MANIFEST: THE OUTER RIM CONCORDAT
Diplomatic Name: Outer Rim Concordat
Homeworld: Ballinger, Freedom's Stand sector
Official Language: Modern Haedan
Controlled Territory: Five starsystems, Twenty-two planets
Population: Between 12.7 million and 15.1 million
Current Year: 133AU (After Uprising) (Federal Year 2522)
The Outer Rim Concordat (ORC) are a seditious group of Hadean political radicals who seceded from Federal authority in 2389 and commandeered numerous starsystems to the west of Federal territory. The ORC's significant political differences, willingness to commit violence, and desire to subvert Federal authority have made relations between the two factions quite hostile, especially in recent years. Despite the Federation's overwhelming military superiority, however, they have still been unable to fully defeat the ORC, due in large part to the ORC's heavily decentralized nature that runs directly counter to the Federation's orderliness.
The ORC's radical political philosophies drew a significant number of intellectuals and engineers to it in the late 24th century, which combined with the traitorous Ballinger Corporation's technologies to give the ORC a surprising degree of technological prowess. The ORC are known to have spread to five starsystems and have established numerous orbital platforms in each system. ORC technologies are primarily reverse-engineered from those stolen from the Federation in the late 24th century. Additionally, several new technologies have arisen since that time, in a divergent evolution from Federation developments. Furthermore, ORC personnel successfully reverse-engineered the third-generation Anchorpoint on the Anchorcraft they stole during their initial rebellion, and have deployed their own MicroSpace transport network.
Beginning as early as the mid 2270s some Hadean citizens began to resent the degree of political power concentrated in the hands of the Central Authority. This remained a quiet discontentment until the Arcotech Scandal of the 2350s dramatically inflamed public tension. Perceptions among poorer fringe worlds of Federal neglect and corruption fanned the flames of dissent and calls for the reigning in of the Federal government became commonplace, however it would take decades for a leader to rise and unify the movement into a coherent force.
In 2387 a brilliant starsystem engineer named Marik Kel'Shanada began to quickly draw a large following with his blunt yet poetic speaking style and extensive knowledge of colony management, coupled with radical new ideas on personal freedoms. Calling his movement the United Free Colonies (UFC), Marik outspokenly rejected much of the government's centralized authority, advocating instead for all colonies to be given equal representation and political sway. Fed up with what was perceived as an overbearing and fascist government, many civilians were quickly drawn to the UFC.
Luckily for Marik, the Central Authority in general was intent on walking on eggshells for the time being, in an attempt to ease public concern. However, the Office of Special Intelligence (OSI) and its newly-created, highly-classified subsidiary SPECTRE were much less accomodating. Fearing for his life and the life of his political movement, Marik drew up a daring plan, one that at first horrified many of his followers until three of his trusted lieutenants vanished in the middle of the night: Marik would lead an open rebellion against the Central Authority.
The crux of Marik's scheme lay in the struggling Ballinger Corporation, a mining conglomerate formerly based on Alpha Draconis and a majority of whose employees were sympathetic to the UFC. Of chief importance was the Ballinger Corporation's possession of an aging Kalbarra-class Anchorcraft, which would allow the UFC to escape to a cluster of habitable planets that had just been discovered outside of Hadean territory. On 02.13.2388 Ballinger Corp. loaded up its three remaining orbital geosurvey starcraft with construction supplies, and sent them to the system farthest from Haedus Prime, surreptitiously as a follow-up survey team to investigate anomalies in the previous team's reports.
In order to provide enough of a distraction for Ballinger Corp. to gather up its fleet and board Marik's group of UFC sympathizers, select cells were dispatched to numerous planets across the Federation in late 2388: Seven Kingdoms, Kadela, Argus II, and Keris. Meanwhile, Ballinger Corp. began slowly recalling its assets towards the Three Rivers sytem under the guise of a fleetwide audit. At 1845 Federal Standard Time, 08.08.2389, numerous improvised explosive devices were detonated near major military or government installations on all four targetted worlds, causing hundreds of deaths and sowing major confusion among both local and federal officials.
Simultaneously, agents in the Three Rivers system attacked and raided numerous LandForce depots throughout the system with huge success, stealing large numbers of weapons and explosives. After picking up these supplies, the Ballinger Corp. Fleet began converging at a rallying point near the planet Calsor. Two hours later the Fleet had assembled, and successfully transitioned to Microspace. Seven hours afterward they would surface outside Federation territory in a system of five planets, where a sizable colony had already been established by the starcraft sent in 2388. Wanting to emphasize the significance of the event, Marik convinced the UFC to adopt a modified calendar, with the new year starting on 08.08.2389 -- dates after which would start at Year Zero, After Uprising (0AU).
Marik and the rest of the UFC of course expected a counterattack from the Federation, and so began preparing defenses in earnest. Unfortunately, one or more of his supporters began to have doubts about the path they had chosen, and set about sabotaging the UFC from within. The saboteurs were eventually caught and executed, but not before severely crippling the UFC's already meager orbital defense capabilities. Although it would take months for the Federal investigations to establish a trail that led them to the UFC, no notable defensive capabilities were ever established, and StarForce's Second Fleet Taskgroup Two entered UFC territory in early 2402 to face essentially no resistance. StarForce quickly established orbital superiority over Ballinger and began widecasting to demand the UFC's unconditional surrender.
The UFC, however, still had an ace in the hole: numerous UFC cells were still spread throughout the Federation, waiting for the signal to attack. The UFC threatened to launch these terror attacks if StarForce did not withdraw. The Central Authority, through StarForce, attempted to stall for time while Local Defense units scoured their respective worlds, however the UFC quickly ran out of patience. During the morning hours of 03.16.2402, the UFC gave the order, resulting in the deaths of 8,000 Federal citizens across five worlds.
One cell, however, struck a civilian firm: the Galactic Commodities Exchange on Argus II, killing 3,000 civilians. Whether this was done through error or malice is unknown, however it quickly caused a dramatic shift in perception within the Federal public. Many citizens once sympathetic to the UFC's efforts quickly turned against the organization. Combined with large increases in System Security patrols and an increased LandForce alert presence, this managed to deter further attacks, and a few cells surrendered to authorities. Meanwhile, in UFC territory, StarForce had difficulties in determining military targets from orbit, and so deployed the Third LandForce Army that had been carried along for the mission, kicking off what the UFC would call the Independence War.
Despite the small population and lack of infrastructure, the fighting on Ballinger was horrendous. A significant portion of civilians feigned innocence, only to arm themselves from hidden caches and attack unsuspecting LandForce units who were attempting to advance past them, while UFC IEDs claimed the lives of many more Federal troops. The UFC also used video recordings of combat as propaganda, beaming them to distributors Fed-side in attempts to regain public support, with some success. This was only halted when StarForce finally managed to track down the UFC's Anchorcraft and destroy it above the UFC world Risella.
Faced with overwhelming military superiority and having been stripped of their last significant counter to Federation might, the UFC was eventually forced to concede defeat in the middle of 2404. Weeks of internal debate followed on both sides, before the Central Authority presented an astonishing proposal: the UFC would be allowed to retain their starsystems and be granted independence, in exchange for an immediate cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of all UFC sleeper cells from Federation territory. After some internal deliberation, the UFC agreed. Unbeknownst to the UFC, the Federation's Office of Special Intelligence (OSI) was eager to allow the UFC's continued existence as a social experiment, as well as a relief valve for political dissidents.
OSI had managed to convince the Central Authority, through backroom meetings, to allow it to forcibly and covertly transfer dangerous individuals to Ballinger in order to prevent further uprisings. This aspect was falsely presented to the UFC as a voluntary program whereby any Hadean citizen could willingly renounce their citizenship and move to the UFC permanently, which the UFC accepted. The project was launched in 2407, and although the exiles quickly informed the UFC of the program's true nature, they were powerless to affect it.
As the years wore on, Federation society began to return to normalcy, and the flow of political exiles to the UFC gradually slowed before ceasing in the 2430s. Later on, the Federation lost interest in the UFC for the most part in the late 2440s. Some time after that, in 2445, Marik Kel'Shanada passed away, and the reigns of the UFC were inherited by his equally brilliant and charismatic protege, Keric Tel'Sarim. Under Tel'Sarim, the UFC rebranded itself as the Outer Rim Concordat, and set into motion their plans to rebuild.
Unknown to the Federation, UFC engineers had managed to reverse-engineer the Anchorpoint from their old Anchorcraft, and successfully hidden the plans shortly before the Independence War. Their descendants in the ORC now set about rebuilding this technology with remarkable success, and quickly established a transport network with the other four systems in their territory, which further aided their progression. The final boon to the ORC was the Extinction War that broke out in 2482, which ensured they would remain unmolested for nearly three decades.
When OSI observers finally returned to what they believed to still be UFC territory in 2518, they were met with a radically advanced culture that presented a significant threat to the Federation. Luckily, the observers were able to escape undetected. However, despite the looming threat right on the Federation's doorstep, the catastrophic losses of the Extinction War continue to drag Federal attention inward, allowing the ORC to fester and scheme unhindered. Though the OSI observers were adamant of a military buildup by the ORC, their concerns have largely gone unheeded by the Central Authority, who cite more pressing matters at home and insist that the ORC are simply reacting to the same threats faced by the Federation. Still, although the ORC have made no overtly hostile moves yet, the simple fact they are raising a large militia does not bode well for the weakened Federation.
One of the most striking differences between the Outer Rim Concordat and the Galactic Hadean Federation is the ORC's unwillingness to centralize government functions, a byproduct of the organization's genesis. The ORC essentially represents the antithesis of GHF society, with each individual considered completely equal and all resources shared. The ORC economy, therefore, appears to operate on a barter system. Although some manufacturing and military stations are concentrated in certain areas, generally each ORC planet holds the same general facilities and capabilities as every other.
This communal mindset carries over into the ORC's military endeavors. Every ORC citizen is not only permitted to own personal firearms, but actively encouraged. Combat training is widespread and frequent, resulting in a population that blurs the line between combatant and civilian. The most common weaponry are clones of stolen late 24th century LandForce rifles such as the M18A2 NGAR, once famed for its reliability and ease of use. Other weaponry fielded by ORC militia include custom-built rifles, generally based on reverse-engineered Federation designs, and even several authentic, obsolescent M22 MAWS rifle variants. ORC fighters are highly skilled in subterfuge, fieldcraft and the creation of improvised explosive devices. Additionally, they are excellent at blending into a civilian population, making them extremely difficult to identify and engage without collateral damage.
As previously mentioned, the Outer Rim Concordat places very high emphasis on equality and individual liberties, as well as a strong commitment to community service and equal access to resources and opportunities. However, this does not mean that the ORC are entirely without any form of hierarchical structure; rather, they do in fact maintain such concepts, but only as a matter of necessity. To reconcile this with their philosophy, nearly everything is voted on: from laws, to command assignments, to combat operations, every ORC citizen has a vote and a voice. The fairly miniscule population of the ORC relative to that of the GHF allows for this with minimal hindrance. Additionally, a significant subsection of ORC citizenry are devout practitioners of the Aurgali Faith, proportionally double that of Federal adherents. This falls well in line with the ORC philosophies of service and self-sacrifice that almost put Federal social duty to shame.
A byproduct of living on less-than-ideal worlds with relatively scarce supplies and a looming war against the Federation has been an overall attitude of stoicism in the face of near-constant adversity. Most ORC citizens have lived fairly harsh lives by Federal standards, and as the saying goes, "hard places breed hard people". ORC citizens are therefore much more willing to endure hardships and scarcity, doubly reinforced by the firm and unwavering belief that the rest of the community will always be there to help.
As previously mentioned, despite the lack of a single centralized government, each ORC starsystem does in fact maintain its own semi-unique governing body. In all five governments, known as Ministries, every single position is collectively voted on by the population of that system, as are new laws and Ministry actions. This is accomplished by a highly efficient shared communications system known as FreeNet. There are no special requirements to propose a law; one simply submits it publicly on FreeNet, where it will be discussed and refined as the proposal merits. Most ORC citizens generally set aside one to two hours of each day to browse FreeNet and provide their input. The Five Ministries themselves are also in constant contact with one another, to keep each other updated on their status and needs, so that each may best contribute to the good of the whole. The system is imperfect and has many flaws, however the will of the citizenry and the desire to make this model work help it to succeed.
ORC cultural norms lie in stark contrast to those of the Federation. ORC citizens are very open and liberal with their ideas and interactions. They are highly expressive and trend towards gaudy, brightly-colored clothing. Even in the face of their harsh lives and history, they remain a rather carefree and happy people. Despite the focus on the whole of society, each individual is still highly regarded. Individual liberty is one of the most highly respected concepts in ORC society, and is outlined in one of their founding documents, known as the Treatise of Creation (ToC). The ToC maintains that Aurgal, when he forged Hadeankind in his likeness, imbued them with certain rights that defined them as Hadeans and transcended all legal, physical, or metaphysical boundaries. Among these are the right to self-defense, the right to self-government and the right to free expression. The UFC and its successor ORC hold these three rights in particularly high esteem, and each and every citizen is expected to resist, by any means necessary, any attempts to infringe upon these rights. To the ORC, the whole is expected to serve the good of society, and is nothing but the sum of its parts.
As previously established, most ORC technologies have been reverse-engineered from 24th-century Federation tech. Although this has given them a significant technology base to operate from, the Independence War and relative lack of industry have slowed their development significantly, and in the decades since, large technological disparities have become apparent. The ORC have thus far been completely unable to replicate Federation successes in artificial gravity, forcing them to rely on cumbersome and vulnerable rotating constructs to generate equivalent forces aboard their starcraft and platforms. It has also caused significant issues with colonization, with offspring having to spend the first twenty years of their live on Ballinger or on specific platforms that replicate Ballinger's gravity, in order to prevent life-threatening deformations wrought by biologically incompatible gravities.
At the same time, however, the ORC's dismissal of traditional moral boundaries have allowed them to develop several new technologies, most of them offshoots from reverse-engineered Federation tech. The most dangerous of these is the DTF Inhibitor, an augmentation to their stolen MicroSpace technology that allows their Buoys to project a dampening field. This field prevents the creation of a stable Dimensional Tunnelling Field, and therefore prevents any and all MicroSpace transitions within its area of effect. This means that, for example, a StarForce Taskgroup would be unable to surface within ORC space to launch a sneak attack. This capability ties into another one of their unique technologies, known as Multidimensional Telemetry, or MultiTel. MultiTel allows the ORC to periodically "ping" MicroSpace and detect any CommonSpace matter residing within it -- in other words, it allows the ORC to see, for example, Federation warcraft attempting to sneak through MicroSpace. As the GHF are completely unaware of the existence of these two technologies, they grant the ORC significant tactical and strategic advantages, and are therefore a closely-guarded secret.
As previously established, the ORC's decentralized nature has precluded the development of a singular standing army like that of the Federation. Instead, the ORC relies on a system of militias composed of volunteer citizens who own and maintain their service weapons. Communities maintain armories and munitions dumps that every citizen may draw from in times of crisis. Various militias have also retrofitted several of their starcraft with weapons systems, many of which are camouflaged or hidden behind retractable panels. For example, the so-called Battle Barge typically consists of a small civilian freighter outfitted with false cargo containers that have been retrofitted as massive rocket or gun pods. From a distance, however, it is virtually indistinguishable from legal, civilian freighters.
In addition, the ORC have developed passive anti-starcraft mines that are drawn towards starcraft by powerful magnets. The Shield, a wide, thin nebula that forms the outer boundary of the ORC home system and stands between it and the Federation, has been thoroughly seeded with these mines, creating a large static fortification that would necessitate a time-consuming and dangerous detour when coupled with ORC Inhibitor technology. Such ingenious and insidious tactics combine to make combat against the ORC an utter nightmare for even veteran Federation troops, as aptly demonstrated during the Independence War.
This is a work-in-progress of the Manifest I am working on for the Outer Rim Concordat. It is far, far smaller than the Manifest for the Federation, however, because the GHF manifest also defines a lot of the universe in general in addition to setting up the Federation and its society.