[Abbreviated: APF]More often than not, history teaches that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and this is the common ground that forms the tenuous power titled the ‘Aligned Pirate Forces’.
While a single, well organised pirate clan is sufficiently bold to attack a small escorted freight fleet, sometimes the booty is just too well defended and alliances must be formed to defeat its protectors. ‘APF’ is the generic term applied to any alliance of pirate clans but is more commonly used for larger pirate fleets organized by the Kill4.
The Kill4 is the collective that manages pirate interactions across Shallow Space. Kill4 consists of the four largest pirate clans: Kildred Clan, Jonas’ Clan, The Royals and Shallom’s Men. They work together as required to mediate pirate disputes, communications and organise alliances, including equality of mission risk and plunder division. It is a mutually distrustful discussion. They also act as an internal police force between pirates, ensuring there is some ‘honour among thieves’.
APF fleet’s are poorly organised and slow to adapt to new tactical situations, mostly due to an unclear chain of command. Ships are often mismatched and in various states of repair. The term Abberates was first used to describe an APF fleet made entirely from ships made from spare parts, often from wildly different designs.
Although APF fleets can often be numerically superior to TCN taskforces, a seasoned commander can often drive a wedge between the APF ships both physically and mentally, due to the natural mistrust between pirates.
What is now known as INC was once a major corporation on Old Earth known as Amalgamated Selene. The first corporation to go interplanetary, Amalgamated Selene led the harvesting of minerals on the Moon and later throughout the Sol stellar system. Once the 100 year plan was announced they were the first to build a worldship (using technology stolen from their competitor MFC) to carry humanity to its new home in the stars.
During the 100 year trip from Sol to Shallow Space, the corporation worked with Field Marshall Christian to assist in his coronation to Emperor (in exchange for many mining rights). In 2400 the corporation simplified their name to INC. They lay claim to the outer worlds of the Terran system, but later sold these to MFC when they relocated to the stellar system known as ‘Incorporated Space’.
INC runs the Corporate Staryards (CSY), the largest ship building facility in Shallow Space. CSY leads the field in artificial intelligence, negative space research and combat computing. Their modular design philosophy allows quick production and turn around between their various designs. This necessitates a certain simplicity in componentry and design which although shunned by the more discerning privateers, is welcomed by the regimented Terran Confederation Navy. INC designs account for approximately 60% of the Terran Navy fleet, though many of these ships are purchased by other member systems and used as their contribution to the Confederated Navy.
INC is run by the ‘INC Authority’ and currently owns a stellar system known as ‘Incorporated Space’. This was colonized in 2427, but to this date it is still classified as a ‘colony’ world, which has taxation and senate implications.
[Abbreviated: TTE] The Terran Empire is the ruling government of the human population in the region known as ‘Shallow Space’. It currently comprises 3 ‘core’ stellar systems and 9 ‘colony’ systems. They are spread across a region of space roughly circular in shape with a diameter approximately 100 light years (LY)
The Terran Empire was born from the slow decay of social order that was the 100 year trip from Earth to Shallow Space. As those born on the worldships, (And having never seen Earth) moved into positions of control, the notion of a dying world uniting all peoples was forgotten.
Old differences surfaced. New ones formed, and Corporations, the opportunists that they are, saw ways to take advantage.
Field Marshall Christian saw the damage unfolding, knew it could destroy the fragile species of human kind. Something had to be done. Already in command of the military he initiated a swift coup and dethroned the United Earth Council, taking ultimate control. Immediately factions formed amongst the worldships, but quick negotiations with the major corporations resulted in Christian regaining complete control over the entire human race.
With Christian’s guidance, and his son after him, mankind successfully colonized Terra and then spread to eleven other systems.
The Terran Empire, or the Imperium as it is colloquially known, controls all colonized space. Governments and taxes are all controlled from within the Imperial Palace, situated in the city of Home, on the planet Terra. The Empire is defended by the Terran Confederation Navy, whose ships patrol the common traffic routes through space.
[Abbreviated: TCN] The Terran Confederation Navy was formed in response to the discovery of the Pleiades Corporation, descendants of the presumed lost worldship UES Halifax.
When the Pleiades Corporation refused to enter the Terran Empire, Emperor Christian decided to force the issue. He issued the construction of a military fleet to occupy the Pleiades system. To help with ‘buy-in’ from the rest of the Imperium this navy was labelled a ‘confederation’, with all member systems supplying ships and material, based on their tax status.
Each member system would provide a military leader to join the Council of Admirals and each council member would have a term as the field marshall, supreme leader of the Confederation Navy.
Technology of war had been forgotten on the hundred year journey from Earth however and despite ingenuity from the INC staryards creating a quick, simple and modular cruiser, the Armstrong, training, ship completion and other factors resulted in a sub standard fighting force. Despite superiority of numbers and weaponry (on paper at least), the Terran Confederation Navy was routed at what became known as the Battle for the Pleiades System.
The lessons were learnt quickly; the TCN rebuilt, retrained, and quickly became the dominant force in Shallow Space. Although it was never tested again in direct conflict in the Pleiades System, the TCN was crucial to winning the Race for the Blankicite and diplomacy finally achieved what the TCN could not; Pleiades entered the Terran Empire as a ‘Core’ world.
To this day the TCN’s leadership still follows the founding concepts of shared control among the member worlds. The Navy is comprised of several fleets which keep the peace in both the core and the wild fringe of Shallow Space.
[Abbreviated: AIM] There will always be those people who have a ‘certain kind of a skill’ but cannot or chose not to operate in the official military machine. The Battle for the Pleiades System and the resulting ‘Race for the Blankicite’ saw a massive arms race and mass military spending followed by budget cuts and discharges of personnel. Those cut loose found that in the wild west that was the Shallow Space colonies their skill set was very much valued.
Skirmishes over resources were a part of life for inhabitants of the Imperium. Rival companies, settlers, everyone had a use for mercenaries, but surprisingly their main targets were normally pirates.
Fred Walverzon was a man of vision, a man who had never been involved in a fight in his life, but he saw the potential of the disparate mercenary groups tendering for jobs. In 2492 he created the ‘Alliance of Interstellar Mercenaries’, a perfectly legal contracting company that would be the one stop shop for all mercenary contracts.
A.I.M would take all enquiries and send these on to their ‘contractors’ who could then negotiate directly. AIM would take a ‘finders fee’ cut and provide services to their contractors. Many mercenary groups saw the advantages immediately, others waited until they started missing out on work that instead went to A.I.M. Within five years of founding, A.I.M controlled 95% of the contract military work.
The headquarters for A.I.M are in the city of ‘Home’ on Terra. And Walverzon is still the CEO running a company of nearly 50 people at head office and hundreds at satellite bases throughout shallow space. They have a list of contractors nearly 100 long.