by Rick LaRue
Art by andi jones
The SituationWhile en route to a distant world, the player characters must stop in a rarely-traveled system. During routine sensor sweeps of the system, the characters discover a derelict ship bearing unfamiliar markings, floating amidst an asteroid field. The ship bears the name Whitestar and is a type of merchant trader not used in almost two centuries. It seems powerless and adrift, but closer inspection shows barely noticeable energy signatures coming from somewhere inside the vessel.
Boarding the ship reveals a long dead crew, killed by some unknown means and another more shocking surprise. Tracing the energy signature leads to the discovery of almost a dozen individuals still alive in cold sleep. The player characters must bring the ship's major systems back on-line and revive the sleepers before the failing cryogenic chambers completely malfunction. The revived crew soon begins to exhibit strange and aggressive behavior, threatening the player characters and one of their own, who seems oddly unaffected.
The survivors are a mercenary retrieval team in the employ of a megacorporation. They seem obsessed with completing their long-forgotten mission. The only rational survivor, a very pregnant woman with a dangerous secret, is desperate to persuade the player characters to stop the other survivors from completing their mission. Unknown to the player characters, she is an agent of a long-dead Emperor, trying to manipulate them for her own reasons. Outnumbered, the player characters are forced to retreat to their own ship with their new ally. The adventurers must stop the insane mercenaries to prevent the massacre of a primitive race on a nearby planet. To do this they must place themselves in the middle of a battle for possession of a long lost Ancients' site and stop the discovery of its valuable secret.
This adventure is designed to be played by four to six 100- to 150-point GURPS Traveller or GURPS Space characters and can be placed anywhere the GM wishes. It could easily be inserted into an existing campaign any time the party is traveling a long distance to a distant sector outside the boundaries of surveyed space.
The Story So Far . . .Two hundred and eighteen years ago, scientists of CommTech, a megacorporation specializing in communications research and development, detected what appeared to be galactic background noise of unusual strength. The signal abruptly ended after exactly 40.531 standard hours. After the initial occurrence, the team of scientists found no other trace of the mysterious signal, but continued to monitor the same frequency with hopes it might reappear. After months of silence, the signal returned 346 days, 18 hours after initial detection. Better prepared this time, the scientists were able to isolate the signal's frequency and determined that what they originally believed to be a separate signal, was actually distortion caused by a highly focused tachyon wave traveling at faster-than-light speeds through normal space. Before an origin could be pinpointed, the signal stopped again, exactly 40.531 standard hours after it began. Due to the regularity of the occurrence, the scientists began to suspect an artificial instead of natural source. With the intriguing data, the lead scientist took the team's findings directly to CommTech's CEO. If the initial data proved accurate, they may have inadvertently discovered a means of communicating at tremendous faster-than-light speeds.
Research on project Alpha-Comm progressed slowly. Not slow enough for CommTech to lose interest, but slow enough for the CEO to reconsider the massive expenditures required to maintain the top-secret project. The scientists admitted they were at an impasse, and without a break, they could go no further. They decided that a retrieval mission should be sent to the distant Alpha Carnin system, from which the signal was believed to originate, and attempt to locate and acquire whatever was producing it. Seeing no other choice, the CEO agreed to authorize a covert retrieval mission.
Unfortunately, CommTech's secret project was not as secret as they had hoped. With the help of an agent within the megacorporation, Emperor Tomutova II learned of the potentially revolutionary discovery. He was not impressed with the idea of such a level of technology being in the hands of a megacorporation that lacked the proper "respect" for the Iridium Throne.
Through sheer luck, the agent, one Dr. Marla Rishar, had been assigned to assist in the project. Through a series of contacts, Dr. Rishar was ordered to obtain as much information on the project as possible and keep the Emperor informed as to its progress. When it was decided to send a retrieval mission to Alpha Carnin, it became imperative that Rishar go with it. Dr. Rishar was passed over on the first round of choices to accompany the mission as one of three scientific advisors. Oddly, an unfortunate accident befell one of the scientists assigned to the mission shortly afterward. Dr. Rishar was his replacement.
In an attempt to avoid drawing unwanted attention to the mission, CommTech chose to use the Whitestar, a reconfigured Endurance-class merchant trader, to transport the retrieval team to Alpha Carnin. The Whitestar was an unremarkable vessel of a type often used for cargo transportation. Its movements would attract little attention, and once it entered Jumpspace, no one would know its destination. Due to space limitations, and to prevent the Whitestar's crew from learning anything more about mission's purpose than was absolutely necessary, all fifteen members of Retrieval Team Theta-Nine, including Dr. Rishar, entered cryogenic sleep for the duration of the trip.
When the Whitestar failed to return, CommTech discontinued project Alpha Comm. Within a decade, two important events occurred. First, Emperor Tomutova II died and was succeeded by Empress Margaret II. Second, CommTech fell victim to a hostile takeover by a rival corporation (owned, coincidentally, by the second cousin of the new Empress). In the ensuing confusion surrounding both events, the details of Project Alpha-Comm were lost. From that point on, no mention of any further work on Project Alpha-Comm was ever reported and the fate of the Whitestar was never learned. Until now . . .
The Fate of the WhitestarEverything went as planned until the Whitestar reached its destination. A new experimental Jump-3 jumpdrive engine had been retrofitted into the cruiser before it departed. The drives replaced the normal Lanthanum coils of the inner jumpdrive engines with a less expensive experimental material called Tarinium. Lacking proper testing, the new engine coils contained an unknown and dangerous design flaw. Upon prolonged use, the surface of the Tarinium coils would ionize, forming a gas deadly to most life forms. The ionized gas would continue to build up pressure within the reaction containment unit until released. The trip to Alpha Carnin required repeated jumps and lasted far longer than the prototype engines had been tested to withstand. When the Whitestar's crew attempted to power down the jumpdrive engine and return to normal space at their destination, the containment unit ruptured and poured the deadly ionized gas into the ship's environmental systems. The gas quickly flooded the ship, killing the crew before they could react. Only the retrieval team, safely held in cryogenic sleep survived.
Unknown to anyone, the Whitestar drifted through its destination system for more than two centuries with the retrieval team peacefully frozen in a timeless slumber. Less than six months ago, main power failed when the internal hydrogen supply of the ship's fusion reactor ran out. With main power off line, the cryogenic chambers switched to their internal battery supply. Since then, several of the units have malfunctioned due to battery failure and lack of maintenance and the rest will follow suit within a few weeks.
The Whitestar's MissionThe ship's original mission was to transport corporate retrieval team Theta-Nine, consisting of one dozen elite security troops and three scientists, to the third planet of the Alpha Carnin system. The Theta-Nine team was to investigate and secure the source of the signal, possibly a site belonging to the Ancients, and report back. Additionally, they were to make a limited inspection of the site and attempt to identify and recover any obvious artifacts. They never reached the planet.
Unknown to any of the crew, one member of the corporate retrieval team is an Imperial agent. She was sent to gather information for the Emperor so the Imperium could exploit the site themselves. She had nothing to do with the engine malfunction, since she was at the time in cold sleep.
The Whitestar NowThe crew discovering the Whitestar will find the ship adrift within the biozone of the system's sun. Its armored hull has kept it well protected from the rigors of an extended time adrift and despite its age, the ship appears whole and in relatively good shape.
Sensor scans of the ship reveal no life signs, but a weak energy signature can be detected somewhere in the lower midsection of the ship, probably the cargo hold or low berths.
The ship can be entered through the two-person air lock just aft of the forward bridge section. It is currently unpowered and must be opened manually (a ST-6 roll). A thorough inspection will reveal some clues to the Whitestar's fate.
The gas that killed the crew has long since become inert, but environmental control systems must be repaired before life support can be restored. Main Power and Computer Systems must be restored before repairs on the Life Support system can begin. Currently, the atmosphere within the ship is stale and unbreathable.
The rescuers will find eight dead crew members -- two at the controls on the bridge, three in engineering, and the last three are in the access ways leading to the cargo hold. No signs of violence are evident, but the exact cause of death is impossible to determine without an autopsy. In addition, several deactivated robots are scattered about the ship, one for every two investigators. Each appears to have shut down while attempting to recharge from the ship's power supply.
If the characters are tracking the faint energy reading, it will lead them to the low-berth section adjacent to the cargo hold. The sources of the readings are 16 cryogenic sleep chambers. Fifteen of the 16 chambers are occupied, but only 11 are operational. All of the chambers are in need of maintenance, and the power indicator on each unit is dangerously low.
Main power is off-line and must be restored before any systems can be made operational. The small internal hydrogen tank of the fusion reactor is empty and must be refilled or replaced. This requires a successful Mechanic (TL9) (Power Plant) skill roll and 30-Skill hours. Even with full power restored, all lights within the ship will be dimmed. Since the accident occurred while the Vilani crew was preparing to reenter normal space, lights had been dimmed as per traditional "jump dimming" procedures.
With power restored, it is possible to reboot the computers. All ship's systems are computer-controlled and can be accessed from any of the ship's crew stations. Reactivating the computers require a successful Computer Operation skill roll with appropriate modifiers for unfamiliar equipment. Once the computers are up and running, the PCs will find they are locked out of all major systems. A security program (activated when the Captain failed to enter his daily log for three consecutive days) was in operation when main power failed and has locked all computer access until the proper security codes are entered. Only the dead Captain knows the codes, so a successful Computer Hacking/TL9 at -6 is required to deactivate the program on restore computer access. Attempts take 2 hours - 10 minutes per point of success. Only one attempt can be made.
If computer access is not restored within 30 minutes after the computers are rebooted, the robots will finish recharging and resume their patrol of the ship as part of the security program. The robots are able to identify all crewmembers by voice print recognition software and will identify the visitors as intruders as soon as they speak within earshot of the robots. Alerted robots will attempt to subdue them immediately. In direct violation of the Shudusham Accords, CommTech has fitted these robots with concealed laser weapons equivalent to a TL9 Laser Pistol. Considering the importance of Project Alpha-Comm, CommTech decided the added protection, and element of surprise the armed robots would add if the Whitestar were boarded, was worth the risk. If the PCs attack the robots with deadly force, they will switch to termination mode and use their lasers to attempt to kill their attackers. If the player characters took the precaution of disconnecting the robots from the recharge ports, the robots will not activate.
Upon entering the engine room, it will be obvious to even an untrained character that the engines have been heavily modified or replaced. The Whitestar's engine room is a disorganized mess of open access panels, crisscrossing power conduits, and obviously mismatched parts. Anyone with Engineering or Mechanic/TL9+ (Jumpdrives) can make a thorough inspection of the engines in about an hour. A successful roll will confirm that the engines have been replaced with a more advanced system. If the roll succeeds by 4 or more, the engineer will discover the damage to the jumpdrive coils. A second successful skill roll will reveal that it was not the installation of the engines that caused the accident, but a failure within the engines themselves.
Before the jump drives can be used, the containment unit breach must be located and repaired, or activation of the engines will flood the ship with ionized gas again (requiring a resistance roll vs. HT each turn of exposure. A successful Mechanic/TL10 (Jumpdrives) roll and (50-skill) hours will repair the engines enough to function, but the crew will have to wear Vacc suits during operation. To completely remove any danger of gas contamination, the engines must be replaced at a Class B or better starport. The maneuver drives are undamaged and will work normally with enough power.
The cargo hold has been heavily modified to house the additional Jump Fuel tanks required by the new Jumpdrive engines.
Reviving the SleepersSpending almost 200 years in cold sleep has had an unexpected effect on the survivors. A build up of chemicals has caused a condition called Cryogenic Narcosis, which will cause erratic and dangerous behavior upon revival. Of the survivors, only Dr. Marla Rishar seems unaffected. She was seven weeks pregnant when she entered cold sleep and the normal build up of hormones during pregnancy have altered the Cryogenic Narcosis, preventing most of the degenerative effects and adding a few new twists. Unfortunately, intermittent failure of the cryogenic freeze capsules allowed gradual aging during the 200-cold sleep and the woman is now at a stage of pregnancy equivalent to almost eight months. The rest of the team shows similar signs of limited aging, including body hair and fingernail growth, marked weight loss and minor malnutrition. The backup nutritional supplements contained in the cryogenic chambers have been exhausted and any further chamber malfunctions will cause the death of the occupants.
When the crew is first revived, they will seem weak and disoriented, but no worse for the wear. Eleven of the 15 occupied cryo-chambers are still functioning. They are occupied by Dr. Rishar, Lt. Colonel Latimer and nine of the original 12 members of the retrieval team. The first goal of the revived individuals, after learning the details of their current situation will be repairing the ship, in hopes of using it to return home. As their condition worsens, they will become more aggressive and fixated on completing their original mission. Once repairs are nearly complete, the retrieval team, suffering from their narcosis, will aggressively drive the PCs and the unaffected Dr. Rishar off the Whitestar and race off to complete their mission. In response, Dr. Rishar decides to continue with her mission as well, but in her new, more fragile condition and due to the modified effects of Cryogenic Narcosis, chooses to enlist the player-characters' aid. She will use the condition of her "teammates" to her advantage, claiming they are obviously impaired and must not be allowed to continue. She will, if necessary reveal some of the facts of their real mission, stating that her "teammates" are planning on completing the mission to recover a dangerous artifact, possibly a bio-genic weapon. This is a lie, since she has no idea what secrets the site contains other than the possible communications array.
Reaching the PlanetThe Whitestar is not far from Alpha Carnin III and getting there should not be a problem. The GM should add whatever encounters he feels are necessary to maintain the proper pace of the adventure.
Rishar, Latimer and the rest of the team are unaware of the exact location of the Ancients' Site. The actual amount of time necessary to find the site is up to the GM, depending upon the equipment available to the crew and how he wants the rest of the encounters to proceed. Preferably, the player characters and the Whitestar should reach the planet at nearly the same time, making it a close race to find and reach the site before the other group.
The Ancients' Site can be located anywhere within the tropical region of the planet, and should be surrounded by miles of tropical rain forest.
Alpha Carnin IIIThe world is called Alpha Carnin III on recent star charts, but the name used by the indigenous Mayatin is unknown. This small world is mostly covered by water. Landmasses tend to be small and clustered along the equator. Three continents exist, with numerous large islands and island chains. Climate is tropical, with sub tropical or temperate regions in the far northern or southern reaches of the larger continents. Vegetation is primarily dense rain forest along a thick band at the equator, gradually changing to hard wood forests and plains as you move north and south. Alpha Carnin III has its share of mountains, which occur along the coasts of the major continents or as the source of the island chains. A wide variety of flora and fauna exist, including numerous species of insects, avians and carnivores. The GM should feel free to add animal encounters to make any unprotected overland travel difficult and dangerous.
PlanetfallOnce in orbit, the planet's surface can be reached by whatever means available to the crew. The Theta-Nine team aboard the streamlined Whitestar can land the ship itself. The open air-raft housed in the spacedock of the Whitestar is non-operational, due to its nuclear power unit having long since run down.
There are two sites suitable for landing spacecraft. The first is 40 kilometers northwest of the Ancients Site, while the other is closer (18 kilometers) and due west. The first landing site, although farther away, has a more accessible land route. Latimer's team will choose to use this one since they must travel by foot once making planetfall.
Their journey will take them straight through a number of territories held by the Mayatin. The Mayatin will watch the team's progress, maintaining a respectable distance and attempting to remain unseen. Once Latimer's team comes within ten kilometers of the Ancients' Site, the Mayatin will guess their destination and act. The Mayatin's first attempt to stop Latimer's team will be peaceful, using superior numbers to try to frighten them off. Unfortunately, by this time, the team will be heavily affected by the Cryogenic Narcosis and the encounter will quickly degenerate into a "bug hunt." After this, the Mayatin will resort to hit-and-run ambushes to prevent the team from reaching the "holy" ruin.
The second landing site crosses some very difficult terrain, and will require an extended trek of several days or some type of grav vehicle. No Mayatin inhabit the first 12 kilometers of this route, so travelers can get reasonably close before attracting their attention. Once detected, they will react as above unless a way to communicate with them can be found.
If traveling by different routes, encounters with the Mayatin will not be influenced by the other group's actions, as the Mayatin from different tribes will not communicate or cooperate until after coming within one kilometer of the Ancients' Site (see below).
If the Rishar-led group chooses to take the same route as Latimer's team, the Mayatin will react the same as above. Spotting the Mayatin before the ten-kilometer mark will be difficult and communication with them is nearly impossible.
The Ancients SiteThe site can be anything the GM wants it to be. For instance, a communication relay station, linked in the distant past to a vast communications array. Now the station "awakens" once each local year and attempts to reestablish contact with the array. Other possibilities for the site include a power facility or weapons cache. In any case, the station is of great religious importance to the Mayatin. Instinctually, they know the station is somehow important and linked to their past, but its exact connection is long forgotten.
Regardless, the Mayatin view the station as "holy" and refuse to allow anyone, even themselves, to approach within 500 meters of it. Once the Mayatin realize that Latimer's team and the player characters are headed for the station, they will become frantic to prevent it. All the tribes from the surrounding area will cooperate in this endeavor, putting aside their normal disagreements to prevent the desecration of the station. The area within a one-kilometer radius of the station is considered neutral ground belonging to all the Mayatin and no ritual combat may take place, but this rule does not apply to non-Mayatin. Unless the adventurers have established contact with the Mayatin and agreed to help them stop Latimer's team, they too will be constantly harassed until they retreat beyond ten kilometers from the station. Under no circumstance will the Mayatin allow anyone to enter the station.
If the player characters insist on entering the station, they must do it covertly. Gaining entrance requires an Electronics Operations/TL14 (Security Systems) skill roll. Alternately, the doors could be blown open, but any blast capable of damaging the doors would most likely destroy whatever lay beyond it.
Wrapping Things UpAt this point, Risharís team has most likely defeated Latimer and the corporate retrieval team. If they have entered the station, then either all of the local Mayatin are dead or they are unaware of the player-charactersí activities. In either case, the heroes are faced with a difficult choice. If they allow Marla Rishar to return with what she knows, or choose to sell the information themselves, the Mayatin will most certainly be wiped out by future survey teams. They must decide what to do with the dangerous information they hold and how to keep their pregnant spy quiet.
Further AdventuresThis adventure sets the stage for many future scenarios. Perhaps while on layover at a starport, Dr. Rishar escapes from the group before they decide what to do with her. To prevent her from selling the dangerous information that will threaten the innocent Mayatin, the player characters must pursue her across the sector. Maybe the party decides to sell the information themselves and are hired to return to Alpha Carnin and lead a corporate research party. It is also possible that the player characters will end up stranded on the planet. Surrounded by hostile natives and the survivors of Latimer's team, the castaways must survive until help arrives, or find a way to escape.
Connected adventures do not even have to occur right away. For instance, what if after several months, the megacorporation that took over CommTech learns Dr. Rishar's story and decides her young child is "special." Because of the circumstances of his birth, they want to take him into custody for "observation." Rishar, having no one else to turn to, seeks out the PCs and begs them to help her protect or rescue her child. Another possible scenario is that Latimer (if he survives), could suffer from long term effects from the Cryogenic Narcosis and blame the heroes for his condition. He could become a recurring enemy of the player charactersí, popping up at the worst possible times.
This adventure could also provide the GM with an interesting opportunity to bring in a new player. The new player character could be one of Latimer's team, who after treatment for Cryogenic Narcosis asks to join the group.
Cryogenic NarcosisCryogenic Narcosis is caused by the prolonged interaction of neurotransmitters and lactic acid with the chemicals used during cryogenic suspension while a cryogenic chamber is operating at less than optimal temperatures. It effects the endocrine and nervous systems, causing increased production of adrenaline and the degradation of mental faculties, particularly reasoning and logic. At first, victims will seem edgy and disoriented, but otherwise normal. Over time, the condition rapidly degenerates causing aggressive behavior, delusions and paranoia. If untreated, it will cause permanent insanity and possibly death. The only known treatment is a complete blood transfusion and strict vitamin regiment. Treatment is available at any major medical facility. A Diagnosis/TL10 skill roll at -4 is required to identify the disorder. Treatment requires a Physician/TL10 skill roll and six weeks treatment.
Upon awakening from cryogenic sleep affected individuals will suffer from the following quirks and disadvantages: Distractible (-1 pt., p.CI89), Edgy (-5 pts., p.CI90) and Uncongenial (-1 pt., p.CI94). Thereafter, every 24 hours the individual must make a successful HT roll with a cumulative -1 each day, or progress to the next stage of the disorder. When an individual progresses to Stage Two his condition worsens as follows: Distractible becomes Short Attention Span (-10 pts., p.CI94), Edgy becomes Bad Temper (-10 pts., p.B31), he develops Paranoia (-10 pts., p.B35), Minor Delusions (-5 pts., p.B32) and IQ is reduced by 2 points (-15 pts.). Each day an individual suffers from the effects of Stage Two, a successful HT at a cumulative -2 must be made. Failure indicates the individual has entered Stage Three. The effects of Stage Three are as above, except Short Attention Span becomes Absent Mindedness (-15 pts., p.B30), the IQ loss becomes -4 (-30 pts.), Bad Temper intensifies to Berserk (-15 pts., p.B31) and the Delusions become Severe (-15 pts.). Even if the individual is treated after Stage Three is reached, all Stage One effects become permanent. As above, each day spent at Stage Three requires a successful HT roll or one point of HT is lost and cannot be healed normally without treatment. Individuals suffering from Stage Three will eventually die if left untreated. Any Critical Failure of a HT roll causes the current stageís effects to become permanent, as well as progressing the disorder to the next stage.
An unknown side effect of the disorder is a heightened resistance to psionics. Any use of psionics against an individual suffering from the disorder is resisted at +2, regardless of the individual's willingness.
It appears that the increased hormone levels present in a pregnant female are able to counteract the disorder's effects to some degree. Any pregnant individual affected by the disorder will suffer from Stage One effects only. The individual still gains the resistance to psionics, but at an additional cost. All existing mental disadvantages (including quirks) are gradually heightened to the next appropriate level (i.e. Overconfidence becomes Glory Hound, etc.) over the course of several days (1d6+1 days). The afflicted individual will not notice the change. What effect this may have on the unborn child has never been fully diagnosed.
Corporate Retrieval Team Theta-NineThe individuals the player characters find in cold sleep were a corporate retrieval team designated Theta-Nine. They were one of many teams, used by megacorporations throughout the Imperium to recover equipment and personnel trapped in potentially dangerous situations. Originally numbering 15 (12 security specialists and three scientists), Theta-Nine was placed in cryogenic sleep to avoid contact with the crew of the transport ship and reduce the risk of discussing the delicate mission. All Security personnel are highly trained and experienced soldiers loyal to their current employer. They are led by Lt. Colonel Vincent Latimer, a seasoned veteran and skilled officer. He has spent the majority of his life in the service of CommTech, and is unencumbered by the petty dictates of morals or ethics when they conflict with the concerns of his employer. He has the rest of the team's utmost loyalty and devotion.
The individuals that comprise Theta-Nine's security contingent are a motley crew of veterans with varying specialties. Lt. Colonel Latimer has hand picked his team to be resourceful and able to work together under extreme stress. Typical team members can be built on 150 points using the Marine Special Operations (Enlisted) Template on p103 of GURPS Traveller. Lt. Colonel Latimer's statistics can be found below. The equipment available to the corporate retrieval team should be determined by the GM as appropriate to the campaign.
None of the team members are aware that Dr. Rishar is a spy for Imperium Intelligence. They will be as surprised about Rishar's pregnancy as she is, but will not begin to suspect her of wrongdoing immediately.
The team is suffering from Cryogenic Narcosis (see above) and within 24 hours will exhibit most symptoms to varying degrees.
The complete details of the team's true mission (see above) will never be willingly revealed by any member of the team. Instead, they will maintain that they wish to repair the ship and travel to a habitable planet to gather fresh supplies for the return trip home. During the course of the repairs, the player characters should come to realize that the team still intends to finish their original mission (whatever its details). Unless the player characters agree to actively help them complete their mission, they will be viewed as an annoyance at first, later as an obstacle to be overcome and finally as the enemy.
Lt. Colonel Vincent LatimerAge 42, 5' 11", 175 lbs., Bald with black goatee and mustache, brown eyes, a long scar running from behind his right ear down his neck, ending under his arm.
ST: 12 IQ: 13 Speed:6
DX: 13 HT: 12 Move:7
Damage: Thrust 1d-1; Swing 1d+1
Point Total: 200
Advantages: Combat Reflexes ; Fit ; G-Experience ; Rank 5 (Lt. Colonel) ; High Pain Threshold .
Disadvantages: Fanaticism (CommTech) [-15]; Callous [-6]; Sense of Duty (To his command) [-10].
Quirks: Wears a .45 caliber "dud" slug on a chain around his neck. [-1]; Converts battle plans to nursery rhymes [-1]; Likes to talk about his plans for retirement [-1]; Never uses foul language [-1].
Skills: Administration-12 (M/A) ; Armoury (Small Arms)-13 (M/A) ; Battlesuit-13 (P/A) ; Beam Weapons (Laser)-15 (P/E) ; Brawling-14 (P/E) ; Computer Operations-13 (M/E) ; Demolition-12 (M/A) ; Electronics Operation (Comm)-13 (M/A) ; Engineer (Combat)-13 (M/H) ; Explosive Ordinance Disposal-12 (M/H) ; First Aid-13 (M/E) ; Free Fall-14 (P/A) ; Gesture-12 (M/E) [1/2]; Gunner (Laser)-15 (P/A) ; Guns (Pistol)-16 (P/A) ;Guns (Rifle)-16 (P/A) ; Intelligence Analysis-13 (M/H) ; Interrogation-12 (M/A) ; Judo-12 (P/H) ; Knife-13 (P/E) ; Leadership-15 (M/A) ; Mechanic (Jumpdrives)-12 (M/A) ; Piloting (Starship)-12 (P/A) ; Running-12 (P/H) ; Savior-Faire (Military)-13 (M/E) ; Scrounging-12 (M/E) [1/2]; Shortsword-12 (P/A) ; SIGINT Collection/Jamming-12 (M/H) ; Tactics-15 (M/H) ; Traffic Analysis-11 (M/H) ; Traps-12 (M/A) ; Vacc Suit-14 (M/A) .
Languages: Language (Anglic)-13 ; Language (Vargr)-12 .
Equipment: As determined by the GM based on the difficulty and style of the campaign.
Lt. Colonel Vincent Latimer is a company man. No more and no less. Recruited by CommTech after his first tour with the Imperial Marines, he has done exceptional work for them as part of their Acquisition and Retrieval Division. Being assigned to lead the mission to Alpha Carnin was the opportunity Latimer had been waiting for. Success meant a wealthy retirement and assured a place for him within the megacorporation. Failure meant nothing since Latimer never failed. Or so he thought.
The Lt. Colonel is not an evil man. Most people find him personable and easygoing except when it comes to the job. Latimer is devoted to CommTech. They have treated him well, and provided for him in every way. His loyalty is unwavering and he would do anything they asked. He sees his work as being for the greater good of the company, and ultimately for the Imperium. If a few have to suffer as a means to an end, then so be it.
Under other circumstances, Latimer might be an ally for the player characters. Unfortunately, the Cryogenic Narcosis makes an otherwise reasonable man act irrationally. Latimer's skill at tactics and planning combined with the effects of his condition make him a truly dangerous foe. At the first sign the player characters are threatening the success of the mission, Latimer will treat them as an obstacle to be overcome. He will attempt to do this by the most efficient means possible. To him, "it's nothing personal, but I have my orders."
Doctor Marla Rishar35, 5' 4",137 lbs , Shoulder length light brown hair, hazel eyes.
ST: 10 IQ: 14 Speed: 5
DX: 12 HT: 10 Move: 5
Damage: Thrust 1d6-2; Swing 1d6
Point Total: 100
Advantages: Mathematical Ability ; Patron (Imperium Intelligence) ; Wealth (Comfortable) .
Disadvantages: Curious [-5]; Pregnant (Includes Emotional [-5]; Overweight [-5]; and Unfit [-5]) [-15]; Secret (Corporate Spy for Imperium Intelligence) [-30]; Sense of Duty (To Imperium Intelligence) [-10]; Stubbornness [-5].
Quirks: Uncongenial [-1]; Proud [-1]; Nosy [-1]; Attentive [-1]
Skills: Acting-13 (M/A) ; Astronomy-14 (M/H) ; Computer Hacking-14 (M/VH) ; Computer Operation-16 (M/E) ; Computer Programming-18 (M/H) ; Cryptology-14 (M/H) ; Detect Lies-13 (M/H) ; Electronics Operation (Communications)-16 (M/A) ; Fast-Talk-14 (M/A) ; Guns (Pistol)-13 (P/E) [1/2]; Holdout-13 (M/A) ; Judo-11 (P/H) ; Leadership-12 (M/A) [1/2]; Mathematics-14 (M/H) ; Physics-18 (M/H) ; Research-15 (M/A) ; Savior-Faire-12 (M/E) [1/2]; Swimming-12 (P/E) ; Teaching-13 (M/A) ; Writing-14 (M/A) .
Languages: Language (Anglic)-14 ; Language (Zhodani)-13 (M/A) ; Language (Aslan)-12 (M/A) [1/2].
Equipment: Personal Computer; Short Range Communicator; Personal Basics; Body Pistol; Imperial Warrant (see below).
Raised in a fanatically patriotic family, Marla grew up believing the Imperium to be the pinnacle of governmental ideals. During college, she was active in a number of pro-Imperium political groups. Her associations continued into graduate school and during her post-graduate doctoral work. Shortly after graduation, Dr. Rishar was approached by a megacorporation well know for its Imperial contracts. They offered her an internship where she could put her skills to use working for the Imperium. The megacorporation was actually a front for Imperial Intelligence and the internship was actually designed to indoctrinate the participants. Imperium Intelligence's goal was to create a group of highly skilled individuals, loyal to the Imperium and willing to act in its best interest. This translates as "provide us with any useful information you find". When her internship was done, she had no trouble finding a research job with CommTech. After years of exemplary work, Dr. Rishar was one of three scientists assigned to retrieval team Theta-Nine to act as scientific advisor to the team leader. When the opportunity arose, Imperial Intelligence contacted Marla and convinced her to act as their agent while on the mission.
Two years before she began work on Project Alpha-Comm, Marla became involved with a fellow Comm-Tech scientist from another department. They were planning to get married when she returned from the mission. Unknown to either of them, Marla was several weeks pregnant when she left.
When first revived, she will be as surprised as the rest of the team to discover herself eight months pregnant. Although not severely affected by the Cryogenic Narcosis, Rishar will exhibit mild Stage One symptoms including the resistance to psionics as well as accentuated personality traits (see below).
Considering her situation, her pregnancy and the effects of the Cryogenic Narcosis, Dr. Rishar will not be acting like herself. Survival, and her duty to the Imperium will take first priority. Dr. Rishar recognizes the instability of Latimer and his people, and does not trust them to help her complete her mission for Imperium Intelligence. In response, she will do whatever she can to convince the player characters to stop the retrieval team and investigate the Ancients site themselves.
She carries an Imperial Warrant, signed by Emperor Tomutova II himself. This legal document requires the complete cooperation of all Imperial officials with the holder of the warrant, in execution of his or her Imperial duties. If the player characters fall under the authority of this Warrant, Dr. Rishar will not hesitate to use it. The Warrant reads as follows:
Capitol, 036-0906. The bearer of this warrant is under my direct orders. All Imperial officials must lend any and all required assistance. Tomutova II.
The Alpha Carnin System
Alpha CarninType: G V Star Mass: 1.1
Biozone: 0.8 - 1.2 Stellar Radius: 0.0 Inner Limit: 0.0
Cometary Belt: Normal
ORBIT WORLD TYPE DISTANCE (AU) #1 Hostile Greenhouse 0.30 #2 Hostile Greenhouse 0.65 #3 Earthlike 1.00 #4 Asteroid Belt 1.70 #5 Empty Orbit 3.10 #6 Small Gas Giant 5.90
Alpha Carnin IOrbital Distance: 0.30
Planet Type: Hostile Greenhouse Diameter: 7005.0 Gravity: 0.7
Density: 4.5 Composition: Low-Iron
Axial Tilt: 6 Degrees Seasonal Variation: Minor
Day Length: 145 hrs. (6.0) Year Length: 9.0 days. (0.1)
Pressure: Standard Type/Composition: Fluorine
Climate: Hot (90 - 130)
Surface Water: 0 % Humidity: 0 %
Primary Terrain: Hilly/Rough Secondary Terrain: Mountainous/Volcanic
Gems/Crystals: Ample Rare Minerals: Absent
Radioactives: Plentiful Heavy Metals: Ample
Industrial Metals: Scarce Light Metals: Extremely Plentiful
Moonlets: 0 Small Moons: 0 Medium Moons: 0 Large Moons: 0
Dominant Life Form: None
Alpha Carnin IIOrbital Distance: 0.65
Planet Type: Hostile Greenhouse Diameter: 4636.0 Gravity: 0.5
Density: 4.6 Composition: Low-Iron
Axial Tilt: 27 Degrees Seasonal Variation: Earthlike
Day Length: 87 hrs. (3.6) Year Length: 48.0 days. (0.5)
Pressure: Trace Type/Composition: N.A.
Climate: Hot (90 - 130)
Surface Water: 0 % Humidity: 0 %
Primary Terrain: Mountainous/Volcanic Secondary Terrain: Plains/Steeps
Gems/Crystals: Extremely Plentiful Rare Minerals: Absent
Radioactives: Ample Heavy Metals: Plentiful
Industrial Metals: Absent Light Metals: Plentiful
Moonlets: 0 Small Moons: 0 Medium Moons: 0 Large Moons: 0
Dominant Life Form: None
Alpha Carnin IIIOrbital Distance: 1.00
Planet Type: Earthlike Diameter: 5955.0 Gravity: 0.9
Density: 6.6 Composition: High-Iron
Axial Tilt: 0 Degrees Seasonal Variation: None
Day Length: 20 hrs. (0.83) Year Length: 416.4 days. (0.95)
Pressure: Standard Type/Composition: Oxygen/Nitrogen
Climate: Tropical (80 - 120)
Surface Water: 80 % Humidity: 0 %
Primary Terrain: Forest/Jungle Secondary Terrain: Mountainous/Volcanic
Gems/Crystals: Scarce Rare Minerals: Plentiful
Radioactives: Plentiful Heavy Metals: Scarce
Industrial Metals: Ample Light Metals: Ample
Moonlets: 0 Small Moons: 1 Medium Moons: 0 Large Moons: 0
Dominant Life Form: Higher Animals (IQ 4-6)/Special (see below)
Carnin's BeltOrbital Distance: 1.70
Asteroid Type: Type-S
Gems/Crystals: Absent Rare Minerals: Absent
Radioactives: Scarce Heavy Metals: Plentiful
Industrial Metals: Plentiful Light Metals: Scarce
Alpha Carnin VThere is no planet in Orbit #5.
Alpha Carnin VIOrbital Distance: 5.90
Planet Type: Small Gas Giant Diameter: 32740.0 Gravity: 0.6
Density: 0.8 Composition: Gas Giant
Axial Tilt: 24 Degrees Seasonal Variation: Earthlike
Day Length: 16 hrs. (0.7) Year Length: 2718.5 days. (5.0)
Pressure: Superdense Type/Composition: Hydrogen/Methane
Climate: Cold (0 - 40)
Surface Water: 0 % Humidity: 0 %
Primary Terrain: N.A. Secondary Terrain: N.A.
Gems/Crystals: Absent Rare Minerals: Absent
Radioactives: Scarce Heavy Metals: Plentiful
Industrial Metals: Ample Light Metals: Scarce
Moonlets: 12 Small Moons: 3 Medium Moons: 6 Large Moons: 0
Giant Moons: 0 Small Gas Giants: 0
Dominant Life Form: None
The MayatinMayatin are a race of nocturnal, arboreal brachiators indigenous to Alpha Carnin III. They vaguely resemble the pygmy loris of earth, but are larger and more intelligent. They have four long fingers and an opposable thumb, each ending in a sharp claw used in climbing. Their long prehensile tails are used to aid climbing and movement through the treetops. Their eyes are large and well suited to nocturnal vision. A thin layer of fur covers their bodies and has an unusual characteristic. From a distance, the fur takes on the coloration of nearby objects providing a limited chameleon effect. The effect does not function in direct lighting or upon close inspection. Their mouths are lined with numerous small, sharp teeth, suitable for their omnivorous diet. Males and females are usually about the same size, but females tend to have longer tails.
Mayatin did not evolve into their present form naturally. In the distant past, the mysterious race known only as the Ancients used a small arboreal creature native to Alpha Carnin III as the basis for a genetically manipulated race. The Ancients developed such races on numerous worlds to work on projects thought to be beneath the Ancients' station, but were required none-the-less. In the case of the Mayatin, they were designed to be able to survive well in the tropical environment and act as the maintenance crew of one of the Ancients' outposts. When the Ancients' civilization collapsed, the artificial Mayatin society rapidly degenerated into the primitive state they are found in today.
Their society is based on primitive tribal associations, with the eldest males forming a ruling council. Females are the heads of the household and primary educators of the young. They also tend to play an important, but subtle role in general tribal workings through suggestions and advice given to their mates. Information is passed from generation to generation through an elaborate set of oral traditions that include songs, plays and dramatic reenactments. Elders play an important role in society as sources of wisdom and lore. Relationships between tribes vary, but conflict is usually restricted to ritual combat. Defeated participants of such ritual battles are often treated as honored guests and sent home with elaborate gifts.
An alert character (a successful Vision roll) may notice a series of engraved metal disks adorned about the bodies of male Mayatin. The disks are made from a variety of materials, with no two bearing the same engravings. It would appear, that the number of disks worn by an individual is directly proportional to that individual's status among the Mayatin. Clan leaders and warriors bear the most disks, but no individual has more than a few.
Any character with Archeology (Ancients) may make a roll to recognize the disks. They are Coyns. A type of rare artifact recovered from Ancient sites. The Mayatin recognize them as a link to their past and associate them with prestige and importance. When two males engage in ritual combat, the victor is entitled to exchange his own Coyns for those of his defeated opponent, so long as they outnumber his own. To do otherwise is seen as an insult and often ends in actual combat.
Mayatin communicate through a combination of verbal language and pheromones. To others, the odor is an overpowering dry, musky smell that can cause disorientation. The Mayatin use the pheromones to convey added description to their verbal language, but it can be used alone to convey simple concepts and emotions. Communication between Mayatin and other races is extremely difficult, but not impossible. Use of the verbal component of the language combined with gestures and other body language can convey simple ideas, but without the olfactory component (and some type of protection from its effects), misunderstandings and delays will plague all attempts to communicate.
As a race, they have ST -1 (-10 points), DX +2 (20 points) and IQ -1 (-10 points). Their racial advantages are Brachiator (5 points), Fur (0 points), Secret Communication (Only General Concepts and Emotions with a special effect on non-Mayatins (see below), 10 points), Claws (15 points), Tail (Manipulator with No Striking Capability, Extra flexibility and a 2 hex reach, 25 points), Chameleon (Always On, 2 points), Night Vision (10 points) and Confuse (Power 5, Effects Non-Mayatins only, Untrainable, Always On, Area Effect, 2 levels of Increased Area, 3 Levels of Decreased Range, 8 points). Their racial disadvantages are Nocturnal (-10 points), Semi-Upright (-5 points) and Primitive (-10 levels, -50 points). They have the racially learned skills of Acrobatics at DX -2 and Climbing at DX (both free from Brachiator) and Stealth at DX +1 (4 points). It costs 4 points to be a Mayatin.
Their religion is based around their rather accurate creation story involving the Ancients. The story tells of their "birth" at the hands of the "Sky Gods." They were born to honor their creators and live forever in the jungles near the Holy Temple of the Sky Gods. It is said that one day, during the "Awakening," the sky gods will return and take the Mayatin with them back to the heavens.
Cargo/Maintenance Robot (TL9)Brain: Standard brain with neural net option (20 lbs., .4 cf., $15,000, 70 points), Complexity 4.
Sensors: Basic sensors with thermographic vision, +3 acute hearing and radscanner (3 lbs.,.09 cf., $7,750, 31 points).
Communicator: Basic communicator with bullhorn option (.55 lbs., .011 cf., $275, 15 points).
Arm Motors: Two ST 15 arm motors with cheap option (each is 4.5 lbs., .09 cf., $2,250, .075 kW).
Drivetrain: Leg drivetrain with two legs and .3 kW motive power (12 lbs., .12 cf. per leg motor, $2,400, .3 kW).
Weaponry: One heavy laser pistol (3 lbs., .06 cf., $750, LR 2).
Accessories: Fire Extinguisher (2 lbs., .1 cf., $25, LR 6); spraygun (1 lb., .05 cf., $12.50, LR 6).
Power: Power requirement .45 kW. rE cell (20 lbs., .2 cf., $2,000, 20 points) with 270,000 kWs. Endurance 166 hours, 40 minutes (5 points)
Subassemblies: Two arms (right and left); head; two legs.
Arm Design: Right arm houses ST 15 arm motor, and one heavy laser pistol (.15 cf.). Left arm houses ST 15 arm motor and .06 cf. Empty space (.15 cf.)
Head Design: Head houses Basic sensors, communicator, spraygun and .249 cf. empty space (.40 cf.).
Body Design: Body houses brain, rE cell, fire extinguisher, waste space for head rotation and .46 cf. empty space (1.2 cf.).
Leg Design: Two legs, each houses leg motor and .24 cf. empty space (.36 cf.).
Surface Area: Right arm 2, left arm 2, head 4, body 7, legs 3 each. Total surface area 21.
Structure: 63 lbs., $2,100.
Hit Points: Each arm 6, head 6, body 11, each leg 5.
Armor: DR 20/PD 4 metal armor (42 lbs., $840, LR 2, 100 points). Sealed ($450, 20 points).
Statistics: 179.55 lbs. (.09 tons), 2.3 cf. (6.09' tall), $32,652.50, Body ST 17, Arm ST 15 each (70 points), DX 10 (0 points), IQ 8 (-15 points), HT 12/11 (15 points). Speed 7.26. Cannot float (-5 points). Legality Rating 2. Point Cost: 50 points.
Endurance-Class 200-Ton Merchant Trader200-ton SL Hull, DR 100, Basic Bridge, Engineering, 15 Maneuver, 8 Jump, 60 Fuel, 4 Low Berths (capacity 16), 1 Spacedock (holds up to 250 cf of air/raft), 10 staterooms, Utility, 2 Turrets (2 Missile Racks, 1 Sandcaster Rack and 3 360-MJ Turret Lasers), Fuel Processor, 26.5 Cargo.
Statistics: EMass 381.63, LMass 514.13, Cost MCr 49.6392, HP 22500, Crew 8, Hull Size Modifier: +8.
Performance: sAcc 1.167Gs, Jump 3, Air Speed 1,646mph
Computer Programs & Databases: Star Chart Database (200 gigs), Planetary Database (200 gigs), Starship Recognition (10 gigs), Library, Large (100 gigs), Cartography (TL10, Complx 5), Datalink (TL10), Targeting (TL10, Complx 5, +5), Transmission Profiling (TL10), Gunner (TL10), Damage Control (TL10), Vehicle Operation (TL10), Vehicle Operations Database.
Article publication date: March 19, 1999
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