2006-03-05

Praxis and the Evacuation of Q'onoS

I saw this in the comments to the starbase post from a few days ago and wanted to reply, but the ideas were particularly interesting to me so I put it up here.

"[In Star Trek VI] the depletion of [oxygen] from Qo'nos, a single planet, meant the practical extermination of Klingon race and death of their Empire."


For kicks, let's give the 23rd Century Klingon Empire half-a-million ships (military, civilian, et al.). Let's assume that each ship can carry an average of, say, 500 people. And, finally, assume a one-month average round trip to the various suitable planets in the Empire (which as of the 2260's was said to have many poor systems, which was the basis of their expansionism).

That's 250,000,000 people per month. At that rate, evacuating modern-day Earth would take two years and two months (assuming 6.5 billion people). However, that wouldn't even begin to account for material, supplies, population growth during evac (we're going to hit 7 billion by 2012), et cetera.

And while that's going on, do you really think the Klingons could do much in the way of their interstellar policies?

Now, chatter from the Federation president in ST6 made reference to completing the evacuation of Q'onoS within a fifty-year timespan, which eases things quite a bit. Let's assume there are just 10 billion Klingons on the homeworld, and that over the course of fifty years the total number to evacuate will be 20 billion. (That's a rough ballpark figure, meant to account for births per year and the notion that older Klingons might just choose to stay and die on the homeworld. We're at 130 million births per year, so I adjusted theirs to 200 million/year in keeping with the 10 billion total. That would give us 10 billion new Klingons within fifty years. (Since the birth rate would decline over the course of the fifty years I was going to drop the total evac population to 15 billion. However, they probably have shorter generations than we do and yet also have far longer lifespans, so more of the original ten billion would be around than is the case with mankind.)

To evac all of them in fifty years (600 months) will require an average rate of over 33 million people per month. Even at fifteen thousand people per ship -- equal to what the Galaxy Class could carry, and it'll have to be the average per ship -- that's still going to require 2,223 ships engaged in constant evacuation with a one-month turnaround time. If the round trip turnaround time were two months then 4,445 ships would be needed.

Of course, Klingon ships are generally not Galaxy-esque luxury liners. Like the Intrepid Class, they are built more for combat performance. The Intrepid Class starship Voyager, despite being on the large side, could evac an absolute maximum of 475 people. A particular type of Klingon civilian transport in the 2370's carried just 441. Thus it might make more sense to bring down the average from the Galaxy maximum to something more reasonable . . . say, an average of 1000. That would mean that 33,334 ships would have to be making trips with an average one-month turnaround time, or 66,667 ships with an average two-month turnaround time. And again, that's just people and not materiel, supplies, mementos, cultural icons, et cetera.

Remember, though, that common estimates of fleet strength in the 2370's are around 10,000 ships each for the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans. While I'm sure there are many, many more private/commercial/cargo ships, there's just no way one can assume that the Klingons are going to be able to maintain their empire without incident.

In short, the depletion of the Klingon homeworld's ozone layer and the end of free oxygen would've meant that the planet would've died within 50 years assuming no one left. However, to evacuate the planet would require thousands of ships times decades.

Either way you're talking about an incredible blow to the Klingon Empire. The fact that the 24th Century Trek seems to suggest that some sort of magic fix was accomplished doesn't negate the fact that the Klingon Empire had to have basically been in a state of reconstruction for much of the late-23rd and early-24th Century.

30 comments:

  1. And what's interesting to note about all of this is that in the TNG episode “Yesterday's Enterprise”, the disappearance of the Enterprise-C caused the Federation-Klingon peace treaty not to go through, and in fact, the Klingons were actually winning the war by a significant margin. So apparently not only were the Klingons able to recover from the disaster, but also rebuild and were able to overwhelm the Federation in a war. That's pretty impressive.

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  2. Of course you forget that Earth and Kithomer are both about a day travel from Qo'nos. Even NX class with it's warp 5 engine could reach Qo'nos in 4 days I believe. This decreases your estimates by a factor of 30 to 1000-2000 ships between Klingon and Federation.

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  3. Averages exist for a reason, Anon. I didn't forget the "Broken Bow" bit at all. Recall that many freighters were still only likely to make warp 2 or 3 (per "Friday's Child" IIRC) as of the 2260's. So even if you take the faster ships, you'll end up with the smallest evacuation count.

    Also, don't forget loading and unloading. I did not explicitly mention them in the post, but I can foresee certain others not recognizing the requirement and attempting to challenge the numbers accordingly.

    As for your claim that Earth and Khitomer are both a day from Q'onoS . . . where did you get that?

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  4. Averages exist for a reason, Anon. I didn't forget the "Broken Bow" bit at all. Recall that many freighters were still only likely to make warp 2 or 3 (per "Friday's Child" IIRC) as of the 2260's. So even if you take the faster ships, you'll end up with the smallest evacuation count.
    I used Earth as an example of a capitol from enemy power. One can expect that Klingons will have planets closer to their homeworld inside their own space. Your 30 day trip is hardly average. Secondly the freighters we saw were all smaller than Enterprise and warp drive of smaller vessel is usually slower than that of larger ones so your claim that higher speed will mean lower evacuation limit is incorrect.

    Also, don't forget loading and unloading. I did not explicitly mention them in the post, but I can foresee certain others not recognizing the requirement and attempting to challenge the numbers accordingly.
    Loading and unloading will be insignificant in your 30-day travel time so there was no reason for you to bring it up. But even in single day travel time how much time can it take to unload 1000-5000 people to the surface?

    As for your claim that Earth and Khitomer are both a day from Q'onoS . . . where did you get that?
    Enterpirse traveled from Rura Penthe to Kithomer in a day. Since both the Federation president and chancellor Azetbur came to Kithomer in roughly the same amount of time that puts their travel time to about a day.

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  5. I used Earth as an example of a capitol from enemy power. One can expect that Klingons will have planets closer to their homeworld inside their own space.

    Uh-huh. So from the lone datapoint of Earth and Q'onoS being fairly close together, you assume that all capitals are that close, and that further all planets within an empire must require less travel time? That's a very unique point of view, I have to say.

    Secondly the freighters we saw were all smaller than Enterprise

    That's clearly false, since we did not see the freighter referred to in "Friday's Child".

    and warp drive of smaller vessel is usually slower than that of larger ones so your claim that higher speed will mean lower evacuation limit is incorrect.

    The idea that larger vessels are often faster is often true, at least in regards to military ships. However, statistics about a certain type of vessel do not apply as a disproof of a point regarding a different type of vessel altogether.

    Loading and unloading will be insignificant in your 30-day travel time so there was no reason for you to bring it up.

    You're bringing up things which are irrelevant (and/or incorrect), so I figured I'd beat you to the punch.

    Enterpirse traveled from Rura Penthe to Kithomer in a day.

    A matter of hours, really. So?

    Since both the Federation president and chancellor Azetbur came to Kithomer in roughly the same amount of time that puts their travel time to about a day.

    No, no, no. Go watch the movie again. The last time we see Azetbur prior to Khitomer is during the trial (she was there), and the last time we see the Federation President is also during the trial (he was watching from Paris). Kirk and McCoy are then taken to Rura Penthe, a trip of unspecified duration and in an unknown direction.

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  6. Anon, before you reply I'd like you to answer two questions.

    You're attempting all sorts of nitpickery. I'm curious:

    1. Did you actually think I was claiming 30,000 or 60,000 civilian ships for the Klingons?

    2. How do your efforts deflate my point that the death of Q'onoS must constitute a massive drain on the Klingon Empire, whether they evac or not? I mean, are you trying to prove that the Klingons can evac planets effortlessly and that everything would be hunky-dory?

    (I'm just wondering if you were arguing just to argue (implying that you have far too much time on your hands), or if you actually had a purpose. If the latter, please cut to the chase . . . I haven't the time I used to have.)

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  7. The Klingons are also quite noteable for being warlike and focusing far more on war-related technology and resourcing and whatnot than anything else, which would make it much harder for them to rebuild themselves. It makes one wonder what the Federation might be capable of should a similar disaster occur to Luna, for instance. Or, for that matter, how fast the Cardassians could rebuild after the Dominion War.

    (Speaking of that, Darkstar, we could use your help in the debate going on in the comments of the Starbase post. If you've got the time and stuff, of course.)

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  8. Oh don't sweat it, Matt. Things are pretty well under control there. Just keep reminding Anon Warsie of those annoying things called "facts", and don't let him/it/her get you bogged down in nitpicking and fallacies.

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  9. Note incidentally it's not a problem of resettling refugees at the nearest stop; it's a question of resettling refugees on habitable planets that they and their descendents can live on for generations.

    They need not only simply move the population of QonoS, but build the infrastructure and industry for its population to eat, live, and work in.

    50 years is actually a pretty big timeframe to do this in, particularly when we consider that Earth put colonies on a thousand worlds in a hundred years between ENT and TOS.

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  10. Uh-huh. So from the lone datapoint of Earth and Q'onoS being fairly close together, you assume that all capitals are that close, and that further all planets within an empire must require less travel time? That's a very unique point of view, I have to say.
    You picked up an "average" time of one to two months which as I have shown is anything but average. We know that there are planets within a few days of Qo'nos even with mid 22nd century technology which drops your estimate for 30,000-60,000 ships by an order of magnitude.

    That's clearly false, since we did not see the freighter referred to in "Friday's Child".
    Then why did you claim that "even if you take the faster ships, you'll end up with the smallest evacuation count" if you don't know it's size?

    No, no, no. Go watch the movie again. The last time we see Azetbur prior to Khitomer is during the trial (she was there), and the last time we see the Federation President is also during the trial (he was watching from Paris). Kirk and McCoy are then taken to Rura Penthe, a trip of unspecified duration and in an unknown direction.
    It was a matter of days at most. Which is proved by the fact that NX class could reach Qo'nos in four days.

    1. Did you actually think I was claiming 30,000 or 60,000 civilian ships for the Klingons?
    "Thus it might make more sense to bring down the average from the Galaxy maximum to something more reasonable . . . say, an average of 1000. That would mean that 33,334 ships would have to be making trips with an average one-month turnaround time, or 66,667 ships with an average two-month turnaround time."
    Yes you did, although not for the Klingons alone.

    2. How do your efforts deflate my point that the death of Q'onoS must constitute a massive drain on the Klingon Empire, whether they evac or not? I mean, are you trying to prove that the Klingons can evac planets effortlessly and that everything would be hunky-dory?
    I never claimed that Praxis explosion wasn't a devastating blow to their economy and their Empire merley that your ship count was inflated.

    50 years is actually a pretty big timeframe to do this in, particularly when we consider that Earth put colonies on a thousand worlds in a hundred years between ENT and TOS.
    What does "we are on a thousand worlds and spreading out" mean? Are they developed colonies or have they merley sticked a flag into the ground?

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  11. Anon, think about the phrase... on a thousand worlds. Not "have explored a thousand worlds." We (obviously, "humans") are on (obviously, "on") a thousand worlds. That's over a thousand colonies.

    Now, these aren't all very well developed colonies. In fact, many have fairly low populations at this point, which is the only thing that makes the evacuation of Kronos seem difficult by comparison... and they're spread out very widely. (Cestus III, Rigel, Deneb...)

    Which brings us back to the issue of speed. The "eight thousand light years across" Federation isn't that much larger than it was, which in turn isn't much larger than the spread of Klingon territory (if any). If you're expecting the colonists to commonly get placed in colonies in a couple days, you have to accept 100,000+ c speeds as standard, not accounting for the problems of infrastructure and industry, if you want the Klingons to have a small (<10,000) number of ships available.

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  12. It is typical for a homeworld to house a crucial facilities and numbers. City planet Coruscant must have 100 billions to be a pklanet-wide city, whereas core world Alderaan didn't even housed a billion and most likely just a few millions (Kenobi felt "millions" of deaths). Naboo, had surely less than a million, given the enumbers of droids.

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  13. Alsao note that an Empire may crumble even though the number of killed may be not taht significant - with centralp forces wasted, local lords would rip it apart...

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  14. Anon has no point. He is arguing just to argue. He admits this by not challenging the point I was making, and openly confessing as much.

    Instead he tries to misinterpret simple mathematical explorations of the point (which in reality ranged from 2,000 to 500,000 ships) as claims regarding ship count.

    (Sigh)

    Let's repeat: "Remember, though, that common estimates of fleet strength in the 2370's are around 10,000 ships each for the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans. While I'm sure there are many, many more private/commercial/cargo ships, there's just no way one can assume that the Klingons are going to be able to maintain their empire without incident."

    So, Anon, cut your crap.

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  15. Anon has no point. He is arguing just to argue. He admits this by not challenging the point I was making, and openly confessing as much.
    Hehe. I really like your pathetic evasions. My only point was that your ship count was overinflated which I've demonstrated. You retort that I didn't challenge your assertion that Klingon Empire would be economically ruined. No I did not nor was that ever my itention.

    Instead he tries to misinterpret simple mathematical explorations of the point (which in reality ranged from 2,000 to 500,000 ships) as claims regarding ship count.
    (Sigh)

    You mean I point to a painfully obvious fact that your 30-60 day "average" travel time is grossly overinflated.

    So, Anon, cut your crap.
    Uuuh. What a rebuttal.

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  16. This brings up the question of whether the Kligons actually left the planet. For all we know someone figured out how to fix the problem and they're still on the same planet with no need to tie up their fleet for fifty years.

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  17. Anon:

    1. You can't challenge an assertion that wasn't made. Your claim that this point is a "pathetic evasion" falls flat given that you have conceded the point that I was making.

    I realize you think you're waging some grand campaign, but in truth I'm just bemused. It's as if I explored the ramifications of our sky suddenly turning red, doing so via back-of-the-napkin calculations. All of them support the basic qualitative point that the sky turning red would be weird for all concerned. You, however, are complaining about my math regarding the possible profit margins of the red-light-bulb industry. It wasn't the point and I wasn't making any claim about the actual profit margins, which is why I felt okay ballparking it to within multiple orders of magnitude. You, however, wish to split hairs about it in a desperate effort to have a point.

    Do you not see why I find that silly?

    2. You are correct that the Klingons did not actually leave. I noted this already when I mentioned that "24th Century Trek seems to suggest that some sort of magic fix was accomplished".

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  18. Blah blah blah evade evade blah.
    I realize you think you're waging some grand campaign, but in truth I'm just bemused.
    Yeah right. I pointed out to an obvious mistake and you whine and evade about it instead of simply admitting the fact. We know that Klingin economy wiould take a blow it was explicitly stated in the film so your "in depth" analysis is really superfluous.

    It wasn't the point and I wasn't making any claim about the actual profit margins, which is why I felt okay ballparking it to within multiple orders of magnitude.
    But you only examined ship sizes and not turnaround times. You picked a one month out of thin air ignoring the canon events that put Qo'nos a few days from the nearest habitable planets.

    You, however, wish to split hairs about it in a desperate effort to have a point.
    But I do have a point: your ship count is overinflated.

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  19. Anonymous said:
    Blah blah blah evade evade blah.

    Takes one to know one I suppose :-)

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  20. BTW:

    Anonymous said:
    But you only examined ship sizes and not turnaround times. You picked a one month out of thin air ignoring the canon events that put Qo'nos a few days from the nearest habitable planets.

    You aren't seriously suggesting that a) all habitable planets are as close as Earth turns out to be? and b) that the Klingons evacuate to Earth, the seat of their enemies power?

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  21. You aren't seriously suggesting that a) all habitable planets are as close as Earth turns out to be? and b) that the Klingons evacuate to Earth, the seat of their enemies power?

    Nah. See, that would mean he's actually thinking about what he's talking about. For all we know he means that lightbulbs were invented on Jupiter or something, with the way he can't understand anything.

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  22. You aren't seriously suggesting that a) all habitable planets are as close as Earth turns out to be? and b) that the Klingons evacuate to Earth, the seat of their enemies power?
    ONE is enough. The point is that 30-60 day trip is anything but average when we know that mid 22nd century ship could reach Qo'nos from Earth in 4 days. Are you saying tht Klingon Empire doesn't have any inhabitable planets inside it's own space which are closer to to Qo'nos than Earth.

    Nah. See, that would mean he's actually thinking about what he's talking about. For all we know he means that lightbulbs were invented on Jupiter or something, with the way he can't understand anything.
    And you are a fucking idiot who has been beaten in every single debate you took part in. So if you don't have any valid points go back to elementary school and learn something.

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  23. Beaten? True, true. But see, unlike you, I recognize when I'm not able to debate as well as I would like to. The only reason I've been losing is my lack of knowledge on the subject. Sure, I've got an impressive memory for a lot of Trek, but I've not watched all episodes nor have I memorized the juicy bits people tend to argue over. Hence why now I see myself as dispensing humor and counterfire rather than anything else.

    ...

    Shame I'm not all that funny...-_-;

    (If anyone on our side wants me to stop provoking him, please tell me. It's fun, but if it's detrimental I'll stop immediately, of course, and merely observe.)

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  24. The point is that 30-60 day trip is anything but average when we know that mid 22nd century ship could reach Qo'nos from Earth in 4 days.
    I'm sorry, but that's just silly. Just because there are planets close to Qo'nos doesn't mean that entire Qo'nos population can be recolated there. One is not enough. Not by a long shot.

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  25. I'm sorry, but that's just silly. Just because there are planets close to Qo'nos doesn't mean that entire Qo'nos population can be recolated there. One is not enough. Not by a long shot.
    How can it not be enough when Qo'nos population was on one planet in the first place?

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  26. Because, all those planets are not empty, you know. So what if I can relocate everyone to the nearest planet if that planet is not capable of sustaining all of them?

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  27. Because, all those planets are not empty, you know. So what if I can relocate everyone to the nearest planet if that planet is not capable of sustaining all of them?
    Hey idiot boy we are looking for average travel time. We know that there are planets within a day or so from the Qo'nos even if they belong to another race. Explain why should we accept 30-60 days that Darkstar claims.

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  28. we are looking for average travel time.
    Precisely my point. Well, precisely our side point, but not yours, seems to me.

    Explain why should we accept 30-60 days that Darkstar claims.
    I just explained that to you: Because those planets close to Qo'nos cannot possibly sustain entire population of that planet. Therefore, they would need to move people to farther planets. Which would extend time limit. Is it really so hard to understand?

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  29. Anonymous said:
    How can it not be enough when Qo'nos population was on one planet in the first place?

    The population of Qo'nos was on one well developed planet. You can't just add the whole population of an Earth like planet (say the 6 Billion we have here) to an existing Earth like planet without running into major problems.

    Unless you are seriously suggesting the other planet just so happens to have the space, food, infrastructure and other requirements for 6 to 10 billion extra people present at all times for just such an emergency. Which is well, nonsense.

    It makes far more sense to assume the people of Qo'Nos get evacuated to a whole range of worlds as that way you don't run into massive food shortages or space/infrastructure issues at all that way.

    Just because you might have a couple of 'core worlds' that can sustain a large group of people (that are allready on those planets to begin with) doesn't mean you can just add a couple of billion people to those worlds and expect all to be peachy.

    Heck, in real life an influx of a mere one to two million refugees in a country which has easilly ten to twenty times that population allready leads to massive food shortages, potential to disease, more or less unsolvable housing problems, giant infrastructure problems and a lot of misery and suffering.

    And here you are suggesting that we just add some 10 billion people on the nearest habitable planet and expect no issues with it at all. A funny point of view sure, but not a realistic one.

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  30. Judging from the profound silence, we've actually managed to convince him. This is truly a historical moment :)

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