Adagio 6 – The Raiders of White Palm
The attack on White Palm would come to be an event featured in folktales and legend. Most of the combat footage and holography was either destroyed in the battle itself, or lost in the wars that followed. That makes for better war stories because it means nobody can prove you embellished the tale a little, er, or maybe a lot. You will just have to believe that what I say about it is true based on my own eyewitness recollections and memory of those lost documents.
The world of White Palm was mostly a dry, arid wasteland. Count Nefaria and his “family” had built their wealth and gained ownership of it through control of the water resources, brought entirely by space transport. Terra-forming the planet was easy enough to accomplish, but the Count’s family had expressly forbidden it in order to maintain their iron grip on the planet.
Now, it is useful to note here that Nefaria did not hold an independent ownership of the planet. As a smuggler of the class known as the Smuggler Prince, he was a part of the lucrative frontier “package industry”. He provided goods and services to worlds along the Imperial Border that could not be gotten legally. This put him in direct subjugation to the King of Smuggler Kings, Sector Duke Carleton Keyser. Keyser was the third or fourth most powerful man in the whole Imperium. He was known as the Thin White Duke, a thin, dapper man who always dressed in white suits and conducted his shady business with elegance and style. He ultimately controlled all revenues from smuggling and organized crime. Count Nefaria imitated him in practically everything and it shocks most who knew him to find out that the whole artifact quest was undertaken without the all-important consent of the White Duke. Count Nefaria would’ve ultimately paid a high penalty to the White Duke if he had won the Battle of White Palm.
Count Nefaria’s chosen allies were the metalloid makers, Synthetic Bionics Corporation, commonly known as Syn Corporation. They had provided him with the robotic army and the prototype Synthezoid that would become Sorcerer. They had also provided a lot in the way of behind-the-scenes support. Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never fully trusted synthetic men or robots. They have no human emotions unless they’ve been programmed with them. Ged claims he’s known Metalloids who actually loved other beings in spite of their programming, but I think that’s all basically hoo-haw. All these events occurred before anyone was aware that Syn Corporation was entirely made up of sentient machines. The unfeeling metal buggers were attempting something evil, and everyone just thought, “Oh, well, it’s just human nature.” Human nature my eye! They were metalloids with no biologicals in their entire organization. They probably would’ve even converted old Nefaria to metal if he’d lasted long enough.
The battle itself was a very close contest. The Raiders of White Palm, the corsair bands of Tron Blastarr and Arkin Cloudstalker, won mainly due to the battlefield depredations of Apache Scout and Elvis the Cruel. It was their initial drive into the heart of the city that established military control over the planet. Count Nefaria had more than ample resources to repel a planetary invasion. The corsairs lucked into cutting the head off the snake just as it was coiling for the strike.
The battle moved underground before the Count and his robot minions were ready. Trapped in the heavily fortified command center, Nefaria was unable to coordinate his robotic troops, or even escape from his own lair.