Getting a Technology System in Modern Day
Chapter 603: The Difference Between Betas and Demos

Back on Earth.

The broadcast of the diaspora was still ongoing, as the great colony ships carrying seeds of humanity—they were even named after different seeds, a PR masterstroke that was designed to offset the upset of the forced exodus—had scattered in every possible direction. They were still in the solar system, though, and the broadcast would continue until they reached Jupiter, where the live broadcast would cut off and switch to online streams, which people could still watch if they chose to.

At .15c, that point would take just under four hours, but the streams wouldn’t be cut off until the colony ships reached the heliopause, roughly fifteen and a half months later. Each of the thousands of ships had their own stream already running concurrently with the broadcast so that those who had loved ones on them could follow their journey until the last possible moment. Their final destinations would be unreachable by the vast majority of people currently alive; even at warp speed (which humanity at large was still unaware that they were capable of achieving), it would still take hundreds of years to reach most of them.

But a few millennia later, they would be sure to return, though that would be a problem for future humanity to contemplate and solve.

“How are people reacting now?” Aron asked Mnemosyne. When he had asked before, she’d told him most of the people were feeling something akin to survivor’s guilt.

It was understandable, though, as the separation between the erstwhile colonists asleep in their stasis pods and the rest of humanity might as well have been as vast as the gulf between life and death. And despite most of them rationally understanding that the hard choice Aron had made was necessary, it would still take time for them to understand it on an emotional level.

[They’re still grieving,] Mnemosyne replied. [But it’s improving.].

Aron nodded, then changed tack. He turned and asked the empty air, “How’s development coming along on the game?”

[It’s in the final alpha version and being polished for the beta release,] Nova answered, materializing in her customary place slightly behind him.

He turned and continued, “When will that be ready?” Beta versions of games had long since stopped being about bug hunting and final polishing. Instead, they were just thinly veiled demo versions, but without the negative impact demos had on game launches.

When someone played a demo of a game, one of three outcomes would result: people would either enjoy it and anticipate the full game, hate it and bash it online, or continue feeling neither like nor dislike for the game. In most cases, those who played demos wouldn’t change their minds for the better; instead, they had a demonstrably negative effect where they would turn anticipation and enjoyment into outrage or neutrality.

But if a game developer called their demo a “beta”, people would be more likely to give it the benefit of the doubt and assume anything they disliked could be changed before the game was actually released. Thus, they would cherry pick the aspects they enjoyed and be more likely to adopt the game on launch than they perhaps would have before playing it.

[If I assign more resources to the process, we can release the public beta in two days.]

“Hmmm....” Aron paced back and forth. “Normally, game launches are supported by months, if not years of media driving attention to them. Two days is a bit too fast. How long until it’s beta-ready if you don’t do anything to hasten the process?”

[Three weeks to a month, I think. Quite a bit of my computing power is being taken up by... other projects right now. But since the game wasn’t exactly a priority, that was an acceptable trade. If you want to bump it up the priority list, I can, but—]

“I understand,” he interrupted. “How about a compromise? Tell Sarah to release the marketing blitz and announce a public open beta for, let’s say... next weekend. That cuts it from 3-4 weeks down to one week. Will that work for your project?”

[Of course, Sir. I’ll tell Sarah the updated plan and schedule and she can work with Panoptes to push a social media blitz. Getting it into traditional media will be an issue, but online will be easy enough and nearly as effective,] she said, then flickered as she delivered the message and arranged more quantum superclusters to be dedicated to the polishing process.

Mnemosyne faded away, having delivered her report and waited a polite amount of time to see if Aron had any followup questions for her. Aron and Nova were left alone in his virtual office in the simulation, facing a screen that displayed the Sol system with real-time tracking of ship movements.

He took a moment purely to enjoy the view, then, with his eyes still focused on the display, he asked, “Task Force Proxima should be arriving right about now, shouldn’t it?”

[Yes, Sir. If all went well and there were no accidents, they should’ve arrived outside the heliopause around Proxima Centauri a few hours ago.]

The display wall in Aron’s office changed to a view of the galaxy from above the galactic ecliptic plane and showed colored cones stretching out of the Sol system with their destinations at the wider end. Assuming nothing had gone wrong with any of the task forces, they should be right smack in the middle of the predicted area along the line indicating the path they intended to travel.

That said, though, they could be anywhere within the marked cone, as any deviation at all could, and likely would, throw them off course.

But hope springs eternal, so the flashing dot that represented Task Force Proxima was right up against the circle drawn around Proxima Centauri on the map.

He COULD have turned the Henry’s Eye sensors on the five task forces, as it could detect the mana signals from the cityships from up to ten light years away, but he intended to begin as he meant to go on. Eventually, the Exploration Fleet—and Space Fleet—would be taken beyond ranges at which they could be detected, much less contacted, by Earth. So, in the grand tradition of birds that threw their chicks from the nest to either fly or fall to their deaths, he had chosen to do much the same with the fleets.

They had the best equipment he could give them, the best men and women he could ever hope to see on their ships, and they had been given the best training possible. If they couldn’t succeed in their missions even when given all that, then... perhaps it would be better for them to be “lost” and allow him to begin fresh from the drawing board.

Chapter 603: The Difference Between Betas and Demos
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