This short story is part of Galactic Chronicles, an ongoing space opera based on our multiplayer campaign in Paradox’s space grand strategy game, Stellaris. Events and characters, while embellished heavily in some cases, are based on actual events and characters encountered during gameplay. These entries do not have to be experienced in a specific order, but the “Earth Standardized Solar Date” header will indicate where in the galactic timeline a particular entry falls.
This story concerns the United Global Alliance, a human government based on Earth. Learn more about them here.
[EARTH STANDARDIZED SOLAR DATE 2240.06.03]
We’re going big.
I’ve just seen the plans and heard the pitches, and they’re frankly staggering. Gone is the old vision for the UGA fleet, a flock of fast and maneuverable ships expected to play escort for research vessels. That was our attempt to respond to the galaxy we thought lay before us. Don’t forget that it was merely 20 years ago when the blackness of space seemed insurmountable in every direction, and the greatest threats we faced were armed terrorists, pirates, and dangerous, space-bound fauna. The sky has gotten a lot smaller since then.
A race of arms is not unprecedented in human history, and we inevitably find the concept at play in our relations with the alien race’s we have come to know as our neighbors. We must grow mightier, increase the potency and effectiveness of our weapons, or court disaster. As captains of the fleet, your cooperation and buy-in is essential to guaranteeing the safety and security of human space. I’ve heard and understand your concerns, and your questions, and seek to respond.
For those career officers who have mastered its operation, the Trident is not being mothballed. The utility of a fast and maneuverable craft capable of a massive ordinance volume is not lost on me or the rest of the admiralty. It is simply no longer sufficient to have a host of corvettes and call us safe. For one, the Athirova make warships in a similar tonnage that can swoop circles around ours. They’ve developed a doctrine of supreme mobility and precision armaments over millenia, and have taken to the swarm style of interstellar combat with requisite grace. They are ostensibly our allies for now, but we’d be fools not to learn from them how to better embrace our strengths.
The Shark-class warship is our attempt to add needed punch to the UGA fleet in all areas. The first, and by far the most important, is operational stamina. Whereas a Trident is only equipped to conduct expeditions that last a maximum of one year before requiring resupply, the Shark was designed to triple the length of that deployment cycle. The Shark can host a larger crew, with a larger and more diverse skillset, capable of addressing a wider array of problems bound to arise on lengthier missions. Our ability to patrol our own space, and keep a dynamic force near our border with the Yapathi threat, demands such flexibility.
In combat, the Shark is the Trident’s superior in all areas but speed and agility, and speed and agility are no longer at the heart of our doctrine. The Yapathi have a simple design ethos for combat vessels: armor it, make it large, load it with ordinance, and send it forward to commit violence. Intelligence show their vessels as crude but hardy, their weaponry as lacking in form but delivering in function. They are our most probable rivals in our sector of space. If you read the news and watch the streams, you know that border tension escalates by the day. They have already shown their willingness to subjugate by force of arms a free race of people’s who would have been our neighbors. If our fleet doesn’t measure up to the Yapathi, we could be courting disaster.
The Shark and the Trident offer us supreme operational flexibility as a pair, and our superior technology and doctrine promise a victory should we ever come to blows with the Mandate. The Trident’s agility should allow for the kind of complex maneuvering the Yapathi do not seem capable of, and the Shark, with three separate payload vectors for antimatter missiles and weaponized lasers, should be capable of overwhelming their ships in a toe-to-toe firefight. The installation of point defense turrets, at the behest of our own Admiral William Decker, was particularly genius; Yapathi doctrine consists of hurling a massive volume of self-propelled ordinance until a foe capitulates or is annihilated. Defending our ships from said projectiles seems most prudent.
We are not stopping with the Shark. The most secretive black site shipyards in Sol are now focused on the research and design of the Atlantis-class. We’ve stuck to the general and principle of going big in its design. Upon its completion, it will be the largest and best armed warship in known space. If the Shark is thrice the size of the Trident, the Atlantis itself is nearly six times that, with an organic crew compliment of over four hundred, advanced AI modules to handle most onboard maintenance and operations, and a weapons payload to rival an orbital defense installation. The Atlantis will have hydroponic gardens and atmospheric recyclers on board, and will be entirely self-sustaining, capable of projecting continuous presence on patrol with a theoretically indefinite deployment time. It will feature all three of our proprietary defensive utilities: Nanoceramic armor in historic quantities, three Mk II energy deflector generators, and a full point defense network. Additionally, the tertiary hull is being constructed with a field ready version of the regenerative hull alloy developed by Dr. Becker. A damaged Atlantis may not need to even make port to repair and retrofit.
With these three craft, we can respond to threats large and small, maintain the doctrinal flexibility that defines human military thought, and project overwhelming force in the event of war. When mobilization is completed, we are projected to have the most powerful fleet in existence, rendering the Mandate our clear inferiors. All captains are expected to embrace their new commissions with enthusiasm and bravery, to learn and grow into their new roles and to understand deeply just where they best serve humanity’s interest. As always, think of your crew as your family and your vessel as your home. Bt always remember that it is a weapon, and that Trident, Shark, and Atlantis all have individual and unique roles to play in how we plan to function as a fleet.
Enjoy the calm, but dress yourselves for a storm. We aren’t simply fighting each other anymore. Defeat in this new era could mean a defeat for our very species and all we’ve built, not just a change in leadership. The stakes have never been higher.
-Admiral Sergio Riveros
Explore more Galactic Chronicles.