Mid-Orbital Active-Defense Deployment Systems (MADDS)

MADDS - the impregnable Planetary fortress system of the 25th Century


By the 25th Century, mankind has left it's comfortable cradle of birth and taken to the stars. With that, the common conception of nation states has disappeared, as it became increasingly apparent that security was no longer determined by the earth-bound senators, presidents and dictators, but by Corporate Executives and their trans-world Industries. The cosmos was a brand new frontier, free from the regulations and restrictions of Earth; a brave new world where the corporations could freely flex their muscles, exploit riches and claim territories. It was only a matter of time before these human companies formed hegemonies that spanned not just planets, but entire systems and sectors. Earth, and it's various governments, simply could not manage to outperform the rapid expansion of the trans world Corporations, and became little more than a neutral world, used only as an agreeable safe-haven, for refugees and diplomats.

So, Earth itself became a backwater, as the companies large and small fled the planet in search of galactic riches, robbing humanity's birth place of it's remaining resources and capital, leaving the once-blue planet, a small floating desolate rock, in an ever-growing universe.

Most decided that a life of servitude to one of these inter-planetary corporations, was preferable than the veritable barbarism one would have to endure living on earth. Life under the security umbrella of these corporations was hard. Labor was tough, and long. Families worked as slaves, more or less, being provided food and basic necessities, and a small stipend for tiny luxuries. But the corporations were not heartless - there was always the promise (and actual possibility even) for advancement of hard-working individuals. Then, of course, there were the corporate militaries and police forces, who tirelessly stood as vanguard, both guarding their workers and ensuring that the producers produced. This constant vigil, was usually enough to keep the workers working.

However, the threat of invasion by rival companies was ever present. Planets, rich in minerals or precious water were constant targets. They were the largest treasure chests that existed in the galaxy. And corporations owned dozens upon dozens of them, guarding them jealously. Corporate warfare is eternal, and omnipresent. Since mankind's venture into space, conflict has been constant. There are no government sanctions, and no overarching bodies to govern the corporations - they owe nothing to anyone but themselves; and the death count couldn't bother them less.

Tanaka Corporation was the first to pioneer the complete and total defense system that could literally, and autonomously defend entire planets. The defense system was a multi-layer, multi-trillion dollar project called the "Mid-orbital Active Defense Deployment System" or "MADDS." MADDS is a combination of a system of orbital satellites and skybases, computer link-nets, ground and air force controllers, drones, cryo-cyborg cells, and a central transfer hub. Together, all these elements form a single, dedicated MADDS, the most devastating and effective defense system ever known to mankind.


Any good corporation's first line of defense against either invasion or rebellion is a healthy supply of LOS nets, or Low Orbital Satellites Networks. Satellites have been in use since the late twentieth century, and have only gotten more advanced in the 25th. Satellites come complete with cameras that can see through cloud cover, can take high-resolution, infra-red video in real time, and relay the images to other satellites in it's network.

A network of satellites can, in turn, share data to create a three dimensional image, assess the level of immediate danger by calculating any number of circumstances, and plan primitive contingency plans based on their area of view. Satellites are also armed with a number of point defense weapons, as well as being surrounded by the usual minefields of radio-mines, which detonate on impact with any ship not broadcasting company frequencies.


Every LOS-Net is accompanied by a small orbital fortress known as a Skybase. Skybases are usually unmanned, but in some cases may be operated by a small number of security personnel. Skybases have one purpose, and one purpose only: to house all date streamed from LOS-Nets, and relay it to the Central Transfer Hub. This is done through the Link-Net, a hyper-secure data transfer protocol that is located in every Skybase. All skybases transmit serial data in parallel, rather than an uninterrupted circuit. This means that if one Skybase drops off the grid during an attack or due to technical issues, the other Skybases can react, either by shifting LOS-Nets to cover the affected area and resume surveillance, or utilize the security measures of offline Skybases in the event that it's respective Skybase has been debilitated or destroyed.

Data does not remain in the skybases memory storage for long. Optimally, all data is quickly funneled away from the Skybases and into the Central Transfer Hub, where it is stored for safe keeping, making a hijack of the base somewhat less of a security liability. It does go without being said that these fortresses are suitably armed, surrounded by not only point defense weapons, but automated High-Orbital Drones (see below.)


The only fully part of MADDS that is fully manned is the Central Transfer Hub, where all data is viewed, evaluated and stored. While most of the evaluation of data can be handled by computers, the facility is manned by engineers and computer technicians, to ensure that diagnostic systems are working properly and that data transferred to and from the hub is running smoothly.

Since satellites can evaluate data within certain parameters, this stored data is not necessarily concerned with just defense. It can be production data, provided that the satellites in the LOS-Net is equipped with sensors to evaluate any given region's production output by evaluating workforce and the integrity of it's production facilities. It may be resource saturation, if the LOS-Nets are equipped with chemical-seeking sensors that may detect the levels of certain subterranean mineral deposits. But primarily the Central Transfer Hub is a security center - a centralized dispatch area.

The data storage of these facilities are immense (sometimes two or three square miles,) usually located far beneath the surface of the planet, where the servers are submerged in liquid coolant, which remains at low temperatures despite the operations of xenobites upon xenobites of data being transferred every hour.


Should something go wrong, the first response is by the Drone Controllers. Drone Controllers are massive platforms, usually several miles wide, that orbit Skybases, usually four or five per base. Drone controllers are completely unmanned, and all instructions delegated by the Cryo-Cyborg brains that serve as the tactical data-processors. Cryo-Cyborg brains are perfected, human clone brains kept in special refrigerated environments, that have been grown and genetically engineered to think logically and tactically. Without the need to handle auxiliary functions like circulation and respiration, or nutrient intake (These are all done by computer subsystems) the Cryo-Cyborg brain is completely focused on broadcasting tactical orders to it's Drones. Broadcasts are done via encoded orders over encrypted channels, to all drones under it's command, simultaneously.

Using the three-dimensional images of the LOS-Nets and utilizing point defenses provided by the Skybases, Cryo-Cyborg brains can link up with each other from their Controller Platforms and multiply their number crunching abilities to form a near impenetrable defensive wall. They can determine odds, acceptable losses and collateral damage (in dollars) for any action before they send out the order. It's a merciless, ruthless and impossibly logical system that has become the cornerstone for all defensive warfare. Cryo-Cyborg Controllers can on the fly reallocate Drones as they proceed outside of their own ranges, though one Cryo-Cyborg brain may overheat with a processing load that is too large. High temperatures over time literally melt the Cyborg brain, resulting in momentary "Link-Death" of the Cryo-Cyborg's Drones, until they reconnect to another Controller.


Drones are semi-organic soldiers which are used to fight most battles. Human soldiers are often times unpredictable and unreliable (something that makes them equally valuable in fights with Cryo-Cyborgs which can only think logically) which makes them somewhat inferior in large scale battles. Emotions and ethics usually result in colossal loss of battlefield superiority, or worse, loss or damage of company property. Drones have no such qualms. They are usually comprised of a smaller Cryo-Cyborg brain, one that receives and executes orders, a much simpler version of the large Cryo-Cyborg brains found in the Controller Platforms.

These brains are housed in metallic frames, either a variety of High-Orbital Space Craft, or terrestrial Mechanical Infantry, Air-Superiority Craft of Armor. Spacecraft Drones come in Four Variations, Fighter Drones, Corvette Drones, Cruiser Drones or Bomber Drones, whereas Terrestrial Drones come in many more variations, including light and heavy ground trooper, landers, high-altitude drop ships and the accompanied HALO Troopers, as well as an assortment of self-piloted armors. Every single drone is at all times receiving orders from it's Cryo-Cyborg Controller, and thus coordinated strikes from many different angles by drones of many different types is easy and smooth.

If at any time, the Cryo-Cyborg controller is destroyed or become inoperative, troop loads are re-delegated on the fly, as another Controller takes the reigns on a percentage of the momentarily "Link-Dead" Drones. Link Death does not mean that Drones cease to function - they simply can only operate on the environment they can evaluate. Normally, this means they act like fairly clumsy human soldiers, without receiving any intelligence from it's veritable eye in the sky. They become open to mistake, as they can no longer watch their back and they can only share data with their immediate allies, who are likely link-dead as well.

The MADDS is brutally efficient and incredibly reliable. Effectively disarming a fully engaged MADDS planets requires a massive task force and systematic destruction of all controllers and LOS-Nets, a task which is a substantial effort in it's own right. MADDS was engineered to be the impenetrable fortress of the future, a system which not only acts autonomously, but thinks and evaluates tactical and situational data on the fly, and can issue a logical reaction in a fraction of the time the best trained human could. MADDS is has been, and will always be, the Defense System of the Future.

Article Codex

Variable Deployment Tactical Drop-Drone (VD-TD) By: hylandpad
NPCs • Extras • Combative

'This is Skybase Alpha-One broadcasting to Skybase Alpha-Two through Six. Seventeen point zero VD-TD Drop Ships inbound towards Korolis Sector, Quadrant Two. ETA approximate - 0030 hours. Recalibrating Ground Ordinance to avoid excess Friendly Fire. Reaffirming aerial perimeters and air supremacy...'

Orbitally Deployed Recon and Sabotage Drone (OD-RSD) By: hylandpad
NPCs • Extras • Combative

"If the OD-RSDs were here already, the facility would have gone up in smoke a long time ago..."


? Responses (15)

Goto Author

I want to play against you in a wargame, you have no idea. I want to stage a raid between a mobile fleet task force and a target defended by a MADDS system, it will be like Kerensky and the SLDF retaking the core worlds.

Goto Author

I haven't done much Sci-fi work. But I really like the way this sub came out. I don't have a fleshed out world or setting like I do for my 'New Terra' stuff, but I think I'm gonna do more stuff like this on the side because I have so many cool high-tech ideas that I want to use, but just won't fit on Greatland.

Goto Author

I understand completely, but keep in mind that sci fi and tech stuff generally gets a cool reception. The citadel likes its swords and sorcery.

Goto Author

yeah. Understandably. I have a couple more subs I could post for a MADDS codex. Maybe I'll just do those and see what happens from there.

Goto Author

An interesting take on planetary defense. I really suggest you read David Weber's Honor Harrington series on a treatise of fleet vs. planetary fortress warfare.

Basically, the main issue is this: a planet cannot dodge. Neither can a fortress. In the case of a planet, the foe will exactly know where a planet will be. In the case of fortresses, he can predict it (they will be guarding access vectors from closest systems, wormhole openings, and surround planets and important stations).

The mainenance of a fleet becomes a necessity when you consider that an unhindered enemy fleet can lurk around the star system, shoot up anything not covered by the MADDS, and launch distant asteroid strikes or swarms of dumb nuclear warheads at the planet. Hidden in an asteroid swarm, no less. Because, if useful planets are not ine in a million, denying a foe an asset he invested so heavily in is almost as good as claiming it yourself.

On a different note, I am intrigued by the concept of the cryo-cyborg. Care to explain further?

Goto Author

Thanks for the feedback!

Well, dodging an attack is not necessarily the primary objective of a fortification. It's a matter of weathering an attack, staunchly trying to shoot down whatever comes close to the atmosphere, and being able to coordinate an assault against any attacking forces that breach a perimeter. Physical defenses are but a single piece of the MADDS puzzle.

As to the Cryo-cyborg brains, I will be posting another sub, so stay tuned =]

Goto Author

Well, what I wanted to point out is that yes, a MADDS can survive an attack, and prevent a foe from taking the planet. But it cannot survive a siege (siege weapons in space have unlimited range), nor sufficently protect its prize without a mobile fleet. Fleets will need their own leadership, because a communication delay imposed by the speed of light between the MADDS in mid-orbit and a fleet in outer space is unacceptable. Unless you have FTL radio in your setting - then, a MADDS could concievably coordinate a fleet in its system too.

Goto Author

Well, there is no fleet, at least not in the traditional carrier-corvette-frigate sense, at least not integrated into MADDS. However, each skybase has a host of drone-controlled spacecraft, that serve as interceptors, bombers and orbital artillery which are designed to combat fleets. If artillery has unlimited range in space, yes, but that goes both ways mind you. MADDS could just as easily send ordinance towards the attacking fleet, too.

I'm not saying it's as good as traditional fleets, but there is certainly the means to combat it. And these mega-corporations that own entire planets certainly have the means which to create space-faring fleets. I just haven't outlined anything for those fleets yet.

As for the fortress argument, even dating back to Roman and Medieval times, the besieged party usually lost out. Very few things can stand a siege, even today. The methods have changed but the rules have not. Besieged defenders usually have a very hard time of things, without relief.

The point of MADDS is to make the enemy think before he/she attacks. Could you breach MADDS? Conceivably. Scras already came up with a really cool weapon to scramble my cryo-cyborgs in their bases. But, you would only do it if you were willing to concede that you would incur heavy losses.

Goto Author

Actually, the argument is flawed in several important respects. Let me elaborate.

Space is huuuuge. Actually so huge that light takes several hours to reach the edge of the solar system, if my calculations aren't totally off.

What does this mean? First of all, if you do not have Faster-Than-Light comms, then anything that happens out there takes several hours to be relayed to you if, and only if, you detected it. Meaning, you have to have probes out there. Meaning, you have to cover a sphere with a radius of 50 AU.

Now, with our technology, we are still discovering the things the size of planets. Inside the solar system. Like, Eris. A ship is way smaller than a planet, usually. Meaning, unless you have a sensor grid out there, you will know diddly about what is going on in your solar system. If you do have a sensor grid, you may learn something... six hours later. Now, if this sensor grid does active sweeps, or is in any way detectable, an enemy appearing out there will know it is there, and where it is, and shoot it up. Thus, you learn that an enemy is there, perhaps even something about his forces. Then, you again know diddly. And, unless you have FTL in-system drives, anything you send out there will again take six hours to get there. And of course the foe will be long elsewhere. Meaning, yes you can fire from a MADDS at an enemy fleet you detected at a system's edge. Which will do exactly nothing, because your foe is not a retard to sit there. Whereas your planet is prety predictable about where it will be in a few hours. Along with the entire MADDS, of course. Meaning, you cannot really shoot back.

Now, if you send some combat vessels out there, there will be a several hour communication delay between the vessel and the planet. Meaning, you cannot communicate and have to use live crew. Who are of course fighting without the support of the MADDS. Because it is six freaking hours away. Six light-hours, that is. And if you leave the foe unengaged, he will plunder your system, shoot up the transports and sensor grid, cost you billions of credits and go away without taking a single shot. Once you rebuild, if he lets you, he will do the same again.

Of course, if he lets you, because a few warships can inflict a heavy toll on transport vessels.

So the likeliest scenario is: you invest a truckload of money into a MADDS. Your foe builds some warships. Your MADDS cannot go to his system to mess him up, but your foe can go to yours, and will. And he will make sure to make your life a living hell, and if he grows bored, he can always bombard the orbit from space without really harming the planet. Think gravel, at near light speed. Of course he can also toss a shitload of cheap nukes, if he feels nasty.

Point made? (the Echo is really trying to help)

Goto Author

From your perspective then, orbital defenses are pointless?

I see you are trying to tear apart the usefulness of static defenses but... to be honest I haven't invested the time or effort into researching FTL comms or drives or any of that. I just took the idea of a networked superfortress spanning the entire orbit of a planet and ran.

Goto Author

They're not pointless ... they have to be well-thought out, and supported by a fleet. Very much like a castle will eventually fall unless it can a) sally out b) an army drives the foes away.

If you have wormholes, then you can have forts within firing range of the opening. If wormholes are the sole means of FTL travel, this will be an efficient defense, though you have to consider - your foes will come prepared for a fight then - but you don't know when.

Modern troop deployment should flow like water, and orbital defenses are but a piece of the puzzle, and not the most important one. They are static, with a sole purpose, and reactionary in nature.

Goto Author

Just to toss some cold water on the fire, I think that MADDS greatest strength isn't in it's scale or coordination, ability to handle threats, or destroy enemy forces. I think it's real strength is that looking at it from an attackers perspective it's scary as hell. When you go after a world defended by one of these you're going to take losses. Lots of losses.

Combine MADDS with something like a drone operated shadow fleet, coordinated with conventional manned fleets, and thats something impressive. FTL communications could be used to transmit and recieve combat data from a battle back to the nearest unoccupied MADDS world and a remote fleet could benefit from the same coordination bonuses. There could be smaller fleet scaled MADDS systems that coordinate a smaller number of conventional warships and fighter escorts, piggy backing onto the existing electronics systems and such.

Goto Author

With an FTL communication method, it becomes feasible. Still, you need that fleet.

Goto Author

I think the problem with the sub is the voice puts it on a pedestal as if it were a sales brochure, as opposed to a factual description. As Echo and Scras have pointed out, there are weaknesses in any static defence - terrestrial or otherwise, unless you somehow _are_ able to deal with arbitrary numbers of planetoid-sized projectiles with little notice.

I've thought about this myself, and figured perhaps the best adjunct to this would be a ridiculous number of x-ray laser mines. These mines would be essentially high quality AI's that would work autonomously in conjunction with an even more ridiculous number of detector mines. The detector mines would be arranged in a static grid, run very passively, and would paint whatever they detected with a laser unless iff frequencies were present. The killer mines sensors would be good enough to detect the painted targets and then blast em. The static grid is important to allow them to detect gravitational disruptions in case someone is using some form of stealth.

Of course, the number needed and the matter required to construct a usable number would be extreme.