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GE2020: The Roar of the Swing Voter

Hi everyone, this is my first ever post here.
I run a little website called The Thought Experiment where I talk about various issues, some of them Singapore related. And one of my main interests is Singaporean politics. With the GE2020 election results, I thought I should pen down my take on what us as the electorate were trying to say.
If you like what I wrote, I also wrote another article on the state of play for GE2020 during the campaigning period, as well as 2 other articles related to GE2015 back when it was taking place.
If you don't like what I wrote, that's ok! I think the beauty of freedom of expression is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm always happy to get feedback, because I do think that more public discourse about our local politics helps us to be more politically aware as a whole.
Just thought I'll share my article here to see what you guys make of it :D
Article Starts Here:
During the campaigning period, both sides sought to portray an extreme scenario of what would happen if voters did not vote for them. The Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) warned that Singaporeans that their political opponents “might eventually replace the government after July 10”. Meanwhile, the Worker’s Party (WP) stated that “there was a real risk of a wipeout of elected opposition MPs at the July 10 polls”.
Today is July 11th. As we all know, neither of these scenarios came to pass. The PAP comfortably retained its super-majority in Parliament, winning 83 out of 93 elected MP seats. But just as in GE2011, another Group Representation Constituency (GRC) has fallen to the WP. In addition, the PAP saw its vote share drop drastically, down almost 9% to 61.2% from 69.9% in GE2015.
Singapore’s electorate is unique in that a significant proportion is comprised of swing voters: Voters who don’t hold any blind allegiance to any political party, but vote based on a variety of factors both micro and macro. The above extreme scenarios were clearly targeted at these swing voters. Well, the swing voters have made their choice, their roar sending 4 more elected opposition MPs into Parliament. This article aims to unpack that roar and what it means for the state of Singaporean politics going forward.
1. The PAP is still the preferred party to form Singapore’s Government
Yes, this may come across as blindingly obvious, but it still needs to be said. The swing voter is by its very definition, liable to changes of opinion. And a large factor that determines how a swing voter votes is their perception of how their fellow swing voters are voting. If swing voters perceive that most swing voters are leaning towards voting for the opposition, they might feel compelled to vote for the incumbent. And if the reverse is true, swing voters might feel the need to shore up opposition support.
Why is this so? This is because the swing voter is trying to push the vote result into a sweet spot – one that lies between the two extreme scenarios espoused by either side. They don’t want the PAP to sweep all 93 seats in a ‘white tsunami’. Neither do they want the opposition to claim so much territory that the PAP is too weak to form the Government on its own. But because each swing voter only has a binary choice: either they vote for one side or the other (I’m ignoring the third option where they simply spoil their vote), they can’t very well say “I want to vote 0.6 for the PAP and 0.4 for the Opposition with my vote”. And so we can expect the swing voter bloc to continue being a source of uncertainty for both sides in future elections, as long as swing voters are still convinced that the PAP should be the Government.
2. Voters no longer believe that the PAP needs a ‘strong mandate’ to govern. They also don’t buy into the NCMP scheme.
Throughout the campaign period, the PAP repeatedly exhorted voters to vote for them alone. Granted, they couldn’t very well give any ground to the opposition without a fight. And therefore there was an attempt to equate voting for the PAP as voting for Singapore’s best interests. However, the main message that voters got was this: PAP will only be able to steer Singapore out of the Covid-19 pandemic if it has a strong mandate from the people.
What is a strong mandate, you may ask? While no PAP candidate publicly confirmed it, their incessant harping on the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) scheme as the PAP’s win-win solution for having the PAP in power and a largely de-fanged opposition presence in parliament shows that the PAP truly wanted a parliament where it held every single seat.
Clearly, the electorate has different ideas, handing Sengkang GRC to the WP and slashing the PAP’s margins in previous strongholds such as West Coast, Choa Chu Kang and Tanjong Pagar by double digit percentages. There is no doubt from the results that swing voters are convinced that a PAP supermajority is not good for Singapore. They are no longer convinced that to vote for the opposition is a vote against Singapore. They have realized, as members of a maturing democracy surely must, that one can vote for the opposition, yet still be pro-Singapore.
3. Social Media and the Internet are rewriting the electorate’s perception.
In the past, there was no way to have an easily accessible record of historical events. With the only information source available being biased mainstream media, Singaporeans could only rely on that to fill in the gaps in their memories. Therefore, Operation Coldstore became a myth of the past, and Chee Soon Juan became a crackpot in the eyes of the people, someone who should never be allowed into Parliament.
Fast forward to today. Chee won 45.2% of the votes in Bukit Batok’s Single Member Constituency (SMC). His party-mate, Dr. Paul Tambyah did even better, winning 46.26% of the votes in Bukit Panjang SMC. For someone previously seen as unfit for public office, this is an extremely good result.
Chee has been running for elections in Singapore for a long time, and only now is there a significant change in the way he is perceived (and supported) by the electorate. Why? Because of social media and the internet, two things which the PAP does not have absolute control over. With the ability to conduct interviews with social media personalities as well as upload party videos on Youtube, he has been able to display a side of himself to people that the PAP did not want them to see: someone who is merely human just like them, but who is standing up for what he believes in.
4. Reserved Election Shenanigans and Tan Cheng Block: The electorate has not forgotten.
Tan Cheng Bock almost became our President in 2011. There are many who say that if Tan Kin Lian and Tan Jee Say had not run, Tony Tan would not have been elected. In March 2016, Tan Cheng Bock publicly declared his interest to run for the next Presidential Election that would be held in 2017. The close result of 2011 and Tan Cheng Bock’s imminent candidacy made the upcoming Presidential Election one that was eagerly anticipated.
That is, until the PAP shut down his bid for the presidency just a few months later in September 2016, using its supermajority in Parliament to pass a “reserved election” in which only members of a particular race could take part. Under the new rules that they had drawn up for themselves, it was decreed that only Malays could take part. And not just any Malay. The candidate had to either be a senior executive managing a firm that had S$500 million in shareholders’ equity, or be the Speaker of Parliament or a similarly high post in the public sector (the exact criteria are a bit more in-depth than this, but this is the gist of it. You can find the full criteria here). And who was the Speaker of Parliament at the time? Mdm Halimah, who was conveniently of the right race (Although there was some hooha about her actually being Indian). With the extremely strict private sector criteria and the PAP being able to effectively control who the public sector candidate was, it came as no surprise that Mdm Halimah was declared the only eligible candidate on Nomination Day. A day later, she was Singapore’s President. And all without a single vote cast by any Singaporean.
Of course, the PAP denied that this was a move specifically aimed at blocking Tan Cheng Bock’s bid for the presidency. Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s current Minister of Trade and Industry, stated in 2017 that the Government was prepared to pay the political price over making these changes to the Constitution.
We can clearly see from the GE2020 results that a price was indeed paid. A loss of almost 9% of vote share is very significant, although a combination of the first-past-the-post rule and the GRC system ensured that the PAP still won 89.2% of the seats in Parliament despite only garnering 61.2% of the votes. On the whole, it’s naught but a scratch to the PAP’s overwhelming dominance in Parliament. The PAP still retains its supermajority and can make changes to the Constitution anytime that it likes. But the swing voters have sent a clear signal that they have not been persuaded by the PAP’s rationale.
5. Swing Voters do not want Racial Politics.
In 2019, Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and the man who is next in line to be Prime Minister (PM) commented that Singapore was not ready to have a non-Chinese PM. He further added that race is an issue that always arises at election-time in Singapore.
Let us now consider the GE2015 results. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s Senior Minister and someone whom many have expressed keenness to be Singapore’s next PM, obtained 79.28% of the vote share in Jurong GRC. This was above even the current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who scored 78.63% in Ang Mo Kio GRC. Tharman’s score was the highest in the entire election.
And now let us consider the GE2020 results. Tharman scored 74.62% in Jurong, again the highest scorer of the entire election, while Hsien Loong scored 71.91%. So Tharman beat the current PM again, and by an even bigger margin than the last time. Furthermore, Swee Keat, who made the infamous comments above, scored just 53.41% in East Coast.
Yes, I know I’m ignoring a lot of other factors that influenced these results. But don’t these results show conclusively that Heng’s comments were wrong? We have an Indian leading both the current and future PM in both elections, but yet PAP still feels the need to say that Singapore “hasn’t arrived” at a stage where we can vote without race in mind. In fact, this was the same rationale that supposedly led to the reserved presidency as mentioned in my earlier point.
The swing voters have spoken, and it is exceedingly clear to me that the electorate does not care what our highest office-holders are in terms of race, whether it be the PM or the President. Our Singapore pledge firmly states “regardless of race”, and I think the results have shown that we as a people have taken it to heart. But has the PAP?
6. Voters will not be so easily manipulated.
On one hand, Singaporeans were exhorted to stay home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Contact tracing became mandatory, and groups of more than 5 are prohibited.
But on the other hand, we are also told that it’s absolutely necessary to hold an election during this same period, for Singaporeans to wait in long lines and in close proximity to each other as we congregate to cast our vote, all because the PAP needs a strong mandate.
On one hand, Heng Swee Keat lambasted the Worker’s Party, claiming that it was “playing games with voters” over their refusal to confirm if they would accept NCMP seats.
But on the other hand, Heng Swee Keat was moved to the East Coast GRC at the eleventh hour in a surprise move to secure the constituency. (As mentioned above, he was aptly rewarded for this with a razor-thin margin of just 53.41% of the votes.)
On one hand, Masagos Zulkifli, PAP Vice-Chairman stated that “candidates should not be defined by a single moment in time or in their career, but judged instead by their growth throughout their life”. He said this in defense of Ivan Lim, who appears to be the very first candidate in Singaporean politics to have been pushed into retracting his candidacy by the power of non-mainstream media.
But on the other hand, the PAP called on the WP to make clear its stand on Raeesah Khan, a WP candidate who ran (and won) in Sengkang GRC for this election, stating that the Police investigation into Raeesah’s comments made on social media was “a serious matter which goes to the fundamental principles on which our country has been built”.
On one hand, Chan Chun Sing stated in 2015, referring to SingFirst’s policies about giving allowances to the young and the elderly, “Some of them promised you $300 per month. I say, please don’t insult my residents. You think…. they are here to be bribed?”
On the other hand, the PAP Government has just given out several handouts under its many budgets to help Singaporeans cope with the Covid-19 situation. [To be clear, I totally approve of these handouts. What I don’t approve is that the PAP felt the need to lambast similar policies as bribery in the past. Comparing a policy with a crime is a political low blow in my book.]
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. And so did the electorate in this election, putting their vote where it counted to show their disdain for the heavy-handedness and double standards that the PAP has displayed for this election.
I don’t say the above to put down the PAP. The PAP would have you believe that to not support them is equivalent to not wanting what’s best for Singapore. This is a false dichotomy that must be stamped out, and I am glad to see our swing voters taking a real stand with this election.
No, I say the above as a harsh but ultimately supportive letter to the PAP. As everyone can see from the results, we all still firmly believe that the PAP should be the Government. We still have faith that PAP has the leadership to take us forward and out of the Covid-19 crisis.
But we also want to send the PAP a strong signal with this vote, to bring them down from their ivory towers and down to the ground. Enough with the double standards. Enough with the heavy-handedness. Singaporeans have clearly stated their desire for a more mature democracy, and that means more alternative voices in Parliament. The PAP needs to stop acting as the father who knows it all, and to start acting as the bigger brother who can work hand in hand with his alternative younger brother towards what’s best for the entire family: Singapore.
There is a real chance that the PAP will not listen, though. As Lee Hsien Loong admitted in a rally in 2006, “if there are 10, 20… opposition members in Parliament… I have to spent my time thinking what is the right way to fix them”.
Now, the PAP has POFMA at its disposal. It still has the supermajority in Parliament, making them able to change any law in Singapore, even the Constitution at will. We have already seen them put these tools to use for its own benefit. Let us see if the PAP will continue as it has always done, or will it take this opportunity to change itself for the better. Whatever the case, we will be watching, and we will be waiting to make our roar heard once again five years down the road.
Majulah Singapura!
Article Ends Here.
Here's the link to the actual article:
And here's the link to the other political articles I've written about Singapore:
submitted by sharingan87 to singapore [link] [comments]

what is this i just downloaded (youtube code?)

so this is kinda a wierd story. I was planning to restart my computer. (cant remember why) I spend most of my time watching youtube videos so i had alot of tabs open. So i was watching the videos then deleting the tab but not opening new tabs. So i was down 2 i think 1 it was a pretty long video so i tried to open a youtube home page tab just to look while i listened to the video. And this is a short exerp of what i got.


submitted by inhuman7773 to techsupport [link] [comments]

First Contact - Part Seven / Realization of Second Contact

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Many great cycles had passed without a single contact within the Great Emptiness.
Many of the members of the Unified Science Council began to believe that perhaps it was some kind of lingering energies left over from the Precursor War that had created mass hallucinations, or perhaps it was just isolated incidents with no meaning.
Seventeen Great Cycles and not a single clue that supported the existence of the Solarians, the Clone Directorate, sentient AI's, or any of the other strangeness discovered over that Great Cycle.
Even the Unified Executor Council had been forced to agree that the Solarians had simply, well, vanished.
The Unified High Council had no choice but to allow exploration of the Great Emptiness and so passed legislation to repeal the prohibition against exploration of that region of space.
That is how Monnat Banaltee of the HiKruth found himself in charge of a crew of a dozen of the Deep Space Explorer's Guild and in possession of one of the most advanced ships the Unified Technology Council would permit to be built.
The ship, named To Wrest Answers from the Darkness, had the best jumpspace engines, the most advanced computers with the most powerful computation and analysis lobes, laboratories and testing capabilities more advanced that any other ship, with sensors more sensitive than any other, communications capable of hearing the slightest whisper. Additionally, the ship's omnitranslator had been loaded with the TerraSol lexicons learned so far.
That was an entire Great Cycle ago.
Which was why Monnat, who refused the title of Captain and preferred Most Learned, was almost sick from boredom despite his race being legendary for patience. Even the upcoming arrival in a new solar system, deeper than anyone had gone so far into the Great Emptiness, failed to alleviate his boredom.
How could it? The last thirty systems they'd scanned had been the same: deeper than anyone had explored.
And empty except for a hundred million years of isolated evolution, largely resulting in a few plants or maybe even some non-sapient life more evolved than a cluster of cells.
Monnat was willing to bet his next three research grants that the next one would be the same.
"Preparing to drop," Aastruk stated. A master of astrogation and navigation, who had led whole fleets through jumpspace with his skill during his many years as part of the Unified Military Fleet, Aastruk was capable of making such sublime jump transitions that even the most sensitive of the scientists suffered little more than a light spell of dizziness.
At the end of the countdown there was a slight queasiness and that was all, allowing Monnat to tap his vestigal claws together and stare at Billik, a sensor's technician of extreme skill.
After nearly an entire cycle Monnat was beginning to wonder if Billik had decided not to do his job out of sheer boredom.
"Scan Master Billik?" Monnat asked.
"A moment, please, Most Learned One," Billik said. The scan tech looked over at Z'Mak, the Chief of Maintenance. "Oh Attentive One, Lord and Master of the Mechanical, can you perform a diagnostic upon my lowly instrumentation?"
Monnat sighed internally. Sometimes he wondered if all the insistence on titles and honorifics made it so things took longer than necessary. A heretical thought, he knew, but one had had asked himself many times over his long life.
Z'Mak, who was a stickler for protocol, nodded, the ruffle around his neck and down his spine flushing in pleasure. He examined his displays, tapped in some commands, then leaned back.
"Your instrumentation and displays are all functioning at over 90% efficiency, most attentive and inquisitive scanning technician," Z'Mak said.
At least Billik did not take offense at the obvious omission of honorifics, as he had during the first long cycles of the voyage, as Z'Mak was of the belief that those who joined the Unified Military Council or the Fleet were somehow less than those who devoted their lives to other pursuits.
"Then it appears, at long last, we have found a system with unknown xenosapients," Billik stated. "There are several settlements on the surface, four orbiting stations, solar collectors, and power readings everywhere."
"Launch a probe," Monnat said. "I will be waiting in my chambers. Announce to me when the probe begins to relay data."
Billik nodded as Monnat stood up on all four legs and moved toward his personal chambers.
"Most Learned One," E'kotat's voice interrupted Monnat's viewing of a lecture on how a stable reaction within the translation chamber of a jump-drive was only established one way, despite crackpot claims of other possibilities.
"Yes, Second Leader?" Monnat sighed. He doubted that it was going to actually be anything. There had been nearly a dozen false alarms in the first few cycles of his mission. Every time it had turned out to be just a lost colony.
"You should come to the bridge immediately," E'kotat said. "Make all due haste."
Monnat frowned. E'kotat was a Drimarian, cold blooded quasi-mammal who's race's physiology was almost incapable of excitement. For him to urge haste was unusual.
And noteworthy.
When he entered the bridge, Monnat noted that Security Officer Lukamit, a computer code researcher who held a position mostly ceremonial, was busy over his terminals, all three of his lab assistants working with him.
"What is the emergency? Did something happen to the probe?" Monnat sighed, settling into his crash couch.
"We lost contact with it, Most Learned One," Billik stated. "It was intercepted by an energy pulse that shut it down. Soon afterwards, we were..."
"I will inform the Most Learned," Z'Mak snapped. He looked at Monnat. "It was then that we received communication signals. It attempted to open a communications channel but at the same time attempted to penetrate our computer network. Whoever the signal is from, they are most insistent that they be allowed access to our computer systems."
Lukamit interrupted, ignoring Z'Mak's flutter of his crest. "We are fortunate that they only use a binary type logic and only binary signalling. This allows me to use the lobes in parallel to more effect than they can. However, they did access the omnitranslator's lexicon and have been attempting to transfer it to their systems."
Monnat thought a moment. "Allow it."
"But standard is to exchange lexicons," Z'Mak protested.
"Do as I command as Most Learned One," Monnat told Z'Mak, fixing him with a stare that used all four eyes.
Z'Mak backed down.
"Lexicon is transferred. Wait, they've stopped trying to access our systems," Lukamit said. "They've purged their own code and completely withdrawn."
"We have an incoming signal," Juketet stated, listening closely. "Audio and visual, although only across a limited base three-primary color scale. They are not permitting any reply. Transmission only. It's quite rude."
Monnat sighed, fully expecting it to be another lost colony. Probably fallen back to aggression and superstition.
Instead the figure that appeared on the screen was unlike any he'd ever seen. Tall, graceful appearing for a biped, mammalian, with jewels adorning them, dressed in comfortable and gossamer appearing cloth, long golden hair and pointed ears. The female, and it had to be a female as it had mammalian milk ducts that were prominent, was surrounded by scantily clad bipeds that were shorter but had the same lithe build and pointed ears.
For some reason she gave off the appearance of being superior to everyone present. As if something more than nature, because nature could never produce such a perfect specimen, had crafted her to be perfection embodied.
It was a strange feeling for Monnat.
When she spoke, it was a strange language, linguistically designed to flow together and sound like music even mathematically.
Monnat noticed that Z'Mak seemed offended by the being.
The translation showed below, at the bottom of the screen.
"Welcome to the Magic Realms of Meratarrian. I am Queen Radosalvov the Graceful, you may call me Queen, Your Highness, or Radiant Divine One."
Z'Mak almost seemed to choke.
"According to Confederate Law, attempting to pirate views via recording probes without a license as well as permission from Galactic Studios Incorporated and Electronic Artistic Studios is a grave violation of our legal rights."
That caught Lukamit's attention.
"As your language is unknown to me I will assume that you were not meant to intrude upon this realm and I have decided to extend elven hospitality to you."
Monnat kept his expression from changing. Another race. Bipedal, warm blooded, mammalian, forward facing eyes. Obvious Solarian.
"I will allow you four local hours upon the surface as a freeware demonstration for one of your crew. I formally invite a sentient of your choosing in to my realm and invite your ship to stay within communication range of this planet."
She gave a gesture that used up the least amount of effort but still looked imperious, as if she was the most important being in the entire universe and the crew of the Wrest Answers from the Darkness should considered them blessed just to be allowed to view her.
"I will give you one of your time units to decide who shall enter the Magic Realms of Meratarrian."
The image vanished.
"They've cut transmission," Juketet stated unnecessarily. "Wait, they're transmitting a document. It looks like a legal document of some kind."
Monnat perked up. "Send it my ready room and have the ship computer go over it. Let us see what they are offering."
Juketet nodded.
Halfway through the time limit Monnat realized that even with the computer's help deciphering the document, which was some kind of terms of service, would be impossible. It was, quite possibly, the largest legal document he had ever seen. The ships operating system took up less storage and used less data than the document itself. Just viewing the document gave the issuer of the document legal rights over all kinds of things.
It repeated over and over that the issuers of the document, one Electronic Artistic Studios and one Galactic Studios Incorporated, could not be held liable for any damage to anyone using their services, to include death, dismemberment, disintegration, damage to neural or emotional networks, physical or metaphysical discomfort, damage, or alteration.
It went on and on and on.
But Monnat had been tasked with exploration, and he'd seen that Galactic Studios Incorporated and Electronic Artistic Studios operated under Terran Confederacy law and were based on TerraSol, which meant, despite appearances, the "elven queen" was a Solarian.
Which made no sense.
How many species rose to prominence in the system?
Monnat needed information, but most of all, he needed a volunteer.
And for that, he called Aastruk into his ready room to see if the saurian would volunteer to be part of the "free demonstration" that the "Queen" was offering.
To Monnat's surprise, Aastruk agreed immediately.
Monnat figured it was out of boredom.
The shuttle that gathered Aastruk was flamboyant, lavishly decorated with rare elements to enhance its appearance and obviously built to appeal to anyone's eyes. Even mathematically it was almost perfect. Aastruk boarded wearing a vacuum suit and carrying a transponder.
The Queen had agreed to that much of a safety measure, even if she refused to allow recording devices.
Monnat settled down, as the shuttle left, and waited. Four local hours was less than a dozen cycles.
When Aastruk returned he stated one simple sentence: "We must leave now."
Monnat respected Aastruk's time with the Unified Military Fleet and ordered that the ship move to jumpspace immediately. Once they were safe in jumpspace he called Aastruk into his quarters and urged the reptilian navigator to speak.
"When I first got there, I was given many options. Enhanced virtual reality, real-skin which apparently involves me actually going down to the planet, skin-sheathe which is allowing me to mentally control a cloned version of myself from the station, or something called 'hitch-hiker' mode which is allowing me to see through someone else's eyes," Aastruk said, rubbing his snout wearily.
"What did you choose?" Monnat asked.
"Hitchhiker is the only option available for the free demonstration version," Aastruk said. He shuddered. "It allowed me to not only see and hear what was going on, it allowed me to taste, smell, and feel it. Not only that, I knew I could, well, share thoughts with my host."
Monnat made an annotation. "Did you?"
Aastruk nodded. "She is from someplace called Alpha Centauri, one of the earliest Terran Confederacy's colonies. That's aside, however, and not the important part."
Looking up Monnat frowned. "What is important than that?"
"She was, to use her words, reborn as something called a 'dwarf' and took the profession of blacksmith," Aastruk said. "Working in iron, steel, some exotic metals I've never heard of. She makes armor, weapons, and other metal objects as well as wood carving..."
"Who does she make these weapons for?" Mannot asked.
"Soldiers who guard the town and being who wish to enter into the wilderness to seek out adventure even at the risk of encountering dangerous wildlife that will seek to slay them if they do not slay the wild-life first. She makes weapons and armor for these people and then, and I use her words: magics the excrement out of them which is why...."
"Magic?" Monnat scoffed, interrupting. "A people that advanced believing in magic."
Aastruk nodded. "When she explained magic to me was when I realized we must leave at once."
"What was so frightening about it?" Monnat asked, wondering if Aastruk would need therapy.
"Nanotechnology is something we use. For medical, research, manufacturing, computation," Aastruk said. Monnat nodded as Aastruk continued. "They have devised a type of nanite that uses broadcast power to sustain itself and floats through the very air. It permeates he atmosphere, is in everything they drink, everything they eat, even in the objects."
"Risky. What if it went out of control? Entire planets have been lost to such ill advised experimentation," Monnat asked.
Aastruk shook his head. "They aren't worried about it. You see, they use the nanites to manifest certain reactions. From creating a monomolecular sword edge and infusing the blade with nanotech like my host did to calling up fire out of thin air, this so called magic is nanites."
Monnat cringed slightly. "And anyone can use it with a simple interface?"
Aastruk shook his head again. "No. It requires will, being able to chant out loud the command strings, and being able to withstand pain. The more energy intensive the task the nanites carry out, the more pain the nanites inflict."
"Madness," Monnat whispered. "And they willingly subject themselves to this to use this so called magic? I understand, if they are born there and this is the path to power, but still, to willingly subject one's self to pain."
Aastruk shook his head. "No, Most Learned One, it is worse than that."
"How is it worse?" Monnat asked. "Please, Aastruk, will you define worse?"
"While some beings who live on that planet were born there, Most Learned One," Aastruk took a deep breath. "The majority pay for the privilege of living their lives there. Some even pay to be other species, such as my host, who had her entire body rebuilt from 'Pure Strain Human' to 'dwarf' in order to live out her fantasies."
Aastruk fixed Monnat with his gaze. "It's a planet sized, fully interactive, nanite assisted, amusement park that they pay to experience, sometimes for their entire adult lifespan."
Monnat goggled at Aastruk. The thought of having one's body changed to live out a fantasy was grotesque, but the idea that it was some kind of amusement park horrified him.
"You were correct in having us leave at once. Was there anything else that made you so urgent to leave?" Mannot asked.
Aastruk nodded. "At the end of my 'free trial' several of the 'High Elves' offered to sponsor me if I agreed to fight in their name for their glory," He said, shuddering.
Mannot nodded. "A wise idea, returning. I do not blame you for wanting to return when that undoubtedly caused such fear, to be dumped in such a place where advanced technology is used to live out a fantasy of primitivism."
Shivering, Aastruk shook his head. "No, Most Learned One, I did not want to return out of fear, I returned because I wanted to stay."
Aastruk hung his head and whispered softly. "Glory and honor to my house, with eggs and burrows the envy of all, by might or trickery my house, my burrow, my clutch ascendent."
Mannot stared in horror at Aastruk repeating such an ancient mantra of his species and decided that the expedition was over.
The Unified Exploration Council examined the records as well as the statements of Fleet Admiral (retired) Aastruk eshThsashal and ordered another exploration expedition created.
The Unified Science Council determined that the Solarians, perhaps the entire Terran Confederacy, was using technologies in ways that were prohibited as well as dangerous, not only to the Terran Confederacy itself, but to all those around it.
The Unified Executor Council decided that armed Executors would accompany all other research and exploration vessels to prevent any desertions to such a dangerous civilization.
Aastruk eshThsashal converted all of his possessions and wealth to simple gold bars and vanished.
I, AASTRUK eshTHSASHAL, agree to abide by the above terms and services as set out by Galactic Studios Incorporated and Electronic Artistic Studios, as well as the Meratarrian code of conduct.
Had visitors not long ago, like I told. However, it appears that one of their number liked their trial time so much they've returned to my divine embrace (LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP PURCHASED). Attached is crude documents and illusions of their statements about the mundane and boring life they left behind, the poor dear. I'm sending these to you out of consideration.
He is a lovely subject (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: PLATINUM STARTER PACK), who has been yearning all his life for the adventure (DLC PURCHASED) only I, in my infinite wisdom and beauty, can provide to him (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: USER GENERATED FRIENDS AND FAMILY PLATINUM PACK). I have hereby granted him asylum from such a dull and dreary place, and made him a citizen (DLC MEGAPACK PURCHASED) of Meratarrian (EXPANSION PURCHASED) with permission to found his own house (DLC PURCHASED) as well as quest for his true love (DLC PURCHASED) as well as create offspring (EXPANSION PURCHASED). I have high hopes for my new subject (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: KOBOLD HERO PACK) and know that he will go far (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: DRAGON BLOODED) in my realm.
Enjoy your files.
Love and kisses.
Her Eternal Elven Grace, Divine Light of the Aether, Lady of Magic and Power, Queen Radosalvov.
--------NOTHING FOLLOWS-----------
CC: Artificial Biological States; Digital Artificial Intelligence Infonet Worlds; TERRASOL.GOV; Cyborg Cooperative; Clone Directorate; Mantid Free Worlds; Traena'ad Hive Worlds
Xenosapient government identified. Native species identified. (See attachments)
Military potential is initially classified as low, to be revisited upon any new information which will be shared to all Confederacy governments as per treaties.
Chance for incursion into Confederate Space is high.
Place all rimward stations, colonies, planetary governments, and military forces on stage two alert. Do not fire unless unable to withdraw or casualties are incurred. Abide by Rules of Engagement for inferior forces unaware of Confederate military and industrial power.
-------NOTHING FOLLOWS-----------
RE: Your Last
Let's hope we do better with them than when the two of us first met.
--------NOTHING FOLLOWS--------
submitted by Ralts_Bloodthorne to HFY [link] [comments]

Tales of Grayhall - (Adventure #1, Part 4)

Tales of Grayhall - A Scarlet Heroes Campaign (Adventure #1, Part 4)

Character sheet
Adventure #1, Part 3
Adventure #1, Part 2
Adventure #1, Part 1
In the previous session, Nikova brawled with a group of drunkards at a brothel, learned his suspect was in some presumably sketchy club and recruited the Chieftain’s eldest son along with his personal group of guards to help him crash the club meeting. I feel this will naturally beget a conflict scene, so that’s what we’ll start with this session.
{Conflict scene: 1d10 = 1 = Waylay a minion of the foe. Face a Fight instead of a check. Fight Difficulty: 1d8 + (1/2(T), rounded down) = 3 + 1 = 4 = 1d4+T Rabble +1 Veteran = 2 + 1 Rabble +1 Veteran = 3 Rabble and 1 Veteran. Potential foes: 1d8 = 3, 1d10 = 1 = Aged Veteran. That worked out well. Now the Rabble: 1d8 = 4, 1d10 = 10 = Watchful Neighbor. Hmmm. I’ll say the suspect will opt into the scrap and she will be a Rabble since she doesn’t have much fighting experience. I’ll consult oracles regarding club intent as it becomes pertinent.}
With covert haste we approached the brothel. I hope we aren’t too late and the group remains in session. Fyodor’s 4 guards form a semi-circle around him, myself and the rear door of the building with practiced precision. Fyodor and I listen closely. Voices can be heard within. I recognize the gruff voice of the miner and signal my ally accordingly.
He knocks. “Chieftain’s Guard! May we enter?”
Rustling can be heard from within before a response is delivered. “Aye!” We enter, closing the door behind us to hide the semicircle of guards.
The miner is immediately on edge. Recognition in her eyes indicates that I am the source of her unease. She’s not the head of this quadrumvirate. An older Dwarf from the Soldier Clan is the obvious leader. He glances over at the miner, showing his senses are still as keen as ever, and sees how she has set her teeth in a slight grimace. {Is this enough cause for the Veteran to initiate combat? Binary Oracle (likelihood unknown): 1d20 = 2 = No.} They share a silent look and she relents.
“Copperhew. Spearstander. Honor.” He greets us with a customary bow and we do so likewise. His face does not stray from the solemnity carved thereupon, yet his voice escalates ever slightly to a more positive tone. “How can we serve our Chieftain?”
“As you know, our Clan meetings are this day so we have bolstered security. Report of a small group gathering in the area is a reason to be wary, you understand. We are checking the area to ensure safety of the village.”
{NPC Reaction (unfriendly NPC): 2d6 -1 for the risk of significant cost to their actions = 5 - 1 = 4 = Scorn.}
“I am a decorated soldier! How dare you imply high treason! I defend my honor!” He lurches forward as he draws a small dagger and combat begins.
{Veteran: [HD: 2. AC: 5. Hit: +2. Dmg: 1d8. Morale: 9. Skill: +1. Move: 20’] Rabbles (miner, A, and B): [HD: 1. AC: 9. Hit: +1. Dmg: 1d4. Morale: 8. Skill: +1. Move: 30’]}
{Nikova draws his warhammer and attacks the Veteran: 1d20 + Attribute Mod + Atk Bonus + Veteran AC = 15 + 2 + 1 + 5 = 23. Success! Dmg: 1d8 + 2 = 4 + 2 = 6. 2HD damage! Veteran incapacitated! Fray die: 1d8 = 6. 2 more HD damage! Nikova targets the other unknown Dwarves and handily knocks them out.}
The Veteran’s senses were definitely still keen, but his speed betrayed him. In a single movement my warhammer’s pommel struck him atop his crown. He lay unconscious. My attention turns to two other Dwarves approaching with no regard to the fate of their superior combatant. Being mindful to use non-lethal force, I quickly send them to greet the brothel’s floorboards. Fyodor straightens his stance as if to offer truce to the remaining club member; our miner.
{My scene prompt is to waylay a minion of the foe. I feel this means she’s going to attack for sure, but I won’t run that as combat. Nikova has quickly won this exchange so it’s safe to say between him and Fyodor, the miner is not going to change the outcome. I’ll assume Nikova is able to neutralize her attack and she is then taken into the guards’ custody.}
She declines to change her intent and thus charges. Spearstander maneuvers so I can catch the hand with which she is wielding her pickaxe. “No, miner. This is not your fate. I saw that ore and you know I did. You’re a precious gift to your Clan. Speak up and allow us to help you. Our Chieftain’s own son will ensure your protection.”
{NPC reaction (unfriendly NPC): 2d6 -1 for the risk of significant cost to their actions = 5 - 1 = 4 = Scorn.}
“I don’t need your fucking help,” she hissed through gritted teeth. “I’ve been always been on me own and done just fine. Ye’ll get nothing from me, pig.” Recalcitrant words dart from her mouth like stingers, however she drops the pickaxe all the same. She knows she is not within her element with regard to combat and therefore must answer for her treason of attacking Chieftain blood along with her snoozing commerads. Fyodor whistles a signal that brings the guards inside to collect the perpetrators.
“We broke up a threat, for sure, but we didn’t learn anything either. I thank you for bringing this to my attention. I’ll try to find out what the purpose of this little group is once they awaken.”
“Spearstander. Honor.” I bow to Fyodor as he and his guards escort their prisoners. I have more questions than answers, however I cannot shake the feeling I’m closer to the truth much more now than ever.
{Successful Conflict Scene! +1 Victory Point for Nikova and -1 Victory Point for the antagonist. These Dwarves attacked important figures to the clan and therefore no Heat was earned as a result of their beatdown. Antagonist VP roll (investigation + action scenes = 3 + 2 = 5): 1d10 = 2 = yes. +1 VP. Victory Point totals: Nikova 7, Antagonist 3. Heat: 1}
{I feel from here another investigation scene is prudent. Investigation Scene: 1d10 = 3 = Tail an Actor who might have a Clue. On a check failure, face a Fight. Roll Actor: 1d8 = 1, 1d10 = 3, 1d3 (1d6 cut in half, rounded up) = 1 = 1. Commoner. Beautiful young mistress. Actor Relationship: 1d100 = 22 = Crime Culprit. Wow! Here we go!}
I begin to search around the room for any information that may point me in the next direction. My search is shallow at first so I don’t disturb anything beyond that which resulted from the scuffle. I must have been quietly deep in thought because the creak of the door leading further into the brothel seemed as loud as a hawk’s screech! I turn my head in that direction to see only the face of a young female Dwarf. {Memorable Trait: 1d100 = 10 = Asthmatic} Clearly, she was not expecting anyone to be in the room because my presence startled her a great deal. She inhaled a loud gasp which immediately turned into a coughing fit.
Between coughs she choked out, “Ack!... I’m sorry, sir!... I saw guards… remove some patrons and since it was… quiet… I didn’t think anyone was in here! Please excuse me. Carry on.” She darts away before I can offer to fetch her a drink.
As I ponder this scenario a bit longer, the thought strikes me how little time had elapsed between the escort and her attempt to enter the room. I allow my instinct to carry along the suspicion and I leave the building.
For the time being, I wait around the corner of a nearby building with an eye on the brothel. Soon, a cloaked individual peeks out of the rear door. They establish the coast is clear and quickly walk out carrying something. My ears pick up a wheezing and I can assert this figure must be the beautiful girl from moments ago. I do my best to give her some distance and then begin stealthy pursuit.
{This will be an opposed check because Nikova is trying to tail her and she’s trying to go unnoticed to her destination. Young Mistress: 2d8 + 1 for general skill bonus since she’s been able to avoid detection this far in the adventure = 5 + 1 = 6. Nice! Nikova: 2d8 + 1 for Dex + 1 for lightning reflexes = 12 + 1 + 1 = 14. Success!!}
She’s not running full tilt and I have honed in on the sound of her labored breath. Even when she dips out of sight I’m able to track her down quickly. She turns to look back only a few times and thanks to the hood of her cloak, I have just enough time to strafe behind cover before her field of vision can catch me. She eventually reaches a small home not too far from the Chieftain’s fortification. Something is not sitting well with this at all… Not to mention the fact that she was now carrying something which was not in her possession when I first saw her. I suspect she collected it from that room and I’ll wager it has something to do with the ruffians removed from thence. I remain hidden from view of the home’s windows and consider my options.
{Investigation Scene Successful! +1 Victory Point! +1 Clue! Antagonist VP roll (investigation + action scenes = 4 + 2 = 6): 1d10 = 7 = no. Woohoo!! Victory Point Totals: Nicova 8, Antagonist 3. Heat: 1}
BRUH! These were fun! I’m digging not having to drag out these scenes! Pick the scene, generate something that makes sense, resolve the challenge, then set up for the next scene. Easy peasy! It also helps that my rolls have been fantastic lately, so fate has been quite kind. I feel like the easiest path from here would be to try maybe one more investigation scene and then a conflict scene. If I win them both, I’ll hit 10 Victory points by a margin of 7 and can move immediately to an action scene to try winning the campaign. If I fail the action scene, I still have a spare clue to get straight into a second attempt. Sort of like a failsafe.
Thanks to all of you following along! Take a rest and we will rendezvous again in haste!
submitted by Consummate_Reign to solorpgplay [link] [comments]

How I resolved the stupidity of Fallout 3's The Pitt

I see a lot of praise for this short, limited, small DLC, that despite being fairly small with a really tedious ingot collection sidequest that gates some of the best items in the game. I cheated and gave myself the ingots before I was done you will be relieved to know.

Before I proceed, let me first state that Fallout 3 is, to me, a masterpiece that has never been equaled by any other games. It's graphics and controls are dated by today's standards, and future Fallouts have evolved various crafting and gameplay systems in respectable ways. And there's even some deserved criticism in the lack of texture variation that goes beyond simple graphics limitations of the time (honorable mention to the fact that I hear the same 4 voice actors a dozen times). People can say the overall narrative isn't strong enough, but those people miss the point of the game. It is still my favorite game, not just from the franchise, but all gaming, and I've been gaming since the 8-bit era.

So after more than a decade of waiting, I decide after my recent traipsing to try The Pitt DLC. This is something I have never tried. I now have played all but Mothership Zeta. Maybe that will be today's project.

I follow the radio signal, buy into this guys sob story, and travel to the Pitt, where another guy takes my stuff. I then punch the shit out of him and everyone else, but unfortunately my stuff is still gone.
Doesn't matter, I mean, their weapons alone are enough for me to start wrecking shit in the commons area. I piss everyone off and then go into Midea's house to bring them there. Four guys bust into the room, so I toss a grenade. Luckily Midea is only unconscious from this. Some Jackson guy, even in death, won't let me loot his stuff. Good start so far.
I decide to start playing along, and go fetch some ingots. I actually enjoyed this, up until I had explored most of the area. But as mentioned above, I wasn't about to go find 100 or even 50 of the things. Every raider I talk to is an asshole, and I cannot wait to find an excuse to end them, and that's where this tragedy begins.
I volunteer, apparently, to take part in an arena, where I continue to punch the shit out of people, if they can be called that, until I have even more weapons and gear, and then am told I can just pick up all my stuff. Now, you should know, I used a console command to increase my carry weight to about 11,000, and I was in no danger of exceeding that, but even so, I think these guys would have been better off dividing my stuff among them then saving it in a foot locker.
I get to go meet big boss. Really he's not that bad of a guy. I think he's wrong though, and I guess I need to explain my logic in order for my next actions to make sense. You see, by creating a slave culture, he's more or less brought this revolt on himself, putting the cure itself in danger. He believes this life is good for them, another slaver even says that the slaves are better off than the slavers who have to get shot at. Well, in a way he's right, but you don't have the right to take away someone's choice.
If the slave gets freedom and doesn't think the deal is good, you make the deal better. If you can't sustain things that way, then too bad. Big boss doesn't seem to understand that opportunity does not always result in success.
Unfortunately I didn't get to explain this to him through my dialogue options. And I wasn't about to kidnap a kid, when his mother is right there, so what to do? Apparently not kidnapping a baby means I approve and even encourage slavery. Uh, okay Bethesda. Who the fk came up with that one?
I leave without the cure and go see what's up outside. Hilarity ensues. Every slave is agro to me, every slaver friendly. I figure I'll just change that, and start executing slavers. I like how almost all of them have a name. Helps me keep track of the players. But no matter how many times I punch them, they don't want to fight back. Which is weird, because every time I have talked to them previously, they threatened me in some way.
So I'm stuck just offing them and they won't fight back. But as a side challenge, I have to run away from all the slaves who are trying to cut my balls off with rusty sawblades. I refuse to harm any of them. So I'm running around the town, wiping out all the slavers, and then I go back to Midea. Because what else can I do at this point? She tells me where the guy is who wants the cure.
I go see him, and of course he's sore about lack of baby. I really can't win here. I try with an 83% chance to persuade him to just get out of my face, but no deal. He tries that cheesy line on me about guts and then I punch the shit out of him, ironic.
I couldn't find big boss on the battlefield, so I go back to his palace. Man is he happy. I guess he doesn't know he's the only slaver left in the whole god damn city. I even kited a slave back with me to show him that things are far from okay. He starts running. I shit you not, this motherfucker runs in his power armor from a lone slave with a grinder.
I steal the slave's kill, because I'm just sick of this shit. I take his stuff, eat a bullet from mama cure, and then I kite the slave back outside so that dumbass doesn't get herself killed. Hopefully she locked the door.
I then run around trying to lose these angry slaves that I just liberated until I find a way to fast travel away. All's well that ends well.
I'm not sure why Bethesda would put such a weird binary choice into such a situation, but I wasn't playing that game. Slaves don't get to kidnap babies, and slavers don't get to live. The end.
submitted by PGDW to Fallout [link] [comments]

Heritage (4)

First Chapter
Previous Chapter
The view of Sanctuary was made even more impressive as An’Ra and his team waited in the V-Lift. Through the window, they can see the ornate streets curving through resplendent pools underneath, dotted by the occasional fountain.
“I hate this.” Vora groaned, dressed in a soldier’s standard battle uniform. “Why are we here, Commander?”
“We were investigating genocide and possible use of bioweapons,” Sonak explained, “Even without the first part, Strain Y is going to scare a lot of people. I think it’s reasonable for the Council to take a personal interest in this. Besides, I think the real issue here is the fact you might actually have to speak to the Council.”
“But...ugh, fine. Yes, I wasn’t mentally prepared for it when An’Ra came along and went, Party’s over, ass to the Council, now.”
“Hey now.” An’Ra feigned offense, “I didn’t say it that way, did I?”
“Kind of close, Commander.” Sonak chuckled.
“But still, I think that this isn’t about keeping the galaxy safe.” Vora sighed. “I think the Council’s keeping an eye open for any opportunity to to convince the galaxy they’re still in charge.”
“Or maybe they genuinely want to make sure that we’re not at risk of dying a horrible death by watching our own bodies melt.” Sonak shrugged. “Strain Y doesn’t care if you’re an officer or infantry.”
“That assumes the Council cares about what’s going on outside of these walls.” Vora glanced over, wariness in her look.
“Either way, we’re going to get our answer. Eyes open.” An’Ra said as the V-Lift doors parted ways, revealing the same ornate architecture within. Trees and grasses stole the eye as they walked through the hallways, various government officials from the myriad races conversing and conducting whatever business they were doing. After walking up some steps, they arrived at the large double-doors that lead to the Council Chambers. Standing on each side were the guards constantly on watch for any potential attack. Both of them Anaran, as expected. On approach, the guards opened up the doors to allow An’Ra and his team in.
When they entered, the room was probably more magnificent than they expected. A grand, curved window dominated the view. An unintrusive look into the beautiful splendor of Sanctuary. Directly in front of An’Ra and his team was a pathway that led to a semi-circular desk, standing in front of the raised platform that the Council sat, who had just now noticed the arrivals and are settling themselves in.
And it was there An’Ra got a good look at the Council. Four of them, half Esti, half Huak. An’Ra secretly never liked the Esti, the way he could see menacing fangs when their flat mouths opened, or those flaps of scale that expands outward into a hood. It just unnerved him, a reason he could never really find out. As soon as he sensed that they were ready, he walked up to the desk, wearing his officer’s dress uniform, comprised of a fine, smooth fabric shirt, adorned with a fluffy sash that went from his right shoulder down to his left side, shoulder pads accented with shining studs and finished with awards placed on his top-left chest, awards hard earned back in the Great War.
“Commander An’Ra.” The Huak councilor on the far right side, Neual, began, thick fingers interlaced together as he rested his hands on the desk. “Thank you for agreeing to this unusual request, we are very appreciative.”
“It’s no trouble, Councilor.” An’Ra gave a slight bow. “How can I help?”
“We’ll start at the beginning.” The first Esti councilor, Zhur, stated, holding up a secure datapad to ensure the information is easily accessible. “Strain Y. Your report says that while there is confirmation it was used, it was not used in significant quantities. Can you elaborate on that for us?”
“Previous uses of Strain Y all had one thing in common,” An’Ra began, “The amount deployed saturated the atmosphere of the planets they were used on. This is because, despite its lethality, is not actually that infectious. In order to guarantee the total elimination of a planet’s population, you will need to deploy it in such large numbers that everyone will be infected within minutes of deployment. In this case, for Planet 3, there simply wasn’t enough to reach that threshold.”
“At which you go on to state that thermal weapons were used in a state of panic,” Yhiz, the second Esti councilor, added, “Can you explain your reasoning for us?”
“As established before, Strain Y was used on the planet. My working theory is that, when they discovered that they grossly underestimated the amount needed, they panicked and used thermal weapons to both try and burn out the supplies used and finish the genocide they started.”
“But if thermal weapons were indeed used, how did you confirm Strain Y was deployed?” Zhur spoke up.
“We found pieces of Strain Y’s genetic material on the planet’s surface.” An’Ra glanced over to Zhur’s direction. “And as I arrived back in the system, I received a quantum packet from the expedition, stating that they have confirmed that Strain Y was indeed used. Adding that with the obvious use of thermal weaponry, I concluded that the attackers didn’t use enough of the weapon to guarantee extinction.”
Zhur leaned back in her seat, scarlet eyes fixated on the desk. An’Ra couldn’t tell if she was trying to find a counter argument or just processing the information.
“Have you found any evidence that can tell us if there’s more of the strain out in the galaxy?” Neual asked after giving a sigh through his wide nostrils.
“I’m afraid not, sir. All I can definitively say is that this planet fell victim to a biological Cruel Weapon.”
“I’m more concerned about the native life.” Ghala, the final and second Huak councilor, stated after being silent. “Are you absolutely certain that none of the planet’s indigenous life survived?”
“The scientific team said that there’s a very low chance of that.” An’Ra’s ears flattened. “And after seeing the surface myself, I must agree. I don’t think we should wait for a miracle.”
“Ah...I see.” Ghala leaned back in his chair, obviously disheartened. “Even if the planet is now incapable of supporting life, we still wish to move forward with a more symbolic gesture and statement by declaring Planet 3 of System AQ 115-4A illegal for colonization.”
“But let’s move onto what I believe is the most pressing issue: the identity of the attackers.” Neual leaned forward. “Based on your report, you and the team have found nothing that neither confirms nor clears any potential suspect?”
“That’s correct, Councilor.” An’Ra nodded. “We’ve found nothing, within the system and on the planet itself, that tells us anything about who did it.”
“Are there any surviving infrastructure on the planet?” Ghala asked, straightening his posture. “Even if there isn’t much, maybe the natives’ equipment has something we can use?”
“As established before, the planet was devastated terribly. There are indeed ruins of their civilization, but whether or not we can salvage anything from them is a different story.” An’Ra answered with a sigh.
“So in that case, the Qu’Rathi are still the likely aggressors then.” Zhur stated.
“I’m not convinced.” An’Ra shook his head. “Everything we have so far is just circumstantial, nothing solid.”
“Yes, that proves they did it. But looking at it from a different perspective, nothing that proves they didn’t do it either.” Zhur countered, her eyes squinting some.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to press forward with what I think you’re planning, Councilor.” An’Ra leaned forward on the table, ears flattening back. “If you do, and we uncover evidence that clearly proves their innocence, you will be pushing an innocent race away.”
“But if we uncover evidence that proves their guilt, then the trial will be much more expedient.” Yhiz joined in, his eyes also squinting slightly.
“With respect Council, I still think that’s the worst decision you can make.” An’Ra’s teeth began to bare as he spoke. “We can’t make any decision until we acquire more evidence.”
“Nothing we have proves that Strain Y is permanently removed as a future threat.” Zhur started, “Nothing we have proves that the Federation did not do anything. Right now, we have the threat of a Class 4 Cruel Weapon looming over everyone’s heads. People will start becoming scared, start wondering if their shadows will melt them at any time.”
“I know that Councilors!” An’Ra raised his voice. “Give me time! I’m not saying this is over yet, just let me keep looking!”
“We aren’t stopping your investigation, Commander.” Neual said, holding his hand up slightly. “We’re just informing you that you may not have the time you thought you had.”
“What does that mean?” An’Ra’s ears stuck out at an angle, mixed between stiffening and anger.
The councilors looked at each other for a few moments before Zhur stood up and took in a deep breath. “Commander, based on both the collected evidence so far, and lack of any other evidence, the Council has decided to proceed with charging the Qu’Rathi Federation on counts of Genocide, possession of a Cruel Weapon, and deployment of Cruel Weapons with intent for malicious harm. Out of respect for your efforts, Commander, we will give you eight months to continue your investigation. Beyond that, we will close your investigation to allow the courts time to process and review what has been collected.”
“Are you insane?!” An’Ra shouted. “Do you even realize what would happen if you’re wrong?!”
“We do, Commander.” Zhur nodded. “But the risk is just too high. The safety of the galaxy and justice for the inhabitants of System AQ 115-4A must be our top priority. This debrief is over.”
An’Ra stood in complete and stunned silence, watching the Council casually get up from their seats and dispersing to their own private offices. It wasn’t until that they have fully left the chambers that An’Ra finally found the will to move and regroup with Sonak and Vora, both of whom are also equally stunned.
“Those ekas!” Vora exclaimed. “It’s bad enough to be quick at accusing someone, but how dare they claim this is for those humans!”
“And here I thought all those things the news were saying was just to get people to watch them.” Sonak muttered softly. “Commander, obviously this is bad.”
“I know, Sonak.” An’Ra crossed his arms, ears now pointing straight back and teeth fully bared. “We can’t let them do this.”
“But what can we do?” Sonak exclaimed. “What options do we have?”
“Alliance Enforcement!” Vora declared. “Commander, what if you filed a complaint to the Lord-Enforcer? Tell him what’s going on?”
“That’s a good idea actually.” Sonak nodded. “If we convince the Lord-Enforcer that the Council is being too hasty with our investigation, which shouldn’t be hard, he just might deny the Council’s request for prosecution!”
“I can’t imagine the Lord-Enforcer approving this even without our complaint.” An’Ra replied. “Still, never hurts to be prepared. Come on, let’s get to it.”

Jur’El leaned back in the puffy seat he was assigned to. The restaurant he entered had a calm and relaxed atmosphere. The lighting was dimmed, which complimented the dark but cozy ambiance of the room. The walls and floor each had a dark-themed color scheme, the seats were of a different scheme but not too different to oppose the goal set by the designer. And although the building was packed with customers, their conversations did not threaten to turn anyone deaf. It was a quiet and relaxed experience, something he needed desperately.
Even now, as hard as he tried to focus on how delicious his food was, how balanced the flavor and texture of it was, he was still forced to relive what happened on Planet 3. He could hear the sudden screams of his colony group. The scientists who were first awoken that wanted to find out why their Life world was so different to the data they were given. To the families and menial workers who were just talking amongst themselves and organizing the supplies when those machines stormed the ship. And what still terrifies him, still sends his heart racing, was when that one machine entered the control room, blood drenching its chassis. Bits and pieces of Qu’Rathi innards on its cold mechanical manipulators. How it just stared at him, lifelessly, with a rifle aiming right at his chest. And those drills. Those ghenning drills.
He was forced out of his torment by the rough poking of his shoulder. When he looked, it was another Qu’Rathi. “Captain Jur’El, right?”
“Uh..yes, who are you?” He nodded in confusion.
“Jhen.” She introduced herself, quickly taking a seat opposite from him. “I need to talk to you.”
“About what?”
“The expedition to that system deep in the Dead Zone.” She glared at him, mandibles tense. “The same system who’s Life world had a native population, the very same world being investigated as a genocide site, where your expedition went to settle.”
“Jhen, please, we had no idea what was going on.” Jur’El leaned back, hands raised in a defensive posture. “All we were told was that this was the most pristine and beautiful Life world ever discovered in a system rich with stellar bodies.”
“I don’t care about that. What I care is how you seem to be the only one who came back.” Jhen started raising herself from her seat. “I’m pretty sure that anyone who attempts to colonize a freshly cleansed world is forcibly removed from that planet and returned to their respective people. So where is everyone?”
Jur’El’s eyes went wide. He knew exactly where this was going. “I...I can’t tell you.”
“Don’t you dare.” Jhen snarled, now leaning over the table. “I’ve heard enough of that from the company, I’m not here to be force-fed more of it!”
“ me,” Jur’El spoke softly, shakily leaving his seat, “You don’t want to know.”
“Don’t you ghenning walk away from me!” Jhen shouted, grabbing Jur’El’s shoulder firmly, the other patrons now locking eyes to the two. “Two of my sons were on that mission! What happened to them?!”
Jur’El clutched his head with a hand firmly, feeling tears exploding out of his eyes. His mind rushing back to those scenes. The sounds, the smell, the fear. Everything crashed into him all at once. And they’re not just memories now. They’re all coming back to him as if he was transported in time and placed back to the exact moment it started. Back to the moment where he was screaming for his wife and son to hide, to find a corner of the ship that was hard to see and to stay there until the shooting stopped. How he felt his heart give out when he heard them beg for their life when they were found, cut short by the merciless cracks of their alien weapons. How every possible feeling melted away when the clanking of the machine’s walking approached him, when he realized there was no nowhere in the control room to hide, not with how thorough those things were being. The frantic, mindless begging he got into when he saw the blood covered machine hold that weapon to him.
“You’re safe!” A voice rang out. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for him to come back. That scene melting away back into the restaurant. All those smells and sights to be gone. When he was certain that it was over, he looked around. There was Jhen, face beaten and currently being restrained by a blue-furred Anaran. And in front of him was another, gray-furred one. “You hear me? You’re safe now!”
“I...wh-what happened?”
“We saw what was going on. The Qu’Rathi over there? She was just screaming down your throat, all while you were just on the floor. Ken’A there nearly caved her face in by the time we got some distance between you two.”
“Th...thank you.” Jur’El muttered, shakily getting himself back on his feet with the help of the gray Anaran. Jur’El was just about to walk away when the Anaran firmly, but not threateningly, gripped his shoulder.
“I know the signs, friend.” He began softly. “Your soul is badly wounded and is bleeding heavily. Just like a doctor if you’re shot or cut, you need to find someone to talk to, get your soul back together.”
“As long as I don’t run into another person like her, I’ll be fine.” Jur’El countered, trying to walk away still.
“No, you won’t.” The Anaran still held his grip. “I need you to trust me. With how bad your soul is right now, doing anything other than talking to someone will just make it worse. And when your soul dies, well...believe me, it’s not a good experience, for anybody.”
Jur’El stared into the gray Anaran’s orange eyes for a moment before he let out a sigh. “You’re not going to give up, are you?”
“I’ve seen what happens too many times. Good Battle-Brothers, completely different people. Either they’re just shadows of themselves, or doomed to forever relive their horrors. If I have the chance to prevent it happening again, I’m giving it my all.”
Jur’El looked aside for a few moments, internally fighting himself as to whether he should comply or keep resisting. He finally reached his decision when he became certain that the Anaran would most likely hunt him down as a life mission if he didn’t seek therapy. “Fine, I’ll do it. Got anyone in mind?”
“A dear friend of mine. He’ll get you back on track, promise.” The Anaran patted Jur’El’s shoulder a few times before proceeding to lead him, motioning for Ken’A to let go of Jhen and follow.

Michael, accompanied by his newly founded Praetorian Guard, continued his leisurely stroll down the surprisingly spacious corridor. The hallway itself was typical. All-metal construction with evenly spaced rows of blue-white lights.
The Praetorian Guard themselves are comprised of those Servants who display both extreme scores in combat efficiency and effectiveness in defensive situations. Armed with the absolute best in magnetic-ballistics, the most impenetrable of armor designs and the highest optimized combat-frames, even a squad of these guards can hold off a virtual army, provided they aren’t subjected to bombardment or heavy ordinance.
Just as Michael was about to enter the main command center of the station he was touring, Central contacted him on a private channel.
“Master? Your new administration is ready.” He declared proudly.
“Alright, let’s begin the introductions.” Michael replied, signaling the guardsmen that he’s about to enter a meeting. Although unneeded, the Guard promptly took up a defensive formation around him. He assumes this is mostly to keep unwelcome guests from interrupting him.
The scenery of the tranquil design of the corridor melted away into the virtual world built by neon-blue blocks, the same visual that he witnessed when he first received the interface. After a few moments, several other Servants materialized and stood attention in a semi-circle in front of him.
“My Lord.” The first Servant bowed, its voice deep, if gruff. “I’m Supreme Commander Schwarzkopf, in charge of managing our armed forces and overseeing the grand strategy of the Imperium.”
“I am Secretary Elizabeth.” The second spoke with a calming, soothing feminine voice. “I’m responsible for ensuring our economy runs perfectly. In short, I make sure every project gets the hammers and resources it needs.”
“I’m Foreign Minister Edward, at your service m’Lord.” The third, with a distinct British accent and of a composed, controlled voice. “While regretfully I’m useless at this stage, the moment we initiate contact with xeno species, I’ll handle diplomatic affairs and achieving our goals through negotiations when possible.”
“No offense, but I thought every Servant wants to see aliens dead?” Michael spoke up with slight confusion.
“Oh, of course. The very idea of ripping out the entrails of a xeno and suffocating them with it brings such joy it’s therapeutic.” Benjamin replied. Michael was unsure if he was joking or not. “I was appointed because I displayed the most effective ability at hiding such feelings.”
“Ah...good to know.” Michael nodded dryly, not exactly assured. “Back to where we were?”
“Yes, Lord. I’m Director Mansfield.” The fourth spoke with an eloquent-sounding voice. “I’m in charge of Imperial Intelligence, running operations abroad and managing counter-intelligence on the homefront. I give you my word that we will know everything about the aliens and they will know nothing about us.”
“And that leaves me, Master.” Central began. “As a result of this delegation, I now possess more processing cycles towards research and development. That means that I’ll be in charge of ensuring Imperial dominance in technology. I will also act as your adjutant, filtering out information that does not need your attention.”
“Well...shit, this sounds like an actual government I’m in charge of.” Michael gave out a nervous chuckle. “All the more reason to get down to business though. Let’s start with the first matter. Schwarzkopf, how’s our military coming along?”
“It’s growing rapidly, your majesty.” He answered with distinct pride. “Already we have several hundred frigates, fifty light cruisers and twenty heavy cruisers, with the first wave of battleships due to exit the drydocks within a few days. Additionally, we have established four different army groups with fifty divisions each.”
“I thought we’d take a lot longer.” Michael stated with no hidden amazement.
“There’s great benefit in our workforce able to operate at a hundred percent every hour of the day.” Elizabeth commented, her emotion-flags also indicating pride. “And speaking of which, our population of Servants grows geometrically. That benefits both our economy and the military. Our economy by providing more workers in skilled and unskilled labor, and the military by providing more crew members and soldiers.”
“So in short, it won’t be long before we become a virtual powerhouse.” Michael said, arms crossed.
“Especially if we continue expanding.” Elizabeth nodded. “On that note, we have already claimed several dozen more systems.”
“With Rigel and Betelgeuse selected as naval bases.” Schwarzkopf chimed in.
“So we’re expanding in all the ways, got it.” Michael nodded. “Now the second matter. Terraforming Mars.”
“At present, there are two issues that must be resolved.” Central answered. “The first problem is the planet’s lack of a magnetosphere. Without that, any and all organic life would perish under lethal bombardment of the Sun’s solar wind, in addition to any sustainable atmosphere being lost to space. The second problem is Mars’ inability to retain heat, the cause for it’s known low planetary temperature.”
“And knowing you, you already have possible answers?” Mansfield shrugged.
“Correct. The heat issue is rather trivial to solve. Mars already has an abundant amount of carbon-dioxide within the atmosphere, a well known greenhouse gas. Combined with even more of the gas locked planet side, once temperatures begin to rise, we will set off a snowball effect. However, that is all for naught if the atmosphere is allowed to escape into space by solar wind.”
“So basically the key here is the magnetosphere.” Michael added. “Build that and everything becomes simple.”
“Exactly.” Central affirmed. “Already there are two main methods. One is to build superconducting rings around the planet and drive them with direct current. With enough power, we can generate magnetic fields strong enough to form a virtual magnetosphere.”
“And what’s the second?” Elizabeth said.
“The second is to construct a station at the L1 Lagrange Point that will generate a dipole magnetic field, diverting the solar wind around the planet instead of into it. Although it was simulated using slower, binary processing, the results indicate that Mars would gain half the atmospheric pressure of Earth’s within a few years.”
“So then, the main focus is building that magnetic shield.” Michael spoke firmly. “Elizabeth? Let’s get the ball rolling. Coordinate with Central as needed.”
“At once, my Lord.” Elizabeth bowed.

Unlike the Council chambers, the office of the Lord-Enforcer was much less opulent and more pragmatic. After going through the receptionist area, An’Ra and his team were escorted into the main office itself. However, just like the chambers, a large window dominated the view on entry, granting another view of a city district on Sanctuary.
And sitting in the more rectangular desk was the Lord-Enforcer himself, Dura. Blue eyed, with a fur of dull-orange it reminds of a sunset. As soon as An’Ra and his team walked into the office, the Enforcer sat up, tail wagging.
“Commander An’Ra, in my office!” He exclaimed, arms out to his sides. “Forgive me sir, but I never thought I’d see the day!”
“A pleasure to meet you, sir.” An’Ra replied warmly, greeting the Enforcer with their fists clasped together and pulling themselves inward, shoulder to shoulder.
“Please, no need to be formal with me.” Dura chuckled. “Sit down, what brings you here?”
After taking their respective seats, An’Ra looked at Dura grimly. “I’m here to file a delay on a request for prosecution against the Federation.”
Dura’s ears angled themselves in a mixture of stiffening and lowering. “I just got the paperwork from the Council. And I can tell you that won’t be needed. I’ve already submitted my rejection.”
“With respect, sir.” Sonak spoke up. “I get the feeling that the Council might fight that.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to present my back to them just because they ask.” Dura gave off a grin. “I might be some paper-tosser now, but that just means the battlefield is different. Don’t worry Commander, as long as I’m here, you’ll get the chance to finish this investigation properly.”
“Thank you, Enforcer.” An’Ra smiled as he got up from his seat. “With any luck, you won’t have to fight long.”
“Oh, take your time!” Dura replied with an inflection of humor. “This is the most exciting thing I’ve had in years. Was just about to smash my head on this desk any day now actually.”
“Wait, really?” Vora asked, ears stiffened.
“It’s just a joke, Vora.” Sonak assured dryly.
“Oh...” Her ears flattened as the team exited the office.
When they arrived in the main plaza where the Enforcer’s office is located, they congregated in a small collection of benches nearby an ornate fountain that commemorated the Anaran defense of Felaal IV, largely considered the turning point of the Great War, which further enhanced the beauty of the surrounding scenery of floating walkways above crystal-clear waters.
“Well, that’s a relief, hopefully.” An’Ra began, letting out a decompressing sigh.
“I meant what I said earlier, An’Ra.” Sonak said. “If the Council are determined to charge the Federation, which I’m sure they made abundantly clear, they’re not going to let the Enforcer drop mines in their path just like that.”
“Which just means we can’t lose our focus.” Vora replied sternly. “So, what are our options? We can’t exactly go back to Planet 3, there’s really no leads there.”
“What about that Detective we met when we arrived?” Sonak suggested. “He was handling that whistle blower. Maybe that’s something worth looking into?”
“There’s also the Nav-Net.” Vora said. “All we got right now is that the Feds were at that location, but what if we look at the rest of the network? Try and trace their path?”
“The network doesn’t extend into the Dead Zone.” Sonak countered.
“No, not like that. We look at the network across Alliance space. We start with the logs that end at the Dead Zone, and we try to backtrack their route.”
“We’ll need to obtain legal authorization for that, Vora.” An’Ra stated.
“Actually, if I could add something.” Sonak said with his arms crossed. “If the Federation didn’t actually do it, then that questions the credibility of those codes. I think there’s a question that hasn’t been asked yet. And that is, are those codes faked?”
“That’s...a good point actually.” Vora acceded. “If we get the legal permission to examine the NavNet logs, then if the Federation didn’t do it, the logs across the network won’t support it. Think about it. You need a big fleet to do what just happened, and that fleet has to come from somewhere.”
“And that would mean if this was a frame job, they need a way to account for that.” An’Ra continued, confidence flaring. “It’s one thing to trick a single Nav-Buoy, but I really doubt anyone is capable enough of affecting the network itself.”
“We still need the Enforcer’s help to get access to the network.” Sonak reminded.
“Let’s go get it then.” An’Ra stated firmly. With that, the team left their meeting spot and began returning to the Enforcer’s office.
With confidence in their step, the walk back to the office was much shorter compared to before. However, things took a turn when An’Ra and the team noticed a large gathering of officers around the office entrance. They didn’t have to time to wonder when a group exited the office, dragging a combative Dura out with them.
“Commander, this isn’t good.” Sonak growled under his breath.
An’Ra simply stepped forward and grabbed one of the arresting officers. “What in Arenar’s Sword is going on here?”
“Dura’s under arrest on suspicion of corruption.” The officer replied flatly. “Lil’Al has been appointed as acting Lord-Enforcer.”
“The Council’s behind this, Commander!” Dura shouted, his feet literally dragging along the floor as four officers were taking him away. “Don’t believe a word they say about me!”
An’Ra and his team just stood there in stunned silence, watching and hearing the Anaran official being dragged virtually kicking and screaming. By the time they returned to their senses, hushed conversations was populating both the room and outside.
“We’re not going to get in the network, are we?” Sonak asked, still recovering.
“We still have to try, come on.” An’Ra said, already moving. When the team returned to the office, standing next to the desk was a slender Esti. No doubt Lil’al. She was looking out the window when she turned around upon hearing the encroaching footsteps.
“Yes, may I help you?” She began.
“Acting Lord-Enforcer Lil’Al?” An’Ra began, trying the diplomatic route first. “I’m Commander An’Ra, investigating the genocide by use of Strain Y. We’d like to request legal authorization to examine the logs of the Nav-Net.”
“For what purpose?” She replied, taking her seat.
“We believe that it may hold evidence that either confirms or disproves the Federation’s alleged involvement in the attack.”
Lil’Al leaned back in her seat, staring at them. “The Nav-Net is the lifeblood of, well, everything. Commerce, tourism, law enforcement. It holds great information about who has gone where, and in what ship, Commander. You realize that, don’t you?”
“I do, and what you’ve said precisely states how important that is, how important the potential evidence is.”
Lil’Al stayed motionless for a few moments, her long, lithe fingers twiddling about that indicates her thought. “Very well, I’ll start the paperwork to get you authorization, just be mindful of what you’re about to analyze.”
“Thank you.” An’Ra gave a slight bow. “In addition, I’m not sure if it’s been passed along, but Dura has rejected the Council’s request for prosecuting the Federation. Can I assume you’ll uphold that?”
“I’m afraid not, Commander.” Lil’Al replied flatly. “The galaxy has suffered a great loss through the genocide of a race who’ve suffered the universe’s cruel sense of humor by being placed both far away from us and deep within an almost uninhabitable region. I have overturned Dura’s rash decision and accepted the Council’s request.”
“Then I’d like to file a delay on that decision, immediately.” An’Ra replied, ears flattened back.
“On what grounds?”
“Lack of decisive evidence, to start.”
“Same could be said on your side, Commander.” Lil’Al let out a sigh. “Yes, all the evidence collected thus far is not...ideal. However, the most significant points at this time are that a young race who was just about to leave their homeworld was exterminated through the most horrible of all options. We cannot ignore that.”
“But we also can’t rush to conclusions. We need to continue investigating and only go after someone if we have at least one crucial piece of information.” An’Ra countered, arms crossed and his teeth starting to bare.
“And I agree, that’s how it should be done.” Lil’Al replied. “But if we do, we risk dragging out an investigation to such a length we may end up forgetting this tragedy. We cannot allow such an insult to Planet 3’s memory. I’m sorry, but I must reject your petition for judiciary delay.”
Next Chapter
AN: Every single time I paste this in, Reddit is just determined to put it in some code block. Anyways, As of now, I've finally completely locked in the plot for this story, just one major question that could've changed a lot was on my mind for a while. Enjoy!
submitted by SynthoStellar to HFY [link] [comments]

An electrical engineers opinion on the Librem 5.

Hello everyone. In light of the most recent update, "Supplying the Demand", I would like to share my opinions on the current state of this device.
The following is some basic info of my background. You are free to criticize any and all aspects of this post.
  1. I am an electrical engineer who specializes in digital signal processing (DSP), systems (debug), and comms.
  2. I currently work at a large company that operates in the cell phone industry. My roll is within a 5G research/testing department.
  3. This is my main Reddit account which is reasonably old and active. I typically lurk a lot and rarely post.
  4. My knowledge of programing is very limited. I preform 95% of my job functions with Python and Matlab. This will be a hardware and systems level discussion of the Librem 5.
The CEO of Purism, Mr. Todd Weaver, outlined three major problem areas within the current iteration of the Librem 5: Thermals, Power, and Reception. Let us go through these in order.
Thermals and power are closely intertwined so let's only focus on Purism's options to fix thermals, assuming they make no changes to improve power consumption. Given that the Librem 5 is (thankfully) a thick device, I see no reason why Purism would not be able to fix the thermal issues. In a worst case scenario, they would have to redo the motherboard layout, add some thermal pads/paste, and maybe add a thin yet expensive copper vapor chamber. This would result in a worst case scenario of a possible delay and additional bill of material cost of 20-30 dollars. In my opinion, the thermal problems are solvable and within reach.
Because of the strict requirements Purism placed on the goals of this device (regarding binary blobs), they have chosen modem(s) that were not designed for this use case. All four variants of the offered modems by both modem vendors (Gemalto and Broadmobi) are internet of things (IOT) class chips. From an EE perspective, these modems are fine in the right context.
Industrial communication with large equipment (shipping yards)?
Vending machine credit card processing?
Also Great.
A mobile device (UE) that users will be moving around (mobility) and expecting good reception on a strict power budget?
And thus we arrive at the root of the power and reception issues. I am going to talk about reception in it's own section so lets talk power.
The large modem vendors in the smartphone space (Qualcomm, Samsung, Huwawei/HiSillicon, MediaTek, Intel) spend an huge amount of time and effort on power management features. Not only is logic level hardware design done with power in mind, but once the chip is fully taped out, months of effort by 100's of engineers is sunk to improve power characteristics via firmware development and testing. As much as we all hate binary blobs that may (probably) spy on us, these companies have good reason to keep their firmware (and thus power saving IP) secret. Significant competitive advantages are created between the modem vendors from this firmware and digital logic level power savings effort.
When a company markets their modem as "IOT", they are effectively admitting that little to no effort was done to keep chip power in check. In the example IOT applications I mentioned (vending machine's and large industrial equipment), power does not matter. The devices themselves draw far more power than the modem that will be inside. Space is not a concern. So companies making IOT products with these modems simply ignore the power draw and slap on a large heat-sink. From lurking on linux and /Purism , I have seem others call out the modems without going in depth to why these products even exist. Yes, the specifications and capabilities of these modems are far lower. So be it. I think all of use are fine with "100 MBit" peak down-link (reality will be 10-20). The problem is that these chips were not designed for power efficiency and never intended to be in a small compact device. You would not put the engine of a Prius into a flatbed truck. The engineers at Toyota never intended for a Prius engine to go inside such a vehicle. The same situation has happened here.
Now on to how Purism can fix this power problem. With a herculean effort, the firmware developers employed by Purism (and hopefully some community members) can improve power characteristics. I suspect Purism employees have spent most of their time getting the modem firmware and RF-fronted SW into a functional state. There was a blog post somewhere where a Purism employee brought up a call over the air (OTA). I can't find it but that was by far the most important milestone of their effort. Getting past RACH and acquiring a base-station OTA is huge in the industry. The first phase of binary blob development is predominately focused on integrating features while avoiding attach failures and BLER issues. In this first phase, power saving features are typically disabled to make everything else easier to debug. It is safe to say that the Purism employees have neither had the time nor the resources to even start on modem/RF power saving features. Again, in my opinion, the power problem can be solved but this will be a huge massive incredible exhausting undertaking.
As I have explained above, IOT-class modems are not designed for, and do not care for certain features. Certain features are really necessary for a regular smartphone (henceforth refereed to as a "UE") to function well. Some examples are:
  1. Mobility. The ability of a UE to switch to new base-stations as the user travels (walking, driving, whatever). This is distinct from the ability of the UE to attach (pass RACH msg 4) to a cell tower from boot or a total signal loss.
  2. Compatibility with all LTE bands. This is why Purism has to support four modems and why you the user will likely to have a somewhat unpleasant time setting things up.
  3. Interoperability testing vs Standards Regression Testing. Suppose that LTE specs can have 1000 different configurations for a cell network and towers within that network. Large modem vendors rigorously test 100's of possible configurations, even if the carriers (Verizon, Sprint, China Mobil, ...) and the base-station vendors (Huwawei, Nokia, Ericsson, ...) only use a few dozen possible configurations. This means that niche bugs are unfortunately likely to show up.
  4. Low-SNR performance. Companies who deploy these modems either place their devices in physical locations that get good SNR (20 dBm ish) or they just attach a giant antenna to get an extra 6-10 dB gain. Users of cellular devices want to still have basic connectivity for voice calls, SMS texts, and notification batches... even if the SNR is bad (1-bar ~= 7 dB SNR; NOTE: EE's use SNR and SINR interchangeably based on background) users still expect basic functionality. IOT modems do not have the hardware blocks to handle low-SNR signals. This is to keep the chip small and cheap. Some DSP tricks like higher order filter banks, over-sampling, and many other linear algebra tricks likely can not run on the modem in real time, rendering them useless. (wireless channel coherence is often quite short)
What concerns me the most is that in the "Supplying the Demand" post, Mr. Weaver only implies that there is a reception issue by very briefly mentioning an "antenna routing" problem. I do not find the claim plausible. UE base-band antennas are typically PIFA, patch, or Log periodic in design. Depending on many factors which are beyond my knowledge, you can get around 6-15 dB of gain from antennas alone. Even though I am a DSP engineer, my job requires me to have a surface level knowledge of antenna radiation patterns. Up front, I can tell you that antenna placement can not and is not a issue. In the Librem 5 batches that do not have metal construction. There should be zero problems. Plastic does not interfere with radio waves enough to cause more than 1-1.5 dB loss in the absolute worst case. In the devices with metal bodies, there should be no issue anyway because of antenna bands. The image I linked is a modern ultra-high end device where you can easily see two thin rectangular plastic antenna bands. There is a reason modern