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The Universe Today
The Year is 2186, seven years after the disappearance of two Conestoga-class ships, the USS Sulaco and the responding USS Sephora. Weyland-Yutani (W-Y) forces responded to the incident, but reported back “no traces of either vessel or their occupants” to the United States Colonial Marines (USCM), only the smoldering, unrecognizable ruins of Hadley's Hope, a nearby colony. The USCM Detachment who arrived a week later confirmed this claim.
The last several years almost a dozen worlds have gone dark, and several USCM detachments and garrisons have seemingly disappeared. Recruitment to the USCM has sharply dropped, and morale has plummeted, especially among the outer-rim colonies that depend on the USCM for protection from pirates and hostile nations.
Unknown to the vast majority of the human population, the Xenomorph Hive Alpha continues its gradual expansion across the galaxy. With little opposition standing in its way, this predatory species tears through the colonized worlds, leaving few survivors in its destructive wake. Many officials in the USCM and the United Americas (UA) leveled the blame at the Union of Progressive Peoples (UPP), reigniting a spark of hatred between the two powerful space faring nations, and this sharp cultural and theological divide continues to grow as the casualties mount.
At the same time, many colonists have renounced their belief that the USCM can keep them safe. The Colonial Liberation Front (CLF or FC) movement has ignited, leading many farmers and homesteaders to take up arms against their provisional government. Though taken lightly at first, the skinning and beheading of two Colonial Marshals by a crowd waving a FC banner have led the USCM to elevate their threat level to BRAVO.
The United States Colonial Marines
The USCM is divided into three overarching branches, called the Marine Space Forces: Sol, overseeing the core colonies and earth, the largest of the three; Eridani, operating among the Chinese and American colonised arms; Herculis, going through the Anglo-Japanese arms and the outer fringes. While each branch operates independently, all are responsible for protecting American space and working together in that goal. There is also a fourth group, the Reserves, which is stationed mostly on earth and serves to reinforce the other branches.
Marine Space Force, Herculis, Chinook 91 GSO station is a military space station in geosynchronous orbit around the colony world Georgia 525 (70 Ophiuchi A V), and is the headquarters for the Herculis branch of the USCM. Under its control are the 4th Colonial Marine Division, 4th Colonial Marine Brigade, 4th Aerospace Wing, and 1st Colonial Support Group of the USCM. Chinook 91 reports directly to O'Neill station in Earth-Lunar space. Tithonis Mountain on Bernice 378 is another large garrison of USCM troops, such as the 1st Colonial Support Group, and there are more minor garrisons along the Anglo-Japanese arm. The 2nd battalion of the 4th brigade, the Falling Falcons, and the USS Almayer are stationed in Herculis. For more information on the USCM head here.
The USS Almayer
The USS Almayer, an Arikara-class patrol transport, was christened in 2171 but designed in the 2150s during a increased need for patrol craft in deep space. The first Arikara-class patrol transports were constructed in the 2160s, and the USS Almayer was the 4th ship in the class produced. The USS Almayer was constructed in the Heinlein Memorial Shipyards located above the earth’s moon for low gravity workstations. The main advantages of the Arikara patrol transport over other forms of transports and combat ships is its small footprint and rapid response time. However, the marines that serve aboard these patrol transports are either volunteer forces or conscripted to their long voyages in outer territories where most luxuries do not exist.
The USS Almayer underwent a Block 78A retrofit in 2178, which replaced many of the sensors and maintenance areas. Along with that, due to rising tensions between the Weyland-Yutani Corporation and various outer rim colonies, pressured a need to include a Weyland-Yutani representative onboard. While the sum for this service was never officially disclosed, the USS Almayer was equipped with an office for a Weyland-Yutani representative and sent to patrol Weyland-Yutani outer-rim colonies. For more information on the USS Almayer head here.
Friendly And Neutral Space Factions
Weyland-Yutani is a massive corporation formed by the successful merger of the British Weyland Corporation and the Japanese Yutani Corporation in 2099. It is often referred to as Wey-Yu, The Company, or just W-Y. Weyland-Yutani has a wide range of business, such as high-tech armaments, synthetic humanoids, spaceships, computer parts, terraforming equipment, and household appliances. It also offers shipping and receiving services, among other ventures. The current head of the company is Karl Bishop Weyland, a direct descendent of Sir Peter Weyland, the original progenitor of the Weyland Corp.
Following an aggressive expansion into terraforming new colonial worlds, Weyland-Yutani secured many rights and privileges from the United States government. One of those privileges is the close relationship with the USCM; the Colonial Marines use Weyland-Yutani-supplied equipment in exchange for protecting and monitoring border colonies. This, however, does not mean that the interests of W-Y are aligned with the USCM. It is more accurate to say that The Company considers the USCM a valuable, but still disposable, asset. It is also true that without W-Y’s extensive financial backing, the USCM would collapse within a week’s time.
Weyland-Yutani also has enough wealth and influence to hire private military contractors, specifically in the form of the W-Y PMC units. These are highly trained mercenaries, generally ex-military veterans, who do black site protection detail, undertake dangerous assignments, and otherwise supply The Company with firepower in the absence of the USCM. They are compensated well for their services, and demand is always there. Rumors speak of even more well-equipped and well-selected military units within Weyland-Yutani’s employment, but that is not officially verified by the corporation. For more information on Weyland-Yutani and their PMC units head here.
The USCM protects the colonists in times of great danger. Though far from a unified and homogenous group, the Colonists have mixed feelings towards the USCM. While many view them as a protective force, many are fearful or even bitter towards them, especially in their liberal application of force in putting down rebellion and dissent, particularly in the workers’ strike in 2169 that become known as the Cristóbal Massacre.
Less of a ‘unified’ group, the term freelancer can be applied to anyone on the frontier with a gun, blade, stick of TNT, or dangerous cargo-transportation tools. The Freelancers do maintain a small, closely knit community, despite high levels of competition over salvage rights, dangerous work, or chart mapping that comes along. Often working in packs, or teams, Freelancers can be as unpredictable as they can be unprofessional. While an incredibly common career for colonists down on their luck in past years, the current events on the frontier have, rather excitedly, shoved the dynamic towards less supply and higher demand. For more information on the Freelancers head here.
A near human species hailing from the world of Arcturia. The USCM annexed their planet in the 2170s, and it has since become a territory of the United States. While the Arcturians managed to deliver several devastating blows to the USCM Task Force in the brief conflict surrounding their annexation, the USCM was able to bend them into submission due to superior training, firepower, and resources. Arcturia is now the site of a very popular USCM refueling station. It is widely regarded among the soldiers of the USCM as the best planet to have shore leave on.
Hostile Space Factions
Xenomorph Hive Alpha
Over the past century, the Xenomorphs XX121 species have slowly begun expansion. Across dozens of fringe colonies, the species has expanded planet to planet. As of 2180, the species has reached record numbers. Humanity is largely unaware of the precise existence of this species- only rumors and ghost stories exist. Few who have encountered it have survived. Precise knowledge of Xenomorph Hive Alpha and their expansion is contained to high ranking officials and scientists in Weyland Yutani. A few, isolated individuals are aware. It is also believed the UPP has samples in their possession. The only other evidence of these creatures lies in a book, Space Beast, written by Robert Morse in 2183 about his experience on Fiorina "Fury" 161 Class C Work Correctional Unit. The book has been banned throughout United States colonies, though several illicit copies may still be found in some run-down bookstore. For more information on the xenomorphs head here.
Union of Progressive Peoples
A wide-reaching and powerful socialist authoritarian state, the UPP acts as the political and ideological rival of the United States and the UA. Though they have a relatively large presence on Earth (particularly in the Eastern sphere), the UPP is also largely active in colonizing the frontier. While the United Americas have never engaged the UPP in an official war, hostilities broke out between a USCM Task Force and a UPP Expeditionary Force during the Tientsin Campaign in mid 2165. Though the engagement ended in a ceasefire, over fears that the conflict would spread to the more densely populated Sol System, the incident greatly enraged many senior officials in the UPP, who viewed the battle of Tientsin as an attempt by the United States to annex UPP sovereign territory. “Such an insult (referring to Tientsin) can only be repaid in American blood. Mark my words, this will happen”, Colonel Ganbaatar of the UPP Armed Forces was quoted as saying in May 2168.
The UPP maintains very little communication with those outside their borders and are highly territorial. Their inner workings are largely a mystery. For more information on the UPP head here.
Colonial Liberation Front
An increasingly powerful rebellion of angry colonists and extremists. The CLF have taken up arms against the USCM over fears that the government is no longer able to keep them safe. Particularly angry over the suppression of worker strikes, liberal application of force against them in the past, and the increasing disappearance of colonies, many of these homegrown terrorists and freedom fighters seek to cause as much destruction and mayhem as possible. In just a year since their original creation, they have exploded in size. Exact numbers are unclear, but it is rumored they now surpass the 150,000 active members of the USCM in quantity. For more information on the CLF head here.