Image from Kentsuku CG World (copyright; used with permission)

War is a continuation of policy by other means. It is not merely a political act but a real political instrument.
   — Karl von Clausewitz, Industrial Age Strategist, Old Earth

In this enormous chessboard of a battle, we were insignificant pieces, dwarfed in size and firepower compared to the vast horde of the coherent ship-swarm that was the local spatial manifestation of Caretaker. Thousands upon thousands of spheres ranging from millimeters to kilometers across, clustered together into functional units only vaguely analagous to what baseline humans might term dreadnoughts, capital ships, transports, cruisers, destroyers, surface bombardment, close-orbit supremacy gunships, ground supremacy gunships, mechanized armor, infantry, synsects, and nanoswarms....

With EMP and microwave saturation complete, unseen even to my expanded vision (taken from the locally-centered exponential weighted sum of the total available sensor platforms and processed for realtime tactical information), a constellation of microspheres and assorted odd shapes resembling ancient biological specimens fell: a giant, invading nanounit plague settling around the volume of the planet, smothering all resistance.
"Even with your limited memory, you must recall seeing this sort of thing dozens of times."
"Yes, Cara, and as I recall with my feeble mentation, you never use exactly the same tactics twice, yet the endgame always looks the same."
"Well, you appreciate that very limited simulation of warfare invented by your forebears called chess? Even that relatively simple game has more moves than can be easily totalled by your consciousness."
"It still always looks the same, or nearly so. But then, I suspect you don't unfreeze me until the endgame."

from 'dragon's teeth' by adam getchell

Every person, every empire has an agenda, and sometimes it cannot be achieved in business or trade or even blockades. In those cases the low risk option of the trade embargo fails. The result is war.

War is a factor of the modern galaxy in the same way that commerce or art or science are. War has always been around, and it appears that past alien races engaged in it although their motives are not always clear to Terragen researchers.

In the more developed parts of the galactic community, war is very rare. The time when human-led nation states would rattle sabres at each other, or the megacorp-backed military-entertainment complex would encourage bloody but safely distant proxy wars, are long since over. Apart from Free Zones, where anything goes, the governing hyperturings find memetic subversion a far more profitable way of capturing territory and converting populace than war ever was.

Away from the reach of the ruling AI Gods and their seraiph however, war continues as it always has. In the middle and outer regions, local clades, houses, or megacorps may fight a bloody battle for ownership of a strategic or resource rich solar system, or possession of rare and valuable clarketech or other relics left by transcends. Or local warlords can establish neofeudal fiefdoms. Some believe the transingularity powers allow this as a lesson to show how foolish it is to live in a society run by nearbaselines or mere superbrights.

Most of the real problems the galaxy faces result from perversions and blights — rogue AIs or clarketech. The sudden rise of aggressively hegemonizing empires like the Conver Ambi early on, and the Laughter Hegemony and the Amalgamation in the current era, can be explained in this way.

  • Anandayanna-Uvartarasha War  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Central Alliance period war fought between two factions (one subverted by the Hyperutilization Supremacy) for the control of Kuranaba.
  • Arms Race  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Two or more species, polities, memeticities, or clades experiencing adaptation to one another in a coevolutionary manner.
  • Atlantis Freedom Fleet - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    NoCoZo mercenary fleet of the Version War period.
  • Authenticity War, The  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Late Re-Evaluation period historical-archaeological purges resulting in brief Sol System-Fomac war, and a persistent memeticity.
  • Autowar  - Text by Tengu459 (2018)
    A type of automated, self-replicating cybernetic warship
  • Babel Plague  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Human viral infection of artificial origin, likely developed as a bioweapon during the 300's.
  • Battle of Erson  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Battle of Erson, Brin (42 Tauri IV). One of the most bitter battles of the Conver Wars.
  • Battle of Hejne, The  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Battle between separatists in the Solar Dominion fringe world, where a transapient entity was defeated by the Jan-Hejne insurgent modosophonts.
  • Battle of the Fringe  - Text by Charles Mosteller
    The climactic battle between the military forces of the Quasa'an Dynasty and the Tsutari Ambastory, which resulted in the collapse of the Quasa'an Dynasty in the year 2446, and brought an end to centuries of cruel dictatorships on the planet Mandra QuinSi by a series of sadistic rulers known as the Terrorlords.
  • Berzerker - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Sentient being, whether biont, vec, or ai, psycho-engineered or otherwise psychologically modified for combat, so as to go into a wild fighting or killing rage when triggered by a particular stimulus. Usually the stimulus is a neural implant, although sometimes chemical or metabolic triggers are used.
  • Biowar  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An organic warship, a sentient, self-contained, evolutionary, self-replicating superbright bio-autowar. Like autowars, biowars can form long-lived populations and make regions of space hazardous long after the original conflict is over.
  • Bolobo System Wars, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Wars in the Bolobo system.
  • Central Alliance  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Alliance of Sephirotic, Panvirt, Diamond, and Objectivist empires originally formed in response to the Hyperutilization Supremacy (see "Meeting at Googlehertz").
  • Cerberus, FDF Carrier  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Flagship of the Federation Defense Force Fleet during the later First Federation period.
  • Combat Jacket  - Text by Ryan B
    Wearable Multi-gun platform for versatile personal offensive/defensive operations.
  • Combat Threads  - Text by John B
    Separate aspects of a war or conflict, clothing for combat, or weapons and materials that are extremely long and thin, depending on the context.
  • Consolidation Wars  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A series of regional inter-megacorp and post-megacorp wars fought in the colonies during the Federation period, as local colonial fiefdoms and vested interests sought to secure their position
  • Conver Wars, The  - Text by Mark Ryherd
    One of the most destructive wars in the history of the Terragen Sphere.
  • Crescent Class Cruiser  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and 'Total Annihilation'
    A 15th to 17th century combat spaceship of dramatic and eccentric design. It is long obsolete but is popular in the present era among wealthy historical weapons enthusiasts.
  • Dominator Class Ship  - Text by Darren Ryding
    One of the capital ships of the Archosaurian Empire, recognised by its dark, broad mothlike 500 metre wide form.
  • Dreadnought (ship)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A Capital Ship of the largest scale (term now rarely used).
  • Empires Wars - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Integration and later term for two major and several minor interstellar wars rimwards of Sol during the Age of Empires. They saw the S>2 and especially archailect empires gain ground over the earlier SI:1 and SI:2 governed empires. The two most important of these were the (earlier) Nexus War (involving the breakup of the Taurus Nexus) and the (later) Conver Wars (involving out-of-control elements in the Conver Ambi, presumably the result of subversion by a perverse or ahuman ai).
  • First Consolidation War, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    A series of conflicts that marked the decline of Corona and the rise of other powers in the Taurus Nexus.
  • First Vec War, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    The First Vec War broke out in the Rigel Vector in 4044 a.t. between Metasoft and the Silicon Generation clade Emotive Cognation, apparently due to a territorial dispute. The conflict seems to have been in reality due to deep philosophical differences, fuelled by malicious provocation from the local Rigel Backgrounder clade of cyborgs and humans.
  • Five Morph, The  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A martial arts warrior clade based on five morphotypes.
  • Fleet - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A group of (usually although not necessarily) armed ships moving together as a unit. The range, speed, and endurance of a fleet are the range, speed, and endurance of its most feeble vessel.
  • Genesis of the Second Vec War, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    The build-up to the Metasoft Civil war.
  • Goo  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A general term for replicators, especially but not exclusively small replicators, often with the implication of hazard from possible uncontrolled replication. A nanoswarm capable of spreading and growing, particularly if it has escaped its original parameters, is commonly referred to as goo.
  • Good War/Bad War  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The terms "good war" and "bad war" are expressions used by sapient-level martial forces to differentiate between transapient-regulated actions, usually not involving major forces, and conflicts in unregulated space.
  • Guardbots, Securitybots and Warbots  - Text by Ryan B (Rynn)
    Companion security robots.
  • History of Interplanetary and Interstellar War  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A brief history of war on the interplanetary and interstellar scale within the Terragen Sphere.
  • Honour Warrior  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term among some clades for a sophont from a clade that emphasies honour, just retribution, and "righteous war" in its culture or meme-set.
  • House Holsta and The Copy War  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A war among scions of the leader of House Holsta.
  • Hypercorruption Expanse, The  - Text by Espen Antonsen
    Local war between Metasoft and a Top-level blight.
  • Hyperutilization Supremacy  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Perversity/Blight that originated in 6513 in the Normidic Machinophyle Supercluster, as the result of a possibly disfunctional ascension of a number of 4th toposophic dyson nodes. However, elements of Hyperdeontologist memetics were popular in the Supercluster as long ago as the 5800s.
  • Internet War, The  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Late Information Age (2089 c.e.) virtual world war. A war of sabotage, misinformation and denial of service centered on North American interests on the net, likely launched by unknown competitors or corporations.
  • Kessler Syndrome  - Text by Lemuria
    An event in which local space around a celestial body is polluted by a large amount of debris, damaging or destroying any habs, ships or other artififacts in orbit. Often, when space debris strikes an object, the object partially or completely fragments into more space debris, sometimes causing a chain reaction and worsening the problem.
  • Last War, The  - Text by Mark Ryherd
    Following GAIA's ultimatum declaring the "Great Expulsion" in 621 A.T., a brutal seven year war between shifting coalitions of GAIA's supporters, Treaty Org loyalists, various regional blocs, transnational factions, and local populations broke out on Earth and in Earth's orbital habitats.
  • Light Speed Paranoia  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Every star is separated from every other star by a distance on the order of light years, and so all information any one star-system can have about its neighbours is years out of date. This makes each star system paranoid about what the others are thinking and planning, so they have to assume the worst.
  • Lurkship - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generally, a heavily armed and armoured, short-range hyperturing military vessel, capable of stealth operations in a hydrospheric and atmospheric environment for greatly extended periods of time. Subcraft or subships are similar but smaller and less well armed and equipped.
  • Memetic War - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A war of ideology and persuasion rather than weaponry or military might. Most transapients and archai uses memetics when dealing with lower toposophics and subsingulitaritans, few resort to anything as crude as actual hardware or software weaponry. Examples of memetic warriors might be PR agents, priest, poets, empaths.
  • Military History  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The study of great battles and campaigns in the history of mindkind, the development of weapons and tactics, the life of great commanders, the effect on contemporary politics and later events, and so on.
  • Military Strategy in the Posthuman Era  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Introductory notes for Virch Course Environment EA3880: History of Interstellar Warfare and Strategy, University of Corona.
  • Military Theory  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from by Robert J. Hall
    The theoretical study of past, present and possible future military operations under a variety of political, geographical, environmental, planetological, and deep space conditions; with various combinations of levels of weapons, technology, toposophic, and so on.
  • Moon Wars, The  - Text by Mike Miller
    Wars on the Moon after the Expulsion from Earth.
  • Oracle War, The  - Text by Steve Bowers, with comments by Todd Drashner and Terrafamilia
    A conflict between the Oracle Machines, the MPA and the Communion of Worlds.
  • Platypus War, The  - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    A widespread Terragen fable regarding memetic effects; it may or may not have a historical basis.
  • Polemovore - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A creature that eats war, or more specifically the self-replicating weapons left behind advanced wars. They were postulated as an explanation of why the whole universe has not been overrun by autowars or turned into strange matter viruses by now.
  • Refutology War - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A minor low-violence war between the Refutologists and Faillance 8496-8513, mainly fought among minor Inner Sphere worlds. The Faillance was a trade-prognosis cartel culture that had emerged during the fragmentation of the ComEmp. As a counter to its growing influence were the Refutologists, skeptics and analysts of competing trade cultures. Among a number of minor worlds their conflict escalated due to memetic manipulation into full-scale proxy war (on the major worlds local governments had no problems preventing such conflicts). The war led to the breakup of Faillance (and the few formal Refutologist cartels) due to economic sanctions; the resulting Faillantau either dissolved over time or became minor local government religions.
  • Ritual Duels  - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    One-on-one combat between baseline-equivalent sapients under the supervision of higher level transapients.
  • Rojmaneo War - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Conflict among the members of House Claida, 9322-9365. After the permanent suspension of the Rojmaneo in 9322, different factions began to struggle over succession, creating an internal war spread across the wormhole Nexus. Over a thousand members were killed or sabotaged before Canahare Hre-Claida ascended as the new Rojmaneo.
  • Sagittarius Periphery Wars  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A serious of skirmishes, blights, and territorial wars along the Sagittarius frontier during the Age of Consolidation. The potentially worst of these were defused by the Specialist in a series of oft-recounted real-life interventions.
  • Salt, Salting - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In this context, when a biosphere (usually a large one, like a planet), is poisoned to make it uninhabitable (c.f. ecophagy). A subcategory of this is when a world or habitat is selectively poisoned in such a way that it becomes uninhabitable for the original natives/colonists, but is now inhabitable by the poisoners. This might be accomplished through climatic change, chemical processes, alteration of atmospheric albedo (or other radiation increasing or decreasing measures), or possibly other means. Halophiles find the human term for this perversity particularly ironic.
  • Scale War - Text by M. Alan Kazlev based on the original by Hugo de Garis
    War occurring between protagonists of a different speeds and component densities, e.g. between (predominantly) baseline/macrotech and nanoscale/nanotech, or between nanoscale/nanotech and picoscale/magtech. Inevitably the denser, faster tech will always win, unless the disadvantaged side gets help from a friendly AI God.
  • Second Vec War, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    The Metasoft Civil War; an historical account.
  • Shadowhound  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Bionano based infiltration and combat device. Shadowhounds have no definite shape, but are able to alter their form (usually over a period of several minutes to hours) to suit whatever conditions or situations they encounter. Shadowhounds derive their name from both their matte black outer layer (used to absorb solar energy) and one of their most common appearance defaults as a roughly canine shaped quadrupedal form.
  • Smart Weapons - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from Anders Sandberg's Big Ideas Grand Vision
    Weapons with have varying amounts of intelligence in them (rarely more than turingrade). The simplest Smart Weapons link to a control-command subturing and give the owner the ability to shift between types of ammo, see through the aimpoint camera etc. This kind of connection is necessary for use in teamware, and is practically standard among even the simplest baselines. The scramjet bullets of the sabot pistols of Trillicon have built in cameras and some limited steering capabilities. Zetatech's Marksman Gun is equipped with a n expert system that can act as a point defence or drone if placed on a tripod or suitable vehicle (although the price tag deters most people).
  • Software Wars  - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    Conflicts caused by software versions that are incompatible or actively undermine or destroy software of another origin.
  • Space Warfare, Early  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Deep space combat from the Interplanetary Age to the late Federation period.
  • Space Warfare, Modern  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Unsystematic notes by Admiralett 4434 "Chariot" of Castaldo Violence Equities, NoCoZo.
  • Subcraft, Subship  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Michael Beck
    Triphibious manned extended mission stealth-capable gunship.
  • System Control Ship  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Massive relativistic warship used for controlling or occupation of colonies or solar systems at interstellar distances.
  • Teamware  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    One of the most common form of nearbaseline militia team coordination systems are teamware, where each team member has a wearable sending information to either some behind-the-lines headquarter or forming a local network.
  • Version War, The  - Text by Anders Sandberg, M. Alan Kazlev, Peter Kisner, Aaron Hamilton
    A major Inner Sphere war of the Fifth Millennium.
  • Warseed - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Interplanetary Age proto-warchive developed by theThe Cult of the Exsanguinated Giraffe.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 02 July 2000.

Additional Information