Thank you, TaraNari!
You noted in your response to my original thread that the review was 'not nice'. Nice is irrelevant to review accuracy. Like I've said before, it's negative reviews that enable growth as a writer, and while positive ones are great and what we all hope for, we learn far more from our failures.
Seriously, thanks a lot. This is incredibly useful, and I'm going to be running an edit pass of Warbler taking the advice of yourself and Patrick Rochefort as soon as I have the time to do so.
Thank you so much.
(Having said that, I find it fascinating that both of my negative reviews have brought up that they had trouble suspending their disbelief with some of the elements that are better grounded in the real world. For instance, Air Force nuclear missile crews have incredibly low morale and reliability, and PT Boat skippers were typically a Lieutenant/O-2, who could well be in Kim's age and position. It's just kind of interesting to see what people find sticks out as 'unbelievable'. This is what we have the concept of 'hanging a lantern on something' for, I suppose.)
Thank you, TaraNari!
PT boats, however, were never much more than a houseboat with a bunch of guns, loaded up by every available hand because they were "numbers mean more than competence" design theory. A tactic necessary for the USA circa WW2. They had a powerful industry, but lacked a career military. This would be unacceptable by the standards of any modern nation with designs on being a military power. Let alone a military empire currently in a state of non-war.
If you had painted the empire as in desperate need of manpower, but backed by a massive industrial base (re: USA, circa WW2) you might have sold me on a non-capital ship having such a pathetic crew.
But, no, in fact you went the opposite route with "computers are more reliable, but also more expensive, than human fighter pilots"- implying a massive surplus of bodies and a lack of equipment. Given that apparently humans in this setting can live to be hundreds of years old, that makes it even less implausible to find a qualified captain and crew for every important vessel.
Moreso, you painted the Warbler as a Capital Ship, if an older one, describing it as an extremely versatile and efficient ship. Making it a sort of medium Cruiser, more or less equivalent at to the USA's Ticonderoga class vessels. A Ticonderoga with nuclear capabilities, no less.
Also... the US Air Force? Not the example you want to use. America uses her air force as a R&D platform, working it alongside NASA, and companies like Lockheed-Martin to test the first stealth planes. Successful designs find their way to Navy hands.
Because the Navy is the USA's real air force. You want to look to the Navy to see what a nuclear crew looks like. Morale is okay (not amazing, but that's to be expected when you have a couple dozen men crowded into something with as much living space as a double wide trailer for six months), and competence is some of the best in the military.
Basically that was the original idea, although this is a case of me failing to hang a lantern on something correctly. (The idea was that yes, they had to surge crews onto ships that had been placed in reserve. However that clearly failed to get communicated properly to the reader, so I'll clear that up during a revision pass.)
My point with the USAF example was that we currently do trust the closest thing we have to planet killers to people in dead-end careers with low morale and reliability, so it's not unprecedented. Whether the Air Force, the Army, or the Navy had command over land-based nuclear weapons is essentially irrelevant as the morale problems in that situation wouldn't be unique to the USAF.
Also, as far as nuclear subs go, the Soviet concept of the Political Officer was taken into consideration, especially as far as Tactical goes. Soviet nuclear submarines could, in practice, launch warheads without the authorization of anyone off of the ship. (As almost happened in the case of Vasili Arkhipov.)
These are all definitely things for me to clarify on the next round of edits though.
But *why* would they need to surge crews? *Why* would they have a surplus of ships? They're a nation at peace, and peaceful nations can afford to take their time to make sure they've got the best ships and crew that they can have. Unprepared crew is a sign of desperation, and there's no reason a multiplanetary empire with no apparent threats should be desperate for anything.
Especially if they'd just completed a war and didn't have another one right there to deal with. That means they have an entire armed force full of veterans to promote. There's a reason that the post-WW2 American and Russian militaries were both so damn impressive. Because every living soldier was a veteran.
As this nation's military should be.
There's a reason BSG worked for all its fucked up crew.
1- It was an "honor guard" ship, one ready for decommission just as soon as they built the replacement.
2- The crew that were there were either the old vets, or newbies meant to learn from the old vets before going to more key position ships.
3- Said crew wasn't nearly as incompetent as yours. There are *limits*, and yours exceed those limits. I wouldn't believe this crew of yours could manage a McDonald's, let alone a spaceship. I don't know how hard it is to manage a spaceship, but I am aware of the challenges of the fast food industry (fucking college expenses).
4- BSG took time to show the degradation of the crew over time, instead of them all being fuckups from the start.