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OOC Note: As a reminder for the benefit of the reader, the agenda and attendance for the Naval Conference can be found in the first post of Chapter XXI and may be of some use to keep track of the various personalities involved as well as to be apprised of upcoming topics of discussion - about which speculation is as always encouraged!

N.B. Comment replies on the bottom of the preceding page, for all two of you who care.
  ;)

----

25 May 4009

1300: Session on Future Directions for the Fleet Scouting Role, Duranium Legion Naval Conference

As one might expect, the need for a revision or replacement of the original Bellerophon design was obvious even to those outside of the Lords Admiralty, and had been for some time albeit some members of the Legion Navy had been sounding the alarm for a good deal longer than others (most curiously, the earliest proponents of such a rework had originated from the Mining Department of all places). Such alarmism had, given time, worked its way into the ship design offices, and a task group had been quietly assigned to prepare a sensible design proposal representing iterative improvement with minimal rocking of boats. This project had proceeded at a moderate pace and a design was completed in due time, and in fact had worked its way through most of the various rungs of the bureaucratic ladder to secure internal approval. In fact, senior members of the ship design offices had anticipated submitting the finished proposal to the procuration office for final approval between June and August 4009, just in time for new construction orders to be issued for the Legion Special Projects Division as shipyard spaces were freed on the commissioning of Bad Intentions and Blatant Insult. In short, all was proceeding as planned until the Naval Conference occurred.

Unfortunately for those in the ship design offices, the Naval Conference brought to the Bellerophon redesign project the greatest enemy of those offices, this being the attention of the Lords Admiral. Regardless of how well-designed the Bellerophon Mk II class might be on paper, it lacked one critical feature necessary for acceptance, namely it had not been the brainchild of a Lord Admiral and thus carried minimal value as a tool for political maneuvering and points-scoring. Left alone, then, the eminently sensible product of the honest work and field expertise of the ship design offices would likely flounder in the Conference chambers before ultimately being passed over in favor of some harebrained scheme involving missiles, hangar bays, or some other high-ranking nonsense. Thus, it fell to the senior leadership of the ship design offices to devise a solution which might give their proposal at least a fighting chance in the Conference chambers.

Fortunately, a potential solution did exist. The senior leadership reasoned that while every Lord Admiral would surely desire to present their pet design as a favored candidate, not every Lord Admiral would devote the time and effort towards developing a suitable design in the first place. Thus, if the right Lords Admiral could be persuaded to back the design as if it were their own pet project, sufficient political will might be generated that a sensible result might be obtained, for once. Curiously, after much discussion the staff in the ship design offices identified two particular Lords Admiral who possessed the necessary combination of strong political support and lack of Bellerophon-related ideas that this plan could stand some chance of success. While subsequent attempts to reach out to these candidates proved largely successful, the result would certainly lend credence to the old saying about strange bedfellows.

----

Thus, as the 25 May afternoon session of the Naval Conference commenced, Lord Grand Admiral Tethys Argyron was pleased to present her supported redesign of the Bellerophon class, developed “in conjunction with” the fine men and women at the ship design offices for the occasion:

Off-Topic: Bellerophon Mk II Standard Upgrade class Frigate • show
Bellerophon Mk II ‘Standard Upgrade’ class Frigate      7,500 tons       196 Crew       1,169.9 BP       TCS 150    TH 750    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 4-34       Shields 0-0       HTK 36      Sensors 96/96/0/0      DCR 6      PPV 6
Maint Life 3.25 Years     MSP 584    AFR 75%    IFR 1.0%    1YR 83    5YR 1,248    Max Repair 187.5 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Hyperion Drive Yards H-375 Frigate Engine 'Gryphon' (2)    Power 750    Fuel Use 46.19%    Signature 375    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 592,000 Litres    Range 30.8 billion km (71 days at full power)

Arcadia Weapons Systems 102 mm Defense Battery Mk III (2x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
Sangarius Systems Defense Battery Director Mk IV (1)     Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
Chryson Dynamics 6 TW Induction Drive Cell Mk VI (1)     Total Power Output 6.2    Exp 5%

Scamander Corporation Series XVI Long-Range Array (1)     GPS 14400     Range 83.1m km    Resolution 150
Scamander Corporation Series XVI Missile Warning Array (1)     GPS 96     Range 15.6m km    MCR 1.4m km    Resolution 1
Scamander Corporation Series VIII RF Wave Array (1)     Sensitivity 96     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  77.5m km
Scamander Corporation Series VIII Infrared Array (1)     Sensitivity 96     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  77.5m km


As the Lord Grand Admiral prepared to expound upon the virtues of this surely impressive piece of design work, a loud objection was raised from the floor, as Lord High Admiral Jack Macaria demanded to know why the design specifications being presented by his colleague just so happened to be exactly the same as those he was scheduled to present immediately thereafter. Lord Grand Admiral Argyron, sensing the clear implication, vociferously insisted that the design was original work, developed “in conjunction with” the ship design offices as she had previously stated, and was certainly not in any way plagiarized from anyone, least of all her esteemed colleague. Lord High Admiral Macaria was quick on the draw, insisting with equal fervor that this was funny to hear, considering that the exact same statement was true of the design specifications he held in his hands.

Fortunately, Lord Admiral Criasus had the presence of mind to discern that a certain measure of subterfuge may have occurred, and suggested to the two quarreling officers that the question could be resolved by consulting the head of the ship design offices to ascertain the facts of the case. This suggestion sufficed to prevent an imminent exchange of blows, largely as both would-be combatants were quite eager to know the truth of the matter themselves. A fire team of the Imperial Guard detachment was dispatched, and returned after a tense thirty minutes escorting the head of the ship design offices with great haste and all due respect. Sheepishly, and more than a bit rattled, the man quickly clarified that his staff had enlisted the support of both Lords Admiral for the same design, developed by his own offices well ahead of the Conference, and had apparently made a small oversight in communicating to those Lords Admiral. Lord Grand Admiral Argyron and Lord High Admiral Macaria were, of course, still rather put out at this sequence of events, but at least the immediate tension had been resolved and there was no risk of body blows in the very transient present moment.

At this point, the reader could be forgiven for attributing this as a heinous blunder on the part of the ship design staff. Indeed, failing to inform the chosen candidates about each other’s involvement was an oversight with no rational nor strategic basis, and the head of the ship design offices could not expect much in the way of future career advancement. However, the general thrust of the plan remained valid, as having once been put on the spot neither Lord Grand Admiral Argyron nor Lord High Admiral Macaria were willing to back down and admit error, thus both continued to express their support for the class, however reluctantly and however secretly glowering over having been forced to agree with one another by unforeseen circumstances. Similarly, many among the assembly took notice of this unlikely alliance, which would be a key factor in their own decision-making processes.

The design itself was certainly solid and deserving of support, as would be expected from a ship class not designed by a harebrained Lord Admiral. In exchange for the high-resolution sensor array, considered superfluous by most of the Naval establishment, the armor thickness had been increased by 33%. Additionally, the combination of space efficiency savings and fire control system improvements would allow for an increase in fuel loading and a corresponding 50% increase in range, a useful capability for the fleet scouting role of the class. Otherwise, pre-existing capabilities had been maintained, with the designers trusting in improved armor and doctrinal manuals to do most of the heavy lifting. The Conference attendees generally agreed on this, and while some minor discussions were had over the potential value of increasing the fuel load even more, and possibly the crew accommodations to support longer deployment times, might prove more beneficial than up-armoring the class, ultimately the design was found generally agreeable by those in attendance.

This is not to say, of course, that alternatives were not explored by the Conference nevertheless. Perhaps the most compelling revision was presented by Lord Admiral Gaia Pandia, who advocated for a Bellerophon variant which was better-suited for the critical commerce raiding role:

Off-Topic: Bellerophon Mk II Raider class Frigate • show
Bellerophon Mk II ‘Raider’ class Frigate      7,500 tons       202 Crew       1,134.1 BP       TCS 150    TH 750    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 4-34       Shields 0-0       HTK 39      Sensors 96/96/0/0      DCR 6      PPV 10
Maint Life 4.11 Years     MSP 847    AFR 75%    IFR 1.0%    1YR 80    5YR 1,206    Max Repair 187.5 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Hyperion Drive Yards H-375 Frigate Engine 'Gryphon' (2)    Power 750    Fuel Use 46.19%    Signature 375    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 545,000 Litres    Range 28.3 billion km (65 days at full power)

127 mm Light Battery Mk IV (2x4)    Range 80,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 6-3     RM 40,000 km    ROF 10       
Mk IV Light Battery Director Prototype (1)     Max Range: 144,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
Chryson Dynamics 6 TW Induction Drive Cell Mk VI (1)     Total Power Output 6.2    Exp 5%

Scamander Corporation Series XVI Long-Range Array (1)     GPS 14400     Range 83.1m km    Resolution 150
Scamander Corporation Series XVI Onboard Targeting System (1)     GPS 16     Range 6.4m km    MCR 574.5k km    Resolution 1
Scamander Corporation Series VIII RF Wave Array (1)     Sensitivity 96     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  77.5m km
Scamander Corporation Series VIII Infrared Array (1)     Sensitivity 96     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  77.5m km


The key feature distinguishing this design from the more conservative upgrade preferred by the ship design offices was the upgunned pair of 127 mm light railgun batteries, which if adopted would be the first Legion Navy weapons of this caliber. The justification for this upgrade, Lord Admiral Pandia was quick to remark, was not so much a vain attempt to improve combat firepower, but rather to arm the frigates with weapons which could penetrate the thin armor typically seen on civilian and auxiliary vessels, in hopes of cripping enemy vessels and coercing quick surrenders by inflicting internal damage in the first volley of fire. To accomplish this upgunning, Lord Admiral Pandia proposed replacing the large missile warning array with the smaller onboard targeting system deployed on most other Legion Navy vessels. This was justified, in her view, by the fact that the command cruisers at the heart of every battle fleet would provide anti-missile sensor capability already, thus there was no need to duplicate this capability in a class of ships which were, after all, doctrinally optional. Otherwise, she emphasized, most of the other improvements in the previous Mark II proposal were maintained, including the increased armor thickness and fuel load.

As the ‘raider’ design in most respects hewed close to the previous proposal, quite accidentally, and as the Lords Admiral had expressed few great reservations about the latter, criticism of the former centered principally on the lack of anti-missile sensor capability. Lord Admiral Glycon Limos, commander of the Duratus Naval Corps, raised the point that removing anti-missile capability from the Bellerophons would make them much less flexible and valuable as attached squadron elements, whereas their current loadout would enable them to provide backup anti-missile sensor support in case of misfortune befalling the command cruiser of a battle fleet. Furthermore, refitting the existing Bellerophons to the proposed variant would leave the Legion Navy without any dedicated anti-missile sensor elements until the command cruisers were finally deployed, which would require several years to accomplish even with best estimates. Perhaps, the Lord Admiral suggested, the production of dedicated commerce raiders should wait at least until the rest of the fleet was properly equipped to support such an endeavor.

On the other hand, some among the Lords Admiral were less inclined to place so much value on the anti-missile capabilities of the Bellerophon class. Perhaps the most vocal proponent of this view was, predictably, Lord Admiral Niobe Chryson, who held that the improved 127 mm armament of the ‘Raider’ variant enabled the frigates to make a meaningful contribution in battle, something which had not been possible to date. While the previous session had established that the 102 mm railguns of the existing class made no serious contribution to fleet point defense, Lord Admiral Chryson went further and claimed that the long-range anti-missile sensor arrays had no appreciable impact either. While ostensibly the long range gave a battle fleet superior missile tracking and thus accuracy of defensive fire, in practice the nominal 10% or 12% improvement in accuracy had proven simply unnecessary - point defense work against the Belaire had never required the full weight of fire provided by the available destroyer squadrons - or else woefully insufficient to prevent heavy losses, as against the Mongolicans in the Battle of Gliese 1. Lord Admiral Chryson was eagerly supported in her claims by Lord High Admiral Hilaera Antilochus, who wisely left unspoken her obvious preference for this more specialized redesign which would preclude attempts by the Home Fleet Command to deploy its frigates on Survey Command types of missions.

While these and other points of debate were raised, ultimately few others of the Lords Admiral were particularly invested in the topic, with most having already made up their minds along the lines laid out by Lord Admiral Limos. As such, the discussion of the ‘Raider’ variant died down after not too much time, and Lord Admiral Criasus opened the floor for any other proposals. Taking this cue, Lord High Admiral Geras Makedon took center stage, presenting perhaps the most novel and unique proposal for a Legion warship yet seen throughout the Naval Conference to this point:

Off-Topic: Bellerophon Mk II Carrier class Frigate • show
Bellerophon Mk II ‘Carrier’ class Frigate      7,500 tons       184 Crew       1,066.8 BP       TCS 150    TH 750    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 4-34       Shields 0-0       HTK 41      Sensors 96/96/0/0      DCR 6      PPV 6
Maint Life 3.21 Years     MSP 533    AFR 75%    IFR 1.0%    1YR 78    5YR 1,167    Max Repair 187.5 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 500 tons     
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Flight Crew Berths 40    Morale Check Required   

Hyperion Drive Yards H-375 Frigate Engine 'Gryphon' (2)    Power 750    Fuel Use 46.19%    Signature 375    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 477,000 Litres    Range 24.8 billion km (57 days at full power)

Arcadia Weapons Systems 102 mm Defense Battery Mk III (2x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
Sangarius Systems Defense Battery Director Mk IV (1)     Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
Chryson Dynamics 6 TW Induction Drive Cell Mk VI (1)     Total Power Output 6.2    Exp 5%

Scamander Corporation Series XVI Onboard Targeting System (1)     GPS 16     Range 6.4m km    MCR 574.5k km    Resolution 1
Scamander Corporation Series VIII RF Wave Array (1)     Sensitivity 96     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  77.5m km
Scamander Corporation Series VIII Infrared Array (1)     Sensitivity 96     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  77.5m km

Strike Group:
1x R-56 Recon Fighter
1x AR-56 Osprey Recon Fighter


The key feature of the design, immediately apparent to all present, was the pair of 250-ton capacity boat bays and associated reconnaissance fighter complement. While the concept of mounting a single boat bay for the purpose of carrying scout craft was not new in Legion Naval doctrine, doing so for such a small ship as a frigate was unheard of, let alone doubling the traditional carrying capacity. Further, to accommodate the reconnaissance wing, the large active sensor array traditionally mounted on the Bellerophon-class frigates had been removed entirely, in addition to reducing the missile warning array to a smaller onboard targeting system. By gutting the class’s innate active sensor capabilities, Lord High Admiral Makedon - with the assistance of his subordinate, Lord Admiral Pothos Aleus - had devised the first primary-carrier-role ship class in Legion Naval history. Perhaps acutely aware of his precarious standing in doing this, Lord High Admiral Makedon was quick to emphasize that this proposal was not necessarily meant to replace the Bellerophons as a mainline fleet scout frigate, but could perhaps be considered as an experimental proposal meriting a squadron’s worth of ships to be constructed as a proof of concept.

Criticism was immediate and harsh, perhaps even more so than would usually be expected for an “experimental” class proposal. Much fuss was made about the fact that the ‘Carrier’ variant had made even greater sacrifices of actual fleet scouting capability than the previous ‘Raider’ variant, which had already been roundly lambasted for such deficiencies. Lord Admiral Aleus was quick to counter this, arguing that the long-range active sensor capability was secondary compared to the passive sensor capability, since no Legion weapon system functioned at ranges beyond 200,000 km anyways. In cases where active detection against a target was necessary for any reason, the fighter loadout of the class would be adequate to accomplish the task. Most of the Lords Admiral did not find this line of reasoning persuasive, although Lord Admiral Pandia did note that a passive sensor-only scouting doctrine could be effective in a commerce-raiding role, though even she would have preferred to keep the flexibility of active detection capabilities as well.

In the realm of well-considered and specific criticisms, Lord Admiral Palaestra Abderus of the Mining Corps noted that the fuel loading of the ‘Carrier’ variant was quite bare. At a mere 35,000 liters increase over the original Bellerophon design, this variant would only have enough fuel to barely travel 20 billion km and refuel each of its parasite craft once from empty. Logistically, this seemed incredibly limiting compared to the extended range being proposed for other variants, which would allow a degree of independence while still supporting battle fleet operations. Lord High Admiral Makedon attempted to justify this by noting that the combined range of the frigate and AR-56 parasite came out to over 40 billion km, but even he was forced to concede that the R-56 passive scout lacked similar range and thus the overall package represented a significant dip in passive scouting capabilities, compared to the other variants under consideration.

Curiously, perhaps the most thought-provoking comment came from Lord Admiral Chryson, who observed that the AR-56 Osprey class of recon fighters possessed the same 20 billion km range as any other Legion Naval vessel, and thus raised the question of why an entire frigate with minimal combat utility was needed when a fleet of recon fighters could do the same job with much less fuss and far fewer catastrophic losses. This observation was followed by a period of uncomfortable silence, which was only resolved by Lord Admiral Criasus, who noted that while his colleague’s question held substantive merit for discussion, it would have properly been raised in that morning’s session, and thus the session would regrettably be forced to move on towards more relevant topics. Thus, the Lords Admiralty were once again saved from the introspective horror of feeling a bit silly about themselves by the minutiae of procedure.

This is not to say that no Lords Admiral were made to feel silly about themselves at another time during the session, as several designs were proposed by various members of the assembly which were clearly far-fetched and meant to primarily show off whatever passed for “creative thinking” among the Lords Admiralty rather than as serious proposals. An outlier all its own, however, was the rather perplexing suggestion of a ‘Deep Space’ variant made by Lord Admiral Limos:

Off-Topic: Bellerophon Mk II Deep Space Scout class Frigate • show
Bellerophon Mk II ‘Deep Space’ Scout class Frigate      7,500 tons       170 Crew       938.4 BP       TCS 150    TH 563    EM 0
3750 km/s      Armour 4-34       Shields 0-0       HTK 37      Sensors 96/96/0/0      DCR 6      PPV 6
Maint Life 3.72 Years     MSP 469    AFR 75%    IFR 1.0%    1YR 53    5YR 792    Max Repair 105 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 24 months    Morale Check Required   

X-280 Deep Space Scout Engine (2)    Power 562.5    Fuel Use 22.50%    Signature 281.25    Explosion 7%
Fuel Capacity 797,000 Litres    Range 85 billion km (262 days at full power)

Arcadia Weapons Systems 102 mm Defense Battery Mk III (2x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 4,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
Sangarius Systems Defense Battery Director Mk IV (1)     Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
Chryson Dynamics 6 TW Induction Drive Cell Mk VI (1)     Total Power Output 6.2    Exp 5%

Scamander Corporation Series XVI Long-Range Array (1)     GPS 14400     Range 83.1m km    Resolution 150
Scamander Corporation Series XVI Onboard Targeting System (1)     GPS 16     Range 6.4m km    MCR 574.5k km    Resolution 1
Scamander Corporation Series VIII RF Wave Array (1)     Sensitivity 96     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  77.5m km
Scamander Corporation Series VIII Infrared Array (1)     Sensitivity 96     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  77.5m km


With a top speed of only 3,750 km/s and an incredible fuel range of 85 billion km, this design was clearly not intended as a mainline fleet scout, and Lord Admiral Limos stated as much upfront. Rather, this design was intended as a supplementary proposal once the refit or replacement of the mainline Bellerophons was completed. The ‘Deep Space’ variant would augment the Legion Navy’s capabilities by providing for deep space scouting and long-range patrol roles. As such, he explained, the standard H-375 ‘Gryphon’ engines would be replaced with a pair of high-efficiency engines allowing a substantial increase in range, and the anti-missile sensor capability would be reduced as the class would not be expected to operate in close connection with a battle fleet. The reader might be surprised to learn that, according to the Conference minutes, no substantive discussion of this proposal was held, in fact not even a cursory dismissal of the proposal was advanced. In hindsight, however, it is clear that Lord Admiral Limos’ actual intent with this proposal had been in large part to devise a class which could encroach into the mandate of the Survey Command, thus angering the hot-tempered Lord High Admiral Hilaera Antilochus. This goal was accomplished successfully, followed shortly by the additional accomplishment of once again justifying the presence of the Imperial Guard detachment in the Conference chamber.

Once the pair of would-be combatants had been escorted out of the chamber, Lord Admiral Criasus called the session back to order. As the hour was growing late, and the members of the assembly peckish, the next proposal to be presented was certain to mark the conclusion of the day’s events. This dubious honor fell to none other than Lord Admiral Niobe Chryson, who presented perhaps the most predictable replacement for the Bellerophons yet, given its author:

Off-Topic: Chryson Proposal class Scout Destroyer • show
Chryson Proposal class Scout Destroyer      10,000 tons       290 Crew       1,555.3 BP       TCS 200    TH 1,000    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 4-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 51      Sensors 96/96/0/0      DCR 8      PPV 24
Maint Life 2.96 Years     MSP 777    AFR 100%    IFR 1.4%    1YR 132    5YR 1,983    Max Repair 250 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Hyperion Drive Yards H-500 Destroyer Engine 'Cerberus' (2)    Power 1000    Fuel Use 40.0%    Signature 500    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 527,000 Litres    Range 23.7 billion km (54 days at full power)

Arcadia Weapons Systems 102 mm Defense Battery Mk III (8x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
Sangarius Systems Defense Battery Director Mk IV (2)     Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
Chryson Dynamics 12 TW Induction Drive Cell Mk VI (2)     Total Power Output 24.2    Exp 5%

Scamander Corporation Series XVI Long-Range Array (1)     GPS 14400     Range 83.1m km    Resolution 150
Scamander Corporation Series XVI Missile Warning Array (1)     GPS 96     Range 15.6m km    MCR 1.4m km    Resolution 1
Scamander Corporation Series VIII RF Wave Array (1)     Sensitivity 96     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  77.5m km
Scamander Corporation Series VIII Infrared Array (1)     Sensitivity 96     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  77.5m km


This was in fact a remarkably restrained presentation from the mercurial Lord Admiral. Indeed, the weapon batteries remained as 102 mm rather than the heavier 152 mm batteries one might have expected to see, and the hull type was merely destroyer-sized rather than cruiser-sized. The proposal even included a modest increase of 56,000 liters of fuel providing a useful range improvement for minor scouting missions.

Unfortunately, the Lords Admiral were not known for celebrating restraint. Both Lord Admiral Palaestra Abderus and Lord High Admiral Aeneas Chalcon, as experts on Legion industrial concerns, roundly criticized the heftier build cost of the ‘Chryson’ destroyer design, providing the same essential capacities as the ‘Standard’ Bellerophon Mk II design proposed by the ship design offices, but at a one-third markup accounting for additional armor, amenities, and point defense emplacements. The point defense capabilities were further criticized by Lord Admiral Aleus, who complained that the class tried to accomplish too much when purpose-built Charybdis-class destroyers had proven more than adequate in the fleet defense role. Lord Admiral Chryson tried to counter this criticism by noting that, as a reasonably capable destroyer-sized hull, her proposed design could easily fit into a typical destroyer squadron to provide sensor coverage, even on detached duties. This valiant attempt at a defense was soundly eviscerated by the assembly at large, which took severe issue with Lord Admiral Chryson’s apparent attempts to circumvent the doctrines being established at this very Naval Conference to suit her own preferences.

Notably, however, no real objections were raised to the concept of a destroyer-sized fleet scout equipped with adequate point defense batteries. Rather, the complaints were related principally to the design itself and its severe additional expense for minimal gains over the better proposals for Bellerophon Mk II variants. Additionally, Lord Admiral Abderus noted that the frigate-sized proposals had shown better fuel performance and total range, a clear advantage over the overwrought destroyer-sized class. Finally, Lord High Admiral Chalcon stated for the record that the proposed hull type would not be compatible with the same shipyard as the Charybdis class or a similar future variant, owing to the hefty cost of the sensor suite, and that even if compatibility were not an issue, yard space would be as destroyer hulls were easily the most in-demand hull type for the Legion Navy at that time given the ubiquitous need for heavy point defense capabilities on all fronts.

With Lord Admiral Chryson left to feel silly about herself, or perhaps more likely to glower in a corner plotting some measure of revenge, the Speaker of the Assembly called for motions put to a vote so the session might reach its conclusion. The votes proceeded at an unsurprisingly quick pace, given the hour of day and the desire of the Conference attendees to satisfy their appetites after such a long, hard day of work. The results are briefly summarized below:
  • The ‘Standard Upgrade’ Mk II variant, as proposed by the ship design staff and supported by Lord Grand Admiral Argyron and Lord High Admiral Macaria, was accepted as the primary replacement for the Bellerophon class by a vote of 12 to 2, with Lords Admiral Chryson and Pandia dissenting.
  • In a divisive decision, the ‘Raider’ Mk II variant, proposed by Lord Admiral Pandia, was accepted on a trial basis, to form a separate squadron of standard 3+1 composition, the ships of which would be constructed only once the entire existing Bellerophon roster had been refitted to Mk II standards. The vote passed in a confusing manner, with one vote (Lord Admiral Pandia) in favor of immediate construction, 6 votes in favor of the given result, 5 votes dissenting, and two members abstaining.
  • The ‘Carrier’ Mk II variant was rejected entirely in a 12-2 decision, with Lord High Admiral Makedon and Lord Admiral Aleus the sole supporters.
  • Various proposals taken less seriously, including Lord Admiral Limos’ ‘Deep Space’ variant, were not considered for a vote, over occasional objections.
  • The ‘Chryson’ destroyer-size proposal was officially “Not Accepted”, with Lord Admiral Chryson voting in favor of acceptance, 5 Lords Admiral voting for outright rejection, and the remainder voting for the less-harsh measure of non-acceptance. Notably, this indicated that at least some members of the assembly considered the use of larger hull types for fleet scouts a worthwhile future consideration, but the current design was at this time clearly considered unworkable.
With this, the fifth day of the Naval Conference came to a close, leaving only three more sessions before the official closing statements in which to finish the comprehensive redesign of the Legion Navy.

----

OOC Notes: And thus, the fleet scout question is resolved. Mostly. And has been overcomplicated with a second variant. Some doors have been slammed shut, but one door has been left wide open - and at some point in time we can only expect that the question of independent recon fighters will be revisited with interest. Really, we could not expect anything else from this bunch of Lords Admiral, I think.

Next up will be the session on Miscellaneous Business, truly a wildcard meeting in which anything might happen! Or at least it will not be more shipchat™, we will have that going for us at least. Given the current rate of posting I think we can be optimistic about hearing this part of the story sooner than later. Maybe. Perhaps. It is not impossible. At any rate, with only three sessions left plus the closing remarks, there is perhaps some light now at the end of the tunnel? We shall see.

2
General C# Fiction / Re: The Official Chronicle of the Duranium Legion
« Last post by nuclearslurpee on June 30, 2022, 10:58:22 PM »
<!< Whats this?! This is far to quick! Next you'll tell me you'll update again before 2023! Far to fast!
XD

I apologize, for I am about to continue to disappoint you.  ;)


Hurrah! Good old Pandia bringing some sense to proceedings.

Someone has to, and the other thirteen are too far gone to be trusted with the task - is what Lord Admiral Pandia would tell you at the pub while she drowns her work-related sorrows.

Quote
As a matter of doctrine Antilochus is probably correct, as mentioned later the Legion just charge as fast as they can at the objective and then shoot the enemy point blank in the face. They are not ones for subtlety or grand manoeuvrers, they are the IJA and not the IJN in this metaphor. Long range sensors may be nice to have, they would certainly make clearing up later easier, but they are not actually needed by the battle fleet.

Ah, but without sensors, how would we find enemy fleets to charge straight at? Assaulting jump points is one way and certainly a popular one, hence reducing the scout frigates to an optiona squadron attachment rather than mandatory, but it is not enough on its own.

Quote
Cowards.

Indeed.

Quote
the idea of doing statistical analysis and assessment seems very contradictory to the "Fly closer so I can shoot them in the face" doctrine of the Legion.

It is important to have some way to know who is the very best at shooting them in the face, for promotion purposes. The implications of this statement are left as an exercise for the reader.

----

On this note, let us return to our intrepid heroes characters and see if any of them might score some promotion points, for another update is nigh upon us.
3
General C# Fiction / Re: Saving Europa by Fleeing to Europa (SEFE)
« Last post by Vandermeer on June 27, 2022, 10:57:32 AM »
Episode Wu'an: The Return of the "Zi"s
The recent maneuvers had shown that the WU navy had need for some safe reconnaissance options for which the costly and easy to spot and bring down Bastille frigate was simple not suited. The Commodore's in charge would thus often misappropriate the Dessault Mirrage fighters as independent scout planes, a role for which they weren't intended.
So to tackle this obvious emerging need, another plane model was to be added to the roster of the carrier forces, and also to Europa and Chateu land bases: the pure blooded scouting plane Captor Albatross:


In comparison to the Mirage which was designed a Wing escort, the Albatross had both twice the range and twice the detection distance, while still being fast enough to escape any approaching Alp threat. Additionally, it could actually survive on its own for a month or more, making true intelligence and patient observation missions a possibility, and all this for cheap no less.
Three planes were ordered for each carrier, and their reported merits and design already made them a Captain's favorite in the lobby.


Although the WU and other Unions were doing reasonably well all things considered and slowly making progress in their resistance, there was another problem brewing up in their midst that had almost become forgotten again:


Just as after WWII, the Strauss Howe Generational Theory suggests it takes about 2-3 generations, or 60 to 90 years for the critical lessons to be forgotten once more. The current generations around the Sun were reminded daily of the consequences of socialist teaching through the historic documentation of pre-war splendor which contrasted so starkly with the harsher life they were living in the aftermath. These circumstances helped for now to not let the beast grab on to either decadence or class injustices that did almost not exist anymore here.
But if history taught anything, it is that the will to power arises naturally amongst some human individuals, and that those will search and find a way to reinvent the old recipes or twist the public perception to find a loophole in the new constitutional history-hardened fortress. The early 2000s evolution of the Marxist formula was one of such new inventive attack angles, as it shifted the trodden and long unmasked class warfare vector into a race and gender injustice narrative, -cultural Marxism-.
Through these observations it has come to be known that history doesn't actually repeat, but merely rhymes, for there was always a new trick to get the bowling ball rolling. Cultures that insisted too strongly to prevent the exact same evil from the past (e.g. Germany with their "never again" slogan), actually left themselves open to ideological fanatical subversion by the same but slightly altered methods, for their antibodies were too specialized and failed to identify the actual common root tactics/outcomes of the attacker's actions.
Because even so the levers pulled to initiate the reaction might adapt to the times on every new instance, eventually history did repeat after all, as total control could only be established by enacting the very same policies every time: Retracting individual freedoms, eliminating or subverting the free press, attacking the independence of the judicial, scrubbing the military to sort out the disloyal, using the intelligence agencies and justice department to go after political rivals, and eventually canceling all separation of powers to cement the regime.
At some point of political conflict, in which two sides might still be accusing each other of being the true evil, the veil eventually lifts once one side openly goes down that road, so the actual autocrats could be clearly identified. Amongst other identifiers, no person educated in history and the evolution of modern political theory would ever push to install state controlled censorship(one recent of uncountable examples..) or propose to centralize the powers beyond the absolutely necessary, if they hadn't the intention to build up an autocracy of some sort.


One more step in the devolving progress however was often overlooked: 'The disarmament of the public' needed to take place before any tyranny could truly and confidently stand.
The Amsterdam system was the furthest colony from Earth, and in fact the only colony that was more than one cutting away. When the new mindslaved CCP begun their siege of both Sol and Alpha Centauri, Amsterdam became strongly isolated for years, which was especially damning for them, as they still relied on regular shipments to build up their subsistence.
..Lack of communication, social strain and fear of an enemy were a known constellation to divide cultures and be a seedbed for usurping powers to clip that distant branch. Yet, considering the stark cultural foundation of anti-socialism of the WU, it was still a surprise when in February 2101 word reached Europa that the acting interim governor of Amsterdam had ordered a buyback campaign on the public gun ownership, forcing -with some little public support- this highly endangered outlier to become even worse defended and dependent on its government no less. Reasons given were crisis rights due to the immediate danger that demanded more of the defensive supplies going to the armed guards, and also apparently a vague narrative of "not making yourself a target", although details on this could not be extracted, as censorship had already set in.
The WU executive body grew worried as the signs were clear. Here seemed to emerge just another greedy individual or group that saw its chance to rule their own kingdom come once their ties to the controlling instances became loose. When Amsterdam then began restraining all channels but the official ones, it was obvious that something had to be done.
What the governing group there hadn't factored in was that the Unions' combined navies would actually succeed in breaking their encirclement (for now), and regain so soon the option to send for investigation. Hence, even though it was still a very risky move to sail in this strongly contested space, WUN ordered one more freighter with supplies and this time also a full military garrison regiment to be sent down the perilous path to Amsterdam. These were republican soldiers, -volunteers schooled in the philosophy of public, self-arising resistance-, who had no notion of loyalty to any government body, but only to the communities at home and those who they eventually ended up serving and become part of.
Off-Topic: show

The winds were fortunate, and the transit succeeded, uncovering what had really been going on.

[some skippable WU political history]
The interim governor had indeed fallen to the very ideals he was elected to fight against. Taking the inability of the WUN to defend even Sol as evidence, a public narrative had been spun that claimed if even such advanced military couldn't win, then why should Amsterdam even attempt to resist? Thinly veiled were his real intentions though, when he cynically even quoted Fidel Castro directly, "Guns for what?".(*1)
Of course, he also knew of another true quote:

From the ancient times of warlords, over the consolidation of power through kings and empires, one thing has always held true, although sometimes hidden: Those who have the biggest stick around, rule the land. Be it the Japanese Hideyoshi era restriction of weapon ownership to the Samurai caste, the disarming of all 'enemies of the state'(curiously basically everyone) at the advent of the third reich (OOC: still stands today), the cement of a fragile regime only ever dries if the opposition is held as weak as possible.
In a republic however, the founding idea was that the government arose bottom up out of the people who should hold onto control, which is why the ultimate power should lay with them, and thus also the right to be and stay armed. Often the necessity of this setup had been challenged in the previous pre-CCP western world, for most of their countries managed to stay free without any public gun ownership after all. What was often overlooked however, was that at that time, the former USA were in a strong hegemonic position towards the whole western sphere, meaning all their allies were strongly dependent on the US's good graces and thus the West's corresponding governments held in check by the standing liberty ideology there. ..Yet, even despite all the public defense options, the US security apparatus was still relentlessly scratching on the republic's doors and foundations, constantly infringing and experimenting with ways to tip the balance of power and fulfill their frantic need of total control.
(patriot act, operation mockingbird, stop and frisk, dishonestly framed crime statistics // 67% of the massive number "gun deaths" are suicides, and after all other factors, only ~10% remain as the 'crazy shooter' murders as framed - over 86% of those committed by minorities, most often driven to crime by the government's own policies. No word about how nearly all these shootings happen in blue cities who already have the strictest gun controls around, yet also happen to follow 'soft on crime' policies that release even gun crime offenders back onto the streets in no time. ...Only a crisis leads to yearning for "control")
Surely, without resistance in the hands of the people, the fall of the West would have come much sooner under such motivated pressures, and eventually it did succeed after some likely intentionally escalated mass shooting event during the midst of the Beijing regime consolidation phase was used as precedent to enact complete constitutional denial in form of a "somebody anonymously demands you are 'unsafe' -> you lose your gun" law. The same show incident was even used to enable banning in the distant Chinada, even though its culture had nothing to do with it. Additionally the propped up massacre provided ammunition just in time to go against the still not subverted judicial powers.(OOC: also from official gov's side) A page out of the upstart autocrat's handbook.
Off-Topic: show

Though it was too late to completely disarm everyone before the complete overtaking, it was enough to tip the odds so that the split of the former US into red states and OURS regime became a necessary tradeoff, for the blue side was subverted.

The lesson out of all of this was easy: If the state managed to erect a monopoly on violence, then there was no Republic anymore. The state rights exceeded the personal rights, meaning the ownership contract of the government to the people was void on this account already, and, -going back to the foundational politic theory Lord Acton quote, as well as Mao-, the one sided power balance would and always has ended in tyranny ultimately, for even initially well intentioned leadership could not forever resist to resolve public discontent 'the easy way'(=beatdowns) given the tempting, unopposed option. The denial of the checks and balances principle.
Therefore the reforming of the previous EU into the grander WU corpus saw some panicked action regarding the revival of personal protection rights. Although the WU wouldn't go as far as letting every citizen roam around openly carrying large armaments like in the former US, there was ingrained provision for everyone to be able to own weapons at home, and be allowed to take them out for training events or even potential protest, given that an organized crowd above a certain size was moving.(quite the opposite of previous carry philosophy) Larger and more dangerous weapons such as tanks and even small warships could be owned by groups of declared common share or organizations with shared ownership.
Add to that the separation of governing bodies into small city/metro state units across Europa since its founding (initially to preserve original cultures from countries in one dome city each), and it was evident that decentralization was at the core of WU governance. A union after all, not an empire, like the eventually misnamed US.

All the more affront was the Amsterdam reversal of these fundamentals. The soldiers of the republic swept in and arrested the governor, then conducted deep investigations into the whereabouts of his enabling supporters. To on one hand gain public trust, as well as re-establish the original order, shipped gun supplies were distributed to the people, and additional arms stacked in public accessible reserve bunkers.
One of the tactics that had gone unnoticed in Amsterdam so far was enacted very early already. Like it had been practice in the West before, the chapters about socialism in public schools and universities were strangely cut ("what is holodomor?"/"the great leap forward?") or framed as false dichotomy (="these people aren't what we are doing, they are 180° on the other side!"). As journalism, teaching professions and public service have been throughout history consistently some or the lowest IQ subjects in universities everywhere, it was also here where the cult of weakness, the in napoleon-complex unified underachievers, the 'want without earning' philosophy always found a fertile seedbed to renew its foothold. From this institutional foundation, public opinion and the next generation were much easier to turn and propagandize, but not this time. A large program was started with agreement of the WU to re-introduce the history and consequences of communism as a compulsory information course into public schools, as well as guidance about the reasoning around the current founding principles. Additionally the WU decided not only for Amsterdam to make it part of this education to show what has become of the former CCP and the agony they now live in, ending with some great slogans, like "The ice cream van's siren sounds promising, ...but you still don't get in", or this one next to military show:

Though this last part was a trick-question/presentation, for the teachers were instructed to scold all those that would cheer on it. Breathing in propaganda (even when it is true) was not the goal, but education and forming of an inquisitive mind that can resist it. The socialists only win when these virtues and lessons are forgotten or twisted.
Off-Topic: show

Though not actually armed, the large city hall was rigged with show explosives, and a long fuse line went out to the streets towards a new admonishing monument that celebrated the rekindled republican spirits.


[/some skippable WU political history]





The Window Closes
As if the internal unrest wasn't enough, 9 months later other movements in Alpha Centauri indicated the Alp-CCP had reformed their forces and would soon attempt a return into Sol


...This time however, the Leninist AI had come up with a new frightening trick to add to its war tactic:
Off-Topic: show

Maybe this was what all their gravity probing into Sol ultimately meant. By some unknown physics and wisdom that surely came from the null-void again, they actually succeeded at opening another cutting point into Sol, adding to the attack vectors that threatened humanity. WUN had so far followed a plan of moving fronts through the 2 planned carriers:


Eventually they wanted to encircle the abyssal system to gain time to think of a better plan and also free the routes to the colonies. Although this new breach was close to the Alpha Centauri cut, it still meant that to be safe while the carrier might be progressing, there had to be a "seal" applied, which might be too costly once more.
Something for WUN admiralty to think about, but also put back for this current predicament could only mean that the already intimidating Alp fleet in Alpha Centauri meant to unify with another one from a different location, and move in as one. ..At the Unions' current capacity, this could mean ultimate defeat.

One day later some precursor early scouts moved inwards and were greeted by a full wing of 50 Eurofighters.

To WU's great shame, the Goteborg survived despite not being particularly sturdy.

Not a good show for the fighters who would eventually have to go up against many warships at once.

Just a week later, the real attack fleet arrives. They seem to originate from the new cutting point.

The attack group halts and eerily awaits the WUN strike in stillness.
Off-Topic: show

..Another failure ensues as their thick defensive fire eliminates enough munitions to leave the targeted Nyanga only wounded.

This means that even 50 fighters might still not be enough to reliable dispatch one enemy ship, although they were certainly crippled beyond usability. The admiralty will consider responses.

Left to further fall in as the wing rearms, it seems the AI has finally wised up on the WU's situation and targets their critical Uridium mine on Wolf.
Off-Topic: show

..They destroy it soundly, leaving Europa no option but to move another mine over should the storm ever pass.
Off-Topic: show


Asean left 2 beam defence bases at an Earth Lagrange point for experiments, which was targeted soon after some civilian ships.
Off-Topic: show


The small post was destroyed, but not without critically damaging one of the large dreadnought Iah classes.
WUN seizes at this great opportunity and targets the wounded ship, but due to a synchronization error, -the first one so far-, salvos didn't align correctly.

Luckily the ship had no fire controls left and was dispatched even by a half salvo, incidentally adding useful intel to the guidebook of engagement procedures with the Alp.
Off-Topic: show


Though they caused the WU infrastructure much harm already, it was surprising to see that this little encounter had already turned the AI to switch into a retreat behavioral schema.


WUN hoped for a much needed breather as the expensive missile reserve had run out already, but then, only another 2 days later, the second fleet arrived...
Off-Topic: show

Without losing much time, they went after WU infrastructure once more, even going so far as to attempt to attack Mars directly it appeared. Luckily, there were ground batteries there of course.

...Yet the AI has been running on cheats another new invention:
Off-Topic: show

Their scrambling technology received an upgrade for which the defender were not prepared. While they usually only attempted to insert their propaganda into all transmission devices, this time they managed to hastily get hold of just one identified commanding officer which it subverted by a novel evolution of their methods into a focused brute force attempt. With WU having no defense against such determined infiltration, consequently the whole defensive line got shot down and didn't fire even though hell was raining down on the planet.
Over half a million civilians were killed in the attack and many defensive installation received critical damage. If this would be a problem of the future, then the beam defenses might as well not be there. It seemed only orbital missile batteries were reliable after all.

For now their overtaking was at least not permanent it seemed, causing them to leave the assault as an act of terror while aiming for their next target, ...another mine.
Off-Topic: show

All of WU infrastructure was now at risk, and apparently couldn't even be fortified in the future with ground defenses anymore.

Another critical Uridium mining site, Mercury, fell in their eyes.
Off-Topic: show

The civilian operation and the mercenaries defending it there were not simply dispatched in a slaughter of a battle. No, these poor souls awaited a much more dire destiny, as the attackers landed with the surprising intent to capture the base, and with it ...the colonists minds.
The mercenaries and corporate workers were integrated into the communist nightmare matrix, starting to chant the manifesto, or screaming as their brains began to grasp the horror of Lenin's work in its entirety, and there was nothing that the dried out WU navy could do about it at this point.

The times looked more dire than ever. Mercury was now a real base from which the Alp could harass the system, all the while Europa was under constant surveillance from another team of scout ships.
As if this threat wasn't already on the level that the years long previous occupation had presented, another 2 weeks later, ..there was a third fleet.


Even stronger than the last one, they assumed position at their Mercury post and merged with the 2nd fleet to launch incursions from this vantage point onto Earth directly.
Off-Topic: show


In the first light of this renewed assault, many Asean beam bases fall quickly.
Off-Topic: show

However the damage from the counter fire causes 4 Iah dreadnoughts to flee from the scene very early in the fight, while the rest of the fleet resumes station at conquered Mercury base.

Though it might seem like a little win, the fact stands that approaching Earth had previously resulted in obliteration of the Alp incursion, while it now left them wounded and thus with options to repair and regroup.
Things were going from bad to worse, but the truly worst was yet to come...
Off-Topic: show

...Not just being satisfied with just defeating the free Union forces in open battle anymore, they continued with their ultimate plan that they already started at Mercury and Mars: Not murdering, not conquering, but overtaking the minds of the free.

..The process apparently took 2 days, but then the nightmare intelligence hungered again.
Off-Topic: show

Although the cost were high, and even Britain lost one of its only bases, this time there were 3 loses on the side of the socialist locusts as well.

However, it was all within the scope of the Alp's plan it seemed. Shortly after the initial fire exchange, they once again deployed the upgraded scrambling technology. With the intelligence gathered from the mindjacked crews of the recently destroyed beam bases, they identified all the critical officer posts and took them over once more. In consequence, Earth's defenders stopped firing back for another whole minute, just like on Mars, leaving them to another slaughter.
Off-Topic: show


Since the control relied on the mindscramble of some individuals however, at least it couldn't last forever as the chain of command could move to fire-at-will. Thus, before incurring unnecessary loses, the strike fleet moved out of the system, likely for repairs and to return even stronger... .



After the glimmer of hope from the recent advancement in Alp fighting tactics, the situation of the unions had now suddenly become more hopeless than it has ever been. WU's fighter fleet had three times in a row demonstrated lacking effectiveness, and despite grand 50% production expansion, it seemed the ammunition supplies could never become able to keep up with the sheer material the Alp was able to throw at them.
At the same time the at least mid-level defenses of ground based beam defenses seemed to have become mostly obsolete, for the enemy could always attempt hit-and-run tactics against them that must eventually tire them out to collapse without incurring any cost on the assailant.
The only defense left then were orbital missile bases, which were even more difficult to supply than the fighter fleet. In fact, prioritizing the fighter wing had caused that even the defenses of Europa had merely recovered 1000 of the 2400 missiles that would constitute just one full salvo, ...and it had taken years to get there.

All seemed to point that the historic win over the CCP, despite all the sacrifice, was in the end only a postponement of humanities ultimate destiny. The marvel incidence of the existence of US and their pioneer legacy one-of-a-kind freedom spirit had delayed it, ..until they still fell to it themselves, weakened by their riches. The emergence of the WU as its student had once more delayed it, ..but only at a cost that made them unable to fight its resurgence.
Maybe this was the answer to the Fermi Paradox. The Teeth empire had fallen under similar circumstances after all, and no further sign had been spotted that confirmed any advanced race had survived these inborn societal challenges. Perhaps the governor of Amsterdam was right after all, and there was no escaping for the lazy not-noble human mind but to fall into the think-traps of socialist autocracy.(and then kill itself under it)


[/Episode Wu'an: The Return of the "Zi"s]


//OOC:
(*1): Full talk with the Cuban resistance fighter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyw3EvMHlh8

Not sure what to do with this situation now. I was already demoralized when I had to realize the AI cheats at jump point transfers, which made most of my fleet setup unworkable. Now it seems it also cheats at avoiding ground-to-air defenses, so what beam defense is left, really? As I made sure to show in the screenshot, all the bases were on a firing policy, which had previously worked on Earth, but somehow not now.
Then consider that my AI allies also for some reason don't shoot back sometimes, and it seems pretty hopeless. I would take it if it was a fair game with a fair loss, but it isn't. The AI simply has some cheat like advantages due to problems with the mechanics. (perhaps the nature of player turn implementation has faulty consequences I would guess?)
..Well, I will try this some more now, but honestly, it would also be a good place to stop if the new version came out.
..Or I could counter the AI cheats with my own to re-establish fairness, though I don't know how. Suddenly appearing ammunition stockpiles, resources or ships, - they all seem dirty to me. Maybe a "server crash" on alien ships to gain time? That I could see I guess.

4
General C# Fiction / Re: Revival
« Last post by MeatyBoii on June 25, 2022, 07:24:42 AM »
History of Homeworld system, part 1

      The Ark has crossed the interstellar border to the Homeworld system at year 700, month 2, day 12. Just few weeks later it was able to use gravity assist from the white dwarf to greatly amplify the braking maneuver. During this, an automated satellite is dispatched to reconnaissance around the dwarf planets of the small system, but a malfunction of the engines causes it to be unable to stop accelerating, which eventually throws it out into the void of interstellar space.
After nine months of travel, Ark arrives at high orbit around Astarte. Thanks to very convenient placing of one of its biggest moons, a massive gravitational boost is provided, which greatly reduces the need for fuel in braking. After this maneuver, Ark is poised to reach Unity after two years and closing on to the main star once.
Sacrificing its solar sails, Ark is able to greatly reduce its orbital velocity, and needs only the smallest amount of fuel to achieve stable orbit around Unity.
After 702 years, 8 months and 29 days, humanity has reached its new home.

      After four days, the AI commanding the vessel decided to wake up the first batch of crewmen. From the offset, the procedure proved dangerous – and deadly. While the freezing process was safe and no casualties were recorded, the extensive journey, much longer than expected, led to unknown and poorly understood consequences of that process. Approximately 20% of the population stored in the Arks extensive storage facilities were dead by the time they were woken up. They were given the space burial; massive containers were launched towards the sun, most of which reached its surface after over a year.
      First human object to reach surface of Unity was the shuttle Bravo-Gamma 92 on reconnaissance mission. Currently, its landing spot marks the middle of the Capital City, and the shuttle itself is on public display, but heavily protected. After that, a swarm of automated probes and satellites was sent across the system, to find as much information about the planets and moons of the system as possible, while at the same time more and more specialists were woken up from the cryogenic sleep and brought to the surface of Unity, in order to start construction of cities that would host the extensive human population.
      After a decade, population of Unity reached ten millions people, housed in few major cities, centered around the Capital City. As more and more construction projects finished, and more people came down to the surface, the Ark itself started losing its importance, only influenced by the extensive damage sustained by the ship during its epic interstellar voyage.
Fairly quickly it became obvious that a massive chunk of the vessel was missing. The Control Station Gamma-Omikron-Iota 17, which provided us with a lot of missing information from a  human during the travel of the vessel in its final leg of the journey, was left exposed to the vacuum of space, with the corridor leading to it completely missing. When compared to the blueprints of the ship, one can see that an entire wing, filled with colonists was lost. The damage sustained is consistent with a asteroid hit, which must have been traveling at the similar trajectory and speed during the crash. The primitive force field used to deflect micro meteors was disabled halfway through the journey by a powerful blow – its deflection caused the generators to overcharge, which fried the circuits all over the ship. From that point onward, Ark sustained more and more damage, eventually leading to entire sections of the ship being badly damaged or rendered unusable. Upon arriving in Homeworld, it's estimated that another major dust cloud or asteroid cluster would destroy Ark. Thankfully, it managed to avoid that danger and brought us here.

The big poisoning

      By the year 716, entire population arriving on the Ark settled on the surface of Unity, and began spreading around, cultivating plants brought with them from Sol. Population steadily rose, but after another decade, doctors begun noticing how there was a drop in the birth numbers, and more and more completely healthy people were dying suddenly, with no signs beforehand that anything was amiss. After two years, it became a real trouble for the fledging colony – more people were dying than being born.
      In early year 719 a young farmer conducted an experiment on his own massive field, just outside the circle representing the major roadway between all the cities on the surface. Having built two completely isolated greenhouses, one of them housed a mix of indigenous and earthly plants, while another had only indigenous plants inside, which were deemed edible for humans. After just six months, he was able to prove a massive change in oxygen levels inside the first enclosure. While humans are used to very specific levels of oxygen in the air, it appeared that the massive spread of earthly foods caused an enormous spike in oxygen production. These findings were quickly supported by leading scientists, and soon enough, it was clear why people were dying in droves.
      Now the question arose: What to do next?
      Abandoning earthly crops was not an option. While local plants were edible, their calorie count was way too low to sustain human population, both due to not being enough to feed people on vegetarian diets, as well as not enough to cover the needs for livestock. While scientists and politicians argued, more and more people were dying, and the society began structuring. It came to it that every single city was working on its own solutions to the problem.
      Eventually, after another year – and with population of the planet having shrunk by over 40% since the begin of the problem – a city named Io established an „air stabilizing center”. A massive, tall tower, full of advanced technology, was erected right outside the city limits, and it began its work on filtering the air of the Io itself, whose city center was protected by a massive dome. After just few days, oxygen levels dropped back to normal, and Io became the major population center on the planet, with every other city becoming a ghost town.
Similar structures were erected in every other major city, and later at regular intervals around the planet. Within a year the oxygens level have stabilized, and after another four years they arrived at the optimal level for humans, even despite the massive increase in crop production. First crisis of the fledging colony was averted, but at a big cost. Over 15 million people died, among them many young and healthy people. Unity recovered from the crisis after only 40 years, when the population levels returned to normal. Ever since then, population has been increasing, at a slow but steady pace. Currently, population of humans in Homeworld does not exceed 560 millions people.

Colonization efforts in Homeworld

      During the late stages of the oxygen crisis, a few individuals begun acquiring blueprints for technologies that would aid them in interplanetary travel, as well as investing in massive scientific programs, aimed at easing the travel around the Homeworld system. In year 725 first launch pad was built, with aim of delivering crafts built on the surface to the orbit of the planet and maybe some of the closest moons. Soon enough, the planetary government decided on creating its own space program, and within five years the first official space mission, unaided by Ark, was launched towards Nyx and Moros, which were going to pass the planet close enough for a single mission to arrive at both. From this point onward, more and more missions were launched, both official and private. While the government focused on establishing potential outposts around the system and scientific discoveries of various bodies around it, private individuals focused on potential income and new industries arising from space mining.
      In year 731, Helios was discovered. A gas giant, completely missed by both Ark and observatories on Unity. Its dark gas clouds made it barely visible against the darkness of space, and it was by pure chance that it was discovered as its shadow was spotted on surface of Algos, usually very bright due to ice surface.
      In following years, unmanned reconnaissance missions were launched towards all easily reachable planets in the system (up to Helios). Algos was deemed not worth it due to massive distance and very difficult orbit, at times influenced by Hera. Last probe reached its final target, Helios, after eleven years of travel, delivering valuable images and spectral scans. It also managed to snatch a few images of Algos, as it was passing nearby (in galactic scale).
      In year 751, first permanent human installation on Unity orbit was established. Hub housed sixty people at first, but quickly grew in size to almost a thousand, utilizing technologies salvaged and reused from the Ark. After a short time, a space dock was installed, which allowed for construction of probes and small vessels on the planetary orbit. Just two years later, a manned mission was dispatched to Brutix, the major moon of Unity, and first colony was established.
      Up until this moment, Ark was used as a mission support for every ship and vessel departing for the unknown in Homeworld system. Its usage was limited to government only, with private citizens not allowed onboard or even close to it, which over time prove to be more and more point of conflict. Eventually, one of the leading space consortiums – Homeworld Contracting – demanded access to the Ark on grounds of Unity Constitution, which allowed for „Free and open access of every citizen to every non-military property of New World”. The government, however, declined this, declaring the Ark a military object, and putting a makeshift defense force onboard to protect against any attempts at hijacking or illegal landing.
      Following this, the situation became even more strained. Several private consortiums started their own interstellar projects, including a settlement on Brutix, main moon of Unity, as well as on the surface of Celestis. In face of more limits being imposed by the government, private citizens became drawn by the limitless vastness of space, going so far as even creating an independent enclave on very high Unity orbit. Not few years later, a first armed vessel – a crude and rudimentary shuttle with a singular improvised gauss gun – was put in service of Homeworld Contracting. The corporation faced immediate repression and demands of its surrender, but they did not falter. After two years another five vessels joined, creating an ad hoc private military fleet.
      Faced with that development, the Unity government was forced to enact its own armed forces and space fleet. With small, but functional docks and shipyards onboard the Ark and the space station, they immediately begun constructing their own spaceship designs, as well as creating more and more settlements all around the Homeworld system. In year 767 – two years after the event – a first proper military spaceship, christened UMV Victory, was put into service and stationed on low Unity orbit. It was followed by another three of this class, and soon enough they begun imposing will and laws of New World. The constitution was rewritten, which from now on didn't allow private citizens to own or operate heavy military equipment. It also chose an official name for planetary government: Terra Nova.
      The four patrol vessels of Terra Nova started chasing the privately owned armed ships relentlessly around the Unity orbit. Within a month, seven of those were detained, with the remainder having either fled to outer reaches of the system, or hiding around the moons. The Victory class cutters, while properly armed with gauss cannons, didn't have enough fuel storage to even reach Brutix, which made it impossible to chase the fleeing vessels. It did, however, put a stop to an ever-increasing number of corporate-owned spaceships. For over two hundred years the situation stabilized, with corporations recognizing their own limits and adhering to rules of Terra Nova, while the space exploration and expansion across the system progressed at a steady pace. In the year 999, just a day before a millennial celebration of departing Sol, a disaster struck.

Millenial incident

      Celestis became a home to a sizeable colony, hosted under thick domes erected across last two centuries. About one hundred thousand civilians lived there in relative peace, with people of all careers and trades worked on expanding the colony, while mining and providing valuable minerals to Unity. The only local defenses were erected after a meteor storm badly damaged landing pads for the orbital shuttles, which forces an installation of multiple CIWS turrets around the domes. This defense prove to be inadequate when faced with impending attack.
At the day of the strike, only the ancient UMV Victory was on the orbit of Celestis, conducting weapon drills. The incoming trade vessels were noticed days before, but were deemed safe, as their Ids and visual scans indicated. The trade treaty required them to stop alongside the patrolling vessel and allow for military crew to visit and control both cargo and the freighters crew for any inconsistencies. As the four freighters were tethered to all sides of the Victory, the last thing the few crewmen of it were expecting was troops in heavy combat armor assaulting their ship. Most of them were killed on spot; a few who managed to hide from the fire had their harnesses destroyed, and they fell to their death in the empty, cold vacuum of the space.
      The invading force boarded the Victory, while freighters continued to low Celestis orbit. Equipped with multiple drop pods, usually used to deliver cargo to the surface, they were refitted for life support and full to the brim with troops in combat armor, with heavy weapons and enough equipment to pacify the entire cluster of colonies.
      As the pods dropped to the ground, local security officers were first surprised to see unknown assailants in completely unknown armor, only to be killed seconds later. Attacking force, composed of no more than a thousand people, quickly spread around and took control over four main habitats, with the remainder quickly surrendering without a fight, after the threats of life support being cut were sent to them. Jamming field was established around the entire area, in order to stop communications with Unity, but a single janitor managed to send a distress call to Unity. It is believed that this is what allowed for the planet to defend itself.
      As last areas in the habitat on Celestis were conquered by attacking force, another eight freighters arrived above the ring of the cities encircling Capital City on Unity. Similarly as before, drop pods were launched towards landing ramps, where armored troops quickly emerged and overrun surprised policemen who were called to investigate the situation. At this very moment, the distress call from Celestis arrived, and the entire armed forces of Unity – albeit small and weak – were put at high alert. At the same time, reports from major cities came in with pleas for help in repelling the unknown force. The armed forces were immediately mobilized and sent to fight. Supported by a few fighters available to them, the first strike was against further drop pods launching from unknown freighters. The pods, hit by heavy weapons from fighters and defense system, fell to the ground, killing all aboard. On the orbit, the two patrol craft in service with Terra Nova Space Force engaged and captured five of the freighters – with remaining three attempting to flee. Two of them clipped the atmosphere of the planet, and their small, weak engines prove inadequate, with freighters falling to their demise, crashing against massive mountain ranges on the surface. The last freighter managed to escape and flew at full speed towards gas giants of the system.

      On the surface, fights continued.

      Capital City is encircled by a highway, connecting twelve massive cities. The invading force managed to capture five of those, with assaults being commenced against the capital. Having captured the main arsenal of the army, they quickly begun using the already limited stocks of heavy weaponry. At the same time, they progressed along the Highway, encroaching on further cities and settlements around them. By the end of the day one, situation seemed dire. Fleeing civilians clogged the roads leading to the Capital City, while the military attempted to contain the situation. Despite the aerial and space superiority, they were forced to continuously retreat, eventually losing control of further two cities, and with Capital City in range of artillery guns of the invading force. The fighting died out during the night, with invading force establishing forward firing posts and apparently regrouping for next assaults. The defenders at the same time consolidated their own positions, gaps filled with volunteers, reservists or veterans. Up above, in space, combat vessels continued their combat patrols, with two shadowing the fleeing freighter, third heading to Brutix, and fourth flying towards Celestis.
      By the end of the day, Terra Nova lost its entire colony on Celestis, fights broke out on Brutix, Moros and Myrmidon, invading force captured half of the Unity cities, and situation looked desperate. On midnight, someone hacked into news network on Unity. A pre-recorded transmission was shown, displaying an old woman, who spoke of inequality, treason and repetition of history. She declared war on Terra Nova, and asked every person with heart in the right place to join her in the task of destroying the totalitarian government on Unity, and replacing it with truly free, democratic government.

      Civil war has started.
5
General C# Fiction / Re: Extinction Event
« Last post by hostergaard on June 19, 2022, 03:27:22 PM »
Hope to see more, really enjoyed to read it!
6
General C# Fiction / Re: Revival
« Last post by hostergaard on June 19, 2022, 03:24:08 PM »
Hey, this is really good, can't wait for more!
7
General C# Fiction / Re: Revival
« Last post by MeatyBoii on June 18, 2022, 03:44:51 PM »
Interstellar makeup of the Homeland solar system

Upon the arrival of the Ark in the Homeland system, it automatically begun to archive and categorize all objects visible to its sensors. The initial spotting tasks ordered by Jarema Draycott recovered ten bodies of the system, including the white dwarf. Upon arriving in the Inner System of Homeland, Ark breaked hard enough to maintain a stable orbit around the system star, and begun an extensive scouting operation, aided by a cloud of satellites and long-range reconeissance missions by automated vessels attached to it.

After six years of scouting operation, the automated subroutines commanding the ship decided that the Homeland system is a viable base of operation for the humanity, and begun waking up the crew and cryogenically frozen passangers.

MAIN STAR OF THE SYSTEM


Homeland is centered around a G0-V class star. Slightly bigger and brighter than Sol, with tolerable UV radiation, it allows humans and earthen flora and fauna to live on planets orbiting the star.

Atron


First major body orbiting the Star is a barren rock named Atron. Completely devoid of atmosphere, orbiting very closely to the star it's a subject to frequent and deadly solar storms. It's very possible that the planet was either captured by the star, or gradually degraded over milions of years to the state in which it is now. Only deeply dug underground settlements have any possibility of surviving on this planet, but as it's nearly devoid of any easily traceable resources, the exploration or colonization remains uncertain. The side exposed to the star is constantly above 700 degree celsius, while the dark side reaches absolute zero.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 31.77m km
Diameter: 2784km
Gravity: 0.14G
Pressure: none
Tidally locked to the star
Year length: 34 earth days
Average surface temperature: 319° Celsius (Solar Ring; Solar Pole: 728° Celsius, Dark Pole: -271° Celsius)

Enyo


Second body in the Homeworld system is Enyo. In its characteristics very similar to Venus, with its incredibly dense and poisonous atmosphere, very high temperatures and crushing pressure, nonetheless it was possible for Ark to deploy resource probes to the planet (none were recovered). It's covered by a thick layer of clouds most of the time, sometimes thinning enough to show the flowing seas of lava on the surface. Despite very rich deposits of materials, it might prove immensely difficult to extract those.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 91.66m km
Diameter: 16400km
Gravity: 1.42G
Pressure: 184 atm
Atmosphere makeup:
97% Carbon Dioxide
2.8% Nitrogen Dioxide
0.2% Trace Elements
Year length: 168 earth days
Day legth: 4026.48 hours (169 days, 6 hours, 29 minutes)
Average surface temperature: 678° Celsius

Hecate


Third body in the system is Hecate. Similar in its characteristics to Enyo, it's another venusian hell planet. Interestingly, this one is different, in that it has two layers of clouds. First, lower layer, hovering from the surface to about 2000-2500 meters above the surface of the planet is a dense, thick cloud of mostly carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, with an intense red color due to very rich iron deposits of the planet. The second layer, laying from 8000 to 17000 is water vapor, condensed in heavy and hot hurricane clouds, endlessly roaming the surface. The eye of the hurricane is commonly elevating particles from the first cloud layer into upper atmosphere, leaving reddish sheen across the planet, which slowly falls down back to the surface. Winds inside the eye of the storms commonly cross speed of sound. The only sample brought back from the planet revealed that a big majority of the planet is covered in hot, iron-rich ash, and thus it makes it unviable to extract any resources from this planet. Still, it's one of the favorite viewing galeries for humanity in Homeworld system.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 109.78m km
Diameter: 11000km
Gravity: 0.91g
Pressure: 41.78atm
Atmosphere makeup:
95.03% Carbon Dioxide
2.9% Nitrogen Dioxide
2% Water Vapour
0.07% Trace Elements
Year length: 220 earth days
Day legth: 19.6hrs
Average surface temperature: 654° Celsius

Unity


Fourth body in the system, our homeworld, Unity. Easily recognizable from the orbit due to a sprawling network of seas, oceans, lakes and rivers. First discovered by Ark in year 679 (Standard Date), first presence of humanity was a small automated shuttle who chose to land on the spot that currently bears the name of Unity Square in middle of the Capital City. After a few weeks of trials, it was determined that this planet should house the escapees from Sol.
Unity isn't an ideal place for human. While there is plenty of water, photosyntesis works, and local fauna and flora is gentle and mostly avoids humans, there still were initial trouble. The Great Death begun after plants brought from Earth spread on the planet, forcing farmers and governments to quickly intervene in order to stop the mass casualties caused by quickly increasing percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere. While this was stabilized, high amounts of oxygen in the air caused fatalities for decades to come. Multiple moons for a long time caused unpredictable tsunamis and earthquakes (remainders of massive tsunami defence walls are still seen all around the oldest settlements on the planet), until their routes and gravitational effects were mastered. Only after two centuries on the planets did the population reach the number that initialy left Sol. Since then, the population steadily expanded, going as far as to create settlements on natural sattelites of Unity, and eventually spreading out around the system. However, after the Civil War and subsequent de-armament treaties, more and more installations were shut down, and as it stands now, Unity is the only planet with human presence in Homeworld. In recent decades there is a population boom, mostly due to stabilizing oxygen levels in the atmosphere and more and more land being cleared for construction and settlements.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 176m km
Diameter: 13174km
Gravity: 1.04g
Pressure: 1.14atm
Atmosphere makeup:
71.309% Nitrogen
17.695% Oxygen
8.684% Argon
1.232% Neon
0.079% Water Vapour
1% Trace Elements
Water Extent: 83.78%
Year length: 445.3 earth days
Day legth: 26.01 hrs
Average surface temperature: 14.4° Celsius
Moons: 4 (Nyx, Moros, Brutix, Myrmidon)

Celestis


Celestis is the fifth massive stellar object in the Homeworld system. It is orbiting the parent star at the distance being nearly exactly the same as Unity, just at an offset angle of 178°. It shares a lot of characteristics with Mars, including thin atmosphere, high metal contents on surface and polar caps. Celestis however has much more water on it – measured at between 35 to 45%, with big majority stored in massive, very thick polar caps, with the rest stored in small, shallow seas sprinkled around the planet. Despite this, there is next to no life on Celestis. Very low oxygen levels in water, and next to no oxygen in the already thin atmosphere means that life as we know it had no chance in developing on the planet.
Celestis housed a small humanity settlement for a short period of time during civil war, but it was abandoned almost directly afterwards. Ever since then it remains a first pick for a potential colony, should the need – or more importantly, a possibility – arise. Massive deposits of minerals are just one of the reasons for a potential expansion of humanity to its closest neighbour.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 176m km
Diameter: 14750km
Gravity: 1.26G
Pressure: 0.06atm
Atmosphere makeup:
45% Nitrogen
35% Helium
20% Oxygen
Water Extent: 42%
Year length: 445.3 earth days
Day length: 28.9 hrs
Average surface temperature: -17.25° Celsius

Eos


Eos is the last planet in the inner system of Homeworld. It's a frozen world with no atmosphere, with big deposits of oxygen-rich water (between 35% and 40%) and medium-sized deposits of minerals. Due to the reddish tint to the ice on the planet, it's clearly discernible on Unity's nightsky when directly reflecting starlight during night. Complete lack of atmosphere and low gravity make it easy to visit, but there isn't much reason to do so, unless when looking for resources or water.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 221.09m km
Diameter: 4200km
Gravity: 0.28G
Pressure: none
Water Extent: 37%
Year length: 627.8 earth days
Day length: 48 hrs
Average surface temperature: -56.5° Celsius

Talos


Talos is the first gas giant of the system. Visually similar to Eos, its atmosphere contains a lot of water vapour in addition to standard gas giant composition of hydrogen, helium, methane and ammonia. It harbors a thin and narrow planetary ring, composed mostly of dust and silicate rocks. The planet itself has a predisposition to became a major hydrogen source. It has 17 major moons, some of which are mineral-rich.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 1978m km
Diameter: 88000km
Gravity: 0.9G
Pressure: 250-450 kPa
Year length: 46 earth years
Day length: 14.4 hours
Moons: 17

Thanatos


Thanatos is a star in the making. Scientists believe that should Thanatos absorb another massive stellar object (of about Eos size) it's possible that the processes ongoing on this planet will finally tip the scales and turn it into a proper star. Thanatos has a massive accreation disk, full of minerals, water and silicone, but most of it is in microdoses, which makes the harvesting next to impossible due to length and cost of the process.
It has a massive moon system composed of 49 objects, all of which measure at least 20 kilometers in diameter. A few of them show signs of containing valuable minerals, but humanity never explored those thoroughly enough to determine that for sure.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 3821m km
Diameter: 132000km
Gravity: 81.52G
Pressure: 8900 – 22000 kPa
Year length: 124 earth years
Day length: 10 hours
Moons: 49

Astarte


There is nearly nothing interesting about Astarte aside from the system of moons that are orbiting it. The gas giant doesn't display any shows of containing gasses useful for space travel, it doesn't emit much radiation, even its surface is moving very slowly. Its planetary disc contains mostly ice, with trace elements of random ores and minerals.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 4766m km
Diameter: 126000
Gravity: 3.01G
Pressure: 450-850 kPa
Year length: 172 earth years
Day length: 9 hours
Moons: 33

Helios


Helios is a dark blue gas giant, sitting at the fringe of the Homeworld system. Unknown elements in its composition cause the gas clouds on its surface to barely reflect any light, which made the planet invisible to most human sensors for three decades after arriving in the system. Despite this, its rich clouds of hydrogen mean its a source of potentially limitless fuel, should it ever be required. Its disc is composed mainly of silicone and ice, while its moons were not properly explored. It is, however, placed very far from the sun, making the theoretical travel a very difficult task.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 6001m km
Diameter: 110000km
Gravity: 0.91G
Pressure: 390-770 kPa
Year length: 243 earth years
Day length: 7 hours
Moons: 28

Algos


Algos is an ice-covered planet, orbiting the star far away from the star. It has a very thin, hydrogen-based atmosphere which slightly discolors the planet when viewed with a telescope. The entire surface is covered in ice, but it's highly unlikely that there is any liquid water under the planetary surface due to massive distance from the star. It does have four small satellites, but none of those were properly surveyed.

Planetary data
Average orbital distance: 7254m km
Diameter: 16800km
Gravity: 0.46G
Pressure: 0.21atm
Atmosphere makeup:
~85% Hydrogen
~15% Helium
Possible other elements
Water Extent: 35%
Year length: 324 earth years
Day legth: 22 hours
Average surface temperature: -233.37° Celsius
Moons: 4

Other notable objects in Homeworld Planetary System

Homeworld-B (Hera)


Homeworld-B (later called Hera) is a white dwarf (class D7-VII), probably caught in the gravity well of the main star. There are no closeups of the star remaining – the archives on Ark were damaged after arriving, and no expedition was sent to it due to distance and difficulty of the travel. On the night sky it can't be differentiated from other, further laying stars, unless one knows what he's looking for.
Hera is a host to at least three dwarf planets, which commonly reflect the light of the dying star. Other than that, there is a swarm of asteroids around it, held at Hera's orbit due to unproportionally high gravity force compared to its size.

Asteroid belts

Homeworld is a home to four major asteroid belts. In total, the Unity Observatory is tracking over 1200 celestial objects in size of at least 15km in diameter on stable orbits around either main star or Hera. They are mostly concentrated at:
Loose ring between Eos and Talos, with outher fringe of the belt being cut off cleanly – it's possible that gravitational interference of Talos interrupts orbits of the asteroids
A very thin, tilted (29° compared to the orbital plane) asteroid belt between Talos and Thanatos. It's widely believed that it's remnants of the planet that caused Thanatos to begin burning its hydrogen
A wide, sprawling belt of asteroids outside of the orbital paths of dwarf planets in the system. The furthest tracked asteroid is orbiting about 5b km away from Hera.

Dwarf planets

Homeworld is a home to at least seven dwarf planets:
Hyperion, Obelisk, Oberon and Navitas orbiting the main star, the last orbital bodies in the system
Tristan, Deimos and Ishtar orbiting Hera

Comets

Interestingly, the system is nearly devoid of comets. Only three were detected, with fairly short orbital period (not farther than 550m km from the star). It's theorised that most of the comets were caught in strong gravitational pull of the massive gas giants present in the system.

OOC: I'll add images to this post after I reach the threshold of required number of posts.
8
General C# Fiction / Re: Extinction Event
« Last post by boolybooly on June 06, 2022, 05:35:45 AM »
Extinction Event : continued.
Based on events occurring in an Aurora C# v1130 playthrough.

Paint It Black.

How can one plan for the unknown? This question Rich Audia, Swiss born chief of the Emergency Response Committee, asked himself as he gazed out of a broad picture window. Before him the marbled deep ocean and spiral cloud curve of planet Earth, newly verdant lands visible through the rigid rectilinear structures of a zero gravity shipyard, a green phoenix rising from volcanic ashes, carefully planted and tended under the auspices of the ERC.

Audia caught sight of a ghost in the polished mineral glass, his hair was office neat but greying brown and framed piercing grey eyes set in a pale tan complexion hinting at Italian ancestry. These eyes had seen the death of old Earth and the rise of a new Earth. These eyes had lead humanity into hell and brought them back to the daylight but when he caught his reflection in the view port glass he saw only a man. He reflected on the vulnerability of the planet below and the heavy responsibility of keeping it safe and wondered if he was worthy.

Regenerating the ecosystems of Earth was going well and seemed like childsplay compared to the difficult matter before him, discovering who or what had tried to extinguish life on Earth and why. Though he had held a great responsibility for decades Audia did not feel powerful, his was the duty to govern, coordinate, facilitate, enable others to do what needed to be done. He understood well he could only make things happen because others wanted them to happen and in the words of the song "Darkness" by The Police, which he still listened to from time to time, could be replaced by any bright spark. He was there because he was there and only as good as his last gig and it was time to plan the next.

"Rich." Audia turned to face the voice.
"Egon, good to see you."
Egon Pherom sauntered into the observation lounge of Space OK's shipyard complex as if he owned the place, because he did. His head bore a practical grizzled crewcut, he glanced to his left, keen chestnut brown eyes searching as if checking the decor for blemishes. He turned back to face Audia.
"How was the flight?" he asked his guest.
"Good, thanks." They stood apart, each acknowledging the other's presence with a gentle nod, still observing the habits of social distancing from the pandemics of the 2030s which had erupted during the cataclysm and spread through the malnourished population of Earth, thirty years before.
"Any sign of Marquis or Clifford?" asked Audia, Pherom shrugged nonchalantly.
"How have you been keeping?" Asked Pherom, ever the convivial host.
"Fine just fine."
"And the family?"
"Grand kids..."
"You Audias sure like to keep busy." Pherom's face stretched into a winning smile.
Audia smiled back benignly "... and I dont feel a day over fifty."
"I know, Flint is a regular miracle worker isn't he?" Egon referred to the biophysicist Professor Palmer Flint who had worked closely with Pherom under Audia's direction when saving the world with his terraforming machines and had since developed a longevity program, currently limited to key staff of the ERC until it could be rolled out at scale.
"Here you are", the basso profondo from the doorway belonged to the enigmatic Dr Marquis Carvana, the ERCs defence technology research director.
"Marquis, come in." Pherom reached out to beckon him in welcome.
"Egon, mister Audia, good to meet you both face to face, finally." His softly spoken mediterranean baritone, clipped by anglicised consonants, told the story of Carvana's life. Born to an English father and Greek Armenian mother before the impact, he had survived the apocalypse in the Armenian nuclear powered refuge at Metsamor which as a young and gifted engineering scholar he had helped to design and build, once the Totals had withdrawn from Armenia to focus on their own survival. His words brushed through a handlebar moustache of dramatic proportions beneath a shining bald pate, giving him the look of a charismatic ringmaster.

Carvana walked slowly, deliberately into the lounge as if wary of the artificial gravity, which it would be fair to say was not always consistent in some civilian constructions, though here in Egon Pherom's showpiece lounge it was impeccably smooth. Behind him Professor Clifford Gillaspie peered around the door frame. Behind a pair of round rimmed spectacles, a pair of inquisitive brown eyes twinkled in an aged but craggily handsome ebony face capped by close cropped greying hair, every inch the MIT sensors boffin. One hand holding on for support, he spied the other inhabitants of the room and craning his bowtied neck, raised the other hand in greeting.

While exchanging pleasantries the four seated themselves around the viewing window. Audia verified with Pherom that the room was now sealed, swept for bugs and secure as requested and got down to business. He started with an update on the successful exploitation of the Canis Majoris discovery, a complex of alien research facilities dedicated to kinetic weaponry. He emphasised its value in revitalising the flagging weapons research program and reiterated the hope that human tech must come to match that which destroyed the outpost at Io. He discussed Epsilon Eridani A-II where engineers were still unearthing a large but dead city making many serviceable finds which were contributing to the industrial effort there and on Earth, thanks to Pherom's colony building freighters and the Airbus consortium high capacity fleet. He brought everyone up to speed on the latest discoveries from the explorers, which since the Stargazer's encounter in Alpha Centauri had found many more systems, some containing signs of sentient life including active ships, none of which had responded to contact, all of which were hostile to probes, destroying them immediately.

Audia continued the briefing by discussing a couple of incidents where alien fleets had apparently given chase to survey ships but had been evaded. In Struve 2398 the slow speed of what was later considered to be an industrial fleet on a predetermined course permitted evasion though its apparent beeline for the Magellan had caused alarm due to a previous incident in Luyten's Star where destroyers capable of speeds exceeding twice that of the survey fleet had closed on the survey fleet and destroyed a sensor buoy at their location, only milspec thermal sensors and an adroit withdrawal through the entry jump point had prevented disaster. Audia made the point that the aliens' aggressive posture meant the systems the aliens inhabited were off limits for all traffic, with the exception of the military colony at Alpha Centauri B-IV due to its great distance from Alpha Centauri A-III, as discovered by Susan Skerl and the strategic importance of a second dormant alien construct dedicated to biosciences there, discovered by Kirk Moller.

No human ships had dared to directly confront the aliens for fear of their superior weaponry and their lack of reluctance in using it, evident from the rising tally of destroyed probes, yet almost nothing was known about them or their technology, which brought him to the purpose of their meeting.

"They are blocking us and we are not sure they are even alive."
"You mean they're machines, robotic, like automated guard dogs?" Gillaspie, was quick to catch on.
"The cities are dead then? Like the others." Carvana deduced.
"Maybe, we just don't know, that's the problem." Audia replied.
"That's why we called you." Egon Pherom smiled his broad Cheshire Cat smile.
"So you would like to ... investigate them without being seen and you want me to help?" Carvana deduced his place in Audia's plan.
"... And get eyes and ears on them?" Gillaspie continued Carvana's train of thought, intuiting his own role in the scheme.
"Any data we can get on them would help." Audia replied, nodding.
Pherom held up his index finger as though asking a teacher for permission to speak. "I'm doing the acronyms."



In the following months, good to his word, Pherom came up with a name for the organisation. The Sol Heuristic Alien Data Office was known simply as S.H.A.D.O. which Pherom was the first to admit recalled a fictional organisation from the popular preimpact TV show 'UFO'.

"That was not entirely coincidental" he told the ERC meeting where SHADO had been announced to a select few. Rich Audia had asked Pherom to preside and listened as he joked with the audience. He had considered, so he said, mandating leotards for uniforms but had looked in the mirror and thought better of it. He offered a cheeky grin to the gathering but then his tone changed, revealing a more serious side.
 
"Those were different times and the costumes were... showbiz. When the day comes to reveal SHADO to the public, advice received suggests the paradigm of Earth defence which the show was based on will help promote enthusiasm for the project... that was deemed a good way to handle the PR consequences... but make no mistake, our purpose is very serious."

He had brought the room back to the reasoning behind his brand of media-savvy realpolitik. The same reasoning which had lead him to name and theme his fleet of rapid transit colony ships after popular animated characters in a billion dollar deal with Ardvaark Animatronics, because it got people moving. Even now Spanner & Grabit, Princess Hottington, Burrows, Barnaby and Poodles were pushing back the frontier, filled with happy trusting families in cryosleep, travelling to find prosperity in the distant mining economies established in Barnards, Sirius, Eridani and Tau Ceti to feed the rapacious appetite of Earth's expanding transNewtonian economy and prepare arms against an unknown adversary.

Everyone present knew what was at stake, the picture emerging from xenoarcheological dig sites all across the thirty-four known systems was of a repeating pattern of extinctions. At some time in the past, due to an unknown actor, alien lives had been taken in unspeakable acts of aggression, whole civilisations wiped out. The safety of those families, the future of humanity, lay in the hands of those authorised and trusted to look after them. All agreed they had to know more about what they were dealing with.



It took ten more years to prepare the next step in human curiosity. The directors and their teams had been busy. To allay the continuing paranoia born of the continuing despotism of the totalitarian states and dampen the rumour mill, SHADO had been integrated with the UN directorate as UNSHADO, an open secret, yet some aspects of its work were more secret than others.

The four ERC directors met again, this time surrounded by a gathering of SHADO personnel in the briefing office at the SHADO shipyard, purpose built in high orbit with the sole task of developing ships to acquire information about active alien materiel, principally the growing number of suspected robotic alien defence systems, acronymed RADS, which Earth's survey ships had now discovered in eight systems.

The four gathered to celebrate a launch, SHADO's first purpose built surveillance frigate, the SHADO 1. Another window, smaller than Pherom's shipyard, looked into the central construction dock area. Before them lay the accomplishment of the organisation they had built together, a flat looking triangle of purest black, seeming like a mirage.

"Beautiful ship but kinda hard to look at." Pherom said what everyone was thinking. The perfectly black, flawless, lightless, featureless tetrahedron was disconcerting to the eye.
"You can't really see the shape of it from this end." Carvana was pleased to show off the result of his group's work.
"Its weird isn't it? ... Not enough information for the human eye to make sense of, looks like a ... special effect." Gillaspie marvelled at the extraordinary spectacle created by the state of the art energy absorbing hull coating he had helped develope.
"I find its easier if you look at the engine face." Carvana explained to the assembled company plus a triad of small drones flitting overhead under the direction of a small production team huddled in a far corner who were capturing the event for UNSHADO records, posterity and possible PR applications. He touched a mobile minipad and gestured at a large display screen to the left of the window. There were noises off as a producer asked a technician if they were recording the feed, the crouching tech nodded and patted a black suitcase sized box covered in dials, sliders and plugged with dozens of leads and turned his attention back to a display where he pulled up the same camera view.

The view was of the rear face of the ship, a triangular plane of nothingness punctuated by a long white cylinder, a pressurised embarkation gantry, which met with the featureless black of the hull at an airlock.  Outside it, towards each corner of the lightless form, three symmetrically placed engine ports were each clamped to gantry arms extending from the superstructure of the shipyard. The four gantries disconnected and withdrew as one from the rear face of the mysterious vessel, revealing three engine ports and door floating in a black triangular void, darker even than space. Captain Tonya Quayle and her crew had seemingly embarked on a pyramid of nothing.

Carvana knew best what they were looking at having overseen construction. He explained the engines had been built in cooperation with Prof Marge Brabble and Reactor Rockets, using Bose-Einstein condensate technology to manipulate thrust mass and achieve significant thermal signature reduction in an endurance engine design, technology which had been adapted for the survey fleet to reduce risk of detection when encountering strange new worlds in faraway systems. What the survey vessels didn't have was a transNewtonian Kobold class cloaking device coupled to hull coating of uridium doped carbon nanotube velvet, which made the SHADO 1 unique in Earth's space fleet, absorbing all incident photons almost entirely and flattening spacetime itself to reduce mass signature from 4000t to 600t. Nor did they have 1000t of electronic intelligence (ELINT) equipment within, which Gillaspie had perfected in his lab to use the stealth nanovelvet as a receiver to enhance sensitivity, decoded by a zettascale AI computer, trained to identify and analyse active scanner pings. Last but not least, surveyors did not have the shape of a tetrahedral pyramid with razor fine edges, reducing reflection angles to the absolute minimum, which made SHADO 1 so hard to detect using any method known to humanity.

"Its incredibly fragile, the coating I mean but we found a way to use electrostatic deposition and a spray gun to repair it, a bit like printer toner, so it can be repaired in the field though the dust gets everywhere, not safe to inhale either." Carvana explained to his audience gathered around the view screen with plastic champaigne flutes in hand. "So the airlock has a gas wash system to blow dust off suits, like the ones they used on Luna, before terraforming."

On the screen, jets of monpropellant surged briefly from thrusters hidden at the outer edge of each engine port and then were silent. Slowly, almost imperceptibly the mysterious ship crept past the viewing window, out of the cradle in which it had been born.

Carvana keyed his pad again and the face of a woman, four pips on the band collar of her flight suit gleaming against her Afro-Latina complexion, took the place of the external view. Dark shoulder length plaits tied back, friendly perceptive brown eyes beneath an even brow with a judicious quality looked attentively out of the view screen from the watch chair on the bridge of SHADO 1.
"Captain Quayle."
"Professor Carvana, directors." She nodded respectfully at the camera and made a comment to another of the bridge crew to change the view, suddenly the entire bridge was visible through a fisheye lens with a birdseye view, the bridge crew focussed on their stations.
"We are leaving the shipyard on thrusters and preparing to begin main engine tests."
"Just try not to scratch the paintwork." Egon Pherom couldnt resist joking. Quayle smiled.
"We'll try not to." She spoke warmly, evidently at ease in the captain's chair, having commanded an Einstein-Rosen class jump-point stabilisation platform for over a decade before being contacted by SHADO.

Quayle's ability to work with cutting edge transNewtonian technology had made her a leading candidate in the search for the perfect commander for such an important mission. What clinched it for Quayle was her proficiency in intelligence knowhow, inherited from a her parents. Thomas Quayle had worked in a technical capacity on the Havanna Syndrome project before finding a place in the Lake Eyrie nuclear powered agriponics refuge in northern Ohio during the cataclysm, where Tonya had been born in 2034, 9 years after the impact, to Melissa Quayle previously CIA operational oversight liaison for Havanna Syndrome.

Assessed at the academy as a genuine military polymath, Tonya was skilled in many areas of space operations and could have had her pick of assignments. She had chosen jumphole stabilisation because, so she had said, she liked the idea of making a tunnel in spacetime. SHADO 1 had presented a uniquely intriguing challenge which, after years of patient predictability on the station, she had grasped with both hands. There was noone else quite like her in Earth's spaceborne military and after Susan Skerle's retirement, noone better qualified to guide the crew of SHADO 1 on their mission.

Once clear of the shipyard, the memerising black triangle on the view screen seemed to contort itself as SHADO 1 turned silently using internal gyros to rotate her bow away from the two tone surface of distant Luna, half brilliant and half dark in shadow which nevertheless paled beside the preternatural sillhouette of SHADO 1. Quayle switched back to her chair camera and announced to the assembled directors and team.
"We are ready to begin test maneuvers and proceed with mission instructions, with your permission professor."
Carvana eyed Audia who nodded gently.
"Permission granted Captain, good luck ... and godspeed." Carvana fulfilled his promise as a master ceremonies, as he gave SHADO1 her blessing, a tear rolled down his cheek.

Before the beautiful half illuminated disc of the moon, the strange visual conundrum of a flat triangular shadow accelerated swiftly. As it passed by the shipyard, cameras automatically tracked it. Three faint ice blue daggers of supercooled high velocity gas became visible emanating from the main engine ports, their light dwindling to a speck and then gone as SHADO 1 sped into the night.

"You've done a great job Marquis, its up to them now." Rich Audia spoke as he turned to look at Carvana who was dabbing his eyes with a tissue and nodded gently in appreciation.
"Thankyou director. We did the best we could. We can only hope it will be a match for whatever they find out there but if anyone can make it work, she can."


Off-Topic: SHADO 1 schematics • show
SHADO 1 class Surveillance Frigate      4,000 tons       102 Crew       882.6 BP       TCS 12    TH 43    EM 0
2234 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 3-22       Shields 0-0       HTK 24      Sensors 0/22/0/0      DCR 2      PPV 0
Maint Life 5.75 Years     MSP 1,275    AFR 64%    IFR 0.9%    1YR 65    5YR 980    Max Repair 220 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 60 months    Morale Check Required   

M400 SHADOWarp MJD J4000(3-50)     Max Ship Size 4000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3

M650 Shado 3 MCF EP178 (1)    Power 178.8    Fuel Use 5.90%    Signature 42.9000    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 270,000 Litres    Range 205.8 billion km (1066 days at full power)

C5 Prydwen AMAS M317k 3.5m EH3 (1)     GPS 3     Range 3.5m km    MCR 317.9k km    Resolution 1
ELINT Module (2)     Sensitivity 22     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  37.1m km
Cloaking Device: Class cross-section reduced to 15.00% of normal

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



REPORT Log of CAPT Tonya Quayle, SHADO 1 to UNSHADO oversight.
Secure tight beam transmission to Alpha Centauri B-IV colony DSTS for relay UNSHADO HQ.
Test flight: SHADO 1 performed within expected parameters navigating beyond the asteroid belt.
In compliance with mission orders, sealed orders were unsealed and read by command staff.
SHADO 1 proceeded objective A. Alpha Centauri A-III under provisional communications blackout.
Approaching A, thrust 5%, Kobold cloak operational, thermal and gravimetric signatures below those recorded by Capt Skerle for Stargazer encounter.
Approaching 9m km, detected AS contacts detected by Amaterasu probes, continuing to close to acquire city signature.
Acquired city signature, with two orbital structures matching Amaterasu detections, range 5.8m km, holding contact range.
SHADO 1 Signature Interpretation Algorithm (SIA) detection, alien active scanner, resolving 50t at 26m km, detection probability SHADO 1 >99%.
SHADO 1 SIA deduction: alien weapons range less than 5.8m km.
Transmitting data.


UNSHADO oversight to CAPT Quayle, SHADO 1.
Secure tight beam transmission from UNSHADO HQ relayed via Alpha Centauri B-IV DSTS:
Information received, proceed with extreme caution objective B, contact Pi Ophiuchi A-III colony listening post prior to entry Luytens's Star. Do not approach objective, recommend AMAS missile detection scanner active, ready evasive at all times.
Operation Wild Weasel proceeding obj A. Will advise.






REPORT Log of CAPT Tonya Quayle, SHADO 1 to UNSHADO oversight.
Secure tight beam transmission to Pi Ophiuchi A-III colony DSTS for relay UNSHADO HQ.
Retrograde withdrawal from AC A-III commencing.
Withdrawal to 150m km successful, thrust 100%, course set Psi Ceti jump point, proceeding Pi Ophiuchi for Luyten's Star JP.
Approaching Psi Ceti JP for transit to Pi Ophiuchi JP.
Entering Pi Ophiuchi, course set Luyten's Star jump point.
Contacting Pi Ophiuchi A-III colony DSTS per orders, include navigation data and flight plan.
Transmitting data.


UNSHADO oversight to CAPT Quayle, SHADO 1.
Secure tight beam transmission from UNSHADO HQ relayed via Pi Ophiuchi A-III DSTS:
Operation Wild Weasel estimates Alpha Centauri A-III alien ship class Nagelring, orbital station, weapons observed effective range 1.7m km, anti-missile-missile. Be advised: analysis of survey fleet sensor logs indicates Luyten's Star defences include mobile classes with short range weaponry. Given Alpha Centauri A-III sensors exceed weapons ranges, extrapolation indicates Luyten's Star sensor capability against SHADO 1 potentially 65m km. Recommend Spyglass stratagem.




Captain Tonya Quayle reread the communications from UNSHADO to the ship's command crew. The twelve officers of the six watches were gathered around a mess table, six to a side, listening to the soothing voice of their captain which exuded competence, knowledge and the privilege of one who had risen to the top in the US academic system and moved outside it to prove herself in diligent service to the collective endeavour of humanity. Quayle sat at the head of the table while one of the ship's sous chefs was placing a tray of coffees at the foot, which were passed around with a plate of biscuits.

Quayle drank in the aroma of coffee and biscuits. They were about to risk their lives for Earth she thought, they deserved a little comfort, above all they needed to work together. She approved of the familial atmosphere.
"I want you all to relax but dont underestimate the difficulty of what we are about to do. In three days we are entering the lion's den. I need you all to be on your toes when the time comes."
The command crew though seeming preoccupied with dunking, stirring and passing the creamer were attentive to Quayle and she knew it, they had been in space together nearly 6 months and had become used to each other, most were from the intelligence community and understood the rules, the navy types had cottoned on quick enough, you could do things your own way as long as you got the job done and done right.

"I want it to happen like this, we will prep for jump through A and B watch. Silent running must be established in B watch before the jump. All and I mean all personal electronics must be quiet, someone will forget so I want engineers to sweep EMFs through B watch. Soft sole footwear only, we want vibration at a minimum."

The ships chef looked askance at the captain.
"Something on your mind chef?" captain Quayle asked.
"I'm just a cook chief, don't mind me." Sous Chef Dawson spoke with a soft cockney and tried to look inconspicuous but failed as the captain's eyes were on him and the rest of the room followed her gaze.
"Let me guess, you are thinking someone should tell the old lady that in space noone can hear you tap dance, is that about it?"
"Well, I dont understand." The chef answered shamefaced with embarassment.
"That's OK, look I want everyone in the crew to understand this so explain it to them." She looked around the command staff then addressed the sous chef. "Dawson, every vibration in the gravity plating sends out gravimetric noise which some detectors can pick up at close range, OK? We are jumping into an unknown situation and need to do all we can to minimise the chance of detection. For all we know they could have a..." she was going to say minefield but hesitated, deciding not to alarm the nervous looking crewman ... "detector buoy, like we do. Its a necessary precaution."
"Right chief." Dawson nodded obediently but did not look convinced.
"Something else?"
"Well pardon me captain but..." Dawson paused to show deference and then continued. "Wont the jump drive make a bit of ... gravital noise, whatever?"
"Fair point Dawson, yes it will but there is a difference between knowing a wormhole opened and knowing what came through it. We have to avoid helping our objective characterise a target, that'd be us."
"Yes ma'am, understood ma'am." Dawson nodded curtly showing he finally understood and accepted her reasons.
Quayle addressed the command staff again. "Make sure everyone understands. I run an informed ship."

The crew of SHADO 1 spent the next few days preparing until the ship was at the Luyten's Star jump point. The captain ordered the report of the survey fleet's encounter with the aliens of Luytens A-II to be read by all bridge crew. It was not comfortable reading. The probing sensors of the alien ships had been immediately picked up by the survey fleet's passive EM sensors. Long range probes were swiftly destroyed by thermonuclear detonations from very high speed anti-missile-missiles. The ominous thermal signatures of heavy engines were detected closing at speeds far exceeding the fleet's capability. A hasty withdrawal of the survey fleet back through the jump point was followed by their immediate retreat and the loss of the jump point sensor buoy they had left behind, to the short range guns of large, fast alien destroyers armed to the teeth. Fortunately they had not followed through the jump point into Pi Ophiuchi. SHADO 1 did not have the thermal sensors of the survey fleet to warn of enemy maneuvers, relying on passive EM and short range anti-missile active sensors. Only quick wits and Carvana's extraordinary stealth cloak could keep them safe in the Luyten's Star system.



Before the depthless pitch black triangle of SHADO 1 the stars seemed to fold back like a gossamer curtain of spider's silk. Within the silvery circle a dark space appeared and from within that another bright circle slowly grew into another starfield. Only those who paid close attention and knew what they were looking at could tell the starfield in the middle was different from the stars it had replaced.

On the bridge Captain Quayle was asking for sensor readings.
"SIA is reporting no contacts in the jumphole vicinity captain."
"Very well take us through mister Kaplan, five percent thrust limiter please." The captain gave the order.
Throughout the ship a quiet hush replaced the usual murmurings and hubbub as SHADO 1 slipped through the portal it had created, which closed behind her.

A wave of overwhelming disorientation swept through the minds of all travellers on board, as SHADO 1 passed through the convoluted distortions of space-time creating the portal. All clung to their stations and noone said a word as they tried to keep from involuntary responses to temporary nausea while SIA recalibrated her sensors. As the portal shrank and closed behind the drifting black triangle, disorientation faded within. Captain Quayle, more tolerant of jumpshock from many years spent stabilising the backbone of Earth's freighter corridor, eyed the passive EM sensor readings warily, from the watch chair of the bridge. There, over 60m km away on the planet they had come to investigate, the brief flare of an active sensor and then silence again. 

Quayle spoke softly, almost whispering.
"Navigation, bring us about to face the jump point as we planned, full stop, thrust limit five. Jumpdrive ready A.S.A.P."
Every second seemed too long as the crew waited, focussed on their uncertainty.
Eventually the navigator whispered. "Jump point locked captain, ready to jump."
"Active sensors please mister Rasmussen." Quayle took the next step in their carefully conceived plan.
"Sensors aye. Activating ...  nothing on the scope captain." Rasmussen's deliberate and measured Norwegian accent instilled confidence.

SHADO 1's close range, low signature, low resolution active sensors, had been shut down for silent running while preparing to escape and were now operating, showing nothing within a million clicks, no buoys, no minefield, no incoming, they were safe for at least the next fifteen seconds Quayle thought wryly to herself.

"Keep an eye on it mister Rasmussen. Navigation be ready to jump at the first sign of incoming, dont wait for an order and release thrust limits if we have to leave in a hurry."

Tension eased over the following hours as it became clear that SHADO 1 was not under attack. Silent running orders were rescinded, there were no proximal detectors. The Kobold cloak was working against the anticipated active sensors of the alien fleet, if the two thousand ton survey ships had been detected then the four thousand ton surveillance frigate certainly would have been, had the gravitational displacement not been reduced 85% by Carvana's magical device.



SHADO 1 held position for month after month gathering intelligence, catching a flash here, a snippet of transmission there, slowly building a picture of the capabilities of the alien technology without raising the slightest suspicion. What they found explained why SHADO 1 had not been detected.

Within a few years of repeat deployments supported by a forward maintenance base in Pi Ophiuchi, UNSHADO knew the sensor powers and resolutions of all known alien vessels and at last had a map to the blind spots and weaknesses of their mysterious acquaintances.

Off-Topic: UNSHADO report of alien sensor range data. • show

AS#118 26m R1
AS#119 118m R96
AS#120 96m R96
AS#123 36m R5
AS#124 57m R20


None of the alien sensors were capable of detecting SHADO 1 with R80 cloaked to R12 at 43m km which is the closest approach by Luyten's Star A-II to the Pi Ophiuchi jump point where SHADO 1 held station. AS#123 was the closest and was short by 7m km, by the grace of good fortune because one cannot plan for the unknown except by making it known.



Mostly relaxed but always doggedly on the case, Captain Quayle and her crew of spooks did their duty for the human race and were honoured with a statue of SHADO 1 at the academy, coated in the same mystifying nanovelvet which made her so hard to see, preserved against the curiosity of the young in a plate glass cabinet above a stand supporting a plaque bearing the names of all the crew.


9
General C# Fiction / Re: Saving Europa by Fleeing to Europa (SEFE)
« Last post by Vandermeer on June 02, 2022, 12:19:09 PM »
Starvation 'Fuels' the Locust Swarm
At spring of the first year of the also spring-fresh 22th century, the Alp occupation force surprisingly made its move early. Though the reasoning was a mystery, they seemed to ignore all critical mining infrastructure, fleets and the population hubs at first, and set course to the rather unimportant mining sites of Mercury.
Off-Topic: show

However, after scanning a few places around the sun, the machine intelligence seemed to agree to focus on the issue at hand and set course right for Earth itself.
Off-Topic: show

Thus started the second direct threat of the united socialist east-west regimes to Earth. The last time the WU stood in defense, and although they weren't as involved at the location anymore, their available 34 fighter planes would answer to the maneuver help calls issued by the dominant two terrestrial unions.
Off-Topic: show


The aid request was nearly a formality however, as these unions, Asean and South, had not been sitting idly either. Considering the destruction and irradiation of Earth in the red cataclysm, and then the complete defeat of their combined fleet just a while earlier, it was nothing short of a miracle to see these cultures transform into a revision of themselves towards societies where values of conscientiousness and an industrious attitude became the core vein. Without needing regulatory pressure from above, people or survivors of this generation of hardship, -the generation of strife, as by Strauss-Howe Generational Theory-, had burned away all unnecessary fat and weaknesses, and were forged into a competent populus of powerful and capable individuals that together worked to herald in a new golden age.
Recognizing that, it was still surprising to see their comparably small industrial base emit such resistance. Despite the recent losses, Asean had already recovered 17 escort- and another 17 battlecruisers.
Off-Topic: show

More importantly however, after the WU re-allocating its orbital defenses to the Galilean sector, Asean stepped up to fill the gap, fielding a whole of 50 newly built state-of-the-art orbital beam bases.
The South American Alliance wasn't too far behind either, having rebuild an incredible mass of 50 battlecruisers despite losing their entire fleet just recently. Even Britain fielded 10 dreadnoughts and 2 missile bases by now, and signaled it would join the other factions in Earth's defense for the first time in history.

..Considering all this, it was surprising to see the machine AI still committing to an attack, and indeed..

..just a short firefight later, the small invasion force had been dealt serious damage, sinking 7 of theirs for 7 of ours, thus forcing the rest to flee in what shame the Leninist machine could feel. After developing some emergency protection protocols for an Earth invasion eventuality, the former electronic warfare screeches of the Alp became confused screams of agony(audio download)(*1), that were almost a delight to listen to from safety.

Some wounded stragglers were left behind, so the WUN fighter squadron was ordered to use the opportunity to enact the first field test of the new Kaspersky II missile, since there was one lone point defense ship for ideal performance gauging.

Slain near Apophis.
Off-Topic: show


...Apparently it had no working firing computer anymore however, and sank without resistance.

Now it was time to check whether the close Lacaille siege was really abandoned, so WUN dispatched a scout Mirage.
Off-Topic: show

The formerly wounded Nyanga was left behind, so the fighter force took care of it.
Off-Topic: show


The siege had indeed been lifted, and the frigate guard on the Lacaille mirror point was soon restored, re-opening the galaxy.


The clouds divide, the light reveals
With the formerly destructive occupation force being dealt justice in this manner, one had to wonder what went wrong with the supposed genius-mind artificial intelligence to be so thoroughly mistaken about the Earth's defense capabilities. It had invented so many technological wonders that seemed to prove its superiority, and had collected data on Sol with its spy ships for many years, but then couldn't help itself to still commit serious strategic errors. There was also the matter of their suspicious selective shortcomings, like their complete negligence of missile technology, or what appeared to be a tofu-dreg armor philosophy, as even their biggest military ships were rather brittle under short sustained fire.

The recent derelicts left behind not only military ships for the first time but also even one model of the most prominent Iah type dreadnought. The WU was quick to send out one of the massive Vencia industrial freighters to investigate in hope to answer some of these burning questions that had been persisting since the Alp's appearance.
The investigations resulted in two main and game changing core revelations.

o> Firstly, the AI steering the implanted nightmare machines was surprisingly primitive. It was previously assumed, that the neural network structure embedded into the devices had at the very least evolved itself, seeing how it managed to copy to higher capacity computers and even directly into certain brain regions. In reality, -though achieving optimal adaption-, it never left its route core mission and scope, which simply was to terrorize the mind with Leninist ideology with no stop cap in obedience height defined. No more, and certainly no less.
While that undefined goal gave rise to its viral survival and transmigration skills, the real behavior change of the infected minds was instead proven to be an emergent effect. While the network whipped the mind up, it did not direct or even "think up" its action in any way, and instead it would still be the brains themselves that filled the gaps and made the decisions that would serve to ease the admonishing pressure.
Given how eerily uniform the responses to this suggestion throughout all affected individuals were however, it may be save to judge the case to exist in some sort of grey definition zone. If a fire was lit under a persons feet, was it really fair to say that it was entirely the person's choice to recoil?
So perhaps the Alp was merely a new motivation engine, whose merging with human physiology produced an entirely new entity that wasn't either of the two original sources.

This theory had amassed many technical proofs in short order, but the final evidence came when it was cleared that the only reason the new CCP didn't use missiles was ...that there was no training data from the first war available, as they never came to fire one back then.
Hence, the machine judged them as thoroughly ineffective, which is a thing only the most basic neural networks tend to do when digesting such faulty biased data. And so, even though its strictly uniform motivators produced quite machine-like results in behavior (sometimes with humans acting like fulfilling literal unthinking program code in fact {NPCs?...}), it at the same time certainly did not create any supermind geniuses, for it was still the human mind interpreting.
..Which of course gave quick rise to next question and revelation.

o> If there was no advantage in reasoning, then where did all the sudden revolutionary technology come from?
Finally some real salvage other than passive radar dishes could be dug up to shed some light on this matter:

{some tech, but also lore ahead}
Mainly this included their scrambling technology, targeting computers, their extremely powerful laser weaponry, and -most interestingly- working models of actual primal element fusion reactors.

All this technology had the same principle in common that was already found on the scout wrecks years before. As previously hypothesized, every piece relied on the same established entanglement to some mysterious extremely low energy state artifact in unknown distance, which consequently bestowed unique abilities stemming from such low energy perspective.
Highly sensible sensors and fire controls? Their 'listening' was calibrated to literal sub zero-point energy levels, meaning near none internal system static that could impede noticing the hair-drop 2AU away.
High-frequency laser weaponry? X-ray photons that normally can't be bundled by conventional mirrors into the weapon-needed quantities could simply be birthed into existence in required amounts. Utilizing a restricted zero-point spawn/relayed-excitation method, the extremely low background energy made equally extremely fine vacuum photon vibration modes a normality.

The finding of the working fusion reactors were a big surprise however. One would have thought that having access to such high density power generation methods would have lent itself to equally stronger engines, yet their output was only used for realizing vacuum tuned virtual x-ray photons. The most promising rationale behind this was that the extremely fine magnetic control offered by the low-energy state entanglement was simply not usable and therefore reliable in some situations. The reason behind this hunch was the Alp ships' overall radical change in propulsion philosophy.
The hull and its engines had in fact completely abandoned the conservative principle of pumping purified electrons through the hull and thus averaging it to stronger disentanglement/synchronicity with the lightspeed true universe expansion velocity. The method that the Alp had instead adopted was more alike to the tunneling principle used at flat-gravity mirror points. Thus, their hulls constantly worked to synchronize themselves and the space around them with some (very) distant location in order to hopefully achieve a macroscopic tunneling effect. Although it was notably impossible to actually do it in the turbulent distinctively non-flat space that made up nearly all areas, achieving an actual macroscopic tunneling of the ship was apparently not the goal. Instead, it appeared the ships were instead translocating... the space, the energy(?) around, to the artifact?

Tunneling a hole into reality
Testing the remains of their military hulls in safe orbital laboratories showed that their vessels lacked any notable engine whatsoever. Instead of increasing purification and thus 'disentangling' themselves, the Alp ships would use the inverse method and increase the hulls entanglement to the low-state artifact. ..But there was a serious misconception among the unions' scientists about what the nature of that artifact truly was, for it was not just an object that was found, not a strange matter sun, or a laboratory product.
For the Alp ships to even attempt a tunneling procedure to the artifact, the artifact must be a region of space itself.

To investigate this baffling conclusion, a quick science excursion was started through the newly reopened Lacaille route, as it was clear that the implications of this finding would yield some disastrous and visible results for our galaxy and more. Within a years time, the manifestation of the horror could be confirmed..




(Location:)
Off-Topic: show

Terrifyingly close to Sol, a breach in the expanding universe had realized itself. Yet another aberration of nature, throwing its sinister shadow, snuffing out the local sun, and producing darkness of a grade that physics had not allowed before.
Scientists were quick to brief military and government leaders on to what they were looking at.

A popular idea of the concept of multiverses thinks of them as completely different realities, perhaps a fork of all the options of causality, or merely other universes separated on some imperceptible 4th+ spacial dimensional axis. Rarely however is it understood that the 3 known spacial dimensions would already be enough for other universes to be with us without touching.
Though space might be expanding and stretching, models of our universe coming of age don't necessarily imply the creation of spacetime at its birth, meaning, spacetime could have been here before. And if it was here before, it could be large, and in fact have other regions, where other universes developed or spontaneously malformed themselves in an unknown freak twist of physics into existence.
Thinking of space as a plane, there could be a vast sea of compacted nothingness (way more 'nothing' than the emptiness between galaxies), only rarely interrupted by the fungal bloom of insular universes.

(illustrative exaggeration: the separation would be much larger than depicted)
These locations where the local expansion at least briefly exceeded the much faster expansion of the absolute void of non-existence all around, could bubble up by sheer coincidence, but eternally be separated from their other brethren for the void eventually always expands faster, and reabsorbs them once their own internal engine slows.


Though it was all hypothesis, the mere fact that a whole space with such low zero-point levels that undermined universal fundamental constants evidently existed in the 25 Ursae Minoris (soon to be renamed "Siberian Bear") aberration, lend a lot of weight to the "outside void/ insular universes" model, for only there a horrific wintry waste of energy hunger was introduced as a region.
It was unclear how and when the CCP managed to access the region in the first place, but poor safety ethics in their tunneling procedures, or perhaps even earlier attempts at copying from non-flat space might have played into it.(arguably, such an experiment must have taken place at Ursae Minoris, and it was from that system, that the first -still CCP looking- batch of erratic behaving ships first entered Alpha Centauri at the last battle of the war)

Whether accident or not, it was the irony of destiny that it should be the west-east CCP that would stumble upon a place that had intrinsically nothing but terrors to show, sought only to expand and steal other places riches and efforts.

The word "dimension" was popularly often misquoted as meaning "alternative reality or universe", and so this terrifying starved place far from the light, driven to expand by constant hunger, also came to have a popular misnomer: "The communist dimension"

Traveling at the speed of hunger
"An army marches on its stomach" they say, but upon exact reading of the phrase, one can notice the other interpretation of it hiding under the obvious one. The communists long figured out that an empty stomach coupled with promises of being granted nutrition 'gifts' can be just as motivating and also obedience inducing. Although the late China held roughly 19% of the worlds population, they only had about 10% of all arable land, leading them to buy up and store extreme sums of estimated 50% of all the world's grain reserves. ..And yet their people still starved on the regular, for the party wanted it so. It was no surprise that, given the opportunity, they would find a way to turn this winning principle into a technology.

Similar to a sail or a turbine held into a stream, the Alp ships exploited the extreme fundamental energy state imbalance between our universe and the null-void they heretically summoned, which jolted them forward as vacuum decay around them swallowed up what the fabric of space could give. (OOC: Good video on vacuum decay)
For every second that the PLA ships moved through our space, more energy was sacrificed to the entangled hole, feeding and widening it, and increasing its abilities to drain the universe's energy all on its own as well. It was a pact with destruction incarnate, a true sacrilege against all existence, reminiscent of the (chinese)CCP's historical intent to incinerate the Earths ecology for their glorious nation to be able to step up a little.
A self defeating tactic only employed by the desperate loser, and now also fired on by near unthinking flagellation machines that demanded results at literal all costs.

Who knows what happened to the first poor sailors that were drawn into the null-void between universes. Looking at the extreme circumstances they must have faced, it is possible that it was only then when the neural implant really started its amok. Judging by the Carnot limit physics that their 5 times faster 'heat/energy pump' propulsion method implied, the expansion rate/low intrinsic zero-point energy of the void would have its time flow by factor of billions faster. Thus, even when instantly setting for return, perhaps their ships were stuck there for decades, with no progress on their propaganda demanded goals, perhaps causing the network to press too hard.
All speculation, and many unanswered questions still existed about the origin of their materials if the universe separating primal space was truly empty.

Thus was also solved the riddle on why fusion energy could not be used as their propellant, for their mastering of it relied on accurate magnetic control that only existed relative to our universe. In other words, the generators were simply not working in the null-void, and were only prepared for the return.


Feeding them missiles back
The WU and the other unions had now to figure out what to do about this expanding hazard. It was certain now, that the war against the Alp could not stay a defensive one, for even a successful defense would eventually lead to defeat. As the recent fighter tactics had been proven to be a success, and the Leninist AI turned out much more primitive and thus likely susceptible to more tactical traps, WUN moved to focus their efforts into developing humanities first carrier strikeforce, that would bring these winning planes directly to the enemies doorstep to hopefully eventually contain them in Sibiria.

For this purpose, at least 2 ships of the Cloister class were issued, each one capable of transporting 50 fighter planes next to some useful utility crafts.

Ship model:
Off-Topic: show

(OOC: This time it isn't mine, as carriers were not planned in the game, and a large ship is just too much work. Though really good looking, the depicted size would probably fit more into 300kt range, and also the weapons aren't actually there in the Aurora reality)

The first one assumed to leave the staple in about one and a half years.


Since extreme combat endurance was absolute imperative in order to not risk these expensive assets, the civil industries would reinvent the former Trondheim freighter design into a strictly military supply caravan. The vision was to have many of these suppliers be filled and at hand within the fleet at all times, while others were flying back and forth to replenish the reserves. Overpreparation should become the WUN's new philosophy.



///OOC
*1: These screams are actually from the beginning of the Shanghai lockdown and the resulting food shortage recently. It has only gotten worse since then, and now spreads to Beijing.
Ahhh, but what would communism be without people suffering under their government on screaming levels, or any artificially induced starvation? The trademark must be upheld, or history will forget their distinctive glory. (also brought to you by: soon to be worldwide famine thanks to increasingly socialist aligning western countries)

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The Twelve Colonies / Re: Twelve Colonies Comments Thread
« Last post by nakorkren on May 23, 2022, 11:04:57 PM »
I started a new thread to address the fighter training fuel cost discussion, so we can continue that conversation without taking the Twelve Colonies Comments thread on too big a tangent.

Looking forward to the next story update!
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