The Nature of the Beast: The Armed Forces of the Atlantic Federation

The AFAF is a ponderous beast, and is a hybrid of National, Corporate, and Federal forces. These forces have to work in an uneasy alliance, and at times these various factions can quickly come to odds with each other. The Federation is composed of a number of National powers; the Commonwealth of New England, Canada, DF Mexico, The Caribbean League, Republic of the Great Lakes, The Confederation of Southern States, Texas, The Rocky Mountain Republic, The New Hanseatic League, The Carolinians, Nigeria, Congo, and even more smaller nations. Corporations are a major force and have extensive military assets in terms of ships and hardware, and include juggernauts like Union Aerospace and OCP. The Federal forces represent the Federation itself, and are similar to NATO forces in the Petroleum Era, but have much better support and funding and are not loyal to one specific nationality or power. This is just a list of terrestrial powers, and doesnt touch on the assets offworld, or the military forces of tightly allied powers like the Lunar Free State, Seibertronians, or Kingdoms of Scandinavia.

The AFAF has an informal challenge structure that allows for a rapid resolution of internal conflicts, and a method for ensuring the loyalty, success, and overall 'health' of the regiments and divisions under it's aegis. This massive entity has its own life force, and unlike the military industrial complex of the Petroleum Era, it is able to support itself.

Abjuration, Trial of - A Trial of Abjuration is when an entire genetic bloodline within the genetic repository is destroyed. This is typically because of an unforgivable act carried out by a member of said lineage. In such a trial, all genetic samples are destroyed. All clones with the associated 'bloodname' are to be executed, and any clone sharing more than 50% genetic legacy may be executed. This can be declared against a Kindraa, exterminating it. It can be declared against any clone unit, ending that unit or reducing the remnant to dezgra.

Absorption, Rite of - The Rite of Absorption/trial of absorption is a ritual combat where the loser is made part of the victor. This is commonly done to units that have become dezgra, openly rebellious, or otherwise are considered irredeemable. The victor is generally weakened by the combat (and precursor trials to see who gets the rite of absorption) but is strengthened by absorbing the non-combat assets of the fallen unit. The spoils typically include bondsmen, genetic data, economic assets, and other holdings.

Annihilation, Trial of - The Trial of Annihilation is the most extreme option in the AFAF. Units challenged in Trials of Annihilation have the chance to defend themselves, but upon defeat their unit is dissolved, assets seized or destroyed, bloodlines purged, and their members are executed, sterilized, made bondsmen, and otherwise done away with. The be challenged in a Trial of Annihilation is a serious matter and is typically relegated to treason, heinous war crimes, unthinkable acts, or crimes against the environment. (detonating a nuclear power plant deliberately in the course of fighting a foe for example).

Aggronism - A practiced form of genocide, Aggronism holds that anything not part of an arcology or arcoplex represents a sociopolitical taint, biological contamination, or otherwise represents an intolerable threat to the viability of the arcology system. To this end, Aggronists support wiping out human settlements within specific distances of their arcologies. More moderate aggronists lean towards relocation, while the mainline supports military interdiction and immediate reclamation of the land the settlement contaminated. Aggronism was predominantly practiced during the Second Dark Age.

Bastionism - A practiced form of isolationism, Bastionism holds that arcologies, and related geofronts and seacologies are of paramount importance and should remain safe and inviolate. The best way to accomplish this is to completely seal off the structures from the 'outside'. Contact and transit between approved arcos and similar facilities is permitted but generally discouraged. So long as security is maintained, bastionists specifically do not care what happens around their fortresses. Bastionism was the counterpart to Aggronism, and while most well known as a dark age faction, Bastionism remains a low key political force in the AtFed.

Batchall - An issued challenge, batchall is a part of the ritualistic warfare that developed between rival arcologies during the second dark age. Rather than waste lives and precious resources, ritualistic duels would be fought between rival forces in honorable combat. This system romanticized warfare, limited collateral damage, and remained popular between rival but not enemy forces. The batchall is a statement of intent and a challenge, and the opponent accepts the challenge and states what they will oppose the challenger with. Honor is derived from the least amount of force used. Batchall is only used with honorable or worthy opponents

Bond - During the honor wars and into the Cosmic Era, Bond was and is still practiced. A defeated warrior would be taken as a bondsman, and their captor is the bondholder. The bondsman is honor bound to serve the bondholder as their new master (within limits, a bondsman retains honor and cannot be treated as a slave, prisoner, or be forced into humiliation). A bondholder typically releases their bondsman after certain expectations are met, or the bondsman is accepted into the new arcology as a member. This exchange removed a certain ruthlessness from warfare, and allowed exchange between various arcologies. Bondsref was a practice of honorable suicide, and only occurred in rare cases.

Cleansing, Trial of - The Trial of Cleansing is a ritual action where a unit that has been subdued by Annihilation or Grievance. Loyal members of the unit can carry out Annihilation against the rebellious faction within their own ranks. Said individuals and groups display their loyalty and then are adopted into the force carrying out Annihilation. Said adoptees are demoted in rank, but are considered clean and upstanding.

Combat, Rite of - The Rite/Trial of Combat is a manner of settling general grievances within the AFAF. This differs from the Grand Melee and other challenges in that the trial of combat is a live fire exercise and there is a high mortality rate, as most challengers would rather die than accept defeat or become bondsman.

Crusader - A modern version of the Aggronist faction, the Crusader faction feels that it is the right and responsibility of the arcologies and their leaders to extend their rule over the wastelands and rest of the planet. This is a manifest destiny of the arcos, and they have the technology, willpower, and equipment to do it. The Crusader faction wishes to conquer.

Creche - hailing back to the late Petroleum Era's SOLDIER program, creches are 'families' of soldiers who were raised and trained together in military organized family units. These are usually clones, but there are plenty of creches composed of orphaned children, or children who were surrendered to the AtFed government. Clones have their own internal blood lineages and genetic codices that are of great importance to them, and exist in a living archive.

Dark Caste - The Dark Caste represents the criminal element of the AtFed military culture and is composed of dishonorably discharged members, smugglers, and anyone else who was a part of the AFAF but has chosen and illegal or criminal path. The brass largely allows the existence of the Dark to continue so long as it keeps quiet and self policed and doesnt undermine the AFAF. Part of this is keeping an enemy where you can see them, and part of it allows the AFAF to exploit the dark cast. (A-Team)

Dezgra - An individual, unit, or ship can be declared dezgra, by panicking in the face of battle, committing dishonorable actions, refusing orders, or otherwise causing shame. Once declared dezgra, the unit will no longer be allowed in honor bidding, be considered for batchall, and will receive minimal logistic support, and when resupplied it will be with bottom tier equipment and either the worst recruits, or by dark caste or already declared dezgra individuals. The only way out of dazgra is death or bond. The informal adoption of Dezgra status has eliminated a lot of 'win at any cost' scenarios, and countered the proliferation of insurgency after defeat.

Genetic Repository - The Genetic Respository of the AFAF is the living archive of the clone bloodlines. Most units and clone bloodlines husband their bloodlines and have their own internal organizations and structures about how the bloodlines are managed and crossed while in pursuit of the genetic perfect soldier.

Giftake - The clone faction within the AFAF practices taking genetic samples from warriors killed in battle. To be subject to giftake, the warrior in question has to be dead, the body in suitable condition to be sampled, and said warrior would have had to fought with great skill and honor. This is used to keep improving the AFAF clone Genetic Repository.

Grand Melee - The Grand Melee is an AFAF tradition of promotion. All the eligible applicants for promotion enter a circle of equals and engage in non-lethal combat via their preferred method where the victor is the last person standing. This has gained credit for undermining social promotions as the generally incompetent dont last long in the Grand Melee, it is also criticized because there have been fatal incidents and often luck is as much a factor as skill so often the best qualified person is taken out by a lucky shot. These criticisms aside, the Grand Melee is a hallmark of the AFAF.

Grievance, Trial of - The Trial of Grievance is a method where members within the same unit or faction can settle matters where a Trial of Combat is unwarranted, but normal means of settlement have failed. This is most commonly a martial contest, where might makes right, but it isn't unheard of for unusual trials to involve athletic or sporting activities, trivia contests, or some other contest. Once the trial is completed, the grievance is considered settled in the victors favor.

Keshik - The Keshik is the unit attached to the commander of an AFAF Division. To be in the Keshik is a mark of honor and status for any warriors chosen.

Kindraa - aka Kindred Association, similar to the clone bloodlines and bloodnames, a Kindraa is a coalition of blood families within an AFAF regiment or division. Kindraas often have more influence than would be expected, and once a regiment comes under the dominion of a kindraa it generally stays there. The kindraa are generally held in check by dezgra, because their solidarity generally applies for good or ill, and because of this, the kindraa keep a tight leash on their own.

Merchant Caste - With the proliferation of internal production through polyfacturing and the ouvrage program it isnt uncommon for regiments and divisions to have their own support industry, and the merchant caste is the economic element of said unit. In lesser units this is a requisition and logistics force, and in the larger ones it is the force that builds and maintains the assets of said regiment. A super effective unit can found their own military demi-arco, and become and economic force of their own. The AFAF top command generally keeps units shuffled around to prevent this from happening too often, as with the kindraa, these can become destabilizing forces within the AFAF.

Mystic Caste - Parapsychics within the AFAF are considered mystics, informally. Most mystics are synthetic parasites, and are considered 'tainted' by their treatment and are thus kept out of command structures.

Possession, Trial of - The Trial of Possession is a straight forward contest where the challenger wants something from the defender, typically schematics, technology, genetic information, factories, and other assets. Batchall is issued, a fight is held. If the challenger wins, the loser is required to surrender the object of the trial. If the defender wins, the loser forfeits any future right to challenge for said asset. These trials have prevented economic monopolies from powerful divisions, and prevented a culture of shadow warfare between various units.

Reaving, Trial of - The Trial of Reaving is a challenge issued when there becomes a surplus of mediocrity or liability. The various elements named in the trial of reaving must defend themselves in ritual combat, those who lose are dissolved or disbanded. Victors retain the right to remain. This is a Reduction in Forces action, and typically follows after the conclusion of a war, or if a division becomes too large and burdensom. This can also occur following particularly devastating battles, and the victors are repaired and resupplied, and the remaining assets of the defeated are taken and distributed as needed. These post-battle trials are often handled in duels between surviving commanding officers.

Refusal, Trial of - A Trial of Refusal occurs when there is an internal dispute within a division, or any AFAF command structure. The Trial of Refusal is an action where the losing faction within a vote is allowed to defend their position by arms, but the forces allowed to be used match the measure of the vote, so that if a vote is disputed 2-1, the Refusal force is half of the opposition. Trials of Refusal are typically highly visible, and like Trials of Grievance the results are final and cannot be subject to a second Refusal.

Surkai - Less commonly known as the Rite of Forgiveness, Surkai is an act of contrition and atonement where the aggrieving party admits their wrong and makes their pledge, and the aggrieved party accepts the rite and the matter is considered done and over. This is usually a matter undertaken by a unit, group, or even entire caste within a unit. Good faith is required on both parts and if the rite is done without sincerity, or the aggrieved refuses a suitable surkai, it can lead to rites of grievance or combat. Likewise, if improperly handled, surkai can lead to one or even both parties being declared dezgra.

Touman - The entire might of a specific division, no division has ever committed its entire touman to the field at one time for one battle.

Warden - The Warden faction is the progressive face of the old Bastion party, and while the Wardens believe in the inferiority of the world outside of the arcologies, the Wardens believe that their guidance is required to protect and repair the world. The Crusaders would burn the world, the Wardens would prune and cut.

Zellbrigen - The formal initiation of a duel between near equal warriors, and when zellbrigen is invoked all other engaged forces step down and allow the two duelists to fight out their battle unaided, and unimpeded. This has allowed for incredibly limited engagements determine major outcomes within the AtFed

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The Atlantic Federation is not the Clans from Battletech, but rather, piggybacks off of the Clan's use of cloning technology and their honor based military culture. In the Cosmic Era, the concept of unlimited warfare and massed formations of combined arms is a no-go idea. Environmentalism and collateral damage concerns have become much more prominent, but the CE exists in a place where previous wars, with those massed military units and unlimited warfare and bombardments and saturation bombings almost rendered Earth uninhabitable, so there is no point in winning if there is nothing left afterwards. This has lead to a more chivalrous mode of sporting warfare. This is supported on the other side by extensive, and I mean extensive use of surveillance, covert ops, and shadowrunning. The nature of arcologies and megastructures have also moved large scale war into the defensive, much like in WWI where trenches and fortresses dictated battle.

The command structure inside of an AFAF expeditionary force is flexible, and competitive. The different units withing the force are going to be vying for honor and glory because these justify their continued military existence, and validate the soldiers who carry them out. This rivalry is important because it keeps the knives sharp because there is not a monolithic military industrial complex, nor is there a Constant Readiness Doctrine. Historically speaking, during peacetime, most nations have their military obligations dialed down, and their military R&D more low key, war is expensive and it is even more expensive paying for a large standing army on wartime footing when there is no war. After the second World War, and running through the entirety of the Petroleum Age, many world militaries found ways to stay at wartime levels of funding and operation, and this was a tremendous drain on the world economies, and caused large amounts of social and economic suffering that was handwaved away with patriotism and fearmongering.

In the CE, military industries tend to be self contained, and the Cognocracy that runs the Atlantic Federation doesn't have loopholes and weaknesses for lobby groups and PACs to run roughshod over the government, the AISCs that make the big decisions are considered nigh incorruptible, compared to the politicians and policy makers they replaced. During wartime, or anticipation of wartime, the powers that be (military AISC) can order a build up, and standing units are mobilized, and reserve units are brought up, and groundwork starts on filling demand. When the war is over, there is a large drawdown. Reserves are packed up, heavily damaged units are disbanded, and so forth. The system of trials and rites add the mysticism element that humans respond well to, and it allows for human excellence to outshine pragmatism.

This is a multi-fold system. The AISCs cut back on military waste spending when it isn't required. In the case of an unexpected aggressor attack, military forces are going to be a prime target, so supply depots, motorpools, and the bases would be the first places hit. With far fewer, the number of potential targets shrinks and the high degree of internal mobility allows for fast rallying and deployment of forces in the case of such a venture. This is seen as basic, but there is a greater reason. The AISCs in charge are concerned about outside non-human non-terrestrial forces attacking, or compromising and hijacking human military resources in a bid to take Earth. The AISCs are aware that there are 'things' going on out in the Oort cloud, well past the Human Red Line (the line demarcing how far humans have traveled from the sun) and have assumed that these are potential alien incursions, but are unaware that this work of the Glassenheim Foundation and the Annunaki deep space fleet