quadibloc on April 10, 2009, 04:52:29 pm
In sum, blowing up the Gamma Conqueror would make excellent tactical AND strategic sense.

Oh, I don't deny that. My point was merely that it might matter how they blew it up, and that it would be helpful to avoid doing so in a way that was reminiscent of the terrorists of the past.

Leviathan on April 11, 2009, 03:59:44 am
EotS,
They've got the grapevine.  So long as information *sources* are on the grapevine, it can be much more efficient at spreading info than a single alert system.  In short, just because nobody can cut into a broadcast to try and disseminate the emergency information doesn't mean there isn't an effective way for info to propagate in an emergency.  Plus, skywatch type services are likely part of any collision defense contracts.

Constant acceleration/deceleration (no artificial gravity has presented itself in the SL, and the ship Guy and Fiorella came in on worked that way) pretty much requires something like a fusion burner.  With chemical reactions, the fuel is just too low in energy density to make sense hauling it around.  There's no solar sails.  The only possibility that remains is if ion drives somehow get improved to the point of providing more than a tiny fraction of a G acceleration.  And those would still need a power source with a pretty high energy density, heh.  But I'd think any spaceship that has to operate even in case of solar flare would be shielded against much more than some puny little fusion rocket could put out.  But *shrug* aint my universe at play, heh.

Whaddya say, sandy?  Microfusion?  Or a fissile reaction mass pushed past critical by a neutron gun or something like that, a la the baby nukes from Starship Troopers (the book)?

quadibloc,
If life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.  If life hands you an asshole willing to murder thousands of uninvolved parties to gain submission, a unique ship, and an invitation into the murderer's presence, sometimes you have to make peace with the unpleasant connotations to suicide attacks.  If there isn't another solution for the Gamma Conqueror's threat, then there's not much choice.  But there very well might be.  Hell, one possibility is if they could broadcast their own refutation of the UW's propaganda back to Terra, it might put enough egg on the UW's face to get Harris recalled.

Rocketman,
It's unlikely the bomb is even configured to have a manual detonator of that type.  It's a mining implement, after all.  And you don't normally want to be standing next to a micronuke of any type when it goes off.  Just calculate when the shuttle's taking off, how long it'll take to dock with the GC, and add a small margin for error.  Maybe even somebody on Ceres with a remote detonator.

SandySandfort on April 11, 2009, 08:36:26 am
Whaddya say, sandy?  Microfusion?  Or a fissile reaction mass pushed past critical by a neutron gun or something like that, a la the baby nukes from Starship Troopers (the book)?

"Mr. Fusion"?   ;)

... suicide attacks.  If there isn't another solution for the Gamma Conqueror's threat, then there's not much choice. 

I'm not sure why people get so bent out of shape by the concept of a suicide attack, per se. The morality of the action has to do with the nature of the victims, not the method. Getting on a school bus in Israel with the intent to kill innocent children is abhorrent. Sacrificing yourself to blow up a legitimate military target, such as the Gamma Conqueror, is heroic; stupid maybe, but heroic.

But there very well might be.  Hell, one possibility is if they could broadcast their own refutation of the UW's propaganda back to Terra, it might put enough egg on the UW's face to get Harris recalled.

Good idea, but not very effective. Radio is out of the question because of the distance. Tanglenet would be great if UW comms weren't equipped with a back door and a "v chip" that makes it possible to censor tanglenet sites and transmissions.

It's unlikely the bomb is even configured to have a manual detonator of that type.  It's a mining implement, after all.  And you don't normally want to be standing next to a micronuke of any type when it goes off.  Just calculate when the shuttle's taking off, how long it'll take to dock with the GC, and add a small margin for error.  Maybe even somebody on Ceres with a remote detonator.

Maybe...

deadasdisco on April 11, 2009, 12:29:55 pm
Don't know its contempt for the tactic that drives my own dislike, its losing Reg.  Next to Guy, I think he's my favorite character so far.  I mean, C'mon, he's the guy who gave the original story its title.  "World Ceres Pennant"?  Heh.

Fortunately for us (and especially Reg), we've gotten past "Confused Moral Quandary" Guy and back to "Smarter then he looks" Guy.  Guy's adaptable, he's made some missteps, but for the most part he's rolled with the punches from both sides.  I think this is a good time to take him 'off-the-leash'.

Hell, he's got to be the main character of this story for a reason, right?

Rocketman on April 11, 2009, 12:56:56 pm

Rocketman,
It's unlikely the bomb is even configured to have a manual detonator of that type.  It's a mining implement, after all.  And you don't normally want to be standing next to a micronuke of any type when it goes off.  Just calculate when the shuttle's taking off, how long it'll take to dock with the GC, and add a small margin for error.  Maybe even somebody on Ceres with a remote detonator.

Had not even occurred to me but your absolutely right.  Should have considered that and I didn't.   :-[  Based on that I would now give about even money to it succeeding.  If I were Reggie though I would try to put some kind of cover over the bomb so it's lines weren't as visible.  Something like on TV or the movies when they show a woman who isn't really pregnant but who needs to appear to be.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 12:59:22 pm by Rocketman »

Sean Roach on April 11, 2009, 03:55:37 pm
Don't you know any attack on any target, regardless of whether or not it's military or not, is cowardly if you don't stand in formation and shoot at the grunts?  Never the leadership?  And announce your attention to do so beforehand?  AND have a centralized control newspaper or television network on your side?

Here's a harebrained idea.  Dress the thing up to look like a scepter, add a gilt crown and heavy necklace.  Put it in a felt lined box and drop it off AS the surrender.  Have Guy bring it, saying the king will follow shortly once the proper forms have been covered, one of those being a 'writ of conquest' signed by the new governor...which Guy has to return with, he being the designated go-between.

enemyofthestate on April 11, 2009, 08:00:43 pm
They've got the grapevine.  So long as information *sources* are on the grapevine, it can be much more efficient at spreading info than a single alert system.  In short, just because nobody can cut into a broadcast to try and disseminate the emergency information doesn't mean there isn't an effective way for info to propagate in an emergency.  Plus, skywatch type services are likely part of any collision defense contracts.

That's not what I was writing about but I think I'll just drop the while thing, anyways.  I ran numbers on the performance of the "burner" -- delta V, mass ratio, specific impulse, etc -- and I think it is time to not let the facts get in the way of the story.

SandySandfort on April 12, 2009, 02:00:52 am
Don't know its contempt for the tactic that drives my own dislike, its losing Reg.  Next to Guy, I think he's my favorite character so far. 

Yeah, but how about that Fiorella?   :o

SandySandfort on April 12, 2009, 02:04:53 am
Here's a harebrained idea.  Dress the thing up to look like a scepter, add a gilt crown and heavy necklace...

DAMN! That's a good one. I wish I'd thought of that. Very cool.

Leviathan on April 12, 2009, 04:18:33 am
Heh, agreed on the cool factor for that idea.  But such a scepter would certainly make one wonder if it's overcompensation for something.  Very top-heavy  ::)  It looks like it would fit very nicely into a pope-style crown, though  ;)

And Fiorella is temporarily out-of-comic.  So she seems a bit less main, and had a bit of the sidekick effect before then anyway.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 04:20:08 am by Leviathan »

SandySandfort on April 12, 2009, 10:13:59 am
And Fiorella is temporarily out-of-comic.  So she seems a bit less main, and had a bit of the sidekick effect before then anyway.

The characters of EFT are an ensemble. Fiorella will be back pretty soon, so will Bert, Ernie and both Babbettes. Along the way we will meet new characters who will have their stories to tell. In the end I think we will create a broad, textured tapestry of lives and events in the EFT universe. (Plus there will be plenty of hot girls for Lee to breathe life into ;).)

wdg3rd on April 12, 2009, 01:00:47 pm

I  was a little surprised there isn't an emergency broadcast systems of some kind.  Most of the Ceres colony seems to be underground but I'll wager the ships prospectors use are not shielded against the particles from a major solar flare.  Since FTL communication is assumed a highly reliable solar watch observatory is practical.

Who's paying for it?  Whoever wants it has to have a bake sale or something.
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Also, are the reaction drives fusion powered?  I get the impression they are.  A plasma exhaust is dangerous to unshielded humans (like a really hot flare but on a much smaller scale) for at least few hundred kilometers.  A pilot of a ship might appreciate a warning to alter course and avoid one.  I'm quite sure the passengers would.

Mox nix how the engines are powered.  Fission, fusion or chemical.  A reaction engine is a usable weapon in vacuum..  I suspect that most here have read some of Larry Niven's works, it's called "The Kzinti Lesson" in _Ringworld_ et seq.
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Which suggest a plan B in case King Reginald fails.

I suspect that there are a couple of mass-drivers on Ceres.  It's a cheap way to get a cargo from a low-gravity spot (Ceres) to a hole (Earth).

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BTW, I'm guessing Reginald's nuke is a single stage fusion device?  Be much harder to detect.  Especially if it doesn't require tritium.

We'll have to wait and see what Sandy and Scott decide here.  (0r actually what they've already decided, since they're a few days ahead of the rest of us).  (But I've noticed that our feedback affects the ongoing story -- unlike R,T or TPB, this one isn't already written with a specific end point however the authors and artist might want one eventually [Alex Raymond got real tired of Flash Gordon after a few years {an example that comes to mind because I just reread the novelization of the movie with the Queen soundtrack --  come to think, Brian May could write a great backup for a live-action or animated version of this strip]).
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 01:10:07 pm by wdg3rd »
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Rocketman on April 12, 2009, 01:50:05 pm
Don't you know any attack on any target, regardless of whether or not it's military or not, is cowardly if you don't stand in formation and shoot at the grunts?  Never the leadership?  And announce your attention to do so beforehand?  AND have a centralized control newspaper or television network on your side?

Here's a harebrained idea.  Dress the thing up to look like a scepter, add a gilt crown and heavy necklace.  Put it in a felt lined box and drop it off AS the surrender.  Have Guy bring it, saying the king will follow shortly once the proper forms have been covered, one of those being a 'writ of conquest' signed by the new governor...which Guy has to return with, he being the designated go-between.
  I assume that your being ficticious about the standing in formation and shoot at the grunts part.  That hasn't worked since the American revolution and is unlikely to be tried ever again, at least by anyone with any common sense.  But it does remind me of a semi-funny story.  Back in the 1930's during American prohibition when there was a lot of rum running across the border with Mexico, an American Border Patrol agent got into a shoot-out with a Mexican Rum runner and in doing so both of them were hit by the other.  Both of them with in heavy brush laying near each other but just out of sight.  The American yelled out in Spanish.  "Okay, amigo, I know that I hit you and you know that you hit me."  "We can both either lay here bleeding to death or we can settle this like men and both of us stand up on the count of three and the winner can go get some medical help."  "One,  two,  three."  The American reported later that the Mexican stood up and the American promply shot him.   In other words, "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always, always cheat".
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 01:52:13 pm by Rocketman »

Sean Roach on April 12, 2009, 03:50:55 pm
I was being faceceous, but making the point that the people who have the cameras, or at least control access to the negatives, decide who is a good guy and who is a bad guy.
It doesn't matter that the Gamma Destroyer declared de-facto war on Ceres by destroying a civilian target, if they lose Earth's government will scream foul.
And no amount of hoops the Cereans jump through, including suicidal ones, will allow them to avoid being labeled terrorists and insurgents if Earth's government choose to paint them in that light.  The only thing that MIGHT is sufficient counter-propaganda, and that'd work even if they rendered infants to make the thrusters used to aim heavy asteroids at major civilian population centers.

quadibloc on April 13, 2009, 10:22:17 pm
I'm not sure why people get so bent out of shape by the concept of a suicide attack, per se. The morality of the action has to do with the nature of the victims, not the method. Getting on a school bus in Israel with the intent to kill innocent children is abhorrent. Sacrificing yourself to blow up a legitimate military target, such as the Gamma Conqueror, is heroic; stupid maybe, but heroic.

My point is that in these matters, people will often think emotionally rather than rationally.

The immediate tactical situation, of course, takes priority over longer-range issues like propaganda.

Don't you know any attack on any target, regardless of whether or not it's military or not, is cowardly if you don't stand in formation and shoot at the grunts?  Never the leadership?  And announce your attention to do so beforehand?  AND have a centralized control newspaper or television network on your side?

Although you're being ironic (or, as someone noted, facetious), that just about is precisely the standard that has been applied in the past, that people are used to, and that the Cereans will face being judged by. But while the people of Earth can be fooled, the people of Mars and so on will know better.

So the question is: will Ceres be able to win the war to such an extent that it doesn't matter that the UW has its people behind it?

Winning a battle is not the same as winning the war, and Earth has a lot of resources available to it. Also, dictatorships often collapse when they can't deliver, so one expects the UW leadership to be willing to expend disproportionate effort and take serious risks to defeat Ceres.

Defeating the immediate threat may be enough, for example, if Earth is critically dependent on trade with Mars. Given that the story is intended to support the idea of an alternative to Big Government, I expect it to end with the UW being defeated in some way that falls short of the sort of damage it usually took a Big Government to inflict - and this is reinforced by the statement that the talk of an "extinction-level event" was a bluff, that the Cereans reject such a profoundly immoral means of fighting. But that isn't to say that I'm inclined to view such an ending as "realistic", especially in the real world.

 

anything