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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 Kytheros   » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:58 pm

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mbushroe wrote:I agree that a million planetoids is quit a lot. And I shudder to think of how many asteroid belts were completely cleaned out to build that much mass. But it is only a huge number when you know that it is bigger and more powerful than the enemy you face. And if that enemy is unknown, but known to span the galaxy and sterilise every living system it finds, I don't think it is over kill at all.

After the fighting is over, they would have realised it was way over kill, but not before,

Mike

Kytheros wrote:There were a million (10^6) planetoids, possibly more. How is that a small number? If you figure that there were ten thousand inhabited systems/systems used as fleet bases, that's an average of one hundred planetoids per system; and if you go for a nodal system, plus reduced detachments in central regions, with heavier concentrations on the fringes ... that's a respectable number of ships, especially when you mix in the loads of parasite craft.

Think about their resource base - at roughly a quarter million people per planetoid, that's 2.5*10^11 people (a quarter trillion people).
Plus, I don't think they actually had ten thousand inhabited systems. I don't remember if it was explicitly said in-text or in a Pearl, but my impression is that there were less than half that many systems. Could be wrong about that though.

They ate planets to build their ships.
A million planetoids is a large number - plus at the stage where we know there were a million planetoids ... they'd largely stopped believing in the Achuultani threat. It's entirely possible that there were higher numbers of planetoids in the past. In addition ... you need to take into account build times - each one takes years to build, and while they have long service lifetimes ... they do need to be replaced every so often.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by rawdeal   » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:41 am

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Not sure of an exact number. But in Mother's Ops ctr, Colin saw row after row of unmanned stations representing the 5000 inhabited systems, fleet bases (not planetary based) etc,.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by tinfoil   » Wed May 01, 2013 12:06 pm

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Were the 'million planetoids' actually in commission at once, or were they commissioned/served a couple centuries/MOTHBALLED due to relative obsolescence?

Maybe only a few thousand were in active commission at a a time for say 250 years per 'generation'

10,000 years = 40 such generations x 5000 = 1 million



In addition, the empire's 'military-industrial economy' may have NEEDED the 'Hero Projects' of planetoid-building to fuel the economy.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by 7thsealord   » Wed May 01, 2013 9:37 pm

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tinfoil wrote:Were the 'million planetoids' actually in commission at once, or were they commissioned/served a couple centuries/MOTHBALLED due to relative obsolescence?

Maybe only a few thousand were in active commission at a a time for say 250 years per 'generation'

10,000 years = 40 such generations x 5000 = 1 million



In addition, the empire's 'military-industrial economy' may have NEEDED the 'Hero Projects' of planetoid-building to fuel the economy.


It's a thought. Clearly, Imperial warships can be mothballed for a heckuva long time. Just consider Dahak and, especially, the Imperial Guard Flotilla - as far as we know, none were subjected to any special preservation before going inactive, yet most could be safely reactiveted after thousands of years of neglect.

As I see it, the single biggest problem with this would be organizing the crews for those vessels. Granted, the Imperium would probably have no trouble, socially or technically, with establishing a large reserve pool of qualified personnel. But even with Imperial education techniaques, you can't just reactivate a mothballed planetoid, march in a new crew and send it straight into service. Some training and familiarization would be essential first (as seen in all of the trilogy). Modern military ships and units typically look at a couple of years minimum to train up, and a similar process for Imperial units seems to remain.

Then too, note that the Imperium had a very substantial array of monitoring stations. Between that, the active navy and the distances involved; expectations might have been that (between first detection of an Achultani incursion and its actual arrival near Imperial space) there would have been enough time to activate and fully ready all reserve units.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by dan92677   » Thu May 02, 2013 12:20 am

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I want my epitaph to read, "None of them got by him."
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Gallowglass3000   » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:00 pm

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One thing that seems to be missed. Dahak did not have a crew of 250,000. It had the ability to handle a crew of that size since it was expected that the crew would grow while on sentry duty.

If a Planetoid could be fought with a crew of 6,000-8,000 then all they needed was about 25k. The rest were to create mini-societies for the long duty station.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by akira.taylor   » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:19 pm

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Gallowglass3000 wrote:One thing that seems to be missed. Dahak did not have a crew of 250,000. It had the ability to handle a crew of that size since it was expected that the crew would grow while on sentry duty.

If a Planetoid could be fought with a crew of 6,000-8,000 then all they needed was about 25k. The rest were to create mini-societies for the long duty station.


My recollection about crew size was a reference to being designed for 60% crew growth. Which is a weird concept for a military vessel, if you ask me. Makes sense when you have 50 year deployments, though. I wonder how they handle maternity/paternity leaves?
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by cralkhi   » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:32 pm

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I can actually sort of see the 4th Imperium building a ridiculous number of planetoids, if they really didn't know anything about Achuultani capabilities.

What I don't understand is why the 4th Empire, once it was united after the civil wars, didn't scrap the vast majority of them (or even all). They didn't believe in any external threat any longer, and in that situation (if you're the only polity you believe to exist), having stuff like that around makes any potential civil wars way more destructive with no real benefit. They should have had a peacekeeping force only... or enough to suppress a couple of rebellious planets, at most.

(EDIT: Unless it was a building project for economic purposes only (eg employment).)

DOUBLE EDIT: And unlike some weapons, it would be pretty difficult to hide planetoids from an Empire-wide government. So they should have been totally capable of getting rid of them so that future civil wars (and they apparently did have "minor league wars") would be less dangerous.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by jchilds   » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:14 pm

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cralkhi wrote:I can actually sort of see the 4th Imperium building a ridiculous number of planetoids, if they really didn't know anything about Achuultani capabilities.

What I don't understand is why the 4th Empire, once it was united after the civil wars, didn't scrap the vast majority of them (or even all). They didn't believe in any external threat any longer, and in that situation (if you're the only polity you believe to exist), having stuff like that around makes any potential civil wars way more destructive with no real benefit. They should have had a peacekeeping force only... or enough to suppress a couple of rebellious planets, at most.

(EDIT: Unless it was a building project for economic purposes only (eg employment).)

DOUBLE EDIT: And unlike some weapons, it would be pretty difficult to hide planetoids from an Empire-wide government. So they should have been totally capable of getting rid of them so that future civil wars (and they apparently did have "minor league wars") would be less dangerous.


Mother may have had something to do with it. If there are/were hardwired limits on what could be changed without provoking an "I'm sorry Sire, I can't allow you to do that." response they may have been stuck. The Imperial language seems precise and almost "fussy" in structure and Mother can be a tad literal-minded about things. :)
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by mark   » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:00 am

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cralkhi wrote:I can actually sort of see the 4th Imperium building a ridiculous number of planetoids, if they really didn't know anything about Achuultani capabilities.

What I don't understand is why the 4th Empire, once it was united after the civil wars, didn't scrap the vast majority of them (or even all). They didn't believe in any external threat any longer, and in that situation (if you're the only polity you believe to exist), having stuff like that around makes any potential civil wars way more destructive with no real benefit. They should have had a peacekeeping force only... or enough to suppress a couple of rebellious planets, at most.

(EDIT: Unless it was a building project for economic purposes only (eg employment).)

DOUBLE EDIT: And unlike some weapons, it would be pretty difficult to hide planetoids from an Empire-wide government. So they should have been totally capable of getting rid of them so that future civil wars (and they apparently did have "minor league wars") would be less dangerous.

Now why do you think planetoids would be hard to hide? just send a bunch of 'em (unmanned, of course) to an uninhabited/uninhabitable system, put them in orbit around a gas giant, put a nice little layer of local rubble on it and I guarantee you nobody will find them, except based on the records, which could of course show they were scrapped by dumping them into a star.
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