Military Protocols in Control: Bleak Pass


There is always an overriding impulse to replicate the contemporary in science fiction.  The familiar is, after all, the lingua franca of most fiction and science fiction has a long tradition of examining the present through an often unsettlingly accurate lens.

When it comes to military protocols things can get a little foggy, though.  Typically the structure is clear and scifi conventions have the Navy running the ships and the army on the ground with the air force effectively redundant, but I struggle with the idea of our evolution as a space faring species maintaining these archaic structures within our military.

In today’s military there is a clear dividing line between the elements, but in the Control universe military logistics cover intergalactic, atmospheric and terrestrial transportation and combat within one organisation.  When you’re zipping across the galaxy, fighting in orbit while the troops you dropped off battle on the ground below and your atmospheric fighters that you just deployed struggle for air superiority in the skies above them, reserving the separate components of the military just wouldn’t be practical.

The difficulty for me came not in making this decision, but in making it happen.  Surpisingly, reducing the military down to one organisation was more than a little problematic.  The hardest part was rank.  Hierarchies have grown up around the nature and purpose of each military force, so the chain of command for a ship, for example, isn’t the same as it is for a company of soldiers on the ground.

Nevertheless I wanted something familiar and had to choose a ranking system that would honour all the military disciplines without becoming confusing.  After a great deal of deliberation I chose to cross the ranks over between army and navy, favouring army where possible as it generally has a simpler, more readily recognisable structure.

The results will probably cause some debate (I can only hope there’s that much interest), but I did want to make it clear that the military structure in the Control universe has had some thought put into it.


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