Eldraeic Word of the Day: Maharargyr

maharargyr: maker’s merit; from mahav (make, maker) and argyr (quantized merit), the excellence which one accrues from a worthy creation.

Note: refers only to the excellence itself, rather than the repute derived from it. This latter is mahadársúnar, from mahav and dársúnar (glory), which in turn is from daráv (sophont) and súnar (brilliant, shining).

But Not Quite Yet

Yeah. Big changes to come. But not quite yet, since this is the piece I have in mind for the closing of, not book three —

Book three, in editing.

— but rather, of book four.

So the galaxy won’t be having a paradigm shift to suffer through quite yet. I’m just issuing early teasers.

It’s coming, though.

And the stars shall tremble.

The More Things Change…

Security: RING DYNAMICS INTERNAL / MULBERRY WISDOM
From: Adari Lyranthar, Directorate Coordinator
To: Future Directions Team
Date: 17 Yrnaes 8001, Midmorn falling 5
Subject: All Fittled Up

Well, gentlesophs, courtesy of the our new friends, the Starleaper Initiative, and the chaps from Metric Engineering, we now have a fittler making a test run.

It’s going to take a little while before my aunt finishes fully evaluating the consequences and implications, not to mention singing the full-length lament to not thinking of that herself, but so we can get started thinking about specific applications, I have some preliminaries to give out.

First, the frameslip drive – to give it it’s proper name – is never going to be a general tool. It’s big, clunky, energy-hungry, and temperamental. To ward off the first response, yes, this a prototype, but no, these are not qualities attached to it being a prototype: most of them aren’t even in the engineering, they’re down in the physics of the thing.

Big and clunky: the core’s not so bad, even if it is bigger than a vector-control core for the same ship and we might even manage some integration there.

The problem is that you can’t fittle without at least one – and possibly more, depending upon configuration – frameslip ring surrounding the ship at a healthy distance, such that you can warp space without turning anyone aboard into rad-seared spaghetti. Essentially, they’re going to dominate the design of anything we put a frameslip into.

Also, they have to go outside everything, including the radiators – at least when they’re retracted, but if you do that, that’s going to up your required heatsink mass.

Energy-hungry: Numbers are attached. Suffice it to say that Extropa are going to sell a lot of antimatter.

Temperamental: You will be delighted to know that causality still holds and the Fifth Directorate will not be coming to wipe our brains before we accidentally an exadeathcrime.

On the other hand, this means that all the fun of universe-enforced causality protection is also the case with the frameslip, although we believe the software should shut it down safely on warning.

It also, which has been extensively tested with pre-prototype models, interacts badly with itself and with stargates. The use of a stargate in the same system as, or whose wormhole track passes near, a frameslip drive tends to cause a bubble collapse, although fortunately not a catastrophic one for the wormhole.

The conclusion I draw from this is that our main business is not obsolete: it appears to be impractical to operate frameslip drives within an extensive, well-trafficked stargate plexus, or indeed in large volume along similar routes. Even more importantly, it appears that the use of frameslip drive is, and in the absence of another high-level breakthrough should continue to be, more expensive in capital, energy, necessary training, and starship design constraints than the use of stargates even at our current rates.

What then of the frameslip? Well, I see two obvious markets. One is the Exploratory Service, who can obviously make use of the frameslip for both far horizon probes, and for new classes of scoutship intended to precede stargate deployment rather than follow it. (Marwyn, can you throw together some scratch designs?) The other is relativist trading vessels working both in the Inner Periphery and the Outback, since the frameslip should be more cost-effective per light-orbit, even without journey time differential taken into effect, than current-generation lighthugger drives.

I’m sure we can come up with more applications if we put our heads together, so see what you can come up with. We’ll have a brainstorming meeting tomorrow at Courtly rising 12.

Adari


Security: RING DYNAMICS INTERNAL / MULBERRY WISDOM
From: Adari Lyranthar, Directorate Coordinator
To: Future Directions Team
Date: 17 Yrnaes 8001, Waterclock rising 12
Subject: REDIRECT EVERYTHING (was Re: All Fittled Up)

New, direct from the test team:

The optimists were right. Since the frameslip just warps space, and thus creates no discontinuities in its operation, unlike gating, it can transport entangled half-objects and it can transport stargate half-pairs.

We’ll have to replace the linelayer fleet to take advantage of it, but the entire Expansion Timetable just got squished. We’ll still have the meeting with whatever you’ve got so far at a later date, but as of right now, our main priority is drawing up projections on what this does to our plexus growth scenarios given different investment options and other presentations to take to the investors. Attached simulation space in six.

Anyone who can stick around tonight to help, please do. We’ve just been handed the opportunity to become the galaxy’s common carrier in a golden chalice, and if we pull this off, in under a century we’ll all have maharargyr, glory, and nice shiny exponents on our net worths!

Adari

On AKVs and Survivability

From the questions box:

Dear Gentlesoph,
Having been reading your posts, I have a question about AKVs such as the ‘Daggerfan’ and ‘Slasher’ classes. With high-powered lasers capable of doing damage at one light second, how do AKVs survive the 300,000km journey into single kilometer range? As stated in your ‘Nonstandard Starship Scuffles’ post, military vessels use armor woven through with thermal superconductors dumping heat into ‘thermal goo’. I assume this armor/thermal management system applies to AKVs as well, although you also state that point-defense lasers will shred a vessel unfortunate enough to get into very close range. How can an AKV survive at single kilometer ranges long enough to inflict damage on the target? Thank you for your time, I look forward to more posts!

Well, there are two parts to this: how do AKVs close to skin-dancing range, and how do they survive when they get there? I’ll take ’em one at a time.

On the first point: with great difficulty.

If you take a wing of AKVs and throw them at a fresh battleship, all you’re doing is providing its point-defense computers with skeet; they’ll be chaff and charnel before they get anywhere near the inside of the BB’s point-defense zone.

What you have to do is wear it down first. That’s is the job of the non-carriers on your side of the fight: throw a lot of kinetics at the enemy to make their PD work hard. That does three jobs: one, it keeps the PD grid busy in itself; two, any of it that gets through may just take out a chunk of the PD grid; but most importantly, three, by making them run their point-defenses, you’re building up heat in their ship. Your non-carriers also have the job of pumping heat into their ship directly with the big lasers.

That heat, in turn, is going to eat away at their PD efficiency in a variety of ways. Most simply, it’s going to have to cut back on its firing rate once the heat sinks start filling, because otherwise the crew will cook, but also the hardware becomes less efficient, processor error rates go up, and similar badness ensues.

That’s when you send in the AKVs, and you send in a lot of AKVs mingled with a lot of chaff and decoys, swamping the capabilities of the now-degraded PD grid. They won’t all get through – you plan for a lot of them not to – but once the grid’s sufficiently degraded, enough will to ruin the BB’s day.

As for when they’re there? Remember, they’re described as operating within the point-defense envelope, which is to say, inside its inner boundary, which is defined by the minimum effective range of the PD – set by a variety of factors, such as the range at which firing the PD will seriously damage your own ship, but of which probably the most important is the ability of the PD to track the target and slew to fire on it. At the sort of hug-the-hull sub-km range AKVs like to operate at, it doesn’t take much velocity to generate a huge traversal angle, and what you can’t track, you can’t reliably hit.

(And it’s hard for your screen to fire effectively at the AKVs ruining your day, ’cause even discounting the effects of the AKV exploding at point-blank range, every miss will hit you.)

All of which is to say: While there are some subtleties and complexities to the tactics (defense AKVs, screening vessels sharing PD, etc., etc.), the short answer is it takes a lot of work and losses to get an AKV force within range of a target, but once you do, that target is dead meat.

Meteorology

“Good morning, Talentar, and welcome to the second day of Severe Weather Disposal Week! The ecopoesis operations team tell us they’ve got a lot of moist air to dump, so the theme for the day is wet, wet, wet!

“Up in the northern highlands, expect torrential rainfall in the vicinity of the Antíval Basin. Flood defenses around the basin rim will be operating and the flood barrier at the northern end of the Antíva Canal will be closed until flash runoff from the storms has been dealt with. In related news, three spillways have been opened in readiness at the Ontaron Cut Dam, and both dwellers along and users of the southern Antíva Canal should be prepared for high water levels and flow rates from the Dam as far south as the Isifer Bay Wetland Dispersal Structure.

“Residents in the Five Valles and in particular in the vicinity of Quinjano should be prepared for severe fog and high water levels in the Fivefold River as cold spillover descends into the valles. Visibility is expected to be negligible in the region, and highway/skyway oversight has issued a safety advisory recommending curtailment of all non-automatic flight in the region, as well as manual driving on the TI-1, TI-3, and all TV routes. Also, put on your cold suits outside even if you’re not going up on the Altiplanum; the chilling effect will be harsh.

“An unscheduled hailstorm and associated mudslide have forced temporary closure of two lanes of the TV-5, 870 miles south of the polar ice mines. Repairs are already in progress, but traffic should avoid the area until a further announcement is made.

“Finally, in unplanned weather, a localized dust storm blowing down into Kirinal Planum has closed the westbound carriageway of the TI-2 with a sanddrift. Normal service should be resumed within an hour, but for the moment westbound traffic is at a standstill, and eastbound traffic delayed as people slow to see this piece of classic weather. Folks, keep driving, please! You can replay it later at your leisure. Also due to this storm, travelers in the region between Suléyn Dome and Marusí Vallis as far south as Meltwater should check their vehicles or breather masks are rated for level three dust and fines.

“That’s all today from us. Thank you for listening to Talentar Imminence, and here are a few words from our sponsors…”

The Counterrevolution Will Be Televised

combat instrumentation and logging module (CILM): Part of the standard military-basic biomod package, the combat instrumentation and logging module is an enhanced lifelogger, recording tagged sensory recordings as well as physiological information, armor, weapon, and equipment telemetry, and tactical mesh status. The data recorded by the CILM is used to provide contextual data in after-action reports, for targeted improvement of individual performance and fireteam coordination, and in the development of future training scenarios.

Given the Legions’ institutional sense of humor, the CILM is commonly if unfortunately referred to as the “fight data recorder”.

Blackjacket’s Dictionary

Cultural Crossovers #11: Age of Ultron

On we go:

  • Well, this seems dramatic.
  • Hydra appear to have leveled up.
  • As always, it’s the junior minion who has a realistic appreciation of the situation.
  • The “Iron Legion”? Nice. That’s how our legions do it, too.
  • Well, aren’t you a quick one.
  • VANGUARD CHARGE!
  • Ah, synergy.
  • Okay, how the hell did you smuggle that out of New York?
  • Well, aren’t you interesting, miss vision-inducer.
  • Ah, cultural differences. Although the audience relates more to the Asgardian.
  • Fast and weird. *snort*
  • Ah, we meet the puppetmaster inside the scepter, do we?
  • And the audience screams THIS IS A BAD IDEA in unison, because they know exactly how this works.
  • …is everyone about to have their brain eaten now?
  • Dammit, Tony, you got JARVIS brain-raped. If you survive this mess, you’re going to hate yourself for doing that.
  • Ah, the good booze.
  • AND THIS IS WHY WE DON’T RUN CODE FROM MYSTERIOUS PALEOTECH ARCHIVES UNTIL WE UNDERSTAND EVERY LINE OF IT.
  • I mean, he’s not wrong, and yet…
  • We like you, creepy arms dealer guy. Well, a little.
  • Okay, we have a resurrection seed with stepdaddy issues. This is going to go so well.
  • …well, you do seem to have inherited his snarkiness. Or maybe Jarvis’s.
  • Hands off the myeu-myeu!
  • Guess everyone’s getting brainfucked today —
  • — well, almost everyone! Nicely done.
  • Hello, Veronica. We like you. You’re a clever KEW —
  • — ah, that’s Veronica. And that suit looks like one of ours.
  • Oh, now, that’ll just make him mad.
  • I hope that transaction cleared fast.
  • Ah, yes, a “safe house”. More of a “safe home”, really.
  • It wants to be a real boy. Adorable. I’m guessing without giving up its universal infection-fu.
  • That’d be a terrible way to build an extranet. Just sayin’.
  • And there’s the seed.
  • The audience applauds the Maximoffs’ heel-face turn, which they’ve been expecting for some time.
  • Waters of Insight, eh? We’re just up to our asses in —
  • Crap, it’s one of those.
  • Yeah, cerebral bridges are slow.
  • Y’know, me old perversion, evolution is perhaps the single least effective way of advancing a species. Try engineering. If you weren’t, y’know, definitionally insane.
  • Nice combat drop, well executed.
  • And a hierarchical command structure, too, not a peer-to-peer distributed intelligence. The Avengers are very lucky, the audience deems, to be fighting a seed AI whose imperatives prevent it from having, y’know, strategic acumen.
  • I would trust Jarvis here, myself. But again, DO NOT PLAY WITH PERVERSION PARTS THAT YOU DO NOT ENTIRELY UNDERSTAND. It’s a simple rule for avoiding, you know, total Armageddon.
  • Because, yes, a brawl is exactly how one should resolve decision points.
  • And, Tony, just because you lucked out on try #2 DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD KEEP PLAYING WITH THEOGENIC ALGORITHMS.
  • Yeah, that would be a good sign. Damn hammer’s the smartest one in the room.
  • …you have a second AI, fine, but didn’t you back Jarvis up before trying the upload? Dammit. (Maybe even a little, or a lot, out of character.)
  • At least you kept up the snark, Stark.
  • Now that’s just ostentatious. Not that there’s anything wrong with ostentation, per se…
  • Aw, how adorable and ruthless and adorably ruthless.
  • Hawkeye, you are ridiculously self-aware.
  • Well, that’s a rescue that she’s going to need some serious memory redaction to recover from. If they don’t have that tech in this ‘verse, we recommend whiskey, neat.
  • Oh, my, a practical use for a helicarrier at last.
  • Thor, don’t ever change.
  • And Hulk, don’t food with your play, okay?
  • …well, fuck.
  • My dear Scarlet Witch, you have an admirably well-developed sense of revenge, but your timing could use just about all the work.
  • I really don’t think Tony thinks of his AIs as slaves.
  • Yeah, that new team looks like it’ll work.

So… what have we learnt here today, kids?

THE CORICAL CONSENSUS EXISTS FOR A REASON.

DO NOT CALL UP THAT WHICH YOU ARE HILARIOUS LUCKY TO BE ABLE TO PUT DOWN.

  • And that is not a happy shiny gauntlet.