Colony Name: Vendarian Imperium, known as the Demon Sector to the Mantis invaders.
Government: Military Dictatorship/Oligarchy.
The top levels of government consist of a “State Board” of generals and admirals, along with the heads of various agencies such as the numerous secret police organizations who, while technically part of the military, maintain their independence from direct military oversight. This board reports to a single leader selected from amongst their members. This leader is known as the Emperor or Empress who has the capacity to override them in all matters, only checked if they outvote her to a man.
The Empress and the military board share power in theory, but the empress undoubtedly controls the nation. The current Empress, Tavania IV, has recently appointed a secondary board of advisers who wield power in her name, distancing the government from the military to a certain extent. These advisers are known, collectively, as the Iron Thirteen and each have power over one “sphere” of power. One member of the Iron Thirteen might be charged with overseeing the economy for example, and be given the resources needed to carry it out.
Below the top tiers of the government are the local planetary commandants who oversee the day to day administration of the world and the deployment of local defensive units. These commandants report to the board and the Empress. They have recently lost much of their power to the Iron Thirteen however, resulting in some discontent amongst them. In short, the commandants no longer set policy on their own, but are forced to obey the rulings and dictations of the Iron Thirteen by the command of the Empress. This pattern continues down the ranks, the heads of local industries and such as are appointed by and report to the commandant, and through them, the Iron Thirteen. The military and secret police forces are a separate matter and report directly to the State Board, with no input from the Iron Thirteen.
The lowest level of official government is the local councils which are appointed to oversee the fortress-cities and their various townships. Each city sports their own council and selects one of their number to send to a province-wide council that compiles reports and sets local policy on certain matters. In a practical sense, these low-level councils are effectively powerless, helplessly following the lead of the higher tiers of government.
Overall, the government of the Imperium has near complete control over the economy, the military and the like. Independent corporations are nearly unheard of within the Imperium. This level of control could be called, not unjustly, dictatorial. At the same time however, the government has ensured that none of its people starve or are without work, that everyone is educated to some extent and that law and order rarely break down.
The Triad ideology ensures that the government is uniformly harsh when it comes to alien sympathizers or aliens themselves, but beyond activities deemed treasonous to humanity the government is remarkably nonintrusive in regards to the way its citizens live their lives. The government concerns itself with the survival of the Imperium and Humanity, if something lays beyond that sphere the attitude is remarkably lax and tolerant. Out and out rebellion is punished, but a protest march is likely to bring about swift change provided it is not seen as an attack on humanity or the values of the Triad. The government would be eager to end the crisis in a permanent way (a brutal crackdown would only encourage violent revolts) so that it can return its attention to the matter of survival and thus, tends to take the demands of protestors seriously, if they turn out in strong enough numbers.
Military: Roughly six million soldiers, in addition to police forces.
The Vendarian military is organized into a multi-tiered structured based on the amount of training and practical experience one has, as well as their performance. In general, one can expect to be promoted when a position is available and if they have demonstrated above-average abilities and dedication to duty. The military, in this regard, is very much a meritocracy and any signs of nepotism and favoritism are normally dealt with quite swiftly. The current six million men and women under arms are formed into thirty armies of two hundred thousand soldiers; each of these armies is led by a commandant who reports to the military board. In total, each general on the military board commands three commandants. All Vendarian armies are not all necessarily equal, of the thirty armies currently formed; ten of them are classified as elite units or “Shock Armies”. These are forces are the best of the best, the cream of the crop even by the high standards of the Vendarians.
The Vendarian water bound and space bound navies follow roughly the same pattern in this regard, though their numbers obviously vary. There are no true Vendarian air forces, as such things full under influence of the space fleet. The space fleet itself consists of a dozen true military craft with numerous troop transports in addition to this. A group of carriers serves as the core of the Vendarian fleet. There are, of course, a great many spaceflight capable fighter craft within the Imperium, but most of them are effectively limited to planetary duties. The Vendarian water-bound navy is built around mobility and stealth, with submarines and the like being the order of the day. Some submarine models are capable of surfacing and deploying surface/air-based vessels as the situation dictates. The primary purpose of the navy, however, is providing a mobile sort of orbital defense. As a consequence, missile and carrier submarines are the most common type deployed.
Equipment and Selected Examples
Below are selected examples of Vendarian uniforms and a general summary of their military equipment. Specific coloration and the like, are, of course, dependent on the environment they are deployed too. Grey works well enough for temperate climates, but would be foolish in the extreme in a subarctic environment.
(Basic foot soldiers)
(A uniform variant used in environments outside of temperate range or subject to extreme weather. A desert, jungle, near-constant rain and such as)
(Fireproofed uniform variant, for use in hazardous environment, also used by those unfortunate souls on flamethrower duty)
(Variant used by scouts, frontline snipers and the like, extremely weather resistant and equipped with various devices to aid in whatever task they’ve been sent to complete)
(Heavily armored uniform variant, often used by units tasked with breaking through fortifications and other extremely dangerous duties)
(Frontlines officer, worn by the higher ranks and, perhaps, some decoys scattered about)
(Specialized officer units put through a variant of shock army training, often tasked with guarding a VIP and other places of importance or destroying key parts of the enemy defenses, rallying a sagging line etc)
(Variants for use in particularly harsh environmental conditions, modified far beyond the multifunctional example above due to the specific nature of their environment)
(Selected generals, from both the normal and shock armies, generals and extremely high-ranking figures have no set uniform)
The basic kit of the Vendarian foot soldier consists of several pieces of multi-compound armor designed to protect the user from many types of energy attacks (kinetic, laser etc) alongside a multi-function gasmask and a supply of oxygen should worst come to worst. This is far from the only function of the masks, with built-in computers offering various status updates, several different types of vision and other such things. Further equipment tends to be dependent on the exact nature of the soldier. A sniper, for example, would be issued gear tended towards ranged combat, maneuverability and long term survival in isolated, hostile environments. An officer on the other hand, would be given thicker armor, a gasmask with additional functions integrated into it. For example, it is capable of linking directly to any observation drones on the battlefield, providing a useful tactical display. Their weapons, regardless of their specific place in the organization, are plasma-based.
Below are selected examples of the uniforms and equipment in used by the elite Shock Armies of the Vendarian Imperium. They are, without exception, of high quality and are modular in nature, allowing a uniform to be adapted to any environment with relative ease. Colors, clearly, vary with the environment.
(Basic shock trooper uniforms, generally more hardy, functional and maneuverable then typical uniforms)
(Shock trooper sub officer uniform, generally used by low-ranking officers on the front lines)
(Uniform used by high-ranking officers and their bodyguards/various decoys, reckoned to be one of the best pieces of equipment fielded by the Imperium)
(Uniform used by the elite commando units fielded by the Shock Armies, the abilities of this already formidable suit are only enhanced by the cybernetic nature of the commandos themselves)
The Shock Armies are the pride of the Imperium. These elite forces are put through a training regimen that could be described as brutal, hellish and near-lethal if one was feeling particularly dramatic. Their kit reflects their value to the Imperium as a whole. No expense is spared when it comes to equipping them with the finest the Imperium can produce. Their basic gasmask includes a multitude of functions and capabilities that are reserved for officers within the normal forces. As a consequence of this, they are also one of the more expensive parts of the army, though any who see them in action do not question the soundness of the investment. Their commando units in particular are quite expensive due to the extensive rebuilding they undergo upon the completion of their training. By the time the process is complete these commandos could fairly be said to be more machine than anything else.
Police, Public & Secret.
(Venderian police officers)
The Venderian police force is well-armed enough to count as a near-extension of the military force though there are notable differences in their training programs. While the military focuses on tactics, maneuvering and the like, the police place extreme import on procedure, investigation, interrogation, psychology and the like. While they are trained in combat techniques and military matters it is of distinctly secondary importance to them. Their tendency to recruit from veterans and the like does ensure that, if called upon, they can carry out military duties in a competent manner though if the situation is desperate enough for the police to march to the front lines, chances are they’ll do little more then buy time.
The Secret Police are, unlike the public forces, not a single overarching organization but rather several different organizations, charged with intelligence gathering, espionage and various other tasks. To solve the eternal question of who watches the watchers, there are several divisions of secret police charged with monitoring the government and, of course, other secret police organizations. Their equipment is patterned after the uniforms and weapons of the elite shock armies, though their uniforms are normally a coal black with gold decoration, in contrast to the more practical coloration sported by the shock armies.
The Vendarian Imperium does not take kindly to secrets, feeling that every project should have some amount of oversight from the various secret police organizations. No system of security and containment is perfect however, and the Imperium is no exception. Answering to the Empress and select members of the Iron Thirteen, Cadre Sixty-Six is a private army of operatives independent of the other mechanisms of government. Their existence is top secret, not even the military board knows of them, the secret police have no inkling of their existence, it is likely only a dozen people outside of the organization know of them. The reason for this obscene amount of secrecy is simple. While Cadre Sixty-Six is insanely effective and dangerous, they are no longer entirely human. Their genes have been modified, their body rebuilt using cybernetic components and, it is whispered, xeno technology. If word ever got out about them, Vendarian society would be thrown into complete chaos. As it stands, this cadre of black ops soldiers is sent in when all other avenues have failed or would fail.
(Cadre Sixty-Six soldiers, heavily armored and equipped with top of the line technology)
-End Top Secret-
Vendarian ground vehicles are almost exclusively hover-craft. The reasoning behind this doctrine is simple, the Imperium covers a wide variety of different environments and while treaded vehicles and walkers might be suited to certain environments, they certainly aren’t suited to them all. Hover vehicles, however, preform adequately in nearly any terrain. Their armored divisions tend to favor lightning strikes and hit and fade campaigns. When supporting infantry, they tend to be used to punch holes into the enemy defenses, allowing the infantry to pass through unhindered and flank enemy positions.
(Examples of Vendarian tanks, typically used to spearhead attacks or fortify defensive positions)
(Examples of Vendarian APCs, which fulfill a variety of roles in addition to their primary troop-carrying vocation)
(Vendarian Jetbike, used to for quick deployment and scouting purposes)
The fleet consists of roughly a dozen military vessels of varying sizes and functionality, though the most common craft would be the simple but versatile combat frigate, charged with holding down a line of defense and protecting the more vulnerable craft of the fleet. The core of the fleet consists of large star fighter carriers, which have proven to be a hefty force multiplier in fleet engagements. There are several expansions planned for the fleet, but such things are expensive and take time. The fleet prefers to fight defensively, all things considered, but can handle offensive actions if called upon, as the invasion of Bastion proved quite well. The fleet also counts planet-bound fighters and drop ships amongst its numbers, effectively replacing the air force.
(Examples of Vendarian fleet craft, they are notable departure from standard human designs, perhaps signifying the differences in culture between the Imperium and the rest of humanity)
(Vendarian dropship, used to transport troops in space (with, hopefully, the help of a carrier) and on planet and, upon deployment, provide aerial support)
(Typical Vendarian fightercraft, capable of both space-based and planet based missions, though it tends to rely on carriers for space-based activities)
As noted above, the Vendarian navy has no dedicated surface battleships, instead relying on a variety of submarines to fill in the gap. It is reasoned, in the age of spacecraft and orbital bombardment, that surface-based vessels would be little more than floating target practice. When surface operations are required, a carrier submarine typically surfaces to deploy small, fast, surface vessels.
(Vendarian surface vessels)
Population: Roughly one hundred and forty million.
Territory: Two systems, with four habitable worlds between them. Vendar serves as a capital and has the largest population, with the remainder scattered between the worlds of Iskander, Timur and the annexed world known as Bastion.
Vendar is an extremely earthlike planet. Vendar plays host to multiple continents and island chains, most of which are unsettled at the moment. The only heavily settled continent lies within the northern hemisphere of the planet and has a nominally temperate nature. This planet was one of the first settled by the Vendarians and thus, the settled regions are much urban then one might expect. Fortress cities dot the landscape, with smaller fortified compounds and trench systems surrounding them. Transportation between these cities is typically done by aircraft or via the underground network of tunnels and subways. Military bases are present on nearly every continent.
Timur shares a system with Vendar and is the opposite of its sister world in many ways. It’s habitable in the sense humans can survive upon it, but most of the planet is a mixture of desert and savannah that is, to put it lightly, not ideal for human life. Settlements tend to focus on the massive mesas that dot the planet which are much more hospitable and, sometimes, even pleasant. Each settlement exists mostly underground and resembles a system of bunkers more than a city once one strays away from the great hollowed out chambers that serve as public squares. The surface of these settlements is given over entirely to the military, who, in customary Vendarian fashion, fortify them extensively.
Iskander, first colonized after the Vendarians won their independence, is located in a neighboring system. The planet is locked in an ice age, but remains habitable to a certain extent. Fortress cities and small communities cluster around areas with high geothermal activity, drawing power and warmth from them. The military maintains bases all over this world, many of which hide projects and prototypes, nestled away in the coldest, most inhospitable corners of the world. This world also played host to the armies that invaded Bastion, a legacy that remains in the form of several extensive military complexes capable of housing immense numbers of troops, if need be.
Bastion shares a system with Iskander and is, currently, the only planet that the Imperium has annexed by force. Oceans dominate the majority of the planet, with only one landmass that can properly be called a continent. Steaming jungles, twisting marshes and the like make up the majority of the environment due to the warm nature of the planet’s climate. The cities and communities Bastion plays host to a notably different from the Vendarian norm, though efforts have been made to fortify them properly, one cannot remove decades of architectural heritage within one decade.
Political Alignment: The Imperium has theoretical ties with the League of Independent Planets, but the conquest of the Bastion colony has ensured their relations with the League are cold at best.
Notable Biological Features: They Vendarians have an extremely common tendency towards tan skin and red eyes. The shades of the skin can vary from a light tan to almost brown, but other shades of skin coloration are rare in the extreme. Eye coloration is much the same, shades of red are the norm and “normal” eye coloration is rare enough to be commented upon. The Vendarians are also notable for their unusually high metabolism and the relative kindness with which old age treats them. These abilities are widely suspected to be the result of genetic manipulation, though only a few outside of the Vendarians themselves know the truth of the matter (they were, oh yes, they were). Beyond that, they have a noted tendency to roll their r’s.
Culture: The two defining traits of the Vendarian Imperium would be its rampant militarism and ubiquitous xenophobia. These attitudes are reflected in the dominant political philosophy of the Imperium, commonly called the Triad by those who support it. The Triad ideology is built on, as the name suggests, three core principles. First, that the universe is a hostile and uncaring place, that there is no fairness or judge amongst the stars to determine what is just and what is not. There is no one out there that will protect humanity from the threats all around it. All other parts of the Triad build off this basic assumption about the nature of the universe. The Mantis invasion has erased any doubts that Vendarians may have had about this assumption, and support for the Triad ideology is at an all-time high.
The second part of the Triad builds on the first, as there is no power capable of or perhaps willing too; intervene on the behalf of Humanity and the Imperium, measures must be taken to ensure the Imperium can stand on its own against any conceivable threat. Survival is placed over abstract concepts like morality, ethics and other such things. They are not ignored, but they are just less important to the core of the Triad, that survival is the first goal of any species, the basis on which all accomplishments are built. If you cannot survive, then you are, ultimately, irrelevant and weak, meaning it is the duty of the strong to look after you, even if you would object to such a thing. Survival at the expense of other species is considered to be a simple necessity, for, naturally, all other species seek the same. Do unto them before they do unto humanity in sum.
This is the part of the Triad often cited to support the Imperium’s aggressive annexation of Bastion, as that world’s defenses were, in the view of the Imperium, woefully inadequate, the Imperium felt that it would be better off under its protection. The fact they had to wipe out the military of Bastion and forcibly extend that protection is, under the Triad, irrelevant. Humanity as a whole was strengthened, that is what mattered.
The third and final part of the Triad is a simple doctrine of power. To the Vendarians it is the logical conclusion of the first two parts of the Triad. To survive and care for the weak, one must acquire power, preferably military power for words only mean so much in a universe filled with treachery and lies. Power is the only thing that can keep the Vendarians alive and protected in an ultimately uncaring universe. As the first part of the Triads states, there is no one that will save them, the second part insists they must take matters into their own hands and care for themselves. The final part of this Triad, often called the doctrine of power, declares that a strong military and a firm loyalty to the Imperium and Humanity is only way to accomplish their basic goal of survival.
The direct influences of the Triad on Vendarian culture are easy to see. The Triad’s encouragement of militarism and seeking power ensures that the Imperium’s first priority is the military and sound physical defenses as well as the resources needed to support such endeavors. The fact that their first contact was with the Mantis of all aliens, ensures that their doctrine of survival is also a doctrine of xenophobia. They have seen what humanity is capable of when they’re fighting their own kin, to their minds, pondering how a completely alien mind would measure humanity is terrifying in the extreme. Insofar as the Vendarians are concerned, the galaxy is full of predators; strength and power are needed to fight them off.
One would think this attitude would result in a uniformly harsh, brutal, humorless people. This is not precisely the case. As life in the galaxy is, to the Vendarian mind, hostile in the extreme, the common belief is that one should seize what happiness and comfort they can. There is no use; after all, for fighting for a life so empty that death would be a relief. The Vendarians are, after all, human in the end, not simple machines. They seek what comfort they can with gusto, be it in love, religion, simple hobbies or other such things. When left to their own devices, when survival isn’t on the line and aliens a distant boogeyman, the Vendarians pursue their chosen hobbies and comforts with gusto. A general may spend his off time learning to paint masterpieces or he may simply travel the Imperium, seeking to collect a sample of each plant for his personal garden. So long as they don’t disrupt the Imperium overmuch, such activities are encouraged.
A notable manifestation of this desire for comfort is their cultural obsession with gasmasks. Due to their history, gasmasks are strongly associated with security, safety and the like. To them gasmasks are much like a talisman against the horrors of the universe. Proof that human ingenuity can overcome any threat and provide safety for the entire species. Gasmasks are worn by nearly everyone in the culture while in public and only taken off in the privacy of one’s home. Seeing a Vendarian ‘unmasked’ so to speak, is regarded as an intimate gesture, one only made to family, close friends and lovers. Such a gesture indicates a high level of trust in the viewer. The Vendarian in question is deliberately making themselves vulnerable, trusting that the viewer will do nothing to harm them.
There is a certain exception to this trend however; genetic modification for entertainment purposes is regarded as a massive insult to the forefathers of the Imperium and the suffering they endured. Such things are outlawed completely and merchants who sell such things are often executed or imprisoned for life. To a Vendarian, treating genetic modification so lightly is tantamount to personally destroying their families’ grave in front of them. No graver insult exists within their culture. There is a similar stigma against slavery, the Imperium has been known to seize any slaving vessel in their space, slaughter the crew, free the slaves and leave the bloody, beaten corpses of the slavers behind as a warning for others.
History: The Vendarians were born in captivity. They are not a natural race, by that account. They were born one hundred and sixty years ago, the product of experimentation with the human genetic code. An attempt to create a race of super humans, a breed ready to meet the demands of live aboard generation ships for there seemed to be little hope of breaking out of the prison that Sol system had become by any other means. They were bred, probed and prodded by uncaring, clinical hands. Their creators, whoever they were, had formidable resources at their command. Entire mountain ranges on Mars were given over to this secret project. The desolate, red spires of rock and dust served as the womb of the entire Vendarian race. It is the nature of a beaten dog to turn against its masters however. You beat a creature long enough, you break it completely, but if you strike it one more time, the creature will tear out your throat.
The creators of the Vendarians forgot this very important lesson, seeking only ways to apply the ‘improvements’ visited upon the Vendarians upon a larger population. When the end came, it was and brutal. Guards were torn apart by frenzied mobs, bulkheads pounded in by beams of steel. One hundred and thirty years after their creation, the Vendarians could be considered a free people, albeit one unknown to humanity at large, isolated as they were in the wilderness of Mars. Knowing little of the outside world, the Vendarians became semi-mythical tech-bandits, wondering the wastes of Mars in scavenged vehicles, always covered by environmental suits and gasmasks. As they tasted freedom however, as they grew into their own, their thoughts slowly turned to vengeance, to those who had robbed them of their dignity. They grew bolder.
(Examples of Vendarian dress during the free Martian stage of their existence)
When a group of Vendarians infiltrated one of the great cities of Mars, they stumbled across a symbol that had been worn by those they had slain during the revolt. When they returned to the mountains, they spread the word that their tormentors appeared to live on. For the second time in their history, the Vendarian people prepared to make war. A great army was gathered, marshaling from the Martian wilderness. To the citizens of the city and indeed, the Sol system at large, it appeared as though an army had sprung up from the dust itself to make war upon them.
The Vendarians seized the city, overwhelming local forces completely. They could not know what they were up against, knowing but little of humanity at large. This was their undoing. Sol responded with overwhelming force, crushing the Vendarian forces in but three days. The ramshackle vehicles and crude weapons that the bandits sported were simply incapable of matching the high-tech equipment of their enemies. Within two weeks, the last of the Vendarians mountain homes had been captured by the victorious forces of humanity. Their decade of freedom was at an end.
Humanity, by and large, had no idea what could be done about them. They had, seemingly, sprung out of the wilderness of Mars. They spoke a language that, while vaguely understandable, was confusing at best. The fact that someone was running about in the shadows, burning evidence, silencing witnesses and clearing databases did little to help them understand matters. Eventually penal colonies were established on the Moon. This was where the Vendarians spent the rest of their existence in Sol, locked away from the rest of humanity and watched over by increasingly nervous guards. When FTL was discovered and Humanity reached out to the stars, the Vendarians were amongst the first colonists sent out. To the farthest habitable system Humanity could reach. The sooner the entire incident was forgotten, the better, seemed to be the opinion of the human governments.
Under the unblinking eyes of Confederacy soldiers, the Vendarians made a new life for themselves in the stars. Their population, already large from their time on the moon, grew larger yet. They became more worldly, more understanding of the universe around them due to the efforts of benevolent forces within the Confederacy. This, unfortunately, had the opposite effect then these forces had hoped. As a people, the Vendarians had seen the worst of the universe, and learning that they were quite close to the Mantis did little to ease their paranoia. The uneasy truce between the Vendarians and their Confederate masters couldn’t hold forever and fifty years after the Vendarians had been hurled into the stars, they revolted. Confederate presence on their worlds was light and easily overwhelmed, indeed, the conflict is popularly known as the “Three Day War” by military historians.
The Confederacy, in no mood to fight a war when it had more pressing matters to engage in, more or less allowed them to leave. The Vendarians militarized, expanded and became increasingly xenophobic, fearful of the universe around them. Programs were launched by the new, independent government, to bring yet more resources into their grasp. They colonized Iskander on their own initiative, with no support from other human governments, a feat they remain quite proud of. This time period was something of a renaissance for Vendarians as a whole, their culture became more defined, their identity solidified, the experiences and wisdom passed down from generation to generation became a coherent ideology that united the entire civilization. They designed and fielded their own fleet of combat craft, military vehicles, weapons and much more. They were, by the end of this period, more than a people, more than a group brought together by common suffering; they were, indisputably, a nation. An Imperium. Still, the scars of their past haunted them, wherever the Imperium looked it saw potential threats, horrors hiding in the shadows.
Ten years before the Mantis invasion, they turned their eyes to the colony of Bastion. Their neighbors were, in the Vendarian’s estimation, prey presenting their throat to a predator. They had only a small military to defend them, with a smattering of militiamen serving as a reserve. They also showed no sign of changing this any time soon, ignoring the Vendarian ambassador and the concerns he constantly raised. The Vendarians ever mindful of the horrors visited upon their ancestors began preparations for an invasion, reasoning that if someone was going to invade Bastion, it might as well be someone who had its best interests in mind.
When the Vendarians struck, they struck quickly and efficiently. The Third Shock Army, supported by the fleet, quickly overcame Bastion’s defenses. The Imperium then set about rebuilding Bastion to the trying standards it held itself to. While not wantonly brutal, this invasion was a clear violation of Bastion’s rights as a colony, not to mention the numerous civil rights violations inflicted upon the civilians of Bastion. At this point relations with the League and the Imperium became quite cold. Still, the Vendarians consider the invasion justified. When the Mantis hit the Imperium, their armies stood strong and beat off the threat completely, albeit it at a cost. If they had not invaded Bastion, the Imperium insists, everyone on that planet would have been dead.