Killing Pandora

Killing Pandora

Postby Tyyr » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:07 pm

You have just been appointed as Colonel Quarith's successor by RDN. The Pandora mining operation is too valuable to the company to lose and you have been told to reclaim it for the company by any means necessary. They'll handle the PR fallout of however you choose to deal with the situation but get that mine back in operation, NOW. They'd prefer you not do anything that the bleeding hearts could label as "genocide" but for $1.4 trillion a year gross they'll deal with it if they have to. Negotiation and diplomacy are out of your hands, your only job is the military response if it comes to that.

Scenario one, you are nine months out from Pandora. The crew of the starship has woken you early to notify you of the situation and give you a chance to plan your response. Unfortunately all you have at your immediate disposal is the crew that was being transferred, a mixed bag of miners, roughnecks, technicians, and mercenaries, and the gear they brought wit them. How do you take the mine back or can you even do it?

Scenario two, you are currently on Earth and studying to ship out to Pandora when you get the news. You've got nine months before the ship launches so in that time you've got to recruit and train any personnel you need as well as choose and procure any supplies you need. The sky's the limit on what you can take, the mass is not. Pick and choose your gear carefully to squeeze it in under the 350 ton limit. If you choose you can request for some of that tonnage to be spent on more cryosleep chambers at half a ton per man.

So, how do you get the mine back and prevent the furries from over running it again?
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Sionnach Glic » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:01 pm

Tyyr wrote:Scenario one, you are nine months out from Pandora. The crew of the starship has woken you early to notify you of the situation and give you a chance to plan your response. Unfortunately all you have at your immediate disposal is the crew that was being transferred, a mixed bag of miners, roughnecks, technicians, and mercenaries, and the gear they brought wit them. How do you take the mine back or can you even do it?


Step 1:
I land my mercs in what's left of the old base and proceed to fortify it as best as possible. Fix any structural damage, cut/burn the forrest back for about a kilometre around the perimeter and set up heavy weapons along the wall. The locals shouldn't be able to organise any serious attack in the time it takes us to do that. Once the base is fortified, we're virtualy impregnable.

Step 2:
Send representatives out in Avatar form to meet with the local Na'vi tribes. Try to get in contact with Jake in particular. I let them know that I'm a completely different guy than the one who was in charge of the last excursion, and have no interest in bloodshed. I make it clear to them that all I want is peace between our two peoples. I assure them that as long as they leave us alone, we'll leave the Na'vi and all other fauna on Pandora alone as well. I tell them that we've discovered that our previous scans of the area were wrong, and that there really isn't all that much unobtanium here at all. Therefore we'll just mine what little is left and leave Pandora, never to return again. They'll be informed that we don't plan to stay all that long (though no specific time frame will be given).
With a bit of luck, I might be able to get them to agree to leave us alone as long as we leave them alone.

Step 3:
Fortify all mining sites. Standing orders for no one to leave the facility without my express permission. We'll attempt to be as isolated from the outside as possible. Send an immediate request back the HQ for serious reinforcements. I want large numbers of troops, heavy ordinance, air support and chemical weapons.

Step 4:
Time to play nice with the locals while the reinforcements take their time to arrive. We hunker down in the base and don't let anyone in or out. If the Na'vi want to discuss something, we politely send our own ambassador to meet with them. As a show of good will, we may even give them some stuff to keep relations warm between us.
Undoubtedly they'll start getting a bit impatient for us to leave. If they ask us why it's taking us so long to mine what was supposedly a minor amount of material, we inform them that the mining section of the job has been already completed, and we're waiting for a ship to come to take us all back to Earth.
Within the base we are effectively unasailable. If the Na'vi do attack, they'll be slaughtered without much trouble.

Step 5:
So the ship with our reinforcements are here. As I mentioned chemical weapons earlier, you can probably guess what comes next. We proceed to introduce Pandora to a little thing called Agent Orange. With the jungles litterly dying, the entire ecosystem will break down. Any fauna that survived the chemical attack will die of starvation within a few weeks. Known Na'vi settlements will be the areas most heavily saturated with the chemicals.
It's likely that any Na'vi survivors, quickly realising what we've done, will attempt a last-ditch attack on our compound. With the addition of extra troops and equipment to make up for any previous losses suffered, we should have little difficulty in taking down the last remnant mobs of Na'vi forces. Aircraft and orbitting vessels will be keeping an eye out at this time for anything that looks like a large concentration of Na'vi or wildlife, with the aircraft having orders to bomb any such concentrations.
I've no idea how extensive the mining operations are, but we should easily be able to clear out everything within a few hundred miles of us with ease.
The entire planet united against us has nothing that can defend against such an attack.

So, all threats to our operations are pretty much dead. A cover story would be pretty easy to make up too. Just say that one of our diggers hit and released a pocket of natural gas which killed everything in the surrounding area.

Tyyr wrote:Scenario two, you are currently on Earth and studying to ship out to Pandora when you get the news. You've got nine months before the ship launches so in that time you've got to recruit and train any personnel you need as well as choose and procure any supplies you need. The sky's the limit on what you can take, the mass is not. Pick and choose your gear carefully to squeeze it in under the 350 ton limit. If you choose you can request for some of that tonnage to be spent on more cryosleep chambers at half a ton per man.


See step 5 of the above plan.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Tyyr » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:31 pm

The Agent Orange idea is interesting. Given that the whole Eywa thing seems to emanate from the interconnectedness of the trees of Pandora cutting out a huge hole in them might limit Eywa's ability to influence the local wildlife into suicidal charges on the mining operation.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Sionnach Glic » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:51 pm

There's that, but I was thinking more along the lines of wiping all threats out in one move. With the jungles gone, the herbivores have just a few weeks to live before sucumbing to starvation (assuming they don't die after eating the poisoned plant remains). The predators in turn haven't got long to go before they too run out of food.
With all flora and fauna gone, the Na'vi themselves will die off. Total time to the elimination of all threats? A couple of months at most.

Any counter-attack Eywa tries to organise will be a futile effort. I'll have spent the years waiting for the chemical ship to arrive fortifying the facility more and more, cutting the jungle back a few kilometres and preparing to fight off the mother of all counter attacks. And this time we know what we're facing, so they don't even have the advantage of surprise.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Tyyr » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:57 pm

Agent Orange the entire planet?
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Sionnach Glic » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:59 pm

How big is the planet? It may be too big to be cost-effective.

If it can be done practicaly, then that's how I'll do it. If not, just kill anything within a few hundred miles of the mining sites.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Tyyr » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:03 pm

It's described as a moon but all that means is that it orbits another body instead of the star. Given that it has close to Earth equivalent gravity and a substantial atmosphere the mass is going to be in Earth's neighborhood. If the composition is similar then its probably pretty close to Earth sized.

I'd think that deforesting the area around the mines would be enough to get the job done. Clear out fire lanes, remove the local megafauna, and remove any cover the Na'vi might have.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Sionnach Glic » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:11 pm

That should do it. Clear out everything within a few hundred miles, and have orbiting satalites and aircraft keep an eye out for any sort of large movement across the dead zone (it's always possible that those outside the effect of the chemicals may try and wipe us out, after all).
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Graham Kennedy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:46 pm

The problem with using Agent Orange is the bulk. From what I can find online, the US sprayed 77 million litres of the stuff in Vietnam. That's tens of thousands of tons of the stuff, and they only defoliated only 20% of Vietnam's jungle with it. Defoliating a whole planet would take megatons of the stuff. There's no way you're going to ship it all from Earth.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Tyyr » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:52 pm

You'd have to synthesize it on site like they do with most of their kit. The ships are limited to 100 passengers and 350 tons of supplies per run.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Graham Kennedy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:56 pm

Unfortunately you can imagine what the Na'vi are going to do to the on site factory. I wouldn't count on anything on the planet still being servicable by the time the next ship arrives.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby IanKennedy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:32 pm

Plus the scientists stayed behind to help the Na'vi, not just Jake. This means that they can probably make good us of the base. You may find it more difficult to get back into the base than you think. That plus you've got a former marine corporal with a lot of experience to worry about. Of the people on your scenario 1 ship only a limited number will be military trained. It's a matter of what the rotation for the differing group is. There was talk of a three year stint. It's going to leave your staff very depleted. You could be returning to an armed force, automatic defenses and even a booby trapped base. It could be as simple as you land and you die. We also don't know what will have happened to the base in terms of flora, how quickly are the plants going to take back the base without human intervention.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Sionnach Glic » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:54 pm

GrahamKennedy wrote:The problem with using Agent Orange is the bulk. From what I can find online, the US sprayed 77 million litres of the stuff in Vietnam. That's tens of thousands of tons of the stuff, and they only defoliated only 20% of Vietnam's jungle with it. Defoliating a whole planet would take megatons of the stuff. There's no way you're going to ship it all from Earth.


Well, I was sort of assuming that they had far more effective chemical weapons in the future. I was just using Agent Orange as an indicator of what I was thinking of more than anything else.

GrahamKennedy wrote:Unfortunately you can imagine what the Na'vi are going to do to the on site factory. I wouldn't count on anything on the planet still being servicable by the time the next ship arrives.


How would the Na'vi know? They're complete primitives. They wouldn't be able to tell one barrel of chemicals from another. Assuming a ceasefire can be organised (in the first scenario, that is) there should be no problem in just quietly loading the aircraft full of defoiliant.

IanKennedy wrote:Plus the scientists stayed behind to help the Na'vi, not just Jake. This means that they can probably make good us of the base. You may find it more difficult to get back into the base than you think.


The base is RDN property, correct? In which case, since the scientists still work for an authority on Earth, they can be easily evicted.

IanKennedy wrote: That plus you've got a former marine corporal with a lot of experience to worry about.


Why would I particularly need to worry about him? Sully obviously identifies himself as a Na'vi now, but I doubt he's going to be completely uncaring about slaughtering a few hundred humans. If he can be persuaded that we're not interested in further conflict, he shouldn't be a problem.

IanKennedy wrote:Of the people on your scenario 1 ship only a limited number will be military trained. It's a matter of what the rotation for the differing group is. There was talk of a three year stint. It's going to leave your staff very depleted.


Paradoxically, the lack of a serious military force may work in my favour. If we're not a small army, then it further helps the impression that we just want to serve our time here in peace without further bloodshed between our two groups. If we can present ourselves as being composed mostly of civilian scientists, it lessens the likelyhood that we'll be seen as a threat.

All we need is enough troops to man the watchtowers and keep an eye out. The base's natural defences (walls and a pre-prepared killing field) should be enough to mitigate the threat of the natives.

IanKennedy wrote:You could be returning to an armed force,


Armed with what, and by who? They're primitive natives who's greatest piece of military equipment is a longbow. They've no industry to make muskets, let alone anything on a par with our own weapons.

IanKennedy wrote:automatic defenses


Which will probably still be programmed to work for us. I find it hard to imagine anyone left on Pandora having either the access codes or the programming skill to completely change their programming. At best, they'd be able to turn them off and then break them.

IanKennedy wrote:and even a booby trapped base.


Again, by what and by who? If, as you suggested earlier, the scientists have taken over the base then the place is quite unlikely to be rigged to blow sky high. And if it's not occupied, I have my doubts they have either the skill or knowledge to do such a thing.

IanKennedy wrote:It could be as simple as you land and you die.


I find that quite unlikely. There still has to be a way for the scientists to land and take off from the planet, right?

IanKennedy wrote:. We also don't know what will have happened to the base in terms of flora, how quickly are the plants going to take back the base without human intervention.


A fair point. Clearing out the base could be quite a job. However, the equipment that the company used to clear the surrounding jungle initialy is probably still lying around the base somewhere.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby IanKennedy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:09 pm

Sionnach Glic wrote:
GrahamKennedy wrote:The problem with using Agent Orange is the bulk. From what I can find online, the US sprayed 77 million litres of the stuff in Vietnam. That's tens of thousands of tons of the stuff, and they only defoliated only 20% of Vietnam's jungle with it. Defoliating a whole planet would take megatons of the stuff. There's no way you're going to ship it all from Earth.


Well, I was sort of assuming that they had far more effective chemical weapons in the future. I was just using Agent Orange as an indicator of what I was thinking of more than anything else.

GrahamKennedy wrote:Unfortunately you can imagine what the Na'vi are going to do to the on site factory. I wouldn't count on anything on the planet still being servicable by the time the next ship arrives.


How would the Na'vi know? They're complete primitives. They wouldn't be able to tell one barrel of chemicals from another. Assuming a ceasefire can be organised (in the first scenario, that is) there should be no problem in just quietly loading the aircraft full of defoiliant.


No, that's my point they have human scientists on their side.

IanKennedy wrote:Plus the scientists stayed behind to help the Na'vi, not just Jake. This means that they can probably make good us of the base. You may find it more difficult to get back into the base than you think.


The base is RDN property, correct? In which case, since the scientists still work for an authority on Earth, they can be easily evicted.


What you going to call the cops or send in a lawyer to serve them papers? The point is that they stayed to help the Na'vi because they didn't like what the RDA where doing. They are on the side of the Na'vi.

IanKennedy wrote: That plus you've got a former marine corporal with a lot of experience to worry about.


Why would I particularly need to worry about him? Sully obviously identifies himself as a Na'vi now, but I doubt he's going to be completely uncaring about slaughtering a few hundred humans. If he can be persuaded that we're not interested in further conflict, he shouldn't be a problem.

He was the one that organized the battle that killed all the humans the first time around. I don't think he'll have a problem with doing that again. Especially if he thinks there's anything shady going on. He's also a trained soldier used to fighting in jungles. The chief of security was even impressed by his experience.

IanKennedy wrote:Of the people on your scenario 1 ship only a limited number will be military trained. It's a matter of what the rotation for the differing group is. There was talk of a three year stint. It's going to leave your staff very depleted.


Paradoxically, the lack of a serious military force may work in my favour. If we're not a small army, then it further helps the impression that we just want to serve our time here in peace without further bloodshed between our two groups. If we can present ourselves as being composed mostly of civilian scientists, it lessens the likelyhood that we'll be seen as a threat.

But it's not like the days of the British empire were you are up against natives, you've got one of your own leading the whole of the Na'vi 'nation'. He was in on the first deal and will spot your ploy easily.

All we need is enough troops to man the watchtowers and keep an eye out. The base's natural defences (walls and a pre-prepared killing field) should be enough to mitigate the threat of the natives.

If you can get in there. They have access to RDA production facility and scientists to be able to work it. They could build anything they want (within the limits of the machine).

IanKennedy wrote:You could be returning to an armed force,


Armed with what, and by who? They're primitive natives who's greatest piece of military equipment is a longbow. They've no industry to make muskets, let alone anything on a par with our own weapons.

Anything they want that the machine can build.

IanKennedy wrote:automatic defenses


Which will probably still be programmed to work for us. I find it hard to imagine anyone left on Pandora having either the access codes or the programming skill to completely change their programming. At best, they'd be able to turn them off and then break them.

They have the scientists remember.

IanKennedy wrote:and even a booby trapped base.


Again, by what and by who? If, as you suggested earlier, the scientists have taken over the base then the place is quite unlikely to be rigged to blow sky high. And if it's not occupied, I have my doubts they have either the skill or knowledge to do such a thing.

Go in thinking that and you're going to be slaughtered. They have human help, it says that they were chosen to remain behind (and wanted to) at the end of the film.

IanKennedy wrote:It could be as simple as you land and you die.


I find that quite unlikely. There still has to be a way for the scientists to land and take off from the planet, right?

No, not simple. If I were there I would produce explosives (or use the ones they have for mining) and set out to mine every landing spot. Unless you are going to cut another clearing without landing you are not going to touch down without going boom.

IanKennedy wrote:. We also don't know what will have happened to the base in terms of flora, how quickly are the plants going to take back the base without human intervention.


A fair point. Clearing out the base could be quite a job. However, the equipment that the company used to clear the surrounding jungle initialy is probably still lying around the base somewhere.

And unavailable to you, unless Jake and his human friends are morons.
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Re: Killing Pandora

Postby Sionnach Glic » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:32 pm

IanKennedy wrote:No, that's my point they have human scientists on their side.


And what do they know about chemical warfare? Probably very little. I have my doubts that they could accurately identify a specific chemical, even if they were allowed into the compound. Also, the chemicals would be coming on the ship just leaving Earth, giving us ~six years to show the natives that we mean them no harm. Once that's done, the ship arriving in orbit would be just one of many that had arrived previousl, and would be given no greater thought than any of the others. And since the chemicals would be offloaded on about the same day they were going to be used, there's very ltitle chance of them being discovered. Not in time for the Na'vi to do anything about it, anyway.

IanKennedy wrote:What you going to call the cops or send in a lawyer to serve them papers? The point is that they stayed to help the Na'vi because they didn't like what the RDA where doing. They are on the side of the Na'vi.


All the more reason that they should be barred from RDA land. Tell them to leave. If they don't, point out they're trespassing. If they still refuse to leave, have them thrown out.

IanKennedy wrote:He was the one that organized the battle that killed all the humans the first time around. I don't think he'll have a problem with doing that again. Especially if he thinks there's anything shady going on. He's also a trained soldier used to fighting in jungles. The chief of security was even impressed by his experience.


Admittedly I haven't seen the movie yet, but it's my understanding that the battle actually resulted in the Na'vi getting their collective arses handed to them. Correct? From what I've heard the Na'vi were only saved by Deus Ex Eywa when all fauna unexpectedly began attacking them.

In any case, it's a matter of tall strong aliens with spears against guys with guns. If it does come to another war (which it shouldn't) then simply taking a pre-prepared defensive position (like the compound) and holding the attackers off at along range would be adequate. If the entire situation goes FUBAR, hop on the shuttles, retreat to the ship in orbit and wait for reinforcements to arrive.

And why wouldn't Sully have a problem with killing off more of his own (sorta) species? Again, I've not seen the movie, but I have my doubts that he's a blood-thirsty psycho out to kill any humans that come near Pandora. Particularly not if they seem peaceful.

IanKennedy wrote:But it's not like the days of the British empire were you are up against natives, you've got one of your own leading the whole of the Na'vi 'nation'. He was in on the first deal and will spot your ploy easily.


If the Easter Rising in 1916 had been led by a former British general, it still wouldn't have gone much further than it did in reality. And in that instance both sides were using the same weapons (well, with the exception of the Helga).

The simple fact remains that he's leading oversized American Indians. They only won round one by having everything on the planet giving them a hand. He knows about our weapons and technology, yes, but that's only so much of a help when their forces are easily outclassed and outgunned. The only advantage they have is numbers and physical superiority (which is a non-issue if they're dead before reaching their target). Also, the guy's a corporal. Not a master strategist. He knows tactics, not how to fight a war.

Perhaps more importantly, how is he going to spot our ploy? We won't have the chemicals arriving in Scenario 1 for several years. We will literaly be the meagre force of mostly civilians we're making ourselves out to be. Hell, we can invite him to come on over and inspect our forces if he wants. If he could be persuaded that RDA considers military action far too costly to continue and are instead interested in a peaceful sollution to the conflict (and I see no reason why he couldn't be persuaded) then he's not going to have us all exterminated.

And in the unlikely event that he does, then we just retreat to orbit, wait for the chemical ship to show up and gas them from the safety of orbit. Simples.

IanKennedy wrote:If you can get in there. They have access to RDA production facility and scientists to be able to work it. They could build anything they want (within the limits of the machine).


I think I pointed out the trouble with using the Replicator thing in the main Avatar thread. Put simply, it's effectively useless to them, even with the scientists around.

For a more in-depth reason, read on.
First, we're assuming that the scientsts that are loyal to the Na'vi actually know how to work the factory. This is most certainly not a given.

Secondly, this machine will require a power source. Do the scientists know how to properly operate and maintain this power source within safe limits? I have my doubts.

Thirdly, do the scientists know how to maintain the factory machinery itself? Again, I'm betting on no. Unless there happens to be a contingent of engineers amongst them, one broken screw means the entire thing stops.

Fourthly, this machine undoubtedly requires material to be input into it before it can build anything. The Na'vi have no mining system, and the human mines will have been abandoned. Again, I can't imagine these scientists being much use in running mines. As I doubt there are lumps of metal just lying around on the surface, the Na'vi would have nothing to use in the machine.

Fifthly, even if they do get it working (by no means a certainty), what do they get? Tanks, weapons and armour. All designed for use by a race half their size. Not a great help. The tanks and armour would be unusable, and I doubt the weapons would be much use either. They'd need to not only design new gear from scratch, but also figure out how to get the factory to start producing it. At best, they could arm their scientist companions. Not all that great an asset.

I'm sure that there are other problems, but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Quite simply, the factory isn't going to be that much use to them.

I'd actually forgotten about the presence of the factory. It actually helps me quite a lot. With it, I can easily construct whatever we don't have. Weapons, vehicles, etc. I can quickly have enough weapons made to arm everyone under my command (civilians would be given training by the mercs, obviously). This massively multiplies my available forces if the Na'vi ever do attack, greatly increasing our chances of survival. Constructing flamethrowers and appropriate vehicles would also let us quickly clear out the jungle from around the complex.

IanKennedy wrote:They have the scientists remember.


I did remember. Hence why I said "anyone left on Pandora". Do you really think a bunch of scientists are going to have access codes to a military system and the programming knowledge to make it do what they want? I doubt the guys in charge were just handing out the code to such an important part of their survival to anyone that happened to walk past their office at the right time.

IanKennedy wrote:Go in thinking that and you're going to be slaughtered. They have human help, it says that they were chosen to remain behind (and wanted to) at the end of the film.


Could you rig up an entire facility to explode? I sure as hell couldn't. And I doubt anyone else on this site could either. I see no reason to believe that a bunch of scientists (who would most likely be concerned with biological sciences for that matter) could set up such an elabourate trap that no one else could spot it.

And in any case, I'm not just going to land my entire force in the complex the moment we arrive. A small team will be sent down first to check the place out. Worst case scenario, I lose a half dozen or so guys.

Also, if the scientists or the Na'vi are trying to use the facility, they're not exactly going to rig it to blow up the moment someone sets foot inside.

IanKennedy wrote:No, not simple. If I were there I would produce explosives (or use the ones they have for mining) and set out to mine every landing spot. Unless you are going to cut another clearing without landing you are not going to touch down without going boom.


And you or I could build a mine with enough force to down a ship capable of surviving re-entry? I think the far more likely result is that scientists begin spontaneously exploding across the planet. What mines they do manage to build will be poorly made and jury-rigged from mining charges (do they even use explosives for mining?). The mines would then be left exposed to the elements for several months before they become my problem. Most of them would probably be set off by animals passing by, and the rest would probably be rusted and fairly useless.

Also, I have my doubts that they'd even do such a thing in the first place. They know that the humans are coming back. They'd also be idiots not to realise that there's a very good chance that they're coming back with some serious firepower and knowledge that all life must be considered hostile. If the first thing these humans experience upon landing on Pandora is one of their shuttles going down in flames, there's a very good chance that the Na'vi will be introduced to high-altitude carpet bombing. Perhaps even nuclear weapons. Sully and the other humans would be idiots not to know that. They'd undoubtedly realise that their only chance of survival would be trying to deal peacefully with the humans that come later. It's either that, or it turns into a war of attrition as the Na'vi attack every human ship to land, taking greater and greater losses each time as the humans bring more and heavier weapons with each arriving ship. It'd be a war that the Na'vi could never win, and Jake has to realise that. Unless he'd rather all life on Pandora die over the space of a few decades, he's going to be looking for other solutions. A military solution simply isn't possible.

IanKennedy wrote:And unavailable to you, unless Jake and his human friends are morons.


Aye, it's possible they'll have sabotaged the available equipment. That's where the factory begins to shine.

Also, could you elabourate more no the scientists that are aiding the Na'vi? How many of them are there? A dozen or so? A few hundred? Do they have their own facility, or were they using the RDA base? Did they have their own ships?
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