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On the spinward front this particular morning was very different from those that had preceded it, bringing an end to a period of quiet considerations and bemusements in public debates. A truly offensive battle began. The only recently formed Republican 1st Fleet, opening the offensive into the territories of the Premis Polity, had set out on an ancient and forgotten embattled corridor like so many in that region of space. Ignoring established doctrine of engaging military fortifications in systems on the way, it sailed straight for its capital world.
Upon arrival at the edges of the system the fleet split in battle groups each with their own objectives. 1st and 2nd wing set course towards the capital world, with 3d wing vectoring towards inner system industrial objectives leaving the 4th wing the task of escorting the logistics and support group on its own course towards the outer system’s sources of fuel. With demands and terms sent out ahead of the fleet to the seat of governance, all groups silently continued on their respective vectors true to their timetable, leaving the task of accepting the expected unconditional surrender to the 1st and 2nd wings. Orbital mechanics together with the issues of delayed communications traditionally dictated a mission structure of orders tied to a strict predetermined timetable. Tradition however was not the forte of the Republic’s military doctrine.
While military and civilian leadership of the Premis Polity had their own respective issues with the idea of having to wage war, they did find themselves in agreement on the expected unfolding of events. With the concept of conflict in space limited to the confrontation between orbital defences and invading forces – with the fate of worlds tied to the results of such limited confrontations – both segments of leadership were firm in their verdict that upon arrival of the now clearly hostile fleet negotiations would begin. Certainly to be presented with a show of force, and clearly not to be started by an engagement between military forces without discussing terms. After all, the established essence of military doctrine was the controlled application of force on force.
With the first intelligence reports arriving of what appeared to be only a portion of the hostile fleet on route towards orbital insertion, the Premis General Staff officer in command of the capital’s orbital defences commented to the General Cabinet “thank god we don’t have any such rag tag railgun riddled ships, with defences such as ours they will be unable to engage us in any efficient manner without harming their own soldiers and shattering their own fleet in to chaos”. With Premis Polity military minds firmly rooted in traditional thinking, they adhered strictly to the concept of well established orbital zoning of civilian corridors, EMP grids, minefields and fixed weapon platforms forcing any hostile force to engage orbital defence hubs head on.
As was common, the Premis military staff abhored the very idea of mobility, preferring the honoured – and most efficient – tradition of conflict face to face between established forces. Combat was a matter of and between soldiers. Ships were there to secure their delivery on the field of battle. The very sight of ships equipped with weapons suitable only for weapon platform based deterrence resulted immediately in a much lighter mood among the Premis General Staff. As General Pau remarked in his personal log “the very sight gives way to laughter and a new order of drinks, we now know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the enemy’s message is mere show, our job here is already done”.
With Premis military forces fully prepared in their orbital defence hubs, the leadership present on the Orbital Link station patiently waited for the arrival of the hostile fleet and the start of negotiations. Meanwhile the deadline for an acceptance of terms communicated by the Republic’s 1st Fleet had passed.
Instead of communications, the Premis Polity received a rain of fire removing all but traces of orbital installations, civilian and military alike. Considering an unwillingness or inability of Premis leadership to communicate its acceptance of terms, Admiral van White’s considerations of chaos and opportunity quickly resulted in what Republic military staff later described as “the logical necessity of impact of force beyond the scope of the theatre of battle and its primary objectives”. With the Premis Polity in headless ruins, the existential threat of a spinward front to the Republic was effectively removed.
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