Independent Command

Caution: This Science Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Coercion, Slavery, Heterosexual, Science Fiction, DomSub, Rough, Military, Sci-Fi DomSub Military Slavery

Desc: Science Fiction Sex Story: Glossary - Rear Admiral Thomas Williams is given a new task. (Part of Thinking Horndog's "Swarm" Universe)

Temporary note for readers of the "in-progress" version of Independent Command: If you see a term used in the story but not defined, and you cannot figure out from context what it means, please check here. If you cannot find it here either, please tell the author who will add it to this Glossary.

When the Confederacy came to us for help with the Sa'arm, they had advanced technology but no weapons. They didn't do that sort of thing. That's just not a problem for us humans, we've been thinking hard about space warfare for over a century, starting in 1898 when H.G. Wells' published his "War of the Worlds". We already know what weapons we want to put on our ships, if you will just help us build them ... No wonder they are almost as scared of us as they are the Sa'arm.

Note that, as the vast majority of early volunteers came from all the various descendants of the British empire (US Navy, South African Army, etc), the Confederacy Navy speaks English and was orginally organized by USN and Royal Navy people. It uses USN terms with a strong leavening from the RN and other NATO allies. Of course, we are fighting for our species' life. We don't care where a good idea comes from. If it works we will use it.

AAR - After Action Report - A formal/final report on an event or series of events, usually combat, put together by the victors or survivors, or separate investigators if survivors were not available. An AAR usually includes a tactical plot replay, a video presentation that shows the relative positions and actions of all involved. The TPR is often set up for dramatic and entertainment value. The rest of the AAR is a collection of addendums cataloging every aspect (ships, damage, etc). When available, the TPR often includes live commentary from the participants, as that usually gives the viewers an understanding of why decisions were made the way they were.

AI - Artificial Intelligence - a device of sufficient computing power that it cannot be recognized, by blind conversation, as a manufactured device. This is the original "Turing Test". Once the first one is functional, it can be used to help design and build much more capable ones, and a society which has them available for general use will undergo a vast transformation. Confederacy society is driven by AIs, as all equipment more complicated than a shovel will have integrated control systems with hooks for AIs to manage them.

Bridge - The compartment where the helmsman, OOD, or CO can visually see how close the ship is to the pier, the repair frame, or the landing pad. This implies a window or port, which in turn dictates that this compartment is not armored and protected in the middle of the ship. This space holds the ship's official "helm" or directional control station. For space ships that are large enough/complex enough to have a CIC, the nominally "main" helm station on the Bridge is usually not manned. Instead, the "main" helm station is usually slaved to the nominal "backup" helm station in CIC. Smaller vessels that are completely controlled by one or two "pilots" from the Bridge often call it the "cockpit".

Bullet-Sponge - A sailor's term for those passengers who serve no purpose beyond getting in the way of a bullet intended for someone more valuable. While a professional bodyguard might take it as a compliment, most Marines don't react well to the label.

BuPers - In the US Navy, the Bureau of Personnel, that mass of office workers responsible for the acquisition, training, assignment, and management of the Navy's people. Actually, this Bureau is remarkable for it's ability to rapidly change policies as the real world changes. Whatever the formal name of the Confederacy's personnel directorate, USN veterans will call it "BuPers".

BuShips - In the US Navy, the Bureau of Shipbuilding and Repair, that unwieldy mass of office workers responsible for the design, construction, maintenance, and repair of all the Navy's ships. While they are frequently cursed for their glacial speed, they deal with 15-year-lead-time contracts with commercial shipyards to develop and produce equipment and systems for ships we haven't built yet and may well cancel so it's not all their fault. Whatever the formal name of the Confederacy's shipbuilding directorate, USN veterans will call it "BuShips".

C1, C2, C3, C4 - Shipboard readiness level, as "Condition #". Each ship will have its own manning lists, showing where each crew member will be for each condition. Ships in the same class will generally have similar lists. Condition 1 is basically completely unmanned, in port with a very small skeleton crew aboard and often referred to as an "anchor watch". C2 is normal underway with nothing exciting happening -ho hum, another three days until arrival.

C3 is the important one, the manning level that people call "Battlestations". This is the manning level that has people at every post that we want people at, when we are shooting at an enemy and getting shot at in return. This gives the ship the maximum ability to fight and to repair damage. However, it comes at a cost: All of your best people are busy. The CO is in CIC, the best gunner is on the biggest gun. If Joey needs to go to the bathroom, whoever relieves him reduces the ship's combat capability because he isn't as good as Joey. If he was, then he would be the one manning that station at C3, and Joey would be the backup. Staying at C3 for too long leads to gradual at first, then rapidly increasing reductions in combat efficiency as people under stress get tired.

C4 is a fiction, the unofficial "condition" level that is referred to for what happens if you lose a fight, the struggle to abandon a stricken ship before it is too late. Note that Confederacy warship AIs have orders to prevent enemy access to advanced technology, so if a ship is in danger of capture the ship will self-destruct to prevent such, making crew evacuation an urgent matter.

CAP - Capability, Aptitude, Potential - Apparently chosen for it's ability to make a catchy-sounding acronym, the CAP is a system for testing what an individual is capable of right now, as well as his/her capability for future growth with proper training. The Confederacy needed a combat force to contain the Sa'arm. However, anyone able to beat the Swarm was self-evidently even more dangerous than the Swarm, so the Confederacy insisted upon controls.

Only those individuals with the intelligence to learn, the sociability to follow orders, and the ability to have loyalty to a higher concept than "self" were allowed to volunteer for service in the Confederacy Navy and Marine Corps. At first, they concentrated on intelligence as necessary to understand all the advanced equipment. Later, as issues emerged with early volunteers, we started paying more attention to other factors ... See "Volunteer" and "Concubine"

CIC - Combat Information Center - The US Navy's term for the protected room that holds the main control stations for all the various ship and combat systems on a warship. Contrast this with the Bridge, DC, and ECR. Few non-warships have a CIC, as it is an unnecessary waste of space. A freighter will usually just have a bridge, with all control stations there.

CIWS - pronounced "seawizz" - Close-In Weapon System, a US-developed integrated antimissile system that uses a gatling gun and radar to destroy incoming missiles. They work well but are very short ranged and tend to run through their ammo quickly. In full automatic mode they will fire on, and destroy, any incoming object without regard to IFF status.

The cononical example of a "blue on blue" CIWS incident is any helicopter in the area, because the radar keys on incoming objects like missiles. The main rotors, as they turn, will be sweeping towards the ship on one side of the chopper, and away from the ship on the other side. CIWS has no trouble hitting a target as small as a helicopter's rotor blade. Helicopters do not fly well with their main rotors shot off.

CNS, CAS, CMS - "Flag" designation for Confederacy ships. This is completely unnecessary as long as everything is either Confederacy or enemy, but the humans insisted. The acronyms expand to Confederacy Navy Ship, Confederacy Auxiliary Ship, and Confederacy Merchant Ship respectively. Fleet ships with offensive armament are CNS, if they only have defensive armament they are CAS, and completely unarmed fleet cargo carriers or working ships will be CMS. CNS includes those ships with non-traditional armaments, like troopships with landing shuttles and carriers with bombers, which may or may not also carry integral weapon systems. Privately controlled ships like the Darjee traders will be "SS" for SpaceShip with no flag obligations.

Concubine - A Human without the minimum CAP score to volunteer for Confederacy service, but who has been allowed to go anyway in return for obedience to a specific volunteer (see entry). The Concubine gets off a dying planet and the volunteer gets a servant or slave. Some concubines are selected for their known past performance (taking a wife or husband is common); some are selected for their current appearance (taking the prettiest woman available is common). Depending upon the specific patron, a concubine may find him or herself a pampered pet, a trusted helper, or an abused sex slave. Often informally abbreviated to "conk".

DC - Damage Control - An Engineering control station with responsibility for life support functions (atmosphere, gravity control, etc). On smaller ships this is just a station in the ECR. On larger ships it is a separate space which also serves as a backup to the ECR.

ECR - Engineering Control Room - The control room for all the bits that actually make the ship go: Main Engines, Power Generation, etc. While the ECR is often inside one of the main engineering spaces, it is always completely enclosed and isolated so that an environmental issue (no air, etc) in the space does not directly affect the ECR.

EmCon - Emissions Control - Look, there just isn't a cloaking device. All we can do is shut down all the radars and other emitters, turn the shields off since they radiate like a star whenever something hits them (like the molecular dust you find everywhere in a system), let the engines cool off until they no longer radiate heat, and pretend to be a boring empty volume of space. There are various levels of this, from partial to full. Patrol EmCon has shields turned off and engines as cool as we can make them while still move. Ex-Submariners want to stay at Patrol EmCom all the time. Ex-surface ship sailors don't like running with no shields.

HEZ - Hyperspace Exclusion Zone - That volume surrounding a gravity well where a Category III FTL drive will not work. Forcing one to try to work inside an HEZ leads to Bad Things happening to everything inside the drive field. To avoid this, the Confederacy has developed mass-sensors that allow navigation in hyperspace, but they involve so much computation that only an AI can do it in realtime. The Sa'arm use much the same drive system as the Confederacy, but lacking AIs they can only use the drive for pre-calculated jumps with no navigation.

HPAB, MPAB, LPAB - Heavy, Medium, and Light Particle Accelerator Beam, the most effective of the weapons our inherited ships came with. Fairly quick to fire with almost light-speed effect, but not destructive enough to destroy an enemy without multiple hits. To help ensure multiple hits, they are often set in twin turrets that can either fire together for maximum effect on a shield, or offset by a fraction of a second to allow one to penetrate armor and the other to damage whatever is behind the armor that just got penetrated. Lighter ships can only carry individual guns.

IFF - An electronic system to Identify Friend or Foe. Basically an enhanced aircraft transponder. When a traffic control radar sweeps across a jumbo jet, the jet's transponder sends out a coded reply pulse that contains useful info (altitude, speed, heading, current label "Delta flight 317", whatever). A dumb radar will just display its own return echo, letting the operator know there is a plane out there. A transponder-aware smart radar system will decode the transponder's pulse and also display the aircraft's altitude, ID code, etc.

A military IFF system includes an encrypted signal that (hopefully) an enemy cannot spoof, so you know whether the blip is a friend or a foe. The weapons guys insist that their homing missiles ignore a ship with a valid IFF code, but no sane person would actually trust that; what if the missile is loaded with yesterday's codes? Any warship will immediately target any missile that appears to be headed towards them. An IFF system can also be used in "active" or commanded mode, where it sends out an "I'm a good guy" pulse without waiting to be poked by a search radar or scanner. This allows receivers that recognize the pulse to localize the sending ship even if the ship itself cannot be detected yet.

Liferaft - A minimal boat or shuttle carried by ships that are too small to carry a reasonable-sized ship's boat, or in addition to the normal ship's boats. The ones carried by the Castles and Patricians have four inflatable bubble "bedrooms" that can each sleep 20 adults, although the environment plant is only rated for 60 adults for 2 months. Even if one is found with no survivors, it should be recovered because CIC provides all liferafts and shuttles with a continuous tactical download until launch. This will tell the recovering ship what happened to the launching ship, and thus where else it should look for survivors.

Magazine - Not all space weapons are strictly energy. All of the slug-throwers (CWIS, rail guns, etc), rocket launchers, and missile launchers need storage space for whatever they launch, if they want to be able to fire more than one shot. No matter what it holds, it is called a magazine.

Morgue - On a troopship (or any ship carrying combat Marines), the space that holds the Marine's powered armor suits when not in use. Since the empty suits in their cradles look like so many dead bodies lined up, the compartment resembles a morgue. Some ships have the morgue right next to the small-arms armory for maintenance convenience, while others don't have that large an area to invest and may have the armory somewhere else, or even have the morgue split up into two or more spaces.

These suits are so difficult to disable with small-arms fire that one or two troublemakers wearing them could basically destroy a ship from the inside before anyone else could stop them. This leads to the morgue being almost as well protected by the ship's internal security systems as the Bridge, CIC, or ECRs.

Naval Officer titles, official and unofficial - CO, XO, Nav, Tac/Nav, Comm/SensO, SuppO, ChEng - Most officer titles are lifted wholesale from US Navy use.

The ship's crew has, at the top, a "Commanding Officer", a "CO" or "Skipper". After the rank "regularization" scam got shoved through the Fleet, his official title is "Captain", a term which is no longer used as a rank designator. Anyone with the rank of "Captain" became labeled "Colonel". His second in command is his "Executive Officer" or XO.

Various senior officers are referred to by the titles of the departments they run. Note that on small ships these overall responsibility areas are often combined to give you a Tac/Nav, Weps/Ops, Comm/Nav, or Comm/SensO officer.

The head of the Navigation Department will be called the "Navigator" or just "Nav".

The department with offensive equipment -the guns, missiles, and various launchers- will be called "Weps" for "Weapons Department" for warships or "Tac" for "Tactical Operations Department" on non-combatant vessels. On smaller ships, this department will also have defensive equipment. On larger ships, there may be a separate "Countermeasures Department".

A ship's maintenance effort, housekeeping, and other unrelated items are often gathered into an "Operations Department" with a department head called "Ops".

A large ship's small craft are often run by a "Small Craft" shop, with their head referred to a "Boats". If a ship has small craft delivery as its reason for existence, as in an aircraft carrier or a troopship, the Boat Ops department will be huge, headed by the Boat Boss. Once launched, however, their actions will be dictated by the "Flight Ops" department, which is manned from the embarked small-craft formation, not the ship's core crew; they know how to get the most out of their fighters, bombers, troop landers, ground support, and other special-purpose intel and control craft.

A ship's senses or information-gathering instruments will be managed by the Sensor Department headed by the SensO, a term pulled from aviation rather than wet-navy ships.

A ship's major utility services and major machinery are watched over by the "Chief Engineer", often shortened to "ChEng" which rhymes with 'rang'.

A ship's ability to communicate with others is the responsibility of the "Communication Department", headed by the "Comm" officer.

The "Logistics" or "Supply" effort is headed by the "SuppO" or informally the "Chop" or "Head Thief". OF - Orbital Fortress - a construct that is basically a warship without engines. Thus, any space/power/resources that would have been used by engines on a ship could be diverted to more weapons, more armor, more sensors, etc, etc, etc on an equal-sized orbital fortress. However, an OF couldn't be completely immobile, because it needed to be able to re-orient, or move to cover a hole left by another OF that had been destroyed, or whatever. Thus, it had to retain at least minimal mobility, which means that a significant amount of volume and mass still had to be "wasted" on engines that it would probably never use.

This makes an equivalent-sized ship that had engines powerful enough to be used tactically more useful than an OF, if there was any possibility of the ship or OF being needed elsewhere. An OF was only cost-effective if it was set to guarding something that MUST be protected, that couldn't protect itself. During the Swarm War, any inhabited planet fit this need, and OFs were common around most inhabited planets.

OOD - Officer of the Deck or Officer of the Day - In port, a ship will have most of its crew gone (home, school, transferred, in a bar, whatever). The crew remaining onboard is under an Officer of the Day who has responsibility and authority, under the CO, for all aspects of the ship until he is relieved by another OOD. This is typically a 24 hour post and the OOD can go anywhere necessary for the proper performance of his duties including off the ship for short periods, as long as he is nearby and can immediately return if needed. At sea or in space, a ship underway is directed by an Officer of the Deck who has similarly has responsibility and authority, under the CO, for all aspects of the ship until he is relieved by another OOD. The underway post is usually stood at the Bridge or CIC and is a much shorter period due to the more intense attention required, usually no longer than two to four hours.

Patron - When used in connection to a particular concubine, it means the volunteer responsible for that concubine. The term "Sponsor" is also often used.

PDL - Point-Defense Laser - an automated weapon mount that uses an expendable laser cartridge to fire a laser pulse at incoming threats. As long as the "threat" is unmanned, ie an asteroid, a missile, or similar, it can be fired under AI control. No human gunner is required unless the target is "manned". The crystal magazine is integrated with the mount and holds several thousand cartridges so it is considered for all practical purposes to be a Drake- or Laumer-style "infinite repeater".

PDR - Point-Defense Railgun - a weapon mount that uses a small railgun to launch inert slugs at incoming threats. As long as the "threat" is unmanned, ie an asteroid, a missile, or similar, it can be fired under AI control. No human gunner is required unless the target is "manned".

The mount has two integrated slug magazines which each hold several hundred cartridges. The PDR is not quite an "infinite repeater" but an empty magazine can be easily replaced with a full one, so as long as the ship or station it is supplied from can keep changing magazines the effect is the same.

PLRB - Personnel Loss Review Board - A Navy investigation board, a semi-formal management look into the circumstances surrounding any human crew loss, whether due to death or long-term disability. Often a complete waste of time, occasionally a meld of different viewpoints allows a procedure change that prevents accidents in the future. The usual result is an added step to an SOP that merely wastes more time for everyone else who ever uses that SOP.

PreCom Unit - Short for Precommissioning; a sort of "placeholder" for a ship before it is commissioned. There is a lot of organization and management going on in the background, starting with crew assembly and training. If CNS Triumph (BB-32) is not yet ready for active service in the fleet, the crew, hull, and any equipment assigned (boats, stores, etc) belong to the organization named "BB-32 Triumph Precom Unit".

Rail Gun - The electrical version of an aircraft carrier's steam catapult. A system for accelerating a magnetic item down / between / along a set of rails which have pulsed current running through them. A sort of ion thruster engine with Really Big "ions", if you want. Earth's governments have been experimenting with them since the 1970s, with two remaining practical issues: the pulsed current draw is immense, and the rails don't last very long. Fusion plants and advanced alloys covered by ceramics solve both of these problems.

REMF - Not a polite term; it is a combat soldier's reference to people who stay back in safety. Some of them help the war effort, some of them only THINK they help the war effort. Either way, they are all worthless Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers.

Sea Scouts - a US youth organization. They are an affiliate of the Boy Scouts intended for older teenagers, serving as a bridge between them and the maritime services (US Navy, US Coast Guard, and US Maritime Marine). Some Sea Scout troops are competent to act as auxiliary support for our ships while others are little more than yacht clubs for the underprivileged.

Shuttle - In reference to a starship's equipment, this is a "small boat". A general term for a local-space craft that goes with the ship when it travels. Generally set up to move either people or cargo.

SLJPO - Acronym for "Shitty Little Jobs Petty Officer", the completely unofficial title given to the junior enlisted man in any US Navy office who gets all the odd obscure tasks dumped on him.

SOP - Standard Operating Procedure - For any evolution that is done more than once, the survivors of the very first attempt will write down what worked, what didn't work, and what they recommend for the next time. Any evolution: Getting underway, inspecting the port rail gun, calibrating the grav grids, anything that can be done more than one way, with the possibility of personal harm or equipment damage if done wrong. Before long, the "right way" to do the evolution, whatever it is, will be codified in an SOP document which all right-thinking people will follow as closely as possible, recognizing that sometimes conditions are different and the SOP may not be exactly right. Again, the survivors of this slightly-different situation will get to provide input to the next revision of the SOP for that evolution.

TEG - Targeted Extraction Group - The office tasked with finding and extracting the unusual requests, for when you just cannot get the job done without a redheaded lefthanded sailor with a master mariner (sail) license who must be under 5'2". By all accounts, TEG is run by a manager who is just as oddball as the requests he gets.

TO&E - Table of Organization and Equipment - A breakdown of personnel assigned, what each did, and their relationship with the equipment assigned to the unit. This was the normal way to explain the makeup of a military unit that considered each individual in it to be combat-capable in his/her own right, as in an infantry or armor formation. Contrast with ToO.

ToO - Table of Organization - A breakdown of personnel assigned and what each did. This was the normal way to explain the makeup of a military unit that considered each individual to be components of a single combat unit, as in a warship manning document. Contrast with TO&E.

ToT - Time-on-Target - If you have multiple weapons available for a single target, they will have maximum effect if they all strike at the same instant instead of spread out over time. Therefore, you synchronize your weapons to fire the slowest ones (or farthest away) first, then successively faster and closer weapons, all timed so that they impact at the same time.

Note that sometimes you want a delay, as when you expect a strike to take down shields. In that case, you split some of your your attack into a second strike that will impact after the first one, taking advantage of the downed shield to strike the protected target behind.

TPR - Tactical Plot Replay - A video presentation made from a Tactical Plot, the graphic representation that ships and command centers use to show who is where and doing what.

Volunteer - A Human with the minimum CAP score to be allowed to leave Earth, and who has accepted an offer to serve the Confederacy. As a combination keep-him-happy and keep-the-species-going policy, each volunteer is authorized to take [two or more] non-volunteers with them (see "Concubine") from those immediately available at the pickup point, but the volunteer is in turn completely responsible for their concubine's behavior. To help populate colonies, the volunteer is also allowed (read as 'strongly recommended') to also take any of the volunteer's or concubine's underage children.

Prologue ยป