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Now it's day and night the irons clang, and like poor galley slaves 
We toil and toil, and when we die, must fill dishonored graves 
But some dark night, when everything is silent in the town 
I'll shoot those tyrants one and all, I'll gun the flogger down 
I'll give the land a little shock, remember what I say, 
And they'll yet regret they've sent Jim Jones in chains to Botany Bay.
~ Jim Jones on Traditional

The Free Drones is an Alien Crossfire faction.

Description[ | ]

Driven by an intense hatred of the more privileged members of the Unity crew, the Free Drones fight to free the working classes of Planet from servitude and oppression. The Drones prove themselves masters of industrial production, constructing their vision of a workingman's paradise on Planet with scant regard for the ecological consequences. The other human faction leaders recognize the danger in the Drones' revolutionary appeals, and work to silence their message.

Detailed background[ | ]

The first industrial efforts on Planet were extremely labor-intensive. Factory hands worked interminable hours at tasks requiring bone-breaking effort. The "Talents" who led each faction could avoid such assignments, busy with the high-tech work of managing the settlement. That left factory labor for the "drones," the workers who lacked advanced skills or whose skills had proven useless in the fight for survival on Planet. Naturally, the drones were unhappy with their lot in life. Every faction had to deal with drone resentment. Some appealed to patriotism, or directed production toward consumer goods. Others used brutal discipline, drugs, and nerve stapling.

Domai was one such drone, working under horrific conditions in the depths of the Human Hive. He had a surprising ability to resist punishment, and managed to retain his clarity of thought. Eventually, he organized the first of Planet's drone revolts, leading hundreds of Hive drones out into the wilderness to establish an independent state. Drones from other factions began to escape and join the rebellion. Soon, "Foreman" Domai found himself leading an ideological faction of his own, devoted to the cause of freedom and equal in power to any of the older factions.

Beliefs[ | ]

The Free Drone ideology is essentially a revival of old Earth-based socialism. Resources and labor are to be used to build a just society for all, not to enrich a wealthy few at the expense of everyone else. Justice means an orderly and law-abiding society, but one in which the goods produced by labor are distributed for the benefit of everyone. The Free Drones are aggressively egalitarian, mistrusting elites of all sorts. The same reaction is directed toward those who hoard wealth, claim superior intelligence, sport improved genetic traits, or affect refined social graces. The ideal Free Drone is a strong individual, with simple tastes and plenty of enthusiasm for hard work, who doesn't waste time looking for ways to set himself above his fellow citizens.

Relations with other factions[ | ]

Domai and his Free Drones are aloof and independent. They regard most other factions as potential enemies, and are reluctant to ally with those who might later become foes. Domai is most friendly toward Pravin Lal and his Peacekeepers.

The Free Drones are fierce enemies of the Human Hive, remembering their origins as Hive slaves. They also despise the Morganites (regarding them as capitalist oppressors), as well as the Consciousness and University (holding their intellectual elitism in contempt). The Drones are not inevitably opposed to the "green" factions such as the Gaians and Planet Cult, but their aggressive industrial development is likely to draw fire from those groups.

Strengths[ | ]

The Free Drones usually manage to maintain the egalitarian society they idealize. Their society is less stratified than anyone else's, and as a result they have relatively little social unrest. Their workers are highly motivated and extremely productive.

The Free Drones don't work overly hard to "export" their revolution, but their very existence is a beacon of hope to the underclass of every other faction. Drones and other outcasts often escape to the Free Drones one by one. When a drone revolt takes place in another faction's base, the population has been known to join the Free Drone movement en masse.

Weaknesses[ | ]

Since the Free Drones mistrust intellectual elitism, they don't pursue cutting-edge scientific research. As a result, the faction's citizens often find themselves forced to buy technology from others or make do with second-rate equipment.

Domai and his followers are committed industrialists. They are pragmatic enough to avoid provoking a response from Planet's native life whenever possible; however, if a needed project will cause ecological damage, then they are likely to proceed anyway.

Lifestyle[ | ]

Free Drone bases are rough-hewn and dirty places, but they are also busy and productive. The local lifestyle may lack refinement, but it pulses with energy and enthusiasm. The Drones work hard, play hard, and enjoy their lives with gusto.

The Drones run a democratic state, electing their "cell leaders" and "foremen" for fixed terms of service. Election campaigns are vigorous affairs, full of fiery speeches, mob enthusiasm, and plenty of strong-arm tactics. Elected leaders enforce the law and have some role in making it as well, but final sovereign authority rests with the citizenry. Most laws are passed in raucous citizen assemblies, and a jury of ordinary citizens decides all civil or criminal disputes.

Elected leaders are expected to be "men of the people," examples of Free Drone ideals. Even Foreman Domai lives in a small apartment much like any other, and works his share of shifts on the construction site or factory floor. Free Drone government is short on formal procedures, but it seems to work. Despite their taste for informal methods, the Drones respect the rule of law and will always pull together in a crisis.

Free Drone citizens tend to wear coveralls or other strictly utilitarian garb, and carry the tools of their trade. Many citizens who escaped from other factions have ID tattoos from their time as drone slaves. These marks are borne with particular pride, and in fact there is something of a fashion for tattoos of all kinds.

Strategies[ | ]

The Drones are led by a former drone who has come to understand the horrible oppression under which his peers labor. He seeks to build a nation with great industrial might, without exploiting his workers like the other faction leaders. The Drones believe in an orderly society and gain Police benefits. Their industrial capacity is, of course, unmatched. Believing in a labor society means elite scientific research is very slow, however. Bases revolting against their current owners, anywhere on Planet, have a significant chance of proclaiming themselves members of the Drone faction. Finally, Free Drone bases have fewer discontented workers (“drones”) and are thus easier to manage.

The Drones possess a +2 Industry, a powerful advantage when racing to build Secret Projects, military units, and base facilities. However, they also have a -2 Research, which results in slow tech advances. Often, this means the Drones will have a large force of technologically backward units, which they use in human wave attacks. They begin the game with knowledge of Industrial Base, and may not make the Green economy choice.

Colony names[ | ]

Land[ | ]

  • Free Drone Central
  • Hall of Industry
  • Smokestack Hill
  • Steelfount
  • Freedman's Park
  • Common Ground
  • Labor Trust
  • Liberty Plant
  • Freedom's Foundry
  • Assembly Hall
  • Worker's Paradise
  • Miner's Freehold
  • Digger's Descent
  • Domai Dome
  • Living Standard
  • Spanner Works
  • Staples of Life
  • Hammer and Tongs
  • Anvil of Man
  • Whipsaw Base
  • Drilling Grounds
  • Guild House
  • Craftsman Keep
  • Future's Fulcrum
  • Power Grid

Sea[ | ]

  • Seawork Caverns
  • Chainlink Break
  • Welder's Shipyards
  • Deep Platform Nine
  • Stevedore Dock
  • Longshoreman's Quay
  • Tanker's Rest
  • Coral Warehouse
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