As promised, here's a brief write-up for the setting of my upcoming 15mm wargaming foray. If it reads like a first draft, well, it is! Any feedback or suggestions are welcome!
The GatesTo understand the Gatewar, one must look at the mankind's progression from the Information Age into the Gate Age. In 2143 when Canadian scientist Charles Brandt created the first working model of the Spacefold gate in a closed laboratory environment, man was suddenly empowered to explore the stars - if he could afford to do so.
|Fold Gate principle diagram from Charles Brandt's presentation to the UN.|
Following this discovery and the United States' subsequent construction of the first Space Fold Gate at Lagrange Point 1(L1), nearly every other developed nation (and some major corporate entities) began to either construct their own Gates or subsidize existing Gate projects in exchange for shared use.
Politicians predicted an age of peace as humanity united to venture out among the stars toward the discovery of untold worlds, technology, and possibly even civilizations. Poorer nations, however, were completely left out of this process. Unable to launch space programs of their own, they could only look on as more prosperous nations became even wealthier. When the growing fleets of surveying vessels began to return with reports of mineral-rich asteroid fields and reap massive rewards, unrest and hostility inevitably followed. The United Nations struggled to maintain order in various regions of the globe, and it quickly became apparent that its most powerful members were too busy protecting their own interests both on Earth and in space to lend foreign aid, leading the plunge into a conflagration of violence that further separated the First and Third Worlds.
DiscoveryAs he had set out to do, Man made discoveries amongst the stars. The first, and most chilling, was evidence of sentient extraterrestrial life. HD 84763 was its official designation, and it was the first of several discovered to date. Slag Worlds, people called them - the charred husks of planets - radar imaging showed ruined cities and infrastructure, the surface far too radioactive and in some cases volcanic to explore, although many scientific firms are working in attempt to do so.
This evidence brought many questions to the forefront of the public's attention, but simultaneously refused to provide any answers. Had these civilizations destroyed themselves? Had they been destroyed by other interstellar travelers? Were they human-like? How technologically advanced were they? The devastation seen on these worlds is far too great to ascertain many answers - although the documentation of multiple worlds in nearly identical states of ruin has ominous overtones. This, more than anything, calmed violence on Earth. Humanity now had a potential external threat. It was not long, though, before mankind found a new motivation to wage war against itself.
HD 69830 - Lachesis
|Moirai System - Lachesis and her sister planets Clotho and Atropos.|
Priority targets for surveys were planets identified by spectograph to be likely candidates for colonization - and so it was with the exploration of HD 69830, dubbed the Moirai system. 41 light-years from Earth and part of the Puppis constellation, Moirai is home to three massive Neptune-sized planets - Lachesis, Clotho, and Atropos. All three are mineral rich, but Clotho and Atropos have swirling poisonous atmospheres unsuitable for human life. The jewel, however, was Lachesis. An arid world of harsh badlands, sweeping deserts, rolling grasslands, and craggy mountains, Lachesis is not a comfortable planet - but it is a near perfect match for human habitation. Humanity breathed a collective sigh of relief at this announcement just as global powers hurriedly prepared their colonization efforts.
Colonization was not without its complications, however. Lachesis is home to a civilization of crustacean-based humanoids - Stygotantulus Sapiens, otherwise referred to as "Crusties" or "Prawns." Humanity had finally done it - alien life had been found. The first colonies on the ground were those of Sol United - the largest of the surveying corporations. Their initial reports indicated that the Crusties were extremely primitive, barely sentient creatures that were simply part of the wildlife, bottom-feeders and scavengers that would not impede colonization and mining efforts. This fabrication was not exposed until a full decade later when humanitarian organizations began joining the colonies and discovered a fully sentient race of beings whose cities and society had been all but annihilated by government and corporate refining operations aided by aggressive military expansion.
|Crusty refugees outside the Russian colony New Samara.|
TetrobiumThe second factor which makes Lachesis the jewel of Moirai is the presence of Tetrobium, an incredibly lightweight and strong metal alloy unlike any previously encountered. Crusty civilization and technology, which was at roughly 2000 A.D. technology levels before colonization, is based almost entirely on this substance. They had mined most of the easily accessible tetrobium on the planet's surface to build their sprawling hive cities, all of which were dismantled and melted down in a mere eight years. Displaced refugees formed makeshift settlements outside human colonies, formed wasteland enclaves, often resorting to banditry and crime as a means of survival.
The low weight and high strength of tetrobium had allowed the Crusties to develop powersuit and walker technology that was simply impossible with the resources available to humanity, which was quickly adopted for military and construction purposes, finding its way into nearly every current military force. While expensive to field and maintain, this technology has revolutionized the way urban warfare is conducted.
News of events unfolding on Lachesis eventually grew beyond containment - colonists, reporters, and aid workers returned to Earth with horrific stories of what crimes humanity had committed in the name of material gain. Many were outraged, few could act. It was clear, however, that whomever controlled the supply of tetrobium had a clear path to dominance. While war on Earth is limited to small flare-ups in the Third World, Lachesis is now a warzone as national rivalries erupt into full-scale conventional military confrontations. Crusties, having been moved to barely livable reservations which continue to grow as shanty towns on the outskirts of nearly every human settlement, regularly stage riots and armed uprisings. Tribal in nature, Crusties have no central government, but are beginning to organize in the face of the threat of humanity and burning desire for vengeance against alien oppressors. Some governments are sympathetic to the plight of the Crusties, and employ them as native guides and trackers, even going so far as to employ Crusty mercenaries. Private corporate militaries vie for their own control, often clashing with various national military as well as Crusty rebels.
The year is 2187. The Second Age of Colonialism is underway, heralded by today's Gatewar.