Intelligent aliens have invaded Earth in 2024. Unfortunately for them they miscalculated. From watching our TV, they thought we were the same size as they were.

Each alien is about 1 centimetre tall with the approximate intelligence and scaled-down manipulative ability of a human. Assume their physiology allows this.

In the first wave, their largest space vessel is 10 meters long. Apart from the mother ship, they have a thousand smaller "fighters" and "destroyers" of various sizes (Say 0.5m to 5m in length). These have any scientifically plausible weapons that can be made of the requisite size.


Supposing that they are subject to our laws of physics, can we quantify the size of the fleet they would need in order to conquer us? Are there any circumstances within plausible science that would allow them to win?


  1. Individually they are as destructible as an equivalent sized Earth creature.

  2. The mother ship can carry a maximum payload, including crew, of 1000 lbs (450kg). The smaller ships can carry a proportionally smaller amount.

  3. The mother ship can carry a nuclear weapon if that is theoretically feasible given the payload restrictions. However such a weapon is unlikely to destroy more than one medium sized city.

  4. Handwave - The way they cross space to get to us is undisclosed. It is possible that they came from Mars and we simply didn't detect them there. Perhaps they used a convenient wormhole. Maybe they came from an asteroid or moon of a solar-system planet.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Aug 21 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ It's not really relevant for answering the question, but it didn't work out so well for these guys in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: “the mighty ships tore across the empty wastes of space and finally dived screaming on to the first planet they came across --- which happened to be the Earth --- where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog.” $\endgroup$ – Nathaniel Aug 22 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ It sounds like we're assuming the invaders will only bring nuclear weapons in the form of one enormous warhead, like the humans' W87—a 175cm by 55cm cone weighing 500 pounds, with a yield of 475 kilotons, powerful enough to destroy most human dwellings within a 5km radius. I'm confused, though, about why the invaders would carry such a preposterously oversized weapon. I would expect them to bring a few thousand reasonably-sized warheads, maybe 3.5 grains weight and 0.5 tons yield each. What's the spirit of this assumption supposed to be? $\endgroup$ – Vectornaut Aug 22 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Vectornaut - I added that as a possibility because someone asked. However it is not compulsory. Any reasonable weapons can be used. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 22 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ @chasly-reinstateMonica—Oh, thanks, that explains it! $\endgroup$ – Vectornaut Aug 22 at 15:24

12 Answers 12


One Ship (and not even a very big one)

If they have the tech to travel the stars, they have the tech for biological weapons.

If they can make and use biological weapons, they can spray it into the atmosphere and wait to clean up the stragglers. We wouldn't even have to know they were here.

Do it right and make some ethnic specific targeting viruses the Chinese could blame the Americans, Americans blame the Russians and the Russians blame the Chinese. You could start a real war.

Alternately if their computers are better (which they should be), they could start cyber warfare to kick off a real war. Release each other's codes anonymously to each side. Create some false documents on servers for people to steal. Release tech to each side to make things more unstable.

Also a 1cm high assassin with high tech could kill a lot of leaders, bankers, scientists. You could trigger a war that war. Just killing the American president using a Chinese nerve agent would do it.

There is more to wars than just shooting and bombing. An alien race could easily get us to off ourselves without them firing a shot.

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    $\begingroup$ This is the kind of answer I'd write, but the first sentence doesn't quite follow, as detailed in the road not taken. $\endgroup$ – jdunlop Aug 20 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ Since they are smaller it would be easier for them to sneak into server rooms and do believable hacking and cyber warfare. $\endgroup$ – Anketam Aug 21 at 13:11

The Fleet They Have Is Good Enough To Conquer Earth, At Least For Some Definitions of Conquer

In chess, there are two kinds of attacks. There is an actual attack, i.e. rook takes bishop, and then there are the threat of an attack - moving a rook so it threatens a bishop. If you ask an amateur player which of the two is better, they'll likely say the first, but if you ask a grandmaster then you'll be told that a threat of an attack is equal, if not superior to the attack it threatens. And the reason for this is quite simple - with the threat of an attack, you not only have the possibility of the attack but you also haven't committed anything to the attack. If a rook takes a bishop, then that's the rook's move for the turn, and it might now be in a bad spot. A rook threatening a bishop can not only force the opponent into losing turns playing defense, gain the ability to take the piece (assuming that the situation is worth it), but it also has the ability to threaten other pieces in the process - so a threat can be said to be worth far more than the attack.

Why did I just spend a paragraph talking about chess? Well, because the alien fleet right now is a threat. If it attacks Earth, it likely doesn't have enough firepower to destroy the entirety of the human race - simple facts. But it represents the threat of a space-faring race beyond the solar system that can, at will drop in and start harassing us using all the tricks an FTL civilization has, from kinetic energy weapons to jumping in fleets past the Earth's defensive, not to mention the potential to call in for reinforcements from their home world.

So what they would do, if they wanted to conquer the Earth, would be to park themselves in orbit and casually announce that, yes, they were there to conquer Earth and while they didn't have all the firepower they needed, trust them, they'd be more than capable of it and if Earth didn't want that to happen, they'd need tribute. If the aliens wanted to enslave all the human population to work in spice mines or something, they'd need a lot more, but to just establish supremacy, this would be good enough.

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    $\begingroup$ I find it hard to believe that the entire world won't come to that idea as well. Like sizing up the enemy and trying to figure out if they do posses enough firepower or not would be the no1 thing that the collected military forces of the would would think of. That's military 101. even in chess it's all about players and position. Strong players can calculate several moves in advance so it's not I'd capture something and the opponent will bring out a nuclear submarine out of nowhere. It's all on the board. But chess is all about context and engines we damned. $\endgroup$ – Seallussus Aug 20 at 1:13
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    $\begingroup$ This reminds me of the Horvath from Live Free or Die (excellent read, BTW!)... pretty pathetic by galactic standards, but still spacefaring... and as we know from many sources, whoever controls the orbitals, controls the planet. They did indeed demand tribute, and Earth paid up, because we (humans) couldn't do anything about them. (Oh, and as per Thorne's answer, they did have bioweapons and no inhibition against using them.) $\endgroup$ – Matthew Aug 20 at 12:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Seallussus I suspect it depends on what tribute the aliens want (and at that relative scale, they should be pretty easy to satisfy with material goods). If they can be bought off cheaply enough, it's worth avoiding conflict just to avoid getting into the "unknown unknowns" - things we didn't even know enough to be able to consider ahead of time. $\endgroup$ – Cadence Aug 20 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence, So we can't refuse because of the implication! More realistically however is that we will try to satisfy them to gain access to their advanced tech and unlock FTL travel. And you sure don't want to go down in history as the first country to pay tribute to a bunch of miniature aliens. But it's all context I suppose $\endgroup$ – Seallussus Aug 20 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Seallussus More interesting to contemplate is the idea that (if they do their job right) we won't have any idea exactly how powerful this fleet is. We don't know they're 1cm tall. We see some alien craft in space, but we can't know that's all there are, especially if they "wink in" and "wink out" again, or however they want to handle their ability to use their hyperdrive or whatever. And on that level it's different from chess, in which we know everything the enemy knows. $\endgroup$ – Prime Mover Aug 20 at 19:45

Just one ship:

  1. Land on the far side of the moon and start mining thousands of rocks.

    • This means setting up the launching infrastructure. So...a base.
  2. Launch a couple thousand rocks, timed for simultaneous impact.

    • Includes destroying all retaliatory capabilty (ICBMs, launch sites, etc)
    • The bigger the first strike, the better. Consider spending years preparing this strike.
  3. Move to the near side of the moon now that it's safe.

    • Observe the results
    • Farside base continues to mine and launch rocks at human concentrations to degrade human civilization.
    • Farside base continues to mine and launch rocks at human retaliatory capabilites to protect the invasion force.
  4. Move to high Earth Polar Orbit

    • Survey the Earth carefully for survivors, organization, and capability
    • Farside base continues to mine and launch rocks as needed to continue destroying human capabilities.

After a couple years of bombardment, the few surviving, disorganized, unarmed, filthy humans will be easy hunting for the newly landed invaders.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't it be pretty hard for such a small race to mine big enough rocks to throw at Earth? Much less get big enough motors/accelerators and enough energy to launch them out? After a few years of such bombardment, One might think only the organized, armed and well protected (eg. defended military bases under mountains) humans will remain, and they might be welcoming a chance to fight back on home ground. Even the civilians (in countries like USA, at least), if attacked and going into hiding, would bring personal weapons and ammo as one of the first things (along with water and food). $\endgroup$ – Matija Nalis Aug 24 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ @MatijaNalis I think you are perhaps underestimating the invaders. The rocks keep dropping until there are no cities for folks to hide in, no untouched survivalist compounds, no Mad Max warrior tribes, and the mountains hiding those bases are deep, dead craters. If they can FTL across space, sending their robots to mine rocks and build railguns to launch them seems like small beer. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Aug 24 at 22:15

Oh Yes Indeed. It's Called Nanotech

Cyberwarfare might be doable, but for all we know it'll take years for their programmers to figure out what exactly we're using and how. After all, they can't give us quantum-computing viruses if those viruses depend on four base states to operate instead of just 0 and 1. Bio-weapons? Perhaps, but barring some handwavium we'll have more in common with sea sponges than them in biological terms. They'd likely be starting from square 1 in the chem/biowarfare department. If they can manipulate DNA like the universe is one big Spore creature maker we're hosed. But it's more likely they don't even HAVE DNA, so what good is their knowledge of their equivalent/s when it comes to screwing with us?

"Realistically" I think all you can go on is their good old fashioned engineering and physics tech, at least at first. But even so, their 1,001 ship fleet has a problem. It can't be everywhere, and throughout history overwhelming air power combined with ineffective "boots on the ground" means it's impossible to hold down a territory of any real size. Our 1cm tall invaders can't have hand-held weapons of any great strength. At least at first. They didn't KNOW we're not 1cm high, so all their "small arms" are going to be almost completely useless. Like maybe they can put an eye out, but probably not if you wear eyepro useless. Their tanks might be able to kill us, and might be very good at it. But even 10,000 of them can't control the entire planet. So they need effective ways to hold ground. Lucky them, they have a trump card and it's nanotech.

They're going to spot their "oh shit these guys are huge" SNAFU before they announce their presence. After all, any quick scan of the earth is going to reveal "massive" buildings and the fact that we're real big. So the mothership sits on the dark side of the moon while the smaller vessels conduct recon. Meanwhile the fleet admiral commands the building of nanobots capable of ruining human bodies. It's the one tech they have that'll be just as effective against each other as us. All a nanobot swarm needs to kill a human rather than a 1cm tall alien is a couple more generations of self-replication. The mothership then seeds the atmosphere with said nanobots. probably not in huge quantities, but enough to being self-replication.

Once they get to a specified amount of X nanobots per meter (and they're SMALL remember, you could inhale 10 thousand with every breath and never notice) the aliens announce their presence. Maybe those 1,000 warships launch key strikes against critical military forces, maybe they just announce that Earth is now the property of the Martians. Whatever. Then they make their REAL threat. They tell humanity that the entire planet is saturated with nanobots keyed to humans (presumably our genetics, as it's easier to ID whole DNA than manipulate it.) and any resistance will be met with the activation of said nanobots in the region in opposition. As a demonstration, they might activate nanobots in a given area, or maybe wait for some government to declare active resistance and hit them. Either way, the results are.... gruesom.

Depending on your flavor of nanobot you could have them rip apart individual cells/DNA strands, or go after brains or cause heart attacks or whatever. But in a few minutes all the humans in, say, Beijing are dead. At that point everybody's going to give it up. or maybe a few more cities/regions need to be taught a lesson. Formal resistance ends quite rapidly. The 1000-odd support ships are used as a peacekeeping force. You can set up "exclusion zones" where the nanobots in the zone automatically trigger. This keeps your tiny colonists safe from direct harassment by being so big they're unlikely to be of much use as slaves day-to-day. For "heavy construction" or whatever else you think you need humans for, you can monitor small groups with your tank-equivalents or aircraft. The 1,000-odd ships are too few to be everywhere at once, but as a patrol force and rapid response group they're pretty good, and if you need to down a group of humans at once just re-activate the nanobots.

At this point your story becomes some ragtag band of humans SOMEWHERE trying to figure out how to nullify the nanobots before a more "conventional" resistance war can begin. They'd only have but so long to figure it out, as eventually there'd be too many tiny high-tech ships and tanks for the depleted human forces to resist, even IF an AK or M16 is equivalent to their tank rounds.

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  • $\begingroup$ If they really are 1cm tall, then forget about "an AK or M16"; by their standards, a .22 would be heavy artillery. $\endgroup$ – The Daleks Aug 20 at 22:51
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    $\begingroup$ This sounds kind of stupid, but it's possible nanotech is within sort-of-easy reach for them simply because of their size. If they're two orders of magnitude smaller than us, than the nano scale to them is two orders of magnitude closer. We'd need tools to make tinier tools to make tinier tools to make nanobots. They might only need one iteration of tiny tools. Microns (what I'd consider the larger end of nanotech) are to them as tenth-millimeters are to us: Really small, but workable with the right (tiny) tools. Point is, they'd have an easier time managing nanotech. $\endgroup$ – Palbitt Aug 21 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ Good idea. Although, unless they opt to wipe out most of humanity anyway, I don't think nanotech exclusion zones are going to help them much... Guerilla warfare, and remotely controled drones would quickly obliterate them site by site - their fleet of 1000s won't be near enough to provide protection unless they stick to just a few sites on Earth (in which case they could've simply just siphon resources without us even noticing them) $\endgroup$ – Matija Nalis Aug 24 at 21:30
  1. If they are faster than light, they should be able to shift the position of earth to be off orbit, wait for all humans to die and then shift it back.

  2. Heat up the planet and watch all the humans get flooded, then cool it and conquer what is left.

  3. Nano bots that create each other from eating carbon as was also previously mentioned.

  4. Historically viruses and bacteria are the humans arch nemesis.

  5. Their small size is actually beneficial to fighting humans. As explained here: https://youtu.be/ImYu9dJM4kQ?t=351

  6. Spend a lot of time shifting a large meteor to target earth.

  7. Create a stable (maybe small) black hole on earth.

  8. Radioactive contamination.

  9. Make a hole in the earths magnetic layer.

  10. Leak air into space.

Since they are small, they are virtually undetectable by our current technology at large distances.

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"I can reduce this pumping station to a pile of debris, but I trust my point is clear. I am one android with a single weapon. There are hundreds of Sheliak on the way and their weapons are far more powerful. They may not offer you a target. They can obliterate you from orbit. You will die never having seen the faces of your killers. The choice is yours." - Lieutenant Commander Data http://www.chakoteya.net/NextGen/149.htm

ANY plausible weapon? 1000lbs? Every fighter is equipped with a one gram warhead antimatter torpedo with a perfect vacuum and cosmic ray shielding. Done. https://www.quora.com/What-can-you-do-with-a-gram-of-antimatter

Yes, science fiction overdoes antimatter. Yes, it's a stereotype. There are lots of perfectly good reasons not to use antimatter weapons Cons of Antimatter Weaponry BUT for tiny aliens, with really advanced tech, they solved all these problems long ago.

Even without teleporters (which would allow them to deliver warheads anywhere on Earth from orbit) or remote wormhole generators (allowing them to open portals to the inside of the sun, or, I think, creating black holes) or any of a million other handwavium devices they are likely to have available, their tiny ships could fly invisibly to targets, drop one gram warheads, fly to orbit, and then remotely detonate - assuming the missiles can't just fly there on their own from the edge of the solar system.

So you destroy the infrastructure of the Earth one gram at a time until there are no more military bases and no more industrial cities. Then, you demand unconditional surrender or else another city dies every day. They make it clear that they will sterilize Earth before they accept defeat.

The point is, they don't need to come up with a clever strategy, or be devious, or use something we don't understand, or even think outside the box. By brute force, they would crush us like bugs.

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It depends on how their FTL drive works.

If they just use wormholes or some other method to jump to an alternate reality / hyperspace / something where distances are shorter, and then jump back to real space, there is not much they can do. They might even doom their own civilization, as humans will reverse-engineer it and pay them a visit.

However, if they have some method to actually travel that fast (Alcubierre drive, for example), then they can accelerate any mass to any fraction of the speed of light. You can kill all life on Earth with a baseball if you accelerate it to 0.99999+ (add some nines if not enough) times c.

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They could do it with modern-equivalent tech, but they'd need to go back home to get more vehicles.

Leaving aside things like weapons of mass destruction or them leveraging the orbital high ground, I think that this might be doable in a conventional military confrontation, but they'll need more numbers to do so.

If their tech is roughly comparable to modern-day human tech aside from their FTL, they'd be able to hold their own against most modern military hardware; their "fighters" are about the same size as some of the smaller modern-day military unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). This would allow them to use them to fill a role similar to human infantry, but they'd need millions of them rather than a few thousand if they want to successfully attack Earth.

Similarly, their "destroyers" are roughly the same size as modern-day tanks, and could fill a similar role. Judging by the Wikipedia page on the world's military equipment, they'd need around sixty to seventy thousand of these destroyers to match the real-world army's tanks.

Finally, their mother ships are approximately similar to the F-35 in overall size; according to the Royal Australian Air Force, its dimensions are a wingspan of 10.7m, a height of 4.4m, and a length of 15.7m. If they design ships of similar size that are optimized for air combat rather than carrying other vehicles, they should be able to produce something roughly equivalent to them. Again, though, they'd need many more of them; according to Wikipedia's list of military equipment by nation again, they'd need twenty-five to thirty thousand of these vehicles to match the Air Forces of the Earth, rather than just one.

Of course, they'd also require logistical vehicles that can provide all of these vehicles with fuel, electricity, and ammunition, as well as other logistical vehicles that can carry these supplies. Their diminutive size means that they'd likely require less food and water than humans would on an absolute scale, though the scaling of metabolisms due to the inverse square law means that they'd need to spend more time eating because they'd lose more body heat to the air around them. This would likely be most efficient if these vehicles were many times the size of the motherships posited in the original post, similar to the real-life logistical vehicles used by modern Earth nations.

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Yes! They crawl through the airvents of wherever all of America's nukes are located, set them off, and make earth uninhabitable. The ultimate kamikaze.

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Reality check:

A race that size wouldn't make it past the Nuclear Era, let alone space travel.

Nuclear Fission requires a chain reaction, that reaction requires a minimum amount of mass in order to create the cascade we're looking for.

Assuming the fundamental laws for this race still apply some other issues:

  • Our electronics at modern day already work on the Nanometer scale. At 7 nanometers we're already having significant issues with scaling, the electricity required to perform an operation on a computer is so powerful that it begins to jump between parts of the hardware. We jumped from 9 to 7 nanometers and that process took us years and this is an exponential difficulty curve. You're asking for this race to scale it down by a factor of 100. Anything less and their electronics would be relatively bigger than ours. If their electronics are bigger than ours, they cant have a ship smaller than ours.

  • For this race to evolve at the size they are, they would need an exponentially smaller home planet, which means a lot less resources to build with (they are using a bigger percentage of their resources to do everything)

  • If by some miracle, they developed on an earth sized planet, they would be one of the smallest species on it, because everything else would likely develop into earth sized proportions. And then it doesn't matter how smart your race is, any thing bigger than a housecat would have no trouble killing your race.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know, the life on their planet could have simply evolved in that direction for other reasons. They could have had a homeworld with exponentially bigger relative landmasses and vastly more relative resources. Imagine Earth where, after the "colonial" period, there was still everything past the large island their species evolved on. They were surprised at big aliens. How many assumptions do we make about what "must" be the case, because that is how it is on Earth? $\endgroup$ – DWKraus Aug 21 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ Even if they made it past the colonial period, you still have the issue of nuclear fission. Their first nuclear test would have wiped out their planet, since the nuclear explosion is the same size as it would be on Earth $\endgroup$ – Ben Bowen Aug 21 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ Their technology may not have gone in that direction. The sheer amount of fissile material you'd need for this means they would have likely taken engineering in a different direction. Their (exponentially larger number of?) theoretical physicists could deduce all the science eventually, an likely skipped atom bombs. It's a difference of opinion. $\endgroup$ – DWKraus Aug 21 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ They also wouldn't have been able to use combustion for very long, because the pollution would have been exponentially more significant on an exponentially smaller planet. Solar is a no go too, not enough rare metals to cover enough of their surface to provide consistent power. Tidal forces are weaker in a lower gravity, so that eliminates that. Geothermal would be harder since they have a colder core due to being smaller. Wind is weaker as tides are weaker. I can go on... $\endgroup$ – Ben Bowen Aug 21 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ I'm assuming a same-size planet, with resources not identical, but equivalent to Earth. We don't know the starting conditions, so they could have a small planet filled with heavy metals, Imagine any kind of world you want - one with twice the density, for example, and "rare" metals everywhere. You could even have higher gravity - the square cubed law favors your tiny guys. Their world could be ten times bigger than Earth, and maybe big planets make small beings. They size more like ants. Just saying humans tend to make assumptions of what is possible based on our own limited experience. $\endgroup$ – DWKraus Aug 21 at 13:05

Depends in how big a hurry they are. If they can wait few decades, they could simply tako no risk approach and wait it out until we make Earth uninhabitable for us, and then move in.

If they need it faster, they can use their small size as advantage to sabotage a few of our nuclear reactors - much easier than having to produce and carry nuclear weapons over here. And if enough go down in short time, energy shortage would induce technological collapse even worse than nuclear fallout effects.

Or they could hack in (or just bribe/nudge a disgruntled social network employee) and post as president of one of world superpowers that COVID-19 is just a light flu and that we have it under control, and there is no need to take any actions.

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  • $\begingroup$ would the downvoter care to explain what is s/he finding wrong? $\endgroup$ – Matija Nalis Aug 24 at 21:15

I'd say an FTL capable civilization would progress militarily in a manor close to us. I mean sure we can argue but I don't think any human can truly write an alien, like 100% alien, culture so we will just advance what I think we would do if we got almost unlimited tech.

Intelligent life is all about surpassing manual labor. And so is warfare. So their size matters little.

And you have to understand that limitations on our own mechanical contraptions is imposed because either we don't have the tech or we have to put humans in their.

I mean we have stuff like Battleship cannons who are very powerful but have to be mounted to a battleship. But imagine if we can scale down the size, and all other negative stuff, but retain the exact firepower. Would we have soldiers running around with hand held weapons that can destroy a block at 20 kilos? Only if the military can afford it.

So another limitation. The dreaded budget. Here I highly recommend terrible writing advice.

For example the perfect tanks?

A hoovering monstrosity the size of a building, why not a 100 meters, with plasma, or better, cannons and sophisticated AI, or something similar, that is also equipped with void shields and a meter thick armor. Add a lot of anti air guns. A bunch of super advanced drones for reconnaissance and urban combat. Then connect units of 3, or more whatever, of them into a network to control the local battlefield. Lastly add teleportation technology so you can simply use your teleportation network to achieve firepower superiority whenever is needed. But it's too big, it's too expensive, it's too overkill. Nah. We have the resources of the known universe, nothing is too big and there is no kill like overkill.

This type of warfare is starting to sound futuristic. Not humans with laser guns or whatever.

In fact the removal of the human, or alien, element is the ultimate goal here.

So if your aliens posse such technology the entire fleet can be commanded from a single ship with the AI, on whatever level, controls thousand of such terrifying machines.

In fact introduce titan like, titans from Warhammer 40K for extra cheese, command units which is basically a super advanced AI with the entire military history and theory of the entire aliens race in their memory.

It also functions as a mobile fortress of absolute insane power.

Seriously read the wiki.

Anyway this is beginning to touch on ground warfare.

But you might ask. Wait a minute. Why would the do that to begin with? Well because they have a comparable history and since we established FTL travel then, I'm guessing since your world might only include 2 intelligent races, it stand to reason that there are other races and many many planets with even races that are giants.

So with that in mind, again comparable history and other races, it only makes sense for them to make their military in such a manner where either the size is small but a 2 meter tanks can destroy a whole country, or they push their sizes and their tanks are a 1000 meter tanks that also can destroy a country.

Point is go small or go big. Firepower is present in dangerous amounts.

But if you have FTL travel unlocked can't you accelerate a bunch of metal shards to something like I don't know 80000 the speed of light and throw that at a planet?

Huge plasma cannons. Asteroids.

Honestly the book of crazy science fiction, or fantasy, weapon can include insane stuff.

Black hole making ships. Super heating or super cooling the entire planet.

Heck. Our own little race posses enough nuclear bombs to destroy us.

And all that without getting into stuff like chemical or biological weapons. Nor are we talking about super viruses for the lulz.

Honestly if we let our imagination run wild we can destroy the universe faster than you can say what.

So my answer is that they can win.

Of course they can lose.

Imagine stargate like technology but on a larger scale. That race found a floating stargate on their moon on in their orbit. They constructed something similar to our current spaceships and upon entering they are simply teleported into another location. Whatever that tech is. Like is it a network you can navigate or a fixed type traveling.

Anyway once they arrive they are no better equipped than our current spaceships.

Obviously you can move up and down that scale. From can split the planet in half or have to relay on windows vista for FTL travel.

So honestly think what you want to do with the story and work from there. And more context on the aliens is also welcome.

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