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The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine 
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Post The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
A thought occurred to me regarding the vessel that blasted apart the Bellarmine. In the comic it was spotted a mere 60km away from the Bellarmine, and appeared out of nowhere. Furthermore, while the tech level of the Terran ship might be discernible from the energy output of the vessel on scans, its armament could not be, and therefore the vessel that attacked it wouldn't have been able to tell if the Bellarmine was packing mass driver weaponry (the outsider reveals that other vessels in the Bellarmine's class were upgraded to carry such weaponry). While in the outsider-verse it's horribly antiquated tech, at 60km such a weapon is devastating, technological inferiority notwithstanding. Even Bellarmine, which had light weaponry, probably could have posed a threat with laser weaponry and her complement of missiles at that range.

My thinking is that no sane commander (especially not at the Loroi/Umiak tech scale) who is worried about a hostile response would EVER get that close to an another vessel intentionally. Even the Umiak, who prefer to engage at close range, would probably consider that too close for comfort.

Based on that line of thinking, it seems likely to me that the weapons blasts could have been reactionary defensive measures... kill the ship that suddenly appeared on top of us BEFORE it can do anything of consequence. In that case, the commander is afraid of a close range attack and feels they need to react instantly. No target analysis beyond "not one of our ships" is done and they aren't inclined to trust a "friendship message" when that could be a cover for an attack they'd likely not survive. The repeated weapons blasts, even after Bellarmine was obviously crippled, would be delivered on the unlikely chance that she still had any weapons functioning after being shorn in half... the mentality from the alien commander is "better safe than sorry".

I've read a few opinions that the vessel wasn't from either faction, and that the destruction of Bellarmine was a targeted attack instead of an accident from a trigger-happy alien commander, but the distance at which the ship came into sensor contact from the Bellarmine suggests that their crossing was accidental. It doesn't rule it out, to be sure... an ambush could have been set around the jump point and they just happened to jump in close enough (though given the size of a jump arrival zone, that seems unlikely), but it doesn't sound unreasonable to attribute the skirmish to a trigger-happy alien commander freaking out when an unknown ship popped up practically next to them.

Does this analysis seem reasonable?


Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:32 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
Yes - however I dont know if we know all the protagonists. We see the two factions - those on the side of the Loroi and the Umiak. Humanity was an unknown and disbelieved fable until Alexander was rescued. That this fable was held a secret suggests a third force.

The Umiak seems to be a hive mind, the keeping secrets amongst them would be a strange attribute to them, but keeping tactical secrets from other aliens and enemies would make sense - but the Loroi captain StillStorm disbelieves anything the Umiak say. I say we may see a third manipulative force, and that Alexander's talent for unexpected tactical skills may come to play.

However, I have not delved through the archives or the threads below, so perhaps my thought has been since considered and disregarded.

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Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:52 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
man_of_foul_tofu wrote:
The Umiak seems to be a hive mind,
How so?


Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:10 am
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
starstriker1 wrote:
My thinking is that no sane commander (especially not at the Loroi/Umiak tech scale) who is worried about a hostile response would EVER get that close to an another vessel intentionally. Even the Umiak, who prefer to engage at close range, would probably consider that too close for comfort.


The short range also means it's less likely the encounter could happen by accident, though. The odds of the two ships just randomly ending up 60 km from each other are very low. My assumption is thus that the other ship detected Bellarmine from a distance and deliberately moved close, taking advantage of the proplyd for cover.

The only reason I can think of for them to move so close is to get as detailed a look at Bellarmine as they could...information gathering is the only purpose that makes sense. They then attacked as soon as Bellarmine reacted to their presence and continued to fire on fragments of wreckage, actions consistent with an attempt to erase evidence of their existence, and not really in character for either Loroi or Umiak (at least, not the main groups we know about).

One possible reason for the close approach: an attempt at using telepathic probes on the crew. Loroi telepathy is known to be highly dependent on range...technically usable for inter-ship communication, but with such limitations and side effects that it is useless for this purpose in practice. However, with a good amplifier (or innate ability greater than that of the Loroi) and at close range, useful information might be gained. Perhaps they'd been edging close and closer trying to get around the human "lotai".


Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:58 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
But even in the polypoid (And wasn't Bellarmien at the edge of it - where density would be lowest?) isn't 60km way too close?


Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:59 am
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
you are forgetting, mere minutes after jump-in, there was no time for maneuvers, whatever they ran into was already there, the fact that it took bellarmine a while to NOTICE something that damn close, speaks volumes for it's stealth capacity, all of which points towards a 'scout' of some kind, either loroi/umiak keeping tabs on the field(pretty unlikely) or a third party scouting....which is kinda scary.

actually I'd like to ask arioch here, what is the time line involved from jump into system to destruction of bellarmine to alex being picked up?

we know it's about a minute and some change from 'proximity alert' to first shot, which coincides nicely with weapon cycle time....drop 'cloak' and fire.


Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:32 am
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
No cloaks. No stealth in space. Its a major underpinning to the story. The ship was hiding in the disc material, same as the Umiak fleets. They didn't fire because they didn't want to draw attention to their position or presence. They fired to destroy the Bell only after the Bell broadcasted a hail, which is to say, only after the Bell outwardly paid attention to them.


Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:46 am
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
TrashMan wrote:
But even in the polypoid (And wasn't Bellarmien at the edge of it - where density would be lowest?) isn't 60km way too close?


60 km is really damn close. Not knowing who the other guy is, it's hard to say what's "too close"...but they did get detected, so I'd say they pushed their luck too far.

And average density might be lowest there, but it's not like it's a uniform disk...there'd be denser clumps of material.


discord wrote:
actually I'd like to ask arioch here, what is the time line involved from jump into system to destruction of bellarmine to alex being picked up?

we know it's about a minute and some change from 'proximity alert' to first shot, which coincides nicely with weapon cycle time....drop 'cloak' and fire.


There's no clear indication of how long a time there was between system entry and the proximity alert, though. The bridge crew's surprise at its presence..."where the hell did it come from?"...doesn't fit the situation of the Bellarmine jumping in on top of it, and it's unlikely that the Bellarmine jumped directly into the proplyd anyway. It appears it happened shortly after they detected the battle and slowed to observe, but they may have been in the system for a fair amount of time at that point.

My take on the timeline:
Bellarmine enters the system, probably out of the plane of the proplyd, starts to transit/investigate the system.
Mystery ship at the proplyd rim detects their arrival and maneuvers to intersect their course through the proplyd...Bellarmine's only evading debris, so this takes little in the way of continued maneuvers.
Bellarmine detects the battle and slows.
Several possibilities...mystery ship reacts to Bellarmine slowing as she passes, and Bellarmine detects that response, or the maneuver simply happens to give her sensors a longer look at the object as the two pass.
Story ensues.


Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:43 am
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
discord wrote:
actually I'd like to ask arioch here, what is the time line involved from jump into system to destruction of bellarmine to alex being picked up?

Bellarmine had been in the system for several hours before the alert on page 2.

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Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:18 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
so its possible they were being suck up on then? hunted may be? by a third party, since both fleet commanders say they know nothing about the Bellarmine's destruction, its possible that a third party has benefited from the Loroi and Umiak fighting each other, and whoever this was figured that the Bellarmine would be too much of a game changer to be allowed in at that point, hence her near totaly destruction, presumably with all hands, in fact if Alex hadn't survived the loroi might never have known of Bellarmine's existence so they could gage just how much of a game changer huamity would be

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Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:59 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
The weapons in play would have been able to make a clean kill from much much farther than 60km. If someone was specifically hunting the Bell with the intent to destroy they had ample opportunity before Hamilton ordered the friendship broadcast. They did not.


Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:33 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
hmm, so perhaps this third party were ether unable to see the Bellarmine until they were right on top of them? given that the proplyd seems to screw with sensors or were still making up their minds before they hit Bell, if not then maybe the attacking ship was the one emitting whatever its was that blocked the loroi's sensors and its own sensors were impaired by the interference it was emitting?

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Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:49 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
Michael wrote:
hmm, so perhaps this third party were ether unable to see the Bellarmine until they were right on top of them? given that the proplyd seems to screw with sensors or were still making up their minds before they hit Bell, if not then maybe the attacking ship was the one emitting whatever its was that blocked the loroi's sensors and its own sensors were impaired by the interference it was emitting?


1 AU, roughly the distance of Earth from the sun, is 150 million km. The proplyd is probably tens of AU across, jump zones on the order of a few AU across. What are the odds of Bellarmine just randomly wandering within 60 km of this one little ship? Pick two spots on a globe at random. How likely are they to end up 60 km apart? It's vastly more likely to happen than it would be for Bellarmine to accidentally run into this ship.

They weren't hunting Bellarmine to kill her, but closing to 60 km had to be deliberate. And a sign that they were extremely confident in their approach to what could have been either a Loroi or an Umiak vessel. They weren't the least bit unwilling to destroy her, but that doesn't look like their primary goal...they wanted an extremely close look at her. Their sensors should have been able to get a good look from a much greater distance under normal conditions. It might be that the proplyd obscured their sensors, so they moved close using a dense patch of proplyd for cover and then emerged at close range to get a quick look before destroying Bellarmine, no longer intending to hide from her but still trying to prevent identification from others in the system.

Or like I mentioned, they wanted to probe the ship telepathically. Not too extraordinary considering the other stuff going on in the system. Could be several things...telepathic Umiak, slaves, allies, mysterious third party...


Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:01 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
I don't think the facts add up nicely to Bellarmine being hunted after first detection. 60km is just way, WAY too close for any conceivable purpose other than a friendly approach (obviously not the case) or the telepathy boosting mentioned earlier (thought that is an interesting angle). Any sort of maneuvering anywhere near that range would be easily detected, and even a drifting spacecraft would have been easy to detect unless it was hanging out in a particularily thick part of the proplyd with its engine off. This kind of close range surprise would be pretty much impossible if either party had their engines running, even with all the noise in the surrounding area.

Even with the telepathic angle, even if you did have some reason to want to check this ship out with that in mind, 60km is really, stupidly close to get to a potentially hostile vessel. A primitive mass driver could easily hit even an accelerating Loroi or Umiak ship at that range, and would likely be as fatal as the plasma lance that sliced Bellarmine apart. It's hard to imagine telepathic investigation of Bellarmine to be worth putting yourself in position to take a kill-shot, especially since anything you want to learn can be learned at a distance, and a ship not appearing in telepathic far-sense has a reasonably good chance of being an AI piloted ship deployed by a hostile faction.

I think the most likely scenario is that the vessel was drifting at roughly the same place that it encountered the Bellarmine, perhaps nestled in a denser section of the proplyd. It was unaware of the Bellarmine--otherwise it would have done something well before hitting the 60km range--and then, upon sudden detection of an unknown vessel at a potentially fatally close range, figures that it's better to be safe than sorry (and dead) and starts blasting.

I then see two likely motivations for the initial placement:

1) They were keeping a low profile in the proplyd, observing the combatants. Given that the vessel is cruiser sized or thereabouts, it'd be odd if it was one of the combatants. As the Bellarmine's command staff pointed out, it's too big to be a picket vessel of any kind. It might be a third party (like the historians) keeping tabs on the war's progress. Maybe the Historian AI we've seen was controlling it remotely, or maybe it's an entirely unknown party.

2) They're a party hostile to humanity that knew roughly where the Bellarmine was coming from and set an ambush in the jump zone. The Bellarmine got "lucky" and they didn't notice her until she was right on top of them, or the ambushers got lucky and were able to maneuver to an intercept position well before Bellarmine caught wind of them (the jump signature would be pretty obvious, right?) and then were unlucky enough that they didn't have a clear view of their target until she got close.

Either way, though, I think that the 60km range itself almost had to be accidental. It's just too risky, and for the telepathy option to have been relevant it'd have to be someone other than the Loroi. They were in too precarious a position to have sent a cruiser-sized vessel off into the middle of nowhere to sit on its ass.


Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:50 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
hi hi

If it is true that the attacker was deliberately closing on the Bellarmine, it does raise some interesting questions. We don't know much about the Umiak client races, but I suppose it is possible that they conquered a planet where some of the native life had telepathic qualities too. Or potentially, they may have forced another telepathic race into their hierarchy, and that race was intrigued by the Bellarmine's lack of mental signature.

The Umiak have shown no sign of aversion to sacrificing entire fleets in order to get a closer look at things.

However, I think there's still a possibility that the encounter was accidental. The Bellarmine has top notch sensors as far as Terrans go, but they didn't detect the vessel until it was, as was elegantly pointed out, really damn close. Space may be huge and three dimensional, but Proplyds do gravitate along a 2 dimensional plane, and the dense parts of the disk are likely to create linear rings that, if travelled along could make a close encounter very likely.

Captain Hamilton put the Bellarmine in a position to "lie low," until the battle was over. It is entirely possible, in the "great minds think alike," sense of convergent thought that whoever attacked the Bellarmine also thought that spot would make a good place to lie low.


Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:19 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
Strictly speaking, Hamilton wouldn't have needed to put Bellarmine anywhere special to "lie low" while the Loroi and Umiak were duking it out. While Bellarmine might be obvious in normal circumstances (obvious jump signature, initial engine burn, and a fairly obvious moving object on radar if not hidden in the proplyd) during the battle the combatants aren't paying much attention to a ship on the other side of the system: it's just noise that distracts from their current predicament (ie being shot at). Bellarmine likely couldn't have hidden themselves at all if there hadn't been a war going on.

To wit: The Loroi were able to perfectly track Bellarmine's path through the system and the attack on them, but they did it by looking through archived sensor data.


Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:01 am
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
hi hi

Its all about contingency. The Bellarmine still wanted to observe the battle, but perhaps Hamilton figured they might be able to duck into the proplyd themselves if there was trouble. Not saying thats how it went down, but if they thought they might get some cover from it, that could explain why the two ships ended up so close.


Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:30 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
An unidentified ship with overpowered weapons doing nearly impossible things?

Sounds like Historians to me, based on what I can remember.. But I'm probably just paranoid. And after all, EVERYONE'S weapons are overpowered against human ships. But the Wave Loom was inspired by Historian tech...

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Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:20 am
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
Knowing that the Tempest is a vessel of the Vortex class ... info dump following:

Note: Commissioned in 2145, Vortex was the first vessel to carry both the heavy Wave Loom device and the new Pulse Cannons. Like its contemporary Saber battlecruiser, Vortex was fast but poorly protected and suffered disproportionate losses during the Semoset campaign. In 2152-4 there was a short run of improved models serving as command ships for fast strike groups, ending with Tempest, the last surviving ship of the class.

Interesting enough the moment the Tempest is about to break loose on the reinforced Umiak fleet with its forward and close range batteries ... Jardin is forcefully taken away from the room (long after he said "what colour the beam that destroyed his ship had"). With Beryl being somewhat distressed looking. I am still of the opinion that Alex was taken away to prevent him from reckognising the weapon when it would fire on the Umiak and linking it to the Loroi.

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Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:15 am
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
I seriously doubt that the Loroi stood and fought the battle at the end of Chapter 1. More likely they turned and ran.


Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:48 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
fredgiblet wrote:
I seriously doubt that the Loroi stood and fought the battle at the end of Chapter 1. More likely they turned and ran.


either that or both sides were weaken enought to pull out of the fight but not out of the system.

IIRC the loroi lost two other strike groups, before the 51st came to the area and are only staying because of alex and the Bell transmission and destruction.

now i might be wrong about this

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Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:39 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
NOMAD wrote:
either that or both sides were weaken enought to pull out of the fight but not out of the system.

IIRC the loroi lost two other strike groups, before the 51st came to the area and are only staying because of alex and the Bell transmission and destruction.

now i might be wrong about this


They were only staying put because of the wreckage, which they just blasted away with a torpedo. They have no reason to stand and fight, and lots of reasons to get away with what they have.


Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:27 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
Durabys wrote:
Interesting enough the moment the Tempest is about to break loose on the reinforced Umiak fleet with its forward and close range batteries ... Jardin is forcefully taken away from the room (long after he said "what colour the beam that destroyed his ship had"). With Beryl being somewhat distressed looking. I am still of the opinion that Alex was taken away to prevent him from reckognising the weapon when it would fire on the Umiak and linking it to the Loroi.


Given that the Tempest is the flagship of the fleet I doubt it would have been lurking that far from the battle, alone and unescorted.

Also based on descriptions of the Wave Bloom (which Arioch may admittedly have changed) it is basically like the various super-powered spinal weapons seen in various animes (Wave Motion Cannon, etc) and I doubt that it would have required three shots to take out the Bel :twisted: .


Nick


Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:54 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
captainsmirk wrote:
Durabys wrote:
Interesting enough the moment the Tempest is about to break loose on the reinforced Umiak fleet with its forward and close range batteries ... Jardin is forcefully taken away from the room (long after he said "what colour the beam that destroyed his ship had"). With Beryl being somewhat distressed looking. I am still of the opinion that Alex was taken away to prevent him from reckognising the weapon when it would fire on the Umiak and linking it to the Loroi.


Given that the Tempest is the flagship of the fleet I doubt it would have been lurking that far from the battle, alone and unescorted.

Also based on descriptions of the Wave Bloom (which Arioch may admittedly have changed) it is basically like the various super-powered spinal weapons seen in various animes (Wave Motion Cannon, etc) and I doubt that it would have required three shots to take out the Bel :twisted: .


Nick

:geek:
partially incorrect: "... to cut it in half with one shot." Would be more correct.

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Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:58 pm
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Post Re: The vessel that destroyed Bellarmine
The only vessel in the system with a Wave-Loom device is Tempest, and she is far too large to be the 300m vessel that killed Bellarmine.

Also, in the bizarre scenario that that isn't enough evidence for you, descriptions of the Wave-Loom that I've seen (which aren't much, to be honest) described it as some type of hyper-long-range area of effect weapon... something that requires eating up ALL the energy reserves on the ship when fired, leaving the ship immobile temporarily. This makes it both inconsistent with the number of shots fired in a short time, as well as the face that there was anything left of Bellarmine after the first shot... an "area of effect beam weapon" would probably have shredded it, and we'd be short a protagonist. What we know of the pulse and plasma cannon weaponry so far paints it as MORE than enough to carve a Terran ship in half (the Umiak and Loroi were doing it to each other during the big battle).


Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:36 pm
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