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Cthulhu is the most pathetic of the Great Old Ones. After a brief resurrection, it was easily defeated by a human with a wooden boat, making the elder gods a laughingstock of the universe. However, a new threat appeared after Cthulhu's death, referred to as Ghatanothoa. This creature is the firstborn of the pathetic god Cthulhu, but far more powerful, and all the world's countries have banded together to unite against this common threat.

Ghatanothoa has an interesting effect on those who look at it. These victims, upon gazing at the creature, immediately become petrified in their current stance. They lose the ability to move, but their brain and organs continue to function, keeping them alive and conscious in suspended animation. Millions of men, women, and children around the world have turned to stone, frozen in time for all eternity. Although their constant agony and suffering is quite hilarious and a source of entertainment for we rationally minded people, the government considers this creature a threat and have determined to kill it instead of offering it the worship that it deserves.

There is just one problem: unlike medusa, whose power can be nullified by avoiding her eyes, Ghatanothoa's power affects those who gaze at it in any form, directly or indirectly. This means that even those who simply look at its picture, video feed, etc., are affected and immediately turned to stone. This makes it extremely difficult to attack, as anybody who even looks at it through a protected medium is affected.

How can the governments of the world successfully fight against this creature under these circumstances?

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    $\begingroup$ Do governments know this is the case? If not, they're probably going to be very confused. Also, how abstract of a representation does it take to count? Is seeing a radar blip it caused on a screen enough? $\endgroup$ – Cadence Oct 22 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ Just reading about the radar blip is..... $\endgroup$ – Willk Oct 22 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ Nuke it from Orbit. It's the only way to be sure.... $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Oct 22 at 22:55
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    $\begingroup$ At some point you have to exactly define what “form” means. If it’s walking on a beach and I am in a boat, I see the blurry reflection in the waves am I dead? Does a bat die when it “sees” it with sonar? If I’m looking in a store window and it walks behind me, but I never notice it, does the reflection in the glass kill me? Or do I have to focus on it? Do eyelids save me (close my eyes)? Can I make transparent eyelids to save me? $\endgroup$ – Vogon Poet Oct 23 at 1:49
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    $\begingroup$ Actually a better help is to tell us what exactly petrifies you. Is it the shape focused on your retinas? Is it the light entering your lenses? Is it the processed mental image in your mind? We can find a solution once we know the root cause. $\endgroup$ – Vogon Poet Oct 23 at 1:58

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A mirror

You did not specify that the creature could not be victim to its own attack.

Once it is paralyzed, simply drop a bomb on it from a plane without looking down at it.


An advanced computer algorithm

Develop a unique program "filter" that renders the image of the creature different enough that it does not affect those that stare at the screen. This could be as simple as only showing an outline of the creature, or an advanced algorithm showing more detail without affecting people that look at it.

There would need to tons of trial and error (i.e. people being petrified in the process) to find the limitations, but once perfected it will allow humanity to succeed.


EDIT: Upon researching Ghatanothoa, it seems that it must be a "perfect image" in order to render the effects to those looking upon it. This heavily implies that with work, an algorithm could be developed that allows one to look at it on the screen.


Or quite possibly, a lens that distorts enough of the creature's appearance could be developed for similar reasons

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    $\begingroup$ I like that algorithm idea! That can be plan C if the autonomous wooden boats don't do the trick. Plus you could work out the visual filter using chickens instead of people. $\endgroup$ – Willk Oct 22 at 18:11
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    $\begingroup$ Seems easy enough to avoid the "perfect image" issue. Pixellation should take care of that, and if it doesn't, JPEG and MPEG certainly should (especially at lower quality levels). $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Oct 22 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ Depending on just how perfect the "perfect image" has to be, you might not need any equipment at all. Images are distorted just by the atmosphere. People with sub 20/20 vision might be immune all the time. $\endgroup$ – Ryan_L Oct 23 at 0:10
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    $\begingroup$ Thermal camera. You're looking at a monster shaped coloured blob. $\endgroup$ – Thorne Oct 23 at 2:55
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    $\begingroup$ I'd recommend adding a rabbit ears snapchat filter for extra safety. $\endgroup$ – peufeu Oct 23 at 15:19
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  1. Wooden boats. Why mess up a working plan?

  2. Lots of them. Maybe all of them.

  3. String them together.

  4. Point row of boats at Chickamauga and fire up the engines.

  5. Crew disembarks from wooden boats and climbs aboard fiberglass boats.

  6. Wooden boats defeat Chunkymugga. Cthulhu snickers.

An artificial intelligence trained to identify giant monster-gods using visual recognition can be plan B. It can pilot the wooden boats.

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    $\begingroup$ The monster is called Ghatanothoa. Where'd you get Chickamauga/Chunkymugga from? $\endgroup$ – overlord - Reinstate Monica Oct 23 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ Also, Cthulhu is dead in this scenario so definitely will not be snickering. $\endgroup$ – overlord - Reinstate Monica Oct 23 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ @overlord - you know very well that with strange aeons even death may die. So Cth can do his snickering then. Re Chick & Chunk - I believe those are his rap names. $\endgroup$ – Willk Oct 23 at 13:43
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    $\begingroup$ "Lots of them. Maybe all of them." :D $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races with Monica Oct 24 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ Mythical stuff sometimes does not make sense. Why Koki killed a god with a plant? only THAT plant? If they killed it with a boat, then a boat shall be used. Loved this one. $\endgroup$ – Gustavo Oct 25 at 22:13
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For reference: SCP-096: Shy Guy

That's how The Ominous They deal with a relatively small monster who can't be looked at. Assuming your world-altering Old One is gigantic and more brutishly destructive, the human governments are basically waging a war against a kaiju in addition to the difficulties described in the SCP article.

Sonar.

I assume radar or similar advanced imaging techniques are out of the question, but if you can figure out where it is, you can use echolocation to determine a more precise location.

Robots.

If artificial intelligence doesn't count as "gazing upon" because the machine is incapable of perceiving what it sees, then you might be able to program an army of drones to fight the monster automatically, which would actually be quite appropriate for a Lovecraft-inspired story. Humanity is so overwhelmed by this monster that it sends in heartless machines who surpass their creators specifically because they do not have the thing that causes us to think ourselves so special. We can do nothing but sit back and hope that our creations succeed where we fail.

Carpet Bomb.

Figure out generally where it is, and blast the hell out of it without looking.

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    $\begingroup$ Radar is necessarily low to very low resolution. Most radar is not for imaging, after all. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Oct 22 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ But you could see through clouds. And in total darkness. And from space. $\endgroup$ – Erik Oct 23 at 9:25
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    $\begingroup$ I'd be happy if I could see 15cm resolution from 200km away $\endgroup$ – pjp Oct 23 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ @pjp even if you couldn't focus on anything closer than 1km away? $\endgroup$ – Spoki0 Oct 23 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ I knew there had to be an SCP that covered this... $\endgroup$ – Alexander Nied Oct 24 at 13:31
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Simple fix: You're only in danger if you see the creature or a perfect replica.

Thus the troops that are engaging it are issued some goggles that simply display the image they see--except the red and blue signals are crossed--no need for fancy image processing or working with blurry images. Make a bunch of goggles, see who uses them the best and they get the laser designator. Ancient evils are not going to have a reason to have defenses against modern firepower. The pilots can drop their GBU-24s on the laser dot without looking at it.

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Drones

Why risk people? The USA have mastered the art of dispatching people remotely and without having to look at them. You don't need to look at the creature, just nuke the hell out of its vicinity, and the drones can be preprogrammed for that.

To clarify: no visual processing is needed. If you know where the monster is, all you need to input to your drones is latitude, longitude and altitude.

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    $\begingroup$ To use neural nets for computer vision to detect the creature you need to train it with a lot of images of the creature until it reaches a certain level of accuracy. And you don't want your drones to mistakenly nuke something else. Before any drone will work, people will need to take the training images themselves, a lot of them will get petrified. Multiply the risk by how hostile the creature is. The risk is the same, it just happens before the actual killing when you are still "preprogramming" the drones. $\endgroup$ – brendt Oct 23 at 6:19
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    $\begingroup$ ... why kill the monster? The USA would much rather drop billions of printed pictures of it over places where there's oil. $\endgroup$ – user253751 Oct 23 at 11:01
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    $\begingroup$ There are many ways to identify location; seismic sensors were used back in the 1960s by the US to detect movement in Vietnam. Infrared to detect the large moving anomaly. Listen for it with acoustic sensors. Tetrahertz radar to detect it, and so on. $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Oct 24 at 4:35
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    $\begingroup$ Ghatanothoa: "That hurts! Stop hitting me and come and face me, you cowards!" Humanity: "No. Now suck on a couple of Excalibur barrages, ugly." $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Oct 24 at 4:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Muuski You don't need to see the monster yourself to locate it, just people who have seen it: "People looking in these directions are not petrified. People looking in these directions are petrified." By drawing their locations, and the directions that they are looking in, onto a map, we get a rough area to carpet-bomb. Issue an army of volunteers (or "volunteers", if you are less scrupulous) with headsets that transmit their location, the direction that they are looking in, and whether or not they are petrified back to a base computer, and deploy them in the general vicinity. $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Oct 24 at 12:08
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all the world's countries have banded together

International cooperation handwaves a lot of problems.

Step 1: location, location, location

If you already know where the darned creature is, skip to step 2.

Otherwise use good old intelligence, an abomination like that can't be hard to find. You can then use satellites or drones to get its exact coordinates. Pro tip: if your drone pilot or satellite technician gets petrified, mark the coordinates, that's positive identification.

Then note the coordinate on a piece of paper, floppy disk, or any medium of your chosing.

Step 2: resolution

Pass a UN Resolution that authorises one permanent member of the UN Security Council (US, UK, France, Russia, China), possibly even India or Pakistan, to launch a nuclear strike, under strict supervision from the rest of the aforementioned nations.

For informational purposes, the US, Russia, China and India are in the nuclear triad club, meaning ground- (intercontinental missile), naval- (submarine-launched missile) and air-based (strategic bomber) delivery. France only has naval and air delivery. Pakistan has ground and air delivery. The UK is limited to naval delivery only.

I would probably pick France or the UK, which are the least likely to try something stupid.

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt an unauthorised nuclear launch.

Step 3: destruction

Press the red button.

Step 4: ????

Profit.


Contingency: in the unlikely event nukes aren't the answer

It happens sometimes that nukes don't solve your problems. Hopefully you would know that prior to launching yours, because it's expensive to waste a perfectly fine nuke, not to mention the carbon footprint of missile, submarine and/or bomber fuel.

In any event, whether you already tried nukes and failed, consider an additional step:

Step 0: research and development

Find out what can kill the creature. You may have to research arcane magic, ancient tomes, or the Internet. Then convert its form factor to the size of a nuclear warhead or missile payload.

Then move to step 1, and replace nukes with the thing you developped.


Contingency: actually we're not really sure how to kill this thing

It's going to be embarrassing for everybody. The previous contingency assumes there is a way to kill the thing that is known somewhere, and you just need to find it. This may be assuming too much. In that event, here are more additional steps:

Step -1: brainstorming

List everything that could kill or otherwise incapacitate a creature of that caliber. This is brainstorming, and as everybody knows there is no wrong or dumb ideas in brainstorming. List everything, then attribute a score to every option. At the end of the process, you want an ordered list of things you want to throw at the creature.

Pick the highest item on the list, then move to step 0.

Step 5: rince and repeat

This follows step 4 if, and only if, the creature still yet lives. In that case, cross the current item on the list, pick the next one and go back to step 0.

Otherwise, proceed to celebrations.

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    $\begingroup$ I am curious how the target eldrich horror would respond to a nuclear strike. If it doesn't have any special protections, then for once nukes become an extremely good option. $\endgroup$ – Codes with Hammer Oct 23 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ @CodeswithHammer It's a good observation, and it inspired me some contigency planning. $\endgroup$ – AmiralPatate Oct 24 at 7:09
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Drop a mountain of people, cows, or animals on it that will be intended to see it and turn to stone, encasing it in stone.

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Use very old camera phones.

Clearly, a video feed reduced to 1x1px in 16 colours won't trigger petrification, or we'd have accidentally triggered it. There must be some minimum resolution (pixels and colour depth) which is needed to produce the petrification.

It's very unlikely that a 16x16 px image has enough resolution to show the horror, but it's going to be good enough to see where Ghatanothoa is.

The solution is go dig out some old phones with very bad resolution cameras, and use them to view Ghatanothoa. As long as you don't get too close, the image won't exceed the minimum resolution, and you'll be safe. If you need to get closer, pop a wide-angle selfie lens on the camera to reduce the pixel size of Ghatanothoa.

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Or you could go very simple with it. Something of that size would affect the tides and currents. From there, you could get a very experienced sailor who is able to steer the boat by feel (feeling the pull not he craft and on its rudder) and blindfold them. Not gazing at the creature, not actually aiming for them but feeling the pull of the ocean? Kinda left field there and very low tech, but then the aliens from War of the Worlds were defeated by germs, so anything is possible.

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Sonar. Like a bat. Echolocate Ghatanothoa in the dark, nuke him ‘till he glows.

Airport X-ray scanners now make a computer simulation of your scan (so you don’t look fat). This real-time re-imaging will allow targeting.

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The military are well equipped with thermal imagers (e.g. FLIR in aircraft), as well as high-resolution SAR (synthetic aperture radar) and MMW (millimetre wave) radar, all for for working in darkness, bad weather, smoke, dust, haze etc. These allow larger targets to be imaged precisely but not in normal visible wavelengths. Obviously some testing is needed but one of more sensors should work without the, er, undesirable side effects.

Once a suitable sensor is identified, your Cthulhu-lite can be easily enough taken out with airpower from long range; a rain of GPS-guided 2,000-pound JDAMs should wear it down pretty fast, or tactical nukes if its really monstrous.

Or you could get the professionals in to dispel the thing properly. Physical weapons are amateur stuff against Mythos beasties.

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Use the shadow Take the help of its shadow or a silhouette cast on a screen to figure out its shape and form.

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  • $\begingroup$ This seems to be a good beginning for the basis of an answer, could you fill it out with an explanation of how this method would work to help fight the creature? Then please take the tour at your leisure and read-up in the help center about How to Answer. Welcome to the site. $\endgroup$ – We are Monica. Oct 24 at 14:52
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Just use guided missiles

Guided missiles are frequently used by government militaries against large targets (god-sized). They can carry explosives, incendiary weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons, and nukes. There is no reason to get ground troops or even pilots involved.

Guided missiles are controlled by computer algorithms, and do not actually "see" anything.

If your god has body-heat, just use a heat-seeking missiles and point them in roughly the right direction.

If your god does not have radar-stealth, you can use radar-guided missiles.

If you know the exact coordinates of the god and it is large enough and not moving quickly, you might not need anything more complex than GPS in your missile.

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Artillery

Modern militaries now have GPS-guided artillery shells capable of hitting targets within ~5m from kilometers away. As long as you can get reasonably precise coordinates (which others have discussed), you can rain high-explosive death on it from secured positions without ever having to lay eyes on it.

If you can figure out how to get a laser designator on it, there are also laser-guided shells available as well.

And some countries have self-targeting rounds, which deploy submunitions that independently identify and engage targets using infrared and radar. They're designed for hitting tanks, but I'm sure a bit of tweaking could be done to their target profile.

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