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Nobody wanted to call it the promised land. Maybe it's because promised lands are like mini-malls these days: one springs up every other week, and it's really not all that great when you finally get around to checking it out.

Still, there was something about this latest discovery that had even the deepest depressives and pessimists saying "Hey, I got a good feeling about this one." PAX is what they called it; "they" being the overzealous powers that decided that if it was named for peace, peaceful it would be. So of course, it eventually became the most violent place in the universe. Nevertheless, it was one hell of a find: four habitable worlds, sharing between them 3 habitable moons, all surrounding a nice, happy Sol-like star.

That in itself would be enough to get folks to pack up and take the long trip to greener pastures- everybody digs the idea of exploring a strange new world, then claiming a big chunk of it for yourself -it was the preliminary surveys that made this new gem in the tarnished, pimp-glass encrusted, bling-accessorized crown that is the Frontier shine ever so bright. In a word, PAX was rich… which takes a lot of the mystery out of the reasoning behind the name. The Terran worlds were certifiably swathed with verdant emerald fields that could be cultivated to raise any crop or graze naturally grown (and massively marked-up) livestock. The harsher worlds that sandwiched these two pretty green rocks together were positively stitched with minerals and elements, inviting anyone with a pick to dig as deep and as greedily as they wanted.

Word spread of this ripe little cherry like colonists spread like wildfire. Within mere weeks of PAX becoming common knowledge, city-ships were falling out of the skies across all four planets like arrows in a siege. In just a bit more than 4 ULP-standard months, PAX's population hit the 20 million mark, with representatives from all the known races, coming from all over the Inner Universe. Cities towered as they were wont to do in the 25th century, growing like weeds and stretching toward the stratosphere. PAX was tapped and people were getting rich.

But here's the part of the story where everyone's favorite universal truth rears its big forehead: where people go, their hang-ups and problems come with them. And no, we can't all just get along; we've proved contrary to this time and time again.

It wasn't long before factions arose and lines were drawn across this new system. Corporations started flexing their muscle as they usually do, showing once again their confounding ability to work in tandem with one another while still remaining competitive. The criminal underworld rose up out of the gutters and the dark corners of the city, bent on carving up PAX as new turf to expand their enterprises upon. Then the self-proclaimed shining knights of the 'verse showed up, trying to bring peace and justice for all, but just getting mixed up in the mayhem… as usual. And in the middle of all of this were people, the independent, ordinary folks that always get squashed when the big kids on the block throw down and fight; but this time, they weren't going to take it on the chin.

And out of the rise of these 4 sides came a new opportunity, not based on the abundance of any natural resource, but one created in bulk by people: War. And where war breaks out, those incorrigible scamps of the modern 'verse we like to call mercenaries show up, just as sure as your alcoholic uncle is sure to show up at any function with an open bar. Surprise, surprise, surprise. They came in droves, with enough firepower to start a revolution and enough gadgetry to choke a dozen yuppies. Most outfits were hired before they even hit planetside, which is always a lovely indicator that things are about to get uglier than a White Castle during the early morning hangover rush. Others came with their own motives; with all the commerce and cash flowing through the system, it's hard not to look at PAX as anything but one hell of a big score.

Whatever their intentions and whatever the sides they'd choose, the arrival of mercs on PAX meant two things: One, the face of PAX would be forever changed; and two, the next few days would prove to be very, very interesting.

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