A History of the Stars Swarm
During the political chaos and warfare of the Fall, many space industry corporations pushed their work forces to the limits. Already suffering under extremely poor working conditions, the primarily synth-sleeved and indentured workers of Hindustan Aerospace Limited (HAL), working in the shipyards stationed in Lunar orbit, called a general strike. Aided by the Chinese anarchist human-rights collective Chı¯chı¯ ¯eh¯e Cào (literally “Eat-Drink-Fuck”—named for what they believed every person was entitled without interference), they seized control of most of the production facilities as well as the armory. The workers quickly rounded up management and the security officers who had not joined the strike and put them on a shuttle to HAL’s Lunar surface facilities.
Precipitously, the corporate headquarters of HAL on Earth was overrun by the TITANs shortly afterwards, and the corporation’s other space-based assets were thrown into disarray. No attempt was made to unseat the strikers. As the situation on Earth deteriorated and a full-fledged evacuation was initiated, the strikers voted to retrofit the aerospace manufacturing facilities with more powerful propulsion systems and move the station from Lunar orbit to a high Earth orbit. While some considered the plan to move closer to Earth and the TITANs crazy, the strikers felt a responsibility to attempt to aid refugee craft fleeing the chaos. Many refugees had jumped aboard anything capable of boosting itself into orbit without any consideration of where they would go once they were free of Earth and were being turned away by other habitats that were overcrowded, feared infection, or who simply didn’t want to let “undesirables” on board.
Once above the Earth, the facility’s crew teamed up with a nameless group of scum who had been eking out a living in orbit for decades. During this time, the strikers and anarchists worked feverishly to keep the makeshift HAL facilities in working order while also rescuing thousands and accommodating their new arrivals. Rescued refugees who were able to contribute to the rescue mission were quickly put to work. One rescue operation saved a group of Ukrainian refugees that included Lena Andropov, a nanotech engineering wiz, who led an effort to upgrade the factory facilities and aid the rescue efforts.
Over a period of eight weeks, these efforts saved the lives of thousands who might otherwise have been left to die. Eventually they had no more room for refugees and reluctantly pulled back, avoiding the worst of the TITAN-spawned counter-strikes against orbital defenses. It was during this period that an agreement between the refugees, the anarchists, the scum, and the strikers was reached. In order to preserve their safety from TITAN attacks and corporate attempts to
reseize the shipyards, the group decided to go mobile and move away from Earth orbit. Taking everything they could salvage from the factory and every ship at their disposal, they launched a flotilla towards Mars. They sent out a call to other scattered refugees in and around Earth and Luna and invited them to join, dubbing their fleet The Stars Our Destination, after an old science fiction novel.
Since then, the Stars swarm has enjoyed steady growth. Many new ships have been added to the flotilla through a combination of salvage and purchasing older hulls on the cheap and then upgrading them. The various cultural backgrounds of the swarm’s constituents blended together, with differences melting away as the scum’s open-armed embrace of living life to the fullest came to predominate. Unlike others in the inner system, the crews of the ships in the Stars swarm are free to live however they please.