RCA Technical Details
|This page contains information copied or paraphrased from the OCD FLEET site.|
Structure of the Array
The largest single part of the Reality Control Array is that mounted on the Funky Horror, containing the main generators, control systems, and the operations room itself. The whole structure takes up more volume than any other system on the station, (except the primary hangar bays, which cheat). The RCA, like Speculation, has dedicated computational resources, and hence does not depend on the distributed processor network which provides support for main station functions. Its power source is also separate from the rest of the station, because of the huge individual load the RCA would place on the conventional fusion reactor network, and also to minimise the extent of damage from power spikes.
The rest of the Reality Control Array is distributed across the sky, in carefully chosen non-geostationary orbits. These "Repeater Nodes" are more than just relays for the quasi-stable energy which flows into them from the main RCA: they also modify the energy, and resonate with it at very specific frequencies, tying the entire network of satellites into one vast distributed machine. Without the constant tweaking provided by these tiny machines, the RCA would be unable to focus accurately, and would lose the greater part of its subtlety of control.
Components of the Array
The best metaphors for the manner in which the RCA functions are drawn, bizarrely, from the field of coffeemaking.
Consider, for example, the mighty ranks of chaos engines, which draw in purified primidorial reality, force it at high pressure through a concentrated matrix of prepared plot-seeds, and dispense the resulting concentrated suspension, topped with a glowing golden microfoam of imiscible macguffins and other structural ephemera, into specially shielded conduits. That the resulting mixture is often referred to as "ontological espresso" is not coincidental.
Just don't, whatever you do, try stirring it with a swizzle stick.
Or ponder the nature of the flux cannon array, which injects supercritical novelty into carefully packaged emulsions of velleity, dispensing the resulting motivational foam into suspension chambers located in the central column of the station's nacelles.
The ontological espresso, and frothed velleity, are both delivered to the primary intermix chamber, in which they are blended carefully. This process requires some delicacy, to prevent the texture of the resulting reality cappuccino from being damaged.
The reality cappuccino (technically, "activated, pseudohomogenous, ontological substrate hyperfluid") forms the working mixture for all of the RCA's effects. It is circulated around the RCA's main engineering space in heavily shielded channels designed to limit it's interaction with nearby sentient life, and eventually makes its way to the main emission grid, located at the base of the RCA torus. Unfortunately, it is necessary for the working fluid to be visible at certain points in the pressurisation process it undergoes, to allow for quick visual checks of its status by an expert (almost always Tchernobyl himself, although he has trained one or two members of his staff to an acceptable level). It is extremely dangerous to gaze unprepared into the reality cappuccino at any point, as the raw velleity and trace plot-holes can resonate catastropically with outside influences, leading to premature separation, and concommitant Bad Things. Even outside of this worst case scenario, the mixture is extremely psycho-reactive, especially to "talented" individuals such as Boardies, and can easily draw observers into a fugue state from which it is extremely hard to revive them (as the effect is partly one at the level of the soul, even RESPAWN is not a guaranteed escape from this fate).
As a result of this everpresent danger, the relevant areas are fitted with security coded memelocks, and marked with vibrant yellow and black warning paint. Similar safeguards are placed on all maintenance access ports which allow direct contact with the unstable reality fluid. Each critical area is considered off limits even to other RCA techs not assigned to essential duties in the section. Decontamination showers are fitted to interstitial chambers connected to the most dangerous areas, feeding a dilute mix of brain-bleach and proprietary reality stabilisation fluids to the specially blessed shower-heads.
Those RCA techs who do have to work directly with reality cappuccino are required to wear bulky Hostile Reality Suits to protect their souls and bodies from the raw material. The suits, woven from thrice-blessed copper, and embossed with carefully woven wards provided by M-Division, are extremely uncomfortable, even without the heavy black-tinted memeshield visor which comes with them. Techs using such a suit are protected from the frequent minor arcs which the larger feeds produce; the golden energy raises impressive sparks from impacts, and produces some impressive multicoloured nimbuses and aurorae, but doesn't reduce the luckless engineer to his component concepts as it would on unshielded contact.
The suits do not protect unwary staff from direct contact with the largest arcs, or with the actual flow of cappuccino itself. For that, the wearer must also ground his soul at one of the manasink stations scattered throughout the RCA engineering space. Even with all precautions taken, a careless mistake can still lead to second or third degree burns from the massive energy flows and a certain degree of mindscarring. For this reason, fully stocked medical and spiritual first aid kits are required to be fitted to all major engineering stations, and all RCA techs undertake short courses in their use on a quarterly basis.
The one exception to this high degree of care is the architect of the system itself. While Tchernobyl has been known to wear the body sections of a HRA under his trademark voluminous robes, he has never been seen wearing a memeshield visor, or grounding his soul. Yet, amazingly, Tchernobyl has never suffered more than minor first-degree burns during his entire directorship of the RCA system. Indeed, the RCA techs claim that, in some strange way, the reality cappuccino respects the Oldbie, becoming noticably calmer when he is present in an engineering bay, actively moving within its conduits to allow him access to equipment, and otherwise acting almost like it was alive. The other rumour, that Tchernobyl can often be heard muttering to something while he works, is generally considered to be pure reputation-enhancing spin by the Board at large.
Just why Tcher would want to enhance his already-spectacular reputation is something they usually find themselves unable to explain.