Waiting for Cargo:
The crew of the Starship Notorious has tried to find a good cargo for a week now at the Starport of the planet Lancaster. Too many big ships have been passing through Lancaster recently and cargoes are scarce. Should they wait longer? Suddenly there is a beep on the comms system. On a secure channel they get a message from a shady broker called Meles-2. They have had business with her before.
Meles-2 is a cyborg broker. Once human broker, she was tortured by a criminal gang over a deal gone wrong. Using her remaining wealth to come back as a cyborg, she killed the gang and took over their business. At least that is what the rumors say…
She affectionately calls the Captain of the Notorious, “a flaky bandit”.
Meles-2 FAF894 x-Merchant age: Unknown Broker-2 Cr: lots? HandGun-2 Blade-2 Streetwise-2 Jack-O-T-2 Computer-2 Electronics-1 Mechanical-1 Admin-1
Meles-2 wants to meet the Captain (and part of the crew) to discuss a deal. She needs a crew with a fast ship (at least Jump-3). (If) the crew accepts a meeting is arranged in her office near the Starport.
The cargo should be delivered to Hampstead (0917). The cargo is livestock. Forty Eight ugly giant 2 tonne pigs called ‘Megasus‘ by locals. 48 of them. Due to a trade embargo it is not legal to transport any type of food from the Pennsylvaani Confederation to the Free State of Maryland.
The animals must be bought from the broker. The cost is Cr48,000 plus Cr2,000 for fodder.
On the way to Hampstead, York or Shrewsbury must be passed. To go to Hampstead via York is preferable, even though it is longer (and uses more fuel), since the nebula between Lancaster and Shrewsbury is a navigation hazard. In addition, since Shrewsbury is closer to the border, the risk of inspection (of the cargo) is greater there.
The shortest time possible should be spent on York (or Shrewsbury). The reason is that the animals do not like to be confined in a cargo hold for very long. The fodder will not last longer than 20 days. (A Jump-2 ship could not have made this delivery.)
The compensation for this transport will be paid with 16 iridium bars, worth Cr500,000. This will be paid at delivery in Hampstead.
To muck after the megasuses is not a pleasant job that the crew is used to. Feeding them is easier. A megasus bull may become angry and attack the person mucking or feeding them.
2- on 2D for a bull to attack. Throw twice per day for the PC that is working with the animals.
DM -1 if mucking. -1 if first time.
The bull (and/or other animals) will also attack if the PCs do something stupid such as making high-pitched noises or changing the temperature or gravity.
The animals attack with hooves and teeth with 25 damage points.
A bad choice now would be to engage in combat. Even though the Notorious could easily handle a cutter from the customs, there would soon be more ships. With no jump fuel there is no escape: only death or surrender.
Another bad choice would be to allow inspection. The cargo (without a verified destination) will be confiscated. There will be a huge (MCr5) fine. The ship will be inspected and harassed by law enforcement more often in the future since it is suspected of smuggling.
A good choice would be to flee to the local gas giant to refuel, without answering hails from Pennsylvaani Customs Service. With their tuned M-3 drive they can outrun the Customs Service and the Customs Service will give up the hunt. At the gas giant, a navy System Defense Boat will hail the ship, but they don’t have any interest in boarding the Notorious. After refueling the Notorious is ready to move on.
The animals should be delivered to a ranch at a small village, not to the starport. The Notorious will be ordered to land at the starport, but with no available ships to enforce the order, that can be safely ignored.
On the local news, they will hear about food shortages and famine. A moral dilemma for the crew. They will now have a chance to be heroes here at Hampstead.
If the crew tries to sell the animals to the local government, they will be paid Cr100,000. Then they will be local heroes. But at the same time they will have made lots of enemies. Meles-2 will not be happy. The criminal network that has arranged the smuggling may put a bounty on the crew. The village that was supposed to receive the cargo will definitely not be happy. The PCs will gain an ally of an official in Hampstead, an enemy of the criminal network, and a Rival in Meles-2. If this option is chosen, then future adventures and contacts should take this event into account.
Greedy PCs will deliver to the ranch at the small village they were supposed to. But, only half of the Iridium promised (8 bars) is offered as payment.
To get the remaining 8 bars, the crew needs to use threats, violence or a cunning plan. There are 20 men and women working at the ranch and they are armed with revolvers and shotguns.
Another way to get the payment is to show the firepower of the ships lasers.
First, the cargo hold needs to be cleaned properly. This could be done at the ocean or in a lake. There the crew will meet something big and creepy from the local fauna.
The Hampsteadean Croctopus is a 6 ton beast that attack with its teeth with a damage of 20. It has a special attack. Before it bites, it will hold and crush its pray with tentacles giving a damage of 5.
When the crew has cleaned out the cargo hold of Starship Notorious they can go to the starport to look for a new cargo but will have some explaining to do about ignoring the Port Warden.