Scheralt: Hostile Takeover
Scheralt, a planet afflicted by severe magnetic storms surprisingly supports human life. A university research team is dispatched to make first contact with the primitive culture soon discovers that nothing is what it seems. The leader of the team is mysteriously killed, the corporation that wants to “aid” in the research has other objectives, and the natives are not as primitive as they appear. More
Due to the severe magnetic storms, the Scheralt system is avoided as dangerous and a morass for ships. The university assembles a team of students, professors, and corporate experts to explore the planet.
Intrigue and espionage occurs before the team even lands on the planet. The head of the research team dies in the ship’s ionization chamber. The investigation finds evidence that he had illegal access codes to sensitive areas of the ship. His replacement as head of the research has close ties to the Xeres Corporation and plans to change the team’s goals to exploit the natives.
With magnetic storms capable of destroying the ship, the students and professors must be left on the planet while the ship moves to the star system’s perimeter. This leaves the research team isolated and dependent on the native’s goodwill to survive the storms. The students immerse themselves in the native culture making friends and learning a technology based on the magnetic storms. The head of the research team remains on the ship dividing the research team between those trying to exploit the native and those who want to study the native culture.
During the magnetic storm season the academics find that the natives have an extremely effective shielding material. When the corporation and military return, they demand all the material for their ships. Their tactics for obtaining the material clash with the native’s customs causing one death of the Xeres Corporation security. Xeres Security and military retaliate by modifying the minds of key natives making them compliant to the Xeres managements demands. This modification along with increasing hostility between the natives and security cause the natives to abandon the city of Orath effectively stopping production of the shielding.
Desperate for the materials, the military kidnap natives and force them to produce the shielding with the result that the natives declare war.
The students finds themselves caught in the middle of a power struggle. Xeres Corporation is more than willing to use any means to achieve their goals. The natives are defending their sovereignty against a technologically advanced invader. The magnetic storms equalize the opposing sides for a short while but that advantage ceases as the invaders obtain more of the shielding material to protect their weapons.
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