require.   Tasks which had been automated since time immemorial would be once again done by forelimb and tooth in the ways of the ancients, out of a desperate urgency to increase capacity.     

It was estimated that by the time the ships were launched, sufficient goods would have been manufactured to fill an Aprodite class vessel's holds 40 times over.   This pure output was shocking, but it was not entirely a boon - for only three such ships would launch in the first wave.   Estimates from Chronos and others were calling for at least 2-3 cycles of sustained shipbuilding activity across all of the yards before sufficient lift capacity was in place to handle Gaia's output, much less the backlog.     

Without the lift capacity to move those hundreds of thousands of tonnes of material a year, billions would perish.   Understanding this, the few space qualified Kaeptyn would work feverishly.    Many more would be seeking their first qualifications for orbital work, adding fresh and untried hands to the mess that was the unprecedented and chaotic build up in orbit.     

Besides lift capacity, there was another pressing issue.   Yes, they could provide material aid - but could they provide any food?  The Xenobiology team had been able to dig up some ancient records on Semichi III's fauna, and what they held was not very promising - differences in the worlds heavy metal contents, above and beyond the difference between methane and oxygen based metabolisms.     Arsenic was apparently not an appropriate garnish for our neighbors.   It was likely that in order to provide them any foodstuffs, we would first need to collect seeds from their world, then either build facilities to grow them in situ or bring them back to Gaia to try to grow them in climate and atmosphere controlled facilities.     

Less than a year ago, Alphios largest concerns had been the annual census and deciding upon an official name for the previous year.   The world was going mad and Alphios was slowly being dragged along behind.     

Startled, Alphios pondered : I wonder if I could push 'the year of madness' past the conclave.   For a moment he warbled a beat of mirth, causing his attendant to start and involuntarily pulse an interrogative.   

Probably not.   They would want something pithy like 'the year of concordant action'.     



Edit: something in the formatting is adding extra spaces after each period, it's driving me nuts.    Any ideas? :S


« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 01:24:14 PM by Potat999 »
 
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Offline TheTalkingMeowth

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2020, 09:20:57 PM »
It's an anti-spam measure. New accounts get spaces added after periods so they can't post links.

Goes away after 5 or so posts I believe.
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2020, 12:50:51 AM »
It's an anti-spam measure. New accounts get spaces added after periods so they can't post links.

Goes away after 5 or so posts I believe.

Ten posts, actually. Ask me how I know.  :P

Very nice update, the narrative is moving along nicely and the personality of each race is very apparent. I look forward to seeing how these two species will interact once they actually meet one another "in person"!
 
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Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2020, 09:34:06 PM »


June 15:

Bahraman Afsarzadeh was standing in line for his daily ration of tuber stew, one of the few vegetables which would still grow, at least during the summer months, under the unprotected sky. A tiny dash of garnish, grains and stalks from the hydroponics facilities and a few small cubes of a protean he tried his very best not to think about rounded out the dish. It was not really a good dish, but when hot it was significantly better than the insects and vermin he would be hunting for ‘dinner’.       

Sadly, the only heat in his bowl was the slight radioactivity. They had tried to brush off the thick top layer of fallout before tilling to get down to better soil, but more fell every day. 

He regarded the cold, sticky slop. This glop was hours old, cooked in the morning, and there was no spare fuel to keep it hot. Today, unfortunately, he had been out on work detail until long after it had gelatinized.   

Regardless he wolfed it down, not bothering to sit. In another time, metabolization had come with some accompanying rituals and niceties, but he knew better than to move about the bunker with food in hand. Things were still maintaining a thin semblance of order, but there was no reason to take dumb risks.

As he headed for the door, thinking of finding a secluded corner to slowly rot away in, he heard voices behind him.

“That’s him. ”

He knew that voice - it was the man who took his bunk after his sleep shift was over. They had exchanged niceties a few times, but Bahraman hadn’t bothered to remember his name. He hadn’t bothered to do much of late.   

A moment of panic - was his bunkmate passing blame on something? Hidden food? The panic redoubled when he saw the man stepping around his accuser - it was Abbaseh.   

He was soup now for sure, Bahraman thought to himself resignedly.   

“I heard from Jamshid here that you used to work at Esfandiari-Hameed in the capital?” the dictator in all but name asked him bluntly.

Not the turn of conversation he was expecting.

“. . .  Yes.   I used to work in the power systems unit. ” 

He stared blankly back at Abbaseh, not sure what to say, but very sure that turning and running would not be a suitable response, despite his instinct to do just that.

Abbaseh smiled slightly back at him and asked-

“So, you’ve worked with the standard E-H reactor cans before?”

“Yes… actually, I was a project manager for one of the naval class can designs. ”

Abbaseh’s maw gaped open now, in a predatory expression that bore little resemblance to a smile in Bahraman’s considered opinion.

“And those cans aren’t much different from the Yazdi-Lajevardi model?”

… it was tempting to lie, but any idiot knew that sealed reactor cans for the military had been standardized to be drop-in replaceable.   
 
He automatically stuttered out: “Yeah?”

. . . wait, would a layman really know that?  Or was it just him that knew that? 

Abbaseh’s grin grew wider, which Bahraman would not have believed possible seconds ago.   His stomach sank.

“Congratulations, you get double rations today!  And as a bonus prize, you are coming outside with me. We found a Y-L medium reactor can out at a po-dunk air strip nobody bothered to bomb. We think we can shift it over here, assuming it works and we can disconnect it without, you know, boom?”

Smeg.

“Grab your kit. Don’t worry, it’s only about 5 Roentgen if we’re quick. ”

Smeg.



Nov 12:

Alphios of Myndus’s dorsal ridge shivered, his spines flicked, his transceivers stuttered and popped in shock. His aides about the large room added a tight syncopation of dismay to his sending from their workstations. 

The report blat from Cronos of Argyroupoli was terse and to the point - disaster. Something had gone wrong during the test firing of the Nuclear Pulse Engine array for the Aphrodite class at the Argos yard.   

The exact cause was both unknown and obvious at once - an accident. Kaeptyn under stress, pushing until their digits bled. Untested components, kludged onto components designed so long ago no-one had any practical knowledge of their workings.

Catastrophic drive failure had instantaneously killed 36 dockyard workers and imparted enough thrust onto the second slip to push it free of it’s mooring to the yard. By some caprice of fate, that thrust pushed it directly toward slip one. The collision was relatively slow, as these things go, giving workers precious minutes to evacuate - but the inertia imparted was enormous.   

Both hulls were a total loss. Worse, Cronos estimated the yard capacity itself would be out of commission for some months.   

Chrono’s relayed waves betrayed not a hint of guilt, only frustration and overtones of anger and loss. Alphio’s spines shook in irritation - the largest industrial disaster in two generations and the overseer feels no guilt?  Worse, the smug bastard sent subtle undertones - this had been a known and accepted risk to anyone with half a brain? It was infuriating, but while he hated to admit it, also true. They had all known the risks. They had chosen to bully forward anyway.   

The first batch of terraforming equipment and infrastructure had been completed last week, easily enough to fill 6 hulls - and 2 of their 3 planned hulls were no more.     

Cronos had of course tendered his resignation - and Alphios was sorely tempted to accept, and be rid of this confounding, hard spined old coot. However, in these mad times, no-one else was more qualified and willing to dare the depths of the void and it’s eerie stillness. To replace him would be to delay. And the commune would brook no delay.   

Any means to achieve success of the commune’s goals must be grasped, no matter how irksome to Alphios personally. He and his aides were in concordance on this, and their family units had weighed in the affirmative as well. The general bellwether of the commune was unshifted - stay the course, come what may.


OOC: Actually I kinda had the wrong ship class tooled and building for 10 months before canceling it and retooling, lol.   I decided to roll with it instead of SM hacking myself out of the problem, but uh, an industrial accident sounds way cooler :)
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2020, 11:46:00 PM »
“Grab your kit. Don’t worry, it’s only about 5 Roentgen if we’re quick. ”

Something about this sort of gallows humor really brings home the world we're reading about here.

Quote
OOC: Actually I kinda had the wrong ship class tooled and building for 10 months before canceling it and retooling, lol.   I decided to roll with it instead of SM hacking myself out of the problem, but uh, an industrial accident sounds way cooler :)

Player malfeasance is the wellspring of AAR writer creativity, after all.  ;)
 

Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2020, 09:07:14 PM »


Gaia, Nov 16:

Cronos of Argyroupoli shoved his muzzle deep into the bowl of intoxicant while he felt the news relay wash over his spines - the launch of the Aphrodite 001 (originally planned as 003) from the Assus yard.   Subconsciously, he emanated a dreary fugue of disappointment and loss which came back to him, reflected and amplified just as unconsciously by the others sitting in the dining area.   

Crono’s own Argo yard was still a good two months away from being operational, perhaps more if he was to implement all of his planned safety measures.   Not two months away from completing the two ships assigned to them - two months before they could even start re-laying the frames.   And Amythaeon of Trapezus over at Assus yard was affixing the ceremonial bronze figurehead on the first Kapetyn ship to launch in a generation.   

What really rankled was that it was just dumb luck that Amythaeon had succeeded while they had failed.   In fact, the Assus yard had a worse safety record than Argos, with more fatalities total in the last months to various stupid mistakes.   

In the post mortem analysis of the accident, it had been determined that the root cause was a faulty drive component, improperly tested at 1/8th the correct thrust at outgoing quality control.   A unit conversion error.   The Assus yard would almost certainly have had a similar issue, if the accident hadn't caused a halt in all drive testing while the Argo yard team did failure analysis.   

The accident still in everyone's mind, the Aphrodite would be carefully put through her paces, slowly increasing velocity to max and validating all subsystems before loading up with Terraforming equipment and departing for Semichi III.   



Shahrewar, Dec 5

Bahraman Afsarzadeh held the bowl in his hands tightly and savored - hot vegetable soup.   In retrospect, those seven roentgens were the best he ever spent.   Since hauling the reactor can over to the compound, they had adequate power to heat water whenever needed and keep it hot as long as needed.   No more skimping to ensure they could keep the air-blowers running, lest they suffocate.   The past months had seen a flurry of activity, both in his bunker and across Shahrewar - buildings torn down for materials, other buildings more adequately sealed and insulated, greenhouses thrown down, lighting for indoor grow rooms salvaged from every fixture in sight.   Everyone was trying to pull together what they could to survive, and it looked as though some of them might even do it.   Some.

Fortunately, the denizens of Bunker III were some of the best off on the planet.   Unfortunately, their neighbors knew this.   In the last weeks, they had lost more members to violence than radiation or starvation.

Bahraman tried to put aside such thoughts and enjoy the soup.   It really was quite good.   Then all hell broke loose.

Given recent history, it is somewhat understandable that the sound of atmospheric re-entry was not a welcome one to the average Perugian.   Before the sound had even consciously registered, Bahraman was half under the table, as were the other members of his work detail - at least, the ones who did not bounce off each other and find themselves sprawled on the floor stunned.   

Really?  Someone was still launching this late, and decided that this worthless woebegone burb was a suitable target?  It seemed such a banal way to die after all they had survived.

The cacophonous crescendo reached a peak, and just when Bahraman had made his peace with his ancestors, begin to recede.   It seemed they were not at ground zero after all. 
 
Strange.   Why would a missile come in at such an oblique angle?  They should be dead by now.   Or at least have felt an impact.   Bahraman was just starting to work his way out from under the table when he heard a familiar voice.

"Suit up, let's go see what that was!  Double rations for double shifts!"

Smeg.   Why had he been on Abbaseh's work detail today of all days? 

Bahraman glanced down, just now noticing the burns on his chest from his soup.   Does it even count as a double ration if you didn't get to eat the first one?



Semichi PIII, Site One, Dec 5

Teacher Iatragoras of Heraclea had spent the last two days reviewing the (admittedly rudimentary) sensor data provided by the Aphrodite's suite in the converted cargo container-cum first contact team HQ in the Aphrodite's hold to identify a viable landing site.   The mission goal was firstly to provide relief - actually making contact or establishing diplomacy was a far second.   Iatragoras sort of understood the reasoning, but as the man on the spot, he was still not particularly happy.

As their cargo shuttle finished it's descent, he was beginning to feel the oppressive gravity of the Neighbor's planet.   He was very glad for the sealed, powered exoskeletons his team of 8 had been provided.   Without them, he doubted they would even have been able to move on the surface - perhaps not even breath.   A Kapetyns legs would likely snap if they tried to support their body under this crushing assault.

It was hard to sense the weft in this clunky, insulating suit.   Between and about his team, a subtle keen of discomfort and anxiety had already been rebounding, the subtle muffling of the suits amplifying the sense of awkwardness.   When the door down fully and they stepped forth onto the surface of this world for the first time, the keen shifted to one of disbelief, doubt, and horror.

Surely, there must be some mistake.   This site had been identified as one of the areas of highest activity by the Neighbors, ground vehicles and even an aircraft had been detected.   This should be one of the least impacted areas of the planet.

Iatragoras and his team swept their spines to and fro.   To all sides the same image was reflected - devastation, and a terrible stillness.

Behind him came the thrum of the other cargo shuttles descending, automated drops of terraforming equipment already proceeding behind them at Site I to schedule.   It was a little late to signal to abort.

Glumly, his team shuffled on metallic legs through the dusty and snow towards the nearest building.   If there were no neighbors around, at least they could inspect the ruins in the three days they had on site before the Aphrodite was scheduled to return to Gaia.



Dec 7, Gaia:

Alphios of Myndus’s problems had multiplied.   The first cargo ship had completed before the diplomatic vessel.   With no way to stay on station in the hellish atmosphere and spine bending gravity of Semichi, his first contact team had been limited to mere hours on site.  First contact consisted of gesticulating to the one neighbor brave or stunned enough to stand in the open on their approach, who had then immediately hid.

The conditions on Semichi III were not conducive to a permanent Kapetyn presence to operate the terraforming equipment.   A short stay of a few days was possible, so long as one never left a powered exosuit - but a longer stay would almost certainly result in broken bones and collapsed lungs under the immense gravity.   Current plans called for somehow training the locals to operate the machinery to scrub radiation from the soil and pull dust from the atmosphere.   

Attempts had been made to make the equipment as idiot proof as possible and provide very simple operation instructions in the form of charged bronze cubes with flux maps as well as some tensile contact sculptures, but it was unclear if they could be understood by the locals.   So far as the Kapetyn scientists had been able to determine, not only did the Perugia perceive a different section of the EM spectrum, they also communicated primarily through some other means not yet deciphered.   

Many of their transmissions were modulated over a very small range, rather than the broad spectrum of the weft, and seemed to be encoding some other type of sensory data which Kapetyn haven't quite been able to decipher, beyond simply relaying it back - which had been attempted as a contact method for the last century to no avail.   A real understanding of what this data was encoding would require observation of these creatures directly to try to understand how exactly they were perceiving the universe.   

The detonation of thermonuclear devices by these creatures had solidified the opinions of some Kapetyn that these creatures were inscrutable, insane, and possibly not truly sentient at all.   These individuals, thankfully, were a small minority, while other more sane voices pushed back against this de-kapetynizing of their neighbors in their hour of need.   Still, it was unclear if his diplomatic team would be able to make any real progress with contacting such disturbingly odd creatures while operating out of a cargo hold.



Shahrewar, Dec 20:

Bahraman Afsarzadeh was staring at the microwave spectrometry results in puzzlement in what they were tentatively calling the ‘control room’ when he heard the sonic boom of an inbound decent.   His team dove for cover under various workstations and arrays until the noise stopped.  They had doffed their NBC gear upon discovering that this room was sealed and had a notably lower background radiation level than Bunker III inside, but now they found themselves hastily suiting back up to go back outside.   

Abbaseh had directed the team to bounce ASAP if their mysterious visitors returned, but after two weeks of silence, his team had gotten a bit lax.   It was just so much easier to work without the suits - and the control room was actually nice and warm, which made the suits just that much less bearable.   

He hoped this laxness hadn't just gotten them killed as he pulled on his helmet and strode into the airlock.  He flipped the mechanical toggle which they had discovered to be the airlock cycle mechanism, briefly wondering again at it's lack of any color or markings beyond a high polish.

The doors would open to three metal monstrosities teetering on six impossibly long legs and sheathed in a seething mass of quills.   Cybernetic insectoid hedgehogs on stilts, twice the height and likely five times the mass of a Perugian, stood a mere dozen span in front of them.   As he watched, the swore he could see the quills rustle towards him, but they made no move to advance.   On such long legs, he had no double they could close the distance in an instant.

Bahraman Afsarzadeh briefly considered that he was not being paid enough for this.   But then, nobody in Bunker III was receiving anything for their labors at the moment - except roentgens.   



 

« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 01:59:02 AM by Potat999 »
 
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Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2020, 09:23:57 PM »
OOC Year 1 Round up - the more AARish part

Perugian Status:
Population : 10023m -> 8684m
Unrest 52.38% - breakdown of civilization, martial law or no law across most of the planet
Infra: 7500 (supported 192m) -> 22486 (supports 576m)  - mostly from civilian production, some from government production
Terraformers - .8 arrived, no TN tech, not yet utilized
Still .2 ATM of fridge, temp is -1.233 vs 34.61 ideal

When I came up with this scenario idea, I was unsure if civilian production would make any infra for the capital planet. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it did. I like this, I feel like it represents the Perugian citizens desperately scrapping and salvaging, digging bunkers and throwing down greenhouses, etc.   

One thing I totally forgot was that a lack of infra leads to unrest. The Perugian start with 0 military units to suppress unrest, since the military all got nuked. This puts them on a faster timer before total collapse into worthlessness and death spiral than I expected, but I think it makes sense given the scenario.   

I decided not to start TN research with the Perugian until after the first drop of TN goods on the surface in December. Poor Bahraman the power specialist has been assigned this task which is well outside his specialty, for lack of a better surviving candidate, hence his grubbing around in the terraforming equipment. Wish him luck, he better hurry before unrest reaches max and stability reaches 0 :O.     

Kapetyn Status:

Produced:

1 Carrack (2 cargo spaces)

Quote
Aphrodite class Carrack      79 066 tons       238 Crew       883.   1 BP       TCS 1 581    TH 2 080    EM 0
1315 km/s      Armour 1-164       Shields 0-0       HTK 99      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 6    Max Repair 50 MSP
Cargo 50 000    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Seeker    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 24 months   

Commercial Improved Nuclear Pulse Engine  EP160.   0 (13)    Power 2080    Fuel Use 5.   06%    Signature 160    Explosion 4%
Fuel Capacity 750 000 Litres    Range 33.   7 billion km (296 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes

3 others planned, although Argos Yard is still retooling before it can start work on their two.   
12 terraforming installations (.   8 delivered)
3946 infrastructure (0 delivered)

Going into this, I knew lift capacity was going to be an issue, but starting off with 0 ships and just watching billions of Perugians die without being able to do anything for most of a year was a bit painful both for the Kapetyn and for me as a player :).   

I am not 100% sure this year end summary really fits in with the story narrative - I'm a bit worried it will pull people out of the 'story' and back to the 'game' if that makes sense? Maybe I should leave this out or put it in a different post, let me know what you think.     
« Last Edit: January 10, 2021, 05:26:07 PM by Potat999 »
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2020, 10:57:27 PM »
Ultimately, my advice is not to worry what will pull people in or out, and focus on writing what you enjoy. First and foremost the best kind of AAR is an active and updated one! Beyond that, as long as a writer enjoys their work and puts good effort into the art of it the results are usually satisfactory for all involved.

At this rate it looks like Perugia would stabilize at around 2 billion population, likely more if they get enough help from the terraformers. The high unrest is likely to make for an interesting challenge, but how the Perugians respond will be interesting as there's an option to build a lot of military units to control the population but perhaps this will lead to military government? Not to mention the Kapetyns may decide to take an active hand in the matter...
 

Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2020, 11:37:01 PM »
Iatragoras of Heraclea's personal journal - Entry date Jan 31:

It's quite frustrating.  It's very obvious that our neighbors on Semichi III are intelligent - but yet communication in any depth continues to prove illusive.  On a superficial level, some concepts are quite simple to convey - anything which you could relay to your pet skýlos back on Gaia, the neighbors will pick up immediately.  Something that can be conveyed by gesture? Certainly, you can get that across.  In fact, we are starting to develop a whole new gesture language piece by piece.  Frustratingly, the gesture language is gaining nuance faster than his understanding of the neighbor's actual language.

It's apparent that the neighbors convey information through induced air pressure waves.  Inconveniently, Kaeptyn can only sense this via tactile contact with the neighbor in question, the floor, or perhaps a taunt membrane.  The constant high wind velocities on Kaeptyn make such a sensory input less valuable, and it was not selected for among the Kaeptyn's distant ancestors. 

If it was just a question of a different medium, perhaps that would be solvable, but there is also a difference in the resolution of the medium.  Even the most simple Kaeptyn sensory blat of alarm or surprise encodes a surprising amount of data - direction of threat, size of threat, identity of threatened individual, vital statistics, etc.  This data is encoded by multiple spines at multiple frequencies, and sometimes sculpted individually for relay to specific coordinates, if the Kaeptyn is aware of the location of others nearby it wants to ensure receive the blat.

By contrast, the neighbor's language is... flat.  So much so, that understanding the meaning of a specific waveform may require additional contextual information which we have not yet been able to parse out.  I have definitely confirmed that the same (so far as I can tell) waveform can signify more than one thing!  I am certain of this - Gestures Wildly was quite emphatic on this point.  It seems that the waveform for food and eating is identical in the neighbor language.  How to decipher which is which?  There must be context clues - either from the other words (which we do not yet know) or from other subtle expressions of body language - or even odor, who knows?  I suppose I could take off my suit and take a deep whiff of the oxygen atmosphere to confirm how the neighbors smell for posterity, but it would be my final act.



Feb 14- Shahrewar

Abbaseh Zirakzadeh found himself in the creche, watching the juveniles play.  This was the one place in the bunker which seemed to still echo with the feeling of days long gone, which felt removed somehow from the holocaust about ground.  The kids still received full rations, from the nutritionally balanced pre-disaster supplies.  In fact, the bunker still had more than a quarter of it's original supplies, although they all tried to forget this as hard as possible, lest they become envious.  It was Abbaseh who had determined the adults must cut back on rations and scavenge outside for added food, long before they ran out.  He had doomed many Perugian's to gruesome fates of rad sickness, starvation and cannibalism so that the children might live out a few more months without hardship.

He wished he could say the decision was made for the children's sake, out of kindness.  But it was not. Abbaseh had become a very hard Perugi in the last year, and his reasoning was as hard as granite and sharp as flint.

The basic social unit of the Perugi was the extended family - the pack which raises children communally.  The clan is just an extension of this - a larger unit which forms large creches, and exchanges children between them. In ancient times, when hardship or hunger would threaten a Perugi pack, Perugian adults would look out for their own children first and foremost.  Children would end up dead - killed by other children in struggles for food, or killed by adults who were more distant relatives to reduce competition for their own offspring and closer relatives. 

When this became too prevalent, adults would pull their children from the communal creche and seek to survive elsewhere, on their own or in smaller units of those they trusted most. When the creche broke up, it meant the death of the clan.  The death of the pack.  All social bonds severed.  It was every Perugi for themselves, and no holds barred.  It was to prevent this, to keep the Perugi of Bunker III as a single social unit, capable of collective action, that he ensured the children were fed.  If he thought it would keep the community together, to decrease competition he would have the children decimated.  He still may have to, one day.

These days, he only came here when he was already in a good mood - it was too easy to think dark thoughts like this down here.

Fortunately, today he had received very good news indeed.  The leaders of two local survivors groups, their main competitors, had agreed to his proposal.  Together, the three groups would protect the vast wealth of alien goods deposited in their midst the previous fortnight.  They would try to ensure that the goods did not merely cause bloodshed, and that the goods were not spread so thin as to be useless.  It was they who would dictate how the goods were allocated, and who would determine how many and which outsiders they might let in once word spread.

As the leader of the largest of the three communities, the others had vowed to follow him as his right and left hand.

It would seem that oaths of fealty were too deeply engraved in the Perugian psyche to die simply because the noble class was no more. With those two oaths had begun a cascade of others. Abbaseh was now a Clan Leader in fact as well as in practice.

Not too bad for a madman, Abbaseh thought to himself quietly as he watched the children play. 



March 15 - Aphrodite 001, geosync orbit of Semichi III, 

Polyas of Olbia reviewed the feeds from the remote sensors left in place at the site of their latest drop site.  This was their seventh drop since the relief effort started, and things were starting to become routine.  A horrifying routine, he thought to himself as he glanced at the feed, but a routine.

The waves relayed to him were replicating a struggle going on below him on the planets surface - a mad rush for the individually packaged water.  This was the second drop at this location, and the locals knew which crates to look for this time.  A few less desperate and more enterprising individuals were loading up the larger barrels of water into a ground vehicle of some sort, while facing outwards towards the crowd with what was apparent - from the corpses at their feet - to be an array of lethal weapons.

It pained him to watch the vastly unequal distribution of the tiny drop of aide they were able to drop into this sea of need.  But at least, this time they had delivered that drop.  The first three trips had simply delivered terraforming equipment - with no hands to operate them.  A stupid boondoggle.  The rosy assessment that the locals could be trained to operate it was still being bandied about in some circles back on Gaia, but anyone who had seen this world knew better.  Even if they could train the locals - they were too desperate.  No-one would sit around and run a terraforming station while their children starved.

He was somewhat heartened by the reports from the contact team, who had elected to return to Site One rather than checking this newer site.  It would seem that the supplies dropped there on the fourth trip were being put to use, and in fact had almost all disappeared over the last month.  New structures could be seen in their report, hastily thrown down.  It was also somewhat humbling when he re-focused his spines on the feed output - most of the structures were of local make, or at least, majorly local materials.  Sure, our duricrete had been useful for poured foundations and some of our pre-fab airlock modules were tacked on here and there, but the sheer muscle power and determination of the locals was far outstripping the best efforts of the Aphrodite and her strained crew of 200 odd to render aid.



« Last Edit: December 10, 2020, 11:58:04 PM by Potat999 »
 
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Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2020, 09:58:55 PM »
April 6, Gaia:

Alphios of Myndus reviewed the plan proposal before him again.  On a second pass, it still seemed slipshod.  Then again, many of the hasty measures in the last year were.

A design had been submitted for an orbital terraforming habitat, which would enable Kapetyns to rest in relative comfort between short shifts on the surface of the Neighbor's world with it's crushing gravity.  In theory, the design itself was quite sound, and would address the current pressing need to commence terraforming ASAP.  It was now clear to all involved that the current aid mission was just too slow to make a meaningful dent in the death toll on Semichi III.  Polyas had circulated the feed data from the surface after his most recent circuit (much to Alphios' chagrin) and now many Kapetyn were pushing for a more drastic direct action.  He was going to have to approve construction of this habitat, there was too much pressure resonating through the commune to allow him to stay the course with only their current aid drops.

There was an obvious, glaring flaw with this plan, however.  This habitat would be built in situ in orbit of Gaia, with parts launched from the surface construction factories.  No shipyard was large enough to house it. 

And it didn't have engines.

Currently, the Kapetyn did not have any practicable solution to mount engines on this monstrosity without shaking itself apart from internal stresses.  Many pointed to Kephalon of Antiochia's recent papers, reviewing older papers, which hinted at a theoretical 'traction' system which would allow a tug vessel to apply thrust evenly to the full habitat at one time, eliminating the risk of buckling.  However, the older papers didn't report anyone actually building a 'tractor beam' -not even a downscaled proof of concept.  They were heavy on math and light on engineering, as was the way with most research papers.  Still, Kephalon trumpeted that it could be done to all that could receive, and the signal reverberated far and wide in the Commune.  He would have his funding to try. 

In approximately two months, at best estimate, a new orbital habitat would orbit Gaia.  And there it would remain, until Kephalon of Antiochia could come up with his 'tractor beam', and figure out how to fit it onto a hull.  Any, presumably someone would have to design this 'tug' class vessel and tool up and build it.

This plan was not firing on all 88 spines, but nobody had presented him a better one.  With a blat of frustration which reverberated and amplified off of the other Kapetyn in the office, he slammed down his approval on the proposal plate.



May 14th, Shahrewar, Indar Final Redoubt

A great bounty of much needed supplies had fallen from the skies onto the radiated outskirts of Indar, former capital city of the Clan of the same name.  Over the past few days, this unexpected bounty had been squandered by the survivors on the surface, too fractured to make productive use of the resources, instead destroying both the resources and each other in an orgy of misguided survival instincts.  It was only recently that Indar patrols had stumbled across the burning wreckage and pumped some survivors for more details. 

Kambiz Pakdaman had been caught off guard by this unexpected activity on the surface, too focused on consolidating his power below, cleaning up the last vocal dissenters against his recent rise to power, but he would not be caught with his guard down again. 

Kambiz had made it clear to Farshad, his right hand man, the brutal facilitator of his recent rise - if the others returned, the goods were to be secured for Indar at all costs.  Secure the landing site.  Secure the goods.  If possible, capture one of these 'others' so that there clan affiliation may be determined and the source of this bounty ascertained. 



July 23, High Orbit above Gaia, Antioch Yard

The launch of the Hector fuel harvester, first of it's class, was met with little fanfare.  It was only notable as another of the many recent failures of planning.  The Hector class fuel harvester cum-tanker was certainly useful, but not needful.  Current fuel refining facilities on the surface were more than adequate to meet the needs of the sole Carrack operated by the cargo fleet.  Another Carrack hull was to be laid down in the Antioch Yard as soon as the Hector cleared the birth - this was the only real sign of progress towards the overall goals of the Commune held in this news. 

Most awaited with limited patience the upcoming launch of the Asmara from Phocaea Yard, scheduled next month.  The Asmara was the first of her class, a cargo ship just slightly smaller and slower than the Aphrodite- a compromise solution designed to fit the limitations of the existing yards and get more lift capacity into vacuum as soon as possible.

Agitation and outright dissent bubbled across the commune - a rare wave indeed in the typically stagnant and contented Kapetyn.  Such mishaps could not continue to happen when millions were dying every day.  Someone must be held accountable. 



August 30, Shahrewar, Outside Bunker III

Bahraman Afsarzadeh had managed to procure a small telescope - a high end ‘prosumer’ model found in the shed of a farmhouse, apparently a hobbyist.  With that and some finagling of the airfield radar array to look more ‘up’ and run a narrower sweep, he had been able to ascertain that the periodic deliveries of water, pre-fab structures, basic goods (lamps, blowers, generators of unknown nature) were all coming from a single LARGE craft holding in perfect geo-stationary orbit - at what appeared to be too low an elevation above the surface for such an orbit. 

Further, he had been able to make a rough estimate of it’s speed (FAST, in excess of 1000km/s), acceleration (instantaneous!) and rough direction of travel (towards planet IV), and with some back calculations had inferred the craft was running a circuit from planet IV.  He had even been able to predict it’s arrival with some accuracy of late.

The craft was still outbound, and this was his first night off from the work crews at the landing site this fortnight. 

Despite this fact, the sound of aerobraking and the roar of rockets decelerating had a secondary effect of accelerating his rear chitin plate out of his bunk and onto the floor, as his bunk mate Jamshid shook him awake with little ceremony. 

"Abbaseh wants you."

A few hours later, shivering in the cold and pointing his telescope up through the cloudy, ash filled sky, he would finally get his first glimpse of the vessel in orbit.  This ship was not quite right.  It seemed a bit smaller.  And, it departed a little sooner as well, leaving less goods on the dusty plane. 

Furthermore, the usual stilt-porcupines were nowhere to be seen.  These shuttles simply dumped goods via parachute and departed immediately, never touching down at all.  Something had changed.

Of course, Abbaseh would be expecting an explanation for this change in his report, not just the clear fact that there was a change. Luckily, Bahraman had gotten good at idle postulation and making statements which were easy to walk back of late.



OOC: I've slowed down the pace of updates a little as I have hit year ~20 or so and realized the pace of gameplay and story worthy content may also slow a bit, and I don't want to catch up too fast.  Also I'm lazy.  :) 
« Last Edit: December 17, 2020, 10:09:53 PM by Potat999 »
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2020, 10:14:26 PM »
I'm still enjoying these updates. The little details are really making the two races feel alive and consistent. Not a lot more to say until the next big plot twist...quick, someone, umm, nudge one of those new spaceship hulls off the docking clamps!  :P

Quote
OOC: I've slowed down the pace of updates a little as I have hit year ~20 or so and realized the pace of gameplay and story worthy content may also slow a bit, and I don't want to catch up too fast.

A perfectly good reason, a slower pace means more time to work on the craft of writing. Certainly this forum is not one where a slow pace is unusual.

Quote
Also I'm lazy.  :)

An even better reason.  ;)
 
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