This is the kind of rampant speculation I was born to take part in. :)
>Assuming that RTtN/FoF/Blades remain
>canonically stable once the revamped Day of Infamy hits, I found
>myself randomly musing over Palpatine’s motivations regarding his role
>in destroying the Federation.
What makes you think Palpatine had any role in it whatsoever?
Palpatine is playing his own game, and his "role" in destroying the Federation may have been nonexistent. There's certainly little evidence that he was involved in any way with the Federation melting down.
Lest it be forgotten, Eidun Palpatine was a political enemy of Bill Clark. Two quotes:
Indeed, on the screen, the Honourable Eidun Palpatine, Senator
for the Outer Rim Territories, was declaiming pointedly that the Corps
could not be adequately controlled on the world of its origin, and now
it was asking for enforcement power -throughout the Federation?- The
patrician face of the Senator from Naboo was dark with disapproval as
he made his opposition to this notion known in the strongest possible
terms decorum would permit.
That's from S3M2, "Per Adua." And from the now-deprecated Day of Infamy:
"Gentlebeings of the Federation Senate and Assembly," the man
said, "I have received confirmation of the death of President Clark.
This is a sad day for the Federation." This was, of course, hogwash:
not even the Psi Cops, and there were many, in the room had any love
for Clark. If they had, they would not have been here at all.
It is far more likely, in my view, that Palpatine didn't need to participate actively in the destruction of the Federation. He simply took advantage of it when it happened.
For that matter, the Babylon Foundation and Gryphon still considered Palpatine to be worth the benefit of the doubt when he pulled his little stunt on Naboo. Consider these passages from "Road Movie" Part One:
"Sir!" said the operator. "Small starship entering the
system. IFF code makes it the International Police special envoy's
The telepath raised one thin eyebrow. "Indeed. Right on
time," he added, glancing at the bridge chronometer. "I'll say this
for them, they're punctual. Hail them and make sure they've got a
comfortable approach vector."
"The Federation fleet has interdicted communications and
dispatched an invasion force," said Amidala.
"What about the Babylon Foundation envoys?"
"According to Senator Palpatine, they never arrived," Amidala
replied. The Queen's eyes reproached Achika; she was an agent of the
Babylon Foundation herself, in a way, and the Queen apparently felt
that the Foundation had betrayed her.
"That's impossible," said Achika. "I spoke with Admiral
Hutchins yesterday evening. His agents were to arrive this morning.
Experts of Justice are -never- late."
When he heard about what was happening out on the Rim, Hutchins didn't send a fleet, or a TacDiv strike team. He sent envoys.
This says, to me, that Ben thought highly enough of Palpatine to give him the benefit of the doubt, and to send Experts of Justice to treat with him openly, the way you'd do so with an honorable, reasonable man you think you can talk down. Ben makes his share of mistakes, but he's not dumb: so I consider this more evidence that Palpatine was thought of throughout the Federation as a political enemy of Bill Clark and viewed as a Federation loyalist.
>The following list details the assets that Palpatine walked away with
>that we’ve seen on-screen:
>•Some undefined fraction of the Electronic Arts, I mean Earth
>Alliance/Federation Psi Corp
>•Some undefined fraction of EA/Federation war fighting material
> o An as yet undefined force of current generation EA/Federation
> o A similarly undefined ground force
>•Other assets not yet seen on-screen
Sounds about right, yeah.
>If we consider the Psi Corp remnant, while I’m sure Palpatine ensured
>that he abs combed with a cadre of talented Psi Corp agents, the
>destruction of the EA lost him the entirety of the Psi Corp support
>structure; its training centers, support personnel, and perhaps most
>importantly its recruiting base.
Much of which he can probably reconstitute in short order. Plenty of shoestring operations in UF are capable of being serious threats, and telepaths are no jokes.
>If we consider the purely military force, I think Palpatine is even
>more screwed. Every EA/Federation v IPO ship-to-ship action we’ve
>seen has led to a loss by the EA. These results indicate that the EA
>and the Federation as a whole had failed in its attempt to build a
>military force that could even approach, let alone equal, that of the
Yes and no.
In terms of hardware, the EA and the Federation had stuff that was comparable to what the IPO/WDF could bring to the table. They didn't have their flashy Zetan overtechnology or other such neat things, but Ben himself acknowledges the Federation Starfleet Galaxy-class (and it's EA equivalent, the Nova-class) as being directly competitive with their IPO/WDF counterparts.
It is true that every clash we've seen has resulted in a humiliating loss by the EA. This doesn't have anything to do with the quality of their hardware. There are two other reasons.
The first is quality of personnel. The fights we usually see don't involve average Captains; they involve James T. Kirk. Utena Tenjou. Amanda Dessler and Rina Dragonaar and their Romulan badasses. Etc. These people are superlatively good at what they do and are the ultimate force multipliers.
And on top of THAT, the Earth Alliance is increasingly being run by its political officers, which means the good people they do have (and I'd remind you that they exist; John Sheridan is out there, and the as-yet-unidentified guy in charge of that EA task force in "Renegades of Paragon" sounded like he might not be a COMPLETE muppet) can't operate at full capacity. Hanna Davidson, who was in command at Tau City, was operating with one hand tied behind her back.
The second reason is that we usually only see the EA when they fight Our Heroes, and usually Our Heroes are gonna kick ass and take names. :)
>For all intents and purpose, Palpatine’s blockade force around Naboo
>was driven off by 1) one Lord of the Great Machines, 2) one Great
>Alfheim Cat Dragon, 3) one Mandalorian super-weapon, 4) a handful of
>Force users, and 5) a completely outnumbered/out-classed local
>militia. This outcome indicates that his entire force is essentially
>useless against any of the other interstellar powers.
Well... yeah. If Palpatine could go toe to toe with the other major interstellar powers he would be doing that.
>So why did he bother?
Because he didn't know all those things would be there? All Palpatine was expecting to encounter on your list was the completely outnumbered and outclassed local militia, which, in fact, he kicked the ass of rather handily. Had someone told him all that other shit would be there, he likely wouldn't have engaged.
The reason he "bothered" with Naboo is because he wanted that Mandalorian superweapon for himself. This is a sensible thing; Mandalorian superweapons are pretty awesome. If you could big one up cheap, why wouldn't you?
>Speculation the first: Palpatine, being a Sith Lord, decided that the
>chaos inherent in destroying the Federation was a worthy goal in and
Again, I don't really think he had a hand in that.
>But good Sith Lords don’t’ desire mere chaos, but
>long-term complete control. Borrowing from old-school AD$D alignment
>terminology, I’ve always felt that the real Sith Lords were the actual
>embodiment of the Lawful Evil box.
This is emphatically NOT the case in the UF universe. You can be a Sith Lord and both 1) not evil, and 2) not a control freak. Rianna is a Sith Lord and her moral compass is set firmly on green. (And unlike Vader, she managed to achieve that without becoming a war criminal in the process.)
>Speculation the second: Palpatine believed that his purloined forces
>would be effective enough to secure a pocket empire in the Outer Rim
>from which he could begin rebuilding the Santovasku Empire, or at
>least his image of what that empire looked like.
This seems to be more accurate. There's a lot of space out on the Rim it's easy to vanish into. Hell, there's a lot of space to vanish into period; even highly-trafficed areas of space still have lush M-class worlds ripe for the taking even after hudnreds of years of being surveyed. Liza Shustal picks up one for her very own, for example.
>In RTtN, we get that
>famous paraphrased line, ‘Everything is proceeding as I have
>foreseen’. Palpatine, via his Force visions, has foreseen that he
>will rise like a phoenix to galactic overlordship. RToN and the
>events seen so far in FoF would indicate that he had grossly
>misunderstood his visions.
Force visions are notoriously unreliable. Canon-Palpatine did a lot of farseeing himself, and it didn't save him from getting the shaft from Vader. The Force shows you what MIGHT be, and it's colored by your own perceptions.
>Speculation the third: The Force was actively lying to Palpatine for
>its own purposes.
This seems super unlikely.
>I don’t like any of the three above threads.
Well, to tie my own reading of things together, I'd say that the simplest explanation makes the most sense; Palpatine saw the Federation's crash-and-burn coming and arranged things so that he'd end up with his own vest-pocket empire at the end.
Nothing wrong with that. You can go very, very far in the galaxy with your own small fleet and a loyal cadre of people with parapsychic talents. Look at Big Fire, they do pretty okay.