The Aeropans are a people and a faction from Aeropa in The Lost Frontier. Led and ruled by Duke Skyheed and Chancellor Ruskin, the Aeropans boasted a highly aggressive and advanced military christened the Aeropan Navy, part of the Aeropan Air Forces, and represented the sole foes of the Sky Pirates led by ex-Aeropan officer Phoenix.
They were also responsible for the only Dark Warrior Program successful in producing a mass army of soldiers, including commandos, gladiators, and sub-commanders, as well as mutated creatures such as armored armadillos and the hyper mutant. They were ultimately defeated, however, after the downfall of their rogue leader Duke Skyheed, the defection and ultimate death of Chancellor Ruskin, and the destruction of their technological powerhouse the ACS Behemoth.
Before The Lost Frontier
Aeropa's early history is unknown, except that at some point they were amid a war that they were losing. As a result, Skyheed initiated an effort to create a "new class of warrior", and put the commander of the Aeropan Air Forces, Phoenix, in charge of it. However, when Phoenix discovered that the new project, coined a "secret weapons program", was injecting innocent civilians with experimental dark eco treatments, he demanded that they stop the program, but Skyheed refused.
Thus, Phoenix defected and kidnapped the program's chief scientist, a dark eco sage known as Tym, and marooned him on Brink Island. Phoenix thereafter came into possession of the flagship the Phantom Blade and accrued an entire band of pirates, known as "freedom fighters", in rebellion against the Aeropans. Phoenix vowed to destroy the Aeropans and what they had become, coining his new faction the Sky Pirates.
In possession of the eco seeker, said to point to any major source of eco, the Aeropans began searching for the eco core, hoping to harness its energy for their weapons program. Additionally the world had suffered an eco shortage, though it is unclear if the Aeropans had any original intention to use the core to restore the world's supply of eco, though that was likely the pretense.
While Tym was working on the program, he was stationed at the Aeropan barracks. He too had tried to defect, and attempted to take the barracks back by force, unbeknownst to Phoenix. Thus, the Aeropans were left with incomplete work by Tym, though it is unknown how much scientific progress he had made. From there, the Aeropans started working at a research rig beyond the Brink, the construction of which had previously been overseen by Phoenix. The research rig was built over "strange formations", though they initially failed to penetrate the surface (or find the excavations that led down to the formations below, which was the eco core itself).
At some point, however, the franken ape experiments had gotten loose (or were deliberately let loose), possibly causing a danger to the Aeropans stationed there, and thus they eventually moved back to the barracks. They seemingly had success in picking up where Tym left off, being successful in mutating humans into dark warriors.
The Lost Frontier
As the Aeropans intensified their efforts to find the eco core, the Sky Pirates increased their attacks on them, according to Duke Skyheed. At some point, Skyheed had taken his ACS Behemoth battleship into Brink Island air space, resulting in an ambush by Sky Raider pirate fighters. Jak managed to stop the assault by shooting the fighters down with his Hellcat (at the time Jak and the Sky Pirates were still hostile towards one another), and thus Skyheed allowed him to board the Behemoth.
Skyheed expressed his gratitude, saying that any enemy of the Sky Pirates are allies of Aeropa. Skyheed was exceedingly hospitable towards Jak and Keira, the former of whom he had heard stories about from his actions in Haven City, and evidently knew of his Dark Jak capabilities. Considering that Skyheed had become obsessed with the use of dark eco for human evolution, and that Chancellor Ruskin was reluctant towards the program (and eventually betrayed Skyheed), it's natural that Skyheed was especially friendly towards Jak whereas Ruskin always remained skeptical of him, maintaining a rather brusque manner towards the "mainlander".
Regardless, possibly as a means to gain Jak and Keira's trust, Skyheed offered to let Keira study their treasured eco seeker, said to point to any major eco source. But only on the condition that Jak could prove himself worthy of protecting the seeker by beating the Danger Course. It could have also been that Skyheed viewed Jak as their last hope for making the eco seeker work, as they had previously been unsuccessful with it.
Jak successfully beat the Danger Course, and on their way back, Daxter fell into an open manhole and down into Aeropa's sewers. After wandering about, Daxter was doused with a large amount of dark eco, transforming into Dark Daxter. While there, he discovered that the large flow of dark eco had "changed everything down [there]", and after transforming back to his normal self, he tried to tell Jak, though Jak was impatient and wouldn't listen. It is possible Daxter was either simply trying to tell Jak about his fantastic exploits, or trying to tell him of the mass amounts of dark eco out of suspicion of the Aeropans.
Upon return to the sanctum, Skyheed and Ruskin handed over possession of the seeker to Keira. However, Phoenix soon thereafter broke into the sanctum and snatched the seeker, prompting Keira to jump after it. Keira was unsuccessful however, and instead, Phoenix kidnapped her. Jak thus set out for her and did not return to Aeropa nor come in contact with Skyheed or Ruskin until much later in the game.
War with the pirates
Eventually Jak and Keira allied themselves with the Sky Pirates, after discovering the Aeropans' true nature and responsibility of another Dark Warrior Program. It is unknown when Skyheed discovered this, though at some point he moved forward with the program into the final stages and transformed every citizen into a dark warrior. When Jak retrieved the final coordinate sphere for the seeker from Sector Zero, which would make it operational, Skyheed ambushed them with his ACS Behemoth and his new weapons package, "Skyheed Bravo Niner". Jak fended off the initial attack, but the Aeropans soon thereafter grappled onto the Phantom Blade, launching commandos onto the galleon's upper deck and sending gunships to vandalize it. Jak repelled the Aeropans once more, however, as Jak and the pirates made off with a now-operational eco seeker.
At this point, Sky Pirate first officer Klout had betrayed the pirates in favor of cash from the Aeropans. Once they had found the eco core, Klout led Skyheed straight to them. Skyheed attempted to kill them, but they narrowly escaped. Regardless, Skyheed now had access to the eco core. Phoenix soon thereafter received word that the Aeropans had laid siege to Far Drop, and thus he and Jak set out to fight it off and stop the Behemoth's attack that soon followed. The attack involved a new dark eco weapon equipped from the Behemoth, which, if charged successfully, would strike Far Drop with powerful dark eco blasts. Jak successfully stopped it, but Far Drop still withstood severe casualties.
The Sky Pirates thus exacted a retaliatory siege upon Aeropa, which led to Jak confronting Skyheed at the palace. Just prior to the fight, Skyheed transformed into a giant, dark mutant version of himself. Ruskin stated that he had had enough and that the project had gone too far, also revealing that he helped the pirates infiltrate Aeropa, for which he was blasted into a fiery pit to his death. A boss fight ensued, wherein Jak was successful in harming Skyheed enough for him to retreat in his personalized heavy fighter.
This resulted in a short chase, which ended with Jak retreating back to the Phantom Blade after Keira's discovery that Skyheed was leading him in circles. After returning to the skies, Jak discovered that the Behemoth had begun soaking up eco energy from the eco core, the cascade reaction of which could consume the entire planet. Jak thus set out to take down the Behemoth, but was unsuccessful in doing so until Phoenix used the Phantom Blade to interrupt the energy stream, sacrificing his life and the life of his Phantom Blade but sufficiently damaging the Behemoth. This left the battleship, and Skyheed who was inside of it, vulnerable to attack from Jak's airship's new eco laser. This resulted in the demise of Skyheed, and a leaderless Aeropan faction. The Aeropans' future remains uncertain.
The Aeropans' military personnel primarily consists of dark warriors, i.e. an elite class of mutated human soldiers, though there does appear to be higher up human officers. The Aeropans also use mutant animals in their infantry though it is unknown if they serve official capacities within their ranks. There were other mutant animals who appeared to be less related to the Aeropan military, however.
In the mission "Stop the Behemoth", Aeropan lieutenants could be heard status reporting within the ACS Behemoth, though these are the only known human commanding officers besides Skyheed before his transformation into a dark warrior himself. There are presumably some ranks above the sub-commanders, i.e. commander, though these never appear on-screen. However, Phoenix did once mention he was the former commander of the Aeropan Air Forces, though it is unknown to what extent he would have been involved with infantry ranks.
|Aeropan commando||Aeropan barracks, Phantom Blade, Far Drop, Aeropa||The basic infantry unit, evidently the lowest in rank, bearing only a single golden trim piece along its armor. Capable of only two dark powers, namely generating charged dark eco blasts from its hands, and throwing grenades which release a shockwave of harmful dark eco along the ground.|
|Armored armadillo||Aeropan barracks||A dark mutant version of the Brink armadillo, this animal is used as a personal attack dog by commandos, as well as a premises defense at the Aeropan barracks. Its primary capability is flexing its body, which will eject several harmful spines from its shell, which will thereafter regenerate to be used again.|
|Gladiator||Far Drop, Aeropan barracks||An elite infantry unit, bearing two golden trim pieces along its armor. Uses an axe for a hand on its right arm, and wields a retractable shield on its left arm. It can slam its axe on the ground to release several small dark eco spheres that will trace the ground towards its target, and while fighting against Dark Daxter, it can detach its axe to throw it as a boomerang.|
|Ethereal sub-commander||Aeropan barracks, Far Drop, Aeropa||This warrior commands the commandos and gladiators. It appears to be the most heavily mutated, as its head, abdomen, and arms are disconnected from its torso, instead linked by an electrical substance. It is capable of teleporting, and raising dead commandos and armadillos from the dead. Its attacks include a ground-and-pound attack, which will release dark eco shockwaves along the ground, and a charged blast of four dark eco bolts, two from each hand.|
|Hyper mutant||Aeropa||The hyper mutant is the most heavily and successfully mutated mutant ape, possessing eco powers from Precursor idols, similar to Jak, namely the eco shield, eco reflexes, and eco amplifier. It is very large and heavily armored, and is only encountered at Aeropa just prior to reaching the palace.|
The Aeropan Air Forces was once commanded by the Aeropan-turned-Sky Pirate captain, Phoenix. The agency was never mentioned aside from Phoenix recalling his past, but Skyheed did boast of his new Aeropan Navy, which either superseded the Air Force (if it were just one agency), or was a part of the Air Forces (if it were an umbrella agency). Due to the pluralization of "Aeropan Air Forces", the latter case is more likely.
|ACS Behemoth||Brink Island, Pirate's Cove, Sector Zero, Aeropan research rig||The Aeropan Air Forces' flagship, commanded by Duke Skyheed himself. Supported with many anti-air turrets located on the sides, top, and wings. Eventually would be upgraded with automated defense drones, a massive crystal with which it could store eco energy drained from the eco core and form a massive energy shield. It continued being modified and transformed by Skyheed until the very end, when it was destroyed by Jak using the Hellcat.|
|Aeropan fighter||Brink Island, Aeropan research rig, Aeropan barracks||Small, fast, and maneuverable fighter ships used in bulk by the Aeropans. Prominently available at nearly all locations, they have little armor but in groups their machine guns can prove a notable threat.|
|Repair tender||Aeropan research rig||An auxiliary ship used to repair and protect the shield generators at the Aeropan research rig during the mission "Search research rig for Precursor facility".|
|Aeropan gunship||Brink Island, Aeropan barracks||Two kinds of aircraft, the first being an auxiliary ship, semi-offensive with lightly-equipped weaponry, and the second being an assault aircraft with a heavy armament. Identical in base model to the repair tender but different in purpose.|
|Aeropan transport||Pirate's Cove, Aeropan barracks||A massive aerial transport ship, only sighted in pirate radio tower missions in which they carried valuable cargo. They have several mounted turrets but otherwise rely on their immense structural integrity and armor, which can withstand immense punishment.|
|Aeropan heavy fighter||Pirate's Cove, Aeropa, Aeropan research rig||A large fighter-bomber used by the Aeropans to attack enemy cities (namely Far Drop). Can also be accompanied by two Aeropan fighters, in which case it acts merely as an escort fighter. A special one was once used by Dark Skyheed which had a dark purple tint and appreciably amplified powers.|
|Aeropan bomber||Sector Zero||A very specialized aircraft used only in Sector Zero to attack the Phantom Blade, launching focused airstrikes against it with considerable damage.|
Government and citizenry
Aeropa's government seems to be more reminiscent of a monarchy, the only known politicians holding the titles of chancellor and duke, in Ruskin and Skyheed, respectively. Additionally, two places of interest included a palace and a sanctum, further adding to Aeropa's royalty thematic.
The Aeropans also appeared to be heavily involved in studying Precursor artifacts, having heavily utilized Precursor technology in their Dark Warrior Program. They were also known to loot ancient Precursor sites for the purpose of better understanding Precursor technology. Aeropan gunships could frequently be seen surveying Precursor satellite emplacements around the Brink.
Aeropa's citizens consist of two slim males, two slim females, and two dwarf males, resulting in six distinct types, no variations. The two slim males wander about the entire city excepting the eco seeker sanctum. In the PSP version of the game, the green-clad female with blue hair and the gold-trimmed dwarf with the top hat stay in the first half of the city, preceding the courtyard. The red-clad female with green hair, and the bald, serf-clad dwarf stay within the courtyard and the hall leading to the teleport gate. On the PS2 port of the game, however, the opposite is true.
Occasionally the male citizens will say things in reference to Jak, such as, "What a stranger. Who is he?" and "Oh, I've heard about him." Otherwise the civilians are rather routine and do not interact with Jak, and appear to wander around the town aimlessly similar to Haven citizens. However they will cower in fear if Jak attacks them, though unlike their Haven counterparts, do not take any damage.
The Aeropans are primarily based at Aeropa itself, though they do have other locations owned and operated by them, namely the Aeropan barracks and research rig. The former is mostly a military base inhabited chiefly by commandos and armadillos, as well as one sub-commander. However, it was also the former base of operations for the Dark Warrior Program, where Tym did his work before being kidnapped. Due to the presence of incubation tanks of dark warriors and active equipment, it may be presumed the Aeropans resumed operations there after abandoning the research rig.
The research rig is a long-since abandoned research and experimentation station located at some point beyond the Brink. It is infested with rampant franken apes and mutant ghoul spiders. Furthermore the entire area, while still having some active equipment, is mostly derelict, filled with cob webs and debris.
Behind the scenes
Early concept art of the Aeropan citizens (pictured right) are only marginally reminiscent of the final product. They were originally designed to wear cultural garb seemingly of Hindu inspiration, along with a mostly purple or pale white complexion. There was a slim male, slim woman, child, old man, and a dwarf, only the former two and latter of which made it into the game, albeit much different in appearance.