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by Eamon Watters
Excerpt from Guiding Stars - Leading Lights of the Coalition by Jellika Barden, Pub 1204, Trika Press, Trybec.
Father Konstantin Bognarski is the founder and administrator of the 'Star Trust Foundation', a charitable organisation based on Trybec. The Trust distributes high-tech educational tools, and survival devices to worlds devastated by the collapse.
The Father started life in Maikko, Oriflamme, the son of an Independent Mechanic who owned a repair shop. As was common for a shop owner's son, he spent a lot of his time preparing to take over the business, and thus his education was tailored to the practical side of things. He gained a competence in Computers, Electronics and Mechanics, and also learned to be an adroit salesman. At age 16, his life collapsed around him. A local technarch, who was troubled by the competition posed by his father bought the ground rights to his shop off the town council. His first act was to increase the rent a hundredfold. When his father defaulted on this he sent armed retainers around to confiscate the property. There was an altercation, and in the confusion his father was shot dead. Konstantin had locked himself in the garage, and when the retainers tried to force their way in, broke out in the Family's Recovery Vehicle - knocking down and killing one of the retainers in the process. In a split second he'd changed from a teenager to a fugitive.
The next Three years were spent on the run. He moved to Brensrelm one of the larger cities, ran with street gangs, and quickly rose to bee the brains of a small computer fraud operation operated by a local crime syndicate. Then the technarch who'd caused the grief in the first place rose to head a large industrial concern. He'd been enraged that a 'little thug' had been able to kill one of his retainers and get away with it, and he used his increased power to stir up a planet-wide search for Konstantin. To escape this increased spotlight he used his contacts to forge himself a passcard. As Cowley Smiths he signed on as a spacehand on the Free Trader Batavian Dream, a Far Trader out of Mueller.
He immersed himself fully in the Trader culture, and quickly established himself as a competent engineer's mate. In 1181 his crew ran afoul of the Authorities on Martham. The Processing Plant finally sealed up, and the Starport wouldn't help repair it unless the ship serviced the slaver operations based there. Using the skills he learnt whilst on the run on Oriflamme, Konstantin and the Crew managed to 'liberate' the components they needed. His expert covering up operation left the authorities unaware of the theft. His handling of this matter, and his general competence led to his commission as the ship's Fourth Officer. This was a much more wide-ranging job, and Konstantin found himself handling transactions, supervising cockpit operations, in addition to helping engineering keep the ship in space. In the first year a an officer, the Captain died in a bar brawl on Xezor, and his First Officer took command. She was a far more cynical person, with a cruel streak that cowed most of the crew. Konstantin found himself involved in more shady dealings, most involving the Guild. The last straw came whenever the Captain started dealing in slaves, in thelucrative Martham market. On confronting the Captain about this, he found himself placed in the Hold with the Slaves, the latest acquisition. After a year of hard, but sedentary technical work on Martham, he managed to escape from his Master, and was given refuge by a sympathetic Trybeci Ship Master. It was on the long fight to the port that he acquire the old Imperial gauss pistol that he keeps as a momento. He worked his passage to Trybec, and decided to stay there. The reasons for this were many, he was tired of travelling, he also had gotten religion in his darkest hours. Maybe he could build something on Trybec which could help those poor souls he had inadvertently harmed whilst a Crew Member on the Batavian Dream.
In the 'Church of Aspects' he found a home. It taught that all mystic events of the past, Jesus, Buddha, Terguman - all were aspects of God that shone on the Material Universe. Originating on Bellerophon, in the Solomani Rim, during the Long Night it spread wide during the rise of the Third Imperium, being an all-embracing religion. It has a rather odd attitude to aliens though, as God's aspects to Aliens were individually tailored to their strange mindsets, they should not be interpreted by Humans. The religion doesn't accept non-human members. Instead it helps aliens set up their own 'aspect' of the church. A prophesy from the depths of the Long Night foretells a time when God will send the greatest aspect of himself into the Universe and guide all intelligent life to a total understanding of each other. Then the Church will be one.
Konstantin enrolled in the small seminary in Hilshade, a small town near the Downport. After 3 years of study and charitable work he was confirmed as a Priest, and elected to pastor to the Travellers and inhabitants of the Port. In this he was very successful, mainly because he spent more time helping people than holding services. Whilst this was looked down upon by the Elder Priests of the Church, it's structure was so loose that all the could do was express their dissatisfaction. He began gathering Lay Helpers, some of whom were ship personnel, who could spread the good work far and wide. One day he met up with an old Free Trader acquaintance of his, and they spent the night drinking and reminiscing about old time. He was troubled the next day, by both a sore head - and the fact that on almost all of the worlds they had discussed the life of the inhabitants had gotten grimmer. The League of the New Dawn had just been organised, and whilst it's aims were good, it concentrated on building the economies of it's members. He resolved to build an organisation that would do what it could to bring immediate relief to the poor souls of the Wilds.
His will was made reality in The Star Trust Foundation. It's charter was to help the people of the Wilds regain a bit of the safety and rights of civilisation. Konstantin deliberately made it a realistic organisation. "There's no profit in getting yourself killed helping people when you can bug out and help them again" As he wrote in it's constitution. "And there's no use exhausting your civilisation to help another - you won't be around when they need you again" He continued. By setting the Foundation firmly in reality he gained the eventual support of Trybecorp, and they provided him with the tools he needed to help his flock in the Wilds. The main tools were survival items like water purifiers, solar stills, antibiotics and medical instruments. The most unusual was 'The Oracle'. A TL-10 computer database, armoured to resist all but the most violent of attacks, it contained an educational program based upon the needs of a fallen world. Agronomy, Mining, Medicine, Recovery of Relic Items..and much more. With this Konstantin hoped to help the 'wilders' help themselves. As he was about to organise his first expedition into the wilds, the wilds entered the League. Vezina was liberated from an oppressive TED by a League rescue force. Working at breakneck speed he prepared to tackle this new challenge. In a month the oracles and survival goods were ready, and he set off with a small team to bring civilisation to Vezina. He returned in two months, after achieving his mission, though it was not without it's hairy moments. Bringing back infofeed of primitive settlements beginning the long walk to civilisation brought in new offers of aid, and much more volunteers. More importantly, it won over a good deal of the Free Trader community, and now his friends there would not only fill him in on planetary situations, they'd also deliver his aid.
After this success he organised aid deliveries to Phoebus and Spires within the RC, and Atrase and Nicosia - though the Free Trader delivering the supplies to the latter barely lifted in time. This caused a bit of a halt to the programme for a while, though friendly Trader still took packages to worlds on their routes. With the RC now aggressively expanding into the wilds, the Father decided to follow behind them. After the RC contacted the low populations worlds along the Montezuma-Darianne main, he arranged for aid to be delivered to them. The Oriflammen invasion of Spenser was also followed by a large aid drop. He is currently expanding direct operations to Thoezzent and Shenk - but is worried about the increasing Vampire threat to operations throughout space. He has had to suspend many operations in Khulam because of this, and this has impacted on plans to expand to Promise. The Father has been left a beat-up Liner in a will. This is in the final stages of being converted to an aid ship in the Trybeci Highport. With this ship he hopes to be able to contact worlds with hostile governments and in hostile areas - as it will be well armed for it's size. It has been named 'Divine Succour'. This ship will also perform a new function, collecting 'alms'. In order to fund the expansion of the Foundation, the Father plans to ask those helped by the organisation to donate relic items. There will be no force behind the request, and those unable to provide equipment will be treated the same as those who can.
His other major plan is to set up the first of many 'Bootstrap' Colleges. Here worthy strudents from the wilds can come and be educated to the high standards of the Coalition. When they return to the Homeworlds they will be ideally equipped to raist them into the Starfaring Community. This plan can't be implimented unless the Divine Succor is successful in it's mission. If a ship as well defended as it can't get to the worlds where the prospective student will be recruited from, they can't attend the College.
Current major operations are ongoing on Spires, Meadsk, and at a Bootstrap site on Nicosia. The Father is interested in learning more about conditions in Alpha Leonis, as information on this Sector is sparse.
The Foundation's Headquarters are in the SkyDagger Tower, an old-time Grav reinforced building near the Trybec Downport. The Grav systems failed during the collapse, and the slim upper section of the tower fell, devastating a lot of the commercial area around the port. The Stubby conical base survived, and the Foundation's offices are midway up it's 500 Metre height. The Father can be found, more often than not, in the Gardens built on the flared top, where the juncture between the lower and upper sections of the building formerly was. The 1.5 km upper reach of the tower has long since been cut up for scrap, though some of the buildings around are actually constructed from it's remains.
While this ship could not afford to act uncautiously in the wilds, its uprated weapons and high jump capability makes it the best ship for the job in hand.
Unarmed Combat Damage: