APAGear II Archives Volume 1, Number 12 December, 1999


West Base:

Heart of CEF

Janne Kemppi

West Base was the main supply base of CEF. It was built at the beginning of the war. Despite its importance, little real information is known of the background of this huge construction work and the circumstances how it came to be.

After the end of the Third World War, New Earth Commonwealth turned its gaze to the stars. CEF was created to fulfill NEC's dream of reconquest of old colonies. Because NEC didn't have historical precedence of interstellar warfare, they chose conservative approach. They understood their old force didn't fit this kind of work and CEF was thus built for expeditionary warfare beyond Solar system. As such it had to deal the problems of that kind of warfare. The distances were long, CEF always outnumbered and it had to be able to fight in every imaginable circumstance without help. Hard training, sound fighting methods and highest technology available were all used to give CEF as much fighting power for each soldier it would field as possible.

CEF paid a heavy price for its constant search for more and more fighting power. The high technology came along naturally with complexities of interstellar warfare. CEF amassed large number of highly complicated and supply hungry combat systems such as hover tanks and aerospace vehicles. Furthermore, requirement to be able to deal with everything from feeding starving refugee masses to fight (and win) nuclear war meant huge need for highly expensive and often specialized equipment. In order to use all these complicated and specialized systems CEF needed large number of supplies and maintenance to keep everything working. When actual fighting started, the logistical needs exploded through the roof and CEF found itself in same situation as any other military force in history: it spent supplies in a frightening speed. Despite attempts to cut down the supply use the fact remained that all warfare needs supplies and CEF naturally recognized this fact.

There are two basic methods to handle logistics. First is to use just-in-time delivery and the second is to use warehousing. Both methods are used both in civilian and military world and the question essentially boils down to how much you trust to your logistical ability to move supplies effectively in timely fashion.

Just in time means precisely that. Troops request and receive the equipment as asked in timely fashion. The system is based on idea that supplies carried are cut to minimum with the troops themselves. The advantage of this system is that it cuts down the size of logistical tail. Because the units do not move with a large number of supply units they are smaller, lighter and more maneuverable in field. However, the weak logistical tail also means that such a unit is rapidly expended in field as it cannot sustain itself in battle, especially if fighting turns into a slugfest.

Warehousing is based on concept that troops themselves have enough supplies and leverage to deal with everything (within reason). This requires large logistical tail and it makes units slower and less maneuverable. However, the system has advantages as well. Units can handle more casualties, problems and unforeseen circumstances. If it turns into a quagmire, this kind of unit can keep on fighting in the battlefield.

CEF chose the just-in-time delivery because the way of warfare they wanted to wage. Their vision was one of fighting in a desolate colony planet. They would need to be able move and fight rapidly against enemy that would always outnumber them. Slowly moving units and massive logistical tails simply did not match that vision. However, the light logistical tail in the combat units did not remove the actual need for supplies for troops doing that fighting. According to just-in-time delivery logic CEF equipped each unit with a relatively light logistical tail to deal with unforeseen troubles. CEF estimated that they would have edge throughout the electromagnetic spectrum so the number of actual unforeseen troubles (and thus leverage needed to deal with them) would be considerably smaller than in Third World War. As CEF browsed through the historical data determining that due lack of good weather modeling the weather (and its effects on air warfare) would be unpredictable in many colonial planets and would require considerable margin of supplies for troops.

Faced with these crisscrossing requirements CEF planners created a logistical system that was a hybrid system. Troops would have light hover mobile logistical tails to ensure rapid mobility with enough logistical supplies carried to ensure their survival. The air transport would be preferred method of delivery but land vehicles from hover and wheeled to railroads) would be used as a backup for larger units if weather would become too difficult. Administration, logistical tail and manpower needs would be cut further by concentrating the major logistical assets to few bases that would use extensively automation to further increase efficiency. These few bases would also handle all the traffic from space where Colonial Expeditionary Fleet would deliver the supplies for colonies to be invaded.

Because invasion of colonies requires actually going to the planet invaded, the requirements between Fleet and Force became next problem to be solved. Force wanted to have as short logistic tail as possible to ensure rapid and certain transportation of supplies. Ground should be firm and hard for ease of construction and it should be preferably in a valley or depression for easy digging in rim sides. It would offer a little bit more protection against direct space based fire and possible near misses of nuclear weapons. The biggest requirement -however- was need for water. Water was the lifeline of warfare as it was used from cooking to hospitals to making everything from bread to concrete to hydrogen for hover tanks.

Fleet -on the other hand- wanted to have these bases as far away from the enemy positions as possible. Fleet feared greatly enemy defensive fire against their highly expensive spacecraft fleet, especially during the initial drop towards armed enemy colony. In order to reduce these risks Fleet planners wanted to drop first Force wave directly from space and after the drop zone had been secured, to land on a very hard and firm ground. Preferred landing zone would then be an invaded space port or huge airfield in safety of CEF rear. This directly clashed with Force requirements for constant support and logistical help from the Fleet.

On the other hand, there were also considerations for peace time soldiering after the war. Huge bases constructed to handle link between space and ground and then between logistical tail and troops in field would be a huge construction project. Such bases, no matter how much they would be called temporary, would be permanent in reality. Major part of wartime and peacetime soldiering is a need for huge areas dedicated to training from maneuvering to gunnery to weapons testing. These requirements could not be fulfilled in areas close to settlements with civilian population living nearby due possible dangers.

Base in a difficult terrain such as a desert, swamp or jungle was thus clearly out of the question. On the other hand, all good construction sites were almost certainly noticed by local colonists as well bringing up all the headaches of dealing with the local population. Such headaches include security from enemy guerillas and terrorists, spying and all kinds of incidents and troubles between CEF troopers and local population with different ways and customs. As the aftermath of the war would be almost for certain a period of enforcing peace within potentially very hostile population these problems were high on agenda.

CEF started the impossible task of choosing the perfect locations for its bases a long time before the Fleet attacked even the first colony, the Caprice. Extensive library search was constructed on records and information of colonies that was some four hundred years old. Each colony planet was charted and several hundred locations chosen for possible further investigation. Despite the lack of information CEF created a plan for building each of these locations just in case any of these would be chosen. Later, when Caprice was invaded, CEF went through all records and material in Caprice to update their maps and plants even further reducing further their chosen list of possible landing sites to a few dozen. The next step was then Terra Nova.

The popular image of Terra Nova Operation was one of huge hover tanks dropping from the sky and purple GRELs running around killing anything they saw and a rain of death from the sky as Fleet vessels would bombard the planet. The actual invasion had started considerably earlier. The first CEF troopers were actually small special operations forces groups sent to do engineering reconnaissance. While maps and data could be used to reduce the number of possible landing sites, the actual evaluation of drop zones must be done in situ by someone who understands the geological requirements and the lay of the land.

On the other hand, the secrecy needed to ensure maximum shock effect to surprise and possibly force the colonists to submission before firing a shot required that these efforts would be as secret as possible. Usually the longer the time dedicated to do such a reconnaissance is, the greater the chances of detection and thus losing the effect of surprise. CEF planners decided to gamble and use the first suitable site found as their main fleet would enter the Helios system and had to make the decision before landing.

Among other places, the Western Desert area was checked by several small teams dropped clandestinely. While the desert itself is not a suitable place for a base, there were several anomalies to be checked. One of these was several billion years old volcanic area in Southern part of Western Desert known as Site 445 in CEF databases. This site was chosen because it had been surveyed by Human Concordat military several hundred years ago as a possible military base area. Site 445 area was then clandestinely surveyed on behalf of several mining possibilities of strategic materials. Some instances in Human Concordat intended to use these materials and key members of the original base planning staff intended to retire from military to mining companies with their knowledge. Their effort was buried into bureaucracy and greed and excessive secrecy. All this happened without anything told to the local colonists or their superiors in colonialization companies.

Human Concordat collapsed and 400 years later NEC unearthed buried knowledge in throughout searches of databases. They found Site 445 as good choice for base with possible bonus of materials for era after the war but place was considered alternative as CEF planners were certain that area would had been prospected a long time ago. Instead they were quite surprised to find Site 445 area itself only a sparse homestead county of Creighton. Engineering reconnaissance confirmed this.

Terra Novans themselves had not prospected the Barrington Basin due several reasons. First, there were plenty of prospecting in far more accessible places. Secondly, there were only modest water resources in the area. Area was formed on ancient kimberlite eruption. These thick pillars of kimberlite prevent formation of VanAllen caverns. Thus there is no obvious source of fresh water in the area nor open water sources to attract prospectors. However, there are minor water sources in the area from ancient rain fall seeping into cracks in the rock. These water sources are modest standards for needs of long term habitation. Port Arthur would thus drain the ancient water reserves in less than 10,000 years.

Drilling these water reservoirs is timeconsuming and complicated system. Terra Novans had no pressing need to do so and thus Site 445 area had only homestead county. CEF had the need and knowledge and did so. They used Human Concordat era surveys as their guide to build their own wells. The information of the diamond mines, however, were jealously guarded secret. Existence of suitable mining sites was still classified when Terra Novan prospectors drawn to Port Arthur rediscovered the deposits after the war and Colonel Arthur's people started to use them. There might be information of other deposits buries in CEF's secret databases still in Port Arthur. Colonel Arthur ordered existence of prior knowledge of information on confirmed and possible deposits secret to avoid a carnival of prospectors and riffraff coming to Port Arthur. He had no intention of turning his tighly controlled military base to a boom town swamped by diamond feverish prospectors all over the Terra Nova and associated social problems.

Site 445 area is essentially hard bedrock with layers between tens to hundereds of meters thick of dirt and sand over it. Site 445 is one of the few places in Terra Nova where bedrock is visible. Main area of Site 445 is in a low depression, with rim side height wildly warying. Site area is roughly 200 kilometers in diameter and after falling down from the rim continues as a rocky flat area with small hills and grags. This creates a terrain with hard rock bottom to build and hill sides to dig in. With no civilian population present, the site was considered very good. CEF commander chose Site 445 over other candidates during the Fleets movement through the Helios system during immediate beginning of the war. It would be known as West Base.

Logistics is essentially delivering the supplies from the point of departure to the destination. Unforeseen problems, safety margins and future preparation requires storing the material in both ends and in-between. Warehousing might be necessary but it is yet another problem in logistical chain because storing and repackaging the material takes valuable time. Quite often this work must be done by hand, which further wastes time. Inventory inspections and checks also increase turn-around times.

CEF solution was introduction of container family. These containers would be used for all material transportation from Earth to colonies. Each container could be moved quickly from space ship to truck if necessary and part commonality would make sure all parts of the system would work together. Existing Human Concordat era container sizes were chosen because they were universally used. Planners hoped that it would also ensure that the Earth and Colonial containers and logistical systems were interchangeable so local resources could be used in case of emergency. Heavy cargo handling equipment was added as well.

Containers had not just different sizes but also different characteristic to match different needs of variable cargoes. For example container carrying sensitive electronics parts had protection against electro-magnetic radiation. Similarly frozen meat had to be carried in a container that was essentially a giant freezer. The dizzying variety of containers and their possible cargoes led to need for similarly formidable computer system to handle it all. Here CEF chose to use artificial intelligence. This expert system would catalog and direct and handle all logistics together with other AIs intended for transportation.

Heart of the logistics expert system was numbering and identifying every single part owned and used by CEF. Every part had some sort of identifying number and bar code, which could be read quickly if it needed to be inspected. System also checked the storage lives and warned users of old equipment, equipment getting old and in need of refurbishing or check-ups. Supplies were distributed starting from ones with closest to end of storage life to troops. This further decreased the waste as equipment was no more carried half a galaxy away to be thrown away as pass the storage life period or poor warehousing.

CEF had two rough plans for warehousing most of the supplies in target colony. Preferred method was to keep most of the supplies in space where they would be out of reach for possible colonial saboteurs. The space position also made it possible to drop supplies wherever CEF wanted in a colony via direct space drop or a shuttle. The downside of such a proposal was constant need to keep expensive cargo carriers tied to a certain colony planet. If the enemy was expected to have enough technological sophistication and military might to attack Fleet vessels in space the idea of orbital warehousing became impractical. Fleet had firm opinion that staying orbit was too dangerous in such a situation.

Second method was to keep the supplies and warehousing on ground. This was preferred method if space superiority could not be maintained but enemy could not keep its own space superiority either. In such a case the Fleet would provide supply runs at irregular intervals under heavy protection and Force would keep the supplies protected on ground while Forces considerable aerospace defenses would keep the space superiority contested so enemy space assets could not be used to pound Force troopers. While first method was clearly wished for situation the more pessimistic second option was planned and exercised as well.

The actual history of CEF invasions proved both plans workable. In Caprice the government surrendered and the change of guard happened with a minimum of bloodshed and most of the supplies were kept on orbit during the change of guard. In Terra Nova the worst came true. The colonials did not surrender and facing a situation where space combat seemed more and more likely and deadlier CEF started urgent consultation to decide their next move. Fleet wanted to start a methodical hunt for colonial space assets first followed by a drop while Force feared that colonial response would be against their troop transports first.

CEF commanders decided to make a forced entry to Terra Nova before the preparations would be too strong for them to penetrate. Terra Novans were actually greatly surprised by CEF=92s attack against their system. The initial response was slow, ineffective and poorly coordinated. CEF managed to move Fleet right above the Terra Nova without any serious resistance. While holding the orbit gives attacker advantage of dropping anywhere they are also very vulnerable to defender fire. The pace of probes and attacks by various Terra Novan nations started to mount. To avoid casualties CEF decided to gamble by dropping everything down in a single massive one week long drop.

Some 400,000 troopers and GRELs were dropped in the first day. Most of the troops landed to Western Desert close to Site 445 and started the rapid construction of West Base. While the troops were down on the deserts and steppes building bases the supplies were dropped straight from the orbit. Same ceramic heat shield technology used to protect hover tanks and vehicles dropping down from the orbit were used to protect the supply containers so Fleet fighting on orbit could keep on dropping supplies through the day and night for Force troopers on ground.

Whenever colonials attacked a cargo dropping vessel or there was one of the frequent Badlands storms on drop zone the accuracy of drop became questionable. In practice the containers could drop anywhere in given area no matter what and who was getting underneath. The aerospace defenses could and did stop Terra Novan attacks but there was preciously little one could do to protect against container dropping on. As a matter of fact, during the first week more CEF soldiers died directly and indirectly of own containers dropping unexpectedly than to Terra Novan military efforts. The loud thud of container landing was the only indicator that one was still alive after the supply drop. Many CEF veterans still hate the sound of things being dropped to the ground.

Any construction project needs raw materials and labor. Huge undertaking like West Base needed so much both that carrying it all through the space would have been impractical. Labor was constant shortage because CEF was essentially a fighting organization and as such wanted to maximize amount of personnel in front and minimize need for personnel in rear. While GRELs provided source of cheap labor using them for base construction was thought to be waste of resources. CEF planners decided to solve the labor needs with robots.

Construction robotics had been practical already in late 20th Century. Steel frame buildings could be constructed in half the time with mere 10% of the workforce, when robots were used. Advances in robotics and automation meant that CEF could delegate humans to mostly supervisory and maintenance roles while robots would be used to do most work. There was military uniformity in parts, layouts and architecture cutting the construction time even further. The common construction materials were directly linked to second problem of huge need for raw materials. Carrying all the needed materials through the space was impractical. CEF could only manufacture the parts on situ in the colonies, whenever possible. Some of the iron needed for construction could be taken from containers that were recycled through smelter

Practically all inhabited planets share some common characteristics. Among these characteristics are water and air. There is always dirt as well. CEF planners noticed that as long as there was enough energy, they could always produce fuel for construction machinery and construction material itself. First, they could break water for hydrogen as a fuel for their hover tanks and engines. The iron needed for construction could be extracted from some of the containers that were recycled through smelter for wanted parts.

Second, they also found out they could build makeshift concrete out of dirt with electricity. This technique is based on observing natural phenomena of lighting. When it hits the ground, a huge electric current usually moves along the surface of ground for some time until it dissipates to suitable conductive material. Dirt along the path of lightning is very hard, at times even glass like when there are silicates on ground. Thus by putting sand to mould and running huge electric current through it, they could produce concrete equivalent elements. Necessary tools and systems could be brought in parts and built on place according to general construction plan. This all required massive amount of energy but it could be produced locally from nuclear reactors that CEF shuttles had and later from nuclear reactors assembled into base.

Military base layout is equally complicated process. Layout is essentially a complicated mixture of building and area architectural plans. These plans depend on needs that base in question need to fulfill as no base is built just for the fun of it. West Base was essentially a giant logistical base so the primary concerns were logistical center and fulfilling necessary rear area services. These concerns were addressed with a major space port and series of large airfields used to rapidly transport supplies anywhere in Terra Nova. Railroads and highways were also planned and partially implemented as alternative logistical routes. Huge supply storage areas were also necessary for long term storage of vital supplies. Nothing in these concerns made West Base different from its Earth built civilian transportation nodes.

The secondary design factor was the obvious need to defend the base from possible enemy attacks. CEF assumed that colonials would immediately notice the importance of such a base to CEF war effort and do their utmost to destroy or at least damage it. CEF assumed that the possible threats would be either strategic or conventional in effectiveness and come from either ground or air.

Strategic weapons i.e. weapons of mass destruction were considered first. The partially underground layout offered some degree of passive defense but the best defense were considered to be large number of CEF=92s own weapons of mass destruction and proven ability and willingness to use them to further their goals. CEF believed that threat of mutual destruction would prevent colonials from attacking the base.

Second threat was land based. The surrounding area was to be littered with sensors to avoid possible surprise attacks. While the sensor network and ever tightening ring of patrols and checkpoints and observation points was thick CEF assumed it would be penetrated anyway as long as their enemy had patience. However, the purpose of this network wasn=92t stopping of enemy but detecting any force large enough to cause havoc early enough for effective countermeasures to be started. Those groups that would be so small that they could infiltrate through CEF=92s outer zone were assumed to be small enough to be easily defeated by Base=92s own security force upon detection.

Base defenses were built on principle of defense in depth. Base was built on a series of rings that would separate the major zones inside the base. Splitting the base rings into numerous autonomic areas within these rings further restricted enemy movement. Most important places within areas were further cordoned off to give extra security. However, the need for base to be major communications hub prevented tuning the base into a fortress. Instead CEF relied on extensive use of various sensors and passive defenses as a cordon between sectors. Higher and lower berms were constructed to channel enemy movement and to protect nearby sectors from nuclear explosions. These walls were built using natural formations if possible and massive earthworks elsewhere. Sensors offered security not only against enemy troops but also against such disasters as fire, water or chemical damages. Real-time sensor network allowed different kinds of responses from fire department to heavily armed hover tanks to enter the scene of trouble.

Few extremely vital places such as nuclear reactor areas and strategic weapon storage fields had fortifications like trenches, anti-tank ditches, minefields and bunkers.

However, West Base was never a conventional Terra Novan fortress. Huge concrete roads and railways allowed rapid movement between areas. Cordoned storage areas had always huge amount of traffic as huge based churned out supplies and maintained massive Earth war machine. This system was quite different from Terra Novan cities that had often one massive wall as major fortification. Terran Novan defences were based on one heavily fortified wall that was defended tooth and nail but once it was breached all bets were off. West Base would instead give up only one sector and attacker would face new walls on front and sides. Each attack would only gain one sector within larger sector.

The real fear of CEF planners was aerospace attack. They believed that no attacker could conceivably attack the base through ground but any and every attacker could attack from the air or space. Additionally, the base could not really carry out its mission if enemy air forces were constantly intercepting the transport planes. Therefor the West Base had massive aerospace defensive system based on land, space and air based sensors and weapon systems. All this was backed with computer systems, combat AIs and battle management centers. The entire aerospace battle in Terra Nova during the war was led was led from there.

Space based systems relied on stealth and they could be resupplied with new wespon and sensor systems launched by rockets or shuttles based in West Base. Land based systems were built to both inside and outside the base. While some systems such as ballistic missile defenses and biggest radar systems have to be built permanently the vast majority of systems relied of stealth and camouflage. Weapon and sensor locations were changed at irregular intervals to confuse enemy intelligence and various decoys and ruses were used to surprise and trap enemy forces.

Final part was air component. Biggest problem of air support Badlands was the unpredictable weather conditions. Because weather could not be reliably controlled by CEF, they resorted to another tactic. Knowing that weather could not be bad everywhere at the same time they trained and prepared to fly in impossible weather conditions by dispersal. It was originally intended to allow base air operations continue despite enemy air forces destroying the fields. This time it allowed CEF to always select some of the base airfields or use emergency airfields built on nearby roads or spare airstrips built to desert. With planes dispersed among the fields the weather could hinder or even stop operations in some but never on all airfields within considerable distance around the West Base.

Final base layout was built by before mentioned principles as a series of concentrated rings. Shape of the rings was dictated by lay of the land and they were never compelete rings. Construction of the base was also never fully completed. Battle damage and end of the war prevented it. Heart of the base was the middle of it. A series of high command facilities were built completely underground. Only sign of that structure was a thick, black concrete slab cast over the bunker to give extra strength. Facilities formed a totally independent and heavily guarded city where CEF commanders lived and led the war.

Individual bunkers had ball shape to offer as much protection as possible against shock waves of underground explosions. Each bunker could live completely isolated for months if not years and multiple tunnels and communication lines were used to ensure real-time contacts with troops in field. Sand filled tunnels are far more robust against shock waves of underground and surface explosions than normal tunnels and therefor some tunnels were kept sand filled to offer alternative routes that could be opened in case of emergencies. The facility continued deep into bedrock and horizontally even under the second ring area.

Second ring was dedicated to the spaceport. Actually the spaceport seem to fill entire center because the high command facilities were built completely underground. Spaceport main was divided into six independent sectors. Each sector having three main launch pads for vertically landing shuttles and two horizontally landing airfields. Launch pads were built into deep holes on ground with maintenance and logistics facilities next to it built into rim edges. At least some of these launch pads could be sealed by closing a huge concrete door on top of the hole to allow repairs and maintenance on shuttles on ground. Aerospace system support facilities and silos littered the area. This area had also huge concentration of anti-ballistic missile systems, because the nearby facilities could easily support maintenance and readiness of these systems.

Second ring area had also huge transportation system. Cargo handlers could rapidly unload the shuttle and move containers into waiting transport vehicles. These were usually ground vehicles used to move material to third ring but some areas had railroad facilities for connecting shuttles to internal and external railroad yards. There are some underground tunnels here as well. Some of these tunnels are rumored to connect to high command tunnels.

Third ring was the main airfield area. This area was divided into twelve sectors, each which had two military airfields next to each other. The layout of airfields was radial with 24 airfields each having airstrip pointing to either spaceport or towards third ring. These airfields were intended to be main transportation nodes to troops in field. Each airfield had enough room for one CEF wing of transports and had also attached heliport in case hover vehicles or VTOL planes had to be used for transport. There were dispersed concrete aircraft bunkers to protect planes for enemy fire and airfield layout allowed separation and independent work from each other.

This area had also heavily guarded strategic weapon storage facilities. CEF believed that air delivery was the best method for these weapons. The lack of throughout understanding of colony ecosystem prevented use of biological weapons except for sabotage in narrowly predetermined situations. Nuclear and anti-matter weapons were widely used in air defense against ballistic missiles and at times in the battlefield. Chemical weapons were most commonly used, especially in counterinsurgency, where poorly equipped Badlander guerillas were flushed out with either non-lethal or lethal chemicals. Very little is known of the fate of these facilities. Apparently some chemical weapon storage material was destroyed but there is belief Port Arthur retains the biggest strategic weapon arsenal in Terra Nova. Security and safety of these arsenals remain unknown.

Fourth ring was essentially a large warehouse area. 12 sectors divided this area with each sector having large terminals in both ends of rings. Road & rail network assured rapid transport of resources to wherever needed. Layout of this area was both uniform and totally different. Depending on state of things some warehouses with on ground, or partially built underneath. Few facilities were totally underground. The most common nominator to these warehouses and open area storage squares was huge size. Typical warehouse had some four stories above and equal number of stores underground. Warehouse types themselves varied tremendously because wide selection of materials to be stored from fleshette ammunition to strawberries to camouflage cream to wedding gowns.

Fourth ring had surprisingly few humans and GRELs working on it. The warehousing is essentially tedious work where material is picked up from warehouse, packed carefully to standard container and put to terminal for transport. Therefor CEF decided to cut down almost all manpower and rely on robotics for warehousing. Robots scurried in huge warehouses, picked the materials and loaded them. The advantage of such a system was almost complete drop in human errors and especially stealing that seems to plague all armies through the history. Additionally robots working in warehouses carried extra sensors to aid in guarding the facilities and detect problems like accidents or enemy intrusions.

Fifth ring had least uniformity and had perhaps most free layout. This was rear area services ring with all associated facilities and units littered around huge area. It handled matters as diverse as collection, evacuation and treatment/repair or humans/GRELs/equipment and the preparation and repair of railways and main supply routes. Maintenance facilities could practically rebuild the destroyed hover tanks and even manufacture some military equipment locally if necessary in small scale. Similarly giant hospital network healed wounded and repaired cybernetics of both humans and GRELs. Huge barracks were built for troops garrisoned there as strategic reserves or recovering and resting between the combat.

Another part was traffic control, security and defense of rear areas against attackers, infiltrators and enemy intelligence efforts. Facilities and troops handled these efforts from various office buildings and -if necessary- from underground bunkers. Troops and patrols operated from these facilities to ensure enemies would not disturb the operations of the base.

Then there was maintenance of law and order in the conquered areas and finally exploitation of local and captured resources. Huge prison facilities were built to this ring to house all captured prisoners and their interrogation for intelligence. Similarly there were ranges for studying and testing the captured equipment. Some of this material was recycled for CEF=92s own war effort, especially after brutal fighting in Baja, where back of CEF was broken in fierce fighting. Some captured equipment was given to intelligence to be used in secret operations in enemy rear areas. Most work was handling the civilians, addressing their needs and problems and to upkeep refugees that fierce war in Terra Nova had created and which CEF moved to West Base for safety. Huge number of refugees gave the Base at times almost a dumping-ground look with miserly refugees in some areas mixed with orderly military base at another.

The base structures ended with the fifth ring berm built along rim of the depression. The activity of CEF -however- did not end with these rings. Outside areas were used by CEF troops on various purposes. Base security with patrols and sensor sweeps extended far beyond base proximity. The closer one got to base, the thicker the sensor network and patrolling was.

History of area changed along the time. Original quiet homestead county was turned into a landing zone in the beginning of war. The construction of logistics base soon followed. It finally became CEF headquarters until changing fortunes of war turned everything into ruins. When CEF left only refugees and few stragglers remained occupying the slowly crumbling sturctures. Peace after the war changed this layout in many ways. Right after the war there were chaotic times without proper maintenance of the base. Ascension of Colonel Arthur meant new build-up but with new priorities. Growing civilian needs were emphasized instead of waning military austerity with new city growing around the old base.

Welcome to the future.

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APAGear II Archives Volume 1, Number 12 December, 1999