Finding Dragon Eggs

jumpship2

So by now, you know that the slog-formerly-known-as-a-Handbook project is now officially out. (As in, currently can be bought as a PDF and soon-to-be hitting store shelves in print form.) Yes, it’s true. Handbook: House Kurita is a reality at long last.

I was skimming it the other day and realized I’d put a number of little ‘Easter eggs’ within the project. Not to be confused with pop culture references – not all Easter eggs are such things – these are more little quirks and nods to other things of note. Or secrets. Or, possibly, simply born from side discussions that suddenly spawned into fictional reality.

For example, the Wakamiya-class salvage destroyer is such an item. The idea came from a long discussion with a close friend of mine on the way back from a day of gaming; I’d been trying to figure out what new wet navy type of ship to put into the book. (Every Handbook in the series has a different type of wet navy vessel, so no repeating.) Somehow, we got to talking about Project: AZORIAN (since I’d just written an article on it) and then my friend (that’d be Brian, of Jadehellbringer fame) said I should build a ship along those lines.

I didn’t think about it too hard, and instead tasked him with it. Now, building a surface vessel under our support rules system is an exercise in spreadsheet algebra – something I personally loathe – and he couldn’t quite replicate it. So we passed it off to Brent, a mutual friend, who snapped into shape the vessel now proudly displayed in this book.

Some other Easter eggs:

  • Several headers and subheaders are actually haikus, when strung together.
  • Lovecraft makes an appearance with a fake cult that pops up from time to time, never boding well tidings for the citizenry affected.
  • One of the chain gangs listed is derived from my DC gaming group’s name.
  • The Obuzaabaa and Sasayaku vehicles were inspired by my old college Shadowrun (2Ed) group, who modified CityMasters into robotic killing machines (much to our GM’s regret for allowing it).
  • Yes, a particularly bad BattleTech novel is mentioned as a popular fantasy movie, along with an updated version of a popular monster franchise.
  • The Gossamer drone is directly derived from the Schatten airships I created for TRO:VA.
  • The Snapping Dragon came from a throwaway line by Ray: “We need more killer plants in this universe.”
  • The actual location of the Kensai Kami is put on a planet that becomes fairly important later into the Jihad; that was a decision I made about halfway through the Jihad plot, as I needed the Kuritans to hold onto some of their elite status and traditions. Putting it on a planet that would go under harm’s way was not ideal.
  • The Pachirisu is the most obvious nod to a very popular Japanese pastime, known as Pokemon. Herb, then the Line Developer, mentioned that it was only right we pay homage to that particular bend in Japanese culture. So I took the Pokemon pachirisu, a popular character in the series/game, and crafted the Kuritan ‘lightning squirrel.’
  • A ‘popular’ character from the Somerset Strikers does make a surprisingly detailed appearance, as part of the current royal family.
  • The ‘modernist haiku’ was written by a friend who graciously helped me with some cultural translation and adaptations.
  • The light bulb jokes came from a particularly hilarious gaming session between friends, when we came up with a long list of these for almost every faction.

And there’s more, but why spoil all the fun?

Enter the Dragon (Almost)

The noble yakuza of the Draconis Combine.

The noble yakuza of the Draconis Combine.

 

Whew. Almost there.

  • First outline written in 2006.
  • Final draft turned in 2011.
  • Edited version posted to layout 2013.
  • Printing (soon) in mid-2015.

Here’s a taste: ToC Preview.

Enter the Dragon.

independence

Akuma-mataata!

 

A Dragon’s Death Angel With a Gun

Back a few months ago, Jason Schmetzer asked me if I was interested in writing all of the upcoming TRO:3145 House Kurita entries.

Despite my self-imposed hiatus.

I took a couple days to think about it. In the end, I agreed for a couple reasons:

1. This TRO project is being written along the parameters born from a conversation with Jason several months ago. We wanted to bring back the ‘classic’ feel of the FASA-era technical readouts, such as the classic 3025, 2750, and 3050 tomes. The focus in those were on battles, history, and “can I replicate that encounter on the tabletop?” After a glut of TROs the last several years that focused more on the corporate and bureaucratic wrangling, it seemed like this was the best place to do it.

2. During this time, we also decided to challenge our writer pool. Who could follow directions? Who could turn in stuff on time? Who was capable of crafting great, compelling entries that didn’t use the word “design” or re-state the stat blocks in written form? If we were challenging them, then it was also up to Jason and I to put our money where our mouths were.

3. Entries like these are in the 500-750 word range. That’s about 45 min for me to crank out, something that I can do quite easily during my lunch hour or while my wife does normal garden maintenance in the evening.

4. I needed a modern House Kurita fix. After letting Geoff Swift take the reigns for a while after the Jihad, I needed to infuse some old-school Combine combat honor into the Dark Age.

So after a few weeks – and a nice helpful assist from Jason when I got hit with an unexpected video project at work – the TRO:3145 Draconis Combine was written, reviewed, edited, and drawn. It’s the next in line to release as a PDF, with several entries finding their way into the printed TRO later this year. The primary focus for the battle histories in this TRO (and in the upcoming FedSuns one) is the Combine invasion of the Federated Suns, and was an absolute blast to forge.

There are two units in particular I absolutely loved. I didn’t craft the stats for any of these – that hard work was a project unto itself, headed by Jan Prowell (owner of warrenborn.com), Patrick Wynne (MWDA automaton), and Johannes Heidler, among several others. But I fell in love with the Kamakiri (and its Shi variant) and the Tenshi.

Thought I’d share a little about the Tenshi (which means ‘angel’ in Romanized Japanese), to stoke the fires of fans of House Kurita…

Deployment

The first Tenshis were assigned to the Ghost Regiments. The DCMS believed that if the Tenshi proved to be a tactical failure—much as the Daboku nearly a century before—it would be confined to the  more “honorless” regiments. Ghost pilots embraced the new OmniMech and quickly realized its battlefield potential. In 3103, the First Ghost dropped two lances of Tenshis on Grumium in the Ghost Bear Dominion in a fast raiding action to seize a large weapons stockpile. Chu-i Albert Olmstead led his Tenshis straight to their target, blasting through a Striker Star before being stopped cold by a Dominion Nova from the First Freeman Cluster. Olmstead challenged the Bear commander to a Trial of Possession and was refused; the Ghosts were then surrounded by the Bears. Using their massed firepower, the Tenshis moved from target to target, cutting down Clan ’Mechs in short order as they shrugged off the Bears’ return fire. Six of the eight Tenshis met their DropShip at the facility and several hundred tons of Clan technology was claimed for the Dragon.

The assault company of the Sixteenth Galedon Regulars is comprised entirely of Tenshis, all at the request of Tai-i Michelle Taharski. The Wall, as the company is unofficially known, was responsible for the mass destruction of the capital city of Kirstie on Rowe. Taharski configured all of her Tenshis with as many  destructive weapons as possible. When the Wall moved on Kirstie, they were opposed by a regiment of planetary militia. The gaggle of Davion infantry and vehicles was no match for the twelve assault ’Mechs. After making short work of the militia, the company set about destroying more than three-fourths of the city.

Notable Units

Tai-i Michelle Taharski: Orphaned at a young age by to a Davion raid on her homeworld of Capra, Taharski has nurtured a fiery hate against all things Davion. Pragmatic about her future advancement within the Sixteenth, the tai-i has made the most of her position as company commander. That her request for an entire company of Tenshis was accepted by the Regulars’ command and the Procurement Department was unexpected but gratefully received.

Her hatred of the Federated Suns—and the Sandoval family in particular—came to the forefront when the Sixteenth was reassigned to the border of the Draconis March. She is methodical and somewhat predictable in her tactics. Those few who joke that the tai-i must be Lyran due to her LCAF-like approach to tactics find themselves nursing broken bones or suffering a mild concussion.

The Tenshi, by Justin Nelson.

The Tenshi, by Justin Nelson.

Secret Police and Colored Dragons

Battle on Soverzene

[Quick note: the BattleTech LEGOs you’ve seen here on my blog are the work of other LEGO fans on Flickr. I’m using the photos of their amazing creations under the Creative Commons license. If you like them, click on the photo to check out their other sets. I’d love to claim their creativity as mine, but I’m not quite that good a LEGO creator yet.]

I’ve taken notice of an interesting discussion on the official BattleTech boards lately, as fans of the Combine debate the current “modern era” purpose of both the Internal Security Force and the Order of Five Pillars (ISF and O5P, respectively). Setting aside some of the more…obtuse…arguments, I decided to kick out one more post with “preview content” from the upcoming-but-in-a-holding-pattern HBHK.

Before I do that, however, I have to say one thing: When you argue from a position where you’re using your own assumptions as fact and then relentlessly bludgeoning others with such a position, you’re doing it wrong. Egregiously so. Conducting effective nerd debates about fictional game history is all about using only established published canon to lay out your theory so others can debate it. (Key word: debate. There’s no ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ in nerd debates about a fictional game universe.) It’s not about taking your stand and then wielding your constructed argument as “the Hand of Inarguable Fact.” Because all you’re doing is annoying everyone and, possibly, trolling.

I, the current shepherd of various factions and crafter of stories and plots involving such factions, sometimes step in to correct such mishandled material. It’s amusing when I get told I’m wrong… The humor in such irony is, unfortunately, sad.

Anyway, I wanted to lay down some information for fans or the curious bystanders wanting to know more about the ISF, the O5P, and the Kokuryu-kai. Note that this information is being presented from the fictional year of 3067.

Internal Security Force [from the Pillar of Gold]

The ISF is not under the jurisdiction of any ministry. Its doings are shrouded in such secrecy that it officially does not exist. No one branch of government can claim control over the ISF, as its agents are everywhere, and their first and only allegiance is to the Coordinator.

Subdivided into five main branches, all of which operate independently of one another, the ISF has no central administration outside the director. This arrangement helps foster internal security among the various branches by compartmentalizing operations.

Currently, the ISF’s primary mission is to locate and destroy the surviving elements of the Black Dragon Society while simultaneously protecting the Combine against external threats. The Clan and Federated Suns fronts remain hotbeds of activity for the latter activities, which suggests that Theodore does not fully trust his neighbors.

It should be noted that recent efforts by the Coordinator to strengthen Japanese culture among his people has led to an influx of new Japanese names for agencies previously tagged with generic labels. Curiously enough, the ISF and DEST entities have not received this treatment, most likely because their names are recognized and feared even in foreign space.

[and from the Pillar of Steel]

Citizens of the Draconis Combine rarely mention the ISF, but they all think about it constantly. Responsible for many abductions, killings, and interrogations, the secret police fosters fear, paranoia, and devotion to the state. Those who follow the way of the samurai have little to fear from the ISF, however, unless their honor conflicts with the honor of the Draconis Combine.

Few members of the ISF are visible to the general public. Most agents belong to other groups or governmental departments, and few know about these operatives’ affiliation with the secret police. The ISF has infiltrated every organization in Kurita space and many others in the other Great Houses. Its reach is even longer, as citizens may collect a reward for reporting treasonous activity or talk by others. When military operations are called for, the ISF can take command of any Special Forces unit as needed, even without notifying that district’s Warlord.

Inside the secret police is an even more secret society. Called the “Sons of the Dragon,” the society is a group of agents who are more loyal to the Director of the ISF and the Coordinator. Few beyond the ISF, high-ranking officials in the Order of Five Pillars, and the Coordinator’s family are aware of the existence of the group, though many rumors persists in varying form among the common people.
[Please refer to the more extensive information on the ISF in the Pillar of Gold section, as the agency does not fall under the command or purview of the DCMS. —MK]

Order of the Five Pillars [from the Pillar of Gold]

The O5P is a curious agency, neither officially part of the Combine’s intelligence apparatus nor technically opposed to it. The Order is a self-sufficient organization that maintains the dual roles of protecting the spiritual honor of House Kurita while at the same time keeping watch over its people. This quasi-agency falls under the purview of the Ministry of the Court but answers directly to the Coordinator. The Order’s ministry ties exist so it can requisition materials and work with the various Court bureaus to provide assistance as needed.

In order to facilitate its own goals, the O5P has evolved its own bureaucracy and intelligence network that pervades all of Combine space and possibly beyond. They have the ear of many of the Dragon’s officials.

[from the Pillar of Ivory]

Modern Day

The ISF remains wary of the Order’s infiltration of all aspects of Combine society, a situation that rivals the secret police’s own machinations. Agents have attempted to infiltrate the O5P and compete with the quality of its training. Because of the ISF’s lack of women—many O5P adepts and illuminati are female—and the Order’s own counter-penetration of the agency, ISF success has been limited. This rivalry continues unabated, lasting more than five centuries, but neither side will openly admit to such disharmony. Such an admission could have disastrous ramifications on the Combine, a situation neither agency wishes to see occur.

Nonetheless, during the Keepership of Constance Kurita, efforts to reconcile differences between the two agencies were initiated. The détente continued under the Keepership of the Coordinator’s daughter Omi, who tested both sides when she asked them to relay a message to the Dragon’s enemies during the Clan Invasion. Her request sought help in freeing the Heir-Designate trapped on Teniente. Emboldened by the mission’s success, Omi continued to build on that alliance of expediency through the rest of her years.

Tragically, Omi’s death at the hands of an assassin in 3064 seems to have shattered the fragile alliance. While the two agencies might have cooperated individually with the Coordinator’s son Minoru in tracking Omi’s killer, such reports cannot be independently verified. It remains unclear at present exactly how Minoru found and executed the assassin and avenged the Dragon’s loss.

The current head of the Order and Keeper of the House Honor is Miyako Kurita, daughter of Isoroku Kurita, the Warlord of the Dieron Military District. The Abbess is Tomade Yamiro, who was recently under rigorous investigation by the ISF for possible links to the Black Dragons. Ultimately proven innocent, the Abbess has since cut the Order’s ties with the agency, forming a crack in the already tattered alliance that neither group can afford at this time.

The Kokuryu-kai Enigma [from History of the Nation]

Not all within the Combine’s nobility agreed with the changes enacted by Coordinator Takashi and his son. The Dragon’s newfound focus and more liberal policies were at odds with those of many hardline, conservative nobles. Within this environment the Kokuryu-kai—the Black Dragon Society—grew exponentially. Originally confined to the mad fancy of Combine nobles wrapped in the trappings of history dominated by Shinjiro and Hohiro Kurita, the Black Dragons found prestige, money, and strength. Bolstered through this renaissance of thought, these elder nobles found new life in their younger protégés and began suborning those who could assist them in standing against the Coordinator. Not even our own people were immune. Echoing shreds of the past, we found ourselves divided once again, though such an ideological division would not surface for several years.

In 3054, Coordinator Takashi Kurita suffered a severe stroke that would end his life, leaving Theodore as his heir. Despite the new Coordinator’s uncharacteristically open and public testimony, supported with reports from within this agency, many subversive Combine news agencies began circulating rumors that Takashi had not gone to his death willingly. These independent sources, a product of the Combine’s loosening strictures over the last few decades, bolstered the Black Dragons’ cause through persistence and casting a modicum of doubt among the populace. These reactionary elements sought a premature return to the Combine’s original doctrine of conquest and glory, before Theodore’s reforms could destroy the honor and prestige of the DCMS and the Combine.

The Kokuryu-kai claims five grievances with the Coordinator:

  • The continuing détente with the Federated Commonwealth.
  • According common soldiers equal honors alongside noble officers.
  • Building BattleMech regiments out of yakuza and other criminals, insulting the well-born and properly bred citizens.
  • Permitting the secession of the Rasalhague people.
  • Opposing the noble and heroic efforts of Marcus Kurita and his followers in their attempt to redeem the Combine’s honor.

When examined thoroughly, the Black Dragons are simply using a myopic view of the past in order to claim authority over the Draconis Combine. Because this ideology is against the purposes and integrity of the Dragon, it is the ISF’s duty to completely oppose it.

—Memo attributed to Ninyu Kerai from Subhash Indrahar, 3058; Imperial Court Archives, 3067

[and from Pillar of Gold]

The ancient Black Dragon society, with roots as far back as Richard Kurita, is considered the greatest internal threat to the stability of the Combine since the Shadow War of the previous century. The Kokuryu-kai has always moved in the shadows, influencing nobles and other officials as needed to protect the Dragon from harming itself. Only in the last few decades has this society moved in a more overt manner, bringing bold violence into the realm.

The Black Dragons’ first blatant militaristic move was an attack on the Davion world of Towne, launched after the FedCom split apart in the face of a Marik-Liao invasion. Although hoping to bring back the Combine’s glory days with this unsanctioned invasion, the Society found its plans thwarted by mercenaries employed by the Coordinator’s cousin, Chandrasekhar Kurita. After the incident, a purge of the DCMS was believed to put an end to the secretive sect, but two months later, the Kokuryu-kai struck again with an assassination attempt on the Coordinator.

The 3058 incident was aided by a large number of sympathizers within the ISF and Otomo, including General Hohiro Kiguri, head of DEST. A second, more widespread purge, including within the ISF, attempted to destroy the Black Dragons for good. The ISF’s vital role in the operations to destroy the Smoke Jaguars and end the Clan crusade showed few indications that any of the Kokuryu-kai had survived. One incident, an attempt on Victor Steiner-Davion’s life during his visit to Luthien, has not been officially linked to the Society, though many among the nobility believe it to be so.

After the Clans’ defeat, much of the ISF assisted the reclamation of the worlds liberated by BULLDOG. Nearly a decade of rebellion against the occupying Clans produced planetary populations grown accustomed to resistance, which made it nearly as difficult for the ISF to assimilate these reclaimed worlds as it was to bring the remains of Clan Nova Cat into the Combine. The resource drain on both the agency and the overall economy of the Combine created a great deal of internal dissent that once again awakened the Black Dragons, who moved forward a few years later with their most ambitious plans yet.

In just a handful of isolated incidents, the latest actions attributed to the Black Dragons have provoked some of the hardest fighting and the most terrible tragedies in recent years. With the renegade attack on Alshain by the Alshain Avengers in 3062, the Society instigated the biggest conflict on the Clan front since BULLDOG. Along with the DCMS seizing worlds in the Lyons Thumb after Lyran and mercenary troops struck Combine garrisons, the Federated Suns’s Draconis March launched their own assault over the border.

These conflicts savaged the Combine military and stretched thin the already-depleted ISF resources. To save face among his people and forestall any more “renegade” adventurism, the Coordinator annexed territories along the Lyran and FedSuns borders and redistributed the DCMS to locations near hostile enemy worlds. Tensing for the next dissident attack, the Combine stands on the verge of losing most of the reforms the Coordinator has spent his life putting into effect for the nation’s own survival.

—Star League Intel Briefing 53-1; Office of the Star League Intelligence Command, 3065

Closing the Dragon’s Door

bad.day

Well, you’d think this would be another update…and you would be correct. Except that it isn’t anymore.

Despite my (paltry) efforts in trying to sneak open looks into the forthcoming HBHK, interest in this book has never really taken off aside from a relative few Kurita fans. Which, in all honesty, isn’t that surprising. The book’s been near-vaporware for several years, the victim of other priority projects that kept leapfrogging it. It’s sadly become somewhat of an afterthought, a “let’s get this out to finish off the series because we’re completists at heart” project.

Don’t get the wrong idea, though. I think because of the book’s specific nature, there’s little in it to appeal to other diehard faction fans of the universe. I mean, staunch Capellan loyalists aren’t going to much care about what goes on in Kurita space or how citizens of the Dragon live. It’s the inherent nature of the beast.

With the end of the 3067 Era now decently behind us and the Jihad/Dawn of the Republic drawing to a close, it makes this book even more anachronistic. I tried to mitigate that somewhat by putting in information that I’ve accumulated over the last 7-8 years while writing a lot of the Combine’s material. Knowing that the book would eventually come out, it was important to me that concepts or story threads that seemingly “popped up” in various Jihad-era books (and to a smaller extent, Dark Age material) be grounded in this Housebook. Like how the Nova Cats are really perceived by the citizen at large and the Dragon’s bureaucratic monolith. Or why Aix-La-Chapelle was a viable alternative to begin rebuilding the Combine war machine. Or why the Black Dragons seemingly never died but kept resurging. Or the bubbling cauldron of class warfare that ends up exploding well after 3067…

But, sadly, there’s just little interest in the project. My site stats don’t really lie; I barely see a ripple on these posts. (Interesting side note: My Wars of Reaving articles – now nearly two years after the project’s publication – still sees constant traffic.) On days when a HBHK peek debuts, those pages still see less activity than those hitting various Wars of Reaving pages. And never mind the anemic thread on the official BattleTech forums… I love the fact there are 5-6 constant readers…but it’s also disheartening there’s little discussion on a lot of the previews I’ve posted. When selecting material to post, I try to put up stuff that is interesting, fresh, and new to spur some chatter – but it’s just not happening.

Now, understand – I’m not complaining. The book’s getting printed this year regardless of who reads these previews (or not). I just had high hopes the process would spur more interest and drive the book into a higher bracket than the bestseller of the line, House Davion.

So, this’ll probably be the last on the topic until it is released in print. In the meantime, please enjoy my limited weekly series on the Clan Box Set strategy and tactics guide (every Friday). I’ll get around to finishing the Lego Death Star construction project as well, don’t worry!

The Dragon’s Honorable Daimyo

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Some more sectional peeks at HBHK. This go-round, we’ve got a district overview, a vehicle of history, and a look at a planetary crossroads.

From Pillar of Gold

Galedon Governmental District

As the birthplace of the Draconis Combine, the Galedon Governmental District had its days of glory but now suffers the lingering aftereffects of the Succession Wars. This combination of special history and bloody suffering has instilled great pride in the Galedonians. No district is truer to the Combine and none, save the former Rasalhague District, has so much pride in its own region.

The Tabayama, Kaznejoy, and Matsuida Prefectures have only recently begun receiving back former citizens who were relocated into Pesht due to the severe Davion assaults of the Third and Fourth Succession Wars. Citizens from Alshain and Benjamin were also relocated back into these three prefectures, providing a small boost to local economies and general well-being. With rumors of Clan Snow Raven taking over the Outworlds Alliance, many citizens are nervous—not from imminent attack, but from another round of relocations.

The New Samarkand Prefecture maintains a not-so-friendly rivalry with the Kagoshima Prefecture. Many citizens of the New Samarkand worlds hold fast to their place in Combine history. Claiming both Shiro Kurita’s birthworld and the home of the Combine’s beginnings within their borders, the people of New Samarkand believe their prefecture is the jewel of the Combine. Residents in Kagoshima, of course, believe they are deserving of the honor because of Luthien’s presence. Several planetary chairmen have used this rivalry to great effect by pitting militias against each other in yearly war games on several prefecture proving grounds. The more emotional contests occur on Miyada, Sighisoara, and Worrell ever since they were reabsorbed within the Pesht Governmental District.

Of the district’s five prefectures, Oshika is the tamest. Several longstanding industrial facilities remain operational within the prefecture. The recent boom in naval construction and technological developments have made this prefecture a more appealing location for the Combine’s brighter minds.

From History of the Nation

The Honor of the Daimyo

Under Jinjiro’s orders, the ISF conducted an intensive investigation into the matter of who provided ComStar with the data footage that made its way out to the other Houses. The inquiry lasted less than a week, as the transmission’s video data contained coding that was traced back to the crew of a Daiymo HQ 67-K. The crew was arrested and brought before the Coordinator, who killed each of them with a single laser pulse to the brain.

During a standard maintenance routine in 2910, mechanics from the Second Sword of Light discovered the headquarters vehicle in a motor pool on Luthien. The vehicle had been transported without record from the bloody fields of Kentares and left on the capital world, possibly as some disagreeable officer’s quiet notion of rebellion.

The vehicle was reclaimed and refitted for duty and its battle history made known to the Second Sword’s command staff. From then on, the regiment used it in every campaign as a distinct reminder of Sworder history. Crews volunteered for assignment to the mobile HQ, knowing full well the dishonor that came with its operation.

In 3051, the Daimyo was an active participant in the defense of Luthien from the Smoke Jaguar and Nova Cat assault. During the later stages of battle, both Takashi Kurita and Shin Yodama commanded from the vehicle as the Combine successfully repelled the invasion.
After the battle and seeing the crew operate with no regard for their personal safety as they assisted the Coordinator in his command, Takashi declared the vehicle cleansed from its historic stain. The Coordinator personally paid for the vehicle’s repair and refurbishment and it proudly occupies a place in the Second Sword of Light’s order of battle.

—Quirks of the Kuritan Army; Orestes Public Press, 3062

From Touring the Realm

Isesaki

Planetary Ruler: Shugo Sophia Franklin
Star Type (Recharge Time): Close Binary M0V (196 hours)
Position in System: 1
Time to Jump Point: 5.89 days
Number of Satellites: 5 (Hoshide, Yui, Furukawa, Onishi, Yamazaki)
Surface Gravity: 0.80
Atmospheric Pressure: Standard (Breathable)
Equatorial Temperature: 25° C (Temperate)
Surface Water: 80 percent
Recharging Station: Zenith, Nadir
HPG Class Type: A
Highest Native Life: Mammal
Population: 9,320,000
Socio-Economic Levels: B-A-D-A-D

A single world orbiting a close binary, Isesaki was surveyed in 2281 and then promptly ignored, as it was deemed of little value to the resource-hungry Combine at the time. Though its surface is primarily water, the oceans contain a heavy amount of poisonous bacteria and alkaline compounds. Fluctuating tides caused by the small, close moons made coastal settlements extremely difficult and costly. The small amount of fresh water on the continental surface comes from underground springs and is difficult to access in large quantities.

In 2612, Isesaki Shipping sponsored and built the first colony on the surface of the lone planet. Taken by the world’s vast aquatic beauty, dazzling views of the binaries and moons, and the hundreds of rich, verdant forest islands and atolls, Uchio Randolph, Isesaki’s founder, petitioned the Coordinator for corporate possession of the entire system. Within two centuries, the corporation built two JumpShip yards, several zero-G manufacturing facilities, and converted an entire island into a small spacecraft manufacturing complex. The system became a major transportation hub for Combine traffic traversing the Rift and vaulted Isesaki Shipping into the top tier of commercial corporations in the realm.

The main continent of Uchio is home to all of the planet’s residents. The two smaller continents, Isoroku and Matsubushi, have remained unsettled and wild to provide a peaceful retreat for Isesaki employees. Both located along the equator, they are covered in verdant forests, rolling hills, and sparkling springs. Several lodges dot the landscape, most crafted in a minimalist style, to keep the focus on the natural beauty of the area. The more magnificent palatial compounds are hardwired to the planetary network. Security protocols keep these locked down so that executives are forced to spend time away from their workplace, refreshing their body, mind, and spirit.

Due in part to the spectacular solar display in the sky, citizens of Isesaki are obsessed with spaceflight and exploration. One of ComStar’s major Explorer Corps administrative hubs was located on the outskirts of the Toyohiro Akiyama Spacecraft Complex. With ComStar’s recent abandonment of the site, Isesaki employees have petitioned that it be converted into an astronomical observatory and historical library.

The capital city of Ukonsoi dominates the central plains of Uchio. Its architecture is a blend of Rasalhagian, Shōwa, Buddhist, and neo-Qing designs centered around the four towers of Isesaki headquarters. The entire eastern sector of the city contains rows upon rows of massive warehouses. These facilities hold products and shipments from across the Inner Sphere under heavy security. Bulk items are stored here for varying durations as determined by the Isesaki Transportation Control Division. (Items of perishable or critical importance are transferred at one of the two spacedocks located near the system’s recharge stations.) Roku Royal trains steadily crawl through the sector in a complicated but efficient balancing act; despite the intense traffic flow, there have been only two collisions in the last fifty years.

Several Combine and corporate administrative clusters dot the rest of Uchio’s surface. Each cluster is surrounded by residential and commercial districts, laid out in concentric patterns. At night, the lights from the continent’s surface give the impression of perfectly placed scales, symbolic of the Dragon’s ever-present influence on Isesaki and its employees.