The MKI H-21 ‘Brasshook’ is a Second Age hangar-grade fightercraft kept in operational by the Widebrim mercenary group. It originally began life as a design marketed to European Union but was rejected in favour of a cheaper competitor.
Over a hundred were produced and successfully marketed to independent militias and individuals. The obvious selling point was the ship’s ability to attach to larger, FTL-capable vessels to travel between star systems. The Second Age pre-dated the advent of FTL-equipped fightercraft; if you wanted one to travel long distances it had to be within a carrier ship or latched onto one. Fighters like the Brasshook could attach to almost any ship of sufficient size – they didn’t need a specialist carrier vessel. This versatility made them a popular choice with independent operators. They were also MKI ships to their very core – sturdy and rugged, if somewhat lacking in finesse.
By the Third Age, many had been abandoned in favour of newer models. The ships remained serviceable and were rarely lay dormant in scrapyards for long. One of the obvious secondhand buyers were the Widebrim mercenary brigade; famous for their affection for MKI products and rugged ships both. The first few that fell into Widebrim hands were upgraded in an ad hoc way – the more successful aspects integrated into a more thorough retrofit of the subsequent ships. It was during the Third Age that this blueprint for upgrade (nicknamed the ‘Brassnook’) became popular and widespread throughout the group.
Widebrim Brassnook pilots pay generously to ‘hitch’ a ride around populated space. They often offer unarmed frieghters their protection in exchange for a lift somewhere nearby; many a pirate raider has started an attack run against a vulnerable looking target only to see a handful of Brassnooks detatch and move to intercept. The thick armour plate and twin-autocannons make the ship old fashioned but tough; making opportunist pirates think twice about their choice of target.
Weaponry: 2 x Autocannons
The Battle of Ompolor VII marks the turning point of the brief war between the Gnobo and Illayko. The League opened with a lightning offensive, various mercenary brigades working together in a coordinated assault across the Illayko border. These Gnobo forces then concentrated their numbers into a spearhead aimed at the Illayko homeworld.
The colony at Ompolor VII was viewed as the weakest link in the Illayko defence. The Gnobo intended to overpower the defenders, strip the world of supplies and use it as a springboard towards their final goal. Although they met little initial resistance around the planet itself, once landed they found themselves victim of a carefully prepared trap. The Illayko army on the ground were dug in, well supplied and tactically adept. Many of the overconfident Gnobo generals found hundreds of personnel dead before the dropships could land, sniped from the air by specialist artillery.
A drawn out ground battle followed. The dug-in Illayko could afford to take their time; the Gnobo were in a rush, wary of losing momentum on their push towards Ehoi. Their hurry made them careless, however. Their fleet broke from a defensive formation in order to strike at targets planetside. Then and only then did a similar sized force of Illayko starships – led by the IFS Shroud – arrive to strike at their vulnerable flanks.
The Gnobo were routed; the commanders left with the few ships and troops they could muster. Their war on the Illayko stalled as it waited for reinforcements from home. The defeat at Ompolor VII led to acrimony and indecisiveness amongst within the shaky Gnobo alliance. A counter-offensive followed, forcing the League to retreat. An armistice followed within months; the Illayko border restored. Ompolor VII was the closest the Gnobo League got to the Illayko homeworld.
Sadly, the conflict and following fallout led to world being evacuated. It remains a uninhabited graveyard of war machines and soldiers to this day.
Soril Tulaco was involved throughout the Ompolor VII campaign, from the setting of the trap to the ground fighting and counter-strikes, earning the respect of his superiors and peers in the process.
The Sharp Suits are a division of the Tailored Saint mercenary group. Their moniker is a play on words based around their specialisation (or obsession) with edged and razor sharp weapons.
They are far from simple knife thugs, however. The ‘Suits are just as high-tech as their colleagues within the Tailored Saints; their weapons are always crafted out of difficult or impossible to detect materials and are stored stealthily about their person. Their ability to be covert makes them very much in demand; targets often don’t realise anything is amiss until it’s too late. The Sharp Suits’ ability to blend into a crowd belies their combat abilities; they are exceptionally dangerous in close quarters. The Sharp Suits train more than the rest of the Tailored Angels; some of whom rely too much on the enhancing abilities of their undersuits. Not so the Sharp Suits, who are physically strong and lithe and quick before technology.
They are expertly trained in hand-to-hand fighting and the use of throwing weapons and their environment to gain an adventage; they often utilise a mix of freeclimbing and parkour to gain an advantage. Their alacrity combined with their armoured undersuits means they can survive damage that might kill a regular operative; it is common for an assailant to think they have killed a Sharp Suit only to recieve a deadly surprise of their own.
New Riga is the name of a habitable planet and capital city belonging to the European Union in the Holum Majoris System. The settlement was established in the aftermath of the Pan-Eurasian War when Holum Majoris was a farflung and isolated location. The march of progress, however, soon caught up. By the Fourth Age, New Riga had transformed into a hub for trade and freight travelling between newer human colonies and the more developed Core Worlds. It is also close enough to old Illayko space to attract a number of expatriates.
It was this importance as a centre of logistics and trade led it to be targeted in a Oroso counter-attack during the brief Union/Conclave conflict of the Third Age. The battle did not go the way of the ageing Union forces until the Caracals of Grendel Squadron arrived and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. The effectiveness of the new strike fighters took everyone – Union admirals included – by surprise; the Oroso Conclave withdrew with the bulk of their forces. The armistice followed shortly after.
The term ‘Limpetman’ is applied liberally to any individual proficient in the use of Zero-G, vacuum-rated spacesuits. The colloquialism comes from the sight of these suit-clad people attaching themselves to the sides of starships for intra-system travel, negating the need to come aboard altogether. As a nickname it is more affectionate than offensive.
Spacesuits hark back to the earliest days of space travel for most societies. The suits befitting modern day Limpetmen are much more robust, nimble and self-sustaining – they need no tethering line and can generate up to a day’s worth of life support of their own accord. This equipment helps specialists accomplish their jobs without the aid of a specialist spaceship and with more expertise than robotic arms or apertures. A wide variety of suits are available, featuring mechanically enhanced arms to industrial tools and implements. Weapons are available but rare as they tend to draw heavily on limited power reserves.
Aside from repairs and maintenance, Limpetmen are known for their role in the dark arts of war. Relatively tiny size means such suits evade all but the most stringent scanning; this enables Limpetmen to get close enough to docked enemy ships to cause all sorts of illicit sabotage. The only real hope of spotting them is through visual means, which is sporadic at best. Aside from sabotage, suit-clad operatives have been known to burn through the hulls of enemy vessels and commence audacious boarding actions.
Limpetmen can be seen picking through the scrapyards of the human Core Worlds. This salvage seeks anything from gold coating of wiring to rare earth elements from the interior of power cores. It is as profitable as it is risk-strewn. Most scrapyards are private property with their own rules and regulations; the majority shoot these looters on sight.
SynTech market themselves as a cutting-edge company – from their personal equipment up to their new line of starships. The Edgerunner is the quasi-military market; a sleek transport vessel designed to evade all but the most advanced scans.
The ship’s unique selling point is the ’Tacit Thrust’ propulsion suite. SynTech engineers at first created a pair of very efficient engines. Around these they built a unique ‘mask’, a dish curving around each thruster to further limit the energy signature. The engineers went on to build a shuttle scale ship around the ‘Tacit Thrust’ system capable of high speed and nimble manoeuvres.
In order to remain on the right side of the law, the ship is unarmed. It’s best defence is stealth and clever piloting. A number of the ships were purchased by the Asian Coalition and European Union military forces; the latter became popular amongst independent operators needing to move people and cargo around discretely.
Manufacturer: Syn-Tech Shipworks
Role: Discreet transport
Crew: 2 (1 pilot, 1 navigator)
Weaponry: Nil stock weapons
FTL: Capable (short-jumps)
Special: ‘Tacit Thrust’ propulsion – difficult to detect