|Images of the Earth taken by an unmanned Soviet spacecraft on the moon's surface.|
|Function||Making giant leaps for mankind|
|Brief||Current state for space domination of every faction|
The world is at a moment of change and mass innovation. The human race is at a point in which they hold the fate of not only their planet but also the entire universe. Below is some of the basic intel on the main factions and their capabilities.
Allied Nations Edit
Frozen Depths of Space Edit
Main Article: Cryo Sat
On Owl's Wings Edit
The outrageously expensive effort that is the modern Athena Solar Power Satellite Network can only be described as utterly insane. The Athena system is one of four parts. Starting from the ground, there are the Athena Cannon Designator Vehicles, outfitted with some of the smallest Allied computers in the world (each weighing a mere 500 kg), which plot firing solutions for the satellites and transmit coded firing orders to the satellites in orbit.
The satellites can be divided into two parts; first, there are the Athena Control Satellites, most of their mass given over to long range communications arrays, sensors and computers; these satellites communicate with the vehicles on the ground and the massive Athena Computer Complexes, in addition to controlling several smaller Athena Cannon Satellites. The Athena Cannon Satellites themselves are little more than a pair of solar panels, a solar beam projector, an ion thruster for manoeuvring, and a simple communications array; these satellites gather store up solar energy until called upon to discharge it in an intense beam of light. A recent program, known as Project Thor, is also testing an alternative to the Athena Cannon Satellites, consisting of orbital 'garages' armed with multiple 'kinetic kill vehicles', tungsten rods that would use kinetic energy to inflict damage on the target.
Overall command and control is managed by the Athena Computer Complexes, each a sprawling subterranean bunker whose massive supercomputers are rumoured to have a staggering 2,048 megabytes of RAM and an amazing 2,546 Megahertz processor. Within these massive bunkers, the condition of the Athena Satellites is monitored, with any damage or malfunction quickly identified and steps taken to deal with the problem. The orbital network itself requires four launch facilities to maintain the numerous weapon platforms that make up this globe spanning network of satellites, each one of which can be used to smite an unsuspecting foe with an intense beam of light. Multiple redundancies and protocols are included to make hijacking the satellites impossible (in theory, at least).
There has never been a use of heavy bombardment of Athena satellites, as a result of the fact that they operate in high sun-synchronous orbit. If an Athena Cannon Satellite were to fire repeatedly, then it is highly likely that their fire's path would eventually cross a friendly satellite's orbit. As a result, it is highly unlikely that a single Athena Cannon will ever use the same satellite twice in the same year or so. Instead, the fire will come from multiple crossing satellites that happen to have a clear shot. The soldier on the ground won't know the difference as a result of both the curvature of the Earth and the fact that they are staring at a beam of light, despite advice given to them by their mothers.
The Philadelphia ProjectEdit
The International Command Space Station ANSS Philadelphia is the Allied Nation's primary manned installation in orbit. Originally built during the inter-war period, the Philadelphia is constantly manned by an elite crew of 50 men and women from all over the Allied Nations, and is currently under the command of Colonel Leon R. Gilliland.
At present, the space station serves a number of purposes. It is the Allies' primary logistical and information hub in orbit, serving as the main distributor of resources and manpower in the Allied Space Network. Apart from that, Philadelphia also serves as a microgravity and space environment laboratory, a meteorological station, and a communication satellite capable of broadcasting signals all over the globe (though in more recent years, Syndicate satellites using integrated circuits have largely replaced it in this role, as they are`far cheaper).
The station itself possesses significant command and control capabilities, with spectrum and radio communication arrays that allow it to communicate with other satellites and the surface. In order to provide artificial gravity, the station spins on its axis, providing one-third gee of simulated gravity at the station's rim. This allows the crew onboard the station to move somewhat normally, and also helps to stave off muscle atrophy and bone loss. Life support is provided by a number of systems and subsystems, from waste management to ventilation. In addition, the station also possesses docking ports for torchships and rockets coming in from Earth.
Of course, defence is also a concern, and in recent times Philadelphia has been upgraded to support a battery of spectrum cannons, guided by radar and other sensors tracking for threats to the station, in order to protect the station against Soviet "killer" satellittes and space junk that might be on a collision course. The Allied Nations still has plans for future upgrades to the station, including proposals to arm it with offensive weaponry, and one proposed upgrade to upgrade the Philadelphia into an orbiting command and control centre for Allied military forces across the globe.
Space Patrol and their Torchships Edit
The Allies know that war will not be confined to Earth or its immediate gravity well for very long. With the Soviet Union frantically assembling an astromilitary from the late fifties onward, the Allies have always stayed one step behind, preparing for the day when space truly becomes a battleground. With the recent advances in fusion, the Allies have taken their greatest leap forward, in a way outpacing the Soviets. Torchships, powered by fusion rockets, are the most powerful propulsion system yet invented, using the power of the atom to hurtle a rocket through the cosmos.
Capable of maintaining constant acceleration for days at a time, the six Allied Mercury-class torchships could theoretically run missions to Luna, Mars or even farther away planets in terms of months, but the constant threat of war has kept them confined to the Philadelphia. The six spectrum-turreted torchships and twenty-two Achilles fighters fall under the command of the newly minted space branch of the Allied military, tentatively called Space Patrol, whose increasingly infamous blue jumpsuits have become something of a staple of science-fiction television since they were officially launched in late 1967. Though Space Patrol has seen only minor action within Earth's orbit, everyone knows it's just a matter of time before they see true action in the depths of interplanetary space.
The Soviet Union possesses many minor space stations, but only a single major one; Mir (OPS-1), a massive, modularised orbiting behemoth. By and by far the largest man-made satellite in orbit at present, the station is a giant; dwarfing the space stations of other countries. The station itself has the capability to house, feed and supply air for over 400 Soviet cosmonauts and scientists, though its personnel hovers around a stable 300.
Mir serves many purposes; it is of course the Soviet Union's long term research outpost in space, allowing Soviet scientists to perform myriad experiments in the environment of microgravity and vacuum; the station has ample facilities to conduct such experiments, from biology to vacuum science. Obviously, Mir also serves military purposes, housing a contingent of Space Marines who can deploy behind enemy lines via re-entry pods. It services the spacecraft of the Soviet astromilitary, keeping the Union's growing fleet of rocketships in good order. Mir also includes a microgravity factory, originally built to produce tanks from scrap metal for the Union's Space Marine forces, though the factory is now seeing other uses as well. Finally, the station also has a number of ion thrusters for manoeuvring and counteracting orbital decay.
The Soviets constantly run missions up to the station, bringing personnel, supplies, and whatever else the station might need. Recently, the Soviets have added several new modules to Mir, for reasons known only to them. It is believed by some that this is being done in preparation for the establishment of a stable base on the Moon, though only time will tell if this indeed the case.
The Soviet Union makes little secret of the fact that it has put up more tonnes into space than any other space programme in the world. There are a number of factors that one can attribute to the success of the Soviet space programme, but one of the biggest reasons for why the Soviets have been so successful to date has to do with their delivery systems.
To get their payloads off the ground, the Soviet Union employs a series of launch vehicles. For heavy lifting, they have the Zenit, a hydrogen-liquid oxygen fuelled four stage monstrosity capable of lifting a 120 tonne payload into low earth orbit. This was the rocket used to send up the main modules of the Mir station, as well as the Magnetic Satellite. There are also proposals to use it for a Moon landing and to facilitate the construction of a Moon base.
Most of the time, though, the Soviets employ the smaller Soyuz rockets, which can rightfully claim to be the most frequently used launch vehicles in the world. With a proven record of reliability and the lowest cost of any rocket launch vehicle in the world, these two-stage rockets are a regular sight at Soviet launch sites, capable of lifting up to 30 tonnes of supplies, men, and satellites into low earth orbit, and letting the Soviets maintain one of busiest rocket launch schedules in the world.
Bringing Revolution to the Stars Edit
The Soviet Union's interest in space, of course, is not entirely peaceful. From the successful launch of Sputnik 1 in 1953, the Soviet Union has always held a great interest in the potential military applications of space. As the Soviet space program began to really take off, this manifested in the launching of space stations for reconnaissance, space stations armed with weapons, military communications satellites, military spacecraft, and so on. The Allied Nations would follow suit, developing their own launch vehicles, boosting their own space stations and satellites into orbit, and so on.
Of course, as both sides expanded their presence in space, they grew increasingly aware of the threats to their space programs, and took measures to protect them. In order to protect the Soviet Union's space based assets, the Soviet Space Rocket Squadron (SRKE) was formed. At its founding, the SRKE was given two missions--to protect the Soviet Union's own space assets, and to destroy space assets belonging to hostile powers during wartime. The SRKE would see limited action during the Third World War, occassionally skirmishing with the Allied Space Patrol.
Following the end of the Third World War, Premier Davidova, anticipating potential future conflict with the Allied Space Patrol and the growing Atomic Chinese Star Fleet, has ordered a massive expansion of the SRKE. With the completion of the thirteen new missile armed Vostok II ion engine craft, the SRKE, under the command of veteran cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Komarov, stands stronger than ever, and its growing fleet of spacecraft sits in orbit, awaiting the call to action.
Though they may be the current leaders in the ongoing Space Race, the Soviets are not content to rest on their laurels. Every year the Union seeks to expand its foothold in space. With the Soviet position in low Earth orbit well established by this point, it is obvious what part of space the Soviets seek to conquer next.
Luna is expected to be the stepping stone that opens up the rest of the Solar System to human exploration and colonisation, and the Soviets are determined to seize this little piece of valuable real estate for themselves. As well as this, there are other motives; no one knows what happened to former Premier Cherdenko after he fled into space, but some believe he took refuge on the Moon.
Regardless of what actually happened to Cherdenko, the Soviets have been making preparations. Hundreds of tonnes of payload have been lifted into orbit at a breakneck pace, and it is believed that much of what the Soviets have been sending into space recently consists of supplies, equipment and other items necessary for the establishment of a permanent settlement on Luna.
As well as this, a number of new spacecraft are being assembled in orbit. Details on their construction are sparse, but they are decidedly not military ships, and some believe that they are meant to be exploration and landing craft in preparation for a Luna expedition. Other spacecraft may be intended as freighters, with large payload capacities and efficient ion thrusters that would make them ideal for ferrying supplies or passengers from Luna to Mir and back. Though no one has yet to land a human on the Moon, let alone set up an outpost of any kind, it would appear that the Soviets are trying their best to change that fact.
Confederate Revolutionaries Edit
Star of Liberty RisingEdit
Originally instituted by the United States government as a programme to develop a space station independent of the Allied Nations, Space Station Liberty Star was the United States' attempt at constructing a large, permanently manned orbital installation. Intended to be a challenger to even the massive Soviet Mir, Liberty Star was primarily designed to house a contingent of elite Marines that would capable of rapidly deploying to any spot on the globe in a short time, which would provide a capability that only the Soviets had possessed to this point. In addition, Liberty Star would have served a number of other functions, such as an orbital repair shop and assembly point for spacecraft, an observation post for astronomers, and a microgravity laboratory for scientists and a microgravity factory for companies.
Unfortunately, setbacks in design and public support have prevented its deployment. Further review has resulted in the astonishing discovery that the Liberty Star has already been completed as a part of the Sentinel Program. It is currently stored in a large warehouse complex near Roswell, New Mexico, waiting for the call of the American people. Confederate activity has recently increased near both Roswell and the rocket launch facility at Cape Canaveral. What the Confederates are planning is anyone's guess.
Gorilla Warfare Edit
The Allies have had a long history of sending animals into space. The United States launched the monkey Bonny, a macaque, in the 50s on the first multi-day primate mission; it was one of four Allied monkey missions in the decade. The results have been rather astonishing as a result of the chimps requiring less recourses to survive. The longest of these was a three month mission to orbit the moon. These chimps had been trained to pull levers to receive rewards of banana pellets and avoid electric shocks. Through their harsh experience, they learned the value of freedom, and in March Bonny and two of her surviving companions protested their servitude and demanded the same level of equal rights as dolphins, which was turned down. This led to the rapid mobilisation of two large animal rights organisations, who freed them from their cages. They were later released into the African Serengeti, where it was assumed they would quickly regain their ability to survive in the wild after years of being in cages.
Eye in the Sky Edit
The Santos E or SANTOS program was a relatively short-lived series of reconnaissance satellites for the Allied Nations in the early 1960s. Reconnaissance was performed with film cameras and television surveillance from polar low Earth orbits with film canister returns and transmittals over the friendly waters of the Gulf Coast. Using Vandenberg Air Force Base as a launch site, SANTOS was first launched in 1960, but within a few years had been rendered obsolete by the newer GPS satellites. The SANTOS satellites have since become an interest for the local ham radio hobbyist who found the ancient frequencies needed to operate them, and have once again begun to serve the cause of liberty, this time for the Confederates, though their use is minimal since most of the time the satellites are on the wrong side of the planet.
Riders in the Storm Edit
The X-24 Bronto-Soar ("Thunder Soarer") was a Allied program to develop a spaceplane that could be used for a variety of military missions, including reconnaissance, bombing, space rescue, satellite maintenance, and sabotage of enemy satellites. The program ran from 24 October 1957–10 December 1963, cost $660 million, and was cancelled due to pressing war needs. The prototype just happened to be stored at the Boneyard when the Confederacy launched its raid, and it wasn't found amongst the Harbingers the Confederates left behind.
Empire of the Rising Sun Edit
Baby Steps Edit
The Empire is a relative newcomer to the field, and lacks the experience and technology of space flight, compared to the Allies or Soviets. Japan plans to become the third faction after the USSR and Allies to officially release an artificial satellite into successful orbit. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans on launching its first satellite on February 11, 1970. The Ōsumi (or Ohsumi) will be the first Japanese artificial satellite put into orbit, named after the Ōsumi Province in the southern islands of Japan.
More than Meets the Eye Edit
However, Japan is determined not to let the Soviets and Allies dictate control of space. Setting their sights beyond orbit, Japan has been silently developing their own astromilitary force, the simplistically titled Space Navy. Where other nations have seen a greater resemblance between aircraft and spacecraft, Japan's long-term plans for space development has led them to believe that the closest analogy is to naval operations. Thus, the Space Navy has been carefully cultivated over the last decade, building special sealed ships that are actually designed for transorbital operations.
Using massive Wave-Force engines, the so-called Aerial Battleship Musashi can push itself out of the water and even out of the gravity well. The design was one of circular reasoning; you cannot build a small Wave-Force engine, so the engine kept getting bigger, and the ship to hold it kept getting grander. Eventually, it was cheaper to simply drop the whole thing into a battleship hull! Though the mass penalty of such ships would normally be crippling, the Minofusukī process can be used to extract massive amounts of energy from translight particles like tachyons. Despite being limited by the crippling manufacturing and maintenance costs, Japan stands ready to unleash the toughest and heaviest spacecraft in the world, in complete defiance of reasonable engineering or common sense.
Atomic Kingdom of ChinaEdit
China is a relative newcomer to the Space Race. Throughout all the years of the decades-long Chinese Civil War, neither side had the resources or the desire to develop a manned space programme of their own. Atomic China, however, seems to have taken a profound interest in space, though it has kept its space assets very secret. It is still something of a mystery to some, however, how the Atomic Kingdom could have established a functional space infrastructure in such a remarkably short period of time. A few have suggested that the Chinese could have used teleportation. Others have proposed more far-fetched ideas.
However, it is known that the Atomic Kingdom set off an atomic bomb in an abandoned salt mine in one of the most devasted areas of China, with a cargo capsule capping the one shaft out. It is known that the cargo capsule was hurled into orbit by the force of the bomb, though its contents remain unknown. Mathematicians have theorized that if this had been done with a five hundred kiloton bomb (the estimated yield of the Kingdom's most powerful atomic weapons), the whole process would be able to get a staggering fourteen thousand tonnes into orbit (though the acceleration would make it unusable for delicate equipment or human passengers). Such a method of space launch could have conceivably been used to get propellant depots and material up into orbit in a very short amount of time, which would then make it possible for the Atomic Kingdom to develop the rest of their space infrastructure very quickly.
It is known, at the present, that the Atomic Kingdom has a number of strange, massive constructs that have been said to stretch all the way into orbit. Some are sceptical of such claims, pointing out that no such structure, no matter how strong or light the material it was made of, could possibly stand under its own weight. Others have pointed out that it could easily be some new marvel of the Atomic Kingdom's outlandish technology. Nevertheless, those who have claimed to see them continue to insist that these Space Elevators do exist. If they do exist, then it is highly conceivable that they could be used to transport a steady stream of material into orbit and back down without the need for rockets.
A Fleet for the StarsEdit
The whole point of the Chinese space programme is to fulfil the Atomic Kingdom's long term objective; the construction of a fleet of relatvistic spacecraft, to get them off Earth and to another planet. It is for this reason that the Atomic Kingdom have built for themselves what may possibly be the largest space fleet in the world, surpassing even the Soviet and Allied space forces; Star Fleet, the Atomic Chinese military organisation with control of the Atomic Kingdom's air and space assets.
With Atomic Chinese technology, the starships of Starfleet are dauntingly powerful, ranging from the Defiance-class Flying Junks, which count among the smallest ships in the Atomic Kingdom inventory, to the larger Eclipse-class Star Voyagers, to the mighty Galaxy Class Starships, among the largest of them all. Powered by atomic power and anti-matter, the Chinese fleet now waits patiently in orbit, ready to depart the Solar System at a moment's notice.
Heaven's Spinning WheelEdit
With the Atomic Chinese trying to keep their space assets a secret, only so much information could be gathered about the Chinese space programme. At one point, it wasn't even certain whether the Chinese had actually made it into space or not, with some claiming they had, citing arguments as to why, and others refuting such claims with arguments of their own.
All that changed in a flash. Captain Bayard Fournier had taken his Achilles fighter to have a picnic at his favourite spot; the L3 Lagrange point, a spot directly opposite the Moon in Earth's orbit, where their respective gravities cancel each other out and allow an object to float there indefinitely. On his way there, he passed the L4 and was most irritated that someone had placed a station there! Ray guns shot at the Achilles fighter, which promptly initiated a burn to streak past the station. Before he lost sight of the station, he noticed several large vessels docked to it.
Subsequent investigations involving observatories throughout the world have revealed a few truths about this station, labelled "天安门" (Gate of Heavenly Peace, also the name of a now destroyed square in Beijing). It is estimated to be over a hundred metres wide, in the shape of an enormous wheel, and revolving approximately three times a minute, presumably to provide artificial gravity. Evidence suggests multiple decks as well. Across the lengths of the top ring is a structure that looks like a mirrored trough; this is thought to be a mercury boiler, as the Chinese don't have photovoltaic panels like the Allies. Along with the expected ray turrets, there are also multiple docking points for Starfleet vessels.
Order of the Talon Edit
In Wolf's ClothingEdit
The Order of the Talon's steam engines are not effective enough for exoatmospheric flight at this time, not that the Order has any real interest in spaceflight anyway. However, the omnipresent agents of the Talon have wormed their way into the Allied Space Program; ATC-26, a "lost" Athena Satellite supposedly destroyed by a Soviet kinetic kill weapon soon after deployment, is currently following an erratic orbit that takes it over Palestine...
Shaking the HeavensEdit
The Order's general disregard of space does not mean they intend to be caught unaware by orbital attack, however. Plans have recently been presented to the Grand Council for a steam cannon of unprecedented scope: a cannon capable of firing projectiles into orbit, or perhaps beyond. This space cannon would be a massive undertaking even for the Order, but with knowledge of orbital paths for satellites and space stations, the cannon could present a credible, if extraordinarily unsubtle, active defence against orbital targets. A few artificers involved in planning the project even believe that the cannon could fire hollow shells with clockwork machinery and Talon operatives to board spacecraft and disable them from within, or even land forces on the Moon. For the moment, however, the Council believes there is no need for the space cannon and has placed the plans in the Order's just-in-case files.
Should the cannon ever be constructed, however, it would make for a capable anti-satellite weapon and give even spaceships pause.
Artificial satellites have a great number of potential uses, which are only just beginning to be explored. Factions like the Allies and the Soviets have readily seized onto the idea of orbital reconnaissance stations and spaceborne weapons platforms. The Mediterranean Syndicate is no less fascinated by the possibilities that satellites present, though they are obviously more interested in the potential profits that could be gained.
Already many ideas and proposals for various commercial satellites have been bandied around and considered; orbiting communications satellites could potentially link Sprawls across the world, allowing a person in Africa to telephone a friend in America (at a premium, of course); a television show could be broadcasted live in a continent different from the one it was filmed in; meteorological satellites would enhance weather forecasting capabilities; to say nothing of the potential uses of weather control satellites.
One of the more novel, and ambitious concepts (put forth by Straylight Electronics) was to put a satellite into orbit that would effectively "run" an entire Sprawl (though technically the Sprawl would be run by a ground based supercomputer bouncing its signal off the satellite). Everyday details such as restaurant orders would be tracked and processed by the supercomputer; no one would ever get lost in the Sprawl, as the satellite would be able to provide them with a fix on their position within the city; every piece of electronic equipment, every construction lifter and AURA linkup would be connected to the supercomputer via the satellite. One day, it was promised, every Sprawl would be hooked up to one of these satellites, truly becoming a city of the future.
But only if those satellites start working right.
Today, the first (and only) test subject for this new and novel concept, the city of Belfast (now known as Satellite City) is a disaster. The list of problems in the city are endless; riots and crime are endemic, traffic accidents are staggeringly common, satellite provided services are erratic and unreliable, when they can be acquired at all. Straylight has of course made many promises to fix the many problems that plague the satellite and the city, though few believe that these issues will be sorted out anytime soon, if at all.
Most surface-to-orbit spacecraft are required to have multiple stages in order to get into orbit; while staging can dramatically increase the mass ratio and allow chemical rockets to boost into space, there are numerous problems with it. As a result, Syndicate subsidiary VentureStar Aerospace began work on a programme to develop a spacecraft that would circumvent the need for staging, resulting in considerable cost savings and allowing the company to compete with other launch vehicles.
The result of the programme is the Valkyrie, a single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle that takes off vertically and lands horizontally. Providing an alternative to more conventional launch vehicles, Valkyrie is capable of transporting up to 20 tonnes of cargo into LEO, whether satellites or other cargo, with the option to transport passengers. Unlike conventional staged rockets, Valkyrie uses linear aerospike engines, which have the advantage of being able to provide efficient thrust at all altitudes.
Like a BulletEdit
Most spaceflight is undertaken by governmental agencies; commercial spaceflight is rare, for a number of reasons. However, quite contrary to this, the Mediterranean Syndicate maintains a sizeable space programme, rivalling even the programmes of the major powers. The reason for the success of the Syndicate space programme has to do with its choice of propulsion system; the enormous mass drivers.
Syndicate mass drivers provide an alternative to conventional rocket based space launch, using electromagnetic force to accelerate and launch payloads. Working on principles very similar to those used in railguns, only on a much large scale, a capsule containing a payload is accelerated along a track by rows of powerful electromagnets, which bends upwards towards the end, until the capsule leaves the launch track, continuing to move upwards due to built up inertia, and completes the rest of the launch with the aid of conventional rockets.
This system has the advantage of dramatically reducing the amount of propellant needed for to get into orbit and increasing the amount. Additionally, unlike proposals to launch payloads into orbit with the use of massive cannons, the mass driver system can spread out the acceleration evenly over a long interval, allowing delicate cargo and even live passengers to be transported in the capsule. The Syndicate has several such mass drivers planned or already constructed, with the main one located in Tanzania along the equilateral line, beginning in the Serengeti, stretching twenty kilometres, before finally ending at the side of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Electrical Protectorate Edit
Unknown Entities Edit
Several conspiracy theorists have claimed that there exists a swarm of robots (?) that call themselves the Electrical Protectorate. According to the same conspiracy theorists, this so called EP has made contact with more than one U.F.O. (Undefined Fantastic Object), going as far as saying the EP themselves are in fact A.L.F.s (Alien Life Forms), and EP actually stands for Extraterrestrial Protectorate. The most famous example of a supposed UFO crash happened somewhere in the desert of Nevada, near a small town by the name Roswell.
The truth might be just even worse than that, as followers of sci-fi author and physics professor H. P. Lovecraft claim they seem to be remote-controlled by an unknown entity, titled Eldritch Abomination, which will bring sheer insanity to anyone who sees it, robbing them from their senses and making them go insane. Of course, the same people also claim a secret order of century-old crusaders has hijacked the Athena Network and drives around in steam-powered mobile castles castles, while being led by a sword-wielding woman clad in some sort of miracle metal, who can destroy a helicopter by pulling it down with a rope and a hook. Those people are mostly Star Trek convention-goers and obviously watched too much Doctor Who - say the officials.
In fact, no one knows for certain and no evidence has been found so far. Most (sane) people, deride the conspiracy theorists as wackos and the robot swarm as utter rubbish.