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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 cralkhi   » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:14 pm

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mark wrote: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.


We can detect large extrasolar planets now; detecting moon-sized ones (or large moons of gas giants) should be trivial for 4thEmp technology. So all you'd have to do is re-do your exoplanet survey every so often and notice if a whole bunch of extra planets have turned up.

Dahakverse FTL is slow enough that you can't really stash them in another spiral arm or something... it'd pretty much have to be a system fairly close to the inhabited ones, which would mean a well-surveyed one if the 4thEmp had any interest in astronomy at all.

(EDIT: Also, Fleet Central/Mother can communicate with the planetoids by hypercom ... it even gets some 50,000+ years later, though they're too far away to be useful to Colin et al. If that's another 'hardwired' thing, then they'd be able to tell where they were anytime they wanted, all the time.)
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Gallowglass3000   » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:43 am

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Even the 4th Empire didn't just sit a planetoid out there, look at Dahak. It took the skin of our 'real' moon, got rid of the rest and wore the skin.

Of course the Empire would build and keep building planetoids. They had no idea of how many, how powerful, when and only approximately where they would come from.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by munroburton   » Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:03 am

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cralkhi wrote:
mark wrote: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.


We can detect large extrasolar planets now; detecting moon-sized ones (or large moons of gas giants) should be trivial for 4thEmp technology. So all you'd have to do is re-do your exoplanet survey every so often and notice if a whole bunch of extra planets have turned up.


Problem with that line of thought is our observations are old. Gliese 581 for example is 20.22 light years away. That means anything we saw happened 20.22 years before we saw it. Even observation of planets at Alpha Centauri would be four years old. On the scale of the Fourth Empire, where it took months for FTL travel from Earth to Birhat, you'd be making observations thousands of years old.

It's somewhat intriguing. I wonder if one of the Fifth's projects was sending a ship 45 to 50,000 light years out to try and map historical observations of planetoid movements during the civil war or the plague.

I'd argue that with the amount of warning stations they'd deployed to watch for the Achuultani that there isn't really a way to detect anything far away unless it responds, as any surviving 4E warships reported to Mother, or is spotted by an unit with hypercom capability and reported.

For that matter, you can't rely on lightspeed observations when they can move faster than light. Picard Maneuver on truly interstellar proportions, anyone?
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by cralkhi   » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:29 pm

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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.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by Talonvor   » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:31 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.



You're forgetting the fact that if Dahak hadn't sacrificed himself to destroy the master control computer in charge of the remaining Achuultani fleet, Colin and his few remaining ships couldnt have done anything more than flee to Earth and evacuate as many civilians as possible. At the time that Dahak killed the other computer, the Achuultani still had more than enough ships left to finish the job.

Also, dont forget that Colin and company had surprise on their side the entire time. They were able to lock the Achuultani out of hyper space which seriously screwed with their ability to move and fight.

No, without the surprise factor and the trick Colin used to destroy half of the great visit in a single blow. There is no way they would have come anywhere close to winning. In a stand up fight, without the element of surprise, Colin would have lost and done so in a rather spectacular way.

As for why they had so many ships. You seem to have forgotten that they knew the Achuultani would return at some point. That information wouldn't simply disappear. Their military was built to deal with that specific threat. They also knew that the time between Achuultani visits was measured in tens of thousands of years. They also knew that despite their best efforts in the past, it had been shear dumb luck that left one of their worlds intact each time the Achuultani came to kill them.

Based on that information, there is no way, they would have forgotten why they needed the fleet they had built. They expected to win this time, but they also expected to pay for the win with heavy losses of their own.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by biochem   » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:12 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.



You're forgetting the fact that if Dahak hadn't sacrificed himself to destroy the master control computer in charge of the remaining Achuultani fleet, Colin and his few remaining ships couldnt have done anything more than flee to Earth and evacuate as many civilians as possible. At the time that Dahak killed the other computer, the Achuultani still had more than enough ships left to finish the job.

Also, dont forget that Colin and company had surprise on their side the entire time. They were able to lock the Achuultani out of hyper space which seriously screwed with their ability to move and fight.

No, without the surprise factor and the trick Colin used to destroy half of the great visit in a single blow. There is no way they would have come anywhere close to winning. In a stand up fight, without the element of surprise, Colin would have lost and done so in a rather spectacular way.

As for why they had so many ships. You seem to have forgotten that they knew the Achuultani would return at some point. That information wouldn't simply disappear. Their military was built to deal with that specific threat. They also knew that the time between Achuultani visits was measured in tens of thousands of years. They also knew that despite their best efforts in the past, it had been shear dumb luck that left one of their worlds intact each time the Achuultani came to kill them.

Based on that information, there is no way, they would have forgotten why they needed the fleet they had built. They expected to win this time, but they also expected to pay for the win with heavy losses of their own.


They also didn't know much about the Achuultani. They were a backwater colony world with minimal contact with the main Empire. After they regained space travel, they had to reconstruct what had happened from fragments. All they knew was that an absolutely enormous number of ships with unknown capabilities from an unknown alien power had destroyed every single other planet in what they had originally believed was a strong empire. Lacking detailed information about the enemy, it's ships and their capabilities; they would have had no way of knowing if even a million planetoids would be enough.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by cralkhi   » Tue May 20, 2014 7:35 pm

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But things only got that desperate -- to the point Colin had to do the nova trick and Dahak had to sacrifice himself -- because Colin was much more limited than those ships "should" have been (had they actually been supported by the 4thImp).

His ships' missiles massively outranged the Achuultani ones.

If he'd had the full several years' warning of the sensor arrays were designed to provide (rather than having to do the whole Anu thing, then go pick up the starships at Birhat... and Dahak got the messages even before he kidnapped Colin), and had had enough missiles (I'm pretty sure they were drastically short on missiles), he could have gone out and blasted them with missiles from beyond their range, then retreated and done it again and again till their whole fleet was destroyed.

But by the time he got the ships he was down to the wire and didn't have either the time or space (before they reached Earth) to repeatedly fall back that way, nor the missiles to destroy them all. So he had to close to energy range, which is why his ships got shot up so horribly.

---


And I don't think they were that ignorant of the Achuultani. Dahak points out that the remains of that shattered planet (Sheskar maybe? the old Fleet base one) are inconsistent with the effects of Achuultani weapons. And it's commented that the scouting force was twice as big as they expected. Both of those statements are before they capture the Achuultani computers, so those would have to be based on pre-existing 4thImp knowledge of the Achuultani.

And whatever the 4thImp did or didn't know about the Achuultani, the 4thEmp didn't believe they existed anymore. So what were they -- as a single government which didn't know about/believe in any other political entities in the universe -- doing with the planetoids? 1,000,000 planet-destroying ships seems way, way, way too much to deal with revolutions and terrorists and such.

biochem wrote:
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.



You're forgetting the fact that if Dahak hadn't sacrificed himself to destroy the master control computer in charge of the remaining Achuultani fleet, Colin and his few remaining ships couldnt have done anything more than flee to Earth and evacuate as many civilians as possible. At the time that Dahak killed the other computer, the Achuultani still had more than enough ships left to finish the job.

Also, dont forget that Colin and company had surprise on their side the entire time. They were able to lock the Achuultani out of hyper space which seriously screwed with their ability to move and fight.

No, without the surprise factor and the trick Colin used to destroy half of the great visit in a single blow. There is no way they would have come anywhere close to winning. In a stand up fight, without the element of surprise, Colin would have lost and done so in a rather spectacular way.

As for why they had so many ships. You seem to have forgotten that they knew the Achuultani would return at some point. That information wouldn't simply disappear. Their military was built to deal with that specific threat. They also knew that the time between Achuultani visits was measured in tens of thousands of years. They also knew that despite their best efforts in the past, it had been shear dumb luck that left one of their worlds intact each time the Achuultani came to kill them.

Based on that information, there is no way, they would have forgotten why they needed the fleet they had built. They expected to win this time, but they also expected to pay for the win with heavy losses of their own.


They also didn't know much about the Achuultani. They were a backwater colony world with minimal contact with the main Empire. After they regained space travel, they had to reconstruct what had happened from fragments. All they knew was that an absolutely enormous number of ships with unknown capabilities from an unknown alien power had destroyed every single other planet in what they had originally believed was a strong empire. Lacking detailed information about the enemy, it's ships and their capabilities; they would have had no way of knowing if even a million planetoids would be enough.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by biochem   » Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:42 pm

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cralkhi wrote:But things only got that desperate -- to the point Colin had to do the nova trick and Dahak had to sacrifice himself -- because Colin was much more limited than those ships "should" have been (had they actually been supported by the 4thImp).

His ships' missiles massively outranged the Achuultani ones.

If he'd had the full several years' warning of the sensor arrays were designed to provide (rather than having to do the whole Anu thing, then go pick up the starships at Birhat... and Dahak got the messages even before he kidnapped Colin), and had had enough missiles (I'm pretty sure they were drastically short on missiles), he could have gone out and blasted them with missiles from beyond their range, then retreated and done it again and again till their whole fleet was destroyed.

But by the time he got the ships he was down to the wire and didn't have either the time or space (before they reached Earth) to repeatedly fall back that way, nor the missiles to destroy them all. So he had to close to energy range, which is why his ships got shot up so horribly.

---


And I don't think they were that ignorant of the Achuultani. Dahak points out that the remains of that shattered planet (Sheskar maybe? the old Fleet base one) are inconsistent with the effects of Achuultani weapons. And it's commented that the scouting force was twice as big as they expected. Both of those statements are before they capture the Achuultani computers, so those would have to be based on pre-existing 4thImp knowledge of the Achuultani.

And whatever the 4thImp did or didn't know about the Achuultani, the 4thEmp didn't believe they existed anymore. So what were they -- as a single government which didn't know about/believe in any other political entities in the universe -- doing with the planetoids? 1,000,000 planet-destroying ships seems way, way, way too much to deal with revolutions and terrorists and such.


That does raise some interesting ideas. Just the fact of the civil war means that there were winners and losers. What happened to the losers? Did they all agree (at gunpoint) to join the Empire. Or did some of them choose to take what was left of their planetoids and flee. If so it is likely that 1) they weren't linked to the MatTrans network and 2) the fourth Empire refugees wouldn't know to go there and thus the 2 main routes of exposure would be eliminated. So it is possible that someplace sometime Colin et al may run into another human polity....
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by 7thsealord   » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:40 am

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biochem wrote:Just the fact of the civil war means that there were winners and losers. What happened to the losers? Did they all agree (at gunpoint) to join the Empire. Or did some of them choose to take what was left of their planetoids and flee. If so it is likely that 1) they weren't linked to the MatTrans network and 2) the fourth Empire refugees wouldn't know to go there and thus the 2 main routes of exposure would be eliminated. So it is possible that someplace sometime Colin et al may run into another human polity....


I've wondered the same thing.

..... A-N-D, thinking about this more, I see a (vague) parallel to the Achultaani. Recall that the Achuultani basically arrived in the Milky Way Galaxy as refugees, supposedly the last survivors of their empire.
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Re: The Fourth Empire, 1 million planetoids, and the Achuult
Post by fallsfromtrees   » Sun Dec 28, 2014 2:21 pm

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7thsealord wrote:
biochem wrote:Just the fact of the civil war means that there were winners and losers. What happened to the losers? Did they all agree (at gunpoint) to join the Empire. Or did some of them choose to take what was left of their planetoids and flee. If so it is likely that 1) they weren't linked to the MatTrans network and 2) the fourth Empire refugees wouldn't know to go there and thus the 2 main routes of exposure would be eliminated. So it is possible that someplace sometime Colin et al may run into another human polity....


I've wondered the same thing.

..... A-N-D, thinking about this more, I see a (vague) parallel to the Achultaani. Recall that the Achuultani basically arrived in the Milky Way Galaxy as refugees, supposedly the last survivors of their empire.

And given that they were 4th Imp, their planetoids would have been like Dahak, so one or more of them might have developed an active AI, and then when the survivors arrived in a new galaxy, things are so desperate that the survivors turn control over to the newly awakened AI, and ...
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