Posted on October 2, 2018 by Joachim Desroches

Imagine the commanding room of a large battleship, seen from behind the central command post. The room is semi-cylindrical: you are on a metallic railing lining the top of the straight wall, with a view on the rows of desks filled with communication and calculation apparatus, sensors, and all sorts of feedback systems. Five, large, holographic screens are mounted on the curve opposite of you, big enough that you can read every detail from any part of the room.

Right in front of you, straight backed, left hand convulsively tensing on the fist formed by the right one in his back, the commander, in impeccable white and navy uniform, reads his screens, listens attentively to the couriers that come running to him from the doors on each side of the railing, sends his orders along the various intercoms, directing the great, complex, ballet of a class tech battleship in the midst of an intergalactic conflict.

The main fronts where the ship’s troops are engaged are displayed on the screens, one of them alternating between a report of the ship’s systems status and a tactical map of the troops fighting in the lower levels: the fighting ability of the ship has not yet been compromised, but the enemy has boarded and the lower halls resonate with blaster fire and tremble as traps and grenades detonate.

Taken planet by planet, the picture painted by the displayed tactical maps is not so bleak: nowhere have the ship’s troops or their allies been breached, or if they have the situation was brought back into control. Yet if three fronts are shown most often, the number of places where the enemy has made contact is appalling.

As you observe, one of the main screen flickers, then dies, replaced by a red “CRITICAL” with a four-point list underneath, reading

The commander’s fist contracts again, as four couriers come running, and deliver their reports.

The commander calmly takes each news in, ponders it, and gives a few orders. Troops are sent, resources used, defenses strengthened, lines established. And deep down, he remembers officer school, when all they had to do was deal with two fronts and a bunch of rogues… and wonders whether any of this has an end.