Aangoimnig Suedzuk Vargr
Death on a Mountain
One of the more paranoid packs of a very paranoid race, the Khethuksfel Pack has managed to survive in intensely hostile Hegemonic space by being very choosy about their victims, when and how they strike, and highly disciplined clean-up. With the Hegemony being somewhat less vigilant when it comes to native pirates (due to an overall decline in pirate attacks), the Pack has decided to take the moment as a golden opportunity to exit the Hegemony of Lorean, and relocate into better (or at least less unforgiving and lethal) hunting ranges in Imperial Space.
Already, 2/3rds of the 50,000-strong pack has silently pulled out of the old hidden base in the Oort clouds of Tindhakh (Empty Quarter 2710) system – careful not to leave a whisper, a stray radio signal, or an unshielded jumpspace flash for the forces of the Hegemon to pick up and home on to – and are settling deep into their new home, deep in the heart of Mentinnium, an unremarkable moon of one of Muna (Empty Quarter 1530)’s gas giants. Over the next ten years, the rest of the pack should trickle in: once empty, the old abandoned lair will be covertly sold to the highest Vargr bidder.
As for Muna, the guiding principle will be ‘don’t foul your own nest’. The Khethuksfel Pack knows well the power of statistical analysis, and have no intention to do their actual killing anywhere near their hidden new home. Quiet negotiations are being made with the Shadow Cartel and the less anti-Suedzuk pirate corporations of Ikon (Empty Quarter 1602) to arrange for corsair production, equipment, shell corporations, and technical training. If all goes well, the home base will be accessed by visiting packmates (bringing in new equipment, supplies, and technical advances) perhaps once a generation (40 T-years).
There is no reason for any ship to visit Mentinnium: numerous prospectors and research missions over the centuries have found nothing worth exploiting here, no hint of hidden treasure. After the settlement is complete and properly hidden away, new investigators are better left alone, to return home with nothing in their hands, than be ‘disappeared’ and possibly raise unhealthy suspicions in the wrong quarters.
Still… the resettlement isn’t complete yet, and despite every precaution, something might get out. To the Pack, it’s important that any stranger who discovers what’s going on doesn’t live to tell the tale.
Aangoimnig intends to help the Pack out in a variety of ways. For example, the entrance to the new base is set within an intimidating set of mountain ranges: explorers will have to climb several near-sheer ledges and detect and follow certain pathways to reach the really critical hidden access points. Fortunately, those paths are tailored for Agility-12+ Vargr, not Agility-6 humans: most human teams will turn back after a sufficient number have slipped and hurdled to their deaths.
Aangoimnig – who currently sleeps on climbing bivys, dangling over the mountain valleys like a newborn cub on his mother’s back– also doesn’t mind using his high level of agility in combination with a zero-emission sniping rifle, ‘for those more stubborn scouts.’ But whenever possible, indirect means are preferred: deadfall traps, artificial radio-blackouts, hacking air/rafts while they’re in-flight, even old-school misdirection could be a useful stratagem in the toolkit.
The Blood Vargr lacks the grenade launchers, combat armour, and handheld anti-air/space rocket launchers more heavily equipped guards bear. Grav belts are expensive, so are supplied only when mission-critical. But Aangoimnig doesn’t mind hunting light, feeling that his wits, foresight, speed, and knowledge of the terrain provide all the armor he needs.
The Khethuksfel Pack’s military operates at around TL 12-13 right now. Their training doesn’t follow the mass army format of the 20th century, but instead is more closer to the special forces format of the 21st century, where small Vargr groups – never larger than company size, and often a mere 6-Vargr fire team – create an inordinate amount of damage. Individual Charisma is important, but so is the tight-knit pack unity and hierarchy, so there is a tension between impressing your peers, and not letting them down by failing to show up when they need you due to the temptation of showboating.
A typical Khethuksfel combat unit is cross-trained, so 50% casualties can be sustained before combat effectiveness declines drastically. Agility, speed and creative tactics are at a premium: the natural Suedzuk bloodlust is strongly restrained by the paranoia regarding enemy intentions. (Many Blood Vargr packs were destroyed by letting their aggressive emotions drown their tactical instincts, a cultural flaw the Khethuksfel is aware of and trains against.) Traps and distance strikes, from IEDs to sniping to laser blinding to communication hacking/disruption, is strongly preferred, both to preserve limited forces and as a way to leverage technology as a force multiplier. At their best, the members of a Khethuksfel combat unit are close-knit enough to work as a single unit. They have not only practiced fighting together for years, but are also taught to adapt to meet the unexpected, from wounded/dead team members to attacks from unexpected groups, including Imperials and K’kree forces. On the other hand, it’s hard for these groups to integrate and trust reinforcements: because of the difficulty, most combat units never bring in new blood, and die out when the last member – a lone wolf independent operative – finally falls.
A half-dozen of the pack are trained telepaths/empaths, and are able to generate a limited ‘group battlemind’ in the field. Sometimes they are used as a uncrackable communication net, but they are more commonly used as a high-level military unit, able to not only co-operate even more closely than the typical tightly-knit unit, but are better able to read enemy intentions and plans.
References and Contributors
|This article has metadata.|