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Re: Crowbars, etc.

From: "William Spencer" <williamspencer@h...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 13:38:36 PDT
Subject: Re: Crowbars, etc.

I just came into the middle of this conversation, but...

I recall that in Heinlein's Starship Troopers (and other stories by
people), they explained that the mobile infantry were the arm of
restraint - 
sure, you could pulverize the planet from orbit, but if you want the 
industry intact, or to teach the population a lesson (but not eliminate 
them), or whatever, you send in the marines.

You'd also have to send troops down to make SURE that you got all the
after nuking the planet (and to clean out those aggravating bomb
under mountains), unless you've got really good sensors.

Now, I suppose if it was all-out war between two completely hostile
you'd never bother to land on the planet. Example: E.E. Smith's Lensmen 
series - the Patrol and the Boskonians were fanatics for their causes.
would never surrender, and could not co-exist - they HAD to eliminate
other. Thus, such entertaining weapons as mobile planets, sunbeams, and 
transpacial tubes into the heart of important installations were used
abandon. And if you vaporize a planet's ecosystem, no worries - you
have matter-energy conversion by now, so terraforming can be done

But if you postulate a slightly lower tech level, with usable planets
to find, you REALLY don't want to pulverize the planets you need to
You want the eco-system intact, and (preferably) at least some of the 
planet's inhabitants alive. The Pfhor, from Bungie's Marathon series are
example of this; a race of intergalactic slavers, their m.o. is to zap
defenses, capture as many people as they can (by going down on foot),
turning the rest into "sub-atomic salsa". In emergencies (like, if your 
species is surprisingly tough), they can make your sun go nova and get
of a potential threat, but when they go to get the slaves they need to
go in 
on foot. And if you're too tough to attack, they try to sell you some of

their wares...

But that leads us back to the conversation of some months ago, debating 
whether space battles were even feasible...if you set your technological

level too low, ground actions become more necessary, but also more 
expensive...ah, trade offs, trade offs.

Also, if your aliens are suspiciously human-like, instead of actually
aliens ("Wow, you look just like us humans." "Yes, but we, uh, have pure

green blood, not tainted red blood!" "You even speak flawless English!" 
"Uh...universal translator, yeah, that's it..."), they may want to take
and rule the planet instead of destroy it. Enslave the men, rape the
educate the children in their own ways, destroy the old gods and put up 
their own, and all that. The usual conquests and raids familiar to Earth

history, just taken into space.

I'll be quiet now.

Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 06:35:27 -0400

Subject: Re: Crowbars
>  >On this note, I was thinking of a way to have an alien race
>  >Harry Turtledove's World at War series.  But I want this group
>  >have FTL, so they would have a decided edge in the tech area.
>  >only way I could think of to keep the aliens form just dropping some
>  >asteroids on the planet, or using a biological weapon, was to
>  >type of moral imperative against using such tactics.
>  >Anybody got any other ideas.

>I read a novel a few years back (don't remember title) in which
>pasted by an alien race.  Actually, Earth getting pasted happened inthe
>first chapter (they hit us with a big rock at near lightspeed) - andthe
>story was about the (very few) survivors.  Turned out that the aliens
>didn't bear us any particular malice, they just figured that in theend,
>any species capable of interstellar expansion would become a threat to
>species survival 'cause any species that fights its' way off planet
>agressive one, so they'd better whack us before we figured out towhack
>them.		THE KILLING STAR by Charles Peligrino and George
	Out of print but I really reccomend this book.
	The gist of it was in the Three Laws of Alien Interaction.
	[1] Wimps don't get to be the top species on a planet.
	[2] Aliens will consider their survival to be more important   
than our 
	[4] Aliens will assume that the first two laws apply to us     
as well.
	If you discover an new alien race, there is a chance that
	they will destroy your own species.  What sort of chance
	of species death are you willing to risk?	One percent? 
Point five percent?
	Remember, your entire race is at stake.
	The logical answer is zero percent.  If you can destroy
	the newly discovered race, do so.
	This would explain the Fermi Paradox.  All the other
	races are either extinct or hiding.
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