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The Temple and Merlin TFT

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The Temple and Merlin TFT
Post by Bluesqueak   » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:13 am

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It just occurred to me that while Merlin goes safely into the Temple without any problems, he shouldn't have. Because we have, I'm told, word from Himself that Chihiro's side had no PICA's.

Now, if Chihiro is fighting against the Fallen, who are Fallen because they use tech, and an android or PICA walks into the Temple (sounds like the start of a series of jokes) ...

...every alarm in the place should have gone off, especially if you know your side doesn't have any. A basic robot android, built to look like one of the Angels but with a bomb inside, could do a lot of damage.

So, looking at the clues in the books - Merlin's SNARCS can investigate the orbital platforms without them blowing the place up. Steam power is 'under the radar', even though it's an obvious industrial revolution marker. Pytyr Wyllsyn's truth detector can tell Merlin is a PICA , but seemingly doesn't care. Merlin can walk into the Temple.

There was definitely a Temple mole, or someone who changed sides. I'd say the truth detector points to Schueler, except it's possible Federation privacy laws didn't allow the Stone to say 'this is a PICA' - and Schueler wasn't tech enough to reprogram it, or didn't bother because he thought there were no PICAs on Safehold.

But there's now too many times when COGA tech should have detected Merlin - and instead goes 'nothing to see here, perfectly ordinary technical demon looking like a human being, move along please.' No, I think someone on the COGA side knew - and made sure a PICA would not set off any alarms.
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Re: The Temple and Merlin TFT
Post by Julia Minor   » Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:50 am

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Why would the Stone have started flashing "PICA detected" lights? The way that scene was written made it sound like standard law enforcement Fed-tech, loaded onto the colony ships before they ever left Earth orbit, and use of a PICA was perfectly legal in the Federation. If it hadn't been able to interface properly with Merlin's brain, that probably would have triggered a "I'm not working correctly" alert.

We know Chihiro took standard plans for a planetary defense bunker and prettied them up to create the Temple. I seem to recall a mention somewhere that there were emancipated PICAs in the Federation military. If that's correct then there's no reason for the mere presence of a PICA to trip alarms in the Temple, because there would have been no reason to put those alarms in the schematics to begin with. Chihiro (or his architect) could have added those alarms when doing the rest of the mods, but unless he knew a PICA had been smuggled to Safehold why would he?
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Re: The Temple and Merlin TFT
Post by Bluesqueak   » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:30 pm

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Julia Minor wrote:Why would the Stone have started flashing "PICA detected" lights? The way that scene was written made it sound like standard law enforcement Fed-tech, loaded onto the colony ships before they ever left Earth orbit, and use of a PICA was perfectly legal in the Federation. If it hadn't been able to interface properly with Merlin's brain, that probably would have triggered a "I'm not working correctly" alert.

We know Chihiro took standard plans for a planetary defense bunker and prettied them up to create the Temple. I seem to recall a mention somewhere that there were emancipated PICAs in the Federation military. If that's correct then there's no reason for the mere presence of a PICA to trip alarms in the Temple, because there would have been no reason to put those alarms in the schematics to begin with. Chihiro (or his architect) could have added those alarms when doing the rest of the mods, but unless he knew a PICA had been smuggled to Safehold why would he?



Standard law enforcement tech - surely law enforcement would want to know if they were dealing with a potentially super strong, super fast PICA? But IIRC, the Stone needed a court order in the Federation - and I think law enforcement would also want to know if a suspect had sent along their PICA to comply with any court order, while the PICA's owner hightailed it elsewhere.

It just seems odd. A lie detector can detect a PICA, adjust for lie detection accordingly, but doesn't mention it to anyone? Legal reasons, maybe, or one of RFC's little clues that come back to bite? Like the non-reaction of the OBS to SNARCS - it blows them to bits, but seemingly doesn't tell anyone. Several books later, we find out that lack of reaction is important.

The Temple - Merlin doesn't risk it until he and Nahrmahn are pretty sure a) there's something wrong with the Orbital Bombardment System and b) he has an invite. Until then he stays a carefully guesstimated distance away. ;) Which does sound like yes, standard Fed tech could detect unauthorised PICA's. Otherwise he'd have waltzed into one of the Group of Four's meetings with a katana several books back.

And yet - all PICA's should be unauthorised, because there shouldn't be any on Safehold. If the civil war was against technology users, the Temple should be set up to detect unauthorised tech. Skimmers should have responders in them, so you can query them, tell which one is on your side. Chihiro was a power crazed loon who built a PDC as his headquarters- and yet he doesn't seemingly care who's flying the skimmers, or set alarms for when tech that isn't even supposed to be on Safehold is brought into the Temple. Even though he knows his opponents use technology to fight him.

It's as if all the alarms have been set up with a Merlin sized hole.
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Re: The Temple and Merlin TFT
Post by Tararoys   » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:54 pm

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Bluesqueak wrote:
Julia Minor wrote:Why would the Stone have started flashing "PICA detected" lights? The way that scene was written made it sound like standard law enforcement Fed-tech, loaded onto the colony ships before they ever left Earth orbit, and use of a PICA was perfectly legal in the Federation. If it hadn't been able to interface properly with Merlin's brain, that probably would have triggered a "I'm not working correctly" alert.

We know Chihiro took standard plans for a planetary defense bunker and prettied them up to create the Temple. I seem to recall a mention somewhere that there were emancipated PICAs in the Federation military. If that's correct then there's no reason for the mere presence of a PICA to trip alarms in the Temple, because there would have been no reason to put those alarms in the schematics to begin with. Chihiro (or his architect) could have added those alarms when doing the rest of the mods, but unless he knew a PICA had been smuggled to Safehold why would he?



Standard law enforcement tech - surely law enforcement would want to know if they were dealing with a potentially super strong, super fast PICA? But IIRC, the Stone needed a court order in the Federation - and I think law enforcement would also want to know if a suspect had sent along their PICA to comply with any court order, while the PICA's owner hightailed it elsewhere.

It just seems odd. A lie detector can detect a PICA, adjust for lie detection accordingly, but doesn't mention it to anyone? Legal reasons, maybe, or one of RFC's little clues that come back to bite? Like the non-reaction of the OBS to SNARCS - it blows them to bits, but seemingly doesn't tell anyone. Several books later, we find out that lack of reaction is important.

The Temple - Merlin doesn't risk it until he and Nahrmahn are pretty sure a) there's something wrong with the Orbital Bombardment System and b) he has an invite. Until then he stays a carefully guesstimated distance away. ;) Which does sound like yes, standard Fed tech could detect unauthorised PICA's. Otherwise he'd have waltzed into one of the Group of Four's meetings with a katana several books back.

And yet - all PICA's should be unauthorised, because there shouldn't be any on Safehold. If the civil war was against technology users, the Temple should be set up to detect unauthorised tech. Skimmers should have responders in them, so you can query them, tell which one is on your side. Chihiro was a power crazed loon who built a PDC as his headquarters- and yet he doesn't seemingly care who's flying the skimmers, or set alarms for when tech that isn't even supposed to be on Safehold is brought into the Temple. Even though he knows his opponents use technology to fight him.

It's as if all the alarms have been set up with a Merlin sized hole.


That makes me wonder how specific a Merlin-size hole there is. If it’s a hole designed only for Merlin, what would have happened if Nimue had gone to the temple instead? She’s a Pica, but she’s a new design. She might not register as Federation tech at all.
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Re: The Temple and Merlin TFT
Post by DMcCunney   » Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:48 pm

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Bluesqueak wrote:It just occurred to me that while Merlin goes safely into the Temple without any problems, he shouldn't have. Because we have, I'm told, word from Himself that Chihiro's side had no PICA's.
Correct. We know Merlin and Nimue are the only PICAs on Safehold, and whatever is tucked away under the Temple doesn't include any.
Now, if Chihiro is fighting against the Fallen, who are Fallen because they use tech, and an android or PICA walks into the Temple (sounds like the start of a series of jokes) ...

...every alarm in the place should have gone off, especially if you know your side doesn't have any. A basic robot android, built to look like one of the Angels but with a bomb inside, could do a lot of damage.
What Merlin is concerned about is use of technology in the Temple. Which is why he grits his teeth and shuts down everything internal he can, and relies solely on passive sensors. Even then, he discovers there is more tucked away in the Temple than he thought, though he can't try to find out what it all is without taking the risk of going active.
So, looking at the clues in the books - Merlin's SNARCS can investigate the orbital platforms without them blowing the place up. Steam power is 'under the radar', even though it's an obvious industrial revolution marker. Pytyr Wyllsyn's truth detector can tell Merlin is a PICA , but seemingly doesn't care. Merlin can walk into the Temple.
I don't think it's a question of being able to tell Merlin is a PICA. It's a question of being able to tell Merlin is lying, even though he's a PICA.

I don't see the verifier built into the Stone as having a specific "Hey! this is a PICA!" warning built in. The TF folks who built it wouldn't see a need. If you had to question someone using the verifier, you already knew they were a PICA. A physical exam would tell you that.
But there's now too many times when COGA tech should have detected Merlin - and instead goes 'nothing to see here, perfectly ordinary technical demon looking like a human being, move along please.' No, I think someone on the COGA side knew - and made sure a PICA would not set off any alarms.
I don't see the Temple having specific PICA detector alarms. Why would it? As far as Chihiro and associates knew, there were no PICAs on Safehold, so why worry about detecting them?

I asked RFC about that at a con, saying "If I'm Chihiro, I might record my personality as I reached the end of my normal life, have it downloaded to a PICA, and return in glory to Safehold in a potentially immortal body and rule it forever." RFC said if he could do that, Chihiro wouldn't have waited. He'd have done it right away. He would even have a cover story - his new, improved, non-aging body was his penance for not stopping Shan Wei, and instead of returning to Heaven to be with God like the rest of the Archangels, he was exiled to Safehold to atone for his failure. But RFC did state Merlin and Nimue were the only PICAs on Safehold.

That opens the question of why they were. PICAs would certainly have been useful to Chihiro and associates during the War Against the Fallen. And actually making them would have been well within the capabilities of the fabrication units aboard Hamilcar.

My belief is that they weren't made by the command crew because plans for them were not included in the information store provided to Operation Ark. You can't tell a fabrication unit to make something you don't have plans for. Owl could reverse engineer Merlin's PICA to learn how to make another. The command crew did not have that resource.
______
Dennis
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Re: The Temple and Merlin TFT
Post by PlaysWithBees   » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:11 pm

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You can’t look for threats you don’t realize exist. Chihiro has the most advanced tech base on the planet. Yet he doesn’t have the ability to make a PICA due to lack of plans. No one who reached the planet officially had a PICA on record. The only one that was on board was transferred to the defense fleet (officially) and so never was a problem.

So.

Since no one has one on either side and no one has the ability to make one, why bother to specifically look for one at all. Better to scan for likely threats like scanners, briefcase nukes, and unauthorized access attempts to the defense computers.
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Re: The Temple and Merlin TFT
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:22 pm

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The verifier did indicate that he was a PICA. It's just that it was a simple bit of information, not a warning (after all, PICAs were legal), and it was not understood. He was telling the truth, the verifier confirmed that, the extra icon meant nothing. Think of even these days how people tend to ignore messages from computers that they don't understand--so long as it appears to work they're happy.
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Re: The Temple and Merlin TFT
Post by Tararoys   » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:49 pm

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Loren Pechtel wrote:The verifier did indicate that he was a PICA. It's just that it was a simple bit of information, not a warning (after all, PICAs were legal), and it was not understood. He was telling the truth, the verifier confirmed that, the extra icon meant nothing. Think of even these days how people tend to ignore messages from computers that they don't understand--so long as it appears to work they're happy.


The only person who could see that icon was Merlin.

From OAR:
(Merlin) reached out his own hand, and settled it over the verifier. As he did, a small green icon glowed in the corner of his vision, and he drew a deep mental breath at the confirmation that the verifier was fully functional.


Since Merlin says ‘his vision,’. That implies that his Pica is projecting a warning, like a head’s up display, onto Merlin’s field of vision alone. So Wylsyn wasn’t ignoring the icon, because Wylsyn couldn’t see the icon.
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Re: The Temple and Merlin TFT
Post by kaid   » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:25 pm

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PlaysWithBees wrote:You can’t look for threats you don’t realize exist. Chihiro has the most advanced tech base on the planet. Yet he doesn’t have the ability to make a PICA due to lack of plans. No one who reached the planet officially had a PICA on record. The only one that was on board was transferred to the defense fleet (officially) and so never was a problem.

So.

Since no one has one on either side and no one has the ability to make one, why bother to specifically look for one at all. Better to scan for likely threats like scanners, briefcase nukes, and unauthorized access attempts to the defense computers.


It is also possible some of the normal built in PICA detection stuff did dutifully note the presence of one. Just like the verifier merlin had to explain why the verifier had a different indicator than wylsyn had seen before. It's possible somewhere in the church a notification was made but nobody knows what it ment and the archangels would not have bothered telling anybody about something that did not exist.
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Re: The Temple and Merlin TFT
Post by Randomiser   » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:30 am

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All of Bluesqueak's comments are based on silence and his view of how Chihiro should have done things, and all have the benefit of hindsight. It's a very flimsy base for a theory. Just because detection of PICA's was possible for the TF doesn't mean the technology was to do so was built into everything as standard. Merlin doesn't say the Temple was built from standard plans for a PDC, he realises it functioned like a PDC in the loyalist command crew's reaction to the Nuke and the War and was built to be very hard to destroy. That says nothing specific about what was built into it. In the middle of a war, which was touch and go at some points, building in detectors for a threat everyone knew wasn't present on Safehold would have been a waste of time and material. So it doesn't seem that strange to me that it wasn't aggressively done. Building in scanner detectors, maybe even detectors for power sources over a certain output, very probably, but a specialised PICA detector? - Not so much.
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