In 2064, the National Alliance rose to prominence as the official authority of Earth in all matters pertaining to human activities beyond Earth's atmosphere, establishing its own military and taxation. Within their jurisdiction came the ever increasing presence of large corporations in space, each eager to exploit space for their own specific reasons. Most obeyed the laws set by the National Alliance, and human expansion began along the naturally formed corridors between tightly packed stars.
By 2068, the National Alliance had become the de facto representation of humanity to the rest of the galaxy, establishing peaceful embassies on numerous worlds. It was also an important year because of a new law passed called the Genetic Reformation Act. The law stipulated that corporations would be allowed to invest some research into human genetic structure. However, lobbyists ensured that some of the crucial wording was dropped, giving most corporations free access to explore the human genome without fear of reprisal. Before the ink had even dried, protests began.
The Core Corporation was formed in 2075 as humans rushed to leave Earth. Within ten years, Core Corporation shipyards dominated the competition, hollowing out asteroids and building shipyards inside the hollow shells. Most of their line was construction of the huge Continental colony ships and their Conestoga supply tenders, though a few military ships were constructed here and there. Unfortunately, by 2088, most of the shipyards were closed after the largest colony at the time, Neo Manchuria, was destroyed by rogue pirates dropping asteroids from orbit. The loss deeply hurt Core.
Eager to raise their profits, Core began to invest heavily in other tools that would be useful for the already established colonies. Among these were bio-enhancements for pre-nadal implants in young colonial mothers, to help the children adapt better to the environment. While there were plenty on the market at the time already, Core hoped to produce the implants and sell them as a bundle to colonial expeditions. Among their first clients was a group known as the Lee Society, which bought a ship and headed off. They disappeared into the void, trying to avoid government scrutiny.
Among the research conducted at Core Corp. was research into the growing segment of human society interested in modifying themselves on a genetic level. Most were minor and superficial, but Core saw the potential to combine the research with their implants already in production. They began tweaking with the code, adding and removing features, but found that getting volunteers was becoming difficult. Fearful that they wouldn't have any work to show, one scientist named Dr. Vernon Blair began using the altered DNA and growing it, creating clones.
Most of the clones were a failure, their bodies shutting down as proteins necessary for development were missing from the genetic code. Finally, they produced a clone that worked, Subject 001, a female. They tested Subject 001 and eventually cloned more. That's when things fell apart on Earth, with many governments collapsing due to vital personnel transfering offworld. Core decided to start selling off some of the clones to governments that wanted cheap, expendable labor. Since the Alliance only had authority above the atmosphere, many jumped at the chance.
To differentiate the clones, many were given noticable characteristics that made them easy to spot. Most had their iris color redone to a deep red, a clear give away. However, as the clones took root, some of the people benefiting from the cheap labor wanted personalized slaves, which Core was only too happy to produce. Many wanted pets with human forms, who could please them if needed. Core came out with two brands, Neko and Inu. The two models became very popular, and Core made millions off the sale.
The good times didn't last, however, because in 2098 the Alliance stepped in and took control of the failing Earth. They brought with them the laws that forbid slavery, and repealed the Genetic Reformation Act. Suddenly, Core could no longer sell the slaves, and thousands were free on Earth. The Alliance mandated that the creatures were not human, but were sentient, and therefor had to be relocated. At their own expense, Core had to supply the slaves with a ship to take them to a system they'd planned to sell to the highest bidder. The world was named Refuge, and it is the only Alliance world where non-humans outnumber humans.
Refuge was slow at first, with slaves unsure of how to function without their masters, but they were taught by Alliance soldiers and therapists how to live and build a sustainable colony. Resourceful and quick-breeding, the two species quickly swelled their numbers to 1.6 million collectively, opening a university where professors from Earth teach the youth. It seemed like paradise until 2134, when a group of slavers came and abducted almost a thousand and killing twice that many in their raid. The attackers claimed to come from the world of Plantation, where the Lee Society had established itself and become the Human Racial Purity Party.
Operating beyond the bounds of Alliance control, the HRPP was a group of pirates and slavers that enslaved anything that didn't meet the strict criteria of being a male human of Western European or American decent. Aliens seized by the slavers were brought back and often killed or worked to death on large plantations growing illegal narcotics for sale on surrounding worlds. Because of anti-discrimination laws, the inhabitants of Refuge cannot refuse a slaver ship to land if they have legitimate business, but often fights start out. When the slavers come, everyone on Refuge goes on alert, to defend themselves. The larger battle however, the one in the Alliance Senate, continues, as many Senators just want to ignore Refuge. Most of this animosity comes from Lobbying from Core Corp, eager to see the colony disappear.
Descended from white supremacist groups in the early 21st century, the Human Racial Purity Party was united by neo-Nazi Joseph Strong under a criminal empire of narcotics and violence known as the Lee Society. While authorities had ample reason to arrest many members, their ability to smuggle messages in and out of prison, coupled with the clean members they kept on the outside, ensured that the Society never truly died. Instead, it remained underground for years, until they could afford a starship to take them to Plantation, beyond Alliance space. There, they fell into a patriarchal society, where male landowners were the only ones allowed to make the decisions, and women were treated as inferior, eventually becoming slaves. Most women born on Plantation have short life expediencies, often due to the cruel practice of lobotomizing women who become overly critical. The few that remain alive are often brainless simpletons who obey without question.
Currently, the Alliance treats the HRPP as a rogue state, and is waiting for the Alliance Senate to declare them a threat in order to seize the planet once and for all. The primary income for the planet is a combination of illicit drug smuggling to nearby worlds and piracy, often with crews being enslaved to work the drug plantations. Often, those few who survive the initial attack barely make it past a year, as the poisonous plants and dangerous animals of Plantation make the exposed drug fields a death trap. Women are often used as sexual slaves, kept naked and in chains in towns and large plantations for use by the men. Women who fight are lobotomized or have their teeth removed, and in extreme cases have their arms and legs amputated. Pregnancies are rarely cared for unless the woman is the wife of someone. Slaves who get pregnant are often forced to give birth in filthy conditions, with the child immediately seized and sold off. Life expectancy for these newborns is horridly low, which is the only thing keeping Plantation's population from growing.
A rare Paradise planet, Refuge is nestled in the sweet spot of an orange star getting ready to enter the last stage of its life cycle. The planet still has some seismic activity, but is much more stable relatively than Earth. It is orbited by two moons, Haven and Shelter, both of which are just under half the size of Earth's moon. Due to the orange tint of the star, the atmosphere has a slight greenish hue, but the increased infrared keeps the planet at a comfortable 24C for most of the year. Most of the 1.6 million inhabitants live on the largest continent, named Xanadu.
Originally discovered by Core Corporation probes in 2086, Refuge was originally called Iris, and was intended to serve as an off-world corporate headquarters and retirement spot for Core Corp executives. When Core Corp's cloning activities were shut down, they were forced to find a planet to place the cloned slaves. Already facing the prospect of stiff financial penalties, Core Corp. gave the planet Iris to the slaves, renaming it Refuge. While some ships were dispatched to conduct studies, the planet was untouched and ideal for colonization. To preserve as much beauty as possible, the ex-slaves built large arcologies stretching into the skies, leaving much of the surface untouched and perfect for growing crops and pleasant fields. Heavy industry is limited on Xanadu, but the smaller continent of Nirvana, with its vast deposits of aluminum and platinum, has become the center of industrialization on Xanadu.
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Originally developed by Core Corp. to test modified segments of genetic code, nekos (homo feline) and Inu (homo canine) were the inevitable drive to create a product that the public would buy. Earth was the only place unstable enough in Alliance space to warrant a market, but the demand was high enough that Core was able to sell armies. While the nekos and chibis were by far the most popular companion models, a few other, more exotic forms were created, such as homo vulpini (fox) and homo cuniculus (rabbits). They were all eventually granted freedom and sent to Refuge to live. Together, the groups work to carve a world they can live safely in, despite frequent attacks by raiding slavers and other groups.
The term neko comes from Japan, meaning cat, and was a popular word describing 'catgirls' in Japanese animation. The term floated around to describe the animated work until the nekos were sold as slaves. After that, the name became a permanent form of identification, though a few still cling to other names such as Felinus or other terms. They are mostly human, but have a few quirks in their personalities as a result of the gene modification. Most neko are born in small litters of three or four, and are usually much smaller than human babies. They are not fully developed at birth and usually require constant care for the first few weeks after birth. During this time, the mother remains with them constantly, fed by her mate and close family. At age 3, most neko are ready to begin school, and are often able to graduate at the tender age of 15.
Most neko family units revolve around an elderly couple. The patriarch defends the family, dispatching his sons and daughters to defend the family from attack. The matriarch helps tend to the family at home and keeps everyone fed and clothed. She commands the sons and daughters to gather needed supplies. This clan structure helps balance the neko's human need to become social, while also to remain isolated and independent. A clan often works together, and will even trade family members with other clans to increase genetic diversity or to gain prestige. This ensures that clans don't become interbred, and also lets clans grow and shrink to reflect their own power. Rarely does a clan exceed twenty members before it breaks up into two or more clans.
Nekos are generally curious creatures, preferring to explore and discover. This often leads them to work in space-related industries and science, with more nekos graduating from the academies than other groups. Unfortunately, because nekos are so inquisitive, nekos suffer higher accident rates than other species, and generally aren't recommended for tasks requiring stringent attention to detail. Neko soldiers are often seen working at night or in stealth operations, able to blend in and disappear. Their night vision is greater than any other species, and they are skilled assassins when needed to be.
While the term isn't as popular as neko, the same tradition of naming the modified humans continued with the Inu, Japanese for dog. Inu are, like neko, partially defined by their genetic code. Most Inu are born in litters of up to three, and are often bigger than nekos at birth. While they require attention after birth, most Inu are up after only a week, scampering around. Unlike the neko condition for red irises, most Inu irises are blue, because of the preconception most owners had that blue eyes conveyed loyalty and affection. They take longer to develop mentally than neko, but are often just as smart as a neko, and graduate from school around the age of 16.
Most Inu family units revolve around packs, which form and disband quickly. This hierarchy of shifting leaders makes it hard to tell who is in charge at any given moment, but also makes Inu more suited to the strict regulations of military life. Most have a sense of family or pack honor, and believe in discipline above all else. Most pups are raised in public with other groups, leading to outgoing, social personalities. Many Inu prefer to spend time outdoors, some even taking it to extremes and becoming nomadic tribes that roam from city to city. These wandering vagrants are often regarded with suspicion, however, as their presence has more than once spread dangerous diseases faster than they could be quarantined.
Generally, Inu are loyal creatures, and many believe it important to do their duty. They generally prefer working in social atmospheres, taking up jobs in media and entertainment. Most of the arcologies elect Inu to public office, believing them to be trustworthy and honest. While this isn't always the case, many Inu believe that the few bad apples shouldn't spoil the lot. Inu are also very common among first response units, making an Inu in uniform one of the first sights off-worlders see when they step off the shuttle. In combat, Inu tend to fight in fire teams, moving quickly and in coordinated groups, treating each squad as a member of a much larger wolf-pack. This makes them formidable opponents in open combat.
The National Alliance was officially formed in 2056 following the Treaty of Geneva, which laid the groundwork for a supranational government to control space. At the time, the number of satellites in orbit made it dangerous to travel, so much junk was present that it posed severe travel restrictions. The Alliance was originally tasked simply with trying to clean up around Earth and maintain the infrastructure of satellite communication. To do so, the Alliance deployed massive blocks of aerogel from specially constructed space elevators. The aerogel was silicon suspended in such a way that over 99% of the blocks were empty. This let them remain strong yet still absorb the fast moving particles that posed such dangers. Within ten years, most of the travel restrictions were gone, though there still remain deadly clouds of shrapnel that roam Earth's upper atmosphere.
The Alliance maintains a senate in London, where its representatives meet and discuss issues of taxation and legislation. Because the majority of Alliance operations are in space, most of its funding comes from taxation and regulation of goods moved between the colonies. Most of this funding goes towards special cruisers, built to resemble cities more than warships. Each Alliance cruiser is equipped with enough firepower to destroy any pirate ship out there, medical facilities to patch up the worst patient, and even a full judicial system for colonies that have yet to receive law enforcement. These cruisers help far flung colonies maintain adequate standards of living without burdening them with needless expense for equipment and personnel.
Some planets, such as Refuge, are classified as semi-independent. These worlds technically fall under the protection of the Alliance, but aren't taxed in the normal sense. Mostly, it's because of the failure of the Alliance to protect them from exploitation that this occurs, but it is a double edged sword. Without taxation, these worlds are only commonwealth members, and do not have a seat in the senate. This lack of a seat can make it difficult to press home the importance of issues on far flung worlds. Also, the long history of lobbying by mega corporate interests have left many colonies feeling that the Alliance is more concerned about taxes and politics than it is by the needs and concerns of the colonies under their protection. This has led numerous colonies to openly boycott the Senate's decisions over the years.
This roleplay is going to be dark. There's no way around this. I was going to take the cutest, most adorable characters and pit them against the worst scum this world has to offer. It'll revolve around the inhabitants of Refuge, eager to live their lives in peace, but finding that the people from Plantation have other ideas. After a slave raid carts off tons of them, they can stand it no more. They want revenge. Some want to simply free their enslaved brothers and sisters, but some want to wipe out every last one of them and make it a total war. The RP will focus on the decisions made by the players, and I'm just here as the dark mistress of fate. I have no plans beyond the initial start up. This is a player driven freeform story with dark elements that may or may not have a happy ending.