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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-28 01:20pm
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fractalsponge1 wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
fractalsponge1 wrote:
Hm, wouldn't a given main arm of the power grid necessarily be able to handle the power surge equivalent to a salvo from any gun battery attached to the arm? ...which for a Mandator, might be quite powerful (~6 petatons at minimum)?
Not necessarily; the superheavy gun mounts might very well rely on power storage drawn from the main grid over time scales much longer than those of a millisecond or microsecond "surge."


Hm, good point, but it seems a bit strange to me that a dedicated warship could not take a battery salvo, the most "common" subunit of its armament, without burnthrough.
Well, do keep in mind that in combat the power trunking of a ship is already under quite a bit of stress and load. Of course, given the titanic energies already flowing through shields and weapons on a large ship, one must wonder just how little excess capacity they're putting in these systems.

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True, but the converse is that we already have the problem of big ships being less effective against small ones than their tonnage would indicate, which has happened over and over for dramatic reasons. Which, by the kind of reasoning we normally see around here, means that there really ought to be an in-setting explanation that allows star destroyers to damage supercapital ships, even though if we were designing the supercapitals we'd like to think we could make them completely immune to destroyer-range firepower.


I assume you're talking about Executor. Less capable than their tonnage suggests, compared to a destroyer, yes. However, it still took most of the Rebel fleet at point blank range to achieve burnthrough. That, as Thanas said earlier, could easily have been equivalent to two-three dozen or more ISDs worth of firepower, which is close to the average total shield dissipation (assuming 120xISD generation, dissipation of 33% of peak output).

I think the momentum transfer limit idea is a pretty good argument for a more distributed shield grid; but still, it would be logical for armored/shield warships to be able to take fire of their own scale. If a Sector-force destroyer like Fist could manage time-on-target salvoes, a dreadnought like Executor ought to be able to do it routinely too. And another Executor ought to be able to take battery-groups worth of firepower without burnthrough, otherwise it'd be quick battles, every time, more dependent on luck than anything else.

Perhaps it might be time to split this discussion elsewhere, lest we clutter ECR's excellent fiction too much? :)
I do agree this is something of a thematic problem inherent in the setting. David can beat Goliath, but in so doing he make's Goliath's very presence questionable. So what's the trick that we're missing out on here?

I've often wondered about Han ordering adjustments to the deflector shields on the Falcon, maybe this could be a clue here. If shields are significantly less effective at dealing with multiple sources of damage or are less effective in suboptimal configurations at absorbing incoming fire, then this may explain things like why the Rebels surrounded Executor instead of putting all their firepower in her rear or ventral arc where responses would be more limited. If shields are more effective when aligned and angled properly, it presents an opportunity for quick agile fighters and destroyers to make their presence known by shooting where the shields are not in position to receive fire. Unfortunately, more modern skin hugging shields make rather a mess of this.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-28 03:40pm
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Vehrec wrote:
Hm, good point, but it seems a bit strange to me that a dedicated warship could not take a battery salvo, the most "common" subunit of its armament, without burnthrough.
Well, do keep in mind that in combat the power trunking of a ship is already under quite a bit of stress and load. Of course, given the titanic energies already flowing through shields and weapons on a large ship, one must wonder just how little excess capacity they're putting in these systems.[/quote]

Well, an Acclamator's power distribution system is enough to shunt the equivalent of 33% of maximum reactor power from shields to radiators, presumably while handling all the normal combat functions of the ship at the same time. Seems like it could be a fairly large margin from that.

I'm fine with the idea of a single shot delivering its power in microseconds being far more difficult to handle than a less precise time-on-target of the same yield arriving over miliseconds, so a 3 petaton single bolt is worth something like a 30 petaton or more battery volley for burnthrough purposes. But gunnery of that precision might be simply unattainable...

EDIT: As a note for consistency, I'll point out One and Indivisible took a nearly 4 petaton time-on-target volley, so for a collection of smaller bolts, larger ships should be able do better (in this story arc at least).

I nitpick because I care :)



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-28 07:14pm
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fractalsponge1 wrote:
I assume you're talking about Executor. Less capable than their tonnage suggests, compared to a destroyer, yes. However, it still took most of the Rebel fleet at point blank range to achieve burnthrough. That, as Thanas said earlier, could easily have been equivalent to two-three dozen or more ISDs worth of firepower, which is close to the average total shield dissipation (assuming 120xISD generation, dissipation of 33% of peak output).
That, in turn, assumes that the Rebel ships were concentrating every watt of energy on achieving the burnthrough, unless I misunderstand your calculations. Which is unlikely, not least because the Executor (and numerous conventional ISDs) were already shooting back.

In addition to the Executor, we have EU incidents such as the Clone Wars attack on the Malevolence. Superheavies just aren't as devastating in general as their tonnage would imply, it seems. They are nearly always taken down by component strikes and wolfpack tactics from smaller ships, and only rarely by giant supercapitals.

It may be that supercapital ships are the Star Wars equivalent of, say, elephants in Hellenic warfare: they're impressive as hell, and sometimes they work, but they don't work nearly as well as their cost would indicate. They still keep getting built for reasons that are... less than fully logical.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-28 07:42pm
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A wolfpack-like strike force would also be much easier (and quicker) to assemble than removing of one's own heavies to form enough hunting groups. That would also weaken garrison forces of important worlds - better to loose convoys and small strike groups than a major staging area or shipyard. I don't remember the Malevolence-episodes in detail, but I can't remember her having any escorts, even (droid) fighter groups for which there should be plenty of space in a droid-crewed ship.




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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-28 11:16pm
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Simon_Jester wrote:
That, in turn, assumes that the Rebel ships were concentrating every watt of energy on achieving the burnthrough, unless I misunderstand your calculations. Which is unlikely, not least because the Executor (and numerous conventional ISDs) were already shooting back.


What's the evidence they didn't? Ackbar says concentrate all firepower on the Executor, that's about it, for all I know. Still, easily dozen ISD firepower, for several seconds. The assumption was that it was a coordinated component strike against the bridge, unless you really want to argue that an Executor can't take single destroyer firepower and some schmuck MC80 took down a panel without much other help :P.

Simon_Jester wrote:
In addition to the Executor, we have EU incidents such as the Clone Wars attack on the Malevolence. Superheavies just aren't as devastating in general as their tonnage would imply, it seems. They are nearly always taken down by component strikes and wolfpack tactics from smaller ships, and only rarely by giant supercapitals.


Malevolence scrapped three Venators in a very short engagement, and the area of effect of the gimmicky ion cannon could've disabled larger formations than the 3 ship line that got hit. Smaller capital ships did jack against it before the precision starfighter strike that took advantage of a design flaw with the new prime weapon. There's not much of an indication from the episodes how big of a Venator wolfpack would've been required to destroy it in a conventional engagement.

Simon_Jester wrote:
It may be that supercapital ships are the Star Wars equivalent of, say, elephants in Hellenic warfare: they're impressive as hell, and sometimes they work, but they don't work nearly as well as their cost would indicate. They still keep getting built for reasons that are... less than fully logical.


Yet they are built, for hundreds of years at the least, from the Inexpugnables to Eclipse I and II. Dramatic license says they need some Achilles heel major design flaw so our scrappy heroes can take it down using kit fighters, but logic does not. If they were glass cannons, or inefficient trophies, they would not have been built continuously for at least a millenium.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-29 09:23am
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Right, give me time to read that lot, digest it, go back to the drawing board and try to work a solution out that does what I want it to do for dramatic purposes and is still technically feasible and consistent. Or, more logically, that is technically feasible and consistent and that I can manage to work with for purposes of drama.

On that other hare I tried to start to divert you all from this :lol: , Chocula, I can't concur on Jeri Ryan. Apart from the whole by- association thing- my respect for trek tapers off after TOS- she's not the right shape. Still looking for a physical match, she's obviously an athlete but not a musclewoman, has to be able to blend in, endurance and agility over strength; but above the neck, the face I see in the mind's eye is somewhere between Lauren Bacall, the percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the mad danish metal singer Lee Aron.

Ob Wathavrah, his complexion is damaged anyway- he has scarring from a cryogenic leak; and that actually puts me in mind of Stephen Greif, who played Travis in the first series of Blake's Seven. Pel Aldrem, now that I try to track him down, I think of the look of Jurgen Klinsmann.

Lennart himself, there's a lot of Boj in him- if you know british reenactment at all, you probably know who I mean- but the best reasonably well known match is probably Clive Owen. He's the right shape. Bit of Gregory Peck in there as well, maybe.

Mirannon, Robbie Coltrane- you could be on to something. Coltrane's not quite the right shape though, more height less width required. Back in a bit.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-29 03:37pm
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fractalsponge1 wrote:
What's the evidence they didn't? Ackbar says concentrate all firepower on the Executor, that's about it, for all I know. Still, easily dozen ISD firepower, for several seconds. The assumption was that it was a coordinated component strike against the bridge, unless you really want to argue that an Executor can't take single destroyer firepower and some schmuck MC80 took down a panel without much other help :P.
No, I don't; my point is that dozen-ISD firepower is low enough that it shouldn't be enough to do component strikes, if we assume that supercapital shields are strong enough to resist component strikes from rival supercapitals. Executor has much more than dozen-ISD firepower; if it's shielded to resist others of its class, it should be a hard target for a mere dozen ISD-equivalents unless those dozen ships are extremely well coordinated and are very good shots.

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Yet they are built, for hundreds of years at the least, from the Inexpugnables to Eclipse I and II. Dramatic license says they need some Achilles heel major design flaw so our scrappy heroes can take it down using kit fighters, but logic does not. If they were glass cannons, or inefficient trophies, they would not have been built continuously for at least a millenium.
My interpretation is that the design principles for supercapitals varied wildly from era to era: the big shipyards would come up with a design and claim that it had the power of a hundred destroyers, then there'd be a major war and those supercapitals would turn out to be equivalent to more like ten or twenty. The design would work, and work quite well against anything but a large destroyer wolfpack (including rival supercapitals)... it just needed a little tweaking.

So the shipyards would go back to the drawing board and try again, with a different shielding scheme and weapons layout. Maybe we need a reduced intensity, large area-effect weapon to knock out enemy wolfpacks all at once, or to centralize the shielding in a smaller number of very strong generators.

Then something else goes wrong: the new class runs into a rival supercapital of the previous generation or a fortified planet, loses one of its large shield sectors to heavy enemy fire, and then gets all its guns torpedoed off by a mass fighter strike. So we need to go back to smaller shield sectors that will be quicker to rebound from shield failure, and armament that is more efficient at engaging single heavily shielded targets... which leaves us right back where we started, only with an electronics fit a few decades more advanced. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Many of these designs are undeniably effective, but are relatively weak against one of the several possible ways to counter a supercapital, because the design requirements for making your ship wolfpack-proof and fighter-proof and capable of defeating individual opponents of equal tonnage are mutually exclusive.

Others are simply bad designs: they try to be wolfpack-proof and fail, and are even further weakened because their attempted wolfpack-proofing forced design compromises that make them weak against other threats.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-29 04:23pm
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Many of these designs are undeniably effective, but are relatively weak against one of the several possible ways to counter a supercapital, because the design requirements for making your ship wolfpack-proof and fighter-proof and capable of defeating individual opponents of equal tonnage are mutually exclusive.



I felt Supercapitals often seem to Lack the level of standardization of the smaller designs, imperators, vindicators, and allegiances are all relatively similiar in basic form, but Executor and Mandator differ greatly in design, and often tried to cram considerablely more functions into a single hull, all of which add to mass and size but don't directly contribute to combat power, though to be fair even a mere heavy capital like bellator and Giel battleship, the difference between two designs in the same weight class also differs considerable, it's just that supercapitals face even more variables that had to be accounted for in trying to add so much functions to a single hull, Hence the Eclipse with a massive superlaser and ramming hull, but shitty engine speed.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-29 05:05pm
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Simon_Jester wrote:
No, I don't; my point is that dozen-ISD firepower is low enough that it shouldn't be enough to do component strikes, if we assume that supercapital shields are strong enough to resist component strikes from rival supercapitals. Executor has much more than dozen-ISD firepower; if it's shielded to resist others of its class, it should be a hard target for a mere dozen ISD-equivalents unless those dozen ships are extremely well coordinated and are very good shots.


I agree that a dozen ISDs should not be able to burnthrough a dreadnought's shields on a single alpha, if those defenses are predicated on dreadnought firepower, but I also don't think that there's evidence to say that something like that ever happened. It could have taken a lot more firepower than that to make those localized breaks in Executor's shielding. A lot depends on your interpretation of Ackbar's orders to concentrate on Executor; if that was a maximum effort from the entire Rebel fleet, then it could easily be worth several dozen ISDs, which is within the range of a total average dissipation for an Executor based on the known numbers of an Acclamator. However, we don't know how long that concentrated barrage took to break the bridge shields; could have been several seconds worth of alpha. Also any such barrage would have be more precise and effective than if delivered at more "normal" ranges, because the Rebels were point-blank. We do know, however, that they probably only just managed it, as there was no overpenetration or a lot of waste heat dumped into the hull underneath the shield panel.

Simon_Jester wrote:
My interpretation is that the design principles for supercapitals varied wildly from era to era: the big shipyards would come up with a design and claim that it had the power of a hundred destroyers, then there'd be a major war and those supercapitals would turn out to be equivalent to more like ten or twenty. The design would work, and work quite well against anything but a large destroyer wolfpack (including rival supercapitals)... it just needed a little tweaking.

So the shipyards would go back to the drawing board and try again, with a different shielding scheme and weapons layout. Maybe we need a reduced intensity, large area-effect weapon to knock out enemy wolfpacks all at once, or to centralize the shielding in a smaller number of very strong generators.

Then something else goes wrong: the new class runs into a rival supercapital of the previous generation or a fortified planet, loses one of its large shield sectors to heavy enemy fire, and then gets all its guns torpedoed off by a mass fighter strike. So we need to go back to smaller shield sectors that will be quicker to rebound from shield failure, and armament that is more efficient at engaging single heavily shielded targets... which leaves us right back where we started, only with an electronics fit a few decades more advanced. Lather, rinse, repeat.
...
the design requirements for making your ship wolfpack-proof and fighter-proof and capable of defeating individual opponents of equal tonnage are mutually exclusive.


The one thing that makes sense for a distributed array of small shield generators is minimizing the effects of shield loss.

That said, wolfpacks are basically smaller ships trying to be as dangerous as a larger single ship; penetrating the shields of the target is still all about concentration of firepower. The armament of the target, its ability to neutralize each kind of threat before critical damage accumulates, will matter more than the design of passive defenses like shields. The basic tenets for those, whether they are going to be faced with wolf-packs or rival supercapitals, should be pretty much the same: have the maximum possible surge capacity and heat dissipation available, with as much redundancy as possible. But the ability to withstand initial burnthrough is going to be critical. If you lose shielding, unless your shields rebound instantly, the follow-up HTL volley is going to penetrate hull and potentially screw you up far worse than having your turrets picked off by fighters. If you're a supercapital, and your shielding can't take the initial hit(s) from supercapital-level or supercapital-equivalent-wolfpack-level firepower, you don't really have a good reason for existing.

This changes if the expectation is that time-on-target salvos are truly rare things, unlikely to work at normal battle ranges. Then averaged heat dissipation is what matters. But concentrated time-on-target salvos had better be really rare, or having a defense/offense balance that much out of whack would make really big ships a prohibitively risky concentration of resources.

My interpretation of the role of large capital ships is that they exist to tackle hard targets, be they fortress worlds or other large capital ships. The point of using one over an alpha-equivalent horde of small ships is that the big ship can survive the initial volleys, dealing damage of its own without taking permanent losses. If they are likely to be easily knocked out trying to do that, then there's no good military reason to have them; accept the losses of smaller ships, and save money in the long run. Is an entire galaxy going to be dumb enough to gamble on anything less than at least a break-even proposition, time and again, for a thousand years?



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-29 08:21pm
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I see what you're saying. What I'm getting at is that I feel the long lifespan of supercapitals can be explained if we posit that while supercapitals are generally cost-effective, any given supercapital class is likely to have at least one significant weakness. In a quest to eliminate this weakness, the designers get caught in a cyclic process of replacing X with Y, Y with Z, and (several decades later) Z with a slightly updated version of X.

Most supercapitals are a worthwhile proposition given their own mission design, especially in a galaxy that seems to have the capacity to build far more spacefaring tonnage than it actually builds (one Death Star outmasses any reasonable figure for the size of the galaxy's starfleet, for instance). But for missions outside their primary design role, they tend to run into trouble. Thus, the Malevolence was a devastatingly effective anti-wolfpack ship that fell prey to a fighter strike; Executor was a ship with an unknown specific role that fell prey to a wolfpack far lighter than its own tonnage, and so on.

How, precisely, a supercapital is optimized for any given mission ("mauler" type designed to engage planets and enemy supercapitals, "horde breaker" designed to engage large wolfpacks of enemy normal capital ships, etc...) is beyond me. I have ideas, but I can't support them well enough to seriously expect them to be taken as truth by others.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-29 10:58pm
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Malevolence was let down by its (very non-standard) prime weapon. The only reason the fighters had a chance was they attacked during firing of the area ion cannon. If it had been replaced by an equivalent power-budget turbolaser battery, the Y-wings would have had bugger all to do with the outcome.

Anti-wolfpack vs anti-capital seems to depend a lot on how well you think time-on-target salvos work. If you can link smaller caliber guns effectively, it makes much more sense to have a more distributed battery, whatever the intended target. But even so, if you had the energy budget and space of a star dreadnought, you could easily have, on top of a main anti-capital battery, a large enough secondary battery that can break even very large units of small ships. After all, the weakness of wolfpacks compared to large single ships is that with each exchange, the wolfpack permanently loses part of its offensive strength. You make an initial higher investment into an equivalent bigger ship because it can be re-used, again and again, if handled properly, with the only thing lost being spare shield heat load and fuel.

I guess my point is that the "significant weakness" that always seems to be present is largely writer's fiat. There are effective, non-gimmick, non deus-ex-machina ways to take down a bog-standard capital ship with no uberweapons or glaringly obvious design faults; swarm it with huge numbers of small ships or bring another supercapital. Sometimes, a target needs to be battered down with brute force and a lot of spent blood - it's not bad writing to accept that there's not always an elegant solution to every problem in war.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-30 01:06am
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True. But we're stuck with a universe where stories have the plots the author wants to give them; otherwise we wouldn't have the Force (which, when you get right down to it, is a blatant organ of the plot*). Supercapitals die to forces of lesser tonnage often enough that some explanation is warranted, even if you question the artistic decision to write the stories that way.

*I once heard an interesting exercise: take Star Wars, and replace every use of the word "Force" with the word "Plot." Thus:
Quote:
"The time has come, young man, for you to learn about the Plot."
"Darth Vader is a servant of the dark side of the Plot."
When Ben Kenobi gets written out, he becomes one with the Plot and can speak inside the hero's head.
When a whole planet of good guys gets blown up, Ben senses "a great disturbance in the Plot."
:wink:

If we can accept outright magic, we ought to be able to live with supercapital ships that are worth the price of building them but not reliably immune to better handled but smaller forces. There's enough doubt about how some of the in-setting technology works to leave considerable room for that kind of thing.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-30 08:15pm
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^Deus ex machina is what it is, I know there's not much to be done about it but whine and hope for better from the fanbase :P.

But if you go from evidence, there's not much that's unambiguous, is there? Is there a supercapital anywhere in non-minimalist 8km SSD SW that gets taken down by a significantly inferior force in open space combat that doesn't involve sabotage, Jedi or starfighter wank, or Act of Plot? As in a conventional force not within the same order of magnitude?



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-30 09:16pm
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I haven't read far enough into the X-Wing series to know; is the destruction of the Iron Fist disqualified for any of the above reasons?

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-11-30 10:11pm
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Doesn't the X-Wing series use game mechanics?



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2009-12-02 12:08am
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Can we take the game mechanics discussion elsewhere, and just have More Story?



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-01-24 06:38pm
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It's been far too long- just to prove that this is not dead, the first half of ch 21.


Not very long ago, in a galaxy not all that far away... Unlike many of her colleagues, Inquisitor Vail was not herself psychic.
She preferred to rely on quick wits and competent support staff. This was good, as many of the psykers with the fleet had just come apart, in one case literally.

Her own psychic resource, Rakel, was taking it particularly badly, which for her was saying something.
The plump psyker actually served two critical functions within the inquisitorial retinue; apart from the mentalism, she was abrasively rude and uncouth.

This was more than valuable, it was indispensable; it meant the inquisitor could be malicious and contemptuous to people through a proxy,
who could not really be held accountable for her actions.

Then Amberley could score grace and diplomacy points by pretending to apologise for her unruly minion,
while at the same time pointing out that sanctioned psykers, you know how it is...


She had wondered why so few of her higher ranking associates, people of some standing in their own right,
who ought to know how things worked, had managed to figure it out.

Especially Ciaphas, whose own malodorous aide should have given him a clue if nothing else could.
Still, being caustically abusive by proxy, just as being elegantly gracious, was simply another facet of the trade.

Said trade being the defence of the Imperium of Man, and this being an unusually far forward position to exercise it from.
Another universe, for a start. Although that didn't necessarily affect any of the fundamentals.

It was their psychic who provided them with the key clue, in fact.


The Externus Exterminatus was cruising in the local equivalent of the warp, circling like a hawk seeking thermals
trying to get purchase in this thin, glacial sky, and to make out a concentration of minds worth steering for,
and the inquisitor was considering for the umpteenth time whether she ought not to change the name to something more cosy and less obvious, when it hit.

There was a scream of alarm from the navigator's otherwise- shielded compartment- 'Storm!- Br-' Tynus had probably meant to say 'warpstorm, brace brace brace'-
but he didn't get that far before the ship was hammered and sent tumbling and careering, and-

and nothing, strangely. A williwaw, a patch of clear air- or unclear mind- turbulence?
Amberley was just about to ask him for an explanation, in her usual semi- serious, I could make this so much worse if I wanted to, team- building way,
when Rakel started to spasm.


Nothing especially out of the ordinary, unfortunately, as she started thrashing around and screaming,
throwing herself at a table and breaking it, rolling in the cake- strewn wreckage- but the language she was giving vent to
changed to something that was definitely not Imperial Gothic.

'I'velostmyshipi'veprobablylostmycareercontact'swontthatsatupidbastardfrozeisthereanyhidethelogssquirtbackupfleet'llhanghimand
whowithhimchargedecouplefusinglinkageworkshopfacilities
fixwithtimedamnfleetsecond'sstupididtyayearofrepairsiftheygiveusayearre
movethatdefectiveidiotcomanderfirstdamnfooloesn'tknowwhatengineswedid
ourdutydin'tweofcoursewedidn'tship'sinbitsit'sallyourfaultfreakswefouthgtthatwhoshouldhavecouldhaveknown-'

A long string of run together words and word salad, it was obvious that it was alien and equally obvious
that it was gibberish, and it was too much for the psyker; her eyes rolled back in her head and she collapsed, twitching.


'I'm taking us out of Warp.' First Navigator Gemonin Tynus announced, unsteadily. 'I don't feel very well.'

That could have been the prelude to anything up to and including a daemonic incursion, and the retinue readied weapons,
took firing positions covering the shielded cubicle.

Their descent from warp was rough, more so than it should have been; and it was a relief when they emerged into calm and stability, and the gellar fields shut down.
The armoured door folded open, and nothing came out, for several long seconds.

No alternatives. Somebody had to go in and look.

Tynus was a typical member of Amberley Vail's retinue; slightly mad. He had been mutating slowly, as navigators do, and about to be reduced to amniotics
when he had decided he hated the idea of becoming a limbless thing in a glass cage.

He had escaped from the guild, effectively proving that he wasn't ready for total life support just yet,
and eventually been found living in the wild with a pack of mutant dogfish industrial sea herders, in open ocean on the agriplanet his ship had last stopped over.

Somehow he had gained psychic control of the herdfish, and was using them as a defence.
One member of the guild sent to try to talk their renegade down had already been eaten, which was how the Inquisitor had got to hear of it.

She had solved the problem, and got herself a new navigator, with a little interior remodelling to make room for a swimming pool inside the psychic shielding.


He was very good, wouldn't have been worth bending the rules for otherwise, but stability was not his thing. There were burbling sounds, but no other clue;
hand over face, squinting between her fingers and bolt pistol ready, Amberley raised the wards and opened the door to the swimming pool/navigation chamber.

Navigators were a very touchy topic in the Ordo Xenos, the oldest and most powerful of them moving so far away from their genetic roots
that they started to raise the terrible question of what it really meant to be human, of where the frontier of the race lay.

It was the omphaloidean heresy all over again; a problem it was dangerous to even recognise the existence of, to which no answer was right
and no solution did not point to disaster.

The team outside heard a gurgling sound, a scream, a high, eerie sobbing, some splashing and thrashing around followed by a dull thud.
A couple of moments later, a damp Inquisitor Vail emerged, a body slung over her shoulder that none of them recognised at first.


She did not select her minions for their obtuseness; Pelton was the first to put two and two together.
'What the Throne happened to Tynus? Did the warp suck most of his bodyweight away?'

'Ay, he's been mutated out of all recognition, he looks almost normal.' Yanbel pointed out.
'Which comes first, him or the ship's warp engines?' Leaving unstated the question, are we thinking about fixing him
or blowing him away before he sprouts tentacles?

'You deal with the engines.' Amberley told him. 'Find out what happened and if we can still trust them. Where's-ah, Mydelin.
Zemelda, get Tynus down to medicae and auspex him thoroughly. Pelton, go with her.' Meaning, it's your job to decide if this shrunken
walrus turns out to have mutated in an unacceptable fashion, and if he has, well.


Mydelin was the backup navigator; she dressed like an off duty assassin, black bodyglove, robes, headband, floppy hat.
Young and with the boldness of youth, talented but still immature, prone to take risks that a seasoned judgement would not;
and she just looked too sane for her own good.

She could be at least as abrasive as Rakel, but the usual excuses simply didn't fly, people were too apt to realise that she really meant it.
'So the space whale finally went belly up? Not surprised. I feel as if we flew through a planet.'

'Exceptionally unlikely.' Mott, the mechanically augmented savant, said. 'There are only four accredited and documented instances
in the entire history of the Imperium, and two hundred and seventeen million, five hundred and eighty thousand failed transits,
to the last known and nearest round figure.

The gravity well accounts for aproximately point four six three of the problems encountered in close transit and the
density of life on the planet and thus presence in the warp the remaining point five three seven.

Interestingly, the four known instances, one of which was a deliberate act of desperation, two of which were navigation errors
and one the result of a small ship being caught in a much larger vessel's undertow, all occurred through minimally populated worlds of marginal significance. The-'


'Yes, thank you Caratacus.' Amberley said, hoping to forestall any further explosions of unnecessary information.

'I didn't say I'd experienced it personally, I was being metaphorical. So what happened, did we actually just pass
through the warp shadow of something in dullspace? There was nothing, no warning at all.' Mydelin pointed out.

'Looking at what shape the engines are in, I couldn't rule it out.' Yanbel came back on to the bridge deck and announced.
'Not one of the standard accidents, though, gellar fields are fully functional. A transcosmic superposition would be consistent, yes.'

'With what? Even the piscinesque bloated one would have noticed a planet.' Mydelin snarked, but accurately.


'With one of their ships, potentially.' Yanbel considered. 'We know there are other methods, and this universe seems
suboptimal and possibly contraindicated for warp travel, therefore-'

'Warp travel without the warp?' Mydelin said, disbelieving- for one thing, it was not what any navigator wanted to
hear about- but unable, however much she would have preferred job security, not to consider it.

'There are known alternatives; the Webway, of course, the mysterious means by which the Necrons move themselves, the Tau's transition skimming,
according to Lord Inquisitor Kryptmann's study group the Tyranids are evolving organisms to lessen their dependence on the Warp. The-'

'Yes, thank you Mott.' Amberley said. 'Can you tell us anything useful about these people's drives?'


'Running Rakel's word salad through dialogic-cogiatation microfacilitator engines, I isolate the terms 'ship', 'repairs,' defective,' and also 'idiot'-
it seems likely that the impressions she received were from a damaged vessel. Further analysis-'

'Can wait for a more opportune moment. How fast was this cripple moving?'


Mott turned to his colleague in the Mechanicus, Yanbel, who shook his head and several of his mechadendrites.
'It may hae' seemed longer by the means of navigation, but the incident isn't recorded in the engines' overmonitoring systems.

No transition stage, we went from full function, or as full as this even less material than usual immaterium can supply,
to crippled in less time than the most sophisticated auspiceae we have can distinguish. Relative velocity must have been enormous,
and the overwhelming majority of it must have been theirs.'

'They move faster than we do.' Amberley said, and it was a flat statement, the sound of the decision making process in action.
What could they do about that, if anything?

'So many guesses and estimates, I couldn't tell you how much by with any accuracy I'd care to put my name to- I don't think they're
Necron fast, but not far off. Any number I could give you would have a lot of zeroes in it, that's all I can be sure of.' Yanbel pointed out.


'Mydelin, see what you can see, if there's anywhere we can get to within the day.' Amberley ordered.
They were giving away too much time. If their alien enemies could move that quickly, every second they wasted was a gift to the other side.
A month would be a tactical eternity.

'What do numbers taste like to you?' Yanbel said to Mydelin, and realised everyone was looking at him as if he had been touched by the
psychic shock too. 'No, I mean it, look for people with heads full of numbers, for something that could pass for a forge world-'

Amberley realised what her mechanicus adept was getting at. 'For the technosorcerers who built the intercosmic bridge in the first place.
Good thinking. Do it.' she told Mydelin, who was just going into the navigation chamber, and added to Yanbel 'I presume this is possible?
We can still move and achieve something in a time short enough to matter?'

'If I nurse the engines every step of the way, my lady, ay.' The technomancer agreed, heading for the engine room.


----um, er, yes, Rakel's word salad seems to have done the damage- should be sorted now. (Bloody psykers, can't trust any of them...)



"I beseech thee, In the bowels of God, think it possible that you might be wrong."
-Oliver Cromwell to Parliament, 1647
"It is good to keep an open mind; but not so open that your brains fall out." Attributed to James Oberg


Last edited by Eleventh Century Remnant on 2010-01-24 08:18pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-01-24 07:50pm
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Joined: 2008-11-01 08:35pm
Posts: 43
ECR

While i am overjoyed to see an update, can you possibly please alter the paragraphs.

Even with my wide screen, they go way off the page to the right. Did uploading it on here muck up your settings?

jp

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-01-24 08:10pm
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Joined: 2009-06-27 12:00pm
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There's a sentence that lacks spaces between words. Looks deliberate, but of course the forum is treating it as one obscenely long word (and it seems to be even longer than the forum's maximum post width. I recommend hyphenation.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-01-24 10:15pm
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"Omphaloidian heresy?" Let me guess: "Are people grown in tanks really human?"

drakensis wrote:
There's a sentence that lacks spaces between words. Looks deliberate, but of course the forum is treating it as one obscenely long word (and it seems to be even longer than the forum's maximum post width. I recommend hyphenation.
It's deliberate; it's the stream of consciousness of someone who thinks way faster than the typical Imperium psyker who's tuning into his mind. Looks like the person in question was panicking about damage to their ship.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-01-25 12:57am
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It lives! Interesting to see some more of Amberly. I really need to get around to reading these Ciaphas Cain books, shame my library doesn't carry them.



Any job worth doing with a laser is worth doing with many, many lasers. -Khrima
There's just no arguing with some people once they've made their minds up about something, and I accept that. That's why I kill them. -Othar
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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-01-25 11:16am
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Joined: 2006-04-30 08:04pm
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Sorry for the spammish post, but:

Yes! It's back!



http://fractalsponge.net

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-01-25 12:50pm
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Sith Acolyte
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Location: Richmond, Virginia: The Capitol of Treason
I do like reading your stuff, ECR, but this update is a serious backslide in terms of formatting relative to your other stuff. Please, the Grammar Gods command you, paragraphs. >.<



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Chronological Incontinence: Time warps around the poster. The thread topic winks out of existence and reappears in 1d10 posts.

Out of Context Theatre, this week starring Broomstick.
-'It's amazing what you can pack into a human rectum.'

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-01-26 03:33pm
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Huh. Demutation in the Navigator from lack of the warp? Wonder what that says about navigators in general, other than they're weird and all kinds of inbred, which we already knew?

As for the Necrons, I don't think anyone in universe knows how fast they are since all their ships are so hard to tell apart. Five classes, two raiders, two cruisers, one battleship. All outwardly identical except for a few of the battleships. Add to this the long periods of time where they just vanish, and you have a very hard time to get an idea of their actual strategic strength and speed.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-01-26 06:06pm
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Since Necron activity is so low, you could probably get a clue just from trying to correlate instances where a Necron ship was tracked in one area, vanished, and then a ship of the same class appeared elsewhere shortly thereafter. There would be false positives, but given enough data you could start to piece together an estimate (even if only "helluva fast, can cross the galaxy in a time in less time than it takes our astropaths to synchronize their watches").

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