A tiny portion of humanity
turned its back on mankind in the waning days of the last Golden Age. Over one
and a half centuries later, the PHR has emerged from the shadows as an
unrecognisable civilisation, its people irrevocably changed. They are no longer
simple human beings, they are post-humans - cyborgs.
A society no more than three billion strong, the PHR is a nation of elites, each individual more than a match for several lesser mortals. With remarkable speed, they have made technological advancements surpassing those of the UCM. Since its fiery birth, the PHR has been guided by the enigmatic White Sphere, a mysterious object of immense power. It is treated by the people of the PHR with a reverence bordering on worship.
Birth and the White Sphere
The PHR was born through
division, fire and death. Shortly before the Scourge invasion, a mysterious
object of obviously alien origin fell into the atmosphere of Earth. It
delivered a bleak warning of impending doom to humanity.
Heeding the warning provided by the White Sphere, a tide of convinced souls known as the Abandonists left Earth and the Cradle worlds to their prophesised fate. In order to make good their escape, they chose to fire upon the fleet sent to stop them. This provided a chance for the majority of their armada to jump into the unknown darkness of space. Their faith in The Warning spared them the horrors of the Scourge invasion, and resulted in the seeding of a new society.
Today, the Sphere occupies a revered and crucial position in the Republic, determining much of its policies. It is almost certain that a good measure of the PHR's evident technological superiority can be attributed to the Sphere's apparently benevolent influence. The Republic has morphed from a desperate collection of mutineers and refugees into an unrecognisable society in less than 170 years, a feat only accomplishable with considerable aid. The question of motive is obvious, but theories here are too wild to justify putting down in record. For now, the White Sphere remains the greatest enigma to trouble the UCM.
The fate of those who
escaped remained utterly unknown until the eve of the UCM's ambitious
Reconquest campaign. A strange and unlooked for ship suddenly appeared over
Aurum (site of the UCM seat of power), containing a delegation from the self
mystifyingly changed yet humanlike group, entered an audience with the UCM High
Council, and avowed their nature as descendants of the Abandonist movement.
What knowledge UCM has acquired in the brief time since the PHR's emergence is incomplete at best, and more often pure conjecture. Most has been gleaned through frosty diplomatic relations and interrogations. In these few short months, the UCM acquired a number of prisoners and bodies for autopsy, since armed conflict has already erupted between the two factions.
From the earliest encounters
with citizens of the Republic, their 'changed' nature was instantly noticeable.
While clearly human, their appearance, speech, movements and mannerisms were
somehow uncanny and certainly disquieting. Their claim to being more than
simply human was never in doubt from the moment it was voiced.
Early research indicates extensive use of cybernetic prosthetics and modification, both for the purposes of injury repair and for improved physical performance. These artificial additions vary from simple bone and limb replacements to incomprehensibly advanced bio-artificial melding of living tissue and fabricated nanostructures.
However repugnant this sounds, subjects appear at the height of physical perfection, despite the aforementioned gnawing feelings of 'difference' engendered to all who look upon them. Most UCM citizens who have witnessed them in person regard them as abhorrent and unnatural, a virtually distinct species to their own.
The population of the PHR is
tiny compared to that of the UCM. In order to be effective as a fighting force,
the PHR concentrates on maximising the survivability and lethality of every
unit. With superior technology and artificial enhancements at its disposal, the
Republic has proven highly successful at this aim.
Since the PHR seemingly has no short term desire to recapture Earth and the Cradle worlds, it has no need of a vast military machine such as that of the UCM. Without this necessity, the Republic has been able to focus on providing a matchless quality of training and equipment to its few troops.
In many respects, PHR
vehicles are very similar to those of the UCM. Both groups share common
heritage, although PHR armoured units have evolved quite differently to their
counterparts. Technological advancements and higher build quality generally
make them superior in most respects. Well armed, they are often outnumbered,
but seldom outgunned.
The most obvious difference is the presence of the imposing battle walkers, coupled with a cleaner, more developed aesthetic. The Republic still makes use of traditional treaded vehicles however, and shares broadly similar troop delivery and extraction methods, supported by a series of dropships.
PHR vehicles make use of an extensive array of optical and electromagnetic systems to provide the crew with detailed situational awareness, their most distinctive physical feature being prominent EM scanning domes. Most units feature no windows whatsoever, relying entirely on these systems for vision. All PHR vehicles with a living pilot are equipped with neural connections to an isolated onboard AI. This provides tactical assistance in combat, including targeting and threat analysis, further enhancing the effectiveness of the pilot-machine union.