Wow. I'm just now noticing this is CHAPTER 100 (!) of FFN's version of The Road to Cydonia.
Its too bad... I should have something more zany or crazy special. Then again, this is Big Fucking News (also known as BFN) so it'll have to do.


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Author Notes (IMPORTANT re: TRTC updates)

Well, it has been a while since I updated TRTC, and for good reason. Those who have been reading the notices on my author page or elsewhere may already know that I've been busily working on a massive "The Road to Cydonia" related side project over the last year. Everything else was put on hold.

That side project is now, finally, ready for release.

Called "Reflections Lost on a Dark Road" it is an in-continuity crossover with a friend of mine, Lathis, the author of "Teen Titans and the Lost Boy" and "Dark Titans." Again: it is part of the continuity of both our fanfic verses, taking place roughly two months from where TRTC and DT left off. For "The Road to Cydonia" that means it is roughly two arcs in the future from Ch33: Auribus Teneo Lupum. When we finish releasing Reflections, we will resume with the previous and succeeding arcs in both TRTC and DT (in my case, I except that will be "Cydonia or Bust!" after the crossover ends). At that time, I will delete this update chapter (probably) and resume normal TRTC chapter updates again.

In the meantime, here is the address for "Reflections Lost on a Dark Road" - you can consider updates in that fic to be basically updates to this one.

Simply cut and paste the bit below after fanfiction dot net.

/u/2754251/

- Cap'n Chryssalid

(alternatively, you can go to my FFN site and I'll have a hyperlink there, for those who don't want to cut/paste the link)

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In the meantime, here's some more XCOM fluff regarding TRTC
(actually, it's been up on my trtc ufopedia for a while, but I know most people don't use that archive)


WEAPONS TECH PROFILES

GAU-12 25mm Equalizer

The GAU-12 25mm six-barrel gun was the "cannon" armament used during some attempted UFO interceptions (due to the interceptors being an American design). The cannon was mounted internally, but had limited ammunition, range and accuracy. Only four interceptions were attempted using the GAU-12; of those, one resulted in the loss of the interceptor, two resulted in a failed interception, and one was a limited success. It was soon determined that interception using cannon was almost impossible due to the durability, speed, and maneuverability of alien UFOs. The one success was a small scout. Against any larger UFO (and they're all larger than a small scout), engaging with cannon was considered too dangerous and ineffective.

The GAU-12 has a 300 round capacity with a lead computing optical sight system (LCOSS) gunsight. The Marines use a 25mm depleted uranium [DU] round in the GAU-12 Gatling gun on AV-8 Harriers.

GAU-12 Interceptors have, on rare occasions, been used in a ground attack role against alien forces. Due to this possibility, some UNETCO bases still stock one or two cannons, just in case.

CAAM-5 CAMRAAM "Stingray"

Engine...TDR and high-performance directed rocket motor
Mass...225 kg
Length...4.11 m
Diameter...0.191 m
Speed...Mach 6.8
Range...30 km
Warhead...high explosive blast/fragmentation

The Stingray is an active radar guided conventional advanced medium air to air missile (CAMRAAM) developed by the UNETCO International Armaments Consortium. Major contributors to this project include corporations from both NATO countries and Russia; the missiles themselves are assembled and armed in several sites and shipped as necessary to X-COM facilities world wide. The Stingray is a cutting edge Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM) capable of all weather day and night performance. It is often colloquially referred to as the "Spanker" (no relation to the MR-UR-100 Sotka) missile by some pilots, due to its attack pattern of hitting the underside of a UFO as it banks upward, "spanking it on the ass." When a Stingray is launched, X-COM pilots use the brevity code Fox-Three in radio communication, as with all active-guidance missiles.

In function, the Stingray is similar to the MBDA Meteor, in that it utilizes a Throttleable Ducted Rocket (TDR) (a ramjet) with an integrated nozzleless booster. As in the Meteor, the TDR propulsion system provides a long range, high average speed, and wide operational envelope from sea level to high altitude. The Stingray also utilized the most advanced three dimensional thrust vectoring and target acquisition technologies. This limits its range, compared to many other conventional missiles, but gives the weapon improved maneuverability - a necessity in hitting UFOs - and a powerful warhead. A powerful two-way datalink allows the missile to receive targeting information and updates from multiple sources, decreasing the chance of losing target lock.

The Stingray can be refitted to use a small nuclear warhead, but to date this variant has never been used in combat.

The Stingray remains UNETCO's conventional (in terms of warhead) interception option. Due to the fact that it does not have a nuclear warhead, it was the weapon of choice for the interdiction of smaller UFOs early in the war up to the development of laser and plasma beam technology. It would prove dangerous to use against larger alien craft, however, and by 2002 it was phased out almost entirely in favor of air-to-air plasma beam weapons.

CAAM-6 UMRAAM "Avalanche"

Engine...TDR and high-performance directed rocket motor
Mass...382 kg
Length...4.21 m
Diameter...0.195 m
Speed...Mach 6.8
Range...60 km
Warhead...nuclear warhead (variable yield)

The Avalanche is an active radar guided unconventional medium air to air missile (UMRAAM) developed by the UNETCO International Armaments Consortium. Like with the Stingray, the missile is assembled off-site before transport to a central facility where it is then inspected and mated to a nuclear warhead. Prior to its destruction during an alien raid, this was the Morlenbach facility in Germany. Since that event, inspections are now carried out in a secret facility in Western Europe (known among troops as the "Uranium Hotel"). The missiles then undergo another round of safety checks and inspections before being requisitioned to X-COM bases. Meticulous records are kept of every warhead entered into UNETCO service, what missiles they are mated to, where they are shipped, and where and when they are used.

Structurally, the Avalanche is similar to the Stingray. It uses a Throttleable Ducted Rocket (TDR) (a ramjet) with an integrated nozzleless booster to achieve a high speed on approach to the target. It is larger and far less maneuverable than the Stingray, however, doing damage to the target by virtue of the proximity triggered detonation of its nuclear warhead. It possesses a similar electronics package to the Stingray. One notable difference is that the Avalanche's warhead needs to be activated before it is mounted to a hard point, and then electronically unlocked before firing (after mounting). The levels of redundancy involved have ensured that, after many years using these weapons, there has never been an accident.

The warhead used is similar to the American W80. It is a small thermonuclear warhead (or hydrogen bomb) with a variable explosive yield between 5 and 150 kT TNT. The proximity fuse can also be adjusted to trigger detonation at different distances from the target. The Avalanche is capable of intercepting and damaging even the largest UFOs, however, because only a few of these missiles can be carried at a time (due to size), they may not be able to successfully down the more powerful alien craft: Terror Ships, Battleships, and occasionally Supply Ships can survive several salvos of these weapons. However, it is a powerful addition to the X-COM arsenal, and it was essential in the early years before the development of ship mounted plasma beams and fusion ball launchers.
Most Avalanche missiles were retired in 2003.

When an Avalanche is launched, X-COM pilots use the brevity code "Genie" in radio communication, to announce the launch of a guided air-to-air nuclear missile.

CL-3 "Hecate" Laser Cannon

The CL-3 Hecate was developed by UNETCO as a scaled up version of the laser weapons designed for ground troops and armored vehicles. While a laser suffers increasing beam diffraction at extreme range in an atmosphere, the advantages of relativistic target interception and high burst damage potential are undeniable. Due to effective differences in interception, compared to ground combat, the CL-3 is designed to dump laser energy into a target as a single large pulse rather than as a dwelling beam. This makes the CL-3 less energy efficient than its smaller cousins, but far more powerful.

Once within range of a target, an illumination laser is used to determine range, speed and bearing as well as provide lock on. Following deactivation of the weapon safety, the laser designator takes over for the radar system, and automatically adjusts the aim of the laser cannon and fires given a high hit percentage. This means that the human pilot can concentrate on navigation and evasive maneuvers, while the weapons automatically track and engage. A higher degree of accuracy is achieved using this system than is otherwise possible when reliant entirely on human reaction speeds.

The CL-3 Hecate is also notable as one of the most important weapons produced by X-COM for sale to its allies. While the UNETCO Charter forbids the use of "exotic or alien technologies" by one member nation against another Earth based non-alien power or agency, it can be expected that once the war is over and the Charter expires that a great many "next generation" fighter craft will be refitted to use laser weaponry. There are already post-war plans for the use of X-COM laser technology in ballistic missile defense systems.

When a CL-3 Hecate's automatic targeting is activated, X-COM pilots use the brevity code "Beam Active" in radio communication, to announce the activation of beam-based automatic targeting and engagement.

CP-3 Medium Plasma Cannon (MPC) "Fenrisulven"

The CP family of craft mounted beam weapons are derived from alien plasma technology. Originally retrofitted alien weapons and direct copies, starting with the CP-2 UNETCO began to manufacture plasma cannons with a combination of range and power that most suited human combat operations. The CP-3 is the most modern large scale plasma weapon in the X-COM arsenal, offering extreme long range interception, virtually instantaneous transmission time to target, high reliability and impressive power. The only major drawback is its use of Elerium-115 (which can not be manufactured at present; it can only be salvaged from alien craft or installations). For this reason, most regional Commanders only authorize the use of plasma cannons on high priority targets (Abductors, Terror Ships, Battleships, Supply Ships).

The CP-3 operates through the use of Elerium-115 annihilation. This exotic isotope, under certain conditions, releases small quantities of anti-matter, a large degree of waste heat, and gravity waves. Depending on the reactor, the ratio of byproducts produced can be controlled; in a plasma weapon virtually no gravity waves are released. Rather, large amounts of waste heat are used to superheat a thin helix of plasma, via Ionic Cyclotron Resonance. Packaged inside the innermost concentric magnetic "plasma" bubble, an aggregate of anti-protons is channeled from the reactor. The highly excited "plasma beam" is then accelerated and projected towards a target. In larger and more powerful plasma cannons, a higher rate of acceleration can be achieved. The CP-3 has an average muzzle velocity of 220 kilometers per second (compared to 11 kps for a plasma pistol). Only the plasma cannons mounted on alien Battleships are marginally more powerful.

While the beam dissipates very quickly in an atmosphere, giving it only an effective range of 50 to 60 kilometers, it has greater speed and an almost unlimited range in the vacuum of space. In that environment, targeting and hitting a maneuvering ship becomes the major difficulty, limiting the beam to an effective range (given a small and evasive target) of only 900 to 1000 kilometers. On impact with a target, the plasma sphere disintegrates and interacts with the antimatter core. The combination of already superheated plasma, the matter-antimatter annihilation, and the high speed collision all combine to do extensive damage.

As with the CL-3 Laser Cannon, once within range of a target, an illumination laser is used to determine range, speed and bearing as well as provide lock on. Following deactivation of the weapon safety, the laser designator takes over for the radar system, and automatically adjusts the aim of the plasma cannon and fires given a high hit percentage. This means that the human pilot can concentrate on navigation and evasive maneuvers, while the weapons automatically track and engage. A higher degree of accuracy is achieved using this system than is otherwise possible when reliant entirely on human reaction speeds.

When a CP-3 Fenrisulven's automatic targeting is activated, X-COM pilots use the brevity code "Beam Active" in radio communication, to announce the activation of beam-based automatic targeting and engagement.

CF-2C "Fusion Ball" Launcher
Accelerated Elerium Annihilation Device Expendible Exotic Munition (AEADEEM)

The CF-2C is a second generation derivative of alien "Blaster Bomb" technology. This makes the AEADEEM a guided explosive; unlike a Blaster Bomb, however, a so called "Fusion Ball" rarely uses predetermined waypoints. Instead, it seeks and pursues a target much like a missile. The difference is that a Fusion Ball has all the maneuverability of a UFO and then some. This means that it is almost guarantees to hit, and its powerful warhead ensures that when it does, it hits with tremendous force.
Like a Blaster Bomb, a "Fusion Ball" is basically a small self-contained and automated and autonomous UFO. At the heart of the weapon is an Elerium-115 Reactor that generates primarily gravity waves and anti-matter, and very little waste heat. Like with a Blaster Bomb, the small amount of anti matter produced by the reactor is collected within cyclotron oriented pockets inside the reactor housing, and stored there in tiny magnetic bottles. Similarly, just as with Blaster Bombs, Fusion Balls have a limited operational reactor time during which they exhaust their Elerium-115 supply. This determines the speed and duration of the flight: the shorter the flight, the faster the Fusion Ball goes, the longer the flight, the slower it goes.

However, because Fusion Balls have to pursue an evasive target, a sophisticated internal computer manages the energy supply, regulating the speed. Thus, a Fusion Ball displays a much more uniform performance in flight than a Blaster Bomb, though is fired from short range, it will travel much more quickly than if fired from long range. In general, the speed of a Fusion Ball varies between 15,000 and 40,000 kilometers per hour.
Approaching a target, the ball orients its "face" towards the point of impact. On impact, the body of the Fusion Ball crumples and deforms. In addition to the kinetic energy of the impact itself, the accumulated excited antimatter interacts with the matter around it, producing a tremendous explosion up and into the target. On an atomic scale, energetic plasma forms around points of contact between matter and antimatter, spreading the energy release over milliseconds and generating more heat and blast than hard radiation. This "Fusion" annihilation/interaction gives the weapon its nickname.

The CF-2C is the most ship mounted powerful weapon in the X-COM Arsenal, with impressive range and tremendous power, it is effective against any and all alien craft. However, it has very limited ammunition per launcher, and each Fusion Ball represents a significant investment in irreplaceable Elerium-115. As such, it is generally only authorized for use against alien Battleships and Terror Ships.

When a CF-2C is launched, X-COM pilots use the brevity code "Fox Five" in radio communication, to announce the firing of an expendible exotic munition (or EEM for short).

Alien Shield and Stealth Systems

Alien stealth technology relies on the interception and absorption of electromagnetic waves. While the aliens do not use radar absorbent materials in the human fashion, UFO hulls are designed to conduct an electromagnetic interference field. This field jams, distorts and scrambles electromagnetic waves, making conventional target acquisition via radar or even the naked eye problematic. Note that this does not turn the UFO invisible in any way. Rather, it distorts its appearance. A UFO can thus appear "wavy" or "mirage-like" or it can look like a "streak" or a "pulsing dot" of varying size and/or intensity.

The use of an Elerium-115 Reactor for propulsion in a UFO has additional benefits in the form of a sort of "shield" system. This special feature of the hull is due to its unique construction, wherein the hull of the UFO is used to conduct, amplify, and shape the gravity waves produced in the Elerium Reactor. Looked at as a cross section, the gravity field produced by a UFO resembles the magnetic field of a planet, with the exception that a UFO produces both an "external" and "internal" field. The internal field is also called the inverted or reciprocal field. This internal field keeps the ship gravity neutral and seemingly inertia-less, even as the external field can bloom to hundreds of times normal gravity as it pulls the ship in a given direction.

A side effect of the external gravity field (which expands and contracts in different directions as the ship maneuvers) is that it forms a donut shaped shield bubble capable of redirecting projectiles, or overpressure waves. The gravity shield produced by the propulsion system in this way is notably less effective against laser or plasma weaponry.

Alien FTL Systems

It is believed that the aliens transit through interstellar space through the use of a wormhole FTL drive system. This is largely speculative, based on interrogation of alien leaders and engineers. The vast majority of UFOs in the Sol System seem to travel using conventional gravity drives. Outside of an atmosphere, in the vacuum of space, it is possible to reach near-relativistic speeds using alien gravity drives. X-COM probes launched using micro-Elerium reactors have reached transit speeds of .6c without difficulty. It seems possible that a trip from Earth to Mars, using for example an Avenger Fighter/Transport, could take as little as 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the relative orbital positions of the two planets.