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In the 23rd century, humanity turned to the stars to escape environmental collapse, political unrest, and the deprivations of a resource-starved Earth. Bold pioneers and wealthy corporations began to rapidly expand into space, founding colonies on new worlds.
But space exploration did not provide a reprieve. By the early 2440s, Earth and its colonies were consuming resources faster than they could be mined. Bloody interstellar conflicts known as the Resource Wars had erupted over the remaining scraps, bringing the threat of extinction even closer.
Earth’s largest energy corporation, the Concordance Extraction Corporation (CEC), developed a new kind of starship: a “planet cracker” capable of ripping apart entire worlds, equipped with a shockpoint drive that made faster-than-light travel almost trivial. This ship, the USG Ishimura, was able to mine whole planets so effectively that the Resource Wars soon came to an end.
In time an entire fleet of CEC planet crackers, run by hardened interstellar mining crews, was providing a steady supply of resources back to Earth. Humanity began to thrive amongst the stars, along with new and influential factions like the Church of Unitology.
It is now 2508. After operating for over sixty years, the USG Ishimura is undergoing its final mission, mining a remote but mineral-rich planet called Aegis VII that has been strangely untouched for over a century.
Headquartered on Earth, the Concordance Extraction Corporation (CEC) is a market leader in deep space mining and one of the largest corporations in known space. CEC has pioneered many mining and extraction techniques, but the company’s most notable achievement is the development of “planet cracker” starships, capable of ripping apart entire worlds and harvesting their raw materials.
Though planet cracking is controversial – a deadly accident known as the Wanat Disaster cost CEC at least one of their prized ships – it also saved humanity. Earth and its colonies have been mined so dry that a series of bloody, desperate conflicts erupted over the remaining resources, known as the Resource Wars. However, the USG Ishimura and the rest of CEC’s fleet provided enough raw materials to pull humanity back from the brink, and the Resource Wars have now subsided.
CEC’s mining operations continue to fuel humanity’s expansion today. There are persistent rumors that CEC engages in illegal mining of restricted worlds, but the company’s influence and deep pockets have kept most of its critics quiet.
The Earth Government Colonial Alliance (EarthGov) is the governing body of Earth and its colonies. Early in humanity’s off-world expansion, colonial administration was handled by a body known as the Sovereign Colonies, but the pressures of the Resource Wars and a powerful secessionist faction eventually saw the collapse of the Sovereign Colonies and the founding of an Earth-centric government in its place in 2314.
In addition to its administrative, policing, and trade oversight, EarthGov’s military arm, the Earth Defense Force (EDF), is responsible for defense and traffic control operations. EDF Navy destroyers defend key EarthGov locations and patrol outlying systems; its marines are known to be ruthless in their handling of pirates and other rogue elements.
EarthGov is often accused of conducting espionage or secret experiments. True, EarthGov controls many uncharted or restricted worlds, some with research facilities that have been off-limits since the time of the Sovereign Colonies, but the full truth might never be known.
The Church Of Unitology
Founded in 2215 by the prophet Michael Altman, the Church of Unitology is a religious organization with believers across known space. The Church has amassed incredible wealth and political power, and Unitology is the mainstream religion on many colonies.
According to the Church, Unitology was inspired by the discovery of the ‘Black Marker’, a mysterious alien object found in the Chicxulub crater on Earth. Though this Black Marker’s existence was allegedly covered up by EarthGov, Unitologists claim the Black Marker contains the secrets of human evolution and eternal life. Fragments of knowledge recovered from studying the Marker now form the basis of Unitology’s teachings: death is only a beginning, and that, with the Black Marker’s knowledge, the dead and the living can be reunited, allowing humanity to ascend to divinity.
Though many find comfort in Unitology, critics say that the Church is closer to a ruthless cult, unafraid to use force to protect its secrets. Believers are expected to donate not only their wealth and possessions, but even their bodies after death; acolytes who step out of line or who question Unitology’s teachings are forced to undergo psychologically-damaging “soul cleansing”. Some even claim that the Church has amassed a gigantic deep-space fleet, where the corpses of the faithful are kept in stasis for some unknown future purpose.
THE USG ISHIMURA
Length: 1.6 km
Launched: March 07, 2446
Commissioned: June 09, 2446
Flagship of the CEC fleet, the USG Ishimura is the first planet cracker-class vessel, designed to tear entire worlds apart with powerful gravity tethers, mine the resulting asteroids, and process the ore onboard. It is named after astrophysicist Hideki Ishimura, inventor of the shockpoint drive that allows faster-than-light travel, and one of the first capital starships to be outfitted with the drive. The ship is considered one of humanity’s greatest achievements: without the resources gathered by the Ishimura, Earth and its colonies would still be embroiled in the Resource Wars.
The Ishimura has been in continuous service since it was commissioned, completing 34 planet cracks and mining 14 trillion kilotons of product over 62 years of operation. Equipped for long-term, deep space operations, in addition to its mining decks the Ishimura has a full hydroponics suite, medical labs, and health and leisure facilities to accommodate a crew of over one thousand people.
Despite its faithful service, the Ishimura is growing obsolete; CEC is planning to decommission the planet cracker in 2509. Meanwhile, the Ishimura has been sent on a final mission to mine the remote world Aegis VII.