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Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:42 am UTC
by Walter.Horvath
So you'd just somehow break the simulation and claim victory?

From the point of view of whoever is administering the test, you've succeeded in finding a loophole in the programming, something that obviously is impossible while commanding a real ship. Which is the purpose of the exercise.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:31 am UTC
by Yuri2356
Jorpho wrote:Indeed, Kirk's solution as portrayed in the SNES Starfleet Academy game involved him hailing the Klingons - something normally not possible in the simulation.

Still, maybe you could work with proving that the other elements of the simulation that you can interact with are constructs?

Don't think that'd work either. The bridge crew are a mix of other students and instructors, and your only interaction with the KM crew is the distress signal. I doubt you ship's enlisted crew are much different than the bridge. Those who aren't people undergoing testing are probably nothing more than numbers on a spreadsheet.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:25 am UTC
by Sir_Elderberry
Er, this is how things would go.
Captain, the Klingons have warped in and are powering up their weapons.
Wait! This is all a simulation! None of these lives are real. Therefore, begin autodestruct.
...Captain, we know that. That's really not the point.
I refuse to take part in this charade.
Enjoy your failing grade, sir.

Remember, Kirk was put on trial for his "solution". So, anyway, let's skip over the silliness and look not at how Ender would "pass" the KM, but how he would handle it. There are two situations like this in the first book: The Giant's Drink and the final Bugger battle. In both situations, he is given two options, both of which lead to death. (Well, the death of the entity taking the orders--his avatar or the ships.) He solves the problem by taking an option so unthinkable that most people would instantly recoil from the idea of it, either burrowing through an eye or blowing up a planet.

So, the question is, what sort of option is totally ignored by a reasonable person when taking the KM? Blowing up the KM presents itself, but presumably Ender is still operating with the objective "save the people on the KM". From here, of course, the possibilities are endless. Is he willing to sacrifice his ship, if it saves the KM? Maybe he shoots the KM to make it appear dead, drops a buoy on a delay timer to call for more help later, and tries to take the Klingons elsewhere.

Of course, we should notice something. The Giant's Drink is being run by an AI that decides to let Ender's solution work. The Bugger War was a real war, so something plausible could actually work. Remember, this is a computer programmed to make a no-win situation, and it's completely in control of the simulation. It can make equipment fail or cease to operate for no good reason. It can make enemies you've never heard of suddenly become massive threats. It can do awful things to the space around you just because. It's like a Star Trek writer. Could Ender beat God?

Fact is, the only way to actually "beat" the simulation, is to beat the computer. Which has to be done beforehand.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:21 am UTC
by Jorpho
Walter.Horvath wrote:From the point of view of whoever is administering the test, you've succeeded in finding a loophole in the programming, something that obviously is impossible while commanding a real ship.
Come now, stranger things have happened in Star Trek than a real ship being caught in a computer program.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:42 am UTC
by Indon
He could also try and teleport the warp core out of the ship, which would destabilize it and cause it to generate a subspace explosion (which does, in fact, cause a shockwave in a vacuum) in an attempt to just kill everyone involved.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:06 am UTC
by Minchandre
Things we know about Ender that conveniently support my solution:

-He thinks in the big picture
-When he acts, he acts decisively
-He has a bit of a martyr complex
-He's not afraid to make sacrifices
-When he gets pissed, he breaks things

My solution: upon receiving the distress beacon, he frags the KM. Before even sensing the Klingons.

Later, in the disciplinary hearing, he explains:

COMMANDANT: WTF, Mate?
ENDER: I acted in the best interests of the Federation.
COMMANDANT: O RLY?
ENDER: Had I tendered assistance to the Kobayashi Maru, the Klingons would no doubt have taken offense, and this may have sparked a war.
COMMANDANT: Yes, but you didn't just not assist, you destroyed the ship.
ENDER: Yes. Had I simply allowed the vessel to die in Klingon space, the Federation may well have taken it as a casus belli, and declared war. At the very least, it would have led to a significant heating of relations, making a war that much more likely. When I destroyed the KM, I, a single rogue captain, committed an atrocious act. I would be brought back, stripped of my rank, and imprisoned. If the Federation weren't a bunch of pussies, I would be executed. One way or another, though, peace would be maintained.
COMMANDANT: Ender, you so crazy!

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:08 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Except.. again.. to get within firing range (since ships in Star Trek have such a thing), Klingons would appear as if from nowhere and start blasting.

It's a shame Scotty's solution isn't canon.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:39 pm UTC
by zombiefeynman
Indon wrote:He could also try and teleport the warp core out of the ship, which would destabilize it and cause it to generate a subspace explosion (which does, in fact, cause a shockwave in a vacuum) in an attempt to just kill everyone involved.


I don't think killing everyone involved counts as victory, but aside from that yes. Transporter+cleverness=Suicide Nova.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 11:05 pm UTC
by Sir_Elderberry
Except beaming a warp core out would require dropping shields. Which is a bad idea.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:49 am UTC
by Yuri2356
There's also that whole issue of disconnecting your ships main power supply in the middle of battle...

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:50 am UTC
by Sir_Elderberry
Yuri2356 wrote:There's also that whole issue of disconnecting your ships main power supply in the middle of battle...

I assumed they meant the KM's warp core. Ender's ship's warp core could be ejected the old-fashioned way. Hideously bad idea, but eh.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:32 am UTC
by Meloncov
My guess is that he would fundamentally do the same thing as Kirk, but make the shifts in the program subtle enough that it takes the teachers days, if not weeks, to figure out what he did. Say, subtly changes the AI to make a diplomatic solution possible.

This assuming he's in a reasonably good mood before hand.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:00 pm UTC
by Sir_Elderberry
Meloncov wrote:My guess is that he would fundamentally do the same thing as Kirk, but make the shifts in the program subtle enough that it takes the teachers days, if not weeks, to figure out what he did. Say, subtly changes the AI to make a diplomatic solution possible.

This assuming he's in a reasonably good mood before hand.

Any solution that is...well, a solution to the actual problem, is a blatant violation of the point of the test (to face death and failure.) It's going to be noticed. Besides, Spock's in the other room.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:06 pm UTC
by zombiefeynman
That's the whole point of Ender! He doesn't care about conforming to some arbitrary rules set by higher up - his version of 'win' means 'beat my enemy, whoever I think my enemy is,' especially if the enemy is the higher ups. At the two most epic points in the book - the 2v1 fight and the planet - he decides that the teachers are the enemy. IIRC, he nukes the planet because he thinks it might crash the simulator and/or disqualify him on moral grounds. He's not going to conform to the scenario, because it's a no-win scenario. Sure, there might be some loopholes with teleporters, warp cores, and physics, but those are holes in the universe, not the scenario. The OMGWTF thing about Kirk winning at KM was him doing exactly what Ender does best - fight the teachers instead of the test.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:09 pm UTC
by Sir_Elderberry
Yeah, but the person who proposed that he manage to win without the teachers realizing it for a little while was missing the point that the test isn't a "test" in the sense of being winnable. No matter what, it's supposed to teach you to deal with death. He can sabotage it or mess with the teachers, but he can't really "win", because there in the 2v1 and at the end, he realizes that the objective isn't what everyone thinks it is. It's not "kill everyone else" it's "achieve one small goal that makes killing everyone else unnecessary". In the KM, there isn't an everyone else to kill, and there isn't a goal to achieve. The point of the test is to fail you, so you learn that you're not perfect.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:23 pm UTC
by zombiefeynman
Sure. If you follow the teachers' expectations and actually treat it like a real test, attack the klingons with phasers and torpedoes, it's impossible to win, as I understand it. In that situation, I'd say Ender still has a leg up by way of being a tactical genius, but he would still 'lose.'

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:29 pm UTC
by Sir_Elderberry
zombiefeynman wrote:Sure. If you follow the teachers' expectations and actually treat it like a real test, attack the klingons with phasers and torpedoes, it's impossible to win, as I understand it. In that situation, I'd say Ender still has a leg up by way of being a tactical genius, but he would still 'lose.'

As someone mentioned, Scotty tried doing some sort of neat physics trick that should have let him "win". The computer spawned the entire Klingon navy on him.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:40 pm UTC
by zombiefeynman
Well there
Sir_Elderberry wrote:As someone mentioned, Scotty tried doing some sort of neat physics trick that should have let him "win". The computer spawned the entire Klingon navy on him.
I haven't seen/read whatever that was. Did they give him the victory? Or did the computer navy eliminate him? As I understand it, the computer would have simply kept throwing klingons until he died.

Re: Ender and the Kobayashi Maru

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:47 pm UTC
by frezik
Sir_Elderberry wrote:Any solution that is...well, a solution to the actual problem, is a blatant violation of the point of the test (to face death and failure.) It's going to be noticed. Besides, Spock's in the other room.


I'd argue that a student being unwilling to accept an unwinable scenario gives you insight into their character, thus fulfilling the practical requirements of the test.

Actually, I just thought of a neat solution. You send your shuttles (warp-capable...usually...) to the KM, and take your ship into the neutral zone.


Shuttles usually weren't warp capable until the Runabouts came around in TNG. But they can accelerate to relativistic velocities pretty quickly, and you can probably fit a lot of antimatter canisters on board.

I was thinking about a solution involving Corbomite (Kirk's non-simulated solution to a few no-win scenarios), but I think the simulated Klingons would just ignore it.

Peter Kirk's solution was apparently to challenge the Klingon commander to hand-to-hand combat, effectively ceasing hostilities while his crew rescued the KM. The scenario would obviously have to be changed after relations between the Federation and Klingons changed, probably to Romulans. But how do you pull the same trick here with Romulans? Challenge them to a game of chess?