Monday, November 13, 2017

Freebooters & Angels                                 

To His Grace, Duke Darius Ingersoll,
Protector of the Narmada Subsector of Wayhaven Sector, Domain of Sol of the Third Imperium,
Ruler of the Imperial Autonomy District of the world of Narmada, and
Defender of Imperial Citizenry throughout Known Space and Beyond
Ingersoll Holdings, Imperial Autonomy District, Narmada


Your Grace,

Your humble servant on Kiewa bids you good tidings and health.  In response to Your request, here is a personal assessment of the situation here in the wake of Imperial action taken here in Your name by the Marquis Weston of the House Toyama.

Task Force: Resolution arrived to much fanfare and concern among the leaders of the Planetary Assembly.  The news of their arrival got here three days ahead of them, and the rumor started that this was the beginning of a direct takeover by the Imperium rather than the urgent humanitarian mission it actually is.  Still, the Speaker of the Planetary Assembly was willing to work with me to make all the necessary arrangements.

Accompanying the Marquis aboard the ‘Chromium Koi’ – his personal star yacht – were Count Lars Wyndham, Lady Annabelle Wyndham, Lady Ophelia Wyndham, Baronet Kogura Yanni, Sir Yael Smethwyk, Gentleman Gerard Verne and Mr. Paul Fletcher and three members of the Marquis’ personal staff.  They were all properly greeted and honored by the planetary government, though much of the formality was discarded as time was considered of the essence.

The Marquis immediately set to work to get the necessary planetary approval to allow Imperial troops to begin this urgent humanitarian mission to the inhabitants of the ebonscale quarantine zones.  Complicating this issue was the sticking point between Sandovalia and the Republic of Berthold on the possession of the territory of the zone on their border.  The primary problem was access to the water in the canals near the ruins of Reinholm City, a valuable resource here as usable water is scarce in that region.

As Your Grace is no doubt aware, the Republic hired the Rogue Moon Irregulars to conduct military missions on behalf of the government in that zone after regulars from the Sandovalian Army moved into the area.  The result was open warfare in the ruins of the city with spillover fire affecting the survivor camps to the south and west of the former city.  This fighting had to be stopped as quickly as possible, and the Marquis made it the top priority.

To aid in the negotiations with the representatives from Sandovalia and the Republic of Berthold, I suggested that Princess Jacinth of the Principality of Kovar be allowed to mediate the negotiations.  Kovar has long been an arbitrator and negotiator among the other sixteen nations of this world as its complete neutrality in political matters is accepted by all parties.  Add to the fact that there is still some semblance of chivalry in the social mores here, the beautiful and stately presence of the princess served to keep emotions from boiling over during these negotiations.

While I am not privy to the full measure of details, the Marquis apparently revealed a possible motive for the Rogue Moon mercenaries’ presence on Kiewa – their possible knowledge of the 40 million credits embezzled from the relief fund nearly a quarter century ago.  Orbital surveillance by the flagship of the Imperial task force revealed that sites reported by the Marquis’ fact finding visit a few weeks ago were being sanitized by the mercenaries’ infamous special operations teams – something that Republic had not ordered or authorized.  The surveillance also revealed that an industrial plasma cutter was being brought into a building complex that once housed the core of the Diamante Negro criminal syndicate, undoubtedly to pilfer the ill-gotten funds.

Based on that information, the two sides agreed to an immediate cease-fire with the promise of further addressing of the water situation during the humanitarian mission.  Soon the entourage was aboard a Navy cutter, racing to the quarantine zone to witness the Imperial Army’s combat drop of troops into the zone and subsequent attack upon the special operations unit.  Although there was a pitched battle inside the complex, the Army’s troopers won the battle, killing several of the mercenaries who refused multiple offers of surrender.

One of the captured mercenaries was Lt. Colonel Hamel Lipinski, the man suspected of murdering two members of the Diamante Negro syndicate who had in turn murdered Oscar Tomlinson and wounded Mr. Fletcher back on Narmada.  Thanks to the investigations of Sir Yael Smethwyk, I am told that the Law Enforcement Bureau in the IAD had issued an Imperial arrest warrant for him on multiple charges besides the murders, including forging a baker’s dozen false IdentiCards he used to skirt the Starport Authority’s security there.

It is quite logical to assume that Lipinski managed to obtain some hint of the booty from the syndicate men before he killed them, drawing the clues together along with his personal experience.  Lipinski operated as the mercenary unit’s procurer of supplies and equipment and had made a shipment to Kiewa in 1079, essentially laundering 40 million credits for the Diamante Negro – an outfit with which Rogue Moon had done business with many times before.  In order to get access to the site, they pitched a low-ball bid to the Republic of Berthold for the contract they’d placed for mercenary troops.

It is even reasonable to assume that Lipinski (in one of his other personas) had visited Tomlinson in prison last year when he started putting the pieces of the puzzle together.  It is now known that he’d had associations with François Verne, a former Imperial Baron on Yantra who was stripped of his title, lands and funds for association and support of the Ine Givar terrorist organization.  Since it has been suspected that Verne fled to Logone, the base of operations of Rogue Moon, it was hoped that he might also be found among the ranks of that mercenary outfit.  While one of Verne’s alternate personas – Jean-Claude Dumont – was found on the ship’s manifest, there was no trace of him when a roll call of the unit was conducted.  I have impressed upon the local authorities that this man must be apprehended, but so far, he hasn’t been found.

The key in the possession of Sir Yael opened the vault quite easily.  Unfortunately, the bodies of seven people who apparently helped move the booty into the vault were gunned down within it and left to fester.  However, the booty turned out not to be cash, but enough paramilitary arms, armor and equipment to fully outfit a company of infantry.  Perhaps this is why Rogue Moon sought this contract and location so desperately.  There was also a box of keys to every other vault on the same sub-basement level, yielding more weapons, armor, equipment and supplies.  The Imperial Army confiscated the lot and transported it all off world.

The commander of Rogue Moon graciously offered up the 10.5 million credits the outfit had been paid by the Republic of Berthold to the ebonscale relief fund – a guesture, no doubt aimed at keeping his outfit’s Imperial charter in the light that a fugitive and an enemy of the state had been in their ranks.  It is my understanding that the Marquis sent the commander a bottle of his arcology’s special reserve whiskey in gratitude.  They made a hasty exit before any more questions were asked.  Meanwhile, the political fallout from that has created a major shakeup of the Republic of Berthold government – there are calls for the first truly open elections to be held there in three generations, but I’ll keep Your Grace updated, as always.

As for the humanitarian efforts, neatly laid out “cities” of prefab buildings are finally giving the victims of the Ebonscale Plague some semblance of stability and order once again.  Supplies, foodstuffs, clothing, medical equipment and personnel are flowing smoothly to everyone within the quarantine zones.  Many of the smaller zones are uninhabited now, their residents displaced to three larger ones that are fairly close together.  There is some political will to conjoin those zones into a single large one and declare it an Imperial Humanitarian Enclave until the threat of ebonscale here is completely eradicated.

There are some who suggest the new nation be called Toyamashima, in honor of the man who spearheaded the Imperial effort.  I have no word on what the Marquis thinks of that particular idea.

In short, the Marquis has made all the difference with these people, both the afflicted and the leaders of nations here.  And while all of his entourage should be commended for their tireless efforts, as well as all of the personnel of Task Force: Resolution, the greatest praise belongs solely to Marquis Toyama Weston.  You may be assured that this effort has met with the highest measure of success and surpassed even that.

Long Live the Emperor!  Long may he reign!

Baron Glen Forbes, Imperial Liaison to Kiewa

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