by Liam Devlin

Special Thanks to Black Dawn for certain ships and Black Curtain robot ideas. This subsector is a part of the Black Curtain extending outwards into Zarushagar. It has not been "solidified" yet, but the AI-Over Minds of Core have sent their watchdog Cerberus-Prime and his "Pack" to pave the way... following the creator's (Lucan's) path of the Old War.

Rydberg (1712): The starport was destroyed by Lucan's forces in the beginning of the 1118 push to drive Dulinor out of the subsector, especially since it had declared for the "Assassin/Usurper", not him. The planet's toxic atmosphere finally cleared in 1129, but by then only 8,000 survivors of the 32,000 original inhabitants remained. Today, a scant 600 remain, quite isolationist and unaware of what has transpired elsewhere.

Archibaldo (1713): This low populated world of 100 souls is a minor port in the Jhena subsector. In pre-war times it was a TL12 pharmaceutical "farm" planet owned by a subsidiary of SuSAG that utilized some 30,000 plus robots. Many of the inhabitants died off during the chaos of the Collapse, as the robots attacked. Although the robots were destroyed, less than a thousand inhabitants survived. The planet is ruled today by the descendants of those foresighted enough amongst the farm's managerial personnel to start growing food strains acceptable to the tainted standard atmosphere and the world's make up.

Archibaldo's folk are concentrated in some 15 ranches around the old cargo downport (former C-class, now D-class) on the major island near the equator. All orbital facilities were lost in the Collapse. Thankfully, the SuSAG engineers of old built a decent hydroelectric back up system for power generation, supplemented by solar panels. Most other technology is maintained at TL-5. Some fishing continues, but never far from shore. Due to some hostile indigenous lifeforms (carnivore-pouncers), everyone goes armed at all times.

Free Traders or Guildsmen from Ypse & Libuka subsectors are few and infrequent.

Orbits 4, 5, & 8 are empty. The nearest of her three SGG's is orbit 6 (no satellites), then Orbit 7 (1 ring), and last, an SGG at Orbit 9 (no satellites).

Banach (1717). Not possessing a major starport, and being only of average stellar technology (TL-11), she managed to escape the worst excesses of the war. Her tech level was maintained throughout Hard Times in the "Outlands" of Zarushagar, primarily through ties to Base X & Brating in Ypse subsector.

This large heavy-cored water world was severely damaged by the Collapse, sustaining major loss of life. Of eight major submersible cities only one survived; and that one, "Aquarius-6", with losses of its own. The Banachites have reclaimed many of their lost relics and sustain TL-9 today. Though they have moved from their libertine democratic roots for a more secure meritocracy, their government is still elected from a pool of qualified personnel by those of suffrage age (18 Terran-years).

Banach re-established a colony in the 1180's on a planet called Aachen (D86456A-8 Ag Co 702). Another colony was re-established in the 1190's on a planet called Silesia (D653468-8 Co Mn 702).

Armed Forces (5%)3.5 million personnel
Wet Navy 1,721,750 personnel (574 MCs & 1,722 SCs. 90% of these are submersible, including Marine Troop transport subs.)
COACC (20% x 1.5) 1.4 million personnel (3,500 CAC arranged in Air Corps of 350 craft each [10 Air Corps total] & 1,400 PAD batteries arranged in AD regiments of 5 batteries each, 10 regiments to an AD division [28 AD divisions total].)
Ground Forces (10%) 350,000 personnel (Marines), 17 DEs with 10,000 starport Customs Security Police (6,000 on Banach, 3,000 on Aachen, 1000 on Silesia).
Space Forces (6% x .5 x .25) 28,250 personnel (9 MCs & 29 SC's)*

*These being 6 locally built monitors (TL-11/9, 5ktns, 3G), and 3 AH-class Bulk freighters (TL-11/9, 5ktns, J-1/1G), and some twelve Sentry class SDB's (TL-11/9, 400dtns, 3G), eight armed Far Ranger class Insystem Slow Liners (TL-8, 400dtns, 1G*), three Trenchant class Patrol Cruisers (TL11/9, 400dtns, J2/4G), two S-class Scout ships (TL-11/9, 100dtns, J2/2G), and four stretched Fat Traders (TL-11, 500dtns, J2/1G).

Path of Tears Government Characteristics Table
Government Civil Service Bureaucracy (with democratic tendencies)
Military StrategyMedium
Military TacticsHigh

Current Clack: Moreso than their mutual defense trade allies spinward, Banach feels it will see the brunt of any foreseeable future Vampire raids out of the Boynton system (hence the higher military forces than normal). Aachen sustains the motherworld adequately through its agricultural produce, and what metals not found on Banach in underwater mining are provided by Silesia's colony. Banach is importing TL-11 electronics, spaceborne weapons and sensor platforms against the day the Vampires in Depot's system return (a "when" in their minds, not an "if").

Depot/Boynton (1920). Zarushagar's Depot was one of the more hotly contested sites in the early battles between Lucan and Dulinor in 1118-1120. Having no gas giants, it was imperative to anyone seizing the system to secure the mainworld. A major TL-15 facility, it declared for Lucan in 1117, even as Dulinor's Loyal Fleet was steaming for it. It was besieged and finally relieved in 1119 as Lucan's massive fleets began to roll back Dulinor's Navy towards Ilelish Sector.

Lucan's commanders made heavy use of it in replacement of ships, parts, and personnel. Dulinor wasn't finished however, and risked a heavy cruiser squadron in a lightning raid that damaged the A-class facilities, the damage forcing a reclassification of B-class. The system defense squadrons, repelled the heavy cruiser taskforce with heavy losses. By the time the 1123 retreat to Core was ordered, even Depot's mothballed fleet was reduced to the low end of TL-11, and these were crewed and sent back to Core for refit and upgrading at Color (Subsector A, Depot/Massilia). Lucan ordered the remaining parts shipped back to Core.

Lucan destroyed the secret Project Vulcan Works in far outreaches of the system as an afterthought in 1124. The mainworld inhabitants were none the wiser. Still, the Navy base downside & and orbital facilities remained, as there wasn't room for the personnel to be evacuated. "Next time we'll bring transports!" they were told. They were still awaiting evacuation when the Collapse arrived, seven years later.

Of nearly 200 million personnel, less than a million survive today. Depot managed to survive Hard Times at TL-13, but today she exists at TL-10. Her human population is captive of the AI-Vampires who now run the orbital starport and repair yards, many of whom (the awakened ships that is) originated from here before being withdrawn to Core where they were infected in 1130.

The sole island-continent is a massive limestone plateau, over 4,000 feet above sea level, where the air is breathable (dense-breathable 8 here). The humans are divided into two camps, those who resist the occupation (the minority) eking out a living in some of the weapons caches, bunkers, and tunnels of the former Imperial Marine Ground defense forces, and those who have yielded to the Vampires (the majority). The plateau itself is honeycombed with sinkholes and natural water and wind-formed tunnels, making the elusive resistance movement hard to locate and eliminate.

This is currently the forward most Puppeteer fleets' staging ground into Zarushagar Sector as of 001-1201. The Puppeteer ships arrived in 1143, and conquered the barely recovering Imperial Navy and Marine survivors with an army of war-robots never before seen by the Imperials (totally AI-designed). The Vampire fleet was severely dismayed at the state of things, including the demolished Vulcan Works, but discovered amidst the system several incomplete vessels adrift. These they towed back to port and finished, scavenging the remaining parts from war wrecks. Four of these vessels had hidden frozen watch crews on them, and when they awoke in 1153, they discovered what a nightmare the future had become and jumped away heavily damaged, as they had to fight blindly to do so.

Calling itself "The Cerberus Pack" (for the mythological three-headed hound of Hades), the allied Puppeteers controlled the system's space, air, and ground (though that latter portion is contestable). The Pack's government style is that of a charismatic oligarchy of noble princes consisting of capital ships, half of which are Vargr in origin, and major data systems. Examples of the major data systems include the orbital and dirtside ports and naval repair yards ("Highport", "DownPort", & "Nareya"). Their minions consisting of repair and cargo 'bots. There's also the planetary defense data system, with its Meson guns, missile batteries, and associated intelligent satellites and sensor platforms. "NavMar-InOutpross-P" (the former In-Outprocessing Personnel) data system controls the Ground warbots with "Dep-ShorPat" (Depot Shore Patrol). While half of these are former LSP-Security PR 317 models from the base itself, the rest are spawned from an AI's whim. Many have no Imperial background at all. Some are insectoid and scurry about on small legs like spiders, serving as spies, couriers, and lookouts for Human resistance troops. Others like the "Monitors" are grav-powered behemoths with tenticular telescoping arms and weapons (primarily lasers). A few are robotic AFV's from the former marine garrison.

Towards the "meat" they are hardly a benevolent society. They're viewed more as a Totalitarian regime. The subjugated humans are kept fed with the robotic fishery industry, run by the data system "ServSport" (formerly Service & Support), that maintains the robot fishing bots and food processing center. "Work, and you eat. Resist, and you starve in imprisonment". All are marked with a tracking collar ID and shaved bareheaded. The collar can also induce a stunning electric shock if the subject thrall is interpreted to have been "misbehaving". Severe punishment for the truly unruly comes through in being "transformed" into a cyborg. A brain chip is installed and robotic parts applied, as organic limbs and organs are replaced. Unlike other Vampire domains, MedCom here has several set plans for its 'borgs, based on where the recalcitrant worked at. Shipyard thralls get a robotic arm with built in tools and a tracked chassis instead of legs. Security thralls, get robotic arms, legs, and thoracic armor with HUD infrared eyes. As it is, barely 9,000 of these cyborgs are in existence. Curiously the Pack's AI's do not care if the Humans murder each other, every one of them!

The estimated number of AI-robots is 7 major data systems planetside and 2 orbital (Highport & Nareya -- not counting the 3 "fleets"), some 90,000 sentient machines of former Imperial make and manufacture, 9,000 cyborgs, and another 90,000 of unknown origin (Core Sector's Black Curtain best). "Knaerzhuongharzgh" is the name of the smallest fleet, of some three Vargr-built Naz class 30ktn "Battle-Cruisers" and 18 mixed Vargr and Imperial smaller starships. His Imperial ally, "Cerberus-Prime", is the most dangerous fleet (the "brain" is a TL-14 Comitatus class Battle-Carrier of some 400ktns), with eight other capital ships ranging from 100ktns downwards, and twenty-seven smaller Imperial relic starships (all military vessels). The third fleet is "Hellhound" made up of the system defense squadrons' surviving SDBs and monitors (some 5 major vessels, Regulator class (TL-15, 1ktn, 7G) and fifteen smaller SDB's (Persistance class, TL-15, 900dtns, 6G). This last fleet employs a majority of cyborgs as boarding crews, but never leaves the system.

Cerberus-Prime divides himself(?) into as many as three separate groups of 3 major ships and nine smaller ones: the commanding vessel of group two called C-Secundus, and the group three leader C-Tertius. They are awaiting the next wave of the Puppeteer fleets to eradicate the lesser strains from Core. The loss of the four Arkidigi class ships is a mystery to them and a sting of failure Cerberus will not repeat if able.

The embattled human resistance (some 30-60k imperial descendants) manages to elude elimination due to their scattered numbers and the terrain they live on. The largest band numbers over 3,000 combatants (and twice as many dependents) and dwells in an abandoned PAD silo complex (all missiles fired) far from the downside base. They hunt cave fish in the deep caves and rock lizards on the surface. Many are smaller groups that prey upon the Porters. The worst cases are cannibals, hunted by all human groups when discovered. And all shoot the "spiders" & 'borgs on sight.

Exact Military figures, unavailable (for obvious reasons!)
Exact government stats unavailable (for obvious reasons!)

Procyon (2018). A feeder port in prewar days, it slipped in importance as the war dragged on, falling from TL-11 back to TL-9 as the Collapse came. Starvation and several bad harvests caused the die off here. The remnants are led by a TED, actually a puppet governor warbot Monitor (see Depot for description). The 500 some odd souls here are guarded by 50 security cyborgs left by the Cerberus Pack, for those ships still capable of J-2, bound from or to Goroth. A small group of Imperial-designed repair and security 'bots are contained within the starport. The humans actual available tech is TL-4 and, with no indigenous fauna for beasts of burden, must till by sweat of their own brows.

Marshal (2111): The only other A-class Starport to have been destroyed outright in the Rebellion's "war years"(1117-1123) in the subsector. It met its fate at the hands of Dulinor's retreating forces in 1119, in a "scorched earth" policy that both sides would soon make a commonplace tactic. This tainted the atmosphere until 1130, but by then the planet had already turned its back on what was left of the Imperium. Its various islands subsequently balkanized during Hard Times, a situation that persists today.

Marshal is a stopover for the Free traders from Libuka enroute to Sorsha and Ashida. Two islands have TL-8 parts and cargoes to these two beleaguered worlds.

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