by Max Barry

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The Republic of
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...Except as a Means of Peace.

"I have never advocated war except as a means of peace."
    ~General Ulysses S. Grant

The Republic Defense Force - or commonly 'RDF' - is the single military organization maintained by the Republic of Sunset. Conceived and assembled as a combined arms force with an emphasis on operational flexibility and mobility, its many areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to; Patrols of Republic Territory, Defensive and Offensive Military Action, Support of Friendly Forces in Military Actions, Research and Development of Military Technologies, Intelligence Gathering, Search and Rescue, Disaster Recovery Assistance, Diplomacy, and Exploration. Due to these enormously varied areas of responsibility, and because the Defense Force is a volunteer organization, it has seen fit to establish itself as a 'Career' rather than 'Term of Service' organization. Inducted members often move within the organization rather than out of it with many transferring between the different Commands multiple times during their career. It is not uncommon for a service member to begin their professional life as a Marine, move into Research and Development, and then on to something as esoteric as Diplomat or Archaeologist.

Combined Operations

The Defense Force is divided into several Commands. Each of these has a separate focus as far as the training and equipment of the individual service member but in practice they all serve and function together as one cohesive force. What does this all mean in the field? The best example is the Exploration Command. When one encounters a Resolution-Class Frigate operating in an exploration capacity in the field, they are meeting representatives from all four Commands. The majority of the crew is under Fleet Command; The officers that handle the day-to-day operations of the ship itself. Then there will be the scientists and researchers who are aboard to study whatever they find, with these operating under the aegis of the Exploration Command. There will also be a contingent of Marines there to protect the scientists on the ground. Finally, the ship will have a Quartermaster that works to keep the ship stocked and supplied with whatever it might need. While all of these are ultimately under the command of the Captain, their chain of information still goes through their various Commands. Supply needs are filed with System, research reports with Exploration, and so forth.

    Fleet Command
    The Fleet is concerned with the care and feeding of the Defense Force's armada of bleeding edge starships. These range from massive dreadnoughts to tiny scouts as well as sprawling starbases - though most of these fall under the aegis of the Planetary Command. The typical Fleet officer is highly educated and technologically adept and augmentation is usually done for quality of life purposes; Faster connections, smart systems to automate routine tasks, and the like. All Defense Force personnel above the rank of Seaman are trained in the use of NEENJA, though this is not an individual augmentation. The officers and enlisted personnel under Fleet Command are primarily concerned with three particular areas and all have specialty training in one of those three while retaining at least a general knowledge of the other two. These areas are: Operations, Maintenance and Engineering, and Combat. Some officers may chose to further specialize into a particular area but the majority of the crew moves through various tasks within their chosen area. This assures a high level of redundancy in personnel as well as serving to break up the monotony of long-duration assignments.

    Marine Command
    The Marines focus on individual combat; They are commandos, assault troops, scouts, and similar. Most of their training focus is on powered armor combat as well as piloting various ground vehicles and the effective deployment of the Force's various drone systems. It is very rare to find a Marine that is not physically augmented in some way, either through chemical or genetic alteration, physical enhancement such as muscle grafting, or cybernetic replacement. Those that aren't tend to be from species that are already ahead of physical norms and even among these additional augmentation is common. Because Defense Force military philosophy emphasizes orbital dominance rather than ground combat, the Marine Command is relatively small compared to the ground forces of other nations of similar size. It makes up for the numerical disadvantage through superior equipment. Where one nation might field a thousand or even ten thousand soldiers, the Republic fields ten Marines built from the best technology money can't buy.

    Auxiliary Explorer Program

    Authorized alongside the Defense Budget
    of 2137, the Young Explorer Program
    allows those individuals who are not yet
    old enough to enlist in the Defense
    Force but who can pass the Exploration
    Command's entrance exam to embark
    on a limited Field Cadet program under
    the supervision of a veteran Exploration
    Command officer.

    These Field Cadets are sent out on
    assignments that are considered unlikely
    to see combat, such as cultural
    assessments, archaeology field work,
    sample collection, and other similar
    assignments. Those that complete the
    program with an 'Excellent' assessment
    or better are forwarded to the Exploration
    Command for direct service placement at
    enhanced rank.

    In 2176, this program will be expanded
    and renamed to allow individuals from
    civilizations in the so-called 'Core
    Expansion Zone' to accompany specific
    Exploration Command officers both
    aboard ship and in the field in an effort to
    both educate and evangelize them and
    civilizations they might encounter to the
    benefits of Republic membership.

    Exploration Command
    Paradoxically, the Exploration Command sees the most combat of the various organizational Commands. They are charged with seeking out new life and new civilizations; Boldly going where no one has gone before...

    Which often brings them into conflict with various hostile powers, dangerous animals, and the myriad other dangers of space exploration. The REC is also the most typical first point of contact between the Republic and another nation or civilization. It maintains a large fleet of starships whose normal purpose is exploration and scientific discovery. These ships are space-faring research facilities, built from the hull up with cutting-edge technology to give their crews the best possible equipment and information they need. Berths on these ships are highly sought after by academics and researchers from across Sunset and its allies and are seen as a way to get up close and personal with the latest in scientific discovery and exploration. There are a wide variety of missions that the Exploration Command encompasses; Initial Exploration and Survey, In-depth Exploration, Diplomatic Contact, and Research and Development. Inside of these broader missions there are even more possibilities and every scientific field is represented somewhere in the SEC. From archaeologists working dig sites on long-dead worlds to theoretical physicists seeking to broaden the understanding of the universe, there are many options for those who are drawn to a life in the broader galaxy.

    System Command
    The System Command is the logistics, support, and training element of the RDF. Most of its activities center on the various starbases and supply bases as well as training facilities that the RDF requires to maintain optimum readiness. It accomplishes a large amount of manufacturing as well; Most of the RDF's regular equipment and all of their starships are too dangerous or classified to entrust to civilian manufacture. Those interested in a career in the System Command have a lot of different options. They could be researchers at any number of facilities, a maintenance technician at a starbase, or a construction specialist at a remote field base. System Command is also where a lot of semi-retired RDF personnel tend to gravitate. Duty is generally lighter, the restrictions on families much lighter, and the opportunities for recreation and personal growth greater. These postings are considered low-risk, and are often staffed by both older, veteran officers who are looking for light duty while they raise a family, and by those new service members who have yet to fit themselves into the generous mold the RDF expects of them.


The Republic of Sunset has a very small military for its size and can thus afford to be picky. The pay is exceptional, recruiting is arduous, training is intense, and demand is high. Even the enlistment process is difficult; In an age of Internet-everything, potential Cadets face an overland journey on foot to turn in their hand-written application in person at only a small handful of training facilities per planet. A variety of obstacles are intentionally placed in their way to discourage those who lack determination and the mental and physical resourcefulness that it will take to make a career officer. The training process is egalitarian; All species and genders attend the same classes and are given the same assignments. Instead of distinct physical standards Cadets are required to show marked improvement in their mental and physical abilities over the term. That isn't to say that life at the Academy is one of misery; Graduates often call their term the most challenging and intense four years of fun they will ever have.

There is no specific officer training school; A Cadet's 'grade' is assigned by their Academy with G4 being those at the top of their class. Each Cadet is assumed to be potential officer material and most will find immediate placement as a bridge officer. Those of G3 and G4 will occasionally be offered short-term bridge-level training opportunities, typically aboard ships that are on Rest & Relaxation or Extended Maintenance & Refurbishment assignment. New graduates are integrated into existing crews where they are usually put on second or third shift duty, with the exception of Marines. Marine officers usually go directly into active duty formations for extensive field training.

Did You Know?

There are nearly two hundred different
Defense Force training facilities scattered
across every major world and most of
the colonies as well. The majority of
these are basic training academies where
new Cadets learn the tasks, duties, and
technologies involved in a career in the
Defense Forces. Additionally there are
secondary schools, some associated with
the training academies and others not,
that teach everything from medicine to
engineering to archaeology. Some of these
more advanced schools are themselves
connected with public and private
institutions of higher learning, both in
Sunset and among its Triumvirate allies.
The average enlisted service member is a high school graduate in the top of their class. By the time they have reached the rank of Ensign they typically have the equivalent of a Two Year Degree with a Lieutenant increasing that to Four, a Commander a Master's, and a Captain either a Doctorate or a Masters with a second in progress. This is in addition to the basic military education and the continuing education they receive in their primary field. Additionally, all Defense Forces personnel are expected to be teachers or instructors, sharing their knowledge both with those under them and with those who desire to learn.

For those wondering how it is possible to 'flunk out' of the system, this is typically at the discretion of Academy staff and particularly the Commandant, who is charged with surveying each Cadet individually to assess their fitness as a potential officer and representative of the Republic. This is sink-or-swim; Cadets who do not have the maturity or mentality expected are removed from the program after a suitable observation period rather than any kind of organized disciplinary period. This too is intentional; Cadets who cannot grasp the Commandant's disapproval of their actions are clearly not suited to a ship-board environment where inter-personal relations are extremely important.

The Defense Force specifically looks for lifers; Those willing and able to stay in the Service until retirement. Even those individuals who wish to have a family are encouraged to remain in the Force, often transferring to rear echelon activities such as logistics, research and development, training, or maintenance. It is not unheard of for an individual to transfer one of these positions and then back to a front-line position when their family duties or situation has been settled. Until individuals reach the rank of Admiral physical fitness requirements are arduous. Those that are willing are physically augmented, and all members have a suite of cybernetic augments. The normal mix is a wired data jack for interfacing with ship's systems, power armor, weapons, and the like. This system is isolated from their 'civilian' system for security purposes. It typically has things like identification tokens, mission databases, and similar 'classified' information. Most of their augments are on the civilian side; Databases, translators, sensors, and the like. These can connect to the Defense Force's out-facing communications system while all internal connections - and importantly control - must be physical.

Physical augmentation varies by species and by the individual's service branch. Basic chemical enhancement is the most common option with specialty 'Soldier Drugs' used to boost muscle growth and speed as well as endurance. Some species might require surgical replacement instead where the muscles and nervous system are replaced with genetically engineered versions. Those that are wounded, especially Marines, will often opt for full or partial cybernetic conversion. This replaces some to most of their regular body with a cyborg system. Very occasionally an individual will volunteer for a full 'Super Soldier' conversion where their body is entirely replaced with a customized genetically engineered body that does not match their previous species at all, but is rather an engineered species that incorporates a wide variety of enhancements from a variety of different sources.

Rank Structure

There are, essentially, three distinct hierarchies within the Defense Force and these are based around rank, role, and population. The first of these is that of those individuals with a rank of Ensign to Senior Lieutenant. These are the everyday members of the Force; They do the hard work of operating specific systems and are typically known for a high level of individual expertise in a specific area.

Ensigns are those who have proven both their technical expertise and experience but not yet gained any command experience. These are assigned to a Sub-Division that is led by a Lieutenant or Senior Lieutenant and assigned to one particular ship's function - helm, navigation, tactical, etc - and are then assigned to a particular shift by their Lieutenant with the oversight of the ship's Executive Officer. This is typically Second or Third Shift, depending on their level of expertise. They will then occasionally swap shifts with the lower shift for both experience and variety. The same arrangement is also common on stations and planetary facilities though Sub-Divisions are typically larger in these instances.

A Lieutenant is typically directly responsible for a specific ship's system - again; helm, navigation, tactical, etc - while also being responsible to the ship's Executive Officer and to the individuals under their command. The exact number of service members inside the various units varies with their duties and, depending on the intensity of that assignment, double or even triple duty in various areas. Promotion from Ensign to Lieutenant to Senior Lieutenant is mostly informal and driven both by the individual and their commanding officer though the final decision always rests with someone in the next level of the hierarchy.

Officers with a rank of Lieutenant Commander to Captain fall into the Command hierarchy. These are individuals who have shown not just leadership potential but ability as well. These are the managers but they do not just manage; They determine both tactics and strategy and direct the actions of large numbers of individuals under them. They need to be proficient at delegating but also willing and able to undertake a task themselves when they are the best suited for the job. Because of this they have a lot of responsibility but a lot of personal power as well; Any of these officers can be given command of a starship, starbase, large planetary facility, or similar. Typically only a Captain can take command of a starship though some of the smallest only rate a Lieutenant Commander or an exceptionally able Senior Lieutenant.

For most leadership-oriented officers, the rank and title of Captain is their ultimate goal. To command a starship with all of the power and responsibility that it brings is their greatest desire in life and it is one that the Defense Force places an especially strong emphasis on. A ship's Captain - no matter the rank - has the power to do both tremendous good and reckless evil and is entrusted with one of the most expensive symbols of the might of the Republic. Abusing it is one of the fastest ways to leave the service. Promotion to Captain - and any rank there-after - must be explicitly approved by the Secretary-General personally.

Beyond Captain are those individuals of Flag Officer rank. This stage in the hierarchy is all about strategy, goals, and means. From Rear Admiral to Grand Admiral, these are the officers that set policy, manage the large-scale requisition of men and material, advise politicians, and ensure that military policy backs the laws and goals of the civilian government. Their duties are very much managerial but they have a large staff to delegate to. Some are purely hand-shakers and talkers while others like to get their hands dirty in the field. While notionally the Defense Force rank structure is based purely on merit, there is also a large measure of ambition beyond even the drive to become an officer and most of the Flag-level officers are intense individuals with a large amount of personality.

Federal State Military Forces

Aside from the Republic's Defense Force, there are three additional sources of military resources and manpower that can be called on in time of need. While all have their own peacetime duties that keep them occupied, they are all kept (somewhat) up-to-date through various agreements, contracts, treaties, and lease terms. The first are the quasi-independent military forces maintained by the various Federal States; These are entities which have seconded their defense and international diplomatic representation to the Sunset Federal Government. Most are the political remnants of various former Triumvirate NationStates while others are close allies that experienced some kind of political strife or, on one occasion, a natural disaster of such magnitude that it rendered the central government non-functional. Because the Federal States are, for all intents and purposes, part of the Republic there is no limit on the kinds of technology that can be transferred to them. Some may use different rank structures and doctrines, but they all have a second Defense Force equivalent that will insure inter-operation in times of need.

All of the Federal States adopt the same military hardware as the Defense Force, especially in the area of major systems such as starships and ground combat vehicles. This ensures that if they are called upon the Federal State Military Forces will have essentially complete interoperability and coordination among the various military structures. Because they are de facto part of the Republic, all of these organizations have access to Republic training facilities, maintenance centers, bases, and similar infrastructure. They also have unrestricted access to programs such as the Auxillary Explorers and their scientists and researchers are regularly found aboard the various starships of the Exploration Command.

    Imperial Navy Khenala
    The Imperial Navy operates exclusively in defense of the few Khenalan out-system colonies that were established before the central government fell. Maintaining their own culture and hierarchy, they are rarely seen outside of these systems. However, most of their officers are cross-trained at a Defense Force Academy sometime during their career and they make use of an extensive mix of Triumvirate military systems and technologies.

    Mangalan Star Navy Mangala
    The Star Navy was one of the easiest forces to fully integrate; It had been using 2nd Generation Defense Force equipment for generations and when the current push was put out, it rapidly adopted to the new models. Like the Defense Force, the Star Navy has a particular emphasis on exploration and can often be found operating both independently and in concert with other Triumvirate forces away from their out-system colonies.

    MilCorp New ararebee
    A stand-out among the various quasi-government forces, MilCorp is the reorganized reincarnation of the notoriously mercenary New ArAreBee military. Under its latest corporate charter, it operates as both the official paramilitary force of the ArAreBee Federal State and as a contracted Law Enforcement agency. In total numbers of personnel it actually rivals the Sunset Defense Force but with the caveat that most of these are street-level police officers. It also services security contracts to dozens if not hundreds of other corporations in direct competition with perhaps a dozen other security services firms spread throughout the Republic.

    Previous to its reorganization, these services were indeed notoriously mercenary as provisions embedded in the contract would often allow the company to secretly negotiate with a potential threat - industrial espionage and similar - and accept payment from them in return for looking the other way if the payout exceeded a specified penalty clause. With the reorganization and under the watchful eye of the Department of Justice, these peculiar addendum's have been eliminated but conspiracy theorists still point to them and argue that they have allowed MilCorp to sell the Republic's national security secrets to anyone from foreign powers to little grey men from outer space.

    Astral Defense Force Ravenspire

    Therian Home Fleet The kinslayer
    By the reckoning of the high-level Defense Force planners responsible for implementing the transition to a single equipment and systems base, the replacement of the ships and technology of the Therian Home Fleet will be the hardest to accomplish if it happens at all. Most of the warships belonging to the Kinslayer Clans are individual constructions and more importantly they are operated and crewed by individual families, sometimes with a history that stretches back for hundreds of years or more. These ships are as much symbols as they are the means of waging war and simply replacing them is unthinkable to the Clans; Many were involved in the events that led to the Kinslayer appellation and are thus an important part of their heritage.

    While they do not discuss the matter with outsiders, the events that led to their exile are carried as a badge of pride since the Kinslayer Clans were willing to face eternal separation from their people in order to prevent a greater evil.

In-System Law Enforcement

Most of the heavily-populated and trafficked star systems have their own stellar law enforcement - Constabulary - that then operate their own starships. These typically serve as customs cutters, patrol vessels, and similar law enforcement-oriented activities. Because these are government entities the ships they operate are Current Generation in terms of capabilities - at least when they are purchased. They operate under rules set down by the Department of Justice and all of their officers have had specific training through the Defense Force Academies as well as through various specialty Law Enforcement training programs. These organizations, like the Corporate Forces, are popular post-retirement destinations for Defense Forces personnel, especially those who might want to stay close to home for family reasons.

Corporate Entities

A few of the largest corporations operate their own naval vessels. Most typically these are the various service-oriented ships operated by the Defense Force such as transports, recovery cruisers, and science vessels. These are always 2nd and 3rd Generation vessels; 2nd Generation starships have always been demilitarized and had their weapon, sensor, and other combat systems replaced with civilian versions while the 3rd Generation starships may retain some of their current combat systems depending on the lease'e in question. While this does not make them equal to the naval forces of equivalent-level NationStates, it does put them on par with most pirates and less-advanced NationStates. These vessels are operated under a lease contract with the Republic that states that they may be activated for Defense Force duty in an emergency; Typically this is when they are the closest possible response vessel to a civilian emergency but there are plans in place to use them as escorts and second-tier duty vessels in case of a large-scale conflict.

The reasons for operating their own ships varies, but there is a potent lure; Leasing the vessel through the Defense Forces provides significant savings over buying a new one of comparable civilian manufacture with the additional advantage that both training and maintenance is done by the Defense Force. They are also a benefit to the leasing corporation as an attractive recruiting point for new hires. Retired Defense Force personnel seek out these positions as a comfortable and familiar place and civilians with a militarist bent like serving on them as it gives something of the illusion of danger while still being an essentially safe job; Because of the presence of In-System Law Enforcement and regular Defense Force patrols, there is essentially no risk of piracy or raiding unless a ship happens to find itself in the Frontier Systems or beyond the edge of civilized space.

The Uniform

The basic RDF uniform is a jacketed blouse and trousers made from a high-tech material that accomplishes several functions as well as augments the wearer's existing capabilities. At base it is a low-profile body armor that is capable against low-powered energy weapons, low to medium kinetic weapons, and provides some protection against traditional melee weapons such as knives. It is vacuum-capable for a very limited time with the addition of gloves and a soft helmet. These are normally kept in the trouser pockets and in a pouch around the collar.

The dark gray areas, as well as all pocket seams and beading, are TYCS-Standard geckoweb, a hermaphroditic material that seals the pockets as well as allows the wearer to hang various items that incorporate the same material on them. Tool pouches, tools, lights, holsters, ammunition pouches, and other items all have the same material used as a backing or as a gripping surface. This also includes the rank badges, name plates, and the Sunset flag and Triumvirate of Yut roundel. Regulations place either the Sunset flag or a starship insignia on the right shoulder, the Triumvirate roundel on the left, rank insignia on both sleeves below them, and the name badge on the cross-collar tab with another Sunset sunburst on the leading edge of the tab. The left breast is usually left blank for a ribbon bar in case of formal use. A small flash of fabric at collar and tab is color-coded for the various military specializations: White for Medical, Orange for Fleet, Black for Marine, Gray for Intelligence, and Blue for Diplomatic. The Dress version of the uniform has a fancier cut and two rows of piping down the middle and at the sleeves in the individual's specific military specialization. It is always worn with a ribbon bar and any medals.

Secondary uniform elements include a hooded tunic that can be worn over the regular uniform in wet weather and often finds additional duty as a dress or sleepwear. There is also a unisex swimsuit that also finds duty as a second insulating layer in cold weather. A fatigue t-shirt and exercise shorts are standard issue and both can be worn as authorized in low-risk areas or as additional layers in cold weather. For extreme cold weather there is a matching parka and pants, though most prefer to wear the environmentally-sealed ABAS in such instances. An optional beret, side cap, jungle hat, or ball cap cover can be worn as well, and these incorporate a soft helmet concealed inside the band. The majority of the outer material is geckoweb and wearers typically mark them with either their rank or ship insignia. Caps with either the Sunset flag or Triumvirate roundel and ship or organizational name are frequently given away as souvenirs to local residents or exchanged with service members of other nations for similar items.

All personnel are issued the same boots. These feature a flexible upper made out of leather with the same cloth used in the uniform as a backing and a geckoweb closure. The lower has a reinforcing band of darker leather that protects both heel and toe. The toe section conceals a hard space-age plastic cap that keeps the toes from getting squished. The sole is a synthetic rubber that is fully bonded to the shoe with both glue and internal ferrous ribbing. There is a small battery pack in the heel that will charge the ribbing to allow the wearer to walk on a metal deck if artificial gravity is lost. It lasts the same limited duration that the uniform is vacuum-capable for and is just strong enough for emergency but not everyday use.


While there are exceptions, in general the Republic's Defense Force utilizes the very bleeding edge of military technology* and its equipment reflects that fact. It believes in the principle of Better, Faster, Cheaper (Pick Two) and Better is always one of the two. The SDF operates on a Twenty-Year 'Generational' replenishment system. This means that all of the Defense Force's equipment is expected to last approximately twenty years before being rotated out for a completely new model. During that period there are often refurbishments and retrofits to major systems, such as warships, and that twenty year period allows for plenty of research and development as well as design work on the next generation of systems. Replacement is not done all at once but is rather a gradual process that takes place over that span. This means that one can expect to encounter both new and current versions of a particular piece of equipment in the field, as well as refitted versions of both new and current systems.

There are a few exceptions to this system; Aurora-Class Transit Gates and Singularity-Class Stations, as well as the even-more massive CORE Stations, are expected to have an operational lifetime of multiple generations due to both size and expense. These systems are regularly upgraded to maintain operational parity with current Defense Force systems. Systems that have been rotated out of duty are first assessed for their condition. Those that are still in good condition are held in reserve as 'active replacements' while those that are in average condition are either scrapped, sold to allied or friendly governments, or leased/sold to business entities. Anything in poor condition is scrapped, used for training purposes, or occasionally installed as a museum piece depending on the narrative of the item involved. No matter the condition or age, all classified technologies and systems are removed unless the transfer is to a Triumvirate of Yut member state.

Since the most common encounter the everyday person will have with the Defense Force is directly with one of its officers or enlisted, this section will cover their equipment first (basic uniforms having been covered elsewhere in this document).

Combat Armor

The Advanced Body Armor System (ABAS) is worn by all personnel in a combat zone unless they are wearing something heavier. It's vacuum-capable with a full life support system and provides reasonable protection against all infantry-level weapons and some protection against heavy (crew-served or vehicle mounted) level weaponry. It has all kinds of bells and whistles; Multiple optical, audio, and electromagnetic sensors, target processing, communications gear, self-sealing joints, magnetic/gecko boots and gloves, gecko-web strips, pouches, holsters, cyber-barriers, drone sockets, drone control systems... It's very nice - and very expensive.

The GhostDragon Power Armor System (Pictured) is that 'something heavier'. The standard armor for all Marines in a combat zone it is a very expensive suit packed with sensors, weapon systems, armor, and in the middle of all that a battle-hardened Marine who may be a veteran of a dozen battles on as many worlds - or even more commonly now a RATING remotely inhabited by that same Marine operator. It is also commonly issued to REC (Exploration Command) personnel who might be operating in a hazardous environment, or one where the suits' extended capabilities may see some use. These suits are typically painted to be less intimidating and more visually identifiable. Both versions, Marine and Explorer, are often further customized by their operators. External pouches, 'nose art', kill markings, and other modifications are very common.

The SDF's LAAS, or Light Armor Augmentation System is a set of semi-rigid modules that are designed to be worn over the skin suit that is standard issue for RDF Intelligence Field Operatives. It adds some measure of protection as well as several advanced systems that are too bulky to be included in the regular skin suit. An operative can chose to wear some, all, or none of the LAAS over their suit. While it doesn't interfere with the skin suit's shape-shifting and camouflage systems, it does add a measure of bulk that can interfere with some activities.

Also included in the list is the SHC-Zero's Power Armor mode; This convertible armor/vehicle system is intended as an option for individuals who might occasionally need additional protection, such as Diplomats and Explorers, but is also an option for Marines who need a high-speed and lower profile transport rather than a much larger ground vehicle or shuttle craft. It has nearly the same systems as the GhostDragon though it does not offer as much protection or firepower.

In the past year an enormous shift has begun within the Defense Force and while all of these systems are still in the field, the most common 'armor' system going forward will be the RATING. These cover a lot of ground between both personnel, armor, and system and are essentially all three. At their base the RATING is the new common seaman. They are autonomous units that perform the routine and boring regular maintenance tasks that all starships require but that are essentially the same day-to-day. This means that there are fewer officers aboard each ship but also that even the average cadet can, upon graduation, expect an officer posting and to have some measure of impact on their ship of service and the Republic itself without waiting years for a promotion opportunity or undertaking some exemplary action.

Past that, these units will also serve as the Republic's front-line soldiery and enable it to deploy large field armies where necessary without conscription or training. Even more remarkable, these units can be remotely inhabited by both experienced officers and civilian experts with no risk to themselves and thus give the Defense Force immediate on-the-ground access to the best of the best in both military & civilian aptitude and expertise. RATING units are denoted by generation, with the current LinkGen3's already supplanting the previous LinkGen1's and LinkGen2's with proposals currently tabled for the cutting-edge Gen4's where the RATING appealation will make the formal transition from the previous 'REDSHIRT' acronym.

Trojan-Class Outpost

Space Stations

    LinkCORE Station
    Design and Construction: Republic of Sunset Special Projects Division (Ares), Republic Fleet Systems (Classified Location)
    Schema (RDF-XXXX): Roman Numeral (I, II, III)
    The largest single construct the Defense Forces operate, CORE Stations are fleet replenishment facilities that have the capacity to service, maintain, and repair hundreds of ships at a time. They are heavily armed and armored and offer a vital refuge in wartime for both Fleet starships as well as allied warships of any size and design. While not fulfilling their primary duty they are often utilized in conjunction with the facilities at Monolith Station to undertake the mass movement of populations between planetary systems. CORE I is the only one of the three that is available to regular commercial or neutral military traffic. Before the completion of Monolith Station, it was the primary mass evacuation center for refugee populations and much of its interior has been rebuilt to serve as habitat. Particularly, it has four of the largest space-borne water tanks in existence; Two with fresh water and two with salt water. Both are completely built-out as underwater and coastal environments and these allow the Station to house large aquatic or amphibian populations in comfort.

    LinkSingularity-Class Station
    Design and Construction: AzTrac Design and Consulting (Mars), Republic Fleet Systems (Orbital Construction)
    Schema (RDF-XXXX): Honorary (Thorgardson, Nathicana, Speaker-to-Animals, Ilunaia Keral)
    These large stations are constructed and deployed to every Major World and serve as a local Fleet Supply Base. They also serve civilian traffic and, while armored, are not heavy armed. Each also serves as the terminus for a planetary space elevator, linking it into the planetary maglev transit system and allowing the rapid movement of both goods and people into orbit and back again. They are universally paired with an Aurora-Class Transit Gate and this allows rapid civilian traffic between all the Major Worlds in the Republic as well as many beyond.

    The Singularity-Class is constructed with a unique two-part design. The lower half serves as the tether while the upper half can detach to orbit independently. Normally the two are kept paired to allow the easy movement of civilian and military traffic between the two halves, but during a conflict the pair are separated to keep the military target of the upper station from presenting an unnecessary risk to the lower civilian half.

    LinkAurora-Class Transit Station
    Design and Construction: Republic of Sunset Special Projects Division (Ares), Republic Fleet Systems (Orbital Construction)
    Schema (RDF-XXXX): Planetary (Ares, Mars, Chuh-Yu, Anuke, Shiva)
    The Aurora-Class is a large heavily armed and armored station that also functions as one end of an artificial wormhole. All Aurora-Class are linked and provide a safe and secure transit system for civilian and military traffic to every Major World. They are also capable of linking to any other network that uses wormholes as its method of travel, such as the Menelmacari and Northrop-Grumman gate systems. Outside of the Republic network, these connections are voluntary per the Government involved and are not regularly available. These massive stations are also an integral part of the Republic's communications network. While maintaining a connection to the other gates, they also send an incredible amount of data traffic between the various locations at near-instant speeds. These data connections are constantly in use, allowing individuals anywhere in Sunset to communicate seamlessly with anyone, no matter where they are. The bandwidth available may taper off depending on how remote the ends of the connection are, but the network is constantly expanding and a remote location today might be a major node tomorrow.

    LinkSidereal-Class Medical Station
    Design and Construction: Liquid Design / Saint Medical Systems (Mars / Notch), Hendrick Brothers Fleet Systems (Shiva)
    Schema (RDF-XXXX): Helpful (Mercy, Comfort, Charity, Hope, Recovery, Deliverance, Relief, Salvation, Service, Sustenance)
    The Sidereal-Class is a hospital station. It's armored but unarmed and clearly marked as a medial facility and will help all comers. Each Sidereal-Class is as, or better, equipped than a world-class hospital facility. They have hundreds of configurable medical wards with the potential for thousands of beds. While primarily intended as surgical and recovery facilities, they can also serve as capable refugee and mass transport craft. Sidereal-Class also have the ability to dock directly with ships of nearly any size and type. Due to their need to support ground-based operations, they carry a large number of shuttle craft compared to similarly sized vessels. Each station carries numerous transport shuttles of various sizes, the majority of which have a medical configuration. The remainder are configured for search and rescue, mass evacuation, and disaster recovery operations.

    LinkTrojan-Class Outpost
    Design and Construction: Liquid Design (Ares), Aerca Fleet Systems (N'Xypndiltn, Ju-Docri)
    Schema (RDF-XXXX): Moon (Luna, Callisto, Ganymede, Titan, Phobos)
    The Trojan-Class is either a very small space station or a medium sized starship, depending on how one classifies either. Inside of the Defense Force they fill two functions; They act as a long-duration resupply base in locations far away from regular Fleet services, and as recognizance and information-gathering outposts. Thus they are both found in distant parts of the galaxy where they might be supporting Exploration Command operations, or near the borders (if such things exist in the vastness of space) of neutral or unfriendly civilizations. While reasonably armored, the stations themselves are not armed to a heavy degree. Instead, they rely on a VDA that is established during their deployment to deter any hostilities towards the station. Since they are also resupply bases it would also be wise for anyone trying to attack these facilities to reconsider; Help may already be on the way. Due to both their size and their primary missions, they have some maintenance and repair facilities available and will help any who request aid, but their services should be considered emergency or temporary fixes only.

    LinkLagrange-Class Advanced Outpost
    Design and Construction: Liquid Design (Ares), Aerca Fleet Systems (Devil's Picnic Basket)
    Schema (SDF-04XX): Moon (Luna, Callisto, Ganymede, Titan, Phobos)
    The Lagrange-Class is an upgrade to the Trojan-Class. It is not expected to replace the existing stations, or even supplant them in the deployment roster, but instead it is intended to provide planners with an additional option between the Trojan and Singularity-Class facilities. Visually similar, the Lagrange has enhanced communications, storage, living, and defensive capabilities over the Trojan without significantly expanding either the size or the price of the station.

Extinction-Class Battleship


    LinkExtinction-Class Battleship
    Design and Construction: Synthetic Engineering (Chuh-Yu), Republic Fleet Construction Facility (Various)
    Schema (BB-XXXXXX): Evocative (Extinction (Class), Triumphant, Liberty, Dauntless (Fleet Flagship), Intrepid, Peacemaker, Courageous, Fearless, Stalwart, Undaunted, Valorous, Valiant, Resolute, Audacious, Daring, Determination, Tenacity, Alacrity, Fortitude, Vindicator, Exultation, Liberator, Avenger)
    The Extinction-Class is the largest warship fielded by the Defense Forces. They are typically tasked with combat or potential combat roles, avoiding routine tasks like local patrols in favor of field actions. A Extinction-Class will typically serve as the lead ship in a battle group (5 ships) or will form whole battle groups when assigned to a task force (25 ships). Their primary combat role is the direct engagement of other similarly-classed vessels or as a raider, targeting opposing military and infrastructure facilities with the goal of destroying or disabling them in a short engagement. While most Defense Forces starships have some kind of scientific and research facilities aboard, even if they are limited in nature or scope, the Extinction-Class does not. It is a dedicated warship and its systems and construction are purely designed and built around space-based combat. This also means that for its size it has a very small crew complement compared to others in the Fleet. One of the roles that has been proposed for the Extinction-Class is that of a siege craft. There has been a resurgence in the notion of heavily fortified planets and star systems and a starship that can spend a considerable amount of time picking off static defenses from range is potentially useful.

    LinkAscendant-Class Dreadnought
    Design and Construction: Synthetic Engineering (Chuh-Yu), Republic Fleet Construction Facility (Various)
    Schema (DR-XXXXXX): Aggressive (Extinction (Class), Unconquered Sun (Republic Flagship) Assault, Barrage, Blitzkreig, Bloodshed, Campaign, Carnage, Clash, Conflict, Crusade, Havoc, Onslaught, Ravage, Skirmish, Strife, Struggle, Warfare)
    The Ascendant-Class is designed and built around the long-duration combat assignment; It is the Fleet's trouble-shooter. With extended duration combat in mind, these warships are intended to operate for longer periods away from Fleet maintenance and replenishment facilities. They have an extensive suite of automated repair and resupply facilities as well as a larger crew complement than the more assault-focused warships such as the Extinction and Annihilation-Class and even more than the similarly conceived Opposition-Class Corvette. This being true, the Ascendant-Class does share many of the same systems as the new Destroyer and was born out of the same design team.

    LinkImpact-Class Cruiser
    Design and Construction: Synthetic Engineering (Chuh-Yu), Republic Fleet Construction Facility (Various)
    Schema (CR-XXXXXX): Large Cities (Equinox (Class), Sharanova, Shalbatana, New Vancouver, Neo Cairo, Perrotin, Toconao, Martin, Mazamba, Lassell, Arima, Ibragimov, Saravan, Ophir, Bronkhorst, Wallula, Dogana, Allegheny) or Sentient Species (Radiant (Class), Ojeni, Dulyani, Dwarf, Oeie)
    The Impact-Class is descended from the Equinox and then Cohort-Class of vessels, which was the first class of WarShip built by the Republic. These starships are designed and built to be one of the more flexible large combatants in the Defense Force inventory. While they strongly skirt the edge of a dedicated warship, they also have an excellent sensor system, are reasonably fast for their size, and have a large enough crew complement to allow for a good number of specialists. This also means that they are one of the more costly ships, which makes them extremely expensive in the already very expensive Fleet roster. Given their enhanced capabilities, these starships are expected to serve in the mid-range of Fleet operations. Thus, they will more often be encountered within the Sol Cluster, the Raumreich, and near the Ares Cluster. This will also put them regularly at various Triumvirate colonies, whether in passing or patrolling nearby.

    It is also the most common starship fielded by the Defense Force, being a good match for most any other single capital warship. They are frequently tasked with local patrol, support, and combat duties as well as heavily armed explorers. Most of the Impact-Class that are in service are held in reserve rather than in the field and these form the core elements of the Republic's Rapid Reaction & Strike capacity. Those ships that are found in the field are usually either paired up in a larger Task Force where they escort a larger Extinction-Class along with other support ships, or as the head of their own Battle Group with a pair of Resolution-Class Frigates and additional support ships.

    Did You Know?

    While the various starships, space stations, and small
    craft used by the Defense Forces are built by companies
    that reside within the Republic, they are very much an
    example of the widespread cooperation to be found
    within the various Triumvirate states. For example, the
    energy weaponry mounted is designed by an Akashan Union
    defense conglomerate, the materials used in the hull armor are
    engineered in Karmabaijan, and the interior furnishings
    inspired by as various of places as Menelmacar and
    Mangala. Sunset in turn provides similar technologies to
    its allies, such as entertainment and virtualization
    LinkResolution-Class Frigate
    Design and Construction: Synthetic Engineering (Chuh-Yu) / Republic Fleet Construction Facility (Various)
    Schema (FR-XXXXXX): Large Rivers (Resolution (Class), Columbia, Mississippi, Colorado, Mekong, Amazon, Yukon, White Nile, Blue Nile, Tharsis, Yangtze, Huang He, Ob–Irtysh, Paraná, Congo, Lena, Mekong, Mackenzie, Niger, Murray, Tocantins, Volga, Euphrates, Purús, Indus, Naryn, Salween, Niagara, Rio Grande, Danube, Zambezi)
    The most common starship encountered in the greater galaxy, the Resolution-Class is a premier exploration vessel that also frequently finds itself in a number of other roles thanks to its flexible design; All Republic diplomatic starships are of this class. They also serve as the AWACS of the Defense Forces during wartime; Using their extremely powerful sensor arrays to oversee and coordinate front line warships. The Resolution-Class is also the one exception to the regular Fleet Replacement cycle. Some of these ships are dispatched on long-exploration assignments that can last decades and take the ship and its crew well beyond the edges of known space and deep into the unknown regions of the galaxy. It is not unknown or unprecedented for one of these ships to be 'lost', a new ship with the same name re-launched, and the old one to turn up with a hundred stories to tell and a host of new crew recruited from many different cultures. Both the officers and crew - especially the Captains - of these ships tend to be the most adventurous and experienced crews in the Fleet. The best known of these ships is the White Nile which is under the command of Admiral Villanova, ex-President of Sunset, but every Resolution-Class has its own stories to tell.

    LinkAnnihilation-Class Destroyer
    Design and Construction: Synthetic Engineering (Chuh-Yu) / Republic Fleet Construction Facility (Various)
    Schema (DD-XXXXXX): Well-Known Places (Annihilation (Class), Uluru, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Everest, Olympus Mons, Krakatoa)
    The Annihilation-Class is the smaller cousin to the Extinction-Class; A pure WarShip designed and constructed for combat. Similar in size and layout to the Resolution-Class, they take the scientific facilities and replace them with pure fight. These ships are most often found as escorts for the larger battleships and dreadnoughts where they serve a skirmisher or screening role in combat. These are most often the ship to make the sacrifice play, putting themselves in harms way to avoid the loss of a larger and less immediately replaceable vessel. Only occasionally are these vessels found outside the Republic's core; Most are tasked to the Rapid Response force or escort patrol duty.

    Team Building

    While the lowest level organizational structure
    in the Fleet is the single starship, the larger
    command structure uses a 'Level Five' system
    to organize and manage the Fleet from a local
    to a galactic level. Each step up is essentially,
    but not always, an increase in rank where the
    officer overseeing a Group of starships would
    be an Admiral, a Force a Rear Admiral, and so
    forth. Additionally, each level is given a
    descriptor that indicates its general purpose;
    A Battle Group, a Support Force, a Patrol
    Fleet. Since one level will include five lower
    level groups, most end up as a mix of several
    different types though the highest level
    descriptor always indicates the most prevalent
    type of ship.

    LinkZenith-Class Fleet Transport
    Design and Construction: Synthetic Engineering (Chuh-Yu), Republic Fleet Construction Facility (Various)
    Schema (FT-85XX): Secretaries (Zenith (Class), Nyoma, Noldo, G'hrnla)
    Not the most glamorous job, but vital. The Zenith uses its large cargo capacity to ferry everything from spare parts to fuel to tanks between various supply bases, starbases, and solar systems. It is heavily armored in order to protect it's cargo, but only carries point defense weapons. Interestingly, the Zenith-Class has served as the starting point for any number of young hot-shot Captains who have turned a routine supply run into a one-in-a-million rescue mission, evacuation, or other sudden situation into the springboard for a transfer to a more high-profile assignment. They are frequently assisted in this by a large body of 'old hands' who have transferred to the logistics side to have something of a semi-retirement.

    The Zenith-Class has one large integral cargo section with loading doors on the back end of the 'crescent'. This is a roll-on, roll-off system where ramps can extend and allow direct ground access to the interior. This also allows the ship to function as a Marine transport, putting large numbers of troops and vehicles on the ground very rapidly. At the rear of the ship, between the nacelles, there is also an open framework that can house any number of large cargo modules or even smaller starships. Planetary landing while cargo is present in this system is not advised, but is possible. Because of its extensive 'haul' capacity, the Zenith also functions as a recovery and salvage vessel and with special fittings has the ability to directly grapple another ship - even in combat - and remove it to a friendly starbase or other maintenance facility.

    LinkOpposition-Class Corvette
    Design and Construction: Synthetic Engineering (Chuh-Yu), Republic Fleet Construction Facility (Various)
    Schema (CV-XXXXXX): Former Captains (Johnson, Yang, Teward)
    The Opposition-Class is a lightly-manned vessel that fills an auxiliary or skirmish roll in the RDF. They are known for their tactics of quickly closing with an opponent in order to finish them off at close range. Unlike the larger Extinction and Ascendant-Class warships, these warships are hardly ever deployed outside of Fleet-scale combat actions - with the notable exception of duty in the various System Constabularies. Because of this, it lacks many of the systems of the more sophisticated main-line warships. Typically stationed at large installations such as Singularity and Aurora-Class Stations, they are then held in Inactive Reserve status where their crews may run combat simulations but are otherwise posted to duty stations aboard the larger installation until needed. They have one of the smallest crew complements in the Defense Force, equal only to the Halo-Class Fast Courier. With only five crew members aboard almost all regular maintenance and service must be performed either at a larger facility or with the assistance of another ship, such as the Zenith-Class Transport. They also have an extremely limited deployed duration and are not modified to allow non-humanoid crew members except on a very limited basis.

    The Opposition-Class was introduced during the current Fleet replenishment cycle with the goal of replacing several existing ships and vessels in the Fleet roster: The Nova, Super Nova, and Tempest Classes as well as the Mk-39 Thunderhead Aerial Destroyer. To accomplish this much of what would have otherwise been crew space has been given over to ship's systems and carriage with the two ship's escape pods also functioning as living quarters and duty stations.

Element-Type Transport

Secondary and Ground Craft

    LinkLoki Medium Dropship
    Design and Construction: TME Industrial Engineering (Titan), Republic Military Manufacturing (Various)
    With tens of millions potentially serving throughout Triumvirate space, the Solarian Reaches, and throughout the Galaxy, the Loki Medium Dropship is without a doubt one of the most successful designs in modern history. With dozens of variants and a base model that is renowned as rugged, dependable, and versatile, it is manufactured by dozens of licensed producers and knocked-off by as many more. The pictured version is colored out in Republic of Sunset civilian markings and services a colony station somewhere on the periphery of that nation's space.

    The base design, as shown, is a workhorse exo and in-atmosphere transport with a squared-off body with extended 'gull' wings and a pair of powerful drives to get it from here to there. The squared-off body gives it a large transport capacity and with port, starboard, dorsal, and ventral-forward and ventral-aft loading 'tongues' it has a lot flexibility in just how that cargo gets off and on. All of these loading points are designed as '100 tonne' options, meaning that a 100-ton BattleMech (if such things are used in your vicinity) can load and unload through those doors. Capable of a full hover, the Loki can also land on six large variable-height landing feet with two mounted center-line and two on the edges of each wing structure.

    As noted, the Loki is renowned for its flexibility. This base or export model retains its weapon hard-points and the class is particularly easy to refit or retrofit into a gunship, armed dropship, or heavily armed dropship. The large engines give it the ability to haul an under-slung MAM (Mission Adaptable Mass) Module that can be anything from a Capital-Grade 'spinal' weapon to an electronics warfare module, extended sensor platform, and more. The ubiquity of the craft means that MAM modules as well as upgrade and customization kits (and importantly, spare parts) are available all across known space with a thriving secondary and second-hand market.

    LinkTyphoon Super Heavy GravTank
    Design and Construction: Liquid Design (Ares), ArmaTech Military Systems (Ares, Shiva)
    If you're gonna go tank, go big! The Typhoon is nothing more than a pair of heavy naval particle cannon, a power plant, and a few secondary weapon systems mounted on a heavy frame and wrapped in layer after layer of armor. It is usually delivered to the battlefield by means of Zenith-Class Transports. It has a crew of three and is primarily tasked with engaging other super-heavy combatants such as BOLOs, GravShips, or hardened positions. They are enormous all-environment war machines and can go from essentially zero-G, such as on a lunar surface, to a high-G lava field or ice-bound tundra with no particular problems. They can navigate over deep or shallow water, plow through buildings and other unhardened structures, snap trees like toothpicks, and turn on a very large dime. They are also, like all other Defense Forces systems, very expensive. The Typhoon is replacing the Bulldog Super Heavy GravTank in the current cycle due to a contract dispute between the manufacturer of the Bulldog and government auditors. The latter was an expensive tank, but it was neither good nor was it particularly rapid in terms of manufacture. That said, the Bulldog is still a moderate system (for your local definition of moderate) and is being sold off as rapidly as it can be to buyers where it is considered 'good'.

    LinkTsunami Armored Fighting Vehicle
    Design and Construction: Liquid Design (Ares), ArmaTech Military Systems (Ares, Shiva)
    At first glance, the Tsunami resembles the Typhoon so closely that one might mistake one for the other - unless you park one next to the other. While the Typhoon is a sheer monster, the Tsunami is its small cousin but that is simply because of the intended use. While the larger GravTank is meant for destroying both heavily fortified positions as well as engaging other super-heavy vehicles head-to-head, the Tsunami is primarily intended to deliver and then support Marines on the battlefield and especially in urban environments. Thus it is equipped both as a transport and as a fire-support vehicle, with a number of networked weapon systems to allow the advancing Marines to instantly call in heavy fire support when needed. Importantly, it is also small enough to operate in most urban environments without becoming trapped in narrow streets or built-up areas where clearance may be at a premium.

    To facilitate its intended role, the Tsunami is equipped with significantly more armor than the similarly-sized Jade-Class Assault Shuttle but this restricts its operational ceiling to only one or two meters, at most. Typically it hangs as low as possible, however, to both allow orderly egress by the carried Marines and to lower its target profile. The prow is a hardened battering ram and it will often use this in a breaching capacity, ramming through the side of a building to deliver the troops into the interior without exposing them to the more likely guarded doors.

    Sub-Craft Designations

    If a particular vehicle is assigned to another larger
    vehicle for day-to-day transport, such as a shuttle
    to a starship, it is consider a Sub-Craft of that
    vehicle. These Sub-Craft follow the designation
    scheme for their host with the appendage of a
    numerical designation. For example a Jade
    Assault Shuttle that is attached to FR-9000 would
    be referred to as FR-9000-1, or, if that starship is
    operating alone, as 'Unit One' or 'One'.

    Those craft that are not based aboard another
    vessel can be personalized with their own names
    as chosen by their crew. This is especially true of
    larger craft, such as the Typhoon Grav Tank,
    where the same crew might remain with it for the
    duration of its deployment.

    LinkElement-Type Transport
    Design and Construction: Liquid Design (Mars), Various (Various)
    The Element is the RDF's standard infantry transport shuttle. It can carry a light sub-division of Marines in powered armor, or a full sub-division in combat armor. It is also a capable support unit, equipped with a variety of medium weapons and point defense systems that allow it to secure and defend landing zones. The Element's internal compartment is a modular slide-in-slide-out system that allows rapid replacement for mission-specific purposes. Typically these modules are carried aboard specific craft that correspond to their general usage; Hospital bays are carried by Sidereal-Class Medical Stations, Diplomatic Suites by Resolution-Class Frigates, and similar. They are also fully capable of general operation without these bays, having a variety of built-in seats, tie-downs, and similar ready to use though without any specialization. Most RDF StarShips carry two of these craft, with the Ascendant-Class Dreadnoughts carrying four and the Opposition unable to carry any.

    LinkTransit-Class Long Range Shuttle
    Design and Construction: Special Projects (Terra Incognito), Various (Various)
    The Transit-Class is a very new type of long range shuttle that is designed to fill the role of a light inter-system transport. In its default configuration, it can ferry five to seven passengers and two crew in comfort between two nearby star systems without needing the services of a full starship or other transit method. This is primarily intended to expand the range of Exploration Command Explorers; While these starships are going about their primary duties, small teams can be dispatched to several nearby systems for secondary assignments. While it is a faster-than-light vessel, the acceleration on the Transit-Class is very slow compared to even the slowest transport or station and only those systems within a day or two are within comfortable reach.

    LinkFlare-Class Personnel Shuttle
    Design and Construction: Liquid Design (Ares), Various (Various)
    The workhorse of the Fleet, at least according to their pilots, the Flare comes in a dozen different varieties that fill a multitude of niche roles. From diplomatic transport to mobile field hospital to recreational vehicle, the Flare can reasonably fit the bill. They typically have a two man crew and there is enough space in the back for another six, ten if you pack em in real tight. Loading is accomplished through two sliding doors on either side of the craft, though the 'recreational vehicle' variant has a single airlock/shower on one side and a double bunk on the other instead.

    LinkSHC-Zero Hovercycle
    Design and Construction: Republic Special Projects Division (Terra Incognito), ArmaTech Military Systems (Ares, Shiva)
    The SHC-Zero is designed to fill both a fast scout and light transport role within the Defense Forces. It is also intended to provide the Exploration Command with a low profile vehicle for exploration assignments on worlds where a shuttle or other spaceflight-level vehicle might be more of a hindrance, especially when dealing with the native civilization. Occasional use is also found as a transport for diplomatic personnel where the additional protection afforded may be useful. Visually, the SHC-Zero looks very much like a contemporary motor or hover cycle, with sleek styling and all of the modern features that one might expect. It is capable of both ground and flight travel, though it is far faster when flying. It can also shift, or transform, into a suit of fully environmental light powered armor. This suit retains all of the characteristics of the hover cycle but provides additional protection to the wearer at the cost of speed. While it is best used with the Advanced Body Armor System (ABAS), this is not required though the helmet should be worn as a standard riding accessory.

    Scheduled for deployment aboard all SDF starships, the SHC-Zero is seen as supplemental to the existing GhostDragon Medium Power Armor. It will be found in higher numbers aboard Venture and Curiosity-Class vessels, and in smaller aboard Dawn and Equinox-Classes. The SHC-Zero also comes in a Super Sport and mini-Z variant. The Super Sport is far more expensive and typically only issued to Special Operations units. It provides protection equal to a medium suit of powered armor, is far faster, and is capable of stellar space flight. The mini-Z is just that - mini. It can, however, collapse down into an attractive and functional attache case and is a favorite of Intelligence operatives in the field.

Super Aggressor Heavy Assault Fighter

Drones and Unmanned Units

    LinkSuper Aggressor Heavy Assault Fighter
    Design and Construction: Liquid Design (Terra Incognito), ArmaTech Military Systems (Ares, Shiva)
    The Defense Force's standard planetary and space-based fighter, the Super Aggressor is a heavily armed and armored mobile platform that is capable of both remote and fully autonomous operation. It is essentially a capital-grade weapon mounted on a generator and equipped with several secondary weapon systems including point defense and missile launch systems. Its four weapon spars are also used for both maneuvering and storage, with the maneuvering surfaces retracting and swinging inward to assume a rough cube that lowers storage space requirements. In action these spars will extend, retract, and move in what is often considered a strange mimicry of life. The Super Aggressor is a redesign of the highly successful Aggressor Heavy Assault Fighter that was initially fielded in the 2140 development cycle which was then replaced by the current redesign - though the designation remained the same - in the middle of '175. While the Republic's military strategy de-emphasizes fighters, the design is a popular one and both the Aggressor and Super Aggressor - as well as knock-offs - have seen widespread adoption and service. Because the Aggressor is now sixy years old and the development technologies older still, it is available for bulk manufacture and sale to neutral parties with provisions for controlled access by hostile powers.

    LinkUnmanned Humanoid Combat Vehicle (UHCV)
    Design and Construction: Republic Special Projects Division (Mars), El Hefe Military Industries (Ares)
    The RDF UHCV is, essentially, an unmanned version of the GhostDragon Mk. IV Power Armor. Because it doesn't need to house an operator it has heavier armor, heavier weapons, more weapons, and generally 'more' everything than the manned version. UHCV's are deployed with Marine Sections, stationed aboard ship as boarding units, used as patrol units in hostile populations, and in any other situation where the routine risk is unacceptably high. As an intelligent drone it can operate both remotely and autonomously with the on-board expert system able to handle most military duties in a rigid manner. For those members of the Defense Force who originate from the Doso or Heon species, as well as the more common Artificial Intelligences, these units make ideal chassis for use in the field since they require little modification to be fit for purpose and carry a full spectrum of equipment that would otherwise need to be carried and managed separately.

    As the GhostDragon Power Armor System is currently in the middle of an upgrade to the Mk. V version, so too are the UHCVs. Those that are assigned to Marine operations are expected to be replaced first so as to preserve operational uniformity and on down the line. Since they are still essentially useful, older models of the UHCV are typically either stockpiled for wartime or are deployed to areas where their lower capabilities are not a considerable detriment. Embassies and consulates frequently receive them to bolster existing security details, and some few are reserved and rebuilt to act as the 'body-avatars' of sentient starships and other similar uses.

    LinkREDSHIRT Gen3 / RATING Gen4
    Design and Construction: Republic Special Projects Division (Terra Incognito), Republic Military Industrial Facility (Various)
    In the past year an enormous shift has begun within the Defense Force and while all of these systems are still in the field, the most common 'armor' system going forward will be the RATING. These cover a lot of ground between both personnel, armor, and system and are essentially all three. At their base the RATING is the new common seaman. They are autonomous units that perform the routine and boring regular maintenance tasks that all starships require but that are essentially the same day-to-day. This means that there are fewer officers aboard each ship but also that even the average cadet can, upon graduation, expect an officer posting and to have some measure of impact on their ship of service and the Republic itself without waiting years for a promotion opportunity or undertaking some exemplary action.

    Past that, these units will also serve as the Republic's front-line soldiery and enable it to deploy large field armies where necessary without conscription or training. Even more remarkable, these units can be remotely inhabited by both experienced officers and civilian experts with no risk to themselves and thus give the Defense Force immediate on-the-ground access to the best of the best in both military & civilian aptitude and expertise. RATING units are denoted by generation, with the current LinkGen3's already supplanting the previous LinkGen1's and LinkGen2's with proposals currently tabled for the cutting-edge Gen4's where the RATING appealation will make the formal transition from the previous 'REDSHIRT' acronym.

    LinkUnmanned Combat Sphere (UCS)
    Design and Construction: Liquid Design (Chuh-Yu), ArmaTech Military Systems (Ares, Shiva)
    The UCS is a fully autonomous unit that is designed to accompany and augment the capabilities of Marine squads in the field. They are also used for shipboard combat where their small size and high maneuverability makes them excellent fast attack units that can quickly outflank and outrun ground opponents. UCS are also utilized by the Exploration Command for planetary survey, and a variant with various advanced sensors instead of heavy weapons is fielded specifically for that purpose.

    LinkLight Drone Sphere (LDS)
    Design and Construction: Republic Special Projects Division (Terra Incognito), ArmaTech Military Systems (Ares, Shiva)
    LDS units are found on everything from the GhostDragon to the Advanced Body Armor System. These small black spheres are primarily tasked with anti-material action, destroying opposing weapon systems, ordinance, and other unarmored to lightly armored items. While capable of independent action they are most effective when provided with power from a larger source. Many larger systems mount multiple charging and integration sockets for these small drones and swarms of them are frequently deployed in appropriate scenarios.

All of the vehicle artwork on this page was created by Sunset using DoGa. Some parts and textures are custom creations. If you are interested in these designs a telegram is appropriate, though I will insist on some form of role-played interaction. Consider it payment. If you are interested in a custom ship design or artwork please have your wallet ready - or at least a good pick-up line.

The Republic of Sunset