This is a brief overview of Earth's history from 2150 up to the year of 2180 and chronicles the events that created the mutants of the 22nd Century. The majority of this history is centered on New Britain, as it is there some of the pivotal battles in mutant rights have been fought. Additionally, although the Search/Destroy Agency is open to mutants of all nationalities, it is primarily sponsored and controlled by the New British government.
'Nobody ever knew who fired the first missile – but suddenly the whole world went crazy. There had been other wars – but not like the Great War of 2150. When it was over, every major city in Britain was nuclear wasteland. But the British were resilient. Slowly, painfully, the 30% who had survived began to pick up the threads of life...'
Johnny Apha – Portrait of a Mutant
The previous wars of the 22nd Century had created their fair share of mutants and by 2150 these poor wretches of society had become loathed and despised, particularly in New Britain, where its civic leader, Nelson Bunker Kreelman, drove his Anti-Mutant Laws through the country's parliament. In the devastated Britain of 2150, normal humans – Norms – feared for their very survival and the continued purity of the human race; Kreelman's anti-mutant bigotry found favor in the fear and desperation of the British people and the Kreelman Act, forbidding mutants from holding properly, was welcomed across the country and quickly repeated across the world.
The Mutant Uprising
What went unknown was the Nelson Kreelman's second child, John, was born a mutant. The mutation appeared slight; only the child's eyes seemed affected but Kreelman would not – could not – live with the stigma. For the first ten years of his life, the young Johnny Alpha was forced to wear specially fitted eye shields to disguise his mutation but still his father refused to accept the boy as his own son. Meanwhile, Kreelman was overwhelming elected to be the third President of Earth and immediately rushed through his Second Anti-Mutant Act, denying mutants the right to employment.
By 2162 the mutants, disenfranchised, ghettoized, had had enough. A mutant army was beginning to form and the Earth government met this threat with brutal force. Any mutant suspected of being a member of the army was sentenced to death by firing squad. Executions were frequently held in the streets of New Britain's few cities, such as Salisbury, Kreelman's home and constituency.
The army fought a guerrilla war simply to obtain food, which was then distributed to the mutant ghettoes scattered through the south of Britain. The majority of the action focused on Salisbury but as the mutant army scored more successes, it grew and other mutant militias formed in other parts of New Britain.
By 2164 Kreelman had successfully legislated for the first mutant labor camps to be built, intent on clearing mutants out of the major cities; in the course of the next three years twenty percent of the mutant population found itself housed in one of these dreadful concentration camps – half starved, riddled with disease – and when Kreelman announced that mutants would start being shipped off to concentration camps on some of the more remote colony worlds (such as Rodos), the mood of the mutant army began to shift away from hit-and-run skirmishes to one of all-out war.
In 2167 the Council of War met in the ruins of New Coventry to decide tactics. Here, General Armz, the Alexander Brothers, Studs Boyce, Middenface McNulty and the Torso from Newcastle, all agreed that total war was necessary and a hard strike against New Britain's power had to be made. The Battle of Upminster was the result; an ambitious, aerial assault on the citadel of Upminster Palace, the hub of New Britain's parliament and the home of every government ministry. Even Britain's king, King Clarkie the Second, was housed at Upminster and the mutants figured that if the citadel could be taken, conditional terms could be dictated that would bring an end to mutant suffering.
The Battle of Upminster
New Britain's Norm forces were completely unprepared for the mutant assault. Using stolen jetpacks and split into teams, each with a specific mission objective, the mutants launched their assault just after dawn on Friday 13th of March, 2167. The mutants swiftly gained access to the citadel and the Free Welsh Muties, led by Evans the Fist, captured King Clarkie in his bedchamber. The parliament, still in session, routed in cowardice and the mutant army swept through Upminster like a scourge.
The Battle of Upminster was also a signal to other mutant forces, not engaged in the main assault in New Britain, to move against the labor camps. As Upminster fell, mutant forces from around the world launched attacks on the concentration camps, helping the inmates to rise up against the Kreeler guards. The whole world was plunged into the war as the mutants, for the first time in decades, seized the upper hand.
The beleaguered Norm forces in Upminster were facing defeat and so Kreelman ordered the breaking-out of Time Weapons. Time Weapons had been in development for a decade before but this was the first time their use was sanctioned. Armed with Model-T Rifles, the Upminster Militia took the fight back to the mutants, sending mutant soldiers backwards through time – but not space – to encounter the chill of vacuum. The mutants had never seen such weapons before and knew that they faced a different kind of fight but persisted in their plan. The Torso from Newcastle and his troops seized the floor of parliament whilst Johnny Alpha and his handpicked assassination squad went after Nelson Bunker Kreelman.
Alpha was prepared to kill his father but Kreelman escaped by using a time bomb to throw himself a few crucial seconds into the past, materializing in Kreeler base South West. From here, Kreelman ordered a fresh offensive against the mutants of New Britain but this time using T-Weapons en masse. Although Upminster was now in the firm control of the mutant army, Kreelman gave its leaders an ultimatum: surrender or Kreelman would execute one hundred mutants every hour, on the hour, until they laid down their weapons.
The mutants agreed to surrender to King Clarkie and the New British government – not to Kreelman. Prime Minister Benn agreed that a more sympathetic approach would be taken to the mutants and King Clarkie established a Royal Commission to look into dealing with mutants more equitably. But these were hollow words: within weeks the leaders of the mutant army were sentenced to death and all mutant army soldiers interned in the labor camps. The promised reforms for mutants did not take place and Kreelman's abuse of power continued unchecked: Kreelman called for the extermination of every mutant in the country and his motion was passed by three votes in the British Parliament. Mutant kind had been utterly betrayed by those who had promised to help.
The Final Uprising
Assisted by his mother and sister, Johnny Alpha escaped from prison and broke free the other mutant leaders. Assembling at Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain, the remnants of the mutant army, led by Johnny Alpha, Evans the Fist, Middenface McNulty and the Torso from Newcastle delivered the following Charter to Clarkie and parliament:
The Mutants' Charter:
We, the undersigned, make known to the King of New Britain and the Unified Earth Government our beliefs:
• That all humans are created equal;
• That mutants have the unalienable right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness;
• That the extermination of one race by another is unnatural and unfair.
Until the Death Camps are closed – until Mutant Rights are recognized – it is our duty to resist in the name of Humanity.
The mutant army returns to its guerrilla strikes but this time hitting harder and faster than ever before. As more and more resources are thrown at combating the mutants, Kreelman's reputation sinks lower until he is the most hated figure in government. New British Prime Minister Leroy Wedgwood Benn confronted President Kreelman with his own daughter, Ruth, who reveals the truth of Kreelman's duplicity with regards to his own son, Johnny. President Kreelman refuses to resign and instead is captured by New British army troops, but not before a dedicated band of his most loyal soldiers ambush the leadership of the mutant army, killing Johnny Alpha and seriously wounding many others.
Despite this setback, the mutant army again agrees to a ceasefire with Benn's government and this time a real direction on establishing a sympathetic position towards mutants takes place. The surviving leaders of the rebellion, still under a death sentence, are exiled from Earth and many members of the mutant army choose to accompany them. The Kreelers are disbanded and replaced with a new, supposedly impartial, police force (although naturally its ranks are mostly made up of ex-Kreelers) and peace returns to the world. As for President Kreelman, he is secretly relocated off-world and placed in a maximum security prison somewhere in the galaxy.
Creation of the S/D Agency
The Search/Destroy Agency was established in 2168 as part of the reforms agreed by the unified Earth Government and in response to the increasing lawlessness and expansion of colonial settlement across the galaxy. The Galactic Crime Commission had called for some form of law enforcement assistance several years earlier but it had been ignored; however, with such a large number of mutants exiled from the Earth and with considerable military and combat experience, the creation of an agency that could use their talents was the ideal solution.
Advances in space drive technology during the 21st Century have led to the rapid expansion of humanity throughout the galaxy, accompanied by ambitious (and largely successful) terraforming projects to create a plethora of Earth-like worlds. Following the atomic wars of both the 21st and 22nd Centuries, off-world colonies offer the best quality of life for many humans, leading to equally ambitious colonization programs. By 2180 humanity is ubiquitous throughout the galaxy, occupying over two hundred different worlds.
Humans being what they are, crime has naturally been a major interstellar export and the extensive, chaotic, partially governed network of colony worlds has given criminals the perfect environment to escape to and hide out. Just as the frontiers of the old American west offered sanctuary for outlaws, desperadoes and fugitives from justice, so too do the colony worlds.
Policing such a chaotic system is practically impossible. Police administration is invariably localized, often corrupt and chronically lacking in resources: criminals find it easy to evade the law and go to ground: apprehending them is a difficult and often futile exercise. To keep the galaxy clean requires men and women who are unafraid of getting their hands dirty; men who are prepared to hunt down fellow men and women for profit. The Search/Destroy Agency was established to administrate, regulate and operate the network of professional bounty hunters required to help maintain law and order by apprehending wanted criminals.
The law enforcement agencies of the various colony worlds and systems are responsible for identifying and setting the bounties on the heads of wanted criminals, and they advise if a criminal is operating under a death sentence which can be enforced under a Termination Warrant. The S/D Agency is responsible for taking these warrants and administrating them across the galaxy, ensuring that licensed S/D Agents – Strontium Dogs – are aware of the warrants out there, understand a warrant’s terms and work to bring fugitives to justice.
The Galactic and Colonial Administration (GCA)
The administrative bureaucracy for the galaxy, the office of the GCA handles all routine business and administrative affairs for the colony worlds beyond the solar system. A vast and sprawling secretariat that handles the affairs for hundreds of worlds, its main offices are in New Geneva, Earth and they occupy the footprint of a small city.
Like any large administration, the GCA is strangled by its own administrative red tape and prone to petty and not-so petty corruption. Even with the powerful administrative computer systems automating most of the routine and humdrum tasks, it can still take forever to get the simplest request approved, budgeted and actioned. For this reason the colony worlds tend to rely on their own resources to make things happen, rather than waiting for the GCA to crank itself into a forward moving gear. This leads to the typical fragmentation of the administrative system, with official records claiming one thing but the reality on a colony world being something very, very different.
The Galactic Crime Commission (GCC)
Given the vastness of the galaxy and the insurmountable challenge of maintaining law and order, the Galactic Crime Commission has a remit to ensure that law is enforced equally across the galaxy, in the most expedient way. It does this through a two-tier mechanism. Every star system has its own System Law Enforcement agency that is responsible for all day-to-day policing within its worlds (or an entire sub-sector, if the sub-sector is sparsely populated). This includes police actions of arrest and operation of the court system, both of which follow the systems and procedures in use on Earth. At least, the Earth-model is the intention. In reality every system introduces its own quirks and conventions reflecting the nature of the system and worlds within it and/or the personalities involved. The GCA is meant to guard against such diversity but in reality is powerless to prevent it. System Law Enforcement is run on very lean budgets which mean that its effectiveness is always compromised. System Law Enforcement is ill-equipped to deal with anything but the most basic, uncomplicated crimes and is certainly unequipped to pursue those criminals and fugitives who manage to continually evade the law. This is where the second mechanism comes in.
The second mechanism is the Search/Destroy Agency. Essentially, the S/D Agency is a privately operated, but GCA and GCC-approved, outfit. The S/D Agency is fully licensed to pursue, and where necessary terminate, the perpetrators of serious crimes anywhere in the galaxy. As a privately operated organization, S/D can be neatly distanced from the GCA and GCC when necessary, although everyone understands that, despite all its private credentials, the S/D Agency is the bounty-hunting branch of the Galactic Crime Commission. As the idea of hunting humans for money is still morally repugnant, even in the 22nd Century, the S/D Agency's almost exclusive use of mutants allows the GCA and GCC to retain a certain moral dignity (despite actually having none at all) in the public arena.
Therefore the S/D Agency pursues those criminals and fugitives that are beyond the reach and capabilities of System Law Enforcement. It can use weapons and tactics that are completely contrary to 'legal' policing and with agents who are, to all intents and purposes, as expendable as one can possibly get.
The GCC is responsible for setting the terms of a warrant for any fugitive that S/D agents pursue. It determines, based on the severity of the crime, whether the warrant is Capture or Termination and then the value of the reward. The reward value is what is paid directly to the S/D agent who brings in the subject of the warrant but an additional fifteen percent of the reward value is paid to the S/D Agency to help towards operating costs. The GCC is always in full control of the terms of a warrant and can raise or lower the value of a reward according to information and circumstances; similarly, it can change a warrant from Capture to Termination (or vice versa) and any changes made to a warrant are automatically fed to the S/D Agency so that the agents in the field – the Strontium Dogs – are fully aware of the conditions.
System Colonial Administration (SCA)
System Colonial Administration represents the GCA at a system level, attempting to administer GCA laws and regulations across any number of worlds within a given star system. As one might expect, it is a bureaucratic nightmare which, far removed from the bureaucratic nightmare it represents, means that SCAs tend to forge their own path and to hell with what GCA says.
SCAs tend to fall into one of three camps:
The Ultra-Authoritative. The administration tries to micro-manage every aspect of citizens' and settlers' lives. Because it is distant from the GCA it believes it must work twice as hard to enforce its presence. Laws, rules and regulations are enforced without any thought for how the quality of life is affected; taxes are high and collected by the most efficient bureaucracy ever conceived, whilst those parts of society that really need an efficient bureaucracy, such as health care or system law enforcement, suffer. Petty politicians and bureaucrats delight in building their own empires, shaded by the SCA's murky, impenetrable conventions, allowing corruption and despotism to flourish unchallenged. The worst aspects of Earth tend to be magnified, whilst the true needs of the worlds in the system tend to be ignored.
It is in these kinds of systems that mutant hating and bigotry is every bit as mendacious as it is on Earth.
Struggling Heroically. The administration tries to balance the dictates of the GCA with the genuine local needs of the system worlds. Bureaucracy takes a backseat to genuine local interests but at the expense of administrative coherence. Social concerns tend to be good but the essential infrastructure, such as communication, social and health care and law enforcement are under-funded but supported morally. It is systems falling into this type that criminals and fugitives find easy to hide within. The gaps in the administration make it easy for people to enter the system or land on a world and simply disappear. It makes those systems easy prey for organized criminal elements – either mafia-style gangs or marauding pirates and outlaws – to prey on the weak and isolated.
Mutants are still disliked, generally but the prejudice tends to be lessened and, in some quarters (generally outlying colony worlds where life is hard for everyone), mutants may even be accepted.
Might as Well Not Exist. The system administration has broken down almost completely – either through inefficiency, incompetence or corruption (and usually a mixture of the three).Certain offices exist, like law enforcement or tax collection but are simply a veneer for the greedy, corrupt and inept to hide within, playing the systems, lining their pockets and generally having an easy life. Meanwhile the worlds of the system struggle on regardless. Crime runs at uncontrolled levels; life is cheap; and the infrastructure is as good as the amount of charity existing within the hearts and minds of those who can afford to indulge in it. These types of systems are lawless backwaters where criminal scum thrive and prosper. Many of the criminals might even run the agencies of the SCA.
It is not uncommon to find mutant prejudice non-existent in such systems; there are other things to hate and exploit.
System Law Enforcement (SLE)
System Law Enforcement is the GCC's police force, attending to everything the police forces of Earth attend to but clearly within the remit of a particular system and (supposedly) sensitive and sympathetic to the local conditions of that system. Known by a variety of names – cops, sleepers, the heat, the fuzz, rozzers, the filth, and many more – depending on the quality and character of the SLE, this is the uniformed (and sometimes plain clothes) police service; a very, very thin blue line.
Two things can be depended upon where SLEs are concerned: they will be under-funded and overworked. In many cases they will be understaffed, under-trained, under-managed and under-performing, too.
Where the SCA is of the Ultra-Authoritative kind, expect the SLE to mirror that authoritarianism with random cruelty, a delight in prosecuting even the slightest crimes, arrogance and an absolute, passionate, perhaps even murderous, hatred for Strontium Dogs. The SLE will not be any more effective because it is so fascistic; in fact, it is likely to be corruption-rife and populated by the kind of psychopaths who enjoy uniforms and really ought to be the subject of termination warrants.
In systems where the SCA is Struggling Heroically, expect the SLE to be just as under-funded, overworked and so forth but put a brave face on things, work the long hours, suffer all the indignities and Do Their Best. The officers are as efficient as they can be but realize that there are some crimes and criminals that are simply beyond their capabilities to slop. These SLEs do not like Strontium Dogs but see them as a necessary evil.
Where the SCA Might as Well Not Exist, the system police tend to be equally invisible: timid, office-bound and paperwork-beleaguered. Chasing targets and issuing parking tickets is as strict as the regime gets; dealing with serious crime is simply something for specialists to do. Strontium Dogs are viewed with ambiguity and sometimes with relief; these are the kinds of specialists the SLE rely upon – men and women with big guns and the guts to take on the scum of the universe and collect the reward. Meanwhile, the SLE counts both its beans and its blessings.
Local S/D Offices
Every system has a local S/D office, usually at the headquarters of the SLE but sometimes it is a separate entity. SLE officers are usually drafted-in to staff the office, meaning that the amount of help S/D angels are given depends very much on prevailing levels of competence and prejudice. The routine is simple. When an S/D agent arrives on a world, he comes to the office, registers his presence and the warrant he is executing and what weapons he is carrying. The S/D office issues the necessary permits to comply with local laws or, if local law cannot be complied with (because some kinds of weapons are illegal, even for S/D agents), then the office acts as a depository for the weaponry, which is collected when the Strontium Dog leaves the world. The S/D office also verifies the conclusion of the warrant and issues payment in folding money. It should therefore be the first port of call for every S/D agent and, sometimes, registration can be done in advance, meaning that the Strontium Dog can get on with the task of tracking down his quarry.
The Search/Destroy Agency and the Dog House
Established in 2167, the S/D Agency is a semi-private organization operated from a massive orbital habitat known as the Dog House – even though its official name is S/D Central. The S/D Agency is the only organization with a trans-galaxy sanction to seek-out and, where permitted, kill, criminals and fugitives from justice. Technically it has no powers of arrest and its agents can only apprehend subjects or return fire upon them if they are executing a specific warrant. Therefore, the S/D Agency is not a police force; neither is it, officially, a part of the galactic executive or administration: if it were, then the GCA would be sanctioning murder directly and many of the S/D Agency's operating practices (hiring mutants, for example) would be vulnerable to government scrutiny. Instead, the S/D Agency works in a shadowy position somewhere between government partnership and private bounty hunting company.
In its thirteen years of existence the S/D Agency has managed to bring to justice thousands of highly dangerous criminals who would have otherwise been beyond the arm of the law. Given access to time and dimensional weapons, S/D agents have a staggering arsenal with which to hunt down these fugitives and the lure of a cash reward ensures dedication to the cause. Some Norms are attracted to the S/D Agency but, in truth, few have the stomach for it. Mutants, having grown up facing adversity and having been forced to survive on their wits and in the most unpleasant conditions, are far more psychologically disposed to hunting down the scum of the galaxy and either hauling them back to face the justice system or killing them in cold blood. In mutants, the GCA has found a way of having one deprived under-layer of society prey upon another, unwanted layer. It is the ideal situation.
The S/D Agency operates from S/D Central or, as it is more commonly known, the Dog House. The Dog House contains the administrative offices for the entire S/D Agency, which still relies on human executives to assess incoming warrants, assign them to specific Strontium Dogs if necessary or make a warrant termination. Thus, the Dog House is divided into two distinct sections: the Administrative and Operations wing, which performs all the routine tasks that keep S/D effective; and the Agents' Wing, which is where S/D Agents can congregate, socialize, buy equipment and search through the latest warrants that are of interest.
Dog House Structure
The Dog House is a pair of unequally sized ovoids joined together by a central column. A doughnut-shaped accommodation ring surrounds the central column and four vertical maintenance shafts connect the two ovoid rings with the transportation ring and each other. Viewed from the side, the Dog House resembles a semi-molten set of gymnasium dumbbells. The smaller of the two ovoids is the Admin and Operations wing, whilst the larger ovoid is the Agents' wing. The circular accommodation loop around the central shaft (which is part of the A/O wing) is officially part of the Agents' wing.
The Dog House is locked in geostationary orbit 10,000 miles above New Britain, visible as a very bright singularity from most of the planet. The main hull is constructed from three-foot thick reinforced durasteel, impregnable to all but the heaviest of artillery. A massive force field generator provides additional protection, creating a force wall surrounding the entire station for a maximum of two hours at a time.
A network of gravity generators placed at strategic points on all decks ensures Earth gravity levels are maintained. The gravity generators are not as efficient as they could be, never reaching more than 86% efficiency (0.86 G) and can fluctuate wildly when other high drain electrical systems are in operation, causing bouts of nausea or 'space sickness' among the occupants. Atmosphere is maintained by three large oxy-generators located in the Admin and Operations wing. These each have independent power generators, a fail-safe ensuring an atmosphere is maintained in the event of a power failure in the main fission reactor. The ventilation system accesses all parts of the station.
There are three main entrance portals – the main and secondary shuttle bays in the A/O wing and the primary docking gate to the Agents' wing. All decks have small maintenance airlocks. In the event of a hull breech, automated systems activate armored bulkheads to isolate the affected area within mere seconds of a pressure drop. The bulkheads, placed thirty meters apart on every deck, can withstand a huge amount of damage and are armor-plated with durasteel armor. The bulkheads cannot be activated manually and their operation is controlled from the Control Deck in the A/O wing.
Stairways and elevators are present on every floor, occupying a central shaft cutting through the heart of the station. Lighting provided by large illuminated-panels set at regular intervals along the walls and ceilings, providing illumination equivalent to normal Earth daylight. These draw power from the main fission reactor but because the panels are a low priority system they receive less power than necessary to grant full capacity illumination. In the event of a power drain, the lights are always the first to go off when the Dog House's heavy equipment is in operation – experienced agents can always tell when the time slip or force field are on when all the lights start to flicker. Red emergency lights are fitted in vital areas, drawing their power from the reserve solar power stack. They activate quickly after a lighting failure. The Dog House operates on a standard Earth day – twenty-four hours split into three eight-hour shifts.
Warrants and Bounty Hunting
Search/Destroy agents are only legally entitled to violent or restraining action against a target if there is a Galactic Crime Commission warrant in effect. Warrants are legal documents allowing agencies outside of the naive police to hunt down and capture the subjects named on the warrant, using whatever methods of capture the terms of the warrant grants them. A warrant is open until the criminal is captured. Only licensed individuals can pursue a warrant; this means that bounty hunters who are not registered with S/D or who have had a license revoked cannot claim the bounty on a subject at any GCC-sanctioned Law Enforcement Office or at the Dog House.
Warrants fall into one of two categories: Closed and Open.
Closed warrants are those assigned to a specified S/D agent or team of agents – although, technically, any agents may claim the reward for executing the warrant successfully. S/D agents are bound by the terms of their contract with the GCC not to interfere with any closed warrant assigned to a fellow S/D agent but enforcement of this clause of the contract is difficult to police and rarely enforced – which means that interference is a common problem, especially when the subject of a warrant carries a very high reward.
Where a closed warrant is not allocated to a specific S/D agent, Bounty Bingo, as the Strontium Dogs call it, is used to allocate the warrant. Bounty Bingo operates within the Dog House’s briefing room and is witnessed by all interested parties. Bounty Bingo works in the following manner: the S/D agents who are interested in a particular warrant place their S/D badges into a small cargo container. The Station Administrator picks out a badge at random. The name on the back of that badge is assigned the warrant. If the S/D agent who picks up the bounty fails to collect it after a specified deadline, then the bounty then goes onto the GCC database and is available by download onto S/D agent warrant meters across the galaxy. Anybody can go after the bounty; a case of finders-keepers.
Open warrants include all free-for-all warrants not allocated directly to an individual or to a team or assigned through Bounty Bingo. Any S/D agent may hunt down these fugitives.
The Galactic Crime Commission issues three levels of warrant:
Apprehend and Return: The subject of this warrant is wanted alive and must be returned in good health or the same level of health as he had at the time of the warrant’s creation. The subject of an Apprehend and Return warrant will not have been convicted of an actual crime, instead wanted for questioning in connection with a serious misdemeanor or may hold information important to the warrant’s signatory. Any S/D agent who injures an Apprehend and Return warrant subject will only receive half the total warrant reward. An S/D agent who kills the warrantee will not only forfeit the entire reward but will also be subject to investigation by the GCC for his conduct.
Dead or Alive: The most common warrant issued for a felon found guilty of non-capital crimes. The S/D agent who closes this warrant receives the same reward regardless of the physical condition of his target.
Termination: The subject of a termination warrant has been sentenced to death – the S/D agent is legally empowered to execute the subject or can instead turn them in for execution if the warrant’s signatory states as much. An S/D agent must provide proof that the subject of the warrant has been killed before he can claim the rewards, usually by presenting the corpse at the check-in wing of any GCC licensed law enforcement agency. Alternatively, a holographic recording of the target’s demise is quite adequate, providing it is first analyzed for any signs the events depicted have been fabricated.
The value of a reward varies considerably. The figure is determined by the severity of the crime, the number of crimes committed and their type, the psychological state of the criminal and so on.
In general, the size of the reward on offer is as follows:
Non-Violent Criminals and Fugitives: 1,000 cr. – 32,000 cr.
Violent Criminals who are not Murderers: 10,000 cr. – 100,000 cr.
Murderers (single murders): 50,000 cr. – 200,000 cr.
Murderers (multiple): 100,000 cr. – 500,000 cr.
Murderers (spree-killers, serial killers, terrorists): 300,000 cr. – 1.000,000 cr.
Murderers (genocide): 1,000,000 cr. or more
The longer the criminal has been at large, the higher the reward. As a rule of thumb, every full year the criminal has been fleeing justice adds 10,000 credits to the reward. Distance is always a factor, too; those fugitives who manage to flee to the nether regions of the galaxy are likely to remain free if a travel incentive is not offered. Therefore fugitives who have fled to a distant corner of the galaxy usually have an additional amount added to the reward value.
Rising from the ashes of the old Church of England in the wake of the war of 2150, and spreading across both Earth and the colony worlds remarkably quickly, the New Church pursues a shady agenda. The worship of God is still central to the New Church but the teachings of the Bible have been more or less dispensed with; or, at least, those parts of the Bible that preach kindliness, temperance and compassion. The New Church is militaristic, warlike, intolerant of mutants and mutation and has far more in common with the Jesuits and the Inquisition of the 12th Century.
The New Church also embraces dozens of mystical traditions, including numerology, the tarot, q’abbala, shamanism and several alien mystical pathways that may skirt the borders of demonic veneration and Satanism. The old British wizard, Aleister Crowley, is considered a saint by the New Church and his books occupy revered status in the library of Salisbury Cathedral.
But of most importance here is the New Church’s relationship with the Sorcerers of Lyra. For decades the secretive Missionary Commandos, led by some of the most dedicated ecclesiastical officers in the church, have probed the fringes of the Dark Nebula, establishing relations with those sorcerers who are prepared to have dealings with humans and the wider galaxy. As a result, the New Church has forged a relationship, of sorts, with some of the Lyran sorcerers, notably Charn-El, a sorcerer with considerable expertise and knowledge of the dimensions and a key quartermaster in whatever war the Sorcerers of Lyra are waging elsewhere through the multiverse. Charn-El has seen fit to visit Earth, arriving in secret but as the esteemed guest of Lady Grantham and Lord Sagan, to visit various ancient sites of power including Avebury, the Georgia Guidestones, Stonehenge and Glastonbury Tor.
As yet, the New Church has not officially declared any of its own sorcerers but they are thought to exist. Some criminals tracked down by S/D that had clear sorcerous powers were associated with the New Church and their knowledge can be traced back to extended periods of study in the New Church’s Winter Schools held in Canterbury, Lourdes and Waco.
Lady Grantham and the Ecumenical Council
Leader of the New Church is the Revered Holy Mother, Lady Grantham. An orator of eloquence and passion, she is dedicated to spreading the word of the New Church across the galaxy and making New Britain not just a world power in Earth but a galactic power. She is the beloved figurehead who controls the New Church’s operations from Salisbury Cathedral, aided by her Ecumenical Council. The Council advises on domestic and foreign matters, informing policy, formulating strategy, controlling PR and developing a strong media presence. Under the control of Lord Mosely the media wing of the New Church has taken religious and mystical propaganda to new heights and the church owns several major broadcast networks across various systems allowing it to disseminate news, views and re-education on topics close to the New Church’s heart.
The political wing of the Ecumenical Council liaises with the parliaments of New Britain and the rest of the world under the aegis of Lord Sagan, a politician every bit the equal of his mother, Lady Grantham. Sagan manipulates the political agenda to continually promote and have ratified the New Church’s stance on every conceivable issue. The first move was to have all other religions declared heretical – which put paid to Catholicism, Anglicanism, Islam, Judaism, Gruddism and Fundamental Zoroastrianism (which had begun to gain popularity around 2156, shortly after the Great War). Subsequent moves saw the New Church gaining seats in parliament and on a variety of select committees, which it soon began to control. Under Sagan, the New Church is on the verge of making parliament redundant as more people flock to the faith and begin to see a determinism in the New Church that is sadly lacking in the over-paid, preening, corrupt and procrastinating mutant-sympathizers in the current government. The British royal family (controlled by the King Mother, perhaps Lady Grantham’s equal in harridanism) is considered impotent and expensive and this places the New Church in pulpit-position to assume the full governance of the New British Isles.
The Missionary Commandos
The armed proselytizing wing of the New Church, the Missionary Commandos are highly trained in both Church doctrine and military tactics so that the New Church’s missionaries are fully protected and supported wherever they happen to be sent in the galaxy. The Missionary Commandos also serve as trouble-shooters and enforcement officers where ‘special measures’ are needed.
Members of the Missionary Commandos must fulfil the following criteria:
Have served at least two terms in either the army or marines;
Have no history of mutation anywhere in the family;
Pledge and demonstrate, one hundred percent devotion and loyalty to the New Church;
Carry a picture of Lady Grantham at all times;
Adhere to the strict code of celibacy the Missionary division of the New Church insists upon; and
Carry through all orders, to the letter, without question.
As murderous and fanatical as they come, the Missionary Commandos are tough, uncompromising, keen to spread the word and pepper unbelievers with automatic fire at any available opportunity. Missionary Commandos are not always sure what constitutes ‘unbelief’ but as their commanding officers, like Lords Sagan, Farrell, Baden and Mosely, seem to have all the answers, there is little need for them to concern themselves with such details.