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IE Journal 14

Page history last edited by Michael 9 years, 1 month ago

back to the Index, or to Journal entry 13


264/598 (or 27 January, 12606 AD) 


The Terrans agree to take a Gate Ripper to Aleif; the expedition will consist of the Spirit of Vinland, the Neola's Claws, and two Kerrn-owned Hammer transports as fuel carriers to Lambda Cassiopeia. Within the Karsan League, the Terrans plan to hire 10 or so Hammer/Anvil mercenaries to travel in cryosleep, for possible use as ground troops or prize crew.


The Kerrn have given the Spirit of Vinland a complete annual maintenance at no cost; the crew have taken this opportunity to make various small changes to the layout, etc. ("I've always hated the way that door swings out and hits me in the head."). Notably, the Kerrn shipyards are only a couple of months away from completing a new class of assault carriers (to replace those lost during the original Britilthin mission). 


Various supplies are obtained, also:  some Vaylen 29mm bomber rounds; more coolant tanks for Vaylen energy weapons; some Iron-type melee weapons; a bunch more bomber rounds; and other odds and ends (anyone care to list those out here, so Hugh can read about your shopping frenzy?). The escape pod of the Neola's Claws is swapped out for a utility sled.


The expedition sets forth ...


6/599 (or 9 May 12606 AD)


While the Neola's Claws and the two Kerrn Hammer transports wait in deep space, the Spirit of Vinland makes a stop at Egry, both to "check in" and obtain the latest captured IFF codes, and to hire the 10 mercenaries. The Terrans were last at Egry on 87/597, when the war began; there have been some Vaylen raids that penetrated to Egry, but the system was never besieged. There's quite a lot of Karsan League military presence, though, and a more thorough set of head-scans and ship-searches than the Terrans have endured in many months. After passing though security and so forth, Count Drax (the League Marshal) meets with Captain McClellan. There are some polite questions from the count about what the Terrans have been up to, a bit of tea, and then McClellan is passed along to some much less polite, more businesslike members of the Intelligence staff. Fortunately, the Karsan military are still on good terms with the Kerrn (even if much of the populace are now afraid of them), and some useful info is placed in McClellan's hands:


  • updated information on status of the war, where the front lines are, etc.

  • the Vaylen IFF codes for the Neola's Claws, which should be good for six months

  • the names of ten experienced Hammer/Anvil mercenaries, with clean background checks


They each will be paid 60 Σ per month (and the Terrans got a good deal at that, with some prodding by the Karsan military).


The five Preteshi women from the crew of the Spirit of Vinland pay a sort of formal call on Judith, the wife of Earl Matsushita-kun (she sent the Terrans off to Pretesh originally).


A day later, the mercenaries are all interviewed, contracts are signed, they're loaded aboard, and the Spirit of Vinland sets out. The mercenaries only spend a day or two awake aboard ship, just long enough to meet the Kerrn and Preteshi crew, and to have their personal equipment checked and stowed; then they all go into cryosleep. It's almost certain, by the by, that some or all of the mercenaries are either agents of the League, or have at least been instructed to "come back and tell us what these yahoos are up to." Gee, funny thing, coming up with ten skilled Hammer troops (with Anvil experience) in the middle of a war, just like that! 


45/599 (or 17 June 12606 AD)


The Spirit of Vinland and its escorts reach Zulfikar, and check their surveillance buoy. The temptation to attack a passing convoy of four Vaylen military transports is resisted.


65/599 (or 7 July 12606 AD)


Arriving at Lambda Cassiopeia, for a chat with the Shining Slate. The super-dreadnaught is, uh, politely happy to see the Terrans again; they go aboard for passable tea and some rather oddly-synthesized wine. The Terrans and the AI dicker and negotiate, passing some information about the progress of the war and what's happening out here in the Void. Two (much smaller) old Federation ships are visiting the Shining Slate, from their usual "homes" a thousand or more light-years away.


As usual, the Shining Slate will not agree to give the Terrans any equipment ("I don't loan out my tools") but agrees to carry the Spirit of Vinland and the Neola's Claws to Aleif aboard the the 6,400 ton FLV730214A6 (which also is carrying one of its three landing craft). 


66/599 (or 8 July 12606 AD)


After loading the Spirit of Vinland and the Neola's Claws aboard the FLV730214A6, the Terrans bid farewell to the two Kerrn Hammer transports, and head for Aleif; the Kerrn ships will wait at Lambda Cassiopeia until 100/599 before heading back into the Karsan League. As before, much drooling over the contents of the monitor's armories, etc.. There's something equivalent to a "combined arms battalion" aboard -- six tank platoons (24 tanks total) and six mechanized Iron platoons, plus various specialized and support vehicles.


77/599 (or 19 July 12606 AD)


After eleven days, the monitor arrives at the Aleif system. Everything seems to be as described in prior intelligence; the Shining Slate has provided information on patrol patterns, sensor frequencies, etc. that should maximize the ability of the Neola's Claws to make a mostly-undetected landing.


The monitor will lurk in the edges of the system, ready to deploy a large Index 8 decoy swarm when it receives the correct radio signal from the Terrans. The swarm should discombobulate the Vaylen interdiction force for an hour or so, long enough for the Neola's Claws to go from the surface of Aleif out to a safe distance. Allow about 1 hour for the swarm to receive the signal and begin its work.


Aleif is emitting radio signals consistent with an Index 0 civilization. Some of them are "television" or the equivalent; the Terrans note with relief that the Aleifans seem to be most commonly "Mediterranean" in appearance. Dozens of languages are noted; the commonest used in broadcasts is a combination of Old Mandarin Chinese (pre-Twentieth Century), some Chorseri vocabulary (especially for technology and concepts not around before 1900 AD), some Fed Standard or English, and some Late Latin.  Various types of ksatriyen, vaishyen and shudren  are seen in the television broadcasts at times. 


78/599 (or 9 July 12606 AD)


The Neola's Claws makes a safe, mostly undetected landing on the surface of Aleif. The landing site selected is a box canyon in the northern hemisphere, about 400 kilometers from the city of Hanzhou. After landing, shelter and camouflage nets are spread over the ship, and the Terrans scout around for a kilometer or so. The canyon is created by water erosion, but hasn't seen water in a decade or so. The light utility sled is detached from the belly of the ship, loaded up with supplies, O'Reilly and Black in Iron, and Burns, MacDougall and McClellan in Anvil (or even lighter gear). The five Preteshi women are left to guard the ship and the Gate Ripper (which is still stowed in the cargo hold).


(was that the correct pair of people in Iron?)


Heading downslope from the box canyon after dark, a wide agricultural plain is revealed, with a large town (population maybe 5,000) about 30 kilometers distant. There are irrigation canals, monorail lines, "vaporator" towers, open fields, large greenhouses, and farmsteads (built mostly underground, a la Luke Skywalker's home). The Terrans head for the nearest farmstead.


McClellan (is that correct?) makes reasonably peaceful contact with the residents:  Win Teng, his wife Oo-tah, and their two children Nin and Rin. They are farmers, raising an odd multi-use vegetable; they are followers of Zothar, some sort of charismatic cult leader in the nearby town of Chi-hey; Chi-hey is in turn part of the Rezllipi Republic. They know about Vaylen, but have only rarely met anyone acting as a host (and they aren't infected themselves). The concept of Vaylen infection doesn't seem to concern them too much one way or the other. The Terrans take their leave (after MacDougall has a chat with some vaporators), and get back into their utility sled.


They fly, low and carefully, the 400 kilometers to Hanzhou, arriving about midnight. As they approach, it's clear that Hanzhou is a large, powerful city -- monorail lines, pipelines, and other signs of civilizations converge there. As the Terrans get within 150 kilometers or so, they can see the upper parts of the central palace; by the time the reach the outskirts, it is clear that the "downtown" area has a number of truly vast buildings.


See video here


The Terrans decide to land at a small town or suburb, separate by a couple of kilometers from the Lower City. This town, named Zhinig, turns out to be the focus of some odd mortuary cult or business, but the Terrans get some useful information none-the-less. Burns is left watching the utility sled, Iron suits and armaments, while the others ride in a sort of stale, dingy limousine into the Lower City. There, they visit various shops and places of entertainment, and buy some clothing better suited to their plan.


79/599 (or 10 July, 12606 AD)


After breakfast, the Terrans return to their utility sled. O'Reilly and Black put their Iron on, and turn the surface as shiny and golden as it will go; the others put on their best "envoys from a distant land" garb. They take off, and fly up towards the Inner City; when challenged by traffic control, they claim to be envoys from Vinland. They are directed to land at about the 120th level of the Palace. The reception includes trumpeters, gong-banging, an absurdly long scroll of welcome, and a lot of "chivalrous formalities". The Terrans once again present themselves with the rather glorious titles assumed on Terra Insula:  MacDougall is a Lance-Major of the First Roman Legion; McClellan is a Colonel of the Vinland Space Marines; and Burns is an Admiral of the VSF (Black and O'Reilly are mere knights). None of these titles excites any particular wonder (or admiration); the Terrans are led to a set of large, if somewhat spartanly-furnished, suites, and told that they will be presented at the Royal Court when it next convenes.


The culture of the Palace is very insular and status-conscious -- the upper class seek membership in clubs, cults, salons, military units; they arrange and abuse family connections, marriages, mistresses, and affairs; seek out or avoid duels, assassinations, and blackmail; and expect titles, awards, medals, or other honors; and perhaps even a profession or useful position in one of the courts. Wealth is less important than might be expected.


The Terrans visit a fencing salon and a martial arts training hall; later, they witness a series of jousts at an indoor tourney-hall, with armored knights riding what seem to be half-demon horses! As night falls, cloaked persons travel the hallways of the Palace -- assassins, lovers, courtesans ...



On to Journal entry 15


The next session start date will be 79 Rising 599 (or 10 July 12606 AD); presuming time is flowing along back home, the date there is the 23rd of February, 2012 AD.

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