I was watching the series called: "Once Upon a Time... Space" (I could only find the hungarian dub, which is my native language), that I want to make a fanfic about, and I ran into a problem....

The Great Computer

And its army.... :O They HAVE reserves.


According to the official fluff, the Great Computer is a machiavellian AI, who's main goal is enslaving all intelligent species and forcing them to live in low-life ghettos with minimal tech, in order to "protect humanity from destroying itself".

The enemy

In order to achieve his goal, the Great computer made the most advanced dakka and (as you can see in the picture), not just a few. They have literal death stars and powerful WAFF (Wide-Area Force Field). The bigger ships fly in a tightly packed formation, that enables them to create massive circuits of energy and thus, create a massive forcefield (the one that JDlugosz have proposed here), that also shields their expendable fighters. Their armor refracts laser, absorbs gamma radiation, so they nigh invulnerable to any weapon, that the resident federation ( the Omega confederation) or the space nazis (Cassiopeans) have.

But there's hope

The Great Computer just happened to attack, when the member of an even more advanced race showed up int the galaxy to pay a visit on the Omega (again.) and he decided to help them (the omega confederation) cause reasons, however, he can't call others for help because laws and he can't use weapons of smash mass destruction (things that are stronger than a Tsar bomb).

So, what do we have?

A spaceship, that is basically a catom mass and a powersource/engine, that is capable of hurling particle beams at its target with near-lightspeed, it's slow to charge but can deal with the pest from a safe distance.
Also, he, possesses a unique piece of technology, that can weaken or totally ruin any magnet based shields, by overheating them with another magnet, which's magnetic field, rapidly weakens and enstrengthens in intensity and with that, overheats the force field's magnet. ![enter image description here The spaceship.


  • We have 3 days to prepare for the battle
  • We have the fleets of all the federation members, but the robot fleet has already pwned an equivalently large one without breaking a sweat.
  • Both of us knows the milky way galaxy and possesses FTL drives (Not instantaneous travel, but 50 lightyears are nothing to them, these are dumb FTL, no Alcubierre drive, they just simply speed up and this is supposed to teach kiddos about the space, let's just handwave it with some dark energy manipulation (I have no idea, how to make that half-assed thing real) (note: I checked it, they are just developing the alcubierre.))

    The enemy:

  • Has many types of ships, including slow firing death stars.
  • Commands a gargantuan fleet.
  • The Great computer made sure, that the commanding is as decentralized as possible.
  • Their tech is advanced, but not as much as mine.
  • They have powerful enough laser weapons, that can roast me after a few minutes, if the whole fleet fires at me, at once
  • And their shields are just as powerful as mine.
  • Their fleet forms a hugh mungous electric circuit.

I have:

  • A pen A spaceship, that can transform itself into the weaponized version of the large hadron collider, that penetrates the enemy like if they were made out of butter.

  • A shield breaking device, that can roast an individual forcefield (or the part of a larger one) making them vulnerable to anything, that aren't lasers or ferromagnetic.

  • I'll also command the entire federation, they will do anything, I ask them, that isn't madness.

  • I can't use weapons of mass destruction that are stronger than a Tsar bomb (100MT).

  • I'm so outnumbered, that if I were to snipe the fleet out, while they standing still, it would still require months.

There are two options:

I'll fight them!

Somehow, I assemble a plan to annihilate T.G.C and it's fleet.

What would be the battle plan, based on the criteria, that every single ship has to be destroyed?

Run, run for your life
There's nothing we can do yet, so while the people flee and hide, I'll stay there and put in the scrapyard as may as I can. It's time for my vengeance and no bot is worth saving, it's time for me to kill and it's time for me to die. My wrecking crusade begins here. (hatred overdose)

How can I hide them from the machines (It's not impossible, a human resistance managed to do it.).


Fun "fact" (a whole new way to weaponize FTL)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If your goal is to kill every enemy ship, have you considered the issue that you may not actually be able to do so in your lifespan if you never stop firing and never sleep? We don't really know how big the enemy's reserves are. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Mar 9, 2017 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe i overlooked something, but what about relativistic rubble? as in: a shipload of gravel, travelling at a substantial fracton of c, roughly in the direction of the enemy armada. Could their shields cope with this much energy? $\endgroup$
    – Burki
    Mar 9, 2017 at 11:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Mar 9, 2017 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Burki relativistic kill vehicle, sound like fun, bigger target for the enemy's laser, but bigger impact. $\endgroup$ Mar 9, 2017 at 19:42
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ How can this not be "story-based"? $\endgroup$
    – user
    Mar 30, 2017 at 7:30

9 Answers 9


They have a huge advantage in numbers, and a marginal advantage in technology. Your best bet is long term guerrilla warfare. Only fight when you have an advantage and can inflict disproportionate casualties. Make sure every battle also gains you other resources, either time, or technology or knowledge of the enemy.

Short term options? You can lure them into a trap and/or perform a suicidal run on key elements. Possible trap path.

  1. Lure a portion of the fleet away from the main body. (preferably with death stars)
  2. Overwhelm one sections shields.
  3. Send boarding parties over to capture the biggest ships. (Death stars)
  4. Install a virus and counter AI’s into the ships you capture and transmit them to other portions of the enemy fleet.
  5. Repeat 1-4 as much as possible.
  6. Use your captured ships to attack the other fleets. Use your virus and falsified communication codes to increase confusion and encourage fighting amongst the main AI and fractured AI ships/fleets.
  7. Focus priorities on what key components of the enemy AI’s command and Control that you can identify.
  8. Hope this hail marry works and that none of the codependent parts fail.
  • $\begingroup$ All to often it is overlooked to use enemy "captured" weapons on the enemy. $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2017 at 21:41

Run. Space is large.

Assuming you have a few ships that are FTL capable and mostly self-sustaining, you can elude them forever.

Sensors are bound by the speed of light, you can move faster than they can see. when you look out the window you see things 1 light second away as they were 1 second ago, 1 light year away as they were 1 year ago. So if you are moving away faster than the speed of light, FTL, your enemy will get an increasingly delayed view of you location.

If you get a 3 light day head start, they can't FTL to you position because they can't see you are there until three days after you arrive. If you keep jumping in random directions with distances of at least 3 light days, they will never be able to catch you, and they will eventually lose you if their view of you is blocked by a planet or star.

All of this assumes that flying in FTL leaves an obvious trail. If it does not, then this is even more simple - Jump and they lose you right away.

  • $\begingroup$ You can't just run, you have all the people sitting on planets as ducks - ready to get conquered, if you run too much away :) $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2017 at 6:48
  • $\begingroup$ The idea is that you bring the people with you $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2017 at 17:29

Attack their logistics.

However advanced they may be, a fleet like that has to eat up a LOT of fuel, spare parts, and other consumables. Those consumables have to be replenished somehow.

Identify resource extraction and distribution centres, and have your allies strike several of them at once. Position your super-ship at one of the sites, but do not have it take part in the initial attack.

The AI will be obliged to defend these resource sites, even if it suspects a trap. When reinforcements arrive, your allies will immediately withdraw, while your super-ship takes down the reinforcements.

Keep striking like this, causing damage each time. Sooner or later, the enemy will be obliged to launch a raid into your territory to try to prevent future attacks; this will extend their supply lines, and allow extensive commerce raiding.

Your super-ship should be superior to any force that the enemy will use to escort its merchantmen; you'll effectively be in the position of the Bismarck loose in the Atlantic, free to strike against supply ships wherever you find them. Either the enemy massively increases its escort forces, which will burn the resources you're already making more scarce, or they sit still and run out of resources.

If you can pull it off, and keep your ships in fighting shape themselves, you'll be in a good position to degrade the enemy's combat performance until you can take on the fleet directly.


No school like old school.

Their shielding systems seem to be designed for high-energy weapons. Laser shielding. Magnetic ray shielding. The old school rail gun is not an energy weapon. And if you use super-dense, non-magnetic projectiles (encased in magnetic sabots to make them fire properly), it should penetrate their energy shields with little effort.

Your setting is high tech. If they launch these rail gun projectiles using superconducting rails, they should be traveling at a high percentage of light speed (c). Anything about 40 or 50% c ought to be straining the processing power / reaction time of their missile defense systems. Anything about 60% ought to be faster than the AI can process and react. And at those speeds, the projectile wouldn't have to be massive to cause major damage. As the link explains, for sub-light weapons energy is $E = \frac{1}{2}mv^2$ and for relativistic weapons, energy is $E_k=mc^2\left( \frac{1}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}-1 \right)$ (See link for details).

Some "back of the envelope" math says that given a mass roughly equivalent to a glass marble (roughly 4.5 g in mass) we can see that the energy equivalent ramps up very fast:

Velocity    Energy      Equivalent  
3 km/s *    20.41 kJ    1/2 kg of TNT   
0.01 c      20.4 gJ     2% of Fat Man @ Nagasaki    
0.05 c      509.6 gJ    61% of Fat Man  
0.064 c     834.9 gJ    = 1 Fat Man 
0.09 c      1.6 tJ      197% of Fat Man 
0.1 c       2 tJ        244% of FM  
0.25 c      12.7 tJ     1,522% of FM    
0.5 c       50.96 tJ    6,090% of FM    
0.6 c       73.4 tJ     8,769% of FM    
0.75 c      114.7 tJ    13,702% of FM   
0.8 c       130.5 tJ    15,590% of FM   
0.9 c       165.11 tJ   19,731% of FM   
 * 3 km/s is a speed found in modern-era railguns. All other speeds are hypothetical.

And with projectiles this small, dodging or targeting them will be extremely challenging at most speeds on that chart.

Build a massive array of these rail guns. Sure, their defenses can block some quantity of incoming projectiles. But a rain of high velocity pellets cannot all be stopped. And it only takes one hitting an energy core to turn those tightly packed ships into tightly packed bombs. Ship one gets destroyed. Its reactor stack goes critical and takes out the ships nearest it. They then go critical... the chain reaction will cascade through several ships. Not all, as the formation probably isn't that tight. But a few. If your gun array is firing a few million rounds a minute, the enemy will lose significant ships before they can even begin to calculate where the guns are stationed.

So, initial volley of 30 seconds. Then 25% of the guns begin maneuvering to prevent counter fire. This slows their fire rates and reduces their accuracy while on the move. But they are still firing back. Meanwhile, another 25% shift their targets from main ships to counter-fire, attempting to disrupt inbound weapons (if a laser strikes a rail-gun projectile, that laser won't strike your gun ships). At some random interval between two minutes and five minutes, you shift which block of ships are on maneuvers and which are on counter fire. Again, use random timing so the AI can't predict where the new focus will be coming from.

If you can build enough of these gun ships, you can even begin to build three-dimensional crossfire scenarios where the AI must defend against attacks from multiple vectors. This will further reduce their defensive abilities.

And, because you have eschewed the modern laser weapons systems, the AI will have to develop all new algorithms for how to counter this attack. Your first battle will be a complete success. The second battle will be harder. The third harder still. So you'll need to expand your gun ship arsenal and make more complex, harder to predict, tactics as the AI learns how to react to this new threat. It will take them even longer to develop the appropriate counter measures (new shielding, counter-fire batteries, etc.) and to then deploy them.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To borrow from Stargate - advanced race: "We would never have thought to defeat them by propelling matter with a chemical reaction." ... later on they come back for help - human: "So you need someone dumber than you again?" $\endgroup$
    – Loduwijk
    Mar 30, 2017 at 23:36

The fleet is run by an AI, and this AI was originally made by humans.

You use your small fleet to run and gun and keep the AI busy.

While doing that, assemble a team worthy of a book/movie deal to:

  1. Find the original AI program specification in an archive on old Earth
  2. Determine where the AI currently is physically based.
  3. Either:

    1. If 2. shows you that the AI has one core, it'll be a hard disk somewhere. Send an infiltration team to wipe that disk and replace with a modified program that makes everyone friends.

    2. If 2. shows that the AI has distributed copies, work out how they keep in sync when one returns from a distant mission. Which version of the AI's decisions take priority and can order the other version around? Now your crack team captures or spoofs a version of the AI and programs it so that when it returns to the hive the rest of the AI thinks your version is the authoritative version - maybe it has returned with key new information that the rest of the hive must act on and so your tame AI starts giving orders. You make sure those orders result in the whole fleet flying to Sagitarius A*, or just leaving the galaxy on a 1 way trip to nowhere.

  4. Now you have won.


Step 1: Foundries building copies of the super-death-ray-gun, but with extra shielding and some missile countermeasures. Make sure these foundries are as secret as possible, and as far on the back line as possible, and hope like hell the AI doesn't get there before you're done.

Step 2: Try to form a wall of defenses around the "front line" of planets, and run a collapsing defense - let them take the planets, but make sure they're slowed down. This is a delaying tactic to allow the foundries time to work.

Step 3: Once the foundries have pounded out enough copies, assemble the copies into a multi-layered spherical formation.

Step 4: Warp the death-ray ball into the middle of the enemy's fleet, and have everyone on the outside open fire. The inside starts opening fire when the outside gets destroyed. Start the formation spinning along at least two axes of rotation, to ensure that no AI ship survives the encounter.

Step 5: When all AI ships in the vicinity have been thoroughly shredded, warp the death-ray ball into the next biggest cluster of AI ships.

Step 6: Repeat until the AI's fleet has been removed, replenishing the death-ball with more ships and building new death-balls when possible.

  • $\begingroup$ The only problem is, that powering those things to a penetrating level... after all, these are hadron colliders, turned into weapons. $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2017 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ Then duplicate whatever magical power source is powering the mini-collider in the super ship along with the death ray. $\endgroup$
    – Jacob
    Mar 8, 2017 at 22:03

What about Option 3?


The great computer is logical, isn't it? Its goal is "protect humanity from destroying itself", right? In other words it is still protective of humanity, no?

Then it should realise that the parameters of the problem have just radically changed. The biggest threat of humanity is no longer humanity itself - it is the existence of these aliens with far advanced weaponry, who have shown a willingness to interfere. The plan to establish low tech ghettos no longer make sense, because it simply increases humanity's vulnerability to this other advanced alien race.

Consider the spaceship technology: it is a terrifying threat to the milky way. Any individual planet can be sniped from great distances with no way to defend against it. How many of them do these aliens have? We don't know do we?

Given the whole premise of this war has just become incredibly tenuous, there should be an immediate ceasefire until these other aliens are investigated.

  • $\begingroup$ Sadly, just as his master, the greater computer is completely mad. It was in winning position, yet it would have destroyed a whole planet, with billions of innocent civilians on it, just because the already pwned enemy didn't want to submit. What an arschloch . Isn't it? $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2017 at 13:56

Shield your planets

1) Just throw all your stuff into shielding planets by unpenetrable shield, stack all your ships inside.

2) Build even bigger fleet than enemy and progress technologically.

3) Drop the shield and kill everything.

  • $\begingroup$ In three days? $\endgroup$
    – user
    Mar 30, 2017 at 7:28
  • $\begingroup$ The thing is that if you have shielding technology, you can erect it kinda fast and then you delay the fight by how long shield is up. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2017 at 9:38

Depending on the Federation's numbers, your chances for victory by brute force would vary, going around 0 percent and two percent (These were not calculated).

It basically means brute force is not an option.

Assuming that your ships and the Great Computer's ships are on other ends of the Milky Way, and you both are using FTL drives, once your three day headstart ends, you still have a few more days before the first laser is fired.

However, if both fleets and their bases are only half the Milky Way across from each other, you would still have a few days before you lose your precious humans.

Either way, making a defensive stand until the AI's fleets have been halved might be your best option.

Ally with other nations, heavily shield your planets, upgrade your ships and defence platforms, get those resource generators running, and amass your fleets, half inside the protective shield, half outside the shield, do whatever else you might need to do, etc.

Once scanning outposts detect the AI's fleet, immediately charge up all your weapons and shield, then wait.

Since the AI you said is "logical," it would either, once it arrives at your bases:

  1. Surround your planets and attack

  2. Declare a truce for short, heated negotiations

Either way, both logical options would result in war.

Since you are making a defensive stand, you would have you defence platforms at your command. Use those well.

If you fail to defend successfully, game over. IF you manage to hold out, then the Great Computer would most likely order a full scale routing.

With the AI's ships considerably damaged, you might want to take a day or two to party and repair. Once that's done, your best bet would be to launch your own assault. If you do this, you'll have to travel quick before the Great Computer can make repairs and generate a defence. Once the battle begins, railguns and fighters would prove crucial.

Depending on how fast the AI's ships can recharge their shields, you might be able to slip a few lasers, plasma bullets, or other high-damage weapons bound for the engines. With that, many of the AI's remaining ships would be destroyed.

At the same time, try to locate the source of the Great Computer. Once you do that and destroy it, you have won.

Not really a Great Computer anymore, eh?


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .