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9/11 in 2658

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So, as I read through Wenchell Cheung's Atomic Rockets Page something occurred to me, the future could be an extremely dangerous place. (Yes, I know, thanks for catching up...)


I mean, all anyone needs to do is pack a stardrive on a asteroid and let rip, and there goes your planet. (To say nothing of portable massdrivers...) This is something that almost anyone could theoretically do, and the first time it happens if there's an associated greater galactic society they're probably going to have quite the freak-out. (Thus the 9-11 reference in the title.) You want to see a peaceful Federation turn militant (or many anti-militant) overnight, all you need to do is show how easy it is to take out a planet if that's your goal. (None of this conquest stuff!)


When you realize that any old asteroid miner can kill off an entire world if he's feeling ornery it gives you a new perspective on things. Especially if there's not much you can do about it (this is highly based on a setting's stardrive of choice and it's associated limitations), you wonder how people would live with this threat. Would they be incredibly pro-active about eliminating threats? (Which has the hazzard of potentially just creating more threats!) Or, would civilizations be incredibly nice to each other, held in check by the MAD principal? Of course, it's not even MAD if most civilizations are single worlds because often your targets are all dead and any who remain have no idea who to retaliate against!


Equally nasty is the pirate approach, especially if there are a lot of habitable worlds out there with limited population, wherein a pirate/warlord just needs to show up in orbit and inform the locals who's in charge now. Any resistance, they're dead, maybe not immediately, but before the pirates leave. After all, the pirates can just move on to the next "smarter" world. Wow, talk about being turned into a bunch of Japanese Rice Farmers, and even 7 Samuroids are going to be hard pressed to get them out of that one!



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