Author Topic: Rise of the Wrix  (Read 14368 times)

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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2012, 03:23:58 PM »
13 March 2013
The Henry Hudson, the second Hecate class courier, is ordered to pick up a hastily assembled second 'geology' team led by YA-83-WME and proceed to planet four. The slow survey progress is given as the reason for dispatching another team. Gamma refrains from complaining too hard so she does not want to give away her find, not knowing the cat was out of the bag already.
Several pieces of equipment are loaded that the other team never took along, but are explained as new technology developed based on feedback from the first team. Gamma's drones have no idea how planetary surveys work and don't question the explanation. Neither do they realise that there are nearly twice the number of drones as a part of this team than the first, due to some clever boarding tricks. Security was not super strict.

20 March 2013
The Henry Hudson passes directly between Wrixom and the Home Star, with the Francis Drake around planet four directly on the other side of the star. For a few hours, as expected, all communication is reduced to static by interference from Home. When communication comes back online, a different drone is manning the communications station but Gamma's communication drones on Wrixom barely notice.
In reality, the members of the second team had mostly been chosen for their combat training. As soon as communication was cut off, they cracked open a few of the containers which were supposed to hold survey equipment, but in reality held low velocity weapons well suited to combat on board a starship. The fight was brutal and quick on board the small craft and by the time the communications blackout ended, the ship had been captured by drones still loyal to Delta, or US-93 as she was now known.
Not all of their equipment was fake, however. The team carried advanced computer equipment to help with translation and integration efforts.

29 April 2013
The Henry Hudson arrives at planet four and deposits the armed xenology team near the first geology team. The crew of the Francis Drake, caught completely by surprise, are forced away from the geology team and the ruins. However, under orders from IM, they do not engage the Francis Drake or its crew, and the first transmission indicating trouble is sent to Gamma Hive. It arrives a few hours after the action.

IM pressed the button to answer Gamma's request for a private video link and open the connection. Immediately Gamma's livid face appeared on her screen. This was a conversation she was not looking forward to.
"Yes, Gamma, what can I do for you?" she asked as nicely as she could manage.
"What is the meaning of taking over one of my ships and threatening the crew of another?" Gamma asked, anger clearly simmering just beneath the surface.
"I'm not quite sure what you mean. Both those ships belong to the Swarm, since they were built with Swarm resources. There was a slight misunderstanding on the Hudson when your crew refused to acknowledge this fact, but only those that actively attempted to harm my people were killed in self-defense."
"Cut the crap, IM!" Gamma shouted. "Your drones attacked mine on board one of my ships! This means war!"
"And you have been holding one of MY teams hostage at one of MY offworld sites and you had the intention to hold my second team as well. Technically, we are already at war by your standards" IM retorted.
"So you know what's there?" Gamma asked, seemingly having calmed down in an instant.
"Oh yes. Don't worry how. It is better this way, you did not have the expertise and equipment at your disposal to do a proper analysis. I do, and it is already on site. You know that I only have the best interests of the Swarm at heart."
Gamma seemed to be in thought for a few moments before she threw up her hands. "Well, I guess you outplayed me. Well done. Let me know what you find over there." Then she cut the connection.

This conversation caused quite a stir among the other Queens. A large number of them had secret taps that allowed them to watch the conversation, but none of them had been able to intercept the encrypted tightbeam transmissions from Gamma's spacecraft, so nobody knew what was being talked about. Even Lambda found herself in the dark, a place she rarely visited. And yet, nobody wanted to be the first to confront IM or Gamma about it and reveal their electronic wiretaps, so they all sat tight and hoped somebody else would speak up.

The crews of the Drake and the Hudson keep silently staring at one another in orbit over planet four. The Hudson's crew were well armed, but neither had any way to board the other and had no orders to do so. Still, the Hudson was now crewed with US-93 (Old Delta) loyalists while the Drake still had its Gamma crew and tensions remained high so far from home. It was a good thing neither ship was armed.

What is really happening:
Xenology team dropped off at planet four by the Hudson. Both ships stay in orbit (rp).
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 01:11:54 AM by Rabid_Cog »
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2012, 01:14:24 AM »
4 September 2013
US-93 was bent over a large schematic as IM entered the Bunker so she wandered over to take a look. It appeared to be some sort of ship design, but there were plenty of alterations and notes written on in pen.
"What are you up to?" IM asked.
"PC and I have been having a number of very fascinating discussions. She is quite the little genius when it comes to starships" US replied.
"And this?" IM asked, gesturing towards the plans.
"Oh, this is her design for a freighter. Its somewhat of a first draft, of course, but we are tweaking things as we go along. Working with her has really taught me a lot about the mechanics behind these things."
"Okay, and what are you busy with right now seeing as PC isn't here?" Im asked again.
"Trying to get this thing spaceworthy, somehow" US replied and made another note on the plans. "The problem we keep running into are these cargo holds. No matter how I try to arrange things, they simply don't fit into the slipways of Gamma Yards" US complained.
"Can't we just expand them a bit more? How much bigger would they need to be?"
"Three thousand tons. That's three thousand tons bigger than we can currently manage. And then all we would be able to build is the most stripped-down-to-the-bare-essentials, slow-as-all-hell design we can come up with. Hardly something that can be considered cost effective."
"Why do we even care?" IM asked. "Kappa said she was working on better engines. Can't we wait for those?"
"Kappa has been working on getting us those mythical engines for nearly fifteen years. What makes you think they will be finished anytime soon? No, we can't afford to keep waiting forever, at some point we need to be proactive and begin moving some of that infrastructure offworld."
"Hmm. I'm no expert, but these cargo holds don't seem to be pressurized" IM pointed out.
"Its okay. When we pack it up, even hard vacuum won't damage anything we decide to ship."
"What about the thousands of drones we would need over there to operate all of these installations and equipment? Can we ship them in hard vacuum as well?"
"Dang," US-93 replied. "I hadn't thought of that. I suppose we would need to develop some method of refitting these cargo holds to hold live Wrix across space somehow."
"Yes, you would. Now leave this ridiculous notion for now" IM stated. "There is too much to be done right here at the moment. We are almost done upgrading our factories to TN technology. Then we can have a look at moving offworld."
"Alright, alright. But I still think we need to start planning ahead" Delta replied.
"Very well, if you insist, then get together with PC and design a freighter" IM said. "The smallest size that will be economical, but forget about any shipyard constraints. Once we know what size we are working with, we can have a look at getting our shipyard up to that size."
"Yes, Boss" US-93 replied with a grin and hurried off to find PC.

9 September 2013
"Thirty three thousand tons!? Are you serious?" IM gasped.
PC and US had finished their preliminary design of what they called the 'Myrkul' class freighter. They had gotten a bit carried away.
"Er, that's more like a minimum" PC admitted. "We decided to use the same engines we fit on the Hecates, but it isn't really the best engine for the job."
"A better engine for the job would most likely be even larger" US added.
"We are years away from a shipyard that size!" IM said. "I said 'smallest' economical size, not largest!"
"Well, we designed this one first" US said and handed IM another blueprint also marked 'Myrkul'. "We figured it wasn't really economical, not being able to load the equipment for even a single factory. It's just under eight thousand tons at present, but I still think we should get some custom engines designed for it."
"That sounds better. We'll see when we get around to it. For now, keep those designs somewhere safe."

4 November 2013
One by one the queens signed on for the conference. IM-39 waited until about three quarters of the Queens' images showed an incoming feed and hence a present Queen before she started.
"All our mining operations have now been converted to TN technology. We expect our factories to finish their conversion shortly."
"Very good" Kappa replied. "I'm guessing you plan to complete that bitch Delta's research facility after this?"
"Yes, actually I do. It is clear your own facility is not up to the task of developing our technology at sufficient speed" IM replied.
"Then I propose a motion to replace our First Governer with someone more competent" Kappa stated.
She was met by a chorus of jeers from the other Queens.
"Kappa, shut up" Gamma said. "We need more research and that is that."
Kappa raised her hands in resignation and sat back from the screen so that her face was barely visible. It was clear she was not going to take part in the conference anymore, much to everyone's approval. Gamma was not the only Queen who was fed up with Kappa's games.
The rest of the conference proceeded without further problems or further interruptions by Kappa. Soon, the Swarm would be ready to take its leap to the stars.

14 January 2014
RZ-67 stuck her upper body out of the 79 ton Leviathan tank and peered through her binoculars at the large defensive works of Kappa Hive ahead.
Kappa had been given until the completion of Delta's research facility to turn over all her current research data to Swarm Command after she had refused to respond to the Swarm's attempts at communication. So far there had been no response and the drones were busy installing the last few pieces of equipment in the lab.
"All units, sound off" RZ ordered through her handheld radio.
"Seven-five, in position."
"Seven-three, in position."
"Seven-two, we're ready for action here."
"Seven-four, we got your six."
"Roger. Await my orders" she answered.
RZ was in command of the 7th Armoured Division. They would form the tip of the spear pushing towards Kappa hive. Their landing at Far Shore Beach had been unopposed, and while this had been a pleasant surprise, it left a lot of Kappa's troops unaccounted for.
"Command, what's the status of the east flank? Any further reports of skirmishing?" she radioed. The east flank was her greatest worry. It was going to form her own flank when her division started to move and she did not really trust the infantry division assigned to watch it. They were just a bit green in her opinion.
"Negative, RZ. Hold position."
The waiting was always the worst. Waiting and worrying. Waiting for things she didn't know when to expect and worrying about things she couldn't change. Nuclear weapons were the greatest danger. They had gotten too close for Kappa to be able to use the bigger warheads, but a small, tactical nuclear missile could turn their beachhead into glass.
Her radio chirped: "All units, be aware, the research facility is operational. Final ultimatum is being sent, be ready to start combat operations within ten minutes."
"You heard Command, boys. Warm 'em up" she commanded. The rumble of over a hundred tanks' engines starting up reverberated across the field.
The minutes creeped past with agonizing slowness. Below her, RZ's own tank rumbled as it drank fuel at a furious rate.
"All units, no response to ultimatum. Commence operations. I repeat, commence operations. Good luck."
"Move out!" RZ commanded over her radio. Her tank lurched and began moving, along with every other tank under her command. If Kappa was planning to use nukes, it would be now or never.
Just as the first of her tanks reported contact with the enemy, her radio came on again. "Stand down! I repeat, stand down! Kappa has caved. Data transfer has begun. Stand down and await further orders. RZ breathed out a sigh of relief. In her mind's eye she had already seen a nuke drop right next to her tank.
"Reverse direction and head back to staging position" she commanded. "Today we had a staring contest. Guess who blinked first."

What is really happening:
Playing around with freighter designs and research facility finishes construction.
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2012, 07:14:28 AM »
15 January 2014
"This? This is all you've been working on this entire time?" IM asked. "Kappa, hand over the rest or we send the troops back in."
"This is all there is!" Kappa protested. "Do you think working with these metals is easy?"
This was a private conversation in theory, but IM had decided to broadcast it to all the other hives as a courtesy. Kappa must have been aware of this.
"According to this, all you have been working on this whole time is some sort of nuclear reactor. You promised us engines!"
"And how do you plan on powering these engines? Or even testing the principles behind their operation? It is easier to make this technology into something safe like a reactor instead of something that is essentially a controlled explosion."
"But Kappa," IM pleaded, "we do not have time for this kind of smeg! At the rate you were researching Wrixom would be frozen before we got anywhere! Already the average temperatures have dropped by two degrees since the Swarm was founded!"
Kappa didn't say anything, she just quietly fumed at IM.
"This will require a change in plans. Thank you, Kappa. Hopefully your actions haven't cost us all our lives." IM switched off the monitor, breaking the connection, and turned to US who was standing off to one side.
"Can't say I don't like seeing Kappa humbled, but do you have to be so harsh? She still has a mighty big hive behind her. Pissing her off might not be the best move" US said.
"Perhaps I am pissed, ever thought of that?" IM snapped. "Now we have to change our plans a bit. I want that shipyard increased in size as soon as possible. Kappa's engines won't be ready anywhere nearly soon enough and we need to start moving hives offworld."
"You realise there is no way we will be able to move any significant part of our population to the secondary using our freighter design, right?" PC asked. She was hunched over another monitor, studying the work Kappa's facility had completed so far. "A round trip could last over a year, depending on the position of the planets."
"I don't intend to move to the secondary" IM stated. "Moving to planet four will buy us the time we need to get those engines. And that is close."
"We are going to need a lot more infrastructure than we have" US added.
"Then we will build that. But for now, we need those ships."

4 May 2014
"The last factories have been converted to TN technology" US-93 stated. "What's next? I need to send new orders to the factories."
IM was on her way to her office when US had caught up to her.
"How is the new Academy coming along?" IM asked. After the research facility had been completed, she had ordered construction on it to continue.
"Going well. We've made significant progress and should be finished inside the year."
"Good, good. Perhaps we should throw our remaining industrial strength behind getting it finished?" IM mused.
"We could," US advised, "but I would like to point out that due to the TN upgrade, our new factories have lost a bit of their flexibility. They are no longer usable for fuel production and our production capability has dropped to a few rather outdated refineries. Perhaps we should get them upgraded instead?"
"Alright, do that then. Hello, what do we have here?" IM stopped as she entered her office. "It seems someone has left a note for me in rather dramatic fashion."
On her desk was a note, pinned down with a knife. Someone had really wanted her to notice it.
"What does it say?" US-93 asked.
IM threw the knife in the corner and picked up the note. "'Epsilon has started building her own shipyard. Perhaps it is time for a few enquiries?' It is signed 'A friend.'"
"I'll get Epsilon on the link for you" US said.
"Yes. I think we need to discuss a few things."

"So, I hear you've been working on a private project" IM said.
"Yes. It has become clear that if my hive wants to get off this rock, we will have to do so ourselves" Epsilon replied. "Not just me either, both Pi and Tau are supporting me in this endeavor in exchange for transport off the planet."
"Is that a fact? Were you not paying attention when you were told that all hives that do not join the Swarm were going to be considered enemies of the Swarm?" IM said.
Epsilon shrugged. "I still consider my hive a part of the Swarm. I just believed that the entire purpose of the Swarm was survival of this catastrophe. As soon as my ships were done moving our three hives, I would have gladly put them at your disposal for whatever use you wish to put them to."
"What ships would these be?" IM asked with a cutting edge to her voice.
"Why, the ones whose design you had left lying around."
"What?" IM shouted, turning to US-93. "I thought I told you to keep those somewhere safe!"
US shrugged apologetically. "I did!" she hissed back.
"Don't punish your underlings unduly, IM, security at your facility is a joke. And I'm sure many of the Queens prefer it remain that way" Epsilon said.
IM turned back to the monitor. "I'm sorry to disappoint you, Epsilon, but your scheme won't work. We've spent years increasing the size of Gamma Yards and they are still too small to build that design. Give it up and return your factories to producing what I tell you to and we can forget about this."
"Ah, but you see, I've found a way around that little problem" Epsilon replied with a smug smirk. "Since you will soon be able to watch my shipyard as I construct it, do you want me to send you the blueprints and save you some time? You might be surprised at how easy it is."
"Yes, I would very much like to see those blueprints" PC chipped in indignantly. As Swarm hive's resident spaceship expert, she had taken Epsilon's smugness as a personal insult.
"PC! What do you think you are doing? I am in command here!"
"Regardless, they are sent" Epsilon said in an almost bored voice. "We can talk again after you look them over. Ta-ta."

5 May 2014
"Well?" IM demanded. "You've spent all night looking over these prints. What can you tell me?"
"I can tell you that Epsilon's solution is quite simple and quite effective. You see, she basically just 'thinned' the shipyard by throwing out everything that wouldn't be useful in building this particular spacecraft, then basically just bent the slipway wide open allowing a larger vessel to be constructed" PC replied. "It's not particularly elegant, but I suppose its simplicity and directness can be admired."
"Just tell me, is it feasable or not?" IM asked.
"Well... yes. Actually no. Maybe. She will certainly be able to put together the easy stuff like the cargo holds and the hull, those aren't really all that fiddly, but I can see the engines being a problem. They aren't as simple to attach as some people think. You have some very fine tolerances on those things, and I think this design throws out a few of the tools she would need to get those engines working just right without tearing the whole ship apart. And there is no way she can put them back and still keep her yard this big" PC answered.
"So I can tell Epsilon her shipyard is doomed to failure?" IM asked.
"As it is now, probably" PC said. "But looking at this design has gotten me thinking: perhaps it has some use after all? You see, any redesign of the engines will only make the Myrkul bigger. And while this shipyard would be big enough to build the Myrkul, it simply isn't equipped to fit the current engines."
"Get to the point."
"I think it will be possible to design engines that this shipyard CAN fit. Especially now that we know what it is capable of. I doubt they will be even remotely as compact as the ones we currently have on the Hecates, but with the added size of this shipyard I suspect it won't matter. So basically while Epsilon is on the right track, our design is simply not compatible with her shipyard. And it will require some lab time to get a design that is."
"You mean, this yard could be useful to us?" IM asked.
"Definately" PC replied. "In fact, I would suggest we start construction on one as soon as possible. We should be producing Myrkuls long before Epsilon ever completes hers. If you are willing, however, I think that with just a few slight modifications I can make this design far more flexible. Possibly even highly expandable. Epsilon had a good idea, her execution just left a bit to be desired."
"Interesting" IM mused. "Then I might as well order the troops to get ready. Epsilon's efforts are nothing but a waste of resources."
"If I may" US-93 interjected, "I don't believe military action is a wise move."
IM turned to face US who had so far been standing quietly nearby."Do explain."
US continued: "The mess with Kappa happened less than six months ago and you had to roll out the military then too. Fair enough, she left us no choice, but while you can order the military against anyone you desire in theory, in practice the Queens get nervous whenever you exercise that capability. It forces them to consider the possibility that their hive might be next."
"That is ridiculous" IM replied. "I only deploy the military against hives who do things that are counterproductive to our purpose of getting off the planet."
Delta sat down on the edge of the planning table. "Perhaps, but your last military deployment was just too recent. Deploying again makes it seem as if you are too eager to resort to violence. After all, how counterproductive is it if three small hives decide to build an additional shipyard?"
"Its not about that, its about sending a message!" IM said in frustration. "What if Gamma, Kappa and Lambda all decide to do their own thing? The Swarm would be crippled!"
"They could decide that anyway. In fact, responding to this with force makes you look an awful lot like Kappa, unwilling to let power go despite the long term damage you were doing. That could push them towards joining Epsilon."
"I am nothing like Kappa" IM stated.
"Appearances are everything, IM."
"So you suggest we do nothing?" IM asked.
"Hardly" US replied. "They are wasting Swarm resources on a doomed project, after all. But instead of squashing them..."

6 May 2014
"Took you long enough" were Epsilon's first words after the communications link was made. "Did you have trouble understanding all the letters?"
IM was sitting back in her chair, staring at Epsilon's smug face impassively. "Swarm Hive is not filled with imbeciles, Epsilon. We understood the blueprints of your shipyard perfectly. Unfortunately, they won't be able to build a Myrkul."
Epsilon laughed. "Nice try, IM, but my drones checked them three times over."
"Then ask those drones how they intend to fit the engines. I'm telling you, your plan is a waste of time. But I have a solution for you."
"Let me guess," Epsilon replied, "I turn over everything to you and let the Swarm handle it."
"On the contrary, you keep going exactly the way you are going. You just need something more, something only the Swarm can give you, and I'm willing to let you have it under certain conditions" IM said.
"You are being very cryptic, IM, but I'm listening." Clearly Epsilon wasn't completely ignorant about the issue with the engines. Her drones had probably just downplayed the problem as something that could be dealt with later.
"First of all, I've sent you back an improved version of that shipyard you designed. Build that instead. If I have to confiscate your work later, I would prefer it to be something useful."
"Secondly, my people tell me that the design for the Myrkul can be modified to built by your shipyard, but it will require development of a new engine. I will send you this design as soon as it is completed, on the condition that you will transport whatever I tell you to transport."
"Lastly you will not construct any armed vessels with your shipyard. I doubt this will be a problem as my people tell me it is unable to do so anyway. As long as you stick to my terms, I will allow you and the other two hives to operate with near autonomy and even send you newer blueprints from time to time. Fail to do so and Swarm troops knock down your front door."
Epsilon quickly opened the file she had just received and scanned through the improvements to the shipyard it advised. "You certainly know how to make an argument, IM. Good old carrot and stick. If your claim with regards to the engines are correct, then I see no alternative to accepting your terms. That is, if. I'll have a look at it myself and let you know."

What is really happening:
Engine research is taking FOREVER. Time to build some conventional engine freighters and begin doing short hops. I sense a Neutronium crunch on the way, Wrixom only has 0.2 accessability.
Epsilon is in fact not another faction, but represents the civilian shipping company. The Wrix don't actually understand the concept of civilians. By the way, I'm still looking for a way to change the shipping company's name.

A few notes:
At this point I feel I must admit that the temperature on Wrixom hasn't really dropped any. I tried to make the sun cool down by 1% per year, but it didn't stick when I started the game. Instead, I will rp these changes and if they get severe, I will alter the atmospheric makeup of the planet to reflect this. I'm just not going to bother changing it 2 degrees.
Another note is that I am going away for the next day or two, so don't expect any updates until after I get back. A good thing too, as I was beginning to run out of prewritten material. I like to stay ahead of the posts a bit, so I can reread/change things before I post them. This will give me a chance to catch up a bit again.
I have my own subforum now!
Shameless plug for my own Aurora story game:
5.6 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,4988.0.html
6.2 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,5906.0.html

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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2012, 05:59:24 AM »
And I'm back!  ;D
Unfortunately, I didn't get much writing done so things might go rather slow from here on. Still, I'll try to make regular additions.
I have my own subforum now!
Shameless plug for my own Aurora story game:
5.6 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,4988.0.html
6.2 part: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,5906.0.html

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Offline Ektoras

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2012, 06:03:09 AM »
Welcome back, 1 per day is enough, something to read with the morning coffee  ;)
 

Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2012, 06:05:45 AM »
7 May 2014
Swarm Hive receives word that Epsilon accepts the proposal. IM decides to finish the Academy before starting construction of her own Commercial Shipyard (as Epsilon's design has become known). Her illness had made her painfully aware of the leadership problems the Hive still faced. A training institution would go a long way to alleviating those problems.

22 June 2014
The research facilities send a comprehensive report on the principles behind a Pressurised Water Reactor. Not a very useful technology at present, but nonetheless groundbreaking as it is the first high energy application of TN technology developed. Just as Kappa had predicted, it paves the way for a TN based engine that will vastly outperform the conventional engines currently available. This research is predicted to be even more difficult than development of the reactor, however.
Instead of starting with that, IM orders the facilities to begin development of an engine capable of being assembled and fitted in a Commercial Shipyard.

27 July 2014
The design for the engine is delivered to IM's desk and the laboratories begin work on the next generation of engine technology: Nuclear Thermal.

22 August 2014
"Just got word, the last fuel refinery has been upgraded to TN technology" US reported. She was standing in the doorway to IM's office. IM herself had a massive stack of papers in front of her that she was studying very intensely. "What's up?"
"Have you had a look at our mineral consumption recently?" IM asked.
"Of course, I look at it all the time. We are producing more than we are using of all types and we have decent stockpiles. Why, what's wrong?" US entered and sat down on the edge of the desk, pulling a few of the papers towards her.
"I'm a little concerned" IM replied, "about our Neutronium stockpiles. Apparently our mines are having some difficulty in extracting it."
US shrugged. "The stuff's deep. Nothing to be done about that. We are still managing to extract more than we need."
"Only because we don't need much at the moment. As soon as we start building starships and shipyards that will change. And we don't really have any way to increase production."
"We'll have to look offworld then, I suppose. I saw planet four has some big deposits..." US began, but was interrupted by IM.
"Which is almost just as difficult to get to. Add to that the thin atmosphere and the difficulty in getting the drones there to operate the mines and it almost isn't worth the effort."
"There must be accessable Neutronium somewhere in the system."
IM shook her head. "That's the thing. There isn't! Planet four is the best source of accessable Neutronium in the system and it's terrible. The only other alternative is the asteroid belt."
"The asteroid belt?" US asked. "You complain about the thin atmosphere on planet four and figure that trying to mine it somewhere with NO atmosphere is a better proposition?"
"But our survey stated, and I quote, 'can almost be picked up off the surface'. If we can find a way to get mining operations started there..."
"Yes, 'if'" US cut her off. "A pretty big 'if' considering that anyone there would essentially be operating in hard vaccuum."
"Well, yes, there is that" IM admitted. "But if we could get there, we would be set! At least for a while."
"I'll ask PC to take a look at it, but it isn't really her speciality. She prefers things that fly around."

22 October 2014
IM walked along the halls of the Academy. Drones were still carrying in a last few pieces of equipment, but it was essentially finished. IM rarely left Swarm Hive anymore due to her health, but the Academy had been her brainchild and she decided it was worth the risk to see it herself. Besides, she hadn't coughed in months.
She could smell the rich, dusty smell that was the hallmark of the years of neglect. It reminded her of the libraries of Lambda hive, where she had spent years of her life. A different life. Now, here, the Academy would be what those libraries had been to her then. An escape from the oppressive influence of the Queens. At least, that was the plan.
IM's shoulders sagged. Of course the Queens would try to gain some measure of control over this facility. Some way to influence what goes on here and what is taught. Even if their suggestions were dumb, they would want them executed just to create the illusion of power.
She sighed. "Have the new production orders been forwarded to the various industrial centres yet?" she asked an aide keeping pace with her.
"Being done as we speak, First Governor. US-93 reports that she is on top of things and you should enjoy your holiday."
'On top of things.' Indeed. IM hadn't forgotten that US-93 had originally been the Queen of Delta Hive, with all the ruthlessness that that entailed. She would not be surprised to find out when she got back that US had led a coup to depose her while she was on her 'holiday'.

27 October 2014
The second slipway of Gamma Yards is completed. Further expansion is halted due to work on the Commercial Shipyard and shortages of Neutronium for both projects.

What is really happening:
Academy construction complete. Switching over to building a commercial shipyard.
It seems the Wrix are in for a Neutronium crunch soon. While I have sizable amounts to be mined, accessibility is only 0.2.  Hope I don't need military vessels any time soon.   :P
At least I have plenty of Duranium and Corundium, the minerals I usually crunch on.

Not sure I can do 1 per day of this length. I have a big exam coming up in about 3 weeks and I need to study.  :'(
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 06:08:54 AM by Rabid_Cog »
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #36 on: July 08, 2012, 02:31:51 AM »
Interlude
Phew, time for another break to celebrate nearly fourteen years since the start of the Swarm. This time, we'll have a more detailed look at the Wrix anatomy and the various places of importance.

The Wrix consist of two seperate 'subspecies': Queens and drones.

Drones are humanoid in shape with a narrow waist and pelvic bone, but with the addition of a tail. Their 'exoskeleton' is in reality their dark tan skin that is hardened into a chitin like substance. Over their joints and other places where flexibility is needed the skin is merely tough and leathery, yet bends easily and does not interfere with movement. Their real skeletons are internal, but attached to their chitin at one or more places. Their tails are long and tapered, ending in a hollow bone 'barb' that is theorized to have once contained some kind of paralytic venom, but is now nothing more than a sharp sting that is ineffective at penetrating their own natural armour. Their feet resemble that of an animal more than that of a human and they run on their toes as most predators do. Drones can be considered 'male', but they play no role in the reproductive process except to keep the Queen fed and happy.

Queens are very similar to drones, even being of similar size, but for a few significant differences. Most notable is that while drones' heads are as smooth as bowling balls, queens have intricate headcrests that grow like horns from up to eight different places on top of their skulls. These 'horns' are light and rather fragile; they are not used in any kind of fighting. Instead, each crest is unique and serves as a method of telling queens apart. Queens also lack the barb at the end of the tail, instead having a slightly more pudgy tail.

A human would describe the inside of a hive as 'downright creepy'. In more primitive times, drones used to line their snaking tunnels with a mixture of vomit and dirt that, after it hardened, formed an insulating layer that helped to regulate the temperature inside the hive. More effective materials and technologies are used now for main throughfares and rooms, but smaller tunnels and shafts are still coated in the old-fashioned way. This leads to an architechtural contrast between the stark, cold, main passageways wide enough for vehicles to drive in and the small, organic-looking side passages that snake all through the hive. The rooms themselves are usually irregularly shaped and crowded with whatever it is used for. Hives are built up as well as down, and most factories and other industrial facilities are enclosed in the overground area where the passageways are more regularly shaped. The exception to this are mines, of course, which are just the natural lower expansions of the hive.

The Queen's Chambers are a focal point of every hive and every Hive Queen has several spread throughout her hive. They consist of several connected rooms and are usually bustling with activity as every whim of the Queen is catered to. It also forms the command and control for the hive and every activity is coordinated from here. Large monitors usually take up one wall, with drones tasked with monitoring and controlling communications always on duty next to it. Queens also have smaller monitors in their sleeping areas, which allows them to stay in contact when confined to bed as a result of a reproductive cycle. Other notable features are the large doorways for wheeling egg-sacs through to the spawning rooms after the Queen completes a cycle. Most Queens rarely, if ever, leave the comfort of their chambers except to move to a different set of chambers.

The Bunker under Swarm Hive was once intended to be queen chambers, but only the main room had ever been completed. The alcoves on the far side of the room that indicated where the other rooms were once planned to be dug were now filled with large electronic jamming devices. IM had had a large table brought in (and had found no less than three listening devices attached to it) and placed in the centre of the room. A comms station had been placed alongside the left wall, but it was more for emergencies, being no more secure than any other in the Hive. Numerous other chairs and benches also stood around in a rarely used state. IM had had lockable doors put in to prevent drones from gaining easy access to what she considered her 'safe' zone. The room was occasionally swept for listening devices.

The main chamber in Swarm Hive, or 'Swarm Command' as it has been nicknamed by the drones, was a large chamber in the centre of the hive of which the original purpose was unknown. At present it consisted of four major areas, seperated by low fences and thin interior walls.
The northeast corner was the communications area and IM spent much of her time here. Comms drones were on station at all times, but IM assumed the large monitor along one side of the wall was badly compromised nonetheless. Not that it mattered, most of the time.
The southeast area contained a large table and a number of computers and was where PC spent most of her time dreaming up new designs. A large printout depicting the Home system and all the planetary orbits was tacked to the wall.
In the domed southwest zone a scale model of the new TN factory hung from the high ceiling. The tables and floor were usually strewn with papers and a number of smaller comms stations and computers lined the walls. US-93 did industrial planning and some organizing from here, but was usually out at the factories solving whatever problem had inevitably popped up at the time.
The northwest area was the largest are, but also the most under-used. The floor of the room was a bit depressed compared to the others, and a few steps had to be taken down to reach any of the large tables in the centre. This was where the Swarm military was controlled from, and dusty maps of the areas surrounding Kappa and Epsilon hives still lay on two of the tables. A few drones were always here, keeping tabs on the troops and scheduling training exercises.

IM's office was a rather small spherical room just off one of the main throughfares of the Hive and she had originally taken it in the early days of the Swarm as the first and best available space to dump her stuff and begin work. It did not even have a door. Even though it has now become less than the optimal place to conduct her work from, IM has not had the time or the inclination to move. Papers covered her desk in a number of shoddy piles and overflowed from a wastebasket next to it, but she knew where everything was. A computer was built into the wall at the back of the room, next to her bed, but IM rarely used it, preferring the larger computers in Swarm Command. Almost not a day went by that IM did not find some sort of listening device hidden somewhere in her room, now that she knew what to look for.

What is really happening:
Trying to build up a lead with the writing again so that if I don't feel like writing for a day, I won't deprive you of a dose of Wrix.
As a general overview to current events, research into engines continues apace but won't be finished any time soon. Instead, construction has started on a commercial shipyard so that I can use conventionally engined freighters to begin moving infrastructure to planet four (which still needs a name!). Still not quite sure what it will help me, as I can't ship colonists. I'm planning a big expansion to my industry as soon as this yard is finished, I just hope my Neutronium lasts. At least I have over 20k of all minerals still left in the planet.
My xenology team is taking really long  :(
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Offline Ektoras

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #37 on: July 09, 2012, 02:46:37 AM »
Xenology teams always take ages  >:(

How much Duranium, Corundium and Mercasium you have?

Don't forget to study  ;)
 

Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #38 on: July 09, 2012, 04:10:07 AM »
Duranium: 86,135 - 0.9
Neutronium: 43,219 - 0.2
Mercassium: 45,019 - 0.2
Corundium: 28,416 - 0.7

Gee thanks, now I realize I'm in for a Merc crush as well  >:(

At least there is plenty on asteroid 87.
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #39 on: July 09, 2012, 04:15:42 AM »
2 January 2015
The first of the academy graduates arrive at Swarm Hive. Among them is CO-78-KRQ from Tau hive. She had proven to be a real math head, gifted in the highly technical area of emissions and motion prediction. Combined with that, she also proved quite capable of organizing research teams. While no immediate use for all of her skills is available since all the labs are currently in use, IM makes a mental note of her for the future and puts her to work in the Delta laboratories.

29 June 2015
"Yes?" IM asked. US was standing in the door to her office again, this time with a clipboard in hand.
"I've thought a bit about our mineral problem" she replied.
"That's nice. Thinking is nice. Now why are you bothering me?"
US-93 sighed. "Sarcasm is unbecoming of you IM. Now listen. After our talk last time, I went over ALL the mine reports again and even sent a few assistants to have a look at some of them. I tightened things up a bit and I managed to squeeze a bit more output out of what we have. Have a look." She handed the clipboard to IM who flipped through a few of the pages before looking up again.
"This is very good, I know we are already pushing out mines to the limit, but this will hardly solve our mineral problems" she said.
"If we can delay the problem forever, isn't that the same as a solution? Baby steps, IM. I've also been in contact with Omega Hive."
IM thought for a moment. "Omega? I didn't even know there was an Omega hive. Where is it?"
"Oh, I didn't think you would know of it. It's very small, less than hundred thousand drones" US replied. "And the reason it's interesting is because of its location. It's the southernmost hive on the planet, situated some distance into the antarctic circle."
"Really? How do they even survive?"
US waved the question away. "We have the technology to put starships in space that can survive in hard vaccuum. Not interesting."
"Then what is interesting?" IM asked.
US launched into a verbal tirade like an excited schoolgirl. "Okay, I'm going to tell you the story. I was double checking our mining outputs against Hive sizes and mineral deposits - I had this whole formula - when I found that one of the Hives was producing a bit more than I had expected it would given its size. Omega Hive. Fair enough, the area they were in was rich in minerals, but the hive was very tiny. I did a bit of digging and discovered that Omega was a planned offshoot of Sigma Hive a long time ago to exploit the mineral wealth in that area. As such, there was a permanent trade treaty between Sigma and Omega whereby Omega provided minerals and Sigma shipped food and other 'surface' products."
"So they focus all their efforts on mining and that explains the increased output. Why is this interesting?" IM asked. She was starting to get bored and wondered if she would ever be able to get back to work.
"Well, it would. Except then they would starve if they still had to feed the hive. No, it turns out that their actual production was even higher than my report stated, they just didn't include the minerals they traded to Sigma. Which turned out to be quite a bit as Sigma had been slowly inflating the price of food for Omega over the past decade or two. So somehow, they are managing to produce an large amount of minerals per drone in the harshest conditions on the planet. I was stumped! No matter how I tweaked the variables I simply couldn't explain their sizable mineral output. Especially as the veins closest to their hive must have been quite mined out by now."
"So you contacted them and asked them what was up" IM interrupted in an effort to speed things along.
"Well, yes, basically, but they clammed up. It was only after a bit of flattery, a few threats and quite a bit of diplomatic wrangling that they gave up their secret. It turns out that most of their mining operations are automated!"
There were a few seconds of silence. US was grinning broadly.
"Automated?" IM asked in a sceptical tone.
"Yes! And its actually quite ingenious how they do it..."

As what follows turns out to be a several hour lecture that requires degrees in robotics, cybernetics, geology and possibly genetics to understand, here is the simplified version.
The Wrix have a rather unique approach to artificial intelligence. They had never developed complex computer systems to aid automation as cheap labour had always been available. As such, their knowledge of artificial intelligence was quite lacking. So, instead of developing a new, smarter computer to run the mining complexes outside the hive, Omega Hive had simply removed a drone's brain, stuck it in a life-sustaining jar with a computer connection and built it into whatever computer you want operated. Ta-da, instant AI.
The net result of this is that while Omega Hive only had around eighty thousand living, breathing drones on paper, there were nearly twice as many brains as bodies. Just over sixty thousand drones laboured without the inconvenience of a body slowing them down, requiring nearly insignificant amounts of sustenance. Despite the small size of the hive, the effect had been noticable.

What is really happening:
Got a scientist with 20% sensor spec, admin 4. Glad, even though it has no use at present, my only current scientist has 30% def systems, the rest are all 10% energy weapons.
My governor (US-93) increased her mining bonus to 30%. Yay! On an rp note, I have so far denied myself the use of automated mines due to the lacking AI technology of the Wrix. I had originally planned to have them find an AI in the planet four ruins, but my Xeno teams took too long and I got bored with waitng.
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Offline Ektoras

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #40 on: July 09, 2012, 05:43:51 AM »
IM has a bad attitude lately, doesn't fear a queen that left her hive to become part of the Swarm command?  :P

Duranium and Corundium levels are ok for now, they will allow you to expand your mining installations. Mercasium is bad but till you can start investing heavily on labs you may have found another source or stock enough of it.
 

Offline Gyrfalcon

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #41 on: July 09, 2012, 09:03:03 AM »
I think it's a combination of becoming more used to her power with time, and knowing that Delta is probably patient enough to let her expire of natural causes and taking over from there rather then trying to engineer a quicker transition.
 

Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #42 on: July 09, 2012, 03:24:51 PM »
It seems a quick discussion of the political situation is in order. This specifically relates to Swarm Hive.

There have been some questions as to the ambitions of Delta/US. The fact is that she CANNOT take over from IM. First of all, the the position of First Governor is not hereditary as would be the case in a normal hive. The Queens of the other hives have a meeting to decide who gets the position and Delta/US-93's face is too well known for that kind of scrutiny. The Queens would recognize her the way Lambda did. In addition, 'Swarm Hive' is just a nickname. It does not operate in the same way that any of the other hives do. For one thing, all the drones there are loyal to one of the other hives and only work there under orders. But really, most of the workers are Infertiles and have no genetic loyalty.

Delta/US-93 is actually quite happy with her current job; she has all the power she could want with just the tiny little thing that IM is technically her boss. Not a big deal since she can manipulate IM to do basically anything she wants. Does she desire more? Of course. But more isn't available at present so she is happy with what she has. Besides, it pays to have IM naively think of her as a friend. As you might have noticed, however, she is quite busy enlisting PC as an ally and the two are thick as thieves.

PC has less interest in politics and hive matters. In a way, she is even more naive and innocent than IM. She prefers to apply her significant intellect to design duties. While she would like to have her own hive one day, she doesn't really want it bad enough for skulduggery. It is simply too much effort.

IM's rather irritable mood could be attributed to either her medical condition or the drugs she is on to combat said condition. Or perhaps she is just growing old and bitchy. Who knows? She has certainly gotten used to her position and of the innocent young Infertile who struggled to say two words to the assembly of Hive Queens precious little remains. Much to the annoyance of the Hive Queens. It should be noted however, that despite her actions, the position of First Governor is not technically above that of Hive Queen. The only reason IM has been able to 'boss' Hive Queens around so far was because she actually had all the other Queens of the Swarm behind her at the time. The Swarm Queens willingly have their hives (mostly) follow orders from Swarm Command because they know they will be treated fairly and the threat of the cooling sun still hung over everyone's heads. Nothing IM has done so far has given anyone any reason to doubt her, so the Swarm continues to trust her.
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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #43 on: July 10, 2012, 06:23:42 AM »
This is interesting, I have just noticed that I have 1000tons worth of maintenance facilities on Wrixom. Where did that come from? Can anyone remember me building it? I can't. Damn, now I'm going to have to rp this stuff in.
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Offline Person012345

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Re: Rise of the Wrix
« Reply #44 on: July 10, 2012, 07:11:01 AM »
This is interesting, I have just noticed that I have 1000tons worth of maintenance facilities on Wrixom. Where did that come from? Can anyone remember me building it? I can't. Damn, now I'm going to have to rp this stuff in.
[/quote
Even conventional starts start with 1000 tons of maintenance facility.
 

 

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