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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: PING Don re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Thu Dec 24, 2015 1:14 pm

n7axw
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Posts: 5100
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: Viborg, SD

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:2 Sure, Don, I'll give you that break.
A company could certainly have financed guards from
the profits on the previous discovery that it found.

Now you give me two breaks:
2.1 A new company, with no previous discoveries to get
profits from, would have to pay through the nose in
interest rates for the money to finance guards.

After all, Sharona has no central control of the moneys
earned from Outworlds. Each company arranges its own
financing.
Such central control would require taxes on moneys
earned Outworlds by successful companies,
with the money used to subsidize new companies.
What old company would wamt to be taxed to
subsidize its competitors?
Only the Portal Authority was in a position to collect
such taxes. It would need more legal authority to do
that, and then a larger (resource-consuming) bureaucracy.
Would you advise Sharonans to do that?

2.2 No company financed and controlled by Humans
*ever* has enough money to content the people who
finance and control it. Those people would *always*
have other uses for whatever money they controlled,
no matter how much it was.
Eighty years have nine hundred sixty (960) months.
Do you expect human companies to pay insurance money
for 959 months, with no return, for the sake of a thing
that might happen in the 960th?
How many Humans have ever done that?

Beyond those points, it occurs to me that two or more
companies exploring the same the same world might bump
into each other. If they both had Guard Companies,
they might wage war against each other.
For the past eighty years, any such disputes have been
settled by the SPA, because they have all the soldiers.
With the new system, SPA would need enough soldiers to
overwhelm all of the Guard Companies, or else there
would be Anarchy And Chaos in the Outworlds!
=====================================
I almost forgot your paragraph #1.
I see you as being very, very upset that the Chalgyn
team was overwhelmed and destroyed.
Is it possible that you are reacting too strongly?
As you yourself said, Bad Things do happen.

What if the Chalgyns had had twenty guards, or forty,
and they'd run into two Arcanan platoons, or more?
OTOH, what if Arcana'd had a twelve-man squad?
I deem it Chance that determines which group is stronger.

Howard T. Map-addict



Were I in charge, the entire subject of security would be handled by the Port Authority with a small tax on profits from the consortiums.

You are right. There is going to be blowback...on Arcana over what happened to the survey team. But it's going to be much worse than if the execution of their protocols (plan) had been competently carried out.

Next I have never proposed a plan whose details could be forgotten over time. I am proposing a mission statement to be under constant review to be carried out by carefully trained personnel responsible for the security of the survey teams. The actual details could vary depending on the context of whatever was encountered. You want a plan, not a straitjacket.

Finally, there is no such thing as completely risk free. But risk can be minimized by prior thought and planning, rather than being caught completely out.

As for Arcana, I would imagine there will be some house cleaning and hopefully some review of their own protocols. The most troublesome part of that is the control the encounter bit. But I'm not sure how you deal with that. Before you invite someone into your parlor, you at least need to know they are not going to wreck the place. Given the amount of uncertainty that any first encounter would inevitably generate, how does one create the mutual assuance that everybody means well, especially given the language barrier?

I can't really say that I have an adequate substitute for the Arcanan protocol.

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 Louis R   » Thu Dec 24, 2015 2:21 pm

Louis R
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1090
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:25 pm

I would go further, and dispute the assumption that the survey crews _need_ a military component. There's a reason that Chalgyn, and presumably the other companies, recruited heavily from veterans - and _Ternathian_ vets seem particularly well represented. As well as pretty darned competent to protect themselves, as witness the _fortified_ camp that had Jasek assuming he was dealing with another military force.

Military forces are assigned to missions based on an assessment of the force required to accomplish it and the anticipated threat. To deal with any conceivable threat you'd need the whole damned Ternathian Army down-chain. After all, it's always _possible_ that there's a horde of 100,000 Mongols headed up-chain towards you. Not reasonable, you say? So what _is_ reasonable? A division? A battallion? Ah, but the Arcanans are working in platoon strength, so obviously you need to counter that. [Obviously, that is, once you know that's how they operate. Before you meet them...] Let's say a company of infantry, then. Or 10x the size of the team that was already in Hell's Gate. Doing what? Well, the first thing they're doing is eating their heads off, so you need 10x the supplies and equipment. The next thing they're doing is, well... absolutely nothing. For this force to be of any value at all, it has to be kept concentrated, to at least the subunit level. So, for every explorer actually exploring, you have anywhere from a section to a platoon standing around watching him. That sure goes a long way towards making exploration practical and economic. OK, then, dump the civilian explorers completely and have everything done by the military. Whose? Ternath? Yeah, right! The Portal Authority? Where's the funding coming from? and where are the _troops_ coming from? Hiring the Arpathians to do it might work, but there's still the issue of who's hiring and how they pay for it - and what they get from it. [You might have noticed that Sharona is now doing exactly what Arcana did: assigning crack units to scout for enemy forces. Only they _have_ somewhere to draw the troops from, since, will he-nil he, they had to create a unitary world state or kill themselves, and that gives them a single Army to do the job.]

And so we have the Arcanan army facing off against the Sharonan army right from day one. This improves the situation how, exactly? Aside from not having Shaylar's grief and horror broadcast to an entire world, that is, since she wouldn't have been there. Which, come to think of it, could indeed be considered a distinct improvement. And at least the casualties wouldn't have been quite so one-sided.


PeterZ wrote:I believe Howard's point on legal authority for actual military guards accompanying Sharonan exploration teams is dead on. Prior to the Sharonan Empire, there was no overarching organization beyond the Portal Authority. To whom would such a military group answer to? Lord knows non-Uromathians would have issues trusting the guards that report to the Uromathian Empire. As we have read it required an existential threat to prompt the Sharonan nations to create a unified World government. Even then there are serious hiccups.

Even using Portal Authority troops to guard explorers would be subject to complaints from the various competing national interests and their constituent companies. It appears that the distribution of responsibilities for the PA, its military forces and the private exploration companies have been honed down to the most reasonable compromises based on the potential threats.
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Re: PING Don re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:56 pm

PeterZ
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Posts: 5883
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:11 pm
Location: Colorado

Don, both sides have good lie detectors. Even assuming the other side does would allow either Arcana or Sharona to protect themselves in any exchange. I don't think diplomacy was an issue for either side.

I think Arcana's imperative to physically control the information initially was a cultural blindspot.

n7axw wrote:
Howard T. Map-addict wrote:2 Sure, Don, I'll give you that break.
A company could certainly have financed guards from
the profits on the previous discovery that it found.

Now you give me two breaks:
2.1 A new company, with no previous discoveries to get
profits from, would have to pay through the nose in
interest rates for the money to finance guards.

After all, Sharona has no central control of the moneys
earned from Outworlds. Each company arranges its own
financing.
Such central control would require taxes on moneys
earned Outworlds by successful companies,
with the money used to subsidize new companies.
What old company would wamt to be taxed to
subsidize its competitors?
Only the Portal Authority was in a position to collect
such taxes. It would need more legal authority to do
that, and then a larger (resource-consuming) bureaucracy.
Would you advise Sharonans to do that?

2.2 No company financed and controlled by Humans
*ever* has enough money to content the people who
finance and control it. Those people would *always*
have other uses for whatever money they controlled,
no matter how much it was.
Eighty years have nine hundred sixty (960) months.
Do you expect human companies to pay insurance money
for 959 months, with no return, for the sake of a thing
that might happen in the 960th?
How many Humans have ever done that?

Beyond those points, it occurs to me that two or more
companies exploring the same the same world might bump
into each other. If they both had Guard Companies,
they might wage war against each other.
For the past eighty years, any such disputes have been
settled by the SPA, because they have all the soldiers.
With the new system, SPA would need enough soldiers to
overwhelm all of the Guard Companies, or else there
would be Anarchy And Chaos in the Outworlds!
=====================================
I almost forgot your paragraph #1.
I see you as being very, very upset that the Chalgyn
team was overwhelmed and destroyed.
Is it possible that you are reacting too strongly?
As you yourself said, Bad Things do happen.

What if the Chalgyns had had twenty guards, or forty,
and they'd run into two Arcanan platoons, or more?
OTOH, what if Arcana'd had a twelve-man squad?
I deem it Chance that determines which group is stronger.

Howard T. Map-addict



Were I in charge, the entire subject of security would be handled by the Port Authority with a small tax on profits from the consortiums.

You are right. There is going to be blowback...on Arcana over what happened to the survey team. But it's going to be much worse than if the execution of their protocols (plan) had been competently carried out.

Next I have never proposed a plan whose details could be forgotten over time. I am proposing a mission statement to be under constant review to be carried out by carefully trained personnel responsible for the security of the survey teams. The actual details could vary depending on the context of whatever was encountered. You want a plan, not a straitjacket.

Finally, there is no such thing as completely risk free. But risk can be minimized by prior thought and planning, rather than being caught completely out.

As for Arcana, I would imagine there will be some house cleaning and hopefully some review of their own protocols. The most troublesome part of that is the control the encounter bit. But I'm not sure how you deal with that. Before you invite someone into your parlor, you at least need to know they are not going to wreck the place. Given the amount of uncertainty that any first encounter would inevitably generate, how does one create the mutual assuance that everybody means well, especially given the language barrier?

I can't really say that I have an adequate substitute for the Arcanan protocol.

Don

-
Top
Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:57 pm

PeterZ
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 5883
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:11 pm
Location: Colorado

Color me convinced.

Louis R wrote:I would go further, and dispute the assumption that the survey crews _need_ a military component. There's a reason that Chalgyn, and presumably the other companies, recruited heavily from veterans - and _Ternathian_ vets seem particularly well represented. As well as pretty darned competent to protect themselves, as witness the _fortified_ camp that had Jasek assuming he was dealing with another military force.

Military forces are assigned to missions based on an assessment of the force required to accomplish it and the anticipated threat. To deal with any conceivable threat you'd need the whole damned Ternathian Army down-chain. After all, it's always _possible_ that there's a horde of 100,000 Mongols headed up-chain towards you. Not reasonable, you say? So what _is_ reasonable? A division? A battallion? Ah, but the Arcanans are working in platoon strength, so obviously you need to counter that. [Obviously, that is, once you know that's how they operate. Before you meet them...] Let's say a company of infantry, then. Or 10x the size of the team that was already in Hell's Gate. Doing what? Well, the first thing they're doing is eating their heads off, so you need 10x the supplies and equipment. The next thing they're doing is, well... absolutely nothing. For this force to be of any value at all, it has to be kept concentrated, to at least the subunit level. So, for every explorer actually exploring, you have anywhere from a section to a platoon standing around watching him. That sure goes a long way towards making exploration practical and economic. OK, then, dump the civilian explorers completely and have everything done by the military. Whose? Ternath? Yeah, right! The Portal Authority? Where's the funding coming from? and where are the _troops_ coming from? Hiring the Arpathians to do it might work, but there's still the issue of who's hiring and how they pay for it - and what they get from it. [You might have noticed that Sharona is now doing exactly what Arcana did: assigning crack units to scout for enemy forces. Only they _have_ somewhere to draw the troops from, since, will he-nil he, they had to create a unitary world state or kill themselves, and that gives them a single Army to do the job.]

And so we have the Arcanan army facing off against the Sharonan army right from day one. This improves the situation how, exactly? Aside from not having Shaylar's grief and horror broadcast to an entire world, that is, since she wouldn't have been there. Which, come to think of it, could indeed be considered a distinct improvement. And at least the casualties wouldn't have been quite so one-sided.


PeterZ wrote:I believe Howard's point on legal authority for actual military guards accompanying Sharonan exploration teams is dead on. Prior to the Sharonan Empire, there was no overarching organization beyond the Portal Authority. To whom would such a military group answer to? Lord knows non-Uromathians would have issues trusting the guards that report to the Uromathian Empire. As we have read it required an existential threat to prompt the Sharonan nations to create a unified World government. Even then there are serious hiccups.

Even using Portal Authority troops to guard explorers would be subject to complaints from the various competing national interests and their constituent companies. It appears that the distribution of responsibilities for the PA, its military forces and the private exploration companies have been honed down to the most reasonable compromises based on the potential threats.
Last edited by PeterZ on Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:29 pm

n7axw
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 5100
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: Viborg, SD

Louis R wrote:I would go further, and dispute the assumption that the survey crews _need_ a military component. There's a reason that Chalgyn, and presumably the other companies, recruited heavily from veterans - and _Ternathian_ vets seem particularly well represented. As well as pretty darned competent to protect themselves, as witness the _fortified_ camp that had Jasek assuming he was dealing with another military force.

Military forces are assigned to missions based on an assessment of the force required to accomplish it and the anticipated threat. To deal with any conceivable threat you'd need the whole damned Ternathian Army down-chain. After all, it's always _possible_ that there's a horde of 100,000 Mongols headed up-chain towards you. Not reasonable, you say? So what _is_ reasonable? A division? A battallion? Ah, but the Arcanans are working in platoon strength, so obviously you need to counter that. [Obviously, that is, once you know that's how they operate. Before you meet them...] Let's say a company of infantry, then. Or 10x the size of the team that was already in Hell's Gate. Doing what? Well, the first thing they're doing is eating their heads off, so you need 10x the supplies and equipment. The next thing they're doing is, well... absolutely nothing. For this force to be of any value at all, it has to be kept concentrated, to at least the subunit level. So, for every explorer actually exploring, you have anywhere from a section to a platoon standing around watching him. That sure goes a long way towards making exploration practical and economic. OK, then, dump the civilian explorers completely and have everything done by the military. Whose? Ternath? Yeah, right! The Portal Authority? Where's the funding coming from? and where are the _troops_ coming from? Hiring the Arpathians to do it might work, but there's still the issue of who's hiring and how they pay for it - and what they get from it. [You might have noticed that Sharona is now doing exactly what Arcana did: assigning crack units to scout for enemy forces. Only they _have_ somewhere to draw the troops from, since, will he-nil he, they had to create a unitary world state or kill themselves, and that gives them a single Army to do the job.]

And so we have the Arcanan army facing off against the Sharonan army right from day one. This improves the situation how, exactly? Aside from not having Shaylar's grief and horror broadcast to an entire world, that is, since she wouldn't have been there. Which, come to think of it, could indeed be considered a distinct improvement. And at least the casualties wouldn't have been quite so one-sided.


PeterZ wrote:I believe Howard's point on legal authority for actual military guards accompanying Sharonan exploration teams is dead on. Prior to the Sharonan Empire, there was no overarching organization beyond the Portal Authority. To whom would such a military group answer to? Lord knows non-Uromathians would have issues trusting the guards that report to the Uromathian Empire. As we have read it required an existential threat to prompt the Sharonan nations to create a unified World government. Even then there are serious hiccups.

Even using Portal Authority troops to guard explorers would be subject to complaints from the various competing national interests and their constituent companies. It appears that the distribution of responsibilities for the PA, its military forces and the private exploration companies have been honed down to the most reasonable compromises based on the potential threats.


I agree with this to the extent that it would be very difficult to know how much security is too much.

Look, it's possible to come up with downsides to any proposal including the one I've outlined. I just happen to think that the one that Sharona was operating with which apparently completely ad hoc didn't work out very well. The situation was either not thought through at all or was done so on the basis of assumptions that were foolishly optimistic.

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 Keith_w   » Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:25 am

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Posts: 900
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Location: Ontario, Canada

Reading this and remembering (because I don't have it handy) what was written about the Portal Authority forces, it seems to me that they are more like a mounted police force similar to the Northwest Mounted Police, responsible for maintaining peace in the out-worlds, and protecting explorers from those who would do evil, such as claim jumpers.
--
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:01 pm

n7axw
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Posts: 5100
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Location: Viborg, SD

Keith_w wrote:Reading this and remembering (because I don't have it handy) what was written about the Portal Authority forces, it seems to me that they are more like a mounted police force similar to the Northwest Mounted Police, responsible for maintaining peace in the out-worlds, and protecting explorers from those who would do evil, such as claim jumpers.


My memory is the same as yours, although their task would have been a lot bigger than the RCMP.

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 Marty   » Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:35 pm

Marty
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Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:08 pm

The Arcanans like to talk a lot about honor and think of themselves as honorable people, but talk is cheap. Their actions tell you which ones are scumbags (most of them) and which ones are as honorable as they like to yap about (the few).
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:05 pm

n7axw
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Posts: 5100
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: Viborg, SD

Marty wrote:The Arcanans like to talk a lot about honor and think of themselves as honorable people, but talk is cheap. Their actions tell you which ones are scumbags (most of them) and which ones are as honorable as they like to yap about (the few).


Maybe a bit harsh here... I suspect that when the story is completely told that we will have about the same ratio of honorable to scumbags on Arcana as on Sharona. It's just that we are hearing about Arcana's scumbags right now...

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 Marty   » Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:35 pm

Marty
Ensign

Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:08 pm

n7axw wrote:
Marty wrote:The Arcanans like to talk a lot about honor and think of themselves as honorable people, but talk is cheap. Their actions tell you which ones are scumbags (most of them) and which ones are as honorable as they like to yap about (the few).


Maybe a bit harsh here... I suspect that when the story is completely told that we will have about the same ratio of honorable to scumbags on Arcana as on Sharona. It's just that we are hearing about Arcana's scumbags right now...

Don

-


At least when the Sharonans return the favor I hope they don't simultaneously go on & on about their "honor code" at the same time.
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