Machines of Mars (RAR!)

SF: discuss futuristic sci-fi series, ideas, and crossovers.

Moderator: NecronLord

Post Reply
User avatar
Zor
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 5858
Joined: 2004-06-08 03:37am

Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by Zor » 2019-03-09 12:24am

This scenario starts in the early years of the 20th century in which faint yet apparently incoherent radio transmissions were seen emanating from Mars which sparks the interest of science fiction writers and scientists and gets some more interest in the Red Planet during the Space Race. When the first Soviet and American probes fly by the red planet in the 1960s they detect a network of geometric patterns crossing the planet over thermal hotspots which look broadly similar to cities and fields. When the first probes land on the Red Planet, what they find a world home to billions of Machine Lifeforms.

There are over two hundred Cities scattered across the red planet, each covering up to 520 square kilometers of land, each one composed of metal and marscrete structures ranging in size from sheds to 330 meter tall pyramids. The most common of which are silos, battery clusters, warehouses and industrial facilities covered with a complex networks of pipes, cables, ducts, radiators, smokestacks and various other rough protrusions laid out geometrically. Between these are streets with electric trolleys which transport goods and pathways for wheeled vehicles and smaller robots with overhead walkways from getting across. Each city has at least one fusion reactor. There are dozens of varieties of these in each city but the most common articulated cylindrical constructs with three legs with wheels, three arms with a variety of hands and a pod with various sensors on top. Around the tropics of the planet there are fields of solar panels, open pit mines, local hubs and recharging stations, rail lines, outposts and the remains of destroyed cities. The reason for this destruction is War. There are several blocks of cities which fight with each other using a variety of weapons including railguns, rockets, firearms and EM weapons. They have little in the way of aircraft but do have tanks, armored cars, artillery and infantry analogs as well as things which could be thought of as suicide bomber roombas. Small clusters exist in hard to reach places stealing power and spare parts from more established machine blocks yearning for the day at which they can become a horde which can stake out it's own claim.

The Machines are capable of building more of themselves and deploying machines to serve their needs. That said they are not actually sapient. They can interact with their enviroment thanks to complex decision trees and they can learn to a degree (especially the major computers in the cities which the various worker units are subordinate to) but they can't alter their basic core priorities. They treat rovers just as other bit of foreign machinery they'd come across and scavenge them for raw materials and don't seem to pay them much heed to the specifics of them. Nor have they taken a notice to satellites. While there are variations on templates with each polity having it's own makes and models, these are done by making slight variations, testing them out and seeing how they perform at specific tasks rather than designing them. The radio chatter is the background chatter of their day to day operations.

What happens?

Zor
HAIL ZOR! WE'LL BLOW UP THE OCEAN!
Heros of Cybertron-HAB-Keeper of the Vicious pit of Allosauruses-King Leighton-I, United Kingdom of Zoria: SD.net World/Tsar Mikhail-I of the Red Tsardom: SD.net Kingdoms
WHEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE ON EARTH, ALL EARTH BREAKS LOOSE ON HELL
http://zortropolis.myminicity.com/
http://zortropolis.myminicity.com/ind
http://zortropolis.myminicity.com/tra
Terran Sphere
The Art of Zor

User avatar
U.P. Cinnabar
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2019-03-09 12:47am

Nothing, until NASA and Interkosmos(as well as the ESA) develop the infrastructure and the technology necessary to send a manned mission to Mars. Once a manned mission successfully lands on the Red Planet, it's a tossup whether the local machinery tries making friends and taking advantage of the aliens in their midst, capture and "disassemble" them in the (understandbly)mistaken belief that these aliens are machines same as them(easy to assume, as the humans are wearing space suits and breathing gear), or shoot them down out of hand, though I am leaning toward the capture and disassembly option.

At any rate, the local machines will add the data the newcomers have(or what data they were able to save)to their own, while the folks back on Earth will likely assume hostile intent on the part of the machines, when their astro/cosmonauts are overdue for their first check-in(assuming the capture and disassembly option), meaning the next mission to Mars will be an armed one, possibly even resulting in the Project Orion plans being dusted off and put into use, in which case, they will command the high ground, at least until the machines learn to build armed spacecraft of their own, and, ultimately may even invade Earth itself.

Which leads to the question, can they handle rust? Earth's atmosphere has oxygen, Mars' doesn't, so they may not be used to the concept of metal rusting.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

User avatar
Jub
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3602
Joined: 2012-08-06 07:58pm
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by Jub » 2019-03-09 01:26am

First of all space funding stays high through the 70's and 80's at least as neither side in the Cold War can afford to let the other get ahead of them on the Mars situation. We're also going to start looking for signs of alien life all around our solar system because there's a chance that whatever left the robots either left Mars or was never from there at all.

Beyond that we send fewer landers to Mars after the first couple are eaten but we send a lot more orbital missions. We'd likely try to figure out what the sides to the conflict are and if we want to help any side, flatten the whole place with nukes and EMP, or invade via more conventional means. Its possible missions are planned to capture these alien machines, but those would have a very high failure rate.

User avatar
Eternal_Freedom
Castellan
Posts: 9729
Joined: 2010-03-09 02:16pm
Location: Bound in a nutshell

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-03-09 11:24am

If every city on Mars has a fusion reactor why do they need huge bands of solar panels at the tropics?

Anyways, IIRC my Saturn-V reading, a manned Mars flyby would have been possible by about 1975 if they used the Saturn-N configuration (basically a normal rocket with a stretched third stage and a NERVA nuclear thermal rocket in place of the J-2), continued development could probably have given you manned landings by 1980.

On the NASA side, the SAturn would probably go into mass production and a lot of orbital stuff gets built, liek the super-Skylab ideas that were thrown around. Or maybe they'd build the Saturn C-8 Nova, that'd be awesome.

On a more practical side, this would finally give the Americans the need/excuse to build full-scale Orion ships. Which is awesome.

Ok, spaceflight geek rant over. I have a horrible suspicion that Mars would become a more distant arena for Cold War-era proxy wars, sending information, weapons (perhaps even nukes) to the smaller groups on the surface to use against the larger groups in return for details of the fusion reactors. I mean, that's the big prize right there. No more oil, no radioactive waste products, faster ships, damn.

As for the Soviets...hmm, I don't know. Perhaps they would recognize they couldn't beat the Americans there (the N-1 was a clusterfuck) and go all-out on a nuclear strike to destroy anything of value on Mars...or just blast the Americans to stop them winning.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

User avatar
Jub
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3602
Joined: 2012-08-06 07:58pm
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by Jub » 2019-03-09 12:39pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-03-09 11:24am
If every city on Mars has a fusion reactor why do they need huge bands of solar panels at the tropics?
Maybe the fusion reactors don't have the required capacity to sustain the required industrial output and constant building and the machines left fighting a pointless war were never programmed to build new ones?

User avatar
Solauren
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 8225
Joined: 2003-05-11 09:41pm

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by Solauren » 2019-03-09 04:33pm

I see an attempt being made to 'kidnap' some of the machines for study, including if they are vulnerable to Electro-magnetic pulses.
Assuming they are vulnerable to EMP, then I can see us using high altitude nukes to try to knock the machines offline before a massive invasion.

Alternatively, I can see serious attempts to 'hack' them, and introduce reprogramming to make them our servants.
\

User avatar
Zor
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 5858
Joined: 2004-06-08 03:37am

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by Zor » 2019-03-09 05:11pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-03-09 11:24am
If every city on Mars has a fusion reactor why do they need huge bands of solar panels at the tropics?
Waste not want not. Besides it's useful for powering regional hubs.

Zor
HAIL ZOR! WE'LL BLOW UP THE OCEAN!
Heros of Cybertron-HAB-Keeper of the Vicious pit of Allosauruses-King Leighton-I, United Kingdom of Zoria: SD.net World/Tsar Mikhail-I of the Red Tsardom: SD.net Kingdoms
WHEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE ON EARTH, ALL EARTH BREAKS LOOSE ON HELL
http://zortropolis.myminicity.com/
http://zortropolis.myminicity.com/ind
http://zortropolis.myminicity.com/tra
Terran Sphere
The Art of Zor

User avatar
U.P. Cinnabar
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2019-03-09 06:49pm

Solauren wrote:
2019-03-09 04:33pm
I see an attempt being made to 'kidnap' some of the machines for study, including if they are vulnerable to Electro-magnetic pulses.
Assuming they are vulnerable to EMP, then I can see us using high altitude nukes to try to knock the machines offline before a massive invasion.

Alternatively, I can see serious attempts to 'hack' them, and introduce reprogramming to make them our servants.
If the machines themselves use nukes, wouldn't they have adpated by switching to fiber-optic circuitry?
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

User avatar
U.P. Cinnabar
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2019-03-09 06:53pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:Ok, spaceflight geek rant over. I have a horrible suspicion that Mars would become a more distant arena for Cold War-era proxy wars, sending information, weapons (perhaps even nukes) to the smaller groups on the surface to use against the larger groups in return for details of the fusion reactors. I mean, that's the big prize right there. No more oil, no radioactive waste products, faster ships, damn.
Meanwhile, conspiracy theorists and other lower life forms back on Earth will be denying the existence of space, Mars, Martian machines, rockets, and claim all sorts of black-project type reasons as to where the extra money is going.

Some may even claim life on Mars is a Communist plot.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

User avatar
madd0ct0r
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 5817
Joined: 2008-03-14 07:47am

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-03-10 01:45pm

Theres not going to be an easy way to prove the lack of sophonts on mars. The prize is much more then fusion though - what other secrets of the ancients lurk beneath the sands.


Let alone mars orbit you might see Charon made into a permanent base, or both moons claimed by the opposite sides.
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

User avatar
Eternal_Freedom
Castellan
Posts: 9729
Joined: 2010-03-09 02:16pm
Location: Bound in a nutshell

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-03-10 04:16pm

You mean Phobos or Deimos. Charon is around Pluto. And the idea of bases on Phobos or Deimos to investigate something on Mars sounds like a plot from Doom...
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

User avatar
Solauren
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 8225
Joined: 2003-05-11 09:41pm

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by Solauren » 2019-03-10 05:27pm

Actually, a mod to turn all the creatures from Doom into robots instead would make the game more more :mrgreen: :angelic:
\

User avatar
madd0ct0r
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 5817
Joined: 2008-03-14 07:47am

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-03-11 03:17am

Taking the anthill metaphor for the machines - monitor and decode the radio, be able to manipulate single bots or whole areas into operating in ways to suit us. A bit like how we can direct ants with chemical sprays.

At least a circle of radio beacons playing the EvAc code might let a base on mars be unmolested.
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

User avatar
Starglider
Miles Dyson
Posts: 8655
Joined: 2007-04-05 09:44pm
Location: Isle of Dogs
Contact:

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by Starglider » 2019-03-12 07:32pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2019-03-09 06:49pm
If the machines themselves use nukes, wouldn't they have adpated by switching to fiber-optic circuitry?
I'm not clear that high-altititude nuclear weapons will even produce significant EMP on Mars. The effect occurs on earth due to relatively rapid absorbtion of gamma rays by the atmosphere, ionisation and a resulting ionic current pulse. Mars has ~0.6% of the atmosphere that Earth does so there will be much less gamma absorbtion and what does occur will be spread over a much wider area, thus two orders of magnitude less ionisation and presumably current.

User avatar
U.P. Cinnabar
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Machines of Mars (RAR!)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2019-03-12 11:00pm

Damnit, I forgot about the atmosphere. Or lack thereof.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

Post Reply