This adventure involves the defence of the Sterling Colony, a small farming community on Caliburnus 1 (Breuse) in the Saga star-sector. Bandits have been raiding the colony, intent on destroying everything the colonists have worked for. The colony's leader and founder, Alfred Sterling, has sent his son, Mearc, to recruit mercenaries or guards to protect the colony and teach its people how to defend themselves. No one on Breuse would take the job, so Mearc Sterling was forced to look elsewhere. He had contacts - old college friends - in the Phoenix star-sector, so he headed for Eriel 1a (Achamandra). Finding a group who'll help him is the colonists' last hope. They approached the Interstellar Police Agency about it, but the Patrol considered it a planetary dispute, out of their jurisdiction.
Background - the Real Story
The "bandits" who are raiding Sterling Colony are actually corporate mercenaries working for Hoag-Warner GmbH, a large mining manufacturing cartel based on Sol 3 (Terra). H-W is a huge multi stellar corporation, infamous for its shady business practices and brutal competition crushing. It has more than once put small, independent companies out of business - often buying them out and selling the parts for a tidy profit, leaving the company's executives on skid row.
Hoag-Warner has discovered that the colony is sitting on a vast deposit of several valuable ores; iridium, osmium and platinum. To get their hands on the ore, the corporation attempted to buy out the colony. When the farmers refused to sell, H-W sent corporate mercenaries disguised as bandits to "persuade" the colonists to reconsider. They hoped that if they destroyed some crops and frightened the women and children, the colonists would give in. Maybe even at a reduced price.
But the plan backfired. Whilst some of the Sterling Colony Council have advised selling out, the majority, led by Alfred Sterling, wants to stick it out. The council first tried to hire mercenaries on Breuse (a planet practically swarming with independent mercenary companies who use the world for high-G training), but couldn't afford the kind of money the mercs wanted. And nobody was interested in a percentage of a cash crop that might be burned to the ground the next week. Desperate and determined, Mearc Sterling and two other colonists were sent as a delegation to Achamandra to recruit some less expensive help.
The largest of 20 moons orbiting the huge gas giant, Ivanhoe, in the Eriel star system, the Earth-like world of Achamandra is the capital planet of the United Federation of Planets in the Phoenix star-sector. In addition to the sector government, it is the sector headquarters of the Interstellar Police Agency and many other governmental and private organisations, including the embassies of foreign powers. The financial and political hub of the UFP for many neighbouring star-sectors, Achamandra is the home of numerous banking and investment firms and the influential Achamandra stock exchange, as well as the home offices of major interstellar corporations such as the Matsai Corporation. A household name throughout the UFP, Matsai is the largest Federation-based corporation, and it manufactures everything; if it doesn't, it owns a subsidiary that does. Matsai specialises in the production of fusion power plants, energy weapons and advanced electronics, all designed to AL:11 standards!
|The starport city of Cassandra on Achamandra in the Phoenix star-sector.|
Despite being somewhat crowded, the world itself is clean and well-managed - the show-piece of the UFP. All planetary industry is either in orbit or underground; weather control satellites and a carefully balanced ecosystem maintain a perfect climate year round. There are no roads or auto-mobiles - efficient rapid transit via moving side-walks and magnetic levitation railway tunnels link every city on the moon into one cohesive metropolis. Life on Achamandra is fast-paced and cosmopolitan; aliens and para-humans attract little attention and no prejudice from residents, and the better hotel chains, such as the Stellar Embassy, can cater to nearly any conceivable race and provide rooms tailored for any atmosphere or gravity requirements. The standard of living on Achamandra is among the highest in the sector; with its rich and famous citizens, the world is a trend setter in the Federation's fashion and entertainment industries. This is where the story begins.