Cycle Identifier Indicator No Repaint For Binary Options ...

[Serial][UWDFF Alcubierre] Part 54

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Premier Valast felt a tingle. It began at the base of his spine and traveled moved upward, sending warm fuzzy feelings all throughout his body as it made its way to his brain and inserted itself in his conscious thoughts. After all of the misery. After all of the failures. For once, something had gone right.
How delightful. How extravagant. How deserved.
The Humans had made a mistake. Clearly, they had thought to expand upon their treachery, believing themselves to be invincible. Their monstrosity of a vessel had appeared just as their last one had, within Halcyon's inner perimeter. After their ruse of parlay, their beast had commenced belching out weapons of mass destruction, clearly in an attempt to retrieve the encryption key and the elite assassin-thief they had dispatched under the guise of a Witness.
They thought Halcyon weak. Defenseless.
Not true! Not true at all!
Kinetics. Valast laughed aloud, his rib cage heaving out great guffaws. Accelerated mass! More laughter. The savages thought to bring such inelegance against the might of the Combine? They mistook their prior fortune for competence. Their one-time success for future capability. Alas, poor Humans, the truth of your inadequacies is made manifest! The brief gap in the defenses brought on by the improbable chain of events that had resulted in their arrival had been filled. For all of their destructive potential, their weapons were useless.
Valast continued to cackle, his hindclaws scrunching up the soft material of his pillow, as he watched the Humans receive their punishment for their insolence. The Humans had made assumptions. Perhaps assumptions were fine in their backwater corner of the galaxy, but here, among civilization, assumptions could be quite dangerous indeed. It was quite unwise to assume Halcyon would leave the inner perimeter exposed. They must have thought their Evangi co-conspirators would leave the gates open for them, as the traitor Neeria had done when she had given them access to a Combine wormkey in the first place. Sadly for the Humans, their four-armed friends had been exposed for what they were. A great many of the Evangi now lay motionless on the floor of a Halcyon mainway, a fitting end to their perfidy.
Halcyon had stood since the beginning, and it would continue to stand long after the Human infestation had been expunged from the Combine Space. Perhaps the Humans should have spent more time pondering the nature of the place before they had meddled with forces they clearly did not understand. Halcyon existed in defiance of the chaotic nature of the neutron star it orbited. Its survival required an solution to the objects such a gravity well attracted. Halcyon had many such solutions, weaved together to maintain a delicate balance. Among them were the inertial dampeners.
The screen in Valast's paws bloomed with colors, indicating firings of Halcyon's inertial dampeners. Each blossom of color was an attempt by the Humans to deploy weapons in clear violation War Accords, cementing Humanity's position as a menace to decent civilization. Had Valast not commanded Bo'Bakka'Gah to take the necessary precautions, the devastation would have been significant.
Lines of crimson sailed through the blooms of color.
Valast's whiskers twitched, his eyes squinting as it tracked one of these lines.
The solution was not perfect. The intertial dampeners in close proximity to Halcyon were a final precaution, and their purpose was narrow. They were a fine net, meant to indiscriminately capture any residual high-speed astral particulate that had escaped the outer defenses. Their efficacy diminished at an exponential rate in proportion to the size and mass of the object they acted upon. Thus far, they had been quite successful at preventing the Humans from making use of their weapons, but dampeners had no effect on the Human vessels. Even if the dampeners could be used for such a purpose, their indiscriminate nature would have required the cessation of all space born travel within Halcyon, an unacceptable disruption to the workings of the Combine's capitol.
The Humans' small spherical vessels were thus capable of traveling unimpeded throughout Halcyon space, tracing their crimson lines behind them as they did so. Such a thing did not overly worry Valast. They could not fire their weapons, and they were susceptible to electromagnetic disruption, rendering them easy targets for the Peacekeepers. Were Valast not otherwise consumed with the affairs of state, he would perhaps take to the front line and dispatch a few himself. Sadly, his bravery would find no opportunity for direct expression beyond the valor found in the privilege of command competently exercised.
The whiskers ceased their twitching and some cheer returned. It would not be long before the meddlesome Human spheres were swatted from the sky and the encryption key recovered.
Then they would dispatch the Human warship.
Then Humanity.
He need only wait.
-----------
"Get spread. Get small." Sana called out. Had to buy time. Had to get a handle on the situation. Not her first rodeo, but it was the first time where she had no idea what the hell she was riding. Maybe the aliens were riding her. Maybe it wasn't a rodeo, maybe it was just a slaughter.
That was the problem. No one knew anything.
The callsigns in her local were dropping like flies. Squaddies getting wiped without so much as a peep. The eggs in Science were saying EMPs, but the balls were supposed to be fixed against that frakkery. Sensors said the balls were still there even after they went dead, so maybe they were right. Couldn't think about that now.
Couldn't think about anything but the mission.
Captain Sana Bushida had a shit-shuttle to bring to station.
She needed to get from A to B. Normally the quickest point-to-point was a line, but the baddies were coming in from all sides. Trying to corral her in. So be it. She could handle a long and squiggly with the juice she had in the four balls attached to the cockpit. Only question was how long they'd be up for. Whatever they were using on the balls wasn't touching her. She was good, but she wasn't that good.
Guess they wanted her kicking and screaming.
Predators, not scavengers then.
Frakk 'em. Right in their stupid alien faces.
Sana's brain shunted command signals as fast as her eyes to parse the readouts in her pilot pod. Dodging. Weaving. Diving. Dipping. Half those words didn't even apply to space, but they felt right. Float like a butterfly, run like cheetah on amphetos. She'd sting 'em later.
Run run run, fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the shit-shuttle can.
Swipe. Swipe.
Two smaller ships moved in a pincer formation, one cutting off her angle around the larger ship she was skimming around. Sana let out a giggle, as she shoved the shuttle in another direction. "You thought you had me, crapdonkey? You never had me. You're gonna be seeing my ass all day." The giggle somehow transformed into a roar halfway through as a third ship appeared in her view, coming out from its hiding place on the other side of the large ship. "SCREW YOU!" They weren't going to win. Losing wasn't an option.
Swipe.
Patterns emerged as the ballet played out. Certain ships were the herders. The small annoying frakks that always seemed to be moving around her flanks. Other ships were the receivers. They were the big boys. The ones who just floated there like giant shits in space. Lazy frakks just waiting to be fed some shit-shuttle. Fine then. New info. New tactics. New rule: Get around the herders, never get closer to the receivers.
Herders bad.
Receivers bad-der-er.
As long as she was a step ahead of the herders and two steps away from the receivers, she'd be fine. Problem was they were more agile than her. Problem was there was more of them. Problem was the friendly callsigns on her readouts kept disappearing. Problem was that she was stuck in here instead of out there where she belonged.
Ninety-nine problems...
Swipe. Swipe.
All she needed was a line of sight. A place where she could get a whiff of open space and just gun it. Navigate the maze. Get through it. Light at the end of the tunnel. Glass is half full.
Metaphor.
Analogy.
Idiom.
The stream of consciousness flowed out of her, expressing itself in her verbiage and in the desperately navigating shuttle some distance away. Step forward. No steps backward. Okay, maybe one step backward, but it'll be okay. She'd take the step forward soon enough.
Just...needed...a...line.
Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta was gone.
It was just her.
Swipe. Swipe.
The fate of the world.
The shit-shuttle must survive.
Swipe. Swipe.
The gap opened.
She saw it.
They didn't.
"There it is bitches!"
All four balls slammed the thrusters on. It wasn't a direct bee line to the Oppenheimer but it was good enough. She just needed to get out of the hornet's nest and into open space so she could keep pouring on the acceleration. She didn't know how much juice the herders had, but it was all she had going for her at this point.
Bitter bile rose up in her throat as the shit-shuttle surged forward, leaving A through D behind. Her squaddies. Her friends.
Abandoned.
She should be out there.
She could be. She just needed to get the mission done. She was so close. She was putting distance between her and the baddies. Just a few more minutes...the link cut off.
Her thoughts were shunting into a wall.
She swiped, her eyes scanning the readouts.
Alcubierre - Shuttle - Cockpit (Ejection)(DISTRESS) no longer appeared.
For once, Sana was speechless.
---------------------
Kai retched air.
There was nothing else to throw up at this point. He'd given everything he had to give, and it was now floating about the cockpit in a viscous cloud. He was fairly certain Neeria was collateral damage in the matter. If she were ever to regain consciousness, she'd find she had been provided with a fresh coat of puke paint. At this point, being blind was something of a boon. Congratulations were owed to the sadist in the pilot's seat though, he hadn't emptied his stomach like this since flight sims.
He'd raise his hand in salute if it weren't for the incredible g-force shifts whipping him around like a rag doll as the pilot attempted to avoid whatever was out there. Some of the maneuvers seemed impossibly complex, as if the cockpit was navigating through an impassable morass of enemies. Or perhaps the pilot was just drunk. Either seemed possible.
The whipsawing continued. Back. Forth. Round and round. Acceleration never seemed to continue in a single direction for more than a few seconds. They were going in circles. They had to be.
Finally, it appeared the pilot had decided on a direction as Kai was slammed back into his chair as the cockpit rocketed forward under sustained acceleration. They must have broken through. Or the pilot had fallen asleep at the controls with the throttle down and they were all doomed. Either way. At this point, Kai was just eager for it to be over.
The acceleration continued. He felt like he was being crushed. Like an enormous hand was pressing against him, trying to squeeze all of his organs out through his eyes. Whatever was powering the cockpit now was beyond the parameters of the shuttle's acceleration compensators. His vision began to dim and his joints ached. Pain surged up in his right arm, which was still contorted within the goo. He was fairly certain a bone had just snapped.
"Oppenheimer..ETA," Kai managed to gasp out, drawing the breath back into his lungs with some effort.
"The shuttle is not currently on course to intercept with the UWDFF Oppenheimer."
"Joan." Kai wheezed. "Connect. Joan."
The acceleration cut off.
Kai took a huge gulp of air, the relief immediate. "Comm-link. Fleet Admiral Joan Orléans."
No response.
Kai tried again.
Silence greeted him.
Grumbling, he raised his left wrist toward his face. He stuck out his tongue and smeared it along the wrist console's interface. None of the expected beeps and chirps sounded out. It was dead, and, he suspected, so was the cockpit along with whatever had been propelling him. No life support. No way to call out for help. No way to do anything but sit there. For all intents and purposes, they were a hunk of space junk drifting off into the black oblivion.
Fair enough. It was a fitting end.
Helpless.
Hopeless.
Kai tried to muster some anger at the situation, if only to distract him from the pain coursing through his body, but found he was up to the task. It was easier to be motivated when there was something to do. Some way he could impact the situation. But there was nothing to do but wait. Maybe he'd live. Probably he'd die. He didn't mind it, that was the same binary he faced every other day. It was a bit more present in his mind than it normally was, but the truth was that he was overdue for demise. He'd given death the slip more times than anyone had a right to.
Still. It bothered him.
Not the death part. The not doing what he set out to do part.
He had run through walls, both literal and figurative, to make it this far. He didn't know what making it back to the Oppenheimer would mean for Humanity, but it had to be better than not making it. The encryption key -- what did it do? What could it do? Would it be doable? Neeria -- could she guide them? Could she help them navigate the treacherous galaxy Humanity was just beginning to play a part in?
There were so many questions. The answers could matter.
Kai tried to remember how much time they had. Without life support, the supply of oxygen would rapidly begin to deplete. He supposed it didn't matter, since he had no idea whether Neeria breathed, what Neeria she breathed, or the rate she consumed it. His space suit had a few hours of stored supply, but it was designed to work in conjunction with his helmet. Without the wrist console, he'd need to find some way to manually vent it.
That was something to do. Small, but perhaps meaningful. Anything to tilt the scales just a little bit more in their direction. Just a few more minutes of air could make a difference.
"Seconds matter," Kai wheezed out. His breath was wet and tasted of iron. He'd worry about that later. Air first. It wasn't much of a plan, but it was better than nothing.
He hoped Joan's plans were faring better.
-------------------
The Admiral's Bridge was awash in a sea of red. Multiple views vied for primacy as the situation continued to deteriorate. So far, the Oppenheimer itself had withstood the sustained EMP assault directed its way, but the same could not be said for the battle balls. Callsigns continued to blink out of existence with every passing second. The Oppenheimer had immediately attempted to provide supporting fire, but its kinetic weaponry was similarly disabled. Whatever the circumstances had been that had allowed the Alcubierre to destroy an alien vessel, they were clearly no longer relevant to the situation at hand. Without kinetics, the vast majority of Humanity's space-born projective power was effectively nullified. Science was looking into explanations and alternatives, but it would take time.
The Oppenheimer's EMP arrays had succeeded in firing, but the alien vessels appeared to be impervious to that form of assault. It was unclear whether they possessed EMP hardening around core processes similar to the Oppenheimer or they had other means of deflecting attacks of that nature. In the absence of an alternative, the Oppenheimer was continuously discharging the EMP arrays as they became available, attempting to test for weaknesses. The energy drain from the sustained fire was easily accommodated by the altered physics of local space, but it was unclear whether alien defenses could be worn down by continuous assault.
Other oddities were appearing as the situation unfolded. The aliens did not field any tactical fighters that their sensors could identify. There were ships of different sizes, but, thus far, no vessels had moved to directly engage the balls. Kai's cockpit was being corralled by a series of smaller ships working in conjunction with the larger ones, but that was it.
Joan considered it, trying to parse out deeper meanings from the absence. Human conflict, both Earthside and in space, had always heavily relied on tactical fighters. They had numerous advantages in terms of firepower projection and significantly increased tactical dynamism in a battle zone. Either the aliens had never considered the approach, or it was considered suboptimal within this environment.
Joan squinted, watching as the battle ball's callsigns dropped from the battle status view. She tilted her head. "This environment," she muttered to herself, her eyes drawn to the EMP array firing status. The recharge bars filled and expended. Filled and expended. Each cycle representing an incredibly powerful pulse of electromagnetic energy at the speed of light.
Speed of light.
Speed.
The answer struck her. The ramifications of the answer were displeasing. Plans must be altered. Contingencies reconsidered. The Black Fork was too optimistic. Their position was considerably worse than hoped for, but not entirely beyond anticipated outcomes, which had included their immediate destruction upon arrival in the system. They simply had fewer tools than she desired.
Tactical fighters had low utility when combat operated at the speed of light. There was no yield on agility, because no thruster could move faster than light could travel. There was no evading a lightspeed weapon at these distances. Unless a tactical fighter could retain functionality under fire, which the death balls so far could not, they were a pointless extravagance. At best, they could serve as a momentary distraction, particularly when their weapons were inoperable.
The unique characteristics of Humanity's birthplace were a hindrance here. Kinetics were the logical path for weaponry to take in an environment where destructive output was a matter of maximizing scarce energy resources. They were also the easiest, most natural extension from their Earthside forebears. Humanity had begun development of lightspeed weapons, the EMP and the Griggs pulse among them, but they placed tremendous strain on ship systems. The Oppenheimer, as a dreadcarrier, was among the few Earth spaceships that contained a full battery of EMP arrays. Due to the extremely demanding specifications, only a Pulser class ship could make use of a Griggs pulse. Had Humanity known what it faced just beyond its doorstep, it would have invested its research and development resources differently.
Too late now.
The game was not lost yet, they simply must play the hand they were dealt to its greatest effect.
A display flashed from green to red and moved toward the center of the wall, increasing in size. Simultaneously, three other displays shifted in color, position and size, in a chain reaction. Joan frowned. Or perhaps the game was lost, and she was only just realizing it. The shuttle cockpit's callsign, along with the four balls that had attached to it, had disappeared. Her hands darted up and began a series of gestures, swiping North to South as she removed some filters from the local space scan and South to North as she applied others.
She exhaled.
The shuttle had not been destroyed, only incapacitated. It was careening through space away from the cluster of alien ships closest to Halcyon, though a few were in rapid pursuit. The pursuers had acceleration in their favor, but the shuttle's current course brought them toward the Oppenheimer.
Joan flicked a few fingers, pulling the course data from the local scan and pushing it into the timer view.
Before Joan could issue the order, the nearest balls peeled off and immediately began an intercept course with the shuttle. Joan pulled up the command-chain, it appeared that Captain Bushida had decided to be proactive. Very well, but it would not be enough. The balls were more likely than not to be incapacitated before they could be used in any rescue effort. This required a more substantial intervention if the outcome were to be changed.
Joan pushed a new course heading into her comm-link with Ragnar. "Captain, I am moving us off of the Black Fork standing orders."
Ragnar glanced at the course heading. "That's even further in."
Joan nodded, "It's the only way we'll recover the cockpit. The balls can't get the job done."
"There's a risk the Oppenheimer won't get it done either. They're holding back," Ragnar replied, his eyes scanned off screen, bouncing between the various readouts and inbound requests. "Doesn't make any sense they'd only have EMPs. They've got more."
"Likely. My current belief is that they will refrain from further escalation until they have either secured the cockpit or believe they can no longer retrieve it. Each moment of escalation from them has been in response to an action on our part directed at the cockpit."
Ragnar wiped the back of his sleeve against his brow, mopping up the sweat. "Must be something important."
"Must be. The prize is likely worth the pain here, Ragnar. Retrieving the cockpit is the top priority. Preservation of ourselves is an ancillary concern."
"G4 is only a few out. We can hold that long," Ragnar said.
"Get the job done, Captain," Joan ordered and then cut the comm. Ragnar was a sophisticated battlefield tactician. The overlap between them was significant, and the differences between them were accretive to both. They both knew there was another card to be played, it was just a matter of whether Humanity could adapt to it.
Joan opened another comm-link. "Chief Adeyemi."
The Chief blinked a few times as the interjection, as if being pulled from a daze.
"Idara!" Joan exclaimed. "Where's Science at?"
Idara wet her lips, "We've gathered the data and mapped it to a few different explanations...but we need more--"
"You don't have it. Best guess, go."
"Some sort of inertial dampening field. Effects smaller objects. Weakens as the objects get larger. Only affects objects moving a certain speed. Only affects objects in space. Our kinetics are getting caught. Bigger objects, like the fighters, like the Oppenheimer, are fine. Bullets fired inside of the Oppenheimer are fine.
"Any sense on source?"
Idara shook her head.
"But it doesn't effect the fighters. Doesn't effect energy based weapons."
"From what we can see, that's right."
Joan's eyes drifted toward the tracker on Kai's cockpit. Hurtling through space.
"Idara, when the Alcubierre was heading for Proxima Barrier, your modeling said the ship would survive the impact, correct?"
"Yes, Admiral. There isn't an equal an opposite reaction. Actor has primacy in these physics."
Joan stared at Idara, lost in thought. The Chief shifted uncomfortably, "Is there something else--"
"I have what I need," Joan replied, cutting the comm.
She pulled up the status tracker on the balls. Over eight-five percent of launched fighters had already been incapacitated. The Oppenheimer still retained a final wing in its hangers, numbering approximately a hundred and twenty additional balls.
Joan watched the timers ticking down. They needed to go on the offensive. To find a way to tilt the situation in their favor. Even if they retrieved the cockpit, it was a long way back to the wormhole, and a long time to survive before G4 appeared. If the aliens had an ace up their sleeve, that would be the time to play it, when they had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
She re-opened the comm with Ragnar. "Captain, I think we can even the odds a bit."
"I'm all ears, Admiral."
Joan pushed a series of orders to Ragnar. He glanced at them and then glared at her, "You want--
"Yes, Captain, that's what I want."
"But they'll be destroyed," Ragnar responded.
"Not if they're moving fast enough. Get whoever we can get back into the hangers, launch the rest without the pilots. Target the ships. Target Halcyon."
Ragnar stared at her, "Halcyon? That's a civilian--"
"Captain, I want those balls dumped and under full steam at the designated targets. That's an order."
Ragnar opened his mouth and then shut it. A hand came off screen and formed a salute. The comm was dropped shortly after. Almost immediately, the tactical fighters shifted flight plans and began their retreat toward the Oppenheimer. Simultaneously, the wing residing within the *Oppenheimer'*s hangers shifted from stand-by to active. Soon they would be launched, pushing top acceleration toward Halcyon. No EMP would be able to stop them. If the aliens had another card to play, Joan hoped this would force it out and maybe, just maybe, buy enough time for G4 to make an appearance.
She just needed a little time.
Just needed to survive long enough for the Pulsers to arrive.
Seconds mattered.
Next.
Be sure to leave a comment or an upvote if you're enjoying Alcubierre. If you want a sense of how much it matters to me, here's a very emo journal entry documenting it.
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I have been conducting a strange experiment on my Twitter which people seem to be enjoying. I found an AI bot that randomly posts impactful images every few minutes. I've decided to craft a narrative on top of these random images called "The Human Archives."
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The Shoulders of Orion- Ch. 1: First Contact

Space-time rippled as the Horns of Glory snapped into real space. The normally smooth transition from FTL subspace travel back to the laws of relativity was instead dangerously jarring, as the inertial dampeners struggled to hold the innards of the massive warship in their proper places. After straining mightily for the briefest of moments, they failed, throwing Admiral Halon Va and the rest of his bridge crew violently into their restraining harnesses. The ship shuddered under the immense stress, then settled, drifting silently through space on minimal power.
“Tactical, get me a status report for the fleet on screen now. I want updates the instant ships jump in.” The Admiral’s voice was still firm and authoritative; it was taking every last shred of resolve he had to keep it that way. “Lieutenant Roshin, put a detail together and work with medical. I’m sure that re-entry caused more than a few extra injuries. Get as many of the crew patched up and ready for emergency action as fast as you can. I want a full casualty report as soon as possible. And if you find Science Officer Lentith and he’s still alive, send him to the bridge immediately.”
Admiral Va settled back into his command chair, drawing creaking sounds from the over-stressed frame as it absorbed the weight of his massive form. The bridge was completely silent now, the command crew entirely focused on the tasks at hand. Or they were too afraid to say anything; Va couldn’t be sure. He was thankful for their silence, though. He didn’t have any answers for them about his failure.
Keying in a few commands on the command panel at his station, the damage report for his ship popped up, the bridge lights flickering from the extra power draw. The Horns of Glory floated before him in hologram form. Long and slender, the ship was over two kilometers from bow to stern. At least, it had been a few hours ago. The forward 20 percent of the holographic ship was flashing red, indicating heavy damage. This was inaccurate, however, as the forward 20 percent of the ship simply wasn’t there anymore. The graceful lines and carefully crafted angles of the ship's armor were an unrecognizable slagged mess, and deep gouges had been cut into the inner decks all over the ship. Whole sections were missing amidships, two of the main reactors were offline, all the primary weapon batteries had been completely destroyed, and most of the critical systems were barely functioning. It was a miracle that she had survived the jump. That morning, Horns of Glory had been the greatest feat of Arien’Ra engineering, and it was now a barely functioning hulk.
And it had all happened under my command, thought Va.
He had no time to wallow in his failures, however, as at that moment tactical finally reconnected to the fleet command systems. The hologram of Horns of Glory quickly scaled down, appearing as a small, flashing, red point of light floating in loose formation with several other points of light. Most of them were flashing red as well. A constant stream of data and various reports scrolled down the right side of the hologram, listing in no uncertain terms the doom that Va had subjected his command to.
If Va had thought that the bridge was quiet before, it was nothing compared to the complete stillness that now settled over them. No one so much as moved a muscle, as they all sat in stunned silence, reading the reports. Occasionally, the hologram would flash, and a new point of light would join the formation, adding more data to the pile spelling out their damnation. After 30 ticks, new points of light had stopped appearing. Admiral Halon Va had lost over 60 percent of his fleet, and not a single other dreadnaught had survived the slaughter. His defeat was total, and the Federation navy was crippled.




Science Officer Beredarin Lentith had been the first member of his family not to enroll in command school in eight generations. They had been some of the finest members of the fleet the Vorqual race had ever contributed to the Federation. His brothers and sisters had all enrolled, which meant that as far as he was concerned, his family had more than fulfilled their duty to the Federation. Military life wasn’t for him, anyway; he wanted to explore. The Federation had been around for over 3000 years, and there were still vast swathes of the galaxy that they knew nothing about. They were still encountering new species every few hundred or so years, and there was nothing he wouldn’t give to find the next one. That had been the dream that directed him away from the military and into academia. The odds of actually finding a new race were so small, though. There were still at least 200,000,000 unexplored systems in the galaxy. There just wasn’t time to visit them all...
He snapped out of his reverie as he stepped over the body, or rather, what was left of the body, of a Zelnassi marine. Most of it was just a green stain on the corridor wall at this point, though there had been enough of the chitinous armored torso to partially obstruct his path. The young lieutenant quickly continued on towards the bridge.
If he was being honest with himself, becoming an expert on the area of unexplored space directly between the Federation and it’s largest military rival wasn’t the smartest of ideas. Between his family reputation and his unique knowledge base, he was just asking to get pressed into service.
Which was exactly what had happened immediately upon the recent outbreak of hostilities.
And now here he was stepping over corpses, marveling at the fact that he had somehow survived this long. He still couldn’t believe the insanity of the Dominion forces. Boarding an enemy ship MID-COMBAT. It was like something out of a youngling’s tale from before space travel. It was pure madness, but there were the bodies to prove that it had happened. He gingerly stepped around the remains of yet another Zelnassi.
The signs of battle continued all the way to the bridge, where he found security forces still holding quickly fortified positions around the bridge entrance. There were more Zelnassi bodies at their feet. Berendarin shuddered. He had been closer to death than he thought.
He quickly pushed those thoughts out of his mind. He could only imagine why he was needed on the bridge so urgently.
The door slid open, and Lentith walked into a completely silent room. Admiral Va was slouched at his command station, his enormous arm propped up on the chair arm and supporting his massive, horned head. Lentith didn’t even know that Arien’Ra COULD slouch. Nevermind that the fastidious Admiral could or would ever do such a thing. Maybe things were somehow worse than he thought. No one seemed to notice him enter, so he announced himself to the Admiral.
Though he didn’t shout, his voice echoed in the deathly silent room, startling most of the bridge command. Two of the other Vorqual officers swore, and the tiny Jezren manning the com station let out a high pitched sound somewhere between a squeak and chirp. Berendarin would have found it quite funny if the situation wasn’t so dire.
Admiral Va immediately snapped back to being the hulk of muscle and horn that imposed his will on a room just by being in it. His booming voice only added to his authority.
“Science Officer Lentith. I’m glad to see you’re still alive. Are you seriously injured?”
Berendarin had almost forgotten that he had walked the entire way to the bridge holding a bandage to his head just above his left eye. The drop out of subspace hadn’t been kind to him. He pulled the bandage away, revealing a dark orange stain on the bandage and a crack in the bone plate above his eye.
“I’m fine, sir, just one of the outer plates, and the bleeding has already stopped.”
“Good. Commander Vortith is currently overseeing the emergency repairs. Take his seat. You are going to help me find a way back home.”
“Sir? I’m sorry I don’t understand. Why don’t we just go back the way we came?”
“That’s not possible. Most of our supply ships and tenders were destroyed when that third wave of Dominion ships hit our flank. Almost all of our pre-prepared fuel reserves are gone. On top of that, some of our ships are so damaged that they don’t have another long jump in them. And if we run into any enemy ships, the whole rest of the fleet is done for. We barely qualify as a fighting force in the state we’re in.”
“Is it really that bad?”
“It’s worse, but we don’t have time to get into the details. You’re the expert on this section of the galaxy. I need you to find the fleet a hiding hole. Somewhere away from the known jump routes through the Spur. Any system where we can use the few miners we have left to scavenge up some fuel, and get some critical repairs done while we’re at it. And from there either wait for reinforcements or get ourselves patched up enough to limp home. Wherever it is, it needs to be close. I’m not leaving any ships behind because they can’t make the jump.”
“Oh. Just that?” The lieutenant knew that Arien’Ra were strict herbivores, but with the look that the Admiral shot him, he couldn’t help but think about the fact that his head would easily fit into that giant, molar filled mouth.
“And away from any known pirate hideaways. Like I said, our fleet can’t take any more fighting. And find it quickly. It won’t be long before the Dominion fleet locates us.”
“I. Uh. Sure. I’ll see what I can find.”
Berendarin shrank into the commander’s chair next to the enormous Arien’Ra, desperately wishing he had been more professional. If he had acted like a proper soldier, it might soften the blow of telling the Admiral that what he wanted was next to impossible. If he had a few weeks, he might be able to find something. So much of the Spur was still un-surveyed. The odds of there being anything useful to the Admiral in the databases was absurdly low, and there was even less of a chance he’d be able to find it in time for the information to matter. He began pouring through his notes anyway. It was better than waiting around to die, which, if the situation was as dire as the Admiral made it sound, was the only other option.
He spent the next hour lost in his notes, finding nothing, while the bridge crew went about piecing the ship and the fleet back together. The young scientist had all but given up on the Admiral’s impossible request when a raucous cheer went up from everyone on the command deck.
“Sir,” The coms officer called out, “The Consul’s Pride just dropped out of subspace and is hailing us, sir.
The main communication screen lit up, and Berendarin Lentith looked to see the face of his oldest sister on screen, strapped into the captain’s chair of her dreadnaught. He let out a sigh of relief; Baraquen was his favorite sibling. Her uniform was drenched in a deep orange blood stain at the shoulder, and she was covered in what looked like flecks of green gore from a Xelnassi. The artificial gravity was clearly malfunctioning, as the captain’s restraining harness was the only thing keeping her from floating around her bridge. But the bone plates of her jaw were turned as always into her calm, self assured smile
“My apologies for the delay in joining you, Admiral Va. We had some… guests shut down our drive mid jump. We had to deal with them before we rejoined the fleet. I assume there is a plan to get us back to federation space?”
“It’s good to see you in one piece, Captain Lentith,” the Admiral responded. He was barely able to keep the relief from his voice. “And there is indeed a plan.”
Berendarin returned to his research as the two ranking officers in the fleet went over the details of their current predicament. He was glad his sister had survived, and not just because they were close. It would have been a terrible blow to the whole family to have lost not only their future matriarch, but the ship she commanded as well. A member of his family had been commanding that dreadnaught uninterrupted for the last 5 generations. Military service had never appealed to Berendarin, but his family history was certainly still important.
And then the solution to the current problem hit him like a driver round. He let out a gasp and tore into his notes with a fervor. Both Admiral Va and his sister’s projection turned to look at him, but he didn’t notice. After a few seconds of curious silence from the rest of the onlookers, Berendarin practically jumped out of his seat.
“Admiral, I think I’ve got something that will work.” The young Lieutenant punched a few commands into his datapad, and a set of stellar coordinates popped up on the navigation terminal. “It’s a main sequence star, about 500 light years from us, fairly close to the edge of the Spur. It’s not anywhere near any established jump routes. The Consul’s Pride made me think of it.” He nodded towards his sister’s face on the ship's screen. “Our great, great grandsire took the Consul’s Pride through the system on her shakedown run a little over 300 cycles ago. Chased a band of Qorthi slavers out of the system. The outer four planets are all gas giants. If we can’t find Helium 3 there, I don’t know where else we should look.”
On screen, Captain Lentith looked impressed, but Admiral Va clearly didn’t seem too sure. “We’re supposed to be going away from Dominion forces, not into them. What were the Qorthi doing there?”
“There are also four rocky inner worlds in the system, Sir, according to reports from the encounter. Apparently, the third planet is a Class 7 Deathworld, and the Qorthi were running some experiments on the primitive lifeforms there. They were caught completely by surprise by the Consul’s Pride, and it was the first time that she fired her weapons in anger. I can’t find any reports of Dominion ships in that section of the Spur since.” There was a long pause before Va responded.
“Good work, Lieutenant. I knew my trust in you wasn’t misplaced.” Admiral Va replied, before turning to the rest of the bridge and booming “Coms! Tactical! Get those coordinates to every ship in the fleet. I want every ship we have left formed up and ready to jump as soon as possible. Any captain who feels that his drives can’t make the jump is to focus all repair efforts on getting their drives functioning immediately. I will transfer repair crews from less damaged ships to more damaged ships if that means we jump even a tick earlier. Get to it everyone. I’m not losing any more of my fleet today.”




The four revolution long jump to Science Officer Lentith’s newfound sanctuary had done wonders for Halon Va’s mental state. The initial shock of his fleet's terrible defeat had worn off, and he had been able to focus on what came next. Repair crews were able to stabilize most of his ship's core systems, and he was no longer worried about the life support systems cutting out and killing the rest of his crew. There had also been time for him to visit with the wounded. To thank them for their sacrifices. He had expected it to be an act of contrition, maybe even a chance to start begging for forgiveness. But there had been no anger in his crew, and no blame hung on his horns. Most had just been relieved that he had survived, and had expressed as much. He would be forever grateful to them for that.
Most importantly, the four revolutions in hyperspace had given the admiral time to really think about what had gone wrong in the nebula. He had barely rested in the preceding four revolutions, spending every scrap of spare time in his office, pouring over records from the battle. That’s where he found himself now, tucked behind his massive ceramic and titanium alloy desk of Tellarim design. It had been custom made for him upon his promotion to this command, a gift from the high admirals and the council. It was the only luxury that Va allowed in his office. The rest of Va’s space he kept strictly utilitarian. There were no trophies adorning his walls, as was customary for other members of his species. The plain bulkheads of his office were instead lined entirely with screens, and each of them were now filled with footage and reports from the battle, running on loop.
Va soaked it all in. The more he watched, the more a singular conclusion crystallized in his mind. He had done everything right; he was sure of that now. 1000 years of doctrine and theory for fighting the Dominion had gone into his preparation for that battle, and he had followed it to the letter. And he had been winning. Then that attack on his flank by the Zelnassi had blown all of that out of the airlock. Something significant had changed in the way the Dominion fought...
Commander Vortith’s voice rang out over the com system. ”Admiral Va, we’ll be transitioning back to real space in moments.”
“Thank you. I’ll be there shortly. And get Science Officer Lentith to the bridge. I want him nearby just in case. He’s the only one who has any idea of where we are.” The Admiral pulled himself from his desk. He would have to leave the rest of his analysis for later. There was just enough time for him to reach the bridge and settle into his command chair before the Horns of Glory snapped back to real space. This time, the inertial dampeners held.
“Tactical, status report.”
“All ships accounted for, Admiral. Though the Consul’s Pride, several cruisers, and three of our escorts are all reporting massive failures in their Drive Cores. They won’t be jumping anywhere anytime soon.”
“Wonderful.” Va wasn’t sure if he meant that sarcastically or not. “Get scans up and running and deploy the pickets that aren’t crippled in a standard scouting formation. How close are we to the nearest gas giant?”
“We’re approximately half a light tick from the system’s innermost gas giant, sir.”
“Excellent. Deploy the rest of the fleet. Put us in a high orbit around the planet in a defensive formation, and get our miners working immediately. Once our orbit is stable, I want every hand, paw and hoof in the fleet working on repairs.”
“Yes sir.”
Admiral Va settled into his command chair for a long shift.
It would be a drawn out, boring process to refuel the ships. With his fleet limping along, and only two functioning miners, it would take far longer than it should. After all the chaos of the last few revolutions, boring would be a welcome change of pace. Va started to relax, sinking into his chair’s acceleration padding. His fleet and his crews were finally safe. The first priority would be to get one of the subspace beacons repaired and to get word back to the Federation that the fleet still existed. And hopefully call for aid. He was sure to be stripped of his rank as soon as contact was made, but hopefully he would avoid a Tribunal. That was an unpleasant prospect…
“Sir, we have unidentified ship signatures appearing from around the planet we’re approaching.”
Va had never heard panic in the voice of his young sensors officer before, but it was certainly there now. Va understood the sentiment, though. He found it difficult to keep the panic from his own voice as he started issuing orders
“Bring the fleet up to combat status immediately. How many ships are there?”
“I’m showing 35 individual signatures. All approaching us at combat speed and still accelerating. At current speeds, they will intercept us in just over 30 ticks, sir.”
“I want details as soon as you have them, Lieutenant. Size, make, estimated firepower. Who they are. And keep scanning the system. Find out where they came from.” The panic had partially subsided for Va. 35 unknowns was not too terrible a threat. He still had almost 240 warships under his command. Still, if there was a way to avoid combat, he had to try. His fleet couldn’t suffer any more losses. “Coms, any attempt by these unknown ships to contact us?”
“I”m not sure, sir,” the diminutive Jezren at the coms replied. “There’s nothing on standard communications channels. The ships are transmitting something, but I can’t figure out what it is.”
“Admiral,” the Lieutenant at the sensors station called out. “I think I might have an idea of where these ships came from. Preliminary scans show there is extensive urbanization on the third and fourth planets, as well as what appear to be habitation sized artificial satellites around the second and sixth planets. One of the moons of the gas giant we’re approaching shows signs of habitation as well. All of them are emitting significant signal pollution. This system clearly already belongs to someone, and they’re broadcasting everywhere.”
Halon Va, High Admiral of the Combined Federation Fleets, turned, slowly and with as much composure as he could muster, to face the young science officer seated to his left. Berendarin sat, mouth agape, staring transfixed at the sensor readouts in front of him. Va had never seen a Vorqual more confused in his life. “I want answers, Officer Lentith.”
“I… I don’t.. This doesn’t make any sense,” the young science officer stammered. “There shouldn’t be anything here.”
“Admiral,” The comms officer cut in, “The signal that we’re picking up from the unknown ships is definitely some kind of communication. I managed to put together audio from it.”
“Play it,” commanded Va. A series of short, guttural, and completely unintelligible sounds came over the speakers in reply. There was a short pause before the sounds repeated themselves again. “Coms, what was that?”
“No idea, sir, but it’s being transmitted on loop. If it is intended as a communication, our translators have no idea what to do with it.”
“Admiral.” The voice came from Va’s left, and was barely audible. Va turned yet again to look at the young science officer. His gaze was locked on the tactical readout, and there something in his eyes that Va couldn’t recognize. A mixture of pure terror and something else. Was it wonder? The young Vorqual’s voice was still barely above a whisper when he continued to address the admiral: “I think we should run the transmission through First Contact Protocols.”




Captain Benjamin Alvarez-León slammed against his restraining harness as the USCS Aurora started it’s decel burn. He had pushed the engines on the outdated cruiser to their limits, and the ship groaned in protest as it started counteracting his rather zealous acceleration orders. He hoped that his mad scramble with his small squadron of outdated ships had been an overreaction. The alternative was something he’d rather not think about.
All Ben had was the reserves; the rest of the fleet was on maneuvers at Sirius. The Admiralty had wanted to test the new, fully modernized fleet’s maneuvering abilities in the gravwell of a binary system. And, in their infinite wisdom, they decided they needed ALL of the new fleet assets, leaving nothing in Sol except for the handful of cruisers and escorts that couldn’t match the capabilities of the modern ships.
A handful of cruisers and escorts that were now hurtling towards more than 200 unknown contacts.
It was the unknown part of all of this that was unnerving Ben. There were no familiar energy signatures. No familiar scan data. No IFF. No signals coming off the contacts of any kind for that matter. Two of the contacts were too big to even be ships. If it wasn’t for the fact that they were moving towards Jupiter in formation, Ben wouldn’t even think they WERE ships.
“So what do you think, Alexi?” Ben asked, turning towards his second in command. “You and the rest of the bridge crew are always making inane bets. Have you whipped up an over-under for what we’re throwing ourselves at yet?”
“Haven’t had time,” came the quick reply from Ben’s right. The short, stocky man from Vladivostok was missing his trademark joviality. “Though, my money is on them being Ithacan, sir.”
Ben bristled at Alexi calling him sir. They’d been friends for twenty years, damnit, and had been practically joined at the hip since going through the Academy together. Outranking him still felt a little off. Now was hardly the time to worry about formalities, though.
“What makes you think they're from Ithaca?”
“It’s the only thing that makes sense. The locals have been getting increasingly radical, and Ithaca is the only sector where reports of piracy have been increasing.”
“Yeah, I could see a rebellion coming from Ithaca,” Ben added slowly, turning over that scenario in his head. “But there’s no way they could swing something of this magnitude. There aren’t even any shipyards in the sector. And even if there were, there’s no way they could keep the construction of over two hundred ships a secret.”
Alexi could only offer him a shrug in response.
It was at that moment that the coms station informed him there was a transmission incoming from the unidentified ships. Ben instructed the ensign to play it, and the bridge was suddenly filled with a stream of grotesque bleating noises and strange grunts, with the occasional recognizable syllable interspersed throughout the transmission. Ben thought he picked out ‘dentify’ from the mess, but he wasn’t sure. There was a long moment of silence on the bridge.
“What the hell was that?”
When no one had any answers for him, Ben tapped his command console and recorded a new message to broadcast.
“This is Captain Alvarez of the USCS Aurora. Unidentified ships, please clarify. Your transmission is badly garbled. We did not receive your identification. You are still trespassing in Commonwealth space and are on an unauthorized course towards Jupiter. Begin decelerating immediately and re-identify yourselves.”
He wouldn’t admit it to the crew, but Ben was profoundly unsettled. Something was deeply, deeply wrong about this whole situation. Not only was he vastly outnumbered by these things, but they were unwilling to communicate properly. He was almost believing this whole thing was some kind of bizarre prank.
“How much longer before we can get a decent visual on these things?
“Any moment now, sir.”
A new transmission arrived just then, and Ben had it played back immediately. This time, instead of almost bovine bleats and grunts, the sounds coming over the speakers were mostly intelligible. Or, they would have been, if any of the syllables were in the right order. It was almost like a toddler was rattling off all of his new favorite sounds, spitting them out in a random order and not knowing how they went together. There were still a few heavy grunts sprinkled in, just for good measure.
Before Ben could process this new joke of a transmission, the contacts finally started slowing. In a matter of moments, the strange wall of contacts was hanging lazily in Jupiter’s orbit, barely moving fast enough to keep their orbit from decaying. They were still in perfect formation.
“Huh. Well, I guess that’s something.”
With nothing to do but sit back and wait as his ship closed the distance, Ben tried to relax and began running over all of the possibilities in his mind of what the new contacts could be. He came up with nothing. Well, nothing feasible, anyway. He took a series of long, calming breaths, trying to clear his mind and focus. This was no time for his imagination to be running wild. But he couldn’t shake the feeling that logic was failing him. Something was off. Something…
“Captain, bringing visual of the unknown contacts up on screen now.”
Ben actually felt his jaw drop. Every contact on his display was clearly a ship. Most were long and spindly, wrapped in layers of some kind of highly reflective armor; a fleet of crystalline arrows hanging in the darkness. The two largest contacts, which Ben had just moments ago thought were too big to be ships, were large enough on the screen for him to clearly see details. In addition to their immense size and strange armor, both ships were dotted with what were clearly weapons platforms, though what kind, Ben couldn’t tell.
Noticeably, almost all of the ships on his screen were heavily damaged. Chunks were missing from some ships, and most had deep lines gouged into their hulls. Any form of decorative paint or markings had been burned away. Something had put these ships through absolute hell. But still, the damage could not take away entirely from the elegance of the ship’s designs. They were graceful and sleek, completely different from anything Ben had ever seen before.
It was all so different. So strange. So very, very… Alien.
Despite every effort he had made to avoid the word, it finally forced itself to form inside Ben’s mind, and forced him to acknowledge the reality that legitimate, extra-Solar life was hanging in the darkness in front of him. It forced him to acknowledge the screams he had been suppressing in the back of his mind. The screams of his imagination crying out in glorious triumph over reality. And with those screams came a deluge of accompanying thoughts and emotions.
He was a child again, staring up at the stars above Armstrong and wondering what else, and who else, was out there. He was a teen again, signing his name to the Academy enrollment paperwork, determined to get out there between the stars and see the galaxy himself. He was a young officer again, screaming and pleading with the Admiralty to at least consider a modern First Contact scenario. He was sitting in his command chair now, hurtling towards honest-to-god aliens, all of his dreams made manifest in an instant. He was overwhelmed. He was terrified.
And he had never imagined that he could feel such elation.
It was the young warrant officer at the coms that snapped Ben out of his reverie. “Sir, the contacts are hailing us on all standard channels, requesting a video feed.” She sounded very, very nervous.
Ben immediately stood up, straightening his uniform as best he could. “If they’re anything less than genocidal monsters, I’m going to offer them aid and repairs. As long as they’re peaceful, there’s no reason not to extend them the full hospitality of humanity.”
“Ben,” Alexi asked, clearly choosing his words carefully, “Are you sure that’s the… Wisest course of action? How will the Admiralty respond to Goddamned alien ships docking at Hephaestus?”
“Alexi, in the 250 years the Commonwealth has existed, the First Contact protocols haven’t been updated since the charter was signed. No one has cared. This has been nothing but a fantasy for most people. I am NOT letting this opportunity get away. Every child that has ever looked up at the stars and wondered finally got an answer, and I will not waste this moment. We’re making friends, the Admiralty and the government be damned.”
“You do realize you’re potentially deciding the fate of our entire species on a whim, right?”
“Is there someone else you’d prefer to have making this call?”
Alexi, apparently deciding that there was not, stood up and straightened his uniform, standing next to his friend as he ordered the connection of the video feed. The channel connected, and the human bridge crew found themselves looking at the bridge of a ship crewed by not one, but three alien races.
The largest alien in the center of the screen opened its mouth to speak. This time, instead of bleats and grunts, a choppy, mechanical voice that didn’t sync up to the alien at all proclaimed from the bridge speakers in broken, stuttering English: “I. Am Admiral. Halon. Va. Of the Federation of. Sentient Races. Greetings and. Welcome. To the. Galaxy.”
Ben couldn’t suppress his smile.
“On behalf of the United Solar Commonwealth, and all of Humanity, greetings, and welcome to Sol. Your ships look like they’ve had a bad time on your way here. If there’s any way we could aid with your repairs, we’d be happy to help.”




Slave 782 slammed his right appendage onto the control console hard enough to rupture his outer membrane and smear ichor over the panel. It had been four days since the battle in the nebula, and with the latest round of reports, he finally had to admit that the rest of the Federation fleet had escaped him.
It was a minor frustration, all things considered, but the escape prevented this from being a total victory. Still, he had proven his worth to his owners in this battle, and his experiments with the Zelnassi had paid dividends beyond his wildest imagination. He had earned a command today, and with every success in that command, his ability to bargain for his people's freedom only increased. For what he would be asking, it might take the total defeat of the Federation to earn that kind of leverage. Also frustrating, but not a task that he couldn’t handle. It would be a long war, he was sure, but like his owners, he was patient.
He would earn his freedom, even if it meant reducing the entire Federation to glass.


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[OC][UWDFF Alcubierre] Part 54

Beginning | Previous
Premier Valast felt a tingle. It began at the base of his spine and traveled moved upward, sending warm fuzzy feelings all throughout his body as it made its way to his brain and inserted itself in his conscious thoughts. After all of the misery. After all of the failures. For once, something had gone right.
How delightful. How extravagant. How deserved.
The Humans had made a mistake. Clearly, they had thought to expand upon their treachery, believing themselves to be invincible. Their monstrosity of a vessel had appeared just as their last one had, within Halcyon's inner perimeter. After their ruse of parlay, their beast had commenced belching out weapons of mass destruction, clearly in an attempt to retrieve the encryption key and the elite assassin-thief they had dispatched under the guise of a Witness.
They thought Halcyon weak. Defenseless.
Not true! Not true at all!
Kinetics. Valast laughed aloud, his rib cage heaving out great guffaws. Accelerated mass! More laughter. The savages thought to bring such inelegance against the might of the Combine? They mistook their prior fortune for competence. Their one-time success for future capability. Alas, poor Humans, the truth of your inadequacies is made manifest! The brief gap in the defenses brought on by the improbable chain of events that had resulted in their arrival had been filled. For all of their destructive potential, their weapons were useless.
Valast continued to cackle, his hindclaws scrunching up the soft material of his pillow, as he watched the Humans receive their punishment for their insolence. The Humans had made assumptions. Perhaps assumptions were fine in their backwater corner of the galaxy, but here, among civilization, assumptions could be quite dangerous indeed. It was quite unwise to assume Halcyon would leave the inner perimeter exposed. They must have thought their Evangi co-conspirators would leave the gates open for them, as the traitor Neeria had done when she had given them access to a Combine wormkey in the first place. Sadly for the Humans, their four-armed friends had been exposed for what they were. A great many of the Evangi now lay motionless on the floor of a Halcyon mainway, a fitting end to their perfidy.
Halcyon had stood since the beginning, and it would continue to stand long after the Human infestation had been expunged from the Combine Space. Perhaps the Humans should have spent more time pondering the nature of the place before they had meddled with forces they clearly did not understand. Halcyon existed in defiance of the chaotic nature of the neutron star it orbited. Its survival required an solution to the objects such a gravity well attracted. Halcyon had many such solutions, weaved together to maintain a delicate balance. Among them were the inertial dampeners.
The screen in Valast's paws bloomed with colors, indicating firings of Halcyon's inertial dampeners. Each blossom of color was an attempt by the Humans to deploy weapons in clear violation War Accords, cementing Humanity's position as a menace to decent civilization. Had Valast not commanded Bo'Bakka'Gah to take the necessary precautions, the devastation would have been significant.
Lines of crimson sailed through the blooms of color.
Valast's whiskers twitched, his eyes squinting as it tracked one of these lines.
The solution was not perfect. The intertial dampeners in close proximity to Halcyon were a final precaution, and their purpose was narrow. They were a fine net, meant to indiscriminately capture any residual high-speed astral particulate that had escaped the outer defenses. Their efficacy diminished at an exponential rate in proportion to the size and mass of the object they acted upon. Thus far, they had been quite successful at preventing the Humans from making use of their weapons, but dampeners had no effect on the Human vessels. Even if the dampeners could be used for such a purpose, their indiscriminate nature would have required the cessation of all space born travel within Halcyon, an unacceptable disruption to the workings of the Combine's capitol.
The Humans' small spherical vessels were thus capable of traveling unimpeded throughout Halcyon space, tracing their crimson lines behind them as they did so. Such a thing did not overly worry Valast. They could not fire their weapons, and they were susceptible to electromagnetic disruption, rendering them easy targets for the Peacekeepers. Were Valast not otherwise consumed with the affairs of state, he would perhaps take to the front line and dispatch a few himself. Sadly, his bravery would find no opportunity for direct expression beyond the valor found in the privilege of command competently exercised.
The whiskers ceased their twitching and some cheer returned. It would not be long before the meddlesome Human spheres were swatted from the sky and the encryption key recovered.
Then they would dispatch the Human warship.
Then Humanity.
He need only wait.
-----------
"Get spread. Get small." Sana called out. Had to buy time. Had to get a handle on the situation. Not her first rodeo, but it was the first time where she had no idea what the hell she was riding. Maybe the aliens were riding her. Maybe it wasn't a rodeo, maybe it was just a slaughter.
That was the problem. No one knew anything.
The callsigns in her local were dropping like flies. Squaddies getting wiped without so much as a peep. The eggs in Science were saying EMPs, but the balls were supposed to be fixed against that frakkery. Sensors said the balls were still there even after they went dead, so maybe they were right. Couldn't think about that now.
Couldn't think about anything but the mission.
Captain Sana Bushida had a shit-shuttle to bring to station.
She needed to get from A to B. Normally the quickest point-to-point was a line, but the baddies were coming in from all sides. Trying to corral her in. So be it. She could handle a long and squiggly with the juice she had in the four balls attached to the cockpit. Only question was how long they'd be up for. Whatever they were using on the balls wasn't touching her. She was good, but she wasn't that good.
Guess they wanted her kicking and screaming.
Predators, not scavengers then.
Frakk 'em. Right in their stupid alien faces.
Sana's brain shunted command signals as fast as her eyes to parse the readouts in her pilot pod. Dodging. Weaving. Diving. Dipping. Half those words didn't even apply to space, but they felt right. Float like a butterfly, run like cheetah on amphetos. She'd sting 'em later.
Run run run, fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the shit-shuttle can.
Swipe. Swipe.
Two smaller ships moved in a pincer formation, one cutting off her angle around the larger ship she was skimming around. Sana let out a giggle, as she shoved the shuttle in another direction. "You thought you had me, crapdonkey? You never had me. You're gonna be seeing my ass all day." The giggle somehow transformed into a roar halfway through as a third ship appeared in her view, coming out from its hiding place on the other side of the large ship. "SCREW YOU!" They weren't going to win. Losing wasn't an option.
Swipe.
Patterns emerged as the ballet played out. Certain ships were the herders. The small annoying frakks that always seemed to be moving around her flanks. Other ships were the receivers. They were the big boys. The ones who just floated there like giant shits in space. Lazy frakks just waiting to be fed some shit-shuttle. Fine then. New info. New tactics. New rule: Get around the herders, never get closer to the receivers.
Herders bad.
Receivers bad-der-er.
As long as she was a step ahead of the herders and two steps away from the receivers, she'd be fine. Problem was they were more agile than her. Problem was there was more of them. Problem was the friendly callsigns on her readouts kept disappearing. Problem was that she was stuck in here instead of out there where she belonged.
Ninety-nine problems...
Swipe. Swipe.
All she needed was a line of sight. A place where she could get a whiff of open space and just gun it. Navigate the maze. Get through it. Light at the end of the tunnel. Glass is half full.
Metaphor.
Analogy.
Idiom.
The stream of consciousness flowed out of her, expressing itself in her verbiage and in the desperately navigating shuttle some distance away. Step forward. No steps backward. Okay, maybe one step backward, but it'll be okay. She'd take the step forward soon enough.
Just...needed...a...line.
Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta was gone.
It was just her.
Swipe. Swipe.
The fate of the world.
The shit-shuttle must survive.
Swipe. Swipe.
The gap opened.
She saw it.
They didn't.
"There it is bitches!"
All four balls slammed the thrusters on. It wasn't a direct bee line to the Oppenheimer but it was good enough. She just needed to get out of the hornet's nest and into open space so she could keep pouring on the acceleration. She didn't know how much juice the herders had, but it was all she had going for her at this point.
Bitter bile rose up in her throat as the shit-shuttle surged forward, leaving A through D behind. Her squaddies. Her friends.
Abandoned.
She should be out there.
She could be. She just needed to get the mission done. She was so close. She was putting distance between her and the baddies. Just a few more minutes...the link cut off.
Her thoughts were shunting into a wall.
She swiped, her eyes scanning the readouts.
Alcubierre - Shuttle - Cockpit (Ejection)(DISTRESS) no longer appeared.
For once, Sana was speechless.
---------------------
Kai retched air.
There was nothing else to throw up at this point. He'd given everything he had to give, and it was now floating about the cockpit in a viscous cloud. He was fairly certain Neeria was collateral damage in the matter. If she were ever to regain consciousness, she'd find she had been provided with a fresh coat of puke paint. At this point, being blind was something of a boon. Congratulations were owed to the sadist in the pilot's seat though, he hadn't emptied his stomach like this since flight sims.
He'd raise his hand in salute if it weren't for the incredible g-force shifts whipping him around like a rag doll as the pilot attempted to avoid whatever was out there. Some of the maneuvers seemed impossibly complex, as if the cockpit was navigating through an impassable morass of enemies. Or perhaps the pilot was just drunk. Either seemed possible.
The whipsawing continued. Back. Forth. Round and round. Acceleration never seemed to continue in a single direction for more than a few seconds. They were going in circles. They had to be.
Finally, it appeared the pilot had decided on a direction as Kai was slammed back into his chair as the cockpit rocketed forward under sustained acceleration. They must have broken through. Or the pilot had fallen asleep at the controls with the throttle down and they were all doomed. Either way. At this point, Kai was just eager for it to be over.
The acceleration continued. He felt like he was being crushed. Like an enormous hand was pressing against him, trying to squeeze all of his organs out through his eyes. Whatever was powering the cockpit now was beyond the parameters of the shuttle's acceleration compensators. His vision began to dim and his joints ached. Pain surged up in his right arm, which was still contorted within the goo. He was fairly certain a bone had just snapped.
"Oppenheimer..ETA," Kai managed to gasp out, drawing the breath back into his lungs with some effort.
"The shuttle is not currently on course to intercept with the UWDFF Oppenheimer."
"Joan." Kai wheezed. "Connect. Joan."
The acceleration cut off.
Kai took a huge gulp of air, the relief immediate. "Comm-link. Fleet Admiral Joan Orléans."
No response.
Kai tried again.
Silence greeted him.
Grumbling, he raised his left wrist toward his face. He stuck out his tongue and smeared it along the wrist console's interface. None of the expected beeps and chirps sounded out. It was dead, and, he suspected, so was the cockpit along with whatever had been propelling him. No life support. No way to call out for help. No way to do anything but sit there. For all intents and purposes, they were a hunk of space junk drifting off into the black oblivion.
Fair enough. It was a fitting end.
Helpless.
Hopeless.
Kai tried to muster some anger at the situation, if only to distract him from the pain coursing through his body, but found he was up to the task. It was easier to be motivated when there was something to do. Some way he could impact the situation. But there was nothing to do but wait. Maybe he'd live. Probably he'd die. He didn't mind it, that was the same binary he faced every other day. It was a bit more present in his mind than it normally was, but the truth was that he was overdue for demise. He'd given death the slip more times than anyone had a right to.
Still. It bothered him.
Not the death part. The not doing what he set out to do part.
He had run through walls, both literal and figurative, to make it this far. He didn't know what making it back to the Oppenheimer would mean for Humanity, but it had to be better than not making it. The encryption key -- what did it do? What could it do? Would it be doable? Neeria -- could she guide them? Could she help them navigate the treacherous galaxy Humanity was just beginning to play a part in?
There were so many questions. The answers could matter.
Kai tried to remember how much time they had. Without life support, the supply of oxygen would rapidly begin to deplete. He supposed it didn't matter, since he had no idea whether Neeria breathed, what Neeria she breathed, or the rate she consumed it. His space suit had a few hours of stored supply, but it was designed to work in conjunction with his helmet. Without the wrist console, he'd need to find some way to manually vent it.
That was something to do. Small, but perhaps meaningful. Anything to tilt the scales just a little bit more in their direction. Just a few more minutes of air could make a difference.
"Seconds matter," Kai wheezed out. His breath was wet and tasted of iron. He'd worry about that later. Air first. It wasn't much of a plan, but it was better than nothing.
He hoped Joan's plans were faring better.
-------------------
The Admiral's Bridge was awash in a sea of red. Multiple views vied for primacy as the situation continued to deteriorate. So far, the Oppenheimer itself had withstood the sustained EMP assault directed its way, but the same could not be said for the battle balls. Callsigns continued to blink out of existence with every passing second. The Oppenheimer had immediately attempted to provide supporting fire, but its kinetic weaponry was similarly disabled. Whatever the circumstances had been that had allowed the Alcubierre to destroy an alien vessel, they were clearly no longer relevant to the situation at hand. Without kinetics, the vast majority of Humanity's space-born projective power was effectively nullified. Science was looking into explanations and alternatives, but it would take time.
The Oppenheimer's EMP arrays had succeeded in firing, but the alien vessels appeared to be impervious to that form of assault. It was unclear whether they possessed EMP hardening around core processes similar to the Oppenheimer or they had other means of deflecting attacks of that nature. In the absence of an alternative, the Oppenheimer was continuously discharging the EMP arrays as they became available, attempting to test for weaknesses. The energy drain from the sustained fire was easily accommodated by the altered physics of local space, but it was unclear whether alien defenses could be worn down by continuous assault.
Other oddities were appearing as the situation unfolded. The aliens did not field any tactical fighters that their sensors could identify. There were ships of different sizes, but, thus far, no vessels had moved to directly engage the balls. Kai's cockpit was being corralled by a series of smaller ships working in conjunction with the larger ones, but that was it.
Joan considered it, trying to parse out deeper meanings from the absence. Human conflict, both Earthside and in space, had always heavily relied on tactical fighters. They had numerous advantages in terms of firepower projection and significantly increased tactical dynamism in a battle zone. Either the aliens had never considered the approach, or it was considered suboptimal within this environment.
Joan squinted, watching as the battle ball's callsigns dropped from the battle status view. She tilted her head. "This environment," she muttered to herself, her eyes drawn to the EMP array firing status. The recharge bars filled and expended. Filled and expended. Each cycle representing an incredibly powerful pulse of electromagnetic energy at the speed of light.
Speed of light.
Speed.
The answer struck her. The ramifications of the answer were displeasing. Plans must be altered. Contingencies reconsidered. The Black Fork was too optimistic. Their position was considerably worse than hoped for, but not entirely beyond anticipated outcomes, which had included their immediate destruction upon arrival in the system. They simply had fewer tools than she desired.
Tactical fighters had low utility when combat operated at the speed of light. There was no yield on agility, because no thruster could move faster than light could travel. There was no evading a lightspeed weapon at these distances. Unless a tactical fighter could retain functionality under fire, which the death balls so far could not, they were a pointless extravagance. At best, they could serve as a momentary distraction, particularly when their weapons were inoperable.
The unique characteristics of Humanity's birthplace were a hindrance here. Kinetics were the logical path for weaponry to take in an environment where destructive output was a matter of maximizing scarce energy resources. They were also the easiest, most natural extension from their Earthside forebears. Humanity had begun development of lightspeed weapons, the EMP and the Griggs pulse among them, but they placed tremendous strain on ship systems. The Oppenheimer, as a dreadcarrier, was among the few Earth spaceships that contained a full battery of EMP arrays. Due to the extremely demanding specifications, only a Pulser class ship could make use of a Griggs pulse. Had Humanity known what it faced just beyond its doorstep, it would have invested its research and development resources differently.
Too late now.
The game was not lost yet, they simply must play the hand they were dealt to its greatest effect.
A display flashed from green to red and moved toward the center of the wall, increasing in size. Simultaneously, three other displays shifted in color, position and size, in a chain reaction. Joan frowned. Or perhaps the game was lost, and she was only just realizing it. The shuttle cockpit's callsign, along with the four balls that had attached to it, had disappeared. Her hands darted up and began a series of gestures, swiping North to South as she removed some filters from the local space scan and South to North as she applied others.
She exhaled.
The shuttle had not been destroyed, only incapacitated. It was careening through space away from the cluster of alien ships closest to Halcyon, though a few were in rapid pursuit. The pursuers had acceleration in their favor, but the shuttle's current course brought them toward the Oppenheimer.
Joan flicked a few fingers, pulling the course data from the local scan and pushing it into the timer view.
Before Joan could issue the order, the nearest balls peeled off and immediately began an intercept course with the shuttle. Joan pulled up the command-chain, it appeared that Captain Bushida had decided to be proactive. Very well, but it would not be enough. The balls were more likely than not to be incapacitated before they could be used in any rescue effort. This required a more substantial intervention if the outcome were to be changed.
Joan pushed a new course heading into her comm-link with Ragnar. "Captain, I am moving us off of the Black Fork standing orders."
Ragnar glanced at the course heading. "That's even further in."
Joan nodded, "It's the only way we'll recover the cockpit. The balls can't get the job done."
"There's a risk the Oppenheimer won't get it done either. They're holding back," Ragnar replied, his eyes scanned off screen, bouncing between the various readouts and inbound requests. "Doesn't make any sense they'd only have EMPs. They've got more."
"Likely. My current belief is that they will refrain from further escalation until they have either secured the cockpit or believe they can no longer retrieve it. Each moment of escalation from them has been in response to an action on our part directed at the cockpit."
Ragnar wiped the back of his sleeve against his brow, mopping up the sweat. "Must be something important."
"Must be. The prize is likely worth the pain here, Ragnar. Retrieving the cockpit is the top priority. Preservation of ourselves is an ancillary concern."
"G4 is only a few out. We can hold that long," Ragnar said.
"Get the job done, Captain," Joan ordered and then cut the comm. Ragnar was a sophisticated battlefield tactician. The overlap between them was significant, and the differences between them were accretive to both. They both knew there was another card to be played, it was just a matter of whether Humanity could adapt to it.
Joan opened another comm-link. "Chief Adeyemi."
The Chief blinked a few times as the interjection, as if being pulled from a daze.
"Idara!" Joan exclaimed. "Where's Science at?"
Idara wet her lips, "We've gathered the data and mapped it to a few different explanations...but we need more--"
"You don't have it. Best guess, go."
"Some sort of inertial dampening field. Effects smaller objects. Weakens as the objects get larger. Only affects objects moving a certain speed. Only affects objects in space. Our kinetics are getting caught. Bigger objects, like the fighters, like the Oppenheimer, are fine. Bullets fired inside of the Oppenheimer are fine.
"Any sense on source?"
Idara shook her head.
"But it doesn't effect the fighters. Doesn't effect energy based weapons."
"From what we can see, that's right."
Joan's eyes drifted toward the tracker on Kai's cockpit. Hurtling through space.
"Idara, when the Alcubierre was heading for Proxima Barrier, your modeling said the ship would survive the impact, correct?"
"Yes, Admiral. There isn't an equal an opposite reaction. Actor has primacy in these physics."
Joan stared at Idara, lost in thought. The Chief shifted uncomfortably, "Is there something else--"
"I have what I need," Joan replied, cutting the comm.
She pulled up the status tracker on the balls. Over eight-five percent of launched fighters had already been incapacitated. The Oppenheimer still retained a final wing in its hangers, numbering approximately a hundred and twenty additional balls.
Joan watched the timers ticking down. They needed to go on the offensive. To find a way to tilt the situation in their favor. Even if they retrieved the cockpit, it was a long way back to the wormhole, and a long time to survive before G4 appeared. If the aliens had an ace up their sleeve, that would be the time to play it, when they had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
She re-opened the comm with Ragnar. "Captain, I think we can even the odds a bit."
"I'm all ears, Admiral."
Joan pushed a series of orders to Ragnar. He glanced at them and then glared at her, "You want--
"Yes, Captain, that's what I want."
"But they'll be destroyed," Ragnar responded.
"Not if they're moving fast enough. Get whoever we can get back into the hangers, launch the rest without the pilots. Target the ships. Target Halcyon."
Ragnar stared at her, "Halcyon? That's a civilian--"
"Captain, I want those balls dumped and under full steam at the designated targets. That's an order."
Ragnar opened his mouth and then shut it. A hand came off screen and formed a salute. The comm was dropped shortly after. Almost immediately, the tactical fighters shifted flight plans and began their retreat toward the Oppenheimer. Simultaneously, the wing residing within the *Oppenheimer'*s hangers shifted from stand-by to active. Soon they would be launched, pushing top acceleration toward Halcyon. No EMP would be able to stop them. If the aliens had another card to play, Joan hoped this would force it out and maybe, just maybe, buy enough time for G4 to make an appearance.
She just needed a little time.
Just needed to survive long enough for the Pulsers to arrive.
Seconds mattered.
PerilousPlatypus
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Correlative Variation of The Essential Amino Acids

Correlative Variation of The Essential Amino Acids
Lupine Publishers- Biostatistics and Biometrics Open Access Journal

https://preview.redd.it/1ng5vk4bb8d31.jpg?width=166&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=1362c205d9db6111737eebd6028fe45c7f2233be

Abstract

On the example of the table of contents of eight essential amino acids in 22 products, the methodology of factor analysis and determination of the coefficient of correlation variation, calculated as the ratio of the sum of the correlation coefficients of stable laws and laws of binary relations between amino acids to the product of the number of amino acids as influencing variables and as dependent indicators. It is shown that this evaluation criterion depends on the composition of the products and the set of amino acids considered. Therefore, it is proposed to make a more complete table considering the set of objects, which considers the content of all 20 amino acids. The law of binary relations between amino acids is the sum of the exponential law and the biotechnical law of stress excitation in the product. By correlation coefficients of individual binary relations, the ratings of amino acids as influencing variables and as dependent indicators are performed. The correlation matrix of super strong bonds of essential amino acids with correlation coefficients of more than 0.99 is considered, in part of which the graphs are given. By the nature of behavior, it is proposed to classify the binary relationships between amino acids into positive, neutral and negative. Separately, the method of rating products. The equations and graphs of rank distributions of the content of essential amino acids in products are given. The rating of essential amino acids by dispersion of residues from the equations of binary relations and rank distributions is given.

Introduction

Under the expression correlative variation Charles Darwin understands that the whole organization is internally connected during growth and development, and when weak variations occur in one part and are cumulated by natural selection, the other parts are modified. Modifications in the structure recognized by taxonomists for a very important, can depend solely on the laws of variation and correlation [1]. For example, Phyto enosis [2] has at least three fundamental properties: first, the correlative variation in the values of parameters in time and space; second, the correlation depends on the genotypic properties of the plant species; third, the variation is due to phenotypic properties, as well as the cycles of solar activity [3], the rotation of the moon around the Earth and our planet around itself [4].
In accordance with the correlative variation of Charles Darwin, during the growth and development of the body, significant changes in the initial age will lead to changes in the structure and in the adult creature. Therefore, people, taking, and thereby enhancing some feature of, almost, probably, unintentionally modifying other parts of the body based on the mysterious laws of correlation [1]. Any non-investigative variation is insignificant for us. But the number and variety of hereditary deviations in the structure, both minor and very important in physiological terms, is infinite. All things are things, properties and relations [5], and in the bios relations control things and change their structures. The purpose of the article is to show the laws and regularities of the correlative variation of the content of eight essential amino acids in a set of 22 products.

The Concept of Correlative Variation

Variability [1] is usually associated with the living conditions that the species has been subjected to for several successive generations. In General, according to Darwin, there are two factors: the nature of the body (most important factor) and the properties of existing conditions [1]. Thus, we adopted the basic hypothesis that typing, and the classification has no effect on biotech based on mastery of life laws. Therefore, the variation (the set of deviations from the Darwin correlation) depends on the human factor, i.e. on the quality of measurements of soil properties and plants [4,6]. Soil according to V.V. Dokuchaev [7] is a living organism. Therefore, the principle of Darwin’s correlative variation should provide high adequacy of the revealed regularities [6]. Similarly, a priori we will consider experiments with essential amino acids [8] to measure their concentration in different types of products for humans and animals highly correlative.
From the concept of correlative variation of Charles Darwin, which was not understood by mathematicians and was not developed by biologists, it clearly follows that in other conditions of the habitat other combinations of values of factors may be stronger (Darwin calls factors hereditary deviations). Therefore, weak factor connections may be stronger for other combinations of the studied objects. As a result, there is a mathematical tool [9- 12] (identification method) for comparison of different natural and artificial (technical) objects [13]. The coefficient of correlative variation is considered for many factors of the physical object of study, that is, biological, chemical, technological, socio-economic, etc. It is equal to the ratio of the total sum of the correlation coefficients to the square of the number of factors for the complete table model (or to the product of the number of factors and). The type of the system under study does not affect this criterion, and the correlation variation depends entirely on the internal properties of the system under study. The coefficient of correlative variation is calculated by the formula
where
K – the coefficient of correlative variation of the set of factors or parameters characterizing the system under study,
ΣΣr – the total sum of the correlation coefficients for the rows and columns of the correlation matrix of the relationships between the factors,
N – number of factors to consider in the symmetric table,
Nx, Ny – the number of factors on the axes x and y .
Functional connectivity is a universal property of matter. For example, internal correlation variation is observed in the results of agrochemical analysis of soil samples [6], as all agrochemical parameters are measured on the same sample. Sampling sites do not affect the internal connectivity of biochemical and other reactions, that is, the same interactions between chemical elements and their compounds are observed on Earth. Such a community is called an ecosystem [2] or a biosphere superposition. The strongest correlative variation over 0.999 is observed in the set of genes [13- 15]. Slightly less, but more than 0.99, as will be shown in this article, such a variation exists in the group of essential amino acids.

Essential Amino Acids

These are essential amino acids for animals that cannot be synthesized in the body, in particular, human. Therefore, their intake from food is necessary (Table 1).

Rating of Influencing and Dependent Factors
To determine the coefficient of correlative variation of nine amino acids among 22 types of products it is necessary to conduct a factor analysis [9]. Due to the absence of a measured value of glycine content in one cell of Table 1 in the row Shiitaki mushrooms, factor analysis was first carried out [9, pp. 82-83, table. 3.30] nine factors and 21 products. The coefficient of correlative variation was equal to 0.9985. All binary 92– 9 = 72 relations are characterized by the exponential law. Table 2 shows the correlation matrix of binary relationships and the rating of eight factors excluding glycine for 22 products according to Table 1.

Table 2: Correlation matrix of factor analysis without glycine and rating of factors in identification by the exponential law.

The coefficient of correlative variation is 0.9727, which is significantly less than 0.9985. In the future, it turned out that in addition to the indicative law, the biotechnical law [4,6,9-15] of the stress excitation of amino acids depending on each other is additionally considered (Table 3). With the coefficient of correlative variation 0.9890 in the first place among the influencing variables was lysine, and among the indicators -phenylalanine. Thus, the correlative variation is very sensitive to the composition of amino acids and products. This fact in the future will reveal the rational compositions, structures and functions of amino acids in different systems under study.

The Law of the Relationship Between Amino Acids

It is expressed by an equation of the form
where y- amino acid content in the product as an indicator (g per 100 g of product),
x- amino acid content of the product as an influencing variable (g per 100 g of product),
a1..... a6 - the parameters of the model (2) taking the numerical values in the course of structural-parametric identification in the software environment CurveExpert-1.40. Formula (2) shows three types of stress-induced amino acids under the influence of each other: positive, neutral and negative. Neutral type appears only without shiitake mushrooms, that is, when the amino acid content changes from 0 to 2 (maximum 2.009 for beef). The maximum concentrations of nine amino acids without shiitaki mushrooms are in two products-beef and chicken meat. In the amino acid content range from 2 to 7 in Table 1 there are no types of products (except mushrooms). Therefore, it is necessary to add new products to the list and Table 1.
In the concentration range from 0 to 7, two types of behavior appear:

  1. positive behavior, with a positive sign in front of the second component of the formula (2), when with increasing content of the influencing amino acid, the content of the dependent amino acid increases according to the biotechnical law of stress excitation;
  2. negative behavior, with a negative sign, when the content of the dependent amino acid is inhibited from the action of the wagging amino acid. These two types provide optima for the interaction of essential amino acids.

Correlation Matrix

From Table 2, choose a binary relationship with a correlation coefficient of at least 0.99 (Table 4). The neutral behavior of amino acids receives only 15 binary bonds at the level of superstrong adequacy (or 100 15 / 72 = 20.83%). We will do the same with the data in Table 3. Table 5 shows a significant increase in the number of super strong links, 33% or 45.83%. The matrix remained completeeight rows and columns. However, the behavior of biological objects is characterized, in addition to the trend (2) vibrational adaptation [6,12,14,15]. To identify the wavelet signals from the amino acid behavior under mutual influence, it is necessary to significantly expand Table 1 also with interchangeable amino acids. Especially it is necessary to pay attention to the types of products that give a concentration of 2 to 7.

Binary Relation Graphs

The effect of each essential amino acid on the concentration of other amino acids is shown in four graphs, which are arranged in figures in descending correlation coefficient. Of the 72 graphs in the article shows a total of 32 graphics (Figures 1-8). They provide a visual representation of the variations of formula (2). The second component of the general model (2) shows a different level of adaptability (positive or negative) dependent on the influencing amino acid by the coefficient of adaptability.
On the charts, the positive behavior of essential amino acids is shown as a convex curve, and the negative behavior is shown as a concave curve. On the effect of histidine and methionine it is possible to estimate the minimum interval of the concentration of essential amino acids with neutral type. As can be seen from the graphs in Figure 3, the neutral behavior type is from 0 to 0.5. The convexity or concavity of the graph has a different length along the abscissa axis. It is obvious that the addition of the list from Table 1 with additional products having amino acid concentration in the range from 2 to 7, will allow to specify the parameters of the model (2) and add a wave function. However, in our opinion, the nature (design) (2) of the expansion of the list of products will not change. Graphs of the effect of lysine on other amino acids have a concave appearance, which relates them to the negative effect. At the same time, there is a steep rise of curves, more than five times after the concentration of lysine 2.5-2.8. Figure 7 shows the multidirectional effect of methionine on other amino acids along the different length of the concave or convex part. For example, the positive effect of phenylalanine on the change of isoleucine is observed in a short period of abscissa from 0.3 to 1.3. But the effect of phenylalanine on the change of leucine is observed throughout the axis of abscissa.

Parameters of a Two-Member Model

Model parameters (2) are given in Table 6 The positive form of the equation (2) is used in the recording. Then the negative type is easily determined by the negative sign before the model parameter a3. Then you can classify (Table 7) three types of behavior of essential amino acids (code: 1 – positive; 0 – neutral; -1 – negative). Apparently, for the most complete amino acid system, the total sum of codes will approach zero. As a variable on the positive effect in the first place – phenylalanine, and among the dependent indicators – lysine.

The Quality of the Source Data and Ratings of Products

A tabular model is a good-quality and relatively complete table of input data for statistical modeling by identification of stable laws and regularities. The quality factor is understood as the accuracy of the numbers, the primacy of the indicators (the factor analysis is not initially permitted secondary received, calculations, parameters), consistency of the description of the object of the studies consider many parameters. As a result, we get the distribution of places in descending order (Table 8).

Let’s check the initial data of Table 1 for the quality factor.
Any of the factors is the vector orientation and the two possible behaviors:

  1. better more on the vector better worse, the rank is given to the maximum, and the ranking is performed in descending order of the factor values;
  2. it is better to lower, so the rank is given to a minimum, and the ranking is performed by increasing the values of the factor.
From the hypothesis- the greater the content of any essential amino acid in any product, the better - the first option of a vector of behavior is accepted. We range each amino acid from Table 1 in Excel in the program RANK. The function =RANK (Е3; Е$3: Е$24;0) taken notation: Е – column identifier; Е3, Е$3 – the first row; E$24 – the last row of the Table 1; 0 1 – ranking in descending (0) or ascending (1). Three places in the ranking took products: mushrooms, beef and chicken. The rating in Table 8 is determined in places. The best theoretical first place is obtained if. Then it turns out that shiitake mushrooms in a variety of products according to the Table 1 is theoretically possible in the first place. For the second place the sum of ranks is 12. Next, we can take places for the explanatory variable, and the sum of ranks from Table 8 for the indicator. After identification of the general trend formula [13], we obtained (Figure 9) formula

The remnants after (3) show that wave function is possible in addition to the trend. Half amplitude reaches a share of 100 × 17.3524 / 85 = 20.41%. In the article we do not consider vibrational adaptation, as we need a table for all 20 amino acids. Each of the eight amino acids will be considered separately.

Ranking Distribution of Amino Acids

For statistical modeling, the ranks R must start from zero, with the rank distributions subject to the exponential law (growth or death). After the identification of the generalized trend [13] are obtained (Figure 10) formulas:
The sum of the squares of deviations from the equations of binary and unary (by ranks) relations between eight essential amino acids is written in the dispersion matrix (Table 9). As the influencing variable on the first place on minimum of the sum of dispersions there was isoleucine, and among dependent indicators – methionine. The average variance for all 82 = 64 cells of the matrix is D = 0.1231.

Conclusion

We have extended the principle of correlative variation not only to Charles Darwin organisms, but also to populations (in the article population of eight amino acids) and even to any biological, biotechnical and technical systems [13]. This principle allows to compare heterogeneous systems on one or some set of factors by functional connectivity. The coefficient of correlative variation, as a generalized criterion for comparing different sets of homogeneous biological objects, gets a very high value. For example, populations of genes [14,15] obtained the correlative coefficient of variation not less than 0.9999. In the example of this article, the level of adequacy for the set of eight essential amino acids is not less than 0.99. This makes it possible in the future to create the most complete table of contents and other indicators for a system of 20 amino acids and hundreds of objects, including products. Functional connectivity between essential amino acids was super strong and it is subject to a simple formula of two-term trend containing exponential and biotechnical laws. The absence of the second term determines the neutral type of behavior, and signs in the presence of the second member characterize the positive (+) or negative (-) type of behavior of amino acids in the studied system of products. To identify the effect of oscillatory adaptation of essential amino acids to each other in some sets of products need more accurate (with measurement error, less than an order of magnitude) data.
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Two-Man Mystery Hunt: Doomsday Town Unlocked! (Update 19)

Introduction

We're nearly to the end, and I'm not sure how much ground I didn't cover the first 18 times I introduced myself. Let's roll.

Puzzle-Specific Notes (Solved)

Art Tours

It’s kind of expected that an MIT puzzle was among the last batch of survivors, but in all honesty, this shouldn’t have been it. The thing we were missing was very simple.
Last Saturday, I looked at the puzzle page and realized that Alchemist’s number was black and barely legible. Then, I realized that there were white-on-yellow numbers, too. I think it took about a minute to realize that it was a chessboard and the title was referring to a knight’s tour. Since we didn’t keep track of the colors of the numbers (why would we?) on our spreadsheet, it wasn’t possible to pick up on the cue without staring at the original puzzle for a while. Not only that, but all six of the original tours didn’t involve moving to a non-adjacent square at any point, so it wasn’t obvious that they were supposed to imitate chess pieces.
Of course, we verified that the tour guides’ names could be completed with chess pieces before attempting that. Ellery Queen and Billie Jean King were already known to us (though we didn’t catch onto the chess theme until that point), and it was easy to find the rest. We ended up with Irene Rooke instead of Irene Castle, but life ain’t perfect.
After a few minutes of randomly fumbling through the grid, I tried looking strictly at the unused spaces, and quickly got to “No Knife”. I have to say that it’s an extremely fitting answer here. Unlike everything else in the April Fool’s Day meta, this one was a real MIT hack, and it took place in List to boot.
Solving Art Tours gave us every solve in New Year’s and every productive answer line.

A Retrospective on New Year’s Town

Small, centrally-located, and hard. That’s what I remember about this round. We talked about getting half of the solves here like it was a major accomplishment; it ended up seeming harder than Pi Day, Bloomsday, and maybe even Patriots’ Day to us on average.
It took a while for us to get off the ground here, and most of the early solves we had in the round went to the latest and hardest meta. The simpler puzzles here were still a bit unconventional, and they still took quite a bit of thought to get through. I think about Chowing Down, Far Out, Binary Search, and Twelve! Eleven! more than any of the easiest puzzles from the previous rounds, so that may have been a good thing.
On the other hand, there were several puzzles here that were very difficult to interact with at all; the main challenge in Display Case and iPod Submarine is figuring out how to make a puzzle out of the information on the screen. Even barring those, Radio Play and First You Visit Burkina Faso ended up being gigantic time sinks in spite of us knowing how to solve them. I can't really say I disliked the hard things-- in fact, most of them were among my favorite puzzles in the whole Hunt-- but the wave of difficulty felt absurd when we'd only solved half of Thanksgiving. (I think we had three solves in Valentine's Day when New Year's opened and most of the puzzles there hadn't been attempted at all.)
Unrelatedly, this ended up with a lot of different New Year's traditions being recognized. I'd forgotten about champagne, party games, and just plain counting down until I started looking at what was available to solve. (I also forgot about resolutions, but that was in the solution path of a puzzle and not the flavor text.) Even with bizarre puzzles like No Sads!, you managed to tie the concept into the holiday very well.
Interestingly enough, when solving things in person, we use puzzle titles from New Year's as buzzwords more often than any other holiday (well, excluding the ubiquitous misuse of the word "caress".) You'd be surprised how often "no sads!" can be relevant or how many complex processes can be handwaved by "first, you visit Burkina Faso". Far Out also has provided limitless options for guessing bad answer lines.
Oddly enough, I really liked the ideas behind The Sound of Music and Bubbly, and I've barely mentioned them, so here they are.
It's really hard for me to make a final statement on New Year's Town. It was open when we weren't ready for it, and it dragged itself out to the very end of the Hunt, so we never really worked on the whole thing at once.

Puzzle-Specific Notes (Solved, continued)

Chain of Commands

”What holiday did you say the last puzzle was from? Doomsday?”- my mother
Even though I was excluding the metas when I said that Chain of Commands was the last puzzle, I’ve been referring to Molasses Awareness Day as Doomsday ever since.
Back on topic, though. I’m not surprised that this was the final regular puzzle. We weren’t going to go for the late rounds before Caressing, we weren’t going to go for every meta before we got through Arbor Day, and I never thought that we’d complete everything when the Pi Day star (Playing A Round) and Running for Office were still unsolved. By the time we’d started thinking about solving everything, we had realized that random stuck puzzles that weren’t intended to be very difficult were often the hardest things for us to solve. Not only that, but when we solved the Pi Day-Bloomsday meta, we quickly realized that the middle blanks weren’t backsolvable. (We didn’t figure out the “circle times circle” pun, though—instead, we imagined Archimedes saying “go circle a circle instead, dumbass”.) This began as a very unassuming puzzle— so unassuming that I had considered working on it before we had formal rules about what we could solve. The abundance of flavor text and the card-like formatting clearly were referencing something that we didn’t know, and learning the meaning of “ST” ENTER was the key to solving it. Once we had reasonable answers to all the clues, I assumed Chain of Commands was about a random technical topic. Then, we realized that was wrong, and it was actually about crochet. Afterwards, Chain of Commands was about AutoCAD to us, which then became filming techniques. Showing the puzzle to other people produced a wide range of topics that all took some time to disprove. (My former roommate was the only person who was right in the end, since he said “not SAS”.)
As you all know, we weren’t thinking about Kung Fu Panda during any of that. That was shameful, because as it turns out, there was no secret ingredient.
The tipoff came from me realizing “VENEREOLOGIST” kind of looks like “VIGENERE”. A bit after I said that, Syntax came back with “VERSE” looking like “REVERSE”. Nothing we had looked reversable, though, so I went back through the clues. As it turns out, we had mistaken “GIDDA” for “GATKA” (a different Punjabi folk dance that mostly fits the clue.) GIDDA is the reversable instruction, and it’s also the thing that converts VENEREOLOGIST into VIGENERE “OLOGIST”, so it was no wonder that we couldn’t figure out how to do either of those transformations.
Despite having a couple more wrong answers near the top of the chain, the rest of the puzzle went surprisingly smoothly. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves and went back to our roots by solving the rest in paper. We had to learn that the Playfair cipher is not its own inverse along the way, but that was the only real bump other than the answer line. (“INDICAXANTHIN”?!? What on earth? I can definitely see why we weren’t backsolving it. At least it isn’t an omoplate.)
There you have it, though—a forward solve on Chain of Commands has caused us to solve every puzzle in Bloomsday and every standard puzzle in the entire Hunt.

A Retrospective on Bloomsday Town

I’m going to keep this as distinct as possible from a summary of the entire Hunt, even though it happens to be the last one of these.
Bloomsday is actually a pretty great round. It took a long time for me to learn that it was supposed to be last—so many of the puzzles here are visually flashy and tempting to new solvers that it doesn’t seem like that should be the case. Perhaps the flashiness is the most consistent thing about Bloomsday; even Concrete and Chain of Commands were visually interesting despite being a word puzzle and a list of crossword clues. Getting Digits was also a bunch of clues that were presented in a visually interesting manner, but the presentation was integral to the puzzle there. It’s kind of obvious why Bloomsday caught my attention over a lot of the earlier rounds—if I wasn’t going for a full run of the Hunt, I probably would have glanced over some of my favorite puzzles of the year because they weren’t stylized (like the first four puzzles in Arbor Day.) With the most limited scope for holiday flavor of any round, Bloomsday also seems like it had a disproportionate amount of flex puzzles. I know that itishuntyes made it in with hours to go, but it would also have been trivial to move A Bunch of Ripoffs, Chain of Commands, Getting Digits, or Turn on a Dime to wherever they were needed. Consequently, the few puzzles that involved the Bloomsday theme stood out against the backdrop in a good way (particularly Bloom Filter.)
On another note, a lot of the puzzles here seemed to be on the easy end while focusing on a unique topic. Keeping Tabs, Split Seven Ways, and Turn on a Dime are the most obvious examples. I think that those are my favorite types of puzzles to talk about, since there’s some non-mechanical component to catch people’s interest. The rounds leading into Bloomsday for us were distinctly lacking in those types of puzzles; Holi was too complex, and Pi Day was too mechanically-focused.
I think that Bloomsday ended up being among my favorite rounds overall. I’d give a strong suggestion to put the aesthetics and interactive puzzles into an earlier round, though; otherwise, you may have people wanting to dive in over their head with little to no experience.

Puzzle-Specific Notes (Solved, continued again)

Holi-Patriots’ Day Meta

Ooooh, circular!
When I glanced through the metas early in the Hunt, I was very afraid of this one because I thought it would be about MIT, but I didn't really think a lot more about it until we had nearly all of the answers. After we had enough knowledge to attempt it, I was able to toss out the MIT option pretty fast, but we kept stumbling on the Tokyo subway also having a U-shaped red route with both ends facing southeast. The fact that rail transport from Tokyo to other cities isn't uncommon in Japan also didn't help.
I know that you probably avoided using the word "train" in the flavor text because there are no trains in the puzzle. Alas, everything else about how movement worked made it seem like a subway map. Since I barely remember any details about the Boston one and had no familiarity with Japanese train maps, a substantial amount of pointless caressing happened. Needless to say, I found a lot of red routes pointing southeast, and all of them would diverge from the instructions after a couple of steps.
With nothing left but the metas, I wrote the answers down on paper to jog my memory. Just like with Chain of Commands before this and April Fools' Day afterwards, we mostly ignored our spreadsheets, sat down, and worked everything out. Syntax realized that the ends of the Patriots' Day words matched the starts of the Holi words pretty fast-- we'd never listed them out in columns with the Patriots' Day answers on the left before. I put the words together into strings of length 16, and it took a few minutes for him to think about making rings. The colors were very helpful.
This was another one of those puzzles where the mechanics were obvious as soon as you knew what to use them on. It didn't take long to extract an answer, though I had to look up what "woad" was afterwards.
By solving this, we were left with only April Fools' Day to go. We wanted to solve April Fools' Day as a final goal because it wouldn't take nearly as much work as solving "the everything"-- I think I mentioned that last week. Now, we've gotten into a situation where solving April Fools' Day and solving everything are identical challenges.

Have You Seen Me? (saved from limbo)

If you were imagining that nothing would be saved from limbo before we solved all of the puzzles, you were wrong by a margin of about two hours. Learning more about Playfair ciphers from Chain of Commands inspired us to clear this.
Now, the reason this was originally stuck? We found all of the James and the Giant Peach characters, I wanted to use a Playfair cipher with the key "silkworm", and I applied the Playfair cipher to the whole grid. I saw Frodo and nobody else.
What we really needed to do was encrypt the words and then search for them again. This reminded me of why I don't like Playfair ciphers in the first place-- there's a few ways to deal with double letters, encryption and decryption are the same in a majority of cases but are often randomly different, and a good number of other variations in the exact method of encipherment make it hard to tell if you're doing the right thing.
Identifying the Prydain characters as a set and then locating them was probably the most difficult part of it, though "EILONWY" was the obvious odd one out because it would clear any debates about Sam versus Samwise. Meanwhile, identifying the Simpsons was the easiest part, because I did it by guessing Bart as a four-letter member of a set of five names that shares no letters with Lucy or Gomez.
Since the clue phrase was so long and contained the middle square, it came out corrupted for us. However, the relevant part- about three-quarters of the way in because you can't be kind about it- was clear as day. That's how CALL IN WORD NICKNAMES was magically divined from the grid.
I think that this was among the more daunting Holi puzzles to start, but it ended up being quick and fun to rescue while we were figuring out what to do with April Fools' Day. Five stars, would Playfair again.

April Fools’ Day

Even with a lot of the right ideas about what to do, we ended up not solving this until the very end. This was largely unintentional-- we were definitely paying attention to it ever since it got unlocked, and we even were given a warning about it being unexpectedly easy. How did this get to be the very last thing left?
To recap, we discovered that there were spare answers around week 3, thought of where they might go and how to identify them around the end of the Galactic hunt, and unlocked April Fools' Day three weeks ago (with much fanfare and several puzzles being auto-confirmed.) While it wasn't open for an excessively long time, there was a lot of thought that went into it.
For most of that time, we assumed that the answers were all we needed to solve the puzzle. This ended up with us trying every way to diagonalize them, index into them, use overlapping tactics on them (like those in Common Flavors), and randomly pull letters out of them that looked nice. Then, we wised up and realized we were missing something. The town map and the April Fools' Day art got put under a microscope. The standard bottom-of-the-barrel response of connecting the dots and seeing if they spelled anything was tested. (No dice, but the full cycle did somewhat resemble an AF to represent the town.) At some point, I resorted to looking at the other towns and counting things like trees. Even over the afternoon today, we were still stumped and testing similar tactics.
I wish I had a better story about where our inspiration came from with clocks, but alas. (Your better story is "ROAR"... but that can't be the whole story...)
On a tangent, we did own a book as children called The Eleventh Hour; despite being intended for children, it had many striking similarities to a puzzlehunt, especially because none of the puzzles came with instructions, and most weren't indicated as being puzzles at all. The intended way to solve the mystery was to prove nearly everyone's innocence from the clocks in the illustrations-- all but one of the characters were preoccupied at the time of the incident. This discussion only came up afterwards; even though I considered it a few times for other puzzles, it did not cause us to solve April Fools' Day.
The real story is that Syntax looked at a couple of the towns and eventually realized that more than one of them had a clock. That meant that all of them had to have a clock with an unambiguous time displayed, which I then used as indices to spell out "jest in the time of Nick". Admittedly, that's much kinder than my previous idea of one-horse open slaying.
...and that's the end. Solving April Fools' Day has caused us to solve every meta, which would normally unlock the final runaround; I'm assuming that it's not going to be possible for us to interact with Doomsday Molasses Awareness Day Town. More importantly, after 143 days since we officially started solving puzzles, we have now solved the everything.
Where do we go from here? I'm planning for next Thursday to be my last post about the Hunt (at least for this year), featuring Taskmaster and anything else we can salvage by then, plus any tales I can think of that didn't appear in a previous post. Thank you all for making a complete solve of the Hunt possible for us! It couldn't have happened without you!

Scoreboard

Everything is now solved, so the only thing that's relevant here is the limbo list.
Limbo: Delightful, Safety Training, Standardized Mess, The Treehouse of Crossed Destinies, Battle of the Network Stars, Jukebox Hero, Bee Movies, and Taskmaster

Final Notes

I'm freeeeeee! I have so much I can do here and no idea what to do with it! Actually, there's not a lot I can ask for here, since we have all of the answers. Uhh... we'd like to call in solvent on Caressing? Oh! And how do you celebrate Doomsday? Is there as much counting as New Year's? I like counting.
As a serious counting-related suggestion, we still haven't seen the solve counts on Meta Day Town; those are the only solve counts we haven't seen, since the participation counts for the events don't really count as counts.
I said this above, but I'll reiterate: I'm intending for the final wrap-up post to be a week from tomorrow so we can truly complete some of the things we backsolved.
If there's any specific puzzle that's currently in limbo that you want us to focus on, then please suggest it here!
submitted by CheshireSolves to mysteryhunt [link] [comments]

MAME 0.207

MAME 0.207

It’s almost the end of February, and more importantly it’s time for MAME 0.207 to be released! We’ve added two Nintendo Game & Watch titles this month: Fire (wide screen) and Snoopy Tennis. If you’re at all interested in plug-and-play TV games, this is going to be a huge update, with all the newly-supported JAKKS Pacific titles, including Disney Princess, Dragon Ball Z, Nicktoons, Spider-Man, and Wheel of Fortune, as well as a number of matching Game-Keys. The other big batch of additions this month comes in the form of a whole lot of e-kara cartridge dumps from Japan. For younger players, we’re steadily filling out the V.Smile software list, with eighteen newly supported titles. The VGM software list has been updated with the latest video game music rips, and we’ve added some more original floppy dumps and clean cracks to the Apple II software lists.
With the latest improvements to the MIPS R4000 CPU, WD33C93 SCSI and SGI Newport graphics emulation, it’s possible to install and run IRIX in MAME. This is a milestone achievement, and wouldn’t have been possible without some amazing dedication and collaboration on the part of the contributors and team members involved. With the addition of graphics and mouse support, Windows 1.0 runs on MAME’s Tandy 2000 emulation. MAME continues to add additional variants of supported systems, including the HP 9825T and the Esselte Modulab educational system.
Newly supported arcade games include an earlier prototype of Rise of the Robots, bootlegs of Ghost Chaser Densei and The Glob, and additional versions of Raiden Fighters 2, Guardian Storm, Pasha Pasha Champ, Lethal Enforcers, and X-Men. General usability improvements include friendlier Apple II disassembly, the restoration of key map support in SDL builds (Linux/macOS), and better initial window positioning on Windows.
You can get the source and Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAMETesters Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Translations added or modified

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to emulation [link] [comments]

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