TSEL

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"Only the deep night knows,
What they agreed upon.
Straighten up now, oh tall rye,
And keep their secret scrupulously!"

- "Korobeiniki" traditional Russian folkloric song, often played by TSEL inventors with experimental electronic instruments.

The Technological Synthesis and Enhancement League, or just TSEL., is an independent military and research wing of Soviet Red Army, under the Ministry of Experimental Sciences that operates technologies that are too dangerous or useless for the regular conscripts. However, all of these mask their overwhelming desire for their further recognition by higher Soviet authorities. Minor faction created by Tim the Grim Reaper, with GearsGoAwryMan being its idea founder and Weeb King expanding on the idea.

Background

Brain Drains

The precise history of the Technological Synthesis and Enhancement League is shrouded in mystery not because it's a state secret, but rather no one in the Party caring enough about it. As far as anyone in the Red Army is concerned, TSEL. is just the drop-off point for any intellectual in any fields that fell out of favor with premiers of their time. Scientists whose projects fail to meet the expectations of their creators and the state, "geniuses" who really were only kicked into a position upstairs where they couldn't interfere with anyone else and their valuable work. Dozens of the Union's best thinkers were pushed into TSEL after Stalin's death, where Cherdenko's "greatest mind" Zelinsky upended decades of Soviet scientific ideas and strategies.

A further testament to the Soviet Union's remarkable apathy towards the TSEL., all the experimental weapons, prototypes and equipment that is rejected or is not selected for further development were dumped into the hands of the section. While they quietly resented their treatment among their peers, TSEL scientists chose to work on what has been presented to their workshops to find out if that specific piece of technology does carry some viable application for the military, or civilian duty one day.

As years passed, TSEL. has only made some small contributions to Soviet technology. Officially TSEL was part of the Union, but in the backrooms of the Kremlin it was no secret that TSEL was only something to acknowledge every few months for propaganda. Even during the dark days of the Third World War, TSEL positions were left abandoned in the face of Imperial assaults officially due to "preservation of vital resources". This left many engineers and scientists feeling betrayed, as even exiled they saw TSEL as the way to prove their ideas had merit. Post-War, the survivors went back to their labs and workshops to try and rebuild something, anything, from the ashes of their defeats. One thing that did come their way were hundreds of scientists and workers associated with the Cherdenko regime. Cleared of knowledge of Cherdenko's plans but politically blacklisted, these men and women became a new backbone for TSEL. Suddenly gifted with a windfall of personnel and money to "keep those fools occupied", the leadership of TSEL decided that post-war, it was their time to breathe new life into their shattered nation. Under their own ideas for a change.

Machines previously thought obsolete began to buzz and whir again, local garrisons utilized to test out the weapons created in the Siberian workshops. Commanders were beguiled with sweet words and promises of future glories thanks to TSEL. Suddenly there was a new focus as KGB cast-offs started to keep the leadership of TSEL informed on what was happening around the world. Simultaneously, they began to build a new reputation among the Soviet people, one of their feats being the reintegration of the Grinder into civilian construction. With a small but sudden surge in voluntary requests to transfer to TSEL, the Ministry of Experimental Sciences began to notice that the number of applicants are enough to be armed with second-line equipment that, while not top of the line, was decent enough to be used in a desperate situation.

Upended Innovation

Despite being in possession of the more exotic weapons and vehicles that the Union could use, the chief scientists within TSEL. are still trying to refine their advancements, and quietly the Soviets' as well. Energy provided by super reactors are far superior to anything their satellite states could have, but that title will soon be taken from it by solar panels once they become more efficient, or if rumors are true, "zero-point energy". Impenetrable armor, no matter how much of it is applied on a tank, will be an afterthought once the Atomic Chinese invent rays that simply pass through the chassis to kill the crew. Cosmonauts are currently the masters of spaceflight, yet they are already threatened by far more serious contenders. To ensure the continual flow of innovation (and the dominance of Soviet minds in engineering), they sent a memo to the Ministry of Experimental Sciences detailing their further actions which would need a little more autonomy to come to fruition. Still under the impression that the division was nothing more than a dumping ground that was just trying to expand themselves, they granted some autonomy to TSEL.

Gone are the times where they are just stranded in their workshops, presiding over some malfunctioning walker. Re-organized into more cohesive divisions, TSEL sees numerous conflicts the world over becoming hotspots for potential control groups to be utilized. To be sure, they promised to lend support to pro-Soviet forces in other countries as a sign of solidarity. They have stayed mostly true to it - advisors supply support in the Vietnamese and Amazon jungles with VC and MIR guerrillas, while others remain stationed with the APO in Luanda for example.

They play at their best when it comes to supplementing these armies, but all of these are just plausible covers for gaining brownie points. Many times strategies concocted by pro-Soviet fighters were altered to include enemy research facilities, backing them in raids to hijack blueprints or prototypes by other factions. Melees with anti-communist forces fluctuate from one-sided massacres to battles which odds are evened before those very same forces are wiped out as "controlled experiments". While jests are made of self-described 'bringers of zeitgeist' with weaponry that look like they belong in scrapyards, TSEL. units simply comfort themselves with this: Imagine what the Union can do if they reach their zeitgeist, where all non-Soviet tech do not even look like they belong in the dirtiest of trash heaps - thanks to them.

The future looks bright for TSEL, bright enough that they'll need shades.

Units & Buildings

Units

  • Cossack: Basic infantry of the TSEL wearing their signature hazmat suits along with armored vests, their weaponry consists of advanced assault rifle with infrared visor and gunsling that surpasses ADK-45 in every aspect, and mini-rocket launcher with a tiny explosive, causing disorientation rather than outright killing, giving few precious seconds for Cossacks to finish the job.
  • Ampere Trooper: Tesla Trooper prototypes equipped with shock guns, that have its current level more lower than their more advanced version used by Soviet Tesla Troopers, being able to only paralyze infantry and vehicles as well by overcharging their circuits. They become damaging after a bit of time, which can be helped by friendlies. If the enemies get closer and trooper can't paralyze them all, they can cover up their weak cloth armor sections with their arms, thought this hinders their movement.
  • Tremor: Using the Vodyanoy battlesuit, Tremor has exchanged the hoses and tanks of Desolator defoliant with a large seismic hammer with in-build Tesla's oscillator. When the hammer smashes to the ground it sends an earth-shaking shockwave against the enemy position, ruining buildings spectacularly. using the oscillator, Tremor trooper can connect it with the ground and let it work, causing tremors all around itself which are not harmful to units, only slowing them down and shaking their morale. Buildings are not as fortunate, being gradually damaged until they crumble into ruins.
  • Experimental Commissar: Overseers of the TSEL operations and actions, Commissars attached to this force are one of the greatest patriots, keeping order of men under them with just their word (or not even that), outfitted with the experiences, advanced devices to assist them in pinpointing the most dangerous threats, and armed with the most unique Soviet weapon technology, "Magmatron" therma-ray rifles, that burns and incinerates anything that comes into contact with it.
  • Hover Bike: A small fighter engine with a seat and heavy machine gun, Hover Bike is excellent for high speed recon missions, crossing water fields with the air cushions and mowing down infantry and light vehicles. Unfortunately, as it is only an engine and some armor plates, it has no resistance against most of the attacks, blown into oblivion by a single tank shot. It can descend into the ground and hunker down, shielding it from enemy fire.
  • Ampere Anvil: Main battle tank, modernized with a Tesla reactor for increased speed and turn rate over the original. The passenger compartment was retained, mostly for Ampere Troopers to take their seats here and disable nearby vehicles, which can Anvil than easily target and destroy to pieces.
  • Progvev Gasdynamic Trawler: An odd use of a jet engine on a Anvil tank chassis, Progrev is able to project intense heat waves that can damage everything before it (especially effective against mines). The heat waves are not as strong as most flame-based weapons, but can fire in quick succession and wide range. Thought to prevent the self-destruction, Progvev must first deploy before using its unusual weapon.
  • Gravitank: One-of-a-kind technology in the Union, Gravitank is equipped with a generator capable of creating gravity field that causes attraction or repulsion, making it ideal for support of allied units. While it isnt specifically a damage dealer, the push/pull does make a damage to the units when sliding on the ground, but it isnt something a commander should count on as a way how to fight.
  • Topolov Tesla Tank: The latest iteration of the Tesla Tank series, Topolov is revolutionary in the way that using both the Tesla coil and magnet beam fires ball lightnings instead of electric currents, surpassing its predecessors both in range and firepower, thought that adds to its already high price tag, with only few pieces being produced and fielded. The two new Tesla-Pavliv arc cannons are also able to shoot an EM pulse against a group of units, disabling all vehicles before them, but this leaves the Tesla Tank also immobile and incapable of firing for a time, but will recollect faster than the hit enemies.
  • Grozny: Advanced attack gunship, Grozny can engage all enemy targets, armed with two autocannons, 6 integrated rocket pods on the sides, and when a ground target is needed to be cleaned off from the face of earth, two rotary missile launchers to bombard the area with high explosive ordnance. (Or reverse it with side rocket pods, and make bottom launchers AA/AS)
  • Yakir Boarding Airship: Older armored airship that is outfitted with a barracks of Boostermen, deploying them onto the battlefield. Three turrets with machine guns were mounted on to protect it from incoming fighters, and unlike its cousin Kirov, Yakir does not have the gastroburner, thus it is snailish in its movement.
  • Boostermen: Soviet attempt of creating counterparts of Allied Rocketeers, Boostermen have large rockets attached on their backs, and are less armed than their rivals. A light machine gun mounted on their arms against air targets and a considerable supply of experimental EMP grenades against everything under them.

Buildings

Guard Experimental Battalion Reinforcements

While not directly part of the Soviet Red Army, Guard Experimental Battalions are units that are testing the weapons that have viable chance of being put into production and service, thought they are also send along with TSEL forces for the field trials. When the TSEL commanders needs help, it is Guard Experimental Battalion that sends in their men and equipment, that are believed to be future of the Soviet armed forces.

  • Springer: Prototype for the next generation of Thresher, Springer is armed with a single killgun that makes short work of heavy armour, even penetrating them to damage several in a row. When ordered, Springer can fire a single experiential vacuum missile to kill all infantry in the area and cause great area damage, thought reloading this takes a lot of time.
  • Veles Chaos Walker: Soviet experiment to combat rogue psychics, Veles mounts an apparatus that was supposed to cause terror within the psychic's mind, but instead does so to every enemy unit the weapon is turned on. The apparatus can be overloaded to induce fatal cerebral hemorrhages at nearby infantry and tank crews, though it takes quite a while before doing it again.
  • Hunchback Superheavy Gunship: Giant helicopter that earned itself the nickname "Flying Apocalypse", Hunchback is tough as one, and armed with an array of two twin heavy autocannons, rocket pods with high explosive rockets, two launches of Matryiska missiles against aircraft and on the bottom an 85mm electrokinetic cannon (killgun) that is able to smash enemy tanks. Due to the over-versatility of its loadout, the Hunchback has to cycle between each.

Behind the Scenes

"Tsel" means in Russian "goal", but also "aim", a reference to A.I.M., a scientifically advanced group from Marvel Comics.