The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

  1. Pillage, then burn.
  2. A Sergeant in motion outranks a Lieutenant who doesn’t know what’s going on.
  3. An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks everybody.
  4. Close air support covereth a multitude of sins.
  5. Close air support and friendly fire should be easier to tell apart.
  6. If violence wasn’t your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it.
  7. If the food is good enough, the grunts will stop complaining about the incoming fire.
  8. Mockery and derision have their place. Usually, it’s on the far side of the airlock.
  9. Never turn your back on an enemy.
  10. Sometimes the only way out is through. . . through the hull.
  11. Everything is air-droppable at least once.
  12. A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head.
  13. Do unto others.
  14. “Mad Science” means never stopping to ask “what’s the worst thing that could happen?”
  15. Only you can prevent friendly fire.
  16. Your name is in the mouth of others: be sure it has teeth.
  17. The longer everything goes according to plan, the bigger the impending disaster.
  18. If the officers are leading from in front, watch out for an attack from the rear.
  19. The world is richer when you turn enemies into friends, but that’s not the same as you being richer.
  20. If you’re not willing to shell your own position, you’re not willing to win.
  21. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Take his fish away and tell him he’s lucky just to be alive, and he’ll figure out how to catch another one for you to take tomorrow.
  22. If you can see the whites of their eyes, somebody’s done something wrong.
  23. The company mess and friendly fire should be easier to tell apart.
  24. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a big gun.
  25. If a manufacturer’s warranty covers the damage you did, you didn’t do enough damage.
  26. “Fire and Forget” is fine, provided you never actually forget.
  27. Don’t be afraid to be the first to resort to violence.
  28. If the price of collateral damage is high enough, you might be able to get paid for bringing ammunition home with you.
  29. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy’s enemy. No more. No less.
  30. A little trust goes a long way. The less you use, the further you’ll go.
  31. Only cheaters prosper.
  32. Anything is amphibious if you can get it back out of the water.
  33. If you’re leaving tracks, you’re being followed.
  34. If you’re leaving scorch-marks, you need a bigger gun.
  35. That which does not kill me has made a tactical error.
  36. When the going gets tough, the tough call for close air support.
  37. There is no “overkill.” There is only “open fire” and “reload.”
  38. What’s easy for you can still be hard on your clients.
  39. There is a difference between spare parts and extra parts.
  40. Not all good news is enemy action.
  41. “Do you have a backup?” means “I can’t fix this.”
  42. “They’ll never expect this” means “I want to try something stupid.”
  43. If it’s stupid and it works, it’s still stupid and you’re lucky.
  44. If it will blow a hole in the ground, it will double as an entrenching tool.
  45. The size of the combat bonus is inversely proportional to the likelihood of surviving to collect it.
  46. Don’t try to save money by conserving ammunition.
  47. Don’t expect the enemy to cooperate in the creation of your dream engagement.
  48. If it ain’t broke, it hasn’t been issued to the infantry.
  49. Every client is one missed payment away from becoming a target and every target is one bribe away from becoming a client.
  50. If it only works in exactly the way the manufacturer intended, it is defective.
  51. Let them see you sharpen the sword before you fall on it.
  52. The army you’ve got is never the army you want.
  53. The intel you’ve got is never the intel you want.
  54. It’s only too many troops if you can’t pay them.
  55. It’s only too many weapons if they’re pointing in the wrong direction.
  56. Infantry exists to paint targets for people with real guns.
  57. Artillery exists to launch large chunks of budget at an enemy it cannot actually see.
  58. The pen is mightiest when it writes orders for more swords.
  59. “Two wrongs is probably not going to be enough.”
  60. Any weapon’s rate of fire is inversely proportional to the number of available targets.
  61. Don’t bring big grenades into small rooms.
  62. Anything labeled “This end toward enemy” is dangerous at both ends.
  63. The brass knows how to do it by knowing who can do it.
  64. An ounce of sniper is worth a pound of suppressing fire.
  65. After the toss, be the one with the pin, not the one with the grenade.
  66. Necessity is the mother of deception.
  67. If you can’t carry cash, carry a weapon.
  68. Negotiating from a position of strength does not mean you shouldn’t also negotiate from a position near the exits.
  69. Sometimes rank is a function of firepower.
  70. Failure is not an option – it is mandatory. The option is whether or not to let failure be the last thing you do.