- Published: 26 March 2020
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Occupation: The Inside Out Room
The breaking of the Terran Forces at Prospero fell was made more shocking by how smoothly the evacuation had gone. When it became evident that the Shohan were going to advance towards Bard, the population of Prospero was able to evacuate in good order. Most hoped they would be able to return to their beloved home. As such, the colony’s infrastructure was shut down safely. Even the beanstalks were left in maintenance mode, in the slim hope that the Shohan would leave their beloved home unmolested once they saw the colony was abandoned. Instead, the Shohan saw an opportunity.
As the Sword watched from their outpost on Claudius, they saw Shohan escorting transport after transport, all of Terran make, to the planet. The determination to discover the Shohan’s plans for their beloved homeworld helped inspire Project Vigil. When the first Spirit Walkers finally made their pilgrimage across the void to Propero, they found the empty streets of Cape Nielsen filled once more. On the surface, Cape Nielsen seems to be any colonial town in the Terran Sphere. People work, go to cafes, take the train back to their apartments. In other words, they go about their lives. Of course, this is far from the truth.
When the Shohan saw the empty city spread out before them, they saw an opportunity to change strategy. Throughout their conquest, they had swept up small outposts, fleeing starships, and other odds and ends of humanity along with the various colonial worlds. Originally, most of these individuals were sent to the nearest occupied system to share in the fates of those colonists, assuming they didn’t disappear for other purposes in transit. With the capture of Prospero, the Shohan begin to route these miscellaneous prisoners to this world, settling them in the empty city.
As the population swells, the Shohan, under a midrank overseer by the name of Eira, have turned it into a parody of the Terran Sphere. While on the surface everything is normal, in reality, every single aspect of life in Cape Nielsen is monitored by the Shohan. Dissidence is dealt with swiftly and without remorse. The Spirit Walkers have deduced that the occupation runs on some sort of points system. Those who cooperate with the Shohan’s instructions earn points, which can lead to relaxed restrictions, extra rations, even some light privileges. Those who cause headaches for the Shohan, even minor ones, lose points. Loss of all of one’s points earns a one way trip to the Heights. Those who are taken there are not seen again, though what exactly the Shohan are doing with the prisoners is the subject of much speculation.
It’s this points system that enterprising prisoners try to game in order to orchestrate an escape. Unlike some other occupied worlds, there is not much of an organized resistance, as any such large gatherings tend to be noticed and rapidly dispersed, often with several trips to the Heights. Those who manage to escape often attempt to take refuge in various places away from the eyes of the Shohan. Difficult due to the constant orbital surveillance, but not impossible. Those inclined to escape the boot of the Shohan have found options: the dense forest/jungle cover, natural cave systems, or some of the more remote monasteries. Much care is needed in attempting to escape. The natural inclination is to gather points to gain privilege, which can then be turned into supplies that can be used to attempt escape, and/or survive off the land once out. However, with too many points comes increased responsibility and attention from the Shohan. Too few points, and risk getting harassed on a regular basis.
But perhaps the most cruel part of the occupation is the goal the Shohan had in re-establishing a human community, even if it is a mockery of the colony that once thrived here. Ultimately, this prison-stage provides a place for SOAP teams (Deployment Companion, p15) to hone their ability to blend in and pass as humans. It is unknown how many infiltrators-in-training have slipped into the human population, but what is known is that those who notice and speak of it soon find themselves taken away to the Heights.
For the Spirit Walkers holding vigil on the planet, there is little they can do directly when they are so far from the source of their powers. Instead, they attempt to subtly nudge things in the right direction when action is called for. Most have begun to use their telepathy and clairvoyance to make contact with the local populace to offer guidance and comfort, gaining new adherents for the Swords’ Vision in the process. The Shohan have not yet caught wind of this religious awakening among their captives. No one is sure what their reaction would be, but few within the Sword would expect it to be anything but the harshest of countermeasures. They are surprisingly wrong. Overseer Eira - should she ever discover the underground religious movement - would see it as the greatest test of her infiltrators’ abilities yet, hoping that one among their number might be able to find the whereabouts of the Sword and remove a thorn from the side of the Shohan forces in the sector. Despite her knowledge of the Terran Sphere, Eira would likely underestimate the importance that Psionics play in the Sword, leaving her infiltrators far on the fringes of the movement as they dare not risk entering the Concordances that form the backbone of Ascendant worship. From this position it would take all of their skills in subversion to gain any truly useful intelligence, but Overseer Eira is willing to be patient given the potential prize.