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How self-sufficient is Horizon?


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We had a Revolution round earlier today where the idea was that FTL travel would be impossible for five years, so we were stranded.

I realized during this round that we actually don't have much lore on how self-sufficient the Horizon is. Sure, we get deliveries every few days, and Ops gets FTL shuttles... but without them, would we be a.) annoyed, b.) seriously hampered, or c.) dead?

So here's my best guess.

To survive in space, provided there are planets or asteroids nearby, Horizon needs:

1. Water. Can be harvested from asteroids or planets, presumably. Can also be recycled.

2. Food. Can be grown, with biogenerators making meat for Unathi and fertilizer for the next crop.

3. Air. Oxygen can be harvested from planets, or taken from sand (i.e., silicon dioxide). The atmos system conserves gas as best it can, as well.

4. Power. Requires either supermatter and coolant, or nuclear fuel. Requires mining.

5. Propellant and fuel for shuttles, because we need to mine to sustain ourselves. We can't get phoron from mining, so that could be a problem.

6. Spare parts, weapons, and supplies that can't be manufactured onboard. We do have autolathes and protolathes, but they can't make everything. How long until something critical wears out?

7. Medicine and other chemicals. Same issue as the spare parts, except that some meds can be refined from plants. But some can't.

Thoughts? What can we do without those handy Ops FTL shuttles, and what can't we? Could we survive for weeks with no help--or years?

Edited by chaotic_idealism
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I think we'd be fine on food and water for ages, assuming it's managed well and nothing critical breaks down (which would be part of #6 more than 1 or 2)

The recycling of oxygen is possible, but just not modelled mechanically in-game. We can recycle oxygen from CO2 at about 50% efficiency today, so I don't think it's unreasonably to assume we've gotten really efficient at that over the 400 years between here and the Horizon.

For power, I don't think the SM actually consumes any of the fuel? I'm checking with my engineering main friends now, but even if it does run out, you could just set up a lot of solars before the SM ran out. Definitely would be in low-power mode on solars, though

Shuttle fuel would fuel and spare parts would be the big issue. Assuming miners are really careful, don't make excessive trips, and bring back good hauls, we could build up an impressive stockpile. And the limit on what can be lathed would mean some stuff is irreplaceable (but I can't think of anything survival-vital that couldn't be replaced)

Medicine would be another issue, since from my brief looking we'd only be able to get a plant supply of bicaridine and kelotane (unless we're counting the debatably canon antics of xenobotanists, in which case it's possible that we'd be swimming in rezadone before the FTL-ban hits)

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To what was said above about the SM lines,

our SM engine is a type of Thermoelectric Generator (TEG). The gas put into the lines is there as a medium of thermal exchange, not exactly as a fuel.

The electricity used to initially energize (via emitter) the SM crystal, run the freezers (which could theoretically be replaced with piping that goes outside to the frigid void of space, at the cost of creating a point of vulnerability), and run the pumps, is the real 'fuel' input here.

The SM crystal heats the gas, the hot gas pipes eventually run next to cold gas pipes, and the temperature difference is used to generate EMF across a conductive material presumably inside the generator boxes. Then the resulting current is output. The only risk that I can think of for that gas to run out is due to workplace accident or potentially some of it leeching out from pipes over a relatively long period (think refrigerant in AC units, but even a bit less volatile).

(I could be mistaken: real engineer mains, feel free to correct me.)

Edited by Duthco
If I'm wrong, let it be corrected.
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The Scarab Fleet numbers hundreds of purpose built or repurposed vessels and is not self sufficient yet, the Horizon with an order of magnitude less people and ships could not be self sufficient. 

As for the Supermatter Duth, any gas in the hot loop directly enters the chamber, and about 0.05 to 0.1% of it is burnt in every rotation through the chamber, so eventually you'd run out of hydrogen gas long term. Not including the fact that while not represented mechanically, the TEGs would require constant maintenance and the Horizon only has so many spare parts

EDIT: 
As it stands in the bridge readouts for the sector at the start of each round, drydock is important for repairs and resupplies. It says how long the vessel has been out and how long until dock. I don't think the time it has been out is ever longer than a month 

Edited by Lmwevil
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Hey, a question I've actually thought about! Here are my thoughts...

Harvesting water from planets/asteroids would be pretty inefficient, considering that it'd require fuel. Chances are that the Horizon has a pretty robust water recycling system... off-screen, because dealing with "making sure the ship has potable water" would excite only a small number of people and be a headache to put "in the game." I imagine that the ship is pretty efficient at recycling water, if not perfect, since this is the far-future year of 2465 and that'd be a huge frickin' deal, especially when it comes to a long-range survey ship like the Horizon. Running out of the water in the middle of nowhere kills everyone faster than running out of food, since you can draw lots to eat employees if that happens and sustain a small number of people --- presumably enough to keep the ship running. It'd also make the ship more fuel-efficient. Less crewmembers is less weight. More thrust!

That said, I really doubt it's self-sufficient on food. The hydroponics lab isn't that big and I assume that the abbreviated grow times are just so botanist isn't boring to play. There's probably a place on the ship were non-perishables are stored, because obviously, right? You wouldn't send out a state-of-the-art FTL supply shuttle to deliver, like, a single pizza. You can do that, sure... but it seems like one of those silly things that are in the game because it's silly and lighthearted (which is good), not because it actually makes any sense.

I have no idea if solid phoron can be converted into gas. If it can be, I dunno if it'd be "worth the effort," i.e, would we get more phoron than we spend hauling it back and converting it?... so I imagine that the ship isn't self-sufficient on that end at all. Very fuel-efficient by design, probably, but it'd run out eventually.

i also like pretending that the elevator lightbulbs breaking are both canonical and that the ship doesnt manufacture those in-house so i can say that the company spends an absurd amount of money per financial quarter on lightbulbs. sort of like this

image.png.e644cfd904fa27ae57cbae1b2346cdc1.png

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  • 1 month later...

Five years is nothing for being stuck in sublight! Ever heard of VAURCA LORE?

Step 1) Hurl every sapient into cryogenic storage with five years' supply of holiday cards to torment them when they wake up.

Skrell pages, at least, indicate that cryogenic stasis can be a more or less indefinite process, with no need to ever wake up the occupants provided the stasis is maintained. Vaurcan mentions of cryostasis note that it has been used over millenial periods, with only the need for phoron respiration (and these were VR pods, so the patient was still narrowly functioning - but we don't need that here!). We don't know how good human or Horizon cryo is specifically, but by deduction, there's no precedent for needing to feed the non-bug crew while they sleep!

Step 2) Release the drones. Cyborgs, maintenance drones, and viax. All they need to do is keep cryo on and intact, which means keeping the power and themselves running.

IPCs are expensive to maintain and may go insane depending on their mental faculties, so it would be best to keep them under. Dionae can be very patient, and apart from needing the lights on (unless they sit outside/next to a reactor), history has proven that they have no physiological trouble sharing an environment suited for vaurcae, so I suppose we can wake up those who want to be awake for this boring half-decade. However, note that carp will take no interest if we generate no light and no radio, in addition to no bluespace activity.

On that note, blobs should not appear without FTL or active research (they manifest in "anomalous areas"). Hivebots have no reason to canonically hit us very much in the first place, but if they do, we will have to wake up security on a per-attack basis - is what I would say if we couldn't just use an AI-controlled combat mech. Lol. Lmao. We are NOT growing human food, you CANNOT make us.

Step 3) Most of our new (exo)skeleton crew works shipside as normal. Miner and gardener viax get warp packs. These don't have any battery mechanically, so I assume they're very efficient! Overload the Spark with buggy little workers and drip-feed them off onto every asteroid and exoplanet (if we're lucky!) in sublight range with nothing but their gear, k'ois spores, a bit of k'ois fruit, and stocks of water. Blast, drill, seed k'ois, store bug pee for recycling, and send it all home! Every few months, wake up the Tas to remind the Bound not to chew on each other and get sitreps. If they've exhausted their dig site, unperson them because a pickup would cost fuel - otherwise, stop by to restock water and equipment and let them rest their carapaces in Spark's atmosphere for a second. The miners' yields will keep power up, and the gardeners will keep all of the conscious organics fed.

We are not flying Intrepid due to its inferior thrust-to-weight, so we get to cannibalize it! We may use Canary for rare cases where we only need to transport individuals or light cargo loads for some reason. Spark is small and is made to routinely carry very heavy cargo (mining yields), so it's our go-to.

Step 4) (Optional) So we've somehow exhausted the sector ahead of schedule. FUCK. We wake up a diona XO, or failing that, anybody else who can fly Horizon, preferring dionae; this is the first time we're actually moving in (hopefully) years. We run the thrusters slow and cold for efficiency. Repeat from 3) when we find a new place. If we run out of reserve viax, wake up all the dionae, crash-course them in their new job using bug corpses, and put them to work.

If we can't find another good resource patch before sublight fuel dries up, it's over! All of our normal and electronic sapients wake up and fucking die of realistic energy needs. The bugs and trees inherit what remains until the mortal bugs die, then the dionae and Breeders coexist quietly for centuries until the hulk of Horizon is rediscovered and becomes a cool new gimmick origin just like Titan Prime and the Narrows. Best ending :)

Step 5) At the end of five years, simply set the Horizon up for normal habitation again and then awaken the team! If all went to plan, there will be no k'ois spores in the halls, the hull will have been kept intact, and best of all, for the first shift in living memory, the engine will already be running!

This entire plan could collapse if Horizon's shuttles canonically cannot takeoff and land without secondary thrust - we will only be using primary, because secondary uses FTL tech, and phoron fuel. I'm led to understand that it's only a major convenience in the present age, not a necessity, but shortsighted ship designers making us fully reliant on secondary could just cut us down at step 3. There is still a chance if the sapient crew can fix this before going to sleep.

Edited by Sniblet
dionae, not dionaea? i dont really know but dionaea has a non-fiction meaning so lets go dionae
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