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Old 02-26-2011, 09:04 AM
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Default How Many Humans were at Hell's Gate?

How many humans were at Hell's Gate? Even more so, what was the composition of personnel at Hell's Gate.

From the few shots we see, I get the impression that Hell's Gate is not a very large base. In fact its quite tiny. Right as Jake leaves the shuttle, we see a view of Hell's gate at eye level.



The edge of the base is not far off. The perimeter fence and trees are fairly close by off in the distance. A few moments earlier as the shuttle was landing, you can see that the landing pad was at the other end of the base. In short, this view is from one side of the fence to the other side.

Pandorapedia also contains this basic diagram of Hell's Gate:



I happen live next to an air force base and its approximately 30km squared in area containing over 6,500 people. If we take those demographics and scale it to the size of Hell's Gate we reach a figure of about 1,700 individuals.

1,700 personnel sounds about right. Out of those 1,700 I would hazard a guess that about 300 are military personnel. Out of those 300, many would be mechanics, medics, air traffic controllers, and command personnel so the actual number of actual front line soldiers is quite small. In the final battle for the Tree of Souls, it seems as if Quaritch committed about 120 men on the ground (a single company) and about 40 aircraft (another 120 men perhaps). Considering that some military personnel would have to be left behind at Hell's Gate to watch the perimeter, it would have been necessary to draft miners.

What does everyone else think?
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:00 AM
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I agree with your 1,700 assessment. But then, you could say Hell's Gate is really a giant base for Pandora. Normal military bases on earth have sanctioned zoning and government oversight, but Hell's Gate was built on a foreign moon. At the time of construction, there was probably hardly any knowledge of what they were environmentally up against, making the base-building quite limited, and very hard to set up.

If you think about it, the area of the base is quite an accomplishment, especially for a first try.
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:20 PM
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Thanks for this, Banefull, it's a great reference.

I would actually guess less than 1,700 personnel, if you scaled based on area with your airforce base as a reference. A lot of the area in Hell's Gate is taken up by things that you wouldn't see on a normal military base on earth, such as the shuttle pad, the manufacturing plant, the unobtanium refinery, the greenhouses, the avatar complex, etc (then again, I don't know that much about military bases, so maybe some of these things do have analogous counterparts). I think I have an image file somewhere that I can upload, that shows the layout of Hell's Gate... I remember the "habmod" buildings where people actually live being quite small relative to the total area of the base.

As for the personnel breakdown, my guess would be that the miners comprise the largest contingent, followed by SecOps, followed by the scientists.

Among the scientists, I am quite confident that there are no more than 10 avatar-drivers. (There are exactly 10 link-pods in the link room, and exactly 10 bunks in the longhouse.) I'm guessing that for every avatar-driver, there's maybe one or two additional scientists that don't have avatars. So maybe 20 - 40 scientists.
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:36 PM
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Here's the Hell's Gate layout image I mentioned:



It's kind of hard to read the labels, but the little yellow buildings that form an arrow-head formation is where people actually live and work. They include conmod, habmods 1-3, scimod, genmod, and something I can't quite make out. On the left, you can see how they fit in with the rest of the base.

In banefull's first picture, the building on the left appears to me to be CONMOD. I think the blue barbell-shaped thing in the hell's gate layout is the shuttle pad.
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:50 AM
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I actually would be surprised if the population of Hell's Gate was more than a 1000 - a) most of the base is taken up by hangars and the airfield and the plant-to-make-things (forget what it is actually called) and b) a lot of things would be mechanical/automated in the future. Far more than now. So you wouldn't actually NEED that many people - and they are probably running at fewer staff than optimal, because that's what businesses tend to do. Also, refer to Wainfleet being both Trudy's gunner AND in charge of the unit of AMP-suit drivers. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot of double-ups like that, pilots also being mechanics, etc.

I do agree with the miners/admin, then secops, then scientists break down, though.

Two things to remember - Quaritch roped in a lot of the miners for the final battle, and those who were left at the base had to all fit on the ISV Venture Star (unless the too-wounded-to-go were left at the base). I THINK I read somewhere that the Venture Star transports a hundred people to and then from Pandora, but I'm not 100% sure.
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sothis View Post
Thanks for this, Banefull, it's a great reference.

I would actually guess less than 1,700 personnel, if you scaled based on area with your airforce base as a reference. A lot of the area in Hell's Gate is taken up by things that you wouldn't see on a normal military base on earth, such as the shuttle pad, the manufacturing plant, the unobtanium refinery, the greenhouses, the avatar complex, etc (then again, I don't know that much about military bases, so maybe some of these things do have analogous counterparts). I think I have an image file somewhere that I can upload, that shows the layout of Hell's Gate... I remember the "habmod" buildings where people actually live being quite small relative to the total area of the base.

As for the personnel breakdown, my guess would be that the miners comprise the largest contingent, followed by SecOps, followed by the scientists.

Among the scientists, I am quite confident that there are no more than 10 avatar-drivers. (There are exactly 10 link-pods in the link room, and exactly 10 bunks in the longhouse.) I'm guessing that for every avatar-driver, there's maybe one or two additional scientists that don't have avatars. So maybe 20 - 40 scientists.
A lot of space is indeed devoted to other things. In this picture below, you can see that a lot of space is taken up by the tarmac itself and the reprocessing plant in the background



I would imagine that the open areas used for recreation by the avatars, training for secops, and gardens for botanical studies would take a up a lot of space also.

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Originally Posted by Ashen Key View Post
a lot of things would be mechanical/automated in the future. Far more than now. So you wouldn't actually NEED that many people - and they are probably running at fewer staff than optimal, because that's what businesses tend to do.
Even though this is the future, I think that many basic tasks are still done the old fashioned way. While automation is definitely a capability, more technology isn't always better as the best solutions are often the simplest. If a Sampson needs a new coat of paint, then someone is probably out there with a power sprayer painting it. If theres a mess on the floor, someone is probably cleaning it up with a mop. Even in the future, custom built things would not be cheap. Its mass production which drives the costs of things down. The cost to build, transport, and install dozens of automated systems would tower above the cost having a few individuals do it the old fashioned way. But as you said here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashen Key View Post
Also, refer to Wainfleet being both Trudy's gunner AND in charge of the unit of AMP-suit drivers. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot of double-ups like that, pilots also being mechanics, etc.
Many menial tasks are simply performed by everyone without the need for additional personnel. If you're a mechanic, then you are probably doing kitchen duty and other basic tasks here and there for a few days.

--------------------------------------------

I guess this comes down to how many people can fit in the habmod. If you look at a floorplan for an air raid shelter, you can fit thousands of individuals into a rather small space complete with bunks and storage facilities. The sleeping quarters would most likely contain rows of double bunk beds next to each other. Private rooms would be reserved for the top levels of management only. Its not hard to imagine a building with six floors holding well over a thousand personnel.

Edit: Another thing that I thought of is that not everyone needs to fit in the habmod at once. At any given time, you have some people who are rotating shifts out on the tarmac doing their jobs, watching the perimeter, etc. It may very well be possible that the habitation module may only be designed to hold only those who are off duty.

In my opinion, the most conservative estimate would be about 800 or 900 individuals whereas the most liberal estimate would be about 2000 individuals. Right now I am thinking of somewhere between 1,300 and 1,600 people inhabit Hell's Gate.

Last edited by Banefull; 02-27-2011 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:21 AM
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Many menial tasks are simply performed by everyone without the need for additional personnel. If you're a mechanic, then you are probably doing kitchen duty and other basic tasks here and there for a few days.
Actually, I imagine a lot of the ACTUAL mechanics are too busy maintaining things - from here:

Quote:
An older aircraft needs a mind-boggling 40 to 60 man-hours of maintenance per hour of flight. A newer aircraft like an F/A-18 will have "only" about six hours for every flight hour ... but that number goes up as the fleet ages.

Try to picture a video game or an old G.I. Joe play set from your childhood that featured this (real) maintenance schedule: You wash the plane every 14 days and take the panels off and hand-wipe interior of the plane every 28 days. You do flight control maintenance every 56 days, and take everything apart once a year. And don't forget phase inspections for metal fatigue, the independent inspections by military higher-ups, the conditional inspections after the plane has had a hard landing, the engine inspections after every 150 and 300 flight hours, inspections of the flight recorder after every 10 flight hours ... and that's on a plane that's working perfectly. This isn't even touching on the time spent fixing sh*t that breaks.
From my understanding, a lot of the aircraft on Pandora are a couple decades old, at least. As well as all the Samsons and gunships, you also have all the AMP suits, all the mining equipment...I can see more people pitching in to help the mechanics, rather than the mechanics having time to do other things.

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I guess this comes down to how many people can fit in the habmod. If you look at a floorplan for an air raid shelter, you can fit thousands of individuals into a rather small space complete with bunks and storage facilities. The sleeping quarters would most likely contain rows of double bunk beds next to each other. Private rooms would be reserved for the top levels of management only. Its not hard to imagine a building with six floors holding well over a thousand personnel.
They are there for six years (or so I get from one of Norm's comment, but even if other people have shorter tours, it makes sense that they are there for years) - I think everyone has at least a private room. More apartment type things might be saved for the upper management. Remember, the personnel are there for years. They need to be kept semi-happy and sane, and able to interact with everyone else.
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:08 AM
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Oooh, another clue that I just remembered... the script seems to imply that all of the personnel are able to fit in the commissary where Quaritch gives his briefings and speech. They're pretty packed in, granted, but it's described as "all hands on deck" so I'm guessing most if not all of them fit. Plus, as Ash said, they all have to fit on the shuttle, and in the second-to-last scene, it doesn't look like there are THAT many people.

I'm going to peg it at a couple hundred. Maybe 100 at the bare minimum, 600 max. I think more than 100 passengers could fit in the Valkyrie if it wasn't carrying any cargo.
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Fourteen years after the war, a lone spaceship appears in the sky. The former members of the Avatar program watch its approach expecting the worst, fearing for their adopted home. Then the ship lands. And suddenly, nothing makes sense anymore.

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This is a different kind of Jake/Neytiri romance, the story that would've unfolded had she been delayed for just five seconds while trying to reach him following the fight with Quaritch.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashen Key View Post
I actually would be surprised if the population of Hell's Gate was more than a 1000 - a) most of the base is taken up by hangars and the airfield and the plant-to-make-things (forget what it is actually called) and b) a lot of things would be mechanical/automated in the future. Far more than now. So you wouldn't actually NEED that many people - and they are probably running at fewer staff than optimal, because that's what businesses tend to do. Also, refer to Wainfleet being both Trudy's gunner AND in charge of the unit of AMP-suit drivers. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot of double-ups like that, pilots also being mechanics, etc.
Well said, I mostly agree here.

Well, the ISV carries around 200 passengers, plus crew. For the sake of convenience, if we assume ALL the scientists stayed, then that gives 200 people, excluding them. Equally, we could assume all the marines who went with Quaritch died and only the few that remained at Hell's Gate survived (we can see 2-3 getting onto the shuttle), then the remaining ~200 people would be enough for the miners, maintenance staff and control room staff. As mentioned above, people seem to do more than one job, and we already know that passenger and cargo transport is extremely expensive so it would make sense to keep numbers as low as practical.
As for passengers on the shuttle, it is mentioned that a shuttle can carry up to 100 passengers with two loads of cargo in a single trip, or six with no passengers (which seems about right with the numbers seen at the start with cargo in the middle), so presumably it took two trips to load everyone onto the ISV.

Since the shuttle can carry up to 100 people and cargo, then the AMPsuits in the attack were in the cargo section, there are 12 of them in total (6 from the dragon, 6 from the shuttle), plus marines from the shuttle and perhaps 30 more getting off the Samsons. Each scorpion and Samson has one pilot, plus two in the shuttle, while each samson dropped off what could be assumed to be 5-6 marines, so there were maybe 140-150 marines, of which it can be safely assumed that the vast majority of which were killed. For the avatar drivers, there are 10 links in the main link room, in addition to mobile sites, and while it wasn't shown at 100% utilisation, they will be doing other things as well, so I would guess 10-15 avatar drivers, plus maybe 20-30 support staff. Either way, both of those groups can be ruled out for returning as mentioned above.
Other than that, maybe 100 total general/maintenance staff could be considered a plausible number, maybe another 75 for mining (since it is largely automated and they just drive vehicles), leaving around 25 control room staff, all still fitting into a return ISV.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sothis View Post
Here's the Hell's Gate layout image I mentioned:



It's kind of hard to read the labels, but the little yellow buildings that form an arrow-head formation is where people actually live and work. They include conmod, habmods 1-3, scimod, genmod, and something I can't quite make out. On the left, you can see how they fit in with the rest of the base.

In banefull's first picture, the building on the left appears to me to be CONMOD. I think the blue barbell-shaped thing in the hell's gate layout is the shuttle pad.
Here's a better version:


Not all of the buildings are for habitation, most like the science buildings and the vehicle maintenance ones will only be used for specific functions. The blue area is for the shuttle (presumably landing within the circles) and the greenish area is for helicopters.
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Old 02-27-2011, 02:50 PM
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I'm guessing it's in the 1,500 to 2,000 range. Doing a freeze-frame of the RDA helicopter armada I count about 85 helicopters (I figured it would be about 40-50 before I did the count, so I was kind of surprised) plus the Dragon and the shuttle. So, if half are Sampsons and half Scorpions, that's 85 pilots and about 80 door gunners. The Dragon had a crew of 5 or 6 I'm guessing and there had to have been at least 40 people on the shuttle between crew, gunners on top, and all those guys in the cargo bay. So, that's over 200 people just manning the air vehicles. If the Sampsons could carry five soldiers then that's around 200 infantry from them, another 30-40 aboard the Shuttle and about 20 AMP suits (there were 9 that came down from the Dragon and probably 10-12 on the shuttle. So, the entire attack force, air and ground comes out to around 500. Apparently some of the infantry were miners, although I'm guessing not all that many. Probably most of the miners-converted-to-militia were used to man the Hell's Gate defenses rather than sent on the attack. Now all those helicopters and AMP suits, as noted, need a lot of maintenance and while some of that could have been done by their crews, there would have to be a few hundred dedicated mechanics (who probably also helped service the mining equipment). And like any bureacracy, SECOPS will need some administrative people. So, all told, I'm guessing that SECOPS has about 600 personnel. The mining operations--which are the whole reason for base--probably have 800-1000 people. That's just a guess, but it is the primary activity and it has to run 24 hours a day. When you include the refinery and all the basic infrastructure of the base I could easily see 1000 people. Add in a few hundred scientists, administrative people and support (one has to wonder how they keep all those troopers 'entertained'? Is there a base brothel?) and you are approaching 2,000.

So yeah, 1,500 to 2,000 would be my guess.
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:11 PM
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That makes no sense in terms of them all leaving though. In effect, we know that the number of survivors is 200 at most, and for that reason it makes the most practical sense to assume that all the marines were killed and all the scientists stayed. The vast majority of Hell's Gate is not inhabitable, with the number and size of buildings present (as well as infrastructure for food and similar), there is no way 1000 people could live there.
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:23 PM
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"A few hundred" scientists seems like waaaay too many, to me. The unobtainium is the RDA's raison d'etre on Pandora, and the science efforts are secondary to that. Considering the expense of transporting the personnel, I don't think there would be a single scientist more than is necessary to support the mining operations (geologists, meteorologists, etc) and to look good for PR back on Earth (research scientists). I'd say 50 scientists max, and perhaps as few as 20.

Also, I don't think there would many people whose sole function is to be an administrative bureaucrat. It's not like a normal earth-based business where you need finance people, accounting people, payroll, HR, marketing people, PR people, etc. Any job description that is not essential to operations would be cut, I'd think, and people multi-task as necessary to take care of the paper-pushing aspects. Corporate governance is probably handled by Selfridge and a few assistants.

A brothel is right out. C'mon, a society that has invented psionic linking has got to have virtual-reality sex by then, right? :-p Anyway, the cost of transporting people is so high that you can't even get a ride back to Earth if you're in the middle of your contract and get a disease that's not treatable on Pandora - you get euthanized instead. You really think they're going to budget seats for prostitutes?

I like your estimates for the attack force, though (thaaaank you for doing a count on the # of helicopters; that's very useful). My only disagreement is that it seems to me a fairly sizable percentage of the final battle attack force were miners. In the deleted Selfridge vs Quaritch scene, you see weapons and equipment being distributed to miners, and you hear Quaritch giving orders to someone to spread the miners around, and of course, we hear Selfridge tantrum-ing that Quaritch isn't allowed to turn the miners into a militia. And given the all-out nature of the attack, I think every miner on base would've been conscripted. So I think the 500 figure you added up would include most of SecOps AND most of the miners. I'd say that it also includes any "dedicated mechanics," as they'd be at least as combat-ready as the miners. And I think everyone participates in equipment maintenance... note Wainfleet performing maintenance on Trudy's Samson.

But now we know that 500 is minimum figure... I'm going to revise my range to 550 - 800 people. I don't think there could've been that many people left behind on the base when Quaritch went off to attack the ToS, considering that Max was able to seize control with just a slash-cutter and 5-7 avatars.

Random other notes: Some of the attack force do survive, as we see troops being extracted (with difficulty) in one of the deleted scenes. We also see wounded people boarding the shuttle. Also, I don't think it's true that all of the scientists stay. In the script version of Jake's voice-over he says "A few chose to stay. Fewer were chosen." Which seems to suggest that not everyone who wanted to stay was allowed... I'd guess that "sanctuary" was only granted to those who were unquestionably allied with the Na'vi and risked everything to seize control of the base. So Max and the avatar-drivers who attacked the control room get to stay, as their lives would be in danger if they couldn't. The other scientists can deny their involvement if they need to... even if they helped Max break into the link room, nobody can prove that. And I don't think Jake would let anyone stay unless he was confident the person couldn't ever betray them.

EDIT: Awesome, HNM, thanks for the image file! It's much better than the one I had.
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How do you make up after you've done the unforgivable? Jake and Neytiri have a conversation in the wake of Hometree's destruction, during their first real moment alone following his return as Toruk Makto.

The Last Train Home
Fourteen years after the war, a lone spaceship appears in the sky. The former members of the Avatar program watch its approach expecting the worst, fearing for their adopted home. Then the ship lands. And suddenly, nothing makes sense anymore.

Five seconds too late
This is a different kind of Jake/Neytiri romance, the story that would've unfolded had she been delayed for just five seconds while trying to reach him following the fight with Quaritch.

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Old 02-27-2011, 06:25 PM
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Well, I said "Add in a few hundred scientists, administrative people and support". That's a few hundred for all three categories. That would include Selfridge's leggy secretary, the cooks in the mess hall, the guys who run the laundry, etc. etc. Hell's Gate is a more-or-less self-sufficient community and there are a certain number of jobs that must be done for it to function. We didn't see any evidence of robotic workers, so that means people. Plumbers, electricians and the guy who takes out the trash. Granted there would be a lot of people doing more than one job and I'd guess that 14-16 hour days would be the norm considering what they must be getting paid. But the higher-ranking people aren't going to be doing their own laundry (who's shining Quaritch's boots?) so there is probably a modest 'domestic staff' (who moonlight as prostitutes, perhaps As with any large organization, it would naturally tend to get larger with time. Department heads would demand more staff and while it would be a lot easier to turn down those demands on Pandora, there would still be an inevitable increase in the workforce. Another factor to consider is the plan to open the second mine under Hometree. That would call for more people and some of those might already be arriving.

Finally, Hell's Gate IS a community and the larger they can make it the more suvivable and stable it is going to be. Too low a population and you can start having friction developing among the workers with no way to remedy it. If some RDA psychologist was able to show that having a brothel would reduce fights among the miners by 22.3% then who know?
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:07 PM
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I can see Quaritch polishing his own boots *g*

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Finally, Hell's Gate IS a community and the larger they can make it the more suvivable and stable it is going to be. Too low a population and you can start having friction developing among the workers with no way to remedy it. If some RDA psychologist was able to show that having a brothel would reduce fights among the miners by 22.3% then who know?
*amused* the miners can't hook up with people at Hell's Gate? Trudy and Grace are hardly the only women there. I just can't see prostitutes there. I can, though, see a bit of a preference in the selection criteria for people who have more of a fluid sexuality and not big jealousy streaks as another way of helping to sort out that problem.

(That's part of the contemplation for a team to go Mars, so I'm not entirely pulling that one from thin air)

Also! It's a community, yes, BUT one that doesn't stay there for ever. People come, and people go - if they wanted to settle and grow organically, they'd allow children there, and from what I can see, they don't. So, it's more of a base than a colony.
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