The trees on Mastwood island are the sole surviving product from trade that existed between the Empire and the strange and dangerous people known as The Rephatians.
The Rephatians are a strange and little known people, with a powerful affinity for the workings of life. They will be the subject of further submissions in the not-so-distant future.
They grow at an incredible rate and produce a strong, tall and straight tree. They do have a huge impact on the soil and require significant fertilizer to maintain growth. If sufficient nutrients or water are not provided for an extended period - 3-6 months, the trees will turn inwards for nutrients and the strength of the wood will be greatly decreased. For this reason, these trees cannot occur naturally.
Depending on the desired size, the trees reach full growth within 10-20 years. After reaching full growth, they must be harvested quickly or they eventually will grow too high. At some point, the weight of the tree will exceed it's own ability to support its weight and the tree will snap.
The Mastwood trees occasionally suffer from a growth defect which causes severe internal stress to build up within the trunk. This will continue until the stress reaches the breaking point and the trunk explodes - sending sharp splinters in all directions. This can be detected by careful examination of the trunk, but touching a stressed area is liable to trigger the burst. Go to Comment
In addition to the military garrison, the island is defended by the Necromancer Kazarad the 3rd and his entourage of undead. The Empire normally does not sanction the use of necromancy, but the unique requirements and high secrecy of Mastwood has allowed for special permission. The use of undead and dealing with the Necromancer is a closely held secret within the Imperial council.
Due to the gradual degradation of his undead, the corpses of executed prisoners, disaster victims and others are occasionally shipped to the island along with the vast amounts of fertilizer needed to supply the trees. Kazarad makes use of these corpses to increase and replace the undead patrolling the island. The undead are commanded not to attack those in Imperial livery, but they do not always obey - which makes life interesting for the human garrison of the island. Go to Comment
I have one concern with regards to planetary blockade - the use of big energy weapons cut both ways - Planetary defences could be quite formidiable and may (obviously this is debatable), exceed the capabilities of ship-born weapons. Go to Comment
A most worthy assortment of ships! I salute you. Though I would add the Ageis cruiser (which I believe is much smaller then traditional Gun cruisers) or equivalent and maybe a treatment of the amphibious (transatmospheric?) assault vessels. Go to Comment