A Pike (梭鱼, sometimes translated "Barracuda"), Шука (Shuka) in Russian, is a mechanical construct externally similar to a natural lifeform using Collapse Fluid as a fuel to generate a force field deconstructing nearby matter into atoms. Pikes were used as experimental weapons by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The Pike Nodes (梭鱼节点), used to control Pikes and interface with the OGAS network before they were destroyed under the Relic Arms Limitation Treaty of 1981, are central to the plot of Girls' Frontline.
Pikes were produced by the unknown civilization in production sites such as the one under the Nordhausen-Harz mountains in current Germany, known as the First Relic. This relics site was reproduced by the Soviet Union in the “Starfish” at the Tabasar-B Proving Grounds in 1950, and constructs brought back from the First Relic repaired themselves using nearby computers before devouring nearby matter. Though the Soviet didn't understand the physical properties at work behind this feat, they recognized it as an extremely powerful weapon.
The work of Professor Romansky of the Lomonosov State University in Mosow enabled to control these constructs. With the help of an increased budget due to the United States entering the Relics arms race, the direction of the newly created 16th Directorate of the KGB dedicated to the Relics development effort and a state-of-the-art Setun ternary logic computer, the Tabasar-B Starfish automatically produced on 28 January 1961 a group of constructs that would be attracted to Collapse Fluid, and would consume it while decomposing metal objects into pure, mono-elemental powder. This new prototype weapon was called "Moron" (Идиот). However, only 4 to 6 units could be produced per year due the a lack of understanding of the production technology and process.
October Revolution Parade and Cuban Moron Crisis
The first controllable Morons were paraded during the October Revolution Parade of November 1961, marking the first public display of any relics technology. This was intended as a counter-move to the diplomatic aggressiveness of the United States, who had deployed troops in Vietnam, unveiled its Apollo program and challenged the Soviets at the Vienna Submit, and to affirm the Soviet position after the tensions caused by the third Berlin crisis and the resumption of nuclear testing. The effect was immediate as American president Kennedy announced they were abandoning Apollo to focus on Relics development the day after the parade.
On June 22nd 1962, successful tests of the prototype ternary logic control bus prototype Emelya-1 (Емеля-1) meant greater control over the Moron units. After a meeting with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the Soviets shipped Morons, anti-air missiles and new fighter models to Cuba, starting the Cuban Moron Crisis. The American government was forced to withdraw their nuclear warheads from Europe in exchange for the Soviets removing the Morons from Cuba, causing North European countries to leave NATO in the following years.
As the United States focused their Relics research efforts on Collapse Fluids applications and aviation, Soviet research continued on the Morons, but slow progress in the 1960s angered the Kremlin until a new, more stable version of the Moron was created at Tabasar-B in 1971. With the finalization of the new ternary control bus Emelya-M, the resulting field unit-control node strategic weapon was renamed "Pike", as an interplay on the folklore tale At the Pike's Behest.
Due to greater investment in Relics research and more efficient research groups compared to the KGB-led studies, the United States had caught up to the Soviet Union during the time Pikes were being created, creating efficient systems for their strategic bombers and naval forces. The Kremlin had to show new cards too, and displayed 32 Pikes publicly again during the 1972 October Revolution Parade. The progress was shocking to the Americans, who didn't expect the Morons to become field-ready this fast. Fearing a Pike deployment in Vietnam, Kennedy recalled US troops and doubled on Relics research effort. But both the Soviet and Americans were baffled when South Vietnam was defeated faster than expected due to low morale and failure of their command and control structure. Both realized that strong weapons could only be reliably used by strong C&C systems. As the United States worked on ARPANET, the Soviet Union developed the OGAS network to use it in a Pike command system. Individual Pike command nodes distances away would have been able to be activated from the Tabasar-B Starfish, sending the necessary ternary signal through the OGAS network.
Pikes were also the first relics to be deployed in live combat in Afghanistan (the US had used “accelerator” gas in an experimental capacity in Vietnam). On 5 December 1980, the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces authorized the Afghanistan Theatre HQ to attack a rebel training camp set up by the CA near the Khyber Pass to assess Pike's combat effectiveness. The operation was overseen by then assistant director of the 16th Directorate Mikhail Tsvigun under the identity of technical advisor Borokin, earning him an Order of the Red Star and prestige that would lend him in the seat of Director two years later. 4 Pikes in container storage were transported by helicopter from Tajikistan railway to the KGB base on the outskirts of Kabul and left in the care of the 794th Guards Engineering Corps, who prepped and transported the Pikes to the interim operation center outside Jalalabad on 2 January 1981 for deployment on Landi Kotal, 70km on the other side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
At midnight on 5 January 1981, using radio control to give commands to the Emelya-M control bus, the engineers directed the Pikes to their target, activating their "devour mode" 2 km from the target. Crawling at 32 km per hour, they crossed a mountain and a river before attacking Landi Kotal from the north and the west, sustaining anti-tank rocket, heavy machine gun, 105mm cannon and 60mm to 80mm artillery fire with no damage, breaking through the enemy's defenses and sending them fleeing. As the Pikes were being decontaminated, post-op air recon observed building sliced cleanly in half and 8-meter wide scorched trails of glazed ores created by the over 1000 degrees temperature generated by the Pikes in devour mode. Only a nuclear weapon is estimated to be able to damage Pikes.
While Pikes were efficient weapons, they also contaminated the environment with Collapse Fluid, and the Khyber Pass test run introduced ELID to Central Asia and the Middle East. The US and Soviets faced a similar realization that further Relics weapons escalation would worsen the ELID pandemics until mankind was destroyed, and both sides pulled out of commission and dismantled their Relics weaponry under the Relic Arms Limitation Treaty of 1981. The Geneva Gazette of 1st July 1983 declared the end of 35 years of conflict and closed Pandora's Box, and the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991.
In 1992, the newly established United Nations Relics Agency observed that at least four Pike systems still remained in the ex-Soviet territories of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, including stockpiles of at least 5000 cubic meters of Collapse Fluid. While Pikes themselves would be too conspicuous to be sold on the black market and only the Russian Federation held the technology necessary to replicate the Emelya-M control buses necessary to control them, the Collapse Fluid stockpiles were at risk of being sold on the black market by corrupt elements in the unstable regimes of the countries or seized by terrorists.
Pike nodes after World War III
In 2032, a group of rebels attempted to destroy the OKb-413 Relics site near Minsk by overloading the local Pike node and associated OGAS node and destroy the Relic in the explosion. Their plan failed when the overload only activated the relic briefly before Carter's team seized the control room, enabling Havier Witkin's engineering team to deactivate the Pike node. Knowledge of the interplay between Pike nodes and OGAS would inspire Carter's plans with KCCO in 2064, and Witkin used his own knowledge to help foil Carter's plans.
Prior to World War III, the Paldiski Submarine Base near Tallinn, Estonia, also called OKb-167, was once the main storage base for all the Pike nodes to be used by the Baltic Fleet submarines. Some time in the 2050s, the Pike node A-51-241 was taken from Paldiski and sent to Sangvis Ferri's main labs to be used by AI scientist Lycoris who reverse-engineered it and used the result as the base for Elisa. But when he realized her neural cloud reacted to the presence of the Pike node, Lycoris felt his work was becoming dangerous and removed part of her framework.
The Pike node remained in the labs through the Butterfly Incident in 2061 and later during Griffin & Kryuger's operation to recover video footage of Lyco's last moments, but it was taken out and brought to Belgrade in 2064, where Angelia was sent to destroy it by K while Sangvis Ferri and Paradeus also searched for it. The core of the Pike node was seized by M16A1 (boss), who tried to run away with it and ended up absorbing its content before abandoning it for G&K to pick up. Before the core was sent to K, AR M4A1M4A1 also connected with it and her OGAS recovered some of her memories and felt the compulsion to connected to other Pike nodes to recover parts of herself. The core was eventually sent back to Statesec to understand KCCO's interest in it while M16A1 offered the data inside to Elisa.
- A replica of the Pike node was available as a Dorm furniture during Isomer. It is covered in sticky notes since Dolls use it to see who can stick one the highest.
- In the original version of the first Confidential Files, the Pikes were called "Servitors" and compared to Shoggoth from the Lovecraftian creature. The original name was changed because it plagiarized the novella A Colder War. For the full story, please read the Confidential Files article.
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- The Art of Girls' Frontline Vol.2, Confidential Files, part. 4
- Codename: Bakery Girl, Secret Document 3
- Codename: Bakery Girl, Secret Document 2
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- Polarized Light, Lamp Starter
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- Shattered Connexion, Confidential Information 4
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- Isomer, Above the Hubbub Part 9