The Vanguard is an organization-turned-nation acting as a primary member of the New United Nations. Originally it was but a small military group funded by Cosmos Babylonia, but later absorbed the benefactor in its entirety. Now the Vanguard is an entire nation, having built cities and providing more support for its civilians. Despite its position in the Galactic Cold War, the state maintains healthy connections with uninvolved nations such as the Systems Alliance.
When the Vanguard started, its peak in military capability was fewer than 50 warships and a handful of garrisons of soldiers. However, its supporter Cosmos Babylonia started to collapse. The organization quickly absorbed Babylonia and began to grow. Initially, said growth prompted isolationism so that the state could focus on spreading its borders without conflict and find ways to support its increasing population.
When the nation found its footing, it began to take a bigger role on the galactic stage, opening up trade with as many nations as possible and even opening an embassy on the Citadel that it maintains to this day. They did not sign The Citadel Charter, however, that the majority of large nations follow. Soon after, they became a part of the New United Nations as a founding member. The Vanguard has since remained a military-oriented nation.
CADM Hannah Shepard
The Vanguard Navy is the most powerful branch of the military and the greatest contribution that the nation can offer to the New United Nations. Its fleet is over four times as large as most others, thanks to the assistance of the Universal Council Of Races and Cineris Collective Government. The majority of the fleet is kept in Vanguard territory, but groups have been set aside to help guard allied space or escort the NUNS Chayyliel.
Though the Navy is designed to be ready for as many situations as possible, it specializes in long-range artillery and bombardment. Barring carriers and light frigates, a large coilgun typically runs the length of a ship. For closer combat, ships carry varying numbers of broadside guns. For point-defense, they utilize various laser arrays. Originally ships were equipped with kinetic barriers, but their weakness to directed energy weapons prompted an upgrade to energy shields.
Thanks to the Traveler, the Fleet could upgrade not only their shields, but their interstellar travel as well. Jumps have steadily become faster, more precise, and less power-consuming, though Mass Relays are used for longer distances and larger groups. The Traveler also gave the Vanguard access to detailed star charts, leading to better interstellar routes for the fleets and even merchants.
One of the earliest inventions from the Traveler's knowledge was the Mass Relay network. However, said network has become somewhat obsolete ever since the technology became standard-issue for vessels' individual drive cores once the science behind it was more clearly understood.
Support craft, also generally called fighters, are smaller spaceborne vehicles carried on starships to support individual ships or entire fleets.
- Hunters are deployed in large squadrons to attack an enemy starship. They are as quick as can be designed, but are more focused on armor and payload, to survive the enemy's defenses and attack.
- Interceptors are deployed in patrols to defend friendly starships from hunters. They are faster and more lightly armored, containing Anti-Support Craft weapons instead of Anti-Starship weapons.
- Bombers carry guided explosives or clusters of missiles, designed to be able to make the trip in and out of atmosphere quickly to attack ground targets. However, they are still commonly used to attack larger starships.
- Shuttles are minimally-armed but well-protected craft meant to ferry passengers either to another ship or to a beachhead.
- Troop shuttles are redesigned for the Marine Corps, bearing grenade launchers and modifications for a smooth transition in and out of atmosphere. In addition to thicker armor, machine guns are mounted on the inside by the doors.
The starships of the Vanguard fleet, prefixed by VSV (Vanguard Space Vessel) have several different types, sometimes referred to as "weights".
- Frigates are approximately 100-150 meters long, and serve as lighter attack vessels that attack in groups or serve as a screening force in a fleet. Individually they can make precise strikes or scout out areas.
- Light frigates like the VSV Normandy are more stealth-oriented and are armed with torpedoes.
- Heavy frigates stay closer to the fleet and are armed with coilguns and broadside cannons.
- Destroyers are only more massive frigates, typically reaching 200 meters in length. Aside from extra armor and weaponry, they are largely unremarkable.
- Cruisers are the bulk of the fleet, around 700 meters long. In addition to the increased armament of coilguns, broadside cannons, torpedoes and laser arrays, they also carry squadrons of hunters and interceptors.
- Light cruisers are faster and more focused on technological warfare.
- Heavy cruisers carry more support craft, weaponry, and have stronger shielding.
- Artillery cruisers are lightly armored, but have a greater amount of coilguns.
- Carriers are kilometer-long vessels dedicated to deploying and servicing support craft such as hunters and interceptors. They have a fair defensive armament as well as stronger shields, but are always out of artillery range and accompanied by cruisers and frigates.
- Escort carriers are the exception to the typical carrier, often the size of a cruiser. They carry fewer fighters (sometimes a fleet of drones), but are faster and more easily deployed in smaller operations.
- Fleet carriers are 1,200 meters long and generally carry at least a thousand different support craft, primarily hunters and interceptors.
- Assault carriers are slightly larger than fleet carriers, but carry attack-type craft. Hunters are still aboard, as well as a fair amount of interceptors, but bombers, troop shuttles, and strikers take up most of the decks. Accommodations are made for the much larger amount of marines.
- Dreadnoughts are at least a kilometer long and are the strongest vessels in a fleet at any given time. They carry larger coilguns with greater yields, more broadside cannons, and a fair amount of fighters. They boast the greatest amount of armor and quality of shielding.
- Fleet dreadnoughts are 1,200 meters long and boast two hundred cannons and a coilgun. They engage from great ranges and often are accompanied by cruisers.
- Artillery dreadnoughts are the same size as fleet dreadnoughts, but slower and armed to the teeth with long-range cannons to harass ground installations and enemy fleets.
- Super dreadnoughts are four kilometers long with several coilguns running along the entire length, delivering gigaton-scale firepower at extreme ranges and having several sections designated for carrying fighters. They are the best the fleet has to offer.
The broadness (or lack thereof) of Vanguard territory allows for simplistic division into five sectors, with two fleets assigned to one such sector. By default, each sector has an even dispersal of ships across its space connected by a complex communications network to optimize response time. If a battlegroup fails to report at the correct interval or sends faulty codes, scouts are redeployed to investigate with a larger force on standby.
A Vanguard fleet will usually engage from the longest possible range, their coilguns offering great accuracy and speed. Their broadside guns are for closing distance between two fleets, but are also a form of defense if the enemy gets too close. Ships in a fleet often stay at the far end of the other's laser range, roughly 40km, to form a thick defensive net against hunter craft and missiles.
Dreadnoughts are only deployed in full-scale fleet operations, constantly screened by cruisers, frigates, destroyers, and wings of interceptors. They typically move to align their main gun with the enemy, though their powerful broadside guns offer other options if needed. Carriers, on the other hand, either stay far from combat or sit in the center of a fleet, safe from attacks.
Shepard's experience as a naval commander made her the ideal choice as Commandant when the fleet was just beginning. Vanguard tactics are heavily influenced by her doctrine, putting emphasis on distance and artillery and using smaller, nimbler ships for more precise attacks. Despite this, she approved the expansion of the carrier fleet when the Admiralty Board put the idea forward. Currently, her base of operations is the Leviathan-class super dreadnought Basilisk of the Second Fleet.
|Vanguard Marine Corps|
CoAdm David Anderson
The Vanguard Marine Corps, also called the Galactic Marines, is the nation's infantry branch, responsible for soldiers and vehicles. Initially, there was the Army and the Corps, the former handling defensive situations and the latter handling assault. Upon absorption of Cosmos Babylonia, however, the Army was merged with the Corps, which now handles both defense and offense in its training.
Marines are stationed aboard ships as security, though small detachments for precision strikes are often aboard as well. Vanguard starships have plenty of room for troop shuttles, tanks, and other craft to support the troopers. Assault carriers stand out as the most Marine-focused ships in the fleet, carrying several divisions and proper equipment to support them. Light frigates are commonly alongside assault carriers in order to provide precise air strikes, but can also replace shuttles for infiltration and exfiltration.
Most Vanguard marines wear a uniform set of dark blue camouflage power armor equipped with energy shields and a performance-enhancing exoskeleton. The color and pattern of their camouflage can be manually changed depending on the environment. Officers optionally add waistcapes or sashes to denote their command. Divisions directly under leading field commanders, however, wear distinguished sets of armor mirroring that of their commander.
Marshal Commander Bacara, responsible for retaking Mygeeto in the Vanguard Unification Wars, wears armor similar to that of the UNSC's 501st Battalion. His troopers wear similar armor combined with a synthetic mesh to protect them from environmental hazards. Commander Wolffe and his "Wolfpack" division wear a more armored variant. Commander Deviss and his division also wear 501st-esque armor, while Warrant Commander Phasma and her Shock Troopers wear an entirely different and more uniform variant. Collectively, these divisions are referred to as the Enclave.
The Marine Corps's air wing differs somewhat from the Navy, as they have no hunters or bombers. They still use interceptors for air cover, however, and some others.
- Gunships are small and nimble craft armed with missiles, bombs, and heavy machine guns. They can carry some troopers, but only a small team as opposed to the shuttle's superior capacity. Modern gunships have light shields and electronic countermeasures.
- Strikers are modified hunter craft deployed alongside groups of marines. Their weapons are for smaller ground or asteroid-based targets, allowing them to carry more weapons and support the marines for longer periods of time.
Marine vehicles are typically equipped with heavy-duty thrusters in order to be properly dropped and recovered by light frigates. Recovery can also be done up a cargo bay's ramp.
- Tanks are armored weapon platforms that can occasionally ferry a small amount of troopers or cargo. They typically counter enemy vehicles, installations, or even gunships.
- Light tanks hover above the ground and have lighter armor. Early versions were too fragile, prompting an upgrade to shielding, though the armament has proved reliable. They are much nimbler than heavy tanks.
- Heavy tanks vary between hovering and having wheels or treads on the ground. They are slower and more difficult to handle, but better armored and shielded. Typically they can carry more passengers and are equipped with more weaponry, giving them a better chance against aircraft or infantry.
In addition to the Defense Committee, the Commandant of the Vanguard Marines is Corps Admiral David Anderson. Anderson was a popular candidate for leadership of the marines, having fought on the frontlines for the Vanguard countless times. He was also a successful commander in the field and had earned undying respect and loyalty from his troops -- they joke that if he melted down all of his medals, he could make a life-sized statue of himself.
Anderson has directed the vast majority of landings on pirate-controlled areas in Vanguard territory. He uses a wide variety of tactics with the resources available, from insertions of marine squads and groups of light tanks to brute force with artillery and heavy tanks.
The Antapex Initiative was established in 2578 to act as an exploration project, within and outside Vanguard space. Curious from the Traveler's star charts, cosmologist Jien Garson organized the Initiative to ensure that the Vanguard could defend its borders and inner colonies with the greatest homefield advantage attainable and flush out any pirate groups.
The project's less militaristic branches are dedicated to exploring wild space without risk of a diplomatic incident during their observations of new regions and biospheres. Mobile outposts are organized in order to properly coordinate the flotilla. The leading figures of the Antapex Initiative bear the title "Pathfinder", a position that values leadership, courage, and diplomacy.
Unlike most other undertakings in the Vanguard, the Antapex Initiative is, at most, loosely connected with the Navy and Marines. The Enclave holds next to no presence at all in the project. Despite being designed as a military asset and technically falling under the command of the Admiralty Board, the Initiative is almost independent and not meant to engage in combat.
Members of the Antapex Initiative and their leading Pathfinders seek to avoid conflict unless as a final resort. Their equipment reflects this mindset, being meant more for speed and resilience and often rather lightly armed. Despite the presence of well-maintained armories on Initiative vessels, dedicated combat weapons are only used in guaranteed hostile environments.
Unlike those of the military, Initiative vessels are rarely deployed in groups, as Captains are meant to independently explore and observe in the manner that best suits them. 5 Arche-class mobile outposts keep track of the Initiative's widespread deployments and are responsible for repairing and resupplying the flotilla.
The Initiative's exploration vessels, prefixed by AISV (Antapex Initiative Space Vessel), are centered around the Kilonova-class scouting frigate, commissioned specifically for the project. AISV Magnetar and AISV Tempest are the best-known of the class.
The Vanguard also has an embassy on the Citadel, where the majority of its negotiations with neutral or opposing parties take place.
- Universal Council of Races - Positive relations in trade and military.
- Cineris Collective Government - Positive relations in military and manufacturing.
- Systems Alliance - Stellar relations and consistent trade in science and medicine.
- Orb Union - Decent relations.
- Nippon - Mediocre relations.
- Exon - Surprisingly fair relations.
- United Earth Government - Mediocre relations with hopes of improvement. They have not released a statement on the UEG's movement into Andromeda, feeling it is not their place as the Vanguard has no territory there.
- Ultratech - Strong business partner; the Vanguard buys its shuttles, gunships, and strikers from Ultratech, paying for above-average variants.
The defined Vanguard culture was slow to develop as a result of being, at its core, a large military. At its core, however, the Vanguard is largely French due to being based on a planet of colonists from France and Quebec on Earth. The general population of Cosmos Babylonia was similarly French, albeit with more Hindu influence.
After becoming a fully-fledged nation instead of a privateer group, the Vanguard needed to adjust accordingly. The Defense Committee, having to handle domestic matters at the time, established educational standards and adapted society to support a larger economy. Simultaneously, they waged the Vanguard Unification Wars against pockets of Cosmos Babylonians that violently resisted assimilation.
To this day, Vanguard citizens are encouraged to join military academies or enlist otherwise. Military service is not mandatory, but the nation's charter gives the Defense Committee the right to revoke this. For this reason, most older Vanguard citizens are military veterans, making psychology an ideal career path.
Despite the presence of a Parliament and Chancellor, the Vanguard is governed by the Defense Committee, composed of military officers or qualified politicians. Each position is limited to two terms.