Ess Ma Rahq is the commander of the Algoryn Special Division, the military research division tasked with all aspects of Algoryn weapons and military technology development.
Ess Ma Rahq belongs to one of the oldest and most renowned of all the great Optimate moch, or clans, of the Algoryn: the Rahq. Members of this powerful family have served the High Council of Algor for centuries. Famous Rahq have led Algor’s armies and held the highest offices in all the Prosperate. They number among their ancestors some of the greatest heroes in Algoryn history from the time of the forebears to the present day.
The Rahq are one of the largest Optimate mochs with numerous branches, of which the Rahq Antis Remar is held to be the oldest and chief. The Antis Remar claim to be direct descendants of Dictator Remar Rahq, the almost legendary saviour of Algor and one of the revered founders of the Prosperate itself.
While the deeds of the Rahq of old are honoured to this day, there are many whose families belong to less prominent and more recently ennobled moch who resent the arrogance and presumption of the Rahq. They whisper that the Rahq look down their long noses at those whose ancestors come from less exulted stock. They observe that no Rahq of the ascendant Antis Remar branch has held the Primacy for a generation, that in recent times such as the Janar and Ko’re have earned greater honour upon the field of battle. Yet the Rahq continue to assume their superiority as if it were a birth right.
The Early Years
Ess Ma Rahq is every inch a member of the haughty and ambitious clan into which she was born. Ess Ma Rahq’s mother turned her back upon the council chambers of Algor and became instead one of the Prosperate’s most accomplished scientists. It was an almost unheard of act for a member of the Optimate leger to forego consular service in the military and to take up a mere technical career. However, Dal Rahq was – and remains – an extraordinary individual, a genius of vision who has little respect for the hide-bound conventions of Algoryn society. As a consequence, Ess Ma Rahq grew up in a world of technicians and ideas, among people of extraordinary intelligence and
ambition. It was an atmosphere in which the arrogance of genius was to combine dangerously with that of her famous family to breed an unshakeable contempt for those of lesser talent. If people said that the Rahq thought themselves superior then it was plain to Ess Ma Rahq that this was so, and plain also that she was herself superior again, the equal – at least – of her renowned mother.
Although her upbringing was very different from the regular education of a child of the Optimate leger, Ess Ma Rahq was an Algoryn for all that. She took to the obligatory military training with relish, proving an insightful, if merciless, leader, inspiring both loyalty and dread in equal degree. Most of all, her intelligence and technical aptitude distinguished her from her cohorts and she was marked out for assignment to the Special Division weapons development programs.
The Special Division – or SD – was the elite of the Algoryn fighting formations, tasked with developing new weapons and tactics, responsible for maintaining the Prosperate’s technical defences against its many enemies.
Ess Ma quickly rose to become the overall Commander of the SD, a Councillor-General in all but name, the political equal of other Algoryn generals and planetary governors. In reality, Ess Ma wields even greater power than her position suggests and she has overcome many rivals to establish herself as perhaps the most infuential leader on the Prosperate High Council. Though her practical military experience is lacking compared with the Councillor-Generals, command of the SD has given Ess Ma Rahq opportunities that would normally only present themselves after many years of consular service leading armies and governing outlying planets.
If Ess Ma was hardhearted and calculating it was only because these qualities were necessary to survive; if she was ambitious it was the worthy ambition of a superior mind; if she were to rise to supremacy it was a duty she would accept by right. It would be an honour to serve and it would add another Rahq name to the long history of Algor.A history of the Rahq by Karlen Remar Rahq, 7A1325
Tar Es Janar’s Court Martial
Despite her early rise to power, it was only when Ess Ma undertook the role of chief prosecutor in the trial of the Tar Es Janar that she rose to universal prominence.
At the time of the Xilos Catastrophe, Tar Es Janar was among the Prosperate’s most celebrated commanders who many believed was destined for the Primacy. Tar Es had led a force to Xilos where he allied with Concord against the Ghar but ended up with substantial casualties.
As far as Ess Ma Rahq was concerned, however, Tar Es Janar had defied the ruling body of the Prosperate by undertaking an unmandated mission against the Ghar, a mission that took his forces beyond the confines of Prosperate space without the authority of the High Council. This alone was cause for severe reprimand, but paled as to nothing compared with conspiring with the enemy during the subsequent fighting, betraying Algoryn secrets to the Panhuman Concord, and allowing the enemy to escape with archaic, technical artefacts of Gatebuilder origin (supposedly).
In Ess Ma’s eyes these were serious offences – and no doubt the political aspects of removing a rival to power did not escape her consideration. Using her considerable scientific expertise, Ess Ma made much of the consequent threat to the Prosperate’s security. Had Tar Es Janar deliberately committed treason? Had he been duped by the manipulative machine-driven minds of the Panhuman Concord? Had he allowed his judgement to be clouded by a sentimental concern for human life?
Whatever the case, it was clear to Ess Ma Rahq that Tar Es Janar was not fit to hold high office. The disgraced commander compounded his offence by asserting that he neither regretted his actions nor would do any differently given his time again. Unsurprisingly, he was found guilty and banished in disgrace, exiled for life to a remote world upon the northern edge of the Prosperate.
Whilst Tar Es Janar had been gullible and foolish, even Ess Ma did not believe the General had deliberately betrayed his people. However, in her mind, Tar Es Janar had displayed a weakness of intellect and trusted an enemy whom it was impossible to trust. No matter what, it was obvious that the Panhuman Concord and Isorian Senatex were equally and dangerously alike, and to treat with either was to put the entire Prosperate into jeopardy.
If Ess Ma was hard-hearted and calculating it was only because these qualities were necessary to survive; if she was ambitious it was the worthy ambition of a superior mind; if she were to rise to supremacy it was a duty she would accept by right. It would be an honour to serve and it would add another Rahq name to the long history of Algor.A history of the Rahq by Karlen Remar Rahq, 7A1325
The Rise of the Traditionalists
Ess Ma is now the leader of a major political group on the Prosperate High Council: the Traditionalists. They believe that traditional Algoryn isolation from the IMTel should be maintained, that dealings with such great powers should be kept to a minimum and, no matter the cost, they should ignore all co-operation with the IMTels. To them, the risk of losing personal independence is too great, any involvement with an IMTel nanosphere having the potential todestrroy the Algoryn individualistic, people-centred way of life.
It is, perhaps, ironic that the Traditionalists are led by the most technology advanced division in Algoryn service.
In contrast, the Progressives believe in interacction and co-oepration with external forces – providing it is for the good of the Prosperate. To them, cautious alliances are necessary – although their technology should not approach the level where an infection with, or dependence upon, the Concord or Senatex could cause a weakness. The Progressives have no real leader but after the disasters of Chryseis and Taskarr, the Progressives have supposedly brought back Tar Es Janar from exile to lead them back into pwoer.
Or to lead their troops should Ess Ma’s machinations lead to an Algoryn Civil War.
Chryseis and Operation Radiance
It was shortly after the trial of Tar Es that Ess Ma was assigned command of Operation Radiance in the exploration and assault against the Ghar – and perhaps the Concord – present in the Chryseis system; SD’s Hazard suits were deemed ideal for quick assaults on the hazardous environments of Chryseis 1 and Chryseis 3. For Ess Ma, success in battle against the Ghar would enhance her reputation even further.
An experimental, SD scout ship had been following a Ghar fleet for several months as it explored the fringes of the Ghar Empire, apparently in search of a suitable planet for a forward base. When they stopped at Chryseis, Ess Ma was alerted to the situation and saw her chance, arranged to be appointed Councillor-General, Operation Radiance, and led an Algoryn fleet to what she considered was to be an easy victory.
After initially exploring the situation, Ess Ma determined that there were Ghar Rebels and Empire troops in and around the mineral- and resource-rich Chryseis 3, a deadly Concord super-subverter in the (now destroyed) Concord-settled middle planet, and remains of, well, something on the deadly Chryseis 1 – which seemed of little consequence as it had already been looted by the Isorians. She ordered half her ships to mount an assault against the planet and the remaining combat ships to attack the Ghar fleet in orbit above Chryseis 3.
The space battle was an astonishing success, with many Ghar ships being destroyed. What Ess Ma had not realised was the ships were mostly transports (a Ghar transport is still very well armed), cargo ships and pickets. The main Ghar naval ships had been on a proving cruise, bedding in repairs and a new super-cruiser, and returned whilst she was still engaged: Ess Ma’s split fleet was trapped and even her flagship, the Radiance, was severely damaged.
A similar fate met the troops on the ground and the disembarking transports. Initial successes wee rapid, but troops soon began suffering inexplicable communications, equipment and power failures, the nanosphere apparently collapsing. The collapse spread to the ships involved and Ess Ma was forced to implement full sterilisation and isolation protocols on her own ships, such protocols only intended to be used when infested with an IMTel nanosphere.
It seemed the Ghar had a new super-weapon, one which acted like the IMTel 2 or the Concord, themselves, had infected them with a new form of combat nanophage. Ess Ma was forced to withdraw her badly-damaged forces, isolating and sterilising her ships.
Meanwhile, the Concord, under Kamrana Josen, and Freeborn, under Batu Delhren, had identified the dangers of the Chryseis shard and discovered its locus had left for Chryseis 3. Kamrana expected another alliance with Tar Es, so was caught completely by surprise when Ess Ma attacked his fleet without mercy. All the fleets involved were badly damaged but the battered Algoryn wwere forced to withdraw to a distance. The Ghar, too, were forced to retreat in the face of three potential enemy fleets and stood off at a distance, watching.
Given their counter-infection maze protocols, the Freeborn were tasked with going down to the planet to find and counter the Chryseis Shard along with the Boromites already on the surface. The Concord was to bombard the Ghar positions to keep them away whilst Batu’s taskforce carried out their mission.
But Ess Ma had determined the disabling of her ships was from a complex, intelligent, nanosphere infiltration system – one which could only have been derived from an IMTel. In her mind, the Concord had attacked and destroyed her vessels whilst protesting innocence. Whilst the Concord and Freeborn were focused on the planet, she brought her fleet back into play and attacked, dropping her remaining ground forces onto Chryseis 3 as she did so.
Rather than help matters, the troops on the surface became embroiled in a multi-way conflict: the explorers under Batu chasing down the Chryseis locus, the Algoryn attacking Concord and Ghar, the Concord defending themselves against ALgoryn whlst attacking Ghar Rebels and Empire troops, and all being subverted by something which was not IMTel after all: the Chryseis Shard. The battle became even more deadly when it moved underground, into the labyrinthine interior of Chryseis 3.
Such a situation was not conducive to military success. No one force succeeded in getting away lightly. Whilst the locus’s core was destroyed, it was a complex nanosphere, one which could move its controlling intelligence, and it managed to escape in a Concord or Freeborn ship.
Whilst a disaster for all concerned, especially the Algoryn, Ess Ma reported the mission a success, one in which a terrible blow had been given to Concord aspirations in the Prosperate. After hearing reprots from the survivors, many in the High Council were not so sure…
Subsequent military escapades have not helped. Whilst Ess Ma successfully organised counter-Virai activity along the northern border of the Prosperate, her forces were far to heavily focused on localised military victory. As a result the Virai are spreading along the borders, if not to Prosperate systems themselves. When rumours came of ancient artefacts coming alive that predicated gate collapses, her forces, again, scored substtantial military victories but failed to retrieve the ancient technology that might help avert the disaster that was Xilos.
Ess Ma’s ruthless reputation is now the major factor in her retention of power in the High Council. The Progressives see her as a military disaster in the waiting, a threat to Algoryn existence and her Traditionalist allies as political opportunists, perhaps now even scared of moving against her. In turn, she regards the Progressives as being behind her disasters, failing to give her the unconditional political and financial support she needs to boost the Prosperate’s technology and defend the Prosperate against the oncoming threats of the IMTel powers. With such entrenched, extreme positions, it is hardly surprising that civil war is rumoured, but being kept in check by the rise of the Ghar in a reinvigorated empire under Fartok – and perhaps also by the rumoured return of Tar Es Janar.
Ess Ma Rahq, SD Commander
Ess Ma Rahq is part of the Algoryn SD Hazard selector (see the PDF Army Lists), specifically a replacement in the Optimate Command squad. The free Army Options Stoic and Courage Under Fire represents Ess Ma’s own capabilities and those of other Brigade Commander’s: highly competent, but not as capable a military presence as a veteran Councillor-General such as Tar Es Janar.
Ess Ma’s intelligence, however, allows her to anticipate her opponents, giving her the Algoryn Inspirational ability.
Ess Ma’s personal bodyguard have experimental body armour that matches much of what the AI infantry’s armour is supposed to achieve, including full environmental isolation (up to a degree – perhaps a few hours). The headset replicates the normal helmet shard connections in bodyguard and boosts the accuracy of even Vector leger bodyguard. This means the troopers can be regarded as having palsma carbines, AI reflex armour and Acc 6 like every other Optimate Command squad.