The Dhitol - Leva Trade War

Two enter, one leaves...

My ship detaches from the Viritine and it just makes me feel worse. I check my incoming communications. Viritine's scans appear as an attachment with the words "be safe," and "be careful" in the body of the message. Why does she care?   I make a quick stop on Aphia, the innermost planet of The Fever Breach. Docking is easy enough, but getting my haul of salvage through customs is a different story.   I pass through several checkpoints, each more tedious than the last. The docks are filled with eden soldiers and their fancy black combat suits. They're armed to the teeth, and obviously on edge.   On my way to the next checkpoint, a soldier approaches and takes a look at my cart. They raise a hand and I stop on instinct.   They don't speak. They take each piece from my cart and scan them, one by one. I see their head perk up and turn. They reach up to their right ear. Their face is obscured by the pitch-black helmet, but it's clear they're listening to something on their comms.   The eden drops the salvage into my cart and ushers me forward. I obey and somehow make it out without having to stop again. A soldier waves me by with every checkpoint I approach.   The eden are getting paranoid. They didn't expect just how resourceful and prepared the Dhitol were going to be. Were they expecting an attack?
     
This war is exhausting. This last haul of salvage has to be my 6th since I started following the eden fleet around. Relative to Safeharbor orbit, the war has been in full swing for around 12 years. It started with the usual embargoes and sanctions. It then escalated to ridiculous taxation.   Lines were being drawn. The Dhitol Trading Guild quietly gathered allies, just in case. They were poking a sleeping giant. They managed to anger one of the most powerful militaries in the galaxy. Luckily, they had the strongest economy. Being a merchant, a mercenary, or even a criminal has never been this lucrative… or this dangerous.   It's far from over. Some would say the war is still in its infancy. It's hard to say given just how vast space can be. We should probably talk about warfare in space…
 
 

Void combat

War in space is special. When dealing with such a massive scale, things get complicated with a quickness. Borders are undefined and only determined by what you can control. There are no masters of empty space, no fancy maps with colors filled in to make it easy. It's all about attrition, asset management, and time.   Consider this: You control a region of space with any number of worlds to exploit. You have a fleet to defend it, but how? How many ships do you commit to one system over another? The further away one system is, the less likely it is you can reinforce it if the enemy drops an armada at your doorstep. Few can even communicate at superluminal speeds, anyway. That means the ships you commit are on their own.   Most systems produce their own militia fleets but not all systems share the same technological progress. This can weaken a flank in your territory. Every system lost is resources lost; assets lost. How do you manage that? Keep in mind, while you're making these decisions it takes time to implement them. Information changes by the second. One moment you know where the enemy is and the next you don't.
   
Selling the salvage was easy enough. I refuel The Solitude and make long-overdue repairs. I'll be needing it.   When I make it back to my ship, I take my meds and pour over the data on Gibraltar's movements. My findings point to a random patch of space. That's where it will appear next, screaming its black signal into the void.   Based on the intervals of each signal pulse, I can estimate Gibraltar's progress. It's a toss-up, but If my math is right it should appear before I run out of supplies. I have enough food and water stored for a month or so, maybe two if I ration well enough.   I've been out here searching for so long and I still don't know what I'll do when I catch it. The new particle ram should pack a punch. If I attack without being sure, I could die. Mom still needs help. I can't leave now, I'm not done yet.   When I leave the planet, Viritine is long gone. I wish that had gone differently. Then again, I almost feel relieved. No need to worry about it if I'll never see them again.   I crunch the numbers and prepare my ship for the first of five trips at warp. Before the lights flicker out and the warp drive kicks in, I eye the wall next to the kitchen. It's blank, a canvas for my next piece...

A war on all fronts


We've been talking about what happens in space, but let's not forget what matters here: control. You may have an iron grip on the system and think that gives you power but there are potentially hundreds of thousands of soldiers on the surface of the planets in that system that beg to differ.   Warfare in the void also includes warfare on land, air, and sea. Corvettes are the only ships that can enter the atmosphere from orbit. Others are too big, but they can bombard the planet. Having even a single ship in orbit can win the planet in most cases. I mean, it's a big gun that can hit anything, anywhere on the surface.   Now while dealing with everything going on in space you have to allocate resources for ground troops, outfitting, air support, armor, and transports. Oh, and I should also mention that you'll be responsible for the planet's recovery upon assuming control. That's a thing.

 

Escalation

Now let's talk about this trade war. Dhitol may not have fired the first shot but they were the ones who gave their enemy the gun. The Dhitol routinely muscled in on economic centers throughout the galactic community.   They raised prices on distant world just to drop prices on another. In doing so, they make it impossible to compete. When the competition closes up shop, they raise prices to normal citing any one of a hundred excuses. This tactic did not work so well when they landed on Cylus, a holy site for the eden.   The eden knew they were coming. They had to have known. I wouldn't be surprised if they allowed it to happen. They were the ones who struck first. The trade war finally came to blows in Kilok, a Dhitol controlled system. Just so we're clear… this system no longer exists.
   

Shots Fired

The eden assault of Kilok took four days. It usually takes weeks to claim an entire system, but the eden didn't want to take it. They wanted to send a message, as they often do. They wanted to make it clear what awaited all Dhitol controlled systems.   Guarded by The Archangel, an eden titan so massive it could knock a planet out of orbit, a fleet of Eden ships used the asteroid belt in the system. They threw rocks. Each planet broke, turning this once-thriving beacon of commerce into a graveyard. You can't even navigate it safely with all the debris floating around.   As a final act of malice, the eden managed to collapse the system's star. A yellow star would never become a black hole on its own. It's not big enough. All that's left is a neutron star. Planets would have to be real close to get the heat they need only to then be bombarded by the burst of cosmic rays. Any form of life would fry.

Full Swing

After losing a major economic powerhouse, Dhitol pooled its resources. They hired anyone crazy enough to go toe to toe with eden ships. They called in every favor, courted every possible ally, and even resorted to blackmail if the rumors are true.   The eden navy is vast but Dhitol managed to scrape together a navy three times as large. They repurposed merchant flotillas and armed every trade port with the best weapons they could find. Given how fast Dhitol managed to accomplish this task many would say it was planned, just another contingency. I disagree. I'm human. I know what it looks like to be desperate.   My theory is that Dhitol underestimated just how aggressive the eden can be. They never thought the eden would wipe their worlds off the galactic map. Maybe they thought that the eden had grown soft in their years of peace. They were wrong.
 

Fighting dirty

Dhitol lost almost every engagement in the opening years of the war. To even the odds, they adopted some questionable tactics. Drones and corvettes loaded with explosives would ram eden vessels, sometimes remote operated, sometimes not.   They use hit and run tactics, breaking fleets into small cells and attacking only when it's advantageous to them. Several eden cities were leveled by devastating weapons launched from orbit. The eden then destroyed several systems in kind.   To their credit, this is a line Dhitol refuses to cross. They could have thrown rocks of their own, but they haven't. I'm not sure why. They face extinction. Either way, it's their move. I have bigger things to worry about, but I can't help but wonder what happens next…


Cover image: by Shutterstock

Comments

Author's Notes

Leva?
There's a phoneme in their language comparable to the letter v, but when written in our language, they use the letters, "bh." This isn't unusual for human languages but few among us have ever encountered it. When we write it, we just use v, its simpler that way, but if caught they will correct you. We called them "Eden." They call themselves Tyre Lebha (tier-uh lay-vuh.) This literally translates to "we are." Take in various other factors like grammar, common usage, and intent and you may be left scratching your head. They basically named their species, "Those we are."


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12 Dec, 2021 00:22

This is a good teaser introduction to this conflict. I'm eager to find out more about it.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
25 Dec, 2021 05:06

Thanks so much my friend. I appreciate it and sorry it took so long to comment.

12 Dec, 2021 08:08

Gah, those few lines at the beginning, and then later on... my heart aches :< Great work on really nailing the emotion of the prose. In just a few sentences, the impact of those angry words can be felt echoing.   Learning more about the conflict that's going on in the universe is really fascinating too, the Eden seem *terrifyingly* strong in combat. It's interested that of all the dirty tactics they use, the Dhitol won't throw rocks.


Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
13 Dec, 2021 15:48

A pity that Viritine's and Amber's paths already part. Hopefully, we will see her again at some point.   This war business is very brutal and well described. Nobody is a winner and everyone is losing a lot.   A small note: The spoiler in the author's is barely readable with the white background. Might want to style that as well.

Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
28 Dec, 2021 22:33

For some reason I had it in my mind that the Eden were these isolated, powerful, etherial beings that only intervened when they wanted too and otherwise had no contact with anyone else, so reading this took a bit of a 180 in my mind, but it’s awesome, and makes far more sense than what I previously imagined. :)

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
29 Dec, 2021 05:08

Well it's kind of both actually. The Eden military are the enigmatic ones. They're the ethereal isolated and powerful beings. Planetside, it's just normal everyday citizens going about their day. Now, maybe 70% of the matriarchal Eden are military, but yeah, it's a little of both. I'm glad you enjoyed it either way!

13 Jan, 2022 23:06

Damn, this is a really interesting change in perspective and scope. I'm glad to see a sort of "bigger picture" painted, though my heart aches for all the lives lost in this conflict.

Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
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