Author Topic: A.F.R.I.C.A. (Quasar 4x AAR)  (Read 3952 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Battle of Three Bodies (part 4)
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2022, 07:42:11 PM »
Sam Tucker: PURGE Team, how's progress with modeling enemy ships? Any solid estmiations as of yet?

Luke Short: Trying my best, sir. As for lasers, we've been fired at by Las Palmas, Sabadells, Tarranogas and Santa Cruz. Bilbaos are also armed with missile launchers, just like our two behemoths with laser turrets that cause so many problems. My team is confident we shut down their lasers, we win.







ST: Good job. Make sure you wipe out remaining Sabadells.

Adam Glitter: Sir, enemy has switched targeting! Determination 003 under attack!





ST: Ah smeg, Luke, this is what I was talking about... Anyways... smeg... smeg... Damn it! #&^%$!@! If they blast through our only missile defence...



LS: Excuse me... Yes... Good... Very good. Sir, I've just received reports our team managed to land one more EMP blast before we broke contact. All of them should be silent now.

ST: Excellent. Assault Squadron and Velociraptors, focus on one Tarragona, doesn't matter which one. Keep blasting until it no longer blasts back or I tell otherwise. Enigneering team, status on guns and equipment?

Lan Screwsmith: Everything's operating within optimal parameters. As we keep on firing, we've been able to optimize wavelength subroutine in the fly and now only 15,4% of our shots are shorter than violet waves. If our PURGE Team holds, I'm certain we can win. Enemy must be terrified now.

ST: Good. We'll now be regularly changing speed to close in for the PURGE Team to fire, then turn around and fire engines backwards to slow down and gain distance. This requires frequent, rapid maneouvres. Inform me if something happens to the engines or reactors. Redirect additional power to cooling systems if needed. Hopefully we'll avoid more shots this way while landing the crucial ones ourselves. How do we stand with dodging? Any success yet?

LS: While we can't dodge lasers in a conventional sense because by the time we register enemy firing at us it's already over, which is obvious, a quarter of my team is now fiercely writing scripts for automatic parameters testing. The enemy firing patterns are predictable. With the right set of parameters our model could accurately predicting at least some, and by doing a barrel roll we might just be able to dodge that one beam. Or two. Better than nothing, if you ask me.

ST: Fair enough. Everyone return to your post and proceed. Let's get through this.

And so the battle carried on, interrupted by violet flashes, particle beams speeding not much slower than these lasers, cracks of hulls burning and breaking, engines roaring in overdrive after entering "circling mode" to "orbit" the enemy, modifying orbital shape to switch distance as neccessary, curses from command posts and regular stations as well, admiral cursing who the hell thought only 6 layers of armor and no shields on Determination would be a good idea and so on.

Particle beams eventually breached shields of targeted Tarranoga, but at the same time enemy lasers eventually dealt a final blow to PURGE 001. On a pure tactical level wasting firepower on an already disarmed vessel was plain stupidity. But this simple act had another purpose. Purpose that could be seen in the eyes of surviving PURGE crewmembers. Comitee of Humanity was ruthless. It didn't target its blasters in the most effective way. It wanted to make sure to blow up every ship, one by one, no mercy, kill as many as possible. Being knocked out of combat didn't mean surviving anymore (for as long as life support didn't get damaged too much). It meant certain death instead. However, it had as much positive as negative effect. Some crewmembers just got enraged by this and wanted to double their efforts to make sure the Comitee would pay for this.



With shields reducing the effectiveness of electronic warfare waged on every PURGE assault ship no longer being an issue, a quick EMP sweep rendered Tarranoga 001 disarmed and maybe even blind. Unfortunately, soon after massive, accurate barrage of laser fire severely weakened Determination 003, scoring multiple penetrating hits and blasting through one of the engines. With the enemy's ruthless doctrine and not enough thrust to gain distance, its fate was sealed, so the captain already gave an order to evacuate while setting remaning engines to full stop to increase likehood of being picked up by resuce team after the fight is over. Maybe it could get away in time, but one could let engines on overdrive for only so long.



Just as Determination 003 had met its fate, 40 class 6 missiles and 120 class 1 missiles had been launched. A total of 160 missiles from the main fleet. Nothing to worry about, thought Sam Tucker, as he decided to push a bit and maintain closer distance. Enginees needed a break and it was a great opportunity to switch off all four Tarranogas, one by one.



After a few more flashes and particle beams, only the two behemoths remained capable of firing on the Comitee's side, plus two undamaged ships Santa Cruz 001-002 as well as Tarranoga 004. That last one had made admiral start ripping his hair out from frustration, because as particle beams kept punching right through it, it remained operational.

Tarranoga 004 just kept refusing to shut up. But as firefight continued and engines were ready for another round of overdrive mode, something weird started going on. Out of a sudden, pilots struggled with maintaining distance. Navigation software would tell them to fire main engines at 84% power to accelerate to 8102 km/s and cut the distance to the enemy to 88000 km/s only for them to land 56000 km/s. Not only did it screw accuracy, but also potentially exposed entire fleet to missiles as ships began to desynchronize and get too far ahead or behind. For a couple of seconds even Assault Squadron has skipped an entire volley worth of 32 particle beams because the ships decelerated a bit too much and their computers could no longer lock to the enemy. Using 5 curses per every two words, admiral of N.O.V.A. space forces demanded an immediate explanations. PURGE Team quickly put away their work on dodging optimizations and began investigating the issue.


Luke Short: Sir... I think I have... Baaaad news... We still don't know what the bug is about... Buuuuut... A driver for calculating engine power output needed for various distances, inertia of ships, turning ratios, fuel consumption and alll that... Is based... On a framework... That had been released... In 2077...

Sam Tucker: @#(*!(#*&!(*@#&$^*!&@#%$^!&@^$#%!&@#$*^%&*!@#$%^!*@&#^$%@!$!!*(&%#$(*!%@^&#$(*&!@%#$(*&!@%#$(*!@$%!@$#%(*!@&#%$^(!@#$%(&!*@$%^#(*&!@$#%^(*!@#%$^(*!^#@%$(*!@%$#^(*!@$%#(*!@%^#$(*!@#$%^!!!!!!!!!

LS: Sorry... Not much I can do about it now...

ST: !#@^&%!&^#@%&%^!#@$&!%#@$&%^!@$#@%&!#$@

LS: Gulp!... I mean... I CAN do something... For the most part, these calculations aren't that complex... We could redirect some computing power from other systems for this... Just let us program in some basic equations... Precision of the outputed predictions and engine control input will decrease slightly... But it should be stable enough... I think...

ST: !#@^&!@&^#%!&^%&^!#%(*))(*@#&!!!!

LS: Yes sir!!!

Struggle with state-of-the-art-2077-bugware continued for a while, but PURGE Team had yet again proven to be an invaluable asset and got it all under control for the most part. Whole fleet briefly synced new protocols and the battle could continue. However, enemy suddenly also fired their engines with double force, turning around with a large squadron of inactive ships, but including damaged Tarranoga 004, to shift them to the smaller squadron staying behind.



During all this time PURGE Team was being fired at quite a lot. Laser bolts exploded over their hulls over and over again, steadily melting through them. And just as the Dark Phoenixes were supposed to finish off Tarranoga 004 at last while rest of the fleet received new orders to focus on Las Palmas, one of the two 75000t behemoths with 36 laser blasters each, hoping to bring it down and turn the tide for real, several laser beams landed on PURGE 004. In the same spot. Violet beam illuminated the hull as it turned to white from all the heat. They stood no chance. A powerful explosion which PURGE 003 barely got caught in tore through the void.



Fleet admiral was already down through half of his hair after looking at damage report. PURGE Team was down to four ships. And yet after Tarranoga 004 had stopped blasting, Comitee of Humanity was down to only two behemoths firing those pesky 72 lasers every ten seconds and Santa Cruz 001-002. N.O.V.A. Strike Force proceeded to keep fairly close to the behemoths. Battle was still tough and undecided, but jamming one of them might be just enough for the corporate military to secure victory.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2022, 05:05:36 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
The following users thanked this post: nuclearslurpee

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Battle of Three Bodies (part 5)
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2022, 11:10:33 AM »
Battle progressed fairly straightforward. Violet flashes from laser beams exploding over one of the behemoth's shields with no visible effect contradicted the burns and explosions on PURGE 002 and 003's hulls. But according to almost every advisor, bringing one of the Las Palmas down was a key to victory. If silenced, that meant 36 laser blasters less for the enemy. And 36 laser blasters less for the enemy meant N.O.V.A. Strike Force would then have a straight advantage in raw firepower. Coupled with their engines generating superior thrust, the fact that the enemy's missiles weren't enough to leak through railgun array, meant an inevitable victory in a finite amount of time and finite amount of shots fired.

Las Palmas 001's kinetic shielding was a nightmare. Entire fleet pounded on it with everything it got, but the forcefield absorbed and dispersed it all. 75000t worth of a dreadnought could hold a lot of shield generators... But a finite number of shield generators. At least that's what the gunners overseeing targeting subroutines liked to tell themselves when no matter how accurate their guns would be each shot, dozens of beams just miraculously disappeared right before making contact with the hull thanks to that damned shield. PURGE Team tried it's best, but couldn't hack through them, either. The system was too secure on that one, meanwhile EMP blasts and microwaves could get them only so far.

Soon PURGE 002 and 003 met their fate, but the shields were nowhere near to be down. Two PURGE ships remained and their squadron was still considered nemesis by the Comitee, rightfully so. The only hope was to get through the shields and PURGE or face certain defeat. Admiral had to take risks. Being fairly certain it was PURGE Team and, later on, Determination squadron that'd be priority targets, he decided to push Velociraptors very close to the enemy to concentrate their lasers, while PURGE Team was supposed to get out of the heat zone and merge with the rest of the fleet further away. Admiral had finally agreed for a split, after seeing reports on possible missile ETA. From up close, all missiles were bound to pop out on the radar before they could even gain any speed at all, meaning automatic sync programs could act immediately, modifying velocity of all ships to quickly combine the whole fleet under railgun protection layer. To do so before impact it was advised for the ships to not be stretched across range beyond 80000 km, so a safety margin of 20000 km had been decided upon, with only 60000 km between Velociraptors and main forces. With additional firepower and accuracy, the shields should go down faster and remaining PURGE ships should survive till that moment and PURGE.

But before that could happen, PURGE Team commander requested to speak with the admiral immediately.

Luke Short: Sir, we've done it! We are through the firewall! We can now tune in to internal Channel 9 News comms! We can now hear everything they say, not only their curated porpaganda on TV... And I have bad news. We've been ignoring their movements, but now they make more sense... This isn't about getting a better angle for their onboard telescopes. They are heading directly towards our survivors floating in escape shuttles. They plan on picking them up for... "interviews"...

Sam Tucker: Ah, smeg, little traitor bastards!!!... "Interviews", huh?... A supposedly neutral journalist vessel tries to capture soliders of one side for "interviews"? During combat? Without asking for their or their supervisor's consent, preferably both? All this while suddenly shifting narrative to be more pro-government than the last time... smeg... Okay... I don't have time for this. These are our best employees. They know too much. No, we can't... Damn it, I want, say... two laser blasters on these "journalists" ASAP! Don't need to kill or even seriously damage them, just make it a warning of some sort, possibly throw them off course, whatever to make them break contact...

Agner Sato: But... Sir... Okay, we all know Convention IV is some non-existent made-up bullsmeg. Nevertheless, officially they are a neutral war reporting vessel, even if their actions say otherwise. So far we have a perfect PR opportuniy: we just disable their ships and go for tactical victory, meanwhile they ruthlessly murder us one by one. Younger generations don't remember N.O.V.A. Bunker System and the rebellion that spawned Comitee of Humanity. But they do see the low quality of life, slums, failed anti-corporate statements, they already blame them for letting this battle happen in the first place... In fact, our public image compared to theirs right now is soo good I think we can even afford to lose this battle and still win the war!

ST: Damn PR Advisor, you're damn right. But... If they interrogate our people... Things will get ugly. I'm not even sure how much they know about our true identity in the first place. We might officially still be Exadev Space Industries with no ties with theoretically long-gone N.O.V.A. Megacorps... And the identity is not the worst part. If they find out about the kinds of smeg our management agreed to do on Mars... We're all in trouble. Sure, large population will still hate Comitee, but it'll hate us more than it does now and by the time another rebels coup the Comitee, we might as well all be dead. They have Void Birds, fastest among supposedly non-military spaceships, pretending to be just another line of passenger cruisers, for a reason. The way I see it, Comitee of Humanity is coming to an end. It's already shaking from convulsions in agony. The question that's asked in this battle isn't about whether Comitee wins, but about who replaces it. We win, we replace it. We lose, we might replace it, just like you explained. We lose and our people get interrogated, we're in deep smeg. If the Comitee won't get to us before it collapses, then whoever comes next will.

AS: Fair enough, it's your call after all. Guess I'll contact Cydonia HQ and start working on official statement. I'll do my best to calm the public opinion down.


13th October 2199, Channel 9 News, "Breaking Corruption" program, Special Edition Livestream

Big screen in the studio simulatenously displayed images from the telescopes on WRV Marie Colvin. Every ten seconds most of them would flash in violet for a split second, followed by a extraodinarly bright blast on the shields of one of the Comitee's behemoths and a couple small explosions on the other side. A few images displayed Exadev employees floating in deep space in life pods. They were close enough to the reporting ship that it was possible to see their facial expressions, at least for the ones sitting closest to the windows. Some expressed fear, but some seemed relieved as the battle was over for them and they were relatively safe. A violent explosion illuminated the darkness for a while on one of the monitors.

Emily Mortan: ...As we all can see, another ship from Exadev Space Industries goes down. Comitee of Humanity tries its best to defend its citizens from the corporate oppressors. Sketpics claim it was very irresponsible for the government to let corporations grow so powerful without supervision, but most of the population seems content this battle is about to end it. Exadev might seem powerful, but not as powerful as the protective forces of our government. Comitee of Humanity is yet to lose one of its ships. Our experts predict Exadev will surrender soon. Complying with Convention IV regulations, Comitee of Humanity has promised a fair treating of war prisoners and claims to not take any hostile actions towards whoever that wants this bloodshed to be over. PR specialists point out this is a prime example of how members of the Comitee strive to defuse the conflict with as little casualties as possible...

On a different monitor, another ship blew up.

EM: ...So far we estimate there are at least a few hundred survivors from Exadev floating in space, some of which need medical aid ASAP, some badly needing to take a doze of RadAway... Speaking of which... Do you work in hazardous conditions? Have you recently travelled outside the protective city barrier for some reason? Have you observed symptoms of radiation symptoms setting in? Or are you simply worried increased radiation expousure is not good for your health? Buy next-gen RadAway brought to you by Thorium Conglomerate and save up to 45%! Sign up for a monthly subscription and bring get even as much as 60% loyalty discount! RadAway! Make all your worries go away! Limited time offer. Thorium Conglomerate - if you want to cleanse the world, start from yourself!...

Next PURGE Team member turned into space dust.

EM: ...And we have a confirmation another Exadev ships, one of the most threatening according to space combat experts, is destroyed. Now I'm going to present you... Yes?... Are you sure?... How is that possible?... No way... No...

Several screens in the studio went offline.

EM: Dear viewers, I've just received last minute report and I am forced to announce tragic news from the combat zone. Our team is still trying to figure out what's going on and get a better picture as I speak. Corporations tend to be more evil than we all anticipated... During an unprecedenced and unjustified act of cruelty, WRV Marie Colvin's just got hit with two laser blasters. There are casualties... Currently 57 crewmembers are confirmed to be dead, 128 injured, 36 are considered missing... Our medical assistance is risking their lives right now trying to get to the ones that got sucked out through the hull breach into outer space... Ship is still operational and capable of providing neccessary aid for all that need it... But we don't know how long will it hold on... Alright, more than twenty seconds have passed, next two volleys didn't attack us... Seems it was just these two shots...

Still, we're all witnesses of a war crime that's just been commited. We didn't expect corporate management to have much empathy for human life, but this tragedy is just beyond any understanding. The death toll has just risen to 61... Many in critical condition... 61 lives already taken away, 61 brave, skilled workers doing the best they could to make tonight's "Breaking Corruption" livestream possible for you, dedicated to the cause they fought for... They might not be armed, they might not be a part of this conflict, but we all know they carried the most powerful weapon, the one that can cross light years with pinpoint accuracy and no shield nor armor will ever stop it: the truth. They all tried to tell the truth, so that we all might be aware about the world we live in. Tonight we saw how Exadev Space Industries, blinded by their desire for power, didn't hesistate to kill innocent civilians, trying to silence the truth.

But truth shall always come on top. On top of their outrageous propaganda about how the ship's crew supposedly was attempting to threaten and torture the survivors and how Exadev needed to step in to protect them. According to Convention IV, this was just a ship to be used by war reporters with the sole purpose of independent journalism. It came into the conflict unarmed, harmless, weak and broadcasting its mission statement loud and clear. There was absolutely no reason for such rutheless treatment. Our reporters wanted to only assist and comfort the ones for whom the battle was already over, but the survivors' employer denied us this chance, choosing to become war criminal instead, preferring to let them die rather than get another chance in life. We've just received a direct statement from the Comitee of Humanity adressed at Exadev CEOs: "Even if you win on the physical battlefield, we will have won on the moral one."


Simultaneously, combined effort of N.O.V.A. military spaceships eventually destabilized behemoth's forcefield. In a final push, PURGE Team ran two PURGE sweeps in total, one that already silenced the dreadnought and the other one just to be sure the ship was really offline and it wasn't some sort of enemy's psychological warfare. The sacrifice was brutal, as PURGE 005 suffered a catastrophic failure under concentrated laser barrage and melted in half before it could get back to safer distances like PURGE 006, but thanks to this monstrous effort the enemy's firepower was at last weaker than what N.O.V.A. Strike Force could have wielded. Finally the victory for the N.O.V.A. Megacorps became a real possibility.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2022, 01:38:03 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
The following users thanked this post: nuclearslurpee

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Battle of Three Bodies (part 6)
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2022, 04:18:42 PM »
Lan Screwsmith: ...according to the estimations, Las Palmas' shields are placed somehwhere around 600-800 points on anti-beam scale... Probably at elast 650, though. That'd give them regeneration rate in betwen 20 and 30 points per volley so 2-3 points per second... Probably closer to 20, though. If it was more of an upper limit, that'd mean not only faster restabilization, but also at least 800 points, and given we went through them quicker than originally anticipated...

Sam Tucker: So... We won? I mean, I pushed Velociraptors so close for a reason, the accuracy and concentration of laser beams at 70000 km is amazing... Buut... I think there are still at least 32871346578513476 things that might go wrong. Technically we have advantage in laser firepower now, plus particle beams are better than lasers for that stalemate we're stuck in... Another behemoth and 2xSanta Cruz... That's... Still 52 laser blasters. Barely below our own firepower.

LS: On one hand, I also believe we've won. On the other... If we continue like this, we'll win. But... While Assault Squadron can stay further behind, maintaining 130000 km and score decent hits... Lasers are barely usable at this range. I'm afraid PURGE Team will not hold. We have only one ship left... And without them... We'll need to go through the second's behemoths armor... Things will take... some time...

ST: As if I didn't know... For now PURGE 006 will act as our meat shield, whether we want to waste our best soldiers and equipment like that or not, because enemy won't target anything else. But once it goes down, those 52 blasters will be aimed at a Determination... One after another... We might have to pull them further away... But that means Velociraptors will be pulled away too, we can't stretch too close or we're at a risk of instant loss from sudden missile strike... smeg... Alright. Let's show the enemy a magic trick. We'll multiply their 52 laser blasters into 36 laser blasters. All fire on Satna Cruz 001. Velociraptors at 70000 km, rest at 130000 km. Maintain speed and course. Notify me of shields. Oh, and one more thing: no PURGE sweep on that one, just blast it until it falls apart. No point getting the last ship blown up over reducing firepower by only 8. Prolong its destruction as much as possible. PURGE Commander?

Luke Short: ...

ST: Turn on autopilot script and board escape shuttles. We've lost damn too many of you. Too many of too valuable soldiers... Too bad we can't save any ship itself... But you're more important. PURGE 006 is going down. But I don't want any more dead PURGE Team members. Be ready to leave the ship any moments. Program it so that it closes in and attack second behemoth if by some miracle it'll survive till its shields destabilize because their generators stop working or something.

LS: ...

15000t for Santa Cruz meant half a weight of a Velociraptor. And it took less than a minute, a total of three volleys and the shields on Santa Cruz 001 already dispersed.



PURGE 006 was still holding on...



Velociraptors had a total of 15x86=1290 points on a deflection scale, a crude surviviability approximation based on armor physics under extreme kinetic projectile velocities on when exposed to deadly-tier particles or photon streams. With Santa Cruz having similar firepower, half the tonnage and more or less same shield generating potential, it was estimated to have 645 deflection points. Not good, but not too bad either.

As more shots exploded over Santa Cruz 001's hull, engines of both Santa Cruz-classified ships suddenly lightened in a blaze of glory. They started accelerating away from the battle, increasing speed up to 7500 km/s until finally turning engines off, putting main fleet in between them and the pursuers dictating range.





This was the final straw for the fleet admiral to rip remaining hair of the top of his head, creating a new style that hairdressers would later refer to as "Cosmic Emptiness". Shields had already gone down and time had been wasted. Santa Cruz 001 just had to be silenced. This sudden acceleration was a nasty surprise, but still not enough to outrun N.O.V.A. engines. But raw speed and thrust weren't everything. Main fleet awaited ahead and moving past it, especially when going at 8000 km/s, could be... a tiny bit complex. Admiral permitted to reduce distance to 100000 km, but with Velociraptors slowing down briefly to also get at 100000 km and merge with the fleet. That was set as a safety margin from the main fleet. From then on, N.O.V.A. Strike Force would slowly change trajectory to go around and then close in at crucial moment before straying too far from the target, while already leaving the behemoth, still advancing at only 3000 km/s, behind.

Problem was, the moment N.O.V.A. Strike Force started leaving their straightforward path, enemy did the same. Both detached ships engaged their engines to get them as far away from the threat as possible, while maintaining remaining fleet in between. Attempting to switch directions and catch them from the other side would be hopeless, so Sam Tucker had no way but to slowly decrease distance, circling around the behemoth and the rest towards Santa Cruz.



Soon it turned into both sides establishing a circular route around Comitee of Humanity's main forces, firing engines only in bursts at crucial moments to keep them on track, without getting "ejected out of a circle". With each volley Santa Cruz 001 was weakened and it wasn't a question whether N.O.V.A. Strike Force would destroy it. It was a question what the enemy was preparing that required otherwise pointless prolonging of the battle.

Admiral had to think about carriers and fighters, whether he wanted to or not. Only a bit more than thirteen minutes had passed since first lasers lightened up the sky. 120 fighters... 75000t carriers... Assuming equal split that meant 18000t worth of fighters alone on each. Adding up hangar space, likely shields, missile storages, storages for everything else, all the fighter maintenance services... Reloading 120 fighters could... take a while. And by taking into account distance from the enemy between the moment second and third volley came in, speeds of all the ships, it was estimated that "a while" meant 5202 seconds, so over 86 minutes. This calmed the admiral down... But soon he attempted to rip off more hair he didn't have.

Destroying Santa Cruz 001 and 002 would take some time this way. PURGE 006 wouldn't survive till shields going down on second beheomth. Next in queue were bound to be Determinations. No other way around. Loose too many and suddenly regular missile volleys are enough to shred the whole fleet to pieces. Of course it could be prevented. By getting them out of laser range, so at least to 180000 km. Maybe 170000 km would do, the damage and accuracy would still be too low to matter significantly in the next hour. But that would mean Velociraptors couldn't stay closer than 100000-110000 km, otherwise they wouldn't merge with Determination for next missile strike in time. Firepower and accuracy would be reduced. Even assuming only 20 points per volley on behemoth regenerating, whole N.O.V.A. Strike Force would just barely outpace that. More intel on enemy came in. A behemoth could easily hold 15 layers of armor, giving it roughly 3000 deflection points with shields combined, possibly more. It would still go down. But just barely. And with no Determinations to target, it'd get through Dark Phoenixes next. They were a bit less resilient than Velociraptors, but far deadlier at considered distances. Firepower would drop. Behemoth would go down. No doubt. But the question was when. It could take dozens of minutes just for that one dreadnought alone...

It was dangerous territory. Dozens of minutes... Maybe an hour? Maybe more? Fighters would come online again. That could be the end. Their missiles would target Determinations exclusively, obviously. At 11 missile destroyers and PURGE Team operating at full capability and every blaster targeting missiles because of no better options to lock onto, one was erased. There were 9 missile destroyers remaining. No PURGE ships remaining by then. And blasters having many other important things to blast. How many would blow up? Two? Three? Even if only two... That was unacceptable. Railgun array would leak. And with Determination waivering, it'd leak more. And more. And spiral out of control.

No, just no. Fighters had to be stopped. But how?... Even assuming lucky run... Behemoth might go down before them going up. But... Behemoth and at least one carrier, which was also a behemoth? With 10 armor layers at bare minimum? Unless absurdly fortunate, no chance. On the other hand... Destroying a behemoth should still leave quite a generous safety margin. Not to blow up a carrier... But possibly enough to blow up other missile ships. With both behemoths taken out of the equation, that'd leave only eight laser blasters on one Santa Cruz, assuming fogetting about the games it was trying to play and coming straight at a dreadnought first. A formality. Afte that, entire fleet could maintain, say, 50000 km. It'd make for a powerful laser-particle beam barrage. All gunboats would go down in flames quickly. Then, no matter targeting, fourth volley from the fighters wouldn't matter. It would deal some damage. That's it. Without other missile launchers to back it up, it'd lose its game-changer status. Yep, that was the strategy. Silnece lasers, then silence gunboats. And win.

But... Almost an hour had a chance to spawn another obstacle. PURGE damage wasn't permanent or requiring dry dock repair. Jamming sequence, EMP blasts, computer viruses, backdoors, microwaves frying stuff... If the enemy was prepared, and there was no point assuming it wasn't, maybe an hour of peace was all it would take them to repair. And then open concentrated fire. No, N.O.V.A. stood no chance either. If Comitee would make a mistake of not syncing all the ships at once and have them reopen fire as they come online again, without waiting for the others... So silence lasers, silence gunboats, then still foget about carriers and just destroy everything else... So many things could go wrong, nothing better could be done.

Despite desperate cat and mouse attempts, Santa Cruz 001 took one laser too many. The beam drilled through the armor and overheated something. And that something blew up. It was not powerful enough to cut more smaller ships out of what was one ship before, but it could be a reactor powering weapons, because they didn't come online for the next volley:



After that it was all or nothing. Velociraptors speeded towards remaining behemoth, not caring abotu Santa Cruz 002 that had reunited with main fleet shortly after realising it was not being fired at. Dark Phoenixes also came together with Velociraptors, maintaining 70000 km. Closer meant more accurate. And they weren't the ones to be targeted and everyone knew that everyone knew about this. Determination and PURGE 006 had been left at 135000 km. Just before the new plan was implemented, a final volley had been fired at Santa Cruz 001, just to double check. At the same time, first laser beam melted through PURGE 006's hull.



Shields on Las Palmas 002 held, meanwhile PURGE 006's armor not so much.




Tense moments extended into infinity. As if Sam Tucker was staring at a battle being fought on the edge of a black hole. A total of 695 points of damage had been done to the behemoth's shields, but just kept deflecting lasers and dissipating heat over and over again. Meanwhile PURGE 006 was already without a spare fire control, leaking fuel, blinded from sensor damage (at least that was not important because of other ships in the formation). Dodging helped survive the ship for a little longer, but it was about time to launch escape shuttles. And prepare for a lenghty space equivalent of trench warfare...

« Last Edit: February 10, 2022, 04:20:41 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
The following users thanked this post: nuclearslurpee

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Battle of Three Bodies: Valiant Bionics (part 7)
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2022, 03:56:15 PM »
Valiant Bionics

Escape shuttles had already been launched. There was no point. Lasers could end the last ship any second. But three crewmembers, including PURGE Team leader, disagreed. Not about lasers ending them any second, that is. But about there being no point. What had looked impossible changed status to almost impossible. The ship might be destroyed alongside second's behemoths shields, or at least shortly before. If ten seconds had the potential to end this battle with a decisive victory, someone had to try.

Luke Short wasn't too surprised by the people who accompanied him. Porter Shorr, an innovation genius... Very impatient, though. Everything could either be too easy for him or ending up deemed too boring and tedious to even bother. With maybe a minute left at best, impatient prodigy was a godsend, though. As if he was born for this exact occasion.



Armand Leadbeater was another fierce warrior. Lead programmer on PURGE 006, his contribution was directly responsible for working around 2077 navigation software glitch. Decent programmer and fierce warrior as well, which is why he signed up for the fleet instead of enjoying a cozy job of hacking Comitee's members' accounts from the safety of Cydonia.



Laser beams splattered on the hull, turning PURGE 006 into a fine piece of Swiss cheese. Three suicidal brave soldiers were determined to fight the inevitable and make the ship survive a tiny bit longer. Just a little. A second or two more. Just for the shields to shut down. Just for the microwaves to fire away for the last time. For Porter the situation was already obvious. PURGE's engines were exceptionally big, all to squeeze every last bit of thrust and manoeuvrability for the extra agility from up close. That's why he remotely triggered ship's rotation to "show the enemy our ass", as he described turning the engines to face the enemy while effectively hiding rest of the ship behind them. With this configuration, it was nigh impossible for the enemy to hit anything besides propulsion system itself. Just as the rotation kicked in, he already inserted another command - definitive emergency reactor shutdown. Just to be sure the engines won't go down with a bang, but with a whimper.

Next laser blast indeed hit one of the engines. Nothing exploded as expected, but engine's hull was still hot. It started to melt down. Technically nothing serious, but PURGE would need all its engines ready for speed boost if they were to close in to the PURGING range before getting burnt by progressively more accurate and concentrated beams. In order to save the engine, cryogenic fluid from reactors was agreed to be the only plausible solution. However, it required a manual overdrive directly from reactor chamber. No way to get in there in the next eight seconds and after another laser hit, there would be no hope left, even for the suicidal brave trio. However, the laser that heated the engine up continued to travel further, blowing up a hole through a bunch of corridors. They all aligned just perfectly. Luke Short himself was already swimming through the void directly to the reactor chamber, just to push that one button.

But one could only do so much under eight seconds. And proper security measurements for a space walk weren't among them. PURGE Team Leader almsot caught up to the edge of hull on the other side, but it was three hundred miliseconds too late. Another laser blast in the area would've killed him, it was too close. So remaining two had to start rotating the ship again, with next laser coming at the engines at a safe angle from Luke's perspective. Unfortunately, the package also included one of the ship's walls coming at him at less than safe angle. Two in one, no exceptions. Armand quickly fired correctional engines to give reverse rotation acceleration, but simply pushing rotation dump would be too slow - under this command, the ship would gradually come to stop rotating, with the engines slowly reducing output as the rotation would disappear, until complete stop. There was no time for that. They had to operate under maximum output or the Luke would be smashed against the wall. It was enough to save him, but obviously without precise fine-tuning the ship couldn't behave in any other way but to pass the point of equilibrium and start rotating the other way. PURGE Team Leader had his arms long enough just enough to grab onto the hull before the ship would "get away from him" and climb onto the reactor chamber, but it was then when the other two pushed for rotation dump. Too bad the ship started to slow down its rotational movement in the moment when Luke wasn't holding onto anything, drifting in the void, thus he didn't end up slowing down together with the ship. In fact he could not slow down at all and ended up painfully hitting his head against the terminal he was supposed to operate. By some dumb luck the velocity difference still wasn't big enough to create life-threatening injuries and by even dumber luck his forehead smashed against precisely the confirmation button he was supposed to press. The terminal was damaged beyond usability, but at least the final signal flew through the cables and reached proper devices.

The engine already had a hole in it, but at least it stopped melting any further as soon as it was bathed in cryogenic fluid. That left the reactors too exposed, but the trio was confident in being able to rotate the ship to prevent direct hit. They could go only for so long without sufficient cooling, though. Just as Armand ran a diagnostic tool to check exposing which component to the next volley would be effective, his personal comms, together with personal comms of everybody else, lightened up with the following message:

WE. DID. IT. THE. SHIELDS. ARE. DOWN. PURGE. 006. DO. I. HAVE. TO. TELL. YOU. TO. MAKE. A. PURGE. SWEEP?!

Which was followed by more enemy laser fire. It went right through crew quarters, not that anyone would be sleeping on that ship anytime soon.



And another message came in:

#@&%!@#*&%!!!!! Missiles incoming, PURGE. STAY. WHERE. YOU. ARE. PROTECTED. BY. RAILGUNS!!!

Of course. Missiles themselves weren't a problem. It was their side effects, all inclusive. It was painfully obvious which ship each one targeted. By waiting under raigluns for them to splatter, enemy had gained another volley of 44 laser blasters for free. And PURGE 006 was running out of options in terms of "what could be hit next to prevent us from dying". After a lenghty 3-seconds debate it was decided to use engines to tank the shots once again, but instantly redirect all the cooling liquid still flowing through the reactors. The reactors would then operate for about 15 seconds at best, but with no more shields to worry about, this was all PURGE Team needed and more.

Missiles met raigluns and laser heat of the few shots that connected got dissipated in an instant. PURGE 006 was still floating in one piece. And extra cooling allowed for an extra overdrive. Engines roared, velocity increased rapidly, suicidal brave trio almost got themselves killed thus achieving their goal by accident. Every surviving system came online. 120000 km... 100000 km... 90000 km...


Microwaves fired. EMP pulse swept across the void, speeding towards survivng behemoth. New jamming sequences got propagated. PURGE 006 lashed out at the behemoth with everything's it's still got. Lasers of death were fired simulatenously. In a last ditch effort still fighting PURGE Team members rotated the ship to expose reactors. They were gone anyways. Laser fire was devastating. Power went off in most areas. An explosion torn through the reactor chamber, ripping off neighbouring fuel tanks and maintenance storages just as Luke Short made his way to the bridge. Surprisingly, the engines were still operational. They kept cool under all this pressure for just a little longer, before cryogenic liquid spilled through the broken pipes. Just enough to slow down from 9000 km/s to 8000km/s before they started shutting down. Just enough to sync with the fleet and be picked up.



Las Palmas 002 didn't fire within next 10 seconds. Fleet admiral was still paranoid about it being just psychological warfare, but since he had no longer any means to keep PURGING, he got to try anyway. He sat down and opened up a transponder...

"This is admiral Sam Tucker speaking, on behalf of Exadev Space Industries. All your laser blasters are down except 8 on a ship we can turn into space dust at a whim. Your missiles can't break through our railgun array, and even if they still could, we can mop your missile launchers one by one at a whim without risking any retaliation fire, silencing them for good. We expect you to have another volley for your fighters to fire, but we fear not. We've gathered enough intel and simulated your designs. Unless you're very lucky, they won't fire before all your ships are no more. And even if you were THAT lucky, you won't destroy us with just a single volley of 480 missiles, maybe you'll get 1-2 ships at best. Surrender now and you'll all be spared and the families of Channel 9 personnel compensated."

To his surprise, a reply came in shortly after.

"This is acting Fleet Admiral Stan Cannon speaking, on behalf of the Solarian-Jovian-Martian Coalition fleet. We have ceased fire of our weapons and are prepared to discuss terms of surrender."

Just like with Convention IV, he had no idea what the hell the Comitee meant by "Solarian-Jovian-Martian Coalition", especially with the "Martian" part, but it hardly mattered. The battle was over. N.O.V.A. Megacorps would rule the Solar System again.
 
The following users thanked this post: nuclearslurpee

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Battle of Three Bodies: Service Awards
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2022, 02:10:22 PM »
Upper management of Exadev Space Industries held a grand military parade in the skies above Cydonia Megacity, in which not only N.O.V.A. Strike Force participated, but also all the ships captured from the enemy. For security personnel it was all but celebration, as gathering every ship in one place like that was risky at best. Up in the air there was nothing that could endanger them physically, but hacking remained a possibility, so did Comitee's infiltrators on board, bombings, attempts to disrupt the fleet during landings and takeoffs, secretly launching an assault basically everywhere else with some mysterious, undiscovered ships Comitee might have left unused... The list went on and on.

Lots of CEOs praised the military personnel of Exadev Space Industries, awarding every surviving crewmember (and posthumously every not surviving crew member too) with a Battle of Three Bodies Service Badge. Additionally, Sam Tucker received his own distinct Admiral Badge. Everybody stationed on a spaceship that got destroyed ended up awarded with Purple Hull in recognition of the extraordinary sacrifice for the corporation.


Battle of Three Bodies Service Badge


Battle of Three Bodies Admiral Badge


Purple Hull

Employees serving on Velociraptors, Dark Phoenixes, Scandroids and Determinations got their own custom Service Badges as well, personalized for the type of ship they serwed on and telling their role in battle.


Velociraptor Service Badge


Dark Phoenix Service Badge


Scandroid Service Badge


Determination Resistance Badge

But obviously the biggest praise and reward had been kept for the PURGE Team. In recognition to their efforts, the team got officially transitioned into PURGE Elite Society, with a distinct, shiny ribbon for each member to wear produly. As with Battle of Three Bodies Service Badge, Luke Short, as a leader of this new society, was given his own unique one.


PURGE Elite Society Membership Badge


PURGE Elite Society Leader Badge

But even PURGE Elite Society wasn't qualified for the end of the ceremony. The end was specifically reserved to the three outstandingly brave members among it: Luke Short, Porter Shorr and Armand Leadbeater. They were to be decorated with a special Valiant Bionics Award, a ribbon reserved only for the best among the best, and were set as a prime example of a faithful, hard-working employee of the corporation which everyone shall strive to follow.


Valiant Bionics Award


Sam Tucker's awards


Porter Shorr's and Armand Leadbeater's awards (while PURGE 006 technically wasn't destroyed, in spite of its overall condition, risks taken and achievements, upper management agreed on decorating them with Purple Hull)


Luke Short's awards (while PURGE 006 technically wasn't destroyed, in spite of its overall condition, risks taken and achievements, upper management agreed on decorating him with Purple Hull)
« Last Edit: March 27, 2022, 02:08:47 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
The following users thanked this post: nuclearslurpee

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Future light years away
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2022, 03:41:23 PM »
SYNTHETIC DAWN
Future Light Years Away

Space dust settled and a new century had begun. Comitee of humanity, hated by most and without any meaningful military asset, had to fully surrender without being able to negotiate anything. But N.O.V.A. management didn't have it much easier than previous government. Sure, most among the living only knew N.O.V.A. Bunker System as one of many megacities, with most of the structures residing underground, but apart from that nothing extraordinary, without realizing it had once been a shelter to all leftovers from mankind and life there was not pretty. But much of hate directed at the Comitee had its roots in its incompetence when it came to taming big corporations... And to say they weren't tamed was an euphemism as huge as Earth's wasteland, with private corporations building military space fleets fully capable of purging all three bodies from reemerging life clean and fighting for total dominance. CEOs of Exadev Space Industries of course were aware of this. They didn't want to give up on power, but they were walking on eggshells, with plenty of citizens simply confused about their stance. They defeated Comitee of Humanity, hated by many... But hated precisely for allowing corporations to expand uncontrolled, spreading like cancer through every structure holding the society together.

Another slippery matter had the monumentous proportions and scale of a terraforming installation grid. Terraforming Earth (and later Mars) was a nice way to boost popularity rankings, or rather it would be if not for the irrational, but frequent association of terraforming project with Comitee, hence with something to despise. Another can of worms was Church of Singularity, an ally that might as well stop being an ally given their disgust with everything biological. They seemed to thrive across dead badlands of radiation and metal.

As if the political situation wasn't tough enough, the ongoing investigation into sudden betrayal of Channel 9 News yelded very unpleasant results. According to the reports from PURGE hackers working day and night to track down all the nodes and scraps of information, it was all a part of an agreement between Thorium Conglomerate and Avalon Heights Inc. Their owners intended to steer the battle towards nuclear annihilation territory, ending the world yet another time and then appearing as "saviours" with the main selling products of each corporation, namely enchanced RadAway and experimental blue collar androids for simple manual labour in hazardous conditions. Their plan failed only thanks to deliberate detonation of first missile volley that, if not for the Comitee's attempt at damaging N.O.V.A. Strike Force, would've been remotely controlled to detonate at various spots on the Mars, Moon and Earth. And after that failure there was never another chance, as all the missiles had either been intercepted or impacted against N.O.V.A. ships.

During 162371234th emergency corporate meeting, a risky but possibly rewarding resolution had been accepted. Destroying Thorium Conglomerate and Avalon Heights Inc was out of question. They were too good at keeping low profile to be eradicated. Besides, public opinion wouldn't like another corporate war for sure. So the plan was to... let them have their way anyways. But obviously there was a catch, so that "their way" would be subtly nudged towards "N.O.V.A. way". "Unknown terrorists" were to attack some of the terraforming installations across both globes. These "unkown terrorists" would later be revealed to be most radicalized members of Church of Singularity. The methods involved detonating dirty bombs, so that androids and RadAway would be perfectly suited for helping clean the mess and rebuild. And with enough luck the corporation could even avoid losing an ally, because Church of Singularity wasn't powerful enough to discover the conspiracy, and even if it would, management didn't really care that much as with everything sitting on yet another powder keg despite one blowing up already, their anti-terraforming stance became more and more of an issue.

Later, with "terrorists" being dealt with and androids and RadAway deployed, Exadev would find itself in a position where it would exploit Thorium Conglomerate and Avalon Heights Inc on its own terms having them think they're succeeding at their own goals, progress with terraforming winning hearts and minds of many and possibly stabilizing its government as a result.

As first bombs tore through terraforming spires, a small research team calmly explored ruins found on Titan, free from any media attention which was all redirected towards safety concerns and making a scapegoat out of Church of Singularity. And luckily for Exadev ownership, the ruins held important piece of information that was missing from another puzzle - A.F.R.I.C.A. Project and the mysterious fleet supposedly travelling from Trappist-1 system. Their travel speed remained problematic to estimate for obvious reasons. Means of interstellar travel were a source fo heated debate among many scientists. A lot of them believed FTL propulsion system might be a plausible method, but there wasn't much proof it wasn't just antimatter engines reaching velocities very close to the speed of light, allowing semi-connected empire to grow in between nearest stars. But if that would be the case, then label "Intergalactic Federation" remained troublesome to explain. No way anyone could get to Andromeda, Magellanic Clouds or even SagDEG galaxy. Even Canis Major Dward Galaxy was too far. And that was just getting to anywhere that could be considered "another galaxy", let alone colonising some systems there and maintaining contact with the Milky Way part of the Federation. Not with the shortest distance being 25000 light years...

And leftovers from Titan colonies contained exactly what was needed to get the solid proof. Warp field assemblers, some derelict wrecks rusting away in remnants of hangars containing ring elements encapsulating them, entire facilities dedicated for creating wormhole linking systems... There wasn't really anything left that'd be of any real value to the scientist. But what had been laying there was just enough to prove that humanity indeed once roamed across the cosmos cheating the speed of light by significantly cutting on the paths and arriving at their destination way faster than the information about their departure... But as always, each discovery was bound to output more questions than answer. If Intergalactic Federation had the capability to go superluminal, then "rescue fleet" was already late, way too late for their travel means. With a respected space force, N.O.V.A. might be ready to maintain the power in the confrontation with them, but there might as well never be a confrontation as the fleet might as well not arrive at all. Did this mean Intergalactic Federation was no more, just like civilization in the Solar System? Had such a mighty work of human race really turned into radioactive ashes, no matter the celestial body? But then how was it possible for the message about incoming assistance be broadcasted? Could an automated system survive entire apocalypse in operational condition despite decades of no maintenance?

Whatever the case, Exadev Space Industries was determined to figure it out before anything extrasolar would threaten their position. CEOs hardly cared about the cost and means anymore - all they wanted was a spacecraft that would allow a preemptive strike on Trappist-1 system quicker than the information about its launch would take to reach and alarm whoever was messaging from there.
 
The following users thanked this post: nuclearslurpee

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Century of a Great Divide
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2022, 05:44:02 PM »
Century of a Great Divide

XXIII century by many had already been titled as "Century of a Great Divide" despite it having barely started. And it wasn't just some low-effort awareness spreading about skyscrapers breaching the cloud layers and glittering with blue-purple neons right next to the slums outside of environmental protection barriers. It wasn't about the dichotomy of wanting to rebuild Earth's climate and preserving its wasteland at the same time. As for the latter, it wasn't just Church of Singularity and likeminded folks who wanted Earth's biosphere to stay dead - there was an entire philosophical movement dedicated to preserving the monument of destruction as a warning for future generations to never repeat the mistakes of the Old World. And apparently some of the slums inhabitants themselves wanted the planet to remain lifeless, because they were happy to see all the corporations and their security keep to megacities and leave them alone. And finally the Great Divide wasn't even about the growing concerns about androids and humans with regards to job opportunities, since many wage slaves slaves had enough difficulty making ends meet already that androids taking away their unskilled labour they could provide were a final nail to the coffin from their perspective, a tale old as industrial revolution. It was about all of these at once. And more.

***Android dilemma***

Joe Smith was probably the most average Joe from entire Night City. An apartment on the lower floors of some rusty block of flats, one of many stacked on top of each other to house as many "Big Dreamers" arriving at the "City of Dreams" as possible while cutting on costs disregarding any BHP protocols, a rusty car holding together only thanks to elaborate circuit sphagetti dynamically redirecting power to the engine parts that "needed it the most at the time", a dead end crappy corporate job with abusive boss and a bionic leg burning through all his savings after acid leak from his neighbour above had burnt through the biological one. Being a vent cleaner was a rough profession, especially with all the toxins, gasses, acids and mutated cockroaches one might stumble upon there, but Joe had mustered to climb yet another level of frustration and dissatisfaction when after all he's been through it was just his irresponsible neighbour who got him injured and disabled. At least he had a bit of a breathing room from the debt collectors after that incident when the local gang demanding payments for protection attempted to collect their share from Joe in the exact same moment when security forces of Duranium Component Inc decided to do it too and both parties ended up so absorbed in killing each other that they forgot about the original goal of their visit.

Joe didn't expect his shoe would be heavy enough to punch a hole in the television after watching officials from Avalon Heights Inc presenting their improved version of vent crawlers. He didn't get the bionic leg to be able to continue working only to be replaced by some toaster with modular, adaptive body allowing it to fit in a vent of pretty much any size, length and shape.

At the same time, in another district, Anthony Gyrostar was finishing loading his shotgun to be ready to welcome some of those weirdos protesting for "equal rights for androids" if they dared to enter his lawn. A basic autonomous blue collar worker and some people were already advocating for "equal rights". The whole protest looked as if someone took a bunch sci-fi films about androids dating back to the Old World and decided to make a parody about them. "If at least their artifical intelligence would really be an intelligence and resembled human behaviour..." - he thought to himself. Little did he know about the leader of this protest, though. Sarah Blight was smarter than the seller from Avalon Heights Inc persuading her to purchase a faulty model of kitchen servant believed. Of course the android could not be returned or exchanged for a new model thanks to all these complicated laws protecting corporate interests she didn't even try to learn and understand. Of course. But if this android had same rights as a human... That could open some field for negotiation and maneouvres. Because equal rights might as well mean equal responsibilities... And equal responsibilities might as well mean her being able to accuse the robot of sabotaging required work and having it judged and sentenced to pay reparations or something... To be honest, she wasn't very convinced herself, because one had to be a special kind of stupid corporations wouldn't invent some new bullsmeg laws to protect themselves from scenarios like that, but why not take a shot? Besides, any excuse to go out and yell "corps bad" was good enough of an excuse.

***Pulse continuous 30 volt battery clip laser blaster***

Laser rifles in small arms version were a dream of many corporate military officials ever since their "bigger cousins" were successfully used in Battle of Three Bodies, and after years of intense works first prototypes were available at last. But the real drama was about to start when American Frontier Protectorate decided to release an experimental civilian version. It wasn't even being intended for self-defence that much as well-established conventional firearms did the job just fine, it was mostly for sport target shooting really. Being a civilian version, the design had been stripped of its lethal capacity as much as possible. Firstly, to reduce the effective range beam wavelength was shortened, but only to the lower end of visible red range - the idea was that every shot from this weapon was to be seen with naked eyes, so no going further down to infrared. It also brought an additional market value since every laser weapon enthusiast knew red lasers were the coolest. Second limitation came in the form of fire modes - no continuous fire available, just very short, split-second pulses with a battery allowing up to no more than 30 of them before the need to reload. And finally, the beam focusing system. It had been carefully engineered to offer good precision from up close, but have the beam rapidly lose focus beyond a few hundred meters, turning it more into a fancy pointer for playing with cats rather than a weapon.

The release was very successful among whoever could afford it, but obviously things just couldn't stay this way. A wave of protests hit the Protectorate's HQ and corporate government buildings, advocating for banning the highly lethal "pulse continuous 30 volt battery clip laser blaster". Company's official statement involved pointing out lack of knowledge about direct-energy weapons displayed by many involved in the argument, but this only fueled their anti-laser sentiment. On the other side of the barricade things didn't look any more reasonable, though. Reports about individuals stocking on laser batteries and preparing for "when the little grey men will turn totalitarian instead of just leaving circles on the crops" were circulating through all kinds of media.

According to some small independent journalists it seemed like for the most part people were either enjoying burning through cardboard at the range or just personally staying away from the weapons and the only reason laser violence was growing was because more and more criminals and terrorists gave up on firearms to upgrade to lasers and the radical individuals with absurd theories or lack of knowledge were few and far in between, but everyone knew that listening to anything but mainstream media itself was an absurd idea in the black and white world.

Additionally, the music band "Augment the People" commented on the issue with their latest song "Bionic Limbs":

All the other punks with their bionic limbs,
you better run, run faster,
outrun my blaster.
All the other punks with their bionic limbs,
you better run, run faster,
faster than my laser.



***Protect Mother Earth***

Yellowpeace activists were expressing more and more concerns about the progress on terraforming. They claimed that according to their research, many species on Earth were doomed to go extinct if the installations weren't to be switched off immediately. For example, radroaches would have trouble adjusting to the environments with high humidity and many of their major breeding grounds were located in the exact spots where oceans and lakes were supposed to exist after terraforming. Moreover, global cooling could lead to the collapse of cybernetic industry as humans wouldn't need so many enchancements to survive on the planet anymore, setting back the global economy and creating mass poverty. With lowered temperatures many diseases that did not exist in the post-nuclear wasteland could reemerge and sweep across the globe, killing millions of people, not to mention in some areas it would be too cold for humans to live comfortably. And the beautiful landscape of endless yellow deserts and green radioactive plains would be gone forever. Recent initiatives of the organization involved protecting the populations of glowing mushrooms in the caves located close to the terraforming stations and advocating for increased fossil fuel consumption since the switch to nuclear car reactors reduced the amount of gasses required to maintain optimal temperatures.

However, these movements usually faced strong opposition, especially from TerraNova Inc and affiliated companies. A large portion of the population believed that climate change wasn't real as terraforming progressed too slowly and some even claimed they'd prefer if the climate was more temper. "They just don't care about poor radroaches!" was one of the most common accusation threw at these skeptics. TerraNovaInc was accusing Yellowpeace to collaborate with Church of Singularity during recent terrorist attacks, but a solid proof was yet to be found.

***Matrix Resurrection***

Research team from the Solenoyd Inc R&D department had claimed they had eventually gotten through all the logs and figured out the segmentation fault bug from the Matrix that was running in the N.O.V.A. Bunker System back in the day. Obviously the patch was delivered way too late as there was hardly anything left to patch, but CEO representatives at Solenoyd Inc expressed their excitement and hopes for "rapidly restoring the Matrix". At their press conference they expressed that while they can't fix all the problems of this universe, they might be able to create a better one, a world without suffering, where inhabitants would be allowed to fulfill their dreams for real this time, compared to being fooled to come to Night City (or any other city for that matter) only to fight for survival below poverty line, with their dreams staying in the dream phase permanently.

Of course there were enough people to protest, rioting about all the problems of the real world left unattended while the corporation plans to offer nothing but a meaningless, overglorified escapism, devoid of anything that has real value in life. In response to this, Solenoyd Inc released an official statement describing that once they reboot the Matrix, they'll "make sure every potential user has to work for the access", to "prevent absuing the system and leaving the real issues unattended" since "Matrix is supposed to be just happiness enchancement tool", not some "way to avoid taking responsibilities".
 
The following users thanked this post: nuclearslurpee

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Corporate Games
« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2022, 02:34:21 PM »
As years passed by, partnership between Exadev Space Industries and TerraNova Inc strenghtened. Maybe fusion reactors weren't primary specialization for the latter, but for sure they were primary need. With many ruins and scraps from the Old World repurposed and Earth population above 1,5 billion of people assembling more stations or upgrading the efficiency of new ones weren't much of an issue anymore, especially since the government was very supportive towards terraforming (the management didn't expect to find too many habitable worlds beyond Solar System...), but the whole operation needed power. Lots and lots of power. It was never satisified, always running below theoretical productivity only because there was just not enough power. Solenoyd Inc saw the opportunity to rise on the intercorporate field with its first effective, stable and self-propelled design only needing energy to kickstart it, but some CEOs were too hungry. They wanted to become the second power right after Exadev and that was just too much of a price to pay. Exadev deployed its best operational team - Blue Squad, named after the blue lasers they've got - the longest wavelength reachable for a portable version at a time - to storm Solenoyd orbital facility where the plans for the reactor had been kept. The attackers were willing to really pay a lot to get to them through honest means, because while the competition was slowly trying to catch up on the final frontier, the array of ultraviolet lasers and high-caliber railgun cannons was still something only N.O.V.A. Strike Force could blast through and the top-tier cybersecurity something only PURGE Elite Society hackers had the skills to breach and shut the defensive systems down remotely. The latter might not officially be affiliated with Exadev in any way since the Battle of Three Bodies, but in the collective consciousness it was not much more than a corporate cybersec department.

But "a lot" didn't really mean "propel the competition to be almost as influential as we", so the assault had been launched anyways. Lasers and railguns were left alone, a PURGE team did just enough to manufacture fake IDs for the Blue Squad and help them a bit during infiltration, careful to not display skills too far beyond other companies' equivalents. Still, it hardly mattered because TerraNova suddenly inventing own fusion reactors was enough for some hostile journalists to connect the dots. Another blow eventually came from the Church of Singularity - its leader claimed that the path towards singularity required an unrestricted access to bionics, unhindered by corporate greed and laws and preached the followers shall turn against the oppressors. At least that alone was easy to mitigate by gradually shifting the blame for "terrorist attacks" on terraforming facilities towards Yellowpeace, made that easier because of the climate restoration gaining full thrust with all stations fully powered with artificial suns, all with Yellowpeace growing less and less peaceful in the meantime.

In some regions rivers and lakes were already clean and lush green vegetation sprouted from the cleansed soil. And in these places it was warm greenery, not glittering glow of radioactive waste anymore. Temperature was falling steadily and was already below fourty degrees average. Frequency of sandstorm and density of caustic fog decreased. Earth still had a long way of recovery, but those raised on the tales from the Blue Planet were happy to witness the healing process. Some time more citizens of Neo Petersburg saw a first snowfall. It might have melted down instantly, but it was only for the better as snow was a forgotten concept and no city was ready for it.

However, grass was always greener on the neighbour's yard. The enclaves of clean environment didn't last long before being walled off completely and becoming prime spots for rich people to settle down, away from the noise and filth of megacities. Some still preferred their penthouses on the 500th floor, but entire new buisnesses sprouted from building and caring for these exclusive neighbourhoods and its inhabitants. And just like it didn't take long for the rich to profit off the fruits of labour of terraformers employed at TerraNova Inc, it didn't take long for the poor to rebel. Deformed humans and children of the first generation of those "bionic outcasts", pushed away from the healing grounds and beyond the sight of wealthy sitting in front of their villas, they found it hard to cram in the tiny spots of ground poisoned enough for rich to not distract them there, but not enough to make it uninhabitable even for them with all their bionic enchancements. Corporate security had a lot of work fending off "savage hordes" trying to breach the energetic walls guarding the splendid neighbourhoods. However, the final straw for serious riots was when some extravagant retired managers from American Frontier Protectorate decided to entertrain themselves by going for "mutant hunting".

Protectorate had its own enemies, though. Just like every business out there. Cosmotech was among the most salty ones. The company was on the verge of moving its plasma rifle design beyond prototype stage, only for laser blasters to dominate both civilian and PMC markets. The whole project was founded on the idea that laser cannons required just too much power and too much cooling to be effective on anything but a vehicle or static structure, but Protectorate had proven these estimations blatantly inaccurate. Inaccurate like plasma rifles. There was nothing that could beat laser beam in precision. Effective range extended all the way to the maximum damaging range, limited only by the skills of a shooter. And manufacturer's of military bionic eyes and arms. And even beyond damaging range, it wasn't unheard of for snipers to be able to at least temporarily blind the target if the eyes were biological. And as soon as fusion reactors would get their dedicated portable model, the power of laser weaponry would only grow. Plasma had its own merits, namely decent aerial damage which was non-existent for lasers, but it was just not enough to go beyond niche roles. For sure it could serve as a shotgun, but with the accuracy and effective range of a gunpowder-based assault rifle, but it wasn't firearms this design had to outperform anymore.

The plan was simple. Many of the ones unfortunate enough to end up in slums had two things: bionics and deep hatred for anything even slightly organised and profit-oriented, with American Frontier Protectorate temporairly on the top of "to send to hell" list. And Cosmotech was one of the few buisnesses that was willing to acknowledge that poor didn't have to mean stupid. After all, if Cosmotech wanted to take Exadev's position, it needed its own PURGE, too. And endless slums meant endless pool of test subjects volountary recruits for various cybernetic warfare-related projects. In particular they could be outfitted with the highly dnagerous neural implant released by Duranium Components Inc about the same time more serious riots broke out. It was enchancing analythical skills and persistence among the users, but at the same time it was bound to fry the brain within a month or two of usage, leaving the patient dead or in a coma or vegetative state at best. Cosmotech salespeople even managed to get a discount in exchange for providing the seller with detailed scientific reports on the chip usage.

Unfortunately for the ordinary augmented person, Cosmotech's plot wasn't an isolated case. As the prices of basic implants plummeted when upgraded versions made it to the market, alongside the percentage of enchanced people grew the dangers associated with the technology. It wouldn't be anything worse than computer virsues if not for the small detail of these computers being inside one's body. And the decisions made by some companies raised concerns for some folk. For example, Solenoyd Inc was the first company to force all of its employees to swap their ID, wallet, bank account and smartphone for a biochip version, all accessible directly from their brain. In the meantime Avalon Heights Inc manufactured its own line of bionic limbs, the first models to officially have internet access "so that clients wouldn't have to go visit a LIMB clinic to receive driver updates, now automatically downloaded from the network, all for their convenience and well-being", as the official statement claimed.

***Commercial break***

Walking with your head in the clouds? Wish your legs could follow? Reach new heights with Avalon Heights Inc limited-time offer bionic legs! Now with internet access for automatic drivers updating! Downloaded from the cloud storage, just to make sure you'll never have to get back down! Buy three and the fourth is for free!

Disappointed that Velociraptors have only seven laser blasters despite Exadev claiming in its commercial they have one hundred? Worry no more! Only till the end of month, American Frontier Protectorate brings to you the possibility to buy one hundred laser blasters for the price of only eighty! Hurry up and claim what's rightfully yours!

Grass is always greener on the other side, huh? We at TerraNova Inc know the feeling! Buy our Personal Terraforming Assistant today and let the grass be green on your side, too! Also, by supporting our terraforming project you help make Earth more beautiful each day and pave the way towards terraforming Mars, too! Only terrorists from Yellowpeace would not be happy to have such an opportunity presented to them! And you don't support terrorists, do you?

Came to the City of Dreams only to realize you can't fulfill your dreams with your legs glued to the ground? We, the CEOs of Exadev Space Industries feel you. It's impossible to live your dreams down on Earth. Reserve your spot for a commercial tour across the Solar System today! Half the profit will be used to fuel our research into FTL technology so that one day you can take a trip beyond our own Sun!

Lunar gravity makes it hard for you to firmly stand on the ground? Duranium Components Inc might just have a solution for all your low gravity-induced health issues! Our Lunar Protection Pack offers a wide variety of bionics designed to make your life on the Moon easier, healthier and happier! Why worry about your damaged body parts if you can just replace them? Special discount for loyal employees who've worked at our company for more than ten years while living on the Moon!
« Last Edit: March 30, 2022, 02:41:00 PM by Stormtrooper »
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Vicious Circle
« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2022, 07:10:23 PM »
Vicious Circle

Research into FTL wasn't progressing as Exadev would have wanted. It was a simple sentence, but sometimes the truth was really that simple and any attempt to tell something more elaborate was doomed to fail even before somebody would think about attempting to make that attempt. There were three basic concepts for the physicists to pursue: Alcubierre drive, wormholes and hyperdrive. The first one was probably the "simplest" thing to fogure out, because it checked all the known physics... Except one minor, unimportant and completely irrelevant detail: the negative energy density required to warp space accordingly. It required understanding of exotic or dark matter, something that even if the Old World knew about, had been long lost to countless wars that had brought the history to a halt. It was already possible to optimize geometry of a warp bubble (some physicists noticed how the better the designs were, the closer the warp bubble shape resembled a flying saucer...), just not really construct it. As for the wormholes and hyperdrive, it looked far more bleak, though. No astronomer had ever spotted a wormhole "in nature" and even if they really existed, building own ones was another topic. Breaching through the fabric of space to reach fourth dimension was even worse. There was just no way to make it work at the current technological level. Employed physicists liked to say "four dimensions of space, four bazillion dimensions of complexity", every time management tried to suggest them to focus on hyperspace-related research when their reports on Alcubierre Drive were deemed unsatisfactory (which, by pure coincidence, happened every time they were supposed to present a progress report).

However, New World had something the Old World cound't have when paving the path towards superluminal velocity: a solid, undefiable proof that FTL travel was possible and within human reach. It must had been invented at least once in the past by the same species, even if not by the same civilization. And that alone was probably the only thing that kept Exadev's ownership to just throw more and more money at the project, no matter what obstacles it had to overcome.

However, just getting to Trappist 1 alone was just a brief and easy introduction. There was no way telling what awaited on the other side of space and time, but it was reasonable to assume it packed more of a punch than a Velociraptor. And in theory it could still get too close to the Sun first, hence why military modernization was as much of an important project as FTL. Velociraptor might be good enough to rule over the Sun, but never Trappist 1. A new generation of warships, each with its own little star inside in the form of a fusion reactor, was needed. As well as many fixes and improvements over the design philosophy and warfare strategy, with errors too many of which were glaringly obvious after the Battle of Three Bodies. But just because it was easier than FTL, didn't mean engineers hadn't met their own trouble. The most obvious one was the struggle to make any laser firing on wavelength longer than ultraviolet. Reaching that sweet X-Ray presented itself as something already too much to ask for. Theoretically not a big deal, but chances were stuff patrolling Trappist 1 might have something better than ultraviolet. Other complications were similar in nature: too much of a friction heat generated by the more powerful variants of railguns, too long accelerators for upgraded particle beams range, too complicated onboard software, too power-hungry shields (even for fusion reactors...), too little funding (FTL still got priority no matter what), too little time (that was common across all projects, at least).

Simply put, nothing seriously blocking engaged teams to move forward, just a big pile of engineering obstacles that alone weren't worth too much attention but together merged into a huge quicksand pit to get sucked into. But one had to start somewhere eventually and that's when Exadev's upper management decided to roll out their hydrogen harvesting operations. It consisted of impressive mobile stations with reinforced anti-pressure hull patterns and scoops for shiponing hydrogen directly out of the air of a gas giant, combined with onboard fuel processing plant that served to compress hydrogen a bit to save space and have it already partially prepared for refueling the reactor. Despite advancements in power generation that could have been reflected in the engine design, Stellar Vultures were to still use old ion engines. The explanation was simple: the design itself had its years already and shiponing Jupiter just wasn't deemed profitable enough before. And updating the design wasn't worth it either - hydrogen harvesting platform didn't really need to generate much of a thrust to stay productive.


Quote
Stellar Vulture class Fuel Harvester    60 000 tons     260 Crew     1867 BP      TCS 1200  TH 1200  EM 0
1000 km/s     Armor 1-136     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 19    Max Repair 75 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Spare Berths 2
Fuel Harvester: 15 modules producing 960000 liters per annum

300 EP Commercial Ion Drive (4)    Power 300    Fuel Use 7.07%    Signature 300    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 11 100 000 Liters    Range 470.9 billion km   (5450 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes


The harvesters were engineered in a way that should allow them to fly towards Jupiter, refuel all their tanks and come back, burning much less fuel than shiponing during each trip, but nevertheless, Exadev's management agreed to sign up a contract with Cloudpunk to handle their fuel logistics. The company looked promising, didn't ask too many questions about all the fuel and its purpose and in case of some backstabbing their delivery ship firstly would have to fase N.O.V.A. Strike Force not being there for their protection anymore and the corporation could always afford to making harvesters themselves fly the trip.


Quote
Cloudpunk class Delivery Ship    20 000 tons     114 Crew     749 BP      TCS 400  TH 1200  EM 0
3000 km/s     Armor 1-65     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 1023    Max Repair 75 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Spare Berths 1
Cargo 5000

300 EP Commercial Ion Drive (4)    Power 300    Fuel Use 7.07%    Signature 300    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 4 010 000 Liters    Range 510.4 billion km   (1969 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes


With fuel and terraforming projects secured, government could proceed with its plans. But it was fighting a war on two fronts. Preparing Trappist 1 campaign alone had been forcing CEOs to push employess to work absolutely volountary and optional Company Dedication Hours and that was only half the big picture. The other front was, surprise surprise, domestic. And owners of the corporation had hardly anyone but themselves to blame to let Cosmotech slip under the radar for so long. But the sudden worry came for reasons one might not expect at first. It wasn't their ambition to compete and beat the ones ruling the world with bionic fist on the final frontier. It wasn't the current portfolio of the company. Their plasma rifles hardly mattered in the bigger picture and it was totally meaningless whether their designs would improve over time to even surpass laser weaponry. But what did matter was their ideas. Dangerous ideas. Ideas they'd not have come up with if they were big and experienced enough. Something that for sure could destroy American Frontier Protectorate... Just like anybody else, with themselves being consumed first due to the small size.

Arming frustrated masses with top-notch tech that might have made them essentially kamikaze, but was deadly and had the potential to become that much deadiler once improvements would cleanse it of the kamikaze curse, was dangerous. But perhaps even more dangerous was the philosophical aspect of the whole operation. It gave those people a purpose to rally behind. It didn't matter than for every ten implanted nine would die in the first 24 hours after implanting the experimental biochip and the lucky tenth had a short life expectancy anyways. It didn't matter most would never get a chance to even participate in the test. What mattered was that many from the slums were becoming test subjects volountairly. And not because of propaganda. They were fully aware about what was going to happen, but they still craved it. Protectorate might be their first target, but not the last.

But while this attempt of creating "mutant cyborg army" could be blamed on the stupidity of Cosmotech, the Duranium Components Inc involvement didn't add up. In the very short term the whole affair was very beneficial to their research, but what could they hope for next time? That somehow they'll snatch control of the "slum army" and use it to fuel their own agenda? Possibly. But why would they be willing to risk everything? "Because they had never faced an open rebellion" - said to himself one of the upper managers, old enough to still remember the stories of first rebel generation. And that coupled with short-term profit really nailed it. And the only way to beat it was to get better at controlling it than Duranium Components Inc management intended to be.
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Big Blaster
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2022, 07:45:21 PM »
More corporate officials trembled as the walking definitions of "high tech, low life" started making their name with first successful operations, hacking, assasinations and general resistance. And even worse, low class inhabitants of megacities had already started supporting them from time to time. Soon Earth, Moon and Mars alike were singing the new song about the efforts of this new anti-corporate opposition.

Big Blaster

To the city of Cydonia flew a low life one fine day,
Hardly spoke to punks around him, didn't have too much to say
No one dared to ask his fixer, no one dared to make a slip
For the stranger there among them had a big blaster and brain chip
Big blaster and brain chip

It was early in the evening when he entered into bar
He came flying from the slum side scannin' people all around
He's a cyborg loose and running, came the whisper from each lip
And he's here to do some business with the big blaster and brain chip
Big blaster and brain chip

In Cydonia lived a CEO by the nickname Lazer Red
Many fixers tried to hack him and that many fixers failed
He was CEO and exploiter though a youth of 24
And the trillions in his account numbered one and 19 more
One and 19 more

Now the stranger started hacking, made it plain to punks around
Was a wasteland ranger, wouldn't be too long on Mars
He came here to ruin the CEO, corporation maybe two
And he said it didn't matter he was after Lazer Red
After Lazer Red

Wasn't long before the story was relayed to Lazer Red
But the CEO didn't worry men that tried before were dead
20 hackers had tried to expose him, 20 hackers had made a slip
21 would be the cyborg with the big blaster and brain chip
Big blaster and brain chip

Cyborg breached the sec so quickly, it was time for them to meet
It was 20 past 11 when they walked the neon street
CEOs looked from skyscrapers, everybody held their breath
They knew this savy cyborg was about to meet his death
About to meet his death

There was 40 floors between them when they stopped to make their play
And the swiftness of the cyborg is still talked about today
Lazer Red had not called for sec 'fore a laser fairly ripped
And the cyborg's aim was deadly with the big blaster and brain chip
Big blaster and brain chip

It was over in a moment and the punks had gathered round
There before them lay CEO's secret data on the ground
Oh, he might have went on exploiting but he made one fatal slip
When he tried to match the cyborg with the big blaster and brain chip
Big blaster and brain chip
Big blaster, big blaster
When he tried to match the cyborg with the big blaster and brain chip
Big blaster and brain chip

« Last Edit: March 30, 2022, 07:54:54 PM by Stormtrooper »
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Dreams of Old World
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2022, 05:47:35 PM »
Dreams of Old World

Just as experts at Exadev had predicted, "Neon Kamikaze" initiative yelded great profits in the short term. Generations of slum dwellers got their brains implanted and fried as less powerful companied trembled upon hearing about those fearless wasteland runners. At the same time Cosmotech was mostly left intact, ensuring staying on the positive page by some PR initiatives to help a wasteland community occassionally and spending three times as much to make as big fuss about it in the media as possible. The money they stole earned through honest and hard work from overthrowing minor and medium-sized competition opened up many possibilities in front of the rapidly growing business.

Exadev was pushing through the FTL research, which had finally displayed some visible results (manipulating spacetime continuum on a quantum level opened up options to bend it both ways - contract and expand - providing the means to assemble full warp bubble and the pioneer microcosmic-scale experiments looked promising), but ironically it got blocked once again by a mundane, almost trivial, complication: starships of the future required an extraordinarily tough hull, in particular the warp rings. The theoretical problem of space dust particles slipping inside warp bubble and impacting over the hull with great force remained unresolved. There was a next-gen cross-layered subatomic plating design that could withstand these impacts by providing a structure capable of deflecting particles and altering their course while absorbing only part of the kinetic energy, small enough to come out unscratched, but it needed as much modularity and suppleness as it needed toughness. Duranium was good enough for conventional velocities, but for space dust interacting with warp bubble something else was needed.

Scientists on Martian labs figured a formula for strenghtening Duranium via iridium particles enrichement without compromising on material's nimbleness. Optionally the new alloy, named Mercassium, could be coated in graphene layer just for some extra protection against extreme conditions. But no innovations in mining industry were going to make up for the scarcity of iridium in Earth's crust. Asteroid belt, that was a different story though. Similarily, biotech companies strived to upgrade their bionic products' durability. Mercassium was perfect for the task. And Exadev could get absurdly rich from Mercassium alone... if it could only get enough iridium to feed the factories.

And that is where Cosmotech stepped in, bringing an impressive fleet of Lazer Frictions:


Quote
Lazer Friction class Mining Ship    40 000 tons     360 Crew     1549.4 BP      TCS 800  TH 800  EM 0
1000 km/s     Armor 1-104     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 24    Max Repair 120 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Spare Berths 0
Asteroid Miner: 6 modules producing 150 tons per mineral per annum

400 EP Commercial Magneto-plasma Drive (2)    Power 400    Fuel Use 6.19%    Signature 400    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 3 600 000 Liters    Range 261.8 billion km   (3030 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes


After all the funding pumped into the project, a powerful laser grid cannons had been developed, establishing an effective, fast strip-mining technique for rapidly fragmenting asteroids and extracting minerals buried within them. All while Exadev grew more and more iridium-hungry. The hostility of dealing with Cosmotech was obvious, but on the other hand management really didn't feel like waiting for Alcubierre drives forever. In case of an emergency, N.O.V.A. Strike Force would be just enough to cleanse Cosmotech from present, history and the future. The deal was about to be cut as soon as short-term supply was secured anyways, giving Exadev some breathing room to develop their own asteroid mining solutions.

In the long term the problem with Neon Kamikaze persisted, in the short term the future of Exadev looked suspiciously stable, but it all changed when explorers awakened something buried deep down in the radioactive ice sheets of Europa.

Exadev Space Industries HQ, Cydonia Megacity, 5th October 2221

Fuki Detsu: During our latest voyage to Europe... We've found something... Disturbing...

Kiefer McRaven: ?!... I thought you've already explored most points of interest... It was once a nice colony. Multiple megacities, terraformed, genetic modifications for low gravity adaptation, some useful stuff... Still radioactive after the end of the world, but nothing TerraNova Inc couldn't fix. We'd have been settling down here already if not for our budget being eaten by interstellar expansion...

FD: Sir... It's not about tech. We've found... this recording. IT analytics already confirmed: It is an authentic audio file from 2077. By that year the apocalypse was looming over the Solar System and even the most skeptical citizens worried...


KM: Aaaand?... The pont is?... It's just some rambling about the incoming doom. The Old World ended, hardly a classified information by now. Probably plenty of these are yet to be found.

FD: The point is this one, unlike any other that had been excavated from any ruins till now, reveals just too much about things that'd be better let to die, forgotten in the wasteland... "Will you come away with me?" "Will you come to Tech Noir with me?" Just look at this data! Tech Noir: an extravagant company specializing in deep space exploration, cryogenic sleep and civilian transit. Coincidence? If these weren't the guys doing the Solar System Evacuation then this was all a hoax and no human had ever left the Solar System at all. Their profits skyrocketed in 2077, the year most of the population got convinced there was no hope left.

KM: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand?...

FD: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it's not your ordinary "say goodbye to humanity" type of recording. Our most talented cryptographers deciphered it... It's all a code. The details are in the report, but let me just say that this wasn't your average Joe. This guy knew. He knew about A.F.R.I.C.A. And, apparently, it was more than just some means to locate and go back for the survivors. Rememebr those quantum computing side projects? Our current prototypes might suck, but we've been able to partially decode quantum cyberarchive from N.O.V.A. Bunker System... Well, at least the undamaged part. Looks like the founders of the company really didn't like the project. Something about it made them feel seriously threatened. Guess the intuition to prepare for battle with Trappist 1 fleet was correct approach all the way through...

KM: Why didn't you say instantly?! Well, nevermind... Make sure no mutant with fried brain ever hacks this. And to ensure this... DO NOT UPLOAD IT ANYWHERE. Just bury it deep in some secure location. I need to think. Maybe we need more funding for quantum computers... Quantum mechanic is already helpful for FTL, after all... Damn, I have a feeling we're spreading too thin and doing too much at once even for the size of our... Ekhm, MY corporation.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2022, 05:49:52 PM by Stormtrooper »
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Free Rights and Right to Freedom
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2022, 04:50:39 PM »
By 2230s upper management had finally admitted the riots'd grown out of hand once again. Blue Squad did a nice job with mercassium-coated barrels of their shiny new laser-guided plasma rifles, a fusion between Cosmotech and Exadev technology, giving the firepower of heated plasma a laser-grade accuracy and with the beam keeping the heat from dissipating over much longer distances, but the same plasma rifles occassionally brough doom to their users and everyone nearby when the firewall on bionic arm wouldn't hold that one attack resulting in compromise of cybernetic aim assist. Of course Duranium Components Inc had their killswitch programmed in every brain chip implanted into some Neon Kamikaze, but the software's been questionable at best given it had serious issues propagating through the network of the chips, killing hosts faster than it had time to send the triggering message to others, not to mention the 36% rate of straight-up refusing to work at all.

But Exadev wouldn't dare to let history repeat itself. It was stretched too thin even without riots. Too many projects going on at once and nobody at the company liked to think about the competition reaping all the fruits of their work on FTL propulsion systems, having someone else be the first to build a starship.And Exadev had a plan. An unknown CEO whose name's been lost to Old World history once said:

"Enslave a person and tell them they belong to you - they'll do whatever they can to run away or rebel. You'll break many, but somebody somewhere will succeed. But tell a person they're free and they'll fight to the bitter end by your side for you gave them freedom - something worthy of dying for, something worthy to declare belonging to."

It was so simple yet so hard to come up with. Giving an illusion of freedom so that the rebels would drop their guns, convinced they've won already. Easier said than done, though. One couldn't expect any corporation to just say "ok you won, we'll treat you better" and expect everything to work out just fine. Either the rebels wouldn't believe or they would which would set competition on high alert in fear of them being the next ones who have to give up. That's why a deal with Yoshii Yukinaga had to be arranged. Avalon Heights Inc was supposed to share their latest line of androids with Exadev, which role would be to serve as a "third side" - a movement advocating for mediation and signing peace between corps and rioters. A movement advocating for establishing a first post-post-apocalypse government representing the best interests of people, willing to compromise between keeping the free market operating and citizens happy, giving everyone a chance to speak up about own struggles and troubles and elect an official representative for working on solving these struggles and troubles.

Each android from this new line stood no chance facing a Turing's test. But together... The crowd of the androids was not much stupider than the crowd of humans. And all these robots had to accomplish was to successfully participate in a few protests and open meetings with Exadev PR representatives before enough real humans would follow that they'd no longer be needed. But as everything, it came at a price. Avalon Heights wanted a fair share of quantum research data, preferably related to the concept of applying quantum computing for designing rapidly learning, elaborate artificial intelligence, processing an impressive amount of of human concepts at once, mimicking a human behaviour to the unprecedenced degree, or alternatively just learning how to do more complex job than vent cleaning or purging slums. Exadev agreed, hoping in the long run they'd benefit from this project, too.

By the year 2233 first public discussion that didn't end up with laser fire barrage took place on the streets of Neo Tokyo. In 2334 Cydonia was the first megacity to have a mayor elected, officially independent from the corporations. Near the end of that year, TerraNova Inc agreed to dismantle one terraforming installation to protect a very important radroach breeding den after Yellowpeace protests, saving the animals from drowning in soon-to-be-created lake. Till 2238 every megacity on Earth, Mars and Moon had its own mayor as well as senate, all certainly without any possible ties to corporations.

To ensure all of this progressed smoothly, thousands of quantum servers kept operating at full power to be absolutely sure that nothing threatened the new balance and corruption had no entrance into this new world order. One of the most important tasks was to erase all traces of claims that some politicans had been corporate managers before or owned a significant portions of the stock or had a relative who was a CEO. New AI admins could estimate that such opinions held a 37,6789% increase in likehood of ideas classified as "radical" taking roots within society and any radical idea was a straightforward way back to the N.O.V.A. Megacorps or Comitee of Humanity oppression and the most importnat threat to personal freedom. However, despite best efforts of absolutely independent Facegram department in improving bots surveying the network for radical content, some opinions still could stay publicly accessible for longer than the assumed safety margin of fifteen minutes. AI calculated that for every minute above this time window, the risk of someone infected with corrupt thoughts deciding to run for the office increased by 2,35%, which was more than assumed safety margin of 0,00%. Because of this, additional safety measures in the form of pre-screening candidates for any anti-freedom beliefs had to be maintained. Prime examples of anti-freedom stance included claims about Facegram being a secret Avalon Heights Inc project, 97% of Night City senate members having Exadev Space Industries-related background, leaders of this movement that obviously was without any flaws supposedly not being real humans or unsupported, outrageous claims about the financial situation of 99,9999999% of citizens not improving beyond poverty level.

And so the humanity progressed beyond corporate oppression and with democratic governments guarding human rights and freedom nothing could stop it anymore. The stars layed in front, ready to be conquered.
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Next Century Tech
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2022, 06:14:04 PM »
With the rebels celebrating their hard-earned "freedom" and taking themselves out of the question, Exadev was free to get lost in the FTL research. Equations of quantum warp continuum were held as the key, but the engineering part still was left behind. Even best fusion reactors struggled to generate enough energy to warp a chunk of space big enough to fit a starship comfortably, let alone for long enough to push the ship through it. But some brave scientists from N.O.V.A. Bunker System had a different idea. Their plan was to use the warp bubble-establishing rings surrounding the spaceship to hold a particle accelerator designed to generate small black holes. These black holes would then be used to provide just enough gravity to do something akin to brute-forcing enough spacetime curvature for a brief moment before these small, unstable objects would evaporate. Their second function would be to let the travelling ship do a small slingshot around them, gaining enough speed to squeeze through this temporarily available warp bubble fast enough till it'd collapse under itself as the space straightened. It had an additional benefit of exponential effective speed gain.

In the meantime labs of Solenoyd Inc weren't any less busier, even though the distances and speeds of the company's own transit project could suggest otherwise. A retrofuturistic dream of many was coming close to fulfilling when the corporation presented the first prototype of a flying car that wasn't much harder to drive than ground car and didn't require a pilot's license. The issue of disastrous consequences of people ramming into buildings still needed some tweaking, but the owner of Solenoyd Inc was confident that this invention was to revolutionize city transit. It could even make activists happy by removing all the busy highways and moving all the automobile transport to the sky, stretching it over dozens of levels of air corridors so that not a single one would experience traffic jams, leaving ground for pedestrians and corporate communal spaces.

But as Exadev and Solenoyd counted their profits, Duranium Components Inc and Avalon Heights Inc weren't too happy when Broken Heart Biotech Group released their first line of artificially grown organs, purely biological with only minor improvements over natural counterparts, offering an alternative to those sceptical about installing metal and electronics into their insides and making organ donating an obsolete act. For now the product of trending business offered hardly any advantages other than natural human body parts, but rumours spoke about them working really hard on genetically modifying their wares, making them a well-designed biological alternative to cybernetic industry.

Near the end of 2230s TerraNova Inc announced that the Earth's atmosphere was safe and comfortable to breathe without any kind of respiratory support. Water levles rose to the satisfactory levels and lush biosphere thrived on land, in water, in air and below the ground. In addition the corporate owner admitted that in order to celebrate the official completion of Earth's climate restoration project, his company made sure to reduce the number of slums sprawling outside megacities, vastly improving the average living conditions of a statistical Earthling. Radical, anti-freedom keyboard warriors posted evidence of many of the poorest neighbourhoods getting flooded after rising water levels, but AI admins quickly took care of this nonsense.

By the early 2240s, Solenoyd Inc organised a "Tale of Two Matrixes" event. During the conference, two of the newest products were presented. One was simply a Hover Repulsor Anti-Crash Matrix for safe flying cars navigation. Every air corridor barrier and skyscraper was expected to have one installed. It was an array capable of emitting small electromagnetic pulses in either pre-programmed or dynamically generated patterns forcing the flying car to stay on track and away from collision points by gradually slowing it down or even pushing in the opposite direction, with the deceleration levels depending on the velcoity and distance to obstacle. Some tweaks were obviously required for this system to be successfully applied to avoiding collisions between two vehicles themselves. The other Matrix, though, was obviously what every attendant really wanted to hear about. By unifying computing power with Facegram department, (with the latter only officially renting some of its machines and having nothing to do with the project since any accusations of ties of the independent organisation with private businesses were ridiculous), the corporation had successfully built an "Enriched Reality". It was a network designed to cheer its users up by adding pleasant, virtual elements to their perception of the world around. For example, a person plugged in could feel a chair being more comfortable than it really was or their food tasting better, or a kitten approaching them and asking to be pet. However, engineers behind this system hoped that gathering data from users could help develop a much broader catalogue of pleasant experiences and feelings, leaving more positive impact on the individual. The idea quickly generated interest, with some suggesting similar concept could be used to filter out unpleasant experiences.

In 2242, when the three worlds were busy hyping over Enriched Reality, a lone spaceship flashed above Cydonia, sortly after blinked in between Earth and Moon, only to later end up floating in the rings of Saturn. Space transit was dense enough that nobody paid enough attention and Exadev could test their ideas at peace. The black hole generation idea was a brilliant one. Synthetic Dawn met all the travel time expectations, didn't get crushed by warp bubble collapsing onto it or something, with the cherry on top being excelling at navigation and collision avoidance tests, with the ship completing a full warp bubble drop within a planetary ring before smashing against some space debris. at superluminal effective speed. Outfitted with best sensors available, a decent supply of self-replicating probes and a bunch railguns for anti-missile defence should it run into either hostile Trappist-1 fleet or just some asteroids too fast to be avoided, it was ready to meet whatever awaited at the Final Frontier.


Quote
Synthetic Dawn class Exploration Ship    30 000 tons     609 Crew     3207 BP      TCS 600  TH 2400  EM 0
4000 km/s    JR 3-50     Armor 1-86     Shields 0-0     Sensors 6/6/4/4     Damage Control Rating 43     PPV 0
Maint Life 4.43 Years     MSP 2875    AFR 167%    IFR 2.3%    1YR 236    5YR 3545    Max Repair 593 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 60 months    Spare Berths 0

J30000(3-50) Alcubierre Drive     Max Ship Size 30000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
400 EP Commercial Magneto-plasma Drive (6)    Power 400    Fuel Use 6.19%    Signature 400    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 3 000 000 Liters    Range 290.9 billion km   (841 days at full power)

CIWS-160 (3x6)    Range 1000 km     TS: 16000 km/s     ROF 5       Base 50% To Hit

Thermal Sensor TH1-6 (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  6m km
EM Detection Sensor EM1-6 (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  6m km
Improved Gravitational Sensors (2)   4 Survey Points Per Hour
Improved Geological Sensors (2)   4 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Interstellar Glow
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2022, 06:55:52 PM »
Interstellar Glow

Trappist 1, a choice so obvious it was too obvious to be the one inputted into the interstellar navigation computer. Some soldiers and mid-rank officers were eager to go meet their fate in what might as well be the capital system of Intergalactic Federation (or whatever was left from it), but veterans commanding in the Battle of Three Bodies remembered the horrors of entire ships vaporized in seconds by purple laser fire all too well to bravely but stupidly march into the lion's mouth directly. With some successful experiments on fusion missiles, upgraded EMP arrays for next-gen PURGE vessels and engineers continuing to push the wavelength of lasers well beyond visible spectrum one could say modernized fleet was, well... Modernized. That was it, really. If nuclear warheads and purple lasers were enough to melt the ships of old within seconds or minutes, then fusion warheads and ultraviolet lasers must have been enough to melt the ships of new within seconds or minutes. And who was to guarantee humans who continued to develop and expand away from Solar System didn't already wield anything from antimatter cannons to directed black hole generators.

Solar System survivors needed preparation and resources. And a few backup plans in case photonic missiles started raining down on the Sun turning it into supernova on a spot. Centauri system got rejected. Proxima b was very unlikely to support life out of the box, but with just a little bit of terraforming and orbital anti-cosmic radiation shielding it was a decent planet to live on. Likehood of running into federal forces was too high. The destination couldn't be a system within at least ten light years from Earth at all, really. And within ten light years from Trappist 1, too. Eventually the agreed target for first exploration mission and extrasolar colonization came out to be Tau Ceti. Under twelve light years away, so close enough but above assumed safety margin. Decent planetary system, likely resource-rich, but no confirmed planets with surface liquid water. Again, nothing terraforming couldn't fix, but the risk couldn't be brought down to zero - whatever TerraNova Inc could turn into a second Earth must have been assumed to end up becoming a second Earth even faster under federal regime.

On 1st June 2248, 23:34 Earth time, Trappist Group Beta, an operational force of three Synthetic Dawns, warped space on the outskirts of Solar System and disappeared into the endless night.

On 24th July 2249, 19:09 Earth time, employees working in Trappist Group Beta were the first of the new generation of humans to ever see an alien sun from up close. Tau Ceti looked almost the same as the one they left behind...

To much of a relief, no life signs had been detected. No complex life-bearing planets, no surface liquid water, no electromagnetic signals. Just a dead static of the universe.



Oddly enough, the system bore some resemblance of the Solar System. Only three terrestial planets and no asteroid belts, but then four gas giants orbiting much further away from the sun than the rocky bodies. First one was a molten rock under well over fourty atmospheres of carbon dioxide and sulphur acids, the next one was a frozen dwarf, but the third one looked promising. Almost -130C surface temperature and only one third of Earth's gravity, but with lots of water on the surface. And traces of pure oxygen atmosphere. Just like Europe, but bigger. A prime spot for terraforming, also ready for almost instant colonization by people with thermoregulating implants.

Meanwhile back in the Solar System another crisis was looming ahead. The total population stabilised at about one and a half billion people. The virtually-enchanced lifestyle was too comfortable to afford kids. Only the slums population kept growing steadily despite high mortality rate and rampant violence. Contraception implants were slowly disappearing from cybernetic market as sex androids got better at mimicking human behaviours. Some to the point customers complained about the ridiculousness of "their friend's" android "not being in the mood". However, majority of people still wanted to have kids at some point. Doesn't mean the majority could. If it wasn't for one chip too many completely screwing hormonal regulations and degrading the chances of bearing any children, let alone healthy ones, it was for the radioactive fog emitted by the machinery keeping the megacities up and running.

After a bunch of absolutely peaceful discussions that did not involve laser fire and to think they did was ridiculousTM departments working on Enriched Reality managed to seceed into their own corporation when Enriched Reality v2.0 came out to quickly take the market by storm. One of the most anticipated features involved a "negativity filter". A set of advanced AI assistants and algorithms fine-tuning to the user was prepared to block any negative memories, people or things from the user's perception. Trauma, betrayal, manipulation, narcissism, toxicity, disturbing images, accidents, deaths, diseases, debt, quarrels? All gone if the algorithm decided the person did not want to see, hear or remember something. Alternatively, the program could be switched to do the exact opposite, a feature intended for either masochists or being advocated as an innovative form of criminal punishment.

In 2245 Duranium Components Inc announced that in their labs they had successfully connected two male and three female test subjects into one Enriched Reality node and sync their perceptions of reality into one coherent simulation. The state their minds were in had been maintained for 13,5 hours before they had to be disconnected due to snesory overload that could result in severe brain trauma or death. Corporate officials calmed the public opinion down, reassuring the product has a long way full of improvements and tests to do before being ready for the public to use safely. And once it does, it will be the best thing that has ever been invented to help people free themselves from their sorrows and escape their demons.

16th August, 2249, Channel 6 "6 News Special"


Good evening everybody and welcome to tonight's "9 News Special". This is Boone Phillips and together with you I'll look at what the last week's brought upon us.

1. Garrison McRaven, current Mayor of Night City sued Avalon Heights Inc after a netrunner successfully broke into his bionic leg drivers, taking full remote control over the limb and using it to kick the nearby senator in the face in the middle of an official meeting so badly that one of the victim's bionic eye gave up on functioning. Avalon Heights Inc denied any responsibility, providing absolutely not fabricated proof that the mayor had been downloading updates from shady proxies operating without a valid LIMB certificate. Mayor's representative announced escalating the case further, demanding Avalon Heights to implement a feature allowing users of their products to switch off online updates and use the traditional LIMB clinic instead. Night City police claims the investigation into netrunner's identity is "progressing according to the plan".

2. Tensions continue to rise at Brownstreet Heights as one of the most feared groups of Neon Kamikaze with faulty killswitches continues to terrorize the outskirts of Neo Tokyo. The city's government accepted the help from many corporations within the metropolis willing to spare some of their security guards to pacify the slums. Self-proclaimed leader of the group who calls himself "Salvation Programmer" accuses the city's senate for being just a facade for the "neverending corporate oppression" and "acting like wolves in sheep's skin". Duranium Components Inc officials refuse to comment on either the genesis of the project that led to the rise of Neon Kamikaze or the glitches in their killswitch software. Neo Tokyo inhabitants are advised to report any mutant sightings to the nearest police station and stay home through the night.

3. Avalon Heights Inc proudly announced its newest invention - a sophisticated "dog AI", meant to be installed within their cute, four-legged line of anrdoids. "It's just like a real dog, but without needing to pee or causing mess. More advanced versions include synthetic dog fur." Pro-cat activists enraged by, as they call it, "inacceptable act of discrimination by doggo suprematists" and demand a cat version. As well as removing the dog version from the market, all in the name of equal rights.

4. Thanks to the heroic effort of Yellowpeace, radroach officially makes it to the top of the endangered species list. Since Earth is too toxic for them to breed, plans about relocating the species to Mars are being made. Yellowpeace activists continue to protest in Cydonia against Mars terraformation, pointing out how the Red Planet is less and less red each year and fearing the radroaches won't survive there in the long run, too.

5. According to TerraNova Inc, shaping Mars to fully support human life is well ahead of schedule. Managers of the company confidently speak about their project in front of the recently formed lakes and encourage citizens travelling between outposts and megacitites to switch off their heating systems as they're no longer needed to survive, though it still might get "a little chilly" from time to time. At the same time, flora spreaders seem to be working as expected as indicated by the first clusters of genetically-hardened trees sprouting around them. "They ruined Earth and now they destroy Mars, too" - disappointed Yellowpeace activists comment.

6. Flying cars continue to grow in popularity as a preferred method of transportation. Solenoyd Inc continues to improve their product, offering a wide variety of cars, busses, trams, trucks and recently even a bicycle, all flying models. However, that's not to say there aren't any issues with the new types of air traffic. Some drivers express their frustration in cyclists occupying flying corridors, for example. "I didn't star flying and left them the whole ground for them to come after me into the air!" - says a disappointed flying car enthusiast. "With the advent of flying vehicles there was supposed to be more space for everyone!" - comments another. Urban planners explan that initially every type of vehicle was supposed to get their own height levels assigned, but corporate skyscrapers unfrotunately occupy too much space up there and there's only so much height a vehicle might climb before fuel consumption and times to ascend and descend outweight the benefits of using it at all. Air corridors are too narrow and the traffic is too dense. Solenoyd Inc claims to be already on the brink of developing a solution: Hover Repulsor Anti-Crash Matrix v2.0. The new system is supposed to not only prevent accidents, but actively help drivers navigate the air and push them at the optimal speeds in the right direction, massively increasing traffic flow. We also asked a driving instructor about some tips for the novice drivers, but he claimed it to be so intuitive to the point "it's like floating".

Aaaaand that's all for tonight. Don't forget to recalibrate your chips before going to bed and I wish you all synthetic dreams. Good night.


 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 421
  • Thanked: 228 times
  • The universe is a Dark Forest
Re: A.F.R.I.C.A. - Cybercity
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2022, 08:13:50 PM »
Cybercity

With new shipments of upgraded androids purchased from Avalon Heights, Exadev Space Industries had been pushing forward at a crazy pace. They could keep FTL drive a secret only for so long, but by the time other corporations and "independent" governments got their hands on a series of scientific papers describing the theoretical solution to warping space and skipping distance effectively faster than light without timeline-related paradoxes or getting shredded to near-lightspeed outburst of particles, Exadev was already busy with the rollout of a brand new starship:


Quote
PhaseRunner class Cargo Ship    50 000 tons     226 Crew     1059.8 BP      TCS 1000  TH 1200  EM 0
1200 km/s    JR 2-50     Armor 1-120     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 13    Max Repair 100 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Spare Berths 1
Cargo 25000    Cargo Handling Multiplier 50

JC51K Alcubierre Drive     Max Ship Size 51000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 2
400 EP Commercial Magneto-plasma Drive (3)    Power 400    Fuel Use 6.19%    Signature 400    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 3 850 000 Liters    Range 224.0 billion km   (2160 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes



It had a decent cargo capacity and carried a small but significant improvement over Synthetic Dawn's FTL propulsion: Alcubierre Drive model JC51K had the capability of effectively blasting through interplanetary space while pushing smaller objects aside. The warp field generation was improved so that the curvature of space could push asteroids or even small moons out of the way, but without giving them any additional kinetic energy so that by the time the ship's passed through them they'd already float in their original spots. The ship would essentially put them away to avoid collision and then put them back in when freeing the spot it had briefly occupied. It no longer needed to stop by the Saturn's rings - it could squeeze right through them at superluminal speed without compromising either the ship's integrity or Solar System's stability.

Without any asteroid belts or planetary rings Tau Ceti was much less challenging to navigate, forcing crews to take only the gas giants' moons into consideration during course plotting, but it was an advantage nevertheless. With a fleet of PhaseRunners phasing through any obstacles smaller than a dwarf planet, Exadev's management wanted to have first permanent settlers on Tau Ceti III within next decade. But just dumping construction materials and supplies there wasn't enough to get it done even within the span of two decades. Terraforming also was out of the question for the foreseeable future. TerraNova Inc was still too busy finishing the Mars up and hauling terraforming infrastructure over interstellar distances was an undertaking that could take a decade in itself just to move to the first successful proof of concept stage. Adapting humans genetically to survive under very thin one hundred percent oxygen air and extreme cold was not achievable either. Broken Heart Biotech could only do so much. It's biggest achievement involved adapting some test subjects to live comfortably on the partially heated Mars surface with -30 degrees and only light jackets, pushing the survivability of extreme conditions up to a total of -100 degrees. Nothing compared to the average of -130, with temperatures dropping below -150 each night even alongside Tau Ceti III's equator.

The solution had to be purely synthetic. Bionic limbs with the manufacturer's warranty of safe operation up to -160 degrees, blood-warming nanobots, cybernetic eyes with extra snow glare protection, a second layer of artificial skin implanted beneath fat with insulative properties, microjoints nudging muscles to generate some friction heat, direct ice digestive system, all this to make life of a colonist easier and more comfortable. Not because conventional habitats and space suits wouldn't work, but because they wouldn't work fast enough. At all costs, Exadev had to stay afloat before competition had a chance to catch up.

Frost clashed with synth on the cold wastes. A new city was founded, all in the name of transhumanist glory. A giant testing grounds for latest AI programs seamlessly integrated into the multilevel structure. Decently automated, full of hard-working, android grunts. Heated by a batch of fusion reactors, glowing purple in the night. Neons reflecting off shiny power armors of Blue Squad troopers deployed with Big Pulse RiflesTM to keep the city secure and inhabitants cramped in containers cheaply stacked on top of each other in line. Spaceport and space elevator being constructed with accelerating pace as programmers optimized AI subroutines and android's task prioritization systems. Biotech labs working on consciousness-enchancing drugs, the ones that could open up the possibility to take on the most powerful brain implants and have a normal life expectancy rather than be fried dead within two months of enjoying enchanced mental capabilities. A base of operations against Trappist 1's meance.

2nd November 2259, Channel 9 News, "Breaking Corruption" program

Emily Mortan: Good evening ladies, gentlemen, military helicopters and androids! In tonight's "Breaking Corruption" edition we'll be looking into the new symbol of corporate oppression, built among the distant stars so that you could not see it, but fortunately nothing can hide before the bionic eyes of our brave journalists. As you all know by now, Exadev Space Industries is constantly pushing boundaries of the Final Frontier and takes special interest in the Tau Ceti system, the first one to be visited by the humans of a New World. Firstly, let's see our footage of a Cybercity, almost fully synthetic metropolis you might think to be just another conspiracy theory, except it really exists on the frozen surface of Tau Ceti III...

The temperature of the -2 147 483 648th Exadev emergency meeting was the exact opposite of the temperature of the night setting upon the first extrasolar colony. Management didn't like to see a clear proof that at least one PhaseRunner's crew screwed up their security protocols and had at least one from the Channel 9's personnel onboard so that now everyone could gaze at their latest expansion. A new wave of anti-corps protests was sweeping across the Solar System, but that was of hardly any concern as the main tech hub was being successfully relocated to the Cybercity.

...given permission to reactivate the cloning program to combat the birthrate crisis, alongside with permanent and full contraception implants ban. The effect are less than satisfactory for the corporate management, because most of androids imported to Tau Ceti had pre-programmed sexual functions and even if they didn't, most of heavily augmented colonists living the lowest of their life despite great promises of a stellar future state they wouldn't breed like rabbits on command because their corporate overlords demand a 3x population increase in the next five years...

Cybercity might already look impressive, but Solar System still remained a sole source of income and thus Exadev could send only so much employees to populate Cybercity. If only the secret would hold up until the new interstellar combat fleet was ready. At least their next generation of warheads meant to replace conventional fusion missiles was still a secret. Who would expect a bunch of preconfigured mining nanobots to be able to serve as intelligent missiles attaching themselves and chewing away enemy's ships?

...an expert on nanotechnology with us, Isaac Parser. Isaac, what has your independent research team found?

Isaac Parser: Well, we've been trying to optimize mining patterns of these nanobots, and as we tried to make them selective over which material to consume to conserve their energy while mining through as little rock as possible focusing only on the ores, preferably the more valuable ones, we noticed the obvious: there's nothing stopping somebody to program these machines to feed on everything, for example a city's support structures or a spaceship's hull. If attached to a surface, such a swarm could just digest and decompose it, making it a deadly weapon...

A bunch of swears came out of CEO's synthetic mouths, amplified by their voice broadcasting implants. There was nothing left but to assume some corporations had already been working on effective countermeasures, driving the Cryogenic War tension up once again given it wasn't uncommon for a few "independent" cities, namely Night City, Neo Tokyo, Neo Moscow, Nirvana Sprawl and Central Stacks to have combat-ready space fleets of their own, with fusion missiles, at least ultraviolet laser blasters, anti-ship tier railguns, Maglev cannons, magnetic pulse beams or particle lances. With the latest Exadev invention exposed, some corporations might feel threatened enough to strike before the power balance shifts enough in Exadev's favour.

But if anything was certain, it was that the new war, unlike Battle of Three Bodies, wouldn't be fought purely on a physical level. Synthetic Dreams Conglomerate kept releasing scientific papers on the topic of brain mapping, neural connections, seamless integration witj brainchips, mental connections, deepdiving in cyberspace and the like. They were onto something, maybe even more powerful and terrifying than psionic warfare of the Old World. Simulatenously Metagram announced merging forces with Enriched Reality Corps together with releasing patch 3.0 for their Enriched Meta Reality Framework. Unlike Duranium Components Inc version, it allowed users to stay connected for weeks or even months to no end and the research on the simulation enchancing fluid that could keep the individuals more engaged if pumped at right intervals and amounts displayed some progress. Moreover, scientists employed at both companies published their discovery of a Quantum Stasis Phenomenon. When interacting with quantum computers in a deep dive mode, time perception could range anywhere in between miliseconds to years for each twenty four hours spent in the simulation. If implanted with correct registering and processing apparatus, it was even possible to extract years worth of thinking in a suspended quantum state from a single mind if it happened that it took years from the test subject's perspective to live a given day in the simulation. Trivial things like criminal punishment or having a standard two hour weekend last for a decade aside, the corporation was already looking into utilising the discovery by increasing the output of the scientific personnel. If they could succeed, nobody else without access to this technology could rival them.

And as if the situation wasn't slipping out of Exadev's hands like a citizen with malfunctioning bionic leg on Tau Ceti III's icefield crazily enough, team of astronomers stationed in Cybercity pointed out at something in deep space, far beyond Tau Ceti system... After running multiple additional scans and filtering data through the best known space anomaly detection algorithms, there was no doubt left: like an eye of a sentient supercomputer, a wormhole was watching over the valiant efforts of Tau Ceti colonizers...