Opening Theme: Blazing- GARNiDELiA
Ending Theme- Blue Skies- Hiroshi Okubo, Stephanie Cooke
~Tactical Roleplay Arsenal Productions presents~
~A Zai Mecha Anime Roleplay~
~Original Concept by: Zai~
~Hosted by: Zai, Nai~
~Mechanical Designs by: Zai, Keto, The Players~
~Logo by: Aix~
Due to nearly a century of warfare (and the use of quite a few weapons of mass destruction) the planet’s environment is in shambles. Desertification is a major concern, and those few areas that are still capable of supporting wildlife are plagued by radical weather shifts and a dropping global temperature. In order to survive, roughly half of humanity now lives in giant floating habitats called Shells, while the rest are faced with a choice: struggle to live on the surface, or work the resource plants that feed the Shells raw materials in exchange for food and a place to sleep.
Thanks to a combination of overpopulation, competition over natural resources, and old grudges, both superpowers and their respective allies would once again wage war upon one another in the year 2062. Though it started as a simple border dispute in a satellite nation, the conflict quickly spiraled out of control. Ultimately, this fourth world war (often called the Last War) would become the most destructive war in human history, costing over a billion lives as both power blocs fought each other on all 7 continents over a period of over 20 years. All sides involved made use of horrifying biological, chemical, and even tactical nuclear weapons, and as the war became one of attrition, blasted one another back technologically using scorched earth tactics.
By the end of it all, the Last War had seen the utter ruin of the Earth’s ecosystem (due to both widespread combat and pollution caused by the massive buildup of wartime industries) and soon afterward many of the world’s nations collapsed under the strain of the economic and environmental disaster. The following decades were a time of chaos and struggle as borders eroded and refugees flooded the few remaining stable territories.
Modern society continued to erode at a steady rate until the year 2105, when an India-led coalition of United Nations member states declared worldwide martial law in order to stave off total anarchy. Though many rallied to the coalition’s banner, others resisted, and as a result it wasn’t until the year 2114 that worldwide order was, for the most part, restored. Despite bringing much of the world under control, however, the desertification of the planet, as well as a worldwide energy crisis were a constant threat to stability. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before a solution was devised.
That idea was the Shells: massive habitats, powered by ST Drives, that would provide a stable environment for humanity by floating in the sky some fifteen kilometers above the ground, where the air was clean and those within could be made safe and provided for. In desperate need of some form of stability, the coalition’s leaders agreed, and construction began in earnest. Ultimately, 30 Shells, each capable of sheltering millions of inhabitants, were be constructed, however with delays in the assembly of support structures and Dr. Seidrich’s death over a decade before the system’s scheduled completion, this number was eventually reduced to 27. Still despite the setbacks, in 2140, the last of the Shells: Shell Eden, ascended, and with it the coalition formally merged all of its member states and rebranded itself the Shell Coalition, ostensibly bringing the entire world under one banner at long last.
Unfortunately, all was not well with the new system. The limited living space on the Shells and the need for raw materials to feed their on-board fabrication systems forced roughly half of humanity to remain behind on the surface. Though there were at first attempts by the Shell Coalition to build livable, modern settlements for those that worked the plants, including the construction of numerous habitation domes and several underground settlements, the surface had now become too inhospitable to support them, and these efforts were largely abandoned by 2150.
This inequality persisted for decades. While the population living in the Shells enjoyed an idyllic, cosmopolitan lifestyle, Terrans suffered terribly in the harsh conditions, either working increasingly draconian shifts in the plants as the Shells’ populations grew and their need for raw materials increased, or braving the wastelands. Naturally, tensions began to rise as the increasingly malcontent surface population began to chafe under The Shell Coalition's rule, and eventually rioting broke out on the surface, threatening to disrupt the supply of raw materials to the Shells. In order to maintain order and ensure the stability of the Shell System, the Shell Coalition reorganized its atrophied military and formed The Shell Armed Forces (SAF, in common parlance). SAF's stated goal was to bring peace to the surface by any means necessary, however at first it was largely unable to accomplish this with its limited resources and hopelessly outdated, Last War-era weaponry. In order to bring the surface under control, it was decided that a new, modern weapon was needed. It was a small, family-owned firearms manufacturer, Drachenmoore Armaments, who would ultimately create that weapon, and in 2164, the first Combat Frame, as their humanoid walker design came to be known, was unveiled. Though initially laughed at, Drachenmoore’s new weapon immediately proved its effectiveness in combat on the surface, and within a few short months became the mainstay of SAF’s forces (and made Drachenmoore Armaments very, very rich).
With the advent of the Combat Frame, SAF was able to exert a much greater degree of control over the populace on the ground, quelling the rioting and bringing many regions completely under SAF hegemony. Those who resisted were either rooted out or escaped deep into the wastes, where they made contact with the remnants of those nations that the coalition had been unable to bring into the fold. For a time, there was peace, but a storm was brewing.
Fast forward to the year 2194. SAF had now solidified its position on the surface, maintaining a tight grip over the areas it controlled, but leaving those sectors the Shell Coalition deemed “unimportant” largely to their own devices. Conditions in SAF-controlled areas were often harsh, (the Shell Coalition having dropped the pretense since the Terrans’ first attempt at rebellion), with SAF forcing the inhabitants to work in resource plants and herding them into collective settlements, where they were more easily controlled. Those who could escape did so, and fled with what supplies they could pilfer to the independent zones, where with the help of other Terran exiles they built underground and domed settlements using the remains of the Coalition’s unfinished habitation projects of decades past. These independent areas quickly became hotbeds for anti-SAF sentiment, and soon many of them became home bases for small armed rebel groups, who began to strike back against SAF interests on the ground. Styling themselves freedom fighters, these rebels began building up a cohesive network of allied but independent paramilitary organizations, stealing war materials from SAF and, with the help of some enterprising individuals, eventually fabricating their own weapons (including combat frames and mobile fortresses) in order to combat SAF's military forces and attempt to free their oppressed compatriots. As the years wore on, these guerrilla movements became more commonplace, and their actions more overt, with skirmishes between SAF military units and comparably armed rebel forces becoming increasingly common. Eventually, the insurgents grew bold enough to sabotage and launch strikes against the Shells directly. Naturally, this caused conditions on the ground to further deteriorate. With SAF having to commit more and more resources to rooting out the insurgents, their control of the ground began to weaken, and the situation became increasingly violent and unstable. Then, in 2215, it all came to a head.
At the time, the city of San Loma was one of the largest and most prosperous settlements on the surface. Unique in the fact that it was a more typical, above-ground city, San Loma had been able to remain independent and self sufficient thanks to its stable location in North America and its agricultural production, and it could be said that it was on its way to becoming a power on the surface. However, at that time San Loma was also a hotbed of anti-Saf sentiment, and it had become apparent to SAF intelligence that Terra Firma, one of the most radical and violent of the guerrilla movements, had begun using San Loma as a base of operations. In order to root the group out, SAF, in what by that time had become a typical maneuver, deployed troops and combat frames to the city. No one is quite sure who fired first, but the relatively calm arrival of SAF forces quickly gave way to rioting and full scale combat as Terra Firma’s Combat Frames entered the area.The conflict in San Loma quickly spiraled out of control, and SAF was forced to bomb the city in its entirety to quell the violence, killing hundreds of thousands of Terran civilians and guerrillas alike in the process.
This was the spark that finally lit the powder keg. Using San Loma as a rallying cry, Terra Firma’s membership swelled, and soon the rebel group brought the entirety of the anti-SAF movement across the globe into its fold. With public opinion on the surface firmly and vehemently against SAF, Terra Firma gained manpower, materiel, and public support at such a rapid rate that the paramilitary organization soon became a massive standing army, and ultimately the de facto governing body of the independent territories. The new superpower quickly used its newfound position to formally announce the surface's independence from SAF, and simultaneously declared war against SAF and the Shell Coalition. Opening with a retaliatory bombardment of Shell Eden on January 9th 2216, Terra Firma's assault killed millions, and nearly brought the Shell crashing to Earth. Armed conflict between the two superpowers rapidly spread across the globe, with the Terran’s tenacity and rugged machinery being more than a match for SAF’s numerical superiority.
Fast forward to the year 2220. The war between SAF and Terra Firma has been locked in a deadly stalemate, with neither side able to gain a clear advantage. Though SAF rules the air, and by and large has control of the Eastern Hemisphere, their inability to seize outright victory has allowed Terra Firma to entrench themselves in the west. Thanks in no small part to Stonehenge, a network of massive railcannons located in the former midwestern United States, Terra Firma has been able to dominate the western hemisphere, turning the americas into a veritable fortress of underground bases, factories, and settlements. As well, advances in mecha technology have led to the creation of SynCHROS: the Synchronized Control and Response Operating System. Known as synchro frames, combat frames that make use of this revolutionary control system are capable of incredible performance and response times. Though compatibility with the control system limits their numbers, synchro frames have proven capable of rapidly changing the tide of battle with their advanced weaponry and high performance, and the new mecha are rapidly being adopted by both sides.
Welcome to TRAP.
The Asymmetric Warfare Division’s 1st Tactical Response Armored Platoon. The cool people call us TRAP. We’re not your normal squad of frame pilots. Part of that’s intentional. See, TRAP is supposed to provide a place for atypical or untested equipment to see combat, without the headache of including it in regular force organization. It's also supposed to be a second-line unit; not an assignment you want if you’re looking to see combat.
On paper, that is.
The truth, as you’ve probably guessed, is quite a bit different. Now, normally I wouldn’t be this direct, but given who you are (and that little hiccup involving your enlistment papers that i’m so graciously overlooking), I feel like you should know what you’re getting yourself into.
Command doesn’t like us, and we don’t like them. We go where we’re needed, whether they want us to or not, and we get the job done, red tape or no red tape. I’m sure Lauren told you a thing or two as well, so I’ll save the specifics.
The point here is that this isn’t going to be a picnic. I know why you wanted the assignment (and you’re not the only one, for the record), but while you’re with us, your job and your team come first. Don’t forget that.
I’ve made sure this letter gets to you without the censors getting a look at it first. I stuck my neck out for you on this one, kid. Don’t make me regret it.
-LtCdr. Gavin Decker, 1st Tactical Response Armored Platoon
P.S. Don’t worry about what your paperwork says, I’ll brief the rest of the team to make things a bit easier on you.
The Asymmetric Warfare Division’s 1st Tactical Response Armored Platoon, more commonly called TRAP. Though they’re ostensibly a rear line unit tasked with fielding unorthodox equipment, this pack of misfits, washouts, and test pilots is more than it seems. Commanded by the rebellious Captain Thomas Renner, TRAP often acts outside of the regular chain of command, reinforcing SAF’s front lines and going wherever a little extra firepower is needed. Needless to say, TRAP isn’t very highly regarded by SAF high command, but despite that the unit has managed to make quite the name for itself in the nine months since its inception.
Three months ago, however, TRAP suffered a brutal defeat at the hands of one of Terra firma’s most elite units. During the engagement, TRAP’s resident ace pilot, Lieutenant Lauren Vega, was shot down, and the team’s remaining combat frames were all damaged, forcing them to retreat without being able to rescue one of their own. Unaware of their teammate’s ultimate fate, and forced to take leave while their frames and equipment are repaired and overhauled, TRAP’s morale has hit a low.
It is now September 10th, 2220, the day TRAP is scheduled to return to active duty. Aboard their airborne carrier Albatross, the team readies itself, both for the next mission and for new arrivals, who’ve come to fill holes in the roster. Among them is Lt. Vega’s younger brother Leo, a rookie frame pilot who has come to TRAP in an effort to ascertain his older sister’s whereabouts.
ST Drives: With very few exceptions, all CFs are powered by an internal, ultracompact Seidrich Tesla Drive. Though highly efficient and cost effective, the use of ionized plasma within an ST Drive often results in a spectacular (and lethal) explosion when enemy fire breaches its protective casing and causes the plasma to bloom.
SMS: The Secondary Movement System (SMS for short) is how most CFs achieve their top speed. While occasionally utilizing by alternative means, all contemporary SMS’s make use of Seidrich field-derived magnetic repulsion technology. Put simply, this equipment allows a combat frame to hover just above the ground, greatly decreasing friction and resistance and allowing it to reach much higher speeds. When using an SMS, combat frames often appear to “skate” over the ground, similar to a human on roller blades. As such, movement with the SMS active is almost always referred to as “Skating” by pilots and technicians.
Thrusters: Though they vary wildly in shape and function, most combat frames mount some kind of rocket thruster somewhere on their bodies, either to increase their running and skating speeds, or enable the frame to jump meters into the air. Some lighter models even make use of their thrusters for limited flight capabilities, though flight-capable frame technology is still very much in its infancy. It should also be noted that the majority of SAF’s frames come equipped with retrorockets for use in airdrop operations, as this is their preferred way of deploying combat frames.
As well, the weapons carried by all combat frames tend to fall into a few basic categories.
Conventional: regular weapons ranging from rifles and bazookas to missile pods and melee weapons like vibroswords and knives. These are the most common weapons found on combat frames and almost every type mounts at least one. Though largely rendered obsolete by more technologically advanced weapons systems, conventional weaponry is still the easiest, cheapest way to arm a combat frame.
Arc: The first weapon type to make use of the Siedrich effect for combat purposes, arc weapons use projected, linear S-Fields to fire high-powered bursts of electricity. Though arc weapons can cause external damage, their real utility lies in their ability to wreak havoc with the target’s internal systems, making the limbs and equipment of opposing frames useless and starting internal fires in opposing carriers. Arc weapons tend to come in two varieties: Spark cannons, which as their name implies fire bolts of electricity to burn and disable enemy systems, and tasers, which are melee weapons that greatly resemble brass knuckles, or more rarely the taser pistols used by 20th century police.
Magnetic: A more advanced type of ranged weapon that makes use of electric current and magnetic rails (or coils, in most rapid-fire designs) to rapidly accelerate projectiles, Magnetic weapons are the bread and butter of the modern combat frame, with most machines’ primary armament being some kind of gauss or rail gun. Though magnetic weapons require more power than a conventional weapon, they pack a more powerful punch, and have largely replaced most conventional weapons in combat frames' stock loadouts.
Plasma: The newest and most powerful variety of weapons mounted on combat frames, plasma weapons make use of S-fields to weaponize ionized gasses. Plasma weapons are extremely powerful, able to cause extreme levels of damage to a target thanks to the intense heat and energy of the plasma produced. Though rarely mounted on regular combat frames due to the expense of producing such weapons, Plasma weapons commonly see use on commander’s variants, as well as the high performance synchro frames. Plasma weapons tend to come in the form of either rifles, which fire blasts of plasma (held in within a projected s-field, commonly referred to as a bolt) at a target, or blades, which make use of an S-field to shape the plasma into the form of a blade. When a plasma weapon’s bolt makes contact with a solid surface, the incorporeal S-field containing the plasma moves through the target, while the plasma itself (which has mass) is stopped. Without the S-field to hold it in place, the plasma then “blooms” (expands outward) causing massive amounts of damage to the target. Blades, on the other hand, cause more controlled, localized damage thanks to the plasma within their fields remaining in place. It should also be noted that plasma blades (and bolts, if a pilot is skilled enough) can be parried by another plasma blade, since weapons grade S-fields of that nature are of the same polarity, and therefore repulse one another.
As the RP progresses, expect the database to be updated with new and revised entries. You will be notified via the skype chat when changes are made.
The Shell system is a series of floating habitats made to house roughly half of humanity after the ravaging of the earth by wars and pollution. Governed by the Shell Coalition, each of the 27 Shells houses about 150 million people within it. Shells are mobile, able to fly and maneuver thanks to a series of gargantuan, ST Drive-powered thrusters. Each Shell must dock with an atmospheric elevator to take on supplies and materials every three months. While in flight, Shells routinely hold at a stable altitude of 15 km, avoiding most weather patterns while still staying within the protection provided by the ozone layer. The interior of a Shell is nearly identical to a typical 21st century cityscape, save for the fact that there is an artificial ceiling and weather patterns within the shell are mechanically controlled. Shells also possess agricultural and production zones that produce food and goods for residents from raw materials taken on at the atmospheric elevators.
The gargantuan structures that serve as landing pads and lifelines for the Shells, the atmospheric elevators are in some ways more valuable to the Shell Coalition then the Shells themselves. Each of the 13 elevators stands roughly 14.8 Km tall, and is capable of supporting the additional weight of a Shell docked on top of it for an indefinite period of time. The elevators, and by extension the resource plants and communities at their bases, are responsible for feeding the Shells the raw materials and base goods they need to stay in flight, feed their manufacturing plants, and grow food for their populaces. Each Shell routinely docks with an elevator 4 times a year, with the landing and loading schedules staggered so that the 13 elevators can reliably feed all 27 Shells. It takes roughly nine days for a Shell to be completely resupplied, though Shells have landed on the elevators in the past to take on smaller loads of supplies when the need arises. Due to their importance to the Shell Federation's survival, the airspace and territory surrounding the elevators are always heavily guarded by SAF forces, and the communities surrounding them are kept firmly in line by SAF MPs. Since the outbreak of war, 4 of the elevators have fallen into disuse due to their location within dangerous Terra Firma controlled territory, leaving SAF with 9 elevators under its control, including the cluster of 3 pictured above at former coalition GHQ in India. The remaining six are scattered throughout SAF's territories in North and South Africa, Australia, Europe, and Central Asia.
Formed in the year 2140, The Shell Coalition is the governing body of the Shell System. Controlled by a small parliament of popularly elected officials and high ranking military personnel, the Shell Federation's government most closely resembles the oligarchical governments found in mecha anime, such as Gundam's Earth Federation. Its elite control most of the power, and though its rulers are certainly willing to and capable of imposing totalitarian rule on the populace, the people living in the Shells enjoy a westernized cosmopolitan lifestyle, with civil rights for all living within the Shells and limited self-government on the local level. Though pro-SAF propaganda has a large degree of impact on public opinion, the relative freedom of media in the Shells means that dissenting opinions are, at the very least, tolerated, and though the power of the average citizen is limited, the populace still exercises a degree of control over their leaders. All in all, the Shells' government isn't an ideal system, nor does it try to be. Instead the Shell Federation's focus is on maintaining the panacea of peace, happiness, and order for those in the Shells in order to maintain its control, regardless of the sometimes flagrant infringements in its citizen's civil rights it commits, or the oppression it forces on the surface.
The Coalition’s current head of parliament is Prime Minister Sahaj Maniappan. A hawkish, traditional individual, Maniappan is has been largely responsible for coordinating the SAF response to recent developments on the surface, and is also the Coalition’s public face.
Despite being beholden to the Shell Coalition’s government, SAF is granted a large degree of autonomy in its operations, and can occasionally act independently from the Shell Coalition itself. Such is this distinction that, in Terra Firma’s official declaration of war, SAF and the Shell Coalition are listed as separate entities. The current commander in chief of SAF is General Samuel Global, a veteran from SAF’s early days. SAF’s uniforms’ colors are dark blue and light grey, and consist of a button down shirt, cap (which isn’t always worn), slacks, and boots. Pilot flight fatigues tend to be grey in color, though pilots with enough clout can request another color if they so choose, as well as decals and roundels for their helmets.
TRAP’s uniforms are identical to SAF’s normal uniforms, save for being adorned with the unit’s logo: A bulldog wearing a muzzle that very closely resembles a closed bear trap.
Despite its smaller numbers when compared to SAF, Terra Firma has managed to hold its own in the war thanks to a combination of innovative technologies and talented. motivated personnel. The vast majority of Terra Firma’s fighting force is composed of combat frames and mobile fortresses: the massive machines that act as both carriers and military bases for Terra Firma. Terra Firma machines tend to focus on versatility, making the most out of each individual piece of equipment. Terra Firma’s combat frames are geared toward prolonged combat with an emphasis on durability, versatility, and raw firepower, in contrast to SAF's more nimble, precise machines.
Terra Firma has no singular leader, but rather is led by a small group of military commanders and businessman that meet regularly to discuss matters of leadership and strategy, unofficially known to both sides as “The Council”. Terra Firma’s uniforms are brownish grey and deep, crimson red. Male uniforms consist of a short sleeved jacket, shirt, slacks and boots, while females can opt for a knee-length skirt. TF uniforms are notably considered quite fashionable, and there is a fairly large group of SAF personnel who seem to be preoccupied with getting command to adopt a similar wardrobe.
Terra Firma’s main base, and also their most powerful weapon, Stonehenge (officially referred to as the Stonehenge Turret Network) is a massive, circular military installation that began construction in secret sometime prior to the bombardment of San Loma. Located smack dab in the middle of the former united states, Stonehenge plays host to a veritable army of frames and personnel. Stonehenge’s biggest claim to fame however, is its array of eight 1 meter bore railcannons. Easily the largest guns ever constructed in human history, Stonehenge’s turrets each have a range of thousands of miles (they’re even capable of putting rounds into orbit), and can fire a number of different types of projectiles from fuel-air explosives to heavy slugs that hit with the force of a tactical nuclear weapon. Stonehenge’s presence makes north america nearly impregnable, and its destruction is a top priority for SAF leadership. It is also noteworthy that it was Stonehenge that was used in the opening bombardment of the war, an attack that, were it not for a now-corrected targeting error, would have resulted in the complete destruction of Shell Eden.
Despite the arrangement however, Grunder is and has been the primary financial backer and arms supplier of Terra Firma since the organization's inception, with Grunder's engineering division being largely responsible for designing many of TF’s combat frames and mobiel fortresses, and even Stonehenge itself. Thanks to both its massive size and its essential ties with SAF's own armed forces, SAF officials tend to overlook (or be unaware of) Grunder's support of Terra Firma, allowing the company to implement the rather devious business model of using profits from SAF equipment sales to help fund Terra Firma's own weapons development program. Grunder’s CEO is one Miles Grunder, great grandson of the company’s founder and a member of TF’s council.
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