Operation Demnan Rendezvous: Varikuur
Planning the Deepnight Revelation campaign, I’m plotting the route of the supply convoy that the Deepnight will rendezvous with at Point Demnan. It’s possibly not important, but it provides a chance for me to focus on the potential obstacles that the players will meet when they take a similar route, flesh out the details of these sectors, and also provide the players with background material on the same. Since the PCs will be the command crew, they need to make a decision about the potential route, which means they need information up front to be able to make an informed decision. So this will be part of the pre-mission briefing they will receive. Whether the Varikuur and its convoy actually followed this plan is something they will discover as the campaign unfolds.
This was going to be quick post, but I hadn’t grasped just how much space there is between Tobia and Point Demnan, so it’s going to be the first part of possibly two or three posts. Most of the material has been taken from the Traveller Map, though the data there is inconsistent. I’ve also used content from Paranoia Press.
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The Varikuur is a 30,000t demilitarised Gionetti class light cruiser. It was originally commissioned as the Fate of War in 1037, and it was sold by the Navy to Black Sky Industries in 1085, who purchased it after it required a major refit due to damage sustained during the Fourth Frontier War. With a promise to remove the spinal meson weapon (which had taken irrepairable damage anyway), Black Sky Industries covered the costs of refitting the ship. The main jump drive was replaced with a Jump-4 in order to make room for extra hangers and workshops.
The plan was to turn it into a pirate hunter, for sale to one of several potential buyers in the Outrim Void where it could operate independently for long periods of time away from a home base. By the time that the refits were complete in 1091, most of those potential sales had fallen through. Eventually an agreement was reached with Serendip Belt, but the Imperium refused to allow the sale to an Island power due to the risk of destabilising that region even further.
By 1094, the ship was sold to a trade conglomerate, the Outrim Trade Alliance, which wanted a ship capable of operating freely through the region, without fear of pirate attack. They had modifications made, to turn the hangers into extra cargo hold, and purchased it in 1097, renaming it as the Spectre of Commerce. Unfortunately, the expensive of running such a capable ship turned into their undoing, and what looked good on paper didn’t work out in practise. The Outrim Trade Alliance when bankrupt in 1103, and the ship was put up for auction. Ironically, it was bought back by the Imperium Navy in late 1104 who were by this time looking for a ship capable of a long distance mission. Some minor refits later at Tobia, and it was renamed the Varikuur.
Operation Demnan Rendezvous
The Varikuur was chosen to lead a mission to the far distant sector of Incognita Citerior. Along with it were to go two Paagdinnika class freighters, the Black Orchid and the Silver Nemesis. Both are 12,000t freighters which are jump-4 capable, allowing them to keep up with the command vessel. The actual full purpose of the mission is known only to a few members of the command crew, though the mission itself is relatively simple.
- Proceed to the system designated as Marshalling Point Denman at Icognita Citerior 3124, close to the neutron star Garva 411.
- Once at Point Denman, wait for the second mission to arrive, provide resupply and then head home. The Revelation mission will then continue on its journey along the Great Rift.
The route taken is mostly planned out in advance, though it is understood that there may need to be changes along the way as events unfold. This is the first major Imperial mission so far from its borders, and though civilian and scouting expeditions have gone most of the distance before, information on the sectors this far spinward is sparse and probably out of date.
The nature of the ‘Revelation’ mission is a closely guarded secret, and part of the choice of route is to try and follow a different part to what Revelation will be taking in order to reduce the chance of any hostile natives being able to find out about, and prepare for the second mission.
Captain Gakim Iirlimam Dakhik Nakeshkii will have command of the Vrikuur, and also the operation. The Varikuur is due to leave Tobia on 1106-162.
Across the Void
The first leg of the journey will be from Tobia and out across the Outrim Void, though most of the journey is planned to take part in Imperium space, so little is expected in the way of complications. However, it provides an opportunity to ensure that the ships are working well together, and that there aren’t any unexpected hardware issues. The first five jumps will take the Varikuur and its companion ships out beyond the Imperium’s borders.
- J-4 to Our Planet
- J-4 to Mirage
- J-2 to Gazulin
- J-4 to Caraz
- J-4 to Bantral (Imperial Client State)
Each of these allows for refuelling at a Gas Giant, and are considered friendly territory, so allowing for 10 days for each jump and refuel it should be about 50 days to get to Bantral. This is an Imperial client state, so is safe territory, and will be the final chance to check systems and ensure that all three ships are ready to continue the journey into potentially hostile territory.
From Bantral, it is a J-3 jump to Vior, where refuelling at the single gas giant will be necessary.
The obvious route would be to head into the Belgardian Sojurnate, but relations with that nation would be best described as hostile. The Sojurnate is desperately trying to retain a level of technology it has long since lost, whilst its people are followers of a xenophobic religious cult which treats outsiders as enemies.
Ganulph is listed as a Red system, but is relatively safe for refuelling at the gas giant. From there it is a simple J-4 to Pa’an. The big risk here is that Pa’an is home to powerful telepaths aligned with the Zhodani Consulate, and though there is a distant gas giant which is far from the central world, the small risk of running into psionically powerful telepaths is considered too high for this first mission.
An alternative route would be via Gollere, Nabeth and Fomalhaut. Nabeth is civilised and friendly to the Imperium, so is the preferred route. Gollere itself has no gas giants, but has an ice belt 18 AU from the star, which could be used for refuelling. The low technology level of the world means running into anyone this far out is unlikely.
The Strend Cluster is another pocket empire of dubious safety. Strend itself is a high technology world with a considerable navy, and its people are heavily cybernetically enhanced. Given the small size of the systems in the Strend Cluster, it would be relatively easy for the Strend navy to intercept any ships arriving to refuel.
- J-3 to Vior
- J-3 to Gollere
- J-3 to Nabeth
- J-4 to Fomalhaut
- J-4 to Jinx
Avoiding Strend and heading for Jinx should take 50-60 days.
Jinx (0440), in the Spinward Marches, is another Amber world, listed as dangerous due to its population which consists of a single family of known psychopaths. It has a couple of gas giants though, which are relatively safe.
After Jinx, there are fewer empires and more individual worlds, though this won’t make the route any easier. Several Vargr corsair worlds can be found at Thozgul, Thoznaen and others, making it a pirate haven. Iniidez (2903) though is an Imperium client state, making it a safe haven, of sorts, and a possible place to stop and seek any repairs if necessary, and leave a status update.
The following subsectors are a mixture of independent worlds and small pocket empires, several of which could be considered hostile. The coreward route is considered marginally safer, but slower, missing out the larger empires to rimward, the most notable of which are the Florian League and the Stormhaven Republic. Though these aren’t considered particularly dangerous, they might be obstructive, especially if they have time to suspect that something exceptional is going on. For this reason, a coreward route has been planned for the Varikuur, and a more rimward route is planned for the Deepnight Revelation, though this may change according to circumstances. If both followed the same route, then there is a chance the second part of the mission could be discovered, and plans put in place to intercept it.
The Aslan clans need to be avoided, which means keeping clear of the edge of the Rift until at least Iphigenaia Sector, making The Beyond and Vanguard Reaches the most likely routes. The most dangerous nation in the region, other than the Aslan, is the I’Sred*Ni Protectorate. The Sred*Ni are telepathic arachnid-like sophonts with a hive mind, and though they control only 7 systems, they are aggressive and have more than enough capability to cause problems for either mission.
So from Jinx the route goes into The Beyond sector, and should be performed as quickly as possible in order to avoid entanglements with local factions. It is expected to take 60-70 days.
- J-4 to Vrel
- J-3 to Iniidez
- J-3 to Agunvall
- J-3 to Cirat
- J-4 to Nyma
- J-4 to Degmann
- J-4 to Bantu
This skirts both the Katanga Empire and the Principality of Bruhkaar. The former is a new nation, still in the process of forming, created from a number of powerful pirate groups. It is considered dangerous, but disorganised and unable to extend effective power beyond its borders. The Principality is more established, but suffering internal strife so is also unlikely to show interest in anything happening beyond its own borders. Entering the Principality is likely to spark attempt by various noble factions to take advantage of the situation. Admittedly, this is more likely to cause harm to the Principality than it is to the Varikuur, but it is something that should be avoided.
The only other major power in the region is the Monarchy of Lod, which sits on the route between the Florian League and the I’Sred*Ni Protectorate. However, they can be considered friendly since they are mostly interested in trade and keeping the Sred*Ni at bay. Their position is too precarious for them to risk upsetting the trade relationships they have with the Imperium, so they could be considered a safe haven should it be needed. They are not on friendly terms with the corsairs to coreward, especially the Vargr, so may be willing to provide aid if the mission has run into problems with them.
The Corellan League
Bantu (1411) is a human occupied world which is part of the Corellan League, which spans almost four sub-sectors of The Beyond. It is not a particularly high tech world itself, a small world orbiting a watery gas giant around a cool M dwarf star. However, the Corellan League itself, originally founded by Solomani explorers, is nominally allied with the Imperium, though they use their position as one of the largest pocket empires in the region to also curry favour with the Zhodani. They are unlikely to cause trouble for ships flying the Imperium flag, though may show more interest than we’d like and there are bound to be spies everywhere. After Bantu, the next destination should be Shekerleb (1214), which will provide a class A starport, and a possible respite from the dash of the previous two months. Shekerleb is expected to provide a chance to carry out any repairs needed, and stock up on provisions.
There is a mix of high and low tech worlds in the League, and the organisation is loose at best. However, they have a shared foreign policy and well organised navy, keeping the region mostly free of pirates since there are much easier pickings to Rimward. There have been rumours of recent investigation into cybernetics and brain enhancements, though this hasn’t been confirmed.
The Corellan League is part of the Comsentient Alliance, which is a union of nations of multiple species throughout The Beyond and the Vanguard Reaches. It is considered a region of safety as far as the mission is concerned, and members of the Interworld Division of Enforcement Services may be contacted on most of the larger Alliance worlds (they should be present on any world with a C starport or better). These are Imperium agents who can provide information and aide should it be required, and act openly across the Alliance, though given resources available some of their methods may be less than open, and require the use of third parties.
The journey across the Corellan League and towards the Altarean Confederation, which will be the last point of civilisation before heading into uncharted territory, should be relatively smooth, and will be covered in the next part of the briefing.