War is a continuation of policy by other means. It is not merely a political act but a real political instrument.
— Karl von Clausewitz, Industrial Age Strategist, Old Earth
In this enormous chessboard of a battle, we were insignificant pieces, dwarfed in size and firepower compared to the vast horde of the coherent ship-swarm that was the local spatial manifestation of Caretaker. Thousands upon thousands of spheres ranging from millimeters to kilometers across, clustered together into functional units only vaguely analagous to what baseline humans might term dreadnoughts, capital ships, transports, cruisers, destroyers, surface bombardment, close-orbit supremacy gunships, ground supremacy gunships, mechanized armor, infantry, synsects, and nanoswarms....Every person, every empire has an agenda, and sometimes it cannot be achieved in business or trade or even blockades. In those cases the low risk option of the trade embargo fails. The result is war.
With EMP and microwave saturation complete, unseen even to my expanded vision (taken from the locally-centered exponential weighted sum of the total available sensor platforms and processed for realtime tactical information), a constellation of microspheres and assorted odd shapes resembling ancient biological specimens fell: a giant, invading nanounit plague settling around the volume of the planet, smothering all resistance.
"Even with your limited memory, you must recall seeing this sort of thing dozens of times."
"Yes, Cara, and as I recall with my feeble mentation, you never use exactly the same tactics twice, yet the endgame always looks the same."
"Well, you appreciate that very limited simulation of warfare invented by your forebears called chess? Even that relatively simple game has more moves than can be easily totalled by your consciousness."
"It still always looks the same, or nearly so. But then, I suspect you don't unfreeze me until the endgame." from 'dragon's teeth' by adam getchell