"Makhidkarun is leaving Gushemege. Before they go, they send a team to retrieve a valuable cargo."
This is not a grand adventure. Rather, like many Star Trek episodes, it involves putting the cast on a strange planet where they have to figure out what is going on.
The plot is complex, not simple. Picking up the cargo is complicated by the fact that Makhidkarun factor died recently. His seneschal can resolve those difficulties. There are two real complications: trading for a smaller, transportable cargo and getting employees and families (70-80 people) off.
The ending depends on when the local employees learn that this the last ship, and that they can leave. The final nuggets permit limited combat at different levels, and are optional. The filming crew add a way to move the action on.
Players' Impressions: Makhidkarun is abandoning its holdings, and retiring into Vland sector. For several days, corporate officers have been hurriedly selling off holding companies and assets. Anyone who wants to can go to Vland with the ships. Those who don't want to go are being discharged.
Everyone on board the Darakha chose to return to Vland. With the ship half full, you were called to the Dispatching Office. A short, balding man meets you.
"I'm Administer II, Shadi Revan, the post dispatcher. We've decided to send you off early, to make a pick up.
"You will be carrying a movie crew who were here filming. Sirir is suitable for the action scenes they need, and it moves both of you toward Vland. Our factor on Sirir should have a shipment ready. Contact him, load it (and him if he wants to come), and travel on up the Gushemege Main.
"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have three dozen more departures to arrange. If you have any more questions, try the station library. May your journey be free from trouble."
Referee's Summary: Revan is arranging pick up of a cargo, and knows of no difficulties. He knows that only one, human-crewed ship can go to Sirir at a time. Why the Darakha? It's capable of carrying many extra people, and is small enough that it isn't wasting carrying capacity.
Referee's Details: The players will spend time looking for information at the starport. Make the encounters take place among the confusion of families and work groups splitting up.
Sirir is red-zoned, because its inhabitants do not want any exposure to advanced technology. The government arranges sale of some products to pay the Imperial a subsidy (taxes) to stay away.
The old bio-war diseases are a red herring. Note that Sirir's tainted atmosphere requires filter masks: that should inspire some paranoia.
Tasks: List any tasks that may be used.
Players' Impressions: Five tons of cargo marked "PROPERTY OF GAR RASSOULI" and assorted supplies are delivered to the dock. The players may seek other worthwhile cargo.
The starport contains little sterilization equipment, but the players can waste money acquiring same.
Referee's Summary: The cargo is trade goods and information that Rassouli paid for. Don't tell the players that the supplies are being distributed to all ships. This leaves them free to extrapolate anything they want about Sirir.
Referee's Details: Anarad, slow, and medical drugs are mixed among the assorted supplies. Add items (gills, pitons, whatever) as sounds interesting.
With most shops closing or changing hands, sales are common and many things have come out of back rooms. UTPs to acquire items will be routine, or one level lower than normal. You can say the desired item is in with the supplies.
Players' Impressions: There is no orbital base for scout or naval interdiction squadrons. You detect no ships here to enforce the system's interdiction ... but they could be hiding.
The world's clouds look reddish. Both poles have extensive icecaps, one extending down to the temperate zone. Library data indicates the major settlements are located along the equator.
Referee's Summary: There is no one else in system.
Referee's Details: The ship refuels at the gas giant, then goes to orbit the main world. The captain drops by the hangar, and wishes the players luck. He asks them to radio back with how many extra passengers will be coming.
The movie crew films Zavon boarding the Grav shuttle, then the players board. One of the players will be steered to pilot the craft.
Tasks: List any tasks that may be used.
Players' Impressions: The landing occurs at night, without running lights. The only guidance is a talking Air traffic Controller and a radio beams.
A small tractor tows the craft under a hangar. Two men with rifles guard the exits of the otherwise empty hangar. Five men transfer the five tons of cargo to a van. They do not respond to anything said in Galangic. Then they pile into the van and leave.
About two minutes later, a large sedan pulls up. Three men get out, and wait. When the party leaves the craft, the gravity is 1.8G, and even through filters the air smells sulfurous.
The leader is dressed in a very busy, plaid business suit. The two following him seem to be working men: the young one has one arm in a sling and pistol on his belt, while the old one has a tool kit on his belt. The leader bows, and says, in halting Galangic: "Welcome, welcome, starpersons. I sorry Mister Tehanir not living to eye you. Most sorrowful." After several exchanges, Gat asks, "Take you to castle, da?"
Referee's Summary: The delegation will not say how Tehanir died. The trade is almost finished, but someone will have to be certified. That requires "approval of personage" in "middle office": "middle office" will not "eye" until Sevenday.
Referee's Details: The leader, Gat Sion, was Mr. Tehanir's seneschal. Bi Guhin, the young driver, was wounded when Tehanir was killed. Tol Guhin is the senior employee.
Gat refers to Mr. Tehanir's domicile as "the gardul." The local word "gardul" refers to a notable's residence. Persisting in referring to it as "house" or "office" will lose a player's presumed notable status.
Tasks: List any tasks that may be used.
Players' Impressions: Seeing the film crew, the leader Gat Sion, will send one of the others for a van. The sedan and the van drive out then south to a gate. The drivers show passes, and the trip to the gardul is uneventful.
Any attempt to unload more trade goods at the main building will cause trouble. (assuming any one brought extra cargo.) The short Sirir will try to reload it. The tall ones will take it and viciously beat up the PC involved. (They will destroy it later, but the players don't see that part.)
Referee's Summary: Only notables have personal property. The cargo cannot be traded until someone has been certified. So long as his property is in eye- sight of a notable, it will not be disturbed. (This protects property in the vehicle.) Otherwise, it will be confiscated.
The delay until Sevenday allows someone to establish himself as the new "notable": Gat is sure a notable will make himself evident by his actions.
Referee's Details: This is a minor, "private" airport.
Tasks: List any tasks that may be used.
Players' Impressions: The gates are newly barred. Bi Guhin jumps out, and locks the gate behind the cars. The three look around furtively, while ushering everyone inside.
Once everyone is inside, Bi Guhin opens a side door in the entranceway, brings out four "cougars" that snarl at everyone, and puts them out in the yard. Then he drops a beam across the door, gets an assault rifle from a cabinet, turns and smiles, then goes upstairs.
Referee's Summary: The household fears a new attack. This is where players can freely ask questions. How well they use the time is up to them.
If the players want to leave, Gat Sion will say this is a "no-time zone", while tomorrow will be a "yes-time zone." He is trying to say there is a curfew. The cougars are out there too. They are "badan"s.
Referee's Details: The players should try to explain the concept of emigrating to Vland.
Gat Sion was Tehanir's seneschal. On Twoday, while in town, several men surrounded the car. Mr. Tehanir drew a gun, and the car was shot up. Bi got out, they took the car and disappeared. The car was returned several hours later by the police. The authorities deny any incident occurred.
(opportunity for role-playing)
Players' Impressions: Next morning, Gat wakes everyone up. Those that refer to him as Mr. Sion keep their noble status - in his eyes. After breakfast, he directs one member to accompany him. He will shoo anyone else back: they must go alone.
In the market place, he tells the player to pick food. Nothing is paid for. If the player insists on paying, Sion will take him back to the gardul, and try someone else.
Referee's Summary: The recording crew need to shoot some scenes. They will be out early, because they only have a limited time to shoot. Zavon's commanding presence will get the natives cooperating despite the lack of a common language.
If the group failed to get Gat's to explain before, they will probably grill him here. Take one person aside, because Siririans only deal with one notable. If he explained last night, he 'reminds' the "notable" that the engagement calendar shows a dinner for Baron rassouli this night.
Referee's Details: The recording crew will say they have been in worse places to film. Pushing them will start them competing for the "worst place to shoot" story.
Gat Sion needs someone who acts like a notable to get more food for the dinner. Only notables can have property, he needs one to come select food: the bills are sent to the gardul later for payment.
Players' Impressions: The rest of the day can be passed saying that the film crew is recording, and everyone is preparing for the dinner. The party may detect that the film crew plans to film the dinner, with Enli Zavon in full regalia.
Baron Rassouli arrives for dinner. Tall and commanding, he speaks Galangic. During dinner he talks of his direct lineage to the Loeskalth rulers of this world. He will talk of hunting, scouting, and military weapons. The conversation will naturally turn to filming the movie.
He will not discuss trade. His people want static technology, and he will not raise the general tech level.
Discussing the car ambush leads him to deny that any opposition exists. While offworlders may feel the planet's society is violent, it is popularly supported. A ruling class of limited education with total ownership of property prevents increasing the technology level.
When he departs, his car will not start. He snaps his fingers, Bi Guhin gives him the keys to the players' car, and he drives off.
Referee's Summary: Rassouli will talk only to the notable, ignoring anyone else. (He will look appreciatively at the starlet - ONCE.) If the ambush is discussed, despite his denials, he will be seen to grant a favor.
Tasks: List any tasks that may be used.
(role-playing) Players' Impressions: The second car is beat up. Close examination will show were bullet holes have been patched. Bi Guhin will drive in circles to make the players an appropriate half-hour late. "Eye sights, Boss?" "This best way, boss."
The players interact with the bureaucrats, trying to get a certificate of notability certified.
Referee's Summary: I simply role-played this according to the group. Options include another noble getting certified, beating up a bureaucrat, and presenting a note gotten from Rassouli last night.
Referee's Detail: The easiest way is to act notable. Then someone will come forward to certify it.
Language may be a problem. Bi Guhin will explain that the notable is from a distant place. The Makhidkarun papers have an emblem which is in the books.
Tasks: List any tasks that may be used.
Players' Impressions: On the way back to the ship, the car encounters a detour, which runs into a dead end. When the car stops, several armed people surround the car. "Everyone out of the car! No trouble, and no one gets hurt!"
Referee's Summary: The armed rebels want the car. They have two Uzi-type automatics and some hunting rifles. They will not harm anyone unless the players resist.
Referee's Details: Gat Sion is wounded defending the players. He will not be available for several days. He can not help in the next nugget. The best thing the players can do is low-berth him.
The crew will have to leave any weapons being used for recording in the car, else they can be shot at. It will be impossible to explain that they have dud ammo.
Players' Impressions: Gat calls the players, telling them to be at the starport in an hour. His voice sounds weak. When they arrive, he stands there, looking hurt, but refusing to leave. Some 120 tons of cargo will be delivered. It is marked "PROPERTY OF GAR REVAN."
After the Baron's people have left, Gat hands the notable player a list of phone numbers, and half-bows. "To arrange further trade, Gar. Know nothing else. Must leave now." Then he goes to arrange loading his people into the craft.
Referee's Summary: That the list was used to arrange a further trade is almost the extent of Gat's knowledge. He also knows that the third party doesn't like local witnesses.
"Gar" means notable. Shadi Revan was the dispatcher who sent the group here.
Referee's Details: The phone is answered by a masked voice. "The Baron's dogs is gone, yes?" "You are new, since Tehanir was killed. The usual deal, yes?" "We come at usual time." (click)
At twilight, a score of heavily clothed people arrive at the starport fence. They move a section aside, and drive a truck in. They unload 5 boxes of gems, and start loading the 220 tons.
Players' Impressions: The film crew records the following events. They have to be forced into the hangar, and into the Grav shuttle.
A mob forms at the far end of the starport. The players see their car race up the road to the starport gate, and explode. The car bomb breached the gate, and the mob pours through. The score of men at the cargo jump in their vehicles and leave.
The mob runs rampant through the center (at the SOUTH edge of the airport), spraying graffiti on walls and passing out leaflets. They grab boxes and throw them off the cliff.
Within a half hour, police arrive from the city, surround the field. When about 2,000 gendarmes have assembled, a series of explosions can be heard in the city. One of the skyscrapers falls down.
The gendarmes begin beating up the crowd. Some of the crowd begin fleeing toward the hangar. By now it is twilight, and the craft can take off.
Referee's Summary: Some intellectuals favor Dulinor, and want to overthrow the existing, static order. The unarmed mob is an expendable diversion.
Referee's Details: The mob will arrive in stages. Any attempt to explain will be lost in having to repeat oneself to ever-growing numbers of people.
Players' Impressions: The pilot must land in the gardul, at night and without radio guidance. The only landing spot is atop the roof, requiring a climb up a ladder.
The four badan (cougars) will be caged. Pass an inactive player a note saying that the sight makes him recall hearing that zoos will pay about cr5,000 for live carnivores.
Referee's Summary: Each trip can transport 30-40 people (counting kids) to orbit. A trip takes about an hour and a half. The night lasts only nine hours.
Referee's Details: This can be very simple, so emphasize the atmosphere. Enli & most the film crew volunteer to stay here filming while others loaded the cargo and went up.
The grav shuttle has a sandcaster. Using Forward Observer skill, the players can have it fire on any approaching police.
TASKS: List any tasks that may be used.
If You involve the Police: Only low recoil weapons may be fired while moving.
Structures: Each square meter has a damage point value of 500/1000. At 500, it collapses and does 250 points damage to all adjacent squares. At 1000, it is completely pulverized.
|Wood - 4,||Sandbag wall - 6,||Brick/stone - 8|
|Concrete - 10,||Reinforced steel - 20,||Log & Earth - 24|
Players' Impressions: Several simple air-defense craft are in the air. One or two try for a shot at this departing "bogey." The players should evade it easily.
Referee's Summary: Players may pick up several broadcasts reporting that the rebels have used immorally advanced technology in their cursed mutiny against the rightful ruler of Sirir.
Players' Impressions: During the Darakha's trip to jump-point, several ships arrive in-system.
Referee's Summary: Strephon's admirals want anti-toxins to counter poisons used by Lucan's admirals. Agro-products from the special conditions on Sirir are needed to produce several anti-toxins. This squadron was sent to get a supply.
Admiral Gishad fears the Darakha will report his location, so one ship will be sent to pursue. The rest will proceed to the planet to gather agro-products.
Referee's Details: Use the opportunity to demonstrate how ships are scattered when arriving at a jump-point.
Captain Kadarin: An older, experienced ship captain who does his job and leaves the trading to others. He will veto any idea to use his crew "as bearers and gofers for someone who should be able to do the job they were hired to do."
Enli Kanusgin: ("Enli Zavon", hereafter, simply "Zavon.") An over the hill actor who is surviving on a series. Nevertheless, he has done well by the role and enjoys it. "It's fun," he says. It just isn't serious, classical drama - which he loves.
He is tall and commanding, and is a professional on the screen. On several occasions during the trip to Sirir, he will be seen sloshed. Create an impress- ion of a man past his prime.
Perika Metika (f): A long-term fixture on the show. She plays an administrative officer who handles the bureaucracy, and sometimes gets into trouble. She is over-the-hill, and everyone knows she will never get a big break now. Off-camera. she is petty and frustrated.
If in a fight, she will use an eight-shot automatic.
Pardi Nahusash (f): A young actress, she plays a junior agent in training, similar to Doctor Who's companions. She looks forward to Vland sector, because it puts her near the main studios and major sponsors. She is good-looking, has average intelligence, and is ambitious.
The recording crew (if anyone asks):
Gat Sion: Mr. Tehanir's seneschal. His prized possession is a Makhidkarun employee card showing twenty years service.
Bi Guhin: Mr. Tehanir's driver did a stint in the army. He served in the K-9 Branch, and trained the four 'badan.' He will want to take them with him as trained guard animals. Others will have told him to leave them behind, to leave room for more people above. He will assist anyone trying to transport them to orbit, but is handicapped by a wounded left arm.
Baron Rassouli: he will ignore anyone except the notable. He will look over everyone, and then select the notable. Note that Zavon is a good candidate. Rassouli has never seen the show "Enli Zavon," and will not take offense.
Gushemege M Dikaash Subsector 001-1116 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sirir 0131 X7969AA-6 Hi In R 723 Im K3 V 0132 D260345-6 Lo Ni De 300 Im A1 III M2 D 0135 E200774-8 Na Va 102 Im K1 V 0136 A487452-D S Ni 224 Im M6 IV Ushulu 0137 C7829DA-A Hi 700 Im M0 V M4 D 0138 C333103-B Lo Ni Po 222 Im G8 V M3 D M0 D 0140 B768145-C N Lo Ni 600 Im M0 V M7 D 0231 D503540-5 Ni Va Ic 522 Im M3 VI K9 D 0233 C695335-9 S Lo Ni 903 Im M7 V 0236 B8A5003-9 Lo Ni Fl 922 Im K7 V Strand 0237 C 502 Im G4 V 0239 X120335-4 Lo Ni Po De R 504 Im K9 V 0332 X472400-6 Ni R 323 Im K2 V M8 D 0333 B537343-9 Lo Ni 211 Im M6 V 0334 C515034-B Lo Ni Ic 103 Im K3 IV M6 D 0338 D560867-5 S D7 Ri De 313 Im G0 V M1 D Sagal 0339 X887A9C-6 Hi R 813 Im K1 IV M0 D 0432 C573489-8 S Ni 204 Im M8 II M9 VI 0433 B646002-9 S Lo Ni 405 Im M2 V 0434 D2307CB-A S Na Po De 704 Im M8 V 0435 C42356A-8 S Ni Po 705 Im K3 V 0436 C5435A7-A Ni Po 910 Im M5 II Jaeyelya 0437 B484655-4 S Ni 702 Im K6 D 0438 D532216-8 S Lo Ni Po 900 Im M9 V M1 D 0439 B453465-E S Ni Po 303 Im G0 V 0531 C325531-A Ni 302 Im K3 V M4 D 0532 D8D578C-4 S Fl 202 Im K0 V M1 D 0536 B967852-8 A Ri 904 Im M0 V 0537 A764137-E Lo Ni 200 Im M6 V M4 D 0631 B59468C-8 N Ag Ni 512 Im M2 V 0632 C738447-B S Ni 410 Im K4 V M5 D 0634 CAD6268-7 Lo Ni Fl 600 Im M0 V 0639 A565400-F Ni 214 Im K3 V M4 D M4 D 0640 B200777-B Na Va 802 Im K4 V M2 D 0732 B100464-E S Ni Va 213 Im M4 V 0733 A9C7331-B N Lo Ni Fl 504 Im A6 V M6 D 0737 B585020-B Lo Ni 300 Im M3 V K6 D Dikaash 0738 B6279B8-F A Hi In 101 Im M4 V 0740 B10037A-B W Lo Ni Va 100 Im M8 VI M4 D 0831 B79A557-F Ni Wa 102 Im G4 IV Ginupa 0839 C55999C-C S Hi 803 Im G0 V 0840 B502412-D Ni Va Ic 313 Im M2 V M4 D
Highest tech is F at Dikaash. Highest populatin is at Ginupa. There are no high-pop worlds with class A starports. Dikaash handles upkeep on civilian, scout, and naval vessels passing through.
Jaeyelya is the homeworld of the Ael Yael, an intelligent avian race. They were featured in a Contact article in JTAS.
There are four X starports, all red zoned. Both Sirir and Sagal are high- pop worlds at tech level 6. A war during the Long Night turned to biochemical warfare. IISS has raised the surviving cultures to tech level 6, and the populations fear more advanced technology.