Star Army

Star ArmyⓇ is a landmark of forum roleplaying. Opened in 2002, Star Army is like an internet clubhouse for people who love roleplaying, art, and worldbuilding. Anyone 18 or older may join for free. New members are welcome! Use the "Register" button below.

Note: This is a play-by-post RPG site. If you're looking for the tabletop miniatures wargame "5150: Star Army" instead, see Two Hour Wargames.

  • It's 3月 YE 43 for May and June. IC months advance every 2 OOC months.

History will remember this day, Mr Andar

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"Surprising how uncommon that second merit is" Egwene replied drily, after letting Ghislaine and Andar talk a bit about the situation. Still, then they got onto a question about power. Which, was interesting. Maybe the gun she used at Nataria wasn't as wide-spread as she thought it was? It being such an easily given piece of kit, she expected it to be something everyone could use.

"Well, if power is a problem then I guess Andar gets his wish fulfilment anyway" Egwene would comment, commendeering an interactive board and hijacking it's processes to fill it with scientific equations, beginning to speak with very few pauses, highlighting a lack of need for breath.

"My body and my Combat Flightsuit both use Muon-Catalysted Fusion Reactors as power. They are great because they are low impact, and put out a good voltage. Plus you can stream the loose neutrons to the feet and palms both for flight stablizers and kinetic neutron beams. The problem, is the draw rate. I use Palladium as a sort of magnet to draw the Muons into the center to begin the fusion, but it's not very efficent, it's only one in fifteen thousand. But, recently I was in the Third Battle of Nataria, and I got my hands on this gun that had a Quantum Foam power source. It was incredible, so I scanned it and then go on with the fight. After that, I started running calculation. Using the Quantum Curve Theory, I can increase the Muon Pull Rate of my power source from one in fifteen thousand to two in one. So imagine the delight when anything you have gets a thirty thousand percent increase in effectiveness. Though I never really looked into it too much because it is far too expensive to rebuild two reactors, my body and the Flightsuit to not only handle that kind of voltage but also to need that kind of voltage in the first place. But now that there is something that does need that kind of power, I can work on it some more"
 

Whisper

🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
Andar listened intently, though he only understood small bits and pieces. 'Thirty thousand percent increase' and 'far too expensive' were standouts; the first for its obvious benefits to his company and the second for his company's obvious benefits to the scientist. From a business angle, the drone they were planning was sounding like the smallest victory to come out of the project. Of course, he was mostly here to learn from her - but he'd been trained too much to avoid an opportunity.

Ghislaine didn't speak, just watched the two of them with an intent that was somehow both bored and piercing all at once. Andar wasn't sure how she did it, but the young man had spent some time practicing in a mirror and was sure he'd crack the code one day.

"I'll be honest," Andar said eventually, "I don't really understand any of that. I'd like to, though! I'd like to make a proposal, assuming that Ghislaine here agrees with your take on the technology?"

He paused, looking over to the woman. She seemed thoughtful. "We haven't done any major research into energy systems, outside of some light consulting on aether technology. Most people don't continue to research power once they get aether figured out, it seems, but I'm of the opinion that it isn't the end-all be-all that it's made out to be." The muscular scientist shrugged. "A man by the name of Waylan over at DOARAD suggested we look into so-called 'dark energy' as a power source previously; quantum foam is a somewhat adjacent research subject. We haven't been greenlit to pursue either one officially. If you want to pursue it, it should at least be educational."

Noval's heir looked back to Egwene. "That works for me. So, here's my proposal - I'd like to offer you two options, Doctor Tai. The first is a limited-term contract. While you're here, we'll provide the resources you need for your own personal project in exchange for the rights to whatever technology you devise, as well as a generous payment. This is in addition to what we had already arranged in regards to my education."

There was some overlap between his new offer and the original request, he knew, but he trusted that she would see the added benefits.

"The second offer is a permanent position here on our staff. It's contingent on a few things - approval from our research and engineering managers, in particular - but I'm confident that we can work through that. As before, Noval would have the rights to whatever tech you create during your time with us, but you'd have full time employment, benefits, steady pay, access to more resources than most engineers across the sector, and a place of residence here on the station. I understand if you would rather remain untethered.

No hard feelings if you decide to reject either or both offers."

He gave her the same boyish smile he'd had from the start, but this - seeing potential, making deals, and so on - was much more in his wheelhouse. Ghislaine stayed quiet, content to just see how things played out.

"I would, ah, still like to continue learning from you," he added after a moment.
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
A job offer was certainly not one that she was expecting. While she wasn't really in the market for a full time job, running contracting for a little while could be nice. Between pay from that, the sales of her three Drones, and Ursarus, she'd have the funds to make her new thing personally and not have to tie herself up in legal jargon. It was better to own your own stuff than be borrowing it from another...

"I can agree to the limited term, yea. I'm not a permanent sort of girl, but helping out here for a while could be fun. Teaching you won't be much different from my first job as an actual teacher. And I get to poke things and watch how they explode in the mean time" She'd nod, that last bit spoken with a bit of a sarcastic quip.
 

Whisper

🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
Andar clasped his hands together and smiled broadly. Ghislaine gave a rueful smile.

"Excellent! That will be sufficient for now. Do let me know if you change your mind. I'll work on sorting out the details and drawing up all the relevant paperwork. Do consider the station your home for the duration of the contract."

The young man looked towards Ghislaine thoughtfully. "Speaking of explosions," he began musingly, "is the Diadem loaded into the system for simulations?"

"Of course," Ghislaine replied in her usual, somehow tough-and-disinterested-but-still-onboard way. She made a few hand motions and a device appeared in the air before them. It was scaled down from its usual size - a percentage indicator in the air said as much - but the device looked perfectly convincing once it finished forming itself.

Andar's dog-like ears perked up in satisfaction as he looked back to the scientist. "This is the Diadem - it's one of our company's weapons technologies. The specifics of how it works aren't too relevant right now, but - our labs are equipped with very sophisticated modeling systems. I saw this demo in one of the Diadem's product reviews."

He reached out and took hold of the weapon, which seemed real enough in his hands. Small details gave away that he was just doing a good job of holding a hologram, but it was convincing enough. He took aim at a nearby wall, pulled the trigger, and a brilliant blue column of energy flicked into place and seemed to slice the wall in two. Simulated air rushed out, explosions caused brilliant flashes of light, and eventually they were treated with a view of the stars outside the station.

It seemed like the weapon had cleaved an entire chunk of the station off, far too cleanly for any conventional attack.

Andar walked over to where he'd cut off the wall and tapped it. It looked like he was contacting nothing, but there was an audible thud thud.

"You mentioned before that there were a lot of risks in the types of project that we're discussing, but I think we can accelerate development if we do most of it virtually. Some of our larger project teams are seeing success with this method. It's still no substitute for actual knowledge, and we'll work on securing a team for that, but it does most of the danger from the prototyping process.

The weapon I just demonstrated uses a weaponized hyperspace fold waveform, whatever that is, so I'm thinking the simulation may be up to the task?"

He flashed another earnest smile her way. In effect, he'd just demonstrated a few of Noval's more highly prized development secrets and been more than a bit overeager in his efforts to be encouraging and skirt around her concerns.
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
Egwene would watch the show. It was irritating to see something with no data output on any spectrum. To have to check it for any data seemed to slow things down. While it could be good for exceptionally dangerous concepts that might vaporise the station, it seemed a waste of time for any normal thing. And, the way the gun worked seemed similar in that regard. Rich people really did waste a lot of money.

"The idea sounds like it inverts the standard hyperfold concept to shunt other things rather than itself. Effectively working the same as a molecular disruption field or HF Sword. Though like a molecular disruption field or HF Sword, the beam aperture needs to be of considerable width and remain on target for several seconds or the Strong Nuclear Force will simply press the molecules back together. And since nothing these days is built with singular hardpoints, it's effective only for space combat and anti-infantry since ground tanks are designed to keep running after a chunk of them goes missing. And tend to get somewhat uppity when you stand there shooting a beam at them for a few seconds"

Egwene's report of the weapons capability from her viewing was professional, thought not very glowing.
"If you want a weapon that can take out enemy armour with minimal damage for reclamation, I'd suggest omegasonic FSAPDS" She'd project a more rudimentary hologram than what had just been showcased, but had data readouts accompanying it so people could see what they were looking at more than face value. A small, 30cm dart was showcased, though a larger 1m dart also sat next to it.

"With variable charge to the coil you can change the impact of the weapon and adapt for unmanned vehicles as well as manned vehicles. Man portable will be taking medium tanks, saving on recoil due to the electromagnetic push rather than the chemical crack but losing on weight because energy output is only one part of several in this thing. though if you mount it on a support drone or heavy platform designed to carry it, you can take much bigger prey. With specialized materials, you can have a dart pushed to 7320 m/s at maximum necessity, and puncture most armour plating. On the point of impact, you impart more energy than a twelve megaton nuclear warhead, only for a nanosecond and across a few centimetres rather than ruining someone's day for the next thousand years.

The fun part comes after penetration. This dart is designed for overpenetration, so it punches through the armour before imparting a tenth of it's kinetic energy to the superstructure. The impact causes the dart to vaporise on contact, and the hole it has just made pushes a superheated pressure wave into the tank's main component and makes the fleshy internal people explode into charcoaled burgers with only a small hole in the armour for your trouble. Best way to disable a tank is to take out the drivers, after all.

If you turn the speed of the dart down, you actually do more damage, as the impact time increases considerably - by scale, at least, in reality it's only by a few nanoseconds - and this allows it to impart far more energy into the point of impact. Making a very large, very melted hole in whatever you are shooting at"
 

Whisper

🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
Andar seemed thoughtful, tossing the weapon aside and letting it dissolve into nothingness. "Our systems do have all the relevant data available, I've been told."

He tapped his chin, looking at the darts. "The NDC does have a predilection towards kinetic weaponry. We don't salvage very much, truth be told. Do you think something like this could be used in a city environment? Maybe with some sort of failsafe built into the round in case it misses? I've been told that reactor explosions are a major concern for anti-frame police forces. Your... FASA.. P?.. omega-sonic darts might be well suited to that, in addition to the more obvious use."

"Are these darts distinctly different than the usual rail-based weapons? BWE has been doing some work on those for a bit, but I don't think their focus is on ammunition at the moment."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"FSAPDS. Fin-Stablized Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot. Basically a really fast dart. If you are worried about missing, don't. Mach 10 is not gentle to anything, and the air resistance causes such thermal heat that the dart vaporises pretty quickly by relative standards. You can reduce the time by making the dart out of less heat resistant materials, which would be good for urban combat. But, a note; This dart is highly ineffective against structures with open room like a bunker or an apartment's front room. It's only the small, enclosed nature of a tank's cockpit that causes the pressure wave. If this thing goes through the wall of someone's front room, the most they will notice is a hole in the wall, as the pressure wave spreads out rapidly, losing heat and power due to the lack of enclosement"

She'd then turn and look to him with a smile as he mentioned BWE.
"BWE actually uses a Drone called the Ursarus Heavy Support Drone. Which uses this exact weapon, you know. As for the usual rail based weapons, this is a coil. Coilguns have different mechanics to railguns, but otherwise no not really. APDS and FSPADS are ammo you can slot into most ballistic weaponry of sufficient calber."
 

Whisper

🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
"Very interesting! The Ursarus is one of the reasons we'd heard of you, though I admit I don't know the details of its weaponry," he said, still thoughtful. "One of our R&D groups is looking into urban frame combat and really wants to make sure that we minimize collateral. Admittedly, Noval as a whole has a tendency to invent new technologies rather than try and apply existing ones. It's.. something we're trying to work on."

He flashed her a warm, boyish smile. "You may be a good influence, Doctor Tai. I'll pass on a recommendation for your 'FSPADS' to the relevant team, if you don't mind?"

"For now, I'd like to hear more on your quantum foam? The NDC as a whole has begun pursuing aether technology, but it does have its drawbacks. No reason not to keep our eyes open!"
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"The details of it's weaponry is that it Shoots darts. Most weaponry is simple when you boil it down. Inventing wholly new technology is a goal, but a very difficult and generally pointless goal. Nothing exists today that can't be used in whole or part for anything you want to get up to in life. It's the problem of living in the future, nothing new to invent. Only present things to modify. Best way to minimize collateral is not to fight. Otherwise, you can't pack weaponry that brings down the enemy and prevents collateral damage at the same time. If it won't go through civilian buildings, it won't go through military armour plating"

Egwene had a bleek, rather pragmatic view of the world. Being a scientist in the day and age when everything had been scienced already was disappointing to say the least. Your grand discoveries were commonplace elsewhere...

"As for quantum foam, it's fluctuations on the spacetime curvature at extremely small levels. Physics can't get small enough to measure anything smaller than the Planck Length, so it's effectively the smallest possible measurement. It is a length so small that nothing is physical and everything is in flux. In our state of being, Point A to Point B will always be the same length. But this small, the very idea of points ceases to exist. So everything moves more akin to translocation via wormholes than anything we are familiar with. That movement produces exceptional amounts of energy, which can be harvested and put to work.

The problem here is, like every piece of infinite energy, just because it puts out more energy that could ever be used, doesn't mean you can transfer all the energy to where you need it to be. Though efficiency is low even with the best wiring and mechanics, it is still unlimited in use, you can only overstrain the fuses and wiring, not the powerpack itself. Thus, bigger pack, better transfer rate"
 

Whisper

🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
Andar frowned at the first bit. "I like to play the violin, Doctor Tai. The instrument has existed for thousands of years, but people still find ways to make new music. Of course, they usually learned by studying what came before them, but inspiration can be found everywhere." He was smiling, now, and giving her a good hopeful look. "Your Ursarus didn't exist before you made it. There may have been other things like it, but you did succeed at making something new."

Her explanation of quantum foam was - well, it all made sense in little pieces. "I'll admit, I only understood a little of that explanation in a way that I think would be useful." He rubbed at the back of his neck. "It sounded like there's two problems? How to get the most energy out of the system and how to get it where it needs to go?"

"The second one we might be able to lean on the work being done around aether - room temperature superconductors and stuff like that, I think? I'm sure it's in the category of 'better, but not perfect'. Have you seen any of that?

The specifics of aetheric power generation are the type of secret you probably don't want to know - Yamatai and others have a history of tracking people down who are either unauthorized and/or lacking proper affiliation - but how the connected systems use their power is something I'm sure we could study."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"No they don't. They find personally new variations on already established music. Everything has been done before, even if it has not been done by you. The Ursarus is a drone variation, designed to fill a niche I personally did not see filled. And apparently Black Wing also thought was not filled. But neither the concept nor the technology was anything new. Trying to reinvent the wheel rather than just using the wheel to make a new cart leads to poor life choices, I have found" Egwene's mechanical nature came on show here. A pragmatic and almost emotionless approach to science. To accept the harsh reality before stepping into it regardless. Though, she did soften her tone some after the next part.

"But no, there are no problems. Trying to get all the energy out without making a supercapital ship is a fruitless endevour. There is just too much, physics simply can not provide something capable of transferring that scale of energy without a several kilometer power station ladened with transformers and wires thicker than a man. I don't really know anything about Aether, to be honest. I don't use it, so I don't need to know anything about it"
 

Whisper

🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
Andar laced his fingers together, thoughtful. He could see where she was coming from - but her somewhat fatalistic attitude didn't mesh with how he saw things. One thing he was sure of at this point was that arguing with her about it wasn't going to get them anywhere. Perhaps, he considered, his views and hers could compliment each other. He hoped.

He decided to move on to her response about aether.

"Given what I know about it, that's a fair take. Yamatai's aether shock cannons are something of a mystery, but video footage shows them making attacks of unimaginable scale - multiple times per minute. I can only imagine that it's something like opening the firehose all the way."

Andar nodded a bit. "There are small aether power sources - around the size of.." he looked around, eventually using his hands to make a shape about a 8 inches long and 5 inches tall, "...about this large. Certainly, they don't make full use of the energy available. Aetheric signatures are very easy to detect, however, and aether technology itself is fairly expensive. An alternative that better matches the power needs of whatever it's attached to, without that signature, and ... well, lower cost would be ideal."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"In this day and age, no weapon is spectacular, unique, or impossible to replicate the effects of. Aether might look flashy, but until you reach the scale of entire planets, it's nothing Cold Fusion can't do for you on a civilian or military point of view. Pursuing infinite energy is only for the people that don't understand material science or physics in any way. To put it into an analogy, If someone gives you ten thousand bananas, and you can only eat four hundred a month, you might as well get four hundred bananas because the rest are being wasted.

"Yamatai might like to tout the fact that their Aether technology is mysterious and nobody can copy it, but the truth is, nobody intelligent really cares to. It does nothing not already done by things that are understood. Aether is like a Dyson Sphere. It's really big and really awesome looking and really shows off the capabilities of the civilization that built it, but is ultimately a waste"

While giving her speech, she'd be messing with a holographic display, trying theories and concepts about the gravity drone. If she could cut the weight of troops, then mobility would be well-aided.
 

Whisper

🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
Andar furrowed his brows a bit. He couldn't argue with her examples - but still wasn't sure if he agreed. Why would the sector's superpowers be so fixated on aether if there wasn't merit to it? Surely it was for more than just bragging rights. He glanced to Ghislaine to see her reaction, but she had obviously let her mind wander at some point in the conversation. She caught his glance, sighed, and joined in.

"There are various applications where aether makes sense, particularly in its weaponized form or for thrust where aether's specific properties have value. As a power source, I tend to agree with Dr. Tai. If cost isn't a concern," she continued, shrugging, "then aether is fine. We use it in our frames for this reason; the cost of using it vs the other solutions is pretty minimal at that scale and there's a certain product appeal to the energy source that the alternatives just don't have. It's as much a marketing thing as anything else.

The NDC's PowerPaks could provide more than enough power and are easy enough to recharge, but the folks in marketing know that aether sells better. Doesn't really make a difference to us in engineering at the end of the day."

"I see," he said, looking between the two. "I can understand it as a marketing thing. It's like a sports car - most people who buy a car that can go 300 km/h will never actually drive it that fast, but they buy it because it could and that matters to them."

He drummed his fingers on the table he leaned against, weighing it over some more. The wolf-earned man decided he could look into the rest on his own time.

"Was there anything else you wanted before I go, Andar?" the brawny engineer asked, looking between the two of them. "My team would like me back at some point."

"Oh! Right," Andar replied, with a charming-but-sheepish smile. He looked to Egwene. "Was there anything she could help you with, Dr. Tai?"
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"Yamatai makes a big noise about it, and it looks flashy. So everyone wants it, mostly because if I say you can't have something, that's merely motivation for you to get it. If I kill you when you get it, that just makes it even more desirable. Organic life is inherently driven by emotions to often foolish ends. And the effective invincibility that several factions of the universe possess has only worsened this tendency"

She'd play around with the drone for a few more moments, and then exhale. There was a major roadblock in the way that she had not thought of earlier, but now it was rearing it's ugly head.
"Like I said, many times, before and after you brought her here. There is nothing she can help me with to begin with. We are entirely separate fields of science. You are too eager for discovery and think too fast to be in science. I'd recommend being a mechanic instead, mechanics is nice and simple. The thing in front of you needs fixing, so fix it. Doesn't take you weeks to get a possible theory to put a wheel on a jeep only to have the theory showcase a new hole that you missed so it needs to be patched. You just put the wheel on the jeep"
 

Whisper

🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
With a light laugh, Andar looked to Ghislaine. "Well, sounds like you're free. Thank you for stopping by."

She gave him a nod and mussed up his hair a bit before she turned to leave. Despite his age, Andar didn't seem to mind it too much.

"Good luck with this one," she said as she left, letting the door close behind her.

Moving to be nearer to Egwene and seeming to be unphased by her comments, he looked at her holographic display from a respectful distance. "I need to be familiar with both things, honestly. Science and mechanics. I don't expect I'll be inventing or building anything new anytime soon, but I do want to know enough about the process that I can set reasonable goals, understand the complexities involved, and understand what's being talked about at more than just a surface level.

I'm supposed to run this place one day, though hopefully not too soon, and I want to do it well when the time comes."

He motioned to the display in front of her. "That in mind, how can I help? I think I've been enough distraction for now."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
Ugh, that major roadblock turned out to be much less major than she originally thought. It was only when inversed that would be a major problem. It was really the nature of science that problems solved themselves, huh?

"Poking around in the guts of a car is a poor way to learn mechanics. If you are so driven to learn Science and mechanics, then do what everyone else in the room did. Go to school" Egwene replied, buggering with the hologram and running tests as she ran a test.

"As for the device, the osculation harmonics are a gradient of revolutions too low. Thinking of trioptic reverb to solve it unless you've a better plan"
 

Whisper

🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
"I'm attending University right now, actually," he replied, watching as she tinkered and tested. "Fundamentals, some advanced sciences, all of that. I really enjoy my music class, though that's not very relevant."

Andar sighed a little listening to her question. "That said.. my classes haven't explained to me whatever a.. trioptic reverb is. Is that even a thing? I feel like you're making fun of me," he said, half joking with his last comment. "Uhm, we did learn about parametric oscillators - they're supposed to be pretty .. what did the professor say.. low noise? I think they mentioned using it with optics, too."

He knew he was mostly making conversation at this point and didn't really expect to solve the problem. The other engineers often told him he made for a good 'rubber duck', which he took as a compliment. "Why do you think a trioptic reverb would work? Maybe that'll help spark something."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
Wow. He hadn't even finished school yet and was poking around in the actual lab were actual people worked. That was nepotism for ya. Could she even work here when at any moment her work might be interrupted by a dog guy with no proper training? Seemed counter productive. But, they were working on counter-productive creations to begin with so it did sort of fit...She'd finish today then quietly resign so as not to hurt the dog guy's feelings.

"Everything makes a noise. The concept of osculation harmonics is that when two noises converge on each other then you can track how the internals are working from outside. But it's the wrong simulated noise is too quiet to hear properly. So the idea was to put crystals with three faces - trioptic crystals - in to increase how the sound bounces about the interior. How it reverberates. Hence, Trioptic Reverb"
 

Whisper

🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
Andar nodded, unaware of her mental track.

"I imagine it's not as simple as selecting crystals with an additional face to improve the gradient?"

He crossed his arms in thought. "What about the shape of the interior? Music halls are designed so that sound from the stage, even quiet ones, can carry throughout the entire room - maybe there's a solution that doesn't involve more power or changing your crystals. Like the banana analogy you gave me - maybe we can find a way to use the bananas we've got more effectively?"
 
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