Author Topic: A New Era  (Read 13131 times)

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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2013, 12:20:52 PM »
21 September 2024
"For some reason the spiders opted not to hit us in the confusion. Only reason we can think of, and this is supported by eyewitnesses from the vault room, is that they have something bigger they are busy getting out of the vault. Possibly multiple bigger things. This has given us a chance to regroup and form a defensive line. Not that I think that will be more than a speedbump for them if they really come at us, especially with some bigger toys.
"Food and other supplies would be nice if this turns into some kind of siege, but starvation doesn't really seem that big a threat right now at the rate at which these things can kill us. So yeah, that's our situation right now" GFT finished and patiently waited for a response from his Queen and IM. The injuries he had sustained during his escape from the vault prevented him from continuing to fight in the front line so he had been relegated to organizational duty which included keeping the Wrix back home up to speed.
"So you don't think you will be able to defend the colony if the spiders decide to push out?" IM asked.
"Not a chance in hell. Though we have had some basic combat training, the 1st Constructors are not a front line combat unit. We need reinforcements bad."
"You need to do something right now!" Gamma screeched at IM over the comm link. She was looking somewhat ill.
IM paused for a moment before replying. "I'll get back to you shortly. Don't go far."
She flicked off the display and after making sure that the voice was also muted she turned to US and PC who had both been hiding in the shadows, out of sight of the recorder.
"Well? What do we do?" she asked.
"I thought it was obvious enough that no discussion is needed" US stated. "Let her burn."
"Woah, you want to let the spider bots take the planet?" PC asked.
"It's Gamma's planet. She was a bitch when we wanted access to the ruins on the planet, so now we let her stew in her own mess."
"That's cold" PC replied. "And just a bit spiteful, wouldn't you say?"
IM drew back their attentionwith a wave before speaking. "As much as I would like to leave Gamma to rot, I'm afraid it simply isn't an option anymore. US, how many mines worth of machinary have we shipped to First Stop?"
"Ten" she admitted grudgingly.
"And we only did that because we needed the Mercassium. No, even though we can get the Mercassium elsewhere, First Stop is by far the most accessable source. We cannot afford to have those spiders have it" IM stated.
"Besides, at the moment we have safe landing zones and large supply stockpiles. If we let the spiders overrun the place we will have to eventually establish a beachhead all over again" PC added.
"Doesn't help us much" US replied. "We have no way to effectively get the army there."
"Can't we load them in the colony ships? Like they did to get the 1st Construction there?" PC asked.
"Look, 1st Constructor had forever and a day to casually get themselves and their equipment there and get reorganized. The problem is, our colony ships cannot load a full division for transport, never mind their equipment. We can stick weapons in the freighters, but those take up to ten days to be fully unloaded. A single spider that gets inside during that time and they could set off the whole load, blowing all our reinforcements sky high. Face it, there is no way to get organized, combat ready troops there within a month, much less a week. And to be honest I don't think First Stop is going to last a week."
"Alright, US, you made your point" IM admitted. "We can't get any significant number of troops there any time soon. But we have give whatever assistance we can to destroy those spiders."
"Perhaps we don't need to get troops there" PC interrupted. "There are over a two million drones on the planet at present, why can't they fight?"
"Untrained, unarmed and leaderless? That'll be effective" US replied sarcastically.
"Nothing we can do about the training, but we can provide the leadership pretty easily. As for the weapons, I'm sure we can include a few crates..." PC suggested.
"Oh, they are not unarmed" the comms unit interrupted unexpectedly.
IM rolled her eyes. "Hello, Lambda, we weren't aware you were listening."
"Assume I'm always listening. You won't be far out" Lambda replied. "Now, as I was saying, Gamma's drones on First Stop aren't unarmed. On the contrary, they are armed to the teeth."
"May I ask how you know that?" IM asked.
"Let's just say a little birdie told me that their Queen's been cramming every spare square meter of Epsilon's transports full of personal weapons every trip. By my calculations they should have enough guns to arm almost half the drones there. I suspect Gamma wasn't going to trust the Swarm to leave her planet alone."
"And you only tell us this now?"
"I would have told you if it had become relevant. As long as no military action was planned for First Stop, why would her drones being armed be of any relevance?"
"How would you have known..." her voice trailed off as she realised what she was saying. "Fine. Now get off the line, I'm going to recontact Gamma and get this sorted out."
"Ah, there is one more thing before you go...

"Yes. Arm everything with legs and get them organized as best you can" IM instructed Gamma's drone over the viewscreen.
"Arm them with what?" Gamma protested.
"Shut up, Gamma, we know you've been shipping weapons by the freighterload" IM replied, for once too irritated with her to play nice.
This made her silent. Still seething at the dismissal, but realising that she needed the Swarm slightly more than the Swarm needed her at this point.
"We will be transferring some infertiles with training in leading drones in combat with the Endymion and the Drake. They should arrive shortly. You are welcome to send whatever military leaders you want from your hive along, Gamma. Just make sure they are at the Academy in six hours."
Gamma just ground her teeth in annoyance.
"However, all of this comes at a price" IM added.
Gamma's eyes narrowed. "What?"
"I want to move fertile queens from several other hives to First Stop to establish hives there."
"Absolutely not."
"Gamma, this is not negotiable, nor is it some flight of fancy. If our front lines fail, we will need additional strongholds on the planet. By seeding new hives there we not only give gain these strongholds, we gain additional sources of drones in case we need to regroup or even perhaps wage a guerilla war against these machines. Surely you can see the wisdom in this?"
"The only reason I call this a price is because this will not be a temporary measure. When the spiders are defeated, their hives will remain theirs and they will join the Swarm peacefully as full members."
There were a few moments of tense silence as Gamma weighed her options. In truth, she didn't have many. Besides, a single hive would hardly be able to ever fully utilize a single continent, much less a entire planet.
"How many hives?" she asked, and IM knew she had her.
"Ten. Nice round number."
"Fine. But they stay away from my ruins."
"You mean the ruins currently crawling with spider robots? Yeah, I think you're okay there" IM replied.
"And one of the ten is a queen from my hive" Gamma insisted.
"Naturally" IM answered.

OOC
This brings me to a special ability of the Wrix I had not yet mentioned. For the sake of full disclosure,  I had always intended them to have this ability, I just never thought it would ever be useful or relevant due to the supremacy of nuclear weapons when it comes to planetary control. Just goes to show, huh?

Special Ability: Drone Hordes
If given five days organization and equipping and sufficient weapons (determined through rp, but there is generally considered to be more than sufficient in most cases), the Wrix are able to convert their population to Low-Tech Infantry Divisions at a rate of 100k - 1 division. They can convert as many as their weapons/population allows at once and this ability can be used as many times as needed, as long as five days pass first. These divisions CANNOT be used as cadres, but can be converted back into population if they are no longer needed. If so, they recover a percentage of their population equal to their readiness.

I know normal divisions are only 10-20k troops, but the increased numbers reflect the lack of training and general inferior armament these troops would have. I also know that this effectively makes any significantly populated planet completely unconquerable bar massed nuclear strikes, however, I feel this kinda makes sense since the Wrix are killing machines with no regard for their own lives. Sucks to be an invader.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2013, 02:24:42 AM »
23 September2014
GHT was among the few - the very, very few - who could boast that they had killed one of the spider bots and lived to get any actual boasting done. This made him the most experienced drone in 1st Constructor in fighting these metal monsters and its leader by general consensus. Temporary leader, anyway.
"News?" he asked the comms  drone. They'd been camped out in between the alien ruins and the colony in order to provide some measure of protection. Exactly how much good they would do was debatable.
"Negative. Scouts report the ruins are still crawling with the spider things, but they can't get close enough to gather any more intel. Best numbers estimate we can get is 'buttloads'."
"What about our sentries on the other side? Any word from them?" Since his division would be spread far too thin if they tried to surround the ruins, they had settled for stationing individual scouts around the perimeter to act as early warning if the spiders tried a breakout.
The comms drone flicked a few switches and pressed a few buttons. "Not a peep. And they're still checking in, before you ask."
"Good. Carry on then. We just need to keep these spiders busy until GFT can get those colonists' asses in gear. Then we might have a fighting chance."

24 September 2014
GHT was lying in a shallow trench as close to the ruins as the 1st had dared to build them. While fighting was not their strongpoint, entrenching was and his division had spent most of their time since their escape from the vault building fortifications as quickly as possible. Mostly trenches, pits and other quickly built obstructions.
"You see what I mean?" the drone asked as it took back its binoculars from GHT.
"Yeah, they're up to something. Most activity we've seen in a while."
"Wait, what's that?" There was a glint of light reflecting off metal from somewhere deep inside the ruins. It seemed too big to be a spider.
GHT snatched back the binoculars, nearly strangling the drone with the strap, and peered through them. "Oh smeg" was all he said before scrambling back through the trench on all fours to reach the main defensive line.
The drone picked up his discarded binoculars and checked for himself. A massive spider easily ten feet high was slowly making its way out from between the buildings towards the 1st. It seemed to have numerous short protrusions ending in the same little tail lights that the throng of small spiders swarming around it possessed, but its own big tail had a a massive light on it.
"Oh smeg" the drone agreed.

OOC
If the 1st Constructors can survive the fighting on the 25th of September, then they get all the infantry divisions to assist and I will possibly pull them out of the fight. But only if they can survive. If the colony falls, then the spiders massacre everyone before they are organized. I'm going to commit 10 infantry divisions to start with for 1 million population. This should be enough to beat back the spiders pretty handily.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2013, 10:02:56 AM »
25 September 2014
The fighting as the spider approached was strangely subdued, as if the spiders were uninterested in the armed drones arrayed against them behind trenches and barricades. Drones popped out from behind their cover and fired at the mass of spidery forms surrounding the 'big spider' and several of them exploded or fell over. Only a few spiders returned fire, and their weapons mostly impacted harmlessly against the thick barricades the 1st had erected. Even when the big spider fired its tailgun, it mostly hit dirt.
This slow crawl approach continued until the spiders reached the edge of the trench system, whereupon several spiders entered the trenches themselves. This proved to be a mistake as the 1st had made the trenches just wider than a spider bot so they couldn't cross them, but too narrow for two to pass side by side. In addition it provided the Wrix, who were excellent climbers, more avenues of attack as they could come from above and behind, both areas where the spiders' tail weapons seemed to struggle to shoot properly.

"Why is it just sitting there?" GHT asked. The big spider had been standing at the edge of their defensive position for some time now, occasionally firing its big tail beam at targets of opportunity.
"If it began crawling over our trenches, its escorts would be channeled through our trenches, leaving it vulnerable. That's why we're here, remember?" the drone hiding next to him replied. There were about eight other drones with them, all packed to the gills with explosives and with only one goal: bring the big spider down!
"Why doesn't it just go around us?" one of the other drones remarked. "There's plenty of room. If we leave the trenches we're dead."
"And our plan isn't exactly optimal" GHT continued. "If we had any other options I would be trying those first. Sitting in plain sight, slowly bleeding escorts seems like the worst possible choice."
Time passed and little changed. A slightly larger wave of spiders crawled into the trenches, but several minutes later the survivors crawled back out. The 1st were giving them the fight of their artificial lives. Still the big metal spider just stood there.
"Wish it would move" one of the drones said. "I'm aching for a chance at blowing it to pieces."
"You and me both" GHT replied. "Be right back, want to check something. Shout if anything happens." He crawled backwards along the barricade that was serving as their cover until he disappeared out of sight towards the closest comms unit.
The big spider lurched as one of its legs lifted up. Jerkily, it began moving... backwards.
"Hey! GHT! The thing's moving! I think it's running away, though!"
"Damn! I wanted to carve a really big spider notch on my chitin tonight" one of the rear drones remarked.
"Hold up, I see something moving in the ruins" the front drone said. He took the pair of binoculars helpfully offered from behind and peered through them carefully. "Oh smeg, I think we might be in trouble."
"What?" the drone behind him asked.
"I see four... no, five... no... no, about five of those big spiders coming out of the ruins. Each with their own little swarm of smaller bots."
GHT came scrambling back and fell into his position, a big grin on his face.
"What are you smiling about? Have a look through these" the front drone asked and handed him his binoculars.
GHT just waved it off. "I know, I heard you shouting."
"You realize that we're going to get swarmed, right? Our little explosives trick won't work on all of them."
GHT turned his head to look at the drone, his grin stretching even wider. "Oh, somebody is going to get swarmed all right, but it isn't us. Just got off the comms with the colony. There are a million drones on their way here, all armed."

OOC
Huh. Pretty anticlimactic in the end. Nobody lost any readiness in the fighting. Now I get 10 infantry divisions, as ordered.
As you might have noticed, I have fluffed it such that the spider bots are expendable and can be destroyed without requiring loss in readiness. Only really large scale destructions or destroying a big spider require a loss in readiness.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2013, 03:07:39 AM »
30 September 2024
With the aid of the militia, a full cordon is formed around the ruins. The spiders seem strangely content to sit tight and there is no further sight of their big spiders, and the Wrix are content to hold the cordon. Several small skirmishes are fought inside the Cordon against small groups of roving spider bots, but there are few casualties on either side.
All in all, five strangely anticlimactic days pass.

5 October 2024
The reason for the lack of apparent action by the spiders is discovered. While working on improving the fortifications of the Cordon, the 1st Constructor accidentally breaches an underground tunnel and several spiders immediately swarm out. They are quickly put down by the militia reinforcements and an armed investigation of the tunnels begin.
The tunnels appeared to be an ancient mining network that the spiders were reopening and widening, most likely to tunnel underneath the Cordon. This proved to be a mistake. The Wrix were excellent tunnel-fighters and the spider bots had some difficulty in traversing some of the rougher and more vertical parts. The cramped conditions and lack of clear sight lines also hampered the powerful tailbeams of the spiderbots more than they restricted the Wrix, who were both armed with light weapons and were very proficient in close range combat.
As the Wrix zerged through the tunnels, destroying everything in their path through the judicious use of numbers and explosives, whatever controlled the spiders made its second mistake. It decided to deploy one of its big spiders to guard an important intersection against the oncoming horde.
 The Wrix vanguard was quickly beaten back; they knew a death zone when they saw one and that was exactly what the what the large, open, natural cavern that formed the intersection was. While they could probably have rushed it with weight of numbers, the casualties would have been great and victory not assured. Besides, other options were available.
The Wrix advance stalled for a day as they resupplied and got their wounded evacuated. They also, with the help of a few drones from 1st Constructor, worked to open several smaller shafts and mainenance passages that had collapsed over the ages. These allowed them to flank the main intersection held by the big spider bot.
They also provided a new problem, however. The passages were too narrow to support a sufficiently large force moving through so they could not effectively bypass the intersection without the risk of being cut off. While it did permit them to attack the intersection directly from multiple sides, between the multiple powerful beam weapons of the big spider bot and the swarm of smaller spiders guarding it, casualties would still have been unacceptably high.
The optimal course of action was fairly obvious to any creature with any sort of experience in subterranean fighting.
Several volunteers were dispatched along the secondary tunnels, armed to the gills with explosives. They crawled out of the maintenance hatches and rushed the intersection from close range and from multiple directions at once. One or two even made it inside the large natural cavern before setting off their explosives along with several other strategically placed shaped charges in the secondary tunnels, killing themselves and collapsing the entire cavern, burying the large bot and several hundred smaller spider bots under a couple thousand tons of rock.
This denied themselves the intersection and slowed down their advance, but it was the first kill of the big spiders with little to no casualties and forays through the side passages, though slower, was were no longer under threat of being flanked.

OOC
My construction brigade activated an automated mine in the middle of the fighting, which was the inspiration for this bit of story. In addition, the enemy suffered their first casualties! This has made me switch to attacking instead of just defending. Hopefully the damage they've suffered is enough to give me an edge despite my attack being half my defence.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2013, 04:36:17 AM »
10 October 2024
The Wrix continued to press the attack below ground as the Cordon held firm above and their superior numbers were really telling, despite the lack of heavy weapons. It seemed that whatever intelligence governed the spiders had trouble adapting to the Wrix fighting style and kept trying to draw the fights into close quarters engagements, despite being completely outclassed at this kind of warfare. If it had attempted to draw fights into the wide open spaces on the surface, its superior weaponry and range could have caused the Wrix serious casualties, but in close quarters the Wrix were masters of the flanking maneuver and they could compensate for their lack of heavy weaponry with handheld explosives.
The large, central shaft of the mines was taken by the Wrix as the machines were forced to withdraw their large spider bots to more defensible ground. One, however, was cut off and, after a lengthy engagement, destroyed by repeated grenade and sticky bomb attacks.

15 October 2024
The underground forces continued to take the mine from the Spiders, one tunnel at a time, but with most of it now under their control, progress slowed. The remaining positions still under Spider control were all heavily defended and had natural chokepoints.
At this point, it was decided to break the Cordon and send the above ground units to attack in order to further split the Spider forces. There were casualties as the militia had to cross the open terrain to the ruins themselves but with most of the spider bots deployed below ground to stave off the Wrix advance, they were somewhat trivial considering the mass quantity of drones on the offensive.
The effects of this decision were seen underground as a large portion of the spiders vacate the tunnels to assist in the surface defense. Two large spiders, being slower to leave than their smaller brethren, are caught out of position by the advancing Wrix horde and destroyed. According to the best estimates by Wrix intelligence, this leaves only one or two large spiders unaccounted for.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2013, 03:41:32 AM »
20 October 2024
The spiders were in full rout, but have nowhere to run to and settled for making last stands in the numerous structures that comprised the ruins. Care had to be taken not to damage the buildings themselves.
The last big spider was trapped inside one of the structures by the surging Wrix horde and in a rather anticlimactic battle, is completely destroyed. Damage to the building was relatively minor.
The vault itself was collapsed as the Wrix forces drew near, sealing whatever secrets they held inside. Plans are made to excavate it, but expectations of recovering anything intact are low.
Total casualties for the campaign on First Stop? Less than fifty thousand.

As was decided upon, ten hives are established on First Stop across the planet as offshoots of their original hives. The ten largest and most influential hives on Wrixom, including Kappa, Gamma, Delta, Lambda, Beta and Rho select their fertile queen and have them ferried to the planet. They are supplied with some infrastructure, some drones from their parent hive and put in contact with the now over two million strong Gamma colony. This creates a rather interesting situation. The ten new hives are adamant about their own independence, but at the same time they need support from their mother hives to survive on this alien planet. On the other hand, the hives on Wrixom insist that the offshoots are still a part of the original hive, despite having their own queen, but have no way to enforce any orders nor, for that matter, any real orders to give. An uneasy truce is eventually reached where neither side talks about the situation and each believes their version is true.

OOC
Spoilers defeated. Little to no casualties. I think ten militia squadrons were a bit overkill.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2013, 02:04:49 AM »
25 October 2024
Further exploration of the tunnel systems beneath the ruins reveal a cache of mining equipment. About half of it is set up to operate completely autonomously, just needing a control unit of some kind. No time is wasted in having a few properly prepared drone brains transported from Wrixom to run the machines. They were perhaps not made to operate under such circumstances, but a bit of juryrigging by the 1st has them ready to receive brain transplants.

OOC
1st Con Brigade activated a mine. They've been having a lot of success. I like it. I've also noticed something strange, for some reason the locations of all the JPs in the system have become known to me. I can't do anything with them because of not having jump tech, but I know where they are. Did I take the data off the spoilers? Regardless, I'll deal with it when the Wrix have a possibility of figuring out what they are.
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Offline Mel Vixen

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2013, 07:43:52 AM »
 ;D nice story so far. The GM-facility from earlyer has some implications the swarm didnt yet consider i think for example making Infertiles fertile by correcting theyr code. One thing that will bite the wrix is that the ecosystem of theyr world will suffer far earlier then them.

Take earth, cooling or heating makes the usage of certain important plants and animals rather tricky. Cooling especialy would mean that you cant produce say wheat as far north as we do now yet its one of the western worlds mayor food sources. Bees also suffer and they are needed for fertilizing many of our crops.

Also i think your Construction brigade extracted the Jump-point-data from the restored observation facility. Iirc you can extract this kind of data. Look through the logs could be that you also got data on other stuff like genetics.
"Share and enjoy, journey to life with a plastic boy, or girl by your side, let your pal be your guide.  And when it brakes down or starts to annoy or grinds as it moves and gives you no joy cause its has eaten your hat and or had . . . "

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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2013, 02:08:18 PM »
OOC:
It is actually something that I have considered, even if the Swarm hasn't. There are three major impediments to them actually coming to that conclusion.

1) Gamma is currently in firm control of the facility, and she is at least mildly opposed to Infertiles having any power whatsoever, nevermind being able to reproduce again. So no chance of investigating the facility or even a reason to give it much thought.

2) The only data the Swarm possesses about the facility are some tidbits of information collected by a bunch of engineers. Enough to confirm genetic manipulation as plausible, but not enough to actually give any data. If someone like LA got a good look at the place, sure, why not? But that is unlikely to happen until Gamma thinks it is necessary. As an aside, if LA ever got a good look at the facility, I'm going to give the Swarm the genetics base tech on the spot.

3) LA herself has no real interest in becoming fertile. Does she want to produce some form of offspring? Yes. But she is perfectly happy to settle for tube-grown mutants and the like. As such, this is not a major direction of interest for her.

Besides, the idea of infertiles and fertiles are kind of etched into the Wrix psychology. Infertiles generally accept their lot and find more productive outlets for their energy.

As for the environmental problems of the sun cooling, you are absolutely correct. The hives themselves are internally heated and by moving deeper the Wrix can stay warm for a long time. The biggest problem is in fact their food supply and the effects of both the cooling sun and the increase in their numbers are starting to be felt. Of course, it is a case of "eat everything now, its gonna die soon anyway" so they will last for a while even after their rate of hunting is no longer environmentally sustainable.

And before you ask, yes, they are seeding their new planets with edible lifeforms that can survive there and like any intruder species, they are spreading like wildfire. The other planets do have lifeforms of their own, but generally mostly primitive organisms and plants. Not so good to eat, but good to serve as food for other creatures.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2013, 02:11:22 PM »
16 January 2025
"So what's the latest?" IM asked her gathered group command group. The Swarm had long since passed the point where an individual was capable of performing all the necessary leadership tasks and delegation had become the name of the game. Still, it was a sort of learn as you go along experience.
"Minerals are looking good" US reported. "Stockpiles are growing and industry is proceeding at full steam. At some point down the line we are going to start exhausting the mineral reserves of the planet, but offworld mining is beginning to get up to speed. Hopefully that will be able to pick up the slack."
"Good news. Keep me posted. LA?" IM asked the infertile sitting on the other side of her.
LA-14-OZF was a relatively recent appointee to the role of Science Chief. It was more a of a liaison position, since she was also head of the research project. She only came in to Swarm Hive once a month or so to discuss recent developments. As most of her work was completely incomprehensible even to the rather intelligent PC, she usually said little.
"We are making progress. A few minor breakthroughs, but nothing really substantial or of anything but academic interest. However, I have been going over some of the data we recovered from the data banks of the facilities on First Stop. There appears to be some encrypted data. Gamma must have missed it or thought it was corrupted."
This made IM perk up. "Encrypted you say? Are you sure this isn't Gamma sending us a computer virus?"
"Ye-e-es..." LA admitted tentatively. "I had considered that, which is why it's not on a device connected to any network. Well, that and for security reasons."
"Then have you had any luck in cracking it?" US asked.
"None. I need more information or a LOT more time."
"Then can I go next?" PC piped up. She was in charge of all things spaceship.
"Fine, what is it?" IM asked.
"We need a spaceport."
IM sighed and shook her head. "For the last time, PC, that is not how these meetings work. You tell me what's going on and THEN we decide on what is needed."
"Well, we need a place to assist in loading and unloading cargo from our freighters. At the moment, our freighters spend more time loading than they do traveling. It can take up to ten days to fully load a ship but they can travel between Wrixom and First Stop in just over half that."
"And I assume you already worked out some plans for one of these structures?" US asked.
"Yes, I did. But I've been thinking. Perhaps there is a way to mount the loading equipment directly on the ship? Then they will essentially carry their spaceport with them...!"

OOC:
Getting fed up with the long loading times. Next construction project will be a spaceport. On a related note, next research project will be cargo handling.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #25 on: April 03, 2013, 01:38:20 AM »
26 January 2025
Construction is completed on a third colony ship. Another one for the trip between Wrixom and New Wrixom. The evacuation is now proceeding apace. Still not quickly enough to beat the population growth of Wrixom, but if all drones are not evacuated then that is fine as well.

11 February 2025
Some headway is finally made in reopening the vault as several computer components that had survived the collapse were recovered. It will take a long time to analyze their contents, but preliminary analysis suggests that the spider bots were controlled by some kind of "artificial intelligence".  It seems to point to something capable of thinking with no biological parts, but analysis will have to be done in order to be sure. Regardless of what it was, it is theorized, based on the combat strategies observed, that it was originally designed to fight opponents employing different fighting strategies than that of the Wrix. It was also insufficiently capable of adaptation.
Unfortunately, Gamma's high hopes for a technological windfall in the vault is dashed as it appears that everything of value had separate, backup explosive charges detonated. No technology could be salvaged.

OOC:
Another facility unable to be recovered. Knew my lucky streak couldn't last.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2013, 07:15:54 AM »
30 April 2025
It is decided to dismantle one of the construction factory complexes on Wrixom and move it to New Wrixom to start construction there. It will be very slow going, but hopefully it can begin building more factories by itself.

20 May 2025
A hidden cache is found after some time clearing one of the outer mining shafts of a cave-in. Inside, several thousand tons of stored tritanium is found, all  neatly stacked and covered. Along with this, some old computer records are found, but they appear to have been corrupted over time. This is a bit strange, as they were very well stored inside protected coverings, but it seems the ravages of time cannot be held at bay.
Almost dismissively, Gamma forwards the data to the Swarm's research facilities. There was nothing to be gained from keeping it kept up the appearances of full cooperation.
With this, the 1st Constructors believe that the alien ruins have been fully exploited and all structures either reactivated or torn down for parts. Since no easy transport home is available, the constructors are kept on First Stop to assist with setting up industrial operations.

OOC:
4000 Tritanium. At first this seemed like a rather pathetic find, but checking my mineral amounts again it seems as if I am actually starting to run low on this stuff. Wrixom has plenty to mine, but only has a 0.2 accessibility. First Stop has 0.9 accessibility and a metric crapton of the stuff to mine, but mining operations aren't really expansive enough to sustain factory construction back home. All in all, this is a nice little boost that puts off at least one mineral crunch for a year or two, most likely far more.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2013, 02:21:13 AM »
14 June 2025
While waiting for a test to finish, LA, in a moment of boredom, peruses the 'corrupted' data that Gamma sent back from her latest find and makes a rather interesting discovery. The data itself appears very similar to the other set of data she had obtained from Gamma before that had turned out to be merely encrypted. In fact, as she ran a few computer programs, she realized that there was no corruption at all but that all of the data was merely encrypted.

18 June 2025
"I did it!" LA reported to a sleepy IM over the comms link.
IM yawned. "What?" she asked in a tired voice. "And why did you have to tell me this at 2 in the morning?"
"I cracked the encryption I told you about in the last meeting!"
IM stared at her bleary-eyed. "And it only took you... what?... six months? Yay. It will hold till morning."
"IM, I am perfectly aware of the time. And if it the results could hold till morning, I would have done so, now please listen" LA chided. "The reason I was unable to crack the previous encryption was due to the corruption of the data. I simply didn't know what was legitimate encryption and what was simply corrupted data and this threw off all my code breaking methods. The new data, however, is completely corruption free and gave me enough of a sample of the code to finally begin cracking it properly."
"Get to the point."
"The new data is just some transport logs and stuff, fairly mundane. The real dynamite is the previous bit of garbled data we got from Gamma. Most is corrupted, as I suspected, but I have managed to salvage parts of what appears to be some travel logs."
IM was silent this time, her sleepy brain trying its best to figure out all the possible implications of this information.
"There were references to four locations throughout the system, but they don't correspond to any known orbital bodies. They may have been space stations or something out in the outer system" LA explains.
"It's the fifth location that is really interesting, however. Guess" she grinned.
"Uhm... New Wrixom" IM tries.
"Close. But only half right. Wrixom itself. There may be another ruin right here."
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2013, 09:41:57 AM »
30 June 2025
IM grumbled as she fastened the straps holding her in place inside the small lifter. She was way too busy to be flying around, visiting some 'specialist' but her doctor had insisted. And why couldn't the damn specialist come to her?
"You ready?" the pilot asked his VIP passenger over his shoulder. She grunted a confirmation and the pilot turned back ready the craft for launch.
Exhaustive - but secretive - searches of Wrixom had revealed nothing. No ancient alien ruins or long dead technology. Not even a single spider robot. Talk about a wild reaper chase.
The craft shuddered as its VTOL engines fired and started to carry its weight.
"Sit tight. We'll be there in a jiffy" her annoyingly jolly pilot announced cheerfully.
The inside of the lifter was small, with barely enough room for four seated drones, two facing front and two rear. The small cockpit with barely sufficient space for the pilot and co-pilot was accessible through an open hatch in the front centre of the passenger compartment.
IM stared out the small window in lieu of having nothing else to do. Something was bothering her, but she couldn't quite figure out what it was. Then she realized. The sun was on the wrong side of the aircraft.
"Excuse me? Why are we heading south?" she asked the pilot.
"Because that's where your appointment is, isn't it?" the drone answered happily.
"No, the specialist is in Rho Hive, and that's north" IM answered, flexing her claws. This could have just been a case of incompetence or an innocent mistake, but she doubted it. And if this was something more sinister as she suspected... could one queen take on two drones in physical combat? Maybe. She certainly had the size advantage, but the space here was cramped. It could work against her.
There was a soft click as IM released the buckles of her flight harness. Her hopes of maintaining the element of surprise, or even having a chance at fighting, were quickly dashed as the co-pilot stuck his arm holding a pistol through the hatch and pointed it right at her.
"Please don't move around while the vehicle is in motion" he said. It was the first time the entire trip that he had spoken and IM was surprised at how soft and gentle his voice was.
"If you fire that in here, we all die" IM stated.
The co-pilot gestured towards her seat. "Low velocity. Please refasten your seatbelt."
IM stared at the pistol for a few seconds before relenting and refastening her harness. Her mind was racing, trying to think of who could be behind this. Gamma had no love for her, but this seemed a bit... subtle for Gamma's tastes. Kappa had been biding her time for a long while, that much she knew. Could she finally have acted? Lambda certainly had the capability to pull this off, but she was on her side! At least, she was supposed to be on her side.
A peek out the window revealed that they were now traveling over the ocean. This raised another thought. Why hadn't they killed her yet?
   
After what seemed like hours of no sound but the rumble of the lifter's thrusters, the sound changed. The lifter lurched as the pilot steered it towards a landing site not visible from either of the small side windows. There was a shudder as they touched down.
"So what now?" IM asked the co-pilot still holding the gun on her. "Time to kill me?"
"Oh calm down! Nobody is going to get killed. We're just gonna show you something" the pilot replied as he climbed through the hatch and struggled to open the side door. IM considered making her move while the other drone's shot was blocked, but the pilot's tone of voice stopped her. He sounded a little exasperated, if anything.
"Why couldn't you have sent me a video?" IM asked snidely.
"Cos no video is gonna do this justice. Now come on" the pilot replied as he cracked open the door and crawled out. A blast of cold air flooded the small craft, making IM shiver. She shot the gentle drone a quizzical glance but he just gestured towards the exit with his pistol. Shrugging, IM undid her harness and crawled out of the ship into the cold.
Once outside, she saw that the ship had landed at an old mine, long abandoned. A thin layer of fine snow covered all the machinery. As she shivered in the cold air, she decided her immediate plan was to quickly kill the outside drone and ambush the one holding the pistol as he left the ship. However, when she looked around to find her erstwhile pilot and kidnapper, she found him standing next to her, holding a coat out to her. He was already wearing his.
"Uhm, thank you?" she said, confused as she took the coat from him.
He smiled at her. "Hope this keeps you warm enough until we get inside. Sorry for the kidnapping thing, but secrecy yada-yada. You know the deal."
"So this is Lambda's doing? Is she waiting for me?" IM asked.
"Not... look, don't worry who is behind this. Just accept it at face value, okay?" the pilot replied mysteriously.
Behind her, the second drone crawled out of the lifter unopposed. "If you don't do anything rash then we can dispense with the weapon" he stated in his gentle voice, the pistol already holstered.
IM ignored him, too busy putting on her coat. As soon as she was finished, she set off towards the main shaft, but the pilot called her back.
"Not that way. We sunk a shortcut recently. Saves some travel time" he said.

IM followed the two drones to a small, crude-looking elevator off to the side. IM had to duck her head to fit inside and the two drones climbed in next to her without even thinking twice. She briefly considered killing them right there, but that would simply have left her all alone in the middle of nowhere with no idea how to fly her only way out. Besides, just because the place looked deserted didn't mean there weren't any other drones around, watching them from out of sight.
The elevator descended for what seemed an eternity before coming to a halt inside a dimly lit rocky corridor which seemed to have once been part of the mine. Directly opposite the elevator was a pitch black doorway broken into the side of the tunnel.
"After you" the gentle drone said, gesturing to IM. There was no sign of his pistol.
"No, I insist" she replied.
The two drones just  shrugged and headed in. She entered behind them, her eyes adjusting as best they could to the darkness. She could see little, but there was a feeling of space that was quite unusual for being so far underground. Then there was a click and the hum of a generator starting up and light flooded the area, momentary blinding her. When her eyes recovered, the sight took her breath away.
They were on a ledge near the roof of a cavern so large that the large spotlights set into the edge did not illuminate the opposite side. Inside were structures of a make and material that was unknown to her.
"These are the ruins we've been looking for for months! And they're massive!" IM finally exclaimed. The two drones just nodded. "Why didn't our ground sonars pick it up? An open area of this size should have been visible from orbit."
The jolly drone walked over to the edge of the ledge and partly lifted a thick grey rubbery substance off the wall. "Dampers. The whole cavern is lined with it. Absorbs sound vibrations in such a way as to make the whole place look solid. We only by accident about two months ago. We were  mining a few trace deposits left over in the mine when we accidentally broke into this place" he replied.
"Who are 'we'?" IM asked suspiciously.
"Nobody you need concern yourself about" the co-pilot responded quietly but firmly.
"Then you should be aware that this will mean war" IM replied. "If it is discovered that one hive is trying to keep a discovery of this size to themselves, you will be the target of every other jealous queen on the planet. If you give this over to Swarm Hive maybe we can..."
"If any Queen discovers this place, it will lead to a war that will destroy the Wrix" the co-pilot stated cryptically. "Their greed will allow no other outcome. Swarm Hive will never be allowed access to these ruins."
"You know, you sound a lot like Lambda. Is she behind this?" IM asked.
The drones ignored her question. "We need to decide what to do with this place. As long as it stands it is a potential time bomb. The only way to assure our survival is by destroying it forever."
"You want to blow it up?" IM asked incredulously. "Think of all the technology, resources and stuff we would be losing out on!"
"That exact mentality is the reason it needs to be destroyed. No hive will want to miss out on it and they will fight to possess it" the co-pilot answered her calmly and took out a small remote control. "The explosives are already in place."
"Then why even bother bringing me out here to the middle of freezing nowhere!?" she demanded.
"You must witness the destruction. The search for this place is consuming too many resources. Resources that need to be put towards getting as many Wrix offworld as possible."
"And," the jolly pilot added, "we figured you might be able to think of some alternative. It's not like we WANT to blow up potentially groundbreaking alien technology."
IM paced back and forth as she considered this. Was there an option that would make these drones happy and let the Swarm get access to the ruins? Perhaps...
"Would you be opposed to Swarm Hive obtaining these resources and technologies?" IM asked.
"No, if that were possible. But we cannot risk the other Hives discovering this place."
"How about this then" IM suggested. "You keep the explosives in place. They can be detonated at any time, right? Why not see how much we can get out of this place before we have to press the button. I'll send a trustworthy team to examine the ruins. Maybe we can salvage something."
The two drones looked at each other and shrugged.
"That seems agreeable" the gentle one said. "One condition. You send no drones, only infertiles, and we will provide the manual labour."
"Then I have a condition as well" IM cut back. "I want to know who I'm working with. Which hive are you? Lambda? Sigma?"
"It really is best for your safety and perhaps even sanity if you don't know" the pilot replied.
"Now I definitely want to know. Either you tell me who you work for or I go back and do my own research. Might be a little less secure..."
"I am from Rho Hive and he is from Beta Hive. Does that satisfy you?" the gentle drone interrupted her.
"Wait, so two hives are in on this? Then..."
"She's not going to be happy unless we tell her what's going on" the pilot said.
"I suppose you're right" his friend admitted.
"We are both from a group called the Drone Collective, a group of drones who have realized that the Hive Queens, if left to their own devices, will most likely lead our race to ruin. We operate independently of our Hives."
IM stared at her pilot, her mouth hanging open. It took several seconds for her brain to process. "Bullsmeg" she finally said. "Are you trying to tell me that you are free drones?"
The gentler drone answered. "We are still loyal to our Queens, but we realize that if aware of all the facts, they would make decisions that would not be in their own best interests. As such we only tell them what they need to know."
IM's mind reeled. "This isn't possible. Drones can't act on their own initiative. They don't have the mental capacity" she repeated what she had been taught to believe from her hatchling days.
"That's not very nice. Are you calling us dumb?" the jolly drone mocked. "But in all seriousness, we have had the brainpower - and have been using it - for a very long time. Think about the complexity of the orders you have been giving drones your entire life. Have you ever encountered a situation where the drone couldn't figure out what you wanted?"
"That's different! You have the intelligence, you just... don't... have the initiative..." IM tried to argue but faltered. Her own arguments were sounding very hollow to herself, especially since she was arguing with proof that she was wrong.
"That is a superstition that is believed by far too many" the gentler co-pilot added. "Drones, I mean."

The flight back was very quiet. The two drones had sworn her to secrecy about their group and IM was intending to keep the secret. She had no way to know which drones in Swarm Hive were loyal to this group, for all she knew it could be all of them. Hell, for all she knew all the drones on the planet were part of this group and the Queens were just allowed to pretend at running things while they didn't mess up too badly. For all she knew...
For all she knew, her entire culture was a lie.

OOC
Phew, holy wall of text, Batman! So there we have the introduction of a new player, the Drone Collective.
In case you hadn't guessed it, they were the ones with the disc in the first post. At the time, there was a pretty strong faction inside the Collective that was in favor of abandoning secrecy and taking control by force by sending a broadcast to all the drones they could reach (that was the disc). Eventually, the Collective decided that they would only continue with this course of action if the Queens proved themselves truly incapable of ruling by performing some gross act of incompetence or greed, such as destroying the Wrix' first TN-engined ship through greed or over petty grievances. Luckily, that never came to be and there was no attempted insurrection.
I had wanted to work this bit into the story, but it was pretty long already, so I skipped it. Still, the first part does warrant some explanation so I put it in here.
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Offline Rabid_Cog

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Re: A New Era
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2013, 06:23:56 AM »
27 December 2025
IM held the piece of paper like it was a poisonous snake. A poisonous snake made of pure gold. Every greed neuron and every fear neuron in her brain were firing simultaneously. To the casual observer, she was sitting deep in thought in 'her' garden - the one with the rocky memorial - as she often did, but the truth was she was completely and utterly stunned.
The Swarm had nearly torn itself apart in greed when a small handful of intact alien structures had been found on First Stop, a completely different planet. Now, according to this report, the Xenologists she had dispatched in the utmost secrecy had revealed over a hundred intact structures in the Swarm's own back yard!
She was very tempted to just have the button pressed to bury the whole lot of it under a mountain, to be forgotten as rapidly as possible. She knew this was going to end badly. Horribly even. A war to end all wars, especially with the new advances in TN technology.
Then she considered the Spider Bots found on First Stop. Ten times as many structures, so ten times as many bots seemed a safe guess... Holy smeg. That many bots could pose a significant threat to Wrix life, if the Hives did not work together to defeat them. Perhaps more dangerous was the fact that there was no way she would be able to keep such an attack a secret. And once the Hive Queens heard of Spider Bots on Wrixom, even the densest would be able to put two and two together.
She crumpled the paper in her claw as she pondered her options. The fact of the matter was that she didn't really have any. Blowing the mountain would be detectable from very far away, and questions would be asked. If it became known she had been involved with the decision to destroy the place, she would most certainly be killed. On the other hand, if she just covered it up and left it, it would always be hanging over her head like some kind of edged weapon. The risk of it being discovered would always be there and if it was, Swarm Command would most likely be the first to get nuked as the Queens vie for power.
Unfortunately, if neither of those two options were feasible, exploiting the ruins was even less so. The risks both for herself and the entire Swarm were immense if a swarm of Spiders got released.
"What should I do?" she mumbled to herself in desperation. Sometimes she wished she had never taken this stupid job. It had cost her her health, her eye and will most likely one day her life once the Swarm is safely evacuated and dissolves.
And in that, she saw her solution. If she was going to die anyway, why bother worrying about taking risks? In fact, it was a long shot, but perhaps her own salvation lay in those ruins, some way to unite the Swarm forever.
She took out a pocket communicator and adjusted its recipient. It patched into the Hive's communications network and as such was hardly secure, but it didn't matter. She didn't need security since she only said one word into it.
"Go."

OOC:
This ruin report was a doozy. Hundred and twenty abandoned installations. There is no way I'm going to be able to swing this story-wise without some form of civil war. Unfortunately, there is no way I'm going to be able to swing a civil war without severely messing up my chances of getting offworld in something resembling a reasonable amount of time. Oh the woes of literary endeavour.

Edit: Also, it seems I missed this but the Spaceport was completed at some point as well. Started with a new research facility since minerals had stockpiled a little bit.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 02:29:43 AM by Rabid_Cog »
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