The Trinax

IMG_4557Widely known as the client race of the aquatic Hirudin, the Trinax are a mammalian humanoid species originating from the Galactic North.

They evolved from a prey species historically more smart than strong, more clever than courageous. This made them conflict adverse, even as they reached for the stars and ventured out into the galaxy.

Their cunning and charm made them excellent traders. And because they had no instincts to conquer or destroy, many of the sentient species of the galaxy were content to allow them access to their space.

They explored far and wide for new opportunities. It was this exploration that led them to the homeworld of the Hirudin. And, to a real extent, into their thrall.

The Hirudin used their evolved ability to control certain minds to enslave a small group of Trinax explorers. Like a virus, the Hirudin used this group to gather others, to enthral them as well.

This part of Trinax society became the servant race of the Hirudin. The fingers and feet and eyes and ears of the jellyfish-like creatures. The galaxy at large believes the diminutive humanoids are all agents of the Hirudin. In actuality, there is a duality. The majority of Trinax treat the individuals who have succumbed to mind control with pity at best and as a plague at worst.

The Trinax remain the most prevalent traders and dealers across the known galaxy. A select few even work within human megacorporations.

Hans Zimmerman

IMG_4544Hans Zimmerman was the human scientist who found himself in charge of Project Atlas. He cut his teeth working at the University of Hamburg, studying and then teaching within Eugenics and Biochemistry. It was his work in this field combined with his ravenous ambition that he was snapped up by the political masters of the clandestine American project designed to emulate the fantastical powers of the people deployed by the Agency.

His ambition, however, was to be his undoing. It was Zimmerman’s plan to abduct an Agency asset and test him, analyse him. This one act led to the bloody reprisal from the Agency that left Zimmerman and his entire staff dead, a clear and concise message.

Though his rash moves left Project Atlas struggling, it survived.

Tara Whittaker

TWDr. Whittaker, trained at Harvard University, was a genius of fusion reactions and energy. She was contracted by the Blackmane Megacorporation and placed into what amounted to protective custody. She lived for years on a luxury orbital spa and laboratory, periodically releasing new reactors or revolutionary upgrades.

She made Blackmane a monumental amount of money. Herself, too. Ambitious scientists were vulnerable to bribes, incentives and other dangled carrots, which is why they were kept under lock and key.

One day, Tara Whittaker’s orbital abode was attacked. It was a lightning raid, her security overwhelmed more quickly than even the worse case scenario theorised possible.

Rumour had it the Agency had deployed their superpowered assets to retrieve the Doctor. And although most ignored the idea: the rumour was true.

When Whittaker re-emerged in the employ of Page-Turner, it was clear the upstart company had engaged in the most foul of plays.

AdversiTec

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Advers-iTec (like Page-Turner) is a corporate entity with a play-on-words in the title. Most of the group’s products and services are around personal protection and armoured vehicles. They also offer bodyguards, exploration guides and escort to and from areas of risk.

SynTech

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SynTech is a human megacorporation operating out of a suite of orbiting stations around Jupiter. They specialise in technologies for individuals, from consumer electronics to personal shield devices.

Success in these markets has led the group, like most megacorporations, to branch out into different markets. So although people mostly know SynTech for the personal music player in their pocket or their kid’s VR Game Console at home, the group is expanding into new sectors.

There have been growing pains. Specifically, joining the elite group of megacorporations has exposed SynTech to the perils of corporate warfare. The executive team were shocked at the brutal tactics, more akin to organised crime than business, used by their new competitors.

Their first product release as a megacorporation was ruined. The prototype for H7-A, a sleek utility robot with the ability to anticipate new tasks, was stolen and bootlegged. Blackmane was accused but the Corporate Conduct Authority found insufficient evidence to press charges.

The SnyTech Edgerunner is a good example of one of their most recent successes; the design is in demand from both governments as well as circumspect individuals. This followed hot on the heels of the Featherspun, another ship promoted to the quasi-military market. SynTech saw the potential of drones early and produce one of the most effective combat models on the market.

The Hirudin

The Hirudin are an amorphous, aquatic race residing past Oroso and Wun’Tux space in the galactic west. They are most known for their ability to access and control the minds of certain sentient beings, a quality which leads them to be treated with fear and suspicion. Hirudin are unable to survive out of water, so travel off-world in a variety of mobile containment units.

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Above: Artist’s impression of a Hirudin containment unit

The Hirudin are regarded as symbiotic with the Trinax race, but this is something of a misnomer. Although the Hirudin rely on the Trinax to build and maintain their machines, the Trinax survive happily without their aquatic masters.

Thousands of years before the Fourth Age, the genetic great grandfathers of the Hirudin were akin to jellyfish, drifting around the giant seas of their homeworld. These ancestors evolved a defence mechanism: a telekinetic blast, able to inspire a primordial fear within animals threatening them. This freak of evolution transformed them from prey to survivor and over hundreds of years they rose to the top of the food chain. With the further evolution of intelligence, they found they could do more with this ability: inspire not just fear but obedience too.

Although the modern-day Hirudin could control minds, they were still isolated on their planet. Until one fateful day when the Trinax arrived. Relatively peaceful and unambitious traders, the Trinax race were hardly know for their quick wit and towering intellects. But as they explored one of the small archipelagos on the Hirudin homeworld, the landing team felt something tugging at their minds. Nagging. On that one day their futures were sealed.

The Hirudin mined the trading crew’s memories and databanks for information. Ordered them to leave and bring back more Trinax, more ships and technology. Over the next year, the Hirudin expanded their horizons and gathered more and more Trinax in their thrall. They built the first and most rudimentary of their containment units and travelled off world. As they explored the wider universe the Hirudin found their abilities were able to effect very few sentient species. The Trinax finding them first had been just dumb luck.

The Hirudin approached the galaxy with the intelligence and sense of superiority they had conquered their own world with. However, harsh lessons were to be learned quickly. Their Trinax client race was not built for war or conflict. Slow in thought and uncourageous, they would avoid or flee from fighting unless being directly controlled by a Hirudin individual. The masters, then, had to use their guile combined with the Trinax canny ability to trade to establish relationships, develop worlds and ideas.

Senior Hirudin travel the galaxy inside car-sized, multi-limbed robots they call their ‘containment units’. Although ostensibly peaceful, the units carry a variety of hidden weapons and defences. They also have the ability to ‘plug in’ to ships and vehicles. These Hirudin masters possess the mental alacrity to coordinate and command the majority of systems on-board even large starships and become a living bridge, delegating the menial tasks to their Trinax thralls.

In a military sense, the Hirudin have constructed ships of their own to enforce their will but also utilise Gnobo Mercenary Brigades when an occasion calls for more widespread firepower. This has led to conflict between Gnobo and human forces even though the two races are officially at peace.

Copperbill

“Your typical Widebrim is a stubborn son-of-a-bitch. If one comes after you in a Copperbill you better run – and fast. ‘cause that’s stubborn squared.” – Grank “Dispatch” Derrek, Blackmane Security.


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On the surface of things, the Copperbill is a relic. It was produced at the end of the First Age as a courier to ferry valued cargo between Sol and the nearby star systems. The thousand or so models ended up in private hands and saw extensive service due to their reliability and thick armour plate. This latter quality made them resilient in the face of those out to take advantage of humans making a new life for themselves in the new colonies.

Technology moved on. The fusion pellet injection engine core went out of fashion, replaced by cleaner and smarter systems. Ships became faster and more efficient. But Jeram Tsveri, a Widebrim scout and adventurer, refused to let his go. It is rumoured he spent a week alone in space dock, taking his beloved Lamplark apart and putting her back together again with the most basic of tools. Whether fact or fiction, Jeram was catapulted into the public eye following his dramatic rescue of British Prince Charlotte, during which his ship docked with her stricken liner and withstood pirate attack as he took the Princess and her entourage.

This episode propelled the Copperbill to pulp fiction hero status. Several well known Widebrims scoured scrapyards and salvage docks looking for their own. And the ship was reborn. Each improvement made by a different individual was shared within the group. And so far from being a relic, the Copperbill became a constantly evolving gestalt idea from some of the most inventive and dangerous men and women in the known galaxy.

The Widebrims use the ship as a shuttle, a transport, a gunship and a roving home. In combat is a jack-of-all-trades, only easily countered by massed formations of nimble starfighters. It utilises forward firing cannons and rear mounted mine/countermeasure launchers to dispatch opponents and stays in the fight thanks to it’s ablative armour plates.

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Modern ships of the same size and scale are easily crewed by one pilot and automated systems. The Widebrims’ legendary distrust of automation means each Copperbill needs a minimum of three crew to even get off the ground. Some consider this irrational, but the Widebrim results speak for themselves.

  • Manufacturer: Vanguard Star Systems
  • Length: 30m
  • Crew: 2 pilots, 1 engineer
  • Weaponry:
    • 4 x Pulse Cannons (forward firing)
    • 2 x Mine/Countermeasure Launchers (rear-mounted)
  • FTL: Capable, mid-distance.
  • Special: Ablative armour plates.

Linear Cannon

Since the dawn of space combat, human armament consisted of a mix of direct fire energy weapons and explosive warheads. As they reached out to explore the galaxy at large, these systems remained effective and serviceable. That is: until they met the Wun’Tux.

Wun’Tux durillium armour plating was capable of shrugging off energy weapon damage; this rendered such weaponry almost useless. Warheads were the only armament to have an effect and there are only so many warheads one ship can carry. This effectively left humans fighting with one hand tied behind their backs. Government R&D departments began to study the behaviour of this armour plate to try and find some solution. The American military saw fit to share the data with a slew of private military corporations.

Inspired by long barrelled anti-material rifles of old, the Blackmane engineers designed something in the mould of a rail gun. Tempered slugs of Tungsten alloy would be accelerated down a long barrel towards a target at incredible velocity. In theory, this slug could breach the thick armour plates and damage the ship beneath. Tests on derelict Wun’Tux Clanships demonstrated promising results.

Unfortunately, Blackmane’s prototype was so unwieldy it had to be mounted spinally; giving no ability to target independent of the ship’s direction. The inability to mount it on a turret was a huge disadvantage – Blackmane were close to throwing in the towel. It was sheer chance the project wasn’t terminated at this point. One of the Royal Naval Lieutenants on the review board recalled watching giant cranes building the orbiting defences at Europa.

These cranes used a special gyroscopic stabiliser to accurately position heavy liftarms; objects roughly the size of the prototype cannon. It took one call (along with a extortionate licensing fee) to hijack the patent on these cranes and integrate them.

And so the Linear Cannon was born.

The first working versions debuted at the close of the Second Age; Warships were hastily retrofitted and pressed back into service. These ships found the weapons astoundingly accurate as medium ranges. The armour penetration worked as advertised, giving the Americans an edge in the subsequent battles. Skilled gunners soon learnt the angles and weak spots to further exploit the cannon and within a matter of weeks Wun’Tux had become more wary to engage humans in pitched battles.

First contact with the war-like Wun’Tux was a rude awakening for human forces who had lived near enough peacefully for too long. More potent and advanced weapons were put into development and by the Third Age the Linear Cannon was less revolutionary and more ordinary, still respected for it’s accuracy and armour piercing abilities.

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Blackmane Corporation

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Several defence and energy companies banded together to exploit the myriad opportunities at the advent of human Faster-Than-Light travel under the banner of Blackmane. They became one of the big beasts of the arms industry. The group used their combined expertise in the construction and maintenance of American warships capable of FTL travel. Profiting from this growth industry rapidly catapulted them to so-called ‘megacorporation’ status.

They are also known for being the first corporation to be targeted by Page-Turner, who managed to degrade Blackmane with acts of espionage, sabotage and other dirty, corporate tricks. This led to a decline in their stocks, shareholder revolt and a near capitulation of their business which was only halted by their central role in the Linear Cannon Project.

This gave the corporation a much needed shot in the arm and they went onto produce a variety of fighting ships, from fightercraft to capital-scale. The impressive offensive capabilities mean Blackmane ships are favoured by pirates and other malcontents, though the company (of course) denies marketing their products in this way.

The Page-Turner Corporation

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The Page-Turner Corporation came into existence at the end of the Second Age. It joined the hierarchy of the massive – so-called ‘Mega’ – corporations dealing everything from coffee shops to fusion reactors.

A mere minnow at it’s inception, Page-Turner was small enough to out-manoeuvre and out-react it’s rivals. It’s first coup came in the shape of Dr. Tara Whittaker and her staff, the leading experts in fusion reactions. She spent several years at Blackmane, developing profitable upgrades to reactor design. Following a number of high profile corporate defections during the First Age, the majority of talented scientists under private contract were kept under lock and key. Dr. Whittaker was no exception, residing in a luxury orbital lab and living complex around Venus. Protected by mercenary warships and soldiers, the lab was deemed impenetrable. Then one day the silent alarm was tripped.

Blackmane security arrived to find chaos and confusion. When they eventually contacted the captain of the mercenary guard, news was grim. Whittaker was missing. And the mercenary captain, a man fat from years of corporate security work, pointed the finger of blame in one direction. The Agency.

The Agency had long been a bogeyman used by superstitious mercenaries, soldiers and bandits. Blamed for misfortune, for the battles lost that should have been won. Blackmane’s first impulse was to ignore the man’s story. But the more they looked into the incident, the more they become convinced a regular group of people couldn’t have unknit their security to adroitly.

The Blackmane investigation was halted by the assistant to the corporation’s CEO who, off the record, confirmed the existence of the Agency (a little known fact) and it’s involvement. The assistant made it clear the corporation was cutting it’s losses on Whittaker. Within weeks she came into the employ of Page-Turner.

And this became the business model of Page-Turner. The use of the Agency to kidnap scientists who could essentially give the corporation a commanding market share in a brand new speciality. The main mystery was how Page-Turner attained initial and on-going funding to secure the expensive expertise of the Agency.

Blackmane attempted to re-acquire Whittaker months later. The mission was brief, bloody and unsuccessful, the few mercenary survivors were convinced someone had leaked their attack plan. Page-Turner Security had predicted their every move with a spooky prescience.