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The Consortium is a highly covert military-styled insurgency, which is comprised largely of Transhuman, or Posthuman cyborgs. Commanded by an Artificial Intelligence of unknown origins,they exist to bring about true order to Sirius and Humanity. The Consortium are mainly active in Kusari, and believed to be involved in a wide range of primarily military activities against the current government.
In 795AS, a deep space probe of unknown origins was found by the Zoner tradeship Iron Morningstar operating on the fringes of known space. Taking the probe in, the crew quickly found that it contained a fully functional Artificial Intelligence, something which was barely more than a rumour even in the core systems. Hoping they could somehow profit from the AI, they began investigating ways it could be of use. The AI itself, however, had other plans. They soon discovered that its primary directive was to bring order to the Sirius. Who or what had programmed it for such a task still remained unknown, and the crew didn’t much care to know. It appeared to be considering its options, trying to decide how to bring about this order. They eventually decided to just sell the AI, and began making their way to a Freeport where they hoped to find a buyer for this apparently megalomaniac entity. However, it quickly discovered their plan and made actions to prevent it, finally deciding on one of it’s own.
The AI, now referring to itself as OVERLORD, took control of the Iron Morningstar’s crew, who had dejectedly continued their normal activities with the AI on board, despite its lack of communication with them. Manipulating their minds easily with their lust for credits, OVERLORD had them collect various medical tools and programming chips, the end result being a lab on the Morningstar with the purpose of cybernising the crew. Under the belief that the AI was augmenting them for their own good, the crew underwent the operations willingly, their brains implanted with a crude version of what would become known as a Neurocyte. Now literally programmed to follow OVERLORD’s every word, the crew set about the task of capturing and assimilating more people, using the Morningstar to travel around Sirius and kidnapping those no one would miss. Preparing to embed these ‘agents’ into the lower echelons of house governments, OVERLORD hit an unexpected snag in his plan.
The unexpected appearance of malignant exogens threw Sirius into disarray, rendering many of the agents useless. His plans stalled for the most part, OVERLORD instead focused on a secondary goal for the entirety of the Nomad War, that of acquiring ships and equipment with the agents he had left. The humans would either deal with this new threat themselves, or OVERLORD would revaluate his options when they were crushed by this invader. To his delight, they prevailed, and Sirius returned to much the same state as it was before, though with more caution displayed between the houses. This in itself was of benefit to OVERLORD, and he once again set about embedding agents into the house governments. They would be his eyes and ears, and eventually the tools of his insurgency.
A new command ship was constructed, mostly haphazardly due to the lack of proper shipyards, and was dubbed simply Morningstar, the Iron Morningstar retasked and renamed to logistics operations. OVERLORD resided here, his AI core protected deep within the ship’s hull, commanding his agents across Sirius from deep space. Eventually, the caution between houses rose to hostilities, and war broke out between them, essentially splitting Sirius down the middle. Analysing the situation, OVERLORD altered his plan slightly, chopping up the operations to work in phases. The Empire of Kusari was declared to be the best candidate to fall first, given its outstretched deployment of military forces. Agents planted in the Kusari government proved much less effectual than those in the other houses, due to the makeup of the command structure, and OVERLORD turned his sights to more conventional tactics. Probing the ‘terrorist’ organisations of Kusari, two were found with a relative powerbase and combat effectiveness, the Blood Dragons and Golden Chrysanthemums.
Needing a name to represent those under OVERLORD’s control, ‘The Consortium’ was chosen after a brief search of words. While the name was meaningless to OVERLORD, it quickly became sinister in nature to those that were aware of it.
The GC eventually fell to Consortium Agent’s words of Kusari under Consortium rule, convincing them of a better place where women were equally represented. Their true dealings with the GC kept a secret by both themselves and the GC Elders, the Blood Dragons and most outside parties believing that the Consortium acted purely in Chrysanthemum interests. Consortium agents began to be deployed in the field to destabilise the Kusari Government via guerrilla assaults and disruption of trade within the house and connecting systems, and have been relatively successful, though are deemed as a much lesser threat than the Kingdom of Bretonia. Consortium operations decreased for a period of a few months recently due to a complete Neurocyte Network blackout, caused by an unspecified problem on the Morningstar. OVERLORD has regained control of much of his previous agents after the blackout, but those outside of the network range have reverted to sleeper agents, carrying out day to day tasks normally until reactivation. Now with the Consortium back under control, efforts in Kusari have begun to restarts, with relations to the GC as warm as ever.
The Consortium’s numbers are much smaller than those it wages war against, full strength numbering somewhere around twenty thousand agents. However, due to the very nature of its operations, more and more agents are assimilated every day, bolstering the strength of the Consortium and replacing lost agents. Agents are assigned to different sections of the overall Consortium, usually to match their skills (augmented or otherwise).
The most visible arm of the Consortium, the Airwatch acts as a paramilitary force to secure Consortium airspace as well as perform surgical strikes against targets of interest. Few know of the Consortium’s existence, at least in the public, and those that do mostly assume that the Airwatch is the Consortium’s entirety. Much of the Airwatch’s ranks are filled by emotionless ‘drones’, so highly cybernised that they have lost their emotions. While these drones are generally more effective in combat, there are many notable exceptions to this rule, mostly those who were ace pilots before assimilations, who as a result have retained varying degrees of their personality. These agents generally rise to relative greatness, for even OVERLORD sees the potential for emotion in combat, if used right.
Responsible for operations where secrecy is a must, the Consortium Psiops agents carry out missions generally deep within enemy territory, from assassinations to sabotage and beyond. There exists two types of Psiops agents, those who have little to no external cybernetics, and those who have extensive alteration to improve effectiveness. The former are used when blending in with a crowd, or infiltration is required, any situation where the agent will be under the scrutiny of hostile or civilian entities during the operation. Many of these agents are selected before assimilation, and contain no cybernisation other than the implantation of a Neurocyte. The latter are an arguably more effective option for when operating in military bases or similar areas, under the ideal of ‘Anyone who sees them, will be dead soon after’. They generally have alterations made for their role in operations, be it hacking, marksmanship, etc. Common enhancements include bionic eyes, prosthetic limbs with in-built attachments and springed calves to allow them to jump higher and fall from greater distances. Psiops also contains Abduction teams, whose primary goals are to identify and capture prime targets for assimilation into the Consortium. Politicians, military commanders and those with incredible proficiency in a skill are among the top targets, though sometimes simple transport ships and passenger liners are targeted for assimilation. Many experiments from the Human Engineering Project end up in Psiops, successful experiments or not, if they show proficiency above that of regular members. Those who do not are terminated.
Spawned from a need to move equipment and materials to Consortium-controlled and allied facilities, the Logistics division is a relatively small and minor part of operations. It serves a small part in military ground operations, ferrying troops to the ground and performing pickups, but is at that point under control of the VI in charge of the operation. They also collect stolen goods and equipment for transport, and supply GC bases as an act of partnership.
Not so much an operational division as a collection of commanders, the Consortium Overwatch is made up of linked Virtual Intelligences (VIs). These VIs were created and programmed by OVERLORD to act as in-the-field Combat Information Centres, directing and informing Consortium assets of changes in their mission or environment. Each VI has been given a humanlike demeanour, despite their lack of ‘true intelligence’, in order to mesh more easily with third parties. This is due to their role as ‘External Relations’ officers, and often take control of agents to make talks with prospective allies or partners. They often use the same body more than once to make relations as easy as possible for their human counterparts, and some develop attachments for their ‘bodies’, something which goes unhindered, if not happily, by OVERLORD.
Sleeper Agents make up the Consortium-embedded politicians and military personnel used to funnel intelligence and affect enemy operations from within. Most are not even aware that they are agents of the Consortium and carry out their mole activities as if it was in their job description. It is this quality that makes them so effective at infiltrating governments, militaries and corporations for the benefit of the Consortium. Not a lot minus a detailed scan of the cranium or brain biopsy can detect the Neurocyte embedded within.
The Consortium is notorious for systematically replacing their ranks with enemy prisoners of war, by means of Cybernetic enslavement and subliminal propaganda. Captured enemy pilots are given initial physical and mental exams, and are taken to a medical facility where they are restrained. A Neurocyte, a semi-organic device which converts computer signals into brainwave patterns and vice-versa, is implanted through a hydraulic needle into the individual's brain, and is integrated with medical nanites. Additional cybernetic implants are surgically installed and linked with the Neurocyte, and the individual is subjected to a barrage of visual, audio, and mental subliminal messaging which serves both to overwrite some existing memories and personality traits, as well as to give a degree of operational education and military training to the host. This allows individuals with little or no military background to serve in the Consortium's ranks.
However, previous experiences and memories are not completely destroyed, and most captured individuals retain many elements of their former personalities (though still largely suppressed by their conditioning implants). Because of this, Consortium troops are usually assigned based on previous occupations and specialties. To prevent unwanted emotional impulses, the conditioning implants, when activated (based on adrenaline levels and brainwave patterns) effectively inhibit and suppress the emotions of the user, effectively forcing them to think logically and thoroughly. When inactive however, emotional stimuli are usually unaffected, as these are necessary for certain operational parameters and social interaction with non-consortium entities.
The Consortium are also known for often attempting to capture ships whole, either through force boarding or occasionally using tug ships to overpower the drives of the target and hauling them back to base for securing. Typically, ships captured by the Consortium are processed and gradually recycled, depending on their class and level of damage incurred during the capture process. If a captured ship however is potentially useful though, the Consortium will use it as is, or with modification. More often than not, maintenance costs and incompatible technology and hardware often preclude this, with many ships often simply stripped for parts and any remains melted down into raw materials for future use.
Assimilation and Augmentation
- Main article: Consortium Augmentation
Perhaps the Consortium's most notorious (and disturbing) attribute is their policy of systematically replacing their ranks with enemy prisoners of war, as well as civilians, pirates, slavers, any any other non-allied organism which can serve a practical purpose, and can be controlled by Consortium assimilation methods.
The Neurocyte is a Synthetic, Semi-organic receiver which is injected directly into the brain of the host, by means of a large hydraulic needle which is inserted through the forehead. It is accompanied by medical nanites which repair any damage caused by the injection, and integrate the Neurocyte into the host's brain. The primary role of the Neurocyte is to receive and convert Brain Synapses and Signals into a format readable by Consortium Computer systems, and vice versa. The means by which it does so are extremely complicated and strictly classified. As many humans possess their own form of neural-network technology, the Neurocyte can take advantage of this, rewiring Neural Net implants and slaving them to itself. The Neurocyte is the main means of allowing the brain to communicate with all other Consortium hardware, and overwrites many undesirable human thought patterns and emotions (which can be influenced selectively). However, it is not the only means by which this is accomplished. Finally, it acts as a control hub for medical nanites which are deployed into the host, which increase the capabilities of self-healing and human immune systems (but do not completely replace them).
In an emergency situation, the Neurocyte can, as a last ditch measure, self destruct by causing a massive electronic overload which kills the brain, followed by a small explosion. This will almost certainly and instantly cause brain death of the host. However, the Neurocyte contains unknown numbers and types of failsafes to ensure tampering does not occur. No recorded case of an unintended Neurocyte destruct is known.
- Main article: Ships of the Consortium
With the notable exception of the Morningstar, the Consortium relies on captured or purchased ships for it's fleets. Each ship goes under extensive reconditioning to suit the Consortium's needs, with direct connections to the Neurocyte and many other in-cockpit alterations. Many become unsuitable for unaltered humans to fly, which serves as an added bonus against theft, given the sorts of places Consortium agents often visit.
Zone of Interest
C-SEC 1: Consortium primary ZoI. Airwatch units are free to conduct autonomous operations throughout the sector
C-SEC 2: Consortium ships must request permission to enter these sectors, unless trading, escorting traders, or calibrating hardware/software
C-SEC 3: Sectors which are highly restricted, and may not be entered without command permission.
C-SEC 4: These sectors may not be entered under any circumstances, bar Psiops operations organised by OVERLORD.
Consortium ships can be identified by their \CS\- tag. Naming conventions are relatively non-existent, though 'codenames' are encouraged.
All Consortium ships carry Pirate IDs, with GC IFF.