During the climactic confrontation at the end of Betrayer of Worlds:

Achilles' attacks Kl'mo with a pair of relativistic planet-busters. Such weapons are difficult to defend against because 1) they travel close to the speed of light, and 2) they release enormous amounts of energy upon impact, thanks to their speed.

With hyperdrive, one could catch up to the missiles and "hyperdrive them away". But Ol't'ro solve this problem after the missiles enter gravitational singularity of the system, where hyperdrive no longer works.

We are told that Achilles saw a bright flash when the missiles were "taken care of", and then a fast moving object showed up close to his ship.

How did Ol't'ro handle this attack? Did they figure out that hyperdrive does work inside of gravitation wells, just like Tunesmith realized in Ringworld's Children?

  • Perhaps the first paragraph should be under the spoiler markup? – neilfein Jun 30 '11 at 2:12
  • @neilfein The entire question is just one big spoiler including the title. I avoided telling the outcome in that first paragraph, so it wouldn't show up in the question page summary. If you think it could be arranged better, I don't mind you editing the question if you feel it really needs the spoiler markup. – R. Martinho Fernandes Jun 30 '11 at 6:01
  • Okay, done. Spoiler text still shows up when you view the question summaries, but this should help. – neilfein Jun 30 '11 at 13:45

My understanding was that Ol't'ro had a number of ships at relativistic speeds heading into the system on likely approach vectors, and was jumping them back out via hyperdrive before the singularity. Thus they kept heading in, and could jump to a vector back at a reasonably close speed to intercept, once detected.

Thus once detected, jump to about the right spot to intercept, come out with real space speed close enough to do something about it, and intercept. That last part can happen inside the singularity if timed right.

PS: Now i have to go re-read Ringworlds Children as I do not remember that aspect!

  • 1
    I am reading all of the Ringworld novels back to back and finished Betrayer of Worlds the day before yesterday. @geoffc is correct with one small addition. Upon detection of the relativistic missiles all of the players are outside the singularity, enabling hyperwave radar and instantaneous communication/reaction. Ol't'ro had (correctly) reasoned that intruders would have relativistic speed and had numerous probes at that speed but varying directions, hopping them around in hyperspace outside the singularity. He selected probes on a cross-heading before the missiles entered the singularity. – user45485 Jun 2 '15 at 13:38

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