History of EXO
Original story by DrunkRenegade12 and Baron Von Tree
Edited by Ursus the Grim
Part One: Origins
The organization we now know as 'EXO' did not always call Wolf 1301 its home. In fact, EXO’s history began in LHS 3447. Though designated a democracy, the power and clout of Zachary Hudson’s corporate lobbyists valued the profits of the few over the needs of the many. The exploited masses suffered for years. Many pilots of LHS 3447 resorted to smuggling and crime to make ends meet.
These desperate pilots, operating outside the law, eventually became the LHS 3447 Cartel. Though they occasionally found themselves on the wrong side of the law, they supported the common man more than any of the mega-corporations or the official government. However, as time passed and the Cartel grew, so did its corruption. Just like any organization with a monopoly of power in a given system, corporate interests soon took hold of the cartel and made it another tool for profit..
Most of the cartel pilots resented this takeover of their organization, but saw no other choice than to keep their heads down and continue working. One day, though, the Cartel and its puppet masters went too far. The most respected and experienced cartel pilots were called into Dalton Gateway for a meeting. While there, the Cartel's corporate benefactors unveiled plans to blockade a rebellious mining colony into starvation and submission. While none of the pilots dared openly oppose this unholy union of crime, commerce, and politics, the commanders met privately after the meeting to vent their frustrations and to develop a plan of action. These commanders were tired of being manipulated and used by groups who didn’t care about them or their families. They decided to get out. Someone casually called the initiative the Exodus Coalition; this was later shortened to EXO, and the name stuck.
Part Two: Exodus
These cartel pilots knew a few things about working in secret, and they carefully began to make preparations for their planned exodus. Knowing their plans would require a significant investment in resources, they reached out to contacts within the Sirius Corporation - who were more than happy to work against Federal corporations and observe a large-scale flotilla in action. As their supplies grew and their time began to dwindle, they also searched the Universal Cartographics database for a new home. EXO soon found its new home: Wolf 1301, a sparsely populated system with an earth-like planet and several starports. Its native population was quite small, but they had fiercely resisted past attempts by outside powers to subjugate the system. The decision was put to a vote, setting a democratic standard that would serve as a precedent for future decisions.
When their supplies were ready and their destination was set, EXO still faced the immense challenge of determining how to mobilize the flotilla. Their pilots had plenty of experience moving goods, to be sure, but entire families were going to have to be smuggled out of the system in order for the separatists to begin their new lives in Wolf 1301. Thanks to DrunkRenegade12, however, EXO gained the support of Lavigny's Legion, an Imperial group. Like Sirius Corp, they opposed Hudson at every turn. Unlike Sirius, they were eager to do so openly. Their combat pilots created a distraction at the edges of the system, thinning out security while their smugglers assisted in overcoming the logistical nightmare of moving hundreds of families without being detected.
Over several weeks of slow, economical jumps from LHS 3447 to Wolf 1301, the flotilla faced internal conflicts as people grew restless with the crowded, stressful conditions. They were hardly safe from outside dangers either - corporate mercenaries, cartel raiders, and pirates all threatened to end their voyage without warning. The members of EXO could only move as fast as their slowest ship, and there was always some complication or problem to challenge their resolve and skills. Fortunately, the capable founders of EXO were up to the task.
Part Three: Growth
After establishing themselves on the planet Navia and the orbiting starport, Saunders's Dive, the members of EXO quickly settled in and began their lives anew. Unlike previous superpowers who attempted to govern the system with an iron fist, EXO chose to integrate with, and offer assistance to the people already living there. Their collective experience with the drug trade earned the respect of the Wolf 1301 Syndicate, while those without the stomach for such an industry earned their keep working for Wolf 1301 Crimson Electronics.
Once they were too firmly established to be excised, EXO pulled away from both organizations and began an industry of its own. Their greatest, though by no means their only source of income came from marketing Wolf Fesh, an infamous narcotic, since the purest and most valuable strains were produced in Wolf 1301. Wresting the production secrets of the narcotic from the Syndicate significantly bolstered EXO’s potential for economic growth.
Much of EXO's revenue, both ill-gained and legitimate, was invested in research and development programs. EXO had already made plenty of enemies in their escape from LHS 3447, and the faction leadership was after any edge that they could get. In September of 3301, the investments paid off. The [Contextual Pilot Interface] passed both the alpha and beta stages of testing, and was quickly installed on all EXO vessels. Informally referred to as 'the box', the half-meter wide black cube was a module that delivered more responsive controls, a simpler interface, and minimal vulnerability to data corruption and crashes. Unfortunately, this illicit modification limited HUD customization and severely restricted communications with pilots using traditional, unmodified interfaces. However, most pilots in EXO believed that the benefits greatly outweighed the costs.
This unsanctioned tampering with delicate, copyrighted systems eventually drew the attention of the Pilot's Federation. Rather than react hastily, the Pilots Federation saw an opportunity for both parties to benefit, and bought the rights to the technology, making it more widely available. EXO, in return, gained a massive cash infusion and recognition as a legitimate interstellar power.
Part Four: Crows
Toward the end of 3301, EXO found itself flourishing. Thanks to an open-door policy with pilots from all walks of life seeking a fresh start, coupled with rigorous pilot training, EXO quickly became a juggernaut faction within the bubble. Such size does not go unnoticed, and other factions began to reach out. Past experience with diplomacy proved helpful with Wing Commander DrunkRenegade12, as EXO quickly befriended many other groups, namely Paladin Consortium (PalCon) and Pixel Bandits Security Force (PBSF). These early relationships would establish themselves as critical anchors in the months to follow, as a dark shadow began to loom on the horizon.
A pirate faction operating in the far side of the bubble began to stir up trouble. They called themselves the Corvos Crows, and publicly (and loudly) declared their disgust with the Pilot's Federation. Claiming corrupt bureaucracy as the fault of their setbacks in the Kahn system, Corvos boldly stated that they would wage war on newer pilots in the Eravate system, if the Pilot's Federation did not pay them reparations. After being met with silence from the Pilot's Federation, Corvos declared Operation: Burn Eravate to be in effect within the week. It was shaping up to be an absolute slaughter.
Public outrage was immediate and violent, with many pilots calling Corvos cowards for targeting newer pilots. Anger boiled within the ranks of EXO, too, which was shared unanimously with the leadership. After briefly reaching out to ambassadors of PalCon and PBSF, DrunkRenegade issued a public statement, condemning the past actions of Corvos, and declaring a joint-effort to prevent the attack on Eravate and to take the fight to Corvos themselves, alongside pilots within PBSF, PalCon, and countless other independent pilots.
Shocked at the public backlash, Corvos issued another public statement, stating that they would no longer be following through with Operation: Burn Eravate. However, the damage was done, and their reputation was permanently ruined. Faction leaders accused Corvos of crying wolf, and pledged to follow through with their response attack.
The plan was two-fold. The first part was to guarantee the safety of residents in Eravate. PBSF volunteered to helm the defensive, leaving EXO free to lead the attack on Corvos HQ in the Kahn system. Alongside countless independent volunteers, members of PalCon, and the PBSF pilots once they secured Eravate, EXO decimated the Corvos fleet, and after a rigorous and persistent onslaught, the Crows' influence in Kahn never recovered.
Declaring their first major victory, EXO pilots returned home in high spirits. Combat success had not only strengthened the confidence and resolve of the pilots, but it had also greatly improved relations with newfound allies, which would play a much bigger part in EXO's future down the road.
Part Five: Schism
Minor disputes and conflicts undermined EXO from the first day they touched down in Saunders’s Dive, but in February 3302 the fledgling faction was forced to take decisive action. Under the influence of Wolf Fesh, a shooter opened fire outside the Star Recreational Facility, killing dozens of civilians, including many children and their families. Public outcry against this act of senseless violence grew into civil unrest, and EXO leadership was forced to take action.
After putting it to a vote, EXO chose to outlaw narcotics in their territory. Tens of thousands of tons of drugs were jettisoned into the system's star, and dozens of laboratories were decommissioned. Some smugglers left the system to make their money elsewhere as the faction went through this tumultuous period. It was safety versus pragmatism, family values versus tradition, and everyone had a strong opinion.
None were as outraged by this new ban as the Church of the Space Cat. The Church was the spiritual core of EXO, and had always advocated the responsible use of Fesh, Onionhead, and Nip for meditative purposes. Already alienated by several previous policy changes, the Church considered this new ban to be insufferable, and resisted it on the basis of ‘religious freedom.' However, their cries were drowned out by the public’s grief and anger.
While this unrest continued, word reached Wolf 1301 that a major ‘liberation’ of Imperial Slaves was taking place. As part of their ongoing resistance to the Contract-at-Birth policy regarding the children of Imperial Slaves, the Paladin Consortium had raided Onnes Gateway, freeing nearly all of the slaves there. Due to an unfortunate lack of foresight, the Paladins hadn’t prepared fully to care for these Slaves. As a result, the Paladins put out an ongoing request for water purifiers and offered generous reimbursement for them.
While EXO had not previously taken a stance on the ethical questions posed by slavery, most of their pilots did not want to see children die of thirst. Those who did not care about the children's lives at least cared enough about the profit to assist. Unfortunately, the Church of the Space Cat opted to oppose this aid operation. Based on their moral opposition to the liberation of contracted slaves, Church pilots pirated and destroyed anyone they caught shuttling water purifiers to the Paladins, including their EXO comrades. The damage to EXO’s interstellar reputation and stability was nearly catastrophic. The decision to expel the Church and their most faithful pilots was not an easy one, but it was the only option. Thus, the Schism began.
Bombings and mass shootings were carried out in the name of the Space Cat, and the resulting manhunts only heightened the public's sense of danger, furthering the civil unrest on Navia as well as Saunders's Dive. In a desperate bid to bring an end to the conflict, EXO leaders published a dossier, and sent it to their most trusted pilots. They called it, the ‘kill on sight’ list. With a final, valiant assault, the newly formed EXO navy brought an end to the bloody civil war, and the surviving Church pilots were expelled from Wolf 1301. Hostilities continue to this day, though the threat of terrorism diminished considerably after the conclusion of the Schismatic War.
Part Six: The Greater Good
Soon after the Schism, whispers of a forgotten name began to be heard in the shadows of the Dive’s bars and pool halls. An organization, which called itself, 'GalCop,' had caught the public’s attention. Though the original Galactic Cooperative had been defunct for more than 140 years (in fact, only the most dedicated historians initially recognized the name), the new GalCop was definitely alive - and growing. It already had the support of the galaxy’s most famous (and infamous) factions, and was taking on everyone from smugglers to vigilantes to merchants in their inexorable expansion.
The Paladin Consortium, longtime friends of EXO, approached them about joining GalCop, with the promise of forming strong bonds with other powerful and loyal factions. After lengthy discussions, EXO accepted the invitation, becoming one of the ten founding members of the Galactic Cooperative of Worlds. Alongside the Paladins, the other groups included Diamond Frogs, East India Company, The Imperial Inquisition (now known as The Sovreignty) Sirius Inc, Da Vinci Corp, Dark Echo, The Forgotton, and Pixel Bandits Security Force (PBSF).
One of the bigger goals of this coalition was to foster the growth of Colonia, a budding civilization bubble far from our current homes. With the influence of GalCop behind it, Colonia began to flourish, with planets and systems growing in population and wealth. To this day, GalCop plays a vital role in the success of Colonia, with the pilots back home working together for mutual goals; to pool their collective understanding of the galaxy for the betterment of humanity.
Part Seven: Back to Ashes
The Spring of 3302 found EXO in a close alliance with the hybrid group known as Phoinix Ascension (PA for short). PA consisted of two factions, the Celestial Light Brigade (CLB) and the Prismatic Knights. A group with strong, deep Imperial ties, PA became close with EXO after finding themselves on the same side of blasters while targeting groups like Corvos.
Nestled in an overlapping section of Zemina Torval space, PA's home system of Beta-1 Tucanae proved to be quite difficult for them to obtain control by themselves. EXO answered the eventual call for help, and while being on the receiving end of multiple friendly fire altercations, successfully helped PA to become the controlling faction of Beta-1. This would prove to be the last time that EXO and PA worked together as allies.
After a few months, a couple of small skirmishes at Community Goals broke out between the two factions. PA representatives came to EXO leadership in attempts to quell the festering uneasiness. There was quite a bit of finger pointing from both sides; PA accused EXO pilots of pirating and attacking their ships for no reason, while EXO leadership defended the actions, stating that legitimate piracy is not outside of the Rules of Engagement every EXO pilot is expected to follow. Furthermore, the pilots who were targeted were known to prey on much weaker ships, killing without mercy. After EXO supplied evidence to back the accusations, both sides agreed to leave the skirmishes in the past and move on.
A day later, PA ambassadors delivered a message from the faction's grandmasters: Either entirely disavow piracy within your ranks, or face war. After accusations were thrown from both sides to the other, the discussion ended along with the alliance between EXO and PA. The subsequent months that followed would see PA attempting to gain support to attack EXO, while EXO itself remained quiet, with focus on nurturing newfound friendships with the other members of GalCop. From someone on the outside looking in, it appeared that EXO stopped caring about PA and their moves to build support. Internally, however, evidence against PA was being collected.
In October of 3302, EXO officially declared war against PA, listing the grievances they held against them and backed up with irrefutable evidence. The war was twofold. On one front, EXO pilots decimated PA influence in their systems, as well as making short work of what few pilots defended them. At the same time, the anti-PA propaganda machine was in full-swing; using internal discussions and hard evidence, public opinion of the faction quickly declined. The two-pronged attack was swift and fierce, with PA's morale plummeting as fast as the influence they had in their systems.
Part 7 is currently a work in progress and will be finished soon.