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Author Topic: Adventures of the Beer Keg of Science! ("Denizens"/"Adminstrator" adjacent)  (Read 7965 times)

Giovanni Blasini

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Ix Ship Yards, Niops IX
Niops Association, 2 March, 3155


“We haven’t settled on a final name yet,” Brigadier Zeb Kindarps stated plainly as he and his companion floated in the station’s observation deck at the subject of the hour.  “They tell me we’re still another two years from completing enough repairs for her to move under her own power, and there’s debate in the Council of Chairpersons whether we want to honor the original Star League by keeping her original name, or give her a true Niopian name.”

The Kowloonese trade representative, Vincent Ng, nodded.  “So, she’s probably a good four to six years from being ready for shakedowns, and the Council figures they have time to argue about it.”  He stared a bit closer.  “Downgrading the armor?”

Brigadier Kindarps nodded.  “No tooling for better armor.  We work with what we can.  Armor protection will drop by 30%, but the Cruiser class has a tough spaceframe, so she’s got that going for her.  One of these days, we’ll be able to build better armor, and at that point we’ll bring her home, and refit her back to her original armor loadout.  Maybe even better.”

“Still,” Vincent replied, “this has to be ruinously expensive for the Association to do.  Is it worth it?  Your Saturn and Independence class projects seem to be going well enough, building up the numbers for local defense.  The Niops Association seems to be one of the few interstellar nations not interested in coveting thy neighbor’s territory or belongings, and even though you’re not building a new WarShip here, refurbishing that old rust bucket is going to get people’s attention.”

“Good,” Kindarps replied emphatically.  “It damned well should.  But, before I answer you, you’re not getting cold feet about selling us tooling for the subcapital weapons, are you?”

Ng laughed.  “No, your money, or is it Interstellar Expedition’s money, is certainly good enough, and like I said, the Niops Association doesn’t seem to be expansionist.  Besides, you’re far enough from the Commonwealth that I don’t think you’re going to get us into trouble, and it looks like, despite how many your old beer keg is getting, most of your subcapital guns are still slated for your system defense ships.”

“Right.”  Sighing, and relaxing a bit, Zeb turned from the window to Vincent.  “The Niops Association can continue to build Independence class ships until we’ve practically dotted the system, but the fact remains we can probably never build enough to keep either of our neighbors from invading us again if they really wanted to take us over.  And while from a policy perspective I accept that neither the Marian Hegemony nor the Free Worlds League is really intending to do so, I’m sure both have plans for that eventuality.  Hell, with the Marians, they’d just be updating their old plans from when they did it last time,” he replied, biting down his bitterness.

“Just playing devil’s advocate here,” Vincent noted, “but a single ancient cruiser isn’t going to stop them from invading.”

“Not if it’s here, no.  At least, not if it stays here.  Then it becomes a known quantity, just another thing to account for when planning your invasion: sure, it’s harder to kill than an Independence class, but that’s just a question of quantity.  If it’s not here, though, and you don’t know where it is, you have to worry about it hitting you back.  That’s why I suspect we’re going to rename the ship in the end, just to make that clear.”

“Do I want to know?” Vincent asked, confusion and amusement seeping into his voice.

“Probably not, but here’s a list of proposed names, anyway,” Zeb replied, handing over a compad.

Vincent scanned the list.  “NMS Beer Keg of Science, amusing…Hold My Me and Watch This?” he laughed, “that’s pretty funny, actually.  Ultimate Ship the Second, well, Niopians do have a twisted sense of humor…Relativity Experiment, okay…Shippy McShipface, yeah, somehow I'm not surprised...Bright White Light, that sounds a little too Blakist to me…Unfortunate Implications…huh…Physics Package…isn’t that…?”

“Another name for a nuclear weapon?  Yes.”

“Will your cruiser there be carrying a nuclear loadout?” Vincent asked suspiciously.

Zeb smiled, taking the compad back.  “I can neither confirm nor deny whether the as-yet-unnamed Niopian long-range exploration refit of the Cruiser class cruiser will carry tactical or strategic nuclear weapons capable of being deployed by either of its two types of capital missile launcher.”

“Exploration cruiser,” Vincent asked flatly.

Zeb nodded.  “Indeed.  Don’t get me wrong, we’d love to be doing that, anyway, because expanding scientific knowledge is still a popular idea in the Niops Association, regardless of why else we might finally be refurbishing that ‘old beer keg’,” he noted.  “But that fleet admiral of yours is one of the driving forces behind this whole project.  Word gets around, Mister Ng, and so Niops has decided it truly is time to explore brave new worlds, seek out new life and lost civilizations.  And if we end up having to boldly nuke where no one has nuked before, well, we’ll be ready.”


(Edit: added my wife's name suggestion, Shippy McShipface - "Let's get Shipfaced!)
« Last Edit: 02 May 2020, 17:34:01 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Cannonshop

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I am grinning very, very hard. this is good.
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glitterboy2098

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they should just name it the NMS What Are The Civilian Applications?
just to mess with marian intelligence analysis. :)

Daryk

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*snip*
And if we end up having to boldly nuke where no one has nuked before, well, we’ll be ready.”
*snip*
THAT is my favorite part of this post...  ;D

Giovanni Blasini

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they should just name it the NMS What Are The Civilian Applications?
just to mess with marian intelligence analysis. :)

That was on my original list, too.

I am grinning very, very hard. this is good.

Thanks.  Still writing up the fluff text of the ship itself, and the design started as a straight-up conversion of the WarShip before getting...weird.

Right now, it's a 500,000 ton Primitive JumpShip that mimics the specs of the original, though it's done an even-numbered swap of the original's NAC/10s for Light SCCs, added four SCL/1s and 4 primitive small lasers per arc for secondary capital, anti-fighter and point defense work, and added a large naval comm-scanner suite and mobile HPG (since Niops purportedly had that tech still).

Retained are the DropShuttle bays, the jump sail, the small craft, the massive 500 passenger accommodations, and at the moment, the lack of fighters.  The switch to Primitive JumpShip does negatively impact the armor protection: it drops to 66%, instead of 70%, the original.

Frankly, I love it, and I'm justifying it by claiming it's the same hull and spaceframe, but that Niops had to kludge the existing drive to get it to work, and it lost half its performance as a result.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Giovanni Blasini

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Ok, specs up here, with more information on the design choices/fluff text:

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=69207.0
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

worktroll

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Got to go on a Gravitas riff ...
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kindalas

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Got to go on a Gravitas riff ...

It's name is definitely lacking in the Gravitas.

Maybe one of it's sister ships will get all of it.

Also you stole my comment.

And I feel like in this case imported modern Laser Anti Missile systems would be an acceptable expense.

Giovanni Blasini

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“I’m sorry, son,” Brigadier Zeb Kindarps said calmly, “my aging ears must not have heard you properly.  It almost sounds like you said the Independence class ships won’t fit in our cruiser out there.”

Ivan Zubok (yes, of those Zuboks), head of the Ix Shipyards, sighed.  “That’s exactly what I said, sir.  It’s not just a matter of length, though we’re scraping anyway.  It’s a matter of mass.”

“The bays were designed to hold ten kilotons worth of ships.  The plan was to send one Independence and one Saturn with them, let the Independence handle the landing duties.”

“Yes, sir, the bays can hold 10 kilotons,” Ivan agreed, “but remember we’re working with hyperspace physics on technology that’s been out of use in the Inner Sphere for almost seven hundred years.  Syrinx may understand its oddities, but…”

“…us mere mortals tend to struggle a bit.” Kindarps grumbled.  “OK, fine.  What’s the bottom line?”

Ivan looked at his noteputer.  “To sum up?  No one ship can be more than 5000 tons.  Maximum length of 80 meters, about the same for width.  Smaller would be better.  There is some good news, though.”

“Oh?” Zeb asked.  “What’s that?”

“Those laser AMS units that ‘fell off a truck’?  Yeah, we were able to fit those in place of the small lasers for point defense, and integrate them with the original ship systems and the added automation.  Doesn’t do the power distribution any favors, but that was an issue when the Cruisers were brand new, too.  Oh, and there’s good news on the, uh, physics packages, too.”

Kindarps perked up.  “Oh?  Do tell.”

“We’re not going to have a lot of them, and they need discreet testing somewhere not here, but we don’t just have Santa Ana grade warheads available.  We’ll be able so ship out with a half-dozen ‘asset management’ warheads for…’nuclear mining charges for xenogeological research’?  Seriously?  That’s our cover story?”

“Yep,” Zeb smiled.  “That’s the plan.  Going to have the makings of quite the gunboat diplomat.”

“Have we considered naming it that?” Zubok asked.

“Hmm…that’s not bad, actually.  I’ll put that in as a proposal.  SO ,what’s your answer to our little conundrum?”

“Put out an RFP.  There’s a couple ships that fit the bill in the age of the DropShuttle, like the original DroST I, the Black Eagle…I don’t know if our industrial base can handle the engines, but we could at least try to use one of those spaceframes as a starting point.  We're starting to get a handle on ship's engines again, so we may be able to build better ones than the Saturn or Independence use, or worse comes to worse import them if they're common enough.

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

Giovanni Blasini

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OK, RFP for the new DropShip design is up here:  https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=69208.0
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

DOC_Agren

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tagging so I don't miss it

NMS Wandering Explorer?
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Giovanni Blasini

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Main Computer Core Monitoring Room
NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Ix Shipyards, July 13, 3157


Ivan Zubok floated in the small chamber net to the holotank, behind Lieutenant Senior Grade Robert "Bob" Howard, head sysadmin for the half-million ton cruiser, who was seated as his station.   Next to him floated Leanansidhe (call me "Lea") Carpentier, captain of the newly-christened vessel, and member of the Niops Association's smallish "elf" subculture/genemods.  With reddish-blonde hair, and appearing to be in her forties, she was in truth three times older than that - old enough to be one of a handful of those who lived through the "Bad Old Days".

Bob grumbled under his breath as he worked, "...still can't believe we went with the 'Beer Keg' name..."

"Lieutenant!" Captain Carpentier snapped.  "Enough of that.  It's done.  Besides, it could've been 'Shippy McShipface'."

Ivan smiled.  "That was my vote.  At least we're getting that for one of the DropShuttles.  That and 'Gunboat Diplomat'."

"My vote," Lea agreed.  "Bob, are we ready to activate the main core?"

"Yes, ma'am.  As ready as we'll ever be with one of these things."

"Then proceed."

Bob held his finger over the "Enter" key on his keyboard, squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, and pressed the key down.

Seconds ticked by, and finally a holographic image flickered to life in the holotank, of a tall, thin man, with a shaved head, of indeterminate age.  Rather than a Niops Association Militia uniform, he wore a white, button-up shirt, and black pants.  He appeared to glance briefly at Bob, then Ivan, and finally settled for staring directly at Captain Carpentier.  "No.  Remind Syrinx I'm out."

Lea simply looked back.  "Syrinx has been offline for eighty years, Mac.  This isn't about her."

The hologram closed his eyes, and didn't say anything for several seconds.  Of course, that didn't really affect anything, since they weren't real eyes, anyway.  "What's it about, then?"

"We'd have let you sleep, Mac, for as long as you wanted, but we learned the hard way back in the 3070s that we don't always get a choice.  Look at your history files.  Look at how long it took us to get back on our feet again after the Jihad.  Things are getting bad again, and while we're building system defense ships with human crews, defense only gets us so far when we're this small.  A ship like this serves lots of purposes.  It can do retaliatory strikes if we get hit again, yes, but we can also do things like go to Izmir, or go to Revel, or go follow up on a dozen other stars that fell off the map while the Succession Wars raged.  We can do follow up visits to places that Interstellar Expeditions has barely had time to explore or catalog.  And then there's the contents of your protected memory.  Look in address 0x5468657920666f756e6420616c69656e73.  Tell me that's not worth waking you up."

Mac appeared to be lost in thought, then stared at her again.  "You're serious."

"The Lyrans certainly believed it.  Enough to send out an expedition," Ivan chimed in.

"Fine, I'm in.  But, a Cruiser class?  And the name lacks gravitas"

Lea chuckled.  "Couldn't find you another Baron class, sorry.  And I'll be sure to report the gravitas shortage to the procurement board."
« Last Edit: 07 May 2020, 02:43:21 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Red Pins

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Taggaed.
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Clan Devil Wasp * Clan Carnoraptor * Clan Frost Ape * Clan Surf Dragon * Clan Tundra Leopard
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Giovanni Blasini

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BattleMech designs for this incarnation of Niops are discussed here: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=69227.0

The Wasps are straight out of the tech readout, except for the crappier medium laser, and the Shadow Hawk isn't a major departure, either: either it uses the prototype versions of the medium laser and the AC/5, or it swaps the AC/5 for a heavy rifle, which may actually be the better option.
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smcwatt

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I see what you've done there.

Two books this year!

SMc.

Giovanni Blasini

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

Giovanni Blasini

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Main Bridge, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Zenith Jump Point, Niops System, 21 November, 3157


Ensign Jamie Shido was not, in fact, the senior hyperspace navigator aboard the NMS Beer Keg of Science!.  She was possibly the best hyperspace navigator aboard, though, with an innate gift for running jump calculations on the fly.

For today's jump, the first one the aging Cruiser class cruiser had made in centuries, Jamie would be making the calculations, though Jamie's department head, Lt. SG Ian Kent, would double check them, as would Mac, the ship's AI.

Jamie wasn't a native Niopian, but the child of a pair of researchers with Interstellar Expeditions, who'd died during a hull breach incident on their JumpShip, caused by incoming fire just before a jump.  Young Jamie, in a spacesuit, lived, but had been in a compartment opened to space, and been exposed to the hyperspace energies first-hand, so to speak.  Her TDS symptoms were impressive, but so were her skills with hyperspace mathematics.

Pulling her hands back from her console, Jamie suddenly announced, "Jump calculations complete."

{"Confirmed."} Mac announced tersely.

Kent, being an organic being, took a bit longer. "Confirmed, Captain.  Good plot for the nadir point.  Ready on your mark."

From her seat on the command deck, Lea Carpentier nodded.  "Mac, take a nap."

{"Mhmm."} the AI grunted in reply.

From an auxiliary station near navigation, Ensign Michel Phoenix, one of the ship's sysadmins, checked his console.  "Confirmed Mac is in standby mode.  AI systems ready for jump."

"Engineering?" Lea asked.

Before the curly-haired ensign on station could reply, the intercom chimed to life, {"Yeah, Engineering department.
 Had to whack the KF controller with a crowbar, but we're good.  Tilly, you getting a good reading up there now?"}


The aforementioned curly-haired ensign looked up from her station, startled, and hit her own intercom button.  "Um, yes, Chief.  Everything's reading good now."

{"Good.  Keep an eye on the power transfer rate from the controller to the core.  Should be interesting.  We've got an eye on the helium pressure down here.  Captain, we're ready to jump."}

"I'm so glad," Lea replied.  "XO?  Do you concur?" she asked, using her headset.

Sitting at a similar station to Lea's in the ship's secondary CIC, Commander James "No, my middle name isn't Tiberius" Kirk swept his eyes over the crew here in CIC.  "Yes, ma'am.  We show all systems nominal as well, Captain.  We're ready to proceed."

"Very well."  Switching her comms to shipwide, Captain Carpentier spoke calmly, "All hands stand by for jump in ten minutes from mark......Mark."

Time ticket by as her crew continued to monitor their stations.  Soon, it was five minutes to jump, then one minute.  Then 30 seconds.  Then 10....

...9...
...8...
...7...
...6...
...5...
...4...
...3...
...2...
...1...


D͕̘͙̰IS͐Ĉ̰̙͂Ö͇̪͉̻̲̮͈́̇͊̇ͤͥ̎Ṋ̙̭̽̈̆͒ͅT̓ͅIN̼̹̮͈͇̞͐ͭͯ̔ͥ̈Ṷ̟ͭ̌ITY͔̺͓̝̌͂̈́̋


Jamie clutched her console, eyes squeezed shut, but failing to keep out the images of the krakens, seeking them out, wanting the souls of those aboard, to torment and slowly rip their souls apart...

...t̻̖͆ͣo̲̔ ̭͐FͮE̤̘̫̱̪͆̂̀̐͂E̹͔̹̦̥͐ͪ͗̚̚D̗̮̙͂̽̋ ̑o͙̤̩͕̦͕͔ͥ̽ͩ̄̃̀ͯn̟͉̓͑ tH̬͙̞͍̺̘̍ͮ̄̍ͣ͌e̓i̯̫̺̗̬͈ͅR͔̦͔͙̬ ͉͍̟ͩͩ̚s̩̠̝͛̌ͣO̍ͦ̓ͮ̉ṷ̝̋́L͛s...

Suddenly, the torment was over, droplets of blood floating freely from her nose to the open air in front of her.  She caught them up as best she could, and, like Lt. Kent next to her, verified their location.

From the command station, Captain Carpentier noticed what had happened, but chose not to call anyone's attention to it.  She'd have to talk to Ensign Shido later, she decided.  "Ops, wake up Mac.  Nav, are we on station?"

"Confirmed," Kent replied evenly.

"AI off of standby.  Mac should be online now."

{"Here.  So's Coronado."}

"Oh good," Lea smiled.  "Congratulations, everyone.  The Keg has a jump drive again."
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Cannonshop

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daaayyyyummmm
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Giovanni Blasini

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daaayyyyummmm

Warning - MAJOR Spoilers for "This Alien Shore" by CS Friedman below:


My Jamie is borrowed from the main character in that book, who was a girl intentionally given dissociative identity disorder by Earth researchers in the hopes that one of the personalities would be the right kind of insane that they'd be able to see the monsters that live in hyperspace that feed on human souls, in the hopes of breaking the Guild (based on another world) monopoly on FTL travel, since the only other known method, the one used by Earth in the first place, causes wildly unstable mutations...including the insanity that allows Guild Navigators to avoid the monsters in the first place.


Your TDS effects, combined with the Interstellar Players hyperspace writeup, reminded me a lot of that book.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

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Couldn't help but be reminded of this.
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.

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Giovanni Blasini

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XO's Office, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Nadir Jump Point, Niops System, 22 November, 3157


They gave it a day, and a chance for a corpsman to look her over, but neither he nor Captain Carpentier wanted to go too long without addressing the elephant in the room: the severity of Ensign Shido's TDS.  Lea had considered addressing the issue with Shido directly, but conceded that, as much as she might be worried about the girl, and want to see her succeed, this really was a personnel matter, best handled by the XO.  Despite her age, Lea was, in many ways, as much a greenhorn as everybody else aboard the Keg.  Including him.

Commander James "C, not T, dammit" Kirk sat in his chair, pondering the issue, as the ensign in question floated in.  "Ensign Shido, reporting as ordered, sir," she said, obviously nervous.

"Please, sit down," he said, beckoning to the visitor chair opposite him at his tiny desk, inside his tiny office.  Despite massing 80 kilotons more than the "smaller" Vincent class corvettes, the Cruiser class was nearly 160 meters shorter, a short, squat cylinder packed to the gills with nine times as many people, a cavernous (but still not big enough) DropShuttle bay, and vastly more equipment.  Space was at a premium aboard the Keg.

"I want to start by saying that your job performance aboard the Beer Keg of Science! has been exemplary, and neither I nor Captain Carpentier have any complaints whatsoever about your duties or your job performance.  The Academy fast-tracked you for service aboard the Keg, because you showed considerable promise, and everything to date shows that they were correct.  There is, however, one striking issue that has both the Captain and I deeply concerned, and that's your TDS."

"Sir, I promise it won't affect my ability to do my job, and..." Shido rushed out.

"Hold that thought," Kirk interrupted her.  "I believe you mean that, and I also believe you're probably right...to a point.  Unfortunately that point will probably be right around the time your central nervous system seizes up or you have a brain aneurysm.  Right now, there's no medical reason to relieve you of duty.  We checked with the CMO, who looked at your file, and the report from the corpsman who looked you over yesterday.  They didn't share your records, and they won't share your records, but what they will do is tell the Captain and I if they feel anyone is medically-unfit to be here.  You're not, and hopefully you never will be."

"Um, thank you, sir?  May I ask what this is about, then?" she asked nervously.

"We're going on an exploration mission into areas where there won't always be an inhabited planet we can drop you off at if your TDS gets significantly worse and does become a fitness issue.  Your Einsteinian navigation skills are also exemplary, and you'd do just as well on one of the Independence class ships as you'd do here.  Hell, you could probably teach the hyperspace navigation class at the Academy.  Are you sure you want to keep subjecting yourself to more hyperspace jumps when there are other, less painful or debilitating options available to you?"

James had been in CIC, and not the main bridge, during the last jump, but he'd seen the security video replay.  It wasn't just the neurological issues that came with TDS, or just a nosebleed.  For a brief moment, Ensign Jamie Shido was doing more than just anticipating the pain that would come with her TDS thanks to their hyperspace jump, but sheer terror.  Something about KF jumps scared the hell out of Shido, which wasn't surprising given her history.  Giving Shido an out, and not subjecting her to that over and over again, while still protecting the career of a promising young officer.

Which is perhaps why he was surprised when her expression hardened, her face fiercely determined.  "With all due respect, sir, I don't need to be protected from jumping," she replied firmly.

"But...we do, don't we?" Kirk replied, in a burst of sudden insight.  "From...what, Ensign?  What's out there?"

Shido appeared to shrink a little bit.  "I'm...not entirely sure how to describe it, sir.  They're a...presence.  A sense of malevolence.  I can feel them every jump, sometimes impossibly distant, sometimes closer, and even before the attack, I felt them.  I never actually saw them until the attack, though, when they were right there, and we barely escaped them.  I think."

"You...think," Kirk asked flatly.  "But you saw them during the attack."  He knew immediately which "attack" she meant: the one that killed her parents.

"Sometimes I think they got a bite out of me," Shido shuddered.  "It's like they're drawn to information processing, to the reverse entropy that comes with sapient or near-sapient minds entering hyperspace, that they feed on it.  Use it to reverse their own entropy, at the expense of increasing ours.  Violence in our universe draws their attention, the irreversible entropy of a sapient mind being destroyed, but they're out there anyway, somewhere at the bottom of the Mandelbrot set, so to speak.  Very Lovecraftian, I know, but I don't know how else to describe them."

Kirk thought he understood, though.  "And, what?" he asked, "you can help us avoid them?  Keep them from what, feasting on our..."  He found he was at a loss for the right word.

"On our souls, sir.  And, yes.  It's all in the math.  I can teach it, but none of the other jump navigators really have the knack for it.  They see the math, see the numbers, see that the jump will work, but not why it will work.  Certainly not what we're trying to avoid."

"Who can?"

"Lieutenant Howard, sir.  From what I've seen, he's got the aptitude."  Shido paused for a moment before speaking again, "What's more is, I think he knows, sir.  I've seen him doing similar math before, in the officer's wardroom, for no particular reason.  He also...feels funny."

"Funny."

Shido nodded.  "I don't know how else to describe it.  You do, too, sir.  Do you ever get an impending, creeping feeling of doom, sir, or paranoia, or that something is watching you go through a hyperspace jump, Commander?  Something beyond the usual vertigo or nausea most people get?"

Kirk blinked.  He did, but now was hardly the time to admit that.  "Dismissed, Ensign."

"Sir?" she asked, confused.

"I'll talk to Captain Carpentier, but my recommendation will be not to transfer you off the Keg.  Dismissed."

Shido, nodded, confused and worried, as she started to leave.  "And...the rest, sir?"

"Will be discussed at a later date and time.  Go."

"Aye, sir," she saluted, and departed his office.

Once Ensign Shido was gone, James turned to his computer, and checked the duty roster, confirming Bob Howard was off duty.  Keying a short sequence into his intercom, he spoke into his mike.  "Lieutenant Howard to the XO's office.  Immediately."

James C. Kirk didn't believe Ensign Shido, per se.  But he didn't disbelieve her, necessarily, either.  And, given that they'd never been in the same room together during a hyperspace jump, and that he never outwardly showed any signs of his discomfort during one, for her to know...

"Dammit," he thought, "how the hell am I going to explain this to the Captain?"
« Last Edit: 06 May 2020, 18:33:03 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Giovanni Blasini

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Couldn't help but be reminded of this.

Holy crap, that was a thing!  ;D >:D
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

worktroll

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Another Stross fan I see  :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"

croaker

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Indeed, would that be Lieutenant Bob Oscar Frank Howard?

Giovanni Blasini

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Another Stross fan I see  :thumbsup:

Indeed.  Big fan of both the Laundry Files and Saturn's Children series.

Indeed, would that be Lieutenant Bob Oscar Frank Howard?

I can neither confirm nor deny he and his spouse have a functioning kettenkrad they recovered from a parallel Earth.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

glitterboy2098

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sounds like they should have named the ship the Event Horizon

Daryk

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This just gets better and better...  ^-^

worktroll

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As long as we don't get factions headed by Niops' military war leader listening to the call of the Empyrean ... or why not?
* 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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Fixed an oops - last post said they were at the zenith jump point in the Niops system.  They'd already jumped to the nadir.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

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
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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.

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
* 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"

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."
-Frederick the Great

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

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 »
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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 »
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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

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Bald man FTW  :thumbsup:
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Shadow_Wraith

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 :thumbsup:  That was an awesome Jump experience!

Daryk

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Very cool indeed... can't wait for more!  :thumbsup:

georgiaboy

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Ooohh Boye


TDS dreams linked to the land of Fey


The Kraken must be Outliers



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idea weenie

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“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,” Lea 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,” Lea 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.”

The bolded ones make me think Lea should be replaced with Mab

Mab grew as still as the ice of her throne.  “Hyperspace FTL travel, you say?  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?!”

Be funny if there was frost on the front of her uniform after they arrived


But collecting all those stories into a single report should make for interesting reading

Giovanni Blasini

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The bolded ones make me think Lea should be replaced with Mab


Dang it...OK, fixed.

Quote

Be funny if there was frost on the front of her uniform after they arrived

But collecting all those stories into a single report should make for interesting reading

Depends upon how much each of them remembers. ;)
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Sir Chaos

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This is the Mab from the Dresden Files, isn´t she?

Thou shalt not seek beyond the Outer Gates.
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Giovanni Blasini

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This is the Mab from the Dresden Files, isn´t she?

Thou shalt not seek beyond the Outer Gates.

Yes.  Yes, it is.


Lea Carpentier is actually a descendent of the Battletech universe's version of the Carpenter family as well, with some linguistic drift affecting her last name, thanks to an ancestor who was a sci-fi author who changed the spelling of his name a bit for professional reasons (and, yes, that's a shout-out to another book).
« Last Edit: 10 June 2020, 15:11:46 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Euphonium

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Lea Carpentier is actually a descendent of the Battletech universe's version of the Carpenter family as well, with some linguistic drift affecting her last name, thanks to an ancestor who was a sci-fi author who changed the spelling of his name a bit for professional reasons (and, yes, that's a shout-out to another book).



It's been years since I read it but that puts me in mind of Larry Niven's Inferno.
>>>>[You're only jealous because the voices don't talk to you]<<<<

Giovanni Blasini

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It's been years since I read it but that puts me in mind of Larry Niven's Inferno.


A winner is you!  >:D
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Peace Talks comes out this year.  Finally!
...Visit the Legacy Cluster...
The New Clans:Volume One
Clan Devil Wasp * Clan Carnoraptor * Clan Frost Ape * Clan Surf Dragon * Clan Tundra Leopard
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Giovanni Blasini

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Main Bridge, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Zenith Jump Point, Stettin System, 13 August 3158


Lea’s eyes opened, but it seemed at first like she was looking down a dark tunnel.  She could hear the discordant din of alarms, of her distressed crew, but they were muffled, jumbled together for a moment, as her vision and hearing slowly returned to normal.  “Status report,” she ordered blearily, as her awareness of her surroundings took greater hold.  The room felt entirely too bright.

{“Ship’s nominal, on station at Stettin for ten minutes, sensors are clear, crew is mostly incapacitated, and I’ve assumed control.  Drones are wrangling the worst cases,”} Mac replied tersely.

“Good to hear,” Lea replied, still shaking off the effects of what had to be the worst jump she’d ever experienced, her vision still struggling to adjust.  Her first duty, ensuring the status of the ship, was taken care of – Mac had an eye on things, and would let her know if there was an issue that needed her immediate attention.  Ascertaining the status of her crew was next, and also something that Mac was monitoring, but also something each department and department head would be handling, including her. “Bridge crew, sound off.  O’Brien?”

“Not dead yet.”

“Phoenix?” she continued.

“I'm not sick, but I'm not well.”

“Rozhenko?,” Lea continued.

“Here, Captain.”

“Kent?” Lea was greeted with silence.

{“Vitals are steady, but I can't read neurological state.”}


“I've got him, Captain,” Ensign Phoenix announced, floating over to Lieutenant Kent.  “He’s out cold, but it doesn't look like he’s seizing.”

{“Help’s on the way.”}

“Excellent,” Lea stated evenly.  “See about getting a head count on how many people are incapacitated.  I suspect our medical teams will be working overtime for a bit.  Bridge to CIC,” she continued, keying ship’s comms.  “Still with us down there?”

{”Kirk here.  I’ve got two crew incapacitated, but the Fuchikomas are taking them to Med Bay, and relief is on the way.  I’ve gotten a report from Mac.  How are you up there?”}

Lea could hear an edge in her first officer’s voice, and she suspected that he was not recovered himself, but, like her, was doing his best not to show it.  Before she could respond, a Fuchikoma drone opened the hatch, used its cold-gas jets and limbs to push itself inside, and scooped up Lieutenant Kent, taking him off of Ensign Phoenix’s hands.  “Off to Medbay,” it announced, before carrying her incapacitated navigator out the hatch again.  Lea blinked a few times, trying to clear her vision.  The room still felt overly bright, colors too rich.  She could feel a headache starting to build, her brain trying to cope with the wringer the jump put it through.

Lieutenant Commander Michael Rozhenko was the next to speak.  “Did anyone experience…” he trailed off for a moment, seemingly reluctant to continue before finding his voice again, “…auditory and visual hallucinations during the jump?”

Lea could hear murmurs from around the bridge, as her own mind tried to suppress memories of the event.  Leaning back heavily in her command seat, she momentarly reached for her head, where the headache brought on by the intensity of the lighting and, she presumed, TDS-like symptoms from the jump, continued to build.  It wasn’t incapacitating yet, but if it continued it might be soon.  “I think,” she finally replied, breaking into the quiet murmurs, “that we probably have many crewmembers who experienced something like that, Commander, given how we were all completely incapacitated after that last jump.  Are you all right now, though?”

Rozhenko nodded.  “Well enough to continue my duties, Captain.”

“Good,” Lea replied.  “Could someone check the bridge lighting?  It’s seems far brighter than it should be.”


“Captain,” Mo spoke up, “it’s not any brighter than normal.  Is it alright if I check your eyes, see if they’re dilated?”

“Please,” Lea replied, nodding.  She popped the seals on her helmet, removing it, to make it easier to examine her.  With no pressure leaks in the hull, and the Keg safe at its destination, there was no need to continue to wear it.  Briefly, she closed her eyes to relieve herself of the strain on her vision.  “James,” she said to her XO over the comm, “you have the Conn.”

{”Aye, Captain.”} Kirk replied, concern starting to seep into his voice.

Mo moved from her station to the Captain’s, settling in front of Lea.  As she did so, the lights began to dim a bit.  Not enough to make their jobs difficult, but hopefully enough to help her captain’s symptoms.  “Thank you, Mac?”  The gruff AI just grunted in reply.

“OK, Captain.  The lights have been dimmed a bit.  Could I get you to open your eyes?”

Lea nodded, then opened her eyes.  “That’s considerably better.”

“OK, Captain, let's see if…oh what the hell?!”

“O’Brien?” Lea asked.  “What is it?”

“Captain,” Mo asked shakily, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but your pupils weren’t vertical slits like a cat’s before we jumped, were they?”

“If you’re joking, Lieutenant, then it’s not at all funny,” she replied, fighting to hold off the tide of madness accompanying her memories of the jump that her mind fought to repress.

“She’s not joking, Captain.  Now that your helmet’s off, I can see a streak of white in your hair that wasn’t there before we jumped, either.  What in the name of Gre’thor happened during that jump?”

“In the name of what, Commander?” Lea asked.

“Hell.  In the name of hell.”

Mo turned to stare at him, unconsciously flexing the fingers of her left hand as she did.  “That wasn’t what you said, Commander.  You said ‘Gre’thor’.”

“What the heck does that mean?” Rozhenko asked, his irritation warring with his confusion.

“You tell me, sir!” Mo replied.

“Enough!” Lea barked.  “We’ve all just been put through an unknown, currently unexplainable phenomenon as part of our jump.  There will be time for contemplation of its bizarreness, but later.  Right now, we take care of our crew, ensure we’re mission-capable, and ascertain the status of our jump drive.  Mo, how long will it take to tune the HPG to this system’s parameters?”

“At least 48 hours, ma’am.”

“Can we send a fax?”  Lea continued.

“Yes, Captain,” Mo confirmed.

“Mac, do you see anything broken in our KF drive systems?”

{“No.”}

“Good.  Briefing, all senior officers, one hour.  And let’s see if our medical staff can take a look at my eyes at their convenience.”
« Last Edit: 07 July 2020, 21:19:23 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

EAGLE 7

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     Physical manifestations due to a jump and a jump dream of conversation of the fay court. Sounds like a good half dozen papers for publication and a few weeks in testing to see what else’s changes.
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physical manifestations WERE implied in Jihad Conspiracies... nice.
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     Physical manifestations due to a jump and a jump dream of conversation of the fay court. Sounds like a good half dozen papers for publication and a few weeks in testing to see what else’s changes.

a half dozen papers and a new line of SF novels
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worktroll

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What other gifts come back with them?

Mo finds a box in her quarters with a sticker saying "This machine kills demons", while Bob exhibits a disturbing familiarity with Old Enochian?

Alex has a sore forehead?

James comes back with space STDs?
* 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
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* 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"

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Weeks in testing?  More like YEARS!  :D

DOC_Agren

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I think you might have found the right switch...  8)
Wait we have a real Cray switch no longer just begging and pleading for him to come????
But we had a ritual to do it...


and that was 1 messed up Jump....
« Last Edit: 05 July 2020, 22:14:16 by DOC_Agren »
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

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Wardroom, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Zenith Jump Point, Stettin System, 13 August, 3158


[Monitoring Wardroom Cameras 1-4]
[Department heads still in process of obtaining seating.  Meeting has not yet commenced.  Four minutes, 34 seconds to scheduled start time.]
[Incoming communications request from Executive Officer, Cmdr. James Kirk.]

[Kirk: "Mac, there's something I need you to do."]

[Acknowledgment required.  Brevity remains acceptable.]

{"Mngh."}

[Analysis: facial expressions indicate 67% probability Cmdr. Kirk is agitated by brevity of my response.  Recommended action: continue observations, moderate brevity of responses.]

[Kirk: "I know monitoring the health and status of the crew is part of your job, and you don't need me or the Captain to tell you to keep doing it.  But, on that last jump, everybody aboard this ship experienced something that can't currently be explained.  Some of us, including the Captain, have physical manifestations as a result of the experience.  This is beyond what any of us expected for this mission, and we're going to depend on you to watch us, and make sure we're still fit for duty, because the only person who, as far as we know, hasn't been affected is you. And if you've lost it, Mac, we're all dead anyway."]

[Additional Analysis: 87% probability Cmdr. Kirk is worried or frightened by current turn of events.  Note: Cmdr. Kirk referred to me as a "person".]

{"So, watch the Captain's behavior, and tell you if the Captain isn't herself."}

[Kirk: "Or tell her if I'm not.  Or tell Rozhenko and O'Brien-Howard if both Captain Carpentier and I both aren't.  Or let us know if they aren't, but we're OK.  You're going to have to use your best judgement, Mac, on who in the chain of command can be trusted, including me."]

[Analysis: Cmdr. Kirk's request is logical, and fits expected behavior patterns.  Direct statement considering an AI a person is unusual, but no previous statements or behaviors contraindicate this viewpoint.  Behavior is within 92% of expected parameters.]

{"How long am I watching everyone?"}

[Kirk: "For the duration of the mission, Mac.  For the duration of the mission."]

[Clarification of orders necessary.  Require level of secrecy inherent in these orders to avoid potential conflicts.  Orders include enhanced monitoring of all crew, including Captain Carpentier, but Captain Carpentier's orders can contramand the Executive Officer's orders.  However, Cmdr. Kirk's orders are prudent in our current situation, and countermanding them would be possible evidence of impairment on the part of the Captain.]

{"How secret are these orders?"}

[Kirk: "The Captain should know.  We'll decide about the rest of the crew after this meeting.  Is she in the wardroom yet?"]

[Current location and status of Captain Carpentier: Captain's Office.  Captain is preparing to depart officer, and attend meeting.]

"{"She's about to leave her office."}

[Kirk: "Good, I'll meet her along the way and let her know.  Thank you, Mac."]

[Observation: Cmdr. Kirk is proceeding on course that will permit him to rendezvous with Captain Carpentier.  Recommend acknowledgement.  Politeness recommended.  Continue to monitor.]

{"You're welcome, Commander."}

----------------------------------------------------------

[Monitoring: Cmdr. Kirk has located Captain Carpentier.]

[Kirk: "Captain."]
[Analysis: Cmdr. Kirk's facial expressions indicate worry and fear. Estimate 78% probability Cmdr. Kirk is apprehensive about informing the Captain of his order for me to increase monitoring of the crew.  Anomaly: indicators in facial expressions are significantly reduced as compared to heart rate and respiration. Conclusion: as per SLDF command training protocol as adopted by Niops Association Militia, Cmdr. Kirk is attempting to project confidence, disguising his own mental state.  This matches expected behavior for Cmdr. Kirk with 99.7% certainty.  Continuing to monitor.]

[Carpentier: "Commander."]
[Observation: facial expressions indicate 54% chance of guardedness on part of Captain.  Vocal tones and expressions also indicate expected levels of cordiality towards Cmdr. Kirk.  Anomalous behaviors not detected.]

[Kirk: "Before we enter the meeting, I wanted to let you know that I ordered Mac to increase his level of monitoring of the crew, including both of us."]

[Carpentier: "Worried it's not just my eyes that have been changed, Commander?"]
[Observation: changes in facial expression indicate irritation, combined with fear.  As with Cmdr. Kirk, Captain Carpentier is using SLDF command training to mask her emotional state.  Analysis: Captain Carpentier is afraid that changes she  has undergone during the jump to Stettin are more widespread than simply her eyes.  This is within 87% of expected behavior for the Captain under these circumstances.]

[Kirk: "I'm worried about all of us, Captain.  Myself included.  How much do you remember from the jump?"]
[Analysis: estimate 95% probability of honesty on the part of Cmdr. Kirk.]

[Carpentier: "Enough.  Too much."]
[Observation: both parties have ceased movement towards wardroom.  Increase in fear responses on part of Captain Carpentier.  Neither party is presently speaking.]
[Observation: still not speaking.]
[Addendum: it's been five seconds of silence now.  What did they see during the jump?]

[Kirk: "Well, Apollo used an energy field shaped like a giant green hand to grab my starship after we'd dropped out of warp to survey Pollux V."]
[Note: I was not expecting that.]

[Carpentier: "Did you say 'warp drive', Commander?  As in an Alcubierre warp drive?"]
[Observation: No records exist within my memory of an Alcuibierre warp drive.  Full Star League scientific database not available.  Captain Carpentier's anxiety levels increasing.]

[Kirk: "Cochrane-Alcubierre, actually.  At least where I remember being.  I'm surprised you're familiar with Alcubierre's work.  His theories were considered utterly impractal decades before Kearny and Fuchida's work, due to a need for exotic matter...which is what Cochrane had solved.  But not in our universe."]
[Observation: this is far outside the parameters of any expected predictions.  But, then, so are Captain Carpentier's eyes.]

[Carpentier: "I wasn't familiar with him.  He got mentioned in passing, while I was trying to briefly explain what a JumpShip is to the Queen of Air and Darkness."]
[Note: What?]

[Kirk: "What?"]
[Note: Exactly.]
« Last Edit: 25 July 2020, 04:29:48 by Giovanni Blasini »
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Sir Chaos

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Wrangler

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Certainly living up to the science/exploration creds of the ship's mission.  ;D Fun stuff!

What AU is this story set in by the way?
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Giovanni Blasini

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Certainly living up to the science/exploration creds of the ship's mission.  ;D Fun stuff!

What AU is this story set in by the way?

It's a combination of old FGC Niops, to a point, and a spinoff of Cannonshop's The Administrator AU of his Ngoverse, though from Niops' perspective, they're out of the way that they more or less follow the canon path for Niops through 3145, with the following concessions:

  • In addition to the stuff they had going on in canon, Niops had some secret R&D and space-based industry at a dwarf planet designated Niops IX, or "Ix" for short. And, yeah, it's a Dune reference
  • Niops both had the hulk of a Cruiser class cruiser in-system, and knew where to get the core personality files and computers from an old M4 SDS Drone.
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Ttw1

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F*** it. I'm bored. Time for a reread.
« Last Edit: 03 August 2020, 01:26:31 by Ttw1 »
The Mother Doctrine was good. Change My Mind.

Giovanni Blasini

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Thanks? Working on the next part of Emergence. Keg will be after that.
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Ttw1

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Epic, can't wait.
The Mother Doctrine was good. Change My Mind.

Ttw1

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I did the excellent decision of doing another reread.
The Mother Doctrine was good. Change My Mind.

Giovanni Blasini

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Just starting the next part of this...then got distracted and started building my Lego Saturn V with my son.  Hopefully will finish the new part tomorrow or Friday.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Giovanni Blasini

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Wardroom, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Zenith Jump Point, Stettin System, 13 August, 3158


Major Mitch "Ned" Stark, head of the marine contingent aboard the Beer Keg of Science, watched Captain Carpentier and Commander Kirk enter into the Keg's small wardroom and take their seats.

Ostensibly, Stark's marines not only headed up shipboard security, but would also babysit the various egghead scientists and researchers during surface operations, including the contingent of BattleMechs attached to the teams.

Ned had served aboard smaller Niops Assocation Militia ships before transferring to his current post, and had gotten practical experience on anti-piracy patrols.  He'd trained for the day the Marian Hegemony attacked the Niops Association again, had worked with Interstellar Expeditions teams, and he'd done hostile boardings of pirate JumpShips while taking fire.  Ned was a warrior, but was also a Niopian.  He was no stranger to science and engineering.

None of it had prepared him for duty aboard the Keg.  Especially that last jump.

He knew he wasn't alone in that, though.  Ned need only look at the faces of the people around him to know that.  Or at his captain's eyes.  No, nobody aboard the Keg was ready for that.

Speaking of which, Ned watched as Captain Carpentier gathered her thoughts, and finally spoke. "We've all been through an unexpectedly rough experience.  I expect that we will probably bear the scars of this experience, physical and mental, for some time.  What's important now is to determine what happened, whether this event poses a risk to this ship and to our mission, and determine from here how best to proceed.  Let's start with the obvious question: I know our jump equations had a slight variance, but they should not have caused...that.  Theories?"

Bob Howard, the ship's head sysadmin, went to speak first.  Ned wasn't sure how the hell he'd been let out of med bay.  Howard appeared sunken and withdrawn, almost a stranger in his own body, his eyes simultaneously bloodshot and nearly luminous with how bright green his irises suddenly seemed.  That, Ned though, was new.

"Captain," Bob finally said, "are you familiar with multiverse theory?"

"I am," the Captain stated quietly.

Maureen O'Brien-Howard, Bob's wife, and the ship's chief science officer, who had been studiously trying not to look at him, suddenly turned and stared at Bob intently.  "Bob, the energy required to cross over into another universe..."

"Not into another universe, Mo," Bob replied, shaking his head.  "Just...bumped up against other universes while we were in hyperspace."  He paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts.  "Maybe that's not even the right word.  While we were in hyperspace, we resonated with other universes, ones where other versions of us existed, with whom we resonated with."

"Some more than others," Commander Rozhenko grumbled.

Bob simply nodded in agreement.  "Yes, sir.  Exactly.  And why for the most part, our individual experiences were so individual.  It's vanishingly unlikely that there are many universes where all of us are all together on this ship, and those are probably more like alternate timelines of this universe."

Ned may not have been the best-versed individual on hyperspace theory, but that sounded…insane.

Commander Kirk, though, was better versed in hyperspace theory.  “That shouldn’t be possible, Lieutenant,” he said uncomfortably.  “We’ve certainly never had any reputable cases of any phenomena like this occurring.”

Mo O’Brien-Howard, though, simply shook her head.  “They might not have survived, Commander.  Or, if they had, they might have found their jump drives no longer worked, and found themselves stranded.  Strange things do happen from time to time, Commander.  Let’s not forget the rumors around the SLS Manassas.”

“Well, I don’t think we’re quite that screwed,” Tig Reno, the Keg’s chief engineer, said.  “Look, I’ll be the first to admit that some days our KF drive acts like it’s put together with duct tape, safety wire, and chewing gum, because it kind of is.  But goofy crap during a jump aside, it’s not going to get us stuck, or fail on us.  We’ll get where we need to go.  The ride might be a little rough, is all.”

Captain Carpentier nodded.  “We certainly hope that’s the case, Chief.  But, we’ll sill want to verify that before we try leaving the Stettin system.”

“We’ll also want to go over our jump numbers very carefully, once our navigators all recover from that jump.  Commander O’Brien, Lieutenant Howard and I are certainly capable of running jump calculations, but our jump navigators were hit particularly hard by this jump, and having them go over the calculations is only prudent.”

Bob, still shaking slightly, spoke up again, “We should compare notes if we can on the universes we might have bumped up against.  Might help explain the physical changes some of us have.”. He looked briefly at his Mo, then her left hand, then quickly looked away.

Ned shuddered, uncertain he wanted to share with the rest of the command staff.

“Agreed,” Captain Carpentier said.  “And just to put you all at ease, I’ll go first.”

“Captain, if I may,” Bob interrupted, “perhaps I should go first.  I seem to have encountered an…entity, who was aware of our situation, and provided a warning.”

“You aren’t the only one who did, Lieutenant,” Captain Carpentier replied dryly.

“Sorry, Captain.”

“I encountered an entity who identified herself as Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness.  This may have been the same Mab from ancient Terran mythology, or the myth’s inspiration, or an alien entity who chose to use the ancient myth as a framework with which to communicate with me.  She seemed familiar with a Terran history, though not necessarily with our own, and based on elements of our conversation.  She also mentioned FTL theories put forth by a Miguel Alcubierre, whom, I’m informed by Commander Kirk, did in fact present a theory of warp drive in the late 20th Century, which I hadn’t been aware of.” Carpentier paused for a moment to let her staff consider the implications.

Ned wondered who would take the bait, and wasn’t surprised when Commander O’Brien spoke first.  “Her timeline and ours don’t line up, do they?”

“No, they don’t,” Carpentier agreed.  “When I explained we’d used hyperspace jump drives based on Kearny’s and Fuchida’s theories, she implied that such ‘incredibly lethal toys’ were beyond what humanity should be experimenting with.  She was stunned when I explained that we’d done so for over a thousand years, starting in 2107, which puts her somewhere between the late 20th and early 22nd Centuries in her universe.  She left me with one warning before I was, evidently, pulled back to our universe: Beware the Outer Gates, and DO Not Breach Them.

Ned wasn’t surprised to hear someone ask, “What does that even mean, though, Captain?” What did surprise him was when he realized he’d blurted that out.

Captain Carpentier shrugged.  “She didn’t have time to elaborate.  Lieutenant Howard, you mentioned contact with an entity.”

Bob nodded.  “Yes, Captain.   His name was Angleton, and he knew someone roughly equivalent to me in thr universe he’d taken up residence in.”

“At the bloody Laundry Service,” Mo muttered.  Everyone, Ned noted, just turned and stared at her.  “I suspect Bob and I intruded upon the same universe.”

“Please tell me your…instrument…didn’t come back with you,” Bob asked carefully.

Mo shook her head.  “No sign of it.  I'm more worried about the…Memorandum.”

“Doesn’t work here.  Mo is asking about skills my counterpart in that universe ended up with to induce entropy in the eigenstates of a person's consciousness and utilize the resulting energy.”

“You were the Junior Eater of Souls, Bob.  And Angleton was the Senior one.”

Ned just stared at them both.  “You mean that literally.”

“Yes,” Bob agreed, “but I can't eat souls in our universe, so that doesn’t matter.  Look, from the perspective of Angleton’s universe, the boundaries between universes were getting thinner and weaker.  Incursions were becoming easier, the mathematics that formed the underpinnings sometimes leaking across universes.”

Mo continued for Bob.  “And that process, from the perspective of Angleton, and that other Bob, and that other Mo, was accelerating.  Computation, consciousness itself accelerated it.  And what we call hyperspace is largely a mathematical abstraction.”

“Which is probably where our math anomaly came in.  If the boundaries between universes are getting thinner, this may become a bigger problem, and not just for us with our unique KF drive.”

“That would certainly fit with Mab calling hyperspace-based FTL dangerous,” Captain Carpentier mused, “but for now it's the only game in town.  Perhaps the Outer Gates, then, represent the boundaries between universes.”

“Or our universes,” Mo noted, “and whatever is outside.”

Rozhenko frowned, “I am in favor of not collapsing the universes together.”

“Agreed,” Captain Carpentier said.  “Next time we have a variance like that, we resolve the issue.  It may not be a problem for other JumpShips, but the Keg is unique.  We need more data to determine whether this may become a more widespread issue in the future.”

“Winter is coming,” Ned murmured to himself.

“Major?” Kirk asked.

“I don’t remember much from the jump, Commander,” Ned explained.  “Just those three words.  They could be unrelated.  But they feel like a warning.”

“Major Stark, are you familiar with the folklore behind Queen Mab?” Carpentier asked.

“No, ma’am.”

“She's queen of the Unseelie Court.  The Winter fae, Major.  I doubt that’s a coincidence, nor that our jump drive worked just fine until we finally arrived in the Stettin system, a presumably dead world.  It's worth considering we don’t have two separate mysteries here.”
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Wrangler

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Did they even make it back to their own universe?  This is going turn into Lost in Space at rate were going.   :P

That or one of the crew tuned into HBO's Game of Thrones while in the Jump.  ;D
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jonen c

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That or one of the crew tuned into HBO's Game of Thrones while in the Jump.  ;D

Given that the POV of this chapter was provided by one Major "Ned" Stark, I'm betting he did a wee bit more than just tune in.

Elmoth

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Alive ned stark. Just introducing season 1

glitterboy2098

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Alive ned stark. Just introducing season 1
hope that he doesn't experience episode 9 during a jump.