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What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn effort?

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Re: What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn eff
Post by phillies   » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:52 pm

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Alphanes?

Clans-of-the-Alphane-Moon By Philip K. Dick

The time for someone to decide it was time to go elsewhere was after the Alphanes were found, while the archeology argument was still going on. And you send out modest colonies in multiple different directions, on the grounds that some of them are not bad.

Edited. Misremembered who wrote it.
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Re: What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn eff
Post by Meshakhad   » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:46 pm

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A few out-there possibilities:

- A Bobiverse-type Von Neumann probe, trying to overcome the Gbaba numerical advantage. Bonus points if it's named Joe Buckley.

- A fleet that straight-up left the galaxy, perhaps for one of the Magellanic Clouds (those need more love in SF!).

- A fleet of kamikaze podlayers aimed at the Gbaba home systems, hoping to punch a nice hole in their industrial base.

- My personal favorite: the Operation Breakaway Fleet, which at the last minute discovered some Gbaba weakness, and has been leading the Gbaba on a zany chase around the galaxy for nine hundred years.
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Re: What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn eff
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:26 am

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Krenn wrote:Minimum requirements would probably be...
1 extreme-enviroment PICA.


I think you're over-equipping your mission.

10 highly experienced engineers, stored purely as active VR personalities.


Why stop at 10? You should have VR personalities of every important profession on Earth.

1 small, regen/artifical womb/genetic editing device.


Omit this, in time you can build it.

500 virtual colonists, stored as inactive data files.


Again, why stop at 500? We don't know how many people are needed to maintain their tech base, for present-day Earth the number is at least a million.

1 Liquid-Nitrogen medical freezer, storing 50,000 pre-fertilized human eggs, possibly with nanotech preservatives.


Again, why stop at 50,000? And I'll omit the LN2 storage system--see later.

1 long-life, low-power battery system, with no neutriono emmisions, and heavy electric shielding.

1 completely fail-safe, extreme enviroment-safe, cold-start boot-up system, with a 1000-year countdown clock.


A nuclear battery will suffice for this.

1 extreme-enviroment airlock.

1 extreme-enviroment hull, calibrated to store everything safely in the target enviroment.


Again, I believe these can be omitted.

Then you just... drop it onto the surface of Venus, with a parachute. And leave it lying down there. Or strap a balloon to it, then drop it down into Jupiter's atmosphere. Or send it to bottom of the methane seas of Titan. The stealth system only needs to survive for long enough that no-one sees your landing.


Note that if you drop it on Titan you already have the LN2 temperatures. Nature provides, the equipment isn't needed. The eggs are simply in a dewar of LN2 that lasts long enough.

You haven't specified anything in your equipment list that would be destroyed by being dropped into a shallow ocean on Titan. Thus I would allow the environment to flood--hence the omission of the airlock. I would figure any spacecraft hull could tolerate the temperature, you don't need anything special. Since it's going to flood anyway it doesn't need to stand up to the pressure.

You'll figure out a way to rebuild civilization down there eventually. Probably. Be careful when you wake up: the Gaba might still have a patrol boat orbiting overhead, and the only human-habitable planet in the system is probably still a nuclear-bombarded wasteland.


This is the big problem with this approach--I would expect the Gabba to stake out the system for a long time. A 1,000 year sleep is probably nowhere near enough. The hard part is going to be to make something that will survive long enough. The real killer of this approach is background radiation--you have no repair capability during the sleep, your systems must be able to survive the radiation damage when they finally switch on. IIRC the survival limit for a human body is something like 500 years in a normal terrestrial environment and somewhere in the thousands due only to internal radiation. Titan is probably the ideal location for a lack of radiation, though--thick atmosphere and a surface where most components have no long-lived isotopes.
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Re: What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn eff
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:28 am

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Meshakhad wrote:A few out-there possibilities:

- A Bobiverse-type Von Neumann probe, trying to overcome the Gbaba numerical advantage. Bonus points if it's named Joe Buckley.


aka Saberhagen's Berserkers.
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Re: What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn eff
Post by OrlandoNative   » Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:49 pm

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Keith_w wrote:On the other hand it would be a very boring story.


Not necessarily. The hunt/discovery/colonizing of a new planet could easily be anything but.

The ship(s) could encounter problems on the way; an "undiscovered" or mutated pathogen could cause problems once the terraforming phase begins; for one reason or another perhaps the only planet they could reach might have indigenous intelligent life; there's all kinds of possible scenarios that could be just as interesting as the one originally picked.

For that matter, why assume that any life forms might be included in a colonizing effort; especially if the end result was just to ensure the eventual eradication of the Gabha? Maybe they'd JUST send PICA's and AI's... ...those wouldn't even *need* a planet; and certainly not one that was earthlike in any way.
"Yield to temptation, it may not pass your way again."
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Re: What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn eff
Post by OrlandoNative   » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:20 pm

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evilauthor wrote:I've thought of the idea as well. However, by authorial fiat, no such expedition was ever launched.

You obviously need to go back and re-read Off Armageddon Reef. It explicitly says a colonizing expedition *was* launched prior to "Operation Ark"; but the colony *was* discovered and destroyed by the Ghabha. Most likely because of the emissions they couldn't hide while continuing to utilize advanced technology. That's exactly why the use of advanced technology for the first three centuries or so after the colonists landed on Safehold was to be banned.

The "timeline" given in the front of TFT doesn't mention any other such expeditions *after* Operation Ark; but it doesn't say it's a definitive history either.

However, a colonizing mission isn't something one could plan and implement at the drop of a hat; either. It would probably take years of planning; time to acquire the necessary gear and supplies; and, of course, select potential colonists. Given the state of the Federation at the time; it's questionable just how much (or how many more) such efforts would be within it's capabilities.
"Yield to temptation, it may not pass your way again."
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Re: What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn eff
Post by OrlandoNative   » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:29 pm

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Dilandu wrote:Basically this idea was suggested (by me :) ) - that the Von Neimann-type probes, crewed by PICA's could be cheaper and more effective solution. Considering the personality copying/stroing technology, even the total evacuation of human race - in terms of stored personalities and DNA sequence - onboard such ship could be realistic.

RFC basically stated, that they haven't got enough time. If Federation have more time, they would launch another colonization efforts - maybe even "mankind evacuation scenario", described above. But they have time to launch only the Safehold fleet from Solar System. So, they basically decided to stuck with old-fashioned, but less technically risky solution.

P.S. It is possible, that other Federation colonies made attempts to launch their own colonization fleets, before they have been destroyed. Also it is possible that there were some individual efforts (custom-build high-stealth ships with PICA crews, designed to wait in depowered mode until Gbaba's gone, and then crawl away).


I don't see the time argument. In any case, you wouldn't want to send out a ship - or anything else that was obviously technological.

Unless the Gbaba actually nova'd stars (which, at least, they hadn't done up to and including the engagement at Crestwell's World; the obvious thing to do would have been to hollow out a cave in the center of an iron asteroid; put deactivated PICA's; AI's; and a manufacturing module or 2 inside; and just let them follow their normal course. With no power or emissions; and no sign of any artificiality, I suspect they'd be ignored. Or drop them into one of Sol's gas giants; etc. In an inactive state; I doubt the Gbaba would be able to find them. Let them "wake up" in 500 years or so; and *then* leave to find a new planetary system; if they couldn't use the remains of the one left over after the Gbaba's attack.

With the Federation's technology level; preparing something like that would probably take less than a week for each such "seed". And while; as noted; a whole star system makes a great fortress, it also makes a great place to hide very small (relatively speaking) things.
"Yield to temptation, it may not pass your way again."
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Re: What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn eff
Post by OrlandoNative   » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:41 pm

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Loren Pechtel wrote:This is the big problem with this approach--I would expect the Gabba to stake out the system for a long time. A 1,000 year sleep is probably nowhere near enough. The hard part is going to be to make something that will survive long enough. The real killer of this approach is background radiation--you have no repair capability during the sleep, your systems must be able to survive the radiation damage when they finally switch on. IIRC the survival limit for a human body is something like 500 years in a normal terrestrial environment and somewhere in the thousands due only to internal radiation. Titan is probably the ideal location for a lack of radiation, though--thick atmosphere and a surface where most components have no long-lived isotopes.

It's never been explicitly stated - to my knowledge anyway - *exactly* what tipped the Gbaba off as to the existence of the Terran Federation. It *could* have been a stealthed scout in the destroyed system discovered by TF explorers seeing and following a TF exploration ship (or one of the follow ons); but we don't know that for sure. In any case, there aren't going to be a lot of survivors on a planet hit by C-fractional missile strikes like they did to Crestwell's World. They'd make the dinosaur killer look like a love tap. Or much technology surviving in usable shape either. A century or so at the most; and if there *were* any original surviors; they'd probably be toast.

On another note; you can shield for background radiation; lead probably isn't all that unusual a find on most planets. Moons might be different; we think lunar elements tend to be mostly on the lighter end of the periodic table. Make a "cocoon" of irregular shape; but inside it what you will; and drop it into one of the gas giants; and likely no one would be the wiser.
"Yield to temptation, it may not pass your way again."
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Re: What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn eff
Post by wingfield   » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:44 pm

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OrlandoNative wrote:
evilauthor wrote:I've thought of the idea as well. However, by authorial fiat, no such expedition was ever launched.

You obviously need to go back and re-read Off Armageddon Reef. It explicitly says a colonizing expedition *was* launched prior to "Operation Ark"; but the colony *was* discovered and destroyed by the Ghabha. Most likely because of the emissions they couldn't hide while continuing to utilize advanced technology. That's exactly why the use of advanced technology for the first three centuries or so after the colonists landed on Safehold was to be banned.

The "timeline" given in the front of TFT doesn't mention any other such expeditions *after* Operation Ark; but it doesn't say it's a definitive history either.

However, a colonizing mission isn't something one could plan and implement at the drop of a hat; either. It would probably take years of planning; time to acquire the necessary gear and supplies; and, of course, select potential colonists. Given the state of the Federation at the time; it's questionable just how much (or how many more) such efforts would be within it's capabilities.


Here is what the author HAS said:

(September 20, 2014)
"As for the eggs in a single basket and the second terraforming fleet.

There was never any intention for the Safehold colonization fleet to establish multiple colonies. The planners calculated that the existence of a second colony would have more than doubled the possibility that the Gbaba would stumble across one of them and realize that any colony had gotten past them, but they could have lived with that, given the survival benefits of redundancy.

...

The Safehold colony was not the only colonization attempt the Federation made. If you recall, they got one colony fleet (that Nimue knew about) out, only to have the colony detected and destroyed (and see also my final paragraph below).

...

Essentially, the Federation strategists who came up with Operation Ark put everything the Federation could spare from its defenses into a single roll of the dice that was the very best roll — had, in their estimation, the best chance of breaking out and breaking free — available to them in the time window they had.

...

Had there been time, the fleet that was sent to Safehold would have been followed by a second attempt, and a third attempt — as long as the Federation lasted — to create “hidden” colonies, with each expedition dispatched in a totally different direction from any other expeditions. The problem is that there wasn’t time, and there wasn’t a sufficient covering force to get more than one colony fleet out and away in the window available to them.

The clock ran out on the human race. It was that simple, exactly as Admiral Pei remarked to his chief of staff just before his final battle.
"

There weren't any other attempts.
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Re: What if Safehold wasn't the Federations only forlorn eff
Post by Keith_w   » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:55 am

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OrlandoNative wrote:It's never been explicitly stated - to my knowledge anyway - *exactly* what tipped the Gbaba off as to the existence of the Terran Federation. It *could* have been a stealthed scout in the destroyed system discovered by TF explorers seeing and following a TF exploration ship (or one of the follow ons); but we don't know that for sure. In any case, there aren't going to be a lot of survivors on a planet hit by C-fractional missile strikes like they did to Crestwell's World. They'd make the dinosaur killer look like a love tap. Or much technology surviving in usable shape either. A century or so at the most; and if there *were* any original surviors; they'd probably be toast.



It's also never been stated whether or not the Gbaba put down infantry to scour the surface of bombarded planets to ensure no survivors, but I'd consider it a possiblity.
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