This organization was developed for the Firefly setting. Special thanks go to the Wanderer for a good chat where many things fell into their place.
The Foundation is an interplanetary charitable organization with offices on several planets, and representatives on most civilized moons. Their purpose is to aid people in settling and surviving on new colonies.
After the Unification War has ended, and civilization was safe thanks to the noble Alliance, many rebel soldiers have remained on the field of war, having invested all their hopes and efforts into something, only to see it mercilessly crushed by a great tyrannical power. At the time, it was not feasible to simply eradicate all of them - for the damage to morale that would follow, and the risk of a total war. The more peaceful elements would be supported, troublemakers isolated and eventually get rid of.
Some of the rebels have settled down eventually, some went underground to keep fighting, and a few have created this organization. They were broken, too weak to continue the fight or live normally, instead they would just ‘do something’ and help others. They have decided to accept the regime, and work within it, without any hope of ever changing it.
The group started from volunteers, that helped the veterans find new homes, old friends or loved ones that were lost during the war. Anyone willing to settle can receive aid - but it is the Browncoats (former rebels) that occupy most of their time.
Legal standing and Philosophy
The folks of the Foundation are very anxious to stick to the legal procedures, and it is stressed that no unlawful ongoings can ever be ascribed to the it.
So if you come to ask for anything even remotely illegal, you will be turned down immediately. But if you are persistent and trustworthy (or have the right contacts), somebody may be eventually found that will help you. These guys will never lay bombs or help you shoot anyone - but they can find you a quiet place to hide. No matter what happens, the Foundation has to stay clean, and will not even indirectly help the fight, share intelligence or smuggle weapons. To get, say, fake papers, or get shipped on some backwards colony is very well possible. (As they diligently play by the rules, they have contacts with the government, sympatisants and even friends, or at least those willing to move the finger for money.)
The base of the group is not ‘cowardly’ or collaborating as sometimes accused, they are just settled in their roles and lives, not wanting to risk overly. They do the good thing within limits, rarely thanked by those they help. There are subgroups and individuals that go beyond that, of course.
Their name, well, is kind of clumsy, as if invented by people who don’t exactly know what they do, but it seems to sound okay to the government. Add to it their confusing, contradictory charter of well-meaning words and wide formulated goals, and it is hard to guess what exactly they do.
Add the infamous “War Victim Property Reclimation” form, and other pieces of bureaucratic gos-se, and you have just the paperwork to effectively move funds around and look legal at the same time.
The Resistance, and Plot Hooks
- Non-violent and non-acting, the Foundation is still a part of the rich tapestry of resistance forces. Indirectly, safe houses and places to go off radar completely can be found through them, limited information as well as contacts. Completely passive, it is the tip of an iceberg - they know nothing, do not care - but are the gateway to something much larger.
- Naturally, this makes them attractive for infiltration by secret services, so expect a few moles to be inside.
- It is easy to imagine this organization as a background/support group for a party of freelancers. Of course, the group of PC’s will eventually outgrow the constant need to stay legit, but it is a start.
- Lastly, if one wants to become a settler - or to find someone who has become - they are the people to speak.
- A transport has not reached its target. After a few weeks, it is clear something has gone wrong. As the Foundation knows the approximate route of the ship (kept secret to avoid piracy), they will want to hire someone reliable to find them.
- The ship of one settler run (which are frequently dismantled for the material and engine) turned out to be useless, so it just sits there, intact. How about flying to the spot, fixing the few little problems, fueling it up, taking off and selling it elsewhere? Oh, wait, someone else had the idea, too.
- The settlers have barely set their foot on the planet, when someone did the above plan. Rescue their ship and most of their supplies… or keep it.
- Well, there is this external agent, there’s many of them, you know, and he has done something _illegal_ in our name!
The basis of all activity of the Foundation is organizing settler runs.
Those that wish to leave the civilization, come usually from the lower-to-middle levels of society. The Foundation organizes together a group of wannabes, helps them to pool and raise the necessary funds, get a cheap ship for the journey (frequently a short range vessel picked up at a government auction - cargo types need to be retrofitted to carry passengers - with just a few modifications the ship can serve for a one-way push to the outer planets). Then help them to get the supplies, advising on where get the stuff cheap and in good quality, and where not to be cheap.
The frequent shopping and walking around (often in large groups with entire families), getting permissions from the authorities, visiting junkyards for spare parts, starting little businesses to support the move, and even vaccination, all may be indirectly used for some _other_ purposes. At any point, there will be several groups of preparing settlers, and probably many others that hope to travel in future. Need a little mob to bring a fugitive away, or divert attention? Or do you need to move funds silently?
Courses are offered on agriculture, raising animals, hunting and trapping (marksmanship and survival), first aid, ship aid personnel (unlicensed piloting) and more skills needed in the colonies.
There is plenty of potential for shady or downright illegal dealings here, but their small number is hard to find - yes, the Foundation, if united for a purpose, could strike a solid blow against the government… only to be destroyed quickly afterwards. This doesn’t even mention a potential store of functional ships, and their influence in the colonies.