The Long Night
Earth Interdiction Zone
Want to see what every would-be scavenger and explorer is up against? Take a look. There, that data feed. The one with all the activity. That’s the barrier. That’s what enforces the interdiction of Earth.
Firewall has mapped this cordon as best we can. That’s another prime component of this project—map the barricade. Everything in it, every component, every orbital path, every capability, every frequency, every pattern, every hole. The more we know, the better we can take a stab at punching through it should we ever need to.
In case you’re wondering, the current census counts over two thousand orbiting satellites as part of this cordon in low-Earth orbit, roughly between 300 and 350 kilometers above the dirt. Some of these are killsats loaded with enough intelligence, sensors, weapons, electronic countermeasures, and counter-countermeasures to severely disable an impressive military space feet. But they’re not alone, of course. There are also sensor platforms out the wazoo, detection arrays that can pinpoint a speck in a crowded room. These scan the area above and around the Earth in a constantly shifting, overlapping feld. Most numerous of all are over a thousand nimble micro-, nano-, and pico-satellites and smart mines that swarm about to jam, intercept, sabotage, or crash into targets or repair and protect the larger defensive systems.
Those green dots are the signal jammers. They create so much static it’s a wonder we can still see straight. Nothing in and nothing out, plus they fuzz the barricade itself so no one can try doing exactly what we’re doing now, spotting and tagging and charting each defense. This is top-of-the-line electronic deception, years ahead of what is commonly available to the hypercorps or public at large.
Those blue dots? Those would be smart mines. Some are attached to abandoned stations, orbiting asteroids, and space junk. Some are just floating free on their own, camouflaged or invisible to sensors, while others use minijets to maintain their orbit, coming to life and charging anything that approaches too close.
These red dots are hunter-killer drones. They float dark and silent, in passive sensor reception mode, a second sphere of defense. They’re also in low Earth orbit, anywhere from 400 to 2,000 kilometers up. If anything gets too close to the cordon from the outside, or manages to break through from the inside, it will get swarmed by these bots—and they’re nasty little machines. Judging by some of the radiation signatures we’ve picked up over the years, some of these are loaded with nukes. You know, in case the gigawatt lasers, particle beams, railguns, shrapnel bursts, or antimatter missiles wielded by the killsats aren’t enough. The Van Allen belt is already thicker due to a couple of high-altitude nukes deployed during the Fall; I’d hate to think what more bombs might do.
That icon there? That’s us. That’s right. You’re wondering how we’re stationed here in LEO in the middle of the damn barricade without getting killed, eh? Well, I’ll tell you. You turn your opponent’s strength against them.
Us, here, we’re riding smack on the back of this detection array. Hiding on a component of the fence is pretty unnerving, but it works. No one looks for us here. We piggyback our signals on theirs, right past the signal jammers. Their sensors can’t see us and we’re tapped in to their network, so we have access to all their scans. This means that we get a lot of our raw intel and sensor data direct from the orbital sensor arrays, not to mention a few hidden orbital spies of our own. Every time someone or something tries to run the barricade, we have a front row seat. And with every show we learn a bit more about how it all works, how complete the coverage is, all without risking a single Firewall operative. Well, unless you count our infomorph selves, hanging out in this simulspace-cum-data tap station. Our digital asses are hung out to dry here, as it were, should this op ever be discovered.
On the positive side, over the years we’ve mapped out several different plans that we’re reasonably sure would work as a way to breach the barricade.