In the Beginning…
Earth was invaded several times in the early centuries of the Federation. Humans with superpowers tipped the balance in our favor, and the attacks were beaten back, but at a cost. The invaders had huge spacecraft, powered by Unobtanium, the rarest of substances in the galaxy. From battlefield ruins, humans recovered the awesome new technology.
Unobtainium: The Gift with a Surprising Twist
The discovery of Unobtanium changed everything. Humanity soon learned to make their own vessels powered by Unobtanium. We burst onto the galactic scene, united, with our new ships, our civilization, and a small leavening of superheroes. And we soon discovered that continuous exposure to Unobtanium aboard ship has side effects. It drives evolution. It pushes for change. Unobtanium brings out the best in humans, and any child born aboard ship could grow up to be super-powered. But the engines also create dangers, as robots, animals, and the occasional invasive life form are also changed by Unobtanium exposure.
There are many alien species in space and some of them do not take the expansion of humans into the galaxy positively. While some alien species are allied with humanity, or at least neutral, others are not. Interstellar wars have occurred. But raiding for resources, especially for Unobtanium, is the norm. With alien soldiers regularly attacking the heroships, it’s an ongoing campaign to repel alien attacks on both the ships themselves and on planets that have new human settlements. Critical resources are perennially in short supply. Raiding from ship to ship for resources was part of the status quo in space long before humans entered space. To deter attacks, we raid hostile alien ships in retaliation, when we must.
The Rise of Superheroes
Conducting and repulsing raids is greatly aided by humans who have developed superhuman and/or extraordinary powers. Aboard the heroships, some humans are descended from human heroes of legend who lived on Earth. Others have developed powers from shipboard exposure. In the true spirit of the galactic frontier, many have chosen to become superheroes on the ships, doing good wherever possible. Of course, not everyone is so civic-minded – even the most capitalistic and entrepreneurial populations will have some ne’er-do-wells and people of dubious employment.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options, regardless of what path a person wishes to take in life. Those who believe in protecting their fellow citizens from harm can join the Justice Corps within the ship’s Security Forces and put down threats from both hostile aliens and out-of-control superhumans alike. Those who prefer to make their own rules, as opposed to obeying orders, can join the ship militia, or the Bounty Hunter’s Guild, taking whichever targets they desire. For those who need to hide from the authorities, there is a vast criminal underground. For those more inclined to profit and trading, there is always employment in the Merchant’s Guild. A few superheroes have even chosen to join the crew of the FHS Justice.
A United Human Race
Old Earth is a something of a faded memory, along with the tribal dividing lines of five centuries past. The heroship FHS Justice was launched just over 200 years ago under the desire to explore and advance human civilization through space. Aboard the FHS Justice, and generally across the Human Federation, all humans are united in culture and outlook, focused by the ever present need to defend against attacks from truly different species. Species that see humans the same way a lion sees a gazelle. But human heroes shield us from our attackers, protecting the larger civilization from internal and external threats. At least – for now.
When is a Space Ship not Just a Ship?
The citizens of the FHS Justice number in the tens of millions and are self-governing. The ship is a nation in flight, and is also willingly bound by treaties and by custom to assist the Human Federation, as are the other heroships. Artificial gravity and advanced technology combine to keep the living spaces for much of the ship’s interior idyllic, except in places where a conscious decision has been made to allow a different outcome. However, during the first few decades of the ship’s travels, the crew and citizens accidentally allowed various invasive plants and animals from other worlds to become established aboard the ship. Some of these have proven to be impossible to completely eradicate, although efforts are ongoing. The lowest level, next to Engineering, is called Apotheosis City and has a hazard zone of dangerous invasive life forms on its the southern edge. Some of these have been mutated by exposure to Unobtanium.
Harvest in the Pit..If You Dare
One level of the ship has been given over almost entirely to a mélange of dangerous and exotic lifeforms culled from around the galaxy. This is the Harvest Pit, and it provides an opportunity for heroes, traders and the bold to enter and recover the rare and valuable byproducts of the dangerous life forms that have gone native on this level. The materials harvested from this level are sometimes used inside the ship, but are also key in the ships external balance of trade. Other levels specialize in manufacturing, in agriculture, or support high density living for those who prefer it.
As the Justice moves from planet to planet across its sector of the human frontier, it is the individual heroes aboard the ships who make the difference between success and failure for the entire human species. Born aboard the great heroship, or joining the ship as an immigrant, new heroes must learn to use their powers, develop skills and resources, and join the older heroes in a lifelong adventure. As they struggle to protect humanity aboard the ship and on colony worlds, they rise in rank until they achieve leadership positions in their own right.