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Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:39 pm
by Tobias
Nathan Brazil wrote:Some thoughts I had on this:
IIRC the TNE (or TNE:1248) stated that the Wave was moving at light-speed, slow but steady. The Consulate is not mentioned previously as being impacted until TNE (Bearers of the Flame) time, so if it is 1105, doesn't this mean the Wave is about 100LY (~33 hexes) away at this time? The coreward sector is just getting the joy and the Zhodani may not be forthcoming on this situation. Also it is an Imperiocentric setting so how many words are written about Regina vs. Zhdant?
Yes, originally the "wave" was supposed to be at the speed of light. No, it didn't make any darn sense and flat-out contradicted earlier materials. Why? Because it was a poorly thought out retcon shoehorned into the setting for heavy-handed metaplot reasons (Virus took down everybody else... now we need to take down the Zhodani.)

If it is actually wave and not a beam, the original version is also bound to have already hit much of the Vargr Exents by 1105. In fact, Lair is going to get hit earlier than Zhdant is. So even if you postulated that the Zhodani would have kept this secret (even though keeping things secret is not really their forte), you'd also have to postulate that millions of Vargr governments which change all the time would also have conspired to make it secret.

The new version in MgT has been sped up to avoid some of the more obvious nonsense, but it still doesn't make a lot of sense (and definitely contradicts previously established canon again.)
The only sensible way to deal with the host of stupid metaplot devices introduced by TNE is to retcon them out of existence. But since Word of God has apparently decreed that won't happen, we're stuck with increasingly bizarre attempts to make sense of them.

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:42 pm
by alex_greene
Or increasingly simpler - perhaps a revolution fuelled by a mutant strain of Zhodani born close to the core, whose unique mutation confers upon them total immunity to telepathy.

A Consulate that evolves out of a need for telepathy ... never mind the usual "galactic explosion, Lost Tribe of Humanity" explanations - this product of 300,000 years of evolution could pose the greatest crisis the Zhodani have ever seen.

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:03 pm
by Tobias
That actually is a sterling example of "increasingly bizarre". And it doesn't make an ounce of sense:
- How would these "mutations" not be detected as early as the embryonic stage?
- How and why would these "mutations" develop?
- Why would they mysteriously afflict large masses of people?
- Even if they effected a whole planet which I do not consider possible, how would the Zhodani not just isolate it? (Or bomb it to smithereens, as the case may be.)
- How and why would this "mutation" spread? Are the mutants running amok, raping and impregnating women and preventing them from having abortions?

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:45 pm
by alex_greene
Distance from the central worlds of the Consulate, isolation and time. Not a conspiracy; a natural evolution.

The Tvarchedle' may have tested these kids, found that none of them have an ounce of psionic ability and assigned them their Prole uniforms without realising that while they were testing them for telepathic abilities, they weren't actually noticing the complete lack of a psionic emanation from them, or indeed any echoes of their thoughts at all.

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:15 pm
by Tobias
alex_greene wrote:Distance from the central worlds of the Consulate, isolation and time. Not a conspiracy;

The Zhodani do not set up isolated colonies without a proper infrastructure. In any case, non of this answers any of the questions.
a natural evolution.
I do not think this word means what you think it means.
The Tvarchedle' may have tested these kids, found that none of them have an ounce of psionic ability and assigned them their Prole uniforms without realising that while they were testing them for telepathic abilities, they weren't actually noticing the complete lack of a psionic emanation from them, or indeed any echoes of their thoughts at all.
The Tavrchedl' is bound to read everybody's minds at one point. Most likely, they will do so even before birth. If they could not, they'd notice.

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:24 pm
by alex_greene
They're psionic. Not omnipotent.

Those dice record failures as well as successes, you know.

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:44 pm
by steelbrok
Having just read and been impressed by Cthonian Stars, I'd be very tempted to make the Empress wave into the Cthonian Star and inflict change and darkness on MTU

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Wed May 28, 2014 1:58 am
by Meanderer
Interesting discussions. I have been thinking of how the empress wave would fit in a non-Virus universe.

Okay, some alien tech that unleashes some wave hitting those with developed psionic potential is easier to buy than a computer virus that can turn any electronic device into an artificially intelligent killing machine that coordinates its actions with other machines. The behaviour of the Virus is essentially some sort of supernatural possession of machines that is made to sound more materialistic and scientific but it just makes it worse.

But if the purpose of the "empress wave" is to kick apart the Zhodani consulate to balance out the collapse of civilization in the Imperium then how do we deal with this in a non-Virus traveller universe (with the rebellion as optional).

My thoughts so far involve even more use of Ancient artefacts but we don't see much of them from the Zhodani while the Imperium discovered black globe generators for starters.

The Zhodani see the wave is coming and have been theorizing how to deal with it. After all, this is an existential threat to the Consulate. It was discovered by the seventh core expedition, launched in 3310 (year 750). And they quickly discovered the symptoms of the wave (in 753). So they have had 350 years to try to plan and figure out what they will do to save the Zhodani way. But nothing else is done coreward until 1101 when they start planning an eighth expedition that can't succeed because it has to travel through the wave?

And how does this get to pinning their hopes on getting the larger device that is in a mountain on Rhylanor when its activation could bring the whole Consulate down (sinking into apathy? or have they found out how to control the device instead of just activating it?) Also, wasn't the Zhodani efforts in the fifth frontier war, as documented, just another extended border skirmish intended to expand the buffer zone between the fully incorporated worlds in the Consulate and the Imperium. The whole intent seems to be to match earlier accomplishments of seizing a chunk of territory with limited forces and allow an armistace to take place as the Imperium would be just as interested in ending the war before it can escalate into a true life-or-death struggle between the two empires. But if the Zhodani are under threat of the Wave and need to get Rhylanor, then this is a life and death struggle for the Zhodani and they just cannot stop and sue for peace without getting this device they need.

I see another chain of events.....

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Wed May 28, 2014 3:01 am
by Meanderer
The Zhodani have had centuries to try to figure out what to do about the Wave. The best option seemed to involve the Erdriap Chensh as it operates psionically and may represent similar technology. It is just 35,000 tons so a large jump tender could transport it.
A mini-expedition was launched to catch up with the seventh expedition. They have had much time to experiment and they found that the Erdriap can deflect the wave, and have a fair understanding of how the waves interact but they can’t position the Erdriap too close to the Consulate without sacrificing their own citizens and the wave will tend to wash around the Erdriap zone and curve back in. To make the Wave wash around the Zhodani Consulate requires a bigger effect. Much bigger. They have some theories about how a second Erdriap could play off the first and create an even greater deflection but there are two problems:
1. They only have one Erdriap, and
2. Even if they had a duplicate the 30 parsec radius range is still not enough.

Then an amazing discovery was made in 1083. A second Erdriap. The mother of all Erdriaps. But it is trapped in a gravity well (on a planet) and is way too big to lift off. Except:

- Analysis of the mountain indicates a region of approximately 3 million tons of rock that contains the Rhylanor Erdriap
- The Zhodani have captured an Imperial Black Globe generator (a copy of Ancient tech, not an original) and through experimentation they can alter the size of the protected area by scaling the device but cannot maintain a field beyond a tenth of a second. What they have is technology to disintegrate matter in a spherical shell – a cutting device but nothing else. But this is enough to separate the Erdriap on Rhylanor from the rest of the mountain.
- They have also heard about a device in Aslan territory in the Trojan reaches – a pyramid that the Aslan have yet to figure out what it does, but the Zhodani have. It (as documented) shields an area from the influence of gravity. How much of an area? The pyramid is about 300 tons so presumably a coordinated Zhodani raid could capture this device. Deciphering it and finding it can shield an area that could encompass the Rhylanor Erdriap if it can be moved far enough into the mountain. Without the planet’s gravity holding it down, the Rhylanor Erdriap (Uber-Erdriap) would be flung off into space by centrifugal force if the pyramid can be moved there and activated.
- Jump bubble technology allows a jump drive capable of transporting such an object to be constructed at about 75,000 tons (the tonnage of the jump drive – needing an additional power plant and fuel tanks / drop tanks. About 350,000 to 400,000 tons of fuel perhaps. With their existence on the line they could build this.
- Easier for the Zhodani, there could be an Ancient antimatter power plant (larger than the battery bricks that can be found in some adventures) allowing the jump drive to be operated without need for fuel (or they discovered an Ancient ship with pocket universe so they can refuel in interstellar space. I like the anti-matter power plant better because it has more limited application – it can power the jump tender but any escort fleet will have to refuel itself.
What does this mean. It means the Zhodani have been straining their economy for the last generation to develop this ship and plan for an expedition to deploy the Uber-Erdriap and re-positioned original Erdriap to shield the Consulate. They have until 1120 to do this (needing to deflect the wave far out from Zhodani space. They have also been scrounging out additional fleets for the mission into Imperial space.
The Imperium has been dealing with periodic brushfire wars with the Zhodani that play out over a few subsectors. The wish for military force to completely contain the Zhodani has been balanced with the risk that such force under a few (or one) commander in the Spinward Marches could result in another series of Baracks Emperors. The cure is worse than the disease. So they let these periodic wars play out knowing they pose no real threat to the survival of the Imperium and even complete defeat of Imperial forces in the first wave would still hit second line fleets in key worlds (Mora, Trin, Glisten) and would then have to get through another set of fleets in Deneb.
But this one is different. The Zhodani strike with additional fleets and tankers allowing them to leapfrog past front line defenses. This throws the Imperial forces into some chaos while allowing a single-minded quest for Rhylanor which is overmatched by the combined attack of two fleets. Scout squadrons and an additional assault fleet follow up with bombardment and neutralization of all orbital assets and much of the surface defenses. The invasion is hindered by an unexpectedly large quantity of underground meson cannons drawing on geothermal power (learned from the Solomani) and passive densitometers for targeting. But sufficient dust and debris has been stirred up to drop some craft onto the surface and secure a large area around the mountain. Fusion tunneling begins to get the pyramid device into the mountain….

Will the Imperium counterattack in time? Will the Deneb fleets commit without orders from the Emperor? Is this what the Imperial Warrant for Duke Norris really about – why it is really needed?

How would this play out? I see some interesting adventure possibilities for a group of adventurers trapped on Rhylanor during the invasion who head out to a remote mountain range for safety.

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:45 am
by GypsyComet
Meanderer wrote:The Zhodani have had centuries to try to figure out what to do about the Wave. The best option seemed to involve the Erdriap Chensh as it operates psionically and may represent similar technology. It is just 35,000 tons so a large jump tender could transport it.
That's the Key, not the device. The Consulate has one mountain, the Imperials another, but there is only one key.

The effects of the Wave are not significantly different if you remove Virus from the picture. Where it gets wacky is if you call off the Rebellion.

The Wave removes the Consulate as a serious state, probably makes the Vargr even more fractious, might start some social uprisings in K'kree space, increase the Machiavellian perceptions of the Hiver clients, rile up the Solomani, and start Clan wars in Aslan space. It breaks everyone down into smaller pieces to match the Rebellion-shattered Imperium, which has already lost a significant percentage of its population to war. Even without that war, the Imperium likely shatters along similar lines as the Wave arrives.
The fun really starts if the Wave is still carrying its original message "RUN!" If that hits strongly enough in an otherwise healthy Charted Space, the rimward states get rolled by huge migrations and have no idea why it is happening until the Wave reaches them in turn. Charted Space becomes a large version of Detroit, with only those unable to leave left behind, having to figure out how to build more ships, etc. The lights of Charted Space become the Chartered Fleets as huge populations flow toward the Rim. The original Battlestar Galactica scenario writ very, very large. Vanguard scouts looking for routes that will handle the migration's slower members, advanced builders making sure the temporary logistics issues are handled, guardians to make sure that the right people get to make use of the route instead of getting lost, and of course the scavengers to clean up after the migration has mostly gone on.

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:39 pm
by tzunder
Thanks for all that. I like the speculative ideas, both of the Wave as social unrest but also as apocalyptic telepathic event. We also are reminded that the Ancients, almost certainly, were not the only pan galactic polity to have been around, indeed we know from Secrets of the Ancients that they fought a large snail like species, so one can always have fun with alternate very old civilisations..

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:06 pm
by Hopeless
I look at this and think... what if?

Aeons past an ancient war between extra galactic forces results in a defensive shield protecting the galaxy allowing the surviving older races to rebuild although most eventually die out as a result of the losses suffered during the war.

New races rise to replace them but that still leaves all their lost knowledge and evidence of their existence including a mysterious crystalline station orbiting a now dead star, it didn't turn into a black hole it didn't blow itself into bits it just... died and along with a few long dead rock worlds and possibly burnt out husks of gas giant cores is this ancient crystalline station left powerless and adrift.

Now something is moving searching for long lost knowledge and artefacts even as the galaxy is rapidly approaching another galaxy their impending meeting will undoubtedly disrupt the galactic shield leaving them open to whatever is out there and for some its an event they've been preparing for, for aeons...

Sorry to go off topic but from what I recall the Empress Wave was an attempt to send a warning that went totally out of control I don't even recall why the Zhodani can prepare for it if anyone encountering that wave is either left dead, insane and/or fleeing for their lives...

Anyone care to explain how they'd manage to figure out what's going on given anyone trying to mind scan anyone effected should in turn be effected?

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:06 pm
by tanksoldier
Along a flat plane, burning its way along the length of that corridor towards the Consulate like a flame burning on a long fuse, the device began to record things starting to happen. Nobles started going mad, and Proles and Intendants started to, well, dissent.
What if the Fienzhatshtiavl is, in fact ... the Zhodani Arab Spring?
First I think you're giving way too much credit to Occupy and the Arab Spring as they exist/ existed in reality.

Second, while it MIGHT explain the uprising of the proles, it's doesn't explain the insanity of the nobility.
alex_greene wrote:kids, found that none of them have an ounce of psionic ability and assigned them their Prole uniforms without realising that while they were testing them for telepathic abilities, they weren't actually noticing the complete lack of a psionic emanation from them, or indeed any echoes of their thoughts at all.
...and they did that millions, or billions, of times. So the explanation now is that the Zhos are cosmically incompetent.
The fun really starts if the Wave is still carrying its original message "RUN!"
No, the real fun starts when we find out WHY that message was programmed in the first place.

Re: The Empress Wave - An Alternative Thought

Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:56 pm
by Meanderer
GypsyComet wrote: That's the Key, not the device. The Consulate has one mountain, the Imperials another, but there is only one key.

The effects of the Wave are not significantly different if you remove Virus from the picture. Where it gets wacky is if you call off the Rebellion.
I stand corrected on the size. Alien Module 4 makes the repeated error of referring to the 35,000 ton piece of rock as just the Erdriap (which I see is shortened from Erdriad Erdriap, not a shortened version of Erdriap Chensh.

This still works with the idea I had. The Zhodani wouldn't launch an invasion to seize an artifact if they weren't sure they could separate it from the planet and move it. A massive tender capable of moving a mountain could have been used to move the Erdriap Chensh.

The Zhodani would be looking to cover an area approximately 160 parsecs across. They don't have time to experiment with settings so they would be concluding that simply activating the devices a safe distance from the Consulate (define safe when you don't know what the two will do together).

I liked this idea for a campaign setting, maybe with stretching out the time available before the wave hits or some ability (with regular jumps into hyperspace) to let the effect of the wave die down. Maybe they have some more time to get it into position.

So what we would have is the fragmentation described, eventually.

But before that you get the Imperium picking itself up from a war and realizing that an Ancient Artifact was stolen from Rhylanor. Maybe Imperial spies learn something about what it does and the devastating impact the Erdriap Chensh had on Zhodani Space. So while the Zhodani are now prepared to ignore the Imperium for a bit while they focus on a bigger threat the Imperium is seeing the threat of a Zhodani super-weapon.

I find the permutations of this and how it could play out intriguing. Also the idea that they can stop the wave in progress but not before it hits Zhodani space so they would get the chaos of a societal collapse for several years before their leadership recovers. After that, the Consulate is a memory replaced by many regional consulates some of which are still governed by proles. In the Imperium you get dominant pockets trying to restore the Imperium by force (each with the idea of putting their leader on the throne). The Zhodani can't do that, can they? What is the precedent for civil war? They would have to come together by negotiation and just don't have that much of a precedent or external threat (yet) to do that.

So everything is fragmented but the essential characteristics of each society could remain (the Zhodani keep on being Zhodani; Vilani are Vilani, etc. Just with the loss of central unifying governments. Interesting.