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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:12 am 
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I'd been giving the story the benefit of the doubt up to this point, but Kathryn's assessment of the contract that the Toughs have been saddled with is a bit too much.

Now, it's not like the Toughs haven't been strong armed into a deal before. Way back when, Xinchub coerced the Toughs into taking a contract to track down then-Admiral Breya. However, the key difference was that Xinchub was clearly set up as an antagonistic force, and the Toughs' reluctance was part of the plot.

Here, it seems like we're supposed to view the ancient Oafa sympathetically, and while their imprisonment means that I was willing to do just that, forcing the Toughs to accept a long term, open ended contract dries up what sympathy I had.

If the contract instead laid out a clear course of action for the Toughs to make good on their debt, I would have been happy to accept that. Instead, it seems we're supposed to accept that the Toughs, acting in good faith on behalf of people they believed to have a rightful claim to Eina-Afa's wealth are liable for a ridiculously large debt.

And, as I've noted before, even if the debt is for the value of Breath Weapon alone, it's a debt on the scale of planetary GDPs. Earth has 200 billion people, and let's say that the Toughs currently employs 100 people. It would take 2 billion years for them to pay off that debt, assuming that their work is about as valuable as the per capita GDP. Even if some of those assumptions are wrong, I don't see how the Toughs can provide anything more than a paltry repayment on time scales comparable to the length of galactic civilizations.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:54 am 
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Nemoricus wrote:
And, as I've noted before, even if the debt is for the value of Breath Weapon alone, it's a debt on the scale of planetary GDPs. Earth has 200 billion people, and let's say that the Toughs currently employs 100 people. It would take 2 billion years for them to pay off that debt, assuming that their work is about as valuable as the per capita GDP. Even if some of those assumptions are wrong, I don't see how the Toughs can provide anything more than a paltry repayment on time scales comparable to the length of galactic civilizations.

That's problably why the contract is open ended. They effectively own the Toughs.

But don't forget that events are operating very quickly now. They are problably waiting to familiarize themselves with current legal frameworks before providing a more refined contract. No point in declaring indentureship if the current law is to ignore and fight indentureships.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:30 am 
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I'm not really interested in what the law has to say about it. All indications are that the ancient Oafa have grounds to pursue their claims as they have, and so the law probably allows for it.

What I am interested in is why they've gone about it in this manner, and what value they see in a vague, open ended contract with a tiny mercenary company with one tiny ship to their name.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:32 pm 
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The Toughs are to the Oafans what mercenaries usually are to government employers (at least in fiction); a deniable asset used for black ops, for the dirty jobs the Oafan military can't and won't do. Best part is (for the Oafans anyway), they don't have to pay the Toughs anything since every job they have the Toughs do is simply an installment payment on the debt the Toughs owe.

So the Toughs will have to seek other, paying work to make the payroll. It will suck to be them for awhile, until they find a way out from under this (which they will, eventually).

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:21 pm 
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Nemoricus wrote:
I'd been giving the story the benefit of the doubt up to this point, but Kathryn's assessment of the contract that the Toughs have been saddled with is a bit too much.

Personally this is exactly what I've been waiting for. Someone in comic to say "What the fuck is this nonsense?!?!" and "OH HELL NO!"


It looks to me like Ennesby is a crappy contract lawyer and Putzho is setting the Toughs up (though why he'd "have to leave" in order to answer a few medical questions is beyond me).

Also, I'm gonna bet that the contract is legalistically unenforceable and it was only Ennesby's insistence (bad lawyer) that it was that has Kaff thinking the situation is as bad as he thinks it is.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:27 pm 
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If we take as given that the Toughs actually owe the Oafans money (which I think is a plausible though not guaranteed resolution) then it's unsurprising any contract they get offered sucks. The fallback if there's no deal is the Oafans call a debt collector, so their negotiating position is much stronger.

It sounds like the Oafans have offered to forgive the debt in return for vague "services rendered", which is the kind of contract you get when one side badly needs a deal and the other doesn't.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:42 pm 
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Nemoricus wrote:
And, as I've noted before, even if the debt is for the value of Breath Weapon alone, it's a debt on the scale of planetary GDPs.


We’re talking what - some thousands of ships.

Oh? Their hulls were made of some super pricy unobtanium?

Then why did the Oaffans make everything out of that stuff, like it was dirt cheap ...?

They had a printing press for it in their basement, huh? And it really is a superior material for construction. Them using it everywhere makes sense.
Them seeing it as a Multi-planetaryGDP debt? Not so much.

To a man in a desert, water is priceless.
To a man drowning in an ocean, water has no price.

This story has a debt between these two parties, except we use PTU instead of water.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:46 pm 
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Karfston wrote:
Nemoricus wrote:
And, as I've noted before, even if the debt is for the value of Breath Weapon alone, it's a debt on the scale of planetary GDPs.


We’re talking what - some thousands of ships.

Oh? Their hulls were made of some super pricy unobtanium?

Then why did the Oaffans make everything out of that stuff, like it was dirt cheap ...?

They had a printing press for it in their basement, huh? And it really is a superior material for construction. Them using it everywhere makes sense.
Them seeing it as a Multi-planetaryGDP debt? Not so much.

To a man in a desert, water is priceless.
To a man drowning in an ocean, water has no price.

This story has a debt between these two parties, except we use PTU instead of water.

Except that they no longer have any functional World Forges as best we know so PTUs suddenly got a whole bunch more valuable for them, especially if you can't build a World Forge without using an enslaved DaME to power it


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:40 pm 
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Karfston wrote:
Nemoricus wrote:
And, as I've noted before, even if the debt is for the value of Breath Weapon alone, it's a debt on the scale of planetary GDPs.


We’re talking what - some thousands of ships.

Oh? Their hulls were made of some super pricy unobtanium?

Then why did the Oaffans make everything out of that stuff, like it was dirt cheap ...?

As noted by the previous poster, the Oafans at their height had access to World Forges, which could produce post transuranics much more readily than modern methods. So, when the Oafans were constructing their ships, PTUs were, in fact, relatively cheap. However, they no longer live in that era, the World Forges are lost, and modern methods are much more energy intensive to use. So, for the Toughs, faced with the prospect of paying back the value of the ships, must contend with the fact that their current replacement cost is much, much greater than their original creation cost.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:34 am 
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I think the Oafans are probably using their original purchase price as the reference point; that's the financial loss they've suffered. The ships they've lost barely register in terms of the overall fleet power, so they don't really need replacements and the cost of replacements at this point in time isn't really relevant. Plus the Oafans have the technical knowledge to create a World Forge and so might be able to make PTUs at a higher but still reasonable price without one; the World Forge itself required a ludicrously unreasonable quantity of them to make.

So the cost is probably roughly analogous to thousands of modern corvettes and freighters. That's beyond the Tough's means but not ridiculously impossible. They could maybe win dozens of lottery jackpots and pay it, unlike if they had to pay their reconstruction costs. The Oafans could try arguing for replacement, but that'd make their legal position shakier and the real point from their perspective is this contract, not the money, so they just need to threaten a bill high enough Tagon would rather sign this contract. Go too overboard and he might refuse or get it voided as unreasonable and signed under duress.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:15 am 
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(name here) wrote:
...; the World Forge itself required a ludicrously unreasonable quantity of them to make.


I doubt this. I suspect they used PTU's because they were, maybe, superior for the task at hand, rather than necessary to the task at hand. Keep in mind that even the cargo spacers were made of PTU's and they presumably didn't benefit, at all, from being made of such a high tech tree resource.

I'll be mildly surprised if the worldforge can't be made with far fewer PTU's, on the order of a small fraction.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:51 pm 
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It's possible they could create a World Forge with cheaper materials, but they did build one out of PTUs, which implies they already had the ability to mass produce PTUs before building the only World Forge we're aware of. They wouldn't have made unneccessary use of PTUs otherwise, and even if it were all necessary they just couldn't afford it.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:46 pm 
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Idunno, I"m starting to wonder if we're thinking about the scale of debt wrong.

What if the Toughs aren't on the hook for "damage to property" so much as they're on the hook for "victim restitution"

When they chopped up and sold 10 thousand ships, it's not the properly damage.
IT's the fact that they destroyed the bodies of 10k AIs, who I think are refering to themselves as "The pilots"
who were stuck in the mindframe as well as the meat Oaffan....

Until those AI get a body back, they're stuck in the mind-frame. And apart from Enesby, AI cores seem to be picky about their hardware. So until compatible ships are commissioned, that's like watching everyone else in prison get a parole, but you.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:52 pm 
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The Oaffan people have just conducted a search of the galaxy for at least two reasons.

1 - to find and stop a stark raving mad AI that made off with a goodly number of ships.
2 - to get their stuff back. This could be billed as ‘recover our ships from the Toughs’ or ‘get the PTUs back from the UNS’ or both. Either way, a search was necessary.

Who’s to say the search didn’t serve other roles, and they may have found other of their stuff.

Like things of theirs that Petey has.

Or things of theirs that were drifting dead in space.

They may have the resources they need to jumpstart PTU production. Or they may not care. Given how common the stuff was, I honestly think the PTUs may have been a waste product to them.

You don’t make cargo baffles from PTUs because you think they’ll glitter just so in the moonlight. You do it because it’s the cheaper alternative. As a merchant who’s trying to turn a profit, that’s what you base your decisions on, when selecting features for your cargo ship


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:47 am 
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Quote:
When they chopped up and sold 10 thousand ships, it's not the properly damage.
IT's the fact that they destroyed the bodies of 10k AIs, who I think are refering to themselves as "The pilots"
who were stuck in the mindframe as well as the meat Oaffan....


I think those are uploads too, actually, and probably have soul foils in the crypts.

Quote:
You don’t make cargo baffles from PTUs because you think they’ll glitter just so in the moonlight. You do it because it’s the cheaper alternative. As a merchant who’s trying to turn a profit, that’s what you base your decisions on, when selecting features for your cargo ship


There's a lot of factors to consider in picking a material; all we can infer is that PTUs had a price low enough to be worth using given their superior material properties. That probably means they're not more than maybe 30% more expensive than the current modern standard hull, unless they're somehow necessary for the mega teraport cage effect.

It is pretty clear they're a lot cheaper for the Oafans, even in relative terms, given how they use them basically everywhere, but PTU hulls are considerably sturdier than non-PTU hulls so they might still fetch a premium.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:56 am 
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(name here) wrote:
It is pretty clear they're a lot cheaper for the Oafans, even in relative terms, given how they use them basically everywhere, but PTU hulls are considerably sturdier than non-PTU hulls so they might still fetch a premium.


It’s still a matter of cost.
A sturdy ship made of ‘standard’ alloys, composites, and etc, will require work to manufacture it, work to maintain it, and will one day need replacing.

A similar sturdy ship made of PTUs will require all those same things, but in different proportions. As I understand it, costing more to create, but less maintenance and a much more distant replacement date.

You pay more up front, but you recover it on the back end.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:35 am 
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Karfston wrote:
You don’t make cargo baffles from PTUs because you think they’ll glitter just so in the moonlight. You do it because it’s the cheaper alternative. As a merchant who’s trying to turn a profit, that’s what you base your decisions on, when selecting features for your cargo ship

Karfston wrote:
We’re talking what - some thousands of ships.

Oh? Their hulls were made of some super pricy unobtanium?

Then why did the Oaffans make everything out of that stuff, like it was dirt cheap ...?

Don't forget, the Oafans making these things were STORING them, for LONG TERM storage. As in, more millions of years than you can fit in your head. This isn't a viewpoint on capitalism, this is disaster planning. You don't make your habitat that you are storing your own brain in out of shoddy materials.

When the Oafans made that giant fleet of PTU ships, they aren't "just" ships, they're ships that were designed to help them when they woke up millenia of years later, to defend them, ships that can't be rebuilt for a very long time.

What would you say a gun is worth?
Now, how much would you charge a guy who broke into YOUR house and sold YOUR gun for scrap metal when there aren't any more gun shops around, there are marauding robber gangs all over the place, and the country next door is shelling your city?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:49 am 
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Quote:
It’s still a matter of cost.
A sturdy ship made of ‘standard’ alloys, composites, and etc, will require work to manufacture it, work to maintain it, and will one day need replacing.

A similar sturdy ship made of PTUs will require all those same things, but in different proportions. As I understand it, costing more to create, but less maintenance and a much more distant replacement date.

You pay more up front, but you recover it on the back end.


That's one of the factors in consideration, yes. Oafan shipbuilders probably have a giant spreadsheet where you put in expected practical lifetime before you'd build a new one even if the hull is still good, expected operating conditions, how bad it would be to have to take it offline for repair unexpectedly, how many days per year you can have scheduled maintanence without needing to buy a new ship to cover, etc. and it'd tell you whether to use a PTU hull.

What we can infer is that the purchase price is low enough that making a freighter out of the stuff makes sense. We also know that (so far as the Toughs can tell) it's only a marginal improvement to warship combat effectiveness. Unless it has some as-yet unknown benefit against Long Guns, the Oafan design philosophy would strongly prefer more Long Guns, and those require annie plants which absolutely must be made of PTUs. So I'm pretty sure that means PTUs were cheap enough that their cost was not the limiting factor on the fleet size. But that doesn't necessarily mean it was the cheapest hull material, just that it doesn't cost enough more that it forced the Oafan fleet to order fewer ships.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:18 pm 
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... Rare_metal

I think the above might be particularly appropriate to the discussion of PTUs and the way they seem to use the stuff to make soft drink cans ships hulls.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:49 pm 
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PTUs aren't rare materials, they're energy costly materials. Once you have some PTU it's easy to make more PTU, it just takes time to crush stuff into the right sort of neutronium.

It's not rarity, it's time spent pumping up your energy economy. Like in a game of starcraft, once you've got one SCV, you can make more SCVs with a base, and build more bases to build more SCVs to build more bases... but you still need to spend energy on defense, or someone will kill you and take your stuff.

Quote:
Oafan shipbuilders probably have a giant spreadsheet where you put in expected practical lifetime before you'd build a new one even if the hull is still good, expected operating conditions, how bad it would be to have to take it offline for repair unexpectedly, how many days per year you can have scheduled maintanence without needing to buy a new ship to cover, etc. and it'd tell you whether to use a PTU hull.

What we can infer is that the purchase price is low enough that making a freighter out of the stuff makes sense


I am firmly of the belief that, given they were in a post-scarcity environment and literally immortal, they would place a higher priority on longer lasting equipment. They don't see the world in terms of cost analysis of impermanence of items; even the neoafans traded away large amounts of material at below market rates, so they would see the UNS grow stronger.

Also, for all we know ships made of lesser material would have corroded in the meantime. No-one was looking after those gelled, mothballed warships, after all.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:17 am 
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Reaver225 wrote:
PTUs aren't rare materials, they're energy costly materials. Once you have some PTU it's easy to make more PTU, it just takes time to crush stuff into the right sort of neutronium.

What you describe is almost exactly the case of aluminum.
Sean wrote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... Rare_metal

I think the above might be particularly appropriate to the discussion of PTUs and the way they seem to use the stuff to make soft drink cans ships hulls.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:50 am 
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I'm pretty sure the Oafans must have had a more efficent production process. Even one of their large artifacts contain such a wealth of PTUs that the modern nations, fully aware of the PTU energy growth curve, are shocked a galaxy-spanning civilization could produce so many PTUs in its entire existance. And they see the warship hulls as a bafflingly ostentatious display of wealth; they're tougher but once their shields drop they'll still be destroyed in short order.

The way the Oafans use it everywhere, for everything, strikes me as a sign that it was only trivially more expensive than competing materials. Even given that they were fantasically wealthy, they could still have spent that energy in other places. Most particularly for the Oafan fleet, they could have an order of magnitude more Long Guns and their clear philosophy is that their corvettes exist to carry a Long Gun and basically nothing else.

I'm also not convinced the ships were created to be stored in the vault; they could create a controlled environment and successfully preserved the soul foils, and the design intent was to have living inhabitants aboard. It seems more likely they just took their existing fleet and mothballed it.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:51 am 
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Nemoricus wrote:
I'm not really interested in what the law has to say about it. All indications are that the ancient Oafa have grounds to pursue their claims as they have, and so the law probably allows for it.

What I am interested in is why they've gone about it in this manner, and what value they see in a vague, open ended contract with a tiny mercenary company with one tiny ship to their name.



One possible theory is that the Ancient Oafans don't normally use a conventional financial system as we would think of it. or at least, not as their go-to method for resolving civil disputes.

The contractual terms the Ancient Oafan's are offering sound more like a quest, a geas, or an honor-debt, rather than conventional payment as such.

"You scrapped a bunch of valuable ships in order to 'save the galaxy.' Very Well. Once you finish the 'saving the galaxy,' we will accept that the scrapping was justified. Get to Work."


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:53 am 
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Nemoricus wrote:
Karfston wrote:
Nemoricus wrote:
And, as I've noted before, even if the debt is for the value of Breath Weapon alone, it's a debt on the scale of planetary GDPs.


We’re talking what - some thousands of ships.

Oh? Their hulls were made of some super pricy unobtanium?

Then why did the Oaffans make everything out of that stuff, like it was dirt cheap ...?

As noted by the previous poster, the Oafans at their height had access to World Forges, which could produce post transuranics much more readily than modern methods. So, when the Oafans were constructing their ships, PTUs were, in fact, relatively cheap. However, they no longer live in that era, the World Forges are lost, and modern methods are much more energy intensive to use. So, for the Toughs, faced with the prospect of paying back the value of the ships, must contend with the fact that their current replacement cost is much, much greater than their original creation cost.


Petey has apparently succeeded in building at least one prototype World Forge of his own, so presumably, the Galactic PTU shortage won't last forever.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:30 pm 
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Krennson wrote:
Petey has apparently succeeded in building at least one prototype World Forge of his own...

Where do you get that idea from? Is there a comic I've forgotten?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:49 pm 
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evileeyore wrote:
Krennson wrote:
Petey has apparently succeeded in building at least one prototype World Forge of his own...

Where do you get that idea from? Is there a comic I've forgotten?

I think he's talking about the coupon book.
Which, I'll grant, doesn't mean he's FINISHED bringing a new Worldforge online, but the implication is certainly there that he doesn't expect any major hurdles to the project.
Or, at least, didn't. That may be up in the air now.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:40 pm 
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Sean wrote:
evileeyore wrote:
Krennson wrote:
Petey has apparently succeeded in building at least one prototype World Forge of his own...

Where do you get that idea from? Is there a comic I've forgotten?

I think he's talking about the coupon book.
Which, I'll grant, doesn't mean he's FINISHED bringing a new Worldforge online, but the implication is certainly there that he doesn't expect any major hurdles to the project.
Or, at least, didn't. That may be up in the air now.


Yep. here.

https://www.schlockmercenary.com/2016-12-02


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:52 pm 
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Krennson wrote:

One possible theory is that the Ancient Oafans don't normally use a conventional financial system as we would think of it. or at least, not as their go-to method for resolving civil disputes.

The contractual terms the Ancient Oafan's are offering sound more like a quest, a geas, or an honor-debt, rather than conventional payment as such.

"You scrapped a bunch of valuable ships in order to 'save the galaxy.' Very Well. Once you finish the 'saving the galaxy,' we will accept that the scrapping was justified. Get to Work."


My take is that this isn't really about the money; they may think the Toughs owe them but it's only a blip in their overall wealth and the Toughs can't realistically pay it off, so it's not really worth the trouble of collecting on.

What they wanr is the Toughs, and the debt is a tool to get and keep them. The thing the Toughs have is being a military force from the modern era that isn't on temporary loan from Petey. The Oafan battle fleet is basically unstoppable, but it's a blunt instrument; they have zero non-AI contacts and difficulty navigating local cultures smoothly. Any military action by them is going to be a full-scale invasion by default. The Toughs... well their track record hasn't been great, but the Oafan fleet couldn't even try to do the mission the Toughs just attempted. Having the Toughs gives them options when they want to attack someone in a system without declaring war on everyone in the system, such as pirate hunting. The Toughs know how to get permission to conduct military operations in foreign territory.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:54 am 
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Krennson wrote:

I see an awful lot of supposition there and not a lot of Petey confirming anything.


But yes, I did forget that strip.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:29 am 
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Well, obviously you can build a World Forge without already having one because otherwise it'd be impossible to build the first one. I think it safe to assume that Petey, having secured the ability to produce a key component, has at least considered building one. Whether he can afford to divert sufficent resources from the war effort to build one is another matter, but with the Oafans awakening and on speaking terms he's got someone to at least do a joint project with. No idea on the time factor, though.


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