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Time's End AAR (TN start, custom race and solar system)
« on: April 24, 2021, 07:01:23 PM »
NOTE: This AAR is a direct continuation of my previous one (http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=12283.0 - History of Mankind after COVID-19 pandemic) and is meant to act as a DLC to it because I couldn't really abandon the universe of my previous work, not after all the time I spent on it. It is strongly advised to read the previous one before diving into this one.

Time's End

RISE OF CIVILISATION

THE GIFT OF THE SKIES

10121th BM (Before Monolith) hibernation cycle

Tribe leader Zhe was staring into the night sky just like he always did when the next hibernation cycle was about to begin. He firmly believed that before cooling down a body one should cool down mind first, and watching the Eyes of Gods was the best way to achieve that. But this one cosmic watch was different than all the others he saw before or after in his life.

During that cosmic watch a new entity appeared over the horizon, brighter than all the others that kept watching over the rising civilisation. But it didn't stay in one place: soon it began falling through the skies, closer and closer to the surface, until it eventually smashed against the ground, rather close to the hibernation dwelling. Zhe took his best guards and went in to investigate.

On the landing spot a mysterious, circle-shaped monolith has been found. It emitted a weak, purple-pink light, forming patterns as if it tried to speak in the languages of many tribes, but none of the thoughts expressed made any sense. However, one stood out. It was a simple, easy to read message:

We are the Humanity
Sleep tight little ones
Until you join us among the stars
We will keep you safe


GUIDANCE ERA

0-3250 AM (After Monolith) hibernation cycles

Solar and cosmic watches followed, entire hibernation cycles passed. At first the monolith was worshipped as a divine gift, but as Groaxians developed their technology and understanding of the nature and universe, they realised the true meaning of the expressions encoded on the monolith. For hundreds of hibernation cycles it served as a guide for civilisation development, since the further Groaxians pushed through the wonders of science, the more concepts they could understand, as if the monolith was specifically designed for them to act as an ultimate path to follow. It had such a huge impact on their culture that Groaxians started calling themselves "Groaxians" soley because that's how they were referred to in the monolith's messages. The name really stood out, because it looked very similar to their native languages. Their stellar guardians indeed knew them really well.

Even though nobody really knew what "Humanity" meant, since the term sounded so alien, as if it never should belong to any of the Groaxian languages, everybody realised it was the most powerful entity, and the only one that spoke directly so far. And so the civilisation rose from the tribal stage all the way through industrialisation up to the era when Groaxians not only knew that Qi was just a star like all the others they could see during cosmic watches, a giant burning ball of hydrogen, not only could differentiate between stars and planets, with Genesis being their homeworld and Vrath and Yatune the other two within their solar system, but also started dreaming of setting foot on these other worlds:



As soon as they got a basic grasp of how space works and scientists began their work on propulsion systems that could take them there and enclosed ecosystems maintaining enough atmospheric pressure and methane amount to allow surviving in the vacuum, Groaxians started wondering about the possibility of extragenesian life existing somewhere out there. In fact, the scientific communities largely agreed that the monolith was not a gift of gods, but rather of an alien civilisation, far more advanced than theirs. It filled the minds of rather pacifistic beings with joy and appreciation for the beauty of the universe.

But something wasn't right here. Among the sections describing space and its nature a warning has been found, with the math behind the general relativity theory acting as a key to decipher it, as if Humanity didn't want Groaxians to know about it earlier than after passing a certain scientific milestone. It spoke about "Dark Forest Theory", even though nobody could figure out what "forest" meant. One of the hypothesis, based on the knowledge extracted so far from the stellar gift, spoke about it being meant to represent a dense group of tall, slim plants covering a large area, something unheard of on Genesis, but possibly being an important part of ecosystem of Earth, Humanity's homeworld. The problem is, this meaning had nothing to do with the content of the warning.

It was talking about civilisations expanding across the universe with a finite amount of matter, about never-ending chains of suspicion caused by the distances and biological as well as cultural differences separating alien races, all this ultimately leading to inevitable war, war for survival and said finite resources, even if both sides could initially have friendly intentions. "Predator and prey in one", as the message described every sentient species ever existing, with best tactics to hide and never reveal one's position while actively listening for others and striking mericlessly, the sooner the better, as even less advanced civilisation could experience technological boom any moment and grow to become a threat. It also mentioned civilisations so advanced they'd destroy entire solar systems at a whim, if only they were to receive a set of stellar coordinates pointing at one.

Groaxians were devastated. Sometimes they waged wars, but it was a rare occurence. They coexisted peacefully with one another, shaping a better tomorrow together. The layout of their cities wasn't the most efficient one, either, as they firmly believed global peace is best maintained if everyone has inner peace as well, and large living space requirement and natural surroundings, without too much urbanisation around, was deemed to be the fundament of it. And at first they believed universe was just like them, vast and beautiful, with aliens helping each other and establishing alliances, with abundant resources allowing everybody to occupy as much space as one pleases.

But Dark Forest Theory stated the exact opposite. And yet, if Dark Forest was real, how come that Humanity shared their knowledge with Groaxians instead of wiping them out? But if Dark Forest wasn't real, how come Humanity put such a great effort to explain it, and on top of that do so in a way that'd make Groaxians learn about it just as they began drawing sketches of pioneer space programs? Since both assumptions seemed to be false, a third one has been established: there's more to it, something yet undiscovered, buried deep within the encodings of Humanity's gift.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2021, 08:34:13 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Re: Time's End AAR (TN start, custom race and solar system)
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2021, 07:47:59 PM »
TAMING OF QI

3250-3307 AM hibernation cycles

As technology for detailed astronomical observations became more advanced, Groaxians could conduct a more detailed research about Vrath and Yatune. It was discovered both were extremly toxic and thus rather hostile for life: Vrath had an atmospheric pressure over 190 times higher than the one on Genesis. Also the composition of its atmosphere left a lot to be desired - it didn't contain any traces of methane, but extremely toxic sulphur dioxide was abundant instead and the surface temperature was beyond scorching. Meanwhile Yatune presented itself better, but only in comparsion with Vrath: on its own it was still a horrible place to live in. It was a very hot world, with temperatures well above melting point of water which would boil any Groaxian inside quickly. The air was filled with nitrogen and oxygen, the latter sometimes being used as a chemical weapon in the few wars that were fought on Genesis. Though if, hypothetically speaking, one would replace oxygen with methane and found a way to cool the planet down, it'd be a nice planet to settle down as the first baby step into the darkness of space.



Hibernation cycle 3265, scientists discover a new mixture of steel, titanium and plastics. This alloy lies a foundation for durable suits that could keep Groaxians shielded from the vacuum and solar radiation while keeping them cool enough and holding a decent supply of methane. It is also theorised that this material could be used for hull reinforcements of the space-capable vessels, making the dream of leaving Genesis's atmosphere and safely returning home come true.

Hibernation cycle 3278, engineers publish a first prototype of a methane-based engine that generates amounts of thrust yet unheard of. But despite being very powerful, initial tests show that on a cosmic scale the acceleration it generates compared to the amount of fuel it needs won't be even enough to come back from low orbit. Research continues, but so far no breakthrough is achieved.

Hibernation cycle 3282, scientists, desperate in their attempts to put a live Groaxian in orbit, came up with a new idea: since most of the spacecraft will be nothing but fuel tanks, the vessel will carry a small cabin into space and once in orbit, main fuel tanks, empty after liftoff, will be detached, falling back to the planet. According to estimations, they should safely burn within the atmosphere. The cabin itself will have just enough fuel left so it can deccelerate enough to drop from orbit and land safe and sound.

Hibernation cycle 3287, Stairway to Qi Project ends up being successful. First Groaxian-made vessel capable of leaving Genesis behind takes off and enters a stable orbit above it. A pair of equinoxes were the first organisms to have left Genesis, but with such outstanding results first Groaxians made it to space before next hibernation happened.

Hibernation cycle 3288, first permanent satellite has been launched into space. The probe was named "Guardian" and acts as a symbol of Humanity's supposed protection. More Guardians are expected to be launched in the next three hibernation cycles. Together they'll form the first space-based telecommunication array, connecting all Guardians under the first network of a global scope. Hope and enthusiasm of the new era grows and the warning about Dark Forest is pushed aside.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2021, 08:22:04 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Re: Time's End AAR (TN start, custom race and solar system)
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2021, 06:31:55 PM »
Ever since Guardians floated above the Genesis's atmosphere, scientists and engineers worked solar watches and cosmic watches with barely any break, but reaching other two planets remained out of the question. Hibernation cycles disrupting their work didn't help, either. For many it became obvious that with the current scientific development level if space was to be ever conquered, more effort was needed, far more than what could be given when one has to hibernate periodically. It was the first time Groaxians found themselves limited by their biology and the environment of Genesis. And time lost in hibernation was not the biggest issue when tackling scientific challenges - mental evaluation has shown that these constant breaks disrupt scientists, making it hard for them to come back to what they have been working before, setting everything back.

Some proposed to build a high-tech complex for the scientists to work in which would be heated even when the temperature on entire world dropped below the average of -150 degrees. If placed near the equator, minimum temperature it would need to survive wouldn't drop below -130 degrees, though. However, such building, if it was to cover any significant amount of researchers, would eat a lot of power, far more than the entire Genesis infrastructure could provide. And it wasn't the worst issue - a lot of Groaxians argued that hibernation cycles aren't only about cooling the body. They're mostly about cooling down the mind and resetting it. The planet itself was reminding every living being that it's time to put the hard work aside and rest. It was an essential part of how everything evolved and trying to tinker with it could provide devastating results.

The stale-match was finally resolved in the hibernation cycle 3294, shortly before all life on the planet would enter cryostasis. A bunch of engineers proposed to assemble a research space station in orbit. That outright resolved the problem of heating and power requirements, especially that panels for harnessing energy directly from Qi were far more effective when the atmosphere didn't obstruct them. As for the problem of cooling down the mind, project authors pointed out that it only refers to the Genesis itself, and while sure, this is an essential part of the culture as well, environments in space are vastly different than the one in which Groaxians evolved and there's no way to deal with it except adapt. What is natural on the surface of a homeworld, is no longer natural beyond it and finding new ways of living is essential in the process of space conquest.

And so the project ended up being accepted. Modules were brought to orbit one by one by an improved version of rockets, this time hydrogen-fuelled which allowed for bigger cargo transport in one trip. Expanding the station to grant it all the assumed functionality was a long-term goal, but as everyone on the planet hibernated, a pioneer contingent of scientists was already put in space and could continue the work on new propulsion systems.

Hibernation cycle 3301, first significant breakthrough is achieved: physicists discover a way to harness energy directly from grains. It is beyond everyone's imagination, physicists that made the discovery included, that such power could be extracted from such tiny amount of matter. Space engineers instantly attempt to put this newly discovered nuclear power into propulsion systems, the ones that could send Groaxians into Yatune and Vrath.

While the work continues, Microelectronic soul readers have came up with a cybersoul mainframes capable of processing more data at once, faster than ever, by directly taking advantage of the cold genesian environment resolving many problems with overheating when using higher clocking frequencies. These new generations of machines could find application in autonomous ground survey vessels, which were proposed to be sent to do more detailed planetary research before first space conquerors could arrive. Not needing any life support whatsoever, they could endure the lengthy journey no Groaxian was able to take without space technology advancing far enough. New mainframes were a perfect opportunity to install all the necessary programs onto the ground vehicles without overburdening them.

Hibernation cycle 3306, first autonomous surveyors make a landing on Yatune. The sights are breathtaking and unimaginable: dense packs of tall, brown-green immobile organisms cover vast areas or often are found grouped together near rivers even if there's nothing but green plains in sight. Some regions contain loads of sand, though, meanwhile ice and snow, so common on Genesis, exists only near the poles. Water in all the other regions exists in a liquid form. Temperature readings show the planet's very hot, just as predicted during early observations, but at the same time life seems to be thriving there. Among the brown-green organisms lots of four-legged or flying animals find shelter. Their biology is a mystery. Initial observations confirm that nearly all green organisms seem to be responsible for poisoning the atmosphere with oxygen, however that remains true to only the static ones.

Autonomous scouts collet samples of biological matter and analyse them. Groaxians are shocked when they discover every single one of them either produces oxygen itself or needs it to breathe. And yet the planet seems so beautiful, even though it is very dangerous and lethal.

Hibernation cycle 3307, upon detailed studies it is revealed that the patterns of Yatune organisms match several yet incomprehensible shapes from the monolith. Ancient knowledge encapsulated within the fragments encoded with these shapes casts a new light on the Humanity. Yatune looks very similar to their homeworld, Earth. This is a natural environment for Humanity. They evolved on a planet that looked very similar and they brought their environment together with them when they set foot on Yatune. Among many gifts, they offer technology that makes it possible to shape many hostile worlds exactly how one pleases, allowing to "bring home" to the most distant parts of the universe.

The new wonder of technology divided Groaxians. Some claimed its beautiful that they should be able to bring genesian environment together with them and prepare all kinds of planets to make the suitable for comfortable life, but many opposed the terraformation of Yatune, claiming it's the first world of their Guardians discovered and as such should be preserved in its natural state. Once technology allows, colonisation will occcur, but the interplanetary inhabitants will live in a sealed megastructures, leaving the ecosystem of Humanity intact. The second option has gathered majority of the support among most communities.

As the basic research in space technologies picked up pace, first long-range spaceships allowing for long-term interplanetary missions were expected to arrive soon. As the dream of space conquest was finally coming true, leaders of the clans supporting the approach of leaving Yatune intact formed an alliance like no Groaxian has ever seen before, uniting with the single goal in mind: "join Humanity across the stars". And so hibernation cycle 3307 marked the creation of Groaxian Conglomerate, main body responsible for guiding the aspiring race through the void and darkness.

To further stress out the goals of the Conglomerate, the leader of this organisation started wearing the traditional outfit of a tribal leader from ancient times, just like the "first Groaxian", the one who witnessed the landing of the monolith:



The symbol of the arisen organisation was also significant - it consisted of expressions taken both from languages of the Groaxians and humans, representing the shape of the monolith and a star portrayed with a symbol Humanity was using, with half of the flag consisting of dark purple haze that nailed both hopes and fears of space explorations the young civilisation expressed:

« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 02:58:55 AM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Re: Time's End AAR (TN start, custom race and solar system)
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2021, 08:35:40 AM »
3308-3315 AM hibernation cycles

After putting tremendous effort, first interplanetary Groaxian manned spaceship was ready for its first journey. Advanced nuclear reactors gave it propulsion decent enough for it to reach both planets in the Qi system and come back with excess fuel just in case. Onboard facilities and sophisticated life support systems shall allow long-term survival of the crew inside. Methane recycling modules and Hets farms were proven to make the ship self-sufficient until something breaks and there are no more spare parts to fix it. The material used for hull construction was the same that Humanity has once used to build the monolith. Space suits were also reinforced with it, so landing even on the hellish world of Vrath shouldn't pose much trouble. Equipped with all kinds of sensors and laboratories needed for scientific endeavours, it was everything that was needed for discovering all the possible secrets of Qi:


Quote
Anthraxus class Exploration Ship      2,500 tons       70 Crew       625.9 BP       TCS 50    TH 50    EM 0
1000 km/s      Armour 1-16       Shields 0-0       HTK 19      Sensors 0/0/0/5      DCR 2      PPV 0
Maint Life 7.25 Years     MSP 313    AFR 25%    IFR 0.3%    1YR 10    5YR 157    Max Repair 100 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 36 months    Morale Check Required   
Ground Composition Analysis Lab    Environmental Control Module    Methane Recycling System    Extragenesian Material Containment    Medical Bay    Canteen    Equipment Repair Workshop    Onboard Telescope    Astronomical Observatory    Meditation Space    Hibernation Center    Flight Navigation System    Hets Autonomous Farm    Life Support System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space   

Improved Nuclear Pulse Engine  EP50.0 (1)    Power 50    Fuel Use 12.37%    Signature 50    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 202,000 Litres    Range 117.5 billion km (1360 days at full power)

Geological Survey Sensors (5)   5 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a Survey Ship for auto-assignment purposes


A small fleet of them left Genesis and plotted course towards the other worlds. Just like their names suggested, they were meant to "bridge the gap between alien domains". First planet surveyed was Vrath, since it was expected that classifying everything found on life-bearing former world of Humanity would require significantly more work.

Despite being well-protected from harm, the extreme pressure and high gravity made the first space travellers not enjoy their stay on this toxic planet. They did what they were supposed to do and left, deeming the planet not habitable at all, not even after applying the gift of terraforming due to high gravity.

But Yatune was different. If only scientists could came up with structures separating Groaxians from the toxic and hot environment, this planet could be inhabited without much issues. But as crewmembers travelled across the lands in search for potentially good places to settle in the future, they stumbled upon something unusual: deep below the ground, scattered around various locations, ancient constructions were hidden. They didn't look like anything from Genesis: remnants of tall, densely packed towers made of all kinds of metals and reinforced glass. Sometimes ruins of them were sticking out of the ground, pointing at the sky. They were estimated to be at least as old as the monolith itself, although in worse condition. But still, most of them survived in relatively well-shaped. This was a miracle of engineering, to build such huge and tall structures that'd last so long even without maintenance. It was of no doubt that Groaxians were staring at the monument of Humanity and the way they shaped their territory.

It revealed how different they must have thought. While magnificent, the towers left very little spaces for large, open natural spaces, meaning most of the field of view must have been occupied by artificial constructions. How come humans tried so hard to separate themselves from their natural environment, even if it was a really beautiful one, was beyond the smartest philosophers. But just mere living space wasn't even the most shocking discovery: Extended studies of the technology artifacts and strange devices found within certain buildings gave solid evidence humans were hardly tinkering with their own bodies, replacing large chunks of flesh with electronic and metallic pieces, worshipping cybernetisation of themselves and everything around them. Even when fixing biological bodies, their medicine relied mostly on swarms of robots built on a microcosmic scale.

If Humanity was to inhabit alien environments, it must have been adapted to them, sure, but if they put such a great effort and implemented elaborate technologies to shape Yatune how they pleased, then why after colonising it they still insidted on isolating themselves from the biological domain as much as possible? The mission of Anthraxus fleet brought these questions back home, but nobody could answer them. It just didn't make sense at all.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 03:28:19 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Re: Time's End AAR (TN start, custom race and solar system)
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2021, 09:35:13 AM »
While Conglomerate stated it was not going to push into the direction Humanity has chosen, some opposed, claiming they developed and survived based on those technology and they gifted it for Groaxians so that they could benefit from it, too. But among the opposition, there was a special case group: the middlemen. Although their role in breeding was natural for them, some still felt dissatisfied. Sure, mental cooling workers claimed it a defect, something against nature, and insisted on treating the cases of unhappy middlemen, but it rarely worked. While many not wanting to have kids on their own, many accepted the way things were - it was natural for them, after all - some felt sad after witnessing dozens of males and females coming to them and multiplying, but them never getting a chance at procreation, only serving as a checksum to make sure the children of males and females will spawn healthy and providing their own genetic material only in case there was a defect that needed to be fixed ASAP.

For middlemen the way Humanity went seemed like a chance. A chance to fulfill their dreams, to alter their limiting biology, the source of their disappointment in life. A chance to become either male or female and spawn their own offspring rather than only act as a checksum, safety mechanism.

In the meantime, engineers improved on the Anthraxus design and prototyped three new types of interplanetary spaceships. Four times bigger than their predecessor, they were meant to transfer large batches of cargo and people into Yatune and allow the historic moment of permanently inhabiting a new world. Colonists were supposed to be transferred while in hibernation, with their cabins attached to the outer layers of hull so that it'd be easier to maintain the cryostais. The ships themselves, with their internal enclosed ecosystems, were meant to act as a temporary base of operations and home for the colonists until they develop on-site industry and build first external shelters for themselves.


Quote
Erleax class Colony Ship      10,000 tons       73 Crew       476 BP       TCS 200    TH 125    EM 0
625 km/s      Armour 1-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 17      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 3      PPV 0
MSP 589    Max Repair 100 MSP
Cryogenic Berths 30,000    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Canteen    Colonists Monitoring System    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space   

Commercial Improved Nuclear Pulse Engine  EP125.0 (1)    Power 125    Fuel Use 7.83%    Signature 125    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 123,000 Litres    Range 28.3 billion km (523 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a Colony Ship for auto-assignment purposes


Quote
Ghendror class Support Vessel      10,000 tons       39 Crew       169.9 BP       TCS 200    TH 125    EM 0
625 km/s      Armour 1-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 16      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 10    Max Repair 31.25 MSP
Cargo 7,500    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Canteen    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space   

Commercial Improved Nuclear Pulse Engine  EP125.0 (1)    Power 125    Fuel Use 7.83%    Signature 125    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 328,000 Litres    Range 75.4 billion km (1397 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes


Quote
Vroks class Transport      10,000 tons       73 Crew       307.4 BP       TCS 200    TH 125    EM 0
625 km/s      Armour 1-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 28      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 3      PPV 0
MSP 557    Max Repair 80 MSP
Troop Capacity 7,600 tons     Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Canteen    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space   

Commercial Improved Nuclear Pulse Engine  EP125.0 (1)    Power 125    Fuel Use 7.83%    Signature 125    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 28,000 Litres    Range 6.4 billion km (119 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a Troop Transport for auto-assignment purposes
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 09:37:12 AM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Re: Time's End AAR (TN start, custom race and solar system)
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2021, 03:27:22 PM »
3316-3324 AM hibernation cycles

The following solar watches saw a rapid expansion on Yatune. Large chunks of ground have been designated for construction and soon a fully operational complex has been put in place, capable of hosting millions of colonists. However, in order to expand and multiply, the colonists needed a more balanced gender ratio - at first majority of the Groaxians who wanted to move in were the middlemen who couldn't accept their biological role. Most of them dedicated themselves to uncovering secrets of body-altering artefacts. While the Conglomerate agreed on cracking this mystery down for "academical purposes", seeing that if science was to progress, people involved in it shouldn't face any bans as to what they can or cannot experiment with, but applied research was strictly controlled, with the majority of population being afraid that changes caused by such radical inventions could destabilise the very foundation of Groaxian society.

The situation presented itself a bit better with the research in the field of cybersoul mainframes. It has been discovered that humanity implemented certain algorithms in a more compressed form, making their programs occupy less space and, in many cases, execute faster. In a way, programs humanity wrote for their machines were noticed to be of high efficiency and in some way resembled the layout of their cities. Everything densely packed, always striving for maximum efficiency. The monolith itself was a prime example for it, with same language patterns meaning completely different things if decoded using a different key, minimising the amount of space and circuits required. This gift was actually pretty small in size, yet Groaxians kept siphoning more knowledge from it to this solar watch.

Once certain applications have been loaded into the monolith, it turned out that it was one giant cybersoul mainframe, not only a few smaller ones incorporated into a bigger entity as previously thought. This discovery boosted the development of civilisation, unlocking new concepts and theories, ready to be applied. It became clear that Humanity seemed to be putting a lot of effort into this kind of technology, as if they put their real souls into the cybernetic ones, merging biological and cybernetics dimensions together. This shed some light as to why humans seemed to be so isolated from their natural environment. Electronics changed them so much it shaped them into a different beings, disconnected from the ecosystem they evolved into, and yet they still needed to breathe and eat.

Data stored on monolith talked about entire virtual realities, whole universes simulated on constructions created from basic circuits, assembled together into monstrous machines. It also mentioned an unknown way of data processing, one that would operate on a scale smaller than grain, connecting even entire solar systems in real time. "Soulgrain mechanics" opened up a brand new chapter of physics, operating on a micro scale, at first glance contradicting with what was already established on a macro scale.

What sparked imagination the most, though, is the fact that soulgrain mechanics talked about connecting stars in real time. How was that possible if they were separated by light hibernation cycyles? And on top of that it was mentioned so casually, as if it was nothing. However, humanity for sure must have found a way to travel across the stars, and be fast enough with it to maintain control over all their planets. Physicists focused their efforts of figuring out the way humanity crossed the vast distances. Soon it was determined that Humanity most likely took an advantage of the fact that space itself wasn't just "pure vacuum", but rather it was a fabric that could be warped and distorted, manipulating with the way that needed to be travelled while leaving the limit of speed of light intact.

Simulations of space curvature based on various conditions, developed thanks to the rapidly growing microelectronic soul reading field, allowed scientists to quickly identify everything required to make it happen. First experiments with warping space began. Advanced pebble reactors struggled to keep the space contracted or expanded enough to achieve satisfying travel times, but even they allowed for some limited success. There was only one issue left: according to the knowledge shared by Humanity and all independent theoretical research, this technology should allow to effectively go faster than light, but its speed remained a hard limit. Countless experiments have proven that while in theory it's still doable, in practice maximum pace at which warping space can occur cannot cross the speed of light.

These shocking discoveries had severe consequences for a way Groaxians viewed the universe. Not only was faster than light travel still a fantasy, but it was the first time information provided by Humanity didn't have a confirmation in reality. It was then when some Conglomerate officials reminded themselves about the Dark Forest Theory.

Groaxians experienced a technological boom - their science exploded, pushing them further than anyone predicted within such short time frame. According to the theory, that was precisely the reason why even primitive civilisation shall still be considered a threat. And now Groaxians faced themselves still pretty much limited to one solar system.

Almost as if someone didn't want them to escape.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 03:28:56 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Re: Time's End - Curvature Propulsion
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2021, 05:05:54 AM »
3325-3331 AM hibernation cycles

Despite the troubles encountered, Conglomerate decided that even if limited to the speed of light, building a first starship was still worth it as a first step into the interstellar space. The result looked promising: newly developed vessel could carry its crew even to the distant stars as travel times experienced by them would likely be very short. Manipulating with the space itself also provided a way to establish an artificial gravity onboard, rooting out the need for the crew to be replaced due to the harmful effects of zero-g environment. And so the Vrilxel, named after the way it cut space with its Curvature Drive, first "true exploration ship" has been built.


Quote
Vrilxel class Exploration Cruiser      10,000 tons       229 Crew       1,782.1 BP       TCS 200    TH 200    EM 0
1000 km/s    JR 1-25(C)      Armour 1-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 55      Sensors 0/0/6/6      DCR 11      PPV 0
Maint Life 8.41 Years     MSP 1,225    AFR 73%    IFR 1.0%    1YR 31    5YR 463    Max Repair 100 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   ENG   SCI   
Intended Deployment Time: 96 months    Morale Check Required   
Astronomical Observatory    Canteen    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Extragenesian Material Containment    Flight Navigation System    Ground Composition Analysis Lab    Hets Autonomous Farm    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Onboard Telescope    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Curvature Stabiliser    Artificial Gravity Field    Full Spectrum Deep Space Scanner    Relativistic Navigation Module   

JC10K Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 10000 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 1

Commercial Improved Nuclear Pulse Engine  EP200.0 (1)    Power 200    Fuel Use 6.19%    Signature 200    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 543,000 Litres    Range 158 billion km (1828 days at full power)

Geological Survey Sensors (6)   6 Survey Points Per Hour
Gravitational Survey Sensors (6)   6 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a Survey Ship for auto-assignment purposes


A total of three of these ships have been assembled and after passing initial tests by passing trough the Qi system in just few seconds, they embarked on the journey to the nearest star, separated from Qi by less than three light hibernation cycles. Or rather four stars in total, since there were two binary systems, close enough to have some gravitational influence over each other.

The expedition, from its own perspective, arrived at the destination only after one solar watch. Around all four stars making for the Nagelring system there was nothing but comets, asteroids and all kinds of "space debris" floating around, with a lonely gas giant orbiting one of them. It was estimated that it could possibly serve as a refuelling hub, since harvesting hydrogen from the upper layers of atmosphere seemed to be plausible, although so far there was no way to test it. With nothing better to do, explorers left in the direction of Mimung stystem, not further than half light hibernation cycle away.

Meanwhile in Qi cybersouls became advanced enough to autonomously handle complex tasks and oversee an entire production systems. Thanks to the progress made, it was possible to establish large industrial complex on the surface of Vrath and extract resources from it without the need for any Groaxian to ever touch this hostile ground again. A space station has been put in orbit to control the production flow and monitor status of the entire system.

Middlemen on Yatune faced a difficult issue when tinkering with bioelectronic devices designed by Humanity. All research conducted confirmed that humans had their entire mental capacity stored inside the head, allowing a single small chip to be enough to utilise all their thoughts. Meanwhile porting this technology for Groaxians was a very complex task - harnessing entire brain power would require an entire network of chips scattered around whole body. A lot of processing power would have to be wasted for the sole purpose of communication between nodes and assembling parts of thoughts processed in different organs into one, comprehensible piece of information. For some it was a clear proof that biology should not be altered, as the system of distributed thinking developed by nature itself surpassed anything engineers could came up with.

Biologists study the long-term effects of lack of hibernation, common among workers of space stations who spend several hibernation cycles without cooling down the body. While it doesn't seem to cause any long-term health issues, it was established that past a certain point it makes meditation and resting harder, lowering the productivity more than if someone was to waste time hibernating. Biologists try to figure out a way to permanently cool down body temperature even further, allowing the organism to function normally, but stay cold enough to eradicate or at least reduce the need for hibernation.

Conglomerate officials discuss various approaches to the Dark Forest Theory. Something still doesn't add up. If Humanity lied to them in order to contain them within one solar system then it already failed to do so as even the speed of light is enough to get to nearby stars within reasonable timeframe. Also why not just wipe them out rather than let them develop and thrive for so long. Also it is very likely physicists will discover the way to cross the speed of light sooner or later anyways. Conglomerate was even leaning towards accepting that there was a mistake of some sort, for example due to age of the monolith, some missing detail, but then another hypothesis was raised: it was all part of an experiment. Humanity didn't wipe out Groaxians during first encounter, instead they settled down on Yatune and dedicated the entire planet for research on them. They kept watching over. Maybe that was just another stage of the experiment, they let Groaxians develop past a certain point so that they see the "bigger picture" of things around them, but still would be easy to contain. If that was the case, then there was hope, but there was also a catch. If Groaxians were to grwo faster than Humanity predicted, their existence could come to an end too soon.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 05:09:24 AM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Re: Time's End AAR - Black Wall
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2021, 06:39:00 AM »
BLACK WALL PERIOD

3332-3336 AM hibernation cycles

Next stop for the exploration mission was Mimung system, as previously planned. It consisted of several fuel-rich gas giant and genesian planets, with one having similar climate to Vrath. However, the most interesting celestial body within the system was not a planet, but a moon. An eight moon of Mimung IV gas giant, to be precise. It was so large it had a size of a small genesian planet and its atmosphere was almost entirely composed of methane, with a small addition of ammonia. And it was discovered to host life, too. It breathed methane as well, but the biology was vastly different. The average temperatures were almost reaching the water boiling point. Many organisms observed practiced what could be considered "reverse hibernating". When the hot season came, they would dehydrate and come back to life once temperatures would drop to the safe levels and water would condense on the surface again. Also it is worth noting the unique behavioural patterns of many of the animals who would traverse the rocky terrains with ten pair of legs only to lose them all when arriving at the great deserts around the equator, adapting to the sands and dunes by gliding and crawling through them on the torso, without limbs obstructing movement. Many species simply find a nice spot to dehydrate and when the water condenses again, filling many of these areas with oceans, they'd live the last part of their lives as a marine lifeforms, laying eggs and dying once the amount of air they accumulated within themselves runs out. Some were adapted to underwater breathing, though. It was estimated that the evolution would favour either these organisms or the ones that could spend their entire lives and breed on land. As the last act, violent water currents would carry the eggs into many different regions of the planets, with some of them landing in the rocky areas and coming out of their shells once the water evaporates, only to travel back to the former seabed once again.

Because of the methane atmosphere, the moon was estimated to be a good candidate for colonisation and terraforming. Of course attempting to change the moon's temperature so radically would result in the loss of all life found there, which is why after the transmission from the system reached Genesis, Conglomerate decided to prepare a special habitats to preserve the nature as much as possible. Some representatives were not happy about the approach to the native ecosystem, but not sure about Humanity's intentions, they knew their race was in desperate need for a safe home outside of Qi, a place where they could all hypothetically evacuate in case of an emergency.

The approach to colonisation was similar to the one executed on Yatune, except this time due to the distances and travel times involved, each ship needed to be able to carry more of either colonists or supplies. The fleet that was assembled was considered a direct upgrade over the existing one, without any compromises. Recently engineered ion engines also allowed for more efficient power management, allowing Curvature Drives to handle these bigger ships without much trouble.


Quote
Dhalte class Colony Ship      30,000 tons       168 Crew       1,098.8 BP       TCS 600    TH 600    EM 0
1000 km/s    JR 1-25(C)      Armour 1-86       Shields 0-0       HTK 37      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 22    Max Repair 100 MSP
Cryogenic Berths 70,000    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 4   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Canteen    Curvature Stabiliser    Artificial Gravity Field    Colonists Monitoring System    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module   

JC30K Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 30000 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 1

Commercial Ion Drive  EP300.00 (2)    Power 600    Fuel Use 4.84%    Signature 300    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 849,000 Litres    Range 105.2 billion km (1217 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a Colony Ship for auto-assignment purposes


Quote
Teks class Cargo Ship      30,000 tons       108 Crew       371.7 BP       TCS 600    TH 300    EM 0
500 km/s    JR 1-25(C)      Armour 1-86       Shields 0-0       HTK 25      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 7    Max Repair 75 MSP
Cargo 17,500    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 6   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Relativistic Navigation Module    Canteen    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Artificial Gravity Field    Curvature Stabiliser   

JC30K Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 30500 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 1

Commercial Improved Nuclear Pulse Engine  EP300.0 (1)    Power 300    Fuel Use 5.05%    Signature 300    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 489,000 Litres    Range 58.1 billion km (1344 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes


Quote
Roth class Transport      30,000 tons       148 Crew       639.7 BP       TCS 600    TH 300    EM 0
500 km/s    JR 1-25(C)      Armour 1-86       Shields 0-0       HTK 69      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 3      PPV 0
MSP 539    Max Repair 80 MSP
Troop Capacity 18,000 tons     Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Canteen    Curvature Stabiliser    Artificial Gravity Field    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module   

JC30K Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 30500 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 1

Commercial Improved Nuclear Pulse Engine  EP300.0 (1)    Power 300    Fuel Use 5.05%    Signature 300    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 784,000 Litres    Range 93.1 billion km (2155 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a Troop Transport for auto-assignment purposes


Setting up and maintaining a connection between first colony outside Qi would be complicated as it'd take several hibernation cycles to send a message and get a response or support the growing population with cargo or additional Groaxians. Many citizens expressed fear that it'd isolate the communities too much, which could result in unpredictable societal and cultural changes. These concerns sparked another glimpse of uncertanity in the minds of Conglomerate representatives, but also countless workers doing their best to make the interstellar colonisation happen. It might not be much, but if fears over radical changes in the society emerged even in the context of same civilisation existing in two solar systems and it already caused some suspicions to arise, then how would it be possible for two different civilisations to communicate with such delay? Endless chain of suspicion was a possible outcome.

As Groaxians were preparing their first interstellar colonisation fleet, another initiative focused on collecting more resources from comets and asteroids in Nagelring system, since they were rich in minerals and required far less infrastructure and machines to exploit than planets. This resulted in the creation of another class of starships, one equipped with a swarm of mining drones that could easily be deployed to extract desired resources from all kinds of "space rocks" and bring them back onboard.


Quote
Rhysling class Mining Platform      30,000 tons       233 Crew       730.5 BP       TCS 600    TH 300    EM 0
500 km/s    JR 1-25(C)      Armour 1-86       Shields 0-0       HTK 41      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 15    Max Repair 120 MSP
Cargo 3,000    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months   
Orbital Miner: 3 modules producing 60 tons per mineral per annum
Artificial Gravity Field    Canteen    Curvature Stabiliser    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Ground Composition Analysis Lab    Hets Autonomous Farm    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module   

JC30K Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 30500 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 1

Commercial Improved Nuclear Pulse Engine  EP300.0 (1)    Power 300    Fuel Use 5.05%    Signature 300    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 604,000 Litres    Range 71.7 billion km (1660 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes


Astronomers were shocked when they discovered a cluster of black holes roughly sixty to one hundred light hibernation cycles away from Qi. To this solar watch many black holes have been catalogued, but it was the first time so many of them existed so close to each other. The entire area in the sky was full of them, sometimes with barely any star in between. Astronomers were baffled by this discovery, since for them to form a large cluster of supermassive stars would need to exist there before, which was not possible according to the current galaxy model. Some poets used this phenomena as an explanation as to why warping space to reach effective speeds from superluminal range was impossible - due to the relative closeness of so many black holes the space was already curved too much for any reasonable amount of energy to overcome it. Of course it made no sense from the scientific point of view, but the cultural influence of this explanation was so big that everyone, physicists included, started referring to whatever limited the development of interstellar travel means as the Black Wall.
 
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Re: Time's End AAR - the Great Disturbance
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2021, 03:56:16 PM »
The Great Disturbance

3337-3345 AM hibernation cycles

After returning back home for well-deserved break and ship checkout, members of the exploration fleet embarked onto yet another short-for-them-but-long-for-everyone-else journey into the nearby stars, this time targeting the binary system of Blutgang. Similarily to Nagelring, in theory it was actually a quadruple system, with the other pair of suns being close enough for some small gravitational influence to exist. The destination was not a coincidence as it'd allow the survey of, in practice, two systems with minimal time needed to get from one to the other.

Upon entering the system, the crew witnessed a grim sight: sensors picked up dozens of wrecks scattered across deep space. Only one planet orbited in between two stars, with a single moon attached.



The planet in question looked strange. Scans have shown that its atmosphere is similar to the one on Yatune. Could this be another world of Humanity? If so, then Groaxians were indeed on the right track to "join them among the stars", but at the same time it wouldn't be very surprising to discover an oxygen-based life of a different kind, similar to what explorers themselves witnessed on the example of methane-based life found in Mimung. There was more to it, though. At this distance detailed astronomical observations of the second binary system were possible, too. The other one was far richer planetary-wise, consisting of two genesian planets, two dwarf planets and two gas giants. One of the genesian planets there was also Yatune-like. Whether it supported life still wasn't certain, but one thought occured to the crewmembers: so far Groaxians visited only three systems outside of their own and yet, including Yatune, the total number of life-bearing worlds was two confirmed plus two very likely. Adding the homeworld that'd make for a total of five bodies, more than the number of systems Groaxians have visited so far. Even if the two planets in Blutgang ended up being dead, that'd still be a lot more than initially expected. If life was so common, then maybe the universe contained less resources per civilisation than initially estimated. And the amount of matter was finite. Commanders of the Vrilxels thought about Dark Forest once again.

Groaxian population on Yatune has successfully renovated a couple of skygazers in one of the former human cities and turned them into additional research facilities dedicated to studying their Guardians. They were careful to pick buildings far enough from each other and rebuild only these as to not obstruct their vision of nature and fall into the same trap Humanity once did. Experiments with integrated microcybersoul mainframes continued to yield little results, so research overseers agreed that human biology is simply too different for their solutions in this field to be of any practical use and new ones had to be found instead. However, microelectronic soul readers found a gold mine when one of the data storages recovered has been determined to be repairable with minimal information loss. It contained bits of findings in the field of grainsoul mechanics and described wonders such as realtime communication across any distance in more detail or briefly mentioned instant transit of any object through space by destroying it and respawning at different coordinates. Conglomerate decided to invest into it more since it sounded like a decent workaround for the Black Wall. The entire human city has even been named Qusmont, somewhat merging the human term for grainsoul mechanics and expressions from Groaxian languages.

Three hibernation cycles after official founding (or rather re-founding) of Qusmont shocking news arrived: instead of expected exploration fleet, a set of poor-quality communicates reached the gravitational radars in Qi: nobody was able to tell what happened for sure, but the temperature on board of every ship participating in the mission suddenly increased dramatically and then the messages ended abruptly.

The first reaction from the Conglomerate was to pressure engineers to put aside their current work and prioritise developing of a special kind of starship that could be sent into Blutgang to determine what exactly has happened and rescue missing crewmembers. The result was pretty impressive:


Quote
Arcanaloth class Rescue Shuttle      8,000 tons       230 Crew       1,160.6 BP       TCS 160    TH 1,120    EM 0
7000 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 5-35       Shields 0-0       HTK 37      Sensors 60/60/0/0      DCR 8      PPV 0
Maint Life 3.72 Years     MSP 1,225    AFR 64%    IFR 0.9%    1YR 138    5YR 2,070    Max Repair 560 MSP
Cryogenic Berths 1,000   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 2 months    Morale Check Required   
Artificial Gravity Field    Canteen    Curvature Stabiliser    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Full Spectrum Deep Space Scanner    Hets Autonomous Farm    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module    Containment Chamber    Emergency Treatment Section    Onboard Hospital    Xenopathogen Research Lab   

J8100(3-50) Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 8100 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3

Ion Drive  EP1120.00 (1)    Power 1120    Fuel Use 95.79%    Signature 1120    Explosion 16%
Fuel Capacity 819,000 Litres    Range 19.2 billion km (31 days at full power)

Thermal Sensor TH10-60 (1)     Sensitivity 60     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  61.2m km
EM Sensor EM10-60 (1)     Sensitivity 60     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  61.2m km

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a Colony Ship for auto-assignment purposes

Fast and agile, equipped with the state-of-the-art medicine equipment, with best doctors selected to serve on board. But deep down many knew that design of this spacecraft was just a coping mechanism. On its own it would never be able to effectively fulfill its mission, without any protection from whatever attacked hapless Vrilxels.

Thick purple haze, an ultimate and clear expression of disgust buried all the shipyards within itself as everyone worked hard to build a first combat-capable space fleet of the Groaxian race. The main strike force consisted of nimble vessels firing kinetic projectiles. Physicists estimated that with the velocities involved in hypothetical space combat, even small, light piece of rock could puncture armor of enemy vessels with fatal consequences, and unlike energy weapons proposed in a discarded project which were losing effectiveness over distance, in the vacuum kinetic ammunition could travel over any range and remain as deadly as in the moment of being fired, with the only limitation being the maximum distance at which targetting cybersouls were able to still reliably lock onto and predict the trajectory of hostile object.


Quote
Syzygy class Corvette      5,000 tons       166 Crew       779.8 BP       TCS 100    TH 500    EM 0
5000 km/s    JR 1-50      Armour 5-26       Shields 0-0       HTK 33      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 11      PPV 18
Maint Life 3.48 Years     MSP 1,097    AFR 200%    IFR 2.8%    1YR 138    5YR 2,074    Max Repair 250 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   ENG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Morale Check Required   
Artificial Gravity Field    AS Advisor    Autnomous Piloting System    Canteen    Combat Simulation System    Combat Trance Chamber    Curvature Stabiliser    Emergency Repair Module    Emergency Treatment Section    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Full Spectrum Deep Space Scanner    Hets Autonomous Farm    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module   

J5000(1-50) Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 5000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 1

Ion Drive  EP500.00 (1)    Power 500    Fuel Use 122,88%    Signature 500    Explosion 16%
Fuel Capacity 473,000 Litres    Range 13.9 billion km (32 days at full power)

15cm Railgun V30/C3 (3x4)    Range 90,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 9-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 15       
Beam Fire Control R192-TS5000 (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor R9 (1)     Total Power Output 9.2    Exp 5%

Active Search Sensor AS5-R1 (1)     GPS 16     Range 5.5m km    MCR 497.5k km    Resolution 1

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes


However it was also noted that the hypothetical enemy might as well defend from the incoming fire without issue if it posessed systems that were better at predicting the trajectory of kinetic onslaught than Syzygies at predicting its movement. To counter this possibility, a group of physicists pushed themselves beyond limits of brain overload caused by lack of hibernation to apply certain modification to the Curvature Propulsion so that its effects over the fabric of space could be weaponised. These new exotic weapons operated on the premise of sending powerful and rapidly-changing gravitational waves that could, at least in theory, overstretch and disintegrate any hull regardless of how well-armored it was. A new, twice as big but as fast as Syzygy, design was proposed tailored just for these new guns:


Quote
Lensia class Destroyer      10,000 tons       377 Crew       1,806 BP       TCS 200    TH 1 000    EM 0
5000 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 5-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 72      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 20      PPV 48
Maint Life 4.48 Years     MSP 1,628    AFR 80%    IFR 1.1%    1YR 131    5YR 1,971    Max Repair 500 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   ENG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Morale Check Required   
Artificial Gravity Field    AS Advisor    Autnomous Piloting System    Canteen    Combat Simulation System    Combat Trance Chamber    Curvature Stabiliser    Emergency Repair Module    Emergency Treatment Section    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Full Spectrum Deep Space Scanner    Hets Autonomous Farm    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module   

J10000(3-50) Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 10000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3

Ion Drive  EP1000.00 (1)    Power 1000    Fuel Use 101.37%    Signature 1000    Explosion 16%
Fuel Capacity 838,000 Litres    Range 14.9 billion km (34 days at full power)

Gravitational Destabilisator-12 (1)    Range 200,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 37-3.75    ROF 50       
Curvature Disruption System-6 (4)    Range 200,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 15-3.75    ROF 20       
Beam Fire Control R256-TS5000 (2)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s     96 92 88 84 80 77 73 69 65 61
Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor R19 (1)     Total Power Output 19.2    Exp 5%

Active Search Sensor AS5-R1 (1)     GPS 16     Range 5.5m km    MCR 497.5k km    Resolution 1

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

A fine addition to the composed fleet was supposed to be delivered in the form of an additional spaceship, this time unarmed, but with far stronger radars, acting as a scout and warning rest of the ships early about detected threats (or lack of them).


Quote
Iktain class Scout      5,000 tons       175 Crew       675.3 BP       TCS 100    TH 500    EM 0
5000 km/s    JR 1-50      Armour 1-26       Shields 0-0       HTK 24      Sensors 120/120/0/0      DCR 5      PPV 0
Maint Life 3.82 Years     MSP 422    AFR 40%    IFR 0.6%    1YR 46    5YR 684    Max Repair 250 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Morale Check Required   

J5000(1-50) Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 5000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 1

Ion Drive  EP500.00 (1)    Power 500    Fuel Use 122.88%    Signature 500    Explosion 16%
Fuel Capacity 439,000 Litres    Range 12.9 billion km (29 days at full power)

Thermal Sensor TH20-120 (1)     Sensitivity 120     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  86.6m km
EM Sensor EM20-120 (1)     Sensitivity 120     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  86.6m km

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes


War wasn't something unheard of on Genesis and Dark Forest Theory aside, every Groaxian was aware that sooner or later something out there would require an intervention of ships like the ones that recently left the docks. And yet everyone hoped it was just a misunderstanding, a mere accident, a critical failure in the reactor or something. But several concentrations of unidentified wrecks and potentially life-friendly planet in the vicinity raised red flags in the minds of many. More soulseekers leaned towards accepting the sad thesis that the universe was indeed a Dark Forest. It was greatly disturbing.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 04:02:34 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Re: Time's End - Siege of Qusmont
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2021, 05:45:15 PM »
Siege of Qusmont

3345 AM hibernation cycle

Before the rescue mission has been mounted, during rudimentary observations astronomers picked up an unusual gravitational disturbance just on the outer edge of Qi. Intrigued, they looked and listened closer. Gravitational analysis confirmed the space in the observed spot has indeed been warped. Everyone held breath. Soon every observatory within the system confirmed that a bunch of unidentified objects appeared in the sky. According to their current trajectory, if nothing was to change they were supposed to arrive at Vrath and Yatune. Conglomerate was unsure as to how to proceed. If Dark Forest was true... But what if it wasn't? What if these were just explorers arriving in the system just like Groaxians did in three others? And even if it was in the grand scheme of things, what if whatever was closing in wasn't aware of it, or at least wasn't sure, just like Groaxians? Every member of the Conglomerate barely said anything. The command room was surprisingly transparent, now devoid of the pink-purple haze indicating heated debates it was usually filled with. As if everyone expected someone else to take the responsibility whether to "push the button or not".

Two tense solar watches have passed. One of the unidentified objects entered the orbit around Vrath, while two others closed in towards Yatune, with five more floating behind:



The ships were now clearly visible from even amateur telescopes:



Conglomerate tried to communicate with them by broadcasting mathematical codes, but got no response. Just eerie silence.

And then it happened. One of the two ships flying towards Yatune opened fire. Beams of concentrated energy hit the ground, destroying one of the modules that formed complexes in which Yatune population took shelter from the hostile environment of the planet. It was estimated that a total of over sixty thousands Groaxians were present in that section when the attack occurred. The "pushing button dilemma" instantly ceased to exist. A Conglomerate Defence Fleet has been launched and authorised to use any means necessary to stop the threat.



Fortunately the planetary configuration at the moment were in favour of the defenders, with Yatune and Genesis currently being rather close to one another, but the trip was likely to last quite some time, meanwhile Yatune inhabitants were dying by thousands every once a while. The second ship also conducted a kinetic strike, but for some mysterious reason none of the missiles it dropped hit the target. Also they didn't seem to do any damage to the environment.

Meanwhile authorities on Yatune announced a global evacuation. It was determined that the safest spot to hide would be the underground section of Qusmont ruins. Emergency space suits proven to be invaluable, even though originally they've been distributed in case of life support system failure or barrier breach rather than extragenesian attack. Even then the amount of methane in one suit could only last for so long, so it was not a viable long-term solution. But it was expected to be more than enough till Defence Fleet arrives.

Till the moment soldiers serving on Syzygies and Lensias could see the besieged planet with their naked eyes it is estimated that a total of twenty million Groaxians perished in the hail of energy fire. Surviving inhabitants were relieved to see as the enemy pulls off from the planet once spotting a bigger threat. But Groaxians pushed further, chasing them down. Leaving them be and potentially disappear from the radars and return with yet another surprise attack was not an option. For the first time in history Groaxians opened fire at something from outside their solar system and for the first time in history Groaxians opened fire at something in space:



Kinetic projectiles impacted over the hull of the enemy and that alone made one of the two ships barely holding together. Curvature disruption systems were a nail for the coffin for it. Groaxians watched as it disintegrated before being able to fire at them at least once. However, the second ship, responsible for kinetic bombardment of questionable efficiency, took a lot more beating before succumbing to the kinetic guns and gravitational disturbances. Oddly enough, it didn't appear to have any weapons suited for space combat because for the entire time it didn't open fire even once. Eventually one last gravitational wave tore it in half, sending two parts of the wreck spinning away in the opposite directions. Five ships maintaining the distance turned away from Qi. Yatune appeared to have been saved.

Or at least so thought the space forces until mysterious invaders started popping out from every direction, surrounding the habitation complex of Qusmont, still full of individuals who haven't made it to the underground ruins of human buildings yet. Wearing shiny suits yet unseen, they took positions across the land, taking cover behind rocks or even entrenching themselves in a hurry and opened fire. Their guns were accurate and appeared to fire streams of hot plasma, something especially deadly given average temperatures Groaxians were used to. Protective barrier of the complex was meant to be durable, but nobody built it with prolonged plasma fire in mind, so the enemy succeeded at breaching it in several places before anybody could interrupt them. With no better options, a total of three thousands squadmembers of mind cooling forces were deployed, even though they were ill-equipped for such battle (wielding only basic central-propelled kinetic guns and cryobatons) and were responsible only for maintaining order rather than defending the colony from technologically superior enemies.


Quote
Mental Cooling Squad
Transport Size (tons) 3     Cost 0.06     Armour 10     Hit Points 10
Annual Maintenance Cost 0.0075     Resupply Cost 0.25
CK Series 3000:      Shots 1      Penetration 3      Damage 3
Cryobaton
Light Ballistic Armor
Infrared Vision System
Distributed Communication Array Endpoint

Vendarite  0.06   
Development Cost  38


Initially these brave Groaxians tried to hold the enemy at the chokepoints they created, but it proven to be nigh impossible. Semi-auto guns were barely capable of penetrating the advanced armor of the enemy, let alone deal a killing blow, and that was under the condition a particular combatant managed to hit the nimble and well-covered foes at all. At the same time the streams of hot plasma accurately picking off mental cooling forces one by one were too much to handle and defenders had to retreat deeper into the complex, hoping to protect the inhabitants more effectively in tight quarters where there will be less cover for the enemy and shorter distances will increase accuracy at little cost since enemy had deadly aim anyways. Certain ambushes across corridors connecting various sections have been prepared, but at the same time large, open spaces out of which most of the habitats were made, had to be given up. For the officers leading the defense it seemed clear that if Groaxians built their cities like Humanity, there would be far less space to defend. The second way Groaxian nature served against them in this battle was their language: talking via exhaling and shaping pink and purple gasses was easily noticeable for the enemy. Thanks to this, even despite limiting communication as much as possible, several ambushes failed.

Desperate defense continued. Slight solace was found in the apparent feature of the enemy's bodies that made them spill liquids upon being hit. Barely any organism on Genesis did that since barely any organism contained any liquids in the first place. It meant that even non-lethal shot could prove fatal for them over time, or at least would weaken them more than initially expected since these bodily fluids seemed to be directly linked to their vitality. This has proven to be of little use as the battle continued, though. On top of that setting up ambushes thinned out the already thin forces too much which on many fronts resulted in the roles turning around, with enemies suddenly approaching from at least two sides at the squads barricading themselves in the corridors and entrances. Officers leading mind cooling forces had to think about something ASAP as dozens of millions of lives were at stake.
 
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Re: Time's End - Siege of Qusmont II
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2021, 04:22:58 PM »
As the situation escalated, Conglomerate decided to use what it had the strongest - its first space fleet. The ships weren't meant to perform well within atmosphere, but it was the only hope for Yatune and the enemy didn't appear to have any weapons capable of harming the ships. Unfortunately, gravitational weapons usage would be devastating for the world, so kinetic bombardment was the only option. And so the rescue has been sent and soon rain of debris hit the ground. While the planet's gravity gave an additional acceleration to the missiles, some of them burned through the atmosphere and many struggled to hit small and scattered targets. But as soon as the first direct kill got confirmed, the fleet was ordered to press on. Ironically large open spaces suddenly became advantageous for the defenders, because invaders were easiest to pick off on these.

It was estimated that if enough air strikes were launched, every enemy shall be destroyed and it was a matter of pure statistics, but Syzygies could store only so much ammo onboard and enemy needed to fire only so much shots before the last Groaxian would be killed. Air support gave a precious advantage and a fighting chance, but this chance required a lot of work to not go to waste.

As the battle raged in the outer layers of Qusmont habitat, a small team of technicians hiding in one of the laboratories in a skygazer built by Humanity used latest cybersoul mainframes to simulate the penetrating properties of enemy weaponry against various materials. While with only so much time at hand all they had to work with were industrial programs for estimating mining efficiency so the errors were expected to be of huge proportions, but it had to do. With what little data they had available best they could do is to claim that vehicles used in construction and geological research should be able to sustain a direct hit from small arms, possibly even a couple of them before facing complete meltdown.

With not enough time to ask all the questions that should be asked, leader of Qusmont called for deployment of all the heavy civilian equipment the colony could allow and establish lines of barricades for the fighting mental cooling squadmembers. Entire Yatune society dreaded upon hearing of sending civilians into battle, but it was the last hope.

Defenders took heavy casualties, but once the "line of hope" has been established, they had one more place to retreat. A brutal firefight went on. While most stayed behind parked vehicles allowing them to tank some fire, certain groups of soliders hopped in and used them as mobile platforms to rain down fire at enemy having to charge through large openings. The casualties were still all-time high, but the glimpse of hope kept brightening up. Attackers even withdrawn and regrouped in certain areas, giving more precious time.

But the situation obviously had to complicate once again. Five previously missing enemy ships were detected on a course to Genesis. Conglomerate defense fleet had to intercept them before they reach temporairly defenceless homeworld.

Upon closing in, all ships within the formation promptly opened fire and dived below the enemy, hoping to evade their trageting before they can rotate themselves. Or at least their guns. Syzygies fired volley after volley while dodging incoming bursts of high energy and keeping relatively safe distances.



Unfortunately, one misguided usage of weaponised curvature propulsion has warped space in slightly wrong direction, missing enemies and reaching a squadron of Syzygies as they were trying to fly up and above the enemy. While they were far enough not to suffer any damage, it interfered with their velocity and pushed them aside, unluckily right as they aligned with the line of enemy formation, giving a perfect opportunity for retaliation. Surpsiringly, enemy must have been using similar weapon platform to Syzygies. A swarm of metallic chunks was very hart to dodge, especially when one is trying to escape a gravity well that did not exist there a moment ago, but the armor did its job and protected all ships from internal damage, even though all of them had been hit. Soon Lensias corrected fixed issue with their targetting cybersouls and poured more damage into hostile squadron.

In order to grant a decisive advantage, gravitational weapons were used once they were recharged not to directly hit enemies, but rather to disturb the nearby fragment of space that'd allow Syzygies to perform a slingshot manoeuvre around predicted enemy position and come on top of them while pulling hostile vessels, granting them more acceleration so that they'd struggle a bit more to maneouvre due to too high speed.

It was an elaborate plan, but this time curvature coordinates and warp ratio were computed correctly. Enemies even seemed to be surprised, not expecting their turn ratio to have suddenly worsened. As they flew past Conglomerate ships, they turned around and fired while temporairly forced to maintain velocity, but with their path being pre-calculated Groaxians had no trouble dodging. Syzygies responded with yet another volley that has proven deadly for one of their ships:



After that the remaining four spacecraft managed to regroup, but it already suffered too much damage. A couple of rapidly-fired kinetic volleys and one final gravitational blast was all it took to clean the hostile mess.

While the second space battle was victorious without too much damage taken, the fleet was now separated from Yatune and on top of that Syzygies had barely any ammo left, so they needed to resupply at Genesis first, leaving Yatune to fend for itself all alone. Morale of the defenders instantly suffered because of it. The vehicle barricade might have been effective, but "tanking a few shots" did not mean "surviving sustained fire for the fleet to resupply at Genesis and return". As a last resort officers leading the battle came up with another idea: bring the fight to the human ruins, way better suited for repelling sieges than Groaxian life-support infrastructure. The only issue left was that there was no reason for the enemy to pursue Groaxians into the ruins without killing the large population that hasn't been evacuated into them yet. However, a brilliant idea resurfaced: if the attackers were capable of spotting squads of Groaxians based on their form of communication, then they must have already have an idea about how much of a gas correspond to how many targets. An insane yet simple plan assumed that the population hiding among the ruins was to start talking extensively to produce so much pink and purple gasses that it'd form a giant cloud that would direct the attention of enemy. Most of the surviving forces were redirected to prepare occupied skygazers for defense. Technicians even temporairly redirected methane from pipes forming recycling center to make place for the conversation gas so smaller quantities would suffice to make it appear as if a large population were hiding in the former human city. The final part of the plan included surviving vehicles forming a densely packed formation in the few entrances connecting Groaxian and human constructions together.

It was during that final phase of the battle when Groaxians discovered their inner talent for complex guerilla warfare. Invaders took the bait and followed into the underground sections while detaching some skirmishers to deal with the few buildings standing above ground. Skygazers served as an excellent sniping positions, allowing precise shots while conserving the unsettlingly divndling ammo supplies, and their walls were durable enough to withstand coninuous small arms fire. Construction vehicles successfully established road blockades around ruined intersections and the geological ones even drilled a bunch of holes in many places, creating an array of trenches providing full cover and convineint shooting position. With the last thousands surviors from mental cooling forces, Groaxians eventually drove enemies off their positions and encircled them around buildings and piles of rubble they got to know really well during their stay on the planet, killing or capturing every last of the enemies. For now Yatune has been saved, but there was little reason for celebration once the casualties were asessed. Millions have been killed and large sections off habitat lied in ruins. But that was not the worst part. About the worst part everyone felt too uneasy to even mention it.

The universe was a Dark Forest.
 
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Re: Time's End - After First Contact
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2021, 05:32:51 PM »
At first the priority seemed to be to find a way to communicate with the prisoners, but it quickly faded away when all of them suffocated to death. They were determined to breathe oxygen, but the tanks within their protective suits contained a strange mixture of a concentrated oxygen and an additional gas which could not be indentified. Medics and xenobilogists desperately experimented with various combinations of chemicals to keep them alive, but before any satisfying results could have been achieved, the last alive enemy suffocated after emptying own air tanks. Working with their bodies to at least determine how to keep them alive next time (although everyone hoped there won't be next time) was all that was left to do. The way they looked after armor has been taken off them was disturbing:



Their suits were all marked with strange symbols meaning of which could not be determined:



The central one looked similar to Humanity's symbol of their own sun, but the markings below it or on the left side of the ribbon remained a mystery. The situation looked more promising in terms of their weaponry, though: engineers already figured out how to use their plasma guns so soldiers could equip them right away and use them for as long as there was ammo left. Armour was more problematic as it didn't really fit onto any Groaxian, not even the thinnest one, but engineers claimed it was nothing that couldn't be worked around. Most interesting feature of it was not its durability, though, but rather how well it seemed to adapt to the bodies of invaders, based on the principle "one size fits all" and it was rather on the heavy side but at the same time enemies were carrying it without an issue even though their muscle mass was much smaller than the one of an average Groaxian. This was easily explained once a microelectronic soul has been found installed on the suit's back, with veins running through all the remaining parts, even the tiny ones.

The outcome of the battle of Qusmont sparked a new public debate over the approach to certain subjects. First of all, a relatively small enemy army almost annihilated the entire colony counting over fifty million inhabitants. The enemy seemed to be focused on military technology and attacked without a warning, without war declaration, without any communication attempt from its side. It was also noted that what eventually allowed Groaxians to beat off the intruders was to fight over terrain that felt unnatural for them. The project based on which the "New Qusmont" was founded did not fare well in battle, meanwhile Humanity's work, even if damaged after thousands of hibernation cycles, still held together.

More members of the Conglomerate were convinced that ideas pursued in Qusmont skygazers by a relatively small group consisting mostly of dissatisfied middlemen was the path that had to be followed. It might not be what was desirable by most, but the universe had already turned out to be completely different than initially hoped and so different paths needed to be walked to ensure Groaxian civilisation was to survive. Humanity seemed to struggle with similar issues, too. According to the recordings on the monolith, they discovered Dark Forest Theory once they were already decently spread across the stars and kept wondering why every form of intelligence they had encountered was hostile and violent from the start.

Ever since that cosmic watch the battle ended soulseekers dedicated themselves to establishing a basic societal rules under which two alien civilisations coexisting in one universe could hypothetically establish mutual communication and prevent war. While yielding no positive results, it became a popular coping mechanism among the ones who couldn't bear the hard truth. One notable research on the topic has been published, though.

The soulseeker behind it one solar watch walked across the Thoania rift. He observed the two popular animals inhabiting the area: qhaavets and daelmi. Both were known for their aggressive attitude and violent behaviour, but they never attacked each other. Daelmi flew high above the ground, hunting other flying creatures or sometimes skydiving and piercing through ice to extract tasty shezes, meanwhile qhaavets, glued to the ground and were feeding off organic material extracted directly from ice after being left there by many species awakening from hibernation. Both species used ice as their hunting ground, at least to some extent, and yet they never interrupted each other. Even biologists once determined that qhaavets were poisonous for daelmi which is why probably they were never observed eating them.

This observation inspired the researcher to extrapolate this phenomena into entire civilisations. Two hypothetical races would share the same universe, as the two species from Genesis shared ice sheets as hunting ground, but at the same time both would consume different type of resources. That way they would not benefit from war at all - starting one always posed them at risk of extinction, even if only so small, while providing no gain as the resources used by the other race would be useless to them. Because of the latter, no matter the expansion of the second civilisation, it wouldn't limit their pool of potential supplies. However, in order for such model to work, all resources would have to be separated - for example aliens that landed on Yatune were breathing a different gas than Groaxians, but still using similar raw minerals to build their ships. While this theory had little implications in real life since if peace was to be made that'd require a hypothetical civilisation to exist that doesn't consume any grain of matter from which every material used by Groaxians is made, but it was a good thought experiment and somewhat a start. A tiny step into the darkness of the universe, made in parallel to the step that included sending colonisation fleet for their first trip into Mimung.

As soulseekers kept wondering about Dark Forest and engineers struggled to reverse-engineer plasma guns that'd fire missiles precisely following laser trail, astronomers had another riddle to think about: after spotting the cluster of black holes that gave the name for problems with omitting light speed barrier, they focused on searching for new black holes to compare them with this strange region of space, only to discover that in the entire galaxy black holes were pretty common. This didn't match theoretical predictions in the slightest. Also it was concluded that within a relatively short timeframe cosmic scale-wise that many black holes will destabilise the entire galaxy and swallow all of the stars. No physicist or astronomer could find any at least half-reasonable explanation for these observations.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 08:56:58 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Re: Time's End AAR - preparing response
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2021, 07:03:04 AM »
DARK FOREST RESPONSE

3346-3353 AM hibernation cycles

Many officials of the Conglomerate had no choice but to travel to various space stations orbiting Genesis and skip next hibernation cycle, working constantly. While not healthy in the long run (well, in the short run too) they desperately needed that extra time to take required actions. The Qi Defense Plan was making its way into reality on a several different planes:

  • xenobiologists and chemists worked on studying the bodies of invaders, trying to explain how they function, what enivornments are best suited to them, what was that extra gas found in their tanks, why did they all suffocate once it run out, what are their possible vulnerabilities
  • physicists, collaborating with astronomers, had the task to study space curvatures left by invading fleet to try to predict from where they might come from
  • mental cooling officers and engineers worked on reverse-engineering gear scavenged from fallen enemies and determining the future shape of Conglomerate army and strategies that will be used to deal with the threat more effectively shall the siege of Qusmont repeat
  • soulseekers, slightly cooperating with tactical masterminds, had to study the behaviour of the enemy to and based on these observations and previous knowledge uncover more about the nature of Dark Forest and possible workarounds
  • scientists studying artifacts of Humanity left on Yatune were tasked with what they were doing before, but this time with more resources allocated from the Conglomerate into the projects of merging cybersouls with true souls like Humanity once did

Working conditions were quite stressful and everyone acknowledged the dangerous part Groaxians were following - a path against the nature and foundation of their entire civilisations. Doubts surrounded rather pessimistic visions about how the future generations will be shaped. "Predator and prey in one" - this grim statement resonated within many as they followed the news on new military breakthrougs.

The autopsy of dead invaders took more bodies than initially expected, but with their abundance it was not a problem at all. Xenobiologists identified several key weaknesses in their biology: obvious one about them breathing oxygen and methane being toxic aside, they seemed to inhale air by one central organ, compared to obviously superior way of acquiring air through the entire body. The destruction of such organ should result in quick death. On top of that the air was reaching brain through several "pipes". Better to have some backup than if there was only one, but compared to the masterpiece of evolution that allowed Groaxians to breathe with their entire skin and then refill all the distributed mental system at once it was weak. On the other hand, such weaknesses played far smaller role on the battlefield with the technology they fielded - Groaxian bodies might be better suited to resist damage, but does it matter if one plasma missile is all it takes to melt them down? They might be weaker, but does it matter if their armours are so tough to get through?

But that was not all. In one of the pipes a strange powder has been discovered, almost as if it has clogged them up. Purpose of it and whether it was a natural part of them or some kind of parasite or venom remained unknown. As to their possible planet of origin, studies has shown that their environmental tolerance presents as follows:



After re-analysing the astronomical data acquired so far, it was determined that two planets within Blutgang system were a good candidates for their worlds. The sole planet near which explorers have been possibly attacked orbiting around the first pair of stars was a decent choice given their biological properties, but the one in the second binary system has been determined to contain too much oxygen for their bodies not to hiperventilate. Whether it was their homeworld, terraformed colony or a planet that just happened to be of similar properties that no terraforming was required was impossible to tell, but if this information was to be put together with missing explorers and traces of debris they have discovered, it all suddenly started to fit in and create a coherent explanation.

In the meantime engineers have finally dealt with the gear of their foes: a prototype of a plasma rifle just like theirs, but more suitable for Groaxian hands, appeared, shipped together with a shiny suit of resistant armor outfitted with cybersoul-based distributed support system. Conglomerate was overseeing the rise of a special defense force that was specially training in order to take use of this powerful and fearsome armory.


Quote
Conglomerate Guardian
Transport Size (tons) 6     Cost 0.18     Armour 15.0     Hit Points 10
Annual Maintenance Cost 0.023     Resupply Cost 1.3
X-5000A1 Laser-Guided Plasma Rifle:      Shots 1      Penetration 12      Damage 10
Reactive Cybersoul Combat Suit
Emergency Hibernation Kit
Infrared Vision System
Distributed Communication Array Endpoint

Vendarite  0.18   
Development Cost  67

On top of new weapons and armor, each Guardian was equipped with the latest achievement of medicine - a kit that could put any Groaxian into a temporary hibernation even in high temperatures to allow safe and effective first aid treatment on the battlefield.

The minds of engineers did not stop at simply reverse-engineering more advanced gear, though - while X-5000A1 model had to be made semi-automatic due to rapid overheating during sustained fire, simply building a bigger gun that could fit more coolants turned out to be stupidly effective. That's how the strongest among the Guards became the elite of this force, tasked with providing cover fire for the rest of the squad:


Quote
Conglomerate Heavy Guardian
Transport Size (tons) 12     Cost 0.36     Armour 15.0     Hit Points 10
Annual Maintenance Cost 0.045     Resupply Cost 6
X-M5000A2 Plasma Cycle Rifle:      Shots 6      Penetration 10      Damage 10
Reinforced Reactive Cybersoul Combat Suit
Emergency Hibernation Kit
Infrared Vision System
Distributed Communication Array Endpoint

Vendarite  0.36   
Development Cost  94


Due to the effectiveness of vehicle barricade, a proper combat vessels have been designed to help the Conglomerate Guard entrench itself while providing heavy firepower. Armored with a layer of same alloy that served for assembling reactive cybersoul combat suits and armed with laser cannons made from modified drilling equipment, they might look like a geological research vehicle quickly refitted for a combat role, but they were still a nasty surprise for enemy who would neglect their capability like that.


Quote
Mental Cooling Mobile Defense Platform
Transport Size (tons) 78     Cost 6.24     Armour 40     Hit Points 40
Annual Maintenance Cost 0.78     Resupply Cost 24
Y-3000 Combat Laser Drill:      Shots 3      Penetration 30      Damage 20
Y-2000 Pulse Laser Array:      Shots 6      Penetration 10      Damage 10
Reactive Armor Layer
Distributed Communication Array Antenna
Full Spectrum Scanner
Terrain Profiler
Responsive Navigation System

Vendarite  6.24   
Development Cost  394


The final word belonged to the long-range support vehicles, built on top of the same schema as Mental Cooling defense platforms, but instead of laser guns they came equipped with space kinetic weapons repurposed for ground combat, giving them an insane range over rest of the formations, allowing to deal with the enemy from afar:


Quote
Mental Cooling Distributed Kinetic Support
Transport Size (tons) 32     Cost 1.28     Armour 20     Hit Points 30
Annual Maintenance Cost 0.16     Resupply Cost 6
SCK-3307 Space Kinetic System:      Shots 3      Penetration 10      Damage 20
Reactive Armor Layer
Distributed Communication Array Antenna
Full Spectrum Scanner
Terrain Profiler
Responsive Navigation System
Long-Range Targeting Array

Vendarite  1.28   
Development Cost  178

First squads of the new Conglomerate forces were expected to arrive on Yatune soon after completing their training while new ones to protect the colony in Mimung were supposed to be sent there alongside first colonists.

The colonisation of eight moon of Mimung IV has proven to be far more problematic than initially expected. Teks ships struggled to transport large batches of pre-built modules and with this pace the initial setup of the colony could last forever. Because of this limitation, it was decided that only basic materials will be transferred to the moon and it will all be built on-site from scratch by the mobile construction teams which sacrificed some of their vessels in the desperate defence of Qusmont. While starting off will be tougher for the colonists, in the long term it'll allow them to develop much faster than they otherwise would. The problem is, during the next routine shipping flight by pure accident navigation officers detected a cloud of space dust on their route which was not there the last time they warped into Mimung system. Upon closer inspection the dust cloud turned out to be remnants of artificial structures - everyone hoped for this to be a result of simple accident, but deep down knew that whatever it was before being desynthetised, its destruction didn't occur because of bad luck. And even if it was an accident somehow, that still meant that a hostile civilisation has entered Mimung system, severely threatening the existence of a colony that was yet to emerge.

Upon hearing the news, Conglomerate really wished it could abandon colonisation plans, but it was the only extrasolar celestial body discovered so far that looked like a valid candidate and space expansion was a must because the ever growing civilisation required similarly growing resource pools. As soon as these words were spoken, temperature in the Conglomerate meeting space felt as if it dropped to the hibernation levels: it was exactly what first axiom of the Dark Forest Theory talked about, and on top of that it was said as if it was so obvious for everyone present. It was reported by soulseekers present that some tried to cope after the meeting by focusing on the second purpose of a first interstellar colony which was to provide an evacuation point should Qi defenses fall.
 
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Re: Time's End - Dark Forest Lords
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2021, 10:03:56 AM »
The peace in Qi lasted only a few hibernation cycles till a starship was observed speeding through the system at relativistic speeds till disengaging curvature propulsion:



However, to much surprise, before Conglomerate Defense fleet could intercept it, it disappeared within warped space once again. However, not too long after this incident, another ship popped up in the system. This time Lensias successfully slowed it down in an artificial gravity well untill Syzygies could catch up to it and destroy them with kinetic fire:



One part of the ship remained intact after the encounter was over. From it, a few bodies could have been recovered. The ship was marked with the same symbol as the invaders of Qusmont have worn, so it was very surprising when the bodies discovered were something totally different than the aliens classified so far. They were of a slim, seven-legged figure that was very nimble and gave an impression of being fragile, however stress tests conducted by the destruction of their ship itself showed that ripping their bodies apart was a tough task - one could stretch, rotate and warp them around, but they just insisted on staying in one piece. Later in the laboratories detailed experiments have determined their environmental tolerances:



No planet meeting all these criteria has been detected so far. Besides, even if such planet has been spotted, how would this help in determining what these aliens were? But one thing stood out: it was a different species fighting under the same banner as the previously encountered enemy. What if these two races somehow figured out how to not kill each other in a Dark Forest and signed an alliance? Even if they were hostile to every other life form, that was still a start. More enthusiastic citizens started dreaming of this discovery serving as a path towards peace. Scientists remained more cautious, pointing out there is no solid evidence than this species were sentient, maybe they were just some animals from the homeworld of current enemy, but at the same time the entire wreck didn't contain any trace of biological matter from the previously discovered species. However, these two aliens did not have separate resource pools - namely they both were breathing oxygen. Maybe there were other workarounds for the ugly nature of the universe? Soulseekers just got more work to do to fine-tune their theories and proposed solutions.

As Qi system was being monitored carefully, astronomers detected a previously omitted detail: all the space warped with Curvature Drives stayed like that. More experiments confirmed that it could easily be "flattened" again after another relativistic flight, but that was it. This clashed with Humanity's theories once again - according to them, such way of travel should warp space only temporarily and flatten it behind the ship. At the same time this observation inspired scientists to try to develop permanent rifts in space that would serve as travel points between various stars: the idea was to bend space hardly enough so that it could create a tunnel linking different systems. Maybe that was even the possible way to deal with the speed of light - while first flight still required its limit to be respected, following fleets could take a shortcut and arrive at destination instantly via rift that was built along the way at the speed of light, but now is already there. On top of that such journey wouldn't require the ship to have Curvature Drive installed. Physicists were surprised when they noticed the first stub of a mathematical model describing such rifts looked oddly similar to a previously unclassified section of the monolith. Rifts were named strangely, possibly it was a reference to some kind of organisms living on a homeworld of Humanity and the way they carved tunnels in their food, but apart from that the theory looked similar enough.

The problem is, even after many attempts the theory just refused to work in practice. Black Wall reminded about itself in the worst manner possible once again. Why did Humanity tried to contain Groaxians within a few nearest stars while not wiping them out instead? However, this time the situation was looking different: the idea of using interstellar rifts was an independent Groaxian research project that had nothing to do with Humanity until another section of the monolith has been understood. This helped to restore faith in Humanity among some sceptics that gained some popularity ever since first supposedly superluminal objects engineered failed to cross the speed of light, at least, but the troubles with interstellar travel persisted.

It took only a few hibernation cycles for the enemy to appear once again, bringing a squadron of three ships that seemed like they wanted to take over Yatune once again. Defense fleet, having mastered this manoeuvre already, plotted an interception course:



The combined kinetic fire and curvature disruption gave the enemy no chance. Trapped within artificial gravity well, struggling to reach escape velocity while dodging missiles that only accelerated further as they entered the gravitational sphere of influence themselves, two of them were quickly reduced to ashes. However, as Qi Defenders prepared the final volley, something very unusual occurred. Onboard cybersoul mainframes picked up an unintelligible signal originating from the third spacecraft. Initial analysis determined it was of an artificial origin and bore marks of sentient communication attempts.

Groaxians serving on the warships did not expect this. They paid a horrible price for keeping their civilisation safe - after witnessing combat for quite a few times now and skipping many hibernation cycles in their service, they were different than other Groaxians. Psychological evaluation has shown that they had much more trouble focusing on meditation and sometimes even struggled with proper words when talking. None of them spawned offspring. Time spent in deep space has changed them, and it was for the worse since they didn't serve to observe the beauty of it, but to fight across the void. In fact, it was determined that the amount of negative emotions the experienced was so high that the gasses responsible for expressing them have accumulated inside their bodies to the toxic levels which in return damaged their digestive systems and obstructed breathing. They required higher methane concentration to survive than others and needed to wear a special apparatus when on the surface of Genesis. "Dark Forest Disease" was how medics described their condition.

And yet it was them that had to respond. With slowly degrading brain tissue it was hard for them to think as decently as they did when they started service. This didn't help with the obvious problem of them not understanding what the messages actually said. Meanwhile the third ship slowed down and turned off its engines. The commander of the fleet relieved, as this provided an easy opportunity to buy basically as much time as needed: a couple of accurate gravitational shots were enough to trap the ship in one place. If it wanted to escape, it'd take too much time accelerating so that Groaxians could simply set the trap once again or just outright destroy it.

First obvious thing to confirm was that their language was not a human one. After this formality being done, the actual translating work could begin. Soon it was decided that attempting to translate their messages directly to any Groaxian language is futile, because the way they express themselves is just too different for this to work out. Conglomerate agreed that human language should be used instead. This generated another issue, as Groaxians could barely understand the simplest parts of it, let alone build sentences of their own, but the way these sentences were phrased was more similar to the alien messages, even if not the actual meaning or word structure itself.

The stalemate would continue for solar watches to no end, until one, seemingly unrelated, discovery regarding Dark Forest Theory was made. A group of soulseekers studying Dark Forest-related materials on the monolith and meditating as often as possible has figured out the key difference between advanced and primitive civilisations in the context of dealing with others. Alien invasions like the one Groaxians experienced were a domain of a primitive one. Meanwhile the well-developed races upon detecting another intelligence would simply launch doomsday devices from remote locations across light hibernation cycles, destroying entire stars and all the bodies orbiting them at their leisure. They even discovered bits of human history when dealing with such monstrosities: these fragments talked about the need to stay quiet or be heard by a race that would launch such attack without hesitation and described worlds destroyed by such weapons: destabilised ecosystems, planets reduced to asteroid belts, entire stars going supernova... But that was not the worst part - one of the soulseekers working on the topic outright hibernated out of extreme fear upon realisation of it. Any civilisation capable of sending messages across the stars, even primitive one, could summon the advanced one and give it a target to annihilate: all that needed to be done was a broadcast of stellar coordinates pointing at a particular planet or star. Upon receiving it, the Dark Forest Lords, fully aware of its artificial origin, would do the dirty work. The key was to send this message in a way that would not reveal sender's position, though, otherwise the sender would meet same fate as the target.

For the next cosmic watch astronomers were desperately analysing received messages in the context of galactic coordinates of Qi or any planet orbiting it, later they also checked nearby systems, but the coordinates were either well-hidden and impossible to detect for Groaxians or summoning a Dark Forest Lord was not the case in this situation. At first the officers insisted on destroying the hostile ship, but Conglomerate rejected this suggestion, blaming it on Dark Forest Disease, claiming that if these are really the coordinates of Groaxian space, then it must be confirmed and thus full communication must be established no matter what. To achieve that, Groaxians tried to provoke a radically different reaction from the aliens: they responded to them with a set of coordinates pointing towards Blutgang system. The response was indeed different: barely any expression was repeated, but there were also some similarities left. Then another risky experiment has been approved: next message aliens received was a set of coordinates of Qi system. To much surprise, the response that came afterwards was almost identical.

A popular hypothesis claimed that if the aliens wanted to just destroy Groaxians, they could've informed Dark Forest Lords while steering clear from the risky mess themselves instead of sending their soldiers to fight and die. That would mean that they wanted something more than just extinction of the enemies. If that was true, then their reaction to the last two messages would be something along the lines of "please don't do this", aka they obviously didn't want to have their space destroyed, but neither wanted to just erase Qi out of stellar charts. Given they were already aware of this mechanism at all, they could've sent the doombringing signal quite some time ago, but they didn't for whatever reason. Obviously this required confirmation, but it was some progress, at least. With no significant breakthroughs afterwards, Conglomerate simply decided to keep one Lensia always watching over the captured ship while allowing others to continue their work on tackling communication issues.

 
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Re: Time's End - beyond the nature
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2021, 02:55:52 PM »
The communication issues continued. Conglomerate wanted to use survivors who fled destruction of their ships using escape pods, but unfortunately they all perished soon after retrieval just like the troops fighting on Yatune and were of no use. Instead, a new plan has been drawn: it was time to salvage all those wrecks floating around Qi. Some of them continued to drift away from the system while other were on collision course with either Qi or a planet, however it was nothing gravitational weapons couldn't fix until a specialised spacecraft for dealing with them could appear. It didn't take long, though, since it was based on the same design as cargo ships and required only small tweaks and additions, mostly in the form of correctional thrusters for aligning and coming close enough to a wreck and a mining equipment repurposed for the 213498719832467th time, in this case for cutting through parts of hull.


Quote
Colgeon class Salvager      30,000 tons       149 Crew       539.1 BP       TCS 600    TH 300    EM 0
500 km/s    JR 1-25(C)      Armour 1-86       Shields 0-0       HTK 28      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 11    Max Repair 200 MSP
Cargo 10,500    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months   
Salvager: 1 module(s) capable of salvaging 500 tons per day
Short Range Debris Detection Net    Artificial Gravity Field    Autnomous Piloting System    Canteen    Containment Chamber    Curvature Stabiliser    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Extragenesian Material Containment    Flight Navigation System    Full Spectrum Deep Space Scanner    Gravitational Signal Filter    Hets Autonomous Farm    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Methane Recycling System    Meditation Space    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module    Speed Sync Correctional Thrusters   

JC30K Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 30000 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 1

Commercial Ion Drive  EP300.00 (1)    Power 300    Fuel Use 4.84%    Signature 300    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 614,000 Litres    Range 76.1 billion km (1761 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes


Despite being ordered to operate only within Qi system, each ship ended up with Curvature Propulsion installed so that later it could serve in different systems should they be marked as safe for such operations. As the first fleet of salvagers left Genesis, physicists announced that they have successfully recreated reactions occurring in Qi (or in any other star for that matter) and this looked promising in terms of replacing ion drives with something better, but that additional possible speed hardly mattered for salvagers.

In the meantime explorers visited another system - Eckesachs. It consisted of several gas giants and a bunch of genesian planets, but one stood out: initial readings have shown that it has an oxygen-based atmosphere. It was also barely habitable by the enemy race. Barely, but still. When deep space scanners picked up signatures of space debris, exploration master called for retreat. This is what saved one of the three vessels that escaped the system at lightspeed while two others were fried on the spot. The destruction pattern looked oddly similar to what happened in Blutgang with the first exploration fleet. Public opinion was devastated. Two exploration fleets have been destroyed with only one ship surviving the onslaught. Four systems have been travelled to so far, and in two of them attacks occurred, as for the second time nobody had any doubts as to why the ships got destroyed. Groaxians were caught right in the middle of a cosmic war and should still consider themselves lucky that civilisations fighting were of a primitive level and Groaxians advanced enough to be able to put up some basic defenses.

A debate rose publicly, revolving around a topic that troubled a lot of Groaxians: in their monolith, humans mentioned that they will "keep Groaxians safe until they join them across the stars". "Across the stars" part facing some unexpected problems and delays because of light speed issue and cosmic war happening aside, what exactly "joining" was supposed to mean, to this solar watch nobody really knew. Most pending issue was about "keeping safe" promise, though. It seemed like so far Humanity failed miserably. Well, Genesis was still habitable and the civilisation thrived, but casualties were already taken and so far no rescue could have been detected. Why all this effort if later Humanity was to leave Groaxians to their own devices? There was also an alternative, simple explanation: Humanity didn't keep Groaxians safe, because it succumbed to the Dark Forest and was gone, gone to the last human being. This resolution made a lot of Groaxians suddenly feel all alone in the vast universe. Genesis might still be beautiful and the red Qi on the yellow sky across white-blue lands still beautiful to witness, but Humanity has shaped the culture and development of Groaxians for too long to simply move on on them being extinct. As a last measure, it was proposed to run a special space search program that'd target Humanity specifically, however nobody yet had an idea how to do that so other races wouldn't understand sent messages, what should be in these messages sent for Humanity in the first place and on top of that how to make sure Genesis is not revealed to Dark Forest Lords.

Middlemen on Yatune, which managed to accumulate lot of fame across various clans for their extraordinary approach to life, insisted on speaking with Conglomerate officials. They presented a first ever working prototype of a cybersoul mainframe directly integrated within a body. This design has been inspired by the reactive cybersoul combat suit and in some loose comparison looks similar - it consists of many modules that once implanted under skin and outer flesh layer form one system slightly resembling cybersoul suit that is capable of interacting with entire brain surface, process signals from it and pass them to external devices or read input reaching the brain. This bridges the gap between cybersouls and living things, bringing them closer together. So far the functionality is limited, but impressive nevertheless - it allows the user to browse guardian net while simply thinking about what to search for, can serve as a remote communication endpoint or could be integrated with many machines used in daily life. This is not what middlemen dissatisfied with their gender role wanted, but it's the first step in the right direction for them. Conglomerate Guard Masters even pointed out that the communication endpoints are especially interesting - since they display virtual clouds forming expressions, they could be used for the soldiers to talk with each other without risking revealing position due to too much gas leaking out.

And so Groaxians made another move against their nature. Some wondered how far they will need to push themselves and whether the results of fighting Dark Forest would be that the survivors won't be Groaxians anymore. To try to alleviate Dark Forest Disease among space forces or any potential harmful effects caused by having cybersoul installed under skin, Conglomerate passed a law that required every Groaxian serving on a military ship or having integrated cybersoul modules implanted to meditate more and hibernate longer, hoping the additional rest will provide enough chance for the body and mind to recover from any ill effects and remain cool.
 
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