|This page contains information copied or paraphrased from the OCD FLEET site.|
copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.
'Good!' said the Baron – sitting in his hall,
'But Iron – Cold Iron – is master of them all.'
The Board is packed with advanced technology and mystical powers in the hands of negotiators, scientists, analysts, and even a few soldiers...but when the time for special effects ends, they call in FLEET.
To call FLEET merely the Board's heavies would be to insult the range of equipment and capabilities therein, but as one might expect...their main strength is in Blowing Stuff Up. Boardies may laugh in the face of evil, but FLEET just shoot it...and no matter how much they may begrudge it, most of the Board are damn glad to be able to call in the boys in black and their power-armoured troopers when things go Hell-shaped.
Where Boardies love to revel in their innate weirdness, FLEET prefer rough-and-ready solutions to their problems – ones that will work with a minimum of effort and loss on their side, and stay working once accomplished. Their equipment may not be as flashy, as packed with wondertech, or defy the laws of physics as much (at least until Boardie engineers get their hands on it), but there will be lots of it, and it will keep the brave souls who have to get their hands dirty alive while they get the job done. And if the job can be done from orbit without endangering anybody, so much the better - a little collateral damage is seen as a small price to pay in what FLEET consider a war that just hasn't erupted or developed battlefronts yet...and most of the thousands of officers and men who follow this view consider Boardies overly squeamish, prone to avoiding such hard truths when they think it'll hurt them. Boardies in turn consider FLEET to be seeing every problem as a nail when they have far, far too many thermonuclear hammers.
Perhaps the key difference, the one that causes the most friction between the two nominally-allied forces, is that most of FLEET didn't sign on for this. Aside from a trickle of recruits from Earth and the Board, the average marine or spacer is career-military...just up against a very nasty enemy. Earth is, while an important battleground, just another world on campaign. The locals might have more of a clue this time around and some snazzy gear, even if they are a bunch of utter weirdoes, but they're still locals – inexperienced, think too much of themselves, and surrounded by politicos that just mess everything up. And given who they seem to be fighting...and every spacer who thinks the reports are exaggerated usually gets that tendency burned out of him pretty quick...this isn't a combat zone one can play around in. It'll take a lot of blood, sweat, toil, and tears to kick Lucy-boy back down the hole he came from, and that means less playing around and more getting out there to shove plasma down some demonic throats.
And if the cosmic balloon ever does go up, and you run into the angels out there, tell 'em to get aboard the dropships...
Main article: History of FLEET
If there is one aspect of the FLEET that is most glaringly obvious, one trait that forever marks them out from the Board at large, it is that the average FLEET officer will consider their classic traits of aloof coldness and cast-iron self control as normal and laudable. While discipline varies depending on unit commanders, it is noticeable and ever-present, and a military chain of command ensures everyone knows who they take orders from. FLEET cannot see why the Board have a problem with this, as it prevents dangerous uncertainty, and they get annoyed when their counterparts cannot resist showing off their anarchic nature.
Nevertheless, they remain practical. The fact remains that, as impressive as they look, FLEET consider themselves woefully underequipped for a planetary insurgency campaign. The ships available are invariably battlewagons first and troop transports second, leaving the organisation overgunned and undermanned...and leading many to wonder just what the hell kind of crazy operation the Goddess wants them for. This is usually when one of the Commodores starts mentioning "fire from heaven".
To attempt to put their assets to good use, FLEET have organised into dedicated command groups, each with specific responsibilities in and around Earth and overall command of the units they encompass, with attached dedicated support elements (Fighter Command, for example, has control over carrier vessels, while Strike Command's spectacular capital ships require an equally spectacular supply train and distant fuel refineries far out into the solar system). When offensive operations are ordered, all commands will come together to form an assault force drawn from available units. The scratch nature of most of these units, assembled as they are from whatever the Goddess could call in, still makes a FLEET formation worryingly tenuous. Communication difficulties and hardware mismatches prove a constant dilemma their specialists work hard with Board communications experts to resolve, but barring teaching every starship commander telepathy, they will remain an issue for the foreseeable future.
Come to think of it, that would explain why Commodore Haidan has been hanging around psionics labs so much lately.
Ships and Equipment
FLEET equipment may not be as snazzy, as customised for as many situations, or jump through as many hoops as its Board equivalents, but it will be rugged, reliable, effective...and there will be lots of it, in the hands of veteran personnel who know how to squeeze as much extra performance out of the tried-and-tested designs as possible.
And, of course, being a fleet, FLEET have some assets that outstrip their weirder counterparts in sheer raw power and scale...