As a new community member, I found this guide very useful, both for giving me some insight into HLP's history and for getting me started on you guys's campaigns (I tried to play Derelict, Silent Threat: Reborn, and Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius at the same time, if that tells you anything
just couldn't make up my mind!)
Anyway, Having played ST before I joined HLP, I definitely wouldn't consider it mandatory playing now that we have ST:R- which I beat yesterday
However, I would highly recommend to any other newcomers that you complete FS1 (and probably ST:R) before FS2, simply because other wise FS1 gets ruined and FS2 has less impact. The appearance of Shivans is
scarier if you've witnessed firsthand what they're capable of.
EDIT: Ok, about the "a lot" emoticon... cruel. Just cruel.