Moments in History (2)

The official history of Imperial State Security records that Istar Sargas [Alphas I Amanyr’s left-hand man, and founder of the ISS] was assassinated in 742, and control of the Directorates moved to the Imperial Security Executive, at the time a hand-picked body of his division heads.

Unofficial history and frank rumor further records that the assassination occurred in an otherwise unoccupied ISS field office, and that upon meeting the assembled assassins face-to-face, he grinned, told them they were a full eight minutes behind schedule, and flicked his lit cigar into the first of several barrels of blasting powder.

Further information – reliable further information – has not been made available to this author.

– A Shadow History, Sidony Adae-ith-Alleia

The Love of Money is the Root of Reliability

mercenary (n.): A source who is working for us in exchange for money (typically discreetly delivered cryp) and detailed explanations of where all their body parts are likely to be found in the event of a contract default. A pleasure to work with, relatively speaking, because all the cards are on the table.

idealist (n.): A source who is working for us and betraying his putative employers for ideological, religious, patriotic, etc., beliefs. Widely considered unreliable, especially compared to mercenaries, since anyone who’s turned their coat once may do so again if they change their mind. Consequently, the first step in handling an idealist is to secure a firm yet invisible grip on their gonads, or failing that, a half-gram of KL-8 implanted in one of their heart valves.

– excerpted from Rilial’s Informal Dictionary of Intelligence and Security Terminology

Hornéd Moon-class starfighter

(Note: for the avoidance of confusion, this is not the same starfighter class as Raymond McVay has been posting over on the G+ fan community; so don’t be confused by the differences…)

“It looks like a blueberry croissant.”

“Blueberry croissant… of DEATH!”

– overheard at Golden Groves (Principalities) starport

HORNÉD MOON-CLASS STARFIGHTER

Operated by: Empire of the Star (Imperial Navy, Imperial State Security, & Imperial Exploratory Service; reliable UARC-sponsored mercenaries)
Type: Starfighter, Orbital and Near-Space Operations
Construction: Ashen Planitia Fleet Yards

Length: 24.8 m
Beam: 60.4 m

Gravity-well capable: Yes
Atmosphere capable: Yes (depending on loadout)

Personnel: 2 nominal, as follows:

Flight Commander / Sailing Master
Flight Engineer

AI expert system support.

(Can operate with a single pilot.)

Additional life support capacity exists to support four passengers in addition, although this requires hot-bunking in three shifts.

Drive: Nucleodyne Thrust Applications 2×1 “Little Sparky” antimatter-catalyzed fusion torch drive
Propellant: Deuterium slush / metallic antideuterium
Cruising (sustainable) thrust: 10.2 standard gravities (9.6 Earth G)
Peak (unsustainable) thrust: 14.0 standard gravities (13.2 Earth G)
Maximum velocity: 0.3 c (based on particle shielding)

Drones:

4 x hardpoint mountings for AKVs, typically Slasher-class

(Hardpoint mountings can also hold single-legionary drop pods, Piton-class, or covert ops equivalents.)

Sensors:

1 x standard navigational sensor suite, Cilmínar Spaceworks
1 x enhanced passive tactical sensor suite, miniature, Sy Astronautic Engineering Collective
1 x enhanced-resolution planetary surface-scan sensor suite, Imperial Exploratory Service (spec.)

Weapons:

“Flyswatter” point-defense laser grid, Artifice Armaments

Other Systems:

Artifice Armaments cyclic kinetic barrier system
Cilmínar Spaceworks Mark III long-duration canned/semi-regenerative life support
3 x Bright Shadow EC-780 information furnace data systems
Ashen Planitia 1-SF vector-control core and associated technologies
Cilmínar Spaceworks high-capacity thermal sinks and integrated radiator system
Aleph Null Systems tactical communications suite

Small craft:

None.

The Hornéd Moon-class is a small starfighter intended for fast attack and fast insertion missions in planetary orbit and deploying to the surface. As such, it has atmospheric capability, and even the ability to land.

In overall form, it resembles – as the quotation indicates – a croissant or crescent moon of flying-wing conformation, with the thin “inside” edge of the crescent facing forward. The two forward-facing points of the crescent are rounded, and rise to a near-cylinder at the for’ard end, and a rectangular section of the central section is “humped” at the rear; this contains the drives, whose nozzles protrude from this rectangular shroud aft.

Atop the starfighter, paired hardpoints on the dorsal hull to port and starboard hold the AKVs, when mounted. Additional mountings near them permit jettisonable fairings to be used to permit atmospheric entry or departure when non-streamlined AKVs are carried.

In between them, atop and for’ard of the drive shroud, radiative striping mounted directly atop the hull, beneath protective shutters, provides heat dissipation. To provide additional control (to the reaction wheel system) when in atmosphere, a number of multiple-purpose aerodynamic control surfaces are mounted along the leading edge of the hull, and to two small vertical stabilizers at the port and starboard edges of the drive shroud. Deployable rollagon landing gear are fitted ventrally in a multiple tailwheel configuration.

The main body of the ship is entirely devoted to fuel storage, with multiple deuterium tanks wrapping around the small antimatter cryocels for maximum protection. Meanwhile, the starboard near-cylinder provides housing for the ship’s avionics, including (beneath the forward-mounted radome and associated shuttered ports) for the triple sensor suites and tactical communications systems.

The starship’s small habitable area is located in that to port; the forward-facing airlock (whose outermost section is covered by a retractable streamlining fairing and extendable airstair) at far port gives onto a short corridor providing access to, in order, the ship’s bridge (behind an open viewport for close-maneuvering use), a two-pod sleeping area, a small room tripling as galley, fab shop, and rest area, and a single-person ‘fresher at corridor end. Limited avionics and life support access is possible through panels in this area; however, there is no pressurized access to the main avionics bay in the starboard near-cylinder or to engineering systems; such access requires EVA. Likewise, if drop pods are carried, access to those (for pre-deployment boarding, say) is only possible through EVA.

 

In a Name

Why are the analyst/supervisory grades in the agency referred to as the “proxy adhoc“?

‘Adhoc’ should be clear enough: due to their adhocratic structure, as is common in all areas of the Imperial Service.

As for the former, individual title applied to its members: it is by ancient custom, dating back to Istar Sargas, Alphas I’s left-hand man and the spiritual ancestor of the agency, that those responsible for initiating and carrying through operations bear this title. It was his little joke that those he served – the “Clean Hands” in ISS jargon – should never be personally troubled with the details of the ugly, yet necessary actions which were his and are our remit, nor have to engage in giving orders for them directly.

Rather, such matters should always be handled by proxy.

– “ISS Structure and Terminology” introductory memeplex

Trope-a-Day: State Sec

State Sec: Despite the name, Imperial State Security averts this completely; they’re just an intelligence/security organization, and a much more constrained (even the Fifth Directorate), non-autonomous one.  The only military is, well, the Imperial Military Service under a different ministry entirely, the regime protection forces are three entirely separate and relatively small organizations (the Imperial Guard, the Hand of Justice, and the Guardians of the Senate), and that’s about it.

 

Trope-a-Day: The Spymaster

The Spymaster: In the Imperial governance, the people who sit on the Imperial Security Executive, the council that runs Imperial State Security, which is composed of the heads of the five directorates, the admirals in charge of the Shadow Fleet, its military intelligence counterpart, and certain others, whose identity is not available anywhere.  It’s also unique on the organization chart in that the Executive reports directly to the Imperial Couple as well as to its nominal superiors in the Ministry of Harmonious Serenity.

Plenty of other organizations, of course, have their own – even before we get into competing governments.

Trope-a-Day: Something Only They Would Say

Something Only They Would Say: A number of intelligence agencies and other organizations use this kind of call-and-response code as a non-technology-dependent shibboleth, but for the sake of extra security, they’ve more or less perfected the technique of embedding them into subconscious levels of the mind-state, so that the person using them doesn’t actually know what they are to give them away, even under duress.