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Author Topic: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.  (Read 5026 times)

Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #60 on: 16 October 2020, 12:00:26 »
[Phoebe]

John's kicking me out.  I get it, I do...He can't help me get home, and he wants to be 'on side' with the Federated Suns since they're the only game in town that doesn't mass murder people.

still pisses me off.

I use the thirty days he's letting me have, to put together a new suit with a selection of tools and files.  Why? because eating requires making a living, making a living requires getting a job, and getting a job, means making nice with the citizens.

I spend some of that time building him a better interface for the Swarm systems, fabricator facility, and a few expansions so he won't run out of volatile memory any time soon.

I guess because I know he's right...and because he cares enough to tell me his reasoning for why I've got to go.

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idea weenie

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #61 on: 16 October 2020, 12:22:26 »
With her abilities to work with technology, she could easily get a job as mechanic/technician/scientist with any group out there.  Mech Factory barely working, with a whole lot of stuff simply no longer functioning?  Send her there to get it working again at three to four times what the Star League was capable of.  Helm memory core not all that accessible due to different file format?  Send it to her for decryption.  HPG system hard to understand?  Watch her set it up for live multi-cast capability.  Phoebe is an Outside Context Problem for the FedSuns, and depending on how they treat her could achieve technological supremacy easily.  They will just have to treat her like the other Earth treats Baba Yaga, aka politely.

If nothing else, the FedSuns would be shipping damaged Mechs to the planet, paying her to repair/upgrade the Mechs, and sending the repaired Mechs off as reinforcements.

For John though, do you suppose she left enough computer capacity that he could transcend to the first Toposophic level?

Sharpnel

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #62 on: 16 October 2020, 12:58:50 »
General Hasek-Davion won't let her anywhere a civilian sector job, if possible. Her power is dangerous if not properly monitored.
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Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #63 on: 16 October 2020, 14:17:19 »
[phoebe]

It's a good thing I brought my toolkit.  FSS Carter is a ship that has been in continuous service since it left the slipways three hundred local years ago.

I don't want to disparage people doing the best they can, and the design is brilliant.  Want proof?  This Merchant class jump-ship has survived generations of owners, infrequent maintenance and parts replacements by a variety of billy-joe-bob shadetree mechanics using nothing more than a half box of tools and a fourth grade education.

****** Brilliant.

except that I perceive every fault.

it's like a noise you can barely hear, that hurts your ears all the time and resonates in your sinuses, a persistent ache in your knees, a constant low-intensity headache.

I just...couldn't ****** take it after the second jump on the trip to New Avalon.  Could NOT take it anymore.

"Just...Let me fix the PROBLEM!!!"  This is me, Phoebe, arguing with them.  "You've got a thousand little faults and they're not going to go away just because you hardwired the override to silence the alarms, jackass!!"

I know why people go from hero to villain.  I really do.  my left eye is fluttering like a moth and it's pulsing the nerves in the right side of my face. 

"This ship passed a D-check two years ago! It's survived three centuries!" Major Dreyfush is arguing with me, it's his boat, he's the 'captain' and he's probably a pretty good one, but...

"It's broken." I growl.  "Power distribution faults on four decks, there's a leak in your atmospheric circulation, waste reprocessing is hindered and you've got a wandering voltage fault in your computers!!"

I'm not finished, "Three major circuits have blown their breakers and you're operating off a rejiggered auxiliary system in your main drives, there's a ground fault in one of the lines feeding from your solar panel, which has fraying and shorts occurring in the surface, someone turned off and jumpered across three of your BITE panels in engineering, there's a low-flow fault in the hydrogen cooling due to a kinked line and a worn out valve and it makes this REEEEEEEEE noise!!"

That last part?

"My god, you know about that?"  his senior engineer asks me.

"I can't not." I snarl, "Three more jumps with that cooling problem and the core's gonna crack!"

"How would you know-"

"Because it won't shut up."  I cross my arms and anchor my feet, "Let me fix it before it drives me ****** crazy."

"we need a yard for that-"

I sigh.  "No, witness the beauty of small things."  I let the jars open and bring forth my thousands of tiny workers.  "It's going to take me about twelve hours.  I need something to drink, and some quiet."




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Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #64 on: 16 October 2020, 14:37:54 »
After twelve hours of working on the ship, the perceptions are less painful.

I can think clearly again...or maybe that's having my brain augmented by cross-processing with some truly nice hardware.

especially now that said hardware actually is nice again, instead of burning out and fraying. 

for raw material I had to scavenge from the cargo hold, and I had to lose my new suit...but now I have millions of little fabbies chasing down every fault and failure, and I don't feel like the stress is going to make my heart explode.

The displays on the flight deck...er...'bridge' are up-as in fully up-for the first time since Dreyfuss's old man helmed this ship.

as in all of them.

"how did you-"

"I'm a superhero." I tell him.  "that's my powers, the fixes will hold, I can start working on a system to keep up the fixes after I leave-but it's not magic, It's just...stuff I made.  IN the wrong hands, it could be dangerous stuff, and I'm not sure how your bosses at AFFC are going to feel about me letting them out of containers in the wild like this, but thank you, my head feels much better now."

"can you give me a tech readout on this system you used?"  He asks.

"I can make pictures, but I can't do so well with the whole reading and writing thing."  I tell him, "Letters and words get all jumbled up when I look at them.  I do okay with pure abstract mathematics, numbers and symbols, but for some reason words get all messed up.  I am a failed-to-graduate product of the school for kids who don't read good." and I laugh.

He nervously laughs with me.  "you're not sensitive about it?"

"after you've been in a fight with guys who throw city busses at you? normal mockery doesn't really score on the scale...at least, when I'm on a high. when I'm low, well..." I shrug, "I'm not on a low right now, I'm getting that happy brain chemicals feeling because a persistent annoying sensation is gone."



The core rules for interacting with me:

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2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

Sir Chaos

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #65 on: 16 October 2020, 15:10:55 »
I was wondering if she can´t build a speech-to-text interface for herself... but with her powers, a thoughts-to-text interface probably wouldn´t be out of the question.
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georgiaboy

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #66 on: 16 October 2020, 15:21:52 »
I was wondering if she can´t build a speech-to-text interface for herself... but with her powers, a thoughts-to-text interface probably wouldn´t be out of the question.
Wasn't she using a thought-to-text format at the beginning of the story.
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Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #67 on: 16 October 2020, 16:23:43 »
Wasn't she using a thought-to-text format at the beginning of the story.

NOt...exactly.  think of it more like picking up and interpreting the electrical pulses the computer uses to form the letters.  Phoebe can do That unconsciously, but when it's printed (inert) material?  Not so much.  you can look at things kinda like how braille works-a blind person can learn to 'read' with their fingers, and as long as it's in braille, they can read, but fix their eyes so they work, and odds are pretty good they're going to be unable to pick up a newspaper and read the latest political scandals off the page.

Her 'Dyslexia' is actually a side-effect of how her powers work in the wiring of her brain.  sort of a damned trade-off, she can 'read' the minds of computers, but she can't 'read' a comic book.

She can write code, she can't write text, and so on.
The core rules for interacting with me:

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Sir Chaos

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #68 on: 16 October 2020, 17:06:47 »
NOt...exactly.  think of it more like picking up and interpreting the electrical pulses the computer uses to form the letters.  Phoebe can do That unconsciously, but when it's printed (inert) material?  Not so much.  you can look at things kinda like how braille works-a blind person can learn to 'read' with their fingers, and as long as it's in braille, they can read, but fix their eyes so they work, and odds are pretty good they're going to be unable to pick up a newspaper and read the latest political scandals off the page.

Her 'Dyslexia' is actually a side-effect of how her powers work in the wiring of her brain.  sort of a damned trade-off, she can 'read' the minds of computers, but she can't 'read' a comic book.

She can write code, she can't write text, and so on.

She could make machines that scan printed text, though, which can then read (or think) it to her.
"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

Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #69 on: 16 October 2020, 18:04:28 »
She could make machines that scan printed text, though, which can then read (or think) it to her.
I think that's going to be the suggestion of the next 'cool' person Phoebe meets.

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Dave Talley

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #70 on: 16 October 2020, 19:01:06 »
and then she will need to have an external hard drive of sorts so she can carry her library around, she seems like a bookworm in the making
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Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #71 on: 16 October 2020, 19:08:15 »
Imagine nightmares. 

in my nightmares, It's DC again, only Judah's dead, and Hotchkiss has completed his ritual.

the sky is open like a wound, and I can see it.

I can see it, because I'm on my back, in a dry reflecting pool, striker standing over me in his messed up parody of a soldier's uniform, complete with cape, and I'm seeing the end of my world between seeing his knuckles beating through the transparent armor of my faceplate.

In my nightmare, I can feel the cold water from a broken main, seeping through holes in my suit, flooding it, drowning me while a superpowered psychopath is slowly beating me to death.

and I can't move.

we failed them.  We failed them all.  my field of view is still wide, because i'm in the surveillance cameras too, watching the world end.

Lisa's...changing  Hotchkiss has her, and she's becoming something else.  black, broken wings, a savage broken spear... an ideal host for his gods.  I see the thing she's become, and it's kneeling at the feet of the man who betrayed the world.

we've lost.

Discontinuity

The space around New Avalon is loud.  I know, space doesn't carry sound.  It does, however, carry RF and light.  well, 'carry' is maybe the wrong word.  It doesn't block or disperse it, and the ship's sensors sense those things, and because I sense the ship, so do I.

"oh shit...that was horrible." I moan.

"Rough transit?" the Major asks.

"Yeah, I think so."  for a minute I was on the scene of a fight we didn't lose-only we lost it in the...dream? "gawd..that was awful."

"We had to plot a nonstandard entry, the commercial points were choked with traffic. Sorry, you're not going to puke, are you?"

"No, but I'm going to be doubting my life choices for a while. gha!"  and then I throw up.

one of the enlisted catches it with a mini-vac.

"What was it?" she asks me.

"Pardon?"

"your jump-dream, was it your past?"

"Just nightmares." I tell her, "nightmares about what would have been if we'd lost a really important fight in 2012."

"What happened?" she's curious, she doesn't look like most of the navy types.  Thinner maybe, delicate, tall.

"in the dream? I was getting my ass beat to death." I tell her.  "In the reality, we stopped a maniac with a global WMD from using it.  the nightmare was what would have happened, maybe, if we hadn't."

"We..you mean your old unit?" she asks.

"Yeah, you could call it that." I agree half-thinking.  The crew are a lot more likely to accept my science, than me telling them there's actual magic out there, and some of it is pretty ****** grim.

"What would have been the backup plan if you had failed?" she inquires.

"Baba ****** Yaga." I tell her, "which is the nickname for the scariest person on my world."

I recall most of my drones and put them away while we float down to the dropship for the trip to the planet, my bots are back in packing by the time I reach the airlock with the cases.

"will the fixes to our ship hold?" she asks.

"Should." I tell her, "if you keep up your book maintenance and don't jerry-rig critical systems again, the fixes should hold until your next decade-hours inspection and refit."

she helps me get the cases through the airlock and down to stowage on the ferry-dropship to New Avalon.  "You guys have been great to me." I tell her.

"Thank you.  You've been a wonderful passenger.  when the war's over and we're back out of Federal service, I think the Skipper would vouch you to any free port if you want to go."  she smiles, and I'm reminded of Moira.

I'm a thousand years from the closest thing to a mom I've ever had, and it hurts.

just a little.  I give the spacer a hug.  "Be safe." I tell her.

"Safe transits and smooth transitions." She tells me, then turns me over to the ferry crew's hands.
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #72 on: 17 October 2020, 07:46:56 »
If I thought the ship was a mess, New Avalon Institute of science cranked things to eleven.

The Blakists occupied New Avalon and looted the shit out of everything they didn't burn.  Welcome to the aftermath of a war, right?  Lisa would know what to do, I don't.

Thing is, when you get enough sensation your mind kinda goes into overload...well, mine does.  Other than a general feeling like crap, I'm not as...hampered by the persistent sensations of malfunction.

It's there, it's unpleasant as hell, but it's not hellish.

I'll save that assessment for the human side-effects.  THOSE are hellish.

Officers meet me at the wreck of the spaceport. and I can't stop making fists.  there's so much that needs to be done here.

unbidden images flicker through my mind as I walk across the tarmac to the waiting AFFC car,  designs for construction equipment, machines for clearing rubble and looking for survivors, designs to help fix infrastructure at minimal risk.

I could make a damn career out of rebuilding the damaged city I saw from the dropship.

This is kind of like when we went to help in El Paso after El Jefe's little war in Mexico spilled over onto US soil in 2011, only a lot bigger.

This world doesn't have superheroes-they have what Lisa would call real heroes.

The core rules for interacting with me:

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2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #73 on: 17 October 2020, 08:16:11 »
I'm not good at discussing my plans.  I think John must have given them a heads-up on that offline, because nobody decided to put bullets and coherent light into the redhead when she turned loose a cloud of microassemblers and fabricators right there on the flight line.

My swarms hit the piles of debris first, chewing through it using simple mathematics to double numbers every few seconds.

"What are you doing?"

"Cleanup." I tell the Fedsuns officer who's supposed to be, I guess, supervising me.  "Cleanup and restocking.  There's a lot of work to be done and I need tools to do it with."

He looks a little uneasy-scratch that, I think he's actively afraid.  "You don't know what needs to be-"

"Debris needs to be cleaned up and cleared, trapped civilians need to be rescued, infrastructure needs to be restored." I list off, "Past that? I have no idea, which is why I rely on smarter people to give me priorities, but even a dummy like me can see that having half a city blacked out or flooded is bad for the people living in it...speaking of which, where do I sign up for the relief work? who am I reporting to? I need to fit my capability into the plan if what I do is going to be worth a ****** thing."

Being a vigilante was simpler, but four years of hero work that I can remember showed me that there's more to life than killing bad people-good people need help, and here, at least, I seem to have a unique capability when it comes to being able to help.

They bundle me into the car and we go find someone to report to, while my drones follow in a less-than-discrete cloud, mapping the whole way.  I task some of them with locating trapped bodies that are still alive, and a few are found-I set a cloud on each, dismantling the loose rubble, followed by the harder parts as gently as possible to avoid cave-ins, collapses or collateral damage.

This is like the mess in New Orleans in 2010, by the time we reach the people in charge, I've expanded across half the damn city, with millions upon millions of swarm drones at work.

The core rules for interacting with me:

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2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

idea weenie

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #74 on: 17 October 2020, 10:10:31 »
Reading about her drones covering half the city before she reaches the people in charge, now I am thinking of the riddle:
"Algae doubles in area every day.  It has taken 30 days for algae to cover half of a lake.  How long will it take to cover the other half?"  Answer: one day

I hope she is feeding the data from her drones to the other people in the car so they can get people rescued, transported, healed, etc, and not have the planetary government worrying about a Genesis Device affecting their planet (or a WoB Von Neumann swarm getting let loose).  The emergency services in the city should also be getting various phone calls about seeing strange machines around the city, and those calls are coming from larger and larger areas.

Hope someone thinks to tell her to put the FedSuns or Red cross symbol on the larger bots so people don't get nervous seeing them heading over to them.  The real fun is when she decides that a hospital is too crowded, and decides to just build her own to stabilize people before sending them off to a people hospital.  Flying medpods to treat injuries, autochefs to prepare basic food (bland but filling), construction bots to repair/construct buildings, firefighting bots to help deal with issues, and more.  The locals will need to communicate with her so she doesn't get tired waiting for humans and decide to take control of the whole city herself, to make it better.

Her transformation as more of the swarms activate should be noticeable to everyone else around her.  When she arrived she just had a few bots and was a barely-socialized 20-year-old.  As she gets more bots built and her mind expanded into the swarm they should be seeing her personality start to change.  How long before she goes from playing Factorio with her bots to expanding her mind enough to make New Avalon a Self-Aware Colony.

The conversation could eventually shift from "can you help out the people in this city" to "can I have my planet back".

Even more fun is if she figures out HPG or Black Box systems, and expands her mind to the rest of the system and eventually other planets.  Black Box might be better, as due to transmission times it might slow her mind down (until she develops the K-10 setup).

Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #75 on: 17 October 2020, 12:57:19 »
[Perspective change...]

Avalon City was cloaked in a miasma of devices.  Yvonne stood on the balcony, watching as the translucent clouds swirled through her city.

Miss Keene hadn't seemed at first to be a serious matter.  The subject of a handful of DMI reports from [classified], the girl's technical gifts had been suggested as a decent fit for the rebuilding of the NAIS college of technology, and her weapon against the Blakist presence on [classifed] had certainly made samples of that tech something worth studying, but not really a matter for the Princess Regent beyond authorizing the transport.

In the last week, Miss Keene had become something...more interesting.

The proof hummed in the distance, as rebuilding crew were getting a quality of assistance that had not even been imagined less than a week ago, and avalon city's utility grids were back up and running after being savaged by war and sabotage.

it was enough, to make Phoebe Keene worth meeting.

"She's here, your Grace." 

"Thank you, Franklyn.  see her in."

Tancred had worries about Miss Keene, about her strange facility with technology, her sudden appearance right when needed.

The guards opened the doors, and a petite girl with freckles and orange-red hair tied back in a ponytail walked in wearing a button-down blouse that was almost too modest, a pair of slacks, and work boots.  almost comically working-class, except for the small swarm of tiny machines orbiting her like the bubbles of a drunk in a political cartoon.

"You've done good work, Miss Keene."  Yvonne told her, "I'm curious about your reasons."

"Um, I'm not submitting a bill, ma'am."  Phoebe said.  "I just didn't want the mess keeping me awake."

"The mess?"

"The damage, the destruction, ma'am." the young woman says, "It would have prevented me from sleeping."

Oh, riht, the report from the transport ship...

"I...see?"  Yvonne stepped away from the balcony, and sat down.  "you're not a citizen of the Federated Suns."

"No ma'am.  If I could get it recorded I could use this as credits toward international credits with the U.N...but you wouldn't believe me anyway."

"why do you think that?"

"Because nobody does-and really, I can't blame them." Phoebe stated, "the Multiverse theory is kind of one of those normally untestable hypotheses nobody's done research into for the last five hundred years, there's no documented time-travel, and my memories don't line up with your histories.  I worked out early that nobody here believes I'm from an alternate universe where people with powers like mine exist, or where governments have had Superheroes since the nineteen forties."

Yvonne nodded.  "It must be quite trying for you, knowing something you can't prove."

"I get used to it fast." Phoebe stated, "After all, having powers is considered back home to be the short route to a padded room anyway, delusions are to be expected.  The trick is to keep functional."

"Functional..."

"my delusion doesn't stop me from helping people." Phoebe stated, "Therefore, it's okay for me to be insane, as long as it poses no danger to innocents."

"Pretend I accept the possibility that your claims are real-because honestly, Miss Keene, you've got evidence in my city that at least the claim of powers is somewhat accurate, and one of my officers thinks you have...unusual capacities."

"Fair." Phoebe said.  "okay, so that's a preface to a question."

"Yes.  You claimed to be a 'superhero', and mentioned it as a professional position?"

"I was.  I can't be here." Phoebe said, "There's an underlying social structure that provides a definition for what a Superhero is, that structure doesn't exist in this universe.  Thus, no need for a costume, or a codename, I'm just Phoebe here."

"With powers." Yvonne said.

"Yes ma'am.  Phoebe Keene has powers, but I don't have to run around in an armored suit with the voice of Samuel L. Jackson beating up bad guys...hold..."  the girl's gaze went glassy eyed, and then, she clarified.  "Okay...found and disarmed.  They left a couple of extra warheads behind.  AFFC has been informed of the locations and the arming mechanisms have been disabled."

Yvonne frowned, "Where are you right now?"

"Um...in here?" Phoebe said.  "at least, the central 'me' is here.  I've got presence in most of the city. Once you get used to the distractions it's like a white noise in the background.  I think better with more processors to carry the load, but there's like a ceiling, after which, it's more like the swarms assume an autonomous function, only tapping in when extra processing is needed."

"can you...separate from them without the swarm systems going out of control?" Tancred asked.

Phoebe nodded. "Yeah. I already did that with the power grid's maintenance and monitoring so that the operators can actually do their jobs, and I've got some ideas for providing control interfaces to your civil engineers-I'm not going to be here forever right?  even if you lock me up, and there's a forty percent chance that's what you're going to do, eventually I'll die, and can't have von neumann machines running loose, so I've got protocols to prevent a gray-goo."

"Forty percent??" Yvonne was a little shocked.

"statistical probability-when a government becomes aware of a new tech, or new application with military potentials, most governments immediately want to take control of it." Phoebe explained, "smart ones use soft means, dumb ones try force-but I know my invention has a military application, after all, your government became aware of it when I used it to destroy a Word of Blake occupation.  it's actually EASIER for me to recognize this now that I'm expanded across billions of processors."

"you use them to augment your mind?" Tancred sounds a little horrified.

"Yeah.  you try being the dummy in the room sometime." Phoebe says it without much emotion.  "being stupid is no gift.  Me-by-myself has a tested IQ of 98.  with the drones, I'm normal-though being smarter hasn't made learning to read any easier.  I'm living an Algernon dilemma-I can be dumb, and emotional, or I can be smart enough to actually help, but...distant."


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Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #76 on: 17 October 2020, 16:38:41 »
"I...actually understood that." Yvonne stated, "It kind of makes sense.  YOu have a link through technology, and it's two-way, isn't it?"

"yeah."

"And, you subconsciously use that link to improve your processing, which also allows you to multitask, which is a bonus since you claim to have a diagnosis for Attention Deficit and difficulty concentrating?" Yvonne added.

Phoebe nodded, "Yeah, that sounds right."

Tancred Sandoval frowned, "I have a question then.  You admit you have a Dyslexia problem, yet you also have direct interaction on a mental level with computers, to the point you 'learn' things directly from them even in the absence of normal input/output devices.  This reading disorder you have, it only manifests on non-digitized format...right?"

Phoebe nods.

"So why haven't you built a machine to scan text so you can read the impulses?"  He asked, "That would have been the first thing I'd have invented..."

Phoebe slapped her forehead with her palm "SHIT!!"

"To be honest, it does seem like the most obvious use of your abilities." Yvonne added.

"Wait, you believe me?"

"I met Morgan Kell, and if my father had the classics in anything, it was the secret underground lair with the overly complicated plans-including cloning a kid.  Different eras, different cultures, but people like The Bounty Hunter exist and that covers your recorded descriptions of 'superhuman' culture."

"The megalomania thing is pretty common with young 'mechwarriors, and the talent to use a neurohelmet is one-in-a-thousand." Tancred added, "Otherwise the Star League could have carpeted whole worlds with battlemechs and Tanks would be a forgotten bastion of obsolete technology outside of narrow, specialty roles."

"and there's the Clans with their Elemental phenotypes..." Yvonne speculated.

"Not to mention people like Kai Allard Liao, Jaime Wolf, or Natasha Kerensky..." Tancred added.

"Or Doctor Bonzai.  Your abilities are pretty extreme, Phoebe, but there are precedents." Yvonne finished.  "The major difference is scale, but that might be a result of focus-I believe you came from a world Named Earth, and that it may have suffered terrible levels of technological regression, been divided into nations, even had those nations adopt the history-albeit altered-of the real Earth, and it doesn't require extradimensional alternate universe shenanigans."



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Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #77 on: 17 October 2020, 17:34:20 »
[Phoebe]

The job offers were simple enough.  I would have unfettered access to scientific information-all of it they had, in exchange for working with a team from NAIS to develop field repair systems for the AFFC.

Specifically the Naval branch, which does the transportation of military units and supplies, provides all the air-cover, and gets about 20% of the budget.

Spacecraft are enclosed systems, and if something went wrong, it could be contained.

So...I got to work.

but hey, it's me, right?  I could just do spaceship internal maintenance designs, but that's like an afternoon of fun.  in this state of mind (billions of additional processors going almost constantly)  I can do more...and why not? they're letting me have access to factories and raw materials, intel from the front lines (heh, front lines my ass) of the Blakist war on everybody, including a look at the tech.

countermeasures seem not unlikely, right? sure. we'll go with that.

I have a staff.  Draftsmen and engineers, mostly. They aren't here to build what I design, they're here to reverse engineer what I design so it can be built, and more to the point, so the information can be distributed and stored.

Distributive processing through quantum links is what the Doc calls it, and we've managed to make a neurohelmet interface that lets someone 'normal' (non superpowered) run a node of fabbies.  They don't get the same boost, so it ends up being more of a team thing, with some coprocessors and autonomous encoding to help manage a swarm for recon or fine maintenance tasks in inaccessible areas.

but that's not where we're stopping. 

thing is, once you get started with stuff like this, it's hard to stop-especially with people encouraging you just to see what you come up with.

Rebuilding the factory complexes on New Avalon is fun.   building a shipyard? even more fun.

but it's not home.   

****

I spent three years on New Avalon, working for House Davion.  In the end, securing my release was a matter of reminding them that I can override everything I built at will, and override everything they built at will.

Making a company of battlemechs do the chicken dance pretty much sealed the deal.  I go where I want, they don't try to stop me.

oddly enough, it didn't take much for me to find a ride with a familiar face.  The spacer girl who helped me carry my stuff onto the dropship showed up after I demonstrated to everyone within five kilometers that I was not going to be a royal prisoner or confined under guard.

She showed up, I followed her onto a shuttle, and we launched for a ship with an independent registry....

and I got to formally meet The Folk.

writing this. (Wow, writing is nice) I hold no malice toward Yvonne Steiner-Davion or her boyfriend Tancred Sandoval.  I really don't, but once I realized I was being used like that, it was time to leave.

I really feel for Lisa's reluctance to do the superhero thing now.  She didn't want it because that's what governments do-they use you for your abilities in order to advance their own agendas, and even if the agendas are nice, (and those almost never happen) it means your work will be eventually used to hurt people.

The Folk are spaceborn, mostly, though they take in 'adoptees' or 'apprentices', and they didn't shed or lose most of the scientific knowledge that the rest of mankind lost in three centuries of apocalyptic warfare.

Brynn's people don't actually want anything from me that I haven't already been willing to share on my own hook, they want to see if we can breach universes and send me home.

why?

because...I'm a threat in this world, a destabilizing influence, but not one that deserves death.

I like them, they make sense to me.
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Rodon

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #78 on: 17 October 2020, 18:19:09 »
"Forty percent??" Yvonne was a little shocked.

I bet Yvonne is busy hitting her head against the wall right now, given that the young woman saw what would happen far clearer than her.  In addition a lot of other people are likely starting to realize what happened and glaring at the idiots that drove off the gift from the heavens that was Phoebe.  I bet most of the civilians are annoyed at best, pissed at worse.

Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #79 on: 17 October 2020, 21:28:39 »
Discontinuity

"...don't you wonder why all your visions are you losing?"  she looks pretty nice, really.  a fellow ginger, but this one has a pair of glasses, and her freckles are familiar to me, though the robot hand isn't.  "Seriously, Phoebe.  every time you're in conditions I can reach you, you're experiencing a loss."

"uh...who-why do you look like me?"

"Hardly.  for one, I've had a nose job, and you don't think these puppies grew on that frame, do you?  I'm a Phoebe Kian, or Keane, or Keene, you hear the difference?"

"yeah."  god what a bitch.

"only, see, I'm Doctor Phoebe Kian, aka 'Overlord' aka 'the dark lady of the Northwest', also known as the bitch who beat Baba Yaga.  There's a reason all your bleedthrough memories are defeats.  Remember DC?"

"Yeah."

"Which version? because I can tell you, there's a version where you lost, we've had to clean up the aftermath, and so far, we haven't detected another defeat at D.C. or Sacramento."

"I...I remember winning, but I also remember losing." I admit.

"That's right, because you're remembering two lives that happened at the same time, one where the breach opened and was closed, and one where the damn thing stayed open.  One of you disappeared in D.C., in the version that stayed open, the other is in a coma in Bellingham.  guess which one you are?"

"you didn't say 'us'."

"That's because, dipshit, you turned hero, and I realized letting the system keep going was going to line us up for another Hotchkiss, so I took action, turned 'villain' just like daddy, only worse." she shrugs, "It took a while to re-grow morals and ethics, to achieve a singularity state that let me do it, and you would not believe the price I paid for my ascension."

"Can you get me back?"

"nope, I can advise you to avoid making my mistakes, but you're in a universe full of inhabited worlds and advanced tech, maybe they know more than we do...oops, gotta go, Petra found me, and she's still sore about Lisa and Judah."

"What happened?"

"I showed Lisa how to die and Judah went and killed himself trying to stop my takeover! don't get too dependent on enhancing your cognition, your bio-brain's not as broken as you think!!"  she vanished.

Discontinuity



This time I grabbed a barf-bag before I upchucked.  "Whew...gross..."

"Well, that was weird." 
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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #80 on: 17 October 2020, 22:24:40 »
Side note: a 98 IQ isn't actually that far below average. It's almost right on the dot. She's statistically almost identical in intelligence to everyone else, and that's factoring in there are probably part of the tests where her dyslexia hurt her.  My own swing on IQ tests have been as much as 10 points, depending on the mood I'm in.

(Of course, I don't put much stock in IQ tests, but that's easy for someone who's in the 99+ percentile to say)
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #81 on: 17 October 2020, 23:49:29 »
Side note: a 98 IQ isn't actually that far below average. It's almost right on the dot. She's statistically almost identical in intelligence to everyone else, and that's factoring in there are probably part of the tests where her dyslexia hurt her.  My own swing on IQ tests have been as much as 10 points, depending on the mood I'm in.

(Of course, I don't put much stock in IQ tests, but that's easy for someone who's in the 99+ percentile to say)

how many times in their most impressionable ages, do kids internalize things they shouldn't?  consider: from a VERY young age, Phoebe was in the System, and one that is underfunded, undersupervised, and often (in her world) corrupt warehousing since there were no or insufficient foster parents willing to take on a child with her issues.  So what happens?

Tell a young kid they're 'dumb' or 'stupid', give them when they get older a plausible reason, how is that going to impact them and their self-perception, even when they get old enough to where they can understand that it's a lie?

Phoebe doesn't think she's intelligent without the boost.  It doesn't matter that she's brilliant, when she doesn't think she is.

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Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #82 on: 17 October 2020, 23:52:14 »
Left instead of right.

It fits together.  The repeated nightmare memory of D.C., our failure.

my failure.

I failed, and my world died, my friends died.  It all fits together, and somehow, I wound up here.
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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #83 on: 18 October 2020, 01:58:11 »
how many times in their most impressionable ages, do kids internalize things they shouldn't?  consider: from a VERY young age, Phoebe was in the System, and one that is underfunded, undersupervised, and often (in her world) corrupt warehousing since there were no or insufficient foster parents willing to take on a child with her issues.  So what happens?

Tell a young kid they're 'dumb' or 'stupid', give them when they get older a plausible reason, how is that going to impact them and their self-perception, even when they get old enough to where they can understand that it's a lie?

Phoebe doesn't think she's intelligent without the boost.  It doesn't matter that she's brilliant, when she doesn't think she is.

No doubt.  I'm wanting to make clear, though, that while she thinks she's dumb, she's not, even without the augmentation.
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Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #84 on: 18 October 2020, 03:26:04 »
"you alright, Dirtyfoot?"  Delanna Sears321 asked, passing Phoebe a bulb of something brown.

"we failed.  I remember now." I tell her, "We got close, and in different quantum realities, our counterparts succeeded...but we failed!" I'm choking on grief.

"Rough vision huh?" Delanna asks.  I nod, and taste the bulb.

"This tastes like coke." I tell her.

"The syrup brand is 'KarmaKola', they produce it out near Ross." she tells me, "not sure if it's...not sure what's in it, to be honest, but it's a nice alternative to tea or coffee, and it's sweet.  Sometimes when we have to trade on a landfall at the bottom of a well, we'll bring down a few bottled cases for the locals-some worlds, they pay more for it than for wine."

"Karma..cola..." I start laughing-ther'es a note of hysteria in it.  "That's nuts."

"Nope, pretty sure no nuts went into the syrup for the bev, Dirtyfoot." she grins at me.  "I think they use pure artificial flavors and colors, and a hefty dose of caffeine, but who knows what gets through the filters at their water processing plant-could be rocks, metals, dead bodies..."

"Now you're just trying to gross me out."

"better than letting you wallow." she tells me,  "Come on, we need to get you fitted with a proper skinsuit, not one of those bulky grounder bags that weigh fifty kilos and reduce manual dexterity to a suggestion, and we'll need to start you on Bondox or you'll be too fragile to walk on a planet by the time you're ready to face the galactic elephant again."

"How can I afford that-"

"You work for it.  Learn the lines, earn your space-boots." she tells me, "Become crew, maybe work your way up the ratings and have a boat with a crew, or maybe just space-bum along with a cert card-but you do that, you'll still need a decent suit, but it'll be good for you either way, to be something other than cargo shuffled from someone else's emergency to someone else's battlefields."

"Why were you working a Navy ship?" I ask her.

"Had to.  I was...okay, there's like a period of time in someone's life when they want to see the side they haven't their whole life.  I was bumming passage on a cert card, visiting Dirtyfoot ports and working Dirtyfoot ships, it's for the experience, to make the contacts and friends-only the Merchie I was working got nabbed in a call-up, drafted by the Crown, diggit? I could have jumped ship but there's no hull would have a deserter, at least, not with anyone decent.  Once you sign the contract you pretty much better if you want your rep worth anythying, so I let the Feddies press-gang me right along with the ship I was on."

"but why?"

"Faith." she tells me, "Integrity. Never you break a contract with a ship that hasn't broke contract with you first-even if it means losing a year or two, or ten.  even if it means risking shipwreck and loss."

"I didn't know that."

"I know." she tells me.  "The Great Houses, the Pirate Bands, the independents and even Comstar all have one thing in common."

"What's that?"

"They're idiots." she states, "thankfully, that works in our favor.  If they were smart they'd ask why commerce doesn't stop every time they try to light the damn galaxy on fire over an irrelevant chair in Unity City.   The Clans are just as bad.  If you took the entire merchant fleets of the combined clans, they wouldn't be able to keep the Cappies in business-it would be a disaster if they actually relied on what they think they're relying on.  The independents like us, the Folk, and the Rockjacks, and the Spacers, and especially the BELTERS are the only reason most of those realms still have realms. and we guard our secrets.  disclosure only comes with membership."

"and you're inviting me in?" I ask.

"Yeah. not for your powers, in fact, once we start your training in earnest, I'll be sure to pair you up in an environment where you're using your thinking meat and not your nifty devices.  We're heading for a set of new burrows, they're being prepped for an expansion of the Walterson Line in Cappie space, and it's one hundred percent EMCON-means most of the time not even suit radios.  You'll be working with my team, we mine the rock out, reinforce it, spray sealant and utilities installation.  Walterson285 will bring his own people to do interiors, but the key here, is that it's within a couple light years of a major Cappie world and we like our privacy."

"Why there?"

"Because Cappies keep people as 'servitors', and the branch of The Folk out that way still occasionally keeps to the oldest ways." she says, "Which means they need stations to sort plants from real refugees, and living spaces with gardens for food and air that aren't on a planet."

"What are these 'oldest ways?'" I ask her, following her down to a section of the ship marked 'authorized personnel only'.

"There are parts of the Periph and the Sphere that still have folk stories about spacers kidnapping people." She tells me, "Which is only a shade to the left of the truth.  My ancestors were rescued from a Rim Worlds Slave auction by a team of Rockjacks sailing out of the Kowloon belt-we did it in the olden days to keep genetic diversity and avoid inbreeding, but there's a humanitarian component to it-saving people from bondage.  Some of the Lines still do it, Walterson's one of those, and the Vu Dao line out of Kowloon on the far side of the sphere is another, but they get to hide it by being 'naval auxiliaries' to the Lyrans and having a 'family' relationship with the Dirtyfoot side of their main base system, which lets them run closer to the surface, but also puts more of their people at risk of being pressed into service. for OUR purposes, we're the blood that keeps the rest of human space from dying out, and that's why I have this patch here..."

she pulls a bit of cloth out of her pocket.  "What's that?"

"you can't tell me you can't read that."

"uh...I can't."

we stop at a bulkhead, "Draw what you see." she tells me, and gives me a piece of grease pencil.

I carefully make the letters I'm seeing.  "derPtahFin riSvrec"

"goodness...at least you're not seeing them inverted too...This is a patch for a service that ceased existing planetside before the fall of the Terran Alliance, Phoebe." she tells me, "The Pathfinder Service, most of the ground assets were folded into the Hegemony Navy, but the core of the original service were always just a little bit...off, and not inclined to swear allegiance to a charismatic Admiral leading a bloody coup.  To earn your patch, we're going to have to work on that reading disability you've got, and deal with it without relying on the crutch of hardware, because there are places and times your gear will fail."

something in her eyes reminds me of Moira.  the 'steel' in them. I feel a pang of homesickness and guilt.

"Let's get you suited up."



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Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #85 on: 18 October 2020, 05:01:53 »
[Delanna Sears]

Phoebe was a Gifted, that was beyond clear.  Gifted often have defects.  The ones gifted for navigation often struggled with neurological defects and Transit Disorientation Syndrome, the ones Gifted to engineering often had the kinds of problems she had with reading comprehension, and the narrowly gifted, the Savants, often sat deep in the Autism spectrum.

Her 'other' power, the superhuman gift, was a problem that couldn't be easily solved-the girl had to learn to rely on her non-supernatural abilities, which someone, somewhere, had allowed to atrophy to what Delanna considered a dangerous level of neglect.

The solution was obvious-train the girl up, in an environment free of electronic interference, and break down the psychological walls some no-doubt jealous bitch built in the girl's psyche.

once that was done, the girl would soar instead of struggling.

Delanna's own 'gift' (not really capitalized)  was as a teacher and trainer-she found and mastered that gift while serving on wellwallah boats and ships, teaching dirtyfeet how to work in space and breaking the bad habits inculcated in them by life at the bottom of gravity wells.

The return of the girl's memory, of the traumas, in her jump-dream made things less optimal in some senses, the girl had to be persuaded to stay away from the madmen of the planets, and it would have been so much easier to keep her away from them by working on a quixotic quest to breach universal barriers.

Therefore, option B.  Make her one of The Folk, give her a place to feel useful and be useful, a community and roots to salve her guilt and loneliness, while keeping her dangerous abilities well out of the hands of the insanity that is the Planetbound.

bringing her into the Pathfinder Service, see, she'd ken to it in a ticktock, the superhuman capacities were confirmed, and too poorly understood to be blocked using a technik solution, and exploratory brain surgery? right out.  NO sarging way.  Swear her in was the only option that made sense, and the girl has done zed wrong to deserve spacing or stranding.

The girl was intelligent, even without her gadgets or the ability to lean on computer systems, the first task then, was to knock the baby-bars off and prove to her, that she could do it without the tools.

It's always the hardest, to get an apprentice to un-learn toxic habits of thinking. 

Delanna had a crutch of her own for that.  Rhoed, a medicine developed in orbital labs for treating brain injuries, it restores some plasticity to brainmass, for a limited time, useful for preventing or overcoming scar tissue and calcification from traumatic closed-head injuries. Rhoed is one of those 'secrets' that weren't so much forgotten, as simply lost to time among the planetbound.

It was a competitive edge that The Pathfinders and the rest of the Folk weren't willing to let out.  Besides, an overdose can kill a patient with hemorrhages, and Dirtyfeet doctors love to over-prescribe everything.
« Last Edit: 18 October 2020, 05:07:24 by Cannonshop »
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Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #86 on: 18 October 2020, 06:22:44 »
Elsewhere...

"have you found her yet, Judah?"  Lisa asked.  She could hardly look at her comrade, his stubbled face was encrusted with blood from ruptured blood vessels in his sinuses, and that wasn't the worst.  The worst, were the bags of blood and plasma feeding into his arm to keep him alive while he held the scrying ritual up.

"Nothing close." he replied, "I've narrowed it down some..." he shook with coughing, and blackish blood flew out his mouth onto the floor, "I'm closer than yesterday."

"Yeah, no shit-closer to dead than yesterday.  we need you alive if we're going to rescue her from wherever she was dumped...but it's good to know she's still alive."

she stepped up to the edge of the ritual circle.

"Don't!" Judah coughed again, "Oh God no, Lisa. don't.  I can't trust you not to try it again if you-"

"Shut up." she stepped into the lines.  "YOU need to be alive, that means you need somewhere to dump that backlash.  Gimme some bad Karma, Judah.  I'm not going to lose TWO of us, and I promise not to try dying before we've got her back."

"It's that bad?" he asked

"Ask your girlfriend. Petra's losing her ****** mind worrying about what this is doing to you..." she took a step forward, and grabbed his hand, "So draw on it.  Find Phoebe, figure out what we need to do to get her back in one piece."
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #87 on: 18 October 2020, 18:32:45 »
Off-route system somewhere on the Capellan/Fedsuns border, 36 LY negative Z-axis by 2 LY x-axis coreward from Tikonov...

Phoebe safed the rock drill, then looked a the diagram, before aiming the comm laser manually and powering it up.

"You done yet?" Delanna asked.

"Done, want to check?" she asked.

"I'll check it.  tomorrow we pack the rock with ice, weld a cap on, and set up the mirrors. How are you liking doing things the old-fashioned way?"

"Sucks, My muscles have muscles that are sore.  Is this really how they did things at the start?"

"not really.  I'm just isolating you as much as possible from computerized assistance or high technology."

"So...therapy and training."

"Yep.  You're getting better at reading directions, you've gained around five kilos of mass and it's not fat-which is a hell of an accomplishment in null-gee.  Kinda shows something else, too."

"what's that?"

"you're a hands-on learner, not a sedentary learner.  That's probably why you were a 'suit brute' in your old life.  Anyone else would've just sat in a dark room being superhacker." her mentor teased.

"I did some of that, too."

"Not like I'm thinking, you want to come in the shelter now, so we can make dinner?"

"Sure."
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

Cannonshop

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Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #88 on: 18 October 2020, 22:48:34 »
We weren't cut off from all contact, though we tried to be.   Plantation station was coming along, the mirror calculations required hours with pads and paper.

That's right, pads, and paper.  Delenna showed me how to use a slide rule.  "This is how they made the first steps into the black, Phoebe." she told me.  "THIS is what we can do without augmentation."

mirrors collect the sunlight, the ice shoved into the core of the rock we chose acts as an internal sink, causing the outer shell to melt first in the insulating vacuum of space, as it rotates, the outer shell heats, and the heat reaches deeper in.

"This is what human beings can do without computer augmentation!"

the math.

The math is fluid, clear, and unchanging, as the asteroid spins, melting and heating, until the heat reaches the center, and melts the ice, the water collects the energies, stores them, until it can't store them any more, it boils under pressure, pushing outward on the liquefied matter like blowing up a balloon, the rotation pulls the lighter elements toward the surface in a centrifuge effect, and the pressure first distorts, and then expands it.

I feel a delight.  "I did that."

"Yes, you did." she agrees with me.  "Don't ever let someone tell you you're stupid, Phoebe.  you did that work, and you did it well.  Not some machine, or even some machine you built, that's all you."

"It helps to have someone telling me how." I remind her.

"I only gave you the rough idea."  she says, "You carried it through to this stage on your own, all I did, was give you a few pointers."

"What now?"

"Well, we close most of the solar mirrors up, except for the ones we need for temporary power, install the airlocks, let the steam cool and condense to water, and work on the inside." She explains, "another sixty days of work to get the utilities installed and dry in the habitation levels, put in the hydroponics, and we'll be good to go for handoff."

The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

Cannonshop

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  • Posts: 4458
Re: It was not a just war, it was Just a War.
« Reply #89 on: 18 October 2020, 23:26:42 »
Mid-year, we're almost finished.

Courier ship arrived, brought news in digital format, and Delanna let me unlock it.

Planets are being killed.  whole worlds, while I'm playing astronaut.

"if you think this is bad, you should see the First and Second succession wars." she tells me.  "Trillions died in those."

"We should do...something!" I tell her, "My god, even if the past was worse!"

"you can take the girl out of the hero business, but you can't take the business out of the girl." she sighs.  "What would you suggest we do? on this scale-or even locally that will make the slightest difference?"

"is this another test?" I snap at her.  It's not fair, she's been good to me.

"yes." she tells me, "I think it is.  It's not enough to complain or say 'someone should do something', if you're going to be offended, be offended by something you can do something about.  Anything else is wasted energies.  What do you suggest we can do?"

***

the next morning shift, Delanna's question came up again.  "Well, do you have a plan yet?"

"I get it! Jesus.."

"You misunderstand, Phoebe.  I gave you a question to answer." she tells me, "I expect an answer to the question.  What can be done about the situation? what can we do?"

"Wait...you were serious??"

"As a hull breach." she tells me, "You're smart without the augmentation, but you're not used to actually using that intelligence.  So, I want to know what your plan for 'doing something' about this situation is."
« Last Edit: 18 October 2020, 23:41:09 by Cannonshop »
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

 

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