All posts by Todd Bradley

Annual Maintenance

Patron: Bureaucrat
Required Skills: starship operation, including Steward
Required Equipment: starship

Players’ Information:
The party is approached by a human woman dressed in nice looking and stylish civilian clothes. She is looking for a starship with crew for a special job. She has been hired by the Scout Service to lead a private resupply mission to the science lab ship conducting astronomical research in a nearby Red Zone system. Travel to the system is off-limits to the general public because the star is on the verge of supernova and has been evacuated. The scientists there will be able to detect the start of the supernova with 20 to 40 hours advance notice, enough time for them to jump their lab ship out of the system. That should be enough warning for the PCs to do the same.

The resupply mission will consist of six technicians to change out consumables and perform required maintenance on some of the lab ships’ sensors, two private security officers, and herself. She wants to charter a private vessel that can provide them High Passage with no other passengers aboard. In addition to their personal luggage, they will be taking six tons of supplies. They will stay at the science ship for two weeks, and then the passengers (minus their cargo) must be brought back here to the mission starting point.

Discretion is a requirement, which is why she’s looking for independent operators with experience in special situations. If pressed for more details, she will explain that the Scout Service has decided to go through private channels for this mission because it will be quicker – and ultimately cheaper – than dealing with the usual service bureaucracy.

The patron offers a generous total of Cr 250,000 for this mission. Half will be paid now, and the other half will be paid on their return. She assures them that even at this price, this is a bargain for the Scout Service. If the PCs accept the job, she tells them her name is Loren Poor and she goes with the leader of the group to the starport bank to transfer the first half of the money. The passengers and crew can be ready to leave in two days.

Super Nova
A Super Nova – Image by NASA – Public Domain

Referee’s Information:
Loren Poor is just as she says – an independent businesswoman hired outside the Scout Service procurement system to make this mission a success. But it’s not a resupply mission. In reality, the “technicians” are courtesans sent to make the scientists’ long mission slightly more bearable. If asked technical questions in their supposed fields – astronomy, sensor tech, computer repair, etc. – the passengers will give friendly but elusive answers. “Yeah, that’s my job, but it’s really quite boring. Tell me more about working on a private starship.” The player characters may complete this entire mission and never figure out the real purpose of the “technicians”. Or they may start to wonder why these scientists are all unusually attractive.

1. The crew takes the “technicians” to the lab ship and drops them off while they do their jobs for two weeks. The PCs are not allowed on board the lab ship (there isn’t room, they’re told). During this time, the party must refuel and prepare for the journey back. But they can spend whatever extra time is available investigating the abandoned planet. Since it’s going to be destroyed within the next two years, they can keep whatever they find there. This could lead to some exciting animal encounters and exploring the remains of the star town.

2. As above, but the PCs discover a sentient species of reptile men (TL 2) on the planet, living on a continent the humans never settled. Do the natives know about the imminent supernova? Does the Scout Service know about the natives? Should the PCs get involved? And what’s the scout service supposed to do at this late date anyhow – conjure a fleet of starships to evacuate the natives to another nearby world?

3. While en route to their destination, one of the “technicians” confides in one of the player characters. She is having second thoughts about this job, and the only way she can think of to get out of it is to pretend to fall in love with the PC and get married. Tradition dictates the captain of the ship can perform marriages, but what if it means interfering with the plans of his patron?

4. Bad luck! Two days after the “technicians” transfer over to the lab ship, a critical component of its sensor array fails. The captain of the lab ship calls over to the PCs’ ship and sheepishly gives the party the bad news – it’s had a major malfunction, the so-called sensor technician isn’t actually a sensor technician but a high paid interstellar prostitute, and without the sensors they are unable to determine when the star is about to explode. “Oh, and would you mind sending over your best engineer to see if he or she can help us fix this thing?”

5. A few days after the PCs transfer their passengers and crew to the lab ship, one of the lonely scientists overdoses on a recreational pharmaceutical that the “technicians” brought aboard. He then goes into a murderous rage. He attacks and kills one of the other “technicians”, one of the security officers, and Loren Poor. Eventually he is stopped (permanently) by the other security officer, but not before he sabotages the jump drive of the lab ship. Now the PCs are left to unravel a big mess. Between the crew of the lab ship and the player characters, can they repair the broken jump drive of the lab ship? If not, is there room on the PCs’ ship to take the scientists back to the scout base where the mission started? And what about the other half of payment, now that their patron is dead?

6. Not long after the technicians transfer over to the lab ship, the scientists determine the star has entered “terminal pre-supernova stage”. The star will blow up in 8D hours, and the shock wave will reach the lab ship 6Dx10 minutes later. The PCs need to make haste to refuel and ready their ship for an immediate jump, and to recover the “technicians” from the lab ship.

Author’s notes: I ran this scenario for my Classic Traveller campaign. We did a mix of the first two options. This is the planet where I ran the classic adventure “Shadows”. In my version, the descendants of the reptilians seen on the mural in “Shadows” lived near the pyramids. The PCs met one of them, but decided to leave him (and his people) on the planet. The party also was able to find a fair amount of loot – weapons, ammo, Marine Combat Armor, etc. – in the abandoned Imperial naval base on the planet’s surface.