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Last Stand at Shanxi (Mass Effect AU)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Doghead13, Feb 16, 2019.

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  1. Tavarokk

    Tavarokk Pursuer of perversion

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    You can't appeal to Newton laws in a system where mass of an object is variable. Classic mechanics is built on presuppositions that don't hold in a system where eezo exists.
    Oh? Do tell, where does all the additional momentum and kinetic energy appear from, then? The problem with your reasoning is that if ME tech doesn't obey conservation of energy principle, it'd have been trivial to build a perpetual motion engine with it, and while we can engage in interpretative dance when it comes to mechanics by bringing in relativistic physics, dark matter and who knows what else, it's rather more difficult - impossible, even, I'd say - to work around 2nd law of thermodynamics without everything stopping making sense. What little it already does, anyhow.
    Do we actually have quotes that mass drivers apply pseudo-speed to projectiles? ME tech can generate real thrust just as easily (biotics being obvious example), so for all we know mass drivers are just gravity-based equivalent of electrokinetic weapons.
    A ship traveling at FTL is enveloped in ME field throughout entire transit, and inside that field it travels all the way with the normal, modest speed, attainable by its thrusters. There's no change in energy there.
     
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  2. Navi-Hank

    Navi-Hank An engine fuled by spite

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    It's space magic, that's where the energy is coming from
     
  3. Doghead13

    Doghead13 Grumpy Old Scottish Biker

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    This argument started out annoying, steadily got more so, it's decidedly not appreciated, it's got Fanny Adams to do with the fic,and all it's succeeding in doing is tempting me to pull a Perfect Lionheart and deliberately write whatever I think will persuade you to stop reading the damn fic with a side order of lowering my interest in actually continuing to write this thing.

    Kindly take it to Hell and gone out of this thread.
     
  4. SaintMichael95

    SaintMichael95 Not too sore, are you?

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    Very well, even though he has no idea what he's talking about I'll drop it. I look forward to the next chapter.
     
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  5. szelij

    szelij Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    It seems like Humanity in this instance is not only gearing up for war but rather is gearing up for the apocalypse given the levels of militarization seen here. And Shanxi is only seventh in terms of being fortified? What kind of crazy fortification does Earth or Arcturus has then? Cadia-strength defenses?

    I'm interested to know about the economic side of all these military procurement. How much of the GDP is spent on the military? Are living standards lower than in canon ME because the population readily accepts that in order to prevent a Turian take-over? A little bit like rationing in Britain in WWII?

    What about the Citadel? The Turians must match the Human's building efforts and neither the Asari or the Salarians can slack off because there isn't there a risk that the Turians might just turn around to conquer them as well in order to increase its economic base?

    What about WMDs? The Salarians developed a bio WMD for usage on the Krogan and in the context of a cold war, i believe that there would be a lot of incentives for every side to develop such weapons in case they are losing any war. After all, the only deterrent to prevent the Salarians from unleashing bioweapons on Earth would be the knowledge that a dead man switch would do the same on their homeworld..
     
  6. SaintMichael95

    SaintMichael95 Not too sore, are you?

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    I highly doubt that would happen. There's three potential options they'd have if they wanted to do what you're suggesting.

    1) they attack the asari and/or salarians before the war with the System's Alliance kicks off. This is extremely unlikely as that would just push the Asari and Salarians to allying with the System's Alliance, who would see their chance and attack the Turians while they're distracted, and then the Turians would be fighting a war not against one, but THREE enemies and that's not even taking into account the other races that may or may not join against the Turians.
    2) They attack while they're at war with the System's Alliance. Same problem as the first scenario.
    3) They attack the Asari and Salarians after they conquer the System's Alliance, which in itself would require essentially turning Earth into a desolate wasteland via orbital bombardment since there is no way in hell the System's Alliance would ever surrender. The problem with this is that they'd be extremely weakened from the war with the SA and most likely wouldn't stand a chance against both the Asari and the Salarians, especially if they've been building up their military as well.

    All in all, there is no reasonable scenario that I can think of where the Turians try to attack the Asari or Salarians. The best they'd be able to do is hope that the Asari and Salarians just stay out of it.
     
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  7. szelij

    szelij Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    That is only true if the Asari and Salarians have the capacity to resist or defeat a hypothetical Turian invasion. If those two do not have the capacity, well then..what's to prevent exactly such a scenario? Nothing.

    Let me put it another way. IRL, what is preventing NK from swarming down the DMZ and defeating South Korea? Well, SK has a more effective military and literally has troops on the ground from a huge allied army. Thus the status quo is preserved. However, if SK only has the equivalent of iron swords in its army, then it is in the interest of NK to invade quickly and absorb the economic potential of SK before it fights its arch-enemy- Japan.
     
  8. SaintMichael95

    SaintMichael95 Not too sore, are you?

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    Lol I can not believe you just compared the Asari and Salarians to SK. You can't compare them, at all.
    The Asari and Salarians are galactic super powers with strong economies and a bunch of colonies while SK is a small country with very little global presense that basically relies on it's allies for everything. Also you using the "iron sword" example was ridiculous in the extreme. You are implying that the Asari and Salarians have much less advanced technology than the Turian Hierarchy, which they don't. Their technology is as advanced if not a little more advanced than the Turians. The Asari also have the Prothean beacon at their disposal that they can tap into. You trying to compare the Asari and Salarians to RL South Korea is ridiculous.


    And why wouldn't the Asari and Salarians have the capacity to resist the Turians? Do you really think they'd just be sitting around with their thumbs up their asses while the System's Alliance and Turian Hierarchy gear up for total war? No government, galactic or otherwise, would sit on its laurels while it's neighbors gear up for total war when there is the risk or chance that they could be drawn into it. The Salarians especially would be very paranoid of this possibility. And even if we assume that they each have a smaller navy versus the Turians, they'd band together at the first sign of Turian aggression. After all the Asari and Salarians met each other and became allies before any other species in galaxy.
     
  9. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    Well, I don't, but until you said this, your previous comments lead me to think that you did, and I suspect that szelij believed the same.
     
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  10. Epsilon Rose

    Epsilon Rose Getting out there.

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    Have we seen how the Krogans are reacting to all of this? I imagine a fair number are happy to see a council race getting smacked down, even if it isn't the Salarians, and some of the more politically minded might be looking to ally with the humans. Similarly, I can't imagine Humanity being too happy to hear about what was done to them.
     
  11. SaintMichael95

    SaintMichael95 Not too sore, are you?

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    And how did my previous comments make you think that I thought they would sit around doing nothing?
    Edit: rereading my previous comment I can see how you might mistake that, but when I said that "I doubted that would happen" I was simply referring to the Turians attacking the Asari and Salarians, not whether or not the Asari or Salarians would be building up as well.
     
  12. Sceonn

    Sceonn Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    A few thousand Turians came, a population of 29 million was reduced to double digits, a few thousand Turians left. I wouldn't call that a smackdown.
     
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  13. Vladicus

    Vladicus Sage of reason and incomplete information

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    Wasn't it 2 million only?

    Also 10.000 turians with orbital and air superiority came and fought against less than a thousand human soldiers and 2 million civvies. They then had to leave when there were only 20 or something humans left.

    The 29 million is from the newly settled colonists I think.
     
  14. Threadmarks: Codex 02 - The Battle of Shanxi: running the numbers.
    Doghead13

    Doghead13 Grumpy Old Scottish Biker

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    The pre-war population of the original colony was two million, and I take it you missed the bit in the Asari matron's segment about three thousand Turians going home in body bags. 29 mil is the figure from seventeen years post the war, when the planet has become a major fortified strong-point for the Alliance fleet.

    Anyway, let's run the numbers.

    At the start of the invasion, Shanxi had approximately two million residents, with roughly two to four hundred mass-effect weapons to share around between them by dint of the 'couple of hundred' actual military personnel noted by our Turian vet. The battle of Shanxi lasted 107 days, at the end of which Shanxi had 28 human residents. That means that an average of a touch over 18,691 humans died per day in the defence of Shanxi.

    Eighteen thousand six hundred and ninety one a day. If Shanxi has a 24-hour day, which I don't know if it does but still, that means on average 12-13 humans died per minute in the planet's defence and they kept fighting.

    Meanwhile, again at the word of our Turian vet, out of ten thousand Turians who landed on Shanxi, four and a half thousand died; going by our Asari matron's estimates three thousand of them went home in body bags, meaning there should be approximately 1500 Turian bodies somewhere in the ruins of the city. That's just over 42 dead Turians a day - a little short of two an hour, again assuming a 24-hour day.

    Smackdown? The Turians lost near to half their invasion force killed at the hands of barely-armed civilians, and we know from our Turian vet that most of their casualties survived meaning that the actual casualty rate was far far higher, I'd say their casualty rate cannot possibly have been lower than 200%. Even disregarding non-fatal injuries that's an absolute meatgrinder by the standards of any military, anywhere, ever.

    There's five and a half thousand Turians in the galaxy today who talk about Shanxi in the same sort of a way that a great many older Americans talk about Vietnam.

    The Turians may have been in a winning position when the Asari intervention came - the defenders (functionally speaking) had nothing left to give and were most likely hours away from annihilation - but it was a Pyrrhic victory at best, Turian morale on the ground was as close to total collapse as the defenders were, and the entire galaxy knows it.

    In the years since the war the galaxy's got to know humans a little better, got to know that they're often quite personable, but there's always that knowledge that making humans think that they're dead anyway is a REALLY BAD IDEA, because some of them will decide to take you with them.
     
  15. Threadmarks: 05 - Urdnot Wrex.
    Doghead13

    Doghead13 Grumpy Old Scottish Biker

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    You want to know what I think about the new kids on the block?

    Humans ain't much to look at, but anyone who lets that make them underestimate humans is so dumb they make a varren look smart.

    See, humans have this little mental switch in the backs of their minds, right, that if you throw it by making them think they're dead anyway? Maybe about four out of five will curl up and die, but that other one, and if they're the Council side of the border that's one of them, will decide to die with their boots on. And I respect that, I really do.

    Turians found that one out the hard way on Shanxi. I've been to Shanxi, you know? Headed there soon as I heard about the war, wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Ha! The Turians needed that humbling. Maybe the Batarians are getting one next, there's only so much humans will take before that little switch goes and they stop caring if they live or die so long as they take the other guy with them.

    That and... This human I met on Shanxi, one of the ones tough enough to survive what the Turians did to the place. Good kid, last I heard she was still living in that wreck of a city - wouldn't leave, not after what she'd put into keeping the place hers, and you've got to respect that. So we got talking, see, over a few drinks, I must've been about the third alien she'd ever actually talked to, must admit I liked the way she talked, and one thing turned to another and I said something about the genophage, and... that changed things. Never expected to meet a species whose reaction to that one would be universal horror.

    Last I heard a couple of ours are working with their top docs, partly to see to it that the damn Salarians can't do something like that to them, partly to see if there's anything they can possibly do to help us. The human top brass I spoke to said they'd do it for anyone, called what the Salarians did to us pure evil. Way they're working with the Quarians puts the truth to that too. Spouted some high-flown philosophy about it, I don't care about that, the thing that threw me, the thing that really threw me, is that they don't ask for one single thing in return for giving my people hope for the first time in a very long time indeed.

    Yeah, I like 'em.
     
  16. Sceonn

    Sceonn Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Yeah, mixed the numbers. My grip is the "smackdown" appellation.

    As I said, that doesn't make it a smackdown. And also everybody knows if the Turians had gotten serious then Humanity goes bye bye. Garden World preservation rules is what stayed their hand from simply nuking the colony or resorting to chemical warfare. Imagine if they fought as they did against the Krogans.

    Not saying it wasn't an amazing achievement, but it certainly was not a smackdown. Hell it wasn't even a phyrric victory considering the noncombatant population had become as competent as soldiers by the end of it and the disparity of casualties. A few more days and the planet would have been conquered totally.

    Reversing the roles I don't see 10,000 human troops doing as swell against 2 million Turians.
     
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  17. Doghead13

    Doghead13 Grumpy Old Scottish Biker

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    Neither do I, but not for the reasons you're thinking of: military service is a condition of citizenship in Turian space, as such military training is nigh-universal, and most families keep military-issue weapons in their homes. I'm pretty confident that ownership of armour and equipment such as kinetic barriers is pretty damn common too.

    Meanwhile back on Shanxi, there was a mostly-civilian population with little or no training, note the Turian vet's comment about how most of the defenders had 'never held a weapon in their lives'. Weapons that would be considered military-issue in Council space - IE mass-effect weapons - were all but nonexistent, found only in military hands; maybe about one person in twenty had access to a bolt-action magazine rifle (most likely in .223 calibre) or 12-gauge double-barrelled shotgun, in both cases due to how much of the colony was taken up by agricultural smallholdings. Outside the colonial militia and police, handgun ownership was prohibited, as per all pre-war Systems Alliance colonies; the same goes for civilian ownership of body armour. Kinetic barriers were right out, and select-fire or even self-loading weapons? Forget it. The colony's police were equipped with pre-mass-effect 9mm-calibre self-loading pistols, of which there were a few thousand on the planet, with a firearms unit equipped with likewise pre-mass-effect self-loading rifles chambering 5.56 NATO ammunition, of which there were a grand total of twenty-five on the entire planet. There may have been as many as a couple of thousand illegal weapons planetwide, but I doubt it was that many.

    Note the girl's description of downing someone wearing kinetic barriers using what amounts to a current-day civilian hunting rifle: four rounds in as many seconds. Kinetic barriers turn anyone wearing them into a walking tank if you don't have the right weapons to knock them down, and the right weapon a bolt-action rifle ain't, funnily enough the big reason kinetic barriers are so popular is because knocking them down (to actually be able to -hurt- the guy wearing them) without a mass-effect weapon is HARD.

    Two million unarmed, unarmoured, somehow magically untrained, Turians against ten thousand human soldiers kitted out with kinetic barriers and mass effect weapons in a fight to the finish? I don't see that going any better for the Turians than it did for the humans on Shanxi - nor do I see it turning into any less of a meatgrinder for the humans than it did for the Turians on Shanxi, it's a surefire recipe for an absolute bloodbath for both sides.
     
  18. Death by Chains

    Death by Chains За родину и свободу!

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    I agree that ‘smackdown’ probably isn’t the right word; it implies a victory with less than complete effort, it carries a certain sense of triviality. Myself, I’d lean towards saying the Turian forces on Shanxi suffered a ‘brutalising’ — the NATO standard for a unit being rendered combat-ineffective is around 20-30% total casualties, both killed and wounded, and the Turians incurred 45% fatalities (and the near-certainty that every single survivor had been wounded at least once). Or perhaps ‘savaging’ or ‘mauling’ would be closer to the mark, given their connotations of being inflicted by an animal or other bestial entity; certainly the first commentator’s account, the Battle of Shanxi through Human eyes, spoke to a rather feral mindset, even fifteen years after the event.
    Hell, after this version of Shanxi that’s probably a good metaphor for humanity as a whole, in Council eyes. They must view the Systems Alliance the way humans regard honey-badgers or rabid wolverines: best watched in great detail from the maximum practical distance, with great attentiveness and the utmost wariness.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  19. Doghead13

    Doghead13 Grumpy Old Scottish Biker

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    That would be the view directly after the war, before humans started turning up on the Council side of the border not being total psychopaths - and prior to the Batarians doing the equivalent of poking the dangerous animal with a stick to see what it does followed by 'what it does' including treating any slave they happen upon as a victim needing rescued irrespective of species; I should probably make it clear somewhere that there are Turians in the galaxy who owe their freedom to the Systems Alliance Navy.

    By the 2170s, think of them as having a collective reputation roughly like the Incredible Hulk in some version of the Marvel universe where everyone knows that if you don't piss Dr Banner off he'll continue being this reasonably personable guy, but nevertheless 'you won't like him when he's angry'. Sadly, some people see that kind of thing as a challenge, humanity has developed a collective siege mentality, and the Turians have never been fond of leaving a war unfinished.
     
  20. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    Every time someone suggests mixing hard SF (or even worse actual science) with ME I propose the concept of floating ground, because the canon explanation for ME's limits on FTL means a system like we use in RL on aircraft would eliminate that limit allowing them to keep going without worrying about static discharge until they reached their destination.

    This is only true if the Asari and Salarians are a credible threat, i.e if they've been rearming and building bigger and badder warships right alongside the Humans, Turians and Batarians. Because if they don't it will quickly reach the point where Asari and Salarians are no longer players but pawns for one of the other species to easily conquer and acquire a client species, unless opposed by one of the other well armed species.

    Or in other words szelij was right to say
    No, they don't . Quite the opposite. Sure the Turians could have easily killed every human on Shanxi, so what? The war was over before the human navy could get involved, or any of the more industrial planets. No one knows what would have been the end result of the war if it hadn't been stopped when it did, but it would have almost certainly involved "lots of dead garden worlds" (both Human and Turian).

    Doghead13
    I really like these snippits(I somehow managed to miss most of them on Caer Azkaban), Especially the Turian POV, although I'm surprised Shanxi after the war has relaxed firearm ownership laws. I'd expect them to have very strict firearm ownership laws with periodic inspections to ensure every household has at least one gun in working order and a minimum quantity and standard of ammunition.
     
  21. SaintMichael95

    SaintMichael95 Not too sore, are you?

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    Please go and read my other comments.
     
  22. Epsilon Rose

    Epsilon Rose Getting out there.

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    It might have been a bit of an overstatement to say the Turrians got smacked down, but I would like to point out that it was an almost unmitigated loss for the Turrians and a pyrrhic victory for the humans, despite the casualties.

    Consider the Turrian's goals at the start of the war:

    • Make Humanity a client race.
    • Take control of the planet.
    • Prevent the activation of the relay.
    • Get the Humanity to join the Citadel.
    • Demonstrate their might to the rest of the galaxy.
    • Reinforce their standing and position as the Citadel's defacto enforcement arm.
    Conversely, Humanity's goals were:
    • Don't lose Shanxi.
    • Don't become a client race.
    • Convince other races not to mess with them.
    Now compare those goals with the results:
    • Humanity did not become a client race.
    • Humanity kept Shanxi.
    • The relay got activated.
    • Humanity did not join the Citadel.
    • The Turrian's military was brutalized by a civilian colony.
    • The Turrian's standing with the rest of the galaxy was damaged.
    • The integrity of the Citadel as a political entity was compromised.
    • The other races know that cornering the humans is a *bad* idea.
    • Lots of dead humans, but not enough to compromise their overall strength or ability to act on the galactic scale.
    The Turriens basically got the opposite of everything they wanted while the Humans got what they wanted at an extremely high cost.
     
  23. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    Shanxi was in this setting the classical "Tactical victory, strategic defeat" for the Turians, and the reverse for the humans.
    I don't think it counts as a pyrrhic victory for either side:
    For the Turians - Losing thousands of soldiers to conquer a planet is actually a fairly acceptable ratio, not Phyrric at all.
    For the Humans - They lost one colony, sure sucks for the people killed but the total loss in warfighting capability was actually negative (Having the colony martyred like that would make everyone else more determined to fight), the population loss will be painful and infuriating in the same way that 9/11 was for the US, but not have any effect beyond that so their victory in the war was actually very cheap as such things go.
     
  24. fireball900

    fireball900 World Conqueror (not Overlord)

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    Losing thousands of soldiers to capture a civilian planet that was about as functionally demilitarised as it gets is not an acceptable ratio. If that was an average, then yes - but this world was about as easy as target as the Turians could get, and the losses they took imply horrible things about what it would cost them to actually take Earth.
     
  25. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    The point is if the Turians continued taking losses on that ratio (ignoring both that they wouldn't continue using tactics that put them in such close contact that civilians can take them out and that Shanxi was them fighting desperate civilians, not the military) it would be quite acceptable so to the extent Shanxi was a victory for them it wasn't phyrric.

    Shanxi doesn't tell them anything about what it would take to beat humanity because it involved the Turians throwing away nearly all their advantages to get close to the humans under the delusion Shanxi was Earth, i.e that Humans had little to no ME technology and a ridiculously small population. A continuation of the war would have involved fleet engagements, orbital bombardment, armor and artillery on any strong point they can identify and no city fighting (any city they needed to take they'd starve the humans out if they couldn't use long range weapons to kill everyone). It would also as I noted before likely to involve both sides destroying garden worlds, none of which has anything to do with Shanxi.
     
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  26. Epsilon Rose

    Epsilon Rose Getting out there.

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    Erm, they didn't take Shanxi? They lost thousands of soldiers and lost the planet.

    On the human side, it was Pyrrhic because while they kept the planet (meaning they one) it was reduced to such a state that they were very nearly starting from scratch, so not far off from having lost.
     
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  27. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    No, they did take Shanxi, they were then forced to give it up to end the war.

    No, they weren't starting from scratch. The problem is there are four points of view here, not two and you're mixing them up:

    Shanxi colony - Complete and utter defeat. Sure they cost the Turians more than anyone would have expected, but compared to the forces the Turian Hierarchy has barely noticeable.
    System Alliance - Victory, and at very low cost (only a single, unimportant and fairly new colony).
    Turian Task force - Hmm...actually I guess I can see it as a Phyrric victory for them, although since they were forced to withdraw I'd call it a defeat as well.
    Turian Hierarchy - Defeat. They spend several months, and all the resources needed to run that task force and not only didn't get anything for it but damaged their reputation.
     
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  28. Epsilon Rose

    Epsilon Rose Getting out there.

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    At no point did they actually take Shanxi, nor has the war actually ended. They had just about wiped out the local resistance when the actual Navy showed up to continue the fight with actual weapons and fresh, combat trained, personnel. They temporarily occupied the system, but they never had full control over it. That said, even if they did, the fact that they did not end with control over it means they lost the planet.

    The infrastructure of the colony had been devastated and the population reduced to 24. What part of rebuilding that and continuing the colony wouldn't basically be starting over from scratch?

    You can't really break them up like that and get a meaningful result.

    The Turian Task Force is part of the Turian Hierarchy a defeat for the later means a defeat for the former, by default, and as the Task Force were the only Turian forces involved a defeat for them also entails a defeat for the Hierarchy. As the Task force came away with litteraly none of their goals and a black eye (to put it mildly) it was a defeat, not a Pyrrhic victory as you keep suggesting.

    On the human side, while the loss of a relatively new colony might mean very little to the overall strength of the system alliance, that does not mean anyone would count it as a light cost. More than that, when the main thing that was at stake was that colony, having it effectively destroyed renders the victory of keeping it rather hollow.
     
  29. HavocOrder0999

    HavocOrder0999 Getting sticky.

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    Just want to bring up that the humans managed to kill the Turian general in charge of the invasion, so must have really hurt morale and cost the Hierarchy someone with a lot of skill, more points for humanity since they didn't lose anyone too high up in their chain of command. If this is Desolas then Saren is dead as well.

     
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  30. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    They took Shanxi when they landed, everything after that was eliminating the resistance. By the time they left there was no effective resistance.

    The part where Shanmxi is a minor, irrelevent colony irrelvent (except for location) for the war effort.


    In that case the humans won at very light cost.

    Except that what was at stake was the Turians conquering the humans and yes, the loss of even 2 million people would be very light for winning such a war.

    The US in 1940 had a population of 132 million, round it up to 150 million. Assuming the SA has a population of 15 billion (very low IMO but we'll go with that) that makes those 2 million losses equivalent to US in 1940 losing 20,000 people and winning the war.
     
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