The State of the Galaxy
It's two years after the destruction of the Death Star at Yavin, the Alliance has been scattered and is in search of a new base of operations. The Alliance has limited support in the Coreward worlds due to an Imperial propaganda campaign, but has strong support in the Rimward worlds and from the galaxy's alien population.
Piracy is on the rise in the Mid Rim and Outer Rim systems, but is virtually nonexistent in the heart of the Empire and on the major space lanes. Rebel privateering is a new phenomenon and is unheard of outside the Outer Rim.
The Empire is healthy - at least on the surface - and is publicly dedicated to the safety and security of its citizens. Fleets of Star Destroyers patrol the Empire, supplemented by smaller capital class starships. Ironically, in the Core Worlds and Colonies region, these symbols of Imperial power are more rare than in the outlying systems, since these areas are powerful enough to patrol their own space with patrol craft.
Alliance Command has agreed that with the current state of affairs, privateers are needed to help supply the Alliance. However, since it's a highly sensitive issue it was deemed that only one privateering vessel would be commissioned initially as an experiment. Alliance Command sent out word to all their field agents to identify a suitable group of people who could fill the role of Alliance Privateers.
Amongst the nominations were the Nova Dragons mercenary unit, who were put forward by Field Agent Rrykk. The mercenaries had worked for Rrykk on a number of occasions and had proven themselves worthy.
Alliance Command felt that they were ideal for the job, however, the Nova Dragons lacked a starship capable of fulfilling the role. Eager to get the Nova Dragons on board, the Alliance offered to sell the recently captured Hammer to the Nova Dragons on the condition that they serve as Alliance Privateers.
As an Imperial Customs Vessel the Hammer's operating theatre was the Perlemian Trade Route. Based on this, and advice given from several ex-Imperial officers, it was decided that the Hammer's new operating theatre would be the Ringali shell. The Ringali Shell lies on the Perlemian Trade Route and so would give the privateers a cover story that they could use initially to masquerade as an Imperial Customs vessel.
The Hammer has a letter of Marque specifically limiting its raids to the Ringali Shell, and to the Empire and its supporters. If the Nova Dragons or any of their crew violates this contract the Hammer will be targeted by the Alliance for capture and trial.
The Nova Dragons
The Nova Dragons mercenary group has been in existence for a little over one and a half years and has grown steadily to thirteen members since the unit's conception. The unit supports the Alliance's efforts against the Empire, but they've remained largely neutral in the civil war. However, they have never taken an Imperial contract, whereas, they have taken a number of Alliance contracts.
Financially, the Nova Dragons are reasonably well off, but at the current time they have insufficient funds to purchase the Hammer outright. The Alliance has agreed that the ship may be bought on hire purchase, and is to be paid back within five years.
The Nova Dragons have recruited a number of mercenaries, to crew the Hammer. Each of the mercenaries was given a thorough background check and medical. Their skills in capital ship operations and personal combat were also tested. The crew structure of the Hammer is as outlined in this Order of Battle.
Commander Syl Norn has been assigned by the Nova Dragons to act as the liaison officer to the Alliance and as a scout. He has taken Grat with him as a bodyguard and they have the use of the Wild Fire, the Nova Dragons' YT-2000. Captain Gavin Harlox works with Commander Norn as an Alliance Observation Officer.
The Imperial Customs vessel Hammer, is a YVG Corvette that has been modified to carry three TIE fighters at the expense of its main hold. The Hammer had only been in service for a couple of months before it was captured by an Alliance Special Forces Team led by Major Saxs. The team infiltrated the crew before the vessel's maiden voyage and then laid in wait for twelve weeks aboard the vessel, masquerading as various crewmen. They then struck whilst the Hammer was in an uninhabited system. The crew was taken by surprise and no distress signal was sent. Unfortunately, during the fight two of the TIE fighters were destroyed when they tried to escape. Virtually all of the crew was killed and the only Imperial survivors were the crewmen who were asleep at the time. The survivors were taken prisoner and the Hammer was taken to the nearest Alliance space station for minor interior repairs.
Initially the Hammer was scheduled for fleet assignment, but with the launch of the privateering experiment she was sold to the Nova Dragons as a raiding vessel. With the sale, the experiment was renamed Project Hammer.