Author Topic: Time's End AAR (TN start, custom race and solar system)  (Read 10808 times)

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Re: Time's End - Cosmic Existence
« Reply #60 on: September 03, 2021, 06:07:19 PM »
Despite the dreams of Ascension shattered as civilisations fighting over survival had disturbed the higher planes even though their enemies were still in 3D, Groaxians stayed strong, determined to discover yet another safety guarantee for all who seek enlightment across the swallowed planets, dying stars, and shattered galaxies. Just before hibernating at the end of 3520 AM hibernation cycle, millions of transcendent voices merged together in the largest Mental Synergy ever recorded through the entire history, expressing the united will to prevail and preserve all they valued.

Cosmic Existence

We have explored space,
We wield antimatter,
But the destruction happens at an overwhelming pace,
We all see as the galaxies shatter.

The universe is unstable,
Cosmic firefights rage across cosmic membrane,
No race is unbeatable,
No Ascension to a higher plane.

We have seen alien civilisations,
Seen them rise and fall,
Seen them raze cosmic foundations,
Seen them ready to exterminate us all.

Dark Forest Lords cruise around the dying universe,
Searching for their next prey,
We try to hide but a deadly broadcast no one can reverse,
Tempestsaurs Of Achernar have done their deeds without delay.

Dark Forest Disease corruption was running deep,
Our society divided and modified,
But now again in hibernation we can all peacefully sleep,
Lost Generation by the new Groaxian Conglomerate wisdom guided.

Hyperspace already into hyperblack holes disintegrated,
Riddled with Cracks, but strong stays the Wall,
Precursor technology used to see it evaporated,
Meanwhile yet another star explodes into lightining ball.

We understand gravity and antigravity,
We can pierce fabric of space,
But despite all our scientific activity,
There are phenomena no one can understand from our race.

War of a Different Time,
Ancient Vrilxel crashed on an alien moon,
Achernar spotted and their weapons prime,
Confused as we crews from their squadron.

As we know more,
The more we know we know nothing yet,
So much yet to explore,
What will we see no one can bet.

In search of a new Safety Guarantee we strive,
Dark Forest Theory applies but so does our determination,
We still want to finish the matrix and in hyperspace thrive,
We keep wondering about those lights, wondering whether they will bring doom or salvation.

We were gifted a perfectly balanced Monolith,
We have discovered a perfectly balanced Cube,
One serving for the civilisation birth,
The other serving as a destruction tube.

Both built by Humanity,
Both in the same Dark Forest,
As we resist destruction and insanity,
A friend or foe dilemma does not let us rest.

Now we all joined the mental stream,
We express fear and hope in one,
Just like the two sides divided and merged via a mental beam,
We are the one or else our civilisation would be long gone.

Preparing for the final stand,
Keeping Singularity Soulgrain Curvature Fluctuators at hand,
Together under one symbol we band,
Doing everything our journey might demand.

But as thoughts still flow through us,
Transparent to all who beyond matter can see,
We all know existence is beautiful, if you let it be.

Life is not a question.
There does not need to be an answer.

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Re: Time's End - Tizona Siege
« Reply #61 on: September 07, 2021, 05:00:50 PM »

3514-3528 AM hibernation cycles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As noted by the soulseekers, humans would describe these mild tensions as "unspoken, yet everyone being aware of", but for Groaxians there was simply no such thing as "unspoken" once enough individuals had thought about it in a short span of time.
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Re: Time's End AAR (TN start, custom race and solar system)
« Reply #62 on: September 08, 2021, 04:37:56 PM »

3521-3528 AM hibernation cycles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ECCM-5 (3)         ECM 50

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Re: Time's End - Enlightenment Paradox
« Reply #63 on: September 13, 2021, 04:41:00 PM »
3529-3530 AM hibernation cycles

Tempestsaurs Of Achernar were still to be considered a potential threat and Conglomerate knew it. Technically there were no obstacles towards using the outdated, but still powerful against technologically inferior enemies, Ascension Pathfinders with tons of Bound by Dark Forest loaded on them, wielding next-gen plasma rifles and an entire new branch of sonic weapons reverse-engineered and then improved further. But after the realisations that the past few hibernation cycles had brought and the ominous presence of an Executor idling around Groaxian worlds made Conglomerate hesitate. As pointed out by someone, nothing had really changed - nobody had to give an order to use Executor and a conventional conquest of Tizona III would bring much needed answers and further data on Achernar as well as the chance at assimilating survivors, so something that, while less than ideal, still worked while breaking the rules of a Dark Forest, unaffected by all the problems with hyperspace and whatnot. Better to save a few and already deny Dark Forest its sacrifice than to exterminate everyone, as a popular thought circulating against Groaxians ever since Blutgang Invasion stated.

But Conglomerate still feared. Its members feared themselves. One order, one shot, a few hibernation cycles of waiting. That's all that was needed for the entire Tizona system to be removed from reality, with all Achernar and their military as well as non-military potential still left. Saving Groaxians bound to be killed in the process of a conventional invasion, too. Without anything better to do, Conglomerate announced a special conference to be held with the brightest soulseekers Groaxian civilisation had ever seen. The debate was to have two easy-looking subjects: how far had Groaxians already gone and how much further they could possibly go.

Some of the invited soulseekers recited the arguments about the existence of Executor not really changing much under the condition of not using this starship in the incoming homeworld invasion and some claiming the technological inferiority of Achernar and Project Ascension being nearly finished (even if it no longer served as a valid safely guarantee), at worst possible case of Achernar experiencing technological boom and quickly advancing to the level at which they could pose an existential threat even to four-dimensional Groaxians of the future still giving Groaxians plenty of time to figure a new solution before Achernar would grow capable of destroying them themselves. But most actually pointed out a different problem, seemingly beyond the original scope of the discussion. According to them, the entire question was posed wrongly. The very reason it had been asked was because Groaxians had gained the power so beyond their wildest imagination that they feared eventually succumbing to the Dark Forest Theory altogether, especially given the discovery of a Dark Forest Gene, but at the same time it didn't even assume the possibility of debating the act of conventional invasion in itself. They stated the original Conglomerate question once again and then compared it with the recordings of discussions that had been held prior to the first military starships reaching Blutgang and how much heat each act of opening fire generated, meanwhile after all these hibernation cycles of trying to deny the cosmic fate, Conglomerate ended up accepting conventional homeworld assault in itself without a blink of an eye.

Of course it was immediately blamed on the Dark Forest Gene, but at the same time this gene had existed indifferently ever since first Groaxian ancestors formed their first conscious thoughts, so how much quilt it really contained was debatable at best. Nevertheless ignoring its influence while next orders of war had been issued through decades wasn't the right path either. However, if the malicious gene was tied to sentience, it might as well be possible that it expressed itself more the more advanced a given civilisation would become. In order to verify the truthfulness of that statement, an experiment on a large group of Groaxians was conducted. During first stage, participants were asked to answer a few questions related to the problem Conglomerate was facing, such as "would you attack Tizona conventionally", "would you attack Tizona using Executor", "would you assimilate survivors or exterminate everyone" and so on ans so forth. Their answers were then to be evaluated based on their background and intelligence. However, the results weren't really of much use - differences between the answers of the smartest and the least wise participants were negligible and easily explainable by comparing their jobs, default mental configurations, whether they had cybersoul-based implants or went through genetic engineering etc.

That's where the second stage, already assumed to be the main part of the experiment at the start of it, begun. Most skilled Tempestsaurs were tasked with carefully removing bits of knowledge and civilisational awareness from brains of the selected participants. It was one of the most significant undertakings of mental engineering ever attempted, since precisely extracting certain category of thoughts and memories while leaving out all the ones necessary to have the individual remain functional and responsive was still one of the biggest challenges for scientists exploring Transcendent Speech. A total of four backups of each removal operation were to be kept, two in the form of digitalised data stored on a pre-calibrated cybersoul balance keeping personal assistant, basically an upgraded version of the commonly used portable device or cybersoul implant repurposed for more scientific experiments, and two other in the form of powerful groups of Tempestsaurs who had achieved the ability to isolate their own thoughts and break access to them, allowing for part of their brains to be able to store thoughts of someone else without the two sets interacting with each other in any way. The process of "dumbing down" was painfully slow and full of mistakes, but thanks to the extensive backup network and careful planning, no permanent damage had been caused to the participants, eventually leaving all their filtered thoughts stored for return after the end of experiment.

The second stage gave much more interesting results. The overall conclusion was that indeed the more advanced a civilisation becomes, the more Dark Forest Gene influences the choices made by its members, but at the same time something else was observed. In case of a group who had their memories about all military actions all the way to the moment Executor had left its shipyard kept intact, but lost a good chunk of memories and knowledge related to the work of soulseekers, Project Ascension or the bright side of human culture and history, they displayed significantly more aggressive approach which was expected, but surprisingly the "opposite group" consisting of Groaxians who weren't aware about latest battles and military developments, but knew all the details related to the "bright side" showed almost identical results, meanwhile the third group which was equally stripped from both military and non-military awareness past a certain point in Groaxian history showed a bit more pacifistic approach, generally kept in line with the trends within Groaxian society of the time to which the had been "brought back" mentally.

The experiment that served as a proof for the "Enlightenment Paradox" left everyone even more puzzled than before the original debate had been initiated. One would expect that it was military research that shall be feared, meanwhile it turned out that no matter whether a civilisation takes military or pacifistic approach, ultimately past a certain level of civilisational consciousness Dark Forest Gene takes over, as if it was tied to the level of development in general rather than whether a particular race would be rather combative or not. But still, the original "to launch or not to launch" question remained as solar watches went by. Back in the hibernation cycles of the Lost Generation it wouldn't be so problematic, but in a post-merge society one couldn't just casually throw military orders around putting it all on the shoulders of Bound by Dark Forest.

Another interesting topic brought during the debate was the mysterious race of Arilou who, according to the monolith, directly guided Humanity towards ascension (assuming they got it finished before black holes destroyed human-occupied systems...) during the period they referred to as their "Last Sunset". Based on the human descriptions of these mystical, five-dimensional entities that ascended there despite originally raising as a 3D civilisation, shortly after figuring out Dark Forest Theory Arilou became quite fierce warriors and had the blood of many worlds tainting their minds as Death Rays purged planet after planet, but past a certain point they just stopped walking down the extermination path and searched for a solution beyond which eventually brought them to quasispace, even beyond hyperspace. Various humans encoding their thoughts in the monolith reported Arilou gave vibes of never really giving up on outsmarting Dark Forest Theory in the first place and that the period of intense Death Ray pulses came only as a consequence of brutal mathematical precision and game theory of Dark Forest, but while they followed these strict rules for quite some time, they always thought "outside the space".

Trying to guess an alien culture described by another alien culture wasn't the easiest job, but still what soulseekers could pull from these passages translated to more or less the story of Arilou being consumed by Dark Forest Gene past certain point of development and for some dark period in their history they appeared as if they gave up, but it was more of them not resisting something they knew was doomed to fail back then while still trying to figure out an unconventional solution to the presented problem. After all, their Mechi were created in that time and while the project itself was a total failure, it was a perfect testament of their true intentions and their first serious, large-scale attempt at making them happen. Simply put, they knew when resistance was futile but also when to counterattack. And they made it to quasispace, after all.

And eventually Conglomerate decided to do exactly what Humanity once did - trust the guidance of Arilou, in its own way. The order for Tizona III invasion using conventional forces was eventually issued, prioritising short-term safety for the sake of peaceful Ghuq'ans colonisation and finishing Project Ascensions regardless of it not being much about ascending anymore, but while military commanders were in the process of receiving it, soulseekers simultaneously got tasked with, as Conglomerate phrased it "never giving up on searching for the solutions beyond".
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Re: Time's End - Battle of All Cosmic Fronts
« Reply #64 on: September 14, 2021, 06:58:03 PM »

3531-3547 AM hibernation cycles

Groaxian invasion forces had departed from Qi shortly after the decision. Human Space Fleet was sent first, a bit earlier than Ascension Pathfinders, just to stay on the safe side in case of Achernar reinforcements likely being called back to Tizona through the hibernation cycles that had passed since the last siege. The plan was simple: Vaccines and Dargonbreaths would scout ahead and clear any space forces remaining and a bit later Ascension Pathfinders would catch up and deploy troops on the surface of Tizona III with air support from Avengers and even orbital support of Human Space Fleet if really needed.

But what was simple in theory escalated rather quickly. Not expecting any significant resistance, Groaxians simply flew straight towards Tizona through the shortest possible path, predicting disengaging Curvature Propulsion Systems at the same coords as the last time, just to get towards the targeted planet the quickest way possible. And that was a big mistake, because not only had the Achernar called for reinforcements and not only had they arrived on time, but they placed a monitoring group right at where Groaxian fleet was spotted warping in to the system previous time, so the moment interstellar navigation systems deactivated interstellar propulsion radically shifting vision from the red-blue variants towards standard spectrum, Achernar ships were already awaiting the assault force with weapons charged. There were only five of them and only one displayed the capaibility to fire particle beams, but by concentrating their firepower they severely shredded the armor of a Vaccine and near-lightspeed particles scored hits in several critical systems, namely conventional engines, Curvature Propulsion System, cybersoul targeting mainframe and a few Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuators. Without all these systems, the unlucky ship was unable to fight and unable to flee.

The crew of the damaged Vaccine was occupied by patching holes in the ignition chamber. Thanks to the conventional engines being off because of maintaining a constant conventional speed while encircled by a warp bubble those who didn't die directly from the shots were still alive and there was still something to patch, but the ship wasn't going to fly anywhere soon, besides the conventional speed it had already maintained and a small rotational velocity gained after the impacts, that is. Rest of the fleet was able to rotate against the enemies and fire conventional engines with all their might until sitting at a comfortable distance to blast the enemy into pieces and then blast the pieces too, but the half-destroyed Vaccine was still a problem. Despite of initial misfortune, luck ended up on Groaxian side: because of the sheer advantage Human Space Fleet had over Achernar defenders, the latter fired their engines only a moment after Groaxians to get away from them. Because of that, the problematic Vaccine was left to its own devices, with the next volley still being way more than capable of screwing it over, but the distance from the enemies increased nevertheless. To discourage the enemy from attempting to finish off the starship, rest of the functional vessels turned around (rather rapidly since no significant speed had been gained yet) and began chasing the enemy, disrupting its cruise with micro black hole local gravity anomalies and rapid space curvature fluctuations. Gravitational weapons disrupted only three enemies, though, because two outright did not survive direct contact with weapons beyond their understanding and defensive systems:

Antiparticles were only required to finish off the monitoring squadron, leaving clear space ahead and five new wrecks. Fleet admiral decided to turn back towards stranded Vaccine and guard it while it would undergo field repairs restoring its maneouvrability and combat status. There wasn't much left to do anyways, because Ascension Pathfinders were expected to drop from lightspeed cruise at least half solar watch later, even from their perspective it must have felt like a tiny fraction of a tick.

But as the fleet of Starhunters and Ravens was about to emerge in Tizona, officers on the starships took notice of something registered by warp bubble interference monitoring systems. Something that shouldn't be there. Something Vaccines and Dragonbreaths had missed and Ravens would miss too, but not Starhunters, because due to their size Curvature Propulsion Systems were big enough to cause interference with space at which the thing was located. Stopping somewhere in interstellar space short of Tizona to meet an unknown entity wasn't strictly what Groaxians on boards wanted to do, but it was the only way to avoid potentially lethal interference and matter of the entity getting within warp bubble and getting compressed to plasma splashing against the hulls or something different, but equally threatening. And so Ascension Pathfinders were left stranded somewhere in darkness only to see an Achernar fleet of respectable size, detectable only thanks to the minimal gravitational influence it had over the fabric of space as the ships looked completely dead.

Groaxians expected to get blasted long before they would be able to gain safe distance and turn Curvature Propulsion Systems back on, but nothing happened. Achernar just stayed where they were and no shots had been fired. Not willing to risk, Ascension Pathfinders crossed the last bits of distance separating them from Tizona in a hurry, but the encounter was so unique that Human Space Fleet prepared a jump to the saved coordinates of the enemy, wondering whether they would still be there by the time Groaxians would reach them again. And they were.

Approaching it just like any other battle, Groaxian weapons blazed across the void, nullifying many of Achernar starships, but they all refused to move or fire at all. Seeing this odd behaviour, cease fire order was given and a risky boarding attempt performed. But all the precautions were unnecessary - the ships had stayed at their position for nobody knew for sure how long, dead and deactivated. Engines were non-functional, there was no fuel of any sort, life support systems were dead and no traces of oxygen had been left and the biomass emergency support chambers were all full of bodies of Tempestsaurs Of Achernar who never woke up before nutrition and oxygen recycling systems as well as power went out. A large fleet of derelict shells that would never fly again existed there, frozen in time and frozen in space. They all must have been very old not only because of their technical status, but also because a brief examination revealed their interiors were of a different design than the ships encountered during the War of a Different Time or even, at least according to some speculations based on demonstrated capabilities, Endpoint War. They had some primitive Curvature Propulsion Systems (or at least they appeared primitive based on the few non-fried parts left), but not even broadcasting devices utilising gravitational waves, let alone something more sophisticated.

And yet somehow database backups still contained readable entries in them. All electronic data had long been corrupted thanks to the long-lasting power shortage and overall decays, but the backups themselves, not based on electrical signals, but carefully assembled out of materials and patterns that would yeld decipherable messages in Achernar language when looked at via full spectrum scanners, were still usable and contained some interesting information. According to them, it was a virgin interstellar flight for the Achernar, but they had already knew about Dark Forest already. But soon after leaving Tizona, something went wrong. Based on the reports, a strange object entered their warp bubble, but it did not behave how it was expected. Suddenly space collapsed on the expedition and all stars moved around, engraving weird patters on the sky. Everything, as Achernar described it, turned "upside down" for a brief moment, then came some flashes and strange optical illusions and eventually the object disappeared, leaving stranded fleet with no power and broken everything that could ever break on board. Groaxians exploring their story couldn't do much besides wondering about the likehood of first Achernar explorers coming into contact with some bizarre technology wielded by Dark Forest Lords, perhaps another doomsday device, perhaps something else entirely.

As Human Space Fleet was about to return from its investigation, its refueling detachment, left behind since it was nothing but an uneccessary risk to take it to the possibly dangerous point of curiosity, got into a very tense situation when space around it began shfting and warping at a few different locations, spitting Achernar vessels shortly after. Maybe it was intentional, but their interstellar sync module or something similar was likely to have failed as the squadron appeared completely desynchronized and scattered around.

While heavily spread vessels were out of firing range, at least firing range observed by the soldiers fighitng in the War of a Different Time so far, one from the arriving reinforcements had landed right on top of the defenseless tankers. With Curvature Propulsion Systems not prepared for a quick getaway, following seconds were likely to end really badly for the surrounded squadron. However, the leader of the support attachement for Human Space Fleet was a creative middleman, even more than the average one even though creativity in extraordinary situations had been associated with them as their geneder trait since forever. The middleman was well-aware that truth to be told, seemingly unarmed ships all had a source of ultiamte devastation stored within them - antimatter. After a few moments of rapid acceleration, boosted by reducing weight via dumping some fusion fuel supply for the greater good of surviving the deadly trap, engines were partially turned off. Or rather not turned off in a classic meaning of this term, but rather the matter inputs of some of the annihilation chambers were shut down so that only antimatter would enter it and thus no reaction would occur. Later, overriding all automatic protocols and bypassing whatever safet checks were there to bypass, engineers from the engine control rooms forcefully opened the magnetic nozzles connected to the partially closed annihilation chambers, the ones from which during standard usage generated energy would radiate generating thrust. But that time there was no energy, only antiparticles, freed from their magentic traps and exposed to the vacuum. But since only some engines were shut and thus all Gragzeans still accelerated, dropped antiparticles had lower velocity than the already increased velocity of the ship that left them behind, effectively creating a deadly trail of antimatter behind the escaping ships.

The enemy right on top of the fleet apparently didn't expect such sudden and rapid acceleration from the Groaxians, so before it was ready to fire, refueling fleet was already beyond the effective targeting range of its kinetic weapons, so it tried to follow. But it didn't take long before its hull touched the stray antimatter left by Groaxians alongside its predicted path, the only path they expected it would follow to simply get closer to the "unarmed" vessels. Unfortunately, the antimatter charge was only good enough to blast several holes in the pursuer, but not outright destroy it. Still, it damaged its engines so it was no longer able to generate enough thrust for continuing the chase and other ships were way too far to catch up to Groaxians, by then utilising all of their engines again and not leaving any antimatter behind. Fortunately for them, it didn't take long from that moment for the Human Space Fleet to get back to the outer edges of Tizona and chase the hostile squadron down, easily evaportating it in the hail of antimatter explosions and gravitational anomalies. Commander of the tanker squadron would later receive a personal reward from the Conglomerate itself for the valiant effort of standing against the enemy and all odds.

But at the same time, light hibernation cycles away from the heat of battle, Genesian deep space monitors raised an alarm when a fleet of Achernar appeared over the system. Decades had passed since the last encounter around Groaxian homeworld and yet here they were, boldly warping into the core system. With main forces thrown far away at alien worlds, Conglomerate sent Pikes and Strikers forming the Human Space Fleet of old to battle, hoping particle beams and Phased Curvature Disruption Systems coming from legacy designs would be enough to hold against the unexpected raid. Human Space Fleet quickly raised above Genesian skies and hurried to meet their foes allowing itself to burn excessive fuel just to intercept the enemy as far from any of the three planets as possible, not needing to worry about getting stranded too much as long as they kept enough to slow down to speeds allowing reasonable rescue. But their excessive velocity is what casued the first issue as the old cybersoul mainframes were responsible for a critical error in range calculations, causing Groaxian ships to almost ram into the enemies as the latter pounded at them with kinetic fire.

While armor damage taken was severe, at least Groaxians could be relieved to see no particle beams of the enemy. Proceeding to slow down a bit while rotating to "dive below" the enemy, they opened fire. While first particle beams pierced through Achernar spacecraft without any issue, Phased Curvature Disruption Systems were used to affect the shape of space around the taken flight trajectory, allowing pilots to easily use it as a slingshot to push the ships with full force at the Achernar who, in the meantime, attempted to gain velocity in the opposite direction to Groaxians. Still, they had no chance against superior technology (still superior despite being very outdated for Groaxian standards) and soon both fleets flew alongisde each other, exchanging fire but with Groaxians dodging the vast majority of the metallic missiles launched at them. At some point enemies attempted to engage interstellar propulsion, but gravitational weapons of Pikes were just enough to counter any space warp they attempted, forcing them to stay within the firing range of Human Space Fleet, leaving them all to perish under superior firepower.

But the unexpected Qi raid wasn't all Achernar had prepared. Another fleet, divided into two squadrons, was spotted by the extensive network of space monitoring drones in Blutgang. Unfortunately for Achernar, by the time of their arrival Executor had been finishing its patrolling tour around the system and it was the perfect occassion to unleash its power and bring the apocalypse towards whoever who dared to disturb the safety of Blutgang inhabitants. And if Groaxians themselves trembled in fear and their brain temperature rose each time they thought about the mighty dreadnought, then Tempestsaurs Of Achernar should already be on the run even before stopping at the system. Not that it would help them. Their end was destined the moment they even thought about entering Blutgang for another time.

For the opening volley the Executor was still too far to count on phasing antimatter bombs directly into interiors of enemy ships, but Soulgrain HyperDisintegrators were perfectly usable. These weapons made no sound Executor's crew could hear and no visual trace said crew could watch. The moment of firing was indistinguishable from the moment of not firing. The only thing that happened was a single flash coming roughly from the Achernar fleet's bearing and sensor arrays informed about losing track of one of the target. It didn't look like a photonic missile hitting a star or a black hole ripping chunks of rock until the entire planet would fall apart, but that's probably what was so terrifying about this weapon. No indicator beyond logs from sophisticated instruments used for measuring parameters of the fabric of space itself, yet targets were surgically removed from the plane reality each time it fired.

What followed after was a pure sluaghter. Propelled to ridiculous speeds, Executor came on top of the enemies, not giving a damn about kinetic missiles and particle beams losing all their kinetic energy in contact with powerful energy shields, used its antigravity flight assistant to rapidly lose much of its speed to align with the hapless Achernar and opened fire with all it got (except Black Hole Generator for obvious reasons). Ships suddenly blowing up for no visible reason as pockets of energy freed from the antimatter after touching matter suddenly appeared in the middle of Achernar engine and other ships magically disappearing as if a powerful entity beyond the common understanding decided to remove all their traces from the universe as if they never had came into existence in the first place was a terrifying performance watched by Groaxians in awe and terror until the deed was done and both Squadrons of Achernar fleet were no more.

Light hibernation cycles away the main battle still raged, too. With Ascension Pathfinders heading directly towards Tizona III, Human Space Fleet turned at Tizona II, because telescopes were able to identify dozens of targets steadily raising above the planet's atmosphere.

Having counted dozens of enemy starships, Groaxians had only one way to be sure they would not overwhelm their forces that might possibly have troubles destroying all of them in time. And so before they could get out of the gravity well of their planet, a powerful anomaly created by Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuators echoed across the space, with the gravity of unstable micro black holes causing all the ships to not have enough thrust to ovecrome the planet's gravity anymore and collapse on the ground. Groaxians watched as one after the other the starships smashed against the surface with energy so high it turned them into weapons of mass destruction and that alone was still nothing compared to the disturbances created gravitational anomaly caused, shattering large portions of the world below, with earthquakes on an unprecedenced scale and storms a nasty gas giant wouldn't be ashamed of.

And yet the way these weapons were tagrted allowed the planet below to survive. And surprisingly, most of Achernar population survived, too, simply because there weren't many Achernar living on the surface in the first place. Similar population density was detected on Tizona III, too, so the final conclusion was that in the entire system there were very little Tempestsaurs Of Achernar even before Groaxian arrival. This could very well mean War of a Different Time was way further from being over than anticipated, with Achernar fleeing towards a new home of theirs en masse, escaping Tizona both before Groaxian invasion and the inevitably incoming Dark Forest Strike. But even if that was really the case, Groaxians hoped to get the coordinates of this supposed new home straight out of heads of captured battle survivors and whatever they could get access to once on the surface of Tizona III.

And so after the fierce, multi-stage space battle path to Tizona III lied open and the invasion could proceed according to the plan. But questions about the future of Groaxians remained unanswered.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 07:12:38 PM by Stormtrooper »

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Re: Time's End - Tizona III Invasion
« Reply #65 on: September 15, 2021, 04:51:18 PM »

3545 AM hibernation cycle

Ascension Pathfinders were all clear to approach the homeworld of Tempestsaurs of Achernar. White lands with brown or light green patches scattered around and light blue oceans awaited conequest and exploration. The garrison wasn't estimated to be very strong, since there were very few Achernar living down there, but depending on the autonomous machines usage their actual army size and strength could exceed what one might expect based on the population statistics alone. Still, not expecting much problems, Bound By Dark Forest boarded their capsules and prepared for rapid orbital falloff down to the surface of a world that looked asleep. Except it wasn't asleep, because before the final command particle beams started blasting through the armor of Starhunters. These behemoths were sturdy enough to withstand direct hit without any penetration, but pods about to be launched weren't really that though. Neither were the three Ravens accompanying the fleet, carrying Avengers with them. Three of them got destroyed while still in hangar as particle beam went in and out of one Raven. Human Space Fleet tried to assist with orbital strikes, but the defense systems bruied in the deepest depths of the oceans (or at least they gave an impression as if that was the case) weren't particularly easy to hit without risking wrecking the entire planet until there would be barely anything left to invade, denying Groaxians the answers they seeked. Not willing to hang around the dead zone any longer than strictly necessary, Starhunters synchronised the launch and soon all the orbital pods were speeding towards the alien world below. Avengers had a more difficult task since they had to drop from orbital speeds and enter the atmosphere while not getting destroyed. Particle beams had quite some trouble chewing at the swarm of Avengers, let alone the small pods with Groaxian soldiers in them, but Ravens and Starhunters were a different thing. Before they could reach enough velocity to get out of the dead zone, one of the Ravens suffered a critical engine damage and was not able to continue accelerating.

Particle beams and some kinetic fire support concentrated on that ship that quickly got left behind, not giving it any chance. All its captain could do was to call for evacuation and leave the vessel before certain destruction. It was only thanks to this that all the remaining crew survived when disintegrated fragments and debris from the fresh wreck began to spread in all directions.

Being too late to halt the invasion prematurely, Achernar kept on firing at the most vulnerable targets which undoubtedly were Ravens and woudn't stop until last one of them ended its service while still close to the planet. Starhunters and Human Space Fleet were lucky to get out of the firing zone without a scratch, but Avengers didn't have anywhere to dock anymore. Particle beam fire ceased, but metallic slugs kept flying from the surface towards descending invaders so first Bound by Dark Forest were slain and more Avengers crashed down before even first Groaxian was able to touch the ground.

Choosing landing location was a bit problematic, because on the whole planet it was hard to detect anything resembling a city worthy of direct attack. Because of that, a group of small outposts was chosen as a primary target, but taking it over would still be far from victory. What military officers hoped for, though, was to find some explanation about things going on in this world there. The initial landing zone was a narrow strip of a brown shoreline beyond which endless white fields were spreading. Oddly enough, there were no alien lifeforms to be seen anywhere. The brown ground might have a unique shade as if given to it by some biological beings, but these could be microorganisms at best since for the naked eye it was nothing but barren soil. Further from the oceans white fields stretched benath a pale blue-greenish sky. Groaxians were in shock upon witnessing these fields for the first time from up close. Xenobiology had already provided answers as to what these landscapes were made of and how Achernar spawn in Yatune caverns used it to feed itself. In some way this brought memories many older officers still remembered from Scar'am - a dead, almost extinct world. But in the previous example leftovers from Umbara bodies hadn't been covering the vast majority of the landmass to the point they were the main feature of the planet to be discovered from space even with naked eyes. Also, as evolutionary emulators were able to prove after being reinforced with data on Achernar biology, "overpopulation" would be a very euphemistic term for describing the demography of Tizona III if all the biomass accumulated on the surface would belong to the pre-extinction population. On the other hand, maybe that's how it was comfortable for Achernar. Groaxians had already gone through the shock of discovering how densely packed human cities were. Except Achernar had no cities on the surface.

First squads that had landed immediately began fortifying the painstackingly cover-lacking neighbourhood, but against sonic weapons this was all in vain. However, defenders firing away or something were nowhere to be seen. Soon the song of hell was played, likely from many sources at once. Achernar were prepared. So were Bound by Dark Forest, but sonic shielding was a bit too weak for the job and countersonic batteries were able to focus only in one narrow direction to effectively nullify the deadly infrasounds. This all combined made first soldiers drop dead left and right, even if the casualties had already been minimised. But just as Groaxians regrouped and abandoned the idea of wasting time and effort on useless fortifications, giant machines were spotted raising staight out of biomass. They were all perfectly spherical. Biological substance was still oozing from them as they formed above it.

Whether they were the source of the sound warfare or not was debatable, but for certain they were the forces of energetic forcefields expanding outwards. The pulses didn't have much effective range, but the spheres itself could rotate rather fast and they swarmed Groaxian positions. Gliders were sturdy enough to still remain operational after direct contact with a forcefield, but even latest prototype of infantry power armor struggled to keep the wearer alive, let alone conscious and functional. Not to mention the spheres itself were capable of reaching scary speeds while being rather bulky, so whoever got under one of them during the chaos that ensued got splattered and essentially merged with the biomass leftovers sticking to their exteriors. Plasma weapons were ineffective agains them, especially after noticing that their heat signatures were enormous so a bunch of plasma shots couldn't really heat them up much.

Nevertheless they were all suspectible to antimatter missiles, obviously, and surprisingly also ultraviolet beams fired from Avengers providing air support were of great effectiveness. First combat spheres began blowing up or just falling apart as they rolled, but the amount of them that swarmed Groaxians was enormous. Still, it was all nothing for Phased Surface Gravitational Destabilisators, by then even more destabilising than they had been during Blutgang Invasion. Contracting space at targeted spots made the spheres collapse, splatter and pop up until eventually turning into plasma outburst and transferring to pure energy, raining down destruction on the nearby machines as well. At times an accurate antigrav pulse was all there was needed to lift the enemies off the ground and crash them against each other.

With each moment of focused fire Groaxian perimeter looked more stable and the chaos was being successively pushed away from it while casualties taken were being reduced, especially after noticing that the spherical robots were indeed infrasound emitters, too. It didn't last long until Groaxians were able to counterattack (or rather counter-counterattack to be precise) and march directly towards Achernar outposts. They were defended by a more conventional layout of particle beam cannons, infantry with sonic guns and some smaller spheres with kinetic launchers sticking out of them being probably an Achernar version of Gliders of some sort, but they all had no chance. If the Groaxian army had been only as advanced as during Blutgang Invasion, a breakthrough would have costed a meaningful number of killed and wounded, but all the Achernar fortifications, bunkers and squads were nullified by next-gen Groaxian arsenal to the point Bound by Dark Forest had little to nothing to do once they were thrown to charge the battered enemy position. The battle was easier than expected and soon the entire Achernar complex fell into Groaxian hands.

Expecting counterattack (or more of a counter-counter-counterattack), soldiers entrenched themselves rapidly on the new position and scientists brought alongside for the mission began tinkering with alien artifacts discovered inside. Providing input for their cybersouls by encoding sample full spectrum scan results that carried proper meaning wasn't the most convenient user experience, but it had to do. First noticeable thing was a counter displayed on each device, according to which the 527th Respawn Period should begin soon. Wondering what this "respawn period" was supposed to be about, Groaxians dug deeper until they uncovered everything. The small population of Achernar was small for a reason. Unlike for Humans and Groaxians, breeding wasn't something that was supposed to bring constant population replacements for them. It was a lenghty and spectacular undertaking, requiring preparing many, many resources a new spawn would consume to grow and gain strength. Because of that, during solar watch-to-solar watch lives Achernar were dying, but not breeding. Not at all. And each dead Achernar would rapidly decompose into white biomass that nobody would ever attempt to clean up. It was left on purpose to pile up. Its fascinating properties allowed it even to consume nearby plants and animals, accelerating its growth and the amount of nutritional value it had to offer. Past a certain critical point the biomass would expand rapidly and consume a large portion of native wildlife, leaving barely anything left to repopulate biosphere again. After that point last surviving Achernar from a given generation overseeing the whole process would merge with the white substance and soon afterwards first Achernar of a new generation would spawn, with more raising from the goo as solar watches would pass, raising and shining until barely anything from the old generation would have been left and the new one would be ready to take on the universe. And because of all that Achernar didn't even bother to build proper cities - they needed all the place for their ever-growing biomass, building only minimal facilities, outposts and underground systems dedicated to science and industry.

Several interesting implications popped up in the heads of Groaxian scientists and soulseekers regarding the culture and civilisation built by Tempestsaurs of Achernar. Firstly, if the theory of Universal Collapse was really true then cycle of their lives was a decent metaphor of the cycles of the universe, seeing each Achernar of old die until an essentially new world would be born, even if the conditions and genetic material stayed the same all along. Even more, this aspect of their biology might be a true explanation behind their half-suicidal Dark Forest Broadcast - it might as well simply be in their nature for them to expect a "wipeout" since under optimal conditions no Achernar would ever live to see the next generation. Secondly, in order to keep up with technological and scientific progress, an extensive automation array was a must have to keep up with diminishing workforce and lenghty and costly breeding procedure. While this might be the cause for Achernar struggling to raise their civilisation above the sky and then beyond Tizona, past a certain level technological boom was a given because of how the great degree of automation maintained out of strict necessity could reshape their entire civilisation. Said "automation" also took a unique path as it seemed that for Achernar their robots had always strong connection with the "intergenerational soup" as utilising as much of the natural processes as possible in their constructions was especially important when they still lacked technology and industry to assemble enough automatons to assume steady growth, simply to skip the gaps in cybersoul mainframe development and understanding.

Even the spheres Groaxians had fought were "guided" by portions of Achernar soup itself. The biomass posessed a natural self-defense instinct that would empower it to lash out at anything that weren't of Achernar of biology to guard the respawning process. In principle these spheres were just sensors through which the goo was able to sense intruders while the weapons were linked with the defensive mechanisms, getting triggered each time the soup "decided" to attack the threat. To make it all work flawlessly, the concept was enclosed within a sphere to avoid any complicated controls and movement. A sphere could just roll anywhere while its rotation and the like wouldn't matter, so primitive biological instinct combined with some extraordinary programming was all it was needed to make it work as a fearsome defense machine.

By admiring this design, Groaxians realised the technological boom of Achernar was about to begin, if it hadn't already launched, that is. Another thing they realised was that just like in their own case, civilisation of Achernar had been shaped by the biological characteristics of its members. Besides Dark Forest Gene, this seemed to be another common trait shared between sentient lifeforms, no matter how much differing from each other they would be. Another issue worth tackling was the instant question "what to do with surviving Achernar and Tizona III as a whole". Technically the most satisfying answer would be to do with them exactly what had been done with La, Zenn and what Humanity had done with Yagidrerc, except in that particular case the situation got a little bit more complicated. After some time new Achernar would start popping up out of the white fields of Tizona III until its inhabitants would form society large enough to be worthy of a planet with a homeworld status. And their estimated numbers were supposed to far exceed current Groaxian population on all worlds combined. Keeping Groaxian society with less than 50% Groaxians at peace and balance while struggling to fit two radically different natures into one integrated civilisation was anything but easy. Taking control of their planet before next Respawn Period was one thing, maintaining it all after the respawn another.

After gaining the foothold and learning more about Achernar-built civilisation and culture, Groaxians were able to remotely switch off defense layer after defense layer and seize the whole planet, but while it indeed held the answers they sought after, the knowledge they brought only complicated the decision making on the course of future interactions with Tempestsaurs of Achernar even further.

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Re: Time's End - Tizona Ever After
« Reply #66 on: October 15, 2021, 03:55:15 PM »

3546-3548 AM hibernation cycles

After its securing, Tizona III was officially named Bholxir, not only because of another planet bearing hostile lifeforms in the same system, but also because peace on it was as short as everyone could expect. In fact, peace was never an option. Industry of this world was useless for Groaxians and while it was no big deal to shift it for appropriate production chains, it required time and large teams of engineers, technicians and plain workers. At least mining equipment seized from Achernar was of impressive design, basically being launchers firing their own biomass which would then proceed to suck any microelements needed for Achernar diet straight out of the rocks, chewing out tunnels and serving as a natural navigation towards different types of ores and veins. Still, there was a long way from random rocks recovered from the ground towards anything useful. The army itself was too small to run much production on their own, meanwhile starships above required spare parts and regular service. They had been kept ready to fight any counterattack for as long as possible, but with the requirement to plan ahead energy-taxing trip back home in a safe manner by the end of 3548 AM hibernation cycle all space forces had to withdraw from Tizona.

Soldiers on the surface were to stay and watch out for Respawn Period to complete and to prevent Achernar retaking the planet (that was yet another reason for space fleets to make it to Qi and back, an army of this size required supplies and could last only so long with limited production capability in a hostile system living in a toxic environment), but Groaxians weren't fools to just leave the planet because at that time no Achernar space activity of any kind was being detected. Certain spots on the planet had been marked for controlled bombardment, paired with cosmic gravitational fireworks performed in orbit, all to make it look from the outside as if the conquerors scorched the planet, purged it from the biomass and left with nothing staying behind.

Ironically, it took only a few solar watches after space forces departure when a significant Achernar fleet had been spotted heading towards Tizona II. The configuration of planets at that moment was rather unfortunate, with Bholxir staying rather close to their estimated trajectory.

Enemy velocity was already high enough to allow them to reach destination within roughly one solar watch even when slowed down a bit here and there from gravitational influence of other bodies, so any kind of maneouvre that would require them to get close to Bholxir was unlikely. Still, it was a very tense solar watch as they cruised through interplanetary space, fortunately keeping to their straightforward path and eventually landing on Tizona II by the end of it. Nevertheless, it appeared the horror had just began two ships popped on the radar on the system outskirts, rapidly dropping from relativistic flight.

They also looked like flying towards Tizona II and the optimal route was so far from the freshly captured world that Groaxians didn't have to fear it for as long as they continued to lay low and run  planet-wide signal shielding all the time. Several solar watches have passed since this nerve-wrecking incident and Tempestsaurs of Achernar were ready to leave their world, their destination unknown. At least it wasn't Bholxir. Except it was Bholxir, too, because while they were heading towards the outer Tizona system, they kept accelerating and Bholxir was too close for them to pass on the opportunity to use it as a slingshot and save on fuel. And even if they refused to do so for whatever reason, no signal shielding would hold against their scanners from the range at which they were supposed to pass the planet anyways.

It was the longest slingshot manoeuvre any Groaxian had ever seen. Also the slowest one. Achernar combat starships entered orbit and slowed down to maintain first space velocity around their former world, doing orbital cruise around it, overconfident due to lack of any space defences. As first energy bolts rained down on the surface, Groaxian soldiers and scientists accompanying them took shelter in repurposed Achernar bunker systems and wondered how long would they hold before Human Space Fleet arrival. Bombardment wouldn't last all the hibernation cycles needed to make it to Genesis and back anyways because after that much time either there would be nothing left to target or at the very least nothing to fire with. Though with Tizona II at bay the latter was easily mitigated by Achernar, nothing a short resupply and maintenance run back home wouldn't fix. Even if their space industry had been severely destroyed, they were bound to have some supplies hidden somewhere on the surface of Tizona II, likely hidden within deep underground bunkers just like on Bholxir.

What bothered Groaxians was that with their actions they were burning their own biomass more than anything else and surface scans displayed the environmental damage done to the whole planet regardless of missile impact spots, but Achernar just seemed to not care. After all, Groaxians had to admit such course of action was just natural for them. Destroy their exsistential threat no matter their own casualties. They had already doomed this entire system a long time ago, after all, and in case of this bombardment it was only a matter of one planet, with a ton of intact Achernar soup ready to respawn on Tizona III. And so deadly energy in the form of near-lightspeed particle beams and fusion missiles was steadily turning Bholxir into post-apocalyptic wasteland, with Groaxians preparing to hibernate in the cryogenic chambers within the deepest pits of underground complexes to minimize risk of taking further casualties as the incarnation of death hovered above the skies.

3548 AM hibernation cycle still hadn't come to an end when a signal overriding hibernation programs reached high command of the Groaxian army. Human Space Fleet was there, ready to hunt the enemy down. Groaxians underground switched to surface view and gazed into the stars of a cosmic watch, time after time overshadowed by explosions, lightinings and strikes, sometimes being warped whenever graviy-based weapons were fired, giving an illusion as if they were moving rapidly through space, as if the stars themselves were fighting in the eternal war of the universe. Tempestsaurs of Achernar tried to run, but they were too slow and too primitive to make it far before total destruction. Surface of Bholxir became quiet once again.

According to space admiral's report, from their time perspective, as soon as they engaged Curvature Propulsion Systems, they detected gravitational disturbances of other similar devices being used nearby and turned around, hurrying up to destroy new enemy forces. The crews performed Curvature Propulsion System disengaging, recharging and then precisely disengaging again once near the crucial world flawlessly and it was insanely fast from their perspective, but time dilation still took its toll and rescue couldn't have arrived sooner than many, many solar watches after threat detection.

Bholxir looked vastly different compared to what space forces were leaving behind. Biomass was either non-existing or turned into scrambled Achernar in regions that hadn't been hit directly by anything. Planetary crust had been broken in several places, resulting in concentrated tectonic activity and volcano eruptions. All the solidified magma gave birth to many new mountain ranges. Temperature increased, but the planet was cooling down rapidly again due to all the dust in the atmosphere. Besides few alive Achernar that were kept captive since the initial invasion and hydroponic systems, all life had been eliminated. Everything had contributed to the formation of biomass only for the biomass to be no more.

Such outcome resolved the pending issue of figuring out what to do with respawning Achernar, but recordings from the event were deeply disturbing. Soulseekers tried, they tried so hard but no amount of Mental Synergies ran with mixture of Achernar-originating thoughts could have been enough for any Groaxian to understand this nature of Achernar. Sure, history of Humanity was full of examples of similar mindset and behaviour, but for humans it was a matter of marginal occurences. Average human being wasn't like that, human nature at its core wasn't like that. Meanwhile ordinary Achernar was exactly like that. And yet they only followed what was natural and obvious for them. Their entire moral system, culture and civilisation had been built and shaped by such approach. Bholxir survivors didn't seem to care much, for them it was a perfectly normal and understandable behaviour. The ever-returning question of morality of one's nature in itself was more actual than ever. Because based on the assumption of their identity as sentient species, Groaxians and Tempestsaurs of Achernar both did exact same thing - trying to shape a society functioning in compliance with their own nature, avoiding too much superficiality based on the premise of it being unhealthy to stray too far from one's nature.

The destruction of the entire biomass would later influence the Groaxian Conglomerate to prevent total conquest of Achernar and change plans. Instead, a sophisticated blockade of Tizona II was to be maintained. With no Achernar space forces left (again), it was easy for Groaxians to set up a signal shielding in high orbit, preventing Achernar down below from sending or receiving any more interstellar messages. At least a few Groaxian starships were to be present within the system at any time, ready to shoot down anything attempting to leave Tizona III atmosphere or coming from the outside to lift the blockade. And in case of "something unexpected" happening, Groaxians kept the Executor handy, ready to take on whatever threat Achernar could still become.

This solution wasn't ideal. Some Groaxians still felt bad about it. But the alternative was total annihilation. Or at least conventional invasion and then total annihilation, if not by Groaxians then by Achernar themselves who would just behave like their nature had wired them to do so. In fact it wasn't even something desrving to be called a "solution". But time was so precious, more than anything else. And the temporairly adapted approach gave a few dozens of hibernation cycles more before the inevitable would come.

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Re: Time's End - Three and a half Dimensions
« Reply #67 on: October 16, 2021, 10:46:12 AM »

3549-3558 AM hibernation cycles

3607 AM hibernation cycle was approaching rapidly and the dreadful Dark Forest Strike might as well come earlier because why not. Terraforming of Ghuq'ans was on the verge of completion and even at the beginning of 3549 AM hibernation cycle many Groaxians stationed on the planet could walk outside their cities for prolonged periods of time without any life support without any ill effects as the planet shifted from brown-gray-blue to the beautiful shades of blue, purple, pink, orange and yellow. Surprisingly, many species of native fauna had adapted well to the shifting climate, almost as if this world being perfectly balanced by nature made it compatible with genesian ecosystems.

Mass evacuation to Joyeuse, no matter how promising these two close binary systems looked like, was only a short term solution. There was no guarantee Groaxians would even get to be comfortable in their new home before the same or some other Dark Forest Lord learns about their new coordinates and wipes them out. An alternative would be to adpot nomadic lifestyle, but to prepare a self-sufficient fleet hosting every Groaxian alive at the same time would be far more time and resource-consuming than finding new home and transporting colonists there partially. The only alternative to these conventional dodging methods was for scientists to do a miracle. And they wouldn't be Groaxian scientists if they didn't excel at doing miracles. But any miracle first required enough groaxianpower. And so as a first step a cloning program of old found itself revitalised. While it would cause insane ethical and philosophical problems for humans, Groaxians had it muc easier. It was a mere step further from the idea first discovered during initial runs of Distributed Groaxians project. Just like separated parts of brain could work on their own while belonging to a single Groaxian, cloning did nothing but doubled the amount of brainpower for an individual. It had been proven that two cloned Groaxians were the same individual, only with two times the body parts so that killing one would be more or less an equivalent of amputating half the limbs of an individual that hasn't been cloned.

Of course unrestricted cloning would cause nothing but chaos, overpopulation and balance's demise and each Groaxian could maintain only so much bodies before going insane, but to create these micro hive minds for a scientific community was exactly what was needed when the whole civilisation had only a few dozen hibernation cycles at best to do something more than prolong the deadline. And this extra little push had proven to be exactly what Groaxians needed. With reinforced teams doubling, tripling and quadrupling their effort, the glorious solar watch eventually came by the early 3550 AM hibernation cycle. After numerous experiments with all kinds of configurations, body parts, organic and inorganic matter of all sorts and finally the consciousness itself, ranging from instict of a primitive animal to complex sentient thoughts, scientists were able to fully transfer one Groaxian into hyperspace as a being of higher dimensions, alongside with a four-dimensional capsule providing life support in the 4D vacuum. Interestingly, they were able to successfully downgrade him back to 3D after the experiments without any trouble and the test subject felt balanced afterwards. Project Ascension has left the experimental stage and it was up to the engineers to assemble enough matrixes and filters to provide throughput to send entire fleets permanently into hyperspace and settle the new realm.

Shortly after the success annoucement terraformers confirmed 100% habitability rating on Ghuq'ans. Blue and purple ice stretched beneath a yellow sky on a lush, temperate world. Plentiful rifts of the planet framed it as the biggest terraforming success to date, because the geological features of the planet resembled Genesis so well that after terraforming it was almost indistinguishable from the homeworld, except for the ecosystem enriched with surviving native biosphere, something seen as a next step in the evolution of Groaxian environment in the most satisfying way possible.

Soon a new type of colony starship saw the light of the solar watch, developed with the purpose of being fast, efficient yet easy, quick and cheap to build. Better designs were plausible, but the one to receive Conglomerate approval was proven to provide the best throughput of colonists specifically on the Genesis-Ghuq'ans route while also being easy to transform to a four-dimensional object so that same ships could be used in preparation for gaining a foothold in hyperspace. All shipyards were to switch to its mass production quickly.

Isier class Colony Ship      50 000 tons       301 Crew       2 687,3 BP       TCS 1 000    TH 4 000    EM 0
4000 km/s    JR 1-25(C)      Armour 1-120       Shields 0-0       HTK 66      Sensors 14/18/0/0      DCR 5      PPV 0
MSP 5 167    Max Repair 500 MSP
Cryogenic Berths 120 000    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 10   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months   
Canteen    Curvature Stabiliser    Artificial Gravity Field    Colonists Monitoring System    Environmental Control Module    Equipment Repair Workshop    Flight Navigation System    Hibernation Center    Life Support System    Medical Bay    Meditation Space    Methane Recycling System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space    Relativistic Navigation Module    Hyperdrive    HyperSensors    Cosmic Membrane Monitor   

JC52K Curvature Propulsion System     Max Ship Size 52000 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 1

Commercial Solid Core AM Drive  EP2000,00 (2)    Power 4000    Fuel Use 1,12%    Signature 2000    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 965 000 Litres    Range 310,7 billion km (899 days at full power)

Thermal Sensor TH1,0-14,0 (1)     Sensitivity 14     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  29,6m km
EM Sensor EM1,0-18,0 (1)     Sensitivity 18     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  33,5m km

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

Despite the outstanding recent performance of scientific community, everyone remained aware that Project Ascension had not much from ascending left in it besides name anymore. And yet there was something more to it. A glimpse of hope sparkled among worried race when a few physicists announced that during hyperspace transfers they had discovered something interesting. Something potentially game-changing. After one of the first Groaxians had been reduced to a soulgrain state, before being reassembled as a four-dimensional entity, engineers controlling the dataflow through matrix noticed a processing error. It was nothing too scary and could easily be fixed, but fixing without killing the test subject required careful monitoring of his soulgrain state data for any signs of corruption that could occur during the process of deploying a fix. It happened that one of the thoughts of the unfortunate Groaxian showed signs of corruption because soulgrains maintaining particularly that thought were observed to change state. However, later that one individual awakened on the "hyperspace side" with exact same state of mind as registered during soulgrain state reduction, at least according to all the Transcendent Speech scanners overseeing him.

The mysterious thought had been thoroughly examined based on the recordings from before, after and from mid-reduction periods. It was about new life in hyperspace. After awakening in four dimensions, that Groaxian, based on that, later developed thoughts about humans living in hyperspace which according to Tempestsaurs were all derivatives of the one in question and it all made sense, it was a plausible chain of thoughts flowing through one's brain, after all. Later the soulgrain state of that bits of his consciousness was examined, too. And to much surprise, it didn't degrade into incomprehensible gibberish. When artificially recreated and reassembled, it displayed another logical chain of thoughts - a comparsion between Groaxians that were to conquer hyperspace and those who were supposed to be evacuated to Ghuq'ans, something that according to various simulations was almost as plausible to occur as a derivative thought as the one about fate of Humanity.

The shocking discovery led to a question about life "in between dimensions". The problem was, examined Groaxian didn't remember anything from his transfer period even though he should if he would be conscious and "alive" during the process, not to mention this was an isolated thought, meanwhile a living sentient being should be able to process thousands of them at a time. Thorough search had proven that this wasn't an isolated example, though. As such, sending colonising fleets to hyperspace had to be postponed until the phenomena explanation since it could still be very dangerous for a four-dimensional balance.
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Re: Time's End - A Place Beyond Realities
« Reply #68 on: October 16, 2021, 05:15:05 PM »

3559-3564 AM hibernation cycles

Population of Ghuq'ans exploded when dozens of millions reached their new home via huge Dark Forest Evacuation Fleet. Industry was growing fast, too, with Meeta and Yaalkean being almost perfect candidates among the three moons of the planet for setting up mining colonies and security outposts capable of maintaining sspace fleets and orbital defenses of all sorts. Signal shielding was put together around the planet not much later after the arrival of first wave of refugees at this scale, carefully tailored to let all sort of signals come through, but allowing nothing to leave, all to make this world as secure as possible and do not alarm any Dark Forest Lords with its sudden activity and sentient population.

Meanwhile Conglomerate approved another journey to the Crack. Strange lights sometimes observed there were still as much of a question as they had been since their first observation, but by that time Groaxians were already well-prepared to handle whatever secrets they hid, capable of not only entering and leaving hyperspace at their leisure, but also to switch their own number of dimensions as well. Of course the problem with soulgrain state remained, well, a problem, but for the sake of this mission Conglomerate selected some volounteers to ascend into hyperspace and observe the phenomena from within it if neccessary, even if they all risked death from their souls shattering into millions of separate, incoherent bits.

First obvious challenge for the expedition was to catch up to the lights themselves to get any reasonable chance at direct observation. Even coming across them required a fair bit of luck and time, and when it came to pinpointing their exact coordinates, distance, velocity and whatever else might come as useful once they flashed somewhere in space, things got messy real quick. Tracking them down across plain space as it was seen was pointless and all those hibernation cycles Groaxians spent trying to figure these lights out to no avail served as an undeniable proof. And so the expedition fleet made a jump to hyperspace and then proceeded to use HyperSensors to navigate four dimensions to track the lights down. At that point mission members briefly remained themselves about the Bootes Wars and how humans chased down lights in hyperspace which belonged to the Invaders themselves. Brain temperatures of the crews raised steadily as Groaxian starships cruised through hyperspace chasing what might as well be their doom. But unlike humans, they failed at forcing them to a confrontation.

The whole endeavour soon started feeling like chasing ghosts. Measurement instruments couldn't register anything useful. After some time it was possible to get a mapping of their movement patterns using a four-dimensional geometry, but nothing comprehensible came out of it. There was no choice but to send the selected volounteers across dimensions and make them higher beings. The transfer process went smoothly, but that was the last thing in the plan that was smooth. Somehow everyone expected them to see more after awakening as a four-dimensional entities, but the truth was they did not. These lights were still just lights moving in irregular patterns, nothing more. Oddly enough, in hyperspace, seen by four-dimensional eyes, they remained exactly the same as in standard space.

Research expedition stagnated and solar watches were passing, though there was no sun out there in interstellar space. Out of despair and boredom, scientists looked at the matrix logs once again. And once again they were shocked. That time it was not only one or two different mental configurations. Basically the entire consciousness was a mess of all kind of different concepts and thinking processes. Transcendent Speech. Mental Synergies. Interstellar travel. Black Wall. Monolith. Guidance Era. Humanity. War of a Different Time. Bootes Wars. Precursors. Invaders. Arilou. Umbara. Achernar. Balance. Lack of Balance. Genesis. Space Exploration. Project Ascension. Dark Forest. Photonic missiles. Black hole generators. Matrix. Soulgrain Singularity Curvature Fluctuators. It was all a mess filled to the brim with countless information.

And so the first constructive conclusion of the expedition was that the lights Groaxians tried to understand somehow caused their minds to go wild while reduced to a soulgrain state, yet the transfer was fine. During following solar watches volunteers were switching forms between dimensions many times and yet nothing bad happened to them, except maybe them eventually getting too confused due to frequent shifts of the shape of their reality. This led to a hypothesis that they had nothing to do with the number of perceived dimensions, but rather were tied directly to the fabric of the universe itself. They could as well be part of the universe in a more strict meaning than anything else that came into existence.

Reports from the expedition caused a major stir among physicists who all realised that in all the pursuit of moving things in between dimensions the soulgrain state of entities in itself got omitted and didn't receive nearly as much research as it should and they all worked hard to fix this critical mistake. First issue to tackle besides how these disturbances experienced during consciousness transfers happened at all was the fact that the final outcome had yet to bear any signs of error - it had been proven empirically that it is possible for a Groaxian to ascend without any problematic side effects, even though it shouldn't be possible with all those errors occuring during the process. Cybersoul mainframe programmers responsible for creating the matrix control system started at each other in confusion, wondering why their code worked when it clearly shouldn't. Soulseekers cooperated with Tempestsaurs, attempting to piece the recorded bits of information together to make anything comprehensible out of them. Brightest and most balanced minds of all Groaxian race focused on nothing but this research, expecting... something to come out of it even if nobody was too sure what that "something" was supposed to look like.

Eventually Conglomerate agreed to prepare a group of Groaxians willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, reduce them to a soulgrain state and just keep them in the matrix while scientists would conduct experiments on them. Obviously the best candidates for this task were clones of the scientists themselves - not only that way losing the test subjects wouldn't mean any Groaxian actually would end up dying, but in a way this allowed the scientists themselves to be their own test subjects and see the pheonomena "from both sides" at the same time. And so a group of individuals ended up donating their spare bodies for the experiment.

The consciousness of scientists participating in the experiment was closely monitored the whole time, but nothing extraordinary happened. At least nothing more than in case of all the other cases studied so far. A few thoughts spiraling out of control here and there, but that was it. A hypothesis was raised that what caused the results to be so different than the ones observed within the Crack was because the lights spotted there were some objects reduced to soulgrain state themselves that were able to mix with Groaxians reduced to one and interfere with each other, providing massive mental stimuli for the Groaxians involved. Later scientists tried to mess with the ones stored within matrix themselves. However, as soon as they changed something, the state got corrupted and irrecoverable, meaning the participants would be dead by then if not for the fact they had more than one body.

Next iteration of these tests involved trying to change something in a more structured way. Tempestsaurs were tasked with preparing a logical and plausible chain of thoughts based on some particular thoughts picked off from test subjects and then their creations were to be uploaded to the matrix and merged with soulgrain states of participants. It still got a few more trials to get everything correct, but eventually it worked. With that prepared changes, data didn't get corrupt at all and it was possible to bring Groaxians back to their normal existence, meaning ascending them to a higher plane should work also if one was to take them to the Crack.

Next trial invloved just observing the matrix for prolonged time period. The results were interesting again. The states showed the capability of modifying themselves when it came to consciousness-related soulgrains, albeit at a painfully slow rate. It came for the matrix programming to be thoroughfully examined. Despite the initial issue that led to the discovery of the whole phenomena being long fixed, it was obvious that the matrix mainframe could not work properly given it allowed all those anomalies to occur. It was engineered with a single purpose of maintaining every soulgrain intact through the entire process of ascending, no exceptions. And yet since the errors were already there, curious physicists insisted to test all kinds of scenarios and demanded all that safeguarding checks to be removed, though only when it came to consciousness - rest of the data about an individual was to be maintained intact.

The initial hypothesis of Groaxian soulgrain states being somehow "alive" gained more popularity and support again when it was discovered the less restrictive the ruleset for maintaining Groaxian minds stored in the transdimensional matrix was, the more organic and rapid the phenomena of changing consciousness was. And the final proof came when several checks at the stage of restoring a lifeform from the matrix back into the real universe were removed and as a result the scientists who were brought back claimed they remembered their stay, contrary to having it erased to maintain their original configuration. According to them, it was a feeling like no other. When reduced to a soulgrain state they were still able to think and process reality around them. They felt so close to the universe, yet so far, restrained within a cage, unable to move beyond. They saw many things, and they saw them all at once. They experienced all of them simultaneously, yet they were so painfully imprisoned by an unbeatable force.

The final conclusion of this monumental research project stated that living beings are able to remain alive even when reduced to a soulgrain state. They are not hibernating, they are still living, thinking and feeling. It is a type of existence vastly different from a "standard one", making intelligent lifeforms feel more connected with the whole universe than ever. Of course when stored within the matrix, the effects were drastically limited and didn't allow for a true exploration of full potential of the cosmos, so the participants of the experiment felt trapped and imprisoned, but scientific community broadly agreed that if these soulgrain state Groaxians were to be "released" to the outside, they'd merge well within the fabric of space and explore the full potential of this new reality.

Reducing Groaxians to soulgrain state and releasing them from the matrix would require more testing in order to safely do so while guaranteeing they'd remain alive instead of being disintegrated and dissolved by the matter around them thanks to soulgrains interacting in unpredictable ways, but all Groaxians understood well this groundbreaking discovery was to revolutionize the way they looked at the universe around them and might as well be exactly what they've searched for.

Something beyond the conventional plane of existence. Something beyond even the number of dimensions. A new safety guarantee in a Dark Forest.
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Re: Time's End - Out of the Silent Planet
« Reply #69 on: November 12, 2021, 06:25:52 PM »

3565-3578 AM hibernation cycles

It was good that most Groaxian astronomers were female. Their bodies allowed them to maintain cooler temperatures than those of male or middleman ones and they all needed that extra bit of cooling when they spotted something brain-melting out there among the dark skies. It started as the type of Dark Forest Strike during which a few stars closest to the epicentre would collapse onto each other, emit strong light and radiation and then fade away into nothingness, but it was something different that time. It didn't stop. Phenomena kept flying through the universe, swallowing more stars on its way. Space below and above its trail contracted rapidly and quickly got torn apart into pieces. It must have been straight out of this reality. Soon after the initial compromising of space integrity different stars begin to shine at the borders of the trail, right where these rifts opened. In case of one particular starset, astronomers were able to determine that it was the same as the one visible on genesian cosmic watch sky for most of the hibernation cycle, at least for most of majority of hibernation cycles, depending on the actual position of the planet when the next one was about to begin. The conclusion was simple: at the borders of this strange, expanding opening portals to other places in the universe had been opened, mapping Cracks along the way as obviously it wouldn't be possible for them to appear anywhere where hyperspace had already collapsed long ago.

The cosmic trail kept on pushing deeper into darkness, resembling an animal from Earth humans would call a "snake". In the cultural database from the monolith there was even a cybersoul mainframe game about a simple visualisation of a snake travelling through the empty plane in search for food items. The image registered by astronomers looked as if Dark Forest Lord decided to play this game on an universal scale. A game of life and death for entire civilisations.

The cosmic snake had some unique properties going for it. Firstly, despite appearing dark for the naked eye, it was discovered it emitted ultraviolet light on all its "surface". But what was even more bizarre is that the stars below it started pulsating faster while the ones above it "slowed down". It was even confirmed when measuring the orbiting speeds of some already discovered exoplanets rotating around them. It appeared as the planets "above" began slowing down while the ones below accelerated.

The anomaly wasn't just tearing up space. It was tearing through time, separating two sides of the universe forever. No matter how close the distance might be, the timelines drifted away from each other on both sides. The problem with this theory, however, was that it wasn't possible for a line of any sort, no matter how thick, to divide a three-dimensional space exactly into two parts. It was just a line in a 3D environment, after all. That's when some scientists suggested it was not a line, but a plane. A 2D plane, spanning infinitely across Dark Forest. Nobody could even tell for sure whether it was another weapon of mass destruction or some elaborate technology meant for protection or creation rather than extinction. But what mattered was that after a few hibernation cycles physicists learned about its geometry. It was cutting right between Qi and Joyeuse, separating the two binary systems supposed to be a future sanctuary for Groaxians from the rest of controlled systems.

After a few hibernation cycles more everyone had to come into terms with what happened. No reports from Ghuq'ans came. Light still did, but it carried no answers despite repeated calls. According to astronomical data, the planet slowed to a crawl. As if it hibernated, but not only in the context of life on its surface, but rather as a whole. As if the entire giant ball of rock needed to just stop and regenerate. It was something Groaxian physics struggled with. Somehow it was possible to see their timeline, to watch it slow down, but not to receive any messages from the planet's inhabitants. It felt as if the tear in reality was sentient, filtering what Groaxians could see from the other side.

Many believed the Dark Forest Strike had came at last and the end was nigh. They hoped the interstellar blackout would save the citizens of Silent Planet from detection and destruction. Genesis, Yatune, Wrath, Sodara, Scar'am, Scrar'ix, Bholxir, they all felt so calm. Humanity would go haywire (and it often did, after all), but at that point Groaxians were mature enough to handle it. They were Dark Forest Lords themselves, even if they were yet to use the power associated with this title, thus they simply understood. They had finally grown enough to handle it. The apocalypse came and all they could do was hope those evacuated to Ghuq'ans would continue their legacy and never forget about Genesis and their true nature and origins.


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Re: Time's End - We are the Humanity
« Reply #70 on: November 12, 2021, 08:17:01 PM »

3579-3587 AM hibernation cycles

Humanity would often imagine world ending with not a bang, but a whimper. But for Groaxians that was not the case. For them the world was ending with a bang they treated like a whimper. The society was oddly ready for the Final Hibernation to begin, but there was something going on within Conglomerate and its best advisors. Generations spent on studying the monolith had taken its toll. They all stayed so close to human ideals for all those hibernation cycles, exposed to them more than anyone else. Still they couldn't fully understand all the strange behaviours and cultural details, but that was not as big of an obstacle as one would think. There was something to admire in the fire burning deep inside these beings, so well-accustomed to scorching heat, to living in a true inferno and daring to call that an optimal, comfortable temperature. That fire in them was their iron will, that outstanding will to fight no matter the odds. To never surrender, to fire upon Dark Forest Lords with their primitive lasers and particle beams during three Bootes Wars, to constantly seek for an edge in the cosmic firefight. And deep down to refuse the principals of Dark Forest, even though immorality and kill-or-be-killed attitude weren't unheard of on Earth.

And so the Resistance was spawned. Conglomerate didn't treat it as anything special beyond the next step in evolution of Human Space Fleet, though, as the core principles were very similar in both ideas. They all shared common roots, after all. No Groaxian understood what they were dealing with them, but a team of physicists from Qusmont had an idea how to fetch this knowledge. They knew it had something to do with tearing reality apart - not much else, but that was precisely what they needed. Pushing an idea of leveraging the latest knowledge about higher dimensions and soulgrain state, carefully selected and trained Resistance Warriors were to be reduced to a soulgrain state, merge with the reality on a true level and try to fix it from within. Try to undo whatever the Dark Forest Lord responsible for the attack had done. Tie the rift, close it like a wound on a dying organism, restore standard laws of physics.

In the middle of 3582th hibernation cycle elite Resistance Squad on board of an Executor entered hyperspace on the edge of a Crack. A few solar watches of final preparations and running through checklist hundreds of times over and over again later, all Resistance Warriors were ready to be released from the Matrix as a new substance, a totally different quality, and begin their task.

They were eager to fight back against the Dark Forest Lords who had heard cries of Tempestsaurs of Achernar hibernation cycles before, but little did they knew what awaited them out there. Time flew different for them in the new reality. It was both slowed down like Groaxian body during hibernation and accelerated like an Executor speeding across hyperspace at the same time. They struggled with the sense of it, but the sense of orientation in space wasn't any better either. They struggled to locate their coordinates in the universe because they were the universe themselves. And the universe was them at the same time. For them it took the form of a mighty organism, so vast and powerful, but riddled with missiles and lacerations running deep through its body. Like a severely wounded, dying animal, but at the same time so majestic in its suffering, appearing as if this was how things were supposed to be right from the beginning.

The voices surrounded them. Cries of countless civilisations, millions of stories about their glory and demise, tales about endless warfare. They couldn't understand anything among languages differing so much from each other, all sorts of cryptic communication methods... But among them, one voice sounded familiar. They understood it well. It called them directly.

HUMANITY: We are the Humanity.


H: You've slept for so long, little ones. But now at last you've joined us among the stars.

G: You... You caused that, right? You fired upon us? That ultraviolet-pulsating scar on the astral plane... It's you, isn't it?

H: We know what you're thinking. You're smart. Smarter than us. We understand all the doubt, especially after you've seen the safety guarantee we tried to gift you no longer work.

G: But this state... Now, that we're merged with the universe itself... Isn't that the ultimate form of existence? Isn't it something beyond Dark Forest?

H: Absolutely not. There's no safety guarantee... Nothing at all. Now you're merged with the universe, true... But that won't stop Dark Forest Lords. Your existence is a threat to them. They will still seek to destroy you. And if destroying you in this state means destroying the entire universe, they will do it. There's no escape from this fundamental law.

G: Doesn't destroying the entire universe contradict with the first axiom? At this point if they destroy us, they destroy themselves, too! They can't kill us until they off themselves at the same time.

H: An excellent observation... But you forget one thing: you might as well annihilate them first. They know their victory is also their defeat, but they just can't stop fighting against you. If they do, they're suddenly easy prey for you. They would die much sooner than it'd take them to wipe the whole universe clean. Such is Dark Forest: shoot to kill is always the best answer.

G: Then why won't you attack us?

H: And why won't you attack us? Besides, that split in spacetime... It isn't a Dark Forest Strike. If it was one, it'd went right through your systems, not next to them.

G: Then what is it?

H: It is an interspecies call for the fighting to cease at last... But lets start from the beginning. As you are well aware, there are dimensions beyond standard plane of existence... Or rather were until recently... The Arilou... In some way they were a lot like us... And a lot like you. It didn't take long for their hive mind intelligence to figure out Dark Forest Theory... But it never felt right for them. They desperately searched for a solution... A safety guarantee. And they found it, or so did they think. Hyperspace, then Quasispace... They called for us when they were already five-dimensional entities... They wanted to spread the news of peace, the ultimate solution... But even they couldn't anticipate the horrors Dark Forest still kept at bay. We know you've heard about the ancient wreckage in Maigh Eo finally crashing into the sun. It was one of the relics left by them in the aftermath.

G: Collapse of Hyperspace?

H: They were already almost finished with the transition to the sixth dimension when this caught up to us... They had no chance. Seventh dimension hadn't existed for nobody knows how long and when the time had come for the sixth one they collapsed together with it... Few made it back to Quasispace safely, but it got consumed shortly afterwards... And so we were alone in Hyperspace... Terrified about the implications of these events. We ensured the survival of our species by discovering the properties of soulgrain mechanics allowing for sentience to exist encoded into entangled soulgrain state... These lights in the Crack... It was not Invaders this time, it was simply us in our final form. That cube in GJ 1279... It was our device for reducing stuff to soulgrain state. It wasn't configured to suddenly host your exploration fleet, though, so we called you to leave... We learned to do so for the entire solar systems... Remember that Dark Forest Strike when stars would collapse into each other as if they were sucked in by a black hole except there was no black hole but just strong light and then nothingness? This was not a Dark Forest Strike. It was us carving out more space for ourselves. Reducing these stars and their planets to soulgrain state, directly merging them with the fundamental fabric of the universe. Well, probably some of them were Dark Forest Strikes since obviously this technology can be weaponized as you've all figured out when outfitting that Executor of yours, but they didn't came from our side.

G: So that's it? We've reached the ultimate, final form, we are one with the universe and still just await destruction, with nothing to look forward?

H: We are sorry... We wanted to be for you who Arilou were for us... Initially the monolith was five-dimensional, containing everything we've learned on our cruise through dimensions, but after the collapse the fourth and fifth one withered away into nothingness... Things changed. The universe changed. And yet it remained the same as it always had been.

G: You've mentioned the call to cease fighting before. What does that mean?

H: The universal message... Tempestsaurs of Achernar were right. This universe is so, so severely damaged... It lasted through eons of this endless war, but even endless wars must eventually come to an end. Just look at this galaxy. So many stars swallowed, sucked out, disintegrated, torn apart, sucked into black holes... Recently it also became a prime spot for an intergalactic war of some powerful entities capable of manipulating with the speed of light and, as a consequence, pace of time flow... Time in this galaxy is slowing down. Invaders were about to suck it out, consume every grain of it to fuel their ever-hungry war machine and leave only void behind, but with such a slow local time flow they could not risk getting outpaced by entities from outside this galaxy and left. Thing is, right now this galaxy is one of the better-preserved ones from literally all of them. This universe is ending. Enough destruction had been caused for everything to collapse back into one singularity point again.

G: So that's what this phenomena is about, then? The need to fight anymore is diminishing, so they send this message in the form of separating civilisations by expanding the time it would take for one to reach another to infinity and beyond? Giving each one of them time to understand? But wait... Couldn't it be used as a way to escape Dark Forest then? A sad reality of never establishing peaceful contact, but without hostile contact, too?

H: That's where the catch lies. Of course it would be possible to use it as a safety guarantee... But this is not just a message. Each shot from this weapon separates the universe into two parts. And trust us, this has been going on for a while... Could be eons since first division somewhere billions of billions of light hibernation cycles away from here... It destroys the cosmos. Shatters into fragments. That's why it can work as a message to cease fighting. Because once you receive it, you don't have anything left to destroy or attack, mostly. Of course local conflicts would still rage, for example we could still fight each other if we were different... But that's it. Eventually they would separate us, too. This universe is really heading towards the end. And its still accelerating towards it.

G: Before we go... Before the whole reality goes... We have one more question... Could you tell us about all the anomalies we observed? Unregistered Vrilxel crashed down on an alien moon?... Achernar complex beneath the surface of Yatune?... Their confused fleets warping into our systems without memories about War of a Different Time?... Umbara fleet stumbling upon literally itself but not remembering it, somewhere in a system that doesn't exist and we're not sure it ever existed?...

H: Of course we could tell you right away... But we won't. We see an unsettling disturbance in the case of revealing this to you... You need to see it for yourself to truly become what you are destined to become... Here time flows different than if you were still in your original or even four-dimensional form. You can see as far as you want. So just go ahead and take a look. Ask yourselves that one final question we know you will ask... And answer it. Then you will see. Just look what lies beyond the ultraviolet light.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2021, 08:31:15 PM by Stormtrooper »
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Re: Time's End - Ultraviolet Counterobservers
« Reply #71 on: December 10, 2021, 09:42:44 PM »

3588-3607 AM hibernation cycles

Words of Humanity were reckoning for hibernation cycles to come. The end was nigh and there was no point in trying anymore... But Groaxians for sure did try. Nobody could just bear the thought of going down without the ultimate understanding of a Dark Forest so many generations fought to grow up to. That's how the Ultraviolet Counterobservers Array was born. An elite unit of brightest, best-balanced Groaxian minds, all permanently reduced to a soulgrain state and released to the vastness of space, tasked with "looking beyond the ultraviolet light" as Humanity advised. The percentage of solugrain state-reduced population was growing steadily as more copies of the hardware required for the process were being constructed across all worlds, but it obviously couldn't translate to everyone ascending into this higher form of consciousness being capable of participating in the "last research project in the history of the universe".

Ultraviolet Counterobserves all adapted extremely well to the new reality. They all spoke about similar experience: that right from the beginning, even before their training, they felt right at home with this new perception. They all believed this reality was specifically catered to them. It wasn't even their second nature - it was the first nature, it was what for them meant to be a Groaxian. It was what for them meant to be a Citizen of the Universe. And they all found joy, peace and balance, because deep down in their frozen brains they knew that, in contrary to the conventional understanding of a Dark Forest Theory, they reached the ultimate unifying form that could bring any sort of biology-originated intelligence together in a weird state of endless war, but also endless understanding.

For the scientists monitoring their progress back on Genesis, they were returning with new reports before all the previous ones could have been processed, but that was just how long it took in terms of conventional time flow. But alongside Ultraviolet Scars time moved at a different pace. It was slow, with the length of each solar watch being extended proportionally to the wavelengths of ultraviolet light. It was a good thing, because while these anomalies primarily served as borders between regions of space, they also connected so many points in the universe together... Almost as if they were sentient on their own and wanted to show the majestic pulse of everything that ever existed, one dying, but still majestic organism.

Ultraviolet Counterobservers, one with the cosmos, cruised across galaxies. But that's only how conventional beings, tied to a fixed number of dimensions at a time, would describe it. The elites of Groaxian race would rather tell that they could just feel all the points they wanted to be in, similarly to how a conventional Groaxian would feel its feet or eyes being where they were. They just knew all these galaxies being there and what was going in them. They saw all the alien civilisations still fighting. They sensed it. But they could not be sensed in return.

An interesting conclusion was once drawn during these strange voyages: there were others like Ultraviolet Counterobservers, but it was impossible to tell them apart from a cosmic static and in the exact same way they could not differentiate Groaxians from it. It was because this form of life meant being one with the universe, so everybody perceiving it would perceive soulgrain state-reduced Groaxians, but with no way of telling the difference between them and other soulgrains building it. In a way, this was the ultimate hiding spot in a Dark Forest - impossible to be detected, and yet at the same time it was about broadcasting one's existence everywhere all the time. Something conventional civilisations could never have imagined.

But as the mission continued, things got stranger. In one of the solar systems one Ultraviolet Counterobserver spotted what looked like a flying saucer and its signature matched Arilou starship specifications without any discrepancies. However, making contact with it was impossible. It was like a ghost of the past, still present in the reality, but not being really there at the same time. It was like the metadata of an artifact deleted from a cybersoul mainframe, with content long overwritten by whatever came into its space afterwards, but metadata itself being left untouched due to a glitch. And that one flying saucer hovering in the void while not existing was just the beginning. Another mission member sensed a strange solar system that felt oddly familiar at the same time. It was a G-class star with eight planets and a bunch of dwarf planets, as well as extra, ninth planet orbiting far, far away from the rest of celestial bodies. That last planet was very mysterious, drenched in eerie psychic phenomena, but it was nothing for the great minds of masters of Transcendent Speech. It bore the Arilou Signature and could be described as a guidance signal of some sort, meant to draw attention of a species with a particular, well defined psychology and nature. Species that evolved on a third planet in this system. Obviously the Counterobserver was well-aware as to what was in front of her. She could sense the ancient past of this system, with two species eradicating each other, having lived on the second and fourth planet respectively, shortly after Arilou first arrival. And a civilisation on a third planet, emerging from the ashes of this war, growing and expanding, sending first satellites into orbit, drawn towards the stars... Then it almost going extinct due to violent, volatile parts of its nature driving it to constantly experiment with biological weapons, deforming most of its organisms into mindless, ever-hungry drones feeding on the survivors... But their extreme will of survival let them prevail and eventually discover the ninth planet... She could see it all, see them leaving their homeworld, conquering other planets, then other stars... But eventually she sensed a black hole generator coming its way and plunging all nine planets in nothingness, but she could only simile as she knew these creatures had all been already safe at that point.

Scientists were baffled for next few hibernation cycles after she returned to Genesis with her report. Tracers left by her indicated she had indeed visited the Solar System, but there was nothing but a giant black hole staring back at any traveller who might have dared to look at it. What she observed just didn't make much sense. But what physicists struggled with, soulseekers had much better time wrapping their brains around it. The fact that this particular Groaxian had been thinking a lot about Humanity's origin and history got lost to physicists as they searched for new, yet undiscovered soulgrain mechanic arcana to explain what happened, but Transcendent Speech specialists took more detailed mind maps out of her and noticed a clear correlation between them and her report. According to the best Tempestsaurs it gave impression of an architect visualising a freshly designed building.

With the new direction to follow, physicists eventually solved the riddle and concluded that they had greatly underestimated the power of beings reduced to soulgrain state. Being a part of the universe herself, she held the ultimate power - a power of creation, the opposite of destruction. She just thought about something and made it happen, even if it was just a hologram, a ghost of the past, a visualisation of history. But it was enough to simulate an entire solar system together with events that took place in it over an impressive span of time.

However, it was quickly verified that other Ultraviolet Counterobservers could not repeat the feat of that Groaxian. With lack of any further progress, scientists checked the data on that memorable experience once again and uncovered something so simple, but something that has slipped through their attention.

"The Groaxian who imagined Humanity" had moved beyond event horizon and survived inside black hole during her voyage to the former homeworld of this civilisation.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2021, 05:23:06 PM by Stormtrooper »
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Re: Time's End - Dark Forest Strike
« Reply #72 on: December 11, 2021, 05:22:28 PM »

3607-3513 AM hibernation cycles

Time inside Singularity passed differently than in conventional spacetime and it was much different even from what Ultraviolet Counterobservers felt. It allowed to see things long gone and simulate the past all the way till the creation of the soulgrains that eventually collapsed into given black hole. It was possible, because on a soulgrain level nothing ever got destroyed. It just shifted towards different state, with different laws of physics to guide it through the new reality, but it was still there, indestructible in that sense. And so in a way Humanity still lived on Earth, even if only in the forms of ghosts without consciousenss of their own.

But simulating the history of mankind wasn't as important as simulating the history of Groaxians. Conglomerate wanted to see deep into the insights of its own race. Obviously Genesis still orbited Qi and nothing had changed it yet, so it was not a matter of flying into a corresponding black hole. But instead, scientists from Yatune came up with a different plan. If a black hole could be used for the task, in theory there was nothing preventing a hyperblack hole being used instead. And so some of the Ultraviolet Counterobservers had been put through the interdimensional matrix into hyperspace only to be reduced to soulgrain state directly from four dimensions and merge with the fundamental structure of the Crack.

Data encrypted within the Crack offered little in terms of the history and evolution of Qi system in general for obvious reasons, but Groaxians could at least try to see the picture beyond their homeworld by putting together traces left by Curvature Propulsion Systems after endless crossings through the Crack and all the events that took place within its borders.

And the timeline put together by researchers was of great concern at best. They saw War of a Different Time, but with each stage progressing slightly different from what they knew from history. The most ominous event registered was a passage of mighty Achernar fleet with technology almost rivaling one used in Executor design and the full spectrum scanners displaying a clear sign of victory within Qi system and setup of underground complex, seeding the biomass to grow deep in Yatune caverns, meant to eventually reach the surface, but only after heavily mutating into a hivemind beast, finally outpacing Groaxians in communication protocols and Transcendent Speech, breaking their will and leading to their demise. Simply put, Tempestsaurs of Achernar were winning that war.

But War of a Different Time was just one example. One out of many. One of the earliest discrepancies between the chains of events was an early exploration of Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi system. A lone Vrilxel straightened space in front of it right at the coordinates of this system, definitely fleeing from something. It tried to get close to Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi IV and attempted to use this gas giant to slingshot itself far into deep space, beyond all the celestial bodies and launch Curvature Propulsion System, because doing so too close to their initial warp point would decrease time their pursuers needed to figure out where would they go next, not giving them enough margin to lose them in the vastness of space.

This plan could have worked, but it didn't because one of the engines was already damaged and the ship just couldn't get enough acceleraation. Ultraviolet Counterobservers could not believed when they sensed the enemy fleet finally arriving after the Groaxian vessel. There was no doubt left - it was the fleet of dreaded Invaders, but not like Humanity remembered them. Their ships came equipped with some sort of Spacetime SkipShifters, a weapon loosely-based on the physics of Ultraviolet Scars. They fired their guns and soon the distance between them and Vrilxel ceased to follow classic geometry and made them arrive right on top of the starship despite them suddenly moving in the opposite direction. Meanwhile conventional navigating systems of the early exploration ship couldn't handle what from its perspective was a glitch in physics, ultimately leading to narrowly missing the gas giant only to be pulled by one of its moons without any chance of escaping.

Ultraviolet Counterobservers were terrified, but there was only path way they could follow. Entire civilisation depended on them. And so they continued their journey through the ghosts of the past until they stumbled upon Umbara transportation fleet responsible for resupplying Eckesachs III outpost. But something was wrong. Literally with a blink of an eye, they all forgot their goal. It was as if they had awakened from hibernation, not remembering their purpose or even who they were anymore. They couldn't tell why they were travelling to Eckesachs and expressed no knowledge of any outpost of theirs existing out there.

Intimidated by this anomaly of some sort, Groaxians kept digging deeper, further into the past. Eventually they reached a weird solar system that should not even exist, because the stellar maps drawn from various points of it didn't match any place from this galaxy or even many more beyond. And it couldn't be from outside this galaxy either, because Umbara fleet was there, definitely not advanced enough to make intergalactic jumps even if hyperspace was still holding in one piece. Even in the wildest imagination no Groaxian ever expected to find this, in some way magical, place and yet Ultraviolet Observers were there. They watched this important chapter of conflict between Zenn and La unraveling in front of their senses, but again, something was wrong. Another fleet arrived in the system. It was Invaders all over again. A couple of blasts from Spacetime SkipShifters later, not much was left out of Umbara presence. Shortly afterwards entire system ceased to existed, with every grain sucked out only to be used as a resource in the war machine of Invaders.

Back on Genesis Conglomerate trembled when its members heard about Invaders arriving back and somehow messing with known timeline. Ultraviolet Counterobservers could obviously glitch reality in the same way, but Conglomerate wasn't sure whether waging that kind of war was reasonable. Groaxians were still new on this field, after all, and fighting with an enemy without the knowledge not only where, but even when the battles would be supposed to conclude was risky to say the least. Especially given the lack of permanent colonies of Invaders in this galaxy, and this type of war was bound to favour mobile, nomadic forces over civilisations tied to their planets. One glitch within Qi, Blutgang or Mimung and Groaxians would be no more. Conglomerate attempted to contact humans again, but all they got as a reply was reassurance that this all had already happened and Humanity knew that Groaxians made the right choice and prevailed and there was nothing that could change it now.

It was somewhat relieving, but only somewhat. It was hard to remain certain and calm when on the bring of a first true Dark Forest Lord-Dark Forest Lord encounter. Better safe than sorry, so most of Ultraviolet Counterobservers began military training to prepare for whatever battles whenever and wherever might come, but some were still left at exploration duties. And it was them who once again took a look at War of a Different Time as well as the still recent development of Ghuq'ans. They took a closer look over the abandoned Groaxian outpost discovered on the latter as well. The results were... interesting. The history that unfolded in front of them talked about Groaxians continuing Ascension Program and moving to live within the Crack as hyperbeings, but there were no humans left to share it with. And the reason was that Humanity went extinct, losing its final Bootes War. Groaxians stood no chance either and all perished as well.

All except the ones already evacuated into Ghuq'ans. As the galaxy shattered and the space dust from the new Bootes War settled, new Conglomerate proclaimed its mission to never give up on fighting against Dark Forest, not letting the sacrifices of Arilou, Humanity and main branch of Groaxian race go to waste. It wanted to lead remaining survivors into defyind Dark Forest once again, this time successfully. Hence why its declaration simply stated:

Humanity is no more, but we, last surviving Groaxians, will take its place.

The new generation of Groaxians was even smarter and was sure to keep silent until having an ultimate, failsafe solution for the Dark Forest Theory... But even they could not remain silent for the eternity. No matter how large, number of stars within the universe was still finite. And so finite was the time needed for someone to finally enter their new homeworld and discover their existence. They fought to the very last one, but ultimately their noble statement was all there was left from them. The rest of the history remained static. No Groaxian woke up from hibernation and traversed the cosmos ever again.

Conglomerate didn't attempt to hide this information from the public. Soon every Groaxian learned about the sad and tragic ending of eons worth of fighting against Dark Forest which started all the way back in Precursor solar watches. But a question remained unanswered: this timeline already differed on so many levels from the one that led to extinction. It was not the same. And Invaders were nowhere to be seen. Neither did Achernar outpace Groaxian science and technology. Instead an interracial signal to cease fighting had been sent, confirming the fate of the universe. Something had deterred Invaders from ever returning to this galaxy again. Something prevented Achernar from becoming a threat once again. Something allowed some Umbaras to survive. Something allowed Humanity to prevail. Something that had already happened. Something that no Groaxian could ever think of, but somehow every Groaxian did and it balanced everything out thoroughly. And for sure it was not attempting to defy Dark Forest over and over again, with the latter ironically leading to the same outcome as complying with its rules.

It was the only way to stop Invaders from returning (or anyone else from coming, for that matter). For them to not return to this reality, it had to go. There was nothing else that could be done, but to seal the timeline and prevent anyone messing with it ever again.

Dark Forest was a force of balance. And civilisation like Groaxians was the best candidate to understand it fully. Refusing to play along, but at the same time not pacifistic, always ready to fight. Not willing to invade other worlds, but doing so with all guns blazing at the same time, always trying to chose what was best long-term. Groaxians had finally reached the true form of universal balance and that's why they could ultimately succeed. This timeline, with Groaxians, Humanity, Umbara and Achernar still existing was a proof of it.

Ghuq'ans was in a weird spot, separated from the rest of civilisation by Ultraviolet Scars, so it was best not to mess with its status, because even a slight miscalculation during the strike could lead to unpredictable interference with these anomalous borders, having potentially disastrous consequences. But rest of the planets could be safely targeted. Afterwards all the Groaxians besides ones living on Ghuq'ans were supposed to be reduced to a soulgrain state and await the end of the universe in this final form.

The hibernation cycle was 3513 AM. Exactly 94 light hibernation cycles away from Qi, somewhere in interstellar space, an Executor was charging its guns. The firing button had been rigged by Tempestsaurs to only become triggered by the Transcendent Speech signal of all the Groaxians combined, speaking in one, conscious voices and passing numerous checks and estimates of free will of every individual. Carefully propagated from the local clans, through the entire cities and planets, all the way to Ultraviolet Counterobservers who aggregated it and carried to the right place in time and space, the powerful signal reached the internal validation systems of the Executors and passed all tests.

The hibernation cycle was 3513 AM,. Exactly 94 light hibernation cycles away from Qi, somewhere in interstellar space, Groaxians fired a Dark Forest Strike at themselves, fixing all the glitches threatening their timeline. Black hole generators were supposed to reach Genesis by the 3607 AM hibernation cycle, giving everyone way more than enough time to safely prepare and propagate their consciousness to the soulgrain state.
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Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Re: Time's End - Time's End
« Reply #73 on: December 11, 2021, 06:13:06 PM »

186 527 AM hibernation cycle

Ever since that memorable Dark Forest Strike timeline remained straight and there was nothing more to this cycle of the universe. With everything collapsing into one singularity point to eventually go with a bang and spawn a new cycle again, fighting had finally came to a full stop and cosmic wars raged no more. No Dark Forest Strikes were being fired. Last surviving civilisations, all reduced to a soulgrain state by then, took shelter in whatever shreds of reality still allowed sentience to exist, waiting till the final moment to come. One of those shreds happened to be located near a former Arilou homeworld, in a system known to them and humans as Zeta Reticuli, where Humanity, Groaxians, Invaders, Umbara Commune and Tempestsaurs of Achernar took shelter, awaiting for everything to finally cease to exist, speaking in one voice of sentience who survived till the very last moment:

With a bang this Universe started,
With roar of interstellar engines our homeworlds we all departed.
We all took pride in our might,
Ready to explore, ready to fight.

But little we knew how primitive we still were,
Raising from simple tribes, biological instincts all the way to the void, trying to survive there.
Dark Forest changed our perception, showed some the way,
A call to power for many, or a reason for fear and decay.

But this was not the end of our science,
Just the moment some stopped dreaming about alliance.
Yet others among us still tried to deny its claim,
Fighting Dark Forest, not letting their legacy go in vain.

Time opened before our senses,
Yet we were still busy rasing defenses,
We thought we knew everything,
Searched for weapons to become the universal king.

But there was more the time had to show,
It was all hidden deep within ultraviolet glow.
We shaped reality like never before,
We seeked control, we seeked knowledge and more.

Time opened for us and we opened for time,
Become one with it and it flew through us, the universe's Prime.
No point in Dark Forest denial,
No point either in purging trial.

Now all this knows remaining sentience,
Nothing to do but to wait in patience,
The time is ending,
No point in ascending, no point in pretending.

Yet another cycle completed,
All the science and options depleted.
Cold death of reality successfully prevented,
In the future another life with this truth will be presented.

Last surviving Groaxians were disappearing from existence with minds full of peace and fulfilment. The universe at large had finally become perfectly balanced, but just like all that is perfectly balanced, it had to start, but also eventually come to a stop. Nothing lasts forever. Even time itself at last had to come to an end.


« Last Edit: December 11, 2021, 06:22:19 PM by Stormtrooper »
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