Out Of The Dark – Snippet 09

Out Of The Dark – Snippet 09

Chapter .IV.

The gathering in Star of Empire’s conference room consisted of Thikair’s three squadron commanders, his ground force commander, Ship Commander Ahzmer, and Ground Base Commander Shairez. Despite the fact that Shairez was technically junior to Ground Force Commander Thairys, she was the expedition’s senior ground base commander, and as such she, too, reported directly to Thikair.

At the moment, the flagship, along with the rest of the fleet, lay on the far side of KU-197-20’s single large moon from the planet. Only the highly stealthy scout ships had been permitted to approach closer to the objective than that, and all but two of them — one in each polar position — had since been withdrawn, leaving even less easily detected remote platforms to continue the monitoring function.

Rumors about those scout ships’ findings had spread, of course. It would have required divine intervention to prevent that! Still, if it turned out there was no landing after all, it would scarcely matter, would it?

“What’s your interpretation of the scout ships’ data, Ground Base Commander?” Thikair asked Shairez without bothering to call the meeting formally to order. Most of them seemed surprised by his disregard for protocol, and Shairez didn’t look especially pleased to be the first person called upon. But she could scarcely have been surprised by the question itself. Unlike most of the Hegemony’s other species, the Shongairi had little use for xenoanthropology. Still, at least some expertise in dealing with other races was necessary if one was going to manage them efficiently. One of the main reasons Shairez was the expedition’s senior ground base commander was her experience in dealing with and studying the Empire’s subject species, which made her the closest thing to a true xenologist Thikair had.

“I’ve considered the data, including that from the stealthed orbital platforms, carefully, Fleet Commander,” she replied. “I’m afraid my analysis confirms Ship Commander Ahzmer’s original fears. I would definitely rate the local civilization at Level Two. A surprisingly advanced Level Two, in some areas, in fact.”

Unhappy at being called upon or not, she hadn’t flinched, Thikair thought approvingly.

“Expand upon that, please,” he said.

“Yes, Sir.” Shairez tapped the virtual clawpad of her personal computer, and her eyes unfocused slightly as she gazed at the memos projected directly upon her retinas.

“First, Sir, this species has developed nuclear power. Of course, their technology is extremely primitive and it would appear they’re only beginning to experiment with fusion, but there are significant indications that their general tech level is much more capable than we would ever anticipate out of anyone with such limited nuclear capacity. Apparently, for some reason known only to themselves, these people — I use the term loosely, of course — have chosen to cling to hydrocarbon- fueled power generation well past the point at which they could have replaced it with nuclear generation.”

“That’s absurd!” Squadron Commander Jainfar objected. The crusty old space dog was Thikair’s senior squadron commander and as bluntly uncompromising as one of his dreadnoughts’ main batteries. Now he grimaced as Thikair glanced at him, one ear cocked interrogatively.

“Apologies, Ground Base Commander,” the squadron commander half growled. “I don’t doubt your data. I just find it impossible to believe any species that stupid could figure out how to use fire in the first place!”

“It is unique in our experience, Squadron Commander,” Shairez acknowledged.
“And according to the master data banks it’s also unique in the experience of every other member of the Hegemony. Nonetheless, they do possess virtually all of the other attributes of a Level Two culture.”

She raised one hand, ticking off points on her claws as she continued.

“They have planet- wide telecommunications. Their planetary data net, while still rudimentary in a technical sense, is planet- wide, as well. And, to be honest, our initial probes confirm that their security measures are surprisingly good.

“Although they’ve done little to truly exploit space, it isn’t because of any inherent inability to do so. They have numerous communications and navigational satellites, what appear to be quite competent orbital astronomy platforms, and at least one crude space station. Their military aircraft are capable of trans-sonic flight regimes, they make abundant use of advanced — well, advanced for any pre-Hegemony culture — composites, and we’ve observed experiments with early- generation directed energy weapons, as well. They have not established a unified planetary government as yet, which is virtually unheard of for a species at this level of advancement, but there are indications that they are headed in that direction at this time. And while their technological capabilities are not distributed uniformly about their planet, they’re spreading rapidly and should achieve that level of distribution within the next generation or two. Indeed, they might manage it even sooner, if their ridiculous rate of technological advancement to this point is any guide!”

The silence around the conference table was profound. Thikair let it linger for several moments, then leaned back in his chair.

“How would you account for the discrepancy between what we’re now observing and the initial Survey report?”

“Sir, I can’t account for it,” she said frankly. “I’ve double-checked and triple-checked the original report. There’s no question that it was accurate at the time it was made, yet now we find this. Every projection says this species ought to be experimenting with muzzle-loading black powder firearms and crude steam engines. Instead, its has somehow made the jump from animal transport, wind power, and muscle-powered weapons to what’s clearly a Level Two culture more than three times as rapidly as any other species. And please note that I said ‘any other species.’ The one I had in mind were the Ugartu.”

The fleet commander saw more than one grimace at that. The Ugartu had never attained Hegemony membership . . . since they’d turned their home star system into a radioactive junkyard first. The Council of the time had breathed a quiet but very, very profound sigh of relief when it happened, too, given that the Ugartu had been advancing technologically at twice the galactic norm. Which meant these people . . .

“Well, I suppose that explains how Survey’s estimate of their tech level could be so far off,” Jainfar said dryly. “Now if we only knew why it’s happened!”

“Is it possible the initial survey team broke procedure, Sir?” Ship Commander
Ahzmer asked, his expression troubled. Thikair glanced at him, and his flagship’s commander flicked both ears. “I’m just wondering if the surveyors might inadvertently have made direct contact with the locals? Accidentally given them a leg up?”

“Possible, but unlikely, Ship Commander,” Ground Force Commander
Thairys said. “I wish I didn’t have to say that, since I find this insanely rapid advancement just as disturbing as you do. Unfortunately, the original survey was conducted by the Barthoni.”

Several of Thikair’s officers looked as if they’d just smelled something unpleasant. Actually, from the perspective of any self-respecting carnivore, the
Barthoni smelled simply delicious. But the timid plant-eaters were one of the Shongairi’s most severe critics. And the reason the miserable little centaurs were so heavily represented in the Hegemony’s survey forces, despite their inherent timidity, was because of their fanatic support for the Council regulations limiting contact with inferior races.

“I’m afraid I agree with the Ground Force Commander,” Shairez said.

“And it wouldn’t matter if that were what had happened,” Thikair pointed out. “The Constitution doesn’t care where a species’ technology came from. What matters is the level it’s attained, however it got there.”

“That, and the way the Council would react to finding out about it,”
Jainfar said sourly, and ears moved in agreement all around the table.

“I’m afraid Squadron Commander Jainfar has a point, Sir.” Thairys sighed heavily. “It was hard enough getting approval for our other objectives, and they’re far less advanced than these creatures have turned out to be. Or I hope to Dainthar’s Hounds they still are, at any rate!”

More ears waved agreement, Thikair’s among them. However aberrant, this species’ development clearly put it well outside the parameters of the Council’s authorization. However….

“I’m well aware of just how severely our discoveries have altered the circumstances envisioned by our mission orders,” he said. “On the other hand, there are a few additional points I believe bear consideration.”

Most of them looked at him with obvious surprise, but Thairys’ tail curled up over the back of his chair, and his ears flattened in speculation.

“First, one of the points I noticed when I reviewed the first draft of Ground Base Commander Shairez’ report was that these people not only have remarkably few nuclear power stations, but for a species of their level, they also have remarkably few nuclear weapons. Only their major political powers seem to have them in any quantity, and even they have very limited numbers compared to their nonnuclear capabilities. Of course, they are omnivores, but the numbers of weapons are still strikingly low. Lower even than for some of the Hegemony’s weed-eaters at a comparable point in their development. That becomes particularly apparent given the fact that there are military operations underway over much of the planet. In particular, several more advanced nation-states are conducting operations against adversaries who obviously don’t even approach their own capabilities. Yet even though those advanced — I’m speaking relatively, of course — nation-states have nuclear arsenals and their opponents, who don’t, would be incapable of retaliation, they’ve chosen not to employ them. Not only that, but they must have at least some ability to produce bioweapons, yet we’ve seen no evidence of their use. For that matter, we haven’t even seen poison gas or neurotoxins!”

He let that settle in, then leaned forward once more to rest his folded hands on the conference table.

“This would appear to be a highly peculiar species in several respects,” he said quietly. “Their failure to utilize the most effective weapons available to them, however, suggests that in some ways they haven’t advanced all that greatly since the Barthoni first visited this world. In fact, it suggests they’re almost as lacking in… military pragmatism as many of the Hegemony’s weed-eaters. That being the case, I find myself of the opinion that they might well make a suitable client species after all.”

The silence in the conference room was absolute as the rest of Thikair’s listeners began to realize what Thairys had already guessed.

“I realize,” the fleet commander continued, “that to proceed with this operation would violate the spirit of the Council’s authorization. However, after careful review, I’ve discovered that it contains no specific reference to the attained level of the local sapients. In other words, the letter of the authorizing writ wouldn’t preclude our continuing. No doubt someone like the Barthoni or Liatu might choose to make a formal stink afterward, but I rather suspect they would . . . find their allies thinner on the ground than they might anticipate in this case, let’s say.”

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34 Responses to Out Of The Dark – Snippet 09

  1. Thirdbase says:

    I assume the weird formatting is an odd case of copy/paste?

    It is easier to ask for forgiveness, than to request permission, especially when the target might get to Level -1 or -2 by the time we get back.

    Just because we don’t use bio or chemical weapons, doesn’t mean we don’t have them.

  2. Bio weapons against people from other planets … large mammals that eat the spaceships are not bio weapons … to repeat a line from my short story in Baen’s universe …it is less likely for a Martian to die of an earthly disease, than for one of my patients to lose his teeth to the chestnut blight…despite the fabrications of that socialist libertine, the Martians were repelled by the heroic actions of the Army and the Fleet…

    We know how to make chemical weapons; we substantially eliminated them except at the bottom end as less effective than alternatives.

  3. Bones says:

    should be interesting to see how they react when they find out just how tough a nut we are to crack. even if we would prefer not to use Nuclear/Biological weapons…

  4. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Thirdbase, the “weird” formatting is problems caused by converted a PDF file to text to Word for snippeting.

  5. They may alternatively conclude that we are a fairly easy nut to crack, even if they are not understanding enough of our economy to execute the ‘nuke ca. 400 oil refineries’ ‘watch non-subsistence population die’ process. On the other hand, they may be sufficiently fond of dry warmth to be the latest empire to demonstrate how easy it is to invade Afghanistan. So long as you remember to leave very very quickly thereafter.

  6. Tim says:

    Well, it would appear the earleir allusions to the Iraq War might be a foreshadowing of what happens when a vastly superior military force conducts all of its war planning based upon assumptions that the adversary (1) plays by your rules and (2) gives up when it’s “beaten”.

  7. robert says:

    And the Iraqis didn’t even have the assistance of supernatural critters. But that is all so yesterday.

  8. Doug Lampert says:

    I haven’t read the short story, but: Any interstellar invader should be ABLE to exterminate the human race if it needs to. This is especially true if they think our current nuke arsenals are small and consider Bio-warfare normal.

    Unless they’re morons they can kill us all. Therefor most interstellar invaders are morons.

    Mind, supernatural space vampires might change things. But also relevant, is that in this case they’d STRONGLY prefer to take us alive (both to have our labor and because the other races might object to extermination), this conditions them toward what is (for them) limited warfare. So they probably WON’T exterminate us. But any plausible plotline that involves humans remaining free should also involve some sort of negotiated settlement.

  9. Grant says:

    @Doug: I get the impression the Shongairi would like humans alive, but it isn’t a deal breaker. So I would expect things to start as a conquest but if things start going really badly the humans better find a way to take control of the orbitals fast or the Shongairi will just back out then carpet the planet with kinetic strikes and take the real estate as a second best outcome.

  10. The discussion of available weapons does not seem to suggest that the Shongairi actually view kinetic strike as an option. It may perhaps be viewed as being much less practical than hydrogen bombing.

  11. Randy says:

    @10 Based on what’s available at Google Books, the Shogari used kinetic weapons

  12. evilauthor says:

    Keep in mind that the Shongairi are YEARS from any possible source of resupply and reinforcement…or even calling for help. That right there could be an exploitable weakness. What the Shongairi brought with them is all they have. The people who sent them out won’t even know anything’s wrong until a courier spends several years reaching them.

  13. Daryl says:

    Turtledove had humans in the middle of WW2 being invaded by aliens who had very similar technology to us now except for space travel similar to what is described here. Thus one of their Abrams equiv tanks would easily destroy the Wehrmacht’s Tigers unless the Germans developed guerilla tactics, their F22 type jets gained air superiority quickly, and you get the picture. But as evilauthor @12 says their impossibly long supply lines and being greatly outnumbered went against them. An interesting twist he had was that powdered ginger turned out to be a very addictive hard drug for them and the humans exploited that.

  14. Tim says:

    Never underestimate divide and conquer tactics. Cortes conquered Mexico with a ridiculously small force relative to his adversaries and a logistics issue of comparable difficulty (imagine resupply when your transportation system is fifteenth century vessels across an ocean, then human carriers without wheeled transport across a thousand miles of mountains). He cleverly mixed the shock value of his superior weaponry and tactics when it was necessary with the forces of local allies who hated the Aztecs (but hadn’t learned to hate the Spaniards).

  15. Doug Lampert says:

    @13, and they were morons. This is pretty well required for an interstellar culture to lose. They have to NOT THINK of really big kinetic strikes, they have to NOT THINK of biowarfare. Those are things they pretty well HAVE TO be equiped for to do their job of colonizing against even 0.0 resistance.

    Turtledove had to give them tech substantially worse than we have today (they were basically the 1990 military, no uAVs, no decent modern communications, and we’re no where close to interstellar travel), he gave them almost no creativity or ability to adapt, he gave them traitors, he made them horribly vulnerable to addiction to a common substance, he gave them a “convienent” destruction of the ship with the main nuke stockpile, he had them NEVER do even a single kinetic strike, he had them NEVER even consider bio-warfare or using adictive substances against us. And they still ended up with over half the planet 40 years down the line.

  16. robert says:

    Based on the book blurb (Amazon), the cities of Earth will be radioactive wrecks.

    Didn’t Heinlein or somebody write a story about one man, a sharpshooter, who singlehandedly defeated either an alien or a Russian invasion? Published in Analog? So far we have three: a hunter, a Ukrainian soldier and a US Marine. More to come? Besides the bloodsuckers, I mean.

  17. Mike S says:

    Something to consider:

    The military technology and capabilities we have today are a direct response to forgoing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. When the US decided on “flexible response” and decided not to deploy neutron weapons to defeat the “Evil Empire’s” tank avalanche, the US Army came up with AirLand Battle and adapted and developed the weapons to execute it. The C4ISR needed to quickly acquire, identify and engage multiple targets and axis/centers of operations with both area (cluster/multiple warhaed munitions air, missile, rocket and artillery delivered) or point targets (precision guided weapons). Tactics and operational art inteaded to force the pace of operations and exploit enemy weakness and mistakes and to fight across the depth and breadth of the battlefield. We have substituted technology alternatives to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

    The other side of the coin is that if the Shongairi see the use of such weapons as a normal part of their method of war, there is every reason to believe that the development of their conventional command and control, doctrine, weapons and tactics would be stunted. It would be as if the US military had never evolved beyound the atomic battlefield and the technology of the 1950s. You can’t equip a race with advanced conventional weapons, technology and doctrine if they never needed it to replace weapons that were removed from use.

  18. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Robert, blurbs are often wrong and in this case definitely wrong.

    Many of Earth’s major cities were destroyed but they were destroyed by kenetic weapons.

  19. dancingShadow says:

    Well, the other side of the coin is that Bio and Nuclear Weapons, and especially big kinetic strikes, are a real mess to clean up after. Especially if you want to do something with the area you hit.

    Nuclear Weapons: Depends on how “clean” they are. If you use really dirty ones you can forgett about colonisation.

    Kinetic Strike: Same as nuklear, use too big ones and you have a nice desert bare any life. Use far too big ones and you can say goodbye to the whole planet.

    Bioweapons: Controlled bioweapons would probably work best. How to controlle bioweapons? Oh thats simply. We have thousands of experts for that on the planet. Just ask a doctor how to controll a diseases. The problem is that these tiny little things tent to change faster then you can look.

    So all 3 of these weapons have a big problem as far as conquering a planet for colonisation is concerned: Making the colonisation impossible/ incredible difficulty/ very costy (time and or resorces)

    just my 2 cents

  20. Doug Lampert says:

    @16, Yep, it’s perfectly possible that their “conventional” military is horribly stunted compared to what ours would be at equivalent tech. The key words are “what ours would be at equivalent tech”. Because we’re not even in the right LEAGUE to be in the same tech. Stunted tech will still piggyback a bit of the civilian sector.

    And they can beat us with purely civilian shit and half a brain. Bioengineering is useful. The ability to drop rocks is a neccessary side-light of their ability to move at the speed and ease they’ve shown.

    But even for stunted military tech. Based purely on their ability to reach orbit with that much shit, they are several generations ahead of us on propulsion and power systems, and almost everything military is critically dependent on those. So they’re stunted one or even two generations, that still leaves them several generations ahead on the military tech that they don’t actually need in the first place.

    But that’s only based on their ability to put lots of stuff in orbit. Once they are in orbit they can travel many light years in 5 years. Let’s say they are 8 times the speed of light. That’s roughly equivalent to sending warfleets at Mach 8,000,000 for multiyear cruises. Our best ships long duration ships move at noticably less than Mach 0.1 (officially they’re about half that, but DoD maximum speed figures aren’t to be trusted). That makes them 80,000,000 times as fast, by comparison that fast ship of ours is about 2,000 times as fast as a snail. So measured in multiples of speed, we’re well over twice as far from them as a snail is from the USNavy. Wonderful. I’m sure snails could take us if they just had an appropriate military doctrine….

    Doctrine we can easily be ahead on. But that doctrine depends on comm that they can kill, and on the ability of our faster orders to be orders to do something EFFECTIVE. “Oh look, that spot’s radiating, drop a rock on it.”

    Plausibly losing an interstellar invasion against our tech isn’t like Turtledove’s _War World_, it’s his “The road not taken”.

  21. Doug Lampert says:

    @18: Bioweapons that hit humans are somewhat less likely to hit aliens than they are to hit trees. How many people die of Oak Blight per year.

  22. Tim says:

    I’m dubious that an alien race could concoct an effective bioweapon in anything short of a couple of years. They’re notoriously tricky to engineer for us, and we have a greater database than they could have in the short term. There is always the balance between too virulent and it burns out before it propogates, and not virulent enough and all we get is a nasty cold.

  23. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @18, 20, 21 The problems with developing bioweapons by the Shongairi for use against humans are manifold.

    First is genetic code. Do Shongairi and humans use a similar genetic code with the same 4 nucleotides (5 if you count the uracil used in RNA)? If not, then the first thing the Shongairi need to do is get up to speed on genetic information storage and transfer on this planet.

    Second,you have to find the best vector for introducing the weapon; the vector must be specific for the target host (i.e., humans) and it must be aggressive at invading the target host. Viruses do this very well.

    Third is latency. Ebola makes a lousy bioweapon because it has a short latency and high mortality. Thus the disease burns out quickly by the simple expedient of quarantining the sick and letting them die. HIV is also a lousy bioweapon because it has a years-to-decades-long latency followed by a slow, insidious dying. Plus, there are some people who, by reason of genetics, appear to be immune to HIV infection. Smallpox is the type of virus that makes a great bioweapon, but presumably, the Shongairi don’t know that yet. Polio could be another good bioweapon with some engineering.

    Fourth is containment. Once the bioweapon hits the target and begins spreading to other targets, you still need to make sure that the vector won’t jump species, say to chimpanzees or, worse from the Shongairi’s point of view, to Shongairi.

    Humans eschewed bioweapons because they are a REALLY BAD idea from our perspective. In point of fact, I would question the sanity of someone who thinks that we can engineer bioweapons that we can fully control. Maybe at some hypothetical point in the future that’s doable, but not in our present day and time it’s not.

  24. Robert H. Woodman says:

    Hmmm. I guess I’d better clarify my point @23.

    I was speaking of biologically-based bioweapons. A number of other things, such as nerve gas and certain types of chemical poisons, can also be considered bioweapons, but I was not speaking of them, just of the biologically-based bioweapons.

  25. Drak Bibliophile says:

    I don’t know who would consider “nerve gas & chemical poisons” bioweapons. They would rightly be called chemical weapons.

    Created or natural diseases would be the likely bioweapons but it might be possible to create multi-cell animals that could be used as bioweapons.

    By the way, the Shongairi won’t be using any sort of bioweapons in the primary attack.

    Also, their conventional weapons are only slightly more advanced than what they used to conquer their home world. When they conquered their home world, they were less advanced than current humans.

    Since then, they have only fought on planetary surfaces species much less advanced than humans. Within the Hegemony, nobody fights on after the enemy control the orbitals.

    Mind you, if humans were “smart”, we’d surrender. [Wink]

  26. corpronj says:

    The Shongairi come from an empire witch has an undefined number of client species and is subordinate to a hegemony which has many more. There are also a large number of species on record that have wiped themselves out but been observed before they attained Level 1 technology. So far the implication is that they all compete for the same types of terrestrial oxygen atmosphere planets. It seems to me that given this type of knowledge base and the type of support needed for any colonization of an alien biosphere that they should be easily capable of tailoring a virus and spreading it through the atmosphere. It also seems a good point that anything that affected us would be very unlikely to affect them. Bioweapons therefore become a very attractive solution if we are simply too much trouble. However, if they succsessfully used them it wouldn’t be a very good book so they’ll most likely have some type of problem with them.

  27. Grant says:

    @dancingshadow: Kinetics aren’t that problematic a weapon to use for either conquest or invasion/extermination with the goal of holding a useable planet afterwards. You don’t need to use them to kill everyone, wiping significant population centers and military installations would get most of the job done for either objective and it’s relatively easily accomplished without much chance of catastrophic micalculations (the difference between a city-killing projectile and an “oops, I made the continent uninhabitable” projectile is rather large, no species capable of interstellar flight is going to make an error of that magnitude calculating something as straight forward as the kinetic yield of a simple projectile, and if the cities themselves become wiped of life, meh. They’re tiny fractions of the total land area and they can always be reclaimed later.

    If the fighting starts going badly for the Shongairi they should have no reservations about just standing off and raining rocks down from orbit on anything that stands out as needing some hammering down… which means the defense will need some way to stop that from happening or they’re toast. Earth will have to take the orbitals before the Shongairi write off trying to pacify the planet with ground-based operations or they lose.

    @Robert: all valid points about the problems with bioweapons, except perhaps the containment issue when we’re talking about use between extra-terrestrial species. The odds of any bioweapon effective against humans being physiologically compatible with a species that emerged and evolved on another planet (even allowing for extensive mutation once it is released) is astronomically remote.

  28. Daryl says:

    @26, good stories to illustrate the use of kinetic weapons are Niven’s Footfall and Lucifer’s Hammer. These used a single largish strike to sufficiently disrupt the Earth’s weather, degrade our economies, and use as a warning that future resistance would invite more. Humanity’s response was to build an Orion based battleship launched by tactical nukes under an enormous base plate. That then deployed sting ships that were essentially a small single person life support system around single 16 inch self loading naval guns firing nuclear lasing rod equipped shells.

  29. Randy says:

    @14 Cortez didn’t begin the conquest with mass atrocities. Also the Shongari didn’t just hit the US, they hit everyone.

  30. Randy says:

    I know all of the Navy’s surface units are toast. I wonder what remains of the (submarine) ballistic missile force.

  31. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @25 Drak —

    Nerve gas — okay, not a bioweapon, but in the category of chemical poisons as bioweapons, you have (to name just three well-known examples) aflatoxin, diptheria toxin, and botulism toxin. All three are biologically derived chemicals, but they are chemicals, are stored and handled as chemicals, and are considered bioweapons.

    Your comments about the level of surface warfare technology made me think of Eric’s series with K. D. Wentworth, “The Course of Empire” and “The Crucible of Empire”.

  32. Mike S says:

    Another point: economy of force.

    The cost of boosting military ground forces into orbit and then transporting them light years may be enormous. As such, you have to economize by either: a) deploying a force so technologically superior as to get away with the smallest numbers possible, or: b) deploy a force sufficiently technologically advanced to win, but not so advanced as to generate a unbearable transit cost. A 1914 army will beat a much larger army based on military science of 1862. A force based on 1862 tech would have a significant advantage over one based on tech from 1550, the beginning of effective black powder small arms and artillery. So either the Shongairi have a very small, high tech force or they have a larger force that was based on tech that could take on a society whose military capabilities were that Parma or even Gonsava (or even Cortes).

  33. Mike S says:

    Not sure unguided kenetic weapons would have much effect on manuevering ships when fired from orbit. Much like using ballistic missiles w/o a terminal homing capability.

  34. Grant says:

    @Mike: Depends what velocities the projectiles could be fired at and how large they are. Ships may maneuver, but they maneuver relatively slow. And you don’t need a direct hit, smash a decent sized rock at very high speed into the general vicinity of a fleet and you can take the whole thing out with the blast effect whether you hit any of them or not. Smash a larger rock into the ocean and you don’t even need to be “in the general vicinity”, naval ships may be built tough but very large tsunamis are nasty things to deal with.

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