Much of Tai Pans space on the star map may only have been acquired in a kind of land rush in the last decade or two, and as such has put enormous strain on Taianese fleet and government resources. Many systems may be held almost in name only, and be security and logistical nightmares. The challenges confronting the fleet will shape its make up, as well as the political and strategic requirements placed upon it.
First Fleet Logistics
The Tai Pan fleet has probably suffered more than a few growing pains trying to adjust to policing this new amount of space, not only in the number of warships, but also in their fleet supply capacity and maintaining the security of their holdings.
I suspect the Taianese have had to ad-hoc a fleet supply train for their frontier fleets, as well as make these fleets rather small and lean. This sudden need to supply their new territories may have added to the fuel crisis in the empire itself.
This ad-hoc supply chain could be made of quickly converted fuel ships, armed haulers, and perhaps a few mobile drydocks for repairs. Some of these could be of native manufacture but with much gritting of teeth from the admiralty a few of these vessels could be hired from Bu Qi, or purchased from other nations such as the Alliance.
Gunsight has also made mention of drone ships attached to manned vessels. Drone ships can be a touchy topic, as in real life we have seen what can happen when these devices are deceived and led astray, the topic of AI forces being taken over by enemies is also well explored in media.
This may delve into the philosophical, but just what would the ethical implications be for a race of artificial humans to themselves make limited thinking artificial machine slaves to fight and die for them. Perhaps this particular topic can be explored deeper as things progress.
Having brought up in passing the land rush nature of Tai Pan expanse, it is perhaps prudent I present a possible version of events for this to take place. Perhaps ambitious commanders have been claiming systems for their own prestige, or it has been a calculated effort in order to expand Tai Pans operational range. I have been pondering a system of Old and New colonies for the Taianese, with the New space being much more rough and tumble than their previously established area, roughly one third the size.
Many of these New systems might be held by the thinnest holds, perhaps some only have a courier relay and some drone defense ships. Some viceroys may rule in name only, as they have little to manage in practice. Instead spending their days in court politicking.
On a strategic level, much of this new space could be used as staging eras to their north and east, allowing them threaten nations further afield with potential measures. In this case, strategic systems would be seeded with caches of materials in preparation for offensive action. The northern most reaches are currently in a very threatening position relative to the Kaiserreich. At the very least, it could be used as early warning of others aggression.
Addendum, after a discussion with Tony, some planets in those systems might be minimally habituated, but were basically claimed through none violent means unless they were fired upon first. Basically, arrive in orbit "Pay your taxes, give lip service to the emperor, and if you need a hand call us, ciao." type deal for most settlements.
Currently discussion around Tai Pan has been from purely physical means, but what of the political situation? Tony and I have been having limited discussions and much is still being worked out, but so far we have come up with the rough idea that multiple almost duplicate levels of authority exist within the empire, competing with each other for resources, and this could be the case for Tai Pan. With high level fleet command being shared by a board of admiralty with roughly equal ranks, who are allowed to argue and quibble for resources.
Ordinarily such infighting would be soothed by the gentle hand of the Emperor or his Kinnar, but due to the Emperors seclusion and the Kinnar having their own problems this system may be becoming strained. Perhaps the emperor’s well-being is also a primary motivator for these galactic land rushes, at least, the de jure reason.
Perhaps some systems are being claimed to score political points but are impractical to hold onto, high-level officers scrambling to claim more resources for their own needs and using these systems as prestige and to demonstrate need for their particular forces to receive additional support. Or possibly the fleet has been scouring systems searching for any other source of fuel and is simply pre-emptively claiming every system they can reach before thoroughly surveying them.
I have to say I had not put a lot of thought into this one yet except for the highest levels, which at the moment have an array of factions divided by interest and perhaps fleets/theatres, or other divides.
On board ships, I could see some ships being “Elite” and manned solely by Tiger forms, whereas other ships may be mixed crews with Tiger officers and Kamee sailors. Perhaps this attitude could extend to fleets as well, although regarding specific flotillas and formations I believe that’s more window-dressing than set piece. Support ships may only have a Tiger commanding officer or even completely Kamee crews.
As far as drone ships goes, I believe ship hardware is too precious to be left in the hands of thinking machines, but I would like to hear other arguments.