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Ecorium development continued
15th Dec, 2018

Following on from my last post, here are the final stags of Ecorium development, moving beyond VotNF and into Sciror. Here things start to become a little more speculative (if that is possible!) and some fantastical elements creep in towards the end. All these Ecoria are the final development stages to get us off-world and to colonise the stars!

Stage 6 – Underwater

A redesign of the subterranean Ecorium for deep sea construction. Airlocks added, along with attached decompression chambers, and universal docking ring for coupling with submersibles. In shallow waters; humans, drones, and subs can use the airlocks. Drones are not used for maintenance of the early prototypes, but training data of humans performing maintenance was recorded for drone reference. Internally, a major overhaul of the ventilation systems was needed to allow for internal bulkheads to contain water in the case of an outer wall breach scenario. The environment system does not use free-flowing air vents. Instead, a network of compressors, pumps and valves are used to move air or liquid from one chamber to another to equalise pressure or expel liquid. This system was hard tested by blowing a 2m hole through the outer wall with a limpet mine. The shutdown saved 92% of the internal space, and once the outer wall was patched with automated (test) drones, the environment system expelled the seawater.

Deep Water

When Ecorium are constructed below 200m, SCUBA diving is considered impractical for humans. The airlocks are used exclusively by drones and subs (with a grey area of the ADS anthropomorphic submersible, but not used) All external maintenance in the deep is done by remote drones. These drones are not human-like as the environment is so hostile to humans there is no need to implement the human redundant design. If a human were to perform maintenance using an ADS (very rare), they would not use normal human hand-held tools, as ADS do not expose the hands, and instead have mechanical claws and hard-points to attach the drone tools.

Stage 7 – orbit

A rotating wheel space station with cermet based Ecorium in the ring, using centrifugal force to create a simulation of gravity. Similar to Space Station V from 2001. All building material, prefab parts, and drones are put into space using a Mass Launcher. Due to the incredibly high acceleration of objects launched using this system: it is unsuitable for astronauts. Instead, astronauts are launched into orbit using a traditional (by then) hypersonic SABRE engines.

The Ecorium is a fundamental part of the recycling of air in the life-support system. The growing-rooms house banks of sealed rack-farms to reprocess the air, and absorb carbon dioxide, and produce oxygen. All powered with Thorium Reactors, used for efficiency of fuel use and safety. The rack-farms produce food for the astronauts. Careful calculations were made to ensure sustainability, with the excess food production being incinerated to balance the system (else the CO2 will be used up, and the remaining plants die). Aeroponics uses little water, and most of the water is stored in underfloor tanks in the growing-rooms, arranged in a cell structure, where each cell can be isolated and severed from the system. Water is run through the reactor, for cooling, and to ensure the water is sterilised.

Also used in early space flight by humans with our solar system, using the principles rotational ring design. The ships used in the colonisation of Mars used this system, while the Ecoria built on the Martian surface used a variant of Stage 6.

Stage 8

Interstellar starship design. These Ecoria are spun to produce centrifugal force to act as artificial ‘gravity’. Stage 8 systems use ‘grav-plates’, based on phased-materials, which do not produce gravity! These materials were created by the Artilects.

There is a long gap between stage 7 and stage 8. While humans colonised the stars, we did not travel there using interstellar ships using stage 8 designs. Instead, it was only the machines that travelled to the stars, and when they arrived thousands of years later, they constructed humans out of base elements They wove our DNA, incubated the first generation, and then Artiloid nannies brought up this founding generation. The history of a human colony is always a fiction, designed to give humans a functioning culture and psychological stability. Most colonies think they are still on Earth and never went anywhere, completely unaware they are thousands of light years from humanity’s birth, and still dreaming of going to the stars.

For untold millennia, there was no faster way to travel between the stars. The Artilects had created warp-drives for the human expansion into space, but they could not navigate, so the program was put on indefinite hold. Suspended animation was ruled out due to the extreme timeframes of getting to the stars, as was frozen embryos (or sperm and eggs) due to vulnerability, so the machines decided to build humans once they arrived at their destination. The alternative, and less desirable, constructor ships were used. Stage 8 only became a reality when organic based psionics become noticeable on certain high-density hive worlds, and the machines discovered that some humans could sense the flow of the warp. This led to the ‘navigator’ program, selective breeding, and genetic engineering. Once a machine-human hybrid could navigate the warp, the Supremacy dominated the galaxy.

19 Responses

Hearing feedback is very important to me in developing my ideas. Much of my designs are inspired, and crafted, by chatting to fans on forums before snowballing into a full concept you'll find here. I would like to thank all those who have contributed critiques and participated in discussions over the years, and I would especially like to thank all those who commented on this specific topic. If you would like join in, you are most welcome!

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  1. Malika says:

    So Stage 8 is where we have the machines / Artilects. So up to Stage 7 we’re still dealing with ‘Near Visions of the Future’, whilst from Stage 8 onwards we’re dealing with something else.

    • Philip S says:

      Up to Stage 7 we are dealing with real science, and speculative science, and from stage 8 onward it transitions into fantasy land. The constructor ships are the last bit of speculative science: it may be possible one day to build humans from base elements, but warp-drive is off the table nonsense (at least the way I’m putting it across, though that may be my limitation of my 21st century view of things 😛 ).

      • Malika says:

        But are the Artilects already part of fantasy land, or still ‘real/speculative science’? I’m trying to sort of the ‘time blocks’ here for when stuff is near future, Supremacy time, Psidemic, Staring into the Abyss (or is that now Philhammer?).

        • Philip S says:

          The Psidemic is equivalent to the fall on 40K, and Stare into the Abyss is equivalent to current 40K. The Artilects are right on the edge of speculative science, where using genetically engineered ‘slime moulds’ to construct photonics is beyond current cutting edge technology or theoretical science. However, it is far more plausible than anything to do with the warp, which I consider the proper fantasy element. So the Artilects are in a grey area in the middle.

          • Malika says:

            Why are we still sticking with the warp though? The notion of a parallel horror dimension used for space travel might not be that relevant anymore if we’re dropping the whole 40k thing.

            • Philip S says:

              Sciror has the ‘Infinity‘ in the core game, which is basically the warp, as we need a mechanism to explain away the fantastical science elements. However, in the core game the Infinity is benign, only in scenarios ‘Psidemic’ and ‘Stare into the Abyss’ is it the 40K style warp, though with a few twists in how it works. In those scenarios it’s more like the film ‘Forbidden Planet – 1956‘ with demons of our Id, except the energy producing those demons are not from nuclear reactors by from the Infinity.

  2. Matthew Kage says:

    Cannot. Stop. My…self.

    There’s no such thing as centrifugal force–it’s centripetal acceleration. 😉

    This completely pointless and pedantic post is brought to you by me.

  3. Matthew Kage says:

    Sorry, now that I think about it, I do have a semi-useful comment that might just need pointing to older materials. Basically, with all these advanced ideas about C-blocks, underwater habitats, etc. I wonder if you have explored (or why you haven’t) transhumanism?

  4. Matthew Kage says:

    One thing that might allow some overlap in our discussions (assuming that I can get back to it), is with the “Shadowrun Apocalypse” setting. The gist in that setting is that “magic” is a field that waxes and wanes on a sinusoidal pattern (with some blips every now and again). When it is at its maxima, nasty gribblies are able to come across astral barriers and generally make a nasty mess of everything. Riffing from the “Hellgate: London” setting, this tends to happen in cities first because, well… Magic. Call it high populations or whatever.

    The gribblies are primarily astral/spirits, but they also create constructs. That means they get to recycle in interesting ways all the useful bodies (recently dead and otherwise).

    In the setting, Earth is a natural barrier to the gribblies (or Horrors). It’s an Astral thing. So, basically, people hid underground–malls (not too successful), tube/vacc stations etc. Obviously they’re not ideal living situations, so in the early days there’s lots of reccies for food/etc. But over time, I’m imagining that it would be possible using the technology of the era to do something more.

    I think that the C-block concept could be used as obvious inspiration, but wondered how you thought that it would play out?

    Ha ha. Now I need that ‘blog you were talking about. 😉

    Best regards,

    Matthew

    • Philip S says:

      I think it would work just fine, and like all sci-fi and fantasy it’s easy to tie it into the Sciror framework. In this case it’s already partially done;

      Call it high populations or whatever.

      This matches the Psidemic. Where humans are latent Psykers and packing them into high-density cities is asking for trouble. The phenomena revolves around the population becoming in ‘sync’ in their thoughts, a popular tv program will do that or a totalitarian regime, this creates a link to the Infinity and BANG! One person becomes the focus, and gains super powers to reshape reality, twisted by the demons of their Id (Forbidden Planet ref).

      Ha ha. Now I need that ‘blog you were talking about.

      I’m still looking into options for the multi-fan site, as Fandom Website has a lot to offer.

      In the mean time, if there is something you’d like to present, name the setting, and I’ll post it on the blog to focus the conversation?

      • Matthew Kage says:

        Kewl beans, Philip. At the moment, I’m actually more interested in your perspective upon the shift from ersatz facilities into a C-block-inspired long-term facility.

        With that said, I’m not ignoring your other comments. In fact your “Psidemic” reminds me of a setting for the EABA game system.

        • Philip S says:

          Shifting from ‘ersatz facilities’ (I’m unfamiliar with the term, but I think I know what you mean within context)to C-block using the setup you have is tricky. Building C-Blocks takes a lot of resources, and if humans were forced underground before the C-Blocks were made, that will make gathering those resources very difficult. The quickest solution is that the C-Blocks already existed, and only those who were residents in C-Blocks, or had access (overcrowding?), survived a ‘Psidemic’ event (‘Hellgate: London’ can be classed as a psidemic event).

          If you do not like that change to your setting, perhaps we can go with fully functioning drone tech to run about the surface for us? Humanoid drones turn up much earlier in the Sciror timeline than the stage 5 subterranean C-Blocks. It would be possible to salvage a drone station and take it down into the London Tube system and using relays to the surface to control it. An issue would be new builds and maintenance, and explaining that away might be tough – high tech requires too much infrastructure.

          Going back to the first option: C-Blocks exist already, and are linked into the London Underground, and the C-Blocks already have links to other resource and production facilities. Here the story arc can be the PCs fleeing into the London Underground and trying to get to a C-Block. If they make it, the setting can be expanded, and you can introduce new hardware through military support (PCs are drafted?)? For this set up to seem plausible, most of the resources would be warehoused goods, unless we have Elon’s Hyperloop connecting mines thousands of miles away to the C-Blocks.

          • Matthew Kage says:

            Shifting from ‘ersatz facilities’ (I’m unfamiliar with the term, but I think I know what you mean within context)

            Oh, it’s basically the use of a substitute, generally inferior for a thing. Horrifyingly, I first heard the term in a GCSE history class in reference to the objects/materials that were made from resources, ah, “recovered” from the concentration camps and the victim of the Holocaust. It’s one of the reasons that the word has stuck in my mind.

            …to C-block using the setup you have is tricky. Building C-Blocks takes a lot of resources, and if humans were forced underground before the C-Blocks were made, that will make gathering those resources very difficult. The quickest solution is that the C-Blocks already existed…

            Well, I guess to a certain extent you could use the design as part of an ‘arcology,’ but in this case because of the nature of the gribblies and the metaphysics of the universe, I’m not sure that it would work as-is. As the event is–mostly–an unknown, building something like that goes against the theme/aesthetics, which are very much born out of Terminator- and HGL-esque imagery. Some Final Fantasy: Spirits Within might also contribute…

            I admit, that there’s a certain amount of fudging, here, but only because of the themes.

            Something like the C-Blocks might give a bit more credence to the notion of long-term “kaers” in the setting, so that’s cool. This is something that could have been done in advance (as the Scourge is a known thing to them), but care is going to have to be taken to make sure that it doesn’t happent too perfectly. After all, why the know of the coming of the Scourge, to have it work in the setting it has to be a tad early–almost 5,000 years too early. 😉

            If you do not like that change to your setting, perhaps we can go with fully functioning drone tech to run about the surface for us?

            Drones are very definitely a thing in the setting. Indeed, one of the “classes” of characters in the setting is known as “riggers” that are associated with such activities.

            With that said, it’s an RPG setting, so you need an excuse for certain adventurous characters to go above ground and risk everything for the remnants of the old world and things that are necessary in the colony. So the kind of people that are “Shadowrunners” in the pre-gribbly period are the people that are going to go out and about for a look-see.

            There are some things that need to be thought about, some hands waved over some of the contradictions, but it’s nice to chat.

            …high tech requires too much infrastructure.

            Aye. We’re very much in the “zombie apocalypse” place here but… It’s the Shadowrun setting. Things get a little bit easier with that.

            Going back to the first option: C-Blocks exist already, and are linked into the London Underground, and the C-Blocks already have links to other resource and production facilities.

            That’s not going to have legs. The real question is what technologies are transportable for maintaining long-term living?

            For this set up to seem plausible, most of the resources would be warehoused goods, unless we have Elon’s Hyperloop connecting mines thousands of miles away to the C-Blocks.

            There are, indeed, vacuum trains…

            • Philip S says:

              I think this gets to the heart of why I wanted to create Sciror as a framework in the first place. It seems like all the foundational elements of your setting are already in Sciror ‘as is’, and you could simply branch off a scenario from the main Sciror timeline – using it as a springboard for your setting.

              In other words: you follow the vanilla timeline up to stage 5, using all the reasons for creating stage 5 from Sciror (as the humans do not know what is coming), and then jump ship before stage 6. This means everything after stage 6 from the vanilla Sciror timeline can be ignored.

              Doing it this way, Shadowrun Apocalypse adds a ‘what if’ into the Sciror mix. It’s basically writing a ‘mega scenario’ for Sciror, an alternate timeline (in the same way that Blood Bowl is in Warhammer, but not 100% WHFB). The benefit is that you have a consistent foundation for your setting, and you can concentrate on the fun bit: destroying everything I created! 😛 Or more seriously, it provides a constraint that stimulates creativity (after all, reality is the biggest constraint we have, and humans are very creative in overcoming that!).

              To rationalise Shadowrun Apocalypse into the whole of Sciror: the ‘what if’ parameter is lowering the threshold as to when Psykers trigger a Psidemic event. This could be due to either humans being more powerful latent Psykers, or the ability of the collective human will to connect to the Infinity is much greater, or maybe a mix of both. Once triggered early, the timeline changes.

              What you crate could also work in later scenarios. History repeats. A ‘Shadowrun Apocalypse’ could happen on any world that has stage 5 C-Blocks/ Ecorium.

              And thanks for clarifying the term ‘ersatz facilities’. It’s a good term.

  5. Malika says:

    “Instead, it was only the machines that travelled to the stars, and when they arrived thousands of years later, they constructed humans out of base elements They wove our DNA, incubated the first generation, and then Artiloid nannies brought up this founding generation.”
    Maybe check out the movie ‘I Am Mother’?

    As for space travel, maybe I am a bit of a softy about this stuff, but I was kinda hoping for a phase of early human space travel in which humanity left Earth on its own (so without the Machines doing it for them). Perhaps this could be the case for the colonization of the solar system. Think of series such as The Expanse for how this could take place. Basically a Stage 6 or 7 Ecorium.

    Another scenario I’d like to explore are generational ships, these could be smaller versions of the Eldar Craftworlds. The humans build these to leave the solar system on their own. It’s possible that there are whole bunch of them out there, travelling between stars. During the Machines’ exodus (Stage 8 Ecorium) it’s possible that some Machine fleets catch up with these ships and absorb them into the fleet, other cases could be that the generation ship runs into a Machine built colony, with the Machines then trying to absorb the ship into the colony. Another option is that the Machines will run into a colony established by a generational ship. Perhaps this is something to also include in the Mars Accord…

    • Philip S says:

      I have not seen ‘I Am Mother’ so I’ll check it out 🙂

      Humanity conquer our solar system, and I imagine we send out generational ships before the rise of the Artilects. The first Artilect is Mars, so we have to get their first, on our own. Machine learning helps, but the machines are not in charge.

      In the beginning of interstellar expansion there are no warp drives. Warp drives, or blink drives, are complicated even for the global Artilect of Mars to figure out. Our solar system becomes littered with precursor and failed experiments. Due to the lag before FTL turns up, we can have a ‘hard sci-fi’ start to the Sciror timeline 😉

    • Philip S says:

      I watched ‘I am mother‘ last night and it was an interesting how it was put together. It’s amazing what the decreasing cost of CGI is doing for smaller studios. I like the design, with mother reminding me of DARPA robots. The story was a little old hat, but competently told, and enjoyable. I also like the fact it took it’s time.

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