The Tools of Statecraft (Phase World Adventure):
Hook: Presently in the main council for the Consortium of Civilized Worlds, there is a bill that would make all Independent Defense Forces illegal. The Independent Forces n existence would either be disbanded or combined into the Consortium Armed Forces. This includes the larger forces like the Human Alliance Militaries as well. Unfortunately for the groups presenting the bill, the bill looks like it will fail. They have a slight minority although it is close and the number of people supporting the bill are shrinking. The ambassador for New Coventry is one of the most vocal opponents and is hated by the leaders of the bill. The bill was introduced because there have been skirmishes in the past between planet in the CCW and they are concerned that individual planets will go to war with each other if they are allowed to keep warships. The people are against the bill argue against it because the CAF is not always where they are needed. The planets near borders with the Kreeghor are especially concerned about losing their forces.
In New Coventry system, The HMS Courageous, a modified Warshield class Cruiser, enters into the system. The ship is commanded by one of the Daughters of the King. Captain Terry Cindy Mayfair is also thought of as one of New Coventry's best captains. The ship was suppose on patrol looking for pirates bases in an area that there is a huge nebula with newborn stars. As a result, long range communications do not work properly and ships must travel very slowly though the area. The ship passes all checks and the reason for leaving patrol is due to the fact that the captain found out some information on terrorist activities that may take place on New Coventry. Because the information is so sensitive, the Captain brings the message down personally. She rides a Spitfire class heavy starfighter and lands the fighter on the Palace grounds. She enters the Palace with a bodyguard of marines and under tight security leaves about twenty minutes later. No one is allowed to see her leave. Just as the fighter is landing back on the Courageous, a massive fusion detonation takes out the entire capital city obliterating virtually all members of the government. Captain Mayfair takes strong control of the situation, takes the position of queen, and also takes full control of the government for the duration of the emergency. She also claims that the bombing was the work of the terrorists she had information on. While the situation seems very suspicious, she is known as very loyal member of the New Coventry Military and generally a good person, she is allowed to take control and both the military and the civilian population trusts her. She has all merchant ships seized due to the fact that they may be carrying the individuals who carried out the bombing. This concerns one merchant captain and he makes a run.
Although damaged, his ship is able to get away and the ship runs into a Consortium Armed Forces battle group (Standard Peacetime group based on a Protector) that is on Maneuvers in the area. The admiral that is in command of the battle group decides that the situation is very suspicious and decided to investigate the situation. When he enters the system, the HMS Courageous (with Captain Mayfair onboard) runs away from the battle group. The ship is pursued but is able to outrun the ships after it. He has troops land on the planet and they report that information indicates that the bomb was placed on the landing pad at the Palace. Based on this and the fact that the Courageous ran away when his ship entered the system, he declares that she is the cause and offers a very high bounty from his own personal funds for her capture. He also declares that these events are the reason that planets should not have independent militaries. The system is put under martial law and all New Coventry ships are to be demilitarized and disarmed. A few Hunter captains resist this order and make a retreat for the system. They head for one of the non CAF member allies of New Coventry. This could be Enténté Station but could include others as well.
Line: The reality is that the HMS Courageous never left her patrol area and actually was able to destroy a pirate base. The ship leaves the Nebula finally and transmits for updates. Mayfair, her Executive Officer, and her Communications Officer find out about the events. Any captains that were with the Courageous during the patrol also find out. They may even try and transmit the truth but no one from the Consortium will believe them and they have given hunters the location of the HMS Courageous and Captain Mayfair. There are several reasons why characters can become involved. All of these are good ways of involving characters who are starship captains although they are not recommended to command anything larger than a Heavy Cruiser.
- The characters could be bounty hunters or Consortium ships looking for Mayfair to collect the bounties. Evidence will indicate that the HMS Courageous was on patrol due to distortions in the nebula. If that does not work, have some Consortium forces attack both Mayfair and the bounty hunters because they do not witnesses.
- The characters are either serving on the HMS Courageous or are serving on a ship that is serving on another that was with the Courageous. Obviously, it is impossible that the Courageous was in New Coventry system when these events took place.
- The Hunter's crews (especially the captains) could be played and due to the weight of the evidence could side with Captain Mayfair. Another option might be for the independent government to become involved after the reporting of the incidents and discovering that it is impossible for Mayfair to have been in New Coventry. They might not want to commit completely due to the fact that the Consortium Armed Forces are far larger than theirs.
All of these can easily also be combined into the plot. After the characters realize the situation, there are several goals for them. These are to find evidence that will be able to clear Captain Mayfair, to capture the fake HMS Courageous and the impostor Captain Mayfair, to dislodge the Consortium Admiral, and likely to rebuilt the damage to New Coventry. The order may be different such as finding the impostor to prove Captain Mayfair as being innocent.
Sinker: The admiral is one of the strongest supporters in the military for disarming the planets. His hatred for Independent Defense Forces is well known. When he was a Captain, he badly disrespected a Independent Defense Forces ships crew. As a final act, he lit up all of his active fire control systems and targeted the other ship. The other captain panicked and returned actual fire almost destroying the ship. He is also from one of the planets that the main leaders that presented the bill to the Consortium Council. He believes that any means to win this goal is justified. His crew is carefully selected and all of his senior officers also believe as he does. This means that even if the evidence is presented, he will not accept it and will fight anyone over it. He crew is also very loyal if it comes to that.
A standard Warshield cruiser of the admirals battle group, the Star Knight, was painted to look like the HMS Courageous and the codes came from hackers that broke into New Coventry military computers. The Mayfair impostor is really a programed clone. Mayfair was badly injured while serving on the Warshield cruiser Fury and they were able to get DNA samples from that time. The clone did not act as the captain of the cruisers and is used as a puppet. The true captain was specially picked for his loyalty by the Admiral. In reality, this is not completely deserved. Instead of killing the Royal family, he captured them against strict orders. He did this so he would have bargaining chips incase his part is uncovered. If pursued, he will not hesitate to use them as bargaining chips to protect his own life.
As might be expected, the political people in favor of the bill in the council are behind the action. It is hoped that the events will cause an outpouring of revulsion that will sweep the bills to victory. What is really scary is that they did not come up with the bill. The reality is that the bill was actually planned in Trans-Galactic Empire intelligence services and the party that introduced the bill is financially heavily supported by the Trans-Galactic Empire.
If the party does not succeed, then there is a final twist. Due to public outcry, the bill will pass. The problem is that many planets will not voluntarily disarm and they will fight to keep their forces. Also, a large percentage of military personnel are from these planets. As a result, revolution will likely occur.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 1999, Kitsune. All rights reserved.