By Gregg Giles
This adventure calls for heavy use of the Traveller starship and personal combat rules. The referee must be familiar with these rules before beginning.
The adventure opens only one week before Mertactor (1537) falls to the invading Aslan during the course of the Great Rebellion. The characters were hired on three weeks before by the Yasheta mercenary unit based from Mertactor, and have only seen one mission (on Tarkine/District 268). Thus far, all of the characters have escaped injury, yet have only managed to earn a few hundred credits each and obtain a few pieces of equipment (all to be determined by the referee).
After a day of relative quiet, news arrives that Aslan fleets have broken through the Imperial lines from Mille Falcs (1637) to Egypt (1737) and are regrouping to crush the remaining naval units now retreating to Mertactor. The Yasheta unit commander, Terrece LeBlanc decides to flee; Yasheta would have no chance against a professional naval fleet. He orders evacuation, planning to escape to the Five Sisters subsector.
In the ensuing week, naval and scout forces arrive to defend Mertactor. The INS requests Yaheta's help but LeBlank quickly refuses.
On the day of departure, the forward elements of the Aslan fleet arrives and are quickly destroyed; the navy quickly regroups. Hours later, just before the jump into hyperspace, long-range sensor clusters detect intense energy discharges. The battle is on! The Yasheta unit jumps; leaving behind an installation worth billions of credits.
After three weeks of cramped travel including the heisting of a fuel tanker at Talos for fuel and a near mis-jump of a mercenary cruiser (resulting in a quarter of the crew dead) – Yasheta arrives in the Collace system (1237). The unit hopes to resupply at the orbital Imperial scout base. (The unit finally finds supplies, courtesy of an unknowing corporation on Collace's surface.)
Word arrives as the scout station that Inchin (0938), Avastan (1037), and Tarsus (1138) are all experiencing very heavy pirate activity. Yasheta is, like everyone on Collace, trapped. Imperial naval units continually pass through Collace to slow the Aslan advance, in hope that time can be bought for the INS units from the Five Sisters.
The days pass and the news grows worse. Mertactor has fallen – the naval forces were completely obliterated. The Aslan are expected to pass through District 268 after the imminent capture of Glisten (2036).
A day later, a squadron of corsairs break out of jumpspace and begin heading for Collace. The pirates are quickly intercepted and destroyed by barely organized system defense forces; the pirates, too, are now on the move to capture Collace. LeBlanc is left with no alternative; Yasheta must fight. He appeals to Commodore Roth of the INS, and Tasheta is integrated into the new Collace Defense Force as the 87th Jump Brigade.
This ticket is unlike most in one regard: the scenario is presented here and the referee is expected to take it all from there. This system generally works best because the referee can easily change events and add others and not change the entire adventure. These following notes will assist the referee in running this scenario easily.
The characters are now acting in various positions in the Yasheta unit. Try to make the positions of some importance so the characters can exercise some power in the game.
The primary objective for the characters is to simply survive. With the eruption of the Rebellion and the Aslan and Vargr invasions, mercenary units in the Marches will not have much opportunity to discover profitable ventures (except pilfering and theft – both of which Yasheta have done). You may desire to create secondary objectives such as returning to the Yasheta installation on Mertactor or others.
You are faces with a full scale naval conflict between three opposing forces: the CDF (Collocian Defense Forces) and the Aslan and the pirates. The pirates are not well organized or trained, but are extremely relentless. To them, Collace is a crown jewel, a possible haven in which to ride out the Rebellion. Aslan forces are well trained, organized, and heavily armed. They are just as good if note better than the Imperial forces.
The Imperial and Collocian forces have organized into the CDF, a joint military command. The CDF is well trained overall, but hastily organized, hurting its effectiveness as a combat unit. The INS units (including those from Motmos/1340) are committed to the front-line engagements, while the IISS units and Collocian units are assigned to patrolling and surface duties. The 87th Jump Brigade (Yasheta) is placed under the command of Admiral Ligashuur of Collace, with LeBlanc as the commanding officer. The 87th is to defend all orbital installations such as the starport and the separate Scout base. Ultimate CDF decisions are made by Commodore Roth, due to the navy's supreme strength in the system. All force strengths are shown in accompanying charts.
Collace's ground forces number near one million; however, these are purely ground forces with little or no space combat training. In addition, such an enormous surface force is usless when it has no orbital support (called High Guard). The Aslan have a clearly superior naval force, yet are weary from recent combat on Mertactor and other worlds. Independent shipping tonnages for Collace are 136 ships at 180,000 tons. Expected reserves from the Five Sisters are around 500,000 tons (but no definitive figure exists). All of the Yasheta vessels (except 4) are mercenary cruisers.
Order of combat must also be decided upon; it is best to let Aslan forward elements arrive first and be repulsed (causing elation among the characters) and then toss in the main Aslan fleet. Expect Five Sisters reinforcements in 2-5 weeks.
The pirates will (naturally) head directly for Collace and begin raiding the commerce lanes. The Aslan will attempt to defeat all military resistance before heading for Collace (be sure to note these two conflicting interests over the same objective!) The pirates and the Aslan are in no way connected, but both are commanded by Aslan leaders (one male and one female – many of the Aslan regulars may find a female military commander of such power rather bad practice).
All given troop strengths should be abided by. This adventure can be turned in any direction. It can be the start of a campaign during the Rebellion, or it can be a one- time occurrence. The decision is yours.
In actuality, the Aslan are unable to push past Collace in District 268, and is remembered as the bloodiest if any battle ever in the Spinward Marches (even surpassing previous frontier wars and conflicts).
Her actual name is Kariwaw, meaning "The Fiesty One". Commands a pirate fleet wandering the Spinward Marches at the time of the Rebellion. She is known by her followers to be ruthless and short of temper. She is never too quick to act but remains in deep thought much of the time. Only one of the Marches pirate fleet leaders.
Admiral Iridi Ligashuur
The youngest officer to ever command the Collace system naval forces. The Admiral was born of Zhodani parents, but often reaffirms his loyalty to the independent Collace and also to the Imperium (which is still reviewing Collace's membership application.)
A third generation mercenary who has built a vast paramilitary force for hire, Yasheta. He recently found financial backing from a local Imperial megacorporation in exchange for providing corporate security and intelligence gathering services in the Marches.
Commodore Deeke Roth
The commander of the Imperial Naval base on Motmos (in District 268.) A stoic leader.
Scout Leader Jittam Pirres
Was placed in command of the Collace Imperial Scout Service base in order to 'clean up' the command hierarchy. IISS sector command felt Roth was the perfect man for doing the job. Roth is a capable leader, but has a weak and somewhat irresponsible staff.