New Army Command Center
Fort Lamington Command Center, Floor -17
Dominion of Linden
Dec 22nd, 821
To say he was nervous was a massive understatement. Brandon Devoy was visibly shaking. He'd expected only a few key observers to join the panel of grandmasters. But, the new command center was packed from wall to wall…
The news that MCD Brandon Devoy would be defending his terminal GMCD project in AC-NC at 18:00 hours today had spread like wildfire through every office with A level clearance. At 47, he would be the youngest grandmaster in Duxburian history and the first in his field. These presentations were extremely rare, a crowning life achievement if successful.
The panel consisted of:
Alain Hallister, Grandmaster Network Engineer
Daven Kaligann, Grandmaster Software Engineer
Erik Iarle, Grandmaster Information Technician
Ingemar Lian, Grandmaster Logistician (MIL)
William Reid, 5 Star General, Grandmaster Commander (MIL)
Brandon walked out to cheers and applause. The 4 star generals were present. The Aelir was present. But, his friends, family, and colleagues were there, too - they'd come to support him. Gaining confidence, he reached for the mic.
"Good evening, Aelir Dehn, esteemed grandmasters, generals, colleagues, and friends,
My name is Brandon Lir Devoy of the House of Harrison. I currently hold the rank of Master as a Cyber Destroyer in the Office of War, Cyber Warfare Division. Tonight, I will demonstrate to the panel why I should be granted the rank of Grandmaster as a Cyber Destroyer."
*More cheers and applause*
With a snap of his fingers, the main screen came on and a slideshow presentation came up.
*Boring stuff about personal life history, education, qualifications, and past jobs*
"…I have spent the past eight years building "Valkyrie", an advanced command and control system for coordinating military units on a global scale. With Valkyrie, it is possible to execute mass movements with minimal error and time inefficiency. It is powered by 2 supercomputers for real-time speed and redundancy. In addition to serving as backup, the 2nd supercomputer may also be run in parallel, allowing a commander to red game targets and modify orders on the fly.
The system degrades gracefully and automatically to alternative communication methods in the event of electricity loss. Its machines do not have USB ports, optical drives, or any other user-accessible, external inputs for that matter. Peripherals must be hard-wired into the motherboards, even the power cables. This will not stop all physical security compromises, but certainly makes it tougher to find physical entry points. The system is hardened against EMP attacks with shielding material built into the building superstructure. The impact of such an attack is not as strong at this depth underground, so it was economical to harden the entire center.
Valkyrie runs primarily on the "Checkmate" operating system, a custom adaptation of the D4-MIL kernel that I wrote in 815. Checkmate exists entirely for military coordination and simulation, allowing it to be much more lightweight than a conventional SCOS. It utilizes V12 hardware acceleration and RapidSketch 6 graphics acceleration, allowing it to perform faster than a conventional SCOS. Checkmate is maintained by the Cyber Warfare team, allowing it to be more secure than a conventional SCOS written and maintained by a civilian company. The physical hardware was also tailor made for this specific project…"
*Boring list of internal computer components*
"…Valkyrie connects to our new "Thunderbolt" military fiber-optic network, achieving peak data transmission speeds in excess of 1 terabit per second at distances over 6,200 miles. In other words, you can send an entire order sheet for an entire army across an ocean faster than a civilian can send a movie file between adjacent computers. This also enables changes to be made to orders and re-sent before the unit has even moved.
Because of the system's massive power needs and heat output, it is liquid-cooled with water from East Lamington Reservoir, which is piped in using simple gravity. The cooling system itself does not require electricity to function. Being on the -17th level of Fort Lamington, it already has cooling advantages compared to ground level systems. I also thought to get the Federal Engineers in to take a look at the cooling system's potential as a source of electricity. They finished installing a hydropower system two weeks ago. The water that is used to cool the supercomputers now spins turbines in the existing pipes, generating a self-sufficient, fully renewable power supply for the first supercomputer. Now, that's not even the brilliant part of it. The used and hot water needs to be removed, but pumping it back to the surface would require power. Instead, we built a furnace. The water is directed into that, which converts it into steam, which spins more turbines and thus powers the 2nd supercomputer. The furnace can be powered in at least 5 different ways, including manually burning wood if we had to.
And now the part you've all been waiting for! You are about to see a live demo of Valkyrie at work. This is NOT a test. The system has been verified as ready for use in the field after extensive testing. I would like to thank the Aelir for providing a permission set to issue orders for this demo."
Devoy pushed an oversized power button and spoke.
"MCD Brandon Devoy, A1-A-1WCW-9K2"
The system now spoke, not in a monotone digital voice, but in Avoldran Dehn's voice.
"Welcome, Master Devoy. Shall we play a game of chess?"
"Actually, I was in the mood for a bit of global thermonuclear war, but unfortunately, the Aelir did not lend me that permission set," Brandon joked.
Even General Reid thought the reference was clever.
Devoy turned off the presentation screen and turned on one of the main screens.
"Unfortunately, the system does not recognize voice commands at this time. You need to set the mode the old fashioned way, with a keyboard."
A 3D satellite map now materialized, a map of Dromund Kaas. Devoy zoomed in to the front lines in North Druxmond.
"This is an army unit guarding the approaches to an airport we captured in North Druxmond."
Devoy zoomed in further and icons popped up on the map detailing individual components of the unit. This is where it gets fun if you are a commander. You can move our assets around like pieces on a chess board. The moves you place on this map will automatically be converted into readable or audible moves on paper, radio, phone, etc in the field. Of course, you can also issue out orders on paper and feed them into the system.
Right now, we are just going to relieve the current guard troops on duty with fresh troops, all at once."
Devoy keyed in the moves and individual dots started to move within seconds.
"Instant gratification. Obviously, complex orders and maneuvers will require more time and a large staff. That is why we have all these workstations and wall screens. Now, we shall take out some enemy defenses."
Devoy fired up another screen and zoomed into a different part of the warzone.
"This is an enemy group of anti-aircraft guns."
"Let's say that you don't want that nest there. Simple as cake."
Devoy keyed in orders to a nearby missile battery.
"The coordinates have been automatically sent to the battery just by designating a position on the map as a target. You no longer have to spell out the X and Y positions manually over the phone. The gunners can now program those coordinates in and in a few minutes, we should start to see some "AAA" icons disappear. This will be displayed in real time because Valkyrie pulls real time GPS data in rapid-fire mode. It updates about once every 2-16 seconds. Most geographic data is cached, because that rarely changes. If you don't see a unit where it should be, you can simply call in to verify its position. You can also turn off real time movement display in which case you will only see the results of orders. And, there goes the enemy AAA batteries…"
A bunch of icons disappeared off the map.
"Missed a few. Looks like some missiles were intercepted, too. The joys of war. Send another round into the survivors here, here, here, there."
New target points were marked and sent.
Devoy continued to talk until the entire nest was marked as destroyed. He then followed up with verbal confirmation that what happened on screen actually took place in real life.
"Now, once the ground battery confirms its kills, Valkyrie will automatically generate a battlefield report that can be edited manually before being printed. You no longer need to write a report off of memory days later, in some back office. Some special missions and very complex engagements will still require manual reports.
Devoy locked the command input board.
"And that concludes my presentation of Valkyrie! I can now take questions from the panel..."
* 6.5 hours later *
"…Thank you, Master Devoy. We shall now convene in private to reach a decision."
* 2 hours later *
"Master Devoy, the panel of grandmasters has reached a verdict. Your project demonstrates a level of skill that goes above and beyond the necessary military standards and best practices in network design, redundancy, and security. It demonstrates creativity beyond expectations in self-sufficiency, system performance, and ease of use. You have successfully demonstrated that to be a cyber warrior is to be an expert in many interconnected fields. A true cyber destroyer is also capable of creating things, creating masterpieces. Precious few people on the face of the Earth could have built a system like this.
Therefore, the panel of grandmasters has agreed to confer upon you the title of Grandmaster Cyber Destroyer. Your new internal code format shall be GMCD Brandon Devoy, A1-A-1WCW-10K2. You are now entitled to use "Grandmaster" as your forename prefix in civilian address, casual or formal alike. Additionally, you may be called upon to serve on grandmaster panels when future candidates in your areas of expertise present their terminal projects. Congratulations, Grandmaster Devoy!"
The room burst into cheers and applause that went on for what seemed like an eternity.
Devoy was speechless.
* TL/DR: *
Avoldran Dehn was extremely excited about Devoy's new command and control system. He could use it to strike a decisive blow at Dromund Kaas, soon…