More tools for the military Traveller’s toolchest.
This kind of thing is rather unlikely in the Empty Quarter: it relies on a shared religion (supernatural or naturalistic) and probably a shared species bond as well, so you won’t see it in Hindu/Muslim or human/Vargr conflicts. But in a civil war-like situation, an unsanctioned peace might break out.
It would be very difficult to keep going… but if it could shut down the war, both combatants would be better off. I know that Europe would have been far better off if the troops continued to defy the commanders, and halted the slaughter that destroyed Europe’s future…
(Just how to keep it going in the face of human tribalism is a puzzle worthy of a good-hearted Hiver manipulator – it’s definitely past my abilities!)
Well… actually, he was.
But the Russians got a huge assist with typhoid (with lice as the vector), as well as winter. And hungry, high-tech soldiers, inexperienced in the world of real filth, who lose their supply chain/power supply and have to ‘live off the land’ could definitely face a die-off situation in the low-tech Empty Quarter.
THIS is what you want to stick your most gung-ho soldiers/cadre in. Preferably just before the water purification tablets run out… promptly followed by the power supply for their weapons and powered armour (which no PC knows how to repair).
But Napoleon’s problems were just beginning.
Heh. Wait till
Napoleon the Force Commander finally makes it to Moscow the starport… and discover that the Russians Ikonaz pirates have systematically destroyed all the stocks & supplies, the power & commo grid, the medical equipment… and shot disappeared all of the techs too!
“Winter is coming”, indeed.
3) Disease, Again, with Emphasis
From Eric Margolis
I’ve covered 14 wars and seen a lot of combat. But being shelled or shot at never scared me half as much as the fear of serious illness in the field.
While reporting on the 1980’s war in Afghanistan with the mujahidin warriors (“freedom fighters” back then/today “terrorists”), we were involved in a fierce battle with Communist Afghan troops. We fired volleys of rockets at them; they fired back at us with mortars and tank shells.
As shells exploded around me, the mujahidin chief announced, “now we stop fighting, Mr. Eric. It’s time for lunch!”
“But I’m not hungry. I came here to cover the fighting,” I pleaded, far more frightened by the local food – and particularly endemic hepatitis – than enemy shells. There was no denying Afghan hospitality. We piled into jeeps and returned to a nearby village for lunch.
I tried to beg off eating, claiming a toothache. But my Afghan hosts would have none of it. “Eat, eat Mr. Eric.” I suspected they had used up their week’s food ration to give me a small banquet.
Now, the military situation in the 993 Empty Quarter is a lot closer to the anti-Soviet war of the 1980s than the Taliban of the 2000s – just substitute Vargr pirates for the Soviet Army & Air Force – so it’s more likely that PCs will eat with the local human fighters than try to kill them. (Then there are the more nasty Blood Vargr packs, who will try to eat the local human fighters…)
Anyways. The point is, local disease among the low-tech locals are a lot more dangerous to ship-to-ground laser fire. Sure, if you are unlucky you’re going to go up in a puff of smoke, but that’s quite unlikely: on the other hand, you have to eat and drink where the locals don’t believe in separating their waste from their drinking water, or that silly off-world ritual about washing your hands.
(But you may be lucky, and an off-world Brotherhood adviser or medic may give you a helping hand. Very friendly and helpful, those guys.)
4) Asimov’s Three Laws Are Not an International Treaty
The author thinks that three separate treaties:
- Treaty on the Testing and Operational Standards of Artificial Intelligence Drones Intended for Combat.
- Treaty on the Liability of Artificial Intelligence Drones.
- Treaty on the Use of Artificial Intelligence Drones in Combat.
are going to halt/govern the use of the warbots that are due to arrive in the near future.
I love this touching faith in treaties. But, I have a pretty good idea on just how much these sheets of paper are going to be worth in the 2040+ era. Especially if you assume, as I do, that a substantial percentage of the combatants are going to be ‘non-state actors’, as the lingo goes.
Incidentally, the Imperium does about as much as you can here, insisting that 1) the owners of the warbots are held responsible for the action of their wonderful toys, and 2) avoiding the use of warbots themselves, and sticking to flesh-and-blood men to do the Emperor’s fighting. The Imperium sets a powerful example here: because she avoids the use of robots, the various anti-Imperial insurgencies (including the biggest insurgency, the so-called ‘Solomani Confederation’) also avoids the use of robots as an unnecessary ‘added expense’.
(Yes, this is a gift to the enemies of the Imperium: but a smart gift, which limits their options as well as yours. After all, the worse 99.9999% of the Imperium’s enemies can do is storm the starport, and take full control of an entire planet. Whoopie-doo.
And if you want those interstellar goodies, you’re going to have to reopen that starport. And convince the Imperial Navy to end the blockade at best, and stop dropping missiles on your head at worst.
But if you force your enemies to turn to warbots, to fight your warbots, that means that they will have to develop a covert industrial base. And gain mastery of some serious electronics and IT programming techniques. And set up some resilient, heavy duty smuggling networks… “Your Grace, are you sure you want to force your enemies to go down this route?”
Empires create their own enemies. A wise Empire will set up the rules so that she will suffer minor losses here and there, her enemies make minor gains here and there… and that no powerful threat to the entire Imperial system can develop.
“All politics is local – and His Majesty prefers that we keep it that way!”)