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Friday, August 13, 2010 5:50 AM
The road to Hel is paved with good intentions
Friday, August 13, 2010 5:58 AM
Friday, August 13, 2010 6:26 AM
Friday, August 13, 2010 6:32 AM
Friday, August 13, 2010 6:36 AM
Friday, August 13, 2010 6:42 AM
Quote:The original cradle of humanity, Earth, has long
since faded into legend. Dreamers and tale spinners
glamorize Earth-That-Was. It’s become a sort of
Garden of Eden, where mankind was always happy.
Its relics are now priceless. Truth is, mankind sucked
The story goes that depleted resources,
overpopulation, and a compromised ecosystem
forced mankind to abandon Earth-That-Was.
Some do speculate, however, that the planet wasn’t
completely abandoned, that folk still survive on
mankind’s original home, though there is no proof
to back the notion and no easy way to conjure the
truth. It is possible that Earth is not quite as drained
as the old legends suggest and has been quietly
regenerating ever since man left. One day, mankind
may find the lost keys to Eden and return to their
old home once again. That day is a long way off,
though. If it even comes at all.
The wise searched the heavens and found a star
system with planets and moons that could, with a
little help, support human life. Mankind began the
great exodus. They set out in enormous ships they
called “arks,” after the tale of Noah and his crew.
Lacking “faster-than-light” drives, folk found the
journey to their new home long and taxing. At least
one full generation was born, lived, and died without
ever leaving the huge, contained ships that crawled
through the black. The initial excitement of the
voyage quickly faded into the monotony of keeping
the ships moving, keeping the life-support systems
intact, and perfecting the technologies that would
give future generations good lives on new worlds.
Naturally, some folk expected to encounter alien life,
but the only signals on the scanner were the natural
static of the stars. So far as we know, mankind is
alone in the ‘Verse.
With so many different folk of all nationalities
and races packed inside small ships, the old ethnic
and political barriers began to blur. People learned
the native tongues of their fellow ship dwellers.
Subsequent generations would come to speak
fluently the two dominant languages, English and
Chinese, and phrases from other cultures.
Not surprising, some folk lost hope along the
way. There were accidents, malfunctions. If an ark
lost life support, thousands died. The arks became
their coffins, forever drifting in the cold. But for
every person that lost hope, hundreds were there to
keep it alive. Each day brought mankind closer to
And then, one day, there it was.
Even after continued refinement, the process
of terraforming a moon or a planet takes decades.
Terraforming requires atmospheric processing
plants, the regulation of gravity, environmental
adaptation and the introduction of creatures
great and small brought from Earth-That-Was—
everything from algae and bacteria to insects, birds,
and mammals. The power to make such jing chai
changes is astonishing, but is not without its limits.
While most all terraformed worlds are suitable for
human life, each has its own quirks.
The first two planets terraformed and settled
were Londinum and Sihnon, and they became the
center of culture and business throughout the
system. The governments of these two planets took
an enlightened view of civilization. They worked
to maintain order, but also encouraged diversity
of language, ethnicity, religion, and expression of
Despite all the best efforts and intentions of the
original founders, the problems of the common
folk did not go away with the formation of new
worlds. Mankind is restless, always looking to find
greener pastures somewhere else. Pioneers left the
crowded cities and traveled out to the most newly
terraformed worlds, hoping to build a better life for
As mankind spread out, he brought with
him his usual miseries: greed, corruption, crime.
Disagreement over resources, trade, and political
influence led to general unrest among the planets.
A movement began in the oldest, most stable
planets to form a unified parliamentary system
of government that would work to regulate such
matters and keep the peace. The popular idea was
quickly ratified and the Alliance was formed.
The Alliance was started out of an idealistic
belief that a strong central government that
controlled every aspect of a person’s life, from
cradle to grave, could provide that person a better,
safer, and more secure life. Some folk in the Alliance
truly believed this and they dedicated their lives to
bringing this about. Other folk saw this as a chance
to grab power for themselves.
The Parliament formed a military council
that acted quickly to quell any unrest among the
Core planets and their neighbors. Maintaining
order meant keeping tight control over the
populace, and that led to the creation of many
secret programs. Their hope was to make people
obedient, complacent, compliant— “better” by the
The Alliance was the protective parent. The Core
worlds were model children. But the Alliance had
another problem. They feared their “good children”
were going to be corrupted by the bad seeds who
lived on the wrong side of the ‘Verse. The worlds
on the Border and the Rim were self-governing,
outside the limits of Alliance control. Each world
had its own set of laws and rules that suited its
own particular needs. Folk living on these frontier
planets had been forced to be self-reliant in order
to survive, and they had come to be free-thinkers
who saw no need for a lot of government meddling.
The Alliance considered such independence a threat
to civilization. (They also considered that a lot of
valuable resources and real estate were outside their
control!) For the benefit of all people in the ‘Verse,
the Alliance decided that every planet in the system
should come under Alliance rule, whether its people
wanted it or not.
Idealistic folk of the Core planets thought this
was a great idea. Doesn’t everyone would want to
live on a safe, civilized world where folk are cared
for by their betters? The movement for Unification
spread like wildfire through dry brush. The leaders
on the Core thought they had only to open their
arms in a wide embrace and those poor benighted
souls on the Rim would come running home to their
Those on the Border did come running. Only
problem—they carried guns.
The War for Unification was the most
devastating war in human history. All those who
lived through it are marked, like a scar left behind by
an old wound. (Just that some happen to have big
scars traced all ‘cross their faces while others have
tiny ones hidden away.) Outer planets, including
Shadow, Persephone, and Hera, mustered forces and
formed an alliance of their own—the Independent
Faction (known as “Browncoats,” thanks to the
brown dusters their soldiers took to wearing). The
Parliament of the Alliance instituted a draft to build
its forces. They were considerably astonished to
learn that more than half of the Independent forces
were composed of volunteers. The Alliance (known
as the “Purple Bellies” for their style of dress) had
the manpower, the ships, and technology to make
the result of the war a forgone conclusion—but no
one anticipated that freedom would be something so
many folk would be willing to die to protect.
The war raged for just over five years, taking
place on land, sea, and in the dark of space. The
largest space battle in terms of scale and human cost
was the Battle of Sturges, one in which countless
ships were destroyed, creating a massive graveyard
preserved in the vacuum of the black. The largest
land battle, the one that brought about the end of
the war, was fought on the planet Hera in Serenity
Valley. This battle raged on for seven weeks before
the Independent High Command surrendered. Even
then, some of the Browncoats continued to fight
on for two weeks after that. Those soldiers who
continued to fight even after being ordered to lay
down arms were captured and tried for war crimes.
Ultimately, the Alliance released the soldiers and
officers as a peaceful gesture to those outer planets
now under its rule. Some look upon those who
fought in the Battle of Serenity as criminals. Others
see them as big, damn heroes.
Since the battles were mostly fought on the
Border and the Rim, the Core planets escaped
unscathed. To this day, many outer planets still bear
terrible scars. Shadow was effectively destroyed, and
it remains uninhabitable seven years later. Major
cities on Athens were bombed. Several key land
battles were fought on Persephone. Moons that had
no strategic value, such as Whitefall and Jiangyin,
were untouched, but they still suffered as a result
of the disruption of trade. Supplies had been hard
to get as it was, and the war made it harder. Almost
every person living on those planets saw their homes
leveled, their businesses fall into ruin, their loved
ones killed or maimed—all in the name of making
their lives better.
Small wonder folk are still bitter.
Life in the ‘Verse has returned to normal—
leastways on the surface. In truth, no one has
forgotten and few have forgiven. The Alliance
now has jurisdiction over every inhabited planet
in the system. The Alliances does not fully control
everything within its far-flung territory,. In reality,
the Alliance only has full control over the Core
planets. On these worlds, the eyes of the Alliance
are everywhere. Federal police can be called at
a moment’s notice, and cameras record every
citizen’s every move. The Core worlds have the best
comforts that money can buy. ‘Course, every citizen
pays for such security and comfort with more than a
bit of his freedom.
The outer planets were meant to be kept under
the same level of strict control, but the Alliance is
short on manpower and ships. They just don’t have
enough folk to keep a proper eye on things. Yes,
it’s true that they hire security firms to help enforce
their laws and maintain order. And they send their
hulking patrol ships out into the black to remind
everyone who is in charge. Still, the cracks in the
system are large enough for folk to fly a Firefly
Take slavery, for example. Slavery is outlawed
by the Alliance government, but it’s an open secret
that terraforming companies, mine owners and
the wealthy on the Rim regularly use slave labor in
their operations, and pay big sums for human cargo.
Every so often, the Alliance will bust one of these
owners and free the slaves—always looks good on
the nightly news. But then it’s back to business as
usual. Same with indentured servants. That’s not
legal, either, but most folk on the Border planets
accept indentured servitude as a way of life. If
you’re desperate for the credits and you got nothing
to offer up as collateral except yourself, then that’s
what you do. Dohn ma?
These days, there is only one central government
in the ‘Verse. Leastways, that’s what the Alliance
wants you to believe. It’s hard work to rule over
a whole star system of bazillions of people and
hundreds of worlds, especially when so many of
those worlds are so very far away from the Core.
Some in the Alliance might be starting to wonder
if maybe they bit off more protein than they can
chew by trying to extend their control over the
outer planets. Some might be thinking they made
a mistake. If they do, they’re keeping mighty quiet
about it. These days, the Alliance is all about keeping
There are local governments on the Border
and Rim planets. Cities have mayors. Planets have
governors. Moons have magistrates. All these answer
to the Alliance. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed
to work. Local officials on the outer worlds tend to
wield heaps more power then their counterparts on
the Core, just because no one’s close enough by to
tell them they can’t.
The Independent Faction is gone, but that isn’t
to say there are no more Independents. Some are
still fighting the war, though now they do it more
by being an annoyance than a major threat. But
over the last few years, some of these folk have left
off fighting guerrilla actions and are now fighting
on the political front. Be right interesting to see
what happens when someone from the inside starts
prying open secret doors.
Friday, August 13, 2010 8:08 AM
Friday, August 13, 2010 8:40 AM
Monday, August 16, 2010 5:52 PM
The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly
Quote:Originally posted by NEEDY:
bytemite - the qmx link doesnt appear to work but everything else is great, esp the quotes from the RPG handbook
Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:04 AM
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