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Wormhole Assault: MA Style

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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed May 12, 2021 8:37 pm

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Brigade XO wrote:Next question.....does all of this presuppose that the LD's and things the size of Sharks and Ghosts with Spider Drives are towed out from builders slips and eventualy out to the hyper limit of Darius for trials and deployments other than checking out the operations of the drives and other equipment in early shakedown work well in the system? If so, then they may later be met by tugs to bring them back inside the hyper limit after deployments for maintenance etc. It's either that or build maintenance facilities outside the Darius hyper limit and don't spend the time to return the ships to in-system orbital facilities for work or repairs and resupply. Kind of like whatever yard facilities might be out at the Manticore Junction or near any high traffic wormhole bridge where you want to get things fixed before you go into a wormhole or discover some problem (that you have just survived) when you come out of one.
I don't see a point to using tugs for this. If there are enemy forces in the Darius system that could intercept you on the way to your yards / dock you've got much, much, bigger problems. (And a tug wouldn't help if there were) - so getting trapped within the hyper limit shouldn't be a concern at their home base. (And if there is hostile action there you wouldn't want the yards and bases outside the hyper limit where they're most vulnerable)

As for transit time considerations; well 150g is low acceleration for the Honorverse but it's pretty quick overall. We don't know how far Darius is from it's hyper limit but if we take the 11 LM Manticore is from its hyper limit as typical, a spider ship at 150g can cover that distance to a zero-zero intercept in just 6.5 hours; while an RMN ship able to pull 600g still takes 3.25 hours. 4 times the acceleration but only half the time.

And given the compensation issues a tug, no mater how powerful, can't move a Lenny Det any faster than the grav plates can protect it. (Though a Ghost you might be able to extend a compensation field around and generate a slightly higher acceleration).


So while I agree that an LD would need a very compelling reason to justify heading much inside the hyper limit of a hostile system I see no reason to either place its base outside the Darius hyper limit or to mess about with towing it from the hyper limit to Darius.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed May 12, 2021 9:19 pm

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cthia wrote:No, wedges don't currently work that way. But if I am correct that their startup time is a function of available power fed to it by the reactors, that could change. And while "running silent" an LD should have more available power to channel to the wedge. It could also deploy much larger arrays of high energy capacitors ...

I always maintained that the MA might be willing to accept more serious compromises in ship design as far as the long-term safety of the crew is concerned. Breakthroughs may come easier if human sacrifices are required and accepted.[...]

The MA could accept serious compromises that endanger their crew in the long run. Compromises not even a certain Oscar Saint-Just would accept. But compromises that would allow what appears to be breakthroughs.


Even if MAN ships can bring up their wedges from standby in 9 minutes, an MDM can strike from 65 million km away.

And the MDM doesn't even need to actually hit. They can use the Travis Manoeuvre: just fly past the forming wedge and you crash it, with damage to the nodes and power distribution. The ship isn't going to be bringing up its wedge any time soon after that.

I completely agree the MAlign is going to make compromises in safety, even with their prized Alphas. But some things you're proposing go from "compromise" to "suicide boat with no chance of success."
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by cthia   » Sat May 15, 2021 9:16 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
cthia wrote:No, wedges don't currently work that way. But if I am correct that their startup time is a function of available power fed to it by the reactors, that could change. And while "running silent" an LD should have more available power to channel to the wedge. It could also deploy much larger arrays of high energy capacitors ...

I always maintained that the MA might be willing to accept more serious compromises in ship design as far as the long-term safety of the crew is concerned. Breakthroughs may come easier if human sacrifices are required and accepted.[...]

The MA could accept serious compromises that endanger their crew in the long run. Compromises not even a certain Oscar Saint-Just would accept. But compromises that would allow what appears to be breakthroughs.


Even if MAN ships can bring up their wedges from standby in 9 minutes, an MDM can strike from 65 million km away.

And the MDM doesn't even need to actually hit. They can use the Travis Manoeuvre: just fly past the forming wedge and you crash it, with damage to the nodes and power distribution. The ship isn't going to be bringing up its wedge any time soon after that.

I completely agree the MAlign is going to make compromises in safety, even with their prized Alphas. But some things you're proposing go from "compromise" to "suicide boat with no chance of success."


If we are right about the overall design of the system, I think it is reasonable to consider that the available power from the reactors which is fed to the capacitors and then fed to the wedge has to be the bottleneck in wedge start times. Why else would it be referred to as "powering up the wedge?" For the life of me, I cannot accept that a system as robust as the wedge cannot handle a massive power dump. Although my impeccable logic doesn't make it true, what makes more sense to me is that the latent time it takes for the reactors to produce the required amount of power to start is limited by a factor of the time needed for the reactors to produce the requited load, and it is not a function of the system's ability to quickly absorb that load. Remember that the required power to start a wedge is greater than the output of all of the reactors combined.

I understand your point about the speed in which an MDM currently crosses the engagement zone. But I am not suggesting even 9-minute start times. I'm suggesting closer to instantaneous wedge starts, to be practical.

At any rate, I'm not sold on how quickly the GA would be able to detect your notion of "leaking reactors." No ship has been readily detected while lying doggo. Aren't reactors idling hot while a ship is lying doggo? Madrigal did not detect the Masadan ship when it was lying doggo before it killed Courvosier. So, if the MA can develop a system where wedge starts are near instantaneous, then the ability to cycle between the two propulsion systems seems reasonable and practical.

If possible, the design could turn out to be one of those areas where the crew has to accept harsh working conditions sacrificing some mortality to make the tech work. Think of Spock when he had to enter the dilithium chamber to get the mains back online to save the Enterprise.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one." :D

The crew can also be genetically altered to withstand impossibly harsh working conditions.

Admittedly, a lot of the tech I am proposing the MA could showcase is born of the completely different paradigm in which MA doctrine obviously operates, afforded by its total, unprecedented stealth. Like the missiles I propose which would attain current HV speeds launched from much closer engagement ranges even before the era of Apollo. No other navy has been motivated to design such an ability because no other navy would expect to be able to launch from such close ranges which an LD may find itself. Perhaps it is likewise with an instantaneous wedge. No navy needs to develop such a system because of the time it takes an enemy to enter it's engagement range. It is the same notion at play about hellfire energy weapons designed to take out Sidewalls from never before envisioned close ranges. Which would be somewhat opposite the physics employed by TWTSNBN.

You may be right that a lot of the notions I am proposing may be suicide. But I think we need to shelve a lot of the traditional tactics used by traditional navies before we can even come close to understanding the tactics which would be employed by the LDs. And we certainly need to understand that personal sacrifice is an MA creed which is imbibed while in test tubes.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sat May 15, 2021 10:14 am

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cthia wrote:If we are right about the overall design of the system, I think it is reasonable to consider that the available power from the reactors which is fed to the capacitors and then fed to the wedge has to be the bottleneck in wedge start times. Why else would it be referred to as "powering up the wedge?" For the life of me, I cannot accept that a system as robust as the wedge cannot handle a massive power dump. Although my impeccable logic doesn't make it true, what makes more sense to me is that the latent time it takes for the reactors to produce the required amount of power to start is limited by a factor of the time needed for the reactors to produce the requited load, and it is not a function of the system's ability to quickly absorb that load. Remember that the required power to start a wedge is greater than the output of all of the reactors combined.

A wedge is robust. The impeller node that works to create it is carefully shaped multi-ton block ultra precise molecular level circuitry in some very precise geometries - and probably could be badly damaged if it's power level was cranked up too quickly (for example internal thermal stresses from uneven internal heating messing up the ultra-precise alignments that are apparently necessary to form the wedge) There may also be internal grav effects, since the whole point is to manipulate gravity, and those might also cause damage if their power levels were changed too quickly

Hence the need to spend 30 minutes or so slowly bringing them from cold nodes to hot standby. (And the physically larger nodes on larger ships could explain the extra time they seem to take to do that - more mass, more circuitry, to carefully bring up to power without tearing itself apart)




[Though like a number of things RFC has done here, I think the cold/hot nodes was historically inspired; this time by the limitations of steam powered ships. It could take many hours to bring boilers up to power if they'd been completely off. (As in 4 hours notice; the boilers being kept in a state where the ship could steam out of port 4 hours after the captain passed the order, was considered to be a fairly high state of standby) And even ramping up from cruising power to full power could take the better part of an hour unless you were specifically running the boilers well above what was needed to providing cruising power. But trying to rush that process risked catastrophic boiler failure.

That's one reason the USN in WWII found their warships were consuming much more fuel than peacetime planning had assumed. Instead of using only as many boilers, and as much output, as required to economically cruise as your desired transit speed, captains would have extra boilers on-line so that should they come under attack they'd be able to work up to higher speeds without the lengthy delays in bringing warm up the rest of their boilers and then build them up to pressure. But keeping the 'extra' boilers hot and pressurized meant burning far more fuel]
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Brigade XO   » Sat May 15, 2021 12:36 pm

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You also find the phrase/command "Finished with Engines" in the steam/diesel operations sequence. You are taking the ability to generate power off-line and shutting down the boilers or diesel propulsion engines. This both conserves fuel and reduces wear on the equipment. Now, you might not shut everything down in port and you MAY have a stand-alone generation source for (modern) electrical systems but unless you are connected to shore power that leaves you with nothing.
Ships at dock (load/unload etc) need to get power from somewhere. Where they have multiple engines (or in the case of steamships boilers) they may keep one on-line, even at a low level to provide internal power for any number of operations and the "Finished with Engines" might also mean to take propulsion off line and reduce the power plant output to normal port levels. If you have ever seen a container ship in port and it is carrying any number of refrigerated/freezer containers, they are typically tied into a shore power source (really easy to determine, look for the cables and the transformer/switching gear on deck or superstructure) because they need to keep power running to the refrigeration units of up to a hundred or more stand-alone coolers on the containers---and you really really really don't want to let those things fail. So you hook up to Shore Power until shortly after you have brought your power plants on-line and are ready to switch over the systems.
The bigger the ship, the longer it takes to get 1st the firebox and then the boilers (in sequence or all together) up to temperature (it's a heat exchange system and you have to bring the water up to temperature to boil and produce steam- a lot of water so you have to feed enough energy into the boiler to heat both the exchange system and ALL the water in the boiler to get to a minimum production of steam) to provide the steam pressure to drive the propulsion gear. Diesel is a bit easier since once the engine is going you bring the electrical generation on-line and can start moving. So think of having to "heat up/charge" the wedge to reach operating "pressure" and be able to move or function as that wonderful shield.
Tech.....ah......so many bits and pieces.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Sat May 15, 2021 5:08 pm

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cthia wrote:If we are right about the overall design of the system, I think it is reasonable to consider that the available power from the reactors which is fed to the capacitors and then fed to the wedge has to be the bottleneck in wedge start times. Why else would it be referred to as "powering up the wedge?"


Agreed on the limitation, not on the turn of phrase. The turn of phrase can have any number of aphysical reasons.

[quoteFor the life of me, I cannot accept that a system as robust as the wedge cannot handle a massive power dump. Although my impeccable logic doesn't make it true, what makes more sense to me is that the latent time it takes for the reactors to produce the required amount of power to start is limited by a factor of the time needed for the reactors to produce the requited load, and it is not a function of the system's ability to quickly absorb that load. Remember that the required power to start a wedge is greater than the output of all of the reactors combined.[/quote]

As you said above, the problem is not likely to be the power dump. In fact, I think it is designed for a massive power dump and it is such a massive power or energy dump (or a combination of both) that makes the wedge go up in the first place. The limitation is the power generation and transfer. Which one of the two is the most difficult to overcome is not obvious, though clearly they are both currently limiting because no one would lay vastly more power transfer circuits than power can be generated -- it would be a waste of mass/volume and materials.

I understand your point about the speed in which an MDM currently crosses the engagement zone. But I am not suggesting even 9-minute start times. I'm suggesting closer to instantaneous wedge starts, to be practical.


Going from a 15-minute start to 1 minute means generating at least 15x higher rate and transferring it at a least 15x more higher rate to its destination. I said at least because it's at extreme regimes that one usually finds the most inefficiencies. So if a 6-reactor SD uses 5 reactors for 20 minutes to build up sufficient energy in the capacitors before starting the wedge, then to do so in 1 minute would take the output equivalent to 100 reactors. So what you're saying, even if it is possible ("if brute force isn't working, you're not using enough of it"), it's impractical: this goes beyond "LD has 12 reactors and thus power to spare" to "LD has 144 reactors." It has to be at least an order of magnitude more and we're told the LD is massive, but not 10x bigger.

At any rate, I'm not sold on how quickly the GA would be able to detect your notion of "leaking reactors." No ship has been readily detected while lying doggo. Aren't reactors idling hot while a ship is lying doggo? Madrigal did not detect the Masadan ship when it was lying doggo before it killed Courvosier. So, if the MA can develop a system where wedge starts are near instantaneous, then the ability to cycle between the two propulsion systems seems reasonable and practical.


We're not talking about the power from the reactors, though that would also come into effect if you have 100 reactors lit up and generating power just in case you needed it (see Brigade's replies on the boilers). You must dump excess heat somewhere lest you boil everything inside the ship. Having sufficient idle power to start a wedge goes counter to having effective stealth.

But instead what we're talking is about the gravitic effects on the nodes. We don't know why that is, only that it is. Only RFC can give us more parameters on the actual conditions, whether it is only during start up phase or not, what the range is, etc.

The crew can also be genetically altered to withstand impossibly harsh working conditions.


That means they'd been bred for that for at least 25 years, which is not likely given that the design of the ship isn't that old. The MAlign had no idea the Spider would be a practical technology until maybe 10 years ago, and hadn't prototyped it on a warship until 5 years ago. They could be engineering such crews now, but time is not on their side.

I don't think the time could have been shortened. For all we know in the HV, even Alphas take decades to mature to adulthood. Genetic slaves may be sold when they're barely 10 or 12 years old and have the body of an adult, but it's a long leap from that to crewing capital ships with such stock. At the very least the officers in charge need to be fully-trained, mature and thinking members of the Alignment society, not an automaton. And given that not even the hard labour lines of Manpower were automata, I don't think such a thing is even possible in the HV.

Admittedly, a lot of the tech I am proposing the MA could showcase is born of the completely different paradigm in which MA doctrine obviously operates, afforded by its total, unprecedented stealth. Like the missiles I propose which would attain current HV speeds launched from much closer engagement ranges even before the era of Apollo. No other navy has been motivated to design such an ability because no other navy would expect to be able to launch from such close ranges which an LD may find itself. Perhaps it is likewise with an instantaneous wedge. No navy needs to develop such a system because of the time it takes an enemy to enter it's engagement range. It is the same notion at play about hellfire energy weapons designed to take out Sidewalls from never before envisioned close ranges. Which would be somewhat opposite the physics employed by TWTSNBN.

You may be right that a lot of the notions I am proposing may be suicide. But I think we need to shelve a lot of the traditional tactics used by traditional navies before we can even come close to understanding the tactics which would be employed by the LDs. And we certainly need to understand that personal sacrifice is an MA creed which is imbibed while in test tubes.


Again there's the problem of timing. The Spider was not a viable technology until 5-10 years ago. So all of these other ancillary technologies you're proposing would need to have been invented and made into reality since the concept was first proven. It's just too unlikely that they would that many breakthroughs in such a short time span if they didn't steal it from somewhere else. The spider is the only technology of theirs we're in fact told is a genuine "out of the box" invention. The Streak drive was a mere brute force approach; the Cataphracts were slapped together; the Silver Bullet was an inelegant version of Sonja's Mistletoe; the graser in the torpedo is still a graser, even if firing for longer, and a similar line applies to their stealth.

I also don't buy that only they would have the impetus for these technologies. Or, specifically these technologies. Anyone and everyone would have killed for a million-gravity missile that lasts more than 10 seconds. Starting a wedge more quickly is certainly a factor for anything that is time-sensitive, like warships but also courier boats. Especially if this also leads into restarting a wedge more quickly after battle damage brings it down, so it's clearly an avenue of research I'd expect most navies and tech contractors to have looked into, especially those that care about their personnel returning home. Starting with Project Gram.

Finally, I don't think "personal sacrifice" is a regular trait of the Alphas. In fact, I think it's entirely the opposite and they're arrogant and egotistical. The inner Onion certainly is. You don't want your middle management to empathise with the "rabble of the human race" after all.

And one last thing: I do agree we'll need to rewrite the book once the LDs come calling. My problem is that I just don't currently see how they would operate, so the rewriting will need to wait for a few more books.
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by cthia   » Wed May 19, 2021 3:48 pm

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Gotta get this off of my funny bone. Someone reminded us that striking the wedge is the universal sign of surrender. If the LDs do deploy a wedge, will any fool fall for that to be a sign of surrender? What Henke can do, the MA can do better.

I can see it now. They strike the wedge to by them some time for the graser torps to arrive, or for other contingencies to happen. Strike the wedge and initiate the Spider drive.

Oh, did you think we were surrendering? We don't surrender, fools!

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Brigade XO   » Wed May 19, 2021 9:13 pm

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cthia wrote:Gotta get this off of my funny bone. Someone reminded us that striking the wedge is the universal sign of surrender. If the LDs do deploy a wedge, will any fool fall for that to be a sign of surrender? What Henke can do, the MA can do better.

I can see it now. They strike the wedge to by them some time for the graser torps to arrive, or for other contingencies to happen. Strike the wedge and initiate the Spider drive.

Oh, did you think we were surrendering? We don't surrender, fools!


So perhaps the MALIGNMENT responce to being caught with a Spider LD and facing defeat would be to set everything on overload with the scuttling changes on timers and flush every GT they can at their tormentors ....as they try to ram their nearest attacker and use the ship to try to destroy the LD that way

:)
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by cthia   » Sun May 23, 2021 11:36 am

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Partly meant to elbow ThinksMarkedly in the ribs ...

DW wrote:If your thought is that they're going to smother the area outside the hyper limit with frigates ' I'm sorry, with non-frigates ' in order to significantly reduce response times and possibly even pick up spider drives coming in (somehow) without hyper footprints, then how many of them do you intend to build? How heavily do you intend to saturate the area outside the hyper limit, and how big a zone do you intend to saturate? Detection range against the spider drive is going to be very, very short. (I'm not going to tell you how short just yet, but it's safe to say that it will be substantially less than five light-minutes unless you already know essentially where the target is.)


Two things:

1) How can an LD enter a system (somehow) without a hyper footprint? Is this an omen about an LD's capability???

2) Significantly less than five light minutes could mean significantly less than five. Significantly less than five may translate to at least half of five. Two and a half light minutes as its native capability. Which might be extended even more if it goes darker, i.e., the LD's version of running silent like subs. Which would approach one light minute, ThinksMarkedly. :lol:

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Wormhole Assault: MA Style
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun May 23, 2021 12:03 pm

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cthia wrote:Partly meant to elbow ThinksMarkedly in the ribs ...

DW wrote:If your thought is that they're going to smother the area outside the hyper limit with frigates ' I'm sorry, with non-frigates ' in order to significantly reduce response times and possibly even pick up spider drives coming in (somehow) without hyper footprints, then how many of them do you intend to build? How heavily do you intend to saturate the area outside the hyper limit, and how big a zone do you intend to saturate? Detection range against the spider drive is going to be very, very short. (I'm not going to tell you how short just yet, but it's safe to say that it will be substantially less than five light-minutes unless you already know essentially where the target is.)


Two things:

1) How can an LD enter a system (somehow) without a hyper footprint? Is this an omen about an LD's capability???

2) Significantly less than five light minutes could mean significantly less than five. Significantly less than five may translate to at least half of five. Two and a half light minutes as its native capability. Which might be extended even more if it goes darker, i.e., the LD's version of running silent like subs. Which would approach one light minute, ThinksMarkedly. :lol:
Well we already knew that the MAlign's current best detectors are only good against a Spider ship at around one [edit: light-second (ref: MoH - Ch 28)]; so extrapolating [edit: 60 times that] from a claim of "substantially less than five light-minutes" doesn't seem to be telling us anything new.

(Of course that's just their current best, and future advances by them or the GA might improve that range substantially)


As for the "(somehow) without hyper footprints" I read that as a counterfactual - with the "(somehow)" being almost sarcastic, a rough equivalent to '(magically)' or '(impossibly)'; as he's set up a universe where he's told us that can't occur. Emerging ships create hyper footprints. You can make them weaker, or you can emerge so far away the footprint is beyond the system's sensor range, but you can't eliminate the footprint. So I don't think he was saying that LD could do eliminate their footprints, or would develop that capability.

And so the proposed plan he was responding to was based on trying to defend against something that can not happen.
But I think he was trying to say that, even if you granted the proponents of that plan that one impossibility (LDs without hyper footprints), the plan they were pushing, to defend against that impossibility, wouldn't actually work because the short detection range means you'd need infeasibly large numbers of frigates to attempt to detect an LD approaching in normal space.
Last edited by Jonathan_S on Sun May 23, 2021 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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