The TAV-6

TAV-9

The Gnobo planetary forces come with a fearsome reputation. Recruits are trained for months in the mountain ranges that criss-cross their home planet; they are at home fighting on unwelcoming terrain. They are moulded into proud warriors who rarely give up or give in. The TAV-6 (Tracked Armoured Vehicle) exemplifies this fighting style and spirit.

The vehicle’s torque, power and adaptability stem from its four independent drive tracks. These allow the TAV to traverse a wide variety of weather and ground unimpeded. What it lacks in high straight-line speed it more than makes up for with its ability to manoeuvre at pace.

The armour is thick and cleverly constructed; only the most advanced armour-piercing shells can penetrate in one shot. Like most tracked vehicles, however, it remains vulnerable on its underside to mines and other explosives.

The TAV is armed with the same fragmentation cannons as the S-91 Gun Skiff, meaning it can deliver significant damage on a variety of targets. The high-calibre guns are least accurate when targeting infantry, leading tank crews to request troops to ‘close escort’ the TAV. This usually involves four troops sat atop of the armoured shell to protect against enemy infantry. This is considered a plum assignment, as it means the escorting troops are saved many miles of marching across unfavourable terrain.

The first iteration (TAV-1) was deployed during the Gnobo invasion of Illayko territory, where its rugged reliability and thick armour gave the invaders an edge. A large number were destroyed from orbit during the Battle of Ompolor VII, the remainder were airlifted out ahead of the Illayko counter-attack.

TAV-9

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Timeline

Before Faster-Than-Light Travel

Humans colonise the Solar System; the best territory goes to the US and the British.

The mysterious Agency is created by persons unknown. Its existence is kept a secret from all but a select few.

The Far Planet Revolution occurs, with colonies around Jupiter and Saturn rising up against corporate masters after the ‘far planets’ are neglected in favour of research into Faster-Than-Light travel. The revolution is cruelly and violently put down. Several ‘corporate security’ firms are formed just for this purpose.

The Gnobo League launch a lightning offensive against the Illayko but they are defeated at The Battle of Ompolor VII.

The first Trinax people land on the Hirudin home planet and are ensnared under their mind control.

The First Age of Human Expansion

Various human factions of Sol discover Faster-Than-Light travel and begin to travel and expand beyond the Solar System

Human explorers meet the Oroso, Vonn and Trinax and establish cautiously cordial diplomatic relations.

The Wun’Tux wage war on and almost wipe out the Illayko.

The Second Age

Project Atlas is comissioned

After various unsubstantiated stories from colonists, the American colony at Freya goes ‘dark’. The US military find it is the work of the Wun’Tux and shroud the entire incident in a press blackout to prevent panic.

The colonies closest to Sol become developed and populated enough to become known at the Core. So-called ‘megacorporations’ expand their reach to these new worlds.

Following heightening tensions, the Pan-Eurasian War begins, encompassing human colonies in the Core and further afield.

The humans encounter Gnobo and the remnant of the IIlayko, forming an uneasy peace with each species.

In response to the massacre at Freya, human governments shift their colonisation priorities from rapid expansion to caution; only colonies considered defensible are short-listed.

The USEF base at Highpoint is established.

The Project Atlas base is destroyed; research carries on elsewhere.

The Third Age

The Toronto Treaty is signed, marking the end of the Pan-Eurasian War

Professor Yacof takes over Project Atlas.

The Union-Oroso Conflict breaks out. A month later, following the Battle of New Riga, both sides sign an armistice.

Yacof defects to parts unknown with his Project Atlas research and recruits

Human strike back against the Wun’Tux, including the destruction of the Dronta slave market.

The Fourth Age

The ‘Fall’ of The Agency; several high profile assets flee to the the safety of the Rim

First deployment of mature American Atlas ‘super soldiers’

The Planewalker

WunTux Planewalker

With their razor-sharp claws and alarming alacrity, the Wun’Tux are formidable enough opponents without augmentation. Their armoured Planewalkers only serve to make them more ferocious and intimidating.

The Planewalkers look ungainly and awkward at first glance. Their odd angles and forward tilt give the impression the machine might tumble forward at any moment. But the Wun’Tux engineers are far from careless; the poise is maintained by a unique system of gyroscope-like devices, the centre of gravity so easily manipulated as to give the Planewalker a shocking straight-line speed.

The ‘walkers are typically used to defend valuable locations (e.g. durillium mines) and to assault hardened enemy targets; the Wun’Tux are aware of the terror the sight of one can spark, however, and are not shy in using them to keep unruly slaves in line. BroodClans are not shy of using the armour against other Wun’Tux, either; the ‘walkers often feature in the frequent bouts of Wun’Tux infighting.

Planewalkers are usually piloted by the second-born of a brood; it is a position of respect and relative protection compared to third-born and below who tend to be deployed as foot soldiers. These walker pilots are talented but prone to arrogance and overestimation of their skills.

Their ‘Shredder’ cannons inflict devastating damage on organic and lightly armoured targets, especially at short range. Their thick armour enables them to survive sustained exposure on the front lines. Their main vulnerability is from the air, although airborne attackers have their best chance of hitting a Planewalker if it is standing still; they are difficult targets when moving at full speed. The USEF purposefully struck at defending walkers from orbit in preparation for the battle at Dronta VIII.

The ‘Voidrunners’ (a group of ex-slaves involved in a guerilla war against the reptiles) have a way of disabling the gyro-stabilisers with a well-placed Improvised Explosive Device. This causes the ‘walker to malfunction, lose balance and often come crashing to the ground. This method, to the relief of Wun’Tux everywhere, not widely known.

It is against Planewalkers that the Blackmane X-MM made its name; within the tight confines or an urban sprawl, the human mechs were able to evade the Wun’Tux’s shredder cannons and close in for the kill. This remains one of the rare occasions on which Planewalkers were bested by another mech.

Omicron Persei

new dresden

Omicron Persei is a five planet star system on the border between human and Oroso space. First settled by European Union colonists at the close of the Second Age, the system’s main planet (christened New Dresden) boasted little in the way of minerals but a favourable climate for human habitation. New Dresden’s two moons were found to be rich in certain ‘rare earth’ metals and so the post-War European Union prioritised the colony for development.

It became the site of one of the most significant Union losses against the Oroso in their brief conflict. Sensor reports and intelligence briefings predicted a large Oroso Naval Combine (ONC) heading to initiate a counter-strike against the valuable Union world. Admirals panicked and dispatched a force of French heavy destroyers to defend the colony, but these ships were unable to carry fightercraft and relied upon the handful of squadrons available at New Dresden. The destroyers were routed by superior Oroso fightercraft and tactics, handing victory in The Battle of New Dresden to the attackers. The ONC inflicted significant damage on the moon mining operations before being forced to retreat by the second wave of EUN reinforcements.

It was a defeat for Union tactics as well as morale. However, the loss of both naval and mining equipment lent credence to the military voices calling for new equipment to be rushed to the front. In a sense, the loss at New Dresden led to the rapid deployment of modern military assets to the Rim and the subsequent tactical victory at the Battle of New Riga. A loss at New Riga would have left the Union string of colonies wide open to attack; New Dresden is seen by most within the European military as a blessing in disguise.

The Komondor-class Destroyer

 

The Komondor-class Destroyer was one of the many military projects spawned to take advantage of the hike in European Union defence budgets following the disastrous Pan-Eurasian War. The ageing Bulk Cruiser required a modern, effective replacement. Sequential Defence Innovations (SDI) threw their hat in the ring in the form of the Komondor.

The ship was presented as an ‘armoured destroyer’ and featured impressive defensive equipment, including overlapping armour plate and reinforced shields. It packed an array of conventional weaponry and modern command and control systems to boot.

SDI, however, overspent on their budget and overran the fiscal controls placed on design briefs by the European Union. This made the ship very expensive a prospect; cost was the significant factor in the Union’s decision not to choose the ship as their first choice. Testing footage, ship specifications and other information had been leaked during the procurement process, though, and SDI found buyers through less official channels. The Gnobo are known to have bought at least one; the European Union found this out the hard way in a rather eye-opening border skirmish.

SDI had fabricated and planted enough evidence of industrial espionage by Gnobo spies to escape punishment. A total of 20 were produced, mostly ending up in the hands of various Gnobo brigades, although – ironically – three found their way into the hands of the Free Brigades, an offshoot Union mercenary group.

The ship excels in defence; it is ideally suited to holding the line against all but the largest capital ships. The layering of its armour plate and clever construction of bulkheads means it can keep on fighting even when under sustained fire. It packs adequate anti-fighter weaponry to hold off small-scale raids and attacks without fighter cover of its own.

The ship’s flaws are revealed when its ability to attack are tested. It is one of the slowest modern capital ships; highly mobile opponents can flank, harass and otherwise escape its range too easily. This inflexibility is one reason the European Union opted for different designs, like the Bremen-class Corvette, instead.

The Yaguchi-class Siege Cruiser

Yaguchi-class Siege Cruiser

The Yaguchi-class Siege Cruiser is the top-of-the-line warship of the Asian Coalition, packed with modern technologies and deadly firepower.

The Coalition Navy was ill-prepared for the Pan-Eurasian War; it comprised vessels more suited to customs and excise duties than warfare. This meant the Coalition spent the majority of the conflict fighting their Union adversaries with hit and run tactics and were forced to avoid protracted engagements. Several Coalition locations were kept under unbreakable siege, leading to starvation and misery for thousands of their soldiers and civilians.

Much like the EUN, the Coalition Navy embarked upon an ambitious programme of reform and modernisation following the War. The Yaguchi is the pinnacle of that development, a ship built as a symbol as to how the Coalition would never again suffer such tactics of siege and blockade.

The Starscorn.

The ship is well-armed for ship-to-ship warfare, featuring an array of turreted weaponry able to damage shields and armour alike. The cornerstone of its armament is the Starscorn Siege Cannon, mounted on the lower aspect of the prow. This mammoth weapon is able to fire metal alloy slugs at astounding speeds over huge distances. This gives the Yaguchi the ability to prey on an enemy blockade without straying into their firing range.

Although highly capable and well armoured against opposing capital ships, the Yaguchi is tempting target for formations of bomb-armed fightercraft and should be closely guarded against them. It is slow to accelerate and manouvre, meaning its main cannon can be easily avoided by a mobile force of opponents.

Yaguchi-class Siege Cruiser

Length: 404m
Crew: 200, including marines
Role: Siege, ship-to-ship, battleship escort.
Armament:
2 x Dual STS Cannons
2 x Armour-Piercing Plasma Cannons
2 x ‘Longshot’ Frag Cannons.
2 x AA-Ion turrets
1 x ‘Starscorn’ Siege Cannon
Shields/Armour: Medium/Medium

The European Union Navy

The European Union Navy (EUN) is the united space-faring military of the old Earth European states. Along with the Asian Coalition, the Union were the poorer cousins to the more advanced British Commonwealth and United States, a trend which followed with their military forces.

In the belated rush for prime interstellar real estate, the EUN came into limited and then all out conflict with the Asian Coalition, cumulating in the Pan-Eurasian War. This conflict pitted the slower, heavily armoured EUN ships against the more numerous and agile Coalition forces. Both were outmatched by the modern mercenary forces employed near the end of the war and since the subsequent armistice the Union has been eager to develop up-to-date vessels of its own.

The EUN saw extensive action in the short Union-Oroso Conflict; it suffered several high profile losses until reinforcement from the Core in the form of up-to-date ships. This influx of vessels allowed the EUN to stem the tide of Oroso counterstrikes and led to the speedy armistice thereafter.

The Navy itself consists of a wide variety of people of different nationalities and cultures. Most individual vessel crews come from the same country; inter-ship rivalry is a common headache for Union Admirals.

EUN Ship Classes

The following ship designs are still in service but prioritised for replacement by modern designs:
The Cassard-class Heavy Destroyer
The Union Bulk Cruiser

The subsequent ship designs were commissioned post-War:
The Baionetta-class Signal Ship
The Bremen-class Corvette
The Caracal-class Strike Fighter

The Ermina System

ermina

The Ermina System is a five world environment centred around a young Red Dwarf star. It’s third and only habitable world is host to a colony from the Asian Coalition, one of the largest human factions. The colony ships were initially dispatched before the Pan-Eurasian War, but given the time taken to travel to the system the colony only got started during the bloody conflict.

Much like Trillyth III, the Ermina colony was much too far from the conflict to be of any use to either side and so was left alone. Unlike it’s Union counterpart, however, the prairie-strewn landscape of Ermina III was host to a large populations of a native mammal-analogue, a primitive quadruped which the Coalition settlers found easy to domesticate. Janavara (the nickname given to the animals by the colonists) milk and meat from these animals helped the colony population survive it’s period effectively cut off from the main Coalition. So although the settlers ran low on advanced building materials, they avoided the starvation and poisoning risks of the less lucky colonists of Trylith III and expanded a lot more rapidly across the planet.

beast

Above: An adult Janavara

Following the War, Ermina III became home to the large Coalition populations who had been trapped behind various blockades. Families were given a tranch of undeveloped land and a small herd of Janavara of their own to breed; those who were found to be lazy or working against the common good were dealth with harshly. The ‘tough love’ approach, however, led to rapid growth of the colony to encompass more of the small world’s surface.

By the Fourth Age, humans borders had expanded far beyond the Ermina System. This placed the colony into the ‘Mid-Rim’ area; not as safe as the Core but nowhere near as lawless as the Rimward Territories proper, either. It became home to Coalition administration infrastructure and a small naval base, supplying the Coalition Mobile Defence Groups (MDGs) in their border patrols.

Pennyroyal-class Frigate

Pennyroyal-class Frigate

The Pennyroyal-class Frigate is the mainstay of the British Royal Navy, filling a variety of roles throughout the Commonwealth. It was designed as a anti-capital ship craft and is thus able to go toe-to-toe with foes other frigates might shirk from. This ability to punch above their weight is a point of great pride to the Pennyroyal crews throughout known space.

Pennyroyal-class Frigate

The ship features a forward-placed autocannon turret and a pair of double-barrelled mass driver cannons flanking the bridge – this weapon configuration is able to dish out respectable damage to a range of capital-scale threats at medium and short range. The ship is, however, more vulnerable to fightercraft than others of its size and has only two keel-mounted flak cannons to provide protection. When faced with large numbers of fighter-scale threats, a Pennyroyal without fighter escort of it’s own often has no choice but to retreat.

It has a high top speed, although lacks the breakneck acceleration of the pirates and scoundrels it often is tasked with tracking down. It is solid and sturdily built with sufficient armour and hull structure to survive prolonged engagements.

Pennyroyal-class Aft

Pennyroyals serve in Task Force Second Sword, predominantly against marauding Wun’tux BroodClans. In open combat, with the ability to manoeuvre in space and utilise it’s turret-based arsenal, the Pennyroyal is more than a match for a Clanship. If caught in the tight confines of an orbital situation or asteroid field, however, the Clanship’s forward-firing cannon can prove the deciding factor.

Manufacturer: Leyland Shipwrights, Mars.
Role: Ship-to-ship combat
Length: 68m
Crew: 41
Weaponry:
1 x Autocannon (double-barrelled, turreted)
2 x Mass Drivers (double-barrelled, turreted)
2 x Flak Cannons
Shields/Armour: Medium/Heavy
FTL: Capable

C-09 Starspear Anti-Orbital Cannon

The Starspear

The C-07 ‘Starspear’ is one of the most common anti-orbital (AO) defence systems available in human space and beyond, combining affordability with reliability to beat many competitors. It is also noteworthily one of the rare weapon systems built by AdversiTec, a corporation who generally deal in survival and exploration equipment. AO defence is key in the survival of new colonies, however, convincing AdversiTec to invest in the idea.

The C-07 is a large mass driver, capable of firing packets of metal alloy at high speed and accuracy at orbital targets. It sees service in defending colonies from a range of threats – anything from rogue asteroids to enemy ships. Ammunition can be fabricated on a as-and-when basis and made to be more solid, more likely to pierce armour or shatter on impact. Additionally, because the system is produced by AdversiTec is it rugged and reliable in all manner of climates and environments.

More advanced and more destructive systems are available and often used en-masse to protect military or highly populated civilian worlds, but a significant number of smaller worlds owe their continuing survival to the Starspear.