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A question about 'hyperspace travel' and its use as a weapon

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Hello everybody, Joey again. I've been bored for a while, and have been thinking a lot about sci-fi, particularly in the MV. I recently created a faction that are kind of just hiding off in their corner of the MV, and have sent expeditionaries to poke around in other empire's galaxies, namely the Aschen. I feel like I've angered them, somehow, and have been franticly thinking of ways to defend my small planet should they come at my people. One of the small details I've made about the Oberon is that they are intelligent without being conscious, they don't feel emotion or fear. So I've come up with this: If an Aschen Warship comes into my solar system, I'm just going to hurl a couple ships at him, and get a couple to use a skip drive (FTL travel system) to slam into his ship.

What are the possible defenses against this, and what negative effects could it hold?

Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!
Yours Truly,
Joseph Bennett

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
-Frank Herbert, Dune.

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Re: A question about 'hyperspace travel' and its use as a we

Tips: 0.25 INK Postby Absenthia on Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:37 pm

*sits down and puts on her tabletop DM hat*

Okay so.. I've been RPing and doing tabletop games for the better part of 20 years. Also I've RP'd with Barney off and on for a significant portion of that time.. so I feel relatively qualified to answer this.

First off, it's not hard to tick off the Aschen. Seriously though, don't feel bad or panic, at some point or another we all come across them in the MV, and it can lead to a lot of fun if you let it. Generally though, the Aschen are pretty xenophobic or fearful of outsiders; so unless you guys shoot first or something else, then you're likely good. Just mind the territorial cordons and don't try to smuggle anything in. That's my job.. lol

Secondly... if you'll go take a glance at MV scenes, it looks like the Aschen largely have their hands full a lot of things lately. Your Oberon likely won't be that interesting to them unless their planet poses a tatical, resource, or any other advantage in any upcoming war/skirmish.

Thirdly, realistically speaking (or for the sake of trying to play fair) slamming a ship at FLT is pretty damn difficult. Why? Because you are literally in a in-between space. It is literally folding a piece of paper to make it a shorter line from point A to point B in the plainest language possible. You would need to be able to precisely calculate where that point in space is that you want to jump to is EXACTLY, assuming it's not moving, and have your FTL drives ready to make that jump.

That being said, if you want to attempt this.. your drives will need to be able to have the capability to spool up/warm up enough power to make that jump near instantaneously. Can you keep them partially there? Yes.. but this requires resources to power this holding state for x number of minutes/over a certain time period.

You will need to decide if your ships have an AI powerful enough to make these on the fly calculations to jump, and if your ships have the technology to keep your FTL drives at a holding level to make sudden jumps without time to warm up. So again math and advanced sciences are necessary for your Oberon to have to do this, but since you have FTL, it's probable, not always possible. I don't think even Barney's Reverences can do cold jumps or put their drives in a holding pattern.

Possible defenses I can think of right now against this... are Barney's planck fields, which supposedly prevent FLT things from just jumping inside them. So that's another deciding factor you need to think about. Not to mention that these ships may or may not be moving, and may have the ability to see your guys before you see them.

About those planck fields..
So in the MV, my character Harkov managed to beat them, and made the jump from inside Langara's fields, but she's crazy/had help, and there aren't a whole lot of pilots with her skill level. She also started her FTL engine spool on the pad before launching, going by 10%-20% over the course of waiting for launch clearance (which she didn't get and went anyway) and watching power output levels.

Should you be able to accomplish this, negative affects will be glassing of your planet/total wiping out or assimilation in the nastiest possible way by the Aschen. Also you have to assume that your Oberon are totally a-okay with a Kamikaze type mission to protect their planet.

0/10 cannot recommend, but I hope I did lay out a lot of possible factors to help you.

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Re: A question about 'hyperspace travel' and its use as a we

Tips: 0.50 INK Postby Remæus on Thu Nov 26, 2020 2:17 am

This is fun question with a fun answer, and there's some Multiverse-specific lessons to learn here regarding combat mechanics. I'll answer in a couple sections.

Some Background
Relativistic Kill Vehicles (RKVs) are a well-explored topic in science fiction, and have a firm foundation in real science. By drawing on Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, we can reliably predict the amount of energy in a system, giving us a reasonable order of magnitude for the potential carnage inflicted by such weapons.

In general, the reason "light speed" is unachievable in the real world (for any particle with mass) is that propulsion requirements grow exponentially (squared!) as you approach the light barrier. Your relativistic mass approaches infinity, thus requiring an infinite amount of energy to reach light speed! These numbers get pretty huge at even 0.1c, or 10% the speed of light...

The equations for superluminal (> 1.0c, faster than light) energies likely require new physics, but by extrapolating the relativistic projection we can assume a simple scalar w with 1.0c defining our unit, the warp scalar:

Code: Select all
w ∈ ℝ

w = warp factor
ℝ = real number set
c = speed of light in a vacuum (≈ 2.998×10^8 m/s)

For example, a "velocity" (negative in time?) of 10x the speed of light would yield a w of 10 to indicate a 10x warp factor (spacetime is distorted tenfold). In some existing canons, such as Star Trek, this same warp factor is used — "warp 10" designating the maximum possible warp in that canon!

For all values of c, we'll use the value ≈ 2.998×10^8 m/s as it remains consistent with our own observations in the real world.

By computing for E, we can easily measure the amount of potential energy released by such a system, revealing planet-vaporizing magnitudes for any significant fraction of light speed. Next I'll highlight some of these equations, but as always — run the numbers!

Running the Numbers
Any sufficiently-high sublight velocity is enough for a ~100 ton spaceship (tiny!) to atomize a planet (let alone another starship!), as we can infer from Einstein's Mass-energy Equivalence Equation:

Code: Select all
E² = (mc²)² +(pc)²

E = Energy
m = mass
c = the speed of light in a vacuum
p = momentum

or more simply (albeit incomplete, as it doesn't account for massless particles, such as the photon):

Code: Select all
E = mc²

E = Energy
m = mass
c = the speed of light in a vacuum

Computing this out for a mass of 100 tons, we arrive at an E value of 8.153×10^21 J (joules) — that's a little more than half of the total solar energy hitting the earth every day!

But that's not enough to calculate the total energy in the system — we still need to account for our RKV's velocity & momentum. To compute the momentum p, we use the Relativistic Momentum Equation:

Code: Select all
p = (mv)/√(1 - v²/c²)

p = momentum
m = mass
v = velocity
c = speed of light (≈ 2.998×10^8 m/s)

Computing with a velocity (w) of 0.7c, or 70% the speed of light, we arrive at our destination E value:

Code: Select all
1.141×10^22 J (joules)

This gives us the total energy of the weaponized starship, an effective upper-bounds for the potential destruction (with antimatter projectiles achieving 100% efficiency, releasing the energy of the target matter by way of annihilation). For reference, that's equivalent to 2.727×10^12 tons of TNT, or 1.818 million times more than the 15 kilotons dropped on Hiroshima.

From the high energy physics occurring in such a collision, energy will be radiated in a shower of particles across the spectrum in a distribution consistent with quantum physics, including alpha, gamma, and infrared radiation in droves.

Even at lower efficiencies (accounting for "punchthrough" effects, etc.), we can see the devastating potential of these kinds of weapons, with damage escalating to absurd proportions when exceeding w values above 1.

Combat Mechanics & Fairness
In an even 1:1 fight (tactical, strategic, powers all equivalent), players are reduced to weaponizing their wits — taking turns to post, out-smarting one another by constructing logical advantages in an effort to land at least one uncontested blow. This can result in the need for a mutually-agreed third-party arbiter, or judge, to analyze the logs and rule on an outcome. Fortunately, most high-level fighters demonstrate both grace and honor, but don't be afraid to request a ruling.

But for uneven fights, players have other resources at their disposal. At least in the Multiverse, we permit attacks to accumulate "prep points", which count the number of clearly-recognized yet uninterrupted (by tactics or otherwise) "preparation posts" to be applied towards the attack's power. These points can be combined across multiple players, but not across characters — lending a strict advantage to having other players fighting at your side as a coordinated attack from 2 players will always deal at least 50% damage against a defender (2 posts for 2 points towards attack, subtract 1 defense post = 2 - 1 = 1).

A 1 kg mass traveling at 99% of the speed of light would have a kinetic energy of 5.47×1017 joules. In explosive terms, it would be equal to 132 megatons of TNT or approximately 32 megatons more than the theoretical max yield of the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated. 1 kg of mass-energy is 8.99×1016 joules, or about 21.5 megatons of TNT.

Save the Holdo Maneuver for a last-ditch effort to save a civilization, not for run-of-the-mill combat. Relativistic velocities are already destructive enough, and we can find other ways to best our opponents without the "power levels" escalating so quickly!

Don't get me started on vacuum collapse...
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Dear God.

I had no idea that just two people could know so much about the theoretically impossible FTL jump, or how difficult it could possibly be. Thanks! I wasn't going to consider using it in early contact with anyone, as I'm still very new to this and I need some time to figure out the repercussions of starting a war with any other nation or faction, as it would probably be as easy to put down the Oberon as it is to beat a small animal with a lead pipe. I think I need some time to silently build up my nation so that I can figure what I'm going to do with them. This is also why I brought in force to recover my expeditionaries and get out ASAP, but now that I look at it seems useless. I specifically made my nation so that their methods of space travel is rather crude compared to that of the Aschen, having not even developed the most commonly seen thing in the MV most Sci-Fi players take for granted, Artificial Gravity. What challenge would they be to destroy? But I'm interested to see how it plays out, and in my haste of HOLY FUCK WHAT IF THINGS GO SOUTH I've made some pretty good fallback plans and defenses.

Once again, Thanks!

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