Friday, March 17, 2023

Babylon Black: Rules of Engagement


The New Gods rule the world. Their armies are endless. They possess cutting-edge technology, limitless resources, and the backing of corporations and governments. They grant supernatural gifts to their most loyal and capable believers, and unleash monsters on their enemies. How can the Special Tasks Section, a ragtag group of disavowed operators with limited support, hope to defeat them?

Easy: they don’t.

In the heydays of the STS, they had the—reluctant—backing of the Federal government. They could not defeat the New Gods in an all-out war. But when a crisis occurred, they could bring the full might of humanity down on a limited number of Husks and monsters. It allowed them to overwhelm the opposition through speed, aggression, surprise—and a huge amount of firepower.

In the time of Babylon Red, the New Gods had been taken down a peg. They could not afford to antagonize the Temple Commission further. They shied away from open mobilization. This gave Kayla Fox and the rest of the STS an opportunity to strike where they are weakest.

In the events of Babylon Black, everything has changed.

The Temple Commission has stood down. The New Gods are ramping back up. They are more desperate than before, seeking to gain an advantage over each other, and to destroy the STS once and for all. The old rules have been thrown out. Now that they have tasted a meaningful defeat at the hands of humanity, they seek to complete their conquest before they are overthrown. They are all on war footing now.

And yet, the STS still has a chance.

The New Gods hate each other too much to cooperate. They believe that a gap opens in their defenses, then their rivals will move to exploit it. After all, it is what they will do. Though their resources might be limitless, in practice they must hold much of their power in reserve, to defend against an attempt to exploit an opening. This sharply limits the forces the New Gods can field at any one time—more so since the New Gods are pulled in every direction all at once.

When the New Gods do act, they seek to overwhelm their target. Speed, aggression, surprise, superior numbers and firepower, all-round security. Done properly the target cannot escape. He will be pinned down and destroyed.

But that would be hard to do if the target is not there anymore.

The New Gods have other means of control. They can cut off legitimate sources of income to their enemies. They intimidate potential employers into firing them. Through the media, they destroy the reputations of their enemies and turn the people against them. And none of this matters one whit to those who have made themselves antifragile.

These are some of the principles of asymmetrical warfare—and combat in general. Avoid where the enemy is strong, strike where he is weak, retreat before he can cut you off, strike again when he lowers his guard.

This is the war of the flea. The STS is small, light, agile and ubiquitous. They can choose the time and space of engagement. The New Gods have too much ground to defend, and move too slowly to force a decisive engagement. They are constantly on the defensive, reacting to events instead of acting.

The STS does not have to win a war.  They simply have to endure. Through persistence, they steadily wear down the New Gods, creating more and more opportunities for action. These are their rules of engagement for a world gone mad.

But it won’t be enough for victory.

The New Gods are too large and too powerful. Whatever losses the STS can inflict are acceptable if they can achieve their goal of total domination. Unlike the United States, they do not care about public opinion; they control public opinion, and dominate the minds of their followers. They are willing to absorb as many casualties as it takes for them to achieve their goals. Their believers see this conflict as a holy war, and will back their gods all the way to the end. They are far too big to bleed white.

The STS cannot win.

But they don’t have to.

The New Gods don’t even see the STS as their primary threats. Their primary threat is each other. They are mobilizing to do battle not against the STS, but against their rivals. An apocalyptic showdown is imminent. There is no way the STS can hope to win that war—but, again, they don’t have to.

All they have to do is survive.

Survival is the name of the game in Babylon Black. Yuri Yamamoto and his team must find a way to help their allies and the innocent to survive what’s coming.

It’s all they can do. Experience the next chapter of the Babylon Saga by backing it on IndieGoGo here!

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