This Week in the Spotlight, we looked at Galaxies End by Sierra Brown and their articleDragon Combat Infantry Unit! From communist space-empires down to the exact mechanics of the caseless ammunition, it is a world of impressive depth and detail, so stick around!
The Spotlight takes place on the WorldAnvil discord server, with the community invited to discuss an article with the spotlight host. This week it was hosted by Community Spark Qurilion.
They talked about the way of life of the people of the UAF (the United Arshan Federation), their Dragon Combat Infantry Unit, and some of the technology of their world.
Spotlight – Inspirations
Tell us about your world Sierra?
Well. It’s more a /galaxy/ than a world technically. But it’s a setting a good.. 700 years or so in the future, long after Earth was destroyed in nuclear armageddon..
Humanity survived though, either through colony ships that were launched in a last ditch effort to save the species, or from the colonies that were on Mars at the time of the third world war.
And new human nations rose across the quadrant, eventually forming into four major human-controlled powers: The Sol Empire, The United Arshan Federation, the Republic of Sion, and the Democratic Republic of Terra. The latter of which is also part of a powerful alien alliance called the Varkesh
Aliens are always fun. What was the inspirations for the setting? What started it all of? Was there a high concept that set it all of?
Literally it all started as a backstory for a character in a free form RP setting. All that existed back then was the name ‘United Arshian Federation’ (Not a typo – It was called Arshian instead of Arshan back then).
This universe has been building in my mind since my freshman year of high school. There’s some inspiration taken from games I’ve played, books I’ve read, and movies I’ve watched.
As an example, the story of how Titus Young formed the Sol Empire? Loosely inspired by Arcturus Mengsk.
When I was in high school I imagined this becoming a novel. I’m more interesting in GMing some table top games in the setting than writing stories at this point. But maybe.
Spotlight – Technology
Discussing technology, what does the medic’s kit look like? Do they have syringes full of nanobots of regeneration, or that stuff also more down to earth?
Alot of human technology is actually somewhat similar to what you’d see in modern day to near-future Earth, with a few fields having far more development for one reason or another. Basically every nation had to start over from scratch, using only the materials and resources they brought with them, found on the planets they landed on, and what survived of records in their colony ships
A medic’s kit would probably look fairly similar to what one carries today. Maybe made with some different materials, and with some more advances in medicine. But the concept would still be the same – Bandages, equipment for suturing wounds, autoinjectors, etc.
I saw drone technicians being mentioned in the article and wondered how common and advanced stuff like that was? Is drone warfare a common feature in your setting as a whole? And how advanced are the AI?
Arshan drones are pretty much completely remote controlled, with little to no AI development in the Federation at all. The drones these particular technicians use are primarily for scouting, observation, and overwatch. They’re light weight to be easy to carry and highly maneuverable and, if armed, only armed with a lighter caliber weapon like a modified SMG.
There are combat oriented drones too, but those are typically operated from outside an infantry team.
Spotlight – Politics & Ethics
The Dragon Combat Unit belongs to the United Arshian Federation. Can you tell us a little bit about them to set the stage? They’re a communist-economy and very “nationalistic”. But what is a Stratocracy? I’ve not come across that word before!
To put it simply, a stratocracy is a military controlled government. The UAF is a federal stratocracy – If you’re an Arshan citizen, you’re an Arshan soldier first and foremost. Pretty much everything is run by one branch or another of the military.
Because of their focus on military and nationalism, I imagine elite combat unit like the Dragon and the Alpha Squadron are really important. Are they a big deal?
Alpha Squadron is most definitely a big deal. They’re regarded as the bets of the best, top of the line everything.
In Alpha Squadron, there’s a few other units. Wyvern Unit is the aerospace superiority force. Blackjack is the logistical force, ferrying troops and supplies between ships and strategic positions
Alpha’s far more compact in terms of the number of different divisions, compared to say Foxtrot.
Where Foxtrot has multiple different divisions for different types of groups – I.e. combat infantry is one division, recon and scouting is another, Alpha groups all that into Dragon, Wyvern, Blackjack, and a few other units I haven’t named yet. There is also Whiteshield and Whitesword, but those are specialist roles that exist solely for defensive purposes
In the UAF article, you talk about their communist economy and so on. How do the soldiers of the Alpha Squadron fit into that when they are not on duty? What about retirement or crippling injury?
So… With the UAF. Nobody ever really retires. You continue serving the Federation in one form or another, and when someone is incapable of serving in any way due to severe injury or illness, it’s actually considered inhumane to allow someone to live when they can’t contribute or fend for themselves.
And serving isn’t just in active duty combat. Plenty of desk jobs out there. But yes, the Arshans are not a shining beacon of perfect morality. But then, nobody is.
Is that a big part of the setting? Grey morality?
Yeah. And the idea of perspectives, and how what one culture perceives as good, another perceives as evil.
To the Arshans? It’s cruel to force someone to live out the rest of their life, unable to contribute in even the most basic sense.
To the Solus? It’s cruel to euthanise someone when they’re no longer useful to the government.
Thank you to Sierra Brown for sharing your time and your setting with us. The depth and detail is really amazing, and I encourage everyone to go check it out! (special thanks to Shrike for being particularly active audience, too and asking many of the questions!)