"The best defense is a good offense." -Unknown
The Unbounded Forces are a military division overseen by the Technocracy's Foreign Affairs Council, and the primary military intervention force of the Circle. They are a low-risk long-distance army, which is often regarded as loyal, only half-disciplined, and ruthless. The Unbounded are often used as a positive application for exceedingly violent tendencies, and many members have some sort of inborn emotional instability. Nevertheless, they are generally seen as a positive influence in the areas in which they are active, mainly because their propensity for violence is directed towards unwelcome groups.
- They typically are deployed in small groups numbering about a dozen.
Foreign Intervention Forces
Early in the Circle's history, during the Classical Era, after military expansion became ineffective, the stability of nearby regions became a major focus of the Technocracy's foreign policy. Most importantly, with the mass-proliferation of weaponry and the rise of unclaimed civilizations, bandit gangs and minor wars were becoming a serious problem for trade relations, missionary efforts, and border security. A small division of strike teams were formed to intervene in these cases, and would generally simply show up, cripple the offending force, and leave. This policy became crucial to the Eastern Block's stability, which persists to this day.
The term "Unbounded" was first used for Encircled strike forces of the Goran-Circle Alliance in the late Classical Era, during the Tallet War they were a high-tech backing to the Goran forces. Their task was to sneak behind Tallet lines and harass them, usually by eliminating officers and breaking down supply lines, leaving them weak and vulnerable when the Goran hordes showed up. This fighting force was seen as an effective response to Tallet expansion elsewhere in the world, and was quickly expanded to be sent to key areas of interest where the Tallet were attempting to conquer troops and resources for the effort against the advancing Goran-Circle forces. This army quickly absorbed the Foreign Intervention Forces as its purposes and tactics broadened.
"The test results show their aggressive qualities or AQ scores to be in the 98th percentile, empathy within the 3rd percentile and problem-solving skills in the 88th percentile. They are perfect; send them to training." -Technocracy psychologist evaluating new batch of recruits
The Unbounded tend to recruit some of the most violent individuals in the Circle. Violent individuals, especially criminals, are often given the option to join the Unbounded to provide a productive outlet to violent tendencies. Immigrants are also not uncommon in the ranks, as the Technocracy provides for their families and pays a decent wage to effective soldiers. In fact, former Ashed mercenaries and refugees from Tallet-controlled areas each make up a significant portion of the ranks.
A significant portion of the Unbounded are also rotated volunteers from the Circle of Shields and sometimes the Foreign Affairs Council themselves, though the latter usually take on support roles, such as local-resistance liaisons.
- The Technocracy psychological department finds those with low empathy and violent tendencies to be the prime recruits of the Unbounded forces.
- The Unbounded forces due to their abnormal thought processes need very little desensitization training and often suffer no long-term mental effects from committing atrocities or killing the enemy.
- Unbounded forces often need constant entertainment during their training process.
Training and Equipment
Unbounded often have a say their own mode of service, including their weapons and position, but the most common weapons are the crossbow for ranged combat and maiming and geometric shield for melee. Typically, a recruit will be tested in several fields to determine the best fits for weapons and positions, and they are then trained extensively for things they're already good at. For example, someone with a keen eye and steady hands will often be trained in sniper weaponry, while someone with a propensity for stealth and speed will often be trained as an assassin.
Unbounded are specifically trained and armed to be significantly more dangerous than a Tallet centurion, as they would be the first force to encounter the Tallet and their top priority in such a situation would be to eliminate the Tallet officers and cripple their force.
80% to 90% of Unbounded forces are usually within the Eastern Block at any given time, either serving as a stabilizing force in neighboring areas, or on reserve within the Circle's borders. They are only deployed afar in large numbers in cases of extreme importance.
Unbounded tactics range from pragmatic to downright brutal. They are widely considered a force for good and justice in areas where they are active, and many of them even enjoy this feeling, some even being reformed of criminality by it. They are not, however, heroes. Unbounded units have a problem to which they have been assigned, and are willing to go to extreme ends to eliminate it.
Of course, there are a few commonalities to all events. The Unbounded will never fight on an open field, often resorting to stealthy guerrilla warfare. They also tend to prefer to use snipers to take out targets from afar, or assassins to move in close and kill isolated groups.
While roaming the southwestern areas of the Eastern Block, they tend to have a 99% kill rate for bandits and other roaming violent criminals they encounter, utilizing guerrilla tactics and straight-up firing lines. They will often protect civilians by setting up traps for bandits before they move on a village, but in the end, the purpose is to eliminate the threat. Large bandit groups have been all but completely eradicated from the Eastern Block due, in part, to fear of this group. Altercations with innocent civilians, torture of captive criminals, and other heinous behavior is not unheard of, but still rare. They are adults with a level of self-restraint, and most of the time they just do the job and move on.
When fighting Tallet incursions, all semblance of dignity is forgotten, and the Unbounded become what is widely considered to be the most ruthless fighting force on the planet. The top priority of the Unbounded in a Tallet-incursion scenario is to cripple the invading force's leadership, supplies, morale, and any other angle deemed optimal through any means available.
Their favorite tactic is Officer Slaying, and they have been known to kill Tallet officers in exceedingly gruesome manners simply to scare the others. Often, they will turn the process into a game, creating "leaderboards" to see who can rack up the most kills, or who holds titles like "most epic kill". One member of the Unbounded forces was even reported to engage in cannibalism. At times, this has been known to become so extreme that the Technocracy actively encourages usage of recreational drugs among their ranks, and leadership will sometimes move teams out of conflict areas simply to calm them down.
The simple presence of the Unbounded in a region has been known to cause Tallet officers to react on a physiological level, changing their sleep cycles and resting heart rates. This is known because sometimes Unbounded officer-hunters will sneak into officer's tents, night after night, to observe them as part of some sort of sick game. The Tallet have trouble responding to their presence on a logistical level, as they don't ever really know where they are. A single report of Unbounded activity in the area could be a single two-person team of operatives, or an entire army over the next hill. This state of constantly-rising fear and confusion is key to the Unbounded strategy of dividing, crippling, and dispersing the Tallet.
The Triple Bottom Line
Because of both high troop investment and high valuation of human life, the Unbounded work to be one of the lowest-casualty offensive military forces in the world. This objective often falls secondary to the others, and risks are made, but it is very uncommon to see the Unbounded taking courses of action which involve heavy casualties. The Unbounded avoid fighting large forces on open ground at all costs, instead favoring sniping, stealth, mechanized warfare, and local resistance efforts.
The Technocracy does not give the Unbounded specific objectives on a deployment, only a problem that they are supposed to solve and information on the best ways to solve it. Leaders are trained to understand the best way to solve a problem from the front lines, used to situations where quick communication with the Technocracy is not possible.
Do not Poison Long-Term Interests
The Encircled are very long-term thinkers, and tend to eschew short-term thinking which sacrifices relations with areas for short-term gain. Thus, Unbounded detachments tend to have foreign relations experts whose entire job is to coordinate with local civilizations, and to prevent troops from committing acts which would damage future relations with other cultures.
The Temporary Solution to the Permanent Problem Edit
To outsiders, the Unbounded seem like a useful long-distance fighting force. To the Technocracy, they are a temporary solution to a permanent problem which will eventually have to be dealt with: sadists, sociopaths, and the criminally violent. The Unbounded are not simply a fighting force, but an outlet for these people, and while they are probably one of the best solutions the Technocracy could muster to the two problems, there are a finite number of battles to be fought. The cutthroats of the Unbounded themselves aren't exactly the best foot for the Technocracy to put forward either, even if they usually keep their aggression to bandits and Tallet incursions.
Hazards of Unbounded forces
"They are our most effective and motivated forces, but what do we do when there is no one left to fight?" -Circle of Shields general
"Those weren't bandits. Even bandits have some sense of decency. From what we have seen of the bodies they leave behind, these are demons wearing human skin." -Knight of Thorns, on a quest to hunt down a rogue Unbounded group
Occasionally, a group of Unbounded forces will go rogue and unchain themselves from the Circle's command.
When this occurs they often turn to banditry. Their path is mostly random, some staying within or close to friendly territory, some migrate to Kushan, some simply travel as far away as the Western Block and in rare cases to to Goran territory.
- This is most often caused by an Unbounded handler failing to keep them otherwise occupied when not on assignment.
- Sending other Unbounded forces after them is a hazard as they may join forces instead of following the commands.
- On rare occasions, they can be brought back into the fold by negotiators.
"We let them inside the gates. They killed most of us the first night. The ones that woke in time never stood a chance. I was the only one that escaped. They have our weapons, they have the fortress. How can we beat such monsters?" -Circle of Shields soldierMilitary coups are what happen when Unbounded forces go rogue and decide to set up their own dominion and whatever land they take.