quaternary weaponry: Among heavy infantry, who use the M-70 Havoc combat exoskeleton, there are three official categories of weaponry:
primary weaponry: the heavy tribarrel, flamer, and target designator built into the exoskeleton;
secondary weaponry: additional hardpoint-mounted weapons provided by a modular weapons back, such as the BP-400 Conflagration;
tertiary weaponry: weapons carried by, rather than attached to, the exoskeleton.
Quaternary weaponry, therefore, is a term that shows up principally in aftermath reports, meaning “punched to death”. Insofar as the M-70 Havoc provides a twenty-four-fold physical strength multiplier to its wearer, the use of quaternary weaponry against armored troops, vehicles, buildings, and occasional field fortifications is far from unknown.
“Honestly, I think the primary motivation to develop warships that can descend into the atmosphere and hover in a menacing, fight-in-the-shade manner has nothing to do with any of the technical rationales you hear bandied about.
“It’s so that when someone says to you, ‘You and what army?’, you can just point upwards and say, “No, no, me and that Navy.
“Who wants that? Everyone who’s ever led a shore party in hostile territory, just about. It’s nice to be able to intimidate people without a telescope.”
It is NOT true that people who kick the floor-cleaning robots in ISA-administered starports tend to have their luggage accidentally rerouted to Geydagan Down, where it is pillaged by a bunch of black-hole cultists, torn apart, used to clean up after ritual sacrifices, and recycled as toilet paper. The floor-cleaning robots are professionals, after all.
It IS true that we let everyone think so, because those sophs who are bothered by the notion more or less deserve to be.
– ISA Planetary Relations, internal update 7216/3, “Overheard…” column
If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be thought remains unthought; if what must be thought is not thought, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, apprehension of truth and beauty will deteriorate; if apprehension goes astray, the people will act poorly in helpless confusion.
Hence there must be neither arbitrariness or ambiguity in what is said. This matters above everything.
Aurí Péng, philosopher of Ochale, quoted in the charter of the Conclave of Linguistics and Ontology
Author’s note: This is inspired/based on a quotation from K’ung-fu-tzu, on the Rectification of Names (see The Analects of Confucius, book 13, verse 3, for the original), modified in accordance with the then state of Imperial philosophy. I think it fits quite well.
grubby shoot: military (primarily mercenary) slang for a mission or contract which pits them against a sufficiently low-tech opponent (q.v. grubby, slang for low-tech locals) that the conflict is hopelessly one-sided and victory requires little or no effort.
Reputable mercenaries and regular military units tend to loathe grubby shoots, as they lack all dignity, honor, and opportunity for valor. Their commanders also note that they have a strongly deleterious effect on morale and troop quality, and thus avoid taking such missions – especially for the long term – whenever possible.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of disreputable mercenaries and militaries out there, usually amateur and pillage- and atrocity-prone, and more can often be created ad hoc by arming the local grubbies with advanced weapons.
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On the sea or in space, a battlecruiser is a cruiser putting on the airs of a battleship, and a fast battleship is a battleship cosplaying as a cruiser. This doesn’t become a problem until the types start to overlap.
There are those who accuse Mer Vadális Exoarchaeological University of being home to, if not infested with, one of the Starfall Arc’s greatest collections of adventurers, looters, graverobbers, smugglers, treasure-hunters, weirdseekers, and other scoundrels of like nature. It is my honor to assure them that they are understating the case.
Having established as an ethical principle that to be sophont is to be entitled as of right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, it must necessarily follow that the proper function, in accordance with virtue, of the technical organs of a civilization is the abolishment of death, constraint, poverty, and misery.
We gave Our word to the peoples of Ildathach, Llorallin, and Marblyngrann… the Empire may survive a limited nucleonic conflict with Cerenaith. It can not survive a breach of Our word. Take us to strategic condition two. Deploy the orbital defenses.
And prepare for Our immediate transport to Kyo Kanatai. We must direct this personally.
Alphas III Amanyr, 3060, two days before the first strikes of the Eclipse War
There are those who have commented extensively on the military advantages, when considering the rise of the Empire, of highly disciplined legionaries able to cast obstacles aside or strike down enemies with lightning, all through force of will.
Far fewer have considered the greater advantage, in economic terms, of the humble farmer who, from his hilltop, may plough and seed a hundred furrows with a gesture.
“From the Mud to the Stars: An Agricultural History”, Ailil Ophris-ith-Ophris
This is a little pastiche of Plutarch on Alexander the Great that I hacked together as a brief illustration of attitudinal differences. I like it enough to share it:
“Alphas smiled when he heard from his astronomers that there were billions of worlds in the heavens; and when his friends asked him the cause of his mood, he answered: do you not think it a worthy challenge that there are billions of worlds to conquer, when we have not yet conquered one?”
90. Don’t play the shell game on Paltraeth. They use a different kind of shells.
145 Things Not To Be Done In The Associated Worlds
The Paltraeth variant of the game is played using three obsolete artillery shells and a sledgehammer. In theory, one of the shells has been defused, and the challenge is to find the dud. In practice, this is a con trick with extra concussion.
It is inadvisable to play this variant without quality armor and a current mind-state backup.