Apocalypse Package/meta

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The apocalypse package was designed using Mongoose Publishing Second Edition High Guard rules, as a TL-15 combination of a small biosphere, power plant, manufacturing plant (...of each of the four types), fuel refinery, collapsible fuel tank, and (by far the largest line item in the credit budget) a computer/35 with about MCr10 of (...mostly Expert) software. It is 10 tons, MCr50, and produces 3 spare power points in addition to the outputs listed in the article. The only "revolutionary" aspect is the miniaturization (...and resulting portability) - which, per the rules, results in a low production rate.

The limit on anagathic manufacture is a handwave based on other apparent restrictions of anagathic manufacture rate, relative to other goods at TL-15. Any high-tech item, such as spaceships, might require a slower production rate than for bulk goods, such as spare parts and food.

An apocalypse package is a mcguffin of the highest order. Actually having one can be powerful (though see next paragraph), but only on the individual scale, and then only with significant amounts of time. Having one, and time and crew to make and run many, can found pocket empires (which is rather the point, in-universe).

It is not an instant "I Win" button. It does not produce tons of weapons per minute. It is slow, and it is up to its users to put whatever it makes to good use. It is an enabler for sufficiently creative individuals, but lackluster in the hands of the unimaginative.

In the OTU this did not change history at the large scale by itself, whatever its impact on certain small groups or even worlds (...even when its sole impact was merely the result of actions taken in response to the rumor of its presence, while it was never actually there), and basically all of them were accounted for by the end of the Fourth Imperium (save a few that some adventuring groups might yet find). Though bounties were sometimes collected on apocalypse packages (...or, more often, on what was passed off as one), they were never for sale at any price measurable in credits by anyone who knew what they were.

Cian's Design Notes[edit]

  • The fuel tank, when unfolded, is good for 1000 weeks. If running off of shipboard fuel, it will use 0.1 dtons every four weeks of active use. If kept at standby mode with a full fuel tank (such as in a cache) and very minimal supplies, it will last for about 250 years if undamaged. A well-sited and supplied cache (fuel source, material source, and maintenance robots) can keep the system in working order indefinitely. However, almost all such caches have been destroyed by their security protocols in response to a security breach.
  • Refinery capacity to material output assumes a yield of about 50% for usable materials, some of which is used to maintain the systems. Higher yields don't increase the amount that can be made, but lower yields do decrease it.
  • The organics (like food, wood, and so on) are actually pseudo-organic; they have the same structure, they do the same job, they just don't have any viable genetic material in them. They could, but it would take a fairly long time to make. Their base material is from the biosphere, which grows a large collection of multi-purpose simple organisms in a nutrient slurry.
    • The package is technically capable of Biogenesis (the artificial construction of living cells). This does take a while; a batch of relatively simple cells suitable for culturing would take about 6 weeks of work. Actually making a plant (by creating seeds) would take four or five months, most of which is hoping the cell culture actually grows right on a structural scaffold. Making animals (or people) would require building a cloning laboratory to ensure their proper growth.
      • If a set of base cells (that are close enough to what is required) are available, then the genetic modification work can be done in a few days (such as modifying alien seeds to grow wheat, altering the fetus of an animal to obtain a different animal, and so on).
  • A proper cooling system for the package would be about 1 ton under ideal conditions (such as on a planet nearby a large body of water, or placed on an icy planetoid), or 5 tons in space (which, for heat dissipation, is not ideal). This is actually far larger than most people would expect, and most expect the package to get by with just the cooling systems available on a ship (which represents the base output and speed of the package); but the sheer fragility of the mechanisms in combination with the high heat output of molecular level manufacturing requires a very high capacity system if any industrial amount of work needs to be done.
    • With such a proper cooling system, output and refining would be 250% base; there is a limit to how quickly it can work. (Up to 10 tons refining, 2 tons inorganic, and 2.5 tons of organics, with approximately 0.3 to 4.3 tons of materials left over, assuming a yield of over 50%). Building and installing a cooling system would take 2 to 6 weeks, depending on how large it needs to be.
  • The input and output areas of the factory are 1 cubic meter (1000 liters or 0.074 displacement tons), and thus put a maximum size on what can be constructed as a single unit. Base refining is about 321 liters per hour, and the combined outputs is approximately 144 liters per hour (64 inorganic, 80 organic).
    • An assembly bay (robotic monitored by a sophont) constructed next to the output allows the construction of larger items from manufactured parts, and provides an effective production boost of 15% to the inorganic output. Maximum size that can be manufactured is half the bay size, and parts for the bay are 40% of its size (for example, a 10 ton bay, which allows construction of items up to 5 tons, would take 4 tons of parts). The maximum assembly bay that can be supported by the package on its own is 3 tons, and anything above this requires its own power source.
      • A proper factory setup is quite large - the ideal planetside version is 4 packages (40 tons) with cooling systems (4 tons), a 15 ton assembly bay (30 tons), 10 tons of dedicated organics precursor manufacturing, a set of mining drones or robots (10 tons), 26 tons of excess material storage, a 2 ton advanced fusion plant, 0.1 tons of fuel processing (which provides more than enough capacity), and 7.9 tons of fuel (enough for a year). Capacity, at this stage, takes advantage of the economy of scale available - 60 tons of refinery capacity (375% increase from the base refining of 4 packages), 15 tons of inorganics (468.75% increase), and 12 tons of organics (300% increase). It requires 7 crew, but the factory should have three shifts of workers to ensure maximum efficiency.

Adrian's Story Notes[edit]

Library pilots are aware of the above upgrades, and under specific orders not to do any of them aboard the Library itself. For example, a heat sink would glow on infrared like a beacon, and Library ships are supposed to hide from the unworthy. They can tell those they give a spare apocalypse package to how to add those improvements, though, as can the package's computer.

Note that the end result of the improvements is essentially a traditional, if high technology, factory able to sustain itself and grow to support its colony. This is the intended end result of the apocalypse package's designers. This usually results in substantial political power - which result the IISS was highly aware of, having seen similar incidents in history. They trained and equipped the bearers of apocalypse packages to carefully evaluate who they shared their prizes with.