Doing their part
Welcome back to the next part in our series on faction lore.
Last time we talked about the techno-cultists who sided with the AI. Today we’re looking on the other side of the fence, at the planet’s governmental forces.
The Planetary Defense Force (PDF) was the colony’s standing military force. Their original task was to defend against outside aggression, as well as animal control in terraforming zones with less than friendly wildlife. But as civil unrest over the Ascension Program increased to the point regular police forces could no longer keep order, their mandate was extended.
During peace time, they consisted of a large body of professional soldiers. Well-trained, disciplined and equipped with state of the art weapons and armor, they were an extremely efficient fighting force. In addition to their rank and file they maintain the Special Operations Division, a highly secretive branch of military intelligence commandos, rumored to have access to some highly advanced prototype kit.
However, none of their training prepared them for the AI’s betrayal. When their computer networks gave out and their own hardware turned on them chaos ensued. Eventually they managed to reestablish communications and organize a defense, but mounting casualties and increased manpower demands during the conflict have seen them draft large numbers of conscripts. As the situation grew more desperate some received as little as a day of training before being sent out to the front.
With the PDF itself being tight-lipped, the exact events of the war are not widely known, but it is clear that at some point the mechanoid forces stopped their assault on the populace. Despite having formally assumed control after the civilian government collapsed and still insisting it is the only legal authority, the PDF has made no moves to clear the remaining mechanoids or reestablish society. Instead, their forces have retreated to a number of pre-collapse strongpoints from where they send occasional patrols into the ruins to scour for tech and supplies.
Some speculate that they mounted a successful assault on the AI but depleted what was left of their forces. Others say high command collapsed and each stronghold is an isolated enclave run by whoever happens to be the ranking officer on site. The patrolling soldiers themselves are exhausted and weary after years of war and generally distrustful of outsiders, so reliable information is hard to come by. What is certain however, is that their gear, training and experience makes them more than a match for most other factions in the post-apocalypse.
Raiders covet their lethal weaponry but know better than to try attacking a mechanized squad head on. The heavy guns on their armored transports are one of the few things powerful enough to take on the heavy mechanoids roaming the ruins and their rifles will perforate many forms of body armor. In the field they operate as a well-coordinated team, with infantry screening for vehicles and covering each other with automatic fire.
More civil factions sometimes maintain trade relations with nearby PDF outposts. While they’re sitting on large stockpiles of military grade weapons and ammo, they lack the capacity to produce basic necessities such as food and will (grudgingly) trade their surplus to visiting caravans.
Though not all PDF remnants are as diplomatic in their dealings: some splinter groups broke off from the chain of command during the conflict and now put their skills to use as raiders. These deserters roam the land, terrorizing farming communities and taking whatever they want by force.