The Gates are Down.   Posted by GM.Group: archive E
GM
 GM, 785 posts
Thu 26 Feb 2015
at 02:50
The Gates are Down
You have been working in Obsidia Beta for several months now, a lucrative contract suitable to the tumultuous system.

There is little real danger to you; the trouble has been a cold war of sorts for years now - one faction, sympathetic to the Republic, holds the counterspinward gate, the other - friendly to the Orion Arm Union - the spinward.  Within the system, travel is heavily restricted and various guerrilla factions prey on unprotected ships, but nobody is stupid enough to assault a Waystation directly.  So you have largely ignored the turmoil and focused on your work and enjoying the ample pay and the intriguing characters who pass through.

The last day has seen an increase in military activity, and the annoying fact that someone seems to have turned off the GalNet - news from beyond the system's borders ceased nearly 20 hours ago, and local traffic has been a buzz of misinformation, guesswork, and rumor-mongering.

Finally the truth comes out - Obsidia B is cut off.  The JumpGates are offline, and with them the HyperLink Arrays.  Within an hour of that revelation, you find yourself escorted by OAU MP's to the Commander's Office.

Commander Bennevitas is an affable man, for military brass.  Sparse blonde hair, blue eyes; stout, even a bit rotund.  Always a smile and a compliment, and he has proven to be a hard-working benefactor to the workers on the station, civilian or navy alike.  Today he wears no smile.

With you are a few other technical specialists; all civilians, like you, on contract with the OAU-friendly faction that controls this side of the system.  A Systems Operator for the HyperLink Array, several of the Comptrollers for the JumpGate traffic control office, and a Computer Tech with an interesting prosthetic arm and neural implant you've been wanting to get a closer look at since you first laid eyes on it - allows him to plug directly into the systems, operate them through direct neural link-up, you suspect.  Several others you aren't sure of.

Once all are seated and the hushed speculations have mostly ceased, Commander Bennevitas speaks.  "I am sorry to pull you from your usual duties, but as I am sure you are aware, a situation has arisen.  I want you to know this is all Need to Know Information only; you will not speak of this to anyone without clearance from me.  Is that CLEAR?" he levels an uncharacteristically threatening look at all of you, and continues without waiting for any confirmation of his order from the gathered personnel.  "As of 2900 Local Standard, 20 hours ago, the JumpGates and the HyperLink went offline for unknown reasons.  We suspected sabotage by the Republic Reunification Front, however, we no longer believe they are solely responsible, if at all."

A holographic of the system appears above the circular command desk that he stands behind.  Several groups of angry, red shapes are depicted, with trajectories showing the path they have followed.  "Long range scans detected these several hours ago.  We just confirmed; three full TSR Cruiser Groups with heavy escort.  Modified, somehow.  We don't know how they entered local space without using the JumpGates.  The three groups came in out of deep space, out of the Orion Void, and are decelerating into standard orbits.  One group is on a vector for Obsidia Prime, the other two each moving towards the two JumpGates.  A small group has split off and is heading for the domed colony on Obsidia B IV's seventh moon.  They are demanding the surrender of all armed vessels, the Waystations, the colonies, everything.  This is not a drill.  We estimate 13 days before all three groups are in position for a full scale assault."

He regards the room as this sinks in; shocked gasps, blank stares, one man breaks down into tears.  We need to know why the JumpGates and the HyperLink are offline.  We can not call for reinforcements, and no reinforcements will arrive without the JumpGate.  We are cut off.  Completely.  This is where you all come in.  I will open the floor to questions and suggestions.  As of this moment, you are all under the employ of the OAU Navy.  I do apologize; we hate to emulate the Republic in any way, but we have little choice."
Kilroy
 player, 24 posts
Thu 26 Feb 2015
at 16:27
Re: The Gates are Down
Kilroy's mind works quickly and he finally says,"I think the thing we need to understand is....strangely enough...not what 'magic' they are using...but...why here? I mean, think about it.  This ability, to make ships appear beyond detection and to shut down jump gates indicates a terrifying new military superiority.  And no matter how much they try, they won't be able to keep the secret long enough to use the same maneuver in every single star system....or at least, not so secretly.  They only get to use this trick once or twice before everyone else realizes what some of us have known all along, which is that the Republic is the single greatest threat to humanity that humanity has faced since our ancestors decided to point atomic weapons at each other with a 60 second timer because 'reasons'"....

Kilroy begins to pace, thinking out loud.  "I am of course at your disposal in the analysis of their 'magic' but four likely scenarios present themselves....A renegade Xillik has decided to help the Republic because 'reasons', they have discovered a piece of Akashi technology, there is some unique facet of Obsidia Beta that they have discovered a one time trick that lets them do this, or they have obtained astounding mind control tech.

The mind control tech would let them place agents inside of your crews and randomly shut down things, but it wouldn't allow the ships to approach undetected.  The unique facet of Obsidian Beta might allow them to somehow 'sneak' ships via some worm hole drive or ancient unknown jump gate but not shut down the way stations....No the first two scenarios prove most likely.  If the Xillik are helping them, then God help us all because there is no easy counter, but if they have a discarded piece of Akashi tech,then we might be able to triangulate where it is and blow up the ship carrying it.

The more information you share with me, the more help I can be.  I know you don't know me, and so you'll keep things back,but I assure you, the more you reveal, the better it will be for you.  I mean everything, the slightest shred of a clue might let me connect things in ways you're not seeing.
"

This message was last edited by the player at 18:47, Thu 26 Feb 2015.

GM
 GM, 787 posts
Thu 26 Feb 2015
at 16:48
Re: The Gates are Down
Commander Bennevitas listens sagely and then replies; "All good points, but again, our first priority is to get the JumpGates online.  We are well aware of the TSR's propensity for sleeper agents, and we are maintaining OpSec in light of that.  Any one of you could be such an agent, but we doubt it.  We have considered the possibility of the incoming fleet using reverse engineered Xillik technology; this seems unlikely given the Xillik's nature - they don't let their tech fall into other's hands.  That and if they were using Xillik blink-drives, they could have come out much closer.  But, while we are sharing, here, look at this.  These ships all match standard TSR late models; but see that?  The ring structure around each?  We think those are Karak Injector Drives.  We think that explains how they got in the system; reverse engineered Karak drives and deep-space wormholes that were never deemed stable enough for a full JumpGate.  There are several charted in the Void.  So, again, I need you focusing your energies on the JumpGate and the HyperLink Array.  We will need reinforcements if we are to survive this siege, and we must get word to OAU Command as quickly as possible."
Kilroy
 player, 25 posts
Thu 26 Feb 2015
at 17:17
Re: The Gates are Down
Well he had hardly expect them to put him in charge, even though he knew better.  How would he ever convince anyone else of that? But he had at least hoped they would use his tactical expertise...

Oh...they likely didn't know that either.

Best chance at not ending up in a Republic work camp still lay with the existing authorities, even if they were focusing on the wrong things.

"Absolutely.  Karak drives would make sense, especially if they perfected them. That still wouldn't explain the jump gate and hyper array.  I'd personally prefer to focus on the HyperLink Array.  But by all means, lead the way."

He'll wait for whatever questions the others may ask, and then initiate social contact with Arm Guy.  He might be handy.  He would be handy actually.  "Hi, name's Kilroy, pleased to meet you."

This message was last edited by the player at 18:47, Thu 26 Feb 2015.

GM
 GM, 790 posts
Thu 26 Feb 2015
at 19:45
Re: The Gates are Down
GM Note:  Please use colored text, at least for speech and then a different color for rolls; I prefer blue for speech, red for die rolls and "rules stuff" or actions taken.  Not a huge deal on what color but try to be consistent at least.

It helps me skim old posts for relevant text.  Thanks!

Nevermind I see you edited it - thanks!!


Commander:  "No, it does not explain the JumpGates, at least not the how; the why is fairly obvious."

The other gathered staff begin spit-balling ideas; but it seems to be going nowhere.  The one-armed man just nods and gives his name with barely a glance at you; Manual Garcia.  The odd mispronunciation gives you pause; Manual just turns back to listening in on the various conversations leading nowhere.

The JumpGate is not physically disabled; all power systems are normal.  The wormholes themselves are still there, simply not stabilized by the aperture.  The HyperLink Array diagnostics show all systems normal, but no signal being received.  They have found no saboteurs, no physical damage, no erroneous computer code or malware has been found.

You can always make skill rolls to learn more if you are "drawing a blank."  The above is meant to "hint at" the true problem.  My hints are...  sometimes obtuse ;)
Kilroy
 player, 26 posts
Thu 26 Feb 2015
at 19:48
Re: The Gates are Down
I'd like to make a truck load of skill rolls, especially this early on, but I'm not sure how to do that in the game? I can use the dice roller in the game, but I've seen folks embed the die rolls, or should I just roll and copy/paste here?  Thanks.
GM
 GM, 791 posts
Thu 26 Feb 2015
at 19:52
Re: The Gates are Down
Kilroy:
I'd like to make a truck load of skill rolls, especially this early on, but I'm not sure how to do that in the game? I can use the dice roller in the game, but I've seen folks embed the die rolls, or should I just roll and copy/paste here?  Thanks.


Yup.  Just do the roll (and don't use the "HERO" option for skill rolls; that option actually only works for "Normal Damage" rolls) and paste the roll here.
Kilroy
 player, 27 posts
Thu 26 Feb 2015
at 21:54
Re: The Gates are Down
16:50, Today: Kilroy rolled 11 using 3d6 with rolls of 3,4,4. SC: Xenoarcheology - 17.
16:50, Today: Kilroy rolled 13 using 3d6 with rolls of 6,5,2. SC: Event Horizons-17.
16:50, Today: Kilroy rolled 13 using 3d6 with rolls of 3,4,6. KN: Cutting Edge Tech-17.
16:49, Today: Kilroy rolled 12 using 3d6 with rolls of 5,3,4. KN: Xenoculture-17.
16:49, Today: Kilroy rolled 9 using 3d6 with rolls of 5,2,2. KN: Systems Security-17.
16:48, Today: Kilroy rolled 12 using 3d6 with rolls of 6,2,4. Known Space-17.
16:48, Today: Kilroy rolled 10 using 3d6 with rolls of 2,5,3. Criminology-17.
16:48, Today: Kilroy rolled 14 using 3d6 with rolls of 5,5,4. Deduction-17.
16:47, Today: Kilroy rolled 10 using 3d6 with rolls of 1,5,4. Disguise-17.
16:47, Today: Kilroy rolled 13 using 3d6 with rolls of 4,4,5. Security Systems-17.


The flag of Manuel Garcia speaking oddly makes him wonder and he looks at the man to check for disguises or the like. It could just be an unusual accent but he wants to be sure and will politely trade more mutual back stories with him to see if this is merely someone interesting, or someone who could be a Republic agent.

He will also listen to the spit balling to consider if there are any theories that he might not have thought of in terms of sub space phenomenon...it could just be a virus, but it doesn't...FEEL like that.  It feels like some one 'emp'd' the sub space around the area.

And lastly, are there any legends of devices or capabilities that might have done this or major sites in this system they could be after?

The 'why this system' keeps bothering him...a lot.
GM
 GM, 792 posts
Thu 26 Feb 2015
at 22:32
Re: The Gates are Down
Beyond the prosthetic, Manual does not appear to be in any disguise.  You think it may be a play on words more than an accent; or maybe he is in fact named "Manual" and not "Manuel."  He seems to have little interest in speaking to you, though he listens intently whenever any technical details are spoken of.  Nothing jumps out as criminal or suspicious; you think he just maybe doesn't like people.

"Subspace" is not exactly a "thing" though the word is still incorrectly used by layman when speaking of Gravitational Propulsion or Wormholes and other spatial gravitational phenomena.  The path within a wormhole is just as real and part of normal space-time as any other section of space; just shaped differently.  Space bends and curves and folds at the behest of gravity wells; and exiting a planet's gravity well puts you into the star's gravity well and then when you get far out in space you are dealing with the gravity of nearby star systems in their entirety.  You can't think of any way to "EMP" the gravitational aperture itself; and all ships and information moving through a JumpGate or the HyperLink Array traverse that aperture.  Disabling the gate itself is simple enough; but should be detected - power failures, power spikes, charged particles, something.

You do recall the stories about how the Long Dark began; in that event it took ramming a battleship and overloading it's reactor to destroy the link to Terra.  Physically destroying the entire gate structure.  So nothing in history - that you know of - adds up.

"Why this system" is mentioned by the Commander; or at least some speculation about such.  The turmoil in this system is, in part, due to TSR meddling some 20 years back.  They had managed to get a political movement sympathetic to reunification to take power.  Originally, the intent was - or so some believe - to cut off Novvy Kamchatka from the OAU so the TSR could topple that roadblock and flood into the Spinward Reach in force.  Which failed; Novvy Kamchatka still stands, resisting every attempted incursion, even now without OAU help.

And then, like a child, one of the comptrollers sparks a new line of thought...  "Sir, what if they shut them down from the other side?"
Kilroy
 player, 28 posts
Fri 27 Feb 2015
at 00:18
Re: The Gates are Down
Do you need me to roll again?

What, precisely could have caused that?

It's odd because Kilroy is not an intuition type of guy but he still...can't help but being suspicious of Manual Garcia for some reason.  He nods to those present and excuses himself.  If he can,he'll take a military escort and get straight to the hyper Array and begin analyzing that theory.  How MIGHT they have shut it down from the other side...and is there a way to test that theory?  Wouldn't it require shutting it down from all potential destinations?
GM
 GM, 793 posts
Fri 27 Feb 2015
at 00:41
Re: The Gates are Down
*If* it was shut down from the other side, there should be some log of it occurring...  the whole network relies on a quantum carrier signal.

The group should be moving to the JumpGate itself shortly; you can get a better look at things there.

Could you get me your latest .HDC file?  Or at least list out your KS and Science skills so I can update the file?  Need to look at your skills to know what roll to recommend.

Thanks!

Kilroy
 player, 29 posts
Fri 27 Feb 2015
at 01:02
Re: The Gates are Down
My skills are in my description as far as Science and KS, I was actually thinking of asking of we could integrate them.  I have the pdf but didn't keep the hero file.

Good God! What if they crashed it everywhere and have a whole lot of these ships because they foolishly believe they can reset it?

Kilroy decides that if he will stay with the group, that he'll see if he can get in a good word with the commander.  It will come in handy if he needs help later.  The situation is too serious for levity, but at the least he can appear concerned (easy because he is) and eager to help in a serious way (which is also true.)
GM
 GM, 794 posts
Fri 27 Feb 2015
at 02:45
Re: The Gates are Down
See them now; thanks!

As the group moves to a shuttle to get to the JumpGate itself, you spend some time reviewing what you know, pulling up schematics and gravitic theory white papers and such.  The flight takes some seven hours; ample time for some brainstorming.

It clicks about half-way there.

90% of the known JumpGates in Terran space were built before the beginning of the Long Dark.  The OAU only figured out how to make their own about 100 years ago, and have only thus far constructed 4 - all further Spinward of here.

When a JumpGate is built, the HyperArray Link is created by installing a bank of trillions of quantum relays; every qubit of information transmitted burns out a single bank, and the banks have to be manually refreshed every few years.  This has little actual effect on the travel of ships...  but everything to do with the HyperArray transmissions; including the two-way signal that controls the aperture.  When a ship wants to go through the gate, the carrier signal opens the aperture on both sides.  The entire Galactic Network is all linked; layers of security and encryption and such protect private or government data transmission, but data still propagates through the entire network.  That is one way the TSR has spread their propaganda even beyond their own territory.

All those relays...  were originally built by Terran scientists...

(Thought) oO The TSR can switch off the carrier signal...  of any JumpGate built by them!

You need to confirm once you arrive there, but if this is true...  the only way to restart the gates and the HyperLink Array...  would be to replace the entire quantum relay.  On both sides...

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:46, Fri 27 Feb 2015.

GM
 GM, 795 posts
Fri 27 Feb 2015
at 02:48
Re: The Gates are Down
Your .PDF and .HDC are in the "Characters" folder:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/g05...6xxftJKit-JX0va?dl=0

If you could, update the file; if not I'll do it for you.  Let me know; I know you have an older copy of HERO Designer if a copy at all.