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Aleksei, what they'd gain from keeping up the illusion is the knowledge of where the rest of humanity is. They have to coordinate their attack so that the humans don't have a chance to cut off the rest of their starline network. If the humans figure out what's up, they can mess up the short-term plans of the SH, even if they can't win an all out war.


mcow, I might also assign a rather high probability to the Superhappies having just made everything up as a lie, were it not for their choice to blow up the Babyeaters while leaving the humans to return home.

For all we know, the Babyeaters don't exist. That entire scenario may have been invented by the Super Happies just to make the humans easier to manipulate. If so, it certainly worked pretty well, don't you think? Also, remember Akon's thoughts on seeing the BE solution to withstanding the radiation:

the mirror-shielding seemed a distinctly inferior solution. Unless that's what they want us to think...

I'm really beginning to think that the SH are predators who caused this nova to use it as bait. The BE are there because the SH have found that it sets up a nice prisoner's dilemma situation for a large variety of meta-ethics systems. The target comes in, and the BE ship immediately transmits a fabricated archive (or maybe a real archive; the BE may have existed at some point). The SH know that tit for tat is a highly effective (and therefore probably common) strategy, and therefore their prey will feel obligated to send data back to the BE. The SH then use this data to determine exactly how to manipulate the prey - for humans, they used "super happy", but had they been preying on, by way of example, Vulcans, they would have used "ultimate understanding" or something. Meanwhile, the prey wear themselves out trying to figure out what to do about the BE. After a day or so, the prey are ripe for the pickin'.

Maybe I'm wrong, but if there's even a 1% chance that I'm right, I don't think the crew of the Impossible can take the risk.

It seems far too possible that the Super Happies are not telling the whole story here. For all Akon and his crew know, virtually everything the SH have told them is a lie crafted to minimize their resistance so that the SH can either enslave them or destroy them and take over their starline network. Several of the SH's actions have been fairly suspicious - for example, they seemed awfully quick to give up on diplomacy with the Babyeaters. Also, "several weeks" seems like an implausibly short amount of time for even a highly advanced technological force to pull off the kinds of changes the SH have planned for the BE. Conversely, it does not seem as implausible a time frame for destroying/enslaving the BE. Suspicious, I tell you. The facts fit either hypothesis about equally, except that I'm not entirely convinced that a species which truly eliminated pain would survive twenty years.

The fact that Akon and the gang don't appear to have even considered this possibility leads me to agree with the Confessor's apparent conclusion that the crew is no longer sane.

At this point, humanity has totally failed at interstellar diplomacy. The SH know about humanity now, and at the rate they are developing, they will probably be able to find us within a few centuries even if the Impossible destroys the local star. The only acceptable solution I see is to follow the SH ship and hope that they can find a nova-able star in/near the SH home system.

I didn't realize that the mention of Akon worrying about his lipstick was going to be so important. I really like how subtly the (at least partial) reversal of sexual roles is implied here.