Saturday, May 29, 2010

Invitation to the Mother's Massacre

Address to the People of the East
18 Summer, TN1933

From His Eminence Patriarch Oliver Masao

My dear subjects,

It saddens me to hear that the displays of love that have been so forthcoming from my concubines and wives have been disturbing to some of you and, most especially, to my esteemed advisor Lord Chancellor Tanaka.

I do understand your concern, however. The sight of my darlings fighting tooth and nail to ensure that their son or daughter is the last living heir to my throne can be very troubling for those with sensitive hearts. I have such a heart and I see the injustice of my decision to leave my throne only to my last surviving child. This has encouraged a scandalous round of behavior on the part of my paramours, one that does injustice to the name of Masao and the legacy of the Eastern Sun.

I have hence decided to change, to answer the righteous criticisms of Lord Tanaka and others and to take back my edict. Indeed, it was unconscionable of me to decide who would succeed me in such a limited and close-minded way.

Indeed, what about my many cousins, nephews and nieces? Do they not share the blood of Enri Masao that courses in my own veins? Do they not deserve the right of succession just as much as my own children? Lord Tanaka is right when he calls my previous actions barbaric, because in my selfishness I excluded those who had a legitimate claim to my throne. I intend to change this.

From this moment on, I pledge my throne to the last living blood descendant of Enri Masao. Our glorious founder showed no preference among his children and I see no reason to insist that only my children have claim to the throne -- I am but a steward for the spirit of Masao and it is his word that guides me.

I can only hope that my many cousins will show the same enthusiasm for Enri's legacy that my own children, wives and concubines have over the last few cycles. Their vigor has been a true testimony of love for the East and respect for Lord Tanaka, to whom I have dedicated all my efforts.

May you live in peace.

Friday, May 28, 2010


More gunfights! More intrigue! More... swamps? It must be Heavy Gear!

[Josh the GM has been trying to come up with a way to get Gade out of the action for a while, since his player has left the game due to the birth of his child. For now, he's sending Gade to another nearby city, despite the PCs' protests.]
Brock: "I find this all very convenient."

Contemplation on a knife's edge.

The sound of his alarm pierced through the veil of sleep and pried his eyes open; another bad day’s sleep. He was relieved they wouldn’t be staying in the besieged capital much longer; he needn’t adjust his circadian rhythm to living by night. Rising from bed, he winced as the fresh wound pulled against his bandages. Shot three times in two days, a new record. After his so-called morning rituals, including tending to his injuries, he headed out in to the night to find Basal waking to another day of benighted activity.

He meandered through the foreign quarter until he came to a souq. He ate a fresh sweetened meat-filled bun while he looked at the wares for sale. After 4 cycles of war, there were precious few luxuries but one stall peddling various cutlery and weapons caught his eye. Bartering is an art, one he was rather adept at. There are various steps to the process, but there are also techniques; one is switching to the sellers language for the home stretch, it throws them off and expedites the process. He got the items he wanted for a good price.

Once he had returned to his room, he lit a few candles and unwrapped his purchase. He drew out a blade and let the feeble light of the room reflect off its surface. His mind's eye remembered the candles, the hushed silence, and the vaulted gloom of the mosque in the Badlands quarter of Peace River.

His blade glinted as it emerged from the niche and found his victim’s throat. The SRID agent was calm and honest, he told the Doc that only death would stop him from tracking him down; the choice was a simple one. Since then he had killed a lot of men and women, usually through the crosshairs of a scope. But the first one, the first person he ever killed was especially intimate, a knife to the jugular. They say your first is always special.

The push-blades fit snugly in his palms; he roasted them over the candle’s flame, letting the soot darken the reflective steel. His thoughts also darkened, for a trauma surgeon, the Battle of Baja was bad, but the last two cycles in the jungles of the ESE had been worse. Oddly, it had never bothered him. In fact, quite the reverse. His detachment upset him; he wanted to feel pain and suffering so much it made him sick.

As a physician he knew there were mental disorders which explained a lack of empathy or remorse. But he didn’t meet the diagnosis for antisocial personality disorder, he wasn’t a psychopath.

He turned the blades over and over. In his mind he did the same with his notions of good and evil, wrong and right, guilt and remorse. He felt some of these things, he wasn’t emotionally despondent, but he didn’t feel them like others did. He felt guilt when life was lost to no avail, remorse when death purchased no greater goal.

He came to the conclusion that for him, life and death were commodities to be traded. He could kill without feeling if it served his larger purpose. His actions occurred in a moral vacuum, only the results mattered. He wasn’t a psychopath or a sociopath, but he was functionally callous. Still, there had to be a first time and he had never killed anyone until the mosque in Peace River, until he met Kain Delacroix.

The moral standards of society, even one warped by the trauma of the War of the Alliance, taught him murder was wrong. Delacroix showed him that killing wasn’t always murder.
Killing could be used as a tool, a means to an end. But he wouldn’t use it as a blunt instrument; he had been schooled in surgical precision. Once he was committed to a goal, he would do what was necessary to attain it, but only just what was necessary. He reflected on the tools he used, his sniper rifle, his pistol and his knives: Efficient and precise.

He had killed a lot of people in his life, too many to count – admittedly though, in his most morose state he had tried. And every time Delacroix was there: an effigy for the morally treacherous belief in killing for a cause. There was, however, one number he couldn’t forget: 358. The victims of Lance Point had not perished at the point of his knife or in the reticle of his sights, they fell prey to the sweeping ravages of his ideals.

He could feel those deaths; there was no clinical dispassion about the cost he had paid for NuCoal. In many ways those deaths were different from all the rest but for some reason he could only think of one: that was the only time Kain Delacroix showed moral outrage.

He slid the dark blades back into their sheaths, and his memories and contemplations back into the corner of his mind. He strapped them under his wrists and pulled down his shirt sleeve in concealment. In a fight he could pull them out quickly and deliver a lethal blow instantaneously, without pause for deliberation or doubt. Efficient and precise, as killing should be.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Righteous Peregrination

The barnabus iguana farted loudly. Brother Herbertson coughed, but didn't retch, as the warm blast of gas hit him full in the face. He knew it was never wise to hitch a wagon to a barnaby, but the pack animal was all he had available. He had gotten used to the smells and sounds the animal made, though he worried about the supplies in the wagon.

He chuckled.

Basal's night time activity never ceased to amaze him. The ruined city actually achieved some semblance of normalcy nocturnally. Merchants hawked their wares--what little they had--people congregated in bars and drank what passed for rotgut and beer, and repair workers tried their best to deal with whatever damage the previous day's shelling had done. The lizard-drawn wagon trundled past the ruins of a slum block. Brother Herbertson watched as survivors helped guide a Ground Hog work gear remove debris. Dead bodies, charred and broken, were piled up nearby.

He sighed.

Four cycles of guerilla seige warfare: most of the city-state had been destroyed many times over. Battles were hard fought in the clausterphobic ruins of a once proud city: a Basalite excursion would execute a raid via the Undercity; MILICIA or Emirate troops would retaliate with shelling, or a sniper would be ordered to pick off civilians. The lines were ever-shifting, and the seige never-ending. Brother Herbertson marvelled at the tenacity of the residents of Basal. Baja had been this bloody, but it hadn't lasted four cycles.

Baja. Brother Herbertson thought back to the Revisionist mission he led back then. It was his first posting outside of the Norlight Confederacy, and he took to the task of administering aid to the needy of of the ruined city with a steady zeal. When the Bajans moved underground, he knew his work there was done.

The wagon jostled as a wheel hit a small crater, knocking Brother Herbertson out of his reminiscing. Why was he thinking about Baja anyways? It was so long ago. 18 cycles since he first set foot in that hellhole. He began unloading what meager supplies he had scrounged for the mission. Then he found time for a short prayer for the dead he had seen on his brief excursion. His prayer beads still gave him comfort, even in the squalor of the mission. He looked around at the tired, dirty faces of the children, the bandaged wounded, and the homeless who now lived here. There simply wasn't enough for everyone, but no one complained.

Then it hit him: Kain Delacroix, Sam Tarmalin, Doc Chambers and Gade Vonyran. It had been at least 15 cycles. And there they were, talking to Srivan Irshan in that bar, looking more-or-less the same. He hoped they were coming to volunteer. Somehow, he knew that they hadn't. Still, the thought sent a warm chill down his spine: he had promised himself that if he had ever seen those four men again, he would pray that the souls of those they killed would have a happy afterlife with the Prophet.

But he caught himself thinking that those who served the tyrant Masao, those who had turned Basal into a bloody warzone, did not deserve any such reward.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Selling guns!

Peace River
Paxton Sales and Marketing
16am, 10 Winter, TN1935

"Kessler did it again!"


"Take a look."

The datapad clattered on the table, and Karly Mullrose flicked it up and into her palm. She dismissively thumbed at a couple of keys and then her eyes widened. On the screen was a little thumbnail picture of Paxton's Head Operating Officer, Milani Dubeau-Slovenski. That meant that whatever else was contained in the datapad was serious stuff. She opened the message.

"...ESE trade mission..." Karly mumbled to herself, scowling, "mercenary contract for demonstration team..." she looked a little puzzled, as Paxton had its own demonstration teams for its products, "discretion and exclusivity..." so Paxton was hiring a private mercenary group to act as a demonstration team in the Eastern Sun Emirates, "please provide Ms. Kessler with material and logistical support."

Karly Mullrose put the datapad down and scowled.

"Kessler's behind this?"

"I think so. This comes all the way from the top," her coworker replied.

"So the little prole thinks she's got what it takes to keep up with the big boys? Fine. I bet you she doesn't last a week," Karly spat, "get me the requisition list, and we'll make sure it's filled to the letter."


Dear Dr. Tomohiro,

I've sent your request to individuals more suited to dealing with it. I have heard, indirectly, that your request to be a "Paxton Arms Sales Consultant", along with two (three?) others has been approved, so long as Ms. Maia Kessler tags along as supervisor. But I don't know the details. Ms. Kessler will provide you with more information.

I am pleased to hear you haven't quite fallen off the face of the planet yet, but maybe you should stay out of the Badlands for a while longer. I've read the report Tom, and it doesn't look good.

Warm wishes,
Helena Hitachi
City Administrator,
Peace River

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tom: Dispatches

Monday, May 17, 2010

Maia - Pre-management days

Maia Kessler, in the cycles before her promotion to management.

(Photo credit to Kalamakia of Flikr and Georges for the antiquing. I know the clothes aren't right for the middle of the Badlands, but I really liked this picture. It was the closest thing I could find to the feel I want for Maia, at least for her early days before she got herself all spiffied up.)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

13 May 2010 (Part 2) Wound up, wound down

Maia held her face neutral as she stepped into her room and gently closed the door behind her. From the inside pocket of her flack jacket, she pulled a short cylinder and watched as it immediately started blinking red. She sighed and began walking around the room. It was a game they played, she and the SRID, or whichever of their subsidiaries worked in this godforsaken region. They bugged her room, she removed the bugs, they left her alone for two or three days, and then it started all over again.

She found one new chip behind the headboard, another stuck under the sink, and crushed them both under her boot. She did one last circle of the room, just in case, but the bug detector stayed dark. Carefully pocketing it again, she sat down on the bed and pressed her palms to her eyes. That had been too close today, decidedly too close. Sometime since she had arrived her, she had gone from "technical advisor" to "cheap hired gun," and she wondered whether Ershan wasn't right that she was just another merc.

The two men she'd lost weren't going to look good on her report. The Basal Free Revolutionary Army wasn't a renewable resource, and any losses were more difficult for the rebels to replace than the ESE. But for all that she mourned them, she couldn't think of what else she could have done. The lookout just had the bad luck of not ducking back fast enough, and Vee, her nominal partner... she had seen the tripwire soon enough to avoid hitting it, but not fast enough to warn him. She could still see the explosion behind her eyes. She was probably going to dream about it tonight, and wouldn't that be as fun as a scorpion in your sleeping bag?

She shrugged off her flack suit and breathed a sigh of relief. Only superficial damage, and not even that much of it. It could have have been worse. Easily worse.

She walked over to the shower stall and paused. Even after a dozen cycles in the poles, she still couldn't get over the way they wasted water. The first time she'd had a full-body water shower, she'd felt dirtier stepping out than stepping in. She used as little as she could, and she could still hear Tanya's voice in her ears lecturing her as only a small child could about the scarcity of water. What she wouldn't give to transport just 10% of the jungle's supply to Peace River, and solve the scarcity problem forever. Maybe they'd give her a medal. She smirked.

She slipped on a dress, braided her hair, put on her makeup. She could hear the city waking and gearing up for action. She had no idea what Basal was like before the rebellion, but now its people were nocturnal, the work crews clearing away rubble under the cover of darkness so that the sun shone over a city ever-so-slightly cleaner than it had left. Of course, the day would probably bring another series of bombings, so the struggle was never-ending, but she admired the Basallites for their tenacity.

She picked up her PDA and headed down to the hotel's lobby. There was more paperwork to do, always more paperwork. Incident reports, requisition forms, and the order from Kain Delacroix... or, rather, make that Mr. Hannibal. She still wasn't sure what to think of the foursome that had mysteriously appeared in the ruins outside the city, not even any sense of which direction they were turned. Kain made her distinctly nervous, their gunslinger seemed to be ever-so-slightly off in the head (though maybe, she admitted, that was due to the gaping wound in his stomach), their mechanic insisted on being belligerent on first meeting, and the doctor... Doctor Chambers, Big Damn Hero and possibly also Big Damn Traitor. She wasn't sure who to tell about him, or even if she should. Stepping out into the lobby, she decided she'd sleep on it.

She settled herself into one of the lobby chairs, her head swimming but her face carefully neutral. If she got her paperwork done in time, she promised herself she'd send a letter to Celina. Not that she'd have anything to say beyond pleasantries, not when messages from her private terminal could be intercepted, but the thought cheered her up anyway.

Across the lobby, the team's mechanic -- what was his name? Gade something? -- was sitting with a pile of weapons and a stack of rubber composite seals. No doubt whatever he was doing was important, obscure, and interesting. Curiosity piqued, she put her PDA into its carrier at her hip, got up and crossed the room, a polite smile coming easily to her lips. To hell with it, paperwork could wait.

Friday, May 14, 2010


>logon… >

>hermes72.con 2 PRBL.>

>locate packet… >



Dear Helena,

I’ll save us both time and come right out and say I need a favour. This saves you from having to read through a bunch of idle chit chat about one thing or another and me the trouble of providing disingenuous excuses for not staying in touch over the last couple of cycles.

I need to borrow a Paxton employee. I know this isn’t your department, but you can pull strings and you and I both know why you will.

Her name is Maia Kessler and she is currently idle in Basal. I’m going to help her to do her job and sell Paxton arms. Tell her bosses to tell her she is going on the road. She can do demos or fact finding, whatever way they want to write it up as. She will need three consultants and my name will be at the top of the list for her to contact. I’ll take care of the rest.

I’ll use some of my not inconsiderable skill to make sure the venture is solvent for Paxton and my entourage and I will make sure nothing happens to your promising young manager. I worked hard enough to make sure people like her exist so you know I will.

Give us a season; I will have her back in Basal safe and sound sometime in summer at the latest. Also, make sure she has a decent expense account. You know I’m good for it.

I know you’ll come through, it one of your character flaws, your dependable. I hope this request finds you well, I also hope I can take you out for diner to thank you for this in the not too distant future.

Affectionately yours,

Tomohiro Chambers.


>transmission ended>

>logoff Hermes72>

But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him

Dr Tom Chambers wanted to submit himself to the castigation of an anonymous judge; the hatred of mankind. To that end, there was no better hell than the ESE in the mid 1930s. He laboured under the jungle's veil, hunched under the weight of daily abominations he witnessed. Living and doubting within himself, letting no one into his inner sanctum of suffering. He wadded through horrors hoping to be washed by blood.

Resisting indifference, he sought to feel every tragedy, he thirsted for empathy to quench his pallet for suffering. It took him almost two seasons to get over the nightly vomiting and another season to overcome the shakes in the morning. After two cycles he was no longer plagued by nightmares more visceral than trauma surgery. His penance of blood and sweat, however, never shed a lacrimonious drop. In time, even his emotional masochism gave way to apathy for a war that was not his own.

Two days ago Kain Delacroix walked back into what passed for his life. Nothing had changed; Delacroix was still on his mission, still sure of himself, steeled with unbending resolve and certainty of purpose. Chambers hid the shakes the first night as he kept watch.

The next day, in an ambush, Chambers subjected Sam Tarmalin to an amicable pyre of bullets. Amid the broken ruins of Basal, under the threat of imminent death, there was still time for silent whispers of recrimination. The Doc wanted to blame Delacroix, blame him for Sam’s recklessness, for poor communication and shoddy leadership. No one saw him get sick in the ruins, he blamed everyone and everything; he blamed them for trusting him.

They met a Badlander, one who has rising in the ranks of Paxton, someone who benefited from Gerald Simosa’s new freedoms, brought about in a small way by Chambers’ travails in Peace River. In her he could have seen the achievements of his past. Instead, her smart looks, confident stance and business acumen just reminded him of himself. No one let him forget that no matter how far he run, how low he sunk and how much he eschewed, he remained Tomohiro Chambers.

This morning Chambers woke in a corner of his hotel room, wrapped in rags that used to pass for sheets before the nightmares of last night. The better part of a broken bottle of an Emirate bandy lay in shards throughout his hands and knees. Brown patches of dried blood speckled the floor. His unkempt beard, grown in the two cycles of jungle living and dying, had pieces of his diner which his body had rejected along with the excess of alcohol. He spent 10 cycles climbing up and the last three dinging deep to get away from himself but no matter where he went, there he was.

His whole body was made of ash and nothing but hurt inside kept him from blowing away. He wept, long and hard with the honest fear and pain of a newborn assaulted by the horrors of coming into the world. He cried himself to dust and clay.

When he woke up again he tended his wounds, cleaned his room and showered. In the steamed mirror he looked into tired red eyes and found he no longer hated the face there. He shaved to look under the mask of the beard and still he did not recoil. He ate alone with an appetite he had long forgotten. He used the last of his petty cash to see a tailor and be fitted for some sharp but functional new clothes.

In the full length mirror he took in what he saw: His mistakes but also his accomplishments, his friends and enemies, his loves and hates. His anhedonia had died in the jungles of the ESE, Tom Chambers could feel something other than uncertainty and self loathing. He felt pain, he felt hatred, but also joy and pride, once again, he believed he could feet purpose.

13 May 2010 (Part 1) "I feel like we've been here before...."

Pressed into the altogether insufficient cover of a rubble choked stairwell, Kain Delacroix took stock of the situation.

Across the street and in good cover was some sort of Emirate fireteam.  The rest of their section had just crossed the top of the T-intersection and were undoubtedly executing a flank attack through the ruins to Kain's immediate left.  There was a Jager Heavy Gear laying down some determined autocannon fire from the partial cover of the building corner at the intersection.  Its urban camo paintjob was blackened and scarred by two rocket strikes.

And the magazine feeding Kain's rocket launcher was dry.


Sam Tarmalin, gunslinger and occasional esoteric, had just made a heroic/insane charge into the midst of the bad guys across the street.  Ordinarily, this  is the sort of maneuver that would have ended with Sam nonchalantly re-emerging, leaving a pile of corpses behind him.  This time, however, he suddenly reemerged.  Unexpectedly.  Unfortunately.

Doc Chambers had spent the last couple of cycles serving as a humanitarian here in the Eastern Sun Emirates.  He hadn't picked up a weapon in a number of cycles before that.  His skills were still sharp, but he was clearly out of practice in coordinating his actions with a group of friendly combatants.  15 cycles ago, he would never have elected to lay a heavy stream of suppressing fire on the building that his companion had just entered.  And just as abruptly exited.

Sam felt the bullet enter his body, tearing through the flexible armour just below his right ribs.  It punched out his front, leaving him feeling suddenly weightless.  The doorway made an abrupt shift to the right as he lurched into the wall of the ruin.


With the unhurried and smooth movements drilled into him years before, Kain rammed home a fresh magzaine and sighted in on the Jager.  This was the shot that mattered....


As the Jager stumbled back behind the building, the Doc marshaled his courage and sprinted into the crossfire.  He heaved Sam up and the two of them half-stumbled, half-ran back to cover.


Lying flat on a pile of shattered masonry and carefully peering through a tiny gap in the wall, Kain Delacroix took stock of the situation.

Though temporarily evaded, he was confident that the ESE troopers from the intersection were even now coming up on the party's rear.  In front of them, in a prepared and elevated position, was a crew served machinegun with a sweeping field of fire.  At street level and just a little to the right of the fortified ruin was a group of ESE troops patrolling, supported by an Iguana Heavy Gear.

And they were patrolling in the general direction of Kain's hiding spot.


It's a habit of mine in the various games that I play to provide "lines of the night." The general format is that lines with the player's name are out-of-character, lines with the character's name are in-character. Enjoy!

[Josh the GM and Brock have rejiggered all the gun stats for the game, and Ariel is fixing his character sheet. Most of his guns' stats, unfortunately, are lower than they were.]
Ariel: "Man, all my weapons are shit now."

Maia Kessler: Sheet

Maia Kessler
Paxton public relations officer



Peace River


Quick learner (2)
IDEEP (-2)



Heavy Gear gunneryx
Heavy Gear pilotx
Heavy weapons

Info. warfarex
Combat sense




+1Small arms



For. lang. (Larabic)

For. lang. (Mand.)

For. lang. (U. Fr.)



Paxton P9 Pistol
Paxton 7mm assault carbine

Light flak suit

Mechanical toolkit

Electronics toolkit

Night vision goggles

Military communicator



Maia Kessler

Full name: Maia Kessler
Age: 39 cycles
Affiliations: Peace River (management caste); Peace River Army (honourable discharge); Basal Free Revolutionary Army (technical advisor)
Current Status: Alive

Maia Kessler comes from working-class roots, which is a more political statement in Peace River than it might be elsewhere. Her parents were both loyal Paxton employees. Her father, Jarred, worked as a quality control officer on the production floor, and her mother, Doreen, worked in shipping and raised the children. While the family never lacked for food or basic amenities -- this wasn't the Prospects, after all! -- there was frequent grumbling around the dinner table about the inequalities between the castes. "We work just as hard as any executive," Doreen often muttered. "Why shouldn't we get dividends, too?"

Maia's childhood was uneventful, as much as life in Peace River can be. She went to primary school, played in the streets, and learned the perils of White Sand. She was on the verge of joining the workforce when the CEF attacked and changed her plans forever.

War of the Alliance:
As the second of four children, in 1913 Maia was only 17 cycles old. She watched as the ships invaded and North and South united for the first time in living memory. She grew more and more frustrated as Peace River and Paxton Arms declared their neutrality. Young and idealistic, she didn't care that Peace River's involvement in the fight would likely mean its destruction at the hands of the GRELs and orbital bombardment. She took part in protest marches and rallies, petitioning the executives to join in the planet-wide war.

When Paxton finally declared its intentions to fight, Maia was among the first to enlist in the Peace River Army. Her older brother Zach was right beside her. They were handed guns, placed in their ranks, and told to go fight for their city and their planet. They didn't need to be told twice.

For almost a full cycle, Maia fought. With no formal Gear training and little time to teach her, she spent most of her time as a grunt on the front lines of the conflict. She watched as the tide swung in favour of the Terra Novans, proud all the while of her small part in making it happen.

Then came the Battle of White Plains. [Name to be confirmed with GM.] The desert terrain was treacherous and the Earthers getting desperate. Maia charged in ranks with her infantry division to her right and a Gear to her left. She screamed as the CEF forces closed... and the next thing she knew, the sky was full of light and shrapnel. The Gear beside her exploded in a massive fireball. She leapt aside, hands covering her head as the blast tossed her off her feet. She didn't even remember hitting the ground.

The next thing Maia remembered was waking up in a hospital bed, her torso covered in bandages and only a stump where her left leg should have been. Her mother sat by her side, eyes red with tears. The blast that had claimed Maia's leg had also claimed Zach's life, leaving Maia the oldest child of the family.

She grieved. There was little else to do as the hospital was full beyond capacity with war veterans. Once the shrapnel had been removed from her torso, restoring her leg was low on the triage priority list, and Maia spent three seasons lying in the hospital bed waiting for her turn to come and another two learning how to walk again.

She watched on trideo as the Keff was finally repulsed, watched the victory celebrations in every city and homestead on the planet. Closer to home, she watched as workers took to the streets in Peace River, demanding more rights and greater mobility. She watched, helpless to join in and make her voice heard.

More importantly to Maia, at least at the time, she fell in love. In a tale as old as fighting, Maia found herself growing ever more attached to her nurse, Celina, and was surprised to find the feelings reciprocated. They continued courting after Maia left the hospital and were married in the Winter of 1919. The small amount of her pension left after she'd paid her hospital fees was spent on the wedding, but Maia didn't mind. At only 23 cycles old, she was young and her life stretched out ahead of her.

Promotion to Management:
Around this time, Maia learned about Gerald Simosa's reforms allowing competitive entry to the management academy. As a military veteran, she met the prerequisites and took advantage of the opportunity. For the next two cycles, she studied harder than she ever had before. Despite holding only a primary education, she took to almost all subjects, from finance to circuit analysis, with an ease that dismayed most of her classmates.

Early in the Spring of 1921, the promotion list was posted and Maia saw her name on the roster. The same day, she learned that the IVF was successful and that Celina was pregnant with their first child.

Within weeks, Maia had spent all of her promotion bonus on clothes, jewellery, a house on the Second Terrace, and all the creature comforts she had dreamed about as a worker but never been able to afford. Looking dapper -- and, unbeknownst to her, screaming of nouveau riche -- Maia delved into management culture with a passion.

Paxton Arms public relations:
A senior manager in the Paxton public relations branch noticed Maia's academy test scores and arranged for an interview with the young up-and-comer. After a series of interviews, Maia was offered a job as a public relations officer and spent the next three cycles back in the classroom, learning everything from Universal French and Mekong table manners to heavy artillery schematics and Gear controls.

In the late Winter of 1922, Celina and Maia welcomed their daughter Tanya into the world. Doreen and Jarred doted on the baby, spending more time with their daughter-in-law than their blood daughter, as Maia spent ever more time studying and training.

In 1924, Maia was given her first field assignment, to the still-recovering Western Frontier Protectorate, and left Peace River for the first time. The trip was supposed to take only a few weeks, but in the end lasted almost a season. When Maia returned home, she found that Celina -- still officially a member of the worker caste -- had moved back to the Third Terrace with her parents. She was happy to live with her wife while Maia was in Peace River, but every time Maia left thereafter, she vacated the beautiful manager's home to return to her family. It is a sore spot that Maia has still not quite accepted, even years later.

Maia thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to travel and the large dividends that came with management. Money burned a hole in her pocket, and she spent her new-found riches almost as soon as they came into her account. She returned to the Third Terrace on a regular basis, treating her family and friends to fancy dinners and shows, buying presents for her ever-expanding brood of nieces and nephews, and enjoying the spotlight as the prodigal daughter returned home.

As her work became noticed, Maia was sent on more assignments to ever more diverse areas of Terra Nova. For the last eleven cycles, she has been away from Peace River more than at home, selling weapons and acting as the face of her native city abroad. Maia takes great pride in her management rank and looks forward to the day when her daughter or granddaughter can petition to become an executive.

Current Status:
In 1935, Maia is approaching her 40th birthday in Basal, a city in revolt in the Eastern Sun Emirates. Nominally there to sell weapons to the Emirs, Maia quickly discovered that the heads of state do not in fact have the funds to purchase weapons on any significant scale. While her superiors handle the high-level negotiations, Maia kills time. Occasionally she is taken into the jungle with a prototype or cutting-edge piece of equipment, to liaise with senior military officials and train the troops. Most of the time, she sits in the bars, theatres (those that are still running), and cawfee houses, waiting for work.

Most people who meet Maia Kessler would describer her as charming and friendly. A working-class background and a manager's education combine to give Maia the knack for making friends at all social levels. She's equally comfortable talking about the latest Gear features and the rise of a new theatre star. Quintessentially nouveau riche, Maia has never truly learned to handle money. She spends her dividends and paycheques almost as soon as she receives them, generally on material goods, fine dining, and gifts -- a fact that makes her popular at most bars she frequents. Maia is a proud Riveran, well aware that she acts as the face of her city while abroad. She would never criticize Peace River while on assignment.

Tall and slender, Maia has always been the sort to turn heads. She wears her hair in the latest style, an elaborate series of braids, and is rarely seen without makeup. Her clothing is always current and fashionable, often custom-tailored, and generally in bright colours. In the south, she spends the majority of her time in long, flowing dresses that show off her shoulders and cover her ankles. In the field, she dons a light flack suit, a pistol at her hip and an assault carbine at her back. She walks with the self-assured gait of a self-made woman, and her eyes often sparkle with the joy of new experiences. 

Maia Kessler: Equipment

Friday, May 7, 2010

Peoples Arms

“Throughout history, whenever the People have taken a stand against oppression, they have turned to Peoples Arms to provide them with the means to defend themselves and those they love from the forces of Capitalism and Imperialism. Who else could the People turn to, other than an arms manufacturer that is of the People, by the People, and for the People: Peoples Arms!”

                                    Peoples Arms sales brochure, TN1920

Despite their hackneyed marketing campaign’s claims to the contrary, there has not been a Peoples Arms throughout history.  The Terranovan arms manufacturer was founded in 1684 in Timmins as Unger Arms.  When the Timmins Communist Party nationalized manufacturing in 1702, Unger Arms was expanded and set up as the official Timmins state armoury.  Unger Arms was renamed Peoples Arms in a deniable, albeit deliberate attempt at brand name stealing from Paxton Arms. 

Peoples Arms prospered over the cycles as a manufacturer of low-quality, mass-produced firearms, supplying the Timmins Peoples’ Militia as well as outlying Badlander homesteads.  However, in 1851, as Timmins was integrated into the CNCS Protectorate System, a young weapons designer named Achmed Tukhachevsky came to prominence at Peoples Arms when the TA-1851 assault rifle was produced for TDF deployment. 

Cheap to build, simple to use, and reliable, the TA-1851 was a hit with the Timmins part time militia (full time regional defence had by this point been taken over by the Northern Guard).  Soldiers found the weapon slightly less accurate at longer ranges than earlier rifles, but the high rate of fire and the fact that the TA-51 required minimal cleaning won them over.  A shortened carbine (the TAK), a sniper weapon (the TVD), and a squad support weapon (the TPK) all quickly followed.  It soon became a source of prestige for Northern Guard infantrymen garrisoned in Timmins to possess a TA-51.

Had this been any other city-state, the story would end there. However, the Timmins Manufacturing Directorate, the governmental body which oversees all production in the infamous Timmins knock-off factories, saw an opportunity to produce yet another knock-off item for mass, worldwide distribution.  The TA-51X (the X indicates export version) was thus assured the questionable status as yet another “Made in Timmins” item.  This would also mark the first time a Timmins product was itself reproduced in a Timmins knock-off factory. 

Since it first started coming off the knock-off assembly lines, the TA-51 has become a standard of rovers and small-time revolutionaries everywhere on Terranova.   Though its reliability is questionable, when it works, the TA-51 works well.  During the War of the Alliance, existing stockpiles of TA-51s were put to good use by partisan forces across the planet.  Even certain irregular elements of the Peace River Army employed the TA series. This became a source of minor embarrassment to Paxton Arms, whose first post-war marketing campaign was ruined when some of the trideo and still footage used to glorify Paxton’s role in turning the tide against the CEF occasionally showcased a PRA member fielding a grimy TA-51. 

Game Statistics:

All Peoples Arms TA-51-family weapons have the following perks:
Easy to Modify, Battle Rifle, HEP: Desert
The TVD Sniper rifle does not have Easy to Modify but does have the Sniper perk.
The TPK Squad Suppor Weapon may be altered to benefit from the Assault Weapon perk.

The X series of weapons made in the knock-off factories all have the same perks as their standard counterparts and also have the Made in Timmins flaw. 


TA-51 7mm Assault Rifle: 
 (TA-51 base model)

(shown with red-dot sight and under-barrel grenade launcher)

30, box502501

TAK 7mm Assault Carbine:
(base model shown with standard folding stock)

30, box182301

TVD 7mm Sniper Rifle:
 (base model shown with standard bipod)

(shown with optical scope, standard bipod, and matching mass-produced sound suppressor)

10, box502700

TPK 7mm Squad Support Weapon:
(base model shown with standard bipod)

(shown in sustained-fire configuration with with red-dot sight, 75 round drum, and standard bipod)

(shown in assault configuration with red-dot sight, 30 round box magazine, and foregrip)

30, box or 75, drum502602

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Raptor PR36

The PR36 is Raptor's conversion of the Paxton R36 Assault Rifle into the "ideal shooting and hunting pistol".  Using the same receiver and bolt operation (but with the handle moved behind the magazine), the PR36 has all the dependability of the Paxton assembly in a more compact package.

 In addition to the basic, "stripped" model with 10 round clip, the PR36 is also available in an assault CQB variant with a compact folding/removable stock, 35 round clip, and tactical rail/foregrip.  A variety of standard attachments may be fitted.

(PR36 shown with outline of Riley 13mm heavy pistol)

The Paxton 5mm cartridge has not been widely embraced due to a perceived lack of power, but, in an albeit over-sized handgun, the damage potential is considerable and compares well with similar "hand cannon".

1.4$$$10, 20, or 35 box152300

Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.