In Kurita Space, No One Can Hear You Complain

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HBHK writing is in the winding down stage; I would’ve been done the other day except I completely forgot the role playing notes in the Rules Annex. A little shock there when I discovered I still had a bit more to write.

But then again, it covers more of the “general life” of a Combine citizen, by region…and that promises to be fun. So I’ll continue pecking away at it. Almost there…

In the meantime, the remaining chapters are complete and in various stages of factchecking and editing. The last piece of the puzzle is the short fiction story for the intro. Because Randall has been a huge factor in the Combine’s story for many years before handing the line off, I felt it only right to offer him the chance to write that story. Now, if I don’t get something from him soon… I will say, the original story he pitched was pretty sweet – but it was different than the pattern we’ve established with the other five handbooks. So we’ll see.

Obviously, you’re here not to listen to me ramble, but to devour more hints and teases from the book. And it’s time I oblige. Here’s some random stuff:

From History of the Nation

In 2620, Sanethia resigned as Coordinator on the same day Urizen II celebrated his thirtieth birthday. The Nineteenth Coordinator inherited his mother’s ambitious program on Luthien. Though Urizen was ultimately credited with the rise of Luthien as the jewel of the Combine, the project’s success came largely from both Sanethia and Siriwan’s oversight. The two “advisers” were tasked by Urizen to shepherd the project, leaving only the most major of decisions to the Coordinator. When it was completed, Imperial City would become the most ambitious, most expensive, most energy-consuming project ever undertaken by the Combine. The two women were also responsible for the placement of several other city locations on the planet and crafting the infrastructure design that persists today.

The project was plagued with problems from the start. It took five years to drain the enormous swamp that occupied the designated location for the new capital city. More than ten million laborers and craftsmen from all parts of the Combine were tasked with construction. Due to Sanethia’s original plan, the entire city was built without the use of modern construction technology. For inspiration, Siriwan and Sanethia patterned the city’s architecture and design elements after that of ancient Japan. Unity Palace was modeled after Himeji Castle on Terra and much of the outlying buildings maintained elements from the Azuchi-Momoyama period. Sections of the city remain dedicated to various Japanese styles throughout the millennia, including the neo-Fujimoto facades of the twenty-third century.

Most of the laborers employed in the construction of Imperial City comprised of low-echelon members of the Kuritan military or chain gang criminals. As the project progressed, many of the lower castes on other Combine worlds clamored to join volunteer labor groups that were brought in to bolster the workforce. Because of the insistence the city be built without modern machinery, the brute labor jobs were dangerous. It was a good day if less than 500 workers were killed from accidents or other related incidents.

The massive project created an economic boom across the realm and bolstered the flagging spirits of the populace. Archaic building materials such as teak, granite, marble, and mosaic tile were in great demand. Progress reports became highly anticipated news items on other worlds.

The flow of materials and labor to Luthien prompted the need for lesser cities around the capital, a situation already prepared for by Sanethia and Siriwan. These support cities and infrastructure followed the careful planning and guidance of the Coordinator’s advisors, keeping order amidst the growing chaos. Within ten years of the first block being laid, Luthien’s population blossomed to fifty million and showed no sign of slowing.

From Pillar of Gold

Son of deceased Donal Kurita and grandson of the treacherous Marcus Kurita, Graeme is the planetary chairman of Multan in Qandahar Prefecture. Graeme was dishonored when the Black Dragons manipulated his son Angus into a failed plot to assassinate Theodore in 3057. By decree of the Coordinator, Graeme’s bloodline is no longer eligible for the throne. The governor has opted to remain celibate as an act of penance for his son’s choices.

From Touring the Realm

Founded during the twenty-seventh century, Matamoras has never been considered more than a collection of mines and heavy industry. Few choose to travel to the world; fewer still remain to eke out a living. For a time, the DCMS maintained a prison facility on Siberia, the southernmost continent. Notorious for its small guard detail and highly corrupt administration, the complex was abandoned in the mid-2700s—with over three thousand male and female prisoners still locked down within. A NSM shuttle made an emergency landing at the prison in 2913 and discovered a small but thriving community. The citizens of Krasnogorsk were welcomed back into the fold; the Red Clay yakuza clan made its presence known shortly thereafter.

New Samarkand Metals is the primary employer on Matamoras, with more than two million workers scattered across fifty mine and processing sites. Tozama Daimyo Voskoboynikov is the CEO of NSM’s Matamoras operation and is known to be fair and partial when carrying out official state business. He recently awarded a major contract to Deep Ores, which struck a large gold vein in the Black Urals in 3065. Rumors of Voskoboynikov’s affiliation with the Red Clay yakuza are still under ISF investigation.

From Rules Annex

In the mid-2900s, People’s Protection introduced the H-T Spec-5a, a low-cost, light sub-machine gun built for security personnel and private protection details. The -5a was popular despite its horrible reliability; the firing mechanism needed replaced every forty to fifty rounds. The latest version of the widespread SMG is the -7a, which debuted in 3053. Using composite materials, the weapon is extremely light, small, and sturdy. A self-enclosed magazine holds seven bullets in the grip. The bull-pup design includes an integral flash and sound suppressor, making it a favorite hold-out weapon for intelligence agents and important personages. Reloading is a bit complicated, as it requires sliding off the grip and then seating a new clip.

Rumors broke in early 3052 that People’s Protection were using Clan-occupied worlds as a test bed for the design. The rumors were proven true when the company used footage taken from Schuyler showing several children wielding the -7a in a firefight with a Clan police squad.

Life Amongst the Dragon’s Stars

Black Marble - Asia and Australia
[“Black Marble” by NASA Goddard Photo and Video]

And we’re back with a look at the ongoing work in Handbook: House Kurita.

One of the more popular bits of the Handbook series is the Touring the Realm section, which provides a wide look at various worlds in the interstellar nation. Each author picks the worlds listed in the book for various reasons. I selected mine based on a few criteria. Each planet fits at least two from the following list:

  • Randall listed it in the original outline
  • It’s a District / Prefecture capital world
  • It has a role of some sort in the history of the Combine (mentioned in the History section)
  • It showcases a slice of life within the Combine borders
  • I wanted a ‘fresh’ world to tinker with

So what we have are the four military districts with six to eight worlds highlighted from each area.

Rather than sneak a couple of the complete atlas entries, I’ll do something a little different. I’ll give a couple sentences from various entries, to whet the appetite. This is still a work-in-progress, as I’m still finishing it – along with finalizing editing notes on the other sections and bugging Randall for the opening fiction.

Luthien

The crown jewel is the sprawling Imperial City, home of the ruling Kurita family. It is a virtual fairy-tale of a city, surrounded by verdant gardens and hectares of natural forest. The impressive Unity Palace, which contains the seat of Kurita power, appears to hover on the horizon. Each of the five towers that form the palace is distinct, built along the aesthetics of a different architectural period from ancient Japan.

Bjarred

Evidence was presented that although exports were re-routed to Jaguar worlds, those raw materials were of much lesser quality and quantity. More importantly, a high percentage of smelted metals and manufactured steel contained numerous defects and weak spots. This created a substandard product that increased breakdowns and other trouble spots in Clan equipment and materials fashioned from Bjarred exports.

Irece

The response was overwhelming; the Bureau of Friendly Interior Comfort and Concerns constantly processes requests and handles the transport of citizens to designated worlds in the Bjarred and Qandahar prefectures. Because of the situation, the Bureau formed “resident zones” on all other systems in the prefecture. These zones are nothing more than large, sufficient enclaves under the domain of the Clan. Combine citizens are not permitted on the grounds unless they possess proper documentation and authorization.

Matamoras

Founded during the Age of Colonization by Soviet expatriates, Matamoras has never been considered more than a collection of mines and heavy industry. Few choose to travel to the world; fewer still remain to eke out a living. For a time, the DCMS maintained a prison facility on Siberia, the southernmost continent. Notorious for its small guard detail and highly corrupt administration, the complex was abandoned in the mid-2700s—with over three thousand male and female prisoners still locked down within.

Aix-la-Chapelle

The most famous is the Diplan Mechyard near Belnet. The factory uses an architectural design and construction similar to a Castle Brian and easily holds up against Class 9 storms (425+ kph winds). Such facilities were built with typical Kuritan foresight, as they easily serve as defensive bulwarks during times of crisis.

Proserpina

A series of industries centers around the study, capture, processing, and research of this tenacious predator. The blood limpet is indirectly responsible for scientific breakthroughs in such technologies as battle armor, MASC systems, genetic therapy, synthetic fabrics, and anesthetics. Regardless of industry, civilians who work with the blood limpet undergo a year’s worth of intensive training on the reptile.

Xinyang

The oyabun, Sean O’Clannahan, declared a vendetta against Robert Ivankov. The conflict escalated out of hand very quickly. For the next fifty years, several yakuza clans—headed by the Fuji Snow—invaded Xinyang and systematically pushed the vory v zakone from power. By 2960, the yakuza dominated the Xinyang underworld and remained in control despite two subsequent attempts from outside mafia families.

Galedon V

The hills of Paphos are renowned for its wine industry, often preparing vintages served in the Imperial Court. The volcanic chain—Steps of the Dragon—that border the eastern coastline of the continent is the source of valuable Galdeonian black and red diamonds. Strict security measures keep a tight grip on the production and export of these gems, making them one of the rarest and most expensive diamonds in the Inner Sphere.

Enif

Enivians dislike “the Newcomers” as they feel their pace of life is challenged and belittled. Loyal to the Kurita family and steadfast supporters of the Dragon, these citizens are nonetheless mocked for their simplistic lifestyle and nonconfrontational attitudes by the Newcomers. Because of Enif’s chronically poor educational system—even by lower class standards—Enivians are rarely accepted into military academies and few find their way past the lower ranks of the DCMS.

Hachiman

Partly due to the influence of its unofficial lord Chandrasekhar Kurita, Hachiman is considered the place to find everything from forbidden Steiner entertainment discs to shadowy mercenary assassins. The Coordinators of the Combine have allowed this well of depravity to exist within the Combine’s walls, primarily as a funnel for foreign spies and malcontents. With the superior electronics produced by the planet’s hard-working citizenry over the centuries, the Kuritas have permitted Masamori’s existence as a form of stress relief.

HBHK: Arrogance in Character

DRK-5K Grand Dragon (v2)

Been a few weeks, so I thought I’d share a bit more from the ongoing HBHK project.

One of the biggest challenges to this particular book is trying to convey the arrogance of the Kuritas (as it’s from the perspective of a Combine historian) without sounding overdone and silly but still convey important information. The trick is to use the proper turns of phrase and word choice, which makes the entire process a tad challenging. By a factor of ten.

The only other option is a textbook-style read, which is, to be frank…BORING. With the difficulties this series already faces, I’ll do whatever I can to boost this last installment’s success.

Initial feedback from my reviewers has indicated I’ve been pretty successful in hitting that arrogant-yet-informative balance I want. Hopefully those who do read it in full will agree.

Okay, enough rambling. Continue reading