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by Lewis Roberts

The Shinai is a TL-15 Patrol Cruiser. It was constructed in 1121 in Ley Sector, and was commisioned into the Imperial Navy under Emperor Lucan I. In 1128 it, and several other small warships, was dispatched as commerce raiders against the Solomani. The mission was to be a long duration mission, with the strike squad was expected to take any required supplies from the enemy. Its two missile turrets were replaced with laser turrets; this eliminated the need for missile reloads.

The strike force was deep in enemy territory when Virus struck the sector. By that time the squadron was little more than common pirates, and with the collapse of interstellar government, most of the ships became true pirates. A few of the ships decided to try to make it back home, but the rest stayed in the Solomani Rim area. The pickings were pretty slim in the area, so over the next 10 years the strikeforce broke up and each ship went a separate direction. The Shinai took occasional casualities, which were replaced by recruits from the local planets, and even the occasional prisoner who joined up.

In the nomenclature from Hard Times the ship is a Viking band. (Lord Ship and Dr. Strauss are a Ripper gang.) Vikings are descended from military units and follow a semi-democratic scheme: one gunman, one vote. The captain is elected and if the crew is unhappy they can vote out the captain with a two thirds majority. The captain would then be put off in the next neutral port. The rules and regulations of the ship have been codified in the 'Codex of the Shinai'. All new members swear an oath to uphold the Codex and to support their brothers in arms. The oath is then sealed in blood. The initate and all crew members make a small cut on their palm, and then the initiate shakes hand with the entire crew. Any new crew members must be sponsered by an existing crew member. The crew then votes on the new crewmember, a simple majority decides it.

The ship engages in almost any profit making scheme, smuggling, gun running, raids against settlments, hijacking, protection schemes against small planets. There aren't too many ships travelling the star lanes any more, but if they find a lone ship they will try to take it. They tend not to steal the ship, as there isn't much use for it, instead they take the cargo and let the crew go on their way. If there were any important passenger's aboard, they would take them prisoner and then ransom them back to their homeworld. Occasionally they will hire out to local governments and use the fire power of the Shinai to smash a rebellious province or to attack a rival. They only do this when theh opposition has no starships of it own, and minimal planetary defenses. The ship will attack the ground targets with its laser and deadfall ordance. They also have no home planet, they roam where ever the captain decides. The ship tends to operate in a certain area for a few years before moving on to the next.

To use the Shinai in a Regency campaign, change the Solomani to the Vilani Empire.

Crew of the Shinai

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