Men Against Fire

An interesting Black Mirror episode, Men Against Fire, outlines a rather plausible model of near-future warfare – with a special “Einsatzgruppen seasoning” that is instantly recognizable to certain Solomani Internal Security Groups.

Traveller scenario: get together all the most famous extermination/genocide organizations together for a meet-up. “Try not to let the Vilani and Solomani Security monopolize the spotlight.”

The PCs get to be the Imperial Observers, picking up the latest technology & techniques. The Imperium is somewhat conflicted on the subject: genocide is broadly understood to be a serious breach of the Laws of War, but the Laws of War don’t apply to the Imperium.

Yes, you can definitely play up the dark side of this fact, if you are daring enough to go for a Dark Imperium effect. I won’t: the mid/light Grey Imperium I work with is more than scary enough, and that’s when the Imperial Leadership is broadly lassie-fair, I-don’t-care-just-send-me-the-tax-revenue, make-money-not-war kind of men.

But – from an Empty Quarter perspective – it’s far, far better to only worry about a distant and powerful emperor who is very unlikely to even know of your people’s existence and has a half-million things on his plate, than worry about that hate-fueled, intensely resentful, religiously-driven neighbouring tribe next door…

Now, part of the episode outlines the need to dehumanize the enemy, for a war to be prosecuted to its conclusion. Here, certain cognitive/optical technologies, complete with mindwipe technology, is provided to get the desired effect.

Just like the Nazi originals, the death squad members here are volunteers. Perhaps there is a financial bonus involved, but not every man actually needs such inducements.

You don’t need to dehumanize the enemy, if they were never human in the first place.

This makes Solomani propaganda very easy to set up…

…but what about the Imperium? She have to dehumanize remove emphatic feelings for her enemies. This means de-humanization for her Solomani Imperials, but de-culturalize for the Vilani, prey-identify enemies for Vargr and Aslan Imperials, and tag as disorderly for the order-obsessed Bwap.

It’s definitely possible to pull it off, but Imperial Propaganda has to be tailored for the world and the species. Weaving a narrative that will resonate for both the Solomani and the Vilani Imperials is something of an art: doing more than this is probably impossible on the multi-system scale.

Now, about that Solomani Internal Security Groups…

Just how many they kill on an annual basis depends on how serious the Solomani are about racial purity. In general, Traveller assumes the racial hierarchy for the Solomani, where all Solomani are superior to all other forms of humaniti, and all humaniti are superior to all other lifeforms.

But I recall the National Socialist concept of Racial Hygiene; moreover, in the show, those who were killed are acknowledged as human, but are seen as genetic disease carriers, who – for no fault of their own – will have to be exterminated.

So there you have it: Solomani security forces killing racially pure Solomani because of their flawed gene sets. A nasty road to go down on, but the foundations are there: “Genetic Purity Over All!”

Admittedly, such killing is far more likely to be done in vitro than after birth, as numerous real-world organizations encourage. The thing is, as the Solomani Party is (IMTU) smart enough to figure out (unlike, say, the Chinese Communist Party), legalized abortion means too many soldiers and productive taxpayers die before birth.

“How on earth are you supposed to maintain even a bare-bones welfare-warfare state with a declining, rapidly-aging working population?”

“And you are going to need those large families if you want to fill all those useful but uninhabited worlds within the Sphere with humans, nevermind the rest of the galaxy!”

Which brings us to Solomani genetic skills.

I’d postulate that the driver of those genetic skills wasn’t only building useful and comfortable biospheres for new worlds, but also the need to put badly crippled humans to profitable work, de-stressing the “crippled” part and emphasizing the “human” part (as per a famous French commercial.

This emphasizes love and sacrifice for the weaker members of the Solomani tribes, the side of tribalism that isn’t mentioned in Imperial discussions on the matter… but still exists, for any people that doesn’t simply go sterile, dries up, and blows away.


About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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2 Responses to Men Against Fire

  1. Tim Newman says:

    “Get together all the most famous extermination/genocide organizations together for a meet-up. ‘Try not to let the Vilani and Solomani Security monopolize the spotlight.’”
    “Don’t worry. The K’kree are coming.”

    Now there is a group really dedicated to extermination and genocide.


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