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Offline boolybooly (OP)

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Extinction Event
« on: April 16, 2022, 10:53:02 AM »
Extinction Event

The end of the world was just the beginning.

Attribution: ESO/M. Kornmesser, derivative booly-Kali, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The first anyone on Earth knew of the existence of asteroid Kali was May 2024.

Tensions had been rising between the totalitarian states and the democratic nations since the beginning of the second cold war. In the midst of confrontation and wary of escalation, NATO's representatives on the North Atlantic Council met secretly to discuss the need for viable defenses against nuclear weaponry, in particular hypersonic vehicles. In accord with their decisions in spring 2023, a collaboration set about realising Ronald Reagan's dream of a "StarWars" laser defence system to guard the borders of the free world.

By March 2024 a US military launch vehicle had placed an experimental satellite into a polar orbit. Codenamed "Operation Havanna Syndrome", the multilayered cover story implied it was a weather satellite, secretly intended to run experiments in RADAR mapping of hostile satellite networks but in that era, as in so many, lies were hidden behind lies. The satellite had also been built with a carefully disguised scanning microwave laser (SML), with a frequency capable of penetrating the transparency window in Earth's atmosphere, even tangential to the horizon and tracking hypersonic targets at any range within line of sight, granting precise guidance to land based defence systems.

Yet only a select few knew the full extent of the SML's abilities. A variable array of diffraction gratings had been added to focus the scan laser to a pinpont of high intensity to create the prototype for a device which was both detector and weapon, with the ability to disrupt electronic systems even through conventional hardening. The prototype was intended to develope tracking algorithms and calibrate the focusing array.

To avoid telltale ionisation tracks in Earth's atmosphere, which might draw attention to the satellite, experiments were synchronised with solar storms, specifically the occurrence of intense ionisation aurorae over the magnetic poles of Earth, to disguise ionisation created by the SML at standard operating power and ensure the device was able to function even in the worst conditions.

One set of tests however was intended to measure the performance of the device at maximum power. Theory and lab tests had suggested a full power scan through atmosphere would be detectable whatever the space weather. Instead the scan was to be directed outwards, to the ecliptic from above the north pole during polar transit above an intense aurora. A series of tracking radial scans were focussed at ranges which could pick up known bodies in the asteroid belt and beyond, as landmarks for verification and calibration of function.

During the first test the AI developed to handle the task detected a strong return from a large body in a location where none was expected, which was flagged to the experimentors. It was set aside as something for NASA, until a second set of scans from the south pole detected it again. The AI automatically employed its tracking software suite to deduce the trajectory of the object from the two sets of data, which resulted in an impact prediction alert for somewhere in mainland USA.

The experimentors, initially concerned it might be a software error, nevertheless followed protocol and chose to verify the detection with independent astronomical observatories including the newly built 8.4m array at the Vera C. Rubin observatory in Chile, along with the Hubble and Webb space telescopes, which confirmed the AI's prediction that the course of the newly discovered object would impact the Yellowstone caldera, in the middle of the underlying magma chambers. Consequently the new body was named Kali The Destroyer and none could fault the description.

The worst case scenario had become reality. It could not be kept secret. Humanity had seven months to prepare for Kali's arrival, though as history records, the totalitarian states at first refused to believe the evidence of democratically controlled telescopes and dismissed Kali as an elaborate hoax designed to divert them from developing their machines of war and to destabilise their structures of political control. In the face of honesty and sincere humanity from astronomers in the free world, the projection of their own disingenuity cost the totalitarian states months of preparation. Even when their spies reported the frantic activity of the NATO countries and their allies, they interpreted it as a nuclear defence strategy intended to close the "mineshaft gap" and tried to exploit what they took to be allied fear to further their own territorial impulses.

The well publicised allied effort to build and launch massive deep space thermonuclear deflection devices was seen as a ruse by the "Totals", as the totalitarian states were now nicknamed by serving NATO military and the free press. The Totals said they were not fooled and these launches and the test detonations beyond the orbit of Mars proved Kali was a fictional cover story for a new weapons program. However the assymetric signatures of the detonations did give their senior analysts pause. It was only in the last three months, when their own ground based observatories confirmed the reality of Kali that the totalitarian states began to understand their mistake and even agreed to use their excessive nuclear capability to try to deflect Kali, projecting this as magnanimity. By then it was too late. Their short range mid-yield intercontinental warheads could not significantly move Kali more than it had been deflected already. For propaganda purposes they presented the deflection from the original course subsequent to reports of their own efforts and claimed credit before the captive audiences under their control.

In truth their reflex enmity cost the peoples of the Totals dearly, they had lost preparation time. The free world, in the grip of prepper mania, was not inclined to assist continuing autocracy, which did not relent even in the face of the apocalypse. The public debate centered on a widely held perception that attempts at global development and economic uplift had been abused by dictators and had backfired against the democratic nations. The political consensus was that the free world had not enough provision for themselves let alone any to spare for despots, notwithstanding the recognition of the common humanity of their mistreated workforces. In poor taste, internet satirists preemptively nominated the Totals joint winners of the Darwin Award 2025.

Attitudes on both sides changed when Major General Alexei Andropovitch lead and supported a series of coups, unseating the previous leadership of each of the totalitarian states, incarcerating them and the parasitic cliques around them. Famously he spoke the international language in his press conference for the world media saying, "no more bullsmeg, this time we will do it right". They had precious little time left to make ready but were given two reconditioned tunnelling vehicles by US mining magnate Egon Pherom in a gesture of goodwill. The plans for making agroponics systems and concrete bunkers were made available online and for once, all of humanity worked towards a common goal even though they knew many among them would not live to see it achieved.

When Kali arrived it was an extinction event, the greatest catastrophe humankind had ever seen in the millions of years of our evolution. In the last weeks a TED talk by famous evolution expert Rupert Gaukins went viral. He had pointed out very calmly and rationally that extinction over geological history was a regular event. Extinction events, he said, do not have a sense of irony, yet the last event of such destructive power had made it possible for humans to exist in the first place, by laying waste to the dinosaurs and bequeathing the Earth to mammals. As he phrased it, for those in the audience still clinging to theistic beliefs, the question the gods of evolution were asking was whether humanity had developed the ingenuity to survive this extinction event and there is only one way for us to answer, he said, "the answer is yes". He was greeted with thunderous applause and rousing cheers, such was the strength of the determination of humanity the world over, to survive the catastrophe and save what we could of our lost home, our garden of Eden.

Analysis had shown that Kali was not detected earlier because it was elongated like Oumuamua, oriented end on to the Earth and astonishingly, spin stabilised in that orientation rather than tumbling chaotically. The cross section was relatively small at under two kilometers diameter, compared to a length of ten kilometers. Its very low albedo in visible wavelengths was due to an inexplicable coating of jet black deposits comparable with the dark side of Iapetus only much darker, believed to be carbon deposits.

Kali's composition was so dense and massive that even the fortunate accident of detection with the prototype active scanner was not early enough to enable complete deflection. Kali had returned the scanner's ping strongly because it was made of solid metal and was believed to be a fragment of differentiated planetary core, created by a planetary scale collision long ago. At the time it was considered to be composed of nickel iron suffused with denser metals. The discovery of trans-Newtonian elements and physics soon after the impact, partly due to the data from the impact and deflection attempts, suggested it had contained a high proportion of heavy transnewtonian elements including extremely dense neutronium. This was why its momentum had been too great to deflect it more than a little and its cohesion too strong to disperse it. Nevertheless a significant portion of the Earth's nuclear arsenal, including purpose built gigaton yield devices had been used to try to alter its course away from the centre of the Yellowstone magma chamber and in this they had been partially successful.

The fragment, slightly slowed and deflected by thousands of massive nuclear detonations, struck the southernmost tip of Montana near the borders with Wyoming and Idaho, missing but opening the western edge of the magma chambers beneath old faithful in the Yellowstone Caldera. Had it remained on course, scientists predicted it would have sterilised the planet with a cloud of vapourised magma. As it was the impact alone sent a shockwave of superheated silicon gas a thousand miles in every direction. Those on the American mainland who had evacuated the impact region, or had crammed into hastily bored subterranean shelters, or reinforced concrete bunkers behind intervening mountain ranges survived. Those who could not or would not evacuate did not, nothing did. The desert states of the southwestern USA became a sea of glass.

The shape and composition of Kali meant that it penetrated the Earth's crust more deeply even than Chixulub. The impact crater clipped the western periphery of both the upper and lower magma chambers underlying Yellowstone. Much of their already superheated contents, liquified by the shockwave erupted into the crater as an enormous flow of molten silicates in the form of rhyolite, overlaying denser basaltic magma, funnelled westwards by the topography, backfilling the impact crater and covering Nevada over hundreds of square miles. This combined with the fuming caldera formed by the collapse of the Yellowstone magma chambers created the very pit of the inferno in the midst of north America. The lava flows eventually reached the eastern Pacific shore, burying the city of angels on the way.           

It was not the impact which destroyed most life across the surface of the Earth, nor even the firey blast of the compression wave which mercifully attenuated over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, nor even the rain of fire from reentering rock fragments blown high above the sky to fall all across the globe. It was the dark clouds of dust raised into the upper atmosphere, drifting west with the coriolis effect and circulating east with the jet stream which blotted out life giving sunlight and destroyed the ecosystems of Earth. This and the falling volcanic ash ended all open air agriculture for humanity. The air was not even safe to breathe without filtration. Huge volumes of sulfur dioxide released from the Yellowstone caldera poisoned the Earth and caused dense high altitude clouds of water vapour and reflective ice crystals, raising the albedo of Earth, deepening the darkness beneath, acidifying the water cycle before cooling to ice what remained of dying lakes and rivers, eventually forming an ice sheet across the oceans, plunging the Earth even deeper into a stygian ice age.

The face of the sun was hidden and the winds blew no more. Solar and wind power installations no longer worked. Nuclear power generation globally still exceeded two thousand terawatt hours per annum, despite the predictable losses due to disruption in the USA. In theory it was still enough to feed humanity three times over. The problem which preimpact forecasts had identified was a negligeable amount of infrastructure which could turn it into food. After the impact the only way to grow food crops on Earth would be in closed cycle agroponics facilities with artifical lighting such as were already used for novelty value in some densely populated urban centres, prototype space colonisation research projects and experimental biofuel facilities. Even after months of preparation there would simply not be enough to go round. Once stores had run out billions of people were going to starve.

In those few months before the cataclysm, emergency powers invoked in every nation had enabled governments to direct manufacturing to preparations. Mines everywhere were converted into refuges. Huge reinforced concrete bunkers were erected and facilities hewn out of the rock. Agroponics hardware was produced and installed as fast as possible and existing agriculture directed to increase food stores. LEDs were manufactured by the megaton and where possible additional geothermal power stations were built and connected to a new subterranean power distribution network of well insulated low impedence cables. Gene banks were given the highest priority for connection because of their freezers which held hope for the future, stocked by those entrusted with the task who went on frenetic collecting sprees as the deadline approached.

The end was foreseen with millisecond accuracy. Some, a few, though officially discouraged, elected to be there, to see the impact first hand and surrender to their doom, avoiding the days to come. Others and their families were selected for sanctuary in the refugia for their expertise, others by a lottery. In the last hours of the old Earth five hundred million were sealed within refugia, many leaders volunteering to remain outside and coordinate the greater part of humanity in fending for itself above ground, to secure some kind of hope of life after the cataclysm. The construction effort resumed within hours of the impact where it was safe and agriculture continued to salvage what it could for as long as possible.

Supplies held up for the better part of the first year, it was the cold which killed at first. In the second year desperation for bare necessities began to bite. Combustible fuels were used to fend off freezing temperatures but not given official construction priority due to the warning from computer models which predicted a global reduction in available oxygen would be significantly exacerbated by burning oil, coal and gas for heat and energy while it was not being renewed by plant life but the civilian population did not care, survival was their priority. It was a time of horror and doom and yet a time to fight for hope.

The official plan laid out by the UN accepted starvation as unavoidable, the question was who? Those within the refugia could be fed. Outside cannibalism only delayed the inevitable and many refused on principle to eat their fellows but many would, some when nature took them but some preempting her decision, slaughtered those they chose. The international court of justice (ICJ), meeting in virtual chambers from the safety of the refugia, condemned this as a crime and promised to prosecute it when it became practical but the UN made no moves to prevent it.

In some quarters an opposing idealism emerged, that the manner of dying was a personal responsibility and a duty to family and fellow humans. Many aged and infirm from small communities around the world made their way with dignity into the freezing darkness never to be seen again, their gift to survivors the food they would have eaten, others even gave the body that would have eaten it and in those stark times their sacrifice was deemed by many an act of love.

The contrasts between moral choices could not have been greater. It was only when aggressive gangs formed and took by force what they needed to survive, vying with police forces for control of farms and power stations, slaughtering and eating those who they would condemn, if they could catch them, that the UN agreed to mobilise an armed force with the task of overseeing justice and punishing crime. Their operations were informed by an intelligence bureau and overseen by an extended ICJ, known to the average survivor as "the judges". The right to a fair trial was mandatory but resisting arrest was met with force, often justice was served in combat. The official sentences for breaking the law varied but for murder it was technically life. Yet there was a difficulty since prisoners require food. Sustaining a prisoner meant an innocent would die of malnutrition. In this way began the practice of imprisoning criminals with water and salt only, no food. A sentence longer than a month meant certain death, which was taken into account. Offering prisoners a means of ending their lives should they choose to, was considered a mercy. Their bodies would be processed into fertiliser for the farms, which was far less dangerous than cannibalism, thereby repaying their debt to the greater good which they were deemed to have betrayed.

The UN enforcers were all expert military with state of the art weaponry and defensive equipment from refugia stockpiles. They rarely encountered resistance they could not defeat. Many gangs were caught and removed for their crimes, even warlords like the self styled "Little Joe Prion" and his infamous network of heavily armed thugs were taken down. It was an effective deterrent and under the circumstances there were few protests. Battle casualties, soldiers, perpetrators and their victims alike were recycled into fertiliser, which had become accepted practice as a means of disposing of the dead. The only difference was the ceremony which marked their passing. By the end of the third year half the human race had died, peace reigned over a dying land of dark frozen ashes, rags and bones but hope burned bright in the hearts of the survivors.

« Last Edit: July 06, 2022, 05:08:14 PM by boolybooly »
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Offline boolybooly (OP)

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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2022, 10:53:19 AM »
OOC. Game Rules & Setup.

Spoiler spawning is on except for Rakha's but NPR spawning is not at the start.

To simulate the extinction event in Aurora C# v1130 the significant change in start conditions is that Earth has acquired a surface temperature -34°C which has caused the population to require infrastructure to survive, 101 per million. Without it the population is reduced by 23% a year which simulates a catastrophic death toll due to the impact of an asteroid causing a super volcano eruption, blotting out sunlight, disrupting weather and causing a new ice age preventing surface agriculture. The population starts at 8 bn to match the current figure projected forwards to 2025.

SPOILER In Aurora the model for Earth's climate simulates a bistable condition, if the temperature decreases to a certain level an ice sheet forms and the temperature drops further. The start temperature was set by adding Frigusium until the condition was met at 0.2 atm then reducing the Frigusium to 0.088 atm to create a colony cost of 101 infra per million.

This playthrough includes invaders as an aspect of the War Of The Worlds (H.G. Wells) or Imposter (P.K. Dick) like fiction of an external existential threat to humanity. To simulate the near future the start is non TN. Because of the threat the start conditions provide 100% research and are intentionally closer to parity with a TN start (as given to NPRs) by providing infrastructure with build points closer to the cost of installations given to a TN start, plus the build points bonus NPRs are given of 43350 BP.

Calculation of build points (BP) to bring non-TN start to parity with TN start.
2/4 Shipyards 2400 x2 = 4800
8/20 research 2400 x12 = 28800
0/400 construction factories 120 x400 = 48000
0/100 ordnance fabs 120 x100 = 12000
0/40 fighter fabs 120 x40 = 4800
0/400 mines 120 x400 = 48000
0/80 automines 240 x80 = 19200
0/100 refineries 120 x100 = 12000
0/200 finance centre 120 x200 = 24000
5/150 maintenance 60 x150 = 8600
1/4 Deep Space Tracking 300 x3 = 900
1/4 Ground force construction complex 2400 x3= 7200
(subtotal 218400)
43350 instant build = 43350
800/0 conventional industry =~ 100 x800 (subtract) = -80000
TOTAL build points remaining = 181750 BP

Allocation of parity build points for this playthrough.

To treat population as equivalent to NPRs the maximum infrastructure BP allocation is equal to 500m population. This represents the massive effort to prepare in the few months prior to the impact.
Infrastructure /million = approx 101, build points per million = approx 202
Infrastructure required = 50810 
Infrastructure build points = -101620
Remaining build points = 80130

The maximum research should be at most equal to TN start i.e.20= 8+12 which is permitted by the lore as each nuclear powered refuge houses the academic elite and is in effect a research establishment.
+12 research x 2400 BP = -28800 BP
Remaining BP = 51330

Installation count for TN start is much higher at 1320, so increasing conventional installations is closer to parity and in lore this is due to the huge industrial effort to prepare for the impact.
+400 Conventional industry x 100 BP = -40000 BP
Remaining BP = 11330

The peacekeeping forces of police and military are represented by ground forces, they are not sufficient to keep order with a high population, which is in keeping with the fiction of chaos following the cataclysm.
Ground Units size 5000 police unit = 101 BP x50 = -5050 BP
Remaining BP = 6280

An additional ground force construction complex represents the militarisation of the preimpact preparations and is closer to parity with a TN start.
+1 ground force construction complex 2400 BP
Remaining BP = 3880

An additional naval shipyard represents the effort put into developing and launching deflection capable missiles to divert the incoming threat.
+1 Naval SY 2400 BP
Remaining BP = 1480

5 Ordnance factories are another legacy of the nuclear cold war and the attempt to deflect the incoming threat.
+5 ordnance factories x120 BP = 600 BP
Remaining BP = 880

2 additional deep space tracking stations are a legacy of the ground based observatories and space telescopes used to track the incoming threat.
+2 deep space tracking stations x300BP = 600 BP
Remaining BP = 280

Remaining 280 BP are sufficient to build : 1x active search sensor satellite station size1 res1 34 BP, portraying the early warning satellite which in lore discovered the incoming threat of Kali.

Code: [Select]
Havana Syndrome Prototype class Sensor Platform      121 tons       7 Crew       33.1 BP       TCS 2    TH 0    EM 0
1 km/s      No Armour       Shields 0-0     HTK 2      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 0
MSP 0    AFR 24%    IFR 0.3%    Max Repair 20 MSP
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Havana Syndrome Prototype (1)     GPS 5000     Range 31.7m km    Resolution 500
This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a Space Station for construction purposes
This design is classed as a Space Station for auto-assignment purposes

246.9 BP remaining with which I choose to convert 12 CI to Construction factory to save as many lives as possible. I used a spreadsheet to work out how to efficiently convert CI to construction and build infrastructure but this became redundant due to the gameplay events, see AAR below.

Research 100000RP
5000 Trans Newtonian Technology
75000 Research Rate 240 280 320 400
18000 Construction rate 12 14 16
250 Conventional composite armour
1000 Active Grav Sensor Strength 10
223 Havana Syndrome Prototype active sensor R500 50t
156 Thermal Sensor 50t S5
36++ Research Rate 500

« Last Edit: April 16, 2022, 11:19:21 AM by boolybooly »
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Offline boolybooly (OP)

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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2022, 10:53:34 AM »
Extinction Event : continued.
Based on events occurring in an Aurora C# v1130 playthrough.

Something Wonderful.

In the days following the impact, conventional thinking had conceived that in time the construction of the necessary infrastructure would progress until it overtook the requirements of those who remained alive. The most optimistic projections numbered survivors at a few hundred million more than the refugias could support. The makers among the civilian population had other ideas and had begun to print their own parts and innovate to create their own systems to convert their allocation of power into food. Every week the projections were improving.

In the rarified academic circles of the refugia the discussions were moving in another direction. The strategy of building new infrastructure had run into a wall, the raw materials needed were running out. Stockpiles had been reduced by the preimpact preparations and new material was not being produced fast enough by the diminishing and weakened workforces of the world. Many mines had been turned into shelters and a new approach was needed.

A few months after the cataclysm the best minds on the planet convened from their armchairs, safely ensconced in their refugia quarters, via a virtual and very exclusive video forum. One among them, Prof Palmer Flint, had proposed a bold strategy based on a prototype atmospheric reconditioning machine which employed the recently discovered principles of trans-Newtonian catalysis. Initial experiments suggested industrial scale machinery, employing raw materials in plentiful supply, could remove the contaminants causing the ice age within a decade, returning the Earth to a livable if not pristine condition. Sceptics called his claims unrealistic but the evidence was compelling and the alternative was no alternative at all. The technology had the potential to reclaim the surface of the Earth and save billions of lives if humanity acted quickly, together.

After a week of discussions between scientists and high ranking officials it was agreed, while enough people remained alive humanity would unite in the task of building the first terraforming plants. Their decision changed the course of human history.

Over the next three years all remaining research resources, though faltering from a lack of supplies, were directed into the project. Ten massive terrestrial terraforming plants were constructed across the globe as the people living around them died in their billions. Yet the terraforming performance exceeded expectations and was continually being improved by Flint and his assistant Dr Ivan Duck. By the fourth year Flint had developed an atmospheric conditioning module for orbital deployment, to tackle high altitude contamination.

The first Gaia orbital terraforming platform was launched into low Earth orbit by Egon Pherom's aerospace company, which he had mustered to the task with his usual enthusiasm. Nine more followed and the eleventh, Gaia II, a construct five times more massive than the originals was being assembled in space when the situation changed.

In the seventh year something wonderful happened. Preceding even Flint's most optimistic predictions the skies cleared long enough to see the shape of the sun for the first time in a decade, somewhere, anywhere on the surface of planet Earth. Sam Baker was the first to notice a pale vanilla disc in the leaden sky. The moment was caught on an aging Fairphone2 camera through the observation window of a bunker in the Harwell AEA complex in Berkshire, England and it went viral. Sam was an instant celebrity having brought joy to the world.

A year later coastal observation posts reported the ice across the oceans beginning to break, meteorologists reported a rise in temperatures, it was official, the terraforming project had succeeded and warmth was returning to mother Earth. Flint summarised events in his report to the secretary of the UN.

The continuing effort to reclaim the Earth by orbital trans-Newtonian catalysis reduced high cloud cover albedo sufficiently to allow the sun to melt the ice sheets covering the oceans, reducing surface albedo further. Temperatures have risen dramatically in a short space of time, the water cycle has recommenced and continues to wash away atmospheric dust and acid gasses in a virtuous cycle of improvement.

In plain language, the sun has broken through at last, rain has begun to fall again and the first seedlings have been observed sprouting in the wild. Open air agriculture can begin again. To date 2393.16m human beings have survived the cataclysm and there is every reason to believe we will soon be free to live again as we once did, safe in the bounty of our mother's arms.

We have won!

All those who were going to die of starvation had died.  Just over two out of eight billion remained alive, with a reasonable hope of seeing tomorrow and their grief could not be measured.

This was the end of the collapse and the beginning of the second renaissance. From this moment on everything that was built promised growth instead of forestalling decline. Historian Hector Amundsen argued this was the beginning of the age of arcology. During the cataclysm, humanity, having lost the natural support of Earth of necessity added it to the architecture of their constructions. Though reclaiming the Earth was always their distant hope, while the sky remained dark and cold the best that could be done was to recreate the  beauty of life in the gardens and living ornamentation inside human habitats. Anything which could contribute to the oxygen enrichment of the arcologies was usually deemed worthwhile and indulged in celebration of the beauty of life, some extraordinary creations resulted.

What had been austere walls of concrete became brightly lit walls of living breathing greenery. Human habitation became an extension of nature, like living in a forest, carefully nurtured and artificially created but a place which lived and could sustain the human spirit in any context and which would one day carry humanity through the vast darkness of space to distant goals.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2022, 02:09:10 PM by boolybooly »
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Offline boolybooly (OP)

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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2022, 01:47:16 PM »

Significant events in the Extinction Event timeline.

2025 The Extinction Event creates a disaster.
  • -34°C average temp for Earth
  • colony cost 101infra/m
  • 500m worth of infra
  • 7500m out of 8000m population dying.

1 Jan 2026, Rich Audia, a nervous financial genius is assigned to Earth gov and provides boni +30% wealth +15% production.
Much debate in the chambers of what remains of the UN regarding two alternative strategies.
1. Build infrastructure, requires massive construction and duranium and mercassium resources.
2. Terraform, will take a while but eventually solves the infra problem, continually decreases colony cost.
Critical info, the availability roll for mercassium on Earth is 0.4. Start production is 720 pa. The mercassium cost of infrastructure for even another 500m population would be >50,000 which would take decades to produce. There really is no alternative to terraforming.
Research was limited to 9 labs by low wealth and was dedicated to improving the terraforming rate. R&D second priority is Terraforming modules for stations which are 95% the cost, so 5% cheaper and quicker to build and do not require population to operate, in the future.
Construction was dedicated to terraforming installations 66% and 34% into construction CI conversion, then financial centers.
Airbus SE commercial shipyard increased its capacity 10kt in the hope of constructing terraforming platforms but the upgrade costs reduce research so further upgrade was denied.
Police are 30% effective and unrest reduced productivity to 92% over 4 years.

- Year 4 - 2029

Research into terraforming module was completed on 11 Nov 2029. Terraforming research into rates 0.00032 and 0.0004 have been completed and 0.00048 is nearing completion.
10 terraformers have been constructed and reduced the Frigusium factor from 0.088 to 0.0819, nearly 7% reduction in 4 years. Surface temperature is warming -34 to -33. Infrastructure requirement fell from 101 to 96. Civilian production doubled infrastructure at no cost to the state supporting 1061.61m population.
Over half the people of Earth have died, pop 3529m remain of 8000m, but unrest decreased due to stoical determination of the human race and improving ratio of population to police.
10 Gaia class orbital terraforming stations were commissioned with the help of Egon Pheroms launch vehicles to clean up the upper atmosphere. The 11th terraforming installation was cancelled at 4% complete in favour of building the cheaper stations.
Code: [Select]
Gaia class Terraforming Station      25,398 tons       105 Crew       554.8 BP       TCS 508    TH 0    EM 0
1 km/s      No Armour       Shields 0-0     HTK 14      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 0
MSP 0    AFR 5079%    IFR 70.5%    Max Repair 500 MSP
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Terraformer: 1 modules producing 0.0004 atm per annum
Commercial Vessel / Space Station / n for auto-assignment purposes
Financial centre fresh builds were changed to 25x CI conversion for a quicker resolution of the financial crisis and 28x construction factory conversions set simultaneously to boost lost build capacity.

- Year 5 - 2030

The first Gaia station was launched and terraforming research 0.00048 rate completed, increasing the Frigusium reduction to a point where it would complete in 16 years.
Palmer flint had learned to operate 14 labs with a 15% bonus and was given the brief to research terraforming 0.0006 inside 2 years, finances permitting, further accelerating the reclamation of Earth.
More Gaia launched to orbit.
Dec 2 Dr Preston Zeolla initially commissioned to research income generation with one lab to enable sustaining higher rates of research in future, but wealth research was postponed due to financial limitations and the priority of terraforming research.

- Year 6 - 2031

Aug 7 the economy turns a corner due to finance conversion of CI and 14 lab research is no longer increasing the deficit.

- Year 7 - 2032

Prof Palmer Flint has completed Terraforming 0.0006 research. Terraforming 0.00075 is expensive but projected completion is before projected recovery of Earth, so he begins.
7 Gaia stations have been launched and completion time for terraforming has been halved to about 8 years. 2601m humans remain alive.
Gaia II Terraforming Station, 5x larger, is designed. 2 are commissioned.
Dr Preston Zeolla restarts wealth research.

- Year 8 - 2033

8th Mar 2033 something wonderful has happened. The continuing efforts to terraform Earth caused the temperature to increase enough to melt the ice sheets covering the oceans, the loss of reflective albedo caused temperatures to rise dramatically, the Earth has zero colony costs once again. 2393.16m human beings survived the apocalypse. Current infrastructure would have supported 1257m, available mercassium below 13,000t could have provided less than 130m worth of state infra, so terraforming saved over a billion lives.
13th Dec 2033 Gaia II completed in orbit providing 5x modules, total terraforming capacity is 25x installations. Second Gaia II is cancelled. Frigusium removal is ongoing.
Research into wealth completed and geosurvey sensors commenced by Dr Preston Zeolla returning to his sensors speciality.
Research into TN propulsion begins in earnest with Prof Marge Brabble researching pressurised water reactors.
All 20 research labs can now be utilised for research.

- Year 9 - 2034

Population is climbing once again. Two new police district ground forces are commissioned.
16 Jan Pressurised water reactor research completed. Nuclear thermal engine research begins.
8 Mar Dr Clifford Gillaspie announces geosurvey sensors ready.
Egon Pherom insists advanced composite armor research begins to enable more efficient hull structures for interplanetary exploration ships.
8 Apr Dr Marquis Cavana completes adv composite armor and begins duranium armour research for aerospace applications.
29 Sep, Ivan Duck who assisted Palmer Flint in his world saving terraforming research, changes specialism to Construction and Production. Prof Marge Brabble ongoing researches into propulsion announces improved nuclear engine theory and her intention to turn it into reality.
Cape Canaveral and BAE Systems naval shipyards, Airbus SE commercial shipyards all begin to add capacity.

- Year 10 - 2035

Surface temps of Earth have risen to 6.3°C population continues to rise. Police go on a recruitment drive, two new districts allocated funding. Marge Brabble bonus increased to 30%.

- Year 11 - 2036

18 Feb 2036 Palmer Flint completed terraforming 0.00075 research, which concluded a chapter in human history. Terraforming stations continue to return Earth to her optimal state for sustaining life. He is taking well earned leave and his research labs are handed over to Prof Marge Brabble for propulsion research and Dr Marquis Carvana returns to research high density duranium armour after a sabbatical.
4 jul Prof Marge Brabble completes Nuclear Pulse Engine research and 0.7 lph fuel economy and begins to prototype a working model for Earth's first space exploration ship. "M500 Orion NPE EP40" Soon afterwards the design for the Discovery is completed and the first is commissioned at BAE Systems orbital assembly facility with much subsystem construction taking place in sheds at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Egon Pherom is contracted to transport these to orbit for assembly.

Code: [Select]
Discovery class Survey Ship      1,550 tons       38 Crew       294.9 BP       TCS 31    TH 40    EM 0
1290 km/s      Armour 1-11       Shields 0-0       HTK 12      Sensors 5/0/0/2      DCR 1      PPV 0
Maint Life 12.37 Years     MSP 618    AFR 19%    IFR 0.3%    1YR 7    5YR 112    Max Repair 100 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 60 months    Morale Check Required   
M500 Orion NPE  EP40 (1)    Power 40.0    Fuel Use 12.37%    Signature 40.0    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 100,000 Litres    Range 93.8 billion km (841 days at full power)
Pit Sensor C50 S5 1.77m (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km
Geological Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour
Military Vessel / Survey Ship

29 Nov all traces of the Frigusium effect have been removed from Earth's atmosphere, just under twelve years after the disaster, which was hailed as a modern miracle.

- Year 12 - 2037

7 Oct Discovery built. VADM Kirk Moller is assigned captain due to his excellent training 200% and survey 15% abilities.
Huge duranium deposits (3mx1.0) discovered on Luna.

- Year 13 - 2038

26 Oct VADM Kirk Moller and the crew of the Discovery find traces of a destroyed alien outpost on Io.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2022, 05:39:44 PM by boolybooly »
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Offline boolybooly (OP)

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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2022, 03:44:45 AM »
Extinction Event : continued.
Based on events occurring in an Aurora C# v1130 playthrough.


The human race had lost over two thirds of its people to Kali, yet those who had survived a decade of darkness, death and defeat reemerged into the daylight with a reinvigorated sense of their own powers. The media sought good news stories and tried to move on from the crushing weight of memory. Though none could forget the horrors of the cataclysm, a new generation free of its taint was being born and all hoped the worst was over.

The revelation of transNewtonian science which Kali had taught, brought salvation from her blight but revealed the depths of human ignorance. Some among the academic community were deeply troubled by the facts surrounding Kali and discussions in the highest circles directed leaders to seek answers about Kali's origin and whether there were more dangerous objects like it still threatening Earth.

As the US kinetics expert Dr Margaret Sasse put it, speaking to the UN general assembly in her matter-of-fact midwest accent.
"The geologic record shows asteroids strike Earth regular and periodic, in a way we can't account for. Kali appeared optimised for kinetic attack and was stealthed, stabilised and targeted at Earth's most vulnerable geologic hotspot. It raises a suspicion Kali's trajectory was not an accident. If there is a risk this could happen again, for whatever reason, we need to know about it."

For once the UN assembly agreed unanimously and committed to building deep space tracking stations to extend humanity's senses, though scientists like Sasse were not content because their resolving power remained limited, their reliability uncertain. Those tasked with leadership recognised her point, that the knowledge needed could only be gained by close observation of the cosmos beyond Earth but this goal seemed out of reach while human capabilities were confined to near Earth orbit.

A PhD on the use of transNewtonian elements in rocket engineering changed everything. The author, Lancastrian engineer from the UK Dr Marge Brabble, had shown how TN materials could allow massive improvements in propulsion efficiency which attracted the eye of Egon Pherom's rocketry R&D team and in turn Pherom himself. Afraid that her work would be stifled by official secrecy, as HOTOL and hypersonic rocketry had been under NATO, Pherom interfered as usual and Brabble was immediately offered a professorship at the University of Adelaide with a lead position in a research team developing engines and reactors at a "Space OK" research site in Woomera Australia. Pherom also arranged a collaboration with Reactor Ramjets in the UK, where he had some influence after funding much of their progress with important thermal technologies relating to air breathing launch vehicles after they had likewise struggled against official secrecy.

Brabble and Reactor Ramjets were a likeminded dream-team and in 2036 announced the first working nuclear powered thruster, by 2037 a scientific exploration vessel had been built around it and launched using the same expeditious methods, infrastructure and collaboration developed for creating the orbital terraforming stations which had saved Earth, under the auspices of the Emergency Response Committee (ERC) which had become the defacto government of Earth during the crisis, with all other priorities subsumed under their objective. It was they who found Dr Clifford Gillaspie and ferried him to orbit to instal a state of the art geosurvey sensor suite for the new ship. They also selected her captain, Vice-admiral Kirk Moller and chose and trained the crew, ready to begin flight tests. All she needed was a name, the choice of which was opened up to an internet poll at Egon Pherom's insistence.

Some protestors claimed the poll was rigged to exclude the iconoclastic "ShippyMcShipface". "Enterprise" came a close second and not everyone agreed with the final choice even though it seemed inevitable that Vice-admiral Moller would become known to the world as Captain Kirk.

The name chosen was "Discovery", which appeared to have resonated with the survivors of the apocalypse because of an article in Forbes reporting and discussing the words of Dr Sasse to the UN. It was a well written piece and got over a billion likes. The author had used the movie tropes of 2001: A Space Odyssey to question whether all black monoliths are benign, quoting Prof Stephen Hawking and Liu Cixin on the "Dark Forest" hypothesis in relation to the Fermi paradox, even invoking the Independence Day fictional universe to suggest that alien life may not be apparent because there is a danger out there from which everyone was hiding or if not in hiding, extinct. The article concluded by affirming the UN's reasoning, that we must discover any danger and understand how to defend ourselves, or hide, since ignorance is no defence against reality. Its final sentence remains iconic. "If our studies of life here on Earth have taught us anything, it is that survival is a neverending battle and peace but a short respite between contests".

Twelve years after the arrival of Kali, Discovery set out on her maiden voyage with a full crew complement of just 38 souls, technicians, scientists and experienced astronauts. The test run was a journey to the moon, which was completed in an astounding 5 minutes, the survey took a while longer but found an immense deposit of highly accessible duranium which was previously unsuspected. Their report to mission control was broadcast and met with jubilation across the world and they were given the go ahead to explore the rest of the solar system at a level of detail hitherto undreamed of. The ship lived up to her name and in the following months many discoveries were made but there was one in particular which stood out.

As Discovery approached Io, the moon of Jupiter, her sensors picked up reflections which the analytical AI characterised as "city" based on comparisons with data from test scans of Earth. The scientists on board were sceptical and suggested it might be a crystalline geological formation of some kind, condensed over time from the atomic sulphur in the planet's atmosphere. Vice-admiral Moller, unwilling to rely on AI or scientific opinion, ordered Discovery into a lower orbit just brushing the upper atmosphere, to enable high resolution imaging and laser scanning of the region. The sight which met their incredulous eyes only served to deepen the intriguing questions regarding the Fermi paradox, for here at last was proof of intelligent life beyond the Earth. Below them were the unmistakable outlines of buildings, with signs of decay and weathering but also violent destruction. Radar returns suggested complex machinery persisted within the wreckage. The implications were profound, someone unknown to modern humans had built an outpost here and it had been destroyed, deliberately. Moller's report was encoded top secret and transmitted without delay. Unable to land and her duty done, Discovery continued her survey mission.

Behind closed doors at the UN offices in Vienna, the evidence from the destroyed alien outpost took time to sink in for the assembled decision makers. Dr Margaret Sasse was one of those consulted due to her expertise with weaponry. From the images and 3D laser scans of Io she presented her interpretation that the evident damage resulted from kinetic rounds travelling at thirty times the speed of a high velocity artillery shell. With her direct style and midwestern twang she told those gathered at a secret hearing of the UN security council inner circle, "that gives us some idea of what we are up against, a technology greatly superior to our own but ... with transNewtonian technology, matching it, beating it is not outside our capability. If they can do it, so can we."

Among the audience sat the secretary general of the UN, known for her steadfastly moral decisions, which were one of the reasons she had risen to her position. Dominique Rizello, an Italian arts and humanities graduate from Genoa had worked hard distributing then directing disaster relief for the UNHCR before the apocalypse. After Kali's arrival she had tried to negotiate with warlords like Little Joe Prion and had instigated the program of protection for refugees which would evolve into the UN military response to murderous cannibal gangs. She was the one who made the difficult moral case to the judges of the ICJ that convicted murderers could not be fed when it would cause others to die of starvation. It was Dominique who asked the question with her delicate Italian accent, "do we know who was fighting who here?" The only answer Sasse could offer was no, but to Rich Audia it was not the answer which mattered, it was the question.

That was why Audia as the governor of the Emergency Response Committee, chose Rizello to tell the world. Audia understood, it had to come from someone the people of Earth would trust, someone who had defended the weak and avenged the fallen, someone who could lead humanity along the right path through the tangled web of aggressive and fearful human instinct and not fall into the trap of blind xenophobic hatred nor submit to the dangers which might present themselves.

After a meeting with Audia and sharing the evidence from Io with her trusted advisors, Dominique spoke to them saying simply "we have to tell them", just as Audia had anticipated she would. She told her staff to push the argument in the UN that to have a chance of rising to meet this challenge everyone on Earth must know what they were facing, "we must bring them with us" she had said. She knew well that in peace as in a time of war, a truth can be told in many ways and each can bring a different effect. It took a month, working day and night, to find a way to let the world know which she felt would work and the right words to raise their spirits in the right way.

Carefully the intelligence from Io was shared among the shattered shells of the great nations of Earth. Once the ground was prepared the seed was planted in the minds of the media with a special press briefing in Istanbul, Turkey, the ancient place of the meeting of the ways, where like minds converged on the need for humanity to defend itself against a greater threat than any human nation had ever posed to another.

Beneath the skeletal remains of the partially dismantled reinforced concrete dome, built to protect the six minarets of the Blue Mosque and set against the elegant backdrop of the mosque itself, many spoke. Chief among them Dominique Rizello, flanked by the green fronds of a dozen living palm trees which had survived beneath the dome, addressed the world's press and told them what had been found on Io. "The signs are we are not alone. We must be ready to make new friends and face new challenges but as always we must do the right thing. We must not let fear of the unknown diminish our humanity or erase what we have learned in our dealings with one another."

It was a watershed for those who remained of the human race. Attitudes changed overnight, internecine bickering was put aside and all eyes were on the stars with a wary dread. Major General Alexei Andropovitch, speaking to the totalitarian states still under his influence, put it clearly.
"There is trouble out there, we must be ready for trouble, we are not ready, we must get ready."

The ERC had a new goal and redirected their gaze from reclaiming the living Earth to devising the weaponry they might need to defend it.

« Last Edit: April 30, 2022, 09:28:54 AM by boolybooly »
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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2022, 04:24:59 AM »
Good start, keep it up!
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Offline boolybooly (OP)

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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2022, 06:24:34 AM »
Extinction Event : continued.
Based on events occurring in an Aurora C# v1130 playthrough.

Eye to eye.

Captain Susan Skerl was back in the refuge where she had lived at the age of twenty one, hiding from the pumice ash, stray rock fragments and cannibal outlaws behind a pair of vast sliding blast doors. She was standing just inside the threshold, fearful of what lay outside but the blast doors would not meet and seal shut. A shard of something hard and metallic was lodged between them. Through the gap in the doors she could see a menacing shadow moving outside. She put her eye to the crack and saw large canine teeth and a yellow glaring eye, the unfriendly growl and grimace of a gigantic snarling wolf. The snarl changed to a musical howl, the eye moving towards hers then a deafening explosion, nothing, blackness and she was waking in her cabin onboard the UN Survey Ship Stargazer.

Heavy pounding at her door alternated with the musical chimes of her doorbell. As her senses returned she understood it must be Jacob M'boto her second.
"Yes OK" she shouted through the thin panel door to her cramped quarters, she reached out and patted the actuator, the door slid open.
"Jacob", her voice was cracking with the weight of recent slumber.
"Ma'am, you asked me to wake you when we were closer."
"Thanks" she said and patted the actuator again to close the door and lay back to compose herself, it was 2055 not 2026 and she was fifty years old, the captain of an interstellar survey ship, no longer a haunted geoscientist fleeing her home in Saskatchewan, a lot had happened since then, though what she had become was founded on the memories of that terrified young woman.

As she entered the bridge of the Stargazer, the traditional formalities were observed.
"Captain on deck".
"At ease, what have we got?"
"Approaching sensors range of the third planet ma'am."
It was a moot point what sensors range was. The Stargazer boasted a two hundred and fifty ton state of the art thermal sensor of unparalleled sensitivity. It could sense an elephant in the New Serengeti Park from orbit or the emissions of another survey ship leaving the orbital shipyards from a million miles beyond Luna as Skerl had done, monitoring the launch of Stargazer's sister ship Discovery after her refit.

From the watch chair at the centre of the bridge Skerl picked out the image from the telescope turret for display on the overhead monitor. There was the third planet, looking familiar, like a cousin of Earth. It broke her dream and for a moment she remembered the eye of the wolf and its perfectly circular pupil, the sign of a predator intently focussed on the object of its attention. She gazed at the planetary disc, so round, so beautiful. She put the memory of her dream aside but something about it intruded on her consciousness and would not leave, there was a reason the planet looked like a wolf.

Skerl always maintained what she did next was the logical thing to do. Some said she must be prescient, only half in jest. She tells anyone who raises the topic she had been reading Dr Marquis Carvana's "On Signature And Stealth In Open Space", a theoretical work on the use of sensors in space combat, for offence and defence including how to defeat them. One chapter had discussed the findings of Prof Margaret Sasse from data on the ruins of Io. Susan had met her at the academy, where Sasse had become commander, placed by the Emergency Response Committee to foster weapons research. The powerful impact of the kinetics demonstrations, both literally and figuratively, was not easily forgotten. Sasse had impressed on Susan the real threat of alien aggression, as she did for every year's class attending her lectures. Her steely gaze and clear warnings made a deep impression on a young student. Perhaps Sasse was the wolf in her dream, Skerl recognised a definite congruence between the two.

Skerl still remembered Sasse clearly though it had been years since they last talked. Now she was the one mothering young recruits as captain of the Stargazer, pushing back the frontier a long way from home. Susan had felt Stargazer drew the short straw with the Alpha Centauri assignment, it was the furthest out of the three jump points detected in Sol after Brabble's breakthrough but someone had to do it. Her crew were capable, knew their stuff, well chosen, they would all cope, somehow. At least they had Discovery for company. Her captain Kirk Moller was a reassuring presence, the most experienced of Earth's survey captains, discoverer of the Io ruins, though now investigating Alpha Centauri B, in the same system but ten billion klicks away. Stargazer was on her own, surveying Alpha Centauri A, more specifically the star's retinue of planets and their moons.

According to the system entry scan the third planet, with the dry designation Alpha Centauri A-III looked promising, liquid phase hydrosphere, possibly habitable, maybe not the short straw at all, more like desirable real estate where humanity might thrive. She looked again at the circular form of the planet and once more felt a frissance of fear, she caught herself wondering what might have lived down there, what might still live there. Suddenly the reasoning she had been searching for clicked into place. Just because the ruins of Io and Epsilon Eridani were dead did not mean Alpha Centauri was. That was what Sasse had been trying to tell her.
"Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." She spoke enigmatically to the bridge crew, they listened intently, wondering what she would say next.
"Mister Hamilton, apply thrust limiter at five percent if you please."
Hamilton complied. "Five percent, ma'am."
"Plot a high orbit insertion for the second moon, low velocity approach from the starward side and execute."
"High orbit, low velocity, starward side, second moon, ma'am."
A low velocity approach would take a while longer, but there was no rush. After a few minutes of reorientation the main engines began to fire, for a long slow deceleration. There was no noise, no rumble, due to heavy magneto-gravitic couplings which absorbed engine vibration flawlessly but the red thrust warning LEDs embedded in the walls lit up as Susan and the crew could feel the push through the light artifical gravity induced by the transNewtonian floor plating of Stargazer. As the pilot of the Discovery had famously said on her maiden voyage to Earth's moon, it was like flying a tower block.

At the time none of the other captains of the half dozen ships of humanity's survey fleet had ever had cause to consider reducing thrust this way to modify their own thermal signature, though it was taught at the academy. Standard operating procedure, developed exploring the familiar territory of Sol, was to navigate at full power once outside the shipyards and beyond orbit. The first expeditions through jump points leading out of Sol to other star systems had found only quiet places, haunted by the ghosts of the past but devoid of life or threat. Proxima Centauri was virtually empty aside from a few cometary bodies hurtling around a diminutive star, a cosmic backwater. Epsilon Eridani had proven to contain only dead and ruined traces of the beings who had lived and died on Io, long since departed. Unlike the maritime tradition on Earth, the space survey fleet was new, its crews unpractised in the arts of war in space. Noone knew what kind of dangers might be hiding around a large terran planet in the heart of the Alpha Centauri system. Few had even thought about it but Skerl had to and became the first to employ the eponymous Skerl maneuver.

Skerl's ERC dossier tells us something of her personality and why she chose to enhance SOP at Alpha Centauri A-III. Her academy tutors judged she was smart, embraced change, friendly and open to new ideas, yet averse to risk, cautious and conservative. She somehow balanced these competing impulses with good judgement. Perhaps that was why the academy training team had recommended her for command.

The ship was coasting towards the insertion point, just under ten million klicks away when Juanita Esposito on sensors reported a blip, proving Skerl's caution well judged.

"Sensors aye, AI identified a thermal contact, surface planet A three, consistent with 'city ... active'." She had paused, hardly believing what she was saying.
Active, meant it was alive and functioning. Skerl ruminated for barely a moment. It made sense. What was desirable for one sentient species was bound to be desirable for others, if they had evolved the same way, with a need for liquid water, which was likely since water was essential for all known carbon based life. Skerl responded decisively, her disengagement plan already prepared, just as the academy had taught her.
"Helm, reverse course... immediately mister Hamilton, remain at low power to keep our sig down, take us back out the way we came in, towards the star."
Hamilton complied, the ships engines were already in the appropriate orientation after decelerating and it had been travelling at a low relative velocity as ordered, it did not take long to stop the approach and start putting distance between the ship and the distant city.

"Captain, standing orders require us to report artifact detections, avoid close engagement and its my duty to remind you that under the Arecibo protocol, we have to attempt friendly communication if intelligent life is suspected." Jacob M'boto winced as he reminded his captain of her obligations.
"Thankyou mister M'boto, your point is well made, if we can just gain a little more velocity we can try. Just in case they are not the friendly type." Skerl replied diplomatically, explaining her reasoning, for the record. The truth she would never tell was, she had an uneasy feeling about the situation.
"Communications, prepare the greeting to transmit on my mark." Skerl did not hide the displeasure in her voice. She made a mental note to talk to Sasse about the ridiculous risk she was about to run, in making a direct transmission to the unknown quantity receding behind them. An open transmission would show their position like a neon bullseye. If the aliens were hostile it might be the last thing the crew of the unarmed Stargazer did.

"Mister Radzick, before you transmit that, as per regulations, make a tight beam transmission to Discovery of flight data, sensor logs and voice recordings for the last 24 hours. ASAP. Tell me when its done." If they were going to go down in a ball of flame, Skerl reasoned, the least they could do was follow directives and let the rest of the human race know why and maybe play for time in the process.

A tight beam transmission had to be made by coherent radio laser, a development of the Havana Syndrome technology which assisted discrete ship to ship communications over great distances at relatively low power. One side effect of the technology was that anyone not in the narrow arc of transmission could not intercept the signal, unless it was deflected by something in its path. The corollary of which meant it was sometimes quite hard to hit the target. Though longer distances were often easier as the slightly diverging beam widened at the receiving end, maintaining fleet contact was nevertheless precarious.

"Mister Radzick, how's it coming?" It had been twenty minutes.
"Captain, the planet is blocking the way." Jacek Radzick's thick slav accent evinced apology. "I don't want to risk magnetopause scattering."
The boundary layer between the stellar wind from the star behind them and the geomagnetic field of the planet before them created a broad bow wave of relatively dense turbulent plasma many times the size of the planet itself, which could interfere with radio laser coherence, disturbing the fine tolerances which needed to be met to make a successful transmission.
"Understood mister Radzick." Skerl did not mind, the longer they waited the safer for them all, since according to the regulations, they could only initiate the Aricebo protocol once they had reported the contact to another Earth vessel outside the area of engagement.
"Make sure the recordings are current. Wait for acknowledgement." Skerl nodded at Radzick who had turned to look at his captain, in her calm eyes tacit approval for his caution, gratitude that her crew understood her situation as well as she. It would take ten hours for their signal to reach Discovery and ten hours more for the acknowledgement to return. That gave them the best part of a day to wait before starting the Aricebo protocol, a day in which they were moving away from trouble was a good day. 

The discussion of scattering reminded Skerl of a paragraph from Carvana's treatise on sensor warfare.
"Mister Radzick, I have an idea. When we are ready, please arrange to make the greeting signal by tight beam transmission, directed to the outer moon's inner surface, find a flat bit to bounce it off. Scattering could help, if you understand? Monitor signal echoes."
"Aye cap'n." Radzick's response carried a tone of pleased surprise, almost congenial. Behind it, a hint of relief, the tension on the bridge of the Stargazer easing just a little.

The listening crew all knew the danger, all had attended Sasse's kinetics demonstrations, witnessed the kind of weapons fire which had destroyed the outpost at Io, all knew this was a clever move. Applied in this way, as recommended by Carvana for short range battlefield communications, not only was the contact signal hard to track to its origin but it would create a haze of chaotic reflections providing a fog of sensor chaff to obscure the signature of the retreating survey ship, further masked by the heat of the star of Alpha Centauri A, while still allowing the information in the signal to propagate through space close to the reflection point. Their communication would be received as if a voice out of nowhere. At least Skerl would be able to say they had followed orders, while mitigating the risk they might have posed.

A day later and well clear of the planet, Stargazer offered first contact communications to whoever, whatever lived in the city of Alpha Centauri A-III. The echos were strong enough to prove the signal was getting through, but there was no reply, just the cyclopean stares of a blue planet with its two attendant moons and a small red blip on the sensors display recording the encounter.

Captain Skerl and the crew of the Stargazer would not know how close they had come to death that day, until four years later when the crew of the Amaterasu, a small fighter class remote survey probe launcher, designed and built at Susan Skerle's urging, sent an unmanned probe to the first moon of the same planet, which discovered the ships of an alien race residing there...

...and bore witness to their hostility.

Off-Topic: Amaterasu schematics • show
Amaterasu class Fighter      500 tons       14 Crew       71.8 BP       TCS 10    TH 19    EM 0
1876 km/s    JR 1-50      Armour 1-5       Shields 0-0       HTK 4      Sensors 8/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 0.9
Maint Life 18.91 Years     MSP 72    AFR 8%    IFR 0.1%    1YR 0    5YR 6    Max Repair 20 MSP
Magazine 19   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   
M50 Cerco      Max Ship Size 500 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 1
M150 Scorpius 3 MCF EP18.75 (1)    Power 18.8    Fuel Use 1.71%    Signature 18.75    Explosion 2%
Fuel Capacity 12,000 Litres    Range 252.5 billion km (1557 days at full power)
Shinto Probe Launcher S3 M45 (1)     Missile Size: 3    Rate of Fire 2600
Trigger MFC5 R2750 20m EH2 (1)     Range 20.6m km    Resolution 55
Probe Saishu S2 161m A3TE (9)    Speed: 2,200 km/s    End: 848.6d     Range: 161,296m km    WH: 0    Size: 2    TH: 8/4/2
Pit Sensor C50 S8 2.24m (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km

After which every survey ship in the fleet was retrofitted with Shinto class probe launchers and instructed to use them.

Off-Topic: Discovery 4 schematics • show
Discovery 4 class Survey Ship      2,570 tons       62 Crew       560.9 BP       TCS 51    TH 43    EM 0
2383 km/s    JR 1-50      Armour 1-16       Shields 0-0       HTK 18      Sensors 55/11/2/2      DCR 1      PPV 0.9
Maint Life 8.96 Years     MSP 1,136    AFR 53%    IFR 0.7%    1YR 25    5YR 382    Max Repair 150 MSP
Magazine 19    Cryogenic Berths 200   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 84 months    Morale Check Required   
M275 Salticus II     Max Ship Size 2750 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 1
M700 Scorpius 3 MCF ThR EP122 (1)    Power 122.5    Fuel Use 1.84%    Signature 42.875    Explosion 3%
Fuel Capacity 100,000 Litres    Range 381.1 billion km (1851 days at full power)
Shinto Probe Launcher S3 M45 (1)     Missile Size: 3    Rate of Fire 2600
Trigger MFC5 R2750 20m EH2 (1)     Range 20.6m km    Resolution 55
Probe Negi S3 65bn E2TG3 (2)    Speed: 4,533 km/s    End: 167.1d     Range: 65,432.5m km    WH: 0    Size: 3    TH: 16/9/4
Probe Shinshoku II S3 65bn A3TG2 (3)    Speed: 4,533 km/s    End: 167.1d     Range: 65,432.5m km    WH: 0    Size: 3    TH: 16/9/4
Probe Saishu S2 161m A3TE (2)    Speed: 2,200 km/s    End: 848.6d     Range: 161,296m km    WH: 0    Size: 2    TH: 8/4/2
Pit Sensor M250 S11 EH2 5.86m (1)     Sensitivity 55     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  58.6m km
Lorenzini Sensor C50 S11 2.62m (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km
Improved Geological Sensors (1)   2 Survey Points Per Hour
Improved Gravitational Sensors (1)   2 Survey Points Per Hour
Missile to hit chances are vs targets moving at 3000 km/s, 5000 km/s and 10,000 km/s
This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a Survey Ship for auto-assignment purposes
« Last Edit: May 09, 2022, 03:42:49 PM by boolybooly »
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Offline vorpal+5

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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2022, 04:46:16 AM »
That's an excellent and well written story! Looking forward to the next part!
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Offline boolybooly (OP)

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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2022, 06:09:23 AM »
Thanks, vorpal+5 and Garfunkel, I appreciate the feedback.

Its fun to dramatise Steve's game, that seems to be the purpose of Aurora but it takes an extra effort to make something which can be read by other boardies, which is worth it if it is entertaining but also I feel like I could be a kind of delusional attention seeker who needs to curb their enthusiasm if noone else is really enjoying it!

So I appreciate the thanks and the comments, they encourage me to keep going. :)

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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2022, 06:24:30 AM »
And what I like is also the different approach where it reads more like a book, with as appendix in_game justifications or details, and not the reverse. I believe that's a nice change from many AAR.
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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #10 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 Ramjets, 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 a 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 champagne 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.

« Last Edit: July 06, 2022, 05:44:19 PM by boolybooly »
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Offline hostergaard

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Re: Extinction Event
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2022, 03:27:22 PM »
Hope to see more, really enjoyed to read it!
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