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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

darkhaze9

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Good first entry to get into the meat of things.

One note - it appears that reference [3] in your list at the end doesn't actually link back to anything in the main text.
 

slothinator

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This is a really interesting scenario and very well written, I'm looking forward to more!
I'm curious how the Gaians will deal with divergent colonies; if the author's comments are anything to go by, I can see some hardship along the way.
But for now, on to strange new worlds!
 

Cora Giantkiller

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One note - it appears that reference [3] in your list at the end doesn't actually link back to anything in the main text.

Thanks for the note! I've made a quick edit.
 
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DensleyBlair

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Caught up with the story so far. Very poignant set up and an exciting start to the action. Enjoying the Irish-Celtic flavour a good deal. I'll be interested to see how all of the vestigial Earth cultural stuff evolves in space as things progress. Somehow I get the sense it isn't all going to be harmonious co-existence and free exchange of traditions…
 

Nikolai

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First contact! How exciting! How potentially dangerous!
 

HistoryDude

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Well, the Gaians might not like the other empires.

On the other hand, the Precursors and Fallen Empires might make for interesting propaganda...
 

Idhrendur

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Humanity again reaches for the stars, and in a more achievable way than before.
 

diskoerekto

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a promising start to a new AAR
 
A Policy of Calculated and Gradual Coercion, 2208 - 2220 New

Cora Giantkiller

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A Policy of Calculated and Gradual Coercion
2208 - 2220


“Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden. He drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
  • The Conclave Bible
On August 1, 2208, Admiral Fote Rumh (b. 2152) appeared before the class of the Gaian Fleet Academy for a rare Lughnasadh address. Before they began the traditional funerary games for the goddess Tailtiu, the cadets were obliged to stand at parade rest as the captive audience for some venerable dignitary. Such was the hallowed traditions of their service. Rumh’s address was characteristically brief. Since the days of the druids, she said, the great harvest festival has marked the struggle between the selfish Crum Dubh, who holds the grain for himself as a miser, and the bold and noble Lugh, who fights to bring the grain to his people. “The druids knew what many now have forgotten. Nothing comes to us for free. We must seize what is ours, by any means necessary, or else die of starvation in the midst of plenty.”

Admiral Rumh cut an unusual figure among the Gaian elite. She had the singular distinction of having fought for a rival faction, the Spartan Federation, where she adopted their militaristic vision with gusto and rose swiftly through the ranks. When Colonel Corazon Santiago was assassinated, however, Rumh had the political foresight to adopt a Wiccan practice and speak the language of environmentalism and sisterhood. She had many internal enemies, who objected that her conversion was both opportunistic and superficial. However, officer experience was rare in the Gaian occupying force, and Lady Skye could not deny her talent.

Since the outbreak of peace, Rumh’s importance to the regime was in decline, and so her career stagnated. To Lady Skye and the Dáil, the military was an uncertain instrument, as likely to turn against them as defend them. With the unification of Chiron, military outlays fell precipitously and millions of soldiers were demobilized while peace-keeping responsibilities devolved to local militia in the hands of the provincial governors. The military intelligence service was dissolved, on the principle that ‘ladies do not read each other’s mail’, leaving a rudimentary intelligence service in the hands of the Foreign Office. The space fleet was permitted to slowly deteriorate as the budget for ship construction was slashed virtually to zero.

By 2200, Rumh had attained the rank of Admiral of the Gaian Interstellar Fleet, which amounted to three aging corvettes with hastily installed hyperlane drives and twenty thousand demoralized veterans of the Unification War. Lady Skye’s aides called it an ‘early retirement’ where the unlamented hero could defend her people from a wholly hypothetical foe.

On August 3, 2208, the foe ceased to be hypothetical.

OkfBLpB.png


The discovery of the unknown, rather blocky alien vessel in the Denip’s system provoked a minor interagency fracas among the Gaians, as elements among the military, the Foreign Office, and the GSI vied for the right to contact the new species. In the end, Lady Skye appointed Brais Igan, a retired veteran of the intelligence service with a background in linguistics, to spearhead the investigation of the so-called ‘Alpha Aliens’ until a larger reorganization of the bureaucracy could be devised.

Translation of Language Alpha was a novel problem and few understood how difficult it might be. The initial report of the Igan group was projected for Yule, 2208, but this deadline would eventually move back to Litha the following year before deadlines were abandoned entirely. It was hypothesized, based on intercepted EM transmissions from the Alpha ship, that the alien language was primarily auditory, but even this was disputed and some intriguing efforts were made to render the EM transmissions via an olfactory medium. (The smell was said to resemble lavender.)

An interim report, filed on February 9, 2210, concluded that the Alpha vessel was likely not military in nature. Energy signatures and flight patterns suggested a light ship with ample reconnaissance equipment, in the nature of a scouting or scientific vessel. The observed capabilities of the ship were comparable with a Gaian vessel, suggesting that this species was roughly at technological parity with humanity. Alpha was attempting to mask their own communications, which indicated that they were “threat-oriented” in Igan’s words, as opposed to “community-oriented” like humanity. As a result, the linguistic sample was still small and growing only slowly.

To the astonishment of Lady Skye and her central staff, contact with a second alien race was made on December 12, 2210. The science ship GSS Federov had been commissioned to explore the galactic ‘south’, under the command of Dán Bonda. While surveying the Honeysh’y system, Captain Bonda was astonished to detect the arrival of a second vessel altogether different in design from the Alpha vessel. The senior officers began to debate whether this represented a new species or simply a different aspect of the Alpha fleet when the vessel sent a tight-beam EM communication directly to Federov. An initial review indicated that the message was a language primer, a communication strategy that Alpha would not have considered.

Igan spun off the Beta Working Group in early January, 2211, under linguist Bror Rumh (b. 2166). While on the Lindley, Doctor Rumh had analyzed the alien centotaphs on Tlom IVa and based on that experience she had proposed a radical new theory. Tracing common elements in Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Afroasiatic to features found in the cenotaph text, she proposed a common origin for languages across the sector reflecting alien contacts otherwise unrecorded in history. Dr. Rumh applied her Universal Origins theory to the Beta language primer with striking results, and soon Lady Skye ordered that it be used for Alpha communications as well. In this fashion, Igan would not need more communications because they could apply common features of all galactic language in its place. By March, 2211, communications with the Alpha aliens finally began.

D4LumxC.png


The existence of the Mojese Interplanetary Combine was announced on March 15, 2211, although by then many Gaians had deduced from lacunae in the official reports that first contact had in fact been made. The dull roar of speculation on the datalinks exploded when the rumors were confirmed, as many amateur ‘alienists’ pored over official footage. The most popular videos reached views in the billions.

In the halls of power, the Mojese were viewed very differently. The Combine was a brutal despotic regime, with a vast multispecies proletariat that had been kidnapped from multiple words, ruled over a narrow hereditary elite that venerated a militarized code of honor. Their initial communication was filled with crude threats. Most alarmingly, this belligerent power was three systems away from Chiron on the hyperlane network, with no defense to speak off other than the tiny interstellar fleet.

In the Dáil, members were calling for a revival of the military apparatus that had won Chiron, while Lady Skye worried about granting too much power to Admiral Rumh and an alienated officer corps. Out of these split concerns, a compromise solution emerged. The Interstellar Fleet would be expanded from three corvettes to twenty over the course over the next three years, but would operate under strict use-of-force restrictions. The first contact group would be rolled into a revitalized Foreign Ministry, with Igan as the new Foreign Minister.

Over the Admiralty’s objections, Lady Skye declined to revive the old military intelligence bureau, instead beginning a new intelligence agency under the direction of Gimh Enadh (b. 2159). Enadh was a wholly political creature, working her way up through the national security apparatus by leveraging connections with Gaia’s defense industry. The massive defense contractors that were built up under Morgan Industries and Spartan Command had been nationalized in the 2180s, but the women appointed to run them were notoriously prone to regulatory capture and the middle management had been left intact. Enadh knew more than anyone how to cloak the material interests of the defense industry in the eco-socialist utopianism of the political class. Enadh was also a product of the elite and her new intelligence agency would draw largely from her social rolodex, notoriously including invitations to all the women in her university’s field hockey team.

ZO2HhAO.png


While Foreign Minister Igan spent her time managing the deteriorating relationship with the Mojese, the First Contact Group was busy translating the Beta codex in hopes of finding a more sympathetic partner to their (galactic) south. Their rapid progress would permit open communications on March 29, 2213 with what they now knew as the Sirisian Imperium. The Imperium was a strict monarchy like the Mojese [1], but Overlord Rississe I cultivated a secular and cosmopolitan court culture and was fascinated by her human neighbors. The reptilians were in turn an object of fascination by Gaian alienists, who found an exotic beauty in their tall and slender forms and in their eerily haunting music.

Lady Skye was encouraged by early responses from the Overlord, and pushed Bror Rumh (now ambassador to the Sirisians) to build an alliance with their southern neighbors as a bulwark against the threatening Mojese. Rississe I was amenable, and by the end of 2214, Gaian-Sirisian relations permitted research sharing as well as the free movement of trade and peoples.

6wyM1vd.png


While treaty negotiations were ongoing with the Imperium, GSS Federov made first contact for the second time, again in the galactic south. Diplomat Fordemthós Suba was tasked with the translation of communications for the Delta Aliens [2], again applying the Universal Origins theory to great effect. Advanced non-sapient computer systems were taught Dr. Rumh’s approach and developed what later became known as the ‘Universal Translator’, which greatly sped up future first contact approaches. As a result, contact was made by December 1, 2214 with the Adji-Fre League.

When I was going to school, the teachers taught that the Adji-Fre League was an empire of slavers and conquerors as bad as any in the galaxy, who believed in their own racial superiority and right to rule over others. When I went beyond state propaganda, I learned that all of that was wrong. The Adji-Fre were diplomatically isolated for a far more interesting reason--they were the one functional democracy in the quadrant, governed by a robust constitution and culture of open debate while forswearing foreign conquest.

The Gaian political class believed in their own democratic values, maintaining as a matter of rhetoric that elections would resume once the state of emergency was over--but curiously this emergency never seemed to be. The Adji-Fre diplomats did not take long to see through this hypocrisy, and it became their policy to support through all peaceful means the restoration of democratic practices on Chiron, as they did with the Sirisians. By acknowledging the truth about Gaian hypocrisy, the Adji-Fre generated far more vituperation than the slaving despots of the Mojese.

EAUBAM6.png


By 2220, the government of Gaia looked far different than it had two decades before. The military-industrial complex of the Unification War, which many saw as a regrettable necessity, grew exponentially in the 2210s due to pressures by interstellar rivals. The Foreign Ministry expanded as treaty commitments expanded in strength and complexity, the fleet grew over 600%, and the new intelligence bureau was running on going covert operations among the Mojese and the Adji-Fre. Revenue for the state defense industries exploded as a result, giving them a powerful voice in the halls of power. It became Gaian policy to contain the expansion of ideological enemies of the state in hopes of encouraging their downfall, and containment would prove both expensive and lucrative to the right people.

Not everybody was wholly comfortable with these changes. Lady Deirdre Skye remembered too much of her old student radical days to see the military as more than a regrettable and short-term solution; and in so doing she spoke for a large segment of the population. Lady Skye was, however, old. She was not far from her two hundredth birthday, a milestone that no other human had reached, and even an exceptionally vigorous woman like her was sure to fail sooner or later. Nobody alive had lived in a world without her, though, and few knew what Gaia would look like when she was gone.

2l89Bnu.png


[1] Based on common elements in the Sirisian, Mojese, and human experiences, some Gaian writers and ideologue began to speculate in the 2210s that democracy was merely a transitional form in the development of an interstellar species.
[2] For more on the Gamma Aliens, see the below chapter.
 
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Cora Giantkiller

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This is a really interesting scenario and very well written, I'm looking forward to more!
I'm curious how the Gaians will deal with divergent colonies; if the author's comments are anything to go by, I can see some hardship along the way.
But for now, on to strange new worlds!
There's going to be a lot about Gaian domestic politics in the next chapter; certainly the public isn't going to undergo such rapid changes silently.

Caught up with the story so far. Very poignant set up and an exciting start to the action. Enjoying the Irish-Celtic flavour a good deal. I'll be interested to see how all of the vestigial Earth cultural stuff evolves in space as things progress. Somehow I get the sense it isn't all going to be harmonious co-existence and free exchange of traditions…

There is _some_ free exchange of traditions, but yes, there are also some profound internal and external tensions that are going to transform Gaia pretty profoundly.

First contact! How exciting! How potentially dangerous!

Pfffft. Dangerous for them, maybe. (I am for the record playing on Commodore difficulty.)

Well, the Gaians might not like the other empires.

On the other hand, the Precursors and Fallen Empires might make for interesting propaganda...

The Gaians do indeed not like the other empires.

Humanity again reaches for the stars, and in a more achievable way than before.

Yes, it certainly seems like Gaia is here to stay.

a promising start to a new AAR

Thanks. I hope you enjoy it!
 

Specialist290

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The Gaian political class believed in their own democratic values, maintaining as a matter of rhetoric that elections would resume once the state of emergency was over--but curiously this emergency never seemed to be. The Adji-Fre diplomats did not take long to see through this hypocrisy, and it became their policy to support through all diplomatic and peaceful means the restoration of democratic practices on Chiron, as they did with the Sirisians. By acknowledging the truth about Gaian hypocrisy, the Adji-Fre generated far more vituperation than the slaving despots of the Mojese.

Irony at its finest.
 
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darkhaze9

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I love that the hypocrisy of the Gaian elite was not lost on the Adji-Fre; you're setting up an interesting web of galactic diplomacy.

Another little note, you've said that first contact was made in 2014, I think you might be 200 years early there ;)
 

Cora Giantkiller

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Another little note, you've said that first contact was made in 2014, I think you might be 200 years early there ;)

Oh, thanks for the note! I kept correcting that exact mistake in my draft, so it makes sense that I missed one.
 
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eoncommander

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I like how much you've invested the world with the particular details of a bureaucratized political system (and the rivalries and in-fighting that inevitably results).

When I was going to school, the teachers taught that the Adji-Fre League was an empire of slavers and conquerors as bad as any in the galaxy, who believed in their own racial superiority and right to rule over others. When I went beyond state propaganda, I learned that all of that was wrong. The Adji-Fre were diplomatically isolated for a far more interesting reason--they were the one functional democracy in the quadrant, governed by a robust constitution and culture of open debate while forswearing foreign conquest.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this - but of course the author would expect her Gaian (ex-Gaian?) readership to be better read on their history than I am! There's a hint that the Adji-Fre eventually step out of their isolationist stance and attempt to exert more influence on the galaxy, but I could be imputing too much from the mere existence of state propaganda.
 

darkhaze9

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Oh, thanks for the note! I kept correcting that exact mistake in my draft, so it makes sense that I missed one.
Happy to help, looking forward to the next part!
 

Nikolai

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So many new frenemies! :D