The Resistance is a complex, characterful and disparate assortment of human survivors on the Cradle Worlds and Earth itself, currently occupied by the dreaded alien Scourge. The very existence of the Resistance has shaped UCM military planning for its Reconquest, which became a war of liberation rather than simply a war of revenge as soon as they were discovered. Indeed, the Resistance alone are responsible for a reconquest being possible at all, as they were able to activate and maintain foldspace nodes on all but one of the Cradle Worlds, allowing UCM invasion fleets to jump to their locations accurately. Theirs is a tale of loss, grit and determination to survive in the face of insurmountable odds.
We have already seen how the Resistance on Eden Prime evolved from a cowering group of shell-shocked survivors into a viable (if fragmented) fighting force. The example of Eden Prime can be considered as a general model for the progression of Resistance societies across all the Cradle Worlds and Earth itself. However, the most noticeable aspect that separates the Resistance from all other combatants is their diversity.
Years of Isolation
There is no single Resistance society, government plan or mindset. Resistance groups have existed more or less independently of others operating on the same planet and certainly of those offworld. Each society has evolved over 160 years independently, often in very different circumstances, in different terrain and with different fortunes. The Resistance have no fleet and no easy way of communicating beyond their immediate realms. While messages can be conveyed in person, it is extremely risky for them to use long range wireless coms as the Scourge can easily intercept them. There is no fixed size or military structure to any Resistance group either and the true number of living human beings subjugated by the Scourge remains unknown.
Until recently, most Resistance bands have barely deserved their title. Without any real hope of besting an enemy with overwhelming technological and numerical superiority, their existence has been one of survival first, empty gestures second. They have often been at war with each other more frequently than with the Scourge due to squabbles over territory, supplies and sometimes down to the egomania of the most tyrannical of warlords. Raids against the real enemy have usually only occurred when certain materiel has been desperately needed or, on occasion, when they felt they could deal a massive amount of damage disproportionate to their strength.
As UCM scouts and subsequently armies have begun to arrive on the Cradle Worlds the situation is changing rapidly. Resistance societies are at last becoming aware that there is a massive, cohesive human civilisation out there that is actually capable of mounting full scale planetary invasions against their hated oppressors. Many have stepped up their efforts to strike back and are at last committing their most precious assets to the fight for freedom. Most have been all too willing to assist their potential liberators with every ounce of strength they can muster. As with all things concerning the Resistance, this situation is far from consistent...
‘Allies’ and ‘Ferals’
Although the terms are grossly inadequate for describing the myriad variations and mindsets of Resistance societies, the UCM has created two broad categories for humans at liberty from the Scourge; Allied and Feral.
Allied societies are defined as those willing or eager to assist the UCM in its efforts for Reconquest. Although still highly divergent, these groups do behave in a vaguely similar way. Most have normally civilised, reasonably sophisticated and often enlightened attitudes to government and the rule of law. These groups vary in size from tiny bands simply glad to see a powerful liberator to large and well governed enclaves which had been hoping for the existence of a society in the stars capable of reversing man’s past failings. It is usually these groups that have maintained the foldspace nodes and are natural allies to any that come to their aid after so many years of planning, hoping and waiting.
Some groups, however, are subjugated by the sort of despots normally associated with Ferals, although these are usually shrewd enough to realise what the future will hold once the UCM arrive in force. The UCM’s current policy is to work with these kinds of leaders in peace if they cooperate, however distasteful that may be, as their subjects are often visited with more misery than even the Scourge can bring. However, rumours of a secret directive to remove all dictatorial leaders once victory is accomplished are spreading, which makes such individuals even less likely to work with the UCM.
So called ‘Ferals’ are even more divergent, so much so that sometimes the word is a poor choice to describe them. Nevertheless, the UCM has defined all groups that refuse to cooperate or are actively hostile towards them as Ferals. These societies are usually totalitarian in nature, often controlled by a single, merciless individual. They vary from well organised subterranean dystopian societies where oppression and fear are enforced with ruthless efficiency to literal savages, occasionally driven over the edge of insanity by their plight. The latter are especially feared by UCM ground troops as instances of cannibalism and human sacrifice have been widely reported.
State censors have even been required to step in and silence such talk on occasion - it’s devastating for morale when you’ve been trained to fight Scourge only to be viciously slaughtered by those you‘re trying to free. Feral warlords often take on grandiose monikers out of all proportion to their power – apparently, the title of King has even been used for the first time in over 300 years of human history. Such individuals are loath to relinquish their lofty positions of power, vice and adoration in exchange for ‘liberation’. Even some enlightened societies are opposed to UCM intervention, and see them as just another unwelcome conqueror, almost as foreign to them as the Scourge.
Enemies and Allies
Due to their wide divergence, it’s easy to understand how political alliances involving Resistance groups and other races are as complex and varied as their societies. Each individual group approaches things differently, and while some will work actively with the Shaltari, for example, others may have good reason to want to exterminate every member of that cunning race they encounter. Indeed, Resistance-Shaltari alliances are the most complex and varied of all relations, since both groups are divergent in nature and often unpredictable. It’s almost not worth delving into this issue further, as almost every possible political alliance or enmity exists between the Shaltari and Resistance somewhere across the Cradle Worlds.
By contrast, the only interplay that is easily understood and features very few complexities is their feeling towards the Scourge. The vast majority of occupied humans hate their oppressors on principle and without exception. The only real point of difference is how they deal with their respective situations. Some Resistance groups will make every effort to avoid confrontation or contact with any Scourge groups. They feel they have survived by staying silent and unseen and intend to continue with this strategy. Other societies (and those far more likely to appear on battlefields) are currently exploiting the opportunities afforded by the Reconquest to finally revenge themselves on the alien invaders.
The interaction between the Resistance and the PHR is the most concerning and least understood of all their diplomatic relations. Agents of the Republic have been sighted in audiences with several Resistance leaders across multiple Cradle Worlds. Even more worryingly, it seems that the PHR prefer to make contact with the most tyrannical and egotistical warlords they can find. Whether this is because the PHR respect their power, or more likely they feel these individuals are more easily manipulated by their brand of diplomacy, remains to be seen. In any case, it certainly seems that the carefully orchestrated, premeditated betrayal against UCM expeditionary forces in the Asguard system was the work of the Republic. The UCM also has proof that at least one feral leader on Eden Prime, the infamous Salakahn, is in league with the PHR. This may explain why he has been such a thorn in the side of colonial forces from the first day of the invasion, although what either party hopes to gain in the long term remains a mystery.
Technology of the Resistance
Resistance technology is so variable as to be impossible to describe fully. Every Resistance society is unique and certainly no two armies are alike. This is largely a result of over 160 years of isolation from other groups, and of the wildly different fortunes and situations each society had to deal with. Some faced problems unique to them, although almost all had to deal with the reality of occupation by a deadly and unquestionably superior alien foe.
As a result, it’s best to discuss the technologies employed by the Resistance in general terms intended to cover the most common themes. The most important distinction to make is that most Resistance armies have a two-tier tech and quality system that is unique to them.
Firstly, their armies usually contain a number of ex-military vehicles and weapons. These are by now usually over 160 years old and sometimes much older than that. As a result, they have needed repairs and modifications over the years making no two vehicles (even of the same pattern) exactly alike. Pre-war technology is not necessarily inferior to UCM machinery, although normally far more expensive and time consuming to produce, designed for very different circumstances and smaller production runs.
These precious and irreplaceable assets have been used sparingly by Resistance commanders who previously committed them to battle only when the situation was dire. Recently, they have started to see more action as the Reconquest gathers pace, with a general sense that the time is nigh to do or die.
Secondly, Resistance armies contain an eclectic mixture of repurposed and modified civilian vehicles, tools and systems. Such ramshackle and second-tier units are normally considered expendable, although their crews usually aren’t. Unlike the precious military assets, these scavenged makeweights are far easier to replace than trained crew. They are even more diverse than their military counterparts since there were thousands of pre-war manufacturers, catering for the myriad needs of hundreds of different markets on multiple planets.
As time advances, this picture has blurred further, as military tech gets added to civilian vehicles while civilian tech augments military vehicles. In general terms though, it’s easiest to think of the Resistance along these lines. However, if there is one constant among the Resistance, it’s that there will always be an exception to every category, rule and term that the UCM attempts to label them with.