Cole Jackson

Human Soldier/Warrior played by Jimmy Ashley

Stellar Nation: Austrin Ontis

Ship: Lancelot

Mercenary and quintessential AO soldier, hired as general hired gun for the drive sat project.

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  1. What’s that doing here?

    The Asteroid Belt in FS30 system (Mhemne system)

    You and the crew are still docked at the Belter Mhemne hidden asteroid base.  The United Planetary Federations (the governmental and military arm of the Zebulon’s Expanse, a group you have come to affectionately call the UpFeds) have been rather pushy about getting help from you and you have not seen a lot of return for the efforts, until now.  Contact with the Mhemne could turn into a stellar gold mine for the Austrin-Ontis (AO).  Through simple scans of their weapons, there are subtle efficiencies in the designs and re-engineering that would benefit AO greatly.  The Belters have a great understanding of engineering and weapons design.

    It is not lost to you that the UpFeds are using your group.  Most of the crew are members of the Galactic Concord (or just the Concord).  Although each of you are members of a different Stellar Nation within the Concord, the UpFeds see you as Concord, plain and simple.  This is as new to them as it is to you but right now, both sides seem to be using each other to gain power over the regions of space between the Concord and the Expanse – the area that includes the Verge and the Orion Frontier (or just Frontier).

    The question to you is how to make a profit without getting killed or igniting another expensive galactic war. :Little border wars are fine but full scale war tend to have negative effects on profits in the long run.

    This brings you to the present.  An enemy of the UpFeds seems to be making moves in the Frontier that the UpFeds don’t like.  In fact, it is in violation of a war treaty signed a couple of centuries ago.  The Sathar don’t mean much to AO or to the Concord but they could if they prove to be a threat and want to start a war anywhere near the Verge.  The biggest concern in all of this is that VoidCorp, another Concord stellar nation, has (1) been in this region longer than most other stellar nations have known about it (2) had contact with the Zebulon’s Expanse before the Concord has (3) is apparently working with the Sathar to build war fleets, combining their tech with Sathar tech.  VoidCorp was an enemy of AO during the last war and any advancement of their goals is a loss to AO.

    Docked at this asteroid base, the UpFeds have asked you to help with first contact with the Mhemne in this system they have labeled FS30.  The Sathars are subjugating the Mhemne, pitting factions against each other while committing a near genocide on their homeworld.  It is unknown what VoidCorps role is in the occupation of the system, but it is safe to assume it is not noble.

    After the initial negotiations with the Belters of the Mhemne, you learned that the Mhemne are a divided people between the aristocratic Homeworlders, the fractured Colonials, and the Belters.  The asteroids are now being mined by Sathar robots, while at the same time, they are hunting down and annihilating the Belter Mhemne.  Although the Mhemne were outcasts from the homeworld, they were better off being subjugated by the Homeworlders than killed off by the Sathars.

    The UpFeds don’t really feel that the Belters are a good representation of the Mhemne as a people, so they have asked you to go to the Homeworld to see if you can find the resistance there.  A plan has been devised to get you there, using the magnetic slingshot the Sathars are using to mine the asteroids.  This plan sounds dangerous but if you can free the Mhemne, it might be worth it.

    While preparations are being made for the infiltration of the slingshot (intel gathering, waiting for the right window in Sathar security and other factors), you have been able to wander freely about the asteroid.  It is a hodge-podge of technology, most you don’t recognize.  However, stumbling across a scrap heap the Mhemne claim are Sathar attack robots the Mhemne attacked and destroyed, you found you did recognize – AO tech that should not be out here.  Weapons and targeting tech integrated with Sathar tech that should not be.  As far as you know, AO has no trade going out this far beyond the Verge.  So either this is something new for AO or someone is smuggling AO tecch outside the Verge without Concord and AO’s knowledge.  This could look badly on AO and bring unwanted Concord attention on AO.

  2. Algemron Connection

    The Asteroid Belt in FS30 system (Mhemne system)

    You investigation into the AO tech being found amoungst the Sathar robot tech is concerning but is slow in producing any leads.  The serials numbers are scratched off, but you can draw enough information from the make and model to determine that they were made in the controversial Algemron system, in the Verge.

    Algemron system is a disputed system that has been at war since the start of the Second Galactic war in 2346 (it is now 2501).  The system was settled in 2326 by two stellar nations – Austrin-Ontis and the Thuldan Empire.  When the war started, the two colonial factions went to war.  The system is blessed with two Earth like worlds in consecutive orbits, and each planet is colonized by these factions. 

    The Long Silence is the period when the Verge was separated from the Stellar Ring (100 years).  During that time, these two factions continued to war.  Although now divergently different from their original nations, these two stayed loyal to the ideals of their original stellar nations, for the most part.  The only major difference was the  AO colonists – from the planet Galvin – changed to a military state. 

    Since being re-contacted by the Galactic Concord in 2497, the colonists have been declared independent from their stellar nations by the Concord as part of a mandate to distance the stellar ring and its factions from the continued war in Algemron.  Neither AO not Thuldan Empire were happy about that and continue contact with the respective colonists.  AO has subsidiary on Galvin called Austrin Limited.

    This technology you found is from Austrin Limited.  The fact that they are outside the Algemron system would be a violation of Concord mandate on the Algemron system.

  3. Algemron Intrigue
    System: Libertas. Planet: Ninguis

    One of the crew of the Purgatory, named Kent, draws your attention.  The fact that the AO weapons that were smuggled into this area were from Algemron and the fact that Kent is from that system could not be a coincidence.

    The one key thing about these weapons hasn’t come to light until you found clues to it in the existing corporate files you had onboard the Lancelot (seeing that it would take days to connect with the Datagrid in the Verge).  The weapons are experimental.  AO was sending these weapons to the Algemron system illegally and using it as a testing ground for experimental and questionable weapons.  If this got out, it would not go over well with enemies or allies.

  4. The Agent Revealed

    Mhemne Homeworld, Ninguis

    Hidden within some of the data retrieved from the IMPP facility mainframe, Cole Jackson was able to find out the AO/Void Corp smuggler/agent name.  Bradford Kane, a representative from the special weapons section in the Verge division.  His group was assigned to the Verge and given wide latitude to do his job.  His job was to research and develop weapons for any new threats the Concord might face.  In doing that, it would require to research new threats.  This could be what Kane is doing.

    AO is always looking for new business and new effective technologies.  This pursuit has sent out R&D agents to all ends of the known regions of space, searching for new technologies.  Some agents go into unknown regions at high personal risk to gather intelligence on new enemies.  Some of these deep cover agents are never heard from while others are vaulted to the highest regard within AO society after finding good intelligence or artifacts.  These gents are the most protected and secret personnel of the AO organization.  Kane could have been one of these agents.

    However, to turn and help one of AO worst enemies is a whole level of disloyalty that few see in the AO organization.  Especially from the most protected and prided. It is unknown what could have driven Kane to help VoidCorp, but smuggling weapons from a restricted system – experimental weapons on top of that – is a considerable offence and could get AO back home in hot water with the Concord. There would be a considerable reward for the return of this agent to AO officials.

  5. Operation Ferret: The Final Stage of the Campaign

    L4 Station, Libertas System

    What has gone on before…

    For several months now, the party has been involved in the liberation of the Mhemne people from the clutches of thought to be a new Sather incursion outside of their own space. This being the first time anyone has seen Sathar activity outside their “empire” in a over 200 years, it was a surprise to see them so “advanced” despite restricted trade and embargos from all known parts of the Expanse. Apparently, the Sathars have had contact with others.

    One of those others was Void Corp, who are in all levels of Concord legal violations by interacting with a known enemy of a potential ally. But there is something more about the Sathars that has the party wondering that perhaps there is more to this plot than just a Sathar expansion attempt.

    It was already well know that the Sathar society was heavily dependent on robotics and cybernetics. However, no one imagined advancements like the Sathars display in the Libertas (Mhemne) system. The advancements range from simple cybernetic integration into their robotic chairs to full cybernetic and organic tech upgrades to their entire bodies. The workers on the surface of the Mhemne world had the very simple advancements and were aided by heavy robotic units that showed considerable improvement since the Sathars were last encountered. There was also evidence that these Cybered-Sathars (or Cythars) were experimenting with Mhemne, trying to integrate similar technology into the near-human race

    On L4 station, there was considerable more surprising developments.

    Upon arriving onto L4 through the experimental teleporter, the party encountered the first of many advanced Cythars (command level, perhaps) as well as similarly cybered Mhemne. It appeared as if Sathars were turning less and less Sathar as they party went up the chain and more something else.

    The first level of the L4 Station the party encountered was the Shuttle bay level. Fighting their way through, they found the Mhemne technology overlaid with the organic tech of the Cythars, spreading like some infection. In organically shaped alcoves, Cy-Mhemne as well as a few Cythars stood silent, connected to whatever central consciousness there was. Some awoke to confront them while others did not. It was a lein combination of simple technology of the Mhemene, overlaid the sinister alien tech of the Cythars.

    After the shuttle bay level, an elevator took the party to the Shuttle Crew Deck. This two was a fairly familiar design, where the shuttle pilots would come and go, like a starport terminal. However, it has been converted much like the previous deck they encountered. Many more Cy-Mhemne stood in alcoves, oblivious to the party’s arrival. Others did awaken and attack but once the first wave failed, no second wave followed.  After sorting out a few problems involved a errant grenade that landed too close to the station outer wall, the party discovered a yong Mhemne crawling in the air vents of the station.

  6. The Lighthouse Arrival

    Lighthouse Station, Libertas System

    The Lighthouse is a traveling space station representing the power of Galactic Concord within the Verge.  All stellar nations as well as a few of the Verge powers have representatives on board.  As does the Galactic Concord.  The Austrin-Ontis ambassador – Ambassador Sebastion Vallest – is an old family friend to the Jacksons.  Colt’s father served with Vallest in the AO military during the Second Galactic War.  Like many men of AO blood, Vallest is about glory and honor in battle.  Being assigned as an ambassador to the diplomatic station was more a curse than an honor.  Vallest is like a wild beast contained in a cage.  He conducts a variety of tournaments to keep the beast within at bay.  Vallest is also a collector of exotic weaponry.  He particular loves alien weaponry as well as ancient alien artifacts that could be weapons.  He has a heavily guarded private museum of his collection that he at time shows off.

    The arrival of the great space station also brings opportunity as well as competition.  The Expanse and the Frontier (the space between the Verge and the Expanse) bring all kinds of opportunity for weapons trading.  The Libertas incident only shows that this area is as much a powder keg as the Stellar Ring is.  Of course, it is not AO’s goal to instigate any such violence, but if it happens to ignite, there is nothing wrong with pursuing the opportunities that arise.  For Colt, it would not hurt to make himself available to help in whatever opportunities the powers-that-be are pursuing as well.

  7. The Arms Deal

    Lighthouse Station, Libertas System

    Austrin-Ontis Unlimited, skirting trade laws and treaties, has made a covert deal with a faction of Yazirian and Human merchants.  They appeared interested in explosives as well as some custom non-lethal weapons and wanted to keep the deal quiet.  After the assassination attempt on Kima, it is quite apparent that (1) the Vrusks are aware of the presence of the customer (2) They are not afraid to announce it, which means they do not seem to be too concerned about their plans.  This would prove to only complicate matters .

    The first priority in a deal like this is deniability.  As it is only Galactic Concord rules that might be broken – the Libertas is not exactly their jurisdiction – Cole had to arrange the exchange off station, between the customer and a third party.  This third party would have to be someone trustworthy to the AO cause.  AO has a pool of mercenaries and deal brokers that it typically accesses in a situation like this but with Cole’s relation to the Heroes of Libertas, special care needed to be taken.  Cole did a short search and dug around until he found an old friend that last he remembered was on Lighthouse station.  Luckily he still was.

    James Flareright was an independent trade and merchant pilot for hire.  Cole ran across him decades ago in a deal in the Algemron system.  Very few people know that Cole and James had contact and that made it even better for this kind of deal.  Cole and James rarely walked in the same circles but always had the same goal in mind – self preservation and profit.

    There was only one problem. Flareright was in the custody of Galactic Concord Marines.  Apparently it was over something about brokering an illegal deal with the Belter Mhmene and weapons of mass destruction.  This guy did not waste time.  That was what Cole remembered about him – an eye for opportunity, light years long.  He must have had a little Rigunmor blood in him.

    Breaking him out of Galactic Concord custody was going to be no small feat.  Digging to find out his location, further circumstances behind his detainment and any legal representation he may have, Cole found very little other than his cell location and a transfer order for Flareright from an internal security department to a port authority cell.  His ship was being detained in the port near that port authority station.  Knowing that a few dead Galactic Concord marines would not go over well on this station, Cole had to resort to less effective methods – non-lethal.  Obtaining information on lesser known access ways that will allow him to intercept the transfer and donning his best covert gear, Cole set out to free Flareright.

    The marines were less than ready for Cole assault and in short order, they were on the floor and Cole was standing over Flareright.  Once Cole removed his tac-mask, Flareright recognized his savior and they immediately left the area to deal with his ship.

    One of the resources obtained from the ambassador was a confiscation order from the embassy to take over his ship, under the suspicion of smuggling items from Algemron.  What better lie than one grounded in some truth.  Cole switched to his best AO uniform and handed Flareright a subordinate uniform.  Putting on their best performance for the Galactic Concord marines guards, the ship was relinquished to AO custody and they were allowed to board. 

    Flareright new that he would have to leave the Lighthouse despite the long trip back with his Rate 10 star drive.  But before he left, Cole had something he needed him to do.

    The exchange of money and weapons would have to take place off station.  This region of space does not fall under Galactic Concord law so a lot of loop holes can be exploited if the Galactic Concord became a problem.  Flareright insisted on taking the ship much further out then Cole was comfortable with, entering orbit around the first gas giant in the system beyond the asteroid belt.  Relaying the rendezvous point to the customer contact and stopping to pick up the merchandise, Cole settled in for the short in-system trip.  Cole was prepared to pose as a crewman of Flareright’s The Stellar Jackpot to further conceal his identity.  Using portions of his tactical gear and spare clothes from Flareright, he felt he concealed his identity fairly well.

    The customer was late.  Cole sat staring at this massive gas giant, fascinated by the swirl of colored gases and the occasional flash of lightening beneath the gaseous chaos of this unnamed world.  He was sure the Mhemne had a name for it but he did not know it.  Legends among the gas giant miners of Corrivale say that you should not stare too long at a gas giant, you might lose you mind or something like that.  But Cole had been staring at it for thirty minutes and felt no different.  When he stepped away however, his head was pounding.  Maybe that’s what they meant.

    Cole’s silence was interrupted by Flareright calling him to the bridge.  Much smaller than the [party’s ship], The Stellar Jackpot was functional for the traders needs.  It was a hauler with a huge cargo bay but very little else in the way of accommodations.  In the bridge, Flareright was staring over his sensor package and pulled up a 3D hologram of one its readings. 

    "Something is out there" was all Flareright could say.

    The readings showed something big – not huge but fairly big – orbiting the gas giant that was not a moon or asteroid or other stellar debris.  Something artificial.  And it had power – very low power but some power.  It was just within sensor range, so it was on a slow orbit on the out-layers of the gas giants gravitational reach.  From what Cole could tell, it was alien in design, perhaps Mhemne or something else.  It did not seem to be powering up, moving towards them and it did not seem to be scanning in any way.  There was a faint beacon coming from it, but it was very faint and untranslatable.  Too far out to check out now, with the limited supplies they had on board, but definitely something to look at later.

    Not long after the mysterious discovery, the customer arrived.  Docking took a few minutes, pressurizing the cargo bay took a few more.  Entering into the cargo bay was two Yazirans and three humans.  Cole kicked himself for not taking the time to hire a few mercs for backup but at least he sent the encoded rendezvous coordinators to the ambassador.  At the very least, he will now where to find their bodies if this goes south.

    The human came forward with brief case in hand.  Since there had not been yet an exchange rate set up between the Expanse and the Stellar Ring nations, the only currency the two could exchange was precious metals.  The human’s body language seemed to indicate there was some considerable weight in the case.  In silence, he lifted it and placed it on the crate.  The group of newcomers all looked at each other nervously and waiting for someone to make his move.  Flareright stared back and proceeded to direct one of his auto-dollies to pull in the merchandise, contained in large cases.  The dolly was Cole’s idea. If things went bad, the dolly was programmed to take one commend and scoot away from the scene immediately.

    Cole saw one of the humans flinch first and knew that something bad was going to happen.  The human raised his weapon and mumbled something into an obviously hidden microphone.  Cole fired but the target was too quick as it dove behind some crates and squeezed off a shot at the human that had the brief case. They had a mole.  Cole and Flareright were already behind cover and the merchandise was gone.  The yazirians let out a raging scream and the third human both took their own cover.

    Proximity alarms from the bridge were sounding, indicating the human had backup – probably fighters on their way to attack.  How did the sensors miss those? thought Cole.  It was apparnet that this guy did not intend to survive.  Knowing that, Cole had to make his move.  This ship was going to be a sitting duck if they could not get to the bridge.  Cole fired from one side of his cover and moved around the other side where Flareright was.  "Cover me" and he also signaled the others to do the same.  Blaster and laser fire rained onto the crate the mole had chosen, causing some damage but not enough.  Cole leap from over top his crate to the mole’s and brought his weapon down on his target.  Both fired.  Cole flew back taking a shot square to the chest and the target sprawled back against a while with two steaming holes in his upper chest and shoulder.  Cole had armor.  The target did not.

    Unfortunately, the mole had already served his purpose – a beacon for the fighters to home in on.  Flareright was already on his way to the bridge and Cole was heading to the hidden bubble turret on the bottom of the ship.  The others headed to their ship, merchandize in hand and leaving the payment on the crate.  The two ships separated just as the first volleys from the five fighters were soaring past both ships.  The other ship took a couple of hits, and the Jackpot’s shields absorbed two as well.

    Splitting off in two directions revealed the priorities of the fighters.  Two following the Jackpot while three followed the other ship.  It was less armed then the Jackpot. Flareright took his ship towards one of the inner moons of the gas giant, paying no attention to the other ship.  The transaction was done, deal over.  They had no obligation to help them.  Both Cole and Flareright debated it over and over in their own heads.  But then something occurred to them – new customers dying after the first deal was bad for business.  Cole fired again at the pursuing fighers, clipping one on the side and it went spinning off into the gas giant, helpless in the gravitational pull of the planet.

    The fighters were strange and alien.  If Cole had a guess, he would say they were Vrusk fighters.  He confirmed his suspicion when the second fighter came in way to close and he could see inside the cockpit.  Inside was a flight suited praying mantis-looking creature.

    Flareright dodged and weaved the ship around the small moon as Cole fended off the final fighter.  It finally zigged when it should have zagged and it was a ball of flame and debris a second later.  Flareright adjusted course once he found the customer’s ship on sensors.  It still was being pursued by three fighters, it’s meager defenses unable to challenge the Vrusk fighters.

    Flareright had his own weapons at his disposal – a pair of forward firing mass drivers – and they were ablaze as he took the ship into a course that intercepted the fighters who were closing in on the other ship.One fighter was immediately a ball of fire and the other two broke off pursuit to engage the newcomer.  That’s when Flarefight flipped the Jackpot, giving Cole a clear shot at them.  One followed its partner into oblivion and the other was left spinning over in flames. 

    Both ships exchanges pleasantries and departed.  That probably earned Cole and Flareright a future favor from the customer, who ever they were.

  8. The Federal State of Algemron, Planet Galvin

    Hunting the Warhulk

    According to the navigation data it transmitted to the StarMech relay at Tendril, the Warhulk has plan to continue the war, attacking known Thuldan targets in the Verge.  It’s primary target is the fortress colony of Alitar in the Algemron system.

    The former Austrin-Ontis colony in the Algemron system is on the planet Galvin, ruled by the Federal State of Algemron (FSA).  They have since strayed from many of the ideals of the A-O ideals because of the on going war with the Alitarian enemies but they still continue relations with their former Stellar Nation brethren.  However, it’s not a relationship that all A-O citizens are proud of.  Galvin is a military state, ruled by a military dictator (Supreme Commander Haila Sheref  – human female) and is known for one of the most feared intelligence and espionage organizations in the Verge, the Intelligence Directorate of Galvin.

    The relationship between the Stellar Nation of AO and the FSA is a shaky one.  Both sides try to jockey the other for more favors, profit earning materials, or power.  AO hopes at some point, the Galactic Concord will enforce a truce eventually but that does not seem to be coming anytime soon.  So the Galvintes and the Thuldan-descended Alitarians continue do battle and AO does what it can to gain a profit from it.

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