Week 49, 2019
The rules of warfare are universal.
In war, the ground you occupy and the ground you move into, the ground you had occupied and the ground you will occupy; the ground determines everything.
It is no different than farming, the soil must be prepared, watered, nurtured.
The tactician must think of ground as both something literal and something metaphorical. Ground is the field within which a conflict takes place.
There are many fields of activity leading up to actual combat.
War most often begins in the fields of commerce and politics, in those fields it is waged through trade, monetary policy, and diplomacy.
Ground can refer to an actual battlefield on land or at sea. Ground can be fixed or mobile. Ground can be the moving vectors of an aerial engagement.
In space combat ground is a metaphor for the matrix of complex actions occurring on multiple-intersecting planes. It is multidimensional.
In space combat everything is in motion, the ground itself is in constant flux.
The combat commander must be able to coordinate every variable, instantly calculating the logarithms in their head.
There were two types of commanders in the field.
The most common commander at the helm of an Imperial warship was a person who paid meticulous attention to detail, who planned everything. They allowed their computers to control their ships, to track and calculate the variables.
They maneuvered in preprogrammed patterns, coordinating their activities with the other vessels in the fleet, calling plays and trusting in the system.
The other type of commander had the cognitive skills to do the math themselves, they were bred and selected for their incredible memory, and their ability to manage vast amounts of data seemingly outside the constraints of time.
These commanders could, and did act on their intuition.
In the theatre of space combat, on the ZeroG battlefield, unified action was everything. It was a dance of the greatest complexity, victory required that both types of command; the long range planning of the strategists, and the intuitive sense of the tactician be employed effectively, to secure a victory while providing for the safety of the men and women under their command..
The battle that ensued above HomeWorld was quick, but brilliant.
The Imperial forces had no ability to manage the rebel assault, they had never planned for it and the bulk of their forces were obliterated in an instant.
Keeping their forces under central control and command, arrayed together as a unit required more than the physical controls; to move, to change vectors, to defend and to attack required communication, those communication systems were the first target of every engagement.
This left only the tacticians alive and in command of the Imperial fleet, they were the natural allies of the rebels, but those who had not come over to the side of the rebel forces already, they could not be trusted at this late date.
El had determined to wipe them all out.
His forces held to their plan.
When it was over, those remaining, the survivors, the victors were unsure of the next move.
Most of them never actually believed that they would get this far, but they had been willing to die trying.
It was brief and beautiful.
During the battle, in the dark space over the Central Planet, the flashing brilliance of energy weapons and the sudden conflagration of ships bursting into flame and then suddenly extinguished in the cold vacuum was followed by the absence of any light at all.
The onslaught lit the structure of HomeWorld, revealing to human eyes for the first time the wide expanse of the artificial world, more massive than the mind could imagine, completely swallowing its home-star, burning white-hot in its center, powering all of the systems of the Continuum, which it required to maintain the integrity of the Collective.
It was ominous.
Darkness once again shrouded the fleet, all of its ships soaring in formation over the enormous structure of HomeWorld, lighted only by the pulsing beacons of their ships.
As the pilots and command staff surveilled the Central system, they were shocked at what they saw.
The reality did not conform to any of their expectations.
They were bewildered.
The military victory had been complete, entirely lopsided.
The imperial forces had been utterly destroyed, making the rebel officers and the vessels under their command the only thing that remained of the Empire.
Communications began to come in from the throne world, confirming their ascendancy, informing them that they were secure in their belonging to a new order of civilization.
Everything was changing, shifting all the time and in every dimension of their life.
The only certain thing is the objective, and that was a target in motion.
In the theatre of ZeroG combat, there was no such thing as zero gravity, the label was a misnomer.
Gravitational fields were among the most important factors to consider in the shifting landscape of combat in space.
Manipulation of the forces of Gravity was absolutely crucial, understanding them, tracking their movement, anticipating their flux was vital to any mission commander.
There were batteries of instruments on every interstellar combat vessel devoted to the detection of gravitational waves and particles, and there were humans interpreting those signals, sending data to all of the smaller vessels under its command.
Combat took place in the vacuum of space, but any combat taking place in proximity to the gravitational field of planetary or astral bodies had to take precise measurement of their power, both to dampen and or accelerate inertia.
Gravity wells and singularities, could be generated artificially.
The generation of artificial mass were among the deadliest weapons in the imperial arsenal.
It took only moments for artificial mass to become actual mass by capturing nearby objects.
The tactical deployment of these devices and the navigation of them, were the keys to victory in deep space.
It could be catastrophic if deployed to close to a planet or a star.
In space everything is in motion.
Pilots of small craft and large and combat marines in mechanized battle gear, all of them study these principles day in and day out.
They drilled for it.
The text books informed them that ZeroG tactics had to be developed according to the following understanding: in the vacuum of space, when you are maneuvering and not subject to gravity, where there is no resistance, everything is in motion, everything is spinning, including the combat matrix.
The battlefield could not be conceptualized on a two-dimensional axis, on a horizontal and vertical plane.
It was a five-dimensional matrix that including the three dimensions of space, along with the dimensions of time and mass.
There is no straight line between you and your objective. Without the assistance of computerized telemetry, the pilot would have to be able to do the complex math in their head, in an instant, on an unconscious level.
Pilots were bred for these traits, but even so, in the intensity of battle, when the mind is flooded with the chemical signals for fear and rage, it was extremely difficult.
There is no clear path. The esteemed pilots had to trust their gut, their instincts.
Every object in the vicinity was tracked, data was constantly pouring into the onboard systems of individual craft, analyzed and simplified.
It is impossible to develop strategy in the absence of intelligence.
You cannot deploy tactics in the face of the unknown.
The majority of the High Command anticipated a prolonged engagement, believing they would have time to survey the field, gather data, and generate the information they needed to understand the peril they were facing, to configure what aid they could supply to the Central Planet.
They could not envision that the threat they were facing was military in nature, they knew too little.
The entire fleet did not launch, only the expeditionary forces, only the most lethal war ships bristling with the most exotic array of weaponry.
The High Command argued that they must proceed with maximum power, and that they must be prepared for any eventuality.
They believed in their inherent ascendancy, they were the fully realized, self-actualized masters of incredible power.
The most seasoned and combat ready commanders took the lead, unaware of the rebels in their midst.
They leapt into the Central System blind and unknowing.
At the outset of the brief insurrection this mistake became obvious, they had acted hastily, and forewent the usual vetting processes, the precautions that would normally proceed such a massive deployment.
The failure to launch left the majority of the Imperial forces vulnerable, weak and defenseless, they were open to attack.
The rebels took advantage in both theatres of combat, at the muster point above the Throne World, and at the jump point above HomeWorld, and at every installation on every planet of the million worlds.
There were billions of bits of wreckage in motion, each one of them glowing in the light of plasma cannons, lasers and explosive fire.
In the ever-changing dynamics of ZeroG combat, the relative range between opponents was in constant flux, as was the vector of any approach.
Every action created an equal and opposite reaction, thrust and propulsion.
Only energy weapons could close the gap between their mounting and the targets from long range with ease and accuracy.
Every victory created new obstacles, sudden changes in the vector of pilotless craft, the creation of debris fields scattering in the void. Every piece of wreckage was potentially a lethal projectile that all combatants sought to use to their advantage, either as a screen to hide them, as shield to protect them or a weapon to strike with.
These fields of destruction were so immense that those commanders whose thinking was focused on the macro scale and long-term objectives were overwhelmed. It was beyond the ability of the strategists to account for. Even the wing commanders, the battlefield tacticians who were responsible for coordinating the engagements in real time could not manage this aspect of combat effectively.
Every object had to be scanned and tracked, every possible danger had to be analyzed for threats. Data had to be sent to every commander in the fleet and every pilot of every small craft.
Ultimately the effective use of debris came down to the close witness of pilots and space marines, in heavy battle armor engaged in localized combat missions.
Small engagements might not pose any threat at all to the Imperial powers, due to the superior fire power and overwhelming force they brought to the combat theatre, which was how their training dictated all engagements were to be conducted.
Part Seven, War
Chapter Forty-seven, Tactics
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week
#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek
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