Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

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What is your opinion of this scenario?

Yay! We won't be enslaved by asshole centauroids and get to colonize planets in my life time!
8
40%
Oh no! Mankind is under the digigrade boot of a race of expoititive assimilating space cats!
2
10%
It's a mixed bag
6
30%
Other
4
20%
 
Total votes: 20

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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Starglider » 2017-02-11 08:48am

Given sufficient technology that the process is reliable and low-risk, changing physiology is not a big deal. It really doesn't make much difference whether you look like a hairless ape or a bipedal cat, aside from the usual racism/social issues. However what is a big deal is the fact that there is no way any independently evolved sapient alien will not have substantially different psychology than humans. The neuromorphology will be different, the neurobiology will be different, the endocrine equivalents will be completely different. So it is improbable that you could do these biologically-based conversions without radical personality change, and even if you could get around that in the first generation, the second generation would have a radical behavioural disconnect from the parents.

The usual plausibility issues apply with 'why are these civilisations fighting wars with manned starships', 'why hasn't at least one of them developed radically transhuman intelligence' etc.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Tribble » 2017-02-11 11:28am

bilateralrope wrote:The conversion would likely be easier. But there are other factors that complicate matters:
- A machine built for comfortable human use isn't likely to be as comfortable for non-humans. Making multiple designs for each species is possible, but at additional overhead. We are talking about a civilization that is at war. Having everyone of the same species will simplify logistics.


Bear in mind this is a species that just said "we will only help you and protect you if your people start converting into Space Cats, and if you reject our offer we will level the planet should the other side make any more moves towards it." Any advantage gained from simplifying logistics would be more than outweighed by the kinds of resentment that would tend to bring.

And speaking of which, the war could very well have started with the Space Cats demanding that the Space Deer submit to their conversion process. For all we know they are little better than the Borg and are hated throughout the rest of the neighbourhood.

bilateralrope wrote: - I can see a few mixed species couples wanting children. A process that leaves both potential parents the same species means they can have their own children. Some will take up that offer, even if neither person was a Space Cat in the first place.


Then it should be allowed to work in reverse, right? The option should be there for a Space Cat parent to convert into a human should they wish. The fact that they don't have that option and the Space Cats are deliberately withholding that tech to advance their agenda suggests that their motives are far from benevolent. "You can convert to our kind but we refuse to convert to yours, and we refuse to give you the ability to convert back".

bilateralrope wrote:- It simplifies the design of schools if the schools are expecting the majority of their students to be of the same species. The same goes for doctors.


Ya, that one is going to go over well. "We won't build schools and send Doctors unless your species converts, now get to the back of the bus, filthy humans! Front seats are designed for Space Cats only!"

Starglider wrote:Given sufficient technology that the process is reliable and low-risk, changing physiology is not a big deal. It really doesn't make much difference whether you look like a hairless ape or a bipedal cat, aside from the usual racism/social issues. However what is a big deal is the fact that there is no way any independently evolved sapient alien will not have substantially different psychology than humans. The neuromorphology will be different, the neurobiology will be different, the endocrine equivalents will be completely different. So it is improbable that you could do these biologically-based conversions without radical personality change, and even if you could get around that in the first generation, the second generation would have a radical behavioural disconnect from the parents.


Another good reason to suggest that this is little more than an assimilation plot, with the added threat that the Space Cats will level the planet should we choose to refuse their offer and the Space Deer invade again.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Q99 » 2017-02-11 11:40am

Tribble wrote:Bear in mind this is a species that just said "we will only help you and protect you if your people start converting into Space Cats, and if you reject our offer we will level the planet should the other side make any more moves towards it." Any advantage gained from simplifying logistics would be more than outweighed by the kinds of resentment that would tend to bring.

And speaking of which, the war could very well have started with the Space Cats demanding that the Space Deer submit to their conversion process. For all we know they are little better than the Borg and are hated throughout the rest of the neighbourhood.


Unless the conversion process is open to those who volunteer.

The initial scenario is already one that's hardly one-sided, no need to make it into something less worthy of debate by pushing the chips to one side.

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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Imperial528 » 2017-02-11 11:46am

I'll repeat it again, but the OP implies that only Nirtalm can ever be full citizens of the commonwealth, and that conversion is the only way to such status for the average non-Nirtalm resident of the commonwealth.

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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Tribble » 2017-02-11 12:17pm

Q99 wrote:Unless the conversion process is open to those who volunteer.

The initial scenario is already one that's hardly one-sided, no need to make it into something less worthy of debate by pushing the chips to one side.


If it were just a matter of volunteering the scenario would be something like this:

"The Space Deer just invaded your solar system with the goal of conquering your planet. While we were able to stop them this time, we cannot always guarantee your safety as there is a major war going on and we cannot afford to leave large forces here at all times. However, if you agree to help us in the conflict we will help develop your industries so that you will be able to defend yourselves, and once the conflict is over you will be invited to join our Commonwealth. All we're asking for is volunteers to help us."

There is no need for "and btw those volunteers need to be converted into Space Cats, and will never be allowed to become human again!" or "Only Space Cats are allowed to be full citizens" or "If you don't agree and the Space Deer come back, we'll level your planet!" etc.

Plus when someone asks "what other species are in your commonwealth?" and the response is "well, there were other species, but they went extinct when all of them became Space Cats!" that raises some... obvious concerns.

Those are the kinds of things make me question the Space Cats' sincerity. I would have less issues with this if the conversion was temporary and solely for the purpose of making it easier for the volunteers to use the equipment and get to the front lines as fast as possible. Once the war was over, they may become human again if they wish and the Space Cats would help humans develop the tech for human form. And that humans would be given full citizenship if they decide to join the Commonwealth, no permanent Space Cat conversion necessary.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Q99 » 2017-02-11 07:03pm

Tribble wrote:If it were just a matter of volunteering the scenario would be something like this:

"The Space Deer just invaded your solar system with the goal of conquering your planet. While we were able to stop them this time, we cannot always guarantee your safety as there is a major war going on and we cannot afford to leave large forces here at all times. However, if you agree to help us in the conflict we will help develop your industries so that you will be able to defend yourselves, and once the conflict is over you will be invited to join our Commonwealth. All we're asking for is volunteers to help us."

There is no need for "and btw those volunteers need to be converted into Space Cats, and will never be allowed to become human again!" or "Only Space Cats are allowed to be full citizens" or "If you don't agree and the Space Deer come back, we'll level your planet!" etc.

Plus when someone asks "what other species are in your commonwealth?" and the response is "well, there were other species, but they went extinct when all of them became Space Cats!" that raises some... obvious concerns.

Those are the kinds of things make me question the Space Cats' sincerity. I would have less issues with this if the conversion was temporary and solely for the purpose of making it easier for the volunteers to use the equipment and get to the front lines as fast as possible. Once the war was over, they may become human again if they wish and the Space Cats would help humans develop the tech for human form. And that humans would be given full citizenship if they decide to join the Commonwealth, no permanent Space Cat conversion necessary.


My point is more, for the reasons mentioned it's already plenty reasons to find it questionable even without finding more. I feel these types of scenarios don't work without taking most aspects straight, because one is always able to infer worse.


As for the answers to those- "and btw those volunteers need to be converted into Space Cats, and will never be allowed to become human again!" or "Only Space Cats are allowed to be full citizens" or "If you don't agree and the Space Deer come back, we'll level your planet!" etc.

The first one, well, coming over is a show of commitment and part of the payment/insurance. Once someone is a cat turning on the them is a lot more ill-advised, we can't join and then switch sides part way.

The second one, incentivizes joining up to drive recruitment. This gets them more soldiers- also maximizes the benefits to those who have shown a level of long-term commitment to joining.

As for the last one, well, the Space Deer are a peer hostile polity planning on using Earth as an invasion base. Blowing us up is ruthless, but does prevent higher casualties among their own.

From their POV it's fairly straightforward self-interest, and a sign they want long-term recruitment, not just soldiers, but also seem fine with asking and incentivizing as methods rather than force (after all, at war is the most likely time to go with force and they haven't). It also indicates that self interest does play into their views- but I do think we wouldn't act all that differently in the reverse, especially with the third.

So, I don't doubt their sincerity for this, I just note it does indicate their priorities, good and bad.

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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Tribble » 2017-02-11 07:39pm

Q99 wrote:
Tribble wrote:If it were just a matter of volunteering the scenario would be something like this:

"The Space Deer just invaded your solar system with the goal of conquering your planet. While we were able to stop them this time, we cannot always guarantee your safety as there is a major war going on and we cannot afford to leave large forces here at all times. However, if you agree to help us in the conflict we will help develop your industries so that you will be able to defend yourselves, and once the conflict is over you will be invited to join our Commonwealth. All we're asking for is volunteers to help us."

There is no need for "and btw those volunteers need to be converted into Space Cats, and will never be allowed to become human again!" or "Only Space Cats are allowed to be full citizens" or "If you don't agree and the Space Deer come back, we'll level your planet!" etc.

Plus when someone asks "what other species are in your commonwealth?" and the response is "well, there were other species, but they went extinct when all of them became Space Cats!" that raises some... obvious concerns.

Those are the kinds of things make me question the Space Cats' sincerity. I would have less issues with this if the conversion was temporary and solely for the purpose of making it easier for the volunteers to use the equipment and get to the front lines as fast as possible. Once the war was over, they may become human again if they wish and the Space Cats would help humans develop the tech for human form. And that humans would be given full citizenship if they decide to join the Commonwealth, no permanent Space Cat conversion necessary.


My point is more, for the reasons mentioned it's already plenty reasons to find it questionable even without finding more. I feel these types of scenarios don't work without taking most aspects straight, because one is always able to infer worse.


As for the answers to those- "and btw those volunteers need to be converted into Space Cats, and will never be allowed to become human again!" or "Only Space Cats are allowed to be full citizens" or "If you don't agree and the Space Deer come back, we'll level your planet!" etc.

The first one, well, coming over is a show of commitment and part of the payment/insurance. Once someone is a cat turning on the them is a lot more ill-advised, we can't join and then switch sides part way.

The second one, incentivizes joining up to drive recruitment. This gets them more soldiers- also maximizes the benefits to those who have shown a level of long-term commitment to joining.

As for the last one, well, the Space Deer are a peer hostile polity planning on using Earth as an invasion base. Blowing us up is ruthless, but does prevent higher casualties among their own.

From their POV it's fairly straightforward self-interest, and a sign they want long-term recruitment, not just soldiers, but also seem fine with asking and incentivizing as methods rather than force (after all, at war is the most likely time to go with force and they haven't). It also indicates that self interest does play into their views- but I do think we wouldn't act all that differently in the reverse, especially with the third.

So, I don't doubt their sincerity for this, I just note it does indicate their priorities, good and bad.


The OP does not give us Q-like knowledge of the situation. Everything we know about the conflict in our solar system and the Space Deer / Space Cats... comes from the Space Cats. We did not encounter the Space Deer nor do we have the ability to do so, and IMO we should doubt their sincerity and their version of events, especially given their demands. Assuming that their story was even true, its equivalent to someone from the Red gang stopping you from being robbed by someone from the Blue gang... then the Red Gang member puts a gun to your head, tells you to fight for them and that if you don't they'll shoot you if they see a Blue gang member near you again, even if its your intent not to get involved with either. That sounds like a clear threat of force to me.

At the very least I would demand that Earth is given communications technology to communicate directly with the Space Deer and seek their version of events before committing to anything. Another Red Flag goes up if the Space Cats refuse, though their side of the story may have more merit if the Space Deer confirm their plans/ refuse to respond. If communications are established and the Space Deer complain that the Space Cat's story is total BS, that they were the ones trying to keep the Space Cats at bay and failed... then we've got an even bigger problem on our hands. Best case scenario would be to convince both sides that Earth is neutral and that it's not in either sides interests to press for ownership as that will just escalate the conflict further, and hope that we get to stay out of it.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Tribble » 2017-02-11 07:45pm

Q99 wrote:
Tribble wrote:If it were just a matter of volunteering the scenario would be something like this:

"The Space Deer just invaded your solar system with the goal of conquering your planet. While we were able to stop them this time, we cannot always guarantee your safety as there is a major war going on and we cannot afford to leave large forces here at all times. However, if you agree to help us in the conflict we will help develop your industries so that you will be able to defend yourselves, and once the conflict is over you will be invited to join our Commonwealth. All we're asking for is volunteers to help us."

There is no need for "and btw those volunteers need to be converted into Space Cats, and will never be allowed to become human again!" or "Only Space Cats are allowed to be full citizens" or "If you don't agree and the Space Deer come back, we'll level your planet!" etc.

Plus when someone asks "what other species are in your commonwealth?" and the response is "well, there were other species, but they went extinct when all of them became Space Cats!" that raises some... obvious concerns.

Those are the kinds of things make me question the Space Cats' sincerity. I would have less issues with this if the conversion was temporary and solely for the purpose of making it easier for the volunteers to use the equipment and get to the front lines as fast as possible. Once the war was over, they may become human again if they wish and the Space Cats would help humans develop the tech for human form. And that humans would be given full citizenship if they decide to join the Commonwealth, no permanent Space Cat conversion necessary.


My point is more, for the reasons mentioned it's already plenty reasons to find it questionable even without finding more. I feel these types of scenarios don't work without taking most aspects straight, because one is always able to infer worse.


As for the answers to those- "and btw those volunteers need to be converted into Space Cats, and will never be allowed to become human again!" or "Only Space Cats are allowed to be full citizens" or "If you don't agree and the Space Deer come back, we'll level your planet!" etc.

The first one, well, coming over is a show of commitment and part of the payment/insurance. Once someone is a cat turning on the them is a lot more ill-advised, we can't join and then switch sides part way.

The second one, incentivizes joining up to drive recruitment. This gets them more soldiers- also maximizes the benefits to those who have shown a level of long-term commitment to joining.

As for the last one, well, the Space Deer are a peer hostile polity planning on using Earth as an invasion base. Blowing us up is ruthless, but does prevent higher casualties among their own.

From their POV it's fairly straightforward self-interest, and a sign they want long-term recruitment, not just soldiers, but also seem fine with asking and incentivizing as methods rather than force (after all, at war is the most likely time to go with force and they haven't). It also indicates that self interest does play into their views- but I do think we wouldn't act all that differently in the reverse, especially with the third.

So, I don't doubt their sincerity for this, I just note it does indicate their priorities, good and bad.


The OP does not give us Q-like knowledge of the situation. Everything we know about the conflict in our solar system and the Space Deer / Space Cats... comes from the Space Cats. We did not encounter the Space Deer nor do we have the ability to do so, and IMO we should doubt the Space Cat's sincerity and their version of events, especially given their demands. Its equivalent to hearing gunshots in the distance one day, then later on someone from the Red gang comes up to you and says that they stopped a Blue Gang member from robbing you... then the Red Gang member puts a gun to your head, tells you to "volunteer" to join the Red Gang and fight for them... and that if you don't they'll shoot you if they see a Blue gang member near you again, even if its your intent not to get involved with either. That sounds like a clear threat of force to me, and I'd highly doubt the truthfulness of their story as well.

At the very least I would demand that Earth is given communications technology to communicate directly with the Space Deer and seek their version of events before committing to anything. And seek a conference between all three sides to see if some kind of negotiation is possible. Another Red Flag goes up if the Space Cats refuse, as it should become obvious at that point that they are just here to exploit us or destroy us and that their word should not be trusted.

If they give us communication tech and the Space Deer confirm their plans / refuse to respond, then the Space Cat's story would have more merit. If communications are established and the Space Deer complain that the Space Cat's story is total BS, that they were the ones trying to keep the Space Cats at bay and failed... then we've got an even bigger problem on our hands. Best case scenario would be to convince both sides to that Earth is neutral and that it's not in their interests to press for ownership as that will just escalate the conflict further, and hope that we get to stay out of it.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Q99 » 2017-02-11 09:52pm

Tribble wrote:The OP does not give us Q-like knowledge of the situation. Everything we know about the conflict in our solar system and the Space Deer / Space Cats... comes from the Space Cats.


Sure. It just strikes me whenever a situation like this is presented, if you do not assume some level of honesty, the answer is *always* going to be 'they're up to something,' pretty much every time. I don't find that as interesting as assuming mostly-honest setups, honestly.

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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Q99 » 2017-02-11 10:11pm

Tribble wrote:At the very least I would demand that Earth is given communications technology to communicate directly with the Space Deer and seek their version of events before committing to anything. And seek a conference between all three sides to see if some kind of negotiation is possible. Another Red Flag goes up if the Space Cats refuse, as it should become obvious at that point that they are just here to exploit us or destroy us and that their word should not be trusted.

If they give us communication tech and the Space Deer confirm their plans / refuse to respond, then the Space Cat's story would have more merit. If communications are established and the Space Deer complain that the Space Cat's story is total BS, that they were the ones trying to keep the Space Cats at bay and failed... then we've got an even bigger problem on our hands. Best case scenario would be to convince both sides to that Earth is neutral and that it's not in their interests to press for ownership as that will just escalate the conflict further, and hope that we get to stay out of it.



The Space Deer should tell us the Space Cat story is BS, even if the Space Cats are legit, unless they're incompetents or pathologically honest. Or, if we're taking the 'don't take the scenario strait' angle, in on a con, they can confirm their intentions as a way to pressure us to the Space Cats and drive up volunteer rates- if we can't assume some level of honesty, then we cannot accept even the basic aspects of the scenario presented by the Cats.

Also, by opening communication, that means if we do sign up with a side, the other side knows it and may target us for reprisals or elimination as a potential asset to the enemy. And in a space war where we've apparently got some strategic position, being silent may be safer than trying to establish open neutrality and thus informing both sides we're undefended.

Now, if we could actually negotiate a truce between the two sides that'd be great, but it strikes me as unlikely considering we have little to no leverage over the sides, offering service is about the only thing we have to offer. A neutral party, perhaps, but one closer to one territory than another and with no ability to keep things honest nor even a clear or in-depth view of the situation and it's history makes a precarious negotiating position.
Last edited by Q99 on 2017-02-11 10:17pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Tribble » 2017-02-11 10:15pm

Q99 wrote:Sure. It just strikes me whenever a situation like this is presented, if you do not assume some level of honesty, the answer is *always* going to be 'they're up to something,' pretty much every time. I don't find that as interesting as assuming mostly-honest setups, honestly.


The problem is that there really isn't really a meaningful a choice in this scenario; it's either "join Space Cats or die" since they will not allow humanity to survive if it looks like the Space Deer might take over. The Space Deer's setup is really a moot point since either way we'll never live to become a part of it. And on principle I never trust a person who is actively threatening to kill me.

Even so, I'd still want to get into contact with the Space Deer before making any sort of commitment. Though odds are probably low, IMO it's worth making an attempt to officially establish Earth's neutrality if possible. If the Space Cats refuse I would count that against them.

Q99 wrote:The Space Deer should tell us the Space Cat story is BS, even if the Space Cats are legit, unless they're incompetents or pathologically honest. Or, if we're taking the 'don't take the scenario strait' angle, in on a con, they can confirm their intentions as a way to pressure us to the Space Cats and drive up volunteer rates- if we can't assume some level of honesty, then we cannot accept even the basic aspects of the scenario presented by the Cats.

Also, by opening communication, that means if we do sign up with a side, the other side knows it and may target us for reprisals or elimination as a potential asset to the enemy. And in a space war where we've apparently got some strategic position, being silent may be safer than trying to establish open neutrality and thus informing both sides we're undefended.

Now, if we could actually negotiate a truce between the two sides that'd be great, but it strikes me as unlikely considering we have little to no leverage over the sides, offering service is about the only thing we have to offer. A neutral party, perhaps, but one closer to one territory than another and with no ability to keep things honest nor even a clear or in-depth view of the situation and it's history makes a precarious negotiating position.


If the Space Cats story is honest, I think its safe to assume that the Space Deer would already know that Earth is defenceless - they were trying to invade after all, and unless they are incompetent they would have scouted us first. IMO were no worse off by at least trying to negotiate matters.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Q99 » 2017-02-11 10:21pm

Looks like we cross-posted a bit- suffice to say, at that point I find that approach *insufficiently* paranoid! There's dangers to contact too, large dangers.

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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Tribble » 2017-02-11 10:28pm

Q99 wrote:Looks like we cross-posted a bit- suffice to say, at that point I find that approach *insufficiently* paranoid! There's dangers to contact too, large dangers.


No more dangerous than the practically guaranteed extinction we are one way or another facing with the Space Cats --> either via slow assimilation, death in war, or the Space Cats killing us if we refuse to join.

Btw, at no point has it been suggested that the Space Deer plan on destroying humanity, or threatening to do so if we don't join them. Not that I'd trust them either, of course, but at least trying to communicate with them and trying to form some kind of neutrality has a slight chance of saving us from the guaranteed extinction the Space Cats offer. It's kinda Godzilla threshold territory already tbh.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Q99 » 2017-02-11 10:46pm

Tribble wrote:
Q99 wrote:Looks like we cross-posted a bit- suffice to say, at that point I find that approach *insufficiently* paranoid! There's dangers to contact too, large dangers.


No more dangerous than the practically guaranteed extinction we are one way or another facing with the Space Cats --> either via slow assimilation, death in war, or the Space Cats killing us if we refuse to join.

Btw, at no point has it been suggested that the Space Deer plan on destroying humanity, or threatening to do so if we don't join them. Not that I'd trust them either, of course, but at least trying to communicate with them and trying to form some kind of neutrality has a slight chance of saving us from the guaranteed extinction the Space Cats offer. It's kinda Godzilla threshold territory already tbh.


A fair point. Still, they were apparently planning on using our world as a base, so... I guess contact to confirm, but don't trust what's said.

Assuming long-range high speed contact is possible, of course. If it takes ships to take a message, then it's trickier.

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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-02-12 05:37pm

Q99 wrote:Mm, the original species are gone, but their descendants are members of the space cat species and presumably brought aspects of their culture with them.

And, yea, it *does* make sense for entire species to vanish by choice. If you have a good portion of volunteers who then return, are interacted with enough to be clearly themselves and in possession of what makes them them while also having extended age and similar. Eventually the number of remaining ones will dwindle simply because part of their replacement rate is going to another species, and over a long period of time, the benefits of staying will decrease as there will simply be less economic and social focus on catering to their form.
See, that's the thing. It's a plan to destroy the species that are being assimilated. That is the long-term objective of this process. If this were not the case, then the Nirtalm wouldn't incentivize the process heavily enough to cause entire species to vanish into a pool of identical Nirtalm.

Why don't they bother developing similar longevity enhancements for non-Nirtalm? Because they don't want there to BE any humans in their empire in a thousand years. They want to force you to be Nirtalm. Why won't they develop a process that enables people to change back? Because, again, they don't want there to be any humans in their empire in a thousand years. They want to force you to be Nirtalm.

The incentive structure is set up to be just gentle enough that people will agree to gradually be drawn into an outcome that they never would have consented to at the start of the process. And since the Nirtalm themselves have overseen literally every step of this process from "species accepts the offer" to "species is now extinct, there is no Dana, only anthropomorphic cat..." They know perfectly well this is going on, and they still do it, which means they want it this way.

So if you agree to the Nirtalm's "help," you are agreeing to the eventual destruction of every distinctively human thing, and of every human-designed culture and mentality. All that will remain, eventually, is Nirtalm-designed culture and mentalities.

I mean, there's plenty of SF species which are just flat-out biologically better than others (if we could all become Star Trek Vulcan physically, minus the emotions stuff, there is very little reason not to, for example). If we look back and found the missing species mostly had shorter lifespans and inferior senses and such, and could reasonably conclude they'd find being a Nirtalm just *better*, then full conversion makes sense- just as I'd expect us to convert if the option included gaining a foot of height, increased endurance, +50% lifespan, better memories, and could now see in ultraviolet spectrum. Because what is important about us isn't simply a matter of biological identity but is more about who we are and our cultures.
As Starglider points out, it's not very plausible that you could change a being's brain physiology without changing who they are.

bilateralrope wrote:
Tribble wrote:Given that the Space Cats have genetic modification tech, the idea that their species is inherently superior is a dubious one at best. How much is it due to natural genetics vs their tech? As noted earlier, if they can literally rebuild a human being on a genetic level to become a Space Cat, surely they must be able to enhance the human genome without turning people into Space Cats? One would assume that would be easier to do.
The conversion would likely be easier. But there are other factors that complicate matters:
- A machine built for comfortable human use isn't likely to be as comfortable for non-humans. Making multiple designs for each species is possible, but at additional overhead. We are talking about a civilization that is at war. Having everyone of the same species will simplify logistics.
- I can see a few mixed species couples wanting children. A process that leaves both potential parents the same species means they can have their own children. Some will take up that offer, even if neither person was a Space Cat in the first place.
- It simplifies the design of schools if the schools are expecting the majority of their students to be of the same species. The same goes for doctors.
How convenient, then, that this results in the outcome of an entire empire of space cats, without all that bothersome diversity and difference. Much cheaper that way.

By the way, do we have any evidence that the Nirtalm impose modifications on themselves in order to make it cheaper to design machines and schools for their use? Or do they only impose modification on their subjects?

Q99 wrote:
Tribble wrote:The OP does not give us Q-like knowledge of the situation. Everything we know about the conflict in our solar system and the Space Deer / Space Cats... comes from the Space Cats.
Sure. It just strikes me whenever a situation like this is presented, if you do not assume some level of honesty, the answer is *always* going to be 'they're up to something,' pretty much every time. I don't find that as interesting as assuming mostly-honest setups, honestly.
The trouble here is that the entire situation creates really strong issues of distrust and uncertainty as to their intentions. It's not just ambiguous, it's that the Space Cats are triggering just about every alarm in the book.

Are they threatening to use violence if we don't go along with their plans for us? Yes.

Are they making claims about the intentions of a bunch of aliens that they just killed and which we have no way to contact for their side of the story? Yes.

Do we have reason to think that their plans include the long-term extinction of our species? Yes, because they told us so. Even if we are assured that individual members of our species will be free to 'become' individual members of theirs.

If the Nirtalm are being fully honest about the situation from their own point of view, we still have excellent reason to doubt whether they are representing the situation accurately.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Zor » 2017-02-14 02:02pm

FedRebel wrote:Overall the UN would diplomatically decline, we only have one side's interpretation, while they have a magnanimous offer and by default have asserted a willingness to 'protect' us. We need more information

The US, China, and Russia would hash out an alliance. This interstellar conflict is a mutual threat and mutually impacts their interests

Russia has the resources
China has the money, and a political environment that's not adverse to certain explosive "tests"
America has the research, technology, and Command & Control infrastructure

U.S. Strategic Command would become the foundation for Aliied Strategic Aersospace Joint Command, The Russian SRF and Chinese 2nd Artillery Corps being merged in, along with the PVO and NORAD.

Project Orion resumes development, but in Chinese territory. Three manufacturing facilities are constructed, Dyson 01 in the US, Dyson 02 in Russia, and Dyson 03 in China. D1 and D3 will be producing "Space Battleships" based on the USAF's 1960's design, but upgraded with modern technology, D2 will be tasked with producing the 4 million ton payload cargo Orions.

Story goes that in 1962 the USAF expected 12 "Space Battleships" by 1974. In this scenario we are looking a full war production resource allocation, 1 every 6 months seems reasonable.

Meanwhile the Cargo Orions would be establishing space based infrastructure, moon, etc.

The rest of the planet is looking at being relegated to a junior role under The Big Three, this would force the EU to federalize (somehow I don't see that as being civil) and lobby to be the fourth member, India would then likely chime in. Their strategic assets merged into ASAC (J would be omitted in the acronym) and Dyson 04 and Dyson 05 would be built in their respective territories. D4 helping with "Space Battleship" production, D5 producing a passenger variant to get manpower to the lunar, etc. mining/manufacturing colonies being established by Russian Cargo Orion missions (D5 can be quickly re-purposed to build more battleships.)

Eventually there's enough of a Lunar and Martian footprint that facilities D6-D10 are constructed.

Earth would be in a position to defend itself, and approach our furry friends with a more balanced agreement. They honor the 24 lightyear radi "Terran Interest Zone" provide hyperdrive technology, and we will assist them in their war as equals.

Even if this worked the Nirtalm would point out that said craft are slow, inefficient, irradiate the atmosphere, STL only and sending them against a Heirarchy Line Squadron would be akin to a group of galleys going against the Yamato. They'd also say that they could provide those nations which went along with shuttles to get payloads in orbit and provide equipment and show humanity how to make faster and more reliable ships with shields and weapons that have the range to engage them.

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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Tribble » 2017-02-14 02:09pm

Zor wrote:
FedRebel wrote:Overall the UN would diplomatically decline, we only have one side's interpretation, while they have a magnanimous offer and by default have asserted a willingness to 'protect' us. We need more information

The US, China, and Russia would hash out an alliance. This interstellar conflict is a mutual threat and mutually impacts their interests

Russia has the resources
China has the money, and a political environment that's not adverse to certain explosive "tests"
America has the research, technology, and Command & Control infrastructure

U.S. Strategic Command would become the foundation for Aliied Strategic Aersospace Joint Command, The Russian SRF and Chinese 2nd Artillery Corps being merged in, along with the PVO and NORAD.

Project Orion resumes development, but in Chinese territory. Three manufacturing facilities are constructed, Dyson 01 in the US, Dyson 02 in Russia, and Dyson 03 in China. D1 and D3 will be producing "Space Battleships" based on the USAF's 1960's design, but upgraded with modern technology, D2 will be tasked with producing the 4 million ton payload cargo Orions.

Story goes that in 1962 the USAF expected 12 "Space Battleships" by 1974. In this scenario we are looking a full war production resource allocation, 1 every 6 months seems reasonable.

Meanwhile the Cargo Orions would be establishing space based infrastructure, moon, etc.

The rest of the planet is looking at being relegated to a junior role under The Big Three, this would force the EU to federalize (somehow I don't see that as being civil) and lobby to be the fourth member, India would then likely chime in. Their strategic assets merged into ASAC (J would be omitted in the acronym) and Dyson 04 and Dyson 05 would be built in their respective territories. D4 helping with "Space Battleship" production, D5 producing a passenger variant to get manpower to the lunar, etc. mining/manufacturing colonies being established by Russian Cargo Orion missions (D5 can be quickly re-purposed to build more battleships.)

Eventually there's enough of a Lunar and Martian footprint that facilities D6-D10 are constructed.

Earth would be in a position to defend itself, and approach our furry friends with a more balanced agreement. They honor the 24 lightyear radi "Terran Interest Zone" provide hyperdrive technology, and we will assist them in their war as equals.

Even if this worked the Nirtalm would point out that said craft are slow, inefficient, irradiate the atmosphere, STL only and sending them against a Heirarchy Line Squadron would be akin to a group of galleys going against the Yamato. They'd also say that they could provide those nations which went along with shuttles to get payloads in orbit and provide equipment and show humanity how to make faster and more reliable ships with shields and weapons that have the range to engage them.

Zor


Zor, if we stated that we are unable to come to a decision until we are able to communicate with the Eternal Hierarchy and hear both sides of the story, what would the Nirtalm's response be?

What would the Niralm's response be if we requested that both sides come to Earth to hammer out some kind of agreement?

What would happen if we stated that we were willing to join the Nirtalm's side, but we're not willing to undergo the conversion process which by all appearances would inevitably lead to our extinction?
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Zor » 2017-02-14 06:15pm

Tribble wrote:Zor, if we stated that we are unable to come to a decision until we are able to communicate with the Eternal Hierarchy and hear both sides of the story, what would the Nirtalm's response be?

The Nirtalm will say that the Heirarchy's policy in regards to primitive species like humanity is to put a fleet in orbit, demand that they submit to their authority under threat of orbital bombardment and set up a bases and garrisons to make sure the quotas they give are met and enforce edicts. They generally don't negotiate with less advanced species, they collect reports, make demands and designate proxy leaders. The Ksel view themselves as being created by their six gods to dominate the galaxy with everyone else permanently subordinated to them as vassals at best and failing that (depending on the severity) putting them at low rungs in their hierarchy, replacing defiant governments with oppressive ones of their design, enslaving the defiant parts of their population, turning their species into one of domesticated slaves (You know how humans bred aurochs and wild horses into pliable mounts and draft animals, well imagine that done with genetic engineering) or genocide.

But in regards to the question they'll say that they'll make the attempt at relaying the request. Even so they will say that getting the Heirarchy to send an envoy to communicate in good faith is not assured and that they might be another conquest fleet en route to Sol.
What would the Niralm's response be if we requested that both sides come to Earth to hammer out some kind of agreement?

Assuming by agreement you'd mean something to the effect as Neutrality, they would say that such an agreement would be something that humanity would be very ill equipped to enforce. Building up the defenses of a neutral power which will not contribute it's fair share to the war effort is not in the Commonwealth's best interests and the Eternal Hierarchy would not give tools to a power that would only serve to make them a more costly to conquer should the Commonwealth fall and they continue to expand the heirarchy. That's assuming that negotiations happen at all or that the Heirarchy does not decide to reneg on their side
What would happen if we stated that we were willing to join the Nirtalm's side, but we're not willing to undergo the conversion process which by all appearances would inevitably lead to our extinction?

The Nirtalm would say that they have no intention to force humans to undergo conversion at gunpoint and banning them from setting up conversion therapy clinics is denying the individual the right to make that choice for themselves and reaping the benefits that come with it.

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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Tribble » 2017-02-14 06:41pm

Zor wrote:
Tribble wrote:Zor, if we stated that we are unable to come to a decision until we are able to communicate with the Eternal Hierarchy and hear both sides of the story, what would the Nirtalm's response be?

The Nirtalm will say that the Heirarchy's policy in regards to primitive species like humanity is to put a fleet in orbit, demand that they submit to their authority under threat of orbital bombardment and set up a bases and garrisons to make sure the quotas they give are met and enforce edicts. They generally don't negotiate with less advanced species, they collect reports, make demands and designate proxy leaders. The Ksel view themselves as being created by their six gods to dominate the galaxy with everyone else permanently subordinated to them as vassals at best and failing that (depending on the severity) putting them at low rungs in their hierarchy, replacing defiant governments with oppressive ones of their design, enslaving the defiant parts of their population, turning their species into one of domesticated slaves (You know how humans bred aurochs and wild horses into pliable mounts and draft animals, well imagine that done with genetic engineering) or genocide.

But in regards to the question they'll say that they'll make the attempt at relaying the request. Even so they will say that getting the Heirarchy to send an envoy to communicate in good faith is not assured and that they might be another conquest fleet en route to Sol.
What would the Niralm's response be if we requested that both sides come to Earth to hammer out some kind of agreement?

Assuming by agreement you'd mean something to the effect as Neutrality, they would say that such an agreement would be something that humanity would be very ill equipped to enforce. Building up the defenses of a neutral power which will not contribute it's fair share to the war effort is not in the Commonwealth's best interests and the Eternal Hierarchy would not give tools to a power that would only serve to make them a more costly to conquer should the Commonwealth fall and they continue to expand the heirarchy. That's assuming that negotiations happen at all or that the Heirarchy does not decide to reneg on their side
What would happen if we stated that we were willing to join the Nirtalm's side, but we're not willing to undergo the conversion process which by all appearances would inevitably lead to our extinction?

The Nirtalm would say that they have no intention to force humans to undergo conversion at gunpoint and banning them from setting up conversion therapy clinics is denying the individual the right to make that choice for themselves and reaping the benefits that come with it.

Zor


What if we agreed to join on the condition that the conversion is reversible (say a volunteer signs up to fight the war for 5 years, then may convert back if he/she wishes).

What if humanity agrees to join the war on the condition that once the war is over humanity may be allowed to join as full citizens without having to convert to Space Cats permanently? Humans can if they want, but it's not a requirement for citizenship. And vice versa- what about Space Cats interested in becoming human? Or is it part of their makeup that they will not associate with other species on that level?

It's the "we want to commit slow genocide" aspect of the Space Cats that I find very disturbing, especially when it's backed up with the threat that if we don't agree to "volunteer" the next time the Space Deer come knocking the Space Cats will level our planet.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-02-14 07:19pm

Zor wrote:The Nirtalm will say that the Heirarchy's policy in regards to primitive species like humanity is to put a fleet in orbit, demand that they submit to their authority under threat of orbital bombardment and set up a bases and garrisons to make sure the quotas they give are met and enforce edicts. They generally don't negotiate with less advanced species, they collect reports, make demands and designate proxy leaders.
Well yes, the Nirtalm will say that. The question is, will they actually be willing to give us the opportunity to interact with the Ksel and give them an opportunity to speak for themselves?

The Nirtalm have somehow managed to destroy entire species before, by creating a situation where every living member of that species 'voluntarily' mutated themselves into new forms. Furthermore the Nirtalm have declared that they will use extreme force against Earth if Earth does not join their organization.

If the Nirtalm are acting honestly and in good faith, then they should be able to understand why this gives us reason to seek corroboration of their claims.

The Ksel view themselves as being created by their six gods to dominate the galaxy with everyone else permanently subordinated to them as vassals at best and failing that (depending on the severity) putting them at low rungs in their hierarchy, replacing defiant governments with oppressive ones of their design, enslaving the defiant parts of their population, turning their species into one of domesticated slaves (You know how humans bred aurochs and wild horses into pliable mounts and draft animals, well imagine that done with genetic engineering) or genocide.
Yes, the Nirtalm have told us all these things. Getting independent corroboration is another matter.

What would happen if we stated that we were willing to join the Nirtalm's side, but we're not willing to undergo the conversion process which by all appearances would inevitably lead to our extinction?
The Nirtalm would say that they have no intention to force humans to undergo conversion at gunpoint and banning them from setting up conversion therapy clinics is denying the individual the right to make that choice for themselves and reaping the benefits that come with it.
The Nirtalm have not provided anything remotely like a satisfactory explanation for why these 'benefits' should be linked on a mandatory basis to the NIrtalm body form.

Do they only bother to research longevity enhancements for Nirtalm? Do they prohibit subject species from researching medical technology that might be used to enhance humans to a level where they would be physically competitive with the Nirtalm? Is full citizenship in their empire restricted to those who mutate into the Nirtalm body form? If so, why?

How did it come to pass that literally all members of any species, let alone several of them, 'freely decided' to mutate into Nirtalm? Were there literally zero holdouts? How long did it take for the last million remaining members of the species to all decide to mutate into Nirtalm? Were the ones who refused to mutate sterilized, or otherwise prevented from reproducing? What social and economic pressures could have resulted in such an outcome?
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Lone Browncoat » 2017-02-14 07:27pm

The Nirtalm 'tour of duty' is twelve years, as in the O.P. , that's why I set up my last post as "surviving two tours of duty" .
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Tribble » 2017-02-14 07:38pm

Lone Browncoat wrote:The Nirtalm 'tour of duty' is twelve years, as in the O.P. , that's why I set up my last post as "surviving two tours of duty" .


Sorry, missed that, though that doesn't change my point that their "voluntary permanent conversion" routine backed up with threats of force if we refuse to comply is effectively genocide.

I was asking Zor if it were possible to negotiate so that after serving their tour the "volunteers" can convert back, and that humanity can eventually join as full citizens without having to convert. If it's non negotiable as far as they are concerned and that they fully intend on eventually causing humanity (as well as all other species they come across) to eventually go extinct and become Space Cats... I'd prefer the Space Deer to be honest. The problem being that the Space Cats will come over and blow us up if we don't join them.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Khaat » 2017-02-14 07:42pm

Simon_Jester wrote:How did it come to pass that literally all members of any species, let alone several of them, 'freely decided' to mutate into Nirtalm? Were there literally zero holdouts? How long did it take for the last million remaining members of the species to all decide to mutate into Nirtalm? Were the ones who refused to mutate sterilized, or otherwise prevented from reproducing? What social and economic pressures could have resulted in such an outcome?

Maybe they didn't like living in a zoo/being slaves, so chose species suicide (your kids-to-be won't be human, evermore) by going Space Cat.

So are the Space Cats technocratic or theocratic? It seems their war is to make everyone them (by destruction or conversion) to please their six godthings. I find it difficult to believe a technocratic elite would so closely echo a theocratic paradigm, unless the "other boot" is that their gods are AIs.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Tribble » 2017-02-14 07:51pm

Khaat wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:How did it come to pass that literally all members of any species, let alone several of them, 'freely decided' to mutate into Nirtalm? Were there literally zero holdouts? How long did it take for the last million remaining members of the species to all decide to mutate into Nirtalm? Were the ones who refused to mutate sterilized, or otherwise prevented from reproducing? What social and economic pressures could have resulted in such an outcome?

Maybe they didn't like living in a zoo/being slaves, so chose species suicide (your kids-to-be won't be human, evermore) by going Space Cat.

So are the Space Cats technocratic or theocratic? It seems their war is to make everyone them (by destruction or conversion) to please their six godthings. I find it difficult to believe a technocratic elite would so closely echo a theocratic paradigm, unless the "other boot" is that their gods are AIs.


I think the Six God thing is part of the Space Deer.
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Re: Earth gets drawn into an alien conflict (RAR!)

Postby Khaat » 2017-02-14 07:52pm

Tribble wrote:I think the Six God thing is part of the Space Deer.

Ah, found it. Yep, Six gods = Space Deer
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