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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 12:00 pm 
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So as I understand the long gun, you open a terraport portal from your nozzle to the point you want the output to fly from.

The first thought is that a TAD should be able to stop the output portal from forming.

But ... we've seen that Oafan technology seems to be able to get around that, and Petey has managed to do it as well.

So are long guns the end of civilization, as postulated at the giant in the playgrounds discussion? http://www.giantitp.com/forums/forumdis ... -Webcomics

Does civilization boil down to "mutually assured destruction" / "He who fires first lives, so everyone fires and only the hidden and unlocated survive"?

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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 3:35 pm 
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Calling them the end-guns sort of implies that they've been involved in at least one civilization-ending event. And probably more than one.

TAD relies on teraport wormholes being relatively miniscule and numerous, such that they can be significantly disrupted fairly quickly without a lot of effort. Punching through involves a lot of effort ("Petawatts are chump change," Petey said). But it opens a wormhole sufficiently large that it cannot be easily disrupted. He is probably also directly countering TAD weapon effects, so the cargo is also not disrupted.

Unlike a normal teraport, the NUSPI guns probably don't care if their payload gets significantly disrupted by TAD effects. They can open a smaller wormhole (though still a lot bigger than a normal teraport) and simply dump energy through it. If someone hits a person undergoing a teraport with a ship-to-ship weapon, that teraport can be said to have failed: area denied! If someone hits a NUSPI beam with a ship-to-ship weapon, nobody cares. It's not going to hurt the beam, and it's not enough to completely disrupt the NUSPI wormole during its brief useful life.

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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 4:37 am 
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Exactly as we saw with TAG forcing the TAD during the reality TV take down. A stopped port means they become energy. NUPSI is just energy anyways, stopping it wont do anything really.


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 5:57 am 
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When TAG forced the Serial Peacemaker through the TAD, Kevyn explains it would not have caused an explosion bigger than a fart, apparently, which Popgai would have contained, even for two warship sized annie plants.

Long guns can be made in secret, and once done, it's a matter of getting your civilians to cover before everyone else's guns come online. Cover in this case is obscurity - people can't shoot what they don't know is there.

Then you minimise chances of being seen by killing everything else that could spot you with your own long guns, and go to sleep until the shooting stops.

A defense mechanism against long guns needs to be made to stop the long guns being end guns.


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 6:24 am 
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To my knowledge, the long gun does not work via teraports. The technologies are completely disconnected from each other - after all, the Credomar long gun is 200 years old.

Unless there is some new tech development analogous to TAD fields, the only defenses against long gun use are social/political and they depend upon a few factors - can long gun usage be traced after the fact? What tech level does it take to build a long gun?


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 9:33 am 
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teraports and long guns are only related in that both include artificial wormholes in the system.

long guns open a single moderately sized wormhole and send in immoderate amount of energy through it. the amount of organization is low

teraports open large numbers of tiny wormholes and transport gravitic packets that self-reassemble into organized matter. the amount of organization id incredibly high, low enough disruption that even the densest information storage systems are not affected, and quantum memory storage is a thing.

it is possible to disrupt wormholes in a teleport so presumably, the physics allows the possibility to force the long gun wormhole too close.

if you disrupt one wormhole a little bit it will distort the gravitic packet, releasing the payload as energy that will disrupt and destroy nearby wormholes causing a disruptive cascade with only a little energy expenditure by the defender. with enough energy (Petawats are chump change) you can hold the teraport wormholes stable in the face of attempts to disrupt them. it is a contest of energy expenditure with a huge advantage to the defender.

the long gun wormhole is larger so it will take more energy to force it to close. disrupting it a little bit would probably defuse the beam a little but that won't help because the wormhole is opened inside the target. the defender also has to project energy to the location where the wormhole appears wich can not be known in advance while the attacker has opened the wormhole in a location that is optimized for energy expenditure granting an energy expenditure advantage to the attacker. also, the time from the first sign of a wormhole to target sustaining damage is low so a successful defense will need to route power and close the wormhole almost instantly while the attacker can take time in advance to charge capacitors and ensure peak energy availability.

if all the above assumptions are correct the long gun could theoretically be defended against by a defender with great sensors a fast AI and a significantly larger energy budget than the attacker, unfortunately, multiple long guns attacking the same target at the same time could quickly overwhelm the defensive energy budget of any defending ship, base or planet. the core generator may have the energy on hand to defend against a moderately concerted attack but the infrastructure may be spread over too large a volume to effectively defend.


there is a more effective defense
run and hide, communicate only through multiple anonymiser nodes, sensors public communications to prevent information about your location (including images of star fields, better yet don't let your citizens know your location, or look at starfields), teraport often enough that by the time your light gets to anybody else you have already moved (annually should be enough), distribute your population over multiple habitats so if one is located and attacked you don't loose too much, trade should be managed by ships you can afford to loose meeting at coordinates negotiated over anonymised com relays.


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 1:16 pm 
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thezombiekat wrote:
the long gun wormhole is larger so it will take more energy to force it to close. disrupting it a little bit would probably defuse the beam a little but that won't help because the wormhole is opened inside the target. the defender also has to project energy to the location where the wormhole appears wich can not be known in advance while the attacker has opened the wormhole in a location that is optimized for energy expenditure granting an energy expenditure advantage to the attacker. also, the time from the first sign of a wormhole to target sustaining damage is low so a successful defense will need to route power and close the wormhole almost instantly while the attacker can take time in advance to charge capacitors and ensure peak energy availability.

if all the above assumptions are correct the long gun could theoretically be defended against by a defender with great sensors a fast AI and a significantly larger energy budget than the attacker, unfortunately, multiple long guns attacking the same target at the same time could quickly overwhelm the defensive energy budget of any defending ship, base or planet. the core generator may have the energy on hand to defend against a moderately concerted attack but the infrastructure may be spread over too large a volume to effectively defend.
The main problem is, you can't stop the damage, only mitigate it. If the enemy can hit your main annie plant with even a split second burst for the first shot, you're not going to be in any condition to fend of the second to tenth shots.


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 6:26 pm 
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thezombiekat wrote:
...

if all the above assumptions are correct the long gun could theoretically be defended against by a defender with great sensors a fast AI and a significantly larger energy budget than the attacker, unfortunately, multiple long guns attacking the same target at the same time could quickly overwhelm the defensive energy budget of any defending ship, base or planet. the core generator may have the energy on hand to defend against a moderately concerted attack but the infrastructure may be spread over too large a volume to effectively defend.

there is a more effective defense
run and hide, communicate only through multiple anonymiser nodes, sensors public communications to prevent information about your location (including images of star fields, better yet don't let your citizens know your location, or look at starfields), teraport often enough that by the time your light gets to anybody else you have already moved (annually should be enough), distribute your population over multiple habitats so if one is located and attacked you don't loose too much, trade should be managed by ships you can afford to loose meeting at coordinates negotiated over anonymised com relays.


I just want to take a moment and point out that the last time these things showed up, the only survivors were entities that completely eschewed interstellar contact and basically hid in a hole for the rest of eternity. Not saying these defenses -couldn't- work, in theory, but I'm sure they will have been tried before.

Too, an anonymiser relay is only as anonymous as your relay nodes. Your public-facing node, perforce, is public, and anyone sufficiently motivated can physically go to it and compromise it. From there it's just a matter of climbing up the chain and compromising each relay in turn. There's a reason the FBI owns all the Tor node exits.

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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 8:46 pm 
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thezombiekat wrote:
the physics allows the possibility to force the long gun wormhole too close


:lol:

I think that's the very problem that they're worried about - someone is going to aim a long gun wormhole TOO CLOSE to where they'd rather it not be.

Yeah, OK Grammar Nazi Alert, but I couldn't resist! :devil:


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 9:32 pm 
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Sure, just figure out how to destroy hyperspace and not the material universe in the process. There are of course some second order effects, but technical success is the best kind of success.


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 5:06 am 
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dire wrote:
Too, an anonymiser relay is only as anonymous as your relay nodes. Your public-facing node, perforce, is public, and anyone sufficiently motivated can physically go to it and compromise it. From there it's just a matter of climbing up the chain and compromising each relay in turn.

first you only establish direct coms with people where you have a trace of trust, so the public facing node isn't public, it is known to one other polity. physically accessing the public facing relay node only gets them the location of the second node (if they don't trip the self-destruct). sensors on the public facing node stand a good chance of detecting tampering (being withing tampering range is considered tampering) at wich point the public facing node, and the second node in the chain self-destruct and the rest teraport to new locations.

is this system perfect, no, that is why you distribute your population and all essential assets across numerous such habitats so when one is compromised you remain a viable nation? this distribution also reduces the chance of a single attack because your nation can not be eliminated unless you have the location for all habitats at the same time, and taking out one will inspire greater efforts to be made against you.
dire wrote:
There's a reason the FBI owns all the Tor node exits.

the FBI doesn't own all the Tor exit nodes, the NSA and CIA both have significant holdings, I would be shocked if other national governments didn't run some, a couple are probably run by organized crime and one or 2 by actual people who care about privacy.


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 9:49 am 
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dire wrote:
thezombiekat wrote:
...
there is a more effective defense
run and hide, communicate only through multiple anonymiser nodes, sensors public communications to prevent information about your location (including images of star fields, better yet don't let your citizens know your location, or look at starfields), teraport often enough that by the time your light gets to anybody else you have already moved (annually should be enough), distribute your population over multiple habitats so if one is located and attacked you don't loose too much, trade should be managed by ships you can afford to loose meeting at coordinates negotiated over anonymised com relays.


I just want to take a moment and point out that the last time these things showed up, the only survivors were entities that completely eschewed interstellar contact and basically hid in a hole for the rest of eternity. Not saying these defenses -couldn't- work, in theory, but I'm sure they will have been tried before.


I'm afraid dire is right, the only truly effective defense against the long gun is to disappear completely off the galactic stage, or at least appear to do so. Also, your citizens can never again travel between worlds or stars, since they could be captured and their home location extracted from them. Also abandon any known celestial body with a predictable path like a planet or moon, since the energy from any civilizations on them could be used as targeting data. An alternative to abandonment is to move everyone deep underground and shield any energy emissions to the best of your ability, but again, no one can ever leave or communicate with anyone off-world.

Basically, the best and really only truly viable defense against the long gun is to hide from it. And that means the end of interstellar civilization even if no long gun ever fires a shot (again). Quite frankly, I could see an especially paranoid polity opening fire first just to prevent anyone else from firing on them first.

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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 4:09 pm 
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thezombiekat wrote:
dire wrote:
Too, an anonymiser relay is only as anonymous as your relay nodes. Your public-facing node, perforce, is public, and anyone sufficiently motivated can physically go to it and compromise it. From there it's just a matter of climbing up the chain and compromising each relay in turn.

first you only establish direct coms with people where you have a trace of trust, so the public facing node isn't public, it is known to one other polity.
Security through obscurity isn't secure. Will this myth ever die?

Quote:
physically accessing the public facing relay node only gets them the location of the second node (if they don't trip the self-destruct). sensors on the public facing node stand a good chance of detecting tampering (being withing tampering range is considered tampering) at wich point the public facing node, and the second node in the chain self-destruct and the rest teraport to new locations.
As far as I know, the modern approach to security given that the opfor has physical access is that you can delay entry, and sometimes have an expected delay greater than the expected lifespan of the universe (but only until a better method of cracking comes along), but you can't really prevent access if someone is willing to throw enough resources at it.

Quote:
is this system perfect, no, that is why you distribute your population and all essential assets across numerous such habitats so when one is compromised you remain a viable nation? this distribution also reduces the chance of a single attack because your nation can not be eliminated unless you have the location for all habitats at the same time, and taking out one will inspire greater efforts to be made against you.

Given a sufficiently large volume of time and enough chances to roll the dice, very remote probabilities become likely to occur. People get careless, go "Oh, we've gone a thousand years without an incident", and ignore protocol. And then a million years later archaeologists sift through their ruins wondering what made that giant hole in the planet.

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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 6:01 pm 
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Well, there's always establishing trust and diplomatic solutions that will ensure that nobody with a long gun will ever have cause to aim it at you, or putting treaties in place that limit the scale of the long gun arsenals much like the START treaty limits nuclear weapons here on earth. That's the boring, difficulty diplomatic approach that Petey wants everyone to consider, though. Let's find something more interesting. :P

I think there are a few options for military defense that fall short of complete information blackout. One is to enforce a delay on information (or at least any information with location data) to prevent the enemy from having up to date targeting data. If you've got a warship with 1000G of acceleration that applies a 1s delay to all outbound communications and doesn't let any other vessel get within a light-second of it, that warship is essentially never going to be targetable by a long gun because the volume of space it can random-walk to in that time is enormous, unless it's sitting still. This is energy intensive, but the Schlockiverse has energy to spare, and even if you only apply it to crucial military infrastructure and weapons that guarantees your second strike capability in a MAD scenario. You can also manage the energy costs by scaling down your random walk based on how far the closest observer is. If they're a light minute away, a much more leisurely approach to a random walk will secure your installation. This all also becomes more effective if the target you're protecting is physically small, reducing the amount of your random walk volume that you occupy. You do need to become very aggressive with your point defense, traffic management, etc, but space is big. There's room to keep everything at arm's length.

The other approach I can think of is to ditch your attachment to being in a particular physical space. Upload all your minds to an infosphere that can now be distributed across billions or trillions of nodes, maybe as part of a Dyson swarm. Sure, the individual servers will be targetable, but since your enemy has a limited number of long guns that require extensive fueling between shots, you can create enough server nodes that they simply can't hit enough of them with long guns to really make a difference. You now have too many targets of too little importance to hit, and a huge number of them need to be hit before the infosphere is substantially impacted. You still have difficulties with large infrastructure projects, but your population is secure as well as any infrastructure you can distribute in a similar manner. You don't even need to move your entire civilisation into a distributed virtual reality, either; just enough of it that you're still kicking if someone decides to go and nuke your static installations, planets, etc.

Combine the two approaches and you can make an environment that the rather precise and slow firing long guns are unable to cope with.

(edit) It also just occurred to me that the "ditch your attachment to physical space" approach might also mean trying to upload yourself to an environment unaffected by long gun shots entirely. That might explain the Paanuri; someone decided uploading themselves into dark matter was an expedient way to nullify the threat of long guns.


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 6:43 pm 
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starstriker1 wrote:
...
The other approach I can think of is to ditch your attachment to being in a particular physical space. Upload all your minds to an infosphere that can now be distributed across billions or trillions of nodes, maybe as part of a Dyson swarm. Sure, the individual servers will be targetable, but since your enemy has a limited number of long guns that require extensive fueling between shots, you can create enough server nodes that they simply can't hit enough of them with long guns to really make a difference. You now have too many targets of too little importance to hit, and a huge number of them need to be hit before the infosphere is substantially impacted. You still have difficulties with large infrastructure projects, but your population is secure as well as any infrastructure you can distribute in a similar manner. You don't even need to move your entire civilisation into a distributed virtual reality, either; just enough of it that you're still kicking if someone decides to go and nuke your static installations, planets, etc...


Why are you assuming that a virtualization of a civilization removes the vulnerability of their physical presence? You still have servers, physical hardware that needs energy and maintenace. Breya was already taking down Dyson spheres even before LOTA was a thing, so I'm going to venture a suggestion that keeping all your eggs in a really big basket is not the solution here.

The random-walk thing might be a good idea for warships and critical, mobile elements, but it's not really practical for the truly large pieces of infrastructure like cities, shipyards, and world-forges. Most civilizations are based around really big, massive things that are difficult to move around on a one-second basis, even with all the excess energy the Schlockiverse has.

I keep coming back to either the can-full-of-sky (and the Matryoshka brain, starstriker, kind of resembles your Dyson swarm idea), or else Petey conquering everyone, quickly, before they can build these weapons, and unifying them so that there's a) nobody to shoot at and b) no way to build the guns anyhow.

Petey seems much more interested in attempting a political solution, but I don't see how he'd be able to succeed at that without rewiring the darwinian hardware that his subjects are running on.

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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 10:01 am 
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dire wrote:
Why are you assuming that a virtualization of a civilization removes the vulnerability of their physical presence? You still have servers, physical hardware that needs energy and maintenace. Breya was already taking down Dyson spheres even before LOTA was a thing, so I'm going to venture a suggestion that keeping all your eggs in a really big basket is not the solution here.
They're not suggesting virtualization will remove vulnerability of physical presence.

They're suggesting virtualization and cloud computing will drastically reduce vulnerability of physical presence.

Ennesby is not a fantastic example, but he had his brain in the Serial Peacemaker before getting the Serial Peacemaker shot off. If there were a hundred thousand maraca brains out there, he'd be virtually indestructible to physical damage, and thus Long Gun damage. Some can be in stasis, and powered down until they lose the signal of others, before activating.

If sophonts start getting in on virtualisation, eclipse-world style, it'd be very hard to kill all of them in sneak attacks if there's a hundred bases of theirs that keep moving and dropping off copies of von neumann facilitys. Each time you detect and long gun one, another one in deep space activates, then makes another copy of itself in a nice deserted asteroid belt, then starts disgorging anyone killed in the last attack, teraporting them to someplace and only then turning them on up to their last backup. Meanwhile, the virtualisated people would broadcast their own memories out from anonymised drones on a 2-3 day delay, that teraport a few dozen places before sending out memories of the people and then going defunct.

People would probably lose a few days or so each time they get hit by a Long Gun, but they'd continue to "survive", because the rebirth facilities (that the people don't know the location of) will continue to function and reproduce. If the rebirth bases can teraport to spots and create duplicates before the light reaches anywhere else, then they shouldn't be detected until they've moved on.

People would have to decentralise a lot, but that's fine, since they won't need that much to survive. There might be some duplication of people, but hey, not like that hasn't happened before.

Of course, you're in trouble if there are things like non-physical attacks. Viral Strike! Stack Down! A program trojaned into the civilisation of a million in a spaceship the size of a house, ripping apart the virtual personalities within. Hope you've got good antivirus!


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 12:46 pm 
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a new problem with the hiding solution occurs to me.

whatever shape your hidden civilization is it will need an input of resources (raw construction materials, energy, matter to crush into neutronium)

most of the accessible matter and energy is located around stars that are easy to find.

large scale manufacturing is easy. scout drones are small and fast, scouting all the stars regularly is feasible for larger governments.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 4:33 pm 
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If you have 1.2 million teraport probes that can each scout one system per second, you can scout every star in the Milky Way once a day.

We know Petey has those kinds of resources. Heck, even the Gavs and the Toughs have those kinds of resources if they decide they really want to. Might be harder to make sense of the one-second close-range snapshots, but again, Petey could do it. And developing a list of systems with TADs would make targeting really, really easy.

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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 10:58 pm 
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dire wrote:
starstriker1 wrote:
...
The other approach I can think of is to ditch your attachment to being in a particular physical space. Upload all your minds to an infosphere that can now be distributed across billions or trillions of nodes, maybe as part of a Dyson swarm. Sure, the individual servers will be targetable, but since your enemy has a limited number of long guns that require extensive fueling between shots, you can create enough server nodes that they simply can't hit enough of them with long guns to really make a difference. You now have too many targets of too little importance to hit, and a huge number of them need to be hit before the infosphere is substantially impacted. You still have difficulties with large infrastructure projects, but your population is secure as well as any infrastructure you can distribute in a similar manner. You don't even need to move your entire civilisation into a distributed virtual reality, either; just enough of it that you're still kicking if someone decides to go and nuke your static installations, planets, etc...


Why are you assuming that a virtualization of a civilization removes the vulnerability of their physical presence? You still have servers, physical hardware that needs energy and maintenace. Breya was already taking down Dyson spheres even before LOTA was a thing, so I'm going to venture a suggestion that keeping all your eggs in a really big basket is not the solution here.


Reaver225 has elaborated on my thought process fairly well, but my main response is actually right there in the paragraph you've quoted: a distributed set of servers presents a very wide spread of targets. As an added bonus they can use the light-delay trick because occasional maneuvering is cheap if you've only got to offset yourself by a meter or two as in the case of a small satellite server with an enforce light minute blackout of (accurate) observation. Servers like that will present a real problem for a long gun; long guns are energetic and expensive but small solar power computational satellites are cheap, and the long gun likely can only hit one of them at a time (and even then they require a nearby spotter). Even built on an enormous scale, I think the long gun will run into throughput problems and won't be able to kill those nodes fast enough to be a true weapon of mass destruction; they're massive overkill for that kind of target. Sure, Maxim 37 and all, but you won't be getting an awful lot of "open fire!" for your "I need to reload!".

Now, as you say, Breya's been popping Dyson spheres for a while and a Dyson swarm would be a similarly viable target for a warfleet to sweep up (indeed, the demolition of Earth's satellite ring during the previous story is a good example of how that might look) but fleets of warships are a familiar problem for the Schlockverse, everybody knows how to defend against that; you stop them with a fleet of your own warships. The long gun makes THAT engagement a lot dicier, but really, for fleet combat the long gun just requires you to keep a longer engagement range and be more effective in policing your local space for hypernode equipped observers. The light-lag trick will keep the gun from having an up-to-date solution on you.

Big infrastructure projects that you're not able to distribute or keep on the move aren't protected by this means, but like I argue in the paragraph you quote, they don't need to be; just enough of your population and infrastructure needs to be distributed that a first strike won't cripple your civilization. If you can live without a world forge, you don't need to care as much if someone starts taking potshots at it, and a civilization that's virtualized itself has drastically reduced requirements for raw materials.


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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 3:46 pm 
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You've moved the goalposts from "Civilization survives" to "A few scattered individuals in hiding survive." Well done! I agree, long guns are generally not a sole tool to drive extinction events. But civilization, including the massive infrastructure needed to support trillions of sophonts, the manufacturing and culture that defines them, is over.

And in fact, we've already established that virtualizing everyone in a civilization in a giant computer dyson sphere around a star was, in fact, a viable way to survive the long guns, as long as that group is aggressive about enforcing no communication with the rest of the galaxy.

The problem is, you're now inviting a mass, panick-driven migration of every meat sophont into a hastily-built and therefore, poorly secured computer system, as quickly as possible. This certainly counts as an extinction event of its own, as the meat species cease to exist, and probably as a civilization-ending catastrophe when haste and panic open holes that attackers then exploit, resulting in the likely demise of a large percentage of the groups that try to go that route.

Also, every moderately large society with that 1.2 million teraport probes I was mentioning would be able to catalog every likely hidey-hole, likely within a couple of years. Scattered individuals in hiding would survive, but any large infrastructure elements, such as a dyson cloud of servers or whatever, would be unable to hide. The limiting factor would be computational power to process the raw data gathered.

Edit: For the sake of consistency, I'm not counting "They committed suicide when they saw me coming" as sufficient cause to call the long guns an extinction event (maybe "doomsday device"?)

Edit edit: Hmm, Petey has already shown that he can hack a battleplate. He should probably just swap the brains out in all of the major military ships, and then teraport the crews to space-australia, sans weapons and armored uniforms. Then either introduce anti-boost nannies or site space-australia in a place sufficiently dangerous that boosts come in handy.

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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 5:44 pm 
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I had thought it was a pretty nasty idea there, but when you actually think about it, there's problems with the 1.2 million probe plan. Admittedly the end result is still approximately the same.

Teraporting takes energy. Energy takes mass. While it's rarely shown in the comic, mass isn't free. The Toughs can churn out VDAs that have teraport capability because they're missiles that teraport at most twice and then explode, so they aren't worried about multiple constant teraports. The small VDAs cover a few light years teraporting. Bigger ships have giant annie plants to make teraporting free as long as you have fuel, but probes are going to be falling to pieces if they to multiple teraports between stars.
"We used the mass of the bus" indeed.

To fuel your 1.2 million probes, you're going to need infrastructure. Refueling depots. Stations or ships where these drones can report to. Guess what the enemy are going to do, once they realise that your probes teraporting in are linked to the long gun attacks on your stations? Oh hey, the enemy have got a few long guns themselves and have been busy shooting up your probe manufacturing facilities and refueling arrays! What? You're trying to hide them? That's pretty hard when 1.2 million drones are teraporting to and from them.

What else will happen, though, is the aforementioned enemy are going to start putting up decentralised TADs themselves to stop your probes getting enough information. 1.2 million probes, meet 1.2 million TAD fields and trying to slowboat to the centre to get current targeting locks. Oh, and hypercomm jamming too, so even if you get your probe deep in the TAD you're not going to get an up to date targeting lock. Of course, the enemy can jump through the TAD to begin with, so your target won't be there by the time you take down the TAD to get the targeting locks to shoot the people in the TAD. And that's not the worst problem

If the enemy have sufficient resources too, they could just shoot your probes when they port in with long guns too by using passive single-shot scanners. Your probe arrives, hypercomm signal goes out, probe goes down, you can only shoot one small probe with a one-shot teraport before your own goes dark, no kills on the enemy because they've teraported out already. But yes, this still also only works because we're assuming you have infinite resources.

What's that, Mr Bear With a big Galactic Core? Nigh Infinite Power? Scanning for naughty people? What happens if the control facilities or whatnot gets shot up with a few dozen long guns? Your nigh infinite power gets turned off for a while? That's a lot of stationary targets to shoot up.

What, the UNS is sending out 1.2 million probes to scout out for people to shoot with long guns? The mysterious enemy have started shooting the UNS back too. Credomar's plans are probably on archive somewhere and people will quite likely find out how to make their own long guns, especially if they're mass manufactured.

How can the aggressor sustain their 1.2 million assault themselves when their own powerbase is being shot up by enemy long guns? Aaaand just like that everything goes to shit. Game over, everyone's in a state of constant war and trying to hide their stuff while shooting everyone else's hidden stuff while the guns are probably the only thing that's safe.


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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 6:01 pm 
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dire wrote:
Also, every moderately large society with that 1.2 million teraport probes I was mentioning would be able to catalog every likely hidey-hole, likely within a couple of years. Scattered individuals in hiding would survive, but any large infrastructure elements, such as a dyson cloud of servers or whatever, would be unable to hide. The limiting factor would be computational power to process the raw data gathered.


I don't think it's shifting the goalposts. My argument is that the dyson swarm of servers doesn't need to hide; it can still be part of an outward facing, functional civilization. The long gun is a tool that can obliterate a single thing that you have good location data for, at the cost of an enormous amount of energy. Virtualizing your civilization into a massively distributed network (as opposed to a single static infrastructure project like a Matrioshka brain) attacks all three aspects of that weapon; hitting a single thing won't compromise the network (or possibly even inconvenience it, if sufficiently redundant, and likewise replacement is easy), the network nodes are hard to get good up-to-date location info for and relatively easy to mask, and the large cost associated with taking shots makes attacking them with long guns economically impractical, like using cruise missiles to shoot up a fleet of rubber ducks.

The vulnerability of such a setup is mostly the same thing that could threaten the previous status quo; a fleet of warships, which galactic civilization can already work with. Bam, business as usual except that some of your persons are now virtual persons.


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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 6:10 pm 
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Reaver225 wrote:
How can the aggressor sustain their 1.2 million assault themselves when their own powerbase is being shot up by enemy long guns? Aaaand just like that everything goes to shit. Game over, everyone's in a state of constant war and trying to hide their stuff while shooting everyone else's hidden stuff while the guns are probably the only thing that's safe.


Hrm. I wonder about that last bit; the Neosynchronicity--which was *tiny*--was the size of ship that the Oafan's felt was a good platform for the long gun. It only had one shot's worth of firepower without destroying the whole ship; it was essentially an expendable weapon. A bullet, not a gun.

Why build one like that? If you're confident you can hide your long guns somewhere nobody will ever find them, why not build them bigger and more efficiently, keeping a big fuel supply on hand to take multiple shots in a hurry? That sort of design screams "I am not confident that I can make more than one shot from a single gun" to me, like they're afraid that firing the gun will invite return fire. Either their strategic situation was such that a long gun corvette would blow its cover and there was usually going to be a passive observer close enough to get a location before they can apply sufficient random-walk to survive (and in a universe with ships that can pull thousands of Gs of acceleration, that is not very far at all!), or there's a way to trace back a long gun shot and destroy it with counter-battery fire.


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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 6:26 pm 
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1.2 million ping pong balls fit inside a standard 40 foot bus -- or more realistically, an 8x8x40 shipping crate (That's a 2.5m x 12m shipping crate if you're not counting with your feet). If you use Petey's ping-pong-ball-sized telepresence widgets for your star probes, you can probably fit a crate of them, along with remote resupply and fuel (assuming you need something beside your ship's main annies) on every battleplate and probably most large warships. The dragon-class I'm not sure about, since it's really more like a corvette or a destroyer, but the Touch and Go for sure had room for a package like that.

Based on the mechanics of TAD being "Nuke it as it materializes" and "Giant death ray of death doesn't care if you add more energy to it", I would argue that counter battery fire is both possible, and is not a defense. If you amp the TAD up enough around your critical systems, you might be able to send a thank-you package as your critical systems get nuked.

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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 9:53 pm 
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To summarize one position, which I happen to agree with.
Extinguishing a random-walking Dyson Swarm by shooting a LOTA at it would be like trying to swat a swarm of gnats with a revolver, in a disco.
You'd get brief strobe-flashes of where they were, but by the time you pulled the trigger, they'd be elsewhere. You might occasionally hit one by accident, but you'd be hard pressed to put even a 1% dent in their numbers. You can fire only so fast, and with expensive shots, they can skip around at will.

The thing is, the same also applies to a civilization on the move in any size ship.

The real challenge is fuel, or matter, and there are enough rogue bodies to grab, or you might suck some life right out of stars, without ever dropping permanent facilities there.

Even shipyards can random-walk. There's no reason why a space-dock with a half-assembled residential vessel can't jump to a new random location every dozen seconds or so.

Where a Dyson Swarm really wins is that you can run one person across multiple nodes, such that if one of "you" gets hit, you experience at most a brief moment of digital vertigo as your host routine rebalances around the lost node, maybe you lose track of what you were discussing, then you're back to you.

The thing is, even physical people can benefit from that, provided fast enough cloning systems. Your backup is distributed, rather than your self. If your ship gets gutted, a new ship is finished out, and everyone on the old one is restored from backup.

Living on a planet becomes a rarity, and Hav3n Hiv3 experiences a new location every dozen seconds.


What it'd take to use a long gun would be not a probe, but a massive TAD. Pop in a TAD and now shooting the swarm is more like shooting gnats stuck to flypaper. Still a waste of a shot, since you can only get a few gnats at a time.
Couple that with hypernet jamming and you MIGHT be able to cause some headaches.
TAD needs to also protect against TAD. And OpFor's hypernet jammers.

However. I do also agree that if you implement a digitization plan without thinking it through, and going through a few iterations, you're GOING to end up with a very hackable design.

Please consider that you're under attack every minute of the day. There are bacteria and virii throughout your body. Some are (mostly) harmless, some are even beneficial or even necessary. Most would kill you if you didn't have an immune system.
You get on with your day, despite being under constant attack. A civilization that was in a constant low-grade shooting war, but where everyone either existed across multiple systems, or with backups and quick-clone capability across multiple systems, would get on with their day, with the occasional "sick day" when their nodes were hammered, or their active clone was destroyed.


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 1:16 pm 
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dire wrote:
Based on the mechanics of TAD being "Nuke it as it materializes" and "Giant death ray of death doesn't care if you add more energy to it", I would argue that counter battery fire is both possible, and is not a defense. If you amp the TAD up enough around your critical systems, you might be able to send a thank-you package as your critical systems get nuked.


Agreed that it doesn't really represent a defense if possible. You still get hit in the first place, and the enemy has more guns. It basically amounts to destroying a nuclear missile silo after its launched, using your own nuke! Then they put counter-battery fire on your counter-battery fire, and round-and-round we go... the only upside is that everyone might be too busy using their long guns to snipe other long guns rather than hitting squishy infrastructure targets. At least until one side runs out of guns.

What it does mean is that the guns themselves won't represent a safe location in any way; if you have a civilization hiding in a Matrioshka Brain you better not be taking your long gun shots from within your megastructure, or you could end up eating the counter-battery fire.


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 2:59 pm 
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starstriker1 wrote:
dire wrote:
Based on the mechanics of TAD being "Nuke it as it materializes" and "Giant death ray of death doesn't care if you add more energy to it", I would argue that counter battery fire is both possible, and is not a defense. If you amp the TAD up enough around your critical systems, you might be able to send a thank-you package as your critical systems get nuked.


Agreed that it doesn't really represent a defense if possible. You still get hit in the first place, and the enemy has more guns. It basically amounts to destroying a nuclear missile silo after its launched, using your own nuke! Then they put counter-battery fire on your counter-battery fire, and round-and-round we go... the only upside is that everyone might be too busy using their long guns to snipe other long guns rather than hitting squishy infrastructure targets. At least until one side runs out of guns.

What it does mean is that the guns themselves won't represent a safe location in any way; if you have a civilization hiding in a Matrioshka Brain you better not be taking your long gun shots from within your megastructure, or you could end up eating the counter-battery fire.


A closer analogy would be nuking a nuclear missile BATTERY after one launch. That long-gun can no longer service targets. A missile silo can only shoot once, regardless.


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 3:04 pm 
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So, here's the big, ugly problem with the dyson cloud of virtual persons as a "defense" against the long guns:

The humans, in particular, don't have one, and don't have the luxury of spending a few centuries carefully designing, debugging and implementing that system, because they already have long guns, their pet arms dealer Urtheep Industries already knows about long guns, and Urtheep hasn't shown any particular compunctions about -who- they'll sell to. The UNS had a prototype model decades ago, but they no longer have that prototype.

That's a recipe for their civilization going out with a bang. They've spent (at least) decades building up an "impenetrable" fortress, a true Maginot Line, and now they've found out that someone can nuke their fixed emplacements from orbit, effective retroactively a billion years ago.

In other words, it is now time for Breya and the admiralty to panic, pretty much exactly as they were doing before Petey dropped in on their panic meeting.

I mean, sure you can say, "Hypothetically, if you spend a century or so carefully evolving your culture to accomodate long guns, it can accomodate them just fine." The issue is that's a full century of cold war where the other side has all the nukes, and no guarantee that when one side launches, the other side is going to be able to retaliate.

That means anyone with long guns -right now- is king of the universe, and everyone else is either a subject, or target practice.

I guess what I'm saying is, if your defense is a hundred years late to the party, it's not really a defense.

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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 3:22 pm 
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dire wrote:
So, here's the big, ugly problem with the dyson cloud of virtual persons as a "defense" against the long guns:

The humans, in particular, don't have one, and don't have the luxury of spending a few centuries carefully designing, debugging and implementing that system, because they already have long guns, their pet arms dealer Urtheep Industries already knows about long guns, and Urtheep hasn't shown any particular compunctions about -who- they'll sell to. The UNS had a prototype model decades ago, but they no longer have that prototype.

That's a recipe for their civilization going out with a bang. They've spent (at least) decades building up an "impenetrable" fortress, a true Maginot Line, and now they've found out that someone can nuke their fixed emplacements from orbit, effective retroactively a billion years ago.

In other words, it is now time for Breya and the admiralty to panic, pretty much exactly as they were doing before Petey dropped in on their panic meeting.

I mean, sure you can say, "Hypothetically, if you spend a century or so carefully evolving your culture to accomodate long guns, it can accomodate them just fine." The issue is that's a full century of cold war where the other side has all the nukes, and no guarantee that when one side launches, the other side is going to be able to retaliate.

That means anyone with long guns -right now- is king of the universe, and everyone else is either a subject, or target practice.

I guess what I'm saying is, if your defense is a hundred years late to the party, it's not really a defense.

I presume then that Petey crashed the panicstraza because he has a solution that's a little more elegant than "don't shoot each other"

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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 4:34 pm 
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dire wrote:
I keep coming back to ... Petey conquering everyone, quickly, before they can build these weapons, and unifying them so that there's a) nobody to shoot at and b) no way to build the guns anyhow.

Petey seems much more interested in attempting a political solution, but I don't see how he'd be able to succeed at that without rewiring the darwinian hardware that his subjects are running on.


Dunno, if I'm just going to start repeating myself maybe I should step back and let someone else do the arguing :p

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