The events of Starlancer take place in 2160 AD, just before the five Western Alliance Sleeper Ships left the Sol System for the Sirius Sector. In Starlancer, the player takes the role of a rookie pilot assigned to the 45th Volunteers Squadron, a ragtag fighter wing under the command of Captain Robert Foster and Wing Commander Maria Enriquez, aboard the re-commissioned British carrier ANS Reliant.
At the end of the 21st Century, two great alliances of nations have emerged on Earth and begun to colonize the nearby planets and their moons. The first is the Western Alliance, whose major members include the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Spain, Italy, and France, seemingly evolving from NATO. Opposed to the Alliance is the Eastern Coalition, composed of Russia, China, and other major Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian powers. Relations were not always smooth between the great powers, as evidenced by the Lunar Conflict of 2075.
After some conflicts between the great powers, a peace treaty was to be signed at Fort Kennedy, an Alliance base on Jupiter's moon, Europa. Unfortunately, it seems that the Coalition somehow developed a Cloaking device, surprised the Alliance honor guard at Fort Kennedy, utterly destroying the base and slaughtering those who surrendered. All of the four inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) are overrun by Coalition forces and the French and Italian Fleets are destroyed. The Alliance survivors fall back to Saturn's moon, Triton, and regroups, vowing to take back lost territory. The Alliance declares formal war on the Coalition, beginning a bitter conflict for control of the Sol system.
Tie-in to Freelancer
After it became apparent to the leaders of the Alliance that they were fighting a losing battle, the Alliance in desperation built five sleeper ships in a plan to escape the war and colonize the Sirius Sector. The Coalition attempted to blockade the sleeper ships, but the blockade was broken and the colonists escaped.