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Heraklion – an RPG module.

April 8, 2013

Heraklion

A module for the Heavy Gear Universe

Cesar Mateo Gonzalez

3/4/2013

This is a module I’ve been working on for some time. It’s the setting for a campaign currently being written with a scifi murder-mystery set in the world of Heavy Gear. It can also serve as the setting for any number of adventures, especially those with a gothic feel. Published in 2013 by Aurora, the DP9 Fanzine.

Dirty clothes

 

“Listen to me.” Adler grabbed Remy by the arm. “I don’t care how tough, or how much smarter you think you are than everyone else. It doesn’t matter! If you and your friends start trouble, those MILICIA bastards won’t think twice about mowing all of you down.”

“What am I supposed to do, then? Keep playing errand boy for you and your gutless friends while you’re all twiddling each other? The snakes are marching through our town every day and all you do is play pranks on them!” Remy shook Adler’s grip off. His voice cracked as he shouted back.

“This isn’t-!”, Adler caught himself, snarled as he looked to either end of the alleyway, and began again, hissing this time. “This isn’t a game, and this isn’t your fight. You’re too young. After you take the aptitude test you can start making your own choices, but until then you’re a child. Stay out of it, and stay alive!”

“I’m not a child”, Remy replied, lowering his voice as well. “And you can’t stop me. I’m going to go meet the others in the labs. You? You have to get yourself a new errand boy, or do these shit-chores yourself.” Remy threw a sack into the puddle between them. “I’ve got more important things to—”

“The labs?” Adler cut Remy short. “What are you going to do at the labs? What are they planning?”

Remy didn’t answer, glaring at his uncle instead. A smirk inched onto Remy’s face as he simply refused to speak. Adler’s fist curled reflexively as he took a deep breath.

“Listen to me,” Adler spoke slower, containing himself, but he stopped short. Remy heard the noise too, snapping out of his defiance to glance over his shoulder. The low thrum of an engine gradually filled the alley. Remy looked back at his uncle, still glaring, but all the venom was gone from it. Adler was still listening. He gritted his teeth.

“Shit, they’re too close,” Adler concluded. “Hold on to that”, he pointed at the sack Remy threw on the ground. “We’re going to have to run for it.”

Small Town Secrets

 

The summer of TN 1947 is a trying times for all of the Humanist Alliance. The Theban blight crippled the league, undoing the stitching that held it together. Heraklion weathered this storm well, as it has weathered others. It was, and still is, too remote and too small to be affected by such catastrophes. Now that the chaos is receding, and the Humanists seek to regain control, Heraklion has attracted some unwanted attention. The Southern Republic and the Humanists have chosen this place to wage a quiet war of insurgency. MILICIA soldiers patrol its streets, while the HAPF’s scattered forces wait for them in ambush, with Heraklion always in their crossfire.

This backwater, xenophobic town has secrets of its own. The history of its creation answers the basic questions when, where, how and what, but not why. While the Humanists and the Southerners’ proxy army hunt each other, the Heraklionite scientists are hard at work, with their biochemical laboratories resembling a startled hive. Whatever their purpose, the clash between the MILICIA and the remnants of the protectors is inching closer every night. It seems obvious that the researchers want to finish what they are doing before the conflict is at their doorstep. The MILICIA already suspects that the researchers may be in cahoots with their adversaries, and they’re paying closer attention to what is happening in the labs.

Meanwhile, the social malaise over the stark inequality between Heraklion’s castes is also coming to a head. Heraklion’s commoners find themselves trapped between the Southern Republic, the Humanist Alliance, and their own leaders. Even if they appear to be powerless, the commoners’ patience is at its breaking point. Murmurs of an uprising have coincided with these crises.

To make matters worse, the Southern Republic and the Humanist Alliance don’t seem to trust their own in the field. Commandant Alexander Brecht, the leader of the MILICIA regiment the 57th Stalwarts, is a shell-shocked drunkard. On the Humanist’s side, Chief Administrator Inachus Abbate has already been labeled a traitor, but the alliance has been too preoccupied to bring him to justice thus far. Both men may find themselves in the sights of their own people, if this goes on for much longer.

The end result of all of this is a small town on the verge of the precipices of all-out war, rebellion, and betrayal. The tension is ratcheting up with every passing day, waiting for the triggering event, the tremor that finally sends Heraklion tumbling into one or the other. Maybe it’ll be some apparently insignificant event that finally lights the powder keg.

Our Work

 

“We’re nearly there,” Dr. Len mused as she studied the readings on the trideo disk that lit her beatific smile. “We’re nearly, nearly there.”

The readings flipped between graph charts, DNA marker grids and seemingly random images of flowers. Rather than attempting to read any of the information flicking in and out of view, she seemed to bask in it. Desideiro had caught her in such reveries before, so he knew better than to interrupt his mentor’s moment of satisfaction. Instead, he stood in the shadow of the threshold to her office, holding the results of the latest samples in his hand against his chest.

“We’ve been working on this for so long. Isn’t it amazing that we will be the ones to see the work of ten generations, of so much effort and sacrifice, finally bear fruit?” Dr. Catherine Len asked her pupil, Dr. Desideiro Novitsky, without as much as turning her head. Monochromatic flowers shone their light on her aged face, with tips of their petals reflected on her glasses. “Marcus didn’t get to see it happen, the poor dear. It wasn’t his destiny, but he knew we were getting close. He knew, right at the end, that it’d be us that would see this happen at last. He knew we would be the ones to give this gift to all mankind. I could see it in the way he looked at me. I’m sure he was pleased.”

“Yes ma’am”, Desideiro replied. Catherine looked away from her flowers, turning slowly in her chair. She was still smiling, but now, rather than with that immense joy she had a moment ago, it was with infinite patience. “But you’re not here to listen to me muse. Why did you come up, dear?”, she asked. The images kept flicking as Desideiro wordlessly walked up to her, handing her the electronic clipboard with yet more raw, indecipherable data as though he was admitting some mischief to his mother. Catherine smiled all the way through as he scrolled through it with a few button-presses, even as she sighed and handed the clipboard back.

“Switch to the second genetic line and get rid of this batch. We’ll need to begin incubation immediately if we hope to have a proper spore sample with the latest round of chromosomal corrections this season.” Catherine said as she stood up, her smile was faint by then, and still vanishing. Desideiro nodded once, bowing his head low. “Of course ma’am. There was one more thing. The MILICIA soldiers… They’re getting restless. They came into town again. There was an incident.”

“Another? Heavens…”, Dr. Len replied. “This whole mess with the soldiers and the humanists is awful, awful. Was anyone hurt?”

Desideiro shook his head. “None of our people ma’am. It shouldn’t affect our schedule, but the MILICIA soldiers are stepping up their patrols after that. They’re breaking into houses, searching for someone. They even came here and ransacked the upper labs,” he said. “They seem to suspect we’re helping the humanists, but they don’t know where to look. The chief administrator was demanding we cooperate fully with their efforts…”

“Abbate? How unlike him. He must be worried they’ll take the town away from him” Dr. Len said. She walked towards the window that saw over the edge of the wall, towards the poorly-lit streets of Heraklion. The glow of the sparse streetlamps was softened by the rain. In the dark, her expression hardened. “Somehow it seemed inevitable that everything around us would start splitting at the seams just as we’re making real progress. But there’s no reason to worry. They won’t stop us. I won’t allow it, not from the Humanists, not from the MILICIA, or that wizened vulture Abbate.”

“Of course ma’am,” Desideiro stayed across the room. “Is there anything you need?”

“Thank you, no. I’ll take care of that problem myself. You have your own work to do now, don’t you?” Dr. Len replied, “Everything is well in hand. As long as we keep our secrets just a little longer, we will finish our work.”

Origin

 

Heraklion is one of the oldest scientific research centers in Terra Nova, established in TN 1374, just as the age of colonization was coming to an end. It also happens to be one of the smallest. Isolated and unremarkable, Heraklion was never considered as an asset, economic or strategic, by the powers that surround it. Heraklion’s stated mission was to be a center for biological research, studying the life-forms of Terra Nova for any valuable resources the flora and fauna could offer. Such discoveries didn’t materialize in time, and the corporation that built Heraklion, Farchilde Industrial Concerns, was bankrupted by the project. The decisions that led Farchilde to build Heraklion were attributed to one man, Owen Galanos.

Owen Galanos received a controlling majority of the company’s shares after he married Aneeta Farchilde, daughter of the company’s founder, Thomas Farchilde. After earning the company’s trust through several seemingly risky ventures that turned a hefty profit, he pressed the company to join the push to colonize Terra Nova and exploit its resources. Farchilde, at the time a middling industrial equipment manufacturer, became an upstart in space exploration. Owen Galanos’s personal capital as a shrewd and unrelenting businessman drove other companies to join him in this venture, coming under the Farchilde Industrials name, even as other companies were quietly withdrawing from the colonies. Heraklion was their last project. It took nearly two decades to complete, and was five years behind schedule. Several shipments were lost to Terra Nova’s inclement weather, including an unexpected storm that nearly wiped out one of Heraklion’s construction crews. During that time, Owen Galanos made several trips to Terra Nova in order to oversee the project himself. He became a frontiersman of that new age exploration. Some would say he did so several centuries too late. He made the fateful decision to transplant himself and his family to Heraklion in the Summer of TN 1375.

After his shuttle crossed the threshold from the stratosphere it encountered Terra Nova’s high altitude winds. It crashed into the side of one of the mountains overlooking Heraklion. His immediate family was on-board and there were no survivors. He left behind an enterprise in shock, just as the Age of Isolation was about to begin.

Age of Isolation

Just as unrest on Old Earth reached its peak and the Age of Isolation began, Farchilde Industrial disappeared, wiped out by the economic upheaval that followed. Construction of Heraklion’s facilities had completed and the research center was already operating with near-total autonomy. Consequently, Heraklion shut its doors to the world when Terra Nova was cut off from Earth. Heraklion allowed itself fade from memory as it focused on its own survival. Owen Galanos had the foresight to invest heavily in hydroponic cultivations and geothermic power generators, as well as the manufacturing and engineering capabilities to maintain them independently. Heraklion’s community at the time was a small handful of scientists and technicians, enough to sustain themselves for an extended period of time. As Terra Novan society rewove itself across the new colony, visitors came to the their gates. Vagrants, traders, wanderers; Heraklion turned away those it could.

Heraklion became an insular community at the very edge of what would become the Humanist Alliance. The citizens of Heraklion saw to it that their settlement would continue to function while the outside world became increasingly chaotic and hostile. The fact that Heraklion was forced to see to its own needs, disconnected from the rest of the Terra Nova colonists, by design and by circumstance, shaped Heraklionite society in peculiar ways. Heraklion’s scientists saw themselves as selfless scholars, working for the betterment of all mankind while surrounded by aggressive, desperate people who couldn’t appreciate the importance of their work. To this day, Heraklionite scientists are still slow to trust outsiders, and they rarely think of the world beyond their walls. They also came to see the technicians that maintained their equipment as competent servants; vital, but beneath them. That prejudice became part of their culture.

Heraklion learned the hard way that, without allies it, they weren’t strong enough to defend their town. A band of raiders swept through Heraklion, pushing aside their feeble resistance with ease. They destroyed the town’s mostly automated defenses and razed the buildings outside the reinforced biochem lab complex. The criminals occupied Heraklion for nearly two seasons, until a small force of Humanist Alliance protectors came to their rescue. Heraklion joined Yuri Gropius’ league shortly thereafter, though it never made a real attempt to become a part of the Humanists’ society. As part of their incorporation into the Humanist Alliance, Heraklion was forced to accept an outside administrator. Its citizens were divided amongst the three castes as well, though this did little to change life in Heraklion. Outsiders began to appear at their gates from the rest of the humanist league as the Age of Isolation was coming to a close. Some stayed, most didn’t, while the Heraklionites kept working feverishly on their own, secretive projects.

War of the Alliance and Recent History

As centuries passed and Terra Novans came into their own, Heraklion was still there, making modest, unexciting advances in agrarian science and medicine that they shared with the world through Oxford and Thebes. To the rest of Terra Nova, Heraklion was best-known for its genetically-engineered crops of water-root and soy. It seemed to be a place without anything worth taking, or worth hiding. As a result, the war between the North and South had as little significance to Heraklion. Life kept going as it had behind its walls for centuries, with only a muted echo of Terra Nova’s turmoil making it through their isolation.

After the Earth’s failed bid to reconquer Terra Nova, after the Peace River disaster, paranoia and suspicion became rampant throughout the South, even more so than the rest of the planet. The Allied Southern Territories and its member states turned their attention not only out towards the other colonies and Earth, but towards the darkest corners of themselves as well. However, the institutional rot caused by the Theban Blight meant that the Humanist Alliance couldn’t maintain control of Heraklion. Again, Heraklion’s isolation proved to be a boon. The disease didn’t decimate their preceptors as it had throughout the rest of the league. The HAPF unit that was stationed nearby was redeployed to protect places with “greater significance”, leaving Heraklion undefended. The MILICIA sent one of their own infantry divisions, which then simply marched on the base the HAPF had abandoned. From there, the Southern Republic assumed control of the region through their MILICIA proxies. Heraklion found itself besieged by so-called allies. Then, in a moment of political shrewdness and apparent disloyalty, Heraklion’s chief administrator Inachus Abbate offered the seat that the HAPF held in the city council to the MILICIA commander, Commandant Brecht. Brecht accepted, on the condition that his men would police Heraklion, imposing martial law. Inachus accepted without objection. Thusly, Heraklion became one of the focal points for the low-intensity conflict between the Southern Republic and the Humanist Alliance.

A small band of Protectors now operates in the area, carrying out guerrilla attacks on the MILICIA forces, who struggle to respond. The guerrillas focus on causing as much mayhem as possible, sabotaging MILICIA vehicles and ambushing their patrols to create a constant state of tension and low morale. The MILICIA, meanwhile, have begun to take out their frustration on the town itself with an increase of patrols and by raiding the HAPF’s suspected allies, often inflicting more damage than necessary. As was inevitable, there have been MILICIA, HAPF and civilian casualties, leading to a gradual ratcheting up of the conflict.

The People of Heraklion

Heraklion has three thousand residents as of TN 1941, which is the result of slow but steady growth since the town was brought into the Humanist Alliance’s fold. Life in Heraklion is highly stratified, even more so than in other Humanist settlements. Commoners have few prospects in life, given the town’s small economy and closed doors. They’re usually forced to work manual labor jobs in the farms surrounding Heraklion. The lucky ones find work in one of the businesses that have put down roots in the town, usually small-scale wineries and shops. The clever ones go for an apprenticeship with the technicians. Otherwise, they leave Heraklion as soon as they can, if they’re able. Those who are stuck in Heraklion languish under Terra Nova’s star Helios, picking genetically-crafted vegetables, destined to poverty and a passive sort of oppression. In all, Heraklion’s commoners lead quiet lives. That has changed in the past five cycles. The world is creeping into their town, and most of them resent it. The MILICIA soldiers are seen as the symbol of an outside power that can only make matters much worse.

Heraklion, however, is ruled by neither the technicians or the researchers. When the Humanist Alliance imposed their form of government on the town, they intended to place the towns authority on the farms. Heraklion’s farmers are all required to join a cooperative, which was supposed to be the seat of political and economic power. The chief administrator, who is designated by the Humanist central authorities, is supposed to be the town’s leader. Inachus Abbate, the current administrator, worked hard to assume control of the town. Subjugating the researchers to his will proved to be too difficult a task. The technicians usually do as their told, but they still maintain a certain level of independence. The researchers, on the other hand, openly oppose the administrator’s authority. The researchers do everything they can in their limited sphere of influence to undermine or subvert the administrator. Rumor amongst Heraklion’s inhabitants has it that the researchers have blackmailed, poisoned or discredited every previous administrator. Inachus Abbate, according to those same rumors, is doing the researcher’s bidding, explaining how he has been able to survive for the better part of twenty cycles at the post.

Finally, Heraklion’s Protector caste, no more than a hundred men and women all told, were displaced out of Heraklion when the HAPF’s central authority collapsed. They’re trickling back home now to fight a low-intensity conflict with the occupying MILICIA forces. They have supporters amongst the commoners and the technicians, but there are dissenters. Meawhile the researchers as a whole haven’t picked a side. The guerrillas are short on equipment, vastly outnumbered, and hemmed in from nearly every side. Even so, they are becoming experts in finding weaknesses in the MILICIA’s defenses and exploiting them with their limited resources for maximum effect.

The Technicians

Heraklion, in many ways, is not really a town. Rather, it’s still a scientific outpost surrounded by unwelcome squatters, with all the complex, sensitive machinery that implies. While Heraklion’s researchers busy themselves with lofty pursuits to expand the reaches of human knowledge, someone has to take care of the menial and thankless task of keeping the lights on. This falls to the technicians, commoners trained in the centuries-old traditions of the auto-wrench and cable-spool. The technicians refer to themselves as a brotherhood, the spiritual descendants of a handful of families that did the work when Heraklion was first founded, but it is more analogous with a secret order combined with a labor union.

The Humanists’ caste system actually made Heraklionite society, and therefore the technicians’ brotherhood a little more fluid. Rank and role in Heraklionite was no longer a matter of inheritance. The child of commoners could become a Preceptor by virtue of the humanist aptitude tests, and would be welcomed into the privileged ranks of the researchers if they so chose. Conversely, the child of even the most prominent researchers in Heraklion still had to prove his or her worth. If the aptitude test placed them in the commoner caste, the child would inevitably become part of Heraklion’s unwelcome rabble when they turn sixteen. Redemption for these “disappointments” is all but impossible, but there is still a little dignity to be had as a member of the brotherhood of technicians. The nature of their relationship with the researchers, and Heraklion as a whole, makes them secretive. They are also very protective of what they see as ‘theirs’, and they had to fight for every inch of what they’ve earned.

The Aqueduct and the machinery in it is their realm. They also maintain the Heraklion fixtures and utilities, but that work is often left to the apprentices. The master technicians work in the geothermic powerplants deep underground, the laboratory equipment for the entire biochem complex, and the aqueduct’s own mechanisms. They also maintain the archives, which they use extensively. A notable feature of their secrecy is that the technicians don’t keep maps of the aqueduct. Instead, they have secret marks along the pipes and on the concrete that guide them from place to place. The Archive stores the schematics of their machines, the procedures to repair them, as well as other historical information about the technicians.

In all, there are easily four to five hundred technicians, a large section of Heraklion’s population, with a few hundred apprentices and aspirants trying to become journeymen. Normally, there are about twenty apprentices per journeyman, fifteen journeymen of various levels of seniority, and a handful of master technicians at the top of the pile. Typically, Heraklion technicians wear simple coveralls and carry their tools with them everywhere they go. They also have distinctive coats that haven’t changed their design much since they were worn by the original Heraklion colonists. Practical, heavy, and checkered with pouches, the thick, pumpkin-colored garment closes down the side of the chest. The coat has a hood tucked into the collar, which the wearer can tug free quickly for protection from hazards, such as corrosive chemicals and open flames. When technicians venture into areas of the aqueduct with toxic gases and other such perils they will wear gas masks and rebreathers, but they’ll keep wear their coat over any other protective equipment they may need.

Amongst Heraklion’s society, the technicians are, broadly speaking, the middle class. They are paid, directly from Heraklion’s coffers, enough to own a small home and support a family. The researchers view them as a necessary evil and a nuisance, while their fellow commoners regard them with respect, even admiration. Technicians are, for the most part, quietly proud. They try to keep the fact that the machines they maintain are well past their service life hidden. However, Heraklion’s hidden infrastructure is slowly rotting away beneath the town’s feet, and the technicians are doing their best to replace it with modern equipment. It isn’t an easy process, and sometimes dangerous, but the biggest challenge they face is acquiring the equipment they need. Despite their technical expertise, they are not well-versed in how to purchase, modify and install newer machines.

The Researchers

When Owen Galanos recruited the scientists that would work in Heraklion, he didn’t choose the most brilliant minds in their respective fields. Instead, he picked the most committed, the most obsessive. Those researchers worked themselves to their graves for Heraklion, and that singular drive was be passed down from one generation to the next. It’s not rare for researchers to work themselves to death in their laboratories. They are encouraged to go far beyond the reasonable, both in regards to their working hours as well as in their theories. This, however, is not a very effective way to carry out research, especially since scientific ability isn’t hereditary. Heraklion’s research projects only began to make real progress, after nearly a full century of stagnation, once the Humanists’ caste system was applied to their society. That hasn’t changed the standard attitude of Heraklion’s scientists – they are still as obsessive as their forebears. They are indoctrinated, overtly and surreptitiously, to become that monomaniacal.

Behind the reinforced doors of the biochem labs, they live in a mangled web of bureaucracy few can grasp. As a rule, everyone engages the worst kind of academic competition and skulduggery to advance their own careers within the small confines of the labs. There are several departments that specialize in different fields, each with its own internal pecking order, leading to confused and volatile confrontations between individuals, and even pitting departments against one another. This internal strife often spills out of the laboratories and into Heraklion itself. Scuffles, even murder between competing researchers is also not uncommon. In the past, the researchers were allowed to deal with crimes one of their own committed on another, but now there is much closer scrutiny.

With such high-charged tensions within the lab, the world outside their scientific fish-bowl is usually not their concern. They allow the technicians to deal with most menial aspects of Heraklionite life. One exception to this is farming. The biochem lab maintains several hydroponic farms around Heraklion, producing almost half of the town’s food. Needless to say, these crops are highly experimental, with exotic gene modifications that have dubious purposes at best. The generous stipend researchers receive from the town’s coffers also make them the preferred customers for businesses in town, giving them considerable leeway for their eccentricities. There are close to two hundred researchers working in Heraklions lab and farms, making them a minority, but a visible one.

As of late, activity in the laboratories has ramped up considerably, making researchers outside of their hive a rare sight. Rumors about another project coming to fruition abound, though facts on that subject are hard to come by. The reality is that the researchers have had little influence or interest in Heraklion’s current situation.

57thd MILICIA Infantry Regiment – The Stalwarts

 

The 57th Infantry regiment of the MILICIA is a mid-line unit composed mostly of burnt out veterans, pulled from the front after commendable service,to languish there until they retire. The regiment has been based deep in the South, along the border between the Southern Republic and Humanist Alliance for close to twenty cycles. Officially, they’re there to provide protection to the nearby settlements and towns of the Humanist Alliance, including Heraklion. These places are so remote and insignificant that the MILICIA soldiers there very rarely see action, and hardly justify the regiment’s presence. They’re there to extend the Republic’s sphere of influence into the territory of their ally. From time to time they were called upon to dispose of rover gangs that venture along White Rock’s mountain range, but their presence there was, until recently, mostly symbolic.

This changed when the Humanists’ leadership fell apart due to the Theban blight and they lost control over much of the Humanist Alliance’s territory, leaving it vulnerable to the Republic’s greed. Commandant Brecht was given control of the unit, presumably to while away a few cycles before retirement like his predecessors, but now he had a new directive. His mission was to fill the power vacuum left by the withdrawal of the Protector forces from the region, and maintain order. This pretext doesn’t fool many, however, including the regiment’s own soldiers or most of Heraklion’s inhabitants.

The regiment is full of soldiers from all the southern leagues, with a slight majority of South Republic soldiers amongst the officer ranks, making it mostly neutral to the civilians they are now meant to police. Nevertheless, due to the recent guerrilla incursions by the remnants of the HAPF, they are quickly souring towards the mostly humanist population. The shell-shocked veterans are becoming increasingly unpredictable, with morale and discipline sinking lower still, making them more dangerous to everyone around them, including their comrades.

Nevertheless, they are professional soldiers, and they’ll hold fast as long as they’re able. They are a cohesive infantry unit, even as demoralized as they are, and they are more than capable of fighting in an organized fashion. However, the enemy is fluid, cunning, and nearly invisible on the field and amongst the civilian population. The rank and file are running out of patience, and Commandant Brecht seems to be doing nothing about this.

Somewhat Mechanized

 

The 57th has a small complement of Asp and Jager gears, mostly to provide armored support when the unit is deployed. They are operated by rookie pilots, training to join front-line units. These machines are particularly old, given that the Stalwarts are near the bottom of the equipment priority list. They are kept running by the valiant efforts of the support crews attached to the regiment, who have kept these machines in surprisingly good working condition. Nevertheless, regimental officers are always very reluctant to commit them, given that they may not see a replacement for any of these machines for several seasons, if not several cycles.

Aside from the small Gear cadre, they also have a pair of Caiman troop carriers, just as outdated and painstakingly maintained. The Caiman APCs see greater use, especially now as the regiment tries to control the HAPF guerrilla’s movements with raids and patrols into Heraklion itself, though they have little to show for it.

Run for it

The sound of the submachine gun firing was like the crack of a lightning strike ripping through the rain.

Adler didn’t try to aim, spraying bullets down the alley in bursts. The MILICIA soldiers, dressed in their gray body armor and drab olive ponchos, ducked behind what little cover there was. They squeezed into doorways and behind trash bins. Not all of them could were fast enough, though. Adler caught one in mid-stride, tearing into the soldier’s chest with three shots, smacking them off their feet and onto the pavement. Adler spun on his heel, grabbed Remy by the collar and hauled the teenager up onto his feet.

“Keep going!” Adler growled as he shoved Remy down the alley and spun again. While the teenager stumbled on his feet behind him, Adler leveled the gun, still in its holster strapped hip at the MILICIA soldiers. The one on the floor wasn’t moving. Another hand his head raised, with his carbine propped on a pipe fitting. Adler aimed vaguely in his direction and squeezed out another handful of rounds out, arm clenched preemptively against the recoil. The bullets shattered on the wall and on the pipe. Close enough.

Adler spun again on the ball of his foot and ran after Remy. The teenager, half a second ahead, went around the corner at the mouth of the alley, still holding onto the bundle with one hand. Adler made it there three strides, a second and a half later. He slid on the pavement as he tried to turn, nearly falling over.

The street Adler and Remy spilled onto was empty. Remy was already halfway across, almost to the alley on the other side when the Caiman APC came into view off to the side, at the end of the street. It slammed on the brakes, tipping itself forward while its treads yowled to a halt. Reflexively, Adler turned his hip towards it and pulled the trigger again. It was a futile act. The bullets bounced off of the troop carrier’s hide as it brought its turret around to bear on Remy and Adler. It blasted them both with its floodlight, blinding them for an instant. Remy screamed in horror, but Adler kept moving, stumbling as he ran along the street. Even as he ran, Adler held his breath, cringing as he waited for the Caiman’s gun to come alive. Two quick bursts, that’s all it’d take. They just couldn’t miss, not at this range.

The Caiman didn’t fire. The MILICIA wanted prisoners.

Adler caught up to Remy, grabbed him bodily by the shoulders and threw him through the window of a small bakery. Remy yelped something he intended to be a curse. It sounded more like a howl before the glass shattered all around him. He was cut. He felt the sting across the back of his hands. He looked up at Adler from the floor, who had his back turned to him now. The sound of his uncle’s gun going off was still deafening. The staccato muzzle flashes lit Adler’s silhouette

“Go to the back!” Adler screamed between volleys, “Find the pipes! Get away from here!”

Remy scrambled to his feet yet again, snatching the bundle from the floor, and took off into the back of the bakery. He ran into a stairwell. The light upstairs was on upstairs, where he could hear someone yelling angrily. He didn’t stop, running downstairs instead.

Adler saw his nephew disappear into the back of the building out of the corner of his eye. He looked back to the MILICIA soldiers closing in, catching glimpses of them as they stayed behind cover. He stood his ground in front of the broken window, with his finger pressing on the trigger without squeezing it. He could see the lenses of the night-vision goggles the MILICIA soldiers war, glinting as they caught the light through the rain. The barrel of his small gun at his size hissed when raindrops landed on it. Nothing moved except the raindrops.

Remy found the oven. A blaze of red light that glowed around the edges of its hatch was the only light in the ample basement. He was frozen at the doorway, trying to breathe in of the superheated air. He started following the pipes. They led him to a grating he recognized. He reached to the latch and pulled it aside, crouching down to crawl through it on his belly feet first. When he was almost through, dragging the bundle he was still holding onto in his hand.

The sound of a gun firing, slower, heavier, made Remy freeze where he was. The floor he was lying on shuddered with each of the gun’s reports. He lied there while his stomach sank, listening, breath held.

The baker came down the stairs, sneaking one step after another down from his second floor home, after the really loud bangs stopped. He peered around the corner towards the front of the store. There was a body in the middle of the floor, surrounded by glass shards. The only thing holding it together was its ripped clothes. Then the boot-stomping came. The baker looked up, snapping out of his horrified hypnotism. At the very edge of his perception, he heard a sound in the basement. It was the clatter of a grate opening. Before he could think about it, a soldier leaped through the broken window. They pointed carbine at the body as they dashed past it, and then up at him. The baker’s hands shot up. The soldier aiming the gun at him didn’t have a face, just a mask they were yelling through.

“Where did the other one go?!” the soldier yelled a second time.

The baker shook his head, stammering. “I-I don’t know!”

The soldier knocked the baker aside by slamming the carbine’s gun-stock into his gut. He folded over on his steps while the soldier ran upstairs. While he was crumbled on his staircase, other soldiers ran in, going past him, swarming through his bakery. The basement was empty by the time they got there. The sack was in the middle of the floor, spilling its contents. They were uniforms, folded into neat piles until recently, names and Humanist patches stitched onto them.

Remy was still running, his footsteps echoing in the dark.

Aqueduct

 

Heraklion was built over a river flowing through a knot of Terra Nova’s MacAllen tunnels. Their engineers drilled into the river and tamed it by corralling a section of it with dams. The result is a series of natural and artificial tunnels woven together into a maze with smooth, organic curves leading to sharp-edged, geometric chambers. Most of Heraklion’s machinery is down there, with a great deal of it devoted to purifying and distributing the river’s water to the town above. Heraklion’s technicians are able to maintain most of the systems there, following maps and markers only they are privy to, and which they guard with tremendous zeal. Maintenance of the aqueduct, in fact, is one of Heraklion’s greatest concerns. Some of the machines are old enough to have the centuries-old Farchilde Industrials logo stenciled onto them, and replacement parts are not easy to come by. It’s also a smuggler’s haven, since parts of the aqueduct have served no purpose for decades and the technicians don’t attempt to secure it all. Most Heraklionites are aware of the aqueduct but pay it little mind.

Archives

 

The Heraklion archives are not a physical place but a digital one. It’s a network connecting all of Heraklion’s systems, apparently adapted from the naval networks of the first colonial ships that ventured forth into the galaxy before the Tannhauser gates were discovered. Centuries of electronic detritus and flotsam clog it up, but it seems to function well enough to keep the town running for now. The local population use the network for simple communication, book-keeping and other such applications. Those inhabit the topmost layer of the network. The Archives were never connected to Terra Nova’s global network, Hermes72, making it an isolated space, much like the town itself. It contains the town’s library, which is comprised of a number of chronicles, journals, media clips and other such files. The network isn’t broadcast wirelessly, however, and is only accessible through antiquated physical access ports. There are connection points in most of Heraklion’s buildings, as well as out on the farms as well. There is a general belief that the servers running the network are somewhere in the aqueduct.

Military Outpost

Heraklion’s protectors kept a base on a ridge overlooking the valley. It was no more than a few barracks and a mess hall, maintained to HAPF standards, enough to house no more than a few dozen men. Now that the MILICIA have occupied it, while being harassed by the previous occupants, the buildings have suffered considerable damage. They were used mostly as officers’ mess and headquarters, while an improvised tent city sprung up around the small compound for the rest of the regiment. The grounds are a constant mud-pit, bogging down vehicles and soldiers alike, and the road leading down to Heraklion’s airfield is crumbling apart. The only advantage it has to offer is that fresh water is readily available, thanks to Heraklion’s aqueduct. The security of that water is in questions, but there’s little the MILICIA can do about it, other than to truck water in over a prohibitive distance. With the HAPF playing on their home turf, they’re carrying out increasingly bold ambushes around the outpost, which has frayed the nerves of the MILICIA forces and has worsened the mood in the camp. The MILICIA’s efforts to secure their own base haven’t been effective, as no amount of surveillance drones and barbed wire seem to prevent the HAPF’s guerrilla attacks.

Outskirts

 

Heraklion is nestled in the folds of a mountain range, in a valley where the primordial jungle was hacked back just far enough to accommodate the small settlement. As a result, the region around Heraklion is mostly untamed wilds, but there are farms carved out on either side of the road that connects Heraklion to the nearest Maglev station. Some are homesteads, focused on subsistence farming rather than cash crops, with a few cawffee plantations and small grape vineyards as well. Most of them are owned and run by the researchers, used to conduct botanical experiments of various kinds.  Most of the farms are connected to Heraklion’s road with uneven dirt roads that become mud trails during the monsoons. The rest is subtropical jungle, typical at this Southern latitude, with vegetation similar to Earth’s Jurassic flora. Wildlife, such as hoppers and watervipers, are also commonplace in Heraklion’s surroundings, making it dangerous to wander off the trail. A good machete is indispensable for anyone whose mind is set on venturing out there, to clear the way as well as to fight off the fauna.

The Biochem Labs

 

The center of Heraklionite life, the purpose of the town’s very existence, is a cluster of buildings that sit in the middle of it all, though walled off of everything around it. It’s no more than six buildings on the surface, with the tallest reaching up four stories, behind a wall that is itself two stories tall. Behind reinforced gates, worthy of any fortress or prison, the reality of the laboratory’s simultaneous decay and frenetic activity is displayed in stark relief. All the buildings are old, and its obvious, despite the technicians’ best efforts. They’re a patchwork of metal plates and concrete, bolted together where they’re not fused together, fashioned into boxy shapes. The administration offices are all but abandoned to one side of the single street that splits the complex in two, while on the other the science buildings are teeming with people. They come and go in shifts, following a predictable routine day after day.

Near the entrance to the main building, standing in the middle of a flowerbed, which seems to be the only concession to nature this place has to offer, there is a statue to Owen Galanos, depicted as a middle-aged man, dressed in colonist garb, watching impassively as scientists and techs walk briskly in and out of the building that bears his name. The flowers, predictably, are the result of unbound genetic engineering, with colors, patterns and scents that are simply impossible in nature.

Trader’s Square

The Trader’s Square is the hub of commoner life in Heraklion, sitting at the end of the main road that winds its way into the valley. Its name describes it well enough, with the few shops that have managed to survive Heraklion’s self-imposed isolation surrounding it. There are enough shops to fulfill most modern needs. Everything, from the gadgetry to the fashions, are usually several seasons (if not whole Cycles) out of date. The square is at its liveliest every fortnight when the farmer’s market occupies most of it, as the local homesteaders set up shop around the fountain that dominates the center of the square. During the farmer’s market, most of Heraklion is there, offering a rare moment of life and color to an otherwise bitter and muted town. The farmer’s market is still held as scheduled, despite Heraklion’s recent turbulent times. The fountain itself is a rather large, ornamental piece, serving as throne for a statue of Poseidon, whose glare is often the first thing visitors see. No one has a ready answer as to why Poseidon is featured there so prominently, but no one has made any attempt to remove the statue. The fountain’s bottom is littered with coins and baubles.

Theseus’ Ship Tavern

The Theseus’ Ship Tavern is one of the few successful businesses in Heraklion, but that isn’t particularly surprising, as it is one of the few restaurants, wineries and hotels in town. It sits on the northeast corner of Trader’s Square, the largest building there, and one of the tallest at four stories high.  The tavern’s decor plays on a military greco-roman theme, with square shields, Spatha swords and bronze helms displayed on the walls. All the items are obviously knock-offs, some of them rather cheap at that. The Theseus’ Ship is run by the owner Cedrych Charbonnet, who came to Heraklion during the Winter of 1918 TN. While Cedrych is colorfully evasive about his past and about why he settled in Heraklion,  he conducts his business with a reputation of honesty and good humor. There are plenty of rumors and speculation about whatever drove Cedrych here, and in all likelihood one of the most outlandish may be true. What is indisputable is that his business has thrived where most withered away after a few seasons. It’s one of the very few gathering places in Heraklion where all castes mingle, and where outsiders can feel welcome. The MILICIA’s presence in town has clearly hurt business, even if a few of the officers are occasional clients as well.

Residential Quarter

 

Heraklion’s commoners and technicians live throughout the small city. Some of them live near the core that has emerged around Trader’s Square, while others live on the farms where they work outside of Heraklion’s walls. However, Heraklion’s administrators and researchers have their own small neighborhood, further setting them apart from the rest of the city’s people. They live in what is called the residential quarter, a suburban neighborhood with luxury housing, rising up along one of the walls of Heraklion’s valley. This community is protected by the Khayr-Ad-Din mercenaries kept on retainer with money from Heraklion’s coffers. The security apparatus in operation there is highly sophisticated, including the use of automated surveillance drones, and even a small squad of Sidewinder and Boa gears. The executive committee’s meetings usually take place in the heavily guarded chief administrator’s villa that sits at the center of this gated community.

Bend in the Road

Caporal Martineu woke up with a start. She was still in the watchtower rising at the center of the military outpost, hunched over the machine gun she was manning. Coughing and retching, she tossed quick looks about her. The night was still pitch black, Caporal Mikel was still looking out at the rain, and the spotlights still shone on the same puddle of mud in the middle of the road. According to the display on the edge of her field of vision, she’d only nodded off for a few seconds. Even as she tried to settle down from the sudden convulsion that shocked her awake, heart pounding in her chest, she reached into one of her pouches for a couple more doses of combat stimulant. After swallowing the bitter capsules she cleared her throat, squared off, and steadied the gun on its swivel. Mikel glanced over to her, grunted loud enough for Martineu to hear, and turned back towards the rain.

“Fall asleep again and I’m throwing you off the side,” Mikel punctuated with a gesture to the 50-foot-drop ahead of them.

“Fuck off,” Martineu growled back drearily, “I’m too tired to care.”

“We’re all too tired!” Mikel shot back. “I’m not going to salute a firing squad because you can’t keep it together.”

“I’ve been up here for four shifts with no relief, snakefucker!” Martineu spat, before muttering “You’d plug one into your ear if you tried staying awake as long as me.”

She knew Mikel was right. If an officer noticed either one of them asleep at their post, they’d both get shot for it. Martineu did what she could, holding onto the gun and wrestling with exhaustion minute by increasingly long minute, waiting for the stimulants to kick in. Patting the pouch where they were, she realized she’d run out of pills long before then.

“I don’t give a shit and neither will the brass,” Mikel replied, “They’re too on edge to let anything slide.”

“What is the point, anyway? The humanist assholes won’t show up. They’re not going to march up here,” she added. “They’ll just lurk in the bushes, take pot-shots and keep us awake without ever actually doing anything.”

At that moment, headlights bobbed into view through the rain around the road’s last bend, coming towards them. Martineu tightened her hold on the machine gun’s grip reflexively, while Mikel focused his night-vision goggles.

“It’s the patrol that went into town earlier. They’ve finally come back,” he said.

“They’re goddamn late; I think my replacement went with them,” Martineu grumbled.

There was a squawk of radio static somewhere below them. Soldiers, and the pair of Jäger gears on guard duty, came to the opening gate to cover the Caiman APC as it struggled on the bogged-up road. Mikel chuckled to himself as he adjusted the dial on his goggles. “You might be tired, but you should be thankful. Those poor bastards down there are trying to push their ride up the mountain through the mud.”

“What? You’re kidding,” Martineu peered through the gun’s scope. There were half-visible silhouettes past the headlights. They looked as though they were trying to wrestle the Caiman onto its nose. The APC’s hull had sunk several feet into the mud. It now refused to budge. As Mikel and Martineu watched, the Caiman’s treads caught just enough friction to lurch forward, lift its nose and bury its stern even deeper, spraying a gushing tidal wave of muck nearly ten feet into the air. The soldiers trying to push were scattered, half-buried in the mess. Martineu chortled despite herself, nearly choking on spit. Mikel began to laugh when he heard the croaking sound she made. She joined in when she reined in her coughing fit.

Martineu kept right on laughing, loud and undignified, too tired to hold back. They both laughed while the soldiers crawled back onto their feet and, looking like a pack of mud creatures come to life to take revenge on the troop carrier, began to push again. “Heave, you sadsacks! Heave!” Mikel yelled out the window.

After a couple more minutes the regiment’s Stonemason engineering gear rolled out of the outpost with its emergency lights spinning and the pilot getting soaked through the open roll cage bars it had instead of a head. A feeble cheer went up as the gear took the hook to its winch in one of its robotic hands and fastened it to the APC’s turret as though it was a beast of burden mired in the muck.

Sinking its feet into the mud, the Stonemason began to pull. The gear’s engine roared over the rain with every tug. Laboriously, inch after inch, the Caiman troop carrier rose from the mud. The Stonemason dragged the Caiman along out of the pit it had dug for itself. Another triumphant, full-throated cheer boomed, this time from the base as well as the Caiman’s crew, when the APC managed to crawl out the last few feet.

Even Martineu thrust a victorious fist into the air while Mikel grinned.

The rain, for a brief moment, sounded like applause.

It was interrupted by a thump, followed almost simultaneously by a dry, concussive shockwave. The Stonemason reeled to one side, stumbling to one side before it crashed onto its side and fell off the edge of the road. The winch cable snapped taut, slamming the Caiman onto its side before dragging it into the void after its wrangler.

For another split-second there was silence, until, Martineu started firing blindly. She didn’t know at what, but she thought she saw something, a shudder in the trees on the side of the mountain, a plume of smoke in the pitch-black night. Shouting, confusion and rage boomed beneath the watchtower. Mikel was yelling too, pointing into the trees.

Rockets! Rockets!”

However, nothing came out of the trees. Martineu didn’t stop firing until the gun’s barrel vaporized raindrops that fell on it, but nothing fired back. The Jagers had begun several fires in the thick brush as well when they returned fire at nothing. The flames sputtered out in the rain after a few minutes Once the chaos died down, there was nothing to be found past the deep grooves left in the mud.

The night went on as though nothing had happened, as if nothing came around the road’s last bend. One by one, the soldiers that didn’t go over dragged themselves in. Martineu watched them as they came in, pressed her lips tight, looked up at the bend of the road, setting her sights on it, and squared herself away for the rest of her watch.

“Just seven more hours. Just seven more…”, she muttered. Mikel gripped the edge of the window with both hands, saying nothing.

Commandant Alexander Brecht (Knight)

 

Commandant Brecht, a citizen of the Southern Republic, originally enlisted with the SRA at the height of the War of the Alliance. He served honorably, but, lacking political connections he was passed over for promotion several times. He transferred to the MILICIA Military Police, and was immediately assigned to police the Humanist Alliance – Eastern Sun Emirates’ border crossing, one of the most volatile regions throughout Terranova. After several bloody and challenging tours there, he was allowed to choose his next assignment, Heraklion, where has been posted for the past seven cycles. When the local HAPF forces collapsed due to the Thetan blight, leaving Heraklion unprotected, Brecht was there to fill the vacuum. As a figure of the Southern League’s authority he has a seat in the executive council, though he rarely attends the meetings personally.

Profession

 

Commandant Brecht is a professional, cool-headed and methodical whenever he is on duty. As an officer of a military police unit, his job on the field was particularly challenging, but he never allowed anyone to see his discipline waver. Military Police officers have to be particularly heartless as they have to deal with the worst elements amongst their comrades. The MILICIA MP is as unforgiving as they come, especially since they are also tasked with controlling the forcibly conscripted prisoner/soldiers. Commandant Brecht knows the burden of duty all too well, though he carries it in a way that’s meant to be an example for his men. He also understands the challenges the players will have to overcome in order to complete their assignments. Whether he will or not is dependent on their results and the situation.

Attitudes

 

As with many others in his profession, Brecht’s controlled and emotionless demeanor is only skin-deep. That deception is essential for his survival, but the mounting tension has to be released. As a result, he will be professional and decisive while he’s on duty. Behind closed doors, however, Brecht is a fragile man, with a shudder in his hands and an uneven temper. He came to Heraklion, thinking that he’d find peace there. At first he didn’t, and he spent entire days in a drunken stupor to escape himself. He did not expect to have to play the kind of role the situation in Heraklion is calling for, and it’s taking a toll on him.

Combat Reactions

 

Commandant Brecht has been exposed to almost all forms of violence humanity has created, both as an individual and as a MILICIA officer. Consequently, he is nearly impossible to surprise. However, he isn’t a killing machine like other expert soldiers. As an MP, his prerogative has been to maintain order. He always aims to subdue his attackers rather than using lethal force. His first tool of choice for that will be his own voice, the second will be the riot shield and baton. Guns are only used as a last resort. This is only true while he is on-duty. Off duty, Brecht is a different man altogether, and he will respond to violence viciously. In those instances, he still won’t go for the killing shot. Instead, he’ll try to wound, maim and cause as much pain as possible. There have been several incidents in his past where this was the case, but the MILICIA were willing to ignore them.

Contacts

 

Czesiek Zeitig (age: 48 cycles, specialty: diplomacy, trade), one of Heraklion’s commoners, he’s made a small fortune for himself by catering to Commandant Brecht’s tastes in liquor, and the occasional errand. Nahid Blommel (Age: 42, specialty: investigation, military law), an officer in the MILICIA MP, whom Brecht trained, stationed in Saragossa. Lucina Reymond (age: 38, specialty: Surveillance, investigation), a young officer assigned to Commandant Brecht’s unit who has proven to be an asset.

Vital Statistics

Age:55 cycles Height: 1.90m Weight:120 kg Hair: black Eyes: brown

 

Attributes

AGI

1

APP

0

BLD

2

CRE

0

FIT

0

INF

1

KNO

1

PER

2

PSY

0

WIL

3

STR

1

HEA

1

STA

40

AD

8

UD

8

Skills

Athletics

2

Combat Sense

2

Defense

2

Notice

2

Investigation

3

Leadership

3

Melee

2

Interrogation

3

Survival

2

Hand-to-Hand

2

Small Arms

3

Perks/Flaws

Military Rank

12

Flashbacks (Nightly terrors)

-2

Authority

3

Code of Honor

-2

Connections

5

Addiction (alcoholism)

-2

Subordinates

5

 

Chief Administrator Inachus Abbate (Knight)

Inachus was born TN 1873 to a Commoner family in White Rock. He was the first in his family to rank as a preceptor on his aptitude tests. This success was a source of both pride and isolation, driving him away from his blue-collar family at a young age. He poured every ounce of time and energy into his studies, and later into his work. He proved himself to be a superb administrator, and he worked his way up the Humanist hierarchy, obsessed with his career. He was given the opportunity to manage the aqueduct and vineyard in Heraklion, which he accepted enthusiastically. He saw it as a chance to prove himself and advance even further within the preceptors’ ranks. He never left Heraklion, not when the war of the alliance erupted, not when Earth’s armies came to reclaim its colony, and not when the Theban blight decimated the ranks of his fellow preceptors. The fact that he refused to answer the call hasn’t been overlooked by his superiors, but the Humanist Alliance has had much greater problems than one preceptor’s treason by inaction. They’ve left him in his meaningless backwater town, too entrenched for them to remove, but he knows that their reckoning will come. As for now, the MILICIA at his doorstep are more pressing. His willingness to surrender the town was a ploy to keep his position as its master, even if it is in service to someone else. Now, his betrayal is willful. As to why he chose stay in Heraklion, foregoing his ambition and living in obscurity, it’s simple. Once he had control over Heraklion, he had something he could call his own. Once he had it, he couldn’t let go.

Profession

Inachus has been the senior preceptor in Heraklion for decades, and as such he knows every aspect and inch of his town by heart. He knows all of his subordinates, their sins and obsessions, and he’s willing to use every bit of that knowledge to manipulate them to do his will. He is a master politician in the confines of his realm. However, his authority doesn’t project beyond Heraklion. Aware of this, he protects his territory with Machiavellian schemes that pit his would-be rivals against each other, and to deter outsiders from infringing on his territory. When he has to, he does tolerate outside forces in his territory, such as the MILICIA contingent that recently arrived to “maintain order”, as well as the small HAPF contingent opposing them. Their low-intensity conflict places Heraklion at risk, but, thus far, Inachus has been able to play one side against the other.

Attitudes

When Inachus was young, he thought that great things were in store for him. He saw himself as the founder of a new league, born from the frustration of the common man over the tyranny of the caste system. When he came to Heraklion and learned its secrets, he thought he had found a tool he could use to achieve that goal. However, Heraklion’s devoured his ambition. Instead, he became the introverted tyrant, holding on with as firm a grip as he could to his one possession. He’s becoming increasingly paranoid, suspecting that someone, whether it’s the Southern Republic, the Humanist Alliance, or Earth agents, are trying to depose him or unearth Heraklion’s secrets. He sees a threat in any disruption of his day, and he is already overreacting.

Combat Reactions

Inachus is not a fighter. As a politician, he has endeavored to avoid situations where he’d be in personal danger. As he has grown older, sinking further and further into paranoia, he has gradually increased his own protection. He is always with an armed escort of at least four of the best Heraklion’s security force has to offer. These Khayr Ad Din mercenaries may not be supersoldiers, but they are competent. The only exception to this are his quarters. The guards are posted outside, but they are forbidden to intrude unnecessarily into his private quarters. If all else fails, he’ll die standing, protecting his dignity if he can’t protect his life.

Contacts

 

Ven Olden (age: 42, specialties: security, tactics), officer of his own security detail, a hired mercenary from the Badlands. Riordan George (age: 52, specialties: extortion and sabotage), leader of the small organized crime that operates ind and around Heraklion. Sele Rezanov, (age: 39, specialties: information broker, espionage), a MILICIA officer of Humanist Alliance origins whom he has manipulated into helping him.

Vital Statistics

Age: 72 cycles Height: 1.72m Weight: 48 kg Hair: Bald Eyes: Blue

Attributes

AGI

0

APP

0

BLD

-1

CRE

1

FIT

0

INF

3

KNO

2

PER

0

PSY

0

WIL

3

STR

0

HEA

1

STA

25

AD

2

UD

2

 

Skills

Negotiation

3

Notice

2

Social Sciences (Politics)

3

Leadership

3

Forgery

2

Interrogation

2

Etiquette

3

Business

2

Information Warfare

2

Perks/Flaws

Famous

3

Influence

5

Property (Villa)

5

Authority

3

Rank

10

Age

-2

Connections

5

Subordinates

3

Paranoid

-3

 

Head of Research Dr. Catherine Len (Knight)

 

The center of Heraklion’s existence is found in the genetic laboratories that lie in the old research complex. Consequently, the head of research is the pinnacle of Heraklionite society. This position been filled by born-and-bred citizens of Heraklion for centuries, handed down from mentor to a pupil they adopt as their own child. Doctor Len became the head of research when her adoptive father, Dr. Marcus Len-Philippe, bequeathed the position to her ten cycles ago. After graduating from one of Oxford’s biology schools, she returned home to Heraklion, like many of her Heraklionite peers. She joined the research staff there, impressing her superiors with her ability to grasp the most complex aspects of, as well as her passion for, the work. Aside from being an excellent scientist, she was also able to navigate the perilous waters of the laboratory’s inner politics, unlike most of her peers. As a result, she was picked from amongst a dozen other candidates to be Marcus’ adoptive child, and was initiated on Heraklion’s deepest secrets. While she is a member of Heraklion’s executive council, she has little interest in the city’s administration. All she cares about are her labs, and the research that takes place in its hidden laboratories.

Profession

 

Catherine is both the top researcher and the representative of the biochemical labs in the executive council, which makes her the second most influential person in Heraklion. She handles this two-fold role with ease, though her focus has always been the science. She is truly in her element when she is in the lab, and her authority there is absolute. During Catherine’s tenure, the labs have made several significant breakthroughs in the field of agricultural genetics. She has created crops with more nutritious yields, greater resistance to pests, and so on. Her successes have made Heraklion prosperous, which has served her well in the council. Catherine’s goal is to finish Heraklion’s foundational and grandest research project.

Attitudes

 

Catherine comes across as full of quiet joy, making her easy to like and trust. While that demeanor is not an act, as she will try her best to help someone in need, her sympathy isn’t unconditional. If she senses that someone is an obstacle to her true obsession, she will not stop at anything to brush them out of the way. That insidiousness, combined with her vast medical and scientific knowledge, makes her a surprisingly dangerous enemy. What may seem a cordial disagreement with her may be discussed over tea. A few hours later, a comma, a seizure, or some apparently innocent illness ‘removes’ her obstacle. Catherine, seemingly filled with concern, will sit by the bedside of her unknowing adversary for a few hours, truly distraught. At present, however, she sees no obstacles before her.

Combat Reactions

 

Without any form of training or even direct experience with violence, beyond what a sheltered Humanist Alliance citizen would be exposed to, Catherine has no combat skills whatsoever. What she does have is a vicious temper. Once it does, and it will if someone confronts her with the intent to harm her, or her research, she is likely to grab the nearest sharp object and leap at them. Nevertheless, she is just as likely to panic if she is confronted suddenly.

Contacts

 

Desiderio Novitsky (age: 33, specialties: computers and science), Catherine’s right hand and presumptive successor. Abby Peterman (age: 28, specialties: espionage, military protocol), a young MILICA officer and drug addict Dr. Len is supplying with medical-grade narcotics. Christian Angers (age: 57, specialties: politics, diplomacy), Dr. Len’s ex-lover, a high-ranking preceptor in Oxford.

Vital Statistics

Age: 62 cycles Height: 1.68m Weight: 70 kg Hair: White Eyes: Green

Attributes

AGI

0

APP

0

BLD

0

CRE

2

FIT

0

INF

1

KNO

3

PER

2

PSY

1

WIL

1

STR

0

HEA

1

STA

30

AD

3

UD

3

Skills

Medicine

3

Etiquette

2

Notice

3

Natural sciences (Biology)

3

Leadership

2

Craft (Genetically-modified flora)

3

Negotiation

2

Investigation

3

Perk/Flaws

Authority

3

Rank

12

Connections

3

Famous

5

Influence

3

Goal

-3

Technician Lukas Phan Liu (Rook)

 

Lukas Phan Liu has held the post of Master Technician longer than any of his predecessors, overseeing the maintenance of Heraklion’s gradually dying machines, and representing the technicians before Heraklion’s executive council. His rotund frame, made heavy by a lifetime of hard work rather than gluttony, has been molding the same chair in the administrator’s offices for the past twenty cycles. He is a brilliant engineer, inventor, and strategist. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have survived the dangers of Heraklion’s aqueduct or its politics. He carries himself with pride, glaring down those who don’t display the proper deference to him and his brothers, but he still feigns subservience when he has to. After all, he is a technician, a barely acceptable commoner in Heraklion. As of late, he has spent less time the surface, preferring the underground reaches of his brotherhood, avoiding the turmoil above. Rumor has it that he’s scheming something, as his technicians scuttle about through the streets with purpose before disappearing below. The details, past that increased activity, are nebulous.

Profession

His genius has saved Heraklion from a number of disasters that most of its resident never heard of. He knows the Aqueduct better than anyone else alive, and he has an uncanny understanding of its machinery. However, his age is slowing him down, forcing him to rely on his assistants rather than tackle every problem himself. Nevertheless, he still is best technical mind in Heraklion, with the masterpieces of his genius hidden in the dark. Over time, even his technical proficiency has not been enough to maintain Heraklion’s mechanisms. He has been unable to secure replacements for the machines that simply break down out of wear in ways that are impossible to fix. Tragically, he doesn’t have the contacts, the money, or the social graces to pull off that miracle. So, instead, he does what he can with the tools that he has, yielding as little ground as he’s able to entropy and yet yielding a little more every time.

Attitudes

 

Lukas Phan Liu is very proud of his own genius, and he never misses a chance to flaunt it as spectacularly as possible, but he does so in such a way that it doesn’t give away his arrogance. Usually his only audience is his fellow technicians and his daughter, for whom he has built monuments deep in the Aqueduct. This was enough while he was younger. Now, however, he’s frustrated by the fact that he doesn’t have the respect and admiration he thinks he is due from anyone besides his subordinates. Even his daughter has lost interest in the treasures he wrought for her. He knows he’s running out of time to change that, and as Heraklion breaks down piece by piece, he is running out of chances before Heraklion collapses under its own weight. He is planning something. That much is clear. Whether this project will save Heraklion or just celebrate his brilliance remains to be seen.

Combat Reactions

 

As a young man, Technician Phan Liu was a troublemaker and a brawler, but those days are long past. He has favored ambushes, traps, and overwhelming preparation whenever violence is called for during his tenure, and that is unlikely to change. In the off-chance that he’s caught unprepared, he knows how to use a few of his tools as improvised weapons, and he can do so rather well.

Contacts

 

Rick Czerniak (age: 48, specialties: firearms, tactics), one of the HAPF’s protectors who recently returned to Heraklion, and the son of one of Lukas’ apprentices. Nicolaus Blouin (age: 45, specialties: smuggling, haggling), one of the few foreign merchants in Heraklion that Lukas trusts, not useful when it comes to machinery.

Vital Statistics

Age: 70 cycles Height: 1.80m Weight: 150 kg Hair: Brown-white Eyes: grey

Attributes

AGI

0

APP

0

BLD

0

CRE

3

FIT

0

INF

1

KNO

2

PER

2

PSY

1

WIL

1

STR

0

HEA

1

STA

30

AD

5

UD

3

 

Skills

Tinker

3

Leadership

2

Demolitions/Traps

3

Technical sciences (Engineering)

3

Notice

2

Combat sense

2

Forgery

2

Melee

2

Craft (Heavy Machinery)

3

 

Perks/Flaws

Machine-touch

5

Contacts

3

Authority

3

Sense of Direction (3D – Aqueduct)

5

Subordinates

5

Influence

3

Caporal Winifred “Freddie” Martineu (Pawn)

 

As a young woman, Caporal Martineu joined the MILICIA to escape the lower middle class of the Mekong Dominion. At first she thought she’d land a cushy rear-guard post, do a single tour of duty, and use her pay to finance her studies. By the end of the first tour, however, she had pacified riots, roamed the badlands on bandit patrol, and survived coming face to face with a Mordred G.R.E.L.. By the end of her second tour, she couldn’t imagine herself as anything other than what she had become; a short-tempered, scarred and cynical soldier. She has been an infantryman ever since. She was assigned to the MILICIA’s 53rd Infantry Regiment for close to a cycle before Commandant Brecht “took” Heraklion. Since then, she has been on every possible front-line mission the regiment carries out. She has patrolled Heraklion’s streets and trails, guarded supply convoys, and stormed suspected HAPF hideouts.

Profession

 

Caporal Martineu is a known quantity, a veteran who has been under fire numerous times and come out of it relatively unscathed. She knows how to manage herself, and she has the tactical instincts to pull herself through nearly any combat situation. She is able to read them in an instant, and she is well trained in close-quarter combat, both armed and unarmed. While she prefers to use carbines, she can use the long-bladed vibromachete she usually has strapped to her belt. Beyond mere combat ability, she is also an expert survivalist, particularly in the jungles south of Terra Nova’s equator.

Attitudes

 

Caporal Martineu realized some time ago that her identity was devoured by her career as a soldier. Her immediate family has passed, or simply stopped trying to reach her. She has no personal friends, only comrades, and none of them have had a lasting presence in her life. Despite being aware of all of this, she believes her life has purpose. To Martineu, her duty is the reason for her existence and that is enough. This goes counter to all her negativity and snide remarks she makes almost constantly about the MILICIA, the mission, her superiors, and her fellow soldiers. She has come to terms that she will die while in uniform, whether on the front line and heaped with glory (which she finds meaningless), or behind a desk decades from now. Given the choice, she’d choose the former. She fears she may be headed for an eventual psychotic breakdown, but she isn’t always worrying about it. Now that she’s abusing stimulants, however, her fear that she may simply go insane is getting stronger.

Combat Reactions

 

Like any other MILICIA soldier, she has been trained to do three things in a combat situation: Follow orders, find cover, and fight to the bitter end. This makes her tenacious but predictable in combat. She’ll take cover and seek favorable ground, to then she’ll turn and engage with every ounce of strength in her. This usually works well in most situations, but she rarely has had to fight alone.

Contacts

 

Sergeant Tahlia Chan (age: 30, specialties: contraband, negotiation), one of the outpost’s quartermaster NCOs, owes several favors to Caporal Martineu. Frederic Polck (age: 42, specialties: repair, tinkering), one of the mechanics attached to the regiment’s motor-pool.

Vital Statistics

Age:32 cycles Height: 1.70m Weight: 72 kg Hair: Red Eyes: Green

Attributes

AGI

2

APP

0

BLD

1

CRE

0

FIT

1

INF

0

KNO

0

PER

1

PSY

0

WIL

1

STR

1

HEA

1

STA

35

AD

5

UD

7

Skills

Melee

2

Notice

1

Defense

1

Heavy Weapons

1

Small Arms

3

Survival

1

Athletics

2

Combat Sense

2

Hand-to-hand

2

Stealth

1

Perk/Flaws

Military rank

2

Code of honor

-2

Colette Phan Liu (Pawn)

 

The presence of malcontents amongst Heraklion’s commoners isn’t something new or surprising. Unlike most, however, Colette didn’t leave Heraklion when she had the chance. Instead, she remained by her father’s side, though not to keep him company or even follow his footsteps as a technician. Instead, she lives what appears to be a privileged life with her father’s wealth. In truth, she leads a small band of commoners, including a few technicians, who seek to break the researcher’s grip on Heraklion and its people. She isn’t a guerrilla-fighter or saboteur, merely a charismatic idealist who was able to convince her childhood friends to take a pledge they didn’t put much stock in at the time. However, they came to realize that she was serious, and to believe that she was right. Her situation, as her father deteriorates and the world around Heraklion is in turmoil, has become increasingly unstable. She senses an opportunity to make real changes in her town, but she doesn’t know how to seize upon it. Her conspiracy has achieved some small successes in undermining the researcher’s hold in Heraklion. They’ve done so by pushing commoners to buy the farms around town, as well as by opening businesses of their own. On more than one occasion, her conspiracy has required people to be “forcibly removed”. She hasn’t shied away from that either, though she hasn’t gotten her own hands dirty.

Profession

 

Colette is the foreman at a small farm equipment manufacturer, selling mundane goods to the locals. She’s quite successful there, managing both the personnel and physical aspects of her work with ease. Her talents shift from that day-job to her clandestine struggle well enough. She knows Heraklion better than most commoners or technicians, both as a result of being her father’s daughter and her own drive to find any advantage she could for her cause. Beyond that, she is able to manipulate and deceive when she needs to, but her preferred method of leadership is through her charisma, and an unassailable belief that she is in the right. She is able to convince others of the righteousness of her cause, and some of her followers are willing to do the dirty work she is unable to do herself.

Attitudes

 

Colette goes to great lengths to have a positive outlook, to think of things in the long run and to be as enthusiastic as possible of her greater goals in the face of short-term problems. Her morals bend around accomplishing her final goal, and that has focus has seen her through hard times and choices. Even now, she declares absolute confidence in her success. However, keeping that up when confronting uncertainty is taxing, and she doesn’t know how to react to the MILICIA’s sudden involvement in Heraklion’s affairs. She is running out of ideas, even if she senses that there is a way for her to exploit the chaos, and the seeming anxiety of the researchers. She also suspects that she is about to lose her father, and that affects her more than she is willing to admit Beneath her usually sunny facade, he frustrations are threatening to boil over, and she is likely to take more risks than she should.

Combat Reactions

 

Colette’s confidence, when it comes to violence, is tempered by the fact that she doesn’t know how to use a gun. Nevertheless, she is physically capable.  If she was confronted with violence, she would try to escape first. If she is cornered, she’d die for her cause. In a brawl, however, she could be a threat, especially if she has some of her shop tools within easy reach.

Contacts

Balthasar Stolz (age: 28, specialties: firearms, melee,) thug on the run from the Mekong Dominion, acts as Colette’s muscle when violence is called for by her cause. Allyce Phoebus (age: 25, specialties: repair, tinkering,) A technician who believes in Colette’s cause. Dardanus Semmel (age: 42, specialties: smuggling, theft,) a clerk in one of Heraklion’s general stores, and a believer in Colette’s cause.

Vital Statistics

Age:28 cycles Height: 1.72m Weight: 48 kg Hair: Brown Eyes: Grey

Attributes

AGI

0

APP

1

BLD

0

CRE

0

FIT

1

INF

2

KNO

0

PER

0

PSY

1

WIL

1

STR

0

HEA

1

STA

30

AD

4

UD

3

 

Skills

Melee

1

Combat sense

1

Leadership

2

Notice

2

Streetwise

2

Defense

1

Tinker

3

Negotiation

2

Perks/Flaws

Allies

5

Goal

-3

Connections

2

Obligation

-2

HAPF Guerrilla Fighter (Pawn)

 

The small force of protectors that came to challenge the MILICIA’s occupation is made up of volunteers. They’re well trained and know the terrain, since most of them are Heraklion natives. They have some support in the town as well, mostly people who are willing to shelter then and generally provide aid. However, they’re outnumbered 12 to 1, meagerly equipped and without a real plan. Their tactics are limited to small-scale raids and precisely executed ambushes on isolated MILICIA patrols, usually carried out by six-man squads. Their weapons of choice are semi-automatics, along with rockets and remote-detonated explosive charges. They will attempt to avoid capture by any means, but they’re not suicidal.

Attributes

AGI

1

APP

0

BLD

1

CRE

0

FIT

2

INF

0

KNO

0

PER

1

PSY

0

WIL

1

STR

1

HEA

1

STA

35

AD

7

UD

7

Skills

Melee

2

Demolition/traps

1

Stealth

2

Hand-to-Hand

2

Combat sense

2

Defense

1

Small arms

3

Notice

1

Heavy weapons

1

MILICIA Soldier (Pawn)

Despite their low morale, MILICIA soldiers are professionals and veterans. Furthermore, the MILICIA is used to dealing with hostile occupations and guerrilla warfare. The members of the 57th regiment are no different, but they have been hunting for the HAPF’s fighters for weeks now, with little to no success. This frustration is reflected in the increasingly undisciplined behavior of the rank-and-file. They use standard infantry and police tactics while out on the field, but they’re escalating much quicker these days. Not all of them are infantry soldiers, however, as there is a fair number of support personnel, such as mechanics and medics, who are stationed with the 57th. There is also a small contingent of Gear pilots, but they’d never take the field without their machines.

Attributes

AGI

1

APP

0

BLD

1

CRE

0

FIT

2

INF

0

KNO

0

PER

1

PSY

0

WIL

1

STR

1

HEA

1

STA

35

AD

7

UD

7

Skills

Melee

2

Combat sense

2

Heavy weapons

2

Hand-to-Hand

2

Notice

1

Small arms

3

Defense

2

Heraklion Researcher (Pawn)

 

After nearly a lifetime of training and indoctrination, the common Heraklion researcher will be zealously devoted to their projects. They sincerely believe that their work is for the betterment of mankind and that they are the only ones capable of seeing it through. Every researcher is an individual, but their semi-cloistered existence affords them little chances to see the world from another perspective than their own. Nevertheless, they are top-notch scientists to the last, with absolute mastery of biology and chemistry. As a fighting force, they’re meaningless. Even so, their knowledge of Heraklion, their collective megalomania and their ability to make extremely toxic poisons make them another kind of threat.

Attributes

AGI

0

APP

0

BLD

0

CRE

1

FIT

0

INF

1

KNO

2

PER

1

PSY

0

WIL

1

STR

0

HEA

0

STA

25

AD

7

UD

7

Skills

Etiquette

2

Notice

2

Medicine

3

Investigation

2

Natural Sciences (Biology)

2

Craft (Genetically-modified flora)

2

Heraklion Technician (Pawn)

 

The members of Heraklion’s brotherhood of technicians have received a lifetime’s worth of education beneath Heraklion by the time they’re journeymen. In order to survive as a technician in Heraklion’s maze-like Aqueduct, they have to be clever and quick on their feet. Apprentices usually do the simple maintenance jobs on the surface, while the more experienced technicians either supervise the apprentices’ work, or handle the more difficult tasks below-ground. They usually work in crews of three or more, with equipment that has been used, handed down, and maintained for generations. They are not soldiers or thugs, though. If they’re confronted, they’ll run, and they know the best hiding places anywhere within Heraklion’s sphere of influence.

Attributes

AGI

0

APP

0

BLD

0

CRE

1

FIT

0

INF

1

KNO

2

PER

1

PSY

0

WIL

1

STR

0

HEA

0

STA

25

AD

7

UD

7


Skills

Tinkering

3

Melee

1

Demolition/traps

1

Technical Sciences (Engineering)

2

Athletics

1

Survival

2

Notice

1

Information Warfare

2

HIRA Agents (Pawn)

 

The agents of the Human Insight and Regulation Authority are amongst the best-trained spies in Terra Nova. Their role is enforcement rather espionage or counterintelligence, which is reflected by the missions they undertake. They are cautious, methodical, and determined. They also have the best equipment available, including stealth suits, surveillance equipment and weapons. Their tactics rely on subtlety and misdirection rather than direct confrontation. However, Heraklion is proving to be a challenging place, with very few places or opportunities to monitor their target, as well as a dedicated and vigilant antagonist they can’t influence very easily. To make matters worse, as the conflict between the HAPF’s guerillas and the MILICIA forces escalates, there is very little room left for the HIRA agents to maneuver.

Attributes

AGI

1

APP

0

BLD

1

CRE

0

FIT

1

INF

0

KNO

0

PER

2

PSY

0

WIL

1

STR

1

HEA

1

STA

35

AD

7

UD

7

Skills

Melee

2

Information Warfare

2

Investigation

2

Hand-to-Hand

2

Combat sense

2

Defense

1

Small arms

2

Notice

1

Stealth

3

SRID Operatives (Pawn)

 

The South Republic Intelligence Directorate is the Republic’s internal counter-intelligence agency. They are tasked with monitoring the South Republic’s own citizens for signs of corruption and treason. Their operatives are amongst the best spies in Terra Nova, and a team of them has been sent to Heraklion. Their methods, when dispatched outside of the Republic, don’t rely on subtlety. Intimidation, assassination and kidnapping are amongst their tactics of choice, but from time to time they will stop, watch and listen. Their equipment is state-of-the-art, but they don’t have access to some of the more exotic equipment other agencies have. When they go “loud”, they make sure it’s with overwhelming force and the element of surprise.

Attributes

AGI

1

APP

0

BLD

1

CRE

0

FIT

1

INF

0

KNO

0

PER

2

PSY

0

WIL

1

STR

1

HEA

1

STA

35

AD

7

UD

7

Skills

Melee

2

Combat sense

2

Defense

1

Hand-to-Hand

2

Notice

2

Stealth

2

Small arms

2

Investigation

2

Information Warfare

1

Khayr-Ad-Din Mercenaries (Pawn)

 

These men and women are members of the private security detail Chief Administrator Abbate set up to protect himself and the researchers, using Heraklion’s profits. They’re consummate professionals, hired out of Khayr-Ad-Din on a permanent retainer. They’re no match for a standing army, nor are they meant to be. They’re bodyguards, armed with heavy flak suits and a mixture of SMGs and rifles. They do have a handful of antiquated gears for patrol duty, and the support these machines need to stay running, but very little else. They stand as a neutral party to the unrest between the MILICIA and the HAPF, lacking the firepower or interest to engage either one of them. Their only objective is fulfilling the terms of their contract, which is to protect the residential quarter and the biochem labs. Chief Administrator Abbate has ordered them to collaborate with the MILICIA, and they do so by staying out their way. Their loyalty rests with Chief Administrator Abbate, since he is the one paying them.

Attributes

AGI

1

APP

0

BLD

2

CRE

0

FIT

1

INF

0

KNO

0

PER

1

PSY

0

WIL

1

STR

1

HEA

1

STA

40

AD

7

UD

7

Skills

Melee

2

Survival

2

Heavy Weapons

1

Hand-to-Hand

2

Combat sense

2

Defense

2

Small arms

2

Notice

2

Stealth

1

Author:

Cesar Mateo González

From → Fiction, Roleplaying

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