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Binary options trading using support and resistance
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A trans person's measured take on the trans sports issue
So first of all this post was inspired by GGExMachina's brief statement on the issue:
For example, it is objectively the case that biological men have a physical advantage over women. Yet if someone points this out and suggests that transgender people shouldn’t be allowed to fight in women’s UFC, or women’s soccer or weightlifting competitions or whatever, suddenly you’re some kind of evil monster. Rather than saying that of course trans people shouldn’t be bullied and that we could perhaps have a trans olympics (like the Paralympics and Special Olympics), we are expected to lie.
I've found that this position is incredibly popular among liberals/left-leaning people, especially here on reddit. It seems like, once or twice a month, like clockwork, a thread stating more or less the same thing on /unpopularopinion or /offmychest will get thousands of upvotes. And while I completely understand the thought process that leads otherwise left-leaning people to come to such conclusions, I feel like the issue has been, broadly speaking, dishonestly presented to the general public by a mixture of bad-faith actors and people who have succumbed to the moral panic. And, as I've seen, there are plenty of people in this subreddit and elsewhere who are itching to be as supportive as they possibly can to the trans community but find themselves becoming very disillusioned by this particular issue. By making this post I hope to present a more nuanced take on the issue, not only in regards to my personal beliefs on what kinds of policies are best to preserve fairness in women's sports but also in regards to shining a light on how this issue is often times dishonestly presented in an attempt to impede the progression of pro-trans sentiments in the cultural zeitgeist.
Sex & Gender
The word "transgender" is an umbrella term that refers to people whose gender identities differ from those typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, the approximate composition of "the trans community" in the United States is 29% Transgender men (Female-to-Male), 33% Transgender women (Male-to-Female), and 35% non-binary. (The remaining 3% were survey respondents who self-identified as "crossdressers", who were still included in the survey on the grounds of being gender non-conforming) While non-binary people, as a group, are probably deserving of their own separate post. the focus of this post will be on trans men and trans women. I will also be primarily focusing on transgender people who pursue medical transition with Hormone-Replacement-Therapy, as they are most relevant to the issue of sports. (Mind that while the majority of binary trans people fit into this camp, there is a sizable minority of trans people who do not feel the need to medically transition.) What do trans people believe about Gender? The views of transgender people in regards to Gender are actually pretty varied, although the most prominent positions that I've personally seen are best summed up into two different camps:
The "Trans-Medical" camp
Transgender people who fall into this camp usually consider Gender Dysphoria to be the defining factor of what makes somebody trans. The best way I can describe this camp is that they sort of view being transgender akin to being intersex. Only whereas an intersex person would be born with a disorder that affects the body, a trans person is born with a disorder that affects the brain. Trans people in this camp often times put an emphasis on a clinical course for treatment. For example, a person goes to a psychologist, gets diagnosed with gender dysphoria, starts hormone replacement therapy, pursues surgery, then emerges from this process of either cured of the gender dysphoria or, at the very least, treated to the fullest extent of medical intervention. This position is more or less the original position held by trans activists, back in the day when the word "transsexual" was used instead of "transgender". Though many younger trans people, notably YouTuber Blaire White, also hold this position. Under this position, sex and gender are still quite intertwined, but a trans man can still be considered a man, and a trans woman a woman, under the belief that sex/gender doesn't just refer to chromosomal sex and reproductive organs, but also to neurobiology, genitalia, and secondary sex characteristics. So someone who is transgender, according to this view, is born with the physical characteristics of one sex/gender but the neurobiology of another, and will change their physical characteristics, to the fullest extent medically possible, to match the neurobiology and therefore cure the individual of gender dysphoria. Critics of this position argue that this mentality is problematic due to being inherently exclusive to transgender people who do not pursue medical transition, whom are often times deemed as "transtrenders" by people within this camp. Many people find it additionally problematic because it is also inherently exclusive to poorer trans people, particularly those in developing nations, who may not have access to trans-related medical care. Note that there are plenty of trans people who *do* have access to medical transition, but nevertheless feel as if the trans community shouldn't gatekeep people who cannot afford or do not desire medical transition, thus believing in the latter camp.
The "Gender Identity" camp
I feel like this camp is the one most popularly criticized by people on the right, but is also probably the most mainstream. It is the viewpoint held by many more left-wing trans people, (Note that in the aforementioned 2015 survey, only 1% of trans respondents voted Republican, so trans people are largely a pretty left-wing group, therefore it makes sense that this position would be the most mainstream) but also notably held by American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, GLAAD, and other mainstream health organizations and activist groups. While people in this camp still acknowledge that medical transition to treat gender dysphoria can still be a very important aspect of the transgender experience, it's believed that the *defining* experience is simply having a gender identity different from the one they were assigned at birth. "Gender identity" simply being the internal, personal sense of being a man, a woman, or outside the gender binary. Many people in this camp, though, still often maintain that gender identity is (at least partially) neurobiological, but differ from the first camp in regards to acknowledging that the issue is less black & white than an individual simply having a "male brain" or a "female brain", but rather that the neurological characteristics associated with gender exist on more of a spectrum, thus leaving the door open to gender non-conforming people who do not identify as trans, as well as to non-binary people. This is where the "gender is a spectrum" phrase comes from. "52 genders" is a popular right-wing meme that makes fun of this viewpoint, however it is important to note that many trans and non-binary people disagree with the idea of quantifying gender identity to such an absurd amount of individual genders, rather more simply maintaining that there are men, women, and a small portion of people in-between, with a few words such as "agender" or "genderqueer" being used to describe specific identities/presentations within this category. It's also noteworthy that not all people in this camp believe that neurobiology is the be-all-end-all of gender identity, as many believe that the performativity of gender also plays an integral role in one's identity. (That gender identity is a mixture of neurobiology and performativity is a position held by YouTuber Contrapoints) Trans people and biological sex So while the aforementioned "Gender Identity" viewpoint has become quite popularized among liberals and leftists, I have noticed a certain rhetorical mentality/assumption become prevalent alongside it, especially among cisgender people who consider themselves trans-allies: "Sex and Gender are different. A trans woman is a woman who is biologically male. A trans man is a man who is biologically female" When "Sex" is defined by someone's chromosomes, or the sex organs they were born with, this is correct. However, there is a pretty good reason why the trans community tends to prefer terms like "Assigned Male at Birth" rather than "Biologically Male". This is done not only for the inclusion of people who are both intersex and transgender (For example, someone can be born intersex but assigned male based on the existence of a penis or micropenis), but also due to the aforementioned viewpoint on divergent neurobiology being the cause for gender dysphoria. Those reasons are why the word "Assigned" is used. But the reason why it's "Assigned Male/Female At Birth" instead of just "Assigned Male/Female" is because among the trans community there exists an understanding of the mutability of sexually dimorphic biology that the general population is often ignorant to. For example, often times people (especially older folks) don't even know of the existence of Hormone Replacement Therapy, and simply assume that trans people get a single "sex change operation" that, (for a trans woman) would just entail the removal of the penis and getting breast implants. Therefore they imagine the process to be "medically sculpting a male to look female" instead of a more natural biological process of switching the endocrine system form male to female or vice versa and letting the body change over the course of multiple years. It doesn't help that, for a lot of older trans people (namely Caitlyn Jenner, who is probably the most high profile trans person sadly), the body can be a lot more resistant to change even with hormones so they *do* need to rely on plastic surgery a lot more to get obvious results) So what sexually dimorphic bodily characteristics can one expect to change from Hormone Replacement Therapy? (Note that there is a surprising lack of studies done on some of the more intricate changes that HRT can, so I've put a "*" next to the changes that are anecdotal, but still commonly and universally observed enough among trans people [including myself for the MTF stuff] to consider factual. I've also put a "✝" next to the changes that only occur when people transition before or during puberty) Male to Female:
Breast development and nipple/areolar enlargement, including in some people, the development of mammary glands and the ability to breastfeed
Thinning/slowed growth of facial/body hair
Cessation/reversal of male-pattern scalp hair loss
Softening of skin/decreased oiliness and acne
Decreased muscle mass/strength
Widening and rounding of the pelvis
Changes in mood, emotionality, and behavior (anecdotally crying is way easier to do)
Decreased sex drive (anecdotally, taking progesterone helps a lot in regards to regaining sex drive, though attraction is often noted as being experienced a bit differently than how it feels with testosterone)
Decreased sperm production/fertility
Decreased testicle size
Decreased penis size
Decreased prostate gland size
Voice changes (As far as I've heard, most people only experience minor changes from transitioning in adulthood, so it's common to do vocal training on top of everything to actually get a female-passing voice. I'll add a ✝ here since vocal changes seem to be a lot stronger in people who transition before/during puberty)
Changes in body odor (It's been documented that men and women often times have different smelling body odor, and trans people commonly notice a change in this regard) *
Changes in how arousal, sexual pleasure, and orgasms are experienced *
Changes in facial complexion *
Slight changes in hair color, texture, or curl *
Slight changes in eye color *
Changes in alcohol/drug tolerance *
Experiencing pubescent skeletal development and bodily growth along female-typical lines, including both bodily size/shape and facial bone/cartilage features ✝
Female to Male:
Growth of facial/body hair
male pattern scalp hair loss (in some individuals)
Roughening of the skin and prominence of veins
Increased muscle mass/strength
Changes in mood, emotionality, and behavior (I forget the source for this sadly but I remember reading that trans men are significantly more likely to commit crimes and get into fights after starting HRT)
Increased sex drive
Cessation of ovulation and menstruation
Acne (especially in the first few years of therapy)
Alterations in blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides)
Increased red blood cell count
Deepening of the voice
Enlargement of the clitoris
Changes in body odor *
Changes in how arousal, sexual pleasure, and orgasms are experienced *
Changes in facial complexion *
Slight changes in hair color, texture, or curl *
Slight changes in eye color *
Changes in alcohol/drug tolerance *
Experiencing male pubescent skeletal development and bodily growth along male-typical lines, and closure of growth plates ✝
Often times, when the whole "transgender people in sports" discussion arises, a logical error is made when *all* transgender people are assumed to be "biologically" their birth sex. For example, when talking about trans women participating in female sports, these instances will be referred to as cases of "Biological males competing against females". As mentioned before, calling a trans woman "biologically male" strictly in regards to chromosomes or sex organs at birth would be correct. However, not only can it be considered derogatory (the word "male" is colloquially a shorthand for "man", after all), but there are many instances where calling a post-HRT transgender person "biologically [sex assigned at birth]" is downright misleading. For example, hospitals have, given transgender patients improper or erroneous medical care by assuming treatment based on birth sex where treatment based on their current endocrinological sex would have been more adequate. Acute Clinical Care of Transgender Patients: A Review
Conclusions and relevance: Clinicians should learn how to engage with transgender patients, appreciate that unique anatomy or the use of gender-affirming hormones may affect the prevalence of certain disease (eg, cardiovascular disease, venous thromboembolism, and osteoporosis), and be prepared to manage specific issues, including those related to hormone therapy. Health care facilities should work toward providing inclusive systems of care that correctly identify and integrate information about transgender patients into the electronic health record, account for the unique needs of these patients within the facility, and through education and policy create a welcoming environment for their care.
Some hosptials have taken to labeling the biological sex of transgender patients as "MTF" (for post-HRT trans women) and "FTM" (for post-HRT trans men), which is a much more medically useful identifier compared to their sex assigned at birth. In regards to the sports discussion, I've seen *multiple threads* where redditors have backed up their opinions on the subject of trans people in sports with studies demonstrating that cis men are, on average, more athletically capable than cis women. Which I personally find to be a pathetic misunderstanding of the entire issue. Because we're not supposed to be comparing the athletic capabilities of natal males to natal females, here. We're supposed to comparing the athletic capabilities of *post-HRT male-to-females* to natal females. And, if we're going to really have a fact-based discussion on the matter, we need to have separate categories for pre-pubescent and post-pubescent transitioners. Since, as mentioned earlier, the former will likely have different skeletal characteristics compared to the latter. The currentInternational Olympic Committee(IOC) model for trans participation, and criticisms of said model (I quoted the specific guidelines from the International Cycling Union, but similar guidelines exist for all Olympic sports)
Elite Competition At elite competition levels, members may have the opportunity to represent the United States and participate in international competition. They may therefore be subject to the policies and regulations of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and International Olympic Committee (IOC). USA Cycling therefore follows the IOC guidelines on transgender athletes at these elite competition levels. For purposes of this policy, international competition means competition sanctioned by the UCI or competition taking place outside the United States in which USA Cycling’s competition rules do not apply. The IOC revised its guidelines on transgender athlete participation in 2015, to focus on hormone levels and medical monitoring. The main points of the guidelines are: Those who transition from female to male are eligible to compete in the male category without restriction. It is the responsibility of athletes to be aware of current WADA/USADA policies and file for appropriate therapeutic use exemptions. Those who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category under the following conditions: The athlete has declared that her gender identity is female. The declaration cannot be changed, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years. The athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition (with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 12 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition). The athlete's total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category. Compliance with these conditions may be monitored by random or for-cause testing. In the event of non-compliance, the athlete’s eligibility for female competition will be suspended for 12 months.
Valid criticisms of the IOC model are usually based on the fact that, even though hormone replacement therapy provokes changes to muscle mass, it does *not* shrink the size of someone's skeleton or cardiovascular system. Therefore an adult-transitioned trans woman could, even after losing all levels of male-typical muscle mass, still have an advantage in certain sports if she had an excessively large skeletal frame, and was participating in a sport where such a thing would be advantageous. Additionally, the guidelines only require that athletes be able to demonstrate having had female hormone levels for 12-24 months, which isn't necessarily long enough to completely lose musculature gained from training on testosterone (anecdotally it can take 2-4 years to completely lose male-typical muscle mass) So the IOC guidelines don't have any safeguard against, for example, a trans woman training with testosterone as the dominant hormone in her body, and then taking hormones for the bare minimum time period and still having some of the advantage left. Note that, while lower level sports have had (to the glee of right-wing publications sensationalizing the issue) instances of this exact thing happening, in the 16 years since these IOC guidelines were established, not a single transgender individual has won an Olympic medal Also note that none of the above criticisms of the IOC policy would apply in regards to the participation of pre-pubescent-transitioned trans women. After all, male-pubescent bone structure and cardiovascular size, and male-typical muscle levels, can't possibly exist if you never went through male puberty to begin with. What could better guidelines entail, to best preserve fairness in female sports while avoiding succumbing to anti-trans moral panic?
The most extreme way for female sports to reasonably go about addressing this issue would be to only allow for the participation of transgender women who are documented to have, with puberty blockers, carried out their transitions without having gone past Tanner Stage II or III of male puberty.
Sports leagues willing to be a bit looser could accept adult transitioners under the stipulation that their bodily measurements in regards to certain skeletal features fit within a standard deviation of the cis-female average
Sports leagues willing to be even looser could copy the IOC guidelines, but require documentation of having gone through HRT for a greater period of time rather than just the 12 months, (3 years would probably be better) to guarantee full loss of male muscle mass
In my personal opinion, sports leagues should pick one of the three above options depending on what best fits the nature of the sport and the eliteness of the competition. For example, extremely competitive contact sports might be better off going with the first option, but an aerobic sport such as marathon running would probably be fine with the third option.
How this issue has been misrepresented by The Right
Right-wing rhetoric surrounding this issue assumes that the issue exists as an innate consequence of trans activism (Ie. "This is what the left is pushing!") rather than as a result of individual sports leagues failing to have solid rules for participation. Often times, certain low-level sports leagues have failed to even measure trans athlete's hormone levels, and have, in some cases, let completely male-bodied athletes participate as women. This is obviously the fault of these specific sports leagues failing to implement or enforce reasonable rules for participation, but right-wing articles surrounding such instances will act as if these occurrences are an ideological goal of the pro-trans left. This runs off of the assumption that a majority of trans people and "the left" are specifically pushing for muscular males (who merely "identify" as women, and nothing more) to dominate female sports. When, in reality, we really had nothing to do with these occurrences, and the majority of trans people would even likely agree with the sentiments expressed in this post. Additionally, accepting the gender identities of trans people is something you can do irregardless of your opinion on the sports issue.
Over-exaggeration of the problem. The issue is often sensationalized to the extent of coming off as a call to action, to stop the trans activists and their SJW bullies from ruining female sports! They're coming after your daughter's lacrosse team! In reality, out of the hundreds of thousands (perhaps even more) of sports competitions that exist in the United States and throughout the world, an incredibly small percentage of them are actually ruined by trans participants. You hear the stories of the 6'5'' trans woman with the broad frame winning a weightlifting competition, but not of the hundreds of more average-sized trans-female athletes turning out more mediocre performances. This isn't to say that the niche cases don't present a problem that indeed needs to be fixed, but presenting the problem as more prevalent than it actually is acts as a rhetorical strategy meant to provoke anger as well as a more dramatic response. Buying into this rhetorical strategy, especially if you're is already somewhat ignorant to the issue to begin with, will make it much easier to convince you of accepting drastic solutions to the problems. Ie. "ONLY XX CHROMOSOMES ALLOWED IN FEMALE SPORTS", instead of any of the three more measured approaches suggested above. The provoked response of anger is also meant to turn people off of accepting trans rights in general.
Infuriatingly, I've noticed that right-wing rhetoric usually doesn't even mention pre-pubescent transitioners at all. Like, these people are fine with acknowledging the existence of puberty blockers when they're trying to make them illegal, but they refuse to talk about them in regards to the sports issue. There have been cases where conservative jurisdictions have banned the participation of all transgender students in girl's sports, period. Meaning a transgender girl who never went through male puberty at all, and has pre-pubescent hormone levels as a result of puberty blockers, could be banned from participating in girl's sports, while in reality said trans girl could possibly even be at a disadvantage compared to the cis girls, as a result of not even having started puberty yet. Nonsensical. And liberal allies are at fault of this too, I've noticed. I've seen countless reddit threads where left-leaning people voice their take on the trans sports issue without mentioning the existence of pre-pubescent transitioners. It's honestly ridiculous.
The sports issue is also used as an excuse to say derogatory things about trans women that would be less justifiable in other instances.
I'll use Joe Rogan as an example of this last thing:
She calls herself a woman but... I tend to disagree. And, uh, she, um... she used to be a man but now she has had, she's a transgender which is (the) official term that means you've gone through it, right? And she wants to be able to fight women in MMA. I say no f***ing way. I say if you had a dick at one point in time, you also have all the bone structure that comes with having a dick. You have bigger hands, you have bigger shoulder joints. You're a f***ing man. That's a man, OK? You can't have... that's... I don't care if you don't have a dick any more... If you want to be a woman in the bedroom and you know you want to play house and all of that other s*** and you feel like you have, your body is really a woman's body trapped inside a man's frame and so you got a operation, that's all good in the hood. But you can't fight chicks. Get the f*** out of here. You're out of your mind. You need to fight men, you know? Period. You need to fight men your size because you're a man. You're a man without a dick. I'm not trying to discriminate against women in any way, shape, or form and I'm a big supporter of women's fighting. I loved watching that Ronda Rousey/Liz Carmouche fight. But those are actual women. Those are actual women. And as strong as Ronda Rousey looks, she's still looks to me like a pretty girl. She's a beautiful girl who happens to be strong. She's a girl! [Fallon Fox] is not a girl, OK? This is a [transgender] woman. It's a totally different specification.
Calling a trans woman a "man", and equating transitioning to merely removal of the dick, and equating trans women's experiences as women as "playing house" and "being a woman in the bedroom". These things are obviously pretty transphobic, and if Rogan had said these things about just any random trans woman his statements would have likely been more widely seen in that light. But when it's someone having an unfair advantage in sports, and the audience is supposed to be angry with you, it's much more socially acceptable thing to say such things. But the problem is, when you say these kinds of things about one trans woman, you're essentially saying those derogatory things about all trans women by extension. It's the equivalent of using an article about a black home invader who murdered a family as an excuse to use a racial slur. Now, I'm not saying that Rogan necessarily did this on purpose, in fact I'm more inclined to believe that it was done moreso due to ignorance rather than having an actual ideological agenda. But since then, many right wing ideologues who do have an ideological agenda have used this issue as an excuse to voice their opinions on trans people while appearing to be less bigoted. Ie. "I'm not trying to be a bigot or anything and I accept people's rights to live their lives as they see fit, but we NEED to keep men out of women's sports", as a sly way to call trans women "men". Additionally, doing this allows them to slip in untrue statements about the biology of trans women. I mean, first of all in regards to the statement "You have bigger hands, you have bigger shoulder joints", obviously even in regards to post-pubescent transitioners, not every trans woman is going to have bigger hands and shoulder joints than every cis woman (My hands are actually smaller than my aunt's!). It's just that people who go through male puberty on average tend to have bigger hands and shoulder joints compared to people who go through female puberty. But over-exaggerating the breadth of sexual dimorphism, as if males and females are entirely different species to each-other, helps to paint the idea of transitioning in a more nonsensical light. I hope this thread has presented this issue in a better light for anyone reading it. Let me know if you have any thoughts/criticisms of my stances or the ways I went about this issue.
Hoarding is a Prisoner's Dilemma - Brief Game Theoretic Observations on the Response to Coronavirus
I'm sure many of you are already familiar with the prisoner's dilemma (PD). For those that aren't, here's an outline of the dilemma, as quoted from Wikipedia:
Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of communicating with the other. The prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge, but they have enough to convict both on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the prosecutors offer each prisoner a bargain. Each prisoner is given the opportunity either to betray the other by testifying that the other committed the crime, or to cooperate with the other by remaining silent. The possible outcomes are: If A and B each betray the other, each of them serves two years in prison If A betrays B but B remains silent, A will be set free and B will serve three years in prison (and vice versa) If A and B both remain silent, both of them will serve only one year in prison (on the lesser charge)
This interaction is a fundamental "game" in game theory, in which interactions between two people can be formalized and analyzed through that form. An important tool for analyzing such games are matrices, which display the value of each possible outcome in the game. Here is an example of such a matrix. This is the preference matrix for PD. The numbers are ordinal, and describe the preference of each player. 1 represents the player's most preferred outcome, and 4 the player's least preferred outcome. You can also do this matrix as an "outcome matrix," where instead of showing the preferences of each player, you quantify what they will actually get out of the interaction. Hereafter, a PD game will refer to any game whose preference matrix matches that of the classic prisoner's dilemma. Currently, in response to the coronavirus, we're seeing many people respond by going to their grocery stores and hoarding all the meat, toilet paper, bread, and eggs that they can. The official response from the governments (well, mine anyway, I don't know about yours) is that each person needs to remain calm and to not hoard. To hoard or not to hoard, that is the question. Hoarding here correlates with the "Defect" options in the matrix above, while not hoarding correlates with the "Cooperate" option. If both players choose to defect, then both players receive their third most preferred outcome. However, if each player decides to cooperate, then each receives her second most preferred outcome. So, if we all cooperate, we end up in a better position than if we all defect. This is why we are being told to avoid hoarding - the powers that be are trying to drive us from the bottom right position on the matrix (the position of "mutual defection") to the top left position ("mutual cooperation"). So why aren't people responding? If bilateral cooperation is better for all of us than mutual defection, why don't we do it? Well, there's two other positions, which represent "unilateral defection" - when one player defects on a player who is cooperating. As you'll notice, each player's most preferred outcome is to defect on their cooperating opponent. If you choose to cooperate, and resist the urge to hoard, then I can come along and hoard ALL the things - leaving you, philosophically speaking, screwed. Now I can start selling my TP at unreasonable prices, or just keep it to myself - either way, I have options with all my toilet paper, and you do not. John Nash Jr. (of "A Beautiful Mind" fame) proved that for every game ("game" here in game theoretic terms, so any such formal interaction) has at least one joint strategy that is in equilibrium. A "joint strategy" is any of the squares within a game theoretic matrix - it represents both my choice and your choice. "Equilibrium" means that for any joint strategy, if player A chooses to change strategies, player B has no reason to do the same. In PD, the joint strategy in equilibrium is mutual defection. Let's assume you and I are planning on defecting on each other. If you change your mind and choose to cooperate, I have no reason to also start cooperating - your strategy shift has only made my situation better. Likewise, mutual cooperation is NOT in equilibrium. If you and I are planning on cooperating, and then you change your mind and decide to defect, then it behooves me to defect also. If I do not, I am left with my 4th most preferred outcome. But I also defect, then I get my 3rd best outcome. This is why the hoarding problem is so difficult to overcome. It is in the interest of the group as a whole to cooperate. But each individual player gets her best outcome by defecting. The interests of the group don't align with the interests of the individuals that make it up. MORALITY AND RATIONALITY Decision theory is a branch of philosophy within which game theory lies. It deals with determining what action a person should take based on her desires and her beliefs. An action is rational if by doing that action, she obtains her desires. It is irrational otherwise. In the case of PD, defecting is more often the rational option. This is because it is the only choice in which your most-preferred outcome can be obtained, and by defecting you will never receive your least-preferred outcome. As a corollary, cooperating is less rational. By cooperating, the only way you can get a good outcome is if your opponent also cooperates - and you cannot count on that happening. But while cooperating is not the rational choice, it is the choice that I think most would consider the morally correct option (ethical egoists, like Ayn Rand and her supporters, would disagree here). This perhaps requires an argument to support - but I will leave that as an exercise for the reader. At the very least, whether mutual cooperation ought to be considered the morally correct option or not, I think it is evident that a large bulk of us do, which is demonstrated by the moral outrage towards those who defect rather than cooperate. But this disparity is exactly the problem. The (probably) "morally correct" option is not the "rational" option. And thus people are being left with the choice between doing the thing which most benefits them and their families, or doing the right thing for the rest of us. Yet I don't think it's so easy in every case to say that hoarding is a morally wrong action. Certain feminist philosophers will point out that a person's first duty should be to her family - after all, we are social creatures, the family is an essential social unit in our society, and besides it is our moral duty to provide care to those around us. Despite the harm it causes outside of that family unit, hoarding undoubtedly can secure care to the hoarder's family. If it is morally correct to care for my family before those outside of it, and if hording can secure that, then hoarding is not, by itself, morally objectionable. OBJECTIONS Some philosophers make the very strong claim that all of our moral and political interactions are reducible to individual games. I don't think I'm in that boat currently; I'm not totally convinced that a game theoretic model can exhaust or explain all such interactions. Nevertheless, just as we find logic useful despite the fact that it does not apply to everything we would perhaps like it to, game theoretic models can be a useful tool, if not a universal one. One objection you may have is that "There are more than two players in this hoarding game." True. The web of interaction is much more complicated than one PD matrix would imply. Nevertheless, the matrix describes (in binary terms) the choice each of us has when we go to the grocery store these days - or else it shows the consequences of other players choices. If you arrive at the store, butthole poopied, desperate for toilet paper, and you find that not only is the TP gone, but also the tissues, paper towels, and seashells, you've received your least preferred outcome. Sorry, thanks for playing. Another objection might be to the binary nature of the game. To hoard or not to hoard, that was the question I posed earlier - but what counts as "hoarding?" Buying 10 cases of toilet paper probably counts, but if I only need one, then does buying 2 count as hoarding? To be honest, I just woke up, and I haven't given a lot of thought to the gray areas yet. If the game theoretic reductionists are correct, then the gray areas must also be explainable in game theoretic terms. One possible option the reductionist might have is to show that in some of the gray areas, the game is no longer a prisoner's dilemma - that is, the preference matrix looks different from the one I linked above. But nevertheless, I think that when we use the word "hoarding," we aren't thinking of the fringe cases - we're thinking of the extreme cases, the ones you see on the front page with a photo of some lady with two carts of TP and a title reading only "Fuck this person." And at least in those cases, I can confidently say that they constitute a prisoner's dilemma. Edit: Just wanted to say thank you all for the great discussion! This was my first post here and it was very off-the-cuff, but I had a lot of fun reading and responding to you all. Stay safe out there!
First Chapter Previous Chapter The view of Sanctuary was made even more impressive as An’Ra and his team waited in the V-Lift. Through the window, they can see the ornate streets curving through resplendent pools underneath, dotted by the occasional fountain. “I hate this.” Vora groaned, dressed in a soldier’s standard battle uniform. “Why are we here, Commander?” “We were investigating genocide and possible use of bioweapons,” Sonak explained, “Even without the first part, Strain Y is going to scare a lot of people. I think it’s reasonable for the Council to take a personal interest in this. Besides, I think the real issue here is the fact you might actually have to speak to the Council.” “But...ugh, fine. Yes, I wasn’t mentally prepared for it when An’Ra came along and went, Party’s over, ass to the Council, now.” “Hey now.” An’Ra feigned offense, “I didn’t say it that way, did I?” “Kind of close, Commander.” Sonak chuckled. “But still, I think that this isn’t about keeping the galaxy safe.” Vora sighed. “I think the Council’s keeping an eye open for any opportunity to to convince the galaxy they’re still in charge.” “Or maybe they genuinely want to make sure that we’re not at risk of dying a horrible death by watching our own bodies melt.” Sonak shrugged. “Strain Y doesn’t care if you’re an officer or infantry.” “That assumes the Council cares about what’s going on outside of these walls.” Vora glanced over, wariness in her look. “Either way, we’re going to get our answer. Eyes open.” An’Ra said as the V-Lift doors parted ways, revealing the same ornate architecture within. Trees and grasses stole the eye as they walked through the hallways, various government officials from the myriad races conversing and conducting whatever business they were doing. After walking up some steps, they arrived at the large double-doors that lead to the Council Chambers. Standing on each side were the guards constantly on watch for any potential attack. Both of them Anaran, as expected. On approach, the guards opened up the doors to allow An’Ra and his team in. When they entered, the room was probably more magnificent than they expected. A grand, curved window dominated the view. An unintrusive look into the beautiful splendor of Sanctuary. Directly in front of An’Ra and his team was a pathway that led to a semi-circular desk, standing in front of the raised platform that the Council sat, who had just now noticed the arrivals and are settling themselves in. And it was there An’Ra got a good look at the Council. Four of them, half Esti, half Huak. An’Ra secretly never liked the Esti, the way he could see menacing fangs when their flat mouths opened, or those flaps of scale that expands outward into a hood. It just unnerved him, a reason he could never really find out. As soon as he sensed that they were ready, he walked up to the desk, wearing his officer’s dress uniform, comprised of a fine, smooth fabric shirt, adorned with a fluffy sash that went from his right shoulder down to his left side, shoulder pads accented with shining studs and finished with awards placed on his top-left chest, awards hard earned back in the Great War. “Commander An’Ra.” The Huak councilor on the far right side, Neual, began, thick fingers interlaced together as he rested his hands on the desk. “Thank you for agreeing to this unusual request, we are very appreciative.” “It’s no trouble, Councilor.” An’Ra gave a slight bow. “How can I help?” “We’ll start at the beginning.” The first Esti councilor, Zhur, stated, holding up a secure datapad to ensure the information is easily accessible. “Strain Y. Your report says that while there is confirmation it was used, it was not used in significant quantities. Can you elaborate on that for us?” “Previous uses of Strain Y all had one thing in common,” An’Ra began, “The amount deployed saturated the atmosphere of the planets they were used on. This is because, despite its lethality, is not actually that infectious. In order to guarantee the total elimination of a planet’s population, you will need to deploy it in such large numbers that everyone will be infected within minutes of deployment. In this case, for Planet 3, there simply wasn’t enough to reach that threshold.” “At which you go on to state that thermal weapons were used in a state of panic,” Yhiz, the second Esti councilor, added, “Can you explain your reasoning for us?” “As established before, Strain Y was used on the planet. My working theory is that, when they discovered that they grossly underestimated the amount needed, they panicked and used thermal weapons to both try and burn out the supplies used and finish the genocide they started.” “But if thermal weapons were indeed used, how did you confirm Strain Y was deployed?” Zhur spoke up. “We found pieces of Strain Y’s genetic material on the planet’s surface.” An’Ra glanced over to Zhur’s direction. “And as I arrived back in the system, I received a quantum packet from the expedition, stating that they have confirmed that Strain Y was indeed used. Adding that with the obvious use of thermal weaponry, I concluded that the attackers didn’t use enough of the weapon to guarantee extinction.” Zhur leaned back in her seat, scarlet eyes fixated on the desk. An’Ra couldn’t tell if she was trying to find a counter argument or just processing the information. “Have you found any evidence that can tell us if there’s more of the strain out in the galaxy?” Neual asked after giving a sigh through his wide nostrils. “I’m afraid not, sir. All I can definitively say is that this planet fell victim to a biological Cruel Weapon.” “I’m more concerned about the native life.” Ghala, the final and second Huak councilor, stated after being silent. “Are you absolutely certain that none of the planet’s indigenous life survived?” “The scientific team said that there’s a very low chance of that.” An’Ra’s ears flattened. “And after seeing the surface myself, I must agree. I don’t think we should wait for a miracle.” “Ah...I see.” Ghala leaned back in his chair, obviously disheartened. “Even if the planet is now incapable of supporting life, we still wish to move forward with a more symbolic gesture and statement by declaring Planet 3 of System AQ 115-4A illegal for colonization.” “But let’s move onto what I believe is the most pressing issue: the identity of the attackers.” Neual leaned forward. “Based on your report, you and the team have found nothing that neither confirms nor clears any potential suspect?” “That’s correct, Councilor.” An’Ra nodded. “We’ve found nothing, within the system and on the planet itself, that tells us anything about who did it.” “Are there any surviving infrastructure on the planet?” Ghala asked, straightening his posture. “Even if there isn’t much, maybe the natives’ equipment has something we can use?” “As established before, the planet was devastated terribly. There are indeed ruins of their civilization, but whether or not we can salvage anything from them is a different story.” An’Ra answered with a sigh. “So in that case, the Qu’Rathi are still the likely aggressors then.” Zhur stated. “I’m not convinced.” An’Ra shook his head. “Everything we have so far is just circumstantial, nothing solid.” “Yes, that proves they did it. But looking at it from a different perspective, nothing that proves they didn’t do it either.” Zhur countered, her eyes squinting some. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to press forward with what I think you’re planning, Councilor.” An’Ra leaned forward on the table, ears flattening back. “If you do, and we uncover evidence that clearly proves their innocence, you will be pushing an innocent race away.” “But if we uncover evidence that proves their guilt, then the trial will be much more expedient.” Yhiz joined in, his eyes also squinting slightly. “With respect Council, I still think that’s the worst decision you can make.” An’Ra’s teeth began to bare as he spoke. “We can’t make any decision until we acquire more evidence.” “Nothing we have proves that Strain Y is permanently removed as a future threat.” Zhur started, “Nothing we have proves that the Federation did not do anything. Right now, we have the threat of a Class 4 Cruel Weapon looming over everyone’s heads. People will start becoming scared, start wondering if their shadows will melt them at any time.” “I know that Councilors!” An’Ra raised his voice. “Give me time! I’m not saying this is over yet, just let me keep looking!” “We aren’t stopping your investigation, Commander.” Neual said, holding his hand up slightly. “We’re just informing you that you may not have the time you thought you had.” “What does that mean?” An’Ra’s ears stuck out at an angle, mixed between stiffening and anger. The councilors looked at each other for a few moments before Zhur stood up and took in a deep breath. “Commander, based on both the collected evidence so far, and lack of any other evidence, the Council has decided to proceed with charging the Qu’Rathi Federation on counts of Genocide, possession of a Cruel Weapon, and deployment of Cruel Weapons with intent for malicious harm. Out of respect for your efforts, Commander, we will give you eight months to continue your investigation. Beyond that, we will close your investigation to allow the courts time to process and review what has been collected.” “Are you insane?!” An’Ra shouted. “Do you even realize what would happen if you’re wrong?!” “We do, Commander.” Zhur nodded. “But the risk is just too high. The safety of the galaxy and justice for the inhabitants of System AQ 115-4A must be our top priority. This debrief is over.” An’Ra stood in complete and stunned silence, watching the Council casually get up from their seats and dispersing to their own private offices. It wasn’t until that they have fully left the chambers that An’Ra finally found the will to move and regroup with Sonak and Vora, both of whom are also equally stunned. “Those ekas!” Vora exclaimed. “It’s bad enough to be quick at accusing someone, but how dare they claim this is for those humans!” “And here I thought all those things the news were saying was just to get people to watch them.” Sonak muttered softly. “Commander, obviously this is bad.” “I know, Sonak.” An’Ra crossed his arms, ears now pointing straight back and teeth fully bared. “We can’t let them do this.” “But what can we do?” Sonak exclaimed. “What options do we have?” “Alliance Enforcement!” Vora declared. “Commander, what if you filed a complaint to the Lord-Enforcer? Tell him what’s going on?” “That’s a good idea actually.” Sonak nodded. “If we convince the Lord-Enforcer that the Council is being too hasty with our investigation, which shouldn’t be hard, he just might deny the Council’s request for prosecution!” “I can’t imagine the Lord-Enforcer approving this even without our complaint.” An’Ra replied. “Still, never hurts to be prepared. Come on, let’s get to it.” Jur’El leaned back in the puffy seat he was assigned to. The restaurant he entered had a calm and relaxed atmosphere. The lighting was dimmed, which complimented the dark but cozy ambiance of the room. The walls and floor each had a dark-themed color scheme, the seats were of a different scheme but not too different to oppose the goal set by the designer. And although the building was packed with customers, their conversations did not threaten to turn anyone deaf. It was a quiet and relaxed experience, something he needed desperately. Even now, as hard as he tried to focus on how delicious his food was, how balanced the flavor and texture of it was, he was still forced to relive what happened on Planet 3. He could hear the sudden screams of his colony group. The scientists who were first awoken that wanted to find out why their Life world was so different to the data they were given. To the families and menial workers who were just talking amongst themselves and organizing the supplies when those machines stormed the ship. And what still terrifies him, still sends his heart racing, was when that one machine entered the control room, blood drenching its chassis. Bits and pieces of Qu’Rathi innards on its cold mechanical manipulators. How it just stared at him, lifelessly, with a rifle aiming right at his chest. And those drills. Those ghenning drills. He was forced out of his torment by the rough poking of his shoulder. When he looked, it was another Qu’Rathi. “Captain Jur’El, right?” “Uh..yes, who are you?” He nodded in confusion. “Jhen.” She introduced herself, quickly taking a seat opposite from him. “I need to talk to you.” “About what?” “The expedition to that system deep in the Dead Zone.” She glared at him, mandibles tense. “The same system who’s Life world had a native population, the very same world being investigated as a genocide site, where your expedition went to settle.” “Jhen, please, we had no idea what was going on.” Jur’El leaned back, hands raised in a defensive posture. “All we were told was that this was the most pristine and beautiful Life world ever discovered in a system rich with stellar bodies.” “I don’t care about that. What I care is how you seem to be the only one who came back.” Jhen started raising herself from her seat. “I’m pretty sure that anyone who attempts to colonize a freshly cleansed world is forcibly removed from that planet and returned to their respective people. So where is everyone?” Jur’El’s eyes went wide. He knew exactly where this was going. “I...I can’t tell you.” “Don’t you dare.” Jhen snarled, now leaning over the table. “I’ve heard enough of that from the company, I’m not here to be force-fed more of it!” “Just...trust me,” Jur’El spoke softly, shakily leaving his seat, “You don’t want to know.” “Don’t you ghenning walk away from me!” Jhen shouted, grabbing Jur’El’s shoulder firmly, the other patrons now locking eyes to the two. “Two of my sons were on that mission! What happened to them?!” Jur’El clutched his head with a hand firmly, feeling tears exploding out of his eyes. His mind rushing back to those scenes. The sounds, the smell, the fear. Everything crashed into him all at once. And they’re not just memories now. They’re all coming back to him as if he was transported in time and placed back to the exact moment it started. Back to the moment where he was screaming for his wife and son to hide, to find a corner of the ship that was hard to see and to stay there until the shooting stopped. How he felt his heart give out when he heard them beg for their life when they were found, cut short by the merciless cracks of their alien weapons. How every possible feeling melted away when the clanking of the machine’s walking approached him, when he realized there was no nowhere in the control room to hide, not with how thorough those things were being. The frantic, mindless begging he got into when he saw the blood covered machine hold that weapon to him. “You’re safe!” A voice rang out. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for him to come back. That scene melting away back into the restaurant. All those smells and sights to be gone. When he was certain that it was over, he looked around. There was Jhen, face beaten and currently being restrained by a blue-furred Anaran. And in front of him was another, gray-furred one. “You hear me? You’re safe now!” “I...wh-what happened?” “We saw what was going on. The Qu’Rathi over there? She was just screaming down your throat, all while you were just on the floor. Ken’A there nearly caved her face in by the time we got some distance between you two.” “Th...thank you.” Jur’El muttered, shakily getting himself back on his feet with the help of the gray Anaran. Jur’El was just about to walk away when the Anaran firmly, but not threateningly, gripped his shoulder. “I know the signs, friend.” He began softly. “Your soul is badly wounded and is bleeding heavily. Just like a doctor if you’re shot or cut, you need to find someone to talk to, get your soul back together.” “As long as I don’t run into another person like her, I’ll be fine.” Jur’El countered, trying to walk away still. “No, you won’t.” The Anaran still held his grip. “I need you to trust me. With how bad your soul is right now, doing anything other than talking to someone will just make it worse. And when your soul dies, well...believe me, it’s not a good experience, for anybody.” Jur’El stared into the gray Anaran’s orange eyes for a moment before he let out a sigh. “You’re not going to give up, are you?” “I’ve seen what happens too many times. Good Battle-Brothers, completely different people. Either they’re just shadows of themselves, or doomed to forever relive their horrors. If I have the chance to prevent it happening again, I’m giving it my all.” Jur’El looked aside for a few moments, internally fighting himself as to whether he should comply or keep resisting. He finally reached his decision when he became certain that the Anaran would most likely hunt him down as a life mission if he didn’t seek therapy. “Fine, I’ll do it. Got anyone in mind?” “A dear friend of mine. He’ll get you back on track, promise.” The Anaran patted Jur’El’s shoulder a few times before proceeding to lead him, motioning for Ken’A to let go of Jhen and follow. Michael, accompanied by his newly founded Praetorian Guard, continued his leisurely stroll down the surprisingly spacious corridor. The hallway itself was typical. All-metal construction with evenly spaced rows of blue-white lights. The Praetorian Guard themselves are comprised of those Servants who display both extreme scores in combat efficiency and effectiveness in defensive situations. Armed with the absolute best in magnetic-ballistics, the most impenetrable of armor designs and the highest optimized combat-frames, even a squad of these guards can hold off a virtual army, provided they aren’t subjected to bombardment or heavy ordinance. Just as Michael was about to enter the main command center of the station he was touring, Central contacted him on a private channel. “Master? Your new administration is ready.” He declared proudly. “Alright, let’s begin the introductions.” Michael replied, signaling the guardsmen that he’s about to enter a meeting. Although unneeded, the Guard promptly took up a defensive formation around him. He assumes this is mostly to keep unwelcome guests from interrupting him. The scenery of the tranquil design of the corridor melted away into the virtual world built by neon-blue blocks, the same visual that he witnessed when he first received the interface. After a few moments, several other Servants materialized and stood attention in a semi-circle in front of him. “My Lord.” The first Servant bowed, its voice deep, if gruff. “I’m Supreme Commander Schwarzkopf, in charge of managing our armed forces and overseeing the grand strategy of the Imperium.” “I am Secretary Elizabeth.” The second spoke with a calming, soothing feminine voice. “I’m responsible for ensuring our economy runs perfectly. In short, I make sure every project gets the hammers and resources it needs.” “I’m Foreign Minister Edward, at your service m’Lord.” The third, with a distinct British accent and of a composed, controlled voice. “While regretfully I’m useless at this stage, the moment we initiate contact with xeno species, I’ll handle diplomatic affairs and achieving our goals through negotiations when possible.” “No offense, but I thought every Servant wants to see aliens dead?” Michael spoke up with slight confusion. “Oh, of course. The very idea of ripping out the entrails of a xeno and suffocating them with it brings such joy it’s therapeutic.” Benjamin replied. Michael was unsure if he was joking or not. “I was appointed because I displayed the most effective ability at hiding such feelings.” “Ah...good to know.” Michael nodded dryly, not exactly assured. “Back to where we were?” “Yes, Lord. I’m Director Mansfield.” The fourth spoke with an eloquent-sounding voice. “I’m in charge of Imperial Intelligence, running operations abroad and managing counter-intelligence on the homefront. I give you my word that we will know everything about the aliens and they will know nothing about us.” “And that leaves me, Master.” Central began. “As a result of this delegation, I now possess more processing cycles towards research and development. That means that I’ll be in charge of ensuring Imperial dominance in technology. I will also act as your adjutant, filtering out information that does not need your attention.” “Well...shit, this sounds like an actual government I’m in charge of.” Michael gave out a nervous chuckle. “All the more reason to get down to business though. Let’s start with the first matter. Schwarzkopf, how’s our military coming along?” “It’s growing rapidly, your majesty.” He answered with distinct pride. “Already we have several hundred frigates, fifty light cruisers and twenty heavy cruisers, with the first wave of battleships due to exit the drydocks within a few days. Additionally, we have established four different army groups with fifty divisions each.” “I thought we’d take a lot longer.” Michael stated with no hidden amazement. “There’s great benefit in our workforce able to operate at a hundred percent every hour of the day.” Elizabeth commented, her emotion-flags also indicating pride. “And speaking of which, our population of Servants grows geometrically. That benefits both our economy and the military. Our economy by providing more workers in skilled and unskilled labor, and the military by providing more crew members and soldiers.” “So in short, it won’t be long before we become a virtual powerhouse.” Michael said, arms crossed. “Especially if we continue expanding.” Elizabeth nodded. “On that note, we have already claimed several dozen more systems.” “With Rigel and Betelgeuse selected as naval bases.” Schwarzkopf chimed in. “So we’re expanding in all the ways, got it.” Michael nodded. “Now the second matter. Terraforming Mars.” “At present, there are two issues that must be resolved.” Central answered. “The first problem is the planet’s lack of a magnetosphere. Without that, any and all organic life would perish under lethal bombardment of the Sun’s solar wind, in addition to any sustainable atmosphere being lost to space. The second problem is Mars’ inability to retain heat, the cause for it’s known low planetary temperature.” “And knowing you, you already have possible answers?” Mansfield shrugged. “Correct. The heat issue is rather trivial to solve. Mars already has an abundant amount of carbon-dioxide within the atmosphere, a well known greenhouse gas. Combined with even more of the gas locked planet side, once temperatures begin to rise, we will set off a snowball effect. However, that is all for naught if the atmosphere is allowed to escape into space by solar wind.” “So basically the key here is the magnetosphere.” Michael added. “Build that and everything becomes simple.” “Exactly.” Central affirmed. “Already there are two main methods. One is to build superconducting rings around the planet and drive them with direct current. With enough power, we can generate magnetic fields strong enough to form a virtual magnetosphere.” “And what’s the second?” Elizabeth said. “The second is to construct a station at the L1 Lagrange Point that will generate a dipole magnetic field, diverting the solar wind around the planet instead of into it. Although it was simulated using slower, binary processing, the results indicate that Mars would gain half the atmospheric pressure of Earth’s within a few years.” “So then, the main focus is building that magnetic shield.” Michael spoke firmly. “Elizabeth? Let’s get the ball rolling. Coordinate with Central as needed.” “At once, my Lord.” Elizabeth bowed. Unlike the Council chambers, the office of the Lord-Enforcer was much less opulent and more pragmatic. After going through the receptionist area, An’Ra and his team were escorted into the main office itself. However, just like the chambers, a large window dominated the view on entry, granting another view of a city district on Sanctuary. And sitting in the more rectangular desk was the Lord-Enforcer himself, Dura. Blue eyed, with a fur of dull-orange it reminds of a sunset. As soon as An’Ra and his team walked into the office, the Enforcer sat up, tail wagging. “Commander An’Ra, in my office!” He exclaimed, arms out to his sides. “Forgive me sir, but I never thought I’d see the day!” “A pleasure to meet you, sir.” An’Ra replied warmly, greeting the Enforcer with their fists clasped together and pulling themselves inward, shoulder to shoulder. “Please, no need to be formal with me.” Dura chuckled. “Sit down, what brings you here?” After taking their respective seats, An’Ra looked at Dura grimly. “I’m here to file a delay on a request for prosecution against the Federation.” Dura’s ears angled themselves in a mixture of stiffening and lowering. “I just got the paperwork from the Council. And I can tell you that won’t be needed. I’ve already submitted my rejection.” “With respect, sir.” Sonak spoke up. “I get the feeling that the Council might fight that.” “Don’t worry, I’m not going to present my back to them just because they ask.” Dura gave off a grin. “I might be some paper-tosser now, but that just means the battlefield is different. Don’t worry Commander, as long as I’m here, you’ll get the chance to finish this investigation properly.” “Thank you, Enforcer.” An’Ra smiled as he got up from his seat. “With any luck, you won’t have to fight long.” “Oh, take your time!” Dura replied with an inflection of humor. “This is the most exciting thing I’ve had in years. Was just about to smash my head on this desk any day now actually.” “Wait, really?” Vora asked, ears stiffened. “It’s just a joke, Vora.” Sonak assured dryly. “Oh...” Her ears flattened as the team exited the office. When they arrived in the main plaza where the Enforcer’s office is located, they congregated in a small collection of benches nearby an ornate fountain that commemorated the Anaran defense of Felaal IV, largely considered the turning point of the Great War, which further enhanced the beauty of the surrounding scenery of floating walkways above crystal-clear waters. “Well, that’s a relief, hopefully.” An’Ra began, letting out a decompressing sigh. “I meant what I said earlier, An’Ra.” Sonak said. “If the Council are determined to charge the Federation, which I’m sure they made abundantly clear, they’re not going to let the Enforcer drop mines in their path just like that.” “Which just means we can’t lose our focus.” Vora replied sternly. “So, what are our options? We can’t exactly go back to Planet 3, there’s really no leads there.” “What about that Detective we met when we arrived?” Sonak suggested. “He was handling that whistle blower. Maybe that’s something worth looking into?” “There’s also the Nav-Net.” Vora said. “All we got right now is that the Feds were at that location, but what if we look at the rest of the network? Try and trace their path?” “The network doesn’t extend into the Dead Zone.” Sonak countered. “No, not like that. We look at the network across Alliance space. We start with the logs that end at the Dead Zone, and we try to backtrack their route.” “We’ll need to obtain legal authorization for that, Vora.” An’Ra stated. “Actually, if I could add something.” Sonak said with his arms crossed. “If the Federation didn’t actually do it, then that questions the credibility of those codes. I think there’s a question that hasn’t been asked yet. And that is, are those codes faked?” “That’s...a good point actually.” Vora acceded. “If we get the legal permission to examine the NavNet logs, then if the Federation didn’t do it, the logs across the network won’t support it. Think about it. You need a big fleet to do what just happened, and that fleet has to come from somewhere.” “And that would mean if this was a frame job, they need a way to account for that.” An’Ra continued, confidence flaring. “It’s one thing to trick a single Nav-Buoy, but I really doubt anyone is capable enough of affecting the network itself.” “We still need the Enforcer’s help to get access to the network.” Sonak reminded. “Let’s go get it then.” An’Ra stated firmly. With that, the team left their meeting spot and began returning to the Enforcer’s office. With confidence in their step, the walk back to the office was much shorter compared to before. However, things took a turn when An’Ra and the team noticed a large gathering of officers around the office entrance. They didn’t have to time to wonder when a group exited the office, dragging a combative Dura out with them. “Commander, this isn’t good.” Sonak growled under his breath. An’Ra simply stepped forward and grabbed one of the arresting officers. “What in Arenar’s Sword is going on here?” “Dura’s under arrest on suspicion of corruption.” The officer replied flatly. “Lil’Al has been appointed as acting Lord-Enforcer.” “The Council’s behind this, Commander!” Dura shouted, his feet literally dragging along the floor as four officers were taking him away. “Don’t believe a word they say about me!” An’Ra and his team just stood there in stunned silence, watching and hearing the Anaran official being dragged virtually kicking and screaming. By the time they returned to their senses, hushed conversations was populating both the room and outside. “We’re not going to get in the network, are we?” Sonak asked, still recovering. “We still have to try, come on.” An’Ra said, already moving. When the team returned to the office, standing next to the desk was a slender Esti. No doubt Lil’al. She was looking out the window when she turned around upon hearing the encroaching footsteps. “Yes, may I help you?” She began. “Acting Lord-Enforcer Lil’Al?” An’Ra began, trying the diplomatic route first. “I’m Commander An’Ra, investigating the genocide by use of Strain Y. We’d like to request legal authorization to examine the logs of the Nav-Net.” “For what purpose?” She replied, taking her seat. “We believe that it may hold evidence that either confirms or disproves the Federation’s alleged involvement in the attack.” Lil’Al leaned back in her seat, staring at them. “The Nav-Net is the lifeblood of, well, everything. Commerce, tourism, law enforcement. It holds great information about who has gone where, and in what ship, Commander. You realize that, don’t you?” “I do, and what you’ve said precisely states how important that is, how important the potential evidence is.” Lil’Al stayed motionless for a few moments, her long, lithe fingers twiddling about that indicates her thought. “Very well, I’ll start the paperwork to get you authorization, just be mindful of what you’re about to analyze.” “Thank you.” An’Ra gave a slight bow. “In addition, I’m not sure if it’s been passed along, but Dura has rejected the Council’s request for prosecuting the Federation. Can I assume you’ll uphold that?” “I’m afraid not, Commander.” Lil’Al replied flatly. “The galaxy has suffered a great loss through the genocide of a race who’ve suffered the universe’s cruel sense of humor by being placed both far away from us and deep within an almost uninhabitable region. I have overturned Dura’s rash decision and accepted the Council’s request.” “Then I’d like to file a delay on that decision, immediately.” An’Ra replied, ears flattened back. “On what grounds?” “Lack of decisive evidence, to start.” “Same could be said on your side, Commander.” Lil’Al let out a sigh. “Yes, all the evidence collected thus far is not...ideal. However, the most significant points at this time are that a young race who was just about to leave their homeworld was exterminated through the most horrible of all options. We cannot ignore that.” “But we also can’t rush to conclusions. We need to continue investigating and only go after someone if we have at least one crucial piece of information.” An’Ra countered, arms crossed and his teeth starting to bare. “And I agree, that’s how it should be done.” Lil’Al replied. “But if we do, we risk dragging out an investigation to such a length we may end up forgetting this tragedy. We cannot allow such an insult to Planet 3’s memory. I’m sorry, but I must reject your petition for judiciary delay.” Next Chapter AN: Every single time I paste this in, Reddit is just determined to put it in some code block. Anyways, As of now, I've finally completely locked in the plot for this story, just one major question that could've changed a lot was on my mind for a while. Enjoy!
[EDIT] UPDATE: I think I've figured something out. I tried reloading the mission with a different squad and we got back to the avenger no problem. The key difference is I had no faction hero units in the squad. That makes a lot of sense actually, "New Promotion Screen" is interacting strangely with faction heroes for me, who already get the new promotion screen, which is confusing the game. It also makes sense why I've have problems with gatecrasher and this mod in the past since because it always gives you a faction hero. Either it's straight up broken for faction heroes or it's interacting weirdly with Mitzruti's faction hero classes (Templar Dragon, Reaper Scion, etc.) Anyone know if there's any way to get into contact with either Mitzruti or Tzarnal - MoonWolf about the mods and see if they know of/can patch a fix? TL;DR: My game goes into an infinite load after completing missions in a way similar to previous issues I’ve had with New Promotion Screen by Default, but now it happens whether or not it’s on. Anyone have a similar experience or have any ideas how one might fix it? I’ve tried deleting my config folder and verifying game cache to no avail. Thoughts? Hello kind and wonderful people. It’s me again! After enjoying my new heavily modded XCOM 2 WOTC campaign for a few weeks, I’ve run into a new issue that is rather poetically the opposite of the issue I had last time. When I finish combat and load back to the avenger, I get caught in an infinite loading loop and the game softlocks. I was wondering if anybody may have had a similar issue before, and if so whether and how they were able to resolve it? The Issue: I'm using the Alternate Mod Launcher loading between 200-300 mods (yes, I have a problem) depending on the attempt. I am able to load into the game and play normally (I can watch cutscenes, use all features of the avenger, go into the world map, load into missions, and complete them,) but when I finish a mission and load back to the avenger I run into a gamebreaking issue. When I finish a mission on of two things happen: Option 1: The game goes into a loading screen with the victory music playing and the XCOM logo spinning in the bottom right corner. The logo spins, then freezes for a second, and then starts spinning again. After this a voice line plays, either the speaker or the ADVENT newscaster, and then the avenger loads normally. Option 2: The game does all the previous but doesn’t load the voice line. Instead the logo spins forever, sometimes crashing to desktop, sometimes stuck in an infinite load. When it CTD’s, here are the last few lines of the crash log for reference. [0606.66] Error: (AddNetObject) Objects AkEvent SoundX2CharacterFX.FastRope_Land_A and AkEvent SoundX2CharacterFX.Evac_Rope_Up_Sweetener have duplicate NetIndex 28 [0606.70] Warning: USkeletalMeshComponent::InitArticulated : No PhysicsAsset defined for Avenger_Root.TheWorld:PersistentLevel.XComWeapon_79.SkeletalMeshComponent_1709 with skeletalmesh FX_Weapons_Shared.Weapon_Dummy [0606.71] Warning: USkeletalMeshComponent::InitArticulated : No PhysicsAsset defined for Avenger_Root.TheWorld:PersistentLevel.XComWeapon_80.SkeletalMeshComponent_1710 with skeletalmesh MOCX_NewAdventWeapons.SM_AdvShotgun [0606.71] Warning: USkeletalMeshComponent::InitArticulated : No PhysicsAsset defined for Avenger_Root.TheWorld:PersistentLevel.XComWeapon_82.SkeletalMeshComponent_1718 with skeletalmesh MOCX_NewAdventWeapons.SM_AdvShotgun [0606.72] RisingTides: Patched Focus Effect Visualization invoked! [0606.83] Log: Crash Detected: Dumping E:\Documents\My Games\XCOM2 War of the Chosen\Binaries\Win64....\XComGame\Logs\XCom-JILL-CL374751-2020.03.22-18.14.51-Crash\XCom-JILL-CL374751-2020.03.22-18.14.51_Minidump.dmp [0606.83] Log: Crash: GettingNameData [0606.83] Log: Suspending Threads [0606.86] Log: Writing Minidmp [0609.27] Log: Crash: Saving Names Array [0609.27] Log: Crash: Saving Names Array Data [0609.27] Log: Dumping name table: (6741872) [0609.27] Log: Dumping name table: 0xd5ad4000 (6741872) [0609.27] Log: Crash: Saving Names Array Blocks [0609.79] Log: Crash: Saving Objects Array [0609.79] Log: Crash: Saving Objects Array Data [0609.79] Log: Crash: Saving Objects [0613.68] Log: Waking Threads [0628.19] Log: Crash: appSendCrashTelemetry [0631.80] Log: CRASH: Copying Log The current mission of the game is stuck in a situation where it always goes into the infinite load/sometimes crashes cycle. My Theory: I’ve had similar issues before with New Promotion Screen by Default in similar saves but now that some of the mods I use are dependent on it, I can’t get around not using it. I’m pretty sure it’s either this mod or another mod that interacts with the after-action report screen or cutscenes, but I’m not sure what it could be. Is there an interaction or conflict I’m not seeing? The mods I’m using are below. The Mods: General: Community Highlander WOTC, WOTC Mod Config Menu, Stop Wasting my Time, Yet another F1, Smooth Scrolling, More Starting Resistance Order Cards, Extended Perk Pack, Pyrrhic Victories, Mechatronic Warfare, Ketaros 2D Package, Multiple Faction Soldier Classes, Rebellious MOCX, Starting Psyamps, Mizruti Perk Pack, Additional Soldier Console Commands, New Target Icons + 2020 edition, E.W.T.-115 'Reaper' Squadmate, Bondmates with More Benefits, More Resistance Order Pages, WOTC allow for larger squads, Faster Reload Animations, I'm the Commander Here, Unintegrated Shen's Last Gift, Starting Traits, Show Health Values, More Resistance Ops, WOTC Gotcha Again, Gravely Wounded Scars, Quicker Reload - WOTC, Alien Hunters DLC Icon etc WOTC, Non-Skirmisher Advent Hybrids, Additional Mission Types Redux, Empty WOTC Deco Slots, WOTC Overflow Ability Points, More Traits Cosmetic: Unrestricted Customization, Arms and Legs, DFHP_WOTC, ~20 flag mods, a few tattoo mods, Custom Face Paints, Mass Effect Jack's Appearance, Hijabs, MOCX Visual Replacement, WOTC New Heads Pack, Alien Armor Customization, Community Pose Pack, TLE Aimsets, Cannon Animation Redux, Modular Shanty Clothes, Ryder's Casual Jacket, Mark VI in WOTC, More Cities, Free the Hood, More Nations and Names, Stenchfury Modular Helmets, Capnhub's Accesories + FTH Addons, Cinematic Rapid Fire, Birthdates [WOTC], MGSV:GZ MSF Headgear, [WOTC] Advent Armour [dead], Expanded Mission Names, WOTC Hours Instead of Days, WOTC Invisible Parts for Hero Units, Change National Language WOTC Voice: About 40 voice packs Music: Music Modding System, Xcom: EU soundtrack, Halo: CE Music pack, Mass Effect Soundtrack, Stranger Things Soundtrack, Restore Loadout Music, Soundtrack Restoration, Weapons and Armor: Standalone Metion Battlesuit, Primary Secondaries, Ballistic Shields, Dual Wield Melee, Vest Slot, Katana Pack Reloaded, LW2 Secondary Weapons, WOTC Combat Knives Gameplay: WOTC First Aid, Gene Mods and Iridar's Pack (+Rabbit,) More Mission Types, Chosen Reward Variety, Light Strategy Changes, Rising Tides: The Program, Dual Wielded Pistols, WOTC Stabilize Me, Kinetic Strike Module, Simple True Concealment, WOTC Stealth Overhaul, Covert Action Missions, Peek from Concealement Class: Supersoldiers, Supersoldiers non RPGO, LW2 Classes, Shepard class, Brigand Class, Psyckertech Class, BurnOut Class, Trooper Class, Sorcerer Class, Necromancer Class, Templar Dragon and Psion, Skirmisher Heretic and Heavy, Reaper Cryptic and Scythe, Warden Class, Mech Troopers and PSionic Mec, Akimbo, Bio-Operative Class, Fixer Post-human Class, Warrior of the Light, Long War Leader Pack, Shocktrooper Port, WOTC Samurai Class, Buildable Geth, Bionic Class Redux, CPU Custom Class, Brawn SPARK Classes WOTC and SPARK custom class support, Wotc Specops class Avenger: Elerium Grounds, Blackmarket Usage, Additional GTS Perks, Infermia Ex Mortis, Pause Scanning, Color Coded Bonds, Full Crew Avenger, [WOTC] Detailed Soldier Lists, Better Laboratory, Maps: More Environmental Lighting Maps, Even More Maps, Dr. Mandarb's Map Packs (WOTC and TLE,) Darker Nights, Map Expansion UPK, Eclipsezr Map Expansion, Operations: Unknown, Missing Packages Fix - Parcels and Maps, Maps by Vozati WOTC, Waterfowl’s Map Pacl Enemies: All of NightNinja54's Cerberus enemy mods, Standalone Exalted Custodians, Purge Preists, WOTC Bio-division 2.0, Even More Robots, The Hive and More, Children of the King, Sectoid Abductor, Armored Viper, Berserker Omegas, All RealityMachinas Mass Effect Aliens, Sangheili Spec Ops, Advent Custiodians Standalone, Alien Elite, Advent Sentry, Celatid Alien, World War L, Synthoids, Advent Psi Ops, LEB's Lategame Enemies, Creative Xenos Archons, WOTC Pathfinders, Collector Trooper, Collector Captain Sets: All the A Better... and ABA Better Double Agents mods except A Better Barracks and a better missions PLUS, Mission Overhaul Core and Mercury, A Harder War Advanced Aliens and Missions and Fanatics, Allies Unknown mods except Twi-lek, Augmentations and Augments: XCOM Prosthetics (+WOTC Prosthetics, cross-faction, holo begone, codex begone, and Mark Zero Augments,) Puma_The_Great's SCP mods and raiders, All of RealityMachina's Raider factions and bases (Mocx, Cult of Jariah, etc.), Raider Faction Collectors, Terminus Mercenaries Resistance Firearms Main +assets and Accessories Fixes and Balance: WOTC Weapon fixes, Hero Armor Equality, Standard Melee, Fairer Fights, Skillful Skirmishing, Reaper Reworked, Critical Skirmishing, Sabotage Covert Action Rebalance, Carry Unit Fix, Tower Detection Fix, Incendiary Grenade Damage, Turrets are Cover, UI Mod for Defence/Mobolity/Psi, WOTC Zombies Don't Count, Surgical Sitrep Fix, Defense Matrix Sabotage Fix, Rend the Lost, Missing Packages Fix + Resource, Custom Soldier Evac Zone Fix, Insider Knowledge Fix, High Ground Gives Defence, Sparks Can Bond, Robots on Covert Actions, Recruit Multiple Heroes from All, Evac All, WOTC Revival Protocal Fixes, Scientific Staff Slots WOTC What I've tested so far: So far, I’ve tried to run the game with and without the mod, as well as deleting and rebuilding my config. I’ve tried loading into gatecrasher and completing that mission and it works fine. Also, I’ve tried loading into the previous geoscape and it also loads no problem. What do you all think? PS: I will also be posting this to XCOM2mods and XCOM to cast the widest net possible and find a solution. I apologize in advance if you see this more than once :)
UPDATE 2: SOLVED! (I think) So, as it turns out I think I've been blaming the wrong mods for the issue. I hit the infinite load again in another mission and it behaved the same way. I tried disabling Combat knives, Stealth overhaul, Unrestricted Customization, and Eclipsezr's map pack (and temporarily my Robbie Rotten voice because it was throwing minor errors so you can never be too safe. Yes I'm a scrub,) and the game loaded no problem! I haven't tried loading without those mods with a custom faction class yet but that's next on the list. I'm going to re-enable Robbie, Knives, and Stealth because the former is hilarious and the latter are dependencies for other mods. If I have any more updates and information I'll post them right here! UPDATE 1: I think I've figured something out. I tried reloading the mission with a different squad and we got back to the avenger no problem. The key difference is I had no faction hero units in the squad. That makes a lot of sense actually, "New Promotion Screen" is interacting strangely with faction heroes for me, who already get the new promotion screen, which is confusing the game. It also makes sense why I've have problems with gatecrasher and this mod in the past since because it always gives you a faction hero. Either it's straight up broken for faction heroes or it's interacting weirdly with Mitzruti's faction hero classes (Templar Dragon, Reaper Scion, etc.) Anyone know if there's any way to get into contact with either Mitzruti or Tzarnal - MoonWolf about the mods and see if they know of/can patch a fix? TL;DR: My game goes into an infinite load after completing missions in a way similar to previous issues I’ve had with New Promotion Screen by Default, but now it happens whether or not it’s on. Anyone have a similar experience or have any ideas how one might fix it? I’ve tried deleting my config folder and verifying game cache to no avail. Thoughts? Hello kind and wonderful people. It’s me again! After enjoying my new heavily modded XCOM 2 WOTC campaign for a few weeks, I’ve run into a new issue that is rather poetically the opposite of the issue I had last time. When I finish combat and load back to the avenger, I get caught in an infinite loading loop and the game softlocks. I was wondering if anybody may have had a similar issue before, and if so whether and how they were able to resolve it? The Issue: I'm using the Alternate Mod Launcher loading between 200-300 mods (yes, I have a problem) depending on the attempt. I am able to load into the game and play normally (I can watch cutscenes, use all features of the avenger, go into the world map, load into missions, and complete them,) but when I finish a mission and load back to the avenger I run into a gamebreaking issue. When I finish a mission on of two things happen: Option 1: The game goes into a loading screen with the victory music playing and the XCOM logo spinning in the bottom right corner. The logo spins, then freezes for a second, and then starts spinning again. After this a voice line plays, either the speaker or the ADVENT newscaster, and then the avenger loads normally. Option 2: The game does all the previous but doesn’t load the voice line. Instead the logo spins forever, sometimes crashing to desktop, sometimes stuck in an infinite load. When it CTD’s, here are the last few lines of the crash log for reference. [0606.66] Error: (AddNetObject) Objects AkEvent SoundX2CharacterFX.FastRope_Land_A and AkEvent SoundX2CharacterFX.Evac_Rope_Up_Sweetener have duplicate NetIndex 28 [0606.70] Warning: USkeletalMeshComponent::InitArticulated : No PhysicsAsset defined for Avenger_Root.TheWorld:PersistentLevel.XComWeapon_79.SkeletalMeshComponent_1709 with skeletalmesh FX_Weapons_Shared.Weapon_Dummy [0606.71] Warning: USkeletalMeshComponent::InitArticulated : No PhysicsAsset defined for Avenger_Root.TheWorld:PersistentLevel.XComWeapon_80.SkeletalMeshComponent_1710 with skeletalmesh MOCX_NewAdventWeapons.SM_AdvShotgun [0606.71] Warning: USkeletalMeshComponent::InitArticulated : No PhysicsAsset defined for Avenger_Root.TheWorld:PersistentLevel.XComWeapon_82.SkeletalMeshComponent_1718 with skeletalmesh MOCX_NewAdventWeapons.SM_AdvShotgun [0606.72] RisingTides: Patched Focus Effect Visualization invoked! [0606.83] Log: Crash Detected: Dumping E:\Documents\My Games\XCOM2 War of the Chosen\Binaries\Win64....\XComGame\Logs\XCom-JILL-CL374751-2020.03.22-18.14.51-Crash\XCom-JILL-CL374751-2020.03.22-18.14.51_Minidump.dmp [0606.83] Log: Crash: GettingNameData [0606.83] Log: Suspending Threads [0606.86] Log: Writing Minidmp [0609.27] Log: Crash: Saving Names Array [0609.27] Log: Crash: Saving Names Array Data [0609.27] Log: Dumping name table: (6741872) [0609.27] Log: Dumping name table: 0xd5ad4000 (6741872) [0609.27] Log: Crash: Saving Names Array Blocks [0609.79] Log: Crash: Saving Objects Array [0609.79] Log: Crash: Saving Objects Array Data [0609.79] Log: Crash: Saving Objects [0613.68] Log: Waking Threads [0628.19] Log: Crash: appSendCrashTelemetry [0631.80] Log: CRASH: Copying Log The current mission of the game is stuck in a situation where it always goes into the infinite load/sometimes crashes cycle. My Theory: I’ve had similar issues before with New Promotion Screen by Default in similar saves but now that some of the mods I use are dependent on it, I can’t get around not using it. I’m pretty sure it’s either this mod or another mod that interacts with the after-action report screen or cutscenes, but I’m not sure what it could be. Is there an interaction or conflict I’m not seeing? The mods I’m using are below. The Mods: General: Community Highlander WOTC, WOTC Mod Config Menu, Stop Wasting my Time, Yet another F1, Smooth Scrolling, More Starting Resistance Order Cards, Extended Perk Pack, Pyrrhic Victories, Mechatronic Warfare, Ketaros 2D Package, Multiple Faction Soldier Classes, Rebellious MOCX, Starting Psyamps, Mizruti Perk Pack, Additional Soldier Console Commands, New Target Icons + 2020 edition, E.W.T.-115 'Reaper' Squadmate, Bondmates with More Benefits, More Resistance Order Pages, WOTC allow for larger squads, Faster Reload Animations, I'm the Commander Here, Unintegrated Shen's Last Gift, Starting Traits, Show Health Values, More Resistance Ops, WOTC Gotcha Again, Gravely Wounded Scars, Quicker Reload - WOTC, Alien Hunters DLC Icon etc WOTC, Non-Skirmisher Advent Hybrids, Additional Mission Types Redux, Empty WOTC Deco Slots, WOTC Overflow Ability Points, More Traits Cosmetic: Unrestricted Customization, Arms and Legs, DFHP_WOTC, ~20 flag mods, a few tattoo mods, Custom Face Paints, Mass Effect Jack's Appearance, Hijabs, MOCX Visual Replacement, WOTC New Heads Pack, Alien Armor Customization, Community Pose Pack, TLE Aimsets, Cannon Animation Redux, Modular Shanty Clothes, Ryder's Casual Jacket, Mark VI in WOTC, More Cities, Free the Hood, More Nations and Names, Stenchfury Modular Helmets, Capnhub's Accesories + FTH Addons, Cinematic Rapid Fire, Birthdates [WOTC], MGSV:GZ MSF Headgear, [WOTC] Advent Armour [dead], Expanded Mission Names, WOTC Hours Instead of Days, WOTC Invisible Parts for Hero Units, Change National Language WOTC Voice: About 40 voice packs Music: Music Modding System, Xcom: EU soundtrack, Halo: CE Music pack, Mass Effect Soundtrack, Stranger Things Soundtrack, Restore Loadout Music, Soundtrack Restoration, Weapons and Armor: Standalone Metion Battlesuit, Primary Secondaries, Ballistic Shields, Dual Wield Melee, Vest Slot, Katana Pack Reloaded, LW2 Secondary Weapons, WOTC Combat Knives Gameplay: WOTC First Aid, Gene Mods and Iridar's Pack (+Rabbit,) More Mission Types, Chosen Reward Variety, Light Strategy Changes, Rising Tides: The Program, Dual Wielded Pistols, WOTC Stabilize Me, Kinetic Strike Module, Simple True Concealment, WOTC Stealth Overhaul, Covert Action Missions, Peek from Concealement Class: Supersoldiers, Supersoldiers non RPGO, LW2 Classes, Shepard class, Brigand Class, Psyckertech Class, BurnOut Class, Trooper Class, Sorcerer Class, Necromancer Class, Templar Dragon and Psion, Skirmisher Heretic and Heavy, Reaper Cryptic and Scythe, Warden Class, Mech Troopers and PSionic Mec, Akimbo, Bio-Operative Class, Fixer Post-human Class, Warrior of the Light, Long War Leader Pack, Shocktrooper Port, WOTC Samurai Class, Buildable Geth, Bionic Class Redux, CPU Custom Class, Brawn SPARK Classes WOTC and SPARK custom class support, Wotc Specops class Avenger: Elerium Grounds, Blackmarket Usage, Additional GTS Perks, Infermia Ex Mortis, Pause Scanning, Color Coded Bonds, Full Crew Avenger, [WOTC] Detailed Soldier Lists, Better Laboratory, Maps: More Environmental Lighting Maps, Even More Maps, Dr. Mandarb's Map Packs (WOTC and TLE,) Darker Nights, Map Expansion UPK, Eclipsezr Map Expansion, Operations: Unknown, Missing Packages Fix - Parcels and Maps, Maps by Vozati WOTC, Waterfowl’s Map Pacl Enemies: All of NightNinja54's Cerberus enemy mods, Standalone Exalted Custodians, Purge Preists, WOTC Bio-division 2.0, Even More Robots, The Hive and More, Children of the King, Sectoid Abductor, Armored Viper, Berserker Omegas, All RealityMachinas Mass Effect Aliens, Sangheili Spec Ops, Advent Custiodians Standalone, Alien Elite, Advent Sentry, Celatid Alien, World War L, Synthoids, Advent Psi Ops, LEB's Lategame Enemies, Creative Xenos Archons, WOTC Pathfinders, Collector Trooper, Collector Captain Sets: All the A Better... and ABA Better Double Agents mods except A Better Barracks and a better missions PLUS, Mission Overhaul Core and Mercury, A Harder War Advanced Aliens and Missions and Fanatics, Allies Unknown mods except Twi-lek, Augmentations and Augments: XCOM Prosthetics (+WOTC Prosthetics, cross-faction, holo begone, codex begone, and Mark Zero Augments,) Puma_The_Great's SCP mods and raiders, All of RealityMachina's Raider factions and bases (Mocx, Cult of Jariah, etc.), Raider Faction Collectors, Terminus Mercenaries Resistance Firearms Main +assets and Accessories Fixes and Balance: WOTC Weapon fixes, Hero Armor Equality, Standard Melee, Fairer Fights, Skillful Skirmishing, Reaper Reworked, Critical Skirmishing, Sabotage Covert Action Rebalance, Carry Unit Fix, Tower Detection Fix, Incendiary Grenade Damage, Turrets are Cover, UI Mod for Defence/Mobolity/Psi, WOTC Zombies Don't Count, Surgical Sitrep Fix, Defense Matrix Sabotage Fix, Rend the Lost, Missing Packages Fix + Resource, Custom Soldier Evac Zone Fix, Insider Knowledge Fix, High Ground Gives Defence, Sparks Can Bond, Robots on Covert Actions, Recruit Multiple Heroes from All, Evac All, WOTC Revival Protocal Fixes, Scientific Staff Slots WOTC What I've tested so far: So far, I’ve tried to run the game with and without the mod, as well as deleting and rebuilding my config. I’ve tried loading into gatecrasher and completing that mission and it works fine. Also, I’ve tried loading into the previous geoscape and it also loads no problem. What do you all think? PS: I will also be posting this to XCOM2 and XCOM to cast the widest net possible and find a solution. I apologize in advance if you see this more than once :)
平和主義なる故に必ずしも正義人道に叶ふに非ず 軍国主義なるが故に必ずしも正義人道に反するに非ず。 Hello and Welcome to the Twenty-Second Diary of The New Order. Today we’ll be covering the ever elusive Home Islands of Japan. For this diary, I, Morriña, your humble writer and team lead of Japan, and the members of the Sphere’s development team will be covering everything from the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War, 1937, up to 1968. I hope you enjoy the vast amount of content we’re attempting to bring to Japan as one of the three main superpowers in the world by 1962. PART I: 1937-1947 If you start taking pleasure in nonsensical masculinity and make violence a goal in and of itself, the world will finally start to hate you and will look upon you like it would wild beasts. One ought to remember that. --Meiji, Emperor of Japan to his soldiers, 4 I 1882 It was supposed to be only a border incident, soon to be resolved. Instead it turned out to be the beginning of total war for the Empire of Japan and the start to a full scale invasion of China. The Marco Polo bridge has become an infamous symbol of the bloodiest conflict in the history of Asia since the Taiping Rebellion. Chiang’s Republic of China was severely disadvantaged. Even with a seemingly unending pool of manpower, a lack of commitment to the war effort and political infighting doomed the young republic to a slow and excruciating death. Japan’s vastly superior armed forces, armed with modern guns, sailing on battleships, and riding on soaring planes tore through division after division, surprising foreign observers with their unparalleled dominance. The Soviet Union was busy with its own internal conflicts and crises, while Joseph Kennedy was turning his nation to the beast it had fallen to a million times before; isolationism. The Kuomintang, once a home for idealistic revolutionaries and republicans, despaired. They just kept on losing land, no matter the sacrifices they made. The boys they sent out, never to return, the cities they burned, the people they conscripted into non-existence. In the opening year of the war alone, the ROC lost the vast majority of its cities, crucial to the continuation of the conflict. Not even a second United Front between the KMT and Mao’s CPC, deemed the last possible option, could halt the Japanese onslaught. However, Japan did not emerge unscathed. No nation may emerge unscathed from the total transformation of its spirit towards total war. Old political, social, and economic structures were entirely replaced in favor of new, more efficient ways of life. The social fabric that had defined much of Japanese life was ripped apart. In its place, the Taisei Yokusankai was built from the ground up. The tattered remains of democracy, or at least the facade that remained, were finally put to rest. A new state emerged, one built for war, one not seen anytime before. A new word would arise to define these states - totalitarian. None of it would have been this way, if all had gone to plan. Chiang was to surrender and, in his place, Wang Jingwei’s Reorganized Government of China would have been founded in occupied Nanjing. Chiang Kai-Shek refused to surrender, even as his people floundered and his nation was dying. The armed forces sputtered meekly, and shortages began to plague the nation. The war settled into a grueling slog as both sides hunkered down for the long fight. Japan sat on the cusp of victory, within reach of the great chalice. And yet, they could not reach it. Prince Konoe, the head of the Taisei Yokusankai, struggled to continue to prove himself a capable leader in these times. His cabinet came to an end after public criticism by the fierce militant nationalist Yosuke Matsuoka. Even as Konoe sought to preserve recent precious gains in China while carefully balancing relations with the spectre across the ocean, America, Matsuoka believed war was inevitable. A third cabinet was formed by Konoe, in one final attempt to oust Matsuoka of his high diplomatic posts. In the end, the pressures of criticism, demands for resignation ended Konoe. The gears of history, unknowable in their ways, brought upon the world a conflict so horrific, so awful, that the word strikes a sense of dread into so many who were born in those years. War had arrived in the Pacific. Many of Japan’s top military brass thought that an attack on the United States would spell an end to the empire. Yet, Matsuoka relented, and when the first torpedoes blasted into and sank the USS Enterprise, the world held its breath. Even such a devastating attack could not stop the overwhelming the American advantage in industry. It seemed, for the first time, that the tides of war might finally shift into the Allies’ favour. Instead, beginning from the complete shock of victory at Pearl Harbor, the Imperial Japanese Navy moved from victory to victory, including the surprising outcome of the Battle of Midway in 1942. Japanese offensives took the Philippines, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia, Singapore and some key Pacfic islands, all in the first months of war. Yet, even after victories that no weaker nation could survive, the US retained the industrial advantage it had held for years, with the untouched contiguous mainland still distant from the hell of fire and death happening across the sea to the west. US ships churned out of harbors continuously, faster and faster, until a ship could be made in a matter of months. The Japanese could not continue to win the numbers game, and for the first time in the brutal naval war, they were on the backfoot. In the hope of forcing Japan out of the war, the United States adopted a strategy of leapfrogging in 1943, which put Japanese forces at a massive disadvantage. With each month and year, the United States was able to steadily increase its superiority over Pacific, while Japan’s leadership adopted a strategy of defense, attempting to retain the bulk of their naval force by avoiding any pitched battles until the conditions for it would almost guarantee absolute victory. This time had finally come during the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, when Japanese military leadership decided that this was the decisive moment they were seeking. During the next 87 days a stubborn defense by general Tadamichi Kuribayashi forced the United States to overcommit their forces, which was subsequently exploited by Combined Fleet in a brilliant maneuver. The US fleet was decimated and all American Marines division on that damned island were either destroyed or forced to surrender. While Japanese casualties were enormous and would never be replaced, the battle stopped the United States from overrunning the Pacific theatre and prevented a possible invasion of the Home Islands. Iwo Jima proved to be the largest naval battle in history, surpassing even the Battle of Jutland. The two maritime powerhouses of the modern world slugged it out on the high seas, and the result was thousands upon thousands of dead bodies, and a cemetery of metal, miles in length, buried under the ocean that would never quite disappear. Japan would never recover, not in full, but the United States had the sheer manpower and dockyards to do it. Most within the navy looked forward to an eventual Japanese surrender, regardless of how long it took. America would survive. America always survived. Then, the bomb hit Pearl Harbor. A wave of atomic terror reverberated through continental America, and the United States was forced to resign itself to a humiliating defeat, the first in its history. Finally, Japan could focus on crushing its final threat, and the final bastion of liberty in the world. China. There was one strategy left to turn to, to gain the upper hand against China. It was uncertain, and not even guaranteed to work, but it was the only one left; attrition. Japan would attempt to starve the United Front and render them unable to resist further Japanese offensives. This strategy came to fruition once again with the Battle of Kohima. The Mad General Masanobu Tsuji finally deprived Chiang and Mao of the US air units and supply that was acting as a lifeline to the United Front, the final nail in a coffin that refused to die. With any possibility of supplying China by land or air essentially gone Joseph Stilwell made the decision to pull out of the region and stop supplying the Chinese. Famines across the remaining free Chinese territory and a lack of arms meant that there was little resistance put up against the Ichi Go Offensive of 1944. Despite China fighting with one foot in the grave of their proud nation, their fanatical defenses declared in the name of preserving China racked up further unsustainable casualty counts. Japan’s victory was inevitable, it was only a matter of time. Chiang Kai-Shek turned down pleas for peace, and the war continued. It took two years for the Japanese to finally reach Chongqing in a ruthless, cruel military operation that made Sherman’s March to the Sea look like a peace delegation. In the last battle of the Second World War Chongqing was turned into little more than a gargantuan pile of ashes and crushed stones. On the ruins of Baidi Fortress, the triumphant Japanese proclaimed “peace in Asia and peace in the world”. In their shadows stood their chosen puppet - Chen Gongbo, horrified at the carnage and destruction of the United Front’s last true stronghold. With no hope of any resistance he could only smile, while holding sorrowful tears in his eyes. However, Japan’s political and economic system was now geared towards sustaining an ever expanding war machine; with the Taisei Yokusankai as its political body and Hideki Tojo as its prime minister the current government proved to be a burden. It survived ten years of total war, yet it could not survive the peace that followed. PART II: 1947 - 1962 We have awoken the giant and through valiant effort we survived his onslaught. Let us hope that in future we will remain at peace, for we may not survive another victory like this one. --Isoroku Yamamoto, 1947 While the war was with China over, peace was only the beginning of a series of new problems. The Japanese empire was now enormous. It stretched from cold Siberia to humid New Guinea, from the heart of China to distant Hawaii. With their new lands in hand, Japan set about reorganising these territories into a more manageable empire. In some cases, local collaborators were given the most power. In others, Japanese military figures took control. The Co-Prosperity Sphere became a patchwork of directly ruled territories, military governorates and puppet states. Each one churning out their spoils to be harvested by Japan itself. Whether the Army, Navy or Diet got their hands on them was another matter - the resources would flow nevertheless. Hideki Tojo had been Prime Minister for six years now, overseeing both Japan’s favourable peace treaty with the United States and the victory over the Chinese. However, as the conflict was coming to a close, it became clear that he was starting to slip. His supporters were fully aware that a fall from grace would be disastrous. To prevent this, the man who had recommended Tojo for his post had to act. Kōichi Kido arranged to have himself made Prime Minister with Imperial permission, having served as the closest advisor to the Emperor for almost a decade. He then appointed a loyal privy council member to his old post as Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, ensuring his close connection to the Emperor. With Kido now Prime Minister, he quickly set about the task of managing the now enormous Japanese Empire, as well as trying to handle the various factions within Japanese politics. He proved to be an ambitious prime minister, with grand designs for Japan. Kido was well aware of the faults of the Japanese government. Kido sought to make the ruling Yokusankai party into a tool for his reformist agenda. He attempted to transform it from a mere big tent for the bureaucracy into a powerful body against the army and navy factions. His fatal mistake, however, was the attempted strong-arming of the military as part of his plan to wrest power away from them. Having already become unpopular due to his reformist tendencies, this move against the armed forces proved to be the last straw. One Hiroya Ino replaced him. In order to keep hold of power, Ino was forced to make a bargain. The new Prime Minister agreed to surrender control of Japan’s colonies to the army so that they could be used as strongholds and resource depots. In return, Ino gained some feeble scraps of power for the government. For his actions, the Prime Minister came across as incredibly weak, having made the deal even as the army was steadily losing influence, as had been the case ever since the war had ended. What could the Prime Minister have done? The army was still powerful enough to topple cabinets should it benefit them, something Ino was very much aware of. He had little choice but to comply, even if it would ultimately harm the party. When the elections rolled around, the Yokusankai suffered terribly from their capitulation to the army, with independent candidates (mostly Yokusankai rebels and expelled party members) gaining more power. Under Ino’s tenure, the issue of corruption would become more prevalent and out of control. Bribery would become a de facto method of getting anything done, with seemingly every government official involved in some capacity. Ino’s inability to handle the ever growing corruption within his own cabinet was starting to cost him what little faith anyone still had in his capabilities. Whether he was simply failing to handle the issue properly or perhaps ignoring it, his strategy was utterly failing. Prime Minister Hiroya Ino had not built himself a great legacy to be remembered by. Instead, he had built up a house of cards, upon which he sat. Such a house can hold for a while if one is careful, but it is fated to fall apart eventually. Such a fate cannot be avoided, only delayed and never for long. Interludium: Mechanics Democratic institutions are quarantine mechanisms for that old pestilence, tyrannic lust. As such they are very useful and very boring. --Friedrich Nietzsche Before we continue, we would like to offer some explanations behind the unique gameplay that Japan has to offer, centering on domestic policy. Screenshot of Japan GUI Despite the power held by the military, the Empire of Japan is still legally a democracy as established by the Meiji Constitution, proclaimed in 1889. You are responsible for the civilian government. The Prime Minister of Japan is the closest character to “The Player”. The Imperial diet, as the main parliamentary body, is completely democratic, but deeply overshadowed by the Second Great War. During the war, all political parties were merged into the Yokusankai (YSK) in order for Japan to function as a totalitarian, one party state. As mentioned, however, Ino’s capitulation to the Army was a great sign of weakness coming from the Yokusankai. Factions of “Independents” who had been rendered irrelevant in 1942 by the Yokusankai’s supermajority used the population’s growing disillusionment towards the ruling in order to swell the amount of seats in parliament outside the party’s control. The rising number of independent politicians was not the only problem for the Yokusankai; despite theoretically being a single party, it is in reality a de facto collection of cliques and factions that have rather different approaches to government and policies. This means that any potential Prime Minister may have a large problem with keeping a majority of support in the chamber. So how exactly does a Prime Minister keep their majority? Let’s examine it! The Imperial Diet consists of seats distributed per territorial district. The Dai Nippon Teikoku (Empire of Great Japan) consists of the Nihon Rettō (Home Islands, or simply Japanese archipelago), the provinces of Chōsen (Korean peninsula), Taiwan and Karafuto (the island of Sakhalin). Those constitute an integral part of the Japanese state, and as such - elections are organized at the local level. Depending on the YSK’s popularity in a single province, the one party will receive an appropriate amount of deputies (if the popularity of the YSK in the province is 70%, it will receive 70% of seats from this area). As such, the YSK needs to maintain its popularity and power, to put an end to the loss of seats to independents. But even if the Yokusankai is successful in upcoming elections, there is still a problem. Deputies of the YSK are divided between different cliques. In the example shown above, Prime Minister Ino is supported by his own clique in its entirety, by 5 deputies of Kido clique and by more than half of deputies from Kaya’s and Takagi’s factions respectively. With the Independents being completely unsupportive, it means that Ino in our example, despite the YSK holding 75% of total seats, barely holds on to a majority. The lesson we learn here is obvious - as a Prime Minister of Japan you need not only to win elections as the YSK, but also to have strong clique of your and have the support of other factions within the party itself. Have you secured a super majority of deputies? I’m sorry, you are still not done. In the Japanese parliamentary system, the House of Peers has the ability to reject bills and initiatives. If the House of Peers does not support you, it will effectively create a deadlock and block all reforms, guaranteeing an end to the career of the current Prime Minister. In general the absolute heart of parliamentary game in Japan is securing a majority, and the most important part of securing a majority is interacting with the four main cliques of the YSK, either by gaining their support or by reducing their power and popularity. You need to be very careful about implementing different policies. The Yokusankai remains a party that somehow manages to contain Reform Bureaucrats, Liberals, Kidoites and Conservatives in a single bloc. It may be too much to manage. If other factions find your cooperation or policies unsatisfactory, Party Unity may drop and deputies from other cliques may be even less inclined to support you. Such a scenario may spell doom for any Prime Minister. You might think this is already too much, and that holding onto power in the Empire of Japan is a fool’s errand. To this we bring two pieces of bad news. The first one is that negotiating with the Diet and house of Peers is the only way to advance one’s political career. Second - there are still more ways to lose power as Prime Minister, as the overbearing influence of Japan’s armed forces starts to impact the political class’ games. When it comes to Army (IJA) and Navy (IJN) Influence - one will find that understanding the military's politics is essential to grasping Japan’s internal situation. While interservice rivalry exists, it is not as much of a relevant factor as it was during the 30s and 40s. With peace and an ongoing focus on the stabilization of a vast empire, the IJA and IJN do not interfere much in the Home Islands’ political process. Both branches of the military forces have also developed a sense of restraint in foreign policy. Gone are the heady days where the Kwantung Army could invade China without notifying Tokyo. Instead, the IJA and IJN are mostly focused on keeping their monopolies and influence in their countries in the Sphere. They are no longer a force of change, pushing for more wars and acts of aggression - instead, with the establishment of the Co-Prosperity Sphere they are now a force of the Status Quo. Army and Navy support does not represent “the entire army” and “the entire navy”. The IJA and IJN are as riddled with factions as the Diet is. The influence meters instead represent the higher echelons of powers, ministers, chief of staff, leading commanders, governors and the like. What does this actually mean? For a start, even with high support from Army, it may not guarantee complete compliance of the IJA in different countries in Sphere. Army divisions in Indonesia might not obey orders from a new government just because the officers in Tokyo have received a hefty amount of bribes. On the other hand, even small support from the IJA for your government, causing the War Ministry to wish to see your cabinet ousted will not necessarily affect IJA commanders in the Sphere, who might still actually follow the civilian government’s instruction in their particular sectors. To reaffirm the point about a decline in interservice rivalry, IJA and IJN support are not contradictory to each other. Often times events or choices might lead to increasing support from both, or sometimes it may decrease support from both. The problem is, that the IJA and IJN influence is very peculiar in comparison to for example “House of Peers Opinion”. The reason for that is that both very low and very high influence of army branch will have negative consequences. Very low influence with the Army or Navy will force current Prime Minister to resign, as he was clearly not paying attention to demands from armed forces. Very high influence on the other hand will start firing rather peculiar events that will most likely greatly decrease standards of life in other countries of the Sphere, destabilizing it and damaging the position of the civilian government in Tokyo. This represents the army running roughshod over the Sphere, assuming they have a free hand from their buddies in the diet. Now…Tension. What does this even mean? As you may already guess from previous paragraphs, it is not actually about interservice rivalry. As I mentioned previously, Army and Navy are mostly now forces of status quo, that achieved everything they ever desired in the Second World War and now they simply wish to retain their benefits, advantages and of course - their glorious colonial empire. Tension represents not friction between army branches, not even friction between armed forces and civilian government, but rather a subtle change of mind - that actually Japan is in a dire state, and it requires immediate, heroic actions to save it from traitors, subversion, foreign agents and conspirators. This is a reflection of Japanese culture - disobedience is justified by the great patriotism and pure, good nature of a servant that wishes to save their overlord, even if they themselves do not want it. In comparison to Army/Navy Influence, it does not reflect the view of elites, but of every single soldier, sailor and minor commander. As such it is absolutely possible to have great relations with Army and Navy, and still have massive Tension build-up, threatening the stability of the Empire of the Rising Sun. It is a slow, ticking bomb that requires care and tact to contain and defuse. At the beginning of the game, due to massive prosperity, stability and power of Japanese Empire Tension starts at 0% in 1962. However it may slowly rise until reaching 100%. As to what happens when Tension reaches such high value and what events may have led to this… hmm… this will be a story for another time. This concludes the unique gameplay designed for the Empire of Japan in TNO. With no further delay, let’s move on to 1962 - the very beginning of the game. PART III: 1962-1963 I’m sorry to say this to you, Prime Minister, but Empires rise and Empires fall, and the vast, corrupt future that you once had is shedding away like cherry blossoms in the winter. With any luck, you’ll be out of here by next month. How does a nation crumble? An assassin eating on a crowded thoroughfare sees his target ride in on a conveniently open car and takes his chance. A cavalry charge outside the gates of a besieged city breaks the high-tide of conquest. Some less graceful than others, but it’s all the same. Or perhaps it can start with the finding of a body. Yes, let’s go with that. Because deaths don’t just end lives - they smother truths. Yet, the truth shines through. Truth has a manner of bubbling out into the world. For now, it’s just another body, in an impossible place and under improbable circumstances. Another problem for the Police, but nothing the Metropolitan can’t handle - and with all the mysterious nonsense popping up in the murder scene it looks like their expertise will be needed. Thankfully our crack detective is on the case - and looking for evidence! Whoops. Well, tragedy happens all the time in the Sphere, it was probably just a one off, let’s keep looking - oh. Oh dear. If the Japanese Army is involved, then all bets are off. We should warn our detective he’s in over his head - oh shit. Well, the new team assigned to the case might not have any living witnesses, but every detective worth their salt knows how to investigate a case. There are a few angles that can be examined, aligned along the central axis of any investigation: look through the crime scene or examine the victim? After all, a man with’ silence’ carved into his chest probably has it there for a reason. But the fish plant doesn’t seem like a terribly convincing commercial operation either - and why on earth would the murder victim be allowed access to the grounds of the factory? Then again, the labyrinth of Japanese bureaucracy will present challenges from the get go, and the man who killed the victim was in the Army, so perhaps focusing on this will let us push deeper into the facts of the case. (Full disclaimer: there are many paths available to be taken in this series of events, and I highly recommend you try different choices on each run-through.) A basic profile will help us, as will determining the victim’s connections. The Army records will surely help us find the truth - oh dear. Well, it’s time to pull out the Audit Gun to shoot at the Army so they’ll change their minds and wow it’s not working. The pit of snakes that is the Japanese Government has taken an interest, and oh boy it is angry. So, to recap: a body, a grenade, a factory that shouldn’t be running, a killer who shouldn’t have been there and an army that isn’t letting on. What the hell is going on? Bureaucratic wrangling aside, we could always exploit the one unchangeable binary of Japanese politics, the Army-Navy rivalry, and - uh - what the hell? They’re working with each other? How can the whole of Japanese politics be upended for the sake of a single dead body? ...They’re all in on this, aren’t they? Well, if the Navy insists on sticking its nose into affairs, that’s where we’ll continue searching. And it looks like it’s tied into everything that’s been going on, including a suspicious series of shipments and a preponderance of outdated military currency. All we have to do is hit them with in force with an audit they won’t see coming, and we’ll find out just how deep the rabbitholegoes - Oh my god. Where does this end? We have to keep looking, maybe the trail will end in a tidy bunch of suspects we can arrest to make the problem go away. People like - uh - The Army?The Government? It’s getting out of hand, already has in fact, but I’m certain if we just keep going we’ll stabilise the situation, so long as we don’t touch - The banks, like Yasuda and Minezaka? The ones we found with mud on their faces and Army money in their pockets? Oh no. Oh no no no. How far will the heavens fall before Japan itself is tugged into the abyss with them all? And if a pillar of the Japanese Economy crumbles, what happens to the others? Japan plummets, but perhaps in those long steep drops it will find its soul. For was it not written: falling is the essence of a flower? Link to Section II Link to Section III Link to Section IV Link to Section V Link to Section VI Link to Section VII
Where’s the best place to live in light of collapse?
Ok we are 323 comments in on the collapse post and 98% didn’t bother to make even a slightly thoughtful answer. So... i guess i will be the change i want to see in the world First off, If you are the fatalistic nihlistic type you can just go where you think it will be nice to die, maybe that is with friends and family, maybe it is on a beach in mexico, or feeding your body to the last polar bear. For everyone else that still has the instinct and drive for self-preservation….
What are the best places to be leading up to or during collapse?
First let's question the question.
What difference does it make to know "What are the best places to be leading up to or during collapse"? The answer is dependent upon your own personal situation. Your personal situation has limiting factors.
Imagine you are a goat herder in Somalia during a multi year drought and there is no grass for feeding your animals. You have to sell them for dirt cheap because everyone else is also trying to sell off everything they can to get money thus depressing the goat prices further. Now the price of food is skyrocketing because there is no grass and the farmers crops failed, everyone is trying to buy up a hoard of food because everyone knows it is going to be a hard year. You manage to get the equivalent of $120USD in cash after selling practically everything you own but held onto one breeding pair of your healthiest goats you plan to use to regain a livelihood after the drought is over.
Imagine you are a billionaire with a fueled up superyacht, a helicopter, and a private plane. You have practically unlimited money, friends who are rich and connected in other countries, and a whole slew of passports, visas, and secondary citizenships, all else failing you can buy citizenships in most countries for less than $2million investment and pay a teams of specialists to expedite the process.
Your personal Limiting Factors constrain you usually somewhere between those extremes, everyone has different options. If we assume you are asking the question "What are the best places to be leading up to or during collapse" because you want to have the best standard of living available for as long as possible or simply survive the incoming population bottleneck, then the practical question becomes ...
"What are the best places to be, leading up to or during collapse, that i can get to, and establish myself in such a way that I can maintain the best standard of living possible for as long as I can or simply increase my probability of surviving the incoming population bottleneck."
It is important to ask this question to constrain the search space to the possible. It makes fuck-all difference if a somali goat herder knows about the ToP SeCret ElitE mULtibiLLioNaIre New ZEaLand sOUth IsLaNd ReDoUbt BuNkeR CoMmUnITy It is not going to help him and should not be in the search space as a survival strategy. TL:DR Constrain your search space to what is realistically achievable for you.
Start with your baseline probability of survival and increase it.
Don't let a search for "best place" stop you from achieving "good enough place" or "better than where i was previously place".
You are just trying to be an early adopter of increasing your survival probability stats before the non collapse-pilled masses.
Think of surviving bottlenecks like surviving a charging bear attack, you don't need to be able to outrun the bear, you only need to be able to outrun the slowest people in the group up to the point the bear's appetite is satiated.
What are the best places to be, leading up to or during collapse, that i can get to, and establish myself in such a way that I can maintain the best standard of living possible for as long as I can or simply increase my probability of surviving the incoming population bottleneck."
Ok now lets question the new question some more...
In order to answer this we need to untangle some of the subjective and objective elements. The objective elements of human survival are well known.
Optimizing location is a series of subjective trade-offs. There is no perfect place, they all have advantages and disadvantages. So you must decide your personal preference of which goods and bads you most desire and what your scenario expectations are of the future. Your personal preferences and collapse expectations mean the “best area” is specific to you. What you can achieve and what do you desire, find the overlap between the two, then do research to find the place that gives you the most goods with the least bads and increases your probability of survival and standard of living. One of the best strategies is to adapt yourself to your local circumstances to take advantage of the advantages, and plan ahead to mitigate the disadvantages, it is really all most people can do for themselves. Do you like not living in unbearable heat, maybe moving to greenland is NOT a better option than just buying 400watts of solar panels and attaching it to a small efficient AC that keeps one room of your house cool even during summer electricity blackouts. Most problems have multiple solutions, it is worth it to take time and think about things from an economic perspective and different time horizon perspectives. Increasing your optionality is better than narrowing it when it comes to survival, rather than the binary thinking, of “go way out into the northern mountains, farm and live in a bunker” versus “be a full time yuppie and ignore collapse issues”. Getting 2 acres you can put a cheap used rv camper on and go do permaculture on during weekends, near enough your place of employment/where you live, is probably a better plan. Indeed the small dacha’s and country gardens helped many people survive the collapse of the USSR. They would spend weekends and haul potatoes/veggies back to the city with them on the bus. Hedge your bets to cover the most scenarios including the most likely scenarios like losing your job or getting in a car accident. Survival and thriving always has and always will involve dynamic adaptation. Here is a very short list of some of potential trade-offs that you may need to think about and some brief descriptions of how they can affect things. This is NOT meant to be a systematic or exhaustive analysis, this is just me stream-of-conscious flowing on strong coffee to help others start thinking about it for themselves. There are unlimited variables
Hot versus cold
A lot of people in the forum think they it is somehow optimal for them to move to canada or greenland. Someone in eastern kansas moving to canada is not necessary, remember even in RCP8.5 business as usual scenario kansas by the end of the century still won’t be as hot as texas is currently. If there are already people living in hotter dryer areas now, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pack up your shit and move to the arctic, just enjoy the longer summers. At least base it on something scientific like the expectation of when that area will cross the 35C wetbulb survivability threshold, so if you live in Bandar Mahshahr then yes move somewhere else now is time.
Do you have children?
Moving somewhere may not be needed if you can live out your expected natural lifespan before things get too bad, especially with the climate. If you have children you may want to move to account for the expectations during their future lifetimes.
Wet versus dry
Wet places usually have more disease and insect loads for people and crops. In dry places it is harder to raise food, net primary productivity is usually lower, except where irrigation is available but there are usually less pests including plant fungal diseases like powdery mildew. There are Europeans living in certain parts of africa whom can only inhabit those areas currently because of antimalarial drugs, pesticides and mosquito nets. The native populations are full of people heterozygous for sickle cell which gives them resistance/immunity to the malaria, just a long view consideration.
Seasonality of rainfall
if you get all your rainfall in the summer you usually live in a region where the muggy wetbulb temps are higher and will be getting higher. You are more likely to get floods during the growing season. If you get rainfall mainly in the winter like mediteranean climates you will usually have dry summers with low humidity so deadly wetbulb temps should not be a problem but maintaining summer vegetables requires irrigation. If using rainfed agriculture you will have different crop choices, which areas grow the types of food you like?
Sunny versus overcast
Sunny areas are great for some dark skinned people and needed for vitamin D production in post collapse scenarios unless you have a good dietary source, black people in dim areas get Vitamin D deficiency diseases like rickets and have higher mortality in a hard enough crash. Gecko skinned gingers thrive better in overcast areas. Lots of people currently exist in environments they are biologically maladapted to, they are only able to live there because of modern fortified foods/supplements and medical care. Bright sunlight destroys folate (needed for reproduction) in pale people and causes skin cancer. Some people get S.A.D. and commit suicide in the gloomy winters of the pacific northwest USA. Just because a place is good in lots of other ways, you should not consider it if it will leave suicidal.
Growing season, long versus short
Long growing season usually means more heat for longer, more times to grow crops but usually less optimal conditions. Short seasons means you have to compress a lot more work in a shorter amount of time. It also means trees grow slower and growing your own fuel supply takes more land footprint while you simultaneously need more heating fuel. Places like iowa have moderate/short growing season but the high lattitude makes for long daylength which increases productivity during the moderate/short growing season. Rainfall is concentrated during the summer and soils highly fertile but it is practically one giant biocide saturated monoculture of death. It doesn’t matter if the you live in a fecund area if your future children die of bluebaby syndrome from the nitrate pollution in the well-water or end up mentally retarded from the chlorpyrifos spray drift bioaccumulating and destroying neural development in utero.
Let's be real here, most of you need to have employment to live, even as things crumble in a slow crash the vast majority will be dependent on employment and purchasing in the marketplace that which they need for subsistence. Cities are almost always better for employment. Keep in mind recently and historically, even prior to the industrial revolution, people were more often moving to cities to escape collapse scenarios in real life. You can look at africa and the middle east today. The reason is the city with its dense network effects can command food from a diversity of sources and the economics incentivize shipping surplus to cities. In times where the economics don't incentivize it governments usually seize it and send it to the cities. There is lots of historical precedent showing this, despite the general ruralist zeitgiest among collapsniks thinking that they need a homestead in the country. Employment or entitlements has been and will be the primary way people meet subsistence needs even in most collapse scenarios. Even in 3rd world areas that are experiencing famines, war, full infrastructure breakdown and conditions that are equivalent to 1st worlder visions of total collapse, people still wake up, go to work pulling weeds for the local land baron, get paid and then go buy a bowl of millet from the store.
High versus low wages.
some areas have low wages but this can come with benefits like low cost of living and people being pre-adapted to living through cooperative social behaviors and "ghetto rigging" improvisation. Last time i was in some shithole parts of arkansas i noticed just about every rural person had a decent sized garden, more than any other state i've been to. They feel compelled to share unlike some high-income places where people are clawing for money to pay rents or status seeking in a dog eat dog competitive environment. I have lived in quite a few homeless encampments and one thing that surprises people is how everyone gives away all surplus among each other, this is a paleolithic variance smoothing strategy, it is supernaturally effective and feels natural once you do it. I see it re-evolve over and over in poor people.
Education levels and sociability of the population
Is the area culturally acceptable to you? Are you acceptable to the people of the area?
There are places that may have all sorts of good qualities but they are filled with ignorant racist meth head bible belt sociopaths who will torment you out of sheer boredom. Some places get full of these people and they reinforce the ignorance and shittiness into a dominant culture that you will be fighting against if you move there. When moving to a place where you are an outsider and the community is hostile to allowing assimilation that can reduce your survival odds. See various historical genocides.
Distance from food sources
Being close to a food source like right on a farm you grow on is great but if you have crop failure you may have no draw to bring in the food. Distance should be measured multiple ways including the strength and reliability of the transportation networks and the energetic distance for transport in energy descent scenarios. Think of the number of connections in the network you can draw from. In a city there are many stores each store sourcing from thousands of farmers, if a few farmers or stores fail there are still plenty of options. Some small rural towns depopulate once the single local walmart closes. Do you trust the local weather and your own potential self sufficiency more than markets/entitlements and transport resilience? Across what scenarios and time spans?
Legal rights and entitlements availability
Solid legal rights and strong property law is great if you are part of the ownership class but when you are dispossessed, lack of legal enforcement can give you a higher standard of living because you can build shelter and do side hustles things without having "the man" come slap you down. In a place like western Europe you may have recourse to welfare entitlements and unemployment insurance payments to buy food in financial crashes and slow crash scenarios, in some countries things like this are not available, this is more important than most people think. Indeed most recent famines occur where food is present but people just have no way to buy it because they are brokeAF, you don't see rich people in those areas starving.
Water flows towards money. Just because there is a stream nearby doesn't mean you will be able to take water from it, you may need water rights while government is still able to enforce such edicts. Alternatively you may have impeccable senior water rights but the government enforcement is defunded and someone with zero water rights is upstream from you sucking the entire creek dry during a crash. Rainfall vs irrigation. rainfall allows a form of independence but having reliable irrigation can smooth out catastrophic variance in rain shortfalls. Don’t forget irrigation management was a major factor in the formation of early oppressive states.
Even prior to the industrial revolution, in cities that had Sea Ports, the population in those cities had higher survival rates than those living in the countryside during famines. Transportation is critical. More transportation modes plane, train, automobile, bikepaths, all different roads, rails, canals, rivers etc. These transports allow goods to flow, which generally helps satisfy regional shortages. Some people judge the main threat to be people taking what they have, usually it is governments doing the taking in the historical record but many are concerned with mythical hordes. If you subscribe to this paranoia about people robbing your homestead you may enjoy being as minimally connected as possible to the transport system. You must determine based on your own preferences and expectations. Good transport is a double edged sword, it means food/resources can also be shipped out of your area towards money/powerful people, remember ownership norms and enforcement rarely disappear during collapse-like periods, indeed the ownership class still sends supplies to the highest bidder which may not be you, see Irish Gorta Mor for example.
In places like london way back when they still burned wood as cooking and heating fuel there were estates just outside the city that were highly organized coppice producers that fueled the city. Wood is heavy and only so much could be carried in a cartload considering they relied on animal traction. There was a distance where bringing the wood to london to sell would not make you any money even despite you getting wood for free because the cost of the journey feeding yourself and animal took the entire value of the wood. These effects are worth thinking about across different transport scenarios. Assets become stranded and likewise things can become uneconomical to ship to you when you need things produced in the city. The wood producing estates outside london were well off financially and smaller estate size could provide higher income than the much more distant estates that were an order of magnitude larger. Transport matters, markets and trade continue to exist in practically every collapse and even in supermax prisons, expect to use markets as a survival strategy, it is more likely than you living some isolated mountain man scenario.
(the older a soil is geologically X how much rainfall it gets) is what generally determines how fertile it is. The best soils are those that are relatively new and have been subjected to just enough rainfall to match the evapotranspiration rate, this minimizes nutrients leaching out, these are the mollisols/chernozems of the prairies. Because the water is just-enough in those zones they are also right at the edge where they can have major droughts with even slightly less rainfall. Wetter areas generally have less inherent soil fertility because of more leaching of nutrients but have more room for rainfall variability without plants meeting water deficiency.
your social ties family friends locations
Having a positive social environment with people you love while just getting by, is better than doing well financially and being socially isolated, for most people. Don’t abandon good family and friends if you can avoid it, it is usually not worth it. “Social capital” has always been a key to human flourishing. Many people in the collapse of the USSR survived on “blat”, not by relocating. A real world social network for altruistic reciprocity is a survival tool.
Proximity to imperialist countries with militaries that may want/need your resources for themselves or their people
Places like ukraine, some of the best farmland in the world, a country may seem optimal in many ways but historically this advantage was noted by outsiders and it has been at the crossroads of empires which means they suffered tremendously in war. The devastation of war and imperialism negated much of the natural benefits of the area when it comes to survival rates. This is something to consider. In parts of africa there is more conflict in abundant zones with more food, outside of famine zones because paramilitaries are supported from the land there and controlling the food supply is used as weapon of political power. Concentration of resources can make areas more dangerous, it makes attacking them economical.
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