I will post a physically questionable ideannaire as early as tomorrow.
In a rabid fit of whimsy and contrary to a fatigue-addles brain's incoherent objections, I sat down and analysed the situation. Here goes.
Quetzalcoatl boars, possessing 4D scan capabilities, would detect emerging spacecraft, and could initiate dispersal routines across the universe. Some would remain on the station and be Erased, others lay low and replicate in naturally hard-to-search places like back holes (replication to them is essentially creating spacetime constructs rather than using matter), while MVC forces search for potential remnants of the incursion.
I'm trying to maintain the modest size of the swarm as you do not wish the VCMR fooded with swarms and we're already doing that on the Ravagery frntp, so we might chalk lack of reinforcements up to Quetz's incoherent behaviour and selective apathy, or a longer plan. Eventually sabotage begins popping up in more and more places, guerrilla style - I'm thinking this could move the encounter to a larger scale than a station - proving the paranoia justified.
The extent of their successess and the spread of the infestation is of course set by you as the home front party.
Cha'dol will probably engage in some idle chitchat with your delegation, by which I mean psychiatric dissection.
I live once more, having taken two days to remember the correct password >_>
Also, have thought a bit more on the hypothetical upgrade of my current FT nation into being suitable for here.
Something might come of that. Maybe
Using the very M-branes (or superior artificial analogues) as one's body and computation substrate is a personal fetish of mine, though there may be other approaches to scaling up.
I'm thinking 'write oneself into the laws of reality' as an approach here, yes.
To note, that is only for the ruling being/thing/something of course, since it's deathly afraid of death :p
I've been thinking of two approaches that I'd be alright with in regards to that plan; both can range in scale up to intergalactic if you'd like, though I'd prefer not to lose the universe entirely.
Approach one, which I think I'd prefer, would be to do this quickly. Bots think fast, and the VCMR needs to learn to respond faster. Perhaps the frustration at the loss of bots and at the dispersal of the group would lead the minds to send in more groups (or maybe they send in more groups just to see if they can use them as leverage in their little infowar), so you'd be able to work with more if you so chose. With this kind of approach, they could cause havoc, steal information, force the VCMR to think and react quickly... and then vanish for good once certain objectives were met, whether those had been set by Quetz (get information, etc.) or by higher powers (figure out how the VCMR reacts and perhaps encourage new technological developments for their plans). The advantage of this would be that we could keep it in relatively the same timeframe compared to the rest of the events going on, so there will be less jumping around in the chronology.
Approach two would be to do it slowly. Maybe, instead of seconds or minutes between each development, there are hours or days. This could become something that persists and spreads every handful of posts even while the rest of the RP is still going on. That way it'd be a little more reasonable to add complications and play this out as a full guerilla-war scenario.
And yeah, psychological battles on the station are inevitable anyway, let's get those started right away. :P
Oh my, I just realised the extent of spelling errors in what I wrote. Never mind those. *boars* :O
It is funny you mention encouraging technological/methodological advances, as my head-canon has contained that intent for quite a while now. I figure that a rogue element like the Evermind would be glad to create as many new powers as possible to complicate the great game further. Nothing disrupts powers-that-be like a whole lot of new variables appearing on the scene, to be evaluated and re-evaluated again as they don't follow an expectable path but are instead shaped by artificially engineered events.
Wars did advance many technologies by decades here on this planet. Facing a rainbow goo plague is bound to force a jump in submicroscale capabilities for both VCRM and the Ravagery, and from there might improve industrial methods, understanding of physics, and so on, as advances seldom occur in a vacuum. Much of progress is shaped by local circumstances, and it is easy to become familiar with known enemies; instead, something new is manoeuvred into contact from far away and creates an adapt-or-die situation.
The first option seems the most fun and fitting for the intelligences in question. It also makes sense for these minds to fight battles on the scale of seconds, at most. Train of thought: Responding faster hinges not only on raw speed of thought and reaction, but al least as much on anticipation and planning more steps ahead. It would be interesting to see if VCMR can out-predict these improvisers, and the potential counter-outpredictions Quetz itself might deploy.
Oh, yes. Here's to mind battles! Now to read up on AI box experiments, the Break Them By Talking TVTropes page, and who knows what else. Kantian ethics, perhaps.
Well, I can maybe think of one faction that might launch wild pigs into space to evade destruction.
Mentioning those advances was no accident; I'm getting the hang of how you're writing the Evermind and its motives, and I definitely had those in mind when listing off ideas. It does, however, bring up the issue of "how drastic can we make this". We've long since established at OGM2 that massive advancement in short timeframes, while feasible in harder-science singularitarian regimes, tends to be a poor plot driver because it just encourages one-upping, and that omniversal powers tend to be big, bulky, slow things in general. I think there might be some ways to prevent this sort of serial escalation from becoming too ridiculous; starting by mentioning the beginnings of a methodological change would probably be more helpful, for one.
Ever since the bot battle started, I had also had the idea of writing up little "slice-of-life" sections in my posts once that had ended, to describe how VCMR engineers and scientists were making little bits of progress at the small scale in regards to improving defenses for the next time around. It would be a bit of a jump from the usual nation-wide descriptors, but I think it might help to freshen things up. Bonus points if Devourer writes comparable posts to further highlight our nations' differences in how they approach these new problems.
Alright, first option it is. If you'd like to increase the scale as we do this, bringing in modest groups of reinforcements would be quite reasonable, I think.
Might need to wait for Dev to post, unless you just want to run our interactions by ourselves for a moment before the Domination show up to the meeting and the Cosmos near the Forge starts doing things. Either works.
Hmm. What faction would do that? Do have forbearance if I am missing an obvious reference.
Yes, I am writing the Evermind not as a direct antagonist, or even a direct player, but something whose agenda happens to include everything of remote significance in the omniverse. It does make me more aloof from the action (which might make it easier to favour the plot over advancing my civs' interests), but also gives a wide range of civs to choose from and nothing to lose. I am not sure when or how gradually I decided to occupy a different ontological tier, but I hope it adds some intrigue flavour and is not too overbearing. Hearkening back to what you wrote about a stable omniversal political structure, wherein players of similar tiers maneuver among each other and influence the tier below, so I write my gameplan as a chain stretching from evolving protozoa, through every extent of sapience, through metaversal gods up to the Evermind. The situation is still chaotic and unpredictable since so many players are counteracting each other, employ diversionary moves, and even simply neuter each other's influence to allow unpredictable free will stuff to run amok. I have been heavily influenced by Orion's Arm in this, just scaling it up to eleven and adding in dimensional wank.
Totally agree with staying off the runway with our tech. Establishing an approximate capabilities equilibrium wherein Quetzal is not able to simply run rampant under the radar might be a good ending payoff to tie up the arc, but has to be gradual and utilise methods changes more than spitting out countering tech every other post, as you said.
Alright, I will bring in some reinforcements. It might be a fun tactic for them to arrange some particles/quantum phenomena that look a bit like more Quetzal craft (especially on smaller scales where your detection is weak) and, inflating their apparent numbers, run diversionary attacks with those, calling back to the old straw men on castle walls/unoccupied tents/unused campfires trick.
Speaking of tactics, I have been considering how to make the ViderianChar unique in that regard once the war commences. Thematically, they should be a strange and unsettling enemy, since the VCMR won't be impressed by mere numbers after the Ravagery incident and possessing vast numbers of its own. I ponder renaming the weapons from "lasers" and "missiles" to something like "gravity slicer", "void beam" and "entropy field emitter", which would do practically the same damage but in a unique, idiosyncratic manner. Being obsessed with eschatology and annihilation, they would be using weapons that follow that philosophy, rapidly aging sections of the cosmos, using spacetime projectiles to *truly* break enemy ships (maybe even some sort of generated barriers to divide fleets from each other?). Having established weapons firing through 4 dimensions and ignoring 3D distance, they could teleport and rearrange formation constantly, appear and disappear by skipping 3D space. My carrier is already described as launching its craft by instantly teleporting them out with attached beacons.
If I finish my post first, I can continue my parallel story and reply to you in it, then reply to Dev's upcoming post in another. It might even make it easier to write dat stuff within a reasonable timeframe!
Multiversal venn-copard and Thinking Machines
I guess I was referring to Quetz itself, finding odd artistic ways to alter localized phenomena (color, animals, materials, specific design choices) into tools in space or metaspace. That one time when they turned a multiverse cluster into piles of fur and such made the logical leap to boars a very simple one, at least to me.
Entropic-style decay weapons hark back to the Ravagery's larger-scale superweapons, which have admittedly seen only limited use back in E&O and such since we were still in the process of fleshing out our militaries and doctrines back in those days (to say nothing of our writing skills). The Ravagery might get involved in this too, once (if, I'd like to think) combat begins. You have the "enemy of my friend of my enemy" situation piling up, for one, and then on top of that there's the potential multidirectional ideological conflict of entropy+destruction (Imperium) against entropy+conquering (Ravagery) against conquering (Domination) against survival (VCMR) against destruction+survival (Iknun) against... oh dear.
Really just the sort of thing the Evermind would love to see.
Ah... It may be fun to introduce some pig-related picspam into VCMR computer systems. Or paint a venn-copard chimaera from closed timelike curves. I will be creative.
Yup, it might become really complex relatively soon. Domination and VCMR seem most closely aligned in terms of at least not having destruction as a first-order principle. On the other hand, the others are hardly of friendly disposition towards anyone, though the Imperium is assimilatory and would take temporary alliances. It is an actual not-immediately-predictable situation we have created, it would seem. It might stand to reason, too, that using entropy-increasing and space-wrecking weapons in someone's universe would tick them off a bit more than a simple biggaton light show.
Another thing to bear in mind (never gets old) - the stated aims of any actor, including the Harbingers' orders filtered down from the Evermind itself, are never to be taken as indications of anything whatsoever in regard to the Evermind's actual intent. Everything done by it, including the directions given to the closest underlings, is just another lever being pulled, with the entire game board being a thing of such expansiveness and rapidly shifting necessity that any mission undertaken by Blrral-blrral or whatever else is constrained to a need-to-know basis and may even work against other intentions, or be, say, a string of defeats lasting ten million years that results in a 0.000001% increase in the likelihood of another plot among trillions firing as desired, which in conjunction with fifteen other developments yields a net strategic gain... or may have been a complete ruse to erase an emerging pattern and reassure other powers of the events' random nature. This effectively means I can choose any path for the plot and never think to myself "this could never happen" - because it totally could and would.
That is once again a page out of OA, where unimaginative direct hostility against coalitions of equal-ish opponents is often a sure death warrant even for archai, and subtle power wins the race, or at least keeps you from losing it. The Oracle Machines' ill-conceived war comes to mind.
With the finals over and the summer holidays commencing, I have the time to finish the next post I had started over a month ago. Moreover, the material I had thought to combine into one post has expanded to better be distributed among three. Figures.
Glad to hear! With Devourer's continued silence, though, I'm not sure what happens to the posting order if you decide to finish yours first. I feel I might as well be able to respond right away if that's at all practical, but it's... maybe a bit confusing. Dunno.
Since we employ a modular storytelling structure, we can selectively reply to some posts and wait for others to catch up. Your and mine diplomats will chat, the Quetz/VCMR conflict will continue, and in the post after that Dev can start the negotiations off and move the Forge business forward. Unless he sneaks in his post before me, which, again, would work!
However, if you believe it would be disruptive, I can simply hold onto my post for a while. I have no true preference for any of the three alternatives.
Not at all worried about it being disruptive, just that the tempo might be tricky to reestablish. Your point is fair, though, and if you're ready you can go ahead.
Will read more thoroughly soon! Interesting details, might be useful for strategic crippling to VC invaders. My own attention span to things not related to short-, middle-, and long-term survival is a butt too slim to extrapolate this far on how my units move around aside from "they access 4D space and have seemingly infinite energy". I hope that is not seen as unfair, since I also recall your ships requiring energy lines to operate for long.
Will post my bit today. I expected to post much sooner, but even off-courses I am never really on vacation in any meaningful sense. I would not have it any other way, but it does make a bit autistic on timescales. I could have sworn it hasn't been more than a few days since we discussed modular storytelling structure.
Sorry about my unexplained absence. I thought I would be able to increase my activity after finals, but between a demanding athletic schedule and more responsibility at my job than I've had in a while, leisure time was in short supply this month.
I don't see any significant issue with switching around the posting order for a bit. I'm sure we'll be able to restore the original storytelling pace, or at least establish a new one.
Again, my apologies for dropping off the radar without so much as a brief heads up. I understand that it must be infuriating, and there's really no excuse for me to not at least notify you guys when I believe my free time will be restricted soon. I'll resume work on my post and hopefully get it up before too long.
Considering the overall balance of power, and the motif that the VCMR is really just a group of fairly normal sapients trying to hang on through all the omniversal chaos, I think an energy tech imbalance is honestly pretty fair. One possible explanation (read: spitball) for otherwise nebulous "4D energy": the reason that most of a universe's stuff is in one particular 3D slice is that there's a potential gradient towards it, so one could pull energy out of stray particles "falling" through higher-dimensional space (maybe that's where some virtual particles come from, who knows?) Some sort of "quantum dynamo", almost.
That happens; silence is fine here. In the future, though, we should maybe give heads-up warnings in case we'll be totally incommunicado.
I agree. I'll stick to that general rule from now on.
I have begun to scratch the surface on the long and tedious process of a partial military factbook overhaul because I wrote these things up over two years ago when I couldn't actually put words together.
Shouldn't affect actual capabilities too much, with the exception of the following more notable changes. Consider this a retcon rather than an actual balance patch.
- Some point-defense weapons were buffed drastically. Shooting things down instead of letting your shields do the work sounded more like the VCMR line of thinking.
- Most weapons with exorbitantly long reload rates were given the qualifier "sustained" - meaning that the long reload rate was an average over a long period of time, and allowing for really obvious tactics like keeping more than one missile onboard a ship at a time, or overclocking a laser for a bit, or whatever.
The old fakebooks won't be seeing updates; instead, the plan is to give a more concise information block for ships as necessary.
Sounds great. I should definitely begin to do something similar once my post is up. I took a look at my older factbooks recently and the overwhelming majority of it is horrifically bad writing.
So, my post is about 4/5 done, and turning out to be quite long. I have just now further revised the parts already written, to contain fewer examples of horrifically bad writing.
I have been beyond both landline and wireless connection, typing in Word on my laptop and using mobile data connection on my phone to access NS. :P
I'll be back home on 23rd and be able to copy-paste the text then, just so you guys know what to expect!
Regarding above comments, I do not dare think how much now needs to be revised in most of my FBs, seeing how much the vision has evolved and changed since the early days...