Hello again, readers! We’re back with another UNSEC Space lore teaser! Starforge draws ever closer, but to tide you over until the wonderous day arrives, enjoy another brief look at the setting and universe of the UNSEC Space Trilogy.
As before, these posts contain spoilers for Colony and Jungle, the first two books in the trilogy. If you’d rather not have the reveals from those books spoiled, look away from this post and over toward our Books page, where you can find and acquire copies of both titles immediately, and thereby rectify that issue!
If you’re looking for prior UNSEC Space Lore entries, they can be found at the following links.
Today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at one of the post-Colony developments on Pisces, the founding of the arms manufacturer Ōjin Weapons Development.
Hit the jump! Major spoilers after this point!
For everyone, the post-revolt period on Pisces was a turbulent time. Decades of simmering resentment had boiled over—early, due to an accidental incident—then been thrown aside in the wake of the sobering events of North Shore. As two former enemies of circumstance, the UNSEC Navy and the forces of the Revolt, began to work together, uniting against a common foe, much of what both sides had worked so hard to keep secret, hidden, or concealed was thrown out into the open. Among these were the famous Madero science labs, unimaginatively titled “Sciences.”
Initially established to study and develop countermeasures to what the Revolt thought was a new UNSEC weapon, Madero’s science labs later fell victim to the very thing they were studying when a recording of UNSEC experiments beneath North Shore fell into their hands and inadvertently activated the object of their interest. The resulting drone rampage killed a number of researchers and marines before being stopped by Annalyne Neres, and while such losses were a tragedy, some have remarked that the sudden blow to the Revolt’s research division, as well as a similar loss suffered by a number of researchers working for the UNSEC Navy, may have accelerated the union of both sides in bringing their best minds together.
Whether or not the sudden losses suffered by the research divisions of both sides played a significant part in the post-North Shore agreement to freely and openly exchange information and research will likely be subject to debate by historians for decades to come, but the result was immediate and impactful. The UNSEC Navy and the Revolt, as a sign of trust, continued cooperation, and mutual benefit, both made their entire research archives public with one another.
At first, this joint venture—the first of many that would lead to the formation of the “Joint Fleet”—was arguably self-serving, and entirely overseen by observers from each respective faction as both struggled to understand and make sense of the events of the battle of North Shore. However, as the days turned to weeks and the two factions began to more fully integrate, remaining suspicion and paranoia rapidly gave way to pragmatic necessity. Aided by the shared enthusiasm of many of the researchers who were, despite the losses of North Shore, progressing in leaps and bounds due to the unification of years’ worth of research from both sides.
However, what kept this from simply being a combined think-tank that remained classified and kept from the public, as it would have prior to the uprising, was three things. The first was the incredibly public nature of the events of North Shore. There wasn’t a soul on Pisces that hadn’t seen footage of the alien drones, nor the subsequent alliance of Navy and Revolt alike to fight it back. And none had missed the detonation of a quantum warhead that had both ended the battle and ruined for decades the capital city of Pisces. The public wanted answers, and it wanted them immediately. To withhold those answers would have cast the entire planet into a panic from which it would leave it at the mercy of Earth—whose secrets had caused the whole mess in the first place. To conceal information concerning the drones and the discoveries beneath North Shore or from Madero‘s labs, then, was tantamount to throwing fuel on a lit blaze.
The second block on keeping the science division quiet was the leader of the Revolt, Carlos Rodriguez. Rodriguez despised unnecessary secrecy and bore a deep resentment toward Earth and the UN for their secrets being the cause of so much death and destruction. Though many among the former Navy disagreed, Rodriguez’s logic was sound, and he was able to convince Admiral West that the best way to move forward for Pisces was to establish conditions of transparency and informational openness that hadn’t existed under the rule of UNSEC. It should be noted that those close to Rodriguez have recorded that he openly “forced” the admiral’s hand by releasing information on the datanet containing obvious holes clearly waiting to be filled by the Navy. However, these sources disagree as to the ultimate purpose behind Rodriguez’s actions, some saying it was an act establishing the power dynamic as one that would be driven by Rodriguez with the aim of weakening West’s position, while others argue that it was a deliberate move to prove the public perception of the two former enemies working together by showing a very public form of cooperation. This record notes that some of the information withheld in those original data releases did appear to be in the care of the Revolt, but leaves the ultimate aim of Rodriguez to historians to debate.
The third block on any sort of lockdown was the researchers themselves. The chaos and brief unity of the battle for North Shore had been a breath of fresh air for many of them, as had the immediate following merge of research divisions as both sides had struggled to make sense of the mess. Furthermore, the losses of life suffered by some of the researchers sent shockwaves through their social structure. Even as some charged ahead in bringing together decades of knowledge, research, and experience, others questioned the wisdom of simply “going back” to something that had already gotten a number of them killed, raising concerns about their security, well-being, or their future, as their current status was largely unknown and often confusing with both the Navy and the Revolt acting as two separate command chains. Such disharmony led to many of the researchers looking for a path out, even if they weren’t certain they were going to take it, as well as being very open with their findings, often “accidentally” sharing them with one side before the other or even across the datanet while not sending anything to superiors on either side.
Recognizing the instability for what it was, both Rodriguez and Admiral West made the research venture one of their priorities in the weeks following the battle of North Shore and a priority for both the newly-forming “Joint Fleet” and the provisional government. Ultimately, following days of debate and discussion, the “leaky think tank” as some had begun calling it became one of the first products and priorities of the Joint Fleet. Duplicative oversight was eliminated, research standards and protocol established, structure and form was given, and the two groups of researchers were brought together under one umbrella, one that while bereft of a name was intended to be the primary research institute of both the provisional government and the newly planned and hoped for government of an independent Pisces.
However, neither West nor Rodriguez were so foolhardy as to simply “establish” such an institution outright. Instead they conferred openly with the researchers, using the AI-driven methods to make sure every voice was accounted for and acknowledged in what Rodriguez would later call a “prototype for what I planned to establish with Pisces itself.” Additionally, they made something quite clear from the very outset of the project: anyone that did not wish to be part of the institute in development was encouraged to depart, with pay for services rendered as well as any research and knowledge held by the think tank, and enter the private sector that was sure to boom across Pisces with the changes West and Rodriguez were proposing, where they would be able to seek both government and private investment into whatever endeavors they wished.
In an unsurprising—and, West and Rodriguez both later confirmed, highly calculated—move, many of the researchers did just that, over half of the combined think-tank taking the exit option within days of the offer and setting up their own private enterprises. One of these would become Ōjin Weapons Development.
Initially formed by a trio of researchers that hailed from both the former UNSEC Navy R&D complex and the Revolt’s Sciences division, Ōjin Weapons Development combined a wide range of experience and knowledge in studying and developing energy weapons. Keen to try the private sector and explore directions that superiors under their prior positions would have scoffed at, and possessing a “secret weapon” that “just happened” to fall into their hands, Ōjin was one of the first legal private sector weapons development companies to be recognized. By leveraging their prior experience and connections from both the think tank and the preceding years, Ōjin was able to swiftly secure a lucrative contracts with both the provisional government and investment from high-risk investors.
However, it wasn’t smooth sailing. Unlike other researchers who were often leaving to established corporations now disentangling themselves from the former UNSEC Navy or to found easily recognizable brands and investment opportunities, Ōjin was aiming at being cutting edge. Between the name—taken from a legendary emperor of Japan held as the “divine spirit of archery and war”—and a clean, smooth aesthetic in logo and presentation—designed by one founder’s sibling to evoke an air of “high-tech mystery and sophistication”—Ōjin quickly found itself questioned by investors who didn’t understand why the organization wasn’t chasing the eye-catching developments of the joint fleet such as DR-K rifles or HLE skinsuit armor, all of which captured the public’s attention with their obvious connection to the events of North Shore. Indeed, as the days became weeks and then a month with no information about what Ōjin was up to, some investors attempted to pull out—some successfully, some not.
Those who remained, however, soon discovered what had made the founding members of the company so certain of their future, as well as why so much of their investment was being spent on new staff and high-grade fabrication time. One of Ōjin’s founders had an ace up their sleeve.
The events of North Shore had given rise to a significant amount of salvage scattered across the surrounding seafloor and uncontained by the quantum detonation. While the most obvious and attention-grabbing wreckage was clearly that of alien drones whose technology was centuries ahead of mankind’s, and Ōjin had indeed acquired several complete wrecks to study, the fledgling weapons development company had set their sights on something quieter and closer to home.
A single member of their founding group had claimed, as part of their owed pay and with a rumored “wink and a wry smile” from Admiral West, an item that had belonged to a member of the team that had delivered the quantum warhead to the center of North Shore.
A thoroughly damaged, inoperable, PR6-BFG.
On Earth, with tightly enforced copyright and trademark laws, and such study of such a weapon—even damaged beyond use—would have been highly illegal, and any resulting discoveries to come out of reverse-engineering such a highly prized proprietary secret would have been met with the strictest possible response. But the founders of Ōjin had seen the path set by West and Rodriguez for what it was, and correctly presumed in light of proclamations concerning a free and independent Pisces, as well as UNSEC’s response, that adhesion to the copyright laws of Earth would soon be something few if any on Pisces would concern themselves with. What would be of concern was the immediate military buildup Pisces would need to undertake in order to secure that freedom.
While Ōjin Weapons Development has to date yet to bring a single product to market, rumor exists—likely at the urging of Ōjin itself—of advanced weapons development to rival that of Earth going on behind closed doors. Encrypted communications with the Didem Orbital Station and Typhon, as well as leaked images of confirmed high-security Joint Fleet escorts given to shipments bearing Ōjin’s logo, seem to suggest that those investors that have stuck with the company may soon find their patience rewarded. Ōjin directly, however, remains silent, their only hint at their confidence in the future their hiring posts across the datanet seeking those experienced with electromagnetics, island metals, superconductivity, and solid light.
Ōjin Weapons Development was the winner of the Patreon Supporter Poll to choose the name of an arms manufacturer in Starforge! Congratulations to all those who chose the winning name with Ōjin, and thank you to the rest of the supporters for supporting Being a Better Writer and Unusual Things!
Starforge arrives this holiday season to bring the UNSEC Space Trilogy to its epic end!
Got a bit of UNSEC Space lore you’d like to see explored? Post it in the comments!