Jonah scolds Flannery and she storms off. A number of inquiries go back and forth between Becker and Jonah, interrupted by a local man delivering peppers for the evening’s dinner, who instantly assumes that the players are defectors from the nearby Draconis Combine. Shortly thereafter, Flannery finds a photo in an encyclopedia picturing Becker and points it out to Jonah.
Before the conversation can go further, people begin to arrive for the evening’s post-harvest celebrations. The party learns a few things by prying slightly with the townsfolk:
- Kerensky did leave for his Exodus with over six million people and vanished beyond the borders of human space, never to be heard from since. Kerensky and his story have become a thing of myth and legend, and the story of the Agamemnon, her charge across human space collecting technologies and subsequent mysterious disappearance. The power vacuum sparked two (maybe three by now…) “succession wars” where the five major powers of the Inner Sphere essentially bombed civilization back to the stone age. Many technologies taken for granted during the Star League era can no longer be manufactured.
- Shortly after the First Succession War started, Ares Arms found vast resources of Strontium-7 on Persephone 2. Strontium-7 is a key ingredient to K-F Drive components. Within a few decades, several million company workers had been relocated to Persephone 2. In the middle of the war, Ares signed an exclusivity agreement with the Draconis Combine, which was seen as a terrible threat by the other four Great Houses. House Marik sent an assault force to Persephone 2 and blanketed the planet with high-yield nuclear devices, decimating the populace and altering the Strontium-7 isotope remaining in the planet’s crust.
- Just ahead of the assault, Angus McTavish, Jonah’s great-grandfather, and a number of other Ares employees saw the writing on the wall and founded a small colony on Persephone 3. Over time, many people who heard about McTavish’s Hope and its sister-city Thatcherville on the other side of the planet immigrated there, hoping to escape the war. The community has thrived in its way for two centuries. Angus also bought out his Argus heavy battlemech in the deal, which Jonah stil has hidden near McTavish’s Hope.
- Three years previously, Cooter had arrived – sent by Gentleman Roderick Black with a half dozen small dropships, a handful of Battlemechs, some fighters, and a few hundred men. They’re attempting to find something – Jonah knows not what – on Persephone 2, but haven’t been having much luck. Jonah suspects that Black won’t pay for a Jumpship to pick Cooter up until he finds it – which may force Cooter into more and more desperate measures as his men slowly begin to succumb to long-term radiation sickness. They haven’t particularly ill-treated the people of McTavish’s Hope – though the threat of violence has been there. They take just a tiny bit more food than the townsfolk can spare, and have, on occasion, taken priceless bits of technology – such as an old medical scanner and other components.
During the party, Flannery, under cover of drunken flirtation, manages to inform Janks that two men, Sims and Richter, are Cooter’s men and the party should be careful what they say. She also mentions that Sims has a high band transceiver that is capable of interplanetary communication.
After the get-together has wound down, the party heads back to the Wild Card and offers Jonah a medical scanner (like the one stolen by Cooter) in exchange for the offered supplies. The party also begins to seriously consider the question of Cooter – who is due to arrive within four to six weeks to pick up the stockpiled harvest. Previously, a Leopard-class dropship converted to carry cargo has been sent with a dozen men to transport the supplies. The party also finds two homing devices planted on the ship and the supplies – presumably planted in order to track the Wild Card to its base of operations.
The sleepers depart Persephone 2, burn for several hours in one direction, discard the tracking devices, and then set course for Agamemnon.
Colonel Becker’s log, 3020, May 21st (continued)
Well, that actually went better than expected.
As we landed, we, predictably, attracted attention, and a small welcoming party waited for us as we exited the ship. Including a man on a horse. Jonah MacTavish. Interesting man, and the leader of this place. And his daughter Flannery was quite interesting as well. Clever girl. If all this goes well, I’m tempted to offer her a tour of the Agamemnon; she was the one who noticed my uniform.
From pretty early in the conversation, MacTavish claimed that he did not have much to sell us, that he had a trading agreement with someone else. And more interesting was what he did _not_ say. It took quite some time to drag the truth out of him.
I decided to tell him the truth. Several reasons, really. Among others, if we cannot get out of the system, if we cannot find a way to repair our ship, then we’ll need a place to stay. And should that happen, we need help. I’m not at all convinced that anyone on Agamemnon knows how to plant crops, harvest it, or make it useful to humans. We don’t know what can be grown here, nor when to plant and when to harvest, or, well, anything about living on this planet, or perhaps any planet. So we’ll need this man’s good will.
And if we do manage to repair the ship, we still need food, water and air. Air and water will most likely not be a problem. Food will be, unless these people can help.
But the main reason, really, was his daughter. She had already figured it out, true, but I was going to tell them anyway, because of the way she acted. She wasn’t afraid of him, and that says a lot.
And with that cat out of the bag, things at least got simpler, if not less complicated. At least they could give us a quick summary of the past two centuries, though we did not get much information before people started arriving for dinner. The last day of harvest, and of course there would be a feast. At least people were more than willing to talk, all we had to do was listen.
Seems the League is gone. Kerensky and his rebellion went away as well; beyond human space, and no one has heard of them since. And the disappearance of most of the Star League Defense Forces caused first one, then another war between the Great Houses. During the first, they bombed each other back to the stone age. Sort of. In fact, since no one has seen or heard from the descendants of the Defense Force, we might be the most technologically advanced ship in known space. And as soon as it becomes public knowledge we exist, probably the most coveted.
The Great Houses went to war. I suppose that was expected; up throughout history, that has been the usual result whenever a major power has withdrawn from the board. Others will try to move in, attempt to grab power for themselves, and just as important, keep their enemies and rivals from gaining power.
Most of the colonists think we are defectors from Draconis Combine. I saw no reason to correct them. And Flannery, during the feast, found a way to let us know that this Cooter has spies in the colony, and who they were. I am tempted to recruit her, but I suppose her father won’t much like that.
We’ll have to take down Cooter’s team when they come to pick up the food. Ideally, I would do this without bloodshed. It is a gamble, but I at least have some semblance of a plan.
If we set up on the moon and monitor transmissions, more specifically, the transmissions from Cooter’s people, we will know when they’re arriving. At that point, we’ll land, jam transmissions, and prepare.
I hope the crew will think they’re outnumbered; they might not be, but they _will_ be out-gunned. We’ll have to bring in a bit of firepower and technology, and if possible, I’m going to give them a chance to surrender. The hope is to impress them and intimidate them into standing down.
And after that, well, I suppose we will have to fight.