• Published 2nd May 2013
  • 75,890 Views, 7,366 Comments

Stardust - Arad

Can Twilight earn the trust and friendship of people who are by nature suspicious and hostile to anything that isn't 'human'?

  • ...

Gate of Babylon




PROJECTID: Gate of Babylon
TYPE: Various
ROLE: Various
DESCRIPTION: Analysis and Practical Application of Theoretical Designs Provided By Stardust
RELATED PROJECTS: Fragarach, Kaleidoscope, Ea, Gae Bolg, Excalibur, Rho Aias, Medusa, Enkidu, Zabaniya, Mjolnir
Attached Files: Personal Notes by Chief Engineer Charles Shen, Images of Research Material provided by Stardust

Personal Notes follow:

NEW RECORD: 21:12, 05/07/2015

After the recent series of breakthroughs sent to the Foundry from Stardust, I made the decision to create a ‘parent project’ to ensure the easy access and review of all ongoing projects that have thus far been inspired by those breakthroughs. The roles of the child projects are manifold but all involve the precise application of Elerium Circuits (EC) that was first discovered by the previously mentioned research team.

The materials we received were for dozens of EC patterns that create very specific effects when combined with the end result of the Ea project. Patterns thus far identified have included telekinesis, teleportation, x-ray, animation, and near invisibility. The author of the research material also included several ways to modify the EC patterns to allow signal input or feedback to ensure adequate control, or in the worst case, a safety cut-off.

The child projects under Gate of Babylon are the following, and may be updated as further developments present themselves:

1.) Fragarach – Prototype Interceptor Weapon System using EC Teleportation
2.) Kaleidoscope – Mass Teleporter using EC Teleportation
3.) Ea – Elerium-Based Power Generation and Storage System using EC Energy Generation
4.) Gae Bolg – Prototype Infantry Weapon System using EC Telekinesis
5.) Excalibur – Prototype Infantry Ordinance Delivery System using EC Telekinesis
6.) Rho Aias – Prototype Infantry Personal Defense System using EC Shield
7.) Medusa – SCOPE Enhancement using EC X-Ray
8.) Enkidu – Prototype Non-Lethal Anti-Personnel Device using EC Animation
9.) Zabaniya – Prototype Infantry Armor System using EC Wallflower
10.) Mjolnir – Prototype Remote Control Interface using implants based on those recovered from Project [REDACTED] and EC Animation

The engineering team has quite high hopes, especially since the ideas previously listed were theorized with just an hour to look at the research material. We suspect further developments will become apparent as we continue to categorize all that was sent to us.

On a more personal note I should also explain that naming conventions going forward are going to be a bit more deliberate. When the scope of the discoveries became apparent, one of the younger engineers started making suggestions. ‘Gate of Babylon’ was in reference to an ancient Sumerian king who hoarded great riches and legendary weapons in a massive vault, and it seemed appropriate. The automated name generator in our computers came up with ‘Exploding Face’, so I chose to go with the former over the latter.

I also hope the scientist responsible for the breakthroughs in the Stardust labs knows what she’s doing. A note was enclosed with the research material that has me a little worried, so I’ll have to remember to bring it up with her when we go about activating the Ea project for the first time. I just hope that she doesn’t come to regret this in the long term. It would be a terrible shame if she got into trouble for arming third world nations with her knowledge, after all.



PROJECTID: Kaleidoscope
TYPE: Base Structure
ROLE: Rapid Transportation
DESCRIPTION: Mass Teleportation Chamber using EC Teleport

NEW RECORD: 22:00, 05/07/2015

A logical extension of the Fragarach project is the use of teleportation to transport equipment and troops to distant locations quickly and without the risks associated with their transit through conventional means. Alien craft have demonstrated the capacity for teleporting living beings safely, and the nature of the expert in the Stardust lab seems to indicate that such methods of travel are viable over extreme distances as well.

Kaleidoscope is purely in the theoretical stage at this point, as significant amounts of Elerium will be needed to construct the chamber. While we likely have enough on hand to begin construction and likely finish it as well, it would leave our stores of the precious element depleted to a dangerous degree. Another complication is that Kaleidoscope would require the Ea project to be completed and running successfully due to the unique mechanics of EC technology.

Due to these two concerns, Kaleidoscope is being assessed as low priority until more Elerium can be secured and Ea is up and running.



TYPE: Base Structure
ROLE: Power Production
DESCRIPTION: Elerium-Based Power Generator and Battery Systems

NEW RECORD: 08:00, 05/03/2015

Interestingly enough, this development was born from the basic design of an implant found in some of the most diminutive of the invaders. Apparently when Elerium is crafted into a very specific pattern it is able to generate energy that can then be converted into mechanical or electrical power; or even more exotic forms if the rumors are to be believed.

The only weakness we were able to find in the theory is that the circuits will overheat if they are used to channel this power for too long. If they overheat, they burn and are rendered useless. As such, we’ve devised a method to create several smaller circuits that rotate in and out of use to allow proper cooling and recovery while the other circuits are engaged.

Another hurdle that we’ll need to overcome is that we will likely need the specialist from the Stardust lab to be present during activation due to the unique nature of the technology. As there are some security concerns with this particular specialist, arrangements will have to be made so the specialist can assist without interference from personnel that aren’t aware of the details of the Stardust Project.

Estimated building time for this structure is approximately nine days.

UPDATED: 23:02, 05/07/2015

Due to the new breakthroughs from the Stardust Labs, this project has been attached to the Gates of Babylon parent project, and the scope of the project has been expanded.

Recent breakthroughs have revealed a way to store the unique energy generated by Ea in its raw form without converting it into more conventional electrical energy. This unique energy can be used to power some of the more exotic developments that are now in development, including the end result of the Fragarach weapon system already in testing. The batteries as designed should be reusable, but they do use Elerium in their construction so if they are to be made for infantry-scale devices we will have to be clear that any spent batteries should be kept for recharging.

Prototypes will be fabricated for the first version of batteries as soon as Ea is operational. Estimates on completion are approximately a week from now, and we foresee no problems other than any that might come from the initial startup of the generator. As the Ea project is required for almost all projects in Gate of Babylon, a smooth start-up is becoming an increasingly high priority.



TYPE: Infantry Weapon System, Interceptor Weapon System
ROLE: Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, Pistol, Air to Air Anti-Ship
DESCRIPTION: Projectile Weapon System Using EC Telekinesis, (Updated:12:10, 05/08/2013) EC Telekinetic Weapon System.

NEW RECORD: 06:30, 05/08/2015

Gae Bolg was described as a spear that, once thrown would never fail to pierce the heart of its target. A rather apt description for the weapon system we’re hoping to create.

As some of the engineering staff are aware, the damage to the base originating from the Stardust Labs could be considered the original proof of concept for this weapon. It is believed that a projectile thrown with the telekinetic effect created by specific EC circuitry can attain a level of armor penetration that is unheard of in infantry-scale weapons. As the projectile in the proof of concept test penetrated several levels of steel and concrete without spalling despite being a very brittle material, it is believe that so long as the telekinetic effect is maintained the projectile itself will not deform in any way despite what it hits. We will also not be using Elerium projectiles, as we suspect they may be too effective. For this test a significantly less rare copper slug will be used for the initial test.

The theories behind the EC telekinetics are rather simple to the point where they might be described as programming with cause and effect. For this particular test, the EC will be the following when it is activated:

Move the copper slug(A) from the firing chamber(B) at a velocity of 900 m/s(C) for 1000m(D) past the starting point. The variables in the EC programming are (A) the projectile, (B) the starting point, (C) the velocity and (D) the destination or distance.

As the Ea generator or batteries aren’t available yet, we’ll be using the salvaged Elerium generator from the Fragarach test to power the prototype. Initial testing will take place inside one of the surface warehouses rather than in the base’s subterranean sections. If the weapon critically fails (or critically succeeds) I’d rather not have to patch several walls that are perforated as a result.

UPDATE: 12:10, 05/08/2015

The first testing of Gae Bolg is complete, and the results were unanticipated. We may have unintentionally created a far more effective weapon due to a programming error. But before those unanticipated results can be shared, some explanation is required to describe just where the programming error occurred and how it altered the weapon.

There were initially some valid concerns regarding power consumption if the projectile’s dimensions weren’t described in the initial programming, so some last minute changes were made before the first test. The intended projectile dimensions were that of a cylinder, two inches long with a half-inch diameter. Once the modifications were made we test fired the weapon.

The anticipated result was that the copper slug would penetrate several prefabricated cement walls so we could gauge the degree of penetration as well as the amount of power needed for consistent results. What actually occurred was that a half-inch diameter hole was punched out of every one of the walls between the weapon and the ending point 1000m away before the copper slug left the weapon.

When I say ‘punched’, I mean literally. Six walls were installed for the test and placed at two-foot intervals perpendicularly, and six half-inch diameter cement cylinders were found scattered at the end of the firing range along with the copper slug. High-speed cameras show that all six walls were perforated at the exact moment of activation and the six cement cylinders could be seen flying out of their respective points of origin.

The source of this error was in the programming. The intention was to program the specifics of the projectile being shot, and the diameter was set correctly however the length was for whatever reason set as the same range as the distance/destination. The end result was that everything in a half inch diameter cylinder one kilometer long was pushed one kilometer away from the weapon instantly.

Thus far the only downside was the staggering power requirement for the shot. The one shot caused our salvaged Elerium Generator to burn out, which will unfortunately curtail any further testing until Ea is fully operational.

The following are the future plans for the Gae Bolg project, including current issues with the system, future development plans, and other miscellaneous information.

1.) Use of solid projectiles is scrapped for Gae Bolg, as the current system has proven far more effective without them.
a. Specialty munitions launched with a similar system will be explored with the Excalibur project.
2.) Range-finding equipment will be developed and integrated into the firing mechanism. As the current theory is that the power supply was burned due to the range and degree of penetration in the initial test, if the attack range can be restrained to something like 'target range+1.5m' the penetrating power can still be useful while not destroying energy supplies.
3.) Recording devices were able to calculate the amount of heat generated in the circuits by the shot, and we have reached the conclusion that the safest sustained rate of fire is 40rmp which makes it unsuitable for the role of light machine gun but satisfactory for other roles.
a. Rapid fire rates could be pushed to nearly 400rpm but the estimates show the gun would burn out after 6 seconds of sustained firing. The option for burst fire is there, but full auto may have to be scrapped.
4.) Due to the exceedingly strong performance of the initial test shot, I recommend halting production on all laser weaponry other than the multi-lasers. The Multi-lasers (or heavy lasers as the other engineers call them) can maintain the rates of fire that the Gae Bolg system cannot without the heating issues, so production will continue until such a time that the heat issues come under control.
5.) As the weapon affects all points from origin to destination instantly and the unique nature of the damage it does, it is felt that this would make an excellent counterpart to the Fragarach weapon system currently in development for Interceptors. While the Fragarach is capable of delivering explosive ordinance instantly to a target, Gae Bolg can deliver damage the moment a trigger is pulled rather than having to worry about a lengthy warm-up time.
a. Even though Gae Bolg does relatively little damage, a hull puncture produced by the weapon would render the smaller invader ships incapable of returning to space as the smaller ships do not have the internal bulkheads and airlocks to prevent decompression. It is unknown just how effective their 'energy door' technology is and if they can seal breaches of this nature so we'll just have to hope for the best and be sure to analyze every bit of information the Interceptors get us while in the field.

Once the first batch of these weapons are completed and provided to the Strike teams, we'll finally be able to more effectively counter some of the heavier aliens that are being fielded against us as well as the new mechanized units.

One thing does have me concerned, though. Stardust has confirmed that Elerium reacts in various ways when it comes into contact with exotic forms of energy. The 'Cyberdisk' wrecks we've found have had a significant amount of Elerium Circuitry of their own. What will happen when the telekinetic effect of our weapons connects with the Elerium Circuitry of the Cyberdisks? I'd be excited for the answer if only our boys didn't have to get in harm's way to get it.



PROJECTID: Excalibur
TYPE: Infantry Weapon System
ROLE: Shotgun/Grenade Launcher
DESCRIPTION: Specialized Projectile Weapon System using EC Telekinesis

NEW RECORD: 08:00, 05/09/2015

Excalibur was originally a secondary project to Gae Bolg, but recent changes in the nature of that project necessitated the split.

The theory for the Excalibur weapon system is still sound: A projectile launched with EC Telekinesis will penetrate all forms of resistance so long as the power source for EC is maintained. The projectile under its effects will also resist (as far as we are able to determine at this time) all damage and spalling that results from impacts with objects. As a result we feel that we can create infantry-portable breaching weapons capable of penetrating the walls of structures or even the hulls of the alien ships with little to no risk to the soldiers.

As the first test of the Gae Bolg weapon taught us, a range finder will be essential for the proper operation of the weapon without burning the energy supplies. To penetrate barriers, the 'range' portion of the EC would be set to 'target range + 2 meters' to ensure adequate penetration into the target area, though testing may see that number adjusted.

Another use for the range finder may be for the opposite. As projectiles are held in their launched state until the EC Telekinesis is removed, our engineers theorized that we could create a sabot projectile containing flechettes or ball bearings. The moment the EC effect disappates, the sabot would deploy and disperse the payload.

I suggested the payload of the projectile be comprised of the alien alloys that we recover from thee alien ships, as their durability would make them extremely destructive when moving at sufficient velocities. The main reason we haven't used alien alloys for projectiles in the past is specifically because of that durability: they would often destroy the barrels of test weapons we produced to launch them.

Designs are already on the drawing board for the initial Excalibur prototypes and their projectiles, but we won't be able to test it until the Ea project is complete.



TYPE: Infantry Equipment
ROLE: Personal Defense
DESCRIPTION: Modular Shield System using EC Shield

NEW RECORD: 09:52, 05/09/15

The Rho Aias system is something that we hope will dramatically increase the survivability of our troops in the field. The initial research material describes a barrier created with the exotic energy source created by the Ea project that can interdict various hostile or harmful attacks. It is uncertain as to the exact nature of 'hostile or harmful attacks' as we cannot test yet, but the research materials seem to indicate that projectiles and harmful amounts of energy (like lasers or plasma in theory) would be blocked.

The initial EC design was for a dome shield around the point of origin that would protect from every direction, but modifications have been planned to turn this into a directional shield to conserve energy as well as enhance the durability of the shield itself. Prevailing theory is that if all the energy is concentrated into a forward-facing shield rather than dispersed in a dome, it can block more incoming fire.

The other engineers are a bit stymied as to just how Rho Aias will block the incoming projectiles, or even if it can. After all, bullets, lasers and plasma (and now Gae Bolg) all operate under radically different rules for how they deliver harm to their targets. I have faith that the final product will work as intended, though. The expert working with Stardust is quite thorough and I suspect she would have put the most work into this particular development to save lives.

Designs for Rho Aias are mainly forearm-mounted, and if the EC code is programmed correctly will project a shield approximately five feet fall and three feet wide. The size may change once the power draw is measured. As to the appearance and opacity of the shield we can only speculate as we will need to wait for the Ea project to produce batteries before testing may begin.

UPDATE: 10:12, 05/09/2015

Further analysis may have unraveled the strengths and limitations of Rho Aias when it comes to what it stops exactly.

The ‘Shield’ portion of the EC diagram has seven distinct parts. These parts describe just what is protected by the Rho Aias system. The parts include kinetic, temperature extremes (heat and cold separately), as well as several effects that are produced by EC devices. Kinetic damage as well as heat extremes pretty well covers anything our troops could theoretically encounter in the field, but it seems the Stardust specialist is being very thorough. I don't think we'll have to worry about forceful transformation or 'Discord' but its nice to know she's thought of everything.



TYPE: SCOPE Enhancement
ROLE: Target Acquisition
DESCRIPTION: SCOPE Upgrade for Target Acquisition in Low/No Visibility conditions using EC X-Ray

NEW RECORD: 11:10, 05/09/2015

Medusa is likely going to be the simplest of the projects to come from Gate of Babylon. One of the EC diagrams provided by Stardust was for an effect that can best be described as ‘X-Ray’; the ability to see through solid matter to parts beyond. The EC pattern is quite easy to interpret and allows for inputs for zoom and an easy output to any electronic display.

I imagine this when combined with the planned sniper variant of the Gae Bolg weapon system will be a rather fearsome combination.

Unfortunately, like most of the other projects it depends upon Ea’s completion so no further developments can be made until an adequate power supply can be secured.



TYPE: Infantry Equipment
ROLE: Non-Lethal Anti-Personnel
DESCRIPTION: Self-Propelled Guided Munition for High-Value Target Capture using Various EC techniques

NEW RECORD: 10:30, 05/09/2015

Enkidu is another product of the Foundry that I suspect will make the research teams and the Strike teams very happy, as it provides a slightly less risky alternative to the ARC thrower for capturing live targets.

Rough drafts of Enkidu place the device at approximately the size of a softball and contain four distinct parts: EC Telekinesis for locomotion after initial deployment, EC Animation for target acquisition, a power cell provided by Ea, and a high-voltage discharge system similar to the ARC thrower.

Enkidu is deployed in much the same manner as a grenade by simply tossing it. As soon as the device leaves the soldier’s hand it activates its EC Animation program, which starts to scan along its trajectory for specific targets. We believe we can get very specific as to what will trigger the second stage, but for now the condition is simply ‘not human’ until we can get testing prototypes going. As soon as a target matching EC Animation’s criteria is discovered, it feeds information into EC Telekinesis to propel Enkidu directly at the target. The moment contact is made, the internal ARC thrower will discharge and hopefully subdue the target.

While Enkidu may be used in a similar manner as a grenade, we should also emphasize that it is reusable and also contains valuable Elerium, so recovery after use is paramount.



TYPE: Infantry Armor System, Skyranger Upgrade
ROLE: Camouflage
DESCRIPTION: Limited Visual Stealth System using EC Wallflower

NEW RECORD: 10:30, 05/10/2015

The Zabaniya project caused quite a stir with the engineering staff once the nature of the Elerium Circuits was revealed, and I can't say I blame them. I know I'm going to regret putting it down in writing, but invisibility is the stuff of science fiction and a large portion of the engineering staff was willing to shelf this project completely because of it.

When the seriousness of their concerns became apparent, I pulled some strings and had the armor camera footage from Gangplank and Silent Rain shown for the staff. Both Sgt. Harris and Cpl. Jenkins had access to Wallflower prototypes with them during both missions due to their involvement with the Stardust project and provided ample evidence of the effectiveness of the system.

The one weakness that we could verify from that footage was that it was completely ineffective against the Cyberdisk once it appeared. I consulted with Moira Vahlen and she was able to confirm that Wallflower does not affect electronic equipment (and by extension Cyberdisks) in any way. When I asked if the Stardust specialist was aware of the weakness, Moira informed me that she was not. After Wallflower was initially developed it was felt that keeping that little bit of information secret would be a good way to maintain base security. I don't think we can tell the specialist now about the weakness as she would likely blame herself for the deficiency in her invention especially after the catastrophic injury suffered by Cpl. Jenkins while using Wallflower.

As there is no way to modify the schemata of the Elerium Circuitry without the specialist's aid, we will be moving forward with the designs we currently have while making it perfectly clear what the weaknesses are to anyone who uses it.

Testing can be completed once the Ea project is complete, and current plans are to integate the fruits of the Zabaniya project into the most recent armor designs that are in production. The newly produced 'Carapace' armor has shown some resistance to plasma weaponry and will aid in soldier survivability and has ample room for the Zabaniya and its required power supply to be added for even more versatility. Once these 'Chameleon' armor sets are distributed, I hope to see far less casualties after each mission.

Another use for Zabaniya is on our Skyrangers. The Skyrangers have stealth characteristics to allow them to avoid most conventional radar and detection systems, but they are still vulnerable to the old fashioned mark one eyeball. XCOM has received some rather high profile attention when it's been forced to operate in urban areas, since the Skyranger's are not too subtle when they land and take off. It's unknown just how effective this will be with the degree of noise and other physical disturbances that a VTOL craft makes when close to the ground, but it is worth pursuing if we can stay off the front page of newspapers in doing so, not to mention avoiding the attention of invader ground forces as well. They have proven to be quite effective as close air support; heaven knows how effective they'll be when they're invisible to most enemies we face.

As with the previous projects, this depends on Ea's successful completion before further progress can be made.



TYPE: Infantry Equipment
ROLE: Remote Control Interface
DESCRIPTION: Precision Guidance and Control of Devices powered by EC Animation

NEW RECORD: 07:42, 05/11/2015

I have pitched the Mjolnir system to the engineering team as a remote control system used to operate machinery and devices that are powered specifically with EC Animation. If the degree of control and the articulation of the devices aren’t exaggerated then we’ll start to see some very interesting developments in the field of robotics.

To elaborate, there are three discreet parts in the Mjolnir system. The first and second are implants similar to those found in the invaders while the third is a device that is under the effects of EC Animation. The first implant will interface with the user’s mind to provide power akin to a micro-scale Ea generator to power the second implant, which broadcasts the user’s intent to EC Animation for direction. EC Animation also draws power from the first implant which should, in theory, provide more than enough power to move on its own.

Unlike previous research materials provided by Stardust which were diagrams and explanations of various EC phenomena, the materials for Mjolnir also included detailed plans for the proof of concept for the project. Specifically, it involves the creation of a prosthetic limb for Lana Jenkins, who lost her left arm during Gangplank. In addition to the EC Animation diagrams, a detailed blueprint of the prosthetic itself was included along with a side-by-side comparison of the bone and muscle structure of a human arm. Where the Stardust specialist got something like that I have no idea.

Also included was a list of suggested materials and construction methods for the prosthetic itself. I’ll be the first to admit the Stardust specialist is an unrivaled genius in her chosen field but she’s quite lacking in others. Most of her suggested materials aren’t going to be feasible due to weight or durability concerns, and the arm itself lacks anything that will actually cause the arm to move besides EC Animation. No hydraulics. No cables. There isn’t even a single inch of wiring. The conventional engineer in me thinks this is going to end up as so much dead weight.

Of course, this specialist has pulled off impossible things in the past. I’m confident that when this is completed we’ll see something extraordinary.

I don’t want to think about the aftermath if it doesn’t work. I had to sanitize the original blueprints as they had a personal letter to me from the Stardust specialist that makes me worry about her mental state if this turns out to be anything but a total success.

UPDATE: 12:02, 05/11/2015

After securing Lana’s consent to the operation, we began fabrication of both the custom implants as well as the prosthetic. Fabrication is expected to be completed by the end of the day and the operation is scheduled for tomorrow for installation. We’ll hopefully have our answer to this question by noon tomorrow.

If it does work, it opens up some possibilities for some of our more offensively aligned technologies. If there is insignificant or no time lag then I imagine we might be able to create a second generation of interceptors that do not risk the expertise and lives of our pilots in the field. SHIVs may also become far more nimble in the field if it is an extension of its controller’s body rather than its current method of control.

The possibilities are quite enticing, but I don’t know if I like what it will cost us. While these technologies will make our lives much easier and less risky I can’t think of a single healthy person who would volunteer to get these implants. And I’m also greatly worried about the specialist in Stardust, and what motivated her to share all this information with us so suddenly. The Ea project generator is nearing completion; I’ll try to approach the subject gently when I see her there. I hope she’s not overworking herself.