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Author Topic: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?  (Read 18163 times)
Valaggar
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What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« on: March 18, 2007, 09:02:51 am »

Do you recall the exhilaration of blasting off from the tiny planet where you were born - and the sheer terror later? Three days out, as you approached the perimeter of that cursed Oort Cloud, you found the Tobermoon - derelict and tumbling through space. The deep burns along her hull were mute evidence she'd seen combat. And lost. The discovery was, of course, a great shock to Captain Burton. Unconsciously she chewed her bottom lip, and for the first time her handsome face showed the awful strain of the past twenty years. She'd been engaged to Captain Chi. Through the decades she'd clung to the hope she'd see him again, kept alive the dream they'd shared of marriage and children and a life together. Now the dream was shattered. She knew he was gone, even though there was no body to mourn over. Strangely, there were no bodies at all on board. And most of the important ship systems were intact. Do you remember how Burton wondered, tears brimming in her blue eyes, if Officer Chi and the other crew members had been taken prisoner? How her words conjured up a picture in your mind of the Earthlings being tortured - their ordeal provoking mirth in the soul-less Ur-Quan. With a few days work, the engineers brought the Tobermoon back to life. What came next changed your life forever. With Captain Burton the only one aboard qualified to pilot the Earth Cruiser, you were put in command of the Precursor starship. Admit it. Standing on the bridge - those epaulets the grieving but bravely smiling Captain Burton pinned on gleaming from your shoulders - you felt proud, sure of yourself. Hey, truth be told, at that moment you thought you were invincible.
        Your confidence didn't last long, did it? With the Tobermoon leading the way, you and Burton pushed your ships out into HyperSpace - the parallel dimension where distances are fantastically compressed and interstellar travel feasible.


This excerpt from the SC2 manual tells the story of the Cruiser Tobermoon, which was sent to bring help from Earth, but ended up dead in the Oort Cloud. (The entire story is here)

Now, the symptoms of the Tobermoon are SO similar to those on the Androsynth homeworld...
What could have happened? How would have "They" attacked the ship if the crew weren't conducting any IDF research? And there were no Ur-Quan in the area to attack the ship (and anyway, how to board it?!)
And if "They" attacked the ship, why aren't there any Bukowski-like happenings on the ship afterwards?
A very plausible explanation would be that the Dreadnought that slave-shielded the planet was responsible (the Tobermoon had surrendered in the face of such a powerful opposition). But no - the ship was attacked way before the Dreadnought showed its Battlestar Galactica-like face around...
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2007, 04:09:43 pm »

I was under the impression it was a probe that did it. But thinking more about it, from a story tellers point of view, there would seem to be more to the story than setting up reader, or player, for an encounter with the probe threat. It's too simple, yet subtle.

This is all based on the the fact that, in the game, the probe destroys your crew not the hull of the your ship. This is where long debates get started on which is an actual representation of hull strength and which is crew. And if it's only the crew that gets killed, then why isn't there a ship left drifting ala Tobermoon that would support the probe theory. But I've drifted a ways of topic. Carry on.
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Valaggar
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2007, 04:39:36 pm »

Hmm... the Tobermoon is once again attacked by a probe later, in HyperSpace, on the way to Sol.
So two attacks so close one after another seem unlikely - especially considering that there weren't many probes back then.

But deep burns... yes, they look like probe attacks. I think we should remove this "mystery" from the list in the Ultronomicon:
http://uqm.stack.nl/wiki/Mysteries_left_by_Star_Control_II
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2007, 10:16:18 pm »

If it were a probe, though, wouldn't the it have hung around to... can't think of the word... mine the ship for resources?  I mean, it's not in battle mode; it's in resource-harvesting mode.  It doesn't make a difference to the probe whether the ship is still functional or not at that point, so it shouldn't change its behavior when it defeats a ship, just carry on zapping until there's nothing left.
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Valaggar
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2007, 03:03:07 pm »

Right! Plus, as Fyzixfighter said in http://uqm.stack.nl/wiki/Talk:Mysteries_left_by_Star_Control_II, the attack was WAY BEFORE the Slylandro bought the probes, and before the Orz came!
Perhaps the Androsynth made some IDF experiments on the Tobermoon? Huh? Undecided

And by the way, what caused the probe to flee after killing Captain Burton, after the Tobermoon was recrewed (in the voyage to Sol)? Perhaps the energies left in the place interfered with the Probe's program?
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Draxas
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2007, 05:06:48 pm »

It has been speculated that the probe encountered in the manual's story was something entirely separate from the berserk Slylandro version we're all familiar with. Can't say I'm anything other than ambivalent on the matter, however; I recognize the fact that games and manuals are often written by two entirely different sources, and as such sometimes don't jive well with each other. It seems like that's what happened here, and this is hardly the first or last example in gaming.
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2007, 05:35:57 pm »

Tobermoon fires off two missiles. They land. Probe closes in. Tobermoon fires a missile away from probe so it avoids lightning. Probe destroys Tobermoon. Missile curves around and hits, destroying probe.

That's not only the best explanation I can figure out, it's not all that unreasonable an outcome for the probe-vs-cruiser matchup with the AI as it is.
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2007, 10:43:25 pm »

That description sounds more like the descriptions of stuff having been blasted by Dreadnoughts than the descriptions of stuff being attacked by Them.
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2007, 04:50:19 am »

I don't think it could have resulted from normal battle (unless, as it suggests, they were taken prisoner).  I mean, the ship's intact (though scarred) but there aren't any bodies or anything?  What?  It even says it's strange; I don't think it's a "hole got blown in the hull, causing explosive decompression" situation, or the answer would be obvious to them.

So, either the crew was taken prisoner (by an enemy who didn't care about salvage) or Something Freaky(tm) happened.

How about time irregularities?  They get caught in something that makes a million years, whatever, pass for them, while twenty years pass for everyone else.  They eventually run out of supplies and die, and the bodies just decompose, leaving nothing.  The scars could be from a fight they won, not one they lost.

This explanation in no way brought to you by Red Dwarf.
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2007, 04:54:03 am »

About the second attack: Perhaps an asteroid came by, which the probe destroyed, after which it had no "current target" anymore, so it resumed its programming. The tobermoon, now disabled, may not have qualified as a "Space Vessel" anymore, or perhaps the probe's close range sensors were damaged, so the probe found a new target; a Transmission Source perhaps (which was the next priority).
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2007, 02:40:11 pm »

Ah, meep-eep! This is really the reasoning of a specialist.  Grin
I have but one objection: Close range sensors being damaged would simply mean that the Probe can't locate precisely the Cruiser, but nevertheless sees it. Rather, all its sensors broke.
As to the Tobermoon not qualifying as a Space Vessel - no, it is in fact its qualification as a RU source that made the Probe attack it, and even if it were damaged, it still could be harvested.

Quote from: waywardoctagon
How about time irregularities?
No, decomposers do not exist in space, and if so much time would pass, the Cruiser would be smashed by micrometeorites.
Being taken prisoner - then why wouldn't the one who took them prisoner locate and conquer the Vela colony just as that Dreadnought did some years later?
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2007, 05:20:50 pm »

The Tobermoon was found and attacked by a Dreadnought before it could leave Vela. The Tobermoon's crew, after being singed by a warning shot, decided they were outmatched and surrendered. The Ur-Quan took them aboard, and was about to prepare to tow the Cruiser away and explore where it had originated from, when its long range sensors detected the "hunting cry" of the approaching Kohr-Ah fleet. The Ur-Quan commander instinctively knew the meaning of this, and abandoned its now unimportant salavge and investigation duties, immediately retreating to Ur-Quan space to prepare for the coming Doctrinal Conflict. The abandoned Cruiser was quickly forgotten, and was assumed to simply be a rogue vessel, so no further follow up was carried out.

So, why does a Dreadnought slave shield Vela later on? Because this time it was tracking a much more dangerous and powerful adversary: a unique Precursor Service Vessel. Since such a ship could not possibly be operating in a rogue capacity (and its trail through Hyperspace was lost), the Ur-Quan commander felt it much more important to trace its route back. Consequently, the Vela colony was discovered and slave shielded.
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2007, 06:04:53 pm »

Ah, meep-eep! This is really the reasoning of a specialist.  Grin
I have but one objection: Close range sensors being damaged would simply mean that the Probe can't locate precisely the Cruiser, but nevertheless sees it. Rather, all its sensors broke.
The long range sensors may not be able to distinguish one type of object from another. Just the fact that something is there. Given the choice between an "object", and a "Transmission Source", the Transmission source could take precedence.

Quote
As to the Tobermoon not qualifying as a Space Vessel - no, it is in fact its qualification as a RU source that made the Probe attack it, and even if it were damaged, it still could be harvested.

You're missing part of the way the probes malfunction. The reason that it attacks is that the current target is used for the new behaviour. When there is no current target anymore (the asteroid was destroyed), the probe selects a new target. This part is not broken, so the probe prefers a Transmission Source over a source of replication materials (which btw, it only looks for on planets normally). Only after the probe has moved to its destination will it begin executing the behavior that goes with the target (which gets overridden very shortly after with the "break down target into component materials).

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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2007, 07:09:30 am »

No, decomposers do not exist in space.

Not outside in space, no, but they could easily exist on board.  It wasn't necessarily a sterile environment.

Quote
and if so much time would pass, the Cruiser would be smashed by micrometeorites

Unless it was an emptier place than TrueSpace.  They get "somehow" sucked into a place that doesn't have a lot of stuff (at least stuff that can interact with the ship) floating around, but where time is highly accelerated.  Eventually they get spit back out.

Or--consider that "most of the important ship functions were intact".  Maybe it has automated navigation that lets it avoid anything that would cause major damage, and automated systems to repair minor damage.

Quote
The Ur-Quan took them aboard, and was about to prepare to tow the Cruiser away and explore where it had originated from, when its long range sensors detected the "hunting cry" of the approaching Kohr-Ah fleet. The Ur-Quan commander instinctively knew the meaning of this, and abandoned its now unimportant salavge and investigation duties, immediately retreating to Ur-Quan space to prepare for the coming Doctrinal Conflict. The abandoned Cruiser was quickly forgotten, and was assumed to simply be a rogue vessel, so no further follow up was carried out.

Oh, hey, I like this explanation!  Especially since the Kzer-Za seem to have abandoned other things when they detected the Kohr-Ah.


Or how about this: There's a battle, the Tobermoon loses, the enemy doesn't care about salvage so just leaves it, corpses and all.  Later, the Melnorme come along and take the bodies (they are interested in biodata, after all...) but leave the ship (maybe they didn't consider salvaging it a good use of their resources, maybe they don't have room, whatever).
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Valaggar
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Re: What happened to the Tobermoon in Oort's Cloud?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2007, 02:26:31 pm »

Quote from: waywardoctagon
Later, the Melnorme come along and take the bodies (they are interested in biodata, after all...)
Interested in biodata, yes, but no more than one from a single species.
They've got info on humans, that's sure - even before our first meeting, they knew of us. And they won't accept buy human biodata - another proof that they already have it.

Quote from: waywardoctagon
Not outside in space, no, but they could easily exist on board.  It wasn't necessarily a sterile environment.
Have you considered that battle starships are sterilized before usage? It would be very bad for its fighting capacity to let microorganisms thrive inside and cause diseases to the crew.

Plus, how would they get in another dimension without IDF?!
I prefer Draxas' explanation. It's much more logical.


But the second attack is still mysterious. I mean, the sensors explanation is weird, since the Tobermoon didn't fire.
And the not-Space Vessel-anymore explanation is still improper, since the Tobermoon was only hit once.
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