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Planning for the Gbaba

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Planning for the Gbaba
Post by Nathan C.   » Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:34 pm

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So it occurred to me that Merlin could be doing things now that would help when they fight the Gbaba. The first thing that occurred to me is that they are so far away from the old Terran Federation that they probably have not idea of what is in the galactic neighborhood. So observing the stars around them could be very helpful. The data they could gleam

1. Light waves for communication would still most likely be the cheapest / most common way to communicate so they could listen to the stars around them. It’s true the data would be thousands of years old but it may give them a map. It may also let them find other species that were whipped out by the Gbaba

2. If he uses the same techniques, we are using to find extra solar planets he can potentially find other systems that have planets. Which in its own right wouldn’t be helpful but once he gets the normal orbital periods, he could use it to see if there were ships traveling in a system. Furthermore, he could potentially determine the atmosphere of those planets which would say if they could support the Gbaba and if the atmosphere shows traces of industrial processes.

As a note both of these systems could be validated by looking back at planets, they know were controlled by the Gbaba.

3. He could give people like Seamount and Dr. Mahklyn the option to exist as an R&D thinktank for however long they want, working on ways to defeat the Gbaba. Given that their designs haven’t changed at all (and assuming that Merlin has copies of all of that data). You can find the exactly optimal set of weapons to take out their ships.

4. Start developing biological/chemical weapons that would target Gbaba physiology. Given all of the data that they can collect they may be able to compile lists of thousands of Gbaba planets. In order to do the most amount of damage at the start of a new war humanity could release bio/chemical weapons on all of those worlds at once killing huge amounts of the population. Again because their technology hasn’t changed they should be able to develop them to get through Gbaba technology. This has the advantage of also allowing humanity to strike and stay hidden.

Anyone else have any other ideas of what they could do?
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Re: Planning for the Gbaba
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:48 pm

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I don't think Merlin should be doing any of these things now--there's plenty to do on Safehold and his high tech manufacturing capacity is limited.
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Re: Planning for the Gbaba
Post by Dilandu   » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:40 pm

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Frankly, it doesn't make any sense. Until the problem with Rakurai Array and Archangels planned return is solved, any planning against Gbaba would be just a waste of resources.

3. He could give people like Seamount and Dr. Mahklyn the option to exist as an R&D thinktank for however long they want, working on ways to defeat the Gbaba. Given that their designs haven’t changed at all (and assuming that Merlin has copies of all of that data). You can find the exactly optimal set of weapons to take out their ships.


It would not work. The problem that doomed the Terrain Federation was not only their numerical advantage but also that Gbaba technology was superior to human ones. Essentially Terrain Federation warships were already optimized to fight Gbaba - but they were inferior in both quality and quantity (and space warfare, frankly, is not exactly the area when cunning tactics could compensate for such inferiority). Until humans would be capable to develop hardware superior that of Terrain Federation - and it would took MORE than just a few virtual personalities (otherwise Federation would to that long ago), such planning would not work.

4. Start developing biological/chemical weapons that would target Gbaba physiology. Given all of the data that they can collect they may be able to compile lists of thousands of Gbaba planets. In order to do the most amount of damage at the start of a new war humanity could release bio/chemical weapons on all of those worlds at once killing huge amounts of the population. Again because their technology hasn’t changed they should be able to develop them to get through Gbaba technology. This has the advantage of also allowing humanity to strike and stay hidden.


Why do you need such measures to just destroy a planet population?
------------------------------

Oh well, if shortening the front is what the Germans crave,
Let's shorten it to very end - the length of Fuhrer's grave.

(Red Army lyrics from 1945)
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Re: Planning for the Gbaba
Post by Nathan C.   » Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:32 pm

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Since this data would have to be gathered from space (to avoid atmospheric interference) the Rakurai is a non-factor for this, it doesn't have drive powered missiles so anything 1 - 2 light minutes away could dodge anything it throws with minimal station keeping drives. It is only relevant to things on the planets surface.

I disagree that it would be wasted resources, to gather this kind of data would take a long time to get (Potentially decades). The computational power wouldn't be huge so it's not a big drain on owl. So far as we know the federation never had detailed star charts of this region of space or knew the extent of the Gbaba. The cost for the United States to do this was $377 million it couldn't be that big of a drain on resources . . . even if they didn't have the purified elements they needed all of that could be done without any emissions using hydrometlurgical processes.

You are probably correct that a couple of the most brilliant people from an entire planet working on the problem for 100 years probably wouldn't solve it, but given that hyper heuristic mode is what 30x if you give them 3000 years that might well do something (Ignoring the fact you could copy them since that would probably take more hardware then is available). That is longer than humans have ever had a problem without them making significant progress. Also they would have the freedom that the Terran Federation never had. . . Time and the freedom to think without the constant losses that an interstellar war was causing.

While attacking the Gbaba planets as a weapon of war is useful it may also lead to panic and/or cultural change. Think about how this pandemic has changed how most humans think if a disease wiped out 50% of your civilization spread over thousands of light years in a few weeks. That might cause panic which we know the Gbaba feel since it was discussed in book 1.

Finally and most importantly . . . Why not. In a fight against an opponent a million times more powerful then you (at a minimum). Why wouldn't you do everything you could to give yourself as much as an advantage as possible. Human history has been a history of an exponential growth and innovation seeking to overcome the problems of the day. Imagine if you took the smartest people from the last 3000 years of human history and gave them one problem to solve without the need for food, or the power games of civilizations. The amount that could be done is illiterately inconceivable.
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Re: Planning for the Gbaba
Post by Bruno Behrends   » Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:59 pm

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Nathan C. wrote:
[snip] ...

1. Light waves for communication would still most likely be the cheapest / most common way to communicate so they could listen to the stars around them. It’s true the data would be thousands of years old but it may give them a map. It may also let them find other species that were whipped out by the Gbaba

2. If he uses the same techniques, we are using to find extra solar planets he can potentially find other systems that have planets. Which in its own right wouldn’t be helpful but once he gets the normal orbital periods, he could use it to see if there were ships traveling in a system. Furthermore, he could potentially determine the atmosphere of those planets which would say if they could support the Gbaba and if the atmosphere shows traces of industrial processes.

[snip] ...



Thank you for opening this thread.

As to your 1. and 2. I would expect the original colony fleet to have surveyed the stars around Safehold as well as was possible with their ship instruments while simultaneously keeping unmoving in stealth.

We know the fleet had quite a lot of time to sit still and twiddle their thumbs because Shan Wei and her crew had to terraform Safehold for a while before the settlers could be planted there. I would be astonished if the fleet hadn't used that time for observations.

We can of course question whether the original observational data from the fleet made it to Nimue's cave. I would guess it did though since it was clearly important, as you rightly point out in your OP.

If that's true though then Merlin isn't really likely to have any astrological instruments in his cave that even remotely approach the resolution of the shipboard sensors that the fleet had. I suppose he could build something - but it would have to be quite enormous to equal the resolution that the fleet could manage. And that might be costly and detracting from the war effort, as pointed out by others above. And also we don't know if it wouldn't pose a risk of being discovered by the temple boys or the temple AI.

Your idea gives me another idea: maybe the temple itself has been watching the skies for Gbabba hints through hidden instruments all these years without anyone alive today even knowing.
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Re: Planning for the Gbaba
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:55 pm

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First thing to remember is that the Federation knew the location of Gbaba controlled space so the Project Ark fleet would be traveling away from Gbaba controlled space. Obviously, the Federation didn't know how many star systems controlled but still they knew "which direction to travel to get away from them".

And yes, I agree that the Project Ark Fleet likely could have checked out star systems close to the Safehold system so the people of Safehold would know what star systems could be settled by them.

Oh, I don't believe that the Gbaba were that more technologically advanced than the Federation. The only "tech advantage" mentioned was that Gbaba warships had a somewhat higher acceleration than Federation warships. The major advantage was that the Gbaba greatly outnumbered humanity.

Finally, as far as advancing human technology goes, once Safeholdians get off Safehold and settle other star systems, their knowledge about the Gbaba will push them into further research into advancing technology.

And yes, IMO they'll have plenty of "room" to settle star systems away from the Gbaba since they're aware of them.

The major danger was if they left Safehold without knowing of the Gbaba. Then they might have "moving into" territory that the Gbaba patrolled.
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Re: Planning for the Gbaba
Post by Erls   » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:57 am

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No. Just no.

1 - I believe it was established in the books that the Federation had pulled close to even, if not slightly better than, Gbaba tech at the time Earth fell. The reason Earth fell is that quantity has a quality all of its own. So, military technology capable of bringing Safehold up to near parity with the Gbaba is already known and waiting in the cave. No reason to research it.

2 - Nothing of use is going to get past the orbital bombardment system. It is established that there is anti-missile and, presumedbly, anti-satellite/craft defenses and offenses in orbit. Anything that is launched to go exploring will have to both not trigger the bombardment system and make it past the system. And for all of that the information they gain will be extremely limited compared to what they could discover with 5-10 years of proscription free technology. Don't forget that the once the proscriptions are lifted OWL can begin duplicating his manufacturers and building out in the open. And, they could build latest generation (including with stealth, which will be highly important) Federation vessels to conduct the exploration.

3- The first steps Safehold takes, once it re-enters space, will be the immediate colonization of multiple other planets and the establishment of at least 2 "boltholes" that are located another 200+ LYs further away from the Gbaba. These will serve as both new colonies (which, like Safehold, will have very strong pro-growth policies) as well as fall-backs in case the Gbaba show up. Until the Gbaba are, in fact, rediscovered there will likely be a smaller amount of traffic between the Boltholes and Safehold to maintain ties and share tech discoveries, but once the Gbaba are rediscovered they will go dark until Safehoold has kicked the crap out of them.

4- Bioweapons? Has anything in the books even given a hint that Cayleb, Sharleyan, or Merlin - let alone Maikel - would approve of pre-meditated genocide of an entire species? More likely Safehold will first attempt to beat up the Gbaba badly enough that the Gbaba will negotiate. After all, if an understanding can be reached once Safehold has proven itself to be too strong for the Gbaba to defeat, then perhaps there would be a way for peace. And, if that fails, the more likely outcome would be for Safehold to wipe out every last piece of presence in space the Gbaba have and set up blockades of every planet the Gbaba are on, allowing them to survive but not re-enter space.

5 - Again, in some universes this could be an interesting topic. Something like Star Wars, which is overseen by complete imbeciles who only care about the profit to be made, would be a perfect setting for this type of off-the-wall speculation. Safehold speculation is, like most other RFC universes, best done when constrained by the universe he has created for us.
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Re: Planning for the Gbaba
Post by Dilandu   » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:40 am

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Erls wrote:1 - I believe it was established in the books that the Federation had pulled close to even, if not slightly better than, Gbaba tech at the time Earth fell.


Er, if I recall correctly, during the operation Ark deployment, it was stated that Gbaba still have a tech advantage, albeit it is less prominent than before.
------------------------------

Oh well, if shortening the front is what the Germans crave,
Let's shorten it to very end - the length of Fuhrer's grave.

(Red Army lyrics from 1945)
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Re: Planning for the Gbaba
Post by Nathan C.   » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:04 am

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Bruno Behrends

I really like your idea of the Temple being an observation tower. I had never considered that. As to your comment on the colony fleet fleet I have to concede that you are probably right but that was 1000 years ago. Do we have any idea the rate at which the Gbaba expand? Maybe another sentient species developed we know there have been at least 3.

Erls

To go over your points in order

1. You seem to be implying that there is a point where you would want to limit your technological advantage over a vastly superior foe. This is a relatively minor ask given that it will be optional for anyone who wants to and honestly do you really think someone like Dr. Mahklyn would ever want to stop learning?

2. We know this is false. The skimmer goes into space multiple times. I agree that it has a set of defenses to protect itself that are at this point impregnable. And your comment about the information they could gain in 5 - 10 years shows a fundamental lack of scientific understanding of how we look for extra-solar planets.

Aside on detecting extra solar planets

In order to do that the planet has to pass between the star and the observer so naturally that is only going to happen once an orbit. It takes even longer if we are trying to get data on a moon. in that case not only is it once an orbit but the moon has to be on the sides of the planet and not between the any of the above three points. So if we look at Saturn's orbital period of 29 years and say we want to look at moons that might support live we can assume that we will see them half the time. So we would get 1 data point every 58 years ideally you would want at least 3 data points so to get even the most basic data would take 174 years.

Now obviously Saturn is a gas giant and probably willn't be a planet in the goldilocks zone so lets take mars as an example. Mar's orbital period is 687 days call it 1.9 years. Again assuming we would want to look at moons as well it would take 3.8 years to get a single data point. Again going for the minimum amount of data that would take 11.4 years. So if we round it to 12 years per sky segment since you can't watch the whole sky at once and assume they have better optics then we do now so they could watch 25% of the sky at a time it would take 48 years.


End Aside

3. I really like this idea but I do not remember reading that anywhere in the books.

4. I think this would provide a very interesting rift point between Safehold and Merlin. As was discussed in the first book there was some question of if the Gbaba are still sentient. I agree that Caleb and Sharleyan would be against it. However I think Merlin and any other military personnel would be more open to it then you think. The Terran Federation did try to communicate and negotiate with them but they never had any success despite the fact that Gbaba know the language. Furthermore as you said in point one "quantity has a quality all its own" this would be the single most effective way I could think of to reduce their number. Fundamentally we have never seen anyone native to safehold fight a different species. When you put together that it's a different species, there is a massive reason to hate them (given that they have tried to wipe out the spieces), and the fact that it might be the only option for long term survival I think humanity will do just about anything, judging from our history.

5. The universe is large and if we can't play in the worlds we have been provided by an author we all love then what's the point of the books? Is it Bubblegum entertainment or something meant to make us think and wonder what we would do? For me it is the latter. If it is the former for you that's fine but for myself I am going to play in the worlds I have been shown.
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Re: Planning for the Gbaba
Post by n7axw   » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:04 am

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Dilandu wrote:
Erls wrote:1 - I believe it was established in the books that the Federation had pulled close to even, if not slightly better than, Gbaba tech at the time Earth fell.


Er, if I recall correctly, during the operation Ark deployment, it was stated that Gbaba still have a tech advantage, albeit it is less prominent than before.


Erls has it right. Due to the replication of scientists in AI form the Federation was able to pressurized its research and reach parity with the Gbaba. However it was not accomplished soon enough to save them. Merlin's assumption is that Safehold will eventually be able to build on that research and produce ships superior to the Gbaba since what the Federation had was the floor necessary for survival.

I agree that the focus should be on getting rid of the Rakuraii. Until that happens Safehold will be stuck at a steam powered level of industrialization.

Don

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