Sunday, March 21, 2021

CARGO CULTS: WARSHIPS AND THE MILITARIZATION OF SPACE




STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS

The People's military planners do not, as a rule, view space (and especially space beyond Low Home Orbit) as a very important theater.  Second-generation manned reconnaissance stations are useful but hardly worth expending enormous resources to protect.  To some extent, this is because most decisionmakers have embraced a singularly bleak approach to nuclear deterrence.  In the face of a catastrophic threat, a defending polity will detonate dozens nuclear bombs buried on the leeward side of mountains.  With yields between 50 and 100 megatons, these bombs would be sufficient to collapse Home's fragile biosphere and starve the entire population.

This grim reality has freed up many resources previously devoted to maintaining a robust ballistic missile-based nuclear deterrent for exploration efforts.  Incidentally, colonizing the other (much nicer) inhabited worlds provides for continuation-of-government (and civilization) in the event of an apocalyptic nuclear war on Home.  

Military activities in space provide a safe way for polities to posture and bluster without unduly threatening their rivals.  Among cultures with rich traditions of solving problems with low(er)-stakes ritual violence, this is an appealing state of affairs.  ISRU platforms and transport ships are expensive targets, and while nobody has pulled the trigger yet, the ability to threaten surface colonies, space infrastructure, and the posturing leading up to an attack are regarded as an important tool.  

Increasingly critical is the ability to carry a nuclear deterrent to Emerald and Sapphire.  While the People's small colonies on those worlds are not big enough yet, allowing continuation-of-government/culture on those worlds is unacceptable.  In the meantime, the People's colonies are critical prestige projects that justify some measure of protection.

All told, there are only nine vessels that can fairly be regarded as dedicated "warships" split between several major polities.  These ships are all broadly similar in performance.  Each mounts a handful of autocannons and carries between 6 and 16 nuclear missiles (this is surplus ordinance shipped into orbit).  These ships are generally on patrol or based on or near one of the Eye's smaller bodies but they steer well-clear of LHO to avoid a sucker punch from a surface-launched antisatellite weapon.

As yet, there has not been a shooting war and the economic boom and optimistic mood triggered by major colonization efforts has reinvigorated cultures exhausted from a decades-long period of brutal conventional warfare and healed some old wounds.   


WARSHIPS

e pi'i Gbi -- the Shining Basin Polity's first warship, named for the 
first Person to set foot on Sapphire shortly before the Cataclysm.   


Shining Basin Polity (SBP): 2 dedicated warships, armed transport, one armed research vessel

Great River Polity (GRP): 2 dedicated warships, one armed research vessel

Western Highlands Coalition (WHC): 1 dedicated warship

Equatorial Valley Polity (EVP): 3 dedicated warships, 2 armed transports

Southern Alliance (SA):  1 dedicated warship, 2 converted HLV boosters, one armed research vessel




 

2 comments:

  1. The SBP and GRP are super-polities united by a common religion and 500 years of fighting between their constituent sub-polities. They sit in the cradle of civilization and despite many setbacks still compose a large portion of Home's population.

    Historically, the WHC has been in the unenviable position of being the place other people kill each other over. The Cataclysm has given them some breathing room and a chance to stand up for themselves. Conservative, paranoid, but much more peaceful than its neighbors.

    The EVP is a young polity, the result of settling other lowland areas cut off from the large Eyeward area that is the cradle of the People's civilization brought about by the development of pressure suits almost 200 years ago. Sat out the cataclysm and grew strong as a result. Practice slavery and involuntary human sacrifice. Major ideological and theological disagreements with the SBP and GRP and grievances with those polities due to historic ethnic persecution in the Early Modern Period.

    The SA is another lowland 'island' polity settled very recently. It has close cultural ties with groups in the disputed frontier between the SBP, GRP, and WHC. The site of a new and explosively growing religious movement. Unpopular with all of the other polities but tolerated by the WHC.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This can only end horribly.

    ReplyDelete