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Excerpts from GURPS Traveller: Behind the Claw – Cover

Excerpts from GURPS Traveller: Behind the Claw

The Secret of the Star Trigger

The Darrians' Star Trigger weapon was nothing more than a bluff for most of their history. The events which caused the Maghiz were not reproducible until very recently. There was, however, no need for anyone to know that, not even the Special Arm personnel who manned the Star Trigger base, fully prepared to use their ultimate weapon. Thus, not even psionics could discover that the trigger was a paper tiger, since mind-reading would show the Special Arm's total belief in their weapon. The one test/demonstration in 589 was faked, using predictions of a real nova event.

By 1100 or so, research had isolated the critical elements in the original Maghiz, and a functional Star Trigger could at last be developed. Against a certain amount of opposition (The threat had sufficed for centuries, so why go to the bother and expense of building the real thing?), the decision was made by the Confederation high command to proceed with the construction of a real Star Trigger. By late 1119, the Darrians had deployed a single example at the Special Arm base (p. 126).

The Star Trigger consists of two meson communicators and a probe, which descends into the star while venting vaporized tungsten. The tungsten column is then targeted by two meson beams, which must intersect at a very precise angle. Intense solar flares begin within 10 hours.

The angle of intersection is very obtuse, such that two meson platforms must be deployed almost on opposite sides of the star. A single vessel can do it with drones, but a pair of vessels (suitably escorted) would be used in any wartime deployment.

Imperial intelligence services know of these developments.

1817 Victoria (Imperial) - Red Zone

Starport: Class 0.

Diameter: 5,610 miles (9,026 km). Atmosphere: Dense oxygen-nitrogen, with taint at low altitudes. Surface Water: 72%. Climate: Normal. Population: 12,000,000. Government: Multiple societies. Control Rating: 0. TL: 5.

Victoria is a small, light and metal-poor world that has somehow managed to gain a dense, tainted atmosphere. The taint is toxic to humans, and cannot be handled by normal filter masks. Since the taint is heavier then the rest of the atmosphere, it tends to hover below 1,000 yards above sea level. Because of this, the populace lives atop a system of mesas, traveling between their high settlements in airships constructed from locally occurring balloon plants (which grow bundles of hydrogen-filled sacs). The airships are propelled by hand-cranked aero-screws.

Victoria has large numbers of ivory gazelle (Kudebeck's gazelle, or "Kudie") running wild on the mesa tops. The ivory gazelle is not native to Victoria, but appears to have been seeded along with other flora and fauna by the Ancients. Its ivory is an important resource on metal-poor Victoria.

The planet shows signs of extensive asteroid bombardment in the distant past, which most authorities link with the Final War of the Ancients. There is an Ancient site on Victoria's only moon, Albert, but no new artifacts have been found there in recent years.

2716 Rhylanor (Imperial) Subsector Capital

Starport: Class V. Naval and scout bases.

Diameter: 3,978 miles (6,400 km). Atmosphere: Very thin oxygen-nitrogen. Surface Water: 40%. Climate: Normal. Population: 8,304,000,000. Government: Oligarchy (hereditary nobility). Control Rating: 3. TL: 12.

The subsector capital, Xboat link and site of two major bases, Rhylanor sees a great deal of interstellar traffic. The starport is one of the busiest in known space, and the markets there carry an immense range of goods. Rhylanor is best known as the birthplace of Olav I, first of the Emperors of the Flag (p. GT31). His birthplace is now a small museum, and attracts many visitors each year.

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