GlennWatson on February 10, 2011, 05:32:45 pm
Of course Earth planned the attack while Reginald was away.  There are no coincidencs in fiction. 

My guess is Reginald will play a major role in this story.  Maybe bringing help from Mars.

Apollo-Soyuz on February 10, 2011, 05:42:33 pm
A couple thoughts on the arc...

Months ago, Babbette was willing to buy one Continental for .04 grams of gold (roughly $1.75 in today's cash if my math is right.) However, she was unwilling to rent two rooms for Continentals.

Since then, Ed says that trillions more Continentals have been created, monetizing the UW debt on the backs of anyone holding paper money. The e-gold exchange rate must have plummeted.

Having all the UW troops holding only deflated greenbacks would tend to help keep them from mixing with the locals, however there would still be the temptation to defect. Would I be a UW general, I'd send only handpicked married grunts with spouses and large needy families still back on earth.

I'm sure Reggie knows he has a price on his head.  I'd be surprised if he went into a medically induced coma knowing the invasion was on, unless he knew the UW couldn't track him down. Otherwise we could see him on his way back to earth encased in carbonite.

Have any of the earlier deserting troops become advance double agents? Otherwise I'd be a bit concerned if a unit of the military that I deserted from was in town. In fact, I'd ether be getting ready for a shooting war, or light out for the asteroids rather than face a hanging at one earth G.

Ceres could easily be a beachhead for the takeover of Mars. But they have to win on Ceres first.

With the troops seen wandering around, and the failure to start shit at the Iron Rock, I'm guessing that they're still trying to figure out plan B.

spudit on February 10, 2011, 07:34:13 pm
I wonder, does Luna use Continentals, do their L5 habitats. What about ships shuttling between

Mars does not, but maybe they use Eldorados :)
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SandySandfort on February 10, 2011, 08:17:28 pm
As to how they arrived, in Steinbeck's The Moon is Down, the unnamed invaders came by the civilian ferry like every one else.  As best as I recall anyway. It's a good little book folks, Hitler hated it and that has to be good.

Was it an inspiration in any way?

No, I had never heard of The Moon is Down, until it was mentioned in the Forum. However, I will acknowledge that this arc was inspired by a real event in history (though in a backward sort of way). Please, everyone, let's hear your guesses about the origin of this arc. If you figure it out, I will let you know via private e-mail. If you get it, you will be rewarded with a big, public attaboy/girl, when the arc over.

Finally, I want to commend you all for the thought you have put into this arc. I see a lot of clever analysis and creative ruminations about the plot. I am pleased to see how many intelligent, critical thinkers we have reading EFT.

spudit on February 10, 2011, 08:54:07 pm
Aw, garsh, li'l ole us?

The Soviet occupation of Lithuania maybe?
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Tucci78 on February 10, 2011, 09:46:10 pm
I'd given Chez Trief as a ready example because no restaurant permits a customer or sightseer to simply walk into the "back office" without asking.  A ruse is easy enough, but if the plan is to gather actionable information without the people on the target suspecting mischief in the planning stage.....

When I'd written of "infrastructure, I'd meant more than:

Surface buildings, their connecting tubes, and their radiation are easily detectable from space.  No secrets there.

And I wasn't including Tanglenet in the consideration, though I'd expect the UW to be putting some human resources into information warfare with that kind of disruption in mind.

As for  "most good-sized human-occupied buildings (or major sections of building complexes) having their own power and air supplies, with backup.  (Not for defense, just intelligent engineering in a hostile environment.) I'm thinking more along the lines of production facilities, stores of processed materials, finished manufactured goods, maintenance and repair shops.

Remember, the UW "haven't forgotten this juicy watermelon."  What is it about Ceres - especially in the eyes of the UW politicians and bureaucrats - that makes it so appetizing?  The wealth-creating capacity of the Belter population.  Nothing much more than that.  The governmentally inclined would tend to look upon fixed capital elements of these types as the physical means by which to get their knife into that melon. 

If a significant number of new people had arrived in the recent past, I'd expect widespread speculative gossip.  So, I expect that the invasion force will be the four 'canaries', the soldiers we've already seen, and any more that arrive later (which could be quite a few).

The "canaries" could be a conspicuous acute provocation, as has been suggested, but the infiltration could have been initiated not long after the Harris debacle, with UW covert operations people - of both genders, of varying ages, even posing as families with children - coming in very small numbers and gradually gaining presence among the Belters. 

Authoritarian governments tend to develop lots of capacity for covert operations, particularly in the destabilization of potential opposition. 

All of this is merely speculation, of course.  But this is speculative fiction, isn't it?
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

spudit on February 10, 2011, 10:39:50 pm
There could be all sorts of sleepers on Ceres though I expect plenty of them went native like the tax collectors.

I suppose all sorts of transients like ships crews could be bribed or coerced. The conspiracy theorists are certain militia and other groups' members who have tax issues are routinely turned by The Man. How paranoid this may be is not so easy to clarify in light of the long effort to talk Randy Weaver into taking a hacksaw to a shotgun.

Could the spaceport mugger have even been a UW operative?

Industrial security is plenty tight as industrial espionage is plenty common. The Cerian Coke bottler, remember cokens, has it's secret ingredient list in as good a vault as any diamond merchant's. Lots of the most valuable assets in the local infrastructure will be dangerous as well. Smart security includes keeping idiots away from the buss bars.

One easy target might be the radiators. All that stuff produces waste heat which either goes down into the ice or out into space.

As well, they will want the nuts and bolts intact. Only a fool blows up the sewage plant then takes over the city.

There are nickel iron asteroids out there with cubic miles of damned near tool steel diluted with impurities like gold. How many mining ships could that silly war fleet have bought anyway?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 10:41:57 pm by spudit »
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Tucci78 on February 10, 2011, 11:20:24 pm
There are nickel iron asteroids out there with cubic miles of damned near tool steel diluted with impurities like gold. How many mining ships could that silly war fleet have bought anyway?

Yeah, this has bugged me about this conflict between the UW and the Belters since the beginning of the strip.  The asteroid belt is an environment where it's just about raining soup.  Why would the UW not be doing much to establish its captive corporate entities out there extracting all that wealth (including the monetary metals which are obviously being horded in both the private sector and by politicians and bureaucrats to sequester their corruption-gained goodies)? 

They'd been doing something along those lines - ineptly - on Luna.  Recall the "Fly, Robyn, Fly" arc describing the Lunar Kiddie Slammer which had been established in the failed government-operated former tourist trap, the Macroscian Tower.  They're not disinclined to sink spending power stolen from the taxed portions of the economies under their strangling thumbs on "business" ventures. 

Instead of a light infantry detachment, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that this  hundred-and-fifty-critter force burner'd over from Luna was a light engineering company sent in to get their microgravity "legs" before getting married up with a follow-on of real mining machinery (not just crates concealing crew-served weapons and other implements of destruction) with which to embark upon a materials extraction mission to get the UW direct and uncoerced access to the wealth of the Asteroid Belt. 

Maybe the UW politicians don't trust any of their captive "private" corporations to do this job, and they think that a disciplined force of soldiers will be less likely to go rogue or simply rob them blind.

Of course, it might also be that the UW military is doing this on its own initiative.   In a great many countries over recent decades - most notably Red China but also in Egypt and other similarly enlightened venues - the officer class do not wait to become retired before taking up ownership positions in all sorts of industries.

Which they guarantee will be lucrative.  What kind of labor relations problems are going to be had with managers who can call in artillery barrages on their workers' houses?   
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

quadibloc on February 11, 2011, 12:13:18 am
However, I will acknowledge that this arc was inspired by a real event in history (though in a backward sort of way). Please, everyone, let's hear your guesses about the origin of this arc.
I'm clearly not much of a guesser. I would have thought the answer was in the last panel of today's strip.

In any event, I approve of showing how the Cerean society can cope when it actually faces a tough problem. Assuming the problems will be easy ones doesn't convince the skeptics.

sams on February 11, 2011, 12:35:20 am
Yeah, this has bugged me about this conflict between the UW and the Belters since the beginning of the strip.  The asteroid belt is an environment where it's just about raining soup.  Why would the UW not be doing much to establish its captive corporate entities out there extracting all that wealth (including the monetary metals which are obviously being horded in both the private sector and by politicians and bureaucrats to sequester their corruption-gained goodies)? 

The government only wealth a bunch of citizens to tax to hell ... public companies are not for profit, but to ''provide benefits for society''.

The UW is not interested in mining themselves, they want the submission of Ceres to avenge Harries starfleet defeat and to acquire more authority and consequently wealth.

For states and the people that run them there is no better wealth then territory and the morons who will work it for them

J Thomas on February 11, 2011, 07:02:38 am

Yeah, this has bugged me about this conflict between the UW and the Belters since the beginning of the strip.  The asteroid belt is an environment where it's just about raining soup.  Why would the UW not be doing much to establish its captive corporate entities out there extracting all that wealth (including the monetary metals which are obviously being horded in both the private sector and by politicians and bureaucrats to sequester their corruption-gained goodies)? 

Maybe they did, and then the companies went rogue on them?

Didn't it work that way in the USA? The british spent a whole lot of money developing north america, including a whole lot fighting the french here. They thought the north american colonists should pay their fair share of that expense. But a lot of them revolted instead. Some of them just didn't want to pay, and some of them agreed that it was a legitimate debt but they deserved to have representatives in Parliament to have some say in how much to charge and how to collect it.

It would make sense the UW would not want to spend more money developing the Belt until they had a police force that could make sure their employees (or somebody else) didn't just walk off with it all.

SandySandfort on February 11, 2011, 07:21:52 am
Aw, garsh, li'l ole us?

The Soviet occupation of Lithuania maybe?


FYI, it wasn't the illegal annexation of Hawaii, either. The inspirational incident happened further back in history.

sams on February 11, 2011, 07:41:01 am
Aw, garsh, li'l ole us?

The Soviet occupation of Lithuania maybe?


FYI, it wasn't the illegal annexation of Hawaii, either. The inspirational incident happened further back in history.

A colonial enterprise then ? I bet for the French invasion of Algeria, the Bey owed them money, they send emissaries to make him pay, then soldiers to secure the debts and steam-rolled the country ?

Apollo-Soyuz on February 11, 2011, 07:54:46 am

FYI, it wasn't the illegal annexation of Hawaii, either. The inspirational incident happened further back in history.

Well, I don't think Place de la Concorde is much of a clue. so it's tough to guess.  If we say history rhymes, it could be one of  a dozen instances. Are more clues unfolding in a few days?

 Off on a tangent: Take a look at the history of the FP-45 Liberator Pistol.  It was a cheap, one shot handgun meant to be airdropped to the resistance in France. The user was suppose to get close enough and kill the occupying German army and take his weapon for the resistance. The below link explains this and also details a modern day tragedy.

http://carteach0.blogspot.com/2008/06/liberator-pistol-sad-case-of-historical.html

No need in the strip really, the locals are already well armed.

Quicksilver on February 11, 2011, 08:55:55 am
Well, I'm with Ed in the analysis up  until he seems to be saying he buys the Twin Towers as a fake incident generated as a pretext for war. Am I misunderstanding him, or is he expressing belief in the inside job conspiracy theory? Outside that, he's clearly right on the money.

And obviously, just because a character has an opinion does not mean the author shares it.

 

anything