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Old 09-24-2013, 05:22 PM   #151
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
2056 Annual Report

As the Intrepid finally approaches Jump Point Charlie, the Hyperion is cleared for operations and heads out to Jump Point Foxtrot, naturally with the meteoric Commander Dan Spengler assigned as her CO. This pair of jumps will complete initial perusal of the Sol jump locations.

Five days later, the Intrepid reaches Teegarden’s Star on January 16. It’s a very close jump point, just 326m km away from the extremely dim M6-V star. There are 28 asteroids, six planets, and a couple dozen or so moons. None are less than 8 or worse habitability. Sigh. Jay Cin III heads his vessel back to Earth for some well-earned shore leave, well short of the maximum stay but they need to await further instructions from SPACE HQ on what to do next, which won’t be decided until the Hyperion reaches its objective. It is, however, abundantly clear that Epsilon Eridani is our best chance at finding either a reasonably close colony in another system, or a better system further out(via a second jump from there).

On March 10th, the Hyperion makes its jump, and finds Sirius. Siriusly. A binary system, with Sirius A as the primary star and Sirius B the secondary one. A is much larger but also dimmer than our sun, B is relatively tiny orbiting at 20 times the distance earth is from our star, on the order of 3bkm. We are 1.8bkm-plus away, bearing 358. One apparent effect of the binary system, according to our calculations, results in jump point survey locations being very far away(3.5b km for the inner ring).

More importantly, there is some sirius(sorry) potential here. A has two planets. First is a terrestrial with a hilarious 60 colony cost due to the 1450+ surface temperature, the second is a 2.0 habitable terrestrial with a 2.0 habitable moon. It also has 86 asteroids. B sports a dwarf and a gas giant – the gas planet has 23 moons, two of which are 2.7-3.1 habitable and two more in the 4.5-5 range. It’s not as nice as Epsilon Eridani, but better than anything else we’ve seen. The Hyperion will investigate further.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, an oversight is noticed. A big one, that was noticed some time back, but the current maintenance facilities are not nearly large enough to allow the Intrepid to do a full overhaul. It’s decided that the process of enlarging them needs to be dramatically accelerated, and so most of the effort currently going to mine conversions is switched to building more maintenance capacity. Transitioning sooner wouldn’t really have been feasible anyway, due to the need for mines and minerals – but there are some who aren’t buying that explanation.

Shortly after the Hyperion jumps, a report reaches the director’s desk about a certain Mitchell Feeser, recent graduate of the Academy. He’s considered the finest naval officer talent that humanity has produced since the founding of the agency, and is definitely one to watch.

In mid-June, the Hyperion returned and the news was not good. A further investigation might be warranted in the future, but the habitable bodies were all barren. The first phase of jump point investigation was now complete, and there were a few inescapable conclusions:

** The discovery of the wrecks in Lalande 21185 makes preparedness for a likely inevitable first contact all the more urgent. Weapons research needed to continue, should the worst happen.
** Locations suitable for human colonization appear to be rare. Attention should perhaps be given in the near future to terraforming technology. An analysis of terraforming prospects for known habitable bodies has been ordered for the upcoming SoS report.

Finally, a more thorough investigation of Epsilon Eridani was in order, for a number of reasons. One, if duranium could be found, its proximity would make it a good first target for extra-solar colonization – it might be worthwhile even if that isn’t the case, though on a longer time scale. Two, if any of the gas giants or super jovians had sorium, a refueling base could be established in-system. Third, if there were any more jump points reasonably close to the one to Sol, exploring those could possibly provide a system ‘close’ in travel time even if it was two jumps away.

Such an operation, however would require multiple ships operating independently of each other with coordinated activities. That would require a new task force, which would require a command ship with a flag bridge. The possibility of updating the North Carolina class was considered and rejected, since the maintenance capacity and cost required would be considerable. A new design for a minimal command shuttle was assembled and then rejected, because it would require the use of the Wartsila Shipyard, presently at work with the third vessel in the Pioneer class. So there’s was little to be done for now. The best that could be achieved immediately was to send in the Intrepid again, the Hyperion could replace it when the mission time was up, and eventually the navy could work towards a more sizable fleet dedicated to the task.

Commissioned Officers

Early FebruarySonny Dean increases his irrelevant terraforming skill to 5%.

Mid JuneRob Nielsen III has been doing something at least, increasing political reliability to 5%.

Early OctoberTell Perj Jr. increases Fleet Movement Initiative to 256.

Mid DecemberDirector Herbert Duling ups factory production to 20%, giving himself a much better position in the election which is just a couple of weeks away now.

Sirius Survey
Ship Commander’s Log
Commander Dan Spengler

JSC Hyperion

April 21 – Sirius A II is barren. Not the news we were looking for.
April 25 – The moon is barren as well. We head to Sirius A I since we are here anyway ...
June 4 – Sirius A I has 75mt-plus of duranium, 41+mt gallicite, both are 0.1 accessibility. Pshaw. Back to Sol for more orders.

Research & Development

** April 6Joe Tycho’s team completes research on Meson Focal Size. Lab space goes to Palmer’s work on research speed.

** April 20Julio Kuchler’s team announces Beam Fire Control Range report – a third lab goes to Palmers work, which should be sufficient.

** June 27Wayne Sabagh’s team(Particle Beam range) presents their report. Julio Kuchler takes the space to work on improving Thermal Sensitivity of our sensors.


Early April – A second pair of Perrys are completed and head to Saturn, work proceeds on a third pair. The afore-mentioned talent earns Feeser one of the new commands.

June 10 – Research Lab completed. Joe Tycho is back after a short break and takes the space for a project on Turret Tracking Speed, hoping to achieve a 50% increase compared to present capabilities. This was assigned because it isn’t a specific weapon path but will benefit numerous weapons systems.

October 5FT Apollo is finished, and Lt. Cmdr. Conor Zavier is assigned the interim command.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:37 PM   #152
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:32 PM   #153
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Before I move on to the next election cycle, here's a new thingy to look at. Behold, the Galactic Map, in all its blocky, super-zoomed in glory:

The arrangement of systems was done quickly and fairly amateurishly by yours truly. They originally start basically on top of each other and can be moved into pretty much whatever position you want. The best way to make sense of it is to move them a roughly equal distance from each other in most cases. Ignore the directions, they roughly correspond to the direction each jump point is from the Sun, but there's now way to maintain that. For example, it's entirely possible that a jump point 'down' and 'right' in the Teegardens Star system might lead to Luyten 726-8. In that case, I'd simply move the systems around until the links(green lines like the spokes on a wheel) make sense. In some cases that can take some doing.

Which, btw(bonus moment here) I messed up on the exploration of. Why, you didn't ask? Too bad, gonna tell you anyway. Turns out Luyten 726-8 is a binary system as well. I thought the 'B' star was a planet -- that's how unimpressive its surrounding orbits are. Not a huge thing, but made me feel pretty darn stupid. So there it is. As an aside to this aside, something amusing that I read about on the aurora forums was a binary system -- with the secondary star 0.13 light years away. This was the home system for the game(starting with real Sol is optional). With far more advanced technology than we have, the exploratory survey ship required 20 years to get there, with the usual attendant jokes about 'i hope they get along well' and 'their grandkids will have to fly the return trip' and 'hope they brought enough snacks'. We haven't found anything as obscene/rare as that yet, at least.

The purpose of the map is to keep clear which systems lead to which(get a few dozen on there and things will get a little murky without it) in the (dubious) eventuality that SPACE ever makes a proper interstellar empire of itself. This currently obviously shows all the jumps from Sol, we have no idea what other jumps(if any) there are available from the surrounding seven systems.

So, the Galactic Map. If our collective journey is successful it'll expand in time to include dozens or possibly hundreds of systems. If not ... well, we'll have more important things to do. Like go play solitaire.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 09-24-2013 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:47 PM   #154
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006

I. Imperial Holdings
IA. Populated Colonies

Earth(973.2m, 322 CF, 253 CI, 50 OF, 10 FF, 75 REF, 18 RL, 2 AC, 6.8k MF)
Venus(approx. 90k)

Mars has only grown by a half-million in the last four years, Titan by 200k. Luna kept growing for a bit(up almost 7m) but has stalled now as well. The civilian shipping halt has left Earth just continuing to grow. Our homeworld is up more than 77m, with total human population now at 1.024b(up 9.1%).

IB. Outposts

Earth(77 SM, 1 AM, 11.4 eff, 1.84 kt yield) – uridium set to deplete in 3.1 years
Titan(25 AM, 6 eff, 243t)
Venus(7 AM, 24 eff., 233t)
Stephan-Oterma(28 AM, 40 eff., 1.75 kt)
Machholz(27.6 AM, 56 eff., 2.41 kt) – duranium(2.8 yrs)
Comas Sola(25 AM, 58 eff, 2.09 kt) – neutronium(4.6 yrs)
Schaumasse(21.8 AM, 36 eff, 942 t)
Triton(21 AM, 30 eff, 756 t)
Crommelin(20.4 AM, 59 eff, 1.73 kt) – corundium(7.2 yrs)
Wolf-Harrington(13.8 AM, 60 eff, 994 t) – vendarite(9.1 yrs)
Prokne(10 AM, 10 eff, 138 t)
Van Biesbroeck(10 AM, 55 eff, 726 t)
Neujmin(9.8 AM, 49 eff, 576 t)
Borrelly(9.8 AM, 58 eff, 851 t)
Faye(4 AM, 48 eff, 240 t)
Reinmuth(1.8 AM, 47 eff, 101 t) – duranium(7.1 yrs)
Sedna(5 CMC, 16 eff, 1.06 kt)

Total Production: 16.68 kt annual yield, a 5.8% increase or almost a full kiloton per year. The total amount will eventually fall as the comets deplete – the most important thing is keeping the key minerals coming in.

Earth has just over half the mines it did four years ago, and has now been reduced to a relatively minor contributor. The expected depletion times have actually been increased due to the rapid rate of conversion and shipping of mines off-world(at least, until the switch to maintenance facility work last year). It won’t be long until more mines have to be built and the economic focus switches from converting standard to automated to actually adding new mines.

A few minor minerals on comets were depleted, but nothing worth noting. That will change in the coming years, but losing Machholz’s duranium won’t hurt as much with the growth on Triton and Schaumasse that was achieved.

IC. Mineral Stockpiles and Production

Tier A: Uridium(45 kt), gallicite(31 kt), and vendarite(29 kt) are joined by tritanium this time(24 kt)

Tier B: Mercassium(27 kt), corbomite(18 kt), and boronide(19 kt) remain as before. Boronide is seeing more use as a primary component of the fuel tanks used on ships for the navy, but as of yet the stockpile continues to grow.

Tier C: Corundium(1.87 kt) is growing rapidly with the temporary, recent decline in mine conversion; sorium(12.1 kt) is growing as well and will grow a lot more as the Saturn harvesting operation picks up steam.

Tier D: Neutronium(5.99 kt) and duranium(5.35 kt) supplies have never been better, but continuing to grow them is essential. There still isn’t enough for a significant economic expansion.

ID. Income

Taxes: 24.16M
Export Tariffs: 115k
Trade Good Tariffs: 115k
Tourism Fees: 80k

Total: 24.47M

Taxes on civilian shipping don’t bring in a tenth of what they did four years ago. As a result, though direct citizen tax income rose by over two million credits, total income actually shrunk by 3.7 million, over a 13% decline. The good news, I suppose, is that it can’t fall much further – and still dwarfs spending. Just over one million credits comes from the colonies – over 90% is from Earth.

IE. Expenses

Installation Construction: 4.16M
Research: 3.51M
Shipbuilding: 1.82M
Mineral Purchases: 1.25M
GU Maintenance: 134k
GU Training: 83k
Shipyard Modifications: 61k
Maintenance Facilities: 10k

Total: 11.02M

For the first time, there is cause to be just the slightest bit concerned about the financial side. SPACE still made more than twice what it spent, but with the decline in income and a spending rise of almost 22%, there is definitely a need to ensure that trend does not continue indefinitely.


IIA. Commerical Yards

Tod & MacGregor(1 slipway, 36.5kt capacity)
P&A Group(2 slipways, 20kt capacity)
** Building 2x Perry-class fuel harvesters
Vickers-Armstrong(2 slipways, 10kt capacity)
** Building 2x Lexington II-class shuttle transports

IIB. Naval Yards

Wartsila A/B & O/Y(1 slipway, 10kt capacity)
** Building Pioneer-class jump scout


IIIA. Earth

** Maintenance Facility Expansion(50%) – to 10kt, expected to finish in early December
** Research Lab(25%) – one per two years or so at the current rate
** Mine Conversions(10%) – about 3 per year
** Ground Force Training Facility(4%) – 2065
** Naval Shipyard(4%) – spring/summer 2061
** Mass Driver(4%) – summer 2058
** Commercial Shipyard(3%) – 2059/2060

** A new run of infrastructure for the 2% initiative typically siphons off 2% production for 8-10 months.

IV. Research Projects

** Jump Gate Construction(Shannon Patteson) – January 8
** Fuel Consumption Efficiency(Santo Makar) – January 13
** Plasma Carronade(Brandon Grimmett) – March 12
** Ground Unit Strength(Cedrick Wormack) – March/April
** Alpha Shields(Edward Groat) – June
** High-Powered Microwave(Everette Snuggs) – June/July
** Shield Regeneration(Clint Wyche) – Summer 2058
** Railgun Velocity(Ignacio Bavaro) – Summer 2058
** Microwave Focusing(Mike Manaya) – Summer 2058
** Gauss Cannon Velocity(Harlan Welle) – Late 2058
** Figher Production(Curtis Gloster) – Late 2058/Early 2059
** Gauss Cannon Firing Rate(Karabishi Juishao) – Late 2058/Early 2059
** Research Rate(Deacon Palmer, only project with multiple labs(3)) – Winter/Spring 2059
** Railgun(Eva Vadnais) – Winter/Spring 2059
** Thermal Sensor Sensitivity(Julio Kuchler) – 2060/2061
** Turret Tracking Speed(Joe Tycho) – 2061

The research teams haven’t been heard from that much the last couple years, but this shows why. There’s a number of projects due to complete in the next few months, and several more next year.

V. Active Naval Assets

GSV Coontz(1, 2.25kt, 32 crew, 1377 km/s, 130k, gravitational survey)
GEV Essex Iix(2, 2.2kt, 35 crew, 1136 km/s, 60k, geological survey)
FT Fletcher II-xe(7, 36.2kt, 100 crew, 518 km/s, 700k, freighter)
ST Lexington II(8, 1.8kt, 20 crew, 1388 km/s, 30k, transport shuttle)
JS North Carolina(1, 19.2kt, 133 crew, 520 km/s, 250k, large jump ship)
FH Perry(4, 18.95 kt, 98 crew, 263 km/s, 350k, fuel harvester)
JSC Pioneer(2, 10kt, 240 crew, 1000 km/s, 600k, jump scout)
TT Portland(2, 4.3kt, 35 crew, 581 km/s, 60k, troop transport)
CS Spruance-b(1, 20kt, 110 crew, 501 km/s, 250k, colony ship)

Total: 28 vessels(nearly doubled from 17!), 426.7kt, 2.1k crew, 8.61m liters fuel

Available Crew: 71.9k(+ 6.8k)

Nine current ship classes(we had only six before). It’s getting a bit crowded. Overall, the navy basically doubled in the last four years. We’re at about 32.5m liters and holding steady, but that number doesn’t seem quite as huge as it used to.

VI. Active Army Assets

** Low-Tech Armour Division(5)
** Low-Tech Infantry Division(10)
** Garrision Battalion(6)

Total Active-Duty Soldiers: 780,000(4% increase)

VII. Civilian Shipping Corporations

Voliva Carrier Company(26 ships, 310k annual income)
Jensrud Transport & Trading(16)
Everton Shipping & Logistics(4)
Presnar Freight(4)
Forbius Carrier Limited(1)
Oullet Shipping(1)
Tolles Transport & Logistics(3)

55 total, just up from 52 four years ago, but Voliva is the only active one left. They effectively have a monopoly on the virtually non-existent industry, which generates just 5% of the income it did in our last report. Voliva has more cash on hand(516k) than the others combined. Meanwhile, 350,000 colonists sit in colony ships with nowhere to go. What a mess the corporations have created.

VIII. SPACE Leadership Prospectus

** Naval Officers: 33 of 72 assigned(45.8%)
** Ground Forces Officers: 21 of 33(63.6%)
** Civilian Administrators: 18 of 26(69.2%)
** Scientists: 16 of 28(57.1%)

Overall: 88 of 159(55.3%) – up a full 10% from 45 last report

19 new positions were created, while the overall number of leaders remains exactly the same as it was before. The outlook is declining for researchers as more focused and expensive projects lie ahead, but for the other three branches it definitely appears that growth opportunities will continue to be strong. SPACE continues to need more than a few good men and women to keep the wheels moving, and early dismissals are unquestionably on the decline.

IX. Terraforming Review

After reviewing the situation, there’s less to say about this than I expected. But first, a bit of a OOC primer on how terraforming works. I’ll try not to make it too long/dense, its one of those things that is far easier to wrap my head around than to explain cogently. There’s four basic factors to a planet’s suitability for colonization: gravity, breathable atmosphere, temperature, and atmospheric pressure. Searching for colony prospects, we must first satisfy the zero-tolerance conditions. That is, a body must be:

** Terrestrial. I.e., not a gas giant or super jovian, since obviously those we can’t land on.
** Somewhat close to Earth’s size, although there’s a wide range. Asteroids aren’t big enough, and the largest terrestrials are too big to fit the gravity requirement.

Basically, anything that fits the gravity range and has a hard surface to land and build on can be colonized, technically. It may well not be practical, however, and usually isn’t. As an extreme example, Luytens 726-8 B I has a surface temperature of over 2330 celcius. That’s five times further from our habitable range as Mercury or Venus, and Venus is four times easier to colonize. Not gonna happen.

The next things to look for then, are temperature and an atmosphere that is both breathable(reasonable range of oxygen is tolerated, no dangerous gases like neon or methane) and within a suitable pressure range. A body with no atmosphere would take almost 300 years at current tech levels for a singe installation to terraform, by adding an atmosphere thick enough(about a third of Earth’s is required). Temperature is a function both of the type/pressure of atmosphere and distance from the primary star, so that’s only partly changeable.

Ok, so a couple of examples that we know. Mars has only slightly less gravity than earth, and while it is too cold that issue(1.6 colony cost) is slightly less of a hindrance than not having a breathable atmosphere(2.0). The problem is it has almost no atmosphere, so making the atmosphere breathable both in terms of sufficient oxygen and the right percentage of it would take about 270 years(again for one installation). This thicker atmosphere would also warm the planet up some, improving the temperature issue as more heat is trapped. In the case of Mars if we put a lot of effort into it and built, say, 20 or so terraforming ships/installations then inside of a generation you would have an improved planet, and eventually the capacity for one that does not require any infrastructure at all. It isn’t out of the question that we might eventually do something like this, though certainly it’s not a priority right now.

Venus, on the other hand, has 25 times the atmospheric pressure of Earth. That would need to be changed, and would take those same 20 terraformers more than 4,000 years to do so. Not gonna happen. Luna is similar to Mars because it has no atmosphere.

All of this leads to the conclusion that any place we would wish to terraform, particularly outside of Sol, has to have resources beckoning us there and then also be in a reasonable range of practicality. There are a number of moon-like objects out there(no resources, no atmosphere, reasonable otherwhise), but also little reason to put that kind of massive effort in.

The one distinct exception that we have found is Sirius-A II. Now of course we haven’t found significant resources in the system, so unless a further scan revealed more we still wouldn’t wish to do it, but the planet has an atmosphere almost half as thick as Earth’s, 20% oxygen. It needs about 25% more oxygen than what it has to be enough for breathability, something that could be accomplished within 17 years by a single installation or faster by a few more. Temperature(64 celcius) would still be an issue. This could be reduced but not eliminated(it’s just too close to the star) by gradually removing some nitrogen and making the atmosphere somewhat thinner. In all, eventually Sirius-A II could eventually become a planet with somewhat less than 1.0 colony cost. Some infrastructure still required, but a relatively small amount. Any significant local duranium source might allow it to eventually produce it’s own infrastructure, etc.

Bottom line: terraforming isn't a near-future priority, but the advance of science in many fields is expected to make it both more viable and more necessary as our holdings grow.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:09 PM   #155
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006

Herbert Duling was obviously the favorite, espescially after his December Surprise shoring up his most glaring weakness. A win would net the 43-year-old a record fourth term as director. Eighmy was in poor health, a fact that prevented him from even making the final ballot this time: a similar fate kept Sonny Dean out. This left only two challengers: India Rakes and Herman Fox, both of whom were about equally dark horses. In reality, this election was over before it began. Duling has become virtually unbeatable.

As it was, he ran a near-perfect campaign to eliminate any doubt quickly. All three candidates acquitted themselves very well in fact. Duling had 39.2% of the final tally, with Rakes(31.8%) beating out Fox(29.0%) for second. Once again there were no surprises. The only real news was the fading away of Eighmy as a serious challenger due to his health issues, and the emergence of Fox as more of a major player in SPACE politics.

Policy Review

Most things stay as they are, as one would expect with the incumbent director returning. Exploration is still waiting on survey operations from Epsilon Eridani which are expected to take some years. The improved mineral situation though does allow for some modest increase in activity, which for the moment will take the form of overdue modernization of some navy elements. All the shipyards could do with adding slipways, but for now the P&A Group is the only one that actually will get to do that right away.

More critically, a number of ship classes will get upgrades transitioning to duranium armor from conventional. Naturally the freighters will benefit the most from this. The benefits, by class, will be as follows from the lighter armor:

Fletcher freighers – 1700t lighter, 1.4b km longer range, 22 km/s increase in speed(518 to 540), even about a .5% decrease in cost to boot
Lexington shuttles – 200t lighter, 174 km/s increase in speed(1388 to 1562, even with more fuel added)

The Spruance(colony ship), Essex(geosurvey), and Coontz(gravsurvey) also need to upgrade and would see fairly similar benefits, but that will not be done for some time as the shipyards will be otherwhise occupied. The shuttles and freighters comprise the majority of the fleet, and so they
will be given priority.

These refits are expected to begin later this year, but the retooling process begins immediately.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:43 PM   #156
Brian Swartz
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Cmdr. Tell Perj Jr. – 11th out of 17, remains on board the Southampton for another tour. He’s got almost two decades in, and for some time has seemed to be settled in as a run-of- the-mill ship commander, likely to remain at the current rank for the duration.
Lt. Cmdr. Rob Nielsen III – 34th out of 50. He’s moving up, but not nearly fast enough.

Brig. Gen. Dolph Stallone – 3rd out of 5. One more tour with the 18th Garrison Battalion on Mars – she’s up for mandatory retirement after this.
Maj. Gen. Sterling Silvers – At 50 years old, he’s got a decade left and is still the big cahuna as he has been for nearly three decades now.

Sonny Dean(3) – Failing health had him reassigned to Wolf-Harrington, a major demotion from Venus. It remains to be seen if he can recover from this, both personally and in terms of his career.
James Earl Jones V(4) – From Luna to Schaumasse, where he was given a good opportunity and didn’t do much with it. He’s been demoted to the asteroid Prokne now, a less lucrative mining outpost.

Pioneer Deacon Palmer(CP 45) – Investigating systems to improve research rates, as the slow march of science continues.
Joe Tycho(EW 25) – He’s made good use of his chance and become an important scientist, though certainly not an elite one – definitely a part of the regular rotation. At the moment, he’s in the early stages of improving Turret Tracking Speed.
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:15 AM   #157
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The major news of 2057 was that, beginning in the first months of the year, civilian shipping picked up steam again. Just as mysterious as its decline was its sudden reemergence, with the reasons for the increased activity completely unknown. Regardless, infrastructure espescially and also colonists flowed again all year long, with the resurgent profitability of intra-system trade highlighted by a new firm, Abair Shipping, which began operations in May.

SPACE’s investment in Venus was completed this year, with another 35 units of infrastructure taking the planet to 100k supported population. Mercury is next on the hit list, and will take a few more years before we head out to the jovian moons.

Civilian expansion also continued at record pace on Sedna. An incredible five mining complexes were added, doubling its output to over a kiloton of duranium! Sedna now approaches 30% of our total intake on that score.

Otherwhise, the year was filled with a lot of personnel shuffling, new appointments, and a number of new research projects completed and ships built. It was a busy year, but a lot of minor things getting done, nothing of dramatic importance other than the development in civilian activity. No new word yet from the Intrepid, which has been out of contact for a year and a half in Epsilon Eridani and is expected to return next summer at the lastest due to mission time requirements for maintenance.

Commissioned Officers

Administrative assignments are usually blah, but it was worth noting that Titan was handed out to Delois Woznicki. At 29, she has emerged as the top potential rival(really, only potential rival) to director Duling, but lacks the experience to manage a settlement of Earth’s size. Titan is her first full-fledged colony, having handled the important mining outpost on the comet Machholz with excellent results for the past few years. It will be interesting to see how she performs there.

Meanwhile, Alberto Eighmy has been demoted to the comet Comas Sola, an important position but generally below someone of his stature, and Sonny Dean will be stationed at the moderately-important comet Wolf-Harrington – a return to his most recent assignment prior to Venus. Unless their health improves, both men are finished as contenders for the directorship.

Elsewhere, Cruz Luscombe gets his first assignment(comet Borrelly). On the other end of the scale, for all of Derek Latch’s recent improvements, he will be unemployed due to poor health, a major setback for a promising career. The navy has a switch at their top ship command, with the more experienced Anton Ericson taking over for Dan Spengler on the Hyperion. It seems Spengler can’t catch a break.

Early March – 13 officers are dismissed, 11 from the navy. With expanding opportunities, new ships, etc. this is expected to be the last culling of this size, though a few more may go in a year or two.

Early AprilCaptain Lucas Marini, longtime Public Affairs officer at Fleet HQ, has been killed in an accident. Anton Ericson’s tour aboard the Hyperion is short indeed, and a shuffling of commands is now done as Dan Spengler retakes the post there. Ericson is just 35, a full decade younger than any of the other four current captains.

Late AprilJames Earl Jones V increases Logistics to 5%, continuing his pattern of working on skills virtually useless to his present or likely future assignments. In July, he did it again, with administration rating increasing to an unusable 5.

Late AugustDr. Rosa Suda is ready for work, and is twice the expert in Missiles & Kinetic Weapons(MK) that any of our current researchers are. She’s a welcome addition and will have priority in any new tasks in that field.

Late NovemberJoe Tycho’s admin rating is up to 5.

Mid-DecemberDeacon Palmer’s admin rating is up to 9.

Research & Development

** January 7 – Small Jump Gate Construction Module research is complete(Dr. Shanon Patteson). She starts work on increasing factory output – she’ll need help with that down the road, as the initial completion date is more than 12 years out.

** January 14Santo Makar’s team presents it’s report, showing an increase in fuel efficiency techniques(0.7 liters per EPH). Instead of adding the space to Patteson’s work, as would normally be sop, as our top propulsion scientist he begins work on nuclear pulse engines, the next generation of baseline engine technology. The nuclear pulse concept involves a much more efficiently managed reaction, resulting in less wasted energy.

** March 13Brandon Grimmett’s team has completed research into Plasma Carronade technology. His team begins work on Mobile Infantry Battalion, the next progression of ground combat units which will provide the first TN-based offensive capability to our armies.

** March 30 – Ground Unit Strength research is finished. Each man in the new units is now as effective as approximately 14 were pre-TN technology.

** April 2Cedric Wormack’s team completes work on general increases in ground unit combat strength. He gets to work next on a big project, Improved Command and Control. This is an investigation into the systems and logistical techniques needed to build another level of administrative authority for SPACE – Sector Command. Such a structure would provide political and administrative oversight of all worlds and outposts in a system, and the office of the director would be moved to this location.

This is now a third project in desperate need of additional lab space. Once some of the less elite scientists finish their current projects, that shift will occur.

** In game terms, one-quarter of the Sector Governor’s bonuses are conferred to everything in its jurisdiction, so an individual with significant and varied skills such as Director Duling would be able to confer significant improvements not just on Earth, but across the entire system.

** June 13 – Alpha Shields completed(Dr. Edward Groat). Improved Construction Rate gets the lab space.

** June 23 – Microwave Focal Size(Everette Snuggs) is completed. The space goes to Improved Command and Control(Cedrick Wormack).


February – A third garrison battalion unit is trained on earth, and some of the existing infantry divisions are converted into cadres(personnel and equipment used as a starting point to reduce the cost of new unit training). The Armour divisions will remain to give earth’s ground forces a limited offensive capability. For our garrison battalions, this effectively reduces cost and training time to just a third of what it was originally.

March 20 – With the completion of the latest pair of shuttle tranports at the Vickers-Armstrong Shipyard, refitting all of the Lexingtons to the new II(d) standard with double the fuel and duranium exteriors instead of the heavier conventional materials begins. It’s cheaper than building a new ship, but only by about a third. Each set of refits will take a little over three
months, putting the total time of all ten vessels at a little shy of a year and a half.

April 27 – A third pair of Perry fuel harvesters are finished an en route to Saturn.

June 7 – The first two Lexington II-d refits are completed.

Mid-July – The refit of the Apollo begins, the first of the freighters to undergo the process. It’s expected to take nearly six months each.

September – With the completion of the third and final Pioneer-class vessel, a new ship is designed by the engineers – the Belknap-class command shuttle.

Size: 2.0 kt
Crew: 50
Speed: 1250 km/s
Range 79.1b km

This is the first ship to have the classified module known as the ‘flag bridge’, mobile command and control for multiple task forces. Logistically, it is a requirement for SPACE to be able to effectively coordinate efforts in another system, as anything close to real-time communication with Fleet HQ is not possible. Retooling efforts begin at Fleet HQ immediately, and construction of the first ship is expected to begin before the end of the year.

September 18 – The JSC Excelsior is completed, and Chong Vaugh named as the CO.

November 5 -- Another round of refits for Lexington II-d are completed.

Mid-November – Voliva launches the first civilian fuel harvester. Looks like they are intending to steal some of the Saturn fuel! The bastards! Of course, there’s plenty for everyone, but still – the bastards!! However, it seems they are headed for the more accessible but also more distant and less plentiful concentrations in the atmosphere of Uranus.

December 1 – Maintenance facility expansion is completed on Earth, and the Hyperion begins an overhaul. With capacity now available for it, Duling orders the first expansion of Earth’s industrial production in decades. The rule of thirds is reinstigated: a third of capacity goes to new research labs, a third to general-purpose, and a third to addressing industrial needs, either in terms of mine conversions or factory conversions. Most will still go to the mines, but the order is given to gradually convert 53 more conventional industry to construction factories. Total economic conversion is still just under 75% complete, and this will up that number to 80% over the new few years under the current plan.

December 18 – Retooling is finished and the first Belknap-class command ship begun at Wartsila.

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Old 10-02-2013, 12:27 AM   #158
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2058 ANNUAL REPORT(truncated)

The first half of the year turned out to be a whole lot of blah, to the point where there really isn’t much to headline. The February promotion of Col. Anton Engelhardt to being the youngest Brigadier General by a full 15 years was probably the highlight of it all. He was shortly afterwards dispatched with a garrison battalion to the newest colony on Mercury to lead policing efforts there ...

In May, Earth reached the one billion mark in total human citizens.

And then June arrived. Still no sign of the Intrepid, which had been growingly suspected of having a mechanical failure in Epsilon Eridani. As it had now passed the the end limit of its mission timeframe, the Hyperion was sent for a quick investigative long-range scan of the system.

In the early morning of June 11, the Hyperion returned to Sol space. Shortly afterwards, a brief public statement by SPACE’s press secretary indicated that Director Duling would be taking the unprecedented step of a brief public statement on the Intrepid’s situation later that evening ...


January 5 – The Apollo is finished with the refit process, and tasked with the first infastructure deliveries to Mercury while the Yellowstone takes it’s place getting the new lighter armor.

January 21 – Another set of shuttle refits is finished, and another pair begins.

Early March – With small pockets of colonists arriving on Mercury and the infrastructure shipment complete, Derek Latch is sent as the first governor after over a year cooling his heels.

April 7 – Last set of Lexington refits is completed, and work begins on a new pair to once again expand the shuttle fleet.

April 9 – A research lab completed, and added to the efforts on the Nuclear Pulse Engine.

Mid-April – Earth’s mass drivers are back up to the desired 25kt annual capacity, and work begins on a spaceport to expedite shipping operations.

May 13 – A fourth pair of Perry’s is constructed. Given a marginal level of inaccessibility in Saturn’s sorium(0.7), each has been found to produce about 100k liters per year, or a little less. Given this, at least 15-20 are needed so there is a lot of work to do yet before earth’s refineries can be shut down.

Civilian Operations

Early January – A second fuel harvester is launched by Voliva – looks like they are serious about getting an independent source of fuel. Interestingly, their design is about three times as large as ours(60 kt-plus) and also much slower(just 100 km/s). It’ll take them most of a year to
reach Uranus at that speed ...

Commissioned Officers

Early MarchJames Earl Jones V increases administrative rating to 6.

Mid-May – James Earl Jones V increases Factory Production to 5%.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:44 AM   #159
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New York

Duling’s statement was brief, and the director did not take any questions after highlighting a few main points:

** The Hyperion’s scan of Epsilon Eridani had revealed the existence of wreckage 2.7b km from the jump point in that system. The wreckage is believed to be the remains Intrepid, which is presumed lost along with all on board, including Commander Jay Cin III, one of the navy’s best. This announcement was briefly delayed in part of out of respect for the next of kin of the 241 who served on mankind’s first ship capable of interstellar travel, the first starship ever, to coin a phrase.

** In keeping with SPACE’s commitments, the highest level of transparency and forthrightness would be maintained on the investigation into this disaster. At present the circumstances and causes were unknown, and Duling stressed the need to avoid rampant speculation and jumping to conclusion(not that anyone expects the various conspiracy theorists on the extranet to actually comply with this).

** In order to honor the brave men and women aboard the Intrepid, properly steward SPACE’s resources, prevent future reoccurences, and honor the trust of humanity in their efforts, SPACE will be undertaking an investigative mission which will launch within days. To maintain the promised level of transparency, a number of high-ranking officials from all branches of the service will be sent to independently verify the results of the mission. It will involve all three SPACE-operated jump-capable vessels: the JSC Hyperion, JSC Excelsior, and the JS Velociraptor. The Velociraptor and and Excelsior will transit the jump point back and forth to keep communication lines open between Fleet HQ, themselves as the jump point ships, and the Hyperion which will journey to the wreckage for a close-range scan to verify its identity, search for any possible survivors though that possibility is known to be remote, and to ascertain the cause of this tragedy.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:23 AM   #160
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Jump Point Delta was not Epsilon Eridani, correct?

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Old 10-02-2013, 08:41 AM   #161
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Epsilon Eridani was behind Alpha(although they've now been renamed for the system they go to). It's the best system and the closest jump point(just inside Jupiter orbit) approx. 740m km from the sun.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:55 AM   #162
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Re: terraforming, if you scroll to the bottom of the list of gasses there is "anti-greenhouse gas" which will allow you to convert those warm planets to 0 colony cost. It is effective enough that Mercury is more easily terraformed than Jupiter's moons.
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:38 PM   #163
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Interesting, didn't know they were nearly that effective. I'm curious, does the temperature update immediately as the atmosphere changes or is it a gradual thing over time?
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:46 PM   #164
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Temp changes gradually as you add/remove gases. There's a formula somewhere to figure how much is needed, maybe in the wiki. But it's easier to back up the database and go into SM mode and fiddle with the terraform values to see how feasible a terraform is.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:40 AM   #165
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Ok so some really important stuff is happening(in Aurora). Unfortunately I lost some of the writeup I think in getting my new PC going, which also had its issues -- hard drive was a dud so I'm still using the old one while that is rectified. All of which is to say regular progress will continue but I don't know how soon that will be, probably will end up summarizing Operation Post Mortem sometime this weekend and then getting into the reaction to it after that which is the current game date. I'm unlikely to progress the game much until the computer issues are sorted, but it won't take that long -- having a brother who does this stuff for a living build the thing helps . In the long run the new system is going to be much better for the game, its just annoying me right now.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:56 AM   #166
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We're not waiting with baited breath. Better to get the story right and take an extra couple of days than to rush the story.

Houston Hippopotami, III.3: 20th Anniversary Thread - All former HT players are encouraged to check it out!

Janos: "Only America could produce an imbecile of your caliber!"
Freakazoid: "That's because we make lots of things better than other people!"

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Old 10-12-2013, 01:43 PM   #167
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** OOC Note: I intended to write a dramatic speech/press conference at the end of this, but after several drafts I couldn't get it the way I wanted. I'm not that comfortable with writing specific dialogue/speeches, etc. so I just decided to leave it as a summary and put the rest of that to the reader's imagination.**


** July 30, 2058 -- The JSC Hyperion reaches the wreckage and makes a thorough close-range scan. No signs of life or anything out of the ordinary in the sector of space other than the destroyed ship. The decision is made to scan a nearby jump point location for possible point of entry into Epsilon Eridani before returning to Sol.

** August 2 -- Halfway or so to the jump survey location, a massive active gravitational sensor is detected, about 250-300m km away(note: I'm still getting used to accurately measuring distances and am not that good at it yet). The Hyperion immediately changes course to rendezvous with the other ships at the Sol jump point. The other ship moves to intercept, and is much faster, easily closing the gap.

** August 3, 5:34 AM -- Two flights of 10 missiles each are detected in close proximity to the Hyperion. Less than ten seconds later, the ship is destroyed by six to seven impacts. Almost half the crew makes it to lifepods, but these have only a two-week reserve of supplies and nobody can make it that far. On board are 240 crew, Commander Dan Spengler, and official observers Gov. Herman Fox and Gov. Cruz Luscombe.

The Velociraptor and Excelsior are ordered back to Earth immediately. They couldn't reach the lifepods until twice the two-week time expired, and could do nothing about it if they got there with no cryogenic storage, recovery apparatus, etc.

Director Herbert Duling secretly pauses several research projects to get the top scientists to SPACE HQ to assist in a group studying the sensor logs and other aspects of these events

** August 11 -- With the Excelsior approaching Earth, available time for delaying a public statement is up and a press conference called at SPACE HQ. Flanked by Chief of the Navy Ellie Camble, Chief of the Army Sterling Silvers, and several of the top scientists, Herbert Duling explains the fate of the Hyperion, though some details are left out(and the wrecks in Lalande 21185 are still classified discoveries as well).

Duling summarizes the mission, commends the heroism of the men and women of both ships(Intrepid and Hyperion), and then turns his attention to SPACE's response to these events. He stresses the strength humanity has shown in unifying after decades of war and successfully pursuing peace in the last 30+ years, he emphasizes that the attacks in Epsilon Eridani were ted were completely unprovoked and conducted by an enemy that was either unwilling or unable to communicate with our ships. Despite humanity's well-earned distaste for war, war was indeed upon us once again, with our foe an alien race of some kind with technology far beyond our own current capabilities.

** Facing this new threat would require a single-minded focus. A shift in priorities was required. The 2% Initiative and all further interstellar explorations were halted for the time being, with the Ministry of Resource Development confident that enough resources were available in Sol so long as it remained secure to supply humanity's needs for decades to come. It was no longer possible to view long-term economic prosperity as the only goal -- that must take somewhat of a back seat now.

** The top priority to pursue is to know our new enemy: intelligence. Citing the universally recognized need for this, from both BoG(Board of Governors) and the scientific community, Duling announced that SPACE's approach would be to first increase sensor capabilities in Sol.

** Development of a sensor buoy, and if needed a carrier vessel to deploy them at all seven Sol jump points.

** Expansion of deep space tracking stations on Earth and deployment of smaller ones at least on Titan and possibly on other colonies.

** Basic passive sensors will be deployed as soon as possible on all SPACE-operated vessels, military or commercial grade.

** A shift in research focus to improving our relative technology level in sensors and propulsion(espescially reducing thermal emissions to become less visible to the enemy's passive sensors) as a top priority. Economic techs were still important, but less so in comparison now to what the military would need.

** A full weapons review, which was still a couple years away, would be conducted as soon as possible with an eye to defense of Sol first.


Sensor logs indicate that the Intrepid was destroyed in similar fashion to the Hyperion. Only one enemy vessel was detected, but it was capable of a top speed of over 6k km/s, four times that of our fastest ships, and the missiles which destroyed the Hyperion were tracked at speeds of at least 20k km/s, possibly closer to 30k.

It seems likely that they aliens destroyed our ships to keep us from something in that area of Epsilon Eridani, given that both vessels were attacked in the same general area of space. Perhaps a jump point to a more important system, since they don't seem to have moved and earlier investigation of the inner system brought no indications of an alien prescence in the system, though all this is merely educated guestimation. We just plain don't know. What we do know is they appear to be powerful enough that they could wipe us out on a whim if they chose to do so -- at the speed of their vessels, they could have already reached Earth if they'd wanted to and knew where the jump was.

The internal conclusion of SPACE is that most likely our technological primitiveness is actually an advantadge in this case: we are as threatening to them as a man might consider an insect to be. You don't go out of your way to kill an insect where it lives, you just swat it away if it annoys you, then go back to what you were previously doing. Most likely we are essentially beneath their notice, unworthy of significante effort. Furthermore, the wrecks in Lalande 21185 indicate it is very possible that we may have stumbled into the middle of an interstellar war between multiple alien species. In this case they would have bigger problems to deal with, espescially if they were on the losing end of that battle. The assessment at the moment is that there are almost certainly at least two alien species operating in known space because of that, possibly more(if the ship in Epsilon Eridani doesn't belong to either faction involved).

In any case, our best chance at survival is in getting better intelligence and developing the ability to wage war in space, regardless what the enemy decides to do or what their undetermined motivations are. A diplomatic solutions seems highly unlikely given their 'just attack' stance against the Hyperion and presumably the Intrepid as well, but if one is possible it will be best served by not again provoking in Epsilon Eridani an enemy we have no way of hurting at present.

The sensor buoys at the jump points and tracking stations on Earth that will be built are to some extent political measures -- it won't do any good if our naval combat capability isn't up to the task. However it is also true that the Navy needs better intel in order to intelligently design ships which have the best chance of defending humanity against the alien threat.
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:03 PM   #168
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Love that this dynasty is back. It's my favorite to read currently (and that's nothing against the others I read).

Is there a way to make some sort of orbital defenses near the jump point? And, if so, are they resource efficient (as in would they actually do anything) or is it just better to use the resources to bulk up your ships for defense?

Houston Hippopotami, III.3: 20th Anniversary Thread - All former HT players are encouraged to check it out!

Janos: "Only America could produce an imbecile of your caliber!"
Freakazoid: "That's because we make lots of things better than other people!"

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Old 10-13-2013, 01:22 PM   #169
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Thanks for the kind words SI! I'm glad you enjoy it, gives me more motivation to keep going.

As far as orbital defences go, the problem with that is they need time for maintenance overhauls and shore leave unless they orbit a colony(no way to make a colony on/near the jump point itself). You could make a station and have it hauled there and hauled back -- if you had tractor beam technology, which we don't yet. However, there's at least two jumps(maybe more) that aliens have access to.

Right now SPACE is in a situation of wanting the initial naval defense force of Sol to be mobile until we know more about the surrounding systems. And then there's also that whole issue of not actually being able to build any kind of defense force quite yet ...
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:46 AM   #170
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2058 Annual Report(conclusion)

It is one thing to make a fine speech, and another to back it up. Looking at the research picture, there was one decidedly inconvenient fact: the next generation of engines is in fact still coming, but not for almost three years. In other circumstances, that time might have been somewhat shortened by adding a few more labs, and building any new classes of ships delayed long enough to wait a couple of years for it. The present political environment demanded action, and there was too much else going on to just yank the rug out from under all of the other research projects in order to rush the engine tech. This meant there was really only one choice: get moving on designs that would cease to be state-of-the-art before their maiden tour was even completed. Wasteful, yet unavoidable. Given the growing size of the navy, SPACE was now on a path where refitting will be a constant process for at least the next decade, and perhaps indefinitely. Currently nearly six million are employed at the shipyards, more than 20% of those in the planet-based construction sector and more than any other industrial concern -- they will be quite busy, and those numbers will only grow.

Another result of the growing and more military-oriented navy is the establishment of contracts with a number of firms to provide the necessary components. SPACE turned to GEI (Gradient Electronics, Inc.) for another first: a line of active sensors for use in the new buoys which would be stationed at jump points. A good amount of debate went into how large the buoys should be, how much to invest in each one, but in the end the Sentinel 275 was chosen. This suite is capable of detecting the smallest of missiles almost 150k km away and more importantly a ship of any size 1.37 km out, the maximum range of the suite. Of course a design with a higher resolution could increase the range of ship detection without the missile capability, but this should be more than enough distance to find anything entering the jump point and some missile capability was also desired in a small package.

Secondly, JPS(Johnson Propulsion Systems) is favored for work on manuevering thrusters needed to maintain position relative to the jump point for the buoys. The JPS NT-15 will thankfully not require much development effort as it is by far the smallest and least powerful engine to be put into space to date.

HISS(Hyabushi International Sensor Systems) was contracted for a trio of projects, the small declassified active, thermal, and electromagnetic systems for use on commercial ships such as the shuttles and freighters.

Each of these needed laboratory space and a project lead, and several lesser-known scientists found themselves switched over to a new project or out of work for the time being. Among them was Joe Tycho, whose work on increasing turret tracking speed was among the deprioritization casualties. Most of the space, however, came from taking resources away from existing projects. This slowed down needed economic research in most cases, but there simply was no easy choice. Most of the new projects would not take long(two to three months) to prototype, with available space shunted into the more involved Sentinel 275 when possible.

Earth's industrial priorities also changed immediately. Work on a new academy for the leaders that would be needed for the new responsibilities(mostly ships) and deep space tracking stations began at once, with economic investment dropping from a third to a fifth to allow for this requirement. Shipyard priorities changed as well, with expansions required to the larger commercial yards to allow for the refits which would make all vessels somewhat larger. In the case of the Perry fuel harvesters, it was also clear that they simply weren't big enough for the growing needs of the navy. Much higher-capacity harvesters would be required before long, so the P&A Group began an indefinite expansion immediately upon completing it's third slipway.

In mid-November, the new commercial sensors were all ready and the yards began retooling for the three primary classes of refits: Fletcher III-class freighters, Lexington III-class shuttle transports, and Perry II-class fuel harvesters. The shuttles will begin their refits before the end of the year, while the others will take longer to prepare the shipyards for that to begin. The Perrys are the lowest priority, as once a deep space scanner is deployed on Titan, their sensors will become merely a redundancy. In terms of cost, the shuttles are now a third more expensive, with the freighters seeing a much smaller comparative increase(about 6%). Speed impacts are largely marginal, with the shuttles again seeing the biggest reduction(down to just under 1400 km/s).

Later in the month, the Sentinel 275 is finished, and the new sensor buoy design finalized and dubbed the Forestal.

Size: 288 tons
Max. Speed: 347 km/s
Maintenance Life: 28+ years
Crew: 10

It is just a fraction of shuttle size, a little faster than the Perry harvesters but well short of the freighters. The first few will be able to make their assignments on their own, but for effective deployment another class will need to be designed to ferry them around. That will probably wait until the next generation of engines, however. The fighter factories on Earth are sufficient to produce about three per year, so it will take five years to build enough to man all of the jump points. Technically, this is SPACE's first 'fighter' class ship, though it is of course anything but a fighter.

By the end of the year, only one of the basic weapons techs remains to be finished. Completion of that is expected late next year, with lab space juggled to ensure it will roughly coincide with the finalizing of the theoretical work on the nuclear pulse engine. Work has begun on a weapons review that will be presented to the Director at that time, and there will be some critical decisions to be made. Meanwhile, it appears that the aliens in Epsilon Eridani have no intention of entering Sol yet. Humanity can only hope that we continue to be irrelevant to them at least until the point where we have the capability to confront them ...

Research & Development

** September 8 -- Fighter Production Rate(Dr. Curtis Gloster)
** September 30 -- Gauss Cannon Launch Velocity(Dr. Harlan Welle)
** October 8th -- JPS NT-15(Rosemary Urenda). The engine is now ready, but the sensors are still two months away.
** October 10th -- HISS thermal commercial sensors completed(Dr. Delmer Ytuarte)
** November 8th -- Late as usual, Dr. Elwood Tousant's team has finished the report on the HISS commercial gravitational sensor array.
** November 10th -- HISS Thermal sensor array(Dr. Billie Allington) is the final piece of the puzzle for the commercial refits.
** November 23 -- Sentinel 275(Dr. Bessie Wallander) is completed. With this, the new sensor buoy design can be finalized. The lab space is reassigned, split fairly evenly between the remaining basic weapons techs and accelerating other critical projects.
** December 1 -- December 1st -- 10cm Railgun(Eva Vadnais)
** December 1 -- Gauss Cannon Rate of Fire(Karabishi Juishao)

Commissioned Officers

Early October -- Herbert Duling's political reliability increases to 35%. As has happened every time so far in his career, he has successfully navigated the Epsilon Eridani crisis in the minds of humanity.

Mid-October -- Sonny Dean's ground unit construction speed is up to 25%

Mid-November -- As India Rakes continues to improve her skills in the wake of the year's revelations, Derek Latch(governor of Mercury) demonstrates that SPACE was indeed right to limit his appointments in the wake of failing health. Not yet 40 years old, Latch is found dead of natural causes. Salvador Loving is dispatched to replace him.

The big-picture takeaway here is that Duling and Rakes continue to tighten their grip on the SPACE administrative beauracracy. It's really hard to imagine anyone challenging them in the near future.


October 4th -- A fourth commercial shipyard completed, to be known as ENDM(Estalerios Navais do Montego). There is no construction currently planned, but it immediately expands with a goal of 20kt capacity, filling a middle ground between the smaller Vickers-Armstrong yard and the two larger yards(P&A Group, Tod & MacGregor)

November 6th -- The first of the now-obsolete Belknap-class command ships is finished. It will now be not only the first, but the only. Fleet HQ didn't even bother assigning a CO this close to new tour assignments in a couple of months.

December 15 -- The Custer refit is completed, and retooling begins for the Fletcher III, the freighter class redesign with sensors included. It is estimated that the Tod & MacGregor will be ready for the first refit late next summer.

December 19 -- The first pair of Lexingtons begin the process of getting refitted with their new sensors. Each is expected to take a little under three months.
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Old 10-17-2013, 03:57 AM   #171
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Brigadier Generals Dolph Stallone and Angela Bankson hit mandatory retirement. That leaves the Army with just five generals left, and it is expected that a colonel or two will be promoted soon to make up the slack. Both had served since SPACE's inception 34 years ago, and there are a rapidly dwindling few who can say that. The army also loses two of its top three colonels for the same reason, so it's definitely a changing of the guard.

Cmdr. Tell Perj Jr -- 8th out of 15. Now 40, Perj is in the middle of a very steady, highly respectable career. He's set to remain in Saturn orbit as the CO of one of the fuel harvesters.
Lt. Cmdr. Rob Nielsen III -- 27th out of 47. The cutoff for commands is at 23 right now, and Nielsen has another year before he'll be considered for auto-termination, so it looks like it'll come right down to the wire for him. He could make it, he could just miss.

Maj. Gen. Sterling Silvers -- The retirements make Silvers, now 52, as old as any of the army generals as he winds down his career. He's the standard by which all others are judged.

Sonny Dean(3) -- Governor of Wolf-Harrington. At 51, with declining health, it appears he's in the twilight of a mostly strong administrative career.
James Earl Jones V(6) -- Governor of Prokne. Since his tour their started a couple years ago, nothing's been heard from him.

Pioneer Deacon Palmer(CP 45) -- In the final stretch of work on improving research rate, one of several priority research projects for SPACE at the moment.
Joe Tycho(EW 25) -- A casualty of the Epsilon Eridani crisis, his project was yanked and is still in limbo, as is Tycho who awaits his next assignment.
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:52 AM   #172
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Nice that Jr. made it longer than his pop did. Good work on this!

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Old 10-17-2013, 08:47 AM   #173
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Originally Posted by Brian Swartz View Post
Maj. Gen. Sterling Silvers -- The retirements make Silvers, now 52, as old as any of the army generals as he winds down his career. He's the standard by which all others are judged.

Since we don't have a lot of folks jumping at the idea of Ground Forces officers, whenever Sterling retires (or before, depending on where the time falls), create Sterling Silvers II as that next "once in a generation" type ground forces officer that looks destined for high office. So, if possible, Sterling II doesn't need to be the next general after "Dad" retires, make him the next elite one even if it takes a few years or a decade or more.

(or if it takes too long, make him Sterling III as 70 year old dad with a 20 year old son starting the military would probably be a bit off- it could just be roleplayed that the military gene skipped a generation and Dad did some work in science or industry or whatnot but had an unremarkable career)

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Old 10-18-2013, 12:57 PM   #174
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Call it the calm after the storm. 2059 was a pretty quiet year, for which most everyone was very thankful. The 'excitement' of '58 is not generally preferred by sane people.

The army goes with experience, promoting 48-year-old Joann Altschuler as it's most recent brigadier general to fill the vacancy, while it was decided they could make do with six generals and so a seventh was not needed.

The year's biggest news was the deployment of the first Forrestals, as the first one takes up station at the Epsilon Eridani jump point on April 27th. A second is added later, and a third is en route to the Lalande point by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the first sensors are deployed on a pair of shuttles in March, and 2059 sees most of the shuttles refit and the harvesters less than a month away from finishing their run of refits. The freighters will take much longer, and the Tod & MacGregor begins the long process of adding a second slipway to speed up the process, but that will take over two years to finish.

The private sector continues to do our work for us, placing four more mining complexes on Sedna for a total now of 15. That's over 1.6kt, somewhere in the range of a quarter of our duranium supply, from that rock alone. Almost 4 million credits a year now goes to that worthy investment. At this rate, it will soon be the top line item in our annual budget.

Automines continue to be shipped out to Triton, which is now in the low 40s. The mineral crisis, which lasted over two decades, can be decisively declared to be over. Shipyards are now free to make whatever expansion/construction is deemed necessary, Earth's industrial capacity is expanding(and would expand faster were it not for the need to pour resources immediately into laboratories, deep space scanners, new shipyards, etc.). SPACE has reached a clear transition, much more economically viable now and sustainably so for decades, probably centuries, but the alien threat has taken center stage.

The expected weapons review and implications of it is now on everyone's minds, expected about a month into the new year ...

Commissioned Officers

Mid-January -- The meteoric Mitchell Feeser is now promoted to Commander, and immediately tapped by HQ as their top captain candidate despite his relative lack of experience. It's possible he could skip any kind of military ship command entirely.

Early March -- Five naval officers are dismissed.

May 30 -- Latest pair of Perrys are completed, and Rob Nielsen III is assigned to one as the CO. He won't be going anywhere for a while, as they will stay at Earth to be refit with sensors.

Late December -- Joe Tycho increases his EW expertise to 30%, Rob Nielsen III increases Fleet Movement Initiative to 168.

Research & Development

June 11 -- Research rate increased(Deacon Palmer). The more efficient storage equipment and techniques immediately accelerate every project ongoing, as well as freeing up the two laboratories that were being used by Palmer's team. He'll take over work on improving the construction rate of our factories(previously led by Shannon Patteson and a third finished). Elsewhere, Joe Tycho gets back in the game with resumption of his work on improving turret tracking speed after nearly a year's hiatus, and Elwood Tousant starts a project focused on improving EM sensors.

That's it, just one research project completed for the year. Like I said, a quiet season.


Early August -- Freighter refits begin. New research lab built, Dr. Edward Groat gets to work on reducing thermal emissions from engines.

Early December -- The third Forrestal is completed and heads to the Lalande 21185 jump point, with Olad Mrtav in command.

Mid-December -- Duranium on Machholz has been exhausted. From time to time various minerals have dried up, but this is a significant development as it is the main reason for the 27+ mines on the rock. There are still significant deposits of neutronium and corundium there, as well as mercassium and sorium, so for now no diverting of mines will occur.
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Old 10-18-2013, 01:02 PM   #175
Brian Swartz
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SI brings up a point that was brought up on the other forums as well. With the number of people currently involved I think it's manageable -- an option to have a descendant added before the oldest active character retires(in this case the Major General Sterling Silvers).

I've operated under the assumption of only having one per person, but I think it would be feasible with the number of people currently active to add another one after, say, 20 years of active service(i.e., 20 years from the time of the first actual assignment). Any comments pro or con on this idea?

As far as making him the next elite guy, I'm going to have to nix that. I think it makes for a better 'story' if there are sometimes bad apples(one on Aurora just genned probably the worst naval recruit I've ever seen) -- the whole idea that without the possibility of failure, success doesn't mean much either.
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:34 PM   #176
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My bad- I didn't realize that this is also on another forum and that makes sense as there are a lot more roles to fill.

To me, it seems like the story rotates around a few key players (Duling, Rakes, Palmer, and a couple of the ship captains) so if I were, say, any of CW's characters or PM's, this wouldn't be interactive dynasty for me as the characters are just a footnote, hoping to eek out a few years of a career before getting culled by the budget one year. I would even argue that as "prolific" as Sterling's career has been, I'm almost certain, I can count the number of times that she (I think she was a she and not a he) has shown up in the story outside of on the end of the year report as "good job, you saw no action".

This is not to argue for my character or anyone else's to get any more "screen time" as I think the narrative is working great as it. I just think that limiting people by "dice rolls" is unnecessary. Even if the player characters were always given the top couple of characters each year and the NPCs relegated to the weaker ones, the situation will dictate that even those top of the class characters won't make much of a dent in the narrative as there are only a couple of real "starring roles" as we have run through how many characters in the history of the dynasty and only a few even make it onto the stage.

For instance, the administrators are pretty visible as there are elections regularly and posts for all of them. But who is the fifth most famous administrator at SPACE in history? I don't think I could name him or her. And that's the fifth best in 30+ years - that's not even the best every year or best every couple of years. And this is to say nothing for not caring about scientists in wartime, ground forces in peacetime, etc.

Houston Hippopotami, III.3: 20th Anniversary Thread - All former HT players are encouraged to check it out!

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Old 10-18-2013, 07:59 PM   #177
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I agree with SI in that it seems unnecessary to limit people to dice rolls if you actually are interested in making this an interactive dynasty. There isn't much reason for anyone to keep up if the character they have is simply not going anywhere or going to accomplish anything.

Given that the game can truly create some spectacular failures when it comes to characters. Giving said character to a reader just because that's the next one created is not going to keep people interested in interacting.

Tis your dynasty, you may do as you wish. I enjoy reading it. I messed with the game itself for a bit myself before shelving it so I could understand it more. I'll continue reading and probably roll the dice again. So this isn't in any way anything other than offering an opinion based on the current discussion.

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Old 10-19-2013, 12:25 PM   #178
Brian Swartz
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Thanks for the feedback gents. It is true that there isn't a lot of detail/decision making for all but a few chars, and that's just sort of the nature of the thing in order to keep it moving at a decent pace. The only real interactive element is following the progression of your characters, as the reader doesn't have any real control over it given the number of things which are abstracted in the game.

I don't see the 'do-nothing' characters being as big of an issue. There aren't going to be many of them anymore due to the fact that there's enough 'activity' if you will in all four branches to give the possibility of almost any type to be involved, and those few who don't make the cut can simply make a new char six years down the road so it's not like they are stuck with a useless character until they are dead/retired. That's also why I'm entertaining the idea of family members as it gives something else to watch in the updates. The whole 'interactive' element of this is pretty limited, but I think it is what it is -- useful to give people who are into that sort of thing another reason to follow.

In terms of 'game events', 'things to do', the ground forces officers are really a lot more limited in general, it's just the nature of what they do. Glorified policing really, unless we got into the point of conquering alien worlds which is a long way off if we ever get there.

I'm going to see what the Aurora boards(the other forum I'm doing this on) thinks of the idea of waiting for better chars.
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:42 PM   #179
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Update -- I'm writing up new SPACE policies based on the weapons review, and it's taking a lot longer than I thought it would. That's partly due to RL interruptions and partly due to thinking through more different options than I expected. I should have that up early next week and then get through the rest of 2060.
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:13 PM   #180
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Good deal. I was thinking to myself "wonder what happened with SPACE"

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Old 10-28-2013, 08:31 PM   #181
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On January 6, the Nuclear Pulse Engine was completed(Dr. Sanko Makar), and revealed to result in a 60% power increase over a similar nuclear thermal engine. On the 28th, Particle Beam research was finished(Eva Vadnais), paving the way for a strategic review of SPACE's current military stance, readiness, etc. The primary mission remains the defense of Sol, with secondary objectives given as gathering more intel on the alien(s) and expanding human presence beyond our home system.


There is precious little information available on the aliens, but there were a number of pieces of information gleaned in Epsilon Eridani: they utilize ships capable of at least 6.5k km/s, and missiles capable of 15-30k km/s, and have vastly superior sensor systems. It must be stressed at this point that they may have other vessels/weapons systems far different in capability than these, but we can only operate on the basis of the information that we have.

There are a number of good arguments in favor of energy weapons rather than kinetic. Firstly, the top two weapons scientists are both in the energy field: Ignacio Bavaro and Eva Vadnais, though a number of decent if lesser minds are developing in kinetic weaponry. Secondly, they are re-usable: there's no ammuntion to worry about building. Third and finally, they make for the best jump point defence as closer ranges are their forte, espescially due to higher rates of fire.

The most obvious form of defense would be to field a weapons system capable of shooting down their missiles. This is impossible with any kind of energy-based system, due to the fact that the best tracking speed we can muster is capable for our fire control systems is 5k km/s, or at best a third of their velocity. In an offensive role, beam weapons would be limited by our completely inadequate propulsion technology: namely, that we would have to occupy well over half a ship's volume with nothing but engines to even match the speed of the enemy ships. Unless we build such ships which would have very little space for the weapons systems themselves, there would be no way to prevent the aliens from simply firing their missiles at us from out of range, then retreating to load more, and so on with impunity. That is, unless they were guarding some crucial objective that they didn't want to retreat from, but in this case we are the most obviously the ones on the defensive.

Missile-based systems don't fare much better: our best anti-missile projections are that we would have, at best, a 6% chance at a successful intercept. It is, however, the only option that currently holds out any hope of destroying enemy ships. A reasonably sized anti-ship missile could presently be designed with a projected 20-25% hit rate against ships of the speed the aliens were observed traveling at.


It is expected that the lion's share of protection responsibilities will lie with the Navy, and that the army will still be called upon largely in a police role as is presently their sole duty. However, as soon as better offensive capabilities are discovered, more units will be trained up for the goal of occupying strategic objectives by force should the need arise. At present, maintenance of ground forces consumes less than 0.4% of annual income, so the cost is hardly a concern at this point and being ready for all contingencies is certainly desirable.


The time has come for the SPACE Navy to essentially split into two branches: a commercial branch and a combat branch. The decision is made to design military ships relying on both energy and missile-based variants for a number of reasons. One is to get used to the various components required, how much space they will require, etc. Given the technological gap, our current weaponry is expected to have little to no effect on the enemy in a serious confrontation, and yet the political situation clearly demands action. Building multiple types of ships gives more flexibility and basically punts a number of decisions down the road.


Given our present near-complete inability to defend against the aliens known attack abilities, present thought favors a high number of small vessels in the hopes that those not initially targeted by an enemy fleet will be able to fire and damage the enemy before coming under fire themselves. There will not be anything in the way of centralized command or sensor vessels, as the enemy would likely destroy these quickly crippling the fleet. Rather, each ship will be expected to operate on its own. This is far from an optimal solution, but the only one presenting itself. This also means a carrier-based fleet is for now out of the question, as a carrier would simply be an easy target for alien missiles.


It is still desired to utilize SPACE's natural talents and develop a focus on energy weapons over time. But that still leaves the question of which energy weapons? The conclusion of analysts is that there is no way to insulate ourselves against the possibility of not choosing the 'optimal' system(s) -- it all depends on what enemies field and trying to research them all can only result in mastering none. Further, early projections by the scientific community indicate a specialized, layered approach to ship weaponry and defense is far more likely to be effective and flexible than a one-size-fits-all philosophy focused on just one weapons system.

The laser is an obvious choice, with as good of a damage-to-power ratio as any weapons system available. Only the plasma carronade is equal in this, and it is larger and much more costly. Range is a virtual non-issue at the moment as all of the systems far out-range our fire control capabilities.

The meson cannon fits by far the best among the energy-based weapons prototypes as a point defense type of weapon. Meson particles ignore shields and armor, and the cannon has minimal power requirements like the laser, though with minimal damage and half the range.

Thie size and cost of the particle beam rules it out as a serious option, as does the plasma carronade.

One final option deserves special mention -- microwave. The high-powered microwave is designed to deplete enemy shields and damage electronic systems, essentially blinding them but not destroying them. The most obvious use to this would be as a first step to capturing enemy ships, something we will definitely want to do sometime down the road as part of our attempts to learn more about them.


It seems a certain amount of diversification will be necessary. Since missiles are basically a combat requirement for us right now, a modest amount of research will be invested in making them better, at least until we can 'catch up' to the aliens, if we can, in other areas. A second reason is the CIWS(Close-In Weapons System). The CIWS, an automated system designed for destroying missiles on final approach to a target, has been deemed a political necessity on all but very small ships(including commercial) to provide some semblance of defense. As it utilizes gauss cannon technology, that will also need to have a certain amount of research dedicated towards it.


** Finishing up the deployment of Forrestals at all jump points with a reserve and a new class to serve as a 'carrier' to ferry them around Sol as needed.

** Research will focus on propulsion and sensors/fire controls first, particle beams and meson cannons second, with a modest investment also in advancing missile technology/gauss(for CIWS) and general advancement/economic improvements, etc. Of course, prototyping immediately needed ship systems will come before any of these.

** Refitting of all vessels except the Perry harvesters(which don't need speed as much) to take advantadge of the newer, more powerful engines as well as CIWS. The # of CIWS will vary based on the size of the ship, but all vessels including commercial will get at least one as SPACE is committed to at least the appearance of protection of its personnel. It is the only weapons system that has been declassified enough to permit mounting it on commercial vessels.

** Design and construction of planetary missile bases, primarily for the purpose of pacifying the public.

** Design and construction of two classes of military ships, as small as practicable: one based on missiles and another emphasizing beam weapons. Particle beams will be used for long-range, anti-ship duty and meson cannons for short-range, anti-missile duty.

** New/expanded shipyards as deemed necessary to meet and stay ahead of current needs.

** For political reasons, further interstellar exploration comes last. However, it is presently the navy's top priority internally. It has been decided to name the effort the Fox Plan, an homage to Herman Fox who pioneered(ahead of his time to the point of impracticality) the idea of sending small, expendable ships in first as explorers. There will be more detail on the Fox Plan as the time for it approaches.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:47 PM   #182
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2060 Annual Report

It was another quiet year, as various research projects took center stage. The first order of business was to get a new line of commercial engines going, the WP NP-100 as it was designated(WP standing for WawaPincus, the manufacturer). Also our first weapons systems, manufactured by the KKC(Kimmel-Kiewit Corporation), which will be the CIWS I. All further refits were put on hold, since there's not much point in doing it twice ...

On March 15th, the first Forrestal arrived on station at the Lalande 21185 jump point. All of the jumps leading to systems known to have alien presence are now being monitored for incoming threats. Around the same time, orders went out on Earth to queue up an additional 25 conversions of CI to CF, which when finished will leave us with an even 400 factories.

April brought the completion of the Baltimore-Marine Shipyard, the second naval facility. Also, the 50th automine is on its way to Triton. After reviewing the situation, it has been decided to keep investing there at least until the freighter refits with newer, faster engines have been completed.

Noteworthy advances also were reached in August(Mobile Infantry Battalion, the first offensive combat unit under the TN revolution) and December(Improved Command & Control, allowing the construction of Sector Commands). The facilities required will take some time to build, and resources were allocated to let the completion coincide with the 2065 election. Mobile Infantry is twice as effective in defense as in attack, but they are still far superior to traditional armour formations in attack capabilities.

Commissioned Officers

March -- James Earl Jones V improves Shipbuilding up to 40%.

Mid-April -- James Earl Jones V increases mining to 10%, a surprising resurgence for him after years of not really going anywhere.

Early July -- Joe Tycho's admin rating increases to 6.

Early August -- The first medical problem in memory has surfaced for the seemingly invincible Herbert Duling. He's not eligible for re-election anyway, but if this illness proves serious he may find himself relegated to a fairly minor post.

Mid-August -- 32-year-old Rey Hoel is the latest General to be promoted.

Late November -- Tell Perj Jr. increases Fleet Movement Initiative to 306.

Early December -- Joe Tycho 's Pol. Rel. up to 10%.


MId-April -- Another Forrestal is completed and heads to the Lalande jump point. There are still 16 needed but they are put on hold pending research space for new thrusters to be designed.

Late September -- Earth has now depleted Uridium deposits.

November 11 -- Research lab finished(21 now). Eva Vadnais gets to work on increasing the recharge rate of our capacitors.

Research & Development

** May 23 -- KKC CIWS I prototype completed(Dr. Rosa Suda). Though it is completely defensive in nature, this marks the first human space-based weapons system. The space is diverted to the JPS NP-24, a new manuevering thruster for the Forrestal sensor buoys. Vadnais takes the project due to a lack of qualified propulsion scientists.

** July 17 -- JPS NP-24 research completed(Dr. Eva Vadnais) and construction begins on updated Forrestal-b buoys. The freighter engine, WP NP-200, will be developed next. Everett Snuggs gets the call on that one, expected to take a year and a half.

** Late July -- Dr. Rosa Suda has improved her expertise in M&K to 40%, a marked increase in our ability to research in that field.

** Late August -- Sensors & Fire Control gets a boost as Dr. Bessie Wallanders's expertise is now up to 25%.

** September 23 -- Rosemary Urenda's team completes the prototype of the WP NP-100, our primary commercial engine(for non-freighters). This allows the redesign of the harvesters and shuttles to proceed, though the shuttles will have to wait to begin the process until after the coming election as they are otherwhise occupied at the moment.

** October 5 -- Thermal Sensor Sensitivity(Dr. Julio Kuchler) is increased. He'll next work on the most vital matter of increasing the tracking speed of our fire control systems.

** Early November -- Kuchler, our top sensors scientist, is now up to 40%. We have a reasonably good scientist in all key fields now.

** December 8 -- After finishing Improved Command & Control research, Dr. Cedrick Wormack moves on doing similar work for the Army, researching Brigade Headquarters which allows for a proper command structure a level above battalion commands.

Civilian Activities

Late July -- Jensrud gets in the fuel business, launching their first harvester.

Late August -- Sedna expands again, 16 complexes now.

Mid-November -- Sedna up to 17 complexes.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:19 AM   #183
Brian Swartz
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IA. Populated Colonies

Earth(1.059b, 394 CF, 191 CI, 50 OF, 10 FF, 75 REF, 21 RL, 2 AC, 4 DSTS, 11k MF)
Mercury(less than 5k)

Due largely to changes in colonization policy, Luna has actually shrunk by over 5 million, but the other colonies have grown dramatically. Non-essential(in a strategic sense) locations such as Luna and Mars are now used as a source for colonists once they reach the 25m threshold, leaving only natural growth to increase their size. Total human population is now at 1.13b souls, a increase of over 10% in the past four years that has been concentrated on Earth as one might logically expect. With the 2% Initiative dead for the time being at least, it is likely that Earth and Titan will be the largest sources of continued growth.

IB. Outposts

Earth(73 SM, 181 CI, 9.6 eff, 1.178 kt) -- 7.6 y of mercassium, 9.3 y of duranium, though those dates continue to increase slightly with mine conversion
Titan(25 SM, 6 eff, 234t)
Sedna(17 CMC, 16 eff., 3.264 kt)
Triton(50 AM, 30 eff, 1.89 kt)
Stephan-Oterma(28 AM, 40 eff, 1.88 kt)
Machholz(27.6 AM, 39 eff, 1.81 kt)
Comas Sola(25 AM, 58 eff, 1.914 kt) -- neutronium(1 y)
Schaumasse(21.8 AM, 36 eff, 942 t)
Crommelin(20.4 AM, 59 eff, 1.734 kt) -- corundium(3.3 y)
Wolf-Harrington(13.8 AM, 60 eff, 1.14 kt)
Prokne(10 AM, 10 eff, 132 t)
Van Biesbroeck(10 AM, 55 eff, 660 t)
Neujmin(9.8 AM, 49 eff, 635t) -- corundium(5.9 y)
Borrelly(9.8 AM, 58 eff, 682t) -- sorium(5.1 y)
Faye(4 AM, 48 eff, 266t)
Reinmuth(1.8 AM, 47 eff, 115t) -- duranium(4 y)

Total Production: 18.48 kt, an increase of 10.8%. The continued expansion of Sedna is of course the main factor here.

Currently under consideration is the possibility of relocating mines from Comas Sola to Wolf-Harrington or Faye when the neutronium runs out there, but the comet still has corundium, sorium, and duranium, so it is far too valuable to consider abandoning. Whatever is decided, it will be a minor point as there are many other active sources.

IC. Mineral Stockpiles & Production

Continued expansion and diversification of the economy has led to reclassification of some minerals. It is possible, perhaps even probable, that in the future we will reach the point where Tier A materials no longer exist.

Tier A: Gallicite(34 kt), Vendarite(33 kt), Tritanium(28 kt), Boronide(23 kt), and Corbomite(22 kt)

Tier B: Uridium(51 kt) and Mercassium(28 kt). Uridium is still highly plentiful and likely to remain so, but coming under considerable use now both industrially(spaceport, military academies, the ongoing work on the sector command) and in the navy(extensively used in the fabrication of the various sensors).

Tier C: Sorium(13.3 kt) and Corundium(5.76 kt). Production continues to outpace usage for both, but neither is at a 'safe' level either.

Tier D: Duranium and Neutronium are both holding pretty steady at 6 kt, with ample production to support operations at the expanded factory sector and the ever-increasing demands of shipyard tasks. Further economic expansion will soon be halted as their supply is once again the limiting factor.

ID. Income

Taxes(population): 26.7 m
Taxes(civ. shipping): 4.17 m
Taxes(civ. fuel): 35 k

Total: 30.87m(+26.1%). The resurgence in civilian shipping has played no small part in this increase, accounting for well over half of it.

Balance: 449.2m. Almost 15 years of present income in the bank. Money is not a problem for SPACE.

IE. Expenses

Research: 4.81m
Installation Construction: 4.77m
Mineral Purchases: 3.86m
Shipyard Operations: 1.59m
Shipbuilding: 1.31m
GU Maintenance: 113k
Fighter Production: 89k
Maintenance Facilities: 72.5k
GU Training: 35.9k

Total: 16.67m(+51.3%)

Research is now the #1 item on the budget(by a hair), which given present circumstances would seem entirely appropriate.

The growth due to diversification and greater mineral resources sheds light on the fact that while money is not an issue now, it could well become one. Spending has reached more than half of income(54%) for the first time and that share is expected to continue to grow. Some voices are concerned with the amount of money being shelled out to Sedna, and our reliance on it(23% of the budget and growing). However, there is really no choice, as the obvious fact of the matter is that we can't replace the level of production that we are getting from Sedna any other way(thankfully, it is sustainable for another two centuries). We have the money, so we might as well use it.


IIA. Commercial Yards

Tod & MacGregor(1 slipway, 41.8 kt capacity)
** Adding another slipway, March 2062

Estalerios Navais(1, 23.2 kt)
** Adding another slipway, November 2061

P&A Group(4, 21.4 kt)
** Retooling for the Perry III-class fuel harvesters, January 2 2061
(tomorrow :P)
** Building 3x Perry II harvesters, February 2061

Vickers-Armstrong(3, 10 kt)
** Adding another slipway, February 2061

IIB. Naval Yards

Wartsila(1, 10 kt)

Baltimore Marine(1, 1.82 kt)
** Capacity expansion, current target is 5 kt


IIIA. Earth

Research Lab(34%) -- January 2062
Mine Conversions(standard to automated, 15%) -- 26 queued, May 2065
Sector Command(10%) -- Winter 2064
Factory Conversions(10%) -- March 12 2061
Deep Space Tracking Stations(6%) -- July 2061
Ground Force Training Facility(5%) -- Spring/Summer 2063
Naval Shipyard(4%) -- Early 2070
Commercial Shipyard(4%) -- Mid 2068
Military Academy(4%) -- Early 2067
Spaceport(4%) -- December 2062
Maintenance Facilities(4%) -- 20 in the queue, 2073
Forrestal-b -- 19 left, Mid-2067


** SPPI NP-396M(first missile engine)(Rosemary Urenda) -- Late March/Early April 2061
** Turret Tracking Speed(Joe Tycho) -- Mid-late August 2061
** Improved Construction Rate(Deacon Palmer) -- Late November 2061
** Laser Miniaturization, 25% Size Reduction(Ignacio Bavaro) -- November/December 2061
** Terraforming Module(Clint Wyche) -- November/December 2061
** WP NP-200(next-gen freighter engine, Everette Snuggs) -- January 2062
** Reduced Thermal Emissions(Edward Groat) -- June 2062
** Active Grav Sensor Strength(Delmar Ytuarte) -- August 2062
** Emergency Cryogenic Transport Module(Brandon Grimmett) -- Winter/Spring 2063
** Planetary Sensor Strength(Bessie Wallander) -- Spring 2063
** EM Sensor Sensitivity(Elwood Tousant) -- Summer 2063
** Brigade HQ(Cedrick Wormack) -- Winter 2063/2064
** Beam Fire Control Tracking Speed(Julio Kuchler) -- Winter 2063/2064
** Maximum Engine Power(Santo Makar) -- Late 2064
** Capacitor Recharge Rate(Eva Vadnais) -- Late 2066

The next generation of ships has many more components which need to be prototyped, and this will be the focus of the new administration's research efforts.


CC Belknap(1, 2 kt, 50 crew, 1250 km/s, 60k fuel, command ship)
GSV Coontz(1, 2.25 kt, 32 crew, 1377 km/s, 130k fuel, gravitational survey)
GEV Essex II-x(2, 2.2 kt, 35 crew, 1135 km/s, 60k fuel, geological survey)
FT Fletcher II-xe(4, 36.2 kt, 100 crew, 518 km/s, 700k fuel, freighter)
FT Fletcher IId(2, 34.7 kt, 100 crew, 540 km/s, 700k fuel, freighter)
FT Fletcher III(1, 36.4 kt, 106 crew, 515 km/s, 700k fuel, freighter)
Forrestal(4, 0.3 kt, 10 crew, 347 km/s, 5k fuel, sensor buoy)
Forrestal-b(1, 0.3 kt, 10 crew, 347 km/s, 5k fuel, sensor buoy)
ST Lexington IId(4, 1.6 kt, 20 crew, 1562 km/s, 60k fuel, transport shuttle)
ST Lexington III(10, 1.8 kt, 26 crew, 1388 km/s, 60k fuel, transport shuttle)
JS North Carolina(1, 19.2 kt, 133 crew, 520 km/s, 250k fuel, large jump ship)
FH Perry II(10, 19.2 kt, 104 crew, 261 km/s, 350k fuel, fuel harvester)
JSC Pioneer(1, 10 kt, 240 crew, 1000 km/s, 600k fuel, jump scout)
TT Portland(2, 4.3 kt, 35 crew, 581 km/s, 60k fuel, troop transport)
CS Spruance-b(1, 20 kt, 110 crew, 501 km/s, 250k fuel, colony ship)

Total: 47 vessels(+67.8%), 535 kt(+29.4%), 2.84k crew(+35.2%), 10.8m liters fuel(+25.4%).

Available Crew: 78.7k(+9.46%)

Fuel -- 36.9m liters, 3.5m on Titan.

Most of the growth in the past four years came in the small Forrestal and Lexington classes, though a number of Perry harvesters were also built. Still, by any measure the Navy continues to expand at a rapid pace, and now has 11 distinct ship classes(excluding different versions of the same base class), more than double what were present a decade ago and several times the number of ships that were in service then. Crew continues to be a complete non-issue, and fuel reserves continue to slowly expand despite the increased demand, partly because most of the ships are usually idle.


** Low-Tech Armour Division(5)
** Garrison Battalion(18)

Total Active-Duty Soldiers: 340k(-56.4%)

Leaner but more effective, the army will soon have moved fully into the TN era.


Voliva Carrier Company(34 vessels, 2.34m annual income)
Jensrud Transport and Trading(18, 990k)
Everton Shipping & Logistics(4, 240k)
Presnar Freight(4, 240k)
Abair Shipping(1, 80k)
Forbus Carrier Ltd(1, 80k)
Tolles Transport & Logistics(3, 210k)
Ouellet Shipping(2, 160k)

Total Vessels: 67(+21.8%)

The recession is indeed over, but nothing has changed the dominance of Voliva. With Jensrud getting into the fuel harvesting business lately, they seem the only firm capable of mounting any real challenge, and they have a lot of work to do. Although the gap is closing, there are still more civilian than official vessels operating in Sol space.


** Naval Officers: 50 of 76 assigned(65.8%), +20%
** Ground Forces Officers: 22 of 38(57.9%), -5.7%
** Civilian Administrators: 20 of 25(80%), +10.8%
** Scientists: 15 of 31(48.4%), -8.7%

Overall: 107 of 170(62.9%), +7.6%

Times are good overall, mostly because of the growth in the Navy. For the second four-year period in a row, 19 new positions were created overall and nearly 2 of 3 professional leaders has a job, with prospects remaining strong except for the scientist corps which is crowded and highly-competitive(good for SPACE in the short-term, but not good for developing new talented minds).
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:07 PM   #184
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Join Date: May 2006

The 10th in the annals of space, this year's contest was historic in that it would be the last one held prior to the completion of Sector Command, at which point the director of SPACE and governor of Earth offices would be split. It was also notable because of those who aren't on the ballot. Aside from Herbert Duling(ineligible), there is also 32-year-old phenom Delois Woznicki who unfortunately excels highly in smaller settlements but hasn't yet learned the required skills to translate her abilities to qualify for as large a responsibility as Earth. Ditto for the much older Damian Ackley.

Combining those absences with the failing health of Alberto Eighmy, the other top potential challenger, and it was expected that India Rakes would have an easy campaign, taking over the directorship much as she did when Duling had to abdicate a dozen years ago. There were five names on the ballot, but she had an overwhelming advantadge over each of them. As one might expect, very little effort was put forward by most of the candidates. The only one who took it seriously at all was ultimate long-shot Sonny Dean, but he didn't have the backing to make a credible run having barely made the ballot to begin with. Less money was spent on this campaign than any other in SPACE's history by a long shot, to the delight of much of the public. Rakes returns for another term easily, as expected:

India Rakes -- 29.1%
Jarrett Hugh -- 20.4%
Alberto Eighmy -- 17.3%
Sonny Dean -- 17.2%
Larry Steckel -- 16.0%

Rather more concerning is the fact that none of those with the talent to succeed Duling, Rakes et al have managed to put the whole package together thus far in their early careers. When that pair retires in around 15 years, hopefully the picture will have changed.


SPACE has a long list of projects that are just going to take time, mostly revolving around getting a combat fleet up and operational and the continual march of technology. There isn't much for Rakes to really do there other than manage the situation, and no major changes are expected. In reality, her political future will likely be determined more by what happens with Duling's health than anything she does in the next four years.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:20 PM   #185
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** Cpt. Mitchell Aull -- Intelligence Officer at Fleet HQ for the past 34 years!, since 2027
** Cmdr. Judson Carlberg -- Almost 27 years experience as a commander, seeing time on almost every major ship class
** Cmdr. Chauncey Macewen -- Almost 12 years on geology survey, the last 13 split mostly between shuttles and freighters. Steady but unimpressive officer.

No retirements are anticipated in the next few years in the other fields.


Cmdr. Tell Perj Jr. -- 9th of 15. With the retirements, he is likely to be promoted a bit from his current assignment on one of the Perry fuel harvesters the past couple of years.
Lt. Cmdr. Rob Nielsen III -- 26th out of 53. He'll be reassigned to a shuttle in the near future.

Maj. Gen. Sterling Silvers -- Set to take command of the first Mobile Infantry Battalion as soon as training completes, as is only proper.

Sonny Dean(3) -- A 4th-place finish in the election is about as much as he's ever achieved and more than expected for the 53-year-old beauracrat. He's bounced around a lot, in this case earning a second tour on Titan(previously he was there '45 to '49).
James Earl Jones V(6) -- Just missed the cut for the SPACE final ballot this time around, but he still gets a significant promotion from the minor outpost on the asteroid Prokne to a notable mining colony on the comet Machholz.

Pioneer Deacon Palmer(CP 45) -- Another vital project is nearing completion, a further increase in general production rate of SPACE's factories.
Joe Tycho(EW 30) -- An important if not elite energy scientist, Tycho is improving turret tracking speeds.

A couple of notes: for future sign-ups, characters of any ability may be requested(obviously more talented ones will in general require a longer wait), and a descendant/family member may be added after 15 years of active service(or longer if you desire).
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:32 PM   #186
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:47 PM   #187
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He'll become even more important in the next year ...
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Old 11-23-2013, 01:07 PM   #188
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Update nao!

Houston Hippopotami, III.3: 20th Anniversary Thread - All former HT players are encouraged to check it out!

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Old 11-24-2013, 03:40 AM   #189
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As soon as I can(a few months left in the year).

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 11-24-2013 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:56 PM   #190
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Join Date: May 2006
** The official story here is an inglorious pile of happy horse manure. In actuality, a bug in the game(fixed in newer versions, but I can't upgrade because the save wouldn't be able to be transferred) which I had forgetten allows fighter pilots to get ridiculous fighter combat bonuses(800-1000%), which leads to astronomic promotions scores, completely messing up the career path. Therefore I needed a reason to permanently abandon fighters or this type of thing would continue to happen. The text is a lame and transparent attempt to justify this, but no more fighters will be built for the duration of the story.


39-year-old Chong Vaugh was promoted to Captain to start off the year. He'll take over as Communications Officer, having no skill whatsoever but he was best suited to being a ship commander so it'll take him some time to settle in. This puts the navy back up to five captains, still two short of a full complement.

Meanwhile, the Engineering Department put together schematics for the Iowa-class Orbital Fighter Base. Technically, it isn't restricted to orbit, with the manuevering thrusters able to propel it at 16 km/s, but at that speed it might as well be(a trip to the Luna, which takes 4 minutes for a Lexington shuttle, would take the Iowa class nearly 7 hours. Even Mars would take on average half a year, so any trip to outer system is pretty ridiculous to contemplate). For now it's only capability is to perform periodic maintenance on the Forrestal sensor buoys, but it is expected to possibly have more uses down the line. Two are planned, the first of which should be in service by late 2062.

Size: 6 kt
Crew: 108
Hangar Capacity: 3.5kt
CIWS: 2 arrays
Maintenance Life: 4.63y

A carrier to ferry them back to the Iowas will be needed soon as well.

In March, the first Forrestal reaches the Teegarden's Star jump point, with Tell Perj Jr. at the helm. Less than a week later however, the pair at the Lalande 21185 jump point reported a horrific accident: a small electrical explosion on board one of the buoys which killed a few of the crew as well as the CO, Commander Marjorie Riner, a very solid officer for nearly two decades now. High Command ordered all the Forrestals back to Earth pending an investigation.

It was eventually determined that the effort to make the buoys so small(less than 300 tons) had inevitably resulted in insufficient safety safeguards. Even though it was a bit of PR disaster, the Forrestal line was redesigned in favor of a larger version.** It was decided to keep the same sensor and just go with larger twin 150-ton thrusters and make the thing capable of delivering itself on station, eliminating the need for the carrier for the time being and cancelling the Iowa project. Due to the distances required, these will be made with a standard engine configuration, not the more common high-efficiency, low-power variant. Fuel use will be considerable, but tolerable given the small size of the ships(estimated about 750t each).

In happier developments, by the end of March the new Defender missile prototyping was ready to begin, with the following final specs:

Size: 14.5 tons
Speed: 13,700 km/s(about 10x the speed of our fastest ships, twice the recorded speed of the enemies in Epsilon Eridani)
Range: 77.3m km
Manueverability: 15
Hit %: approximately 33-34% vs. the information we have on the aliens

As mentioned before, this is strictly an anti-ship weapon. Against the known enemy missiles it would hit only about 8% of the time.

In July, the Forrestal II design was ready:

Size: 650 tons
Crew: 15
Speed: 3692 km/s(more than twice as fast as the Lexington transport shuttles)
Maintenance Life : 9+ years
Fuel: 50k(this allows a range of 20.4b km, more than what is required)

The Forrestal II can reach any jump point in the system from Earth within a month.

It was time for the next wave of combat systems research: electronics for the planetside missile bases. Dr. Billie Allington gets to work on the GEI SSS 200m, a massive 1000-ton suite that can spot a 3000-ton enemy ship at the maximum range(77m km) of a Defender. 40 crew members will be required to man it. She'll need a lot of help on this project, but it will start with just the one lab. Of course we don't really know if this is way too 'big' or way too 'small' or if the range is anywhere close to useful much less ideal, but based on SPACE's current best guesses, this is what they're going with. It probably doesn't matter much anyway, since as has been said already, if they attack, we're probably sccrewed no matter what.

With the finalizing of the Defender missile prototype in late November, an initial order of 200 is queued up. This won't take long, with the current fifty ordnance factories capable of churning out a few hundred Defenders per year.

2061 was quite a year. An accident causing the scrapping of one design(the Iowa OFB) and the redesign of another class(Forrestal upgrade), but with all that chaos a lot of progress was still made. The Defender missile system components are nearly finished, sensor packages are on the way, harvester refits have made significant progress, the first notable economic expansion in decades was completed and mines are flowing to Triton again. Several new Lexington III-class shuttles were also built and the last of those needed to meet the navy's needs are now under construction. Refits to the next generation of freighters are expected to begin in the first month of the new year. And yet there is, as always, so much to be done ...

Commissioned Officers

Early January -- New naval appointments are out. Cmdr. Tell Perj Jr. will get the 5th different ship class of his career. He's served on shuttles, freighters, survey vessels, and fuel harvesters, and will now be heading to the Lalande 21185 jump point as soon as a transport is available to command one of the sensor buoys out there. Lt. Cmdr. Rob Nielsen III will have a shuttle command assigned.

Early February -- More health concerns for Sonny Dean, governor of Titan.

Mid-March -- Six officers are dismissed this year, three from the army and three from the navy. Far more critically, Dr. Ignacio Bavaro was forced to retire mid-project. Bavaro is the preeminent mind in Energy Weapons, and has contributed as much to human research as any one person over 46 years since SPACE's inception in as distinguished a career as one could imagine. He will definitely be greatly missed. Only four other scientists have reached the 60% skill level(maximum) that he achieved. He was 57, and leaves Eva Vadnais(40%) as the top energy weapons specialist.

Mid-August -- Rob Nielsen III increases Fleet Movement Initiative(now 187).

Late November -- Eva Vadnais has taken well to the task of being the top energy weapons scientist, increasing her skill to 50%.

Early December -- Sonny Dean's shipbuilding bonus is now up to 20%.


February 15 -- The last 3 Perry II's are completed. It'll take just over six months for them to refit to the new Perry III design.

March 5 -- Factory conversions are complete for now with 400 TN factories now on-line. The quarter of capacity devoted to economic investment will now be split between converting conventional industry to mines, and converting those mines to automated for shipping off-world. Earth has just over 50 mines, the desired minimum amount, so for the first time in decades new mines are required. Economic conversion from pre-TN facilities is at over 82%, but still not completed. The net result is about a 50% increase in the number of mines that will be exported, back up to about 9-10 per year. A small amount is also diverted to add five fighter factories to the existing ten.

May -- A new freighter are ordered for the first time in several years, as keeping the mines going while refits occur is probably not going to be possible with the current fleet of seven. The Aegir is expected to be ready early next year, about the time of the new engine which will allow the freighter refits to begin.

June 10 -- The first Mobile Infantry Battalion is ready for duty, with Sterling Silvers naturally taking command of it.

Late July -- Baltimore & Marine Naval Shipyard begins construction of the new Forrestal II sensor vessels.

August 1st -- The first of the fuel harvester refits are completed, and another trio head to the shipyard for their turn at the refit.

November 18 -- The first of the new, larger Forrestal II's is complete and the process of getting sensors out to the jump points begins again. With the reshuffling of commands due to scrapping the older ones, Tell Perj Jr. will take the first watch at the Epsilon Eridani jump point. The fastest human ship yet devised will take just under two days to get there.

Research & Development

** Mid-March -- With the retirement of Bavaro, it is decided to leave his project (reduced-size lasers) in limbo for the time being. Rosa Suda begins work on the Defender MLS, a launcher for the Defender missile system for which the missile engine is currently being prototyped. HMI(Heavin-Medline Industries) is contracted both for the launcher itself and the HMI 30, the magazine which will store the missiles for the missile bases. Jarabishi Juishao takes up that project.

** Mar. 30 -- The first-ever missile engine is completed(Dr. Rosemary Urenda).

** July 23 -- JPS NP 240t research complete(Rosemary Urenda), the new small engine for the Forrestal II. The lab is added to the Capacitor Research Rate project(Eva Vadnais, which will speed it up to a more reasonable completion date in some three years time).

** August 1 -- Defender missile launch system is ready(Dr. Rosa Suda). She begins work next on the missile itself.

** August 19 -- Turret Tracking Speed(3000 km/s) completed by Joe Tycho's team. Another step toward being able to field useful beam weapons.

** November 26 -- Deacon Palmer's latest project is complete, increasing factory output across the board by a sixth to 14 tons per factory per year. Mineral supplies will definitely come under increased pressure now, and he'll begin work on making the mines more efficient to compensate.

** November 28 -- Just two days later, Rosa Suda's team has finished prototyping the Defender missile. Lab space is diverted to Palmer's just-begun project and that of the new sensor project by Allington to speed those up.

** December 2 -- The third research project to complete in about a week is Terraforming Module(Clint Wyche). He'll stay in the terraforming field and work on increasing the output of potential terraforming operations.

** December 4 -- A new research lab is completed, and the second of the two active search sensors, the GEI MSS 140, will begin it's prototype phase. As all of the sensors scientists are presently occupied, Rosa Suda gets the call to begin it as the top available researcher. It's been quite a start to the holiday season on the researching front.

Colonial Developments

March -- Venus colonists have ventured far ahead of infrastructure, threatening massive casualties(tens of thousands). With a couple of months however, though thousands had died, supply shipments alleviated the difficulties. Such are the perils of being at the whims of capricious firms with no higher duty than their financial bottom line.

Mid-November -- No new civilian ships have been seen in some time, but a new firm is founded anyway: Clevette Shipping Line. There are now nine of them, but only the biggest two are worth noting.

Mid-December -- Clavette Shipping launches their first freighter.
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Old 11-28-2013, 08:51 AM   #191
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Happy Thanksgiving, from SPACE to you!!


A new challenge presented itself in 2062 on the minerals front, where a new crisis must be averted. The mines shipped to Triton over the past several years have created a situation where duranium is now rising steadily, despite a surprising lull in civilian investment on Sedna. However, neutronium is declining just about as fast, down to just over 5.3kt now. When the deposits on Comas Sola were exhausted in February, space diverted all new mines away from Triton and to Reinmuth, which has the largest deposit in the system at over 160kt(excepting Venus where it can only be extracted in trace amounts). Going forward, that plan will be diversified to include several other comets that also have significant deposits of the vital mineral used in almost all aspects of military-related construction. As of now the stockpile's decline has been slowed but not eliminated, and this will be the primary economic focus for now with demand expected to only continue to increase.

SPACE also completed a number of important research projects. The WP NP-200 engine, used for freighters and other large vessels, was finished in mid-January. Unfortunately a clerical error that was not discovered until August delayed retooling the Tod & Macgregor yard for refitting the freighters, but the new Fletcher IV will be a significant improvement:

The big question was how many engines to give it. The ship could be made somewhat smaller and somewhat faster, but given the need to reach very distant locations, three of the new Wawa-Pincus designed engines were given, a total size equivalent to the six smaller engines that the current freighters possess. The result was a notable speed boost, even after the new defensive weapons systems were added.

Size: 36,900 tons(half a kiloton bigger than the Fletcher III)
Crew: 162(56 more, a major investment)
Speed: 813 km/s(+298!)
Range: 51.2b km(+18.6b)
Fuel: 650k(-50k -- the larger engines are more efficient in multiple ways, allowing for a near doubling of fuel efficiency, 6.2% compared to the previous 10.6%).

Of course, it will also take a few more months to build, a total of over a year. This is expected to be the last freighter refit for some time. Only one actually made it to the Fletcher III class, the rest are still one of the Mark II variants. The modernization is much needed, well worth the cost, and can't happen soon enough. The journey to Triton, which presently takes three to three and a half months, will now take two months or a bit less. The deposits on Oort cloud objects are now within reasonable travel range. Other than the most super-distant comets, the entirety of Sol can feasibly be developed.

All of the first-gen space combat systems except for the sensor suites have been finished. Those will not all be finished until 2066, so there will be a bit of a lull. The R&D Summary details the specifics on the numerous prototyping phases that were completed, and by the end of the year investment began again in new general research avenues.

A third development was the completion of a number of industrial tasks. The initial run of Defender missiles, Deep Space Tracking Stations, Ground Force Training Facilities, and the first Spaceport for Earth were all completed. These allowed remaining projects such as the shipyards and maintenance facilities to see increased funding. In naval concerns, four Forrestal IIs are now operational, and the harvester refits will be finished within the next month. It was a good year.

By year's end, SPACE decided the situation was stable enough to seriously(though still secretly) entertain priorities for an eventual return to interstellar exploration. It has now been more than three full years since the return of the surviving ships from Epsilon Eridani, and will be many more before a human spacecraft fires a jump drive in any direction, but it is inevitable that the effort will be made again as soon as practicable. A study group returned with the a series of policy directives completely revamping the exploratory approach.

The Pioneer-class jump scout will not be the vehicle for future explorations. Instead, a carrier vessel will be designed which will monitor operations from the point of the initial jump in-system under the direction of a navy admiral and serve as HQ for the efforts in a system. This carrier will contain a flag bridge for effective command management, enough supplies for a 5-year tour, and docking bays for smaller vessels which will carry out the exploration activities. Geosurvey, Gravsurvey, and salvage vessels will be needed.

This approach will allow for minimal risk, as only a relatively small vessel will be exposed in the event of an enemy attack. Standing orders will be for the carrier to retreat back through the jump if alien presence is detected, stranding support vessels in system if necessary. Those who volunteer for these missions will be required to willingly accept that risk. Using smaller vessels also minimizes the chances of detection, since their detectable emissions will be much smaller than that of the Pioneer.

With what we now know of the aliens, several technologies that we do not possess yet are considered to be minimum essentials, without which SPACE will not proceed.

** Geological sensors can be developed(at a very great cost, twice that of our most expensive research tasks to date) which are capable of not only scanning for resources but also alien ruins. Any evidence of how they live, culture, technology, etc. is valued by the navy to the point where it would be impossible to put a price on them.

** Salvage modules for the purpose of similarly investigating any alien wrecks such as those found in Lalande 21185 are also needed for the same reason, and are not expected to require quite as high an investment.

Due to the amount of resources required and the other vital priorities, SPACE does not expect a mission to be ready anytime this decade. A tentative, and quite likely flawed, goal of being ready to resume exploration by 2075 at SPACE's 50-year anniversary has been set.

Finally, in order to conserve resources and improve efficiency, SPACE is delaying new naval tours for another year until the end of 2063. In this way, the elections and redeployment of military personnel will not happen at the same year and stumble over each other, so to speak.


January 10 -- The Tod & Macgregor completes a second slipway.

Mid-January -- Another round of Perry refits are completed.

Late April -- The first round of 200 Defender missiles has been completed.

June 11 -- Another first for SPACE as a spaceport is constructed on Earth. As of now, none of the colonies are deemed to be in need of one, so the 20 factories that were working on it are divided between other projects.

July -- Total shipyard workers cross the 10m threshold.

Mid-August -- A clerical error is discovered which mistakenly had the Tod & Macgregor Shipyard continuing to expand its per-slipway capacity(good idea) instead of retooling for the freighter refits(much more needed). The situation has been corrected, but the refitting process will not be able to start now until next year.

Mid-October -- Earth has expanded to five Deep Space Tracking Stations, sufficient of our current needs and providing a much stronger and more thorough ability to detect anything hostile that might be out there. This announcement has a considerable calming effect on the population, though that's really all it does for now as there's no sign the aliens have come into Sol or intend to.

November 2 -- The fourth of the new Forrestals is completed and heads out to complete the pair at the Epsilon Eridani jump point.

Late November -- A second Ground Force Training Facility is completed on Earth.

Research & Development

** January 12 -- The WP NP-200 engine, for use in freighters and other large vessels, is complete. Team leader Everette Snuggs will tackle another vital project, the missile fire control suite needed for an effective missile system. A new contractor, RSJ(Ramsey, Sheetz, and Johnston) has been awarded the deal given their expertise in similar lines of work. The RSJ MFC 81-60 is smaller than the other electronics, 'only' 350 tons.

** May 9 -- Karabishi Juishao finishes HMI 30, missile magazine. Joe Tycho takes over the reduced-size lasers project abandoned when Bavaro retired last year.

** June 23 -- Thermal Signature Reduction(Dr. Edward Groat) has been finished. All new engine designs will include this, which causes less heat to be produced in space by ship engines, and therefore drops the range at which they can be detected. These initial advances constitute a reduction of one-fourth in the normal emissions.

This is a very high-priority branch for the navy, but getting a working prototype of laser-based weaponry going is even more important at the moment. Uihlein-Bechtel Optics Solutions was really the only worthy player in the field. The UBOS 10-1 IR Laser gets the long-sidelined Wayne Sabagh back into the game ... at least for a week or so. Everything in the laser system is very barebones and elemental tech, and it isn't expected to take long.

** July 2 -- The laser is ready, now it needs a support system. Power to begin with, as it's based on energy not ballistics. Here we turn to General Electric, one of the few major corporations to survive(in a greatly lessened state) from pre-war days. Based on the same pebble-bed reactor technology that drives our engines, the GE PBR 1500 is a 25-ton power plant that actually produces energy 50% faster than our laser can use it to recharge, at a price of 4k credits and requiring just a single crewperson to operate. It's a quick project for Rosemary Urenda, expected to take just over a month.

** August 10 -- GE PBR 1500 power plant research is complete(Rosemary Urenda). The RSJ Bullseye 5k, an initial beam weapons fire control, is next on the docket. 5k is the tracking speed, normal size with a minimal 10k range. No available SF specialists, so Curtis Gloster will take a few months and iron out the kinks there.

** August 23 -- Grav Sensor Strength 12(Delmar Ytuarte) has now been completed. Next year EM sensors are expected to hit their next generation and that's when a sensor redesign will be contemplated, no point in doing it halfway. The next item on the agenda is the final piece of the laser weapons system puzzle: a turreted deployment. Sinclair Development Corp. has successfully pitched the SpearPoint series, the first of which is the DL-50, which allows for matching our maximum fire control speed of 5k km/s and two lasers per turret. 17 crew, 7k credits. Newcomer Glenda Alioto gets the call to head up that project.

It's worth taking a moment here to explain the turret situation. Any energy-based weapons system needs to match tracking speed: it's no point in having a weapon capable of higher tracking speed than the software(fire control) can handle for example. Similarly, the weapons system is limited by the speed of the ship. If a ship can't move and turn fast enough, it can't keep a target in the firing arc of a weapon mounted on a hardpoint directly to the ship's hull. This is where turrets come in handy, particularly in a situation like the present one where the enemy has a major speed advantadge. By putting a sufficient amount of gearing mechanisms into the turret design, it is capable of being more agile than the ship itself and therefore matching our current technological fire control limit of 5k km/s. Building a combat ship with anything close to that speed right now would be very difficult if not impossible, but there is a cost(increased materials, size, etc. taken up by the turret component).

This covers all the immediately needed prototypes with one research lab yet free, allowing for a new general research project to begin. Edward Groat gets to work after a brief pause on the next stage in reduction of thermal emissions.

** November 5 -- New research lab is finished and added to Groat's team on reducing engine emissions.

** November 8 -- SpearPoint DL5(Glenda Alioto), the turret project, is now finished.

** November 10 -- RSJ Bullseye 5k(Curtis Gloster) completed. Delmar Ytuarte takes the recently vacated laboratories for work on improving the range of our beam fire control systems.

Commissioned Officers

Late March -- It is seemingly strange timing for such endeavors, but Maj. Gen. Sterling Silvers increases political reliability to 10%.

Mid-April -- James Earl Jones V bumps Logistics to 15%, and Sonny Dean has learned enough to improve his administration rating to 4.

Late April -- On distant Triton, Herbert Duling ups to 40% politial reliability. It seems nothing can stop him from preserving his political capital, not even health problems and a distant posting.

Early May -- It was destined to happen eventually. Mitchell Feeser becomes the navy's sixth active captain. Just 27 years old, he's over a decade younger than any of the others. He'll take the vacant post at Operations. A few days later, Kendall Muratore becomes the navy's second Rear Admiral. The 51-year-old Muratore is very accomplished, but no threat to Ellie Camble(55) as the navy's chief.

August 23 -- Mr. Derick Pinegar(34, some health concerns, experience in most major ship classes though he has never served on a freighter) is the navy's most recent Captain. Fleet HQ now has a full set of staff officers, as he takes over at Intelligence.

Late September -- Tell Perj Jr. fleet movement initiative up to 354.

Early October -- Joe Tycho's expertise ticks up to 35%.

Early November -- Deacon Palmer's abilities rise again, now at 50%.
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Old 11-29-2013, 02:35 PM   #192
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006

There was a new development from the Office of the Director almost immediately. The last four harvesters finished their refitting runs, after which two decisions were made. With an estimated 1.2m liters of fuel able to extracted from Saturn now per year, that was deemed a sufficient amount and the 75 refineries on Earth were shut down. Concurrently, the need for a ship capable of moving fuel from Titan to Earth(and elsewhere) as needed was clearly seen. Having a tanker was a thought in the back of many minds for years but now moved to teh front. The Iowa design team was redirected to this new project, resulting in the following specs:

Size: 9.8kt
Crew: 53
Speed: 1020 km/s
Range: Basically unlimited(just under 1.8 trillion km)
Fuel: 6 million liters
Cost: 604k

They aren't cheap, but one is plenty to do the job for now. The plan is to build two, just for redundancy's sake, and station one at Earth, one at Titan. The ENDM yard will function perfectly for this, and is presently idle. Both are slated to come off the line in a little under two years' time.

February brought a bit of bad news, with the loss of young sensors scientist Glenda Alioto who just got her feet wet last year on her first project. Medical difficulties forced her retirement from active service, and there aren't nearly enough sensors and fire control specialists(while at least four in logistics for example, go constantly without work as they aren't needed).

On March 10, retooling was finally finished at the Tod & Macgregor and the Custer and Yellowstone became the first freighters to begin refitting to the more modern Fletcher IV standard. It was a busy year already, and then civilian operations on Sedna began expanding again in May.

September brought the retirement of youngish Captain Derick Pinegar, who had been improving quite a bit in his post at Intelligence. This surprising development led to the promotion of 48-year-old Jung Besler, long one of the better ship COs in the Navy.

November saw a shift in mining deployment, as two previously untapped comets(Wild and Wolf) will now see investment due to both having over 10kt of Neutronium at conveniently accessible locations. This has the minor advantadge of further diversifying the cocktail of less-critical minerals that will be regularly inbound to Earth. Three more mass drivers are ordered on Earth to ensure there are plenty to be deployed in such situations in the future when they are needed. Jayson Riese and Philomena Huber were dispatched as their first administrators.

The Forrestal IIs continue to deploy, with the Sirius node getting it's first guardian on December 15th. Six down, only one to go(Barnard's Star remains unguarded, though there's no reason to suspect alien activity there). A key strategic objective of SPACE for both public relations and military reasons, the increased surveillance capability in Sol space will be all but complete by the next election in a year's time.

It was a very good year for SPACE. In addition to the highlights here, the more detailed reports relay a number of scientific advancements, some of them quite important, and the graduation of a new naval prodigy from the academies.

Research & Development

** February 3 -- Cryogenic Transport: Emergency Size has been completed(Brandon Grimmett). Among many useful choices, he will next work on the equipment and organization needed for a Construction Brigade, a military unit dedicated to working on planets that don't have factories. This is deemed particularly necessary for getting basic army facilities up and running on remote outposts, for example. The makeshift structures presently used in places like Luna, Venus, etc. are notoriously unworthy.

** April 7 -- Planetary Sensor Strength(Bessie Wallander) has been increased, further extending the reach of the deep-space tracking stations. The Construction Brigade project receives one of the laboratories, leaving one for a new project. Wallander takes over for Rosa Suda's sensor team so that Dr. Suda can look into Implosion Fission Warheads, with the promise of delivering a bigger bang for the buck on impact than our standard nuclear warheads can.

** Early August -- Dr. Elwood Tousant's team finishes their work on improving EM Sensor Sensitivity. New EM and gravitational sensors are now set to be designed. The Sentinel 27-6 suite, for use on the Forrestals, is 25 tons smaller yet possesses 15% greater range. Tousant gets to work on it immediately.

** October 7 -- 24th Research Lab is ready. Slowly but steadily the research directorate grows. The second generation of commercial-grade sensors is our next priority, with Curtis Gloster taking the actives first in lieu of a sensors specialist.

** Late December -- A significant breakthrough by #1 sensors researcher Julio Kuchler's team results in the possibility of better beam fire controls, on the order of 60% higher tracking speeds. Redesigned fire controls and turrets are indicated immediately. This new capability should render our beam weapons capable of hitting the enemy ships we've encountered, though they are nowhere near good enough to threaten their missiles yet. The RSJ Bullseye 8k is Kuchler's next objective.

** December 30 -- Just ahead of the new year, Dr. Cedrick Wormack's team has completed all the specifications for Brigade Headquarters. These will give the army a much more proper organizational structure, and training the necessary personnel for the first HQ begins immediately. Each one will take well over a year, so this is a long-term modernization.

Wormack and his two laboraties next turn their attention to Salvage Modules -- this is the first concrete step towards renewed exploration efforts down the road.


Early February -- Mobile Infantry training finishes on Earth. At this point there will simply be a wait until the new HQ units are ready.

April 11 -- A second slipway is complete at the Baltimore-Marine SY. Two Forrestals at a time can now be built there. Another one is queued up and there are now ten vessels being built in Earth orbit by over 10.5 million workers. It's a good time to be part of the SPACE navy ...

Colonial Developments

Early March -- Duranium has been exhausted on Reinmuth. There's wasn't much there to begin with, so it's not a major loss and was inevitable once more mines began to be sent.

Late May -- Sedna's first expansion in a year and a half takes it up to 18 civilian mining complexes.

July -- Neutronium is under 5kt, still dropping by around 100t a month.

Late July -- Another expansion on Sedna to 19 complexes.

Mid-October -- Sedna has 20 complexes now, contributing over 3kt duranium and 2.3kt-plus of Uridium per year.

Commissioned Officers

Mid-March -- Five officers were dismissed this year, four from the army and only one from the navy. One side affect of the increased stability in the officer corps is that officers who might have been dismissed early ten years ago are now sometimes promoted. The quality of the senior officers as a whole has definitely decreased some.

Late March -- Joe Tycho's research bonus vaults up to 45%. He's moved into the upper echelon of active researchers, just a hair behind Dr. Vadnais in the EW field.

Late July -- Herbert Duling has upped factory production to 30%. If his health wasn't a concern, and it still is, you could just go ahead and pencil him in for the 2065 election right now.

Early July -- Joe Tycho has made some new friends, upping his political reliability to 15%. He's making a serious pitch for taking over the top EW scientist post, but isn't quite there to unseating Dr. Vadnais yet. With both in their mid-40s(Tycho is 43, Vadnais 46) the competition is quite good for SPACE's prospects in developing better EW systems.

Late July -- Deacon Palmer's administration rating, which he'll never approach using, is now up to 11(55 labs max -- we have less than 25 total :P).

Late October -- The latest prodigy emerges from the naval academy. Shad Gullo is considered to be every bit the talent that Mitchell Feeser was seven years ago: we'll see if he makes Captain rank as quickly or can beat Feeser's time(6 years, 1 month, and 5 days). That's getting it done and is a high mark. Gullo is a training prodigy(200 skill), and his greatest strength is skills in a wide variety of areas, particularly surveying and diplomacy(20% each), and he also possesses some quality political connections(10%). Shad immediately takes the latest Forrestal command, the vessel having been readied for launch literally during his graduation ceremony, and heads forthwith to the Luyten 726-8 jump point.
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Old 11-29-2013, 05:24 PM   #193
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006


** Cmdr. Jon Mcelveen -- a typical solid naval CO, he saw action on most major lines
** Cmdr. Louis Pitianello -- ditto, both served at the Commander rank for nearly three decades
** Cmdr. Annette Bugay -- Not nearly as accomplished as the other two, Bugay nonetheless was steady, ending her career on a high note with FT Southampton the past six years.

Three LTCs were promoted to replace them. Shad Gullo has not, of course, put in his mandatory year to be eligible yet.

Cmdr. Tell Perj Jr. -- 2nd out of 19. He's been assigned to the lone Belknap-class command ship.
Lt. Cmdr. Rob Nielsen III -- 22nd out of 56. Not quite good enough to escape shuttle duty yet.

Maj. Gen. Sterling Silvers -- Second to last tour upcoming, Silvers will get to oversee the initial stages of the transition the new Brigade HQs before he retires. Two of the brigadiers below him are considered to be more talented, but he's been the figurehead of the Army for 35 years now.

Sonny Dean(4) -- Governor of Titan
James Earl Jones(6) -- Governor of Machholz

Pioneer Deacon Palmer(CP 50) -- Mining productivity
Joe Tycho(EW 45) -- Reduced-size lasers

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 11-29-2013 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:16 PM   #194
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006

Another productive year of gradual progress for SPACE. With each one that passes the alien threat seems further in memory, less urgent, less foreboding, to the point where some convince themselves it was merely imagined. Those more sober-minded are able to remind themselves that we still exist only because they have chosen to allow it.

In the first week of the year, a medical scare involved Rear Admiral Kendall Muratore(53), who checked himself in for an extended medical stay. This triggered speculation that he may not be able to serve long enough to ever succeed Camble as Chief of the Navy. The next few months were filled with various steps up the ladder of science with the prototyping of combat systems best detailed elsewhere.

In October, the first two of the Iowa tanker class is deployed, and the navy turns it's attention to modernizing troop transports. The Portland(single battalion capacity) is upgraded which will not require a great deal of effort and can be easily handled as an initial 'breaking-in' job for the now Oregon Shipbuilding yard.

However, with the new Brigade HQs it would also be desired to transport an entire brigade at times. That would require a much larger ship. Dubbed the Arleigh Burke, the Brigade-level transport has twin CIWS batteries, a pair of cargo handling systems for reasonable loading times, twin WP NP-100 engines, and Mark II commercial sensors.

Size: 17.8kt
Crew: 136
Speed: 563 km/s
Range: 38.2b km
Cost: 553k

ENDM will retool to get an initial pair of these in production, scheduled for deployment around the end of 2066.

By the end of November, the last Forrestal IIb sensor boat had been deployed to the Barnard's Star jump point, and the robotic arms at the Baltimore-Marine Shipyard fell silent. In terms of surveillance and early warning, Sol was now as safe as SPACE could make it -- bringing new urgency to the eventual goal of expanding our reach outwards.

Finally, on December 15th, another historic moment was reached with the completion of Sector Command in London. Administrative staff and equipment was in place, await the results of the election just a half-month away now.

Research & Development

** January 12th -- Eva Vadnais completes her report, which allows for the doubling of recharge rates on the capacitors of our beam weapons. That means a new round of laser development. The new UBOS 10-2 IR Laser can fire every 10 seconds instead of every 15.

** January 28th -- After just over three weeks, Vadnais has completed work on the new laser. A new turret, the SpearPoint DL8, will now be prototyped with the more rapid-firing weapon and faster-tracking firing controls in mind. It's roughly 25 tons larger due to more gearing being necessary to attain the more agile tracking mechanisms.

** February 13 -- Everette Snuggs has completed his latest project, the missile fire control system RSJ MFC 81-60. He's next been tasked with the new commercial electromagnetic sensors.

** February 21 -- Dr. Curtis Gloster has finished the first of the next-gen commercial sensors, the HISS Mark II GravSen suites. He moves on to the thermal sensors next.

** March 3 -- Elwood Tousant's team has finished the testing phase of the Sentinel 27-6 sensor system. A new Forrestal IIb variant has been designed implementing the newer electronics, and while the last several to be built will get the updated system, the others won't be refit until they come in for shore leave. Lighter, faster, and requiring 13 crew instead of 15, the IIb is superior in every way. Retooling will take less than a month.

Wayne Sabagh is back for a new task, this time looking into extending laser wavelengths into the visible light spectrum.

** March 5 -- Julio Kuchler returns with final blueprints for the new beam weapon fire control, the RSJ Bullseye 8k. He and Tousant take over a couple of projects being run by non-sensors scientists, and Karabishi Juishao gets her biggest task in a while, looking into improving Missile Agility.

** March 25 -- Joe Tycho finishes work on reduced-size lasers(with massively higher recharge times, making them of dubious practical use). It's time to get a workable Meson Cannon system up and running. Wheaton Technologies was tapped for the prototype WT Excalibur 102.

** April 2 -- Mark II Thermal Sensors(Julio Kuchler) have been finished. He sets to work in further improvement in thermal sensor technology.

** April 4 -- Mark II EM Sensors(Elwood Tousant) are finished, completing the next generation of commercial electronics. Appropriate adjustments are made to the Lexington, Fletcher, and Perry classes. In the process, it was discovered that it had somehow been overlooked to upgrade the engines on the Lexington shuttles. Grrr ...

** April 8 -- The new SpearPoint DL8 laser turret is now ready(Eva Vadnais). Vadnais will now direct her efforts to a 12cm laser, more powerful than our current 10cm builds.

** June 20 -- Nearly forgotten in the latest rush in weapons and sensors, Dr. Santo Makar has reported on increased engine power(175%). His pair of labs will next be devoted to Gas-Cooled Fast Reactors, the next potential breakthrough in reactor power.

** September 13 -- 25th Research Lab is finished. Rosemary Urenda begins work on a 10% power boost for power plant reactors.

** October 2 -- The first working Meson Cannon prototype(WT Excalibur 102) is ready. As with the laser, a turret is needed for it, but that will have to wait as the Reactor Power project grabs up the vacated space.

** December 23 -- Dr. Clint Wyche completes his latest zero-fanfare project(terraforming improvement to .0015 atm). Genome Sequence Research, from which it is hoped to gain a further concept of genetic engineering and what TN technology might hold in that vein, will be his next goal.

Commissioned Officers

Mid-February -- I don't know what has gotten into Joe Tycho, but after making another major breakthrough his skill has rocketed to 55%, making him the new clear top dog in energy weapons(weapons of any kind, actually). Also, new researcher Adolfo Walth appears to be the heir apparent to Edward Groat, already with a 15% skill in Defensive Systems. It's been a good month for R&D.

Late March -- Joe Tycho's political reliability is up to 20%. The man simply cannot be stopped ... Apparently some of the SPACE higher-ups like the idea of the reduced-size lasers better than does the Navy ...

Early April -- Dr. Rosa Suda, tops in the MK field, has improved a bit to 45%.

Mid-July -- Joe Tycho's administrative skills, already way more than adequate, have increased to 7.

Early November -- Relentless brown-noser extraordinaire Cmdr. Ali Mandujano has been promoted to Captain. There is no open staff officer slot for her, and the navy is not yet ready to divide command(it is planned to seperate into a civilian and military task force, but not until ground-based anti-space defenses are ready to be produced ). She'll remain on board the JSC Excelsior for the remained of her tour, by which time the situation hopefully will be different.

Late November -- Less than 13 months after being commissioned, Shad Gullo is promoted to Commander.

Mid-December -- A couple of key scientists improved themselves, including Dr. Rosa Suda(55%) who has become the first elite Missiles & Kinetic Weapons specialist in the history of SPACE.


Mid-February -- The fifth harvester group is formed, upping our total to 17 ships. Another group of four is planned, which should bring production to about 2m per year, considered sufficient for the time being.

Early March -- The Custer and Yellowstone have completed refitting, to be followed now by the Hercules and Southampton. Their refits will include the new Mark II gravitational sensors, which they hopefully will never have to use.

March 13 -- The first Forrestal II arrives at the jump point to Barnard's Star and activates it's Sentinel gravitational sensor array. Redundancy and backup still needs to be built up with additional vessels, and continued monitoring of the situation, but Sol is now being fully and sufficiently policed. SPACE has high confidence that anything attempting to arrive, or anything hiding currently here that tries to exit or approach, will be spotted. The first phase of defending Sol has been achieved, and it is a day for some celebration!

March 25 -- Retooling is finished for the Forrestal IIb, and the third Military Academy has been completed. With the naval academies hard-pressed to churn out enough quality officers lately, and beauracratic candidates declining in quality for some time now, this is most welcome news.

May -- As neutronium continues to decline, expansion of the Tod & Macgregor slipways has been suspended. Larger freighters will be needed, but not in the near future and the supply is getting too close to the critical point. Wartsila also ceases it's expansion, but the Baltimore Marine and P&A Group yards continue on.

August -- With neutronium now under 4kt, expansion at the Baltimore-Marine yard is suspended as well.

August 3 -- The fifth commercial shipyard has been completed, named simply Oregon Shipbuilding. There's no 'Oregon' in Earth orbit, but whatever. Normal procedure would be to add one more yard as a security against future needs, but with the present state of neutronium that idea is shelved.

August 10 -- The first four Lexington IIIb(with top of the line commercial sensors and new nuclear pulse engines) have finished their refits, and they'll take the most remote locations as the shuttles fan out ahead of the upcoming election.

October 20 -- The first two of the Iowa tanker class are ready for active service. One heads for Titan, with the second remaining at Earth. Meanwhile, Crommelin is the second outpost to report that Corundium deposits have been exhausted this year.

December 1st -- A third naval shipyard is ready for operations, Yokohama Dock Co. Construction on a fourth begins immediately.
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:35 AM   #195
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006


IA. Populated Colonies

Earth(1.149b, 400 CF, 137 CI, 50 OF, 10 FF, 75 REF, 25 RL, 3 AC, 5 DSTS, 13.8k MF, 1 SP, SC)
Titan(16.56m, 1 DSTS)
Mercury(less than 5k)

40 years old and still growing strong. Earth has added 90 million, with noticeable growth everywhere except for Mercury. Venus has exploded, adding more than four million to a population of less than 200,000 just four years ago. Titan was expected to grow more, but saw under 1.5 million added due to slow infrastructure shipments, even with the investment of a deep-space tracking station. Total human population has reached about 1.24 billion, about a 9% increase.

There are still vestiges of pre-TN economic concerns hanging around. At the current rate it will take at least a decade to convert all of the remaining conventional industry.

IB. Outposts

Earth(49 SM, 137 CI, 9.1 eff, 1.03 kt) -- 5.1 y of mercassium, 7.1 y of duranium. Maintaining at around 50 mines until our homeworld is bare, which right now would take almost half a millenium(tritanium)
Titan(25 SM, 6 eff, 207t)
Sedna(20 CMC, 16 eff, 5.38 kt)
Triton(63 AM, 30 eff, 2.95 kt)
Stephan-Oterma(28 AM, 40 eff, 1.48 kt)
Machholz(27.6 AM, 39 eff, 1.42 kt)
Comas Sola(25 AM, 50 eff, 1.5 kt) -- gallicite(5.1 y)
Schaumasse(21.8 AM, 36 eff, 1.13 kt)
Crommelin(20.4 AM, 52 eff, 1.34 kt) -- boronide(8.0), gallicite(9.8)
Borrelly(15.8 AM, 58 eff, 1.15 kt) -- sorium(0.1)
Wolf-Harrington(13.8 AM, 60 eff, 994t) -- vendarite(0.9)
Reinmuth(11.8 AM, 37 eff, 550t)
Neujmin(10.8 AM, 49 eff, 761t) -- corundium(1.6)
Faye(10 AM, 48 eff, 664t)
Prokne(10 AM, 10 eff, 138t)
Van Biesbroeck(10 AM, 55 eff, 660t)
Wolf(5 AM, 26 eff, 156t)
Wild(5 AM, 34 eff, 204t)

Total Production: 21.71 kt, an impressive 17.5% increase in annual yield! Some of the larger comets actually saw significant drops with top administrators suffering medical setbacks, but continued civilian investment in Sedna, expansion of operations on Triton and several smaller outposts, and new mining operations on the comets Wolf and Wild were able to dwarf those losses.

The recent exhaustion of corundium on a number of bodies(with Neujmin set to join them) is only a minor concern, as Earth's stockpile continues to grow.

IC. Mineral Stockpiles & Production

Tier A & B materials continue to be in a high state of flux due to the fickle nature of shifting economic priorities.

Tier A: Uridiuim(59 kt), Vendarite(38 kt), Gallicite(35 kt), Tritanium(32 kt), and Corbomite(28 kt)

Gallicite should have an asterisk here. Quite a bit was used in the defender missiles, but the stockpile still grew and that's the only major usage with none planned in the next year or so.

Tier B: Mercassium(27 kt), Boronide(25 kt). Mercassium declined for the first time, raising a bit of a red flag. Boronide is being used more with the increase in shipbuilding, as it is required for fuel tank technology. However, should a shortfall ever occur, Venus has 21mt of the stuff, and it can be virtually picked up off the surface there.

Tier C: Sorium(16.7kt), Corundium(7.42 kt). Sorium is quite safe at the moment, with planetside refineries no longer consuming it the stockpile is rising quickly. Corundium is less certain, and will be watched fairly closely the next few years.

Tier D: Duranium(5.87 kt) has fluctuated up and down, with more investment still needed to indulge in constant full-capacity shipbuilding. Neutronium(3.75 kt) has nearly stabilized but has largely ground shipyard expansion operations to a halt. No non-essential goals are proceeding while more resources are found.

MRD requested an analysis of all known sources of neutronium to ensure our situation is sustainable. Approximately 375kt exist in reasonably high-accessible and good concentration sources in Sol. One of the moons in Epsilon Eridani has almost three times that much by itself ... but it might as well be on a black hole for all the good that information does us. The present situation is sustainable for perhaps as long as close to a century, but not indefinitely.

ID. Income

Taxes(population): 29.4 m
Taxes(civ. shipping): 4.45 m
Taxes(civ. fuel): 65 k

Total: 33.91m(+9.8%). All sectors saw modest increases.

Balance: 499m(+50m)

IE. Expenses

Research: 5.86m
Installation Construction: 5.82m
Mineral Purchases: 5.03m
Shipbuilding: 4.05m
Shipyard Operations: 1.11m
GU Training: 201k
GU Maintenance: 168k
Maintenance Facilities: 77.3k

Total: 22.32m(+33.9%)

Shipbuilding and training of ground units both more than tripled, and continued growth is expected as the military ramp-up will only intensify. In a decade or two, finances may yet become a real issue.


IIA. Commercial Yards

Tod & MacGregor(2 slipways, 58.1 kt capacity)
** Refitting to Fletcher IV(x2), February 2065
Estalerios Navais(2, 23.2 kt)
** Retooling for the new Arleigh Burke troop transports(brigade), late summer 2065
P&A Group(4, 36.7 kt)
** Expanding in preparation for larger harvesters, target of 50-60kt. Still a number of years out
** Building 4x Perry III harvesters, March 2065
Vickers-Armstrong(4, 10 kt)
** Building Lexington IIIb(1), late January 2065
Oregon Shipbuildilng(1, 10 kt)
** Refitting to Portland II(1), February 2065

IIB. Naval Yards

Wartsila(1, 10 kt)
** Idle
Baltimore Marine(2, 3.64 kt)
** Refit to Forrestal IIb(1), January 8 2065
Yokohama Dock Co.(1, 1 kt)
** Idle


IIIA. Earth

** Two active training facilities
** Brigade HQ(April 2065)
** Brigade HQ(Early 2066)


IVA. Earth

Research Lab(33%) -- January 2065
Mine Conversions(standard to automated, 22%) -- 10-11 per year
Naval Shipyard(14%) -- Early 2067
Mass Driver(14%) -- 1/4 left, January 25, 2065
Maintenance Facilities(14%) -- 6 in the queue, October 2065
Mine Conversions(conventional industry to standard, 3%) -- 10+ per year


** GEI MSS 140 -- active grav missile search sensor(Bessie Wallander) -- March 2065
** Beam Fire Control Range - 16k(Delmar Ytuarte) -- April 2065
** Mining Production(Deacon Palmer) -- Q2/Q3 2065
** Thermal Reduction -- 50% Emissions(Edward Groat) -- Q3 2065
** GEI SSS 200m -- active grav search sensor(Billie Allington) -- Q4 2065
** Construction Brigade(Brandon Grimmett) -- Early 2066
** Implosion Fission Warhead(Rosa Suda) -- Early 2066
** 10% Reactor Power Boost(Rosemary Urenda) -- Late 2066
** Salvage Module(Cedrick Workmack) -- Late 2066/Early 2067
** 12cm Laser(Eva Vadnais) -- Late 2066/Early 2067
** Thermal Sensor Sensitivity(Julio Kuchler) -- Mid-2067
** Genome Sequence Research(Clint Wyche) -- Late 2067/Early 2068
** Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor(Santo Makar) -- Early 2068
** Increased Missile Agility(Karabishi Juishao) -- Mid-Late 2068
** Visible Light Laser Wavelength(Wayne Sabagh) -- Late 2068

There have been consistently 15-16 ongoing projects at any one time the last few years, as increasing costs per project have eaten up the laboratories that have been produced to enter the system. The majority of projects now require two, and a single lab has become the exception rather than the rule.

Most, but not all of the initial combat system prototyping has been completed. It is still an ongoing process as systems are becoming obsolete very quickly, at times before they are even ready! This is slowing down already, and will continue to do so as the cost of improvement continues to rise. For the most part, it is simply a function of how 'behind' SPACE was and is in terms of combat technology.


CC Belknap(1, 2 kt, 50 crew, 1250 km/s, 60k fuel, command ship)
GSV Coontz(1, 2.25 kt, 32 crew, 1377 km/s, 130k fuel, gravitational survey)
GEV Essex II-x(2, 2.2 kt, 35 crew, 1135 km/s, 60k fuel, geological survey)
FT Fletcher II-xe(4, 36.2 kt, 100 crew, 518 km/s, 700k fuel, freighter)
FT Fletcher III(2, 36.4 kt, 106 crew, 515 km/s, 700k fuel, freighter)
FT Fletcher IV(2, 36.9 kt, 162 crew, 813 km/s, 650k fuel, freighter)
SB Forrestal II(11, 650t, 15 crew, 3.69k km/s, 50k fuel, sensor buoy)
SB Forrestal IIb(3, 600t, 13 crew, 4k km/s, 50k fuel, sensor buoy)
TK Iowa(2, 9.8 kt, 53 crew, 1.02k km/s, 6m fuel, fuel tanker)
ST Lexington III(17, 1.8 kt, 26 crew, 1.39k km/s, 60k fuel, transport shuttle)
ST Lexington IIIb(6, 1.8 kt, 28 crew, 2.78k km/s, 60k fuel*, transport shuttle)
JS North Carolina(1, 19.2 kt, 133 crew, 520 km/s, 250k fuel, large jump ship)
FH Perry III(17, 20.1 kt, 123 crew, 498 km/s, 350k fuel, fuel harvester)
JSC Pioneer(1, 10 kt, 240 crew, 1000 km/s, 600k fuel, jump scout)
TT Portland(2, 4.3 kt, 35 crew, 581 km/s, 60k fuel, troop transport)
CS Spruance-b(1, 20 kt, 110 crew, 501 km/s, 250k fuel, colony ship)

* A beauracratic oversight led to more powerful engines and the same amount of fuel. A further modification, the IIIc, increases to 250k with somewhat reduced speed for the endurance.

Total: 73 vessels(+55%), 770 kt(+44%), 4.62k crew(+63%), 27.1m liters fuel(+151%).
Available Crew: 85.7k(+8.9%)

Fuel Reserves -- 37.8m liters total(+2.4%)

The navy continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The two Iowa tankers can carry more fuel than the entire fleet combined four years ago held. This makes it easy to see why the economy became stressed to keep up the last couple of years.


** Mobile Infantry Battalion(6)
** Garrison Battalion(17)

Total Active-Duty Soldiers: 115k(-66%)

The army has fully made the leap to TN tech, and the shrinking is over. Once the troops on Earth are fully organized into brigades, significant growth in the force is expected.


Voliva Carrier Company(37 vessels, 3.48m annual income)
Jensrud Transport and Trading(17, 700k)
Everton Shipping & Logistics(2, 80k)
Presnar Freight(3, 100k)
Clavette Shipping Line(3, 90k)
Abair Shipping(1, --)
Forbus Carrier Ltd(1, --)
Tolles Transport & Logistics(3, 70k)
Ouellet Shipping(2, 120k)

Total Vessels: 72(+7.5%)
Total Civilian Income: 4.64m(+6.9%)

Voliva now has a near-complete monopoly. Abair & Folbus have ceased operations and all of the other competitors have shrunk while Voliva Carrier Co. showed a near-50% increase in their take, to a 75% market share in 2064. For the first time, there are more SPACE vessels(73) than civilian(72) in Sol space.


** Naval Officers: 81 of 92 assigned(88.0%), +22%
** Ground Forces Officers: 29 of 41(70.7%), +13%
** Civilian Administrators: 22 of 27(81.5%), +1%
** Scientists: 15 of 31(48.4%), --

Overall: 147 of 191(76.9%), +14%

31 of 40 new positions added were in the navy, and it continues to be difficult to find enough civilian administrators as well. The scientific establishment, meanwhile, has for the most part more talent than it can use. It remains to be seen whether the recent increase in recruitment efforts will be enough to fill all needed positions.
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:28 AM   #196
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006

There was a record turnout this year, for multiple good reasons. It was historic, with the inauguration of Sector Command. It was predicted to be the closest race in SPACE history for other reasons as well. The slight favorite was ailing Herbert Duling(51) due to his incomparable range of experience and unmatched political skill. His health and the mining expertise of incumbent India Rakes(48), combined with the fact that she'd managed not to make any major mistakes last term, gave her about a 40-45% chance of staying in power according to most handicappers.

And then there were the usual disappointments. Delois Woznicki hasn't yet learned the management skill to run Earth, much less the whole system, and Alberto Eighmy will be on the ballot, but his health is even rose than Duling's. The always-solid Jarrett Hugh is probably the third choice, followed by mining savant Larry Steckel, newcomer to the ballot Riley Awad, and Sonny Dean who unfortunately never learned the political part of politics. Seven in all on the ballot, but really it's between Duling and Rakes with Hugh having a puncher's chance if they both embarassed themselves.

The also-rans were the ones to embarass themselves. Dean and Awad didn't even really put forth a serious effort. Steckel made some headway with his focus on mining, but was considered too weak in other areas, and Eighmy's health continued to be his achilles heel. A series of gaffes ensured Hugh would not challenge the expected leaders.

So it was down to Duling and Rakes, and first the first time anyone can remember, Duling was out-campaigned by a smart, aggressive incumbent. It came down to less than a million and a half votes, but Duling was defeated in the directorial election for the first time in his career, 30.1 to 28.8%. The rest of the contenders:

Larry Steckel -- 11.5%
Alberto Eighmy -- 10.2%
Jarrett Hugh -- 10.1%
Sonny Dean -- 5.1%
Riley Awad -- 4.2%

Most notable here was a strong showing by Larry Steckel in placing third.

** This is the first upset I've had, albeit a mild one, and made this election a lot of fun to do.


Rakes had campaigned on a mining focus with a number of industrial priorities having been wrapped on Earth the last few years -- spaceport, sector command, shipyards, academies, etc. This was an emphasis in her re-inauguration speech. The share of the industrial sector devoted to economic investment would rise from 25% to 40% or more, with as many mines produced as could be without overrunning corundium resources. New mines would be split evenly between development of corundium deposits and develoopment of neutronium/duranium. Research would continue to constitute a third as the onward march of science was the only way to combat the alien threat in the long-term.

The one sticking point was the 2% Initiative, which has become controversial again as some as proposing reinstatement in the face of the fact that expenses are growing four times as fast as income over the past decade. As tempting as the idea was, it's an issue that has bitten India Rakes in the past, and she could not afford to be seen as doing anything that could take away from investment in military defenses.

The director also announced that construction would begin immediately on a new class of installation, the Ticonderoga-class plantary defence centre. The Ticonderoga would be deployed on remote outposts or very small, not strategically essential colonies. Housing a single garrison battalion, commercial-grade sensors, and a single CIWS battery, it was little more than a visible, physical reminder of SPACE's commitment and authority. Only 16 MPs would be required for each facility, weighing just under 3kt. Far larger and more robust facilities are planned for Earth, core colonies, and major mining outposts, with more details promised on those within two years. There were many quarters viewing this announcement as a political move to appease the growing dissatisfaction with the lack of concrete military assets in place, and efforts here will be closely watched.
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:15 AM   #197
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006

As planned, it was a year filled with a return to expanding mining operations. Wolf-Harrington was chosen as the first place to invest mines, as corundium and neutronium are both found there. With Comas Sola and Machholz both set to run out of corundium in the next decade however, it was desired to not have a third comet run out that soon so within the first quarter focus switched to Faye for further development. Distant comets Herschel-Rigollet and Swift-Tuttle also have both minerals available but are over 7b km away, ruling them out when a closer source was available.

On March 4, such concerns were interrupted for a somewhat surprising state funeral. Sonny Dean, Governor of Venus died of natural causes. He was 55, and had a long, very respectable administrative career. He was never charismatic enough to make serious inroads in any directorial election, though he appeared on the ballot in several due to a wide range of skills.

Later in the month, another objective was complete as Harvester Task Group 6 was completed and underway for Saturn, clearing the P&A Group Shipyard on March 29. The next day, the first Brigade Headquarters was ready for operation, with Major General Sterling Silvers the obvious choice for the job.

April brought more health problems for Rear Admiral Kendall Muratore. Sources inside the Navy indicate the 54-year-old veteran may be 'asked to retire' when the current tour is up at the end of the year.

The mining focus returned in May with the first of two expansions of civilian operations on Sedna. Then in early June, Deacon Palmer produced a report on improved mining production techniques. Combined with effect of much better high-level supervision of urgent issues due to the formation of Sector Command, production of existing mines has increased considerably this year. By August, neutronium levels were creeping back up, though corundium was only just keeping pace with the increased demand of nearly two automines a month coming out of the 180 factories devoted to the task. Director Rakes held the line of any changes to the current spending profile, as reaching the long-established 'safe zone' of at least 5kt would help in terms of a strategic reserve and promoting public confidence.

Virtually every month having something to say this year, September chimed in with initial production of the first two Arleigh Burke(simply Burke hereafter) class of brigade-capacity troop transports initialized at the ENDM Shipyard. Deployment is expected in the early months of 2067.

By the middle of November, Faye had reached the target goal of 25 mines, becoming one of the larger mining outposts from virtually nothing less than two years ago. The Ministry of Resource Development prioritized moving Neujmin and Reinmuth up to at least that level(25-30, the comfortable range for a major comet-based outpost). Those two are the largest good-yield neutronium sources in the system at over 80kt each, and have 11-12 mines at the moment so production should at least be doubled. It is believed that will be a sufficient amount to allow shipyard operations to resume on a larger scale. Incidentally, at about the same time, support personnel for the massive research laboratories passed construction workers for the #1 industrial concern on Earth for the first time(both at about 26m each). Shipyards operations are #3, just over half at about 13.9m employed.

That increased neutronium will not come a moment too soon. With a couple of finished prototype tests being presented in early December, the navy was down to just one more project, expected next year. At that point, construction of major military assets, both planet-based and ships for a combat fleet, will be ready to begin.

SPACE promised major mining investment and delivered on that promise. Meanwhile, four of the new bare-bones Ticonderoga PDCs were finshed as well and await transport and assembly. A new remilitarized age is on the horizon, and even the most optimistic human cannot claim to know for certain where that will lead ...

Commissioned Officers

Early February -- Karl Mattey(24) becomes the youngest Brigadier General to be promoted since the formation of SPACE.

Mid-March -- Only a single army colonel is dismissed after no military officers were fired last year. It's all hands on deck with expanding opportunities and need for qualified personnel.

Late April -- Rob Nielsen III, Fleet Movement Initiative 206.

Late May -- Joe Tycho admin to 8.

Late August -- Cpt. Ali Mandujano's brown-nosing skills reach new heights(45%). Or depths, depending on your perspective.

Colonial Developments

Mid-February -- Sorium on Borrelly has been exhausted, but this is not a cause for concern with the refineries on Earth being shut down.

Early August -- Vendarite deposits have been exhausted on Wolf-Harrington.

Late August -- Sedna expands again to 22 complexes.


Mid-February -- Two more freighters finish the refit process, with half of the eight in the navy now upgraded.

March 6 -- The latest run of mass drivers is completed.

July 3 -- Both Portlands(troop transports) have finished refitting.

October 7 -- A second brigade HQ is finished on Earth. A third is in training, and three is considered enough for current forces. Additonal garrison battalions, for use on colonies and outposts, is now the top priority again.

Research & Development

** March 28 -- GEI MSS 140, the new active-grav missile search sensor, is completed(Bessie Wallander). She'll turn her attention to the SITG ThermoScan 102, a fairly massive 850-ton thermal sensor suite intended for passive military-grade detections.

** April 24 -- A report extending the range of beam fire controls to 16k km has been filed(Delmar Ytuarte). Elwood Tousant begins work on the final military-grade sensor, the SITG Emdar-30 for use in passive EM-based detection scans.

** June 8 -- Deacon Palmer finishes work on improved mining efficiency. Improving Shipyard Operations is Palmer's next goal.

** August 1 -- Dr. Edward Groat's team has come back with a considerable breakthrough, noting a 50% reduction in thermal emissions is now possible. He wants to take the concepts still further, and is given permission given the importance of the field to our future reconaissance efforts. He'll need another lab down the road, as two won't be enough to get what is our most expensive project to date -- six million credits the required expenditure -- done.

** August 18 -- A research lab is finished and added to the Thermal Emissions Reduction team.

** December 5 -- Billie Allington's team completes the trial of the GEI SSS 200m, the primary military anti-ship active sensor system. This leaves only the passive sensors before the navy is ready to begin building major military installations and ships. Harlan Welle takes one lab to put a new CIWS system incorporating the latest fire controls through its paces, and the other is devoted to larger meson cannons(12 cm focal size), under the direction of Wayne Sabagh.

** December 9 -- Courtesy of Elwood Tousant's team, passive EM sensors are now available. The thermals are expected by early summer of next year at the latest. Tousant will need more assistance down the road on this, but he gets started on the next round of fire control speed improvements(3k km/s).
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:29 PM   #198
Brian Swartz
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** It should be noted here, as I forgot to put it in the 2065 report, that there were a number of solid-to-good naval recruits who came into the system last year, bypassing a lot of veterans. None of them were in Gullo/Feeser genius-level category, but one was very good and several moved well up the Lt. Cmdr. chain immediately.


As anticipated, it was mutually agreed for Rear Admiral Kendall Muratore to accept early retirement. It's only five years early, and best for all concerned given his failing health of late. The 55-year-old Muratore is a veteran of more than 30 years active service, making Commander rank within just over a year. He spent almost an entire decade as CO of one of the original Fletcher-class freighters before making Captain in 2051. After a brief stint at Public Affairs, he led Fighter Ops(no, there weren't any, stop interrupting the story). His health began to trouble him shortly after his promotion to Rear Admiral in '62. He's served the navy well, and retires with honor and distinction worthy of that service.

** Cmdr. Miquel Rater -- Assigned to lead the top geology survey team less than 18 months after his graduation, Miquel's most lasting legacy is undoubtedly his 12+ plus years of service during the inital period of surveying in Sol. It was about halfway through this period that he was promoted to Commander, but he lacked the skills or political connections to make it any further up the command chain. Rater spent most of his CO assignments on board freighters, with brief stints aboard shuttles and the last couple of years on one of the Forrestal sensor buoys. His retirement will be temporarily delayed until he can catch a shuttle back to Earth.

Leota Schnepel(55) is promoted to be the new second Rear Admiral, leaving a spot open for Shad Gullo at Captain. It took him just two years, two months, and three days -- just about as fast as it is possible to climb. However, he's at the bottom of the heap now among Captains, and unless he shows more initiative than he has so far to improve his natural skills, he won't be going any further anytime soon.

Commissioned Officers Update

Cmdr. Tell Perj Jr. -- 2nd out of 23. Surpassed by multiple younger men in the last few years(5 of 7 Captains are younger), Perj Jr. is now 47 and has three years to make Captain before automatic retirement kicks in. The clock is ticking. He remains on board the Belknap.
Lt. Cmdr. Rob Nielsen III -- 26th out of 68. Nielsen has finally escaped shuttle duty and is set to be transferred to one of the Iowa-class tankers.

Maj. Gen. Sterling Silvers -- Now head of the first properly formed brigade in the army, Silvers(59) will spend his final tour overseeing a military that has cut the fat and is now reorganizing and growing again. It's been a long time in coming.

James Earl Jones V(6) -- Moved from Machholz to Stephan-Oterma, Jones is good enough to keep a spot at one of the top mining colonies, not good enough to be a major force in Sol politics. Now 49, it seems unlikely that situation will change. He's had a very respectable career to date.

Pioneer Deacon Palmer(CP 50) -- Palmer is in the early stages of work on Improving Shipyard Operations. He has two, maybe three projects left in him now at 62 years old. Only one man living(Santo Makar) can arguably say he has been as important as Palmer to human scientific advancement over the past four decades.
Joe Tycho(EW 55) -- Now among the elite who can pretty much work on what they want to work on, Tycho has been battling health issues for almost two decades now which is a cloud that hangs over his work, but certainly hasn't stopped him. His interest in xenology motivates him to continue on and see the day when SPACE will once again explore the galaxy in search of new discoveries. Right now his talents are devoted to extending weaponized laser wavelength technology from infrared into the visible light spectrum.
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:14 PM   #199
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Location: Back in Houston!
Nice to have the holidays pick up the pace a bit

Houston Hippopotami, III.3: 20th Anniversary Thread - All former HT players are encouraged to check it out!

Janos: "Only America could produce an imbecile of your caliber!"
Freakazoid: "That's because we make lots of things better than other people!"

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Old 12-02-2013, 04:40 PM   #200
Brian Swartz
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Yeah I've been on vacation from my primary job the last week so it's been more than just the holidays -- I go back tomorrow and hope to find a happy medium. It helps that I've got a good long-term project to work towards -- I'm really excited to see some combat ships start churning out and start exploring neighbouring systems again, but that's a major undertaking and some time yet into the future.
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