Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

I used (instantaneous) teleportation as the term for ships traveling from one portal to its counterpart in the neighboring system.

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

The revisions are up in chapter 25.


Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2


254 (edited by Dirk B. 2023-04-04 04:29:05)

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

No, I left wormholes (with mouths that can magically open and close) behind late last week. I figured a galactic web of millions or billions of natural wormholes was too goofy. I went for a more traditional solution, portals in space that can instantly teleport ships to nearby star systems. They only work out to a range of 12 LY, so it still requires star-hopping to travel long distances. I think it's a much cleaner writeup. I'm not a fan of the word teleport and definitely not teleshields, which are required to enter a portal. The other option is transport and transhields, but that's a minor change after I've slept on it.

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Very good write up. Did Hinklee win the Nobel Prize?
How about slingshot?

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Nobel prize in the year 4017, especially after the collapse of civilization? It's long gone.

257 (edited by Dirk B. 2023-04-08 04:21:08)

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

I have a question about the number of worlds and population for my story's galaxy. Currently the 60 most populated worlds make up over 95% of the total population of 50B. Those are small numbers, but I did it that way because I felt terraforming would be a very long and dangerous process, with a high failure rate. This was based on research I did years ago. Specifically, humans can really only colonize worlds that already have a breathable atmosphere, which basically requires at least some pre-existing lifeforms, most notably to produce oxygen. So, at a minimum, there would be microbes, which could be lethal to humans. Terraforming a planet involves transporting huge quantities of soil from an existing terraformed world to support early colonists and to seed the soil conversion process on the new world to support the growth of human crops. However, because of the pre-existing lifeforms, human colonies usually get wiped out from exposure to incompatible lifeforms. Although humans keep attempting to colonize other planets, the failure rate is very high. They've been at this for 1,600 years with little progress.

I was considering making the terraforming process more successful, with at least one trillion people on many hundreds of worlds. However, one limiting factor is the fact that New Bethlehem is supposedly highly strategic to both the Realm and the Imperium because of its huge reserves of unspecified natural resources. By the time Apollo becomes emperor, the Imperium is on the verge of financial collapse and some see conquering New Bethlehem as a way to buy time. That logic works when you only have 50B people and 60 planets, but doesn't make much sense if there are hundreds of colonized planets and thousands more already identified for future colonization (and mining of resources). Under those circumstances, New Beth becomes much less important. One way around this is to make New Bethlehem one of the major sources of some rare element needed to power stardrives to use the star portals.

I'm leaning toward doing the latter, although I wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts on the two options.


258 (edited by 2023-04-08 09:43:55)

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Much depends on your view of the universe. In VQ-x I've tackled it that mankind is resilient / resourceful and finds ways to eke out living conditions in unlikely scenarios. So, we get sunlight-rich planets hosting 20billion+ inhabitants and sunlight-dark planets inventing ways to convert energy into sustenance. Let's call this the optimistic view that man can survive without Earth.

The opposite resolves that the species is relatively fragile. We can't ever colonize the moon. There's too much solar radiation there. Let's call it a realist / pessimistic view. If Earth blew up and we couldn't find habitable planets, we'd go extinct.

Terraforming a planet involves transporting huge quantities of soil from an existing terraformed world...

(Similarly in VQ-x) robots can go manufacture substrate (dust) out of rocks using solar power. Human organic waste (eg that has no other use) can be seeded into the dust to build soil. Basically, for almost zero cost, you can make Mars organic, provided you have a century or two to wait around. Venus is leaps and bounds harder, but the same time principle works. If your surface temperature is 800°C and you can reduce that by 0.1% per year using steel trusses to leak heat into space, you get compound interest on cooling. It's even free if robots are mining asteroids to build the trusses.


Imagine I've only been talking about our own solar system. Imagine we break the speed of light and can show up at other solar systems. Imagine robots harvesting oxygen from rocks in deep reaches of space and ferrying it to useful places using only solar power and Chat-GPT. Years before humans show up, your robots have already made the planet livable.

Nb: Dune solved this by outlawing robotics.

259 (edited by Dirk B. 2023-04-08 10:27:37)

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

That's a huge undertaking, though, to make a dead planet with no oxygen and soil livable. It's also gotta be able to hold an atmosphere. Mars, for example, can't hold an atmosphere long term.

If you have to limit yourself to planets with an existing breathable atmosphere generated by microbes and plants, then you have to risk contact with alien life forms. Terraforming a planet with existing life on it could easily be lethal  The process of converting the soil for human use is the easy part.

260 (edited by George FLC 2023-04-08 13:44:33)

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

I like the idea of 1 trillion people. It's difficult to support older people without younger people working and paying taxes. So, keep on making people. I believe that it will be possible to colonize Mars because they have two oceans of ice (~3.2 million cubic kilometers). All structures would have to import oxygen and water. We can get those from the ice. Farming would also get water and oxygen from the ice caps. Basically, it's a man-made atmosphere confined beneath huge glass or plastic bubbles. I can stretch it even more. We could then use the hydrogen from the ice for fuel. The basic process would be to the melt some ice for water, break up the water into hydrogen and oxygen. Use the oxygen to breath and the hydrogen for fuel. And the eco-systems would be self-contained. Everything is recycled.

I also like the idea that some planets have an abundance of some substance. Water? Lithium? Or both.

261 (edited by George FLC 2023-04-08 14:28:22)

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Let me continue from above. From a fusion point of view, I would assume that water loaded with deuterium (hydrogen with 1 extra neutron) and/or tritium (hydrogen with 2 extra neutrons) would be highly valuable. Tritium is radioactive so that might have to be dealt with from a drinking point of view but its half-life is 12 years so it might not be an issue. Does this make sense?


Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Dirk B. wrote:

That's a huge undertaking, though, to make a dead planet with no oxygen and soil livable.

How huge is it really, if you just send a few hundred robots in and let them replicate in there and forget the place exists. Check in every 50 years or so?

It's also gotta be able to hold an atmosphere. Mars, for example, can't hold an atmosphere long term.

Read Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson?

If you have to limit yourself to planets with an existing breathable atmosphere generated by microbes and plants, then you have to risk contact with alien life forms. Terraforming a planet with existing life on it could easily be lethal  The process of converting the soil for human use is the easy part.

Yes, microbes are a problem for sure... If there are aliens, then their planets are certainly lethal to us. And there are ethical issues to terraforming their planets willy-nilly. Almost need to start by dropping neutron bombs in there to kill off the existing life.

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

A quick check of, Wikipedia, and YouTube about terraforming Mars shows why it'll never happen. It's theoretically possible but totally impractical. I'm better off with a simplifying assumption that humans are compatible with primitive life on more planets than I allowed for in my previous drafts. In reality, it's almost certainly impossible, but it's also closer to the fictional universes of Star Wars and Star Trek. Far less ludicrous than teleportation of ships via star portals as a means of FTL travel. :-)  I'd still want them to terraform the planets, though, which mostly involves converting the land into soil better suited for human use than alien soil alone. It's a slow process that basically involves composting on a planetary scale. You'd almost certainly end up with some alien microbes in the mix, but I'm assuming humans have a certain level of tolerance.


Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Of course, those microbes find the human body hostile territory as well. Just they may kill the host as they figure that out.

Agreed... colonizing Mars is highly impractical. At least by any measure of current technology. Imagine we have access to thousands of Mars's. Each with myraid variables. Scientists agree Mars could be colonized if it only had an ocean. How many similar planets could be out there? Planets just waiting for a gentle push to become habitable.

The most prohibitive aspect I've heard about Mars is the cost of getting off the surface again. By today's technology, it's basically a one-way trip. Yikes!

To soIve the atmosphere problem, Robinson's characters flew some ice comets through the stratosphere.. You'd need to repeat this every century or so as the sun would start stripping the atmosphere again

265 (edited by Dirk B. 2023-04-08 22:44:29)

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2 wrote:

a one-way trip

Maybe we can get Elon Musk to go. :-)

Thanks for your help,


New topic. I want to rename AI, which I've been using to refer to the artificial intelligence unit in ships, palaces, and Joseph's church. It's not horrible, but I'd prefer something word-like that doesn't require pronouncing letters. AIU is no good. Aside from unit, there's also component, module, data processor, and processing element/engine.

artificial intelligence module - AIM
artificial intelligence component - AIC
artificial intelligence data processor - AIDP or AID - the latter ain't bad (e.g., the ship's AID)
artificial intelligence processor - AIP
artificial intelligence processing element - AIPE or APE - naturally, I like the latter (e.g., the palace APE) tongue

The acronym doesn't have to start with A. It could simply be Intelligent XXX...

266 (edited by Dirk B. 2023-04-09 00:04:55)

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Its down to artificial intelligence data processing element (AIDE) or artificial intelligence processing element (AIPE or APE). If I go with the latter, then a sentient AI could be a sentient APE. :-)

EDIT: AIDE won. APE/AIPE seemed too silly, even for me.


Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Hmm.  I was thinking Artificial Cognition Engine--ACE.

A far as fusion, the best target right now is pB11 -- proton/Boron 11.  Straight hydrogen with boron 11 has the potential to consume (most of)  the energetic neutrons it produces and release its energy in alpha particles, which are less harmful to materials and people.  Since they are charged particles (unlike neutrons), it should be possible to capture their energy electromagnetically and avoid the heat engine trap--or at least capture a large fraction of it electromagnetically.  Heat engines have inherent efficiency limits (Thermodynamics!)

268 (edited by George FLC 2023-04-09 15:35:53)

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

If your AI's are self-conscious or thinking then they are not artificial anymore. How about next intelligence (Nexi, Nexin).

I personally think the immediate future should be cold fusion aka Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR). I've not dug into the pB11 much, but my impression is that it is large and costly. I would expect that we need a huge battery breakthrough or LENR. That way we can power cars, robo-servants, whatever, with fusion systems (Mr. Fusion!).

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

AIDE is a generic term to replace AI. I'm going to use wiseones for sentient AIDEs, which fits along with wisewatch, wiseeyes, wisepad, etc., from Lo Bidda Corporation. And they're still artificial because they're not biological.

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

AIDE has become AIPE (artificial intelligence processing entity). Same pronunciation as APE, but not as obviously silly.

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Science question. My star portals are basically just a big, black ring in space, made up of segments that can spread out to form a virtual ring big enough for whatever ship wants to pass through it. Since I prefer the rings to be mysterious (think the monolith in 2001), I want to say that they are of unknown composition. However, they also have to be visible to the human eye, so some visible light (e.g., from the local star) must reflect off of it. However, if light reflects off of it, won't the reflected light have spectral lines revealing its composition?



Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Yes... a mass spectrometer should be able to distinguish its composition. It's been a long time since I read 2001 but I believe there was a clause that the monolith did not reflect any light.

To make your life more difficult, the mass spectrometer is used on objects we cannot reach. Imagine if we had the ability to fly out to some of these places and run deeper scans (x-rays, ultrasound, scrapings)


Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Here's a tech that might mess up up the absorbtion and emission spectra:

274 (edited by Dirk B. 2023-04-13 22:46:45)

Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

Oops. I accidentally edited/deleted this comment rather than quoting it.


Re: The Archangel Syndrome v1/v2

You made it harder to see but you didn't stop me from flying up to it and hop in a spacesuit and steal some of it. I assume it won't cut easily, but I'll be happy to run an electron microscope on it as well as sonar, p-waves, conductivity etc.