Bughunters 2155 Campaign Players Guide, Part 1

Copyright Clint Fell © 2012

Edited by Mario Butter for The Guild Companion

"Synners are both the unsung heroes of the human race and one of its greatest fears."

Overview

The Bughunters 2155 setting is a modification of the existing Bughunters setting published originally by TSR Inc. The setting has been updated and the time line pushed forward two decades. In those two decades much has happened, world wars on Earth, first contact with several sentient alien species, the loss of several colonies, the forming of interspecies treaties, Synner rebellions and more. This setting takes the human military centric nature of the original setting and pushes it gently in the direction of space opera with additional races, interplanetary politics, and the constant concern of a common enemy. The setting leaves much of the military and social elements as core factors however - and in some ways even expands on them. The Bughunters 2155 setting has been tweaked to use the HARP Sci-Fi rules instead of the original Amazing Engine rules, with some new custom features to support the setting.

Player characters in the BUGHUNTERS 2155 game are assumed to be "Special Actions" Team Members working for the Terran Alliance of United Terra, the Quarm Kas'ssa nation, the Tazzim Sector 4 coalition of tribes, and the Wraither's Clans of Hope. The TA Special Actions teams work as members of the United Terra Reconnaissance and Peacekeeping Force (UTRPF), these teams are often all that stands between the human race and extinction at the hands of a cold and hostile universe.

Human Paragons are recruited into the TASAT (Terran Alliance Special Actions Teams) and act as the leadership for most operations, but represent a minority of the actual team members. Quarm are heavy world reptile analog bipeds from primitive cultures but with a rich history and exceptional biological and outdoor skills. Tazzim are small biped feline analogs with advanced technology from a nomadic spacer culture. Wraithers are pacifistic intellectual aliens who look disturbingly human but have mysterious powers of the mind. All of these races combined make up the minority races commonly found on TASA Teams. Most of the members of these teams are "Synths" or "Synners". Synths (vat grown synthetic humans) are tougher than normal humans in many ways. Physically, they have been enhanced to react more quickly, to keep moving longer, and to endure more punishment during battle. Mentally, they are able to withstand the psychological stresses of hyperspace travel, a situation that can disorient normal humans to the point of madness. They have been trained to bear up under the stresses of combat, whether it be against human terrorists or hideous, unknown aliens, and they are supplied with the best equipment that human technological ingenuity has to offer. As members of UTRPF ("utter-puff" in Synner slang), Synners are both the unsung heroes of the human race and one of it's greatest fears. They act as a buffer from its enemies in the dark reaches of space, but are a cold reminder that "humanity" can be replaced in the universe.

A Brief Time Line: AD 2019-AD 2155

(Enhancing the time line in the original setting.)

2115: A "New Age" of religion becomes extremely influential throughout Terra. Several new and existing churches blending science fact with faith based speculation form and morph as proof of extraterrestrial life spreads new memes throughout human society. These new religions are termed "New Age Erudition" by many proponents claiming they reflect a new age and higher understanding of the universe.

2130: A splinter group of New Age Erudition decides that there is a flaw in the doctrine of the majority of "NAE" beliefs - The "Gnostic Erudition" form.

2131: UTRPF forces begin missions defending UT colonies against a variety of biological and technological horrors.

2133: The Free African League forms on Terra. They feel African nations are under represented in the UT and spark a technological revolution on the African continent. UTRPF units encounter Wraithers in an Ancient alien facility.

2135: The Free African League launches it own competing space force to UTRPF and announces its succession from the UT. UTRPF forces encounter both Tazzim and Quarm races. Nonviolent negotiations between these races begin.

2137: An accidental discharge of a contingency weapon aimed at Stargate sparks an actual war between the Free African League and the UT. Wraithers send formal negotiators to the UTRPF.

2138: War spreads across the entire solar system and on several distant colonies.

2139: Marshal Petr Zahrmeni leads a final drive against the Free African League. The Free African League uses its last remaining space forces to evacuate its leadership and as many colonists as it can. The Free African League is crushed and reintegrated with the UT, but the escaping members form the Free African League in Exile (FALE) and colonize a distant system.

2140: After the FAL wars, Terran UTRPF forces are decimated by their long struggle in the ever expanding colonies. Negotiations with the Wraithers, Tazzim and Quarm reveal the full danger of the Ancients (Shapers and Artificers races). Marshal Zahrmeni announces to the world his intent to "donate" a clone to the UTRPF. This sparks a huge influx of new troops revitalizing the slumping organization.

2141: Voidcat Industries a 50/50 joint venture between the Tazzim coalition and UT economic counsel begins building technology for both races. After years of legal wrangling between New Age Erudition and Gnostic Erudition the Gnostic Erudition launches its new Ark to avoid religious persecution and discover the truths of the universe. A Gnostic Erudition colony is started.

2142: A new wave of UT colonization begins, but encounters with the Ancient's horrors jumps drastically.

2143: 8 new outposts and 4 new colonies are nearly devastated by various attacks. UTRPF begins assembling the Cleansing Fire fleet to crush these attacks in a surge of force. The Gnostic Erudition colony is nearly wiped out by hostile conditions and lifeforms.

2144: The Gnostic Erudition send their first raider ship to reroute a UTRPF colony ship to their world. The colonists are enslaved and UT cloning technology is commandeered to help repopulate the colony.

2145: Sword Colonel Petr Zahrmeni is assigned to Task Force Cleansing Fire (unofficially titled Task Force Xenocide) which begins its long campaign to secure UT colonies

2146: Initial successes of Task Force Cleansing Fire encourage the Tazzim Coalition, Quarm tribals, and Wraither Hopefuls to form the Terran Alliance. The TA states it's goal to peacefully mediate issues between the races and act as a treaty of common defense against the Ancients if needed.

2147: Task Force Cleansing Fire saves dozens of outposts and colonies from all manner of attacks. Support for the UTRPF surges and colonization rates double.

2148: Task Force Cleansing Fire rescues ETA Cassiopeia but not before 80% of its colonists die. The Human Protocol officers suddenly fall sick with an unknown hyperspace sickness. Weary of the constant struggle Sword Colonel Petr Zahrmeni orders Task Force Xenocide to stop its mission and recover on Cassiopeia supporting the colonists. Afraid that the popular commander was going to start a rebellion UTRPF strips the Sword Colonel of his command and orders the immediate return of the task force. The Sword Colonel refuses to abandon the colonists to their fate and defies his orders. Task Force Cleansing Fire is declared rogue and ordered to return. None do.

2149: The absence of Cleansing Fire and proliferation of outposts and colonies spreads UTRPF forces thin, and fearful humans in the UT refuse to expand the UTRPF forces. The Gnostic Erudition send out a second raider force and commandeer several heavy cargo ships.

2150: Plans to build a battle group to take care of the rogue Task Force Xenocide (as it is typically called now) are halted due to lack of resources. The Free African League in Exile (FALE) begins raiding nearby colonies as pirates.

2151: Facing mounting losses, attrition brings the UTRPF to its virtual knees before UT authorizes limited cloning to resume in order to maintain current numbers.

2152: Several long range probes fail to return, as do the subsequent follow up probes. As a precaution UTRPF funding is increased significantly but Synner manpower is left capped.

2153: Gnostic Eruditionists capture two additional colony ships and enslave their occupants. Their cloning technology increases greatly and their population is booming. New Age Erudition infiltrators bring back news of their raiding and blow the story world wide. UTRPF is unable to mount a response force due to manpower restrictions.

2154: Task Force Xenocide sends negotiators to many nearby colonies in request for trading. The UT tries to enforce an embargo but many colonies remember who saved them last. FALE raiding increases twofold and begins targeting mega corporation colonies. With no UTRPF troops to spare, the mega corporations begin sending out droves of mercenaries including some Quarm and Tazzim ones. A mega corporation conglomerate is suspected of raiding UTRPF cloning facilities in order to steal the techniques used to make Synners. The number of permitted Synners allowed in the UTRPF is increased slightly in order to reduce these issues. UTRPF talks to the Terran Alliance to see if they can receive supplemental nonclone forces. The Quarm and Tazzim agree to send representatives to help UTRPF with its mission. More probes fail to return from long range missions.

2155: UTRPF officially launches its elite TASA Teams to take care of the problems occurring throughout Terran space. These teams are equipped with some of the best technology available and ships faster than previously possible. Initial response shows them to be very effective. Wraither deep space researchers encounter a Shaper "Spacebrain" probe, and Tazzim deep space minors find an Artificer reconnaissance relay. No one is sure how long they have been there and how much they have sent back to their masters, but TA fears are mounting about imminent encounters with the Ancients.

Organizations of 2155

Many of the organizations from the Tintamaar setting in the HARP Sci-Fi book are used in the Bughunters 2155 setting. These are as written in the book, but with some modification.

Advanced Atomics
Headquartered on Venus, Advanced Atomics is the premier fabricator of microfusion and electrical generation equipment in the Terran Alliance. Its products are extremely reliable, if no longer at the leading edge of technological development. Advanced Atomics is widely believed to be concentrating its research efforts into vacuum energy (also known as zero point energy).

Chikaru
Chikaru is rumored to possibly be behind the espionage of UTRPF Synner production techniques - although most of the techniques used by it were developed by Chikaru itself.

O'Neill Space Industries
OSI built much of Gateway Station for the United Terra; they still hold the maintenance contracts for almost all of Gateway station.

Starclan Traders
Starclan Traders is a Tazzim trade organization. StarClan Traders has an extensive love / hate relationship with Voidcat Industries.

The Church of the Omnisentience
The Church of the Omnisentience is a prominent member of the New Age Erudition boom but has kept separate from the new unified NAE council. Church members believe that hyperspace is a highly spiritual experience and that the Isler drive marks a turning point in the spiritual enlightenment of the human species.

Galaxy News
Drones and occasionally courier vessels carry the news to the nearest Isler radio for eventual transfer to GN headquarters on Earth, where the reports are edited and then transmitted by Isler radio and courier drone across the Terran Alliance as syndicated holovid and sensable documentaries. Galaxy News is the largest non UTRPF user of mobile Isler radios.

The Order of the Transcendence
The discovery of Wraithers and their mysterious psychic abilities has also captured the Order's attention. The Wraither's have become extremely influential in the Order and have begun trying to teach "extended empathy" to its members. Rumor has it those who reach extended empathy exhibit many of the Wraither's psychic abilities.

The Syndicate
The Syndicate is another organization likely to have orchestrated the theft of UTRPF Synner technology and methods.

New Age Erudition and the Gnostic Erudition
After the development of fusion technology and Isler drives made the exploration of Solar space and beyond practical, new interest in religions largely considered cults until that time surged. Several new and existing churches blending science fact with faith based speculation formed and morphed as proof of extraterrestrial life spread new memes throughout human society. These new religions were termed "New Age Erudition" by proponents who claimed they reflected a new age and higher understanding of the universe. Most of the more successful churches had very similar ideas and borrowed heavily from each other as they grew and competed for the hearts and minds of the world. Eventually litigation, and socioeconomic realities caused many of these groups to reintegrate into a few major competing branches. Seeing their competition as counter productive they eventually formed a council of the largest branches and recodified many of their tenants. This resulting Churches are often referred to as the New Erudition Churches, or just New Age Erudition (NAE for short). Two large, rich and politically powerful splinter group of the NAE did not join the council: The Church of the Omnisentience (see entry above) and the Gnostic Erudition (GE). The Gnostic Erudition felt that the teachings of the other NAE churches were twisted by humanity's flawed nature. They felt that many of the roles in the other churches' dogma were reversed. The GE weathered the storm of litigation and public relations and became very popular in some regions of Earth but felt persecuted by the larger NAE churches. Eventually the GE launched a colony mission to the Cincinnati system. That colony nearly failed but recovered by stealing UTRPF colony and supply ships routed to other locations nearby. Included in this material was large amounts of the UTRPF Synner production details intended to create an advanced body part cloning center for remote UTRPF troops. This technology was put to use to clone both the GE faithful and its newfound colonist slave workforce. New Age Erudition infiltrators sent to gather information on the colony eventually broke the story to Galaxy News. UTRPF has been struggling to formulate a solution to this issue ever since.

Free African League in Exile (FALE)
The FALE was created as the Free African League (FAL) to combat the perceived imbalance in UT policy for dealings with nation in the African continent. Early success of this league brought both peace and prosperity to the African continent for many years. But when the FAL began to compete with the UT over space based issues tensions rapidly rose. The FAL built a smaller competing space station in geostationary orbit around Earth and armed it to the teeth in case of UTRPF intervention. FAL rhetoric rallied the people of Africa into a firestorm of militant separatists. The UT was quickly loosing the ability to deal with the situation when an accidental discharge of weapons aimed at Gateway Station provoked a massive war. The FAL fought a hard but losing war and saw their inevitable loss. Rather than accept this loss and return to what they perceived as a second class status in the UT, they retasked a huge portion of their space efforts to relocating their best, brightest, and most politically committed members to a distant colony. In a major space, air, and ground battle the forces of the UT pushed against the FAL until they launched most of their leadership and colonial forces in a mass exodus. The FAL movement quickly collapsed on Earth afterwards and the UT reintegrated the African nations. The portion of the FAL that left Terran space eventually settled a distant colony and has flourished. They have even been showing disturbing signs of extremely high tech innovations - leading many to wonder what they found out on the edge of space. The FALE has never admitted defeat in their war and are still waging it in the fringes of Terran Alliance space. They have begun seizing passing shipments and mega corporation installations. Nearby colonies have been fearful of a large scale attack and are demanding UTRPF protection.

Task Force Cleansing Fire/Xenocide
Task Force Cleansing Fire or Xenocide as it was unofficially called is simultaneously UTRPFs greatest success and greatest failure. It was a massive task force of ships and marines sent as a "surge" effort to overwhelm the various threats to the colonies that were growing all too common. Almost 1/3 of all UTRPF forces were concentrated into the task force. Cleansing Fire went from system to system and crushed many threats whether human, technological, or alien. The huge success of the task force led to the acceptance of the Tazzim, Quarm, and Wraithers into the Terran Alliance. The task force quickly became legend in the colonies and the holovids. The fact that it was being unofficially led by the Synner clone of the famous general who ended the FAL also fed its fire of fame. But this all came to an end at ETA Cassiopeia. Cleansing Fire rescued the colony from a terrible alien threat, but not before 80% of its colonists died and many others were crippled or maimed. The colony was below its ability to sustain itself. When the Human Protocol officers nominally in charge of the task force suddenly fell sick to an unknown hyperspace sickness, Sword Colonel Petr Zahrmeni ordered Task Force Cleansing Fire to halt its mission and recover on Cassiopeia supporting the colonists. Afraid that the popular commander was going to start a rebellion UTRPF striped the Sword Colonel of his command and ordered the immediate return of the task force. The Sword Colonel refused to abandon the colonists to their fate and defied his orders. Task Force Cleansing Fire was declared rogue and ordered to return. Suddenly UTRPF had lost control of the largest most powerful military force in human space, and the population of Earth reacted with fear and disbelief. UTRPF funding was cut, Synner production was virtually halted. Plans to launch a fleet to bring back Task Force Xenocide (as it began to be called by the PR machine) were scrubbed after it became obvious that it would need to be staffed by Synners who would probably feel more attachment to their targets than their masters. UTRPF is still struggling to find any kind of solution to the issue, a Wraither and UT negotiation team has been sent to try to defuse the situation, but so far UT negotiators refuse to grant any form of autonomy or freedom to the Xenocide Synners. Standing UTRPF orders for dealing with Task Force Xenocide are to treat them as renegade Synners and kill them on sight. No colony is to trade with or assist them, and they are to be embargoed and blockaded. The practicality of these orders is greatly debated, and most nearby colonies remember them as heroes, disregarding the order for embargo. Task Force Xenocide is officially stated to have approximately 17,000 AWOL Synners. However, many officers in UTRPF feel this number is deliberately low, and judging by early reports back from the Cleansing Fire years it may be closer to 50,000 or even more.

Goody Conglomerate
A major conglomerate of varied retail, industrial, mining, technology, and entertainment companies. Goody makes and sells things, and it sells them cheap. Specializing in high volume production and sales Goody makes or sells just about anything the average person would want or need in their everyday lives. Goody colonial facilities are renowned for their friendly yellow smiley faced logo - but eccentric employees and occupants. Conspiracy Theorists insist that the UTRPF Synner technology was stolen by the Goody Conglomerate in order to clone its CEO and infuse the clone with the knowledge of all the Conglomerate's Directors.

Joyco Vibratory products
A company that started out finding ways to market small scale communication buzzers in marital aids, but grew to become the industry leader in industrial, commercial, and retail vibration products. Joyco makes some of the best shakers and vibration sensors in Terran space. After receiving a UTRPF contract for motion sensors, Joyco began to look for doorways into the arms market. Leveraging their vibratory cutting tool technology, Joyco bought a small company specializing in museum grade functional archaic weapons and built the first successful line of vibro-weapons. These weapons have struck a chord with the Quarm and sales have been brisk. Joyco has built a factory and service center in orbit around the Quarm homeworld and have considerable contact with the Quarm. Rumors say that they are looking at getting into other forms of advanced melee weapons next.

Isler Enterprises
Isler Enterprises is the company started by the inventor of the Isler drive and Isler radio. Isler enterprises makes or licenses almost every jump drive system built in the Terran Alliance. Isler enterprises also has branched out into ship module design and production for UTRPF and civilian spacecraft. Isler enterprises has some of the most advanced research facilities, and largest research budgets in Terran space. Isler Enterprises is also a partial owner and partner with Voidcat Industries, looking to try to learn and leverage the secrets of Tazzim jump drives which are much faster and safer than their own.

Shu Wei Enterprises
A China based computer mega corporation. A leader in artificial intelligence research, and a major competitor with Virtual Robotics. Shu Wei is renowned for its security software, and impressive security measures. Shu Wei colonies are some of the most mysterious locations in space.

Der Vakuumreisende GMBH
A mega corporation primarily involved with the production and sale of space ships and space based installations. One of the partner corporations with Voidcat industries and one of the largest producers of new Tazzim ship hulls.

Watanabe Industries
A massive mega corp specializing in the production of retail vehicles from bikes to jet planes. The Watanabe Industries contract with UTRPF has created many of the best drones, ultralights, and APCs used by UTRPF forces

Lae Koste Gewere (LKG Arms)
An African mega corporation that boomed during the FAL years and managed to survive the transition back to UT control. LKG Arms is a company that specializes in building guns for the masses. They build some of the most durable, reliable, and cheapest guns in Terran space. They have extensive marketing campaigns, sales centers, and service centers in the larger colonies around the sector.

Fuzyon guc cozemleri (Fusion Solutions)
An innovator in the power generation world. While Advanced Atomics builds most of the sector's fusion reactors, Fusion Solutions builds most of the rest... and innovates them. Fusion Solutions works extremely hard to keep on the cutting edge of fusion research and design. They offer some of the smallest, highest producing reactors available from Terran markets. Fusion Solutions has even hired dozens of Tazzim researchers to push their technology ahead further (although by most practical measures their products are already as good as the Tazzim equivalents).

Terran Alliance
An alliance formed between United Terra, the Kas'ssa Nation of the Quarm, the Wraither Clans of Hope, and the Tazzim Sector 4 Coalition of Tribes. Being an alliance each member retains its own authority, but the members have all agreed to collaborate in the name of peace, security, and prosperity. The Terran Alliance has limited resources and primarily concentrates on political and economic issues, but has created a small executive peacekeeping force to help augment each member state's own capabilities. The Alliance is led by the Terran Alliance Leadership Council who handle the everyday management of the alliance efforts and staff, negotiate the issues before the alliance, and more importantly advise the member state leaders. This council consists of 3 Kas'ssa Quarm ambassadors, 3 Tazzim Coalition Ambassadors, 3 Wraither Clan Ambassadors, 3 UTRPF Admirals, and 3 UT Economic Affairs Council Directors. Some concern has been stated about the heavy human influence of the Terran Alliance, but this power closely matches the reality of the current political / economic / military situation.

United Terra
After the United Nations began to lose effectiveness in its original mission, international corporations quickly began to gain power, wealth, and influence rivaling many full fledged nations on Earth. As some of these corporations grew they eventually sought a more uniform international forum for voicing concerns and setting policy guidelines for economic issues. This led to the eventual integration of a United Nations Economic Affairs Council made up of member corporations rather than nations. To reflect this change the name of the United Nations was changed to United Terra. The UT has led and regulated humanity's expansion into space and has become somewhat of a de facto government of the entire human race (with member states and corporations all retaining most of their independent control within their borders). The FAL wars have proven this to not be a perfect system, however the UT response and reintegration of the FAL has further solidified its control of Terran interests. United Terra represents approximately 10 billion humans throughout Terran space - but only a few million have left the Sol system, with most of those going to Acey-two. Many colonies only have a 10 or 12 thousand colonists on the entire world, and outposts usually have much less than that.

UTRPF
The exploration and military branch of United Terra. The United Terra Reconnaissance and Protection Force was formed to protect Terran interests in space. However after the success of the Pan African coalition in suppressing the FAL much debate has occurred over granting UTRPF jurisdiction on Earth as well. UTRPF coordinates, plans, supports, and protects most of humanity's colonies throughout the sector. UTRPF employs approximately 20,000 civilians, 50,000 human officers and enlisted, and a force limited by law to 100,000 Synners. Most of these are based at either Gateway Station or Acey-two with only about 10% of the non Synner force being distributed to the other outposts and colonies. Other UTRPF hub bases keep probably 2/3 of the remaining forces to send wherever the need calls for them.

Kas'ssa Nation (aka the Quarm Nation)
The Kas'ssa Nation is a collection of similar tribes. One of the most numerous nations on Wolf 424A-2 it has quickly become the most powerful and influential due to its alliance with the Terrans. The influx of knowledge, tools, and medicine has caused jealously, concern, and interest from all the Quarm tribes in contact with them. The fact that they claim to be working with the savants of prophecy has also fanned a religious fire as well. The Kas'ssa council has wisely sought to inject many of its young leaders into the Terran Alliance military forces to learn and more importantly prove the value of their race as more than just brute laborers. They do not want to be relegated as second class citizens, having exchanged one set of masters for another. The Kas'ssa are thus struggling to prove their value and keep themselves relevant to as many issues as possible. Early Terran missionaries have taught the Quarm what has historically happened to aboriginal people after encountering more advanced cultures, and the Kas'ssa are looking to prevent themselves from being next. The Kas'ssa have also started a program to teach many of their brightest shaman and healers the secrets of biology, chemistry and medicine - the council of elders believes the shaman's knowledge of the exotic plants and animals used by the Changers may result in another role in the Terran Alliance beyond simple heavy lifting. The Kas'ssa Nation consists of 5 major tribes and numerous minor tribes. The power and significance of these tribes vary with their populations as well as the popularity and influence of their leaders. The nation is led by a council of elders consisting of various tribe and religious leaders. In times of crisis the council will determine a Warchief to lead the combined forces of the nation. The total Kas'ssa Nation population is estimated to be around 300,000. Increased medical capabilities, tribe integration, and conquest is expected to cause this number to rapidly increase in the future.

Sector 4 Coalition of Tribes (aka the Tazzim Coalition)
The nomadic Tazzim tribes in their fleets of ships travel the stars from place to place gathering resources to live and keep their ancient ships running. Periodically they meet together in great conventions in the depths of space to trade, negotiate deals, share information, and interbreed to prevent inbreeding. In the last convention of tribes in Sector 4 of Tazzim influence the Coalition decided to join the Terran Alliance to gain access to the considerable material, and industrial resources the terrans offered. 1/2 of all Tazzim jump drives built by Voidcat go to the Coalition to refit their degraded fleet engines, and the new hulls they have bought are being outfitted with the best surplus, remanufactured, or newly fabricated parts so they can to expand the living space available to the member tribes by 30%. It is expected that when the next grand convention of sector representatives meets with neighboring sectors that the Sector 4's growing prestige and wealth will entice other Tazzim tribes to join the alliance as well. The Tazzim Coalition consists of 12 tribes, each with 3 to 8 clans. A Tazzim clan typically encompasses 3 to 10 extended families and travel in a single large ship with a few smaller craft supporting them. The total Tazzim Coalition population is estimated to be about 120,000. Continued expansion of their fleet will allow rapid population growth in the next decades. Each ship is led by a Clan or Family head who is called a Captain (in English). The Sector Coalition Captains meet in a council to decide matters relating to the coalition and to determine who will represent them in the next Grand Convention.

The Clans of Hope (aka the Wraither Clans)
Spread over all manner of systems, the Wraither Clans of Hope have hidden and through careful reproductive management kept their numbers down and avoided inbreeding. And during all their hiding they waited for an opportunity to reunite their peoples. The terrans offered just that opportunity, and the clans of hope have joined together to take advantage of it. They are creating a new arcology to allow the long separated clans a chance to live together again, lift some of their reproductive limitations, and allow their race to flourish once more. The Clans of Hope are ruled by the enigmatic "council minds" who seem to link their minds together to make the best decisions they can for all of their members. There are an estimated 8 clans of hope but that number is hard to nail down due to some of the undecided clans who waiver between 'hope' and 'isolation' philosophies. Only about 5,000 Wraithers make up the Clans of Hope, but the creation of Sanctuary and the negotiations with UT over cloning technology may allow their population to boom in the next decade. Current estimates guess that at least 20,000 Wraithers remain isolationists at this time, something the clans of hope seek to change by proving their actions to be sound.

Prominent People of 2155

Snth. Petr Zahrmeni.
The former Sword Colonel who led Taskforce Xenocide into rebellion. The clone of famous Pan African Force Marshal Petr Zahrmeni.

Star Captain Sera Connars.
A Synner Star Captain in UTRPF assigned with the task of coordinating Terran Alliance Special Action Teams with UTRPF protection efforts. Now in her biological 40s she is one of the oldest surviving Synners in the service - and she famously got to her position the hard way by crunching bugs all over the sector. She was nearly killed in the FAL attack on Gateway Station.

Sword Colonel Huy Kim Sul.
A Synner Sword Colonel in UTRPF assigned with the task of coordinating the Terran Alliance Special Action Teams with UTRPF protection efforts. While Star Captain Connars plans shipping and prioritizes threats, Sword Colonel Sul concentrates on training and running a sort of Synner Resources department. Most training, social, or medical issues for the TASAT run through his office.

Sword Major Jiao Hu Li.
The Garrison Commander of the UTRPF Company stationed at Ridding in Wolf 359. Rumor has it she was stationed there because of a tryst with an officer on Gateway Station, but was too competent to waste on a more conventional punishment duty.

Captain Taweret of Clan Far Wanderer.
Captain of the Far Wanderer and its Clan. One of the most powerful and influential Tazzim in the Coalition. Sometimes called the 1st Captain because of his heavy influence. The Far Wanderer Clan is one of the larger Clans in the Coalition and actually has several support ships.

Captain Suhad of Clan Burning Star.
Captain of the Burning Star and its Clan. Perhaps the most skilled military leader amongst the Tazzim. He is known to have joined the Terran Alliance only reluctantly.

Captain Sarrin of Clan Spinning Gears.
Captain of the Spinning Gear Clan and of the former Spinning Gears ship. The Spinning Gears was one of the largest factory ships in the Tazzim fleet but had chronic drive issues. It was retasked as the centerpiece of the Voidcat Industries production center, and Sarrin is the chief administrator of the Tazzim aspects of the joint venture.

Warchief Ssanak-ka.
The on and off again Quarm Warchief of the Kass'ssa Nation. Due to the frequent attacks from neighboring jealous tribes and nations the Kass'ssa Council of Elders have repeatedly assigned Ssanak-ka the role of leading the nation in its defenses and battles. He has spent so much time in this role he has become the de facto steward for most day to day issues for the administering of the nation. A member of the Council of Elders.

High Priest Tesnum-ma.
The Quarm high priest of New Home and thus most of the Quarm tribes. He is known to be a skilled negotiator and has helped resolve many inter-tribal and international conflicts without violence. A powerful member of the Council of Elders.

Chief Tsuk-sa.
The Quarm leader of the "opposition" politics of Ssanak-ka. His factions have a small minority of the Council of Elders, but he is still extremely influential in the Kass'ssa Nation. A member of the Council of Elders.

Shaman Nakkan-ma.
A brilliant Quarm religious leader. Known for her talent at using natural medicine and for her talent for the old religious writings She has stepped up and set the example of being willing to learn from Terran missionaries and has worked tirelessly to encourage the development of others as well as teach what she has learned to her people. She may be the most brilliant xenobiologist expert in Changer plants in the Terran Alliance. Cambridge and Berkley have both assigned a team of xenobiologists to teach, learn, and research with Nakkan-ma.

Hannak of Clan Peace.
A councilmind of the Wraithers and one of their chief negotiators. She is a gifted speaker, and is known to have taken a real liking to sweetened Terran chocolate.

Benneth of Clan Ingenuity.
A councilmind of the Wraithers and one of their most talented engineers. She has worked with Captain Sarrin to ease the integration of the Tazzim and Terran factors of Voidcat Industries (both technical and political).

Frarri of Clan Truth.
A councilmind of the Wraithers and one of the most prolific researchers in the Terran Alliance. Frarri has spent years reviewing and analyzing the various sciences of the Terran alliance. His papers have drawn heated discussion as he has torn down or corrected misconceived theories from all the races. He would be one of the most hated figures in TA science - except that so far his hypotheses have always stood to full review and seem to be right.

Calanadi of Clan Serenity.
A Wraither ambassador to Terra, Calanadi has spent an extensive amount of time working with various religious groups and with Terran psychologists and physicists researching the powers of the mind. She and several members of her clan have toured much of Earth and are some of the best known Wraithers to humanity.

Secretary-General Ahmed Al-Mohamed Farsi.
The leader of the United Terra. Kept busy trying to twirl political hot topics burning at both ends, Ahmed defers most administration details to under secretaries.

Secretary-Martial Ivenov Chechni.
Petr Zharmeni's chief aid through most of the FAL wars and now the head of UTRPF forces throughout Terran space. What little military skill Ivenov lacked of Zharmeni, his organizational and political skills more than make up for. Secretary-martial Chechni has weathered some of the hardest times UTRPF has seen but seems to be keeping things together all the same.

Admiral Brie Sommers.
The human officer in charge of UTRPF space efforts. Sometime called "Fire and Forget" Sommers, due to her having ordered the launch of orbital kinetic impactors on FAL cities full of civilians - a fact that many seem to have conveniently "forgotten".

Admiral Scott Reavings.
The human UTRPF officer in charge of defending the Sol system from hostiles. A major proponent of cutting back Synner numbers and using more human forces conditioned to withstand short hyperspace trips.

Commodore Dillon Greeves.
The human UTRPF officer in charge of the Ridding colony and Garrison on Wolf 359. Commodore Greeves has a reputation for concentrating on colonization efforts and ignoring the Synner garrison as much as possible.

Sherrif Samantha Habbard.
The chief civilian police and rescue administrator for the Ridding Colony of Wolf 359.

Places of Interest in 2155

Gateway Station (Sol)
The largest space station built in Terran space. Gateway Station is more of a floating city in Earth orbit. Complete with business sectors, entertainment, factories, research centers, and the primary training center for UTRPF Synners. Most Synners are decanted, evaluated, trained, and stationed on Gateway Station until their next mission takes them out of system. The only place with anywhere near as many Synners is Acey-two.

Edison Station (Sol)
The largest and most famous of the Terran pure research stations.

Alpha Centari - Two, AC-Two, aka Acey-two (Alpha Centari A/B)
The largest human colony outside Sol. A practical human paradise planet with an established ecosystem compatible with human biology. The larger northern continent is the primary location of most of humanity's extra-solar settlements. Business, industry, education, research, and even entertainment are all readily available here. With a population of several million humans Acey-two is a corporate boomtown as well. Acey-two is also the home of the second largest population of Synners in Terran space. Synners have been assigned here to protect the colony, and it is used as a convenient out of system training center as well. The southern continent has only been lightly colonized and has a much higher concentration of Synner garrison forces. This is due to the Hell's Hornets infestation there. UTRPF has concentrated efforts to contain and control the population of these dangerous predators. Most Synners given "reserve" status are sent here with orders to wipe out any Hell's Hornets encountered. Green Synner marine teams are sometimes sent to the southern continent to go on bug hunts to help keep their numbers in check and to give the marines a taste for what is to come while backup and rescue forces are still available for the inevitable casualties.

Ridding (Wolf 359)
A little red planet circling Wolf 359. New arrivals are often greeted with "Welcome to the little red ridding hood". Ridding is a close orbiting, tidally locked, iron rich planet. Wolf 359 has frequent radiation bursts which can be very dangerous to those caught in the open during them. Fortunately Ridding is also covered in a fairly common Changer ecology of radiation tolerant plant life. These plants form interlocking giant broad leafs that not only tolerate the radiation storms but thrive and grow from them. Under this canopy live a whole host of plants and animals. Most are fairly small and nonhostile. But Ridding has encountered Nestling swarms on occasion - and the deep explorers swear that worse and bigger things live in the wilds. Ridding doesn't have much going for it other than being a habitable planet in a system in the middle of a cluster other habitable systems (some of which are pretty nice places to live). So UTRPF uses Ridding as a forward base to send out teams to handle emergencies throughout the cluster. The Terran Alliance has decided to use Ridding as a TASAT operational center for the same reason.

Redemption (ETA Cassiopeia)
A nice growing colony world in a human friendly system. Until the Hell Hounds wiped everyone out. Fortunately for the colonists Taskforce Xenocide was able to save what was left. After Taskforce Xenocide deserted their duties they built a new home here. Redemption is the name of their new home, but it is both a dream and a curse for Synners throughout Terran space. Redemption is under embargo by UTRPF but that hasn't stopped many nearby colonies from trading with them.

Xenudia (Cincinnati system)
The home of the Gnostic Erudition. This system encountered a major disaster but recovered from it using UTRPF personnel and equipment assigned to other colonies. Reports are that this is an unfriendly world too close to its sun, but the occupants are all convinced it is the seat of power in the galaxy and hides the secrets of the universe. Nobody would pay too much attention to it except for their continued piracy and the reports that they are cloning themselves and their slaves; becoming a booming if isolated colony.

New Congo (Procyon A/B)
The new home of the FALE. The militant and dedicated and desperate remnants of their failed political movement have settled here. Little is known about New Congo, all indications state that a fairly pleasant planet could exist where New Congo sits. Unfortunately the FALE are not exactly interested in sharing any details of their home, and seem more interested in stealing or destroying any ship they can find belonging to the UT or its allies.

New Mordor (Barnards)
An UTRPF and TASAT operations center to support nearby systems. Shares the system with the corporate colony of El Dorado, 3 asteroid belts and several quality mining worlds.

Hercules (Ross 248)
An UTRPF and TASAT operations center to support nearby systems.

Scotch (Ross 154)
An UTRPF and TASAT operations center to support nearby systems.

Big Rock (UV Ceti)
An UTRPF and TASAT operations center to support nearby systems.

Pasteur (Sol - Saturn)
A scientific space station in orbit around Saturn dedicated to medical research and xeno-biology. Heavily controlled by various mega-corporations Caduceus in particular.

Newton (Alpha Centari - Acey-two)
A scientific space station in geostationary orbit around Acey-two. One of the largest extra-solar research stations in Terran space.

El Dorado (Barnards - Asteroid belt)
A large mining colony in the asteroid belt of the Barnards system. A major refining and shipping center and home of many mining operations. Interstellar Metals makes this their secondary headquarters.

Sanctuary(Sirius A/B)
An arcology being built by Wraithers as a new city to reunite their lost clans. It has a small UTRPF/TA surface facility, but most of the population is actually hidden below ground in a deeply shielded structure. The location of this arcology is considered a state secret and only those cleared for this information know its actual whereabouts.

Tsa'tuk/Lizard City(Wolf 424 A/B)
The primary spaceport of Wolf 424A-2 and the main point of contact between the Terran Alliance and the allied Quarm tribes and nations. The city has religious significance to the Quarm and is the place where their ancestors first crashed at the end of the Quarm/Tazzim war. The name means "new home" in the Quarm language.

Eris Research and Industrial center (Sol)
A major facility for Voidcat Industries and a popular gathering spot for mercantile Tazzim. It is known for its extensive short term living areas (space based hotels) many of which specialize in Tazzim sized accommodations. These facilities often seem downright spacious to the normally ship bound Tazzim occupants.

The Horrors of Space

A number of hostile creatures and constructs have been encountered by UTRPF forces as they have expanded into nearby space. Below includes a short list of the ones that are currently known about.

The Ancients
Two races of very old sentient xenoforms. The Ancients began fighting a war against each other long before any of the Terran Alliance species sailed the stars. No one knows how large their dominions are, or even how many of them may be in this sector of space. The Ancients have a history of co-opting younger races into their war, and the Quarm, Tazzim, and Wraithers have all suffered for their contact with them. No direct contact with either species has been reported in generations and many people wonder if any are still left in this region of space.

The Shapers aka The Changers
A race of amphibious mollusk like creatures with a hard outer shell and clumsy tentacles, the Shapers are one of the two races of Ancients who have fought for the worlds in this section of space for time unknown. They are known to be masters of genetic manipulation, and have taken biowarfare to limits never dreamed of by human kind. No Shapers have been encountered since the end of the Quarm/Tazzim war and many people hope that they have been eradicated by their war, even if their weapons linger on in countless worlds and even the depths of space.

The Artificers
A carnivorous race of giant caterpillar like creatures with multiple sets of arms. The Artificers are the second race of Ancients who have fought across this section of the galaxy. The Artificers created a level of technology unmatched by any of the known races. Even the Tazzim and Wraithers barely understand a fraction of the technology used by the Artificers. No living Artificers have been seen since the Tazzim rebelled against them at the end of the Quarm/Tazzim war. However rumors persist that UTRPF forces did find an Artificer ship containing dead Artificers, but the ship self destructed shortly after being boarded.

Arachenoids - Spiderbots
A popular weapon of the Artificers according to the Tazzim and Wraither records. Arachenoids are small 1 ft in diameter spider like robots that tend to attack in small swarms. Several colonies have encountered them causing high casualties. They are small, fast and hard to hit, not to mention extremely poisonous. The best that can be said about them is that they do not seem to have ranged weapons, and seem to have limited intelligence. Rumor has it that several mega-corporations have offered significant bounties on these to study - functioning or not.

Goo - oozes and blobs
Giant blobs of digestive protoplasm. These seem to be a weapon of the Shapers. Encountered occasionally these terrors have caused problems for several outposts. They are slow, but somewhat hard to see, and very resilient. Most blobs seem to be reported in the 2-3 meter diameter size, but rumors persist that larger ones have been encountered. The best news for these is that they don't seem to have a brain or any significant intelligence.

Hell Hound
The terror of several colonies. It is rumored that at least 3 colony settlements have been totally eradicated by Hell Hounds, and ETA Cassiopeia was only saved from that fate by the intervention of Taskforce Xenocide. The Hell Hounds are about 1.5m long and resemble a cross between a porcupine and a panther. Their spines seem to be coated with a sticky irritant that makes melee particularly dangerous. They are fast, and have been known to hunt is packs working together. Some deep territory prospectors and explorers claim to have encountered varieties 3 times bigger than documented ones - these reports are generally dismissed as tall tales, but caution is encouraged in dealing with these.

Hell's Hornet
The plague of AC2 (Alpha Centari 2). Hell Hornets only appeared after explorers began surveying the southern continent of AC2 - a world until then that appeared to be a virtual garden of eden ready for humanity to move in with no real natural hazards to speak of. Hell's Hornets are some of the best studied hostile xenoforms known. They appear like a 1 meter long cross between a monkey and a wasp, and have a life cycle closely resembling carnivorous wasps. They eat small animals, generally preferring those in the squirrel size range, but when they mate they target larger animals in the 1-3 meter size range. They poison these large targets and deposit their eggs in the unlucky recipient. The eggs hatch and eat the host growing into adulthood in a matter of 3 weeks. Recent reports indicate that Tazzim may be targets of choice for Hell's Hornets, and the Tazzim seem to be particularly susceptible to these creatures' paralytic poison. Many older Synners have been given "garrison duty" on AC2 with orders to hunt these beasts down and prevent their spread. Some reports indicate that these have been found on other worlds as well implying that they may be weapons created by the Ancients.

Nestlings - Killer Tribbils
Furry soccer balls with teeth and legs. Nestlings are voracious eaters, and form large swarms eating everything in their swath. They have an aversion to light and nest underground during the day, coming out at night to chew their way across the surface. Many settlements have been lost to packs of Nestlings, but fortunately they lack direction and intellect.

Hyperghosts
Synners spend a lot of time popping into and out of hyperspace. Months at a time, they sit bored watching stuttered jumps past the veil of reality. Myths and legends of strange incorporeal entities hitching rides back into our reality have inevitably come of these long trips. Some say they catch glimpses of things in the corner of their eye, and others report mysterious noises, or objects moving. Others say these Hyperghosts are the unfortunate victims of hyperspace accidents or crews who have become lost in hyperspace when exceeding safe Isler speeds - and they are desperately trying to find a way back into our reality. Still others claim that they are actually demons from beyond our reality, trying to push their way in and bring hell to this side. No matter the nature of the stories the official line is that no such thing exists - but every Synner knows somebody who knows somebody who has seen them. And more disturbingly, the Tazzim, Quarm, and especially the Wraithers all seem very worried about these tales.

Astereaters
Ship munchers that look much like a stony asteroid until they suddenly ram and attack spacecraft.

Nanite Dissimulators - grey goos
Globs of countless microscopic machines who's whole job is to tear molecules apart, and maybe build more of themselves. These appear like a slowly spreading grey ooze leaving behind nothing but a skim of grey mud like gunk. Reports state that whole villages have disappeared into a grey goo within a single night. The good news is that they are slow and don't have any guidance of their own. The bad news is that the Tazzim and Wraithers both seem to think an external one may be possible.

Hunter Killer Anti-ship Drone
Not every threat is surface side. Artificers and the Tazzim have been known to leave stealthy anti-ship drones in asteroid belts and ort clouds of systems. When they detect a large creature or ship it does not recognize, it attacks from surprise. Dozens of probes, unmanned freighters, and UTRPF ships have all gone missing never to be found again. No one is sure how many have fallen to this kind of ship, but Taskforce Xenocide encountered many of these.

Hypermine
Like the Anti-ship drone, these seem to just sit and wait for a hyperspace disturbance. Then they sync their hyperjumps and close with them. Eventually they collide or explode destroying their target. Both biological and technological versions of these were encountered by Taskforce Xenocide.

Hyperbarnicles
Similar to the Hypermine these are a biological creature that will attach to a ship jumping into hyperspace. They use the ships hull as food and grow, weakening the hull. Worse yet they seem to disrupt Isler drives and cause instability in the jumps. Oblivious crews may find their ship slowing down over long journeys then suddenly rupturing into space from multiple breaches across the hull.

Frost worms
Natives to the colder ice balls found just outside most comfortable habitable zones, frost worms are 3 or 4 meter long snake like creatures with considerable curiosity and a taste for animals smaller than themselves. Smaller examples have been known to pack together to hunt, larger ones have been known to attack APCs.

Awards and commendations

A variety of awards are offered to TA and UTRPF personnel. These awards come with prestige, respect, and sometimes cash or pension rewards. The respect & prestige of the awards is represented by a metagame value of merit points. Merit points will be used in situations where the situation may be swayed by the respect & prestige these awards bestow.

Distinctions between awards within a certain level can be very esoteric due to the myriad of source national awards they are derived from and the Terran Alliance or UTRPF efforts to try to standardize them. So it is entirely possible for one recipient to receive one award while another receives a completely different award for the same actions within the same incident.

A few awards do stand out however. In general the Gold and Silver lifesaving awards are reserved for non-combat actions resulting in the saving of life. Additionally the Purple Heart and Iron Star of Courageous Sacrifice are reserved for injuries in the line of duty; the Purple Heart is much more common, while the Iron Star is generally reserved for particularly nasty or maiming injuries.

Personal Awards:

  • Terra Cross, Terran Medal of Honor, Grand Cross Special Class, Gold Star
    50 merit points, 10000 to 50000 credit award, pay raise, pension raise for human recipients.
  • Space/Marine Distinguished Service Cross, Grand Cross 1st Class
    40 merit points, 10000 credit award, pay raise, pension raise for human recipients. Highest honor ever given to a Synner
  • Theater/Branch Distinguished Service Medal, Grand Cross 2nd Class, Medal of the Order 1st Class with Swords
    30 merit points, pay raise, pension raise for human recipients
  • Silver Star, Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, Grand Cross, Medal of the Order 2nd Class with Swords
    25 merit points, 5000 credit award optional, pay raise, pension raise for human recipients
  • Legion of Merit, Military Cross, Knight Commander's Cross
    20 merit points, 4000 credit award optional, pay/pension raise for human recipients
  • Marine/Space Medal of Heroism, Commander's Cross
    18 merit points, 3000 credit award optional, pay/pension raise for human recipients
  • Bronze Star, Officer's Cross, Medal for Service of Distinction 1st Class
    15 merit points, 2000 credit award optional, additional pay raise, additional pension for human recipients
  • Purple Heart, Iron Star of Courageous Sacrifice (Fubar Star)
    10 merit points, 1000 credit award optional but rare
  • Meritorious Service Medal, Knight's Cross
    9 merit points, 500 credit award optional
  • Gold Lifesaving Medal
    8 merit points
  • Silver Lifesaving Medal
    6 merit points
  • UTRPF Commendation Medal, Star/Sword Cross, Medal for Service of Distinction 2nd Class
    5 merit points, 300 credit award optional
  • UTRPF Achievement Medal, Star/Sword Medal
    3 merit points, 100 credit award optional
  • Commandant's Letter of Commendation
    2 merit points
  • UTRPF Combat Action Ribbon
    1 merit point, additional pay/pension for human recipients

Subsequent awards of the same medal or award are typically given in clusters (of stars not oak leaves) or bars. Bronze denotes 1 repeat of the award, Silver 5, and gold 10. Pay increases and pension increases are generally only for the first award, but subsequent awards are more likely to grant any optional credit award.

Unit Awards:

  • Terran Alliance Joint Operations Unit Citation Award
    8 merit points
  • United Terran Unit Citation Award
    7 merit points
  • Terran Alliance Joint Operations Meritorious Unit Award
    6 merit points
  • United Terran Meritorious Unit Award
    5 merit points
  • Terran Alliance Joint Operations Superior Unit Award
    4 merit points
  • United Terran Superior Unit Award
    3 merit points
  • UTRPF Efficiency Ribbon
    1 merit point

The Isler Drive and the Isler Radio:

The Isler drive uses a pulsed hyperspace jump algorithm to push closely associated mass through hyperspace. Each jump covers a vast distance determined by several factors including the amount of nearby mass, gravitational interference, and the effective hyperspace power generated by the drive. The jump frequency is optimized to match the current conditions of the jump vehicle. Watching an Isler drive starship travel looks somewhat like watching it skip from location to location in a "dotted" line in realspace. Isler radios operate on a very similar principal but since the quantum particles have such negligible mass they can safely jump much greater distances in a single pulse.

The current Isler drive units used by most of the UT ships operate on 2nd generation Isler drive technology. These jump drives are standardized and optimized to move 1 Kton of mass at a rate of 1C. Since these drives operate with a fairly linear performance curve effective interstellar speeds are easy to calculate for conditions less than 0.1G gravity wells. The largest disadvantage of these drives is their instability at higher jump speeds. After a speed of 20C is reached these drives begin exhibiting unexplained failures, and hyperspace accidents begin to become common. These incidents may destroy the Isler drives at unpredictable times, cause unpredictable jump distances, cause strange radiation surges, and in some cases have caused ships to arrive without its crew or to never return at all. The sharply increased failure rate at 20C has caused the UT to set a "speed limit" of 20C on all its vessels not in or reacting to an emergency.

Isler Industries has done considerable research into the 20C barrier over the last few decades and has developed a 3rd generation of Isler drive. 3rd Gen Isler drives are still fairly uncommon for non-emergency craft, but are becoming the standard feature on emergency couriers and rescue landers. The advantage of these drives is that they have driven the safe operating speed out to around 30C, but have an even sharper increase in incidents beyond those speeds.

Rumors state that Isler Industries has been developing a 4th Generation of Isler drive bootstrapped by what they have learned about Tazzim Jump drives from Voidcat industries. It is expected that these drives will have a safe operating speed of about 50C and a much more gradual failure curve at speeds beyond that point. It is also expected that these units will provide about 2C(Kton)s/unit.

The current state of the art for Jump drives in the Terran Alliance is the Voidcat J5 Tazzim jump drive. These drives are in exceptionally high demand and due to the joint venture agreement between the Tazzim Coalition and United Terra only a fraction of the units being built are going to Terran shipyards. The VC-J5 drive has the same form factor and mass as a Terran Isler jump drive but due to its increased efficiency can push a 1Kton mass through hyperspace at 5C. On top of that, these units seem to have a maximum safe operating speed of about 100C and a much more gradual increase in failures for speeds beyond that. Most of the VC-J5 units in the UT navy are being used by high priority or emergency craft - including some assigned to the TASAT forces.

The increase in Isler drive efficiency has also enabled the miniaturization of Isler radios. It is now possible to mount an Isler radio on a typical long range hyperspace capable craft piggybacking onto it's existing Jump drives. These systems are also in extreme demand and are hideously expensive - but are being rolled out into fast response ships as well as command and control ships throughout the UTRPF space force.

By their very nature Isler radios are half-duplex (one-way at a time) communicators. They are also somewhat "instantaneous", so the message data must be spread across the frequency band for simultaneous broadcast rather than serial broadcast. This limits the size of any particular message and makes the signal hard to detect without a lot of specialized communication equipment. The message size limit means long messages may require multiple transmissions over the course of minutes per transmission. Another limitation for the portable units is the "aiming" of the destination point for the signal. An Isler radio can send a band of electromagnetic waves out to any point within its broadcast range (about 20 light years for 1st generation sets, 30 for second gen sets, and about 10 light years for portable sets) near instantly, but once they are there they still propagate at the speed of light. So for effective long range communications the transmitting radio needs to know where to aim. This is no major issue for permanent installations who's galactic position and vector are well known, but for portable units this can be a problem. Standard practice is to either have predetermined contact points, or for the portable unit to initiate communications and include its current position in their message. Each radio is assigned a broadcast moment within a 1 minute broadcast frame to prevent data collisions interfering with each other at busier Isler radios. This limits the number of total radios that may be in operation, but so far that limit has not been reached. These limitations have caused FTL communications to be extremely expensive and with a bandwidth similar to early computer modems. A typical Isler radio can send 500MB of data a day, while it can receive up to 10 GB per day.