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A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .

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Re: A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .
Post by cthia   » Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:54 am

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tlb wrote:
cthia wrote:In fact, if I am truly honest with myself, I truly doubt that muscle memory alone can account for drawing a pulser. A lot more data processing has to happen even prior to that, as you have correctly implied.

Whatever it all takes to put it all together, the memory space required to program it all might can be both expanded and further compressed to support an even more enhanced suite of primitives and programming power.

Consider the case of the Admiral taking a pulser from a drawer by the phone in response to a key phrase and shooting himself. Unless he always stands in the exact same way with respect to the drawer and the pulser never moves about, then even that simple response cannot be "muscle memory" alone: he has to see and grasp the knob on the drawer and then locate and grasp the handle of the pulser. Only after the pulser is in a familiar position in his hand can pure "muscle memory" come into play.

-snip-

Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

It seems as if all of the Admiral's other faculties were working as well. Like his kinesthetic sense which enabled him to know where he was in relationship with his surroundings and, get this, in relationship to himself. If someone under compulsion is not of sound "mind" and "body" then how can they be even self aware? In accordance with the "Philosopher's stone."

This is one of my main disconnects about compulsion. The author says it is not mind control. But if it isn't some mechanism to control "all of the mind" then there is nobody at the Conn, in the engine room, navigation, etc. Someone under compulsion would either give a new meaning to "Hello, is there anybody home" or give a new glimpse into old philosophical theories about "the mind the body the soul and the spirit."

I would certainly like to chat with an MA philosopher. He should be able to fill in the blanks of a lot of age-old philosophical questions posited by philosophers like Kierkegaard, and Heidegger.

...


Duh! :oops: Alphas!

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .
Post by cthia   » Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:29 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
cthia wrote:I can't imagine Cats being snuck up on. They should be able to taste any other animal's mindglow before it gets too close. But initially they may not understand how close is too close without understanding two-leg weaponry and tech. So you have a point.


Have you read the SK stories? No one sneaks up on treecats. They were trapped by technological means which don't have any mindglows at all, so there was nothing in their experience at the time that would have pointed to the danger.

But once they'd learned, all clans would know to avoid such devices. The would-be kidnappers need to get far more creative every time, and given that the information about treecats' intelligence was limited at any time, most likely the kidnappers would keep constantly underestimating them.

Adding one more roadblock: Sphinx becoming far more cosmopolitan means traffic control is much better in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries than it used to be in the early 16th. They'd have full satellite coverage of the planet, including of all treecat domains. Any air car straying into such territory would immediately get the SFS moving. My point here is that a kidnapper needs to also thwart the two-legs' security precautions.

And for what? Until basically "last year," no one would have thought this was worth the effort.

If you hadn't brought it up, I would have never considered getting them to the lab a problem, once captured. They got that one to the lab.


Indeed, but that was a lab on Sphinx, when Sphinx had a population of less than a million humans. Such a lab would either stand out like a sore thumb today or not be effective at all. The MAlign would need to get their top veterinarian and exo-biologists on the planet to be effective.

No doubt a criminal mindglow is not tasty at all. But about this healing technique. Some sort of brainwashing?


We don't know how it works. It appears there's a distinct "profession" inside the treecat society called "mind healers," of whom we've heard very little. Hunters and scouts, we can guess. Memory Singers we know a lot about because of both Sings Truly (Morgana) and Golden Voice (Samantha). Of the other "professions" that are exclusive to treecats because of their unique biology, we don't have info on.

We don't know whether it is brainwashing of some form or another. Even if it is, it is acceptable in their society. But it might be little different from what we do with medication, for example to bipolar disorders.

Holding steadfastly to how felines operate, some sort of mass purring is likely. The closest thing to religious chanting that a Cat knows? The hive, they are one with the collective.


For the big cats, that would be the pride, not the hive. :)

As an aside, I will always imagine that the Cats can "feel" and "hear" their form of communication, either with sound or vibrations of their psyche.

Thus, this healing technique reminds me of the phrase Music hath charm to soothe the savage beast.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .
Post by Somtaaw   » Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:59 pm

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cthia wrote:At any rate, a Cat under compulsion may not get but one kill, but it should almost be a sure kill. You spend that kill on the Queen. Or Honor. Or Benjamin.



That would still fall under the whole limitation I mentioned about
Somtaaw wrote:Any dosed cat would get exactly one kill and then be more or less stuck. Remember that every known use of the nanites for assassinations, the vehicle stood stationary and didn't move or even crouch to try and take cover, their only movement was with their arms. Reaching down and snagging a nearby pulser, holding down the trigger while waving their arm around an entire CIC is the most movement any assassin has ever done.


With the current limitation that from the moment the nanite take over, I'm actually not even sure they'd get that one-kill guaranteed. Every involuntary assassin we've seen so far, including Rajampet eating his own pulser, their feet appear to become rooted to the ground. A treecat would therefore be nearly completely unable to attack anybody unless you voluntarily walked into arms-reach, or the MAlign managed to dose one of the precious few who got taught to handle the cat pulsers.

As good as Nimitz is at throwing frisbees, and 'wild' treecats can throw rocks, maybe you could program them to "throw a rock at X". Feel free to substitute rock for metallic frisbees or a live hand grenade if you will. But a single rock, thrown by something as small as a treecat is unlikely to do more than maybe destroying an eyeball and that's possibly being too generous. But a single treecat, throwing a single rock, simply cannot have the body strength to put enough force into it, not like a major league baseball pitcher could.


The only other option is if their programmed target is the Human whose shoulder they are supposed to be riding, that could be a guaranteed kill from a nanite-controlled cat. Assuming that the MAlign can bypass learning to control all 6 limbs + distributed brains in some way of course. However if you could get to most of those cats (like Monroe for Justin, Ariel for Elizabeth or Nimitz for Honor) you could have just dosed the Human directly and skipped the middleman. Particularly since we saw that Giancola's former ambassador was infected via a microsopic capsule in his yogurt the day before he went flying in a canyon. Why bother dosing a cat to kill Empress Elizabeth (or Honor), if for the same effort you could just dose the human into cutting their own throat at their next fancy or State dinner?
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Re: A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Thu Sep 22, 2022 6:32 pm

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Somtaaw wrote:The only other option is if their programmed target is the Human whose shoulder they are supposed to be riding, that could be a guaranteed kill from a nanite-controlled cat. Assuming that the MAlign can bypass learning to control all 6 limbs + distributed brains in some way of course. However if you could get to most of those cats (like Monroe for Justin, Ariel for Elizabeth or Nimitz for Honor) you could have just dosed the Human directly and skipped the middleman. Particularly since we saw that Giancola's former ambassador was infected via a microsopic capsule in his yogurt the day before he went flying in a canyon. Why bother dosing a cat to kill Empress Elizabeth (or Honor), if for the same effort you could just dose the human into cutting their own throat at their next fancy or State dinner?


Or just poison them. Unless you're trying to make it look like an accident at a remote location, the showy suicide isn't going to fool anyone. The MAlign has to assume that the GA can now detect the telltales of the nanites after they've activated.

Heck, they may have to assume that they can detect the nanites before that too! The GA and the SL have completely roped up their nanite-ridden agents.
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Re: A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .
Post by Somtaaw   » Thu Sep 22, 2022 9:09 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Somtaaw wrote:The only other option is if their programmed target is the Human whose shoulder they are supposed to be riding, that could be a guaranteed kill from a nanite-controlled cat. Assuming that the MAlign can bypass learning to control all 6 limbs + distributed brains in some way of course. However if you could get to most of those cats (like Monroe for Justin, Ariel for Elizabeth or Nimitz for Honor) you could have just dosed the Human directly and skipped the middleman. Particularly since we saw that Giancola's former ambassador was infected via a microsopic capsule in his yogurt the day before he went flying in a canyon. Why bother dosing a cat to kill Empress Elizabeth (or Honor), if for the same effort you could just dose the human into cutting their own throat at their next fancy or State dinner?


Or just poison them. Unless you're trying to make it look like an accident at a remote location, the showy suicide isn't going to fool anyone. The MAlign has to assume that the GA can now detect the telltales of the nanites after they've activated.

Heck, they may have to assume that they can detect the nanites before that too! The GA and the SL have completely roped up their nanite-ridden agents.



True, but if you can dose Honor or Elizabeth with the intention to make them suicide in a State Dinner, the only change would be where in private they'd do it; which is a minor change in nanite programming.

Either way it's still far easier to dose the Human, than trying to make it look like their cat suddenly went insane and killed them. It'd be just as obvious about nanites if Nimitz or Ariel suddenly went crazy, as Elizabeth or Honor suddenly cutting their own throat in public.

But it'd be far far harder to cover it up. The Detweiler brothers are probably still in the market for revenge and aren't thinking logically like Albrecht (tried to). If they were willing to set up the Beowulf nukes with 5 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes (or whatever the final delay was again), they'd totally be delighted to have Honor slit her throat in front of everybody as retaliation for 'her best friend invading Mesa and causing Albrecht's death'.
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Re: A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:39 am

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Somtaaw wrote:True, but if you can dose Honor or Elizabeth with the intention to make them suicide in a State Dinner, the only change would be where in private they'd do it; which is a minor change in nanite programming.


The problem with a delayed activation is that it gives time for detection and a counter-measure. I'd wager that anyone on Colin's Assassinate As Soon As Possible list won't get showy nanite "natural" deaths. If the MAlign has a chance, they'll go for the immediate death, whichever way is available and surest.

But it'd be far far harder to cover it up. The Detweiler brothers are probably still in the market for revenge and aren't thinking logically like Albrecht (tried to). If they were willing to set up the Beowulf nukes with 5 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes (or whatever the final delay was again), they'd totally be delighted to have Honor slit her throat in front of everybody as retaliation for 'her best friend invading Mesa and causing Albrecht's death'.


That has a certain ring of truth, but it sounds like Dr. Evil's Unnecessarily Slow Moving Killing Machine. Let Scott go get his gun.
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Re: A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .
Post by cthia   » Fri Sep 23, 2022 7:40 am

cthia
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Somtaaw wrote:
cthia wrote:At any rate, a Cat under compulsion may not get but one kill, but it should almost be a sure kill. You spend that kill on the Queen. Or Honor. Or Benjamin.



That would still fall under the whole limitation I mentioned about
Somtaaw wrote:Any dosed cat would get exactly one kill and then be more or less stuck. Remember that every known use of the nanites for assassinations, the vehicle stood stationary and didn't move or even crouch to try and take cover, their only movement was with their arms. Reaching down and snagging a nearby pulser, holding down the trigger while waving their arm around an entire CIC is the most movement any assassin has ever done.


With the current limitation that from the moment the nanite take over, I'm actually not even sure they'd get that one-kill guaranteed. Every involuntary assassin we've seen so far, including Rajampet eating his own pulser, their feet appear to become rooted to the ground. A treecat would therefore be nearly completely unable to attack anybody unless you voluntarily walked into arms-reach, or the MAlign managed to dose one of the precious few who got taught to handle the cat pulsers.

As good as Nimitz is at throwing frisbees, and 'wild' treecats can throw rocks, maybe you could program them to "throw a rock at X". Feel free to substitute rock for metallic frisbees or a live hand grenade if you will. But a single rock, thrown by something as small as a treecat is unlikely to do more than maybe destroying an eyeball and that's possibly being too generous. But a single treecat, throwing a single rock, simply cannot have the body strength to put enough force into it, not like a major league baseball pitcher could.


The only other option is if their programmed target is the Human whose shoulder they are supposed to be riding, that could be a guaranteed kill from a nanite-controlled cat. Assuming that the MAlign can bypass learning to control all 6 limbs + distributed brains in some way of course. However if you could get to most of those cats (like Monroe for Justin, Ariel for Elizabeth or Nimitz for Honor) you could have just dosed the Human directly and skipped the middleman. Particularly since we saw that Giancola's former ambassador was infected via a microsopic capsule in his yogurt the day before he went flying in a canyon. Why bother dosing a cat to kill Empress Elizabeth (or Honor), if for the same effort you could just dose the human into cutting their own throat at their next fancy or State dinner?

A very intriguing post, and your arguments are solid. But I still think Cats under compulsion would be a sure kill. Certainty would rely on the trigger. Every activation is related to a trigger. The trigger is the point where every requirement is met.

1. Is the Cat in place?

2. Is the target in the kill zone?

If the trigger is when the Cat sits atop the shoulders, that is a sure kill. The Cats only sit atop the shoulders of their own two-leg. Waiting for a Cat to sit atop the shoulders is no different than when the Klingons had to wait for Geordi to go down to Engineering.

And as I said, it may turn out to be even easier to dose a Cat. A Cat could be dosed with tainted celery or other foodstuffs, same as Nimitz was poisoned by Pavel Young. And this time the celery would not have a potential for collateral damage if engineered only for Cats.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .
Post by Somtaaw   » Fri Sep 23, 2022 10:53 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Somtaaw wrote:True, but if you can dose Honor or Elizabeth with the intention to make them suicide in a State Dinner, the only change would be where in private they'd do it; which is a minor change in nanite programming.


The problem with a delayed activation is that it gives time for detection and a counter-measure. I'd wager that anyone on Colin's Assassinate As Soon As Possible list won't get showy nanite "natural" deaths. If the MAlign has a chance, they'll go for the immediate death, whichever way is available and surest.


So far as we know, the only time anybody outside of the Alignment can detect the nanites after only they accomplish the mission and are trying to breakdown to avoid that same detection. Because they are 'grown' using the targets own biological cells and are self-replicating, not to mention they don't have to circulate through the bloodstream, so you can't simply do frequent blood tests. I'm not sure exactly how advanced HV medical is, but I'm pretty sure daily detailed brainscans are still far beyond even the wildest paranoiac bodyguard's wet dreams.


But here's a real poser :idea: , Honor has that artificial limb right? Based on what we've read already in prior books her fake arm doesn't react to the signals in the same way as her bio-arm does/did, so it's probably safe from nanite control. But would Honor be able to use her artificial arm to prevent her biological arm from trying to slit her own throat? She'd only have to do it for about 10 seconds, by that point her armsmen would have been able to get within arms reach and pin her bio-arm down, and Honor would be the first (surviving) nanite-controlled assassin which would unquestionably give the GA far better information on the nanites than what Jack McBryde gave them.

Assuming of course that the suicide nanites that the Alignment meant to give Firebrand, and did give to many of their other operatives is a different form of nanite than the ones that mimic a form of mind-control that is. Otherwise it'd be far simpler to 'infiltrate' even the various homes of Honor or Elizabeth to get their genetic samples, and having a team 'on planet' to grow the nanites and save travel time and just giving your target a nice clean brain aneurysm, or a fatal heart attack. I'm pretty sure they are distinctly different nanites, the suicide ones are an injection, while the 'mind control' can be the microscopic capsules inside food or drink.
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Re: A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .
Post by tlb   » Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:17 am

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Somtaaw wrote:Assuming of course that the suicide nanites that the Alignment meant to give Firebrand, and did give to many of their other operatives is a different form of nanite than the ones that mimic a form of mind-control that is. Otherwise it'd be far simpler to 'infiltrate' even the various homes of Honor or Elizabeth to get their genetic samples, and having a team 'on planet' to grow the nanites and save travel time and just giving your target a nice clean brain aneurysm, or a fatal heart attack. I'm pretty sure they are distinctly different nanites, the suicide ones are an injection, while the 'mind control' can be the microscopic capsules inside food or drink.

I see no reason for them to be different, the only difference is whether their action is internal or external. Both need to have the ability to receive data and process it, as a way to determine when to act. Since that determination is the most difficult part of what the nanites do, economy of action argues against them being too dissimilar.

The Lieutenant was infected by a perfume atomizer, because using a needle would be too memorable. I suspect the reason for using an outside agent, rather than a suicide protocol, was to further the war and avoid suspicion that a biological agent was used. The problem of getting the Queen's DNA by sweeping the palace is that you end with a jumble of DNA and resulting uncertainty of having something that exclusively represents the Queen; combined with the difficulty of then infecting her. People like Honor or the Queen are heavily guarded even in their most private moments when a cleanest sample could be obtained. Because of that it is simpler and cleaner to stage an attack through a less defended third person.
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Re: A copper-plated moral decision for the 'Cats . . .
Post by Somtaaw   » Sat Sep 24, 2022 6:16 am

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tlb wrote:The problem of getting the Queen's DNA by sweeping the palace is that you end with a jumble of DNA and resulting uncertainty of having something that exclusively represents the Queen; combined with the difficulty of then infecting her. People like Honor or the Queen are heavily guarded even in their most private moments when a cleanest sample could be obtained. Because of that it is simpler and cleaner to stage an attack through a less defended third person.



Yes and no. DNA checks seem to be pretty easily done, and people like Honor or Elizabeth being genies would have substanially easier identification than 'normals'. Hell, if you could hack their personal doctors computer system you could probably get a good chunk of their genetic data.

Maybe not enough to vat-clone an organ, but you'd at least have enough of a genetic template to tell your targets hair from a servant off say some dirty bedsheets, a hair comb (Honor's used one of those a half dozen times on-scene), or a dirty uniform that got snatched before it made it to the laundry.

And Mesa/Alignment are the galaxies (second) best geneticists, they shouldn't need much to guarantee correct identification. And all they'd need is a few hairs from the correct person to start growing the custom nanites, it might take longer to do than getting your hands on actual blood or tissue samples, but if anybody could it's the Alignment.


The largest and hardest problem isn't in acquiring the genetic sample, but reintroducing it back to the final target. Honor now being something close to a Stay-At-Home mom gives the Alignment more possibilities than any other time since Honor was half-pay after shooting Pavel Young. In recent history, she's been mostly safely tucked away aboard fleet flagships, attending strategy briefings, or otherwise having her itinerary so highly classified even the people who actually needed to know were never quite sure of her exact location.


Honor's security is probably overall tighter than even Elizabeth, because Grayson armsmen just seem better trained than Manticoran Palace Guard. Possibly because they didn't have all the technological options, so they had to rely more on personal training & experience rather than just waving a scanner, or watching a camera from another room. But again... if you're intelligent and put your mind to it, you can get to just about anybody, it's just a matter of how determined you are to becoming a martyr. And we saw previously that the Mesan Alignment GAULs would have happily strapped a nuclear bomb to their backs and personally detonated it for the Onion Evacuation, they clearly have plenty of voluntary martyrs waiting.
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