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.