What if the "WC: Standoff" best ending happened?

Discussion in 'General Wing Commander Chat' started by CT25, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. CT25

    CT25 Captain

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    From the fan campaign Wing Commander: Standoff, how would WC history have been different if the "best" ending from that campaign had happened?

    For instance, would the Behemoth have been able to be developed more?
     
  2. Pedro

    Pedro Vice Admiral

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    Could you remind me of the details? It's been a long time
     
  3. L.I.F.

    L.I.F. Rear Admiral

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    A larger part of the Kilrathi fleet is destroyed, among which a lot of their best pilots, I think the M/AM strikes are avoided, a much bigger part of the Confed fleet is still in one piece. Thing is, I don't think it changes that much to the war's endgame. The Kilrathi forces put the Confed on the defensive and made it lose the initiative. Their industry is in a better position to finish the fight once and for all while, as Tolwyn rightly put it later on, humankind survives thanks to a fluke, to a superweapon able to exploit both the physical and psychological weaknesses of the Kats.
     
  4. Star Rider

    Star Rider Rear Admiral

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    In the case of Behemoth, the final straw that led to its early deployment was that it was Tolwyn's attempt at winning the war before the Belisarius group could successfully attempt a coup d'etat against the civilian government. Even with the good ending Belisarius group would most likely still attempt their coup d'etat.

    As far as humankind surviving thanks to a fluke according to Tolwyn... that is a debatable subject. After all the years of playing the games and reading the novels I'd say that Confed was able to win the war because they were able to improvise, overcome, and adapt to the situation towards the end of the war.
     
  5. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    I'm not sure if it wouldn't change much, but it clearly could be a double-sided sword. We were implying in the winning ending that Confed is in position to do what Tolwyn wanted to do at the end of Fleet Action - to launch an immediate counterattack and push as far as possible to destroy the Kilrathi fleet before the remaining supercarriers could be launched into service. This could conceivably have been successful... or it could have led Confed to overextend and make mistakes of their own. Quite possibly, the outcome could have been greater losses for both sides over the next few months, and who knows where that would have led to? Another consideration is that under these circumstances, the Behemoth would probably not be deployed until it was fully ready (but yes, I do think it would still be deployed in the end, to stop on-going attrition). That might well give Confed an advantage... or it might mean that the Kilrathi would be able to strike with their new who-knows-where-they-got-them-from dreadnoughts completely unexpectedly, at a point when Confed thought they had plenty of time to prepare the final blow.

    Ultimately, we know Confed must win in the end, but we also know the final years of the war would still have been extremely dramatic, because had the best ending happened canonically, then it would still be followed by WC3, which would still be about Confed winning the war in a dramatic underdog fashion :).

    Well, now... a fluke is a lucky, unexpected and unintended thing. Had Confed decided to bomb Kilrah "just because", that would be different. We can imagine people deciding that the war is lost, Earth is about to be destroyed, so if that's the case, let's blow Kilrah up, just to be spiteful - and then wham! When Kilrah is destroyed, everyone is astounded by the surrender, because nobody thought that could happen. But WC3 makes it very clear to us that this was not the case at all. While probably nobody quite knew what the Kilrathi would do with the loss of Kilrah, everybody was convinced that it would have an extremely crippling effect on their capacity to continue the war. The outcome was anything but a fluke - it was the result of Confed putting in the effort to fully understand their enemy (which the Kilrathi never did), and then carefully preparing a blow against the weakest and most vulnerable point. And the effort that went into preparation is particularly noteworthy - two alternative approaches were prepared (possibly three! Remember Armada!), and several years were spent researching and developing both, including a recon mission to Kilrah. The big problem with this victory, and what makes it seem like a fluke, is that this effort was undertaken far too late into the piece, after about thirty years of war. Particularly given two previous Kilrathi attempts to end the war by going straight for Earth (first, in the opening of the war, then in 2654), Confed should have understood much earlier that a direct strike against Kilrah is their best bet as opposed to a war of attrition. But that doesn't make the whole thing flukish - it was just very late.

    I don't think we can really take anything about Tolwyn's motivations for granted, in this regard. Subsequent events make it seem highly improbable that Tolwyn was actually secretly trying to stop a coup, in my opinion. All things considered, all we know about the Belisarius group is what Tolwyn reveals, and he has every reason to by lying at this point.
     
  6. L.I.F.

    L.I.F. Rear Admiral

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    Trying a counter-attack right then, IMHO, might have changed a bit the front lines at the beginning of WC III, but the general outlook would still be extremely problematic for the Confed through the loss of many industrial sites, a large amount of its civilian population and way too many carriers. The Kilrathi have time on their side there.

    It was a long shot. Yes, there was a good possibility of messing the Kilrathi up once and for all, but the entire thing was one last throw of the dice, particularly the Temblor Bomb. The Behemoth? In a sense, it could be justified for the overall war effort, because, hell, a big honkin' space gun, to quote a certain colonel, is always a good thing to have and would have been a magnificent hard counter to the Kilrathi dreadnaughts if completed properly. Armada? Given that it was a single heavy carrier, it feels more like the Tarawa's raid in an oversized fashion, but even assuming it managed to hunt down and kill Shiraak, the best it would have been able to do would be to wreck some of the shipyards... unless we consider a scenario where they launch the carrier directly at Kilrah under relativistic speeds (I guess that's a sensible plan by that time). But even then, it's more than debatable that it would have been able to break through the defensive forces there. In both successful attacks on Kilrah (Tarawa's and Blair's), major fleet actions were done at the very same time nearby to provide a diversion and make these defensive forces thinner, which would have been almost impossible to do properly for the Lexington.

    What I mean by a fluke, and what I think Tolwyn meant, is that by that time, humankind was decisively losing in the industrial and logistical sides of the war. We were outnumbered, outproduced and in many places outfought. The endgame of the Kilrathi War was not something that should be considered as a great success but rather as one hell of a lucky silver bullet saving our collective asses. In the years leading to the False Armistice, the war was being won in a reliable way, that did not depend on all the stars aligning to get things right. Hell, as for a fluke, consider the fact that the Kilrathi Grand Fleet was being retrofitted and rearmed over Kilrah right at the time of the final raid. Even considering the Kilrathi psychology, we know for a fact that warlords and rogue fleets sprung up after the destruction of Kilrah, many Kilrathi refusing to bow down. Had the majority of the Kilrathi armada not been destroyed there and then, Melek's surrender might not have had so much weight.
     
  7. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    We know they didn't, though - Fleet Action tells us quite clearly that the Empire was on the verge of defeat before the false truce. This was an industrial defeat, and remarkably, it was happening just a year or two after a point when Confed's fleets were outnumbered something like two to one (I don't remember the details), in End Run. The Kilrathi were able to recover superbly thanks to the truce, while Confed production had stalled - but this doesn't necessarily mean that the Kilrathi could now outproduce Confed. For all we know, the fleet gathered in WC3 could well have been a desperate last-ditch effort, too, in terms of production - who says that fleet was replaceable? In fact, I'm pretty sure the WC3 novel says something to this effect, with the Kilrathi Emperor talking about Confed and the Empire as two old warriors who have fought themselves to exhaustion, or something like that. In a scenario where Confed wins the BoT more decisively, an aggressive push - remember, including all those CVEs fanning out into Kilrathi backwaters and wreaking havoc with supply lines again - could well have brought the Kilrathi to their knees again, because the books make it clear that even greater losses at the battle would have been disastrous, especially because of the difficulty of training replacement pilots.

    As I said, I don't think the outcome would necessarily have been great for Confed, because they could have walked into worse trouble, too, without sufficient caution. And, WC being what it is, some excuse to reinforce the Kilrathi advantage would have been invented.

    Well, here's the thing: neither the Behemoth, nor the bomb, were built overnight. This is game logic overwriting the universe's logic. We know these weapons didn't exist prior to WC3 in the sense that the devs had not yet come up with these ideas. But we must also understand that once these weapons were invented, they were invented retroactively. I do not think there can be much doubt that the construction of the Behemoth was started before the truce, and its design process even earlier. The books tell us it takes years to build new ships - and obviously, this is particularly the case when a whole planet-destroying gun must be invented. Who knows, when that idea was first started on? It could possibly go back a decade or more. We cannot call something like this a "one last throw of the dice" - yes, because of game logic, the Behemoth ended up appearing on the front lines just at the time when it was the most needed. It's a typical game (...or movie, or book, I guess) coincidence, where special weapons are brought in just when things are the most desperate. But when we look at it from the perspective of a coherent universe, we must accept the fact that even the way the Behemoth appeared in the story is clear indication that this is something Confed had been planning and preparing for a long, long time; the only bit of desperation was bringing it out a few months early - and even this is an indication of just how long they had been working on it, that they couldn't wait to finish it.

    With regards to the temblor, it's harder to say anything for certain about how long it was in development; certainly, the game makes it seem like it was just a matter of rescuing one scientist and a few weeks later - bam. But this scientist was being rescued for a reason. This wasn't a project that was started just at this point. It was something that must have been in development much longer, and quite close to completion, otherwise they couldn't have just finished the two bombs with the snap of a finger.

    Well, look, Armada is a funny one, because it's a strategy game, and it leads to an alternate ending that never happened. Worse still, it makes no attempt to explain how this alternate ending is achieved. But the ending is what it is - in both cases, the Lexington and the Shiraak, apparently are able to bring Earth or Kilrah to destruction. We're not told how this is done. We're not even done if this is done, or if it's just an allegorical way of saying they won the war (though that would surely be a first, this kind of allegory). Certainly, we're also not told how this is done. We could speculate that the Lexington could be supplied at some point with a temblor bomb, I guess. The Shiraak, of course, is entirely inexplicable in this equation. Regardless, I don't think we are in a position to throw Armada away and simply dismiss the possibility of planet-destruction that the game presents. It should be accepted as something that could have happened but didn't, in the same way that we accept losing branches in other games (or Standoff's winning branch, for that matter) as something that could have happened, but didn't. And that leads us to two conclusions - firstly, that Confed had a third plan to destroy Kilrah. Secondly, that the Kilrathi also had a special alternative plan to destroy Earth if brute force failed. Both sides, it is clear, were in a difficult position and doing all they could to assure themselves of alternative paths to victory.

    I think we have to be really, really careful in making assumptions on the state of either side at the end of the war. The games overplay the desperation on Confed's side, but the books add a strong sense of desperation on the Kilrathi side, too. While the Kilrathi undeniably had assembled a fleet that could have reached the Earth, as we see on the losing path, we have no reason to believe this fleet was an indication that the Kilrathi were more capable of replacing their losses, and better prepared for a long war. We don't know what was going on elsewhere. For all we know, the fleet assembled for the final attack could have involved most remaining Kilrathi forces - just as had happened previously. And while the losing path does lead to Kilrathi victory, this doesn't mean that even at that point, there wasn't a possibility of a conventional victory for Confed. It's simply a path that's never explored in the games.

    (how cool it would be if it was? Imagine, if WC3 had an alternative winning path that's ultra-hard, but leads to a victory without the annihilation of Kilrah, just as Origin had done with WWII in Pacific Strike!)
     
    L.I.F. likes this.
  8. Star Rider

    Star Rider Rear Admiral

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    I believe that it took around ten years or so to design and build the behemoth based on the briefing that Tolwyn gives you during the Torgo 1 mission "After a decade of secret research and development, Our greatest minds have developed the weapon that will spell doom to the Kilrathi." Which would put the beginning of the R&D for Behemoth around 2659.
     
  9. CT25

    CT25 Captain

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    Would WC3 have to be that way though? Couldn't a change in the canon timeline result in a WC3 setting that's less desperate for Confed?
     
  10. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    Well, did WC2 have to begin with the Tiger's Claw being destroyed? :) The need for drama in WC3 is imposed not by the internal workings of the WC universe, but by the narrative need for the final part of the WC1-3 trilogy to pack a powerful punch by making Confed into a desperate underdog. That was actually the whole point of Fleet Action - the book's story was intended to bridge the gap between a fairly well-positioned Confed in WC2, and a desperate Confed in WC3. Had Standoff interfered and made Confed less desperate, some other excuse would have been introduced to underdogise Confed.
     
  11. TankGunner

    TankGunner Rear Admiral

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    Regarding the Lexington; who is to say that it destroyed Kilrah?

    Blair needed some 'pitstop' depots to land at on his flight in. Someone had to haul all those materials in and build them- why not the Lexington? It's success would be after clearing the enemy carrier, and allowing it to complete the mission.

    And after all, the game just shows you destroying the carrier, then Kilrah going down. Doesn't mean the Lex did that...
     
  12. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    I do vaguely recall that in the past (most likely back in the 20th century), that was one of the theories floating around: that the Lexington was connected to Angel's mission to Kilrah (which, in turn, was connected to Blair's subsequent mission). Clearly, it's not impossible, because there's no contrary evidence. However, it's not exactly a very strong idea, when you think about it. After the Tarawa's mission, the Kilrah System must have been very strongly guarded. It seems inconceivable that a ship as big as a carrier could get through completely unnoticed, and build all those bases (or even just drop off Angel). It seems even more inconceivable that Confed would throw away a carrier at a critical point in the war, on the chance that it might be able to get through unnoticed to Kilrah.

    Granted, nothing ever made sense about the Lexington, and nothing ever will - the plot was a mere excuse for a simple strategy game, and didn't try to make sense. So, in that sense, "recycling" the Lexington in connection with the Temblor bomb would at least give it some purpose in the canon (the same cannot be said for the Shiraak, obviously). But it seems like a bad idea. It's just not "special ops", to send in a carrier.
     
  13. -danr-

    -danr- Rear Admiral

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    I always used to pretend they had taken the Gamal Gan/Grimalkin to inflitrate Kilrah and set up the asteroid bases :p
     
  14. Ijuin

    Ijuin Admiral

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    Destruction doesn't have to mean a planet-shattering kaboom like the Behemoth or the Temblor Bomb. It could be achieved just as effectively by nuking the biosphere out of existence--if the atmosphere becomes permanently unbreathable and nothing can live on the planet, then it is essentially destroyed. Just take the Strontium-90 bombing of the various Confederation worlds and scale it up enough that even the bacteria die.
     
  15. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    Certainly. Admittedly, the cutscene shows the planet being blown to bits, but hey - so did WC3, and then in WCP it turned out that the destruction wasn't quite so definitive. So yeah, it could be assumed that some less total form of planet destruction took place here. Naturally, we'll never know, because presumably there isn't an actual answer. However, if some kind of fan project were to address the issue, then that certainly would be a viable option.
     
  16. ChrisReid

    ChrisReid Super Soaker Collector / Administrator

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    Page 45 of Star Soldier does follow up on the Lexington: "Though the Special Operations team reached Kilrah, the Lexington was never recovered."
     
  17. TankGunner

    TankGunner Rear Admiral

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    That would definitely sound like a connection; the Lexington fights it's way through a back channel jumppath, destroying the one carrier that could stop it, then unloads Angel's SO team to build the asteroid bases. WCII shows that a shutdown carrier can hide in an asteroid belt, at least for a short time.
     
  18. CT25

    CT25 Captain

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    Here's another interesting thought: what if the best ending happened and Thrakhath also dies when you shoot him down in the final mission?
     
  19. -danr-

    -danr- Rear Admiral

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    It would make the Kilrathi angry and vengeful but it wouldn't crush their morale like the death of an emperor. One of Thrakhath's many cousins would replace him as heir to Kilrah, and the war would go on.
     
  20. CT25

    CT25 Captain

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    Assuming he somehow survived the best ending of Standoff, what position was Jukaga in the Kilrathi hierarchy? Could he have replaced Thrakhath?
     

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