By the year 2432ad, mankind has outgrown their home planet and gone in search of new places of live. First, massive colony ships churned through the airless void of space, powered by nuclear engines, in the late half of the twenty-second century but quickly turning to the beam drive in the early twenty-third. Through the advance of time (and several bloody civil wars on remote planets) Earth and her fledging colonies came under the control of a militaristic regime of the Federation of Man, ruled by a council of generals and admirals. High rank in the armed forces was equal to political power, as officers often were assigned as planetary governors.
Over the years, this government has become fat from the plundering of worlds and bloated with corruption. The entire Federation seemed ready to tear itself apart, when we were faced with our greatest challenge, the Tarnakians. They were the first alien race we encountered, being both humanoid and more then ready to wipe us out of existence.
First contact happened at the colony of Jouy 11, ten years ago. A small fleet, a little bigger then squadron size appeared in orbit above the frontier settlement and sent a handful of transports to the surface. All of the settlers, living in a single city, sent a subspace transmission to the nearest Federation Naval Base and welcomed the visitors with open arms. When a taskforce under Commodore Rumsford arrived several days later, they found every human being slaughtered and the buildings razed.
Medical personal noted in their reports that the colonistís wounds were caused by a weapon that was similar to current Federation pulselaser technology. It was also noted in the report of Commodore Rumsford that the charred remains of nearly all of the colonies record projectile weapons were found in the destroyed buildings, leading him to believe that it was not a trigger happy local that sparked the slaughter.
While attempts to open negations with these aliens proved unfruitful, making contact was not. Within four standard months (thirty-one days), a dozen worlds had come under naval blockade and suffered invasion from the Tarnakians. The local Planetary Defense Forces had nearly crumbled under the assault by the time the Federation Navy was able to break the blockades and deliver elements of the Federation Armies to join in the defense. After ten years, all of the colonies were returned to full control of the Federation and the glorious forces of mankind had found one planet belonging to the aggressors.
Bomy 8 or Graveyard has it become known, as a well-developed planet, equal to any full member world in the Federation. The Ninth and Sixteenth armies were able to make a beachhead on the southern half of the largest continent and were nearly able to break out with the arrival of Tenth. Strong defensive positions, paired with highly motivated soldiers and a steady stream of new weapons, munitions and armor from a large cluster of manufacturing facilities in the north, helped the Tarnakains hold their ground.
The arrival of reinforcements from the Federation was delayed, as the war expanded again. Several new assaults on human held worlds were launched and small raiding parties roamed at will. Armies in route to Bomy 8 were redirected to these new hotspots and others were broken up into planetary garrisons, encase of Tarnakian invasion. Only a trickle of companies and battalions to replace loses suffered by the ground forces could be landed as a result.
The entire campaign was in a stalemate. Although the Tarnakians could keep the Federation armies bottled up in their beachhead, they couldnít launch a large enough counterattack to drive them into sea, because of the carefully orbiting fleet of human warships. The big guns of the naval vessels were able to bombard parts of the planetís surface, making any large advance towards human lines, suicide. Although that hasn't stopped them from trying every few months. The human armies, unable to break out and their leaders unwilling to abandon the assault, have dug in, turning the southern landscape into a broken wasteland of trenches and shell holes, covered with rotting bodies
Now, why couldnít the navy just blast the manufacturing facilities and training bases off the crust of Bomy 8? Well, to the untrained eye, it was a clustering of attack satellites in orbit above the facility, with a small detachment of what Federation Intelligence has labeled Tarnakian destroyers and frigates. Theses forces however, are of little threat, for though they have superior weapons for their ground forces, the Federation has a far superior navy.
The real reason is a trio of large energy cannons planetside, which are aimed skywards. During the opening days of the fighting, the heavy cruiser, Private Daniels attempted to destroy the satellites but was destroy in turn by a single shot from one of the cannons. If those planetary defenses could be taken out, the navy could pound Bomy 8 into submission and prove to the citizens of Federation, that this war is winnable.
Enter Major Robert Rogers. Forced to make a corrupt deal to save some of his men from a court-martial and the firing squard, he volunteered to lead a raid to destroy those great weapons. However, he was denied the Special Forces he would need to perform the task and was instead given permission to recruit thirteen prisoners from the penal colony of Jukau Gamma and a handful of Provosts to keep them inline, with three months to train them.
Talk about slow suicide.
This planet is not truly acceptable for human life. Even on the warmest of summer days, any sane person would wish for a sweatshirt or jacket. The air is thin and hard to breath. No crops will grow there and what little local vegetation there is, is toxic. No animal life has ever been seen and may not exist. The only habitation is a massive fortress-like prison, which sits above a played-out platinum mine. The place is drafty and the cell blocks are open to prisoner movement. The only bars in the place are to separate the Provostís quarters from the general population.
At first, Jukau Gamma used itís prisoner population to strip the land of itís mineral wealth, leaving a long system of tunnels and caves under the prison itself. These days, its used as a dumping ground for murderers, rapists, thieves, political dissenters, smugglers, drug addicts, drug dealers and just about any other criminal (save for military offenders, as they army and navy only have two punishments, floggings and firing squad) of both sexes, to be tossed in and forgotten. It is more then likely that if one is sent there, your file will be lost and orders to release you will never arrive. Extra clothing is rarely handed out and is usually stolen from a fellow inmate.
Every prisoner is fed the same ration of protein gruel, twice a day. Of course there are a few ways to get more food. One is to work in the mines, looking for a few scraps of leftover platinum for Commissar Baum, which will earn an extra half ration. Finding a few grams of the metal will earn a full ration. The female population mostly uses another way, which is to sell oneself to a guard or the Commissar himself.
A day where the public corporal punishment of several inmates or a week without when a hanging doesnít take place, are rare.
The Provosts are a branch of the Federation Armies created for the sole purpose of guarding the penal colonies and manning prisoner transports. A civilian recruited to join them is automatically ranked as a sergeant, as all lower ranks are filled with trustees culled from the prisoners they guard. The standard uniform are black utilities and garrison cap. The main weapons Provosts are armed and trained with are the cudgel, whip and Mark VII pulselaser pistol.
These units bare the motto: Per Virga quod Ferito, With Rod and Lash.