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Chapter 16: The Calculus of the Kairos


Attn: Marshal Iliya, Planetary Stavka for the Security Forces of the Panhumanic Protectorate, Viridian Aeronautics and Space Agency, Greyburn Sector, Iskandria.

Sir,

In accordance with your request for an analysis of certain pieces of wargear employed by the self-styled 'Neo-Iskandrian' movement, I have taken the liberty of delivering an overview of our preliminary results. For the benefit of the general staff of Security Division, I have also enclosed a number of specimens of this equipment, kindly collected for us by Major Katrina Alianov and her troops - more detailed analyses of each specimen can be found attached with the item in question. I can only apologise for the somewhat damaged condition of some of the specimens - to quote Major Alianov, "When you kill someone, you make sure they're dead."

As a result, I must stress the need to exercise caution when handling the specimens. The technology used in their construction appears to be volatile at best, and, judging from our findings, I suspect that this would be the case even if the specimens were in pristine condition. During the testing, two of our technicians were killed while removing the seals on the electromagnetic generator of a backpack unit similar to the one enclosed with this report, due to a phenomenon which I can only describe as an extremely rapid aging process. The energies used in these backpack generators can be succicintly described as, if you will pardon the expression, 'entropy in a box'. While this description is not, in the strictest sense, completely accurate, I believe it is an illustrative one, since the principle of contained and directed entropy seems to be a central concept in the functioning of Neo-Iskandrian wargear.

Traditionally speaking, energy weapons in the past have trended towards long range and high power, such as seen in Synthan HEL units, a condition dictated by the fact that any beam of sufficient intensity to burn through a suit of heavy battle armour at short range, will, by its nature, persist in the atmosphere enough for it to be dangerous even at much longer ranges.

By contrast, the Neo-Iskandrian rifle/carbine analogue (specimen B1) appears to function, tactically speaking, in a manner more akin to that of a gauss carbine, using gravitic projectors in the muzzle to focus a coherent beam, as opposed to an unstable eruption of energy. As you will observe from the recording of its firing (specimen B2), use of the rifle/carbine within an atmosphere creates ropes of thick mist along the path of its beam, caused by the breakdown of water vapour in the air. Rather in the manner that a shotgun might be compared to a gauss rifle, the rifle/carbine expends its energy in an atmosphere at a faster rate than that of a Synthan HEL weapon, resulting in a shorter effective range. The weapon's designers apparently tried to compensate for this by designing it to fire in bursts, although building generators potent (and light!) enough to support such a function must surely have been a hugely expensive process - I believe we may reasonably surmise that, although Neo-Iskandrian wargear is undoubtedly dangerous, they will experience a great deal of difficulty in replacing destroyed or lost equipment, once their forces begin to suffer attrition.

On the subject of attrition, you will recall the earlier expression on entropy, regarding the effects of the rifle/carbine on its targets: the two beams will focus on a single point, which appears to create a type of closed circuit: metal rusts, plasticrete crumbles, flesh ages, and all the targets ultimately disintegrated if exposed to the weapon's effects for a prolonged period. Closer analysis indicated that the weapon causes deterioration of molecular bonds, the effects of which are exacerbated at the centre of the beam, effectively giving the weapon considerable penetrative power. In living creatures, such as the Cynosaur we tested in the later stages of B2, this damage to molecular bonds seems to manifest itself as cellular mutation and deterioration, which can also lead to cancerous cell development (though at a far higher rate than should be rationally possible). We've hypothesised that it's this which caused the appearance of accelerated aging on our two technicians.

The mounted pulse cannon analogue (specimen C1) appears to operate on similar principles, save that where the rifle/carbine breaks down molecules in the path of the beam, specimen C1 actively eliminates those molecules, creating what can be thought of as a very localised wormhole or vortex. As you can see in our C2 recordings, a clean hit has a catastrophic effect on the target, capable of dragging in any matter within about a two-metre radius of the impact. Since the Neo-Iskandrian starship weapons seem to be build upon the same principles, I would hypothesise that this would explain the rather apocryphal accounts of whole ships being sucked into vortices, and of the rather more credible reports of massive internal damage following a direct hit. By the same measure, even smaller examples like B1 might theoretically be capable of similar feats if provided with a sufficient power source. Intelligence reports indicate these units also being used in a rapid-fire anti-personnel role, and we found dormant power feeds to the five projectors surrounding the muzzle which would seem to support this capability, although we were unable to activate them. It bears mentioning that these items appear to be based very much on nascent sciences: as it stands, it appears that this weapon will only function in one mode or the other, but this is something which may change in time.

The greatsword (A1) seems to be designed as the Neo-Iskandrian answer to our own ION lances, being capable of firing a carbine-type beam from a readied position. More intriguingly, it also features a powered blade fed by the same energy supply, in which a continuous flow of energy runs along the blade's edge. The power requirements are actually surprisingly reasonable by the standards of Neo-Iskandrian weapons, although the competing demands on the power supply does limit the range and rate of fire of the weapon's firearm element.

Most intriguing of all, though, is the backpack (D1). In addition to providing the power supply to the soldier's armour and weapons, it also hosts a predictive battle-computer (referred to as a 'Helion' in intercepted transmissions), linked up to the soldier's HUD. As far as I can tell, the device appears to be derived from the Ab Urbe Condita theory of temporal divergence: it isolates specific points of temporal divergence and presents them to the user, along with estimates of the most probable outcome along the user's current course. As you'll observe from the video and logs (D2-3) of the mock battle in which we tested the Helion unit, there's a lot more to it than that - which is, I believe, the purpose of the officers referred to as 'Kairomancers'. The Helion unit is undoubtedly useful for a foot trooper - alerting him when a particular enemy is likely to be pausing to reload, when it might be ill-advised to break cover, etc. But to properly exploit the Helion's capabilities on a platoon scale - to accurately predict the best course for a unit as a whole - that would require a technical specialist, someone well-attuned to the intricacies of the system. As a result, I would suggest that Kairomancers be considered priority targets for our snipers.

Motion, of necessity, requires a change in perspective. While I appreciate that there are some on the Stavka who might be unwilling to concede that a relatively small secessionist faction might possess tech which we should be interested in acquiring, the fact remains that much of this equipment - the Helion in particular - is gear which we currently possess no direct equivalent to. Gear with which, given the Protectorate's revenues, we would surely be much better able to supply to our forces than such secessionists could ever be.

respectfully yours,

Major Lucidity Koslova,
Special Ops Division (Intelligence Section)