Latest blog post: An unforseen hiatus. (2023-01-02)
Generally, methods of coverup used by Insectoids fall somewhere in the "nobody will notice if there's nobody to notice" range.
Technology actually might shaken the uncontacted culture less than actual alien contact. There's also a chance they'll rationalize it in some other way via the "it's never aliens" principle of scientific research. "Stop trying" might lead to even larger damage on top of what was already done, anyway.
The first time we saw a periodic radio signal from the sky, one of the theories was that it was a transmission from an alien civilization. Aliens here is a priori pretty unlikely, so no serious scientist is going to propose it without serious evidence, but it's hard to crash a shuttle without leaving serious evidence you're there and you're not local. Any scientist who looks at a crash site with unfamiliar technology and strange corpses and isn't willing to say it seems to be aliens is going to end up as a historical footnote about someone who was almost a household name.
There's a slogan from Schlock Mercenary that would seem to apply here: "Failure is not an option, it is mandatory. The option is whether to let failure be the last thing you do." At the end of the day, Zane is proposing to let failure be the last thing he does. The stealthy intrusion plan blew up in his face, and his current plan is to hide and let the mess his forces have created evolve and grow without his input.
Also a relevant SM quote: "I'm going to treat that comment as a humorous stab at your own exaggerated amorality, and then move on, if you don't mind."
Yeah... I am getting the impression he's more interested in his position than, well, managing the situation. Which is not unreasonable if his job is mainly to run the fleet. In which case, it feels like there is a missing cast member. Where is the fleet's second most qualified first contact expert? That person really should have been called to the bridge by now.
His job isn't to run the fleet. He has captains and department heads for that. As flag officer, his job is to command the fleet and make the hard decisions for it. An accident that threatens a mission objective is definitely his responsibility, as are subordinates being attacked and captured by hostiles.
Edit: as for the backup first contact expert, I think that's Hekaht.
Then he seems uninterested in commanding the fleet. I don't recall him dispatching SAR, or some subordinate doing it on his behalf. It feels like it's been a day or so since they got news of the shootdown, so unless he's going to retroactively say "I dispatched SAR, but didn't mention it before now" then again, he seems more interested in his position and reputation than commanding the fleet, or reacting appropriately to this incident.
Hekaht might fill that role, but the char sheet says he's an engineer, not a first contact specialist.
Yanno, I think part of Zane's problem is that he knows he was overindulgent toward Gharr earlier, and now he's overcompensating. Of course, even that is paying rather too much attention to Gharr, given that there are 7 other crewmates and a big steaming pile of interspecies politics involved.
And yeah, no SAR. The first meeting (a week ago) was hearing about the crash. Zane responded by ordering the Earth-orbit spysat to make a low-altitude recon pass to gather more information, and took no further action (which I thought was foolishly passive even then). Now that they have the results of that recon pass, they're arguing about whether they're going to attempt SAR at all, given that the natives they're not supposed to contact are now swarming all over everything that they might search for and rescue.
And yeah, I do think Hekaht is there in an unofficial capacity. Mostly just because he keeps getting invited to these meetings even though nobody's mentioning any engineering concerns.
And even if it wasn't traced back, there's no way the human forces would believe that it was anything but what it is: namely, an act of war launched without declaration of hostilities or any attempt at diplomacy, and one that shows a marked disregard for the lives of the aggressor's own people to boot. If that isn't a violation of the Directives, I dunno what is.
I think you have a point here. According to the info in the wiki, so far the civilizations met by the Alliance were either pre-industrial (which are left alone following the failed attempt to uplift the Silurans) or already spacefaring (the exception being the Laymaran that are a very special case). This makes sense: it is likely that the transition from pre-industrial to spacefaring (when it succeeds!) takes a relatively short time frame, so to meet a civilization that is undergoing said transition is unlikely to happen.
So the Alliance has no previous experience of such a situation... which is still a bad excuse for poor choices, I guess.
Thing is, when your experience is consistently of those of extremes, you won't plan for anything else because your understanding of the universe hasn't shown you otherwise.
Essentially, due to the fact that this 'either or' is all that the Alliance has seen, they can't really conceive of the idea that there are degrees between the extremes.
In essence, it's like trying to teach nuclear physics to classical Greeks. Their heads can't wrap around the idea because their understanding doesn't have the required background.
Eh, it's not quite that bad. They know perfectly well that there is an in-between stage, and that there's a finite chance they'll eventually run across a new species that's at that stage. They just didn't think it was likely, and that if it did happen they could just wait for it to reach the familiar spacefaring stage, so they didn't put in the effort to figure out how to actually deal with civs like that. Hence their unawareness of, say, how visible their shuttles are to ABM radars.
Even if they wanted to get rid of the evidence, a kinetic strike would be unlikely to get everything. "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" is a simple enough concept that it might be universal, and they would need to assume the natives might be following it. Precisely because an orbital strike (or simply an accident) could wipe out the bounty of new technology.
And again, if Zane wants to bring up military concepts like 'attacked our shuttle' then he really should also admit that the shuttle 'violated their airspace' and 'refused to identify itself'.