Archive for January 2012

Chapter Seven: Under a Different Name   Leave a comment

Engineer Fannagus could not persuade Crafter Luceta to leave the documents in the Great Library unguarded. Chastened, he persuaded her to instead see if the Engineers could reach a peaceful solution: using their vast resources to copy the documents, quickly and harmlessly. After a night of meditation, humming in time with the rhythm of machines, Luceta agreed to try.

Crafter Luceta, Engineer's Guild

Captain Manx inquired at the local Muster office to see if he could get any more documentation on the incident that Major Cassardi was using to string him up: his “misappropriation” of Muster resources two years ago on Vera Cruz. His inquiries got the attention of Captain Anne Pavretagne, a local field officer after his own heart. Pavretagne spilled out a bitter story of a recent Muster defeat: a company of mercenaries decimated and scattered by some guerillas in the mountains to the south. The local nobility had pulled the Muster back, using their forces to isolate the guerillas and protect the mining camps in the south, but Pavretagne wasn’t satisfied. She wanted to stage a punitive raid, but lacked the authorization to do it. Manx, on the other hand, was a retired Muster captain and had just the right sort of experience in putting these kind of actions together. Manx promised he could do Pavretagne a favor if she could expedite his research.

Sir Victor spent days immersing himself in the politics of the al-Malik governor’s estate on Shaprut. He realized that Count Kaldun’s daughter, Meriel, would be the key to getting the Count’s ear. Over tea one afternoon, he laid out the truth of his story: that he was an unwilling participant in these al-Malik intrigues and wanted nothing more than to continue his pilgrimage. Meriel teased him mercilessly, but reluctantly conceded (after some close verbal sparring) that Victor’s vow of convenience with Ibrahim Amarjah was worthy of an al-Malik in its intrigue. She took him for a walk around her father’s estates, flirting with him all the while. The walk ended as the sun dipped below the horizon in a shaded bower, where Victor finally succumbed to Meriel’s temptations …

Lady Meriel al-Kaldun Howeitat al-Malik

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Posted January 16, 2012 by John Perich in Uncategorized

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Chapter Six: City on Fire (Part 2 of 2)   Leave a comment

So the thing that I always feared would happen has happened: I let too long go by without writing an update and lost my enthusiasm for it. So here’s a lightning fast recap of the second part of Chapter Six.

The pilgrims took their Li Halan ship to the al-Malik world of Shaprut. Sir Victor was summoned to the palace of the planetary governor, Count Kaldun, where he was asked to account for the revolutionaries’ behavior. Count Kaldun told Sir Victor that Duke Hakim al-Malik, reigning head of the entire al-Malik family, would be arriving in about two weeks so that Kaldun could hold a peace summit. Victor was expected to speak on Ibrahim’s behalf, which Victor found most unsettling.

Captain Manx noted that, within a day of arriving, all of the pilgrims had scattered without leaving a note: Brother Sand, Acolyte Gwinn, even Father Flavian and Lady Maryam.

Engineer Fannagus’ mail finally caught up to him, including a letter from Crafter Luceta, whose correspondence had inspired him to continue his research into AI. She warned him not to plug his think machine into the quantum core (too late) and told him to address any further correspondence to the Great Library of the Mutasih on Shaprut. He rushed off to the library, which was under very strict security procedures: he was searched before entering and exiting and was given a bracelet that would explode if he strayed more than ten feet from a bodyguard. But he was able to find Luceta and talk with her, though she waited until they left to ask for his help. The Great Library apparently had an extensive collection on AI programming languages – and she wanted to steal it.

Posted January 12, 2012 by John Perich in Uncategorized

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Chapter Six: City on Fire (Part 1 of 2)   Leave a comment

Engineer Fannagus spent a white night diagramming the quantum core’s output for how to rebuild the city’s fusion plant. The next morning, he recruited Ferizio and the two Engineers he’d rescued and laid out his mad plan. Ferizio wasn’t sure how it would work, but he owed Fannagus big, so he agreed. Fannagus solicited Captain Manx for help, who passed him on to his local Muster contact – the same hapless flunky who had lent him some goons before – for some hired help.

Sir Victor, Countess Adorna, Fr. Flavian and Acolyte Gwinn braved the crowds at the Achaeon Spaceport, a mad riot of Criticorum’s richest citizens. They found the Charioteer whom Ibrahim Amarjah had promised to aid them, but were confronted with an obstacle: the rest of the Amarjah family, all agitating to get offworld. Cutting across the tarmac to retrieve the Li Halan ship they’d arrived on, the pilgrims discovered a second obstacle: a mob of Li Halan cousins and envoys, all eager to use the pilgrims’ ship to get offworld.

Wheeling a cartful of borrowed Engineer equipment into the depths of the city, Fannagus and his crew set about repairing the broken power plant. They hurried to replace cylinders and reconnect ducts, all while monitoring security feeds. Enraged mobs of Achaeon’s poor started to batter at the doors, threatening to break in. Sweat pouring off his brow, Fannagus executed the final connections … and sighed with relief as power came back online.

At the spaceport, Sir Victor used a flash of Psyche to dissuade the Li Halan clerk from letting anyone aboard their ship. He was exhausted by the time he got back to the other terminal, however, and consented to let two dozen Amarjah relatives tag along. They waited for Fannagus and Ferizio, who came sprinting along the tarmac with an angry mob close on their heels. Acolyte Gwinn thinned out the mob with some automatic weapons fire and the pilgrims were able to depart.

Posted January 9, 2012 by John Perich in Uncategorized

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