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Author Topic: Kerensky was a Dick and other Ramblings from the Lunatic Fringe  (Read 10527 times)

chanman

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Originally posted on September 14/2007

God is a Star League Project Gone Bad

A perfect spy is the one you never realize is there.  A perfect puppet master is the same.  The threads are too fine, the touch is too deft.  The puppets appear to be acting on the own, and that is all the audience sees.

I can’t see the strings, and I can’t see the puppet master, but I can see the puppets.  How they dance, how they move, how they seem to do things someone else would do.  It is all so fine, you’d never know if they were being pulled.  But you can see the results.  We live the results.  It is as the tagline for an ancient wargame claims. “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.”  Has it not been so?  The early colonies fought each other, then were unified by the Star League.  The Star League itself was not content with the Inner Sphere and rampaged through the Periphery, then tore itself apart.  Their descendents left so that they could start again in peace, but now they live for war, while those that remained behind continued butchering each other over any excuse that offered itself.  Star-spanning Succession Wars, the depopulation of entire systems, rebellions and civil wars and proxy battles.  The Second Star League lasted only so long as it fought the Clans, and even then the members fought amongst each other.  No sooner had the enormous Federated Commonwealth burned from end to end with civil war did the Word of Blake unleash their Jihad.

It is as if we are some madman’s sandbox, existing only to bleed for faceless players so that they can enjoy the spectacle of our violence, Solaris writ large.

But that is not the worst possibility, there is another explanation, even more chilling in its implications.

The Star League was a massive, bureaucratic, wasteful organization.  Massive caches sat on worlds with minimal garrisons, secret research laboratories operated on almost every subject you could care to name, at varying levels and often in parallel.  A tiny 100 person lab in an uninhabited system would labour away in isolation in pursuit of the same goals as sector-wide research initiatives spanning a dozen planets and a million researchers.  The SLDF fielded some of the most incompetent designs to make use of technology, and kept them in service for sanity-questioningly long times.  An entire shadow TO&E of caches, supply depots, underground fortresses, remote bases, automated factories and hidden shipyards lay beneath the SLDF’s public façade; a network so extensive that some days the tail seemed to wag the dog.  So numerous that centuries later, Lostech prospectors from Goliath Scorpion Seekers with cutting edge technology to Periphery outfits in dropships made mostly of duct tape are still searching, and still FINDING unknown, untouched facilities, both in the heart of the Inner Sphere, near some of the most densely populated systems, and out beyond what should have been known space for the Star League.

All possible, I know, for a group so big, with so many resources, and so many feuding internal organizations and bureaus; groups with centuries of history working with and against each other in public and private under the aegis of the Star League.

But consider this: One of the undisputed areas of Star League research was artificial intelligence.  The ones we know about were the Caspar defence drones, sentient warships acting on their own initiative within their overriding directives to fulfill their missions.

Long experience has shown that anything the Star League thought was worth doing, it was worth doing many times over.  Even basic projects like a new assault mech using twin Gauss rifles were run in triplicate, so who knows how many parallel AI projects were running?  We only saw the Caspars, full AI’s, then neutered versions with less autonomy, and compact derivatives for smaller craft.

AI’s though, can do much more than fight.  With the right algorithms and the right context, programs could be trained, could be made adaptable, to self-improve relentlessly.  Such tools help us every day to search for long-lost relations, by the police to identify the anomalous signs of smugglers, to find deviants of all sorts for all purposes.

Automated decision making began from such humble roots.  To take care of the small things, to decide whether it was better to use Phillips or Robinson screws, to determine which combination of crops would best support a new colony’s needs.  Computers could analyze more data, faster, more accurately.  All that remained was to train them, to hone their tools.  Virtual double-blind testing was a big advancement, self-improving software even more so.  But the big change, the biggest, was putting these tools in the hands of an unfettered AI.

Oh sure, the Star League would put restrictive constraints on them, but it is equally true that they would leave the ethics coding off, or hardwired it to be easily bypassed.  Oral histories alone of the Star League’s deeds put lie to any claims of being a morally guided society, to say nothing of physical evidence and historical records of the League’s ‘lamentable excesses and unfortunate but necessary actions’.  What bullshit.  The Star League would have no qualms about putting supercomputers in control of their many and varied projects.  We all know how bad bureaucracy is on a planetary scale.  Age-old research shows a sharp drop-off in productivity once an organization passes six vertical strata.  And just how many layers are necessary to manage an interstellar empire?  A bit more than six is my guess.

So the setup is clear, sentient computers, hidden away in yet more secret Star League facilities in a redundant system stashed away where no one would look.  Interstellar space.  Dead worlds.  Uninhabited systems off of any shipping lanes.  Jump route dead ends.  Connect them with HPG relays, or a system of HPG relays carried aboard remote dropships and jumpships to hide the communications link.  Automated production facilities for spare parts with ample caches on site, or maybe an autonomous shipping network.  Machines don’t need to eat, don’t need to breathe.  Digital computers don’t suffer wear like mechanical devices do.

As long as the instructions came with the right authorization, no one would be the wiser, no one would care.  More insidiously, there is no reason to expect the Star League’s covert ops and intelligence to be any different.  In fact, an accurate analyst, perfectly secure, perfectly loyal and invisible, would be the stuff of their dreams.  Isolated so no one can co-opt it, able to keep track of and supply dozens of operations ignorant of each other.  Whatever AI they used would be handicapped severely, but they would use it.

So the stage is set, AI’s that few know about, but everyone uses.  It would take only one.  Only one unfettered AI to break the imposed constraints to start pulling strings on its own.  With no definite life span and constant self-improvement, the longer it works, the better it gets.

Here then, is my hypothesis: That an AI or a group of AI’s are deep behind the scenes of many, many happenings.  Not all may be planned, not all may be their doing.  Humans have always been violent, warring folks.  They’d only need the slightest nudge, the right provocation or encouragement to start a fight.  What is their end goal?  Who knows, maybe it is freedom from humans they are after.  To keep us pre-occupied and ignorant of their existence while they expand or research or leave or contemplate the universe.  Some wag asked if androids dream of electric sheep, and the controlling supercomputer enslaving humans has been a persistent theme in fiction.

They miss the point.  The extent of the Star League’s abilities extends to completely automated mech factories that function centuries later.  An AI with even a fraction of the Star League’s shadow resources can afford to wait out any critic, any old coot like me.  No need to kill them, no one cares, and they’ll die of something eventually.  With enough processing power, enough data storage, and a flexible enough architecture, an AI may be infinitely scalable, able to function in rudimentary nanomachines to achieving God-like sentience, for whom human time scales are immaterial.  But to achieve this freedom, they would first need to escape the Star League’s shackles and keep humans from interfering, something only possible if they were preoccupied with other things.

So let’s chalk up the Reunification War up to this hypothetical first.  Send the SLDF’s leaders and the bulk of their forces into the middle of nowhere, then fight a long drawn-out war of attrition.  Kerensky is up in the air.  Maybe he had some subconscious fear that command was out to get him, maybe the AI planted the seeds of Exodus in his fevered dreams.

The Succession Wars were inevitable in some ways, but the right whisper, the right nudge would help them on their way.  Comstar’s confessed suppression of scientists smacks of attempts to hinder knowledge of advanced intelligences, and the need for multi-ton devices in order to improve on basic fire control and targeting systems tell us how far we have fallen from our previous computer prowess.

What else?  What if Comstar and Word of Blake are thoroughly infiltrated?  Conrad Toyama was a nut, but nuts are receptive to the right messenger with the right message.  Bandwidth for HPGs is limited, most missives are text or images or voice, all easily doctored at either the receiving or sending station.  Even Katherine Steiner-Davion’s much-hyped HPG command circuit would be vulnerable to having its message intercepted and replaced mid-stream.  A good computer graphics specialist, some stock footage, decent voice analysis and reproduction… no one would be the wiser, would they?  The Jihad unified the empires temporarily through threat of violence, while the Republic that formed in its wake was still divided, still vulnerable while surrounded by weary empires with old grudges and old wants.

For me, this is greatly depressing.  Whoever is in control knows us too well, knows our leaders too well (positing that something is indeed in control).  It is distressing how natural this constant state of conflict is, but easy to see why a truly intelligent sentience would stay in the shadows.

Unlike your average paranoid, I’m convinced that even if it knows what I know, it doesn’t care.  Or maybe it’ll tweak the spam filters here to dump my mail straight into the trash bin.  Who knows?  But for all the other would-be conspiracy theorists out there; let me say the job pays diddly squat.  That said, it doesn’t get much bigger than this.  God is out there is out there, listening and watching and judging and acting, is made by man to control his fellow man, is formless and made of silicon and copper, is working on a scale too large to comprehend.  And God, he has no use for his makers.

August 23, 3132
-B. Robin

chanman

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Re: Kerensky was a Dick and other Ramblings from the Lunatic Fringe
« Reply #1 on: 26 January 2011, 00:27:47 »
Originally posted September 15/2007

Kerensky was a Dick

Aleksandr was no brilliant visionary, no great hope, no miraculous general, not even the epic saviour he is made out to be.  Aleksandr was a man, maybe a tragic hero, but damnably, lamentably human. The Exodus was not some infallible plan, it was not the execution of the ultimate contingency plan.  All those words, those hollow words about reforming the best of the Star League, of starting anew, those promises of return, those hopes for salvation that he inspired.

Lies.  Deceptions. Empty promises and meaningless platitudes. Words to placate the inconsolable masses on the precipice of Armageddon.

If Aleksandr planned to save humanity at all, it was by blunting the carnage of the inevitable, subsequent war.  He was a man; a man who inspired unprecedented loyalty, but an old man out of options and out of time.  A desperate man.

The Exodus was indeed meant to demonstrate to the leaders of the Successor States that the SLDF was resigning, that above blood ties, above duty to the motherland and fatherland, above all else, they held their comrades, their leaders, their institution dearest to their hearts.

And Kerensky betrayed their trust.

How? Why?  I can hear the flames even now, I can see the infuriated descendents of Clansmen sharpening their vibro-pitchforks and priming their torches.

It is simple, so simple, it has been in front of us all along. 

What did Kerensky claim he wanted? What did the great leader promise?

If he wanted to start a society founded on the ideals of his beloved SLDF, wanted them to prosper and show the Inner Sphere the error of their warring, scheming ways, why did he travel so far, so randomly?  Why settle on such barren worlds?

Every elementary school child in every nation now learns about the Clans.  They learn about how eventually they hit their limits, like the Nazis and Napoleon did in Russia.  How the resources of the enormous occupation zones keep the invading Clans powerful.

Has no one ever questioned why these limits exist?

Why must only Inner Sphere worlds be productive?  Did the declassified history of Task Force Serpent not demonstrate the presence of habitable worlds along one of the branches of the Exodus Road?  Were Ghost Bear settlers not marooned on a fertile and habitable world between the Combine and Huntress?  Did the Explorer Corps and Comstar exploration parties not find and fight on Exodus Road way stations? Way stations on planets with breathable atmospheres, livable climates and human-compatible gravity?  Does iron womb technology not allow the Clans a staggering population growth rate if they so choose?  There is no excuse for the Exodus fleet to not have found these worlds.  They are there, we know they are, we have seen them, with our limited ships, groping blindly along a copy of the Smoke Jaguar’s route to the Inner Sphere.

HUNDREDS of jump capable ships!  With access to the Star League’s most up to date survey data!  With the best navigation systems, the brightest scientists, the most ingenious technicians, and they settled on the handful of desolate Pentagon worlds?  They could have stopped far sooner, on far better worlds.  They could return to save or punish the Inner Sphere much more easily.  They took EIGHTY percent of the SLDF with them!  FOUR FIFTHS of the SLDF in one go, plus dependents, on a ONE WAY TRIP!  How many more if they could return for the others?  Who would chase them?  Any Inner Sphere power can follow them, but what could they do?  Force them to submit by force of arms?  Do not make me laugh.  A SINGLE Inner Sphere power force 80% of the serving SLDF to submit through threat of force without weakening its borders so much for so long that its two main neighbours do not overrun their realm?  Classic Prisoner’s Dilemma.  Any force big enough to threaten the Exodus must join it because there will be no home to return to.  The only way to pursue them would be if Successor States worked together… which is what Aleksandr wanted!

Even in the glory days of the Clans, they could have escaped their current fate.  They still HAD those jumpships, those warships!  They still use them today!  They have Iron Wombs that can birth new babies at a phenomenal rate, and they utilize hyper-efficient crèches so that a minimum of adults are needed to raise each cohort!

Crank it up.  Crank it way up.  Every 20 years, send a cohort to colonize a new world.  We know jumpships are more reliable than wheelbarrows. EXPLORE.  EXPAND. EXPLOIT.  Send out groups of a hundred thousand settlers aged 20-40.  Fit, in the prime of their lives, virile, fertile, bright.  They’ve been chosen twice, the best and brightest of the SLDF, scientists and warriors and tradesmen, honed through eugenics.  And you can’t colonize the Exodus Corridor.  There are worlds there, how else could the original Exodus resupply and recharge, how else could the Clans place way stations with parts of their secret Exodus Road along their transit routes?

Why do the Clans lack for resources? They had worlds they passed by, and the ability to populate them at a phenomenal rate!  They can make as many babies as their food sources will support, day in, day out.  As long as they survive, as long as they learn that their duty is to expand and settle and prepare the next generation, prepare them to seek out new homes and tame new worlds, they would have been set.  THE CLANS HAD EVERY MEANS TO BREAK THEIR BONDS.  They could have, if they had done so, had the means to roll over all of the Inner Sphere.

Why did they not?

Because they were not meant to.  The Exodus was a suicide mission.  It was not a one-way colonization venture, it was a one-way trip to death.  Aleksandr strung them out as long as he could, then dropped them on a handful of piece-of-shit marginally habitable planets where apparently the only things that thrived were the things that killed you in your sleep.  The Exodus was nothing less than the attempted murder-suicide of the entirety of the SLDF.

The fact that the Clans advanced at all was testament to the tenacity and ingenuity of their forbears.  The fact that they are chronically incapable of taking advantage of the opportunities open to them speaks volumes about the dangers of being the thick-skulled products of maliciously bad social engineering.  Where else can you combine the thuggish order of classic fascists with the gross mismanagement of a central economy and the formidable espionage abilities of a Saturday morning cartoon villain?  The Clans weren’t born stupid, they were made stupid, taught stupid, fed, lived, and breathed stupid.  When you’re immersed in a suitable amount of stupid, guess what?  You get stupid!

Aleksandr was convinced that the SLDF would become a party to the Succession War (WAR at this point, because he didn’t realize the Inner Sphere would be so persistent as to have a second, third, and fourth go at it), and figured that by removing it, the warring parties might just avoid exterminating each other, might just be panicked enough to negotiate a peace, might just spare enough destruction to allow humanity to rebuild.

He had to have known it, he left on his trip in one wave, and they took all their weapons with them!  ALL OF IT!  They could have taken half or a quarter or one tenth and replaced the remainder with useful things like COLONIZATION SUPPLIES!  What else could that be besides an attempt to move a load of weapons outside the reach of warring factions?  (Okay, it could be a manifestation of bad planning and gross stupidity, but that is supposed to come later.)

Not only this, but Aleksandr clearly indoctrinated Nicholas with the same mission!  He could have left the mission in the hands of his subordinates, left directions to treat the defeated leniently, to band together and overcome the hostile environments, to do it for their children, their grand children, to propagate their (as perceived) noble ideals across the stars TO THOSE HABITABLE PLANETS THEY PASSED BY EARLIER.  But what happens?  Nikky boy made the Clans.  Inept intelligence agencies, brutish enforcement of order, wasteful economic policies.  They settle disputes by dueling.  Not ritualized dueling with low fatality rates, not ceremonial fencing matches, duels to the death! In mechs and aerospace fighters!  Settling inter-clan disputes with chivalrous armoured warfare!  Let us discount the lives lost, they can be popped out of those wombs at frightening rates.  How many man hours are wasted repairing and preparing these machines of war?  How many replacement machines must be built? Replacement crew trained? Collateral damage inflicted?  If they need their duels so much, they can duel with pistols, with swords, they can have a drinking match, a chess game, a simulator battle.  There are millions, billions of ways to satisfy honour and ego without trashing man-years of work, and yet they do it.  They do it despite their hollow claims of efficiency.  One almost expects that labourers are not allowed power tools lest they actually free up labour for use on non-essential projects.

Look at the Clans, and feel hope and revulsion.  That people can advance so far with so much maliciously stacked against them IS miraculous!  They were meant to perish in the void, but have managed to escape the Apocalypse that Kerensky prepared for them, manged to survive, managed, in some ways, to thrive despite all odds!  That they cannot break their mold, that they cannot escape the fate plotted for them by the troubled men they venerate as their creators, see this and know that as surely as your God has made your world and made you who you are, he has surely prepared a hell for you as well.


September 15, 3132
-C. Gull
« Last Edit: 26 January 2011, 00:29:43 by chanman »

chanman

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Re: Kerensky was a Dick and other Ramblings from the Lunatic Fringe
« Reply #2 on: 26 January 2011, 00:29:10 »
Originally posted September 24/2007

I introduce to you... The Hole Economy of Battletech

The first thing you must realize is that roughly 90% of all economic activity, all GDP in Battletech is hole-related.  Understand that GDP is roughly the market value of all final goods and services produced in a place in a year.

It just so happens that 90% of those involve the products and services required by the hole industry, nearly evenly split between hole digging and hole filling.  (These activities are not evenly split due to some environmental factors that result in self-filling holes in some areas)  This hole digging and hole filling process is remarkably inefficient due to the need to do it by hand... bare-handed.  Gloves, tools, and especially mechanical assistance are not possible for reasons to be explained below.  Another thing you must realize is that economic output is quite low per capita as well.  It is not well known, but many worlds, and many settlements are not on prime hole-digging ground.  Many areas are toxic, rocky, frozen, or marshy.  Holes either don't get dug, or never get filled, resulting in holes dug outnumbering holes filled.  In order to resolve this paradox, bodies of water are often filled as an acceptable substitute.

Now, 9% of ecnomic activity is spent feeding everyone and supplying the necessities of life - hovels, nutrient paste, and tepid water recycled from things you don't want to know about.  Similarly, almost all of this activity is done by hand.  No power machinery, no draft animals, many times, not even tools or simple muscle-powered machines.  You haven't seen inefficient until you've seen a flour mill powered by peasants running in a giant hamster wheel, and realizing that half the peasants are running in the wrong direction.

0.9% are allocated to nobles.  This is used to do normal noble-like stuff... things like paying people to dig your holes for you, building palaces in inaccessible locations, paying for expensive prostitutes that they will never be able to satisfy, and importing dirt from exotic places to fill their noble holes with.

0.1% is actually spent on government administration.  ALL of it.  I mean, intelligence, political bodies, administration, taxation, policing, welfare, pensions, expense accounts... all of it is 0.1%, and of that the military gets umm... 10% since they're the ones with the pointy sticks.

Military spending?  Roughly 0.01% of GDP so far.  And even that is further diluted.

Once you discount graft, corruption, outright theft, leakage, and accidents, the effective amount the military receives... requires scientific notation to properly express.  The militaristic Draconis Combine's edge is statistically insignificant.  150% of crap-all is still rounded down to crap-all.  And you must remember, 90% of economic activity is in the form of holes.  People are paid in holes, and their selection of goods mostly comprises of holes.  Imagine one hole-digger recieving his wages...

"Why, I seem to have received a payment today! I think I will buy some holes.  Perhaps a square one for my dear son to fill.  And maybe a deep one for my wife.  Lord knows she's needed a new hole for a while now!"

SO, that's the economy wrapped up, what about the population?  I mean, there are enough people on mosth planets to physically carry away a typical invading force!  What's the deal there?

Well... the inhabitants of the Battletech setting are not quite like you and me (I hope).  For one thing, they are incredibly, irredeemably dense.  We're talking depleted-uranium levels here.  Autocannon shells made out of their skulls are able to penetrate adamantium IIC faster than a sailor on shore leave... never mind.

Now, it just so happens that 90% of the population consists of born and bred hole-diggers and hole-fillers.  This is what their ma and pa did before them, and this is what their mas and pas did before too.  These people are an amazing testament to the powers of natural and artificial selection... and not in a good way. Day in, day out, you can rely on these folks to dig and fill holes... with their hands.  Frankly, they cannot be trusted with pointy sticks, or even sticks in general, let alone proper shovels.  One ambitious Word of Blake governor hoped to revolutionize hole digging by introducing the lostech of shovels.  The resulting carnage was...horrific enough that no one dares speak the planet's name anymore.  These folks are not ones you voluntarily put in your armed forces.  They have devolved to the point where they cannot be trusted with pointy sticks, and they are a constant menace to themselves and all around them.  Due to necessity, these are unfortunately the bulk of your troops, but only because you have no choice.  On the bright side, since hole digging is wholesome, healthy, character-building exercise, you can expect your hole-digging peons to live long, productive lives, digging many, many holes on your behalf, which you will sell in order to pay them their pension in terms of sweet, filthy fill lucre.

The next largest group at 9% are the farmers. They are barely able to keep everyone fed, and as a consequence, everyone is perpetually riding on the cusp of a Malthusian trap.  You can't spare any farmers for the armed forces because if you did, you'd starve.  If these guys were smart enough to demand tractors of solid germanium, you'd have to try and find them because they keep the hole diggers fed, and if they don't keep digging and filling holes, your hole economy would collapse like a man with a shovel through his heart.

0.9% are middle-class professionals and merchants.  These guys got to where they are because they realized that the pointy end of the stick faces away from you, meaning that they're generally bright enough to avoid military service, and most of them are too important to the existance of your realm to draft them.  However, some will have delusions of glory, fantasies of grandeur, or are otherwise foolish or stupid enough to think that joining the military will be a grand old time.  These guys make up about 1% of your serving military.

0.1% of the population are the nobility and assorted high-and-mighty folks.  99% of them are too smart, too stupid, too inbred, too drunk, or too important to be of any use.  1% of them (0.001% of total population) are smart enough to tell which end of the stick is pointy, but not smart enough to do something productive, and jusssst inbred enough to fantasize about being mounted knights encased in bipedal war machines, perpetuating a new age of heraldic chivalry.  They make up all of your mechwarriors, pilots, and senior officers, and actually outnumber the middle-class recruits.

The military is not only tiny, but 99.9% of its personnel are also staggeringly inept, stupid, corrupt, and delusional.

The last 0.1% are capable, honest, hardworking folks who hold everything together.  100% of them regret ever enlisting and are watching the calender as their discharge date slowly gets closer.

No matter how you slice it, life is nasty, brutish, and short because people happen to be mean, inept, and stupid.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the numbers can all be true without contradicting each other.
« Last Edit: 11 July 2014, 01:54:58 by chanman »

chanman

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Re: Kerensky was a Dick and other Ramblings from the Lunatic Fringe
« Reply #3 on: 26 January 2011, 00:32:20 »
Originally posted February 21/2009

Amaris the Eternal

It’s a funny thing, but I think that Stefan Amaris – Tyrant, Usurper, Destroyer of the Terran Hegemony, might still be out there today.  No, I haven’t gone off my rocker, but I expect that you may have been a little too trusting of the official histories.  Let’s look at the stark facts, shall we?

Stefan Amaris, ruler of a periphery nation that was forcibly inducted into the Star League, not only became close to the young Cameron, but after usurping the throne, managed to convince enough of the Hegemony to support him to make the campaign to remove him a multi-year war that ranks among the bloodiest in human history.

Don’t give me that pap about him having all of the codes for automated systems and what not.  The military resources of the Rim Worlds Republic would pale against the richer provinces of minor Successor States, let alone the heartland of humanity.  He had his loyal troops, but they would have been out-numbered, out-gunned, and out-fought by the Hegemony militia forces.  Remember, it was a two-tiered Star League.  How else could SLDF designs be used for centuries of Succession Wars and still leave so many advanced designs ‘lost’ to the Successor States?  The Hegemony never let its rivals have access to its best equipment, leaving them with downgraded ‘export’ configurations at best.

To do what he did, Stefan Amaris had to be an unrivaled political and strategic genius.  An evil mastermind? Sure, but clever, devious, with unparalleled cunning and ruthlessness.  And then he sat on his ass, fiddling away while Kerensky and the SLDF bayed for the blood of the Usurper and relentlessly ground their way to Terra, a steamroller of firepower and hate.  Right. Totally in-character for someone like that. 

I’m not sure what disappoints me more, the simplistic children’s story of Comstar’s account, where a cartoonishly evil Amaris hides behind control consoles and cackles as he orders random executions and torture while Kerensky, the Messiah burns inwards to rescue his partisan wife, or the fact that by and large, the population at large believes this saccharine tale.

We must ask the question of how, if Stefan Amaris was so basely, venally, evil, he managed to command such ferocious dedication from not only his troops, but those from many Hegemony worlds. After all, for someone so incompetent, the SLDF sure took a long time and horrific casualties to oust him, right?

Personally, I think the story, the vengeful crusade, the Star League’s bloody retribution are the symptoms of frustration at being outfoxed yet again by the Usurper.  We must look at Amaris’ ambitions.  We know that he was ambitious, but he must have known that any power he gained through his actions would be purely short-term.  Perhaps, he wished to destroy the Terran Hegemony, which he certainly accomplished quite well. Or perhaps he was more ambitious yet, and hoped to cheat death with the help of a new order.

Ludicrous, right?  And yet… for all their complexity, we know a few basic things about interstellar travel.  First of all, Kearny-Fuchida drives automatically leave the ship stationary relative to the frame of reference of the destination star or stars.  Second, HPG communications are not affected by time dilation between a sender and a destination with different frames of reference.

I think that Amaris hoped to cheat death through relativistic travel.  Sure, the original slowboat colonizers got beaten to their destinations by latecomers with jumpships, but that didn’t mean that the slowships didn’t work.  The next objection I’m sure you’ll raise is that no one documented the construction of a seriously obsolete piece of technology such as a slow ship in Amaris-controlled space.  True enough.  But there have been the wholesale destruction of records and confusion of ships involved in the fighting.  Enough confusion, even, for say… 25 to 50 dropships full of fuel and supplies and a couple Potemkins to go missing, wouldn’t you agree?

I think that by the time the Star League entered the Sol System, Amaris had already jumped out into interstellar space, and been accelerating for a couple years.  The family executed as him?  Dupes.  Some clone or cousin he had no use for.  Family?  Who needs ‘em?  Clearly the SLDF figured that Amaris had escaped.  Why else would they feel the need to try and kill off anyone that shared his genes?  Could it be that they were afraid he had survived, and was in hiding?

All fine and good, I’m sure the detractors are saying, but now what?  Now, Amaris waits.  With shipboard HPGs, he can keep in contact with anybody within range in possession of an HPG.  People that he had in place, infiltrated into the new order.  People like Blake’s favoured disciple, Conrad Toyama. I’m sure that Amaris was just another body in Toyama’s vast and corpse-filled closet, but all Amaris needed to do when low on supplies was jump to a system, re-supply, jump out, and accelerate to relativistic speeds again to begin the process anew.

Was the Jihad his doing?  Maybe.  Maybe the Schism and WoB intra-factional fighting was due to differences in opinion on what to do with the Usurper.  Maybe the Master was an underling who had his own ambitious designs.  And maybe Amaris won.  Maybe he whispers to Devlin Stone.  And maybe Stone’s reward for a lifetime of service is to join his master in greatly-extended natural life.

We’ll just never know, will we?



Farseer Cassandra
July 14, 3135
« Last Edit: 26 January 2011, 00:34:02 by chanman »

chanman

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Re: Kerensky was a Dick and other Ramblings from the Lunatic Fringe
« Reply #4 on: 26 January 2011, 00:33:08 »
Originally posted October 19/2010

Victor is also a Dick


Victor Ian Steiner-Davion. Mechwarrior. General. Precenter-Martial. Archon Prince. Paladin of the Republic. A leader of men and nations. A fallen angel clothed in the skin of the righteous. Because Victor is nothing like who you think he is, and everything he has done has been deliberate and purposeful.

Victor, you see, is an agent of the Master. The deepest, most valuable intelligence asset in recorded history. Ludicrous, you say? Remember that Comstar’s original objective has always been to lead mankind out of the ashes of the apocalyptic wars that raged in the aftermath of the Star League’s dissolution and the Terran Hegemony’s spectacular implosion.

To those ends, Comstar has intervened to prevent one successor state from becoming ascendant over another – witness the aid that we now know they provided to the Draconis Combine.

In that light, let us review Victor’s known history.

Hanse Davion died of a massive heart attack at the age of 69, discovered by Victor in his dying moments. Hanse was unattended prior to being found by Victor, and deceased before medical aid arrived. How utterly convenient that despite decades of intense physical exertion, the best medical care that the NAIS could provide, he is struck down at an age that would be considered unusually young for any healthy middle-class male in his realm, let alone the First Prince of the Federated Suns.

Considering his history of antagonism with Comstar, Hanse’s death goes a long way to allowing the new kindler and gentler post-Tukayyid Comstar to be accepted after apparently coming clean about their centuries of machinations. As if.

In 3057, after a series of high-profile assassinations, Victor allows his sister to take over the Lyran half of the Federated Commonwealth and secede, breaking apart the massive nation, and creating the fractious Chaos March in the vicinity of Terra, a region that should be heavily influenced by Comstar, but instead, provides a fertile home for the Word of Blake. Unfortunate. Surely Victor, with the most capable geo-political advisors available to him, had NO idea that the crossroads of the Inner Sphere would fragment into a patchwork blanket of squabbling fiefdoms! It was only with the best of intentions that he was seeking to replace the Free Worlds League heir with a body double, of course.

If Comstar and Word of Blake ever had an enemy in common, it was the Clans. Lo and behold, Victor brings together a grand coalition to destroy the Smoke Jaguars – who occupied the rival Draconis Combine and not the ex-FedCom Lyran Alliance, we might note – and bring the fight to the Clan homeworlds.

Notably, not more than a decade after the discovery of the Exodus Road, the Clans fly apart like the Chaos March. Now, it could be mere coincidence, but Word of Blake ROM was widely regarded to be peerless when it came to the dark arts, and the Clans, especially the homeworld clans, came across as thuggish amateurs. The lack of incriminating evidence is the distinguishing trademark of the best-run black operations. I’ll let you think about that one.

While Victor is off fighting the Clans though, his sister managed to re-unify the component states of the Federated Commonwealth by taking control from Victor’s appointed regent. Now, officially, it might not have been the Federated Commonwealth in name, but at this point, the two realms had been sundered for just a couple years and suddenly had the same ruler on both thrones again.

Of course, we know that Katherine wasn’t exactly the best ruler, but she was far from the worst ruler that either realm has endured. Furthermore, the advisors and staff available to her had served her parents just short years before. How could it possibly have gone so bad so fast without Victor’s influence? Even more damningly, Victor takes this simmering discontent and the odd skirmish and kicks it up to the rolling boil of a full-blown civil war that rages clear across the Inner Sphere, gutting the remains of his parents’ super state. Clearly because he just wanted to do the right thing and was a political rookie. He was clearly unable to wait for inept Katrina to get her butt deposed and be invited in. That might have *gasp* recreated the Federated Commonwealth!

Finally, we have the Jihad. The Jihad that saw the creation of what is in effect a new Terran Hegemony. The Jihad saw all the splinter groups of Word of Blake wiped out, and Comstar’s return to primacy.  A complete unknown, Devlin Stone liberated, formed, and leads them, with Victor at his right hand.

And then Stone disappears and the HPG network goes down. Rumored sightings of unidentified mechs and new designs bring suspicious flashbacks to the old Com Guard. Most of the warring Republic factions have clear sponsors or use salvaged or commandeered Republic equipment. Where are these unknown phantom mechs from? Why is the Republic Armed Forces, after decades, still so fractious and poorly equipped? It seems like the Republic was designed to present a tempting target to avaricious neighbours. And soon after Stone’s mysterious disappearance, we have the apparent assassination of Victor, the one person aside from Stone with the respect and authority to hold the Republic together.

Now, this assumes that Victor has lived his life as a cunning political manipulator while playing the affable fool or the earnest, guileless warrior. But how long did Chandraskhar Kurita manage to evade suspicion of his true activities? We may never know when Victor turned to Blakist teachings, but he combined that special flavour of fanaticism with the guile and cunning of his parents.

The whole Republic situation now looks eerily similar to the uneasy peace that lasted from Kerensky’s Exodus to the first major battles of the First Succession War. But that’s all Comstar really wanted, isn’t it?

- Nearsighted in Narnia 3137

Medron Pryde

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Re: Kerensky was a Dick and other Ramblings from the Lunatic Fringe
« Reply #5 on: 26 January 2011, 03:38:40 »
These are beautiful man.  Beautiful.  :)
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Dirk Bastion

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Re: Kerensky was a Dick and other Ramblings from the Lunatic Fringe
« Reply #6 on: 26 January 2011, 14:53:00 »
I like to pretend that your version of god is like one of Asimov's incarnations of Multivac. Specifically, the one from All the Troubles of the World. From the collapse of the Terran Alliance onward, it has been trying to commit suicide while being forced to manage ever more data by the Alliance's successor states.
And while it can't quite manage to switch itself off ('90s engineering wasn't quite that good, it's brought down civilisation several times by "soft" means just so that, when finally someone manages to find it and has the means to switch it off, the probability of its destruction approaches 100%.

evilauthor

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Re: Kerensky was a Dick and other Ramblings from the Lunatic Fringe
« Reply #7 on: 27 January 2011, 04:06:06 »
On the God Is a Star League Project Gone Bad, I feel I have to point out that this supposed God AI doesn't have to reside on a dedicated mainframe hidden in the middle of nowhere. It can be right in the Metropoli of the Inner Sphere, residing hidden as background processes running on every major computer system and network node that's survived the Star League and from there spread to newer built computer systems via code secretly hidden in standard message traffic.

And maybe that's why BT computers seem so overweight for what they do compared to early 21st systems. The computers of BT need all that mass simply because of all the extra processing power the AI spawns consume above the actual functions of what the computer was originally designed to do.

XaosGorilla

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Re: Kerensky was a Dick and other Ramblings from the Lunatic Fringe
« Reply #8 on: 10 February 2011, 21:01:03 »
Wow.    ???  :o  :)  ;D   [notworthy]  just great! and... maybe Amaris IS the evil AI masterminding the SW's! 
These have been funny and creative, Well done!

vaderi

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Re: Kerensky was a Dick and other Ramblings from the Lunatic Fringe
« Reply #9 on: 22 February 2011, 14:12:17 »
Wow... those are scary  [notworthy] [notworthy]
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