Proxy? You Misspelled Patsy! Part 1
Mechane, Atomo and Spatia had a delightful little trade union going. Things improved with time. Spatia's ships improved their drives and began reaching other forgotten though populated worlds. However, when were people ever content for long?
Nottusa, the most populous, some would say advanced ,nation on Mechane was a republic. It had a well developed and politically active set of corporations, made even richer and more active by the affluence afforded by trade with Spatia. Eventually Nottusa saw a change in leadership. The new regime decided the trade agreements with Spatia were not in their best interest and they demanded a bigger cut of everything, raising the price of goods. This didn't sit well with the Spatians who soon found their trade ships boarded and further harassed by Mechane vessels built on Spatia.
It was a small ship Universe (the people living in it just called it the Universe.) Invasion options were limited. Mechane had a huge population, was already cranking out armored vehicles and could easily use them in a war. Spatian forces could nuke the planet from orbit but they wanted to continue trade after teaching Nottusa a lesson.
South of Nottusa was Sottusa, another republic, smaller but still a big deal. Nottuasan politics had alternately claimed and demonized. With the increasing affluence Nottusa stepped up its bullying and saber rattling. Spatia, after fruitless negotiations failed went directly to Sottusa and made them their trading partner, converting their largest airport into a spaceport.
Seeing the Spatian perfidy, the Nottusan leader denounced them, canceled all trade deals and mobilized the armed forces against Sottusa treachery. Their war machine (with tanks that should have gotten sold off world) aimed itself at Sottusa.
This being exactly what Spatia wanted. the Spatians began arming Sottusa -to protect their citizens and ground assets. They couldn't match the numbers of Nottusa armor. They could crank out very effective anti-tank weapons. After all it was rocket technology and they had a well developed space industry. Sottusan troops also began carrying advanced weaponry much better than the trade lasers sold to Nottusa. Spatian ships also began spying from orbit until Nottusa declared its airspace extended out to 50,000 kilometers. Spying continued.
When the Nottusans finally invaded, Spatian officials did their happy dance. If the Nottusan invasion succeeded, Nottusa would have a very belligerent country to garrison. This would cost money and possibly lead to a rebellion or coup at home.
If the invasion failed in the face of better technology and local spirit, Nottusa's regime would lose prestige, still have a big bill to pay, and face unfavorable elections back home.
The most favorable outcome would be a quick win for Nottusa and the installation of a stable, friendly government. Fat chance of that.
What Spatia neglected to consider was Atomo's reaction to all this.