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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 rakenan   » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:32 pm

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cralkhi wrote:Lightspeed delay is a good point.

Also, you could just stash them far enough from the sun (say 1000 AU) that there really wouldn't be much of a radial-velocity signal.

I still think they probably were hardwired to respond to Fleet Central hypercom commands though.


Fourth Imperium ships, probably not - or if so, easily remedied. Fourth Empire ships, absolutely. But Fourth Empire ships are also really *REALLY* dumb. Unplug the hypercom, it's even money they wouldn't even consider plugging it in to see if Mother is calling.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Fox2!   » Sun May 03, 2015 10:39 pm

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Quoting too many to mention, many of which are themselves quote,

Overkill


There was an old saying in SAC:

"Enough is too little, too much is not enough, overkill is just right"

If the enemy's quantity and quality are unknown, you can't have too many of your own ships. There is a quote, I believe from the time of the Napoleonic Wars, that the only thing worse than a victorious battlefield was the battlefield on which you had suffered defeat.

Especially when your opponent has a history of smashing asteroids into inhabitied planets at a significant fraction of c.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Sigs   » Fri May 22, 2015 10:10 pm

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cralkhi wrote:On further thought, I suppose the real question is why the 4th Imperium went the super-militarized defense route at all. They apparently knew about the Achuultani from Day One (being descended from the remnant planet of the 3rd Imperium; given what's said about the centrality of opposing the Achuultani to them, apparently they didn't lose the knowledge as Earth [or Pardal] did) - if so, if they got to design their technology / civilization from a pretty early stage in light of knowing about the Achuultani -- why take the "ridiculous military buildup to defend immobile planets (aka targets)" route at all? We know that planetoid ships can act as generation ships, after all... I can see keeping their homworld (Birhat) inhabited, since people wouldn't want to leave & for cultural reasons, but if you know there's a big threat out there, why colonize planets at all? Why not just build/colonize permanent 'generation ships'/mobile space colonies, living around suns (for solar energy, asteroid/comet resources etc.) but capable of interstellar travel whenever needed, so they can just move away from any threat?

If the Imperium had followed that route, the Achuultani [or anybody else] couldn't become a civilization-ending threat without literally squatting on EVERY one of the hundreds of billions of star systems in the Milky Way (to monopolize the resources) - actually, it might be flatly impossible, as "core taps" seem to draw energy from hyperspace, so a space colony could just sit somewhere in the intergalactic void, powering its "sun" by core tap - needing no fuel, and thus having no dependence on any *place* in the regular universe. Core taps' control systems might require fuel, however.

It'd be incredibly hard [or impossible, if the core-tap trick would work] to threaten the species/civilization as a whole, since every colony/ship would be an independent 'world', and they could be scattered all across the galaxy (and possibly into the Magellanic Clouds or beyond, depending on whether Imperial ships can do continual FTL travel for thousands of years -- and maintain life support, but given that Dahak could restore his, I think that's definitely within their capability; plus, the Aku'Ultan used an intergalactic 'generation ship' to reach the Milky Way).

...Such a plan wouldn't even require them to abandon all the other potential (lower-tech) victim species of the Achuultani, as they could just take such species with them (or give them the tech to build their own colonies/ships). So I really don't see any downside except as a matter of honor.



Because Humans don't seem to be build to run away if there is a choice. This would make humanity a race of refugees that is restricted population wise to however much the ships can support. Those ships become nations all by themselves, their crew would end up having loyalty to their own "nation" above all else and would likely not risk their home to protect another ship. What's more is that those planetoids will wear out, and eventually will require replacements if not due to wear and tear due to losses and a planetoid wont be able to build a planetoid.


Having a million planetoids might seem like an overkill but at the end of the day the Imperium had to protect thousands of planets and guard the "traditional" approach and still protect all other borders in case the enemy decided to be sneaky. Humanity escaped complete destruction by the skin of its teeth during the last invasion, there was no way of knowing if the ships that they fought were the only enemy field force or there were more of them around and keep in mind that up to the time of the Empire Humanity has rarely if ever come out on top in a war with the enemy. And I would venture to guess that if human space was invaded that the end goal would be to defeat the invasion and trace it back to its origin and end the war once and for all.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by JohnS   » Sat May 23, 2015 7:51 pm

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Sigs wrote:And I would venture to guess that if human space was invaded that the end goal would be to defeat the invasion and trace it back to its origin and end the war once and for all.


Exactly. For all they knew, the incursion fleets were mere task forces, and the true enemy fleet was much larger and would show up after a major defeat. In fact, that may actually be the case. We don't know what the Master Computer keeps nearby.

As has been said, there is no overkill. Just "Open Fire!" and "Reload!"
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Garth 2   » Sun May 24, 2015 5:13 am

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JohnS wrote:
Sigs wrote:And I would venture to guess that if human space was invaded that the end goal would be to defeat the invasion and trace it back to its origin and end the war once and for all.


Exactly. For all they knew, the incursion fleets were mere task forces, and the true enemy fleet was much larger and would show up after a major defeat. In fact, that may actually be the case. We don't know what the Master Computer keeps nearby.

As has been said, there is no overkill. Just "Open Fire!" and "Reload!"


We now know that Humanity has always been looking but in the wrong place as it states 'they where further galactic east then the Fourth Imperium every suspected'
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Bewildered   » Sun May 24, 2015 9:28 am

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What I don't get is where the resources for 1 million planetoids would have come from. You'd basically have to convert hundreds of thousands of star systems into ship building materials, and the imperium's never colonised that many. Also have rather a negative impact on the neighbourhood converting planets into ships or rubble.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Sigs   » Sun May 24, 2015 2:49 pm

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Bewildered wrote:What I don't get is where the resources for 1 million planetoids would have come from. You'd basically have to convert hundreds of thousands of star systems into ship building materials, and the imperium's never colonised that many. Also have rather a negative impact on the neighbourhood converting planets into ships or rubble.

There is between 200 and 400 Billion stars in the Milky Way, the Imperium/Empire does not need to colonize any of them, they need to set up resource extraction and processing facilities in those systems on need by need basis.

On top of that, the Planetoids are build for long term use which could range from a few hundred to a few thousand years with those planetoids are build up gradually over a thousands years and replaced upon ending of their life span.

Think about an empire that has 5,000 or even only 1,500 inhabitable member systems, what proportion of systems with inhabitable planets to systems without inhabitable planets do you think there would be? We can safely assume that they may have hundreds of thousands if not millions of uninhabited systems within their territory to support those massive building projects.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by jchilds   » Mon May 25, 2015 3:57 am

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Bewildered wrote:What I don't get is where the resources for 1 million planetoids would have come from. You'd basically have to convert hundreds of thousands of star systems into ship building materials, and the imperium's never colonised that many. Also have rather a negative impact on the neighbourhood converting planets into ships or rubble.


Well, you'd have all those star systems previous Achuultani incursions had destroyed the inhabitable planets in to start with, as well as salvage from the wreckage of those ancient battlegrounds mentioned. Plus the books did mention using gravitonic warheads to convert entire planets into raw material.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Bewildered   » Mon May 25, 2015 11:13 am

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100 billion stars was the figure I looked up. Also seemed to be that only about 1% of stars have planets. That figure may go up of course but it also doesn't take into account that many planets won't contain the materials required - how much metal is there in a gas giant or an ocean world for instance? So say 1,000,000,000 stars with worlds which may or may not contain any useful resources. Then too the Imperium only controls a small portion of this. They only colonised a few thousand worlds. Sure they control more but how many more? The Achultaani were believed a myth because the Empire never encountered them and in truth their home space proved to be far further away than any humans had believed, or explored!

Assuming each planetoid had a life expectancy of 1,000 years that means 1,000 planetoids built each year - odds are it takes more than a year to construct each one but lets be generous. Now if the Imperium has 5,0000 inhabited member systems that means each project is supported by a mere 5 worlds. How many naval yards does the US have? Yes Earth was able to crew 1 planetoid, building one is another issue.


Sigs wrote:
Bewildered wrote:What I don't get is where the resources for 1 million planetoids would have come from. You'd basically have to convert hundreds of thousands of star systems into ship building materials, and the imperium's never colonised that many. Also have rather a negative impact on the neighbourhood converting planets into ships or rubble.

There is between 200 and 400 Billion stars in the Milky Way, the Imperium/Empire does not need to colonize any of them, they need to set up resource extraction and processing facilities in those systems on need by need basis.

On top of that, the Planetoids are build for long term use which could range from a few hundred to a few thousand years with those planetoids are build up gradually over a thousands years and replaced upon ending of their life span.

Think about an empire that has 5,000 or even only 1,500 inhabitable member systems, what proportion of systems with inhabitable planets to systems without inhabitable planets do you think there would be? We can safely assume that they may have hundreds of thousands if not millions of uninhabited systems within their territory to support those massive building projects.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Sigs   » Mon May 25, 2015 11:53 am

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Bewildered wrote:100 billion stars was the figure I looked up. Also seemed to be that only about 1% of stars have planets. That figure may go up of course but it also doesn't take into account that many planets won't contain the materials required - how much metal is there in a gas giant or an ocean world for instance? So say 1,000,000,000 stars with worlds which may or may not contain any useful resources. Then too the Imperium only controls a small portion of this. They only colonised a few thousand worlds. Sure they control more but how many more? The Achultaani were believed a myth because the Empire never encountered them and in truth their home space proved to be far further away than any humans had believed, or explored!

Assuming each planetoid had a life expectancy of 1,000 years that means 1,000 planetoids built each year - odds are it takes more than a year to construct each one but lets be generous. Now if the Imperium has 5,0000 inhabited member systems that means each project is supported by a mere 5 worlds. How many naval yards does the US have? Yes Earth was able to crew 1 planetoid, building one is another issue.


Sigs wrote:There is between 200 and 400 Billion stars in the Milky Way, the Imperium/Empire does not need to colonize any of them, they need to set up resource extraction and processing facilities in those systems on need by need basis.

On top of that, the Planetoids are build for long term use which could range from a few hundred to a few thousand years with those planetoids are build up gradually over a thousands years and replaced upon ending of their life span.

Think about an empire that has 5,000 or even only 1,500 inhabitable member systems, what proportion of systems with inhabitable planets to systems without inhabitable planets do you think there would be? We can safely assume that they may have hundreds of thousands if not millions of uninhabited systems within their territory to support those massive building projects.


Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the resurrected Empire build the Planetoid Imperial Terra? In what 10 years?

More than that, it depends on your source but from what I'm looking at, 15% of stars in Milky way have Planets about the size of Earth, not habitable or in the right distance from sun etc... just right size. A total of 25% have planets that are 1.25 to 2 times bigger plus 25% have planets 2-4 times the size of Earth. And I could just as easily use the upper limit like you used the lower limit and say that there are 400,000,000,000 stars and anywhere from 25%-50% or even more have planets. So the numbers come up from 1 billion to 50 billion or more if we were to take the 25% of stars have planets at the mid point of 200 billion and even a small fraction of that is a staggering amount... Think about how many stars and planets there would be in an empire that has dimensions of 1,000 LY by 1,000 LY, and that is assuming that its resources come exclusively from its territory.
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