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Old 12-25-2021, 07:19 PM   #1
Astromancer
 
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Default Big shock setting change (basically discussing a campaign idea)

The big shock setting change idea is that the USA is discovered to have had a functional Alcubierre Drive for more than a decade. The Alcubierre Drive is chosen because it doesn't violate Relativity.

A European reporter will have broken the story. After a period of denial by the USA and charges of "conspiracy theory" the story is proved. Moreover, proof that the USA has extra-solar colonies also comes out.

My first assumption is that the other major planetary governments will demand, both publicly and by the back door, the details of the drives and a share of the colonies. The USA would stonewall of course.

My second assumption would be conspiracy nuts and fringe types would go wild. As Fry once said on Futurama, "Insane theories one, sane theories one billion!"

Scoring such a major victory. The nutcases would demand the world obey them.

What would you see as a likely outcome? And how would you see the situation develop?
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Old 12-25-2021, 07:51 PM   #2
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I don't see why you assume either that the US would have kept the discovery secret or that they would stonewall about sharing it. That comes across more as "I'm a pulp supervillain and this is my master plan!" than as a clear motivation.

It seems kind of trite to have it be the US that makes the discovery. I'll stipulate that it probably wouldn't be Europe, and that the Transpacific Socialist Alliance probably wouldn't have kept it secret. But why not have it be India, or Brazil, or the other Pacific alliance that includes Japan, Korea, and Australia? Or even Silas Duncan Station on Ceres?
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Old 12-26-2021, 03:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Big shock setting change (basically discussing a campaign idea)

Whether or not the initial discovers can be compelled to share the details, the fact that it has been confirmed to be possible means that the breakthrough is rapidly duplicated elsewhere as the brightest minds in the field flock to the problem backed by unlimited resources.

As far as I am aware, the physics behind the Alcubierre does nothing to bypass the fact that, in a universe bound by the laws of relativity, the ability to travel faster than light can inevitably be used to travel backward in time by playing around with frames of reference. This threatens to open a very big can of worms, which can either be addressed or swept under the rug (either with technobabble or just by agreeing to ignore it) depending on how you want the campaign to go.
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Old 12-26-2021, 04:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Big shock setting change (basically discussing a campaign idea)

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I don't see why you assume either that the US would have kept the discovery secret or that they would stonewall about sharing it. That comes across more as "I'm a pulp supervillain and this is my master plan!" than as a clear motivation.

It seems kind of trite to have it be the US that makes the discovery. I'll stipulate that it probably wouldn't be Europe, and that the Transpacific Socialist Alliance probably wouldn't have kept it secret. But why not have it be India, or Brazil, or the other Pacific alliance that includes Japan, Korea, and Australia? Or even Silas Duncan Station on Ceres?
The choice of the USA comes from the fact that conspiracy hounds tend to focus on the USA. Example: The confirmed murders committed by the KGB and its pawns and successors outnumber the murders RUMORED to have been communicated by the CIA by a factor of ten. But the CIA is widely held to be a far greater evil in conspiracy circles. Hey, reputable scholars (the question of whether they earned a good reputation we will leave for another day and venue) treat the CIA as a far greater threat than the KGB. Having the USA do something real that freaks out the conspiracy mavens just has more punch.
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Old 12-26-2021, 04:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Big shock setting change (basically discussing a campaign idea)

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Whether or not the initial discovers can be compelled to share the details, the fact that it has been confirmed to be possible means that the breakthrough is rapidly duplicated elsewhere as the brightest minds in the field flock to the problem backed by unlimited resources.

As far as I am aware, the physics behind the Alcubierre does nothing to bypass the fact that, in a universe bound by the laws of relativity, the ability to travel faster than light can inevitably be used to travel backward in time by playing around with frames of reference. This threatens to open a very big can of worms, which can either be addressed or swept under the rug (either with technobabble or just by agreeing to ignore it) depending on how you want the campaign to go.
I intend to use technobabable. In order for the Alcubierre Warp to be stable, measures must be taken that prevent the possibility of backwards time travel. In fact, without the stabilization, you'd get random uncontrollable time travel.
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Old 12-27-2021, 11:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Big shock setting change (basically discussing a campaign idea)

A further question is how the United States was able to keep other powers from noticing the colony ships disappearing when they zoomed off- or is the technology capable of launching straight to "warp speed" from planet-side installations?
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Old 12-27-2021, 02:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: Big shock setting change (basically discussing a campaign idea)

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A further question is how the United States was able to keep other powers from noticing the colony ships disappearing when they zoomed off- or is the technology capable of launching straight to "warp speed" from planet-side installations?
First off the Deep Beyond is incredibly vast. Secondly, no one was looking.

Now that they are looking and have an idea what to look for, it's a different game.
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Old 12-28-2021, 05:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Big shock setting change (basically discussing a campaign idea)

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The choice of the USA comes from the fact that conspiracy hounds tend to focus on the USA.
Yeah well part of that is because the United States is:
1) The foremost of the "good guy" countries.
2) The most powerful country in the world.

In Transhuman Space:
1) The United States's "good guy" credentials are under strain
2) Depending on the writer, the United States is either: important but eclipsed and facing other rising powers; a crumbling empire whose great cities are sinking into the ocean and facing insurgency at home; or somewhere in between.

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First off the Deep Beyond is incredibly vast. Secondly, no one was looking.
It's something moving really, really fast. I mean, it's possible to miss, but it'd be a great big question mark that many eyes have a shot at getting a vague look at.
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Old 12-28-2021, 07:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Big shock setting change (basically discussing a campaign idea)

How extreme a redshift would the speed of something moving away from Earth with an Alcubierre Drive create for terrestrial observers of the object? If it is pronounced enough, might it be sufficient to render the object unlikely to be detected by commonplace astronomical surveillance?
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Old 12-28-2021, 08:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Big shock setting change (basically discussing a campaign idea)

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It's something moving really, really fast.
Technically no.

The Alcubierre drive is compressing space in front of the vehicle and expanding it behind. There probably shouldn't be any doppler shifting. The Alcubierre ship is getting farther away but it's doing it by creating more "between" between the ship and it's origin point. The ship isn't moving.
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