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Online nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2021, 11:14:25 PM »
A nice poetic aside.  :)  In my mind, an author who feels comfortable with their material and thus finds the freedom to explore different forms while keeping the same narrative must be doing something right.
 

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2021, 08:02:35 PM »
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Ooh pretty... and with an interesting ecosystem to boot.

Thanks, I'm honestly surprised after all those planets since my previous campaign I had to write about I can still do these...

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Perhaps there are deeper racial divisions the Groaxians have yet to become aware of?

Dark Forest is a magic place like no other, so who knows?  ::)

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Perhaps not, though, as I did notice other elements mounting autocannons.

Yeah, I went with "ok maybe I need HCAP but let's make it so that it can also kill vehicles in an emergency".

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The story of humanity was a sprawling epic dominated by great battles, whereas this story feels much more personal in nature.

The previous one was just what I assume every player does at the first contact with Aurora, just start with humans, Earth and modern-day tech and plow through all the way to the interstellar empire making it epic and large-scale and everything explodes and stuff, but the lag and burnout from having to manage large-scale Aurora game... I doubt I'll ever be able to do something like that ever again, though. Maaaaybe one day... ???

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A nice poetic aside.

Thanks for letting me know it doesn't suck as much as I feared it will. ;)
 

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2021, 03:33:23 PM »
Thanks, I'm honestly surprised after all those planets since my previous campaign I had to write about I can still do these...

If we like writing about it, often we tend to get better rather than bored as time goes on.

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The previous one was just what I assume every player does at the first contact with Aurora, just start with humans, Earth and modern-day tech and plow through all the way to the interstellar empire making it epic and large-scale and everything explodes and stuff, but the lag and burnout from having to manage large-scale Aurora game... I doubt I'll ever be able to do something like that ever again, though. Maaaaybe one day... ???

An advantage to my overly-detailed approach, I'm sure by the time I get to such a bloated late game I will be advancing the plot too slowly to notice.  :P

On to the latest series of updates...

Nature of Nature: it occurs to me reading this, space seems to be really quite...populated. Maybe this is explicable by the fact that the Groaxians choose to send exploration missions only to systems with good prospects, so it makes sense that "elder" races would have already found these, but still nearly every system has some kind of alien presence. Space it seems is not so empty.

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Outfitted with large armory and space to induce combat trance on all troops on board before dropping them from orbit, it was more than capable to deliver soldiers right where needed, making them quickly descend onto a precisely calculated spot without the need for the ship to even slow down below orbital velocity, let alone touch the atmosphere. The pods didn't really work the other way around, though, requiring the ship to land and pick everyone up "manually". Adding fuel required for them to overcome planet's gravity would just be going too far, adding too much weight for the starship which already was on the slow side thanks to its thick armor and preparation for hosting an entire army with its equipment, both personal and for long-term operations.

I wonder if it would be weight-efficient enough to include a few shuttle bays which could ferry the troops between the planet and the transport? This would require less fuel to move a small shuttle instead of a large transport although it would probably be much slower as a process.

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The decision to send an army to conquer Umbara installations in Eckesachs was expected to face heavy backlash, but things turned even more horrible than initially expected. Because while most citizens did not approve indeed, the group of those who did was larger than simulations suggested. War wasn't unheard of on Genesis, but statistics clearly indicated that the amount of Groaxians who expect Conglomerate to push against Umbaras more aggressively has grown over the hibernation cycles. Many wondered whether the line has already been crossed and the changes as the civilisation transfers to an interstellar one will be irreversible no matter what decisions are made now and in the future. Mentioned group also seemed to overlap with the one advocating for widespread cybersoul body implants usage and even the theoretical possibility of genetic engineering to directly modify the body without any external or internal devices, changing the nature of the whole species forever. All these signs were worrying and Conglomerate started looking into the possibilities of cooling the society down before soldiers would return. Given the light speed limit there was quite some time left.

One wonders why these segments of Groaxian society are increasingly in favor of such drastic changes. Surely some will blame Dark Forest while waving their appendages mysteriously, but others I think would suspect that there is something in the Groaxian cultural fabric which leads them to respond to these technological advances and interstellar explorations so aggressively. This may be the more disturbing finding, that the Groaxians are not actually changing as a species but are revealing their true colors all along. Perhaps we should fear that Dark Forest is not an outside force than bends the universe to itself, but rather something that emerges from within a species where it had been hiding all along?

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With less effective barricade infantry had to stay more mobile to increase probability of survival. Even if not initially predicted, this ended up quite effective, as adapting to more guerilla warfare helped reduce losses among fighting soldiers.

This is interesting as flavor to me. Switching in the heat of battle from a grand battle plan offensive from semi-fixed (mobile, but moving very slowly to constrict the enemy) positions to a plan based on more guerilla tactics strikes me as mirroring the Earth historical transition to the Modern System of warfare based on cover and concealment rather than fixed positions. This demonstrates the capacity of the Groaxians to rapidly adapt to modern war-fighting tactics despite not having been a warlike race, which could be taken to have implications about the nature of their race.

Despite this, the Groaxians suffer a heavy loss, so they are not yet fierce warmongers either. One might consider that their society hangs on a turning point now.

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cience developed rapidly in this new department. Implants used were able to analyse, classify and send more complex thoughts with every iteration. But what happened next was beyond anyone's expectations: augmented by these devices, Groaxians were able to communicate with the monolith left by Humanity on a higher, almost transcendent, level. There was an entire deeper plane to explore, filled to the brim with information and knowledge. Groaxians interacting with the monolith later described this experience as being able to directly feel the mind of a human.

An intriguing development! The fact that the monolith is crafted to reveal its secrets only as the race gains new capabilities suggests that there may still be more knowledge to discover - or perhaps not, but at this stage who among the Groaxians can say?

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Before any of the unique planets could have been explored, alarms flashed simultaneously onboard all Baernoloths. Umbaras. A lot of Umbaras closing in way too fast. A few nervous orders later Curvature Drives started slowly manipulating space around vulnerable starships, but gaining speed took too long compared to the unforgiving cruise speed of enemies. First shots have been fired when Groaxians reached an effective speed of only 0,009 c. Too slow to dodge, too slow to run away. But the armor held the greeting fire of kinetic weapons. Praising engineers for their decision to reinforce explorers' hulls, Groaxian fleet picked up pace and soon speeded past the sun approaching the speed of light and watching in awe as it turned from white-yellow to blood-red while the starfield visible from the bridge shifted towards blue and purple.

Those engineers deserve a raise and a vacation!

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Sk�fnung was a next stop. This time the ternary system seemed to be dead, with none of the planets having an atmosphere with the exceptions of gas giants (at a price of not having a surface), but Umbaras were there, too. Not all planets have even been properly registered before everything changed to red-blue palette and Groaxians jumped both in space and time at once, this time not giving the enemy chance to fire. Morale dropped severely. Umbaras were everywhere, no matter the star chosen. Groaxians were indeed surrounded. Onboard doctors expressed pain and fear when they noticed first cases of Dark Forest Disease, a "space disease" for the first time observed affecting non-military ships. One of the ships participating in the expedition has been especially affected - its crew even started a mutiny, demanding an immediate return to Qi. Nobody wanted to even hear about visiting yet another, obviously dangerous, star. Fortuantely it didn't last long, though - disgusted with what they become, crewmembers quickly returned to their posts. Nobody wanted to fight, afraid of what was happening to them. It felt so unnatural.

I wonder how much of this is truly a "Dark Forest Disease" and how much is conflated with symptoms of stress and frustration with the dangers of space travel and the ubiquity of the Umbara enemy. To a novice observer this Disease might look as if the Groaxian race has not learned how to handle negative emotions as well as they ought, and the actual impact of Dark Forest is debatable. Of course the Groaxians know their own species better than this hypothetical novice.

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But this time something was different. An astronomer responsible for spectral analysis of celestial bodies undergoing the process of classification noticed the outputs from the scanners looked odd and suspicious. Soon it became obvious that they represent a being of higher intelligence compared to what cold and dead planets could ever emit. They formed strange, almost hypnotising patterns. After all these brave Groaxians have been through, for the first time since all the solar watches spent on duty, a glimpse of hope shined bright upon them. The feeling was powerful and soothing, cooling down all these wrenched minds. Nobody could yet understand what the message was supposed to mean, but yet again, no shots have been fired and restless explorers were now witnessing the first time in history someone has heard Groaxian cry of despair and did not respond with hostility. The more optimistic ones even dared to claim the whole Dark Forest Theory a hoax, pointing out the entire civilisation was just unlucky to find itself surrounded by an enemy, but the whole universe not being always like that, not at all, with peaceful communication being a possibility.

But all the celebration has been cut short. The same astronomer that first noticed the incoming message noticed something else. Most of the content was obviously an alien language, but one thing was universal. Hidden between trance-causing patterns was a set of coordinates. Soulgrain-based mainframes did not have much trouble matching marked star with existing databases, doing their job quickly. Too quickly, even for their astounding processing power.

The coordinates pointed at Qi.

And we end on a cliffhanger, for now. Now the question remains: are these friends seeking to help the Groaxians, or another foe seeking to subjugate them in their own manner? Only time can tell...

I eagerly await the next installments.  ;D
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2021, 08:50:44 PM »
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Space it seems is not so empty.

The universe is full of life. Hostile life. And the amount of matter is finite, so at some point stars might as well start clogging up...  ::)

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I wonder if it would be weight-efficient enough to include a few shuttle bays

Well, weight-efficient, but certainly not security-efficient. You think it's hard for a superior enemy to blow up a few shuttles?  :P Also stop pointing out things I should've mentioned but forgot to, Groaxians are smarter than you, filthy human  ;)

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but rather something that emerges from within a species where it had been hiding all along?

Well, that actually is true. It all starts with the claim that the basic goal of every civilisation is survival. It stems from the species themselves indeed, and the mistrust generated by interstellar distances.

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This demonstrates the capacity of the Groaxians to rapidly adapt to modern war-fighting tactics despite not having been a warlike race

If you want peace, prepare for war... If humans got this, then I'm sure someone smarter than humans should get this too.

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The fact that the monolith is crafted to reveal its secrets only as the race gains new capabilities

Somehow you made it sound like it was a computer game mechanics revolving around character progression lol.

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Those engineers deserve a raise and a vacation!

You... Are aware that it was already mentioned that Groaxians literally work from the second they are born to the second they die with only exception being retirement introduced for veterans?

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the Groaxian race has not learned how to handle negative emotions as well as they ought, and the actual impact of Dark Forest is debatable.

I think they'd love to be told they should "learn how to handle negative emotions" when a dot on the radar they can't even see shoots stuff at them.

Anyways, hope you'll like what I have prepared for the next updates when I'll finally have occassion to talk a bit more about Umbaras and mark of time and maybe even Black Wall and whatever else is trying to kill everything else out there.
 

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2021, 10:46:33 PM »
The universe is full of life. Hostile life. And the amount of matter is finite, so at some point stars might as well start clogging up...  ::)

The hibernation cycle is 186,527AM. In the Zeta Reticuli system, seven dozen species capable of surviving in temperatures in excess of twenty groallion degrees fight an endless war across the surface of one binary component. The planets and even the other binary component have been consumed, yet in their harrowing quest for survival the surviving civilizations still battle for supremacy in endless STAR WARS...   :P

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Well, weight-efficient, but certainly not security-efficient. You think it's hard for a superior enemy to blow up a few shuttles?  :P Also stop pointing out things I should've mentioned but forgot to, Groaxians are smarter than you, filthy human  ;)

An excellent point which proves the superior intellect of the Groaxians  ;)

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Somehow you made it sound like it was a computer game mechanics revolving around character progression lol.

What an utterly preposterous idea!

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You... Are aware that it was already mentioned that Groaxians literally work from the second they are born to the second they die with only exception being retirement introduced for veterans?

Viva la revolution. 

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Anyways, hope you'll like what I have prepared for the next updates when I'll finally have occassion to talk a bit more about Umbaras and mark of time and maybe even Black Wall and whatever else is trying to kill everything else out there.

To which we now turn...

----

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Umbaras arrived once again, more numerous than ever. And with the experienced crew retired, it was now up to a new generation to defend Qi from yet another invasion.

This is an interesting consequence of Dark Forest Disease. Because the disease is so afflicting, Groaxians assign generational crews which serve aboard the ships until they retire before the Disease consumes them, at which point a new generation rises to the task. This generational nature of their crews is unique compared to most navies which have a constant level of turnover, I imagine the experienced crews are far more formidable than anything another race would challenge with, but the time of transition is likely to be a challenge. Here we will see how Groaxians respond to this...

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Its effects were terrifying: nobody could see a shot, nobody could hear the shot impacting across the hull, nobody knew anything when suddenly head-sized holes appeared all over one of Lensia-class destroyers.
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A new wave of panic exploded when a supernova fused in place where just a moment ago last surviving destroyer was supposed to exist.

Utterly horrifying. How can there be any defense against such a superweapon??

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However, Conglomerate Defense Fleet couldn't be everywhere. When it caught up to the enemies approaching Yatune, armies of Umbara had already been landing all over several key cities on the planet.

Oh no...

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But this time Qusmont (and every other city) was prepared.

...anyways.

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First fusion missile missed the target, but the second one exploded right on top of one of the skygazers, while the third cut it in half, making the entire tall building collapse, burying every soldier fighting there together with itself.

I spoke too soon. This is quite a tense situation!

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This information has proven crucial in for one of the barricades, because by the time Umbaras attempted to glide over it, hammering every Groaxian involved in the ground, the barricade was no longer a barricade one could run over, having transformed into an irregular groups of vehicles circling around and firing away.

Tactical adaptation on the ground mirrors that in the void. The Groaxians continue to learn the Modern System of war quite adroitly.

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A surprisingly large roster of enemy soldiers survived the recent Qi invasion. Recovered supplies of gas were also enough to last the prisoners for a good while. However, no methods used to try to make them talk worked. Maybe extreme tortures would, but none of the Guards working with them wanted to use excessive violence against currently harmless beings. That'd be way too much.

Once again the Groaxians demonstrate their superior intellect over humans, knowing that torture doesn't actually work as well as advertised.

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An interesting bits of Umbara history could be pieced together from all this. They appeared extremely well-suited to Dark Forest. Their homeworld was named Zenn-La for a reason. Two species acquired sentience there in a similar period of time. Zenn lived deep in the oceans while La built their villages across vast canyons and mountain ranges.

Ooh. This explains the strange case of having multiple races crewing their ships. I suppose conquest and impressment would also have been a possible answer but this is more intriguing.

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The slow deteriorating of gas-inhaling Umbara troops quickly became a symbol of famous "mark of time", with each inhalation representing a "cycle" that was similar because inhalation was the same every time, but at the same time different because with each breath the gas clogged up the breathing apparatus it was using to reach the brain more and more, technically making a single cycle not repeat itself ever again in the same way. The powder found during autopsies was the "mark of time" itself. However, this all was just a mere metaphor, a symbol, nothing of any importance in itself.

The truth, the real meaning, was much more sinister.

Curse these insidious cliffhangers that make me keep coming back for more and eagerly awaiting future installments!
 
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Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2021, 12:50:48 PM »
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The hibernation cycle is 186,527AM. In the Zeta Reticuli system, seven dozen species capable of surviving in temperatures in excess of twenty groallion degrees fight an endless war across the surface of one binary component. The planets and even the other binary component have been consumed, yet in their harrowing quest for survival the surviving civilizations still battle for supremacy in endless STAR WARS...

Dark Forest in a nutshell. Also could you please not list an ending I was planning here, forcing me to invent a new one?  :P

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Viva la revolution.

They already tried during Sk�fnung encounter and it ended in them actually not trying because it was too unnatural for them. ::)

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Because the disease is so afflicting, Groaxians assign generational crews which serve aboard the ships until they retire before the Disease consumes them

Their reitrement corresponds to the "because the disease is so afflicting", their crews supposed to serve on the ships their entire lives... Well... You know already how they work. A job like any other. ;)

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Ooh. This explains the strange case of having multiple races crewing their ships.

Expect it actually doesn't because Zenn were left to die together with their homeworld. They should be extinct by now.

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Curse these insidious cliffhangers that make me keep coming back for more and eagerly awaiting future installments!

This wasn't supposed to be a cliffhanger in the first place, but I gues oops... Anyways, thanks. Hoep you'll like the new updates. It is especially encouraging given the last one I wrote I felt frustrated afterwards because spent a lot of time on it only for it to end up being rather short. Like, it was supposed to be longer. Much longer.
 

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2021, 04:39:15 PM »
Dark Forest in a nutshell. Also could you please not list an ending I was planning here, forcing me to invent a new one?  :P

If you managed to represent a ground force war across the surface of an actual star in Aurora I would not even be mad that you stole "borrowed" my idea, only very impressed.

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Ooh. This explains the strange case of having multiple races crewing their ships.

Expect it actually doesn't because Zenn were left to die together with their homeworld. They should be extinct by now.

I had imagined that they somehow managed to also make it off the planet and join forces with their fellow race to Dark Forest the rest fo the galaxy to smithereens, but I suppose I was getting ahead of myself.

Now, there are a series of new updates here to be read...

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Almost twelve hibernation cycles after the battle of Qi and briefly after return of the last interstellar expedition, Conglomerate decided to hold the biggest conference and discussion pannel up to date.

Would you say this could be considered a "naval conference"?  :P

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We are the Groaxians,
Dark Forest is against our nature and is the ultimate threat. Not only for our survival, but also for everything we value. It was true even for Humanity. As we all know from their history discovered so far, despite being much fiercer warriors, most among their species still could not bear the weight of a Dark Forest Theory and they struggled to develop agreement on how to approach the miracle of sentient life. But data gathered so far is ruthless - those who fight to protect us are all doomed to fall out of balance sooner or later. Thanks to the Transcendent speech we were able to work with them and achieve more promising results, but we are far from ideal. We know some of us are different. This has alwasy been the case. And since some of us are indeed different, we need to put it into good use. Our nature is endangered, so as a whole we shall designate those who will adapt to a human way of thinking to handle space combat better and they will be transparent with this so that others will be able to distance themselves from the cruelty of interstellar war and as such our civilisation will continue to grow.

An interesting statement to make. On one hand, the idea of separating the military arm of society from the rest has potential to be severely isolating for the military, especially as the future is likely to cause them to be increasingly distant from their people in space as well. On the other hand the commitment to seeking ways through Transcendent Speech to solve the problem has to be encouraging for the soldiers to reassure them that while they do their duty their people are not abandoning them to their fates. It's a fine line to walk for sure.

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Guards and soulseekers working with alive Umbaras have manged to pull one more thing out of them: the mention of a Maigh Eo binary system. It was believed to not have any planets orbiting either one of the stars which was confirmed by the information obtained. Just two stars and nothing else to be there. Yet for whatever reason it was an important system for the aliens Groaxians dealt with. Something was there, even though at the same time evidence spoke there was nothing there. Without much reason to continue discussing a moot point, an expedition had to be sent to investigate the system.

Very interesting. Before reading further my guess is that it is an important gateway system of some sort, either it is a major transport hub of some kind or this is a bottleneck system where the Umbara have placed their major defensive forces. Of course in this universe, we do not have jump points, so either of these would only be important if they mapped a way through the big wall of black holes previously mentioned.

So, I dunno, some kind of crack in the wall?  :P

...and the actual Crack turns out to be far more intriguing. A unique region of space which allows for FTL? How strange.

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Despite suspicions rising, Conglomerate obviously saw no way but to continue investing into Mimung development. It was somehow relieved to do so when soulseekers came up with a safety guarantee for interstellar colonisation which was in fact a simple statement: if colonies were to grow hostile about their homeworld, that'd mean Groaxians shouldn't colonise other solar systems than Qi. But given the high risk of Qi position being either already known to Dark Forest Lords or likely to be revealed to them in the near future, that'd mean certain doom and the end of civilisation should Dark Forest attack (since if a colony would do something considered "wrong" Groaxians would simply stop any interstellar colonisation program in order to avoid producing more enemies), without even the smallest seed surviving to rebuild. And so colonies growing hostile was nothing but dooming the entire race for extinction.

So basically, a colony would not revolt against the homeworld because that would compromise the survival of both the colony and the homeworld. Usually, this would be the point to observe that even though this is a very rational argument, rarely do sentient beings behave purely rationally. However, the Groaxians are eminently rational, so I am sure they all realize this and nothing bad can happen.

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What was somewhat more important than weapons and technology used, were the names chosen for these two classes of next-gen combat spaceships: they were called exactly like two out of three types of ships on which first serious military space fleet of Humanity was based, fleet that saw a lot of combat with Invaders from Bootes Void and brought many victories for the humans, keeping their systems as secure as possible at a time.

Both interesting ships. Quite a lot of space has to be used for the curvature propulsion systems, so the armaments are a bit light, but they will do well for their purpose of quickly destroying enemy attackers from a safe distance.

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From some other perspective, teaching about Amazons Program also served as a kind of backdoor to the Groaxian mind. On the one hand it was to teach soldiers how they should think in battle to be more effective at their job, but on the other it was supposed to make them well-aware about the type of training they're going through and to have them understand the way it works "from the inside", to show them that Humanity struggled with what Groaxian society has problems with right now too. Soulseekers hoped that once their service is over, this self-awareness about what they were put through would prevent Groaxians from completely forgetting about their true instincts and allow for some kind of therapy restoring their previous mental shape, possibly even leading to a breakthrough in search for a cure for Dark Forest Disease.

I think it should be encouraging to the Groaxians, that even with how much humanity had changed to survive in the Dark Forest they still retained the better part of their nature to act out of altruism to help the Groaxians with the Monolith. For Groaxians this should be a sign of hope that even with their own social upheaval they can retain the better part of their own nature and not turn into mindless, drug-addicted killing machines like the Umbara seem to be.

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An obvious next step in space exploration was to fly towards the Crack and utilise its potential to explore some stars further from Qi, while at the same time trying to determine where exactly the superluminal highway ends, how wide and tall it actually is and why is it there, or rather why it isn't anywhere else. First system to reach using it was Naegling
[...]
Next star in the exploration queue was Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi.

As an aside, I'm curious how you come up with the system names. They don't seem to match any of the system name lists in-game, and as far as I can tell do not fall under a single language or linguistic group either.

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It appeared that the Crack was just a specific region of space that behaved like all space should behave according to human research.

So it sounds as if the galaxy has changed at a fundamental level since humanity gave the Monolith to Qi, a mystery which requires deep investigations.

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It was true that Zenn were left behind to die out with every living being of Zenn-La, but it hadn't necessarily translated into them actually doing so. Umbara fleets left the doomed world in a hurry, leaving all the facilities they used for space programs as well as research data mostly intact. Zenn still had enough time left before inevitable extinction to decipher at least parts of it. Their starships at first weren't very effective, but at least were enough to get them off the planet, out of the solar system and onwards to space while keeping them alive in a stasis.

And now I am no longer ahead of myself.  ;D

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Conglomerate also tried to get the coordinates of the system in which the remnants are located and both Zenn as well as La captured after operation QiSet had a detailed description of the star and its celestial bodies stored in their heads. The only problem was that after browsing star catalogues to no end, searching through all possible candidates, it was determined that such system doesn't exist and in fact never existed. The starfield visible from within it did not match with any part of the galaxy at all and given the technology described the possibility of Umbara coming from a different one was also ruled out as no ship of theirs would ever endure such a journey without falling apart along the way somehwere in intergalactic space.

This calls for some imagination: if the Umbara, or maybe more correctly now the Zenn-La, are from another galaxy, they may have crossed over along another kind of superluminal highway like the Crack but crossing between galaxies.

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Re: Time's End - Freedom

In which our heroes meet the Americans!

Joking, joking...  :P

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The side effect of all these efforts was to pull out data about another two systems explored by Umbara, but never inspected by any Groaxian from up close. They included Meirica

You know, I meant it to be a joke, but as this is one letter away from being 'Merica I now have my doubts.

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A study focused on behavioural changes among generations born after discovering Dark Forest Theory sounded an alarm. While changes for the worse in themselves were nothing new, another layer of the problem has been brought to attention. For example, safety check provided by middlemen was of lower quality and more genetic errors were likely to occur during birth. There wasn't enough proof to link this with the migration of many middlemen to Yatune. In fact, scientists couldn't all agree whether it was middlemen providing genetic checksums of lower quality or lowered breeding quality in general. A common symptom of the problems was slightly increased brain temperature during birth which later was correlated with higher aggression levels or problems with hibernating. Same researchers proposed to fix the existing issues with experimental genetic modification therapy, but Conglomerate remained sceptical about these ideas, unsure whether throwing more artificiality at the problem would really help with anything. One thing to be remembered, though, was that relocating the "overheated individuals" to colder regions of Genesis had some limited positive effects. Still, many scientists couldn't see any viable solution besides fixing things at the same level they were broken which was the level of individual genes. For now the Conglomerate at least agreed to grant affected population access to implants that were responsible for keeping brain temperature in check at all times, regardless of environmental factors.

Clearly the answer is to deliberately breed these kinds of individuals and use them as super-soldiers with as many genetic modifications as Groaxian geneticists can figure out. And then in keeping with the running joke here, give them red-and-blue costumes and round shields made of some really tough metal.  :P

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Several hibernation cycles after first recruits of Human Space Forces completed their training, first conclusions on the project could've been made. Everyone expected Groaxians who served in this fleet would remain disconnected from main society, possibly forming their own enclosed community, a very different one, but that did not happen. They seemed to be quite popular among certain groups from younger generations. It was a worrying sign, because it hinted the problem once again has proven to be larger than predictions. Humanity has always been present in the culture of Groaxians for obvious reasons, but never before did it have such long-reaching influence. On top of it all, a dangerous ideology began to spread among population: for the first time in Groaxian history it was proposed that a freedom of an individual is more important than the eternal equilibrium of a carefully balanced society and that an interstellar civilisation cannot continue to exist with how things were before.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this has turned into a subtle social commentary on the present day.

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The idea was obviously derived from the human concept of freedom, but experts instantly pointed out that such freedom was an illusion through the entire history of Humanity and that what is already known about them doesn't suggest any proof of an average human ever being truly free. Moreover, even if that'd be the case for Humanity, soulseekers agreed that Groaxian society could never function like this because of how connected it was via Transcended Speech. Dangerous thoughts of even one individual could lead to health problems among a few dozens others that were close enough to feel these thoughts which is why the balance was mandatory for the sake of well-being of everyone.

There was a Star Trek episode about something similar to this...Voyager I think? A particular society had the same kind of telekinetic connection of emotions, and a black market existed which traded in violent memories which then ended up infecting others of the population. I don't remember how it ended though, hopefully in this case the ending is not detrimental for Groaxian society which is even more closely communal.

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While all this looked pretty grim and depressing, a glimpse of hope appeared in the form of yet another theory: sure, things were heading in the wrong direction, but at the same time there was a war going on, a war like never before. And through the past destabilisation of balance preceeded the conflict, leading directly to it, while now problems started to arise only after first battles have been fought and Groaxians still stood united, just trying to defend themselves and forge a path for them across the stars. And diving into the human mind further might hold the answer to Dark Forest, assuming they have really figured it out and haven't in the meantime gone extinct after one photonic missile too many or something. Conglomerate had to accept that it was a path worth checking out. The question "how to join Humanity across the stars" resurfaced again.

This seems like a good perspective to have. Yes, Groaxians have changed somewhat, but for the sake of survival and preserving their society rather than to tear it down. After all, sometimes change and adaptation is a good thing, the basics of biology show this - but change should be made with care and consideration always, and here the Groaxians do things correctly.

Looking forward to seeing how this unique race continues to grow, evolve, and find their place in these dark and mysterious stars.  :)
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2021, 06:54:38 PM »
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If you managed to represent a ground force war across the surface of an actual star in Aurora I would not even be mad that you stole "borrowed" my idea, only very impressed.

That'd be easier than you think. Any ground battle would suffice since I completely make them up anyways as gameplay is useful only for space battles because ground ones are all random. The real challenges would be to come up with technology, and, more importantly, purpose for a battle to be fought deep inside the heliosphere.

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Would you say this could be considered a "naval conference"? 

Well, I have the entire Remembrance of Earth's Past Trilogy to steal borrow from, no need to start stealing borrowing from other AARs... Though maybe if I had the patience to do something like that... But obviously it wouldn't be about the navy only as that'd not fit here, it'd also have to cover the entire society+psychology+civilian tech+what is known about aliens+what is known about universe+what is not known+exploration plans+colonisation plans+"wtf we do about Dark Forest"+influence and history of Humanity+... smeg... that'd be... quite a bit of words to be written.

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Of course in this universe, we do not have jump points

You actually don't need jump points for "bottleneck systems" to exist. Kinda like on Earth you have forts and bunkers and stuff effectively blocking large regions even though technically you could just walk around, not exactly through it. It gets kinda tough to conquer systems knowing a very close one hosts a big-ass fleet capable of jumping at you quicker than any reinforcements you might wish for.

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So, I dunno, some kind of crack in the wall?  :P

...and the actual Crack turns out to be far more intriguing. A unique region of space which allows for FTL? How strange.

Yep, a Crack! And no, it's not strange it allows for FTL, it's strange the rest of space doesn't. It worked for humans, it must work for everyone else, right?

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the Groaxians are eminently rational, so I am sure they all realize this and nothing bad can happen.

Maybe not rational, but rather coherent. If one group has thought about something, it is likely others will have similar ideas. Once somebody designs a safety guarantee, it's basically settled as all will either soon hear about it or invent it on their own simply because they can hear about or invent it because it exists.

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Both interesting ships.

Thanks, tried my best while fighting my way with having to include jump drives as well as the misc components taking up a fair bit of space when all grouped together even though I use always the smallest size. That leaves way less hull to work with that I'd like. Also glad you like them because I put an effort into them in a sense that this is supposed to be a DLC to my previous AAR rather than a standalone one so I came up with all this mess that led Groaxians to develop "Human Space Forces" for the sole purpose so I'd be able to reiterate through my most famous ships from previous campaign, making them similar to the concept of the original ones since both Strikers and Pikes were originally beam assault ships around 15k mass range if I remember correctly (well Strikers used lasers instead of particle beams but in this campaign I don't have the luxury to develop both so I went for the better one). Hopefully that way it accomplishes more in terms of being a DLC.

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For Groaxians this should be a sign of hope

An interesting concept of hope. "Hey there buddies, you know, our government once turned an entire planet into a factory of bloodthirsty killing machines, but hey, we shared a monolith so it's all cool, right? See, we're still the same humans, nothing to see here, move along..."  :P

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As an aside, I'm curious how you come up with the system names. They don't seem to match any of the system name lists in-game, and as far as I can tell do not fall under a single language or linguistic group either.

I know right now you probably expect me to say something badass, so sorry to disappoint you, but it's simply "mythical swords" theme. It does exist in game. I'm really happy with it, sounds really alien, especially Sk�fnung. Come on, it has a graphical symbols as one of the letters (perfectly fitting the way Groaxians talk with each other), how more alien can you get with naming themes.

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So it sounds as if the galaxy has changed at a fundamental level since humanity gave the Monolith to Qi, a mystery which requires deep investigations.

Oh it did... not even the galaxy... The entire Universe... The next evolution step of a Dark Forest, next time cycle, all leaving a permanent mark of time...

Hopefully you won't be disappointed by the ending.

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You know, I meant it to be a joke, but as this is one letter away from being 'Merica I now have my doubts.

I also cry that the system generated as an utter smeg, with two planets, one "Venus" without any minerals and one "Mercury" with 0,3 uridium and 0,1 corundium. Yep, great potential for endless battles over this particular system.

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Clearly the answer is to deliberately breed these kinds of individuals and use them as super-soldiers with as many genetic modifications as Groaxian geneticists can figure out.

Time for reactivation of Project Amazons aka "Project WhateverGroaxianMythicalTribeConsisitingOfOnlyMiddlemenThatKilledMaleAndFemaleChildrenWasNamed"? Well... Maybe. I see the Conglomerate will be very happy to announce it.

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I have a sneaking suspicion that this has turned into a subtle social commentary on the present day.

Not really... Though... Maybe? But even if so, it's more of a commentary on a commentary. My previous AAR did contain quite a few of these because it was about humans, so this being a DLC, but with alien race occupying the main role it can be a commentary of a commentary at most.

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Looking forward to seeing how this unique race continues to grow, evolve, and find their place in these dark and mysterious stars.

The stars are not dark. But black holes... They might have their bright shiny accretion disks that gives light and warmth for the planets that might still orbit a young one, but it's all a disguise. They are dark. And there are more of them than ever before.
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2021, 07:15:51 PM »
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So, I dunno, some kind of crack in the wall?  :P

...and the actual Crack turns out to be far more intriguing. A unique region of space which allows for FTL? How strange.

Yep, a Crack! And no, it's not strange it allows for FTL, it's strange the rest of space doesn't. It worked for humans, it must work for everyone else, right?

You say tomato...  :P

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Both interesting ships.

Thanks, tried my best while fighting my way with having to include jump drives as well as the misc components taking up a fair bit of space when all grouped together even though I use always the smallest size. That leaves way less hull to work with that I'd like. Also glad you like them because I put an effort into them in a sense that this is supposed to be a DLC to my previous AAR rather than a standalone one so I came up with all this mess that led Groaxians to develop "Human Space Forces" for the sole purpose so I'd be able to reiterate through my most famous ships from previous campaign, making them similar to the concept of the original ones since both Strikers and Pikes were originally beam assault ships around 15k mass range if I remember correctly (well Strikers used lasers instead of particle beams but in this campaign I don't have the luxury to develop both so I went for the better one). Hopefully that way it accomplishes more in terms of being a DLC.

For the limitations you work with, they came out well and reflect their builders I think. They actually remind me somewhat of old VB6 AARs where the ship designs would be like "here's a heavy cruiser with four lasers!" which was quite silly but had a certain charm.

I do worry that the Groaxians will be taken by surprise in a bad way whenever they finally meet a race that has those photonic missiles mentioned earlier, and discover what "point defense" is in absentia.

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An interesting concept of hope. "Hey there buddies, you know, our government once turned an entire planet into a factory of bloodthirsty killing machines, but hey, we shared a monolith so it's all cool, right? See, we're still the same humans, nothing to see here, move along..."  :P

You say tomato...  :P

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I know right now you probably expect me to say something badass, so sorry to disappoint you, but it's simply "mythical swords" theme.

Mythical swords are badass!  :P  Interesting theme, I knew it was in the game but never really used it, but it's worked very well for you here.

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Hopefully you won't be disappointed by the ending.

I trust the creative imagination of the author, which has gotten us this far after all  ;)

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I have a sneaking suspicion that this has turned into a subtle social commentary on the present day.

Not really... Though... Maybe? But even if so, it's more of a commentary on a commentary. My previous AAR did contain quite a few of these because it was about humans, so this being a DLC, but with alien race occupying the main role it can be a commentary of a commentary at most.

Even alien races can be used for commentary on human matters, since the difference from humans helps to separate specific issues or tendencies and have them stand out alone. Sometimes this works very well, like in Star Trek, and sometimes this works rather more poorly, like in Star Trek.  :P

----

EDIT: Postfixing comments for the latest update to avoid a double-post.

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When it was played using human speech and sound converter, allowing Groaxians to feel it as humans would, voices of the ancients filled everyone in the fleet.

So this is the voice of the Ancients but speaking in the language of the humans? Or is it somehow understandable in any language but Groaxians want to hear it as the humans did because that's part of their new training for soldiers?

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Time has slowed down as the voice was soothing. It filled the mind with visions of planes beyond imagination of any three-dimensional being, about concepts so alien yet so fascinating. It was alien, but it didn't feel like something Dark Forest would spit out. The way of the ancients spoke about a different solution. Something so simple, so obvious, yet something of which every civilisation seemed unaware. A safety guarantee for all who want to take it. It never got finished before the ones from Bootes Void came to exterminate and tear everything down, but it was there, ready for another civilisation to take the lead and complete it.

This may be the answer many Groaxians have been looking for. Hopefully though the Ancients are not as, hmm, cryptic as the humans have been, the Groaxians may not have time for too many more mysteries before the Dark Forest consumes them.

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300,000 tons of ground forces, likely more than this since the signature is likely obscured by the same kind of camouflage as the lasers use. Looks like this may be a big turning point for the Groaxians as they now have the possibility to launch a ground attack, however making such a big offensive with hundreds of thousands of Groaxians as soldiers is probably a big question for the Conglomerate to decide about.

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The topic of higher dimensions was brought up once again, this time in broader context. But the complex also spoke about escaping Dark Forest. Suddenly it all became too obvious and so easy to understand soulseekers wondered why haven't they thought about it earlier, eventually blaming it on the physics of higher dimensions not working as described by humans everywhere else besides the Crack. Beings of a different number of dimensions consumed different types of resources. Three-dimensional metals extracted by a three-dimensional species were useless to four-dimensional ones and similarly whatever entities existed in a four-dimensional space were of no use for the standard three-dimensional civilisation. The initial concept of a solution based on exclusive list of resources used turned out to be true. It was possible to escape Dark Forest and Project Ascension was a key on how to do that.

Ah, there it is, then. Very cleverly the Groaxians have it seems discerned the wisdom of the Ancients.

Though this presents a question yet unanswered for the Groaxians: if there are already entities in the four-dimensional space, using the same resources to exist, isn't the Dark Forest in the fourth dimension too? Or is the key to it all that only entities who escape Dark Forest make it to the fourth dimension, so Dark Forest does not apply there because the entities existing there share a commitment to not allowing it to? Maybe those trapped in the Dark Forest are also trapped in the third dimension, because to ascend would require them to give up on Dark Forest Theory to find the way to ascension. There is much yet to be revealed...
« Last Edit: May 29, 2021, 11:51:44 AM by nuclearslurpee »
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2021, 03:57:49 PM »
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I do worry that the Groaxians will be taken by surprise in a bad way whenever they finally meet a race that has those photonic missiles mentioned earlier, and discover what "point defense" is in absentia.

Well... Photonic missiles aren't your regular missiles. They're doomsday devices, launched from a solar system to destroy another one at a whim, even many light years away... Basically an entry point weapon for the title of a Dark Forest Lord. If you remmeber from the previous AAR, even more advanced at that time human civilisation struggled with intercepting and neutralising them once their core systems were attacked...

But gameplay wise, yeah, Syzygies make for some point defense, but I just can't build dedicated Gauss ships (or right now even proudce an upgraded railgun version really) because gallicite. None of the ships I've seen have demonstrated any missiles so I suspect they're all beam only. And if I meet a new one... Well, that's where the fun begins, in previous campaign I had time to prepare myself, but with this settings I just can't so I barely build enough to just survive and don't have the luxury to plan in advance for additional types of threats beyond what I'm currently dealing with.

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Even alien races can be used for commentary on human matters, since the difference from humans helps to separate specific issues or tendencies and have them stand out alone. Sometimes this works very well, like in Star Trek, and sometimes this works rather more poorly, like in Star Trek.

In my case to talk about humans I use humans. Hence again, my previous AAR does contain a tiny bit of social commentary at a few places.

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So this is the voice of the Ancients but speaking in the language of the humans? Or is it somehow understandable in any language but Groaxians want to hear it as the humans did because that's part of their new training for soldiers?

Well, no, Precursors are talking Precursor-ish, but Groaxians first heard about them from the monolith so I assumed that their language was there too since it was also a part of human knowledge about this civilisation. But I guess I should've explicitly mention that Groaxians, thanks to the info found in monolith, know the language of Precursors and Invaders as well at this point. Though the second sentence is correct, members of this specific fleet were trained to adapt human way of thinking and that's why Precurosr broadcast was translated to human language - the official language every member of this expedition was supposed to use for the duration of the mission.

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This may be the answer many Groaxians have been looking for. Hopefully though the Ancients are not as, hmm, cryptic as the humans have been, the Groaxians may not have time for too many more mysteries before the Dark Forest consumes them.

Well, not sure if you remember correctly judging by this comment, but Project Ascension was already explained in the previous AAR. It was something Precursors have started working on but didn't finish it before Invaders wiped them out but then Arilou (the classical greys with flying saucers, guardians of humanity) took over and used their leftovers to finish, ascend themselves by transfering their consciousness to four- and later five-dimensional bodies and then empower humans. Because of that, Project Ascension in itself is not another mystery to be added here, just a mere statement that Groaxians have learned about its existence as well. Here its just more of how Groaxians will react, now that they have "official proof".

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if there are already entities in the four-dimensional space, using the same resources to exist, isn't the Dark Forest in the fourth dimension too?

Mentioned how the safety guarantee against Dark Forest was supposed to work right at the ending, but that was a different situation back then. Now? Who knows what the hell has the universe descendent into?

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Maybe those trapped in the Dark Forest are also trapped in the third dimension, because to ascend would require them to give up on Dark Forest Theory to find the way to ascension.

Given how Invaders interacted with findings of Precursors for so unbelievably long and never managed to ascend themselves because they were too close minded that "ascending from a Dark Forest" meant, well, ascending from a Dark Forest, not a new big-ass weapon to ulitmately wipe out every single civilisaiton out of the entire universe to achieve the ultimate victory aka "winning Dark Forest battle royale"... That is actually true, to some extent. Civlisations of good will should show the tendency to have it easier when figuring this out, but that alone of course is not a safety guarantee, just a mere hint that it indeed has a potential to work correctly.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2021, 04:49:14 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2021, 07:30:51 PM »
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if there are already entities in the four-dimensional space, using the same resources to exist, isn't the Dark Forest in the fourth dimension too?

Mentioned how the safety guarantee against Dark Forest was supposed to work right at the ending, but that was a different situation back then. Now? Who knows what the hell has the universe descendent into?

Touching this one before getting to the new updates: Naturally the solution is to ascend another dimension to eliminate the need for competition, but there is no guarantee of an infinite number of higher dimensions. If enough races ascend, the dimensions will begin to be crowded and Dark Forest can reoccur. If the Groaxians run into this situation, certainly how they respond will be interesting...

New updates:

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No progress has been made, but in the meantime Conglomerate Defense Fleet has arrived in the system and immediately upon receiving updates on the tactical situation flew towards Iether. This has caused the potential enemy to turn on engines. It headed towards space, so the first squadron of fuel harvesters did the same, attempting to stay as far away as possible, while the two others went even deeper into the atmosphere, leaving the combat to be handled by ships that are actually armed. Long before alien ships could've been reached, they simply warped space around them and disappeared from the system, leaving confused Groaxians behind.

"Endpoint War", huh? Well, that sure was a quick war!  :P

Very curious behavior. It all starts with a fleet of ships hiding deep inside a gas giant, which is a strange place to hide when you think about it especially since they have not been detected before and were probably there all this time not reacting, and chose now to make their presence known? Many mysteries...

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They have found something unsettling in the very foundation of the universe and wanted to ensure it'll be purged at all cost. Something they saw as worse than Dark Forest itself. Especially this bold statement was what confused Groaxians so much they were too confused to even be afraid anymore. Something worse than Dark Forest sounded like pure nonsense.

Well this could get very scary in a hurry. What could be worse than Dark Forest? If it is something truly foundational, it may persist beyond three dimensions and even Ascension will not allow the Groaxians to escape...

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It was a threat. They demanded no Groaxian starship to ever leave the territory marked by the two inhabited by Groaxians systems under the threat of a broadcast followed by a large-scale invasion aimed at destroying every enemy ship existing.

These Tempestsaurs? might be responsible then for the black hole wall that has been so frustrating. Although if they are willing to use the Dark Forest Lords to destroy other races, I do have some questions about what definition of "evil" they use to decide there is something worse than Dark Forest and how they choose to fight against that thing.

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The last topic mentioned during the meeting was certainly the most important one. Less than one hibernation cycle before, another exploration mission to the Crack had been sent. As aliens were keeping the entire civilisation hostage, an independent fleet of Groaxian starships has been cruising at superluminal speed somewhere in interstellar space. They seemed to be the best chance at breaking free from the deadlock and resolving the situation without taking unneccessary risks. A question remained, awaiting immediate answer: what exactly they would be supposed to do. And how to tell them to do it without making Tempestsaurs aware of the plan as well as the presence of Groaxian vessels beyond the cage they'd prepared.

Maybe they can go meet the Dark Forest Lords and ask them very politely to wipe the Tempestsaurs out of existence, please and thank you.

No? Ah, well, it was worth a shot...

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The solution that was accepted at last seemed to be quite simple yet complicated at the same time. Groaxian Navy still had one important asset at hand: the warship captured mostly intact and later repaired and brought up to Groaxian standards during the last battle of Qi when Zenn had been captured and interrogated for the first time - Hobbiton battlecruiser. Since then this particle beam-firing ship had been adapted to serve as a command ship in Conglomerate Defense Fleet, replacing former squadron of Lensias. All there was left to do was to mount a Curvature Drive so that it could travel across the stars again (the one Umbara has been using had been destroyed beyond repair during the battle and it was much easier for engineers to build a new one than to try to work with alien tech specifications), make it fly disguised among a fleet of freighters or something and have it send a message in Umbara language.

This is a clever solution, although it does assume that the Achernar do not care about the Umbara, which if true is quite curious - then why care so much about the Groaxians? - and if not true could backfire horribly.

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But such approach was highly controversial, and that had nothing to do with the risks involved and whether it would all work out.

One thing I note in addition, the possibility of making a bluff is not raised. Granted, that may be because it would be difficult to tell the explorer ships such a complicated plan, but still it is in some sense a less drastic measure, even if the enemy does not know it is a bluff the Groaxians can rest secure that they do not intend to destroy an alien race and find some comfort. I am not sure what this says about the nature of the Groaxians, but I suspect it is rather more disturbing still than any Groaxian would like to think of.
 

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2021, 09:00:38 PM »
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Touching this one before getting to the new updates:

Rest assured this matter is going to be resolved sooner or later.

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Well, that sure was a quick war!

It's not the end, it's just a beginning...

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Very curious behavior. It all starts with a fleet of ships hiding deep inside a gas giant, which is a strange place to hide when you think about it especially since they have not been detected before and were probably there all this time not reacting, and chose now to make their presence known? Many mysteries...

Well, to be fair I placed them in a gas giant thanks to them orbiting the planet, but more importantly it's because personally gas giants freak me out. They're big, heavy, have high gravity and brutal atmospheric pressure with violent weather, permanent storms and all crazy smeg. And they have no surface. The idea of descending into a planet only to go deeper and deeper into the clouds, with no stable ground to touch anywhere to be seen as darkness surrounds you and with each second spent descending you're less and less likely to ever make it out of the gravity well...

In Space Engine I never dared to dive in a gas giant, even orbiting them is unsettling. In No Man's Sky there are obviously no gas giants, but trying to land on a planet during storm can trigger the same fear because you barely see anything and there's a point during landfall where clouds surround you from every side and there's no land to be seen. I still remember my careful and slow approach to one particular planet during storm. I made it past first layer of clouds and could no longer see space and beneath me was a glowing red surface. I was like "are there lava ocean planets in the game now?!" untill I realised it was just a layer of dense, blood-red clouds illuminated by lightnings. I almost hit the ground with full force after I descended further and couldn't see smeg.

So, long story short, I'm afraid of gas giants and that's exactly why I placed the encounter in one of them, since I attempted to give them a bit of cold war vibes so a nerve-wrecking location seemed a perfect choice.

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These Tempestsaurs? might be responsible then for the black hole wall that has been so frustrating.

Just to remind, you, too many black holes and Black Wall are two different things according to current Groaxian knowledge. The only thing they have in common is the name, but that's it.

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Although if they are willing to use the Dark Forest Lords to destroy other races, I do have some questions about what definition of "evil" they use to decide there is something worse than Dark Forest and how they choose to fight against that thing.

It's obviously not evil if you do it because survival and lack the technology to do it yourself so you outsource some bigger guns.  :P

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Maybe they can go meet the Dark Forest Lords and ask them very politely to wipe the Tempestsaurs out of existence, please and thank you.

Good news is you don't need to meet them or even be polite about your wish. Bad news is you need coordinates to point them at a target and need to be careful because "friendly" fire is on together with AoE damage...

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although it does assume that the Achernar do not care about the Umbara

Why? It doesn't assume that. Whether they care or not is irrelevant, all that matters for this plan to work is to make them think it's not Groaxians communicating with each other secretly. Before they could arrive at a point from which Groaxians had sent the crucial message, the latter would be long gone. You don't want to say Conglomerate made from the smartest individuals selected from a society with average IQ being on Einstein's level or higher has made such a simple mistake, do you?  :P

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One thing I note in addition, the possibility of making a bluff is not raised.

Well... It's just like with nuclear detterrence... You might bluff, but you need to be damn convincing. And if the enemy would do even the very basic research on Groaxians then the entire idea of a bluff believable enough is shattered. And again, bluff or not, counter-threat requires coordinates... And also yeah, Groaxians grew too disgusted with the idea at that particular time.

Anyways, as always, thanks a lot. From today's reply it looks you've read only the first one of the three posts that happened since the last reply under this thread, I hope you'll like what happens next.  :)
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2021, 09:47:53 PM »
Why? It doesn't assume that. Whether they care or not is irrelevant, all that matters for this plan to work is to make them think it's not Groaxians communicating with each other secretly. Before they could arrive at a point from which Groaxians had sent the crucial message, the latter would be long gone. You don't want to say Conglomerate made from the smartest individuals selected from a society with average IQ being on Einstein's level or higher has made such a simple mistake, do you?

My point was more, if the Achernar do not like the Umbara either, if they detect an Umbara signal they might decide to go threaten the "Umbara" too. Granted, one assumes they are already aware of the Umbara and clearly have not destroyed the Umbara yet, so perhaps they tolerate the Umbara for some reason. Still, a lot of assumptions, and even Einstein made mistakes from time to time...  ;)

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Anyways, as always, thanks a lot. From today's reply it looks you've read only the first one of the three posts that happened since the last reply under this thread, I hope you'll like what happens next.  :)

You're right. I tend to open the AAR in a tab when I see a new update, so I don't forget to read it, but sometimes I forget to also refresh before reading and miss any following updates. In this case I read Endpoint War and Signal of Despair but I missed Path of Insanity. A quick glance and it looks very promising so I look forward to reading that soon...

----

Editing with latest update commentary:

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In that system, space felt the way it should - vast, calm, silent, also dead, with life being a rare miracle rather than common occurrence.

In a normal universe this would be the usual, but in this universe the emptiness of a star system is so rare as to be perhaps even more suspicious than a system with the presence of aliens. Surely something strange is afoot here...

...or not? I guess not. Oh well.

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From the planets with oxygen in the air, Tizona V was the easiest one to terraform. [...] Some felt no terraforming would help this doomed place, even though the argument was completely irrational and it was the best choice for colonisation in Tizona despite its darkest secrets.

Truly a unique yet foreboding planet and ecosystem, particularly I have to say the accompanying image is quite evocative and well-selected.

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Next planet to be explored was Tizona III, with still low pressure and amount of oxygen, but obviously much higher than on Tizona IV. And that's where things became interesting. [...] It wasn't something to be expected. Looking after the mysterious wrecks and Umbara history, a world belonging to the civilisation still vastly unknown and not understood beyond what Dark Forest Theory was suggesting.

Now this is more like what we have come to expect from this surprisingly populated corner of the galaxy, although another new civilization is certainly very interesting.

As an aside I am beginning to have a theory that in the time since humanity Ascended, the Dark Forest Lords or else some other powerful race has somehow relocated all of the populated races in the galaxy into this little corner of space and sealed it off with the black wall. I am not sure what the implications are yet but it is an idea I am keeping in mind.

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Soon one of the ships involved in the encounter fired a gravitational blast, demonstrating its capabilities to be based on the same concept as Groaxian gravitational weapons. Why only one of them fired was an interesting question. Especially given the waves were too weak to threaten the integrity of well-armored Baernoloths. What was even stranger was that a blink of an eye later they fired once again, this time leaving a more visible impact on the fabric of space, messing up with the former wave they'd sent. A warning was the simplest explanation, but Dark Forest Theory left no places for such concepts.

This seems very reminiscent of the Achernar behavior, where they sent the gravitational pulse to the Dark Forest Lords and then another to interrupt the first. Perhaps these aliens have a different and startlingly more effective means of sending a message to the Dark Forest Lords?

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The scope of the problem was beyond their expectations when several hibernation cycles later they emerged in Qi only to instantly detect several alien fleets positioned around key locations in the outskirts of the system, effectively making leaving it without having to come too close to them quite challenging. They rushed towards Genesis, freaking out about suddenly getting killed, but for some strange reason the fleets didn't move much and there were no signs of a battle going on, not really signs of Groaxians preparing to intercept the intruders. They still remained puzzled when they learnt Conglomerate Defense Fleet was defending Conglomerate that time quite directly by escorting several members into orbit of Genesis to arrange a meeting in space as to not waste time for planetary landing.

It seems like the plan to send a secret communication has been too late, now the explorers are returned and the Achernar are aware of them so there can be no subterfuge. A tight spot for the Groaxians now.

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Tizona was only 11 hibernation cycles away from Qi. Broadcasting Qi coordinates was a very risky endeavour. It was likely both stars would get exposed.

Oh. Oh. This is actually good news then, the Achernar no longer can threaten Qi. Actually, it could still be bad news, if the Achernar decide to fight the Qi, but maybe the two races will try to work together in defiance of Dark Forest rather than annihilating each other. Probably not, but we can dream about it...

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T: We really don't care. The goal of our species is not survival. No individual can live forever, no civilisation as a whole can either. Everything comes to an end. Even time.

Well, that's not ominous at all.  :o

So, it seems like the Tempestsaurs are a doomsday cult on the scale of an entire race. Certainly, they do have an interesting perspective on the Dark Forest, but it is senseless. Why should any race care about the next cycle of the universe, if they will be dead anyways? Still, senseless or not, they are a threat to Qi and now a threat the Groaxians can understand.

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There was no way to make sure Tempestsaurs hadn't colonised space somewhere else, somewhere safe from the imminent attack. Sacrificing one colony was well worth destroying their enemy from their point of view, especially they might as well evacuate it to minimise losses, maybe even completely neutralise them shall they have enough time and lose only the system itself, but nothing of what belonged to them. That was a simple explanation, and simple explanations were often true.

It is also possible that the Tempestsaurs are willing to sacrifice their own race to wipe out the Groaxians if they believe it will preserve the natural order of the universe. Either way this is certainly a scary moment.

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With entire civilisation now officially on a timer, Project Ascension was the only hope left.

It is the endgame now. Hopefully the Groaxians can succeed before they run out of time.

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Before retirement, Conglomerate passed one last declaration, mobilising both the army and civilian population to focus on preparing for retaking the Precursor complex from the apparently severely weakened Umbara. Combining the findings of the Ancients with knowledge stored in a monolith seemed to be the key to completing the project, or at least so did soulseekers studying the monolith believe.

In their urgency I note that the Conglomerate spends little time debating the ethics of this decision. Truly things have gotten desperate, but at this point without even pausing to consider this have the Groaxians lost the last of their civilization's nature to survive the Dark Forest?

The galaxy wonders...
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 11:07:18 AM by nuclearslurpee »
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2021, 12:47:15 PM »
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My point was more, if the Achernar do not like the Umbara either, if they detect an Umbara signal they might decide to go threaten the "Umbara" too.

Well... Hey, it's one enemy less then, right? And Groaxians didn't do anything illegal, it was Umbara doing their business, so no broadcast, right?

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As an aside I am beginning to have a theory that in the time since humanity Ascended, the Dark Forest Lords or else some other powerful race has somehow relocated all of the populated races in the galaxy into this little corner of space and sealed it off with the black wall. I am not sure what the implications are yet but it is an idea I am keeping in mind.

An interesting theory... Maybe it's another experiment, like with Mechi, or what humanity did by setting a colony in Qi when Groaxians were still primitive, but now that they are not primitive anymore, more extensive containment measures are required to keep it under control...

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This seems very reminiscent of the Achernar behavior

Becuase that aliens are Achernar and it looks like you've completely missed it (plus they didn't send the coords, it was again the first wave being actual message and the second that corrupted the data sent was like "okay you saw we can, but this was just a warning so we're not doing it yet") Maybe it's my fault because writing in foreign language when you're tired and want to "just finish this already" can produce mixed results, to say the least, but on the other hand... Maybe you've accidentially read it better than I could've expected, because you got to experience explorers' POV - language translation and gaining insight into this civilisation all happened after explorers had already left, so they had no way of knowing these aliens weren't that alien anymore, having not receiving updated info and latest news until they were back home and thus still treating it as "highly unknown."

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Why should any race care about the next cycle of the universe, if they will be dead anyways?

Why should anyone care about raising kids if, for example, they're terminally ill and by the time they reach adulthood and move the world forward, said person will be dead? Or why care about the future of Earth if by the time resources are depleted we will be most likely all dead? Or why try to think about colonisation and terraforming of Mars if again, by the time this planet will be made habitable generations of terraformers would have been born and gone? Some people don't care, sure, but it's the same concept here. They won't live to see the fruits of their work, but the universe as a whole will not die and will continue to live one more cycle, allowing life to thrive once again, allowing the miracle to go on.

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It seems like the plan to send a secret communication has been too late, now the explorers are returned and the Achernar are aware of them so there can be no subterfuge. A tight spot for the Groaxians now.

They were too unfortunate to be detected in Tizona. To be fair, this didn't change anything about Achernar in Qi being aware as they could not have avoided detection when warping to the system and were travelling at the speed of light, meaning the information about their existence had reached enemy blocking Qi at the same time regardless of their detection. The problem was that because of preemptive detection, Achernar government was made aware much quicker and could give certain directives which resulted with what they resulted... ::)

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But maybe the two races will try to work together in defiance of Dark Forest rather than annihilating each other.

Groaxians would be proud of your naive enlightened thinking. Perhaps you're more Groaxian than they are themselves by now after all this mess...

Also I see in your post you've skipped probably the most important thing from the last update that probably has put a lot of influence into Conglomerate not giving a crap about ethics this time. I'm gonna reiterate it again, so it echoes across your mind just like it did with poor Groaxians to hear it...

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Dark Forest is not a force of destruction: it's a force of balance.

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The galaxy wonders...

The galaxy watches... Civilisations move around in stealth, silent but observing, ready to send doomsday devices (or ask someone else to do it) at the most vague sign of intelligent life, ready to wipe out entire clusters of stars just to be sure that one race reaching industrialisation doesn't get a chance... It's kill or be killed, as always.

Thanks a lot for your input, you actually encouraged me to try write some more update even though the AAR is already on pair with gameplay right now so I planned to start playing to get the next batch of events to process before writing anything more. Kinda unfortunate you didn't follow the previous one as I feel in certain aspects it came out better than this one. Likely because, being a human myself, it's easier to write about humans than to try to come up with alien race that'd be alien enough to not fall under "too humanlike" cliche.
 

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2021, 02:58:03 PM »
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This seems very reminiscent of the Achernar behavior

Becuase that aliens are Achernar and it looks like you've completely missed it (plus they didn't send the coords, it was again the first wave being actual message and the second that corrupted the data sent was like "okay you saw we can, but this was just a warning so we're not doing it yet") Maybe it's my fault because writing in foreign language when you're tired and want to "just finish this already" can produce mixed results, to say the least, but on the other hand... Maybe you've accidentially read it better than I could've expected, because you got to experience explorers' POV - language translation and gaining insight into this civilisation all happened after explorers had already left, so they had no way of knowing these aliens weren't that alien anymore, having not receiving updated info and latest news until they were back home and thus still treating it as "highly unknown."

At first I couldn't be sure because they were described as giving signals "similar" to the Achernar but it seemed uncertain. I pieced it together after a bit but my comments are always as they come for real-time reactions.  ;)

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Why should anyone care about raising kids if, for example, they're terminally ill and by the time they reach adulthood and move the world forward, said person will be dead? Or why care about the future of Earth if by the time resources are depleted we will be most likely all dead? Or why try to think about colonisation and terraforming of Mars if again, by the time this planet will be made habitable generations of terraformers would have been born and gone? Some people don't care, sure, but it's the same concept here. They won't live to see the fruits of their work, but the universe as a whole will not die and will continue to live one more cycle, allowing life to thrive once again, allowing the miracle to go on.

It's true for some people, but I have a hard time seeing an entire civilization like this, although of course my life experience is only as a human and we have our own problems as a race...

But in my view, most people want to enjoy their children while they are alive and come to know them and care for them before giving them their inheritance as they pass on.

To me, it is less like terraforming Mars for future humans, and more like terraforming Mars for unknown future species which we think will evolve from dolphins in a few million years. It is nice for the dolphins, sure, but in the present what about our own race.

Of course for you as an author this is a narrative success, as an entire race which is basically a doomsday cult is certainly unique and alien and forces the readers to grapple with such existential questions as this.

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Also I see in your post you've skipped probably the most important thing from the last update that probably has put a lot of influence into Conglomerate not giving a crap about ethics this time. I'm gonna reiterate it again, so it echoes across your mind just like it did with poor Groaxians to hear it...

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Dark Forest is not a force of destruction: it's a force of balance.

At risk of insulting my intellectual superiors ;) I would cry shame on them for simply accepting the premise at face value and not interrogating it thoroughly, "whether it was all a mystification or not". I might even venture to say that accepting this premise so readily does say a lot about the depths to which the Groaxians have sunk into Dark Forest nature, if indeed it was not in them all along as many seem to be afraid.

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]
Thanks a lot for your input, you actually encouraged me to try write some more update even though the AAR is already on pair with gameplay right now so I planned to start playing to get the next batch of events to process before writing anything more. Kinda unfortunate you didn't follow the previous one as I feel in certain aspects it came out better than this one. Likely because, being a human myself, it's easier to write about humans than to try to come up with alien race that'd be alien enough to not fall under "too humanlike" cliche.

Keep it up! We do seem to be in the endgame now and another finished story would be another impressive accomplishment, and then of course a well-deserved break before 1.14 releases!

----

Brave New World:

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Quick medical examination confirmed all members of the Conglomerate had at least a mild case of Dark Forest Disease.

Yep yep

The slate of candidates certainly brings a wide range of perspectives to the table. It is difficult to say which candidates will be the best choice, clearly some balance will be needed but what that should be is complicated. In any case there is a danger of a culture shift between the old and new Conglomerate which could threaten to derail their efforts, even if they share the same goals a new perspective on how to reach them could interrupt current efforts in some manner.

The range of visualizations for each candidate does a lot to show their background and personalities and is much appreciated.  :)
 

 

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