An Introduction to the Bestselling Eot Military Manual
By Horgen, The First of His Fame
Welcome prospective conqueror!
So you have fought your way to a command of your own, amassed a fleet that could blot out not one, not two, but up to three suns, and earned undying loyalty of a legion of supremely trained seasoned warriors. Now you’ve set your gaze on your prize, an entire planet soon to be your own, a paradise world that has only one flaw, a preexisting population that stubbornly calls it home.
If your idea is to just fly into its orbit and bomb everyone and everything on its surface into oblivion, let me stop you right there. Sure, that would be relatively easy to accomplish, but this plan has several major flaws.
Most weapons capable of a sufficient level of destruction tend to wreak havoc to the environment to such a degree that any actual invading would have to be postponed for decades at least. Unless you’re a fan of radiation poisoning, inextinguishable wildfires, global flooding, darkened skies, massive dieoffs of majority of the biosphere… Hopefully you do get the idea by now.
In any scenario, the process of invading requires one crucial step, getting your scaly ass to the surface. If you don’t set foot on the planet, you can’t really call it an invasion, now can you. A freaky flyby, a planetary party, a celestial campfire, sure, but not an invasion. If you’re content with waging war from the comfort of your cozy bridge, you might as well only play at it anyway.
Indiscriminate bombardment would have one more key snag to it. It may seem like a sound tactical idea to genocidally annihilate majority of the enemy race in their sleep, but let me offer you a counterproposal. If you don’t want any enemy to live on a planet, why don’t you simply settle a planet that is currently uninhabited? There’s plenty of those around the galaxy, with a fully formed biosphere and without any pesky intelligent lifeforms using it up.
Anyone with at least one brain can put two rocks together and realize that enemy population is a resource. A resource much more valuable when subjugated instead of wiped off the face of its homeworld. Not to bore you with too much of annoying science, but if it’s a race that has evolved there, they should be, unlike you and your kind, uniquely adapted to farm it, mine it, or otherwise work it. I’m sure you’re not invading the planet to work there.
Invading an occupied planet has other perks, too. If you don’t smash the whole place to bits, it would come with cultivated arable land, transport and energy infrastructure, potential local turncoat followers helping with the dividing before conquering, and maps. Don’t underestimate maps.
Planet may seem like a pebble from space, but planets are big, especially if they are to have sufficient gravity, lasting tectonics, and radiation shielding. Proper exploration of a planet takes centuries to advanced civilizations numbering beyond millions. You will have thousands of troops at best, with zero knowledge of the environment and little time to look around.
Unexplored planet is much harder to exploit, if you don’t know where all the interesting resources are, or the best land. It’s also much harder to defend at an unknown planet against an insurgency of irate locals, not to mention to survive just the whims of the planet. Let me run a couple of scenarios by you and let’s see if any of them sound like fun. Believe me, planets can get scary.
Imagine you set up a base above a dormant supervolcano, while you have no idea that it is there and about to blow. Imagine you land only to quickly discover that the local forests are teeming with deadly parasites carrying debilitating diseases to which you have no immunity. Imagine there’s a whole underground civilization you had no idea about. Or a long extinct civilization that left weapons of mass destruction all over the place like a big booby trap.
Alas, you don’t have to imagine those. In case you’ve slept through basic history of our glorious conquests, all of these have actually happened to unfortunate landing parties, some of them more than once. And don’t underestimate natives, while we’re at it, never underestimate the natives.
Even assuming you’re a scared little baby and descend as a nuclear superpower on unsuspecting wielders of sharpened fruit, there could be serious consequences if you’re not careful. First of all, races that weak, for some inscrutable reason, often attract attention of advanced do-gooders who love to study abstract nonsense with no benefit to warfare, such as early evolution of sentience. Choosing a weak opponent, apart from it not bringing you prestige but infamy, tends to attract protectors and avengers.
As strange as it sounds, it’s generally better to target a race that’s already spacefaring, but just below your technological level. Then it doesn’t look like you’re punching an infant, and their relative advancement makes them much more effective slaves. If they’re smart, they might even offer some valuable scientific treasure. Even basic things like spending thousands of years charting surrounding space with telescopes can turn into invaluable information.
But attacking a race like that does present a challenge even if they’re not exactly ready to face planetary invaders at this very moment. Do you know what’s even bigger than planets? Space. Traversing it from your base to the target planet will take time and you need to ask yourself this — how much time will the defenders have to prepare? When will they see me coming?
If the answer is months, because your faster than light engines are useless close to any big gravitational fields and you have to shift into sublight on the outskirts of a solar system, then it gets tricky. Some civilizations have been known to develop a space program in that amount of time, even copy the faster than light technology just by looking at the approaching fleet.
If you have functional short term memory, you should still be aware that planets are big, like really big. If you’re facing an industrialized civilization, they will surely be able to massively outproduce you and may in fact possess more warriors than you have charges or shells. Superior technology helps you only up to a certain point, the rest must be provided by superior cunning or spirit. If you attack a proud ancient warrior race, prepare for a tough fight even if they only have rocks. Sometimes, creatures are deadlier than tools.
The great advantage of our race is our natural toughness, which means that we grow our own armor, and if need be, we can fashion very effective arms from our own scales and bones. Don’t be ashamed to use those and go melee in battles whenever you feel you can win that way. It will save you a lot of precious resources and slavepower. But don’t forget the greatest weapon.
What is it, you ask? Why, of course you do, you’re a planet invading dummy. It’s brains, the power of the mind. The key to defeating any enemy, and especially the rare superior enemy, is knowledge. Try to understand those you fight and use their nature against them. Are they courageous? Let them grow overconfident. Are they cowardly? Terrorize them. Are they honorable? See, that’s a tough one. Cheat them to gain advantage, honor them to gain respect.
Well then, are you ready to conquer some planets? No, you are not, dummy. But you’ll get there. Read the rest of this manual and the stars shall be yours!
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I began developing Masters of the Future few years ago as an open universe for any media, with special focus on computer games — a compelling story engine built in a playable way. Since the original idea of developing a game in this universe has been put on hold, I have decided to move it in a direction of literature for the moment. If you find it interesting, feel free to give me any feedback. We could even discuss some potential cooperation on the universe development, especially if you are a writer or a graphic artist. More lore is coming.