Author Topic: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"  (Read 575 times)

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Offline 0rph3u5

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The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
Iceni: [...] You would be well advised to question the wisdom of your leaders. [...]

Have you ever wondered why this is the only statement in the Freespace 2 campaign that goes unchallanged?

In its portrail of the Bosch we are otherwise treated to figure that would be entirely incapable of bringing about a positive future (the Monologue's provide ample on his state of mind, going so far that you can attribute suicidal tendencies to the character) and Command repeadly failing to come up with what would be a correct course of action from an observer's point of view (up until the point that it is the Shivans who resolve the physical conflict in baffeling fashion).

While Freespace 2 doesn't paint its figures of authority as incapable (Bosch realizes his ambition, whatever the consequences of that might be; Command's decisions do provide limited success, with unconditional success being denied by the Shivans' refusal to comply with the logics of Command), it every much stands out that the suggestion to challange authority is delivered by a character in a position of authority; both on texual, as the leader of the hostile forces, and on subtextually level, as GTVA's strategic decisions towards the NTF are mostly reactive.

Not only that, the mission itself beats you over the head with the notion immediately - and denies the resolution of by cutting off the dialogue by the arrival of new enemies, never to be spoken off again (well, not exactly but in further events, e.g. A Flaming Sword, similar doubts are mixed with other contexts).

It's a curious case...
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nysa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
*challenged.

Yeah, I subscribe to your assessment here. It seems like a thrown thread in there, hinting right at your paranoia gland that goes nowhere apart from that exception in Flaming Sword that you mention, and another one, much more important.

Before that, let's realise that in SOC loop 1, where you infiltrate the NTF, all Command actions are correct and ethical, in a narrative context where they could well have chosen to reveal a darker, fast and loose side to GTVA's activities.

The other exception is the incompetence of Command to capture the Iceni in all occasions, with infiltrators even capable of disabling momentarily the Collossus so that Iceni can escape to the nebula. It's more than suggestive that Command did let Bosch escape on purpose, they were aware of these sabotage attempts and they let them perform it so that Bosch could end his project's mission of contacting the shivans. As a guinea pig, Bosch was the perfect sample, extremely intelligent and resourceful, and 100% expendable. Let him go to the shivans, watch his experience and oh, what a pity, he died horribly by the shivans (or something else, an open thread to FS3, surely), nothing lost here.

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
There's definitely a strong case for what both of you said. Mechanically you aren't allowed to let the Iceni be destroyed on the first SOC mission. Obviously this was to cut down on the work later but I do think it lends some additional support to the point being made (and makes the Vasudan's jumping the gun another example of the less than stellar relationship between the Vasudans and Terrans because either the Vasudans don't know the full extent of the GTVA's goal with Bosch or they disagree with it)
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Offline darkdaej

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Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
Iceni: [...] You would be well advised to question the wisdom of your leaders. [...]

Have you ever wondered why this is the only statement in the Freespace 2 campaign that goes unchallanged?

In its portrail of the Bosch we are otherwise treated to figure that would be entirely incapable of bringing about a positive future (the Monologue's provide ample on his state of mind, going so far that you can attribute suicidal tendencies to the character) and Command repeadly failing to come up with what would be a correct course of action from an observer's point of view (up until the point that it is the Shivans who resolve the physical conflict in baffeling fashion).

While Freespace 2 doesn't paint its figures of authority as incapable (Bosch realizes his ambition, whatever the consequences of that might be; Command's decisions do provide limited success, with unconditional success being denied by the Shivans' refusal to comply with the logics of Command), it every much stands out that the suggestion to challange authority is delivered by a character in a position of authority; both on texual, as the leader of the hostile forces, and on subtextually level, as GTVA's strategic decisions towards the NTF are mostly reactive.

Not only that, the mission itself beats you over the head with the notion immediately - and denies the resolution of by cutting off the dialogue by the arrival of new enemies, never to be spoken off again (well, not exactly but in further events, e.g. A Flaming Sword, similar doubts are mixed with other contexts).

It's a curious case...

This mission has led me to believe the GTVA is definitely not as "sunshine and rainbows" as the game tries to make us believe.  Alpha 2's angry rant was very interesting to listen to and hinted at something more...which sadly wasn't really explored.

Then again, you have the perspective of a pilot and you see very little of what happens in the world beyond briefings.  We're only given the perspective of your squadmates...when they're allowed to "chatter" a bit.  So basically all you know is what the poor indoctrinated soldiers get to know.

But hey, chalk one element I can use in Vasudan takeover story.

And yeah, I've begun writing :P  I'll post the first chapter here once I'm done with it - though there won't be much intrigue at that point just yet...gotta set things up first.

 
Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
It's quite obvious that GTVA is the pure good. Everyone else is evil.

It makes sense when you consider that you're in the military - you're goal is tho fight the enemy, not understand it or watch its propagand. The techroom entries could have provided more insight, but most of them are rather short by modern (BP/INF) standards.

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
I wouldn't call them the pure good. They dumped decades of resources into a superweapon (plus we only get a very small window into the rest of the situation). They are good by comparison. They're next to a bunch of xenophobes that led by someone who would rather try to ally himself with the violent aliens of unknown motivation and the violent aliens of unknown motivation.

I'll agree that :v: isn't as down on the GTVA as they were the GTA in FS1 but I really do think that's just an extension of who else is in the world
Current Projects:

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Offline darkdaej

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Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
I wouldn't call them the pure good. They dumped decades of resources into a superweapon (plus we only get a very small window into the rest of the situation). They are good by comparison. They're next to a bunch of xenophobes that led by someone who would rather try to ally himself with the violent aliens of unknown motivation and the violent aliens of unknown motivation.

I'll agree that :v: isn't as down on the GTVA as they were the GTA in FS1 but I really do think that's just an extension of who else is in the world

Well, they aren't good or evil...they just "are"

The GTVA is nothing more or less than a superstate running several planets.  It'll have the same problems most modern governments do.  Even more given that there are two different sentient species getting *cough*equal*cough* representation.

So it isn't good or evil...it just wants to maintain its own existence.  We don't know how much influence the General Assembly has over the individual colonies or how colonial governments work to have a real opinion.

But I do see the GTVA as having way too much power for its own good.  Centralized authority like they have can only lead to corruption...and you don't see each individual system running its own military/militia.  Heck, even civilian transports have military designations.  All you see in both games are the GTA/GTVA forces.  You never hear of piracy, mercenaries, bounty hunters or private navies.  Of course the extended universe puts those in, but those stories aren't canon. 

I'm left to assume that space travel is regulated by the GTA/GTVA, from what the games tell us...  Now THAT is a recipe for totalitarianism if I ever saw one...

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
It is curious how a question on a decision of the narrators (yk :v: ) regarding how to deliver (what I would state is) the running theme and central topic of the entire story turned into one of logics internal to the story...



Quote
We're only given the perspective of your squadmates...when they're allowed to "chatter" a bit.

You are not "allowed" or "disallowed" to chatter at point from an in universe perspective, your wingmen just do. Command never cuts you off in actuallity - they reprimant a breach of protocoll and then they basically leave the room. The next wave of enemies showing up is what ends the discussion: See 2:10+ in the following.

Most modern armies don't consider discussing orders and events amongst peers a bad thing - acutally is it considered to be good for unit morale (as soldiers than don't project their dissatisfaction elsewhere) and unit cohesion (as it builds honesty and trust among the ranks). Of course, some militaries have greater affinity ... or sometimes historical obligation to it. - Hence "You can discuss this at your debriefing."

Challenging a superior to their face is considered unaccepable of course. Likewise, a subordinate does not make demands of a superior (even if they use the word "request" while their tone makes clear it is a demand). It's a chain of command, not a chain of democracy after all.  - That's what "You are out of line, pilot" is about.

Now Command's leadership may not seem all that stellar - as I said they basically just leave the room - but understandable considering how charged up Alpha 2 is at that point.
(As I said earlier, Command is competent in all matters that don't concern the Shivans, because Command fails to grasp that the Shivans are not like a military force - hence also the Colossus both in-universe and as a storytelling device)
« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 04:22:13 pm by 0rph3u5 »
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nysa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline darkdaej

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Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
Quote

You are not "allowed" or "disallowed" to chatter at point from an in universe perspective, your wingmen just do.


I know - I meant that they're "allowed to" because they've got time to do so.

Man, people pick apart anything :P

And no need to explain "chain of command" to me - i'm all too aware of how *that* works!

 
Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
"chain of command" is the thing the Zods put on every Terran that dares to oppose them. ;)

 

Offline darkdaej

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Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
"chain of command" is the thing the Zods put on every Terran that dares to oppose them. ;)

Well, if Khonsu has his way in my story, that just might happen!

 
Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
But you're not making the kind of story where Khonsu keeps his collection of chained Terran slaves for private purpose are you~ ;)

 

Offline darkdaej

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Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
But you're not making the kind of story where Khonsu keeps his collection of chained Terran slaves for private purpose are you~ ;)

Hmm, well...I didn't think of it that way...

*shakes head rapidly*

Let us not even THINK about THAT!

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: The delicious irony of "The Romans Blunder"
But you're not making the kind of story where Khonsu keeps his collection of chained Terran slaves for private purpose are you~ ;)

Hmm, well...I didn't think of it that way...

*shakes head rapidly*

Let us not even THINK about THAT!

I will derive boundless amusement from your fragile morality. /fake-matter-of-fact-voice-for-humerous-effect



Now back on topic, please.

Narrative Technique. Volition. FS2 campaign main point.
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nysa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."