The Story

In The Beginning

In a galaxy called The Milky Way, in a universe that shares many of the same laws, there was a cozy little planet not too much unlike ours called Earth. There was a man that lived there called Augustus Caesar - there was a man that lived there called Ghandi - there was another man that lived there called Einstein. They were all very important, influential men - the trouble was, while their Ghandi and Caesar were much the same as ours, their Einstein was wrong. In this universe, teleports work. Gravity can be controlled. Aliens exist and visit Earth all the time… and we visit their worlds, too.

There aren't many of these aliens, though - only a mere handful by comparison. After galactic conquest, humans are by far the most dominant race in the galaxy, making up over 95% of the Human Federation. The rest make up a tiny, oppressed minority - aliens such as the ^kö and others, considered to be good for little more than jokes. The total population of the galaxy is vast, though, with thousands of colonized stars. The number of criminals is fairly vast as well - and this is the most worrying. With such a large expanse to govern, crime runs rampant on many worlds. Criminals genociding entire planets isn't at all unheard of. Unfortunately, it is considered illegal under galactic law to carry out the death sentence without a permit - and for a lot of these criminals, this is exactly what's needed - but the permit is costly. So costly, in fact, that only a select few are able to afford it.

This is where Tartarus comes in. Tartarus Inc. is based off a giant prison ship of the same name, with a capacity of thirty million. They fly from planet to planet, taking on prisoners in exchange for a small fee - completely worth it to the planets trying to dispose of their garbage. It's an under-the-table sort of thing - a taboo topic that nobody ever talks about - a blemish on the face of humanity. But everyone needs it - and Tartarus needs it too.

Tartarus isn't only a prison ship. While their prisoners normally last a year before either bailed out or killed en masse, there's a smaller contingent of their prisoners that join a program known as REKT. REKT stands for "Requisited Knowledge Troops" - and this is exactly what they do. Prisoners are free to apply, but only those deemed the most useful actually get in - and this is a very small percentage of the whole. Only the best, brightest, and fastest make the cut. After they're in, they get sent out on special missions to retrieve data or artifacts from different worlds - usually the most dangerous, most horrific worlds out there, in search of things humanity has never dared to make an attempt to retrieve. If the prisoners die, no biggie. REKT's CASKETs are cheap and mass-produced anyway. The artifacts the survivors do bring back far outweigh the losses, and allow Tartarus to make a hefty profit.

The Galaxy

The Milky Way galaxy is home to a handful of sentient species, of which humanity is dominant by far. Humanity makes up over 95% of the galactic population, with other species like the ^kö a lesser minority. Racism still runs as rampant as it did in the twentieth century - humans tend to hate the other races and walk over them, while the other races occasionally form groups intended to make terrorist attacks against humanity, using the excuse of reclaiming rightful territory. There are a few select places where they get along, but for the most part, humanity tends to avoid friendship wherever possible, clustering themselves together around the galaxy's center, which is a better place for trade. The rest of the species are clustered together in separate groups nearer to the galaxy's fringe zones. Being farther from the central hub of trade and activity, this naturally makes them poorer, more technologically-starved worlds. The Inner Worlds are generally thought of as more luxurious and their inhabitants more privileged, except by those who sees them as self-important snobs. The inner worlds are actually quite lovely. Lush gardens, no problems with overpopulation and few with unemployment (unless by choice, which is completely viable). They of course have to deal with their own problems, but overall, they're an absolute paradise. The rest of the galaxy? Not so much.

As the Milky Way is 100,000 light years across, methods of traversing it in a timely fashion had to be found. After disproving Einstein's theory of relativity in the early 21st century, humankind went on to design warp drives, and later created artificial wormholes to speed travel time between fixed points even faster. A network of trade emerged from this new interstellar highway system, and humanity prospered. At current warp speeds, it takes a full eighteen years to cross the galaxy without utilizing wormholes, and the nearest major galaxy, Andromeda, is over 435 years of travel away. For this reason, and others, Andromeda has never been colonized - nor have any other galaxies. Perhaps at some point in the future humanity might expand their borders, but for now, it's nothing more than a dream.

Universal Timeline

REKT Missions of platoon 56

Mission 1: Chilendorn Base

Main article: Mission 1
Platoon 56 was sent on a mission to an asteroid field in Chilendorn, a system around an irregular gamma ray pulsar. After disabling three of the four massive AA megaturrets situated in the field, the squads approached and boarded the alien base in the middle. At this point, SCAMPS warned the platoon that a strange phenomenon called "Dark Space" was rapidly approaching their position; the duration of the mission was shortened by half and the crew was urged to finish quickly. The boarding party soon began studying the base, and theorized that the Quantums, an alien race that exists in multiple universes at once, was the source of anomalous materials. Eventually the platoon makes their way through the decrepit base to a room full of destroyed cryostasis pods around a Quantum orb. After battling a large number of small security drones, the platoon realizes that the Quantum Orb is capable of giving humans something akin to "powers". They then recover the Quantum Orb (not intact) and escape the base, boarding the Tartarus and fleeing the system just before the Dark Space SCAMPS warned about arrived and consumed the asteroid field.

Mission 2: Sedirmar Convoy

Main article: Mission 2
Platoon 56 was sent on a mission to attack a Mimir convoy in the Sedirmar Nebula. The convoy contained a science ship that had captured a small alien craft flying around the Dark Space in the Chilendorn system near the end of the previous mission; the platoon was ordered to retrieve said craft. The convoy was stated to contain a carrier, the science vessel, and a gunship, but it also contained two shieldmaiden-class corvettes as well. Upon arrival, the platoon took it upon themselves to destroy the gunship and then turned their attention to the shieldmaidens as the Mimir HAMMER fighters attacked. They were able to commandeer the shieldmaidens and board the science vessel with some difficulty. When the carrier launched a wave of fighters, they enclosed the science vessel and themselves within a shield bubble, but foolishly broke into the science ship's upper hangar, which contained a large pod of HAMMERs. Meanwhile, the ship-based team fought their way to the ship's well-protected rear hangar (fighting a boarbear along the way). They were able to secure the objective and get to the extraction point just before Mimir reinforcements arrived.

Mission 3: Sitatha Canyons

Main article: Mission 3
Platoon 56 was sent on a mission to a large moon orbiting an ice giant inside its Roche limit, both to successfully recover the Quantum Orb that Tartarus had located, and to figure out what had happened to the MIA Platoon 373.

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