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Author Topic: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse  (Read 9780 times)

Neko_Ali

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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #50 on: 20 Aug 2015, 08:46 »

The biggest problem with the 'The trees are the enemy' theory is that we only have the word of Alice on all of that. The siblings paint a different picture of life Up There. Mostly that it's safe, but boring. And everyone has everything they need, but lack unique experiences. Assuming that Alice is right and the trees do want to invade/remove the Earth-bound population it would indicate that things aren't as stable Up There as the kids think. Depending on where they are, orbital or lunar colony they could be running out of easily obtainable resources to break down and recombine with their nanotech. Or maybe whatever population controls they are using are not effective enough for their production to keep up with the population growth and they need more space. It's considerably easier to expand on a planetary body with appropriate atmosphere than a space habitat. Or to adapt people to exist in a zero atmosphere environment, if they can even do that.

That doesn't explain why they had to send the kids to Alice's town though. Whatever their goal is they could have dropped a colony starter crew in some remote area with enough tech to kickstart a settlement. Something that would be incredibly easy to do if they make use of nanotech reassemblers. Just send down a hive machine, feed it raw material and wait for it to start producing custom order nanomachines to build whatever you need.

All of this still makes me thing whoever or whatever is responsible for the siblings presence, it's directly targeted at Alice. Someone is testing her I think, for some reason.
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #51 on: 20 Aug 2015, 09:06 »

Part of the reason that seems fishy to me is physics.

Now, I've no idea if Jeph even knows this, but it ALOT harder to operate up and down a gravity well than it is to just stay in space.

Admittedly, the kids seem to expect Scotty to get involved. Assuming transporters, the Trees are actually in good shape, resource wise, just dealing with NEOs. Atop that, they've had 1000s of years, which is plenty of time for jaunt to the Kuiper belt and back with an absurd comet.

Frankly, there's nothing on Earth they really need but bacteria. One assumes they had plenty of those up in space too, since humans are more bacteria, by weight, than they are human. (Don't tell Hannelore. Not that she doesn't know, but don't make her think about it.)

Water? Beam some up from the Gallilain moons. Soil? Mars is raw soil. You'll need poop to make it useful, but you've got all those people? Metal? Asteriods. C-type asteroids are rich in raw organics, and you've got bacteria to spare. Air? CO3 plus plants = Air. Mars and Venus, again. Lots of CO2. Hydrocarbons (for some reason, I guess?) Titan, baby.

If you have a big enough transporter, you don't even need rocket fuel to break Earth orbit. Just beam it out. Can't beam that far? Beam it as high as you can and let it fall. You can beam it down to Earth, you can probably beam it pretty high. We else would you need the technology than to reach other habs? Those could be 7, 8 thousand kilometers away. Classic gravity assist. If done right you zoom off at escape velocity. It wouldn't take a lot of planning to build a civilization that spanned the Solar system. So why Earth?

The only logical reasons I can think of are Sentiment or someone has already laid claim to the rest of the solar system. It could be the blink, but then I wonder again why it chose to take a war that would ended in days and drag it out over millennia.

Neko_Ali

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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #52 on: 20 Aug 2015, 09:58 »

Well we don't know how far their transporter technology works, or if they have interplanetary ships. It wasn't supposed to be possible to beam things down to the surface. That could have been a technological limit. It's possible the trees have been quietly trying to send agents to the surface for a long time now, and it's just with Ardent and Gavia that they were able to land their targets on the surface, instead of say 40 miles up. It's all speculation since we only have a limited understanding of what kind of tech they have available.
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #53 on: 20 Aug 2015, 10:08 »

The way Gavia spoke into the air and requested to be taken home suggests the existence of matter teleportation technology of some sort.

Why might the Praeses want the planet? For that old, old reason for envy, covetousness, theft, pillage and war throughout history: It is there and they don't yet control it. Maybe, just maybe, whoever created those things created their minds to mimic those of humans just a bit too well.

I do wonder if the Praeses are still fighting the war millennia later, still trying to prove that the biotechnologists were right on the ruins of the other factions' civilisations.
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ReindeerFlotilla

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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #54 on: 20 Aug 2015, 11:05 »

Well we don't know how far their transporter technology works, or if they have interplanetary ships. It wasn't supposed to be possible to beam things down to the surface. That could have been a technological limit. It's possible the trees have been quietly trying to send agents to the surface for a long time now, and it's just with Ardent and Gavia that they were able to land their targets on the surface, instead of say 40 miles up. It's all speculation since we only have a limited understanding of what kind of tech they have available.

Beaming in from 40 miles is a valid method. Sure the subject would break the sound barrier on the way down, but it's survivable. Some dued got red bull to pay for him to prove it. Guy named Felix. He wasn't the first. He got the first guy to be his ground controller, which was a nice touch.

Basically, beaming into any altitude less than LEO would mean that you could beam out far enough for a gravity assist to work as a means of making escape velocity. You needed move more mass than a large man, either. In most of the payload is reaction mass and nanobots, they can build whatever you need once they reach the target asteroid. (You could cut down remass by using an ion engine. in some profiles it would be slower (in most long range profiles, it wouldn't, but 100s of years. Time's not much of an issue.) While we don't know what it's really like in AG, the physics of our world say that with the blink giving them a position in orbit, it took out the most difficult part of building a sustainable population of people off Earth. The people are out of difficult part of the gravity well. Building interplanetary ships would be a relatively easy thing for a nanobot enabled society, and the resources of the Jovian system alone dwarfs everything you could squeeze out of Earth. This only doesn't work if you rangelimited from LEO, and even then beaming a nanobot probe, remass and an ion engine as far out as you can buys you a good amount delta v.

I could explain in more detail, but the key point is that as long as you get away from the major drag of the outer atmosphere, it's pretty much a free lunch. (Obviously, it's actually stealing a tiny bit of Earth's lunch, but that's not really important. Earth's a big eater.

Even with a level of monomaina at play, a few decades of failing to retake the surface would lead a logical thinker to note that the vast majority of resources are elsewhere, and noone is there to stop them taking them. So, again, it must be sentiment, which would enclude envy and all that other stuff, or there is something out there and those resources are denied.

Either way, I'd say the blink wasn't very effective.

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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #55 on: 23 Aug 2015, 14:53 »

I wonder if ReindeerFlotilla works for The Star Trek Technical Manual :-D  ;)
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #56 on: 23 Aug 2015, 16:14 »


As has happened before, you've launched into a spiel that goes far beyond my remark that you seemed to be countering at the start, and as a result then included a large amount that I agree with!
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #57 on: 24 Aug 2015, 01:54 »

One thing I've learnt from my own youthful flirtation with Treknology is that, sometimes, the laws of physics need to take a second place to narrative. The scripts for Voyager sometimes caused respectable physicists to grind their teeth because of the nonsense it tried to dress up as science. I'll always remember seeing the simulation showing the Enterprise-D's saucer sagging at the edges and the entire ship compressing in and stretching out like concertina whilst under acceleration.

To me, the matter transporter works because the script fairies doth decree it thus. Everything else is just a detail that we are invited by the writer to ignore in the name of narrative convenience.

From my semi-amateur perspective, the only transporter technology that survives conservation of momentum is a wormhole/portal type that physically connects space-time at the origin and destination points and thus minimises to near-zero differences of energy.
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #58 on: 24 Aug 2015, 10:08 »

From my semi-amateur perspective, the only transporter technology that survives conservation of momentum is a wormhole/portal type that physically connects space-time at the origin and destination points and thus minimizes to near-zero differences of energy.

Have you met met the idea of multiple nucleus sized worm holes to move objects between points? It would negate the issue of squeezing a person or ship through the spacial equivalent of a drinking straw.

Or some older science fiction based on door technology using the tunnel diode as a jumping off point. The ramifications and secondary tech required to compensate for differences in potential and kinetic energy between points are quite interesting.
Without compensatory equipment or having it work too well, you could flash freeze anything with little damage to the material. The other way round could replace a microwave oven for heating stuff but that could get dangerous very quickly.
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #59 on: 24 Aug 2015, 11:13 »

Ah, the tear-apart teraport?
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #60 on: 26 Aug 2015, 22:43 »

Actually, you would run into the same issues of conservation no matter how you transport. Conservation of momentum is just a special case of conservation of angular momentum. So equal areas must be swept in equal time. No matter how you teleport, the total momentum of the system needs to stay constant.

So beaming from low orbit to high orbit requires that you be going faster than you were in low orbit. But your energy didn't change, so there's only one way it can work... You immediately start to fall. Basically, the only way a transporter can instantly move one thing from one place to another is by robbing everything else in the system of a little energy.

But that's okay, because the transporter doesn't have to be instant. If you beam at the speed of light, then the whole process will automatically conserve all conserved quantities. No big deal.

You'll still fall, because that's part of the conservation, but the key point in avoid any issue of violating physical law is respecting the speed limit. Anyway, you want to fall. You beam out "behind" the Earth, trailing it in orbit. Then you fall, but you angle the fall so that you miss, much like Arthur Dent. Avoid the worst of the outer atmosphere, and you steal a bit of momentum from Earth and go flinging off at a higher speed.

It does get tricky, at this point, because you might not be able to steal enough momentum to escape. But you have time. Lots and lots of time. So you fling out as far as you can and shape your orbit so that the Earth's gravity overcomes your velocity while you are behind it. Rinse, repeat.

It takes fuel, but not nearly as much as just blasting straight out of the gravity well. We do that part all the time. The only difference is we use big chemical rockets to get high enough to start falling in a useful manner.

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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #61 on: 01 Sep 2015, 11:22 »

... since humans are more bacteria, by weight, than they are human...

Sorry to quibble... and it doesn't really affect your point, but http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-09/fyi-how-much-bacteria-do-people-carry-around

by count, yes, there are probably more bacteria than cells, but that's because most bacteria are way tinier than most of your body's cells
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #62 on: 09 Sep 2015, 22:08 »

I've thought of a new one. Why did the Nightwalker, who is not supposed to do anything but walk at night and stare at the moon, reach for Gavia and Ardent?

A popular theory I bought into was that it wanted Gavia's nanotech, as Gavia was the one floating. But recent comic events have put forward the idea Ardent has nanos, or at least the ability to turn simple machines into complex ones.

Could the Nightwalker have been reaching for Ardent instead? And what would have happened if it had managed to grab either?
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #63 on: 10 Sep 2015, 22:01 »

Will this nice bird now seek out other items to infect?
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #64 on: 11 Sep 2015, 02:54 »

Will this nice bird now seek out other items to infect?

No, it will find Alice and her oh-so-serious personality funny and will hang around the cottage, pulling elaborate practical jokes in an attempt to cheer her up. In the fullness of time, having a pet that is as effectively immortal as she is will change Alice for the better and help her focus more and more on making things better rather than worrying about 'what if?'

Thousands, possibly millions of years in the future, there will be an interesting incident where the bird pranks a kindly but naive veterinarian of Alice's acquaintance and also Alice's current personal student during its periodic regeneration cycle. Bonus points for anyone who gets the reference!
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #65 on: 12 Oct 2015, 21:59 »

Thousands, possibly millions of years in the future, there will be an interesting incident where the bird pranks a kindly but naive veterinarian of Alice's acquaintance and also Alice's current personal student during its periodic regeneration cycle. Bonus points for anyone who gets the reference!

Well, you've stumped me.  :?
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #66 on: 13 Oct 2015, 02:30 »

Thousands, possibly millions of years in the future, there will be an interesting incident where the bird pranks a kindly but naive veterinarian of Alice's acquaintance and also Alice's current personal student during its periodic regeneration cycle. Bonus points for anyone who gets the reference!

Well, you've stumped me.  :?

Okay, here we go! Warning! This reveals a lot about my entertainment preferences! Somehow, Alice ultimately evolving into a goddess of sorts in a world utterly changed from the one we know thanks to the effects of various technologies altering genetics and being present everywhere fits into my ideas for the character and universe.
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #67 on: 13 Oct 2015, 07:02 »

So you're saying that Alice will eventually become Princess Celestia?
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #68 on: 13 Oct 2015, 07:07 »

So you're saying that Alice will eventually become Princess Celestia?

No, I'm just saying that I wouldn't have any serious problem plotting a fan-fiction around that premise. With Gavia as Princess Luna and Ardent as Discord. :wink: :-D

Seriously, though, yeah. I can see Alice after a few dozen more millenniums becoming more and more detached and more and more skilled in using her special abilities to the point where it would be easy to present herself as a goddess of sorts... sufficiently advanced technology and all that... all to protect Her Little Townsfolk, of course. It is also possible that long-duration exposure to nanotech in the environment may induce biological and anatomical changes in humans (much has already happened with the Thermal Vision Deer, the Giant Birds and the Audrey-IIs).

Meh... I guess I'm just on a 'transition era between human and post-human epochs' riff with Alice Grove right now
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brew

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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #69 on: 13 Oct 2015, 19:37 »

Have Ardent and Gavia's ages ever been mentioned?
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #70 on: 13 Oct 2015, 23:15 »

Have Ardent and Gavia's ages ever been mentioned?

Never specifically. Their personalities make me think Ardent is in the 16-18 years age group and Gavia is 12-16 years.
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #71 on: 19 Oct 2015, 17:18 »

I'd peg Ardent as a little younger, maybe around 13-15. I definitely think of Gavia as younger than Ardent. Is their relative age ever mentioned?
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #72 on: 20 Oct 2015, 11:47 »

I thought of Ardent in the 18-21 range, though I'm more confused why Jeph has never put a number or range out there. A lot of what they say takes on a different meaning depending on his age.
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #73 on: 20 Oct 2015, 11:56 »

I suspect Ardent and Gavia are physically mature but emotionally quite immature. The society that they came from could easily keep them both youthful-looking for a long time, potentially indefinitely. And in an economy of abundance with no need to work, no outside dangers and no need to worry about anything, there's not much pressure to grow more emotionally mature. So they could be any age.
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #74 on: 24 Oct 2015, 23:40 »

Interpersonal conflict is also a source of maturity. You don't even need limited resources for that - imagine person A wamts to spend more time with person B, but person B doesn't. Bam, interpersonal conflict!
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #75 on: 26 Oct 2015, 22:50 »

Perhaps it was just her dominant means of entry, but I always read Gavia as the overdomineering big sister and Ardent as the annoying precocious little brother.

Perhaps Jeph left this vague on purpose.
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Re: Unanswered Questions from the Alice-verse
« Reply #76 on: 21 Nov 2015, 10:45 »

Back before the Blink, humanity was in a war and all set to kill itself.  And I kind of read that war, Alice's invulnerability, and her traumatic memories of being a weapon, all together to come up with one scenario.  Honestly it seemed so obvious that until I read the speccy here, I hadn't even considered any alternatives.

I think that Alice, and possibly a few others like her, was intended to be a super-soldier; a weapon to ensure that THOSE people, rather than THESE people, would be the ones to die.  It is possible that she served with pride and honor, and possible that she was enslaved in some way by technology which no longer existed after the Blink.

But the supersoldier job becomes a bit meaningless after the Blink, when nations as such no longer really work.  So Alice finds herself out of work, perhaps gratefully and perhaps not, and has to decide what to do with the rest of her eternity.  Becoming the protector/sage of a locality seems like a worthwhile role, and the appreciation of the people there at least as meaningful and a hell of a lot more personal than wearing medals and a uniform.
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