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The One Open Question in Politics

Imagine, for a second, a totally imaginary scenario: Consortium vs. Gaule in open conflict.

Who would win?

The answer is very obvious, even if we know next to nothing about the relative military strengths: Consortium wins, hands down.


Let me tell you why: Infrastructure.

If we look at certain infrastructures, it is very obvious that the Consortium controls all of the important aspects:

  • Travel/Transport: the Consortium controls all 5 currently accessible jump gates.
  • Water: Spirit of Botswana is under Consortium control. In case of necessity, Gaule could try to extract water from EstaciĆ³n de Amazon, but could only supply The Maid of Orleans with it; for every other station, it'd need jump gate access.
  • Food: the main producer is The Ghost of Mail, again a Consortium station.
  • Energy: we only have indirect data here through antimatter prices as ship fuel, but that indicates that the Consortium can sell antimatter about 5x as cheap as the cheapest Gaule source (Nouveau Limoges). This indicates that Gaule resells fuel it buys from the Consortium, or only has massively less efficient energy sources. Or maybe the Consortium heavily subsidises fuel on Tau Station. If it does so, it must have some very good reasons, and the economic resources to sustain that over the cycles I have observed this behavior.
  • Ships: the Consortium controls 3 out of 5 operational shipyards, the Gaule only one.

Given all these very clear advantages of the blue faction, we have to ask ourselves a very serious question:

Why hasn't the Consortium cut off the Gaule from its infrastructure, leaving them to die?

Or if not leaving them to die, then at the very least to assert their dominance, or to assimilate more Gaule stations over time (as happened to Yards of Gadani).

I have several hypotheses:

  • It's actually happening, but slow, in a "death by a thousand cuts" kind of way. Likely the blue don't want to provoke open military action, which would be costly for both sides. But victory is inevitable, and so there is no need for haste either.
  • The Gaule have one or more very powerful bargaining chips that I haven't considered yet. The warships that survived the Catastrophe at Maid of Orleans might have interesting databases, and I have no idea where in the galaxy Computer chips, stims and VIP packs are being produced.
  • Humanitarian reasons (but who am I kidding?)
  • There might be a fear that a dying Gaule administration could strike back with unpredicted strength, possibly through computer-based attacks, or from pre-Catastrophe weapons systems.

It could be a combination of several of these, or I could be missing something crucial.

What do you think, dear reader?


  1. And that sort of policy surely helped during the Catastrophe, eh?

  2. That strategy did work in the direct aftermath of the Catastrophe for one important reasons. But before I delve into that, I'd like to note that it wasn't during the Catastrophe because as far as we know the Catastrophe wasn't caused by humans. In the case that the Catastrophe was caused by humans, MAD definitely did work. MAD did work because the Governments were primarily focused on rebuilding and were afraid that a complete war would result in MAD.

  3. Comment deleted.
  4. A government controls its space through the control of the exchange of goods and information. A desperate Gaule government could sabotage the jump gates (and if coordinated enough, simultaneously) and render them permanently inoperable for cycles to come. There's still a lot we don't know about jump gates, and while operational security around them will become even tighter during wartime, it only takes one person, one ship, to bring down a relatively fragile installation.

    No jump gates will cut off trade, which will quite possibly cause a second (although not quite as terrible) catastrophe as resources (including the military) can no longer be transported to where they need to go and the Consortium can no longer take action (and exert any control). It's a huge setback to humanity, and both the Consortium and Gaule are most likely aware of this and would like to avoid it.

    For the antimatter, it's quite possible that they are equal or superior in production to the Consortium, but restrict most of their antimatter supply to their military, thus making it more expensive for civilians like us.


  5. I think that rocking the boat in a (passive?) aggressive way like that when we are all still recovering from the catastrophe is just a bad idea all round. Look at the case of Nouveau Limoges: in the months after the catastrophe it allowed consortium assistance and emergency administration. In 92 A.C the consortium agreed to return it to gaule control, but they could have easily refused. They had an easy opportunity to remain in control but didn't. I don't know the exact terms of the Limoges Accord but if they are really planning a slow take over why didn't they start there? However the more we recover from the events of the catastrophe I think that the current peace will not seem as necessary and tensions will begin to rise.

  6. What's a boat?

  7. Maybe some type of shuttle? I think it's an old earth saying though.

  8. It is a vessel.

  9. A boat is a small vessel that was used to traverse large expances of water called"seas" that occurred naturally on Terra before the catastrophe.

  10. I have a few ideas to consider in that regard.

    • Clones: We know by the proliferation of the Ruins Rats and the shadowy scroll gang that someone, somewhere, is recloning live people over and over again, and this holds potential for an army of clones to fight a war. We see these multi-clones in stations of all affiliations. It is unreasonable to say nothing is going on there.
    • Chess: Surrender of the King is the end of the game, and the players leave. The Consortium and the Gaule have both stated a devotion to stand against whatever caused the Catastrophe. Lack of a foe would leave the recruiting offices empty of patriots and full of gold-brickers, looking for benefits instead of seeking a berth in the fight for their homes. Moreover, how can domestic surveillance be justified without a sinister force to guard against? Without the Gaule, the people might even turn their attention to their dissatisfaction with the government which now keeps them safe, and that would be a disaster. The larger game of chess would stand a high risk of a default loss for the "blue team" and for all of humanity, if they are right. They need the Gaule for the same reason the Old Earth Chicago Bears fans needed (and funded) the Green Bay Packers....
      Something to complain about.
    • Diverse research: The undisciplined and empassioned artists of the Gaule Protectorate will take many paths and chase down many wild geese (what are those?). While the Consortium carefully selects the topics to dedicate its R&D resources, the Gaule will explore ANYthing and may stumble on something useful.
    • Practice: Peacetime armies get fat. A Consortium military without an enemy would forget how to fight.
    • Trade: Ingrown economies implode and die. Without import and export, there is no drive for development and marketing. Without diverse goods, people find less and less satisfaction as nothing is ever new anymore. Unhappy people are unstable people, and that becomes a tinderbox for revolution and civil war.
    • Relief valve: Where else can we send our undesirables?
    • Decoy: Why waste time, money and resource exploring every extent of space when someone else will do it for you? Let them take the risks, just make sure we are strong enough to reserve the spoils.