He stood at the front of the lecture hall and looked out at the students, virtual and real. Out of the side of his mouth he muttered “I still think this is a bad idea. I am not a teacher.”
“Obviously.” Replied the Dean. ‘Since your comms are live and they all just heard that.” Soft laughter confirmed this news. “Just speak on what you know or think you know. That is all they want.”
Mike looked out and nodded. “Most times I figure I don’t know anything, so at least this won’t take long.” He nodded to himself and brought up the display on the main screen of a Sansha invasion and let it play as he spoke, as one invasion recording ended another would begin. He let the clip run for a few moments before muting the sound and speaking slowly. “They say that they are uplifting citizens. Their invasions have cut back lately but most folks do not think that this means the threat is ended. Instead they think it is about to change.”
From the back of the hall a voice called, “Fear mongering”
“So are the alarms I have on my ship to warn me when my defenses are dropping. Every time they go off I worry, but that does NOT mean I ignore them. Now do not interrupt me for I lack the patience to make this an open debate.”
‘Afraid to hear the truth?”
The gun came out from beneath his jacket. “No, Afraid I might accidentally hit someone else in the line of fire. Now shut up or find out how good a marksman I am. Oh and those of you sitting near the loudmouth may want to move a bit.”
The shuffling of those present identified the heckler VERY clearly who suddenly realized that he was no longer anonymous. He looked to the door, back at Mike and then left swiftly. The quiet laughter returned although there was a nervous energy to it. The gun was returned to its place beneath his jacket and Mike smiled. “I was asked to come here to prepare you for new situations. While it is risky to compare groups to individuals we have found in the past that a large unorganized group often acts as a single unit. Mobs are an excellent example of this. So I am here to discuss the F’s in relation to the Sansha.”
“F’s, When confronted with a threat it often break down to two choices, Fight or flight. Flight can include ‘freeze’ which is a hiding mechanism that is seldom effective though often used. We have already seen an example of flight today and it IS a strategy that has worked for many species and groups. When the Sansha have arrived in a system they have come for people, not to stay. When this was the case most found freeze to be an acceptable choice, as long as they stayed out of the way then they could leave it to capsuleers for whom fight is the more common reaction. In the past this has worked with mixed success. But it is the belief of some of us that the times are changing and the current reaction mechanisms will not work forever. If the Sansha shift their focus or battle plans we MUST be able to do the same or our adherence to the status quo will have drastic consequences.”
“What sort of consequences?” A nervous voice asked.
“That is the worst of it, we don’t know. But imagine if they were NOT making swift raids but coming to stay. What if the raids up till now have been merely the growth of their forces and strength as well as a test of our resolve. If They KNOW that only a few will fight and the rest will freeze or fly then what is to stop them from taking systems and keeping them? Worse, it will have a snowball effect . . .if they take a system then its strength will add to the next one they target. With their wormhole abilities they will not be predictable as to paths or targets. Today a system in Amarr space, tomorrow somewhere in the Dronelands, the day after that, Old Man Star. They have already shown us that they can hit where and when they like . . . the only variables we can control are how we react.”
Silence stretched for a moment as he brought up a map of New Eden. “You notice I am not making this lecture to politicians or to Concord but to you. There is a reason for that. I do not expect reaction time to be swift enough on those levels. They will try to find a peaceful solution. They will negotiate and delay and do everything but make a decision for fear that deciding anything might be the wrong thing to do. This will be true unless a single person or group has control of a population. Look at the histories and you will see names of people, not groups. I expect the very government bodies some of you expect to save you to be . . . well . . . the polite term is ‘deer in the headlights’.
“You may be the ones on the ground facing this. Your voices are the ones that might sway a political party to do something other than stand very very still and hope the nasties don’t see them.”
“What about Concord?” Another voice asked.
“What about them? They exist to regulate corporate warfare, not to keep the peace and especially not to defend borders. While they have the forces to make me an expanding cloud of particles if I shoot the wrong target they do NOT have the power to stop a concerted attack of Sansha. We have already seen that in previous ‘events’.” He sighed and ran his hand acros the top of his head. “Look, I am hoping that if the word gets out we can rewire our reactions, subvert the natural responses of the body we call the four Races. If we don’t. If we assume tomorrow wil be the same as today then I assure you the future is going to be very very short for some of you.”
He pointed behind himself as inspirational videos for each of the four races played in a quadrant of the screen. “I am going to die. Often and expensively, because I believe that the freedom all of us is worth it. Death is not permanent, for me, which may lessen the sacrifice . . . I suppose. But when they come, and come they will, I will be up there, somewhere, fighting. What I ask of you is that you know what we ‘podders’ are doing and why. That our making a stand in space gives you the time to do something other than dither and negotiate. You are the brains of the beast we call civilization, be the voice as well. Educate yourselves, now. I won’t give you the litany of who and what the Sansha are because my presenting that would contain my own bias. You have been taught to learn for yourselves, do so. You have been taught to think for yourselves, well start now. I brought this to you so that you can rise above the two F’s of an animal and do the one thing that makes us different . . . think.”
He walked off the stage and into the wings as that last word echoed in the room.
If you haven’t looked at what the Sansha incursions are going to be like, do so
Think this through. If they are not fought then systems will be crippled, armor, shields, weapons, no decent bounties, and SMART rats. Mining will become a impossible in those systems as will ratting.
Speaking of the NPCs, while we adopted a “wolf pack” approach for the Sleepers in Apocrypha, we chose to create very specialized units for this feature, inspired from players setups. We also improved the Sleeper AI to match their new capabilities. As such you will face NPC equivalent of logistics, stealth bombers, remote spider-repairing battleships, interceptors, command ships, EW platforms, and more.
I expect there will be some whining as some people start to realize that this invasion is going to disturb their comfortable status quo . . . GOOD
My biggest fear is that CCP will listen to a vocal minority and set things back.
How about you? Will you go out there and die with me? (Or successfully defend space)