Author Topic: Von Neuman's World  (Read 687 times)

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Von Neuman's World
« on: May 03, 2014, 05:44:50 AM »
Von Neuman's World;sa=view;down=229

Scenario Name: Von Neuman's World
Author: Darsnan
Date of original posting: 7/11/08
Original host site: Apolyton

Von Neuman's World

BACKDROP: In MY 2433 several factions discovered the wreckage of a
Progenitor interstellar spaceship on the farside of Nessus. After much
investigation it was determined that the ships star charts were intact,
and that the hyperdrive engine could be cloned.
By MY 2452 the first fleet of scoutships had been built and sent out
with a mandate to investigate all of the habitable planets catalogued in
the ancient Progenitor ships star charts. The results were mixed: some
scoutships returned with exciting news of “Eden-class” planets, while
other scouts return with tales of planets which had degraded over the
eons. Still other scouts failed to return at all.
This is the tale of one scoutship which never returned…..

The UN Scoutship Harmony had been mandated to reconnoiter a small string
of planets on the farside of the Milky Way galaxy. While not a
difficult task, it was a journey of significant length, with the
timeframe involved being approximately 10 years relative to their
starting timeframe.
The Harmony wormholed out of hyperdrive at their first location
designated by the High Council. The star system had been previously
unknown to Man and, so had no name. The Harmony’s sensors began to
record the data of the system, taking in the local planets, asteroids,
type of star, as well as visuals of the surrounding heavens (this at the
insistence of the Morganite attachment to the mission, their reasoning
being that people would be more willing to move to an alien planet if
the night skies contained more ascetically pleasing views than where
they currently lived). A habitable planet was located, the Harmony took
up orbit, and probes were sent down to the planet to take samples and
After a week the crew of the Harmony had enough information to classify
the planet as habitable, and duly logged it as such. The next solar
system on their list was called up, the Progenitor-cloned hyperdrive
activated, and they worm-holed on to their next destination where the
process of cataloguing was repeated, the only difference being that the
once habitable world in this solar system had degraded over the eons and
was no longer considered suitable for colonization. The Harmony
worm-holed again, and again waited a week while the automated
instruments collected data on the surrounding environs.
It was during their sixth solar system that one of the technicians who
had been assigned to examining the Progenitor star charts realized a
mistake had been made in the original decoding of the Progenitor star
charts: someone had accidentally moved the decimal point during the
coordinate translation, meaning their ship would have ended up in the
wrong solar system. The technician made the correction, fed the
coordinates of the new solar system into the navigational computer, and
went about her business, all without ever telling anyone she had
deviated from the original flight course the Harmony had filed back in
the Alpha Centauri solar system.
The starship wormholed out into the new solar system just as it had
countless times before, and its sensors began taking data of the
surrounding environs. A prospective habitable planet was located, and
the Harmony began the process of entering into orbit. The ship only had
minutes to live….

Sister Mary O’Connor sat at her computer terminal on the starship UNS
Harmony, reviewing data from the automated sensors. She astutely ignored
the nearby University scientists who were reviewing the data in
parallel with her: they had a working relationship with her, but other
than that each had their own agendas and tended not to intermingle.
The first sign of concern happened shortly after the Harmony had
assumed orbit around the identified habitable planet in the solar
system. Mary noticed several of the Peace Keeper Operations crew
gathering around one of the maintenance terminals assigned to monitoring
the health of the starship, with one supervisor providing direction.
Mary heard the words “hull breach”, but in a tone which indicated it was
a minor affair, that which had happened before and been remedied easily
with a meteor patch. The maintenance supervisor who had been called
over delegated the responsibility and went about his business. Several
minutes passed before another Operations person called for attention,
this time slightly more urgently. Another hull breach, again minor, and
in a completely different location. Again the Operations Supervisor
delegated the responsibility to another subordinate, however this time
the supervisor stayed at the terminal. Mary noted from her station that
the super began calling up other subsystems and reviewing their status.
Most subsystems, once checked, he closed down again. However there were
several screens he kept up, and as time went on the number of screens he
kept up grew. More alarming to Mary was the growing look of panic on
the subordinate's face.
Mary opened a new screen on her own terminal and started a quick
diagnostic on the Harmony. To her horror no fewer than 20 subsystems
were now showing faults, and the list was steadily growing even as she
Thinking quickly, Mary was able to project that the ship would become
irreversibly damaged within 20 minutes, with catastrophic failure to
follow shortly thereafter. She made a quick call to the Believer
Faction’s quarters and requiring a quick “prayer service” to occur on
the C Deck, which happened to be conveniently located next to the
Harmony’s escape pods. As Mary got up from her station she noticed the
Uni technicians hurriedly moving towards the exit, followed closely by
the Hive Security Officer. So, bad news does travel fast! As Mary moved
towards the door she caught the eye of the Maintenance Supervisor, who
was still at his post. Before she could give him a warning he turned to
her and said as calmly as he could, “You’d better hurry”.

The escape pod containing the Believer Faction jettisoned from the
Harmony and began its descent to the planet below. Mary manipulated the
pod’s controls to give her and her command detachment a better view of
their starship: as the escape pod slewed around in response to Mary’s
commands it gave them a good profile of the ship, and what they saw
amazed them: it was as if the ship were slowly dissolving right before
their eyes! Huge chunks of the front section were already missing, and
the holes there were growing by the minute, while aft the damage wasn’t
as bad but was steadily getting worse. “Did we hit an antimatter field?”
she heard someone ask from behind her. “Couldn’t be” someone else
replied, “else we’d see explosions from the matter – antimatter
“Nannites!” someone else said, almost accusingly, and Mary knew they
were right! She’d heard of several Factions back in the Alpha Centauri
system who had been experimenting with nannites which could perform
menial tasks on the molecular level. What she was seeing here before her
went far beyond that however, and it made her shudder. This was science
completely unfettered, left to run amok!
What really made her soul grow cold was the thought of what they might
find on the world below, a world which they would shortly come to call”
Von Neuman’s World”.


1) In your alpha centauri/Scenarios subdirectory create a folder called
"VNW", and download and unzip the attached files into it.
2) Start up SMAX, then select "Scenario", "Play Scenario", and then go
to the subdirectory "VNW" and choose the scenario “VNW”. The game will
automatically load up with the Believers.




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