I’ve mentioned before how Situation 0’s focal point is on a grand war and, more importantly, the soldiers caught up in it. In this preview series, we’ll take a little peek at how war is waged in this contemporary fantasy and how soldiers fit into this world of steel and blood. For most of this preview, I’ll be addressing things from the ARA (Almagest Regular Army)’s point of view. The ARA is where Karamia, the main character, is enlisted and they are responsible for many of the technological advances seen on the battlefield. Those technological advances, combined with suitably adjusted tactics, are later implemented by all of the Allied forces. Appropriately, it’s best to talk about the organization that plays a central role in the war being fought and inadvertently inspires the actions of the other forces in play.
Honor & Sellswords
One rather large distinction to remember is that the ARA, and its elite force AESIR (Assault Enhanced Special Intelligence Regiment) fly the flag not of a country, but of a company. The Almagest Corporation is responsible for the ARA’s inception and subsequent deployment around the world. Since the ARA soldiers answer to a board of directors instead to a commander-in-chief, many of the soldiers they fight alongside think less of them. To their allies, many ARA personnel are seen as money-grubbing mercenaries, or sellswords, who are in the war for personal gain. Furthermore, they are often seen as untrustworthy as some are under the impression that if the ARA soldiers were paid well enough, they would turn on their comrades. This prejudice extends to their enemies, who will often try to convert captured ARA personnel to fight alongside the Axis forces. Also, due to Almagest’s former status as the equipment supplier for the Allied forces, the ARA is often used to obtain field-test data for newly developed equipment. This led to the ARA being portrayed as a group of children playing soldier with shiny new toys. As a result of this portrayal, an ARA soldier’s skills are often called into question.
What a majority of detractors seem to overlook is that many countries don’t have the means to send off their own military to help with the war, or are without a military and are concerned with the defense of their homeland. The ARA does its best to ease that concern by acting as a defense force for those without a military and by employing those that wish to fight but have no homeland military to fight with. While some restrictions apply, enlistment for the ARA is quite open and welcomes potential soldiers from many places in the world (sans those from nations sympathetic to the Axis forces). In this way, the ARA offers disenfranchised warriors and expatriates alike to feel a sense of honor and a chance to fight that good fight.
In the end, the only thing that separates the ARA from the rest of the soldiers that comprise the Allied forces is a paycheck with Almagest’s logo on it. The ARA also serves as an extremely welcome supplement to the weakening Allied forces; simultaneously bolstering the front lines to repel the Axis and offering their expertise and assistance in many different areas of the world. Their help is begrudgingly accepted by other Allied soldiers, even if they think less of the mercenaries who fight not for country, but for the almighty coin.
We’ll Fight It For You Wholesale
The ARA and the AESIR operate like any other military force, despite owing their allegiance to a corporate entity. New recruits go through basic training and start out like any low-level grunt. Armed with standard gear, the ARA private is tossed into one of several situations based on their aptitude, which his discerned during basic training. Among a standard wave of roughly 100 recruits, approximately 85% are accepted, and of those who participate in basic training, nearly 90% are cleared for active duty, earning a one-year probationary contract with the Almagest Regular Army. It’s also possible for applicants with previous combat experience, such as those discharged from other militaries, to skip the recruitment process and receive a probationary contract. Those with probationary contracts are constantly under review by their superiors. If a soldier with a probationary contract performs undesirably, their contract is terminated, they are dishonorably discharged, and they forfeit any profits they have accrued. Having to pay back profits has become an issue for those who have sent their earnings back home to loved ones, forcing some discharged ARA soldiers to remain under Almagest’s employ, and work off their debt in factory and shipping jobs.
Those who perform admirably throughout their probationary period will be given a permanent position within the ARA, though chances for advancement in rank and pay grade are available from the moment of active duty clearance. For the select few soldiers who are able to rise through the ranks fast enough, a tenure contract can be acquired before their probationary period ends. Due to the incentive an increase in pay provides, seeking promotions via risky missions with variable degrees of success is a focus of many ARA soldiers. The completion of secondary, or even tertiary, objectives to a mission can garner favor with superiors and lead to larger paychecks, extra opportunities, and a quickened rise through the ranks.
While soldiers ultimately take their orders from the Almagest’s board of directors, the ARA’s upper management is still run by those with military backgrounds and the ARA firm is still hired collectively by the Allied forces. This means that the entirety of the ARA is ordered where to deploy their units by members of the Allied Forces. However, the ARA has carte blanche over how their individual missions are carried out and by whom. The business model used in the ARA is one promoting excellence, where greater effort gathers greater results, which offers greater reward. This, in turn, offers more chances for higher profile missions, which offer still greater rewards. ARA soldiers seek to excel, or at least work hard enough to secure a comfortable lifestyle. However, there are those that don’t care too much about fame or fortune and really are there to make a difference in the world.
Then again, don’t all soldiers fight to make a difference?
This concludes the first portion of the preview to shed some light on the military Karamia is working for. Check back later, where we’ll go even deeper, talking about the roles each piece plays in this game of chess we call war.
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