The Royal Kingdom of Scarlet vs. the Midnight Confederation, refereed(?) by Deep Purple.
The RKS and the MC have spent quite a long time as a rather odd footnote at the tail end of various appendices in assorted intelligence reports submitted to any of a number of heads of state. Until very recently, they rarely drew enough attention to themselves to pass beyond the status of 'minor regional powers, a bit too nasty to knock off and not worth the effort' that, translated from spookspeak, the two nations were generally assigned. Neither one was particularly secretive, but neither were they expansionist, interested at all in foreign contact or an easy target for other expansionists.
As far as any observers could tell at a cursory glance, all they were interested in doing was fighting one another.
The galaxy is never short on feuding factions at the best of times, and two relatively small ones squabbling for decades on end failed to draw much attention, particularly considering how bad they seemed to be at it. Battle-lines almost never moved, casualties were ridiculously light on both sides, and ground assaults literally unheard-of. Given the glacial pace of the war itself, that state of affairs could well have continued for untold years to come, but for the rise of an organization calling itself Deep Purple. No one is quite sure what they are, for all that they seem to be drawn from the citizens of both nations. They seem to occupy a role somewhat akin to a very localized United Nations crossed with an intelligence organization and a whole battalion of referees.
Deep Purple's manipulations haven't so much given the sparring nations a coherent foreign policy, but whatever it is manages to look like one in a dim light. Nearby pirates have been driven back somewhat, early warning systems facing away from each over have been erected in places, and tentative diplomatic contact has been established with a few neighbors. The headache-inducing thing, from the perspective of outsiders trying to make sense of it all, is that all this is going on without any apparent reduction in the (admittedly low) intensity of the ongoing war between the two arguably-cooperative factions.
The Royal Kingdom of Scarlet
The RKS is technically an absolute monarchy that suffers from rather extreme jurisdictional issues in its modern incarnation. In its early history, the nascent legislature (still relegated to an advisory role, legally) attempted to curtail the powers of the ruling queen. After encountering substantial decapitaional resistance, the new incoming freshmen decided to try a different tack. Queen Eleanor's advisers began slowly assuming duties of their own, inconsequential fringe tasks that would only serve to 'distract' the queen from the machinations of state. At first, this was true; the selection of custodial staff, the maintenance of the Royal Gardens, and the formation of the guest lists to royal banquets were some of the first powers the queen was persuaded to part with.
As decades passed, bits and shreds of authority were slowly carved away from the Crown and passed to the Crown Advisory Council, as it had come to be known, until at last the Council members felt strong and secure enough to move openly. They were right. Control of the purse and the military were wrested away from the queen after years of preparation in a single night. Queen Eleanor went to bed one day the ruler of a nation, and woke the next stripped of almost all power. All she had left was, ironically enough, the inconsequential ones that she had first given away decades earlier, returned to her mockingly by her erstwhile advisers. After a week spent trying to regain control of her own country, she was found dead by a massive sedative overdose in her own chambers.
With the death ruled a suicide, her daughter took power under the name Eleanor II. She avoided clashes with the Crown Advisory Council, seemingly content to serve as a figurehead, a trophy queen not so much under the thumb of her advisers as rendered irrelevant by them. Several years passed in relative quiet as the Council consolidated their hold on the Kingdom. And then the members of the Crown Advisory Council began to die, one by one. At first, the killings weren't even connected due to how spread out they were. Even then, it took several more corpses before investigators realized that one member of the Crown Advisory Council was dying every year on the anniversary of Queen Eleanor I's suicide. No two murders were alike other than their choice of victims; one was beaten to death by a shovel, another was poisoned by cleaning solvents, the next was stabbed in the heart with a trowel, and one was even buried alive with a quite pretty floral arrangement planted above his grave.
Given the secretive nature of the transfer of power between the Queen and the Council, the police lacked the context to see the writing on the wall that was quite evident to the Council members; Queen Eleanor II had taken the 'inconsequential' fluff powers given back to her mother as a gesture of contempt and assembled them into a deadly weapon. Too afraid of the political and public relations consequences of admitting what they had done to the police, the Council members took steps to defend themselves; they hired private security, their schedules changed dramatically, they spent more and more time together in a guarded compound. Ironically enough, that resulted in the mass death of every surviving member of the original Council one year later when the compound was gassed by a deadly little cocktail that forensic investigators later determined to be a reaction between a banned insecticide and a popular detergent solution.
The next anniversary passed, the freshmen Council members jumping at shadows all day, with no killings. And the next, and the next; Queen Eleanor II made no attempt to recover the political and legal power her mother had enjoyed. The Crown Advisory Council settled into place as the legitimate government of the Royal Kingdom of Scarlet, while the Queen herself seemed content in a figurehead role. That placid state of affairs continued unmolested until an armed intruder was found dead on the Crown estate with the haft of a rake somehow rammed entirely through his torso. Ever since then, the royal family of the kingdom has headed up the covert operations wing of the RKS Intelligence service, never official, never acknowledged, funded solely by the royal family itself.
Those who know of their existence simply whisper the name...Custodians.
The Midnight Confederation
The Midnight Confederation is a loose confederation of quasi-autonomous statelets ruled by the iron fist of a long line of supreme autocrats. The balance of power goes something like this: Any state has the right to secede from the Confederation at will (Screw you guys, I'm taking my marbles and going home), and the First and Only Minister has the right to crush any state like a bug beneath the weight of the entire MC Navy (You have the right to scream impotently as your world is burned from orbit. Anything I say can and will be used against you in a court of my word is law). This balance has persisted in relative peace for quite some time, long enough for a more sane and forgiving relationship framework to grow around both sides of the mutual-assured-destruction pact. None of the historical Ministers have really wanted to pound productive worlds until the gravel bounced, and none of the statelets have found enough to object to in the MC's policies to push hard enough and run the risk.
Neither power has ever actually been employed, and it's an open question as to exactly what would happen were a leader to make the attempt. Finding that answer would doubtlessly be very unpleasant for at least one party involved, so it's a question most everyone involved is quite happy to leave...outcome hazy. Early in its history, the MC had several close calls along those lines; stare-downs over fractious worlds, heated, coffee-fueled negotiations to resolve them and so forth. In more recent years the MC has managed a passable imitation of a sane state, excepting of course its ongoing conflict with its neighbor, the Royal Kingdom of Scarlet. Few people outside the two nations think that's anything close to sane, but that's neither here nor there.
The Confederation has always relied on its navy as the primary striking arm of its central government. Ground forces usually fall under the purview of its member states and are of wildly inconsistent training and equipment as a result. By stark contrast, the MCN is equipped with the very best the Confederation can afford and trained to exacting, harsh standards. The early Ministers, accordingly, didn't have an army they could trust to maintain order in the face of potentially-unpopular policies, but they always had access to a Navy who could do the job, albeit with a much higher incidence of collateral damage.
Deep Purple is...difficult to describe. It is an attempt to self-impose a metagovernment upon the RKS and MC while acknowledging the reality that an explicit peace is highly improbable at best. More to the point, peace has been tried before; early incarnations of the movement that would eventually become Deep Purple made the attempt. Peace talks simply fizzled out, negotiations didn't so much fail to find common ground as much as they simply...lost interest. No one was terribly invested in the war. There had been no atrocities to use as rallying cries. There were no enormous ideological differences in play. None of it made any sense.
Out of that simple frustration was born Deep Purple. The most popular coffee mug in any Deep Purple facility proclaims proudly that 'YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE BALD TO WORK HERE, WE'LL HANDLE THAT.' The most stable people in the organization are those who can simply set aside the fact that the entire organization's reason for existence makes no sense whatsoever and get on with their increasingly eerie-ass day. The least stable are somewhat ironically the most sane, those people who can't get over that simple fact and keep trying to find a way to make sense of it all.
Deep Purple's goals are two-and-a-half-fold. Firstly, they exist to perpetuate the status quo in the short to mid-term. If either the RKS or the MC were to actually accomplish something in the war for once, there might actually be a reason for the war to exist, and it does that quite well enough as it is without one. Secondly, they...aim the two nations in rough directions in a vague imitation of a functioning foreign policy. And lastly, there's a faction within Deep Purple who wants above all else to find out WHY! any of this is even going on.
Her Majesty's Navy
While the MC and the RKS have been squared off against one another long enough to have picked up each others' tricks, each one definitely has a favored flavor for its use of military technology. Both sides employ energy weapons heavily for the purposes of longevity in combat; the RKS in particular is fond of sustained-fire beam weapons for short and mid-range work. At long ranges, the lightspeed limitations of a directed-energy weapon come into play, forcing both sides into the use of autonomous weapons of some sort. Again, here the RKS tends to employ hyper-capable gunships armed with rapid-fire turreted railguns and a reactor-fed-capacitor pulse beam for heavy anti-shipping engagements. For point-defense, both the RKS and the MC employ rapid-fire lasers, and both sides make extensive use of a variety of electronic warfare systems, although not cloaking technology. The greatest similarity between both the RKS and the MC however is their mutual obsession with survivability. Even light combatants tend to be provided with layered, redundant shields, resilient armored chassis, and substantial active defenses, often at the expense of a more potent offensive arsenal. Supplies being the issue they are, no fight can last forever, and it 's quite, quite difficult to be the last man standing if you're up against a warship of either navy.
Crown-class Command Ship - Security through obscurity is a chancy thing.
600 pt Command Ship
One of the RKS's first fleet admirals is purported to have said that upon being shown to his flag bridge aboard one of the then-modern Trident-class battleships. That philosophy set in motion a chain of events that resulted in the development of dedicated fleet command ships. The idea went something like this: 'If you don't want to just hope nobody takes a shot at the wrong battleship at the wrong time and kills your fleet CO, you put it on a dedicated flagship. Now if you don't want the fleet flagship to be focused down in an instant, you make it into the one ship nobody in their right mind wants to try to kill first with an entire fleet returning fire.' Accordingly, the Command Ship designation was born, of which the Crown-class is the most recent mark to bear the name. The RKS Navy is obsessive with defenses at the best of times, but the Crown takes that to new extremes with layered shields covering its layered shields, point-defense batteries everywhere, and an impressive electronic warfare suite to boot. Not that it's unarmed otherwise, far from it, but the Crown takes the 'just outlast them' design philosophy common to both the RKS and MC navies to a new extreme.
Sirius-class Fleet Carrier - Hey you, over there, at the fourteen light-hour mark!
400 pt Fleet Carrier, 100% carrier bays. Carries 400 gunships (200 pts worth)
Some nations shoehorn in fighters in modified boat bays on capital ships. The RKS does not. When it needs to apply firepower at ranges beyond that which accurate beam-fire can handle, it turns to the nearest carrier strike wing, whether it's with the fleet in question, or simply vaguely nearby. Her Majesty's Navy does not make use of sublight fighters at all, preferring to give up maneuverability in return for increased durability and supralight capacity. As is the norm for such vessels even outside the defense-obsessed RKS, the Sirius is more or less offensively unarmed, although the massed batteries of close-defense weapons can inflict some token damage. RKS Fleet Carriers are equipped with a Super-Luminal Acceleration Module (SLAM) that is capable of launching gunships directly into hyperspace from within the carrier itself, although they still fit conventional launch systems for either more sedate deployments or the possibility of SLAM failure. The SLAM system cannot be used to recover vessels from hyperlight flight; they must recover conventionally.
300 pt Dreadnought
The Claymore is the latest in a long line of heavy battle-line warships designed and built for the Royal Navy. Each new class tends to be just a bit larger than the last, reflecting the constant defense race between the two rival powers. but the Claymore is a step beyond the normal creep of larger and larger battleships. It represents the first of a series of full-on line supercapitals, and its deployment has forced the Confederation to scramble a new design into service just to keep pace.
200 pt Battleship (225 pt Colossus-B variant)
The Colossus is the predecessor to the modern Claymore, one that was produced in sufficient quantities and performed well enough in battle that the hull is still in active service. The future will likely see continued production of the class and an eventual more direct successor, given the radical increase in production costs of the Claymore; it's just too expensive to replace the older, smaller Colossus-class entirely. Given its smaller size, it also easily outpaces not only the RKS's own Claymores but also the MCN's newer Xerxes-class.
UPDATE: In keping with the Royal Navy's desire to maintain modern battle-line unit in the Colossus's tonnage and cost range, the Colossus-B model has recently begun construction. Ironically, the various improvements in manufacturing process and design efficiency have led to the addition of more combat and support systems in the same hull, resulting in an increased cost that has partially offset the entire reason for retaining the Colossus in active service and production to begin with.
Athena-class Fast Carrier
120 pt Carrier, 100% carrier bays. Carries 120 gunships (60 pts worth)
Designed to provide long-range strike power to patrol or raiding squadrons, the Athena-class has overpowered sublight and FTL drives to keep pace with its lighter counterparts. With the typical pair of Athenas generally attached to a Royal Navy patrol task force, a single TF can effectively respond to incidents all across a sector on its own. Like their heavier cousin, the Sirius-class, Athenas are also equipped with a SLAM launch system.
Scimitar-class Heavy Cruiser
80 pt Heavy Cruiser
The Royal Navy deploys Scimitars primarily in two distinct roles. First, they serve as heavy screening elements for capital and supercapital fleets. Secondly, they act as the heavy-hitters of RN patrol task forces. In both roles, their unusual speed enables them to keep pace with somewhat lighter units either to avoid slowing down a smaller force's lighter Wardens or to close more quickly with threats approaching heavy fleet elements.
Warden-class Escort Cruiser
60 pt Light Cruiser
Wardens are designed from the keel up to be partnered with heavier craft to bolster their defenses. They mount a ridiculous array of point-defense and area-defense weaponry, coupled with a small but potent assortment of short-range energy weapons in case a threat of more substantial size gets too close. As a last-ditch line of defense, the Warden mounts MCN-style matter/antimatter converging paired beams as close range flakbursts to rip whole swathes out of incoming salvos. Ironincally enough when designed specifically for use at such short range, many of the accuracy problems that plague MCN line units can be marginalized, at the cost of making the weapon system largely ineffective in a ship-to-ship role at any sane range.
Divination-class Patrol Destroyer
30 pt Destroyer
Divinations are a dual-role class, designed to serve either as somewhat heavy scouts or as patrol destroyers in a convoy-escort or border-monitoring role. They're also one of the few RKS ships that aren't layered with downright bizarre levels of defensive systems, if only because heavily fortifying a ship that small is an exercise in futility. That also quite probably has something to do with why the RKS fields relatively few of the class. When deploying in combat situations, Divinations often serve as the anchor for a carrier-launched gunship strike, providing a relatively heavy craft to command the strike wing.
0.5 pt Gunship
The RKS Royal Navy relies on the Thor for its long-range striking power exclusively, preferring the additional flexibility of FTL attack craft to the superior maneuverability of sublight fighters. The defining structural feature of the Thor is the spinal-mounted particle lance running the length of the gunship, one far too heavy for the craft to reliably power. Instead of directly supplying energy to the lance, the gunship's reactor supplies a bank of capacitors that, at full charge, can power a single overcharged pulse of the particle beam. Separately-turreted railguns round out the secondary armament, an unusual departure from the typical use of energy weapons by the RKS, but the power demands of the spinal lance leave relatively little to spare for a more Royal Navy-typical weapons mix.
Hermes-class heim-drive gunship (EXPERIMENTAL)0.5 pt Gunship
Where the Thor is equipped with a conventional hyperdrive, the experimental Hermes-class gunship is designed around the use of a much older and more primitive form of FTL travel. It loses any sort of strategic-grade deployment ability with the loss of a high-speed FTL system, but the Heim drive's capabilities with regards to tactical realspace FTL movement are intriguing if nothing else. The RKS has not made more than a token use of the Heim drive for most of its existence, barring use as an emergency system for shoal work, so production of the Hermes is strictly limitted for the present while the concept's workability is evaluated. Its armament layout is very similar to the Thor in concept, albeit with a heavier particle lance and lighter secondary batteries. Given its ability to approach a target at multiples of lightspeed, the designers deemed it less vulnerable to interception and thus less needful of its counterpart's comprehensive railgun turret coverage.
RKS Naval Forces: ($35,640)
1st Fleet ($9,720)
HMS Queen Eleanor, Crown-class Command Ship. Admiral Gregory Atlas. ($600)
4x Sirius-class Fleet Carrier (4x$400=$1,600)
+1,560 Thor-class Gunship (1,560x$0.5=$780)
+40 Hermes-class Gunship (40x$0.5=$20)
6x Claymore-class Dreadnought (6x$300=$1,800)
12x Colossus-class Battleship (12x$200=$2,400)
20x Scimitar-class Heavy Cruiser (20x$80=$1,600)
22x Warden-class Escort Cruiser (22x$60=$1,320) – Deployed in pairs to escort supercapitals.
2nd Fleet ($8,720)
HMS King Ulysses, Crown-class Command Ship. Admiral Rachel Freya ($600)
8x Sirius-class Fleet Carrier (8x$400=$3,200)
+3,200 Thor-class Gunship (3,200x$0.5=$1,600)
22x Scimitar-class Heavy Cruiser (22x$80=$1,760)
26x Warden-class Escort Cruiser (26x$60=$1,560)
3rd Fleet ($8,280)
HMS Seraphim, Crown-class Command Ship. Admiral Marianne Tern ($600)
18x Claymore-class Dreadnought (18x$300=$5,400)
38x Warden-class Escort Cruiser (38x$60=$2,280)
Patrol Task Forces (4x$1,180=$4,720)
3x Athena-class Fast Carrier (3x$120=$360)
+360 Thor-class Gunship (360x$0.5=$180)
2x Scimitar-class Heavy Cruiser (2x$80=$160)
4x Warden-class Escort Cruiser (4x$60=$240)
8x Divination-class Patrol Destroyer (8x$30=$240)
Reserve Gunship Supply
8280x Thor-class Gunship (8280x$0.5=$4,140)
$50 worth of a shedload of shuttles and hyperlight shuttles and a few yachts that don't really need to be buggered about with on an OOB at this point.
Midnight Confederation Navy
Much of the MCN's military hardware comes from a very similar tech base as that employed by the RKS. That said, the design philosophy behind how it is used displays marked differences in some areas. Like the RKS, the primary ship-to-ship armament of the MCN is based around near-lightspeed particle beam technology. What they do with it, however, is different in the extreme. Rather than produce sustained, accurate beams, MCN warships are armed with paired particle accelerators on precisely articulated mounts. One conventional particle beam and one comprised of antiparticles are fired simultaneously for a split second. Where the beams intersect, the particles come into contact with each other and release a sudden burst of energy. This makes targeting notoriously difficult as slight errors in ranging or calibration can either cause the burst to fall short or simply splash a pair of short-duration particle beams against intact shields to no effect. Properly on-target, however, the effect can be devastating. In theory, the same effect would make for brutally-effective anti-fighter flak bursts, but the targeting problems against contacts that fast and maneuverable make pulling it off all but impossible. The same accuracy problems also reduce the effective range of the MCN's main batteries to noticeably beneath that of the beams of the RKS.
Outside that range, the MCN employs fairly standard homing missiles, albeit equipped with bomb-pumped laser warheads rather than contact explosives. These tend to be evenly distributed across their warships rather than concentrated in dedicated long-range attack ships as would be the case in an RKS fleet. Defensive technology and applications are mostly overlapping, barring minor engineering differences.
Xerxes-class Fast Battleship
250 pt Battleship
The Confederation's use of a shorter-ranged energy weapon system than the RKS has prevented the MCN from matching their recently-built dreadnoughts ton-for-ton for fear of ending up with both shorter-ranged weapons and matching or slower acceleration capabilities. Accordingly, the heaviest ship in the MCN battle-line has a difficult time matching the RKS's Claymores in one-on-one engagements, but at the same time the Xerxes's superior speed very frequently enables it to pick its battles or escape if an engagement goes poorly. The latter is particularly true in the context of RKS-on-MC battles, given the preponderance of heavy defensive systems providing time for maneuvers.
Vera-class Heavy Battlecruiser
175 pt Battlecruiser
If not for the matching role the older Vera-class occupies in comparison to the RKS's older Colossus design, the term 'heavy battlecriuser' would be downright silly. In context though, it makes a certain degree of sense; it has to be able to catch a hostile battleship, but it's near-on the size and armament and defenses of one itself. When placed against the newer RKS Claymore-class, Veras generally require two-to-one to accomplish anything of substance.
Devastator-class Bombardment Cruiser
90 pt Cruiser, 10pts devoted to 20,000 shock troops.
MCN combat energy weapons, unlike the beams employed by the RKS, are ineffective in a planetary bombardment role unless used in sufficient quantities to ablate the entire atmosphere of the target world and boil and/or melt the surface due to the energy release involved. This is not conducive to orbital fire support or limited-target bombardment. Accordingly, the Devastator resembles an RKS warship much more closely than it does the rest of the MCN, albeit with some very specialized adaptations for a bombardment role. Its beam emitters are mounted on the same precision-articulated fixtures as the MCN's normal converging-beam systems, combining with an advanced data-networking system and a sensor suite optimized for localizing and tracking targets at the bottom of a planetary gravity well. Devastators also carry units of orbital drop troops and recovery combat dropships.
Tornado-class Attack Cruiser
75 pt Cruiser
The Tornado is an extraordinarily fast ship for its class, designed to rapidly close with an enemy and engage it with close-range fire. Most of the MCN's warships are faster than would be expected for their mass to compensate for their use of shorter-ranged energy weapons, but the Tornado takes that philosophy to a fresh extreme, sacrificing crew amenities, electronic warfare assets, even armor, as out of character as that is for either the MC or RKS navies.
Nephele-class Electronic Warfare Cruiser
60 pt Cruiser
The Nephele-class serves as the MCN's answer to the RKS's Warden. While it doesn't have the same ability to turn a long-range guided strike into rubble from sheer defensive fire, it instead operates by hopelessly confusing the sensors and sometimes even communication systems of hostile forces. As much as possible, the Nephele uses internal electronic warfare hardware for sustainability reasons, but it does mount a sizable stock of extremely capable reusable decoys. Its armament is modest at best, and the class is almost never deployed without support.
Javelins are essentially the mirror of Tornados, ridiculously fast and agile even for destroyers, but armed instead primarily with long-ranged missile systems and the fire-control to manage multiple salvos effectively. That armament choice robs them of the extreme staying-power common to MC and RKS vessels, but a ship as light as as a destroyer has no place in a proper battle-line by MC tactics in any case, so it's regarded as a minor impediment. The class is intended to be able to control the range of engagement and escape anything it can't kill once its magazines are dry.
MC Naval Forces: ($31,500)
1st Fleet ($9,220), Admiral Ezekiel Yureh
28x Xerxes-class Fast Battleship (28x$250=$7,000)
28x Nephele-class Electronic Warfare Cruiser (26x$60=$1,680)
6x Devastator-class Bombardment Cruiser (6x$90=$540)
2nd Fleet ($8,430), Admiral Arnold T. Pants
24x Vera-class Heavy Battlecruiser (24x$175=$4,200)
30x Tornado-class Attack Cruiser (30x$75=$2,250)
24x Nephele-class Electronic Warfare Cruiser (24x$60=$1,440)
6x Devastator-class Bombardment Cruiser (6x$90=$540)
3rd Fleet ($9,370), Admiral Esmerelda Trace
82x Tornado-class Attack Cruiser (82x$75=$6,150)
37x Nephele-class Electronic Warfare Cruiser (37x$60=$2,220)
40x Javelin-class Destroyer (40x$25=$1,000)
Heavy Raider/Patrol Squadron (7x$420=$2,940)
4x Tornado-class Attack Cruiser (4x$75=$300)
2x Nephele-class Electronic Warfare Cruiser (2x$60=$120)
Light Raider/Patrol Squadron (10x$150=$1,500)+
6x Javelin-class Destroyer (6x$25=$150)
$40 dedicated to assorted and sundry shuttleage.
Deep Purple Technology
Deep Purple doesn't maintain a military of any sort. What they do possess are a number of very, very stealthy yachts for the twin purposes of monitoring activity and getting around both quickly and without being noticed.
Cloak-enabled fast personnel transports
9-pt yacht (5x$9=$45)
Deep Purple agents tend towards the...eclectic. The craft themselves follow no set class or plan, the names are beyond bizarre, but they are all very, very sneaky and very, very fast. As befits their size, they usually don't mount even token offensive weaponry, although their point defense suites are suitably impressive. Still, if they have to use them, it's probably too late to matter.
We Were Never Here, Big Angry Mean Ship, We Are Not Sarah Connor, Local Spike!, Hidey McSneakSneak
Extremely Fast Ships17-pt ...extremely fast ship (2x$17=$34)
Sometimes, getting somewhere quietly is less important than getting somewhere as fast as is humanly possible. For those times, Deep Purple has commissioned a class of extremely fast ships. Sublight or in hyperspace, these ships have one sole purpose, and that's to be...extremely fast. Consisting more or less of a small control cabin mounted on a ridiculous array of power generation systems and engines, these ships are small, unarmed, barely-shielded, and extremely unstealthy. All those elements of typical Deep Purple craft fall by the wayside next to pure speed.
Neither side of the RKS/MC conflict maintains a substantial standing army, simply because no major ground engagements have been fought between the two powers in a very, very long time. Whether by tacit agreement, simple coincidence, or Just Plain weird, the war has remained largely in space. That said, the RKS maintain units of marines and special forces for more focused roles. The Confederation, by contrast, relies in large part on levies from member state defense forces of uncertain quality. This, perhaps more than anything else, confuses Deep Purple and any outsiders seriously studying the ongoing war; as long as it's gone on, neither side really has the capability to [i]conquer[/i] the other, nor have they made any serious steps to acquire such.
Royal Kingdom of Scarlet (2,000 pts)
500 pts, 500,000 men @ 5,000/1 pt, gear multiplier x5
The Custodians to this day don't have a formal name, although their existence is...at least rumored in certain circles. Those rumors are single-handedly responsible for the high wages and deferential treatment due to gardeners, janitors, and other types of custodial staff within the Royal Kingdom of Scarlet simply out of reflexive nervousness born of their lethal reputation. The Custodians are a vanishingly-small institution in comparison to any sort of normal national military force, which is why they're even possible in the first place. If it's military equipment, the Custodians have it. If it's military training, the Custodians have assimilated it. If it's in any way applicable to the science and art of sneaking or killing, the Custodians are all over it. They rarely deploy as units. They follow no consistent tactical or strategic pattern. Many of them even operate in secret, posing as gardeners or janitors or maids until such time as they are needed.
Royal Scarlet Marine Corps
1500 pts, 37,500,000 men @ 50,000/1pt, gear multiplier x2
The RSMC performs two main functions. It provides shipboard troops for the Royal Navy, and it is equipped and trained for raiding attacks on ground installations. Such actions are usually undertaken with close orbital support from Royal Navy warships or air support provided by carrier-based gunships if the former is unavailable. As gunships are less well-suited for air support than more agile fighters or more durable warships, their use in support of RSMC operations is avoided when possible. The RSMC is primarily a power-armor-equipped force, preferring the use of heavy and jump infantry to more ponderous armored vehicles. What tanks and APCs they do employ are uniformly countergravity hover vehicles, the lighter classes of which are capable of short-duration jumps via overloading their hover systems.
Midnight Confederation (1,085 pts)
Confederation Conscript Forces
905 pts, 181,000,000 men @ 200,000/1pt, gear multiplier x1
The Midnight Confederation doesn't raise any fully-scale formed military units on its own, but they do conscipt units from the local planetary defense forces into a national force. Unfortunately for the quality of the Confederation's standing army, the selection of which units to contribute to the CCF is left up to the member states. Accordingly, they're almost uniformly made up of the dregs, serving as a way for planetary militias to rid themselves of underperforming units and individuals while simultaneously satisfying their duties to the MC.
Devastator Shock Troops
180 pts, 360,000 men @ 14,000/1pt, gear multiplier x7
Devastator-class Bombardment Cruisers are designed to clear their own drop zones and then provide pinpoint support for deployed ground troops. Given that the Confederation rarely has ground troops deployed, the original design of the class was often superfluous and ended up being treated as an unusually-armed, inefficient heavy cruiser. After a revision to replace some of the weaponry with troop bays and dropship hangars, the revised ship was ready, but the Confederation was noticably lacking in the proper specialist troops to make use of that capability. Heavy negotiation with one of the more militarily-inclined member states and a crash engineering program to produce the necessary gear has resulted in the Devastator Shock Troop units. Each revised Devastator carries a full 20,000 assault troops capable of independent reentry from low orbit using the precision targeting capabilities of the host ship. In most cases, dropships are only employed for recovery operations, unless a deployment is expected to occur in a safe landing zone..
Astrography (Condensed into one entry for simplicity's sake, territory as marked) (62,000 total GDP)
Population: 280 Billion (140 RKS, 130 MC, 10 Contested)
Most of the sectors in the regions of space occupied by the Royal Kingdom of Scarlet and the Midnight Confederation are named about various ancient mythologies, in large part dating back to various eras of Earth history. Some are from well-documented sources, others from fragmentary accounts or recovered pre-electronic storage media. This is largely thought to be due to the proximity of the hyperspace shoals nearby, the region of space most poorly understood by early astrocartographers. Accordingly, the nomenclature of the regional sectors serves as a sort of modern-day equivalent of the term 'here there be dragons.'
Tethyr Sector (60 Billion) (Royal Kingdom of Scarlet) V-19
Home - 14k GDP, Hyperspace Junction, Warp Gate = 14k
The capitol world of the Royal Kingdom of Scarlet can be found in the Tethyr sector, thought to be a reference to a region in the mythological 'forgotten realms.' Even to this day, the origin of the term is hotly disputed by historians due to internal inconsistencies in a number of the recovered fragments of pre-space paper and early information-age magnetic storage devices. Indeed, the theology and even geology of the so-called 'forgotten realms' seem to be dramatically variable from source to source.
The capitol itself resides in the Netheril system, the name drawn as usual from the same arguably-dubious mythological background as the sector's.
Gabriel Sector (50 Billion) (Royal Kingdom of Scarlet) V-20
Core - 5 pts - 10k Base GDP = 10k
The Gabriel sector, unlike the more contentious-named Tethyr sector right next door at least originates from an unambiguous source, although its inclusion in a mythologically-themed region of space likely raised some eyebrows from the still-extant members of a still-active religion. Given the sector's location relative to the Confederation front, it is generally less militarized than most of the rest of the Kingdom, although it possesses an excellent early-warning network radiating outwards into both the adjacent shoals and the nearby neutral transit corridor.
Xenu Sector (30 Billion) (Royal Kingdom of Scarlet) U-20
Mid-Range - 3 pts - 6k Base GDP = 6k
Few other simple names can trigger fisticuffs between historians and other academics, but the Xenu sector has earned that distinction if nothing else. Named after a figure from what is alterately dubbed a fringe religion, a cult, or an early example of malignant economics, the sector serves the RKS as a sort of mid-frontier. Not quite so rough-and-tumble as the contested Scylla sector and with a stronger legal presence, the Xenu sector offers a middle ground between Scylla and the mainly fully-developed core worlds of the Gabriel and Tethyr sectors. Fewer opportunities, perhaps, but also fewer hostile battle-line units.
Nova Luna Sector (50 Billion) (Midnight Confederation) T-18
Core - 7 pts - 10k Base GDP, +3k added GDP, +1k Warp Gate = 14k GDP
Nova Luna, the New Moon, the Hidden Moon. The origins of the mythos surrounding the sector's name is better-documented than most, emerging as it did from a cult that existed late enough in the development of computer science for records of its existence and beliefs to be stored on sufficiently durable media. The cult believed in the existence of a second moon hidden perfectly behind Earth's own moon, one that matched its orbit perfectly and such was always occluded from view. Satellites, probes, and manned spaceflight were all facts of life by this point, but that didn't stop the Nova Luna cultists from insisting on the existence of their messianic planetoid. The same name was used to refer to both the place itself, Nova Luna, and the New Moon, referring normally to the day on the lunar calendar when Earth's publically-acknowledged moon vanished from view. Given their belief in a permanently-hidden second moon, their fixation with any effect capable of hiding the visible moon is unsurpising.
Ironically enough, from a historical perspective, the Nova Luna system sports a MCN base positioned in an artificially-maintained orbit on the far side of one of the Confederation capitol's two moons.
Malleus Sector (50 Billion) (Midnight Confederation) T-17
Core - 5 pts - 10k Base GDP = 10k
The Malleus sector is something of an anomaly in the nomenclature of the region in that, while it references another segment of controversial Christian mythos, the organization it more specifically refers to is widely believed to have actually existed historically. The 'hammer of witches' was dedicated to the suppression of what many modern scholars now believe were early examples of esper-talented humans, although their methods strongly imply a large number of collateral executions for every latent esper uncovered. This particular location was given the name because of a distinctive nebula, one that from many angles looks like a short, lumpy, unbalanced hammer. The sector's name is perhaps especially ironic given its proximity to the Byzantine Empire and its Ordo Malleus.
Much of the Confederation's military desearch and testing goes on within the confines of the Malleus Nebula, hidden from prying eyes.
Isengard Sector (30 Billion) (Midnight Confederation) T-19
Mid-Range - 3 pts - 6k Base GDP = 6k
Isengard. While enough complete examples of its source work exist today to establish its fictional nature beyond a reasonable doubt, it clearly took some influence from the myths surrounding the 'forgotten realms' that gave the Tethyr sector its name due to a statistically-unlikely number of overlapping elements. As such, it is often treated as an outgrowth of whatever ancient religion or culture spawned it.
Economic development in the Isengard sector is a relatively recent phenomenon, resulting from governmental incentives and, occasionally, forced migrations. Few things invigorate a frontier colony world's economy more than having a deep-space mining corporation's assets arrive in-system under armed 'escort' by a Confederation Navy battlegroup with instructions to make sure they stay in their new home.
Scylla Sector (10 Billion) (Contested) U-19
Colony - 1 pts - 2k Base GDP = 2k
The Scylla sector lies directly between the Royal Kingdom of Scarlet and the Midnight Confederation, and as a result its name has proven prophetic with regards to the hazards it poses in its role as the narrow channel between the two rival powers. While skirmishes spread to either side of the sector borders as well, the lion's share of the engagements between both nations have occurred within its bounds. While it is relatively sparsely populated, neither faction has engaged any noteworthy atrocities against civilian targets there; few people live there due mainly to the uncertainty of the sector's future, not due to civilian casualties. Fleet bases tend to be established in unpopulated star systems or even in the depths of interstellar space, and many planets can go a decade or more without ever actually seeing the conflict up close even in this turbulent region.