Monday, December 18, 2017

Status Report (interlude)   


040-1107, aboard Golden Dawn, in hyperspace between Damas and Nive

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,

I had serious reservations when you appointed this task to me some ninety-five days ago.  I still feel my talents would be better served in command of a unit of the Autonomy Defense Force.  That being stated, I must grudgingly admit that the current job has grown on me.

Baronet Atopia Kesslering is quite a capable leader and seems eager to tackle problems that, on the surface at least, might be beyond the means and capabilities of both herself and her crew.  However, to date, she has pulled all of us – the crew of the Golden Dawn – through each challenge.  In the short time since my arrival, I have been through a small arms engagement on Moksha in support of Dame (soon to be Baroness, I’m told) Oliva Servantes; plus took action to protect the life and limb of Baronet Atopia while on Damas.  Along with my duties as ship’s medic, I am also instructing the Baronet’s adopted daughter basic physical training and personal defense.

You expressed an interest in my impressions of the others accompanying Baronet Atopia just before I left Narmada with them, and I believe I can render an honest initial assessment of them all at this point.

The Dawn’s pilot and navigator, Valo Arenson, is capable in both roles, owing to his training and experience in the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service.  His childhood on Moksha was a prime motivation to seek better circumstances for himself, which he has found in the Baronet’s employ.  Initially, I thought that Her Grace might be ready to ease him from the job, seeing that the ship’s assistant engineer is actually more capable in both roles, but the baronet apparently views loyalty as a two-way street.  The former scout occasionally challenges her plans and positions, but still is willing to follow where she leads, despite his objections.

Hawk Smith, the Dawn’s chief engineer, is another former IISS member who spent much of his time in the service working feeder routes to the X-boat network.  While his skill set places him firmly in the role of technical support, he has limited (though useful) expertise outside of his primary profession and is remarkably resourceful.  I found him surprisingly well-versed in current events as well as having rudimentary training with combat weaponry.  I wanted to learn more about him, but he is surprisingly aloof to even subtle inquiries about his background and history.

The Dawn’s assistant engineer, Lisa Dudley, could make considerably more money working as a pilot or navigator for another ship, but appears to be happy with her current position along with piloting Daybreak, the ship’s launch.  Like Valo and Hawk, Lisa is a former IISS member, though she originally hails from Narmada and is the first member of her family to enter Imperial service.  While she spent much of her time piloting X-boats, her service was surprisingly confined to just Narmada subsector.  Her abilities have already been well-tested on both Sok and Moksha, though it is difficult to say if her enthusiasm is born of loyalty to the Empire or to the adrenaline high of doing risky missions.

The ship’s missile gunner and computer expert, Tabitha Nole, has been around since Baronet Atopia hired her for the Silver Dawn back in 1105.  Over that time, her grace has relied on the former merchant’s cybernetics talents several times, including the most recent issue with the Peerage on Narmada.  Tabitha’s abilities as a teacher are being tested by her relationship with Olivia Miller, her grace’s adopted daughter.  Given the child’s progress in established remote learning programs, I would say that Ms. Nole is doing quite well in that regard, too.

If any of the crew seems a bit out of place in this merry band of Rubens, it would be the ship’s steward, Samantha O’Connor.  While the rest of the crew are all highly educated, Samantha has little love or patience for education.  That being said, she figures out complex and difficult problems without breaking a sweat.  She has a wealth of street smarts gained on the crowded and desperately poor streets of Oya, along with a painfully keen eye for detail.  Her efforts on Sok were essential to helping Baronet Atopia find the fulcrum point needed to leverage Spencer Kalakaua’s plot into the open.

And then, of course, there’s Olivia Miller, her grace’s eight-year-old adopted daughter, undoubtedly the daughter of the late François Verne, formerly a baron on Yantra.  While her grace has been careful not to involve the girl in her more dangerous activities, she is still travelling in harm’s way aboard the Dawn.  As per your instructions, I have been keeping a close eye on the girl.  I find it strange that she is getting along so well in the company of adults with no other child companions.  It is a rare thing to hear a complaint or even a hint of rebellion out of the child.  She has obviously been upset by the amount of danger her adopted mother has faced, but hasn’t voiced any concerns publically.  Still, she spends a lot of time talking to the passengers, none of whom have voiced any troubles with her.  Perhaps her formative years on Alagon and her times alone have given her talents we have yet to see.

All in all, I am amazed at how tight-knit this group of divergent individuals actually is.  They raise few, if any objections, and readily face even mortal dangers while in her grace’s employ.  Nearly all of them have been wounded or injured in some fashion during their service, and none of them complain in the slightest.  It helps that Baronet Atopia shows great concern for her people and is genuinely interested in their lives, situations and activities.

Honestly, Your Grace, I cannot find any fault with the baronet or her methods.  Perhaps I am already too close to her, since I do count her among my friends – or perhaps, that’s just her way.  In any case, I cannot readily see any impediment to her possible ascension to a higher rank and, while it may not be my place, I feel that such advancement is already overdue in light of her actions over the short time I have known her.

Your dedicated servant,

Colonel Cassandra Mutabe
1st Combat Battalion, Autonomy Defense Force, Narmada

GM’s Note:  This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of celebrating Yule a week early with my adopted family (which includes Laura and her husband, her mother, Laura’s children and their significant others, and the most recent addition to the family – Laura’s granddaughter.)  In lieu of our traditional session, we played a game of Crusoe’s Planet and then a game of Ticket To Ride.  The current plan for next week is to game on Christmas Eve, but that’s still somewhat iffy as of this writing, so we’ll see.  Have a very Merry Yule, everyone!  And thank you for your interest in my campaign.

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