Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:35 am

The Grandeur of Auriga uses hypersail tech and has refined it to its peak. In hypertravel the sails help catch tachyonic currents (or whatever) to augment the ship's own hyperdrive-propelled movements. More advanced sails can actively use field-manipulation to add a boost, like supplementary reactionless drives (there are probably instances where Aurigan warships' damage hyperdrives died mid-jump and the sails did the rest of the work). Out of FTL, lower-end sails just fold up and the masts act like nacelles. Higher end sails have secondary realspace field-manipulation capabilities, augmenting shields (or being the shield generators themselves), deflecting incoming rounds or even using hyperfields and grav-waves to slice smaller enemy vessels. Most lower-end hypersails are composed of physical meta-materials, whereas the most advanced Aurigan sails are made out of energies projected by masts that channel orgonic energies.

In short, it's a more complicated parallel-version of the Solarians' more advanced hyperfield tech, though the USSF's vessels requires no masts, using fields can be projected by smooth-hulled blade-like Strikestars. The Apexai warsaucers of old probably used hyperfields to go Doctor Manhattan disassembly on Braglan warfleets.

NEUROM vessels, particularly those of the Sternheim, are of similar caliber to their Aurigan counterparts. But due to their old Warmoon-derived tech and their psyches, their sails are sterner (lol duh), more rigid but more durable in form but less versatile than the Aurigans.' So their sails aren't sails, but solid wings. Their capships probably resemble Victory-class ISDs or enlarged X-Wings and Lambda shuttles, with wings that expand in hyperspace and fold or collapse into stubby parts that have supplemental shielding purposes while weapons and sensors pop out of the wingtips.

And their brand of humanism makes some vessels, the significant ones, oddly humanoid-shaped. The old Sternheim warmoon could've had the silhouette of a man on a throne.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Invictus » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:57 pm

Hypersails also bring the thematic possibility of external FTL boosting arrays - like lasers for laser sails except projecting hyperspatial radiations for a ship with sufficient trans-surface area to catch - letting individual ships save on mass and expensive higher-rated hyperdrive machinery. Such a system wouldn't be as expensive as building a hypergate outright, but probably imposes its own finicky demands for technology to track and lock on to ships in hyperspace transit, while using stationary facilities in realspace.

Inversely, this would imply that you can also build inverse hyperspatial boosters that push against approaching vessels, impeding them or even forcing them to drop out of FTL, so a star system with enough energy access and defensive infrastructure can't be FTL-blitzed that easily. Maybe that's even the solution to the relativistic spaceship terrorist problem - even if hyper-interdiction beam emitters can't catch and slow spaceships in time, the very action of painting a rogue FTL vessel creates a causal link between the outsystem ship and the planet the beam emitter is on and forces them both into the same reference frame or something, ensuring that it at least can't pull any cheap relative velocity-transfer tricks.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Invictus » Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:10 pm

As covered earlier in the thread, Bragulan FTL (and whatever they use for relativistic propulsion) is slow and very, very radioactive, enough that a fleet traveling in tight formation creates its own natural forcefield. This probably doesn't just stem from a refusal to innovate.

However, it's fair to say that whatever weaknesses the Bragulan military machine has, they're aware of them and will take them into account. Maybe they're deploying paleocruisers with leaky radiation signatures because that's what they have always done, getting rid of centuries' worth of overflowing war surplus. Maybe they're deliberately using leaky ships to shroud flights of stealth gunskimmers. Maybe it's even a sophisticated decoy broadcasting a much larger signature because they want you to think there are paleocruisers there for some reason. Maybe Bragulan fleet movements are always rigidly aggressive because they know Solarian strikestars can always react to their movements but still get into position first.

In fact, Shroom raised the intriguing idea that their strategic considerations are heavily informed, even traumatized, by Solarian resistance in Brag War One and fully developed and teched-up Sovereignty mobility doctrine in subsequent conflicts. Operational plans are always more convoluted than they need to be, and military maskirovka is applied nonsensically and to the point of absurdity, with the ideological fervor of a bunch of bears with graph paper and skyscraper-sized nucleonic mainframes trying to out-think CIs and furiously aware that it probably won't work.

You'd have a Wild Space world suddenly plastered with nuclear missiles by an ancient battered subcruiser dropping out of warp because a century ago, Bragule made psychohistorical calculations of the future territorial expansion of the USS and decided to send off preemptive longshot strikes to deny the Solarians those systems, except they made the mistaken assumption that their mortal foes would expand as aggressively as they would!
Me wrote:is Bragulan doctrine always this caricature of deep battle that seems informed by their own paranoia as much as anything else
Shroom wrote:yes
On their end, Solarian war planners are absolutely terrified of THE BIG ONE (or TWO, or THREE, depending on how many big wars they've fought already), the final apocalyptic Bragulan offensive that will overwhelm the K-Zone for good, thus their strategy of constant maneuver and distractions and forcing the BSE to spend far more resources than necessary for counter-confoundment purposes. Of course, the downside of tricking your rival to spend a lot of resources fighting you is that, well, they now have a whole lot of resources to fight you with, a fortified frontier made of brute-force solutions. Mining worlds rigged to explode like verigrite-laced fragmentation mines. I'm not sure if the CI strategists are aware of the ironic monster they've created.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:43 pm

I'd presume the Brags have *some* fast-movers here and there, either the not-stealth but hotrod gunskimmers or Kerbal-like paleocruisers in which each one has a fallen sister-ship's recovered engines bolted on to make the thing resemble a deranged Vostok, including ridiculities like one way trips involving multiple ship stages... tail sections rated to explode after half a sub-sector's worth of travel, but propelling the remaining vessel even faster for the rest of the trip... and horrible hyper-nucleonic FTL-pusher arrays! Intense verdigrite-enriched hyper-arrays that shove moon-sized cargo vessels and moving-fortresses across systems. And warpgates for internal defensive movements...

There'd be more modern Imperator's Fist that move at kinda decent speeds thanks to modern FTL by Brag standards. I presume warmoons of more recent make have hyperdrives the size of cruisers and can actually move decently fast... maybe even drag half a fleet with it. But the most modern Brag stuff is situated in the mid- and core- sectors and the Brags are probably terrified of showing the USS their current-gen stuff because they are worried the CIs and psionic SORCERORS can start devising countermeasures!

And possibly some really recklessly-reverse-engineered xenotech and Apexaitech propelling experimental vessels, with hidden commissars and IBGV spooks in the crew to dissuade defection attempts! A rebuilt saucer phases too deep into hyperspace, the IBGV assumes the scientists/pilots fled to the USS, and so their families are sent to a bragulag or something!
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Siege » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:34 pm

Invictus wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:10 pm
I'm not sure if the CI strategists are aware of the ironic monster they've created.
It may well be a deliberate strategy on the part of the Sovereignty: tie up as many Bragulan resources in their ridiculous military to prevent them from ever devoting enough to catch up to the speed of technological development that the Sovs themselves have attained. The Brags aren't stagnant, but any new technologies cannot be properly rolled out across their military because they're utterly overstretched and have long exhausted any remaining organizational flexibility.

The only way the Brags can answer the Sovereignty is by basically massing the equivalent of the entirey Sov military on every conceivable front, simply because Brag ships and troops aren't as fast and agile. This creates a massive command and control issue, not just in arming and equipping the fleets but also because the Brags are paralytic with fear that one of their admirals takes his gigantic fleet and goes rogue on them. So they have to rig up this vast ideological control apparatus to watch their officers, but this apparatus has the same inherent control issue as the military itself, so it may well need a third agency to watch the watchers... And so on. The result is a gigantic clusterfuck of a bureaucratic imbroglio that couldn't ever possibly roll out any kind of new technology with anything remotely resembling efficiency. It takes decades for a new idea to be checked for ideological deviancy, let alone brought to the attention of actual decision makers, settled on, implemented and rolled out to actual troops. This process could take centuries. And while it is going on the Sovereignty is experimenting and implementing new ideas at the speed the CIs can dream them up. So by the time the Brags develop anything significantly threatrening to the current day Sovereignty, the CIs reason, the Sovereignty themselves will be Time Lords.

The downside is, as you say, the outside possibility of a Big One during a relatively small and rapidly closing window of opportunity where the Sovereignty would actually still be vulnerable to such a thing. A century from now the Sovs will be immune to anything the Brags can throw at them, or so the CIs think, and if everything does go wrong they can in ultimo just pack up and leave, move a couple hundred lightyears and continue with everything that really matters (to them) about the Sovereignty, because its hypertech means that everything that matters can be packed in a couple heighliners. That's harsh for all the physical sentients left behind to face Brag nucleonic barrages but hey, perhaps they should've thought about that when they programmed their CIs this way in the Time of Treason.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Steve » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:01 pm

Hrm. The idea of one side with numerical superiority, but the other side having a truly decisive edge that makes them far more flexible and maneuverable, reminds me of Catherine Asaro's Skolian Saga, where the Eubians are three times the size of the Skolians, but the Skolians' possession of interstellar communications via their psion-empowered Web network allows their numerically-inferior fleets far greater strategic flexibility.

Actually, do the Solarians have psion-enabled interstellar comms too? With the Apexai and the hybrids and such?
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Siege » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:45 pm

I would imagine you could theoretically use psions to relay a message to another star system in real time, provided you can find a psion willing to do such utterly pedestrian work for you. It's hard to conceive a reason why you'd rely on psions though instead of communicating through the Datasphere like a civilized person - unless you are a psion, in which case it might well be easier. But it's certainly not any faster, and we haven't established that psions are any more difficult to eavesdrop on than military-grade Datasphere traffic. Are CIs easier to hack than psions? They may well not be.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:48 pm

The Apexai definitely do still have functioning transpsionic communications, either puissant psions who can reach out, or systems/networks that utilize amplifying components but on a smaller scale than the bygone Oversoul (the Zedath-Kaleshi probably have Oversoul components that still work, albeit diminished from the fabled ancient one). Of course as Siege points out, normal hypercomms and encrypted means and sub-mesonics can do so. For the Apexai using long-distance psionic communications may be for either really special messages or ritualistic purposes - like Exodite astropaths sending psionic signals for some once-a-decade gathering (either physical or astral or both). Hmm... Apexai doing astral projection love-making and... conceiving a mind-child despite the partners being lightyears apart?!

Most likely the secret societies in Solaris such as the Silver Shield, and CEID's psion divisions, have similar if less whiz-bang capabilities.

Of course do that in Wild Space and there's a risk of attracting Karlacks, actual psychovores or whatever into the vicinity... and yeah maybe super high level K-Zone psions and Fracture espers can tamper/intercept/interfere such things... like a meditating Magi might perceive some dark secret message sent by Ministers, by curious happenstance (maybe fate!) and sense it as inkling and not literally akin to "we intercepted a transmission" ELINT type.

And yeah there's metaphysical differences between standard espers and Solarian psions descended from Apexai hybridization programs. Solarian psions, due to the "cold" nature of Apexai minds, are less prone to going Sith than natural non-hybrid espers. But Solarian psions and Apexai can still reach nigh-mystical stuff beyond just telepathy and TK. They can tap into and flow with a... less-large yet less-volatile... more-exclusive zeitgeist than the Fracture (or Wounded Life Force if some Gersallian scholar studies it lol). Esper "frequencies" have more overlap with those that normal minds can passively touch/be touched by.

Zigonians are more "esper" than "psion" in this respect.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Invictus » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:47 pm

My impression is that the Datasphere is based on the same sub-meson technology that makes CIs work and enjoys the same nigh-instantaneous latency, like quantum entanglement stuff in other sf but without the drawbacks on bandwidth and reusability. To to able to crack Datasphere communications would be synonymous with being able to crack ludicrously complex and preposterously fast-moving bits of CI brain architecture - and probably would count as doing the same thing, considering that CIs are integrated into the very fabric of the USS's ultratech infrastructure. I think y'all mentioned somewhere that Olympic *is* the Datasphere.

(Which is not to say it's utterly impossible. I can imagine Telestrons somehow physically wandering into virtual CI meetings and Olympic getting very annoyed about it.)

Nevertheless, I think the main problem with the modern USS in total war isn't winning the OODA game, but just...convincing enough of the Solarian state to mobilize notwithstanding the radical decentralization, the ultra-hedonism, the extremely refined media bubbles telling people it's fake news, etc. The USS is undoubtedly endless energetic and creative, and what would take another polity a whole interstellar state's worth of control and coercion to do, a smart-mob of like a hundred Solarians could spontaneously accomplish - but it's energetic in the way an explosion is energetic, much harder to focus than with the people who were fighting for their survival in Brag War One. The CIs can always resort to their comprehensive control over the Sovereignty's hardware, but the Sovereignty did fight a whole civil war over not doing that.

Interstellar astropathy seems more like a Fracture thing, and the Earthreign of old definitely did do it by like, plugging giant mutant brains into massive beacon relays. And for many places, the most valuable piece of communications infrastructure you can have is still a Magi meditating in a cell, Magi being Extra Bullshit even by psion standards.*

*There is in fact no inherent reason for whose espers touched and transformed by the Sophia to become extra powerful; what they do become is extra flexible, and eventually found ways to transfer their psi-potential to chosen successors. This adds up over time.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:58 pm

I wonder if there are paranoiac rules in even saner Fracture states in which esper congregations can't exceed... certain magnitudes of astropathic puissance... lest it be seen as an impromptu neuromonger-like thing warranting sanction. So a big Magi temple in the Grandeur or wherever can't just get a few hundred espers to create an astropathic choir without freaking out the authorities who'll think their brains are about to get zonked.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Siege » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:25 pm

I wonder if there's not some sort of... right-angled intersection, between the noosphere of rapidly expanding Solarian thought-stuff, this coginova of supercharged dream/morals/enlightenment exploding into the cosmos, and the Datasphere, which is essentially this same notion clad in technology. If there is some sort of interaction between the two, perhaps the Silver Shield have built interchanges that allow their hybrids to walk the Datasphere without a jack - possibly by using arcane techniques and technologies inspired by or inherited from the Apexai, whose Oversoul functioned in a not quite similar yet suspiciously familiar fashion.

I figure for psions this would be more akin to some sort of trippy dreamwalk through a David Lynchian interpretative phantasmagoria, rather than the straight rip into glowy receding neon datastacks that a jacker gets to see. Maybe it's not quite the Datasphere, but a strange shadow that it projects onto the noosphere... Or strange precipitous crossroads of Aguero-space-vectors where the greater mass of Solarian sentience actually cuts across the vestiges and outskirts of cognitive CI thought.

And some CIs, aware of this peculiar intrusion into the outer rim-shells of their logic, may have learned to intrude the other way.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:14 am

It might be akin to the vodou strangeness in Count Zero. The Datasphere, even sans psion influence, could as you said through sheer density start "glitching" in ways that are attuned to the collective subconscious of the population... CI and cyberspace algorithms are programmed to expand and learn, but they did so in unexpected ways molded by the billions (or trillions?) of lives and mindsets hooked to 'em, so there's an American Gods' effect in cyberspace. Like, if reality itself is already malleable through psionics and life force - as seen in the Fracture (and reminiscent of 40K's Warp but less grimdark) - then virtual reality might be similar. Aside from cyberjockeys and appropriately equipped psions, there could even be haphazard subcultures that somehow without technical or psionic expertise can already play around with facets of the Datasphere using sigil magic and Words of Power.

"The ward on this paper, if you show it around, will make you blur in the eyes of kill-drone software/Panopticon sensorium/etc."

Yeah we've established that synthetic minds aren't immune to Fracture-esque effects so... sufficiently specialized CIs could enter the psychic realm. The Apexai Oversoul probably had psionic golems and conjurations and summons to act as librarians or filing clerks for the collective Pensive memory-storages.

So a Zigonian monk burning some incense and tripping could then "hear" some psi-CI using techno-metaphysical means to reach out and warn him of some Cevaucian plot or whatever.
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