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IE Journal 3

Page history last edited by Michael 10 years, 5 months ago

back to the Index, or Journal entry 2

 

Six weeks after leaving the Vaylen research world of Britilthin, the Kerrn squadron arrived at Burano, planetary fief of Count Feodor Abnaya - a Forged Lord of the Karsan League. The date was 67 Rising 597 HE (or, 1 May 12505 AD). Aboard the assault carrier Spirit of Retribution were five humans, along with the secret of the gate ripper; Black was helping the Kerrn decipher old computer records.

 

It had become clear to Black that the design of gate ripper (and some other items of advanced technology) had been covertly acquired by Neil Glasscock in 2008 AD or so; the records being decoded were part of some archival backup of the internet in the late 21st Century AD. How Glasscock obtained the information, or from where, was not clear (to Black and the Kerrn anyway!). The Kerrns' advanced cryptographic knowledge, and Black's knowledge of the computer systems of old Terra Insula, allowed the Kerrn techs to translate the specifications into usable forms; they were very happy with him. However, the coordinate system to use when operating the gate ripper was entirely unexplained - a dozen sets of coordinates were now available, without notes as to where the portal would lead.

 

The information to construct a gate ripper, and the coordinate numbers, was copied to each of the squadron's ships upon arrival in the Burano system - in fact, the data with commentary and so forth fits on a standard libber (a data storage device, about the size of a VHS tape).

 

Burano                                                      

sole holding of Forged Lord Count Feodor Abnaya, vassal of Earl Matsushita-Kun, of the Karsan League. Abnaya's crest is a butterfly.

system

three small, cold worlds; a gas giant with rings and many moons; and Burano itself, closest to the sun. There is a small moon orbiting the planet.

enviro

11,800 km diameter, 0.9G surface gravity, breathable atmosphere, 70% ocean coverage, well-established "garden world" ecosystem entirely of non-native forms.

port

on two commercial routes; only routine port and orbital installations. No construction facilities; boron and metastable helium are available.

forces

Hammer vessels for customs and interdiction only; Hammer and Anvil lords have very small forces. Personal guard of the Count has 10 pilots in Iron, plus an armed yacht as nominal Hammer craft. Silva Guard, protecting against poaching and environmental damage, number 1500 men under the Count's control.

society

Index 4 world, population 15 million. Only nobility, Anvil members, freemen or tourists may use grav/pressor vehicles, own firearms. Few freemen, little industry, no large cities, no widespread ground transit network - in fact road-building is discouraged. A half-dozen or so noble courts are centers of economic activity. Imports:  technology, durable goods. Exports:  foodstuffs, peasant handicrafts. Tourists provide much of the trade credit from offworld, but are restricted to nobility and freemen. The world's nobility are well-known in the Karsan League for their active enjoyment of field sports.

church

archcotare of the Mundus Humanitas is Tegus Ommomun. No sodalities or orders; no known heresies present; only a nominal temple guard (two Iron squads, 8 men) under command of the cotar fomas, August Dance. A small scholae is present for instruction of cotars.

vassals there is one Hammer Lord (Sipahi Omalley) with one gunship, and two Anvil Lords (Sipahis Nogura and Wong).

 

 

The fleet arrived in orbit over Burano, on 68 Rising 597 HE; the humans had spent the day in-transit discussing their future plans. Two vessels (the Spirit of Retribution and the Spirit of Victory) descended to obtain fuel; the Spirit of Hope remained in orbit, to refuel later in turn.

 

At the remote landing field, in a wilderness area, the humans got out of the ship to stretch their legs. A convoy of trucks, carrying boron (and a tank of water) arrived within a few minutes; the officer in charge, a Burano noble, seemed ill-at-ease. MacDougall had some words with the fellow. Suddenly, the Kerrn tensed, as they all received alert messages from the ships' CICs. Guns were aimed at the Burano drivers and officer! The word came down that the fuel was contaminated or otherwise 'bad'; also the Spirit of Hope was reporting half-a-dozen ships suddenly appearing on-scope from behind the planet and its moon.

 

The Burano officer was disarmed; when the recall signal came, the Kerrn guards and the player-characters all rushed aboard the ships, with the prisoner in tow. The ships lifted immediately, and were soon under fire from orbit; the Spirit of Hope was heavily engaged. None of the Kerrn vessels, it turned out, were willing to fire on human vessels.

 

By the time the two ships reached orbit, the Spirit of Hope was badly damaged [1 turn of ship combat later]; all three Kerrn vessels were maneuvering wildly, and engaging in intense anti-missile fire. Laser hits, however, were getting through. The captains of the Kerrn squadron decided to eject all their Assault Shuttles, grav sleds and escape pods, give those small craft time to enter atmosphere, and then surrender. The human allies would be crammed into pods also, each with a Kerrn crewmember. Within 10 minutes of reaching orbit, the humans were on their way back down to the planet. Eltee Vong pressed 15 Standards onto them, along with some water, food, and hand grenades.

 

A wild ride of 20 minutes brought the escape pods back to the surface. The pods with Terrans aboard all landed within a kilometer of each other; the Kerrn led the humans together, shook their hands, and took of in one direction, leaving a very deliberate trail. The humans headed in another direction. The sky filled with contrails and distant smoke clouds; twice, aircraft passed within earshot at high speed. By sunset, the player-character had passed an ancient, ruined monorail line, and camped in a message cable relay vault.

 

In the morning, few or no contrails were seen in the sky. The Terrans headed out, following the monorail track. After mid-day they speared a big rabbity creature; later, they came to a road, used not long ago, crossing the monorail line. A hundred meters down the road they found a hunting lodge, not recently used (but clearly not abandoned either); they sheltered there for the night. In the starry sky they say at least two or three ships in orbit, plus a lot of meteors (battle debris entering atmosphere).

 

In the next day, they set out to follow the monorail line again; but before they even left the road, a utility sled whirred by, following the road well below treetop level. The Terrans considered an ambush, but decided not, and continued along the ruins of the monorail line. Mid-day, they heard the dying whirr of a grav sled landing, not far away; O'Reilly and McClellan snuck over to see what was up. It turned out to be the camp of some nobility -- Count Abnaya's followers. The count, it seems, had been deposed in a coup! The Terrans decide to make contact with the camped nobles, as more grav vehicles arrived covertly. The nobles, largely ineffectual and out-of-shape, had been hiding out in the hunting preserve for about 3 weeks, since the coup; they were meeting for another indecisive planning session. The Terrans presented themselves as noble (seemed unlikely) allies of the Kerrn (seemed likely); the nobles, led by Baron Nogura, eventually saw the forceful player-characters as their best hope to restore the Count to his rulership of the planet.

 

  • NPC of note:  Lieutenant Shiseka, an Anvil officer in Baron Nogura's company.

 

Planning continued into the evening; weapons were gathered. Baron Nogura's forces, one of the two Anvil companies, had been largely destroyed at the onset of the coup -- the remainder were here in the forest preserve, along with the Count's few followers. The Sylvan Guard is the numerically largest loyal unit. By the way, when the planetary stats mentioned "Personal guard of the Count has 10 pilots in Iron" it was referring to some of the out-of-shape, overaged nobles led by Baron Nogura. They actually all owned Iron, but most hadn't worn it in years, and their Iron was in their palaces -- under the control of the Council of Barons.

 

A bold strike at the assembled Council of Barons, meeting at Count's former estate near the spaceport, seemed the best plan. The Count's steward, Klaus (representing the Count at this meeting), and a lady's maid, Kimiko, volunteered to accompany the Terrans to the estate (both to operate the grav limousine, and to assist in gathering information about the situation). The Terrans were taken to meet the Count at the "undisclosed location", who gave them his somewhat doddering blessing; and at dawn the grav limousine departed -- the 1000 km trip took a bit more than three hours.

 

Approaching the Count's estate (which also meant approaching the spaceport and Alpha City, about 5 kilometers away from the palace), Klaus pointed out two ships on the landing pads -- the Jugenthi  (a Hammer frigate belonging to Lord Tweesdale) and the Battancade  (a corsair belonging to Lord Porimoko, a mercenary). A plumber's van was stolen to give the Terrans a vehicle; the maid Kimiko was sent on her way to spy on the estate; Klaus parked the limousine among the other "vehicles of quality" at the estate; and the Terrans lurked in their stolen van. A Kerrn tech kindly pointed out the location of the Kerrn ghetto in the city, as he worked on a communications relay alongside the road leading from the starport and city towards the palace (hint, hint).

 

Within the hour, Kimiko reported that the entire Council of Barons was present, in a very tense meeting with one or more offworld nobles -- presumably from the ships in the port. Also at the meeting:  a dozen men in Anvil armor (from the mercenary vessel at the port). The staff of the estate was nervous and weepy, expecting violence to break out; the negotiations had so far involved shouting and threats. The headquarters section of Baron Wong's rebel Anvil company was deployed in concealment within a couple of kilometers of the estate. Other platoons of that unit may well be on their way; they were stationed at the other 5 palaces around the planet, and if they're travelling back in their sleds at 150 kph wouldn't begin arriving until just before dawn tomorrow -- but some of them might be loaded on faster transport sleds.

 

Kimiko hadn't been in the meeting area itself, but apparently Lords Tweesdale and Porimoko wanted more money, and -- more importantly -- possession of the three damaged Kerrn vessels in orbit.

 

The Terrans pondered what to do; the situation might break out in violence at any moment, even without action by the Terrans.

 

It's 71 Rising 597 HE; on to journal entry 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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