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SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion

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Re: SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Tue Nov 09, 2021 8:58 pm

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Brigade XO wrote:Wellllll......if the plan was to destroy several major stations rather than have them (and all the equipment, files and those people who actualy knew what was going on with Galton) destroyed by rather thorough means such as massive fusion weapons (perhaps several in each instillation file shutting off ALL the reactors in each facility containment at the same time) then just perhaps you could afford to have a few G-torps attack the GL force --and burn themselves to a vapor while doing it as they are designed to--so you let the other side know the weapons are here......and now "all gone". How you address the invisible ships is more than I can come up with because you don't want any of them actually subject to a set of sensor scans while their Spiders are not engaged.
But, yes, you could use and self destruct a few G-torps to give the impression they were there. Essentially vaporize a few very large stations and building ways etc with integral manufacturing and supposed R&D areas MIGHT let a case be made that this was the place they came from but the ultimately self-inflicted destruction was some sort of defiant but ultimately horrific effort to do more than kill off anybody who knew anything and any information on technical breakthroughs and plans for things like Oyster Bay But they you really can't leave even dummy plans (missing all the critical invisible and interesting weapons and what ships and people involved and how they got there and back and where are they now (you know, little iffy stuff) just lying around in a protected but not under 20 layers of back up self destruct protection like the Alignment is want to do, So, the Alighment really thinks that it is going to pull a big one over on the rather stupid "normals" of the GA and SL.


Unless that's an uncoordinated defence with someone else off the normal chain of command commanding the g-torps, then you risk someone in Galton knowing about the g-torps, their performance parameters, and surviving the fall of Galton. Such people would need to do a minimum of drilling every now and again. And suppose Honor shows up when this person was off-station recovering from a broken leg? You also need some maintenance people because you don't know when Honor is coming (she didn't call ahead to book an appointment), so if you ever want those things to do anything, you need to do the regular maintenance cycles. That means there'll be traffic that someone may notice. They may try to hide the records like they did at Mesa, but it didn't work at Mesa either. Or, worse, Honor might arrive when one of them is down-checked and unable to self-destruct.

And if it is uncoordinated, then that's going to stand out like a sore thumb too. It won't make the thing any less suspicious, but you've increased the risk level for no appreciable gain.
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Re: SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Tue Nov 09, 2021 9:08 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:The issue is that Galton is supposed to be the decoy final base. The one that, if it has to be sacrificed in extremis, would fool the Grand Alliance into thinking its all over and they've totally won (and hence will never even look for Darius).

But holding back secret weapons which you know the enemy is aware of undermines that deceptive scheme.

Yes, you don't want to turn that tech over to them if you can help it, but if that's what's necessary for the deception to work then it's crazy not to make that sacrifice.


I understand your reasoning and it is logical, but it rests on the relative priority of whether to let some clues or risk the secret. They clearly decided that the risk to the secret was unacceptable.

We can understand their reasoning: they didn't know (and still don't) if the GA has clues leading to Darius. In fact, we know the GA did even before the attack on Galton. So they needed to keep some aces up their sleeves in case they get a second visit, now in Darius.

It's also more of an irrational / emotional decision. They can't count on serendipity striking again and coming up with another game-changer that would allow them to dominate the Galaxy. So they simply couldn't conceive of being bereft of any secrets for their plans. It would set them back even further. Not that I can see how the spider drive now figures in that plan in the first place.

After all the spider weapons are unlikely to be enough to save Darius - the same production limits that ultimately doomed Galton will ultimately doom Darius even if the spider weapons do miraculously destroy most of the first fleet to attack the place. (And they'd need many decades, probably centuries, of being left alone unsuspected to hope to redress the power imbalance). So hording those weapons won't ultimately save them if they're discovered too soon; but trying to horde them dramatically increases the chances of being discovered by ruining the plan to "fake their own deaths".


Something I'm postponing discussion on until we can do it outside a spoiler thread: the production rates. The rates for the Hastas were much higher than I had expected Galton or Darius to be able to reach. Talking about one hundred thousand weapons is completely possible. So I'd like to discuss torpedo production rates and how that might affect the strategies on the "Attacking Darius" thread.
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Re: SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion
Post by Bruno Behrends   » Wed Nov 10, 2021 3:55 am

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My impression is that speculating about what the Malign reasoning is on why not to use graser torps and the spider drive in the battle of Galton from a purely 'in-universe' standpoint only gets us so far.

That's because it seems likely that adding Galton to the story was a RetCon by the authors. (Despite witnessing several high-level Detweiler strategy talks in previous books we never heard about Galton before this book. Only about Darius.)

Without Galton the graser torp and spider drive use was perfectly consistent. Now it isn't.

There are a few possible explanations on the meta-level:

1) The authors overlooked the problem.
I don't know how likely that is. Probably not too likely. However even intelligent people can overlook things now and then, especially when under time constraints. Simoes mentioning the spider drive is maybe such a point? (Btw: I honestly forgot if Simoes really did mention it and did not look it up again. Did anyone? Even so the point can still be explained in the next book. Since Simoes seeminly didn't know much about the spider drive. So from the GA perspective it could be anything really. Especially it could be not much at all or maybe not in operational deployment yet.)

2) The authors have added some of the inconsistency on purpose to use as a hook for the story in the followup book.
This makes sense to me. The Malign may have the misguided plan that they have 'explanations' prepared to be found in the Galton ruins that they hope will satisfy the GA on the graser torp and spider drive issues. Most likely conventional (non-spider) ships that have specs that make it seem possible they could have pulled off the attack on Manticore (I seem to remember there even is a hint of that being mentioned in the book?) and normal missiles with graser heads that could have been used in Manticore too instead of the torpedoes.
Now the superspy squad and O'Hanrahan and maybe the infernal duo at Bolthole have to have some sort of story going forward so it would seem logical for me that they may find inconsistencies in the 'explanations' that the Malign has prepared. Exactly the kinds of things you guys have uncovered and are discussing in this thread. That these inconsistencies are there and not perfectly to be explained away is actually a good thing. That's the hook I meant. This hook would make the story go forward. Towards Darius.
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Re: SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:54 am

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Bruno Behrends wrote:2) The authors have added some of the inconsistency on purpose to use as a hook for the story in the followup book.
This makes sense to me. The Malign may have the misguided plan that they have 'explanations' prepared to be found in the Galton ruins that they hope will satisfy the GA on the graser torp and spider drive issues. Most likely conventional (non-spider) ships that have specs that make it seem possible they could have pulled off the attack on Manticore (I seem to remember there even is a hint of that being mentioned in the book?) and normal missiles with graser heads that could have been used in Manticore too instead of the torpedoes.

I guess it's not impossible for the sensor records of the Oyster Bay attack to match up to normal missiles with graser heads -- but it seems very unlikely. We know from previous books that Manticore got good sensor reads on the drives of the laserhead equipped Cataphracts that were also used in that attack (because they discussed them being the same as the ones used by IIRC the PNE at Torch) but they wouldn't have gotten any such drive readings off the graser equipped weapons.

So to believe that those were conventionally propelled missiles they'd have to believe that every single one of them carried off a perfect ballistic attack without using their drive. Which immediately raises the question of why the same wasn't done with the Cataphracts?
That's not 100% definitive that an undetectable drive was used on the weapons; but it's a very strong hint that there was.

As since Simoes did tell them at least the name (and presumably super high level concept) of the Spider drive they're unlikely to overlook the likelyhood that those were spider weapons. And they announced to the galaxy that he'd told them of spider drives because we've got a scene where a couple Detweilers are discussing said announcement -- so at least the top most level of the MAlign knew that the spider drive was no longer completely secret.
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Re: SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Nov 10, 2021 12:36 pm

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Bruno Behrends wrote:My impression is that speculating about what the Malign reasoning is on why not to use graser torps and the spider drive in the battle of Galton from a purely 'in-universe' standpoint only gets us so far.

That's because it seems likely that adding Galton to the story was a RetCon by the authors. (Despite witnessing several high-level Detweiler strategy talks in previous books we never heard about Galton before this book. Only about Darius.)

Without Galton the graser torp and spider drive use was perfectly consistent. Now it isn't.


I agree. David has been pretty good at dropping hints earlier on about what's coming. The fact that Galton came completely out of the blue (or the dark, since it's in space) is very out of character. I've tried speculating why he may have wanted to do that, but I have no good ideas yet.

1) The authors overlooked the problem.
I don't know how likely that is. Probably not too likely. However even intelligent people can overlook things now and then, especially when under time constraints. Simoes mentioning the spider drive is maybe such a point? (Btw: I honestly forgot if Simoes really did mention it and did not look it up again. Did anyone? Even so the point can still be explained in the next book. Since Simoes seeminly didn't know much about the spider drive. So from the GA perspective it could be anything really. Especially it could be not much at all or maybe not in operational deployment yet.)


He did and the Detweilers knew he had too, since there's a passage about B and D talking to each other about how Simões was naming both the streak and spider drive by name. Even if we get retconned that Simões didn't know the names and those were supplied in the conversation between the two Detweilers in interpreting what was said, there's no escaping that Simões talked about a second drive mechanism and that the Detweilers knew it.

Maybe the authors forgot that the Detweilers knew it. But that's still not a good explanation at the meta level because it doesn't explain why Galton was there in the first place.

2) The authors have added some of the inconsistency on purpose to use as a hook for the story in the followup book.
This makes sense to me. The Malign may have the misguided plan that they have 'explanations' prepared to be found in the Galton ruins that they hope will satisfy the GA on the graser torp and spider drive issues. Most likely conventional (non-spider) ships that have specs that make it seem possible they could have pulled off the attack on Manticore (I seem to remember there even is a hint of that being mentioned in the book?) and normal missiles with graser heads that could have been used in Manticore too instead of the torpedoes.
Now the superspy squad and O'Hanrahan and maybe the infernal duo at Bolthole have to have some sort of story going forward so it would seem logical for me that they may find inconsistencies in the 'explanations' that the Malign has prepared. Exactly the kinds of things you guys have uncovered and are discussing in this thread. That these inconsistencies are there and not perfectly to be explained away is actually a good thing. That's the hook I meant. This hook would make the story go forward. Towards Darius.


I'm not sure #2 was the intention, but I think it's now seriously the only option left. In-universe, I think we can say the Inner Onion overlooked the fact that Galton wouldn't be a good enough decoy or they accepted that risk because they had no other choice (see my other posts above).

You're right that the Hastas were pretty stealthy, so Honor's force didn't see them coming until they were very close and they still only found them by the bowshock. It's possible that the bowshock only happens at high speeds relative to the interplanetary medium and those Hastas were coming at 0.4c. So if the OB weapons had sufficiently decelerated, they may not have produced a detectable bowshock and therefore one could imagine the Hastas fitting the bill.

The graserhead is another matter. This book did say they were underpowered compared to what had been used in torpedoes, so they would fit a Cataphract missile. Those are clearly not the warheads that attacked the MBS and Grayson.

Additionally, the weapons that attacked were not missiles. Those weapons fired from their main body (which is also why they had a bigger power budget), without releasing a missile at the last minute like Hastas do. Add to the fact that the Hastas didn't exist at the time of the Yawata Strike and there's nothing that we were told that was shown at Galton that would account for the Oyster Bay. Even if they come up with records to be found in the databases of an earlier prototype that the MAlign had which placed a graserhead on a body the size of a LAC, such a weapon was not used in the Galton defence.

Outside the in-universe story, I simply can't believe the authors and all the beta readers missed these inconsistencies. Maybe when David & Eric initially wrote it they had this in mind, but that doesn't stand the test of time. Someone would have noticed it before even the eARC and the authors would have had sufficient time to tweak the text or to abandon the plotline completely if they really needed (an "oh, sh*t!" moment). So what they had in mind when the text was initially drafted is pretty much irrelevant: the only question is what this means right now.
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Re: SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Nov 10, 2021 12:43 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:I guess it's not impossible for the sensor records of the Oyster Bay attack to match up to normal missiles with graser heads -- but it seems very unlikely. We know from previous books that Manticore got good sensor reads on the drives of the laserhead equipped Cataphracts that were also used in that attack (because they discussed them being the same as the ones used by IIRC the PNE at Torch) but they wouldn't have gotten any such drive readings off the graser equipped weapons.


One of the torpedoes passed inside the frigging wedge of a ship in the MBS. I'm assuming that was a figure of speech, but even then it means it must have been REALLY close. Unfortunately, that was not a military ship, but they did get readings.

And there were ships that did get some "huh, that's funny" moments. In fact, I think it was that one above, because it executed an emergency evasion.

This little datum has yet to be reused since Oyster Bay, but it's there.

So to believe that those were conventionally propelled missiles they'd have to believe that every single one of them carried off a perfect ballistic attack without using their drive. Which immediately raises the question of why the same wasn't done with the Cataphracts?
That's not 100% definitive that an undetectable drive was used on the weapons; but it's a very strong hint that there was.


Right. As just posted above, it's close enough that one might be tempted to think the charade would hold, but there are too many inconsistencies. We may get another injection of retcon to correct some of that.

As since Simoes did tell them at least the name (and presumably super high level concept) of the Spider drive they're unlikely to overlook the likelyhood that those were spider weapons. And they announced to the galaxy that he'd told them of spider drives because we've got a scene where a couple Detweilers are discussing said announcement -- so at least the top most level of the MAlign knew that the spider drive was no longer completely secret.


It doesn't look like Simões knew the principle the spider drive operated under. It seems he knew it existed and knew its name, but it's definite he didn't know it worked. The Detweilers in the same conversation mention the information had been compartmentalised and Simões wouldn't have known more.
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Re: SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:01 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Loren Pechtel wrote:I can't believe they would deliberately leave such holes to protect the tech as that reveals Darius. If they want to disappear Galton must be a convincing sacrifice.


I don't think there was an alternative.

If Darius got discovered before Galton, the game was over anyway, so this case doesn't count. But if Galton was discovered first, it couldn't be defended. Doesn't matter if it had spider or not: the forces of the GA would eventually wear them down. The MAlign needs decades more of industrial output and more work on the Plan before they are ready to face the GA.

So if Galton was going to fall anyway, best not let your secrets fall with it.


The problem is the most important secret of all is the existence of Darius. By not revealing everything the GA knows about they prove that Galton isn't the end of the chain. None of the tech is more than a drop in the bucket compared to that ultimate secret.
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Re: SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Sun Nov 14, 2021 8:23 pm

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Loren Pechtel wrote:The problem is the most important secret of all is the existence of Darius. By not revealing everything the GA knows about they prove that Galton isn't the end of the chain. None of the tech is more than a drop in the bucket compared to that ultimate secret.


Rock, meet hard place.

You reasoning has logic: by allowing some doubt to remain, the GA will still be on the lookout. They won't know more about Darius than before (I assume the whereabouts of Darius have never been in any Galton database in the first place, so clean-up would be complete and thorough), but they will still be looking for it. That means that Darius can't relax and must continue to diligently misdirect to avoid being detected.

The counter-argument is that they'd have to do that anyway. The Felix wormhole must be guarded and the operations from Darius must continue if the Plan is to ever succeed: there will be agents sent to the Galaxy at wide. They must also protect against accidental exposure or discovery anyway. So better do it with some secret up their sleeve than without.

Another factor is that there may not have been time to correctly insert the spider drive and sufficient number of knowledgeable technicians into the Galton databases and society to pass muster. A sloppy job is the worst case scenario: the existence of a second hideout is still revealed alongside with the secret. My guess they'd need a minimum of a decade to do a decent job, if at all. Because Oyster Bay was launched with the spider drive, there's a specific date it had to have existed in sufficient prototype form. The most difficult part of that is that a lot of people would need to know something and by a specific date. The GA has a very good lie-detection mechanism, and the MAlign knows this even if they don't know the exact form.

So the die was cast with Oyster Bay.
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Re: SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion
Post by Theemile   » Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:03 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Another factor is that there may not have been time to correctly insert the spider drive and sufficient number of knowledgeable technicians into the Galton databases and society to pass muster. A sloppy job is the worst case scenario: the existence of a second hideout is still revealed alongside with the secret. My guess they'd need a minimum of a decade to do a decent job, if at all. Because Oyster Bay was launched with the spider drive, there's a specific date it had to have existed in sufficient prototype form. The most difficult part of that is that a lot of people would need to know something and by a specific date. The GA has a very good lie-detection mechanism, and the MAlign knows this even if they don't know the exact form.

So the die was cast with Oyster Bay.


So? why wasn't each bastion planet a 100% backup for the other? if OB was the plan all along ( and a variant of it was), and just the timing was altered, why were the seeds of it not planted years earlier at the alt site, because the leadership KNEW OB was coming and KNEW Galton was the fallguy if something happened. The Spider drive, though newish, was not brand spanking new - 60 odd warships and a luxury yacht (and a munition) have been built with the drive, plenty of time to introduce it into the Galton knowledge base, even after the official R&D ended and it proved a capable drive system.

Or maybe it should be asked, if the maskirova was so important, why were the Spider munitions used early? If every other item of the attacks could be plausibly explained away or else be part of the charade as part of the Galton production - why allow the one irrefutable tripwire to be used?

The Detweiler plan has been followed for 200 years, it seems a odd place for it to start breaking down.
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Re: SPOILERS: To End In Fire eARC discussion
Post by Brigade XO   » Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:39 am

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Fillerta wondered about where the new version Cataphracts came from although we didn't see any close examination of the ships that delivered them.

Galton was denied the ability to have any of the Spider weapons or ships. It had Hasta but less effective grazers in the Galton adaptation.

The Senior Leadership at Galton knew all sorts of things but-unless there is a major screwup- they all died with they blew the large stations in that last round of attacking Harrington's fleet. Keep in mind that the Senior Leadership knew that the system, despite being the manufacturing arsenal for the MA, was always going to be a sacrifice and they were going to be effectively committing suicide no mater what happened WHEN (not if) they were discovered and attacked.

We were teated to all the depth of what was done to game out a "defense" of Galton but are shown the frustration and some despair of the civilian analyst doing the planning when she is not allowed to use any of the spider related weapons and it is really clear that the system will fall if attacked. And there don't seem to be any plans for surrender or getting anybody out.

Don't know if any of the Houdini people who were relocated to Galton were in places (like down on the planet) that were not destroyed either by the GA attack or the self-destruction of some much of the larger facilities. In one way, making sure that Houdini people did survive but had been kept isolated from anything significant and were eventually interrogated by the GA, would lend credence that this was the (or at least "a" ) place they came to from Mesa. But that is an iffy breadcrumb trail to lay as 1) these people were important enough to the Alignment to move them off Mesa for whatever their work/jobs were and so what is in their heads and in their labs etc would be of great interest and 2) back-tracking them will provide too much information.

Even having sent some Spider Drive ships (at least Sharks but perhaps an early LD or so) would probably not contributed significantly to the defense of Galton. Besides, none of the Spiders would want to be seen/scanned in any way and even lobbing a bunch of GTs from behind Harrington's fleet would have made it clear that whatever did the launching isn't found in the wreckage of Galton. So where did it come from and where the hell did they go to....since they didn't announce any self destruction by blasts out in space.

Disposable. Almost anything except the Detweiler Clones is disposable or bait or a too to be discarded -typically with the maximum damage and terror possible- to same the Cause and it's self made gods.
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