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Thread: Since Time Immemorial: Airrider's WipEout Writings

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    Default Since Time Immemorial: Airrider's WipEout Writings

    It seems like other users are having fun thinking up the backstories to things seen in the WipEout games and sort of filling in the gaps that the games leave behind, and it seems like so much fun that I ought to give it a go too. A lot of the things I envision for this are things like origin stories, tales of technical development and things that would've been seen in the transitory periods between Leagues.

    My first sample of fanwank may be a bit close to something keg_11 wrote down but I swear I thought up this one entirely by myself, musing how (and why) Qirex came up with its own dual-hull ships after seeing how Auricom beat them to the punch in WipEout 2048:

    One Plus One: Qirex's Dual Hulled Ships


    It's common knowledge that the first dual-hulled ships seen in AG racing were designed by Auricom Research Industries in the AGRC eras as a method for making craft less susceptible to being thrown off-course by weapons fire, but how Qirex came across the same general design philosophy by the F5000 League era is a less-known story. Like Auricom's, however, it starts at the very beginning of AG racing, when the teams started researching radical prototypes to try to get a leg up on the competition and point the way forward for AG racing and research. As it turned out, none of them was perfect, or even consistently superior to the more normal craft racing in some cases: The Pir-Hana prototype was blistering but had no weapons, throttle or steering, the FEISAR had pacing issues due to its dependence on speed pads to increase its top speed, the AG Systems ship was agile beyond belief but notoriously fragile and ended the careers of more than a few pilots with brutal G-forces, the Auricom craft had no answer to opponents who snuck up behind it except to turn around and fire on them with frontal weapons, which was only a feasible option in the first Combat events the sport had ever seen, and the Qirex craft was a whole host of problems.

    While the craft that was sometimes referred to as the Black Gem for its faceted shape and lack of the traditional wedge profile of most of its peers even taking the Fighter class ships into consideration was consistently one of the more potent combatants in the days of the AGRC on paper, it was far from the sweeping success the Russian team had hoped for in their infancy. It inherited the poor mobility of the Qirex Fighter chassis it was based on, and compounding its issues was its weapons system: the dual 13mm rotary guns mounted on either side of the body, close to the center line. The armor-piercing incendiary rounds it was armed with did a number on ships, but that was assuming the pilot could keep them all on target, and that everyone was traveling slow enough for the prototype to get close enough to compensate. Eventually pilots gave up and started wildly firing at opponents whenever they got the chance. Fans and the other teams alike all delighted in lambasting Qirex over the "Russian Wave," a blind-fired 30-round burst into a pack of ships plus prayers that they would cooperate and receive damage. In Combat events, where the Qirex prototype was supposed to shine, pilots tended to complain about being limited to the cannons, likening them to a steady stream when everyone else was a storm of crashing waves.

    A stubborn Qirex thought this was pointless whining by pilots who might not have been all they were cracked up to be, but as the AGRC seasons turned into the F3600 League and the Qirex Quantax Design Model IV became the mainstay for Qirex, work began in secret to try to preserve the blazing firepower of their AGRC prototype in a frame better suited towards racing.

    The study was comprehensive, and called upon examining all the aspects of their numerous AGRC racers plus the more rugged, multipurpose Quantax Model IV to collect enough data for the construction of this new craft. Originally they envisioned a ship with the firepower of the AGRC prototype, but also the weapons capabilities of their conventional craft in the underpinnings of the Quantax by simply adding scaled-up standard weapons bays to match. What they got was a long, wide, massive craft that had all the firepower Qirex wanted but was even more lethargic than the Black Gem, and got the test pilots who flew it to almost all call the prototype "Barzha" - Barge.

    Much head-scratching ensued before the design teams had the idea of cutting a channel down the middle of the craft, raising the specifications of the engine and making two more narrow hulls out of the shape that more efficiently cut through the air. While the ship still had trouble getting off the line and cornering, once it got going it could hit high speeds and not just rough up the pack, but lead a race like the Quantax and the Speed-class AGRC ships. While the Quantax single-hull ships got the lion's share of R&D funding, the twin-hulls were quietly waiting for their turn to usher in a new age. Tinkering with the design led to a craft Qirex was sure could sweep all others, and sure enough, when the F5000 League opened, Qirex took its place in AG racing history as a successful team that could stand the test of time.

    One interesting thing to note about the first twin-hulled Qirex ships is that the tang-like jog in the outer edge of either hull has an interesting explanation. Early in the ship's development it was planned to add the braking system from the AGRC agility studies to the developmental twin-hull designs, but this had two problems. The weight threw off the balance of an already-heavy craft, and the inner workings of these front canards took up space the development team already wanted to devote to weapons. The canards went, but the jog in the hull stayed, with the large airbrakes converted into small, fixed stabilizers near the front of the ship.

    While the tale of the other definitive twin-hulled ships in AG racing should be proof of the problem-solving capabilities of Qirex's engineers supplemented by their vast resources, not all people see the evolution of the Qirex twin-hull ship as such a clear story. There are a number of conspiracy theorists who suppose Qirex got their inspiration from Auricom-by way of espionage. The theories contend that the Barzha was an inferior-quality cover for Qirex stealing design data, or in some versions of the theory, stealing a whole Auricom AGRC prototype and trying to make their own copy, before finding out all of the pitfalls as they went. They posit that it's unlikely that a team focused on turning a profit like Qirex would throw away that much money developing an AG craft unless they had a model to go off of that would guarantee success, and that nothing could be cheaper than using someone else's model as a guide.

    Qirex and its supporters are quick to use those own assumptions against these theories, saying that while the Auricom twin-hull was always in the back of their minds, it was since the ship was the only twin-hulled craft they, or anyone else for that matter, had ever seen up to that point. To them, their memories of how the Auricom prototype behaved shaped their expectations of how their own twin-hull ships would perform, and acted more as a baseline than something to derive a design from. After all, nobody was pulling any punches even in the days of the AGRC competitions in Nova State City, and tangling with Auricom in the early days of their rivalry with the Russian team would have been data enough, especially when that meant reading how the ship appeared to behave to avoid being on the receiving end of a punishing weapons barrage. The espionage claims are still alive and well, however, especially after the rumors surrounding Qirex ace Kel Solaar and Auricom pilot Anastasia Cherovosky, in particular those of the latter being a spy for Qirex. Coupled with their ties to the Overtel corporation and how it all went sour when the F9000 League was born, it's unlikely anyone will stop crying foul anytime soon.

    The evolution of the very first twin-hulled ships designed by Auricom may be found here.
    Last edited by Airrider; 21st August 2012 at 08:31 PM.

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    That was great! I'll give it a 9.5 out of 10. I would give it a 10, but it did seem a tiny bit confusing in the final paragraph, maybe you should seperate it into two individual paragraphs. This article is about Dual-Hull Ships afterall.

    Aside from that, it is perfect.
    Last edited by Amaroq Dricaldari; 21st August 2012 at 07:28 AM.

  3. #3
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    Mm. I would agree to what Amaroq said: well-written, comprehensive. Keep up the good work!

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    Now here's one I just thought of for fun this morning, more because the idea of giving it an in-canon explanation amuses me to no end:

    The Rise And Fall Of The Bling Brigade

    Chrome paint schemes are something of an inside joke to the well-informed AG racing fan, but a mystery to the more casual observer. It seems like a strange livery for teams to show up in-with teams picking a reflective silver finish for their ships, wouldn't it be hard to tell competitors apart when they're whizzing by at hundreds of kilometers per hour? What explanation is there for a trend that appeared to hit the FX350 Leagues and onwards that hardcore fans seem to treat like an old thing?

    As it turns out, it is a nod to one of the sillier moments from the dawn of AG racing: the infamous Bling Brigade Incident.

    After one year of AG racing, 2049 heralded a milestone in the infancy of a motorsport growing in popularity faster than anyone had hoped. It would be the year in which the 25th official antigravity racing event would be held. Naturally the teams were wondering how to commemorate this little event, and they didn't want to make a farce of it with anything too elaborate. Eventually the FEISAR mechanics had an idea. With a week to go before the race at Rockway Stadium, they would take one of their Speed-class craft, wipe off the paint and replace it with a silver mirror finish. Tradition, after all, dictated that the proper gift for a 25th anniversary was silver, and FEISAR was willing to deliver. Everyone was still surprised that they were racing at all far back in 2049, and at the time 25 races seemed like an achievement in and of itself.

    Word got out that FEISAR was painting some ships silver to commemorate the 25th AGRC race, and the other teams got involved, not to be outdone by their rivals. What started out as a nod to congratulate AG racing for 25 successful events turned into some kind of grand gesture accidentally taken on by the entire body of competitors racing at the time.

    It all quickly went south when the grid assembled at the Rockway Stadium street circuit and had the same kind of awkward moment that people at formal gatherings who appear in the exact same outfit share as soon as they lock eyes. When they started powering on their craft and their exhausts at idle started shining bright red light on the craft behind them, it bathed the whole crowd in red light.

    Things got much worse when the sun came out. The grandstands were nearly blinded, and with blurs of chrome flying down the track all appearing practically identical to one another at speed, the race took hours to officiate and deciding a winner involved nosing around what seemed to be the entirety of the teams' flight computers and logs to figure out who had crossed the line first. As soon as the first publication declared the race the "Charge of the Bling Brigade," the teams knew they would never live it down. They quietly put away the chrome-bodied craft and swore they wouldn't speak of the moment as soon as Race Number 26 rolled around. The competitors, FEISAR most of all, made well and truly sure that all those who remembered the moment they started off were long gone by the time they decided to show another chromed ship to the public-in 2207.

    They had clearly learned from the old tales of what seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was an unlikely source that helped bring the liveries back. Since Triakis is a military contractor, they knew that even in an almost-civilian race they still had to take precautions to avoid glaring into the grandstands, especially with all the real estate their massive ship boasted. Because of this, they mixed a special chemical in with their silver paint to dampen the amount of reflected light while still maintaining that silver look.

    They also introduced a new chemical that tints all reflected light to match the original teams' livery, so teams could be told apart at a glance. The night before the first FX-350 event to bring back the all-chrome color schemes to liven up a late race under some particularly bright lights, they sent samples of their chemical compounds to all of the other teams and instructed them to do as they did. The event went off without a hitch. Now, at least, when one talks of the Charge of the Bling Brigade, it isn't always in jest.
    Last edited by Airrider; 21st August 2012 at 09:13 PM.

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    Since Triakis is a military contractor, they knew that even in an almost-civilian race they still had to take precautions. Because of this, they mixed a special chemical in with their silver paint to dampen the amount of reflected light while still maintaining that silver look.

    They also introduced a new chemical that tints all reflected light to match the original team's livery (I observed several craft after a self-organized single-player 'Bling Brigade' event, where all light that shined off of the Qirex Fury seems to have a purple tint, and all light that shined off the Piranha Fury seemed to have a red tint). The night before the first FX-350 Bling Brigade event, they sent samples of their chemical compounds to all of the other teams and instructed them to do as they did.

    ---

    Please, feel free to add them to your post. I'm not going to take any credit for those extra paragraphs (it is your excerpt afterall).

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by keg_11 View Post
    Mm. I would agree to what Amaroq said: well-written, comprehensive. Keep up the good work!
    You should link Airrider's article in your excerpt about Dual-Hulled craft (add a little bit of text at the top along the lines of "For a more detailed excerpt on Qirex's point of view, click here"), and then ask Airrider to link your excerpt.
    Last edited by Amaroq Dricaldari; 21st August 2012 at 10:40 PM.

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    Capital idea. I've edited both articles, the first one so it was a bit more readable, and the second so it had your "epilogue" to the whole Bling Brigade thing. Thanks for tying up that loose end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amaroq Dricaldari View Post
    You (keg_11) should link Airrider's article in your excerpt about Dual-Hulled craft (add a little bit of text at the top along the lines of "For a more detailed excerpt on Qirex's point of view, click here"), and then ask Airrider to link your excerpt.
    Good idea. Hey Airrider, think you might be able to link my story on dual-hulled craft w/ your post on Qirex's craft? I've just linked your story to that post (see here)

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