Quest Deep Periphery Quest (Battletech Sandbox Empire Builder)

ShadowArxxy - Canon Omake - Volcano Protest GO!

ShadowArxxy

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Omake!

It appears that some geologists got wind of DOME's proposal to bombard Griffin II with ice comets in order to greatly accelerate the cooling of the planet after the supervolcano cluster eruptions, and they are absolutely enraged at the prospect of losing the opportunity to study "the greatest volcanic event in the history of mankind". In fact, they're so enraged that they're not just engaging in the usual passive-aggressive slapfight via nasty comments on each other's peer reviews in academic journals; they've taken to the streets in what is probably the first academic mass protest in Griffin's Roost history that doesn't have to do with Periphery Studies.

Of course, Periphery Studies promptly joined the protests just because, with all the usual substitution of extreme enthusiasm for any actual comprehension of the issues. As far as anyone can tell, the Periphery Studies take on this is, "VOLCANO-COMET RIGHTS!" The enlarged protest has surrounded the Royal Palace and appear to be building a giant papier-mache volcano in the public square; duelling stockpiles of Diet Coke + Mentos and vinegar + baking soda suggest that they're still arguing about how best to make it erupt.

The quadrupedal elements of the Royal Grifftiger Mounted Police are giving those stockpiles a very dirty look. You probably would too if you had fur; as it is, you don't have fur and the prospect of a twenty-foot-high version of the classic science fair volcano going off in your front yard is actually quite amusing.

"VOLCANO-COMETS FOR THE GOD EMPRESS!"

"JANE, STOP ENCOURAGING THEM!!!!!"
 
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ShadowArxxy

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Omake

It turns out you were wrong about thinking the double stockpile meant that the protesters were arguing about the volcanic eruption. Rather, it seems that the geologists decided to throw their hands up and just go with the volcano-comet flow, so the Great Protest Volcano was rigged to launch a massive cluster burst of iceball "comets" into the air.

Said comets were promptly melted as the air-defense lasers on the Palace roof activated, which revealed that they weren't actually ice, but artfully crafted balls of frozen Diet Coke with Mentos embedded in them. A well-known chemical reaction promptly ensued, absolutely drenching the public square and the palace with dramatic amounts of foamy blast goodness. The protestors roared with triumph; the Royal Grifftiger Mounted Police stood their ground in decidedly soggy condition.

"VOLCANO-COMETS FOR THE GOD EMPRESS!"

"JAAAAAAANE!"
 
Turn 43 - You Know The Day Destroys The Night

LordSunhawk

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Turn 43 - You Know The Day Destroys The Night

Griffon II continues to burn, the volcanic activity is escalating daily and most if not all of the surface has become lava. The scientists aren’t sure, because the atmosphere has mostly become fire so seeing if the surface is lava is a bit difficult at the moment. For the same reason the constant begging by geologists for you to send an Enterprise in to survey the situation, preferably with said geologist on board to personally study this enormous event ‘up close, think of the research papers!’ have all been preemptively denied. All you can think of is ‘think of the PR disaster when we lose the bloody dropship’.

At least the ejecta is no longer clearing the atmosphere, so orbital activities have fully resumed. Sadly the atmosphere scooping has been indefinitely suspended.

DoME is still enthusiastically coming up with more plans on how to handle Griffon II. Combining throwing lots of ice comets at it with building a gigantic solar shade (that would cost more than your entire military budget since you took the throne, but you don’t pay these engineers to be accountants) to block solar radiation and speed up cooling even more.

You do decide to assign Jane to having to read, review, and comment on every single geologist’s funding request for Griffon II research. After the entire Volcano Comets debacle this is the least you can do to her. The protestors, on the other hand, had been rounded up and in a display of heavy-handed tyranny required to assist in shampooing, conditioning, and combing out every single grifftiger’s fur from the Royal Grifftiger Mounted Police who had been bombarded with their ‘Volcano Comets’.

You are tempted to also assign Jane and Michelle (for failing to adequately supervise Jane) to diaper-changing duties for Thanh’s firstborn from the Iron Womb. But decide that would be too kind. Instead, you assign Michelle to supervising Jane’s academic efforts in regards to the geology funding requests. With a private note to Michelle that she is to rigorously enforce the new Imperial citation style on said requests, but make Jane do all of the paperwork.

You figure that that is an adequate solution to the situation. Even if Jane is wailing about tyranny, abuse of power, and that she has rights.

You rather sweetly offer to put her on diaper duty instead, and she runs to get started on the paperwork with almost indecent haste, leading to laughter from every single motherly type in earshot.

But yes, there is an iron womb currently loaded with Thanh and Petra’s firstborn son, so you’ll soon have grandbabies from all of your babies. Which is, in many ways, the goal of all ba.

A major exercise is held in the simulators, pitting students from the Aerie notionally playing as a Red Force against several of the new formations. And it is incredibly eye opening. First of all, sub-capital weapons were notionally banned from the simulation, and the Red Team was given an enormous force. Only a portion of your own forces, those most likely to be able to engage a strike force coming from the Zenith jump point without uncovering vital assets, were engaged.

It was a slaughter… of the Red Team. Even without sub-capital weapons the combination of very high performance assault dropships and those aerospace fighters that they could carry proved lethal. The invading forces were shattered in a single engagement, with none of the friendly ASFs even coming close to fuel exhaustion. And the sheer disparity of forces in the simulation appears to show that even against a near worst-case scenario you could handily defend the system from the Dracs.

A second series of exercises is scheduled in a few months, simply to ensure that the results weren’t a fluke.

You are feeling confident, then the Free Folk return with more dispatches from your embassy.

They’d witnessed a ‘pirate’ attack on the NRI, and the NRI response. These ‘pirates’ had apparently mastered drop collars, which explains the great interest the NRI had in that technology, and their jumpships carried masses of extremely large carrier dropships that, according to SARAHs analysis, could carry almost as many ASFs as your entire aerospace force… each. The individual ASFs were almost laughably primitive, but it is said that quantity has a quality all its own, and those ASFs certainly had quantity.

Enough so that they were able to force back the NRI’s orbital defenses, which were far more extensive than you’d thought, and affect landings, where after several weeks of brutal combat they were finally repelled, albeit not without the Roman’s suffering significant damage and a great deal of looting.

When you discuss this with the Ambassador she grimaces and shrugs. According to her, and confirmed by SARAH, for every ten of the ‘cheap and expendable’ ASFs there was a single more capable small craft. The cheap units were actually flown by slaves, who had explosive collars welded around their necks which would be detonated if the signal they received was interrupted. Said signal was generated by the more capable unit, which had massive electronic warfare capability to prevent the control signal from being jammed.

It’s a callous and foul tactic, just what you’d expect from pirates.

According to the Ambassador, they suffer such large scale attacks probably every ten years or so, more if they manage to inflict losses comparable to this particular attack, less if the pirates are more successful.

The Romans do, apparently, know the general region of space that the pirates come from, and are willing to discuss planning joint operations against them… on the proviso that every single pirate captured was to be executed.

[]Agree in principle
  • Opens new event chain
  • -1 Politics
    • Long term, this is potentially entangling the Empire in the affairs of another state
  • +1 Approval Change
    • Short term, your citizens *hate* pirates
  • Closer relations with NRI
[]Disagree
  • Harms relations with NRI slightly
    • They don’t really expect anybody else to help them, as they’ve always stood alone
  • +1 Politics
    • Some elements of the population appreciate long-term thinking
 

Bear Ribs

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[X] Agree in principle

What is "General Region in Space" though? Just look at this list of stars IRL that would be about two jumps from earth. Without Com* Supplying a map, know where the Pirates are within a radius of just a couple of jumps could mean months of searching.
 

edofthesquid

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I don't like the kill them out of hand aspect from a pragmatic level: if they're always killed, they never have a reason to do anything other than fight to the death.

That said cooperating against them is good. I think it's worth starting.

[X] Agree in principle
 

Crafter of War

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The Romans do, apparently, know the general region of space that the pirates come from, and are willing to discuss planning joint operations against them… on the proviso that every single pirate captured was to be executed.
Please tell me that the slaves that were piloting the lesser ASFs are except from this.
 

ShadowArxxy

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Welp I guess we're going to need an AA boat design.
Less so than you'd think; for the most part, there aren't really weapons tracking differentials between ASFs and DropShips until you get into the heavier sub-capital and full capital weapons. The Troodons are the best ton-for-ton, credit-for-credit fighting droppers we have for smacking DropShips, and they are also the best ASF swatters.

[X] Agree in principle

The Romans probably mean "execute them all as a general point of principle and deterrence" rather than as a categorical absolute. But it's worth clarifying.
 

Jarow

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[X] Agree in principle

It'll be a good thing to get practice going on offense, especially if we don't have to handle 100% of the effort (so we can do this while building up the transport needed to go after Nowy Warszawa/New Sekigahara). The Romans probably have more experience planning large scale operations like this than we do, so getting experience working with them will serve us well.
 

Artifex

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Haa, finally caught up! That was like 4-5 days of reading this up and getting a feel for the googlesheets related to this quest... @LordSunhawk: You sir, you've created a very well done and immersive quest here!

[X] Agree in principle

Improving relations with your stellar neighbors doesn't hurt at all in my opinion, especially considering the dracs are still around and will probably start to become a nuisance in 5-6 turns tops.

In addition to that I get the feel there is an opportunity related to the KF-Jumpdrives to be had here.
 
Turn 43 - Night Divides The Day

LordSunhawk

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Turn 43 - Night Divides The Day

Julia Severina is actually pleasantly surprised at your offer to provide assistance to the NRI to help them in dealing with the pirates. It’s pretty plain that she did not expect that at all.

The single greatest bottleneck for the NRI in proactively handling the pirates is that due to their lack of drop collars and K-F Booms they need to use enormous amounts of highly refined germanium in each of their jumpships, as they need to build truly enormous ones. Germanium is relatively scarce, which puts a serious hard limit on how many jumpships they can build.

After several months of discussion facilitated by the Free Folk’s jumpship getting quite a workout as a courier, the NRI is willing to provide you with the plans for a specialized germanium refinery in exchange for the entire output of the first two refineries you build at market rates, which would add a quite nice amount to your yearly income.

A quick glance at the numbers and you realize that the NRI negotiators don’t know about the massive germanium strike on Phoenix, since from their proposal they think you can only build 3 total. However, based on what you know of that germanium motherlode, and the throughput numbers you have been given, you’d be able to easily support three times that number over the long haul.

That’s not even getting into the other germanium deposits that are likely in the system.

The look on Julia Severina’s face when you bring her to the germanium motherlode personally to show her the mining operation you’ve already begun on Phoenix is priceless. You’d never thought you’d see the extremely self-possessed woman look like a deer in the headlights in pure shock.

So the NRI proposes a possible alternative, they’d still assist with the specialist refinery, but they’d get a percentage of your total output instead. You counter with a proposal slightly reducing the percentage, and requiring the NRI to send jump core specialists to assist your researchers at the KF R&D facility, in exchange for sharing jump boom research with the NRI on top of the percentage of refined germanium.

[]ChoiceNet Refinery Output Per TurnTax Rate AdjustmentKF R&D Bonus
[]Proceed1 Jump Core per Refinery+.25% per Refinery built+5 Target
[]Continue NegotiationsUnknownUnknownUnknown

QM Note - You are essentially deciding if you want to ‘hit’ or ‘stay’ on negotiations. You might get a better deal, negotiations might completely break down. Do you want to take the risk? As a further note, getting the schematics for a germanium refinery of this nature would remove an entire Research action.

With their increased influence, Parliament is getting a bit big in their britches. The Eldest warns you that a faction of Delegates and Senators affiliated with multiple parties are Up To Something, although he’s been excluded from their counsels. This usually presages some idiots getting up to no good.

And sure enough, bills are passed through both the Chamber of Delegates and the Senate against the objections of your most loyal supporters. These bills would boost Parliamentary Oversight over all military procurement, with supporters arguing that an enormous amount of money is being spent on ‘unnecessary’ and ‘wasteful’ military procurement, citing the results of the exercises held earlier in the year as ‘proof’ that you are spending far too much attention on defense to the detriment of the civilian sectors of the economy.

They have gotten their hands on transcripts of the exchanges with the ‘New Rasalhague’ group and are waving those around as further proof that the Drac threat is ‘ludicrously overblown’ and is being used as a bloody shirt by the Empress to justify her centralization of power.

Now, those communiques had been made available to Parliament as a courtesy, but on the understanding that they would remain secret until such time as they were officially released. These Delegates and Senators are technically not in violation of any laws or even Parliamentary Rules, but the unwritten rules are against them in this regard.

They are even spinning your diplomatic exchanges with the NRI as further proof that you are a war-mongering power-mad incipient tyrant, and only strict Parliamentary oversight, with them in charge of course, can possibly curb the threat you pose to the freedoms and liberties, not to mention the wallets, of the people. Some of the more outspoken among them have taken to referring to you as Caesar.

It’s a tempest in a teapot, you can tell immediately that the whole goal is to boost their own power and influence and seriously diminish you own. If they were to have their way you’d swiftly be reduced to a figurehead with no real authority, with the Imperial Parliament having total control. And the people know this. Discrete polling by Jake shows that solid majorities of the population will back you whatever you decide, although if you do slap down this power grab you will lose some popularity overall.

According to Jake the organizers of this push took advantage of many of your supporters being back in their districts during a recess to reopen Parliament with only their supporters in attendance, and pass the bills by unanimous consent before any of YOUR supporters were able to get back to object or make a quorum call. It appears that the current Clerk of Parliament was completely bypassed, it could be argued that the session wasn’t even constitutional but it would be a major court fight.

[]Accede to Parliament
  • -2 Crown Influence
  • +2 Chamber of Delegates Influence
  • +2 Imperial Senate Influence
  • -25 Politics
  • +5 Approval Change
[]Veto this nonsense and arrest those behind it for sedition
  • -2 Chamber of Delegates Influence
  • -2 Imperial Senate Influence
  • -25 Support Chamber of Delegates
  • -25 Support Imperial Senate
  • -25 Approval
  • +20 Politics
  • +5 Approval Change
[]Get the Courts involved while vetoing this nonsense
  • -1 Chamber of Delegates Influence
  • -1 Imperial Senate Influence
  • -10 Support Chamber of Delegates
  • -10 Support Imperial Senate
  • -20 Approval
  • +10 Politics
  • +10 Approval Change

In other, but related, news, the Department of Periphery Studies is also making the news, but at least what they are up to has you rolling on the floor laughing.

A very large group of Tenured Professors and Students of the Department march on the Imperial Parliament demanding that the Delegates and Senators who voted for the massive power grab make the official Parliamentary Uniform a clown suit. And every single one of them is dressed in full clown makeup. While carrying banners condemning the ‘unreasonable fear of clowns’ and calling for a ‘Clown Rights Amendment’ in which driving clown cars would be made legal on all streets, the wearing of big poofy multi-colored wigs would be made mandatory for all politicians, and that Parliament all attend Clown College so that they can Do It Right.

Considering that the Eldest is leading the parade, smirking, you know who organized this massive insult to Parliament.
 
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