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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:18 pm

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Brigade XO wrote:Since we also don't know what other offensive or defensive hardware and systems the LD's have that the Ghosts and Sharks have, we can't make any actual guesses at what their capasity is (beyond the Spyder and serious SmartSkin type stealth) and how the would be able to defend themselves if discovered.


That's the crux of the problem. From what we currently know about them, the LDs are White Elephants. They are big, slow assets that represent each a huge investment. They are not tactically flexible. Don't get me wrong, knowing one is there is a terrifying situation, but the point of a deterrent weapon is knowing it exists. That would imply the MAN discloses the existence of the LDs and some of their capabilities, and I don't see that happening.

By proof to absurd, we must conclude they have other capabilities that RFC hasn't told us about. We just can't know what they are at this point.

On the other hand, the Sharks and Ghosts were deliverd by freighter so the did generate that initial scouting responce from the duty DD squadron to track down the downward from hyper spike so PROBABLY that isn't going to happen in an actual strike operation as the LD's are going to use the Spyder drive to get there, Somehow I don't see the Alignment building "conventional bulk freighters" of a size to carry the implied size of a LD to where it is going to work and then have to do the same routine as the Oyster Bay Attacks. We also don't know if an intention is to pair up an LD (one or more) with at least one Ghost so that the scout could do the close in work identifying targets and sending the information out to the attack ship(s)


Oops, two problems there.

First, only the Ghosts were delivered by freighter. The Sharks, which are battleship-sized ships, came on their own power. There's no freighter that can carry a BB-sized ship in its belly, not if it wants to remain inconspicuous. Definitely not one that can carry multiple ones.

Second, unless the MAN is willing to wait centuries for their attacks to arrive, there will be a translation. The Manticore sensors didn't detect the wedge of the freighter, they detected the hyper footprint when it translated from alpha to n-space. That is required for faster-than-light travel. So any ship from the smallest courier to the LD will cause a hyper footprint when it comes. There are no exceptions to this rule, as stated by RFC himself in text (he's the only one that can change this).

Anyway, there couldn't be a freighter to carry an LD. That's above the maximum size for impellers, as the technology is currently known. So just like the freighter for a BB-sized ship, it would stand out in any system it came. A ship with a hold that big exists to transport things that can't be broken up into smaller pieces, so it stands to reason they go point-to-point. Therefore, there are no unscheduled arrivals of such ships. (Ok, they may have diverted to the nearest safe harbour after an engineering casualty, but that ship will be calling for help and there will be a lot of people coming on-board and will see its cargo hold)

I think that this is probaby essentialy a terror weapon system. Sure, the Oyster Bay attacks were more or less against targets which could be considered military in nature. But there was absolutleye no warning given in and with the nature of the weapon systems used, essentilay no possibility of evacuating civilians from anything. Note that it is discussed in some detail that the planners only took some effort to avoid the technical specs of an EE attack but that nothing was done to prevent (or try to prevent in any way) to keep chunks of stations from impacting on planets.
The INTENT was to destroy the orbital infrastructure and manufacturing capacity of the systems invovled AND to kill as many of their trained workforce as possible. All the civilians killed were just a bonus as far as the Alignment was concerned- more damage, horror, confusion and loss for the rest of the population of the systems. That was accomplished.


Yup, as I speculated too. But the problem is that the people to be terrorised need to know about it.
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Re: ?
Post by Theemile   » Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:21 pm

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Brigade XO wrote:The "LD might as well be a freighter" though does bring up some interesting things.

We presume that it is intended to move to places and slink around with the Spider drive and then fire (well, push with mass driver or something similar) whatever number of Graser Torpedoes nessisary to accomplish it's/their mission. Perhaps also put out various ballistic packages like dropping pods.

Since we also don't know what other offensive or defensive hardware and systems the LD's have that the Ghosts and Sharks have, we can't make any actual guesses at what their capasity is (beyond the Spyder and serious SmartSkin type stealth) and how the would be able to defend themselves if discovered.

On the other hand, the Sharks and Ghosts were deliverd by freighter so the did generate that initial scouting responce from the duty DD squadron to track down the downward from hyper spike so PROBABLY that isn't going to happen in an actual strike operation as the LD's are going to use the Spyder drive to get there, Somehow I don't see the Alignment building "conventional bulk freighters" of a size to carry the implied size of a LD to where it is going to work and then have to do the same routine as the Oyster Bay Attacks. We also don't know if an intention is to pair up an LD (one or more) with at least one Ghost so that the scout could do the close in work identifying targets and sending the information out to the attack ship(s)

So, other than slinking up to a system with the undetectable (for now) Spyder drive and blowing the crap out of anything that lives in a regular orbit relative to anyting in that system, what is the mission of the LD's?
I think that this is probaby essentialy a terror weapon system. Sure, the Oyster Bay attacks were more or less against targets which could be considered military in nature. But there was absolutleye no warning given in and with the nature of the weapon systems used, essentilay no possibility of evacuating civilians from anything. Note that it is discussed in some detail that the planners only took some effort to avoid the technical specs of an EE attack but that nothing was done to prevent (or try to prevent in any way) to keep chunks of stations from impacting on planets.
The INTENT was to destroy the orbital infrastructure and manufacturing capacity of the systems invovled AND to kill as many of their trained workforce as possible. All the civilians killed were just a bonus as far as the Alignment was concerned- more damage, horror, confusion and loss for the rest of the population of the systems. That was accomplished.

So what was a major goal in THE PLAN befor and after Oyster Bay was "rushed". Destroy major systems ability to build and support both their navies and their capasity to manufacture anyting in orbital infrastructure. Shatter the League both militarily and politically so that the fragments could be brought into a situation set up to rewrite their basic philosophys, particularly in genetics. So you are going to crate situations where your maniplated set of systems (primarily Haven but Manticor would do) chew up the SLN and others in the process of creating a Balkinized humanity with multiple systems at war with others----and having already smashed what major powers capasity possible with Haven attacking the League, you send in the Lenny Detts and have undetected and unidentified forces hitting any orbital (and other including planitary) locations they want with no warning. Each victim is free to pick the probable attacker from whomever has been the most problem recently and then attempt to strike back in retaliation. The Alignment just keeps killing people and destroying capasity and lets the RF seed it's actual rebuilding program amoung the devistated survivors,

The Alignment is going to be slinking around stepping on ants (some of them very dangerous but they can't bite back at what they can't see of detect) till the ants as suitably "pacified" and reeducated to become just more Alignment cattle. All those lives of "normals" are of no consequence to the StarLines.


Only the Ghosts were delivered by freighter, the BB/DN sized Sharks dropped in the Manticore system under their own power at 1+ light month in the convoluted maneuver intended to look like a "false" double echo on the Manticorian System Grav arrays.

No one is suggesting that a massive freighter deliver an LD, just that normal freighters could have delivered the LD's missile/torp payload in the place of the LD. In short, the same mission as OB (or the like) could have been accomplished without any expensive specialist ships like the Sharks/Leonard Detweilers.

Freighters max out at 8.5 Mtons. (At much over that mass, freighters would be limited to the ~50Gs that Grav plates will negate, since you cannot built a compensator to handle those masses, and we're still not certain if it could move Grav waves and wormholes since it does not have a compensator.) Anything large enough to carry the >9 Mton LD would garner more attention than the LD itself would.
******
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: ?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:22 am

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And following up on the couple posts already pointing that only the Ghosts arrived by freighter - here's the actual text of the arrivals of the Ghosts and Sharks.

The Ghosts
Storm From the Shadows - Ch. 48 wrote:"Bay doors are opening, Sir," another voice said, and Østby turned from his com to look across the cramped bridge at Captain Eric Masters. If Jacobi looked young for her rank, then Masters looked far too senior to be commanding a ship little larger than an old-fashioned frigate, but, again, appearances could be deceiving. Despite her tiny size (she had no flag bridge, and Østby couldn't even fit all of his abbreviated staff onto her command deck) MANS Chameleon, Østby's flagship, was something entirely new in the history of galactic warfare.[...]
"Take us out," he said simply, and Chameleon twitched ever so gently as the web of tractor and pressor beams which had held her exactly centered in the freighter Wallaby's cavernous Number Two hold were switched off at last.
A gentle puff of compressed air from the specially modified thruster packs strapped to her bow sent her drifting backward, without the pyrotechnics of her normal fusion-powered thrusters. That would have been . . . contraindicated inside a ship, Østby thought dryly while he watched the visual display as the hold's bulkheads went sliding by.
It was the first time they'd made an actual combat deployment, but Østby's captains and crews had practiced this same maneuver dozens of times before ever leaving the Mesa System.[...]The deployment maneuver took quite a while, but no one was in a tearing hurry, and no one wanted to risk a last-minute, potentially catastrophic accident. Wallaby had made her alpha translation thirty minutes ago, and she was still several hours away from the wormhole junction she'd ostensibly come here to transit. At this range, even a fully conventional ship Chameleon's size would almost certainly have been invisible even to Manticoran sensor arrays (assuming its skipper was smart enough not to bring up his wedge, at any rate). Not that anyone intended to take any chances.
Chameleon slid completely free of Wallaby, like an Old Earth shark sliding tail-first from its mother's womb, and the modified packs fell away as the jettisoning charges blew. They disappeared quickly into the Stygian gloom—this far out from the system primary, even the star gleam on Chameleon's own flanks was scarcely visible[...]
"Very good," Masters repeated, and looked at his executive officer. "Take us into stealth and bring up the spider, Chris," he said.


And the Sharks
Storm From the Shadows - Ch 51 wrote:At the moment, Kolstad was concentrating all of her own attention on the readouts which showed the exact position of every unit of Topolev's task force, literally down to the last centimeter. All twenty of his ships were tractored together into two big, ungainly formations, nine hundred kilometers apart, as they floated with the closest thing possible to a zero velocity relative to one another and to the normal-space universe they'd left three months earlier.[...]
Absolutely nothing seemed to happen for the next two or three minutes, but appearances were deceiving, and Topolev waited patiently, watching his own displays, as Task Force One of the Mesan Alignment Navy translated ever so slowly and gradually back into normal-space.
This maneuver had been tested against the Mesa System's sensor arrays by crews using the early Ghost-class ships even before the first of the Shark-class prototypes had ever been laid down, and Task Force One had practiced it over a hundred times once the mission had been okayed. [...]
Both groups of his ships slid gradually, carefully towards the hyper wall, making the slowest possible translation back into normal-space.
It was physically impossible for any ship to cross the hyper wall without radiating a hyper footprint, but the strength of that footprint was—to a large extent, at least—a factor of the base velocity the ship in question wanted to carry across the wall. The alpha translation's bleed factor was roughly ninety-two percent, and all of that energy had to go somewhere. There was also an unavoidable gravitic spike or echo along the interface between the alpha bands of hyper-space and normal-space that was effectively independent of a ship's speed. Reducing velocity couldn't do anything about that, but a slow, "gentle" translation along a shallow gradient produced a much weaker spike, as well.[...]
"Translation completed, Sir," Lieutenant Commander Vivienne Henning, his staff astrogator, announced. "Preliminary checks indicate we're right on the money: one light-month out on almost exactly the right bearing."
"Good work," Topolev complemented her, and she smiled with pleasure at the sincerity in his voice. He smiled back, then cleared his throat. "And now that we're here, let's go someplace else."
"Yes, Sir."
The twenty Shark-class ships, each about midway between an old-fashioned battleship and a dreadnought for size, deactivated the tractors which had held them together. Reaction thrusters flared, pushing them apart, although they didn't seek the same amount of separation most starships their size would have. Then again, they didn't need that much separation.
A few moments later, they were underway at a steady seventy-five gravities.



I'd forgotten how close in, relatively speaking, the Ghosts were able to be dropped. Give the Ghosts some fire control links and you could drop off an infrastructure killing strike of Ghosts & Grazer torps from a freighter or three (spread out over time & distance as necessary to avoid looking suspicious)
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Re: ?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:45 am

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Theemile wrote:Freighters max out at 8.5 Mtons. (At much over that mass, freighters would be limited to the ~50Gs that Grav plates will negate, since you cannot built a compensator to handle those masses, and we're still not certain if it could move Grav waves and wormholes since it does not have a compensator.) Anything large enough to carry the >9 Mton LD would garner more attention than the LD itself would.

Yep. I figure if anybody build a mega-sized freighter, well beyond the compensator mass/volume limit, then the customs agents of every system it passed through would be looking for any possible excuse to board and inspect it - just to be able to see this crazy thing in person. (And a launch cradle and bay capable of holding a >9 mton ship would be hard to miss during even the most casual inspection :D)

Any even long long range grav sensors you probably wouldn't be able to mistake anything else for it. (Well if it was "only" up to 16 mtons then it might have a similar acceleration signature as the largest forts. But those don't drop out of hyper into your system :D
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Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:53 am

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Jonathan_S wrote:
Theemile wrote:Freighters max out at 8.5 Mtons. (At much over that mass, freighters would be limited to the ~50Gs that Grav plates will negate, since you cannot built a compensator to handle those masses, and we're still not certain if it could move Grav waves and wormholes since it does not have a compensator.) Anything large enough to carry the >9 Mton LD would garner more attention than the LD itself would.

Yep. I figure if anybody build a mega-sized freighter, well beyond the compensator mass/volume limit, then the customs agents of every system it passed through would be looking for any possible excuse to board and inspect it - just to be able to see this crazy thing in person. (And a launch cradle and bay capable of holding a >9 mton ship would be hard to miss during even the most casual inspection :D)

Any even long long range grav sensors you probably wouldn't be able to mistake anything else for it. (Well if it was "only" up to 16 mtons then it might have a similar acceleration signature as the largest forts. But those don't drop out of hyper into your system :D
Thanks for the timely textev Jonathan.

However, none of that alone guarantees that the MA won't build one. Or several even. And use them for months until certain systems (where they intend to use them for nefarious purposes) get accustomed to seeing them. When they've become old news.

Plus, the questionable accessories inside its cavernous hold can be hidden and or disguised like the bays of a Q-ship. In fact, the monsters can actually be used for legitimate purposes, carrying huge amounts of legitimate goods from Manticore to all points headed to RF Systems. The MBS is certainly in no position to turn down big orders. And there is nothing wrong arriving in system with an empty freighter (after dumping the LD) ready to work the heck out of the stevedores.

Question: From the Ghost's arrival.

Storm from the Shadows Ch. 48 wrote:"Very good," Masters repeated, and looked at his executive officer. "Take us into stealth and bring up the spider, Chris," he said.

The way that reads implies that the stealth system can be activated without the Spider Drive.

Which of course leads me right back to whether the LD can have its stealth activated while inside the monstrous freighter.

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: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:17 pm

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cthia wrote:However, none of that alone guarantees that the MA won't build one. Or several even. And use them for months until certain systems (where they intend to use them for nefarious purposes) get accustomed to seeing them. When they've become old news.


Sure, they can build them. But they will stand out everywhere they go. Everyone will make note of them and they're impossible to hide. It won't take long for all the custom services around the Galaxy to note there's a surplus of humongous ships. And if that is obvious to the custom services, it will be even more so to the intelligence ones and they will be able to note that they don't correlate with customers.

There's exactly one Antonov An-225 and exactly three Airbus Beluga aeroplanes in operation (the older Belugas are being replaced 1:1 with Beluga XLs). We know at any point in time where they are and who hired them. If suddenly a Beluga were to ask ATC for landing permission in Washington DC, it would stand out as a sore thumb. True, the CIA and just ask Airbus where its three aeroplanes are and get a reply in minutes, something that the Manticore intelligence services can't do, but all the timelines are much slower too.

Plus, the questionable accessories inside its cavernous hold can be hidden and or disguised like the bays of a Q-ship. In fact, the monsters can actually be used for legitimate purposes, carrying huge amounts of legitimate goods from Manticore to all points headed to RF Systems. The MBS is certainly in no position to turn down big orders. And there is nothing wrong arriving in system with an empty freighter (after dumping the LD) ready to work the heck out of the stevedores.


I'm not sure. Such a huge ship has to have a huge bay too, since whatever payload it needs to carry is too big for any regular-sized freighter and it can't be broken up in smaller parts. They aren't used to carry huge amounts of regular things, they are used to carry one huge thing. So there's a limited amount of space to hide things and a limited menu of cargo that can be legitimately shipped.

As in the examples of the Antonov and the Beluga, they are always used for special cargo. One doesn't go and say "it's idle, let's just fill it up with cargo containers send run some routes" because they are expensive to operate. I think the Antonov does idle most of the time, but the Belugas don't. There are exactly as many as is required for the volume of cargo that needs to be transported in the first place. The same economics should apply in the HV: there are just as many ships as the market requires and can pay for.

Any new ship showing up will be noticed. Any one of them carrying regular cargo will do so even more. And they are probably known to such a detail that the intelligence services can tell them all apart, so the MAN can't pretend to be one of the existing ones.

Question: From the Ghost's arrival.

Storm from the Shadows Ch. 48 wrote:"Very good," Masters repeated, and looked at his executive officer. "Take us into stealth and bring up the spider, Chris," he said.

The way that reads implies that the stealth system can be activated without the Spider Drive.

Which of course leads me right back to whether the LD can have its stealth activated while inside the monstrous freighter.


Sure. It can waste power however much it wants and do any stupid thing its commander wants. That doesn't make it a good idea.

Stealth is a matter of misdirection and requires distance. It cannot work a few meters away from an inspection team that can go and touch it.
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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:28 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:I'd forgotten how close in, relatively speaking, the Ghosts were able to be dropped. Give the Ghosts some fire control links and you could drop off an infrastructure killing strike of Ghosts & Grazer torps from a freighter or three (spread out over time & distance as necessary to avoid looking suspicious)


Thanks for posting this, Jonathan.

It clarified something that I had missed when reading and was nagging me. The freighter carrying the Ghosts did not translate at the same place as the Sharks (I had at the back of my mind they had). The freighter translated a couple of hours away in n-space from the Junction, which is an acceptable and commonplace occurrence by freighters, then kicked out the Ghosts. Those then turned on their spiders and accelerated independently, before the freighter then proceeded to the Junction. Meanwhile, the Sharks translated a light-month away.

Clearly, both translations were detected. The one a light-month away triggered the ready DDron investigation, while the freighter didn't. That means that, unlike what the text suggests, the freighter was on a deadline to turn its wedge on. If the Junction TC noticed the translation but then no wedge for too long, it would mark the ship. Since it was "a few hours" from the Junction, that means it was at a distance of less than 8 light-minutes (1 AU), since a freighter at 150 gravities needs 8 hours to cross that distance for a zero-zero.

A freighter is probably expected to be slow at doing things and no one would bat an eye at a lazy crew taking 15 minutes, maybe half an hour, to turn their impellers on while they check things and maybe deal with a minor malfunction. But much longer than that, they'd be expected to transmit to traffic control, since it's 8 light-minutes or less away.

They don't want to have to do that. And the MAN needs to be right in the middle of the pack of what freighters do so it wouldn't draw attention to itself and cause customs to board and perform an inspection.
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Re: ?
Post by kzt   » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:30 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
They don't want to have to do that. And the MAN needs to be right in the middle of the pack of what freighters do so it wouldn't draw attention to itself and cause customs to board and perform an inspection.

There are actually several things here that you could use to mess with. Like say a freighter comes in, doesn’t raise it’s wedge, you send out a patrol and the patrol is never heard from again and the freighter vanishes.

What is the response?

Then, what happens to the next freighter?
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Re: ?
Post by Brigade XO   » Mon Feb 15, 2021 7:28 pm

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Ok, so the Ghosts got dropped off like the Silver Bullett did at Beowulf and the Sharks still had to transition from hyper way, way out from Manticore and yet the 20 or so BB sized Sharks tractored together- to presente a single point of disruption- still made it from Darius to both Manticore and Grayson in a tactically reasonable time. So the Spider drives are probably not that much slower- but we don't know.

The LD's might have trouble comming in on Manticore and now (if a signifcant growth has taken place) at Haven and Grayson (we didn't see anything about Grayson investigationg "sensor echos". On the other hand, very very very few places have either the sensor net depth and range out of the system beyond the hyperlimit to pick up the LDs. And then they need someting to be able to go out and investigate said sensor ghost.

In my own opinion, the Alighment has never intended the LD's to be anything besides invisable terror weapons. They don't call them that of course. They are steath attack system. They also have NO INTEREST in giving any warning to a system being attacked. They don't care about rules of war, about such unimportant things as EE violations, about anything except keeping anybody else attributing things that upset "normals" to the Alignment- which "doesn't exist".

The Oyster Bay attacks were not some kind of object lesson. The only reason to run it when it happened was to change the strategic and tactical situation vis Manticore & Haven while keeping Haven more or less on track to go smash the SLN "later" down the road after Manticore and Grayson were set up to be taken by Haven after the M and G orbital infrastrustue to continue to build the more advance weapons systems. The ONLY reason.

The actual -to be much later- attack using the LD and whatever other systems are working up, was to take out much or a large portion of the infrastructure of the Leage and Haven and other targets by "persons unknown" but we expect that it was intended to look like the major particpants were Haven and the League striking from long distance to keep thier forces from damage. That was also intended to be after more manipuation of the SL and Manderins etc to really anger many of the member systems and run the whlole thing up to an SL civil war with Haven as a participant.

The ONLY reasons the Alignment didn't go after Haven in Oyster Bay were 1) they didn't have enough ships =and probably weapons like the GT's- and by that point the Alignment knew that Haven had a hidden major construction base for ships and everything else to outfit those ships and diverting anyting from Manticore and Grayson would only have minimal effect on Haven's ongoing growth in military capability. Besides.....they also had a really good chance that Manticore and Grayson would decide it was Haven (since Haven was seriously hurting from the Battle of Manticore and the Alliance would "just" put together a force to smash the Haven home system in retribution. They didn't figure on Harrington being at Haven wth that fleet and having a really good feel for what was in the system.
Manticore and Grayson reacting by at least trashing every Haven system they could assign at least a few ships to essentialy do something like Partian Shot in a fit of anger was more along the lines of what the Alighment wanted. That would cut back Haven, make for a truly vicious next round or retribution/revenge and the League would still get broken later.

Sorry, I can't ascribe any good motives to the Alignment except thier own vision of forcing the rest of humanity to be their slaves and cattle.
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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:43 pm

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kzt wrote:There are actually several things here that you could use to mess with. Like say a freighter comes in, doesn’t raise it’s wedge, you send out a patrol and the patrol is never heard from again and the freighter vanishes.

What is the response?

Then, what happens to the next freighter?


If the patrol vanishes, the system-wide alert goes to max short of Case Zulu. The last thing you want in a stealth, surprise attack is to spoil the surprise and alert the defenders that something is amiss.

This could be a good economic Denial of Service attack since the Junction transits will be slowed down to a crawl while the system alert is high, but Manticore is used to it and the Junction has been in a state of imminent-war or active war for the past 35 years anyway. And the next time this happens, they won't send an unarmed customs cutter, but a destroyer and that won't be easily taken by surprise. Actually, an LAC wing is more likely, since they are harder to target and to kill all at once without at least one raising a warning, cheaper to build and crew, and they can get there much quicker in case there's an actual emergency.

As for the freighter, if legitimate freighters begin to have such engineering issues, Manticore is going to begin fining them and requiring high standards of maintenance. The relative strategic-economic power is on the Junction's side here: there's enough demand that Manticore can afford to tell the poorly-maintained ships to go elsewhere. Its image among the League shippers can't get much worse, now, can it?
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