Loki's Dagger

The Sternor Family and Lands

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Members of the Sternor Family, plus selected vassels
Adolphous Sternor AB8CAB-4 Scouts age 38
Handgun-3, Liason-2, Artisan-2, Pilot-1, Rifleman-1, Survival-1, Recon-1, Carousing-1, Streetwise-1, Vacc Suit-1, Navigation-1, Large Blade-1, Telepathy-4, Awareness-4
notes: Cr 45,000, Grendel-class scout, custom 9mm pistol
Helena Sternor 97776B-3 Nobles age 26
Handgun-2, Brawling-2, Pilot-1, Navigation-1, Carousing-1, Diplomacy-1, Telepathy-2
notes: sister of Adolphous and Maxwell
Reaction to Adolphous: polite
Ludwig Sternor AA77AC-5 Academic age 58
Engineer-2, Admin-1, Wh Veh-1, Electronics-3, Carousing-1, Physics-1, Leader-1, Teleportation-5
notes: father of Adolphous, Maxwell and Helena
Reaction to Adolphous: neutral
Lt. Maxwell Sternor 777749-4 Army age 38
Liason-1, Streetwise-1, Tactics-2, Sm Blade-1, Cbt Rifle-2, Leader-1, Special (Pyrotech)-1
notes: brother of Adolphous and Helena
Reaction to Adolphous: neutral
Sir Herman Sternor 77A74B-5 Academic age 62
Computer-2, Sensor Ops-3, Admin-1, Electronics-1, Geology-2, Special (Illusions)-6
notes: uncle of Adolphous, Maxwell and Helena; brother of Ludwig and Marcus
Reaction to Adolphous: neutral
Marcus Sternor 447AAB-C Academic age 50
Handgun-2, Commo-1, Instruction-1, Admin-2, Grav Veh-1, Clarvoyance-5, Teleportation-7
notes: uncle of Adolphous, Maxwell and Helena; brother of Herman and Ludwig
Reaction to Adolphous: polite
Dame Natalia Sternor 77A65B-7 Marines age 38
Lg Blade-2, Mechanic-1, Brawling-1, Cbt Rifle-2, Telempathy-6
notes: wife of Marcus; aunt of Adolphous, Helena and Maxwell
Reaction to Adolphous: polite
Bertha Sternor 457749-8 Civilian (Student) age 22
Biology-1, Carousing-1, Wh Veh-1, Awareness-6
notes: daughter of Natalia and Marcus
Reaction to Adolphous: neutral
Hans Stiferd A976A8-0 Scouts age 34
Artisan-2, Navigation-2, Pilot-2, Streetwise-1, Gambling-1, Hovercraft-1, Rifleman-1, Handgun-1, Sensor Ops-1, Lg Blade-1, Bribery-1, Biology-1, Animal Handling-1
notes: cousin of Adolphous, brother of Dell Stiferd and Tynna Stiferd
Reaction to Adolphous: polite
Dell Stiferd 6958AB-A Merchant age 24
Gunnery-2, Steward-2, Liason-1, Telepathy-6, Telekinesis-4, Awareness-4
notes: brother of Hans Stiferd and Tynna Stiferd; gunner of Far Trader
Reaction to Adolphous: neutral
Tynna Stiferd 76AA78-7 Merchant age 30
Engineer-3, Electronics-2, Gravatics-2, Mechanical-2, Brawling-1, Handgun-1, Clairvoyance-3
notes: sister of Hans Stiferd and Dell Stiferd; engineer of Far Trader
Reaction to Adolphous: neutral
Veronika Calchaut 649CDA-0 Navy age 35
Pilot-3, Navigation-2, Sensor Ops-2, Computer-1, Electronics-1, Forward Observer-1, Handgun-1, Liason-1, Medic-1, Ship Tactics-1
notes: Sternor vassal; pilot of Far Trader
Brian Von Kronn 896882-0 Flyer age 27
Navigation-2, Aircraft-1, Artisan-1, Computer-1, Vacc Suit-2
notes: Sternor vassal; navigator of Far Trader

Ludwig Sternor: wife deceased, father of Adolphous, Maxwell and Helena
Marcus: married to Natalia, father of Bertha
Herman: never married, no known children

The Sternor's own two starships, both 3000 cy freighters, a Free Trader and a Far Trader (the Free Trader has a larger hold, but is only Jump-1; the Far Trader is Jump-2). Both are armed with two twin laser turrets. Four ships are present at Tielbund (2 barges with 100 cy/100 ton capacity, a police boat [no better than HMGs or a mortar] and a fishing trawler. The only combat vehicles owned (with main gun) are: two 76 ton tracked tanks (120mm), six 26 ton armored cars (80mm), eight 25 ton tanks (80mm), ten four-legged 11 ton ATVs (MGs) and six VTOL jets. Castle Sternor cannot be reached by land vehicle, so most of the military vehicles are kept at Tielbund (the VTOL's can be operated from Castle Sternor, however).

Citizenry and Land Holdings
7550 adults (+3500 children) on an island 50 km by 60 km. Most are employed as farmers, fishers or miners. The main towns are Norhelm (pop. 1400, agriculture), New Dresden (pop. 1900, mining/lumber), Stein (pop. 550, fishing), Lochabre (pop. 600, mining), Tielbund (pop. 2400, port) and Castle Sternor (pop. 700). Tielbund and Castle Sternor have provisions for starship landings (but not repairs). While small, the bay that Tielbund and Castle Sternor border is fairly deep. The mines at Lochabre are almost played out, and most of the population will be moving to New Dresden. The highest spot on the island is just east of New Dresden, at 435 meters (and radar and radio towers are located here).

Eighty citizens are employed as regular troops/police, while another 2000 can be counted as a militia. Regular forces wear TL 9 combat armor and carry 9mm advanced combat rifles. Militia gear varies widely, but is generally limited to rifles and shotguns (though an armory at the Sternor castle has several pieces of light military weaponry that can be passed out to the militia in an emergency, including 7-9mm machine guns, 50-60mm mortars and SAMs). There are also a half dozen 100mm AT guns on unarmored tracked carriers. Note: Militia members have, at most, two combat skills at level-1 or one at level-2. Your regular troops are better trained, but are not the equivalent of regular army.

Other Notes
Sternor Island is fairly cold most of the year, averaging 15 deg. C. Added to this is the frequent storms that buffet the island (bringing rain or snow). It has only one freshwater body of any size (Lake Tormac), though there are several freshwater springs around the mountains (including Castle Sternor). The two smaller islands are Sternor property, but uninhabited. 'The Rock,' to
the north, is completely barren. The South Isle is frequently used as a retreat by the Sternor family, and has a small cottage nestled against the hills. The uninhabited penninsula to the northwest is know as 'The Point' and is constantly buffeted by storms.

Government and Customs
The primary government is a hereditary limited monarchy with each town operating a democratically elected semi-autonomous council. The Sternor leader (currently your father) can overrule the actions of any town council, but rarely does. The monarchy is limited by planetary treaty, plus whatever restrictions it chooses. In general, the monarchy cannot: order someone executed without fair trial, make war or treaties in the name of Gunginir, sell or give any of its territory to non-Sword Worlders, or deprive someone of the bulk of their property without fair trial. The Sternors are fairly generous and give its citizens more rights (roughly equal to the Bill of Rights) than many other families. This is one reason why its citizens are so loyal.

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(The Grendel  was designed basically using the system in GURPS Space, 2nd Edition, with certain components taken from MegaTraveller)

 Craft ID: Grendel Class Scout, MCr 8.9
 Hull: 1500 cy hull, mass 750.22 tons, winged streamlining, total compartmentalization, 3-g stress, landing gear, hull grapples, fuel scoops, Airlocks: 4 one-man, 1 large
 Drives: 2x125MW fusion plants, Jump-2, 1,400-ton thruster plates, 125-kg thrust solar sail
 Performance: Jump-2, 1.87-G acceleration (thrusters), 0.00017-G acceleration (sail), fuel for two Jump-2, 60 days of fusion operation
Weapon Ammo Rounds Pen/Att Damage Maximum Range
2x100mm MD KEAP 88 43/1 20 Distant (22)
4xCIWS lasers n/a n/a 6/2 4 Distant (2.5)
 Defenses: DF 2 hull armor, Level 1 Stealth (total DF 3)
 Electronics: Reliable Sensors, Standard Sensors
 Crew: 8, full lifesupport x2, artificial gravity (0-3G), repair shop
 Other: Cargo 290 cy, 10 modular cages (100 cy full, 30 cy collapsed), 2 lifeboats (Deimos/Phobos class), fuel purification plant

The Grendel is an old design, dating back nearly 100 years to the first prototype. The ship shows a rather psychotic design philosophy, as the architects and buyers were unable to decide whether they wanted a civilian or military scout ship. Added to this is the fact that most Grendels have been heavily modified during their service life, including notable internal changes. As a result, most Grendels are a nightmare to repair unless the techs have gotten very familiar with their particular ship.

In general, the basic Grendel is a moderately slow ship that is well built from heavy materials with four hardpoints in the forward "wings" in 2 inboard and 2 outboard slots. There are also provisions for adding two aft dorsal turrets (or two aft hardpoints, but not both).

[on the Loki's Dagger, the 100mm mass drivers are located in the inboard "wing" slots. The gatling lasers are placed in two small twin ventral turrets for use against missiles (in space) and infantry (on ground). Larger and additional weapons are possible.]

One minor design flaw is the fact that most of the cargo space is in the primary airlock. A major design flaw is that the capabilities of the two lifeboats (one Deimos-class and one Phobos-class, though no one has yet been able to find any difference) are unknown. No crewmen from any Grendel lifeboat has ever been found, though the empty lifeboats have.

Grendels have several redundant systems, even going as far as seperating the drives into two sections. One of the more dubious backups is a solar sail, for use when both jump and maneuver drives have stopped working. Although slower than the rated speed of the lifeboats, most Grendel captains prefer to use the solar sail in emergencies.

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TURN #1: June 1, 1995 (129-1118 to 142-1118)

 After selecting the crew for your (as yet unnamed) Grendel-class scout, you make plans to travel to Sacnoth, approximately 4 parsecs away. Due to the recent goings-on (discharge from the Scout Service, finding your crew and receiving the "message" from your sister), you really didn't have the chance to look for any charter passengers or light cargo.
 Finally, on 129-1118 (see CALENDAR in the database), your ship lifts off for its eventual trip to the Sword Worlds, a place you haven't visited in nearly twenty years. Despite some ominous creaking as the ship enters space, everything seems to be running fine. Caladbolg shrinks behind you as the ship moves to a safe jump distance, 100 planetary diameters.
 You use the time to plot a course to Sacnoth. Unfortunately, the only direct route takes you through deep space; even though you have sufficient fuel for such a trip, you'd be stranded if anything went wrong. Still, the next best route would take four weeks rather than two, and two of the systems you'd stop in have no gas giants or populations, so they aren't much better.
 With a sign, and crossed fingers, you make out the shortest course. Not long after you're finished the ship reaches safe jump distance. Wishing you had a few hundred rtaki's foots for luck, you press the 'engage' button for the jump drive. With a whine, the drive revs up to operating speed, then "poof", the ship is in hyperspace. The crew settles down to the most boring part of space travel, actually travelling.
 Six days later, 135-1118, the ship pops back into normal space as expected. Dade spends a few minutes checking over the jump drive, and then gives the all clear. After making corrections for a slight drift, you punch in the new route and off the ship goes again. As before, nothing happens.
 Finally, on 142-1118, the ship arrives near its final destination, only a few hours transit from Sacnoth. As the ship approaches, Stiferd radios in for docking information (which is extremely brief, since you aren't in a freighter or liner) and current events (none of which are very interesting). It is shortly before noon (local time), when your ship makes planetfall. Everyone is itching to get off the ship for a few hours (at least) though O'Dea recommends that someone stay aboard at all times. Since Dade wants to look over the drives, she says she'll take first shift, and O'Dea will follow.
 Your ship and crew are treated fairly indifferently by the Sacnoth customs officials. Fortunately, since you don't have any cargo or passengers to offload, they don't need to check out the interior of the ship. They do point out that the starport has very efficient security, so for safety reasons "suggest" that the gatling lasers be deactivated while landed (you are in a normal open-topped ship bay (think Star Wars)). They also hand you a sealed message that the official says has been waiting for
you for several days. The message reads:

 Dear Brother,
  Please contact me as soon as you arrive. It is a matter of grave concern to our family. I am at the Sarat Arms, room #1261.
          Helena Sternor

 As far as you can tell, the message looks authentic, and you have no difficulty finding the location of the hotel, the largest at the starport. Everyone goes their separate ways for R&R, though Stiferd stays with you just in case your meeting with your sister isn't legit. Plus, he is a relative.

 It doesn't take very long to reach the hotel by foot, or to find room #1261. You buzz the door several times, but there is no answer. The door is locked and there are no sounds from the other side. You start to get this funny feeling. Thinking a few seconds, you head down to the front desk.
"Excuse me, but could I leave a message for Miss Helena Sternor. She's staying in room #1261."
 The clerk glances up from the news channel he's watching, then turns to the computer terminal next to him. After several moments, he turns back to you.
 "I'm sorry sir, but no one by that name has been at this hotel within the past 30 days. Perhaps she hasn't checked in yet, sir. Would you like to leave a message for her anyway?"
 You aren't sure if it would be a good idea, so you decide to pass on it.
 "I'll just come back later."
 You and Stiferd head back to the ship, but you stop at a vidphone to call it, just in case. O'Dea answers.
 "No, nothing unusual here. Dade just left and she didn't mention anything. What's wrong?"
 You explain the situation, and her brows begin to furrow.
 "Someone may be following you."
 "I had considered that," you say," Just in case, power up the gats."
 Fortunately, the gatling lasers have an advanced IFF system which uses bioprints (think of those old aura-field pictures), so you probably wouldn't get hit in a firefight.
 You and your cousin make your way back to the hanger, watching to see if you are followed, but you don't notice anyone. The gats track you as you arrive back at the ship, and you nervously wait for O'Dea to open the airlock. Just as it starts to open, two dozen uniformed men swarm into the hanger, weapons leveled. The gats begin to track them.
 One of the men holds up a micro-loudspeaker.
 "Attention, Adolphous Sternor of the {unnamed starship}, you are under arrest for the murder of one Helena Sternor. Put your hands on your head, and do not move. Whoever is aboard the {unnamed starship} is ordered to deactivate the gatling lasers. This is your only warning."

 Ah, it's nice to be going back home...

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TURN #2: June 16, 1995 (142-1118)

 Seeing no survivable alternative, you raise your hands and suggest for Stiferd to do the same. Before being scurried off, you tell O'Dea to get the ship's flight records in order and follow you ASAP.
 The trip to the police station is rather nice, considering what you've just been accused of. Once at the station, you are rushed deep into its inner recesses and left in a small interrogation room. Within ten minutes, a police detective and two armed officers enter the room.
 As you start to protest your arrest, the detective raises his hand.
 "You aren't under arrest. We don't know where your sister is, but we don't think she's dead. This is probably confusing, so let me start at the beginning.
 "About six days ago, the body of a man was discovered in your sister's hotel room. He was dressed up like a hotel employee and carried a silenced pistol of Sword Worlds origin. He'd been shot twice with a laser, probably at close range given the penetration. Most of your sister's luggage was still in the room, but there was evidence that some of her possessions were
missing. We still haven't been able to find her.
 "This brings us to you. We know that you had nothing to do with any of  this. However, we do know about you familie's actions during the Fifth  Frontier war, and that several Sworld Worlders are still pretty pissed about  it. The stiff in her room was probably an assassin, and there may be more. We  brought you in the way we did to confuse the hell out of any other assassins  out there, and because you might be the next target.
 "Personally, I wouldn't care what happens in a Sword Worlds feud, except that you're doing it on my planet. So here's what I'm going to do; here are three concealed carry permits for you and two crewmen. I'm  assigning Officer Marel..."
 One of the officers in the room, a large and burly fellow, nods.
 "...to assist you in any way possible. What I want you to do is find your sister and then get the hell off this planet. Now get out of here."

 You're still trying to take all this in as you exit the police station. Marel has changed into street clothes and hails an automated taxi to get you back to the starport.
 By the time you get back to the 'Dagger, all your crewmen are back on board. O'Dea, not sure what was going on, decided it would be best to get everyone back to the ship, especially if a hasty departure was in order...
 You think about what the detective said, and something about it bothers you. You quietly mention this concern to Stiferd, and later O'Dea, but neither has a problem with the plan. You do, however, think that Helena may come looking for you; if she was checking the arrivals at the starport, she would have likely noticed a starship showing up (Loki's Dagger) with you listed as
its captain/operator.
 As far as the weapon permits, you and Stiferd each take one. No one else has any skill with a pistol, but you and O'Dea figure she's the best choice (she takes one of the 9mm automatics from the ship's locker).
 During this time, you realize you haven't seen Dr. Nathan since you  arrived back on the 'Dagger (not that he would be of much help). You decide to see if anything is wrong (O'Dea does confirm that he came back) and knock on his stateroom door. There is no answer, so you push the door slowly open. Dr. Nathan is seated at a small, cluttered desk (oh, the safety hazards in zero-gee...) busily examining an old book.
 "Just checking in," you say," By the way, what is that?"
 It takes a few seconds for Nathan to realize that you are in the room.
 "Just an old book ... nothing else."
 He goes back to ignoring you, which doesn't set well. However, you don't see any point in getting an argument started. You close the door and head back to the galley (which probably serves well as a ready room). Everyone is there except for Dade, who is sleeping, and Greer, who is looking over the weapon systems, just in case...

 You pause a few seconds before saying anything, as you try to make up your mind on a course of action. It's a lot easier to wait for her to come to you, and you'd rather go out and look for her instead of sitting around.
 "Here's what we're going to do: Helena may show up here, or she may not. Hans and I are going to go out and look for her, with Officer Marel. Max, if my sister shows up here, let her in and contact me immediately. I'll feed a picture of her into the ship's VRS (visual recognition system). Just to be  safe, though, don't let her in any farther than the airlock until I get back."
 You don't get any complaints to your plan, though Marel grunts as he gets up from a computer terminal where he was playing one of the games in your ship's computer system.
 It doesn't take long for you to get the picture scanned in (an older photo than you realized before seeing it, with you late uncle who was killed during the Fifth Frontier War). Securing your Luger in one of the many pockets
of your flight suit, you join Marel and Stiferd at the airlock.
 Once outside the docking bay, you hail a cab to take you into the city proper (just like airports, starports aren't inside a city). Once in the city, in a move that confuses your companions, you snake your way though alleys until you end up at a shuttle bus stop, headed back to the starport. Catching your breath, you get in the bus, followed by Stiferd and Marel.
 "What the hell are you up to?" asks Stiferd.
 "There's no way we're going to find her out here. However, I bet that  if there is anyone out there who's still after her, they probably have somebody watching Loki's Dagger. Well, now they think that we're in the  city looking for her. If I know Helena, though, she's probably been around the starport since the attempt on her life."
 "But we searched all the hotels ..." starts Marel.
 "Every major starport, at least every one I've been to, has slums and dregs in them. You probably never looked for my sister there, and the assassins probably haven't either; my family isn't run-of-the-mill,  pampered nobility."
 Stiferd grins at the last remark.
 "So we're going to roust the winos, 'eh?" asks Marel.
 "You and I are. Hans, I want you to find someplace you can watch the ship from. I mainly want you to see if anyone else is watching the ship. Here's a comm link in case you need to contact me."
 "Good plan."
 "Good roll vs. IQ."

 After a half-hour, you and Marel are unable turn up anything in the  rubbish-strewn alleys. Either your sister is better at hiding than you  thought, or she's not here. As you watch a couple of rats gang up on a cat,  and wishing you had more than a pistol, your comm link beeps.
"Adolphus, this is Hans. A dreg is approaching the ship slowly. Two men who were here before me appear to be shadowing her in. I'm going to swing in behind them but keep my gun hidden."
 "Don't do anything stupid [then again, he is related to you]. We'll be there in few minutes."
 You and Marel take off running to the ship.
 A few seconds later, your comm beeps again. Continuing running, you almost drop the comm while getting it open and on.
 "Who? What?"
 "Captain Sternor?" It's Max "Are you okay?"
 "Comm line might be compromised, am aware of situation, out."
 Actually, the line is probably safe, but have you ever tried to talk and run at the same time? While dodging dregs?
 As you get down to the end of the alley, which is about sixty meters  from the entrance to the dock your ship is in, you hear several gunshots  ring out. You and Marel now pull out your pistols and begin pushing people out of the way as you rush to the ship.

 As you reach dock for the 'Dagger, you see the dreg hiding behind the nose landing gear, firing a laser pistol at two men behind a tech's cart inside the dock. Stiferd is near the dock's entrance, holding his left arm.
 "What happened?" you ask as you take cover near Stiferd.
 "As soon as the dreg got up to the airlock, the two guys started to pull guns. The dreg hadn't noticed, and I opened fire before they could. It gave the dreg a chance to take cover, but I got tagged before I could take out either of the gunmen."
 "You have ground defense lasers on that ship, don't you?" asked Marel.
 Marel takes out his comm unit. "Starport Control, this is Officer Marel, authorization code AZZ000671-Delta. The starship in dock #17, Loki's Dagger, is hereby authorized to use its ground defense lasers."
 You grab your comm unit. "Max, burn 'em."
 The port-side gat laser, which apparently had been locked on the pair, fires two brief bursts. The cart explodes, and the two burning gunmen drop to the ground.
 Very carefully, gun in hand, you enter the dock. The opposition looks pretty crispy and dead. The dreg, pistol in hand but lowered, comes out from behind the landing gear.
 "Identify youself" says the dreg in a woman's voice.
 "Identify myself, hell! This is my ship. Who the smeg are you?"
 The dreg pulls the hood of her outfit back.
 Helena Sternor.
 "It took you long enough to show up, brother."
 <mushy family reunion deleted in case impressionable pets may be reading>
 Marel walks up and says "Miss Sternor's baggage is being brought here. I suggest you be off-planet an hour after it's loaded."
 You, Stiferd and sis enter the ship. After seeing to Stiferd's wound (fairly minor), you get Helena (due to her temper, most family members call her Hel) settled in a stateroom.
 "Addy (her pet nickname for you, which you are free to hate), the situation back home isn't good. As you know, the treaty that ended the Fifth  Frontier War had provisions for restoring our family lands, and most of our family returned. The Von Bergs, who we've always had something of a feud  with, lost a great deal during the war. Well, now they've declared a blood feud against us and have the unspoken support of several other families. We need your help."
 "That's kind of interesting, since I was on my way back home anyway. In fact, I'd be there now if it wasn't for my trip here to pick you up. But exactly what can I do? This," you gesture around," isn't an Imperial Navy gunship with a crack veteran crew, in case you haven't noticed."
 Before Helena can answer, someone knocks on the door.
 "Come in."
 Nathan scurries in, laying the book you had seen him with earlier on a table next to you.
 "I must apologize, Captain Sternor, for my rudeness when you came to my cabin. I was quite busy translating this fascinating personal log, which may be of interest to you. It is the diary of a Zhodani Naval officer who died during the most recent frontier war. It seems he was stationed on a battle cruiser which operated in this subsector, a ship which was  forced down on a planet's surface due to massive jump-drive failure. The ship was wrecked and only and handful of the crewmen, including the officer, survived. They managed to escape in a shuttle, but a pirate raider captured  the survivors, and eventually killed all of them. I've checked official news records, and no reference is made to the discovery of the ship. The Imperial Navy may have secretly jumped on the wreck, but I think it's still there; the remains of a major Zhodani starship. From what I can tell, its either
located on Steel (709) or Iron (806)."

 Hmmm, decisions, decisions...

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TURN #3: July 16 (142-1118 to 177-1118)

 A Zhodani battle cruiser! Even if the warship *is* smashed all over the planet's surface, there should be enough for useful salvage, provided no one has gotten to it yet.
 You quickly pull up the subsector map on the terminal in your room to check your distance from the two possible sites. Iron is 3 parsecs (2 weeks) away, while Steel is 5 parsecs away. However, with no places to refuel along the most direct path to Steel, your best paths are both 6 parsec (3 weeks) routes -- one through Biter and Bronze, the other through deep space and Caldabolg (where you were discharged not too long ago...). You decide to go to Steel first, via Caldabolg. If only you could make Jump-3.
 (fast fact: an upgrade would require 13.5 cy, 27 tons and Cr 300,000)
 The jump to Caldabolg and then to Steel goes without incident. Stiferd, checking the sensors, tells you that there appears to be no unusual solar activities -- luckily, you should miss the solar flares during your trip.
 The closest thing to a starport is a level piece of bedrock with some lights and a landing beacon. Since the cruiser would most likely not be around it, and there aren't any other facilities, there are no reasons to land yet. Being an experienced scout, you know your best chance of locating the ship is to perform a standard orbital survey, paying special attention for unusual traces of metal on the surface.
 After several (24) hours of sensor sweeps, it seems reasonably certain that the cruiser is not on this planet, or was so totally destroyed that whatever was left was completely overgrown. Since the only option left is to land, throw a rock, and start digging where it hits, you decide to refuel and head to Iron.
 (note: you decide against questioning the miner, since if he knew about the wreck, he probably wouldn't tell, and there's no sense in torturing the natives until you make sure the ship isn't elsewhere...)
 (another note: a Grendel's sensors are more accurate than most commercial sets, and more suitable for ground searches than most military sensors)
By the time you reach Iron, the 'Dagger has been in space for 36 straight days, and the air recycler smells like it. Dade is doing her best, but says you really need new filters.
 You arrive on Iron on 178-1118. For some odd reason, you aren't able to make contact with the research base (Stiferd can pick up their landing beacon; he's sure the problem is on their end, as the 'Dagger's radio is working fine).
 Despite the thin atmosphere, you decide to land, if for no other reason than to air out the ship (it might have been best to do this on Steel). Something concerns you about the silence from the research station; to be safe, however, you locate a large, flat area on a nearby (210 km) island and land the ship there.
 Leaving Dade, Greer and Nathan to deal with the life-support system, you, O'Dea and Stiferd (sis decides to check out the island you landed on) take the air/raft and head out to the research station, taking a full compliment of weapons (you: shotgun; O'Dea: rifle; Stiferd: SMG; all of you are wearing vacc suits (very thin atmosphere, remember), which protect as cloth armor, and carrying blades plus pistols).
 The island the station is on is about 10 km by 40 km, with most of the buildings at the southern tip. Before your ship landed, a quick sensor sweep was made of the station, revealing no active energy sources. O'Dea moves in closer while Stiferd monitors the air/raft's (limited) sensors; so far, nothing. Looking over the site with the IR/LI binoculars, everything looks dead. After a few seconds, you notice what appears to be battle damage to one of the buildings, then another. Pretty soon it becomes apparent that the research station was hit by some kind of military or starship weaponry.
 You can't think of any reason why the base would be hit by pirates, unless they were really desperate. Espionage (corporate or government) seems more likely. While you'd like to check the ruins, you decide to return to the 'Dagger, just in case whoever is responsible is still in the vicinity.
 When you get back, Dade is about halfway through with the life support system. She mentions that this is just temporary; you'll need to pick up some filters and catalyst modules (about Cr 500 total) soon. Nathan and Greer are in separate parts of the ship, doing routine maintenance. Otherwise, nothing seems to be amiss.
 You decide to keep alert, sending O'Dea up in the air/raft as a sort of combat air patrol (the 'Dagger's sensors have a reduced field while you are grounded, though this also makes it harder for someone else to find your ship).
 Two hours later, the maintenance is finished; O'Dea returns with nothing to report. You decide to fly over to the station before you go into orbit to conduct another survey, figuring that the attackers should be gone by now and that you should probably check for survivors (or unmarked gear to loot...).
 Appoaching carefully, Stiferd doesn't detect any ships or energy sources. Bringing the 'Dagger down on the station's landing pad, you, O'Dea and Stiferd disembark and begin to explore the ruins (armed as before).
 It doesn't take too long to realize the tremendous destruction done. There are bodies and destroyed equipment strewn about the site; what little escaped onslaught is either immovable or of little value (this supports the theory that this probably wasn't a pirate raid). After about an hour, you decide there are neither survivors nor salvageable equipment here.
 As the three of you exit the ruins, headed back to the ship, you stop dead in your tracks. Loki's Dagger is gone; in it's place is a Jayhawk-class freighter (about twice a Grendel's displacement), with several armed figures exiting her. As the three of you take cover, Stiferd taps you on the shoulder, and quietly whispers:
 "I recognize their gear, from when I fought in the Fifth Frontier War; it's Zhodani."
 It looks like you may have found the right planet, after all...

ps. No, it doesn't look like they've seen you yet. Also, there are about six men, armed with 7mm or 9mm advanced combat rifles and wearing combat armor, outside the freighter. You aren't sure, but you think a Jayhawk has a crew of 3 and can carry 8 passengers (it's a very common light freighter).

Travel Log
Origin System Destination Flight Duration Time at destination
Sacnoth Caldabolg 13 days 3 hours
Caladbolg Steel 7 days 2 days
Steel Iron 14 days ?

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TURN #4: September 22 (177-1118 to 207-1118)

[shoot-down and subsequent plunder of freighter ommitted for brevity]
Summary: Emerging from the ocean behind the freighter, Loki's Dagger fired several 100mm slugs into the enemy at point blank range. Some internal explosions followed, and the freighter (only a few meters off the ground), crashed to the surface. Most of the crew was dead and the freighter itself was unflyable. In the cargo bay were found numerous items.

 What a cargo! You can salvage:

1   Mystery Box (6 cubic meters)
6   suits Zhodani battle dress (double Strength, unlimited Endurance, sealed for vaccum, +2 to-hit from battle computer)
104 doses Psi Booster (+2 or +3 to Psi Strength)
52  doses Psi Double (+4 or +6 to Psi Strength)
19  doses Psi Special (raises Psi Strength to 15; slight risk of permanent reduction of Psi Strength)
17  doses Combat Drug (+4 to Strength and Endurance; lasts 10 minutes)
23  doses Medical Slow Drug (knocked out for 1 day, but heal as if 30 passed)
12  TL 13 laser rifles with 19 power packs
21  TL 13 laser pistols with 32 power packs
4   9mm Advanced Combat Rifles
11  ACR clips (5 APDS, 4 HE, 2 tranq)
4   PGMP-13 (requires battle dress) with 5 power packs; plasma "rifle"
2   FGMP-13 (requires battle dress) with 2 power packs; fusion "rifle"
47  breaching charges (military issue)
6   underwater suits with artificial gill
3   grav belts (resembles a parachute harness; max 300 kph)
*   assorted Zhodani papers and data files including intelligence and military codes, maps, etc.

 After a few hours of transfering cargo, Loki's Dagger is ready to get underway. The lone survivor of the freighter is secured and restrained in your sick bay. Since his psionic abilities are unknown, Dr. Emmett suggests that the prisoner be sedated to the point of unconsciousness, which you agree to.
 The final leg of your trip home to Gungnir is very anti-climatic (fortunately). Aside from getting some food and life support supplies at Terfling, nothing happens until you reach the large island your family controls on Gungnir. As the 'Dagger makes its approach, and you prepare to step foot on your native soil for the first time in nearly 20 years, your sensors light up with threat warnings.
 Stiferd, next to you in the cockpit, mumbles," We're getting painted with fire-control lasers. I can pick up a half dozen missile and AA gun sites on visual near the landing pad."
 You grumble a bit and open a channel to the starport's tower.
 "This is Captain Adolphous Sternor, commanding the ISS Loki's Dagger. I request clearance for landing by right of blood privilage."
 The radio is silent for a few seconds, then," This is Sir Herman, of the family Sternor. We are having difficulty locating someone who can verify your identity. Please wait."
 "I'll handle this," says your sister, stepping up next to you," Uncle Herman, this is Helana. Quit fooling around and let us land."
 "Ah, sorry about that. We...well...I'll explain after you've landed."
 The lasers stop tracking your ship, and you land without further problem.

[generally-mushy mass family reunion ommitted due to tastelessness]

 "I'm glad your back," says Uncle Herman," Your ship will come in handy. Eight days ago the Von Bergs declared a Blood Feud against our family; as you know, this means the Feud cannot end until all members of one family are dead. Unfortunately, the Scholl family gave them a handful of military vehicles prior to the declaration. The Von Bergs now have the edge in equipment as well as numbers."
 You glance back at your ship, watching your crew unload the hold.
 "Uncle, I think I have a bit of good news for you..."
Origin System Destination Flight Duration Time at destination
Iron Terfling 15 days 1 day
Terfling Gungnir 14 days n/a

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TURN #5: January 25, 1996 (207-1118 to 213-1118)

 His attack plans center around using the Far Trader (see the crew, below) to transport infantry and armor to Von Berg territory. He would like to use Loki's Dagger to 'soften up' the proposed landing site and provide air cover (the Von Bergs have a couple of armed shuttles (95% the size of the 'Dagger, without jump capability, and a very battered far trader). The Sternor's free trader (used mainly as a planetary shuttle due its poor interstellar range) would then bring in reinforcements (after the Far Trader offloaded its troops, it would assist your ship in providing air cover). The unarmed free trader  would then move out of the battle zone. Maxwell plans to equip some of the troops with the weaponry and battle dress armor you recovered.

 Since Castle Von Berg is very well-protected by mountains, the strike would hit Durst; this would take out the Von Berg's largest town and allow you to land-block Castle Von Berg. Hyvard would have to be attacked within 2-3 hours of Durst. Unfortunately, the exact disposition of Von Berg troops is unknown, but they number about twice that of the Sternors. They have 4-6 75-85 ton tanks and 8-10 20 ton tanks. No other military vehicles are known of.

 After several days of preperation, the time has come to launch the strike. The two shuttles and two freighters are loaded with men and armor and you leave just before dawn, flying only a few meters above the surface of the water (the old free trader isn't capable of running submerged, so that option wasn't available).

 The ships quickly swoop in over Von Berg territory. So far, no resistance has been encountered. The other ships drop their troops while the 'Dagger keeps watch for any retaliation from the air. The shuttles and far trader take up air cover positions after they are done while the free trader heads to a spot several kilimeters away from the island.

 The invasion starts off well for the Sternor forces, but it seems the Von Berg troops are better trained; after the initial shock of the surprise is over, the superior numbers of the Von Berg ground forces begins to make a difference. The Von Berg starport, left alone during the invasion (a serious oversight by your brother), launches a handful of aircraft that keeps your air cover busy; so busy you can't help the ground forces.

 About 90 minutes after the battle has started, you brother calls for a  retreat. Both sides have taken a severe beating and the Sternor forces left are simply insufficient to continue the invasion with. The remaining forces are loaded onto the starships and taken back home.

Battle Losses - Sternors
Troops: 18 of 80 regular, 102 of 160 militia, 5 of 6 suits Battle Dress gone
Armor: 2 of 6 armored cars destroyed, 2 of 8 light tanks destroyed, 1 of 2 heavy tanks severely damaged
Aircraft: not involved
Starships: light damage only

Battle Losses - Von Bergs
Troops: 275-300 dead or wounded, 350-450 regulars left (militia numbers unknown)
Armor: 1 heavy and 2 light tanks destroyed, same number heavily damaged
Aircraft: 3 aeropace fighters destroyed out of 5 encountered
Starships: none encountered

 Upon your return, Dame Natalia (your aunt, though she is the same age as you and your brother) is furious and is trying to talk your father into exiling your brother for gross negligence. Maxwell, to his credit, does not deny that it was a mistake to leave the starport alone, but points out that it would have been just as bad to remove half the air cover for such an operation. Eventually, this degenerates into a shouting match refereed by your father. As you ponder whether you should say anything (you aren't sure what), Uncle Herman pulls you aside.

"I'm no tactician, Adolphus, but it is clear that we will not be able to launch another attack for several weeks. We only have 62 regulars left, plus some 1900 militia. The Von Bergs are hurt, yes, but can probably launch some sort of attack within the week."
 "So what's your point? Are you trying to say we should flee?"
 "Of course not. We simply must act quickly before the Von Bergs can react to our assault."
 "But you just said..."
 "I'm talking about a commando raid on the Baron's palace. You, your brother and sister, Hans and perhaps a few more."
 "I'm not a coward, but I'm not a soldier either."
 "Have you been away from your family for so long that you forget our one advantage?"
 Hmm, you'd almost forgotten. A half-dozen psychic assassins in the Von Berg palace could do a great deal of damage. Now if only someone could come up with a plan...

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TURN #6: May 21 (214-1118)

 Later that evening, you mention Uncle Herman's idea to your sister. She ponders it a few seconds, and says it might work. However, the argument between your brother and Aunt Natalia has continued to grow; she has demanded a family meeting tomorrow at noon for the purpose of exiling your brother. Considering that both of them would be needed in the raid, something has to be done (plus, in the Nordic tradition, your brother should be allowed to redeem himself in battle).

 Putting together a raid will be enough of a problem. Unfortunately, the most powerful psis in your family have little combat experience (Dame Natalia is an exception, as well as you). Your sister is apparently going to let you pick the team.

 Getting to the Von Berg castle doesn't seem to be as much of a problem as who's going. The 'Dagger can take the strike force (up to a dozen troops can temporarily be carried) there submerged, then remain just below the surface with sensors dry. While you only have one suit of Battle Dress left, all 3 Grav Belts and the 47 breaching charges remain (plus, no one has
figured out what's in the Mystery Box yet).

 (Ship Boosters: I'm not exactly sure what you're refering to, but any major alterations to your ship's drives would take 10-14 days.)

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TURN #7: October 6, 215-1118 to 219-1118

 After thinking about things, you decide that it probably wouldn't be a good idea to strike the Von Bergs again so soon. However, the family argument coming up in a few hours could complicate matters greatly. You need to decide whether you plan to take either side or act as peace-maker between your aunt and brother.

 Before the noon meeting, you let your sister and uncle know that you think a second raid should be postponed. Both seem disappointed, but they do agree with you.

 The showdown bewteen Aunt Natalia and Max is only an hour away; how do you plan to handle it?

 {details of family meetings deleted; Aunt Natalia drops her attempt to exile your brother and Uncle Marcus pushes through the plan to land an espionage unit on the Von Bergs island. For the record, here is who was for and against the plan:

 For: You, Helena, Maxwell, Marcus, Bertha, Hans, Tynna
 Against: Ludwig, Herman, Natalia, Dell}

 The only members of your familiy going are you, Uncle Marcus (he has some handgun skill and potent psi abilities) and Maxwell (good combat skills and possibly seeking redemption for the previous raid). The rest of your team is draw from the Sternor's paramilitary forces:

Bjorn Svensen  677677    age: 34
Mechanical-4, Gambling-2, Tactics-1, Gravatics-1, Brawling-1, SMG-1, Robot Ops-1, Artisan-1
Gear: mini mechanics kit, 9mm SMG (200 rounds)

Karl Madsen    7B7C77    age: 34
Computer-4, Ship's boat-1, Combat rifleman-1, Axe-1, SMG-1, Brawling-1
Gear: hand computer, axe, 9mm ACR (120 rounds), 4 RAM grenades

Otto Madsen    698679    age: 35
Tactics-3, Brawling-2, Survival-1, Early firearms-1, Electronics-1, Commo-1, Streetwise-1, Sensor Ops-1, JOT-1
Gear: 7mm carbine (75 rounds), battle computer

Stefan Heinrich     877686    age: 38
Survival-2, Cmbt Rifleman-2, Hunting-1, Axe-1, Sensor Ops-1, Mass Drivers-1, Electronics-1, Leader-1, Persuasion-1, Gambling-1, Gravatics-1
Gear: 9mm ACR (120 rounds), 8 RAM grenades

Bram Svensen   648766    age: 30
Electronics-2, Mechanical-1, Recon-1, Heavy Weapons-1, Stealth-1
Gear: mini electronics kit, 20mm Light Assault Gun (30 rounds)

Moose Conrad   E777C6    age: 33
Rifleman-2, Mechanical-2, Sensor Ops-1, Ship's Boat-1, Recon-1, Gambling-1, Equestrian-1, Hunting-1
Gear: 9mm ACR (180 rounds), mini mechanics kit

Noel Jung      8C7684    age: 37
Brawling-3, SMG-2, Handgun-1, Electronics-1, Survival-1, Recon-1, Axe-1, Computer-1
Gear: 9mm SMG (300 rounds)

Evan Kane      49CD9A    age: 38
Electronics-2, Mechanical-2, Commo-2, Tactics-1, Disguise-1, SMG-1, Admin-1, Laser Wpns-1
Gear: 9mm SMG (120 rounds), laser carbine (one power pack, 50 shots)

Richard Conrad 94987A    age: 39 (served in Sword Worlds Navy)
Vacc Suit-3, Forward Observer-3, Brawling-1, Electronics-1, Medical-1
Gear: 7mm carbine (75 rounds)

Kevin Jung     667989    age: 38 (served in Sword Worlds Army)
Combat Rifleman-3, Tactics-2, High Energy Wpns-1, Brawling-1, Instruction-1, Electronics-1, Mechanical-1
Gear: Gauss rifle (400 rounds), 9*40mm RAM grenades (6 HE, 3 HEAP)

All have the following equipment: camoflage cloth armor, blade, machete, 9mm autopistol (60 rounds), personal comm (5 km), backpack, fatigues, hiking boots, 2 electric torches, personal basics (mess kit, matches, etc.)
Additional gear includes: 7 two-man tents, field radio (500 km)

You may carry additional gear (see LOCKER.TXT for ideas) and leave out some of the troops (right now you have 13, with various abilities).

Raid Summary: In a daring nighttime raid, with the aid of an old, escaped prisoner once part of the Von Berg military, the party killed the head ofthe Von Berg family and several of his soldiers, leaving the Von Bergcastle with severe damage. By noon the next day, the few Von Bergs left sent a surrender message, which was accepted.

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Turn #8: Dates Covered: 219-1118 to 254-1118

[details of assault on Von Berg castle excluded; with the help of a former Von Berg soldier, your strike team enters the
castle, sets demolition charges and assassinates head of Von Berg clan in gun battle; castle wrecked by explosions; following
victory, only 4% of population on Von Berg island refuses to swear loyalty to the Sternor clan and chooses instead to move to
other lands; two surviving Von Bergs granted exile status]

After resting and relaxing on your family's island for nearly a month, you and your crew are itching to get back to the stars again. Aside  from the one crewmember change, everyone you hired is staying on.

Aside from the desire to explore the galaxy, your financial reserves are starting to get low (down to Cr 45,000; monthly salary for  your crew is Cr 16,000); you need to do something to generate revenue.  (Since the ship is technically Scout Service property, they will take care of the yearly starship maintainence/overhaul, eventually...).

You reprovision the ship, say your goodbyes, and head to Sacnoth, a good place to find patrons, cargo and interesting people.

A few days later you arrive on planet. After going though the landing procedures, you set down. A few minutes later, you are making the typical rounds for a spacer with a ship looking for work (while you didn't get this kind of experience in the Scouts, you family has been operating merchant ships for years, and you crewed on one more than once).
Cargo Name/Type Destination Volume (cy) Pay (Cr) Other
Pharmacuticals Terfling 55 4000 perishable
Electronics Biter 80 6000 fragile
Aslan statues Caladbolg 25 2000 none
Farm machinery Sting 100 8000 none
Farm machinery Biter 120 10000 none
Fission rods Sting 25 2000 radioactive
Gormet foods Beater 80 6000 perishable
Mineral waters Terfling 100 8000 perishable
Antique guns Horund 25 2000 fragile

Patron #1:  A man and woman, in plain clothing and of middle age, ask for passage to Caladbolg. They are aware that your ship is not really designed for passengers, but no regular commercial line is going there now. They are willing to pay Cr 20,000 total [if you want more, try to roll a 10+ on 2d6; if you succeed, they will pay Cr 30,000; if you roll a  2, 3 or 4 they look for another ship]. They have little baggage. They do  not talk very much.

Patron #2: A man in shabby clothing and slightly wild-eyed, willing to pay  Cr 12000 for transport to whatever inhabited planet the ship next lands on.  His only possession is a full cloth sack, which he fervently keeps away  from everyone.


A Vargr pirate ship is active in the "southern" area of the subsector. They have picked on small ships so far, and have been
driven off three times (it is rumored that several Vargr have held the position of captain over the last few weeks...). Since
it is operating in nonaligned space, no military action has been taken against them.

A Zhodani trade delegation left Regina (the Imperial sector capital) in disgust 11 weeks ago. Many merchants fear that the
Zhodani will use telepaths to secretly wreck trade deals sector-wide in retaliation; the fear of psis in the region has taken a slight upswing...

Four weeks ago, the outpost on Iron was found destroyed and all biologists stationed there killed. No group has yet been blamed, though a wrecked free trader was also found on the planet, likely an innocent victim of the attackers. The Vargr pirates are primary suspects.

The two rebellions on Joyeuse have grown worse in past weeks, and mercenaries are flocking to the planet to serve on both
sides. Although only two nations are in trouble, the fighting may spill over into neighboring countries.

NovaTech (a starship manufacturer) has announced plans to close all factories on non-Imperial planets. This has lead to rage and demands of a boycott by workers on the affected worlds. Industry rumors are that the move is to appease the Imperial Navy, whom NovaTech is seeking a contract with to supply them with patrol cruisers.

Turn Results:

[Both passengers and the statues to Caladbolg are chosen. During the trip the wild-eyed passenger is found dead, a Sworld-Worlds blade driven through him. After the internal sensors come back online, the other two passengers are located in the outer starboard weapon's area. When approached, they are maniacal and attempt to kill Adolphus. Both are rendered unconscious. Due to energy spikes coming from the spot, the jump drives are threatened. Adolphus spaces the sack (stolen by the pair), as the ship's doctor comes  after him with a laser welder. The doctor and passengers quickly recover. Upon arriving on Caladbolg, a two-week inquiry is done. Adolphus uses the time (plus another week) to get the ship its yearly maintenance.]

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Turn #9: Dates Covered: 267-1118 to 288-1118

Finances: Previous cash reserves were Cr 21,000. Add Cr 18,000 for the passengers and cargo to Caladbolg. Total Cash Reserves now Cr 38,000.

The inquiry into the death of the passenger proceed smoothly and you and your crew are cleared of any negligence or wrong-doing. About a week later, you recieve a message from the Scout Base that your ship is ready.

During the three weeks, you spend most of your time hanging  around the scout base and starport, looking for rumors, patrons
and cargo. See below for details.
Cargo Name/Type Destination Volume (cy) Pay (Cr) Other
Spice Biter 121.5 9000 none
Robots Biter 40.5 3000 none
Starhip Software Elizabeth 67.5 5000 none
Aluminum (processed) Elizabeth 81 6000 radioactive (selaed)
New natural resource Elizabeth 40.5 3000 none
3D still photos Sacnoth 67.5 5000 none


Drunk in Bar: The Loreans Ecleptic was spotted six weeks ago near Elizabeth by the crew of a far trader; the liner vanished
before they could board her.

Starport Worker (Technician):  An Aslan cruiser stopped by four weeks ago, destination unknown. The ship left shortly after one of its crewmen (an officer) was found dead in a seedy part of startown. Amazingly, the aslans didn't raise a fuss with local

Several Merchants: Vargr pirate activity has picked up in the region (remember one of the rumors you heard about while at

Patron #1: A linguist seeking passage, Dr. Ejar Sarrel. He is looking for passage to Elizabeth for research. He is willing to
pay Cr 20,000 for the inconvenience.

If you roll 8+ on 2d6, he tells you more: GD HR VNQJHMF NM SGD SQZMRKZSHNM NE ZM ZMBHDMS CQNXD SDWS.


Patron #2: A merchant, Marquis Nadb Liuc, is looking for someone to ferry himself and a recently purchased far trader to
Flammarion. He is willing to pay double normal salary for the trip (about four weeks), and return passage to Caladbolg.
(Optionally, your cousin and perhaps one of your crew could follow you and the rest of the crew in the Loki's Dagger).

Results for turn: You decide to carry all the cargo to Elizabeth. The scientist, despite knowing about the fate of your
previous passengers, still wants passage. Given that Cr 20,000 is better than Cr 0, you take him on board.

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Turn #10: Dates Covered: 288-1118 to 306-1118

Your initial cash reserves are Cr 38,000. Total income is Cr 34,000. Total expenses are Cr 30,000 (salary and life support
recharges). New cash reserves are Cr 42,000.

The trip to Elizabeth is uneventful. Elizabeth (B426467-8) is a small world with 60% coverage of water and trace atmosphere. It has a population of some 20,000, is a colony of Grote and has a Moderate Law Level (no firearms may be carried in public). An Imperial naval base is located insystem (away from the colony). Given the population and status, there is little cargo
available. After you have been on the planet for two days, some unusual events unfold (see after the last Patron).
Cargo Name/Type Destination Volume (cy) Pay (Cr) Other
Robots Dawnworld 40.5 4000 none
Radioactive Ore Caladbolg 81 6000 non-radioactive (?!)
Lumber Grote 81 6000 flammable/perishable

Portmaster at Elizabeth Starport:   A vargr corsair (pirate ship) was destroyed six days ago in this system as it tried to refuel from the local gas giant. It is rumored that this was the ship terrorizing the Sword Worlds subsector over the past few months.
The Navy is investigating.

Bartender in starport pub: A mercenary unit (2,000 men) is on-planet, headed towards the planet Gunn, which is in the final
stages of a civil war. There has been numerous problems between the mercenaries and locals.

Starport News Service: Talchek recently executed 14 offworlders, 9 of them Imperial nobles, for terrorism and spying.

Patron #1: Khalte, an aslan female is looking for a job as a trade specialist on a merchant ship. Lacking that, she will accept transport to a system with a Class A starport. She cannot pay for passage, but is willing to work short-term in exchange for the trip (working passage, which is common enough). She is well-versed in Administration, Broker and Trader. [note: after 3 jumps, she will leave the ship even if not at a Class A starport; also, her skills are useful only if you buy and sell cargo, not just carry it.]

Patron #2: A young woman stops you on your way back Loki's Dagger one day. She says her brother has been wrongly imprisoned on Talchek as a terrorist. She knows where he is being held and wants to hire you and your crew to break him out. She is willing to pay Cr 100,000. Given that Talchek has a thick, corrosive atmosphere, simply shooting up the prison and landing in the remains won't work (plus, as a client state of the Imperium, would you want to risk becoming an Imperial fugitive?).

Event #1: In the morning a local policeman knocks on your airlock. He shows you a photograph of the scientist you brought
here and asks you what you know about him. As you know nothing (remember those failed rolls?), the interview only lasts a few minutes. You later discover that the scientist was found dead and most of his possessions stolen last night. That evening, as
the stateroom he had stayed in is being converted back to crew use, Maxine discovers a computer disk under the bunk. The disk is unlabeled, so Maxine pops into into the room's terminal port to see who's it is. She is rather startled to discover that it
belongs to the dead scientist.

Event #2: An Imperial Naval officer (Lieutenant) approaches you ship with an official request. He says that the Naval sensors
are having trouble picking up the wreckage of the Vargr corsair in the fringes of the gas giant. Since your scout ship has
different (not necessarily better) sensors, the local Naval commander feels that it might get the job done. The whole operation should only take a couple of days, and a pair of 135 cy fighters and a single 1250 cy shuttle will be provided as
escort/support. You and your crew will be paid Cr 250 each. You should expect liftoff orders within 12-18 hours. Note that this is not a very good deal, but since your ship is government property, he could requisition its use without any compensation

Additions to Star Map: Grote is 'north east' of Elizabeth, 2 parsecs away. It has a Class A starport and gas giant. Talchek
is 'east' of Elizabeth and Dawnworld, halfway (1 parsec) to Grote. It has  a Class C starport, gas giant and is rated an
Amber Zone due to its distrust of off-worlders and recent terrorist activity. Like Elizabeth, it is controlled by Grote
(conquered during the last Frontier War).

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Turn #11: Dates Covered: 307-1118 to 315-1118

Your cash reserves start at Cr 42,000. Add Cr 500 for finding the wreckage and another Cr 6,000 for the cargo. Subtract Cr
14,000 for salaries and expenses. Final cash reserves are Cr 34,500.

Reluctantly, you agree to the terms of the Naval base commander. You get Hans to fire up the power plant, and you lift off. Once in low orbit, the two fighters and lone shuttle join you from the orbital portion of the naval base. [note: naval bases are
merely staging points and repair facilities for fleet actions; actual military ships present are normally very few. This naval
base has three 5500 cy system defense boats and six 140 cy fighters].

It takes slightly less than a day (19 hours) to reach the gas giant where the pirate ship was destroyed. The Naval craft takes
a high orbit (matching speed with your scout ship) and Hans maneuvers your ship into the upper portions of the atmosphere.
It takes about 1.5 hours to locate the wreckage. During this time, the Navy Lieutenant (the same one who brought you the
message on planet) keeps pestering you from the shuttle, wanting frequent progress reports. While your cousin is busy scanning the wreckage, distress signals begin coming in on all frequencies. Surprisingly, it is coming from the Naval Base!

"Mayday! Mayday! We are under attack. Six bogeys, various classes. Any ships in area please respond. We are under attack."

Before you can respond, the Lieutenant radios your ship: "I'm returning to Elizabeth with both the fighters. Remain here and
continue doing doing the scans for now. However, be prepared to haul ass back to the base."

As the shuttles and fighters disappear in the direction of Elizabeth, your radar warning goes wild. Out of the fringes of
the gas giant emerges a 5500 cy ship moving at high speed, towards Elizabeth. As Mauser (your gunner) tracks it, Hans is
able to identify it as an Imperial system defense boat (SDB). Reluctantly, your gunner switches off the tracking system
(remember, he was in the Sword Worlds Navy).

About six hours later, you recieve a message from the Naval Base; it has taken heavy damage, with 1 SDB and 4 fighters lost,
but the attackers have left the system. No hostile ships were destroyed, though two were badly damaged. The attacking force
Attacking Ship # Size
Aslan cruiser 1 13,500 cy
Vargr cruiser 1 5,500 cy
Imperial patrol cruiser 1 6,000 cy
Imperial mercenary cruiser 2 12,000 cy each

After initial bombardment and destruction of most of the defending spacecraft, several landing craft were launched and
the base was looted. Despite the origin of the attacking starships, almost all of the assault troops (well-armed and
armored) were human, with a handful of vargrs.

Aside from giving you a message to send, the naval commander also has the sensor readings you took downloaded to the base's backup computer.

You head to Grote to deliver news of the attack on Elizabeth. The base commander thanks you for the favor. Note: During the
attack, the mercenaries on planet did nothing.

The trip to Grote is uneventful, except for what O'Dea and Nathan are able to pull off the computer disk. Your computer's
Anglish-to-Droyne translation program, however, proves to be adequate for the task, though some words aren't translated.
Within a short time, it becomes clear that the scanned text is the journal of a Droyne starship captain some 50,000 years ago,
who was stranded on a planet in your sector (following catastrophic power plant and jump drive failures). Most
important, however, is that his crew had found a planet with ruins of the Ancients and was returning to his home planet with
the news. The good news is that astrogational data is included. The bad news is that it is complete gibberish to your computer.
Plus, as you are aware, it would take some specialized computer program to account for motion of the stars over the past 50
millennia. So, in summary, you need a better (or specialized) Droyne translation program (or a highly-skilled Droyne) and a
50,000 year old star map. Good luck. Of course, discovering a new Ancient site could make you fantastically wealthy and/or
powerful ...

[Side Note: There are only two Droyne-controlled worlds in your sector, and seven known Ancient sites in the sector (one of
which is on a Droyne world). Interestingly, both Droyne systems are only 12 parsecs away (not that you have to go to either one ... yet). As both systems are adjacent, this makes the task of generating a 50,000 year old star map easier (assuming, of
course, that all astrogational coordinates are based on the Droyne crew's homeworld, and one of the two known Droyne worlds was their homeworld).]

Things To Do On Grote

While there isn't a naval base here, the portsmaster accepts your message from the Elizabeth base commander. Thankfully, he
doesn't make any requests. There are a few options:

(1) Search for a Droyne translation program: Roll 2d6 twice each day you (or a crew member) searches, with a 8+ needed for
success. Let me know how many days it takes before you succeed or give up. Program cost is Cr 500 to 3000 (1d6/2 * 1000).

(2) See about getting a 50,000 year old starmap generated: You get two 2d6 rolls per day, needing a 6+. Estimated cost is Cr
500 to 1,000 (1d6+4*100). Let me know how much time it takes (note: if you don't like the cost, you can look for another
computer center).

(3) Carry some cargo back to Elizabeth: There is 270 cy/Cr 20,000 worth of cargo headed to Elizabeth. Your profit would
only be Cr 6,000, but it would be a profit.
Cargo Name/Type Destination Volume (cy) Pay (Cr) Other
Farm Machinery Elizabeth 81 6000 none
Electronics Elizabeth 135 10000 fragile
Pharmaceuticals Talchek 40.5 3000 corrosive
Off-Road Vehicles Elizabeth 54 4000 none

Grote Portsmaster: It is rumored that a medium mercenary unit (1500-2500 men) is headed to Talchek in an effort to aid the planet's rebels.

Various Independent Merchants: Several systems spinward ("west") have been attacked and looted by a mixed paramilitary fleet over the past few weeks. There doesn't seem to be a pattern to their attacks.

[Special Note: Your financial problems come from the facts that (a) At max, your hold can carry only Cr 21,500 worth of cargo (if you engaged in speculative trade, it could be 20-50% more, but you don't have anyone with significant merchant-type skills [Broker, Admin, Trader] on board), but you could do asteroid prospecting (Dade has Prospecting-3), and (b) your crew is costing you too much; in particular, your cousin accounts for Cr 6,600 of the Cr 16,000 monthly payroll. You might have to give him a share of the profits (the 33% he originally wanted) instead of a salary, or else get involved in illegal activities (smuggling, piracy, etc.). Or start firing crew members. Or go broke. Here is a breakdown of crew salaries: Hans Stiferd, Pilot, Cr 6600; Maxine O'Dea, Security/Technician, Cr 1300; Emmett Nathan, Medic, Cr 4000; Melissa Dade, Engineer, Cr 3000;
Rutger Mauser, Gunner, Cr 1100. Note that you can operate the ship without your cousin (as you have both Pilot and Navigation skills).]

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Turn #12: Dates Covered: 315-1118 to 323-1118

Your cash reserves start at Cr 34,500. Cargo is Cr 20,000, expenses are Cr 14,000. New cash total is Cr 40,500.

Upon returning to Elizabeth, you are contacted by the base commander. He recalls your ship to active duty, and gives you
the option of remaining on board. Of course, you do so. Your mission is to carry a base representative (the lieutenant) to
Flammarion, who will then take the X-boat route to Regina, the sector capital. Once there, the ship will be removed from the
active list and you can do what you want. All crew salaries and required expenses will be paid by the Imperial Navy. [Exception: As a security chief is not required, if you want to keep O'Dea, you'll have to pay her salary yourself. As this is only Cr 1000 a month, for 1 month, it shouldn't be a problem.].


It is rumored that the Zhodani are planning a new war with the Imperium. Unlike the last war, the Sword Worlds are not likely
to get involved. Related to this is a new wave of anti-psi paranoia sweeping the sector, which has lead to lynchings on some planets.

The actions of NovaTech have sparked strikes (both legal and illegal) at some starports in the sector; no Imperial systems have
been affected yet. A few merchants are urging that the Imperium take sanctions against NovaTech, but the Imperium appears to prefer a hands-off approach. The strikes have, so far, not harmed NovaTech's efforts to obtain a military ship contract
with the Imperium.

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