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The Torch Wormhole

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The Torch Wormhole
Post by Maldorian   » Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:57 pm

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In another thread we discussed a lot about the Torch Wormhole, so I decided to open a new thread.

First of all, I think there is a major error in the whole Torch twist.

It was mentionend, that the medical herb harvest by slave labor was only profitable, because Manpower gave them a discount.
That sentence makes absolut no sense!

It would be better to use automatic farming systems. Is is cheaper and more important: it doesn´t "invite" the bad neighbors (Haven, Manticore) for a visit. But David needed a word with a slave population for his story, so, it would be better if he explained, that the medical herbs needs extra care and there is no maschine/too expensive maschines to do the job.

Why Verdant Vista/Torch as location for a Mesan medical Herb farm? The location is near the terretory of two of the biggest enemies of slavery in the whole galaxy. Not the best location for a mesan operation. Also very far away from Mesa and if I am right, they had to create the whole infrastucture there. If they build the facilities on a planet in the shell, they would get Infrastructure by the local goverment.

The only logical answer is the Wormhole! Mesa need someone to watch it and as the nearest habitated planet, to lawfully claim the rights for it if someone else try to use it.

Why doesn´t Mesa use the wormhole? Because they couldn´t keep it! If they open it, one case of slave trading on the planet or around the wormhole and the neighbors have "The" excuse to occupie the wormhole.

So, thats in my opinion about the situation that the galaxy see if they look at Verdant Vista, now Torch, in the past.

I don´t know, how much time do you need to explore a wormhole? There are a dozen wormholes so you can guess how many time they would need to figure the right path out.

If they need a few months, that would be enough time to send a courier ship or the director of Verdant Vista makes a nice trip with his Yacht (with other words, someone report to Mesa).

If you think about the wormhole now, you have to add the Alignment into the calculation.
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Re: The Torch Wormhole
Post by Galactic Sapper   » Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:38 pm

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Maldorian wrote:Why Verdant Vista/Torch as location for a Mesan medical Herb farm?

The plants in question were native to the planet.
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Re: The Torch Wormhole
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:44 pm

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Your conclusion that using slaves made no economical sense was also in the story. After the liberation, they turn up documentation from a middle manager in the pharmaceutical company that using automation would be a lot better and save money, but the proposal was shot down with no explanation. This was one of the first threads that when Zilwicki, Cachat and Ruth pulled, the house of cards for Manpower started falling apart. They started concluding that Manpower was not acting like a company (profit motive) but instead acting like a nation-state.

Why was Manpower investing in populating Verdant Vista? I'm with you: the wormhole. They needed to claim rights to the planet and to have people keeping an eye around. The Mesan Space Navy even had a detachment around that could protect the system.

But they also seeded misinformation. They created rumours that the wormhole was a junction with multiple termini, when it isn't. And they made it look like they never investigated where it led, which was clearly false. But as we argued before, no one in their sane mind would put off investigating a wormhole if they can help it, since the upside of a new commerce route is enormous.
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Re: The Torch Wormhole
Post by Armed Neo-Bob   » Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:48 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:Your conclusion that using slaves made no economical sense was also in the story. After the liberation, they turn up documentation from a middle manager in the pharmaceutical company that using automation would be a lot better and save money, but the proposal was shot down with no explanation. This was one of the first threads that when Zilwicki, Cachat and Ruth pulled, the house of cards for Manpower started falling apart. They started concluding that Manpower was not acting like a company (profit motive) but instead acting like a nation-state.

Why was Manpower investing in populating Verdant Vista? I'm with you: the wormhole. They needed to claim rights to the planet and to have people keeping an eye around. The Mesan Space Navy even had a detachment around that could protect the system.

But they also seeded misinformation. They created rumours that the wormhole was a junction with multiple termini, when it isn't. And they made it look like they never investigated where it led, which was clearly false. But as we argued before, no one in their sane mind would put off investigating a wormhole if they can help it, since the upside of a new commerce route is enormous.


Erewhon wasn't a major military power; but they locked Haven out of a useful trade artery and were also almost as hostile to Mesa as the Manties and the Havenites. So the Malign didn't really want a military confrontation with anyone over Congo--they just wanted Erewhon nervous about what was next door, and believed High Ridge was stupid enough to push them away (and he did). They just didn't predict that Haven would be picking up the pieces. Without Cachat, they wouldn't have, either.

MA had several corporate owned systems that were supposedly Manpower; Verdant Vista was one, and another was the Kay system, where they ran some (unspecified) mining operations. By using Manpower/Mesa Pharmaceuticals as their front, they have the most venal scumbags possible running the system; now add in a wormhole "junction" with up to three bridges, and hostile but distant threats become much more likely to act on their hostility. Also, they were apparently acquiring additional systems (backed up by the FS) which would start to make them feel crowded or hemmed in by Mesans.

As it was noted in text, the idea was mostly to give Erewhon's populace a bad case of nerves--which they thought would let the Malign lead them into the League, where their internal spies could grab anything they could get on Manti tech, and let their Sollie front companies and allies zip through Erewhonese space.

Anyway, the idea was sort of like the SLN's insistence that the Manties would back down rather than fight; the folks that came up with the notion in the first place couldn't conceive that they might not be right.

ymmv Rob
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Re: The Torch Wormhole
Post by Theemile   » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:48 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:Your conclusion that using slaves made no economical sense was also in the story. After the liberation, they turn up documentation from a middle manager in the pharmaceutical company that using automation would be a lot better and save money, but the proposal was shot down with no explanation. This was one of the first threads that when Zilwicki, Cachat and Ruth pulled, the house of cards for Manpower started falling apart. They started concluding that Manpower was not acting like a company (profit motive) but instead acting like a nation-state.

Why was Manpower investing in populating Verdant Vista? I'm with you: the wormhole. They needed to claim rights to the planet and to have people keeping an eye around. The Mesan Space Navy even had a detachment around that could protect the system.

But they also seeded misinformation. They created rumours that the wormhole was a junction with multiple termini, when it isn't. And they made it look like they never investigated where it led, which was clearly false. But as we argued before, no one in their sane mind would put off investigating a wormhole if they can help it, since the upside of a new commerce route is enormous.


Awhile back, the entire economics of Manpower was discussed - pretty exhaustedly, and at all levels it doesn't make sense.

Firstly, you need to educate and raise the slaves - even if you can find a way to shorten their growth period, we're still talking about 10-15 years of feeding, immunizing, giving basic education, and specialty training to the different lines. That is a massive sunk cost on top of the cost of breeding, genetic manipulating, and shipping the product.

At one point, it was mentioned that the 2 most popular lines were the sex lines and the technician lines. The Sex lines are "Taught" before they are sold, and the technician lines need a basic knowledge of computer systems, mechanics and electronics to work and repair modern equipment. I can't imagine either of these being an "overnight" course, or else they wouldn't be comparable to a trained, willing worker.

Unfortunately, the most important point brought up was that even in our most advanced societies today, it is easy to find workers who will do EVERY role in society, even the most odious. Sadly, every society has home grown sex workers (and equally sad, every society has members who will pay dearly for said services). Migrant workers work for minimal pay and pick our vegetables and tend our gardens.

So why would slaves be needed in a universe where most jobs have been replaced by hardware, or someone is willing to do it? The only such job people will not do willingly today is one that kills you quickly. And as I said, most of those jobs are/will be replaced by a machine (who will probably do it better).

So why slaves? Other than in the snuff film industry, there isn't enough need for them.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
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Re: The Torch Wormhole
Post by Cartref   » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:21 pm

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One thing that no one has commented, a slave would not be paid for their work. All they would get is their food and shelter and that could be poor quality.

If slaves were "breed is "captivity" they would know no other way of life, hence working for just food (which they could grow) and shelter (which they could also build) would mean basically zero in ongoing costs.

Not that this is really pleasant to contemplate.
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Re: The Torch Wormhole
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:58 pm

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Armed Neo-Bob wrote:As it was noted in text, the idea was mostly to give Erewhon's populace a bad case of nerves--which they thought would let the Malign lead them into the League, where their internal spies could grab anything they could get on Manti tech, and let their Sollie front companies and allies zip through Erewhonese space.

Anyway, the idea was sort of like the SLN's insistence that the Manties would back down rather than fight; the folks that came up with the notion in the first place couldn't conceive that they might not be right.


Erewhon did, in fact, "get in bed" with the League, as they started building ships for the SLN that were markedly better than SLN's own hardware. The SLN also took over defence for Congo, thereby solving Erewhon's problem, just as the MAlign had wanted.

Except that it failed to see through Barregos, Roszak and Operation Sepoy. The breadcrumbs that they fed the SLN and the Solly companies kept everyone's attention, distracting them from the full picture. The fact that the MAlign envoys posing as Manties shortly before the independence existed in the first place indicates that the MAlign hadn't understood that the cooperation they were faking was actually real.
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Re: The Torch Wormhole
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:12 am

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Theemile wrote:
ThinksMarkedly wrote:Your conclusion that using slaves made no economical sense was also in the story. After the liberation, they turn up documentation from a middle manager in the pharmaceutical company that using automation would be a lot better and save money, but the proposal was shot down with no explanation. This was one of the first threads that when Zilwicki, Cachat and Ruth pulled, the house of cards for Manpower started falling apart. They started concluding that Manpower was not acting like a company (profit motive) but instead acting like a nation-state.

Why was Manpower investing in populating Verdant Vista? I'm with you: the wormhole. They needed to claim rights to the planet and to have people keeping an eye around. The Mesan Space Navy even had a detachment around that could protect the system.

But they also seeded misinformation. They created rumours that the wormhole was a junction with multiple termini, when it isn't. And they made it look like they never investigated where it led, which was clearly false. But as we argued before, no one in their sane mind would put off investigating a wormhole if they can help it, since the upside of a new commerce route is enormous.


Awhile back, the entire economics of Manpower was discussed - pretty exhaustedly, and at all levels it doesn't make sense.

Firstly, you need to educate and raise the slaves - even if you can find a way to shorten their growth period, we're still talking about 10-15 years of feeding, immunizing, giving basic education, and specialty training to the different lines. That is a massive sunk cost on top of the cost of breeding, genetic manipulating, and shipping the product.

At one point, it was mentioned that the 2 most popular lines were the sex lines and the technician lines. The Sex lines are "Taught" before they are sold, and the technician lines need a basic knowledge of computer systems, mechanics and electronics to work and repair modern equipment. I can't imagine either of these being an "overnight" course, or else they wouldn't be comparable to a trained, willing worker.

Unfortunately, the most important point brought up was that even in our most advanced societies today, it is easy to find workers who will do EVERY role in society, even the most odious. Sadly, every society has home grown sex workers (and equally sad, every society has members who will pay dearly for said services). Migrant workers work for minimal pay and pick our vegetables and tend our gardens.

So why would slaves be needed in a universe where most jobs have been replaced by hardware, or someone is willing to do it? The only such job people will not do willingly today is one that kills you quickly. And as I said, most of those jobs are/will be replaced by a machine (who will probably do it better).

So why slaves? Other than in the snuff film industry, there isn't enough need for them.


I would imagine that the MAJOR market for genetically engineered slaves would be entities that are operating some type of resource extraction in planetary environments that are hostile to normal humans.

An obvious example is San Martin. Aside from the very high gravity, the atmosphere is so dense that only the higher elevation areas are inhabited. (Reminscent of Larry Niven's Plateu).

There are going to be planets in the Honorvese that simply are not survivable for normal humans. Given the ease of interstellar travel, most people will be unwilling to have their progeny genetically modified to live in these hostile environments. The will colonize more habitable planets. However; where valuable resources are available for the taking, someone will pay Manpower for customized slaves that can function in that environment.
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Re: The Torch Wormhole
Post by Theemile   » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:49 am

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TFLYTSNBN wrote:
Theemile wrote:
Awhile back, the entire economics of Manpower was discussed - pretty exhaustedly, and at all levels it doesn't make sense.

Firstly, you need to educate and raise the slaves - even if you can find a way to shorten their growth period, we're still talking about 10-15 years of feeding, immunizing, giving basic education, and specialty training to the different lines. That is a massive sunk cost on top of the cost of breeding, genetic manipulating, and shipping the product.

At one point, it was mentioned that the 2 most popular lines were the sex lines and the technician lines. The Sex lines are "Taught" before they are sold, and the technician lines need a basic knowledge of computer systems, mechanics and electronics to work and repair modern equipment. I can't imagine either of these being an "overnight" course, or else they wouldn't be comparable to a trained, willing worker.

Unfortunately, the most important point brought up was that even in our most advanced societies today, it is easy to find workers who will do EVERY role in society, even the most odious. Sadly, every society has home grown sex workers (and equally sad, every society has members who will pay dearly for said services). Migrant workers work for minimal pay and pick our vegetables and tend our gardens.

So why would slaves be needed in a universe where most jobs have been replaced by hardware, or someone is willing to do it? The only such job people will not do willingly today is one that kills you quickly. And as I said, most of those jobs are/will be replaced by a machine (who will probably do it better).

So why slaves? Other than in the snuff film industry, there isn't enough need for them.


I would imagine that the MAJOR market for genetically engineered slaves would be entities that are operating some type of resource extraction in planetary environments that are hostile to normal humans.

An obvious example is San Martin. Aside from the very high gravity, the atmosphere is so dense that only the higher elevation areas are inhabited. (Reminscent of Larry Niven's Plateu).

There are going to be planets in the Honorvese that simply are not survivable for normal humans. Given the ease of interstellar travel, most people will be unwilling to have their progeny genetically modified to live in these hostile environments. The will colonize more habitable planets. However; where valuable resources are available for the taking, someone will pay Manpower for customized slaves that can function in that environment.


You are right, that is the perfect environment. But how much of that extraction has to be done by hand? How much can be done by a machine with the operator in a shirt sleeve environment nearby? Yes, I can see a handful of industries with require hand extraction, but enough to support Manpower? Once again, the acquisition costs of slaves have to be high - 15 years of food, training, and shelter, the high cost of transport (High losses of slaves and ships combined with highly paid crews to offset the chances of death if caught) - not to mention Manpower's profits to pay for kickbacks, genetic research, etc.

Once again, I'm not saying there are not there are not good uses. But is it more economically viable to pay say $250,000 for a slave and continue to feed, cloth, heal, and shelter him until he dies or runs away, than it is to hire a normal man - or even an already augmented man, and pay a moderate wage? Unlike the normal man, you have to actively keep slaves in place, so whatever funds you might be saving in your "Human Resources" department by not having retirement planners and benefit councilors will be taken up by "Workplace Engagement Enforcers" and Security Specialists - not to mention the 20th century PD version of barbed wire fences.

And in these extreme cases where the economics are viable and the morals are loose, what is really the yearly need? Is it enough to pay for the entire Manpower establishment? Something tells me no...
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
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Re: The Torch Wormhole
Post by kzt   » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:37 am

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Cartref wrote:One thing that no one has commented, a slave would not be paid for their work. All they would get is their food and shelter and that could be poor quality.

If slaves were "breed is "captivity" they would know no other way of life, hence working for just food (which they could grow) and shelter (which they could also build) would mean basically zero in ongoing costs.

Not that this is really pleasant to contemplate.

Years ago I read an economic analysis of slavery in the US south, and it was highly profitable. You don't have to invest in training the slaves, you can have the slaves do that. The slaves grew their own food, etc.

The idea that slavery in modern times couldn't be profitable is not true. If you do a bunch of dumb things, then sure, but I can lose money on anything if I work at it.
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