Training Exercise

Training Exercise

Fellow members of Parliament, I am humbled by your confidence in the Rho’Khal Hierarchy.  We have completed our task, and I stand before you ready to deliver our report for your review.”

He lifted a data pad from the table before him and began.  “I am well aware that those in attendance already know the circumstances leading up to this report being ordered.  However, since we are on the record and this is an official report, I will read it in its entirety.”

Training Exercise

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He cleared his throat.  “Approximately thirteen galactic standard cycles ago, first contact was made with a new species known as human.  Their technology was considered to be slightly behind ours, yet still advanced enough to warrant introduction to the galactic community.  It was decided that the Rho’Khal would initiate contact (since we shared a border with human space) before accidental contact was made, which would increase the likelihood of a negative first contact event.”

“The humans had colonized nine worlds outside their home system, not including numerous mining operations (both on planets and other large extra-planetary bodies).  Diplomatic relations between the Rho’Khal and the humans began on good terms and have only improved over time.  The humans have entered into trade agreements with several other species, including many represented here in this room.”

“Seven cycles ago, this Parliament invited the humans to assign an ambassador to our government so that we could have ongoing, official diplomatic contact for improved relations between us and the humans.  They accepted and assigned Ambassador Alverez and his staff almost immediately.”  He nodded to the Ambassador seated in the guest section of the gallery in the main Parliamentary chambers.

“After five cycles of mostly positive contact between the humans and all our species, we requested the human ambassador speak with his government about joining our galactic community.  It took some time to get a response back due to the humans needing to hold a “vote” on the matter.  Apparently, decisions like this need to be ratified by the consent of the citizenry.  The measure passed their “vote”, and the humans submitted their application to join almost one full cycle ago.”


“The purpose of this report is to ascertain the military capabilities of the humans’ armed forces.  Law requires that any new member be evaluated to determine what level of military power that they may bring to bear.  This procedure is twofold.  First, the Galactic Parliament needs to know what force we can muster in the event an outside force should threaten either a member species or the community as a whole.”

“Secondly, in the event that two member species were to enter into a conflict, to which diplomacy is unable to settle, we need to know that the two member species are evenly matched.  It would not be fair for us to allow a strong species to go to war with a severely weaker one.  We have seen such situations turn into genocide in the past.  None of us would want to see what happened between the Zindari and the C’apor’ai again.”  Everyone gave an almost imperceptible side glance over at the Zindari member of the Parliament.  She slid a little lower in her seat.  Beside her was an empty seat cordoned off with ornate ropes.  A golden plaque was fixed to the seat back that read, “Here sat the C’apor’ai.  May their passing be the last time a sapient light is extinguished.”

A few uncomfortable moments passed, and everyone turned their attention back to the speaker.


“My staff and I stationed ourselves in the humans’ central military command and control located on the orbiting defense station.  Observers from the diplomatic caste were stationed aboard many human vessels (both capitol ships and small attack craft squadrons).  We also embedded observers within many ground combat units.”

“I discussed the parameters of the exercise and informed them that there would be no warning as to when it would begin.  The moment their military detected ours, they were to treat it as a real unidentified contact and do as they would if we were not even there (with the exception being that all weapons were training weapons).”

“Immediately, a technician at a station nearby turned and told his commander that he had an unidentified contact twenty kilometers away from the station.  I informed them that it was our observation ship running in stealth mode to not interfere in the exercise (as our ships had not entered the system yet, not even scouts).  Upon inquiry as to how they detected our ship which was emitting no detectable energy signatures, the human merely pointed at the window and said, ’I can see it sir.  Anyone with a window can see that thing.  It’s chrome and catches the light from everywhere.’”

“I made a mental note to discuss the poor choice of color scheme to our military commanders and advised the technician to disregard the observation vessel for the duration of the exercise.  The humans in the room all seemed to enjoy this exchange, as I could see smiles on their faces as they all returned to their work.  I am not entirely sure what was so funny, but humans do have a particularly weird sense of humor by galactic standards.”

The members of parliament looked at the human ambassador who had covered his mouth with his hand to keep him from seeing his ear-to-ear grin.  The speaker continued.

“I received a notification on my personal communicator that our fleet would be jumping into the human system in thirty seconds.  The moment the timer expired; alarm klaxons blared throughout the human command center.  Our observation ship calculated a delay of fourteen thousandths of a second between our ships transitioning into normal space and the humans’ systems issuing an alert.  I want to note that when I later asked them if they had been on any sort of special alert knowing the ships would be coming, confirmed that it was their normal readiness posture.  Their computers continually scan for anything out of the ordinary and report on anything it finds.  If signs indicate unscheduled FTL travel into or out of the system, it triggers a security alert.”

“The next part surprised me.  Even though they knew we were there to observe their military capabilities, they attempted contact and diplomacy first.  What’s more, they didn’t send for a diplomat.  Their command level officers apparently are trained to attempt to diffuse situations before resorting to their weapons.  I believe that they are unique in that regard.  We have official diplomats assigned to our ships specifically to talk to potential enemies.  Once our military commanders get involve in the conversation, the shooting usually starts quickly.  Not so with humans.  Apparently, all command level officers are required to show proficiency in diplomacy, and they train on this frequently.”

“While the commander was attempting to contact the “unidentified ships”, his people began issuing orders and preparing the defenses for imminent attack.  They needed no instruction on what needed to be done.  They appeared to be trained in their duties to the point that it was nearly a reflex.  The commander needed only to glance at his second in command and then to an officer or station, and that second would immediately issue orders.  Apparently, they were the correct orders as the commander seemed to be pleased with his second.”

“When the approaching ships did not respond, the humans fired several warning shots with the training weapons.  Later at the debriefing, the Grand Marshal of our attacking fleet would ask the human commander why they would fire warning shots in a war game.  The purpose was to make war.  The human commander simply told him that they were treating it as a ‘real world scenario’ and that humans don’t ‘half ass anything’.  The translator took a few moments with that last one.  Apparently, it refers to the humans’ aversion to skipping steps in a process to make it easier.  This seems contradictory to their ground combat units who seemed to improvise the vast majority of everything that they did.  More on the ground forces in a moment.”

“When the attacking fleet came within the effective weapons range, the humans opened up with a surprisingly large amount of fire.  We had given them the schematics on how to convert their real weapons into training weapons.  We did not, however, inquire as to how many weapons they would be converting.  Our fleet recorded enough direct hits in the first sixty seconds they were in weapons range to destroy or incapacitate every ship they had brought.  Computer estimates indicate that it is extremely unlikely that they would have even been able to call for reinforcements with the level of damage they would have sustained if this had been a real battle.”

“As for the ground combat, we launched the ground invasion despite the fact that the attacking fleet had already been defeated.  We wanted to get the ground combat data, but, had this been a real battle, the ground invasion troops would not have even reached Earth orbit.”

“As I mentioned earlier, the human ground troops often improvised their tactics, or so it seemed.  Further research has indicated that humans have a vast array of combat strategies at their disposal.  What’s more is that each unit commander has autonomy to choose which tactics are appropriate for the situation.  This makes it appear as though they are making things up as they go when they are in fact using proven military doctrine.  It seems that they have made a tactic out of improvisation.”

“Further, human ground troops do not appear to share the same psychological make up as other humans.  Ground troops, or marines as they call themselves, seem to suffer from several mental disorders recognized by most other species.  In situations where their death is immanent, they have been known to tell jokes and sing songs.  Our observers watched many vids with them while they waited for the exercises to begin.  The human troops also participated in dangerous games.  Stabbing a knife down in between their fingers repeatedly until one lost his nerve giving the other the victory, The victor then was allowed to punch the defeated opponent in the upper arm.  They played a game where they passed a live grenade around.  Every time they would throw it to the next person, they would yell ‘hot potato’.  When their superior came in and saw what they were doing, he just said ‘there better be a pin in that thing’ and walked away.”

“We know that the humans will use any and everything they can find to fight the enemy.  Apparently, some of them got bored and built something called a trebuchet.  They launched an old, non-functioning hovercar at one of our assault vehicles, which landed ten meters from it.  The humans stood up and yelled ‘bullseye’.  Another yelled ‘that’s a hit’.  The human commander overseeing the battlefield looked at our observer, shrugged his shoulder and said, ‘kids’.”

“I am afraid that we do not have the best reports from our ground combat observers.  Most of them required psychological evaluation after their experience.  About half are still under observation.  In the final accounting of the ground invasion, we recorded all invading forces eliminated with less than six percent casualties for the humans.”


“It would seem that the humans are highly capable of not only defending their home world, but also could challenge any species that we know of with little difficulty.  I say this because of one remaining fact yet to be addressed.”

“A debriefing was held on the main ground battlefield.  There were a large number of human officers in formation on the field.  There was also a contingent of high-ranking officers along with the Rho’Khal delegation in the command overwatch.  The human told me that the officers in formation below were all the officers that commanded the entire defense of Earth in this exercise.  Everything from fleet command to ground combat strategy.  He asked if I noticed anything about the officers on display.  I told him that I did not notice anything unusual.”

“All of the human commanders giggled.  He asked if I noticed the age of the officers and asked if I noticed during the space battle that he hadn’t actually issued any orders himself.  I remembered back at that and did find it odd.  I also began to notice that all the officers were young … very young.  I noted this to him.  At this, all the humans burst into laughter.”

“I asked what was so funny.  He informed me that this had been a training exercise.  I told him that I was aware and that was why I was here.  He laughed again and said that I didn’t understand.  The reason that all the officers were young was because they were all cadets.  Unsure of what a cadet was, I inquired on its meaning.”

He took a deep breath and continued.  “The human commander explained that all the officers who participated in the exercise were students who were studying at the military academy.  They had been put in command of the crews of the ships and the marines of the ground combat units to test their aptitude.  This had been a training exercise for THEM. The human then proceeded to inform me that not only was this only a small fraction of their military forces, but that they were unable to convert their more powerful weapons to training weapons.  He said that we didn’t even get to see ‘the good stuff’.  He then sent me a vid file of the various weapons that they have which includes demonstrations of their capabilities.”

The Rho’Khal representative looked at each of the others in the room.  “We sent nearly a third of our entire military power to this exercise, and they were obliterated by the students of one of the human’s military academies using only their most basic weapons.”

“I recommend that we admit them immediately and try not to piss them off.”

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