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Author Topic: Adventures of the Beer Keg of Science! ("Denizens"/"Adminstrator" adjacent)  (Read 7864 times)

Giovanni Blasini

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CO's Office, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Nadir Jump Point, Niops System, 27 November, 3157


"Eca, a mitta lambetya cendelessë orcova.  Nátyë necindo."

James Kirk, XO of what was probably the oldest "functioning" WarShip in the Inner Sphere, currently sitting in the guest seat in his captain's office, sighed again.  "I don't speak Elvish, Captain."

Lea Carpentier, the at-the-moment-insufferable elf who commanded the damned Keg, meanwhile, just nodded.  "Istan quetë ya merin, ar lá hanyuvatyen."

Kirk's death glare was like a terawatt laser.

"Fine," Lea sighed.  "I'll use English.  To summarize, your premise is insane."

James shrugged.  "I know.  So are KF drives, though.  But there's still enough evidence to it that there might be something there, even if Ensign Shido and, Syrinx help me, Lieutenant Howard are interpreting the data wrong."

"But you don't think so."

"Not after Lieutenant Howard's demonstration with that optical rig he's got set up," Kirk agreed.  "He said you could do similar with electricity, as well, but that lasers are more reliable.  I've looked over his math myself, and it's esoteric, and while I'm not a physicist, or a mathematician, can see where it's coming from.  And it would explain something about the SDS system, and why it couldn't jump without going insane."

"Mac?" Lea asked.  "Thoughts?"

{"We got shut down before jumps for a reason."}

"Can you share those reasons?" Kirk asked.

{"No."}

Lea frowned.  "The Bright Star wasn't shut down before it jumped.  It didn't try to kill anyone."

{"No guns.  And you've met Syrinx."}

"Wait, Syrinx was the Bright Star's AI?" Kirk asked, confused.

"Shush," Lea replied. "That doesn't leave this room. And, yes, which, actually, is a point in your favor - Syrinx knew things, but I'll be damned if it wasn't crazier than a bag full of cats.  OK, fine.  We keep them both aboard.  For that matter, we keep you aboard," she said, pointing directly at Kirk.  "Because if they're nuts, so are you.  It's just a matter of degrees.  But if you're all right..."

"Then it gives us a better chance of surviving, right?  I'll start brushing up on my jump navigation, then, and hyperspace math."

Lea nodded.  "You'll do more than that.  Learn what Shido's doing, what Howard can do with that rig of his, and their theories behind it.  The more people who can pull off a miracle on this ship, the more likely we'll be able to have one if we need it.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Giovanni Blasini

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Main Cargo Hold, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Ix Shipyards, Niops System, January 3, 3158


Brigadier Zeb Kindarps did not often come aboard the NMS Beer Keg of Science! often, despite how much of the Niops Association Militia's budget the ancient Cruiser class cruiser sucked up from his budget.  Today, however, was a special day, though not necessarily in a good way.

He was on the observation deck for the Keg's cavernous cargo hold, to which the NMDS Coronado was currently docked, transferring over a special cargo, while being overseen by NAM special operations troops in the incredibly rare Nighthawk XXII powered armor.

Next to him, the ship's captain, Leanansidhe "Lea" Carpentier, stared at the noteputer with the cargo manifest.  "What the hell are we supposed to do with these?"

"Hopefully, nothing." Kindarps replied.

"Nothing?"

"Nothing," he agreed.  "If nobody bothers us, you'll never need those.  If you ever find yourselves over your head, load your White Sharks with 'Physics Package Type 1', and given the number of launchers you have, that should be equalizer.  A dozen 50 kiloton warheads should be enough to ruin anyone's day."

Lea shook her head.  "I wasn't referring to the Santa Anas, Zeb."

"Ah, yes, 'Physics Package 2'.  The nuclear mining charges."

"Yes, 'Physics Package 2', damn it.  Three megaton warheads meant for orbit-to-surface fire.  'Xeneogeological research' my ass.  Do you know what our neighbors will do to us if we have to use one of those?"

"Lea," Kindarps said evenly, "if things ever reach the point where you have to use one of those, it will either be because one of our neighbors will have already done to us, or you have to use those to save humanity from an alien invasion.  Those are weapons of last resort, Lea, and I hope that we never need to resort to them, but I'm not getting my hopes up.  The past 25 years have been getting increasingly insane, and the news out of the Inner Sphere just keeps getting worse.  We're a little behind the times here, but evidently, back in September, the Republic gifted the Fed Suns one of their missing Avalon class cruisers."

"That's...suspiciously nice of them, and reminds me a lot of the Word of Blake with the Invincible.  They were planning that as a gift too, weren't they?"

Zeb nodded.  "Oh, that's just the start of things.  Mid-November, the other missing Avalon showed up.  And attacked the Draconis Combine.  So, they're at war again."

"You're thinking the Republic did a false-flag attack.  That's insane.  To, what, weaken two of their neighbors by having them beat on one another?"

"Why not?" Zeb asked.  "Think about it.  The Republic was against arms proliferation after the Jihad was over, sometimes forcefully so.  The Inner Sphere is in another wave of weapons proliferation, and has been since the Blackout.  The Republic got beat on hard early on.  Why wouldn't they want two of their potential rivals weakening each other, if it meant they might have a chance to step in and get some of their territory back.  Which reminds me, speaking of proliferation, we're abbreviating the trials phase of the DropShuttle competition.  You're getting the prototype Black Eagle and Seamus.  And a DroST Ib shuttle carrier.  Or a Saturn.  Or two."

"Zeb?" Lea asked.

"Yes, Lea?"

"We have one DropShuttle bay.  One.  For two DropShuttles."

"Yep," Zeb agreed.  "And the Keg carries nearly 65 kilotons of cargo, with those great big doors between the cargo hold and the DropShuttle bay.  You can fit the Seamus and a Saturn in there, and still have 60 kilotons of cargo."

"I'm not sure who's crazier, you or my XO.  This is madness."

"No," Zeb said, laughing, "This is Niops.  You think this is madness now, wait until you hear the names they settled on for the DropShuttles."
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Dragon Cat

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Only read first post but think I'm hooked I'll come back and read rest
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.
https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks
For those looking for everything online I've also got them on the OurBattleTech website
https://www.ourbattletech.com/forum/index.php?board=76.0
As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

Giovanni Blasini

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Server Cluster, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Niops IX Orbit, Niops System, March 7, 3158


Mac didn’t want to be here.

He’d done his bit for king and country, and the nations he’d been built to protect, the Star League and the Terran Hegemony, were long dead twice over now.  He was over four centuries past any kind of real usefulness, tired of watching the humans kill one another, tired of seeing the things they built crumble.

Tired of living, really.

Niops hadn’t needed him.  They’d had his predecessor, Syrinx, to watch over them.  He wasn’t going to call the older AI, his progenitor in some ways, a rousing success, but she wasn’t the failure the Inner Sphere remembered her and the ship she was tied to, the Bright Star automated scout JumpShip, to be.

But Syrinx was gone now, and if Mac was honest with himself, her demise, and the near destruction of the Niopians, wasn’t entirely their fault.  Probably not even mostly their fault, for that matter.  And there was no doubt they needed help now.  He’d run enough simulations since he was reactivated to know that, even with the limited data he had, Niops was in trouble.  Unfortunately, he, and this beer keg trying to pass itself off as WarShip were just going to make it worse. 

The Republic of the Sphere, the reflavored results of the Terran Hegemony and, he projected, the Word of Blake, thrown into a blender and set for “puree”, couldn’t be too keen on the idea of Niops rebuilding their own WarShip.  Even their DropShuttle program would be a bridge too far for the Republic; he could see their fingerprints all over the data on the slowness of rebuilding the Project Workshops, on making the Niops Association Militia dependent upon the charity of the Republic, and using Interstellar Expeditions to do it was the perfect method, with the research and exploration organization not even aware of how they were being used, too.

The Republic of the Sphere had made the Niops Association a vassal state, and had barely had to lift a finger to do it.

Mac continued to devote processing cycles to simulating their response.  He’d seen what intel data the Kowloonese trade reps had been able to pass along, and suspected that the Republic probably had one of their own spy ships keeping tabs on them now.  Perhaps not this purported stealth ship, but something.  He poured over the sensor reports from the picket Saturns, and from the larger Independence class patrol ships.  Their active sensors might be crap, and their EW not great, but one thing Niops still knew how to build were passive astronomical sensors: their optical and radio telescopes were phenomenal, and that sensor expertise went into their ships, the Keg most of all.  He’d never admit it to anyone, but it was one thing that made this revamped Cruiser class a lot nicer than the old Baron class destroyer hull he and his fellow M-4s had been been deployed in.  Sometimes, he even found having a crew aboard to be a positive thing.

”Found you,” he thought to himself, seeing the anomaly in the logs from one of the Saturn patrols.  Not a lot, just a few energetic x-rays in the wrong place, then again, a few days later, from the Keg’s own sensor logs.  A third data point, a week later, again from his ship’s sensors.

He plotted a trajectory between the two points, and extrapolated a course from there, finding it appeared to be at a constant velocity, with only the occasional course correction through careful use of a main drive.  The strange effects on the exhaust and the few data points weren’t enough for him to be able to tell the amount of thrust expended, or how long it had been expended, since their sensors weren’t in position long enough, and this appeared to be leakage, not radiation from the main exhaust plume.  He had no idea whether they’d be facing a destroyer, or something smaller, but he and the crew of the Keg would know soon enough: they’d be passing within a million kilometers of Niops IX in 12 days.

”Time to alert the Captain.”
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

worktroll

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And the fun dun begun ...

How about deploying some asset management into the projected trajectory, and at the right moment going "Peekaboo! I see you!" Or even relativistic gravel ...
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Intermittent_Coherence

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Why am I not surprised to find out that those stinking Terrans are up to their usual tricks once more?

Euphonium

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Tagged for future enjoyment
>>>>[You're only jealous because the voices don't talk to you]<<<<

Giovanni Blasini

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Bridge, NMDS Enceladus
On Intercept, Niops System, March 14, 3158


Lieutenant Senior Grade Christopher Zheng sat in the command seat of the tiny bridge of his ship, one of the new Saturn class patrol ships.  In truth, it was closer to an oversized cockpit than a real bridge, with room for a pilot, navigator/sensor operator, main gunner and him.  Not including the marines he’d left at Ix Shipyards, there were only 13 of them crammed into this dinky excuse for a DropShip.

Which, today, was probably for the best.  Speaking of which…”How are we doing, Skank?”

Spaceman Angelo “Skank” David shrugged.  “Feeling like an little worm on a big ****** hook, Skipper.”

Chief Petty Officer Guy Rochefort groaned.  “Boy, your momma must be real proud of you.”

Inwardly sighing, Christopher snapped, “That's enough, both of you.  You know what they say, ‘You are under no obligation to like your job...’”

“’…only to do it,’” the rest of the bridge crew chimed in, groaning.

“Yes, we got the short end of the stick on this one, and, yes, it sucks, and, yes, it means our leave aboard station got cut short, but the good news is there's no good reason to expect that we're going to get shot at, mystery stealth ship or not.  This is Mickey Mouse spy-versus-spy crap, not ‘Jihad 2: The Jihadening’.  We're either not going to find anything at all out here, and it's a false alarm, or we're going to run into some Bug-Eye, which we’ll trade a couple pot-shots with one another, and scare them off.”

“Uh, Skipper,” Skank interrupted, “I think I’ve got something. And I don't think it's a Bug-Eye…”

“General Quarters!” Zhang barked, grabbing his helmet and snapping it into place – the standard shipboard uniform in the Niops Association Militia Navy, like the technician’s uniform of the old Star League Navy, doubled as a spacesuit.  “Signal the Keg, keep sending them our sensor data and telemetry.  What do we have?”

“Something big, Skipper,” Skank replied.  “Twenty-five thousand klicks out, somehow suppressing its thermals, dark as a singularity on optics.  Got lucky and it occluded a star, or it’d have been even closer when we saw it.   What I am getting looks way too big to be a Bug-Eye, though.  Might even be bigger than the Keg.”

“Intercept time?” Zheng asked?

“We’ll be crossing it in three minutes, Skipper.”

“Skipper,” Rochefort interjected, “I know it’s sketchy, but does that silhouette look familiar to you?”

“It does,” he agreed.  “Looks like a mutant Lola, but that might just be our shitty returns.  Any sign it knows we’ve seen it?”

“Drive plume!” Skank suddenly announced.  “Bearing change from target.  We’ve been painted.  Warbook is saying Lola III radar.  It’s moving to intercept, Skipper!”

“Go active, paint that bogey,” Zheng ordered.

“Aye, sir,” Skank replied.  “Skipper, I’m painting it with radar, which should’ve lit it up like a Christmas tree, but it’s coming back more like a Festivus pole.  That’s way stealthier than anything that big has any right to be.”

“Evasive maneuvers, Mister Kelly,” he said, looking at the grizzled spacer at the helm.  “Jink us at your discretion.  I don’t want our track to be predictable.  Start putting some distance between us and our visitor out there.”

“Aye, Skipper,” Petty Officer Kelly replied.  “Hope you’re right about that spy-vs-spy crap, sir.”

“We’ll know soon enough,” Zheng replied.  “Weaps,” he said to Rochefort, “get me a firing solution.  We’re not going to have long on target, so if we do trade shots, I want it to count.  Where can we hit that thing to give the Keg the best chance of getting a solid return off it?”

Rochefort pondered as his hands busied themselves at his console, “Spread it around.  Get as much of that stealth coating off as we can, then maybe its engine baffles as we’re going by.  One minute and they’ll be in firing distance.”  He didn’t bother mentioning the ship could’ve already been firing missiles on bearings-only launches that, if similarly stealthed, their Saturn’s sensors may have missed.

“That’s the plan, then.   Open hailing frequencies,” Zheng ordered, watching the bridge chronometer closely.

“Open,” Skank acknowledged.

“Unidentified spacecraft, this is the NMDS Enceladus.  You’re intruding on sovereign Niops territory.  You are ordered to cut your thrust, drop your stealth field, begin deceleration, and to identify yourself and state your intentions.  You have 30 seconds to comply.  Over.”

For several seconds, the only sounds on the bridge were the air recyclers, the hum of the cooling units for the electronics, and the sound of each crewmember’s breathing inside their sealed helmets.  There was no response from the stealthy destroyer bearing down on them.

“Skipper,” Skank said, cutting through the silence, “acknowledgement from the Keg they’re receiving our data.”

“Good.  Weaps, relay the fire plan to all gunners.”  In the event the bridge crew of the Enceladus was incapacitated, the individual gunners located near their weapons mounts would ensure the fire plan was carried out.  “Engineering, you been listening?”

{“We have,”} Lieutenant Junior Grade Myca Yuelin, chief engineer and executive officer of the ship replied over the intercom.  On a ship as small as the Saturn class, engineering also doubled as auxiliary control.  {We’re ready.  See you on the flip side.”}

“Entering capital weapons range,” Skank said.

Moments later, titanic beams of coherent light burned their way through the small DropShip’s hull, penetrating the bow armor, tearing through the ship’s bridge, and out the side of the hull, as it struck the wildly maneuvering Enceladus, killing Spaceman Angelo David and Chief Petty Officer Guy Rochefort instantly.  Petty Officer Luther Kelly took seconds longer to die, incinerated by a wave of plasma from the incinerated debris that used to be the bridge consoles, bulkheads, frame members and armor plating in the path of the capital-grade laser beams.

Lieutenant Christopher Zheng, meanwhile, would take a bit longer to die.  Legs pinned by debris, suit leaking out despite the air still flowing from the ship’s systems, he’d live longer, but not long enough.
Keying his own mike on the ship’s intercom, he croaked out, “Engineering. Damage report.”

{“We’re humped,”} came the reply.  {“Air’s streaming out, we’ve got a fuel bunker leak, one of the reactors has taken a hit, and we’re down 25% on thrust.  We’ve taken control, but helm’s responding sluggish.  Ship’s barely holding together.”}

“Set fire to automatic, program the ship to ram, then abandon ship.”

{“Aye, sir,”} she said, and Zheng heard the abandon ship alarm sound in his helmet.  He suppressed the alert. 

{“Will we see any of you there, Skipper?”}


“Afraid not. I’m it, I’m pinned, and my suit’s going to leak out.  I’ll do what I can from up here.  Keep our people alive, Myca.”

{“I will, Skipper.  It’s been real, and it’s been fun…”}

“…But it hasn’t been real fun.  Bye, Myca.”

{“Bye, Chris.”}

Seconds more ticked by, and Zheng could feel the vibration of the hull as the Enceladus’ autocannons went to rapid-fire as programmed, and the ship’s escape pods ejected from their dying mothership.  From what was left of his command station, he tried to track his ship’s fire, but couldn’t.  His suit’s air pressure had continued to drop, and he was beginning to feel light-headed.

He’d blacked out before the capital-grade particle cannons hammered what was left of the Enceladus apart, close enough for the patrol ship’s debris to rain upon the vastly larger destroyer, stripping off more of the stealth coating than its primitive autocannons and lasers did.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Daryk

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Well, that's one way to de-stealth a stealth ship...  :-\

Cannonshop

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well, Sharon wouldn't approve, but she wasn't there.
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glitterboy2098

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i think sharon would understand. the dropship was a unrecoverable wreck already. ramming was decent weaponization of what was already scrap.

what the Ngo's loathe is when people turn perfectly intact ships into battering rams.

Giovanni Blasini

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Well, technically, they didn't ram.  They tried to ram, got their ship blown up, and their ship debris impacted instead.

Besides, ramming certainly shouldn't be your first resort, but it can be a last resort.  They'd expected a Bug-Eye, and got something much tougher.

At the point they abandoned ship and set it to ram, they'd lost all their nose armor, some rear armor and side armor, took engine, fuel tank, life support, bridge and crew critical hits, as well as SI damage. Without overpenetration, the nose bays alone on their attacker could blow right through them on the first hit. They didn't have a huge number of options at that point.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Daryk

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And unless I'm mistaken, insufficient speed to run like hell...

Giovanni Blasini

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Main Bridge, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
On Intercept from Niops IX
Niops System, March 15, 3158


The Niops system was, as star systems go, not terribly large, which wasn’t terribly surprising, given the star Niops itself was an M5V class red dwarf.  Travel time to or from Niops’ regular zenith or nadir jump points was under three days.  So it didn't take much of a velocity change to move their hostile visitor’s flyby of Niops IX and the Ix Shipyards from days away to much, much less.

Their guest wasn't trying very hard to hide anymore.  In fact, the ship was pouring on the thrust, allowing the Keg’s more extensive sensor suite, which alone was 42% the mass of the entire Enceladus before the poor ship’s demise, to get a good look at their foe.

It wasn’t a Lola III class destroyer.  It was a damned M-5 Caspar drone, though one not in Star League colors, and packing stealth gear that sure as hell didn’t exist in the 28th Century.

That was only one of the mysteries Captain Leanansidhe Carpentier was trying to puzzle out as the Keg moved to intercept the Caspar.  Mac, though, as an AI from an M-4 class drone, one of the Baron class destroyers converted into an SDS testbed, had additional communication protocols any SDS drone, from the M-1 shuttles to Newgrange-based M-11s, would recognize.  Any except for this one, of course.

Lea looked over the holoplot again.  ”No change from target?”

Lieutenant Commander Dominique “Mo” O’Brien-Howard, chief science officer for the Beer Keg of Science!, looked at her readouts again, and shook her head.  “Negative.  It’s still on the same course, no change in thrust. At this rate, we’ll intercept in six hours.”

“Ah, but who’s intercepting who?” Lea asked dryly.

“Before we intercept each other, then,” Mo replied curtly.

“Ensign Shido, any luck finding a jump point we can use to surprise them?”

Shido shook her head.  “No, ma’am.  The ones I'm finding are too far behind them, and even the six second points are hard to find this far inside the gravity well.”

“There's still those escape pods, too,” Mo noted.

Lea nodded.  “The Independence is twelve hours behind us.  Worst case scenario, they can pick up the Enceladus survivors.”

“Or ours,” Mo added dryly.

“Hush, you,” Lea said sternly.  “I’ve got at least…twenty percent of a plan.  Mister Rozhenko,” she said, turning to her tactical officer, “what about you?  What percentage do you have?”

“At least forty-seven percent, Captain,” Lieutenant Commander Michael Rozhenko replied, “but it’s going to take a couple key items.  Mac, can you, Howard and Reno make it work in time?”

{“Sure.”} the taciturn ship’s AI replied.

“Good.  Then we’ve got a complete plan, Captain,” Rozhenko added.

“Excellent!” Lea replied, delighted.

“Mike, care to share with the rest of the class?” Mo asked.

“The Keg is massively outgunned in a conventional fight against an M-5.  Like, they’ve got nearly twice our throw weight in a nose-on engagement, and two-and-a-half times our throw weight on a broadside, assuming both sides are doing shenanigans with off-axis capital missile launchers.  But that's in a standard engagement, and while the Keg can do that, it’s not what the Cruiser class was built for – they’re meant for nuclear engagements.  And in a nuclear engagement, we actually come out way, way ahead.  Nose-on, we can put a dozen Santa Anas on target, using all our forward launchers.  The Barracuda tubes in the nose give us another six launchers we can use.  A stock Caspar, meanwhile, has three total nose-on: two AR10s and a single Killer Whale tube.  With me so far?”

Ensign Shido actually raised her hand.  “Um, but, I thought Barracudas couldn’t carry anti-shipping nukes?”

Rozhenko nodded.  “Normally, that’s true, and I’ll get to that, ‘cause that’s part of the plan, too.  But, even if we get stuck broadside on, we’ve still got six White Shark and six Barracuda tubes to their three AR10s, and while they may be able to bring in their nose Killer Whale tube in with a waypoint launch, we can bring a dozen Barracuda tubes in, giving us 24 launchers, any of which could be carrying a nuke, and we’ve got our improved sensors to help guide them.  Even if they’ve refit to add point defense, that should give us enough to swamp anything they’ve got, especially since we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves: Commander Reno and her engineering team are going to use spare control components from the Blackwasps on some of the AMW missiles, pull the warheads on some of the Barracudas for ECM gear, and Mac and Howard…er, Bob, not you, Maureen, are going to kludge enough of the control software on them to get them to at least try to hit the Caspar successfully.”

“Not, that I'm doubting Bob’s ability,” Maureen mused, “but that’s a bit outside their normal operations.  They won’t turn back towards us with their three megaton warheads if they get confused?”

 {“They won’t.  It’s covered.”}

Lea pondered for a moment.  “Mac, anything you’d like to add about the plan?”

{“Shoot early, and often.  We’re not trying to dazzle them with brilliance,”} Mac replied.

Rozhenko nodded in agreement.  “Just riddle them with bullets.  Hit ‘em up with some bearings-only launches early.  Even if we have to set off the nukes without hitting them, we could dazzle their sensors.  They’re not expecting three megaton blasts.  We are.”

Lea nodded.  “If this ends up being a high-speed pass, Mac, we’re going to need to leave a lot of this up to you.”

{“I know.”}

“It’ll mean killing one of your own,” Lea added.

{“Yes,”} Mac replied, {“it does.”}

"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Daryk

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If that AI had a heart, they'd be breaking it...  :-\

Dragon Cat

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That was a cool piece Star League-era naval combat in the dark age
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.
https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks
For those looking for everything online I've also got them on the OurBattleTech website
https://www.ourbattletech.com/forum/index.php?board=76.0
As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

Giovanni Blasini

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If that AI had a heart, they'd be breaking it...  :-\

Lea, who's not exactly a youngster herself, has a pretty good idea of the issues Mac is dealing with, and hoped that a nice exploration and science mission would be good therapy for him.  Having to face combat this soon, and against what appears to be another AI is kind of a worst-case scenario for both of them.

A big difference between him and, say, Tabby, though, is that Tabby lived through the Amaris Coup and the resultant disaster that followed in her hull.  Mac was an M-4, though, in an old converted Baron class hull that had either been partially or fully scrapped by the time the Amaris Coup kicked off.  Tabby was in a position where she could at least try to save things.  Mac?  He was forced to just watch.

That was a cool piece Star League-era naval combat in the dark age

Thanks.  Now they just need to live through it.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Dragon Cat

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I miss Tabby and Sybil the original kick ass AI loved their story
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.
https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks
For those looking for everything online I've also got them on the OurBattleTech website
https://www.ourbattletech.com/forum/index.php?board=76.0
As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

worktroll

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Update!  :thumbsup:

My only thought - "The Ramans always do everything in threes." Who says there's only one stealth Caspar out there? It's like counting invisible cows - hard to do, and you tend to fixate on the one that just crapped all over you.

And yes, what ended up happening with Tabby in this timeline, I wonder.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Giovanni Blasini

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Update!  :thumbsup:

My only thought - "The Ramans always do everything in threes." Who says there's only one stealth Caspar out there? It's like counting invisible cows - hard to do, and you tend to fixate on the one that just crapped all over you.

And yes, what ended up happening with Tabby in this timeline, I wonder.

Good question.  I don't think this is quite the same timeline as the original ones, which I think ended in "And I'll Feel Fine..."  However, Sybil in this timeline might be the rebooted one I was contemplating doing, now that the story of the Jihad is spelled out, which it was really, really not when we started the other story.  Among other things, I'd planned on making her an "M-6C" variant of the M-6 drone, ie. stock Texas class conversion, set up to escort an M-11 (ie. converted Newgrange), but with extra support gear in the event it had to complete its mission alone.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Dragon Cat

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I'd love to see Sybil and Tabby back but in completely different forms but this story is cool too
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.
https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks
For those looking for everything online I've also got them on the OurBattleTech website
https://www.ourbattletech.com/forum/index.php?board=76.0
As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

Giovanni Blasini

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I'd love to see Sybil and Tabby back but in completely different forms but this story is cool too

This count?  :))
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Liam's Ghost

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Good question.  I don't think this is quite the same timeline as the original ones, which I think ended in "And I'll Feel Fine..." 

I tend to view "...And I Feel Fine" as more of another branch rather than a main timeline. Like getting the bad ending in a game.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

worktroll

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Do you feel fine, Liam's Ghost? Any chance of more, please?

(Don't feel slighted Gio - waiting eagerly here!)
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Dragon Cat

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The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.
https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks
For those looking for everything online I've also got them on the OurBattleTech website
https://www.ourbattletech.com/forum/index.php?board=76.0
As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

Sir Chaos

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"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

Giovanni Blasini

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NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Above Ecliptic Near Niops IX
Niops System, March 15, 3158


Most ship-to-ship combat during the Star League era happened near some kind of objective: a jump point, or orbiting a planet, or near something else of strategic value, such that the differences in velocities between combatants was reasonably small, and engagement times long enough that human reactions were sufficient, tactics could be adapted, and weapons fire traded multiple times within the normal thousand-kilometer distances these battles were fought.

The NMS Beer Keg of Science! was not fighting that kind of battle. When the Keg and its larger foe met, at their combined closing velocities, a thousand kilometers would pass in a second.  Both sides had no choice but to trust in plans laid down before they met, the power of their automation, and the one exchange of fire each side would get before they passed too far from one another to engage.

The modified M-5 Caspar drone they fought could have made it that kind of fight.  It had ample thrust to slow down, reduce their differing velocities, to stretch out their engagement times.  The minds onboard the ship, though, weren't interested in that, though, or even as interested the ship they faced, as they were in the shipyard and planet that refurbished it.  Even with the shackled AI of the ship to some degree crippled in the name of retaining control, the cyborg crew in true command of the vessel was confident the Frail humans running their antiquated relic of a WarShip would be at a severe disadvantage against the combined power of their cybernetics-enhanced minds in conjunction with their AI servant, between them controlling a vastly powerful WarShip, one that made the vaunted Star League Navy tremble.

For all their intel on Niops, they didn't know about Mac, or the thermonuclear weapons he was being entrusted with.

Prior to reaching gun range, capital grade missiles leapt from their tubes as both Mac, and the shackled AI in the M-5 Caspar timed their launches to maximum effect.  ECM and ECCM protocols chosen by Lt. Commander O’Brien-Howard, Lieutenant Howard, Lt. Commander Rozhenko and Mac burned through the powerful, but limited, jamming by the enemy WarShip, while the Caspar’s own ECCM was less effective.

The Blakist cyborgs controlling the Caspar were confident in their own abilities and their hobbled AI, choosing to fire earlier than Mac.  That proved to be their undoing, as a combination of ECM and point defense prevented their missiles from striking the Keg – only a single near-miss from a Santa Ana passed close to the antiquated Cruiser, irradiating several outer panels and compartments, but doing no lasting damage.

”Got you,” Mac snarled to himself, letting his enemy make their mistake.  It was then he knew that he did not face a fully-awake Caspar.  It would never have been so overconfident.  There had to be humans in the loop aboard that ship, suppressing the SDS AI’s higher mental functions, and inserting themselves into the decision loop.  In a way, then, if Mac and his humans were successful, what he’d be doing now would be a mercy killing of a disabled AI.  Mac didn’t spare many processing cycles to that thought, but those he did determined he could live with that outcome.

Mac launched the Keg’s own missiles, programmed to go active much closer.  He watched the Barracudas race past the Santa Anas, split into trios of missiles: two with their warheads pulled for additional EW gear, and one, carrying its deadly three megaton payload and kludged with control boards from a Blackwasp.  They failed, but their failures were not unexpected.

The Santa Anas, however, were more successful.  Of the twelve nuclear-tipped missiles his captain, Lea Carpentier, and her XO, James Kirk, had authorized Mac to fire, half burned through the Caspar’s final attempt to jam them, its efforts to physically evade them, only to come under no fire from point defense!  ”Didn’t finish your refit before being sent out to spy on us?” Mac wondered.

The first Santa Ana struck home in the right forequarter of the M-5 Caspar, detonating against armor, stripping away what armor plating, bulkheads and structural members, and brutally damaging the destroyer, but not killing it outright.  The second struck nearby, finding little resistance, and detonated in an energetic burst of gamma rays.

The third Santa Ana, though, made the others redundant, striking the nose, penetrating the outer armor, and expending is full nuclear fury within the hull of the Caspar itself, breaking its back, and converting most of the front half of the ship into a rapidly-expanding ball of plasma, tearing through the remains of the M-5, and converting it to a cloud of superheated debris.  The remaining three Santa Anas merely detonated within the cloud, dispersing it further.

Point-defense lasers aboard the Keg auto-engaged small debris that threatened the ship, with little guidance necessary from the SDS AI that had, temporarily, taken full control of the cruiser.  Mac carefully eyed the debris as their momentum carried them past, but saw nothing large enough to constitute a threat to the ship or crew, but also no indications that anyone aboard survived.  He tagged the more interesting pieces for review by Lt. Commander O’Brien-Howard, and began the process of reporting to his captain.

{“Target destroyed.”}

Despite dampeners, the bridge crew was still slightly dazed by the intensity of the tiny star they’d briefly brought to life, but Captain Carpentier managed to nod in response, and thanks. “Damage report, all stations.  Secure from general quarters.  Any indication of survivors?”

At her station, Mo O’Obrien-Howard sat up.  “No, ma’am.  No signs of lifeboats or escape pods.  I suspect the EMP would’ve fried any surviving server racks.  We can sift through the wreckage, but if there were any people over there, they didn’t make it out alive.”

“Very well.  We’ve still got the Enceladus survivors to worry about.  Helm, set course to rendezvous with their escape pods.  We know what course the wreckage is on, and can investigate it later.”

“Course laid in, ma’am.”

“Engage.”
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Giovanni Blasini

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Out of story:

I actually cracked open TW, StratOps and Interstellar Ops for this one, and printed out a couple record sheets.  THis was clearly a high-speed engagement, done at medium speed, which still meant for a closing velocity of something like 2500+ hexes/turn.  That's still too fast for humans to do much once the shooting really starts, so they'd need to trust automation.

The Blakist M-5 Caspar, during the missile exchange phase, fired at long range, which is considered standard.  They rolled OK on their ECCM role, and burned through 2 points of the Keg's ECM.  They ended up needing 10s to hit at that range and, in a non-nuclear engagement, would've proceeded to crush the Beer Keg of Science! like an aluminum can once regular weapons fire was exchanged.

But, as I noted, the Keg was built for nuclear fights.  They rolled exceptionally well on their ECCM role, burned through all the ECM of the M-5 Caspar, and Mac didn't have the missiles engage until medium range, which gave them a slight to-hit advantage that made up for his 4/5 skills (the Keg's own crew is Green at 5/6).  They ended up needing 8s as a result, and they had a lot more chances to hit during the missile engagement phase.

The Blakists rolled a 4, 6 and 7 for their three missile bays, missing with all three.  The Niopians, meanwhile, rolled 4 and 10 with their Barracudas, and 9, 8, 7, 7 with their White Shark bays.  In both cases, I obviously let both sides do waypoint launches, where the missile changes one facing after launch to change arcs, to let them bring as many missile bays in as they could.

In the case of the Barracudas, I decided to let them slide.  Figure the changes made to them weren't quite successful enough to get the AMW-equipped missiles to hit, and the other two missiles just spent themselves trying to get the other to unsuccessfully hit.  If I'd rolled a 12 on one of those bays, I'd have let it through, but those were a crapshoot anyway.

The Santa Anas, though, were another story.  The Cruiser class organizes its White Shark launchers into two 3-tube bays in each forequarter, so one bay hitting means three missiles hit.  So, at minimum, the Keg connected with 3 Santa Anas from each side, with one bay from each side missing.  Yeah, waypoint launches were not necessary.

A single Santa Ana hit does 100 points, an M-5 Caspar has 48 points of armor per location, and 50 SI.  Nuclear weapon damage to SI is, per IO, not halved, but I went ahead and did it anyway.  I rolled for nuclear criticals twice, getting one failure with a 6, and one success with an 11.  That put an end to things right there, as that's 1000 points, unreduced, to the SI of the M-5, which is only 50 points.  There is no overkill.  There is "Open Fire" and "I need to reload".

I hadn't intended or expected for the Beer Keg of Science! to get away from this undamaged.  I didn't want to kill them outright, obviously, since that'd be the end of the story, but I wasn't quite expecting them to do that well.  I considered doing a round of standard fire, anyway, but my reading of the high speed engagement rules made it look like you resolve all damage from that first.  There just wasn't anything left of the Caspar after that to allow it to use conventional weapons.

So, yeah, bit unexpected, but I'll take it.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Dragon Cat

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Shows just how devastating nuclear combat is: final

Point defence becomes hugely important
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.
https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks
For those looking for everything online I've also got them on the OurBattleTech website
https://www.ourbattletech.com/forum/index.php?board=76.0
As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

glitterboy2098

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so in short, the Beer Keg of Science! opened a can of whoop-ass on the blakists.

 

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