Join the Army they said…

Planet: Gallitzin, Federated Commonwealth

Spacial Grid: 132.75, -164.83

Time: 1100L, January 21, 3047

 

At the appointed hour, everyone starts making their way toward the Comstar conference room; like there rest of the starport complex it owes very little to aesthetics and features like the rest of the area. While its sharp industrial corners and fixtures are of a noticeably higher quality, as is the carpet and chairs around the large boardroom style table. Mounted at the head of the table is a projector and recording assembly, similar to what one might see in smaller private booths for sending personal messages across the vastness of space, this room obviously intended for a larger audience.

 

When everyone is seated the message blinking on the screen, “Please Stand By”, can click off before the recorded message flickers to life;

 

The screen lights ups with an older man in a grey jump suit, sporting a grizzled and poorly kept beard and hair both going to grey he looks up at the camera, clears his throat and speaks, “Greetings Mercenaries. This is your first official briefing for your company, besides all the indock and others requirements we’ve had you all put through.” He picks up a sheaf of papers, shuffles them for a moment and then looks up again, “Starting off, I was happy to be informed that you’ve all made it here to the rendezvous for this briefing. I’m happy to inform you that the charter for your company has been approved. As of now you are a registered asset of Kinetic Action Ltd, congratulations.”

 

Picking up another folder and leafing through it for a moment, “While some of the other handlers expressed concerns about your team’s ability to produce as viable asset, I’m encouraged by the spread of skills that you all bring to the table.” Closing the folder and looking up, “Croyd, since your resume is loaded with some of the wider skillsets, as well as several leadership positions, I’m appointing you the holder of your teams docket with the company. This will include the accounts and limited authority to accept contracts on the Kinetic Actions behalf. Use your judgement, failure will be paid out of your charters account with the company, as per normal. I can’t stress enough how many times a mercenary crews story has ended with them biting off more than they could chew, and dragging themselves back from a failed opportunity bloody and then abruptly penniless.”

 

With another cough to clear his throat, “Mr Graves, I’m happy to see your assignment to this team went smoothly. I expect to hear good things about this team in the near future, your abilities should greatly enhance that.” Another cough and the rustle of paper, “Miss Mackey, likewise I’m pleased to see someone of you impressive skill on the roster. There were no few number of attempts to poach you for one of the larger companies when your application was being considered. As I understand it however, your previous employment was less than generous about letting you depart with much in the way of gear. It seems that quartermasters are the same the galaxy over.”

 

Another folder flipped open and quickly preused, “Mr Yoritomo, we’re pleased to have with us as well, another veteran is always welcome in the company.  We pride ourselves on being able to offer a rewarding career change.” A last shuffle of papers and then a knitting of furry brows, “Miss Watts. I’ll confess, myself and several other handlers though your application was a jest in poor taste. However it seems that since you are here we are more than happy to have your own skills at the company’s disposal. Your team mates may be extremely appreciative of them as well.”

 

“Croyd, there’s a briefing packet attached to this transmission, it’ll contain all the relevant proofs and accounts for basic work. While there are many other assets in your location preparing to embark on the dropship that’s enroute, I’ve taken the liberty of finding your team something to do in the mean times. It seems we have an option to do the spaceport facilities a favor, and that is  something Kinetic Action would like to have in their pocket. The port has been having a considerable amount of theft happen from stocks and warehouses locally, with their private security insufficient to the task. The administration of the port has been up and down all the regular channels, and while they know roughly what’s causing it, the local authorities don’t seem interested in suppressing it. It seems a certain amount of rebellion and uprising is always in the blood there.”

 

“In short, the spaceport has offered a contract for your team to dissuade a local underworld boss, and union head (though we are told that’s much the same thing here) from having his underling pilfering the spaceport and its clients of materials; from copper wire, bottled water, or in one case a luxury vehicle that was awaiting transport offworld. Since the local constabulary are either not interested in doing their job, or in the pay of this man, they’ve decided to take advantage of our renting their facilities to muster several teams prior to embarkation.” He smiles at the video pick up and clears his throat again, “The terms are quite simple. You have until your drop ship arrives, six days from the date this briefing should arrive,  to find and ensure this individual will not trouble the spaceport and its facilities further. Its felt that removing the head will let the rest of the criminal entity fight itself for control over the organisation.” The man giving the briefing chuckles and reclines into his chair, “And if they find that that doesn’t entirely eradicate their problem, they’re always welcome to hire us again.”

 

Stacking the folders and shuffling them with a loud snap for effect, “the formal contract with terms and penalties is in the briefing documents, as well as some local intel. Do use your time wisely and prove my confidence in you correct. I’ll have a selection of offers available for your team when you make orbit in six days.” He gives the camera a last sober look, “Good luck.”

 

The screen clicks off showing Kinetic Actions logo and motto, ‘For Glory and Profit’

Glory and Profit™

Greetings brave mercenary,

 

You are here to embark on your first contract, to find Glory and Profit™ among the stars at the behest of your employers. It is not an easy task in the modern sphere, warfare has as ever kept apace with humanity’s need to quarrel with each other. Giant machines known as battle mechs stalk the modern battlefields, shaking the earth with every step. Life and death duels between aerospace pilots and dropships the order of the day to get them there. Sometimes the conflict is over land or politics, other times it’s for resources to feed the massive forges that churn out such fantastical warmachines. Sometimes you’ll be employed just so those paying you can have a little peace of mind and sleep safe in their beds.

 

The year is 3047, while things aren’t as good as the legends about the era of the Star League told in every pub and watering hole might have you believe, mostly they’re on the upswing. Even if this is “the good times”, there’s always work for your kind out there, someone always needs something done, and they’re willing to pay.

 

But first you should know where things stand, and for that, we have to look at the biggest starting point of the age; when humanity left is cradle.

 

Inner Sphere

 

2108-2235AD

 

The Inner Sphere is a region of interstellar space surrounding Earth to a radius of roughly 450 – 550 light-years, generally demarcated by the outer borders of the “Great Houses.” Within this region of about 2 million stars, there are approximately 20,000 inhabited planets. Beyond the Inner Sphere is the Periphery.

 

Colonization of the Inner Sphere began in 2108 when the Terran Alliance launched the first manned faster-than-light mission aboard the TAS Pathfinder. Between 2108 and 2235, the Terran Alliance colonized and ruled the first centralized interstellar government in human history, controlling more than 600 colonies within 120 light years of Terra.

 

 

As with all of human endeavors, there was war:

 

With the establishment of the five great houses, there were lines to be drawn and fought over. Raiding and ‘unsanctioned’ pirate activity was the norm, commerce raiding and the occasional destruction of entire towns and settlements. Eventually enough minds saw the need to put an end to this.

 

The Star League

 

Sprung from the more central planetary governments around terra and initially formed by what was known as The Terran Hegemony,  the Star league was arguably humanity’s highest point in recorded history.  All of the houses agreed that besides sniping at their neighbors and political rivals, the amount of pirate and unaligned factions doing the same were beyond manageable. Each of the houses agreed under the charter of the league to contribute material and personnel to its formation, and the upkeep of a standing defence force under the auspices of mutual protection.

 

For a quarter millennia it worked. Sciences and the standard of living rose, far more esoteric technology like the Jump drives and HPG communication, which enabled the movement and flow of information over vast distances were commonplace. Conflict was limited to far less random brutal raiding and destruction. Though rare, small scale conflicts continue, but under the firm understanding that many humanitarian accords were to be upheld. Violations were severely punished by the standing forces of the Star League. A prosperous peace reign, though rife with political intrigue and many shifts in power, for the common people it was a bountiful time, still remembered as utopian by modern standards.

 

As with all things, it wasn’t to last.

 

The Succession Wars

 

After a flurry of political moves by many of the houses, a slowly settling decay which affect all bureaucracies of staggering size, the League collapsed. Helped along by the death of its First Lord and nominal leader, the absence of an strong second and all the major houses agitating for more power and control, the League shattered.

 

Many of the defence forces returned to their home Houses and star systems, however in a shocking turn the bulk of the standing forces that oversaw and enforced peace through nearly 20,000 star systems rallied behind their leader and left. In one moment they turned their backs in disgust on the stagnant system that had failed to maintain control over the politics and policies of the League, and the houses that perpetually sought to sink yet another of their claws into the systems in place. As one the Star League Defence Forces left the Inner Sphere in a mass exodus, leaving the houses to squabble over the remains of the systems, fighting for the nominal throne of the Star League.

 

This is widely accepted as the beginning of the succession wars.

 

 

The reasons for all of the ensuing conflicts, and there are many many more beyond counting that are not mentioned, could fill books and employ scholars for lifetimes. Even distilling the 250 years of chaos and hell that ensued into just four conflicts doesn’t cover the gravity of what was lost. Humanity regressed.

 

Hundreds of billions of lives perished in several decades long conflicts. Technology, precious knowledge and infrastructure were lost. The ability to communicate across the vast tracts of interstellar space became rarer and more costly. Traveling suffered as well, and with it comerces dwindled as every nation sought to control or curtail the use of jump ships. Numbers of them beyond counting were destroyed in the fighting, along with pitched battles fought over their rarer shipbuilding facilities rendering them fewer still until even amid the chaos all factions agreed to no longer target them.

 

Since the end of the fourth succession war there’s been an uneasy peace in the wider galaxy. Tensions are high but over the last twenty or so years it has remained largely uneventful. With less need to fight for its survival or ideals humanity has begun the long upward climb back to its former glory, discovering or rediscovering lost technology and locations, once again trying to bring about the prosperity of the past before the next inevitable conflict.

 

This brings us to Now. 3047, and things are relatively stable, measured in the sense no one has had to redraw any of the maps for close to twenty years.

Welcome to the Inner Sphere mercenary.

 

For Glory and Profit.™