Luna Hawk landed at the hospital as the sun began to rise. She had dreaded this moment, dreaded it all since she'd heard from a third party that her mother was dying. She tried to focus her breathing and calm herself but her right hand twitched in spite of her attempts.
She made her way into the building and was allowed access to her mother's room where her mother, once a proud and strong woman, was now little more than a living stick, a shattered vision of what she had once been. The woman she called mother had darker skin than her father, an Egyptian from a family of immigrants, she had always been a wonderful and strong hearted person. Luna Hawk felt her strength melt away when her mother struggled to turn her emaciated head.
"No, please." Kendra said and rushed to the bed side, folding her wings she took her mother's hand in both of her own. "Don't stress yourself, you need your strength to fight it."
"Kendra..." She spoke, her voice a weak rasping sound. "Let me see your face."
"No I..." Kendra tried, her own voice breaking.
"Please." Her mother insisted.
She took a breath and slowly removed the helmet.
"There's my beautiful girl." The dying woman said with a little smile on her thin lips. Kendra averted her gaze, tracing fingers over the tubing and machinery that kept her mother alive and in as little pain as possible. She tried to prevent tears but her famous Hawk Lord stubbornness and strong will was of no avail against the ravages of time. Instead she removed her hand from the instruments and felt it ball into a fist at her side.
"Why are you angry Kendra? This is life...everything ends eventually." Her mother said gently
"It's not fair." Kendra whispered in reply. "It's not fair at all."
"Life, my sweet, isn't always about fair...it's about taking the good with the bad and carrying love in your heart."
Kendra turned her golden eyes to her mother's ravaged face. There was no grief there, nor anger...not even despair...only acceptance. Her mother had never so much as said a bad thing about anyone and even ravaged by disease she couldn't manage to lift a moment of anger at her own condition.
"What use am I if I can't protect the people I love?" Kendra asked.
"Use? You listen too much to that god of yours." Her mother said with a little smile. "You're a person."
"I'm a warrior servant of..." Her mother managed to raise her hand and put a finger on her daughter's lips to silence her.
"You are my daughter." Her mother said with as much strength as she could muster...it wasn't much.
"I can't save you." Kendra said, the tears flowed freely at this point, she did nothing to stop them.
"God has chosen to take me home." Her mother said gently. "There is nothing you, I or your stubborn father can do about it. Just because I will not be here...does not mean I will not be here." She moved her hand down to touch the place over her daughter's divine heart. "Sometimes you forget who you are, you wrap yourself in your other identity, but you are still Kendra Munoz Sanders. Never forget who you are. You need to speak with your father."
Kendra looked away. "We don't agree on much anymore."
"My last wish is for my daughter to make amends with my husband. Do that for me...please."
Kendra shifted her gaze back to her mother. "He's so stubborn and.."
Her mother smiled lovingly and interjected. "And willful and filled with pride? I think if you two were any more a like he would sprout wings." Her mother shifted a little and reached shaky fingers to the leading edge of her daughter's nearest wing. "You have always been my angel." Her eyes closed, she didn't have the strength to keep awake any longer and drifted off into a state of deep sleep, almost like a coma. Her hand fell to her side and Kendra carefully replaced it on her mother's lap.
She stood, wiped the tears from her face on the back of her glove and slid her helmet back into place. She took a few moments to regain her composure and stood for a time in silent vigil.
"While #Metoo controversy threatens to tear apart Moon Bird Studios and Luna Hawk herself is under attack as an enabler of the culture of sexual harassment and misconduct at her own studios we at CVU New Network, the most balanced face of news, have caught up with Luna Hawk' father, Mr. Munoz Sanders outside of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St.Louis."
The same reporter that had interviewed Luna Hawk earlier in the week now stood outside of the hospital and was all smiles as she approached a tall, slender man in a tailored suit and introduced herself as he exited the building.
"Mr. Sanders, do you have any insight you can share as to why your daughter may have supported and even encouraged the sexual misconduct that has been reported at her very own Moon Bird studios? The people would like to know what could drive a woman, a hero even, to entrap young women into a ring of debauchery and predatory behavior run by and for the Vice President of her company. Luna Hawk has long been touted as a hero of the people and yet, it seems we were wrong all a long. What can you tell us about her thought process, about how she was raised that might have led to this?" She asked without a trace of tact.
"You people are pathetic, can't you leave people alone? My wife is wasting way before my eyes and you hunt me down to ask some insane question about a daughter I haven't spoken to in six years? Here is some insight fr you, her mother is dying and we haven't had so much as a phone call." His voice bit deep, like a man who had long grown tired of other people's crap, there was an edge to his tone that suggested the reporter had progressed suddenly and unexpected into dangerous territory.
Taking a breath, the reporter nodded and pressed ahead. "Why do you think she has put such distance between you even while she speaks fondly of her childhood?"
His eyes narrowed dangerously behind his glasses and he scowled with such ferocity that the reporter took a noticeable step backwards. "She's busy being a Hawk Lord." He said with air quotes. "The Kendra I raised loved family above all else. I don't know this Luna Hawk any better than you."
"So you're saying fame and position have corrupted her?" The MeToo zealot asked with visible eagerness to have her biases confirmed.
He snorted. "I said nothing of the sort, only that since she became Luna Hawk I do not know her. Please, I have work to in order to try and save my wife since modern medicine and government health care have failed. You are annoying and I do not wish to waste any more time on a simpering worm such as yourself." He moved to walk past her only for the woman to step in front of him again.
"Sir, please, do you think Luna Hawk has been corrupted by her success?" She asked fearlessly.
Munoz scowled again and placed a hand on her shoulder. He turned her around and pointed to a black sedan across the street. "Do you see that car? That car contains my bodyguards who I didn't think necessary to bring to see my wife. Get out of my way or I will have them move you aside by force and detain you until the police can arrive and arrest you for harassment. Do not. Make me say it. Again." He said, practically snarling each of his words at the end.
The woman reluctantly obeyed and turned to the camera. "There you have it folks."
Unseen by camera or reporter was the smirk on Munoz Sander's face as he crossed the street, or his fingers toying with a jewel around his neck. He entered the car as one of his guards opened the rear door for him and once it closed activated the built in phone. "Adrea." He said simply. The phone dialed and a woman's voice answered.
"Yes sir?" She asked.
"Have that woman fired, in public."
"Sir? We don't own the media company that..."
He cut her off. "The owner owes me a favor." He hung up and tapped his driver on the shoulder. "Take me home...I have a theory to test."
Moon Bird Studios is the film studio recently opened by Luna Hawk, aka Kendra Saunders Hol. Kendra got her start in the film industry by releasing her own sex tape as a means to discredit someone but took to the industry. She was soon on numerous posters (adult and otherwise), in various videos and on many pay per view websites. She continued this trend for sometime before she built a film studio in what is now Grimm City. The studio focused on the development of adult films both for internet and dvd release while each of the actresses that join the studio were protected from bad ex boyfriends, leech like family members and other predators of Grimm City. Rather than keep the girls down, her studio lifted them up, provided education, room and board for free.
Eventually Luna Hawk moved her film studio to LA, where she expanded its operations and eventually founded Moon Bird Studious, a combination of her adult film studio and a new, mainstream studio intent on bringing more traditional films to less traditional media. Using her gold reserves Luna Hawk has purchased a state of the art studio in Hollywood along with all the latest equipment and staff necessary to film a modern major production. She has also purchased a series of Theaters across the country and re-branded them Luna Theaters. Each theater has seventeen screens and exists in every major city across the country.
Moon Bird Studios releases non-traditional format films. They have a deal with every major online streaming service and each of their films is released in theater as well as in the new internet formats that have become so successful for television shows in recent years. She has plans to further expand the business into non-traditional formats in the near future and believes that eventually theaters will either have to evolve or will become a relic of the past, making her investment in theaters a temporary means of providing greater public access to her films.
Luna Hawk prefers movies that combine practical effects with top notch CGI rather than those that rely on over the top CGI. As a result she hires producers and directors who feel the same and her studios are filled with all the necessary equipment to make realistic sets and practical effects. Moon Bird Studios hires expert practical effects personnel who are eager to put their skills to use, directing young men and women hired from the art departments of local universities.
Moon Bird Studios continues Luna Hawk's tradition of taking care of and promoting young women (and men) by providing them with jobs that garner valuable hands on experience for a fair wage. Those in particularly bad economic straights will often find they can do extra work for the studio in exchange for suddenly finding their student loans paid off.
Security at the studio is visible. There are armed men and women who patrol the premises, armed with the latest in anti-meta technology. There are also those who work inside of the facilities hired for their particular meta human abilities to provide defense not just for the studio grounds but also for the individual men and women working for the studio.
Moon Bird Studios goes out of its way to hire actors and actresses that actually fit their roles. This means the studio ensures that there are no 'white washing' controversies while at the same time does not 're-imagine' classic characters for the sake of appealing to the social justice warriors of the world. There are also no 'mysteriously skinny and impossible' action heroines. If a character is expected to do physical work and be physically capable of beating up bad guys, the actress (or actor) will be expected to undergo significant physical training as well as combat training to better play the role. This also helps to avoid 'that guy never shot a gun in his life' situations where actors and actresses firing weapons in a film have clearly had at leas some experience at the range.
Pushing the Boundaries:
Although the adult film portion of the studio is its own division, the main stream films still frequently push the limits of their ratings as much as they push the limits of special effects and original story writing. Luna Hawk likes to hire directors who will push the boundaries of story telling, try new things and not worry about how many F-bombs are allowed in an R rated movie and so on. This is not to say that every film they produce pushes the boundaries, only that some of them do and it is a risk the studio is willing to take.
Visit if you like, no major destruction, usual rules apply etc etc.
I will be adding to this as I come up with stuff and will hopefully create blogs related to specific movies released by the studio.
Luna Hawk looked out over the chanting crowd. She'd just finished a concession phone call and had made her way from the apartment she lived in to the election tracking party that was so typical of major candidates. The AP had already announced she was projected to lose and her fans were variations of distraught and angry. She let them shout and chant and call for a recount for awhile before she held up one gloved hand, bringing the group to silence fairly swiftly.
"The election is over. We lost and it sucks." She said, being honest. "My opponent ran a campaign based on fear, fear of the future, fear for the present, fear and of meta-humans gone out of control. He's a racist and a coward and it will soon be clear to everyone." Like everything else in life, Luna Hawk spoke what she felt, she was more diplomatic than Solar Hawk by far, but she wasn't going to pretend her opponent was something he wasn't just because most concession speeches did that. Her phone call had more or less been 'you won' *click*
"So what do we do now?" She asked. "We realize that enough of America was convinced by that message to elect the man. We already knew though that many Americans live in fear and instead of take the path of healing, they have taken the path that they feel leads to security. I understand that, it's happened repeatedly throughout history. So now the rest of us wait, we wait until our fellow voters need support and we provide it. We wait until meta-humans need support and we provide it. We wait until the police state tendencies of Brutus become obvious and we speak out against them. We protest, we fight for equality through the legal system and finally, we do what is legal to oppose what may not be."
Luna Hawk lifted her helmet from her head and looked directly into the cameras.
"And if soft tyranny becomes hard tyranny, we will be waiting. If Meta Humans find themselves persecuted beyond all legal means we will be waiting...and if The Republic itself is threatened by a man out for his own gains? We will be waiting. Fight democratically, fight legally and push back in the greatest traditions of America...but don't stop fighting." She put her helmet back on, its eye lenses still locked on the camera. "If Brutus breaks the law. We'll be waiting."
The race had begun, ballots were being cast and the talking heads had their maps setup. Information scrolled freely across the bottom of America's screens as Drew Rosenhause kicked off the round table discussion and tracking for the night.
"Karren, where do you see the states falling in for the different candidates? The days of the old red and blue state map seem to be largely at an end. Most of the two party system is focused on Congress this year."
Karren, a middle aged woman who'd spent her life in politics smiled and motioned to the map. "Well, I've been discussing this with fellow political strategists and we're all pretty much in agreement that the West Coast is likely to go for Luna Hawk, her controversial history doesn't play well with religious voters but the more liberal West Coast doesn't factor such matters too strongly into their considerations. She has some conservative views that may turn off the liberal voter, but many of her domestic policies lean more left, at least more left than the other candidates so far. She'll likely also win New England for the same reasons, which means she needs to get Virginia, Florida, the Carolinas and Pennsylvania to really anchor the East Coast, some of those, particularly Virginia and North Carolina, could be difficult, though she polls well in the major cities. Her problem then is going to be the traditional south and the swing states. If she can't secure the South, I just don't see a path to victory."
Drew nodded and motioned to her fellow strategist, Daniel Vanderson. The elder man adjusted his round glasses. "To me, the midwest and large portions of the south are really the swing states in this election. Assuming Luna Hawk secures the coasts, it's the middle of the country and the south that will define the outcome. Where we differ is that I actually think Alfred Hamilton, who has consistently polled low, could actually decide the election for the other three candidates. If his stronger conservative views pull in say...Texas or Virginia, it could take away electoral votes from the two candidates who need them the most and sway the election in one direction or the other. The same goes for this Severrus fellow. If he can also grab a state or two, both of these men could change the outcome of the election."
"Interesting, interesting. We have an update on the close race in Texas. The AP is now projecting Texas as a win for Luna Hawk. It seems California and Washington are also in for Luna Hawk...Virginia...remains too close to call. Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia have all gone for Brutus."
"This just in everyone...the AP is now projecting a Brutus victory in Florida. Florida as you may recall is one of those states we discussed as potentially critical for Luna Hawk to secure a victory. Without Florida she now needs to gain victory in the ever tightening polls in Virginia and Pennsylvania. If she doesn't secure one of those two states, Brutus may take the 270 votes needed to win the White House."
As the talking heads discussed the numbers coming in county by county, portions of each candidate's speeches were played in the background. Eventually Rosenhause broke in again.
"Another state has been called. New York has gone to Brutus, giving him a strong electoral lead going into the later evening. Luna Hawk's path to victory seems narrow."
"I agree." Karren said with a nod. "But that has always been the case. We knew people in this country wanted a strong and secure state, but that doesn't mean other issues won't fall by the wayside. Frankly, I think Luna Hawk's past is just a little too hard to swallow for many more socially conservative Americans."
Rosenhause glanced at her and bit his lip to prevent a smirk at her word choice.
"I think one of the things that really has cemented this lead for him is that Brutus was the first security Candidate to come out with full on projects, already prepared to be considered by Congress. Luna Hawk's stance on France was a refreshing 'no more foreign wars' sort of approach but Brutus has what you might call 'rivet ready' military projects that will, at least to the voter, immediately strengthen our security." Vanderson said.
"I apologize for the interruption..." Rosenhause said as he interjected into the conversation. "We can now declare Illinois has gone for Luna Hawk, along with Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. Brutus however has claimed Hawaii, New Orleans, Kentucky and West Virginia. Virginia, a state we have been watching as a potential swing state all evening, remains too close to call. Brutus still holds a projected lead in the Electoral voting if the map falls the way pundits have been predicting for the last few days. I wonder if it will be impossible for Luna Hawk to secure the more conservative southern states?"
Luna Hawk removed her helmet as reporters swarmed her at the local mall, intending to the candidate's response to her new opponent's latest speech.
"Makes a lot of speeches doesn't he?" She asked with a smirk. "Sounds good too right? Law, order, authority...I'm all for law and order, under the Constitution and following its structure...but this guy? We've all heard this before haven't we? Look carefully at his words and you'll see what I mean. He mentioned possibly stopping the act in France for example. Well listen, we're a country right? France is also a country. If we start meddling in French affairs, and make no mistake, the action in France started out as a strictly French affair, then we're in no better position now than we were four years ago. The United States should stand ready to help France, it should stand to offer aide and if needed military support, but France is not American territory...it's not our job to go and bust up protests for the existing government...which I'm beginning to think this guy supports."
She paused and took a drink from the slushy she had been carrying.
"So where do you draw the line right? Do you just...jump in everywhere there is a crime? Send in a wave of armored powered individuals loyal to a government to another country to handle something? There are certainly times to do that, times like when it threatens to wipe out a nation, or destabilize a region. That's why we have STRIKE, that's why we have agencies that operate outside of government control because, make no mistake, as soon as you have an agency like that operating under the control of the government, it's now a weapon, not a peace keeping organization. The man uses fear in everything he says and does. When will Reynard attack the White House? etc. Yes, obviously people are going to fear that to some extent, but come on, you can't promote fear of the future, you have to promote solutions for the future. Reynard is someone we can do something about, he's an American citizen and we can go after him here in America. Outside of the US we can send the CIA to track him and provide the information to the Meta Human Court or to STRIKE."
Luna Hawk shook her head.
"I leave it to America to do a gut check on this Areas Law Center thing...It sounds unreal, it sounds...disturbing. Can I put my finger on it and say this guy is doing something he shouldn't be? No...but I can tell you this...when is the last time you heard of a super villain turning over a new leaf? When is the last time you heard of that happening after they went to some...secret camp? It feels like brainwashing and it feels more than a little creepy. Security is important but so is freedom. When is the last time you heard him talk about Freedom? He sounds more like the candidate that supports a police state."
Appearing at a political rally in North Carolina Luna Hawk had another large crowd. She had been giving a speech about the campaign, her opponent and the general state of things when she determined to turn the subject to something she had only briefly touched upon before. She waited for a moment for the noisy crowd to grow a bit quieter and then shifted the subject. "I want to talk to you about something important to all of us...and to the world we live in. France, long a bastion of western democracy and republican ideals, has fallen to a tyrant. We don't know much about the man who's seized control of France...but we can point to some of his actions since taking office. First, he's destroyed one of the healthiest republics in the world and most disturbingly of all, he has done nothing to stem the sudden tide of meta-human harassment and murder within his own borders. If France is still a nation of laws, then it is quietly ignoring certain laws, laws involving human life and decency."
Luna Hawk shook her head. "The last man to do this did it with the Jews...and the common saying was that they aren't coming for me, so I won't act. Well...they aren't coming for us, but it is our duty as the leaders of the free world to act, because when good nations fail to act, evil spreads and when evil spreads...we are confronted with cataclysmic war. If I am elected President, I will immediately cut off diplomatic relations with France. I will take the issue directly to the United Nations where I will propose international actions, starting with sanctions that target the highest levels of government. We will lock out the finances of their leadership, we will close off France from receiving international financial aide and we will cut it from the heart of the European Union."
She allowed he words to sink in before she continued. "We will seek these measures because they are just, because they will bring France's government to its knees and it will either adjust its thinking or be remade by the people of France herself. Make no mistake, it will mean hard times for the people of France, but when the sanctions are lifted, when the government is changed, we will stand here with open arms and offer all the aide they need to rebuild their lives and their nation, because once upon a time France did the same for us. If there is a rebellion, we will arm it, because once upon a time, France did the same thing for us. We must meet the government of France with harsh reality until they stop these crimes against humanity. What begins as accepted violence all too frequently escalates into state funded mass murder. We must act now...or we will face another Holocaust and at the end...we will once again ask ourselves...why did we wait so long to act?"
She once more paused, after a moment, she resumed with a look of grim resolve.
"We will not go to war." Luna Hawk said firmly. "Not unless France attacks us or an ally first...but if war comes, we will be ready. If I am elected President, we will no longer be a country of regime change through military force. I will seek every non-military means to allow the people of France to over turn their own dictator and rebuild their own republic...but I...we...will stand with them when they need us, we will help them when they need aide...but we will not invade, we will not show traditional arrogance in telling them how to rebuild."
She took a breath, looked out over the crowd and resumed. "It has come time to tell ourselves and the world, to be leaders in fact on this very issue...that it is no longer acceptable to treat meta-humans as something other, as something to be feared and reviled...because if we don't, if we don't stand up and say we will be united and strong...we will be divided and weak...and we will perish for the mistake." Luna Hawk said, jabbing at the podium with each firm statement. "The relationship between humans and meta-humans is the defining relationship of our time. If we lead, we can help all people, not just in America but everywhere else...if we do not lead...who will? France? Venezeula?" She shook her head. "It's time to stop leading from behind."
Luna Hawk descended from the sky to land at the podium that had been placed there for the rally. She landed neatly behind it and folded her wings, waving to the cheering crowd that had gathered and smiling a bit. As ever, she made no changes to her wardrobe, a statement of who she was as much of anything. She was Luna Hawk, Kendra Saunders Hol and she didn't change just because it was tradition to wear suits (or the dreaded pant suit) as a politician. It was the same reason she arrived by flying in rather than walking out of a super expensive car.
"I want to talk to you, to America, about the underlying tension that has had this country on edge for the better part of a decade. We have been constantly harassed by the question of meta human vs human or in the more offense vernacular, mutant vs human. This conflict has informed our politics, it has informed our wars...and it has informed our own internal conflict. We have elected meta-human Presidents so I know things are getting better, but we aren't there yet, we aren't simply calling each other Americans yet. So it's time, it's time to heal the wounds, it's time to come together and together rebuild our damaged country."
She began pacing the platform, gesturing and speaking to the crowd as if speaking to her peers. "To do this, to heal these wounds we must begin a program designed to bring people together, to educate one another so there is no longer an unknown to fear. People like Maverick have long told us that non-humans, meta-humans or mutants if you prefer, are dangerous because a normal human can't blow up a city on a whim. Well...neither can most mutants and the ones that can? They're no different from anyone else except for their powers and those powers...those powers are really no different from a weapon. In the hands of a good person, they are harmless, in the hands of a bad person, they can be devastating. It's easy to forget that a human can actually blow up a city. A person can use nuclear weapons, dirty bombs and so on and in America there are also tens of millions of citizens, 'ordinary' humans, who own guns. If we're going to equate powers and abilities to dangerous weapons, then we must realize the obvious truth...a vast majority of meta-humans do not use their abilities to cause harm just as a vast majority of gun owners don't use their guns to cause harm."
Luna Hawk paused to let her words sink in and smiled to the crowd. "I propose a program that brings meta-humans and humans together to work on rebuilding our damaged or destroyed cities and planning a future together. This program will seek to hire equal numbers of meta-humans and humans for various projects across the country and more importantly, it will offer incentives to corporations that begin to treat their meta-humans and human employees as people, rather than labels. Companies that promote equally, that hire equally and that promote an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation within their ranks will receive tax incentives and so too will Universities that seek a diverse student body."
Luna Hawk smiled a moment, allowed the applause that followed and then continued.
"Finally...for every carrot...there is a stick. We must prosecute companies that violate the equal rights protections guaranteed all citizens. The Fourteenth Amendment applies to all citizens, there is no need for a special provision about meta-humans...it's time we apply that law appropriately...it's also time we stop associating with countries that actively oppress their populations based on their genetic code. This includes, unfortunately, nations such as France. The international community must begin to treat these countries as the human rights violators they are and I will lead an effort through the United States and its role in the UN to begin treating these countries in exactly this manner. We isolate nations for systemic human rights violations already, it's time to stop pretending that because meta-human has a word in front of human, that somehow the explicit and systemic oppression of this population group is anything less than a crime against the entire species. Only by treating one another as equals, as people and not as labels, can we move past human vs meta-human. Once we do that, the extremism that plagues some factions of the meta-human community will begin to decline. Take away the popular excuses for extremism and it will begin to flounder. That is true also on the other side of the conflict...which is why I propose declaring the Humans First Foundation an extremist organization, just as I will declare well known but previously ignored 'mutant' extremist groups as precisely what they are, terrorist organizations. This will mean locking down their finances, blocking their communications and treating extremists, on both sides, as the enemies to civilization that they are. This world cannot continue to exist half-human and half-mutant...we must either unite, or one will destroy the other." She intentionally intoned and paraphrased the words of Abraham Lincoln. For Luna Hawk a peaceful future meant uniting people, not dividing them.
Despite common belief on Earth, Humans (though native to Earth) are not restricted to it. Over the centuries many humans have been abducted from earth. Initially they were taken to a small cluster of worlds on the western fringe of the Milky Way and placed into arenas to fight. What the aliens local to this world cluster underestimated was the Human ability to quickly populate an area and further, they underestimated the very reason they had seized Humans, their ability to adapt and overcome. Some centuries passed but eventually the human captives began to organize and with organization came a greater understanding of just how many of their fellow Humans were in the Avanel World Cluster. By Earth year 1860 the humans of the Avanel World Cluster had over thrown and exterminated their former slave masters.
Armed with ideas from a culture they had just destroyed and ideas from Earth the Humans set up their own governing body, called the Star Council. The Star Council immediately set about creating a military force capable of defending the newly conquered Avanel World Cluster. The Avanel Humans had all been trained in one manner of fighting or another but the Star Council wanted more, they wanted a military force that lived, breathed and died for the defense of the Avanel World Cluster. Armed with their alien knowledge and stolen technology they created a first rate genetics program and at the same time created a scientific branch and technical branch slaved to the military. These three branches worked together to create the first of a new line of war machines called Battlemechs or just Mechs for short.
Since the early days of what became the Human World Cluster the Battlemechs and their genetically engineered pilots have been at the forefront of battle, leading the way in defensive campaigns and offensive engagements alike. The Humans of the Avanel World Cluster are not peaceful, they are xenophobic to an extreme. Their trade with other races is limited to a few races they have come to trust over the years but most aliens are treated with hostility and mistrust, if not outright conflict. The forces of the Human World Cluster frequently raid or invade alien space and have though they typically keep their fighting localized to military zones and away from civilian populations, even alien ones.
The Human Worlds Cluster is ruled over by the Star Council. The Star Council is voted upon by the leading generals of the World Cluster military and consists of members of said military. The council is comprised of 35 members, one for each of the military districts the cluster is divided into. The Star Council is overseen by The Observer, who speaks only when order needs to be restored, when a tie vote needs to be broken or when mediation is necessary. The Observer also keeps record and wears an animal mask associated with whichever of The Clans he or she was elected from. Observers are elected by The Star Council every four years. Although the position has no political power it is seen as a voice of wisdom and experience and is a position of great prestige.
Though only elected by the military the Star Council has total control over the World Cluster and because of its military bent, sometimes ignores other aspects of life. Although infrastructure is kept at top notch level, social welfare is almost non-existent and a vast majority of economic resources goes to the military. The genetically engineered members of the military do not get paid, their needs are provided for them.
The military is divided into 35 Districts, each controlling 40 star systems (roughly). Each district is governed by its elected member of the Star Council and defended by a combined military force with a heavy emphasis on Battlemechs. Each of these District Defense Forces (DDF) is actively competitive with other DDFs and is represented by a totem animal. It is not completely unknown for DDF forces to engage one another in open warfare over some slight on their honor (perceived or otherwise). These conflicts are generally allowed to play out to settle the issue. If they grow out of control the Star Council steps in and uses the threat of force from all of the other Districts to settle the matter.
The follow is a list of the most prestigious and powerful DDF forces:
Clan Storm Falcon -
Military strength: Extensive.
Military tendency: Mech forces.
Culture: Clan Storm Falcon members tend towards slightly controlled anger, they are quick to act and often respond to an attack with overwhelming force. Individually members of Clan Storm Falcon, though quick to anger, stick to a strict code of honor and often resolve issues between fellow members of the clan with honor duels that are not resolved to the death. Their mech pilots prefer offensive strategy to defense.
Clan Shadow Wolf:
Military Strength: Extensive.
Military tendency: Balanced
Culture: Slow to anger and sometimes slow to act, Clan Shadow Wolf is a direct rival to Clan Storm Falcon who they view as belligerent and too swift to act without thinking through their actions. Never ones to be concerned with honor Clan Shadow Wolf often resorts to ambushes and sneak attack style raids. The members of Clan Shadow Wolf focus heavily on defensive tactics.
Clan Infernal Horse:
Military Strength: Strong
Military Tendency: Tanks
Culture: Tasked with defending a District on the frontier Clan Infernal Horse is constantly assaulted by various alien pirate groups and raiding forces and is frequently thrust into offensive campaigns set to destroy their bases of operation. The Infernal Horses lack the economic resources to build a strong mech force and must rely instead on more readily constructed and easily maintained tanks. As a result they have come to see the tank as still a militarily vital unit in a military dominated by people who view mechs as the only mainstay to warfare. Members of Clan Infernal Horse view the other Clans as coddled and have little time for those not willing to join a fight.
Clan Vapor Jaguar:
Military Strength: Average
Military Tendency: Light and Medium sized mechs.
Among the oldest of the Clans, Vapor Jaguar has long held a tradition of hit and run tactics. Refusing to be pinned down, the forces of Vapor Jaguar often take on armies much larger than their own. They divide into trained raiding forces and run hit and run operations that confuse and frustrate their enemies to no end. Vapor Jaguar pilots view heavier mechs as virtually useless and are themselves often mercurial and tend to avoid large gatherings.
Human World Cluster technology is...mixed. Much of their original science and technology was stolen and some of it so far in advance of what they actually understand that their current systems are far less efficient than those they started out with. The greatest sign of this is the mechs themselves. When the Cold Fusion production facilities were destroyed in early in fighting they had to resort to Hot Fusion reactors. Instead of cool, easy functioning battlemechs the mechs fielded by DDF forces run hot, forcing their pilots to wear outdated cooling equipment and as little as possible while inside of a mech. Internal cockpit temperatures routinely go well above 100 degrees
On the other hand computer and medical technology are often years ahead of their counterparts. Mechs are controlled by joysticks and neurohelmets that allow the human pilot's own sense of balance to balance the mech, dramatically reducing the number of mechanical controls necessary to pilot the machine. When a pilot loses a limb they are replaced with artificial limbs as useful and effective as the original, some pilots (those willing to try new things) have begun to have control technology built into these replacements that allow them to control their mech (in conjunction with electronic implants in their brain) while outside of the cockpit. The balance system isn't perfect in the implants however and while in the cockpit a neurohelmet is still the preferred method of control.
All mech pilots are equipped with a codex, a computer chip placed inside of a small wrist band built from mech armor. The codex is a computer chip that can be read by virtually any device. This chip displays their genetic lineage (pilots are created from genetic stock chosen from the most legendary pilots), their military accomplishments and their age, name and rank. These are designed to survive even the destruction of the body so that they can be retrieved upon death and if the pilot has a qualifying record, their genetic material will be used for future generations. In this way, genetic stock improves with every generation. Pilots are considered "old" by age 30 and often retired to rear-ward deployments. The honorable thing for a pilot to do is die in battle before their 'advanced age' is ever an issue.
Mechs are divided by weight into different classes. Each is equipped with modular weapon systems that allow their pilots to swap weapon components and other systems for mission appropriate load outs. Unlike the traditional 'anime' style mechs often fielded by alien races or seen in human science fiction on Earth, these mechs are highly mechanical, brute force machines designed to unleash a maximum amount of firepower and survive withering fire in return. Though the scout level mechs are often fast and agile, they are not hyper maneuverable. Pilots must often balance output of fire power with internal heat temperatures. Excessive heat can slow a mech down, reduce its overall functions or even cause ammunition to explode. Extreme heat will result in the mech temporarily shutting down (though this can be overridden) and can kill or injure the pilot through heat exhaustion.
Luna Hawk shifted a little, watching Solar Hawk take care of her child. She sighed softly and stood up from the edge of a bed that had been missing one of its occupants for more than two months now. "Sha..." She started.
"No." Solar Hawk said firmly. "Stop." She added, putting the baby gently back in its crib. "Just stop."
"He hasn't contacted you in months. He hasn't contacted me...no one we know has seen him...the President hasn't even seen him. I think it's time to accept that something has happened." Luna Hawk said. They had had this conversation every day for weeks and Luna Hawk assumed it was going to go as it usually did...Solar Hawk would start ignoring her and she'd leave to go do something useful in Gothic.
Instead, Shaeyra turned around to face her, putting her hands on the crib rail behind her.
"I..." Luna Hawk trailed off, she knew that pain, knew it all too well. "You have to keep faith that he's alive. You have to trust his abilities and determination to come back home...but you can't pretend he's not missing."
Shaeyra knew Luna Hawk too well to buy any of that. She glanced back at the baby and then back to Luna Hawk. "He'll never know his dad..." She turned her back on Luna Hawk, looking in on the child. "How wonderful he is, how intelligent and caring...how he saved you from your own depression. He'll never get to meet him and Alexander will never know his son...boys need fathers." She said softly. Her hands tightened on the rail, the wood splintering a little beneath her grip. "What the hell am I going to do?!"
Luna Hawk stood and strode across the room where she placed a hand over one of Shaeyera's own. "You're going to do what we've always done. You're going to move forward come hell or high water, you're going to raise that child with my help and you're going to hope Alexander is alive and returns to you. I'll put out some feelers about trying to track him down...but you know how it is when he goes on these deep projects."
"Kendra..." Shaeyra said softly and looked over to her younger double. "Is it going to be ok?"