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Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse

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Re: Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse
Post by cthia   » Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:05 am

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If it's mainly affecting old people, then Covid-19 would have to hang around for a looooooong time. 'Ouch!'

Dmitri Young was the only one with a compromised immune system.

Again, I can't believe disembarking stations aren't set up like Immigration Stations to catch pandemics. Also, infected freighters which have stops all along the way, well within the infectious period could leave a line of infected goods all along it's route with the virus all over porous surfaces.

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Re: Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse
Post by Somtaaw   » Thu Apr 02, 2020 12:10 pm

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Depends which systems we're talking about. Manticore's pretty good it seems about their Immigration and Transshipping laws, and what not. Really depends on whether it's an "old" disease that's known, or something specifically engineered.

The real biggest issue, is there is ZERO interstellar FTL communication, so despite it being a ship-based infection vector, a properly designed virus in Honorverse would be even more devastating than the Bioweapon in Dahak universe. While Dahak-verse had the interstellar mat-trans they also had the Gravpulse comm to TALK between planets and let others know what was happening, and from that exchange of information, they could avoid trying the same techniques that were already tested and know to order incoming ships to stay clear regardless of whether it was the ship or planet infected.

Honorverse wouldn't be able to organize the same way, and none of them would know it was ships carrying the plague until most planets were already infected. And due to no organization, the exact same cure attempts would be repeated on dozens/hundreds of planets because there's no way to say "hey we already tried using penicillin, it doesn't work. You focus on technique X, and we'll focus on Y, and we'll compare notes next week if we're both still alive."



In a hypothetical Mesan bio-attack, with only 14-days contagious periods before you start showing signs, you can reach a LOT of planets simply by making your Carrier Patient Zero (or Typhoid Mary) being a citizen on Beowulf and have the sudden itch to go travelling to Hephaestus station. As long as your carrier shows zero signs, and the "disease" wasn't detectable by Manticoran customs, once you started infecting others around you, and everybody started travelling; you could reach one helluva lot of planets even with just 1 person. 1 carrier alone could guarantee infection of Beowulf & Hepaestus station, and from there the sky is the limit.

Manticore, Sphinx and Gryphon are all day trip range from Beowulf as is San Martin and Basilisk. And it's only 7 days from Manticore to Haven itself, so 8 days if you start the timer from Beowulf surface. From Hephaestus station you could also be reaching well into Silesia and there's a few tourist attractions we saw during FiE (Hawking's captain being real pissy with Hauptman on Artemis) and those were Andermani planets so you'd get a two-fer if you were deliberately trying to infect Silesia because you'd start infecting chunks of the Andermani Empire too.


When you add in the fact that while on Hephaestus you'd be infecting others who then start their own (new) 14-day timers, you almost guarantee infection of the entire former Solarian League Shell, Spindle & Talbott Cluster, Manticoran Silesia & parts of the Andermani Empire, and large chunks of the Republic of Haven are all on the list and that's simply due to the same mechanics that made Manticoran such a powerhouse in matters of pure trade. If they can reach all those planets for standard trading, they're also able to accidentally INFECT all those locations before they realize what is even happening and that they need to stop.


Thanks to zero interstellar communications (excluding ship movements carrying those messages), a well-designed plague is going to be absolutely devastating simply because you can't pass along what works and what doesnt. Even if a cure eventually gets developed, the disease would have been rampaging for years simply due to information lag.
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Re: Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Thu Apr 02, 2020 12:47 pm

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Somtaaw wrote:The real biggest issue, is there is ZERO interstellar FTL communication, so despite it being a ship-based infection vector, a properly designed virus in Honorverse would be even more devastating than the Bioweapon in Dahak universe. While Dahak-verse had the interstellar mat-trans they also had the Gravpulse comm to TALK between planets and let others know what was happening, and from that exchange of information, they could avoid trying the same techniques that were already tested and know to order incoming ships to stay clear regardless of whether it was the ship or planet infected.


Couriers are able to outrun any ships except warships and the Hauptman VIP liners, especially if the GA cracks the streak drive technology (which they will in the next year or two). Regular liners and especially freighters will be slow in hyper, so the news and cure reach their destination ahead of them.

Honorverse wouldn't be able to organize the same way, and none of them would know it was ships carrying the plague until most planets were already infected. And due to no organization, the exact same cure attempts would be repeated on dozens/hundreds of planets because there's no way to say "hey we already tried using penicillin, it doesn't work. You focus on technique X, and we'll focus on Y, and we'll compare notes next week if we're both still alive."


That's a good point. Lots of rework.

In a hypothetical Mesan bio-attack, with only 14-days contagious periods before you start showing signs, you can reach a LOT of planets simply by making your Carrier Patient Zero (or Typhoid Mary) being a citizen on Beowulf and have the sudden itch to go travelling to Hephaestus station. As long as your carrier shows zero signs, and the "disease" wasn't detectable by Manticoran customs, once you started infecting others around you, and everybody started travelling; you could reach one helluva lot of planets even with just 1 person. 1 carrier alone could guarantee infection of Beowulf & Hepaestus station, and from there the sky is the limit.


14 days isn't enough, if the plague is spreading via liners and freighters. You need longer than that. Natural pathogens are unlikely to be contagious for that long without showing any symptoms in anyone. A bioweapon might, though, especially if it's nanite-driven or mediated.

Manticore, Sphinx and Gryphon are all day trip range from Beowulf as is San Martin and Basilisk. And it's only 7 days from Manticore to Haven itself, so 8 days if you start the timer from Beowulf surface. From Hephaestus station you could also be reaching well into Silesia and there's a few tourist attractions we saw during FiE (Hawking's captain being real pissy with Hauptman on Artemis) and those were Andermani planets so you'd get a two-fer if you were deliberately trying to infect Silesia because you'd start infecting chunks of the Andermani Empire too.


It's only 7 days from Manticore to Haven by way of courier ship or Haven One. But it might be within 14-day range for liners, except a liner has a thousand people aboard, any of which showing symptoms could be reason for quarantining the entire ship at the destination.
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Re: Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse
Post by SharkHunter   » Thu Apr 02, 2020 12:55 pm

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MantiMerchie wrote:
ThinksMarkedly wrote:
But one thing that's just occurred to me: ship travel being weeks, especially in slow freighters, it means contagions can only spread if the incubation period is longer than the transit time. If the entire crew of a ship arrives feeling sick, the ship gets quarantined and not allowed to disembark (like we've seen with the Diamond Princess and other cruise ships in our case right now).


Yes and no.
Depends in how crippling the disease is. If none of the 20 to 30 people in the crew present devastating symptoms they might not notice that it was more than a head cold.

Although once it's known to be bad, tracing from planet to planet is doable albeit slow as you have to visit each planet on its route.

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This is exactly where I was going, thought wise. Most of the SLN outside the verge, and places like Talbott have Prolong... which presumably also enhances the immune system. And folks on the passenger liners may not go to the ship's doctor for what appears to be a head cold, they may not spread it through the liner, so my picture is there's this statistically moving contagion pocket -- that only gets loose after the passengers disembark.

Obviously a plague level contagion would not spread this way over intergalactic distances in the present Honorverse... under usual circumstances. Except that Mesan science type have been dinking around for centuries, where labs may have gone up in nuclear smoke, yadda yadda yadda. Masadans are crazy, pirates, etc. etc. Maybe a virus results in year later sterility... empties a planet in a single generation if it's not caught, etc.

The Honorverse has to pull together and respond...
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All my posts are YMMV, IMHO, and welcoming polite discussion, extension, and rebuttal. This is the HonorVerse, after all
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Re: Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse
Post by Somtaaw   » Thu Apr 02, 2020 12:59 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
In a hypothetical Mesan bio-attack, with only 14-days contagious periods before you start showing signs, you can reach a LOT of planets simply by making your Carrier Patient Zero (or Typhoid Mary) being a citizen on Beowulf and have the sudden itch to go travelling to Hephaestus station. As long as your carrier shows zero signs, and the "disease" wasn't detectable by Manticoran customs, once you started infecting others around you, and everybody started travelling; you could reach one helluva lot of planets even with just 1 person. 1 carrier alone could guarantee infection of Beowulf & Hepaestus station, and from there the sky is the limit.


14 days isn't enough, if the plague is spreading via liners and freighters. You need longer than that. Natural pathogens are unlikely to be contagious for that long without showing any symptoms in anyone. A bioweapon might, though, especially if it's nanite-driven or mediated.


14 days is enough to guarantee ONE infected planet per ship regardless, and more probably two planets. Because the first infected planet/nation (Manticore in this case) has to not only figure out that it was a deliberate bio-weapon attack and then figure out who might have been infected and what directions they travelled.


And by that point, the ship itself, even if it was a regular slow freighter (14 day dwell time) thanks to the Junction, could have reached any 1-2 planets in the Solarian Shell, 1-2 planets in Talbott Quadrant, or 1-2 planets in Silesia/Andermani regions.

And from there, those NEW infectees have 14 days to travel elsewhere, so even if Manticoran dispatch boats were sent out 30 seconds after that 14 days from first infection, it's too late those new ships have already guaranteed at least 1 new infection EACH. And from there probably 1 further guaranteed infection because those ships would have left prior to news disseminating from Manticore to say Andermani and from Andermani to the third planet, but they could probably start guaranteeing that by the fourth planet ships would be getting held and not infecting another layer of planets.

4 tiers worth of infection based on just 4 infectees is a pretty big tree when you consider how much galactic reach the Manticore merchant empire has, and that a LOT more than just 4 people got infected.
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Re: Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse
Post by Somtaaw   » Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:10 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Manticore, Sphinx and Gryphon are all day trip range from Beowulf as is San Martin and Basilisk. And it's only 7 days from Manticore to Haven itself, so 8 days if you start the timer from Beowulf surface. From Hephaestus station you could also be reaching well into Silesia and there's a few tourist attractions we saw during FiE (Hawking's captain being real pissy with Hauptman on Artemis) and those were Andermani planets so you'd get a two-fer if you were deliberately trying to infect Silesia because you'd start infecting chunks of the Andermani Empire too.


It's only 7 days from Manticore to Haven by way of courier ship or Haven One. But it might be within 14-day range for liners, except a liner has a thousand people aboard, any of which showing symptoms could be reason for quarantining the entire ship at the destination.



Nobody's gonna quarantine an entire passenger liner with 1k+ passengers because a few people have the sniffles & coughing. Not at first anyways, they'd think it was simply a case of the common cold, or maybe the flu, nothing major so they'd allow the passengers to debark, check out tourist attractions, come back aboard the liner and sail off to the next destination.

And meanwhile, the Bioweapon has just gotten a foothold on another planet, and nobody realizes how deadly it's going to be in another few weeks.


After the galaxy realizes there's a killer virus on the loose, yes you're completely right they'd be quarantining liners left & right if literally anybody aboard is showing any signs of being less than perfectly healthy. But they wouldn't be doing it until there's a reason to quarantine that harshly, because people still get sick and at least so far even Mesa hasn't been nucking futs enough to launch another (deliberate) bioweapon after what happened on Earth for their Final War, with the Ukrainian Scrags, Chinese super-soldiers, North American nano-weapons and European bioweapons.
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Re: Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:19 pm

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Somtaaw wrote:Nobody's gonna quarantine an entire passenger liner with 1k+ passengers because a few people have the sniffles & coughing. Not at first anyways, they'd think it was simply a case of the common cold, or maybe the flu, nothing major so they'd allow the passengers to debark, check out tourist attractions, come back aboard the liner and sail off to the next destination.


Why not? Why do you think common cold or flu still exists in the Honorverse? Have we actually seen anyone get only mildly sick in the books? And how long were they sick for? Honest questions, I don't remember.

Those diseases might be rare enough and/or treated easily enough with shipboard equipment and supplies (even for freighters) that a persistent cold could be quarantine reason.
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Re: Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse
Post by Somtaaw   » Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:42 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Somtaaw wrote:Nobody's gonna quarantine an entire passenger liner with 1k+ passengers because a few people have the sniffles & coughing. Not at first anyways, they'd think it was simply a case of the common cold, or maybe the flu, nothing major so they'd allow the passengers to debark, check out tourist attractions, come back aboard the liner and sail off to the next destination.


Why not? Why do you think common cold or flu still exists in the Honorverse? Have we actually seen anyone get only mildly sick in the books? And how long were they sick for? Honest questions, I don't remember.

Those diseases might be rare enough and/or treated easily enough with shipboard equipment and supplies (even for freighters) that a persistent cold could be quarantine reason.



Well the fact they still have med schools for starters suggests they still have some diseases. Also that one Polish planet, was suffering from a planetary disease and they had to sell out to OFS simply to get the cure imported at all, because a pirate raid destroyed every single piece of orbital technology (including power collectors) they might have used to produce the cure themselves.

Think one of the early meetings between Admiral/Diplomat Courvosier & Admiral Yanakov before Grayson joined the Manticoran Alliance originally, Yanakov also mentions Graysons still suffer from several diseases including lung cancer.

Finally, Admiral Tourville spent time musing at one point over his cigars, and that the only reason he adopted them at all was because they'd stamped out nicotine addiction and lung cancers. This implies that if Haven weren't advanced enough medically, he never would have adopted cigars as his signature thing because of disease and addiction.


We haven't really seen anyone suffering from 'common colds' in the books, but I suspect that's probably more due to storytelling, and that none of the stories about Honor would have been served by someone having the sniffles rather than them being stamped out entirely.



As for the passenger liner medicine... how many people in the last 20 years have you seen ignore a cold because "why should I skip work because I have a cough?" sort of logic. Unless you're a hypochondriac, and without knowing something far more deadly is around (like covid), simply having a headache or a small cough isn't something you're going to go rushing to a medical professional to get treated. You'll take some Advil (or Tylenol), and go about your normal day to day business until/unless your condition deteriorates... or you know it might be something worse.
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Re: Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse
Post by jchilds   » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:16 pm

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Check out the Plague Years section of HoS. The coronavirus is mentioned.

Also, look at the story involving Jean Marrou (Queen's Gambit?). She was blinded by an outbreak, IIRC and her politics included taking stronger measures to protect against plagues.
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Re: Pretend Covid-19 arrives somewhere in the Honorverse
Post by Jonathan_S   » Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:04 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Somtaaw wrote:Nobody's gonna quarantine an entire passenger liner with 1k+ passengers because a few people have the sniffles & coughing. Not at first anyways, they'd think it was simply a case of the common cold, or maybe the flu, nothing major so they'd allow the passengers to debark, check out tourist attractions, come back aboard the liner and sail off to the next destination.


Why not? Why do you think common cold or flu still exists in the Honorverse? Have we actually seen anyone get only mildly sick in the books? And how long were they sick for? Honest questions, I don't remember.
Can't speak to whether it's "common" or not; but there are a handful of scattered references to the flu in the books.

* AoV - Queen Elizabeth's son "Roger chose yesterday of all days to come down with the flu!"

* WoH - Protector Benjamin's daughter "Alexandra came down with the flu".

* AAC - The crash team investigating the nanite caused suicide picked up orgainc "could be explained away by a simple case of the flu, except that there's no indication of it in any of the other samples"

(Crown of Slaves and Fire Season both also had mentions; but those aren't RFC authored; and Fire Season is set centuries ago. So those may be less relevant than the above 3)


As for the cold; well that's harder to search for since even "a cold", or "the cold", much less "cold" show up all the freaking time unrelated to the disease.
Still in EOH when Alison is sharing her findings of how the Grayson heavy metal resistance was introduced she refers to the vector as "the common cold". Admittedly she'd describing something centuries before - but she doesn't phrase it in a way that implies the cold is no longer common. (House of Steel's section on Grayson history repeats that phrasing "propagating it throughout the total population under the guise of a common cold.")

The anthology Worlds of Honor, Roland J. Green's story 'Deck Load Strike' has a passing mention of someone "catching a cold"
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