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Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD

"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: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by n7axw   » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:54 pm

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Astelon wrote:
n7axw wrote:With the voices, Harshu had two alternatives, I think.


There is actually a third option. Take out the voice relays, using speed and violence (killing the voice at the relay appears to be necessary), and hope that any voice at the fort doesn't have the range to reach the next relay. After that aerial patrols and the speed of the Arcanan advance would mean any voice you missed would get a message out.

Staging the operation against a portal, without severing the voice net, runs a good chance that the fort's voice would get a message out before the voice is killed or the fort surrenders.

I suspect Harshu desperately wanted to command troops in battle, and this desire allowed him lie to himself. He convinced himself that the ends justified the means, just like so many before him. I believe Harshu failed to fully calculate the costs, even accepting that he knows nothing of secret cabals. If he had correctly judged the costs he would have known that his career would have ended with him in jail.

Then again Harshu fully expected complete victory, with the Sharonians begging for terms; once they discovered they couldn't fight back effectively. In victory much can be forgiven, and Harshu may have believed that he would have been forgiven to some extent.



The key to what I suggested is to prevent the voice At the portal from crossing the portal into the next universe to transmit his message. Without him crossing the portal, there is no way that the voice at the fort can get a message to the next fort sinse voices can't transmit across portals.

The idea would be to capture the voices, not kill them, although I would be the first to admit that my idea isn't fool proof.

Don

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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:50 am

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brnicholas wrote:snip

I'm inclined to think that Harshu desperately wanted to command in combat. Mul Gurthik gave him the opportunity to do so and he jumped at it. He told himself some other lies regarding protecting the Union but the truth is he went for what he wanted and ignored the consequences. That is why I call him a fool.

If he had been seriously thinking as you propose, Peter, he had far far less destructive ways of preventing Carthos from commanding an attack.

Nicholas


As I posted earlier, his lack of diligence in finding non-lethal ways to address Voices suggests a lack of imagination in certain non-military areas. That combination of a lack of imagination and mul Gurthak's very deep plans make Harshu an almost perfect pawn. In your words, Harshu is a fool.

He could have dealt with Carthos in other ways. He didn't. He could have limited Neshok's enhanced interrogations to something short of physical torture. He didn't want to risk the potential delays and so didn't restrict Neshok. Also, he knew his commanding officer had plans that encouraged brutality in combating the Sharonans. He didn't consider those plans nearly deep enough and sought only to address the abuses. He did not really consider the whys behind mul Gurthak's plan.

This last is to me the most damning. He is a general officer in a military that has only known peace for 200 years. That underscores the highly political nature of the UoA military. Harshu navigated through the politics to be a general officer in that army. He bloody well should have developed a keen sense of politics which would be screeming warnings about this situation from the get go. Whatever lack of imagination he had must have been offset by sufficient diligence for Harshu to slog through the politics and rise as far as he had in the UoA Army. I suspect Harshu was indeed getting those warning signals, but did not choose to seriously consider those warnings as thoroughly as he should have.

So, while I still believe Harshu sought to mitigate the abusive plan mul Gurthak launched, he did not try with sufficient diligence to offset his lack of imagination. He is experienced enough to have been able to address all those problems had he devoted himself sufficiently to addressing them.
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by brnicholas   » Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:05 am

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Peter,

We appear to have reached agreement on Harshu's character and behavior. Thanks for a great discussion.

Nicholas
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:29 am

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Don, the Arcanan Expeditionary Force numbers are given near
the end of book 1, Hell's Gate:
9,000 infantry in eight battalions,
2,000 cavalry in two regiments,
3,000 artillery, engineers, and Air Force;
14000 total.
Carthosforce was given about 3,000 of those.

Neshok's information:
Location of Voice listening posts;
Exact position of Portal Forts ("we always put them in the
middle of the Portal on one side. We prefer to put them on
the Sharona side, unless the terrain is impossible.")
Strength of each garrison, numbers and weapons.

Neshok would not learn what his victims did not know,
including recent re-enforcements and changes.

HTM

n7axw wrote:I agree that the attack as it was planned and executed was foolish. Removing mul Garthak from the equation and substitute someone whose concern was peace and Arcana's best interests, the most that should have happened was the seizure of the swamp portal and reinforcing it securely enough to hold it while serious negotiators were sent forward with an honest agenda of getting an agreement.

Peter's point about Harshu being judged on the basis of what he knew is a good one.

But what did he know? He knew that he was up against another multi-universe civilization with its own set of advantages as well as some handicaps, particularly in the area of weaponry. So he throws a comparatively light force into Sharonian territory. I think he started out with about 30 battle dragons, some infantry dragons, enough transports to carry his force, and, of course, the gryphons, both recon and battle. My impression is that he had, at a guess, about 8,000 to 10,000 men.

Harshu was known as an aggressive commander and in this case he counted on his speed to be decisive which turned out not to be true. What truly happened here was that mul Guthak used his aggressive nature to manipulate him into being dumb.

I'm also wondering what sort of crucial info Neshok obtained that was so critical to Harshu's advance. "The portal is thataway, now please stop hurting me???" Was that really a quicker way of finding the portal than simply following the roads? How many pows could have reliably come up with numbers for how strongly held the PAA forts were held? Count me skeptical...

Don

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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:47 am

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As Mil-tech bard has pointed out,
mul Gurthak has changed his long-established behavior.

He, and several other Shakira in Arcanan Outworld Service,
have spent decades being "good Andara-like Arcanans"
and thus winning the trust of Andarans and Ransarans that
these "New Mythalans" will work for the good of all Andarans.

Thus Harshu starts with the belief that mul Gurthak is
serving all Arcana, not just Mythal.
But, before Hell's Gate begins, mul Gurthak has changed his
behavior. He has begun actions against the Olderhams that
soon will show his true loyaties - but haven't yet,
especially because they fizzled. (vos Havan's attempt to
win Jasek's confidence, got nowhere, did not even begin,
due to vos Havan's misunderstanding and incompetance.)

Mul Gurthak's provoking a war with strangers is consistent
with his new behavior, but not with his prior life-style.
Thus I am not surprised that Harshu is deceived at first.

Howard

PeterZ wrote:snip

{snip more - htm}

Harshu ...
did not really consider the whys behind mul Gurthak's plan.

This last is to me the most damning. He is a general officer in a military that has only known peace for 200 years. That underscores the highly political nature of the UoA military. Harshu navigated through the politics to be a general officer in that army. He bloody well should have developed a keen sense of politics which would be screeming warnings about this situation from the get go. Whatever lack of imagination he had must have been offset by sufficient diligence for Harshu to slog through the politics and rise as far as he had in the UoA Army. I suspect Harshu was indeed getting those warning signals, but did not choose to seriously consider those warnings as thoroughly as he should have.
{snip - htm}
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:54 pm

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Howard T. Map-addict wrote:As Mil-tech bard has pointed out,
mul Gurthak has changed his long-established behavior.

He, and several other Shakira in Arcanan Outworld Service,
have spent decades being "good Andara-like Arcanans"
and thus winning the trust of Andarans and Ransarans that
these "New Mythalans" will work for the good of all Andarans.

Thus Harshu starts with the belief that mul Gurthak is
serving all Arcana, not just Mythal.
But, before Hell's Gate begins, mul Gurthak has changed his
behavior. He has begun actions against the Olderhams that
soon will show his true loyaties - but haven't yet,
especially because they fizzled. (vos Havan's attempt to
win Jasek's confidence, got nowhere, did not even begin,
due to vos Havan's misunderstanding and incompetance.)

Mul Gurthak's provoking a war with strangers is consistent
with his new behavior, but not with his prior life-style.
Thus I am not surprised that Harshu is deceived at first.

Howard



Agreed, Howard.

What troubles me is that Harshu should have noticed both the elevation of Neshok as well as the addition of Carthos as being fishy. Yes, there has been a history of mul Gurthak being dependable. Trouble is the sorts of irregularities Neshok and Carthos represent would suggest to the experienced political operative that something smells. Harshu would have seen the signs this well before the attack launches.

Sure things were busy, but key elements were heading in a troubling direction.
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by Mil-tech bard   » Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:10 pm

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The Mul conspiracies (Howard is right that there has to be more than one) have been working for decades to subvert the Arcanian world-state and media outlets surrounding that world-state.

That a high level Arcanian officer outside the Mul's native culture can be taken in is something of a measure of the Mul's success.
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:39 pm

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Mil-tech bard wrote:The Mul conspiracies (Howard is right that there has to be more than one) have been working for decades to subvert the Arcanian world-state and media outlets surrounding that world-state.

That a high level Arcanian officer outside the Mul's native culture can be taken in is something of a measure of the Mul's success.


I would agree with you that mul Gurthak's full plan remains obscure. I have a problem with Harshu not seeing mul Gurthak bringing in Neshok as fishy, especially when Carthos is also brought in as his second in command. The combination means suggests powerfully that if harshu becomes squeamish, he can be easily replaced. That alone would trigger alarms even if he see no deeper than that.
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by n7axw   » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:42 pm

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Howard T. Map-addict wrote:Don, the Arcanan Expeditionary Force numbers are given near
the end of book 1, Hell's Gate:
9,000 infantry in eight battalions,
2,000 cavalry in two regiments,
3,000 artillery, engineers, and Air Force;
14000 total.
Carthosforce was given about 3,000 of those.

Neshok's information:
Location of Voice listening posts;
Exact position of Portal Forts ("we always put them in the
middle of the Portal on one side. We prefer to put them on
the Sharona side, unless the terrain is impossible.")
Strength of each garrison, numbers and weapons.

Neshok would not learn what his victims did not know,
including recent re-enforcements and changes.

HTM



Thanks Howard. My guess was a bit low, but the point that it was basically a light force still stands. Harshu obviously knew that he couldn't march on Tajvana with it. So the attack on Ft. Salby makes little sense. And especially makes one wonder about the throwing good money after bad with the second attempt.

Don

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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by brnicholas   » Thu Feb 04, 2016 4:53 pm

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n7axw wrote:
Thanks Howard. My guess was a bit low, but the point that it was basically a light force still stands. Harshu obviously knew that he couldn't march on Tajvana with it. So the attack on Ft. Salby makes little sense. And especially makes one wonder about the throwing good money after bad with the second attempt.

Don

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You may be forgetting just how ignorant Harshu was of Sharonan transport capabilities. When he goes for Ft. Salby he has no clue what the railroad means. He is still working out of the assumption with which he started the attack, that Sharona is limited to animal drawn transport. It is not completely unreasonable for him to think that given the favorable terrain at Ft. Salby his 14,000 can hold off everything the Sharonan's can supply with mule drawn wagons.

Of course the Sharonan's aren't limited to mule drawn wagons. The lack of effort to acquire that information is part of why I think the whole attack makes little sense.

Nicholas
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