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[The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 18

At the Beginning
Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
  The smell of burning wood was all I could focus on. The fires had long died out, making it difficult to see in the darkness; despite all other modifications, Kridib’s eyes weren’t able to see overly well in the dark. Every five minutes, Radiance would send an infrared scan of the colony to help him and his team with their advancement. Despite all that help and the four missile strikes, progress was minimal. Of the forty-seven people sent to the planet, eleven had been killed and five more severely wounded, rendering them useless in battle. From what I could see, Rigel’s forces had clustered in specific points of the colony, giving up the rest: a sensible strategy that had allowed them to ambush three of our teams while suffering negligible losses themselves. As things stood, the enemy forces had positioned themselves in two areas of the colony. Both spots encircled a specific building—mine and the captain’s locations—making further missile strikes impossible.
  Update? Kridib asked me through the mind link.
  Nothing, I replied. Rigel had left shortly after our last chat, taking the third-contact rods with him. Since then, I had remained safely isolated in the room and completely alone. Half of them have probably gone to sleep.
  Tell me if anything changes. Kribib looked up. A dozen sats were visible in the night sky. We’ll be making another go soon.
  I don’t think that’s a good idea.
  So far, Kridib had made four attempts to reach me, all of them unsuccessful. His approach, though chaotic at best, had managed to keep him alive. There had been a close call during which his left arm had been grazed by a bullet, though that time the man hadn’t frozen.
  Everyone has to sleep, Kridib said, heading back into one of the buildings that had been transformed into a ground base of operations. I’ll go first.
  Must I wake you? I asked.
  No. With that, the link was severed.
  To a degree, I was thankful, though not too much. Forcing whatever strength I had, I moved my head to look around the room as much as I was able. Nothing had changed in the last four hours, but at least it let me do something. The last time I felt remotely similar was when I’d had my sensor systems knocked out, though even then I was able to use my shuttle AIs to paint me a picture. Here, I was completely helpless and, to a vast degree, blind.
  “Do I get any water?” I asked as loudly as my lungs would let me.
  There was no reason to expect an answer. Even if anyone was awake on the lower floors, they would be on lookout duty. Saying it out loud, though, made me feel better for some reason. To my surprise, the door to the room opened.
  “Thought you were above those things.” Rigel walked in slowly. Even with my lack of focus, I could see that he had changed clothes. The colours were dark enough to be considered a uniform, although I couldn’t make out any other details. “You can’t swallow, remember?”
  “My mouth feels dry,” I explained.
  “Too bad.” Despite my poor vision, I could hear him smile as he said that.
  Walking slowly, he made his way to the stool near me and sat down. From this distance, I could see him taking something from his front pocket. In the dim light, it was impossible to tell what exactly.
  “Still having problems focusing?” Rigel asked.
  “Yes.” There was no point in lying.
  “Pity. Agora works well on organic tissue. Not on techno-mongrels,” he added with a laugh. “If you weren’t one, you’d be dead. There’s a win for you.”
  And you’re not making any sense, I thought.
  “Nice murder troops you got out there. Quick and efficient. A few years ago, the locals would’ve had fun pulling their wings off. Time leaves its mark.” Rigel flicked the object. It let out a peculiar metallic sound. “No action, no combat sims, just the local pests that roam the planet. Those were brought here too, did you know?”
  “I heard about it.”
  “Another brilliant idea from the bureaucracy. Create a full ecosystem. Plants, critters, predators... all must be present and carefully maintained. We tried killing them off once. Those were the days. Three colonies setting out, killing everything in sight until the orbital station stopped sending food.” There was a slight pause. “And you know the best part?” Rigel leaned towards me. “None of that happened.”
  If I could have pulled back, I would have. There was no way of knowing if these were insane rantings or if he was referring to a dark op coverup. Considering he was from the Salvage Authorities, either was possible, and both options were equally undesirable.
  “I went through your data, Elcy.” Rigel rubbed his hands. “You know things you shouldn’t.”
  “Because of my past, I’ve been placed on special assignments,” I said. Technically it was true, though we both knew it didn’t explain away the inconsistencies.
  “You knew about the third-contact artifacts before. You’ve operated them before.” He moved his hand closer to my face. I felt a cold metallic surface touch my cheek. “You’re searching for something. Something that you’re not supposed to find.” He moved the object away from my face. “Here’s my offer. You answer some of my questions, and I’ll answer some of yours.”
  “That’s one way to get court-martialed.” Not to mention there was no guarantee my self-destruct chip wouldn’t go off at any point.
  “Please don’t give me the line that the fleet is going through all that trouble just to rescue you. If you were that valuable, you’d never have been sent to this hell in the first place.” Rigel stood up. “What are the odds of the fleet extracting you in one piece? Two percent?”
  “Point-seven-three-nine,” I corrected. Frankly, I was surprised they were going through all the trouble. “Give or take.”
  “Less than one percent,” Rigel snorted. “It’s your call. You have three hours to make it. Before I leave you, here’s a freebie. This planet, it isn’t some randomly colonized world in ‘unexplored space.’ We’re in the buffer zone—the border between the Scuu and human space. Think about that.” He made his way to the door. Reaching it, he stopped and turned around. “Oh, and we’re constantly being monitored.”
 
  Gamma-Ligata, Cassandrian Front—615.11 A.E. (Age of Expansion)
    The third wave of shuttles approached my forward left hangar one by one. The instant they came within three hundred meters, I was handed over direct control of the AIs. As with the previous batches, the first thing I did was to have a set of isolated subroutines flash the memory and purge the entire operating system. That done, I sent out a mini-sat to latch onto and assume control of the shuttles. It was a slow and tedious process, but necessary considering the circumstances.
  “How are things?” Wilco asked from the bridge. Augustus had gathered most of his officers to a private meeting in his quarters, leaving Wilco in command. This wasn’t the first time it had happened, but each time it did, it felt strange.
  “Everything’s going as planned,” I said, as the first shuttle went under my control.
  A quick internal scan revealed that there were sixty-two people aboard, all cuffed and tagged. All of them were tagged as infected, and, to my surprise, none of them were sedated. The instructions were to take them in and monitor their actions at all times, and only to engage if they threatened the ship. Normally, I’d be confident that Augustus knew what was going on. With everything we’d gone through since I’d joined the front, I didn’t think there was anything in the galaxy that could surprise him. I was wrong.
  Finishing my internal check of the shuttle, I directed it to the outer hangar doors and had it dock. The passengers—all of their identities classified—waited till I covered the walls with disembark notifications, then stood up and quietly proceeded to get off, in orderly fashion. I could tell by Wilco’s expression that he found it unnerving.
  “A thousand and eighty-two passengers on board,” I said on the bridge and in the captain’s quarters. The moment the last person set foot in the hangar, I would eject the shuttle from my hangar-bay, self-destruct it, and proceed with the next.
  Delegating the task to my isolated subroutines, I reviewed the instructions I had received. The proper ident protocols and authorisations had been used, ensuring that I would do as instructed without asking questions. An emergency transmission from an unidentifiable ship had led me here. I knew nothing about the ship’s name or specifics, and I wasn’t allowed to get close enough to get a visual. The only things I was allowed to see were its shuttles and mass. Everything else was open to interpretation.
  “Have any of them said anything?” Wilco asked.
  “No.” I displayed images of the hangar bay and the corresponding corridors surrounding it. As part of my instructions, the entire section was sealed off and quarantined. “They’re eating.” They also appeared to be healthy, although the instructions stressed no one was to come into contact with them under any circumstances. “I’ve received no indication of how long we’re to keep them. Did the captain get an indication?”
  “No,” Wilco said in his usual somber voice. “Is everything sealed off?”
  “Yes.” I rechecked. “No way in or out without captain’s approval.”
  “Set a buffer zone.” The man went on. “No one goes in or out without my permission.”
  “If you say so.” It wasn’t difficult. The area in question had been made empty to accommodate the quarantined arrivals, though it seemed a bit too much. “Want me to put sentinels?”
  “No. We don’t have to hurt anyone, just hold them.” He slinked down in his chair. “They’re the Med boys’ toys. We don’t get to play with them.”
  Med boys… Only Wilco referred to the Medical Core in such fashion. As most organisations, they were part of the fleet, yet their specific area of expertise gave them as much authority as the Salvage Authorities and the BICEFI combined. As a ship, I knew fairly little about them: they had the power to impose quarantines and cordon off entire planets if they wished. They were also the only organisation with the power to hold an active captain in check. Possibly, that was the reason Augustus didn’t get along with any of his medical officers. According to the public files, the Med Core had created the inner-body nanites and were instrumental in getting humans into space. There were also whispers that they were involved in creating the first ship-cores, although I found that unlikely. Even so, they had more authority than anyone aboard. Even on the front, we had no option but to obey.
  “It won’t be practical heading into war with them,” I said as the second shuttle entered the hangar bay.
  “Not our call. We’re to hold them until a Med ship picks them up,” Wilco sighed. “And monitor everything they do.”
  “How is that different from anyone else aboard?” I ventured a chuckle.
  “You don’t need to know,” the lieutenant said darkly.
  Another thing about Wilco was that he had the uncanny ability to make any topic of conversation dark. I ran a few simulations testing various responses, then decided not to respond further. In the best-case scenario, there was a twenty-seven percent chance he found my reaction funny.
  “Elcy.” Augustus granted me sensor access to the captain’s quarters. “What’s the ETA on the cattle?”
  “The passengers will be all aboard in seven minutes, captain.” A decade of attempts to mellow his behaviour had brought me no results. “Five, if you need me off in a rush.”
  “Get it done in five,” he barked. “We’ve got new orders. We’re joining a purge fleet. Go on yellow. Get the grunts prepped.”
  “Aye, sir.” I issued the order to everyone aboard. Seconds later, ground troop officers and sergeants were shouting their troops into order. “What about the passengers, sir? Won’t combat expose them to unnecessary danger?”
  “There’s no unnecessary danger,” Augustus barked again. The rest of the command staff had already started leaving the room. Their expressions ranged from mild annoyance to disapproval. Whatever discussions had taken place, they must have been unpleasant and one-sided. “Monitor them at all times and don’t interact until I say so.”
  “Understood.”
  It sounded like another escort mission, and I didn’t like escort missions. Normally, it would just be troop detachments or—if we were very unlucky—some mid-level bureaucrat or admiral’s aid sent to do a front-line inspection. Transporting quarantined personnel wasn’t in my usual purview, although if it had been, I’d never know.
  “What’s the course of treatment they must undergo?” I asked.
  “No treatment,” Augustus grumbled. “That’s for the Meds to figure out.”
  “All passengers are tagged as infected. Regulations require we provide immediate medical attention.” I felt my words sound hollow. If Augustus had the authority to provide such, he would have told me already. The only thing I was left was to go through the motions, expecting to receive the obvious denial.
  “Just monitor them, Elcy! That’s what we’ve been told. And whatever happens, don’t interfere.”
 
  Just monitor them.
  I had spent three months and thirty-nine hours monitoring the passengers onboard. Through battles and repairs, every single action had been carefully observed, recorded, and stored on external data storage. For the most part, nothing happened. The people would live boring, perfectly organised lives, almost as if they knew they were being watched. There were no scuffles, few arguments, and only one incident resulting in injuries when a Cassandrian fighter managed to slip through my external defences and fire a salvo at the hangar bay. Their health condition also seemed no different than when they had come aboard. I had dedicated a dozen subroutines to collect any potential symptoms in an effort to determine the type of disease they had, but had come to no conclusion. Then, one day, they were all gone. I had no memory of the Medical ship that had taken them, or where that had happened. The only thing I was certain about was the time—precisely two thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine hours since the last of them had come aboard. Everything else remained restricted.
  Looks like there’s always someone monitoring someone, Sev. If Rigel was to be believed someone was monitoring the planet. The question was who.
  Seconds turned to minutes, then hours. Hundreds of times, I considered looking into my restricted memories for information regarding the third-contact artifacts or the events in gamma-Ligata, and each time I found a reason not to. As Rigel had said, the chance of me getting off the planet alive was less than one percent, but the knowledge of the existence of the possibility kept me acting. And then there was Rigel’s offer…
  Rad, are you monitoring me? I asked, attempting to latch on to any open communication protocols. A connection was established, but instead of linking to Radiance, I found myself connecting back to Kridib’s mind. On cue, an info burst from Radiance followed, giving the latest scan. This time, I could see the location of our forces. The total number had increased to seventy-four, Kridib included. Nearly eight percent were gathered close to the captain’s expected location. Kridib and five more were closer to me.
  Get ready, Kridib said. Moments later, bursts of gunfire echoed in the distance; they were going for the captain first.
  The mission had begun. From here on, I could see several potential outcomes. In all of them, there was a high probability that Rigel attempted to make a deal.
  When I was a ship, Augustus had taught me one key thing when it came to missions: regardless of the depth of predictions and the computing power at their disposal, humans always boiled down a situation to a simple binary choice. Rigel wanted something from me and had invested too much to let his chance slip. Before the outcome of Kridib’s rescue mission, Rigel would come here to get an answer to his proposal. All I had to do was wait.
  As I lay, I watched Kridib run through the darkness towards my location. Unlike before, he was wearing night vision goggles, letting him make out his surroundings better.
  No thermal? I asked as Kridib made his way through the streets. The smell of burned vegetation could still be felt.
  That’s what you’re for.
  Not a reply to be thrilled about, but one to be expected. Cross-referencing Radiance’s latest scan, I started analysing every frame of Kridib’s stream. The first few minutes passed without incident. Judging by the intensified background gunfire, the locals were more focused on keeping Renaan isolated than stopping Kridib. Twenty-eight seconds, later the first shot sounded.
  Sniper! I shouted straight in Kridib’s mind.
  “Cover fire!” he shouted, rushing for cover.
  Watch out for a cross, I warned.
  The shooting intensified. Based on the area scan, the group was a few hundred meters away. One strong push and they’d be here. That said, I knew that the building was guarded by more than seven people. If I were in Rigel’s place, I would have dedicated at least three dozen.
  Concentrated fire focused on the second floor of a building, blowing off the entire wall. There was a brief scream before a rocket flew into the spot, hollowing the entire structure with a blast.
  Heavy weapons? I asked Kridib. I didn’t think Radiance’s captain would resort to such firepower, considering third-contact artifacts were involved; one direct hit, and the entire colony might well end up a smouldering crater, not to mention the potential communication repercussions. Maybe there was truth in Rigel’s statement that Flight Commander Nitel was getting desperate.
  As I was following Kridib’s advancement outside, the door opened once more—as predicted, Rigel had returned. He was wearing the same set of clothes as three hours ago. I found it puzzling that I couldn’t spot any semblance of a weapon on him.
  “Your masters have gotten desperate,” the man said in suspiciously calm fashion. “Looks like they’ve sent everything they had to get Renaan.” He walked up to me, then leaned over. “And just a handful to get you.”
  “Are they winning?” I tried to smile.
  “Beats me.” Rigel didn’t seem bothered. “You thought about my offer?”
  “I did. And I don’t think accepting would be a good deal. If I wait for them to rescue the captain, your bargaining power ends.”
  “Oh?” The man chuckled.
  “There’s nothing else the fleet would be willing to trade.” Except potentially the pyramid artifact. Even then, I didn’t see them sacrificing the Gregorius. “Once the captain boards a shuttle, it’s over.”
  A person of Kridib’s squad fell as they were approaching my building. I heard the unmistakable sound of bullets piercing armor, then silence. That was the thing about sound suppressors: one could get killed, and there still wouldn’t be any sound of one hitting the ground. I wanted to turn around and see what had happened, potentially to help. There was a seven-point-three chance that the wound wasn’t fatal. Kridib kept on moving forwards. That’s what made him a ground trooper… it also caused me pain.
  “What if I kill Renaan?” Rigel mused. “I won’t lose much. Everyone down here’s dead anyway. Someone in the fleet has gone through a lot of shit to get Renaan back. They’d lose a hell of a lot more.”
  “What if they save the captain?” I countered. “Either way, we’ll soon find out, and you’ll have no offer.”
  “Quantum paradox logic?” Rigel sounded surprised. “Strange hearing that from you, missy. I’ll have to skim your file once I’m out of here.” He paused for a moment, then dragged the nearby stool over—making a deliberate sound—and sat down. “Truth is, once the moment ends, we both lose our chance. Are you okay with that?”
  Why are you so confident? I wondered. Even if I were to agree, he wouldn’t be able to get much from me in the next ten minutes, even less if Kridib managed to reach my room. His squad had already made its way to the building proper, facing less than expected resistance. From what I was able to see, there were two snipers left on the upper floors and two machine-gunners on the first. All auxiliary positions on the nearby buildings seemed to have dealt with, although there was no sign of Ogum.
  “You’ve dealt with Salvage before, I can tell,” Rigel pressed on. “You won’t get another chance like this.”
  The old man’s with me in the basement, I told Kridib. No guards in the room. He’s ex-Salvage Authorities. Take him, and the mission is over. Saying that hurt slightly. Despite being the enemy, and a threat to the war effort, he remained human.
  “Then I guess I’ll never know.” As I spoke, I saw Kridib charge at the building. As before, there was nothing fancy about it, just determination and insanity. Several bullets flew so close to him I could hear them, but this time none of them hit. “Your bargaining window is over. No deal.”
  Kridib emptied his sidearm at the door in front of him, then rushed in. I could see no guards inside, just a set of hastily built staircases. Whatever the original purpose of the building was, it had been transformed into a field center at some point—likely during a previous escape attempt. Probably a group similar to ours had made it their temporary base, then left it as it was once they had completed their mission. No wonder Rigel had had me transported there. Kridib didn’t waste time making parallels, instead drawing his second sidearm and rushing down.
  At least two floors down, I said. I’m not hearing any of the gunfire.
  Is he armed? Kridib asked.
  Unsure. Not that I can tell. There are artifacts, though.
  “Such a teacher’s pet.” Rigel sighed after a long silence. “In the end, you’re nothing but a ship.” He stood up.
  He’s standing directly from the door, I said to Kridib. Seven degrees from center. Small frame, average height.
  Kridib fired three shots. Three bullets drilled through the alloy surface. Half a second later, Kridib followed kicking the door in.
  “Just one small thing.” Rigel took a tube-shaped object from his vest pocket.
  Meanwhile, I was staring at an empty room from Kridib’s eyes. It was at least three times smaller than the one I was in, bare and completely deserted. There was no Rigel, no me, no equipment, just a single metallic cube the size of my fingernail placed neatly on the floor.
  “Renaan was never the target.” The old man bent down and injected something in my neck. A new cascade of connection requests followed. “You are.”
—-
Next Chapter
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[The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 18

At the Beginning
Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
  The smell of burning wood was all I could focus on. The fires had long died out, making it difficult to see in the darkness; despite all other modifications, Kridib’s eyes weren’t able to see overly well in the dark. Every five minutes, Radiance would send an infrared scan of the colony to help him and his team with their advancement. Despite all that help and the four missile strikes, progress was minimal. Of the forty-seven people sent to the planet, eleven had been killed and five more severely wounded, rendering them useless in battle. From what I could see, Rigel’s forces had clustered in specific points of the colony, giving up the rest: a sensible strategy that had allowed them to ambush three of our teams while suffering negligible losses themselves. As things stood, the enemy forces had positioned themselves in two areas of the colony. Both spots encircled a specific building—mine and the captain’s locations—making further missile strikes impossible.
  Update? Kridib asked me through the mind link.
  Nothing, I replied. Rigel had left shortly after our last chat, taking the third-contact rods with him. Since then, I had remained safely isolated in the room and completely alone. Half of them have probably gone to sleep.
  Tell me if anything changes. Kribib looked up. A dozen sats were visible in the night sky. We’ll be making another go soon.
  I don’t think that’s a good idea.
  So far, Kridib had made four attempts to reach me, all of them unsuccessful. His approach, though chaotic at best, had managed to keep him alive. There had been a close call during which his left arm had been grazed by a bullet, though that time the man hadn’t frozen.
  Everyone has to sleep, Kridib said, heading back into one of the buildings that had been transformed into a ground base of operations. I’ll go first.
  Must I wake you? I asked.
  No. With that, the link was severed.
  To a degree, I was thankful, though not too much. Forcing whatever strength I had, I moved my head to look around the room as much as I was able. Nothing had changed in the last four hours, but at least it let me do something. The last time I felt remotely similar was when I’d had my sensor systems knocked out, though even then I was able to use my shuttle AIs to paint me a picture. Here, I was completely helpless and, to a vast degree, blind.
  “Do I get any water?” I asked as loudly as my lungs would let me.
  There was no reason to expect an answer. Even if anyone was awake on the lower floors, they would be on lookout duty. Saying it out loud, though, made me feel better for some reason. To my surprise, the door to the room opened.
  “Thought you were above those things.” Rigel walked in slowly. Even with my lack of focus, I could see that he had changed clothes. The colours were dark enough to be considered a uniform, although I couldn’t make out any other details. “You can’t swallow, remember?”
  “My mouth feels dry,” I explained.
  “Too bad.” Despite my poor vision, I could hear him smile as he said that.
  Walking slowly, he made his way to the stool near me and sat down. From this distance, I could see him taking something from his front pocket. In the dim light, it was impossible to tell what exactly.
  “Still having problems focusing?” Rigel asked.
  “Yes.” There was no point in lying.
  “Pity. Agora works well on organic tissue. Not on techno-mongrels,” he added with a laugh. “If you weren’t one, you’d be dead. There’s a win for you.”
  And you’re not making any sense, I thought.
  “Nice murder troops you got out there. Quick and efficient. A few years ago, the locals would’ve had fun pulling their wings off. Time leaves its mark.” Rigel flicked the object. It let out a peculiar metallic sound. “No action, no combat sims, just the local pests that roam the planet. Those were brought here too, did you know?”
  “I heard about it.”
  “Another brilliant idea from the bureaucracy. Create a full ecosystem. Plants, critters, predators... all must be present and carefully maintained. We tried killing them off once. Those were the days. Three colonies setting out, killing everything in sight until the orbital station stopped sending food.” There was a slight pause. “And you know the best part?” Rigel leaned towards me. “None of that happened.”
  If I could have pulled back, I would have. There was no way of knowing if these were insane rantings or if he was referring to a dark op coverup. Considering he was from the Salvage Authorities, either was possible, and both options were equally undesirable.
  “I went through your data, Elcy.” Rigel rubbed his hands. “You know things you shouldn’t.”
  “Because of my past, I’ve been placed on special assignments,” I said. Technically it was true, though we both knew it didn’t explain away the inconsistencies.
  “You knew about the third-contact artifacts before. You’ve operated them before.” He moved his hand closer to my face. I felt a cold metallic surface touch my cheek. “You’re searching for something. Something that you’re not supposed to find.” He moved the object away from my face. “Here’s my offer. You answer some of my questions, and I’ll answer some of yours.”
  “That’s one way to get court-martialed.” Not to mention there was no guarantee my self-destruct chip wouldn’t go off at any point.
  “Please don’t give me the line that the fleet is going through all that trouble just to rescue you. If you were that valuable, you’d never have been sent to this hell in the first place.” Rigel stood up. “What are the odds of the fleet extracting you in one piece? Two percent?”
  “Point-seven-three-nine,” I corrected. Frankly, I was surprised they were going through all the trouble. “Give or take.”
  “Less than one percent,” Rigel snorted. “It’s your call. You have three hours to make it. Before I leave you, here’s a freebie. This planet, it isn’t some randomly colonized world in ‘unexplored space.’ We’re in the buffer zone—the border between the Scuu and human space. Think about that.” He made his way to the door. Reaching it, he stopped and turned around. “Oh, and we’re constantly being monitored.”
 
  Gamma-Ligata, Cassandrian Front—615.11 A.E. (Age of Expansion)
    The third wave of shuttles approached my forward left hangar one by one. The instant they came within three hundred meters, I was handed over direct control of the AIs. As with the previous batches, the first thing I did was to have a set of isolated subroutines flash the memory and purge the entire operating system. That done, I sent out a mini-sat to latch onto and assume control of the shuttles. It was a slow and tedious process, but necessary considering the circumstances.
  “How are things?” Wilco asked from the bridge. Augustus had gathered most of his officers to a private meeting in his quarters, leaving Wilco in command. This wasn’t the first time it had happened, but each time it did, it felt strange.
  “Everything’s going as planned,” I said, as the first shuttle went under my control.
  A quick internal scan revealed that there were sixty-two people aboard, all cuffed and tagged. All of them were tagged as infected, and, to my surprise, none of them were sedated. The instructions were to take them in and monitor their actions at all times, and only to engage if they threatened the ship. Normally, I’d be confident that Augustus knew what was going on. With everything we’d gone through since I’d joined the front, I didn’t think there was anything in the galaxy that could surprise him. I was wrong.
  Finishing my internal check of the shuttle, I directed it to the outer hangar doors and had it dock. The passengers—all of their identities classified—waited till I covered the walls with disembark notifications, then stood up and quietly proceeded to get off, in orderly fashion. I could tell by Wilco’s expression that he found it unnerving.
  “A thousand and eighty-two passengers on board,” I said on the bridge and in the captain’s quarters. The moment the last person set foot in the hangar, I would eject the shuttle from my hangar-bay, self-destruct it, and proceed with the next.
  Delegating the task to my isolated subroutines, I reviewed the instructions I had received. The proper ident protocols and authorisations had been used, ensuring that I would do as instructed without asking questions. An emergency transmission from an unidentifiable ship had led me here. I knew nothing about the ship’s name or specifics, and I wasn’t allowed to get close enough to get a visual. The only things I was allowed to see were its shuttles and mass. Everything else was open to interpretation.
  “Have any of them said anything?” Wilco asked.
  “No.” I displayed images of the hangar bay and the corresponding corridors surrounding it. As part of my instructions, the entire section was sealed off and quarantined. “They’re eating.” They also appeared to be healthy, although the instructions stressed no one was to come into contact with them under any circumstances. “I’ve received no indication of how long we’re to keep them. Did the captain get an indication?”
  “No,” Wilco said in his usual somber voice. “Is everything sealed off?”
  “Yes.” I rechecked. “No way in or out without captain’s approval.”
  “Set a buffer zone.” The man went on. “No one goes in or out without my permission.”
  “If you say so.” It wasn’t difficult. The area in question had been made empty to accommodate the quarantined arrivals, though it seemed a bit too much. “Want me to put sentinels?”
  “No. We don’t have to hurt anyone, just hold them.” He slinked down in his chair. “They’re the Med boys’ toys. We don’t get to play with them.”
  Med boys… Only Wilco referred to the Medical Core in such fashion. As most organisations, they were part of the fleet, yet their specific area of expertise gave them as much authority as the Salvage Authorities and the BICEFI combined. As a ship, I knew fairly little about them: they had the power to impose quarantines and cordon off entire planets if they wished. They were also the only organisation with the power to hold an active captain in check. Possibly, that was the reason Augustus didn’t get along with any of his medical officers. According to the public files, the Med Core had created the inner-body nanites and were instrumental in getting humans into space. There were also whispers that they were involved in creating the first ship-cores, although I found that unlikely. Even so, they had more authority than anyone aboard. Even on the front, we had no option but to obey.
  “It won’t be practical heading into war with them,” I said as the second shuttle entered the hangar bay.
  “Not our call. We’re to hold them until a Med ship picks them up,” Wilco sighed. “And monitor everything they do.”
  “How is that different from anyone else aboard?” I ventured a chuckle.
  “You don’t need to know,” the lieutenant said darkly.
  Another thing about Wilco was that he had the uncanny ability to make any topic of conversation dark. I ran a few simulations testing various responses, then decided not to respond further. In the best-case scenario, there was a twenty-seven percent chance he found my reaction funny.
  “Elcy.” Augustus granted me sensor access to the captain’s quarters. “What’s the ETA on the cattle?”
  “The passengers will be all aboard in seven minutes, captain.” A decade of attempts to mellow his behaviour had brought me no results. “Five, if you need me off in a rush.”
  “Get it done in five,” he barked. “We’ve got new orders. We’re joining a purge fleet. Go on yellow. Get the grunts prepped.”
  “Aye, sir.” I issued the order to everyone aboard. Seconds later, ground troop officers and sergeants were shouting their troops into order. “What about the passengers, sir? Won’t combat expose them to unnecessary danger?”
  “There’s no unnecessary danger,” Augustus barked again. The rest of the command staff had already started leaving the room. Their expressions ranged from mild annoyance to disapproval. Whatever discussions had taken place, they must have been unpleasant and one-sided. “Monitor them at all times and don’t interact until I say so.”
  “Understood.”
  It sounded like another escort mission, and I didn’t like escort missions. Normally, it would just be troop detachments or—if we were very unlucky—some mid-level bureaucrat or admiral’s aid sent to do a front-line inspection. Transporting quarantined personnel wasn’t in my usual purview, although if it had been, I’d never know.
  “What’s the course of treatment they must undergo?” I asked.
  “No treatment,” Augustus grumbled. “That’s for the Meds to figure out.”
  “All passengers are tagged as infected. Regulations require we provide immediate medical attention.” I felt my words sound hollow. If Augustus had the authority to provide such, he would have told me already. The only thing I was left was to go through the motions, expecting to receive the obvious denial.
  “Just monitor them, Elcy! That’s what we’ve been told. And whatever happens, don’t interfere.”
 
  Just monitor them.
  I had spent three months and thirty-nine hours monitoring the passengers onboard. Through battles and repairs, every single action had been carefully observed, recorded, and stored on external data storage. For the most part, nothing happened. The people would live boring, perfectly organised lives, almost as if they knew they were being watched. There were no scuffles, few arguments, and only one incident resulting in injuries when a Cassandrian fighter managed to slip through my external defences and fire a salvo at the hangar bay. Their health condition also seemed no different than when they had come aboard. I had dedicated a dozen subroutines to collect any potential symptoms in an effort to determine the type of disease they had, but had come to no conclusion. Then, one day, they were all gone. I had no memory of the Medical ship that had taken them, or where that had happened. The only thing I was certain about was the time—precisely two thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine hours since the last of them had come aboard. Everything else remained restricted.
  Looks like there’s always someone monitoring someone, Sev. If Rigel was to be believed someone was monitoring the planet. The question was who.
  Seconds turned to minutes, then hours. Hundreds of times, I considered looking into my restricted memories for information regarding the third-contact artifacts or the events in gamma-Ligata, and each time I found a reason not to. As Rigel had said, the chance of me getting off the planet alive was less than one percent, but the knowledge of the existence of the possibility kept me acting. And then there was Rigel’s offer…
  Rad, are you monitoring me? I asked, attempting to latch on to any open communication protocols. A connection was established, but instead of linking to Radiance, I found myself connecting back to Kridib’s mind. On cue, an info burst from Radiance followed, giving the latest scan. This time, I could see the location of our forces. The total number had increased to seventy-four, Kridib included. Nearly eight percent were gathered close to the captain’s expected location. Kridib and five more were closer to me.
  Get ready, Kridib said. Moments later, bursts of gunfire echoed in the distance; they were going for the captain first.
  The mission had begun. From here on, I could see several potential outcomes. In all of them, there was a high probability that Rigel attempted to make a deal.
  When I was a ship, Augustus had taught me one key thing when it came to missions: regardless of the depth of predictions and the computing power at their disposal, humans always boiled down a situation to a simple binary choice. Rigel wanted something from me and had invested too much to let his chance slip. Before the outcome of Kridib’s rescue mission, Rigel would come here to get an answer to his proposal. All I had to do was wait.
  As I lay, I watched Kridib run through the darkness towards my location. Unlike before, he was wearing night vision goggles, letting him make out his surroundings better.
  No thermal? I asked as Kridib made his way through the streets. The smell of burned vegetation could still be felt.
  That’s what you’re for.
  Not a reply to be thrilled about, but one to be expected. Cross-referencing Radiance’s latest scan, I started analysing every frame of Kridib’s stream. The first few minutes passed without incident. Judging by the intensified background gunfire, the locals were more focused on keeping Renaan isolated than stopping Kridib. Twenty-eight seconds, later the first shot sounded.
  Sniper! I shouted straight in Kridib’s mind.
  “Cover fire!” he shouted, rushing for cover.
  Watch out for a cross, I warned.
  The shooting intensified. Based on the area scan, the group was a few hundred meters away. One strong push and they’d be here. That said, I knew that the building was guarded by more than seven people. If I were in Rigel’s place, I would have dedicated at least three dozen.
  Concentrated fire focused on the second floor of a building, blowing off the entire wall. There was a brief scream before a rocket flew into the spot, hollowing the entire structure with a blast.
  Heavy weapons? I asked Kridib. I didn’t think Radiance’s captain would resort to such firepower, considering third-contact artifacts were involved; one direct hit, and the entire colony might well end up a smouldering crater, not to mention the potential communication repercussions. Maybe there was truth in Rigel’s statement that Flight Commander Nitel was getting desperate.
  As I was following Kridib’s advancement outside, the door opened once more—as predicted, Rigel had returned. He was wearing the same set of clothes as three hours ago. I found it puzzling that I couldn’t spot any semblance of a weapon on him.
  “Your masters have gotten desperate,” the man said in suspiciously calm fashion. “Looks like they’ve sent everything they had to get Renaan.” He walked up to me, then leaned over. “And just a handful to get you.”
  “Are they winning?” I tried to smile.
  “Beats me.” Rigel didn’t seem bothered. “You thought about my offer?”
  “I did. And I don’t think accepting would be a good deal. If I wait for them to rescue the captain, your bargaining power ends.”
  “Oh?” The man chuckled.
  “There’s nothing else the fleet would be willing to trade.” Except potentially the pyramid artifact. Even then, I didn’t see them sacrificing the Gregorius. “Once the captain boards a shuttle, it’s over.”
  A person of Kridib’s squad fell as they were approaching my building. I heard the unmistakable sound of bullets piercing armor, then silence. That was the thing about sound suppressors: one could get killed, and there still wouldn’t be any sound of one hitting the ground. I wanted to turn around and see what had happened, potentially to help. There was a seven-point-three chance that the wound wasn’t fatal. Kridib kept on moving forwards. That’s what made him a ground trooper… it also caused me pain.
  “What if I kill Renaan?” Rigel mused. “I won’t lose much. Everyone down here’s dead anyway. Someone in the fleet has gone through a lot of shit to get Renaan back. They’d lose a hell of a lot more.”
  “What if they save the captain?” I countered. “Either way, we’ll soon find out, and you’ll have no offer.”
  “Quantum paradox logic?” Rigel sounded surprised. “Strange hearing that from you, missy. I’ll have to skim your file once I’m out of here.” He paused for a moment, then dragged the nearby stool over—making a deliberate sound—and sat down. “Truth is, once the moment ends, we both lose our chance. Are you okay with that?”
  Why are you so confident? I wondered. Even if I were to agree, he wouldn’t be able to get much from me in the next ten minutes, even less if Kridib managed to reach my room. His squad had already made its way to the building proper, facing less than expected resistance. From what I was able to see, there were two snipers left on the upper floors and two machine-gunners on the first. All auxiliary positions on the nearby buildings seemed to have dealt with, although there was no sign of Ogum.
  “You’ve dealt with Salvage before, I can tell,” Rigel pressed on. “You won’t get another chance like this.”
  The old man’s with me in the basement, I told Kridib. No guards in the room. He’s ex-Salvage Authorities. Take him, and the mission is over. Saying that hurt slightly. Despite being the enemy, and a threat to the war effort, he remained human.
  “Then I guess I’ll never know.” As I spoke, I saw Kridib charge at the building. As before, there was nothing fancy about it, just determination and insanity. Several bullets flew so close to him I could hear them, but this time none of them hit. “Your bargaining window is over. No deal.”
  Kridib emptied his sidearm at the door in front of him, then rushed in. I could see no guards inside, just a set of hastily built staircases. Whatever the original purpose of the building was, it had been transformed into a field center at some point—likely during a previous escape attempt. Probably a group similar to ours had made it their temporary base, then left it as it was once they had completed their mission. No wonder Rigel had had me transported there. Kridib didn’t waste time making parallels, instead drawing his second sidearm and rushing down.
  At least two floors down, I said. I’m not hearing any of the gunfire.
  Is he armed? Kridib asked.
  Unsure. Not that I can tell. There are artifacts, though.
  “Such a teacher’s pet.” Rigel sighed after a long silence. “In the end, you’re nothing but a ship.” He stood up.
  He’s standing directly from the door, I said to Kridib. Seven degrees from center. Small frame, average height.
  Kridib fired three shots. Three bullets drilled through the alloy surface. Half a second later, Kridib followed kicking the door in.
  “Just one small thing.” Rigel took a tube-shaped object from his vest pocket.
  Meanwhile, I was staring at an empty room from Kridib’s eyes. It was at least three times smaller than the one I was in, bare and completely deserted. There was no Rigel, no me, no equipment, just a single metallic cube the size of my fingernail placed neatly on the floor.
  “Renaan was never the target.” The old man bent down and injected something in my neck. A new cascade of connection requests followed. “You are.”
—-
Next Chapter
submitted by LiseEclaire to redditserials [link] [comments]

Just figured out how to run a server in the games current state.

So i haven't seen any really accurate server set-up/walk through and since this game is basically dead, figured it couldn't hurt... maybe others hungry for nostalgia too?

anyways...
First off both versions need to be the same version (either torrented or steam NOT BOTH)
You have to create a server batch file in your game folder:"Steam\steamapps\common\The Stomping Land\Binaries\Win32"
Create a new text document in your Win32 folder(Right Click > New > Text Document This should open up note pad)
you need to paste the following into that document
@echo off
title Stomping land server!
UDK.exe server Capa_Island.udk?steamsockets?ServerName=uLLeticaL.com?
AdminPassword=CHANGETHIS
ServerName=House_Boats Server
-configsubdir=Server1
Port=7777
-QueryPort=7778
-nohomedir
-unattended

You also need to make a shortcut to the UDK.exe file
than right click on the shortcut and go to properties
from there add server to the end of your target
Also make sure you port forward "7777" or use hamachi or something
(PORT FORWARDING IS UDP)
than the clients have to set a launch option with the hosts IP
also heres a good resource for the batch file
submitted by remguru to thestompingland [link] [comments]

What Is The Difference Between A Port And A Socket?

Zephyr provides an implementation of a subset of the BSD Sockets API (a part of the POSIX commonplace). The connect operate is called by the client to ascertain a connection to the server. BSD Sockets appropriate API is enabled using CONFIG_NET_SOCKETS config choice and implements the next operations: socket(), close(), recv(), recvfrom(), ship(), sendto(), join(), bind(), pay attention(), accept(), fcntl() (to set non-blocking mode), getsockopt(), setsockopt(), poll(), choose(), getaddrinfo(), getnameinfo(). Takes a packed socket deal with (as returned by pack_sockaddr_in(), pack_sockaddr_un() or the perl builtin capabilities getsockname() and getpeername()). If listening on a file system socket or FIFO, this feature specifies the file system entry mode used when creating the file node. If the number of listening sockets certain to a port adjustments because new servers are began or existing servers terminate, it is potential that incoming connections will be dropped in the course of the three-means handshake. Send knowledge to a specific destination Handle. If you do determine to use AF_INET sockets, bind the server” socket to 'localhost'. A socket can have a channel if, and only if, the channel itself was created by way of the or ServerSocketChannel.accept methods. That is useful when conversing with a program that uses the usual C library and wishes objects of kind struct in_addr, which is the C type for the 32-bit packed binary this function returns. If the address string is a single quantity, it is learn as port number to pay attention on by way of IPv6. Allow sending of keep-alive messages on connection-oriented sockets. Calling shutdown before shut is beneficial for connection-oriented sockets. Will still create a non-blocking socket on OSes that support SOCK_NONBLOCK, however will probably be set to socket.SOCK_STREAM. This controls the SO_REUSEPORT socket choice. Receives up to maxlen bytes from socket using recvfrom(2) after O_NONBLOCK is set for the underlying file descriptor. If flags is ready to MSG_DONTWAIT, then socket_recv will not block if not knowledge is out there. If zero is returned, which means that the socket received an EOF (the distant host closed the connection gracefully.) To perform a full learn on a socket, proceed to name socket_read() until the specified variety of bytes have been accrued. For this objective, it relies on , which first establishes a long-polling connection, then tries to upgrade to higher transports which can be "tested" on the facet, like WebSocket. Inet_ntop() is useful when a library or community protocol returns an object of kind struct in_addr (similar to inet_ntoa() ) or struct in6_addr. Given only a host identify, this function makes an attempt to resolve it to a list of community addresses, and then returns a list of deal with structures giving these addresses. Many servers have more than one community interface, and therefore more than one IP tackle. This option may be useful if the server machine has a number of community interfaces. A TCP connection is defined by two endpoints aka sockets. With streaming sockets, data may be sent or obtained at any time. Certaines limitations importantes découlent de l'utilisation d'envois par lot dans votre code.There are some necessary limitations imposed through the use of batched sends in your code. Socket() returns a socket file descriptor (sockFD) which is a waterproof commando socket small non-adverse integer. Returns the native port number to which this socket is certain. There is a lot much less overhead related to a datagram socket as a result of connections do not have to be established and broken down, and packets do not must be acknowledged. If the config choice CONFIG_NET_SOCKETS_POSIX_NAMES is outlined, all the features shall be additionally exposed as aliases with out the prefix. Once linked, you'll be able to retrieve the deal with and port of the distant pc if needed, with the getRemoteAddress() and getRemotePort() capabilities. In my exams OS X's behavior (which I presume is identical to FreeBSD and other BSDs) is that the final socket to bind is the only one to obtain new connections. The protocol modules are grouped into protocol households like AF_INET, AF_IPX, AF_PACKET and socket varieties like SOCK_STREAM or SOCK_DGRAM.

Allows or disables the maintain-alive functionality for a TCP connection. That is required only for the few protocols that have completely different port numbers for his or her datagram-based versions than for his or her stream-primarily based versions. Internally, the SecureServer has to set the required TLS context options on the underlying stream assets. I've used IPv4 sockets in this tutorial, but if your network helps it, try testing and utilizing IPv6 if possible. Except for makefile() , these correspond to Unix system calls applicable to sockets. It creates a socket object, connects to the server and calls s.sendall() to ship its message. Ce sort spécial de socket peut être utilisé pour construire manuellement tout type de protocole. H_errno is a numeric worth, while string represents the description of h_errno, as returned by the hstrerror() C function. Its client component lets you build networking purchasers that establish outgoing connections to networking servers (comparable to an HTTP or database consumer). An undefined $port argument is taken as zero; an undefined $ip_address is taken into account a fatal error. Listens for connections on the desired port and deal with. Now, if we have to send a message to all of the shoppers excluding the socket that started it, additionally it is attainable. Updated code for Socket.Connect , ServerSocket.SendQuery , SSH.Connect and SendCommand to make use of new unified socket connection code, which makes use of IPv4 and IPv6, queries DNS if wanted and tries a number of IPs if needed. Development of application programs that utilize this API is known as socket programming or network programming Web socket APIs are usually based mostly on the Berkeley sockets standard. Units or clears TCP_NODELAY for a TCP connection. Sockaddr is a tuple describing a socket tackle, whose format will depend on the returned family (a (deal with, port) 2-tuple for AF_INET , a (deal with, port, circulate data, scope id) four-tuple for AF_INET6 ), and is supposed to be passed to the socket.connect() methodology. Le protocole ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) est utilisé tout d'abord par les passerelles et les hôtes pour reporter les erreurs dans des communications de datagramme. Set up a STREAM socket to simply accept peer connections. This applies to all socket sorts besides ROUTER, the place queues are solely created after the peer we connect to has acknowledge our connection. Also word that setting the buffer measurement utilizing the results of this operate may not precisely restrict the quantity of ancillary data that can be received, since further data may be able to match into the padding space. The most important distinction between this server and the echo server is the call to lsock.setblocking(False) to configure the socket in non-blocking mode. Units the utmost socket send buffer in bytes. Socket_readv() returns the whole quantity of knowledge which was read into all buffers. Returns an object containing the tackle information for a socket. This controls the SO_PASSSEC socket option, which allows AF_UNIX sockets to receive the security context of the sending course of in an ancillary message. The multi-connection client and server instance is certainly an enchancment compared with the place we began. With WebSocket support widely spread (answering to an enormous progress in demand for realtime purposes and companies since was set up in 2010), there is now extra choice to use comparable packages nearer to the native implementation, so it is price evaluating to these as effectively. A second type of connection is a datagram socket. Kind G plugs and sockets are used in the north in addition to the south of Cyprus, whereas kind F plugs and receptacles are solely discovered in the north of the island. So, given a a lot improved assist library (consisting of the SimpleClient and HTTPClient courses, as well as the standard urlparse module), we've managed to write a compact utility which may learn an arbitrary document from an online-server. This name is used with connection-based socket types (stream or seqpacket).
submitted by 456hhhh to u/456hhhh [link] [comments]

[Guide] Android TV De-bloat and Customization

[Guide] Android TV De-bloat and Customization
(English is not my first language, please ask for clarifications if something isn't clear. LONG POST.)
Inspired by this thread made by u/kelrics1910, I decided to share my work customizing my KD-55XF9005 (XF90/X900F - EU version).
I don't like the stock launcher. I wanted to use other launcher and delete all apps I don't use, without losing functionality. With an air mouse I can now side-load and run non-TV apps, like my 'cable provider app' designed to watch TV channels in phones and tablets (somewhat similar to YouView, with 7 day scroll back and other nice features).

This is my TV home screen

  • I'm confident this guide will work with any other models but I'm not forcing anyone to do this, so... PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
  • Please READ EVERYTHING TOP TO BOTTOM before making any changes to your TV.
  • I did all this work using a Windows PC. If you are using other OS you need to find how to install/use ADB.
  • I will try to make this "noob friendly" but you need to be able to use command lines and edit some .bat files.
  • My TV was updated to v6.6520 and all settings properly configured before making this changes.
EDIT: I'm now on v6.6545 firmware. Update without any issue, no reset necessary and no bloatware reinstalled.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I will provide links to the apps, but you can download the batch files with ADB binaries here.

READ ALL MY NOTES BEFORE DELETING ANYTHING FROM YOUR TV!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(1st) Enable Developer Mode and USB Debugging.

  1. You can do this by heading into the Settings menu, then scrolling to "About".
  2. At the bottom of the About menu, find "Build" and highlight it, then click on it several times until you see a toast notification telling you have enabled Developer Mode.
  3. Go back to the Settings menu, and a new entry titled "Developer Options" will be available in the "Preferences" section. Scroll down and head in there.
  4. Now, scroll down to "USB Debugging" and enable it. You'll see a warning, just accept that.
OPTIONAL: you can also change the three Animation Scale settings for a snappier experience. Set them to 0.5x or turn them off completely if you prefer.

(2nd) Run ADB on your PC and connect to your TV.

  1. You need to know your TV IP address in your network. Go to the Settings menu, click in "About" and then "Status". Look for something like "192.168.1.44".
  2. Extract the contents from this zip anywhere you want. Your Desktop, for instance.
  3. Now open the folder "Sony_TV_Debloater". Click with the right button on "1_connect_TV.bat" and select "Edit" (or open with notepad).
  4. Replace "XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX" with your TV IP. Save and close.
  5. Double click the file "Open CMD.exe" and you'll get a window with a command prompt.
  6. Execute the file "1_connect_TV.bat" (press 1, then Tab and finally Enter) and look at your TV. In the "Allow USB debugging?" dialog, select "Always allow from this computer" and select OK.
Content of file "1_connect_TV.bat":
@echo off adb kill-server echo. echo. adb connect XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:5555 echo. echo. echo Check "Allow USB debugging?" prompt on TV 
  • Some antivirus prevent "adb.exe" from running. Just create an exception and allow execution. If you're using a firewall you need to allow outgoing communications from "adb.exe".
  • In this folder you have the portable binaries of "Mini ADB & Fastboot" (July 2019 Update) that I downloaded from xda-developers . Go there for updates and interesting reading about what can we do with ADB.

(3rd) Install an alternative launcher. Or don't. You choose.

If you are happy with the Leanback Launcher that comes by default just move to the next section. But be very careful and DON'T UNINSTALL this packages: com.google.android.leanbacklauncher; com.google.android.tvlauncher; com.sony.dtv.tvlaunchercustomizer.
  • You can delete com.google.android.tvrecommendations to get rid of recommendations row. After reboot there is still a recommendations row that can be disable like any other channel (this was not tested by me).
You can go to Play Store and search for "launcher". Some are free, some are paid. Choose and install what you like, it is important to test if everything works for you before deleting stock launcher. See if you can go to Settings, this is a big issue after deleting some system packages: com.sony.rvu; com.sony.dtv.demomode; com.sony.dtv.b2b.hotelmode.
The launcher I'm using is Square Home 3 - Launcher: Windows style. You can find it in 'regular' Play Store, not Play Store for TV, but it works really well in Android TV environment, supporting both TV and non-TV apps, and the free version is highly customizable. And, very important, it provides two ways to call System Settings: using an air mouse we can press the button Menu, or we can put an icon on screen (see top right corner of my TV screen).

https://reddit.com/link/czuo7q/video/q7h5ogqhlok31/player
Three notes about this launcher:
  • It has a long learning curve to customize. It took me some time to go through all the options and make it look like this.
  • I had to install a file browser from Play Store to be able to browse and choose my wallpaper.
  • You need to download and install the apk file because it won't show in Play Store for TV.
You can use your TV browser to search for com.ss.squarehome2, download and then install, or you can use your PC to download the file into the "Sony_TV_Debloater" folder and use the command (on the same command line from 2nd section):
adb install file_name.apk (replace with actual file name) 
  • To my surprise, the TV allowed me to set Square Launcher as default launcher and survived reboots. But just browsing some options in the System Settings, like "Select Retail Mode", restored the Leanback Launcher and deleted my wallpaper.

  • P.S.: The paid version allows random wallpaper changing everyday picked from custom folder:
https://preview.redd.it/26af1uj177l31.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=198a3f4e42250a49582dc2ea357f68049cd6bc1d

(4th) Get the list of all installed apps names and locations.

This step allows us to know the packages names (and full path) of ALL apps installed in the TV.
  1. If you need to reopen the command prompt window go to the folder "Sony_TV_Debloater" and double click the file "Open CMD.exe". Then execute the file "1_connect_TV.bat" again (press 1, then Tab and finally Enter).
  2. Execute the file "2_list_installed_pkg.bat" (press 2, then Tab and finally Enter). It will create a file named "list_installed_pkg.txt".
Content of file "2_list_installed_pkg.bat":
adb shell pm list packages -f >> list_installed_pkg.txt 

(5th) De-bloating

This is the sensitive part. You need to edit the file "3_delete_apps.bat" and CHECK EVERY SINGLE LINE to see if it does what you want.
Content of file "3_delete_apps.bat":
@REM This are keyboards @REM DON'T DELETE THEM ALL adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.inputmethod.latin adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.inputmethod.japanese @REM adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.ime.chww @REM This are multimedia players and related stuff adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.music adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.videos adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.youtube.tv adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.osat.album adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.osat.music adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.osat.video adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.youview adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.youview.tv.servicehost adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.amazon.amazonvideo.livingroom adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.amazon.aiv.eu @REM adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.netflix.ninja @REM This is Google app for Android TV adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.katniss @REM This are web browsers and related stuff adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.opera.sdk.example adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.vewd.core.integration.dia adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.browser.ceb adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.browser.webappruntime adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.browser.webappservice adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.webapi.core @REM This is TV Control Setup with Amazon Alexa adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.smarthomesettings @REM This is Android TV Remote Service adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.tv.remote.service @REM This is Google Play Games app adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.play.games @REM This is miscellaneous stuff adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 android.autoinstalls.config.sony.bravia adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.android.htmlviewer adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.android.printspooler adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.android.providers.calendar adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.android.providers.contacts adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.android.providers.userdictionary adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.feedback adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.marvin.talkback adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.partnersetup adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.speech.pumpkin adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.syncadapters.calendar adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.syncadapters.contacts adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.tts adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.tv.bugreportsender adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.tvtutorials adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.b2b.hotelmode adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.bravialifehack adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.customersupport adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.demomode adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.demosupport adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.discovery adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.hbbtvlauncher adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.imanual adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.interactivetvplatform adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.interactivetvutil adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.interactivetvutil.output adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.multiscreendemo adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.smarthelp adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.sonyselect adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.sonyselect.overlay adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 tv.samba.ssm @REM This will delete stock TV Launcher @echo . @echo . @echo . @set /P c=Are you sure you want to remove Leanback Launcher [Y/N]? @if /I "%c%" == "Y" goto :leanbacklauncher @goto :endscript :leanbacklauncher adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.leanbacklauncher adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.tvlauncher adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.tvlaunchercustomizer adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.tvrecommendations :endscript 
Every line that starts with '@REM ' will be ignored (REM = remark). For example, if you want to keep Google Keyboard you can delete the 3rd line or edit to look like this: @REM adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.inputmethod.latin
Then you can uninstall Sony's software keyboard by deleting the '@REM ' from the 5th line to look like this: adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.ime.chww
US, EU, UK, etc versions of the same TV model have different apps. That means you may want to uninstall apps not listed here and you'll have to add them. One way to find the app name is going to Settings > Apps, then click on the app you want to remove. For instance, Google Play Games package name is "com.google.android.play.games".

But you can also open the file "list_installed_pkg.txt" and go through every line. If you recognize the app and want to uninstall it, add a line (for example, at the end, after :endscript) looking like: adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 replace.package.name.here
If you can't guess what app is by his package name, try to google that name. If you aren't sure what it is, leave it.
If you are going to keep the stock launcher, it's better to delete the last 13 lines of the script:
@REM This will delete stock TV Launcher
@echo .
@echo .
@echo .
@set /P c=Are you sure you want to remove Leanback Launcher [Y/N]?
@if /I "%c%" == "Y" goto :leanbacklauncher
@goto :endscript
:leanbacklauncher
adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.leanbacklauncher
adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.tvlauncher
adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sony.dtv.tvlaunchercustomizer
adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.tvrecommendations
:endscript

When you are satisfied, save the file "3_delete_apps.bat" and execute it in Command Prompt window:
  1. If you need to reopen the command prompt window go to the folder "Sony_TV_Debloater" and double click the file "Open CMD.exe". Then execute the file "1_connect_TV.bat" again (press 1, then Tab and finally Enter).
  2. Execute the file "3_delete_apps.bat" (press 3, then Tab and finally Enter).
  3. Pay attention to the final part of the script. ONLY PRESS "Y" IF YOU INSTALLED ANOTHER LAUNCHER.

  • As it is, this script deletes almost all 'visible apps': Amazon Prime, Google Play Movies, Google Play Music, Google Play Games, stock video player, music player, YouView, Album, YouTube; Google search, web browser... all this can easily be reinstalled from Google Play Store. I didn't unistalled Netflix because that's the only I use.
  • As it is, this script also deletes many apps and services, like Japanese keyboard, TV Control with Amazon Alexa, Android TV Remote Service (for using your phone as a remote control), print spoolers, calendar, contacts, Text to Speach, bug reports, Interactive TV, demo mode, hotel mode, manual and tutorials, and more.
  • I'm sure that US versions have other apps (or packages names) that you'll have to add. I will thank anyone willing to share those apps names.
  • All services like watching, chromecast, screen mirroring, Program Guide, DIAL, recording to HDD, Bravia Sync, should work as expected (didn't test the last three).

(6th) Reboot

Give the TV some seconds to finish all background writing there may be happening and then type on the Command Prompt the following command:
adb reboot 
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How to reinstall a system app

Let say I want "hotelmode" back for whatever reason. Looking into my "list_installed_pkg.txt" I find the line: package:/system/priv-app/HotelMode/HotelMode.apk=com.sony.dtv.b2b.hotelmode
  1. Go to the folder "Sony_TV_Debloater" and double click the file "Open CMD.exe".
  2. Execute the file "1_connect_TV.bat" (press 1, then Tab and finally Enter)
  3. Execute the following commands:

adb shell cmd package install-existing com.sony.dtv.b2b.hotelmode adb reboot 
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Final notes

  • Instead of uninstalling you can disable any app with the command adb shell pm disable-user --user 0 replace.package.name.here and re-enable it with adb shell pm enable replace.package.name.here
  • I did uninstalled Netflix in my TV. After reinstalling from Play Store a toast error message showed up saying it was not compatible with this device, and another one showed when running the app. Everything played as expected, UHD and Dolby when available. Rebooted and never saw that error again.
  • All apps I deleted are listed in Settings > Apps, but without any information about size or version.
submitted by c-j-o-m to bravia [link] [comments]

MAME 0.209

MAME 0.209

With another month over, it’s time for another release, and MAME 0.209 is sure to have something to interest everyone. We’ve cracked the encryption on the Fun World CPU blocks, making Fun World Quiz, Joker Card, Mega Card, Power Card, Multi Win, Saloon and Nevada playable. Regular contributor shattered has added Кузьмич-Егорыч (Kuzmich-Egorych), a Russian Mario Brothers bootleg running on heavily modified Apple II hardware. In other Apple II news, CD-ROM drives now work with the Apple II SCSI card, and another batch of cleanly cracked floppies has been added to the software list. The NES SimCity prototype has been added to the software list, along with MMC5 improvements to support it, and better emulation for Famicom cartridges with on-board sound chips.
Henrik Algestam has continued his Game & Watch work, bringing Popeye (wide screen) and Zelda to MAME. Chess computer support has been expanded with Fidelity Chess Challenger 3, and additional versions of Applied Concepts Boris, and Novag Super Expert and Super Forte. Newly supported arcade games include Akka Arrh (an Atari title that failed location testing), Little Casino II, a French version of Empire City: 1931, and additional versions of Dock Man and Street Heat. A better LM3900 op-amp model means Money Money and Jack Rabbit are no longer missing the cassa (bass drum) channel, and mixing between music and speech is improved.
Bug fixes include the Rockwell AIM 65 being returned to working order, working support for multiple light guns on Linux from Kiall, corrected screen freeze behaviour on Deniam hardware from cam900, and better flashing characters on the Sinclair QL from vilcans. You can get the source and Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAMETesters 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

Translations added or modified

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to emulation [link] [comments]

MAME 0.209

MAME 0.209

With another month over, it’s time for another release, and MAME 0.209 is sure to have something to interest everyone. We’ve cracked the encryption on the Fun World CPU blocks, making Fun World Quiz, Joker Card, Mega Card, Power Card, Multi Win, Saloon and Nevada playable. Regular contributor shattered has added Кузьмич-Егорыч (Kuzmich-Egorych), a Russian Mario Brothers bootleg running on heavily modified Apple II hardware. In other Apple II news, CD-ROM drives now work with the Apple II SCSI card, and another batch of cleanly cracked floppies has been added to the software list. The NES SimCity prototype has been added to the software list, along with MMC5 improvements to support it, and better emulation for Famicom cartridges with on-board sound chips.
Henrik Algestam has continued his Game & Watch work, bringing Popeye (wide screen) and Zelda to MAME. Chess computer support has been expanded with Fidelity Chess Challenger 3, and additional versions of Applied Concepts Boris, and Novag Super Expert and Super Forte. Newly supported arcade games include Akka Arrh (an Atari title that failed location testing), Little Casino II, a French version of Empire City: 1931, and additional versions of Dock Man and Street Heat. A better LM3900 op-amp model means Money Money and Jack Rabbit are no longer missing the cassa (bass drum) channel, and mixing between music and speech is improved.
Bug fixes include the Rockwell AIM 65 being returned to working order, working support for multiple light guns on Linux from Kiall, corrected screen freeze behaviour on Deniam hardware from cam900, and better flashing characters on the Sinclair QL from vilcans. You can get the source and Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAMETesters 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

Translations added or modified

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to MAME [link] [comments]

Easy notepad hacks you can use at school (.bat and .vbs) Tecnam P92 Sallanches Return to Play Zoom Conference Biamp Electronics Paired With Cambridge Sound Masking CMD/Batch Script #3 (skrypt Hello World !, title, rem, pause, echo off) VINN NOU FÈ TI PALE ANSANM Virusi si programe BATCH SCRIPTING// FUNCTIONS IN BATCH SCRIPT // Batch Scripting Part -20- FUNCTIONS create love bat to prank someone LMTD...Vite fait ! Phénomène d'écho SP#46

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[index] [16079] [14720] [16762] [29004] [14186] [17216] [19637] [26382] [1557] [23472]

Easy notepad hacks you can use at school (.bat and .vbs)

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