The destruction of the Vesuvius

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
He does detonate a torpedo early, which disables launch operations; Maniac notes that (he thinks) no one was hurt.

Maniac must not have been paying attention, then. An Arrow was launching at the time, and got smeared against the Lex for its troubles (p. 201, WC4N).
 

Primate

Spaceman
He does detonate a torpedo early, which disables launch operations; Maniac notes that (he thinks) no one was hurt.


In the novel Tolwyn later tells Blair that 80 people were killed or injured (245). You could say he was lying, but I don't really see why he would or what it would accomplish.
 

Flying Target

Swabbie
Banned
Is Blair the kind of guy who would just accept that as part of the business and just plough ahead, or do you reckon it would haunt him?
 

Jebe

Spaceman
Did Blair have to take out the TCS Vesuvius?

I didn't get the impression Tolwyn was going to destroy the St. Helens instead of letting her retire.

As I understood the point was to get Blair to Earth to testify. A F-107 Lance like Blair was flying has a cloaking device, jump drive, and "infinite" afterburner which should be able to utterly outrun the TCS Vesuvius with scoops closed. Except for Seether's little trick and maybe a few Arrows I tend to doubt they could have intercepted, supposing the cloaking device caused no issues for them.

Tolwyn would have been convicted as canon, and the Confederation would have retained one more Super Carrier from where I'm standing, but that's just my take.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Tolwyn may have been content with letting St. Helens escape, but Vesuvius would have certainly destroyed Intrepid if Blair hadn't intervened.
 

Jebe

Spaceman
Given Tolwyn didn't attempt to torpedo her before, and has a appointment I doubt he'd go out of his way to deploy a bombing missions against the Maniac and associates. Seether should have been able to do so with his F-107 before intercepting Blair if they were that spiteful and capable.

Thus I must ask justification for why the Intrepid jumped to Sol when it probably doesn't even have real anti-ship armament, or why it couldn't go back through the jump point during the effective cease fire period. As Blair is the de facto Captain of said ship those decisions also fall under his authority and thus his responsibility.

The TCS St. Helens is another matter, as Tolwyn pointed out, it shouldn't have been jumping that early in its construction. However the same scene where Tolwyn is rubbing Blair's nose in it would tend to indicate he doesn't intend to destroy her, at least to me.
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
Thus I must ask justification for why the Intrepid jumped to Sol when it probably doesn't even have real anti-ship armament

The novelization has Wilford pointing out that the Intrepid retained its forward torpedo tubes, from its original destroyer design.
 

Dragon1

Rear Admiral
Additionally, the Tango and the Intrepid had 8 of the larger-scale dual laser turrets that were also seen on the Confed cruisers and destroyers. Why the programmers of WC4 decided not to include the AMG armament on these ships (yet include these guns on the Vesuvius-class) is unknown to me. I have always assumed that the larger laser turrets were anti-ship batteries.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Did Blair have to take out the TCS Vesuvius?

I didn't get the impression Tolwyn was going to destroy the St. Helens instead of letting her retire.

As I understood the point was to get Blair to Earth to testify. A F-107 Lance like Blair was flying has a cloaking device, jump drive, and "infinite" afterburner which should be able to utterly outrun the TCS Vesuvius with scoops closed. Except for Seether's little trick and maybe a few Arrows I tend to doubt they could have intercepted, supposing the cloaking device caused no issues for them.

Tolwyn would have been convicted as canon, and the Confederation would have retained one more Super Carrier from where I'm standing, but that's just my take.

I don't think the goal was specifically to have Blair go to Earth and testify in the Senate (how could they predict that would even be an option?). They'd gathered evidence that was to be presented to unspecified authorities which included first hand testimony from Blair, Hawk, Eisen and others... but the immediate mission was to stop Tolwyn and the conspiracy.

Aside from the Vesuvius blocking (and ultimately going-to-destroying) the Intrepid, though, everyone thought Tolwyn was *aboard* -- destroying the supercarrier was to prevent Tolwyn from testifying, kill the conspiracy outright and allow the Intrepid crew time to explain what has happened. It was only afterwards that you learn he has escaped in a shuttle and that Blair must hunt him down.

Thus I must ask justification for why the Intrepid jumped to Sol when it probably doesn't even have real anti-ship armament, or why it couldn't go back through the jump point during the effective cease fire period. As Blair is the de facto Captain of said ship those decisions also fall under his authority and thus his responsibility.

Actually, he was the de jure captain -- he was assigned the position after Eisen left. :) Wilford, however, was in command of the fleet and the operation and was responsible for ordering the Intrepid to press the battle.

However the same scene where Tolwyn is rubbing Blair's nose in it would tend to indicate he doesn't intend to destroy her, at least to me.

The 'rubbing' is immediately followed by Tolwyn ordering Seether to *kill* Blair (who is aboard the Intrepid).

Additionally, the Tango and the Intrepid had 8 of the larger-scale dual laser turrets that were also seen on the Confed cruisers and destroyers. Why the programmers of WC4 decided not to include the AMG armament on these ships (yet include these guns on the Vesuvius-class) is unknown to me. I have always assumed that the larger laser turrets were anti-ship batteries.

I don't think the yellow weapons are actually anti-matter guns; aren't they one of the game's "heavy" weapon variants (photons, drivers or ions)?

Re: turrets. I think the confusing idea is that 'in continuity' the big turrets you see in the game are the ship-to-ship weapons and that they thin have a larger number of anti-fighter weapons that are only described in novels. Which is to say that you are correct that the Intrepid had a number of anti-ship batteries (although I'm not sure how many were actually active at this point; the novel disables a bunch of them.)
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Is Blair the kind of guy who would just accept that as part of the business and just plough ahead, or do you reckon it would haunt him?

That is a good question and something we should think about.

His inner monlogue in the novelization says, at one point (about shooting down a Confederation-built fighter early in the story): "Blair's heart thumped in his chest as he watched the fighter die. The fighter's frame broke up before the pilot could eject. He felt dirty and sickened by what he had done, even though he'd had no choice. Blair had rarely fired on Confed built ships, and the memories of each time he had done so plagued his dreams."

The problem with (or at least the point of) Blair is that in most stories he's completely neutral; after all, he's supposed to be *you* and so the character was originally created to have as small a footprint as possible... he rarely even spoke (and didn't have a name!) in the original game, even. So when Blair swings one way or the other (ie, gets a family history in the movie) people get angry. Other attempts at giving him a background are often intentionally blah (son of a farmer who just wanted to *fly*!, etc).

In my mind, though, Blair cracks into being interesting on the rare occasion that we get to see him doing something 'wrong'; take his treatment of Hobbes in Wing Commander II, before they become best pals -- the idea that he's an unrepentant racist when it comes to the Kilrathi is so much more interesting than the reluctant-warrior archetype (and, honestly, space racism is spoken to a little even in that bit I just quoted -- it's just the 'Confed built' ships that haunt his dreams?).

Similarly, Blair as an alcoholic - because he's bored! - is great (as angry as it seems to make people, occasionally).
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
The "confed built ship" think might not be as much about remorse for killing as it is about destruction of his own world view. I would imagine that pilots would have to have a little bit of "immortality syndrome"...the idea that dying could never happen to me!...in their psyche in order to keep going, even if this does seem directly contradictory to seeing their friends die around them. Shooting down, and seeing a confed ship break up, would most likely jar their own sense of invincibility and give them nightmares. After all, Blair spent most of his adult life flying in confed built ships.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
The "confed built ship" think might not be as much about remorse for killing as it is about destruction of his own world view. I would imagine that pilots would have to have a little bit of "immortality syndrome"...the idea that dying could never happen to me!...in their psyche in order to keep going, even if this does seem directly contradictory to seeing their friends die around them. Shooting down, and seeing a confed ship break up, would most likely jar their own sense of invincibility and give them nightmares. After all, Blair spent most of his adult life flying in confed built ships.

That's a good point, and Blair *is* a little less horrified about killing humans in generals (he mentions seeing bodies feels odd, as he is so used to killing Kilrathi, at one point).

For someone who doesn't like destroying human-built ships, though, he sure seems to do it a lot. :) (Fallstaff, Gwenhyvar, the extra Rapiers, Jazz, the Gettysburg crew/pirate offshoots, the Mandarins, Jazz again, Hobbes...).
 

Jebe

Spaceman
I don't think the goal was specifically to have Blair go to Earth and testify in the Senate (how could they predict that would even be an option?). They'd gathered evidence that was to be presented to unspecified authorities which included first hand testimony from Blair, Hawk, Eisen and others... but the immediate mission was to stop Tolwyn and the conspiracy.

Aside from the Vesuvius blocking (and ultimately going-to-destroying) the Intrepid, though, everyone thought Tolwyn was *aboard* -- destroying the supercarrier was to prevent Tolwyn from testifying, kill the conspiracy outright and allow the Intrepid crew time to explain what has happened. It was only afterwards that you learn he has escaped in a shuttle and that Blair must hunt him down.
The Vesuvius is not blocking the Intrepid from jumping out of the Sol system. Going by cut scene at this point its chased the St. Helens through the Jump Point and the range has opened enough by the time Intrepid jump in it is probably out of position to even shoot at Intrepid. Given its better acceleration and Tolwyn has an appointment the only way they're getting in a shit kicking contest is if Tolwyn is willing to be even more late and do yet another 180 and Intrepid keeps snapping at his heels.

On the main point nuking Kim Jong-Il might be a expediant way to neutralize a mad man responsible for numerous atrocities, but it doesn't make it right. Let's put this in context of anyone on the Confed side of the equation:

Blair having betrayed the Confederation for the Border Worlds engages in a assasination attempt on the Admiral that held a blood thirsty Senate off for two weeks to thoroughly investigate the situation and insure that war was both justified and necessary by destroying a freshly built exceptionally expensive flagship with the questionable weapons that some of the dissent would argue the Border Worlds did not possess.

Can you seriously argue this action is a good idea from an objective command level standpoint, when they could bypass the Vesuvius with F-107s instead? Again if Tolwyn did not practically explicitly state he was going to let the St. Helens retire this would be a very different matter as it would be either the St. Helens or the Vesuvius.

Actually, he was the de jure captain -- he was assigned the position after Eisen left. :) Wilford, however, was in command of the fleet and the operation and was responsible for ordering the Intrepid to press the battle.
Colonel Blair, Confed Space Forces holds legal rank in the Border World Militia? :p

The Officer of the Deck is allowed to run the ship while the Captain is off doing other things, but is not the Captain. That position is usually filled by a Naval Officer with the rank of Lieutenant, and is 3 promotion boards short of being made a real Captain. The XO being acting Captain would imply the Captain is not present, which Blair demonstrateably is. Even if this was not the case while one can delegate authority to lesser officers that does not delegate responsibility. A superior officer is responsible for insuring they delegate authority to a person that can do the job and thus ultimately still responsible regardless.

I'm not sure who Wilson is, but I'll use it for convenience.

As Eisen is senior to both Blair and Wilson, why are you flagging him in command of the "fleet" of St. Helen and Intrepid? Eisen orders such coordination as exists between the two as is appropriate for both his rank and seniority.

The 'rubbing' is immediately followed by Tolwyn ordering Seether to *kill* Blair (who is aboard the Intrepid).
You prove the original and secondary point. The implication is that he will allow St. Helens to retire, and if taking out Interpid itself was a priority his F-107 would have been loaded with appropriate ordinance, allowing him to take her out before catching up to Blair with his trick.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
The Vesuvius is not blocking the Intrepid from jumping out of the Sol system. Going by cut scene at this point its chased the St. Helens through the Jump Point and the range has opened enough by the time Intrepid jump in it is probably out of position to even shoot at Intrepid. Given its better acceleration and Tolwyn has an appointment the only way they're getting in a shit kicking contest is if Tolwyn is willing to be even more late and do yet another 180 and Intrepid keeps snapping at his heels.

But we all know this isn't how carrier warfare works; the tip of the spear on both ships is the fighter complement... and Vesuvius' complement is eight times as many superior spacecraft that Tolwyn has ordered to destroy the Intrepid. Even if Intrepid can theoretically give up its mission and retreat in the wrong direction to avoid being gunned down by the Vesuvius' batteries or torpedoes, it's still facing two *wings* of Seether's Lances.

On the main point nuking Kim Jong-Il might be a expediant way to neutralize a mad man responsible for numerous atrocities, but it doesn't make it right. Let's put this in context of anyone on the Confed side of the equation:

This is a bad analogy, because there's no specific threat from Kim Jong-Il; Blair, on the other hand, knows that Tolwyn has ordered his forces to seed ten populated "core" worlds with the bio-convergence weapon as soon as war is declared. Tens if not hundreds of billions of lives hang in the balance here in a very direct and immediate way.

Blair having betrayed the Confederation for the Border Worlds engages in a assasination attempt on the Admiral that held a blood thirsty Senate off for two weeks to thoroughly investigate the situation and insure that war was both justified and necessary by destroying a freshly built exceptionally expensive flagship with the questionable weapons that some of the dissent would argue the Border Worlds did not possess.

Can you seriously argue this action is a good idea from an objective command level standpoint, when they could bypass the Vesuvius with F-107s instead? Again if Tolwyn did not practically explicitly state he was going to let the St. Helens retire this would be a very different matter as it would be either the St. Helens or the Vesuvius.

You're making a false assumption that landing a cloaked Lance outside the Senate building was the goal of that chase.

Colonel Blair, Confed Space Forces holds legal rank in the Border World Militia? The Officer of the Deck is allowed to run the ship while the Captain is off doing other things, but is not the Captain. That position is usually filled by a Naval Officer with the rank of Lieutenant, and is 3 promotion boards short of being made a real Captain. Wilson is acting Officer of the Deck, Blair is Captain and thus ultimately responsible regardless of delegating authority to the acting Officer of the Deck.

I don't think you can assume that current US Navy rules (?) apply to not only a space Navy 600 years in the future, but a ragtag spit-and-glue Space Navy whose entire command structure is made up of people who defected two weeks before. Blair is made Captain of the Intrepid... and that's that. I'm reasonably sure our own Navy hadn't worked out the need for three promotion boards by October 27th, 1775.

(The Admiral is named Wilford, not Wilson.)

As Eisen is senior to both Blair and Wilson, why are you flagging him in command of the "fleet" of St. Helen and Intrepid? Eisen orders such coordination as exists between the two as is appropriate for both his rank and seniority.

Eisen is not senior to Blair *or* Wilford; all three were equal grades in the Confederation Navy and Wilford is an Admiral in the Border Worlds. Per the novel, his fleet includes several other ships - including the Princeton (the carrier captured at Speradon) and a pair of escort carriers on loan from the Landreich (all of which are providing support for the race to Earth at varying points).
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
I don't think you can assume that current US Navy rules (?) apply to not only a space Navy 600 years in the future, but a ragtag spit-and-glue Space Navy whose entire command structure is made up of people who defected two weeks before. Blair is made Captain of the Intrepid... and that's that. I'm reasonably sure our own Navy hadn't worked out the need for three promotion boards by October 27th, 1775.

Well the Navy we had established in 1775 was the Continental Navy, which was later disbanded. The formal navy wasn't created until sometime later, 1794, and it was practice at the time to have ship's Captains recommended by congress and then appointed by the Secretary of the Navy, though in reality just about anyone in a position of government could recommend someone for a Captain's billet and have it confirmed.

However, it is worth noting that under the rules at the time a Captain could place a ranked officer in charge of a captured ship in order to crew it and man it for the US Navy.

So...even assuming the same rules have been affect from the United States Navy all the way through the Confederation Navy, it could be strongly argued that Eisen - as ranking Confederation Officer - could place Blair in command of the Intrepid as a Confederation vessel.

I would actually argue that the setting of the Wing Commander games makes it more likely the 18th century rules are in effect then the 20th century rules. For example, a Confederation ship operating behind enemy lines or across the 'border' (for lack of a better term) is in fact cut off from their home government and nominal chain of command, much like the sailing ships of old.

As a result of this lack of communication ships captains were given broad ranges of responability likely to cover any potential situations that they might come across. Given the vastness of space and the general unknown of what a ship's captain might experience, I could easily see the Confederation giving ship's captain much broader authority then exists in our naval chain of command today.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
So...even assuming the same rules have been affect from the United States Navy all the way through the Confederation Navy, it could be strongly argued that Eisen - as ranking Confederation Officer - could place Blair in command of the Intrepid as a Confederation vessel.
Uh... yeah... the Intrepid as a Confederation vessel? To quote Maniac - "Confed... Confed, that's not right."
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
I would actually argue that the setting of the Wing Commander games makes it more likely the 18th century rules are in effect then the 20th century rules. For example, a Confederation ship operating behind enemy lines or across the 'border' (for lack of a better term) is in fact cut off from their home government and nominal chain of command, much like the sailing ships of old.

As a result of this lack of communication ships captains were given broad ranges of responability likely to cover any potential situations that they might come across. Given the vastness of space and the general unknown of what a ship's captain might experience, I could easily see the Confederation giving ship's captain much broader authority then exists in our naval chain of command today.

I'd actually argue it another way in concern with behind the lines and lack of communication. If anything it's more like WWII Pacific carrier/fleet tactics. Ships behind the lines aren't cut off in the way that 18th century ships would be (remember burst signal transmitters on capships can broadcast significant distances). However, maintaining radio silence might be key to a successful op. Or we have seen where short (under 1 second was it?) messages are transmitted to update command. At the same time a ship maintaining radio silence can still receive messages (which was often and is still used to an extent to update forces under radio silence).

Under today's structure I agree with you. Ships are interconnected with command on a much high level due to our technology and the "shrinking" of the globe provided by modern communications. Space, obviously being immensely bigger, presents new challenges.

I like to think that the Confed naval structure (both from the games and novels) is doing its best to emulate WWII in the Pacific. While it's certainly not limited to this in some regards I see the core coming from this. Forstchen is certainly familiar with the field and to varying degrees the people behind the games themselves.
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
Uh... yeah... the Intrepid as a Confederation vessel? To quote Maniac - "Confed... Confed, that's not right."

While I agree that practically everyone knows this is not the case, in actuality this is muddled someone by the condition of Eisen himself. He has not resigned from the Confederation, nor has he had his commission stripped. He is still, in fact, an acting officer of the Confederation in everything that he does - including assuming the Captain-ship of the Intrepid. While this may not in fact make the ship itself
Confederation property or even under confederation service, officers of the Confederation coming to operate on board the ship would in fact be acting within a legal Confederation chain of command.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
While I agree that practically everyone knows this is not the case, in actuality this is muddled someone by the condition of Eisen himself. He has not resigned from the Confederation, nor has he had his commission stripped. He is still, in fact, an acting officer of the Confederation in everything that he does - including assuming the Captain-ship of the Intrepid.
I don't think this is the case. Eisen's status within the Confederation is pretty clear-cut - he has defected you, as a Confed officer, have actually been given the order to shoot him down. He's not an acting officer of the Confederation - he is recognised as a traitor. If he surrendered, he would be court-martialled as a Confed officer, but in the meantime, he most certainly does not represent the Confederation any more than Benedict Arnold represented the rebel colonies after defecting to the British. Presumably, him taking command of the Mt. St. Helens later on is an entirely illegal act, only possible because someone at Confed HQ knew Eisen well enough to risk trusting him, and because the crew of the ship probably didn't know Eisen was a traitor.

While this may not in fact make the ship itself Confederation property or even under confederation service, officers of the Confederation coming to operate on board the ship would in fact be acting within a legal Confederation chain of command.
I'm sure this is the point where you should be able to figure out how wrong you are simply by re-reading what you wrote. Logically, when Admiral Tolwyn comes on board later on (captured by Dekker), he would be able to take command from Blair - this isn't the case, because Blair no longer recognises the Confederation chain of command, and that chain of command no longer recognises Blair as part of the chain of command.

There is a great analogy you should consider - the Gettysburg mutiny in SO2. Is there any doubt in your mind that the mutineers (who, like Blair and Eisen have neither resigned their commission, nor have they legally been stripped of it) were not in any way "acting Confederation officers", and the Rigel Supply Depot was not in any way a part of the Confederation chain of command while under their occupation? Well, there is no difference at all between the Gettysburg mutiny and Eisen's or Blair's defection - in both cases, a Confed officer made the choice to go AWOL *and* shoot at Confederation forces. The only difference is the motives for the mutiny.
 
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