The dynamics of nuclear weapons doesn't really translate to this kind of weapon. The best way to describe it is a modified version of the prisoners dilemma.
We have to alien races, race A and Race B. They can't communicate, can't afford the loss of several planets, and both have the technology to launch "relativistic bombs." at each other, therefore they each have 2 options: ignore the other party and leave in constant fear they will attack, or attack and greatly increase their odds of survival. This scenario has 4 basic outcomes.
- 1: Race A and Race B both ignore each other. Both survive unharmed, but either race can choose to attack leading to...
- 2: Race A attacks, race B ignores. Race B is disadvantaged and most likely destroyed, Race A survives.
- 3. Race A Ignores, race B attacks. Race A is disadvantaged and most likely destroyed, Race B survives.
- 4. Both Race A and Race B attack. Both are devastated, but likely survive.
Things become more complicated once third parties get involved, or the races are capable of communicating but there aren't any third parties in this scenario, and the races cannot communicate. Because any intelligent species can be expected to have a strong instinct for self preservation, and will choose the lowest risk option (attack) rather than the highest gain (ignore) option, since the survival of their species is to much to risk. The only way 2 noncommunicating factions can coexist is if one has such an overwhelming advantage in resources that they can afford to loose several planets, and is also willing to accept those losses for the sake of peace.
You know, I've hit another snag, namely that the sheer amount of energy a civilization would need to have access to in order to create a ship of the sort I've been thinking of would make just about any use of...Anything comprehensible by today's standards Misapplied Phlebotinum
edited 11th Mar '11 7:16:17 AM by Archereon
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