The central base of the Hospitallers, a desolate planetoid in a backwater of a system a few day’s FTL journey out from one of Cartagena’s secondary relays, was originally selected for three reasons. Firstly, it was relatively centrally located, allowing the newly founded group to (theoretically) deploy across the Abyss and, with some traveling, the Greater Terminus with minimal difficulties.
Secondly Ashkelon was a largely unexplored system in the irregularly settled and frequently contested region that was the Madania Sea and the barren rock of Crase was, by definition, both largely untapped of what natural resources it possessed and discrete. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, nobody else wanted it.
The Order under Grand Master Nicostratus Fosalta, the first commander and founder of the organization, was small and, for the most part, poor. As a result their base, out of necessity and convenience, was as large as they needed and no more; a collection of pressurized prefabricated modules and a central command center built into the cave systems that riddled Crase. It was modest. Unassuming.
However it has been centuries since and times, and the Order’s fortunes, have changed. Crase is a fortress, carved and cored out over the years. Entire city sized settlements sunk deep beneath the dead, airless surface. The crust studded with reinforced and shielded doors that lead to underground, low gravity “harbors” formed from natural caverns. Patrols orbiting the celestial body, drawing fuel from the system’s gas giants.
In the modern day Crase is the lynchpin of the broad band of Order’s de jure holdings, affiliates, vassal city states, and allies known as The Meda and has served to reconnect and reunify the scattered and fragmented territories post War.
The Knightiamilitum Hospitaller is lead by a military oriented oligarchy.
Current Rulers and Leaders
The current Grand Master of the order is Basavian Xacilius. Beneath him are the highest ranked members of the three major arms of the organization: Legatia Vashta Sun-nab, commander of the Milities. Infirmius Sabrio Tisimacix, commander of the Medicaen. And Machinora Mediana Esiber, commander of the Ingeniarius.
While the organization was originally established (and is still largely manned) by turians the constant population osmosis that results from living and operating in the Terminus Systems has served to substantially diversify the group.
Entire krogan and salarian clan offshoots. Indigs and minor species. Significant subpopulations of batarians, volus, hanar, elcor, asari, and humans. Essentially any who pass the decidedly rigorous training and accept the vows, pledging themselves to the defense of the order and its tenets, are allowed admittance.
The Hospitallers are split into three discrete branches each with their own independent chains of command and clearly defined responsibilities. While units from each may be deployed and operate in tandem or be placed under the authority of a senior official from a given division (typically the military faction) each and all answer to their own superiors.
The first, and oldest branch, of the Order is the Medicaen. At it’s inception the Hospitallers were, effectively, independently armed and equipped medical support staff led by a former combat surgeon by the name of Nicostratus Fosalta. The bulk of their profits and revenue stream derived from warlords, larger mercenary companies, and private health organizations that chose to outsource that particular brand of talent rather than invest the requisite time and energy necessary to develop it in house. Order medics worked disaster zones, battlefields, hospitals, and occupied territories; ostensibly under the employment of a given group but notably observing certain unified protocols such as Ad’Thoro Pact Standard treatment of Prisoners of War and civilians. Given the unstable and oft shifting nature of the Terminus geopolitical landscape work was plentiful and the money, if not always abundant, was good.
But what was and would be equally fruitful, if not more so, in the long term was the Order’s growing reputation as a fair, reliable, and equitable partner.
As the years passed, as resources flowed in and, in turn, gave rise to further advancement and increased efficiency, the order itself grew. Membership swelled. The organization became a more noticeable player in the region and, by the same token, a more appealing target. Material wealth, a fortune in medical tech, a singular centralized base, and comparatively little in the way of defense made the Knightia appealing targets for pirates, raiders, and other mercenary groups; both at Ashkelon, and outsystem.
This, in turn, necessitated a militarization of the Order. Hospitallers must be able to defend themselves, at home and abroad; an increasing number of Knightia were trained for more combat oriented roles. Flotillas were escorted by dedicated combat ships. Concurrently operations in destroyed, war-torn, or underdeveloped states began to expand. With the Order’s not inconsiderable wealth at their disposal they were no longer forced to rely upon existing infrastructure to facilitate their efforts, no longer required to seek housing from their patrons or make use of their defenses. They were able to build their own on-site medical facilities, able to build their own quarters, their own tech-barricades and forts.
The unavoidable side effect of this lateral expansion however, was a decidedly bloated and unnecessarily diverse organization. One that began to sap revenue and hinder efficient execution of contracts. Thus, in an effort to streamline the group’s operations and ensure long term survivability, Fosalta, in his last act before his formal retirement and passage of power to his appointed successor, subdivided the existing Hospitaller force into an additional two branches, distinct of the Medicaen:
The Milites, the martial brothers, who manned the Order’s armed vessels and protected their support-oriented brethren. A drilled, disciplined, and cohesive paramilitary force whose duties would evolve to encompass civilian naval escort throughout the Terminus, augmentation of peacekeeping missions as directed by regional Multinational Organizations, and direct suppression of piracy.
The Ingeniarius, the engineering corps, supplemented by extensive drone arrays, and whose personnel was already performing the vast majority of the Order’s infrastructural work has established a comfortable niche in the Terminus as auxiliary support for hire. This is, of course, in addition to civilian contracts such as the construction of crucial colonial keystones such as hospitals, orphanages, spaceports, residential districts, hypdroponic facilities as well the implementation of utilities like waste removal, water collection and purification, and electricity.
In the years hence the Order has grown and developed to and past the critical threshold where it may be considered its own autonomous state. It holds territory, the Meda, composed of smaller colonies and states that have pledged loyalty to the Order in turn for the services and protection provided, colonies and settlements granted as payment by larger clients, and space stations and bases acquired from criminal elements or constructed by the Hospitallers themselves.
At its core Knightiamilitum Hospitaller is a profit driven group. A steady influx of cash and other assorted resources is essential for any group of appreciable size and complete reliance upon generosity and altruism is, more often than not, a losing proposition in the Terminus.
To that end, while the ultimate motives of the Order are benevolent, they still actively seek payment from their clients for the services they provide. A colony that contracted out the Ingeniarius to advance or restore its standard of living will, in turn, be expected to provide a portion of its gross revenue over the next several years until the debt is repaid. Similarly, the aid of the Milites or Medicaen, while undeniably effective, must be purchased.