The Human Sphere is a BattleTech universe set in 3100. The Jihad has come and gone, leaving in its wake dozens of small realms in a perpetual cycle of raids and small wars. Will you seek money or defend your nation? Or both? You decide.
"The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'" - Ronald Reagan
The history of the Azami Caliphate goes back centuries, to the time before the Star League and the Age of War when hundreds of small realms commanded space.The Moslems of Terra’s African and Middle Eastern territories colonized many hot and dry worlds that felt like home, and lived separate from the rest of humanity. Until the Combine came and absorbed them.The price they paid for the “protection” of the Combine was the lives of their sons and daughters in war.
The Combine formed the Arkab Legions from the fierce fighters and sent them to raid their enemies. They served with distinction throughout the wars the Combine waged, showing again and again that they were a force to be reckoned with.They fought hard, they fought well, and they fought with a loyalty to their new home that surprised many outsiders.
At first, the Word of Blake Jihad was simply another war for the Arkab Legions to fight, another threat to the Dragon for their loyal allies to exterminate. When the Word of Blake forces spilled over the border of the Free Rasalhague Republic onto Camlann in
3068, Tai-sa Sahalli Odessa’s Second Arkab Legion fared badly but fought hard until a Nova Cat force arrived to support them. During the rest of the war, the Arkab Legions worked with the Nova Cats and the Ryuken, drawing resources from the Nova Cat reserves after the death of Coordinator Theodore Kurita and the ascension of Hassid Ricol.
Having been loyal to the Combine and the Kurita family for centuries, the Arkab Legions refused to set aside their vows despite the rise of Ricol.But when word reached them that Kurita family members were being hunted down and killed by the Yakuza, they arranged for what was left of the family to have safe haven in the Azami lands. To this day, Kuritas are the only outsiders welcomed in the “Desert Paradise” of Algedi or the other worlds the Azami controlled.This quiet rebellion against the new leadership of the Combine did not go unnoticed and a low level war between elements of the Yakuza and the Azami began and wages to this day.The Azami have long thought that the decimation of the 4th Arkab Legion on Ogano in 3071 was because of this war, but have never been able to pin full blame on the Combine.
They fought against the Word though as the years went by, working with the Nova Cats, Proserpina Hussars, and other less “honorable” forces.It was this alliance of the least trusted units in the Combine that did the most damage to the Word. Across scores of worlds they fought as dirty as they needed to in order to survive, and sometimes even to win. But the Word responded by leveling entire cities and sometimes even worlds.As the Jihad in the Combine came to a close, the Legions and their allies fought over shattered battlefields, living off what was left of the land. The fleets of transports that once fed them were all but gone, destroyed by the Word or held back by the Dragon in safe places.Safe places that were often the target of Word raids as well.By 3075, the Combine was a shadow of its former power, its economy shattered and most of its factories leveled.
The Arkab Legions were little different. Their last major action on Ashio in 3075 left them in tatters and unable to mount any effective assaults. But they fought hard, as always, and they forced the Word of Blake to leave behind nearly a battalion of modern BattleMechs as they retreated back to the Terran Corridor to deal with the Star League.The Legions “forgot” to inform the Combine of this capture and moved the BattleMechs to Algedi where they were stored and readied for future action. They no longer trusted the Combine, but centuries of honor did not allow them to simply walk away.
The decade that followed saw the Azami rebuilding their shattered Arkab Legions.Some came from the remnants of “dishonored” regiments that had become friends of the Arkab Legions.Some though came from new construction and volunteers.They rebuilt the Atlas factory on Al Na’ir using local resources and used that production to build up newer Legions that the Combine knew nothing about. In addition to entire battalions of Saladins, Saracens, and Scimitars, when the Draconis Combine moved to eliminate the “Nova Cat Problem” in 3087, the Legions were ready.
Called to support the second wave of the assault, after the Nova Cats proved just as ready, Odessa’s Second Arkab Legion turned on the Combine forces in Port Arthur.On the very spaceports where the invasion forces of Operation Bulldog landed during the war to reclaim the system from the Smoke Jaguars, Odessa shattered the Eight Dieron Regulars.
All of his work and preparations would have been for naught though if other realms had not become involved in the war. The Rasalhague Dominion of course brought its tremendous power to support the Nova Cats. The Smoke Jaguars began to raid the Combine more often as well, drawing more troops from the fight with the Nova Cats. Robinson, Tikonov, and even the Raven Alliance joined the war as well, stretching the Combine defenses to the limit.
Through all of that, as the years went by, Odessa worked closely with the First Azami Legion that incorporated the captured Word of Blake BattleMechs and a full battalion of Atlas BattleMechs. With their help, he managed to smash the Seventh Pesht Regulars in 3089 and sent them back to Luthien in tatters. This helped the beleaguered Dragonsclaw Cluster to escape a multi-regiment encircling force that would have destroyed them.
It took another year, and the shattered remnants of the Second Draconis Fleet fleeing for home, for Coordinator Hassid Ricol to admit defeat.It was that action on Unity that proved to be the final turning point in the war though, when the warriors on both sides knew how it would end. Every battle after that one, every lost life, the Azami hang squarely on the stubbornness of Coordinator Ricol.
When Sahalli Odessa signed the peace treaty for the Azami and ended the war with the Dragon, he also signed the end of a centuries’ long alliance with the Combine.It was an alliance the Azami he vowed never to re-enter until the Kurita family returns to the head of the Combine.Odessa returned home to Algedi, planning on retiring to care for his family, but Algedi had other ideas.After being “persuaded” to accept the position of Sultan, Odessa proceeded to make the new Azami Caliphate into a true interstellar power.
The last decade has seen the Caliphate holding fast to its allies in the Nova Cat Confederation and the Rasalhague Dominion, as well as its newest ally, the Free Tikonov Republic. Azami raiders are often seen on Draconis Combine borders, as well as in the Proserpina Syndicate, and the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance, though as the latter is allied with Tikonov as well, such actions tend to be less visible.The current leader of the Azami Caliphate is Sultan Mohammed Odessa, the son of Sahalli Odessa, and many wonder how his ascension to the office of Sultan in 3100 will affect dealings with the Caliphate.
Made up of worlds once in the Tamar Pact, the Federation of Skye, Ozawa Mercantile Association, and of course in the Draconis Combine, the Azami Caliphate is home to many cultures. Because of that diversity, it is also the most confusing to outsiders in the Human Sphere.One world may be filled with orthodox Moslems but one jump away is another that embraces Christendom or dozens of other religions. The Caliphate and the Sultan do not meddle in the affairs of member worlds, simply requiring a yearly levy of funds to pay for the protection from outsiders that it provides.As long as they do not break faith with the Sultan, the systems are allowed to rule themselves as they wish.The traditional Azami systems are controlled by an Emir, a prince, who runs the system as his, or in Camlann’s case her, personal monarchy, while the other systems go from being representative democracies to monarchies of their own, or anything in between.
The Azami military is an eclectic mix of old and new technologies, made possible only by the restoration of the Vega factories that were shattered during the Jihad.Unable to build many of the more advanced systems made possible in the 3050s and 3060s, the modern Azami Armed Forces sport downgrades of the numerous designs built on that world, and on Al Na’ir and Nashira.
The Nashira-built Scimitar is the primary light ’Mech used by the Azami, while No-Dachi lances form its primary heavy BattleMech forces.Crusaders from Vega are used as a core of medium-weight units, while their assault forces are split between the powerful but slow Atlas and the faster BattleMaster lances.They also purchase Akumas from Tikonov, though these advanced BattleMechs are not as common as the others.All Azami Legions are trained in the use of the C3 systems, no longer used by Draconis Combine forces because of their “dishonorable” status and all BattleMechs have been refitted to use it.
The Azami buy their AeroSpace forces from their allies, being unable to build anything themselves, and so have a small, by modern standards, fleet of Lightning-class destroyers and smaller escorts built on Dieron, as well as a number of DropShips and fighters to support them. The Ozawa-built Dagger OmniFighters dominate their fighter fleet.
1st Arkab Legion: Saladin’s Warriors
2nd Arkab Legion: Defenders of the Faithful
3rd Arkab Legion: Blood Suckers
4th Arkab Legion: Allah’s Blessings
6th Arkab Legion: Desert Nomads
The Legion of Vega: On Hell's Trails
The Ghosts: Devil's Due
The Genyosha: Ocean of Flames
The Ryuken: Dragon's Flames
Al Na’ir – Scarborough Manufacturers – Hover APCs, Maxim, Pegasus, Saladin, Saracen, and Scimitar hover vehicles
– Yori ’Mech Works – Atlas BattleMech
Nashira – DeValt Industries – Scimitar BattleMech; IndustrialMechs
Vega – Cosby BattleMech Research Firm – BattleMaster, Crusader, and No-Dachi BattleMechs
Al Na'ir – A barren world with a thin atmosphere, the inhospitable planets in this system were only colonized because of the rich asteroid belts.Factories built on the asteroids made the system prosperous, but the asteroids were prime targets during the Succession Wars and the Jihad. Shattered by those wars, only the support of the Azami kept the system solvent.They rebuilt the Atlas and vehicle factories under the surface of the system’s primary planet, but never informed Coordinator Ricol. Before the Azami left the Combine, this world was their only source of weapons to supply their Legions and they guarded it carefully. Supplemented only by Vega and Nashira now, this world is still extremely important to the long-term survival of the Azami, perhaps the reason it is so often the target of Yakuza infiltration attempts.The Azami list of punishments for Yakuza infiltrators is very short. Death.
Albalii – An agro world, it boasts three massive continents with large artificial lakes built far from the ocean. These artificial lakes, built during the Star League, provide water for the bulk of Albalii’s fields and the majority of its cities and population.Numerous flowing cities also dot the lakes and the ocean, defended by dangerous submarines and wet navy WarShips.
Algedi – A barren world beneath a sun so large that it takes up a full third of the sky during the day, the lack of a true night tends to break the biological clocks of people not accustomed to the planet. In the past that meant Combine paperwork was in a constant snarl as sleepy bureaucrats and paper pushers failed to work quickly.Since leaving the Combine and reasserting its command of a major interstellar nation, Algedi has evicted all outsiders.Only the remains of the Kurita family are welcomed on this “Desert Paradise”.
Alnasi – A world that formed near two large gas giants, it sports an irregular orbital pattern and an odd wobble that makes it hard for animals to survive long term.It moves from ice age to desert conditions every eighteen hundred years and currently is in a warming pattern that should leave the world uninhabitable in the next few hundred years.
Altais – Colonized when it was a terrestrial world with verdant forests and beautiful landscapes, a large meteor destroyed that environment forever less than a century later. Now a hot world with a poisonous atmosphere and frequent tectonic shocks, only the planet’s mineral wealth keeps people moving there. A year of hazardous wages made on this world can set a person up for life elsewhere in the Caliphate. As such, turnover of the workforce is high but they maintain a steady stream of energetic, if not qualified, individuals.
Alya – Thanks to the presence of an abnormally large gas giant in the outer system, Alya and its moon Xanadu have an extremely uncommon orbital path.This generates such eccentric day/night cycles and seasonal weather patterns that converting to galactic standard time keeping with any degree of usefulness for planetary concerns is impossible.The local calendar is used by everyone, including visitors, with galactic standard only being used in matters of communications with other systems. Its small but capable industrial base has done well to give the world a high standard of living, and those who wish to get away from it all often move here to live out their days. However many there happen to be compared to the galactic day.
Arkab – Primarily a desert world, with sparse woodlands, scrub vegetation and low hills, many think it to be the homeworld of the Arkab Legions.It isn’t of course, but many of those warriors did and still do come from that world. Ancient Africans and Arabs who considered its harsh environment like home colonized it, and their descendents continue to dominate its politics and religion.
Ascella – A rare habitable planet found orbiting a white subdwarf star, its many heavy metals are partially responsible for its powerful gravitational field.The many radioactive minerals have made mining a rich industry here, and its factories produce many fusion and fission power plants for civilian and militia uses.When colonized, the planet had only begun to approach a terrestrial atmosphere so plants were engineered to terraform the world.Because of this, very little of the original plant and animal life remains.
Ashio – A young world with tall mountains, deep oceans, and low gravity, this world became one of the largest exporters of meat in the Star League.The extremely large native mammoths were genetically modified to taste and feel like beef, bringing in much money to the world.The Succession Wars destroyed that trade, along with the University of Ashio, except in small amounts to those who could afford the luxury of importing meats. This brought hard times to the world despite interest from Luthien.They rebuilt the University, but it burned down soon thereafter and the world became little more than a side trip.Until the Word of Blake used its massive mountain ranges as a fallback point in 3074. The Arkab Legions hunted them down and forced them to retreat again, leaving behind nearly a battalion of modern BattleMechs.With the Word gone and the Jihad finished for the Legions, the world returned to normal and began to heal its wounds.One wound was the University of Ashio.Now widely consider to be the greatest center of learning in the Azami Caliphate, the rebuilt religion-neutral University constantly has more applicants than openings.
Buckminster – Known for its agriculture and light industrial products, the people of this would shed few tears when the Dragon’s troops were forced to abandon the world under Word pressure. Happy to remain a minor trading world, they now represent a friendly trading spot between Azami and Skye nationals.
Camlann – Settled in the early Twenty Fifth century by the Azami, this world has remained a center of their power over the centuries. A member of the Lyran state for most of its history though, it has none of the sexist suppression that the Azami faith has been known for in the past.Many of its planetary leaders have in fact been women, including the current Emir. During the Jihad, the Word of Blake assaulted this world and Tai-sa Sahalli Odessa’s Second Arkab Legion and the Nova Cats fought them off.
Chichibu – A small source of mineral wealth, this world has just enough to support its industries. The Chichiban whale is their primary claim to fame. Twice as large as a Terran Killer Whale, its meat is a delicacy on many worlds and its blubber is a source of many expensive oils.
Dabih – A world of lush forests and large, deep oceans, Moslem settled Dabih long before the Star League formed. They also colonized its nearest moon, Shakhi, which was barely habitable.Its thin air and minimal ecosystem can only handle a small number of people and a small number of easy crops that do not burn out the soil. Because of this it is used primarily as a military base for system defense assets and for growing food for Dabih. Dabih in exchange produces rich hydrocarbons for sale to worlds with minimal hydrocarbon supplies. This brings in enough money for the duel worlds to have a comfortable lifestyle with all of the technological advantages money brings. As such, they are far more cosmopolitan and open to visitors than some worlds in Azami space.
Deneb Algedi – On the border between Azami and Tikonov space, over two-thirds of this water-poor world is deserts. Dominated by the Moslem faith, this world’s devotion to the tourist trade has made it a far more secular world. The heart of the tourist industry is based on the aggressive nayaraptor.This territorial airborne predator has a wingspan of almost two meters and the strength to snatch up prey weighing as much as ninety kilograms, making it a target both of sightseers and hunters. Many travel from across the Human Sphere for those purposes, bringing in much needed funds.
Gram – A heavily industrialized world, it is the target of many Combine raids.As such a large military garrison is stationed there at all times.
Markab – A desert world, it was colonized by the Azami during the 25th century and remains loyal to the Azami Caliphate, despite being nearly surrounded by the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance. Rich in precious metals and hydrocarbons, they sell much of their production to the Alliance. Other production is sent deeper into Azami space to support building programs dedicated to defending the nation.
Minakuchi – It is the home of Spreading the Glories Incorporated, an arts and entertainment production and distribution firm. That company has made many films over the years dedicated to making people happy to be citizens of the Draconis Combine.Since it became part of the Azami Caliphate however, it produces films designed to glorify the Azami lifestyle.The company also makes films that attack the Ricol family, making them a target of many Combine raids. So far the heavy defensive installations and Azami fighters have kept the company generating new films.
Nashira – A highly industrialized world with numerous products from hydrocarbons to electronics, this world was a valuable part of the Combine after the Hegemony collapsed. The Combine tried to remake it in its own image after that, but it remained a diverse world even then.It became a primary target of the Word of Blake during the Jihad and suffered great destruction.With the help of the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance much of that damage has been repaired though and the world has begun to recover its past power.
Ogano – On the coreward edge of Azami space, this world is significant for only two reasons.The first is the amount of traffic that moves through it from the Nova Cat Confederation.The second is that the Fourth Arkab Legion was destroyed there in 3071. When the world rebuilt, it constructed a memorial for the Fourth that stands to this day, bringing many survivors of that battle there on a yearly basis.
Piedmont – A beautiful world of lush forests, great mountain ranges full of rich mineral deposits, and deep oceans, this world is nearly a perfect place to colonize. Unfortunately, it is home to a deadly neurovirus that spreads via both contact and airborne means.During the Amaris War, his troops tried to take over the Star League lab built to study it and released a mutated form of the virus that was even more deadly. The surviving Combine troops at the lab were forced to order a nuclear strike on their own position to kill the virus. That entire continent is still a blackened husk.The Word of Blake also came to the world during the Jihad, trying to find a way to make the virus more deadly.Mercifully, they left the people on the remaining continents alone.
Rukbat – This is a world of endless oceans, tropical islands, small continents, lush forests, green valleys, and majestic mountains.It is also completely poisonous to humans.Lacking any of the nutrients humans need to survive, only heavily genetically engineered crops can grow on the world.Unfortunately, Amaris’ troops destroyed nearly all the farms on the world when they were retreating before the SLDF.For a time the world survived on food exports but the First and Second Succession Wars destroyed nearly all of the JumpShips they relied on for transport and the planet starved.Billions died in those years, until the planetary population stabilized at just over fifty million.By ruthlessly expanding the farms, and building greenhouses in orbit, the planet has been able to fuel its expansion back up to three hundred million people, enough to run many of the old mines.But with the small number of people, tapping the mines out is not a concern.
Sadachbia – This is a quiet, but hot, agricultural world with very limited industrial capacity. Most of its inland areas are deserts, so the majority of people live on the smaller islands or along the shores of the larger continents. They have an impressive wet navy of both civilian and military vessels, but beyond that they are known only for the crops they grow and the various fish they harvest. Some of their best produce is shipped to other worlds in the region and is considered a delicacy.
Shimonita – Dominated by a single large super-continent surrounded by numerous small islands, the oceans of this world are host to violent storms that occasionally flood the coastal regions. Because of this, the majority of people live around inland seas where they grow enough food to survive. Their modest mineral deposits generate enough resources to run their local economy but little more. The ancient Ozawa Mercantile Association once maintained underwater mining outposts, but those were destroyed by the neglect of the Draconis Combine after it conquered the region. The new Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance has reacquired permission to operate similar outposts and the world has begun to see enough royalties from that operation to insure their continued wish to work with the Alliance.
Shinonoi – A world with fertile lands and oceans for farming and fishing, this world is one of the more pleasant under Azami rule. A home to major mining and industrial concerns, it has a close relationship with the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance.Many trading ships move between this world and Halstead Station with high quality goods.
Shionoha – This is a world of rugged mountains, broken plateaus, and continent-sized glaciers. Having fallen under the sway of the Azami during the Second Dominion-Combine War, this world is dominated by a Japanese culture descended not from an edict of Luthien but by its original colonists. A loyal member of the Caliphate, many of the surviving Kurita family own homes here.
Shitara – Built by numerous corporate concerns to be a jumping-off point for further colonization, this world once sported nearly thirty spaceports to fuel the shipping. It survived both the Amaris War and the Succession Wars relatively intact, with raids being few so deep in Combine territory, but most of its spaceports shut down when JumpShips became rare. The industrial revolution of the 3030s signaled a new change though, and as they years passed most of the spaceports were repaired and reopened to the public.Because of this influx in economic power however, it became a primary target of the Word of Blake during their Jihad.General nuclear and orbital bombardment destroyed most of the spaceports while the Word captured or destroyed the JumpShips in system, crippling the economies of the surrounding systems in a single strike. The locals have returned five of the spaceports to operational status, but can handle only a fraction of the traffic the world once enjoyed. They have recently signed a contract with the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance that will allow them to build five modern spaceports in the next decade that should triple the amount of traffic they can service.
Skat – A world that humans can live on, despite a slight atmospheric taint that requires respirators while outside, it is a divided world.Originally colonized by two groups, one of Japanese and Korean ancestry and another of a German-Austrian concern, it maintains two capital cities to this day. Since the rise of the Azami Caliphate, tensions have been increasing between the two nations. Long-held grudges of territorial concessions imposed by the Terran Hegemony and upheld by the Draconis Combine have resulted in some firefights and a numerous standoffs. Representatives from the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance are currently attempting to negotiate a peaceful solution to the dispute, but they are losing hope.
Telos IV – A world of perpetual storms thanks to a weak ozone layer, its people have gained a reputation for being stubborn and fiercely independent.During their days in the Terran Hegemony, storm inhibitors were built in orbit but Amaris’ troops destroyed them.They joined the Azami because they respected the Azami’s fight during the Second Dominion-Combine War, and remain in the Caliphate because the Azami do not attempt to control them.At their request, the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance has recently placed the first of many storm inhibitors in orbit that will hopefully one day return calm weather to the world.
Trolloc Prime – Once a part of the old Tamar Pact, the inhabitants of this world have always been more loyal to old Tamar than to the Combine.But separated from the new Tamar Pact by nearly seventy light-years and the new Rasalhague Dominion, they have temporarily bowed to the inevitable. They are loyal members of the Azami Caliphate in that they do not threaten to hurt the realm, but their culture bares little resemblance to the Azami that control that nation.Like nearby Camlann, they are more Commonwealth than Combine, and they focus on trading with nearby worlds rather than fighting. They do however maintain a defense force capable of defending the world against most raiders.
Tsukude – A member of the Lyran Commonwealth during the Star League, this world’s lush wildlife is incompatible with the human body. Forced to import food to tap the mineral wealth, the Succession Wars have been hard on this world. It fell to the Combine during the First Succession War, whereupon it fell into times of neglect. Billions of people died in the Food Riots and starvation diets that followed, and only the few painstakingly-cleared farms kept the world alive at all.To this day the farms are still held and protected by the planetary government, considered a precious natural resource more valuable than the minerals buried under the surface.They have recently signed an agreement with the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance to study the ecosystem with the intention of genetically engineering a crop that can easily feed off the native ecosystem while being edible by humans.
Vega – Also a member of the Lyran Commonwealth during the Star League, this world prospered greatly during that time. The five great Pyramids of New Egypt are still a great draw of tourism to this day, as even centuries of rule by the Combine after they conquered it during the First Succession War did not destroy them.The fragile but lush ecosystem survived the Succession Wars generally intact, despite raids first from the Combine and later from the Commonwealth. The Jihad nearly destroyed the world though when the Word of Blake targeted it for destruction.Expensive reconstruction efforts have rebuilt parts of the old factories, and the industries that support them, but the ecosystem is still in danger of an outright collapse.ComStar, the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance, and the Federation of Skye have all sent terraforming teams to the world in the hopes of repairing it, but their efforts so far have done little more than keep the environment from collapsing.
Yance I – Colonized by Amish and Mennonite communities wishing to move to a world where they could live without the evils of technology, this world played a cruel trick on them. Home to the black reaper, an aggressive hunter similar to a Terran puma but with a spiked tail, soon began to hunt their animals and the people.Forced to use technological firearms to survive as a people, they began to fall away from their anti-technology teachings.The more orthodox believers moved to another continent where they could live as they wanted, while the main body of colonists began to embrace technology. The Star League brought further industrialization to the world, and as the centuries passed the “Old World” settlements began to diminish in numbers and power.By the end of the Succession Wars they were little more than tourist attractions with few people actually willing to live without technology. During the Jihad the Word of Blake targeted the industrialized cities, burning them to the ground with concentrated fire. The remaining “Old Worlders” evacuated the survivors to their continent and taught them how to survive without high technology and their lifestyle has seen a marked resurgence. Some have returned to the destroyed cities to rebuild them, but most of the populace has forsaken technology, seeing it as the reason the Word destroyed them.