Planet: New Tombstone
Designation: Free Rasalhague Republic Border Colony
Position in System: 5
Surface Gravity: 1.15
Equatorial Temp: 35o C
HPG Class: B
Planetary Governor: Madeline Swaney
Date: August 19, 3044
Local Time: 18.40 hours
By even the most charitable of standards, New Tombstone was a hellhole of a planet.
The extreme tilt of the planet's axis of rotation meant that temperatures in the southern hemisphere reached excesses of 100 degrees Celsius, while the northern regions were locked in a perpetual deep freeze. The difference in air pressure between the hot and cold sides of the planet made for constant, violent windstorms. Only a strip of land around the equator - no more than eighty kilometers wide - was even marginally suitable for human habitation.
The fact that humanity had found a foothold in such an unthinkably hostile environment was a tribute either to the tenacity or to the stupidity of mankind, depending on your point of view. Regardless, New Tombstone had become a thriving center of commerce in the half century since its foundation. Beef was hard to come by this close to the Periphery; the cattle bred and pastured across the sweep of New Tombstone's equatorial fields were a lucrative export.
Nobody ever asked the cows how they felt about the whole arrangement, which was probably just as well.
The closest thing to a major population center on the whole of the planet was the city of Baker's Stake, and the closest thing to a high-class establishment in Baker's Stake was the Rancher's Council Club.
This was where the few dozen men who owned most of the planet came to enjoy the dubious pleasure of one another's company. Most bars on the planet had jukeboxes; this one had a string quartet. The dance floor was made of marble, the bar of walnut with gold inlay.
A middle-aged Kuritan man sat alone at a private table towards the back of the bar. He was dressed in a white tuxedo and wide-brimmed hat, like a country baron from the holovids. For the moment, he was enjoying the way that the light from a nearby crystal chandelier danced at the bottom of his glass. Overall, he looked almost obscenely pleased with himself.
To the socialites of Baker's Stake, this man was known as "Jean Owen."
During Jean's many years as a mercenary, he'd been forced to meet more clients than he could remember in seedy holes-in-the-wall. Now that he was the one doing the hiring, he'd decided to hold the meeting at a venue that was a better fit for his own sensibilities.
That was one reason that Jean was smiling.
He'd put out the call for... what were the words he'd used? The "roughest band of outlaws this side of the Periphery." Within the next ten minutes, a gang matching that very description would be meeting him here - and crashing the planet's most exclusive party in the process.
That was the other reason that Jean was smiling.
Jean had been raised amongst a class of people to whom nobility had meant more than privilege. During his short stay in Baker's Stake, he'd come to deeply detest the petty bourgeois posturing of New Tombstone's upper crust. The arrival of Jean's invitees was likely to cause the biggest scandal of the season. It'd be nothing compared to the uproar when these socialites found out that the accounts into which Jean Owen had supposedly been depositing their investments didn't exist, but he didn't plan on being around to see the reaction to that first hand.
At any rate, Jean's new business associates would be arriving at any minute. If he was lucky, one of them would punch the doorman.
Edited by Xinaoen, 30 July 2012 - 04:42 PM.