7 Suns

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7 Suns
 Creator(s) Ardias
 System(s) GURPS
 Genre(s) Sci-Fi

Setting

7 Suns is a background setting created by Ardias that was intended to be as hard sci-fi as possible, but allow travel at FTL speeds. Why? Because as fun as trans-human space is, there are times when entire planets have to be at stake, or an interstellar war has to threaten entire space going nations. This setting is based more than 350 years in the future, after humans have discovered the ability to warp space to achieve what amounts to faster than light travel.

The name '7 Suns' came from the seven major empires in human space and their seven home systems. These are the Republic of Sol, the Federation of Aligned Worlds, the Caliphate of the True Sun, the Medici Dynasty, the Cyberocracy, the 30 Kingdoms and the Corsairs. 7 Suns is set during the Interstellar War, a massive conflict between the Republic of Sol and the Federation of Aligned worlds. Most other nations are staying nominally neutral during this conflict, but trade blockades, corsair raids and secret operations are not at all uncommon.

The Seven Suns

The Republic of Sol

An old empire born during the initial colonization of the galaxy. Based on Earth, the republic is highly conservative and filled with ancient cultures. AIs and bio-androids are treated as second class citizens, and there are strong regulations in place to keep the number of sentients low. Most are used for repetitive, boring tasks that would strain humans, while sentient AIs are normally limited to ship computers and station brains; many planets also have wide ranging AIs available to their citizens. Most people in the republic can trace their family lineage to one of the original colony ships from Earth, and as such many planets have ingrained cultures left over from the original settlers.

In the run up to the war, the Republic felt that the Aligned Worlds were keeping large amounts of resources from their trade ports, running up prices on basic minerals and alloys that were vital to Sol's production yards and factories. Much of this animosity grew from the construction of Sol's (The star) Dyson Sphere, and the incredible amount of raw resources that were required. Combined with the constant need for consumer and luxury goods, as well as the Sol Navy's modernization efforts, the market quickly grew swamped with orders that were difficult to fill. This wasn't to say that the resources weren't available at all, they were, but with many mineral rich planetoids residing just on the Federation's side of the border, there were many calls for political pressure to open up more mining and refining operations.

Ships of the Republic Navy

The Federation of Aligned Worlds

The federation is based in the Chrysanthemum worlds, a star system several hundred light-years from Earth. Very much a loose representative federation, each system is considered to be its own ‘state’, and many discussions can break into serious arguments on the floor of their senate. Because of this, it is very rare that a majority can come together to agree that a war is necessary. In the Aligned Worlds, AIs are also treated as and considered full citizens, and a large portion of the senate is composed of computer intelligences from member worlds. The Federation's combat doctrine also places high premium on automation, meaning that their ships have far fewer crew members than Republic vessels of comparable size.

On the Federation side before the war, the debates were almost as fierce and heated as the Sol Republic's appeared to be. Many member states near the border believed that the planets should be kept as pristine as possible under the argument that the removal of mass from such a large swath of territory would destroy the orbital mechanics of those systems. Further opposition rose from trading corporations and mining conglomerates, who were making record profits off of their products, and were perfectly happy to merely increase a bit of efficiency in current operations rather than spends billions or trillions of credits opening up new operations. Even so, trade agreements between the two superpowers seemed to be nearing a compromise where the Sol Republic would help pay for part of the start up costs for new mining operations. What sent the talks spiraling out of control though is still debated, most agree that it was at least in part due to the naval modernization program the Republic was funding which had several major systems in the Aligned Worlds skittish to begin with. Whether though it was back-room politics funded by corporations unhappy with the agreement or international espionage or even just a misplaced threat from Sol's table will never be known. What is known though is that two months after negotiations ceased, a Federation war fleet was bearing down on the Sol Republic and one of the largest conflicts in recent history had started.

Ships of the A.W.N.

Caliphate of The True Sun

A constitutional monarchy (in the historical sense, most citizens wouldn’t describe it as such), the Caliphate is centered around a main-phase yellow star on the driftward edge of human space. They too consider computer intelligences second class citizens, but they are not nearly as stringent on their enslavement and regulation as Sol. Considered by most citizens of the galaxy now as the center for art and science, the Caliphate has a relatively small military and fleet for its influence in galactic politics. This is made possible because of its nominally neutral status and its trade agreements with the majority of agreeable governments. One oddity in the Caliphate though is its experienced mercenaries. Not nearly as powerful as a nations military, the Caliphate mercenaries are the agents of choice for many governments and corporations when something (or someone) needs to be taken out quickly, quietly and without fuss.

The Medici Dynasty

A small monarchy of 20 systems, the Medici dynasty considers themselves to be the rebirth of the ancient banking family. They are another nominally neutral state and, true to their name, are considered the foremost bankers and information specialists in human space. A number of their planets also specialize in the production of highly prized luxury goods. The Medici’s political clout and monetary power are the only things keeping this small nation alive in a dangerous galaxy.

The Corsair Threat

Although not considered a true ‘nation’, the Corsairs (or pirates as some prefer to be called) are a ubiquitous threat on the fringes of empires and in the lawless portions of explored space. A danger mostly to unprotected shipping far from popular tradelanes or passenger liners skirting beautiful but dangerous areas, corsair vessels are often hunted by naval patrols on training runs or to protect supply lines for major offensives.

The Cyberocracy

More an idea than an actual nation, the Cyberocracy is a series of stations built and paid for by wealth AIs. Typically hung in remote areas of space or orbiting dead stars, the Cyberocracy is a uniquely computer intelligence state. Their stations are typically nothing more than a large powerplant with large banks of computers, with perhaps a docking port and storage ring to resupply passing ships. The majority of its citizens are defectors of Sol or nascent intelligences displaced from their original homes. Mostly peaceful (it has no official military arm), it has garnered a bad reputation for providing a home to some of the worst AI hackers in the galaxy.

The 30 Kingdoms

Once the Galaxy's fourth superpower, the 30 Kingdoms collapsed after the Universal War. On the loosing side, they couldn't afford reparation payments or the strict laws and military presence that the victorious nations imposed on them. Fragmenting along mostly ethnic and economic ties, the Kingdoms slowly devolved into a mix of Monarchies and Dictatorships (the difference noted mostly based on how totalitarian the monarch became) and a twisted web of backstabbing, trade deals and embargoes. In the last few decades, the Kingdoms have mostly sorted out their problems, becoming a partially unified group of somewhat like minded states. Their military forces are still largely used for peacekeeping and border feuds, but the planets themselves range from hubs of commerce to barely civilized backwaters.

The Galaxy at Large

Human Controlled Space

Humans have made it a long way from the cradle of Earth. Expanding most of the way up and down the Orion arm, settlers have made their homes on everything from planetoid like asteroids to the moons of Saturn class gas giants. Trade lanes crisscross space between almost every colonized system, and artificial stations form the base for everything from outcast societies and cults to corporate mining and research. There is still a large portion of the galaxy that hasn't been explored or even mapped and the 'far side' as its called, remains hidden behind the massive core of our galaxy.

Aliens

Life has been found everywhere. It seems like anywhere theres oxygen, water and a source of energy there's something that takes advantage of it. Even this statement isn't entirely accurate though, and everything from microbes to simple flora have been found in exceedingly harsh environments. What hasn't been found though is signs of other intelligent life. No ancient structures, no progenitor race of space fairing people, nothing. This hasn't stopped people from hoping though, as there are several other major arms of our galaxy that have yet to be explored, and the far side could hold anything imaginable.

FTL

Using the power of gravity manipulation and 'surfing', Humanity has conquered the stars. FTL drives are by now a rugged technology, and most can be run by simple, non-sapient AIs. The fastest though are controlled by Projectors, human/machine hybrids trained to feel their way along a gravity wave. Because of their nature though, and the requirement that they be modified from birth to fill their role, Projectors are heavily controlled, to be sure that only governments are the ones that can create and train these individuals.

Qubit (Q-bit) communication

The discovery of qubits in the 20th century led to a revolution in how quantum mechanics was viewed. Qubits, essentially two or more photons entangled at the quantum level, are identified by the particle's 'spin'. The spin is simply a description of how the particle is oriented and the energy state it is currently in. When a particle is entangled with another however, the spin of both particles is identical, and remains that way no matter how far apart the two are. Even when one of the particles is changed, the other changes states exactly the same way. This has led to the term 'spooky action at a distance' and is the basis for modern FTL communication relays.

By creating large amounts of entangled particles, one group can be kept on a station or planet, while the other is loaded onto a starship and sent to where it is needed, allowing the two groups to instantly communicate anywhere in the galaxy at a moments notice. The only problem with this setup is that the process is destructive, and once a qubit has been 'read', entanglement is lost. This means that large chains of trading stations and comm relays have been set up to efficiently distribute new qubits as needed. A person on one end of the galaxy may not have a communicator with entanglement for a communicator at the other end, but by relaying the message through several different stations, the two can talk with minimal lag. This process though can be expensive, so nearly all long range communication (and even the majority of short range messages) are delivered as letters to keep the bandwidth needed to a minimum.

Major Systems

Sol

The center of the Sol Republic, Sol has the largest population of any star system in Human Space. Home to more than 130 billion people, the majority of the population is centered around Earth and its orbitals. The Republic's Senate is located on The Moon (Luna), where the low gravity and easy access to space allow for a very high standard of living. Twelve Skyhooks currently orbit Earth, all of which have an orbital elevator to the ground. The massive size of the stations has led to talks of connecting them together in a single ring, but the eccentricities of their orbits and inclinations has meant that the scope would be enormous. Around the outer planets, major populations live on most of the major moon bodies, while He-3 mining around Saturn has led to the exploitation of Titan. The largest change inside the system though has been around Sol itself. Momentarily halted because of the war, the Sol Dyson Sphere has nevertheless become one of the most talked about engineering feats in history. An open cage design, the final structure is designed to have enough living space to practically double the population of the system and keep it fed at the same time. A massive number of corporations are working together to complete construction, and many of the habitats have already been rented out to prospective buyers.

Chrysanthemum Worlds

Center of the Aligned Worlds, the Chrysanthemum Worlds have been touted as the most beautiful location in the galaxy. Home to two Earth-like planets, one is deep enough in the star's orbit to be a tropical paradise, covered in rain forests and grassland. The other is a little further out, and almost entirely covered by water. Both are considered wildlife preserves and nature parks, so the small amount of developed land is given almost entirely to resorts and travel destinations. Because of this, the Federation's capital is one of the orbitals around the water world, and the system's 60 billion inhabitants live exclusively in space.

Alpha Mensae

Almost fifty light years from the pre-war border, Alpha Mensae was one of the most developed systems in Republic space. The center of commerce for the local sector, it also was home to the Northrop Vellus Shipyards, one of the few facilities in Sol space capable of building Mountain class Battleships. Additionally, the system is home to five billion inhabitants, mostly centered on the single habitable planet along with the skyhooks and orbitals around it. About a hundred thousand actually worked in the shipyards which are located around the system's third planet; a mostly rocky body with large deposits of ores and minerals used in construction. Alpha Mensae was one of the initial targets for the Federation's first wave of attacks, and after two weeks of heavy fighting along the war front, the system finally fell to the Aligned World's Eighth Fleet.


Major Battles

Battle of Mu Arae

Mu Arae was the last star system that was taken during the opening stages of the war. 50 lights from Earth, Mu Arae has an amazing 12 planets in its orbit and has almost the same stellar mass and luminosity as Sol. Most of the colonization efforts in the system have been focused on the three rocky bodies located near the star’s habitable zone, one of which that is actually capable of sustaining life. Eight medium sized stations are hung in the inner system and another five larger ones are located in the systems four gas giant systems. As a system, it was targeted for its extensive harbors and trade facilities, as well as its crossroads like status as the center of the local sector. This battle was notable not only for being the last major strike in the initial offensive, but also because of the final stand by Sol’s First Fleet. Having been cut down to a single battleship and two battle cruisers, as well as two dozen cruisers during the constant fighting and retreating they’d been engaged in up to that point, the fleet’s admiral decided to hold his ground in what he viewed as the final critical system in his engagement corridor.

Ambushing the incoming Federation fleet with a combination of a minefield and remote activated missiles, First fleet was able to cut down a large portion of the initial strike force. The admiral also made a brilliant guess as to the Federation’s next attack vector. Lying in wait with his remaining battleship and two squadrons of cruisers, he initiated a running gun battle between the two outer gas giants. A series of three of these ambush/retreats began to wear on the Federation ships leading to an incident around the inner gas giant. Somehow, a cruiser under repair at a civilian station was activated in its berth (so reports go anyways) and the disabled ship fired at two Federation cruisers patrolling the local orbit. In a miscommunication or sensor glitch, one of the cruisers believed that it was actually the station firing at the two, not just a docked and damaged ship. In a snap decision, the two captains turned their launchers on the station with two salvos seeded with nukes. The station didn’t stand a chance, and in a single mistake almost four million inhabitants were killed as large parts of the station decompressed.

Battle of Aldebaran:

An orange-red giant, Aldebaran’s diameter is nearly the size of Mercury’s orbit. As a system, its been used as a forward naval base for close to a century and a half, containing three inhabited stations as well as repair facilities, dry-docks and mass docking facilities for the frontier fleets. This system was one of the secondary objectives for the Federation fleets as they invaded Sol space for precisely these reasons. With a fleet of three battleships, nearly forty cruisers as well as a hundred and fifty support ships including frigates and corvettes, the Federation made continuous hit and run attacks against listening outposts and picket patrols before piercing the system from below the orbital plane. All but one of the star’s four planetary systems fell quickly, only the third planet (a Neptune class gas giant) held out due to its three orbital platforms protecting the naval docks there. For four days the two forces exchanged blows, the Republic stations downing one of the battleships and several smaller vessels, while the Aligned Worlds were able to disable one platform and heavily damage a second. On the fifth day, the last station finally surrendered, the local officers finally realizing that a victory was impossible.

Siege of Castor:

Another naval base near the border, Castor’s Star was essentially a star fort. Consisting of a single heavily armed and armored station, Castor was important because of the large arrays of listening stations and relativity sensors strung throughout its orbits, as well as the qubit routing facility onboard the station. Designed to withstand most major attacks, the Aligned Worlds took a novel approach, digging up tactics used in the Universal War. The Federation’s navy built two squadrons of what amounted to siege barges, heavy cruiser sized ships armed with large arrays of heavy missile launchers up and down their sides, as well as tenders filled to the brim with missiles to keep them stocked. Setting themselves up more than five light seconds away from the station, the Federation fleet began their bombardment, lobbing wave after wave of heavy bore missiles at the fortress. Similarly armed to the teeth, the station fended off the attacks for almost two days, before many of its close in turrets began running out of ammo.

At this point, the Federation began the second phase of its attack. At the beginning of the battle (almost a week before), two squadrons of frigates had been tasked with specifically destroying a certain swath of listening posts. The next day, heavily stealthed assault ships had launched from behind one of the planet’s moons, accelerating up to insertion speed before cutting all power and drifting around the planet towards an orbit with the fortress. In a preplanned gap of missile fire, the assault ships entered the local space of the Republic station and lit up, firing their engines at point blank range before slamming into it. Storming the station with an entire regiment of heavily armed and highly trained marines, the Federation quickly took the fortress from the defenders, capturing not just the station and the system, but also logs and cached messages sent over what had, until then, been a highly secure network.