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Old 01-04-2009, 11:12 PM   #1
Hans Rancke-Madsen
 
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Default WUXTRY! Kinunir warrant fake! Read all about it!

Yesterday I had an idea about the Kinunir warrant conundrum. I won't claim that it solves the problem, because it merely substitutes one unanwered mystery with another. But maybe the new mystery will prove easier to come up with a solution to? Anyway, here it is:

The warrant aboard the Kinunir was a fake. It had been forged by some person unknown and used to commandeer the Kinunir for this person's own purpoes. And as the poor sap in charge of the Kinunir had never seen a genuine warrant before, he fell for it. No doubt his view of Imperial warrants was colored by his boyhood litterature. I'm referring, of course, to that well-known classic historical tale of adventure and romances The Three Guardsmen, written by Celestine Floridor (pseudonym of a not-to-be-publically-embarrassed-by-exposure Imperial countess) and set at the court of Emperor Styryx, with his Minister of State, Duke Ibrahim Tancredi, in the role of the chief antagonist. Not many people realize that the book is a total rip-off of an obscure Old Terran novel, and fewer still care. Following its publication in 1022, it has spread to every corner of the Imperium and enjoys immense popularity among adolescents. The scene where Duke Ibrahim issues a blank Imperial warrant to that arch-villainess, the Solomani Countess Mata Lahari, is known to far more people than have ever seen a genuine warrant.

This explains the blank warrant. But of course it raises more questions. Who did the forgery and for what purpose? If it had been a professional intelligence agency, the fact that the Kinunir was carrying two pieces of experimental technology would be explanation enough. But since whoever did it didn't know how a genuine warrant looked, professional intelligence services are more or less ruled out. ome sort of gifted amateur (or rogue adventurer ;-) seems indicated.

OK, that's as far as I've gotten yet. I'm going to mull it over for a bit now, but I wanted to hear what you thought of the basic idea.


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Old 01-05-2009, 05:44 AM   #2
steelbrok
 
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Default Re: WUXTRY! Kinunir warrant fake! Read all about it!

I quite like the idea and I propose an identity for the forger

The rogue AI on board....

After all it has the most vested interest in having the ship at its disposal, then when the captain/crew realise the Warrant is false they have to be disposed of...
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:06 AM   #3
rust
 
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Default Re: WUXTRY! Kinunir warrant fake! Read all about it!

A very nice idea, and I am very much tempted to borrow it for my setting,
where I will have to explain a fake document in the near future. The story
about the novel would fit in very well as a piece of the background, I think.

In my setting the document, a colony's appeal for membership in the Fede-
ration, was forged by a well meaning diplomat who wanted to ensure that
his homeworld did join the Federation instead of remaining proudly isolated
and poor.

For the Kinunir warrant I would tend to look for a similar explanation, some-
thing done by a decent person with good intentions, but with an unexpec-
ted bad outcome.
Perhaps this person wanted the Kinunir to go somewhere to prevent or stop
some dangerous development (a planned rebellion or coup d'etat ?).
Unfortunately the instructions the person gave with the full authority of the
fake warrant collided with some secret (or just unknown to him) program of
the artificial intelligence, creating a logical paradox, and drove the artificial
intelligence "mad".
Faced with only two options, and both of them forbidden by its orders, all it
could do was to stop the ship dead in space in some remote location until the
situation had changed or someone had found a solution to the problem.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: WUXTRY! Kinunir warrant fake! Read all about it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by steelbrok
I quite like the idea and I propose an identity for the forger

The rogue AI on board....
Clever, but raises more questions than it solves: how was it able to produce the forgery? what did it expect to accomplish, since it (obviously) couldn't expect to use the thing itself? what was its plan?

Remember: crazy does not imply stupid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Rancke-Madsen
I'm going to mull it over for a bit now, but I wanted to hear what you thought of the basic idea.
The problem with your idea as I see it is that the forger, whoever that may have been, must have expected to run into someone who does know what a genuine warrant is supposed to look like. After all, the class of people who are most often expected to respond to a warrant are also the same people who should be expected to detect a forgery.

Unless you've convinced The Powers That Be to redact blank warrants from canon altogether, I suggest you're better off asking (in line with your reference to Cardinal Richlieu) who would issue such a warrant, and for what nefarious purpose? Even if it is a forgery, such a deception has to be plausible to its intended audience.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:03 AM   #5
far_trader
 
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Default Re: WUXTRY! Kinunir warrant fake! Read all about it!

I have a vague recollection of this being mentioned somewhere once. Can't recall by who or where, or much at all in fact. Or I'm mixing it up with another Imperial Warrant scheme. Maybe it was a dream ;-)

What I recall of it was that Norris himself forged a warrant because he didn't have time to wait for the real one from Capital. The real one was the one on the Kinunir? Or that was the forgery? Or something like that...

Anyway, the idea of a forged warrant in the player's hands is a fun one. I agree it would have to be a convincing forgery, and all the better to let the players dig their graves good and deep before someone finally spots it as a forgery <eg>

"Honest, we didn't know it was a forgery when we umm, well, that is... "
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:49 AM   #6
Hans Rancke-Madsen
 
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Default Re: WUXTRY! Kinunir warrant fake! Read all about it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by far_trader
What I recall of it was that Norris himself forged a warrant because he didn't have time to wait for the real one from Capital. The real one was the one on the Kinunir? Or that was the forgery? Or something like that...
The Spinward Marches Campaign explicitly states, in authorial voice, that Norris went to Algine to fetch a warrant written specifically for him by Strephon (He must have run into some trouble there, because it took him two years to fetch it). Later, the Kinunir warrant and Norris' warrant became conflated, despite all the inherent contradictions. Norris did fake his appointment as archduke, and in one of his personal journal entries (quoted in Survival Margin, IIRC) he muses over that forgery and says something about having done it before, with the warrant. Just why he would write something like that is a mystery ;-). Maybe his memory played him false? (Yes, I know that's a terrible explanation. People do misremember the oddest things, but it's hard to imagine how Norris could forget spending two years of his life on retrieving a genuine warrant).

Although... maybe the genuine warrant was destroyed down there on Algine and he faked another one? (Kicking himelf for not doing that two years earlier ;-D).

Quote:
Anyway, the idea of a forged warrant in the player's hands is a fun one. I agree it would have to be a convincing forgery, and all the better to let the players dig their graves good and deep before someone finally spots it as a forgery <eg>

"Honest, we didn't know it was a forgery when we umm, well, that is... "
Yeah, believing that they were abusing a genuine warrant is hardly a defense that will cut much ice with Strephon. ;-)

The con artist "Baroness Xita Garcia", a Casual Encounter I wrote for JTAS, had invented a non-existent Imperial document that she called an 'Imperial Remit' which she explained was "something like an Imperial warrant", partly to avoid problems with meeting people who knew what a warrant looked like and partly to avoid being charged with forging an Imperial warrant if she was ever caught.


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Old 01-05-2009, 11:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: WUXTRY! Kinunir warrant fake! Read all about it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Rancke-Madsen
Later, the Kinunir warrant and Norris' warrant became conflated, despite all the inherent contradictions.
Just an historical note: the correspondence of the Kinunir warrant and Norris' warrant precedes Spinward Marches Campaign.

Soon after Fifth Frontier War was published, I attended a gaming convention in Pennsylvania (might have been Origins -- I don't recall). GDW held a panel to discuss their games. During the question-and-answer part at the end, I asked Marc Miller whether the warrant counter in FFW was intended to represent the same warrant as in Adventure 1. He appeared to be surprised by the question, but considered for a moment and then said that they were.

This leads me to believe that the events depicted in SMC are a deliberate reversal of that decision, and that subsequent reversions are in error. Certainly, the SMC version more closely follows the behavior of the warrant in the FFW wargame.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: WUXTRY! Kinunir warrant fake! Read all about it!

What I never understood was why would this thing be on paper ?

If Imperial Credits are supposed to be nigh-on-impossible to forge or Imperial IDs (insert your ideal Imperial item here), wouldn't the Emperor employ the same process for giving Carte Blanche to some flunky ?

So why would he use something that: "my wife's nephew Elmo made. Elmo is 5 years old. He used a TL9 Naasirka Handcomp from the First Imperium to make it."

???

Shouldn't the original self-erase after X amount of time ? etc, etc...

The mechanism for a warrant would include much more than just a phrase or two, since it could be trotted out from now until doomsday if the guy with it doesn't have it taken away from him.

My guess is that the guy who wrote it, was a fan of the Three Musketeers ?
That doesn't bother me, but if you're going to legitimize it in terms of reality or Traveller setting high-technology, there's going to be more to it.

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Old 01-05-2009, 12:30 PM   #9
Hans Rancke-Madsen
 
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Default Re: WUXTRY! Kinunir warrant fake! Read all about it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrash
The problem with your idea as I see it is that the forger, whoever that may have been, must have expected to run into someone who does know what a genuine warrant is supposed to look like. After all, the class of people who are most often expected to respond to a warrant are also the same people who should be expected to detect a forgery.
I was thinking more along the lines that the unusual nature of the double-blank warrant was due to the forger being unfamiliar with real warrants. And if his purpose was to commandeer a small navy warship, I don't think the risk of running into someone who knew better was that bad. I mean, how many warrants does Strephon issue per year? (This is not altogether a rhetorical question. I'm curious about what people think is a reasonable number. When I was writing on Sword Worlds, I gave Norris' warrant the serial number 1106/11 (Yes, that is the very same warrant, at least if you ask me;-). What I wanted to imply was that this was the 11th warrant issued by Strephon in 1106, but I deliberately chose a low number to avoid implying anything about how many are issued per year on the average).

Quote:
Unless you've convinced The Powers That Be to redact blank warrants from canon altogether,
I think I've at least convinced Jon and Loren (Assuming they needed to be convinced in the first place). Not that they've said anything about it, but Nobles do say that unlimited warrants ('blank' with respect to power) are very rare and only issued to people the Emperor puts a lot of faith in. The other kind of blank (made out to bearer) isn't mentioned at all. I could see Strephon making out blank warrants of the kind "The bearer of this is empowered to solve <specific problem>" and then sending them to a duke with instructions to give the warrant to some trusted subordinate and get the job done (Even there I'd think a warrant with a blank spot for the name of the wielder, to be filled out before the warrant is valid, would be more likely). But I do hope that 'double-blank' warrants will not make any further appearances in canon.

Quote:
I suggest you're better off asking (in line with your reference to Cardinal Richlieu) who would issue such a warrant, and for what nefarious purpose? Even if it is a forgery, such a deception has to be plausible to its intended audience.
The only one who can issue Imperial warrants is the Emperor, and I can think of no reason why he would issue a double-blank warrant (The scene I described above with the Minister of State issuing one is bogus; "Celestine Floridor" got that bit wrong too ;-).

Dukes can issue ducal warrants, but that's not the same thing.


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Old 01-05-2009, 12:35 PM   #10
Hans Rancke-Madsen
 
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Default Re: WUXTRY! Kinunir warrant fake! Read all about it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrale
My guess is that the guy who wrote it, was a fan of the Three Musketeers ?
No, he was a fan of The Three Guardsmen ;-).

(See my original post).



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