2014-08-16

2000 Parsecs

In "Supply Lines"[TCW3], we get a bit of a prequel to the first season's Ryloth trilogy, as well as a prequel to the first regular episode "Ambush"[TCW1].   In it, we see the destruction of "the entire Outer Rim garrison", apparently based on Ryloth, and seemingly this must be early in the war.

(A little side note, but given that they kept Geonosis for a bit longer, a planet in the Outer Rim, they can't have lost the Outer Rim altogether.)

The Ryloth garrison was out of food, fuel, and ammunition, and the ships in orbit were similarly strained, shortly being destroyed altogether.    This leads to the following call for help from the Jedi Council to Bail Organa's ship, somewhere in hyperspace:
Kenobi: "Senator, the fleet protecting Ryloth has been destroyed and the supply lines have been cut. The troops are out of food, fuel, ammunition . . . and the civilian population is starving."
Organa: "That is grim news."
Windu: "Our blockade runners should be able to penetrate the Separatist lines and drop relief supplies. But, they do not have the range to reach Ryloth."
Kenobi: "The planet Toydaria is 2000 parsecs closer than the nearest fleet. If the blockade runners can supply from there, they might reach Ryloth in time."
There's a lot of interesting tech detail in this episode . . . such as the Republic fleet at Ryloth being out of fuel and ammunition also, the Admiral of the Republic fleet there losing his ship to the Separatists via a hit to the reactor and the subsequent shutdown of all systems, and so on.

But for the moment, let's focus on that distance.

The number of parsecs given was 2000 in reference to how much closer Toydaria was to Ryloth than the nearest fleet. That is about 6500 light-years.

Given the circuitous routes hyperdrive usage can require as seen with Malevolence, plus the fact that the Separatists would have seized the hyperspace lanes early on in the war (cutting off the Outer Rim from other support), the notion that this is a straight-line distance is an assumption only, and a poor one, at that.

Even if we assume it, though, it is still roughly consistent with a Republic/Empire as I have described.

For example, if you imagine a Roman civil war circa 115 CE with the fighting of interest happening in the boonies of Morocco and the Med seized by Separatists, it is not impossible to imagine that the nearest army that can intervene might be in Egypt or Turkey or Greece, rather than in Rome or even Spain.

In a wedge-shaped Republic, then, with Separatist worlds and hyperspace lanes cut off, 6500 light-years could represent any shape of route from almost any starting point.

Meanwhile, the inflationist view, of course, would be that the galaxy is huge, basically fully-covered by the Republic, and that 6500 light-years is mere hopscotch for hyperdrive. (And of course the whole episode occurred in minutes, and so on.)   Except that's silly, too, because then we're stuck with the peculiar value of one fleet (generally shown to be a mere handful of ships) per an area of 6500 light-years diameter. At EU galaxy sizes and if that was the norm, that would imply just 85 different little flotillas, or a few hundred ships. And, of course, there are severe range limitations indicated . . . the Republic fleet at Ryloth is out of fuel after getting there and fighting for some time, and the relief ships have some sort of severe range limitations when carrying food and medical supplies, limitations that seem to be alleviated if they fly empty and refuel at Toydaria.

In other words, we have a plausible and consistent notion versus one that leads to contradictions.

But still, we do have upward pressure in regards to hyperdrive velocities. Even at 20000c, you're only traveling 384 light-years per week. Thus, a 6500 light-year trip would take 17 weeks . . . that's four months. While not completely implausible given the suffering that supposedly occurs on Ryloth over an extended period, not to mention issues like Anakin and Obi-Wan being gone from Coruscant for months at a time on Outer Rim campaigns as per the RotS surprise-I'm-very-preggers conversation, it seems a stretch that it would've taken that long for Anakin's fleet to get there.

On the other hand, Anakin's relief fleet arrives after the Hutt hyperlanes become usable, meaning that Ryloth may no longer have been 6500 light-years distant at that time.

Either way, the 2000 parsecs don't really mean much to us without more data.

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