This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar. This session was run on October 27, 2022. This session contains secret communications between me and the individual players. This means that these recaps do not cover everything that happened in the session. I will be reporting only the information that all players had access to.
After the council meeting ended, Nashu, Archduke Ishuggi’s chief of staff, pulled him aside. Following the revelation that Yuri Lang, the emperor’s would-be assassin, had been a member of Archduke Adair’s intelligence service and had been involved in a combined operation with Gateway Intelligence, she had the staff run overlap checks on all recent contacts. The goal was to determine if there were any more unexpected connections between people that could be a threat to Ishuggi or the emperor.
She learned that, in 1113, Yuri Lang (“Baron Pazi”), Zurzi (Archduke Bzrk’s chief of staff), CDR Imprey (Dulinor’s chief of security), and LCDR Windhook (former advisor to Margaret’s staff) were all on the starliner Andropov at the same time. There was no evidence that they interacted, but they all boarded the ship at Capital/Core (Core 2118). Windhook only stayed aboard until the second stop, Shushan/Core (Core 2211). Shushan is a popular vacation destination and Windhook was listed as being on leave at the time. Imprey switched to another transport at Ninua/Shinkan (Core 2507) headed for the Luriani Cultural Association (Ley). Zurzi caught a connecting liner to Antares at Ishkhasaki/Gaakish (Antares 1635). No record could be found indicating when Yuri Lang departed the Andropov.
Ishuggi decided to share this information with the other archdukes and Margaret. While they all felt that all the individuals had reasonable reasons to be on the Andropov, they shared a concern that they had all been in the same place at once. They decided to keep an eye on it and perhaps investigate more in the future.
Dulinor, who had honor guard duties in the morning, informed them that the emperor had refused his advice to continue using the force field in the throne room for court tomorrow. Dulinor planned to be by the throne himself with the trigger to drop the force field in his hand.
Grand Palace 3 AM
The characters were awakened at three in the morning to learn that Eneri, Dulinor’s chief of staff, was killed by a fall from the sphere into the Imperial Park below. They all decided to head down to the scene to investigate.
Margaret performed a thorough search of the area around and found a tablet with a cracked screen, some strands of fur mixed in with the blood, a cred stick, a personal communicator, and a key card. Examination of the key card revealed that a half hour before the fall Eneri left his room, got in the elevator, and swiped into the observation deck. Adair used his Admin skill to request the video from the observation deck and was informed that it would be ready for him by 7 in the morning. Since court started at 8, he returned to his room to get some more sleep.
Ishuggi carefully interrogated Dulinor about Eneri’s state of mind over the last few days. He determined that there was no reason to believe that Eneri was suicidal or felt threatened leading up to his death. Ishuggi and Margaret both used their Admin skills to order tests on the blood sample and the strands of fur respectively. They were told that the results would be available at 5 AM.
Dulinor again tried to convince the emperor to use the force field but was denied.
Grand Palace 5 AM
Ishuggi’s test of the blood sample from the scene confirmed that the victim was Eneri. Margaret’s request to have the fur tested revealed that it was vargr fur. She requested that the door access be checked for any vargr that had swiped in to the observation deck leading up to Eneri’s death. Security informed her that three vargr were on the deck at the time of the incident according to the logs.
Grand Palace 7 AM
The video revealed that Eneri was struggling with a hooded figure, of the right size to be a vargr, who pushed him off the edge. The figure’s face was never visible on any of the cameras and they were unable to trace back their entrance or exit from the deck. The three vargr that were recorded as swiping through the door were all visible on cameras elsewhere on the observation deck at the time of the incident.
Grand Palace 8 AM
As the archdukes entered the throne room, they each got a digital delivery of the signed charter promoting Norris to archduke and creating the Domain of Deneb. Margaret decided that she wanted to know the contents of the tablet she found last night and ordered her staff to investigate it while she was in court. They tell her that the last file accessed was a list of numbers, perhaps serial numbers. She asks them to track down what they mean.
They milled around a bit while waiting for the emperor to call court to order, Adair wandered over to talk to Bzrk. He was still standing with the Archduke of Antares when the emperor welcomed everyone and began to announce Norris’s promotion.
Suddenly, Zurzi dove for Bzrk and grabbed the revolver from the archduke’s holster. Gun in hand, he began to pivot to face the south end of the room. First Counsellor Dunn, spotting the sudden motion, ran to the edge of the stage and made an impressive leap into the crowd. She seemed to cover more ground with her jump than humanly possible.
Dulinor quickly activated the force field and drew his revolver. Then, he calmly turned and shot the emperor in the side of the head, killing him instantly. The guards stationed at the front of the stage began firing into the crowed. Several of them targeted Dunn and she went down in a hail of bullets. Adair, unsure what threat Zurzi was responding to, drew his own revolver and turned south to see where the vargr was aiming. Zurzi began running towards Duchess Margaret and firing the revolver. The bullet went wide, hitting a pillar.
Back at the front of the room, Dulinor tried to shoot the princess but missed. The guards continued to fire into the nobles assembled at the front of the room. The crowd screamed and slipped in the blood as they tried to press out of the side exits of the room. Tranian ran to the front of the room and tried to shoot one of the guards, but his revolver misfired.
Adair, realizing that Zurzi was not on his side, tried to shoot the vargr but missed, hitting a fleeing noble instead. Ishuggi also tried to shoot Zurzi and missed. He ordered his chief of staff to cover Margaret and began to close on the vargr. Shana and Margaret made a run for the south exit of the throne room.
Imperial guards, in full armor, pushed their way through the side doors against the crush of humaniti (that is correct) trying to get out. They positioned themselves to fire at the guards on the stage but found their guns were inoperative.
Ambassador Yerlaruwo jumped in front of Princess Ciencia and Dulinor shot him. Tranian continued to fire on the guards, hitting one but taking a hit himself. Adair and Ishuggi both missed Zurzi with their shots and the vargr missed Margaret as she and Shana made it through the south exit of the throne room. As Margaret and Shana ran out into the hall, she could hear gunfire coming from the direction of the Imperial Apartments. She and her chief of staff ran towards the dock to escape the palace.
Back in the throne room, Dulinor killed the princess, and his guards began shooting at the Imperial Guards instead of the crowd. In the crowd, Ishuggi and Adair continued to exchange gunfire with Zurzi as the Imperial Guards, still unable to fire their weapons, stormed the stage. Counselor Dunn stirred on the floor and began pulling herself towards the exit, leaving a trail of blood. Bzrk escaped through the side door, pulling Dun through with him.
On the stage, still behind the force field, Dulinor shot the queen and sat on the throne. Through the PA system, he declared himself emperor by Right of Assassination. His guards gunned down several of the Imperial Guards as they reached the steps. Tranian, realizing that he did not stand a chance against Dulinor’s guards, ran for the exit, and escaped. Adair finally managed to hit Zurzi and the vargr slumped behind a pillar, bleeding. Adair and Ishuggi made their escape from the room.
As his guards gunned down the remaining Imperial Guards on the steps, Dulinor made his exit through the Emperor’s Stair in the back of the throne room.
Capital 9 AM
Archdukes Bzrk, Ishuggi, and Adiar made their way to their private ships to flee the planet at the urging of their respective staff. Duchess Margaret also fled the planet on her own ship, but sent out a message claiming that she was the last remaining heir and declaring herself empress. Ishuggi released a statement supporting her claim. Before reaching jump distance, Margaret was informed that the numbers found on Eneri’s tablet were serial numbers for the Imperial Guard’s weapons. Archduke Tranian decided to stay on Capital to discharge his duties as Speaker of the Moot. Nothing interfered with Margaret and the archdukes reaching jump distance and leaving the system.
Back at the Spire, Tranian worked to assemble the Moot in order to proceed with succession. While Margaret’s decision to leave the system was the correct one from a security standpoint, it would delay any coronation until she could be recalled. Further complicating the issue, many of the members of the Moot who were in residence on Capital had been killed or wounded by Dulinor’s guards during the coup.
Later in the day, Tranian was informed that the Imperial Marines had regained control of the palace and that Prince Lucan had survived. Details of the events that took place in the Imperial Apartments were fuzzy, but it seemed that CDR Imprey, Dulinor’s head of security, had entered the Imperial Apartments right as Dulinor shot the emperor. At that time the two princes were in a meeting with LCDR Windhook about their upcoming Grand Tour. An Imperial Guard was also present in the room at the time. Imprey came through the door firing and killed the guard right away. According to Lucan, the Varian and Windhook dove for cover while he ran into the back room to get a ceremonial rifle stored there. He returned and shot Imprey. To his surprise, Windhook took up the assassin’s gun and shot Prince Varian. Lucan fired at Windhook and winged him. Windhook escaped before he could hit him again.
The Imperial Marines reported that neither Archduke Dulinor nor LCDR Windhook were found in the palace once it was secured. A later records search revealed that Dulinor’s ship left the planet shortly after the assassination.