Friday, 21 February 2014

Council of Seven Information Services (C.o.S.I.S.) - P

ACCESS GRANTED

P

Peacekeepers, Perestia Prime Correctional Facility, Phantasm - Ada-Lorena MVP, Plague, The Plague (Plague Mutations, Plague Terminology), Plague 1st Gen, Plague 2nd Gen, Plague 3rd Gen with Grenade Launcher, Plague 3rd Gen with Heavy Machinegun; 3rd Gen with Rifle, Plague Enforcer, Plague Mutant Team, Plague Zombies, Praetorian MVP, The, Prefabricated Units (Battlezone Terrain), Pusk Rampager.

KEY - Deadzone, Dreadball, Dreadball Xtreme.

Peacekeepers.

Enforcers are tough agile troops. They get great equipment and excellent weaponry. With their training and discipline they are capable of fighting in all but the most difficult conditions.

However sometimes conditions are too hard even for an Enforcer detachment. Sometimes they need more.


The council equip the Enforcers with kit bought from the Forge Fathers. No expense is spared - they get the very best money can buy. Sometimes the Forge Fathers limit what they will sell, however. Sometimes the price is so high even the council blanches.

When a deal can be done the council purchase Peacekeeper armour. These suits are based on the Forge Father Orbital Drop Armour and have full-life support systems - capable of maintaining life for several days in even the most hostile environments - and they are armed with ordnance most armies can only dream of…


Perestia Prime Correctional Facility.

Director Rasulov opens up the gates of the Perestia Prime Correctional Facility and let’s loose the inmates to play against the likes of Blaine and his collection of free agents.


Phantasm, Ada-Lorena MVP.

It would be easy to assume that the Ada-Lorana are drones, straight-forward beings without individuality or personal drive, but that is simply an error of perception. Rather, it is the case that they are generally beyond the concerns of most flesh-based creatures; that does not mean, however, that they are beyond emotion. Recently, one of them – a fifth-level gyaana known as “Phantasm” – has risen to a position of prominence among the Ada-Lorana, and has led them into GCPS space in search of one particular criminal: Blaine. The interdimensional offender is due a comeuppance, and Phantasm is keen to be the one that brings it. He is not just a leader, but a very powerful agent in his own right; now he has brought his capabilities to the DreadBall circuit, where he is more than willing to bide his time and play the humans’ game while his forces gather information on his quarry.

Plague.

Perhaps the most alarming cause that is hidden by Containment Protocols is outbreaks of the Plague. There are many virulent infections that can massacre colonies, but the most dangerous is not natural. It is simply known as the Plague and is the product of  little-understood alien artefacts. These strange devices are scattered seemingly at random across Corporation space and beyond, infecting and mutating those who are not killed by the virulent mutagens they contain, turning the few survivors into crazed monsters that rampage across their worlds, killing and infecting any they find. News of such events causes mass panic in nearby systems as a few of these monsters retain enough of their old skills to use weapons, operate computers and pilot spaceships.

Bloodthirsty monsters created by an alien virus, the Plague exist for one thing only – to spread their contagion as far as possible. The virus affects its hosts in a variety of ways; its earliest victims become towering hulks, filled with a steadfast will which drives their lesser kin. In its second generation, the Plague creates smaller, faster, but no less deadly monsters. The third stage infected show considerably less extreme physical changes, but they retain the ability to use technology, laying down covering fire with looted weapons while their larger brethren advance.

Plague, The.

There have been increasing reports of a terrifying virus unleashed by alien artefacts scattered across the Expansion Zone. Each primary victim is twisted into a brutal colossus hell-bent on spreading its contagion to new hosts. These second-generation victims suffer the same mutation to a lesser degree, becoming less massive but no less deadly. Once the virus reaches its third generation the physical changes are mostly superficial and some brain function is left intact; some say that these are the worst of the three, as they can still operate weapons and machinery. These beasts exist only to spread their Plague to new hosts, and once they arrive on a planet it can only be a matter of time before it is overrun and ruined.


The Plague is not really a disease at all. Although it spreads like an infection and wipes out populations like the most virulent of biohazards, it is in fact an alien mutagen. Whether this is intended as a weapon, some form of self-defence or simply as a means to keep the rats down is unknown. Ongoing research still struggles with both the identity of the aliens responsible as well as their purpose.


What is known is that certain areas of space have been seeded with a series of readily recognisable alien artefacts. These are sometimes robust and impenetrable, whilst at other times they allow themselves to be easily opened. Huge penalties are levied on anyone hiding knowledge of their whereabouts, and given their lethality most citizens are more than happy to alert the nearest Corporation outpost when one is found. They are swiftly recovered and contained in a secure unit with the best precautions available. Sadly this is seldom sufficient.


When the artefact is eventually cracked open, anyone in the immediate proximity not wearing at least level 7 biohazard protection is immediately infected with the mutagen. This initial stage has a very low mortality rate as it is key to the Plague spreading. Most of those within a few metres will be turned into Stage 1s. These are the focus of each outbreak, and tracking them down is key to containing it. Until they have all been destroyed the Plague will continue to spread. As individuals they are powerful and cunning commanders. All of their previous character and skills have been overwhelmed as thoroughly as their physical form has been. This has been replaced with an innate tactical cunning that makes them natural commanders. They are dangerous foes in combat too, but they are not just beasts.


These rapidly disperse, slaughtering any they can find as they spread out, each carving its own dominion among the civilian population. Whilst they attack indiscriminately, not all of their victims die. A percentage are themselves infected and these mutate into Stage 2 creatures. These creatures lose most of their higher functions and serve as the premier warriors of the outbreak. They are devastating in  close combat.

Those who survive the rampages of the Stage 2s may themselves be mutated into Stage 3s. As the mutagen spreads from its source it is diluted yet further, the potency is reduced, and the Stage 3s are more recognisably what they were originally. Not all survive the transformation, though those that do can be left with shadows and fragments of their previous character and skills. This allows the Stage 3s to perform many of the support tasks for the outbreak, using weapons and operating technology so that the Plague as a whole may even move between planets. Even though they are individually far less dangerous than the earlier stages in terms of raw combat potential, these residual skills and intelligence can make them very dangerous for those attempting to contain an outbreak.


Plague Mutations.
Acid Bite - Instead of venom, this mutant has evolved the ability to inject acidic bile into its victims. This has the helpful side effect of burning through armour that would normally protect its wearer from a mere bite.
Acid Breath - The effect quickly dissipates, but anyone close to the foul breath of this mutant will have skin dissolved and flesh seared from bone by the corrosive cloud.
Crippling Spasms - Unspeakable pain wracks the mutant’s body, and every movement only makes it worse.
Overactive Metabolism - The world appears to slow down as this mutant’s body races. Every process is accelerated, every sense sharpened. Standing still is impossible, walking a huge effort. He now lives for the hunt, the chase and the kill.
Razor Claws - Mutants normally have sharp and dangerous talons, and this one is no exception. In fact, the talons have evolved with such fine and hardened edges that can slice armour as well as flesh.
Spiny Growths - The skin of the mutant twists and changes into boney protrusions, adding to their resilience. As these growths feel little pain these mutants can take far more punishment than lesser creatures.
Vestigial Wings - A tough membrane connects the limbs of the mutant in an ungainly mass of skin. It is cumbersome on the ground, but shows its worth when the creature scales the tallest buildings without fear.
Wasted Muscles - If the mutant ever had any strength it has left them now. They need to fight alongside many of their kin if they are to have a chance against their foes.

Plague Terminology.
Officially, the Corporation classify the various Plague creatures as a series of stages. The initial Stage 1s are infected by the alien artefact directly. They infect Stage 2s, who in turn infect Stage 3s. Within this simple process is an additional level of detail. To accurately classify an individual creature you need to specify not only which stage it is at, but also what host creature it was based on.

The mutagens create vastly different results depending on the genetic stock they have to work with. So, the full designation has a letter at the end to designate species. For example, Stage 1A (for human), Stage 3D (canine), Stage 2T (Teraton), and so on. Of course, while that is all well and good in a formal paper on the subject back at base, in the field they get given all kinds of names. Most commonly they are simply referred to as 1st, 2nd or 3rd generations, or “jens” for short. Even less formal are terms like “Hellhounds”, Boom-stick” or “General”, and they’re just the repeatable ones.

In the end it doesn’t really matter what the troops on the ground call their foes, as long as they report the correct terminology to the intelligence division. They need accurate reports so that they can map out the spread and determine whether the Plague can be contained.

Plague 1st Gen.

Classified as a Stage 1A, anyone exposed to a Plague Artefact has a 99.2% chance of immediate infection, with survivors mutating into First-Stage Infected. These giants are a force to be reckoned with, easily capable of tearing through the armour of a fortified emplacement or troop carrier.

Plague 2nd Gen.

When the first victim of the Plague succumbs to the deadly alien virus then become what is known as a 1st Generation - a brutal colossus hell-bent on spreading its contagion to new hosts. These massive beings spread the plague in the ensuing slaughter and those second-generation victims that are infected suffer the same mutation to a lesser degree, becoming less massive but no less deadly.

The second stage of the virus creates fast, deadly creatures with heavy plates of bony armour. They are often found leading the charge as the third-stage infected lay down a barrage of covering fire. Most terrifying of all are the (thankfully rare) infected Teratons, walls of muscle and armour that are little more than living battering rams. Although most of Nexus Psi's population were human, it also had its share of alien inhabitants. Teratons are a frightening enough prospect as they are, but under the mutating influence of the Plague they become unstoppable juggernauts of destruction.


Plague 3rd Gen with Grenade Launcher.

Third-generation infected put a variety of weapons to use, and occasionally one of them will stumble across specialist weaponry such as a grenade launcher. Although these are not generally used by the civilians that make up the bulk of the first wave of Infected, they are standard gear for the military forces that accompany them. Their explosive ordnance can quickly throw organised firing lines into disarray, giving first- and second-generation infected the chance to break cover and charge enemy lines.

Plague 3rd Gen with Heavy Machinegun; 3rd Gen with Rifle.

By the time the Plague reaches its third generation, its mutating effects are considerably lessened, meaning a much higher number of victims survive to join the ranks of the infected. These third-generation troopers still undergo a physical alteration, but their minds are left almost intact. As a result, they are the only warriors in the Plague ranks that are capable of operating machinery, and quickly scavenge weapons to provide covering fire to their bestial masters.

The third stage of the virus creates mutated creatures that still retain most of their higher brain functions, leaving them free to work the weapons and machines that their first- and second-stage brethren cannot. They operate in a fire support role with scavenged weapons, covering the larger and more deadly Plague creatures as they advance.

Third-stage infected drawn from military units provide long-ranged support with heavy weaponry, laying down punishing cover fire while their larger kin advance. The Plague affects more than just the human population; infected Hellhounds lope ahead of the main force, tearing their prey apart with unnaturally powerful jaws, while swarms of smaller creatures creep through even the staunchest defences.

Plague Enforcer.
Unfortunately for most life-forms only the Marauders are naturally immune to the Plague. This is an issue for those in Plague infected areas without sufficient safety measures in place...and unfortunately not even the Corporations finest are as safe as they'd like...


Plague Mutant Team.
These bogiemen don't really exist, do they? Of course not - these mutants are just make-believe, particularly as Zombies are all the rage with the latest series of ACKNET's "BRAINZZZZ," airing every week at 8 on CorpNetwork.


Out on the frontier, at the edge of the Death Arc, lies the planet Kovoss. It is entirely unremarkable. At first glance it is little more than a barren rock, lacking even the most basic harvestable minerals, but if anyone stopped to look a little longer they would see the charred remnants of a civilisation that succumbed to the whims of the Council of Seven.

As was the way with so many planets around the Death Arc, settlers on Kovoss unearthed one of the deadly alien Artefacts that housed the Plague. Corporation Central called Containment Protocol almost immediately, but too few military vessels were in the area to affect an adequate cordon. A judgement call was made, and Containment Protocol was upgraded to Storm Protocol. The surface was relentlessly bombarded with high-yield nuclear warheads. Nothing survived. Almost a century later, a Lu-Fan researcher by the name of Zarathusa Kain was looking for a remote, inhospitable location to conduct top-secret research into the Plague. Kovoss was a clear choice. Working with the best resources money could buy, a highly capable team of researchers and samples smuggled out from quarantined worlds, he began his greatest work...



Project Kovoss was not an overnight success. The overall aim of the project was to fully understand the Plague and eventually render it controllable, but this proved more difficult than Kain ever imaged. There were countless setbacks, and on at least two occasions the virus – which seemed to have a sentience all of its own – somehow broke quarantines and almost began a full-scale outbreak. Thankfully, the research facility was guarded by elite Lu-Fan army troopers who were under strict shoot-first orders, and each instance was contained within well under an hour.


Kain’s first positive tests came three years after he first began work on Kovoss, when he successfully utilised Plague spores to ameliorate acceptance rates in a standard tissue graft. He followed this up by attempting a cross-species hybridisation, attempting to fuse alien body parts to a human subject. One tiny step at a time, his work progressed to the point where he could easily combine elements of multiple creatures, using the Plague’s mutagenic properties as a sort of glue to bind everything together. Once he was certain that he had neutralised its ability to self-propagate, he removed his subjects from their sealed environment and began to subject them to field tests.

Going undercover, Kain introduced his creations to the underground DreadBall scene as “Kovossian Mutants”, relying on the widespread ignorance of the Plague to ensure their true nature remained a secret. If the players sharing a pitch with the abominations knew what they really were, Kain would be strung up in seconds, but he sees this as a negligible risk; the crowds don’t care where the Kovossians really come from as long as they continue to display such obvious brutality and skill.

Plague Zombies.

Towering men in shining suits of armour, hulking green monstrosities, the alien with a face full of tentacles… Ana thought she’d seen it all. But the sight of her friend, half of her face missing, clawing herself along the ground; that was too much to take.

Paralysed, too scared to even scream, listening to the sounds of the half-dozen Infected tearing flesh from bone in the next room, Ana resigned herself to death.....

In the aftermath of infection, many millions of citizens encounter the nightmare horrors of the Plague. Not all meet the same fate.

A handful survive, scratching out a living on the shattered remnants of their world. By far the majority are slaughtered, their minds and bodies succumbing to the infection.

The remainder are those who survive the first attacks, often horribly wounded and mentally scarred by the ferocity of the mutants. These regular citizens are infected by the mutating horror of the alien plague. This mutation creates the sadly familiar monsters you see on the battlefield, but these are just its greatest works. Far more common are the rejected mutations that have overwhelmed their host to the point of leaving little but a hollow shell of a twisted animal.

Officially these creatures are 3rd Generation Plague mutants. However, to distinguish them from the normal 3rd Gens who retain memories and skills from their former lives and hold a degree of higher cognitive function, these are coded as 3Z. They are bestial and savage creatures, driven by pain and hunger to attack, though lacking the fighting skill of the purer, more successful mutations.

Given their appearance it is hardly surprising that most combat troops refer to them as zombies.


Praetorian MVP, The.

The origins of the Praetorian is clouded in mystery – some say he was a lone spacefarer who crash landed on a Judwan-inhabited planet – others say that he travelled from beyond the edges of the known universe.

The Praetorian is a complete enigma – he does not wear armour as his skin shifts like living metal. Some have come to think of the Praetorian as a cyborg – others accept that he is just another kind of alien. It’s not clear how an Asterian Cypher came to be playing DreadBall, but being a military-grade combat unit has given the Praetorian many advantages in the arena.


Prefabricated Units.

In the sparsely populated planets of the far reaches of Corporation space, the settlements all tend towards a familiar look – built from the same prefab units that are supplied by Shensig Interplanetary to almost every colonist collective and security unit known to man. These boxy and utilitarian blocks are formed into storage units, barracks, workshops, offices, armories, labs, holding pens, and medi-centres with equal ease.


They are the defining architectural wonder of the Corporation and are commonly what alien races assume to be the pinnacle of human achievement. They are a far cry from the architectural marvels of the Core.

It's inevitable given the dangers inherent in exploration that war and the ravages of a hostile environment can cause damage to even the must sturdy of structures. These damaged and (apparently) abandoned buildings are a stark reminder that nowhere is truly safe...


Pusk Rampager.

Newcomers to one of the many worlds with an indigenous Pusk population are often fooled by their stubby legs and obvious lack of depth perception into considering them harmless. They soon realize their mistake. Few have heard the enraged squeal of a charging bull-Pusk and lived to tell the tale… 

Acknowledgements.
Gmorts Chaotica would like to thank James M Hewitt, Mantic Games, the Quirkworthy Blog, Titan Games and of course the Corporation for their invaluable assistance in the compiling of this encyclopaedia.

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