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.
So, here we are at the end of September, and I’ve written all of one thing in the past month. Depression, unseemly heat, and a server deciding to take up an exciting new career as a brick have combined to do a real number on my creativity.
Thank you all for bearing with me through these times of crisis and literary drought. Hopefully October will suck slightly less. Or maybe COVID will come back strong and kill us all. Either way.
In the meantime, here’s one of those little fine distinctions that creeps its way into spacer slang:
topside: In a starship context, on the hull. (An EVA topside is thus distinguished from an EVA outside, which implies leaving the immediate vicinity of the ship.)
Transfragging is the use of a weaponized translocation device to destroy a target, most commonly by interpenetration (i.e., translocating an object to within another, preexisting, object), but the term is also used to refer to simply using the translocator to transmit bombs or other weapons to within a given target.
Since all known or even theoretically possible translocation devices either make use of wormholes or similar metric warps, or alternatively obey the principle of equivalent spatial exchange, and in both cases require a cooperative receiver, transfragging is for all intents and purposes not possible.
Don’t spread it about, though. Belief in the possibility keeps lots of weapons designers in unhealthy places from working on anything that might actually be dangerous.
– Once Again I Have Been Thwarted: Hopeless Ambitions for Budding Evil Geniuses, Bad Stuff Press (8135)
There are those, in the field of biotechnological and medical ethics, who class anagathics as dangerous and addictive, inasmuch as ceasing to take your life-extension drugs results in a plethora of aging-related side-effects, followed by death.
The absurdity of this position and the farcical nature of its enforcement naturally ensure that it is a common state of legal affairs across the Expansion Regions.
“A number of high-biotech polities have taken the immune system as a model for their military forces. What seems an exotic, even amusing quirk when looked at from the point of view of rank titles and equipment designations is much less amusing when you’re drowning in sticky goo, encapsulated, and actively being digested.”