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Author Topic: Adventures of the Beer Keg of Science! ("Denizens"/"Adminstrator" adjacent)  (Read 7973 times)

Daryk

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Shows just how devastating nuclear combat is: final

Point defence becomes hugely important
More important than that actually.  Do NOT engage in space combat without them if nukes are even a remote possibility.  Early rules lacking point defenses was a huge oversight.  The new BSG did a good job of illustrating what they should look like (and why).

nroe03742

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that is one reason that I have put so much point defense weapons on my designs.

glitterboy2098

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More important than that actually.  Do NOT engage in space combat without them if nukes are even a remote possibility.  Early rules lacking point defenses was a huge oversight.  The new BSG did a good job of illustrating what they should look like (and why).
sadly i think my Capellan stealth corvette for this setting would not fair well in those rules.. only two single launchers, and while i put point defense on them, i'm not sure there would be enough. unless they can use their anti-fighter Plasma Rifles in that role. (which would make for a fascinating visual i'll admit)

and if the ship is under thrust i'm not sure its stealth would help much. (would have to be houseruled anyway given the fact warship stealth is not a thing in canon)

Giovanni Blasini

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Most post-Jihad powers will generally have no desire to fight a nuclear engagement. Cannonshop's Lyrans are the exception that proves the rule: they're unusual because they not only will, they're methodical about it.
« Last Edit: 21 May 2020, 23:30:04 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

worktroll

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Most poet-Jihad powers ...

There once was a man called Stone
Who hated the concept of throne
When given the chance
To call the sphere's dance
He ...
* 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
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mikecj

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These Cyborgs think they're from Sauron perhaps?
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
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Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

Euphonium

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There once was a man called Stone
Who hated the concept of throne
When given the chance
To call the sphere's dance
He ...
...made new mistakes all of his own.
>>>>[You're only jealous because the voices don't talk to you]<<<<

Sir Chaos

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There once was a man called Stone
Who hated the concept of throne
When given the chance
To call the sphere's dance
He ...
... really should have left them alone.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
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georgiaboy

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Most poet-Jihad powers will generally have no desire to fight a nuclear engagement. Cannonshop's Lyrans are the exception that proves the rule: they're unusual because they not only will, they're methodical about it.


Well when you have a member State or Theater pumping out Physic packages and mining tools like a Welfare state pumps out babies.


You have a slight upswing in the production.
"Constructive critism is never a bad comment"
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Giovanni Blasini

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Story isn't abandoned, just been going in 11 million directions this week.

Blew up one of my work computers, and had to break quarantinapalooza this week and pop into the office to replace it.  New one was in the corporate Win10 image, which has none of my admin tools, and I spent a day basically working around all the normal GPOs that prevent normal users from installing them, setting up my profile, etc.  This is on top of the normal work insanity working high level IT for a hospital network in the middle of a pandemic.

Free time then got sucked up on a combination of painting minis, random designing in MegaMekLab (I *will* find the perfect refit of the SHD-X1...um, that was a spoiler for another posted story - oops), and working on my own hilt and scabbard for what appears to be an antique tanto made from the tip of a broken katana (I'm going with my own shirasaya...what the hell am I doing?)

Oh, and programming. In GW-BASIC.  On an HP 95LX palmtop. Wrote a newtonian motion calculator (enter initial velocity, acceleration, and time, get out final distance and velocity), a dice roller, and a couple based around the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, one where you enter initial and final mass, and specific impulse, and get delta-v out, and a second where you enter the initial and final mass, delta-v and get specific impulse out of that.

In terms of story, been struggling with where to jump for the next part: I'm leaning towards skipping over the rescue, and even over the Keg going back to inspect the wreckage, and accelerating the plot to the point where they set off from Niops, since I feel like I've maybe been bogged down in prologue a bit, but I question whether leaving off an after-action report from Niops' perspective is wise.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Giovanni Blasini

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Office of the Brigadier
Niops Association Militia Command Complex
Feynman City, Niops VII  23 June 3158


Sitting at his desk, Brigadier Zeb Kindarps, commander of the Niops Association Militia, looked over his folded hands at his guest, who was presently less than thrilled with him, for reasons he did not fault her in the least.  “I'm sorry, Captain.  Ideally, I'd love to let the Keg go chasing off after aliens right away.  But the Council of Chairpersons wants us to try walking before we run.  So, we're going to have you stay close to home for a bit.  Call it a dry run.”

Captain Leanansidhe Carpentier simply stared at him, expressionless, for several seconds.  “Go on.  Sir.”

Zeb simply stared back placidly.  “Something you’d like to say, Captain?”

“Permission to speak freely, sir?”

Zeb simply nodded.  “When have I ever stopped you?”

“Fair,” Lea agreed.  “Empty night, why?  We have conducted nearly every test we can think of without leaving, and proven we're ready.  We even had our baptism by fire, and had to replace the irradiated armor plating to prove it. Our Independence program is far enough along that we should have sufficient coverage against additional stealth Caspars if they show up, and our analysis of the wreckage and our friends in the SLDF Navy in Exile have indicated that our attackers can't have many more, and are probably more worried about the Wolves and the Lyrans.”

“True,” Zeb agreed.  “But we don't know that.  Admittedly, you’re right, we may have enough Independence class with the anti-ship package and nukes that we can probably stave off another stealth ship, but there's no way to be sure of that.  That’s not the main concern, though, and the Council agrees that the Keg being elsewhere may actually encourage our Wobbie remnants to look elsewhere.  But they're still leery about sending you out too far right away.”

“This is quite possibly the most significant discovery humankind may ever make, Interstellar Expeditions is chomping at the bit to join us out there, and they aren't besides themselves with madness to get us out there, and are worried about sending us too far away.  Why?” Lea asked, exasperated.

“In part, because we were asked to,” Zeb replied.  “By the Lyrans.  They found more evidence of what appear to be extraterrestrial colonies.”

“But not their homeworlds?”

“No, nor who wiped their colonies out with extreme prejudice, which appears to be what happened,” Zeb said, shaking his head, as if disagreeing with his own orders, despite the logic behind them.  Perhaps, he mused, he did.  “One outdated, undersized cruiser, no matter how many nukes you have, can't stand up to firepower of world-killing magnitude.” He paused for a moment before continuing, struggling not to drum his fingers against his computer’s keyboard.  “So, we’re going to take our time on that, and make sure that when we do go after the aliens, we do it with support.  Probably Lyran, hopefully Mac's cousins, maybe even with the Free Worlds League, but not alone.  There's too much at stake for all of humanity for us to do that by ourselves. Besides…” he added, trailing off…

“Besides?” Lea asked.

“The Marians,” Zeb stated.  “We're getting rumblings from them again.  So, we also want you within shouting distance in the event the Marians decide to take another shot at us.”

Lea frowned.  “I see. Where are we going, then?  To do the Leaguer’s dirty work and drop in on one of their dead worlds?”  At Zeb’s nod, she asked, “Which one?”

“Stettin,” he replied.  “Believe me, we thought about heading things off and just having you drop your special physics packages on Alphard, but for now, you’re going to Stettin.”

“Not Frobisher?”

Zeb shook his head.  “No, it’s too far away, especially since it's in the wrong direction for when we do resume the hunt for our aliens. Once the Pioneer is finished, she’ll be leading an IE expedition back to Frobisher to try to help them out.  In the meantime, you’re heading to Stettin.  There atr closer lost FWL worlds out thrre, but Stettin is outside the redeclared borders of the Free Worlds League, so they agreed we won't need a League class destroyer as a chaperone, like we would at Izmir or Revel, and it's, what, three jumps away?”

Lea checked her compad, then shook her head.  “It's 45.1 light-years away, so it's actually four jumps, but three jumps will put us close enough to do a good initial survey before jumping closer.”

Zeb nodded in agreement.  “And you're only 64 light-years from Alphard.  You could be there in five weeks if necessary, less if you push it with quick-charging.”

“Let's hope it doesn't come to that,” Lea replied unenthusiastically.

“You really believe that it won't?” Zeb asked her.

“No,” she admitted.  “I expect all too soon we’ll be sharing canned sunshine with them.  From orbit.  Repeatedly.  Have we talked to the League?  If the Marians come after us, it will probably be to use us as a staging point for border attacks against them.”

“We have.  They're discussing it.”

“Lovely.  Glad to see some things haven't changed,” Lea said, with not just a note of sarcasm, but the whole melody.
« Last Edit: 07 July 2020, 21:18:21 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Daryk

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Yes, the Marians will take canned sunshine to deter...

And +1 for that last remark about melody... pure gold!  ;D

Giovanni Blasini

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Main Bridge, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Interstellar Space, 3 LY from Stettin System, 13 August 3158


Lea looked around the bridge at the duty officers on shift, busily working out the optimal approaches to the Stettin system.  Yes, the standard jump points were easily calculable, but nobody wanted to take a chance on some unknown factor getting in their way.

The trip out had been completely uneventful.  They'd been able to confirm communications with Niops over both the Keg’s small HPG, and the “Fax” FTL system purchased from the Lyrans.  Niops still had a “K-0” model lying around from the 2620s, but hadn’t used it in ages, and were more interested in reverse-engineering it for use on the new Pioneer class ships than on putting the antiquated model in the field.  FTL communications back to Niops was essential, both for the Keg, in the event they broke down, but also for Niops itself, if the Marians were to attack.

Now, nearly at their destination, Lea’s crew, combined with specialists from Niops University and Interstellar Expeditions, had been combing over the sensor data coming in from the ship’s telescopes, whether optical, infrared, x-ray or radio for the past two weeks.  No radio signals had been heard from the Stettin system.  No x-rays from fusion drive plumes.  Nothing to indicate that the local Oort cloud was in any way unusual, or that their star was in any way anything other than a typical G-class sun.  But, no signs of habitation, either.

Still, Lea thought, they’d spent enough time on this.  “Navigation,” she asked out loud, “do we have a set of jump coordinates yet?”

Ian Kent, sitting at the Nav station, looked across the bridge at Dominique “Mo” O’Brien-Howard’s sensors and Science station.  The two exchanged a glance, and Mo nodded.  Ian then replied, “Coordinates look good, Captain.  Leaguer maps don’t appear to be too out of date.  Stettin’s standard zenith or nadir points should be stable.”

“Should be?” Lea asked, cocking one eyebrow inquisitively.  She glanced at Mo, who was looking at Ian, minutely shaking her head but trying to not be noticed, while Ian was trying to act nonchalant.  “Would either of you care to share with the rest of the class?”

Ian chimed in first.  “The numbers look fine, Captain, and are within tolerances for stellar drift, expected planetary motion, and our observations for the last two weeks.  We calculated for the standard zenith and nadir jump points above and below the system’s elliptic, where there should be no risk of collission.  But…” he trailed off, seemingly unsure of how to express his reservations.

Mo did for him.  “There's a minute variance.  It's well within tolerances, small enough that it shouldn’t be a problem, though some have expressed concern.”

“And by ‘some’,” Lea inquired, “you mean who, exactly?”

“Lieutenant Howard, and Ensign Shido, Captain,” Mo replied.  “Commander Kirk was going over the numbers with them again.”

“And what happens with this…variance?  If it is an issue?  We misjump?  We turn inside out?  We end up in the dimension with no shrimp?”

Ian shrugged.  “I don't know. Minor misjump, putting us slightly off course?  The variance is so tiny that standard JumpShips make jumps with larger ones all the time.”

“Lieutenant O’Brien, your thoughts?” Lea asked.

Mo shook her head. “I don't see an issue, either, but I see Bob’s point, too. Our jump drive is a kludge: a compact WarShip core built eight centuries ago, then patched up by us using even older tech, as Commander Reno reminds us at every opportunity.”

“When Tig isn't beating the jump drive with a crowbar.  Speaking of which,” Lea said, keying her comms.  “Commander Reno.  Thoughts on our little jump equation conundrum?”

{“Given the irregularities in our jump drive, I'm surprised they aren't bigger, Captain.  The drive’s done fine so far, though, and the variance is well within tolerances.  Worst that should happen is maybe a bit rougher ride than usual.”}

“Good to know,” Lea mused.  “Mac, any opinion?”}

{“Math’s fine.”}

“So noted.  James, your thoughts?”

From CIC, James Kirk replied, {“On anything in particular, Captain?”}

“Funny,” Lea replied. “You know on what.”

{“I do.  And I don’t have an answer, Captain.  Nothing about it says there's anything to worry about, and neither Ensign Shido or Lieutenant Howard, cam name any specific objections, just an uneasy feeling.  But I have it as well, even if I can't say why.  I'm not saying we don't jump, or that we take more time.  I'm just concerned.”}

Lea paused for several moments.  “I’m not,” she said finally.  “Rig the ship for jump.  Target is the zenith point.  Set the clock for 30 minutes.”
« Last Edit: 07 July 2020, 21:18:31 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

jonen c

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"Now, now, if you follow standard insertion procedure..."

"Gordon doesn't need to hear all this. We've assured the administrator that nothing will go wrong."

Euphonium

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"Now, now, if you follow standard insertion procedure..."

"Gordon doesn't need to hear all this. We've assured the administrator that nothing will go wrong."

I wonder what a resonance cascade looks like from hyperspace....
>>>>[You're only jealous because the voices don't talk to you]<<<<

Daryk

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For crying out loud... would jumping half an AU or so further out than the standard zenith or nadir points really cost anything?  An "uneasy feeling" from more than one navigator is reason enough for me to take the miniscule impact of being a little farther away from the star for me...  ::)

Giovanni Blasini

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That would, in theory, make the numbers more complicated.  But even then, it's not necessarily because of missing data on the system.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Daryk

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How does shooting for something well beyond the proximity limit make it more complicated?  ???

Giovanni Blasini

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Not a standard jump point anymore, izzit?  IIRC, I'd have to check the rules again, but that actually gets counted as a more difficult jump.

Edit: OK, at an actual PC...well, I plugged my phone into the dock to use a monitor/keyboard/mouse.  Close enough.  Checked StratOps, and the hyperspace navigation table on page 88.  Jump calculations are a Control Roll + 2 + modifiers off the table.  So, here'd be the modifiers that apply:

Origin is a non-standard point: +2
-- the Keg isn't at a Lagrange point, but it is somewhere out past the Oort cloud of the Stettin system, arguably in deep space.  That's pretty non-standard.

Destination is a nadir or zenith point: +0
-- no problems here.

The Keg is stationary relative to Stettin, the nearest star, so it's not moving predictably or out-of-control, so those modifiers don't apply.  They're not jumping to a transient point, which would be a +4, because while their data's probably good enough to risk it, there's simply no need.

The only other modifier that's left would be if their destination is a non-standard point.  I looked up on page 134 of StratOps, and it doesn't make clear whether zenith/nadir polar jump points that are farther away than proximity points count as "standard" jump points or not, but I can see the argument I think you're making that they're probably not.  I'd say as long as you're not out in the Kuiper belt or Oort cloud, you're probably OK.

So, OK, not more difficult.  But that's not going to make their jump any easier, either.  They're going to be at a Control Roll +4 either way, and the level of discrepancy they're looking at in their calculations is tiny: like 2-3 orders of magnitude smaller than what's normally considered minimum acceptable for a standard jump.
« Last Edit: 09 June 2020, 16:06:58 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

glitterboy2098

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*look at the Cray signal gathering dust, starts flipping switches*

Daryk

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I think you might have found the right switch...  8)

Giovanni Blasini

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CIC, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Interstellar Space, 3 LY from Stettin System, 13 August 3158


James Kirk watched the jump clock as it ticked down the final minutes before jump.  He looked over the local crew with him in CIC today: Lieutenant Tony Mayweather, their resident Niopian Belter, on Conn, Jamie Shido at the Nav console, Bob Howard manning his SysOp/Comms board, Ensign Mary Stilly handling the Engineering console, and Lieutenant Felix Palamas on Tactical.

By modern standards, the Beer Keg of Science!, at less than 250 meters length, was exceedingly compact: the Vincent Mk. 39 and 42, for example, were 80 kilotons lighter in mass, but 160 meters longer, and nearly as wide as the Keg.  Space, then, was at an absolute premium, and CIC bore all the hallmarks of that.  The Keg's main bridge was already small, but it was spacious compared to the CIC, which mainly served as an emergency backup or, in the case of the Keg with its SDS-level AI, a backup to the backup.

Mac was offline now, though, to insulate the AI from the effects of the jump, and his team, even those with reservations, busily checked over their consoles to ensure everything was ready to jump.  As a concession to their role as the emergency command post, CIC staff had already donned their suit helmets, hooked up to their station’s air lines, with their own suit air supplies in reserve.

Lieutenant Howard seemed to accept they were going to jump without complaint: it was hard to tell, sometimes, given his usual dour outlook.  Ensign Shido, though, even with her face partially obscured by her helmet, was obviously nervous, as was their other rookie, Ensign Stilly.  Kirk tried to set them at ease, without calling out anyone specifically.  Kirk had no doubt that, despite an earlier ship-wide announcement from Captain Carpentier, everyone in CIC was still a bit worked up, even if they hid it – he knew he was, after all.
Doing his best to project an air of confidence to the CIC staff, Kirk calmly stated, “We’re all a little nervous about this jump, and that’s all right.  This isn’t an easy mission: we’re jumping to a system its inhabitants either abandoned or died off in two centuries ago.  That’s got all of us a little on edge, whether they’ll admit it or not.  But our coordinates are good.  They’ve been checked, verified, and are well within the limits of what’s safe.  The variances are less than a millimeter in our calculations, and we have a margin of error of more than hundred kilometers past the proximity limit.  We’re right at the threshold in the number of significant digits in the calculations, so there’s a good chance that our tiny little variance isn’t even really there in the first place.  But, even if it is, the Keg’s gone through worse, and, like the Captain, I’ve every confidence in each and every one of you.  We can do this.”

{“ONE MINUTE TO JUMP”}, the alert klaxon sounded.

Ensign Shido visibly relaxed a little, though she still appeared nervous.  Lieutenant Howard, though, spoke up.  “Commander?” he asked.

“Yes, Lieutenant?”

Bob continued.  “It may not be a rational fear, and it may be imaginary.  But, then, pi isn’t a rational number, and i is an imaginary number.  Both still exist.”

{“THIRTY SECONDS TO JUMP”}

”Dammit, Bob,” Kirk thought.  “So noted.  Just because I say I have an invisible elf that lives in my backyard doesn’t mean there’s one with a sneaksuit living there.  Confirm SDS auto-wake settings,” he replied tersely.

Bob checked his console again, “Confirmed 5 seconds post-jump.”

{“TEN SECONDS TO JUMP”}

Kirk keyed the ship-wide intercom, “All hands, brace for hyperspace jump.”

And then all hell broke loose.



D̷̺͍͇͖̎̈̓͌̀́̄͘͜Ĭ̷̡̢̡̧̘̣̹̩͉͕̯͎̲̫̱̈́̑̍͝͝Ș̴̛̱̘͕̩͕̬̪̝̥̭͓̲̳̝̭́̓͒͆̍̾̎͑̉͝͠͝Ç̸̮͍̺͙̹̯̠̥̋̌͊͗̋̇̏O̵̲͉͉͖̞̯̟̹̹͍̬̞̠̺͒͌̊̈́ͅͅN̴̛̠̦̺͍̲̗̽̈́͑̊̑̊͒̍̇̄̀̑̆̓͆͠Ť̸̡͉̮̤̮̜͖̼̠̟̪̟̩̺̝͕̃͛̍̊ͅI̴͈̒̓̿̈̊̆N̶̨̛̮̥̩̟̱̪̉͊͆͒͗͋́́̈͗̕͘͝͝Ủ̸̫͔̹̺̝̬̳̺̤̩̩͜I̵͉̬͕̗̲͎̭̫̳͍̙̖̒̆͑̄̄T̷̳͎͙̹̆̀̔͂̈́̈́͗͘Y̸̯͉͎͕̩̮̮̣͙̼̱̐͒̓̀
« Last Edit: 07 July 2020, 21:18:50 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Daryk

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I sense... a misjump…  8)

Sharpnel

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Perhaps they encounter Hyper-spatial Space Squid
Consigliere Trygg Bender, ZEU-6BL Zeus, The Blazer Mafia
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glitterboy2098

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Perhaps they encounter Hyper-spatial Space Squid
no that's over menacing kerbol.

Giovanni Blasini

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no that's over menacing kerbol.

They show up in ISP2.  And on the old record sheet for the Aquilla.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Giovanni Blasini

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Somewhere, Somewhen

James Kirk sat at the center of a bridge that was familiar, yet not his own, wearing a uniform like none he’d ever seen, but felt natural, and surrounding him was a crew he’d never met before, yet knew intimately.  Rather than a holographic display, at the front of this bridge was a flat, two-dimensional display, overlooking an earthlike world, where a glowing, green object slowly rose from its surface.  It was no ship, certainly none that he recognized.

He felt almost like a passenger in his own body as he asked his dependable science officer for an analysis of the object.  In front of him, his young, Russian navigator asked, “Am I…seeing things?”

To his left, his conn officer replied, “Not unless I am, too.  Captain,” the officer said, turning to face him, “that thing’s a…giant hand.”

Which was, of course, impossible, as his science officer confirmed, describing it instead as a field of energy.  How his ship’s sensors could tell that, James had no idea, yet he held confidence in both his science officer and his unknown starship (“starship”?)…right up until the “hand” grabbed it.



Bob found himself sitting in an office, one crowded with ledgers stacked floor-to-ceiling, facing the back of a desk.  Except it wasn’t a desk, it was, for lack of a better term, a mechanical artifact of computational archaeology.  Sitting behind the desk, though, was an ancient-looking, bald, cadaverously thin man, one whom Bob had never seen before, yet whom he knew.

The man smiled thinly.  “Ah, Mr. Howard,” the man said, staring directly at him, “this shouldn’t be possible, you know.  Even as things align on our side, or with that ghastly contraption your people use to bypass Mr. Einstein, or your own silly experiments, this level of incursion should not be possible.  Something is wrong.”

“Wrong?” Bob asks.  “With what, the ship?  The jump?”  The other man shakes his head.  “The universe?” he asks the man.

“Why stop at one, Mr. Howard?  The stars will soon be right in mine.  Let us hope the same is not true for yours, lest someone awaken the Sleeper.”



Ensign Jamie Shido could feel the krakens closing in on them, seeking them out, wanting to devour the crew of the Keg.  Violent, hungry many-armed beasts, burning silver and scarlet, angry at their intrusion, intent on feeding upon the eigenstates of their consciousness, reducing them to entropic randomness, devouring the energy that produced, but destroying them in the process as surely as falling into a singularity.

Each time they jumped, Jamie could feel them, ever hungering, ever seeking to destroy her and beings like her.  She never remembered them being quite so close, though, like they were sniffing hungrily just outside the hull of their ship, the mathematical trickery of their jump equations and the boundaries generated by their KF drive’s hyperspace field barely keeping them at bay.  Was this it?  Was this the time when they’d reach through the hull, slicing and devouring the souls within, reducing them to entropic randomness and leaving dead, empty shells behind?



Dominique O’Brien Howard found herself staring at an open violin case, the contents of which made her eyes hurt, and the fingertips of her left hand feel like they were bleeding.  She tore her eyes away briefly, looking at her left hand, to confirm that, no, her skin was intact, there was no blood.  But Mo couldn’t help but look back at the violin case again.

The violin contained within was unnaturally white – bone white, in fact, its surface looking nothing like any woodgrain she’d ever seen, whether from Terra or any other world.  She wasn’t a physician, and couldn’t bring herself to touch the instrument but it looked, despite the horrid connotations if true, like it was made from bone.  Worse, inexplicably, she felt as if the monstrously vile instrument was staring at her, pressing against her mind, as she recoiled in horror at its lurid familiarity.

Stark terror filled her heart as she willed her hand away, fighting the terrible urge to reach into the case, pick up the violin within,  and use it to play along to the ghastly flutes and drinking she could hear in the distance…



Captain Leanansidhe Carpentier found herself in a throne room of ice, facing a throne made of the same.  To one side, she saw a woman in a flowing green gown, one who, strangely, looked vaguely like what she saw when she looked in a mirror, her facial features so familiar, her long red hair cascading down her back and shoulders.  The woman, at first glance, had features a bit sharper than Lea’s own perhaps, and perhaps a bit younger than the face she saw in the mirror that morning, yet a brief glance at her catlike eyes told another story all together.

Lea and the genetically-engineered Niopans like her took the name “elves”, and bore some of the features of those mythical beings, but the entity standing next to the throne was truly inhuman in its elegant features.  She could feel the weight of other eyes upon her, belonging to other creatures, deadly, hungry, yet she dared not turn to gaze upon them.

But on top of the throne…

“You are not my handmaiden,” the being atop the throne of ice snarled.  “Leave us,” she ordered to the creatures behind her, and the woman who was, nearly, Lea’s own reflection.  As they sidled out of the throne room, she focused entirely upon the being atop the throne.

Her long hair was pure white.  Not the whitish-grey that comes with old age, but the pure white of newly-fallen snow, her skin inhumanly pale, lips a frozen violet, eyes, like Lea’s own doppelganger, green, with catlike vertical slits.  Lea could feel the cold air around her tremble with the being’s anger, and despite the insulation of her shipboard uniform, she shuddered.  Despite the insanity of it, Lea found she knew who it was looking down upon her from her icy throne.

“You know who I am, mortal,” the Winter Queen inquired.  Despite her sudden onset of terror, Lea nodded.  “Say it,” she ordered.

Lea forced down her terror.  “You are Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness.”

“Indeed,” Mab replied, “and yet you intrude upon my realm, mimic the form of my trusted handmaiden, and you’ve breached the walls of my fortress, in spirit, if not in body.  Why?  Who are you, mortal?”

Running through her mind what she recalled of the old mythology, Lea responded, “I was named for your handmaiden, your Highness.  I am Captain Lea Carpentier, Niops Association Militia Navy.”

Mab stared at her intently, “Though that is not your full Name.”

Lea shook her head. “It is not, your Highness.  As to why I am here, I do not know.  Certainly it was not my intention to intrude upon your realm,” she replied as politely as she could.

“You are not an Outsider,” Mab replied, snarling at the last word, “but come from as far away as one can be without being an Outsider.  Yet, you’re mortal.  What did you do prior to your arrival here, Lea Carpentier?  What manner of ship did you set sail upon, Captain of the Niops Association Militia Navy?”

“An antiquated cruiser, your Highness,” Lea replied carefully, “one refitted for exploration, though we retained weaponry for defense.  I do not wish to seem impertinent, but I am unfamiliar with your knowledge of the human world, or their knowledge of physics, and the speed of light.”

“I am familiar with your Einstein,” Mab said, amusement creeping into her voice, “and know well the duality of matter and energy, and his conjecture that travelling faster than light is impossible.”

“Are you familiar with the theories on faster-than-light travel developed by Thomas Kearny and Takayoshi Fuchida?” Lea asked.

“No,” Mab replied, “though I have found the work of Miguel Alcubierre and his theory of warp drive amusing, though fortunately still missing key parts of the picture.”

”Who?” Lea thought to herself.  “I'm afraid I’m not familiar with Alcubierre, but Kearny and Fuchida wrote several papers in the early 21st Century that were later used to develop the hyperspace FTL jump drive.  That’s what my ship uses to travel FTL.  We had just initiated a jump from interstellar space to a nearby star system, to investigate what happened to its inhabitants two centuries earlier.”

Mab grew as still as the ice of her throne.  “Hyperspace FTL travel, you say?  How unbelievably dangerous, and little wonder it brought you to my realm.  Humanity is hardly ready to play with such incredibly lethal toys.”

“Your Highness?  Once again, I don’t mean to give offense, but I presume that this has not, to your knowledge, happened before, correct?”

“No, it has not.  Why do you ask?”

Lea frowned, “Hyperspace jump drives are not, for us, a new technology.  Humanity’s first successful test jump was way back in 2107 and we’ve…been…”

She’d never seen Mab move.  One moment, the Queen of Air and Darkness was seated upon her throne.  The next, she’d grabbed Lea by the front of her uniform.  “They did so when?!”

Refusing to show fear, Lea replied, “In 2107, your Highness.  Over a thousand years ago.”

Mab threw back her head and laughed.  “Oh, child.  You’ve come from even farther away than I thought.  But, no matter, I can feel the tug of space and time against you, so your visit grows short.  You have given me an interesting diversion this evening, so in return, I grant you a gift.  Beware the Outer Gates, and Do Not Breach Them.

At that, Lea blacked out, knowing only darkness.



[Jump Complete]
[T = Jump + 5.0 sec]
[System Autostart: SDS-MAC_M-4.1.3159.BKoS]
[SDS-MAC_M-4.1.3159.BKoS Online]
[KF Drive…OK]
[Transit Drive…OK]
[Weapons Systems…OK]
[External EW Sensors…EM Interference from jump clear in T = J+30 sec]
[External Optical Sensors…OK.]
[Navigation Check…EM spectrum from local star matches 99.9999768% expected for Stettin system.  Stellar drift calculations indicate 99.9985% with projected arrival time.  Both within acceptable margins of error.]
[Internal Sensors…OK]
[Crew Vitals…Warning!  Crew vital signs indicate significant TDS symptoms among 100% of crew and passengers.]
[Crew unresponsive.  Continuing to attempt communications.]
[“What the hell?”]



« Last Edit: 10 June 2020, 13:47:22 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

worktroll

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    • There are Monsters in my Sky!
“Why stop at one, Mr. Howard?  The stars will soon be right in mine.  Let us hope the same is not true for yours, lest someone awaken the Sleeper.”

Bald man FTW  :thumbsup:
* 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"

Shadow_Wraith

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 :thumbsup:  That was an awesome Jump experience!

Daryk

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  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Very cool indeed... can't wait for more!  :thumbsup:

 

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