(22) To Be Named
The Crusader Campaign (088-1123 to 092-1123)
This file has yet to be fully
This file has yet to be fully
Need to put travel time
20g acceleration into library data.
Nightshade has jumped for Mora with
the Duke of Rhylanor on board. To their guest, this will look
like a single jump-11, since he didn't know they have jumped a second
Add Target number formula to character sheet?
Put AT roll somewhere more accessible?
Fill in individual details for Nightshade, including latest
stateroom assignments and the climbing wall they built in the solarium.
Admiral Rikk Bainoi (retd.) to be Count of Fulacin on or after 251-1122
Issue release on Tussinian decision and Nakege
Retcon Sir Geoffrey of Adabicci's surname in Mora 24.
Add "potential sites of interest" that Robert might remember (log 23
Update news items and timelines.
Fix Referee's In Game Reference and Referee's Timeline links in
3 years ago, midnight Imperial was late evening local on
Adabicci. Figure out what it is now.
Add Mike's essay on black technology to the library data or log or both.
Add a library data entry for the Spinward Enquirer
(ref.117-1119), later Galactic Enquirer (ref.198-1122).
Update Campaign Journey.
Update Marquis Marc's ship configuration.
Shark and Kalida conspire in the
morning. They start off just discussing Kalida's estimate of
Santanocheev's movements, as well as their own and those of Marquis
Marcus Crestworthy on Witch Hunter. The discuss that they
could get to the fleets even if they were planning on the Duke of
Adabicci being their priority. All they need to do is get into a
system in stealth mode and let Robert Morris loose, and they can
probably find out a lot more about Santanocheev's plans, and probably
what the additional unknown and unanticipated threat to the Duke of
Adabicci might be.
There's then the matter of what they could do to
help Adabicci anyway. Shark points out that they could tell him
there is an attack on the way -- although he's already preparing for
some kind of attack -- and what more could he do with those extra 33
days anyway? As Kalida says, she doesn't know anything about it,
just that it's coming, when it's coming, and that it's her fault.
It could even be an inside job, she points out.
Shark is still skeptical that there is anything they
can tell the Duke to help him.
Kalida of course hopes that by the time they'd get
there, they'd be able to tell him more than that.
Shark concedes that point. If they stop to
hack Santanocheev's fleet, it might delay them by three or four days,
which is not really significant if it means they can actually do
something useful with the extra information.
Kalida, however, points out that they'd have to do a
real jump into Dawnworld, and then they'd also have to do a
real jump into Adabicci.
Shark is of the opinion that even then, the Duke
ends up with less than thirty days. If they don't then know what
the threat might be, that's really not enough time.
Kalida then calmly points out that in addition to
all that, there's a huge force making its way to Mora.
Shark says Mora is going to be as prepared
as Mora can get, and their presence will certainly be helpful
but not a critical factor. Even that assumes that there won't be
other black ships there making sure they don't show off black
tech. He is sure that the Arden Society has spies on Mora,
and that those spies have communication devices capable of sending
messages back instantly, since they have one of those on Nightshade.
They know where they've been already. They also know that there
are people like the ones on Goose, monitoring space for many
parsecs around, all over the place, signalling back somewhere.
Robert is sure that it's not that they'll know when Nightshade
needs help, but the other way around. Their ship is likely to be
recalled as soon as there's trouble that needs it.
Shark points out in addition that they know when
they were on Adabicci, and they know when they were on Trin,
so they have an idea how fast they are. They know they are faster
than them. In turn, the Arden Society has better weapons (which
they said) and better sensors (as Shark believes). They have at
least one ship, probably a bunch. So they're running a profile on
Nightshade trying to figure out what they are going to do.
Shark then adds that perhaps they should tell the
Duke when to expect to arrive at Mora. That would at
least get him to stop thinking that he has weeks ahead of him on this
trip. He decides to spend some time with him gaming in whatever
the Duke likes, be it chess, or poker, or gin rummy.
Mich, meanwhile, has been trying to get a handle on
a simulation of the new model of jumpspace. He hasn't exactly
done fourteen impossible things before breakfast -- he expects it to
take several weeks at least.
After lunch, it's time for the chat with the Duke of
Rhylanor. Most of the crew sit in for it, because a lot of them
have not actually seen the presentation. Kalida's spiel has only
been given to Dukes and Archdukes; and like those, Nightshade's
movements are not included. There are absolutely no mentions of Witch
Hunter; Kalida is nervous having sent them into the unknown
subsector of Lanth, but at a Red Zone with no military value they
safe. She and Shark both agree that it has turned out well that
the line of the Adabicci dukedom has been split up in this time of
Kalida begins, "Some time ago, we intercepted orders
for three of the fleets in Five Sisters, and that's where we learned
that Santanocheev and at least three of the Five Sisters fleets were on
their way to gather at Dawnworld. From there, I initially
wasn't sure where they were going, so at that point we went to Adabicci
because Dawnworld is fairly close to him. He had some
additional information, and he informed us that Glisten had come in
with Santanocheev as well.
"From that information we knew approximately in what
direction they were heading, and if you look at the possible route to
take, it is inevitable that they will go through Tussinian.
I believe that they will be hitting Tussinian around 140-ish.
"We have warned Trin, and he is planning on fighting
at least a delaying action at Tussinian, because at the same
time I believe that the fleets from Rhylanor will be making their way
towards Mora, and they should be rendezvousing there, probably
"At the same time, I am nearly certain that some
kind of force is threatening Adabicci at the same time as Santanocheev
is going through Tussinian. I am not sure what that
threat is yet.
"And, of course, last night we discussed why we are
taking you to Mora.
"The problem, of course, is that as we move around
and everyone else gets ready, it will probably change from this
plan. I am quite certain they will be going through Tussinian
regardless of what else happens. Had we not accidentally
discovered their plans, they could easily have got through Tussinian
and well on their way to Mora before anyone knew they were
going anywhere. The entire way would be through Glisten, and from
there avoid any system with a Naval Base. By now, however, if
they don't know for certain we are aware of their movements, they will
Kalida pulls up the display and shows the Duke the
movements she has guessed.
She continues, "I don't think we know the size of
the force that's coming in. We know how many fleets they have,
but we don't know where they're all going, or for that matter their
The Duke of Rhylanor says, "If they're moving most
of the fleets from Five Sisters, then they have no reason to retain any
Kalida says, "The big question really is how
successful Trin will be at delaying them, how long he can keep them
"That depends on what he has available and how well
they stand up," says the Duke.
"We know what he has available."
"Which is probably not enough to stand against them,
but enough to delay."
"I believe he's planning on taking five fleets
in. Well, he has five available, three others are currently
"Yes, he doesn't have a whole lot. And yet, if
Santanocheev is diverting enough fleets to hit Adabicci..."
"That's my question. I don't know if he is or
not. I know there's some threat going there, but I'm not really
sure what that threat is."
"That sounds odd. What is the nature of it?"
"I don't know. I also don't really know why."
The Duke nods. "I was going to ask that too,"
he says. "So you have Trin's fleets at Tussinian, and
Santanocheev can't avoid going through there."
"Far too difficult to go through anywhere else."
"So that's one thing that seem pretty certain.
What about 'my' fleets?" The Duke grunts a laugh. "Do you
have any guesses on that yet?"
"I don't know how many they're going to take, but
considering their objective I can't imagine they won't take everything
they can control. My guess is the fleet stationed at Rhylanor
will probably be leaving around 145, the other fleets will have to
leave earlier so they can rendezvous at the right time. The
Rhylanor fleet and Santanocheev are probably planning on meeting at Mora
probably around 180 or so. That's from my best guess as to their
travel times. They have to be planning on hitting at more or less
the same time, which means that any delaying action Trin can keep up
hurts them that much more. One day might not be enough, two or
three possibly, anything more than that will almost certainly throw
Shark says, "So, you need to consider if the Duke of
Trin is successful, Santanocheev will know he has lost."
Kalida shakes her head and says, "I have no earthly
idea what he might do."
The Duke sighs. "Is he going to keep advancing
and clear up what remains? It's not going to be pretty even if
the Mora fleets resist the Rhylanor ones. That's
speaking, of course, from Santanocheev's point of view, not knowing
I'll be there."
"It depends entirely on how long Trin delays
him. It's going to be a very close thing, and if it's close, then
I imagine he'll continue. Even if Rhylanor gets there ahead of
him, it'll keep Mora busy for quite a while, enough so that in theory
Santanocheev could come in a little later and mop up. Again, it
depends entirely on how long Trin can hold out."
"Then there's the matter of making sure that a
perhaps heavily outnumbered fleet would actually stand and fight."
"And as you brought up last night, there's a
question whether Aramis left something in Tussinian through
"So what it really comes down to is the readiness
and training of the Trin fleets. They're not really used to
thinking of themselves as a front line, particularly in a full line of
battle. Whether they're ready to fight a long holding action with
"Against Imperial troops, yet."
"Who are insisting that they have a legal
right. He might have to be there himself. It's always an
interesting test of a noble to see if they're willing to lead from the
front." A wry smile wafts across his face and he says, "If I
wanted to lead from the front, I'm not sure that Glass Tiger
would be my choice for a flagship name." He ponders for a while,
then says more seriously, "Unless Santanocheev is just making sure Adabicci
"To keep Lunion from reinforcing Mora, or
counterattacking Santanocheev's rear, perhaps. Maybe by putting
enough into Adabicci, particulary if it's enough that Lunion
can't quite move against it..."
"Without stripping the frontier or the fleets near Mora,"
"Yes, so either way the fleets get tied up."
The Duke turns to Kalida, "So you say Adabicci is on Norris'
side. So if he's taking Adabicci, then Adabicci isn't
there to help Lunion pick sides. But he'd have to go in with
enough -- there's a fleet stationed at Adabicci -- enough to
make a credible threat. That's going to strip the forces he can
put through Tussinian, which is going to make Trin's job
"And really, if he takes Mora, Lunion
doesn't matter. And if he doesn't take Mora, Lunion
Shark asks, "Does the Duke of Adabicci have any
claims that might legally interfere with his?"
The Duke of Rhylanor and Kalida look at each other
and shake their heads simultaneously.
Shark continues, "I don't follow the royal lines,
but I'm just wondering whether there's a political need as opposed to a
military need to go in, or an appearance of legality to get rid of the
Duke of Adabicci. Is there personal history between the two of
The Duke says, "Well, Adabicci did play a
significant part in the matters of 1107."
Which, as Kalida points out, led to Norris becoming
Archduke forcing Santanocheev's retirement.
Shark says, "So there's not a strong need, but it's
not necessarily a bad move since he has a pincer move on Mora.
So perhaps he's just taking the opportunity to get back at him."
The Duke and Kalida nod their agreement. That
certainly sounds probable.
Kalida says, however, "But if he fails in Mora
he's not going to keep Adabicci."
Shark asks, "Would taking everything to Adabicci
first do anything?"
"Warn everyone else?" says Kalida. "No, he's
definitely going to Tussinian. He's not sending
everything at Adabicci."
Shark asks again, "Then why send anything to Adabicci?"
The question goes unanswered. Lunch finishes
in silence as the question hangs over the table like a subtitle.
But as the crew start to make their excuses and
leave the table, Shark says to the Duke, "Just so you know our plans,
you should be aware that we'll be
arriving at Mora in five or six more days."
The Duke laughs heartily and says, "It's better I
shouldn't think about that, right?"
Shark beams at him, bows slightly, and walks off.
The Duke watches him leave. He collects a
little food and drink, and Kalida's analysis, and returns to his
Later, Shark and Kalida sit down to compare
paranoia. They are both agreed that Santanocheev surely knows
they were at Adabicci -- landing in plain site on Sir
Geoffrey's sheep pasture -- and probably knows they were at Trin
as well, even though the Duke of Trin believe he's rooted out the INISO
agents in his subsector.
The two of them also agree that Santanocheev wasn't
going to Adabicci, or at least not in any strength, until he
knew they were there. But the information that they were seen in Trin
won't have reached him yet, and when it does he will know that they are
travelling far too fast, at which point all of his plans will change
Shark is sure that Santanocheev's real reason for
going to Adabicci is that he thinks he might catch them there,
and he wants this ship. He went all the way to Zett and
found it wasn't there, and he isn't willing to let it go again.
Kalida considers the matter. If Santanocheev
knows that Adabicci is a strong supporter of Norris, and did cooperate
with him in the crisis of 1107 that lead to the peace treaty, it is
possible that Adabicci's personal influence could switch Lunion's
side. In addition, if Santanocheev does take Mora and
leaves Adabicci unmolested, he could then perhaps convince Lunion to
move on to Mora in the aftermath.
Shark thinks that's plausible. They could
swing through the coreward side of Mora subsector without a lot of
Then again, maybe Santanocheev wants the Sword
Worlds discouraged. Rather than taking Adabicci, putting
a strong presence there between the Confederation and Lunion
might discourage them despite pulling out of Five Sisters. Or
maybe Adabicci is just on the way somewhere, or positioning to
discourage Lanth, if it's neutral too? If the Duke of Adabicci
could pull Lanth and Lunion together, that would be a very powerful
counterattack that could even put Adabicci in position to claim the
Shark wonders if he should ask Sir Misha in private
whether they should tell the Duke that they stole this ship from
Santanocheev. He then idly ponders that they should get a message
to their base in Bowman and tell them there's a war on.
For her part, Kalida muses on the subject of the
increased threat to Adabicci. She knows when the threat
is due to appear there, but on reflection she considers that the much
increased threat -- there was always some sort of threat -- dates from
right around the time Santanocheev could have heard about them being on
Adabicci, in other words a few days from now. The
causality seems quite plain, when considered like that. She
mentions that to Shark.
Shark counters that he can't have jump-6 couriers in
Kalida in turn says that Santanocheev was planning
to move against Adabicci anyway. If he had a few couriers to
scatter about, that would definitely be a place to have one. The
catch, of course, is that they're not just sending something extra
there. The new threat is something they haven't considered.
Then again, the threat is to the Duke of Adabicci himself -- it could
be a threat against the system, but it specifically endangers him.
Shark is sure that the Duke of Adabicci would lead
from the front, that would do it. Or, perhaps more likely, an
assassination would have a dramatic effect. The easiest way to
take out a target like the Duke is to fly a ship into his palace.
Politically the Duke and Lord Adabicci would have to be taken out, as
Eduard has been groomed to take over in a seamless transition.
Baroness Arahani could also assume power. But if you could remove
the household, it would create a large power vacuum.
Kalida points out that if he takes Mora,
this is irrelevant because he could appoint whoever he wants.
Shark says that it makes a political
statement. For those who do not back Santanocheev, they and their
families are in danger.
Kalida says that is the kind of thing that could
Shark concedes agreement, but adds that while
Santanocheev could remove him, it would be a lot more convenient if he
had already been removed in the confusion of the crisis.
Over the course of the jump, the Duke of Rhylanor
has obviously considered Kalida's analysis but has neither anything to
add nor criticism of her reasoning. He is concerned about not
know the position of Lanth, but nevertheless compliments her on her
thorough assessment of the situation. He does voice the opinion
that Lanth could well be neutral like Lunion, but that's just his
personal gut feeling. His strong point is considering the
analyses of others, not coming up with them himself, Kalida feels, and
thinks he is probably the least strategically capable of the Dukes she
has dealt with so far.
Shark is convinced that Santanocheev has seriously
underestimated the capabilities of Nightshade. While it
is clearly quite a ship, he is sure that he just considers it a small
ship and not that powerful.
Mich does point out that Santanocheev does not have
black ships himself, or he would have taken it from the storage
depot. At one point they were afraid they would be facing other
black ships, and now it is quite clear that they will not.
Marquis Marcus Crestworthy has decided that Victoria's
moon is hollow. It's a very similar size to the world it orbits,
although it has substantially less gravity than the metal-poor world
below. With this in mind, and believing that the Ancients mined
the metals out of the world for their war, among Witch Hunter's
equipment is state of the art ground-penetrating densitometers so he
can confirm his hollow theory. It's either that or swiss cheese,
and after much research has decided that it is unlikely that the moon
is made out of cheese.
The ship is due to arrive at Mora around mid-day on
093-1123. In fact, Nightshade
should be exiting jumpspace any moment now...