Episode I: Discovery
The twelve-mile-long sleeper ship groaned with tension. The massive gravitational pull of the ancient blue dwarf, Fausta, began to pull the nose of the scarred and blackened seed ship away from it's programmed coordinates. As the four-hundred-year-old ship pulled towards the nearby (relatively) star. On every corridorr of ever deck, every service hatch and every last elevator was doused with an angry red light. Following it, a booming alert wailed through the sub-zero temperatures of the non-essential sections of the craft.
No one was awake.
In another twelve years, the craft began to gain speed. Racing towards the unstable sphere of pure and raw energy, the thin and elegant nose of the grand ship began to glow red. The ship's charred panelling pulled away like so much cardboard, but to no avail. The old star could not finish the job in time.
As the craft glided through the weakened corona, the engines faltered.
When it was hit by a solar flare, a slow, agonizing turn brought the hull integrity to twelve percent.
On impact, 400,000,000,000,000 kilos of saved oxygen, synthetic (combustible) cryogenic protein substances, and a large quantity of hydrogen fuel cells were instantly melted. But not without a fight.
A detonation equivalent to some 3.5 million megaton explosion occured, setting a fatal ripple across the star.
Have you ever seen a star implode? Nasty things. Suck everything they can with them. Greedy bastards, eh?
When Fausta imploded, it simultaneously occurs with three more sleeper ships being discovered, somewhere in deep space.
Henry Draxz, Chancellor of the the Ceti Territories, woke up to a bright, sunny day. He streched, yawned, and slowly climbed out of bed onto the nice, soft, carpeted floor. The sound of Karais chirping in the backround put him into a very calm mood as he shuffled over to his closet and put on his favorite bathrobe made of Jaerian wool;it was one of the smoothest, softest in existance and would not tear without great force exerted onto it.
He turned around to see if his wife was up yet; she was not, so he proceded downstairs into the main hall. As he walked down, a servant came walking up to him carrying his daily paper, The Ceti Daily, and a glass of Totur juice.
He sat down at his patio table and watched the sun and moon slowly work their ways across the sky. It was one of Ceti's notible features; the sun and the moon were up at the same time, but the moon orbited exactly twice the speed of the sun.
Another perfect day's begining for the Chancellor. He tilted his head back, and slowly drifted off into a sleep...
"Captain, entering Eisenhower."
"Thank you, Corporal. It's good to be home," the pale, thin features of Cpt. Jonah Carentani reflected off the meter thick viewing station below the brig.
The familiar all-consuming orange glow pulsated through the windows. Most found it to look somewhat pollutant, or at least ugly, but he himself thought it comforting. Through the mist he discerned two bulky shapes. The duo of tugs issued from Fort Brandt aligned themselves with the strengthened hull plates that ran along the broad side of the gunboat and began unwinding their massively long alloy cords.
Carentani gripped the pull bars of the shaft above him, and climbed back through. Standing among the many consoles and terminals of the bridge, he sighed. It was not the first, nor even his twentieth that day.
A shout echoed across the stark, but efficient control room, "Captain on the deck!"
"At ease. And Seargeant, get those weapons stowed. I hardly thing there will be any need to fire upon or return fire in this room," as he thought to himself the marines shouldn't be aboard his ship anyway.
"Aye, sir," the seargeant sent them huffing to the cafeteria and then bunk. They had been on a triple shift. "Sixteen marines cannot effectively guard all needed stations, sir, with all due respect--"
"Then don't try, son. Uchi, what's our time of arrival at Brandt?"
"One second..the tugs are not staying at a steady speed, it's impossible to accurately determine, captain."
"All right. What is your best guess then, officer?"
"Twelve minutes, thirty seconds. I'd wouldn't bet on less than ten though, sir."
"Duly noted. Increase speed, make those tugs earn their keep," hands flew over the keyboard. "Carry on."
The airlock slid open without a sound. He hated it. Standardized compartment doors had a good comforting hiss when opened. It was merely the sound of decompression, but he was old-school. If nothing makes any sound, how will you know if you've gone deaf?
Reacing the officers mess, he took some cold coffee and waited for the arrival. Nine minutes and fifty-two seconds later, the docking scaffolding extended itself and enveloped the class seven "Hand of Caean".
The pair of fighter craft, crimson edged wings designed for space transport struggling slightly as they fought the atmospheric winds, dipped down, into the city canyons. The rest of their bodies, silver-white, reflected the sunlight, giving them an elegant, clean look. The two continued their journey. And then the ship they were escorting broke through the clouds above.
It wasn't much bigger than three of the fighters would be if they were placed head to tail, and it carried similar colours, brilliant silver-white accentuated with patches of strategically place crimson - the two colours, together, marked the colours of the ruling house of the Plato Systems. On board the ship, Michael Frost sighed, looking to the large man who sat across from him.
"Was it really necessary to bring an armed fighter escort into the city?" Michael commented, looking out the plasteel windows as the outer thermal protected layers rolled back as the ship assumed atmospheric cruising mode.
The larger man nodded, "It is only worthy of your position to have an armed military escort, Magistrate." He turned, looking out the windows, "And it is only fitting that our newest ambassadorial vessel be accompanied by the newest models."
"Ah yes," Michael sighed. "The GAT-X103 Pheonix Sublight Interceptors..." He closed his eyes; he knew the specifications behind the mobile weapons very well, and frankly, it gave him the chills. He wasn't a man of peace, necessarily, knowing that war was necessary from time to time, and therefore, weapons were necessary. However, the Pheonix was equipped with four pairs of magnetically accelerated railgun, two under each wing, and a gatling version of the same weapon mounted in the tail for a second gunner - far more than he believed necessary.
"Magistrate, I do wish you would show greater support for our military," the larger man said, a look of concern crossing his face. "Without our space fleet, we'd be reduced to sitting ducks out here if anyone took interest in our corner of space."
Slowly, Frost nodded, "I understand, but we have trading roots, and it seems to betray the founding beliefs that we should remain neutral in conflicts if we have a standing military."
"You worry too much," the larger man said, smiling slightly.
"It's my job to worry." Michael looked out the window again, watching the buildings speed by below. He turned his head away, "How much longer until we reach the test site? I dislike being called away from my fiancé for a simple demonstration."
"Magistrate Frost, you should understand the necessity of this," the larger man said. "Your father chose you for your position, and he felt you best suited to ensure that we do not abuse the resources and our technology and stay truest to our roots. That is why it's necessary for you to be present at such a demonstration."
Michael didn't say anything. He returned to a silent vigil looking out the window for the remainder of the flight.
Qutie a distance away from the calm planet of Ceti Prime, a small group of engineers was working on a prototype weapon. It was code-named the DREAD. Its stats are as follows.
OOC: i do not consider this weapon god-modding as it would be quite possible this far in the future. still a projectile weapon. sort of a railgun, but i like this more.
Imagine a gun with no recoil, no sound, no heat, no gunpowder, no visible firing signature (muzzle flash), and no stoppages or jams of any kind. Now imagine that this gun could fire .308 caliber and .50 caliber metal projectiles accurately at up to 10,000 fps (feet-per-second), featured an infinitely variable/programmable cyclic rate-of-fire (as high as 120,000 rounds-per-minute), and were capable of laying down a 360-degree field of fire. What if you could mount this weapon on any military Humvee (HMMWV), any helicopter/gunship, any armored personnel carrier (APC), and any other vehicle for which the technology were applicable?
That would really be something, wouldn't it? Some of you might be wondering, "how big would it be", or "how much would it weigh"? Others might want to know what it's ammunition capacity would be. These are all good questions, assuming of course that a weapon like this were actually possible.
According to its inventor, not only is it possible, it’s already happened. An updated version of the weapon will be available soon. It will arrive in the form of a...
tactically-configured pre-production anti-personnel/anti-armor/anti-hull weapon firing .308 caliber projectiles (accurately) at 5,500-8000 fps, at a variable/programmable cyclic rate of 5,000-120,000 rpm (rounds-per-minute). The weapon's designer/inventor has informed DefRev that future versions of the weapon will be capable of achieving projectile velocities in the 5,000-8,000 fps range with no difficulty. It can also be loaded with explosive ball-bearings capable of penatrated 2 feet of solid steel. The technology already exists.
The DREAD Weapon System is the brainchild of weapons designer/inventor Charles St. George. It will be 40 inches long, 32 inches wide, and 3 inches high (20 inches high with the pintel swivel mount). It will be comprised of only 30 component parts, and will have an empty weight of only 28 pounds. That's right, 28 pounds. The weapon will be capable of rotating 360 degrees and enjoy the same elevation and declination capabilities of any conventional vehicle-mounted gun/weapon.
The first generation DREAD (production version), derived from the tactically-configured pre-production weapon, will most likely be a ground vehicle-mounted anti-personnel weapon. Military Humvees (HMMV's) and other ground vehicles (including Chevy Suburbans) equipped with the DREAD will enjoy magazine capacities of at least 50,000 rounds of .308 Cal., or 10,000 rounds of .50 Cal. ammo. A tank could have up to 500,000 rounds, and a starship could have an almost limitless amount.
But, what is the DREAD, really? How does it work? In a sentence, the DREAD is an electrically-powered centrifuge weapon, or centrifuge "gun". So, instead of using self-contained cartridges containing powdered propellant (gunpowder), the DREAD's ammunition will be .308 and .50 caliber round metal balls (steel, tungsten, tungsten carbide, ceramic-coated tungsten, etc...) that will be literally spun out of the weapon at speeds as high as 10,000 fps (give or take a few hundred feet-per-second) at rather extreme rpm's, striking their targets with overwhelming and devastating firepower. We're talking about total target saturation, here. All this, of course, makes the DREAD revolutionary in the literal sense, as well as the conceptual one.
According to the DREAD Advantages Sheet, "unlike conventional weapons that deliver a bullet to the target in intervals of about 180 feet, the DREAD's rounds will arrive only 30 thousandths of an inch apart (1/32nd of an inch apart), thereby presenting substantially more mass to the target in much less time than previously possible." This mass can be delivered to the target in 10-round bursts, or the DREAD can be programmed to deliver as many rounds as you want, per trigger-pull. Of course, the operator can just as easily set the DREAD to fire on full-auto, with no burst limiter. On that setting, the number of projectiles sent down range per trigger-pull will rely on the operator’s trigger control. Even then, every round is still going right into the target. You see, the DREAD's not just accurate, it's also recoilless. No recoil. None. So, every "fired" round is going right where you aim it.
One of the ammunition types the DREAD will be delivering downrange is the "Collision Demolition Round", or "CDR", that will be used to penetrate hard targets. The DREAD Advantages Sheet also lists all the other advantages that the DREAD Weapon System enjoys over conventional firearms.
And, all this from a weapon that doesn't jam. Remember how at the beginning of the article I wrote “no stoppages or jams”? The DREAD won't jam because, according to its inventor, it can’t jam. The DREAD's operating and feeding mechanisms simply don’t allow for stoppages or jams to occur. It thus follows that the DREAD Centrifuge Weapon will be the most reliable metallic projectile launcher/ballistic device on or off the planet. Ceti is not at liberty to publish exactly why the DREAD can’t jam, since Mr. St. George hasn’t given us permission to describe the gun’s operating and feeding mechanisms in any detail.
The only thing the DREAD's operator will really have to worry about is running out of ammo, which isn’t likely. Any reasonably skilled gunner should be able to avoid running through all 50,000 (or more) rounds of .308 Cal. or 10,000 (or more) rounds of .50 Cal. ammo prematurely, especially when he or she can dial down the DREAD's cyclic rate to 5,000 rpm or slower, if necesssary. Even if it becomes necessary to increase the DREAD's magazine capacity to upwards of 100,000 rounds (.308 Cal.) or 20,0000 rounds (.50 Cal.), and run the weapon all day and all night for weeks on end, this will have absolutely no effect whatsoever (positive or negative) on the reliability or durability of the weapon system. The DREAD is both heatless and frictionless, and doesn’t generate any high pressures. So, there’s virtually no wear and tear on the system, no matter how many rounds are fired through it back-to-back, even if it's run constantly on full-auto at 120,000 rpm, the whole time.
Here's the kicker: because it's electrically powered and doesn't use any powdered propellant for it's operation, the DREAD Centrifuge Weapon is virtually silent (no sound signature), except for the supersonic "crack" of the metal balls breaking the sound barrier when they're launched. This makes the direction that the rounds are coming from, and their point of origin (firing source), very difficult for enemy forces to identify. It also allows the operator to communicate easily with his team, or with his command structure, while he's still firing on the enemy (with the DREAD). With the DREAD, he won't have to fight to communicate over his own weapon's firing report. And, since the gun doesn't generate any muzzle flash or heat (it's heatless and frictionless, remember?), it doesn't produce any flash signature or heat signature. So, identifying the gun itself with IR (infrared) sensors will be impossible. The vehicle that the DREAD is mounted on is the only thing that will display a heat signature. That leaves you with a difficult-to-detect/locate weapon with a virtually endless suppy of ammo. Even if the DREAD-equipped vehicle does get identified and fired upon by the enemy, the risk of a catastrophic explosion from a bullet strike on the ammunition supply is zero, because the DREAD’s ammunition doesn’t contain any propellant. There’s no gunpowder onboard to blow up. That just leaves the gas tank (vehicle’s).
There's more. Since the DREAD/MPDS (Multiple Projectile Delivery System) is a centrifuge weapon, projectile velocity can be adjusted instantly back and forth between lethal and less-lethal/non-lethal modes. This means it can be utilized just as effectively for embassy security and peacekeeping roles. As an embassy security weapon, the less-lethal/non lethal mode would most likely be the way to go, in most cases. Less-lethal is usually adequate for any crowd control or riot control situations. However, let’s say the crowd starts storming the gates, and now presents a lethal threat to the occupants inside. Well, just pull your Marines inside, switch your remotely-operated battery of DREAD's on over to lethal mode, and make survival above ground impossible for anyone outside the embassy. No one gets in. Same thing goes for military base security. Remote DREAD Centrifuge Gun Pods can be outfitted with heat and motion sensors, and left in unmanned areas. These remote pods can be either human-operated, or pre-programmed with both less-lethal/non-lethal and lethal protocols that will function automatically and not even require human operation. Mobile robotic platforms, including remote-controlled Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles (UGCV's), could also be outfitted with DREAD systems. And, the list goes on. The technology application possibilities/potential uses are virtually endless.
With this new weapon...they should be able to finally begin their crusade to glory...
"Hand of Caean"'s main command crew took it in turns to launch themselves down the sealed scaffolding into one of the 32 geosynch orbital docking and trade stations. Carentani formed fists around the two parallel bars on each side of the access hatch and threw himself down the long, narrow hall. About 4x4 wide and high, an instant sense of vertigo and claustrophobia gripped the aging man's mind as he hurtled through the -12 degree chamber. The only thing keeping it that low was a system of heaters that absorbed any and all heat they could absorb, and the only thing keeping him alive was his stark grey all purpose Eisenhower Naval Action uniform. Long story short, they kept the cold out and the heat in, or vice versa if needed. They could also protect against very small arms fire, guaranteed up to 4m direct shot, 2m indirect.
The airlock before him hissed and swiveled open. He clambered inside, soon followed by his monitors. Another hiss.
The orbital stations were large rings, slowly rotating to form a gravitational pull. The enormous stations floated in a geosynch(term is ambiguous, usually meaning "to orbit the earth". Here, it means "to orbit the planet".) orbit, each designated as "border stations". They could check cargo, ID's, and control tariffs and other trade taxes and items. The eight military bases, funded in part by each contributor of the EIAF, the Eisenhower Incorporated Airforce, could be seen from the surface of the planet, and had the operational ability to launch massive airstrikes/airdefenses of and against any region within 300,000 miles of their geosynch area, and anywhere twice that in space. The bases were fundamentally several of the rings constructed with a central tube running down the center that connected each ring together. This was pockmarked with security, civilian, and cargo elevators. Sections were designated as Aircraft storage.
Carentani had just entered a station orbiting Delhi, the Mandela. Not only the most famous station surrounding Delhi, but probably the entire Eisenhower system. During Carentani's grandfather's life, Eisenhower and the rest of the known universe had made huge improvements. The equation to balance near-perfect gravity, to recycle almost any fluid to become a drinkable solvent, and the simple, but nearly four times as effective ceramic Jericho-Reynolds blast shield. Nearly any ship could enter atmostphere, and the cabin wouldn't rise past a refreshing 59 degrees fahrenheit.
Anyway, the Mandela was the first operational success as a orbital base that could sustain life indefinitely, and had a capacity of over fifty five hundred. It had been constantly refitted and retrograded, so that it continued to be the pinnacle of Eisenhower technology.
Carentani arrives in a secondary air-control terminal. These controlled the thousands of drone ships that were used to monitor cargo en route to and from the system, and on life-threatening outer-atmosphere police runs. There were about twenty terminals in a perfect circle, with four breaks. A door was present at each break. The terminals were something like the perfect video game, vibration was perfect, the many thousands of cameras on the hull of each ship gave "pilots" an amazing sensation. Each pilot controlled a wing of twenty "manufactured" AI. These cheaper and dumber artificial intelligences followed orders to the letter by their human wing commander, but could improvise and use their targeting skills far beyond the comprehension of even the smartest being. The team was yet to be matched. The terminal was silent, with the occasional beep or extra loud explosion. Carentani could have easily avoided this room..but he had a reason.
Walking around the room, he sized up his target and pressed a small green button (somewhat of a doorbell). A viewing screen fizzed with static beside it, then a crystal clear image of what must have been the pilot inside.
"Petty Officer Carentani, sir!"
"Hello their, Nate."
After two more weeks under development, they were finally ready to test this new miraculous creation.
Out on a firing range lined with solid steel walls 2m thick, a tester opened fire on a sitting tank. Within moments, the tank had been obliterated, leaving nothing but molten slag behind.
"Well sir, it appears that the weapon is a sucess," yelled a crewman to the commanding officer. "I'm going to test it on full auto sir!"
He opened up on the steel wall and let it run. 5 seconds later, the gun barrel grew red, then white, then it was non-existant. It had exploded in a shower of shrapnel that flew in every direction, killing everyone on the testing range. The gun stuttered to a halt, and simply fell of its mount.
The observer from the Ceti government turned away from the sickening scene, high above in the observation lounge.
"Well Colonel, it appears you have more work to do," said General Hix, with a disgusted look on his face. "I expect these problems to be solved within the month. If not, you will loose this job, your family, and then your life."
Colonel Jaen visibly slumped and fell into a chair; he had fainted.
"Piece of worthless trash," muttered the general as he stalked out of the lounge.
The Amalgamated Abdallian Emirates Ship Saviour cruised along through the empty vacuum of space at a leisurely 40,000 mph. The Saviour was acting as a diplomatic mission ship for the AAE, on its way to the Eisenhower sector.
High Abdallian Diplomat Gerhardt Mensch sat in the quiet peace of his lavish living quarters, reviewing the terms of the alliance proposal which had been drafted by the greatest diplomatic minds the AAE had to offer.
The Council of Abdallah had been placing increasing pressure upon the Abdallian Diplomatic Corps to forge alliances with the neighboring sectors, in an effort to provide long-lasting stability for the Emirates. Alliances, of course, brought allies, allies brought trade, and trade brought prosperity. No amount of trade would ever bring the common men of Abdallah from the depths of poverty, but such things were not concerns of the Council, or even the commoners of Abdallah for that matter. Abdallaian society taught that lives and the quality of these lives were unimportant next to the legacy of the Emirates. And so the people lived.
Mensch was startled by the voice of the ship's captain behind him.The captain's name was Hermann Greiter, and his dark green uniform added to the harsh appearance of his cold features. "Sir Diplomat, your presence is requested on the Navigation and Communications deck. We are being hailed by an unidentified vessel. The officers of the ship believe, and I am in concurrence, that the vessel is a pirate ship, as we have not yet reached the Eisenhower sector."
Mensch answered, "I'll be right there Captain. In the meantime hold your fire, this ship is exceedingly capable of dealing with space pirates."
The captain nodded, and left. The men of the Saviour were lucky that their people, the Abdallians, were so militaristic, or their Council might not have passed the recent measure to arm all merchant and diplomatic ships that were considered deep-space vessels. If the vessel did turn out to be pirates they would find themselves in dire need of those weapons.
The doors slid effortlessly away before Carentani. As he stepped into the offices of the EABG, several armed guards sized him up. He returned the favor. The youngest of the armed soldiers saluted and accessed the retinal scanner guarding the main lobby of the office.
They parted to let the captain through. The first excessively large room Carentani had seen since arrival, the upward curving of the floor almost caused him to fall forwards. The curvature was much more obvious in rooms like the lobby, and was known to play tricks on the eyes.
The area, for one thing, did not look military. The dark blue carpets created walkways from the entrance, to an elevator foyer and the main office structure. There was one straight path to the security desk. The light wood flooring reflected the pale shapes of Jonah Carentani's staff, as they walked quietly in single file to the offices. Guira palm trees sparingly lined the walls, the deep blue-green leaves unmoving.
Another group of guards let them pass, while two of the more seasoned ones led them to a small auditorium, looking to able to comfortably fit about thirty. They slid doors closed behind them and assumed positions.
The visitors took their seats.
On Planet Ceti, deep beneath the surface buildings, there was a small group of men and women huddeled around a burning trash receptical, discussing something that could change Ceti's whole system.
These people were revolutionaries who were tired of the government oppressing them and their ways. They were ploting to destroy the current government and replace its rulers with those who believed in Taemera. (pronounced Tame-er-ah)
They were of the terrorist group Tel Haedrakan del Taemera. The Arm of Taemera. And they were very busy...There was to be a meeting between the different politicle factions 2 weeks from this very day, and they wanted to utilize this unique opportunity.
OOC: woo, 100th post!! lol, just felt like celebrating
OOC: as it seems everyone has lost interest in this RP, here we go lol...
IC:A group of ships approached a rock sitting in space. Then they used the brand new uber-blow-up-the-universe gun. the universe exploded. kaboom.