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Melnone Auction House

This article originally appeared in Spanish in Vuelo Raso N. 5, and was translated by Google Translate and Jeff Zeitlin for the September/October 2023 issue. Lea este articulo en español.

This location is intended to be placed on a world with the same name, although it is feasible to put it on any other that meets environmental conditions similar to those of a “Garden World”. Only the complex that makes up the House is described here; the world will be described in a future article.

History of the House

Melnone House takes its name from the founding family, who still manage it to this day. Several centuries have passed since its foundation and it has become a legal and prosperous business dedicated to the auction of all kinds of elements in its facilities, from the most valuable and strange objects such as the remains of the Tissona ship, to the famous roe of the krunak emperor. Being outside the borders of the Imperium, they are considered a client-state that over the centuries have built a significant reputation for their intense scrutiny of the authenticity of the items up for auction.

The history of the world is strongly linked to the history of the family and goes back several generations. An accident caused one of the family’s predecessors to crash here and thanks to the skills of the crew they managed to survive. Over time they settled and managed to develop until finally founding the auction house. Although the world could be classified as TL5, you can find specific objects at much higher TLs. This is because auction payouts aren’t always for cash or equivalent; one may pay by barter or valuables having commensurate value.

At present the family is formed by the marriage of Brulex and Noareida, and their three children, Elysa, Crevorn and Satmace. The public face is Elysa Melnone, the eldest of the three siblings. While her parents are in charge of managing the stores and purchasing from suppliers, she is the visible face of the business. Her younger brothers are in charge of various tasks in the company. Crevorn is in charge of managing the security and the army of the house; little Satmace helps his parents with purchases, validations and store management.

Elysa is an intelligent woman, who knows how to defend herself and who, generally, travels with a adviser named Yarko. He acts as a messenger for her and carries her personalized revolver, to deliver it to her quickly in case of conflict, since the tight dresses that she usually wears are not very comfortable when carrying weapons.

Elysa wears a tight dark dress and to give her some protection it is a ‘diplo’ dress. She always tends to go lightly made up to highlight her natural beauty and with some jewelry as a complement. A strange fixation for ancient objects has made her pay close attention to all the information about them to the point of almost becoming an obsession with finding legendary artifacts. Anyone who brings it up to her, or she believes she has information, will be treated somewhat better.

The Place

The House occupies a vast estate made up of three well-defined areas: the main building, where the auctions are held and the objects are exhibited; twenty small mansions for bidders and a warehouse area that also houses the service barracks. The main building, a whole mansion, has an exhibition at the entrance as a museum. Some of these pieces are for upcoming auctions and others are for display purposes only. Once you have crossed this first room, you will find the great room. Here there are twenty large tables arranged in front of a stage where the objects to be auctioned are presented while the attendees enjoy the hospitality of the house.

The main building has guards at all times, as well as stewards to fully cover the needs of the guests. From the outside you can see how there are guards posted on the roof, as well as a large pond in front of the entrance, bordered by a beautiful garden that separates the body of water from the paths.

The twenty mansions are all exactly the same, only the layout of the main house varies. Each one has two guards at the entrance, as well as a team of five assistants and servants to make the stay more pleasant. Each mansion is surrounded by a small forest that helps to maintain the privacy of the guests. In addition, all of them have access to the sea, either by beach or through a pier. Each structure has four rooms, a kitchen, two bathrooms and two multipurpose rooms to carry out any desired activity. Each mansion has a cost of 150,000 Cr per person and auction period (more information on this later).

The area for the warehouses is the least pompous. It is divided into five buildings: three warehouses, a guard barracks (includes dining room and gym) and facilities for service personnel (quarters, dining room, recreation…). The most remarkable thing about this area are the three warehouses that give it its name and that are divided according to their functions. The store closest to the main building has the items that are going up in the current auction. It is connected by a large tunnel to the rear of the mansion. The second warehouse is the largest. Here you can find both family treasures and auction payments, as well as items just waiting to be auctioned. The last warehouse is the smallest, here only items of little value are found, as well as the material that is pending verification. If an agent is looking for an object, they will have full freedom of access to it through a request to the family. The three warehouses are in themselves safes with strong security measures, both manual and automatic, and are equipped with the latest technological advances, giving an effective TL12.

Operation and Standards

The auction house has very strict rules regarding protocols. This has made it easier for them to build a good reputation among all the auction fans in the nearby sub-sectors. The most important thing is safety, authenticity and hospitality standards.

As specified above, each mansion is guarded by two guards. These, although they are dressed in suits so as not to bother the guests, are armed with stun batons and laser pistols (the more discreet TL11 version). Their job is both to protect guests and to make sure they don’t create any trouble. If your dependents are in the main building, they will accompany you as if they were your escort, but not if you want to walk through the woods or swim in the sea. Carrying of weapons by guests is prohibited outside of assigned mansions.

In the main building you can see a small combat team standing guard from the roof. They are armed with sniper rifles (to monitor the surroundings of the mansion) and three Gauss cannon (to monitor the sky, in case someone intends to attack from the air). Those cannon can also protect the mansion from vehicle attacks. Guards armed with assault rifles are patrolling inside the building and will never cross paths with guests. Here the guards look like soldiers and are equipped with bulletproof vests and category 3 weapons (Central Supply Catalog p.6). At this point, safety is more important than elegance.

Author’s note: House Security is considered to be a paramilitary army and local legislation allows it.

Of course, the area of the warehouses is also equipped with patrols of five soldiers, two at a time, each of which walks around the surroundings. Furthermore, each of the entrances to the warehouses is guarded by two guards equipped with stun weapons. The rest of the complex’s security is made up of automated video surveillance systems and electrical systems. There are no more active personnel since from the control room, where there are normally four guards controlling automated monitors and security, the soldiers from the barracks or the necessary personnel could be mobilized. The electronic security of everything has a higher technological level than the rest, reaching TL13 in some systems.

As for the operation of sales, everything is quite strict. Twice a year auctions are held for all items that are considered interesting or that someone has tried to buy by making an offer. Nothing is sold outside of the bids: it has been proven that it is the best way to get a high value from any product. The period that includes the stay for the auctions is 15 days during which no one can leave before or arrive later. The auctions are carried out in three blocks. The first block of auctions is carried out on the third day, the next on the 8th day and the last on the 12th. The period between blocks is used to validate payments and solve possible unforeseen solvency.

The access to the mansions is done by means of vehicles and the passengers are transferred directly to the mansion that has been assigned to them. During the rest of the year, the complex functions as a vacation resort. Not everyone can afford it and it is accessed for the first time by recommendation. In these cases, a mansion is assigned and you cannot leave your area or walk through the gardens of the main house. The cost of the stay (150,000 Cr) includes all services and amenities, but does not include assigned guards (but they will be discreetly watched). All clients will have maximum discretion and no information will be revealed to anyone, even if the authorities intervene.

Those who also have access outside the auction season are the suppliers. Anyone can request an appointment and bring their products to be appraised. The supplier will have to deliver his merchandise, leave the premises and wait an estimated period of at least seven days. During this period, checks are made that the material is legitimate and its value is established. The auction house always pays 70% of the value of the objects. Negotiating with them to get paid more will only bring that percentage up to 80% or as high as 90%, depending on how well the negotiation goes. In the event that the object is not legitimate, the Imperial authorities will be notified about the suppliers. The object will be retained to find the rightful owners and inform them of the item’s status. Finally, the suppliers will be expelled from the place, being banned from future transactions with the auction house. In case of attempting future negotiations having been vetoed, the punishment will be the death penalty.

Adventure Seeds

In all these missions it is taken into account that they will not be easy tasks, so the payment should be proportional to the risk.