General FreeSpace > FreeSpace Discussion

FS2 is a cosmic horror story

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Iain Baker:
Yup, exactly this. In some ways, the fact that we never got FS3 is a blessing. We wouldn't have had Inferno, Blue Planet, Exile and many other great campaigns if we had.


--- Quote from: 0rph3u5 on January 14, 2022, 03:17:09 pm ---The Shivans are not unfathomable per se, the GTVA just fails to fathom them.

This makes them an unknown. Which is in no small part because of the presumption of the GTVA, which is that they have developed the technology to bring sufficent violence and force to counter the violence and force expected of the Shivans. That's why the centrepiece of the first antagonist's, Bosch, plan is creating the option for a non-violent encounter with the Shivans - it highlights, in concert with the failure to stop the Shivans until they impose a hard stop to the confronation on their terms, that the GTVA has been travelling down a road to nowhere without realising it.

--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: BengalTiger on March 27, 2022, 07:21:30 pm ---So Bosch was right? Possibly. Possibly he just used the common fears among society to manipulate them into civil war, but in the end the grand plan was to sacrifice millions to save billions.
--- End quote ---

There's several issues I find with this line of thinking - and in general how I feel about a lot of the "Ends justify the means" line of reasoning.

Bosch's plan involves:

* Starting a rebellion with as stated goal secession from the GTVA and the annihilation (or at the very least the subjugation) of the Vasudans
* Using this genocidal rebellion as a cover to plunder Ancient sites for research.
* Opening a portal to The Shivan Dimension and launching the entire NTF in there in a bid to get to them.
* Talk to the shivans.
* Victory!
Throughout FS2 we see Bosch carrying out all the steps in his plan. He has built ETAK, he uses this to contact the Shivans, and the Shivans listen. As a result, his entire crew is killed and he is kidnapped, never to be seen again. Bosch's plan succeeded. It's just that the outcome of that plan didn't have the result he intended it to have. The end is just that more people get killed. Bosch's plan, which uncharitably can be described with "If only we could talk to the Shivans", has a massive flaw that his ego can not see: It assumes that the Shivans are willing to listen to him. He proclaims himself a messiah, but doesn't understand the divine.

So the end is bogus. We see that. But if we assume that the plan did work. Then we'd still have to talk about the means.

Aken Bosch is an admiral in the GTVA and was a pilot flying for the winning side of the GTI rebellion1. Given that he went from enlisted to admiral and that he's able to start a pretty big rebellion by himself means that he most likely has considerable reputation and political connections. He could leverage those to get access to the resources he needs. The GTVI is interested in his research, he could've worked for the GTVI in the first place!

His plan also involves opening the portal to begin with. Bosch is so sure of himself that he doesn't even wait for apocalypse to happen once again: He triggers it. Immeadiately. He triggers it and waits until the GTVA is stretched out enough that he can make a beeline for the gate. All the while, both the NTF and the GTVA's soldiers suffer.

The means don't make sense if Bosch's only objective was to actually talk to the Shivans. A more patient, less self-centred person then Bosch could've created Etak through co-operation and simply have waited until the Shivans came again. Bosch instead chooses the fastest, maximally destructive way possible to achieve his "End".

Bosch talks about how it was his love for the Human race, not his hatred for the Vasudans that made him do the things that he did, but he betrays quite a bit of his thinking with that statement: He doesn't deny his hatred for the Vasudans even in his self-centred monologues, and it's obvious that his plan involves their annihilation. Although he never talks about his version of Generalplan Ost, we see the consequences of his policies first-hand. One of the ends of Bosch's plan is mentioned less, but the point is not to just from an alliance with the Shivans: It's to replace the Vasudans with the Shivans. The Vasudans must simply go away.

And as much as Bosch proclaims his love for the Human race, it's clear that he cares more for a concept that exists entirely in his head rather then him loving some actual examples of it. Bosch's death march for the Shivan Dimension leaves all of his followers dead.  It's notable that aside from the crew of the Iceni, all the NTF's losses and all the damage the NTF has caused were part of the plan. Bosch isn't willing to sacrifice millions to save billions. He's willing to sacrifice billions for what looks to be just the people closest to him, and most likely only himself.

Bosch doesn't have a non-violent encounter with the Shivans, in that way: The path he took to get to the Shivans in the first place is full of violence. Violence against the Vasudans most of all, but the only reason we encounter the Shivans in FS2 is because Bosch send the Trinity to open the portal in the first place. It's Bosch who has been travelling down a road to nowhere without realising it, the GTVA simply followed in his footsteps, and permitting the blood sacrifices that he made along the way. His path to "Neo-Terra" both physically just moves him as far as any Terran has gone from Terra, and separates him from humanity entirely. Everyone who loved him is dead, and he walks straight past the Knossos portal that actually could restore "The Lost Grandeur of Earth". He doesn't care: He doesn't want humanity to form an alliance with the shivans. Aken Bosch wants Aken Bosch to form an alliance with the Shivans.

The GTVA is complicit in this, as we see throughout FS2. It too massively suffers from hubris: Hubris in thinking they could control Bosch, hubris in thinking they could contain the Shivans, but ultimately the GTVA also keeps its options open and its ultimate objective is more measured and inward looking. This is reflected in the price they pay: The NTF is destroyed entirely, the GTVA at the very least gets to live.

1 There's historical precedent of people who fought for the unambiguously evil losers still getting cushy positions in the victor's government, but that doesn't change the overall argument: If the GTVA is willing to give a member of the Hades Rebellion the admiralty, he could just be the GTVI's Wernher von Braun.

Joshua, that was the best post ever,  holy bleep!

That is fantastic.

Heh, thanks.


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