The New Golden Age Humanity rests in a new age of exploration, discovery, and conflict. Having expanded its reaches beyond its native system of Sol, it has begun its first, teetering steps into exploring the greater galaxy... ...But no empire is without its struggles.[/I] Set upon by parasitic beings that adopt various species as host bodies, the ruthless and fierce 'berserkers' that expand well into the furthest reaches of the stars, human development has been hampered. An enigmatic race that inhabits a pocket of space neither in nor out of reality, the Ichorii, which are beings out of old-Earth folklore, prey upon human populations in the night of the void. Time spent reaching further around the stars has been instead dedicated into defense, taking a once-proud species and gnawing away its progress. In an isolated system, light years away from Sol, a group of humans from a newly-developed unit of warriors, mercenaries, and soldiers takes the first steps into ensuring that the human race's momentum does not shatter at its first road blocks.[/I] HUMANITY Broad View In terms of relative influence and power, humanity rests low on the ladder, well below several of the species it has yet to encounter in the wide galaxy. Having barely grasped at the concept of interstellar travel, with few colonies beyond its home system, humans have only begun to master the more intricate uses of energy and the principles of physics. Plagued by a bloodthirsty force - known quite simple as 'berserkers' or the more colloquial 'psychos' - upon its fringe worlds, the bulk of human development has been focused on the production and implementation of potent weaponry and means of maintaining stability. Human Society Earth is little more than an industrial wasteland at the core of humanity's holdings in the galaxy. Mars is on its way to its own starvation of resources, and scores of humans find a living aboard roaming hulks and asteroid stations, growing food, mining for water, and scraping hydrogen and oxygen together to cover the rest. Past the burned-out Sol, humanity's renamed home system, the standard of living improves drastically. Aware of past mistakes on the part of their birthworld and its first colony, the pioneers of the "New Age" colonies have carved out a sustainable and comfortable living. Each of these colony systems is ruled by a "governor." Though terms may vary from system to system, the Coalition of Earth recognizes them as governors. These governors are similar to what would have been a country's prime minister on Earth, heading the legislative branches of the system. Each planet, in turn, acts as a federal state, with few reserved powers and checks over the governor in turn. This, too, varies from system to system, but all share a sense of centralized power. With the exception of a few binding laws passed by the Coalition of Earth, these governors are free to do what deem fit with their systems, but must contribute soldiers and taxation revenue to the Coalition on a regular basis. Sol - the human birth system. Sol is characterized by mass poverty and a low standard of living, with a rich elite living in clusters in urban centers upon Earth and Mars. Most work mining asteroids, toiling in heavy industry alongside robotic counterparts, or by serving in various policing units. Beings born aboard hulks, moons, asteroids, and other low-gravity bodies develop frail bone structures and lower muscle mass than do their planet-bound conterparts. These 'toothpicks' struggle greatly with gravity above .6G, but are well suited to navigating tight spaces and moving through low gravity. Sirius - the first system colonized by humans. Though the problems with the first terraforming units utilized in human space exploration echo through Sirius' worlds, it remains a veritable paradise, drawing in both trade and skilled labor. Its worlds are verdant and green, if perhaps a shade too warm and humid. The current governor, Carter Hall, takes his seat upon the system's capital of Sirius-I and has become something of a new king, having served for about twenty years (nearly five full terms) with talk of his daughter taking up the mantle later. Alpha Centauri - a long-standing and iconic solar system to 21st century space programs. Alpha Centauri was until the past twenty years a world classified as 'in development' with a population under five billion system-wide. Now well on its way to surpassing Sirius, with several individuals coming in favor of its migrant worker programs, this industrial giant is surpassed only by Earth. Individuals born on all worlds of Alpha Centauri, with a higher native gravity than that of Earth's, in contrast to 'toothpicks', develop into squatter, shorter adults. By no means proper dwarves, these individuals rest a head or so shorter than their Earth-bound cousins and have far higher muscle masses. Procyon - a fringe system, first of its kind to be out of the 'immediate area' of Sol. Still classified as 'in development', Procyon has yet to be given the right to elect a governor. With a population still in the millions, this system has been the recipient of several 'berserker' raids, sending its development off the normal track. Highly militaristic and trade-reliant, many wonder if Procyon will meld into Coalition culture after the threat of this other species has passed. Those that settled Procyon were the first to establish the "Planet Sweeps" as they are known now. Their system was originally infested with berserkers and other native, hostile beasts, and so highly-trained and coordinated strike forces were required to clear the planets prior to heavy-duty colonization efforts. This warrior culture never left, and those that hail from Procyon are very militaristic, as every individual must serve a minimum term of three years in their local guard. Human Technology Human development in the field of technology skyrocketed with the introduction of practical, air-cooled fusion at the turn of the 21st century. Though Earth was well beyond the point of no return, with a recovery time in the millions of years, this advancement allowed for practical space exploration. Within a century, the road to Mars' colonization was paved and the first successful manned mission to Pluto was carried out. Now, many years later, humanity travels the distant stars with solar-drives, which utilize solar energy and gravity to slingshot at near-light speeds. Several components of human labor are now automated, though this will vary from world to world. Earth and Mars retain the highest ratio of machines to human labor at about 3:1. Systems like Alpha Centauri prefer to maintain a more 'traditional' economy, with machines assisting humans, but avoiding a direct role in the production process. Likewise, most human military and police units use drones and remote platforms in place of soldiers. All atmospheric air units utilize drones, and several armored units are as automated as they can be. The role of a 'grunt' is now more equatable to a modern special services unit. This trend of autonomy is reflected in the military craft of humanity, which can be manned by as a few as four trained sailors. Torpedo and magnetic accelerator systems are entirely automated, and even medical bays are manned by programs and robotic apparatuses. Unless a human ship is required to enter atmosphere, it will often resemble a wedge or a brick, as aerodynamics and aesthetics cannot live up to shear efficiency. The majority of short-range vessels still utilize cold fusion drives, with massive freighters and military cruisers utilizing the larger, more powerful solar drives in conjunction with cold fusion counterparts. Military vessels are painted black and sloped to deflect radar, with a strict ban on this process being carried out on any civilian vessel. ICHORII Broad View Immortal and ancient beyond imagining, the Ichorii are the oldest race in the Milky Way. Mastery of interstellar and even interdimensional travel are only pieces of their technological arsenal, and they control a large number of colonies across the Milky Way. The Ichorii themselves, however, dwell within a separate reality entirely. While this and their method of travel between our reality and their new home puts them at risk, it is largely effective and vital to their domination of other races. Naturally the predators of humans and most other living organisms, the Ichorii are an inherent threat to the aspiring Coalition of Earth, and frequently assault and devour colonists on the outskirts of human authority; these activities have earned them the titles of "berserkers" and "psychos." Challenged only by the hive mind of the Tainted - shape-shifting parasites that dominate a solid third of the galaxy - the Ichorii have carved themselves a solid empire out of the galaxy, and rule an entire other one. However, their inherent weakness to light and constant hunger for blood cause a great deal of conflict between the Ichorii and other races, Ichorii Society Their original home system having long since been consumed by the corrosion of time, the Ichorii have innumerable other colonies across the Milky Way. However, these are not their primary homes. Having thoroughly mastered rift travel, or the crossing of dimensions as a means of exceeding light-speed, the Ichorii instead rule an entire alternate Milky Way in a dimension where light, one of their few natural weaknesses, is almost nonexistent. Quickly dominating and enslaving the native races was a simple feat for the far superior invaders, and the new galaxy, dubbed the Tenebrae by the Ichorii, became the seat of their empire. As a result of this, little is known of the Tenebrae outside of Ichorii society, which is very close-knit. However, human scientists have theorized, based on observations of colonies in the Milky Way, that the Tenebrae Ichorii follow the same rules as those in base reality. Ichorii society is dominated by social Darwinism, essentially a kratocracy in that the strong rule the weak. The only way to advance in society, let alone survive, is to kill. The lower classes are subject to the whims of the high, living in "squats," shanty towns constructed outside of the Shadow Domes. There, they are subject to the elements, with denizens frequently dying in the light of their worlds. Inside the Shadow Domes, however, dwell the high classes, who live without fear of light. The conditions are stark in contrast, with food scarce and meals far between in the squats, while entire prisons of human slaves are prepared for the rulers dwelling in the Domes. Beneath the surface of Ichorii worlds are the royal palaces, designed specifically to be strategically advantageous as well as comfortable for the Ichorii overlords. Different classes can be distinguished based on their clothing; high classes often wear battle armor that displays their affluence, while low classes wear rags and scavenger gear. As well, weaponry may have an antiquated or customized aesthetic for the nobility, while juveniles and Breakers prefer utilitarian equipment. Theoretically, there is an even higher class, which is that of Tenoctus, "King of Darkness." These chosen messiahs come to power by slowly expanding from world to world. It is believed, since none of the Nocti of the Milky Way have expanded beyond brief skirmishes with each other, it is believed that there is already a Tenoctus in the Tenebrae, ruling both galaxies. Noctus - The strongest of the strong is called the Noctus, the Ichorii word for king. Each colony in the Milky Way has a Noctus, who controls the eight resident Nocturii, the Ichorii equivalent for nobles. They typically own a large personal armory, and have several packs of Tenebeasts (natives of the Tenebrae) at their command. Ruling from the citadels placed strategically beneath the surface of each world, the Noctus has absolute control over the Ichorii of their world. However, they are subject to the same natural law of their species, and may be overthrown at any time by any Ichorii of any rank, though the Nocturii have the higher chances of success. Nocturii - Beneath the Noctus are the Nocturii, the general equivalent of human nobles. Similarly to the Noctus, they own their own private armories, and have a few pet Tenebeasts. However, their reach is much more limited than the Noctus, and they are restricted to living above the surface in the Shadow Domes. High Breakers - "High Breakers" are generals and low nobility, and develop when a Breaker pack self-destructs; the survivor is named High Breaker, and controls at least one other pack of Breakers. They reside in the Shadow Domes with the Nocturii, but High Breakers are larger in number, if not in strength. Juveniles/Breakers - The youngest and weakest Ichorii are known as juveniles, who are constantly bullied and, in extreme cases, cannibalized by their fellows. More powerful juveniles become "Breakers," responsible for raiding enemy territory, and are organized in packs subject only to the nobility. They scavenge for food and weaponry, but can be supplied with them by their lords. Umbrus/Tenebeasts - Beneath the juveniles, however, are the slave races from the Tenebrae, life forms developed in a lightless universe used for menial labor and making war. Those that are sentient are known as Umbrus, "Shadow Slaves," and are always kept in servitude. Tenebeasts, however, are the predatory races of the Tenebrae, and are used as biological weapons by the Ichorii. Tenoctus - The mysterious emperor of the Ichorii, the Tenoctus is the only specimen never identified by any other race. It is theorized that they hold power over the rest of the Ichorii nobility and, by extension, all the assets held by that empire. Ichorii Technology The Ichorii are perhaps the most advanced race in the Milky Way, having had millennia to develop. Energy-efficient interstellar craft aside, the Ichorii have mastered FTL travel by circumventing reality itself; using the same technology that permitted them to first colonize the Tenebrae, Ichorii spacecraft cut a hole through the space-time continuum and travel through the Rift, an alternate dimension where any concept of time or reality are virtually nonexistent. The craft promptly exits in a predetermined location inside the Milky Way. While risky (ships can vanish into other dimensions, or never exit the Rift at all, and ships may be attacked by the enigmatic and vicious Dwellers), it allows for a massive, reality-spanning empire to function. However, when traveling outside of the Rift, Ichorii ships utilize Shadow Drives, which run on dark matter harvested from the Tenebrae. These engines "burn" the mysterious substances, converting the extremely rich material into pure energy, which provide the thrust necessary to travel in space and in the atmosphere of planets. Most of the manual and unskilled labor are run by the devolving and unintelligent Umbrus, who don't protest or require much sustenance beyond darkness and cold conditions. The more intelligent Umbrus serve their Ichorii overlords directly, as manservants and footmen. Some machines are incorporated to increase production, but the overall sadism of the Ichorii prevents them from having any compassion for the working class, and instead keeps the Umbrus locked in eternal servitude. However, where technological advance would be easily seen in most of Ichorii society, their military is often mistaken for primitive. Since the Milky Way specifically is more backwards than the Tenebrae, organized armies are even less common. In fact, the only offensive forces that humanity has seen so far have been the Breaker packs, which are typically armed with kinetic weaponry, generally being outdated, flechette-firing railguns. Higher-ranking Breakers wield Tremorswords, vibration-enhanced blades that can cut through almost any material, a trademark weapon of their race. While advanced compared to human technology, they are far weaker than normal Ichorii military tech. High Breakers and the rest of their nobility wield far more powerful light-based weapons. More powerful than basic plasma, Radiant weaponry was designed to exploit the basic weakness of the Ichorii: Light. However, when not warring amongst themselves, these weapons are extremely effective against other races. Furthermore, the nobility wield higher-quality and more customized Tremorswords, and light-resistant armor. Depending on the ownership of vessels, ships can be armed with either electromagnetic cannons or Radiant cannonry, but must be piloted to be efficient. On design, Ichorus ships are designed to be aerodynamic, as Breaker packs are constantly raiding other worlds for food and slaves, and need to be on planets to be effective. In space, however, Ichorii Dreadnaughts are shaped like spheres, allowing for a 360-degree range of attack on all three axes of motion. Stealth is only applied as a concept to Breaker ships, who need to be in and out of combat at a moment's notice. Due to there being few rules in Ichorii society, almost any individual can own a ship, so long as they swear fealty to a lord. CHARACTER CREATION You are part of the new 'Planet Sweeping' operation. Stationed on the only habitable world of the Procyon system, for many it is a long way from home. They even allowed some of the more "tame" Ichorii along for the ride, using their expertise and technology. This is not a standard military unit - weapons, fighting styles, and techniques vary drastically from individual to individual. The program simply hasn't been around long enough to be standardized like so many other armed units; it's a program of desperation, not choice. You may be either human or Ichorii (limit of 2 total Ichorii characters; they're not that common or very well trusted). NAME: AGE: RACE: SEX: APPEARANCE: --- HOME SYSTEM (if applicable): HOME WORLD (if applicable; human worlds outside of Sol use the designation SYSTEM NAME-WORLD NUMBER, "Sirius 4"): LOADOUT: Nothing too crazy here. Several of the human soldiers are soldiers-of-fortune, and the Ichorii are culturally isolated. While gear is not necessarily standardized, it will possess a common root. Allowed gear is at the discretion of myself or @The Philosoraptor --- BRIEF BACKGROUND: Keyword "brief" If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact myself or @The Philosoraptor for further details or clarification. RULES/EXPECTATIONS Adept posting expectations as per Iwaku's definition. Ability to post at least once a week; please give forward notice if you can't post in a given week! We'll do our best to work around it! All character sheets are subject to either @The Philosoraptor or my discretion; we won't outright refuse a character without telling you the problem so you can correct it. No god-moding; self-explanatory, but actions outside of combat have consequences, too. If you have more than one character (max of 2), it is expected you can keep up with more than one character. Be active! ...Oh, and have fun. Got a question about the world? Stuck on character creation? @The Philosoraptor and I are here to help how we can. Post your character sheets, questions, so on here! Our characters will not contribute to the total; if either of us use an Ichorii character, that does not contribute to the limit of 2 total.