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Old 04-21-2021, 10:44 AM   #1
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Van Zandt's Secret

A month or two ago I posted the Oops parallels in Reality Seeds. And it was Van Zandt's Secret, the thing he revealed to the world's leaders to get a monopoly on parachronic technology that inspired them. Well that and the fact that Homeline's parachronic technology is weirdly mature. You see I'd expect early parachronic technology to be more limited and/or less reliable. The first projector/conveyero to be something like a gigantic particle accelerator that only broke through into one world, or a vehicle that bounced around out of control Time Tunnel style without being able to pick it's destination. Instead Van Zandt shows up with a near perfect technology just as good as Centrum's even though Centrum had a big head start.

So my theory is that Van Zandt got his technology from another Van Zandt, and that the secret he revealed to the world's leaders is that the odds are greatly against getting parachronics right. And getting it wrong produces an Oops. Worlds depopulated, invaded through gates it can't close, wracked by reality quakes, flung into interstellar space or stripped of air. Van Zandt got his tech from another Van Zandt who ruined his world.

And that Van Zandt only gave it to him on the condition that he use to do anything he can to keep any other world from getting close to developing it because the more people who get close to it, the more Oopses there will be. And thus The Secret is the reason for The Other Secret.
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Old 04-21-2021, 11:34 AM   #2
ravenfish
 
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Default Re: Van Zandt's Secret

I always assumed that Van Zadnt's secret was a dossier of embarrassing information about world leaders, to be released if they opposed his proposal. Call me a cynic, but I don't think anything as trivial as the long-term survival of humanity could convince the powers to agree on giving up a strategically-useful new technology. (I mean, look at how well such appeals have worked in our history...)
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Old 04-21-2021, 11:46 AM   #3
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Van Zandt's Secret

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Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
I always assumed that Van Zadnt's secret was a dossier of embarrassing information about world leaders, to be released if they opposed his proposal. Call me a cynic, but I don't think anything as trivial as the long-term survival of humanity could convince the powers to agree on giving up a strategically-useful new technology. (I mean, look at how well such appeals have worked in our history...)
Dictators are pretty much immune to that kind of embarrassment and part of Van Zandt's deal was that they would in fact get to use the new technology through Infinity. The dire consequences of an oops just discourages them from trying to develop it independently rather than dealing with Infinity.
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Old 04-21-2021, 12:07 PM   #4
Mysterious Dark Lord v3.2
 
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Default Re: Van Zandt's Secret

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
So my theory is that Van Zandt got his technology from another Van Zandt, and that the secret he revealed to the world's leaders is that the odds are greatly against getting parachronics right. And getting it wrong produces an Oops. Worlds depopulated, invaded through gates it can't close, wracked by reality quakes, flung into interstellar space or stripped of air. Van Zandt got his tech from another Van Zandt who ruined his world.

And that Van Zandt only gave it to him on the condition that he use to do anything he can to keep any other world from getting close to developing it because the more people who get close to it, the more Oopses there will be. And thus The Secret is the reason for The Other Secret.
That sounds a lot like Keith Laumer's Worlds of the Imperium series, where the rather simple parachronic technology (19th century tech) destroyed huge numbers of worlds, creating what was called "The Blight", and the only worlds that survived either never developed the tech or got it just right.
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Old 04-21-2021, 12:33 PM   #5
Willy
 
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Default Re: Van Zandt's Secret

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Dictators are pretty much immune to that kind of embarrassment and part of Van Zandt's deal was that they would in fact get to use the new technology through Infinity. The dire consequences of an oops just discourages them from trying to develop it independently rather than dealing with Infinity.
I have a contrary opinion, they are still depending on popular support, even if in there domain they controll every media, all cops, agents, military are loyal to the boot etc they donīt exist in a vacuum. Look a bit at reality we have today a good deal of countrys where the leaders are de facto dictators and can do more or less everything they want in there domain, still the opinion of other countrys and there better informed population is very important. Because no country today is wholly autark aka can exist completely on his own, this counts even fo very big countrys like USA , Russia or China, a TL 8 society verging into TL 9 needs so many and complex production chains no country can produce everything it needs. That is one reason why trade embargos work even on hardcore fanatics. The other reason is most recent and ancient dictators ruled by a cult of personality, look at communism and all there statues of there leaders, this cult is often necessary to get people in line, you never have enough thugs to enforce your rule onto eversbody, a dictator needs at least some loyal followers, any secret or free information that endangers this is outlawed. Problem is people talk and gossip everywhere, if the secret is dirty enough people work on the outside cheerful, but in there mind hand in there notice to the regime, this leads to less production and development, the regime gets out of money and fails. Here is a look at the former Sowjetunion helpful, if you look for example both at agricultural production on owned/ lend parcels and the big collective farms there, guess who produced more and better goods?

Last edited by Willy; 04-21-2021 at 12:34 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 04-21-2021, 12:57 PM   #6
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I have a contrary opinion, they are still depending on popular support, even if in there domain they controll every media, all cops, agents, military are loyal to the boot etc they donīt exist in a vacuum.
They don't have to. When people already know that you're a vicious oppressive dictator there are very few "secrets" that if revealed will alienate either your supporters or the people still willing to do business with you.
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Old 04-21-2021, 01:47 PM   #7
naloth
 
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Default Re: Van Zandt's Secret

There are a number of possibilities I can think of:

1) Van Zandt discovered something that scared the members enough into uniting (Centrum? Reich 5? Cabal?).

2) Van Zandt showed even at that moment he had amassed enough power to choose the winners and losers. He might even had the option to take his ball and leave if they didn't play his game.

3) Van Zandt used mind control. At that point, magic was a relative unknown so perhaps he brought back a powerful mage that compelled the audience.

4) Van Zandt is an agent of a greater power. This is a bit similar to #1, but a touch more altruistic. A condition of aid might be the deal, especially if infinity requires ongoing aid to keep operations running.

5) Dimensional travel requires secret sauce that Van Zandt provides. Perhaps it's not that Homeline or Central are special. It's Van Zandt (on Homeline) and another entity on Central that enable travel.

6) No great secret, just great avarice. Similar to #2, Van Zandt just outlined that he could either benefit entire world via the UN or he could pick nations and give them the wealth of other worlds.
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Old 04-21-2021, 02:12 PM   #8
ravenfish
 
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Default Re: Van Zandt's Secret

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Dictators are pretty much immune to that kind of embarrassment [....]
Dictators are extraordinarily vulnerable to embarrassment. When their subjects stop thinking of them as all-powerful, then it will become clear how easy it is to get rid of them. A single man is not stronger than a multitude, and can only rule over a multitude by cowing them into submission. He can only do that by projecting an aura of might, and that aura can be badly damaged by laughter. Why do you think the Nazis reacted so strongly when a man taught his dog to do the Hitler Salute, or Xi Jinping spends so much effort removing mention of Winnie the Poo from the Chinese-speaking internet?

EDIT: Of course, when you control the media in your country, you can keep your embarrassing peccadilloes from becoming relevant to your subjects, but Zann didn't have to convince every petty dictatorship to go along with his scheme, merely enough of the Great Powers to ensure that Infinity control of parachronics became the consensus world order.

EDITEDIT: The "mind control" option is probably even more straightforward, though. Psionics apparently work on Homeline; Zann had access to people who could use them and the world leaders had neither defense against them nor knowledge of them to recognize their effects. Edit memories so everyone thinks they agreed out of willing self-interest, and Bob's your uncle.
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Last edited by ravenfish; 04-21-2021 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 04-21-2021, 02:47 PM   #9
Willy
 
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Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
Dictators are extraordinarily vulnerable to embarrassment. When their subjects stop thinking of them as all-powerful, then it will become clear how easy it is to get rid of them. A single man is not stronger than a multitude, and can only rule over a multitude by cowing them into submission. He can only do that by projecting an aura of might, and that aura can be badly damaged by laughter. Why do you think the Nazis reacted so strongly when a man taught his dog to do the Hitler Salute, or Xi Jinping spends so much effort removing mention of Winnie the Poo from the Chinese-speaking internet?

EDIT: Of course, when you control the media in your country, you can keep your embarrassing peccadilloes from becoming relevant to your subjects, but Zann didn't have to convince every petty dictatorship to go along with his scheme, merely enough of the Great Powers to ensure that Infinity control of parachronics became the consensus world order.

EDITEDIT: The "mind control" option is probably even more straightforward, though. Psionics apparently work on Homeline; Zann had access to people who could use them and the world leaders had neither defense against them nor knowledge of them to recognize their effects. Edit memories so everyone thinks they agreed out of willing self-interest, and Bob's your uncle.
As for psy powers Iīm pretty sure, since Psy works on homeline, that this is a non option. Consider the rabid paranoia in every good security advisor who is responsible for say the president xyz has. They watch there clients every minute of their life and would most surly discover any changing the client undergoes. Think a bit further, to a normal highranking leaders entourage, count bodyguards, medics, "advisors", network security specialists and whatever, literally any threat is covered. Now imagine a world where psy works, pretty sure that psy and counter psy measures are part of it and any gouvermenst seat or parliament is protected against it.
As someone who has a little experience on politics I can sign everything you wrote above about the vulnarability of dictators to embarressment. I could add some actual examples, but want to keep politics out of this forum. Even if they do everything to pose as near godlike, most of them know how vulnerable they are. This is a reason why some, by western eyes failed or unecessary megaprojects, are in the eyes of this dictators worth every cent the spent for it.
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Old 04-21-2021, 03:02 PM   #10
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Van Zandt's Secret

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Originally Posted by Willy View Post
As for psy powers Iīm pretty sure, since Psy works on homeline, that this is a non option. Consider the rabid paranoia in every good security advisor who is responsible for say the president xyz has. They watch there clients every minute of their life and would most surly discover any changing the client undergoes. Think a bit further, to a normal highranking leaders entourage, count bodyguards, medics, "advisors", network security specialists and whatever, literally any threat is covered. Now imagine a world where psy works, pretty sure that psy and counter psy measures are part of it and any gouvermenst seat or parliament is protected against it.
That's in a world where psi is known to work. If the physics of a world allow psychics from elsewhen to use their powers, but psychics have never existed there (or were so rare they are considered fictional), there will be no defense against psi until they become a known quantity. That may very well describe Homeline when Van Zandt met with the world leaders. So long as the psi was careful and didn't cause the world leaders to act out of character, nobody would be any the wiser (and even if they did act out of character, it would be more interpreted as "Van Zandt's message must have really shaken El Presidente" rather than "zomg Van Zandt has mind control powers!").
EDIT: That said, embarrassing secrets as blackmail - and/or fulfilled wishes tailored to each individual as bribe - may be more likely than a secret ultra-effective psi.
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