Serious flaws in the Dark Potential Narrative

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Serious flaws in the Dark Potential Narrative

Post by Slartibartfast » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:55 am

I just read the Dark Potential story line and can't get over some pretty obvious logical problems with the narrative.

First, Mars (and the Moon for that matter) were shot up but otherwise bypassed by the Xlanthos in their final assault on Earth. With over 20 years to prepare humans would have built significantly hardened facilities on those bodies that would have survived any bombardment from space. Think concrete bunkers at the surface with twenty foot thick walls. There would've been command, control and logistical facilities in deep underground artificial caverns. Sure, many could've been destroyed, but without a landing and mop-up operation the humans in those facilities would've quickly become reorganized and rebuilt themselves as a significant military presence. My reference for this is modern military history. You can bombard any enemy, "into the stone age", but unless you put troops on the ground they just crawl out of their holes after the bombardment ends and rebuild their forces. But quick!

Next, the Reclaimer fleet was left intact in space. Any fleet commander would have immediately come up with a plan to attack the grounded Xlanthos fleet from the high ground of interplanetary space. OK. Let's give the Xlanthos weaponry with far greater range than the Reclaimers thus preventing The Reclaimers from safely mounting an orbital bombardment. No problem! The Reclaimers held the high ground! All they would've needed to do was gather asteroids of correct size from the Oort Cloud and "launch" them at the grounded Xlanthos ships. They could've done so from any range. They could've maintained a constant rain of carefully sized asteroids from orbit with deadly accuracy that would have eventually overwhelmed the Xlanthos ships on the surface and blasted them to bits. In short, a bypassed fleet with unlimited time would have mounted an orbital attack of some kind that would've wiped out the Xlanthos fleet on the ground. Changing the narrative to include this could actually save the story from the next big problem.

Next point, the humans on Earth are described and sealing themselves up in cellars and such - for many decades. That is preposterous! Imagine if you will the amount of food and water alone that you would need to survive in a basement for 30 or 40 years. How would you safely dispose of your waste products? There are studies done by the U.S. Govt. during the cold war on just such a scenario. Even if one could sock away enough food and water humans cannot survive on a diet of stored food for more than a year or so. People in such a circumstance simply stop eating after a while and welcome death. Humans MUST have access to a variety of freshly grown foods to survive. Also, how would these cellar dwellers provide themselves with breathable air? The narrative describes the Xlanthos bugs coating and clogging up the environment suit of anyone venturing outside. Wouldn't they similarly have clogged up and destroyed the air recycling system of anyone living in a cellar?

The only way humans could've survived on Earth for the time in took for the Xlanthos bioweapon to fade away would've been in very large, sophisticated, deep artificial caverns. Said caverns would've been large enough to house nuclear generating plants providing clean power for centuries. They would've had large hydroponic greenhouses where the inhabitants could've grown their fresh food and even kept livestock. They would've been large enough to contain the extensive sceptic systems required for safe disposal of human and animal waste. They would've had self contained air recycling systems perhaps using living plant matter grown on some sort of media to consume the carbon dioxide and provide fresh oxygen. Such deep underground bases would have needed human populations in the tens of thousands just to operate them. For comparison, a Navy aircraft carrier needs a crew of 5,000. Perhaps there would need a to be a total population in these underground cities of at least 100,000 humans to keep them viable for decades. Underground bases on such a scale would have also been absolutely necessary to give The Corporation viable support to maintain a high tech military in the field. There is no way a cohesive military force can be maintained without safe bases where their weapons can be repaired, their ammunition and uniforms can be made, their food can be grown, and their families can safely prosper. Even after the Xlanthos bioweapon is gone the surface of the Earth would not be safe enough to live on.

Speaking of this, let's circle back to The Reclaimer fleet. Why oh why would they have just floated about in space for decades? Makes no sense at all when Mars and the Moon are close at hand as bases of operation. Once again, it builds a much stronger narrative to have the fleet based on those bodies where they can obtain the logistical support they need to house their families, repair their ships, and train their troops.

Introducing the concept of humanity on Earth being based in a small number of the huge underground cities, and that humanity on the Moon and Mars are in similar bases, provides a tapestry against which a much more rich narrative of the "home life", of humanity could be developed including familial, political, religious, and all other elements that make a human society truly three dimensional.

I have no idea how the Xlanthos narrative could be fleshed out because it is just too minimal for me to get a grip on.

Hope this helps.

This story could be so much more real and compelling!

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Re: Serious flaws in the Dark Potential Narrative

Post by Marit Lage » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:17 am

This should be stickied!
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Re: Serious flaws in the Dark Potential Narrative

Post by miniwargaming » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:55 am

Just remember that the story is in Beta much like the rules. I am still working out timing issues, but several of the points you have made will actually be addressed in the future.

However, I don't mind the critique, as it helps me with my editing of the story.


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Re: Serious flaws in the Dark Potential Narrative

Post by Slartibartfast » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:20 pm

Awesome. Thanks!

Now we're getting somewhere...
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Re: Serious flaws in the Dark Potential Narrative

Post by Tryg2 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:02 pm

Some quick counterpoints to the narrative.

In every scifi series I have watched/read the used of mass drivers (to shoot meteors, etc.) was politically banned in interplanitary treaties. As such the technology to make them would be limited due to to the lack of use. After civilization was decimated (assuming the people who knew how to make the tech survived) you would have to build a facility to make the weapons (which would take a huge amount of resources for a bunch of free floating, somehow didn't get destroyed ships). Another point to bring up is that an ailien ship that is designed to span solar systems that is much more advanced than us would most likely be highly resistent to asteroid impact: as such when you calculate how much of ther asteroid would burn up in the atmosphere traveling to the impact site in addition to the impressive structural integrity of the ship could make the size of the asteroid in question prohibitively large for a fleet with limited resources.

Also, launching asteroids at Earth would cause a huge fallout which would ecsentially destroy habitable areas in an enormous diameter from the impact site. This goes against what the Reclaimers want. They want to be the Heros that saved Earth, not the (jerks) that wiped out the human race. (In my mind) even though the Reclaimers fight the PMC they do not want them eradicated. The PMC (to the reclaimer's view) are just selfish (punks) that don't appreciate what the Reclaimers are trying to do, and need to stay the heck out of the way.

As I said, these are just some counterpoints to consider.

On the PMC side; part of their draw should be civilization. Perhaps a large manufacturing facility on the other side of the planet from the X.alanthos ship, that has spralled into a city(ies). Both the PMC and the X should have flying transports to move around the planet, but they should be too valuble to be risked in a fight.

My $.02

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Re: Serious flaws in the Dark Potential Narrative

Post by malko888 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:19 pm

good work mr bartfast,
nice to see you still care about making planets in the good old style :)

there are issues with the dark potential narrative
there always are.
the only way to sort out a narrative is to tell it,
over and over again,
to different people.

the process of telling it to new audiences
gives the mind a chance to firm up all the underlying events
and bring out the details that only emerge after the structure has been gone over a hundred times.

the story needs to be told more times
so that it stands up to being told as many times as it needs to be.

games workshop took all of their 40k fluff from mythology
and that has left 40k not really being sci-fi.
if dark potential is to be real sci-fi
it needs to be really gone over again and again to pick up the flaws and bring up the shine.
matt does not have the time to do this alone
so it needs the group that has gathered around to go over the material with him.


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