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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 saintonge   » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:11 pm

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PeterZ wrote: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.


Ah, now someone begins to get my point. The Arcanans couldn't reasonably anticipate Voices, but they could reasonably anticipate some way to communicate relatively quickly over long distance. Their own Hummers do that. Yet even though Jasak Olderhan has every intention of managing the contact with the fleeing Sharonans 'peacefully', he determines to make them into prisoners. Further, he knows the Sharonan who killed his man was himself killed. But he never stops to consider that the Sharonan's reaction to one of theirs being killed is to run for it, while his is to capture the strangers. That's mindset at work.

Suppose Garlath hadn't shot chan Hagrahyl? The Arcanans would still have killed one of the scouting party, then captured the rest and dragged them off. That is NOT a good basis for starting peaceful relations.

Yeah, mul Gurthak is a villain who twists the situation. But what he pretended to be trying to accomplish was not a real proper basis for friendly relations.

The entire Arcanan attitude to interacting with a strange civilization is flawed. Even with everyone acting intelligently, peaceful contact would have been unlikely.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:49 pm

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Given the standing order to control information about first peacefully, I don't see how hostilities could be avoided. Even without the existence of Voices, Arcana's capture of a the first contact party would indicate to any follow on diplomatic effort that arcana is unwilling to truly negotiate in good faith. They must be forced into accepting their partners on an equal footing. Left to their own devices, they will beg borrow and steal any advantage they can.

Starting any negotiations with complete strangers with that attitude doesn't bode well for a satisfactory conclusion.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by Jonathan_S   » Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:41 pm

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PeterZ wrote:Given the standing order to control information about first peacefully, I don't see how hostilities could be avoided. Even without the existence of Voices, Arcana's capture of a the first contact party would indicate to any follow on diplomatic effort that arcana is unwilling to truly negotiate in good faith. They must be forced into accepting their partners on an equal footing. Left to their own devices, they will beg borrow and steal any advantage they can.

Starting any negotiations with complete strangers with that attitude doesn't bode well for a satisfactory conclusion.
It doesn't.
However to some extent I think it depends on how rough Arcana's soldiers had to be securing the first contact party, whether word leaked out to Sharona prior to official contact, and how quickly Arcana was able to extract intelligence from the contact party.

Imagine they're able to capture them without any overt violence (detained for questioning), with any message leaking, and and then thanks to their translation and lie detecting spellware quickly determine who they are and the next official point of contact and what the usual customs of diplomatic parlay are.

In that perfect world the Arcanan initial diplomatic contact might reach the first Sharonan portal fort and request talks before the Survey Crew was even known to be overdue (much less captured). You'd have to turn them loose pretty shortly thereafter, but if diplomatic contact as already initiated; and no injury or death was given to the Survey Party the initial "missteps" could probably be smoothed over.


The problem is the high likelihood that something would to wrong with this perfect world. Violence would be required, or a message would get out before a diplomatic overture could be extended (or as it happened; both)
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Re: PING Don re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:46 pm

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1 - Stephen, I deem myself required to tell you:
This Arcanan attitude flaw point is one on which I have been
harping for eight years. Most other posters here have agreed,
especially frequent posters. It is chiefly David Weber who
has consistently maintained that the mere existance of an
Arcanan Plan For First Contact puts them ahead of the
Sharonans, who lack such a Plan. He has not (yet) accepted
our argument that a bad Plan is worse than no plan at all.

2 - Naetheless, had Garlath not murdered chan Hagrahyl,
it is *not* established that the Chalgyns would have been
dragged off, or even "captured."
Another possiblity, which I deem more likely, is that both
groups would have sat where they were, and discussed matters.
I expect that that discussion, with all the new words and
thought patterns to learn, and with scientists on both sides
to study all this, would last until the first 20 Sharonan
cavalrymen arrived to show the Arcanans that they controlled
*nothing*!

Howard True Map-addict

saintonge wrote:
PeterZ wrote:{snip - htm}
I think Arcana's imperative to physically control the information initially was a cultural blindspot.


1 - Ah, now someone begins to get my point. The Arcanans couldn't reasonably anticipate Voices, but they could reasonably anticipate some way to communicate relatively quickly over long distance. Their own Hummers do that. Yet even though Jasak Olderhan has every intention of managing the contact with the fleeing Sharonans 'peacefully', he determines to make them into prisoners. Further, he knows the Sharonan who killed his man was himself killed. But he never stops to consider that the Sharonan's reaction to one of theirs being killed is to run for it, while his is to capture the strangers. That's mindset at work.

2 - Suppose Garlath hadn't shot chan Hagrahyl? The Arcanans would still have killed one of the scouting party, then captured the rest and dragged them off. That is NOT a good basis for starting peaceful relations.

Yeah, mul Gurthak is a villain who twists the situation. But what he pretended to be trying to accomplish was not a real proper basis for friendly relations.

The entire Arcanan attitude to interacting with a strange civilization is flawed. Even with everyone acting intelligently, peaceful contact would have been unlikely.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:54 pm

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Jonathan,

You didn't mention here that Voice Shaylar had already sent
word to Voice Kinlafia at the Portal Fort.
You also did not mention that she, and indeed any Voice,
are better Translators than any and all Arcanan spellware.

Which of course leads to the question: why didn't the Fort
Salby officers who received Toralk's negotiation party after
the battle, include a Voice to translate and a Sifter to
check for lies. As it was they had to send for them later.

HTM

Jonathan_S wrote:
It doesn't.
However to some extent I think it depends on how rough Arcana's soldiers had to be securing the first contact party, whether word leaked out to Sharona prior to official contact, and how quickly Arcana was able to extract intelligence from the contact party.

Imagine they're able to capture them without any overt violence (detained for questioning), with any message leaking, and and then thanks to their translation and lie detecting spellware quickly determine who they are and the next official point of contact and what the usual customs of diplomatic parlay are.

In that perfect world the Arcanan initial diplomatic contact might reach the first Sharonan portal fort and request talks before the Survey Crew was even known to be overdue (much less captured). You'd have to turn them loose pretty shortly thereafter, but if diplomatic contact as already initiated; and no injury or death was given to the Survey Party the initial "missteps" could probably be smoothed over.


The problem is the high likelihood that something would to wrong with this perfect world. Violence would be required, or a message would get out before a diplomatic overture could be extended (or as it happened; both)
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:14 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:It doesn't.
However to some extent I think it depends on how rough Arcana's soldiers had to be securing the first contact party, whether word leaked out to Sharona prior to official contact, and how quickly Arcana was able to extract intelligence from the contact party.

Imagine they're able to capture them without any overt violence (detained for questioning), with any message leaking, and and then thanks to their translation and lie detecting spellware quickly determine who they are and the next official point of contact and what the usual customs of diplomatic parlay are.

In that perfect world the Arcanan initial diplomatic contact might reach the first Sharonan portal fort and request talks before the Survey Crew was even known to be overdue (much less captured). You'd have to turn them loose pretty shortly thereafter, but if diplomatic contact as already initiated; and no injury or death was given to the Survey Party the initial "missteps" could probably be smoothed over.


The problem is the high likelihood that something would to wrong with this perfect world. Violence would be required, or a message would get out before a diplomatic overture could be extended (or as it happened; both)


Assuming the first contact goes exactly as though Murphy went out of his way to ensure plans went without a hitch. The Arcanans took the Chalgyn team into custody without a shot fired. They proceeded to the Fort and asked for a parley. If they admit they detained Sharonan citizens, they gain nothing from doing so besides a reputation for being aggressive. If they do not immediately tell Sharonan authorities about their prisoners, how dothey explain both the detaining and not informing Sharonan authorities immediately. Eventually, the Chalgyn team's forcible detainment would have come out. Whatever advantage is gained from controlling the information flow is lost in gaining a reputation for negotiating in bad faith.

If Jasak's team would have simply surrounded the Chalgyn team and waited to begin speaking, his refusal for allowing a person to carry a message to Sharonan higher authority would have come up. Sending someone would not have been necessary, but Jasak would not have known it. In any case the Fort would have sent soldiers and those soldiers would have confronted Jasak's force. They would have wondered why Arcana had a plan that stipulated capturing whoever the could in a first contact scenario?

Let's again assume no Voices. The truth of Jasak's refusal to allow the Sharonan first contact the ability to communicate with higher would have shown a tendency to negotiate in bad faith.

No matter how this is viewed, arcana would have revealed to their new acquaintances that they do not negotiate in good faith by preference. All the protestations of Andaran honor in future discussion will mean jack when such honor is tested in truth the results is not even considering extending that honor to strangers. It is assumed that strangers WILL be unworthy of even an initial extension of honor. New acquaintances must be treated with suspicion worth of detainment until Andaran interests are secured.

The way their current plan is working out, Jasak is planning on keeping Jathmar and Shaylar forcibly detained for the rest of their lives. He likes them and is willing to forcibly imprison them within Arcana's sphere of authority for the rest of their lives. That is whacked.
Last edited by PeterZ on Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:18 pm

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I don't disagree that Arcana's plan to control things led to what happened to the survey team.

In a perfect world, there would be no need for the security concerns that led to Arcana's plan. But there are no perfect worlds. Arcana had no more idea than Sharona did that the people they would be dealing with would be reasonable or rabidly agressive. Neither side had any idea as to the other's capabilities.

I would submit that it is doubtful that had the shoe been on the other foot that Sharona would have acted much differently.

That is because the problem is not an Arcanan problem so much as it is a human problem. Variants of this scenario have been played out time without number in our own timeline. The occasions where the problem has been transcended have been the exception rather than the rule.

We are all a long way from Eden.

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 PeterZ   » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:22 pm

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n7axw wrote:I don't disagree that Arcana's plan to control things led to what happened to the survey team.

In a perfect world, there would be no need for the security concerns that led to Arcana's plan. But there are no perfect worlds. Arcana had no more idea than Sharona did that the people they would be dealing with would be reasonable or rabidly agressive. Neither side had any idea as to the other's capabilities.

I would submit that it is doubtful that had the shoe been on the other foot that Sharona would have acted much differently.

That is because the problem is not an Arcanan problem so much as it is a human problem. Variants of this scenario have been played out time without number in our own timeline. The occasions where the problem has been transcended have been the exception rather than the rule.

We are all a long way from Eden.

Don

-


The shoe was on the other foot, Don. Both groups were exposed to the other at the same time. There was evidence that the Sharonan was wounded in the initial confrontation. There is every indication that the Chalgyn team would have returned to the Fort as soon as they discovered their scout dead after encountering a representative from another civilization.
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Re: On Rereading HELL'S GATE
Post by n7axw   » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:51 pm

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PeterZ wrote:
n7axw wrote:I don't disagree that Arcana's plan to control things led to what happened to the survey team.

In a perfect world, there would be no need for the security concerns that led to Arcana's plan. But there are no perfect worlds. Arcana had no more idea than Sharona did that the people they would be dealing with would be reasonable or rabidly agressive. Neither side had any idea as to the other's capabilities.

I would submit that it is doubtful that had the shoe been on the other foot that Sharona would have acted much differently.

That is because the problem is not an Arcanan problem so much as it is a human problem. Variants of this scenario have been played out time without number in our own timeline. The occasions where the problem has been transcended have been the exception rather than the rule.

We are all a long way from Eden.

Don

-


The shoe was on the other foot, Don. Both groups were exposed to the other at the same time. There was evidence that the Sharonan was wounded in the initial confrontation. There is every indication that the Chalgyn team would have returned to the Fort as soon as they discovered their scout dead after encountering a representative from another civilization.


Yeah, true. But the impulse to run was born out of a sense of powerlessness that sent them scurrying for the nearest military protection. The real difference was that Sharona's team was civilian and Arcana's military. So there was no real parallel between the two responses. Would actual Ternathian Army forces have taken off upon the discovery of a dead comrade? I think that instead of running they would have went looking for whoever killed their comrade....which is exactly what Jasek's unit did..

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 Jonathan_S   » Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:08 pm

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Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Jonathan,

You didn't mention here that Voice Shaylar had already sent
word to Voice Kinlafia at the Portal Fort.
You also did not mention that she, and indeed any Voice,
are better Translators than any and all Arcanan spellware.

Which of course leads to the question: why didn't the Fort
Salby officers who received Toralk's negotiation party after
the battle, include a Voice to translate and a Sifter to
check for lies. As it was they had to send for them later.

HTM
True, because I was primarily addressing the (still fantastically optimistic) thinking that presumably led Arcana into thinking that they would capture and detain in a first contact situation without long term poisoning the diplomatic well.

And I can still see where they could think that peacefully holding people for, say, 48 hours while they gather language and general knowledge and send out a diplomatic contact team could get smoothed over as long as contact was established before it became known they'd captured and detained anybody. (They may still be misjudging human nature, but I can see where they could believable make that mistake. The crazy part is expecting to do this peacefully and secretly, even if the other people aren't aggressively hostile to begin with)


In the actual event the Voices were a massive way their assumptions were off.

Against someone using even hummers you've got a slightly better chance of capturing them before a message can get sent. And if your plans presume (even in an unstated assumption kind of way) a non-magical race, without other supernatural (or high tech non-magical) communications your chance of capturing any message/messenger would seem quite possible.

Anything that gets the "we're being captured" or "we're being attacked" message out quickly screws over their presumed assumptions. Then the next people you contact are on guard, and already know you've performed hostile acts. And the longer it takes you to get information and make your next move the worse things get (whether or not you know it).
Last edited by Jonathan_S on Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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