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Alliance of Stars

by Lewis Roberts

In 1130 a mobile repair taskforce stopped at Bones for supplies and shore leave. The unit was an Imperial taskforce that had deserted Lucan and had set themselves up as repair and salvage experts for hire. Currently they were on a salvage operation, sweeping through the spinward section of Diaspora sector. After over ten years of war there were many wrecks scattered about. Most of these were not ressurectable, but they did have parts that could be used in other ships. These parts brought a premium on the open market. The taskforce figured it was a better living than throwing their lives away on some pointless mission of vengence. Also this way they were helping stave off the darkness, albeit for a profit.

The unit consisted of a mobile repair dock, the Beverly, two large bulk transports the Black Ridge and the Effigius and the escort destroyers, Caahalikou, Growler and the Insolent. In exchange for the needed supplies, they agreed to provide maintenance to some of Bones's home fleet. Bones had a starport rated as B, but Hard Times had degraded it to barely a C rating.

While repairing a recently inbound Subsidized Liner, the maintence crew noticed something odd about the ship's computers. It was the first manifestations of the Virus in Bones. The liner's computers had already been disconnected for maintence, so the ship was unable to infect the repair dock. The crew notified the downport and were able to shutdown most of the starport's networks, limiting the effects of the Virus.

The commander of the repair group, Commodore Arif Hoyt, sent out the taskforce's escorts to the neighboring worlds to warn other worlds about the disaster. They arrived too late for Hatfield and Beeridashal. On the other worlds of the cluster they were able to give enough warning to minimize the damage from the Virus. Instead of millions dead, the casualties were limited to hundreds of thousands.

After reporting back to Bones, the escorts scouted out the surrounding territory and discovered that most other worlds had not been as lucky. Many were totally devestated and others had suffered millions in casualties. This news terrified the inhabitants of the cluster. Panic and despair set in. Commodore Hoyt realized that it would take the efforts of the entire cluster if any of the worlds were going to survive. He proposed that an alliance be created to ensure that as many survived as possible. The worlds of Vigo, Jene, Zehkesii, Six Gun, Bones, Justabit and Miilo agreed, and so the Alliance of Stars was born. High Point refused citing soverignty issues and a general disbelief in the scope of the problem.

Commodore Hoyt sent his taskforce to evacuate the planet of Miilo, he felt that its 500 inhabitants would be safer on Jene. Also with High Point refusing to join and Beeridashal already dead, Miilo was just too far away from the rest of the cluster to safely patrol. The inhabitants put up a protest, but the Commodore Hoyt and his marines persuaded the inhabitants to leave. Hoyt also persuaded the government of Jene to give the Miiloans housing and to integrate them into the community.

Diplomats from the six remaining worlds converged on Bones, and together with Commodore Hoyt they hammered out the structure of the Alliance. Their would be a council composed of seven members, one from each of the worlds and one from the taskforce. The council would have a rotating president, who was picked from one of the seven members every six months. The first head was Commmodore Hoyt. The Alliance was not interested in internal matters of the individual worlds, but only in keeping the worlds alive. To this end, they formed the Watch, which would patrol Alliance worlds and the surrounding territory, protecting it from raiders and Vampires. All available warships were attached to the Watch, but each was owned and crewed by the owning worlds. The Beverly would be stationed at Bones, and would provide upgrades and routine maintence to the ships of the Patrol. It would also try to start manufacturing new starships, to supplement the Patrol. The Patrol initiated its first patrol on 1131-94.

Later that same year, the individual worlds discovered that a great deal of material could be scavenged from the dead worlds surrounding them. Particularly Hatfield, with its high-tech research labs. Each of the worlds sent scavager teams to Hatfield, in a rush to aquire as much of the high tech goods as possible. The scramble for each planet to grab its fair share of the relics almost broke into warfare, but Commander Hoyt sent in his Escort Destroyers and brokered a truce. The Alliance declared Hatfield an Alliance resource and greatly limited the number of groups from each world that could mount salvage operations. Each group was allowed to keep the results of its work for itself. The individual worlds quickly nationalized these groups and treated the goods coming from Hatfield as a national resource.

None of the worlds of the Alliance ever fully trusted each other. There was the simmering hatred between Bones and Six Gun, from the colonial days. Officially the two worlds were aligned, but the government of Bones always treated the Six Gun Admirals with condecension. The others had their petty arguments and disagreements, that kept them divided. There was an eternal power struggle to become the dominant world in the Alliance. This was not a struggle fought with starships and troops, but one fought with backroom deals and character assasination.

In first few days of 1132 a Free Trader brought word that High Point had been attacked and looted by an unknown force. All the inhabitants were either dead or missing. It was never discovered if this was the work of Vampires or human raiders. This sent a shockwave though the Alliance, and the Alliance intensified its efforts to build new starships. It also deepened the paranoia that was slowly setting among the people of the Alliance.

The Beverly was able to produce non-jump ships, but it didn't have manufacturing capabilites for primary components of a jump drive. It did have the technical plans, but a factory had to be built and the designs tested before production could begin. In the mean time it produced SDBs and fighters for the worlds of the Alliance. Each world received ship tonnage in proportion to its population.

In 1135 after several setbacks, the Alliance produced its first jump capable warship. The Hunter-class was a 1000-ton built for offense. It sacrificed mobility and speed for firepower. The Taskforce's two bulk Transports had been turned into battle tenders, able to carry dozens of SDBs and fighters. The Alliance started manufacturing dozens of Hunter class ships a year. The Alliance had also upgraded the starports on Bones, and Zehkesii to B capacity, so they could produce SDBs and Monitors, while the Beverly produced Hunter-Class ships. These starports were run by the Alliance and divided the output among the various worlds.

By 1140, the worlds of the Alliance were armed to the teeth. Almost all the efforts of the last ten years had gone into building up the military. Little effort had been focused on repairing the damage caused by the Rebellion, Hard Times and the Virus. All of the worlds were hanging on, but by a thin thread. The people on each of the worlds were gripped by a constant fear that Virus, raiders, pirates, or something else would appear and wipe them out. The economies of each of the worlds was slowly fall apart, as the worlds fortified themselves to the exclusion of all other concerns. Basic infrastructure was ignored as the worlds rushed to protect themselves from external threats.

In 1142, the salvage team from Bones unearthed what was rumoured to be a super weapon of awesome power. The delegation officially denied that they had found any weapon, but that did nothing to stop the rumours. In some eyes, the denial just confirmed that a superweapon had been found. With such a weapon, Bones could dominate and even conquor the other worlds of the Alliance. Each delegation sent word of this to their homeworld and waited for the response. It is not sure who, but someone attacked the Bones salavage team. Soon all the salvage teams were engaged in vicious street fighting. Dozens of conflicting rumors spread on who had the supposed superweapon and where it was. The Caahalikou was stationed in the system as part of the force protecting the system. Its commander decided he had to take action before the fighting spread. He ordered the participants to cease hostilities and sent in his marines to separate the combatants. While his marines were descending to the surface, the Caahalikou exploded and was lost with all hands. Whether this was the superweapon at work, sabotage, an accident or something else was not known, but the marines reacted violently. They lashed indiscriminitatly at the nearest target, which turned the fighting into a seven-way battle.

The forces patrolling the system were made up of ships from each of the world; the Caahalikou's commander had kept them from joining the fighting by threat of retaliation. With the Caahalikou destroyed, that threat was removed and the orbiting starships moved into protect their salvage teams. Soon the starships were engaged in a battle mirroring the one on the surface.

After the ships from Zehkesii failed in all their attempts to communicate with their salvage team, they correctly assumed that the team had been wiped out. Realizing that there was nothing left for them to do here, they jumped for the home system. After the Zehkesii government heard the news that a superweapon had been found and was in unknown hands, the decision to react preemptively was made. The Zehkesii navy was ordered to attack and destroy as much of the system navies of the other worlds in the Alliance. They would alter their transponder signals to appear as coming from other worlds of the Alliance.

The heads of the Zehkesii government rightly assumed that each of the worlds would react to these unprovoked attacks and would respond by attacking the homeworld of the navy that they thought had attacked them. After the other worlds of the Alliance had battered themselves senseless, Zehkesii would be able to move in and take control of the pieces.

The Zehkesii attacks on Bones and Vigo were particularly succesful, but their forces attacking Six Gun were met by a fully alert force. The Zehkessi forces attacking Six Gun were flagged to appear to be Jene Naval units. Six Gun had heard about the fighting over Hatfield, and was mustering a force to attack Bones. The Six Gun fleet wiped out the small Zehesii force and jumped to Jene to retaliate for this assault. So the Alliance fell, as each world lashed out at the others, in retaliation for previous attacks. These attacks were not soley launched at military targets. These naval commanders had come of age in the Black War of the Rebellion and had learned its lessons well.

The Taskforce tried to halt the fighting, but was sucked in by irresistable pull. The Beverly was destroyed by Justabit suicide commandoes who had smuggled aboard a fusion bomb aboard. The Black Ridge disappered and its fate was never determined. There was a mutiny aboard the Insolent by Bones sympathizers. The ship's captain crashed the ship onto Bones's moon rather than let if all into enemy hands. The Growler and Effigius tried to limit the extent of the fighting. They launched several peace initiatives and managed to host two separate cease-fire talks, but both times, the combatants were only using the cease fire to rearm.

Over the next three years, the Alliance slowly destroyed itself. The problem was that the worlds had almost identical ships and defenses, and no one side was able to make significant gains. The war turned into a war of attrition. A civil war broke out on Jene, and both sides of the conflict continued to carry out the war against the Alliance.

If the worlds of the Alliance had not suffered enough, in late 1145 a Vampire Squadron moved into the Cluster. The defenses that had been built to protect the Alliance against such an attack had been fettered away in a useless war, and the Vampire Squadron was able to move with impunity. The Growler and Effigius heard of the Vampre Squadron attacks and tried to intercept it. They arrived too late after its bombardment of Six Gun, Bones, and Zehkesii. They managed to intercept it in orbit around Justabit. This was more to luck than any understanding of where the Vampires were going to strike next. The Growler and Effigius engaged the Vampires. The Captain of the Growler tried to do his duty to protect the Alliance, even though he doubted they deserved it. The Vampires outgunned the human ships by a factor of three, and put it to good use. After a five hour engagement, the Growler and Effigus were both wrecks, but they had managed to inflict severe damage on the lead two Vampires. The Vampires decided to leave the cluster to seek easier targets.

The worlds of the alliance were left in ruins. Between the Vampires and the war amongst themselves, all but a handful of their starships had been destroyed. Those that did survive, would soon fall into disrepair. The worlds of the Alliance would survive, but not as starfaring worlds.

Adventure Ideas/Comments
1)The superweapon might or might have not been real. The RC might hear about the weapon and send in a team to aquire it. With the Guild being headquarted on Justabit, it has certainly heard about the weapon, but most of the leadership believe it a myth. Maybe one captain uncovers new evidence and seeks out the weapon. If he did secure the weapon, he could force his way onto the Council of Captains.

2)The fall of the Alliance of Stars had a profound impact on the founders of the Guild. Twice in 100 years, governments have tried to rule the stars, and twice have fallen apart in infighting. This proved to the founders that governments were incapable of governing the stars, and something else had to be tried.

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