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Spoilers! Loose threads

Aliens? Invading aliens? What will Earth do? Well...we may have a few more resources than we first thought. Come join a friendly discussion about David Weber's newest Tor series - "Out of the Dark."
Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Jan 20, 2021 4:20 pm

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PeterZ wrote:Empires are not necessarily aristocracies or even monarchies. They are a form of government that exercises authority over a collection of states or countries. I can see an Empire as being very similar to a federal system of a republic where the member states are different enough that their local form of government is very different from other member states/countries.


I can agree on an empire not needing to be an aristocracy (the Kingdoms of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, for example, have kings but no aristrocracy), but I won't on a monarchy. Even if a figurehead, an empire is defined by there being an emperor. Or at least there having been one in the past (see the Klingon Empire, that hadn't had an emperor for 500-800 years). And another example from Star Trek is the Romulan Empire, which we saw ruled by a Praetor but whose emperor we've never seen on TV (the empress makes an appearance in one of the "A Time To..." books). On the other hand, in Babylon 5 we had a Vorlon Empire whose emperor we never saw and a Centauri Republic whose emperors we did see... (Turhan, Mollari and Vir).

That doesn't mean it's a hereditary monarchy either. The emperor might be elected, like the Holy Roman Emperor was, by the Prince Electors. OF course, that brings the saying that the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire...

As an example, let's assume the Sarthians for a planetary parliament based on their aristocracy for the upper house and clans for the lower house.

Further assume that one other civilization is a representative republic more like the current US but composed of a timocratical upper house and a religiously based lower house that represents a myriad of religions.

So, as we can see the PU of Earth can send representatives to the Terran Empire that consists of vastly different member planetary nations. Each of which governs itself in distinctly different ways, but owes allegiance to the Terran Empire's authority.


That's entirely possible. An extra level of government, above that of the planet and/or system, which is characterised by a constitutional, possibly elective, monarchy. If that's an elected emperor, that might also be both head of state and head of government. With lifespans measured in centuries, it wouldn't be out of the question that the head of state be elected for 50 T-years, a period longer than most monarchs have enjoyed so far on Earth.

Weirder things have happened. The King of France and the King of Spain used to be co-kings of Andorra. But for a couple of decades in the 20th century, neither Spain nor France had kings (Spain now does again). So the President of France is co-king of Andorra with King Phillip VI of Spain.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jan 20, 2021 4:22 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:Loose threads that I can think of, after just having finished Into the Light:

snip
The fifth founding race: are they the same as "The Other Guys?" Taking a page from the Honorverse "Ghost Hunters," I'm assuming until proof to the contrary that they aren't the same. But if so, what happened to them? Why did they disappear? Was it apathy, losing the will to live? Or were they exterminated? Or have they transcended / ascended? Does the GH really have a policy of exterminating troublesome races in the crib? If so, what spooked them?

snip


Did that 5th founding species evolve from a predator, omnivore or herbivore?

The answer to this question might well be important. Not necessarily in the absolute sense, but in the minds of the remaining 4 species. Assuming it was a predator species, the remaining 4 species could have been unable to accept a peaceful cohabitation with an advanced predator that consistently wanted to push technology further and further beyond the 4's understanding and comfort. Good lord, letting a predator consistently pursue an advantage?!? Suicide!

If the 5th species did manage to shift mindsets to truly understand and empathize with their fellows, they could have separated from the developing GH for everyone's well being.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jan 20, 2021 4:31 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
PeterZ wrote:Empires are not necessarily aristocracies or even monarchies. They are a form of government that exercises authority over a collection of states or countries. I can see an Empire as being very similar to a federal system of a republic where the member states are different enough that their local form of government is very different from other member states/countries.


I can agree on an empire not needing to be an aristocracy (the Kingdoms of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, for example, have kings but no aristrocracy), but I won't on a monarchy. Even if a figurehead, an empire is defined by there being an emperor. Or at least there having been one in the past (see the Klingon Empire, that hadn't had an emperor for 500-800 years). And another example from Star Trek is the Romulan Empire, which we saw ruled by a Praetor but whose emperor we've never seen on TV (the empress makes an appearance in one of the "A Time To..." books). On the other hand, in Babylon 5 we had a Vorlon Empire whose emperor we never saw and a Centauri Republic whose emperors we did see... (Turhan, Mollari and Vir).

That doesn't mean it's a hereditary monarchy either. The emperor might be elected, like the Holy Roman Emperor was, by the Prince Electors. OF course, that brings the saying that the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire...

snip

Well considering that this is the Terran Empire, perhaps the other civilizations insisted that humanity assumed the executive role in the Empire to begin with. They could have understood that humanity's innovative drive was the essential trait the Terran Empire required to survive.

Furthermore, assuming that Dave Dvorak carried out the first several missions to the other founding civilizations of the Terran Empire, he could have been the personality those founding civilizations were most comfortable with to be their chief executive for the Empire.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Jan 20, 2021 4:55 pm

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PeterZ wrote:The answer to this question might well be important. Not necessarily in the absolute sense, but in the minds of the remaining 4 species. Assuming it was a predator species, the remaining 4 species could have been unable to accept a peaceful cohabitation with an advanced predator that consistently wanted to push technology further and further beyond the 4's understanding and comfort. Good lord, letting a predator consistently pursue an advantage?!? Suicide!

If the 5th species did manage to shift mindsets to truly understand and empathize with their fellows, they could have separated from the developing GH for everyone's well being.


Talk about inviting the fox to the hen house! Or wolf in sheep's clothing, for another metaphor.

But is it likely that the fifth race would have been carnivore? We're told that the Shongari are the only known exception of carnivores to reach interstellar flight before destroying themselves. It's possible the only other exception prior to them was edited out, so as to "prove" that carnivores were too barbaric and had no place in the interstellar civilisation. But then why let the Shongari into the Hegemony?

Remind me what point the Hegemony first surveyed them? I can only remember now that the last war they fought with a peer force was at WW2 technology level, but that's probably the one that unified their planet. Thikair was definitely thinking so when they arrived on Earth. From that point onwards, any conflict among their own kind would have been asymmetric.

The GH wouldn't have officially contacted them until they reached interstellar travel, as per the constitution (Level Two and Three civilisations are protected). But if the GH noticed the Shong system at any point in those Levels, why allow them to reach interstellar travel in the first place, if they were carnivores?

My point is: if the GH edited its own history of a previous carnivore species reaching Level One and therefore posing a risk to the GH, why even incur the risk with the Shongari? Drop a few rocks, even slowly, on a Level Two civilisation and the problem is solved.

Unless they didn't survey until too late. The Shongari may not be the exception of carnivores that escape self-destruction, but the exception of those that were helped along to self-destruction.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:18 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Talk about inviting the fox to the hen house! Or wolf in sheep's clothing, for another metaphor.

But is it likely that the fifth race would have been carnivore? We're told that the Shongari are the only known exception of carnivores to reach interstellar flight before destroying themselves. It's possible the only other exception prior to them was edited out, so as to "prove" that carnivores were too barbaric and had no place in the interstellar civilisation. But then why let the Shongari into the Hegemony?

Remind me what point the Hegemony first surveyed them? I can only remember now that the last war they fought with a peer force was at WW2 technology level, but that's probably the one that unified their planet. Thikair was definitely thinking so when they arrived on Earth. From that point onwards, any conflict among their own kind would have been asymmetric.

The GH wouldn't have officially contacted them until they reached interstellar travel, as per the constitution (Level Two and Three civilisations are protected). But if the GH noticed the Shong system at any point in those Levels, why allow them to reach interstellar travel in the first place, if they were carnivores?

My point is: if the GH edited its own history of a previous carnivore species reaching Level One and therefore posing a risk to the GH, why even incur the risk with the Shongari? Drop a few rocks, even slowly, on a Level Two civilisation and the problem is solved.

Unless they didn't survey until too late. The Shongari may not be the exception of carnivores that escape self-destruction, but the exception of those that were helped along to self-destruction.

I believe the 5th founding species is still active in the galaxy. They may well be working behind the scenes just like the MAlign did in the Honorverse. Their activities have led to the GH becoming more and more accepting of predators and omnivores over the millennia. Who is to say those initial predator species didn't have some ....help....in their racial suicides. Perhaps, the base logic was even true. Predators ARE more likely to kill themselves after they have gained nuclear power. However, the odds might NOT have been as severe as the GH history suggests is the case. Those additional species suicides might well have had help from GH members.

On the opposite side, the OG might be helping emerging civilizations to embrace a more innovative mindset. Perhaps they aren't helping EVERY emerging civilization, but select ones. Humanity might well be one as Vlad conversion suggests is the case. Not sure what that machine was intended to do, but it certainly was a product of the OG. That means the OG was interested in humanity's development in some way because they were on Earth well before the GH's first contact.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by Theemile   » Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:21 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
PeterZ wrote:The answer to this question might well be important. Not necessarily in the absolute sense, but in the minds of the remaining 4 species. Assuming it was a predator species, the remaining 4 species could have been unable to accept a peaceful cohabitation with an advanced predator that consistently wanted to push technology further and further beyond the 4's understanding and comfort. Good lord, letting a predator consistently pursue an advantage?!? Suicide!

If the 5th species did manage to shift mindsets to truly understand and empathize with their fellows, they could have separated from the developing GH for everyone's well being.


Talk about inviting the fox to the hen house! Or wolf in sheep's clothing, for another metaphor.

But is it likely that the fifth race would have been carnivore? We're told that the Shongari are the only known exception of carnivores to reach interstellar flight before destroying themselves. It's possible the only other exception prior to them was edited out, so as to "prove" that carnivores were too barbaric and had no place in the interstellar civilisation. But then why let the Shongari into the Hegemony?

Remind me what point the Hegemony first surveyed them? I can only remember now that the last war they fought with a peer force was at WW2 technology level, but that's probably the one that unified their planet. Thikair was definitely thinking so when they arrived on Earth. From that point onwards, any conflict among their own kind would have been asymmetric.

The GH wouldn't have officially contacted them until they reached interstellar travel, as per the constitution (Level Two and Three civilisations are protected). But if the GH noticed the Shong system at any point in those Levels, why allow them to reach interstellar travel in the first place, if they were carnivores?

My point is: if the GH edited its own history of a previous carnivore species reaching Level One and therefore posing a risk to the GH, why even incur the risk with the Shongari? Drop a few rocks, even slowly, on a Level Two civilisation and the problem is solved.

Unless they didn't survey until too late. The Shongari may not be the exception of carnivores that escape self-destruction, but the exception of those that were helped along to self-destruction.


Maybe the original races "forgot" about the 5th member, and forgot that they even decided to forget about the 5th member. So much so that all current thinking is based on the now widely dispersed, redacted truth. Earth's knowledge of the 5th race is based on 4-5 dispersed snippets of remaining text so limited that individually, they mean nothing or could be seen as a mistake, and massive holes in the early history that could easily be seen as data corruption or simply lost data from an ancient time.

Reminds me of something Douglas Adams once said:

"It goes like this. Let's see now: "Protect me from knowing what I don't need to know. Protect me from even knowing that there are things to know that I don't know. Protect me from knowing that I decided not to know about the things that I decided not to know about. Amen." That's it. It's what you pray silently inside yourself anyway, so you may as well have it out in the open."
"Hmmm," said Arthur. "Well, thank you"
"There's another prayer that goes with it that's very Important," continued the old man, "so you'd better jot this down, too, just in case. You can never be too sure. "Lord, lord, lord. Protect me from the consequences of the above prayer. Amen." And that's it. Most of the trouble people get into in life comes from missing out that last part.”


And the Terran Empire will be the consequences.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:57 pm

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PeterZ wrote:I believe the 5th founding species is still active in the galaxy. They may well be working behind the scenes just like the MAlign did in the Honorverse. Their activities have led to the GH becoming more and more accepting of predators and omnivores over the millennia. Who is to say those initial predator species didn't have some ....help....in their racial suicides. Perhaps, the base logic was even true. Predators ARE more likely to kill themselves after they have gained nuclear power. However, the odds might NOT have been as severe as the GH history suggests is the case. Those additional species suicides might well have had help from GH members.


I can agree with most of what you wrote, but I can't that the fifth founding race is active and innovative at the same time and has been for 50,000 years or more. That's way too long to keep a conspiracy going. To keep up the pace of innovation, you need to let your population grow and that means you will end up with people curious about the GH. Especially if your characteristic is that your race is curious and innovative.

Contact between the GH and the fifth race approaches certainty over a long period of time.

And it can't be too short a time because the GH wouldn't have yet forgotten about them. With 500 species and tens of thousands of systems, each carrying millions of copies of the Encyclopedia Galactica, you couldn't scrub away all references. If nothing else, some long-lived individuals may still remember or have been told by their grand-parents.

In David Brin's Uplift Trilogies, the Civilisation of the Five (Four) Galaxies had forgotten they used to be the Civilisation of the Seventeen Galaxies and Two Spirals because the Galactic Library had a built-in mechanism of updating itself. But can't guarantee 100% success over millions of light-years and 2 billion years of civilisation, especially not if one of the plot twists is that Humanity encounters a crashed ship that had failed to update. And I find it hard to believe every single Galactic, over 2 billion years, would so blindly trust the Library that they wouldn't question their own memories.

The same applies here and in both directions: the more people that need to keep a secret (even if unwittingly) and the longer they need to, the bigger the chances it will leak.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:12 pm

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There is NO conspiracy. The OG are operating in ways that don't encourage the GH into active actively seeking them out. They plant their little experiments and uplift modules around the galaxy and influence civilizations here and there. More and more species will embrace innovation through their efforts. Slowly but surely the GH will be forced into adapting away from their beloved stasis.

Then the Shongairi go to Earth. The confluence of Who fairy aggression, human ingenuity and the OG Easter egg Vlad found combine in an improbable scenario that begins our story. For all this to work out, the OG have to be libertarians of the highest order. The WILL NOT make decisions for any other species. They will offer incentives those other species can adapt to and make their own. I don't see a herd mentality becoming libertarian in this way. Predators can accept such a libertarian POV easily enough.

Bottom line is that I can a see a society evolved from predators both manipulating the universe around them AND remaining separate from the universe as I postulated. Herd creatures would see such a separation as being too unnatural for their comfort.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:44 pm

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PeterZ wrote:There is NO conspiracy. The OG are operating in ways that don't encourage the GH into active actively seeking them out. They plant their little experiments and uplift modules around the galaxy and influence civilizations here and there. More and more species will embrace innovation through their efforts. Slowly but surely the GH will be forced into adapting away from their beloved stasis.


How long have they been at this? If the OG and the fifth founders aren't the same, then I could understand that the OG did detect the GH before the GH detected them, but decided, like Humanity, that they needed allies before confronting the GH. But then their contact with Humanity was botched, since Humanity doesn't know about them.

If they aren't trying to raise an Anti-GH coalition, if their objective is to change the GH, then why not infect the GH in the first place?

And if they are the same as the fifth race, then they've been pretty incompetent for not having succeeded in 100,000 years! If their objective might have been to increase the number of innovative species and/or make them more innovative than otherwise, then Humanity came pretty late to the party. Also, there's no indication that our progress was fast in the first 50,000 years of homo sapiens.

Then the Shongairi go to Earth. The confluence of Who fairy aggression, human ingenuity and the OG Easter egg Vlad found combine in an improbable scenario that begins our story. For all this to work out, the OG have to be libertarians of the highest order. The WILL NOT make decisions for any other species. They will offer incentives those other species can adapt to and make their own. I don't see a herd mentality becoming libertarian in this way. Predators can accept such a libertarian POV easily enough.

Bottom line is that I can a see a society evolved from predators both manipulating the universe around them AND remaining separate from the universe as I postulated. Herd creatures would see such a separation as being too unnatural for their comfort.


No, the OG have to be completely aloof. They didn't want to help Earth at all. Vlad was a complete accident and his being able to help at all was also an unlikely occurrence. And this even assuming the ship or lab was on Earth on purpose, which we don't know. If it crash landed, then they never intended for us to get any help at all.

This brings the problem I keep bringing: Law of Averages. In 100,000 years, ships crash. If they've crashed on Earth, they may have crashed elsewhere and that might be somewhere the GH will detect them. Moreover, unless your entire population subscribes to the idea, eventually someone is going to get away and make contact with the GH. This is why I keep saying this scenario is improbable and defies belief.
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Re: Spoilers! Loose threads
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Jan 20, 2021 10:16 pm

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I suspect that the "Vampires" were intended be Special Forces/Espionage Types.

Vlad likely has "implanted information" that he's only aware of when he needs it.

And yes, there is programming also involved which includes programmed in control.

Vlad as the "original vampire" in this "vampire clan" has Command Authority over all "descended" from him and obviously can delegate said authority.

As for Cecile's execution, we know that some of Vlad's first "children" went rogue and Vlad believed that he had to stop them.

I suspect his anger allowed him to tap into some of the "implanted information" which in turn allowed him to turn off some of the special "powers" of the rogues which allowed him to kill the rogues with regular weapons.

When he delegated his authority, this activated the special powers needed to execute Cecile (as well as summoning her).

Two final thoughts.

First, I suspect that something/somebody within the "cave" has command authority over Vlad (which may be why he feared returning to the cave).

Second, I got the idea that the vampires have a large degree of control over their bodies. (Vlad commenting that he can control his hair/beard growth and alter his hair/beard). So I'm suspecting that the vampires could alter their appearance to look like other humans and to look like aliens. ;)


PeterZ wrote:The issue I can't help but think about is just how thoroughly Vlad understands the limitations of Vampires. The execution of Cecile is a case in point. Furthermore, where does the control of other Vampires come from? Longbow's response to President Howell's order for him to rebuild the military also comes to mind. Vamps can be programmed to some degree is a conclusion we come to. How?

I suspect that Vlad knows a bit more about the machine that created him than he has let on so far. Just how much will be interesting to discover.
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