by The Republic of Sunset. . 595 reads.

...Except as a Means of Peace.

"I have never advocated war except as a means of peace."
    ~General Ulysses S. Grant

The Republic Defense Force - or commonly 'RDF' - is the single military organization maintained by the Republic of Sunset. Conceived and assembled as a combined arms force with an emphasis on operational flexibility and mobility, its many areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to; Patrols of Republic Territory, Defensive and Offensive Military Action, Support of Friendly Forces in Military Actions, Research and Development of Military Technologies, Intelligence Gathering, Search and Rescue, Disaster Recovery Assistance, Diplomacy, and Exploration. Due to these enormously varied areas of responsibility, and because the Defense Force is a volunteer organization, it has seen fit to establish itself as a 'Career' rather than 'Term of Service' organization. Inducted members often move within the organization rather than out of it with many transferring between the different Commands multiple times during their career. It is not uncommon for a service member to begin their professional life as a Marine, move into Research and Development, and then on to something as esoteric as Diplomat or Archaeologist.

Combined Operations

The Defense Force is divided into several Commands. Each of these has a separate focus as far as the training and equipment of the individual service member but in practice they all serve and function together as one cohesive force. What does this all mean in the field? The best example is the Exploration Command. When one encounters a Resolution-Class Frigate operating in an exploration capacity in the field, they are meeting representatives from all four Commands. The majority of the crew is under Fleet Command; The officers that handle the day-to-day operations of the ship itself. Then there will be the scientists and researchers who are aboard to study whatever they find, with these operating under the aegis of the Exploration Command. There will also be a contingent of Marines there to protect the scientists on the ground. Finally, the ship will have a Quartermaster that works to keep the ship stocked and supplied with whatever it might need. While all of these are ultimately under the command of the Captain, their chain of information still goes through their various Commands. Supply needs are filed with System, research reports with Exploration, and so forth.


The Republic of Sunset has a very small military for its size and can thus afford to be picky. The pay is exceptional, recruiting is arduous, training is intense, and demand is high. Even the enlistment process is difficult; In an age of Internet-everything, potential Cadets face an overland journey on foot to turn in their hand-written application in person at only a small handful of training facilities per planet. A variety of obstacles are intentionally placed in their way to discourage those who lack determination and the mental and physical resourcefulness that it will take to make a career officer. The training process is egalitarian; All species and genders attend the same classes and are given the same assignments. Instead of distinct physical standards Cadets are required to show marked improvement in their mental and physical abilities over the term. That isn't to say that life at the Academy is one of misery; Graduates often call their term the most challenging and intense four years of fun they will ever have.

There is no specific officer training school; A Cadet's 'grade' is assigned by their Academy with G4 being those at the top of their class. Each Cadet is assumed to be potential officer material and most will find immediate placement as a bridge officer. Those of G3 and G4 will occasionally be offered short-term bridge-level training opportunities, typically aboard ships that are on Rest & Relaxation or Extended Maintenance & Refurbishment assignment. New graduates are integrated into existing crews where they are usually put on second or third shift duty, with the exception of Marines. Marine officers usually go directly into active duty formations for extensive field training.

Did You Know?

There are nearly two hundred different
Defense Force training facilities scattered
across every major world and most of
the colonies as well. The majority of
these are basic training academies where
new Cadets learn the tasks, duties, and
technologies involved in a career in the
Defense Forces. Additionally there are
secondary schools, some associated with
the training academies and others not,
that teach everything from medicine to
engineering to archaeology. Some of these
more advanced schools are themselves
connected with public and private
institutions of higher learning, both in
Sunset and among its Triumvirate allies.
The average enlisted service member is a high school graduate in the top of their class. By the time they have reached the rank of Ensign they typically have the equivalent of a Two Year Degree with a Lieutenant increasing that to Four, a Commander a Master's, and a Captain either a Doctorate or a Masters with a second in progress. This is in addition to the basic military education and the continuing education they receive in their primary field. Additionally, all Defense Forces personnel are expected to be teachers or instructors, sharing their knowledge both with those under them and with those who desire to learn.

For those wondering how it is possible to 'flunk out' of the system, this is typically at the discretion of Academy staff and particularly the Commandant, who is charged with surveying each Cadet individually to assess their fitness as a potential officer and representative of the Republic. This is sink-or-swim; Cadets who do not have the maturity or mentality expected are removed from the program after a suitable observation period rather than any kind of organized disciplinary period. This too is intentional; Cadets who cannot grasp the Commandant's disapproval of their actions are clearly not suited to a ship-board environment where inter-personal relations are extremely important.

The Defense Force specifically looks for lifers; Those willing and able to stay in the Service until retirement. Even those individuals who wish to have a family are encouraged to remain in the Force, often transferring to rear echelon activities such as logistics, research and development, training, or maintenance. It is not unheard of for an individual to transfer one of these positions and then back to a front-line position when their family duties or situation has been settled. Until individuals reach the rank of Admiral physical fitness requirements are arduous. Those that are willing are physically augmented, and all members have a suite of cybernetic augments. The normal mix is a wired data jack for interfacing with ship's systems, power armor, weapons, and the like. This system is isolated from their 'civilian' system for security purposes. It typically has things like identification tokens, mission databases, and similar 'classified' information. Most of their augments are on the civilian side; Databases, translators, sensors, and the like. These can connect to the Defense Force's out-facing communications system while all internal connections - and importantly control - must be physical.

Physical augmentation varies by species and by the individual's service branch. Basic chemical enhancement is the most common option with specialty 'Soldier Drugs' used to boost muscle growth and speed as well as endurance. Some species might require surgical replacement instead where the muscles and nervous system are replaced with genetically engineered versions. Those that are wounded, especially Marines, will often opt for full or partial cybernetic conversion. This replaces some to most of their regular body with a cyborg system. Very occasionally an individual will volunteer for a full 'Super Soldier' conversion where their body is entirely replaced with a customized genetically engineered body that does not match their previous species at all, but is rather an engineered species that incorporates a wide variety of enhancements from a variety of different sources.

Rank Structure

There are, essentially, three distinct hierarchies within the Defense Force and these are based around rank, role, and population. The first of these is that of those individuals with a rank of Ensign to Senior Lieutenant. These are the everyday members of the Force; They do the hard work of operating specific systems and are typically known for a high level of individual expertise in a specific area.

Ensigns are those who have proven both their technical expertise and experience but not yet gained any command experience. These are assigned to a Sub-Division that is led by a Lieutenant or Senior Lieutenant and assigned to one particular ship's function - helm, navigation, tactical, etc - and are then assigned to a particular shift by their Lieutenant with the oversight of the ship's Executive Officer. This is typically Second or Third Shift, depending on their level of expertise. They will then occasionally swap shifts with the lower shift for both experience and variety. The same arrangement is also common on stations and planetary facilities though Sub-Divisions are typically larger in these instances.

A Lieutenant is typically directly responsible for a specific ship's system - again; helm, navigation, tactical, etc - while also being responsible to the ship's Executive Officer and to the individuals under their command. The exact number of service members inside the various units varies with their duties and, depending on the intensity of that assignment, double or even triple duty in various areas. Promotion from Ensign to Lieutenant to Senior Lieutenant is mostly informal and driven both by the individual and their commanding officer though the final decision always rests with someone in the next level of the hierarchy.

Officers with a rank of Lieutenant Commander to Captain fall into the Command hierarchy. These are individuals who have shown not just leadership potential but ability as well. These are the managers but they do not just manage; They determine both tactics and strategy and direct the actions of large numbers of individuals under them. They need to be proficient at delegating but also willing and able to undertake a task themselves when they are the best suited for the job. Because of this they have a lot of responsibility but a lot of personal power as well; Any of these officers can be given command of a starship, starbase, large planetary facility, or similar. Typically only a Captain can take command of a starship though some of the smallest only rate a Lieutenant Commander or an exceptionally able Senior Lieutenant.

For most leadership-oriented officers, the rank and title of Captain is their ultimate goal. To command a starship with all of the power and responsibility that it brings is their greatest desire in life and it is one that the Defense Force places an especially strong emphasis on. A ship's Captain - no matter the rank - has the power to do both tremendous good and reckless evil and is entrusted with one of the most expensive symbols of the might of the Republic. Abusing it is one of the fastest ways to leave the service. Promotion to Captain - and any rank there-after - must be explicitly approved by the Secretary-General personally.

Beyond Captain are those individuals of Flag Officer rank. This stage in the hierarchy is all about strategy, goals, and means. From Rear Admiral to Grand Admiral, these are the officers that set policy, manage the large-scale requisition of men and material, advise politicians, and ensure that military policy backs the laws and goals of the civilian government. Their duties are very much managerial but they have a large staff to delegate to. Some are purely hand-shakers and talkers while others like to get their hands dirty in the field. While notionally the Defense Force rank structure is based purely on merit, there is also a large measure of ambition beyond even the drive to become an officer and most of the Flag-level officers are intense individuals with a large amount of personality.

Federal State Military Forces

Aside from the Republic's Defense Force, there are three additional sources of military resources and manpower that can be called on in time of need. While all have their own peacetime duties that keep them occupied, they are all kept (somewhat) up-to-date through various agreements, contracts, treaties, and lease terms. The first are the quasi-independent military forces maintained by the various Federal States; These are entities which have seconded their defense and international diplomatic representation to the Sunset Federal Government. Most are the political remnants of various former Triumvirate NationStates while others are close allies that experienced some kind of political strife or, on one occasion, a natural disaster of such magnitude that it rendered the central government non-functional. Because the Federal States are, for all intents and purposes, part of the Republic there is no limit on the kinds of technology that can be transferred to them. Some may use different rank structures and doctrines, but they all have a second Defense Force equivalent that will insure inter-operation in times of need.

All of the Federal States adopt the same military hardware as the Defense Force, especially in the area of major systems such as starships and ground combat vehicles. This ensures that if they are called upon the Federal State Military Forces will have essentially complete interoperability and coordination among the various military structures. Because they are de facto part of the Republic, all of these organizations have access to Republic training facilities, maintenance centers, bases, and similar infrastructure. They also have unrestricted access to programs such as the Auxillary Explorers and their scientists and researchers are regularly found aboard the various starships of the Exploration Command.

In-System Law Enforcement

Most of the heavily-populated and trafficked star systems have their own stellar law enforcement - Constabulary - that then operate their own starships. These typically serve as customs cutters, patrol vessels, and similar law enforcement-oriented activities. Because these are government entities the ships they operate are Current Generation in terms of capabilities - at least when they are purchased. They operate under rules set down by the Department of Justice and all of their officers have had specific training through the Defense Force Academies as well as through various specialty Law Enforcement training programs. These organizations, like the Corporate Forces, are popular post-retirement destinations for Defense Forces personnel, especially those who might want to stay close to home for family reasons.

Corporate Entities

A few of the largest corporations operate their own naval vessels. Most typically these are the various service-oriented ships operated by the Defense Force such as transports, recovery cruisers, and science vessels. These are always 2nd and 3rd Generation vessels; 2nd Generation starships have always been demilitarized and had their weapon, sensor, and other combat systems replaced with civilian versions while the 3rd Generation starships may retain some of their current combat systems depending on the lease'e in question. While this does not make them equal to the naval forces of equivalent-level NationStates, it does put them on par with most pirates and less-advanced NationStates. These vessels are operated under a lease contract with the Republic that states that they may be activated for Defense Force duty in an emergency; Typically this is when they are the closest possible response vessel to a civilian emergency but there are plans in place to use them as escorts and second-tier duty vessels in case of a large-scale conflict.

The reasons for operating their own ships varies, but there is a potent lure; Leasing the vessel through the Defense Forces provides significant savings over buying a new one of comparable civilian manufacture with the additional advantage that both training and maintenance is done by the Defense Force. They are also a benefit to the leasing corporation as an attractive recruiting point for new hires. Retired Defense Force personnel seek out these positions as a comfortable and familiar place and civilians with a militarist bent like serving on them as it gives something of the illusion of danger while still being an essentially safe job; Because of the presence of In-System Law Enforcement and regular Defense Force patrols, there is essentially no risk of piracy or raiding unless a ship happens to find itself in the Frontier Systems or beyond the edge of civilized space.

The Uniform

The basic RDF uniform is a jacketed blouse and trousers made from a high-tech material that accomplishes several functions as well as augments the wearer's existing capabilities. At base it is a low-profile body armor that is capable against low-powered energy weapons, low to medium kinetic weapons, and provides some protection against traditional melee weapons such as knives. It is vacuum-capable for a very limited time with the addition of gloves and a soft helmet. These are normally kept in the trouser pockets and in a pouch around the collar.

The dark gray areas, as well as all pocket seams and beading, are TYCS-Standard geckoweb, a hermaphroditic material that seals the pockets as well as allows the wearer to hang various items that incorporate the same material on them. Tool pouches, tools, lights, holsters, ammunition pouches, and other items all have the same material used as a backing or as a gripping surface. This also includes the rank badges, name plates, and the Sunset flag and Triumvirate of Yut roundel. Regulations place either the Sunset flag or a starship insignia on the right shoulder, the Triumvirate roundel on the left, rank insignia on both sleeves below them, and the name badge on the cross-collar tab with another Sunset sunburst on the leading edge of the tab. The left breast is usually left blank for a ribbon bar in case of formal use. A small flash of fabric at collar and tab is color-coded for the various military specializations: White for Medical, Orange for Fleet, Black for Marine, Gray for Intelligence, and Blue for Diplomatic. The Dress version of the uniform has a fancier cut and two rows of piping down the middle and at the sleeves in the individual's specific military specialization. It is always worn with a ribbon bar and any medals.

Secondary uniform elements include a hooded tunic that can be worn over the regular uniform in wet weather and often finds additional duty as a dress or sleepwear. There is also a unisex swimsuit that also finds duty as a second insulating layer in cold weather. A fatigue t-shirt and exercise shorts are standard issue and both can be worn as authorized in low-risk areas or as additional layers in cold weather. For extreme cold weather there is a matching parka and pants, though most prefer to wear the environmentally-sealed ABAS in such instances. An optional beret, side cap, jungle hat, or ball cap cover can be worn as well, and these incorporate a soft helmet concealed inside the band. The majority of the outer material is geckoweb and wearers typically mark them with either their rank or ship insignia. Caps with either the Sunset flag or Triumvirate roundel and ship or organizational name are frequently given away as souvenirs to local residents or exchanged with service members of other nations for similar items.

All personnel are issued the same boots. These feature a flexible upper made out of leather with the same cloth used in the uniform as a backing and a geckoweb closure. The lower has a reinforcing band of darker leather that protects both heel and toe. The toe section conceals a hard space-age plastic cap that keeps the toes from getting squished. The sole is a synthetic rubber that is fully bonded to the shoe with both glue and internal ferrous ribbing. There is a small battery pack in the heel that will charge the ribbing to allow the wearer to walk on a metal deck if artificial gravity is lost. It lasts the same limited duration that the uniform is vacuum-capable for and is just strong enough for emergency but not everyday use.


While there are exceptions, in general the Republic's Defense Force utilizes the very bleeding edge of military technology* and its equipment reflects that fact. It believes in the principle of Better, Faster, Cheaper (Pick Two) and Better is always one of the two. The SDF operates on a Twenty-Year 'Generational' replenishment system. This means that all of the Defense Force's equipment is expected to last approximately twenty years before being rotated out for a completely new model. During that period there are often refurbishments and retrofits to major systems, such as warships, and that twenty year period allows for plenty of research and development as well as design work on the next generation of systems. Replacement is not done all at once but is rather a gradual process that takes place over that span. This means that one can expect to encounter both new and current versions of a particular piece of equipment in the field, as well as refitted versions of both new and current systems.

There are a few exceptions to this system; Aurora-Class Transit Gates and Singularity-Class Stations, as well as the even-more massive CORE Stations, are expected to have an operational lifetime of multiple generations due to both size and expense. These systems are regularly upgraded to maintain operational parity with current Defense Force systems. Systems that have been rotated out of duty are first assessed for their condition. Those that are still in good condition are held in reserve as 'active replacements' while those that are in average condition are either scrapped, sold to allied or friendly governments, or leased/sold to business entities. Anything in poor condition is scrapped, used for training purposes, or occasionally installed as a museum piece depending on the narrative of the item involved. No matter the condition or age, all classified technologies and systems are removed unless the transfer is to a Triumvirate of Yut member state.

Since the most common encounter the everyday person will have with the Defense Force is directly with one of its officers or enlisted, this section will cover their equipment first (basic uniforms having been covered elsewhere in this document).

Combat Armor

The Advanced Body Armor System (ABAS) is worn by all personnel in a combat zone unless they are wearing something heavier. It's vacuum-capable with a full life support system and provides reasonable protection against all infantry-level weapons and some protection against heavy (crew-served or vehicle mounted) level weaponry. It has all kinds of bells and whistles; Multiple optical, audio, and electromagnetic sensors, target processing, communications gear, self-sealing joints, magnetic/gecko boots and gloves, gecko-web strips, pouches, holsters, cyber-barriers, drone sockets, drone control systems... It's very nice - and very expensive.

The GhostDragon Power Armor System (Pictured) is that 'something heavier'. The standard armor for all Marines in a combat zone it is a very expensive suit packed with sensors, weapon systems, armor, and in the middle of all that a battle-hardened Marine who may be a veteran of a dozen battles on as many worlds - or even more commonly now a RATING remotely inhabited by that same Marine operator. It is also commonly issued to REC (Exploration Command) personnel who might be operating in a hazardous environment, or one where the suits' extended capabilities may see some use. These suits are typically painted to be less intimidating and more visually identifiable. Both versions, Marine and Explorer, are often further customized by their operators. External pouches, 'nose art', kill markings, and other modifications are very common.

The SDF's LAAS, or Light Armor Augmentation System is a set of semi-rigid modules that are designed to be worn over the skin suit that is standard issue for RDF Intelligence Field Operatives. It adds some measure of protection as well as several advanced systems that are too bulky to be included in the regular skin suit. An operative can chose to wear some, all, or none of the LAAS over their suit. While it doesn't interfere with the skin suit's shape-shifting and camouflage systems, it does add a measure of bulk that can interfere with some activities.

Also included in the list is the SHC-Zero's Power Armor mode; This convertible armor/vehicle system is intended as an option for individuals who might occasionally need additional protection, such as Diplomats and Explorers, but is also an option for Marines who need a high-speed and lower profile transport rather than a much larger ground vehicle or shuttle craft. It has nearly the same systems as the GhostDragon though it does not offer as much protection or firepower.

In the past year an enormous shift has begun within the Defense Force and while all of these systems are still in the field, the most common 'armor' system going forward will be the RATING. These cover a lot of ground between both personnel, armor, and system and are essentially all three. At their base the RATING is the new common seaman. They are autonomous units that perform the routine and boring regular maintenance tasks that all starships require but that are essentially the same day-to-day. This means that there are fewer officers aboard each ship but also that even the average cadet can, upon graduation, expect an officer posting and to have some measure of impact on their ship of service and the Republic itself without waiting years for a promotion opportunity or undertaking some exemplary action.

Past that, these units will also serve as the Republic's front-line soldiery and enable it to deploy large field armies where necessary without conscription or training. Even more remarkable, these units can be remotely inhabited by both experienced officers and civilian experts with no risk to themselves and thus give the Defense Force immediate on-the-ground access to the best of the best in both military & civilian aptitude and expertise. RATING units are denoted by generation, with the current LinkGen3's already supplanting the previous LinkGen1's and LinkGen2's with proposals currently tabled for the cutting-edge Gen4's where the RATING appealation will make the formal transition from the previous 'REDSHIRT' acronym.

Trojan-Class Outpost

Space Stations

Extinction-Class Battleship


Element-Type Transport

Secondary and Ground Craft

Super Aggressor Heavy Assault Fighter

Drones and Unmanned Units

All of the vehicle artwork on this page was created by Sunset using DoGa. Some parts and textures are custom creations. If you are interested in these designs a telegram is appropriate, though I will insist on some form of role-played interaction. Consider it payment. If you are interested in a custom ship design or artwork please have your wallet ready - or at least a good pick-up line.

The Republic of Sunset