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On Rereading HELL'S GATE

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by brnicholas   » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:35 pm

brnicholas
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Posts: 254
Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:40 pm

I agree completely. My point was that not having first contact procedures is just as stupid as having first contact procedures that call for threatening whoever you meet.

Nicholas

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Nicholas,
for people with no First Contact procedures, or training,
at all, with not even a thought of strangers,
the Sharonans did very well, except for Falsam chan
Salgmun who ought not to have acted threatening.

HTM

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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:10 pm

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Posts: 5649
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brnicholas wrote:I agree completely. My point was that not having first contact procedures is just as stupid as having first contact procedures that call for threatening whoever you meet.

Nicholas

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Nicholas,
for people with no First Contact procedures, or training,
at all, with not even a thought of strangers,
the Sharonans did very well, except for Falsam chan
Salgmun who ought not to have acted threatening.

HTM


Lord! Truer words were never written!
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:00 am

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brnicholas wrote:I agree completely. My point was that not having first contact procedures is just as stupid as having first contact procedures that call for threatening whoever you meet.

Nicholas

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Nicholas,
for people with no First Contact procedures, or training,
at all, with not even a thought of strangers,
the Sharonans did very well, except for Falsam chan
Salgmun who ought not to have acted threatening.

HTM



I also agree. I do think that a certain amount of slack should be cut for Falsum who was a civilian who was not operating under military discipline. It's that discipline coupled with proper training which provides what a person needs to survive in that sort of a crunch.

Slack or no slack, however, he made the wrong move and paid the price for it.

Don

-
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by saintonge   » Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:28 am

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Posts: 97
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Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Boballab,

First, the answer to "who shot first?"
might have been: both shot at the same time.

Second, Osmuna had an alternative way of ensuring that
his warning got out to his commander:
He could have called out so that his cohorts (who were
in earshot) would hear him.
He need not even have turned towards them (and thus
away from the Other. He might have faced the Other and
yelled "Hello! Who are you?" at him. His fellows were
close enough to overhear that shout, and at the same
time he was attempting to establish communications in a
way that was (or might have been) obvious to the Other.

Therefore, I say that both screwed up.
But from then on, all mistakes were made by Arcanians,
until Jasak ordered "cease fire" at Fallen Timbers.

HTM



Howard, the encounter between Osmuna and Falsen got hashed out on the Bar, and Himself joined in to say that he'd deliberately made the scene as ambiguous as possible, so that there'd never be a definite conclusion that 'X started it, and Y reacted.' That part was always clearly unclear. :D It's the what happened after that I was commenting on.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by saintonge   » Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:53 am

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brnicholas wrote:You are right about that Arcana's actions sharply increased tensions and made fighting much more likely and that Arcana acted as it did because it was expecting anyone it met to be hostile. There is a simple and clear reason for that.

The Arcanan Army has made first contact before, with Mythal!

The Arcnan Army's institutional memory is that of the Andaran Army and as a consequence in planning for first contact the assumption was that the most likely first contact was with someone like the Mythalans (armies always plan for the last war) and their actions were completely correct if they had encountered Mythalans. Mythalans would take all the suggestions made for making peaceful contact as signs of weakness and try and exploit them. That is why the Arcanan Army's orders put such a strong emphasis on not looking weak.

Is that stupid yes, but I don't see it as any stupider then the fact that the Sharonans had no first contact procedures at all! Both sides screwed up but it was the Arcanans screw ups that led to violence.

Nicholas


First, I didn't see anything that fits with the 'First Contact was with Mythal' scenario. Arcana has been civilized a long time, and if the Mythalans tried to conquer the world, or even Andara, it wasn't mentioned. It is mentioned (in the notes in the back of HHNF) that Andarans conquered much of the Americas, so the idea that they're traumatized by the memory encountering the nasty Mythalans is something I find hard to believe.

Second, absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence (something everyone should be required to memorize with the alphabet in kindergarten). It's quite possible that the PAAF had a First Contact procedure, but that Faslun isn't thinking about it. Both were absolutely certain that they'd never encounter other intelligent beings. Both blew it, out of fear.

But it was what happened at every fresh encounter that I found interesting, and nobody really discussed. :cry:
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by saintonge   » Tue Dec 22, 2015 5:04 am

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boballab wrote:
saintonge wrote:I’m rereading Hell’s Gate and Hell Hath No Fury before starting The Road to Hell, and something popped out at me.

Aside from the initial meeting of Falsan chan Salgmun and Osmuna, where we don’t know what happened, everything that goes wrong is the fault of the Arcanans. Not because they’re evil, but because of their mindset. Why does Arcana have a branch of its military exploring the portals? They have standing orders to make First Contact peaceful if possible, but there basic attitude is ‘These people might be enemies, so get into a position of military superiority at once, and at the first sign of trouble, start shooting.’

At Fallen Timbers, Jasak’s mistake wasn’t just failing to relieve Fifty Garlath. It was sending the troops in to root out the Sharonans, in a way certain to increase tensions. Once the survey team was surrounded, he could have just waited for a few hours, till they made a move. Or had his men surround the place in plain sight, then unload their arbelests, and put them on the ground, followed by him walking in unarmed and alone to look for the survey team.

Similarly, Five Hundred Klian determined to hold the portal, because the other side might be hostile, but never told Hundred Thalmayr ‘Don’t start shooting under any circumstances. Until they’ve killed or captured an Arcanan, you don’t fire on them.’

And Two Thousand Harshu never thinks ‘So what if the Sharonans attack? Their transport is all unenhanced animals, they come out in the middle of a swamp, they have thousands of miles to go till they reach the next portal. Let’s wait and see if they attack. Pull most of our forces back to encampments far from Fort Rycharn, and see if they try to hurt us.’

In the end, the Arcanans aren’t really trying to find a peaceful resolution.


Actually it does tell you what set off the whole mess if you read the meeting scene closely: It was the Sharonian civilian's mistake of releasing his safety and trying to sneakily point his weapon at the highly trained soldier. Osmuna noticed this as the first step in a hostile act and it led to a logical chain of events once the civilian screwed up:
His thumb moved, very carefully disengaging the safety on his Model 9 rifle.

Osmuna saw the not-arbalest move slowly, stealthily, and the level of adrenaline flooding his system rocketed upward. Doctrine was clear on this point. In the inconceivable event that another human civilization was encountered, contact was to be made peacefully, if at all possible. But the overriding responsibility was to ensure that news of the encounter got home. Which meant the people who had that news had to be alive—and free—to deliver it.

And if Osmuna intended to stay alive and uncaptured, it probably wouldn't be a very good idea to let this stranger point an unknown weapon at him.

He moved his left hand to the forearm of his arbalest and tipped it upward slightly.

Chapter 1 Hell's Gate.

If the Sharonian hadn't have disengaged his safety and tried to line up on a highly trained Soldier what happened wouldn't have happened. What the civilian did was comparable to a criminal trying to line up on a cop or an insurgent on a soldier and not expect the cop or soldier to respond according to their training. To boil it down, from what is shown the fault lies with Sharona for starting this by sending someone out not properly trained and then having them screw up by the numbers.

As to why use the military? Don't be dense not even the Utopian Gene Roddenbury thought it was smart to go out exploring the unknown with untrained civilians. If two trained soldiers had met in that scene both would have known not to try and line up with the other if they want peaceful contact and that both would need to contact higher authority. It was the stupid civilian that was the one that assumed the other was possibly hostile not the soldier:
Here we both stand, armed, and scared as shit, he thought. All we need is for one of us to fuck up. And that damned crossbow of his is cocked and ready to go. I know I don't intend to do anything stupid . . . but what about him?

His thumb moved, very carefully disengaging the safety on his Model 9 rifle.

He didn't intend to do something stupid but he did because he didn't have the training the Soldier did.


Boballab, the quote only shows that Faslun clicked off the safety, not that he tried to line up on Osmuna. That's the only movement mentioned. And btw, the "civilian" is a vet.

As for why exploring with soldiers, the question remains. The idea that they were ever going to encounter others was covered by doctrine, but:

"It couldn't be here, he thought. Not after two hundred years! Despite all of his training, all of his experience, Osmuna discovered that he'd been totally unprepared for what had been laughingly dismissed as 'the other guy contingency' literally for generations."

Why do send out platoons of soldiers, armed for war, when you don't expect to encounter anything more hostile than wild animals?
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by PeterZ   » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:09 am

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It's not just what happened after contact but the mindsets of the explorers leading to the first encounter that lead to this conflict. Sharona doesn't truly believe other civilizations exist and do not prepare for such an encounter. Arcana doesn't truly believe there are other civilizations but explore with a military armed to fight such a civilization and direct that military to peacefully control any potential encounter.

Arcana approached any potential encounter determined to impose its will on whomever its soldiers encounter. Had no shots been fired at Fallen Timbers, the Sharonian exploration team would have been taken into custody. Had the Sharonians refused, shots would have been exchanged later. The Arcanan first encounter Protocol would have forced Jasak to secure the Sharonans into his custody.

The Sharonans lack of a Protocol suggests that they do not view others as potentially dangerous variables that must be secured. Others may well be dangerous, but an immediate need to secure those others is not their initial reflex. That difference in mindset would have led to an armed conflict regardless of any mistakes. However, any other circumstances would not set up the story nearly as well.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by brnicholas   » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:42 am

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saintonge wrote:
First, I didn't see anything that fits with the 'First Contact was with Mythal' scenario. Arcana has been civilized a long time, and if the Mythalans tried to conquer the world, or even Andara, it wasn't mentioned. It is mentioned (in the notes in the back of HHNF) that Andarans conquered much of the Americas, so the idea that they're traumatized by the memory encountering the nasty Mythalans is something I find hard to believe.

Second, absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence (something everyone should be required to memorize with the alphabet in kindergarten). It's quite possible that the PAAF had a First Contact procedure, but that Faslun isn't thinking about it. Both were absolutely certain that they'd never encounter other intelligent beings. Both blew it, out of fear.

But it was what happened at every fresh encounter that I found interesting, and nobody really discussed. :cry:


Take a look a couple of pages back, there is a long thread titled "Whose at Fault" that discusses what happened at every fresh encounter in a lot of detail.

As for my assumption of a first contact with Mythal. It is based on geography. Ransar is centered in China. Mythal is centered in Africa. Andara is centered in North America and dominated all other societies in the Americas. Andara would have contact with neither Ransar nor Mythal until someone developed ships that could cross oceans and was dedicated enough to try. I assume that the Atlantic was crossed before the Pacific as it was on Earth. That makes Andara's first contact with an equal being with Mythal.

Nicholas
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE-Road to Hell Spoiler
Post by PeterZ   » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:29 am

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SPOILER!

brnicholas wrote:
saintonge wrote:
First, I didn't see anything that fits with the 'First Contact was with Mythal' scenario. Arcana has been civilized a long time, and if the Mythalans tried to conquer the world, or even Andara, it wasn't mentioned. It is mentioned (in the notes in the back of HHNF) that Andarans conquered much of the Americas, so the idea that they're traumatized by the memory encountering the nasty Mythalans is something I find hard to believe.

Second, absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence (something everyone should be required to memorize with the alphabet in kindergarten). It's quite possible that the PAAF had a First Contact procedure, but that Faslun isn't thinking about it. Both were absolutely certain that they'd never encounter other intelligent beings. Both blew it, out of fear.

But it was what happened at every fresh encounter that I found interesting, and nobody really discussed. :cry:


Take a look a couple of pages back, there is a long thread titled "Whose at Fault" that discusses what happened at every fresh encounter in a lot of detail.

As for my assumption of a first contact with Mythal. It is based on geography. Ransar is centered in China. Mythal is centered in Africa. Andara is centered in North America and dominated all other societies in the Americas. Andara would have contact with neither Ransar nor Mythal until someone developed ships that could cross oceans and was dedicated enough to try. I assume that the Atlantic was crossed before the Pacific as it was on Earth. That makes Andara's first contact with an equal being with Mythal.

Nicholas


I can see that and it fits the mindset of the Andaran military. Now compare the Arcanan inexperience with really different societies to the Sharonans and their encounter and peaceful coexistence with both Simians and Cetaceans and the underlying differences between how the two civilizations view "others" becomes rather stark. Arcana has yet to learn how to focus on the truly important elements of a sentient other. They still confuse many of their societal choices as essential to society in general.

Andara, Mythal and Ransar all have these cultural elements that differ from their fellow Union members. The story emphasizes how these cultural elements cause friction. Compare that friction to the Sharonan societies including the non-human societies. Yes, the Uromathian Empire has issues with the rest of Sharona. That is explained repeatedly as the result of the amoral ruler. Cultural differences in Sharona tend to be interesting features of individuals, they are not for the most part elements of friction between individuals and groups of people. Sharonans are not perfect, but bigotry is not one of their societal vices.

Because this is true, mul Guthik can shape circumstances to spark a war and reshape the military.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:32 pm

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I find that I disagree with your point, brn,
even though PZ & n7 both agree with it.

My argument is that bad First Contact Proceedures are
*worse* than none at all.
Those without such Proceedures must improvise them when
necessary, and they might do something good.
In the event(s),
you've agreed that the Sharonans did good.

HTM

PeterZ wrote:(reply at bottom)
who quoted "brnicholas"
I agree completely. My point was that not having first contact procedures is just as stupid as having first contact procedures that call for threatening whoever you meet.

Nicholas

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Nicholas,
for people with no First Contact procedures, or training,
at all, with not even a thought of strangers,
the Sharonans did very well, except for Falsam chan
Salgmun who ought not to have acted threatening.

HTM


Lord! Truer words were never written!
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