29 October 2013

Traveller Tuesday: The Duchesses Fevrchiench

The Duchesses Fevrchiench is a regatta that occurs once a year on Mora (Spinward Marches 3124). In true Imperial tradition, it is nearly old; it was started in I.Y. 1005, after the Third Frontier War and Solomani Rim War and runs concurrently with The Duchess Cup.

Spacers, being a cynical lot, began to complain that the regatta that purports to commemorate the famous call for help to Mora had become commercialized and dominated by corporate entries.

In true spacer fashion, if the memories of our comrades are going to be besmirched, then in the Emperor's name; they will be BESMIRCHED, properly and hard! With a corporately sponsored booze run named after a Zhondani brassiere! (Fevrchiench means "cup" in Zhodant, but specifically the cup of a bra rather than a cup trophy.)

Since The Duchess Cup runs both directions instead of just the one-way call for help the Fevrchiench's tradition is to carry a message from Jewell to Mora, "Sobriety threatens, send beer!"  The run from Mora to Jewell consists of bringing 2 dtons of alcoholic beverages to "defeat sobriety".  The call for beer is merely symbolic with brewers and distillers across the Imperium vying to be the official alcohol of the event.  The actual "beer" being provided by this year's sponsor.

Regardless of the winners.  The event concludes with a somber toast to all those lost in space combat.

The Regatta
The rules of the Fevrchiench are simple and insanely difficult at the same time and ships are divided into three classes: Vintage, Retro Stock and Retro Modified.

The Vintage class consists of ships laid down not later than the beginning of the First Frontier War (I.Y. 589).  Ships must be in original configuration and cannot use technology, processes or materials that weren't available in I.Y. 589.  It goes without saying that most of these ships are long in the tooth and many are nearly derelict in condition.  There are two winners in the Vintage Class:  The actual first ship across the line and a "holy shit they made it alive" winner.  While there have been disputes concerning photo finishes for the first ship across the line, there has never been a dispute about the winner of the second vintage winner; it's obvious!  Twice the actual winner and the disbelief winner have been the same ship due to a fortuitous misjump!

The Retro classes are outwardly similar but is newly built ships made to I.Y. 589 or early design plans.  Again, no modern processes or materials may be employed.  Retro Stock ships are simply built to a vintage design and run that way.  Retro Modified ships start as stock 30 days before the event and the crews can make any change they want, but they must use tools and materials on board exclusively and may not employ any methods or theories not available in I.Y. 589.  In both sub classes, first across the line wins.

One method to prevent cheating is every Retro Modified ship is for sale to any other contestant for its stated cost.  The detailed rules break this down to a micro credit, so if more modern equipment is snuck in the "seller" could be losing a substantial sum.

All ships are inspected very thoroughly for period correctness, but not at all for safety.

The Duchesses' Fevrchiench takes, on average twice as long as the Duchess Cup to run because there's just a single J2 route (22 jumps) from Jewell to Mora.  Quirky, unreliable recreations of prototype J3 and J4 drives have been used, with much loss of life.

The main reward is bragging rights.

Often there is pay for the crew for appearing in liquor advertising, but no actual purse.  There is an active sideline in gambling; crews may bet on themselves to win and often do at impressively bleak odds.

The Duchesses Fevrchiench is every bit the test of skill and character that the more technologically advanced Duchess Cup is.  Aging systems are pushed to their breaking point and many items pressed past their design limits.  Loss of life is nearly guaranteed and seldom does a race pass without at least one ship lost forever.

One risk that is not shared with the Cup race is that of piracy.  In keeping with the "wartime" setting of the event, most ships are armed to the teeth and are mostly crewed by seasoned veterans of the Navy; the very same pool of personnel pirates draw from.  Or it is pure pity that keeps the pirates at bay.

The Duchesses Fevrchiench.  If you live, you're alive. If you win, you will be famous until we sober up. And if you lose... we will remember you just as long!

Traveller Tuesday officially belongs to Erin, I'm just dangling from her coat tails on the idea.

1 comment:

  1. I find it funny that the Zhodani word for "bra" is essentially pronounced "fever cinch". ;)


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