Authors: David McIntee
Tags: #We will Destroy your Planet: An Alien’s Guide to Conquering the Earth
As you know by now, 70% of the surface is covered with water, but even the remaining 30% is made up of many different types of terrain, and varies wildly in climate and navigability. Once you have boots â or treads, tentacles, or claws â on the ground, you will have to take these different environments into account.
Obviously there are different military doctrines governing actions on land, at sea, and in the air. Your choice(s) of doctrine will depend both upon where you came to Earth from, how you arrived at the planet and your intentions for it, as well as your physical nature and the environmental factors at work.
As species develop civilizations on their home planets, it is natural that their military tendencies begin with the idea of some kind of army on the planetary surface. Whether this be a Wild Hunt of semi-sentient creatures following a naturally hardwired herd instinct, or a professional army of well-trained warriors, the society's overall fighting strategy will have evolved well before the technology for aerospace travel is developed.
As such, every military society will have evolved with the basic setting of amassing troops of peak fitness age, and deploying them to overwhelm and suppress their rival or prey societies and species.
Note that this doesn't literally mean boots on the ground â an avian species will flock where the atmospheric conditions are suited to them, and societies that evolved in liquid environments would perhaps travel in shoals. That said, they would still be fighting bodies confined to the surface conditions of their world, and so those conditions would be ingrained.
Things change when the ability to travel out of the home environment is developed. When a land-based species develops air power, that will change its need for marching on the ground. Likewise, the shoal of marine life will have to adapt to not being able to move in three dimensions when it rolls onto dry land, and the flock of avians will also find changes when it submerges to explore the oceans, for example. If you are invading the Earth from a parallel world, or from a different time zone, but are otherwise human and native to an Earth, you should already be familiar with the principles addressed in this section. Having developed in a situation comparable to that which is known today, you will, of course, have experienced a history of evolving infantry and naval warfare at the very least.
Those of you who have crossed the stars, on the other hand, may have evolved in a completely different biosphere, or one with fewer geological, climatological, or environmental variances. In that case â and especially if this is your first invasion of a planet other than your own â you would be more advised to pay attention to the following.
Because the Earth's surface environments vary so much, you will need specialist equipment to most effectively operate in them, regardless of your species' nature and abilities on land.
Although aerial vehicles allow for travel to any point on the surface of the Earth, they are likely to be very resource-intensive in terms of requiring fuel. Even if the ability to fly is natural to your species, it would still, presumably, be tiring, and there's no point in being able to swoop in to an area if you're then too tired to fight effectively. Most importantly, however, life forms on the surface itself will be able to take shelter and conceal themselves by the simple expedient of ducking under cover.
Buildings constructed in urban areas, ground under forest cover, caves, walkways under overhanging ledgesâ¦ All of these will provide cover and concealment for native life forms and resources. Sooner or later, therefore, you will have to negotiate ground terrain on Earth, either in person or in vehicles â and most likely both.
Land vehicles of some kind will, therefore, be advisable, even if your physical abilities make them not technically necessary. Whatever your abilities to adapt to the environment, or to move over terrain, it will almost always be useful to have vehicles that can offer protection from attack by human resistance forces or non-sentient animal life, move more quickly than natural mobility allows, and carry heavier weapons and supplies.
The size of the vehicle is entirely a matter of your preferred doctrine. For example, you may find that you work best operating with individual vehicles, each acting as a protective covering for a single invader, or you may prefer to deploy in transport or assault vehicles that can carry many troops and supplies to a region where you are operating with your natural mobility. This preference may or may not be influenced by the physical size of your species.
Individual vehicles may make more sense if the Earth's gravity or atmospheric pressure is greater than that of your native sphere, or if you lack limbs entirely. Assuming you have limbs for mobility, you may find that powered prostheses will both support your frame against the environment and offer greater speed, strength, and agility than the native humans. This will provide a valuable bonus in any pursuits or melee combat encounters against humans.
If the Earth's biosphere is totally inimical, you are going to need life support systems installed in your vehicles â of any size â and environmental controls to maintain the optimum conditions to support each of your individuals while out and about on Earth. This makes larger vehicles more logical, as more of your forces can crew each vehicle, making a better use of whatever resources are required for you to maintain the environmental systems on board.
There will always be the danger, however, of such a vehicle being damaged or destroyed, or crashing, or malfunctioning in some other way that will lead to the crew and passengers within being exposed to Earth's biosphere. You will therefore still need emergency life-support equipment to support such stranded individuals.
This may be enough of a problem to justify using individual vehicles, which should be as form-fitting as possible on the inside, so that the exterior, whatever its form, is effectively an extension of the occupant. This should be more efficient, especially if the vehicle's external sensors â you will need at least pressure sensors, accelerometers, and temperature sensors â are directly linked to the occupant's nervous system. In this way, the occupant can feel their surroundings as if they were not inside a vehicle, and so will be able to navigate and respond to situations more quickly and efficiently.
The actual means of locomotion will be an important choice for vehicles of any size. Given the wide variety of differing terrains on the Earth's land surfaces, some form of antigravity would be the best option, allowing your forces to move across any type of surface with impunity. Failing this, a form of ground effect cushion â a hovercraft, as vehicles with this feature are called on Earth â is another good choice, allowing free movement over most surfaces, and easy transitions from the land surfaces to water.
The disadvantage to this form of support is that the vehicle must be quite low, and large obstacles will block movement.
Wheels are an obvious choice, and should be as sturdy as possible. The larger the tyres, and the more variable their pressure, the more variety of surface conditions can be traversed. Lowering pressure within larger tyres will allow them to travel over far rougher surfaces, even including fallen trees or plains of stones up to the size of small boulders. Even then, slopes with large boulders or fissures, and forested areas with heavy tree growth, will still be problematic.
Segmented tracks are quite useful for covering many types of terrain, but you must be careful to ensure that the wheels are each given a separate suspension, with as much leeway as possible, especially on the vertical axis. A minimum of three wheels on each side of the vehicle is recommended, even for small single-occupancy vehicles, with the wheels arranged in a triangle. The uppermost wheel should be at least as high as the fore-and-aft wheels are apart, and if the whole arrangement of wheels on each side can also turn and/or rotate as a unit, then so much the better. Such an arrangement should give better steering and navigation ability.
If the whole triumvirate of wheels can rotate as a single unit, and especially if each wheel is able to be moved closer to or further from the centre on some telescopic mount, you should be able to arrange for a greater climbing ability, both on stairs and exterior natural surfaces.
The most versatile form of locomotion for travelling on Earth's land surfaces, however, is a set of legs. Legs offer far, far more variability in the types of terrain they can cover, and also offer the advantage that it is possible to construct mechanical legs without having to use wheels anywhere. The joints can use spherical sockets, flexible materials, or hydraulics to move.
Ideally there should be at least three legs, and preferably four or more. Despite the bipedal nature of humanity, the bipedal form is actually inherently unstable (bipeds are designed to essentially keep moving forward, rather than even stand still). Although evolution has led bipedal species to use all of their senses in maintaining the optimum posture, it has always proved far more difficult to balance a mechanical device on two legs and make it walk with any degree of speed or stability. If you have the technology to do so, however, then feel free, as the psychological effect of seeing giant-sized humanoid figures wandering around will be effective in giving humans pause. In fact, some societies on Earth are so taken with the idea of piloted mechanical giants that they may even be persuaded to join your side just for the chance to interact with them. Failing that, they may at least be lulled into a false sense of security, and thus lured to an easy defeat while they stop to admire your handiwork.
For a better solution, four legs is more likely to be a workable system, though it would be something of a mistake to have them patterned after humanoid legs, with all four central joints aligned in the same direction. In fact, the optimum arrangement for a four-legged mechanism would have the central joints â the knees â in the opposite positions for the front and rear legs. As with the majority of quadripedal mammals you will find on the Earth, the central joint of the rear legs should be aligned to have their apex at the rear.
Even human cyberneticists have realized this, and begun to construct autonomous transport machines to this pattern, given the name âBig Dog'.
More legs still are also a viable option; most terrestrial insects have six, and arachnids have eight, and all are particularly manoeuvrable and adept at traversing even the most complex surfaces. Psychological effects on human witnesses and opponents can again be exploited here, as most humans have a revulsion to insectoid or arachnid forms, and utilizing such forms will not only be efficient, but frighten many humans into either not approaching to harm you, or making mistakes in their counterattacks.
You can choose whether to have weapons built in to the vehicles, or simply have the vehicle equipped with manipulator arms capable of utilizing weapons it picks up. The former approach is more reliable, with a solid mounting for whatever weapon, and means you can have the energy supply and/or ammunition supply integral to the vehicle itself. On the other hand, something capable of picking up whatever weapon or tool is necessary at the time â without the need for physical modifications â obviously offers more variety and adaptability. You will need to plan in advance whether you are more concerned with security and reliability, or with the ability to adapt to fluid circumstances.
The type of power source you use â and this applies equally to air and sea vehicles as well as those on land â should be both long-lasting, renewable, and not dependent on being refuelled or recharged in your secure areas or at home. While you will obviously not want the humans to be able to reactivate any vehicles or power units you use, there will be more chance of losing such vehicles to them if they run out of power in human-controlled areas, and can't get back to you.
It is recommended to use one of the following means of power for your terrestrial vehicles:
1) Some form of miniature fusion reactor, or equivalent. This will be relatively clean, last for years without refuelling or recharging, and can be used as a self-destruct weapon if in danger of being captured.
2) Local fuel sources such as electric motors, diesel or petrol. These are more crude, and you may have destroyed the production facilities in any pre-invasion bombardment, but they have the advantage of not advancing the human technology if they are captured. On the other hand, they can be used against humans if captured, and, on the gripping hand, if you're coming from a parallel Earth this will be familiar technology that will work with your existing vehicles.
3) Bioelectric or psychokinetic power drawn from the occupant(s). This has the advantage of being unstealable, lasting as long as there is an occupant, and not being subject to EMP attack or other energy-draining effects.
The most fundamental and important rule of vehicles for travelling on Earth â especially vehicles designed for a single snug occupant â however, is this: Do
rely on small wheels or castors, because there is basically nowhere on the planet, other than some of the better-maintained roads, upon which such a wheel will roll more than a few inches.