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11
General C# Fiction / Re: Big Sky
« Last post by El Pip on September 11, 2021, 01:38:17 AM »
Booo. I am gravely disappointed in this turn of events.
12
General C# Fiction / Re: Big Sky
« Last post by nuclearslurpee on September 10, 2021, 07:00:08 PM »
I see from the map that we are invading Space Turkey, surely this can only go well.

As for what comes next, the answer is not "what is the best option", but rather what would a lazy, womanizing bastard of a soldier do? The answer of course is nothing. Bayonets are excellent for roasting marshmallows, yes?
13
General C# Fiction / Re: Big Sky
« Last post by The0didactus on September 10, 2021, 06:52:07 PM »
==================
STORY FIVE: ADHERENCE
==================

Three Days Later

The recently deceased Captain Helia Costades lay dead in a nearby ditch
Newly promoted Captain Everette Sledd wiped sweat from his eyes and adjusted the goggles on his survival suit, in a hope of getting some better read on the indecipherable readout before him. He tried to focus on the situation at hand, and not the fact that his left side was covered with small specks of his predecessors blood.

"Green square is us," He said.

"Correct sir." Lance Corporal Chesterton said.

"Red crooked diamondy things are infantry formations...enemies...the ones with the cross-hatchy bits I mean."

"Again, correct."

"What does it mean if there's a big x on top."

"Whole smegload of infantry sir."

"And the blue is the rest of the 2nd Regiment."

"As of this morning sir."

"And the diamonds with the pockmarks?"

"Concussion rifle nests, sir."

"Why didn't the map display the one just over the ridge?"

"We didn't know about it this morning, sir."

Captain Sledd examined Captain Costades' body again. "No, I suppose we did not." He said. "So...there could be any number of enemies off to the west that aren't on this map."

"Yessir, could be thousands."

"Crap. but there could also be nothing out there at all."

"Yes."

"Interesting...Well, last question, the red diamond in the Fjord north thats the objective..the Sea-Skimmer."

"The...uh...I believe former objective sir." Lace Corporal Chesterton replied. "Situation has changed since the ambush. I rather think the captain's previous order to regroup along the line of organization, South near Paintbrush Lake, is prudent."

"Yeah, well I'm the captain now." Captain Sledd grumbled.

The situation was disorienting, to be sure. He was in command of a squad of a few hundred, part of an advance landing force given the rather ambitious goal of capturing the largest source of fissile material on the planet...30 kilometers away along a frozen river-valley. If strategic assessments were accurate they were outnumbered perhaps seven to one, by opponents who all looked exactly alike. Whoever the original Soren Soderberg was, Sledd knew at least that the man was no slouch: since planetfall, Sledd had been locked in an unremitting melee with hundreds of his progeny: six foot three Finnish titans with stringy black hair and ice-blue eyes. The assessment released this morning predicted with high confidence that the Soderbergs were already running low on ammunition and basic supplies...but of course the same assessment had failed to record the presence of the concussion rifle nest that wiped out a quarter of his men.

There were several options available to Sledd, but he was in no position to properly weigh them. Instead, he gave the first order that came to him...

14
General C# Fiction / Re: Big Sky
« Last post by The0didactus on September 08, 2021, 05:56:32 PM »
chhhhhhhharrrrrgggggeeee
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The Suns Never Set / Re: The Suns Never Set - Comments Thread
« Last post by Migi on September 08, 2021, 05:29:57 PM »
Losing 25% of your survey fleet in 2 years is pretty bad for your ability to expand, the fact that you replaced them only hides the cost.

However as you are (thus far) using missile ships against beam ships, you could make an armed version of the Apollo by ripping out the survey sensors and jump drive and filling the hole with missile launchers.
Alternatively I was wondering how much hanger space you could get from the above and carry some Havock class destroyers with you?
16
Stormtrooper's Fiction / Re: Time's End AAR (TN start, custom race and solar system)
« Last post by Stormtrooper on September 08, 2021, 04:37:56 PM »
DARK FOREST GENE

3521-3528 AM hibernation cycles

A group of extraordinarily skilled middlemen from Qusmont worked solar and cosmic watch to prototype a new soulgrain mechanic-based weapon, based on a brand new concept than the ones already deployed so far. It was a fairly straightforward idea of tearing a target apart at a soulgrain level, something no armor or energetic shields could ever protect from and even counterfire from other gravity- or soulgrain-based weapons would struggle to nullify or at least mitigate. The expected output appeared similar to what Invaders were using for sucking out and processing matter from conquered and destroyed celestial objects, at least according to monolith entries on the subject.

Surprisingly, before the concept could be weaponized in any reasonable way, it was proven it would be of invaluable help in terraforming. As if speeding up processes lasting for billions of hibernation cycles to take only half a century, maybe a bit more, wasn't impressive enough, scientists responsible for the project claimed if their technology was to be applied, maybe a dozen hibernation cycles or so would be enough to completely reshape a candidate planet to host genesian ecosystems. The basic idea was to abandon conventional approach to terraforming altogether and take advantage of the laws of soulgrain mechanics to change particles already present in a given world to the ones neccessary for Groaxians to comfortably live on the surface without any life support. A terraformation process would typically start by a rapid shift of atmosphere pressure and composition by modifying particles within the air to create same environment as on Genesis and while the cooling or warming and magnetic field generation still had to be handled in a classical way, surface modeling was also to be left for this miraculous technology to do the job, shifting some matter into water and accelerating land domestication by native genesian species by providing them easier access to food and whatever other matter they might need to quickly conquer the planet, preparing a perfectly balanced environment for Groaxians to inhabit.

The speed of terraforming would depend on a lot of factors, for example planets with atmospheric pressure similar to the ones on Genesis would be handled much faster because terraformers wouldn't have to pull grains from matter on the ground to transform them into air lacking air (or vice versa in case of too high pressure), modifying the skies directly. Atmosphere composition also played a crucial role, for example it would be much faster to synthetise enough methane if the sky was full of coal and hydrogen particles instead of, for example, having oxygen and neutronium as dominant gasses. The most time-consuming task would still be having flora and fauna spread across the prepared lands, but a separate program of genetic augmentation for the species to adapt and shape the environment as they thrive much faster than they otherwise would yelded optimistic results, too.

First large-scale testing was conducted on Scrar'ix, since the planet was already close to reaching ideal parameters, with great success. What was expected to take at least twenty hibernation cycles more was done over a span of one and a half once a transport of matter manipulators for the local array of Qives arrived. Groaxians were finally free to leave their habitats and build first cities under the open sky, making the logistics on Project Ascension easier, too.

The technology was a blessing for still too small terraforming array assembled on Joyeuse B-II orbit (properly named as Ghuq'ans shortly after as new waves of refugees from the imminent Dark Forest Strike arrived). The planet was expected to reach full habitability within a decade or so. It has been named after the process of soul rebalancing all male Groaxians were to undergo every fourteen hibernation cycles, performed by injecting colonies of freshly awakened Craals for them to circulate through the body, evenly spreading their enzymes across the brain tissue to help discover potential health problems. If a particular Groaxian was unable to recalibrate his thoughts after having Craals crawl through his brain, it was likely the beginning of a Disconnection Syndrome, a dangerous disease making the patient's brain separate as if it was always occuring within female bodies during replication process and each part attempting to form a new Groaxian ready to take on the world. Since obviously male bodies were nowhere near prepared to give birth of their own, these half-existing Groaxian Wraths, as doctors used to refer to them, were unable to separate into organisms of their own, ending up with a few of independent consciousnesses inhabit the same shell, driving the patient to insanity. The disease wasn't hard to treat if detected early and being a result of a genetic error sometimes occuring as a side effect of the ability to communicate via Transcended Speech and the overal characteristics and capabilities of a Groaxian brain had been almost eradicated when genetic engineering really took off, but the process was still very important as regular Craals injections were simply healthy. And so Joyeuse B-II's name was there for everyone to remind the societal split and Lost Generation, but to also see hope of a new, once again merged, strenghtened community to arise, hidden from the incoming apocalypse and well-prepared to sustain Groaxian legacy.

Terraforming was just one of the many applications of matter manipulator. Perhaps the most obvious one came in the form of small matter manipulators gifted to Void Scavengers for improving the efficiency of their operations within Blutgang. With these new devices at hands, salvaging operations reached their peaks as the fleet was able to clear all the artificial rings from Blutgang in no time and as a bonus was able to process recovered materials into useful elements ready to be used in industrial production directly on board, saving time on resmelting and reshaping processes. Actually most of the industry became obsolete with the new technology, because a lot of steps in production chains could simply be skipped in those cases when it was easier and quicker to just directly shift matter from one resource to the other, without conventional hassle of logistics and fabrication.

But the new technology, originally emerging from military-focused research, was bound to eventually be used in the original field it was developed for. A new class of starships has been proposed, loosely based on the same premise as first line of dreadnoughts assembled by the Humanity, but with weapons far beyond what humans even imagined when the first Executor of theirs was leaving space docks.


Quote
Executor class Dreadnought      50 000 tons       1 949 Crew       24 370,8 BP       TCS 1 000    TH 20 000    EM 13 740
20000 km/s    JR 3-500      Armour 15-120       Shields 458-536       HTK 349      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 160      PPV 179
Maint Life 4,26 Years     MSP 30 463    AFR 200%    IFR 2,8%    1YR 2 692    5YR 40 384    Max Repair 5000 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 4   BRG   ENG   CIC   FLG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   
Artificial Gravity Field    AS Advisor    Autnomous Piloting System    Canteen    Combat Simulation System    Combat Trance Chamber    Cosmic Membrane Monitor    Emergency Repair Module    Emergency Treatment Section    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Full Spectrum Deep Space Scanner    Gravitational Signal Filter    Hets Autonomous Farm    Hyperdrive    HyperSensors    Interstellar Targeting Array    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Onboard Armory    Onboard Hospital    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module    Soulgrain Curvature Stabilisator   

J50100(3-500) Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 50100 tons    Distance 500k km     Squadron Size 3

Solid Core AM Drive  EP10000,00 (2)    Power 20000    Fuel Use 62,50%    Signature 10000    Explosion 25%
Fuel Capacity 4 752 000 Litres    Range 27,4 billion km (15 days at full power)
Theta S229 / R536 Shields (2)     Recharge Time 536 seconds (0,9 per second)

Soulgrain Phasing Bomb Launcher (5)    Range 600 000km     TS: 20 000 km/s     Power 96-12     RM 10 000 km    ROF 40       
Black Hole Generator (1)    Range 600 000km     TS: 20 000 km/s     Power 94-12     RM 80 000 km    ROF 40       
Soulgrain HyperDisintegrator (5)    Range 600 000km     TS: 20 000 km/s     Power 42-11     RM 80 000 km    ROF 20       
Beam Fire Control R600-TS20000 (SW) (1)     Max Range: 600 000 km   TS: 20 000 km/s     98 97 95 93 92 90 88 87 85 83
Beam Fire Control R600-TS20000 (2)     Max Range: 600 000 km   TS: 20 000 km/s     98 97 95 93 92 90 88 87 85 83
Solid-core Anti-matter Power Plant R128 (1)     Total Power Output 128    Exp 5%

Active Search Sensor AS16-R1 (1)     GPS 48     Range 16,6m km    MCR 1,5m km    Resolution 1
Active Search Sensor AS486-R100 (1)     GPS 192000     Range 486,8m km    Resolution 100

ECCM-5 (3)         ECM 50

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes


Soulgrain HyperDisintegrators announced a new era in cosmic warfare. They were capable of emitting strong and intense radiation that was bound to reduce whatever it touched into a soulgrain state, disintegrating it into a chaotic mass of soulgrains, leaving no trace of it ever existing and no way to reasonably recover it, greatly accelerating entrophy by making even most complex structures collapse into nothingness and merging with the primary state of the universe. But what had been achieved with this particular weapon paled in comparsion with all the additional armament an Executor was meant to carry. Soulgrain Phasing Bomb Launchers were effective at much shorter range, but were a deadly threat on their own for whatever daring to disturb Groaxians. Taking advantage of soulgrain teleportation, it operated by teleporting small, unstable antimatter cores right at the target, making it possible to, for example, ignore all armor, shielding and all kinds of other defensive measurements of enemy ship by having an antimatter payload suddenly (anti)materialise in the engines and annihilate the vessel from within, leaving absolutely no chance for the enemy to deal with it. During their last stand with Invaders, humans had used something similar, but their early prototypes were much weaker than what Groaxians had already achieved.

Still, the title of most ominous weapon ever engineered went to what was initially planned as an improvement, simply next iteration, of a Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuators. However, during the development phase, a small black hole created by the improved design had proven to be stable. Not wanting to have a potentially dangerous black hole residing on the edge of Qi, concentrated fire of gravitational weapons of previous designs was used to speed up the evaporation process and modify space warp to effectively overcome its own gravity and let the light escape, ending the existence of the Eye of Darkness as later that one special black hole began being referred to.

Consequences of the latest breakthrough were of invaluable importance for the future of Groaxian civilisation. Brains of many boiled when they realised what had happened and what it meant. Black Hole Generators, a cosmic evil looming over Groaxian lives ever since they knew there were civilisations that wielded this power, now ready to be fired by their own hands. And it was only then when soulseekers were able to confidently say they finally understood Dark Forest Theory and the dangers of a sudden technological boom it mentioned, as this technological boom was what brought Groaxians from a primitive civilisation taking its first steps across the stars all the way towards a powerful and mighty race wielding the power of destruction and almost wielding the power of creation.

The one Exectuor that had been built was indeed an executor in the most horrible meaning. Outfitted with HyperSensors and Hyperdrive for easiness of navigation and travel across Cracks, with interstellar targeting array installed that would allow it to send doom across light hibernation cycles at a whim, with additional mechanisms for stabilising space around it to further enchance accuracy over interstellar distances, it was far more than what Groaxians would ever need to bring for the War of a Different Time.

The possibility of launching a Dark Forest Strike of their own lied in front of the Groaxian Conglomerate and the civilisation it guided as a whole.

Soulseekers entered an insanely busy period of their lives, constantly occupied with tracking and predicting all possible scenarios and routes that their race could follow from that dangerous point. Serving under a special Conglomerate order, they were the first non-military workers in history to ever receive doses of hibernation stoppers to squeeze as much performance out of them as possible. But all the endangering effort paid out as they delivered the results of their research on the verge of collapsing into madness and could all be assigned to proper genetic treatment to remove the toxic influence lack of hibernation had on their bodies and minds while Conglomerate received a solid pile of reports to work with.

At the beginning of these reports a detailed analysis of documented Dark Forest Lord-classed weapons was presented. First black hole generator built by Groaxians was nothing extraordinary. Even less developed humans had photonic missiles of their own by the time they brought fight with Invaders into Bootes Void. Even Precursors had their artifacts for collapsing hyperspace that turned out to be perfectly weaponizable. And, most importantly, an ability to broadcast stellar coordinates in all directions at once, while not a Dark Forest Lord-classed weapon on its own, also shared the characteristics of being useful as a world destroyer for less advanced civilisations and each civilisation was bound to at least think about such application for their broadcasting arrays at least once at some point.

The summary of the analysis was a solid proof, that no matter whether the will was good or bad, sooner or later each civilisation was bound to develop means to pose a direct existential threat to the others (or go extinct beforehand). However, nature of each race was unqiue and often strongly affected the technological path it walked. While some milestones were bound to appear similar or even the same due to sharing the same universe with the same laws of mathematics and physics, many deviations from each other existed among endless paths a particular race might take. And Dark Forest Theory aside, there was no strict physical law that would justify everyone building a world destroyer at some point and yet it seemed to be the way sentinet life operated.

Merging brainpower with genetics, biologists and xenobiologists, soulseekers began the most ambitious project aiming at discovering and mapping the nature of nature on the example of Groaxians ever undertaken, despite many research from the past touching on that matter. And with all the technology and knowledge at hands, the project was a success. After directly analysing links between biology and psychology of Groaxians, Zenn, La and Achernar and using data gathered by Humanity on Invaders, Yagidrerc and Substance (and of course humans themselves), a similar genetic sequence had been extracted and pinpointed in all of the examples. Of course it always took a different form, adjusted to the particular biology of a given species, but its meaning remained constant. Soulseekers and scientists agreed to call it a "Dark Forest Gene". The universal sequence encoded in all who live and think, like a mark of the universe itself, the spawn of universe itself, meant to contain its fundamental nature within.

No genetic engineering could ever get rid of a Dark Forest Gene because of its universality and omnipresence. It was a mandatory condition for sentience to evolve, so to get rid of it would mean to get rid of self-consciousness as well and become mindless animals unaware of their own existence. And it was precisely this gene that made it so easy for gentics to build on it, creating Bound by Dark Forest. And that engineering was much less faulty than scientific community agreed before the latest research of soulseekers. It was Dark Forest Gene that allowed applying Lost Generation strategy, but it was also Dark Forest Gene that allowed for the two sides to merge into one perfectly balanced community once again, with the help of the overall Groaxian strive for balance and stability.

Human stories encoded in the monolith under the cultural and historical databases sometimes revolved around the feelings and consequences of finding a traitor within a group built upon common trust. But the despair of Groaxians was indescribable when they not only found a "traitor" among them, but realised every single citizen of theirs that ever existed in the past or would exist in the future was such "traitor", carrying a Dark Forest Gene buried deep within the deepest pits of own soul. The very thing generations of Groaxians attempted to escape from through all these hibernation cycles that followed initial discovery of Dark Forest Theory lied dormant within each one of them since the solar watch their first ancestors formed their first conscious thought. Escaping from Dark Forest became a synonym of escaping from oneself.

There was nothing more to learn from the monolith. Groaxian civilisation was far more advanced than Humanity was by the time it had placed their gift on the surface of Genesis. The Era of Guidance had finally came to an end.

And by the end of it Groaxians were Dark Forest Lords themselves.

17
Stormtrooper's Fiction / Re: Time's End comments thread
« Last post by Stormtrooper on September 07, 2021, 06:10:06 PM »
So... I guess this is the moment I'm supposed to clarify stuff, comment the comments and all that... ::)

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A more skeptical observer might suppose that the Achernar have been aware of their technological disparity all along and have been bluffing with threats of calling a Dark Forest Strike. Of course we have no skeptics here

If they didn't call for a strike, they'd be very weak Dark Forest players. If you can make the other civilisation go kaboom, you always should. Or else...

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The plot thickens!

Is it as thick as the endless skies of Iether already?

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Rarely is a tanker ship announced as a revolution in space warfare, however the Groaxians with their superior intelligence clearly understand the central importance of logistics and thus appropriately venerate advances in this field. Of this I approve.

It was announced as a revolution in interstellar flight logistics. Though in a Dark Forest it likely means a revolution in space warfare as well. Also got surprised you can make tankers that fast with commercial engines, still able to carry lots of fuel and still have space for armor left, and that's after misc components and jump drive stealing some of it.

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This is a thing of beauty. So many loops and crossovers... chaos at its finest.

This is how aurora galaxy generation should look like by default IMO. No more block 1-2 jps and be able to forget about an entire alien empire, no more boring and predictable path, now eveyrthing is interesting to explore and you never know from where they will come...

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Some scientists of other races have postulated that this may occur due to ships tending to drop out of curvature space at precisely located "jump points" between systems, but of course this is utter folly and of course no self-respecting Groaxian would believe such silly things.

Ahh, those silly "scientists" and their fairy tales... Also them saying "drop out of curvature space" as if they meant hyperspace or whatever other magic they came up with (seriously, doubt they are smart enough to figure out hyperspace is a thing as this conflicts with their jump point myths fairly strongly...  :P) while not being able to realise the mundane 3D space itself is not straight and might be curved at places, for example in the gravity wells of the celestial bodies, says a lot about these "scientists".  ;)

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I doubt Groaxian society is ready for recounting of war stories as a pastime yet

There's no "recounting of war stories as a pastime" in a Dark Forest. War is always a present story.

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I'm not sure how this would even happen to be honest.

"This is probably a compact fleet formation enclosed within warp bubble, but seen from various angles and sides from a 4D perspective as perceived by a 3D being" - random Groaxian physicist, probably

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I'm curious what race carries out routine cargo transits at 13,000 km/s, that is simply crazy talk.

Depends on the type of cargo. Those silly humans and their lack of vision... How did they even reach Ascension? Oh yeah, right, Arilou had to help them. Of course. No way they would come up with it on their own, it's always "the ancients" that have to do all the hard work for them.

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Hardly routine

Past a certain point it becomes routine, though past another it stops being routine again because you start doing all the destruction by yourself.  8)

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Or they could hurry up and Ascend

Humans... They don't work till adulthood and on top of that have this weird concept of "retirement" and then they'll tell to "hurry up". As soon as you are born, go to work, lazy pricks, then we can talk.

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The plot thickens...

Ok, now it definitely is as thick as Iether.

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The universe is a hyperblack wall.

I mean, technically...

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Offhand I wonder if there is a "Flatworld Solution" to this, that is, escaping to a lower dimensional (2D) universe instead of higher dimensional

Flatgenesians would like to have a word pink-purple gas emission with you.

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if the album art of the link is anything to go by Ragnarok is a very apt comparison to the likely endgame here..

It's literally called "Prophecy of Ragnarok"... And of course it's the endgame.

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Also puts in perspective the universal horror facing the Groaxians, despite having technologies at their fingertips far beyond what we even think possible they face a threat with no way to possibly combat it short of running away and hoping not to be found due to how powerful this threat is.

That's a perfectly balanced summary of an Applied Dark Forest Theory in a nutshell. Soulseekers approve.  8)
18
Stormtrooper's Fiction / Re: Time's End - Tizona Siege
« Last post by Stormtrooper on September 07, 2021, 05:00:50 PM »
TIZONA SIEGE

3514-3528 AM hibernation cycles

While physicists kept themselves occupied with cracking the mysteries of higher dimensions and uncovered more about the soulgrain layer of the universe, Groaxians and Umbaras on board of Vaccines and Dragonbreaths skipped through hibernation cycles and light hibernation cycles alike, experiencing a brief moment of relativistic flight till Curvature Propulsion Systems left them on the verge of Tizona system, ready to cripple space programs, especially military space programs, of the enemy. But first things noticed were neither enemy ships or signals coming from planetary surfaces, but faint pulses of half-dead electronic scrap floating around countless wrecks in the system. They were both of Achernar and Umbara origin, easily matched with registered classes, a silent reminder of fierce battles that once raged between the two civilisations, a lot of Umbara leftovers likely being of the same fleet explorers had a close encounter with back in the solar watch when first Groaxians appeared in the system with a scientific mission.

As Human Space Fleet plotted a course towards Tizona III, supposed homeworld of Tempestsaurs Of Achernar, admiral decided to stop for a moment and analyze an interesting pile of debris that emitted stronger signals than other scrap floating around. But when Groaxians got so close they could already spot the wrecks as faint glowing points with naked eyes, first particle lances struck through Groaxian hulls. First ones to die never even registered in their last dying breath what killed with them and that the "wrecks" were of a much better condition than anticipated.



The ambush might have been a brilliant move, but it only got Achernar so far. Antiparticle retaliation alone was enough to destroy half of the small squadron within a blink of an eye. Achernar fired one more, that time much weaker already, volley, only for the Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuators to finish them off as they were fired sequentially, one after the other. First unstable black holes pulled Achernars straight at each other to smash aganist their hulls. As if that wasn't enough, frags from the ones destroyed by antiparticles, spreading out with a respectable velocity, had their trajectories easily influenced by the gravitational anomaly and turned into missiles that riddled enemy hulls with many holes. One battered vessel tried to flee the slaughter, but a few moments later intinsifying gravitational pulses got it, too.

With no survivors left after Groaxians demonstrated their immense power and technological advantage once again, the fleet stopped for a while to undergo field repairs, reassign crewmembers to make the most out of understaffed posts and block more methane from escaping into space as well as reinforcing critical areas of each ship. Not long after resumption of the journey, another Achernar fleet flashed on the radars, coming from two sides at once.



Sensing difficulty in outmanoeuvring two squadrons at once, fleet admiral decided to take a smaller risk out of the two and charge full speed ahead towards the closer one, overcharging weapons as well in an attempt to smash all ships from the formation at once. The plan worked out reasonably well. Once again Groaxians were shocked to witness their own destructive power as extreme gravity crushed their enemies with unforgiving force and antimatter explosions flashed before their eyes, clearly visible despite vast distances separating two fleets. On gravitational scanners it was possible to observe space itself shaking, rumbling and falling apart like a piece of paper until the destruction was over and it straightened itself once again. Not all ships were destroyed at once, though, but the two lone survivors were showing signs of heavy internal damage and critical life support system failure. Biological scans reealed only dead biomass splattered across them.



Encouraged by the success, crewmembers prepared for repeating of the same decastating strike on the second part of the fleet, but with it being much larger it refused to work out so flawlessly again. Moreover, a small calculation error caused a big engine output error and the fleet was flying way too fast to decelerate and dodge the incoming enemies. With nothing that could be done, everyone onboard braced themselves for an impact as two fleets closed in way too fast.



Explosions lightened up the eternal darkness in two points at once, though one was much, much brighter than the other. Still, a significant Achernar force remained a threat and on top of that, while most shots ended up miscalculated, two streams of particles punctured a single Vaccine at mostly same location. This helped reduce direct damage, but put the ship in a strong rotational motion. That alone maybe wouldn't be that problematic, but both beams struck the fusion fuel injector, making engines underpowered and releasing lots of precious hydrogen out into space.



Crew of the hapless Vaccine desperately tried to put it back under control as it spinned while maintaining former velocity and the rest of the ships recharged their weapons. But at the same time Achernar made an u-turn and fired its engines in the opposite direction to their movement vector, countering their speed and slowing down rapidly. Having detected the sudden manoeuvre way too late to intervene, Groaxians could only watch for a very brief moment as whatever distance separating the fighting fleets that had existed before stopped doing so. To make the entire situation more problematic, Tempestsaurs Of Achernar carefully positioned their ships right at the predicted flight path of Human Space Fleet, likely setting up for a suicidal showdown, accepting their own death for as long as Groaxians would ram into them with high speed, dying themselves.

Groaxian engines were powerful enough to slightly adjust the trajectory when there was still time for this, but when the distance eventually dropped to almost zero, Achernar opened accurate kinetic fire from up close. Ironically, this is what saved the unlucky Vaccine which still struggled to stop spinning, let alone slow down or apply corrections to their velocity to avoid crashing into hostile vessels. A few projectiles hitting its armor at key spots was all it needed to have its movement vector changed just enough to avoid mutual annihilation.



The distance was still way too close for Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuators, but was perfect for accurate antiparticle fire that finished the Achernar ships left behind as Groaxians kept flying forward at ridiculous speed. But as the planets of the system kept getting closer, sensors warned about yet another Achernar force likely ready to engage just ahead of the current position of the assault fleet.



Human Space Fleet tried to circle around the enemy and fire, but Achernar ended up attempting exactly the same at exactly the same moment. Before anyone could react, two fleets closed in way beyond the safe distance for Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuators usage and Achernar were the first ones to blast with kinetic fire.



Groaxians started dealing damage with antiparticle beams, but it was obvious such a close range firefight was not sustainable if Achernar were to bring their own particle beams, unavoidable at distances involved. Separating from the enemies became number one priority, but that one unfortunate Vaccine still struggled with fuel injectors repairing and admiral categorically refused leaving it separated, predicting quick and certain death for everyone on board if it was to happen. As a consequence Achernar, despite weaker engines, had no trouble staying right on top of Groaxian time, at least before fuel consumption to keep accelerating would overwhelm the enemy while still being manageable by more efficient Dragonbreaths and Vaccines.



More Groaxians and Umbaras were slain as the brutal close-ranged firefight kept on going and ships faced at a time proved to be protected by more advanced armor designs withstanding even antimatter particles to some extent. With no better chances, a risky operation was performed: Groaxians roated their ships, fired engines with all the force they possibly could, preparing gravitational fire to send them in the opposite direction than enemy quicker. But as the ships kept slowing down, while distance increased as Achernar commands must have been lagging behind, more of their shots kept on landing because a slow target is an easy target. The armor of one Vaccine was already barely holding together. With no time to waste, a new order was given: to briefly engage Curvature Propulsion Systems. The distance from both fleets was too small to allow safe usage of them, but there was no choice. However, at the last possible moments one of physics consultants ran a brief simulation and suggested firing Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuators at the same time since space fluctuations of both of these devices used simultaneously should shape its curvature just right for the Achernar to get separated and their parts not ending up caught in warp bubbles which would lead to catastrophic results (for both sides, though). All in all, the maneouvre was very complex, but nothing latest soulgrain cybersoul mainframes would struggle with, and with a brief flash of red-blue light Human Space Fleet ended up a significant distance behind enemy forces.



From there all weapons could be fired freely, laying annihilation wherever they had been aimed. Achernar tried to split and circle around Groaxian vessels, but just couldn't gain enough speed fast enough. Meanwhile Groaxian forces calmly turned around again and flew past remaining enemies, wiping out whatever was left still flying and shooting.



With no more resistance in sight, at last the deep space journey was over and sensors could read first output from Tizona planets, by then much closer than when Curvature Propulsion Systems had been turned off for the final system approach. Tizona IV, V and VI were devoid of any signs of sentience, but Tizona I, II and III revealed Achernar structures on the surface. However, something strange was going on with the planets. While all there was on Tizona I were a few of small industrial complexes, Tizona II and III appeared bustling with life. However, Tizona III, believed to be the homeworld after last exploration of the system, looked only like a small colony in comparsion with what was going on Tizona II, which definitely couldn't be too developed by the last time Groaxians checked in.



Why would most of Achernar move from one planet to the other was not understandable, obviously if Dark Forest Lords had decided to wipe all nearby systems just to be sure then Tizona II was as doomed as Tizona III, and yet something must had caused Achernar to relocate... Unless it was the same story as with their appearances in Blutgang, crashed Vrilxel in Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi or Groaxian ruins in Joyeuse again. With no further hints and nothing better to do, Groaxians turned towards Tizona I and proceeded with bombarding the undefended, exposed factories and mines. No hostile ships had been detected while particle beams (unfortunately antiparticles were useless because all antimatter within the weapons of Dragonbreaths would collide as soon as the beam met with the atmosphere, forcing Groaxians to switch to full matter mode) and gravitational pulses rained down on the scorching world, tearing through large areas of its surface until there was nothing left. And so the mission was technically complete - all detected fleets had been destroyed, a likely important industrial world (even if with only so much Achernar presence on it) reduced to ruins of ruins and overall there were no visible traces of any decent space-related hostile military capabilities left.



Before heading back to Qi, though, Groaxians decided to briefly check on Tizona III and try to figure out what had happened. As the planet became clearly visible on pictures transmitted by telescopes, it was noticed it looked a bit different than the last time. Most of the landmass had been covered in patches of white already, but there were some light green and light brown areas as well, but this time the two latter were almost completely gone, so the planet was basically white with light blue ocens. Still, nobody was able to link a possible biological curiosity that wouldn't get answered unless somehow in the future a scientific expedition would land on the planet, with a rather unexpected population shift. However, the planet was defended - laser beams connected with hulls of Human Space Fleet, but it was still too far from the surface to receive any damage - the lasers were simply too dispersed to do anything and Achernar must have been aware about it, too, since they stopped firing as soon as they began. Unfortunately, attempting to locate and eliminate these laser defense platforms would be far too risky, requiring Groaxian ships to close in and face fierce laser fire. Unable to progress any further, Groaxians stopped, but before they warped out of the system, they spent many solar watches monitoring Achernar activity. But apart life on the two planets, nothing was going on and Tizona remained silent, its space undisturbed.

Groaxians had finally gained the upper hand in the War of a Different Time. Next steps were up for the Conglomerate to decide on, though. But one thing was certain: these decisions wouldn't be as easy as military advantage might suggest, because Groaxian technology had already moved past a certain tipping point. Beyond it laid a vast land of destructive power and endless possibilities regarding warfare and soldiers serving in Next-Gen Human Space Fleet were already frightened by the force unleashed with just eight ships total. Eight ships were more than enough to lay waste to far more numerous enemy and quickly send its industrial colony into oblivion. And as the science progressed, officers could only imagine what kind of weapon would arrive next.

Two sides of the society had already been more or less merged and yet Conglomerate did not plan on reapplying genetic modifications, that time much stronger and more reliable, believing the drive for a perfect balance was much more powerful than past generations had imagined, hoping to get by just alright without reapplying the invasive solutions on a mass scale. On both sides a small tension existed, though, related to the military research. Scientists had already announced progress on another revolutionary project, which in itself was good simply because one could never be too protected in a Dark Forest, but sometimes it just didn't feel right for any Groaxian to hold that amount of doom waiting to be released upon the universe. Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuators were already terrifying as described by soldiers who had seen them in action.

As noted by the soulseekers, humans would describe these mild tensions as "unspoken, yet everyone being aware of", but for Groaxians there was simply no such thing as "unspoken" once enough individuals had thought about it in a short span of time.
19
General C# Fiction / Re: The Church of Iron (AAR / Short Story)
« Last post by RougeNPS on September 06, 2021, 08:10:55 PM »
Also recommended is the maintenance of a 27-tab spreadsheet

Bahahahaha.
20
General C# Fiction / Re: The Church of Iron (AAR / Short Story)
« Last post by nuclearslurpee on September 06, 2021, 07:10:46 PM »
… or so the scientists, all of whom are watching from a safe distance, tell me

Truly the life of a scientist is full of occupational hazards to be delegated so that other people may deal with them.

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“Of course you missed it, Councilman Veras – we would have had to install a holoprojector into your attendant’s breasts for you to see it,” said the Prelate dryly.

Hardly appropriate behavior for a man who serves the Church of Iron, now is it?

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“The Church will grow,” nodded the General.

The greatest threat to the expansion of the Church is not from without, but from within, in the form of legions of perky attendants just waiting to lead the councilmen and women astray from their sacred path. Or at least to provide a suitable distraction at an opportune moment.

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Note: I hope to get these out more often - at this rate, I'll forget what happened in my game before I get around to writing about it.  :P

The secret is to write while playing, and to take copious notes. Also recommended is the maintenance of a 27-tab spreadsheet, this is not necessary but helps one feel more on top of things even when one is not.  ;D
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