1) Various Quora Topics 2) In Conquest Born

Interesting scenarios & information from Quora.

Why was it General Robert E. Lee who surrendered on behalf on the Confederacy, and not the political leader, Jefferson Davis?

Scott Mills, Ph.D.(c) Political Science & Critical Theory, University of California, Irvine (2017)

The answer to your question is quite complicated. First, it is important to note that Robert E. Lee did not surrender on behalf of the Confederate Government. In fact, Robert E. Lee only surrendered the troops immediately under his command, which was the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

[…]

AND, incidentally, the last Confederate force to surrender (the commerce raider CSS Shenandoah), did not do so until November 6, 1865 when the Shenandoah sailed into port at Liverpool, England, flying the Confederate ensign and surrendered there to the government of the United Kingdom—this allowed the officers and men of the Shenandoah avoid charges of piracy. Meaning, it could be argued that the Confederate States existed as an entity with an armed forces until almost 1866, granted an armed forces that had consisted of a single commerce raider from May 26, 1865 until November 6, 1865.

A naval force without a government. Or, maybe it is the government? Looks like an interesting Traveller set-up…

Now having said all of that, the surrender of Lee really did represent the symbolic surrender of the Confederacy. At the time of his surrender, while only in immediate command of the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee was technically the General in command of all Confederate forces. In addition, much of the South was already occupied by Federal forces or in ruins. Indeed, when discussing surrender with his officers, Lee is reported to have said about surrender “what would the country think?” The reply to which was, “god damn the country! There has been no country for a year or more. General Lee, you are the country…”

This is even more true when the military commander is the actual king/ruling noble of a realm.

Which country has the most feared intelligence agency (or secret service) and what makes it fearsome?

Thierry Etienne Joseph Rotty, Senior Controller

The Holy See’s officially non-existing Vatican Secret Service.

These people have been at it for nearly 2,000 years and literally wrote the books on intelligence.

This agency in and by itself is not going to come after you or take offensive actions … but if you cross them, they will help your enemies.

These guys have toppled empires.

In the higher echelons of intelligence there is always one golden rule: do not piss off the Vatican.

Hitler did and the Vatican immediately sided with Britain and France. The intelligence gathered was incredible.

Hitler, who knew the Vatican was helping the Allies, still didn’t dare to occupy the tiny city-state … that’s how feared they are.

While the Imperial Catholic Church (in my game) is a potent force, it would be the (canonical) Church of the Stellar Divinity that would really be the religious equivalent.

A religion quite closely aligned with the Third Imperium: “You can tell by the flag.”

(Amusingly, the Vilani equivalent – the shugii food-preparation caste – became a megacorporation, Naasirka.)

Why aren’t cats fierce and dangerous like lions, tigers, and mountain lions (or other big cats)?

C.S. Friedman, Science Fiction and Fantasy novelist

Domestic cats are one of the deadliest and most effective predators on earth. There are several species of mammals and birds that have been wiped out, or driven to the brink of extinction, because a handful of pet cats escaped into their ecosystem. Mortality from housecat attacks in the UK is estimated at two million small animals a year.

The primary trait that makes them so murderous—aside from the fact that they’re just good at killing—is that they enjoy it. They kill for fun, whether they need food or not. That is true of very, very few other species. There is an excellent sequence in the Natgeo special Living with Tigers, chronicling the education of a pair of Bengal tigers transported to an African preserve. The day they figured out how to stalk and kill effectively, they went on a murder spree and killed every animal in sight. For the sheer joy of bloodshed.

Predators focus on prey with the size and defenses that they can handle. Domestic cats are small animals, so their prey is small. Don’t let that fool you for into thinking they are not one of the fiercest and deadliest predators on this planet. In no small part that is because we bred them for wanton killing, by using them for vermin control.

The Solomani are well known for taking the apex predators of various worlds… and turning them into pets. (If they don’t wipe them out.)


In Conquest Born

Incidentally, I remind fond of C. S. Friedman’s In Conquest Born, although I haven’t read it in decades. Part of a final blooming of old-school sci-fi, before infotech/cybernetics/biotech began to overwhelm the Old Order. “No more psionic and racial obsessions!”

(Did I just say that out loud?)

Another reason: the wonderful cover by Michael Whelan

In contrast, the British cover isn’t bad: but the lack of detail hurts the ‘instant-immersion’ factor. Back in the day, a cover had to catch the eye to make the sale.

A review I support can be found at www.eyrie.org. “Six out of ten stars.” Another review, that mentions the Traveller setting (yay?) is from James Nicoll: Quantum Rocketry has a kinder review, that focuses on the author’s good world-building.

The Imperium – canonical or my personal flavour – isn’t nearly as repulsive as the aristocratic Braxin Holdings. But such an intensely evil, cruel, and stupid Imperium could exist for a decade or two, a la the Third Reich.

(Never mind the claims of ‘centuries of war’: it’s too stupid to last even as long as the Soviet Union did!)

But having the Zhodani develop into a technocratic pisonic/genetic empire like the Azean Star Empire is a lot more plausible and interesting.

About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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