September 17th 2013
Today’s article features a detailed look at the UEE Marines. It originally appeared in issue 8 of Jump Point, the subscriber-only Star Citizen magazine. Jump Point subscribers get articles like this first as well as exclusive Star Citizen fiction and behind-the-scenes analysis! For more information on subscribing, visit this page.
Old spacers have a saying: you can outrun the police, you can outgun the Navy… but you can’t escape the Marines. Marine operations are a rare sight in civilized space and a strong indication to anyone in the region that a location is to be avoided at all costs. The Imperator calls on his Marines for only the most essential missions and never for routine operations. While their advanced technology and training gives them the option of extreme precision in their combat maneuvers, their charter allows them an extreme amount of leeway in projecting force. In dealing with an assassination mission, for instance, it is just as possible that a Marine aviator bomber squadron could glass an entire city as it is that a sniper unit could be deployed for a silent kill.
The UEE Marines are literally the best of the best: Marine candidates are chosen from the top recruits undergoing Army and Navy training. The selection criteria are never published and remain intentionally vague. No one applies to be a Marine, and candidates who make it known that they are seeking to serve with the organization are often passed over regardless of merit. Many theorize that the process is intentionally vague (and may be altered regularly) so that hopeful candidates cannot follow a precise model of Marine qualification. Although the vast majority of Marine trainees are selected from exceptional recruits during the boot camp process, it is not unheard of for outstanding soldiers and spacemen to be inducted into the corps after distinguishing themselves in action. In addition to initial Army or Navy boot camp, Marine candidates must undergo six “hell months” at Marine Base Corin prior to being considered for induction.
The Marines began life as the Advanced Special Operations (ASO) unit of the UPE Army, an elite corps charged with undertaking particularly difficult or unorthodox missions. ASO teams comprised the Army’s top soldiers, and were provided millions of credits of advanced training with a focus in spatial combat (including zero and high gravity fighting). ASO units racked up a string of celebrated victories during mankind’s expansion into the stars. During wartime, however, this changed. With the onslaught of the Tevarin, the division-strength ASO found itself playing a support role more often than not. Used by Army field commanders as a source of reinforcements in ordinary operations, rather than as a special operations group, the organization’s training went to waste. A noteworthy 2558 Quantum Obelisk Computer analysis of infantry actions during the conflict resulted in a flurry of changes to organization and tactics, chief among them the need to disassociate the ASO from the Army’s command hierarchy.
The ASO was reorganized into the core of a third spatial service. From this point on, the Marines would act fully independently of the Army. A number of smaller Navy organizations, including the Space Combat Team and the Naval Future Weapons Office, were rolled into the newly-christened UPE Marines. With the advent of the Second Tevarin War in 2603, the wisdom of this policy was proven time and again: Marine units bested Corath’Thal’s forces every single time they were present for an engagement. The Army and Navy could claim nothing approaching that, with their leaders starting the still-running claim that Marine ‘brain drain’ was lessening the effectiveness of their forces.
UEE Marine Operations Headquarters is located on Corin, a dwarf planet in the militarized Kilian system. The site was chosen as much for its desolation as its proximity to a major naval base: the planet’s harsh environment is the ideal training environment for Marines. Located outside the system’s Green Zone, Corin boasts massive tundra plains, jagged rock caverns and little else. The majority of the command base is located underground, with boot camp and wargames taking place on icy vistas and within natural ice trenches. The planet is protected by at least one Marine-crewed Bengal carrier at all times, and landing there is absolutely forbidden. The orbital guard forces have a standing weapons-free order allowing them to engage and destroy anyone approaching Corin airspace.
Unlike other UEE forces, Marines do not deploy indiscriminately. A Marine is either stationed on Corin for training or he is actively engaged in a combat operation. Marines do not protect convoys, interdict pirates or garrison jump points: they invade planets, strike back at the Vanduul and personally protect the Imperator. The most famed specialty of the Marines is space-to-surface landing operations. Marine shock troopers can drop from the sky in specially constructed individual rocket pods, known as “Nails.” Featuring the same internal dampeners as a Hornet, a Nail can deliver a trooper from the drop ship to a specifically targeted location on a planet’s surface within 90 seconds.
In addition to their landing forces, the Marines operate an elite aviation arm. Marine air units typically feature more rugged variants of existing spacecraft that can be flown from rough terrain or aboard fast-responding escort carriers. Marine forces do not fly off of Navy capital ships. Instead, they operate and crew their own warships. Per their charter, the force does not operate its own full scale drydocks or repair facilities: Marine spacecraft receive priority treatment at all military yards.
Although all Marines consider themselves “The Imperator’s Own,” one detachment in particular has special claim to this title. The 1st Marine Combat Battalion is the best-of-the-best unit charged with guarding the Imperator. Only the top Marine troopers are ever considered for assignment to the First, and very few of those considered are even selected for a one-year term. Fewer still earn permanent assignment to the ranks. Members of the First wear purplehighlighted space armor when on display and are expected to protect the Imperator at all costs.
Every Marine trooper is an efficient killing machine and has been trained in a variety of special warfare styles. The force encourages the development of both jack-of-all-trades fighters and extremely specialized experts. The average Marine is likely an expert marksman, a world class athlete, a tactical genius and more. Uniform bands colored outside the visible spectrum (but easily identifiable by the advanced HUDs used in Marine combat armor) denote further specialties, ranging from anti-matter munitions operator to exolinguistics support.