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Author Topic: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers*  (Read 89583 times)
Art
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #255 on: August 06, 2004, 11:35:53 am »

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The coolest logical, practical use of time travel for problem solving was regarding the key/distraction/trashcan in Bill and Ted's Rxcellent Adventure, IMHO.

The 4D grammar was AWESOME =p
Oh, and if you take the Taalo device, then it will still make you disappear and be trapped in the infinite loop I mentioned.


Hey, there's a reason that all but the first few pages of that book are printed blank -- no one has the patience to slog through that nonsense.

But according to Bill & Ted logic, if your mission succeeds without a hitch, you'll put the device right back where you found it before returning to the future, and history will be just peachy. If you *fail*, you'll lose the shield somewhere in space, it won't be where you need to find it in the future, and your past self will get killed in the war and the events of the sequel will never happen. Since you *didn't* get killed, and the events of the sequel *are* happening, that means that it's an established historical fact that you won the scenario in the past and you're protected by fate, right? Smiley
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Sander Scamper
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #256 on: August 06, 2004, 09:16:50 pm »

Im sorry Art, i know how much you like to prove me wrong with 3-4 pages of well written text, but whenever i think about Time Travel, it just gives me a freakin huge headache =/
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #257 on: August 07, 2004, 01:58:05 am »

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Pockets of TrueSpace with inhabited planets on them presumably don't just pop up by themselves in QuasiSpace.


They might if you accept the 'QuasiSpace is a mental plane' argument from the 'They cannot see you now' thread, which seems about as reasonable as any conjecture abou the nature of other dimensions (such as HyperSpace and QuasiSpace).  And actually, the argument about QuasiSpace travel requiring 0 fuel use, and yet your ship coming to a swift stop when you're not thrusting, is fairly compelling; that doesn't make any sense by normal physics, and it doesn't even make much sense by slightly-odd 'closely related but different dimension' physics.  The idea about QuasiSpace (and therefore your ship, while you are in QS) being a psychological construct is kind of a good one, IMHO.

On the other hand, the Arilou *do* refer to their homeworld as being "nestled in a TrueSpace eddy", which suggests an actual physical planet and not a psychological manifestation.

*shrug*
« Last Edit: August 07, 2004, 01:58:25 am by taleden » Logged
Art
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #258 on: August 07, 2004, 04:15:58 am »

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They might if you accept the 'QuasiSpace is a mental plane' argument from the 'They cannot see you now' thread, which seems about as reasonable as any conjecture abou the nature of other dimensions (such as HyperSpace and QuasiSpace).  And actually, the argument about QuasiSpace travel requiring 0 fuel use, and yet your ship coming to a swift stop when you're not thrusting, is fairly compelling; that doesn't make any sense by normal physics, and it doesn't even make much sense by slightly-odd 'closely related but different dimension' physics.  The idea about QuasiSpace (and therefore your ship, while you are in QS) being a psychological construct is kind of a good one, IMHO.

On the other hand, the Arilou *do* refer to their homeworld as being "nestled in a TrueSpace eddy", which suggests an actual physical planet and not a psychological manifestation.

*shrug*


The main thing is that if the Arilou are native QS-ians who have always been pure spirit, there's no reason for them to carry their rigmarole of ships and bodies and stuff to the point of making a home planet for your benefit. Particularly because seeing it there is actually more shocking than not seeing it, and because they don't actually let you go down and explore it anyway -- it has the feeling of something that's there because the Arilou want and need it there, not something they need you to see. Which makes it more believable that Arilou are, like you, TrueSpace beings who went into QuasiSpace and took their TrueSpace trappings with them, rather than QuasiSpace denizens who live as pure mind.

Your mind needs your ship to come with you when you travel through QS, so it does; probably in just the same way the Arilou needed a world to live on when they migrated en masse to QS, so Falayalirafali came with them, and is still there even if it's been changed to something more than an ordinary planet.
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #259 on: August 07, 2004, 04:25:07 am »

Well - thinking about it - it starts to make less and less sense about the quasi-propell/no fuel problem. See, you are required to get a ur-quan warp pod for it to work. Now, the pod will require fuel - And not just 10 units to get started - I imagine - to keep it going, you have to have it taking in fuel at quite a bit of speed.  
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #260 on: August 07, 2004, 04:52:35 am »

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Well - thinking about it - it starts to make less and less sense about the quasi-propell/no fuel problem. See, you are required to get a ur-quan warp pod for it to work. Now, the pod will require fuel - And not just 10 units to get started - I imagine - to keep it going, you have to have it taking in fuel at quite a bit of speed.  


Hm?  I always thought the warp pod just needed fuel to power it while it did whatever it does with the Arilou's IDF-generating equipment; once the portal has been opened and you've gone through it, is any of that stuff still running?  I figured you were just in QuasiSpace at that point, so the warp pod wouldn't be doing anything.
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Art
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #261 on: August 07, 2004, 05:06:46 am »

Yeah, the Portal Spawner does gulp down fuel every time you use it. Forgetting about this fuel cost has left me in trouble before, stranded in Hyperspace on my way back to Sol. Time to call the Melnorme again.

It is creepy how those guys have a way of turning up no matter where you are. Makes you wonder what they're not telling us about what they can do...
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Art
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #262 on: August 07, 2004, 05:18:25 am »

Oh, yeah, also the Portal Spawner definitely isn't what you use to go through QuasiSpace. It can't be, because before you can get the Portal Spawner you have to enter QuasiSpace using the natural portal and go to Falayalirafali and ask them to make it for you, all with nothing but your regular ship and its regular engines.
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #263 on: August 07, 2004, 05:47:49 am »

Excellent point  - Maybe the ship used umm..... Quasi - Rocket Boosters?  Wink

That would be neat though (and slightly unfair) if the precursor ship could appear anywhere in hyperspace. Come to think of it - It really should with a little reverse engineering. I would not mind paying 10 in fuel every once in a while to get where I want. Though the postions would be seriously messed up compared to hyperspace...  
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #264 on: August 07, 2004, 10:36:18 am »

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Excellent point  - Maybe the ship used umm..... Quasi - Rocket Boosters?  Wink

That would be neat though (and slightly unfair) if the precursor ship could appear anywhere in hyperspace. Come to think of it - It really should with a little reverse engineering. I would not mind paying 10 in fuel every once in a while to get where I want. Though the postions would be seriously messed up compared to hyperspace...  


I don't think they know how to make Quasi-Rocket Boosters at the Starbase so it's unlikely the Vindicator comes with any pre-installed. I think the QuasiSpace as spiritual-dimension thing works a bit better than trying to think of a way where QuasiSpace somehow follows alternate laws of physics.

And... not having to rely on QS portals would make using QS seriously messed up, since if the portals really correspond to Hyperspace by some rule then the topology of QS is seriously messed up relative to Hyperspace. More likely the portals are constructs within QuasiSpace that either by accident or design (of the Arilou) lead to various Hyperspace locations irrespective of their QuasiSpace locations, just like portaling into QuasiSpace leads you to the same QS location regardless of whether you use the Spawner or the natural portal (and regardless of where you spawn the portal).
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #265 on: August 07, 2004, 11:37:13 am »

Space is 3D, how do we know that because we are looking at it from a VERY different angle to hyperspace, it just appears to be messed up?
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #266 on: August 07, 2004, 02:16:42 pm »

On the subject of Ur-Quan speech, keep in mind that you don't really hear most of the races.  They're your computer translating.  

You can't hear the true Ur-Quan speak because the verbal communication is comming from the Talking Pet.  You have to remember that being a translator is their ultimate punishment, hence one reason they never take the time to personally learn your language.
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #267 on: August 07, 2004, 11:47:14 pm »

My personal thoughts have always been the Ur-Quan thinks directly into the Talking pet, and the talking pet translates and transmits it indirectly to your ship.

One confusing idea...
What beef do the Ur-Quan have about learning our language? None of the races do learn any other language, the universal translator does that for them?
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #268 on: August 08, 2004, 05:22:32 am »

Ur-Quan seemingly view themselves as the top life form around.  Makes sense, I suppose, as they are one of the oldest.

Why should THEY have to stoop down to OUR primitive level?
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Art
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Re: Arilou and the Orz: What's the Deal? *spoilers
« Reply #269 on: August 08, 2004, 06:34:44 am »

I've always been skeptical about the idea of "universal translators" in general; if one has to exist, I'd prefer it be an artifact of the super-powerful Precursor computer and not something you can buy at any Spathi hardware store. After all, as you say, the existence of universal translators as technology make the Talking Pets a lot less necessary or interesting. Moreover, UTs are just such a *powerful* technology -- they bespeak either an incredible ability to process huge amounts of data (from spying on radio transmissions and computer networks) to write a dictionary in a relatively short time, or else some sort of hand-wavy ability to read different aliens' "brainwaves" and make a dictionary from that (which is really too silly an idea for words, but Star Trek likes it).

Even if there were such a thing as a universal translator I doubt it would be as effective as actually learning another language, since unless the computer is *itself* as smart as a human translator who knows and fully understands both languages something will always be lost in translation. And being able to fully communicate in something as fuzzy and intuitive as a human natural language makes a computer awfully close to being truly sentient, and we don't get the impression that truly sentient machines are common desktop items in Star Control 2. I'll admit maybe the Precursor ship computer could have that capability, or at least the ability to cleverly simulate such a capability (since Precursors are supposed to be miracle workers), but c'mon, not every standard Cruiser shipboard computer.

Also, it makes more sense for several of the aliens if they aren't talking through a translator; why on Earth would a translator give an alien an accent in the translation? Do real-life interpreters speak their English translations in French accents to add "flavor", or to remind you that the original speaker is French? Is there any reason why one should?

Furthermore, should wordplay (like changing the word "worship" to "warship") carry over in a translation? How the hell could it?

You tell the Ilwrath to say "yuubuu" instead of "you"; this is funny and sort of makes sense because yuubuu rhymes with "you". So if the Ilwrath word for you is "druk", what does the computer tell the Ilwrath to say? "Drukbuu"? "Drukbruk"? What if "drukbruk" is a word that means something while in English "yuubuu" means nothing? Then the computer's changed the meaning of the original alteration of the word, hasn't it? The computer would have to *think* to come up with the best way way to translate the pun to make sense, and no answer is exactly right because the Ilwrath language wouldn't have the same sets of homonyms as English -- same with puns like "worship" and "warship", or the Spathi "huge-glands" for "humans". These things are highly, highly unlikely to be the same across languages, and a computer would have to be actively creative to preserve them in a way that stretches believability. At the very least the process of doing so would be more complex than just talking normally and assuming everything will get through translation okay. Also troublesome is the ability of aliens to speak "untranslated" and then give the translation to make a point -- the Supox, for instance, call their world Earth, the translation of Vlik, and then tell you that Vlik means Earth. Well, in what language, if the translator by default translates the word into English? How does the translator know when to translate and when not to? Is the Supox flipping the translator switch off and on quickly when he's saying that? C'mon.

I can buy the existence of a UT for plot purposes just to communicate with races that have been previously completely undiscovered, like the Orz (though bear in mind that that translation is still highly choppy and vague, and it may not be just because the Orz's language is "unorthodox" -- after all, Earth human languages are so different from each other you can't point to a single model for what an "orthodox" *human* language would be, much less alien languages). It may also be necessary to talk to races that probably can't physically speak our language, like the Mycon or the Chmmr or the Probes or the Slylandro, though notice all of these conversations are utterly lacking in the artifacts of natural speech -- accents, wordplay, and so on -- and both sound and feel like you'd expect a computerized translation to sound and feel, a bit too perfect, a bit too polished, a little uninteresting, even if in different ways each time based on the underlying personality of the speaker.

Though even then I wouldn't say these people *need* to be translated by UT; Chmmr and Probes may be able to communicate with your computer directly in a way that the computer translates to human speech, Mycon may create specialized forms for the purpose of communication -- a good explanation for having humanoid Mycon at all, and the Slylandro are talking to you through a Precursor broadcasting satellite to a Precursor ship, so the translation may be entirely through known, preprogrammed dictionaries of Slylandro-to-Precursor-to-Human. It'd explain why they have a name derived from Greek, a human language ("Sky-Man"); Farnsworth or Zelnick may have found a reference to "Sky-Men" when originally testing the computer and chosen a poetic Greek name for that mysterious race.

The Slylandro in every way are a lot less like us and a lot less ordinary than, say, the Yehat, yet the sound of their voices and the sentence structures they use are a lot more everyday and ordinary than the Yehat's, probably because the Slylandro's communication has been piped through programs that make neat little translations and the Yehat's haven't.

After all, we don't *need* to assume the existence of a truly universal translator in every situation. This isn't like Star Trek where we're constantly landing on planets that have never been explored before. These are mostly races that have lived in the same part of the galaxy all their lives, many of which have just participated in a decades-long war where there were many opportunities to communicate with each other. Learning the languages of one's enemies would be a priority, and remember that the Human race is unique because it's only recently made first contact, and learned about Hyperwave transmissions and how to shield them; for its entire industrial history it's been throwing huge numbers of unguarded radio transmissions into space, and the Star Control 1 manual specifically tells us that most of the neighboring aliens were monitoring their transmissions closely and with great interest.

We're told the VUX had already learned to speak English, and the Humans were surprised that they did, a blow against the idea that truly universal translators are a common device in this part of space (or else Rand would never have thought that he was "safe" while the transmitter was on, since anyone could hear anything he was saying just by turning on a universal translator).

Sure, a UT on the surface of things looks like it makes things easy in science fiction, since it makes it look like everyone's speaking English without explaining why, but in reality it creates a lot more problems than it solves, and in many situations it's simpler to just say that people are speaking English and come up with an explanation for why. Here it's not all that farfetched; you're the inexperienced boy thrust into command without formal training, so you haven't learned anyone else's languages, but the majority of the people you talk to are ambassadors, PR reps, or else just grizzled veterans who have spent a lot of time fighting for or against your race, with its tendency to send random transmissions into the ether. In any case claiming that the UT is a panacea rather than a powerful but flawed device to only be used when necessary. The only point in the game when we're sure we're using a translating computer is talking to the Orz, and even then we don't know what's going on -- the computer says "translation computer", not "universal translation computer", and there's no reason the Orz can't be speaking an extremely garbled version of a known language from nearby space like Androsynth or VUX (which would make "unorthodox structure" a much more sensible comment). Certainly there's no good explanation for why a species that was originally a single entity in a nonphysical dimension would have a "native language" at all.

More on this later, as this is one of my pet peeves -- my sister is a linguist who really likes fantasy and sci-fi languages like Elvish or Klingon, and universal translation computers are basically the ultimate slap in the face to linguistics as a science -- a statement by sf writers that the problems of language aren't really interesting to them and that in their imaginary worlds alien languages are just English in a secret code.

There's a lot more that can be said about the Ilwrath and the Spathi and other stuff (the whole Dogar and Kazon exchange has a hard time making sense whether you decide there was a translator computer or not), but I'll leave that for another post.
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