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The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuultani

Fans of Colin Maclntyre and the great starship Dahak should take a minute to stop in here for discussions about one of David's best-loved series.
Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Adeon Hawkwood   » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:01 pm

Adeon Hawkwood

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Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:58 pm

Another potential reason for building lots of planetoids would be for a last ditch "Safehold" maneuver. A planetoid contains enough people and equipment to establish a viable colony on a new world (as the mutineers planned in t he first book). So if worse comes to worse and the war is going to be lost the surviving planetoids can be used as colony ships to ensure the survival of humanity.
Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by WeberFan   » Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:42 pm

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cralkhi wrote:Why did the 4thEmp have a million planetoids? Was it a matter of maintaining 4thImp military buildup levels, or did they build even MORE after Herdan?

I mean, Colin beat a double-sized Great Visit with less than a hundred undermanned ones, so a million seems absolute overkill for anything, ever. Now maybe the 4thImp tremendously overestimated the numbers and power of the Achuultani (or were just being very, very cautious)... but why keep such ridiculous levels of power after the Achuultani were no longer considered a threat? Sure, no one would deactivate theirs during the period of civil wars during the 4thImp -> 4thEmp transition ... but afterwards? The 4thEmp seems to have been extremely stable, and you'd think that after a few centuries - or, even if all the leaders had bioenhanced lifespans so the cultural memory was longer, a thousand years or so at most - there'd be no reason to keep all that military power around. Why didn't they disassemble them and use the resources for useful stuff, or at least deactivate them and save on the costs of the enormous crews? You might want a couple dozen or even a couple hundred to deal with rebellions or some sort of sudden alien attack (though the 4thEmp seems to have gotten pretty big without meeting anyone, so I doubt they'd consider the latter a serious possibility...)

Come to think of it, the 4thImp probably did colossally overestimate the Achuultani threat, because they seem to have been constantly wary of them - whereas judging by the events of TAI a Great Visit would have been trivially crushed with those sorts of numbers (though 4thImp ships are said to be far inferior to 4thEmp, so it might take several thousand to do what Colin did with 80ish.)

But Colin learned at the end that the Achuultani were technologically stagnant - something that the Imperium never knew - and had no way of knowing. The Imperium HAD to build all those planetoids under the assumption that the Achuultani were advancing at the same rate that the Imperium was. Make sense?

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