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Old 09-14-2013, 05:04 PM   #71
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Default Re: Flat Black

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
I prefer the US setup of Warrants
Well, it seems to me that the US system of warrant officers, and the old Royal Navy system on which is is based but which the Poms phased out between 1843 and 1998, originally made a lot of sense in a world in which ships needed men as motive engines—to turn capstans, haul on haliards and sheets, manhandle big guns and their ammunition, and later to shovel coal. If you got a man with valuable skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic, and carpentry, coopering, gunsmithing, or so forth—or a promising apprentice apt to learn those things—it didn't make sense to start him off as a draught animal. You made him a chaplain or a surgeon or a purser or whatever, or mate to the warrant officer you already had to learn the trade by apprenticeship—and you paid him accordingly. The warrant officers of a Royal Navy sailing ship were the master, the purser, the surgeon, the chaplain, the boatswain, the carpenter, the gunner, the roper, the caulker, the sailmaker, the armourer and the master-at-arms: all people who managed stores and therefore needed to be able to read, write, and figure.

The system continues to make sense in the US armed services because of the coming-together of a number of features that seem designed to prevent the formation of a highly-skilled long-service army or navy. US enlisted personnel are recruited very young, given only basic training, employed at fairly routine tasks, underpaid to discourage retention, given veteran benefits after separation to further discourage retention, and finally afflicted with an up-or-out policy that has them fired if they are only good at their jobs. In such a context the US forces need a special program to retain the highly-skilled tradesmen that they need for non-routine tasks. Hence, the US type (old RN type) of warrant officers.

But the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Marines aren't like that. It's TL10 and there are automatics and robots and self-cleaning materials. There are virtually no routine tasks for semi-skilled enlisted folk to perform. The only people that the Navy needs in ships are the command officers and the highly-skilled tradesmen. (A commando is a highly-skilled tradesman.) The Empire isn't afraid of the political ramifications of building a long-service professional armed force of career military folk, and it has no political or economic interest in producing a steady supply of short-service veterans for future mobilisation or whatever. So the Imperial Navy is a long service professional organisation of highly-skilled tradesmen intent on a naval career. IN ratings do the work of, and enjoy the pay of, USN warrant officers. Robots and machines do the work of USN enlisted men.

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, but it's your setting.
I think that one of the issues here is that you are used to the US way of doing things, so that seems natural and inconspicuous to you. But I'm used to the way we do things in the rest of the English-speaking world, and that seems inconspicuous to me. If I were to order things in FLAT BLACK in a completely invented way that would be fine because it is the future and things will have changed. And if I order them in a way that is like the Commonwealth that's fine because to me (and my face-to-face players) Commonwealth-style institutions are familiar and therefore invisible. But if I set things up in a uniquely American way it would give a strong flavour of "Yanks in Space", such as Traveller sometimes produces. You see this not only in the non-use of the US kind of warrant officers, but also in the fact that I contemplated giving the Imperial Marines Commonwealth Army-style officer insignia and ended up giving them something like the shared semi-standard of most European NATO members, but never even contemplated eagles, oak leaves, and butter-bars. Similarly, I could call the Chairman of the Imperial Council "Emperor" and the Trustee Managing in General the "Prime Minister", and that would be inconspicuous to me, but if I called them "Augustus" and "Caesar" respectively that would create a strong impression.

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Personally I'd also use the term Spacer instead of Astronaut, just flows better, "Able Spacer to airlock 3."
Well, I'm not very fond of "astronaut", but to me "spacer" sounds too informal to be a good title. Naval ratings have been called "sailors" and that's a current general term including non-military seamen, but the ratings' military titles are such as "Able Seamen" and "Leading Seaman", not "Sailor" or "Able Sailor".
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Last edited by Agemegos; 09-14-2013 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:06 PM   #72
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Just make sure not to take that RFID chip on operations: a way of IDing Imperial Marines with mere TL8 electronics will be enthusiastically exploited by makers of IEDs.
You speak sooth! Furthermore, this is one of two reasons that I am skeptical about IFF systems on the TL10 battlefield.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:14 PM   #73
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Default Re: Flat Black

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Originally Posted by Agemegos View Post
Well, I'm not very fond of "astronaut", but to me "spacer" sounds too informal to be a good title. Naval ratings have been called "sailors" and that's a current general term including non-military seamen, but the ratings' military titles are such as "Able Seamen" and "Leading Seaman", not "Sailor" or "Able Sailor".

"Spaceman" would seem to be the obvious parallel to "Seaman" but it sounds silly.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:17 PM   #74
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It's good enough for Spaceman Spiff!
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:45 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Have sector ribbons for service there, and a device to mount on it for having done an intervention there? That keeps things manageable while still giving a general idea of what someone has done. To amplify it a bit, have clasps for each intervention to be worn on sector ribbons when you're wearing full medals.
To expand upon this, have the intervention device include a planetary insignia upon it to show where the intervention took place. This insignia would always go in the same place, but be unique for each planet, and could be utilized in other devices or ribbons as well without change aside from placement to show where they occurred.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:50 PM   #76
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Just make sure not to take that RFID chip on operations: a way of IDing Imperial Marines with mere TL8 electronics will be enthusiastically exploited by makers of IEDs.
I know that John knows this story, but others may not.

A few years ago, the Pentagon proudly announced that it would put RFID chips into every item in its inventory chain. No more stores shrinkage! Everything uniquely tracked everywhere!

Then some cruel person came along and said "Hey, great! Now I can build cheap landmines that only blow up under American soldiers."

The idea got quietly shelved.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:58 PM   #77
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Okay, let's apply some thinkery.

The naval title used for the lowest grades of skilled technician could have been devised by bureaucratic rationalism in the early days of the Empire, c. 495–505, in which case it would be something that sounded good to Akiko Montesino and the early generations of senators. As such, it might be a revival of terms that sounded appropriately naval to a bunch of people from different societies whose common heritage was Earth of the 2300s AD.

Alternatively, the title could have developed in the Foundation Navy, which was an amalgam of Eichberger's Space Patrol with survivors the Space Guard of the Republic of Mayflower. The Republic of Mayflower was founded (but not overwhelmingly settled) by Americans in the 2100s: the English there probably had significant influence from Spanish, and there might have been a reflex to revive American institutions, of which the Space Guard would seem naturally to echo the USCG, and Eichberger's Space Patrol would either develop out of commercial spaceflight norms or be a conscious revival of the USN or USAF of 2300.

Now, the founding population of the Empire had been living in spaceships and orbital habitats, with no planetary base, for sixty years by the time that the Imperial Navy was instituted as such. Some families had been doing so longer. To them "spaceman" or "spacer" would either encompass everybody or would be a quaint archaism. They wouldn't title naval technicians as "spacer" or "spaceman" because to them going into space in ships is what everyone does, it doesn't distinguish the naval technicians.

So. What about "technician"? That distinguishes what these people are, conceptually.

What about "warrant officer"? That's what they are in terms of revived US military custom. I rather fancy a system in which petty officers out-rank and are promoted from among warrant officers: it reminds me of viscounts out-ranking marquises. But I'd have to change all the marines warrant officers to sergeants-major.

What about "rating", without it being a placeholder for any of a long list of specialist titles?
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Last edited by Agemegos; 09-14-2013 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:02 PM   #78
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FWIW, I like "Astronaut" and I think it makes historical sense.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:07 PM   #79
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Given that the system was setup by a tidy organizer the sector ribbons should all use the same basic color scheme. If you read the pattern of stripes it is the sector number in binary.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:19 PM   #80
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Given that the system was setup by a tidy organizer the sector ribbons should all use the same basic color scheme. If you read the pattern of stripes it is the sector number in binary.
Yeah. Though the sectors don't get organised until 547 PDT, which is forty years after the Marines were organised. A regular system of ribbons colour-coded to sector numbers after the fashion of electrical components won't make sense until then. I guess we get a confusing unsystematic mess of ad hoc designs only for actions that attracted the attention of the Imperial Council up until then.

A choice of two out of eight colours is capable of distinguishing 64 sectors, or 56 if we avoid matches. That leaves plenty of room for future growth and reorganisation of the military district system. Main colour gives one octit and the edge stripe the other, with, perhaps, a central pin-stripe to distinguish special sorts of action. Bar clasps for interventions. MiD stars on the service ribbons, or elsewhere?
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