In a region of the Milky Way between the Orion Spur and the Perseus Arm, four spacefaring races have come to dominate the area, with their borders under conflict. Sol Imperial Worlds (the Humans), Genari United Empire (Sanethi), Ma’Alaketh Confederation (Ma’Ali), and ‘The Hive’ (organic spacefaring creatures).
For fifty years since the discovery of the Dark Matter Drive (which helped accelerate space travel exponentially), the Human race has been controlled by military dictatorship, with civilian governments administrating individual planets. After their first encounter with an alien spacefaring race in 2145, the Sonna, conflict ensued. Four years later, the Sonna were all but eliminated. It has been speculated that the Sonna, a peaceful race, did not want war. The Fleet Admiral at the time pursued war to achieve his objective: To create a powerful Navy with the support of several large military corporations. Expansion continued until the Imperium had first contact with the Genari Star Empire. The Genari, likeminded in terms of expansionistic goals, fought back fiercely against the Imperium. For over 30 years now, the long and bloody war seems to have no end in sight, with both sides escalating in their development of bigger, more powerful warships. The Humans have a technological advantage, however. Their plasma weapon technology is more accurate and has longer range, and their ion drive technology surpasses the power output of the more dated, fusion drives of the Genari.
Sol ships tend to be utilitarian and functional in design, with a focus on longer ranged weaponry and force fields. Usually traveling in groups of three ships or more, they concentrate on disabling enemy ships from a distance and minimize casualties, and destroying Genari marine pods before they attach.
Formerly known as the Genari Star Empire, the GUE was a conglomerate of warring factions fighting for resources in strategic regions of space. For them, war was a part of life, and a way to achieve honor through combat. When they finally encountered a race that was potentially threatening their way of life, the four strongest empires formed an uneasy truce, to fight their new, more dangerous enemy: The Sol Imperium. Power is centered on the four Matriarchs, a tetrarchy where the female Genari has absolute control over administration and decision making. Only males serve in the military however, and are subservient to the will of their female leaders. Most male Genari will never mate or ever encounter a female, as it is seen as a privilege for only the senior members of the Genari ranks. The Empire’s technology is starting to fall behind Sol; but they have greater resources and production to offset the Human advantage.
Genari ships have characteristic and graceful designs, inspired by nature itself — as well as an eye for ominous looking ships that inspire fear in their Human opponents. With more rudimentary force field technology, they rely on heavily armored ships designed for close combat. They also usually carry a complement of marines, which can induce heavy casualties to human crews. Capturing a Sol ship is considered the ultimate prize; with the hope to eventually reverse-engineer some of the Imperiums’ more advanced technology.
Very little is known about this race, other than that they are centuries ahead in technology compared to Sol and Genari. Although they do not seem to be interested in any form of conflict with the two warring races, they diligently protect their borders from any intrusion. The few fleet assaults by Genari have been met with swift retaliation. As far as it is known, no major Ma’Alaketh ship has ever been destroyed, as their combined force field and dampening field technology makes them seem invincible. Add to it, their particle beams have a range that far exceeds even the most advanced Sol plasma beams. It is believed that they have been observing Human and Sanethi civilizations develop before space travel, with a strong belief in non-interference. The extent by which the Confederation has expanded in the other direction is unknown.
Ma’Alaketh ships are usually built around their massive particle cannons, with a disk-like dampening field generator circling the ship. The ships encountered seem to be designed to fire from great distances, while remaining motionless and near impossible to hit with their dampening field active. But it is theorized that these are border-defense ships, and other variants are possible.
Sentient creatures that live and die in space, their ‘living ships’ are remarkable in how quickly they adapted to the aggression from the Genari invasion. While seemingly peaceful creatures that absorbed energy from nearby solar radiation, as well as absorbing organic matter from celestial bodies, they have reacted and adapted to their near extermination. Starting as ‘spores’, they gestate into protopods, which then develop and grow into larger forms. Learning to defend themselves from Genari warships, they are becoming ‘weaponized’, producing extensions that have become fearsome weapons still not understood by Sol or Genari scientists. The Hive reside in a very resource-rich region, and the Genari’s thirst for expansion has put them at ‘war’ with these creatures. The Sol Imperium is concerned that the continued conflict between the two may just make these creatures aggressive enough that they will start going on the offensive, even invading the adjacent Sol border. Some of the largest forms of the Hive Organics have become monstrosities the size of large cruisers, and they have discovered the ‘taste’… Human and Genari crews can be consumed as organic matter for their continued growth.
Hive ‘ships’ look very organic in nature, like they are in a perpetual state of growth, and with structures that could almost be termed as organs. Their method of propulsion is not understood, but their offensive nature has been well documented. Energy beams are common as well as a ‘plasma wave’ — seen on the larger weaponized creatures. They all have a ‘proboscis’ that seems to be the way they feed; and it has developed into something that is unaffected by a ships’ force field, penetrating the hull and seeking out crewmembers to absorb. They are also seen feeding off wrecked ships, which still have remnants of the crews within. Though the Hive does not have force field technology, they seem to regrow damaged structures and their organic carapace through feeding. For any Human or Genari, to witness a living crewmate ‘absorbed’ by a Hive ship is the stuff of nightmares.
After the Sonna genocide of SY2164, many civilians as well as military became disaffected by the way the Imperium was becoming a ruthless military dictatorship. Mutinied crews as well as civilians who wanted to leave the propaganda-based life on the Sol homeworlds discovered a place to start their lives anew. Within the Helix nebula, an Earth-like planet (now called New Terra) became their new home. Over the decades, many flocked to this utopia, where they seek a place away from the perpetual war. The nebula itself is hard to penetrate, and many never made it to the planet. In turn, the Helix acts as a protective barrier against invasion. The Sol Imperium mostly ignores the existence of New Terra, and in reality, does rely on New Terra’s agriculture by trading raw materials for organically grown foods to supply bases at the borders. What remains of the Sonna race also resides there, with their agrarian society contributing to improved techniques in cultivation. Even some Genari cast out for being part of a lesser lineage have found themselves in a cordial relationship with New Terra, with a base of their own orbiting the planet. Some Humans and Genari have turned to piracy however; and their raids on Sol and Genari commerce (and some more daring raids on bases) have brought renewed attention to those residing in this insulated region.
Raiders and Pirate ships are usually commandeered Class II through Class V Sol and Genari warships, modified to have expanded cargo space and ‘Raiders’: Heavily armed fighters that board mostly unarmed civilian ships with the intention of kidnapping crewmembers for ransom, or stripping ships of useful items before boarding back to their ships and fleeing the scene before a distress call is answered. Some of the larger Pirate ships have become more aggressive (especially if they travel in numbers), and have known to attack smaller Navy ships. Using stolen or hacked military registration codes, they can pass for normal Navy ships and travel deep into Sol or Genari space, unless visual recognition is made. Sol and Genari warships will force their surrender or destroy them on sight, but most often the Pirate ships make it back into the Helix Nebula where the Navies do not follow.