Author Topic: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"  (Read 5194 times)

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Offline Agent_Koopa

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"Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
As you may or may not recall, there were two threads regarding the well-known Capella incident. Simultaneously, they degenerated into flamewars between TrashMan and karajorma, and were eventually locked by the latter. However, there are still some questions yet to be answered (namely, mine). The final moments of the two locked threads were based on a conflict between the "Capella was an accident and there was no supernode" school of thought and the "WTF are you talking about" school of thought. In my most expert and esteemed opinion, the arguments for both sides were as follows:

Accident theory/No Supernode
The Shivans blow up Capella purely by accident, as evident from the obliteration of some Sathanases and of the rest of the Shivan forces.
Admiral Petrarch may even have been mistaken when he was talking about a supernode, as he was speculating.
The Shivans are just as fallible as humans are, so they may have screwed up.

Other side
The Shivans would be unlikely to screw up at the game's conclusion for no reason at all.
Admiral Petrarch was delivering the game's epilogue, and his words were therefore those of the developers giving us hints.


I may have missed out on some points, but that is unimportant. What matters is that one side believes that Capella was an accident, because Shivans died in the blast. The other believes Capella was on purpose, because there is no reason for Petrarch, delivering the epilogue to be wrong, and Sathanases escaped the supernova via subspace. These, apparently, are completely irreconcilable positions.

Why can't it be both ways?

Petrarch was closing the game. The supernode is the only canon explanation for the destruction of Capella. It's all we have. Why would they lie to us in the epilogue? Equally important, if they were creating a supernode to go home, how could they fail so spectacularly, wiping out many of their own ships? There is an explanation that reconciles this contradiction, but bear with me for a moment. It is important to recall that the Shivans had an entire armada of specially-built node-constructor ships. This is tried-and-tested technology. There is only one way to explain their failure. Remember that the Shivans have such a huge impact on us because of their amazing technology, including the ability to travel through unstable jump nodes. How unlikely is it that the Shivans messed up their own tech all by themselves, at the game's conclusion, no less! How anticlimactic would it be if the terrifying Shivans simply had their machines blow up in their faces? There must have been an outside reason for the spectacular malfunction. That reason was the GTVA.

Throughout the Second Shivan Incursion, the GTVA fights the Shivans tooth and nail. Arrogant, incredibly so, but not without reason. The Shivans win only through unstoppable numbers and pure, brute force. Heavy casualties are sustained by the Shivans, up to and including a Sathanas juggernaut. Only the arrival of multiple juggernauts is enough to break through GTVA defenses and secure a system. There is no doubt that the GTVA was at least a thorn in the Shivan side. Remember, the GTVA is the only possible factor that could have affected the Shivans. No other races other than Terrans and Vasudans are known to exist. Assuming :v: wasn't going to pull something out directly out of its rectum for FS3, only the GTVA could have done it. The GTVA must have done something right. In response to my original post, ngtm1r suggested that it could have been the destruction of Shivan transports by the GTVA in Their Finest Hour. This is possible, but when considered from a story perspective, is extremely unlikely. The destruction of a few transports in the same mission as the death of the Colossus was what caused the subspace wave to fail? What about something far more visibly important: the first Sathanas? Here, we have a reason for the supernova. A compelling one. The only GTVA victory in the entire Second Shivan Incursion, a campaign marked by one success, followed by crushing futility. Perhaps the only success was enough. One nodebuilder ship, taken out of the equation, may have been enough to destabilize the subspace wave, allowing the star to go supernova and only a few ships to escape.

Think about it. We can take Petrarch as reliable, so the Shivans built a supernode. The Shivans wiped out part of their fleet, presumably in the attempt to go home, so there must have been some sort of failure. The one factor affecting Shivan operations that we know of is the GTVA. The one GTVA success happens to have been the destruction of a Shivan nodebuilder. This timeline makes perfect sense in terms of story. There's no anticlimax, and every event has a cause. What other conclusion can be drawn?



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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
i'm not even gonna take part in this debate. Interesting read though.
Fun while it lasted.

Then bitter.

 

Offline Flipside

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
Well, as long as Londo and J'Kar don't end up at each others' throats again.... :p

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
Londo and G'Kar were the best thing in B5 I'll point out. :p
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
I've always thought it interesting that nodes can only be created at points of relatively 'flat' spacetime, i.e. areas where there is little local gravity.

These might include Lagrange points. Shouldn't there be a Lagrange point of sorts at the center of the system's star -- in much the same way there'd be no gravity at the exact center of the Earth? Maybe the hearts of all suns contain a supernode.

I haven't thought this through at all, however.

 

Offline Flipside

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
Well, the thing about a 'point' is that it has no dimensions, so there is theoretically a point of absolute zero gravity at the centre of a Star, however, in reality, that actual point is infinitely small, at least if I remember my physics correctly.....

Edit:

Londo and G'Kar were the best thing in B5 I'll point out. :p

I agree actually, I thought they were both great characters, such a pity the Actor who played G'Kar died, I'd have love to have seen more of that particular story.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
Well, the thing about a 'point' is that it has no dimensions, so there is theoretically a point of absolute zero gravity at the centre of a Star, however, in reality, that actual point is infinitely small, at least if I remember my physics correctly.....

Not true actually. A hollow sphere has no net gravitational attraction all the way through. Hell ANY sphere hollow or not is like that.

At the centre it's fairly obvious that all the forces cancel out. What's less obvious is that they cancel out everywhere else too. At any point in the sphere other than the centre the gravitational attraction of the point "beneath" you is directly cancelled out by the much pull from the larger mass "above" you pulling you in the opposite direction.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 09:14:58 am by karajorma »
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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
First off, the notion of a supernode is pure fan speculation and has absolutely no canon support behind if.  If you meant supernova though, then I'll agree with you, as that is indeed canonical.

Secondly, while you're certainly free to interpret the meaning of the ending cutscene for yourself (I can't stop you if you like being wrong after all), it and the rest of the game are an extended lesson on the dangers of hubris.  Our arrogance destroyed Capella.  Initially we had sound reasons for leaving the Knossos open, as we wanted to reproduce the technology ourselves.  But afterwards?  The illusion of our superiority cost us an entire system and thousands upon thousands of lives, something we could have easily prevented by collapsing the node in Gamma Draconis when we had the chance.  Our arrogance was our downfall.

The ending of Freespace was a Pyhrric victory.  The ending of Freespace 2 was full out cut your losses and run ignominious retreat.  We thought we could best the destroyers, only to have our weakness thrust in our faces by the might of their armada.  The only thing we did right during the Capella campaign was to evacuate as many civilians as we could and to cut off the system itself.  But while we can rightly take pride in the heroism of those who laid their lives on the line in doing so, it's important to understand that our entire desperate gambit succeeded only because the Shivans let us do it.  We're only alive because they didn't kill us.  There wasn't any stopping the Sathanas fleet, had they engaged us rather then congregating around the star the entire GTVA might have fallen.  I say might only because there's the possibility of collapsing nodes further into GTVA space.

With that said, how can anyone honestly interpret the ending of the game in a manner that grants us success beyond our mere survival?  I don't know about you, but I just watched an unstoppable cosmic force that we arrogantly presumed ourselves superior to exercise their will on the cosmos, and it was all we could do just to get out of the way.  Maybe some of us just haven't learned the lesson FS2 teaches?

Hubris is a dangerous thing.
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Offline karajorma

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
First off, the notion of a supernode is pure fan speculation and has absolutely no canon support behind if.  If you meant supernova though, then I'll agree with you, as that is indeed canonical.

Well it's not pure fan speculation. Petrarch speculates on it too. :D That said he also says

Quote
"There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Wish more people would pay attention to that. :D
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Offline TrashMan

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
Just to give you a small correction - I didn't say that the shivans weren't trying to make a supernode.
I said we don't know what they tried to do. Maybe a supernode, maybe they jut wanted to make a nove, maybe something else. Supernoe is as much of a speculation as anything else.

As for the "it shouldn't have blown theory" - the blame doesn't have to fall only on the shivans. What I said was:
- maybe the shivans made a mistake and the star blew up (it wasn't their plan to blow it up)
- maybe the shivans made a mistake and the star blew up too early (it WAS their plan to blow it up)
- maybe the GTVA caused the fatal mistake ( destroyed a transport with vital resources, destroyed the comm nodes, the Sath or something else)
- maybe it wasn't really the shivans fault but it was just a fluke of nature. Unpredictable fluctuation or something and thing got out of control
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Offline ShadowGorrath

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
The supernova may be intended , or maybe it wasn't ( I personally think it wasn't intended ) . Eitherway - it happened too early . The Shivans lost 1 juggernaut , another one was interrupted ( while destroying the Colossus ) , so the remaining Sathanas' had to compensate for the 2 missing juggernauts . Half of them lost all their power ( turned black and didn't jump out in the cutscene , with the other Shivan ships destroyed also ) . But since at least half of them jumped out , I guess they succeeded in making of what I think was a super-node . Just my opinion .

P.S. There is no canon information about what happened there , so don't whine about something "not being proven by canon" . I don't think there'd be a topic here about this if there was enough canon information for us not to speculate . And that's what we're doing here - speculating . Giving out our opinions . So please don't start an opinion-war between two or three people here , because it's annoying , results in a lock , and who knows - maybe some good theory get's missed .

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
P.S. There is no canon information about what happened there , so don't whine about something "not being proven by canon" . I don't think there'd be a topic here about this if there was enough canon information for us not to speculate

Saying that's what starts the wars most often actually. :p
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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
First off, the notion of a supernode is pure fan speculation and has absolutely no canon support behind if.  If you meant supernova though, then I'll agree with you, as that is indeed canonical.

Well it's not pure fan speculation. Petrarch speculates on it too. :D That said he also says

Quote
"There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Wish more people would pay attention to that. :D
Node?  Yes.  Supernode?  No, not remotely.  Canonically there's no such thing as a supernode.  I'd agree with you if you're stating that they used the dying star to go somewhere, but I'm not going to give blanket credence to the whole supernode idea in the process.  That said, I don't inherently find it repugnant and can see it being a possible valid mechanic.  Just don't call it canon, where jumpnodes are jumpnodes, just differing by stability.  Besides, wasn't the original reason people bandied about the term "supernode" the idea that only the Sathanas juggernauts would have jump drives capable of utilizing it?  One would think that a supernode would be so exceptionally stable that anyone could use it, not the other way around.  So if the reason the other elements of the Shivan fleet didn't jump out with the Sathanas was because they couldn't use that node, wouldn't that suggest extraordinary instability instead?  Seems more plausible to me anyways.

Eitherway - it happened too early . The Shivans lost 1 juggernaut , another one was interrupted ( while destroying the Colossus ) , so the remaining Sathanas' had to compensate for the 2 missing juggernauts . Half of them lost all their power ( turned black and didn't jump out in the cutscene , with the other Shivan ships destroyed also ) .
The words "I think" before "it happened too early" would have made more sense, given that you said "Just my opinion" at the end of the paragraph. (Yay nitpicking!)  That aside, I have a factual issue with that theory: The cutscene doesn't show half the Sathanas ships powering down and not jumping out, as it doesn't show all the Sathanas ships in the first place.  I'll watch it again, but I don't think it was proportionally half of those on display that were destroyed either.  Canonically, they lost "some" ships.  That doesn't change the possible validity of your argument of course, but tossing about words like "lost half the fleet" might lend the position more strength then it actually is due.

I of course disagree with you entirely, but you already knew that.

[Edit because I just noticed something] Is the title of this thread inspired in any way by Rocky and Bullwinkle?  It really reminds me of the titles they would give when telling you to tune in next time; gave me a good chuckle just now. [/edit because I had noticed something]
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 04:14:13 pm by Marcus Vesper »
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Offline Agent_Koopa

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
It's a supernode to distinguish it from regular, naturally-occuring jump nodes, which are not large enough to allow ≥40 juggernauts through at one time, nor are they created by fleets of specially-constructed ships. Otherwise, a supernode would appear to be the exact same as a regular node. The terminology is only different to draw attention to that fact that the Shivans created it. That point of semantics out of the way, the supernode's stability has nothing to do with the supernova, as I theorized. The absence of a Sathanas juggernaut is what caused it. Only some of the Sathanases made it through the newly-formed node.

And yes, the GTVA was arrogant, TrashMan Vesper. They were arrogant and they lost. The juggernaut fleet, and the swarm of Shivan ships was far too much to bear for an already weary allied force. But you can't deny that the GTVA inflicted heavy casualties, and, most importantly, one Sathanas juggernaut. No matter how badly the war went, the GTVA still brought down one juggernaut. I'm not trying to say that the GTVA weren't arrogant, and I'm not trying to say they didn't get their butts kicked. The one major victory against the Shivans was the destruction of the Sathanas. And that is all that is needed.

I stress that Petrarch's theory is very likely correct. He admits that he doesn't know for sure, but this is the only canon information regarding the supernova that we have. If FS3 were to have followed a regular, sane plotline, then this makes sense. It is the only bit of info we have. FS3 would have built on this. The main thing going for my theory is that it makes sense in terms of plotline. Things all happen for an in-game reason.

Also, yes, I was going for a Rocky & Bullwinkle title, and it makes me very happy someone laughed. Took me a while to come up with a bad pun on "nova".
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 07:07:59 pm by Agent_Koopa »
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Offline Flipside

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
Strictly speaking, all we see is a load of Saths jump and the star explode, anything beyond that is based on Petrarchs' conjecture, which may or may not be factual, there's no real evidence for either a Node or a Supernode, simply that at least some of the Saths jumped somewhere. It's entirely possible that destroying the star had nothing whatsoever to do with making any kind of node whatsoever, if you go purely by the evidence of the cutscene. The jump could have been anywhere, video evidence doesn't really provide a deciding weight to any particular theory.

  

Offline General Battuta

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
I like the supernode hypothesis.

Vesper, that was a good analysis about the lessons of hubris above. That was the same thing I got from the game.

You're wrong on one minor point, though -- there was a small triumph: the recovery of the Knossos technology and the return to Earth.

I don't think it's a thematic coincidence that there is one homecoming (of mankind to Earth) at the end of FS2, and another speculated upon: that of the Shivans to wherever they belong.

It's just my opinion, however.

 

Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
Londo and G'Kar were the best thing in B5 I'll point out. :p

Delenn was hot, does that count for nothing? =)
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Offline Agent_Koopa

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
It's true we don't know what the Shivans are doing. But ask yourself; why would the developers lie to us? It's the only explanation with a basis in canon, namely Petrarch's epilogue. It's not just Petrarch rambling, it's the epilogue to the entire game. Please remember that there was going to be an FS3, had FS2 done better financially. :v: had ideas of what the Shivans were doing. Remember our only hint: that the Shivans are a symptom of something big. This would have been developed further in FS3. Don't think about what happened in one ambiguous cutscene, think instead about the direction the story would have taken. Petrarch's speculation is evidence in itself. Think about it, Volition knew where they were going, would they have Petrarch go off on a completely unrelated tangent in the epilogue?

Interestingly enough, this signature is none of the following:
A witty remark on whatever sad state of affairs the world may or may not be in
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A clever and self-referential comment on the nature of signatures themselves.

Hobo Queens are Crowned, but Hobo Kings are Found.

 

Offline WMCoolmon

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
It's true we don't know what the Shivans are doing. But ask yourself; why would the developers lie to us? It's the only explanation with a basis in canon, namely Petrarch's epilogue. It's not just Petrarch rambling, it's the epilogue to the entire game. Please remember that there was going to be an FS3, had FS2 done better financially. :v: had ideas of what the Shivans were doing. Remember our only hint: that the Shivans are a symptom of something big. This would have been developed further in FS3. Don't think about what happened in one ambiguous cutscene, think instead about the direction the story would have taken. Petrarch's speculation is evidence in itself. Think about it, Volition knew where they were going, would they have Petrarch go off on a completely unrelated tangent in the epilogue?

:V: could have changed it's mind, and even if it didn't, 'something big' is about as vague as you can get besides 'something'. 'Big' could be anything from a theme to an alien race to an emotion to astronomical phenomena.

As for Petrarch: sure they could have. It's not completely unrelated anyway, as someone pointed out, it's thematically related to the Knossos. It ends Freespace 2 on a happier note, rather than just a rehash of "No one knows how or why...". The ending of Freespace 1 is more or less unrelated to the plot of Freespace 2. Alpha 1 talks about species being exterminated, and nobody is in serious danger of being exterminated in FS2. The Shivans don't open jump nodes; the Ancients portal does. Maybe Alpha 1's comments would have some relevance to Freespace 3, but until then, all you can say is that Alpha 1 more or less went off on a "random tangent" that was thematic to Freespace 1, but not to Freespace 2.
-C

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: "Aftermath of Aftermath of Capella", or "Nova and Again"
Yep. While I tend to favour the explanation Petrach gives as the likely direction :v: would have picked saying that it must be their explanation is silly.

If you use that logic then you can argue that the GTVA never will figure out how to use the Knossos technology since it's based on Ancient technology and the FS1 ending quite clearly says that the Shivans are the ones who will reopen Sol's jump node.
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