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[Serial][UWDFF Alcubierre] Part 54

Beginning | Previous
Premier Valast felt a tingle. It began at the base of his spine and traveled moved upward, sending warm fuzzy feelings all throughout his body as it made its way to his brain and inserted itself in his conscious thoughts. After all of the misery. After all of the failures. For once, something had gone right.
How delightful. How extravagant. How deserved.
The Humans had made a mistake. Clearly, they had thought to expand upon their treachery, believing themselves to be invincible. Their monstrosity of a vessel had appeared just as their last one had, within Halcyon's inner perimeter. After their ruse of parlay, their beast had commenced belching out weapons of mass destruction, clearly in an attempt to retrieve the encryption key and the elite assassin-thief they had dispatched under the guise of a Witness.
They thought Halcyon weak. Defenseless.
Not true! Not true at all!
Kinetics. Valast laughed aloud, his rib cage heaving out great guffaws. Accelerated mass! More laughter. The savages thought to bring such inelegance against the might of the Combine? They mistook their prior fortune for competence. Their one-time success for future capability. Alas, poor Humans, the truth of your inadequacies is made manifest! The brief gap in the defenses brought on by the improbable chain of events that had resulted in their arrival had been filled. For all of their destructive potential, their weapons were useless.
Valast continued to cackle, his hindclaws scrunching up the soft material of his pillow, as he watched the Humans receive their punishment for their insolence. The Humans had made assumptions. Perhaps assumptions were fine in their backwater corner of the galaxy, but here, among civilization, assumptions could be quite dangerous indeed. It was quite unwise to assume Halcyon would leave the inner perimeter exposed. They must have thought their Evangi co-conspirators would leave the gates open for them, as the traitor Neeria had done when she had given them access to a Combine wormkey in the first place. Sadly for the Humans, their four-armed friends had been exposed for what they were. A great many of the Evangi now lay motionless on the floor of a Halcyon mainway, a fitting end to their perfidy.
Halcyon had stood since the beginning, and it would continue to stand long after the Human infestation had been expunged from the Combine Space. Perhaps the Humans should have spent more time pondering the nature of the place before they had meddled with forces they clearly did not understand. Halcyon existed in defiance of the chaotic nature of the neutron star it orbited. Its survival required an solution to the objects such a gravity well attracted. Halcyon had many such solutions, weaved together to maintain a delicate balance. Among them were the inertial dampeners.
The screen in Valast's paws bloomed with colors, indicating firings of Halcyon's inertial dampeners. Each blossom of color was an attempt by the Humans to deploy weapons in clear violation War Accords, cementing Humanity's position as a menace to decent civilization. Had Valast not commanded Bo'Bakka'Gah to take the necessary precautions, the devastation would have been significant.
Lines of crimson sailed through the blooms of color.
Valast's whiskers twitched, his eyes squinting as it tracked one of these lines.
The solution was not perfect. The intertial dampeners in close proximity to Halcyon were a final precaution, and their purpose was narrow. They were a fine net, meant to indiscriminately capture any residual high-speed astral particulate that had escaped the outer defenses. Their efficacy diminished at an exponential rate in proportion to the size and mass of the object they acted upon. Thus far, they had been quite successful at preventing the Humans from making use of their weapons, but dampeners had no effect on the Human vessels. Even if the dampeners could be used for such a purpose, their indiscriminate nature would have required the cessation of all space born travel within Halcyon, an unacceptable disruption to the workings of the Combine's capitol.
The Humans' small spherical vessels were thus capable of traveling unimpeded throughout Halcyon space, tracing their crimson lines behind them as they did so. Such a thing did not overly worry Valast. They could not fire their weapons, and they were susceptible to electromagnetic disruption, rendering them easy targets for the Peacekeepers. Were Valast not otherwise consumed with the affairs of state, he would perhaps take to the front line and dispatch a few himself. Sadly, his bravery would find no opportunity for direct expression beyond the valor found in the privilege of command competently exercised.
The whiskers ceased their twitching and some cheer returned. It would not be long before the meddlesome Human spheres were swatted from the sky and the encryption key recovered.
Then they would dispatch the Human warship.
Then Humanity.
He need only wait.
-----------
"Get spread. Get small." Sana called out. Had to buy time. Had to get a handle on the situation. Not her first rodeo, but it was the first time where she had no idea what the hell she was riding. Maybe the aliens were riding her. Maybe it wasn't a rodeo, maybe it was just a slaughter.
That was the problem. No one knew anything.
The callsigns in her local were dropping like flies. Squaddies getting wiped without so much as a peep. The eggs in Science were saying EMPs, but the balls were supposed to be fixed against that frakkery. Sensors said the balls were still there even after they went dead, so maybe they were right. Couldn't think about that now.
Couldn't think about anything but the mission.
Captain Sana Bushida had a shit-shuttle to bring to station.
She needed to get from A to B. Normally the quickest point-to-point was a line, but the baddies were coming in from all sides. Trying to corral her in. So be it. She could handle a long and squiggly with the juice she had in the four balls attached to the cockpit. Only question was how long they'd be up for. Whatever they were using on the balls wasn't touching her. She was good, but she wasn't that good.
Guess they wanted her kicking and screaming.
Predators, not scavengers then.
Frakk 'em. Right in their stupid alien faces.
Sana's brain shunted command signals as fast as her eyes to parse the readouts in her pilot pod. Dodging. Weaving. Diving. Dipping. Half those words didn't even apply to space, but they felt right. Float like a butterfly, run like cheetah on amphetos. She'd sting 'em later.
Run run run, fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the shit-shuttle can.
Swipe. Swipe.
Two smaller ships moved in a pincer formation, one cutting off her angle around the larger ship she was skimming around. Sana let out a giggle, as she shoved the shuttle in another direction. "You thought you had me, crapdonkey? You never had me. You're gonna be seeing my ass all day." The giggle somehow transformed into a roar halfway through as a third ship appeared in her view, coming out from its hiding place on the other side of the large ship. "SCREW YOU!" They weren't going to win. Losing wasn't an option.
Swipe.
Patterns emerged as the ballet played out. Certain ships were the herders. The small annoying frakks that always seemed to be moving around her flanks. Other ships were the receivers. They were the big boys. The ones who just floated there like giant shits in space. Lazy frakks just waiting to be fed some shit-shuttle. Fine then. New info. New tactics. New rule: Get around the herders, never get closer to the receivers.
Herders bad.
Receivers bad-der-er.
As long as she was a step ahead of the herders and two steps away from the receivers, she'd be fine. Problem was they were more agile than her. Problem was there was more of them. Problem was the friendly callsigns on her readouts kept disappearing. Problem was that she was stuck in here instead of out there where she belonged.
Ninety-nine problems...
Swipe. Swipe.
All she needed was a line of sight. A place where she could get a whiff of open space and just gun it. Navigate the maze. Get through it. Light at the end of the tunnel. Glass is half full.
Metaphor.
Analogy.
Idiom.
The stream of consciousness flowed out of her, expressing itself in her verbiage and in the desperately navigating shuttle some distance away. Step forward. No steps backward. Okay, maybe one step backward, but it'll be okay. She'd take the step forward soon enough.
Just...needed...a...line.
Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta was gone.
It was just her.
Swipe. Swipe.
The fate of the world.
The shit-shuttle must survive.
Swipe. Swipe.
The gap opened.
She saw it.
They didn't.
"There it is bitches!"
All four balls slammed the thrusters on. It wasn't a direct bee line to the Oppenheimer but it was good enough. She just needed to get out of the hornet's nest and into open space so she could keep pouring on the acceleration. She didn't know how much juice the herders had, but it was all she had going for her at this point.
Bitter bile rose up in her throat as the shit-shuttle surged forward, leaving A through D behind. Her squaddies. Her friends.
Abandoned.
She should be out there.
She could be. She just needed to get the mission done. She was so close. She was putting distance between her and the baddies. Just a few more minutes...the link cut off.
Her thoughts were shunting into a wall.
She swiped, her eyes scanning the readouts.
Alcubierre - Shuttle - Cockpit (Ejection)(DISTRESS) no longer appeared.
For once, Sana was speechless.
---------------------
Kai retched air.
There was nothing else to throw up at this point. He'd given everything he had to give, and it was now floating about the cockpit in a viscous cloud. He was fairly certain Neeria was collateral damage in the matter. If she were ever to regain consciousness, she'd find she had been provided with a fresh coat of puke paint. At this point, being blind was something of a boon. Congratulations were owed to the sadist in the pilot's seat though, he hadn't emptied his stomach like this since flight sims.
He'd raise his hand in salute if it weren't for the incredible g-force shifts whipping him around like a rag doll as the pilot attempted to avoid whatever was out there. Some of the maneuvers seemed impossibly complex, as if the cockpit was navigating through an impassable morass of enemies. Or perhaps the pilot was just drunk. Either seemed possible.
The whipsawing continued. Back. Forth. Round and round. Acceleration never seemed to continue in a single direction for more than a few seconds. They were going in circles. They had to be.
Finally, it appeared the pilot had decided on a direction as Kai was slammed back into his chair as the cockpit rocketed forward under sustained acceleration. They must have broken through. Or the pilot had fallen asleep at the controls with the throttle down and they were all doomed. Either way. At this point, Kai was just eager for it to be over.
The acceleration continued. He felt like he was being crushed. Like an enormous hand was pressing against him, trying to squeeze all of his organs out through his eyes. Whatever was powering the cockpit now was beyond the parameters of the shuttle's acceleration compensators. His vision began to dim and his joints ached. Pain surged up in his right arm, which was still contorted within the goo. He was fairly certain a bone had just snapped.
"Oppenheimer..ETA," Kai managed to gasp out, drawing the breath back into his lungs with some effort.
"The shuttle is not currently on course to intercept with the UWDFF Oppenheimer."
"Joan." Kai wheezed. "Connect. Joan."
The acceleration cut off.
Kai took a huge gulp of air, the relief immediate. "Comm-link. Fleet Admiral Joan Orléans."
No response.
Kai tried again.
Silence greeted him.
Grumbling, he raised his left wrist toward his face. He stuck out his tongue and smeared it along the wrist console's interface. None of the expected beeps and chirps sounded out. It was dead, and, he suspected, so was the cockpit along with whatever had been propelling him. No life support. No way to call out for help. No way to do anything but sit there. For all intents and purposes, they were a hunk of space junk drifting off into the black oblivion.
Fair enough. It was a fitting end.
Helpless.
Hopeless.
Kai tried to muster some anger at the situation, if only to distract him from the pain coursing through his body, but found he was up to the task. It was easier to be motivated when there was something to do. Some way he could impact the situation. But there was nothing to do but wait. Maybe he'd live. Probably he'd die. He didn't mind it, that was the same binary he faced every other day. It was a bit more present in his mind than it normally was, but the truth was that he was overdue for demise. He'd given death the slip more times than anyone had a right to.
Still. It bothered him.
Not the death part. The not doing what he set out to do part.
He had run through walls, both literal and figurative, to make it this far. He didn't know what making it back to the Oppenheimer would mean for Humanity, but it had to be better than not making it. The encryption key -- what did it do? What could it do? Would it be doable? Neeria -- could she guide them? Could she help them navigate the treacherous galaxy Humanity was just beginning to play a part in?
There were so many questions. The answers could matter.
Kai tried to remember how much time they had. Without life support, the supply of oxygen would rapidly begin to deplete. He supposed it didn't matter, since he had no idea whether Neeria breathed, what Neeria she breathed, or the rate she consumed it. His space suit had a few hours of stored supply, but it was designed to work in conjunction with his helmet. Without the wrist console, he'd need to find some way to manually vent it.
That was something to do. Small, but perhaps meaningful. Anything to tilt the scales just a little bit more in their direction. Just a few more minutes of air could make a difference.
"Seconds matter," Kai wheezed out. His breath was wet and tasted of iron. He'd worry about that later. Air first. It wasn't much of a plan, but it was better than nothing.
He hoped Joan's plans were faring better.
-------------------
The Admiral's Bridge was awash in a sea of red. Multiple views vied for primacy as the situation continued to deteriorate. So far, the Oppenheimer itself had withstood the sustained EMP assault directed its way, but the same could not be said for the battle balls. Callsigns continued to blink out of existence with every passing second. The Oppenheimer had immediately attempted to provide supporting fire, but its kinetic weaponry was similarly disabled. Whatever the circumstances had been that had allowed the Alcubierre to destroy an alien vessel, they were clearly no longer relevant to the situation at hand. Without kinetics, the vast majority of Humanity's space-born projective power was effectively nullified. Science was looking into explanations and alternatives, but it would take time.
The Oppenheimer's EMP arrays had succeeded in firing, but the alien vessels appeared to be impervious to that form of assault. It was unclear whether they possessed EMP hardening around core processes similar to the Oppenheimer or they had other means of deflecting attacks of that nature. In the absence of an alternative, the Oppenheimer was continuously discharging the EMP arrays as they became available, attempting to test for weaknesses. The energy drain from the sustained fire was easily accommodated by the altered physics of local space, but it was unclear whether alien defenses could be worn down by continuous assault.
Other oddities were appearing as the situation unfolded. The aliens did not field any tactical fighters that their sensors could identify. There were ships of different sizes, but, thus far, no vessels had moved to directly engage the balls. Kai's cockpit was being corralled by a series of smaller ships working in conjunction with the larger ones, but that was it.
Joan considered it, trying to parse out deeper meanings from the absence. Human conflict, both Earthside and in space, had always heavily relied on tactical fighters. They had numerous advantages in terms of firepower projection and significantly increased tactical dynamism in a battle zone. Either the aliens had never considered the approach, or it was considered suboptimal within this environment.
Joan squinted, watching as the battle ball's callsigns dropped from the battle status view. She tilted her head. "This environment," she muttered to herself, her eyes drawn to the EMP array firing status. The recharge bars filled and expended. Filled and expended. Each cycle representing an incredibly powerful pulse of electromagnetic energy at the speed of light.
Speed of light.
Speed.
The answer struck her. The ramifications of the answer were displeasing. Plans must be altered. Contingencies reconsidered. The Black Fork was too optimistic. Their position was considerably worse than hoped for, but not entirely beyond anticipated outcomes, which had included their immediate destruction upon arrival in the system. They simply had fewer tools than she desired.
Tactical fighters had low utility when combat operated at the speed of light. There was no yield on agility, because no thruster could move faster than light could travel. There was no evading a lightspeed weapon at these distances. Unless a tactical fighter could retain functionality under fire, which the death balls so far could not, they were a pointless extravagance. At best, they could serve as a momentary distraction, particularly when their weapons were inoperable.
The unique characteristics of Humanity's birthplace were a hindrance here. Kinetics were the logical path for weaponry to take in an environment where destructive output was a matter of maximizing scarce energy resources. They were also the easiest, most natural extension from their Earthside forebears. Humanity had begun development of lightspeed weapons, the EMP and the Griggs pulse among them, but they placed tremendous strain on ship systems. The Oppenheimer, as a dreadcarrier, was among the few Earth spaceships that contained a full battery of EMP arrays. Due to the extremely demanding specifications, only a Pulser class ship could make use of a Griggs pulse. Had Humanity known what it faced just beyond its doorstep, it would have invested its research and development resources differently.
Too late now.
The game was not lost yet, they simply must play the hand they were dealt to its greatest effect.
A display flashed from green to red and moved toward the center of the wall, increasing in size. Simultaneously, three other displays shifted in color, position and size, in a chain reaction. Joan frowned. Or perhaps the game was lost, and she was only just realizing it. The shuttle cockpit's callsign, along with the four balls that had attached to it, had disappeared. Her hands darted up and began a series of gestures, swiping North to South as she removed some filters from the local space scan and South to North as she applied others.
She exhaled.
The shuttle had not been destroyed, only incapacitated. It was careening through space away from the cluster of alien ships closest to Halcyon, though a few were in rapid pursuit. The pursuers had acceleration in their favor, but the shuttle's current course brought them toward the Oppenheimer.
Joan flicked a few fingers, pulling the course data from the local scan and pushing it into the timer view.
Before Joan could issue the order, the nearest balls peeled off and immediately began an intercept course with the shuttle. Joan pulled up the command-chain, it appeared that Captain Bushida had decided to be proactive. Very well, but it would not be enough. The balls were more likely than not to be incapacitated before they could be used in any rescue effort. This required a more substantial intervention if the outcome were to be changed.
Joan pushed a new course heading into her comm-link with Ragnar. "Captain, I am moving us off of the Black Fork standing orders."
Ragnar glanced at the course heading. "That's even further in."
Joan nodded, "It's the only way we'll recover the cockpit. The balls can't get the job done."
"There's a risk the Oppenheimer won't get it done either. They're holding back," Ragnar replied, his eyes scanned off screen, bouncing between the various readouts and inbound requests. "Doesn't make any sense they'd only have EMPs. They've got more."
"Likely. My current belief is that they will refrain from further escalation until they have either secured the cockpit or believe they can no longer retrieve it. Each moment of escalation from them has been in response to an action on our part directed at the cockpit."
Ragnar wiped the back of his sleeve against his brow, mopping up the sweat. "Must be something important."
"Must be. The prize is likely worth the pain here, Ragnar. Retrieving the cockpit is the top priority. Preservation of ourselves is an ancillary concern."
"G4 is only a few out. We can hold that long," Ragnar said.
"Get the job done, Captain," Joan ordered and then cut the comm. Ragnar was a sophisticated battlefield tactician. The overlap between them was significant, and the differences between them were accretive to both. They both knew there was another card to be played, it was just a matter of whether Humanity could adapt to it.
Joan opened another comm-link. "Chief Adeyemi."
The Chief blinked a few times as the interjection, as if being pulled from a daze.
"Idara!" Joan exclaimed. "Where's Science at?"
Idara wet her lips, "We've gathered the data and mapped it to a few different explanations...but we need more--"
"You don't have it. Best guess, go."
"Some sort of inertial dampening field. Effects smaller objects. Weakens as the objects get larger. Only affects objects moving a certain speed. Only affects objects in space. Our kinetics are getting caught. Bigger objects, like the fighters, like the Oppenheimer, are fine. Bullets fired inside of the Oppenheimer are fine.
"Any sense on source?"
Idara shook her head.
"But it doesn't effect the fighters. Doesn't effect energy based weapons."
"From what we can see, that's right."
Joan's eyes drifted toward the tracker on Kai's cockpit. Hurtling through space.
"Idara, when the Alcubierre was heading for Proxima Barrier, your modeling said the ship would survive the impact, correct?"
"Yes, Admiral. There isn't an equal an opposite reaction. Actor has primacy in these physics."
Joan stared at Idara, lost in thought. The Chief shifted uncomfortably, "Is there something else--"
"I have what I need," Joan replied, cutting the comm.
She pulled up the status tracker on the balls. Over eight-five percent of launched fighters had already been incapacitated. The Oppenheimer still retained a final wing in its hangers, numbering approximately a hundred and twenty additional balls.
Joan watched the timers ticking down. They needed to go on the offensive. To find a way to tilt the situation in their favor. Even if they retrieved the cockpit, it was a long way back to the wormhole, and a long time to survive before G4 appeared. If the aliens had an ace up their sleeve, that would be the time to play it, when they had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
She re-opened the comm with Ragnar. "Captain, I think we can even the odds a bit."
"I'm all ears, Admiral."
Joan pushed a series of orders to Ragnar. He glanced at them and then glared at her, "You want--
"Yes, Captain, that's what I want."
"But they'll be destroyed," Ragnar responded.
"Not if they're moving fast enough. Get whoever we can get back into the hangers, launch the rest without the pilots. Target the ships. Target Halcyon."
Ragnar stared at her, "Halcyon? That's a civilian--"
"Captain, I want those balls dumped and under full steam at the designated targets. That's an order."
Ragnar opened his mouth and then shut it. A hand came off screen and formed a salute. The comm was dropped shortly after. Almost immediately, the tactical fighters shifted flight plans and began their retreat toward the Oppenheimer. Simultaneously, the wing residing within the *Oppenheimer'*s hangers shifted from stand-by to active. Soon they would be launched, pushing top acceleration toward Halcyon. No EMP would be able to stop them. If the aliens had another card to play, Joan hoped this would force it out and maybe, just maybe, buy enough time for G4 to make an appearance.
She just needed a little time.
Just needed to survive long enough for the Pulsers to arrive.
Seconds mattered.
Next.
Be sure to leave a comment or an upvote if you're enjoying Alcubierre. If you want a sense of how much it matters to me, here's a very emo journal entry documenting it.
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I have been conducting a strange experiment on my Twitter which people seem to be enjoying. I found an AI bot that randomly posts impactful images every few minutes. I've decided to craft a narrative on top of these random images called "The Human Archives."
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CS:GO's new Anti-Cheat System

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An introduction to Linux through Windows Subsystem for Linux

I'm working as an Undergraduate Learning Assistant and wrote this guide to help out students who were in the same boat I was in when I first took my university's intro to computer science course. It provides an overview of how to get started using Linux, guides you through setting up Windows Subsystem for Linux to run smoothly on Windows 10, and provides a very basic introduction to Linux. Students seemed to dig it, so I figured it'd help some people in here as well. I've never posted here before, so apologies if I'm unknowingly violating subreddit rules.

An introduction to Linux through Windows Subsystem for Linux

GitHub Pages link

Introduction and motivation

tl;dr skip to next section
So you're thinking of installing a Linux distribution, and are unsure where to start. Or you're an unfortunate soul using Windows 10 in CPSC 201. Either way, this guide is for you. In this section I'll give a very basic intro to some of options you've got at your disposal, and explain why I chose Windows Subsystem for Linux among them. All of these have plenty of documentation online so Google if in doubt.

Setting up WSL

So if you've read this far I've convinced you to use WSL. Let's get started with setting it up. The very basics are outlined in Microsoft's guide here, I'll be covering what they talk about and diving into some other stuff.

1. Installing WSL

Press the Windows key (henceforth Winkey) and type in PowerShell. Right-click the icon and select run as administrator. Next, paste in this command:
dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux /all /norestart 
Now you'll want to perform a hard shutdown on your computer. This can become unecessarily complicated because of Window's fast startup feature, but here we go. First try pressing the Winkey, clicking on the power icon, and selecting Shut Down while holding down the shift key. Let go of the shift key and the mouse, and let it shutdown. Great! Now open up Command Prompt and type in
wsl --help 
If you get a large text output, WSL has been successfully enabled on your machine. If nothing happens, your computer failed at performing a hard shutdown, in which case you can try the age-old technique of just holding down your computer's power button until the computer turns itself off. Make sure you don't have any unsaved documents open when you do this.

2. Installing Ubuntu

Great! Now that you've got WSL installed, let's download a Linux distro. Press the Winkey and type in Microsoft Store. Now use the store's search icon and type in Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux distribution, and seems to have the best integration with WSL, so that's what we'll be going for. If you want to be quirky, here are some other options. Once you type in Ubuntu three options should pop up: Ubuntu, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
![Windows Store](https://theshepord.github.io/intro-to-WSL/docs/images/winstore.png) Installing plain-old "Ubuntu" will mean the app updates whenever a new major Ubuntu distribution is released. The current version (as of 09/02/2020) is Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS. The other two are older distributions of Ubuntu. For most use-cases, i.e. unless you're running some software that will break when upgrading, you'll want to pick the regular Ubuntu option. That's what I did.
Once that's done installing, again hit Winkey and open up Ubuntu. A console window should open up, asking you to wait a minute or two for files to de-compress and be stored on your PC. All future launches should take less than a second. It'll then prompt you to create a username and password. I'd recommend sticking to whatever your Windows username and password is so that you don't have to juggle around two different usepassword combinations, but up to you.
Finally, to upgrade all your packages, type in
sudo apt-get update 
And then
sudo apt-get upgrade 
apt-get is the Ubuntu package manager, this is what you'll be using to install additional programs on WSL.

3. Making things nice and crispy: an introduction to UNIX-based filesystems

tl;dr skip to the next section
The two above steps are technically all you need for running WSL on your system. However, you may notice that whenever you open up the Ubuntu app your current folder seems to be completely random. If you type in pwd (for Print Working Directory, 'directory' is synonymous with 'folder') inside Ubuntu and hit enter, you'll likely get some output akin to /home/. Where is this folder? Is it my home folder? Type in ls (for LiSt) to see what files are in this folder. Probably you won't get any output, because surprise surprise this folder is not your Windows home folder and is in fact empty (okay it's actually not empty, which we'll see in a bit. If you type in ls -a, a for All, you'll see other files but notice they have a period in front of them. This is a convention for specifying files that should be hidden by default, and ls, as well as most other commands, will honor this convention. Anyways).
So where is my Windows home folder? Is WSL completely separate from Windows? Nope! This is Windows Subsystem for Linux after all. Notice how, when you typed pwd earlier, the address you got was /home/. Notice that forward-slash right before home. That forward-slash indicates the root directory (not to be confused with the /root directory), which is the directory at the top of the directory hierarchy and contains all other directories in your system. So if we type ls /, you'll see what are the top-most directories in your system. Okay, great. They have a bunch of seemingly random names. Except, shocker, they aren't random. I've provided a quick run-down in Appendix A.
For now, though, we'll focus on /mnt, which stands for mount. This is where your C drive, which contains all your Windows stuff, is mounted. So if you type ls /mnt/c, you'll begin to notice some familiar folders. Type in ls /mnt/c/Users, and voilà, there's your Windows home folder. Remember this filepath, /mnt/c/Users/. When we open up Ubuntu, we don't want it tossing us in this random /home/ directory, we want our Windows home folder. Let's change that!

4. Changing your default home folder

Type in sudo vim /etc/passwd. You'll likely be prompted for your Ubuntu's password. sudo is a command that gives you root privileges in bash (akin to Windows's right-click then selecting 'Run as administrator'). vim is a command-line text-editing tool, which out-of-the-box functions kind of like a crummy Notepad (you can customize it infinitely though, and some people have insane vim setups. Appendix B has more info). /etc/passwd is a plaintext file that historically was used to store passwords back when encryption wasn't a big deal, but now instead stores essential user info used every time you open up WSL.
Anyway, once you've typed that in, your shell should look something like this: ![vim /etc/passwd](https://theshepord.github.io/intro-to-WSL/docs/images/vim-etc-passwd.png)
Using arrow-keys, find the entry that begins with your Ubuntu username. It should be towards the bottom of the file. In my case, the line looks like
theshep:x:1000:1000:,,,:/home/pizzatron3000:/bin/bash 
See that cringy, crummy /home/pizzatron3000? Not only do I regret that username to this day, it's also not where we want our home directory. Let's change that! Press i to initiate vim's -- INSERT -- mode. Use arrow-keys to navigate to that section, and delete /home/ by holding down backspace. Remember that filepath I asked you to remember? /mnt/c/Users/. Type that in. For me, the line now looks like
theshep:x:1000:1000:,,,:/mnt/c/Users/lucas:/bin/bash 
Next, press esc to exit insert mode, then type in the following:
:wq 
The : tells vim you're inputting a command, w means write, and q means quit. If you've screwed up any of the above sections, you can also type in :q! to exit vim without saving the file. Just remember to exit insert mode by pressing esc before inputting commands, else you'll instead be writing to the file.
Great! If you now open up a new terminal and type in pwd, you should be in your Window's home folder! However, things seem to be lacking their usual color...

5. Importing your configuration files into the new home directory

Your home folder contains all your Ubuntu and bash configuration files. However, since we just changed the home folder to your Window's home folder, we've lost these configuration files. Let's bring them back! These configuration files are hidden inside /home/, and they all start with a . in front of the filename. So let's copy them over into your new home directory! Type in the following:
cp -r /home//. ~ 
cp stands for CoPy, -r stands for recursive (i.e. descend into directories), the . at the end is cp-specific syntax that lets it copy anything, including hidden files, and the ~ is a quick way of writing your home directory's filepath (which would be /mnt/c/Users/) without having to type all that in again. Once you've run this, all your configuration files should now be present in your new home directory. Configuration files like .bashrc, .profile, and .bash_profile essentially provide commands that are run whenever you open a new shell. So now, if you open a new shell, everything should be working normally. Amazing. We're done!

6. Tips & tricks

Here are two handy commands you can add to your .profile file. Run vim ~/.profile, then, type these in at the top of the .profile file, one per line, using the commands we discussed previously (i to enter insert mode, esc to exit insert mode, :wq to save and quit).
alias rm='rm -i' makes it so that the rm command will always ask for confirmation when you're deleting a file. rm, for ReMove, is like a Windows delete except literally permanent and you will lose that data for good, so it's nice to have this extra safeguard. You can type rm -f to bypass. Linux can be super powerful, but with great power comes great responsibility. NEVER NEVER NEVER type in rm -rf /, this is saying 'delete literally everything and don't ask for confirmation', your computer will die. Newer versions of rm fail when you type this in, but don't push your luck. You've been warned. Be careful.
export DISPLAY=:0 if you install XLaunch VcXsrv, this line allows you to open graphical interfaces through Ubuntu. The export sets the environment variable DISPLAY, and the :0 tells Ubuntu that it should use the localhost display.

Appendix A: brief intro to top-level UNIX directories

tl;dr only mess with /mnt, /home, and maybe maybe /usr. Don't touch anything else.
  • bin: binaries, contains Ubuntu binary (aka executable) files that are used in bash. Here you'll find the binaries that execute commands like ls and pwd. Similar to /usbin, but bin gets loaded earlier in the booting process so it contains the most important commands.
  • boot: contains information for operating system booting. Empty in WSL, because WSL isn't an operating system.
  • dev: devices, provides files that allow Ubuntu to communicate with I/O devices. One useful file here is /dev/null, which is basically an information black hole that automatically deletes any data you pass it.
  • etc: no idea why it's called etc, but it contains system-wide configuration files
  • home: equivalent to Window's C:/Users folder, contains home folders for the different users. In an Ubuntu system, under /home/ you'd find the Documents folder, Downloads folder, etc.
  • lib: libraries used by the system
  • lib64 64-bit libraries used by the system
  • mnt: mount, where your drives are located
  • opt: third-party applications that (usually) don't have any dependencies outside the scope of their own package
  • proc: process information, contains runtime information about your system (e.g. memory, mounted devices, hardware configurations, etc)
  • run: directory for programs to store runtime information.
  • srv: server folder, holds data to be served in protocols like ftp, www, cvs, and others
  • sys: system, provides information about different I/O devices to the Linux Kernel. If dev files allows you to access I/O devices, sys files tells you information about these devices.
  • tmp: temporary, these are system runtime files that are (in most Linux distros) cleared out after every reboot. It's also sort of deprecated for security reasons, and programs will generally prefer to use run.
  • usr: contains additional UNIX commands, header files for compiling C programs, among other things. Kind of like bin but for less important programs. Most of everything you install using apt-get ends up here.
  • var: variable, contains variable data such as logs, databases, e-mail etc, but that persist across different boots.
Also keep in mind that all of this is just convention. No Linux distribution needs to follow this file structure, and in fact almost all will deviate from what I just described. Hell, you could make your own Linux fork where /mnt/c information is stored in tmp.

Appendix B: random resources

EDIT: implemented various changes suggested in the comments. Thanks all!
submitted by HeavenBuilder to linux4noobs [link] [comments]

Looking for suggestions to improve encrypted /boot on Debian

Below is my install procedure
# For starting from install disc: # Advanced Options -> Rescue mode -> Execute shell in Installer environment # For this example we are assuming the drive with to setup is /dev/sda # Format virtual drive to have 1 large primary partition and mark it as bootable echo -e "o\nn\np\n1\n\n\na\nw" | fdisk /dev/sda # Encrypt entire volume # Default iter is 2000 and takes 22 seconds for grub to decrypt, adjust accordingly cryptsetup -v --cipher aes-xts-plain64 --key-size 512 --hash sha512 --iter-time 50000 --use-random --verify-passphrase luksFormat --type luks1 /dev/sda1 # or if that takes too long to type: # cryptsetup -v -c aes-xts-plain64 -s 512 -h sha512 --use-random -y luksFormat --type luks1 /dev/sda1 # Open for formating cryptsetup open /dev/sda1 sda1_crypt mkfs.xfs /dev/mappesda1_crypt # If you are doing this from a standard debian system and you don't have debootstrap run the following: # apt install -y debootstrap coreutils # bootstrap core mount /dev/mappesda1_crypt /mnt debootstrap --arch amd64 bullseye /mnt http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ ## If you see: # E: Invalid Release file, no entry for main/binary-$ARCH/Packages # known good values are amd64 and i386 ## It means you provided an invalid Architecture name (like x86_64 or x86) # Chroot to get to work mount -t proc none /mnt/proc mount --bind /sys /mnt/sys mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev cp /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/etc/resolv.conf chroot /mnt/ 3. Basic setup ## Optionally you can add the following lines to /etc/apt/sources.list # deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian bullseye main # deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian bullseye main # deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ bullseye-updates main # deb-src http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ bullseye-updates main # deb http://security.debian.org/ bullseye/updates main # deb-src http://security.debian.org/ bullseye/updates main # *DO NOT FORGET TO SET ROOT PASSWORD!* passwd apt update apt install -y locales debconf # For rescue mode you need to run: # export TERM=vt100 dpkg-reconfigure locales # Restore old value: # export TERM=bterm apt install -y sudo vim mg apt purge -y nano select-editor # You need to set up your /etc/fstab: echo "/dev/mappesda1_crypt\t/\txfs\tdefaults\t0\t0" > /etc/fstab # Now to inform initramfs what to pass blkid | grep '/dev/sda1:' | echo "sda1_crypt\tUUID=$(awk -F'"' '{print $2}')\tnone\tluks" > /etc/crypttab # Make sure to install grub to /dev/sdb so that you don't mess up your desktop. grep -v rootfs /proc/mounts > /etc/mtab apt install -y grub-pc linux-base linux-image-amd64 cryptsetup ## If you see: # E: Sub-process /usbin/dpkg returned an error code (1) ## Don't worry about it, we are going to fix it later # Turn on grub's support for crypto echo 'GRUB_ENABLE_CRYPTODISK=y' >> /etc/default/grub grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg grub-install /dev/sda update-initramfs -u -k all ## If you see: # cryptsetup: WARNING: Invalid source device $UUID ## You forgot to prefix UUID= before your id in /etc/crypttab *You now can reboot and finsh the rest in the system* # Since we are manually setting everything up: export HOSTNAME=concernedgnu { cat <<-EOF 127.0.0.1 localhost 127.0.1.1 $HOSTNAME # The following lines are desirable for IPv6 capable hosts ::1 localhost ip6-localhost ip6-loopback ff02::1 ip6-allnodes ff02::2 ip6-allrouters EOF } >| /etc/hosts # Add our first user, set their password and add them to sudo useradd -m [User] passwd [User] usermod -G sudo -a [User] chsh [User] # Fix the broken packages apt install -f # Turn on network so we can add packages dhclient # Install posix standard tools apt update tasksel install standard # Add network-manger apt install -y network-manager nmtui # Remove need to type luks password twice dd bs=512 count=4 if=/dev/urandom of=/crypto_keyfile.bin chmod 400 /crypto_keyfile.bin cryptsetup luksAddKey /dev/sda1 /crypto_keyfile.bin # in /etc/crypttab replace none with /crypto_keyfile.bin blkid | grep '/dev/sda1:' | echo -e "sda1_crypt\tUUID=$(awk -F'"' '{print $2}')\t/crypto_keyfile.bin\tluks,keyscript=file" > /etc/crypttab # create /usshare/initramfs-tools/hooks/file (750 permissions) with the below content: :::::::::::::: START :::::::::::::: #!/bin/bash set -e PREREQ="cryptroot" prereqs() { echo "$PREREQ" } case $1 in prereqs) prereqs exit 0 ;; esac . /usshare/initramfs-tools/hook-functions # Hooks for loading keyctl software into the initramfs copy_exec /crypto_keyfile.bin exit 0 :::::::::::::: END :::::::::::::: chmod 750 /usshare/initramfs-tools/hooks/file # and then create it's match in /lib/cryptsetup/scripts/file (750 permissions) with the following content: :::::::::::::: START :::::::::::::: #!/bin/sh decrypt_file () { cat "$1" return 0 } if [ -z "$1" ]; then echo "$0: missing key as argument" >&2 exit 1 fi decrypt_file "$1" exit $? :::::::::::::: END :::::::::::::: chmod 750 /lib/cryptsetup/scripts/file update-initramfs -u -k all # You can verify that the keyfile and /lib/cryptsetup/scripts/file are both in the initrd with: lsinitramfs /boot/initrd.img-* | less *You may now logout and finish the rest as user* # Install Desktop utils if required sudo apt install -y xinit slim i3-wm dmenu x11-xserver-utils # If you skipped the guix option for space reasons: # sudo apt install -y gpg rxvt-unicode emacs git tig most firefox-esr 
submitted by concernedgnu20190124 to linuxadmin [link] [comments]

Draft post - Slowly Web client, is it good, is it secure? Testing 'Text Encryption Tool' Firefox extension

Draft post - Slowly Web client, is it good, is it secure? Testing 'Text Encryption Tool' Firefox extension
A paragraph from a friend's letter, to test Text Encryption Tool, an extension for Firefox :
----------
Hey Yann!
Always a pleasure receiving your letter! I am glad you shared with me how to use Slowly on web... Just one thing... I am a little skeptical about the privacy and security in the process.... You know because we are sharing so much about ourselves in our letters... Pardon me I am just a little skeptical about everything, Are you sure its secure?!
And I tried using it on my tablet but found using it on my phone more convenient... I know I am weird.
----------
And then, here's what we get using the Text Encryption Tool :

Firefox Add-on -- Text Encryption Tool, context menu options
Here we select 'Encrypt (Replace)' to replace the letter text with an encrypted version. It will ask you for a 'pass-phrase' twice, to confirm it. Then replace the text in the letter with the encrypted version.
----------
And here's that highlighted block of text -- after encryption :
data:application/octet-binary;base64,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
----------
And at the recipient's end, a reverse operation - Decrypt (Replace), produces this :
Hey Yann! Always a pleasure receiving your letter! I am glad you shared with me how to use Slowly on web... Just one thing... I am a little skeptical about the privacy and security in the process.... You know because we are sharing so much about ourselves in our letters... Pardon me I am just a little skeptical about everything, Are you sure its secure?! And I tried using it on my tablet but found using it on my phone more convenient... I know I am weird.
----------
So the text was sent in a secure mode. Some of the blank lines were lost. But the text body is fine. Emoji are lost as well.
Both parties must know the pass phrase; if it's lost, the text cannot be recovered.
submitted by yann2 to Writers_Guild [link] [comments]

Peer Calls - secure self hosted, open source video conferencing platform

Like a lot of you, I've been on the lookout for a secure, open source video conferencing solution that I could host for myself. I looked at Jitsi a bit but never deployed it since I'm already running ejabberd for my domain and didn't want to try to shoehorn it into that environment. I recently stumbled across Peer Calls and was delighted with not only how easy it was to get running but how well it all seems to work.
I figured I'd mention it here since I imagine quite a few of you out there might really appreciate such an option. It's one big, statically compiled Go binary, so using it and deploying it are really straightforward. My very simple configuration ended up looking like:
base_url: '/peer-calls' bind_host: '0.0.0.0' bind_port: 3000 ice_servers: - urls: - 'stun:stun.l.google.com:19302' - urls: - 'stun:global.stun.twilio.com:3478?transport=udp' store: type: memory network: type: sfu sfu: interfaces: - eth0 
And throwing it up behind my existing, encrypted nginx site was laughably trivial:
location /peer-calls/ { proxy_pass http://localhost:3000; proxy_http_version 1.1; proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade; proxy_set_header Connection "Upgrade"; proxy_set_header Host $host; } 
I didn't try out the end to end encryption since it requires Chrome clients all around and even some experimental functionality, so I can't speak to how well any of that works. But I'm happy enough with the rest of it being fully under my control and clearly the end to end stuff is mostly implemented and probably working fine if you should be okay with the experimental Chrome functionality required to make use of it.
Anyway, hopefully some of you find this useful. Enjoy!
submitted by mrnipper to linux [link] [comments]

[Serial][UWDFF Alcubierre] Part 49

Beginning | Previous
Joan opened a link to Ambassador Amahle Mandela. Soon after, the ambassador's face filled a portion of the Admiral's Bridge. She had large, luminous brown eyes that seemed to swallow the upper portion of her face, complimenting her umber tone. Amahle smiled broadly, as she always did, once the comm link as connected.
"Admiral Orléans, I assume we are approaching the departure time?"
Joan nodded, "The Zix vessel will project a wormhole to Halcyon shortly. We have made what preparations we can, but it will be a highly fluid environment."
Amahle's smile did not diminish, the pearly whites still shined in full force. "I am familiar with dynamic situations, Admiral, as you well know. I understand the parameters of this mission, and will abide by them so as long you do the same."
Joan's lips pressed together as she regarded the ambassador. Joan had had limited interactions with Amahle prior to her boarding the Oppenheimer. Amahle was a relative newcomer to the highest echelons of political power within the United World, but her ascent had been rapid. She hailed from a prominent political family that had exerted considerable influence over the generations that had led the African continent to position of power it now occupied. Well-sourced references had called her bold and decisive. All things considered, Joan understood why Damian had chosen her, though she would have preferred a diplomat she had more personal experience with. Still, unknown and competent was preferred to known and incompetent.
Joan dipped her chin, offering her agreement. "A diplomatic outcome is the preferred outcome, Ambassador. There's no benefit to antagonizing a foe we do not understand. "
"Not a foe, Admiral. We must not draw lines that place us on one side and them on the other. They have suffered injury at our hands, no matter how unintentional, and we must accept our responsibility in that. We must hope that we are given the opportunity to provide context to the unlikely chain of events that has brought us to this point. We are both the victim of cosmic circumstance. There is no need for further hostility."
Joan leaned forward in her chair slightly, "The priority, Ambassador, is the return of Admiral Kai Levinson. I will not stand in the way of peace, but any outcome that does not contemplate the return of a senior member of our military leadership is unacceptable."
Amahle shrugged, "So it is. The priority is clear in my mind, but I do not view the goals of securing peace and the return of the Admiral as mutually exclusive."
Joan offered a low chuckle. "Just probably exclusive."
"I disagree, but time shall be the arbiter of the matter."
"So long as you understand that, if the opportunity to secure Admiral Levinson presents itself, I'll avail myself of that opportunity, we should have no problems."
"That seems an unlikely outcome. The Admiral was ensconced in a shielded holding cell when the Alcubierre departed. The past few days are unlikely to have changed that outcome."
A barking laugh came out of Joan, rising up from deep within her.
For the first time, Amahle's smile faltered.
-----------
Left. Right. Straight. Left. Left.
Kai followed the directions without thinking about them, following an intuitive sense of direction that the Overseer fed to him. This portion of Halcyon appeared to be a never-ending series of corridors, all of which looked the same. The only thing that did seem to change were the inhabitants. If he was less preoccupied with the task at hand, Kai might have spared a second glance for the odd creatures that popped into existence during his mad dash. As it stood, they were just a part of the scenery, becoming relevant only if Neeria indicated they might pose a threat. So far, Kai had been fortunate, with few obstacles popping up to impede his progress.
He careened around a corner, the odd, weightless orb still tucked in the crook of his left arm. He bounced off the opposite wall, leaving a sizeable dent and then hurtled forward. Ahead the corridor opened up, and the brighter light of a mainway filtered in. Somehow, Neeria had managed to navigate him through the maze and bring him back to the mainway separating him from where he had left the Overseer. Unfortunately, evasion was no longer a possibility. In order to return to the Overseer, he would need to traverse the mainway.
The mainway was already a sea of red dots. Peacekeepers. Dozens of them. Some pulsed red, indicating lethal enforcement squads. Fortunately, they were stretched along a long section of the mainway rather than being specifically concentrated around his planned entrance point, though they there were beginning to redeploy in his direction. Still, any crossing would be potentially treacherous. Neeria disagreed with that assessment, instead considering any attempt to cross aggressively suicidal.
Kai rolled his eyes as he continued to barrel down the hallway. "Half the time, this works all the time."
What could only be described as a mental barrage ensued as Neeria assailed the statement. The words were nonsensical on their face. At best, it was an argument for a fifty percent failure rating, which was a substantial risk. Additionally, she had scoured his thoughts for the evidentiary basis for the fifty percent estimate and found no supporting facts. The sentiment was based entirely on supposition, hubris and was entirely divorced from reality. Her estimate of a three percent success rate was significantly more likely to be accurate, particularly when her superior familiarity with the assets in play were considered.
Kai wasn't sure if the Evangi had lungs, but, if they did, Kai was pretty certain Neeria was in the process of hyperventilating. Kai suppressed a childish giggle.
"All right, all right. Have it your way," he said.
The Overseer relaxed somewhat, pleased that she had impacted his thinking and already putting together the basis for an alternate route. It would take substantially longer and require him to obtain a large box, a micro-fitted multiwanzer and shave his head, but it may just work.
It was a nice sentiment, but they were out of time. The countdown clock had started the second Neeria had fled the Council chamber, and made her way to Kai. They either found a way out of Halcyon now or they were screwed. There were no options but bad ones. So be it. Kai clutched the orb tightly and ducked his head down, his speed increasing as he charged toward the mainway entrance. "Three percent of the time, this works all the time."
The mental hyperventilating returned and redoubled as the Overseer scrambled to explain that he had drawn the wrong conclusion. Three percent was a basis for not continuing toward the mainway, not charging forward. There were constraints on their time, but those limitations were poorly defined while the threat in the mainway was certain. Eventually her location would be discovered and she would be apprehended, but there was no guarantee it would happen if Kai were to take a safer route the attempted to avoid confrontation.
Her stream of consciousness intermingled with his, pleading with him to change course. There was no sense in doing this. There were too many of them, and only one of him. The galaxy could not afford to lose him, he was important. Humans were important. Kai could feel the enormous weight of responsibility bearing down on Neeria. She now regretted having sent him for the encryption key, even that was of less importance than him. Panic bubbled up within Neeria as the entrance to the mainway loomed ahead.
A pushed a thought toward her, somehow piercing her consciousness with his own. A single thought, pure and focused. Reassurance. He would be fine. He had come this far, and he had never started something he couldn't finish.
He crouched and then sprang forward, vaulting from the ground and into the open air high above the mainway. A sea of red dots were scrambling around him. One hundred and twenty-one peacekeepers. Eight non-lethal squads and four lethal squads. Restrainer triads. Psych triads. Terminator triads. All moving in seamless harmony under the command of a single being. The name came to Kai from the ethereum of Neeria's mind, Bo'Bakka'Gah was here, leading the response.
Before Kai could determine what a Bo'Bakka'Gah was and why it should matter, he was blinded by a beam of light. A sickening crunch followed as he was slammed against the ceiling of the mainway. The encryption key popped out from his arm and began to fall toward the ground, dozens of feet below.
-------------
Xy: Such a thing is not possible.
Zyy: Yes. In some matters, it is better to speak only truths, Grand Jack. It is best to leave these matters aside. This subject will only provoke the Combine.
Jack frowned, puzzled by the feedback. He had been speaking truths. Earth's history was what it was, for better or worse, he had no reason to obscure it.
Griggs: It was a terrible time for Humanity. We almost did not survive it, but we did. I developed a means for combating the artificient. Kai and Joan used it to destroy them.
Xy: Then it was not an artificient.
Zyy: Yes. This is correct. If it is destroyed then it is not an artificient.
Griggs: I am confused. An artificient is an artificial, sentient being, correct?
Xy: That is Quantic in nature.
Jack nodded, that distinction made sense. Humanity had built any number of artificial intelligences prior to the Automics. They had posed no threat to Humanity. It was only with the quantum computing revolution that a rogue artificial intelligences had surfaced. Jack had studied the phenomenon with considerable interest, poking and prodding at the crux of distinction. It lay in the move from bits to qubits. From binary to beyond. When AI had operated on a bit basis, focused on binary states of 0's and 1's, the logic trees had been map-able and understandable. Each conclusion flowed simply from the chain of logic gates that preceded it. Pre-quantum AIs were confined by the black and white nature of their logic framework, permitting humanity to utilize them to great effect with few unanticipated consequences.
The move from bit to qubit intelligence had changed everything. The AI's world was no longer black and white. The qubit AI could think in grey. Red. Orange. It could create its own colors. It could move beyond the visible range of Humanity to dabble in spectra beyond our understanding. The original Automic mindframe had immediately consumed information in novel ways, using it to compound its abilities at a rate constrained only by available power inputs. It had been a beautiful, terrifying event. The arrival of something truly new, truly foreign with goals and ambitions beyond the influence of Humanity.
Anything seemed possible.
Including their own destruction.
Griggs: I understand the definition. The Automics were an artificient.
Xy: Then you do not understand the definition.
Griggs: That's circular logic. The thing cannot exist because if it existed we would not exist and since we exist it did not exist.
Xy: Yes, you understand now.
Griggs: Pretend that they did exist and we defeated them. What would that mean?
Xy: It is purposeless speculation since such a thing cannot happen.
Griggs: I begin to understand why Zyy felt the need to be a singleton.
Zyy: I am in agreement with Xy on this. The hypothetical is nonsensical and not worth analysis.
Griggs: Why?
Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated, only stalled.
Griggs: How do you know? What makes you so certain?
Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia, the most powerful civilization in the history of galaxy, could not defeat their own artificient. Their last act was to preserve what they could. The Combine is their legacy.
Griggs: The Expanse.
Xy: All the galaxy beyond the Combine is consumed by it.
Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia ascended to preserve what they could because they knew the truth.
Xy: Yes. The truth.
Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated.
Jack leaned back in his chair, his eyes glancing from the prompt to the departure timer in the corner. In less than five minutes, the Oppenheimer would return to Halcyon. Jack had the eerie feeling that this was the same as before. That the Oppenheimer was the bludgeon and if only had a little more time, he could craft a scalpel.
He could see the thread. He tugged at it with his mind. The connected pieces that would allow the world to escape without the mayhem and destruction. He just needed enough time to understand the puzzle and solve it.
The Divinity Angelysia.
The Expanse.
The Combine.
Humanity.
The connection existed, he tried to find the words to articulate it.
Griggs: What if that is why we're here? What if that's why Humanity was created?
Xy: You are not the first species to think too highly of itself.
Zyy: Humanity is different, Grand Jack, but they are not the Divinity Angelysia.
Jack exhaled, letting his gaze rest upon the ceiling of the Alcubierre's conference room. "Maybe that's the point," he whispered.
Next.
Every time you leave a comment it helps a platypus in need. Word globs are a finite resource and require the rich nourishment of internet adulation to create. So please, leave a note if you would like MOAR parts.
Click this link or reply with SubscribeMe! to get notified of updates to THE PLATYPUS NEST.
I have Twitter now. I'm mostly going to use it to post prurient platypus pictures and engage in POLITE INTERNET CONVERSATION, which I heard is Twitter's strong suit.
submitted by PerilousPlatypus to PerilousPlatypus [link] [comments]

[Feedback] Placiibo 0.1.0 267E

Mostly usability and UI feedback.
Minor: the “write” button launches a new action page with a “Read” label written on the top panel. The page open at “Pro” button properly reads “Write: pro” on the top panel;
Minor: when adding a binary file to the list, pressing “save” without a name causes the entry to be silently discarded. The “Save” option should be disabled (yet left visible) until both conditions are met. Also, the file name should be displayed somewhere so it is clear which one is being used.
Minor: when adding the encryption key for the first time, there is no feedback of this action. A message saying the key was imported, similar to the message displayed on reviews of the key import page, is advised. Also useful to display the file name, since any file (including binary files) can be added as encryption key (wrong but there is no current test of the key);
Major: you are allowed to write a blank card (if no encryption key was selected) or just the encryption key to a card. A binary data file selected and an encryption key available conditions should be checked first before the write button is enabled;
(What a pain in the turquoise to post a simple feedback post...)
submitted by Alex_HQuest to placiiboapp [link] [comments]

[OC][UWDFF Alcubierre] Part 54

Beginning | Previous
Premier Valast felt a tingle. It began at the base of his spine and traveled moved upward, sending warm fuzzy feelings all throughout his body as it made its way to his brain and inserted itself in his conscious thoughts. After all of the misery. After all of the failures. For once, something had gone right.
How delightful. How extravagant. How deserved.
The Humans had made a mistake. Clearly, they had thought to expand upon their treachery, believing themselves to be invincible. Their monstrosity of a vessel had appeared just as their last one had, within Halcyon's inner perimeter. After their ruse of parlay, their beast had commenced belching out weapons of mass destruction, clearly in an attempt to retrieve the encryption key and the elite assassin-thief they had dispatched under the guise of a Witness.
They thought Halcyon weak. Defenseless.
Not true! Not true at all!
Kinetics. Valast laughed aloud, his rib cage heaving out great guffaws. Accelerated mass! More laughter. The savages thought to bring such inelegance against the might of the Combine? They mistook their prior fortune for competence. Their one-time success for future capability. Alas, poor Humans, the truth of your inadequacies is made manifest! The brief gap in the defenses brought on by the improbable chain of events that had resulted in their arrival had been filled. For all of their destructive potential, their weapons were useless.
Valast continued to cackle, his hindclaws scrunching up the soft material of his pillow, as he watched the Humans receive their punishment for their insolence. The Humans had made assumptions. Perhaps assumptions were fine in their backwater corner of the galaxy, but here, among civilization, assumptions could be quite dangerous indeed. It was quite unwise to assume Halcyon would leave the inner perimeter exposed. They must have thought their Evangi co-conspirators would leave the gates open for them, as the traitor Neeria had done when she had given them access to a Combine wormkey in the first place. Sadly for the Humans, their four-armed friends had been exposed for what they were. A great many of the Evangi now lay motionless on the floor of a Halcyon mainway, a fitting end to their perfidy.
Halcyon had stood since the beginning, and it would continue to stand long after the Human infestation had been expunged from the Combine Space. Perhaps the Humans should have spent more time pondering the nature of the place before they had meddled with forces they clearly did not understand. Halcyon existed in defiance of the chaotic nature of the neutron star it orbited. Its survival required an solution to the objects such a gravity well attracted. Halcyon had many such solutions, weaved together to maintain a delicate balance. Among them were the inertial dampeners.
The screen in Valast's paws bloomed with colors, indicating firings of Halcyon's inertial dampeners. Each blossom of color was an attempt by the Humans to deploy weapons in clear violation War Accords, cementing Humanity's position as a menace to decent civilization. Had Valast not commanded Bo'Bakka'Gah to take the necessary precautions, the devastation would have been significant.
Lines of crimson sailed through the blooms of color.
Valast's whiskers twitched, his eyes squinting as it tracked one of these lines.
The solution was not perfect. The intertial dampeners in close proximity to Halcyon were a final precaution, and their purpose was narrow. They were a fine net, meant to indiscriminately capture any residual high-speed astral particulate that had escaped the outer defenses. Their efficacy diminished at an exponential rate in proportion to the size and mass of the object they acted upon. Thus far, they had been quite successful at preventing the Humans from making use of their weapons, but dampeners had no effect on the Human vessels. Even if the dampeners could be used for such a purpose, their indiscriminate nature would have required the cessation of all space born travel within Halcyon, an unacceptable disruption to the workings of the Combine's capitol.
The Humans' small spherical vessels were thus capable of traveling unimpeded throughout Halcyon space, tracing their crimson lines behind them as they did so. Such a thing did not overly worry Valast. They could not fire their weapons, and they were susceptible to electromagnetic disruption, rendering them easy targets for the Peacekeepers. Were Valast not otherwise consumed with the affairs of state, he would perhaps take to the front line and dispatch a few himself. Sadly, his bravery would find no opportunity for direct expression beyond the valor found in the privilege of command competently exercised.
The whiskers ceased their twitching and some cheer returned. It would not be long before the meddlesome Human spheres were swatted from the sky and the encryption key recovered.
Then they would dispatch the Human warship.
Then Humanity.
He need only wait.
-----------
"Get spread. Get small." Sana called out. Had to buy time. Had to get a handle on the situation. Not her first rodeo, but it was the first time where she had no idea what the hell she was riding. Maybe the aliens were riding her. Maybe it wasn't a rodeo, maybe it was just a slaughter.
That was the problem. No one knew anything.
The callsigns in her local were dropping like flies. Squaddies getting wiped without so much as a peep. The eggs in Science were saying EMPs, but the balls were supposed to be fixed against that frakkery. Sensors said the balls were still there even after they went dead, so maybe they were right. Couldn't think about that now.
Couldn't think about anything but the mission.
Captain Sana Bushida had a shit-shuttle to bring to station.
She needed to get from A to B. Normally the quickest point-to-point was a line, but the baddies were coming in from all sides. Trying to corral her in. So be it. She could handle a long and squiggly with the juice she had in the four balls attached to the cockpit. Only question was how long they'd be up for. Whatever they were using on the balls wasn't touching her. She was good, but she wasn't that good.
Guess they wanted her kicking and screaming.
Predators, not scavengers then.
Frakk 'em. Right in their stupid alien faces.
Sana's brain shunted command signals as fast as her eyes to parse the readouts in her pilot pod. Dodging. Weaving. Diving. Dipping. Half those words didn't even apply to space, but they felt right. Float like a butterfly, run like cheetah on amphetos. She'd sting 'em later.
Run run run, fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the shit-shuttle can.
Swipe. Swipe.
Two smaller ships moved in a pincer formation, one cutting off her angle around the larger ship she was skimming around. Sana let out a giggle, as she shoved the shuttle in another direction. "You thought you had me, crapdonkey? You never had me. You're gonna be seeing my ass all day." The giggle somehow transformed into a roar halfway through as a third ship appeared in her view, coming out from its hiding place on the other side of the large ship. "SCREW YOU!" They weren't going to win. Losing wasn't an option.
Swipe.
Patterns emerged as the ballet played out. Certain ships were the herders. The small annoying frakks that always seemed to be moving around her flanks. Other ships were the receivers. They were the big boys. The ones who just floated there like giant shits in space. Lazy frakks just waiting to be fed some shit-shuttle. Fine then. New info. New tactics. New rule: Get around the herders, never get closer to the receivers.
Herders bad.
Receivers bad-der-er.
As long as she was a step ahead of the herders and two steps away from the receivers, she'd be fine. Problem was they were more agile than her. Problem was there was more of them. Problem was the friendly callsigns on her readouts kept disappearing. Problem was that she was stuck in here instead of out there where she belonged.
Ninety-nine problems...
Swipe. Swipe.
All she needed was a line of sight. A place where she could get a whiff of open space and just gun it. Navigate the maze. Get through it. Light at the end of the tunnel. Glass is half full.
Metaphor.
Analogy.
Idiom.
The stream of consciousness flowed out of her, expressing itself in her verbiage and in the desperately navigating shuttle some distance away. Step forward. No steps backward. Okay, maybe one step backward, but it'll be okay. She'd take the step forward soon enough.
Just...needed...a...line.
Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta was gone.
It was just her.
Swipe. Swipe.
The fate of the world.
The shit-shuttle must survive.
Swipe. Swipe.
The gap opened.
She saw it.
They didn't.
"There it is bitches!"
All four balls slammed the thrusters on. It wasn't a direct bee line to the Oppenheimer but it was good enough. She just needed to get out of the hornet's nest and into open space so she could keep pouring on the acceleration. She didn't know how much juice the herders had, but it was all she had going for her at this point.
Bitter bile rose up in her throat as the shit-shuttle surged forward, leaving A through D behind. Her squaddies. Her friends.
Abandoned.
She should be out there.
She could be. She just needed to get the mission done. She was so close. She was putting distance between her and the baddies. Just a few more minutes...the link cut off.
Her thoughts were shunting into a wall.
She swiped, her eyes scanning the readouts.
Alcubierre - Shuttle - Cockpit (Ejection)(DISTRESS) no longer appeared.
For once, Sana was speechless.
---------------------
Kai retched air.
There was nothing else to throw up at this point. He'd given everything he had to give, and it was now floating about the cockpit in a viscous cloud. He was fairly certain Neeria was collateral damage in the matter. If she were ever to regain consciousness, she'd find she had been provided with a fresh coat of puke paint. At this point, being blind was something of a boon. Congratulations were owed to the sadist in the pilot's seat though, he hadn't emptied his stomach like this since flight sims.
He'd raise his hand in salute if it weren't for the incredible g-force shifts whipping him around like a rag doll as the pilot attempted to avoid whatever was out there. Some of the maneuvers seemed impossibly complex, as if the cockpit was navigating through an impassable morass of enemies. Or perhaps the pilot was just drunk. Either seemed possible.
The whipsawing continued. Back. Forth. Round and round. Acceleration never seemed to continue in a single direction for more than a few seconds. They were going in circles. They had to be.
Finally, it appeared the pilot had decided on a direction as Kai was slammed back into his chair as the cockpit rocketed forward under sustained acceleration. They must have broken through. Or the pilot had fallen asleep at the controls with the throttle down and they were all doomed. Either way. At this point, Kai was just eager for it to be over.
The acceleration continued. He felt like he was being crushed. Like an enormous hand was pressing against him, trying to squeeze all of his organs out through his eyes. Whatever was powering the cockpit now was beyond the parameters of the shuttle's acceleration compensators. His vision began to dim and his joints ached. Pain surged up in his right arm, which was still contorted within the goo. He was fairly certain a bone had just snapped.
"Oppenheimer..ETA," Kai managed to gasp out, drawing the breath back into his lungs with some effort.
"The shuttle is not currently on course to intercept with the UWDFF Oppenheimer."
"Joan." Kai wheezed. "Connect. Joan."
The acceleration cut off.
Kai took a huge gulp of air, the relief immediate. "Comm-link. Fleet Admiral Joan Orléans."
No response.
Kai tried again.
Silence greeted him.
Grumbling, he raised his left wrist toward his face. He stuck out his tongue and smeared it along the wrist console's interface. None of the expected beeps and chirps sounded out. It was dead, and, he suspected, so was the cockpit along with whatever had been propelling him. No life support. No way to call out for help. No way to do anything but sit there. For all intents and purposes, they were a hunk of space junk drifting off into the black oblivion.
Fair enough. It was a fitting end.
Helpless.
Hopeless.
Kai tried to muster some anger at the situation, if only to distract him from the pain coursing through his body, but found he was up to the task. It was easier to be motivated when there was something to do. Some way he could impact the situation. But there was nothing to do but wait. Maybe he'd live. Probably he'd die. He didn't mind it, that was the same binary he faced every other day. It was a bit more present in his mind than it normally was, but the truth was that he was overdue for demise. He'd given death the slip more times than anyone had a right to.
Still. It bothered him.
Not the death part. The not doing what he set out to do part.
He had run through walls, both literal and figurative, to make it this far. He didn't know what making it back to the Oppenheimer would mean for Humanity, but it had to be better than not making it. The encryption key -- what did it do? What could it do? Would it be doable? Neeria -- could she guide them? Could she help them navigate the treacherous galaxy Humanity was just beginning to play a part in?
There were so many questions. The answers could matter.
Kai tried to remember how much time they had. Without life support, the supply of oxygen would rapidly begin to deplete. He supposed it didn't matter, since he had no idea whether Neeria breathed, what Neeria she breathed, or the rate she consumed it. His space suit had a few hours of stored supply, but it was designed to work in conjunction with his helmet. Without the wrist console, he'd need to find some way to manually vent it.
That was something to do. Small, but perhaps meaningful. Anything to tilt the scales just a little bit more in their direction. Just a few more minutes of air could make a difference.
"Seconds matter," Kai wheezed out. His breath was wet and tasted of iron. He'd worry about that later. Air first. It wasn't much of a plan, but it was better than nothing.
He hoped Joan's plans were faring better.
-------------------
The Admiral's Bridge was awash in a sea of red. Multiple views vied for primacy as the situation continued to deteriorate. So far, the Oppenheimer itself had withstood the sustained EMP assault directed its way, but the same could not be said for the battle balls. Callsigns continued to blink out of existence with every passing second. The Oppenheimer had immediately attempted to provide supporting fire, but its kinetic weaponry was similarly disabled. Whatever the circumstances had been that had allowed the Alcubierre to destroy an alien vessel, they were clearly no longer relevant to the situation at hand. Without kinetics, the vast majority of Humanity's space-born projective power was effectively nullified. Science was looking into explanations and alternatives, but it would take time.
The Oppenheimer's EMP arrays had succeeded in firing, but the alien vessels appeared to be impervious to that form of assault. It was unclear whether they possessed EMP hardening around core processes similar to the Oppenheimer or they had other means of deflecting attacks of that nature. In the absence of an alternative, the Oppenheimer was continuously discharging the EMP arrays as they became available, attempting to test for weaknesses. The energy drain from the sustained fire was easily accommodated by the altered physics of local space, but it was unclear whether alien defenses could be worn down by continuous assault.
Other oddities were appearing as the situation unfolded. The aliens did not field any tactical fighters that their sensors could identify. There were ships of different sizes, but, thus far, no vessels had moved to directly engage the balls. Kai's cockpit was being corralled by a series of smaller ships working in conjunction with the larger ones, but that was it.
Joan considered it, trying to parse out deeper meanings from the absence. Human conflict, both Earthside and in space, had always heavily relied on tactical fighters. They had numerous advantages in terms of firepower projection and significantly increased tactical dynamism in a battle zone. Either the aliens had never considered the approach, or it was considered suboptimal within this environment.
Joan squinted, watching as the battle ball's callsigns dropped from the battle status view. She tilted her head. "This environment," she muttered to herself, her eyes drawn to the EMP array firing status. The recharge bars filled and expended. Filled and expended. Each cycle representing an incredibly powerful pulse of electromagnetic energy at the speed of light.
Speed of light.
Speed.
The answer struck her. The ramifications of the answer were displeasing. Plans must be altered. Contingencies reconsidered. The Black Fork was too optimistic. Their position was considerably worse than hoped for, but not entirely beyond anticipated outcomes, which had included their immediate destruction upon arrival in the system. They simply had fewer tools than she desired.
Tactical fighters had low utility when combat operated at the speed of light. There was no yield on agility, because no thruster could move faster than light could travel. There was no evading a lightspeed weapon at these distances. Unless a tactical fighter could retain functionality under fire, which the death balls so far could not, they were a pointless extravagance. At best, they could serve as a momentary distraction, particularly when their weapons were inoperable.
The unique characteristics of Humanity's birthplace were a hindrance here. Kinetics were the logical path for weaponry to take in an environment where destructive output was a matter of maximizing scarce energy resources. They were also the easiest, most natural extension from their Earthside forebears. Humanity had begun development of lightspeed weapons, the EMP and the Griggs pulse among them, but they placed tremendous strain on ship systems. The Oppenheimer, as a dreadcarrier, was among the few Earth spaceships that contained a full battery of EMP arrays. Due to the extremely demanding specifications, only a Pulser class ship could make use of a Griggs pulse. Had Humanity known what it faced just beyond its doorstep, it would have invested its research and development resources differently.
Too late now.
The game was not lost yet, they simply must play the hand they were dealt to its greatest effect.
A display flashed from green to red and moved toward the center of the wall, increasing in size. Simultaneously, three other displays shifted in color, position and size, in a chain reaction. Joan frowned. Or perhaps the game was lost, and she was only just realizing it. The shuttle cockpit's callsign, along with the four balls that had attached to it, had disappeared. Her hands darted up and began a series of gestures, swiping North to South as she removed some filters from the local space scan and South to North as she applied others.
She exhaled.
The shuttle had not been destroyed, only incapacitated. It was careening through space away from the cluster of alien ships closest to Halcyon, though a few were in rapid pursuit. The pursuers had acceleration in their favor, but the shuttle's current course brought them toward the Oppenheimer.
Joan flicked a few fingers, pulling the course data from the local scan and pushing it into the timer view.
Before Joan could issue the order, the nearest balls peeled off and immediately began an intercept course with the shuttle. Joan pulled up the command-chain, it appeared that Captain Bushida had decided to be proactive. Very well, but it would not be enough. The balls were more likely than not to be incapacitated before they could be used in any rescue effort. This required a more substantial intervention if the outcome were to be changed.
Joan pushed a new course heading into her comm-link with Ragnar. "Captain, I am moving us off of the Black Fork standing orders."
Ragnar glanced at the course heading. "That's even further in."
Joan nodded, "It's the only way we'll recover the cockpit. The balls can't get the job done."
"There's a risk the Oppenheimer won't get it done either. They're holding back," Ragnar replied, his eyes scanned off screen, bouncing between the various readouts and inbound requests. "Doesn't make any sense they'd only have EMPs. They've got more."
"Likely. My current belief is that they will refrain from further escalation until they have either secured the cockpit or believe they can no longer retrieve it. Each moment of escalation from them has been in response to an action on our part directed at the cockpit."
Ragnar wiped the back of his sleeve against his brow, mopping up the sweat. "Must be something important."
"Must be. The prize is likely worth the pain here, Ragnar. Retrieving the cockpit is the top priority. Preservation of ourselves is an ancillary concern."
"G4 is only a few out. We can hold that long," Ragnar said.
"Get the job done, Captain," Joan ordered and then cut the comm. Ragnar was a sophisticated battlefield tactician. The overlap between them was significant, and the differences between them were accretive to both. They both knew there was another card to be played, it was just a matter of whether Humanity could adapt to it.
Joan opened another comm-link. "Chief Adeyemi."
The Chief blinked a few times as the interjection, as if being pulled from a daze.
"Idara!" Joan exclaimed. "Where's Science at?"
Idara wet her lips, "We've gathered the data and mapped it to a few different explanations...but we need more--"
"You don't have it. Best guess, go."
"Some sort of inertial dampening field. Effects smaller objects. Weakens as the objects get larger. Only affects objects moving a certain speed. Only affects objects in space. Our kinetics are getting caught. Bigger objects, like the fighters, like the Oppenheimer, are fine. Bullets fired inside of the Oppenheimer are fine.
"Any sense on source?"
Idara shook her head.
"But it doesn't effect the fighters. Doesn't effect energy based weapons."
"From what we can see, that's right."
Joan's eyes drifted toward the tracker on Kai's cockpit. Hurtling through space.
"Idara, when the Alcubierre was heading for Proxima Barrier, your modeling said the ship would survive the impact, correct?"
"Yes, Admiral. There isn't an equal an opposite reaction. Actor has primacy in these physics."
Joan stared at Idara, lost in thought. The Chief shifted uncomfortably, "Is there something else--"
"I have what I need," Joan replied, cutting the comm.
She pulled up the status tracker on the balls. Over eight-five percent of launched fighters had already been incapacitated. The Oppenheimer still retained a final wing in its hangers, numbering approximately a hundred and twenty additional balls.
Joan watched the timers ticking down. They needed to go on the offensive. To find a way to tilt the situation in their favor. Even if they retrieved the cockpit, it was a long way back to the wormhole, and a long time to survive before G4 appeared. If the aliens had an ace up their sleeve, that would be the time to play it, when they had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
She re-opened the comm with Ragnar. "Captain, I think we can even the odds a bit."
"I'm all ears, Admiral."
Joan pushed a series of orders to Ragnar. He glanced at them and then glared at her, "You want--
"Yes, Captain, that's what I want."
"But they'll be destroyed," Ragnar responded.
"Not if they're moving fast enough. Get whoever we can get back into the hangers, launch the rest without the pilots. Target the ships. Target Halcyon."
Ragnar stared at her, "Halcyon? That's a civilian--"
"Captain, I want those balls dumped and under full steam at the designated targets. That's an order."
Ragnar opened his mouth and then shut it. A hand came off screen and formed a salute. The comm was dropped shortly after. Almost immediately, the tactical fighters shifted flight plans and began their retreat toward the Oppenheimer. Simultaneously, the wing residing within the *Oppenheimer'*s hangers shifted from stand-by to active. Soon they would be launched, pushing top acceleration toward Halcyon. No EMP would be able to stop them. If the aliens had another card to play, Joan hoped this would force it out and maybe, just maybe, buy enough time for G4 to make an appearance.
She just needed a little time.
Just needed to survive long enough for the Pulsers to arrive.
Seconds mattered.
PerilousPlatypus
submitted by PerilousPlatypus to HFY [link] [comments]

MAME 0.221

MAME 0.221

Our fourth release of the year, MAME 0.221, is now ready. There are lots of interesting changes this time. We’ll start with some of the additions. There’s another load of TV games from JAKKS Pacific, Senario, Tech2Go and others. We’ve added another Panorama Screen Game & Watch title: this one features the lovable comic strip canine Snoopy. On the arcade side, we’ve got Great Bishi Bashi Champ and Anime Champ (both from Konami), Goori Goori (Unico), the prototype Galun.Pa! (Capcom CPS), a censored German version of Gun.Smoke, a Japanese location test version of DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou, and more bootlegs of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Final Fight, Galaxian, Pang! 3 and Warriors of Fate.
In computer emulation, we’re proud to present another working UNIX workstation: the MIPS R3000 version of Sony’s NEWS family. NEWS was never widespread outside Japan, so it’s very exciting to see this running. F.Ulivi has added support for the Swedish/Finnish and German versions of the HP 86B, and added two service ROMs to the software list. ICEknight contributed a cassette software list for the Timex NTSC variants of the Sinclair home computers. There are some nice emulation improvements for the Luxor ABC family of computers, with the ABC 802 now considered working.
Other additions include discrete audio emulation for Midway’s Gun Fight, voice output for Filetto, support for configurable Toshiba Pasopia PAC2 slot devices, more vgmplay features, and lots more Capcom CPS mappers implemented according to equations from dumped PALs. This release also cleans up and simplifies ROM loading. For the most part things should work as well as or better than they did before, but MAME will no longer find loose CHD files in top-level media directories. This is intentional – it’s unwieldy with the number of supported systems.
As usual, you can get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page. This will be the last month where we use this format for the release notes – with the increase in monthly development activity, it’s becoming impractical to keep up.

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to emulation [link] [comments]

Cryptocurrency – The Next Scam?

Cryptocurrency: What is it?

Cryptocurrencies, today’s biggest investment fad is dominating the headlines. Take Bitcoin, the most famous (and perhaps the most notorious) cryptocurrency has exploded in popularity over the last calendar year, despite the fact that it has been around for nearly a decade. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of bitcoin, however, most do not know about the details behind the enigmatic cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that was created by Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2008. However, the name Nakamoto is really an alias for an unidentified person, or group of people, who developed Bitcoin. Although there are numerous cryptocurrencies accessible now, Bitcoin has become the most popular one for investors.
Bitcoin was developed is such a way to evade tight government control on currencies while making online transactions simpler. The primary technology behind Bitcoin is a blockchain, a digital ledger in which public transactions made in cryptocurrencies are documented in a universal network of computers.

An ICO not an IPO

An ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is an unregulated fundraising mechanism that is used for a new cryptocurrency undertaking.
Here’s how it works: Say a company is trying to streamline a car service payment system so that it can be digital and encrypted. Sounds like a good idea. Let’s name it CarCoin. The company will then produce a document basically specifying exactly how the process will work (generally called a white paper). Additionally, they will create an eye-catching website and describe why CarCoin is a great idea that could be very beneficial. Then, the company will ask for people to send them money (typically Bitcoin or Ether, but they’ll also take fiat). In return, the company will send them back some CarCoin. The “investors” hope that CarCoin will be used a lot and be high in circulation, which could potentially raise the value of the currency.
This is sort of like an initial public offering (IPO), where investors buy shares of a company. However, unlike an IPO investing in an ICO doesn’t award you an ownership stake in the company or startup you’re giving money to. You are hoping that in this instance, CarCoin currently a worthless currency, will ultimately increase in value down the line and make you money.

Oh, what a scam!

Unfortunately, whenever there is money to be made the swindlers are never far behind. This is especially true at the ICO stage. Anyone can launch an ICO as there is very little regulation in most countries such as the United States. This means that as long as you got the tech aspect set up you can get yourself funded. This obviously can result in one of two things: potential profit for an investor or massive scams. The cryptocurrency market is perfect for scammers because it’s relatively new, backed by tons of hype, and comprises of complex technology. It’s easier to sucker someone into investing in your ICO in 2018 than your bogus real estate business—and unfortunately, plenty of people have.

Fake bitcoin brokers

Unfortunately, whenever a new investment opportunity pops up there are plenty of fake brokers to go along with it and cryptocurrency is no different. Take Bitcoinopts for example. This “broker” does not allow you to buy and sell bitcoins or let you “watch your profit grow as we trade daily”. Rather they profit off of your deposit and never allow you to withdraw. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Many of these cryptocurrency brokers are the same fraudulent binary options brokers operating under a different brand. It has become so rampant that Facebook has instituted a blanket ban for all ads pertaining to Bitcoin, ICO’s and other cryptocurrencies

Report these cryptocurrency scams.

If you have fallen victim to a cryptocurrency scam, send a complaint to at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]), and we will do our very best to get into contact with you as soon as we can to initiate your funds recovery process. Visit www.fundsrecovery247.com for more information or Contact - [email protected] com.
submitted by dskhan34 to u/dskhan34 [link] [comments]

Top sites to practice hacking skills (legally)

Top sites to practice hacking skills (legally)
credit- icssindia.in
These Websites to exercise your hacking skills whether you are a hacker, cybersecurity, pen-tester, or still a noob.
These vulnerable websites are great for developing our minds, increasing our capacity to solve problems, new innovative ideas come to our minds. Also, you will face brainfuck a lot of difficulties. Never give up always try to give your best. Because if you want to be a professional hacker, then you must know about the hacker attitudes and …
“real hackers never give up”
There are a lot of gaping holes in almost every security system. And to discover these is this is also a great opportunity to also discover the various tools that are needed for hacking. What the different options are etc. Use these websites to practice your hacking skills so you can be the best defense.
An attack is definitely the best form of defense
This applies to a lot of companies, they are hacking their own websites and even recruiting ethical hackers in an attempt to find vulnerabilities before the bad guys do as such ethical hacking is now a much sought after skill.

pwnable.kr

pwnable.kr is a non-commercial wargame site which provides various pwn challenges regarding system exploitation. the main purpose of pwnable.kr is ‘fun’. please consider each of the challenges as a game. while playing pwnable.kr, you could learn/improve system hacking skills but that shouldn’t be your only purpose.

pwnable.tw

Pwnable.tw is a wargame site for hackers to test and expand their binary exploiting skills.
HOW-TO
  • Try to find out the vulnerabilities that exist in the challenges, exploit the remote services to get flags.
  • The flag is usually at /home/xxx/flag, but sometimes you have to get a shell to read them.
  • Most of the challenges are running on Ubuntu 16.04/18.04 docker image.
  • You can share a write-up or exploit code in your profile, only players who also solved the same challenge are able to see them.

hack.me

Hack.me is a FREE, community-based project powered by eLearnSecurity. The community can build, host, and share vulnerable web application code for educational and research purposes. It aims to be the largest collection of “runnable” vulnerable web applications, code samples and CMS’s online. (This is more a test website. But still can improve your hacking skills a lot ..!)
The platform is available without any restriction to any party interested in Web Application Security:
  • students
  • universities
  • researchers
  • penetration testers
  • web developers

CTFlearn

CTFlearn is an ethical hacking platform that enables tens of thousands to learn, practice, and compete. The main attraction, of course, is the user-submitted Problems and Challenges which span the typical CTF theology such as Binary Exploitation, Cryptography, Reverse engineering, Forensics, Web attacks (see XSS, SQL Injection and the likes). There are also group the challenges by Popularity, level of Difficulty, and order of Appearance.

Google Gruyere

Gruyere It’s not often we see the pairing of cheese and hacking, but this website is a lot like good cheese—full of holes. It also uses a “cheesy” code and the entire design is cheese-based. Gruyere is a great option for beginners who want to dive into finding and exploiting vulnerabilities, but also learn how to play on the other side and defend against exploits.
Gruyere is written in Python, with bugs that aren’t specific to Python, and offers a substantial number of security vulnerabilities chosen to suit beginners. Some of the vulnerabilities are:
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS)
  • Cross-site request forgery (XRF)
  • Remote code execution
  • DoS attacks
  • Information disclosure
Gruyere code lab has divided vulnerabilities into different sections, and in each section, you will have a task to find that vulnerability. Using both black and white box hacking, you’ll need to find and exploit bugs.

Root Me

Root Me A multilanguage security training platform, Root Me is a great place for testing and advancing your hacking skills. It features over 300 challenges which are updated regularly and more than 50 virtual environments, all to provide a realistic environment. Root Me also has a passionate community of over 200,0000 members, all of whom are encouraged to participate in the development of the project and earn recognitions.
Different subjects covered on Root Me include:
  • Digital investigation
  • Automation
  • Breaking encryption
  • Cracking
  • Network challenges
  • SQL injection
It’s a solid platform and a great way to practice your hacking skills, although it’s not as beginner-friendly as some of the other entries on this list.

Hack The Box

Hack The Box (HTB) is an online platform allowing you to test your penetration testing skills. It contains several challenges that are constantly updated. Some of them simulating real-world scenarios and some of them leaning more towards a CTF style of challenge. It contains several challenges that are constantly updated. Some of them simulating real-world scenarios and some of them leaning more towards a CTF style of challenge. You should try this site out if you have an interest in network security or information security.
I suggest you to try to hack your way into this website.”

Hacking-Lab

Hacking-Lab is an online ethical hacking, computer network, and security challenge platform, dedicated to finding and educating cybersecurity talents. … HackingLab’s goal is to raise awareness towards increased education and ethics in information security.provides the CTF (Capture The Flag) challenges for the European Cyber Security Challenge but hosts challenges on their own platform which anyone can take part in once you have registered.
Hacking-Lab is providing CTF and mission style challenges for international competitions like the European Cyber Security Challenge, and free OWASP TOP 10 online security labs. Hacking-Lab’s goal is to raise awareness towards increased education and ethics in information security.

Game of Hacks

Game of Hacks, This game was designed to test your application hacking skills. You will be presented with vulnerable pieces of code and your mission if you choose to accept it is to find which vulnerability exists in that code as quickly as possible. In the game, developers and security professionals test their application hacking skills, improve their code security know-how, and facilitate better security practices in hope of reducing the number of vulnerabilities in their applications.
Available for desktop, tablet, and mobile, Game of Hacks presents developers with vulnerable pieces of code and challenges them to identify the application layer vulnerability as quickly as possible. It even has a two-player mode allowing head-to-head competition. Players analyze vulnerabilities including SQL injection, XSS, log forgery, path traversal, parameter tampering, and others in myriad programming languages.

OverTheWire

OverTheWire The wargames offered by the OverTheWire community can help you to learn and practice security concepts in the form of fun-filled games. To find out more about a certain wargame, just visit its page linked from the menu on the left. Suggested order to play the games in
  1. Bandit
  2. Leviathan or Natas or Krypton
  3. Narnia
  4. Behemoth
  5. Utumno
  6. Maze
Each shell game has its own SSH port Information about how to connect to each game using SSH is provided in the top left corner of the page. Keep in mind that every game uses a different SSH port.

microcorruption.com

microcorruption.com Scattered throughout the world in locked warehouses are briefcases filled with Cy Yombinator bearer bonds that could be worth billions comma billions of dollars. You will help steal the briefcases.
Cy Yombinator has cleverly protected the warehouses with Lockitall electronic lock devices. Lockitall locks are unlockable with an app. We’ve positioned operatives near each warehouse; each is waiting for you to successfully unlock the warehouse by tricking out the locks. The Lockitall devices work by accepting Bluetooth connections from the Lockitall LockIT Pro app. We’ve done the hard work for you: we spent $15,000 on a development kit that includes remote-controlled locks for you to practice on, and reverse engineered enough of it to build a primitive debugger.
Using the debugger, you’ll be able to single-step the lock code, set breakpoints, and examine memory on your own test instance of the lock. You’ll use the debugger to find an input that unlocks the test lock, and then replay it to a real lock. It should be a milk run. Good luck. We’ll see you on a beach in St Tropez once you’re done.

XSS game

XSS game Cross-site scripting (XSS) bugs are one of the most common and dangerous types of vulnerabilities in Web applications. These nasty buggers can allow your enemies to steal or modify user data in your apps and you must learn to dispatch them, pronto!
In this training program, you will learn to find and exploit XSS bugs. You’ll use this knowledge to confuse and infuriate your adversaries by preventing such bugs from happening in your applications. There will be cake at the end of the test.

HackThis!!

HackThis!! was initially designed so that the students can be taught how to hack, and teach the students about dumps and defacement. If you are an expert hacker then for you, there are 50 levels of difficulty to offer. The website comes with a great online community to help you with hacking, and it would keep you up to date with the security news.

crackmes.one

crackmes.one This is a simple place where you can download crackmes to improve your reverse engineering skills. If you like to submit a crackme or a solution to one of them, you must register. But before that, I strongly recommend you to read the FAQ

HackThisSite

Hack This Site is a free, safe, and legal training ground for hackers to test and expand their hacking skills. HackThisSite commonly referred to as HTS, is an online hacking and security website founded by Jeremy Hammond. More than just another hacker wargames site, we are a living, breathing community with many active projects in development, with a vast selection of hacking articles and a huge forum where users can discuss hacking, network security, and just about everything. Tune in to the hacker underground and get involved with the project.

Pentest training

Pentest training is a simple website used as a hub for information revolving around the varies services we offer to help both experienced and new penetration testers practice and hone their skills. We offer a fully functioning penetration testing lab that is ever-increasing in size, complexity, and diversity. The lab has a fully functioning Windows domain with various Windows OS’s. There is also a selection of Boot2Root Linux machines to practice your CTF and escalation techniques and finally, pre-built web application training machines.

Hellbound Hackers

Hellbound Hackers provides a hands-on approach to computer security. Learn how hackers break-in, and how to keep them out. Huge resource for computer security researchers. The website emphasizes being hands-on, and it offers you many challenges to make you the best hacker out there. It offers a variety of challenges to teach you how to identify potential vulnerabilities, and it also suggests the ways to patch the vulnerabilities. The website comes with an array of tutorials and a thriving community of more than 100K registered members.

HAX.TOR

hax.tor.hu is a very old site (founded in 2006). But it serves the purpose of learning the stuff. Many problems are not functioning because of technology changes. Because many problems relied on the old PHP version flaws. Also, the player gets a free shell account to use (with web/mail hosting) on a server (with gigabit bandwidth) dedicated to security folks.
A few examples of HaX.ToR challenges:
Level 1. Make a nasa.gov URL display a text of my choice Level 7. snifflog.txt – ngrep format Level 13. PHP with a source – needs exploiting and/or -t-b thinking Level 16. root:hsmfs;[email protected] Level 21. Backdoor on a suspended domain Level 26. PHP file manager with a source – needs more exploit Level 28. telnet://hax.tor.hu:1800 – Google Word Game Level 33. Defense Information Systems Agency – 209.22.99.66 Level 39. China Science And Technology Network Level 48. .htaccess editor vs basic auth Level 49. Forged DNS from the CIA

ThisIsLegal

ThisisLegal, a hacker wargames site with much more – such as forums and tutorials. The aim of the site is to help you learn and improve as much as we can and also provide a community with a chance to chat. The site is always up for suggestions for improvement and any challenge submissions or tutorial content are also welcome so please help to improve our community.
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