• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

[WIreR] E. E. Smith's Lensman series - Comentary, Discussion and a hypothetical modern adaption.

Lenin

Tolerant Ent
Validated User
I dunno, I quite like the visual of the oblong fridge (on tracks) being all we see of Nadreck until we follow Kim into Nadreck's ship, whereupon he slips out of the fridge without even opening it and does the psychedelic hyperspatial body thing in the comfort of his natural environs.
 

Shadowjack

Cartoon Poet
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I dunno, I quite like the visual of the oblong fridge (on tracks) being all we see of Nadreck until we follow Kim into Nadreck's ship, whereupon he slips out of the fridge without even opening it and does the psychedelic hyperspatial body thing in the comfort of his natural environs.
…You convinced me!
 

Nerik the Red

Registered User
Validated User
Nadreck is love. Very cold, four-dimensional love.
:love:
There's a description later on, I seem to recall, of a refrigerated pod installed on the bridge of a GP ship so Nadrek can observe, and Klono help me, I couldn't help but imagine a giant chromium Amana freezer with a vision slit in the door.

A mobile armored sphere makes more sense, though.
So far, the only information we have on the appearance of Nadreck's encounter suit is this:
Second Stage Lensmen - page 105 said:
The weird little monstrosity scuttled out.
So, fridge on spider-legs?

So, on the subject of the Palainian in question, the next chapter:

Chapter 14: Nadreck at Work

Which immediately digresses into a (self admitedly brief) description of what the Patrol did to Lonabar.
...which, if you excuse the pun, turns out to be surprisingly civilised.
Second Stage lensmen - page 153 said:
Scarcely had Cartiff-Kinnison moved out than the Patrol moved in. If Lonabar had been heavily fortified, a fleet of appropriate size and power would have cleared the way. As it was, the fleet which landed was one of transports, not of battleships, and all the fighting from then on was purely defensive.
Propagandists took the lead; psychologists; Lensmen skilled not only in languages but also in every art of human relationships. The case of Civilisation was stated plainly and repeatedly, the errors and the fallacies of autocracy were pointed out. A nucleus of government was formed; not of Civilisation's imports, but of solid Lonabarian citizens who had passed the Lensmen's tests of ability and trustworthiness.
Under this local government a pseudo-democracy began haltingly to function. At first its progress was painfully slow; but as more and more of the citizens perceived what the Patrol actually was doing, it grew apace. Not only did the invaders allow—yes, foster—free speech and statutory liberty; they suppressed ruthlessly any person or any faction seeking to build a new dictatorship, whatever its nature, upon the ruins of the old.
That news travelled fast; and labouring always and mightily upon Civilisation's side were the always-present, however deeply-buried, urges of all intelligent entities toward self-expression.
There was opposition, of course. Practically all of those who had waxed fat upon the old order were very strongly in favour of its continuance. There were the hordes of the down-trodden who had so long and so dumbly endured oppression that they could not understand anything else; in whom the above-mentioned urges had been beaten and tortured almost out of existence. They themselves were not opposed to Civilisation—for them it meant at worst only a change of masters—but those who sought by the same old wiles to re-enslave them were foes indeed.
Menjo Bleeko's sycophants and retainers were told to work or starve. The fat hogs could support the new order—or else. The thugs and those who tried to prey upon and exploit the dumb masses were arrested and examined. Some were cured, some were banished, some were shot.
Little could be done, however, about the dumb themselves, for in them the spark was feeble indeed. The new government nursed that spark along, the while ruling them as definitely, although not as harshly, as had the old; the Lensmen backing the struggling young Civilisation knowing full well that in the children or in the children's children of these unfortunates the spark would flame up into a great white light.
It is seen that this government was not, and could not for many years become, a true democracy. It was in fact a benevolent semi-autocracy; autonomous in a sense, yet controlled by the Galactic Council through its representatives, the Lensmen. It was, however, so infinitely more liberal than anything theretofore known by the Lonabarians as to be a political revelation, and since corruption, that cosmos-wide curse of democracy, was not allowed a first finger-hold, the principles of real democracy and of Civilisation took deeper root year by year.
Regime change - Civilisation style.

From that brief description above I get the impression that its going to take generations of hard work.

Then, as Dr Smith puts it... 'To get back into the beam of narrative'... :sneaky:

Nadreck parks his stealth speedster well outside the Eich base, about as far away as he could. It is commented that the Eich might possess unheard-of detection capabilities.

Nadreck: "I realise that it is useless to caution any active mind not to think at all,"
...but to prevent any stray thoughts giving them away, he advises his companions to keep their thought-screens up at all times, and communicate using a hard-wired comms system.
...and not to use Lensed communications.

Nadreck's 'thought drill' is described as 'a tube of force somewhat analogous to a Q-type helix except in that it operated within the frequency-range of thought', which makes me think that perhaps it was based on a variant of the Q-type, in the same way that the early thought-screens combined Velantian thought-screen tech with a Patrol field generator.

The thought drill very slowly penetrates the Eich through screen.
Eventually Nadreck announces that they are through.

Nadreck: "This is none too safe, friends,"

We get more information on Palainians, they are superb multi-taskers, with a 'multi-compartmented brain'.

Nadreck: "May I suggest, Kinnison, in my cowardly way, that you place yourself at the controls and be ready to take us away from this planet at speed and without notice?"
Kim: "I'll say you may! Right now, cowardice is indicated—copiously!"

I do wonder if Kim and Worsel are thinking 'if only we'd had this guy at Jarnevon!' right now.

It turns out that the Eich had a multi-layered thought screen, but eventually, and without causing alarm, the last layer is breached.
...the last by Nadreck stopping the drill as soon as he started detecting thought, then advancing it in infinitesimal steps until he could clearly sense the Eich's thoughts.

Fortunately, the Eich were sufficiently confident in their base's multi-layered thought-screen that they had neglected to wear personal thought screens.

(Helmuth would be so disappointed with these guys).

The three had decided that they wanted to nap an Eich psychologist, Nadreck sets his lure accordingly:
Second Stage lensmen - page 156 said:
...hence the thought sent out by the Palainian was one which would appeal only to such a mind; in fact, one practically imperceptible to any other. It was extremely faint; wavering uncertainly upon the very threshold of perception. It was so vague, so formless, so inchoate that it required Kinnison's intensest concentration even to recognise it as a thought. Indeed, so starkly unhuman was Nadreck's mind and that of his proposed quarry that it was all the Tellurian Lensman could do to so recognise it. It dealt, fragmentary and in the merest glimmerings, with the nature and the mechanisms of the First Cause; with the fundamental ego, its raison d'etre, its causation, its motivation, its differentiation; with the stupendously awful concepts of the Prime Origin of all things ever to be.
Unhurried, monstrously patient, Nadreck neither raised the power of the thought nor hastened its slow tempo. Stolidly, for minute after long minute he held it, spraying it throughout the vast dome as mist is sprayed from an atomiser nozzle. And finally he got a bite. A mind seized upon that wistful, homeless, incipient thought; took it for its own. It strengthened it, enlarged upon it, built it up. And Nadreck followed it.
He did not force it; he did nothing whatever to cause any suspicion that the thought was or ever had been his. But as the mind of the Eich busied itself with that thought he all unknowingly let down the bars to Nadreck's invasion.
Nadreck's technique is simple but effective, give the Eich a nagging feeling that they had left something undone, something outside the dome, while letting the victim's own mind provide the details.

All Kim and Worsel can do is wait.
Second Stage Lensmen - page 157 said:
Kinnison clenched his teeth and held his breath, his big hands clutching fiercely the pilot's bars; Worsel unheedingly coiled his supple body into an ever smaller, ever harder and more compact bale.
Finally, the Eich's mind comes up with something - a thought-screen generator that had been acting up and which someone really should take a look at.
...which, all things considered, is rather appropriate.

The Eich leaves the dome to check the generator, as it nears Nadreck's ship, the latter slowly but surely increases his control.
Nadreck: "Get ready, please, to cut your screens and to synchronise with me in case anything slips and he tries to break away,"

The Eich arrives at the ship, the thought-drill is deactivated and a thought screen covers both ship and Eich.

...and the three Lensmen examine their catch.

Kim: <expletive deleted> :mad:

...turns out they haven't got much.

The Eich knows copious amounts about Zwilnik ops in the First Galaxy... but that isn't what they were after.

The Eich knows only of two superious, an 'Eich-like' entity called Kandron, and, from some of Kandron's stray thoughts, a human-like being named Alcon.
The Eich isn't even sure if the worlds the two entities live on are in the Second Galaxy!
...and no, he doesn't know how to find them, and doesn't want to try.

Nadreck, 'with a minute attention to detail which would be wearisome here' sends the Eich back to the dome, convinced that he'd checked the through-screen generator and it was a-ok.

With as much caution as they used arriving, Nadreck's black speedster leaves Lyrane VIII and rendezvous with Dauntless, and Kim contacts Haynes on the Z9M9Z.

The basic plan is similar to what he used at Helmuth's old base, plant the fleet between the Lyrane system and the Second Galaxy, cover the area with spotting scrrens, and hope that Kandron eventually gives Lyrane VIII a call.

Haynes is annoyed that he doesn't get to blow up the Eich base on Lyrane VIII...
...Kim points out that he can always do that later.

Eventually Kandron makes a call, and the Patrol now have a line on his direction.

Unfortunately, the line points deep into the Second Galaxy.

...and likely has a few 'surprises' planted along its length.

Also, Kim and Haynes surmise that Boskone are probably running their inter-galactic communications through a system of relays.

Kim suggests that Haynes take the fleet home while he and Nadreck search along the communications line.

Haynes: "Don't be dumb, son; you can think straighter than that."

Haynes has a better idea...
...a full-scale invasion!
...of a part of the Second Galaxy well away from the area pointed to by the communication line!
...in other words, a diversion.

Kim worries about just how many losses they're likely to take.
Haynes points out that Boskone lost a lot for forces at the Battle of Tellus, and probably haven't yet regained their strength.
...also he wants to take the fight to the enemy.

So the plan is to hit one of the outer spiral arms, and set up a forward base on a Tellus-like world.

Once again, the Grand Fleet is assembled.

Second Stage Lensmen - page 161 said:
There was nothing of stealth in this manoeuvre, nothing of finesse, excepting in the arrangements of the units. First, far in the van, flew the prodigious, irregular cone of scout cruisers. They were comparatively small, not heavily armed or armoured, but they were ultra-fast and were provided with the most powerful detectors, spotters, and locators known. They adhered to no rigid formation, but at the will of their individual commanders, under the direct supervision of Grand Fleet Operations in the Z9M9Z, flashed hither and thither ceaselessly—searching, investigating, mapping, reporting.
Ok, I think that's the first mention of the 'cone' formation we've seen so far.
Second Stage Lensmen - page 161 said:
Backing them up came the light cruisers and the cruising bombers—a new type, this latter, designed primarily to bore in to close quarters and to hurl bombs of negative matter.
New tech... new tactics.
Second Stage Lensmen - page 161 said:
Third in order were the heavy defensive cruisers. These ships had been developed specifically for hunting down Boskonian commerce raiders within the galaxy. They wore practically unpenetrable screen, so that they could lock to and hold even a super-dreadnought. They had never before been used in Grand Fleet formation; but since they were now equipped with tractor zones and bomb-tubes, theoretical strategy found a good use for them in this particular place.
Old tech... new tactics.
Second Stage Lensmen - page 161 said:
Next came the real war-head—a solidly packed phalanx of maulers. All the ships up ahead had, although in varying degrees, freedom of motion and of action. The scouts had practically nothing else; fighting was not their business. They could fight, a little, if they had to; but they always ran away if they could, in whatever direction was most expedient at the time. The cruising bombers could either take their fighting or leave it alone, depending upon circumstances—in other words, they fought light cruisers, but ran away from big stuff, stinging as they ran. The heavy cruisers would fight anything short of a mauler, but never in formation: they always broke ranks and fought individual dog-fights, ship to ship.
But that terrific spear-head of maulers had no freedom of motion whatever. It knew only one direction—straight ahead. It would swerve aside for an inert planet, but for nothing smaller; and when it swerved it did so as a whole, not by parts. Its function was to blast through—straight through—any possible opposition, if and when that opposition should have been successful in destroying or dispersing the screens of lesser vessels preceding it. A sunbeam was the only conceivable weapon with which that stolid, power-packed mass of metal could not cope; and, the Patrolmen devoutly hoped, the zwilniks didn't have any sunbeams—yet.
There is a brief mention of what would happen if two equivalent forces of maulers were to meet in battle... the answer, as generated by numerous simulations and war-games, is essentially 'fuck knows'.
Second Stage Lensmen - page 162 said:
Flanking the maulers, streaming gracefully backward from their massed might in a parabolic cone, were arranged the heavy battleships and the super-dreadnoughts; and directly behind the bulwark of flying fortresses, tucked away inside the protecting envelope of big battle-wagons, floated the Z9M9Z—the brains of the whole outfit.
The book continues with what they didn't bring... the WMD's '...no free planets, no negaspheres of planetary anti-mass, no sunbeams' - useful for defence, or cracking (irrevocably) a really hard base, but slow and cumbersome, these will come later, when the Patrol has built a base to defend.

The Grand Fleet's advance upon the Second Galaxy is not blatant, in fact, all standard means of reducing detection (nullifiers, etc.) are in use.
But Haynes and the other officers all know, a fleet that size is just too big to hide...
...even in intergalactic space!

Second Stage Lensmen - page 163 said:
The gigantic flares of the heavy stuff could not be baffled, and the combined grand flare of Grand Fleet made a celestial object which would certainly attract the electronic telescopes of plenty of observatories. And the nearest such 'scopes, instruments of incredible powers of resolution, would be able to pick them out, almost ship by ship, against the relatively brilliant background of their own flares.
OOC: Science Note: I am, however, going to ask how the observatories are 'seeing' the fleet?


This is, I have only now realised, the D-Day of the Civilisation-Boskone war...
...in a story originally written in 1941!

Next... Invasion!

Lensman Reference Page
 

Myth

Southern Mane
RPGnet Member
Validated User
The Grand Fleet's advance upon the Second Galaxy is not blatant, in fact, all standard means of reducing detection (nullifiers, etc.) are in use.
But Haynes and the other officers all know, a fleet that size is just too big to hide...
...even in intergalactic space!


OOC: Science Note: I am, however, going to ask how the observatories are 'seeing' the fleet?
Faster-than-light telescopes, of course!

(How one of those might work is left as an exercise for the student...)
 

Unka Josh

Social Justice Chimera
RPGnet Member
Validated User
The Cone of Battle is, IIRC, talked about in Triplanetary or First Lensman, but in context, it's a plan that can be improved on.

Also IIRC, like visi-plates and various other Doc Smith tech, the Cone's the kind of thing that he came up with in an entirely different story-- maybe one of the ones about the Jovian war or something-- and then casually mentions all the time in his later works as if it's canon for this slightly different setting. He did that kind of thing a bunch. (Heck, Visi-plates are from Skylark, which isn't remotely Lensman canon!)
 

Evil Midnight Lurker

What Lurks at Midnight
Validated User
The Cone of Battle is, IIRC, talked about in Triplanetary or First Lensman, but in context, it's a plan that can be improved on.

Also IIRC, like visi-plates and various other Doc Smith tech, the Cone's the kind of thing that he came up with in an entirely different story-- maybe one of the ones about the Jovian war or something-- and then casually mentions all the time in his later works as if it's canon for this slightly different setting. He did that kind of thing a bunch. (Heck, Visi-plates are from Skylark, which isn't remotely Lensman canon!)
Remember, the Jovian War is from the backstory of Triplanetary -- which in its original form was an entirely different story.
 

s/LaSH

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Say, Helmuth is looking better and better in retrospect, isn't he? As we climb the ladder of Boskone, the quality seems to actually go down a little. I wonder why that is?

One possible explanation is Civilization. The deeper you get into Boskone, the deeper you get into philosophies of domination and power, and Doc's pretty clear that this is not good for you. The upper-ups are still plenty smart and dangerous - moreso than Helmuth, considering their industrial and tech base. But they're working with a larger proportion of bad information from their understanding of cultural dynamics, and so they consistently underestimate Civilization's altruistic drive.

Helmuth was a top operative in the First Galaxy, however, and he was deeply involved with actual personnel who moved within Civilization. While perhaps unconscious of the fact, I think he picked up a fundamental kind of respect for all sentient beings, which is why he tried to never underestimate them. Compare to the Eich or the Overlords, who see other species as something closer to cattle, and decide that fences are good enough. Then they get very surprised when the cattle develop stealth superdreadnaughts.
 

Small Nerd

Registered User
Validated User
Say, Helmuth is looking better and better in retrospect, isn't he? As we climb the ladder of Boskone, the quality seems to actually go down a little. I wonder why that is?

One possible explanation is Civilization. The deeper you get into Boskone, the deeper you get into philosophies of domination and power, and Doc's pretty clear that this is not good for you. The upper-ups are still plenty smart and dangerous - moreso than Helmuth, considering their industrial and tech base. But they're working with a larger proportion of bad information from their understanding of cultural dynamics, and so they consistently underestimate Civilization's altruistic drive.

Helmuth was a top operative in the First Galaxy, however, and he was deeply involved with actual personnel who moved within Civilization. While perhaps unconscious of the fact, I think he picked up a fundamental kind of respect for all sentient beings, which is why he tried to never underestimate them. Compare to the Eich or the Overlords, who see other species as something closer to cattle, and decide that fences are good enough. Then they get very surprised when the cattle develop stealth superdreadnaughts.
Come to think of it, Helmuth's operation was probably one of the early beachheads of Boskone in the First Galaxy. He would've had to get very good at anticipating and countering Civilization's methods out of necessity. The later foes don't seem to be in quite the same kind of situation, so they're not quite on Helmuth's level.
 
Top Bottom