The Project primarily theorizes about the Fleet based on external observations; not entirely accurate- leave details ambiguous, since they aren't seeing the full picture- hence why to them Rainier is the Outsider.
Works primarily off biased testimonies from ex-Confederacy and Coalition sources- include interviews in numerous places to supplement the largely dry wiki-style format.
Format is very business-oriented; looks like a "school intranet", according to Somac, which is essentially the style I was going for.
The color codes for the tilesets are, in order of light to dark, #5B84C6, #3860A0, #2F4E80, and #203354.
Reader is viewing the report to the Hakim Commission as it's being written, so insert editorial notes(?)
The Hakim Commission is intended to act as a go-between between the CFSS and the Project; however, it's not always that successful. The Project likes to go ahead with its own attempts to get at PALISADE and pressure others to enact its theoretical proposals for it, trying to lean on the Commission to approve funding for its absurd plans rather than come up with the sort of cheap ideas the CFSS wants.
Sacha's essentially a petty dictator; should be implied in the four IC factbooks and laid bare in her own factbook. Hence why she's got the title Racketeer- she runs a mafia-state, her own mercenaries offering protections in exchange for fuel, ice, and money; sort of like an inverted ice-mafia state. Instead of controlling the fuel she controls the weapons used to protect it and thus builds the state from the outside in instead of from the inside out.
Sacha absolutely despises Tanya for both being a self-serving traitor and for being overly adversarial to Sacha's own advancement. Of course, she too is a self-serving traitor but no one needs to know that, do they?
The Valks aren't really as disciplined as they let on; that's just a show. They're soldiers of fortune, same as the rest.
Write that they actually suffered from poor popularity due to their name- there were already several PMCs named "Valkyrie" in their area- lampshades the common nature of the name
Upper brass is pretty much entirely the old Confederacy's admiralty, since they were pretty universally corrupt as all hell before the '87 campaign and given the chance they jumped ship once the Confederacy started going south. The Coalition is fine with this, for a number of reasons, including "as long as you fill out your paperwork alright you're okay" and "we need people who understand the intricacies of your little hellhole in charge, and you lot fit the bill".
Kovalova regrets approximately 90% of her life choices from 2950 to 2987, since, y'know, she gave PALISADE the go-ahead, she insisted on antagonizing the Network, all that jazz.
Kovalova is also obsessed with the Fleet, particularly with her namesake the Admiral Kovalova. She blames herself for its existence and as such has given the Project and the Hakim Commission largely blank cheques to quietly mop up her mistakes, and additionally feels an (admittedly irrational) kinship with the Kovalova. The Kovalova sends its/her counterpart hate-mail on the regular in return.
They're essentially repeating the same mistake they did with PALISADE by giving FREERANGE such free operations; if PALISADE had been more readily incorporated into military hierarchies instead of being treated as the admiralty's pet project then it would've likely been shut down before it could piss off the Coalition to the degree it did.
Kovalova's got a ship named after her despite being a living commander because of her actions during the Kyrie campaign back when she was a captain of a cruiser in the 2950s- the Confederacy names vessels for living personnel if their actions were important enough to warrant such a treatment,m albeit rarely. Note that Kovalova also used her influence as an actual admiral to ram the name through a PALISADE committee and the RCNA-14's name is the result of her ego rather than anything else.
The lances on the flag over the Reach's star are a joint reference to the military tradition of the new government and the two points it works towards, stability and security. The lance has long been in the setting a symbol of the stellar navy, stemming from the 2707 poem The Lancer's Flight; Kovalova being an admiral rather than an espatier commandant contributes to the naval symbology, as well. The four bars are a symbol of colbureau and were taken from the Network's flag, which took the bars from the Authority itself.
Here's a rough draft of The Lancer's Flight, if anyone is possibly interested. It's set to iambic pentameter with absolutely nothing in the way of rhyme scheme.
In the timeless morn of the blacken'd void,
A lancer-craft slips its silver-dew'd bonds-
Its crew, ev'r-iron, strike out toward the foe,
Its cannonades belch fire at the fiend 'yond.
Its hull, clad steel and gel, flits towards the stars,
Fuse-fire and gas its swift feet and dust-shod.
None can catch it, nor contest it, nor stay-
The beastís course set, it travels eíer on its plod.
Like a knight of old its bent is hurled on,
Its spear set firm in its armor'd crook-lap.
It hurls 'long its set course, its trust res'lute
In the cocoon its frame the yard did wrap.
But for its 'hemoth momentum, it still
Pales 'neath the sight of the stars 'neath it roams,
And were its core come bared to void, its hull
Cracked, its crew dashed on the star sea-foam,
The lancer-craft would yet sail 'long its course,
Not more than a shard of dust, manís great work
Come to nought but flotsam and wreck in space,
Alone but for the love of a nameless god.
The "Veronica Lane" referred to in the IntGov teaser is the upper of two major Gate lanes moving up from the 97th Corridor into the 98th, and is outside of the IntGov's control. Van Heerden uses it as a corridor to transfer goods to the independent markets, and to assert his own influence in the area; as such the IntGov is unable to fully regulate the flow of goods into the region and van Heerden is able to supply people who really shouldn't have kinetic impactors with kinetic impactors.
As the name implies, syndicalists who essentially run on the basis of "aight, so now the Authority is gone we're going to unionize around the dividing lines of our habitats and finally set up a system where we can throw out the scabs once and for all, this is gonna be great, my fellow workers! Wait, why do I hear screaming-"
Sort of a direct democracy; each habitat gets a vote in the Assembly through their union reps and since the habitats are rather small you'll get one vote for about every hundred people. This might not be entirely proportional but it's functionally close enough.
The Unions are party to the Gang of Twelve but only because their system is easily pressured from the outside. Their prosperity is a result of essentially being sucked dry by the rest of their alliance; they're the big exporters, though not by their own wills.
Their color scheme might be black and red but I think that might be too on the nose.
Speaker Delisle is just kind of a sad boi. A sad French Canadian boi. He knows he's being exploited but just has to sit back and watch his little utopia be subverted, and worse than that, play along with it. His outstanding popularity is basically a lie he's party to and he feels terrible about it.
Additionally Delisle is Deputy Hadyn's descendant, somehow.
The Cult intended to stop in the 97th Corridor and settle down there, but van Heerden's expansion in the upper reaches of that constellation have resulted in the Cult packing up and moving into the 98th. Van Heerden did not like their religion at all. Of course, they then found themselves firsthand witnesses to the absolute fustercluck that was the '87 campaign and its aftermath, and are now hauling as fast as they can to get into the 95th.
To do that, though, they'll need to pass through the IntGov's space, which might prove difficult, since the IntGov is, uh, protective of its transit fees. Not to mention they'll need to negotiate transit rights with the Gang of Twelve, as the 95th is primarily Unions territory, and the Unions are party to the Gang of Twelve, albeit in a largely subservient role.
The majority of the Cult's fleet is made up of slowships, which has resulted in their being a multi-stellar-system-long traveling convoy as their vessels stretch out on their transits. The Militias and the logistics crews are the only ones who have brachy vessels.
van Heerden essentially runs a minimal welfare state- he's providing for his workers' needs in exchange for their continued labor. Which is sharecropping IN SPESS, but he won't admit it.
van Heerden internally despises having to support his workers and intends to automate a majority of his workforce as soon as possible. The main limiter is that he doesn't want to create an autostate in the process, though he might be getting over that hang-up considering how much it promises to make the lines on the graph go up.
He additionally might be funding like ninety mercenary companies in the 98th Corridor at once for his own gain, but again, he won't admit to it- insert a note about how the Valks' TOW missile is provided by VHD and represents "modern technologies", hint to that goal?
van Heerden regards himself as an "enlightened" capitalist, as opposed to an "unenlightened" capitalist- this is an important distinction, as in his philosophy an "enlightened" capitalist controlling the distribution of goods in a state is better equipped to focus on "enlightened" goals other than merely profit. Of course he's merely moved his endgoal of turning a profit further back.
This ties into his disdain for democracy- he feels that liberal society breeds "unenlightened, rapine robber-barons" as opposed to the totally different and better in every way enlightened capitalist autocrat - a Great Man in all but name. We all know how that'll turn out.
He also despises political parties, going so far as to write that "the party is a tool of brutish force to be brought to bear on the people. As long as it courts this beast, whose only function is to reduce thought to mere speech and bring the teeming masses to bear on a few men's opponents in argument, democracy is doomed to failure- and it must by necessity court it." Yeah, he's a bit of a snob, if you couldn't tell.
van Heerden's personal character is that of a wannabe philosopher; he fancies himself learned and educated and all that but his daily routine is basically "wake up, make sure I look good, read for like eight hours straight, notice lines on graph are not going up somewhere, yell at subordinates until lines on graph go up, go back to reading for eight hours straight".
Most media in spacefaring society is digital writing, music, and live-action video. Animation- both CGI and traditional- fell out of favor with the early Authority's media providers thanks to the time it took to produce compared to other forms of entertainment; art was similarly surpassed by photography, though to a lesser degree. In the wake of the reforms of the 2400s and the institution of Three Eights the Authority began to make more space for such media, but it hasn't wholly made a resurgence. Of course, nearly all media is digitized, thanks to the mass savings it offers.
Another thing that's made a comeback is- you guessed it- work shanties. However, these tend to be seen as miners' and external inspectors' provinces, and possess a slower tempo when compared to terrestrial sea shanties. Thanks to the slow and methodical nature of their work, the clamber-style, as it's come to be called, is more in tune with a spacer pulling themselves slowly along a series of handholds than a sailor's working song.
Spacers as a rule consider Earth an overpopulated hellhole not worthy of anything but their scorn, blaming its states for both its own collapse and for- in the places where the Authority is disdained- creating the Authority. This has led to most spacefaring societies outside of the innermost systems refusing to offer Earth aid, which... yeah, hasn't gone well, considering the planet's currently undergoing its third climate collapse, this time the result of mankind reaching its carrying capacity again- the second was for largely the same reason.
Humanity in space has a population density approaching on average approximately a third that of Nunavut; if you reduce that to merely the area of the thousands of habitats it becomes something closer to the state of New York. Which... still low, but at least half your average station is bunkerage, LSS, supply, fuel storage, and manufacturing shops/factory space, so it's understandably so.
Humanity in space's actual population is about four billion. Spread across about seven thousand stars. That's an average of only five million people per stellar system; understandably they lack the infrastructure to remove a meaningful portion of Earth's population in any way, given that Earth in 2995 hosts 14 billion souls, over three times the entirety of spacefaring humanity's population. Hence why spacers consider it an overpopulated hellhole to a degree even greater than we would today.
van heerden is a twink.
Economic Planning Device Laurent.CVIII- Ticking Clock SFX
Credit for Original: Explorer, David Ellis
van Heerden Development
Confederacy of Liam's Reach
Interim Military Gov't of Liam's Reach
(1) Eagle from USAF 562nd Flt. Training Sqd., Globe from open-source clipart.
(2) Edited from elements of USAF 1st Combat Comms. Sqd.