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Eleazar Lawson
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Ambush at Whanga
Year of the Imperium 1109

The Loss of the Repugnant Prosciutto: At the height of the Fifth Frontier War, an ad hoc Imperial task force was ordered to assemble at Whanga in anticipation of offensive action to relieve the siege of Efate. The fleet was to comprise a mix of Imperial and colonial vessels, but because of the horrible planning factors of the Imperial admirals, the elements of the combined fleet staggered in over a matter of weeks. Early arrivals included a pair of aging colonial Kinunir class cruisers: Repugnant Prosciutto and her sister ship Moribund Desdemona. When the ranking admiral for the operation, The Right Honorable Admiral Gascogne, arrived in his Flagship, the Anchovy Triumphant, he ordered the already refueled Kinunir class cruisers to assume high guard above the system’s gas giant while his recently arrived men-of-war skimmed for fuel. Never mind that the Kinunir class was never designed for high guard, a thankless task generally reserved for smaller (and ubiquitous) fleet escorts. Everyone knew that Admiral Gascogne was a purely political appointment; his abysmal planning and tactical factors were a source of much embarrassment to the rank and file of the Imperial Navy. And to the Scout service for that matter, which had kicked him out years before for “scouting” a little too close to the Duke of Regina’s wife.

But I digress.

Outwardly obedient, but secretly hoping for the Imperial Warrant to arrive by x-boat, the two barely space-worthy cruisers reluctantly took their positions above the gravity well of the gas giant. At just that moment, a Zhodani fleet, directed weeks before to claim Whanga to prevent just such an Imperial concentration of force (oh the irony!), jumped in system. Finding Imperial forces already present, they in turn cursed the execrable planning factors of their supposedly psionically adept admirals (who could telekinetically put the perfect amount of vermouth in a Martini, but were apparently not clairvoyant). Be that as it may, they directed their maneuver drives toward the gas giant, and fell toward the ostensibly easy prey of the (mostly) refueling Imperial ships.

Upon detecting the rapidly advancing Zhodani fleet, Repugnant Prosciutto and Moribund Desdemona sprang into action. As Repugnant Prosciutto sounded general quarters and maneuvered herself between the defensless Imperial fleet and the Zhodani intruders, Desdemona sent a distress signal to Admiral Gascogne to alert him of the approaching Zho menace. She then turned her focused communication array at the Prociutto and tight beamed the signal “going for help; hold them off” and jumped out system. Repugnant Prosciutto alone stood tall to engage the Zhodani fleet.

Hopelessly outnumbered, and maneuvering against the Jovian pull of the gas giant, her first volley of missiles was unusually effective. The missiles struck the Zhodani flagship just forward of the gift shop, and severed some fiber optic cables, rendering the Zhodani dreadnaught’s model 2bis computer just a regular old model 2. This caused a glitch in the anti-hijacking program that locked the Zhodani Admiral in the fresher for several critical minutes. Prosciutto’s success was short lived however. The anti-hijacking program, felt to be pretty much redundant at that point anyway, was turned off, the Admiral rescued, and Repugnant Prosciutto reduced to slag by the superior beam weaponry of her Zho opponents.

Her sacrifice was not in vain, however. The majority of the partially refueled Imperial fleet was able to maneuver far enough from the gravity well to perform an emergency jump-1 to Knorbes, there to re-form and carry on their original mission. Admiral Gascogne and the Anchovy Triumphant, in their panic, mis-jumped, finally precipitating out of jump space in the gravity well of Heroni (Rhylanor 0607), almost 20 parsecs from Whanga. Finding no gas giant there, the Admiral made contact with an isolated settlement on the surface of the desert world. In exchange for 2 FGMP-15s and a case of the Admiral Gascogne’s anagathics, arrangements were made for an emergency missive to be sent on the next far trader, summoning an Imperial tanker to rescue the hapless Imperial flagship.

Meanwhile, the gutted Repugnant Prosciutto, in a decaying orbit over the gas giant, began to disgorge survivors, who were rescued by the Zhodani. Interrogation revealed that the cruiser’s jump drives were undamaged, and the ship was fully fueled! A small team might be able to enter the ship, overcome the remaining defenders, and make an in-system jump. Recognizing that a jump from so deep inside a gravity well carried a high chance of a catastrophic mis-jump, and simultaneously not recognizing that a Kinunir class cruiser is kind of a piece of crap anyway, a volunteer force, including a small group of psionic teleporters, was organized to enter the doomed vessel.

Minutes later, a handful of Imperial Naval and Marine personnel, remaining aboard Repugnant Prosciutto to direct the evacuation, looked up in shock as humanoid shapes, armed with hard hitting weaponry and dressed like back up singers for Flock of Seagulls, teleported into their midst and, disoriented by psionic effort, immediately vomited into their helmets. One of the materializing intruders, rolling eleven on 2D, staggered face first into a bulkhead. For an instant the Imperial personnel were taken aback. What on Vland was this? Drunken space pirates? Peripatetic belters? Time traveling Edwardian fops? Then the Marine detachment sergeant noticed Zhodani insignia and leveled his FGMP.

The battle was joined.

The Zhodani mission was apparently unsuccessful, because 43 minutes after Zhodani troops arrived on board, the Repugnant Prosciutto beamed a final, cryptic communication: “Who’s signaling GK now, bitches?” At 44 minutes, she suffered catastrophic re-entry with 13 of her crew having never reached the escape capsules. The events of those last, defiant 44 minutes aboard the Repugnant Prosciutto have long been the stuff of myth.

Until now.

[Historical note: I am keenly aware that only twenty Kinunir class cruisers were produced, and none of them are named Repugnant Prosciutto or Moribund Desdemona. A careful perusal of published Traveller material likewise has no record of these ships. But I’m telling you they were at this battle. Anyway, do we know, with absolute certainty, that only twenty were produced? Twenty-four were authorized; maybe some were completed in secret. Anyway, my proposed explanation is this. With the decommissioning of the Kinunir class, some of the existing cruisers had their black globes removed and were sold to ambitious planetary or sub-sector governments as colonial units and renamed. Upon the outbreak of Fifth Frontier War, the ships were recalled into Imperial service. If you don’t like that, assume that these are simply Galanglic approximations of the original Vilani names. It has to be an approximation, because I have looked at every source I can locate and can’t find the Vilani word for prosciutto. If that doesn’t work for you, assume it’s all just a bad dream I had because I fell asleep reading Adventure 7: Broadsword after eating Kung Pao Chicken. Which is pretty much what actually happened.]

Deck Plans Used: Use the new T5 Kinunir deck plans from FFE. They use 1/3 inch squares and must be enlarged to ½ inch for use with AHL counters or 15mm miniatures. If you prefer, 6mm miniatures would work with the original scale.

Forces Used- Zhodani: The Zhodani are broken up into two groups. The psionic commandos consist of six officers, chosen at random from the Zhodani counter mix for morale, melee, leadership, and weapon skill. The commandos should all be treated as wearing battle dress and armed with gauss rifles.

The second strike team is made up of the remaining officer and all seven technicians. All are wearing vacc suits. All are armed with ACRs unless the counter says laser carbine, in which case they are armed with a laser carbine.

Forces Used- Imperial: Five marines are drawn at random and are armed and armored as per the counter. Two navy officers, Two warrant officers, and four ratings are drawn at random. All are considered to be in vac suits and armed as per the counter except that auto pistols should be treated as snub nose pistols.

Special Rules
1.Setting up- The Imperial player sets up first. However, prior to set up, The Zhodani player should choose a compartment for his psionic commandos to teleport into on turn one. The non-psionic strike team should designate their method of entry to the ship. They can enter through the ceiling hatches on deck A, the airlock to the pinnance deck (the pinnance having long since departed), or floor hatches on E deck.

The Imperial Navy is divided into two groups. Two officers, one warrant officer, and one rating compose the bridge crew. They are set up in area A01 or A02 with a minimum of two characters per compartment.

The remaining Imperial Navy personnel compose the engineering section. They can be placed freely on C and D deck.

The Imperial marines can be set up freely, with no more than 3 marines per deck.

If you want to assume that the Zhodani are clairvoyant, allow them to choose their entry areas after the Imperial player sets up.

2.Vacuum-The entire interior of the ship is in vacuum and all normal rules apply.

3. Teleportation sickness-Zhodani commandos teleport into their chosen compartment on turn one. They must be given movement orders for the first turn. They can take no action for the first action phase. They are treated as if stunned until the beginning of turn 2.

4. Imperial alert-Until the alert is sounded, Imperial characters may only be given movement orders, and must make a morale check in order to move. The morale check is made during the decision phase. Leaders may affect this morale check like normal. If the morale check is failed, the character may not move until the following turn, and again must pass a morale check to do so. The alert is sounded when a Zhodani character enters the line of site of any Imperial character, or any Zhodani character shoots at any Imperial character. Imperial characters may take snap shots at the newly observed Zhodani, but may not move until the following action phase. Subsequently, all Imperial characters move normally.

Objectives: The Zhodani player must clear the bridge (areas A01 and A02) of Imperial personnel. The crew stations at C15 and C16 but must also be occupied by a Zhodani soldier and not in the field of fire of an Imperial character. Additionally, the corridors in B7-B10 must be free of Imperial personnel(to prevent sabotage). If, at any time, the conditions are met, the Zhodani player wins. For an ultra-mega win, the Zhodani player must eliminate all Imperial personnel. The Zhodani player has 120 turns to complete the above tasks or the Imperial player wins.
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