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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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