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No sooner had conversation between all those newly gathered around had begun did the curt lieutenant give another order, and the promise of two hours of preparation melted into the air. Jonnie quickly found the platoon quartermaster and fitted himself out with his complement of clips for his rifle and his bombs. On a second thought he grabbed a few extra pans of ammunition for the gunners, as he said he would, shoving it into an ammunition pouch and tying it about his waist. He was all afire with urgency and a young soldier's sense of duty. Attack, attack! While the quartermaster gave him his arms, Jonnie counted the seconds.

Not even the onslaught on his senses could dissuade him as he jumped into the reserve lines, then the supply trenches, moving through the communications trenches cut into the dirt to the main fire line. The bombardment which had excited his nerves before were now deafeningly loud. A line of guns fired in staccato, each gun adding to the din before it became one great rumbling, shaking man and earth alike. The shells whistled in the air until they exploded in trenches opposite the Federation's own, and Jonnie imagined he could feel the shockwaves. Some shells whistled back, too, Jonnie was sure. But for whatever reason the return fire seemed scattered and intermittent, compared to the Federation's own, and he wondered whether they fell short of their targets.

And the smell, the rot. He had heard stories, but they didn't prepare him for this. He had only smelled once before something as close to being as terrible as this, in the ragnoline plant. A boy just a bit older than Jonnie at the time had accidentally spilled melted ragnite crystals onto himself, on the leg. For all the workman's clothes the other boy was wearing, it may as well have been bare skin, and the skin did curl away as it seared and the flesh underneath cooked. Jonnie never saw that boy again; he heard later that the boy had lost the leg, of course, but still died of complications soon after.

As he pressed himself against the sandbags in the main trench, waiting for the signal to go over the top, Jonnie couldn't say that the smell didn't bother him. As he wished for something to take his mind off the odor, he looked around and saw a young looking boy that had approached the group earlier, but Jonnie hadn't caught his name. The lad must have some courage to be here, Jonnie thought approvingly. The other boy had a roundish, almost sweet face, to Jonnie's mind. It was then that he remembered something suddenly, going through the pouches of his uniform.

"Hey," Jonnie said, tapping the young boy on the shoulder. He pulled out a tin from a pouch and shook it a bit. "Sweet chocolate, not like the bitter stuff they have at the canteens. My mother sent it right before I left the training camp. It's my last few bars. I'd like to have savored it if I had the time, but...Lieutenant's orders, you know. Time for the show." He held out the tin in offering. "Have a piece?"


Jonnie looked taken aback for a moment, then smiled and relaxed his posture, not minding that the lance corporal had gone back to his pad. "Am I relieved to hear that. Ah, poetry, huh? So you weren't taking roll after all." Jonnie chuckled a bit at himself, looking at the two lance corporals and the other private that had just showed up. "Sorry about all that. It's my first day here. You know, didn't want to chance spending it in the stocks for crossing a corporal."

Jokingly, he smirked and said, "Some of the noncoms back at the training camp would stick their whole leg up your end if you didn't address 'em right." Jonnie stood at attention for an imaginary drill instructor. "Yes sergeant, no sergeant, how-deeply-should-I-kiss-your-ass sergeant," he called out with a straight face, but that quickly turned into a laugh and a wide grin. "It was the same for you all, right? I bet every camp has at least one sarge like that."

The composure Jonnie had summoned up to contain himself fell away just like that, and now he felt as if all of his nervous energy was pouring out of him all at once. That was just making him act out in another way, of course, but it felt better to him than stuffy formality. The tension was working him up. Jonnie felt like the butterflies in his stomach were going mad, and the low vibrations in the ground from the steady fire of the artillery guns were just working them up even more. Though, as he considered the lance corporal's offer, he had a hint of a flush go to his face that calmed him down somewhat.

"As for the rum," he began awkwardly, scratching his face a bit with his forefinger and laughing a bit sheepishly, since the others seemed to be about his age, "I'm still a little too young for that, I think." He smiled gaily now, though, eager to move on. "Anyway, mate, if Britta here can call you by name, so will I. Good to meet you, Jean and Isaac, and Britta too. I'm Jovan. Call me Jonnie," he said, shaking hands with all around in turn. Then he curled a bicep as if to show off, giving a winking smile. "And if either of you gunners needs someone to haul the extra ammo, I'm your guy."


The ever louder report of artillery guns told Jonnie that he had probably made it to the front. He looked around at the scenery as the truck he was riding in the bed of moved along the road, and in the early morning sun he was just now able to spot the guns he had first heard thousands of meters away. It wasn’t quite the very front trenches, since he was to report to his platoon while they organized in the rear, but the tension here felt palpably different even if these were still just the reserve lines. Some of the others riding with him in the truck seemed relaxed, even eager. But Jonnie saw a sort of grimness in the faces of those he spotted as the truck carried through, and at this time he didn’t know what stories those stark expressions could tell.

There was one person on the truck, though, who had the same expression as the soldiers in the lines did. That one wasn’t a new recruit, Jonnie guessed; he learned that when one of the others, a talkative boy that seemed a bit younger than he himself, made an off-the-cuff remark about how excited he was to finally get a chance to stick it to the Imps. The veteran shot the boy a harsh look, told him darkly that he would change that attitude right quick, and muttered curses under her breath. That shut the kid up, and for the rest of the ride few words were exchanged that could break up the incessant clamor of the guns. Most of the others, though, were trying to catch a little more sleep and had been in no mood for talk in any case.

But Jonnie himself was wide awake, struggling to keep the nervous energy inside of him contained. It felt as if it had just been a short few days since Jonnie had disembarked from the train that had brought him to basic, but of course it had been months ago. The drill sergeants, the corporals, they had been strict, unforgiving disciplinarians. But Jonnie thought he had felt himself turning into a soldier under their orders. He followed orders, saluted, and kept his boots shiny, and that was enough to keep the noncoms happy, even if it sometimes drew snickers from the other enlisted recruits. In exchange, he’d learned to shoot, to dig trenches, to fix bayonets and charge. Now he wanted the chance to put that to use. He was going to fight the Imperials, after all, and was proud to do it. He took out his father's knife and turned it over in his hand, feeling the Fhiraldian leather on the hilt. For Fhirald, Jonnie was going to give the Imperials a bloody nose, and worse if he could manage it.

After a short while more, the truck stopped and Jonnie and all the other soldiers trundled off, headed towards their respective units. Another private pointed Jonnie out to the 15th Atlantic Rifles, which he promptly made his way towards. The intensity in the air was even greater now that the front was so close, and Jonnie only had a few minutes to orient himself before a bugle call caught his attention. He saw the colors of the 8th platoon, his assignment, and found a spot in the ranks to line up and pulled off a crisp salute. His new lieutenant Middleton gave a curt address. At some point in the past this attitude might have made Jonnie bristle, but weeks of training had made him used to taking orders from officers, as a good soldier does.

As the assembly dispersed, Jonnie took note of the two lance corporals Lieutenant Middleton had pointed out gathering together, one of them with a pad and pencil. By the lance corporal’s hair color Jonnie could see that the one with the pad was a Darcsen. Assuming the noncom was taking the roll, Jonnie came up to them and snapped to attention.

“Private Katz reporting, Lance Corporal Charpentier, Lance Corporal Black.”

Figured I would repost these links to the artbooks here in case anyone is interested.

VC 1 Design Archive - the big one, lots of dev notes and lore. VC1 is set in the Gallian theater of the Second Europan War (EW2). It includes the most info about the First Europan War (EW1), too.…

VC 1 Artbook - mostly duplicate stuff from the VC1 Design Archive, but get it if you're curious.…

VC 2: World Artworks - VC2 is set after the end of the Gallian theater of EW2, but before the war in Europa ends.…

VC 3: Complete Artworks - VC3 takes place at the same time as VC1.…


VC 1 Design Archive - the big one, lots of dev notes and lore. VC1 is set in the Gallian theater of the Second Europan War (EW2). It includes the most info about the First Europan War (EW1), too.…

VC 1 Artbook - mostly duplicate stuff from the VC1 Design Archive, but get it if you're curious.…

VC 2: World Artworks - VC2 is set after the end of the Gallian theater of EW2, but before the war in Europa ends.…

VC 3: Complete Artworks - VC3 takes place at the same time as VC1.…

This game aside, in the VC world tanks are definitely a thing in EW1. The East Europan Imperial Alliance fielded them first, but Gallia also had a tank corps by the time of EW1. Belgen Gunther, the father of Welkin Gunther of VC1, was first noticed for his abilities as a tank commander during the Imperial invasion of Gallia in EW1. The Edelweiss, developed with cutting edge technology by Belgen Gunther and Theimer shortly after EW1, is comparable to late-WWII tanks. The VC world picks up tanks faster than the real world does, in part because of the existence of ragnite. Ragnite, processed into ragnoline, allowed for smaller, more powerful, more efficient engines than the real world had at the "same" time.

It's a good rule of thumb to assume that land military tech, at least, for any given year in the VC world is a few years ahead of where it would be in the real world. One example of that is that everyone is using semi-automatic rifles as their main service arm by the time EW2 starts (1935), down to the town guard of a small corner of Gallia called Bruhl.

EDIT: Another hint to the widespread use of tanks in EW1 is that everyone, by the time EW2 rolls around, has lots of Lancers -- that is, troops using infantry-portable anti-tank weapons. This suggests a reaction to EW1 tank tactics, that the average infantry formation was expected to encounter enemy tanks. EW2 armor doctrine also hints to it's widespread use, as tanks are assigned to formations as small as infantry platoons as organic armor assets.
I'd like to enlist. Also, I've got scans of the VC1 to VC3 artbooks with all that good world lore, if anyone's interested in them.
I think you have a problem with the mechanics, namely that you want range. It's a weird concept for space battle for anything other than, say, lasers. As you know, deep space is very empty, so for all practical purposes there's nothing that stops something moving indefinitely. There's tiny, tiny amounts of hydrogen, but any drag that might produce is negligible for any non-universe spanning distances. Battles near astronomical objects like planets, stars, or black holes would influence range due to the effects of gravity or have terrain features that might prematurely stop projectiles, but other than that you should expect something you shoot to keep going until it hits something.

If you want to keep range, you should come up with a plausible reason for it. For example, you could say there's something like a space Geneva Convention that bans weapons that do not have internal explosives that automatically detonate, vaporizing the weapon, after a certain prescribed distance. You should then keep in mind the implications of your solution. One implication of my example would be that any explosive that could vaporize the weapon that contains it would also be powerful enough to be used offensively, which makes every weapon a bomb, really. Of course the implications of a solution don't have to be bad; again, regarding my examples it might be tactically interesting to consider every weapon a bomb, or it might be interesting to think about a military force that intentionally violates the convention.

Or you might do away with the concept of range altogether and replace it with something like propellant, or delta-V. Weapons would be differentiated by how much and perhaps even the capabilities of the propellant they carry. You might replace flak with something like swarms of small tactical nukes that carry a small amount of a powerful propellant, allowing it to make very quick course changes at short ranges to maximize its effectiveness as an anti-missile point defense weapon. Kinetic weapons would carry no propellant, and accordingly have no delta-V, and that's exactly why you like it; any space that would have been used to carry propellant is now filled with a dense mass of fuckyouranium, making a powerful unguided weapon. Missiles carry a lot of propellant, and can therefore make a lot of course corrections, meaning it can follow a maneuvering enemy.

This comes with its own implications, of course. It does somewhat preserve the idea of short, middle, and long-ranged weapons; nuke swarms are unguided after they spend their propellant, while kinetic weapons are unlikely to hit at distances far enough away for enemy ships to maneuver. That said, they would still effectively have unlimited range, which opens up tactical possibilities. A standard tactic might be to fire weapons in order to create area denial zones while also forcing your opponent to maneuver, to then fire the weapons you actually intend to hit your opponent with towards the areas your opponent is forced to maneuver into. Having delta-V be a central mechanic also makes it more important to determine the speed weapons are traveling at, because that is part of determining what kind of tactical maneuvers are possible in a given situation.

I would also switch the damage values of kinetic weapons and missiles. Without knowing the underlying economy of warfare here, it seems that in your current schema that missiles are king. If you shoot enough missiles you can overcome any point defense weapons, while if you stay far away enough you can maneuver away from kinetic weapons. Battle would basically be determined by who can shoot more missiles first. Switching up the damage values for missiles and kinetic weapons would change the game; there's more incentive to move in closer to actually use kinetic weapons effectively, while the damage they can do makes it more urgent to maneuver away from incoming kinetic weapons. This would, I think, make for a more tactically interesting scenario that values deft maneuvering and weapon use. There are other solutions, too; you could make it so that you have a very limited number of missiles, for example, such that you will be forced to use kinetic weapons, but that means most of the battle will be fought with only two weapon types instead of three.

It sounds like you're on a good track. If you think your mechanics through a little more, you could have something very cool.
Franca Mintz

Franca eagerly accepted the bounty of food while she listened to Raven speak, though Mirande's voice booming across the hall cut off any further conversation. Now there was someone more after her own heart, Franca thought, though she immediately balked at the idea of not breakfastin' and ravenously ate the last of her food. Slices of salt ham, onion soup, another sweet white roll for a sop--a veritable feast for Franca, and she devoured it in just a few moments, washing it all down with a quaff of small beer. She was so absorbed in her eating that she almost missed Mirande gesturing to and fro, directing everyone, but she looked up just in time to watch Mirande jump down off the balcony. Franca gave a low whistle. There was the powder, sure, but that was impressive nonetheless.

Then Mirande started dragging people off, including Franca, toward their groups. Franca returned Raven's wave goodbye before Mirande rowdily handed her off to the swordswoman Franca had met earlier and one other of a serious looking sort. Franca already had a mild apprehension of Erinn, and now something about the curt manner of Nila didn't quite endear her either. Franca rubbed the back of her head and gave a nod back.

"Franca," she replied, returning the polite smile, though by then all their attentions were towards the job board, and the promise of pay made Franca dismiss all her misgivings. She swung herself up and over onto a nearby table to get a better look at the board and smiled when a few caught her interest.

"For my part, I'd say this Hatkadedyet job's the easy money," Franca called over to her partners, thinking about her own abilities. "But this Nawade job, that's a respectable pay," and, with a wink and a smile, she added, "though I figure either job will be noble enough for your sentiments."

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