Sourcebook Fiction

"Sourcebook fiction" presents story elements as though the reader were a character transplanted into the game universe, reading military documents, historical texts, secret security briefs, intercepted personal communications, local newspapers and so on."

Cadet Cruise #3

25 October 1908

To: Commandant Gaston Dulet, École d’Aérien

From: Capitaine Jean DeGual, Officer Commanding, Cruiser Olympus

Subject: Cadet Citations for Actions on and after 10 September 1908

My dear old friend,

I extend to you my heartfelt greetings and salutations. This letter is to apprise you of the performance of three of your cadets during their fall cadet cruise aboard my vessel. I believe you will find that these young men behaved in a manner that reflects only the best of the École d’Eérien and our branch of the service.

On 10 September we were moving parallel with a hurricane storm front from the south to north Atlantic. This hurricane was of moderate strength with winds of 175 kph. Under the best of circumstances, navigation and control of the ship was difficult in such a storm.

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Cadet Cruise #1

Cruiser Mount Olympus

Port of [redacted by ship’s censors]

23 October 1908

Ma Mère:

I want to you to know that I am well. The events of the last few weeks I am sure have reached you via the newspapers. I hope some of my earlier posts arrived, but if they have not, this letter will attempt to get you up to date. Suffice it to say this is not how I expected to complete my cadet cruise. Do not worry about me. I am well, a little shaken and battered, but doing fine.

The cadet cruise is supposed to be the pinnacle of schooling at the École d’Aviation. We all hope for postings to one of the larger battleships. Cadets with lower grades get assigned to destroyers or even tenders. Those with the highest grades and merit are given duty aboard a battleship. I was assigned to a light cruiser, the Mount Olympus, which gives you an indication of my grades this last year. Once more, advanced mathematics has proven elusive to me.

I was made an officer of the deck on our Atlantic cruise. Justin, my roommate, has been posted to the Mount Olympus as well, as her auxiliary bridge officer. We set off to patrol the warm waters of the southern Atlantic. Many ships have made the passage to South America of late. This is all part of our [redacted by ship’s censors]

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Reversing the Curse of Trafalgar

Strategic Studies in Perspective – Second Year

École d’Avion, the Aviation School, Le Bourget, Paris

12 February 1902

Reversing the Curse of Trafalgar

by Sous Lieutenant de Volée Vincent Dreymon

There can be no doubt as to who was the victor of the Battle of Trafalgar in October of 1805. Clearly, the Royal Navy was victorious over our own combined fleet. What can be questioned are the long-term ramifications of Trafalgar, and what the development of the Ganymedes may represent for the French people.

The British have lorded their victory at Trafalgar over the French, rubbing our noses in it, for nearly a century. Nelson’s victory secured the position of the Royal Navy as the dominant force on the high seas in that age. The launch of the Ganymede, however, has changed the balance of power in a new and exciting way. For the first time, a technological innovation tips the scales of strategic power.

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Disaster! Germans To Blame?

The Times 28 March 1910 – The much-publicized Race to the Pole has ended in disaster, with all three remaining vessels apparently having crashed to earth as they neared the Pole. Unfortunately, only the German crew managed to survive, with the Americans and British crews designated Lost at Sea and Presumed Dead. The wreckage of both leviathans has been sighted, but there has been no trace of the crews.

The fact that the German crew survived has led those in some quarters to accuse the Germans of causing the crash, and the fact that the German Kaiserliche Marine had vessels nearby and assisted with the “rescue” has deepened suspicions. According the German captain, Doktor Ernst Schmidt, the electroid tanks onboard the Flugboot began behaving erratically as they neared the Pole, forcing him to issue the order to abandon ship.

This explanation has been met with skepticism by the officers of the Royal Sky Fleet assigned to investigate the incident. According to those officials, the Germans secured and recovered the Flugboot before any investigation could be made regarding the electroid tanks. In fact, one officer has gone so far as to state that the Germans caused the electroid activity with a “new secret weapon,” though he can offer no evidence to back his claim.

At any rate, the Race has proven a costly endeavor for all involved. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of the men lost, and will strive to make sure that the truth of this horrific incident becomes fully known.

What Are Those Bloody Hatches?

Intelligence Summary 10219

Noted French Leviathan Variations

Submitted by: Lieutenant Commander Francis Marion Barker

8 May 1907

Recently increased activity within the Foreign Service has provided a wealth of new data regarding French leviathan designs and, more importantly, their variations. The French have always demonstrated significant creativity in adapting leviathan technology to new applications, and this recent trend reinforces that impression.

The following are noted changes or variants of French designs and our office’s analysis of these innovations.

Mistral
The French cruiser Mistral has a different appearance than the other ships of the Pothuau class. While all share the same keel and hull, several changes to the Mistral make her appear to be a faster variant. According to a dockyard worker in our employ, her armour belt is nearly two inches thinner. Her turrets appear to be smaller than those of her sister ships, perhaps an indication of lighter armouring there as well.

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Contact Lost With Polar Racers

The Times 17 March 1910 – It has been three days since contact was last made with the three remaining competitors in the Race to the Pole. Race organizers and officials from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale have both stated that, given the remoteness of the fleet, this is not an unexpected event, and they do anticipate hearing from the observers on the ground and in the oceans under the fleet’s flight path.

Since leaving Longyearbyen on Svalbard, the status of the Race has been nothing but speculation. Whilst the British entrant was undoubtedly the favorite after the withdrawal of the French Clarion, it is popularly believed that the American competitor’s extensive experience in polar climes may give his team the edge. The final competitor, the German Flugboot, is also largely an unknown quantity, though several “race watchers” have noted that the German has maintained its position regardless of the speed its competitors adopt, and that its true potential has yet to be seen.

In any case, the coffers of Lord Northcliffe have increased dramatically, with whole nations being caught up in the excitement of the Race. One financial expert has stated that sales of the Daily Mail have increased thrice fold, easily recouping the £50,000 that Lord Northcliffe put up as the overall prize. Realistically, given the near-total control the military exerts over leviathans, the sum of £50,000 pales into insignificance when compared to the prestige the winning service will gain over its rivals. But for Lord Northcliffe, the increased sales will go far in compensating for the shipping trade he has lost at the hands of the Australian rebels as they continue their harassment of shipping in the East Indies.

But now we wait with bated breath to find out which of the competitors will reign supreme. And Lord Northcliffe waits to see the final tally on his sales ledger.

Letter From Below

10 April 1902

From: HML Rapier
Mailed from Portsmouth

To: Master Jeremy Farmer
201 Benton Lane
Buckinghamshire

Dear Jeremy,

I received your letter of 10 February and greatly appreciate you thinking of your uncle. Despite what you may have read in the papers regarding the recent action, we won that engagement. Please assure your mother that I am recovering well, as I know she worries about her younger brother.

I do not know how much of the action made the newspapers because I have been absorbed by matters aboard ship, though I do know the accounts published are often written with more fiction than fact. While I cannot able to provide you with information considered sensitive, you always ask what it is like in battle; I can tell you what this fight was like, though my perspective was limited.

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Arctic Claims First Race Victims

Daily Mail 10 March 1910 – The violent climate of the Arctic has claimed the first victims of the Race to the Pole, with the French entrant Clarion unable to begin the next leg of the race after landing at Vadsø in Norway. The Russian Krimskaya Borzaya also withdrew from the race, despite making considerable headway against the frontrunners after leaving Berlin.

Even though it arrived in Vadsø second, tomorrow the Royal Sky Fleet Indefatigable will leave the Norwegian town first, striking a serious blow against the French hubris that has dominated commentary of the Race for the past few days. In fact, should you see a Frenchman, show him exactly what you think of the Clarion by giving him a bugle call he’ll not soon forget!

The withdrawal of the two vessels means that the Indefatigable’s only remaining competitors are the damnably persistent German Flugboot, and the famed American explorer. One of the boys at Whale Island gave us an inside look at the Indefatigable, and I have to say, I think Old Blighty has this one in the bag.

The three remaining entrants will leave tomorrow for the Norwegian settlement at Svalbard, a segment that is expected to take considerably longer to travel than any previous leg. Svalbard will be the last stop before the competitors make the final dash for the Pole, with the hope of gaining the glory that goes with achieving that goal!

Will it be the German? The American explorer? Or will the Royal Sky Fleet once again prove why Britannia once ruled the waves and now rules the skies?

The World In Flames

École d’Avion

Le Bourget field

Paris

10 January 1909

Transcript of Guest Lecturer Senior Vice-Admiral de Volée Jean Paul Martel

Good day to you all. Please be seated.

It is a distinct pleasure to be here at the École d’Avion. My goal today is to provide you with my perspective on where we might use our Gany forces in conflicts around the world. Since our illustrious government invented the Ganymede and ushered in this new era of technology upon the world, we have sought to leverage this technology to position France where she belongs—as the most enlightened of the industrialized countries.

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Race to the Pole Reaches Berlin

Le Monde 7 March 1910 – After only a week, the world has learnt what every Frenchman already knew – that our Ganys are trés magnifiqué! Since leaving Paris on the fifth, the Clarion has surged ahead of its competitors, arriving in Berlin nearly a full day ahead of the English and German entrants. Capitaine Miles has proven to the world the dominance of the Fleet de Voleé, and his lead seems unassailable.

The hated British were overtaken by the Germans after one of the Indefatigable’s electroid tanks ruptured as the Race moved past the German border, severely hampering the English leviathan’s speed. By contrast, the German Flugboot has maintained a constant velocity for nearly the entire race and at the moment looks to be the Clarion’s main rival, even as the fleet moves into the arctic skies.

Perhaps the most surprising story of the Race so far is the lack of progress by the Americans. Possibly relying too much on its captain’s previous experience to gain an advantage, the American vessel has not yet produced a show of speed to threaten the frontrunners. However, Admiral Peary’s experience should not be discounted, and the Camp Teller may surge ahead as the fleet moves northward.

Not surprisingly, the Russian entry has failed to impress, barely matching speed with the American competitor. As it limped into Berlin, the assembled crowd was audibly disparaging the battered vessel’s appearance. As the Race moves toward St Petersburg, however, the Krimskaya Borzaya is sure to pick up speed as its captain takes it through familiar skies.

Of significant interest is the large deployment of Kaiserliche Luftmarine leviathans north of Berlin, emphatically enforcing the exclusion zone that the German kaiser insisted upon prior to allowing the Race to fly over his country. As a show of force it is impressive—even if the competitors have no military ability whatsoever.

Tomorrow the Race gets underway again, this time heading for St. Petersburg. For the moment, the tricolor flows gaily from the mast of the Clarion, and the French nation follows with glad hearts!

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