- Published: 26 March 2020
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Battlefield: Loose Lips (GM Information)
Most taverns along the spaceways don’t synthesize Kriak intoxicants, but the Jovian Glitch makes a point of tempting every sentient to walk through the door. A Zis’mu trader, surprised to find his favorite beverage at a human establishment, overindulged, and let slip that construction of a new clanship was underway. The Zis’mu’s taste for violence seems to have died with their original clanship in the second crusade, and with the war on the construction of such a large vessel is of minor concern. Unfortunately, he also let slip that an ancestor of his oversaw a tangle reservoir greater than any known. “Gotta thousan probes. Mor’an a thousan. Need lotta tangle fer all tha.” That sort of whisper can travel very far in a crowded tavern…
For any Admiral, the thought of a resurgent Kriak power in the middle of the Terran Sphere, in the middle of a war with the Shohan is likely enough to make them wish the uniform came with brown pants. However, the Strategic Signals Division is salivating over the idea of a sensor network of this scope just waiting to be tapped. Should that loose lipped Kriak’s words make to the Fleet, it’s likely they will organize a mission to the system with all possible haste, but who is calling the shots on this? The players might be here to sabotage the clanship and/or yards. Perhaps they are here as diplomats, seeking assurances that these clans won’t turn piratical once they have another clanship. Or perhaps one is cover for the other and even members of the same team might not share the same mission objectives as factions inside the Terran Sphere lock horns with one another.
Private or self employed players have a simpler task: they are likely here for the rumored probe data. They may desire a conventional trade compact with the Kriak, or may use negotiations as a cover for espionage, but the Archive’s data is the jackpot. Private interests could use such data to leapfrog conventional exploration and surveying efforts by decades. At war’s end they could immediately race out to claim choice systems for themselves, while competitors are still organizing their expeditions. For the fringe, one of the greatest problems with islander colonies has been finding a good system to settle that hasn’t already been claimed under the law of the Terran Sphere or another power. The Kriak will under no circumstances give up the Archive, but may be persuaded to trade some of the historical survey data. Players might be able to break into the facility to steal such data for themselves, however it is all recorded in ancient Kriak language and units of measure. Deciphering that could prove a greater challenge than stealing the data in the first place.
The Kriak, meanwhile, are unified more by their project than their ideology. The An’Brik see a clanship as the capital of a mercantile empire. The Te’Mok wish to strengthen their defenses against what is clearly a violent universe. The Zis’Mu seem to be in it for the prestige. They simply want tomorrow to be much like today, only better. Underneath the factions, there is a cross faction group of hawks that still seek revenge against the Terran Sphere and other races of the Fourth Population. The group does not have much in the way of official support among the officers and ship lords but their cross faction ties do give them some advantages.
Officially in charge of the clanship project is Jethara Birik. Daughter of the system’s last harbormaster, Jethara escaped the Terran assault with a group of Zis’mu technicians. She was instrumental in convincing the Kriak survivors to work together across clan lines, a task that she kept at for decades. It was her influence that caused the An’Brik salvagers to alert the other clans to their findings, and her force of will which led the three clans to join together reopen the old foundries. Although lacking technical skills herself, Jethara sees the clanship as her baby, and will beg, cajole, or beat the three clans into seeing it done.
Outsiders, on the other hand, are a problem. Jethara knows she can’t afford to start a war, and doesn’t want to kill anybody. However, the clanship must be completed. Visitors will be politely interrogated as to their origins and intentions. Jethara needs time and secrecy to finish construction, things she will trade for or sieze as prudence dictates. The construction of the clanship is too big to hide from observation, however the Archive is still well concealed in its ancient icy abode. The Kriak will deny the existence of such a thing as long as they can. The players will need to walk a fine line, being neither so insignificant that they can be chased out of the system without consequence, nor hostile enough that the Kriak feel the need to kill them.
[A Tall Ship and A Star To Steer By]
[Home Is Where the Hearts Are]