Written by Tim Bancroft, ‘The Taking of T.O.R. 563’ was originally published as a serial in the run up to the release of the ‘The Dronescourge Returns’ campaign supplement to help fill in the background.
The first instalment of ‘The Taking of T.O.R. 563’ can be found here, and this page provides more information the principle characters involved. If you’re looking for information on the vast starliner, T.O.R. 563 (aka ‘City of Exile’), we have that, too!
Of course, unde Fartok’s renewed Empire, all these Exiles would be pardoned, but Shaltok is too far up the Northern Interface to have yet heard the news!
Commander, later Captain, Shaltok (12-41-9 ShLTK)
A Ghar from the experimental and commander Hatchery 12 in a batch immediately subsequent to the infamous batch 40. Contaminated by poor maintenance on the pipes, batch 41 produces Ghar that are not as gifted or varied as the 12-40 batch of Fartok and Karg, but frequently exhibit different traits, predominantly highlighted by their tendency to question orders. Shaltok appears to be incredibly good – or lucky – at surviving. When he first encounters TOR 563, Shaltok is commanding subset 5 of Karg’s Army Group 9 (hence many unit designations of 9-5-n).
Shaltok was first encountered in The Claiming of Shamasai.
Force Leader Dobat (7-29-45 DOBT-6), later Sub-Commander
One of Shaltok’s trusted lieutenants and protégés. Bred as a bodyguard, it is loyal to Shaltok but has learned new tactics from its commander.
Force Leader Tren (7-32-19 TRNN-5), later Sub-Commander
Another of Shaltok’s trusted lieutenants and protégés. Like Dobat, it was bred as a bodyguard and is extremely loyal, but has learned from Shaltok.
Ship Commander Dramak (5-94-7 DRMK-2)
Dramak is the captain of a small troopship the Bearer of Triumph over Humanity IX, one commanded to transport Shaltok’s unit to investigate T.O.R. 563. Dramak is an over-achiever, unimaginative, and as hidebound as most normal Ghar, but has just enough political savvy to hide behind Karg’s coat-tails – metaphorically speaking, that is.
Slavemaster-tech and the Outcast techs
An Outcast Slavemaster, formally a technician working for Fartok. They and two accomplices were saved by Shaltok from being recycled simply because Shaltok felt they might be useful. The techs were promoted from ordinary Outcast status on Shamasai when Shaltok was pushed into a corner and shot the existing Slavemaster. All three Outcast techs exhibit traits encouraged in them by Fartok: curiosity and wonder. This makes them invaluable, but very un-Ghar like. In short, they had been ‘corrupted’ by Fartok’s thinking; Shaltok considers them useful.
The leader of Shaltok’s loyal, imaginative, but possibly insane tectorists (though most tectorists are loners and so considered insane by Ghar in general).
Wolf and Gambit
The call signs for Shaltok’s two teams of tectorists. Shaltok has no idea where the names came from, but suspects they have something to do with the use he made of the Outcast Sheep.
Outcasts who served with Shaltok on Shamasai and are now intensely loyal to him. As a tactical gambit, he ordered they wear armoured animal pelts so that they confused enemy sensors by looking like local fauna, considerably increasing their survivability. Some of their loyalty may also be explained by the fact he allowed them to eat the meat of the animals his troopers had just killed – a welcome break from Ghar utility ration packs. They wear the pelts at all times and fight harder than other Outcasts.
And for City of Exile…
As well as those above, Batu Delhren, Baray and their crew also appear in the City of Exile episodic story. Their ship, the Shamasai Dust of Delhren, also makes an appearance. In addition, we find an ancient Ghar Rebel Commander, Foornyn.
Outcast Rebel Commander Foornyn (2-41-6 FRNN)
Once a High Commander from an older batch, Foornyn was regarded as competent. However, long ago he was seen as an obstacle to promotion by Karg, was double-crossed, framed and Outcast (Karg’s tactics of ochoice, it seems). AS of teh time of the stories, Foornyn had been rescued from a captured vessel by Fartok’s Rebels and reinstated to his old rank under Fartok. For the Rebels (and no doubt in the Empire), he commands a captured Ghar heavy cruiser, once called the Imposition of Triumph over Humanity III, now Imposition of the True Path.
Weapons Officer Bredt (5-37-45 BRDT)
Shaltok’s primary weapons officer in the bridge of the City of Exile. Like many ordinary Ghar, not particularly quick-witted.
Freeborn delhreni aboard the Shamasai Dust
Lieutenant Tridethe. Sensors operator.
Centurion Temuchin. Chief weapons and tactical officer. Commander of Baray’s vardanarii and Batu’s Tamalair.
Chief Engineer Edoos Tsulmar. A grizzled old retainer of Batu’s domas.
Decurion ara-Tsulmar. Temuchin’s second in command. Adopted (the Ara- prefix) into the tsulmari domas after showing great loyalty to Batu.