Distant Travels Theme

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             Distant Travels MUCK - General Information and Theme                                                                                                    \/ 
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General Game Information:                                                       \  _ \   ___   ____ _________  _      __   __ _________ O      
 1 : The Basics                   2 : The Universe                              | | \ \  \ |  / __/ \__   __/ / \    |  \ | / \__   __/  
 3 : Characters                                                                 | |  | | | | / /__     | |   / _ \   |   \| |o   | |   
 4 : Mercenary Skills             5 : Tech Levels                               | |  | | | | \___ \    | |  / /_\ \  | |\o  |    | |
 6 : Conflict Resolution                                                        | |_/ /  | |  ___\ \   | | /  ___  \o| | \  |    | |
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The Republic                                                                                              *
 7 : The Terran Stellar Republic  9 : The Republic Navy                       ___________             *  
 8 : Republic Officials          10 : The Republic Army                       \___   ___/_____     *_    __   __  ____   __      ____   
                                 11 : The Scout Service                           | |   / ___ \  * / \   \ \ / / \  __\  \ |    / __/   
                                 12 : The Administrative Bureau                   | |   | |_/ /.  / _ \  | | | | | |_    | |   / /__       __^____      
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Non-Republic Forces                                                               | |   | | \.\ /  ___  \ \ \/ / | |___  | |__  ___\ \  /_DT______##__\
13 : System Defense Forces       14 : Other Military Forces                       /_|   /_| .\_\\_/   \_/  \__/  /_____\ \____\/_____/  \\\\\\\ ///////
15 : The Mercenary Organization  16 : Mercenary Organization and Ranks                     .
17 : Mercenary Uniforms and Gear
The Local Region
18 : The Verthuli Sector         19 : Subsector Seven
20 : Intersystem Politics        21 : Current Events
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Welcome to Distant Travels MUCK. This is a science fiction roleplay environment. In order to ensure a level of equal opportunity between players, all characters will be built using the Traveller RPG system from Mongoose, and conflicts will be resolved with the Traveller RPG engine. Ships and worlds will also have attributes defined by game statistics, though they may not be described that way in prose. A world will be described as a having 'a population of billions' rather than having 'population 9', unless you're reading an OOC summary. You do not need the RPG books to play here, though it will help.

The game takes place in a subsector of the galaxy containing a dozen or so charted worlds (and some not on the map) connected by communications routes. Faster-than-light travel is accomplished by ships equipped with Jump drives, which propel ships a distance equal to their Jump Rating in parsecs over the course of a week, so a Jump-6 ship can travel up to 6 parsecs in a single jump, taking a week to accomplish the jump. A Jump-1 ship can travel one parsec in the same time and for the same fuel consumption.

The players will take the roles of members of the Durasteel Tigers, generally soldiers in fusion-powered hovertanks, who are seeking to thwart the actions of well-funded rogues intent on laying claim to the planet Kodar for their own political gain. The Tigers are essentially a mercenary group organized by Jacobsen's World, close to the edge of the local cluster of worlds, and are for hire, so have deployed previously to put down rebellions and other local actions. The Tigers are nominally part of Jacobsen's World's armed forces, but they are armed and outfitted at a much higher tech level, and are roughly the equivalent of modern day SEALS or Special Forces soldiers in comparison to the normal soldier. The rank and file of Jacobsen's World's armed forces are stationed on-planet and do not travel the galaxy and serve the highest bidder. They also do not earn the higher pay that such a dangerous role merits.

The Universe

Life in the game world is both modern and futuristic. People still need to eat, and people still need to work. But getting food now sometimes involves farmers on distant planets, and trade lanes cross through the universe, allowing money and goods to move amazing distances to get from origin to destination. Crossing the stars is more complicated than taking a bus to the next city, however, though it is generally as reliable in this day and age.

Jump drives are massive and require huge amounts of hydrogen fuel to make each jump. Ships generally prefer to use their cargo capacity for trade goods rather than fuel, so cargo ships with ratings over Jump-3 are rare. Raw fuel can be skimmed from gas giants or water oceans by properly fitted ships, or purchased at starports. Unrefined fuel makes jumping risker, but refining fuel is a fairly simple task if the ship is properly equipped.

There is no faster-than-light communication, so messages are carried on non-volatile media from system to system by official courier ships and private traders. The paths taken by the couriers are called Communication Routes, and are also rated in Jumps. A route where each system in the path is a 1-parsec jump from the last is called a Jump-1 Route. A route where two adjacent steps are 6 parsecs apart is a Jump-6 route. Most Communications Routes end rather than abruptly shift to a much higher number. This is much like comminications in the Age of Exploration in the Real World, where letters and notices had to be carried across the ocean in ships. The upshot of this is that field commanders and deployed units are largely independent of their home groups on distant planets, so a deployed commander basically has full authority for the conduct of his missions.


Characters are members of the Durasteel Tigers mercenary company. They are generated by choosing a home system, picking attributes, and background skills. Characters begin at about age 18. This represents someone who has just completed secondary education (or has come to majority without completing it, if his Education score is low enough).

At the player's option, they may attempt to enter a career field. This is not necessarily what the player intends to do in the game, but what the character has done prior to beginning roleplay on Distant Travels. Risks and rewards are roughly commensurate. Very roughly, in some cases, but such are the fortunes of war. After selecting a career, characters gain basic training, skills, and, if they manage to complete their initial 4-year tour, they'll have events accomplished, have a chance at advancement, and earn benefits.

After completing the first tour, the character can continue in his current career or attempt to qualify for entry level in another career field. If the character fails to complete a term, the character has been disqualified for the reason specified and may choose to join a different career, or complete character generation as they stand. At the end of any 4-year tour, the player may elect to forgo future career tours and enter RP as they stand. At the end of the fourth 4-year tour, the character also risks declining physical attributes due to aging. Anagathic drugs are not available in character generation and are not commonly known in general.

It should be noted that 5 terms is retirement age in the military and normally only Generals and senior Sergeants generally stay past that. A hard limit of 8 terms is generally enforced for most militaries except for the most exceptional circumstances (such as retaining a brilliant Field Marshall). Also, the military will generally boot you out/force you to retire if your physical stats decline too far, so aging is an issue. This is not part of the game system, so it is not coded, but characters with 3's and 4's will be shown the door once in play.

Ranks in the game system do not quite correspond to in-game ranks. It takes some luck and skill to make E2 in 4 years in the game system, whereas E2 in the military means you know how to tie your shoes and who to salute (everyone). The traveller rank system is left in place for tracking things like mustering out benefits and the like, but is more a measure of the seniority of hard knocks than a barometer of the level of advancement a character has obtained. In the peacetime military, even senior officers and NCOs compete for promotion once a year rather than once every four, and juniors often wait only a matter of months.

The chargen system will therefore track both Traveller RPG rank and Military rank separately. Your alias (%N) should contain your military rank, so people will know. Also, your in-uniform description should indicate your military rank. At any time (apart from in the middle of the flow of character generation), you may view your current characteristics by using the 'sheet' command.

Your sheet will grow and expand in character generation as you undertake careers and spend time, but you will also grow older, so it is necessary to balance your increase in skills with the burden of old age. Past character generation, skills are gained more quickly or slowly based on what skills you already posses, so a raw noob will learn quickly, but it's tough to teach an old dog new tricks.

Character names in the universe are fairly similar in structure to modern names. Names from fiction are prohibited because of copyright law, but pretty much anything else is fair game. That said, @names for characters should be in the Firstname_Lastname format (MUCK doesn't allow spaces in the @name). Nicknames or noms du guerre may be added as part of your '%N', which is how your name shows up in poses, and can contain spaces.

Common Mercenary Skills

Mercenaries in high-end groups like the Durasteel Tigers generally have skills in the most advanced weapons available. For Gun Combat, the Power Rifle is the weapon of choice for ground pounders and special forces. Tankers, spies, and sneaks will likely get Gun Combat-Power Pistol, which also covers SMG-type powerguns. The Maintenance and support troopers might have either. Tankers will need Drive-Hovertanks, though Combat Cars - and nearly everything else - require Drive-Hover (Other). This includes Infantry Skimmers, which are sort of like a hover ATV or jet-ski. Wheeled vehicles are used on planets with good roads for normal destinations, though tracked vehicles for off-road are considered slow and primitive. For tanks, Gunner-Turrets is the only choice, the other specializations are for spaceships (which is a sort of sideways comment on how complicated and technical tank gunnery is). Pretty much every other heavy military weapon falls under Heavy Weapons: Tribarrels are used in combat cars and as aux weapons on tanks. They are also used as heavy point-defense weapons. Man-Portable covers things like the Gallant G04 and the ubiquitous Buzzbomb. Field Artillery includes Howitzers, Calliopes, and of course the Hogs. Launchers covers both grenade launchers and older technology like shoulder-fired missiles (such bazookas and stinger missiles) that might be found in much older arsenals.

Tech Levels

The overall Tech Level of Distant Travels is 15, which means that somewhere out there, people have access to anagathics to prevent aging, neural activity scanners, small contragravity ('grav') devices, prototype force fields, and highly advanced or miniaturized versions of things that are introduced at lower tech levels. Equipment of a certain TL can only be produced by worlds of that TL or higher. Higher technology items must be imported. Just because a system's TL is low does not mean that higher TL goods are not present or available, it only means that they cannot be made locally, so are less common and harder to find. In fact, on high TL worlds, some low TL items might be hard to find, considered antiques!

Most Core Sector systems are TL 12+, though in the Verthuli sector only a few worlds are as high as the Republic average 10 (just becoming capable of interstellar travel) to 13 (combat armor and cloning body parts), and several are developing, with system TLs from 7-9 (early intra-system spaceflight - early interstellar). More than a few systems have little to no high tech manufuacturing capability, relying on imports to sustain their economies. These are listed as TL 3-6. Republic worlds below TL 3 are rare because even without any sort of technology backup, people can achieve TL 3 (1800's Earth) from raw materials and simple tools.

A more comprehensive Tech Level overview can be viewed using the 'TL' command ingame. (And coming here eventually).

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is accomplished by rolling two dice and applying Dice Modifiers against a target number of 8. Positive DMs can include adjustments for aiming, an easy task, a high characteristic, and levels in the skill, if it's a skill check. Negative DMs include adjustments for a more difficult task, low characteristics, a target with cover, or a lack-of-skill penalty, if the character is checking against a skill that is untrained. The syntax for checking skills is 'check (skill)/(stat)'. You can also set shortcuts so you don't have to type out skills. If you need to just roll dice, you can 'roll Xd6+Y', to roll 'X' number of six-sided dice and add 'Y' to the result.

Not every situation calls for a dice roll. Checks are only required when:

  • * Characters are in danger
  • * The task is particularly hazardous or difficult
  • * Time is urgent
  • * Success or failure is particularly important (This case definitely applies when the character stands to benefit from the result!)

    The characteristic modifier to use for a check depends on the task being attempted. Dexterity is used with Gun Combat when making an attack, but Education is used with Gun Combat when repairing a damaged weapon.

    The Terran Stellar Republic

    A Republic in name, the TSR is a loose confederation of generally TL 14-15 systems and multi-system Unions who elect, draft, appoint, or otherwise identify and send Delegates to argue, on each member's behalf, in the Terran Assembly, mainly about trade issues. The Delegates elect a President and Vice President, who in turn appoint various committee members and senior military officials, though very little in the assembly has much bearing on the actual Republic members - whether individual systems or Unions - outside of ensuring an active and profitable trade for each.

    Individual Systems and Unions are, by and large, autonomous within their borders. The Republic maintains embassies within each member System and Union, but police and internal civil defense are the responsibilies of the Republic members. Extraterritorial disputes are resolved by the Delegates of the members of the Sector in the Assembly, or else by the Republic military.

    Rebellious worlds within a multi-system Union, having noone to speak for them, are generally at the mercy of their other members of their Union, though Assembly politics can turn on a Union and order the Fleet to defend a rebelling system. Often the first task of a system wishing for its own Delegate in the Assembly is to recruit sympathetic Delegates from neighboring Unions.

    Republic Officials

    The Terran Stellar Republic is authorized by its members to manage a very few military and official functions for the benefit of the Republic as a whole. To that end, the Republic maintains sizeable military forces who defend Republic members from external and internal threats and keeps the spacelanes safe, and a communications network to link the member worlds. The Republic also maintains Administrative Bureaus on many worlds to handle affairs that require official involvement - trade disputes, minor territorial conflicts, registering land claims on newly discovered worlds not claimed by any Republic member, and so on.

    The Army and Navy are comprised of volunteers and draftees from each Republic member, based on their population. Primary combatant forces in both services field TL13 equipment and training, with special forces sometimes getting TL14 gear. Because of the tremendous expense of fielding high-tech forces, few Republic members can field anything that can compare to the Army or Navy in terms of military strength. Both Army and Navy are described in more detail in subsequent sections.

    The Scouts are far smaller and much more disparate. Funding for Scouts in core sectors generally only covers the Courier Service, transporting mail and messages (including the all important Bag containing database updates for the Administrative Bureaus) that link the Republic. Towards the outer sectors, more funding is available for the Exploration and Survey branches, charting and characterizing new systems for colonization.

    The Republic Administrative Bureaus, often referred to as 'The Bureau', are a melding of embassy and official records archive, their databases holding the sum total of all official correspondence and documentation. Ship registrations, land grants, titles, judgements, contracts, treaties, and so on, updated weekly when the official Bag arrives.

    The Republic Navy

    The Republic Navy is charged with policing trade routes, and pirates are dealt with harshly. The Fleet is officially non-partisan in political affairs. It takes a 3/4 majority of Delegates in a Sector to pass resolutions involving the use of military force in that Sector, which generally limits the involvement of Naval forces to ending intersystem aggression - every Delegate will call for the Navy to prevent neigbors from growing too powerful at the their expense. The Navy is divided between deep space combatants, the Fleet, and assault troops for boarding and ground assault, the Marine Corps. System defense barges are generally posted to defend planetside bases.

    The Fleet is divided into Sector Battlegroups, each largely independent, with smallcraft, Marines, and landing craft assigned to each Battlegroup. The Battlegroups rotate through their Subsector, patrolling each region in force, or deplying smaller task forces to patrol multiple areas at once.

    The Republic Army

    The Republic Army is a complicated political body since the Republic claims no jurisdiction over planetside affairs. However, sooner or late there is always a need to maintain order on some rebellious member world, or to defend the interests of the collective Republic on some distant rock. If a 3/4 majority of Delegates from a Sector can be convinced that only the Army can resolve a situation, then once the Navy and Marines force a landing, the Army will land and deploy.

    When not deployed, the Army is generally maintained on bases near Subsector Capitols or on key worlds where order is in the interest of all parties. All parties with Delegates in the Republic Assembly, at least. The Army maintains a limited number of spacecraft, mainly massive capital transports maintained by the Army Space Corps.

    The regular Army is divided into combined-arms Divisions under one or more Corps-level commands in a Subsector. Army units are never 'assigned' to a member system or Union, even when stationed within one, to avoid the development of conflicting loyalties or the appearance of favoritism. Divisions are rotated every 18-36 months for the same reason. Thus, the troops deployed at Kodar were the Verthuli IV Division rather than the Kodar IV Division, a distinction that means that planetary officials have no direct command over the forces on their planet.

    The Scout Service

    The Scout Service is a merger of the Republic Courier Service, the Naval Scout Corps, and the Survey and Census Bureau. The current Scout Service remains a three-part Service, each nearly independent of each other apart from occasional meetings in a Scout Base in some backwater system. The reason for the merger is something of a mystery, buried in the politics of the time, perpetuated year by year because it works well enough.

    The Courier Service is funded for fast J-2 and J-3 ships with small cargo spaces but lots of fuel, allowing them to run as fast as possible along the Communications Routes between Scout Stations, stopping only long enough to distribute mail cannisters. In more sparsely populated sectors, the Courier Service will run J-5 or J-6 ships if the run calls for it, to fulfill their charter to deliver the Bag to every Bureau in the Republic.

    The Exploration Service spends more time around the fringes of explored space. Their vessels jump to unmapped regions and they scan for systems and planets, then refuel if possible, and move on to the next unmapped area. They are often the first humans to contact aliens, and a Scout can have a major impact on interspecies relations for centuries.

    The Survey's responsibility is to visit every known world and complete survey and census data for the Bureau. Major worlds simply submit this data to the Bureau directly, or via Courier, but those without regular trade contact or for whatever reason are unable to respond are visited regularly by the Survey to update the Republic records.

    The Republic Administrative Bureau

    The Republic Administrative Bureau is a massive record-keeping organization based in the Terran Union, with major offices throughout the Republic, generally in Subsector capitols and major Union homeworlds. Each Republic member system and Union has at least an annex of the Bureau, and while the main Bureau complex is a palace, annexes are often little more than small, cramped offices.

    The Bureau takes in records and documents - sale of property, legal agreements, mercenary contracts, trade arrangements, as well as local resolutions and even the local news - from every world. What it doesn't obtain directly, it gets from the Scout Service Survey division by way of reports on neighboring worlds, collecting everything into the Master Republic Database, which in turn is delievered by the Courier Service to every other world in the Republic. The MRD is informally known as the Bag when it's recorded on physical media for transport.

    Not just anyone can access the Master Republic Database. Agreements are often confidential, and privacy issues are respected scrupulously. Generally, only members of the Bureau on official business can look through the Database. Army and Navy commanders can access things like ship records and reports on system defenses. Courts can request things like contracts to resolve disputes. Delegates in the Assembly often have whole staffs whose jobs are reviewing the MRD updates.

    System Defense Forces

    By Republic charter, each member system and Union is required to maintain internal order within its boundaries and is authorized to field ground and space forces to that purpose. Often, this consists of a militia enough to deal with civil emergencies, a police force to deter crime dirtside, and system defense boats to counter piracy.

    Most System Defense Forces field TL10 or TL11 gear at best, though some systems boast TL12 equipment for their elite forces. Outdated TL11 and TL12 gear is sold by the Republic to defray costs, so most of what is in the hands of SDFs is Army or Navy surplus. Few planetary forces buy top-of-the-line gear unless preparing for war.

    Although most SDFs are woefully behind the curve technologically, they are still highly capable forces when deployed against civilians or typical insurgents. They are generally loyal to the planet where they were recruited/fielded rather than to the Republic in general, though that doesn't often come into conflict. Unit pride does make them chafe when dealing with Republic Army or Navy personnel, or mercenaries, who generally consider them backward.

    System Defense Forces run the gamut from thugs for the local authorities, to a parade force, to a dumping ground for undesirables, though in any case, the higher TL of the Repiblic military makes them fairly inconsequential in the larger picture.

    Other Military Forces

    Member Systems and Unions may aid their neighbors with the loan of military forces for whatever purpose and reward the two members agree on. Any Bureau will record an arrangement and require that both parties honor the arrangement. The Army or Navy can be called in if one party renegs, acting as a bonding agency in that regard. Usually, these mercenary forces are hired to dig out insurgents or pirates, particularly if the enemies are better armed or equipped than the local forces. Occasionally, they are hired by rebels to break free from the yoke of an oppressive or unpleasant leader, allowing the victors to usurp the rights of the former leader with regards to Republic membership.

    Mercenaries are rarely used to start wars between member systems or Unions, unless the aggressor has arranged for the rest of the Subsector to vote against sending the Army or Navy to intervene. The Republic considers this a balancing factor against any one Union growing too powerful.

    Unofficially, some System Defense Forces are specifically formed to be rented out as mercenary forces and boast a higher TL than their home systems would otherwise field. Such Mercenary units command better than normal compensation, but many go from assignment to assignment without ever seeing home.

    The Mercenary Organization

    Mercenaries are organized in much the same way as governmental military forces because they need to move, behave, and react in much the same way. The rank structure is repeated across many military forces, and while some planets change the name of one rank here, or split another rank into 'upper half' and 'lower half', by and large they are close enough as makes no difference. Insignia is slightly different between units, though that is more of a style thing, and it is rarely sufficiently different to make identification difficult. It is also good that when you see someone from another group, you quickly know whether to salute, and who is superior to whom.

    The orders of the ranks are:

                                          Enlisted                  Officers      
                                     E-1  Buck Private          O-1 2nd Lieutenant
                                     E-2  Private               O-2 1st Lieutenant
                                     E-3  Private First Class   O-3 Captain
                                     E-4  Corporal              O-4 Major
                                     E-5  Sergeant              O-5 Lt. Colonel
                                     E-6  Staff Sergeant        O-6 Colonel
                                     E-7  Sergeant First Class  O-7 Brigadier General
                                     E-8  Master Sergeant       O-8 General
                                     E-9  Sergeant Major        O-9 Field Marshall

    The IC progression slows for enlisted at Sergeant First Class, requiring an 'extra' promotion to get past this, and for officers at both Captain and Major. This is representative of career congestion at these levels, and keeps players in the playable range longer. Officers O-5 and above are plot devices more than PCs.

    Seniority is determined first by Military rank, then by Traveller game system rank, then by total number of careers.

    Unit Organization

    Mercenary organizations are subdivided and organized into individual deployable units. Companies and battallions are deployed as units, so that individuals don't get lost in a new command strucure when going into action. The smallest cohesive unit that might be deployed is a Company, led by a senior Captain or a Major. An infantry Company might have 200-250 soldiers broken up into platoons of 15-30; a tank Company contains an HQ section with 2 tanks and 3-4 platoons of 5 tanks each. A Company also has its own maintenance personnel. Above that, a Lt. Colonel commands a Battalion, consisting of 4-6 Companies. A Battallion generally also has a HQ staff, a couple artillery platoons, and a recon platoon. A Regiment or Brigade is composed of 3-6 Battalions, so 200-700 tanks depending on the size of its subunits, plus its own supporting elements such as Intel and Support groups. A Colonel or Brigadier General is usually in command of a Brigade-sized unit.

    The main frontline tank of choice for the Durasteel Tigers and many others is the M2A1G, a huge beast armed with a 20cm (8-inch) powergun capable of immense destruction. It has a crew of four, though it can operate with just two - driver and gunner - in a pinch. That pinch comes with task saturation, though, and a crew can be quickly overwhelmed with too many things to do at once. A fully crewed tank has a driver, a gunner, a tech, and a commander. The roles of driver and gunner are obvious, though the addition of the commander position in the G-model tanks frees up the gunner to concentrate on that task. The tech is largely responsible for EW in the fight - keeping sensors and comms going, though he can crew the auxiliary tribarrel to put added firepower on target. The commander's job is to oversee the big picture and manage the fighting at a higher level. The commander will call targets to the gunner, and tell the driver where to go. A tank's commander is primarily responsible for using Tactics and Leadership skills to aid the team. The tank's AI generally acts as the radio operator, selecting channels and relaying messages as the commander directs. In the command tank of a platoon, the platoon leader acts as the tank's commander, but monitors the larger picture.

    Mercenary Uniforms and Gear

    The Durasteel Tigers uniforms are made of hard-wearing, but durable, cloth suitable for most climates and situations. The medium gray uniform consists of a shirt and trousers with black piping along the seams. The shirt has epaulettes for shoulderboards, but those are only worn for dress uniform occasions or by rear-echelon troops not in a combat zone. Normal rank insignia are worn on the collar or on the gigline on a cloth tab, and in low-contrast colors so hidden observers can't immediately tell who's who from any distance. Because the cloth is hard-wearing, it is used among infantry and tankers and clerks as well, though infantry and special forces in the field generally wear a ghillie suit over their uniforms.

    Tankers and those who ride inside combat cars generally carry power pistols or SMGs as personal weapons due to space limitations. The normal issue pistol is the Heuvelman 115P, though a few of the more gung-ho types will wear a pair of H94s. Gunners in combat cars, infantry, and special ops will generally carry a Heivelman IA17 power rifle for its longer effective range and greater stopping power, though snipers generally use the T21AR or Olin SSP. Auxilliaries like mechanics and artillerymen will also generally be issued power rifles, to use if their positions are overrun.

    The opposing forces, OPFOR in military parlance (or the 'Oscars' derisively), are generally seen in tan uniforms with rank markings on their sleeves, when in vehicles, though their infantry generally wear a camouflage patterned uniform suited to the region. They also use powerguns in combat, though they tend to prefer the DK-202, or Medusa 77I for tankers.

    The Verthuli Sector

    The Verthuli Sector is located about 60,000 parsecs from Galactic Center, on the upper fringe of the Sagittarius arm, a frontier of the Terran Stellar Republic. The stars are more widely-spaced in this sector, and sparsely inhabited for the most part. Verthuli is generally considered a backwater region, growing slowly but with no reason to pass through, nor the large markets of other Sectors to make it a trade destination.

    Most systems in this sector are low population, and communication routes are strung out in narrow lanes, often J-4 or higher, putting them out of the range of many smalltime traders, while the lack of large markets makes it less profitable for the larger trade houses from outside the Sector, though business opportunities are still there for those willing to carry more jump fuel and less cargo. The slow trade also marks the Sector as less interesting for serious criminals as well. Though more than a few pirates, deserters, and scumwaffles lurk in deep corners of the Verthuli Sector.

    Subsector Seven

    The Verthuli-7 Subsector is an exception to the sparse habitation: the core of the subsector is a self-sufficient Union of systems, though clumped at the end of a J-5 Route. The Subsector Capitol, Jacobsen's World, is a comfortable, Earth-like world boasting Core Sector tech and a brisk local trade that wouldn't be out of place in any sector in the Core. Jacobsen's World is surrounded by support worlds supplying it with resources and food in exchange for manufactured goods. Jacobsen's Union includes the systems within its immediate cluster, but even outside the Union, Jacobsen's World is well-liked, fostering trade and providing needed goods and services to the small, but growing worlds within the subsector.

    Branching off the J-5 Communications Route that leads to Jacobsen's World is the pipe that connects the infamous prison-world Malvoisin. Criminals from the entire sector, and some from beyond, are sent here to do hard time on the otherwise useless planetoid in a system which is alone at the end of a Jump-6 route.

    Many other colonies dot the subsector, some independent, others relying on trade with Jacobsen's World or one of it's feeder worlds for their own survival.

    Intersystem Politics

    Jacobsen's Union is the single de facto power in Verthuli-7, the few Republic members sharing the subsector owing their continued wealth, comfort, and success to Jacobsen's trade and aid policies. Subsector Seven is surrounded by even more sparsely settled regions, boasting one or two rivals in each, though none to match Jacobsen's economic power.

    Apart from the prison-world Malvoisin, Verthuli-7's Republic members care little for the actual politics of the Republic, choosing membership only because to do otherwise is to be at the mercy of mercenaries and pirates. There is a very palpable independent frontier spirit and cohesiveness.

    This is not to say that there are no differences between the worlds, but they're generally solved by goodwill and compromise rather than squabbling. The neighboring subsectors are not so cooperative, and pirates that prey on the border systems like Kodar are thought to reside in Subsector Six.

    Current Events

    Six months ago, pirates descended on the Kodar system like locusts, capturing ships and destroying defenses in a massive raid. Ground troops landed, armed with TL 13-14 gear, including powergun-armed hover tanks and infantry skimmers as well as wheeled and hover combat cars and drones to control the skies. Kodar's capitol was captured within the day, the more lightly-armed System Defense Forces standing little chance against the coordinated raid. After that, the raiders claimed rights due as rulers of a Republic member-world, sending a Delegate to the Assembly at Terra and demanding voting rights within Subsector Seven.

    Kodar is squarely athwart the Communications Route into Verthuli-7, and messages were sent to the Republic Assembly as well as to Jacobsen's World. The Republic Navy quarantined the pipe between Kodar and the Republic, cutting off reinforcements to the pirates in theory, but also cutting off mercenary aid from outside that might relieve Kodar. The Navy has yet to initiate a major battle with the defenders, however skirmishes between forward units have been hard on the Navy, and they've pulled back away from the disputed planet. The Army claims to be massing troops to aid Kodar, but the preparations have been dragging since assistance was initially requested, and demands for more speed have been ignored. There are allegations that other Verthuli-7 Delegates have been coerced into voting against Republic military action in defense of Kodar.

    Convinced that the Republic was dragging its feet at best, Jacobsen's World stepped forward in defense of the former government of Kodar, and within a month, the Durasteel Tigers mercenaries, known as some of the best and toughest in the Republic, were forcing landings on the planet's surface. This surprised the pirates as much as the Republic, and it was quickly revealed that Jacobsen's World hadn't paid the Tigers, they'd fielded the Tigers. It was a major surprise that Jacobsen's World could field such advanced forces.

    After initial successes, the defending raiders grouped together in several major cities, and the Durasteel Tigers are currently conducting a massive and costly urban campaign to weed them out. Little transit is possible through the Kodar pipe, due to the Naval blockade, but occasional supply ships are allowed through along with the Courier Service ships - the Bag must go through.