Trope-a-Day: Nuclear Option

Nuclear Option: The Imperial military is somewhat keener to use the Nuclear Option than most, partly because of the lack of a Nuclear Weapons Taboo, partly because nukes have a marvelous combination of characteristics that kill lots of things dead that conventional weapons are less useful against, like active bioweapons and nanoswarms, and also partly because when fighting on any number of hostile-environment worlds, you really don’t have to worry so much about mucking up the local ecosystem because no-one’s living in it anyway.

Also, it’s worth remembering that in the modern era, the Nuclear Option is generally carried out with antimatter bombs, which don’t leave hugely obnoxious amounts of fallout behind, and which can be calibrated downward to a nicety for much smaller explosions, compared to old-fashioned ‘splody-metal bombs.

Although for most purposes, orbital kinetic-kill strikes are almost as good.

Trope-a-Day: Death From Above

Death From Above: In space, all death planetside, or at least the delivered hot and steaming kind, is Death From Above.  When the going gets tough, the tough call for orbital fire support.  What else is orbital supremacy for, if not for plastering the fuck out of the enemy with ortillery and antimatter bombs before you have to go to all the trouble and expense and risk of ground combat?

Man, I love the smell of ambiplasma in the morning.

And then there’s the hunter-killer drones…

[A comment on a former posting of this trope read:

“Deep gravity wells with delicate ecologies inside them seem entirely too fragile and hard to defend against attacks and against disasters.  It seems to make more sense to keep them as parks, preserves, and vacation spots, while keeping your government, military, industry, and cities in lots and lots and lots of habs.”

This is true, so far as it goes – and, indeed is one of the major reasons why roughly 3/5ths of the Empire’s population (your polity may vary) does live in space, along with a much higher proportion of its industry (heat pollution and ecological fragility being the other half of that).  But also, to a certain extent – and when you have the rich energy budget to handle the gravity well – when you, as a responsible Galactic citizen, have to defend the garden worlds anyway because of their information-rich, unique ecologies, there’s not really much more of a downside from using them to live on, too.

On another side of things, taking up living extensively in habs, even with spin gravity, tends to cause various problems for most planet-evolved species.  The Empire and the rest of the rampaging transsophontist neophile faction have no problem with bioengineering those out; but not everyone is as comfortable rewriting their fundamental whateveranity.