RPC-972

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The interior of RPC-972.

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Registered Phenomena Code: 972

Object Class: Beta-White

Hazard Types: Electromagnetic Hazard, Extra-Terrestrial Hazard, Mechanical Hazard

Containment Protocols: The torch vessels1 AEDFS James Boy and AEDFS Kaiser Wilhelm are currently docked to RPC-972 via docking hatches designed for RPC-972.

Personnel assigned to RPC-972 are to be stationed no more than 110 days at a time due to effects from background cosmic radiation and micro-gravity. Regular supply missions holding tritium and liquid nitrogen are to be conducted to RPC-972 as fuel and coolant.

Update: All AEDF facilities are to be placed on EMERED 22 during any maintenance which would render RPC-972-1 incapable of activation.

Description: RPC-972 is the designation given to a modular orbital station currently in stable polar orbit around Triton3 at an average altitude of 2170km, measuring 30.5 meters in length, 73.2 meters in width and 5.3m in height.

RPC-972 is of conventional construction for an orbital facility (largely similar to that of the International Space Station). However, the outermost layer of its hull is composed almost entirely of a previously-unknown alloy of titanium which is extremely resistant to surface damage resultant from vacuum, micrometeorite impact and hard radiation exposure.

A central spine forms the primary component of RPC-972 (designated RPC-972-1), with the rest of the station being dedicated to sensor arrays, power generation via tritium fusion, habitation, computing, heat regulation and life support. Replacement of parts and modules for RPC-972 is relatively simple; pictograms and detailed schematics for nearly every part and module are available in Document 972.1.

Document 972.1 is a printed instruction manual for RPC-972. Several copies of Document 972.1 are available onboard. The schematics within Document 972.1 supply a variety of methods for the manufacture of replacement parts, catering to different levels of technologies. The technological aptitudes provided for range from early proto-industrial hand manufacturing to advanced nanotechnological methods theorized to be several centuries in advance of current human capacity.

All copies of Document 972.1 are prefaced with a phrase in approximately 240 languages, roughly meaning "ARRIVAL AT BLOOM STATION. WELCOME, NULL-GRAVITY USERS." Three of the languages used have been identified4 to date.

RPC-972-1 is a chemical oxygen iodine laser capable of outputting 23 gW of energy in bursts lasting up to 3 seconds5. RPC-972-1 is significantly less modular than the rest of the station, and Document 972.1 provides limited schematics only for components which require regular maintenance and replacement.

The primary objective of RPC-972 appears to be the destruction of minor space objects on a collision trajectory with the Moon. The station's on-board fluxgate magenetometer sensors are capable of resolving and accurately tracking objects within a radius of 100.199 AU, or precisely 50000 light-seconds of its position. In all instances of firing, RPC-972-1 has only activated when the target object reached a distance of approximately 30 AU from the Sun6.

Objects of length greater than 15 meters are tracked by sensors for several months as they enter the solar system. RPC-972's onboard computers then use an as-yet-unknown algorithm to classify these potential targets as either "trivial" or "concerning". Objects designated as trivial are not fired upon should they enter RPC-972-1's range. The exact factors in how RPC-972 determines this are unknown. (see Addendum 972.1)

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The interior of RPC-972-1. The Japanese labels to the left were added by AEDF personnel.

RPC-972-1's capacitors require approximately 4 hours of charge time before the weapon is capable of firing. The heat transmitted to the targeted object causes the liquefaction and ejection of gaseous matter from its surface, altering its course.

A cooling and cycling period of 26 hours is required between firings, including charge time. An onboard supply of supercooled nitrogen is used as a heat dissipant.

Based off chemical erosion of RPC-972-1, it is believed that RPC-972-1 has been in place since 1906, and has been fired no less than 320 times before being identified and explored by the Authority. It is believed that RPC-972-1 will remain operational for the next 500 years before becoming inoperable due to chemical erosion of its firing components.

The anomaly here is not from any single on-board technology being too advanced. As far as we can tell, the station itself or the laser incorporated into it is within comprehension, and doesn't defy any known science. The anomaly is the laser being in orbit around Triton in the first place.
-Com. Bandetti, RPC-972 Head Researcher


Addendum 972.1

During a period of extensive maintenance on RPC-972-1, an object was tracked by RPC-972; as RPC-972-1 was not operational, torch vessels were deployed towards the object.


Addendum 972.2

Nine months after the discovery of the artificial nature of the targeted objects, 240 individual and subsequent AM radio transmissions were received by all on the AEDF's standard emergency frequency. Triangulation of the signal revealed the origin to be a point source approximately 0.4 light years outside the Solar System. The following is the only decipherable component of the transmission, conducted in modern English in ASCII encoding standard.

A reply conducted in the ASCII encoding standard was initially planned, complying to the aforementioned requests. However, an AM radio transmission was received on the AEDF's standard emergency frequency from RPC-972, encoded in the form of 255 geometric pictograms similar to those in Document 972.1. The following is believed to be their intended meaning.

After much internal discussion, it was decided that NG spacecraft would continue to be utilized due to a lack of replacement technologies. Since then, the number of objects targeted by RPC-972 have increased by 642%. At current rates of wear, RPC-972-1 will be rendered inoperable by 20██. Unmanned probes designed for the purposes of course-correcting these objects are currently being developed.

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