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How would nBSG have been like if its FTL was used properly?

Discussion in 'Space Battles' started by WarpObscura, Mar 15, 2012.

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  1. Rockhound

    Rockhound Woodchipper beats everything.

    The Writer's did not think through the implications. QED.
     
    ryuan likes this.
  2. Thus the logical conclusion of it, would be secret 'dark colonies in places like ragnar and such, with the planets used for resources only. with truly paranoid security check-ups, since your position is given you are as good dead. no iffs or buts about it, should anyone with nuclear warheads and ftl want you dead.

    Meaning the nBSG series would have not been about a rag tag group of surviving fleets but slowly pinking away star colonies, death after death, with refugees suddenly barred access and surviving colonies relocated.

    Then you'd have the clean, non infiltrated population population survive and un-televised , and the one with cylon infiltrators faring as they did in the first season but eventually dieing or the cylons herding them to possible evac sites of the others, in hopes of someone responding to their pleas so that they can get a fix on any other survivors.

    Also , this would have Cain Lauded as a hero, and Adama shot for treason, if he were not to go on the offensive but protect compromised population.

    The only defence is paramount secrecy (thus meaning refugees are ignored and fled from, it the best of case, or getting a heavy and very accurate case of Blue on Blue , with 'sadly' no survivors.) and total annihilation of the enemy.


    This is all contingent upon tylium availability.

    Yeah. Bleak, and rather unsellable.
     
  3. Dain

    Dain Friendly Neighborhood Spy

    Who would have guessed that a teleportation devise which lets you teleport everywhere you want to could be problematic for your militaristic setting when applied even the least bit realistically? :D

    Well, to answer the OP:
    Out-of-universe answer: Just like hundreds of SF stories before them, the writers would have come up with a different FTL mechanic or would have imposed some serious limitations.
    Option A: FTL simply doesn't work close to the gravitational fields of planets (or it is possibly even sensitive enough to fail anywhere in an inner star system).
    Option B: It is technically possible to maintain FTL denial fields of some sort, giving established colonies the illusion of safety.
    The Cylon hacking attack wouldn't have been aimed at disabling the entire fleet at once, but the much more modest and doable goal of just disabling the FTL denial system, enabling them to carry out their surprise attack.

    In-universe answer:
    Option A: The armistice line between the colonies and the cylons is more than just a thin political allegory. This 'line' (actually a hollow sphere) is several maximum-strength FTL-jumps away from the colonies at what is considered a safe distance (though the Cylons may pull of an unpleasant surprise there). The Colonial Fleet has erected an incredibly dense sensor network throughout the entire 'safe' volume and patrols it relentlessly. All intruders will be shot down with extreme prejudice and cause an immediate fleet-wide alert. The fleet probably also maintains a defense network even farther out as a necessity of survival.
    Option B: The paranoid option as mentioned by other posters. Instead of building up a huge fleet of ultimately powerless behemoths, the colonies would have invested most of their resources in population protection measures and impressive counter strike capability- dispersion of population and of industrial capacity over all avaiable planetoids, extreme secrecy, mandatory bunkers, etc.
     
  4. Out of universe, the nBSG FTL drive was designed first and foremost to be able to allow the RTF to run away and evade the Cylons. The accuracy limitation and navigation limitations are used to explain why anyone thinks defending against aggressive use of the drive is even remotely possible. The times when super-accurate jumps are used are presented as either heroic feats (Adama Maneuver) or having inside information (Battle of the Cylon Colony).

    You really expect TV script writers to remember this? Or to portray it accurately? For routine use, the accuracy limitation works fine because people would be afraid to jump into the planet, yet still preserve close-planet jumps for the aforementioned heroic feat.

    Which would violate the requirement for the RTF's ability to get away easily. This would basically allow the Cylons to root the RTF in place until they could kill it. If the Galactica could routinely kill off each pursuing Cylon task force in order to disable the denial field, the Cylons stop looking like a threat.

    The Fleet still needs to be destroyed for the series premise (ie, the Galactica is the only Battlestar left to protect the RTF) to be plausible. Destroying the Colonies does the Cylons no good if there's an intact battle fleet wandering around. Even in a complete surprise attack, there's no guarantee the Cylons would be able to nail ALL the Battlestars except the Galactica and Pegasus. There would have been more survivors.

    Wasn't this implied to be the case in series and by Word of God?

    In peacetime (which the Colonies would have been for 40 years, ie 2 GENERATIONS), the dispersed civilization would have been unable to compete economically with the concentrated planet civilizations because of all the inefficiencies (like paying for LIFE SUPPORT which planet bound civilizations get free) such dispersion would have created.

    Not only that, the Colonies are not a militarized command economy that can force its people to live in stations when perfectly good planets are available. They're a democracy and as such have to listen to their civilians and the civilians want to live on planets. The military serves the civilian populace, NOT the other way around. Option B is the equivalent of 1950s/1960s US Army building entire underground cities and forcing the entire US population to live in them because of the threat of nuclear war. Not only is it completely unfeasible, there's no way in hell anyone can pay for it!
     
  5. Memphet'ran

    Memphet'ran Looking into the light

    If you go with some basic assumptions of the setting getting the RTF is pretty easy.

    Most people live on planets.

    Planets cannot teleport and therefore will be functionally obliterated in warfare with unrestricted teleporters.

    Ships, however, can teleport and escape.

    You end up with the civilization wrecked save whoever was lucky enough to be on a teleport-capable ship.

    The writing challenge is now the teleport-capable ships should be completely out of danger. It comes down to:

    Flight > offense > defense

    So you need some way to track teleporters, but it has to be sucky enough that it doesn't result in the RTF getting rapidly blown away.

    It occurs to me Cylon infiltrators can solve this nicely. The Cylons can get a fix on the RTF's position ... when one of their infiltrators manages to get their hands on some navigational data of its present position, or just looks out the window and sends back an image of what the stars look like that Cylon computers can dissect for positional information. Then when the Cylons attack the RTF can just teleport to a random location to lose them, starting the infiltrators off on another Operation Get Access To A Window.
     
  6. Maybe they should have just made the FTL extremely inaccurate (you can jump into a system but good luck getting it any more accurate).
     
  7. Dain

    Dain Friendly Neighborhood Spy

    Fair enough. However, those super-accurate maneuvers were simply too easy to carry out. Even if normal jump accuracy is a hundreds or thousands times worse than what we have seen pulled off in the show, it still would be game-breaking. To suggest that military navigators would be unable to work around the 'I'm scared because I could jump into a planet!' problem to jump into instant engagement range of every possible target when we've seen them pull off jumps directly into the stratosphere (i.e. accuracy of 50 km or less)...

    That's completely uncalled for. If script writers screw up that rule, they sure as hell also will cheerfully violate the accuracy rule whenever it suits them. Which they did with great enthusiasm. At least a strict 'no direct jumps into star stystem' rule would be way easier to remember and actually implement than that vague accuracy wish-wash. Just bin every script you receive which relies on such jump gimmicks for its plot.
    There's no inherent advantage of one over the other just based on the perceived intelligence (or lack thereof) of script writers.

    Those are technicalities. You are assuming properties to that FTL-denial system which will conveniently make it unusable for the show. You could just as well do the opposite and assume that the system has properties which just so happen to not interfere with the show's premise. Weird, isn't it? ;)
    Maybe FTL denial is such an energy-intensive or space-consuming affair that you need planetary facilities to pull it off - not even basestars could carry them. This also opens to possibility for the show to feature a mobile version of it, carried on a giant enemy support cruiser, as a season finale end boss.
    Or maybe the FTL denial is only capable of preventing incoming jumps, but not outgoing ones? The ragtag fleet is jumping randomly into a huge volume of space many dozen lightyears across, so there's no way for the Cylons to actually blockade them.
    Or how about this: Setting up FTL denial requires several hours due to its quantum technobabble effects on whatever it is doing, so as long the fleet isn't pinned down in one place unable to leave, it could always easily jump it.

    The entire thread is about how a military force would be completely screwed in the face of a surprise attack by nBSG-FTL capable enemies. The battlestars and other military assets would be the target of that surprise attack, which would probably slaughter the colonial fleet just as well as the Cylon attack in the series. They could shoot back, sure, but it's not as if the Cylons care if they loose a few Raiders while they deliver their nuclear payloads at what is essentially point-black range.
    Therefore I don't quite get the objection to how this would somehow make the premise unworkable. That's Hollywood thinking. You are claiming that the only way the show could possibly function if it happens exactly as it was shown on the program and that every deviation from their premise will lead to instant doom. That...is obviously not the case.

    On the reboot of nBSG, the Colonial fleet was not only massacred within hours with absolutely no chance at retaliation, had no secret fall-back plan or counter strike capability to speak of, etc., it also had no idea whatsoever about Cylon capabilities or even the location of their bases and worlds. In other words, they were completely screwed in every single way to a degree that borders on the ridiculous. They had no hope whatsoever at striking back no matter how much of their initial fleet strength survived the first attack.
    Not all of that has to be the case for the show premise to still be valid - a lost war against the Cylons after a surprise attack which leaves the survivors fleeing for safety and all battlestars save one destroyed by the time the decision to flee is made. Doable completely without 'lolhax!' Cylons.

    It seems to me that their strategy for war was to simply wait for the Cylons to attack their homesystem and then engage whatever forces happened to appear with their full fleet of battlestars. A winner takes it all battle at which they would get exactly one try (well, apparently it worked during the first war). :rolleyes:

    It apparently was already considered to be impolite to even approach the armistice line, let alone deploy sensor outposts there. Also, the first time the Colonials saw Cylons contacts was when they already were on top of them in their home system. Well, they could have disabled their sensor network and circumvented their early warning patrols, but it seems pretty clear to me that their defensive strategy had neither of these elements and that the armistice line beyond which the Colonials didn't dare to venture was probably much too close to the colonies for comfort.
    Otherwise someone would have had to ask at some point during the initial attack how the fleet and its strategy could have failed them so badly and why there had been no warning before the Cylons appeared over their homeworlds... :eek:

    This option obviously would only be for the seriously committed who live in some sort of cold war mentality. Other posters went way more in-depth in this than I did. ;)
    You are right, the resources needed to carry out such a defensive plan would be a burden on the colonial economy. Just because it is economically inefficient doesn't mean that they wouldn't take that option if the danger is real enough, though. They would have to fear a Cylon first strike attack with at least as much paranoia as the USA and Soviets did.

    People go where the jobs are. They have artificial gravity and all the stops to make a base on some random planetoid indistinguishable from a remote town on a real planet. :rolleyes:
    Obviously, the 12 colonies would still house the vast majority of the actual population even with an unparalleled committment to such a paranoid plan, even though some of the war-critical industrial capacity might get outsourced.
     
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  8. Memphet'ran

    Memphet'ran Looking into the light

    Moreso, I think. IIRC they didn't know where the Cylons' bases were. If we're taking the consequences of teleport FTL to its ultimate logical conclusions this really should have been huge, because it means the Colonials cannot reply in kind to the Cylon first strike.

    In the Cold War analogy, it would be as if the USSR had a functional and highly effective Reagan Star Wars missile shield system, while the US had no such thing. That is brown pants territory. It's not MAD anymore, it's your enemy can obliterate you from a place of complete safety whenever they feel like it.

    There's pretty much two viable responses to "we don't know where they live" if we take easy teleportation to its logical conclusion: overwhelmingly superior force (you have to be more-or-less as strong everywhere as your enemy can be in one place so that defense becomes viable) or make your civilization capable of evasive teleportation.
     
  9. Two things to add:

    1) No one's TALKED to the Russians or heard from them in 40 years, unlike the constant saber rattling that went on IRL. On the one hand, this ratchets up tensions because you don't know what the Russians are up to. On the other, no saber rattling, so no one's even sure if the Russians are even still hostile and for the average dude on the street, they might as well not exist.

    2) Planning for the last war: ICBMs didn't exist when the Russians went silent, so the default assumption is that the Russians will use methods similar to what they had before they went silent: Ie, massed waves of strategic bombers that CAN be intercepted. ICBM capability comes as a complete surprise because the Russians didn't have it back then and the US never developed comparable technology.

    I think the Colonials tried to go for the "overwhelming superior force". And judging by the Battlestar vs Basestar fights we've seen as the series progressed, they largely succeeded. If they hadn't, the Cylons wouldn't have needed their backdoor program to neutralize the Fleet.
     
  10. Rockhound

    Rockhound Woodchipper beats everything.

    Again, just have the Writers rule that the FTL doesn't function inside the gravity well of a star system. You have to get out into the Outer System (farther, if there's lots of Jovian planets out there) before you can FTL.

    Simpler (and more plausible) than FTL Inhibitors or FTL Trackers.
     
  11. Jace911

    Jace911 The President of Burp Head

    THIS. :rage: :rage: :rage:
     
  12. We saw a Raider instantly jump interstellar distances, while being piloted by a human. Raiders can also carry kt-yielding nukes. There is no explanation and no obvious reason why a Raider can't be jumped into close proximity to a target from interstellar distances and be used as a teleporting nuclear missile. The brain from the Heavy Raider was able to calc a jump of a bunch of manned Raptors with a fairly high degree of accuracy across interstellar distances into low altitudes over a specific geographic location of a planet. Why couldn't a Heavy Raider jump itself laden with nukes into the same location for an air-burst nuke attack? There may be a reason why that application isn't possible, but any explanation would frankly seem absurd.

    And finally, at the end of the series Adama said that they had traveled 100k lightyears. Even if he was rounding up from a much lower figure for the purpose of adding dramatic impact to his statement, it would still mean that the RTF crossed the width of the Milky Way multiple times over, and would have been able to mount an expedition to other GALAXIES. This and all the other evidence in the show adds up to making nBSG on the high end of all science fiction universes in terms of FTL travel -- yet none of the scale associated with those other universes. Now we SB'ers must use the technology in the most obviously possible ways and consider the outcomes; the fact the result would absolutely turn the original source material on its head doesn't mean that SB'ers are wrong, IT MEANS THAT THE SOURCE MATERIAL IS WRONG. Either it is lying about the capabilities of the technology, or it's wrong about usage of that technology. Since we have no choice but to rely on technical evidence from the show, we must accept that the feats shown and described by characters in technical terms are "real", but that they are also wrong in not utilizing the technology or doing other things that common sense would dictate.
     
  13. the atom

    the atom a.k.a THE TROOPER Temp Banned

    To quote a very recently quoted quote:

     
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  14. I disagree. Obviously, we should also drive around at 120-160 mph on the roads and highways because our cars are obviously capable of such speeds if my speedometer is any indication.
     
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  15. Obviously, we should use bad analogies to imply whenever we see the technology not doing the thing we want it to it's just that they've dialed it down because they're all just incompetents. Being so dumb they probably don't even know the dial goes up that high, you know, because they're dumb. Not at all like us.

    This is obviously because we have such stupendously vast mental faculties we can instantly see all the hidden factors to a technology's operation when we're shown a single - or extremely limited - instance of it's usage, and can predict exactly how it completely changes the nature of the setting(in spite of it not doing so) and use that to deduce the residents of the setting are just dumb(because of the aforementioned failiure to completely understand all the hidden factors in their technology that allows us to forsee such usage methodologies with our incredible intellect).

    Hence, even with them working with said technology every single day, and having built said technology, and having a functioning understanding of all the engineering aspects of said technology, we understand it better than them, despite lacking all these things. We're just that fucking clever.
     
  16. Amen brother!

    And for an encore, shall we criticize how God built the universe? ;):D
     
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  17. enthalpy

    enthalpy How unfortunate.


    So two elemental particles in this system of yours have the same charge, but one of them has almost two thousand times the mass of the other? Come on, no one's going to think that's realistic at all! Man, whatever you're smoking, I want some of that stuff.
     
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  18. mackon

    mackon Missing & Presumed Dead Subscriber

    IIRC at least from the Colonial side (and I assume the Cylons when they last met) the FTL wasn't quite as uber as it had become by the end of the series. It wasn't as pin point , it was as rough as all hell on the people and ships using it and it took quite a while to work out the maths to get things going and was pretty short ranged as FTL systems go.
     
  19. Oh hey, now that I think about it, didn't the Galactica have samples of Cylon tech (like nav computers) that they've made use of by the time New Caprica happened? They've killed lots and lots of Raiders before reaching New Caprica. Who is to say that didn't salvage a few navigation systems from the debris?
     
  20. Rockhound

    Rockhound Woodchipper beats everything.

    One factor may be that the RTF's navigation teams (military and civilian) probably had more actual long-range FTL jumps under their belts than any previous organization. Stuff they did on the fly might have been the work of days for pre-Fall navigators.
     
    Amorous Intent likes this.
  21. Very short.
     
  22. FBH

    FBH What is Project Zohar?

    If you use it properly you could actually set up a bit of a different and IMHO rather more rational situation, in which both sides fought to mutual near annihilation, and the Galactica is making it away pursued by Cylon stragglers/stuff from cylon targets that were concealed or otherwise uncovered by weapons.
     
  23. Death By Chains

    Death By Chains BattleTech Starfighter Analyst

    A conversation on SB.com picks up exactly where it left off when someone resurrects it after fourteen months in the grave. Now I've seen it all. :D
     
  24. mackon

    mackon Missing & Presumed Dead Subscriber

    nah it happens :p , that one guy who always pops up screaming about necro's doesn't happen to be on-line for a little while and I don't notice that the post before me was replying to something said in March 2012 and things just move along.
     
  25. Raiders aren't robots, They're cyborg GELFs, just a bunch of grey meat and vital organs stuffed into a spacecraft shell. They do the calculations in their highly-specialized biobrains, not a separate module. I'm pretty sure that the Rag-Tag fleet does not have the medical technology to hook a living brain up to their jump drives, and even if they did, connecting a sentient being who is trying to kill you up to your ship's controls is probably a bad idea. And, of course, they'd have to capture one alive.

    Starbuck captured one alive and was able to sort of tame it, convincing it to fly her back to Caprica. But that was a one time thing.

    Likewise, the Baseships use insane lobotomized cyborgs as their navigation systems. Insane lobotomized cyborgs aren't exactly plug and play, or safe.
     
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