(22) To Be Named

The Crusader Campaign (088-1123 to 092-1123)

This file has yet to be fully edited...

This file has yet to be fully linked...

Need to put travel time tables including 20g acceleration into library data.
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 investigation.
Retcon Sir Geoffrey of Adabicci's surname in Mora 24.
Add "potential sites of interest" that Robert might remember (log 23 ff.).
Update news items and timelines.
Fix Referee's In Game Reference and Referee's Timeline links in Library Data.
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.

088-1123 : Jumpspace (from 0409 / Rhylanor / Spinward Marches)

    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 time.

    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 should be 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 crisis.

    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 around 180.
    "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 very shortly."
    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 initial deployment."
    The Duke of Rhylanor says, "If they're moving most of the fleets from Five Sisters, then they have no reason to retain any in Glisten."
    Kalida says, "The big question really is how successful Trin will be at delaying them, how long he can keep them bottled up."
    "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 deployed elsewhere."
    "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 them off."
    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 Tukera."
    "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 heavy losses..."
    "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 is occupied?"
    "But why?"
    "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," agrees Shark.
    "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 easier."
    "And really, if he takes Mora, Lunion doesn't matter.  And if he doesn't take Mora, Lunion doesn't matter."
    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 them?"
    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 stateroom.

    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 again.
    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 opposition.
    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 Archduke title.
    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 every system.
    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 backfire.
    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...