The Planetary and Lunar Military (PALM) is the fighting force of humanity across Earth and her colonies. PALM serves the interests of the United Colonial Governments in defending worlds and installations against enemy forces.
PALM soldiers wear light full-body protective armour that is integrated with modern communication, heating and military software; allowing soldiers to operate in harsh climates and obtain detailed readouts of terrain, life signs, and squad composition. These suits are form-fitting to prevent internal system leaks, and allow the user to survive in the vacuum of space for short periods of time - without the use of their helmet's oxygen rebreather.
A standard patrol squad of PALM soldiers consists of four soldiers, led by a squad sergeant. It is common for squads to be comprised of a mixture of lower-ranked soldiers, often with its own internal chain of command. Soldiers who enlist in the PALM military force have a diverse range, with both male and female soldiers joining from across Earth and the colonies to serve on their respective planet of origin. However, colonies that are in the core of humanity’s defensive efforts, such as Mars and Luna, see a near-entire local force.
M-27-D is the squad of elite PALM soldiers featured in The Stars of Aspiria. Like all squads, they are comprised of four soldiers and are led by a Sergeant. Unit naming consists of three parts: planet, unit number, and division. The planet is represented by the initial letter, while the unit number and division are represented by a series of numbers and the part of that unit that the soldiers belong to (M-27-D = 27th Mars Unit, Delta Squad).
Sergeant Haley Flores
Haley is the leader of M-27-D. She is from one of the first families to settle on the colony of Proxima - an old Hispanic heritage. She is protective of the men in her squad, but can be flirty at times in an effort to boost morale. Efficient and deadly, Flores is a skilled soldier who constantly tries to improve upon her past mistakes.
Private First-Class Miles Williams
Miles is the highest-ranking Private in M-27-D. He is from a newer settler family from Australia, who now live in New Parelli - a city in the Valles Marineris on Mars. He often runs his mouth but loves to make his other squad-mates laugh, having a clear romantic interest in Haley. Proud and strong, Williams is the light-hearted and energetic soul of the squad.
Private Kaito Ishikawa
Kaito is the youngest member of M-27-D. He is from a traditional Japanese family living in Yutown on the Eastern side of the Valles Marineris. He is quiet and surgical with both his actions and his words, but cares deeply about the people he fights alongside. Silent and thorough, Ishikawa has an eye for details and will do what he can to protect his new family.
Private Elias Barrett
Elias is from an American family living on Earth. He is hard-working and friendly to everyone he meets, possessing an understated determinism that manifests as a quiet confidence in his own abilities. Brave and selfless, Barrett is the first to put his safety on the line for the good of his fellow soldiers.
An enlisted soldier would be sent to one of the military academies on Earth or Mars, depending on various circumstances unique to each person. Graduates would then be assigned to a unit based on the planet they applied to defend - successful applicants are transferred to the local military force and placed under the command of PALM Senior Officers - Commanders that oversee the military operations of an entire planet.
Commander General Jarek Callister
Jarek is the leader of the PALM forces on Mars, leading them from the PALM Mars Military Complex, located in the Echus Chasma crater on the surface. He is from a Polish family on Earth, with his father being a veteran of the Colony Wars. Callister takes his role as defender seriously and believes in a meritocracy for his soldiers. While straight-laced, he is often supportive and empathetic to those in need.
Commander General Lisa Harlow
Lisa is the Commander General of the PALM forces on Earth, leading them from the PALM HQ in upstate New York. She is always precise in everything she does, following protocol and procedure to the letter. This unflinching resolve has earned her an assortment of medals, though she proves to be just as stubborn in other aspects of her life. Harlow is untrusting of civilians, having spent the majority of her life in the military, and has proven to be one of PALM's best assets.
These are just a few of the characters you will meet in The Stars of Aspiria. Next week, we will take a look at the protagonists and some of the other members of XENO.