Bionite is a very rare mineral found throughout the galaxy.  It was discovered in 2193 by Major Thom Asher while exploring an area of the moon located just north of Hadley’s Hope.  When first discovered, there was no idea that an alien life form existed within the rock. It took months of testing to find the method for activating the life form within the rock, which turned out to be very high doses of electricity.  When exposed to high voltages of direct current electricity, the life form within Bionite becomes active and can change shape, self-heal, and be used to create parts that constitute very complex machines (such as gears, bearings, die cut sheets, circuitry, etc.).  Only after the military was able to refine Bionite to an extremely pure form could it be used for weapons and military vehicles.  The strength of the materials that military vehicles and weapons are made of must be extremely durable and resistant to temperature extremes and chemicals.  The military especially liked the materials made from Bionite for tanks because of their self-healing qualities.  When damaged, if a large current of electricity is applied to a damaged area of Bionite-based material, it will ‘regrow’ the area that has been damaged or removed due to impact.

Bionite must be refined from its mineral form called BioOre.  BioOre is an amalgam of Dolomite and the alien life that lives within it.  When the Dolomite is removed during the distilling process, it leaves behind almost pure Bionite.  The military has modified several of its fabrication vehicles and platforms to use Bionite as the primary substrate. When assembled, vehicles use a  ‘printed’ matrix to form the substructure, then several layers of Bionite impregnated material is applied to the surface.  The vehicle power plants and several other vital systems are also made from Bionite/Titanium material, so that they can be repaired easily.

After its discovery on the Moon, BioOre was found on several other planets and moons such as Venus, Mars, Europa, and Titan.  In the interest of monopolizing the supply of Bionite within the Solar System, the military moved quickly to establish several mines to harvest the mineral, with the main processing station located on the Moon. This resulted in the need for a large network of transportation hubs on Mars and several moons to allow for low-cost shipping back to earth.  In the year 2270, the military contracted the International Mining Initiative (IMI) company to manage the mining facilities and provide security for their assets abroad.  Since its inception, the IMI has developed a reputation for effectiveness and efficiency, which the military depends on to secure the supply of Bionite to the Main Processing Plant on the moon.

At some point in the nebulous history of the IMI, a conflict arose between the senior management and the lead research and development team working on weapons development.  It is uncertain exactly when it happened but the lead scientist in charge of the weapons development team was murdered and all of his notes were stolen.  At the time, there was no indication that the IMI was responsible for the killing and theft of the research, but it caused a small group of scientists to quit their positions at the company to form their own.  As can be imagined, the executives at the IMI were not going to let go of their monopoly on the Bionite supply, so they called in the military to eliminate the threat.  After a failed attempt to erase the defecting scientists, they were banished, labeled ‘rebels’, and a bounty placed on their heads.  The leader of the Rebels is Sir Frederick Mallory, a distinguished researcher with military training, who organized and expanded the group, making many agreements with subcontractors to provide supplies to their hidden factories.  As a result of his success, a $100 million bounty was placed on him – brought in dead or alive.  Dr. Mallory was especially adept at improving existing designs for military equipment to make them more effective on the battlefield.  One of his first ‘conversions’ was the Rhino Assault Tank.

Over the past 200 years, the IMI has defended itself against countless attacks from the Rebel Faction.  Many attempts to locate the hidden Rebel factories have returned empty-handed, greatly frustrating the IMI executives. As part of a new initiative, the IMI and the OffWorld Military have teamed up to combine their resources for the sole purpose of eliminating the Rebels from the Solar System.  Only in the past year or so has any headway been made at penetrating the Rebel shroud of silence regarding their leaders and the location of their base.  Many expeditions have been made past the Oort Cloud to see if any traces of the Rebels can be found.  As a reaction to the stepped up efforts by the IMI, the Rebels have increased their manufacturing capacity in all of their factories to prepare for an all-out war. The increase in BioOre thefts and IMI facility sabotage have increased tenfold over the past several months, most likely as a result of the Rebels’ increased need for resources.

One of the first main objectives of the Rebels was the EMZE Mine located on Venus. Sir Frederick selected this target because of its strategic importance within the IMI infrastructure. According to intelligence reports gathered from spies within the IMI administration facility, the Rebel strategists determined that a new form of Bionite was being extracted from deep below the surface of the planet. The Rebels learned that this new type or ‘species’ of Bionite was almost impervious to the existing weapons currently at their disposal. In a matter of months, if left unchecked, the IMI would have been able to supply the OffWorld Military with enough of this ‘enhanced’ Bionite to essentially wipe out the Rebel forces in battle. With only their ability to hide from detection by the IMI and the military, it would only been a matter of time before they were defeated.  Therefore, Sir Frederick and his strategists surmised that a preemptive strike on the main processing plant on Venus would be necessary to prolong the delivery of the new Bionite to the military.

Another important objective in the war against the IMI was the BIODOME located on Mars. BIODOME 24 houses many of the eminent scientists working on the Bionite Refinement Project for the IMI. In addition to the EMZE Mine, the destruction of the 24th BIODOME on Mars would be a significant blow to the IMI because it would greatly hinder their ability to develop new Bionite based technologies.  After extensive searches of the planet’s surface by covert satellites located in orbit around Phobos and Deimos, the Rebels came to the conclusion that the main research facility must be located within Olympus Mons, with the primary entrance located at BIODOME 24. The Rebel strategists suggested that if that entrance was somehow penetrated, it could lead to a possible method for the destruction of the facilities used for the refinement project.

The destruction of the water mine located on Europa was first introduced as a strategic plan by the second in command at the Strategy and Objective Department of the Rebel faction. David M. Strongbow was the head of the department and deduced that an attack on the water mine would have a significant impact on the IMI’s ability to supply its facilities with potable water and oxygen. Due to the fact that there was a significant supply of hydrogen at the plant, it would be relatively easy for a saboteur to infiltrate the mine’s storage facilities and plant nuclear explosives. If a 1/4-ton explosive could be planted at or near the main electrolysis plant at the mine, it would create an explosion large enough to destroy the entire facility. Several attempts were made to place an operative in the Operations Division and Fleet Maintenance Departments at the mine on Europa, but all failed. Once the IMI was tipped off to the Rebel plan by the brutal interrogation of one of the Rebel operatives, it was deemed by Sir Frederick that a direct assault on the facility would be necessary.

(to be continued….)