The Far Planets Revolution was put down with brutal efficiency; any rebellious workers left alive were forced to finish their assigned construction projects and then were moved on. A large amount of these workers were from a slew of African countries – they had only pursued jobs at the edge of the Sol System to escape the crumbling infrastructure of their birth countries on Earth. By the end of the developments on the moons of Juipter and Saturn, the Second Age of humanity was in full swing and the Veritas leak had occured. A group of two hundred odd African hydroponics workers stole an old transport scow due to be scrapped and set course for the Pyramide System; it’s fourth planet in particular.
The group picked Pyramide IV due to its climate; humid and wet. They were desperate to live free somewhere, out from under the yoke of corporations or government. Although not the most comfortable climate, they knew they could use their hydroponic engineering knowledge in order to grow a significant range of food to support themselves.
The Earth-based seeds the colonists brought along struggled to grow in the alien soil; the group turned to native vegetables instead. Although there were a small, sad number of allergic reactions to the indigenous ‘raow’ tubers, they proved edible, nourishing and favourable to hydroponic farming. Thanks to the growth of raow – amongst other – plants, the settlers were able to sustain themselves by the end of the Second Age. The colony was established enough to give itself a name; New Bambara.
Once self-sustaining, the two hundred colonists brought families along and the population blossomed to a thousand or so. Independent merchants were quick to seize upon the new opportunities provided by the world – they arrived to sell basic building materials and prefabricated buildings for the new arrivals in exchange for the exotic foodstuffs from their hydroponic farms. These farms form the core of New Bambara; jungle has been cleared to accommodate both the farms and population housing but the continent is still heavily rain-forested and often victim to extreme monsoon seasons.
New Bambara eschewed hiring mercenaries for protection; many of its founding members had been abused and ill-treated by corporate armies during the Far Planet Revolution. Instead they formed their own militia to dissuade pirates and raiders. They are fortunately far enough away from Wun’Tux space to become a viable target – especially since the creation of EWO Outposts -though traders heading to and from New Bambara have suffered the occasional Hirudin Blackfin attack.
The ISS Jezebel is officially an independent trading ship. In reality she is one of the primo blockade runners throughout the Rimward territories. Her oversized engines combine with the Devil-may-care attitude to form an effective (if blunt) tool.
The ship is crewed by a mix of humans and Curoto. The latter are more naturally at home amongst the cramped spaces inside the ship; the human part of the crew are happy to take on the heavy lifting whilst the Curoto crawl around ventilation ducts.
She is noteworthy for having ran blockades previously deemed insurmountable; most famously against the European Union during the Pan-Eurasian War. This underdog spirit has led to a Robin Hood type mystique about the ship but the reality is much more plain – the Coalition paid more money.
The trick to her effectiveness lies not only in her oversized engines; her captain and crew revel in recklessness and ignore all recognised advice by exiting FTL jumps at full throttle. This manoeuvre can cause massive internal damage to a ship and yet gives a ‘running start’ to any blockade evasion and is incredibly difficult to predict.
Certain corporations have accused the Dawn Chorus’ manufacturers of sanctioning piracy. The ‘Brig’-class of ship is somewhere between a freighter and a warship, leading to rampant popularity with pirates and other malcontents.
The triple-drive array is solid and hard working, the armour thick and durable. Like modern warships, the Dawn Chorus has weapons on the top and bottom of it’s hull. The main armament is a single-barrel plasma cannon with built-in targeting pulse, whilst the bottom of the vessel fields photon turrets. The keel and dorsal surfaces are also covered with fast-tracking flak turrets, giving not insignificant protection from fighters.
The Dawn Chorus is used legitimately by small corporations and independent traders on the Outer Rim, to get cargo from A-to-B without needing an expensive escort. It is used less legitimately by any pirates and raiders with enough cash to buy and maintain one. Unfortunately for said pirate captains, the ship needs a lot of loot to keep running. Bounties on Dawn Chorus captains ride high and are collected quickly, by other pirates or bounty hunters both.
Manufacturer: Dutch Defence Vehicle Systems
Role: Armed Merchantmen/Pirate
– 1 x Plasma Cannon [with targetting pulse generator]
– 2 x Photon Cannon [turreted]
– 3 x Flak Turrets [dorsal and keel]
The Black Moon Union enforces its will through intimidation, threat and fear. The capable assassins of the Crescent Corps killers are one of the many tools they use to do so. They are able to infiltrate heavily guarded locations and abduct or eliminate high value targets at the behest of their masters. Few rivals and rebels against the Union live to tell stories of the Crescents and their grizzly work.
They are highly trained; lithe, acrobatic and strong. Their armour is flexible enough to allow them to climb and vault varied architecture and their most iconic feature (the facemask ventilator) means they can survive hostile atmospheres and even short periods in vacuum. Rumour even indicates the Crescents flood target areas with poison gas before starting their hits, sowing fear and confusion before they move.
Their only weapon is a cruel, sickle-like blade. It is sharpened to the nanometre, capable of cutting through a wide range of materials with ease. The ‘corps use these blades not only for killing but climbing and sabotage to boot.
The few shadowy individuals working in the Crescent Corps are more myth than man; their deeds and feats have led to rumours they are something more than human, even graduates from a post-Project Atlas experiment, created by the exiled Professor Yacof. These rumours remain unconfirmed.
The Half Nova is a combat dropship utilised by The Long Draw Mercenary Company. It is named after the most risky bluff in a Gurdergen game of chance. The Half Nova is a strategy involves convincing one’s opponent that your hidden tokens match the visible tokens at the centre of the table to make a ‘Full’ Nova – when they do no such thing. A very high stakes Half Nova hand won the ship’s captain, Yllo, requisite funds to buy the ship and he named it in the hand’s hounor.
Yllo is a rare type of Gurdergen; a proverbial ‘adrenaline junkie’ (though his race lack the ability to produce the substance), he thrives on adventure over commerce. This risk-happy behaviour first presented in his gambling which went on to finance his education as a pilot and finally his pride and joy: The Half Nova.
The ship is base to mercenaries of diverse origins; humans, Gnobo and Illayko. Yllo is known to take his ship into very hazardous conditions and his band of mercenaries are paid well for the danger they face, meaning the Long Draw attracts high quality and highly unstable individuals.
The ship isn’t heavily armed; its main weapon the combination of speed and the reckless endeavour of its Captain. Its straight line speed is unrivalled by all but the fastest fightercraft and its suite of ECM and other countermeasures can ward off quick-moving agressors. It also features armoured airlocks for quick and safe infantry deployment and extraction.
The Half Nova has its own landing pad on the Seven-Seven Gambling Rig on the Gurdergen homeworld; when not on mission the crew can usually be found there, spending their (very) hard earned currency.
The Sharp Suits are a division of the Tailored Saint mercenary group. Their moniker is a play on words based around their specialisation (or obsession) with edged and razor sharp weapons.
They are far from simple knife thugs, however. The ‘Suits are just as high-tech as their colleagues within the Tailored Saints; their weapons are always crafted out of difficult or impossible to detect materials and are stored stealthily about their person. Their ability to be covert makes them very much in demand; targets often don’t realise anything is amiss until it’s too late. The Sharp Suits’ ability to blend into a crowd belies their combat abilities; they are exceptionally dangerous in close quarters. The Sharp Suits train more than the rest of the Tailored Angels; some of whom rely too much on the enhancing abilities of their undersuits. Not so the Sharp Suits, who are physically strong and lithe and quick before technology.
They are expertly trained in hand-to-hand fighting and the use of throwing weapons and their environment to gain an adventage; they often utilise a mix of freeclimbing and parkour to gain an advantage. Their alacrity combined with their armoured undersuits means they can survive damage that might kill a regular operative; it is common for an assailant to think they have killed a Sharp Suit only to recieve a deadly surprise of their own.
The Scientia Sinistral are a group of scientists famous for their taste for risk and dangerous expeditions. The group originated out of Ravensmere; it’s core members were the geologists who first discovered the geothermic nature of the planet’s underground and the free heat and power it could be used for. This school of geology had always been more gung-ho than it’s peers and in the case of the subterranean successes on Alpha Centauri IV they had been both rewarded and vindicated.
The fees and reimbursements from the geothermic advancements on AC IV gave the small group sufficient capital to invest in equipment to take them off world and investigate similar phenomenon. And whilst to begin with the pursuit of knowledge was enough, eventually the bills to pay became unavoidable.
Scientia Sinistral (or SciSin) then branched out, becoming self-styled Scientists-for-Hire. Although at pains to remain free from bias, the group made themselves available to any interested party with a need for science but not formal department within their ranks. The new workstreams they discovered ranged from geological surveys to work as expert witnesses. This paid work goes to fund their more cutting-edge and dangerous endeavours.
The Independent Mining Guild (IMG) is a loose alliance of individuals and groups involved in the detection and extraction of minerals. The Guild works cooperatively for protection and profit of it’s members and eschews the corporate structure and shareholder interest of the large mining companies. Though human in origin, the group accepts all comers and has a large number of Trinax members.
The Guild is invite-only and close-knit. To be accepted into the organisation, a miner or mining group needs to share the location of something valuable and show willingness to cooperate. Anyone working selfishly finds themselves expelled immediately.
The Guild Militia is the paramilitary arm of the IMG; an equally loosely organised defence force made up of miners with experience of combat and conflict. They are deployed in protection of digs and extractions in the more risky areas of the galaxy and utilise a mixture of older ships and equipment. The militia gain experience quickly; they can find themselves up against human mercenaries hired by corporations trying to jump their claim to Wun’Tux scouting parties eager to locate more supplies of durillium. Casualties are not uncommon, but those militia members who survive pick up experience quickly.
The Guild is particularly well known for it’s discovery of the Taron System and it’s accompanying mineral deposits. They were the first to arrive and worked exclusively until they were famously sold out by a bunch of rogue traders tempted by the corporate dollar. Ever since, the system has been worked on my the Guild on one side and Blackmane on the other. Pirates and bandits moved in to prey on both; the Guild Militia has a now permanant presence within Taron.
Corporations from the human Core Worlds class the Guild as illegal, on par with squatters. Lawmakers, however, have limited influence in the far reaches of the the Rimward Territories and the Guild is well aware of this. Only occasionally does this animosity break into actual conflict, with corporate security clashing with the IMG Militia.
The Shadowspines are a Gnobo mercenary brigade infamous for their long standing cooperation with the Hirudin Sphere. They are kept on an informal retainer; the crux of the arrangement being their obligation to drop any job at the behest of the aquatic overlords.
This means the ‘Spines clash frequently with enemies of the Hirudin; including humans. Skirmishes around European Union colony worlds are not rare; the reasons and rationale behind the Hirudin assaults lost on both the humans and Gnobo. The conflict has led to obvious poor relations between the races. Negative stereotypes about the entire Gnobo race are unfortunately predicated on the actions of this one brigade.
The Shadowspines are famous for their use of armoured troops – on ground as well as in space. Their most recognisable ship is the Konnspur, a troop transport able to push through enemy resistance and deploy infantry in hostile areas whether on planet or in deep space. These Gnobo warriors are rightfully feared for their commitment and ferocity in battle.
The Black Belle is one of the more famous mercenary ships of the Rimward Territories. She was originally laid down at a tug and pilot ship to assist large transports into star dock but has undergone extensive modifications. She is now a de facto strike fighter, a reasonably agile ship able to traverse FTL travel independently.
This de facto status places the ‘Belle and her crew in high demand. With a maximum occupany of five, the female crew of the ‘Belle live in close quarters whenever on a contract. Although they face jibes and derision for their gender and the colour scheme of their vessel, many a overconfident man has seen the error of his ways via a boot to the groin. The men who pick fights with the ‘Belle in space don’t get off so easy; her combination of particle cannons for short-range destruction and STS missiles for long range engagements have been the end of many an overconfident rival.
It is rumoured the crew of the ‘Belle has harboured Ex-Agency Assests in the past – namely the blind, telekenetic known as Blindside. There is a bounty for any information on her whereabouts, though most hunters who might collect it are wise enough not to target the Black Belle on their own.
Manufacturer: Unknown; heavily modified
Role: Gunship, space superiority
– 4 x Particle Cannons
– 2 x STS missile launchers