Author Topic: Time's End comments thread  (Read 3065 times)

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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #45 on: July 12, 2021, 02:35:08 PM »
Now please tell the truth, you did it on purpose as a revenge for me not posting for two weeks straight.  You even decreased your activity on the forums to make it more believable. :P

I won't talk, you won't get a word out of me!  ;)

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Reminds me of the Farscape episode about those thrill-seekers on the deserted rock with the sonic trampoline shaft.

Reminds you of... what???  ???

Farscape is an Australian/American sci-fi show from the turn of the millennium. Kinda cheesy, very weird, great puppetry. Episode spoilers follow:

In one episode the main cast visits a body inhabited by a bunch of thrill-seeking drug addicts, who engage in high-risk activities such as jumping into a deep shaft to see if they survive, which they sometimes do because of a weird sonic trampoline at the bottom... anyways, turns out that they do this because they all die very young, in their early 20s or so. Plot point: this is because of very high ambient radiation that causes wasting sickness.

Anyways this reminds me of the Umbara and their fatalistic attitude...they're going to die anyways from the drugs, may as well have some radiation too while they are at it.

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They're on every starship... Alcubierre Drives are deep space only or say bye bye to whatever chunk of matter is within range.

I meant like a big ground-based one as a last resort, however it does seem like just using shipborne makes more sense if one wants to do such a thing.

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Well, near the end of my previous one I posted some youtube links I liked, so I guess i could do this once again, I think?

It could be fun, but it is up to you as I wouldn't want you to interrupt your writing flow just to paste YouTube links.

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Anyways, good to see you again here! :D I caught up with gameplay once again, so it's time to play again, although I'm not sure what to do next in the game as now after securing Blutgang I have quite a few options opened. But I've got other games to play and stuff I'd like to do in general, so I guess I can afford to make a longer break than initially expected to let you catch up in peace (even though as I got to that sweet gallicite in Mimung playthrough should become that much more engaging now...) and not overwhelm you with more updates if you've got less time now, other AARs you read, your own AAR and all that. That's all I can (not) do for my beloved reader at the moment, so enjoy the fourth page at your own leisure.  8) (unless for whatever reason you want me to write more NOW, then I can always revert this longer break and get back to work).

You should write whatever you want, whenever you want. I'm not your only reader, I just comment the most.  ;)  Ultimately the best AAR is always the one which is written, the readers will come at their own pace and timing.

And speaking of reading...

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MAIGH EO DISTURBANCE

An...interesting battle. I'm wondering if in-game this was a one-sided slaughter, but in narrative a more exciting and intriguing explanation was needed? Otherwise I am left wondering what kind of weapon could cause such a thing - but I suppose we shall find out soon enough.

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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".

At this point there may be a legitimate argument that the Groaxians are discovering their true nature, one of balance between the various forces of the universe, and the worriers are holding things back by being afraid of change even if it leads to the true self of the Groaxian race. That said, surely such a fear and reaction is part of the balance, offset by those who push bravely forward?

THE MATRIX

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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.

Showoffs.

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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.

An interesting premise, that the actions taken do not erase the fundamental nature of the being behind the actions.

The Matrix: it seems like the next big philosophical challenge of the Groaxians must be to find the balance between tradition and preservation, and change and evolution. This I suspect will be the balance on which their Ascension hinges.

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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.

Shocking, but not unexpected. It would be silly to think the Dark Forest Lords would not eventually have noticed this, and wanted to erase all trace of Ascension as this would threaten their Dark Forest itself.

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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.

This could suggest that the Crack, or more accurately the Wall in which there is a Crack, could have somehow shielded Qi from the Dark Forest Strike. Although if so, this is something the Archernar seem unaware of, which could be a useful thing to know if there is another confrontation with them in the future.

The Rifts

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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...

Good thing the Groaxians are not literal computers despite their high intelligence, otherwise this paradox might cause them to be stuck in an infinite loop!  :P

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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.

I have an ominous feeling that perhaps why four-dimensional physics are not working is that the Dark Forest Lords are finding a way to disrupt or destroy four-dimensional hyperspace to prevent any other races from Ascending. If this is true, the Groaxians are racing against an even bigger and more dangerous clock than they ever knew before...

And now I think I am caught up, in my own time as always. Even as the plot progresses, only new mysteries are found and the story becomes even more tense. Hopefully the Groaxians come out of this in a good place...
 
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Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2021, 05:48:06 PM »
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I won't talk, you won't get a word out of me!

You foolish human, you think I'd waste my time trying to get words out of you like some primitive barbarian? Of course I'll use Transcendent Speech and get thoughts out of you!  8)

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they're going to die anyways from the drugs, may as well have some radiation too while they are at it.

Wait till they develop irradiated drugs...

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I wouldn't want you to interrupt your writing flow just to paste YouTube links.

Trust me, what's interrupting my writing flow is inventing the titles, with youtube links I could just casually start spamming and it'd take a good while for me to run out.

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I just comment the most.

While you are not the only reader, there you've got your explanation.  ;)

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I'm wondering if in-game this was a one-sided slaughter, but in narrative a more exciting and intriguing explanation was needed?

Yeah, yeah, exactly that... Umbara were challenging at the start because they:
-arrived at Qi before I saw them anywhere else, forcing me to spend last starting building points just to have something to fire back
-surprised me with ground assaults
-later developed particle beams of their own which surprised me again and resulted with casualties taken after I got too comfortable blasting them from outside gauss range

But ever since Pikes and Strikes were a thing, they are no longer challenging, but this AAR already sees few battles, so I couldn't afford to just skip one, so had to "invent something" (also needed to have a justification for the screenshot displaying jump point assault in the universe without jump points...  ::))

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That said, surely such a fear and reaction is part of the balance

Say this on Genesis and you'll have both sides of the society hating on you  :P

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Showoffs.

Said a guy who writes updates three times long as each of mine, but describing only about half a day spent talking about spaceships ;D

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wanted to erase all trace of Ascension

Rather erase all traces of humanity - it's an existential threat for them to leave anything else alive, after all.

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could have somehow shielded Qi from the Dark Forest Strike.

Depends what type of Strike we're talking about... There are quite a few of them and the most primitive one being a near-lightspeed missile aimed at the star doesn't give a smeg about Walls, Cracks, hyperspace and whatever else might exist or not exist in between the missile and its target.

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Dark Forest Lords are finding a way to disrupt or destroy four-dimensional hyperspace to prevent any other races from Ascending.

Why bother with this prevention if the best prevention is to just blast entire galaxies into nothingness during your lunch break, because that's the level of power we're talking here?  :P

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Hopefully the Groaxians come out of this in a good place...

If they come out. If.
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #47 on: August 10, 2021, 10:04:18 PM »
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I'm wondering if in-game this was a one-sided slaughter, but in narrative a more exciting and intriguing explanation was needed?

Yeah, yeah, exactly that... Umbara were challenging at the start because they:
-arrived at Qi before I saw them anywhere else, forcing me to spend last starting building points just to have something to fire back
-surprised me with ground assaults
-later developed particle beams of their own which surprised me again and resulted with casualties taken after I got too comfortable blasting them from outside gauss range

But ever since Pikes and Strikes were a thing, they are no longer challenging, but this AAR already sees few battles, so I couldn't afford to just skip one, so had to "invent something" (also needed to have a justification for the screenshot displaying jump point assault in the universe without jump points...  ::))

I won't lie, I forgot that jump points were a thing because you have written them out. Probably I should have guessed this as it explains everything.

Sadly this is a chronic problem with all the NPRs, which is why any project I take on after Duranium Legion will be limited to player races and spoilers. They are just so exploitable.

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Say this on Genesis and you'll have both sides of the society hating on you  :P

But surely this proves that I am right!  :P

This all aside, I am finally able to get back into these recent updates, and there have been plenty so I will be kept busy for a good while. I hope my extended absence from the comment section has not caused any alarm, but this kind of detailed and imaginative narrative work demands full attention when I can give it.

Onwards!

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TRANSDIMENSIONAL ERA

I must admit that I did not anticipate returning and the first update is a colonization and ship design discussion. I am certainly not complaining, though.

Out of context, I'm curious why not take a couple of the Misc Components and implement them as smaller passive sensors, particularly on the Shizae. The science vessels will be exploring far from the rest of Groaxiani civilization and being able to detect the Umbara or another threat even minimally seems useful.

Cooling is an important subject in any real-life engineering field, yet even Aurora sadly lacks mechanics or components for it. An excellent subject for a bit of fluff about these designs.

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ECHOES OF A DIFFERENT TIME

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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.

I notice that the Conglomerate would plan "conquest" - perhaps a clue into changing Groaxian thinking? Seems a bit Black Forest for such a noble race...

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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.

It seems strange that the information and the history here is Groaxian, yet the signals perceived from approaching the planet were not identified as such.

Otherwise at this point it seems like somehow there has been time travel or other warping of space-time for this missive from the future to arrive. Or possibly this is some kind of fourth-dimensional interaction? A mystery it seems.

The attempted investigation of the Crack or more accurately the edge raises more mysteries. Still I guess this is not too unexpected, if there is a Wall in three dimensions it should be there in four dimensions as well if whoever put it there knows what they are doing.

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After reading through the reports of both expeditions, Conglomerate briefly noted how they both brought more questions than answers

Clearly my comments here qualify me to be a Conglomerate member.  :P

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The message was simple: "Humanity is no more, but we, last surviving Groaxians, will take its place."

Very curious...I'm not sure it was mentioned as a possibility, but to me there is a chilling potential: humanity which had previously ascended is truly no more because the Dark Forest Lords have invaded the dimension to eradicate the ascended races. I couldn't say why they would do this but it is a chilling thought, and in that case it makes sense that the Groaxians would flee and hide instead of ascending. However the apparent time travel remains mysterious...

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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.

Very, very ominous...

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3480-3485 AM hibernation cycles

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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.

If I can make sense of what we are seeing here I might speculate that this may have been why the Precursors failed to Ascend, if they became too corrupted in pursuit of that goal. Ironic...

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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.

It reminds me of something I heard recently... "War is always evil...but some things are worse". Perhaps this also rings true when it comes to Ascension?

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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.

This seems the right path. I fear that had the Groaxians essentially forced the Umbara to serve as their army, this would have a corrupting influence and inhibit the possibility of Ascension. This choice preserves balance, as stated, by creating a shared cultural bond out of the necessity of warfare.

This also reminds me of how the Roman Republic and later Empire made such great success out of incorporating their neighbors rather than enslaving or annihilating them - very appropriate as this approach flies in the face of Dark Forest yet led to one of the most successful civilizations of history, so it is encouraging for the Groaxians or rather it would be if they were humans and knew human history beyond the admittedly small part given by the Monolith.

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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.

The clock is ticking...

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LAST GENERATION OF ZENN-LA

This title once again sounds ominous - but this time for the other guys which I suppose is a welcome change for our protagonists!

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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.

Eight ships against...a lot, although from the sizes many of them look like they may just be auxiliaries with little armament.

OOC: Side note, but I'm curious why after all this time the Umbara are still noted as [QI] in the tactical map?

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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.

So it sounds like the Achernar had their own ways to deal with the Umbara, indeed...

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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.

Even in the Dark Forest there is some measure of hope, of a sort.

Continued in the next post as I want to be careful of the forum posting limits.
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2021, 10:47:17 PM »
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3487-3494 AM hibernation cycles

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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.

What is most important of course is that this clearly cannot just be a simple geometric arrangement of seven circles, it absolutely must have a deep and sinister meaning, and anyone who suggests otherwise should be shot.

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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":

I am very confused how the Groaxians are able to develop "straightforward" designs which do not require drawn-out arguments between members of their leadership.  :P

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Vaccine class Strike Cruiser      20 000 tons       756 Crew       9 621,6 BP       TCS 400    TH 4 000    EM 0

Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuator-24 (5)    Range 400 000km     TS: 10 000 km/s     Power 75-10    ROF 40

That...is a very big gun.  ;D

Also the name of the class brings back humorous memories from the COVID-19 references in the original Dark Forest AAR.

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WAR OF A DIFFERENT TIME

Hopefully this will give some answers about the confusing Joyeuse expedition, based on the title.

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but as always, what hid in the darkness surpassed the expectations of everyone.

You would think by now we would learn to expect the unexpected. One of these days we will accomplish this, only to discover exactly what we expected.

...I must admit, I did not expect a sudden battle with a mysterious alien army deep below the surface of a planet the Groaxians have occupied for so long.

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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.

How did they get here?!

Given the explanations in the text, but the fact that they have also sent out a signal, I wonder if these are also affected by the strange temporal dynamics as observed at Joyeuse. Maybe they had been temporally displaced into Yatune at the present time, and the signal sent out was not timed for ill intent but a desperate call for help?

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DESPERATE DEFENSE OF BLUTGANG

Uh-oh...

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So when first space disturbances appeared and first Achernar starships warped out of them, terror and disappointment rose among Groaxians observing this.

Although at least they are using ships and not warping into place on the planet, so whatever happened on Yatune doesn't seem to be at least usable for invading another world...yet?

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Eventually Human Space Fleet rose above the sky and was clear to fire its gravitational and particle weapons, but before any significant amount of damage could have been dealt to the enemy warships, they all powered Curvature Propulsion Systems and disappeared from the system. With them free to go and possessing the knowledge about Groaxian presence within the system, the outcome of the battle was a clear defeat.

Now a truly frightening time comes for the Groaxians...it seems like the only potential now is to evacuate the entire system before the Achernar can call for a Dark Forest Strike, but that seems impossible.

OOC: Was there actually any combat in this battle? It's quite a strange sequence of events to end with only a survey ship being destroyed...

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REMEMBRANCE OF GJ 1279

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When Curvature Propulsion Systems were ready to be engaged, a blinding light flared from the cube. Over half the sensors were fried from extreme elctromagnetic radiation it caused, barely leaving the ships functional enough to establish warp bubble and flee the system, further into the Crack. Once the evacuation was complete, Groaxians stopped for a short while in interstellar space to take one final look at the system, but when the light caught up to them, they could see there was none. GJ 1279 had ceased to exist.

Interesting, the humans have something that seems very similar in ability to the Dark Forest Strikes that have been afflicting the universe lately. Unless they are not Dark Forest Strikes at all, but more of these human devices erasing their presence from the cosmos? But to what end...

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To minimise risks and maximise the advantage Groaxians could get in this war, Conglomerate agreed on a Tizona counterattack, aiming to destroy whatever fleets and infrastructure required to build and maintain them existed there, preventing Achernar from wrecking havoc in Groaxian territory, with the secondary objective of gathering as much data on the enemy and the world it originated from as possible.

This seems a regrettable but necessary evil now. At least this may be the only way to prevent a Dark Forest Strike.

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Despite what happened to GJ 1279, many still believed that Humanity was on the "good side" of all this and hoped recordings from the last moments of this system would serve to prepare Groaxians for what was coming at them, too.

There's an interesting thought. Maybe humanity has constructed a Dark Forest Strike machine to give the Groaxians or another race just the readings they need to develop a countermeasure.

(Of course I am speculating only in-thread, not including any known information from the previous AAR.  ;) Though to be honest I do not remember much from that thread which is very relevant here...)

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And now I am once more caught up. The plot has certainly thickened but we also are on a ticking clock as the galaxy appears to be destroyed before the Groaxians' eyes. Hopefully Ascension is very nearly achievable, because there is not much time left, and still too many mysteries to be solved in too little time!

Looking forward to whatever comes next! I think the "DLC" is in danger of becoming longer than the original though!  :P
 
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Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #49 on: August 22, 2021, 07:01:56 AM »
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I won't lie, I forgot that jump points were a thing because you have written them out.

Thankfully I did not forget to tick off jump points display before making this screenshot as it happened to me a couple of times in the previous AAR (for the systems that didn't have wormholes aka stabilised jump points)  :P

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any project I take on after Duranium Legion will be limited to player races and spoilers.

Playing against nprs is still more fun than against yourself, I'd argue...

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But surely this proves that I am right!

"Human ways of thinking are weird. I see no logical reasoning in this sentence." Some Groaxian, Genesis, 3307 AM hibernation cycle, colorized

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I hope my extended absence from the comment section has not caused any alarm

Well, no, but there are other things that caused an alarm and it's not like I've been doing any better to get the latest updates done and I didn't even see your comments until yesterday and I need to play more before I will have something more to write about not to mention writing will take time, too, and it's all a mess.

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Out of context, I'm curious why not take a couple of the Misc Components and implement them as smaller passive sensors, particularly on the Shizae.

Because Shizae was developed much, much earlier than it appeared to build lagrange points to get to the second pairs of ternary systems and through hibernation cycles I struggled to figure out a justification for its existence to the point I'm still surprised it got posted at all and now you bug me about sensors on something that... doesn't "explore far from the rest of Groaxian civilisation". But hey, it got a shiny new HyperSensors, and what else do you need when going superluminal by taking a shortcut through four-dimensional space?

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I notice that the Conglomerate would plan "conquest" - perhaps a clue into changing Groaxian thinking? Seems a bit Black Forest for such a noble race...

First it's a Dark Forest (but otherwise might as well be purple), and second, the system is devoid of any intelligence, so dunno why "conquest" would cause any distress... But it's alright to get paranoid when everything out there wants to kill you for existing even if it doesn't know you exist and even if you happen to not exist it still wants to kill you just to be sure.

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Otherwise at this point it seems like somehow there has been time travel or other warping of space-time for this missive from the future to arrive.

"There has been warping of travel of time of space of soulgrain tunneling between black rifts desynced fluctuators and that's why we can't go faster than light", random Groaxian scientist when asked what the hell happened on that planet, 3500 AM, colorized

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if whoever put it there knows what they are doing.

"Anyways, I started blasting" some Dark Forest Lord, probably, when asked about the Big Bang.

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Clearly my comments here qualify me to be a Conglomerate member.

Conglomerate is a perfectly balanced institution, absolutely without exploits.

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It reminds me of something I heard recently... "War is always evil...but some things are worse". Perhaps this also rings true when it comes to Ascension?

Ascension is always evil... but some things are worse?  :P

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I fear that had the Groaxians essentially forced the Umbara to serve as their army

Which is exactly what they did! :D

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it is encouraging for the Groaxians or rather it would be if they were humans and knew human history beyond the admittedly small part given by the Monolith.

You think Groaxians do not know about Romans and everything that happened, was recorded and not lost from human history? Also even if they did not know, clearly they would be smart enough to extrapolate what they did know and correctly guess the existence of Roman Empire. Evolutionary emulators are powerful things, especially when supplied with so much data.

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OOC: Side note, but I'm curious why after all this time the Umbara are still noted as [QI] in the tactical map?

Because they were first spotted in QI and nobody cared about updating tactical maps when by the time they stopped appearing in Qi they were almost non-existent already so the correct note would be "[]"

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Continued in the next post as I want to be careful of the forum posting limits.

Trust me, they're much bigger than this, I crossed a post limit only once back in the days of pasting big-ass updates accumulated from discord in my previous AAR.

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What is most important of course is that this clearly cannot just be a simple geometric arrangement of seven circles, it absolutely must have a deep and sinister meaning, and anyone who suggests otherwise should be shot.

Of course it is a simple arrangement of seven circles, but apparently humans are too stupid to figure out what it means. Thankfully Groaxians do know better and anyone who suggests otherwise should be shot gentically modified to take a more balance-preserving approach.

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I am very confused how the Groaxians are able to develop "straightforward" designs which do not require drawn-out arguments between members of their leadership.

Recoverings from cultural databases dated for 2021 human hibernation cycle (wtf is wrong with them that they don't hibernate and base their timelines on some irrelevant crap like orbital periods) from the category "imagination of space exploration in pre-FTL era" thankfully allowed them to do that. Some Tempestsaurs to this solar watch are wondering why the hell humans wouldn't just fix this dangerously escalating Mental Synergy and get back to productive work.  ::)

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That...is a very big gun. Also the name of the class brings back humorous memories from the COVID-19 references in the original Dark Forest AAR.

This reminds me that I have no bloody idea what the hell is a "Solugrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuator". I literally need to reverse-engineer my own AAR at this point lol. Also, well, that's the point - reiterating through all the famous ship designs from previous one, especially if it's so special like the particle beam ship that ended Bootes Wars after I realised winning in aurora is a matter of having:
-particle beams outranging enemy weapons
-faster ships
-gauss for anti-missile (if needed, was not the case for Invaders)

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How did they get here?!

That's a fascinating question. I don't even think the game notified me when their colony was detected.

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a desperate call for help?

"a desperate call for help"
"the universe is a Dark Forest"
pick one :P

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before the Achernar can call for a Dark Forest Strike, but that seems impossible.

Well, they were free to go at the end and had knowledge about Groaxian presence. The assumption is they called for the strike and that's it, zero reasons for them to not do this the first moment they can.

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OOC: Was there actually any combat in this battle? It's quite a strange sequence of events to end with only a survey ship being destroyed..

It was a fustercluck of weird stuff. Achernar arrived at Blutgang, I told them to leave, they refused and apparently were already pissed at me for exploring their systems all the way to receiving a threat to get my exploration ships destroyed, as with Qi they claimed the system is "too important for them" and the relationship loss was just enough for them to start a war and destroy my post-Umbara shipyards on Scar'am and that one Shizae which orbited the planet after building lagrange point from which I reached the second pair of stars. And then Human Space Fleet came and they left. It was a strange sequence of events indeed.

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At least this may be the only way to prevent a Dark Forest Strike.

rather further broadcasts of whatever location Conglomerate will pick for evac next...

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The plot has certainly thickened but we also are on a ticking clock as the galaxy appears to be destroyed before the Groaxians' eyes. Hopefully Ascension is very nearly achievable, because there is not much time left, and still too many mysteries to be solved in too little time!

The biggest mysteries to solve right now for me are "wtf have I written there", "what is this ship", "what is the technobabble behind this gun", "what the hell are Groaxians arguing about again", "what are my construction orders", "wait what are these freighters doing here", "hey, I didn't order to build that" "who stole my gallicite again", and so on, and so forth... It's easy to get lost in all this mess...

Well, thanks for having you back, for writing this long post serving as an excellent reward for me trying to not get lost between all those aliens shooting at each other constantly! I'm not sure when I'll be able to write next updates, but that's hopefully "soon" and this is certainly endgame now as time comes to an end...

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Looking forward to whatever comes next! I think the "DLC" is in danger of becoming longer than the original though!

Well, nope, definitely not, posts from the original were much, much longer so that still leaves me a lot of space...

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(Of course I am speculating only in-thread, not including any known information from the previous AAR.  ;) Though to be honest I do not remember much from that thread which is very relevant here...)

Well, not that much is relevant as you might except, but certainly a lot.
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #50 on: August 23, 2021, 12:41:00 PM »
Playing against nprs is still more fun than against yourself, I'd argue...

It depends on what kind of game you want to play, I think. Personally, I feel like once you've seen a few NPR races you tend to have seen them all, most are easily exploitable and predictable. Perfectly fine if you just want a foil for the player race, but less effective if you want to create (for instance) a deeper political backdrop of peer races vying for supremacy.

Also I have been on a box launcher/VLS kick lately in my theoretical ship designs and using these against NPRs is usually bullying at best.

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Well, no, but there are other things that caused an alarm and it's not like I've been doing any better to get the latest updates done and I didn't even see your comments until yesterday and I need to play more before I will have something more to write about not to mention writing will take time, too, and it's all a mess.

There is no rush when it comes to a quality AAR, you can take as much time as you need and readers will only appreciate what comes when it does. Some of the better AARs I've ever read have made returns after multi-year hiatuses, so any delay only puts you amongst noble company.

I assure you I am saying this to offer love and encouragement, and not at all to justify my own slow updating habits.  :P

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Ascension is always evil... but some things are worse?  :P

More: War is always evil, but failing to Ascend is worse. Maybe. Perhaps. It is tabled for a future discussion.

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Trust me, they're much bigger than this, I crossed a post limit only once back in the days of pasting big-ass updates accumulated from discord in my previous AAR.

I have managed to break it once with an AAR update of my own, which was a confusing half-hour for me. Since then I err on the side of caution.

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The biggest mysteries to solve right now for me are "wtf have I written there", "what is this ship", "what is the technobabble behind this gun", "what the hell are Groaxians arguing about again", "what are my construction orders", "wait what are these freighters doing here", "hey, I didn't order to build that" "who stole my gallicite again", and so on, and so forth... It's easy to get lost in all this mess...

The secret is to keep a 15-tab spreadsheet to remember everything you are doing. This does not actually help, as then you are dealing with questions like "wtf is this tab for?" and "why is all the rum gallicite gone?" but it moves the problem from Aurora to Google Sheets and therefore it feels like progress even though it is not.  :P
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #51 on: August 26, 2021, 01:50:59 PM »
Highlight of the hibernation cycle:



After building some more deep space tracking stations in Blutgang, Scar'am got into detection range of a lone half-destroyed Umbara ship floating around, unable to be found previously and unable to die either. I quickly moped it up and picked up crew not expecting much.

Turns out this AAR stays much closer to the gameplay than I anticipated.

EDIT: It is even closer to the gameplay than I thought five minutes ago. In the database I have 20 stars, but just finished all gravitational survey there was to be done and only 19 stars are accessible with no more unexplored jump points. Guess the 20th star is indeed GJ 1279, the one that is no more...
« Last Edit: August 26, 2021, 03:02:23 PM by Stormtrooper »
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #52 on: August 27, 2021, 04:13:37 PM »
Excellent, the continuation arrives!

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Space around them remained straight (except the gravity well of the planet and its moon) and wasn't affected by their arrival at all. No physicist could answer how had Tempestsaurs of Achernar crossed the interstellar distance without using any technology manipulating with the fabric of space, but if the weapons they brought were to be as advanced as their interstellar propulsion systems, doom of Blutgang was unavoidable and imminent.

I continue to blame strange time travel hijinks driven by the increasing instability of the galaxy due to all of these stars being wiped out. If the Groaxians are able they should capture some of these Achernar and find out what hibernation cycle they think it is. Or "year" or some other silly, inferior unit of time measurement.

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Apparently their armament was indeed lacking in many key aspects and they made a good call to not engage Groaxians before in a conventional war, leaving the conflict to be resolved by a higher instance.

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

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Despite lack of expertise on the "warp point riddle", Groaxians had something at least equally valuable at their disposal: surviving Tempestsaurs Of Achernar, all captured and ready for mind reading. Or at least that's what was commonly believed before it turned out they weren't any less confused than Groaxians themselves. They were all eager to talk and Transcendent Speech had to only be used as a rudimentary verification process for their communicates, but that didn't translate into much of useful data. They mentioned how they were just flying from their colony in Mimung to visit Tizona and how their navigation must had gone completely haywire, leading them in a completely different direction, suddenly dropping them at Blutgang for no apparent reason.

Well, so much for that idea then.

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Mentions of "colony in Mimung" made all Blutgang population quickly forget about missing space curvatures around the supposed "warp point".

This is actually a good point... time travel is one thing, but why would there be an Achernar colony on Mimung at any time? At least while they fly recognizable ships. Maybe it is alternate realities we should be looking for, not alternate times...

The plot thickens! And thus becomes even more confusing for our time-pressured protagonists!  :o
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #53 on: September 06, 2021, 11:30:11 AM »
Now, let's see, where did I leave off...

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MASS MIMUNG INVASION

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Finally the team proudly announced their revolution in interstellar flight logistics:

Gragzeans class Tanker

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

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

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With no time for wondering in awe about the ridiculously low probability of two fleets randomly bumping at each other somewhere in the vastness of the universe,

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

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It seemed strange for them to suddenly result into conventional warfare, but that was the simple and obvious truth:

Either the Achernar were lying about calling a Dark Forest Strike, as a way to protect themselves from perceived enemies, or else these Achernar are from another time or reality where they lack the ability to do such a thing. Hopefully we will find out which case is the truth.

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Not being able to sustain this any moment longer, admiral ordered to maintain the previous strategy for a few moments more to delay Achernar noticing true intentions of the defenders and then fire all engines with full force, attempting to close in as much distance as quickly as possible to not give Achernar too many occasions to damage the ships further. It was all very risky approach and dozens of Groaxians died punctured by high-energy particles or leaked from the ships together with air and metal chunks, but the retaliation fire laid down by the fleet afterwards was worth the sacrifice. From much closer range the accuracy of metallic slugs was devastating, instantly destroying several targets over a few volleys. Achernar fire kept weakening and dealing less and less damage until it eventually stopped, with the last starship of theirs meeting its end.

This is a story which would be recounted by Groaxians for many generations - the brave defense of Sodara against a powerful enemy by what is basically a garrison detachment underequipped to fight such an opponent. It would be recounted, except that I doubt Groaxian society is ready for recounting of war stories as a pastime yet. Still a brilliant outcome regardless.

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And apparently their mission wasn't even really an invasion, more of a raid aimed at hindering Groaxian space programs of all sort to prevent them escaping to other systems just like they did with Blutgang, to make sure Dark Forest Lords would wipe out every single one of them. There was nothing mysterious or incomprehensible about their intentions

One of these days I will actually make a correct prediction...but apparently not today. Ah well.

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THUAN THIEN TRANSMISSIONS

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You win the prize 🥇 for most unusual and fascinating Aurora battle screenshot I have ever seen. I'm not sure how this would even happen to be honest.

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Groaxians wanted to get them intact and uncover whatever mystery this particular fleet had to offer, even if it might as well just be a routine cargo transit.

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

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There wasn't a bigger mistake to be made than to assume the fleet was unarmed. It carried what was believed to be the most powerful weapon of any primitive civilisation: a sophisticated broadcast array for informing Dark Forest about everything Tempestsaurs Of Achernar wanted to see removed from the reality.

Hardly routine. Also very scary, hopefully by destroying many of the ships the ability of the Achernar to make such a broadcast is crippled.

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COSMIC FATE OF DARK FOREST

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The lowest amount of time that had passed between broadcast and target annihilation was just a bit over 32 hibernation cycles,

Great, now we just need to know if and when a broadcast has been sent out targeting Qi. I say "know" because I do not trust the empty boasting of the Achernar which is likely to be a bluff as much as not. Still, if we go by what the Achernar have said then this gives us the lower bound as mentioned later in the update.

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At the same time Conglomerate needed a plan to evacuate all inhabited celestial bodies into somewhere at least temporary safe. Joyeuse B-II was an obvious candidate.

Or they could hurry up and Ascend, just saying this is after all the goal.  ;)

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So in order to escape a hyperblack hole, a four-dimensional Curvature Propulsion System was required, so a four-dimensional object in itself, allowing superluminal effective speeds within hyperspace utilising the fifth dimension. Obviously that meant no Groaxian starship was capable of cruising through hyperspace beyond the Crack, yet three-dimensional universe could exist undisturbed beneath hyperblack hole and still see Groaxians flying effectively faster than light through it.

Suddenly we have a potential route to the time travel hijinks seen previously. The plot thickens...

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HyperBlack Wall Theory

The universe is a hyperblack wall.

Regarding the threat to higher dimensions I think we had already talked about that earlier in the comments...now it seems that discussion is reality, which is truly ominous not only for Groaxians but also humans, for the latter perhaps the end has not yet been written...

Offhand I wonder if there is a "Flatworld Solution" to this, that is, escaping to a lower dimensional (2D) universe instead of higher dimensional. Maybe the Dark Forest Lords will not think to look there... Just an idle thought.

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Cosmic Existence

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

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

Something quite different, but also I say again quite fitting, nicely done.  :)
 

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #54 on: September 07, 2021, 06:10:06 PM »
So... I guess this is the moment I'm supposed to clarify stuff, comment the comments and all that... ::)

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

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

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The plot thickens!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hardly routine

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

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Or they could hurry up and Ascend

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

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The plot thickens...

Ok, now it definitely is as thick as Iether.

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The universe is a hyperblack wall.

I mean, technically...

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

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

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

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

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

That's a perfectly balanced summary of an Applied Dark Forest Theory in a nutshell. Soulseekers approve.  8)