Since the The Free State was first encountered, they have conducted interactions on an individual or ship-level basis, for the most part. Aside from the emissary sent to the International Relations Conference of YE 30, the Free State have lacked a designated ambassador.
Commissioning one entity to speak for the Free State has been a puzzle in itself, as each member of the State is free to disregard any promises or treaties agreed to by any such ambassador. Additionally, any single organic would be prone to bias, a bane to the Freespacer ideology of free information. A solution was eventually found, however, and the Envoy was created. And, with it, the Colossal and the Swifts.
Despite the objection given at the IRC-30 against an artificial entity acting as an ambassador, the Envoy is a Synthetic Intelligence construct. It is programmed to be a balancer, essentially creating and balancing options as if they were equations. Within the same construct is a pair of modules, Up-Spin and Down-Spin. These are the voices of Optimism and Pessimism, Naiveté and Suspicion, that are constantly giving input on a situation. The purpose of this system is to allow the Envoy to access raw facts, bare of opinion, first, then acquire the raw worse-case and best-case scenario options second, then balance those according to the weights the Envoy is either given or applies on its own to a given situation.
Moreover, the Envoy is connected to the Polysentience and is always transmitting. The two modules are inaudible to everyone around it except to those connected to the Polysentience, acting like voices in its mind. Everyone accessing its stream on the Polysentience will also hear them, providing not just the data to the Freespacers, but also making appeals to both sides, sometimes emotional and sometimes not. This is in case a vote needs to be taken on an issue.
The Envoy’s reasoning isn’t perfect. Its weighting system can be swayed by one or the other side, and he knows that whatever decision he makes may not be followed by all members of the Free State. However, this is offset by the treatment of the voting process.
There are generally two types of votes taken: Opinion polls and Decisions.
Polls are exactly that, taking a reading of the favorability of a given issue, item, or person. This measures into the weighting of the Envoy’s decisions.
The second type, Decisions, are treated more carefully. Instead of holding the entire State to the results of a vote (which are generally only taken when deciding to accept or refuse a treaty or similar political decision of wide-spread consequence), the vote is taken of the entire linked State and the results are read as a declaration of who agrees to abide by the terms as presented and who is unwilling. The Envoy will then let the diplomatic party know how much of the Free State have agreed to the terms presented and make clear that those who have refused will not be held to those terms if the decision passes. Meanwhile, if the treaty or decision passes, then the vote results will be separated by ship: Each vessel will have the votes of its crew tallied and the results will be applied to each vessel individually: in these cases, the majority of each vessel will decide how that vessel will act. By this method, the diplomatic process will be applied in a manner appropriate to the culture of the Free State with each member of the state being given the chance to voice their opinion and decision and the government of the other party will be given a clear idea of what to expect from the members of the State with regard to any treaties or agreements.
All in all, this makes the Envoy a representative in true Freespacer fashion.
The Envoy is unbound to ships and instead has its own construct: The Colossal, a shifting, modular mechanoid vessel (or possibly classified as an automata) created of a blend of Freespacer Failover design ethic augmented with a few Nepleslian systems.
The exterior is a collage of armor plating and exposed workings, as well as what appear to be clockwork movements: cogs, gears, and flywheels. Most assume the latter is ornamental, as the pieces are decorated in traditional Free State fashion, but no comments have been made by the Envoy as to their purpose.
The Colossal on a large complement of “satellite appendages” (designated “The Swifts”) to provide a number of functions for it, from defense to resource gathering and maintenance.
The interior is ascetic in an extreme, with four walls of grating within the maintenance tunnels, providing easy access to parts and zero-G traction for any automata, organic, Swift, or junker required to enter (as there is no gravity generator). The cargo area is only accessible from the outside and has been all but filled with not only ore, materials, and parts, but a complex honeycomb bulkhead structure that significantly reduces internal damage from attacks that breach the hull.
Type: Massive automata
Designers: The Free State
Manufacturer: The Free State
Production: One (1) (able to be constructed on as-needed basis)
Fielded by: Freespacers
Crew: One (1) Syntelligence; no organic crew
Maximum Capacity: Probably eight medium humanoids in Extra-Vehicular Activity gear. Terribly uncomfortable and claustrophobic, though.
Length: Variable; ~ 60 feet
Width: Variable; ~ 20 feet
Height: Variable; ~ 20 feet
All variable. Volume maintained consistently, however.
Difference Engine (FTL): ~0.3c
Difference Engine (Hybrid Gravitic Propulsion) w/ Inertialess Drive (STL): 0.2c; primary STL propulsion.
Ion drive w/ Inertialess Drive (alternate STL): 0.2c, aided by the Inertialess Drive. The ion engine is used when speed is needed and a solar slingshot maneuver is not possible.
Advanced Solar Sails w/ Inertialess Drive (STL): Varies on local solar energy; standard average is 0.1c, reaching up to 0.3c when performing solar slingshot maneuvers.
Lifespan: Indefinite with upkeep
Refit Cycle: As needed
Armor is a mixture of any alloys and salvage the Colossal has encountered, adhered to the hull by forced molecular bonding or bolted to the unit's frame.
Communications: Standard Freespacer communications array, including
Computer: The Envoy controls everything about itself, the Colossal, and the Swifts, as they are all considered the Envoy's “body”. The Envoy itself is 'contained' in an amalgamate system of various Freespacer and Nepleslian parts and designs, redundant in several areas, while the Envoy's “self” is mirrored within the Polysentience network at all times while it is connected. In case of disconnection, it will update itself once a Polysentience connection has been restored.
Computer Network: Polysentience. The Colossal's communication systems also enable it to act as a hub of Polysentience activity for a significant area.
Engines, STL: Inertialess Drive & the Difference Engine, with thrusters and a single ion engine along the dorsal area. The combination of the engines, the Intertialess Drive and Difference Engine in particular, dramatically increase the Envoy's ability to flee undesirable situations. The thrusters and ion engine are used for most non-time-intensive travel needs, however.
Engines, FTL: Difference Engine. A Rift Generator was tempting, but unsupportable by the Colossal.
Power Generation: Various, including Starlight Cells, Prism Shield-Sails, and several micro-fusion reactors that power internal critical systems locally (and create fissionable materials for the Swifts' generators).
Power Distribution: Standard energy conduits, though not as extensive as most vessels as 1) the Colossal is relatively small, and 2) most systems are powered by their own reactors. Each Swift is powered by its own radioisotope generator. There is also an energy transmission network connecting the Colossal to the Swifts, allowing the Colossal and the Swifts to pool energy resources.
Radiators: All waste energy, thermal included, is recycled for maximum efficiency through the Hotblooded Energy Reclamation System. The rest is shunted to thrusters and the ion engine.
Sensors, exterior: One (1) Salvaged Quantum Mirror, two (2) Freespacer-constructed Quantum Mirrors. Two at a time are in use, one is kept in reserve for parts.
Sensors, interior: A modified version of Nepleslian civilian internal sensor system combined with the Freespacer "Little Brother" internal monitoring and sensor suite.
Shielding: A civilian Nepleslian shield suite design repurposed for use with a small power supply. Just enough to provide protection from natural hazards, atmospheric reentry, and near-lightspeed space travel. For defense, the Prism Shield Sails provide a bit of protection from energy attacks and hazards, but the Colossal mainly relies on its ECM capabilities and the Swifts.
ECM/Interdiction: Entropy's Shroud Electronic Warfare Suite
SI: The Envoy
The Colossal has a limited number of Stone Swift “satellite appendages” (usually nine) and is unable to replace them on its own requiring that it be sent replacements as the ones it has are lost or worn out. All parts needed for any repairs of the Colossal and the other two Swift types are able to be produced by the Stone Swift factories. The only two items that are not replaceable on-site by the Stone Swifts are the Envoy (loss of the Envoy’s modules requires a transfer from the Polysentience back to a replacement Colossal vessel) and the Stone Swifts themselves. The Colossal technically also qualifies, but by the time the Colossal has fallen, everything will need replaced anyway.
These Swifts are the most common, usually present around the Colossal in clouds. They serve as a line of defense, extensions of the Envoy to be used for tasks,repairs, or as scouts along with Star Swifts, but their primary functions are in the areas of engineering and mining resources.
While the Colossal has its own sensors and antennae, the Star Swifts extend the range by assuming array configurations to increase signal and reception strength and by acting as forward scouts and investigating beyond the range of the Colossal’s sensors. As with the Sky Swifts, the Star Swifts are highly expendable. They are constantly linked to the Colossal and their data is streamed alongside the Envoy’s. They also can increase the power of the Colossal’s rather significant ECM/ECCM capabilities. But their most important function is as the means by which the Envoy interfaces with others, ambassadors and aggressors alike.
Unique to the Envoy, each Star Swift the Envoy makes has a volumetric projector, courtesy of shared and salvaged technology, that can project one or two of the Envoy’s avatarial images for interactions. The Envoy is capable of interacting with more than one person via this method, but for the sake of respect usually limits itself to one personal interaction point at any time. The Star Swifts’ projection abilities are also able to be networked and create large volumetric projections 1), though solely optical camouflage for the Colossal is rather impractical given the sensor abilities of most spaceborne vessels.
9 Stone Swifts 700 Sky Swifts 50 Star Swifts
The Colossal itself is unarmed, relying on its armor, rather significant ECM capabilities, and most of all, the Swifts. Most defensive preparations are undertaken by the Stone Swifts in the form of making and launching bombs and mines, dispersing physical chaff, and providing Sky Swifts with ammunition. The minor swifts perform most of the actual fighting: Sky Swifts can arrange themselves to form an improvised-by-design coilgun configuration through which chunks, rounds, rods, or pellets of ferrous ore can be hurled and directed toward targets while the Colossal and Stone Swifts attempt to escape. Star Swifts create sensor ghosts and false communications signals while extending the Colossal's own ECM power and range. The goal of these actions is to ensure the Colossal survives long enough to flee undesired situations; the Colossal itself is easily repaired with pieces salvaged or constructed on-site. To this end, the Envoy usually keeps an excessive number of Sky Swifts active in potentially hostile territories to the sum of approximately nine hundred and a minimum of twenty Star Swifts (though usually upwards of fifty) in order to provide cover for such escapes. However, if escape is not possible and the Colossal clearly outmatched, then it will allow itself to be destroyed. If capture is attempted, it will flee until it is forced to be destroyed, or self-destruct at the soonest opportunity along with all Swifts.
It's primary defense, however, is political. As all of the Envoy’s sensory data is streamed, everyone with access to the Polysentience will have a record of an aggression event to observe and distribute as necessary.
The Colossal has no weaponry installed on it and the Swifts have no guided weaponry.
Overall, the Colossal is a solid, but not wasteful, vessel that allows the Envoy to focus on performing as what the Free State has needed: A single focal point for all diplomatic contact that doesn’t sacrifice complete openness of the Free State’s political affairs with its members.
Character created and played by MissingNo. Limited NPC use by express permission only, valid only for the OOC time-frame given at the time of agreement. Questions? Comments? Contact MissingNo via the forum PM system or ask around the #stararmy IRC channel.