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Tsarist Mars

by Thomas C. Gray, Jr.

In 1883, with the signing of the Treaty of Cebrenia, Russia took the first step towards establishing a Martian colony. The treaty established spheres of influence on Mars, dividing the planet between the European powers. The Tsar, eager to enjoy the benefits of Martian trade, and looking for a place even more remote than Siberia to send enemies of the state, sent envoys to the city of Hecate Lacus immediately after the treaty went into effect. Now, in the year 1889, the Russian colony established in that city is a thriving center of trade and industry. However, recent events have thrown the colony into turmoil. The Martian puppet government is in a state of flux. High-Prince Jaimougaa's ill health has prompted the early return of Heir-Prince Thimmajoun, who has been educated on Earth, primarily in Russia. With High-Prince Jaimougaa now on his death bed, Prince Thimmajoun has taken over the duties of the High-Prince's office, mainly those duties dealing with Foreign Affairs, the Military, and Commerce. This action was taken against his father's wishes and the orders of the Noble Legislature. The officials of the Noble Legislature ran the city after the High-Prince became ill, and were pushed aside only by threats of force from the Heir-Prince when he returned a few months ago. The Noble Legislature was enacted by the High-Prince to rule until his death and until his son was ordained High-Prince, and there is some question of its legality, although it has the support of most of the Martian population.

While the political structure of Hecate Lacus is in a state of flux, the economy is as strong as ever. The economy of this wealthy city-state is based on a good mixture of shipping and trade, manufacturing, agriculture and banking. While no one area monopolizes the economy, if one area should fail the entire economy would be placed in a downward spiral that it might not be able to recover from. Under the reign of High-Prince Jaimougaa, relations with all kingdoms and city-states were open and friendly, while relations with European powers other than Russian were cool. During the Noble Legislatures's recent tenure relations with the European powers stayed the same, while relations with other Martian city-states and kingdoms became strained to the point of breaking. The most notable event was the expulsion of the Oenotrian Ambassador Lord Sollateheww. The Ambassador had tried to create an anti-human atmosphere in the city, and he had openly recruited a military force to fight in their war against the British. Upon Prince Thimmajoun's return one of his first actions after taking over the duties of the High-Prince was to expel Lord Sollateheww. Since taking that action he has sought to maintain the status quo by neither improving or worsening relations between Hecate Lacus and other Martian city-states and European powers. Some are saying that he is bidding his time until his father is dead before setting long term plans in motion. His only positive action has been to send a personal envoy to Styx to inquire on the possibility of marriage between Princess Ppaatriccia and himself.

Although normally the Imperial Russian Government maintains a policy of staying out of internal Martian matters (preferring to rule from behind the scenes), the recent in-fighting between the Heir-Prince and the Noble Legislature has prompted the Russian Ambassador to openly support the Heir-Prince. The struggle for power between the Heir-Prince and the Noble Legislature has allowed corruption to slip into a once-honest government on a minor scale. The Noble Legislature has also been quick to point out two very controversial actions on the part of Prince Thimmajoun. First is the fact that he is seen on a regular basis attending the Russian Orthodox Church within the Russian Quarter. The second was his presence at and open show of support for the opening of a Martian Orthodox Catholic Church and his open embrace of three newly ordained Martian Priests. Many say that for these reasons Prince Thimmajoun is no longer eligible to rule and that one of High-Prince Jaimougaa's other sons should be named Heir-Prince, or that the Noble Legislature should retain the reins of power after High-Prince Jaimougaa's death. In each case support is limited.

It is the military where Heir-Prince Thimmajoun's true interests lie. Prince Thimmajoun, a graduate of the prestigious Russian Corps of Pages military school, saw his takeover as a chance to both improve and enlarge the military, so upon his return he immediately took over the duties of Lord-Commander of the Army. He also replaced the aging High-Admiral with a younger officer who had more experience in the use of cloudships and screw galleys but who was also a childhood friend and supporter. His second act was to order the reorganization of the army along the lines of the Russian army. He also ordered the enlargement of the army by ten infantry bands, seven cavalry flights, and five artillery bands. This enlargement will be made possible by the introduction of a draft for males between 18 and 35 years of age. The city and the surrounding villages and settlements who owe allegiance to Hecate Lacus will be given a quota that they must fill each year, and on the birthday of the ruling prince, prisoners will be given a chance to volunteer for military service. Each draftee will serve for a period of twenty years, at the end of their service they will be given a plot of land and will not be taxed for a ten year period. Prince Thimmajoun has also vowed to incorporate the mercenary forces into the regular army by organizing them along the lines of the Russian Cossacks. It is also Prince Thimmajoun's intention to uniform his troops in a Martian style Russian uniform. There has been little opposition from the Navy or the Noble Legislature for the following reasons: The navy has been promised that those who wish to join the city's navy may do so, and that any draftee not fit for field service will be turned over to the navy. The Noble legislature sees it as a chance to be rid of some of the cities undesirable element, and many approve of incorporating the mercenaries into the army to save what is deemed as wasted money.

While the political squabbles of the ruling house of Hecate Lacus are of little concern to Moscow, the military situation is of major interest to the Tsar. With the addition of a cavalry squadron, a third battery of artillery and a General Officer to serve as garrison commander, Russia now dominates this colonial outpost. Second in the Tsar's mind is the growing number of Russian citizens who are settling in the region. This emigration makes it imperative that the Russian presence on Mars is strengthened either by complete annexation or by having a friend on the throne.

The Russian military presence on Mars has also recently undergone a change. Colonel Stepenovich Volkoff was relieved of his duties as garrison commander by General-Adjutant Andrei von Schoultz, who brought with him the 42nd Don Cossack Cavalry Regiment and one battery of 12 pounder breech loading cannon to be added to the garrison. Colonel Volkoff retains command of the Kamchatka Infantry Regiment, which remains on Mars. The Don Cossacks did not bring their mounts for they will be mounted on Gashants. Commodore Rolya Ryzhov has begun to receive the components for a Troika-class aerial gunboat, but it is expected to take seven to ten months before all the components are on Mars so labor gangs must wait before assembly can begin. General von Schoultz and Heir-Prince Thimmajoun have also agreed to aid each other in endeavors that they wish to see successful. The Heir-Prince will aid in the raising of a regiment of infantry for the Tsar's military on Mars which will be commanded by Russian Yunkersl. Once the regiment is raised it will be inducted into the Imperial Guard as the Imperial Cebrenia Grenadiers. General von Schoultz will allow Prince Thimmajoun to use the Cossacks and Infantry of his command to aid in the training of his reorganized military.2

Map of Hecate Lacus

Map Legend

1) Citadel Palace: This is the Royal Palace of High-Prince Jaimougaa and his family. The palace also houses the Imperial Russian Embassy and three war bands of infantry known as the High-Prince Life Guard. There is a small landing field for the Royal Yacht.

2) High Docks: This is the main landing field for the city. All cloud ship, screw galley and aerial flyer traffic both in and out of the city uses the high docks.

3) Nakhimov Naval Station: One of the few fortifications within the city, this particular strong point used to be known as the High Dock Bastion. When the Russians arrived, they took it over for their naval facility. Housed here are the crews for the Russian gunboats and their support crews, along with a platoon of infantry and a battery of Gorloff guns.3

4) St. George Bastion: It is here where the main strength of the Russian military on Mars is garrisoned. This is the home of the Kamchatka Infantry, one squadron of the 42nd Don Cossacks, one battery of Gorloff guns, and one battery of 12 pounder BLC. It is also here where General von Schoultz has his headquarters and where the recruits for the Martian Native Regiment are billeted.

5) Academy of Education: Within the walls of this complex of buildings the business of education goes on. In this hall of learning, every thing from the basic education that every citizen of Hecates Lacus is entitled too to the very best education that money will allow is available within these walls.

6) Japanese Embassy: This is a small compound housing the Japanese Trade Mission. It is guarded by a squad of infantry. It is rumored that the Japanese secret service operates from here as well, spreading anti-Russian rumors and aiding those exiled from Russia.

7) British Embassy: This is the Trade and Diplomatic Mission of Queen Victoria. The compound is guarded by a company of Royal Marines. Relations between Russia and the British Empire are strained.

8) German Embassy: The Trade and Diplomatic Mission of the Kaiser. Relations between Russia and Germany are at the breaking point at present.

9) French Embassy: The Trade and Diplomatic Mission of the Republic of France. France has the advantage of maintaining a favored nation status with Russia. It also means the French merchants have a easier time dealing with Hecates Lacus bureaucrats and merchants.

10) Citadel Bastion: This is the main fortress of the city. It is here where the bulk of the Hecates Lacus army is housed. Also stationed here is one platoon of Russian infantry.

11) Russian Quarter: This is where the majority of the Russian citizens live. One could swear that a small part of Moscow or St. Petersburg has been transplanted on Mars. The streets are well patrolled by Russian Police and Martian Auxiliaries, so the crime rate in this section of Hecates Lacus is well below that of the rest of the city. Another reason for the low crime rate is the fact that a twelve foot high wall between the Russian quarter and the slum district gives a criminal no easy route of escape.

12) Slum District: This district is a collection of hovels and run down homes. Only the extremely poor or those who have no other means of existence4 live within this section of the city. The enforcement of the city's laws in this section of Hecates Lacus is non-existent no member of the city's Mounted Constabulary or Foot Auxiliaries will enter the district after dark.

13) Customs House: All canal traffic must come and pay the city's tariffs on dock and mooring usage. There is a similar customs facility at the high docks for cloud ships and screw galleys. For those who refuse to pay the customs, patrols have swift canal cutters and screw galleys to ensure that proper payment is rendered to the city.

14) Wet Docks: As the name implies, this is where the canal traffic is able to dock and load or unload cargo. This area of the city is always a hive of activity day and night; the work never seems to stop.

15) Warehouse District: Any cargo that a canal barge or cloud ship unloads is stored here until it is needed by the purchaser or until it is shipped to another port facility. Every major company has it own warehouses within this section of the city. The majority of the warehouses are now Russian owned.

16) Bazaar: This is a open air market that caters to every taste. Everything from Martian fruits to black market Arkiska bolt action rifles can be found here. There are open stalls as well as buildings

17) Physician's Square: This is the area of the city where the medical profession can be found. Human doctors, martian medical healers, even martian and human charlatan and faith healers have offices here.

18) Hecates Lacus Zoo: The city's collection of live animals native to Mars, the zoo is open every day for a slight fee. Heir-Prince Thimmajoun has recently given the zoo a rare gift: a bear native to Russia. If this animal survives on Mars, Prince Thimmajoun plans to bring a few more exotic animals to the zoo.

19) Heir-Prince's Palace: This is the official home of Heir-Prince Thimmajoun. This is also the headquarters of the Prince Thimmajoun Light Uhlans, a cavalry regiment the Prince Thimmajoun formed upon his return from Moscow. Also stationed here is a troop of the 42nd Don Cossacks.

20) Culture Square: This square is the center of the arts and entertainment quarter of the city. The square is the garden to the Red Dome, a combination playhouse and museum that regularly puts on plays and operas for the city, as well as housing some of the city's masterpieces of artwork by famous Martian artists. A section of the Red Dome now has a few pieces of art by up-and-coming Russian artists.

21) Caravan Bazaar: Like the open air bazaar, the caravan bazaar has anything a person might want if one knew where to look. This area has open air stalls with warehouses and stables around. It is located by a well-guarded gate.

22) Constabulary Fort: This is the military headquarters for the city's army, the Mounted Constabulary, and the Foot Auxiliaries.5 Also located here is the Russian Secret Police and a troop of the 42nd Don Cossacks. Prisoners are held in the dungeons of this fort until they are transferred to the labor gangs spread around the region controlled by Hecates Lacus.

23) Guild Lane: This is where the city's guilds are located. This is also a good place to pick up information.

24) Tavern Row: Taverns catering to every taste, both martian and human, can be found here.

25) Imperial Mars Trading Company: The only Russian royal charter company on Mars, the Tsar being the majority stock holder. Anything that the company imports and sell on Mars, or anything that is exported and sold on Earth, the Tsar gets a share of. The director of the company on Mars is the Russian Ambassador.

Gaming Scenarios

1) The players are asked by the British Government to go to Hecates Lacus and to observe what possible threat the Russian might have to the British Crown Colony.

2) The players are hired either by Heir-Prince Thimmajoun or Princess Ppaatriccia's father to escort her to Hecates Lacus for her wedding.

3) The players come across a group of High Martians or Hill Martians who are attacking Princess Ppaatriccia's caravan, barge, or cloud ship. If one of the attackers is captured after some questioning he will reveal that they were hired by a noble of Hecates Lacus.


1. These are Russian nobles who failed to graduate from the military academies. They were placed in the ranks of the Russian Army as Sergeants, given all the privileges of officers, but served in the enlisted ranks for 5 years before receiving an officer's commission.

2. General von Schoultz has been ordered by the Tsar to ensure that Prince Thimmajoun gets every assistance he may need, even if its necessary for the Russian forces on Mars to come to his aid if military force is needed to keep him in power.

3. Gorloff guns are the Russian version of the Gatling Gun. The guns present on Mars are .50 caliber Gorloffs and there are two batteries stationed on Hecate Lacus, one battery at the Naval Station and the other at St. George Bastion.

4. Those who have been deported from Russia once they arrive on Mars are left to their own means of survival. They either do very well or they do very badly. Those who have fail in Hecates Lacus live within the slum district.

5. The Mounted Constabulary and Foot Auxiliaries are the police force for Hecates Lacus and the surrounding towns and villages.

Last Updated Monday, 04-May-2009 19:51:11 EDT

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