Author Topic: Time's End AAR (TN start, custom race and solar system)  (Read 2945 times)

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Re: Time's End - Gravity of the Past
« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2021, 06:33:06 PM »
MAIGH EO DISTURBANCE

3462 AM hibernation cycle

Leveraging on the sudden tactical advantage, Conglomerate did not want to wait. The first stop of a final interstellar journey of Umbara Commune was predictable if a tiny bit of time was spent thinking on it - it was one of the shortest paths to reach the Crack and a solid navigation point for whoever wanted to traverse it from that region of space. It was likely the only choice Umbaras had, even though this system being of previous importance to them left no wonders why Zenn were somewhere out there, most likely able to intercept that last desperate mission. Whatever happened out there, Groaxians didn't want to risk a battle in the vicinity of Scar'am. Human Space Fleet was sent to Maigh Eo to discover the fate of the damned expedition and stop whatever had sealed it.

Most of the crewmembers anticipated a "search, follow and destroy" type of mission, with some awaiting to see wrecks and emergency transponders, but most excepting pure nothingness besides the double suns of Maigh Eo, questioning the entire point of the mission and wondering how they were supposed to work from there. Trying to detect space disturbances left by Curvature Propulsion System was possible, but there was no guarantee they would suggest the correct path, with Umbaras likely warping out of the system suggesting a misleading destination as to lose Zenn hunting for them. Eventually all these doubts were resolved, and not in the most pleasant way, when the entire fleet suddenly came to a full stop, dropping out of warp bubble quite some distance before estimated warp point. Space unwarping at a speed well above any safety limits just couldn't end well. Two of the Strikers suffered from a Curvature Drive breakdown that caused a local temporary antigravity anomaly and briefly expanded space between squadrons of Strikers and Pikes. This disturbance pushed Pikes away from the fleet, breaking formation and putting unsafe levels of pressure onto their hulls. Luckily for them, their armors held and internal damage of any kind was avoided, but the antigravity interfered with the Curvature Drive of one of the Pikes, threatening to send an outburst of gravitational waves straight into the formation of Strikers. A team of navigators turned on the Curvature Drive in an emergency mode, almost blowing up the fusion reactor in the process, and managed to send the gravitational energy into the void, but obviously it pushed the starship quite some distance from the rest of the fleet.

Before officers had the time to process inputs about the fleet's situation, asess the damage and realise what had actually happened, First hihg-energy particles cracked against the armors. Damage reports by default had priority over sensor warnings, so it took an additional while for their brains to process the information about twenty one Umbara starships in between the scattered and damaged fleet.



Admiral of the fleet occupied his position for a reason, because he was the first one to start acting and giving orders. Pikes fired their phased curvature disruption systems straight at the cluster of the enemy, trapping them in a temporary gravity well. Next step was to use the scattering of the ships to own advantage: Pikes and Strikers were in an almost perfect position to achieve a stable orbit around the created gravitational anomaly, conservinf fuel for more aggressive maneouvres and capable of blasting forces of the Umbara. This granted Strikers a few easy particle beam retaliation shots, but suspected forces of Zenn weren't just sitting and awaiting an execution. Particle beams of theirs flew across the void, most missing, but some scored hits on already damaged outer layers of Groaxian armors. A squadron of their ships fired excessive amounts of fuel to quickly overcome the gravitational obstacle and close in towards the lonely Pike far away from other members of the Human Space Fleet. The lonely ship had only so much power in its engines to evade only so much metallic slugs launched in the direction of its own trajectory and a solid rooster of possible alternatives it might choose during a dodging attempt. With such overwhelming firepower, the decision boiled down to selecting which batch of missiles shall do the dirty job.

The impact was brutal, but still no hull breach had been achieved by the enemy. The Pike tried to return fire and send some gravitational waves to disperse its pursuers, but it was in that moment when the onboard reactor, being overcharged in the process of avoiding a space relativistic collision shortly after arrival in the system, gave up and started increasing heat uncontrollably. To prevent a supernova from happening, technicians had to shut it down, which on top of lack of firepower meant disabled engines, too. At the same time rest of Groaxian starships ended stopped circling around the enemy and to build some tactical advantage accelerated in the opposite direction and merged along the way. At longer distance Umbara systems struggled with target locking, meanwhile Strikers and Pikes did just fine, especially with the latter not requiring too precise targeting due to nature of their weapon systems anyways. First two hostile starships disintegrated in the hail of high-energy particles and crushing gravity.



Battle would be much easier if fought from the new position of main bulk of Groaxian forces, but nobody, from the admiral through the weapon monitoring staff all the way to the life support maintenance technicians, agreed on leaving the separated Pike to its sad fate. With all power temporairly shifted to the reactors, the fleet started a chaotic process of rapid speed vector inversion, painfully watching as the distance between them and the Pike in distress still increased and would continue to do so until full stop. In the meantime the kinetic squadron of enemy obviously lacked the courtesy to wait with their volleys till rest of the Human Space Fleet catches up to it. Many Groaxians sit tight, nervously watching the tiny dot, expecting it to disappear from the radars any time.

But before that happened, Enemy once again demonstrated whatever caused Groaxian forces to finish their superluminal journey earlier than scheduled. The sight was terrifying. Space in the direction at which the radar pointed indicating enemy's position suddenly got disorted and a gravitational lensing very similar to a black hole was visible with naked eye, following by a blinding light radiating from it. Scanners soon picked up a weird hum originating from whatever this terrifying weapon was. Suddenly an explosion flashed in front of the eyes of watching Groaxians. A moment after space expanded from its epicenter, sending the fighting fleets far away from each other. With the exception of two Strikers who had them damaged and in need of repair, Human Space Fleet engaged Curvature Drives to counter the push and come closer to the endangered Pike to relieve it. However, the anomaly quickly ceased to exist, making the ships overshoot their destination before Curvature Drives were turned off. Everyone was relieved when it turned out the damaged Pike was still drifting out there in the void.

The Umbara fleet, on the other hand... Some ships of their survived, but many were reduced into debris, and it was a very granular debris. Some were nowhere to be located. A lot of them survived, since they were in a quite loose and separated formation by the time the explosion took place, but all showed signs of heavy damage. At that time it was a formality for the Human Space Fleet to wipe out all of them.



After brave Groaxians returned home, physicists instantly went down to analyse what exactly had happened during the battle of Maigh Eo. The dropout from warp bubble occuring sooner than expected and the anomaly that basically resolved the battle and accidentially saved the Pike crying out for help were linked to the same phenomena and device that likely caused it. Most straightforward explanation was some kind of gravitational weapon able to even intercept starships with active Curvature Propulsion Systems and force an engangment, but the second time Zenn tried to use it somethign went horribly wrong and it defeated their own fleet instead. Void Scavengers were sent to the debris field to investigate the wrecks, but unfortunately no pieces of the mysterious device responsible for the gravitational show could have been located. Everything recovered from across the wrecks was an already classified Umbara tech or at least some modified versions of it, no surprises. The visual recording of the event that shattered Zenn assault fleet brought associations with the distant lights sometimes observed by Groaxians travelling through the Crack ever since the first ones had ventured into it, but scientists were clueless about either of these phenomena and a theory at least partially reasonable had yet to be coined.

Mind-reading conducted on surviving Zenn picked after the battle was disappointing, to put it mildly. Besides them planning an assault on Scar'am to finish off La once and for all and close the cycle of their existence, they had little to zero knowledge about what interested Conglomerate the most. They told a tale about a derelict alien starship they had found, orbiting one of the stars in Maigh Eo so close it was about to melt down. But before the sun consumed it, Zenn were able to recover one artifact from it. They had no idea what exactly it was, but once their scientists figured out how to power it, they discovered its destructive potential. However, they all agreed that tinkering with unknown alien technology far beyond their understanding of science at a time was likely to end up exactly how it had ended, with the device backfiring on the inexperienced users. Conglomerate for sure wasn't happy that both the device and the alien wreck had already been gone, disappeared without a trace.

Soulseekers took note of an interesting sociological process occuring in every group of Groaxians, but most visible at examples of large populations of major cities on Genesis. Recent advances made in science as well as in the matter of societal stabilisation increased respect Bound by Dark Forest had towards the part of society that kept the original nature. At the same time citizens from the latter group expressed gratitude towards Bound by Dark Forest for not having to expose themselves to all these cosmic horrors themselves. This way of thinking got especially popular after Blutgang invasion and battle of Maigh Eo, with both of which having not spawned a single case of Dark Forest Disease. Whatever tensions there were between the two radically different groups, they were on a rapid decline. Soulseekers studying this shift came to a conclusion of it being nothing more than a next step in the evolution of balance. Nature of many might had been radically shifted via invasive and large-scale genetic engineering projects, but there was something in the soul of every Groaxian that remained unchanged. An essence that demanded a proper balance and entire society united, just like it had always been. While in theory this should be an optimistic sign, none of the soulseekers investigating the case had any reliable predictions as to where this would lead and how the two so radically different groups would look like when left on their own to merge. Some even worried than Groaxians from each of the group suddenly coming to agreement on certain things with each other was a dangerous thing, because that'd mean half of the society shifting towards Bound by Dark Forest philosophy despite being free from Dark Forest Disease and not put through genetic modifications. They feared to openly admit it, but were worried that the observed process could be a symptom of what Tempestsaurs Of Achernar had on mind when they said "Dark Forest is a force of balance".
 

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Re: Time's End - Voices of the Ones That Were There Before
« Reply #46 on: June 30, 2021, 01:56:14 PM »
THE MATRIX

3467-3471 AM hibernation cycles

Despite Umbara situation still awaiting a proper solution and the bottom of the abyss still not explored and many other things still unexplained, Conglomerate had thrown everything it could at Project Ascension. Just like Humanity had discovered before, Transcendent Speech was the only way to safely open and explore the complex. When first soulseekers gathered around the complex, they felt the same emotions as the ones who participated in Blutgang expedition. Precursors spoke directly to every Groaxian close enough to hear them. Before they were gone, they had encapsulated something far more valuable into complexes like the one on Scar'am: it was their own thoughts and feelings, available for anyone with mind open enough to access it. But while humans through their research were able to only uncover some vague concepts from these thoughts and were forced to rely on more traditional knowledge sharing in the long run, the power of Groaxian mind, exceeding human capabilities, was enough for soulseekers to filter concrete words and expressions out of the array of thoughts. They could directly talk to Precursors and enjoy their last gift they had left for this dark universe.

Precursors: We welcome you, travellers from a distant space and time, into our domain. We were the first ones to see, but not the first ones to fall. But now that you hear us speak, our time has come to an end, just like everyone's else time. We offer powerful weapons against Dark Forest to those that seek enlightenment.

Groaxians: We are the Groaxians. And just like Humanity before, we seek Ascension. We are in danger.

P: We sense a great understanding in you. Ancient energy is a part of you, it flows through your cold bodies. You look like someone who understands.

G: ...

P: We were the first ones to discover there are worlds beyond this one... An existence in so many formats the default universe feels claustrophobic. A land of peace where missiles of Dark Forest do not reach. In the archive in front of you we've placed our knowledge, everything we could understand about the topic before we were gone. Rise and shine, a civilisation of a good will, and take what you need to forge a better future among the stars.

G: ......

P: We hoped the universe was a beautiful place and ever since we found enough proof that we were the first ones, we wanted to share the light of millions of stars with everyone through eons to come... But Darkness rose, Darkness that soon devoured every planet, isolating countless civilisations through endless chains of suspicion.

G: Dark Forest Theory. We understand. But we struggle to overcome it. Please, help us. Our civilisation is in danger. Not only our lives, but also our values. Dark Forest consumes us.

P: You soak corruption with every action you take, but seek something more. Transition to a new plane is something only a civilisation of a good will could ever achieve, and we sense the light radiating from you. Use our artefacts wisely and they shall lead you to a higher plane where the rules of Dark Forest no longer apply.


It took a long time for the soulseekers to recover from a direct exposure to pure ancient wisdom of beings that walked down on the surface of Scar'am long before Groaxians or Umbara had seen it. Their voices were soothing. They must had made peace with their fate once they built those constructs and sealed their last will in them. Invaders from the Bootes Void spared none, but their legacy prevailed and spread across the stars, no matter how many photonic missiles and black holes were used to destroy them one by one. And the time has come for the Groaxians to uncover all the secrets they desperately needed. Initial survey of the databanks inside determined that the main focus of this complex was dedicated to researching the biology of higher dimensions, or rather impact of the higher dimensions on the three-dimensional biology and methods of upgrading the body to a fourth plane.

Humanity mentioned that many of these facilities had to be explored in order to understand more, but Groaxians could consider themselves lucky, because humans had already shared a lot of their own discoveries so Groaxians could combine the knowledge of the two civilisations into one. First fundamental theorem involving transition into the fourth dimension was that it was plain impossible to do "as a being attempting it is". There was no way to "add another dimension to one's body", as simple as that. Because of that, vessels for the soul in a three- and four-dimensional universe had to be separated. The obvious question as to how a particular race was supposed to abandon their bodies and not die in the process while still being able to enter a new one was bound to be asked, but that's where the device called "dimensional matrix" stepped in.

According to some basic understanding of a concept, dimensional matrix was just a specific case of a cybersoul mainframe built upon premises of an advanced soulgrain mechanics. It was a way to digitalise consciousness and enclose it within the matrix. While on a macro scale three-dimensional object could never just grow a fourth one, entities stored in the matrix no longer existed in a conventional sense. Such device was capable of scanning a full soulgrain state of an object, particularly a representative of a sentient being seeking a way to ascend, and then teleport it from the outside world into itself, storing everything, the soul included, in an internal registry. Once already reduced to a quantum state, the state could then be used to project everything into a higher dimension thanks to the arcane happening only at a microcosmic scale. The crucial part of the process was implementation of a soulgrain filter responsible for preserving the information about the soul, consciousness, memories and the like while letting a four-dimensional integrator encapsulate all these crucial parts into a new body existing in a four-dimensional realm. An optional functionality would be to make the new body somewhat similar to the old one, making it look similar for observers staying in 3D, but that was it, some changes were unavoidable.

Surprisingly, publishing the report turned some Groaxians negatively. To abandon their bodies sounded like a horrible idea, as if genetic modifications weren't enough. They questioned whether it was worth it to even try to survive if the final outcome would be something having nothing to do with the way Groaxians were intended to function. A soul without a compatible body well-adapted to the natural environment, work cycle, habits, culture and ways of thinking would suffer and degenerate quickly. However, others pointed out a specific event in the history of Humanity, namely when humans once tried to digitalise themselves and abandon any biological part of theirs altogether, but failed, with the patients who went through the transition experiencing an alarming discomfort and psychological distress, forcing humans to scrap the entire project and synthesise new bodies to free these patients from their cybersoul traps. This aligned with concerns expressed by sceptic Groaxians. However, despite facing same limitations past a certain point as well even if the line lied further than in case of Groaxians, they went through the Project Ascension and judging by the monolith of theirs, apparently achieved peace. Additionally, the smartest physicists who studied and understood soulgrain mechanics in detail claimed that a complete soulgrain state of a Groaxian in theory should safely preserve the nature without any ill effects. This was because while on a macro scale biology played its part, in a microcosmos everything was guided through soulgrains, thus the complete state would, in some way, preserve the influence of biology over the soul as well and a new, four-dimensional body couldn't ruin it if only the filter did its job right.

Another concern to explain was the matrix as defined through the history of Humanity. Bunch of Groaxians were afraid after learning about how badly it affected human society and that in many cases usage of matrix was an act against human nature, causing a huge crisis in their society until some modules were banned, but it remained the problem through the rest of their time in a 3D universe. Some similarities between the two existed, since both were a way of existing within a simulated reality, but taking aside the fact that existence within a dimensional matrix was only a temporary state, not a destination, one had to remember that matrix of the Humanity was all about illusion of existing in a different world, while physically still staying in the same place in the same universe in the same body. In the meantime dimensional matrix of the Precursors meant a full transition to the simulated realm, leaving the old body behind, and later emerging "on the other side", where Dark Forest no longer applied.

As scientists dug through the knowledge of the Precursors and knowledge of the Humanity based on the former, astronomers announced a breakthrough. The stream of knowledge from the monolith had no intention of running dry. Physical equations of the Precursors, if computed with a predefined set of values stored in a monolith, but mostly ignored, revealed a set of coordinates. They pointed at Solar System and Earth. The homeworld of Humanity. But that was not all. Coordinates of every world ever settled by Humanity were there, too, including Yatune. Astronomers rushed to aim their telescopes at the pointed locations, but what they discovered instantly increased their body temperature by a bit and made it difficult for them to breath. Later they all had to be quickly treated for a Dark Forest Disease. All of the revealed stars existed no more. They were all collapsed, with nothing left in that region of space but a nasty cluster of black holes. A few cases of some of them colliding in an interstellar (more of an inter-black hole, though...) space were detected, too.  Possibly some generators missed their targets while Dark Forest Lords fired a bit more, just to be sure. There was nothing left from the legacy of Humanity. For the sake of maintaining balance, Conglomerate officially assumed that Humanity survived the Dark Forest Strike as an already ascended species. That was a logical conclusion to be had given their knowledge they gathered from the Precursors and expanded upon, but to be fair there wasn't a solid proof of it happening.

But if Humanity's territory had been destroyed by a Dark Forest Strike, question remained as to why Qi was spared. Yatune was inhabited by humans and as such should be destroyed, too. But since it wasn't, it might as well mean that Humanity somehow figured out how to prevent Dark Forest Lord from learning about this system. Maybe they had fled there to avoid destruction, just like Groaxians themselves searched for a new home, for example. Or maybe the last of them indeed fulfilled their promise of "keeping Groaxians safe".

Shortly after the grim discovery astronomers announced a second breakthrough: due to some small mistake, in case of one coordination pair they had looked at the wrong stellar object. Once they spotted and corrected the error, they saw a lone K-class star, still surviving and shining bright, moreover it was easily reachable because it was positioned within the Crack. Besides Qi, it was another system that survived the destruction. Was it because there was another alien race that Humanity watched over? Nobody really knew. And if there were aliens living there, would this mean a chain of suspicion and inevitable war?... But since Humanity guarded it, that might as well they would be a civilisation of a good will, with the stellar watch serving as a safety guarantee for peaceful contact to be established. Even though that's what many wanted to believe, Conglomerate wanted to to play it safe. Explorers immediately leaving for an emergency exploration mission into the system simply designated as "GJ 1279" according to human charts were ordered to not reach the destination in a straight way, but to cruise among different random points in interstellar space to avoid possibly hostile race to backtrack Groaxians all the way into Qi.

And so, at the end of a solar watch, Groaxians now had a proof that they had already avoided one Dark Forest Strike in the past, back when they were still primitive and couldn't even try to do anything about it. Everyone hoped to be able to do it for the second time as well.
 
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Re: Time's End - The Rifts
« Reply #47 on: July 01, 2021, 12:01:35 PM »
First progress on the Project Ascension wasn't the only advancement of Groaxians through the following hibernation cycles. At last the wide rift separating Umbara and Precursor infrastructure could have been explored. Having given up on more probes, engineers took an Avenger and outfitted it with additional heatsinks and a cryogenic module similar to the ones mounted on gliders, except it was supposed to regularly wash ice over the hull of the fighter. To avoid endangering anyone, the aircraft relied completely on fully automated piloting system, which wasn't even that tough to program, because it wasn't supposed to do much besides descend, check the bottom and come back. Fifty two Groaxians working on this Heat Avenger gathered in the mastermind array building and pushed the final button, activating the piloting cybersoul and watched as the vessel disappeared in the depths of abyss, before switching to remote display observation.

Temperature increased steadily, but Heat Avenger descended deeper and deeper, easily crossing the record established during experiments with the probes. Dense, white-grey fog thickened around the cockpit, reducing visibility, but the cybersoul pilot comfortably navigated through the canyon with the help of all kinds of sensors and sonars. And at last the bottom of the abyss, pulsating in red, became visible as a faint glow between the clouds. To that moment lots of underground lava rivers had been detected deep below the surface and classified as a source of heated water supplies, resisting the freezing temperatures, so this finding was predictable and not surprising for the team working on a project. It was nothing but a cool-looking natural geological formation, reaching all the way to the molten rocks.

Except it really wasn't, because while it did emit impressive heat signatures, onboard radars on the Avenger showed it was of biological origin. Moreover, it sprawled across the caverns to which many entrances existed on the walls on the both sides of the canyon. As the Avenger came closer to collect some probes for lab analysis, the surface of the omnipresent organism erupted in the direction of the exposed grabbing arm of the fighter, clung to it and wouldn't let go, turning dark-green in the process. The fighter barely kept its balance and in order to set itself free, had to dispose of the grabber.

To better understand the living form down below, a crewed expedition had been prepared. It took a lot of time to prepare cryogenic space suits for the explorers, but eventually it was possible to integrate the cryogenic module without overburdening the wearers. As a method of transport through the caverns below, mission members had been issued a personal hovercraft to avoid touching the floor. Understanding the possible threat, they went in with the same fighter, but this time not stripped from its military-grade lasers. Once they reached what was considered maximum safe distance from the organism below, they hopped from the Heat Avenger straight onto the hovercraft and entered the underground structure. It was a fascinating sight, dark walls and ceilings illuminated only by red pulses from the living mass covering the floors. There were no other organisms present. The environment was so sterile even the smallest unicellular organisms refused to inhabit it. It was just rocks, floor of red mesh and its oozes filling the air. But as the explorers chose corridors leading to the upper levels, trying to find a way to the surface on their own, above certain depth the mesh was less of a red pulsating goo and more of a dark-green goo. Caverns became darker and darker, until no natural light source existed anymore, with these dark-green floors filling everything. Past that point it was safe to touch it, it no longer reacted to any stimuli.

After a lengthy trip, explorers found a way out of the underground system. Through the last corridors the floor seemed to be no different from the frozen greenery covering the surface of the planet. It was especially visible right at the entrance, with the cave floor looking like a natural and continuous extension of the surface. As soon as Heat Source, guided by cybesoul pilot again, picked the team up and brought back to Groaxian encampments, xenobiologists got to work. After over a hibernation cycle worth of research, they finally classified all the connotations between surface life and the underground mesh. The final conclusion was that the ecosystem of Scar'am was dying and it had nothing to do with Dark Forest Strikes and the like. Red mesh served as a biofuel for everything that lived on the surface, a giant, planet-scale generator of heat and nutrients. At some point in the past the whole surface was likely red, well-supported by the generator. But some part of the ecosystem, be it a single organism, a group of it or whatever else, must had died off and it was precisely the part that kept the mesh itself alive and healthy to provide balance and fuel the cycle of life. With that key part missing, mesh was running out of fuel, still feeding the remaining lifeforms, but getting no food itself. However, scientists agreed that sooner Dark Forest Strike would wipe out Scar'am from the face of the universe than it'd take for life to die out. Besides, Groaxians already had terraforming plans, only preserving the existing life in prepared habitats, just like it had been done on Sodara.

Process of Umbara assimilation went on, but as hibernation cycles passed, not only had Groaxians not achieved any progress, but it felt as if they'd moved backwards. An opposition to the project formed, and surprisingly it had nothing to do with Bound by Dark Fores. Never-ending questions about morality of changing nature never ended and this eventually created a very problematic dilemma. If overcoming Dark Forest and preventing genocide forced Groaxians to freely experiment on other species and destroy whatever society they tried to build, then some questioned whether it was worth to try it at all. This way of thinking had a simple implication that if overcoming Dark Forest was not worth it, but playing by its rules was still worse as a genocide also meant "destroying whatever society one tries to build" as one of the consequences, then the only option left was to simply not try to survive and sit on a perfectly balanced Genesis until Dark Forest Strike comes. This philosophy came dangerously close to the way Tempestsaurs Of Achernar viewed the universe. In a way it was all self-contradicting, though: by not caring about survival one would manage to deny a fundamental axiom on which the Dark Forest Theory was founded and as such from the technical point of view it was enough to overcome it despite previous assumption of this philosophical trend about not overcoming it at all, even if the success might be very short-lived. Though certainly long-lasting from the perspective of the ones far enough from event horizon to not be affected by time dilation...

Soulseekers estimated that the new philosophy does not in fact endanger balance, but Conglomerate still demanded them to resolve the problems as they were undermining all the effort put by the generation into finding a way to lead Groaxians to safety. At least for the time being the new philosophical movement did nothing but discourage a few Groaxians here and there from working on Umbara Commune, but Precursor knowledge excavation still progressed according to the schedule. Besides Project Ascension, physicists studied information of a powerful device Precursors used during their struggles with the Invaders. They were capable of closing the rifts leading from the Bootes Void, no matter their diameter. While the idea was already known from the history of Humanity, at last more detailed and technical descriptions became available. Since a rift between two points in space was nothing but a shortcut across a conventional, three-dimensional plane, established in hyperspace, the device seemed to do nothing more than collapse a local point in hyperspace to collapse the four-dimensional tunnelling. It did more than that, though: it was capable of monitoring hyperspace (according to the monolith the first case of complete piece of Precursor technology adapted for human usages were indeed HyperSensors which, for example, played a crucial role in anti-photonic missile defense) to instantly cut any new rifts out in a predefined area, preventing any new openings to last for long enough to have any alien starship reasonably traverse it without risking the tunnel collapsing on it as it flies.

Of course problem with Black Wall persisted, but with the Crack present at the very least Groaxians could move onto the experimental stage. Any explanation as to what had happened and why physics of higher dimensions refused to work everywhere else were still missing. Some scientists hoped that once the experiments on dimensional matrix or rift collapsing would begin, it'd shed some light to the topic and finally provide answers by, for example, making it possible to "peek to the other side" and check what was going on there and how the problem presented from a four-dimensional perspective.
 
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Re: Time's End - Transdimensional Era
« Reply #48 on: July 14, 2021, 01:28:10 PM »
TRANSDIMENSIONAL ERA

3472-3479 AM hibernation cycles

Mimung III, officially renamed to Vuloth after successful setup of automated industry, boosted the factories of Sodara. A small engineering team was overseeing mining gliders as they were digging through the planet's crust and bringing the ore back to factories. An experimental antigravity transport tunnels were used to automate the flow of resources in every chain of production and it performed quite well. Phased Surface Gravitational Destabilisators, or rather their antigrav crew security systems to be precise, were surprisingly useful in civilian sector. Flow of resources by far was the toughest bottleneck of industry to solve and for hibernation cycles struggled to catch up to the throughput of new generations of machines. Using gravitational waves to push objects to their next destination resolved these issues, but not without a price. To generate force strong enough to be worthy of any meaningful application, extra time and resources to build industrial complexes had to be paid to make them sturdy enough to withstand extreme gravity on a solar watch basis. But the investment paid off quickly and Mimung was ready to ship whatever products were needed elsewhere in no time.

Qi certainly could use more iridium and thorium, but Conglomerate agreed that the top priority was taming of Blutgang. This system was crucial for obvious reasons, gave a bit of hope for surviving Dark Forest Strike aimed specifically at Qi and Mimung and geologists discovered large deposits of iridium on many moons around the second pair of stars making for this two binary systems under common name, so investing there was expected to rapidly increase iridium alloys production which were a key part of every modern starships and Conglomerate had plans of modernising a good chunk of space fleets, both civilian and military, in the nearest future. The main challenge in the latter stemmed from the reports of various scientists claiming fusion reactors were reaching their limits and new thrusters and powering systems based on this technology wouldn't make much of a difference anymore. Because of that a construction of space particle accelerator around the first two suns of Blutgang was approved. It was supposed to be used mainly for antimatter production. According to the blueprints, it should amass enough of it through the next few hibernation cycles following turning it on that a possibility of building a prototype antimatter reactor could become a part of reality. Out of conventional propulsion systems, nothing was capable of supplying more energy than a chain of matter-antimatter collisions.

Several mineral extraction sites were deployed on Ov'o and Cruz'un (third and fourth moons of Blutgang-B III), Graegnak and Scruumneas (fifth and tenth moons of Blutgang-B V), Virie (eighth moon of Blutgang-C I), Krut'oids and Dhenors (sixth and fourteenth moons of Blutgang-C II). All of them were supposed to deliver to mine resources, smelt them into alloys whenever possible and deliver the products to Scar'am. However, using freighters to move all these resources around was a costly and lenghty operation. Once again, taming of gravity came in handy. Products were packaged in slim iridium tubes that were later propelled into space by a strong orbital gravitational pulse. Of course, similar system (except configured to work "in reverse", negating any velocity incoming delivery might have) was needed on the receiving end. To prevent a cataclysm shall something go wrong, Groaxians built a small hub in orbit of Scar'am's moon, Phadithea, responsible for catching the packages which were to reach Scar'am via conventional freighters.

As the influx of resources allowed for assembly of many additional Qives, terraformation was progressing steadily. For example, as space mirrors regulated surface temperature, some methane producers from Genesis were able to find a niche deep inside the caverns and produce enough breathing gas for the whole world. In return, this allowed to cut time and effort in building habitats for the growing Groaxian population since they could simply siphon methane directly from the atmosphere and no longer required their own enclosed methane processing systems. With more habitats built, colonists from Qi arrived in larger numbers, further accelerating the pace of Scar'am development. More Groaxians arriving in particular meant "more physicists, artificial soul mainframe designers and soulseekers" arriving. With enough mental force thrown at the problem, research on the Project Ascension could finally progress at a satisfying rate. The most pending issue shifted from lack of infrastructure and resources towards lack of testing grounds. Groaxians might have maintained a couple interstellar space stations at random places within the Crack, some of them even with apparatus for creating rifts between points in three-dimensional space, but that all meant nothing compared to the grand and ambitious scale of the project. As a first step forward, engineers back on Genesis built a mighty starship of scientific purpose, equipped with latest laboratory accessories, capable of bending and puncturing space around it to create and link rifts solely on its own and allowing for a wide array of hyperspace-related experiments. Another notable feature was the inclusion of HyperSensors, capable of monitoring the fourth dimension.


Quote
Shizae class Science Vessel      80 000 tons       273 Crew       2 100,3 BP       TCS 1 600    TH 2 400    EM 0
1500 km/s    JR 2-25(C)      Armour 1-165       Shields 0-0       HTK 63      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 16    Max Repair 1000 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 36 months   
Rift Stabilisation And Connecting: 180 days
Rift Stabilisator    Rift Destination Predictor    Artificial Gravity Field    Astronomical Observatory    AS Advisor    Autnomous Piloting System    Canteen    Curvature Stabiliser    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Full Spectrum Deep Space Scanner    Gravitational Signal Filter    Hets Autonomous Farm    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Onboard Telescope    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module    Rift Survey Probe Launcher    HyperSensors   

JC80K Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 80500 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 2

Commercial Internal Fusion Drive  EP600,0 (4)    Power 2400    Fuel Use 3,61%    Signature 600    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 5 293 000 Litres    Range 330 billion km (2546 days at full power)

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


In parallel to the first experimental platforms for Project Ascension, Conglomerate also assigned engineers to work on a new design of an exploration starship, specifically thinking about mission to the system known by humans as GJ 1279, hesitant to send Baernoloths there, especially after the encounter with Umbara fleet in Hauteclere, out of which only half the fleet had come back and that was only because ships of the enemy were damaging and could not generate enough thrust for an effective pursuit. An alternative thing that would've saved Baernoloths was an effective Curvature Propulsion System, capable of warping the ship out of the danger zone faster and under bigger gravitational influence. And so conventional speed, Curvature Propulsion System efficiency and cooldown became the three main pillars of the new design, while improvements to the sensor systems and deep space scanners were welcome as always, even if not the main focus. The result of the hard work was a Ninqred-class explorer:


Quote
Ninqred class Science Vessel      10 000 tons       263 Crew       3 128,1 BP       TCS 200    TH 1 000    EM 0
5000 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 4-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 62      Sensors 16/0/15/15      DCR 12      PPV 0
Maint Life 6,45 Years     MSP 2 346    AFR 67%    IFR 0,9%    1YR 97    5YR 1 457    Max Repair 400 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   ENG   SCI   
Intended Deployment Time: 72 months    Morale Check Required   
Native Biosphere Containment    HyperSensors    Artificial Gravity Field    Astronomical Observatory    AS Advisor    Autnomous Piloting System    Canteen    Containment Chamber    Curvature Stabiliser    Emergency Repair Module    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Extragenesian Material Containment    Flight Navigation System    Full Spectrum Deep Space Scanner    Gravitational Signal Filter    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    Relativistic Navigation Module    Xenopathogen Research Lab    Cybersoul Evolutionary Emulator    Rift Curvature Detector    Rift Survey Probe Launcher    Rift Destination Predictor   

J10200(3-50) Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 10200 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3

Magnetic Fusion Drive  EP1000,00 (1)    Power 1000    Fuel Use 7,68%    Signature 1000    Explosion 8%
Fuel Capacity 1 205 000 Litres    Range 282,4 billion km (653 days at full power)

Thermal Sensor TH2-16 (1)     Sensitivity 16     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  31,6m km
Advanced Geological Sensors (5)   15 Survey Points Per Hour
Advanced Gravitational Sensors (5)   15 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

While the exploration apparatus was indeed improved, changes applied weren't revolutionary. Physicists did their best to squeeze as much power out of the overused fusion technology as possible to give this starship a powerful engine without crippling its fuel efficiency as seen in military designs even when it came to only small course corrections not requiring drastic velocity changes. Ninqreds could reach same speed as Baernoloths almost three times faster and carried a lot more fuel a surplus of which was meant to serve during emergency situations (such us classical sudden Umbara assault) for extra dodging manoeuvres or reaching speeds allowing it to compete even with weaker military designs. The new starships were to have four armor layers, just like Baernoloths, but lighter, more ductile alloys used meant each layer was more protective than its counterpart from its predecessor. Same alloys handled heat dissipation more effectively, thanks to which a more powerful Curvature Propulsion System had been mounted without risking the starship melting down as its crew tries to make an emergency escape, all while keeping the hull relatively small for the sake of better manoeuvrability in tight encounters. For whatever was lurking in GJ 1279, be it a representative of a Dark Forest Lords or Humanity behaving according to the Dark Forest Theory, Ninqreds and the Human Seekers, as the ones selected for what probably was the most important exploration mission in history were called, on their boards had to cut it.
 

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Re: Time's End - Echoes of a Different Time
« Reply #49 on: July 14, 2021, 05:15:40 PM »
ECHOES OF A DIFFERENT TIME

3474-3484 AM hibernation cycles

Just because Human Seekers had to wait with their mission did not mean Conglomerate was going to wait, too, and surviving Baernoloths had been prepared to fly away once again into the void. First interstellar flight was supposed to take them to Joyeuse from which they were supposed to recalibrate navigation systems and continue onward, towards unexplored systems. After warping into the first system on their path, explorers decided to take a break and land on Joyeuse-B II and enjoy the breathtaking sight of a perfectly balanced ecosystem, free from predator-prey relationships. There was something so soothing and inspiring about this alien yet in a way very familiar world that to not land there while passing through Joyeuse would be a pity. Chosen landing spot was a flat shoreline beneath a cliff with a few depressions here and there breaking the monotonous landscape. However, the choice as to where to land had nothing to do with the aesthetic value of a landing zone. While still in a deep space, scanners detected an anomalous signal originating from the surface. It was very weak, almost non-existent, but its source was down there on that planet. Cybersoul mainframes struggled to fit the signal to anything encountered before. It looked kinda as if the planet was speaking to Groaxians, letting out expressions with every pulse, which brought associations with Achernar way of communicating, but practically the patterns registered varied too much from the Achernar language. And there was nothing Achernar-made to be seen anywhere around.

Orbital analysis calibrated the signal source and pointed towards one of the depressions in the rocky plains. Something was there, and it was something that was of artificial origin and something that hadn't been there back when Joyeuse had been explored for the first time. Once first probes reached the edge of depression, their operators saw something unusual, but familiar at the same time. What laid down below were remnants of a habitat complex. It was similar to the ones from Yatune, but of lower height, wider open space per section and with more circular shapes from which various buildings were composed. Interestingly, the signal appeared to be radiating from every intact wall rather than point towards one or a few sources. These readings did not change as the probes came closer to the structure, but the signal became cleaner and more regular. Explorers sent their probes further, entering the complex and surveying whatever survived from the infrastructure. Soon there was no doubt left. Rooms that looked too much like hibernation chambers or meditating spaces. Boards with purple-pink symbols and patterns. Distances between habitable sections and capacity of each matching recommendations for optimal performance regarding Transcendent Speech intersections. Optimal layout and span of the complex. And the outpost being located on a cluster of methane pockets, oozing the precious gas from the underground, with remnants of piping system surrounding some of them. Explorers reminded the lone crashed Vrilxel from Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. Previously it had been just a single starship, now there was an entire outpost. Sure, Conglomerate wanted to colonise this world for its beauty and calming effects it held on whoever visited it and possibly serving as a future home preserving Groaxians from the Dark Forest Strike, but Joyeuse lied outside of most popular routes adding to the logistical challenge and all the resources were pumped into Blutgang and Project Ascension, leaving nothing to spare for Joyeuse conquest for the time being.



Contrary to the wreck from Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, the outpost held information encrypted in Groaxian language, giving hope for understanding what was going on with Groaxian-but-not-really artefacts suddenly appearing in already explored worlds. The data recovered contained a good chunk of historical knowledge. The fragments that weren't corrupted or missing told mostly the events from Endpoint War, but not in a way that was expected. In fact they weren't about Endpoint War at all, it had just been the first thought after realising they talked a lot about Achernar. But the war they described had nothing to do with Groaxian history. Desperate defense of Blutgang, Mass Mimung Invasion, Tizona siege were only a few out of many events mentioned. None of which occurred. Including the Dark Forest Strike that followed shortly after the war that ended up as a more or less draw, with both sides having enough starships left for defense, but not enough for a successful invasion of the enemy territory. Or rather two Dark Forest Strikes, it seemed - according to the preserved story, Qi and Mimung collapsed into black holes, but all stars in Blutgang exploded in a supernova fire after photonic missile attack. Whoever had been writing this all down had believed that the inhabitants of this complex were the last survivors from Groaxian civilisation - Project Ascension was not finished in time and what had been spared were leftovers from the first stage of Joyeuse colonisation plus a fleet of starships carrying the ones who engaged Curvature Propulsion Systems in time before Dark Forest consumed everything else and heading towards the last bastion of Groaxians. There was also a brief mention of what happened to the Tizona, also affected by Dark Forest Strike. However, it talked about neither black hole generators nor photonic missiles. It was a vague description of a weapon unknown to the explorers, but somewhat already encountered by the ones who lived in the outpost: space around Tizona had begun to contract rapidly as if nearby matter was being swallowed by a growing black hole, except there hadn't been a black hole. Tizona and a couple of stars in the vicinity collapsed into one bright point, but even that point also disappeared shortly after. Then nothing else happened. That region of space remained permanently dark. Some further space disturbances of unknown properties had been observed, but no explanation of any kind existed for them.

After finishing reading "Horror From Joyeuse", explorers' brains boiled. Terrifying visions of the end of their civilisation ricocheted from their minds, forming a dangerous Mental Synergy. They imagined the last survivors running out of supplies and perishing on this planet and that their mission was the true last remnant from once mighty race. There was no point in going back, Genesis, Mimung and Blutgang were no more. Onboard Tempestsaurs eventually resolved the Synergy and reestablished order so that the crewmembers were at least capable of returning to their post and to calm everyone down further some time was spent on detailed observations of inhabited planets to show that the horrors mentioned had no place in reality. The unexplored stars being an original goal of the mission had to wait for a different occasion, though. Conglomerate had to learn about the discovery ASAP.

During the hibernation cycles spent by explorers in relativistic flight in between Joyeuse and Qi, first fleet of Shizaes performed its first task in Maigh Eo. According to the relations of survivors from the recent battle the alien wreck had already melted in a heliosphere, but what was certain (at least before the scientists who had boarded the Shizaes heard about the Horror From Joyeuse) was that since it had existed in an empty binary system, it must had come from somewhere else. And the entire task was about finding any traces that could point towards this "somewhere else". Some gravitational traces indeed existed, but with both Groaxians and Umbara already flying in and out of the system, the search was pointless. There was no way to determine which traces belonged to whom. However, just because the search was pointless, didn't have to mean the results were. An interesting anomaly had been observed in place where the artefact was used during the battle. While it wasn't visible to the naked eye from the outside, space around the detonation of this mysterious device expanded rapidly. Moreover, probes sent there transmitted a weird image: it was one of Maigh Eo stars clearly visible despite the probes facing the opposite direction. As if this wasn't already enough, the inside of the star could be observed in detail. The second probe that followed closer to the anomaly could also display the interiors of the probe that crossed the invisible barrier first. The view was surreal. Surreal for the eyes, but not surreal for the physics. Scientists instantly recognised they had been staring right into the hyperspace as perceived by three-dimensional entities.

Soon the entire fleet was cruising through hyperspace, skipping light hibernation cycles faster than anyone could take a breath. Direction had been chosen in a way that guaranteed reaching the closest known edge of the Crack. But even long before the journey was finished, Groaxians took notice of all kinds of strange visions happening around them, similar to what they could sometimes see during "normal", three-dimensional presence in the Crack. Strange lights, gravitational pulses detected for no reasons and all kinds of traces displayed by HyperSensors. Scientists tried to follow them for a while, but in every case they led to nothing, ending as abruptly as they began. Still lacking the means to understand the origin of these phenomena, crews focused on the initial goal of reaching the edge of the Crack again. But when they finally did, nothing spectacular happened. In fact, nothing changed at all. From what could be told, all ships were still in hyperspace. And there wasn't anything odd about the hyperspace beyond the Crack, at least nothing more odd than what had already been observed about a four-dimensional plane. Nothing that would shed some light as to why from the standard 3D space's perspective things worked they way they worked, not allowing for crossing the speed of light for example.

According to the duration of the journey, everyone expected to reach Qi itself soon. The problem was, it didn't happen. Long after the the supposed arrival time, Groaxians cruising through the hyperspace still could not reach their homeworld. But eventually technicians controlling the flight took a note that while the real speed had remained the same through the whole time, the effective speed at which the starships were moving from point A to point B in the universe was dwindling and the slowdown was more and more severe as time passed by. Recalculating the position with taking this into account revealed that the entire fleet was still within the Crack and struggled to reach its border. Soon a brief hypothesis was formed that it was impossible to reach the edge, because the ships kept slowing down, increasing the time required for reaching destination to infinity. Eventually Groaxians taking part in the expedition turned around and navigated back to Maigh Eo, leaving hyperspace through the same point they had entered it. Some physicists instantly thought about building hyperdrives which would make it possible to pierce through space at any point one might want, entering and leaving hyperspace at a whim. They wanted to use them to enter the hyperspace very close to, possibly even right on top of the edge of the Crack and see what could be discovered there.

After reading through the reports of both expeditions, Conglomerate briefly noted how they both brought more questions than answers and planned the next steps for Groaxian race to follow. With the theoretical knowledge gathered on the topic, building first hyperdrives shouldn't be much of a problem and Conglomerate accepted the project proposed by the researchers who had been the first ones to enter hyperspace. It was nothing more than a "Curvature Propulsion on steroids", because the design was supposed to simply warp space so hard to the point of tearing it apart, creating a rift allowing the ship to take a shortcut between two points in the universe. Unfortunately, the case of Horror From Joyeuse wasn't that simple to decide about. Not even the brightest minds had any idea as to where the research should even begin, let alone how it was supposed to look like. One thing to notice was that the signal radiating from the walls, which were like an array of small broadcasting devices resembling in some way the operational principle of a Groaxian brain, was finally translated. It was a mixture of Groaxian and Achernar language, Groaxian expressions encoded with Achernar alphabet and protected by a sophisticated encrypting algorithm. The message was simple: "Humanity is no more, but we, last surviving Groaxians, will take its place."

In an optimistic version, taking place of Humanity could mean continuing their legacy, just like it happened with Precursors. But in the context of a Dark Forest, this one simple sentence carried eerie, sinister meaning. And there was no way for Groaxians to tell which version was true. If anything brought from that outpost was true, that is. However, no matter how many Groaxians tried to not think about the creepy discovery too much, it all came back when astronomers noticed a star not further than one hundred thirty two light hibernation cycles away suddenly collapse into one shining point together with the ones that were nearby. Shortly afterwards the point stopped emitting light and ceased to exist. That region of space ceased to exist and a few gravitational anomalies were all that was left from it.
 

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Re: Time's End - Cosmic Fading
« Reply #50 on: July 15, 2021, 04:47:45 PM »
3480-3485 AM hibernation cycles

Blutgang-B II was an obvious, perfect candidate for further expansion because it was the closest one Groaxians could reach from within their territory and the frozen mountains were a decent starting climate for the terraformers, even though the average temperatures on the planet were still too hot and oxygen had to be replaced with methane. But it had its status changed rapidly from "for colonisation in the nearest future" to "for colonisation in the past hibernation cycle" when a set of coordinates from the complex in Scar'am had been retrieved, pointing somewhere deep underground in the crust of Blutgang-B II. The ground at the destination was completely frozen and temperature was too low for Groaxians to handle and after terraforming it was expected to get even lower, so an extensive heating infrastructure was required for research team to investigate the outfinding. And there was lot to investigate indeed - the complex was smaller than the one on Scar'am, but the additional knowledge and datasets were not.

Most noticeable artefact was a database with entries describing hundreds of thousands of biological species. Some of them were marked as sentient. Countless experiments on the matrix and the filter had been logged, with mixing results. The planet on which all these experiments happened hadn't been chosen by accident, too - back in the Precursor solar watches it was much, much colder, colder than Genesis itself. The location of that research outpost served as an excellent hibernation chamber so that Precursors could keep their test subjects nicely stored without requiring any care until needed. These deeds of the Precursors worried Groaxians who witnessed them. It was natural for Groaxians to assume that Precursors had built a beautiful civilisation representing a good will they wanted to share across the universe, so to see them ruthlessly experimenting on sentient beings of various kinds was a bizarre sight. The matrix prototype they had engineered was far from reaching usable stage and was unstable. According to the reports it was actually capable of adding the fourth dimension to some simple objects, but living beings were far too much of a complexity for it to handle, well, anything beyond simple metallic cubes or the like were. And each wrong transition to a higher plane meant the organism tested was shredded into pieces and disintegrated on a soulgrain level, completely deleting it as a conscious being, leaving only irregular four-dimensional particles as if it had been put through a hypergrinder of some sort. And even if one of the experiments had worked, it would still have resulted in the organism dying, having nothing but itself in the hyperspace, floating in the void.

The half-finished matrix was an orbital construction and obviously did not survive, but its underground command center had a storage with spare parts. Precursor engineering was marvellous as they succeeded at preserving even the most delicate components through eons in an excellent state. Apart from the scientific value and alien devices there was also a third discovery to be made: the passage from history of this ancient civilisation. According to it, by the time they started experimenting on biological forms, Invaders had extracted all matter from several galaxies controlled by them and despite tough defense grid set in hyperspace around the core galaxy cluster were losing space with every battle. Invaders had unleashed their most powerful starships and weapons at a time and no simulation desperately restarted time after time showed any chances for Precursors to prevail. It was a dark period when all ethics had been thrown out of the window for the sake of completing the most important undertaking in the entire universe. They cleared countless planets from every single living organism leaving only barren landscapes with no life signs present just to feed their scientific machine. While this desperation could serve as an explanation, in the eyes of Groaxians it was not a justification. These experiments were largely pointless and lacked a long-term plan, meanwhile countless civilisations had suffered. Precursors themselves had claimed they desired to escape from Dark Forest, but in the process of doing so did not differentiate from Invaders.

But Groaxians couldn't just despise Precursors for what they did without reminding themselves about Blutgang invasion. What Precursors had done had only one difference: scale of devastation. But the idea behind the action remained exactly the same. Whether it would be possible for anyone to ascend without doing things Dark Forest Theory mentioned remained an interesting question for soulseekers, but none of the cases studied by Groaxians had achieved that, with both Precursors and Humanity having to resolve to warfare and brutal, morally questionable  methods to push the project further. Other philosophical questions could be asked on this premise, namely whether the failure came from resolving to violence, but firstly for Humanity there was no proof they had actually failed, meanwhile with the Invaders all around Precursors, past some tipping point, were doomed regardless of their further choices. Some claimed that no ascension without cosmic fires was possible, because everything came at a price in the universe full of natural and obvious hostility.

And so Blutgang-B II, after the discovery renamed to Scrar'ix, received first significant transit of materials followed by landing of highly specialised mobile engineering units preparing life-support infrastructure and setting up orbital platforms for the assembly of Qives. At first setup was much slower because Conglomerate disapproved usage of antigrav tech because the planet was too precious, but just like in case of Scar'am, nearest body was selected as a destination in case something would go wrong: Blutgang-B I. It didn't take long for the first colonists to arrive, because engineers building habitats across mountain ranges could afford to skip cooling systems as the temperatures could get quite hot, but still remain within tolerable ranges. As a result, living was not always comfortable, but a small population meant to kickstart the colony could survive and prepare terraforming of this world.

But as Groaxians were getting more and more comfortable in Blutgang, case of Umbara still awaited resolution. Even the most persistent soulseekers and tempestsaurs began to lose hope, realising the task of Umbara assimilation was futile because their biology was incompatible with Groaxian ways of thinking and behavioural patterns. For example, Groaxians could work from birth to death without issues because of the schedule carefully catered to the needs of their bodies and regular hibernation replenishing strength and regenerating all tissues, but Umbara could not hibernate and their spawn certainly was too fragile to even survive on its own, let alone go to work. Despite this, most members of the Conglomerate insisted on finding a niche for them and still hesitated to give a permission for genetic engineering. But for many this contradicted the idea of full integration to prevent Dark Forest Theory from applying. Finding a niche for them was easy, they could do whatever really, it was guaranteeing that the few millions of Zenn survivors would truly become part of one civilisation.

After lots of thinking and consideration, a new idea was born: if Umbara were unfit for Groaxian culture and no refitting was allowed, then the only possibility left was to have them work in areas that had already defied Groaxian nature for countless hibernation cycles in the past. In short, they were supposed to join Bound by Dark Forest. But of course it would be very strange if this revolutionary idea hadn't met any opposition. To become Bound by Dark Forest essentially translated to having Umbara serve in the army, and while Conglomerate indeed approved the concept as Umbaras seemed to thrive under strict discipline and extreme conditions and meanwhile Groaxians needed an army whether they wanted it or not, a case of La simply had to be brought up as a foremost counterargument. La had learnt all there was to learn about Umbara before they attacked and even when they did, they hid among the society scattered across starships, waiting for the right moment. And when that moment had come, a few millions of scattered survivors on a dying world was all there was left from Umbara Commune. Adaptation was a crucial theme of surviving Dark Forest and if Zenn were to understand Groaxian culture and act in a certain way before preparing their strike, Groaxians would be doomed, betrayed by a large chunk of their own military force. Letting Umbaras anywhere near anything capable of shooting stuff at another stuff looked like a recipe for a total disaster and being backstabbed was the last thing Groaxians needed while racing against time without knowing whether Dark Forest Strike was a matter of half a solar watch or a thousand hibernation cycles.

And yet Conglomerate focused its attention on this idea regardless of whatever trouble it might cause, because during discussions on the matter something fascinating had been observed. The idea of putting what was left from Umbara Commune in the army was self-contradicting in its nature. It was born from the constraints of trying to both have them fit right into Groaxian society and preserve their own values at the same time, regardless of what they were, but at the same time modern military doctrine had been founded on the idea of freely experimenting with changing the nature of soldiers, thus contradicting the idea of the ban on genetic engineering. Paradoxically, this raised hope among many once again: if the original plan was full of inconsistency, then it was an undeniable proof that it had to be abandoned, opening up other possibilities, which paired extremely well with the concept of whatever happening in a three-dimensional universe being only a temporary state before finishing Project Ascension. It could be assumed that just like Bound by Dark Forest, Umbara would see their nature restored once inhabiting hyperspace. All in all, Conglomerate ended up publishing a decree according to which Umbara survivors were to be incorporated into the army and tied to the Groaxian soldiers by a common theme circulating among units and crews: war culture and language of Humanity. Many soulseekers were truly happy with the final solution: the approach of Humanity to warfare was a perfect balance between what Groaxians and Umbara Commune had achieved in that regard.

One of the sociological consequence of adapted solution to the assimilation dilemma disturbed the inner peace of soulseekers guiding these changes. The merging process of the two halves of Groaxian society picked up pace shortly afterwards. Main reasoning from the ones who stayed true to their original colours was that it was Bound by Dark Forest that eventually allowed to overcome it for the first time, letting Groaxians spare Umbaras and defy the brutal logic and maths of Dark Forest Theory. In the meantime Bound by Dark Forest were more divided, some unhappy about letting Umbaras exist further, but some pointing out they would make some decent cannon fodder in the incoming battles, whatever they might look like, sparing Groaxian lives in the process. And they were all aware a new war was about to start, because La were still out there and still hostile. Nobody was even sure as to whether they had one or more planets to reside on or still existed as a fully nomadic society, but some experts leaned towards the latter. A confrontation with the fleet of La seemed unavoidable and Conglomerate had already started preparations for the battles to come. New starship prototypes were still nowhere near anything resembling combat readiness, but tests of a new generation of gravitational weapons, military particle accelerators and kinetic launchers looked promising, as well as initial checkout of a new generation of defensive devices - gravity-based disturbers preventing enemy targeting systems to lock onto Groaxian starships because of detection apparatus malfunctions caused by target's gravitational signature fluctuations. This new equipment was not only promising, but easy to be mounted in whatever designs military engineers might come up with as well, because given the size of ships and average engagement distances during space battles it shouldn't take much to render enemy targeting systems useless, allowing for small power and thus small size of the devices.

Spare parts found on Scrar'ix allowed to save a lot of time and resources on the matrix construction and scientists were able to finally progress with the assembly of a stub based on which each component of the mighty machine shall be built, but countless of failed attempts still separated this stage from the ultimate success. And whatever optimism might emerge from relatively rapid progress was overshadowed by increasing reports from astronomers taking notice of larger and larger chunks of space collapsing and fading away according to the description brought by explorers from Joyeuse. A solid estimation of the time left was still missing, but judging by the fact that the brightness of the cosmic watch sky had lowered so much that the difference was already visible by a naked eye if one was to gaze at the stars and compare the view with pictures from two hundred hibernation cycles earlier, there was certainly less of it than more.
 

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Re: Time's End - Last Generation of Zenn-La
« Reply #51 on: July 18, 2021, 06:18:31 PM »
LAST GENERATION OF ZENN-LA

3486 AM hibernation cycle

New generation of Human Space Fleet components still struggled to leave prototyping stage, because physicists claimed the new type of gravitational weapons felt underwhelming during lab tests. In theory the latest soulgrain gravity theory held immense power ready to be weaponized, but energy requirements were still too high for any reasonable starship onboard reactor design and the guiding system propagating gravitational pulses through a set of entangled soulgrains left a lot to be desired in terms of accuracy. Or rather the system itself was quite good, but the need to initially deploy the soulgrains was what caused most trouble, because it severely limited the usage of a new weapon. It took the precious time, tactically-wise introducing warmup period before the weapon could be fired for the first time. That alone maybe could still pass, with other armanents taking the responsibility of pushing the fleet through first volleys, but with next shots the situation became even worse due to the risk of next pulses affecting each soulgrain already deployed at the same time, excluding more and more spots across the battlespace for Groaxian ships, making navigating a cosmic watchmare. For example, in the most simple case of firing at the enemy in front, destroying it and not being able to change course before crossing through the space it had occupied, firing the weapon once again when next to its wreck could as well mean the same spot would be affected once again besides the new target, crushing the ship which dared to attack as well as whatever else would have been targeted. Of course that could be easily avoided by using a new soulgrain set each time, independent and not entangled with the ones already deployed, but slowly building a network of nodes through which destructive force could be propagated while only harming whatever existed at the targeted ones was a key advantage naval officers refused to give up on. The main idea behind deployment of this monstrosity was to have the battlespace littered with "killing nodes" past a certain point, almost guaranteeing enemy ships in between them would have no realistic way to not cross through at least one, facing certain doom once that happens.

These issues postponed the deployment of next-gen starship weapons, and thus the entire fleet itself, but despite missing these crucial deadlines, Conglomerate still wanted to push the idea of another preemptive strike against Zenn to delay their Blutgang assault before the new warships would finally enter the service. And so, having no other clues as where to start besides Hauteclere encounter during which the two Baernoloths had been destroyed, Human Space Fleet was sent to Hauteclere to find any traces of the damaged Umbara fleet and avenge the fallen explorers if possible. But if for strategic goals alone, Conglomerate might as well withdraw from sending any fleet anywhere before new ships would replace outdated Strikers and Pikes, but the mission was supposed to be a breakthrough based on the fact that Umbara soldiers were to be used for the first time in history. Conglomerate started small, with sending only small teams to support only a few crews, still leaving half the ships Umbara-free, confident in Groaxians handling any mutiny the assimilated race might try and the possible battle likely not happening at all, and even if so, not getting out of hand due to the damaged state of Hauteclere fleet, generally making the mission the safest possible proof of concept regarding Umbara assimilation in practice.

At 3486 AM hibernation cycle four Strikers and four Pikes making for Human Space Fleet straightened space while entering the gravity well of the three stellar bodies making Hauteclere system and headed towards Hauteclere-A II, the planet near which Baernoloths had been attacked, preparing curvature disturbance scanners to determine possible routes enemies might had taken since the last encounter. But what was found was not just traces of Umbara presence, it was their entire fleet still floating in deep space slightly beyond the planet. They had stayed in the same system through all the hibernation cycles that had passed since surviving Baernoloths had left it. Maybe it was Curvature Drives damaged beyond repair, maybe some strategic goals, maybe pure accident of them warping to the system once again at the exact moment when Human Space Fleet had arrived. Whatever the case, a space battle lied ahead, with not only Groaxians fighting against Umbara, but with La fighting against Zenn at the same time, being just another battle in the great conflict that lasted for generations ever since the two civilisations encountering each other on their homeworld.



Human Space Fleet accelerated forward, aiming at crossing in between the two groups of Umbara ships and firing away during the short window of opportunity, hoping the high velocity would prevent enemies from locking onto them and retaliating, but it would not be a space battle if something hadn't progressed not according to the plan. A very small mistake in calculating slingshot maneouvre around Hauteclere-A II was all it had to occur for the fleet to land not in between, but behind the two squadrons and not gain enough speed in the process. The one Groaxians had passed closer to was more than capable of opening kinetic fire. First metal slugs impacted on hulls, not piercing through them yet, but leaving a few significant weak spots on the outer armor layers. Not wanting them to give a chance at firing once again, fleet admiral decided to use Pikes and their phased curvature disruption systems to create a gravitational well which Groaxians could use to rapidly reverse direction while maintaining decent velocity for the entire maneouvre. The outcome was satisfying, with the next two kinetic volleys missing the target after slowing down too much due to the presence of strong gravity nearby, meanwhile Groaxians, already flying away from the enemies, rotated in place and opened particle beam fire, further contributing to the state of decay of enemy fleet. First target was taken down, as the concentrated stream of near-lightspeed heavy particles had proven too much for one of the hulls.



Groaxians maintained velocity, preparing to fire away before crossing the maximum range at which targeting systems worked in a reliable way and then use the planet to help them rapidly turn around once again and get back to battle. A simple plan with solid outcome predicted by the simulations, but before it could be executed, the Umbara serving on the ships spoke. They pointed out that they recongnised many of the signatures found on radars and claimed that many of the bigger ones were harmless terraforming ships. Brief Transcendent Speech scan was used to prove they spoke the truth. It was a fair information, allowing Groaxians to focus on the ships that were armed and posed a meaningful threat instead. But Umbara insisted on something more - they wanted to send surrender message receivable by terraformes and only terraformers. When asked why would anyone surrender in a Dark Forest, La pointed out that Zenn for sure should have learnt that Groaxians were a weak Dark Forest player and besides the plan wasn't neccessairly to convince them to surrender, but rather to spread confusion among enemy ranks: they declared they had a way of identifying themselves and to see Umbaras serving on Groaxian fleet would be the last thing the every expected to happen.

Not having anything to loose, fleet admiral authorised Umbaras to send a message to the terraformers. Apparently each class from Umbara fleet had its own unique message encoding system, so it was possible to communicate with only certain types of ships from a fleet. There was nothing preventing other ships to decipher the message of course, but according to the Umbara they should have them filtered out by default. This questionable setup that was about to be abused originally served to limit the communication to the bare minimum as given Umbara biology, focusing too much on talking disturbed their vision which was of invaluable help during space battles, almost as if it had been evolved to serve for this exact purpose.

No answer for the surrender broadcast came, but before next particle beams and gravitational pulses were sent across the void, several terraformers were observed to fire their engines in reverse and slow down. Interestingly, one of the kinetic warships had done the same. Before Groaxians could fire, though, several ships from the second squadron flying further from Human Space Fleet opened fire at their own ships, the ones that slowed down:



Seeing this unexpected turn of events, Groaxians withdrew from firing once again and continued their cruise towards the planet itself. Some enemy ships decided to pursuit them, but most stayed behind, with some firing at the terraformers and the lone warship that slowed down, but struggled to get through their armor. Or rather not struggled with penetration itself, but terraformers were simply massive enough to make hitting that one particular crucial spot much harder, often dealing damage to non-essential terraforming equipment. Meanwhile Human Space Fleet turned around and overdrove the engines, rapidly accelerating as it chose to fly above enemies. Gravitational pulses kept them mostly in one spot while particle beams precisely picked weakened targets and finished them off. Speeding starships passed the first squadron, destroying every single starship from it, then continued past the supposedly surrendered terraformers and caught up to the second squadron, however they closed in too much, making clear targets for the enemy. Many projectiles were dodged because the speed alone made it possible to fly past them before they could connect, but some landed, dealing further damage. At first it wasn't very dangerous, but after a brief firefight one of the Pikes had its armor basically shredded into pieces. One slug even narrowly missed the fusion reactor, but killed most of the crew responsible for keeping it safe during demanding battle power requirements and frequent overdrive usage.

With its reactor exposed and not enough crew to monitor and fix it, the ship came dangerously close to full destruction and each new volley could prove fatal for everyone on board. The captain did not hesitate with the evacuation order. First shuttles flew ouf of the endangered vessel soon enough, trying to safely navigate in between accelerated particles and kinetic projectiles. But as one of the starships opened fire in the general direction of that one Pike, destroying some of the shuttles and damaging the command bridge, several kinetic shots echoed across its hull. It was that one armed warship that had stayed behind with terraformers that attacked it. One particle beam later there was barely anything left to be gathered from its wreck. With the chaos that followed, the ship that flew in one formation right next to the last victim of the battle sent a surrender message. There was no time or way to check whether it was sincere, but with more targets than guns still present Groaxians could allow not to target that particular one in the next volley. To be absolutely sure, evacuated Pike fired one last time befote the captain and last survivors flew out of it, sending a gravitational pulse to trap it almost motionless as it struggled to overcome the mighty gravity force.



At that point the battle turned into a cleanup operation. Space warp disturbances had proven that at least some of the vessels from Umbara fleet had been capable of interstellar flight, but they were all blown out of the void before their Curvature Drives would charge. The battle with Hauteclere fleet finally came to an end and space was calm again.



After the battle Umbaras were able to confirm the remaining starships indeed had surrendered, confused about the whole situation. Several Groaxian squads wore their space suits for underwater survival and boarded them in order to carry some improvised repairs to bring the ships back home and keep tight watch over the subjugated species. Surviving Zenn were all brought to Blutgang and placed in water habitats on Scar'am. According to their thoughts, they were a part of the last surviving Zenn fleet out there. Suffering several crushing defeats from Tempestsaurs Of Achernar, these two damaged squadrons were all there had been left. Their fleet had fled to Hauteclere and tried to end the nomadic lifestyle to rebuild their strength and even started settling down on Hauteclere-A III, but then Achernar found them, bombarded their habitats on the surface and engaged in space combat. Most terraformers had been lost in that battle, crashing against the surface of Hauteclere-A III and most other ships were badly damaged, but managed to engage Curvature Drives in time and escaped into interstellar space. After some time they made a return to this system, because they believed Achernar were unlikely to think they dared to hide there once again and so far it proved true, but Groaxians found them instead. And so the generations-lasting Umbara Odyssey had oficially came to an end in Hauteclere.

Captured ships were of invaluable support for terraforming efforts in Blutgang and undoubtedly a perfect workplace for assimilated species. Also because of the events occuring during and after the battle, Bound by Dark Forest grew more respect for the other hald of the society and their dream of Umbara assimilation. Meanwhile the other side of the barricade kept noticing how some battles were unavoidable in order to bring Groaxians, Zenn and La all united under the banner of one civilisation, even if very few from the last two survived and their civilisations were collapsed on a large scale. But it was a great achivement of all the actions taken against Dark Forest regardless and countless efforts to overcome it. And with each solar watch the undergoing merge of all Groaxians into one balanced community once again was growing more visible. And with it more visible became questions about the true nature of Dark Forest itself - if it was possible to move beyond it in some limited ways, but at the same time not avoid its applications along the way, then it might as well be a force of balance, as hard as it was for the soulseekers to say. It forced to bring extermination upon each other, but also allowed backdoors for assmilating last survivors to exist as figured out by Humanity long before. And according to Achernar forced the civilisations to destroy each other, but allowed life to continue in some distant future, preventing the universe from eternal lifeless hibernation. As if on a higher level of abstraction it was meant to be something more than existential fear of individuals, a powerful force tying the universe together and keeping it alive through infinity by an endlessly repeated cycle of death and rebirth.

The Odyssey of Zenn-La had came to an end, Dark Forest consumed its yet another victim. But Zenn and La survived in some form and those lucky enough to see one more solar watch joined the Groaxian Odyssey across dimensions.
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Re: Time's End - Cosmic Force
« Reply #52 on: July 26, 2021, 05:00:23 PM »
3487-3494 AM hibernation cycles

As if Blutgang hadn't been a bustling hub of automated industry and testing system for many latest technologies already, for example antigravity propulsion system for ground vehicles or Mental Synergy Collider, the latter being an elaborate technique developed by a group of Tempestsaurs to scale their capabilities up by nullifying negative mental effects by mixing a group who created a negative synergy with a group creating positive synergy and having the two ideas collide to wear both of them out and thus achieve the goal of dealing with the former, Conglomerate just kept pumping more resources into the system. To squeeze every last bit of efficiency and production output into the ongoing processes, a new class of space salvagers has seen the solar watch light:


Quote
Kreced class Salvager      60 000 tons       251 Crew       1 503,2 BP       TCS 1 200    TH 1 200    EM 0
1000 km/s    JR 1-25(C)      Armour 1-136       Shields 0-0       HTK 45      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 15    Max Repair 400 MSP
Cargo 26 500    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 5   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months   
Salvager: 2 module(s) capable of salvaging 3600 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   

JC61K Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 61000 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 1

Commercial Inertial Fusion Drive  EP400,00 (3)    Power 1200    Fuel Use 3,35%    Signature 400    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 1 146 000 Litres    Range 102,5 billion km (1186 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes


After countless battles, several rings of wrecks orbiting stars in Blutgang alone were estimated to last the industry of both Scar'am and Scrar'ix for several hibernation cycles. But more importantly, salvaging missions opened an opportunity to study those of the wrecks which remained a mystery. Besides a fleet of Vrilxels who had once met its end during first arrival in Blutgang and well-classified Umbara ships, wrecks of Achernar and Precursor vessels also drifted across the void. The latter didn't differ much from what had already been known thanks to the monolith and weren't very useful anymore because of all the knowledge there was to be learn already learned, but the remaining pieces from Achernar fleet with which Umbaras had fought in Blutgang quickly picked interest.

An interesting symbol appeared in many parts of intact hull structures, oddly fitting with the philosophy of Achernar. It was cyclical, just like the universe and all history was, according to them at least, but there was more beyond this simple observation. The center of the picture looked like a symbol of a star, but the lines expanding outwards carried had creepy vibes attached to them. They could represent the shock wave after the star had been struck by a photonic missile or the extreme gravity warping space around as the star is in the process of collapsing into a black hole. Some soulseekers also came up with a third interpretation: the outward lines were the gravitational waves carrying the stellar coordinates of the doomed system to be heard by those who hear and those who hesitate not.



This seemingly simple picture carried a compact, but deep presentation of the fundamental Achernar philosophy. But just as it was a symbol of the path to follow according to the Achernar, it became another symbol for soulseekers who noted how quickly Groaxians grasped the multi-layered meaning behind it. Identity of Umbara Commune took a good chunk of research to figure out, similarily to Humanity even though the latter contained it all in a monolith, but with Achernar it was quick and smooth. The easiness at which Groaxians could read Achernar philosophy was simply disturbing.

Time and combat destruction were ruthless for the wrecks. By the time Groaxians arrived, there wasn't much left to be examined. Out of notable findings the one that stood out was the gravitational broadcast array with which every single Achernar starship came outfitted with, or at least every single of the ones that had been blown out in Blutgang. It had a simple consequence of every starship of theirs being a doomsday device ready to be used and execute countless worlds it came across. Another unique find was some sort of mist, space dust, a kind of fog surrounding every wreck, mostly consisting of silicon, but there was a handful of coal, iron and traces of oxygen and chlorine to be found in this mixture as well. The properties and applications of whatever this thing was before being reduced into ashes remained unknown.

At last, the command of space forces announced a huge success in prototyping a new generation of military starships. The most straightforward design out of the ones proposed was a kinetic striker which was a spiritual successor of Syzygy, except everything about it was "bigger and better":


Quote
Blade class Kinetic Frigate      10 000 tons       401 Crew       4 541,2 BP       TCS 200    TH 2 000    EM 0
10000 km/s    JR 5-250      Armour 5-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 71      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 31      PPV 55
Maint Life 5,29 Years     MSP 3 122    AFR 73%    IFR 1,0%    1YR 186    5YR 2 795    Max Repair 1000 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   ENG   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 6 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   

J10200(5-250) Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 10200 tons    Distance 250k km     Squadron Size 5

Inertial Fusion Drive  EP2000,00 (1)    Power 2000    Fuel Use 187,50%    Signature 2000    Explosion 25%
Fuel Capacity 1 538 000 Litres    Range 14,8 billion km (17 days at full power)

40cm Railgun V80/C9 (5x4)    Range 600 000km     TS: 10 000 km/s     Power 36-9     RM 80 000 km    ROF 20       
Beam Fire Control R600-TS10000 (1)     Max Range: 600 000 km   TS: 10 000 km/s     98 97 95 93 92 90 88 87 85 83
Inertial Confinement Fusion Reactor R51 (1)     Total Power Output 50,6    Exp 5%

Active Search Sensor AS4-R1 (1)     GPS 4     Range 4,5m km    MCR 408,7k km    Resolution 1

ECCM-5 (1)         ECM 50

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes


Blades originally produced by humans used a sophisticated particle launchers firing particles capable of, at least in theory, phase through ship's armor mostly unaffected, but "mostly" was the keyword, because many of those particles were ineffective and preemptively stopped, so Groaxians simply went with trusty kinetic weapons punching holes and crushing the target under enormous kinetic energy until there was no armor, no hull and nothing at all left to destroy. But while this was hardly a revolutionary design, when the next two were presented, it was obvious where most of the development time had been sunk.


Quote
Dragonbreath class Assault Ship      20 000 tons       738 Crew       7 598,7 BP       TCS 400    TH 4 000    EM 0
10000 km/s    JR 5-250      Armour 10-65       Shields 0-0       HTK 135      Sensors 140/180/0/0      DCR 90      PPV 80
Maint Life 6,70 Years     MSP 7 123    AFR 107%    IFR 1,5%    1YR 275    5YR 4 126    Max Repair 1000 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   ENG   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 6 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    Equipment Repair Workshop    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    Onboard Armory    Onboard Hospital    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module   

J20100(5-250) Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 20100 tons    Distance 250k km     Squadron Size 5

Inertial Fusion Drive  EP2000,00 (2)    Power 4000    Fuel Use 187,50%    Signature 2000    Explosion 25%
Fuel Capacity 3 155 000 Litres    Range 15,1 billion km (17 days at full power)

Antiparticle Beam-12 ( 8 )    Range 400 000km     TS: 10 000 km/s     Power 30-10    ROF 15       
Beam Fire Control R600-TS10000 (1)     Max Range: 600 000 km   TS: 10 000 km/s     98 97 95 93 92 90 88 87 85 83
Inertial Confinement Fusion Reactor R80 (1)     Total Power Output 80,3    Exp 5%

Active Search Sensor AS4-R1 (1)     GPS 4     Range 4,5m km    MCR 408,7k km    Resolution 1
Thermal Sensor TH10-140 (1)     Sensitivity 140     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  93,5m km
EM Sensor EM10-180 (1)     Sensitivity 180     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  106,1m km

ECCM-5 (1)         ECM 50

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

Antimatter experiments picked up pace and Dragonbreath was the first applied result of theirs. While antimatter production was still too low to construct reactors based on it, Blutgang reactor, together with similar ones built around Qi and Mimung, was able to produce enough antiparticles to fuel next-gen starship weapons. Antiparticle beam might have been "fully antiparticle" only in theory, with only one out of thousands fired particles being a representative of antimatter, but even then it was more than enough to meet military needs - with millions of particles leaving the barrel of the weaponized accelerator each shot, thousands of antiprotons were more than enough to release a massive energy upon contact with the matter of enemy ship, and the "conventional particles" still remained a respectable tool of destruction on their own.


Quote
Vaccine class Strike Cruiser      20 000 tons       756 Crew       9 621,6 BP       TCS 400    TH 4 000    EM 0
10000 km/s    JR 5-250      Armour 10-65       Shields 0-0       HTK 144      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 90      PPV 100
Maint Life 5,61 Years     MSP 9 020    AFR 107%    IFR 1,5%    1YR 483    5YR 7 244    Max Repair 1039,2 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   ENG   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 6 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    Equipment Repair Workshop    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    Onboard Armory    Onboard Hospital    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module   

J20100(5-250) Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 20100 tons    Distance 250k km     Squadron Size 5

Inertial Fusion Drive  EP2000,00 (2)    Power 4000    Fuel Use 187,50%    Signature 2000    Explosion 25%
Fuel Capacity 3 170 000 Litres    Range 15,2 billion km (17 days at full power)

Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuator-24 (5)    Range 400 000km     TS: 10 000 km/s     Power 75-10    ROF 40       
Beam Fire Control R600-TS10000 (1)     Max Range: 600 000 km   TS: 10 000 km/s     98 97 95 93 92 90 88 87 85 83
Inertial Confinement Fusion Reactor R51 (1)     Total Power Output 50,6    Exp 5%

Active Search Sensor AS4-R1 (1)     GPS 4     Range 4,5m km    MCR 408,7k km    Resolution 1

ECCM-5 (1)         ECM 50

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes


But even a full antiparticle beam meant nothing compared to the armanent of the starships meant to be used as fleet command centers despite theoretically not being designed with that purpose in mind. Having worked out or around every single issue of weaponizing the fruits of theory of soulgrain gravity, physicists helped deliver a weapon platform like never before. At first sight it was again a particle accelerator, but that impression couldn't land further from the truth as particle accelerator was just one component of the platform. It was used for creating microscopic, unstable black holes that were to be launched at the enemy. Through their short lifespan they caused local space fluctuations on a micro scale which were later targeted by the main payload of the weapon, concentrating high-powered gravitational outbursts capable, depending on the chosen setting, of either rapidly pulling objects closer to it and destroying them, or sending them away, rapidly increasing the distance from the enemy and also damaging it in the process. Because of the way it was supposed to work, the weapon was often casually referenced as "gravity guided missile" because of its unique targeting system that could be metaphorically described as laser guiding system of a conventional fusion missile. Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuators were expected to essentially let Groaxians, if not outright destroy, then take control of any enemy fleet by heavily influencing the direction it could or could not go. Just like original Vaccines were developed to nullify the threat of Invaders, at least temporarily, Groaxian version was supposed to quickly eradicate any oppositon that might be faced. In addition, gravity-based jamming devices disrupting enemy targeting attempts were mounted on all warships just like it had been planned.

Squadrons of Vaccines and Dragonbreaths were to form a next-gen Human Space Fleet, meanwhile out of Blades Conglomerate expected to be organised into a defensive grid around the three systems inhabited by Groaxians in case Human Space Fleet was to operate beyond Groaxian space for whatever reason. A specialised freighters were supposed to assist Blades and quickly deliver spare parts or kinetic slugs in between the defended systems:


Quote
Scak class Maintenance Vessel      20 000 tons       185 Crew       1 445,9 BP       TCS 400    TH 1 600    EM 0
4000 km/s    JR 1-25(C)      Armour 1-65       Shields 0-0       HTK 73      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 95 045    Max Repair 200 MSP
Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 20   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months   
Artificial Gravity Field    Canteen    Curvature Stabiliser    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Hets Autonomous Farm    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module   

JC20K Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 20000 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 1

Commercial Inertial Fusion Drive  EP800,00 (2)    Power 1600    Fuel Use 2,37%    Signature 800    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 321 000 Litres    Range 121,8 billion km (352 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes


Umbara Commune was no longer a threat and Tempestsaurs Of Achernar had not attacked after their broadcast, firmly standing to their philosophy, meanwhile Groaxians remained defenseless against any Dark Forest Strike that was to come. But the exponentially rising fear of the weapons new starships were equipped with each military breakthrough left an impression among many that Groaxians were well on their way to reach the level of Dark Forest Lords, given the eaziness at which physicists were capable fo manipulating space around them in a way that was deadly for whatever predator and prey in one might find and attack Groaxians next. The simplest conclusion was to find comfort in the advancements of science and hope the level required for repelling Dark Forest Strikes would be reached soon enough as a backup for if the Project Ascension was to take too long to get completed in time, but there were certainly many who did not look optimistically into the consequences of Groaxians being capable of causing destruction on such a scale.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 05:03:30 PM by Stormtrooper »
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Re: Time's End - War of a Different Time
« Reply #53 on: July 28, 2021, 01:28:53 PM »
WAR OF A DIFFERENT TIME

3495 AM hibernation cycle

It was a solar watch like any other when Yatune picked up a mysterious signal originating from deep below the ground. A quick sonar scan revealed a complex cavern system at the source of the emission in a region still unscratched by the mining operations. Sensing a possible leftover from the Humanity, laying dormant for countless hibernation cycles, and deciding to turn itself on at the moment good as any other, Conglomerate approved a special expedition, but as always, what hid in the darkness surpassed the expectations of everyone.

The floor of the caverns was covered in a white goo of organic matter. It could glue itself to whatever else dared to disturb its peace and two explorers had to have emergency methane pack supplied after it chewed a bunch of holes in their space suits before they could free themselves after taking one step too many. It was somewhat similar to the substance discovered at the bottom of the rift on Scar'am, but nothing like other lifeforms ever encountered on Yatune. Strange devices hanging from walls seemed to monitor the parameters of whatever that thing was. Next hypothesis explorers came up with talked about the Substance which had devoured Yagidrerc and was later tamed by Humanity and used to defend against photonic missiles, but a bunch of rudimentary checkouts was enough to displace it due to the radically different composition of the biomass. For the time being, members of the mission restrained themselves from attempting to tinker with the unknown devices and went further through the tunnels, wondering whether they would find something else. And eventually they did, but not something they wanted to find at all.

In one of the underground halls small, slim bipedal figures with two hands. Their skin was blue and they looked at each other in confusion. They walked among the goo, firmly sticked to it. Apart from different skin colour and different facial proportions, they looked almost like tiny humans. Further experiments were required to confirm whether indeed Groaxians had been dealing with genetically modified human beings of some sort. Their heads were much thicker, though, with the skull being surrouned in a half-liquid and half-transparent halo or something. But if they really were representing the Humanity, that might be the historical breakthrough Groaxians had been looking forward to since the surface of Genesis had been bearing the monolith on it. Through the exploration of the caverns many similar halls were discovered, some empty, some with even smaller figures and eventually the mission reached what looked like a vault exit. It was very ductile and resilient, but just like the wall through which Groaxians had made an entrance for themselves, it fell apart under concentrated, plasma-supported laser mining drills. But as soon as the gate stood open, or rather laid destroyed, a significant force of what looked like an adult version of the creatures encountered before appeared on the other side, carrying weird-looking artifacts in their hands, all dressed in black, tight suits.



No questions were asked. A scene of horror and agony unfolded. A horrific, nightmarish sounds echoed across the cave, disrupting everyone. But some looked more affected than others. They screamed in agony as their bodies slowly imploded, still being alive and conscious to some degree as parts of their brains left the skin cut open, tearing apart from each other and falling to the ground. A squad of Dark Forest Shadows and Elite Guardians from Qusmont escorting the expeditions took positions across the rubble from the doors, even they struggled to grasp what was going on. They returned plasma and particle fire in desperate attempt to overcome whatever was attacking them, but more shrieks and mind-tearing noises followed at their directions. But while they were confused, reactive cybersoul combat suits of theirs identified the threat as a sonic weapon fire and autonomously took actions to filter out the harmful sonic waves coming at them. Tempestsaurs leading the Shadows and Guardians assesed the situation only to find the enemies well-covered among rapidly-constructed metallic barricades that for sure did not exist shortly after the doors had been blown out. Plasma heat barely did any damage to it. Particle beams were better suited for the task, but each Guardian had to fire for a good while for their weapons to drill through the alloy.

As the unexpected battle was raging, civilian personnel retreated deeper into the complex, leaving a trail of mashed brains and fractured bodies behind. But the sound triggered something in those brains that were still in one piece. That trail came as a decent help for the fighting soldiers, though. The brains might appear shattered beyond the ability to keep their owners alive, but their rgaments, still pulsating in agony, still showed signs of being able to receive and transmit Transcendent Speech signal. Bound by Dark Forest had used this to their advantage, creating Synergy of the Fallen. With extra brainpower they were able to rapidly shift their attention and their reflexes, already reinforced by cybersoul-based implants, became so sharp surviving scientists and miners weren't fast enough to take notice of everything they'd been doing. This was the reason as to why the flanking team that must had entered the complex through some type of a backdoor was greeted by a hail of plasma and particle fire before they could do as much as level their sonic guns. Light blue substance poured from their shattered bodies, rapidly shifting towards black palette under extreme plasma heat.

Since taking cover didn't provide too much protection against concentrated sound of death as it could do in case of other types of weapons, Shadows and Guardians had little risk in attempting to directly storm the enemy and flush them out of their comfortable spots. With Tempestsaurs preparing everyone to enter Combat Trance, they ran across the corridor, taking more casualties, but not that many as one could expect. Enemy started waivering, eventually breaking down when the civilians, forming Mental Synergy with the encouraged soldiers redirected their mining equipment at them, drilling throught their black suits and blue bodies directly or mining rocks above them, causing cave-ins right on top of them. Morale of every Groaxian increased significantly also because of the symbolic value of using mining equipment in battle, a tradition as old as battles fought in the defense of Yatune. However, no prisoners were taken - last survivors who Groaxians intended to capture fired their weapons at the last moment at each other, annihilating their bodies into blue-white mashup of organic matter.

Entire Yatune was put on high alert, but no further instances of enemy activity had been detected, be it underground, on land, in the seas and rivers or in the skies and even low orbit. But the information that the ones who attacked had nothing to do with Humanity didn't require detailed biological study to confirm. On some of the uniforms of the fallen enemies a symbol of Tempestsaurs of Achernar remained clearly visible. Further xenobiology expertise only confirmed samples of the organic matter recovered from the underground site matched the genetic material recovered from Achernar wrecks in Blutgang and the communication protocols of salvaged devices were very similar to the language of Achernar space broadcasts.

But if Achernar were on Yatune first, why a few of cavern dwellings were all they had managed to build through all these hibernation cycles when Groaxians roamed the planetary surface remained an open question to tackle. Especially that settling this world made little sense for them, unless they did it to watch by then primitive Groaxians to be ready to inform Dark Forest Lords about their presence should the perceived existential threat outweight the  risk of Tizona destruction. Which would be similar to what humans had done, except with a different intent. Even if so, they failed to do what they had planned given the events of Endpoint War. Obviously no Achernar starship had ever landed on Yatune and nobody believed they could land and unload their cargo and citizens without any Groaxian noticing throu hibernation cycles to come. Moreover, there was nobody left for these questions to be asked. The children of Achernar were, well, children and compared to Groaxian spawn lacked the ability to understand much, let alone be of any practical use, being nothing but a resource drain until adulthood. They spawned among discovered infrastructure and had no idea how they appeared on Yatune besides knowledge about Tizona as the star from which their ancestors originated.

Eyes of many Groaxians turned towards the new iteration of Human Space Fleet as something that would need to be put into use much earlier than anyone wanted to shall the Tempestsaurs Of Achernar go on with whatever they were attempting to do that time. Meanwhile scientific community grew more and more confused and divided on the matter of the nature of stuff appearing (or disappearing) out of nowhere. Vrilxel wreck on a desolate moon, missing Umbara outpost on Eckesachs III and no trace left, early Groaxian colony on Joyeuse-B II and Achernar suddenly appearing on Yatune to complete the list for the time being. Aside from making no sense whatsoever, the vision of Achernar suddenly appearing whenever and wherever they pleased in Groaxian territory sounded frightening and undermined any future efforts of fleeing the endangered systems, possibly opening up ways for disrupting Project Ascension as well. Conglomerate immediately issued orders to garrison more soldiers on every colonised planet and tighten space patrols as the new war had begun. Temperature across all Groaxian populations increased as many associated the echoes of a different time discovered in Joyeuse with previous events and feared them being not an alternative history, but a prophecy that was about to be fulfilled.