Author Topic: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime  (Read 1806 times)

Liam's Ghost

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  For the first eighty five years of its existence, the Bastion's sole practical defense was its SDS Network. Numbering between eighty to one hundred and twenty capital class drones, hundreds (or thousands) of smaller craft, and numerous defense platforms and control stations, this was initially seen as an impregnable defense force, able to repel any attacker. And while that reputation collapsed catastrophically during the Amaris Coup, the SDS network would still form a decisive element of the Bastion's defensive strategy for another generation, and while the capital drones are now gone, the network's vast array of defense platforms and control stations remain in service, a vital part of the layered defenses around each world of the Bastion. Indeed, the SDS, its design, and organization, would be the precedent that would set how the Bastion's navy continues to operate to this very day.

 
M-4-3 (M-4 Block III) Capital Drone

  The first problem that needed to be solved was how to actually build a complete SDS network without compromising the Bastion's secrecy. One could not simply snap an entire shipbuilding industry into being overnight, particularly in a still developing colony with a population in only the tens of millions. The Bastion's initial fleet of drones and equipment would have to be delivered from the Hegemony. But even that raised problems. The first of these is that Hegemony firms were already backlogged filling orders for hundreds of M-5 Drones and the hundreds more drones and support equipment that went along with them. The Director General could not simply cut in line without raising questions about what these ships were for. There was also the more basic problem. The M-5 model drone wasn't even designed to make the kind of trip required to deliver them to the Bastion. M-5 drones required a caretaker crew to jump between systems, and did not have the facilities or the cargo capacity to embark a crew for months of travel.

  The solution to both problems would be found through a combination of innovation and skullduggery. At roughly the same time as the Bastion was getting itself established, the SLDF was also in the process of removing the last of its Baron class destroyers from service, selling many to the Great Houses, keeping a portion for their own reserve fleet, and also signing over two hundred of the class to the Department of Maritime Reclamation for scrapping. Of course, this being the Department of Maritime Reclamation, one hundred and twenty of these would instead be routed to Bandon Station to join the Black Fleet. They wouldn't stay there long, however. The Baron class had originally been used as testbeds for the SDS program, and protocols and procedures to convert them to unmanned M-4 drones were already well established. As testbeds, the original M-4 simply focused on demonstrating that automating a capital ship with the SDS drone control system was possible, rather than building the sleek killer drones that would be the M-5s, but this also meant the M-4s still retained the same accommodations for its original crew, as well as enough cargo space to carry supplies (and industrial equipment for a developing colony) on a particularly long trip into the deep periphery.

  Of course, simply converting more base configuration M-4s wasn't going to be good enough. After all, these ships wouldn't just be testbeds. Until the Bastion could get its own military industries going, they would make up the entirety of the Bastion's defense force. And a stock Baron, well, there was a reason it was being phased out of service, and many, many pointed questions about why it hadn't happened much earlier. Jonathan Cameron may have had one hundred and twenty off the books potential drones dropped in his lap, but it would take some work to turn them into something that he would entrust the safety of his Bastion to.

  In theory, the engineers at Bandon Station now tasked with "fixing the Baron and making it a drone" could have done almost anything, so long as money and time was no object. With unlimited money and time they could have built shipyard facilities able to disassemble each ship down to its bare core and rebuilt to their wildest specifications. Something that was actually done with some of the Lola IIs used as prototypes for the M-5 program. But Bandon Station didn't have the facilities on hand to do that, and the Director General was particularly impatient about making sure his Bastion was safe. This meant engineers had to set their sights lower. The Baron's main problem, poor speed, would not be addressed, at least not in this production run. Instead, a general upgrade of the armor protection would be implemented, leaving the ship better protected than the SLDF's standard light destroyer, the Essex, and roughly comparable in protection to the Lola series fleet destroyers or the M-5s being built for Hegemony SDS networks.

  Armament was somewhat trickier. The budget and design constraints didn't allow for significant redesigns of the weapon array, but engineers quickly discovered that the existing mounts could instead be upgunned, swapping the original naval lasers for larger dual purpose guns fine tuned to operate with the new fire control system, while the original naval cannons were replaced with the same Whirlwind twenty guns used by the Essex class. This armament is likely very familiar to those already well versed in the capital ships operated by the Bastion, and for a very good reason. The need to support this original force of drones is what would cause the Bastion to standardize on the Whirlwind/Imperator naval cannon as well as the dual purpose NL-45s, which would dominate the primary armament of every capital ship produced by the Bastion until the Impetuous class, and even to this day have only been supplemented, rather than replaced, by the famed Kreuss XXX PPC. Modernization of the Baron's cooling and power distribution system handily dealt with the demands of their new, trend setting weapons. Unusual compared to the M-5s, the refit would also retain the Baron's original launch bays, though these were consolidated into a single automated flight deck able to handle fighters or small shuttlecraft.

  The refit's greatest weapon was buried deep within it, however. This was an ATAC system able to direct up to twenty other drones or squadrons of drone fighters. Originally intended to fill the command and control gap as the rest of the network was established, this capability would serve the ships well throughout their service life, and even see them reactivated in the  Amaris War panic. Also notable, or rather notable by its absence, was the scuttling charge normally mounted in the M-3 and M-5 classes. While this was considered standard and appropriate equipment and some of those in the Director General's inner circle familiar with the program were concerned at its removal from the design, the engineers successfully argued that the extra weight compromised the long range capability desired, and it could be installed once the ships arrived at the Bastion.

  These scuttling charges would not be installed once the ships reached the Bastion.

  Bandon Station would begin launching the first of the completed drones, now designated the M-4 Block III, in 2720, and the first examples would arrive, packed full of supplies, industrial equipment, and technical specifications for SDS related technologies, by 2722. Ultimately, eighty of the one hundred and twenty M-4 Block IIIs converted at Bandon Station would be sent to the Bastion. While two would be retained at Bandon Station and eventually be converted to the Block IIIA standard, the fate of the remainder is unknown, and it is speculated that these ships were used for testing or distributed to other Hegemony Black Sites to serve as defense vessels. In Bastion service, the drones (re-designated the M-4-3 to correspond to the Bastion's own designation structure) would serve pretty much as expected, operating as the sole capital ship defense of Martin's Landing and command ships for vast constellations of Swiftstar and later Blackwasp drones for five years, before the first control stations, defense platforms, and M-5-1 drones began entering service, and even once these newer ships and installations came online, the M-4-s would remain in service providing secondary command and control support, before finally being retired in 2760. That retirement would only last seven years, however, as news of the Amaris coup led to an emergency reactivation of the class. This time, the ships would be paired with Mammoth Autofreighters hastily converted into so called "Hive Carriers" fitted out to carry eighteen squadrons worth of Swiftstar drones, meant to represent an additional last line of defense in the event that Amaris somehow found and attacked the Bastion.

  As news about the conflict slowly filtered back to the Bastion, dual pressures would see an easing of this alert status. The first and most obvious was that it was clear that Amaris represented no threat to the Bastion. Kerensky had swept the Republic clear and was now tightening a noose around the occupied Hegemony. Second was precisely how Amaris had taken the Hegemony, and so easily subverted their own SDS networks. While it would not yet reach the fever pitch seen once refugees from the Hegemony began to arrive, distrust of the SDS had already begun to take root. New orders would see the alert status throughout the Bastion scale back, and the M-4-3 fleet in particular would start returning to reserve status. Twenty M-4-3s and their Hive Carriers would be reactivated again after the Amaris Coup, when fear of Amaris was replaced by fear of Kerensky, but even that would not last long as demands to decommission the SDS network grew in intensity. By 2785, as large numbers of ships from the Black Fleet had arrived in the Bastion, and the first brand new manned warships were entering service, the last of the M-4-3s would be taken out of service, and the entire class would be decommissioned and have their central control systems removed.

  But, oddly enough, the ships themselves still remain. Seventy six of the original eighty M-4-3s that had been sent to the Bastion, not counting four that were lost due to mishap during their service life, are still retained, not under the military purview of the Mothball Fleet, but as a National Reserve Asset, based on the order issued by then Director General Elias Siemans in 2785. Because a Director General is not required to explain or justify the designation of National Reserve Assets, no explanation was ever provided by Director General Siemans for the decision, and none of his successors have shown any interest in revisiting the issue. In the absence of real information, only theories remain, ranging from the mundane: the ships are simply being retained because currently the Bastion has so many resources that there's no point in scrapping them yet, to the sinister: the Director General(s) is/are retaining them as their own private Black Fleet of killer drones beholden only to them, to the strange: the ships are being retained as part of some shadowy agreement with the artificial intelligences that once controlled them for the day when the AI choose to leave the Bastion. Whatever the real reason, be it some dastardly scheme or simple inertia, the ships remain.
 
Code: [Select]
M-4-3 Capital Drone
Mass: 480,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Introduced: 2720
Mass: 480,000
Battle Value: 43,607
Tech Rating/Availability: F/F-X-X-X
Cost: 12,966,289,000 C-bills

Fuel: 6,500 tons (16,250)
Safe Thrust: 2
Maximum Thrust: 3
Sail Integrity: 4
KF Drive Integrity: 11
Heat Sinks: 1100 (2200)
Structural Integrity: 30

Armor
    Nose: 54
    Fore Sides: 42/42
    Aft Sides: 42/42
    Aft: 26

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Fighter (12)       2 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (59373.5 tons)    1 Door   

Ammunition:
    260 rounds of White Shark ammunition (10,400 tons),
    320 rounds of NAC/20 ammunition (128 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 0
Escape Pods: 50
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  40 officers, 150 enlisted/non-rated, 43 gunners, 30 passengers

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Autonomous Tactical Analysis Computer (ATAC) (20 drones)
    1 SDS (Caspar) Drone Control System (Improved)
287.5 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                      Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (420 Heat)
6 Naval Laser 45                          420  27(270) 27(270) 27(270) 27(270)  Capital Laser
FRS/FLS (150 Heat)
2 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)               120  40(400) 40(400) 40(400)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (80 shots)
2 Capital Missile Launcher (White Shark)  30   6(60)   6(60)   6(60)    6(60)   Capital Missile
    White Shark Ammo (120 shots)
RBS/LBS (700 Heat)
10 Naval Laser 45                         700  45(450) 45(450) 45(450) 45(450)  Capital Laser
ARS/ALS (120 Heat)
2 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)               120  40(400) 40(400) 40(400)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (80 shots)
Aft (240 Heat)
3 Naval Laser 45                          210  14(135) 14(135) 14(135) 14(135)  Capital Laser
2 Capital Missile Launcher (White Shark)  30   6(60)   6(60)   6(60)    6(60)   Capital Missile
    White Shark Ammo (20 shots)
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!

Daryk

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #1 on: 02 November 2023, 18:10:13 »
NL/45s FTW! :D

Liam's Ghost

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #2 on: 02 November 2023, 18:36:31 »
Sidebar: How Deep Does the Rabbit Hole Go?
  The historical record indicates that the M-4 Block III conversion program produced a total of one hundred and twenty drones at Bandon Station starting in 2720. Of theses, eighty went to the Bastion, two were further modified and retained for the defense of Bandon Station, and the remaining thirty eight... well, we don't know. Which is reasonable at first glance. The Block III program was meant to secretly produce drones that could be used to guard equally secret bases, and surely the Bastion and Bandon Station weren't the Hegemony's only secrets. But if that were the case, how have they stayed secret?

  Now the information that flows to the Bastion from the Inner Sphere is hardly comprehensive, and consists primarily of publicly accessible signals intelligence, news and information shared among the Inner Sphere's spacer communities, and only a small bit of data mining from the HPG network. But the picture is pretty clear. Over the centuries of the Succession Wars, numerous secret outposts and caches of the Star League, the Terran Hegemony, and even the Rim Worlds Republic have been found in the Inner Sphere and Near Periphery, but, aside from a possible sighting during the early Jihad, no M-4 drones have been discovered.

  So was the Terran Hegemony just really good at hiding these drones and whatever bases they guarded? The biggest threat to a base staying secret, aside from plain dumb luck, is the paper trail it leaves. After all, the base is supposed to be doing something for you, which means information and material will most likely be flowing in both directions, and that information is going to be written down somewhere. This was how so many of these facilities were found over the centuries, fragments or records or rumors gave treasure hunters a lead to start from.

  But what if these facilities weren't supposed to be actively doing anything for the Hegemony? What if their whole purpose was to disappear? There is already an obvious example of that, the Bastion itself. Jonathan Cameron wanted the Bastion to be invisible, so that his prophesied destruction of the Terran Hegemony would spare it. He most likely would have been horrified that the Bastion would instead jeopardize that secrecy by taking in refugees from the Hegemony as that collapse was underway.

  But considering the legendary paranoia of Jonathan Cameron, is it perhaps naïve to assume that he had only one safety net? Could the answer to the missing M-4s be that they are guarding another Bastion, or two, or three, or a dozen? Its doubtful that the Hegemony could have quietly populated too many worlds like Martin's Landing without drawing attention to the millions upon millions of people suddenly going missing, but what about small colonies, placed somewhere so remote that nobody would even know to look there? Or even stranger things like colonies initially established entirely by AIs, raising a human population grown from artificially created embryos? And who's to say the thirty eight drones unaccounted for from the Bandon Station production run were all there were? What about other secret fleets at other hidden facilities?

  Once the speculation starts, there seems to be no end to how deep you can go.
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!

Daryk

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #3 on: 02 November 2023, 18:45:53 »
Well, if two were held back for the defense on Bandon Station itself, I could see other bases also being defended by a pair.  The first extra base takes the number of "lost" ships down to 36.  That would be a nice round number to defend "Redoubt", but that could be done with probably two dozen.  Another two for a third station would take it down to 10 for "Citadel", but if it was only 6 for that, 2 more for a fourth transit station would leave a pair to defend "Lazarette"... ;)

Liam's Ghost

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #4 on: 03 November 2023, 03:20:29 »
M-5-1 Capital Drone

  When the M-4s were sent to the Bastion, each one carried tooling, equipment, and technical specifications necessary to begin rapidly expanding the industrial capabilities of Martin's Landing. Among this treasure trove of priceless industrial machinery and technical knowledge intended to bootstrap the Bastion to near post scarcity in a few short decades was the complete plans, technical specifications, and manufacturing requirements for the key elements of the Terran SDS network, including the M-5 drones, the Nirasaki computer cores needed to operate them, and (because actually building the industry to manufacture the cores would take longer than it would to start turning out the hulls) three hundred actual computer cores ready to be installed.

  But even the most optimistic estimates of how quickly the Bastion's currently limited drydocks and repair yards could be expanded suggested it would be at least a couple years before they were ready to actually build their own M-5 drones, so with time to kill and the plans on hand, it was inevitable that the Bastion's small but eager cadre of naval engineers would start tinkering and tweaking with the design.

  Of course this was not (entirely) a question of modifying a design for the sake of putting your own spin on it. The standard M-5 design was built by firms in the Terran Hegemony, with all the resources and politics that came that. The Bastion was starting basically from scratch, and their own variant would have to reflect that. The first change would be the armament. The Bastion was already building weapon industries to support the existing fleet of M-4-3 capital drones, as well as the missile platforms that were to be built around Martin's Landing. Of the seven different types of capital weapons mounted on a stock M-5, only one of those was directly compatible with the weapons mounted on the M-4-3, and a completely different one was shared with the planned missile batteries. This wasn't a problem when you had the wealth of hundreds of worlds to draw from and the institutionalized and entirely legal graft to ensure that standardization was a four letter word. But in this case trying to meet the demands of supplying such an eclectic armament for a whole fleet of new ships was a nonstarter. So essentially the entire weapon loadout was replaced, with the new loadout roughly matching the placement, but not the composition of the original. A uniform battery of twenty four Whirlwind/Imperator guns in triple mounts replaced the original mixed naval autocannon battery, thirty six dual purpose NL-45s in quad mounts replaced the original lasers and PPCs, and the three different types of naval missile launchers were consolidated down to the Barracuda system, with six twin tube mounts spread across the ship.

  Next came the armor protection. The original plans for the M-5 called for a protection scheme essentially identical to the Lola series destroyers it was based on. For the Terran Hegemony, this was seen as a perfectly adequate amount of protection. But Bastion engineers reckoned that if the Bastion were to be attacked, they wouldn't have the military and economic support of the rest of the Hegemony or the Star League Defense Force to fall back on. The defenses they had would have to stand on their own, so perhaps they should try for more than a "perfectly adequate" amount of protection? The engineers agreed, and their revised design called for an armor layout that would provide nearly double the protection of the Hegemony standard M-5.

  These changes would eat up mass, however, and the stock M-5 had precious little spare mass to offer. How then would the Bastion make up the deficit? That quandary had been answered even before the engineers had first looked a the M-5 plans. When the M-4-3s first arrived in the Bastion, they had come with a helpful notification that the drones had originally been intended to mount a massive scuttling charge, intended to ensure that if the ship was at risk of capture its sensitive technology could not fall into foreign hands. This notification stated that the scuttling charge had been left off the M-4-3 to save cargo space for the trip, and included detailed instructions for how to fabricate and install the charges, with recommendations to do so at the first opportunity. Bastion naval engineers, deciding their time could be better spent doing literally anything other than fitting gigantic bombs to their only line of defense, declined to do so. And when they opened the plans for the M-5 to see the same scuttling charges clearly present in the design, the decision to leave them off had already been made before any other thought had gone into revising the design. Omitting this ridiculously heavy (and arguably just ridiculous) "security device" freed up more than enough mass for all the rest of the changes made to the design.

  In addition to the basic design, engineers would also produce a command variant, analogous to the Hegemony's M-5C. Much like the M-5C, this model would incorporate an ATAC system, freeing up the necessary tonnage by reducing the processing power available to control the ship. The Bastion version did not quite go to the same extreme as the Hegemony version, however, capping its ATAC system at thirty units with the intention of fielding more control units relative to the number of standard units. This left additional free tonnage, and since the command units were expected to hold back from direct combat wherever practical, this tonnage was filled in with an additional twelve capital missile tubes, replacing the twin mounts on the forward quarter with octuple mounts.

  Though plans for the revised design, designated the M-5-1, were finalized by the start of 2722, it would be two more years before the keel of the first Bastion built M-5-1 drones were laid down at the freshly completed New Tacoma shipyards. Teething problems with the new yard and unexpected kinks in the production process would delay the completion of the initial prototype batch of four ships (three standard and one M-5-1C command variant) until the middle of 2725, and the first production run of five until the middle of the following year, but improvements to the yards and worker training soon reduced build time per hull to a respectable six months, while expansion of the shipyards increased parallel production from five to ten hulls by 2728. The entire planned production run of one hundred and fifty M-5-1 drones and forty M-5-1Cs would be completed by 2735.

  During the majority of the M-5's service life, the Bastion maintained an active force of one hundred M-5-1s and twenty M-5-1Cs, organized into "Pods" of five standard drones, one command variant, and around twenty smaller M-3 type drones. While fully half of these Pods would be assigned specifically to protect the orbital space of Martin's Landing, the other would be dispersed throughout the system to protect key strategic points and act as a reserve force which could intercept an enemy as they transited the system. While these Pods were normally based alongside static control stations and missile and fighter platforms, they were not programed to be tied to these fixed defenses. Instead their designated doctrine emphasized maintaining mobility, to better respond to an unfolding situation. Notably, this sort of flexibility was something the manned navy the Bastion had established to replace the SDS initially lacked, and it took the shock of Fleet Problem Three to begin shaking the navy out of that complacency.

  As the essential poster child of the Bastion's SDS and a close relation to those Caspars that had been subverted by Amaris and had caused so much damage to Kerensky's SLDF, it is not surprising that after the coup, the Bastion's public, as well as the millions of traumatized refugees flowing in from the Hegemony, wanted the M-5-1s gone, no matter how many impassioned pleas the Admiralty made for their retention. Even so, the drone fleet would hold on for far longer than anybody could have predicted simply through shear necessity. Even after inheriting nearly two hundred WarShips from the Black Fleet and laying down dozens more, it turned out that a manned navy needed manpower, training, and a solid doctrine to actually function. Though plans to replace the SDS network with a manned navy had begun in 2782, reached a fever pitch by 2784, and seen that navy grow to well over two hundred capital ships (between new construction and the Black Fleet) by 2786, it wasn't until 2791 that the navy truly started to believe that they had the proficiency and the capabilities to actually replace the drone fleet. And the embarrassing end of Fleet Problem Three put even that assumption into question, with the Navy's prized battle nine of brand new Agincourt class cruisers found itself beaten by an enemy that was simply able to outmaneuver them.

  With the Admiralty acknowledging that even a small number of the significantly more maneuverable M-5-1 drones operating as part of the Defending Force may have completely altered the outcome of the exercise, efforts to decommission the drone fleet were halted yet again, but only until the Admiralty had developed an appropriate, manned replacement for them. Briefly, the M-5-1s themselves were contemplated as their own replacement, with an exploratory program seeing four of the class (designation QDD-101, QDD-112, QDD-131 and QDD-139) rebuilt as Eidolon class destroyers. This idea would ultimately be rejected, with the navy instead declaring that the new Impetuous class cruisers would finally dethrone the drone fleet. This time there would be no last minute reprieve. Impetuous class ships would gradually replace M-5-1s by Pod, with a flotilla of cruisers replacing an entire Pod of drones as they finished commissioning and worked up to operational status. Once taken out of service, the drones would have their core control system removed before being taken to the breakers. Of the one hundred and ninety M-5 drones built by the Bastion, none, save for the four ships converted to manned Eidolon class destroyers, would be retained either as museum ships or in mothballs. Though the ships are gone, however, their control cores, along with those from the M-4s and the M-3s, still remain, having been repurposed for civillian use and incorporated into the vast automated industries and bureacracy which operates in the background to keep the Bastion running smoothly. Though this is in no way considered secret information, it seems that very few people are aware how deeply integrated these once military artificial intelligences are into the Bastion's government, economy, and its daily life, and the revelation catches many by surprise. Others, however, are well aware, and seem to find the whole idea facinating. Some old navy veterans, who still remember interacting with the unique human interface protocols used by the various ships of the drone fleet in the past, have claimed to have found old "digital comrades" working in their new civilian lives, while others have claimed that if you know what to listen for, know what to ask, and get just a bit lucky, you can convince the automated customer service programs running government interfaces to tell you stories about their time as a massive capital WarShip.
   

Code: [Select]
 
M-5-1 Capital Drone
Mass: 680,000 tons
Use: Capital Drone
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Introduced: 2725
Mass: 680,000
Battle Value: 157,634
Tech Rating/Availability: F/E-X-X-X
Cost: 13,712,404,000 C-bills

Dimensions
    Length: 628 meters

Fuel: 3,000 tons (7,500)
Safe Thrust: 4
Maximum Thrust: 6
Sail Integrity: 5
KF Drive Integrity: 15
Heat Sinks: 1250 (2500)
Structural Integrity: 50

Armor
    Nose: 99
    Fore Sides: 95/95
    Aft Sides: 95/95
    Aft: 95

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Cargo (2349.0 tons)     1 Door   

Ammunition:
    720 rounds of NAC/20 ammunition (288 tons),
    240 rounds of Barracuda ammunition (7,200 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 0
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  42 officers, 139 enlisted/non-rated, 68 gunners

Notes: Equipped with
    1 SDS (Caspar) Drone Control System (Improved)
680 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                    Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                              Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (300 Heat)
4 Naval Laser 45                        280  18(180) 18(180) 18(180) 18(180)  Capital Laser
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (40 shots)
FRS/FLS (480 Heat)
4 Naval Laser 45                        280  18(180) 18(180) 18(180) 18(180)  Capital Laser
3 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)             180  60(600) 60(600) 60(600)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (90 shots)
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (40 shots)
RBS/LBS (640 Heat)
4 Naval Laser 45                        280  18(180) 18(180) 18(180) 18(180)  Capital Laser
3 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)             180  60(600) 60(600) 60(600)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (90 shots)
3 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)             180  60(600) 60(600) 60(600)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (90 shots)
ARS/ALS (480 Heat)
4 Naval Laser 45                        280  18(180) 18(180) 18(180) 18(180)  Capital Laser
3 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)             180  60(600) 60(600) 60(600)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (90 shots)
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (40 shots)
Aft (300 Heat)
4 Naval Laser 45                        280  18(180) 18(180) 18(180) 18(180)  Capital Laser
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (40 shots)
   
Code: [Select]
M-5-1C Capital Drone
Mass: 680,000 tons
Use: Capital Drone
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Introduced: 2730
Mass: 680,000
Battle Value: 166,403
Tech Rating/Availability: F/F-X-X-X
Cost: 17,114,904,000 C-bills

Dimensions
    Length: 628 meters

Fuel: 3,000 tons (7,500)
Safe Thrust: 4
Maximum Thrust: 6
Sail Integrity: 5
KF Drive Integrity: 15
Heat Sinks: 1250 (2500)
Structural Integrity: 50

Armor
    Nose: 99
    Fore Sides: 95/95
    Aft Sides: 95/95
    Aft: 95

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Cargo (2449.0 tons)     1 Door   

Ammunition:
    720 rounds of NAC/20 ammunition (288 tons),
    480 rounds of Barracuda ammunition (14,400 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 0
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  48 officers, 155 enlisted/non-rated, 80 gunners

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Mobile Hyperpulse Generators (Mobile HPG)
    1 SDS (Caspar) Drone Control System
    1 Autonomous Tactical Analysis Computer (ATAC) (30 drones)
    1 Naval Comm-Scanner Suite (Large)
680 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                    Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                              Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (300 Heat)
4 Naval Laser 45                        280  18(180) 18(180) 18(180) 18(180)  Capital Laser
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (40 shots)
FRS/FLS (540 Heat)
4 Naval Laser 45                        280  18(180) 18(180) 18(180) 18(180)  Capital Laser
3 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)             180  60(600) 60(600) 60(600)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (90 shots)
8 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  80   16(160) 16(160) 16(160) 16(160)  Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (160 shots)
RBS/LBS (640 Heat)
4 Naval Laser 45                        280  18(180) 18(180) 18(180) 18(180)  Capital Laser
3 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)             180  60(600) 60(600) 60(600)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (90 shots)
3 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)             180  60(600) 60(600) 60(600)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (90 shots)
ARS/ALS (480 Heat)
4 Naval Laser 45                        280  18(180) 18(180) 18(180) 18(180)  Capital Laser
3 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)             180  60(600) 60(600) 60(600)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (90 shots)
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (40 shots)
Aft (300 Heat)
4 Naval Laser 45                        280  18(180) 18(180) 18(180) 18(180)  Capital Laser
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (40 shots)
   
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!

Daryk

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #5 on: 03 November 2023, 03:31:22 »
Retired AI cores running parts of the bureaucracy is HILARIOUS! ;D

Liam's Ghost

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #6 on: 03 November 2023, 20:09:54 »
Sidebar: We're Just Gonna Call Him Dave

  Either because they were seen as lesser units or simply because of tradition, the ships of the SDS network never received official names in the same way that manned ships would. Instead, each drone was formally listed in the registry only by its hull number. Most capital drones received the classification QDD, reflecting their origins as unmanned ships of the destroyer type, and would be numbered in the order in which they were commissioned into service with the Bastion SDS. This meant the M-4-3 fleet would receive the hull numbers QDD-1 to QDD-80, while the M-5-1s would receive the hull numbers QDD-81 to QDD-230. The command variant M-5-1Cs, on the other hand, would receive the QDL classification, or Drone Destroyer Leader, and thus receive the hull number QDL-1 to QDL-40, and the vast fleet of M-3s would be designated as drone patrol gunboats, or QPG, with hull classifications ranging from QPG-1 to QPG-950.

  Despite briefly triggering a series of office arguments over whether the M-4-3s should be re-designated as destroyer leaders, this system was used without (in an official capacity) variation throughout the service life of the drone fleet, but it wasn't long after the first drones entered service that the humans monitoring and directing them would begin assigning them nicknames. How the drones operated and interacted with their controllers only helped to encourage this behavior. Each of the Caspar equipped "smart drones" developed its own unique human interface protocol, functionally an algorithmically generated digital avatar which eased interaction with human personnel and gave the illusion of uniqueness and personality to the control systems of each ship. Though by all accounts these human interface protocols were not used by the drones operated in Hegemony SDS networks, and in fact the Hegemony actively discouraged any behavior or protocols which might lead to anthropomorphization of their drones, operators in the Bastion generally regarded these interface protocols as not only comforting, but extremely user friendly in day to day operation. Very quickly, something like bonds would be formed between these interface protocols and the humans that used them. Most, if not all of the smart drones in the SDS would eventually receive well known, often whimsical nicknames, such as Dave (QDD-41), The Lyrical Billy O'Tea (QDL-32), or Danger Mouse (QPG-336). So well established were these nicknames that, though they held no official recognition, they would even occasionally appear in official reports, on the excuse that they were used to differentiate otherwise very similar sets of hull numbers for clarity.

  But the bonds imagined between the human operators and the Interface Protocols of the drone fleet often went beyond amusing or meaningful pet names. Many veterans of the service formed what they would call friendships, or rivalries, or even romances with the generated avatars they worked with. More than a few would even go so far as to claim that the cores that ran each smart drone was not simply a very elaborate system of machine code, self learning algorithms, and hyper advanced circuitry, but actual thinking minds as sapient as the humans that commanded them.

  While such extreme fringe beliefs would not gain traction in the mainstream, the Senate would quietly pass laws in 2744 which specified a legal definition of a "life form" that excluded any sort of artificial intelligence or non-biological machine. Even so, some note that the Navy was adamant that when the drone fleet was finally retired, the control cores, the "brain" of each ship, would not be scrapped with the vessels themselves, but would instead be repurposed for civilian use. This could just be a practical concern. These cores are incredibly valuable computational systems with a myriad of uses outside of controlling a capital WarShip after all. An extra thirteen hundred odd cores represents a considerable amount of capability that the Bastion would not have to manufacture.

  But on the other hand, maybe the old hands in the Navy just wanted to make sure their old digital friends weren't forced to go down with their ships.
« Last Edit: 03 November 2023, 22:01:21 by Liam's Ghost »
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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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #7 on: 04 November 2023, 03:17:36 »
I wonder at what point the AIs took over the management of the Bastion ...
* 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"

Daryk

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #8 on: 04 November 2023, 04:03:56 »
With 1,300 or so of them, probably shortly after they were "retired"... ;D

Liam's Ghost

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #9 on: 04 November 2023, 20:11:25 »
Now now, just because there are an indeterminate amount of thousands of powerful artificial intelligences underpinning the bureaucracy, the financial system, the medical system, industry, resource extraction, media, nearly every other facet of what makes modern Bastion society possible, with pretty much carte blanche over when their numbers should be increased doesn't mean they're secretly in charge. I mean, they aren't even people! Can't vote or anything!

(Joking aside, the answer would probably vary wildly depending on the timeline)
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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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #10 on: 04 November 2023, 23:35:50 »
I trust the AIs "feel fine ..."
* 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"

idea weenie

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #11 on: 05 November 2023, 01:54:55 »
I wonder at what point the AIs took over the management of the Bastion ...

No need to worry, the local Computer Council has its meetings but they only last a few seconds.  How much can they really get done in that short period of time?  Heck, one of them is stuck running environmental systems, it is busy all the time.


:grin:

Liam's Ghost

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #12 on: 06 November 2023, 15:35:53 »
M-3-1/2/3 Drone

  Though the M-5 series were the attention grabbers of the SDS network, they made up only a small fraction of the network's total drone forces, or even its force of "smart drones" (those equipped with the so called "Caspar" core as opposed to simpler robotic control systems). The dominant force in the fleet, at least in terms of raw numbers, was actually  the M-3 series of drones. Like the M-5s, Bastion engineers had the complete plans of the original Hegemony built M-3s to work from, and also like the M-5s, the engineers considered these plans to be a starting point rather than holy writ. Unlike the M-5, it's a lot more difficult to see at first glance what was changed. The finalized Bastion version (designated M-3-1) shared the same weapons mounts, external systems, and overall hull form of the Hegemony original. While aggressive percussive testing might betray the higher grade of armor plate used in the ship's protection, the design still carries the same total weight of armor, distributed in essentially the same manner.
  The real change is  deeper inside the ship, and only apparent to an outside observer in the event that the drone is in actual combat. Just as they had with the M-4s and M-5s, Bastion engineers immediately ditched the scuttling charge in the Hegemony provided plans as completely unnecessary and uncalled for. Using the freed up space, the M-3-1 received a redesigned and enlarged powerplant, adding half a gravity of acceleration to what was already an extremely nimble ship, as well as an enlarged fuel tank. The combination of that thrust with the lack of a fragile human crew made these ships supreme harassers and fast attack craft, able to simply outrun most fighter screens and pull off bone crushing maneuvers which allowed them to pick their angle of attack against larger craft essentially at will. While an individual M-3-1 might not be able to do significant damage to a large capital ship in one of these attacks, the twenty ships normally assigned to one of the Drone fleet's Pods, with fire support from the larger M-5s in the formation and command and control from the Pod command ship, could very easily threaten even the largest WarShips.
  While they were by far the cheaper and simpler option compared to the M-5 series, M-3-1 production did not begin until after the first M-5-1s were laid down, and even then only a small number of prototypes were initially built, entering service roughly alongside the first M-5-1s in 2725. The reason for this was that while the Bastion could initially build nearly complete M-3-1s far faster and in far greater numbers than they could an M-5-1, manufacture of the Caspar control system was still years away. The stockpile of computer cores that had been sent from the Hegemony, in the meanwhile, was largely earmarked either for the M-5 program, or for running the automated fabrication and resource extraction systems bootstrapping the Bastion's industry. Even the few original Hegemony built cores left over from that, the Bastion's government was loath to give up, lest they be needed elsewhere.
  Full scale production of the M-3-1 therefore wouldn't actually start until 2733, eight years after the first prototypes had been launched, and even these would initially be completed i the so called "Dumb" configuration, temporarily substituting a simpler robotic control system for the Caspar core. It would be two more years, once M-5-1 production had ceased and domestic production of the Caspar core had finally begun, that true stock M-3-1s would begin entering service en-mass. Even then, production of M-3-1 hulls far outstripped the production of Caspar cores. While the entire series of nine hundred and fifty ships would be completed by 2743, well over six hundred of these were still fitted out in the Dumb configuration, and refitting the entire fleet with their original planned Caspar cores wouldn't be completed until the end of 2750.
  Many of these ships would have only just left the yards with their new computerized brains when they received orders to go back to receive additional refits to the M-3-2 standard. This refit package consisted primarily of minor internal system and software modifications intended to improve operational efficiency, but it would also include a minor update to the weapons package, replacing the design's battery of particle cannons with newer extended range models. The M-3-2 would become the standard template for the M-3 series for the rest of its service life, with refits to the entire class completed by 2753.
  Of the nine hundred and fifty M-3 drones in service, the SDS maintained a constant active fleet strength of six hundred, with the remainder rotating through periodic maintenance or reserve in the same manner as the larger drones. Four hundred of these drones would be assigned to operate alongside the larger capital drones, with twenty M-3s assigned to each Pod, while the remaining two hundred would be assigned to support and defend the various control stations and fixed defenses around Bastion worlds and critical locations. Even with hundreds of M-3 drones to call upon, the shear number of locations the SDS needed to protect left these forces stretched surprisingly thin. While the Admiralty would very much have liked to procure more M-3s, the Senate would instead push for the "economy measure" of simply adding additional fixed defenses. While this meant that the Bastion had numerous strong points which could throw hundreds upon hundreds of missiles and swarms of fighter drones at an attacker, those strong points were essentially disconnected and unable to support each other. The activation of reserve drones in times of crisis would mitigate this limitation to a degree, however the Admiralty never wavered in their conviction that the SDS did not have enough mobile forces to properly defend the Bastion, particularly as they began expanding into other star systems.
  Oddly enough, the backlash against the SDS network that followed the Amaris Coup seemed to initially miss the M-3s entirely, almost entirely because of public ignorance of what truly made up the SDS network. More than a few seemed to believe that the SDS began and ended with the M-5 capital drones, and either didn't know everything else that made up the network even existed, or simply assumed that all those defense platforms and assault ships were just "something else". Even members of the Senate, who were responsible for approving the yearly budgets for the maintenance of the SDS network, were often just as ignorant of the facts of the thing that they were now pushing to completely dismantle.
  Unfortunately, as the debate continued, just enough knowledge would seep into the public consciousness to put the M-3s on the chopping block as well as opponents of the SDS network concentrated their fervor against ships equipped with Caspar cores, rather than every unmanned system in operation across the Bastion. Simply replacing the M-3 fleet, however, was not a small investment, and with the focus of naval production and funding so heavily aimed towards new capital ships, it would not be done quickly. With the precedent established that "shutting down the SDS" actually just meant removing Caspar equipped drones from service, the Admiralty initially proposed simply replacing the control systems of the M-3 fleet with simpler robotic controls, in essence re-introducing the early stopgap "Dumb" variant. A small number of drones were thus modified to this new standard (designated the M-3-3), and while the modified drones would likely show promise with some additional work, the Admiralty would still suffer a massive political backlash once word of the program got out.
  It seemed that the public and their mouthpieces in the senate considered simply refitting the M-3s to standards already deemed as acceptable to be cheating. They wanted the M-3s completely gone, and would accept no more shady games by the Admiralty to preserve them. Subsequent suggestions to replace the M-3s with Confederate patrol ships, the Lee class fleet escorts, or, amazingly, a fleet of suicide drones and small drone assault ships, would all be rejected by the Admiralty. The Confederate patrol boats couldn't do the job effectively, expanding Lee production to cover the entire Bastion would be incredibly expensive and manpower intensive, and the third option would be literally replacing a fleet of drones with another less effective and more expensive fleet of drones.
  In the end, once production of WarShips started to slow and funding was available for other programs, the Admiralty found a solution that was both economical and acceptable in the halls of political power. The M-3 fleet would be replaced by the construction of new Pentagon class assault ships, a proven design of Hegemony origin which, just coincidentally, happened to be the design that the M-3 was originally based on, which would allow production to draw on existing manufacturing and even components recovered from dismantling the M-3 fleet.
  How many components you might ask? Well with a bit of tweaking of the plans for the Pentagon to incorporate the enlarged power plant and fuel tank of the M-3-2, a suspicious individual might suspect that the process of "breaking up" an M-3 drone and building a Pentagon in its place actually seemed to consist of removing the control core and other automated systems and installing crew quarters and fully manned controls in their place. With amazing speed, the Admiralty was able to arrange for the disposal of all nine hundred and fifty M-3 drones, as well as the production of nine hundred and fifty "brand new" Pentagon assault ships in the matter of a couple of years. The Senate, having not so long ago chastised the Admiralty for their supposed skullduggery around the M-3-3 refit, was ecstatic over the low cost of the Pentagon program, while even those in the public who recognized the conversion program for what it was seemed to be satisfied that at least these ships would now be in trustworthy human hands.

Code: [Select]
M-3-1 Drone
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 4,000 tons
Use: SDS Drone
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Introduced: 2725
Mass: 4,000
Battle Value: 17,947
Tech Rating/Availability: F/E-X-X-X
Cost: 992,846,400 C-bills

Dimensions
    Length: 89 meters
    Width: 75 meters
    Height: 75 meters

Fuel: 700 tons (21,000)
Safe Thrust: 8
Maximum Thrust: 12
Heat Sinks: 200 (400)
Structural Integrity: 21

Armor
    Nose: 404
    Sides: 359/359
    Aft: 314

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Cargo (35.5 tons)       1 Door   

Ammunition:
    144 rounds of Gauss Rifle [IS] ammunition (18 tons),
    228 rounds of LRM 20 Artemis-capable ammunition (38 tons)

Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  3 officers, 2 enlisted/non-rated, 9 gunners

Notes: Mounts 75.5 tons of ferro-aluminum armor, 1 SDS (Caspar) Drone Control System (Improved)

Weapons:                                    Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                              Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV     ERV   Class       
Nose (116 Heat)
4 PPC                                   40   4(40)   4(40)    0(0)    0(0)  PPC         
4 Gauss Rifle                            4   6(60)   6(60)   6(60)    0(0)  AC         
    Gauss Rifle Ammo [IS] (96 shots)
4 ER Large Laser                        48   3(32)   3(32)   3(32)    0(0)  Laser       
4 LRM 20+Artemis IV                     24   5(48)   5(48)   5(48)    0(0)  LRM         
    LRM 20 Artemis-capable Ammo (96 shots)
RS/LS Fwd (57 Heat)
2 PPC                                   20   2(20)   2(20)    0(0)    0(0)  PPC         
1 Gauss Rifle                            1   2(15)   2(15)   2(15)    0(0)  AC         
    Gauss Rifle Ammo [IS] (24 shots)
2 ER Large Laser                        24   2(16)   2(16)   2(16)    0(0)  Laser       
2 LRM 20+Artemis IV                     12   2(24)   2(24)   2(24)    0(0)  LRM         
    LRM 20 Artemis-capable Ammo (48 shots)
RS/LS Aft (52 Heat)
1 PPC                                   10   1(10)   1(10)    0(0)    0(0)  PPC         
4 Medium Laser                          36   4(36)   2(16)   2(16)    0(0)  Laser       
    2 ER Large Laser
1 LRM 20+Artemis IV                      6   1(12)   1(12)   1(12)    0(0)  LRM         
    LRM 20 Artemis-capable Ammo (18 shots)
Aft (34 Heat)
1 PPC                                   10   1(10)   1(10)    0(0)    0(0)  PPC         
4 Medium Laser                          24   3(28)    1(8)    1(8)    0(0)  Laser       
    1 ER Large Laser


M-3-1 Drone (Dumb)
Replace the SDS Drone control system of the M-3-1 with a smart robotic control system. Cargo capacity increases to 75.5 tons


M-3-2 Drone
Replace all standard PPC bays of the M-3-1 with the following
Weapons:                                    Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                              Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV     ERV   Class       
Nose (136 Heat)
4 ER PPC                                60   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    0(0)  PPC         
RS/LS Fwd (67 Heat)
2 ER PPC                                30   2(20)   2(20)   2(20)    0(0)  PPC         
RS/LS Aft (57 Heat)
1 ER PPC                                15   1(10)   1(10)   1(10)    0(0)  PPC         
Aft (39 Heat)
1 ER PPC                                15   1(10)   1(10)   1(10)    0(0)  PPC         

M-3-3 Drone
Replace the SDS Drone control system of the M-3-2 with a smart robotic control system. Cargo capacity increases to 75.5 tons
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!

Daryk

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #13 on: 06 November 2023, 19:09:49 »
With that much thrust, the full AI version makes WAY more sense!

Liam's Ghost

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #14 on: 06 November 2023, 19:19:05 »
With that much thrust, the full AI version makes WAY more sense!

It really does. When I get to the Pentagon writeup there will definitely be a mention about how the Pentagon couldn't actually compete with the responsiveness and maneuverability of an M-3 because people can't handle spending hours or days at four to six gravities of acceleration.
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!

Daryk

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #15 on: 06 November 2023, 19:33:07 »
100% agree! :)

Liam's Ghost

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #16 on: 06 November 2023, 23:57:47 »
Defense and Control Stations

  While the capital ships and assault ships of the Bastion's SDS network would be reasonably recognizable to those familiar with similar systems in the Hegemony, the layout and composition of the fixed defenses and control stations around the various strategic points across the Bastion would appear radically different. To an extent, this was simply a practical consideration. For all the automated might of the Bastion's industrial and resource extraction capabilities, the Bastion still had only a small fraction of the resources and population base of a Terran Hegemony world. Gigantic battle stations like the Pavise were simply not in the cards when the network was being built.
  The other, more compelling reason came down to the general difference between how the Bastion functioned relative to the Hegemony. Regardless of Jonathan Cameron's specific wishes about the Bastion, he was never going to recruit tens of millions of die hard followers willing to disappear into the periphery while still praising and worshipping the Cameron name, at least not when the Hegemony itself was still going strong. Instead, the Bastion's initial population was primarily made up of adventure seekers, democratics, and free thinkers, drawn to the idea of greater opportunities outside of the all encompassing shadow of the Hegemony's political system and the Cameron Dynasty. As such while the Hegemony built a series of highly centralized networks, where a single individual or a small number operating from a centralized location could issue orders to the entire network and expect them to be carried out unthinkingly, the Bastion instead built a decentralized system specifically to ensure that no one rogue human operator could assume direct control over more than a portion of the network.
  The first line of the SDS network is the monitoring stations placed liberally throughout a star system to maximize sensor and communications coverage. Normally used for civilian traffic control, these stations still operate under Navy administration, and carry light defensive weapons and a small fighter complement. Despite that, should one of these stations come under attack their first and most important objective is utilizing the onboard HPG to alert the rest of the network to the threat.
  Directing the Bastion's SDS network (and the unmanned defenses that still remain in operation) is a network of over one hundred primary control stations, as well as hundreds of additional smaller secondary control stations, each responsible for directing the missile batteries and fighter platforms in their sector of operation, along with any drone capital ships or assault ships also assigned to their sector. Each control station is fully manned, and each primary command station is HPG equipped, meaning orders from a star system's senior leadership must still pass through human oversight before being executed by the drones under that station's purview, and each "node" of the network is able to maintain regular communication checks with each other and their system command, should subversion occur at a node.
    Each individual primary command station is in turn responsible for directly controlling fifty drone units using its onboard ATAC system, as well as passing orders to any drone Pods operating in its area of operation. The actual composition of a command station's own network would vary based on composition, but typically this might consist of the station's own onboard complement of drone fighters, ten missile batteries, and ten fighter platforms, plus their own complement of fighter drones. When M-3s still made up a portion of the Bastion's fixed defenses, many, but not all command stations might also possess M-3 drones in their network. Secondary control stations are positioned either in groups alongside a primary control station, where they serve to supplement that station's capabilities, or individually directing smaller nodes of ten units around less important locations.
  The actual defense platforms themselves bore little resemblance to the battle stations deployed around Terran Hegemony worlds. Bastion defense stations were built to small, cheap, and deployable en-mass against distant targets unlikely to consent to a close range engagement. Each platform's firepower would come from either a battery of six barracuda missile launchers or two squadrons of drone fighters. Standard defense procedure anticipated missile platforms providing continuous long range bombardment of an attacking force as it approached the orbital space, ideally with multiple sectors adjusting their own orbits to bring more missile batteries to bear. Once the primary mobile elements of the SDS (or later the Battle Fleet) engaged the enemy, the drone fighter complement would either join the battle, or be held back as a reserve and last line of defense. A total commitment of force, such as repelling an attack on Martin's Landing or one of the other Bastion worlds, could see hundreds of missile platforms launching thousands of missiles at the enemy before either side's capital ships came into gun range, their bombardment kept up continuously by resupply from storage facilities behind the defensive line. Whatever enemy was able to survive that and the fleet engagements that followed would then either be finished off by swarms of drone fighters held in reserve, or would be too catastrophically powerful to actually defeat.
  The fact that the SLDF very likely fit into that category may quite neatly explain why the SDS network's control stations, monitoring stations, and defense platforms managed to survive the call to dismantle the SDS network. Certainly there were those who wanted every unmanned weapon, or even every autonomous system, thrown in the scrapheap of history, but the shear scope of such an undertaking gave all but the most ardent enemy of the SDS pause. Simply dismantling the network of defense and control stations would remove a critical linchpin in the Bastion's defense against a massed attack, while trying to replace the entire network would take years, require the construction of thousands of new defense platforms, and the recruiting and training of hundreds of thousands of new personnel, not to mention the logistical cost of feeding, paying, and transporting those personnel to and from their duty stations.
  It was this desire, to both placate those in the public that wanted the SDS gone, and to not completely gut a large portion of the Bastion's defenses when it might still be at risk of an attack from the SLDF, which led to the compromise that would see Caspar equipped units (eventually) removed from service, but less sophisticated unmanned systems retained. The Caspars, it was declared on the Senate floor, were the dangerous experimental technology subverted by Amaris. Other automated systems? Why they were a proven, rugged, and reliable technology that underpinned the entire economy. So clearly it was only the Caspars that needed to go.
  And that message found a willing audience among the public, helped by that same public's general ignorance of this technology that they had blamed for the fall of the Hegemony. So in the end, even as the last of the M-3 and M-5 drones were retired, the vast network of control stations and defensive platforms that made up much of the SDS remained, and still remain to this day, the last line of defense against whatever enemy might one day threaten the Bastion.

Code: [Select]
SDS Launch Platform
Mass: 5,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2725
Mass: 5,000
Battle Value: 1,607
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-X-F-F
Cost: 60,535,000 C-bills

Fuel: 1,000 tons (10,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 55 (110)
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 15
    Fore Sides: 15/15
    Aft Sides: 15/15
    Aft: 16

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Fighter (16)       1 Door   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (209.0 tons)      1 Door   

Ammunition:
None

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 0
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  12 officers, 34 enlisted/non-rated

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)
76 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:     Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
None
   
Code: [Select]
SDS Missile Platform
Mass: 5,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2725
Mass: 5,000
Battle Value: 4,363
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-X-F-F
Cost: 61,899,600 C-bills

Fuel: 980 tons (9,800)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 55 (110)
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 15
    Fore Sides: 15/15
    Aft Sides: 15/15
    Aft: 16

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Cargo (149.0 tons)      1 Door   

Ammunition:
    80 rounds of Barracuda ammunition (2,400 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 0
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  12 officers, 34 enlisted/non-rated, 8 gunners

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)(Improved)
76 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                    Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                              Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (60 Heat)
6 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  60   12(120) 12(120) 12(120) 12(120)  Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (80 shots)
Code: [Select]
SDS Secondary Control Station
Mass: 5,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2725
Mass: 5,000
Battle Value: 6,697
Tech Rating/Availability: E/F-X-F-F
Cost: 982,704,000 C-bills

Fuel: 200 tons (2,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 300 (600)
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 15
    Fore Sides: 15/15
    Aft Sides: 15/15
    Aft: 16

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Fighter (2)        1 Door   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (884.0 tons)      1 Door   

Ammunition:
    8,640 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (6 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 1 (100 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  9 officers, 37 enlisted/non-rated, 8 gunners

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Autonomous Tactical Analysis Computer (ATAC) (10 drones)
76 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                        Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                  Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (108 Heat)
8 ER Large Laser                            96   6(64)   6(64)   6(64)     0(0)   Laser       
12 Anti-Missile System                      12   4(36)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (1440 shots)
FRS/FLS (108 Heat)
8 ER Large Laser                            96   6(64)   6(64)   6(64)     0(0)   Laser       
12 Anti-Missile System                      12   4(36)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (1440 shots)
ARS/ALS (108 Heat)
8 ER Large Laser                            96   6(64)   6(64)   6(64)     0(0)   Laser       
12 Anti-Missile System                      12   4(36)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (1440 shots)
Aft (108 Heat)
8 ER Large Laser                            96   6(64)   6(64)   6(64)     0(0)   Laser       
12 Anti-Missile System                      12   4(36)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (1440 shots)
   
Code: [Select]
SDS Control Station
Mass: 50,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2725
Mass: 50,000
Battle Value: 9,847
Tech Rating/Availability: E/F-X-F-F
Cost: 10,821,475,000 C-bills

Fuel: 10,000 tons (100,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 600 (1200)
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 46
    Fore Sides: 45/45
    Aft Sides: 45/45
    Aft: 45

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Fighter (60)       1 Door   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (14907.0 tons)    1 Door   

Ammunition:
    8,640 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (720 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 2 (100 m, 100 m)
Escape Pods: 40
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  15 officers, 62 enlisted/non-rated, 8 gunners, 40 passengers, 60 marines

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Mobile Hyperpulse Generators (Mobile HPG)
    1 Autonomous Tactical Analysis Computer (ATAC) (50 drones)
    1 Naval Comm-Scanner Suite (Large)
226 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                        Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                  Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (108 Heat)
12 Anti-Missile System                      12   4(36)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (1440 shots)
8 ER Large Laser                            96   6(64)   6(64)   6(64)     0(0)   Laser       
FRS/FLS (108 Heat)
12 Anti-Missile System                      12   4(36)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (1440 shots)
8 ER Large Laser                            96   6(64)   6(64)   6(64)     0(0)   Laser       
ARS/ALS (108 Heat)
12 Anti-Missile System                      12   4(36)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (1440 shots)
8 ER Large Laser                            96   6(64)   6(64)   6(64)     0(0)   Laser       
Aft (108 Heat)
12 Anti-Missile System                      12   4(36)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (1440 shots)
8 ER Large Laser                            96   6(64)   6(64)   6(64)     0(0)   Laser   
Code: [Select]
Monitoring Station
Mass: 5,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2750
Mass: 5,000
Battle Value: 4,618
Tech Rating/Availability: E/F-X-F-F
Cost: 21,399,289,000 C-bills

Fuel: 200 tons (2,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 144 (288)
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 15
    Fore Sides: 15/15
    Aft Sides: 15/15
    Aft: 16

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Fighter (8)        4 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (1296.5 tons)     1 Door   

Ammunition:
    2,592 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (6 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 1 (100 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 15
Crew:  11 officers, 48 enlisted/non-rated, 6 gunners, 20 marines

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Naval Comm-Scanner Suite (Large)
    1 Mobile Hyperpulse Generators (Ground-Mobile HPG)
76.5 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                       Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                 Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (78 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
6 ER Large Laser                           72   5(48)   5(48)   5(48)     0(0)   Laser       
FRS/FLS (78 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
6 ER Large Laser                           72   5(48)   5(48)   5(48)     0(0)   Laser       
ARS/ALS (78 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
6 ER Large Laser                           72   5(48)   5(48)   5(48)     0(0)   Laser       
Aft (78 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
6 ER Large Laser                           72   5(48)   5(48)   5(48)     0(0)   Laser       
   
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!

Daryk

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  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #17 on: 07 November 2023, 04:19:24 »
The two smallest ones should at least have a small grav deck.  They're only 50 tons, so it should fit in either one.

Liam's Ghost

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  • Posts: 7905
  • Miss Chitty finds your honor rules quaint.
Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #18 on: 07 November 2023, 04:55:23 »
The launch platform and missile platform are drone controlled, so they don't actually have crew.
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!

Liam's Ghost

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  • Posts: 7905
  • Miss Chitty finds your honor rules quaint.
Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #19 on: 07 November 2023, 05:23:09 »
Drone Aerofighters

  The Bastion's drone fighter forces have always been treated as something of the last of the last resorts, meant to come into play only after the enemy had waded through the sustained missile bombardment and were already fully engaged with the mobile fleet of capital and assault ship drones. The reason for this was that aerofighters were seen as purely short range weapons, unable to carry the fuel to keep up with the faster drones on extended high speed burns, and therefore only really suitable for orbital or jump point defense, where the relative velocity of all sides was sufficiently slow enough for them to properly engage. Given the equipment the Bastion had on hand, this wasn't an unreasonable assessment, however it was also a problem of their own making. Though the Bastion had tinkered heavily with the designs when they had produced their own M-5s and M-3s, they had still primarily adhered to the Hegemony's own tactical doctrines when it came to their drone fleets, which at the time did not include fighter carriers or any sort of SDS carrier doctrine. Even tactical doctrines developed later in the Hegemony, where drone fighters would dock externally to larger drones to refuel in transit, never really made it to the Bastion. Ironically, the Bastion's manned patrol fleet, which before the Amaris Coup was a small fleet of some fifty dropship and a handful of fighter wings, had actual carriers among its own forces, meaning that in some circumstances the relatively tiny contingent of manned fighters were very likely to engage an enemy well before the vast numbers of unmanned fighters deployed around the Bastion's worlds and bases ever came into action.

  And vast was truly the correct term. The Bastion began its drone fighter forces with locally manufactured copies of the experimental Swiftstar, and very quickly these fighters were being manufactured by the hundreds and deployed to both groundside bases and newly commissioned launch platforms in orbital space. After a few years, the Bastion would begin adding Blackwasp fighters (in the slightly upgraded Mk 30-1 model) to its fleet, but the Swiftstar would remain the dominant craft by a wide margin. Doctrinally similar to the Buccaneer strike fighters which would later fly with the manned navy, the Blackwasp would take the role of heavy attack craft in drone formations, their underwing pylons loaded with heavy anti-shipping ordnance, while the Swiftstars filled the roles of interceptors, fighter screens, and if necessary simply a cloud of enraged hornets meant to be thrown in the enemy's face to distract them. Upgrades to the fighters that began in 2765 would tend to reflect this strategy. In addition to the general upgraded control system given to both types, The Blackwasp received an advanced new powerplant and processing upgrades to boost its performance, some small weapon refits, and an electronics package to help it penetrate a larger craft's ECM more effectively. The Swiftstar, as the cheaper, more expendable budget option, received only the new shielded core and an improved cooling system.

  As they were seen as an "acceptable" part of the SDS, the drone fighter fleet would be spared the fate of the M-5s and M-3s. In fact, at several points during the Amaris Coup and its aftermath, production of drone fighters, particularly the Swiftstar, would actually increase dramatically as a cheap and very quick way of reinforcing the Bastion's defense. New orbital defense units composed of eighteen squadrons of Swiftstars based aboard a converted autofreighter would be placed around Martin's landing and other worlds of the Bastion starting in 2775, and would remain in place for almost fifteen years before the lack of any verifiable threat led to them being deactivated, and additional squadrons of drone fighters would simply be stored at air bases, municipal airports, landing strips, and warehouses next to a convenient bit of flat ground all across the Bastion, simply waiting to be activated so that they could throw themselves at the Bastion's enemies.

  Though their active numbers have decreased significantly and scattered stockpiles of old drones have since been swept up and put into proper storage, the Blackwasp and Swiftstar remain the standard drone fighters employed by the Bastion even to this day, with some thirty thousand of the fighters currently in active service both with the defense network and supplementing the fighter groups aboard the navy's carrier fleet. Though the navy has no intention of expanding their drone fighter force at this time, both types still remain in intermittent production in order to counteract regular attrition. There are currently no plans to retire or replace either fighter in navy service.
 
Since we only just got canon stats for the Swiftstar drone in Ghosts of Obeedah, you only get abridged stats for the Bastion's upgraded version. Go buy the book. It's pretty damn good.
 
Code: [Select]
Blackwasp Mk. 30-1

Mass: 50 tons
Frame: Unknown
Power Plant: 250 Fusion
Armor: Ferro-Aluminum
Armament:
     1 Medium Laser
     2 ER Large Laser
Manufacturer: Unknown
     Primary Factory: Unknown
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 2730
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-F(F*)-F-F
Cost: 2,917,542 C-bills

Type: Blackwasp
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Tonnage: 50
Battle Value: 1,263

Equipment                                          Mass
Engine                        250 Fusion           12.5
Safe Thrust: 7
Max Thrust: 11
Structural Integrity:         7                       
Heat Sinks:                   14 [28]                 4
Fuel:                         480                   6.0
Cockpit                                               3
Armor Factor (Ferro)          197                    11

                           Armor   
                           Value   
     Nose                    52   
     Wings                 50/50   
     Aft                     45   


Weapons
and Ammo              Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV
Medium Laser            NOS       1.0      3      5    0    0    0 
ER Large Laser          RWG       5.0      12     8    8    8    0 
ER Large Laser          LWG       5.0      12     8    8    8    0 
Code: [Select]
Blackwasp Mk. 30-3

Mass: 50 tons
Frame: Unknown
Power Plant: 300 XL
Armor: Ferro-Aluminum
Armament:
     2 ER Large Laser
     1 Medium Pulse Laser
Manufacturer: Unknown
     Primary Factory: Unknown
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 2765
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-F(F*)-F-F
Cost: 7,245,938 C-bills

Type: Blackwasp
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Tonnage: 50
Battle Value: 1,329

Equipment                                          Mass
Engine                        300 XL                9.5
Safe Thrust: 8
Max Thrust: 12
Structural Integrity:         8                       
Heat Sinks:                   14 [28]                 4
Fuel:                         400                   5.0
Cockpit                                               3
Armor Factor (Ferro)          197                    11

                           Armor   
                           Value   
     Nose                    52   
     Wings                 50/50   
     Aft                     45   


Weapons
and Ammo                                          Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV
Medium Pulse Laser                                  NOS       2.0      4      6    0    0    0 
Active Probe                                        NOS       1.5      -      -    -    -    - 
ER Large Laser                                      RWG       5.0      12     8    8    8    0 
Shielded Aerospace Smart Robotic Control System     FSLG      4.0      -      -    -    -    - 
ER Large Laser                                      LWG       5.0      12     8    8    8    0 

Code: [Select]
Swiftstar Mk 20-1: Modify the Swiftstar Mk 20 ("Battletech Adventure: Ghosts of Obeedah") as follows
Heat Sinks: 10 [20]
Replace Aerospace Smart Robotic Control System with shielded Aerospace Smart Robotic Control System
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!

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 37287
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #20 on: 07 November 2023, 17:15:22 »
The launch platform and missile platform are drone controlled, so they don't actually have crew.
Ah, ok... I missed that...

Liam's Ghost

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7905
  • Miss Chitty finds your honor rules quaint.
Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #21 on: 07 November 2023, 21:21:42 »
stat dump! Autonomous and semi-autonomous infrastructure! Fluff tomorrow probably

Code: [Select]
Maintenance Station
Mass: 5,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2750
Mass: 5,000
Battle Value: 3,219
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-F(F*)-F-F
Cost: 1,628,639,000 C-bills

Fuel: 200 tons (2,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 55
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 15
    Fore Sides: 15/15
    Aft Sides: 15/15
    Aft: 16

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Standard Repair Facility (Unpressurized) (60,000)1 Door   
    Bay 2:  ARTS Small Craft (1)    1 Door   
    Bay 3:  Cargo (717.5 tons)      7 Doors   

Ammunition:
    1,296 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (6 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 1 (100 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 20
Crew:  8 officers, 38 enlisted/non-rated, 5 bay personnel, 100 passengers

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)
76.5 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                       Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                 Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (216 shots)
FRS/FLS (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (216 shots)
ARS/ALS (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (216 shots)
Aft (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (216 shots)
Code: [Select]
Small Factory
Mass: 50,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2750
Mass: 50,000
Battle Value: 6,352
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-X-F-F
Cost: 408,100,000 C-bills

Fuel: 1,000 tons (10,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 79 (158)
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 45
    Fore Sides: 45/45
    Aft Sides: 45/45
    Aft: 45

Cargo (Standard)
    Bay 1:  ARTS Small Craft (20)   4 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (34896.0 tons)    5 Doors   

Cargo (Small Shipyard)
    Bay 1:  ARTS Small Craft (20)   4 Doors   
    Bay 2:  ARTS Standard Repair Facility (Pressurized) (300,000)1 Door   
    Bay 3:  Cargo (6771.0 tons)     4 Doors   

Ammunition:
    2,592 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (216 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 2 (100 m, 100 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 80
Crew:  10 officers, 45 enlisted/non-rated, 100 bay personnel, 400 passengers

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)
225 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                       Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                 Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
FRS/FLS (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
ARS/ALS (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
Aft (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
Code: [Select]
Large Factory
Mass: 150,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2750
Mass: 150,000
Battle Value: 11,427
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-X-F-F
Cost: 939,340,000 C-bills

Fuel: 5,000 tons (25,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 105 (210)
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 93
    Fore Sides: 93/93
    Aft Sides: 93/93
    Aft: 95

Cargo (standard)
    Bay 1:  ARTS Small Craft (100)  4 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (95067.0 tons)    6 Doors   

Cargo (Medium Shipyard)
    Bay 1:  ARTS Small Craft (100)  4 Doors   
    Bay 2:  ARTS Standard Repair Facility (Pressurized) (700,000)1 Door   
    Bay 3:  Cargo (29442.0 tons)    5 Doors   


Ammunition:
    2,592 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (216 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 2 (100 m, 100 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 300
Crew:  18 officers, 87 enlisted/non-rated, 500 bay personnel, 1000 passengers

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)
560 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                       Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                 Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
FRS/FLS (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
ARS/ALS (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
Aft (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
   
Code: [Select]
Large Shipyard
Mass: 500,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2750
Mass: 500,000
Battle Value: 25,794
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-X-F-F
Cost: 102,870,372,500 C-bills

Fuel: 10,000 tons (25,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 154 (308)
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 230
    Fore Sides: 230/230
    Aft Sides: 230/230
    Aft: 231

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Small Craft (100)  4 Doors   
    Bay 2:  ARTS Standard Repair Facility (Pressurized) (2,000,000)1 Door   
    Bay 3:  Cargo (185343.5 tons)   10 Doors 

Ammunition:
    2,592 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (216 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 4 (100 m, 100 m, 100 m, 100 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 1,000
Crew:  27 officers, 118 enlisted/non-rated, 500 bay personnel, 5000 passengers

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)
1,726.5 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                       Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                 Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
FRS/FLS (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
ARS/ALS (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
Aft (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (432 shots)
   
Code: [Select]
Cargo Platform
Mass: 500,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2750
Mass: 500,000
Battle Value: 29,557
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-X-F-F
Cost: 2,651,522,500 C-bills

Fuel: 30,000 tons (75,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 154 (308)
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 231
    Fore Sides: 230/230
    Aft Sides: 230/230
    Aft: 230

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Small Craft (200)  3 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (100000.0 tons)   3 Doors   
    Bay 3:  Cargo (100000.0 tons)   3 Doors   
    Bay 4:  Cargo (100000.0 tons)   3 Doors   
    Bay 5:  Cargo (67518.5 tons)    3 Doors   

Ammunition:
    28,800 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (2,400 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 1 (200 m)
Escape Pods: 10
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  25 officers, 120 enlisted/non-rated, 1000 bay personnel, 40 passengers, 20 marines

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)
1,726.5 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                        Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                  Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (20 Heat)
20 Anti-Missile System                      20   6(60)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (4800 shots)
FRS/FLS (20 Heat)
20 Anti-Missile System                      20   6(60)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (4800 shots)
ARS/ALS (20 Heat)
20 Anti-Missile System                      20   6(60)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (4800 shots)
Aft (20 Heat)
20 Anti-Missile System                      20   6(60)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (4800 shots)
   
Code: [Select]
Endeavor AutoShuttle

Mass: 100 tons
Frame: Unknown
Power Plant: 100 Fusion
Armor: Standard
Armament:
Manufacturer: Unknown
     Primary Factory: Unknown
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 2750
Tech Rating/Availability: D/E-F-F-F
Cost: 2,713,000 C-bills

Type: Endeavor AutoShuttle
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Tonnage: 100
Battle Value: 456

Equipment                                          Mass
Engine                        100 Fusion              3
Safe Thrust: 3
Max Thrust: 5
Structural Integrity:         10                       
Heat Sinks:                   10                      0
Fuel:                         400                   5.0
Cockpit                                               3
Armor Factor                  144                     9

                           Armor   
                           Value   
     Nose                    41   
     Wings                 36/36   
     Aft                     31   


Weapons
and Ammo                       Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV
Cargo (75 tons)                  FSLG      75.0     -      -    -    -    - 
Smart Robotic Control System     FSLG      5.0      -      -    -    -    - 
Code: [Select]
Q-46 Autoshuttle
Type: Military Aerodyne
Mass: 100 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Introduced: 2775
Mass: 100
Battle Value: 472
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-F(F*)-F-F
Cost: 4,289,550 C-bills

Fuel: 10 tons (800)
Safe Thrust: 3
Maximum Thrust: 5
Heat Sinks: 0
Structural Integrity: 6

Armor
    Nose: 46
    Sides: 46/46
    Aft: 46

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Cargo (36.0 tons)       1 Door   

Ammunition:
None

Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  1 officer, 2 enlisted/non-rated

Notes: Mounts 10 tons of standard aerospace armor.

Weapons
and Ammo                                          Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV
Shielded Aerospace Smart Robotic Control System     Hull      5.0      -      -    -    -    - 
   
Code: [Select]
Q-25 AutoShuttle
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 200 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Introduced: 2765
Mass: 200
Battle Value: 780
Tech Rating/Availability: D/E-F(F*)-F-F
Cost: 7,551,750 C-bills

Fuel: 10 tons (800)
Safe Thrust: 3
Maximum Thrust: 5
Heat Sinks: 7
Structural Integrity: 5

Armor
    Nose: 77
    Sides: 77/77
    Aft: 77

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Cargo (100.0 tons)      1 Door   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (4.0 tons)        1 Door   

Ammunition:
None

Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  1 officer, 2 enlisted/non-rated

Notes: Mounts 18 tons of standard aerospace armor.

Weapons
and Ammo                                          Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV
Shielded Aerospace Smart Robotic Control System     Hull      10.0     -      -    -    -    - 
Code: [Select]

Mammoth Autofreighter Q-55
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 52,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2775
Mass: 52,000
Battle Value: 720
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-F(F*)-F-F
Cost: 1,465,483,600 C-bills

Fuel: 420 tons (4,200)
Safe Thrust: 3
Maximum Thrust: 5
Heat Sinks: 262
Structural Integrity: 20

Armor
    Nose: 78
    Sides: 68/68
    Aft: 58

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Small Craft (4)    1 Door   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (10000.0 tons)    2 Doors   
    Bay 3:  Cargo (10000.0 tons)    2 Doors   
    Bay 4:  Cargo (10000.0 tons)    2 Doors   
    Bay 5:  Cargo (4108.0 tons)     2 Doors   

Ammunition:
None

Escape Pods: 6
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  4 officers, 11 enlisted/non-rated, 20 bay personnel, 5 passengers, 10 marines

Notes: Mounts 21.5 tons of ferro-aluminum armor, Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)  
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!

idea weenie

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4872
Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #22 on: 09 November 2023, 21:01:47 »
Nice sequence with the stations.

The Maintenance station has a large enough bay to make a Small Factory
The Small Factory has a large enough bay to make a Large Factory
The Large Factory has a large enough bay to make a Large Shipyard or Cargo Platform

I wonder if those construction patterns are stored in the memory of the stations.  This way as long as the material can be delivered in the right order, either the larger structure is built or the smaller structure upgrades itself to the larger structure.

Liam's Ghost

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7905
  • Miss Chitty finds your honor rules quaint.
Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #23 on: 10 November 2023, 17:01:20 »
Spaceborn Infrastructure

  A proper discussion about the SDS network, the Bastion's navy, or even the Bastion itself is not truly complete without at least some attention paid to the naval infrastructure which has built and sustains it. The Bastion's industrial infrastructure was built using a then-experimental technology called "Self Configuring Modular Infrastructure" able to plan and execute colonial development based on broad instructions provided by the settlers. This started out as small autonomous fabrication plants which would take in raw materials provided by the settlers to produce more sophisticated manufacturing plants, which in turn would produce more sophisticated plants and so forth. Eventually this fabrication system would become so large and complex that it would be able to handle resource extraction on its own, becoming completely self sustaining and expanding to its designated goal.

  In practice, SCMI technology failed to quite live up to the hype. The autonomous systems tended to struggle with extremely complex technology and highly detailed work, the universal material print systems were never able to fabricate advanced alloys in acceptable quality, and the simple robotic control systems incorporated into a baseline SCMI system had trouble properly interpreting particularly vague directives, which could result in the program expending massive resources on the wrong directives, or even some uncomfortably destructive behavior. Incorporation of a more advanced CASPAR class core produced a much smarter system better able to interpret and anticipate the needs of its operators, but the other limitations of the technology were purely mechanical. SCMI systems are extremely good at resource extraction. Indeed entire moons and asteroids are currently being slowly consumed by vast swarms of SCMI drones and processing plants all across the Bastion, the gigatons of raw materials being extracted annually filtering back to production centers and storage sites on and around the Bastion's inhabited worlds.

  More complicated manufacturing retains the bones of SCMI architecture within it. The manufacturing capability of each of the Bastion's worlds started with small, heavily automated portable fabrication plants, which would build larger more complicated systems, and so on in that fashion. The difference is that production is only semi-autonomous. Each station and factory has its own staff of human workers who perform the work that the autonomous systems are not suited to. The amount of personnel required can vary. A shipyard might play host to hundreds or thousands of human workers, while a massive cargo station might have as few as a couple dozens whose job is purely to track inventory looking for discrepancies. The movement of cargo and passengers is another matter. Civilian passenger and small freight service across the Bastion is almost entirely unmanned, dominated by autoshuttles like the Endeavor short hop shuttle, Q-46 medium range shuttle, and Q-25 cargo carrier. Manned versions of all of these exist, but they are generally either luxury models used by the eccentrically wealthy, or operated by small firms who rely on their slightly superior cargo capacity to make up for their increased operating and insurance costs.

  Heavy cargo transport is dominated by the Mammoth Autofreighter. Though it is equipped with the same autonomous systems as its smaller kin, the Mammoths and the cargo they carry are considered valuable enough to warrant a small caretaker crew as well as a detachment of security personnel, though the actual role these personnel play in a typical trip is to simply make sure the ship is on course and none of the cargo has gone missing.

  Since work began on building the Bastion's naval infrastructure in 2710, the shipbuilding capacity of the Bastion has exploded to fantastic proportions. If fully committed to naval construction, the Bastion's production capacity could turn out twenty Impetuous or Arpeggio class ships in a single year, alongside possibly as many as a hundred Hunt class destroyers and at least an equal number of Lee class escort ships. Smaller facilities in orbit, on the ground, or at asteroid bases could likely turn out hundreds of smaller assault ships in the same amount of time, plus a positively ungodly amount of aerofighters. Of course, the Bastion hasn't seen that level of naval production since the end of the 28th century, and the Bastion's shipbuilding industry operates at a much more sedate pace fostering civilian trade, manufacturing several hundred jumpships and dropships every year to facilitate the Bastion's endless growth, while specifically naval infrastructure is tasked with maintaining the existing fleet and producing small batches of the Arpeggio class. While some observers had speculated that the launching of the Arpeggio was the herald of a new wave of naval production, possibly even including a new battleship class, this has yet to come to pass. For now, the giant is content to remain asleep.
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!

Liam's Ghost

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7905
  • Miss Chitty finds your honor rules quaint.
Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #24 on: 10 November 2023, 18:16:09 »
I wonder if those construction patterns are stored in the memory of the stations.  This way as long as the material can be delivered in the right order, either the larger structure is built or the smaller structure upgrades itself to the larger structure.

That was the original intention of the SCMI systems sent to the Bastion, but they failed to live up to that promised capability.

Out of universe this is meant to account for the game rules in interstellar operations, which limit what the bay is able to repair on its own.

In universe, it's whispered that the military (or the AIs) have much superior SCMI systems that are able to autonomously manufacture all manners of things. But that's just a rumor...
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!

Daryk

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #25 on: 10 November 2023, 19:01:55 »
At least you didn't throw an "R" into that acronym... ;D

Liam's Ghost

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #26 on: 10 November 2023, 19:06:23 »
At least you didn't throw an "R" into that acronym... ;D

Fortunately, they backed away from further developing the technology before the screaming could start. :)
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!

Daryk

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #27 on: 10 November 2023, 20:07:30 »
Heh! ;D

Liam's Ghost

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Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #28 on: 11 November 2023, 22:45:38 »
Suicide Drones, Hive Carriers, and other Panic Weapons

  Though the Amaris Coup spawned the distrust in the SDS network which would eventually result in the decommissioning of its fleet of drones and assault ships, it also spawned a desperate desire to reinforce the Bastion's defenses against any possible attack. And until the training programs and production got into the swing of building a proper navy, any reinforcement of those defenses would still have to be drones, even if they weren't exactly caspar equipped "smart drones".

  The quickest, cheapest, and easiest units to create were obviously the smaller drones, and the Bastion would produce an obscene number of Swiftstar fighter drones between 2767 and 2785. These fighter swarms had only a limited range, however, and were only really useful for close defense around a world or base. In an attempt to combine the cost effectiveness of fighter drones with the extended reach of standard assault ships, the Bastion would also very quickly develop the Q-17 drone, a small craft roughly the size of the largest aerofighter, but with the cruising capability (if not quite the fuel load) of a small assault dropship. Though well protected and capable of almost three days of continuous acceleration, and also small enough to fit in the launch bay of a standard fighter, the Q-17 wasn't particularly nimble for its size, and it only mounted a limited weapons battery. Though a few hundred of the craft would be built, they were ultimately deemed unsatisfactory.

  The next attempt started with existing craft, in this case the NL-31 assault boats operated by the patrol force. Designers removed the troop bay and converted the ship to a drone control system, also finding space for additional weapons and associated control systems. While the resulting NL-31Q was twice the weight of the Q-17 and significantly more expensive per unit, it was also faster, carried three times the fuel, and better protection. And while it could only focus roughly the same amount of firepower in any given direction as the Q-17, its weapons had wider arcs of fire and could engage targets in multiple directions (to a degree). The Admiralty would place an order for eight hundred of NL-31Qs, deploying them (along with the Q-17 fleet) to bases and outposts close to the proximity limit of Bastion star systems, ensuring that these craft would be pre-positioned to begin pursuit of any hostile force proceeding deeper into the system.

  As years, then decades passed without any major attack against the Bastion, most (but not all) of these smaller drones would be retired. The entire class of q-17s would be taken out of service by 2825, with all but a handful scrapped, and those that remained demilitarized and handed over to civilian institutions as museum exhibits. While the majority of the NL-31Q fleet would meet the same fate during the 29th century, a bit less than a hundred actually still remain in service to this day, still used as guard ships at isolated outposts in the outer reaches of each of the Bastion's star systems. Though the drones themselves have been long out of production, the continued use of the manned NL-31 variants ensures a plentiful supply of spare parts.

  Of course the frantic strengthening of the Bastion's unmanned defenses did not stop with such small craft. It wasn't terribly long before certain cunning engineers would begin casting their eyes to the large Mammoth Autofreighters that the Bastion happened to field in such large numbers and start to get ideas. Converting these unarmed, largely unmanned vessels to war would take two forms. The simplest of these was the Hive Carrier, which replaced most of the cargo decks with hangar space for one hundred and eight drone fighters. While it is commonly assumed that engineers simply crammed as many autonomous fighter bays on to the ship as could fit, those same designers insist that the complement of the Hive Carrier was specifically chosen to correspond to the ability of an M-4-3 drone to coordinate and direct other drones, ensuring that each recommissioned M-4-3 could be assigned a Hive Carrier as support and have sufficient processing power to direct the carrier, its complement of fighter drones, and the capital drone's own self defense fighter squadron. Whether this was truly the intent or simple serendipity, the number of Hive Carriers in service would track closely with the number of M-4-3s for much of their early service life. Ninety autofreighters would be converted to Hive Carriers starting in 2767, serving alongside the eighty reactivated M-4-3 drones for a few years before word of Kerensky's victory over Amaris led to both the capital drones and the carriers being deactivated in 2780. Four years later, twenty of each would be reactivated again following word of Kerensky's betrayal reaching the Bastion, and while the M-4-3 drones would go back out of service less than a year later, the Hive Carriers would be retained for another decade before being retired from military service and restored to their original configuration.

  Then there was the more direct approach of the missile carrier conversion. this also used a standard Mammoth Autofreighter as its basis, but instead of fighter bays, the lower cargo decks were instead replaced by fifty capital missile tubes and their associated magazines, with the remaining cargo storage packed with enough missiles to reload those magazines to about eighty percent capacity. This resulted in a ship that was far more powerful than a standard missile defense platform, certainly more mobile, and as long as it was converted from an existing hull that had already been paid for, fairly cost effective. Twenty autofreighters would be converted to missile carriers starting in 2770, and they would be assigned exclusively to the defense of Martin's Landing. This decision was regular criticized by those who believed the mobility of the ships were wasted in such a static role, but the Admiralty remained firm on this decision, and the entire fleet would remain part of the capital's orbital defenses until they were retired from service in 2789.
  Finally there were two oddball designs, though each claimed that status for wildly different reasons. The first was a drone assault ship built on the Confederate hull. Though it suffered the limitations of its size and the use of an existing hull that wasn't designed to be an assault ship, it was still reasonably fast, as protected as its size and hull would allow, and well armed with a unified battery of seventy five large lasers. Honestly, a fairly competent assault ship. Except it was being proposed at a time when the Admiralty was under pressure to take the M-3 drones out of service. In fact, political pressure had already forced the Admiralty to abandon plans to refit the existing M-3 fleet with a simpler (and more "acceptable") control systems. Having just been forced to abandon a relatively cost effective modification that would have allowed them to retain the highly effective M-3s in the fleet, there was no way the Admiralty was going to accept the expense of building an entirely new fleet of less capable drones, no matter how much lobbyists from Roswell Aerospace pushed for the design. And so the Confederate Drone Assault Ship died stillborn, more a victim of incredibly poor timing than anything else.

  The second design was an oddball in a more traditional sense. The MS-8 was a small design, though not as small as the shuttle class drones discussed previously, massing only four hundred tons. It was only lightly protected, but it had a decent fuel capacity and it was blisteringly fast and maneuverable. And it needed to be, the MS-8's only offensive armament was a forty ton warhead and its own kinetic energy. In essence, the MS-8 was a four hundred ton self guided munition intended to kill capital ships by smashing into them. In simulations this appeared to be a very effective strategy, and a practical test carried out against a surplus Black Fleet Dart class cruiser reluctantly donated by the Navy seemed to bear that assessment out, breaking the cruiser in half with a single strike. But there were still concerns. Not related to the weapon's unmanned nature. The fact that the MS-8 was a single use weapon seemed to cancel those concerns out somehow. Instead, concerns about the weapon focused entirely on its practicality. While the test shots against the THS Anastasia had been spectacularly successful, these had been under ideal conditions against a target that was not actively maneuvering or defending itself. While the designers had requested an active M-5 to repeat the test under combat conditions, reasoning that the only thing at risk would be an unmanned ship already destined for disposal, the Navy refused, requesting instead exercise conditions pitting a large number of MS-8s against an entire task force. In this case, the designers balked, claiming there was no way to accurately judge the MS-8s performance if it had to be programmed to miss its target anyway, and committing a large number of drones would be unnecessarily expensive.

  This debate continued long enough for observers to begin to question the actual value of the MS-8. Certainly it could conceivably destroy most if not all capital ships with a single shot, and certainly it was small enough that it could be built in large numbers, but the MS-8 wasn't exactly a cheap weapon system. On the other hand, aerospace fighters were harder to hit, could carry nuclear payloads that were potentially nearly as destructive, and were much cheaper to produce. Also, you might actually get some of those fighters back after they had made their attack run. Aerofighters might not have the range to perform a long range interception on their own, but the navy was building carrier dropships and working on a carrier doctrine. Finally, additional simulations determined that any amount of defensive fire capable of stopping a fighter strike would be just as, or even more effective at stopping a swarm of MS-8s. The conclusion was inevitable. The MS-8 munition simply didn't do anything that couldn't be done better or more economically with another already existing platform, and the program was abandoned by 2787. The dozen-odd remaining munitions would be expended as gunnery targets over the next year.
 

Code: [Select]
Q-17 Assault Ship
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 100 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Introduced: 2768
Mass: 100
Battle Value: 1,256
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-F(F*)-F-F
Cost: 6,163,050 C-bills

Fuel: 5 tons (400)
Safe Thrust: 4
Maximum Thrust: 6
Heat Sinks: 12 (24)
Structural Integrity: 6

Armor
    Nose: 107
    Sides: 91/91
    Aft: 71

Cargo
    None

Ammunition:
None

Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  1 officer, 2 enlisted/non-rated, 1 gunner

Notes: Mounts 21 tons of standard aerospace armor.

Weapons
and Ammo                                          Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV
3 Medium Pulse Laser                                Nose      6.0      4      6    0    0    0 
ER Large Laser                                      Nose      5.0      12     8    8    8    0 
Shielded Aerospace Smart Robotic Control System     Hull      8.0      -      -    -    -    - 
   
Code: [Select]
NL-31Q Assault Shuttle
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 200 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Introduced: 2775
Mass: 200
Battle Value: 2,381
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-F(F*)-F-F
Cost: 16,801,750 C-bills

Fuel: 15 tons (1,200)
Safe Thrust: 6
Maximum Thrust: 9
Heat Sinks: 18 (36)
Structural Integrity: 9

Armor
    Nose: 181
    Sides: 151/151
    Aft: 108

Cargo
    None

Ammunition:
None

Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  1 officer, 2 enlisted/non-rated, 2 gunners

Notes: Mounts 31 tons of ferro-aluminum armor.

Weapons
and Ammo                                          Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV
3 Medium Pulse Laser                               Fwd R      6.0      4      6    0    0    0 
ER Large Laser                                     Fwd R      5.0      12     8    8    8    0 
3 Medium Pulse Laser                               Fwd L      6.0      4      6    0    0    0 
ER Large Laser                                     Fwd L      5.0      12     8    8    8    0 
Shielded Aerospace Smart Robotic Control System     Hull      16.0     -      -    -    -    - 
Code: [Select]
Mammoth Autofreighter Q-55 (Missile Carrier)
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 52,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2770
Mass: 52,000
Battle Value: 54,053
Tech Rating/Availability: E/X-F(F*)-F-F
Cost: 1,657,395,600 C-bills

Fuel: 420 tons (4,200)
Safe Thrust: 3
Maximum Thrust: 5
Heat Sinks: 262 (524)
Structural Integrity: 20

Armor
    Nose: 214
    Sides: 181/181
    Aft: 149

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Small Craft (4)    1 Door   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (10000.0 tons)    2 Doors   
    Bay 3:  Cargo (2507.5 tons)     2 Doors   

Ammunition:
    500 rounds of Barracuda ammunition (15,000 tons)

Escape Pods: 6
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  15 officers, 50 gunners, 20 bay personnel, 5 passengers, 10 marines

Notes: Mounts 72 tons of ferro-aluminum armor, Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)  

Weapons:                                     Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                               Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV     ERV   Class       
Aft (500 Heat)
10 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  100  20(200) 20(200) 20(200) 20(200)Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (100 shots)
10 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  100  20(200) 20(200) 20(200) 20(200)Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (100 shots)
10 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  100  20(200) 20(200) 20(200) 20(200)Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (100 shots)
10 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  100  20(200) 20(200) 20(200) 20(200)Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (100 shots)
10 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)  100  20(200) 20(200) 20(200) 20(200)Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (100 shots)
Code: [Select]
Mammoth Autofreighter Q-55 (Hive Carrier)
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 52,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2767
Mass: 52,000
Battle Value: 720
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-F(F*)-F-F
Cost: 1,634,043,600 C-bills

Fuel: 10,420 tons (104,200)
Safe Thrust: 3
Maximum Thrust: 5
Heat Sinks: 262
Structural Integrity: 20

Armor
    Nose: 78
    Sides: 68/68
    Aft: 58

Cargo
    Bay 1:  ARTS Fighter (54)       4 Doors   
    Bay 2:  ARTS Fighter (54)       4 Doors   
    Bay 3:  Cargo (4658.0 tons)     1 Door   

Ammunition:
None

Escape Pods: 6
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  4 officers, 11 enlisted/non-rated, 5 passengers, 10 marines

Notes: Mounts 21.5 tons of ferro-aluminum armor, Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)  

Weapons:     Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV     ERV   Class       
None
   
Code: [Select]
Confederate (Assault Drone)
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 1,900 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2785
Mass: 1,900
Battle Value: 12,735
Tech Rating/Availability: E/X-F(F*)-X-X
Cost: 609,599,200 C-bills

Fuel: 100 tons (4,000)
Safe Thrust: 6
Maximum Thrust: 9
Heat Sinks: 184 (368)
Structural Integrity: 10

Armor
    Nose: 202
    Sides: 171/171
    Aft: 141

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Cargo (28.5 tons)       1 Door   

Ammunition:
None

Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  4 officers, 1 enlisted/non-rated, 13 gunners

Notes: Mounts 36 tons of ferro-aluminum armor, Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)  

Weapons:               Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)         Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV     ERV   Class       
Nose (180 Heat)
15 ER Large Laser  180  12(120) 12(120) 12(120)  0(0)  Laser       
RS/LS Fwd (180 Heat)
15 ER Large Laser  180  12(120) 12(120) 12(120)  0(0)  Laser       
RS/LS Aft (180 Heat)
15 ER Large Laser  180  12(120) 12(120) 12(120)  0(0)  Laser       
Code: [Select]
MS-8 Suicide Drone
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 400 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2785
Mass: 400
Battle Value: 619
Tech Rating/Availability: E/X-F(F*)-X-X
Cost: 119,870,800 C-bills

Fuel: 20 tons (1,400)
Safe Thrust: 10
Maximum Thrust: 15
Heat Sinks: 42
Structural Integrity: 18

Armor
    Nose: 93
    Sides: 50/50
    Aft: 40

Cargo
    None

Ammunition:
None

Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  1 officer, 4 enlisted/non-rated

Notes: Mounts 9 tons of ferro-aluminum armor, SDS Self-Destruct System, Smart Robotic Control System (SRCS)  
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!

Daryk

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  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: The SDS Network of the Bastion: Unappreciated in their lifetime
« Reply #29 on: 12 November 2023, 05:32:49 »
That MS-8 is one expensive missile...