///From the author:this is meant to be a quick and dirty overview on the Spacer Corps, the primary faction in The Spacers Saga, styled like a magazine or other periodical laying out details on the IDC as a whole. I may eventually do these for other groups within the lore, but this one at least is a necessity since the entire fiction is named after this organization
(A look at the Spacer Corps' flag - the Blue Steel Banner - flying in the night)
The Interplanetary Defense Corps (IDC), colloquially referred to as the Spacer Corps, was founded in 2054 as a provision of the Nakhimov-Herrington Act passed during the first legislative session of the Interplanetary Cooperative Administration’s (ICA) Administrative Council. This act enabled the ICA to organize a jointly-run, combined arms military force to protect ICA interests within Solar Space, and by the end of the 21st century, the IDC consisted of nine aerospace expeditionary forces (AEFs) for a total of 1.21 million spacers.
Over the next two hundred years, considered the Corps’ foundational era, the IDC conducted a variety of low-level peacekeeping and anti-piracy operations in the inner and mid-system, especially in the increasingly troublesome Main Belt A.O. During the long Centauri Insurrection of the mid-23rd century, they were the first line of defense against the radical insurgents tearing their way across the colonial frontier.
It wasn’t until the middle of the 22nd century that the IDC faced the first major challenge to its operational doctrine. During the Solar Civil War (2293-2298), when tensions over control of outer system resources led to conflict between the United Nations of Mars and its allies and those loyal to the Commonwealth of Titan, the IDC at first played the role of peacekeepers, but later joined the war on the side of Mars. This one act created a postwar status quo that has held steady for 120 years, with the IDC now officially based on Mars and the bulk of its military hardware manufactured by Martian industry.
As the provisions of the Harrison Accords took effect throughout the early 24th century, the Spacer Corps essentially became unofficial police force for restive the outer solar system. This, in turn, led to a sharp increase in anti-ICA sentiment throughout the frontier, which culminated in a series of nationalist revolutions there.
One of the more virulent of these revanchist factions was the Divisão Revolucionária da Assembleia de Callisto (DRAC), which emerged on the longtime rebel hotbed of Callisto in the late 2210s and rose to a position of power there in 2324. Over the twenty years which followed, the Jovian subsystem, and much of the outer solar system in general, were engulfed by turmoil as rebel factions loyal to and in opposition to the so-called “Draconists” rose to fight the war they had begun. This war soon spread to the Saturn subsystem, and resulted in a civil conflict on Titan which is still technically ongoing as of May 2389.
Through all of this, the Spacer Corps played a central role, initially acting as a security force for ICA-friendly governments, and as the conflict dragged on, increasingly as a proactive offensive force tasked with hunting down the Draconists and their ilk and eliminating them. This reached a fever pitch during the sixteen years of Operation Lightning Dagger, a massive joint operation aimed at rooting out the Draconists which had gone to ground in the outer system after they were driven from power on Callisto in 2342.
The Zharan Uprising and the rise of the Zharan Collective exacerbated the situation in the frontier, and rising tensions with the new Alliance of Free Worlds eventually spilled over into open war in 2371. For more than eight years, the IDC pumped out new vessels and trained new spacers as fast as possible to recoup its losses, all while the ICA fought a long-term diplomatic holding action. Still, the economic stresses of this war put a brutal strain on politics within the ICA, as various constituents squabbled over resources.
But this was not the only threat facing the already overstretched forces of the IDC and its various associated militias. When the zharans entered the fray on the side of the Alliance in 2279, it forced the IDC to agree to peace terms drawn up at the Nüwa Conference on Titan, which officially ended the war on 13 July 2281 after ten years of fighting. Eight years later, the Spacer Corps remains the ICA’s first line of defense, even as many public commentators predict that a restart of the Frontier Wars is only a matter of time.
Facts & Statistics:
Founded: first mustered on 20 August 2054 (established by provision of the Nakhimov-Herrington Act, ratified by the Interplanetary Administrative Council on 14 December 2053)
Total Strength: tallied to 3,174,650 spacers as of May 2389 (with personnel drawn from nearly every nation-state party to the Tyndall Treaty)
Primary command delineation: Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF); spacers per AEF: approximately 135 thousand; number of AEFs as of 2389: twenty-three (23)
Number of AEFs in the inner system: ten (10)
Number of AEFs in the outer system: six (6)
Number of AEFs on reserve stand-down: seven (7)
Military headquarters: Noctis Fossae, Republic of Tharsis, United Nations of Mars
Standard unit breakdown (INFORCOM breakdown shown):
Fireteam: four (4) spacers
Squad: 2 fireteams plus 1 squad leader (usually an E-5)
Platoon (infantry): 3 squads plus 3-man command section (E-6, O-1 or 2, and a Medic)
Company: 3 inf. platoons + 1 weapons platoon & 14-man command section (typically led by an O-3 & E-7, plus medical staff, comms specialists, weapons technicians, etc.)
Battalion: 6 companies (typically 3 infantry, 2 heavy weapons, 1 logistics) plus a command and control element (typically 35 spacers, led by an O-4 or O-5, with lower-ranked backup)
Regiment: roughly 2,770 spacers (3 battalions plus a 70-man command & control element, typically led by an O-6; a regiment is often the base unit deployed to an A.O.)
Division: roughly 16,800 spacers (usually 2 airmobile infantry regiments, 2 mechanized regiments, 1 air support wing, and 1 engineering & support regiment, plus an 180-man command & logistical element, usually run by an O-7 or O-8, which oversees all affairs of the division in-theater)
Aerospace Expeditionary Force: roughly 135,000 spacers (typically 3 infantry divisions, 1 mechanized division, 1 air wing, plus a FLEETCOM detachment for troop transport, space supremacy, and so on; usually commanded by an O-9)
Unified Combatant Commands: fifteen (15) in total (overlap does exist)
Aerospace Command (AEROCOM): the central command behind the Spacer Corps, responsible for organizational and executive decisions for the entire force
Asteroid Belt Command (BELTCOM): officially responsible for all IDC forces stationed in the space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter; based out of Ceres
Cyberspace Command (CYBERCOM): responsible for all matters pertaining to the digital realm of war, from the Trans-System Network to signals intelligence
Fleet Force Command (FLEETCOM): in charge of all IDC vessels, from the lowliest resupply freighter to the mightiest destroyer; second-largest UCC, after INFORCOM
Ice Giants Command (ICECOM): commands all forces stationed within the Uranus and Neptune sectors, with a focus on the helium-rich Neptune system
Infantry Force Command (INFORCOM): the largest of the UCCs, it in charge of all infantry forces in the Spacer Corps, and oversees Spacer Basic Training
Inner System Command (INNERCOM): controls all forces stationed within the main asteroid belt, making it one of the larger combatant commands
Intelligence Command (INTELCOM): as the joint military intelligence command, INTELCOM is in charge of gathering intelligence–by any means necessary
Jovian Command (JOVICOM): officially in charge of all forces in the Jovian system, which are small in number as of 2379, and based out of Europa
Kuiper Belt Command (KUIPERCOM): controls all IDC forces beyond the orbit of Neptune; the second smallest territorial command after JOVICOM
Logistics Command (LOGICOM): responsible for logistical operations for the entire IDC, meaning that it works closely in tandem with FLEETCOM
Medical Command (MEDICOM): in charge of all medical affairs for the IDC, this command covers everything from dental work to emergency surgery
Saturn Command (SATURNCOM): the third smallest combatant command, based on the jointly-run world of Titan, which remains partitioned as of 2289
Special Operations Command (SOCOM): controls all special operations forces, with authority over everything from SOAR to top-secret Project ALPHA
Strategic Command (STRATCOM): administers everything from WMDs and nuclear engines to the components of the secret weapons research programs
Number of vessels in FLEETCOM: approximately 1,700 (official 2287 estimate - 1,682)
Number of vessels per AEF: approximately seventy (70)
Primary shipyards are at Phobos and in the Main Asteroid Belt (at Ceres and Vesta)
Annual shipbuilding capacity: approximately 80-100; 200-300 on emergency footing (only activated in the event of a declaration of interplanetary emergency)
Official motto: Semper Vigilans
Unofficial motto: The only good day to die is tomorrow
Official march: “The Spacers are Off Again”
Chorus: “Off again, chasing the enemies of freedom,
"Taking the fight to wherever they are;
"Flying higher, soaring farther,
"Than anyone who ever came before”
Unofficial fighting song: “Those Damned Spacers and their Rockets”
Chorus: “Those damned spacers and their rockets,
"Flyin’ through the night;
"Those bastards keep on flyin’ faster,
"And damn those boys ain’t right”
Ranks & Insignia:
Spacer (SPC): the basic “grunt” level soldier of the Spacer Corps, and the reason for its name, these personnel are generally only encountered in training scenarios (i.e. boot camp), or in situations where a more senior enlisted person has been “busted” down to E-1 as punishment
Spacer First Class (SFC): considered the entry-level of the IDC, these spacers have “earned their stripe,” so to speak, after graduating from the basic training courses which take up roughly the first year of any spacer’s career. From there, the rest of their time is spent doing real work
Corporal (CPL): as the first of the junior noncommissioned officer (NCO) ranks, corporals are tasked with enforcing the commands of more senior noncoms, in order to keep things operating smoothly. Typically they are in charge of the very most basic organizational units in the Corps
Senior Spacer (SSPC): filling a role between that of corporals and sergeants, the senior spacer is responsible for ensuring that the “Big Machine” does not break down by maintaining proper communications between its most fundamental moving parts: the junior enlisted spacers
Sergeant (SGT): often considered the heart & soul of their unit, these noncommissioned officers are the real jack-of-all-trades of the enlisted Corps: they enforce orders from senior officers, maintain discipline, establish esprit de corps, and inspire their subordinates, all in one package
Technical Sergeant (TSGT): these noncoms are generally positioned as platoon sergeants, section leaders, and heads of working units, and are expected to leverage the expertise of their prior service to ensure that the frontline units in which they are placed can operate efficiently
Master Sergeant (MSGT): these are the real end all, be all of the Spacer Corps, as their years (sometimes even decades) of real-world experience make them invaluable to its operations. Their know-how is often balanced by a stern, disciplinarian bent, also earned from experience
Chief Master Sergeant (CMSG): as often as not, these are the most senior noncoms in a unit, with their final word only superseded by the commissioned officers themselves. Even then, the smart officers know that a “Chief” will know best, and know to defer to their better judgment
Senior Chief Master Sergeant: to reach this level, the average noncom usually needs at least twenty, and usually more than twenty-five years of experience. As such, they are often the very final word in judgment calls at the enlisted level, often superseding the first few officer ranks
Ensign (ENS): much as with the rank of Spacer (E-1), an ensign is generally only encountered in training, or when a higher-ranking officer has been busted down in rank as punishment. They are the very most basic, entry-level officers in the Corps, and are usually promoted up quickly
Lieutenant (LT): these officers are the very essence of the officer corps, and the backbone of basically every frontline unit in the Spacer Corps as a whole. They run infantry platoons, technical sections, and other foundational units which make up the bulk of the Spacer Corps
Captain (CAPT): when a senior spacer proves themselves worthy, they are made a sergeant; likewise, when a lieutenant proves themselves, they are made into a captain. These officers are responsible for leading infantry companies, flights, and other larger but still fundamental units
Major (MAJ): as the Corps’ middle-of-the-road officers, they are the backbone of any mid-sized unit. Their multiple years of commissioned service gives them the experience necessary to properly organize and streamline the work of frontline operations, and shape junior leaders
Commander (CMDR): with upwards of twenty years of experience under their belts, the average commander is worthy of the responsibilities they are given, whether they be warships, regiments, or other upper-level commands, and their expertise makes them respected leaders
Colonel (COL): the average colonel is a leader of the largest “mainstream” units in the Spacer Corps, and usually has upwards of thirty of service stacked behind the decisions they make. Even still, there is a trope which claims that colonels are the real wildcards of any military force
Brigadier General (BRIG GEN): they are generally in charge of the lowest high-level commands, including average-sized installations, brigades, & detachments of military vessels. The years of experience they bring to bear makes them highly respected motivators of more junior spacers
Major Lieutenant General (MAJ GEN): Major Generals are in charge of mid-sized commands, such as divisions, and lead them in the execution of duties up to and including the fulfillment of major frontline operations, with their extensive knowledge making them indispensable leaders
Lieutenant General (LT GEN): the commanders behind groups of divisions, and sometimes whole AEFs, with all the experience and know-to necessary to support such responsibility. They are generally multi-decade veterans of the Corps, and are respected above almost all others
General (GEN): a General is usually in charge of an entire AEF, a series of high-level command units, or even entire Combatant Commands. Their number includes the various members of the Supreme Military Council, and the Chairperson of Aerospace Operations, Marcus A. Shinseki
Class-A and B uniforms:
The duty uniforms of the Spacer Corps have a long history within the framework of spacer life, as their origins can be traced back to the earliest days of organized, large-scale space travel. The more standard duty fatigues and service dress can similarly be traced back to the 20th century, when modern military uniforms were standardized as a result of the massive mobilizations of resources which accompanied the two World Wars.
The Spacer Corps' Class-B.1 coveralls have an especially long pedigree, and have been used in some form or another, with or without camoflage printed on them, since at least as far back as the 21st century. Some would even trace them back to the suits worn in space stations by astro- and cosmonauts as far back as the 1970s, and there is certainly some truth to this assertion. In the end, the main point of B.1 coveralls in the late 23rd century is that they are not just used as clothes but also as a base layer for EVA suits, and are therefore designed to be airtight in the event of a breach in the outer suit layer, or in case an emergy evacuation is called for.
Class-B.2 fatigues are similar to B.1 coveralls, in that they are designed to be used under EVA suits and are therefore capable of being sealed up. The main difference in this variation is that the fatiges are meant more to be used in garrison in places where the atmosphere is less easily compromised, such as large-scale military outposts, multi-use space stations, and environments on worlds like Mars, Titan, and of course Earth.
Finally, there is the Class-A service dress, which is meant for use at official functions (anything from government hearings to duty postings in high-level offices to appearances for the media) and is not intended to be airtight in the event of an atmospheric emergency. The main difference between the two variations of Class-A dress is that enlisted service dress is somewhat less "flashy" than the officer variant, and that rank insignia are shown on the sleeves of the former while they appear on increasingly elaborate shoulder boards on the latter.
Standard-issue Spacer Corps boots are steel-toed and airtight for protection against the vacuum, and above all else are designed to magnetically adhere to metallic surfaces at the whim of the user in order to allow for walking in microgravity situations.