Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Traitor of Hira

The Prisoners and Exiles manuscript had a chapter titles "the Known Worlds Most Wanted", and was to be a catalogue of the 10 most wanted and desperate criminals in the Empire. Two of these were updates / rewrites of existing characters, the Devil Beliah and Tricinia Isterot.

Adreck Rom – The Traitor of Hira
“You dishonor my name and my actions and call me traitor. But have I not made you a hero? Without me you would be just another soldier doomed to a forgotten death on the battlefield. A hero is forged and tested in trial and adversity and I have given you that. I have tested you, I have made you worthy, I have made this war worthy of heroes. Now that you stand before me we will see how your story will end, in glory or in tragedy. En garde!”
-Adreck Rom to Sir Renaldo Hernadez (deceased), 5006, Hira

“Harden your heart brother, for you will not best me with words alone. En garde!”
-Adreck Rom to Sir Alfonzo Romerez de Vera Cruz (deceased), 5007, Hira

Adreck Rom was born Adreck Romerez de Vera Cruz as the seventh son of the prominent Hazat nobleman Phillipe Montoia Romerez de Vera Cruz and destined to inherit less than nothing from this father’s estates. As a boy he dreamed the dream of all young Hazat, of the battlefield, of fighting heroically, being victorious, and being celebrated as a hero. As a young man he joined the war effort against the Kurgans for his house, dreaming of the great heroics he would perform and stories of his courage that would be told when the battle was won.
Adreck’s first and only posting was not to the frontlines on Hira as he had hoped, but to the Frigate Erasmus stationed in the outer reaches of the Hira system, about as far as he could be sent from the real action. He did see action, not on the battlefield, but in small, unsung boarding actions against insignificant prey, such as a ship carrying Kurgan pilgrims, a lost Kurgan picket, and numerous small scout ships. Two years had passed and Adreck was no closer to being the hero he knew he should be.
An ambush nearly destroyed the Erasmus, the boarding action against them was hard fought but eventually Adreck and the surviving crew drove the Kurgans back. Under his command, the wounded frigate limped back to Vera Cruz for repairs. Instead of being hailed a hero for saving his ship, Adreck was scorned for fleeing the battlefield rather than finishing off the Kurgan raiders. A short period of imprisonment followed while he awaited the outcome of his court martial. The result was a dishonorable discharge from the house military.
The resentment was too much, he had done as his duty demanded, fought where he had been sent to fight and then disciplined for bringing the remains of his ship and crew home so that they could fight again. He felt betrayed by his House, and he resolved to make a sacrifice of himself that no other scion of the House would be so dishonored again.
Using his father’s name, he pulled some strings and took possession of letters of marque authorizing him to hunt Kurgan ships in the Hira system. Adreck also attracted some investment that allowed him to purchase the ruin of the Erasmus and have it refitted and renamed as the Warhand. He assembled a crew of pirates, cutthroats, and thieves with the promise that every member of the crew would receive an equal share of the profits.
Adreck began to serialize his adventures in a series of open letters that he would publish upon his return to port. Within, he documented his own crimes and victories, his sins and those of his crew. Though never likely to win him literary acclaim, they did spark interest in his actions, ideas, and horror at some of his methods. As a privateer he could go where military ships could not, and make deals with whom he pleased, free from the constraints of the chain-of-command. He traded valuable information to the Kurgans about Hazat supply lines and would then lie in ambush waiting for the raiders sent after the convoys. Some whisper that he even carried letters of marque from the Kurgans to attack Hazat interests.
Using Hazat supply convoys as a lure, he would strike form the darkness at the commerce raiders who took the bait. On several occasions his successes cost the Hazat a high price; within a year Adreck was arrested and tried before a Hazat military court, accused of spying and sharing information with the enemy, with his own letters produced as evidence against him.
He and a few loyal members of his crew made a brash prison break, freeing the Warhand from its captors, and running for the Hira system where they would become outlaws. Once in his self-imposed exile from the Hazat, he earned favor by striking at Hazat shipping and later by selling the Kurgans military secrets. By trading Jumpkeys and Jumproad information that again allowed the Kurgans access to the Vera Cruz system he was branded a traitor by the Hazat.
Using his military knowledge to best advantage, he has infiltrated Hazat supply depots, captured or destroyed crucial fuel and food reserves, and coordinated attacks against targets in both the Hira and Vera Cruz systems. 
In 5005, Adreck had his many letters collected together into a book which he then printed and distributed to the Hazat forces on Hira, detailing his exploits and betrayals and causing a series of young knights to hunt him down for the honor of besting the villain he had become. The deaths of these young heroes proved fuel for further letters and in 5007 Adreck’s older brother Alfonzo finally tracked him down to redress the tarnish on the family’s honor. The bodies of other young knights were returned to their families for last rites and honorable burial, according to his open letters, his brother’s body was sent to the Caliph as a gift.
Since the murder of his own brother, Adreck and his crew have been operating almost exclusively in the Verz Cruz system, returning only infrequently to Hira. His raiding of commercial transports has been limited, instead focusing on small military ships. His raids seem to be purposefully designed to increase his own reputation and make him the most infamous villain in Known Space. His collected letters now number in to three volumes and are proscribed under law, but some how his exploits and copies of this ‘adventure journals’ manage to circulate.

Crimes: Piracy, Terrorism, Murder, Theft, Hijacking, Treachery, Sedition, Subversion

Entourage: Adreck Rom surrounds himself only with the most trusted and battle-hardened crew he can find. The Erasmus, renamed Warhand, modified and refitted Scorpion Class frigate continues to haunt the void in both the Vera Cruz and Hira systems.

Race: Human

Quote: “You wanted glory? I and I alone have given you that opportunity. Kill me and you will be a hero, fall before my blade and you will be remembered with honor… you have already won. En garde.”

Description: A tall, lean-faced man with fair hair that has been allowed to grow into a long mane down his back. His eyes are a cold and calculating grey blue that can freeze men where they stand.

Body: Strength 7, Dexterity 9, Endurance 7
Mind: Wits 7, Perception 9, Tech 7
Spirit: Extrovert 7, Introvert 3, Passion 5, Calm 5, Faith 2, Ego 8
Natural Skills: Charm 7, Dodge 10, Fight 8, Impress 9, Melee 10, Observe 7, Shoot 6, Sneak 3, Vigor 7
Learned Skills: Drive (spacecraft) 5, Social (leadership) 9, Streetwise 4, Think Machine 4, Warfare (gunnery) 5, Spacesuit, Speak Urthish, Speak Ukari, Speak Urthtech, Read Urthish
Combat Actions: Feint, Parry-Riposte, Fancy Footwork, Disarm, Off-hand, Wall of Steel, Cloak, Athletic Strike
Weapons: Vibro Rapier (built in shield breaker), Blaster Pistol
Armor: Assault Shield
Wyrd: 9
Vitality: -10/-8/-6/-4/-2/0/0/0/0/0/0/0

Warhand, modified Scorpion Class Frigate
Size Rating: 6 (60m long, 20m wide, 15m high)
Grade: Atmosphere
Engines: Fast
Speed Left / Right
Full thrust 0 / 0
3/4 thrust 1 / 1
Half thrust 2 / 2
1/4 thrust 3 / 3
Full stop 4 / 4
Armament: 2x Grappling Gun (1 port, 1 starboard), 6x Light Lasers (3 port, 3 starboard), 2x Med Blasters (turret)
Sensors: Laser Radar 5
Crew: 14 (captain, bridge crew x2, engineer x2, gunner x9)
Passengers: 14 Marines
Cargo: 100 metric tons
Jumps: 2
Supplies: 3 months
Vitality: 60
Cost: 110,750 firebirds

Description: The Warhand has the physical profile of a standard Scorpion Class frigate, but on closer inspection reveals that the forward gun mount and troop bay have been stripped away and replaced with forward cargo bay. This space can be used for cargo or as a training space for Adreck’s rogues. The interior space has been reorganized to allow for large boarding actions to be conducted through the port or starboard side airlocks.

History: Originally named the Erasmus, Adreck served as a Marine officer aboard her while the ship was on deep space patrol hunting Kurgan shipping in the Hira system. When she was ambushed and most of the bridge crew killed in 5003, Adreck took control of the vessel in order to get his crew home safely. He later purchased her and she was refitted courtesy of Adreck’s investors. Since that time, the Warhand has been sighted in both Vera Cruz and Hira systems and often engaged in acts of piracy against Hazat shipping. 
The open letters written about the deeds of this vessel by its current captain ensure that the ship is one of the best known on the war front. And many, often conflicting, sightings have placed it conducting acts of aggression against both Hazat and Kurgan ships.