Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Traveller Tuesdays - Mercenary Encounters in Sphere Fenix

As a client state of the Third Imperium, one of the things that Sphere Fenix is well known for, is being the source of a number of very well known mercenary companies.  This is one of the few pieces of information about the economy of the Sphere that we get from the write up in the original Judges Guild publication of Crucis Margin.

As Mercenary craft are one of the possible encounters from the Sphere Fenix encounter system that has been slowly being developed here, it seemed appropriate to spend a little bit of digital ink on describing some of the main Mercenary Companies that operate both inside of and outside of the Sphere.  An actual table of encountered craft will follow in a separate article.

Excellent Hammer's Slammers painting by Shimmering Sword on Deviant Art
 When people discuss the Mercenary Companies of the Sphere, the phrase often used is "Mercenary Corps".  That is referring to any one (usually) of the Big Six.  While there are uncountless small subcontractor and independent operators (usually with not much more than a Company in strength of operatives, as well as some undetermined level of organic support - sometimes vehicles, sometimes drones and robotics, sometimes artillery, sometimes atmospheric craft, and sometimes starships), there are really on six big operators.  These corporations boast not only division strength (or much more) capability of ground forces, but also can field a full gamut of support equipment, from state of the art automaton support (robotics and drones), through atmospheric craft wings, and fleets of starships.

Gordon R. Dickson's Childe Cycle of sci fi novels are excellent, including the novel Dorsai!

The military strength of these are usually equal or surpassing that of many planetary militias, and these organizations will often be supporting any number of contracts simultaneously.  They are not limited to the Sphere, to the Sector, or even to the Quadrant, but will take on extended long term contracts, to include extended travel time, when the customer appears.

So the mercenary companies are:
  • Black Mountain
  • Force Green, Ltd.
  • Red Flag Corporation
  • Teekl and Salan
  • Harris Rangers
  • Dover Command
A little bit about each of these companies, and the planets where they have their headquarters.

Black Mountain - This company has its HQ and its history on the Sphere Fenix world of Marada, in the Mandin Subsector.
  • Marada (0813)  A484776-E N Ag Ri
 Marada is the third world around the star Diusi Alpha.  The system features 6 planets, 2 planetoid belts, and no gas giants.  The planet has an A class starport capability, with multiple ground port locations, and the main facility being an orbital high port.  Affiliated with that high port (DeLonga high port) there is also a Sphere naval facility, called Port Marada.  The planet itself is balkanized, with a number of different nation states splitting up its population of 5 million.  There are numerous space facilities, both on the single moon of Marada, as well as on other bodies, and in the planetoid belts, of the system.  The main world benefits from being both Agricultural and Rich.

 Black Mountain as a company is headquartered in the desert nation known as the Kingdom of Erdos.  The company itself gains it's name from the tallest mountain on the planet, which is in the Kingdom.  The company recruits from the various military bodies on the planet, as well as retirees and veterans of the Sphere Fenix Navy and Naval Infantry, that are in surplus because of Port Marada.

  Many of the senior officer corps of Black Mountain were/are nobility in the Kingdom of Erdos, and largely also share the same religion/philosophy common to that part of Marada.  This is called Zen Positivism and gives warriors who follow it a sort of bushido code.

 Being as close as it is to the Mandanin Co-Dominion, the company does feature several companies of Danin infantry, taking advantage of their natural martial nature to use them as rough terrain shock troops.  These Danin Companies are all commanded, at the field level, by Danin Officers.  Together they refer to themselves as the Tooth and Claw regiment.  The Danin homeworld of Kalradin is in the same subsector, which may explain why so many Danin in the male stage of development are available for employment.

Force Green, Ltd. -This company is very decentralized, but if it has a focused HQ, then that would be at the planetoid world of Marden, in the Negoiul subsector.

  • Marden  (1208) B000663-C    As
Marden is itself a shepherd moon (although small enough to be classed a Planetoid with size 0) around the gas giant Herscheli-2.  The star, Herscheli Gamma has 3 planets, and one gas giant.  The gas giant, in addition to the moon Marden, has a very mineral rich ring.  The whole system is a captive of the socialist bureaucracy that manages the nearby planet of Lycabettus (1209/Negoiul).  That world is classified as poor, because of bureaucratic mis-management, but also is quite mineral poor.  Because of it, multiple orbital colonies have been set up around Hescheli-2 to mine the gas giant of all sorts of resources (gas and mineral) and ship them back to Lycabettus.  Force Green, Ltd has a permanent contract to the Lycabettus government to provide security services at the moon of Marden.  

Between the moon and the many orbital mining stations, there is a population of 400,000.  Locally, Force Green Ltd. has an employee force of approximately 20,000, about half of those are combat/security operatives, and the other half provide the administrative support for both the Marden contract, and other contracts that the company hires out for.  Force Green tends to prefer long term contracts, performing either training, force protection, or security.  They have a fleet of starships, of course, and many administrative operations located where their contracts are, but they do not prefer to maintain heavy support equipment.

Red Flag Corporation - This company does not maintain a planet-side headquarters, but rather has a mobile starship based HQ.  In an early version of the failed company that Red Flag Corporation formed out of (Stayne Company), a contract for the Third Imperium included as payment a certain percentage of recovered salvage.  One of the things recovered was a lightning class cruiser, Imperial tail number 6396, the Guardian Rainbow.  The ship was rebuilt by Stayne Company (one of the misadventures that bankrupted that mercenary outfit), and renamed the Hecate.  The Third Imperium required that the Nuclear Dampeners and Meson Screens were removed, as well as the facilities for maintaining fissionable and fusionable munitions for the missile racks. When Stayne failed, and Red Flag Corporation was formed, the Hecate was one of the assets that the new company acquired.

 Unlike a standard Lightning Class Cruiser, the Hecate has had half of its 800t fighter storage space reclaimed and converted to troops storage, with training and recreation facilities included.
Red Flag Corporation specializes in space based operations, preferring to provide contracts for orbital facilities, starships, airless environments, and other space based locales.  They do not maintain heavy ground equipment, or atmospheric craft.  In addition to the Hecate, the Corporation also maintains a few dozen other, smaller, starships.  In most cases, these feature (in additional to normal ship's craft) boarding cutters rather than planetary landing shuttlecraft.

Teekl and Salan - This is a mercenary organization in flavor very similar to Hammer's Slammers.  It started out as a number of officers (Jon Teekl and Lisa Salan) who had recently cashiered out of Imperial Army service took their savings, and pooling those resources, secured some work as a Security outfit.  Slowly, reinvesting their early profits, Teekl and Salan (T&S) began to grow and grow.  Today, they even own a planet, having purchased the world of Wager from the Middle Kingdom (the star kingdom of Chhung Kuo).   
  • Wager 2302 D566569-9 Ag
Wager is the second planet around the star Silla Mu, and the system has 4 other planets, and a planetoid belt.  The world only has a populatoin of approximately 10,000, almost all of which are either employees of T&S, or dependents.  The majority of the population lives in a single arcology, called Chipdown Tower, and much of the agriculture richness of the planet is harvested by robotic factories.  
Painting by Daniel Maland, that captures very well what Chipdown Tower looks like.

The government is classified as Captive, because although it is technically a company meritocracy, all of the adjudicating and validation of those who serve are subjected to oversight and approval by Chhung Kuo representatives - one of the conditions that were placed on the Company when they purchased the planet (actually, it was part of payment for a job).  The local starport is somewhat crude, and T&S do not maintain much of their own fleet, preferring to hire out ships when needed.  The world has a high law level, but that only represents the intrusion of the Chhung Kuo overseers, and also the restriction on personal ownership of firearms.  Firearms owned as part of service to T&S
Wager is in the Souris subsector, located between the borders of Ramayan, Chhung Kuo and Sphere Fenix.  Needless to say, there is plenty of local work on the many worlds, and governments, within those star nations, but Teekl and Salan is still commanded, at the top, by a number of ex Imperial officers and Nobles, so they also favor contracts for the Imperium and for Imperial worlds.

Harris Rangers - The Rangers are a land mobility based Mercenary Company.  They specialize in armored units, and supporting artillery and logistics equipment.  They are not interested in space based operations (such as security contracts on space stations), nor do they operate a lot of infantry or atmospheric attack craft units.  Because of this they almost exclusively seek out contracts where they are involved in a force-on-force conflict, and they provide the armor edge to their employers.

The Rangers are stationed on the very small and very dry world of Tarat in the Olsztyn subsector.  The world is home to a population of 3,000, almost all of whom are employees of the Harris Rangers.  There is a taint in the atmosphere that, when exposed to for a period of time, renders the human female reproduction functions as inoperable (temporarily).  This can be countered by medication, although a lot of the officer corps of the Rangers who are female find the situation to be quite desirable.
  • Tarat 1311 C441455-A Ni Po
 The world is the 3rd planet around the Ubin Rho star system, and it shares it with 4 other planets, and two gas giants.  The world is almost perfect for training, with a very light gravity field, and being extremely dry (almost a desert world).  The starport is adequate for the hired transport traffic that comes into and out of the system to service the Harris Ranger's heavy lift demands.  

Umor Downport, almost always in perpetual night.

Tarat has a very minor axial tilt, and almost no seasonal variety.  The poles are almost always very dark, and the main starport for the world, Umor Down, is located at the 'north' pole of the planet.  An enclosed maglev train provides both cargo and passenger service to the main population and work center of the corporation, somewhat further 'south' on the planet.

Dover Command - Another general-purpose, mercenary company.  Dover Command came out of the early days of Sphere Fenix, being an organization that formed out of the armed element of one of the three main factions that eventually came out of the warring period and formed the Sphere.  That organization was the Megar Brotherhood, whose capital was the world of Jipujapa in the Negoiul Subsector.  

The Megar Brotherhood was an alliance of about a dozen worlds, all of which subscribed to a philosophy of equality and personal freedom.  They had a very effective military, but in the end, could not persevere over their rivals, and so sued for peace and became part of the Sphere.  A number of Officers from the Brotherhood Defense Force (BDF) decided to stick together.   They pooled some resources that they had, and purchased Dover Island on Jipujapa, which was a state of the art training facility of the BDF, complete with an atmospheric craft base, and ample room for expansion on the island.  This became the organization Dover Command, and they started taking on contracts, and slowly grew and grew over the past two centuries into a very large Mercenary operation.

  • Jipujapa      1010 B786899-D    Ri

Jipujapa is a rich planet,  with a population of 70 million, participating in a very effective, centralized bureaucracy.  Dover Island has been granted, by historic tradition to the breakup of the Megar Brotherhood, some autonomy and independence from the rest of the Planet.  The Command operates their own starport facilities, consisting of both Courant High Port, an orbital facility where much of the operational heavy equipment of the corporation is stored until required on a contract (to avoid the expense of lifting it up out of the gravity well), and also of Japa Mountain Spaceport, located high on the flat topped Japa mountain in the center of Dover Island.
Japa Mountain Spaceport
Dover Command is known for being ruthlessly independent, a factor that has probably contributed to their long existence and success.  As they own all their own transportation and logistics assets, this is far easier for them to do, than for other mercenary corporations, as they have to rely very little on either their employer or other contractors for support or transportation out of a bad situation.

Note: There is an absolute ton of information about Hammer's Slammers (one of my favorite Sci Fi mercenary organizations) in the Mongoose Publishing Traveller Variant by that name.  See a number of cool free downloads at their website.

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