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Lady Luck: A Long Night Adventure for Marc Millers Traveller

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Freelance Travellers December 2011 issue.

A shorter version of this adventure appeared on Steve Jackson Games' Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society (JTAS) on December 27, 2011 (http://jtas.sjgames.com/login/article.cgi?1373). JTAS is a subscription e-zine, and we encourage our readers to subscribe for access to even more high-quality Traveller material, both the ongoing new articles and the extensive archives.

Episode One: Random Violence?

The Stage

Emblem (1038 C980755-6) is an important world in the growing trade renaissance throughout the region. It survived the fall comparatively well, facilitated by the rise of a stable government. It is ruled by a feudal technocracy headed by a life Magistrate who appoints a body of Alders to provide administration and services. Emblem is a desert world, but still over 25 million square kilometers of its surface is standing water, more than sufficient to support its population of 72 million.

Click on the map to the right for a full-size printable image. The full-size image is approximately 750 pixels wide.

Emblem is struggling to adapt to the new reality of The Winter Blooms. While some on the world have welcomed the revival of interstellar communications, others are threatened and frightened by it. The current Magistrate, Gamili Oshiiki has pursued policies favorable to off-world contact for over 30 years.

However, recent times have seen the rise of the Order of Okish who are almost fanatical in their opposition, believing renewed contact will lead to another fall. The leader of this movement is Alder Piere Jarnson. He is hugely influential in the technocracy and his family has held responsibility for water supplies (vital on this desert world) for generations.

Prologue

The party are Sesheryn, possessing a small (circa 100-200 tons) jump-1 capable ship. They should have good combat skills in addition to those of normal free traders. At least one party member should be a marksman and one have significant Sensors skill. The party has been trading for some while, but recently times have been hard and good cargoes difficult to find. The party has arrived at Emblem hoping for a change in fortunes.

Act One – One of Our Starships Is Missing

Upon arrival in system, it is customary to contact the world’s Reeve; in this case, Jaeger Storfort. Unusually, he responds instantly and tells them to begin immediate sensor readings towards the world and then land as soon as possible. He refuses to be drawn further other than it is a matter of the utmost import.

To make accurate sensor readings: Sensors + INT, Average, 1D min, Cooperative

When the party lands, they are greeted by Storfort himself, along with Emblem’s Deputy Magistrate, Ora Fianas. They are ushered into a nearby building. Here Storfort will finally inform them what is going on.

Two weeks ago, an outlying settlement was attacked and looted. Fortunately nobody was killed, but the evidence pointed, albeit inconclusively at that point, to the attackers being Sesheryn. It received wide coverage and Alder Jarnson has been using the incident to stir up feelings against Sesheryn with great success.

The situation has just taken a serious turn for the worse. Half an hour before the party’s ship arrived in system another settlement was attacked; again fortunately with no fatalities. The media is already covering the story and Jarnson has already made an extremely inflammatory statement. Things are worse than they seem; this time, there is hard evidence of Sesheryn, specifically images of the Sesheryn ship LuckyC. The Magistrate has so far managed to suppress this information but it’s only a matter of time before it gets out.

Storfort needs the party’s sensor data for analysis. The LuckyC’s captain, Maureen Fangborne, is well known for her honesty and compassion. It seems incomprehensible that she would turn raider. He hopes the tapes will show the images to be mistaken. However, he also notes that if the information is correct, immediate steps will need to be taken to stop Fangborne and the party have the only means available to do that.

To analyze the data: Sensors + INT, Average , 1D hours. If the sensor readings were made incorrectly, double the time taken.

Sadly, the data will confirm that it was the LuckyC. At this point, Storfort will invoke his powers as Reeve to form a posse, consisting of the party. He still hopes in some way that Fangborne is not responsible, but if she is, any and all steps need to be taken to stop her before another attack.

He has very good relations with the Magistrate and can obtain a wide variety of equipment that may prove useful. He will provide the party with permits for any weapons they possess. He also insists that the party take recording and surveillance equipment. There needs to be proof that the Sesheryn themselves dealt with the problem.

Act Two – Getting Lucky

The sensor data also gave a rough location where the LuckyC touched down, a mountainous region roughly 1200 kilometers east of the settled regions. Getting there is simple by ship, searching it rather more difficult.

Several search strategies will present themselves. The most obvious, simply fly over the area at low altitude, should be discouraged. Not only would it likely alert the LuckyC, but it would expose the ship to potential surprise attack by the concealed vessel. A high altitude pass, however, may prove useful.

To make a high altitude search: Sensors + INT, Average, 10 min.

Sadly, no trace of the LuckyC will be found. However the search will show up a helicopter flying across the region and landing on the shores of a small lake. This is unusual in an unsettled area. A detailed scan will show some sort of complex where the helicopter landed, but still no sign of the LuckyC.

To make a detailed scan of the lake: Sensors + INT, Difficult. 1D min

Nonetheless this is highly irregular and merits closer investigation.

Act Three – Silly Boy Meets Nice Girl

There is a good site landing half an hours hike from the complex that will avoid the potential of detection. The compound appears to be a lake-house with a number of out-buildings that appear to be recent additions. As the party nears, they will hear the unmistakable sound of a starship and will observe the LuckyC rising from the lake. It will fly erratically a short distance and land inside the camp.

Click on the map to the right for a full-size printable image. The full-size image is approximately 1000 pixels wide.

From a distance it is clear that the complex is fairly busy and caution will be needed approaching it. However the party should be able to get within 200m of the camp relatively easily. From this distance it is possible to make detailed observations of the goings-on.

There is a body on the ground, with a grave being dug. Two people are arguing by the starship. One is Alder Jarnson, the other will be recognized as Matthew Sweete, navigator and first mate of the LuckyC. There is a parabolic microphone in the surveillance equipment Storfort insisted they take which will allow the party to eavesdrop.

Jarnson: “... in the air as soon as the canisters are loaded!”

“And I’ve told you, she won’t fly till Illa fixes the drives, and that won’t be before nightfall!”

“It’s got to be hit in daylight, I want no doubts this time. Get it off the ground”

“Your people let Fangborne get a grenade into engineering and now we’ve got to fix it”

“You insisted on letting them live” (pulls a revolver) “get it [unintelligible] done!”

“Shoot me, she’ll never fly and your precious plan will come to nothing”

“Damn you and all your kind! Fine, dawn. And this time make sure there are fatalities”

“You really are a monster, aren’t you?”

“A paladin, doing what’s needed to protect my people from your kind. Soon we’ll clean you from this world and others”

At this, Jarnson will wheel and storm off.

It is clear another attack is planned. Dawn is 11 hours away, so there is some time. It will require returning to the ship to communicate with Storfort. He will be extremely alarmed by this, another attack will likely push the world over the edge. He will arrange for a company of Emblem commandos to be dispatched but they will not arrive for at least 12 hours. He will stress that it is imperative that the attack is either delayed or stopped outright. Realistically there are only two ways to achieve this: assault the complex or sabotage the LuckyC.

In any event, the party will need to wait at least three hours till nightfall. During that time further observations are possible. The pattern of the guards movements should be determined.

To monitor the guards’ movements: Recon + INT, Difficult, 1D hours.

About an hour after nightfall a woman will come out of the LuckyC. Sweete is supervising several guards loading the ship. The two will converse in Anglic.

Woman: “Fixed, Matthew”

“Well done, go back inside, I’ll be there when I’m done here lover” (pause) “Illa, I hate this”

“Just one more Matt, she’ll kill us both. We have no choice”

“I know, but I still don’t have to like it” (pause) “Yeah, just one more.”

The woman is clearly the LuckyC’s engineer, but it will strike the party as extremely odd that Sesheryn should hold such an intimate conversation in front of strangers in Anglic over Luriani. It will also seem unusual that (given the close-knit nature of Sesheryn) nobody has any idea who the woman is.

Act Four – Gunfight at the Okish Compound?

The best time for either sabotage or assault is night when most of the camps occupants are asleep. The precise flow of events should be determined by the referee. But the following is a guide.

The party should be able to enter the compound. The guard in the watchtower can be dealt with by a silenced sniper rifle and the alarmed fence bypassed with electronics or security skill. The party should be allowed to shorten the odds facing them somewhat at least. There are a LMG and two rocket launchers in the watchtower. These could prove very useful if the party can get to them. The LuckyC’s lasers can be neutralized by dense smoke, such as from burning fuel-oil.

If the party is planning sabotage it will prove difficult. The LuckyC is an ex-military vessel, designed to resist damage. In addition the crew and at least one guard are aboard with two more guards outside at all times.

The most obvious target are the LuckyC’s landing struts. There are twelve of them and three would have to be severed to topple the ship. If the party has not brought explosives, there are 15kg in the armory.

To lay charges on a strut: Demolitions + DEX, Formidable, 10D sec per Kg. The minimum charge is 3Kg, each additional 2Kg decreases the difficulty by one level. Charges on each strut will need to be set individually.

Alternatively charges may be placed on vital points of the hull. This will be quicker but significantly harder.

To lay charges on hull: Demolitions + DEX, Staggering, 6 min. 6kg of explosives are required. Additional explosives will not help this task.

If the alarm is raised, the camp will respond as below:

Guards (888655 Rifle-1; rifle and mesh) – The number of guards should be determined by the strength of the party. They will engage cautiously. They only have basic training.

Technicians (786867 Carbine-0; carbine) – There are three technicians. One will hide in the barracks and not engage unless threatened. One will stay in the barracks but will engage. One will attempt to get to the office and destroy records.

Cook (ABB775 Shotgun-2, Blade-3; shotgun and blade) – She will engage aggressively and is well trained.

Jarnson (686A9C Pistol-2; revolver and cloth) will attempt to flee in one of the powerboats moored at the jetty. He will take the pilot (7A8977 Carbine-1; SMG and mesh) and his bodyguard (9A9876 Rifle-1, Pistol-2; autorifle, autopistol, and cloth) with him. They are in the lake-house and have to cover some ground. It will take three rounds to start the boat and cast-off.

One of the LuckyC’s gunners and the guard inside will join the others at the airlock. The guards will fire but stay by the ship to prevent boarding. The gunner will hang back. Perceptive characters may notice he is wearing a filtermask.

To notice the filtermask: Recon + INT, Average, instant.

If the combat starts to turn significantly to the party’s favor or Jarnson successfully flees or is killed, the gunner will empty his SMG into the guards’ backs killing them. The LuckyC will then take-off and proceed at maximum Gs to jump out of the system. If the LuckyC’s landing struts have been severed, she will still be capable of flight on a formidable piloting roll against Sweete’s pilot-3 skill and dexterity of 10.

The LuckyC is carrying two chemical rounds for its sandcasters. These are filled with a choking gas that does 2D (doubled in confined spaces) damage per round to any character not wearing a filtermask. Sweete may be tempted to use these rounds to aid his escape, especially if the LuckyC has been damaged.

Epilogue

The commandos will arrive at the scene approximately one hour after dawn. If the party has not stopped or sabotaged the LuckyC they will be too late. If the compound has not been cleared they will make short work of it. Regardless they will quickly take charge of the situation.

If the LuckyC has launched its attack the situation on Emblem will rapidly deteriorate. Rioting against Sesheryn will break out, Storfort will be killed in the chaos and Jarnson will become Magistrate. Sesheryn who survive will be expelled.

If the party are captured by Jarnson, he will want them killed immediately. Sweete, however, will be able to successful intercede, arguing they need to be interrogated. He will then quietly arrange for their escape.

If however the party successfully prevents the attack they will find themselves quickly sequestered in a luxury hotel. Local newscasts will carry a story regarding the attacks. They have been blamed on mercenaries from outside the region and that they were stopped by local forces with assistance from Sesheryn. Several badly burnt bodies will be seen, claimed to be the raiders. It will appear that this cover-up is successful. Jarnson’s death in a tragic accident will be announced a day later.

Storfort will visit them several days later. He will congratulate them, but implore them to keep quiet about what has happened. Jarnson had powerful friends and the truth is not “acceptable” to the local authorities. Also if Sweete’s involvement became common knowledge it would feed the Okish and other groups like them throughout the sector.

He has a few things for them however. He knows of a local merchant with several valuable cargoes she is looking to sell. He and the Magistrate have recommended the party to her, all but guaranteeing a favorable deal. He also has a letter of recommendation which will aid their trading (a -2DM on all worlds within six parsecs of Emblem).

Episode Two:A Chance Encounter

Stage

Hiryu (1239 B740694-8 S) is a busy world. The government of Hiryu provides free fuel and subsidizes maintenance for Sesheryn ships here and acts a home-base for them. High Reeve Molly Brant is a member of Hiryu’s executive and accorded primacy by most other Reeves.

Much of Hiryu’s government is excessively bureaucratic and suffers from a degree of corruption, but the High Reeve is appointed from the Sesheryn and recognized as usually being immune (and corrupt reeves are quickly replaced.) The starport is accorded extraterritoriality and is under the jurisdiction of the High Reeve. However they have always made a point in not allowing activities that threaten the bureaucracy and barring entry to “undesirables.”

Prologue

This adventure follows on from Episode One, Random Violence. It assumes the LuckyC escaped from Emblem. The party is carrying a report from Jaeger Storfort to be hand delivered to Brant on Hiryu. This report details the events of Random Violence.

Act One – Flying Dragon

When the party arrives in Hiryu, they contact the reeve according to custom. When they mention they are carrying the letter from Storfort they will be given an immediate landing clearance. They will be met by a car and taken directly to met with Brant. Brant has a reputation for being a brash and abrasive woman and the characters will be expecting to have some difficulties dealing with her.

As she reads Storfort’s letter her expression will become increasing grave. When she finishes, she will question the characters about the events of the past adventure. The matter is extremely serious. Over the past few years there has been disturbing rise in anti-Sesheryn feeling on many worlds. The reeves have managed to keep this quiet and avoid any incidents (such as the recent events on Emblem) that might inflame the situation. A renegade such as Sweete poses a major threat to their ability to continue doing that. Therefore, he needs to be brought to account.

She will appoint the characters as temporary reeves and task them with investigating the matter on Hiryu. This will give them law enforcement powers on Hiryu and entitles them to recompense for any expenses or losses. She will inform them that the LuckyC arrived on Hiryu six days after leaving Emblem, undertook emergency repairs and left only two days previous. The LuckyC’s flight plan listed Old Shire (1040) as her destination. Regrettably Brant has no further information.

The most obvious avenue of investigation is to talk with the LuckyC repairer. They were not carried out by the starport but by Gordon Rasc, a local engineer known for his discretion. The party’s new credentials as reeves will help, but it will still be difficult getting information from him. He has three important pieces of information; each is a separate task to uncover.

To interrogate Rasc: Interrogation + EDU, Average, 3D mins.

The damage to the LuckyC was quite severe, beyond Rasc’s ability to fully repair. He was only able to restore her to jump-1 capability. He recommended that she be repaired at the starport but Sweete refused. Sweete was unable to pay a deposit when the work started or for ongoing parts and was forced to sign over the LuckyC as collateral. However he paid in full when the repairs were completed. Vital parts were supplied by Sven Ivers, a local businessman with extensive criminal contacts.

To locate Ivers: Streetwise + INT, Difficult, 3D hours.

Ivers will actually find the party before they find him and contact them via an intermediary. He will suggest a meeting at a local eatery. Unlike Rasc, Ivers is amiable and apparently helpful. He admits to having supplied Sweete with TL11 parts, nothing illegal, he has the paperwork on him to prove it. However, close inspection of the paperwork will reveal that the parts were paid for before they were delivered.

If questioned about this, Ivers will become vague and attempt to avoid answering. Pushed he will claim Sweete paid upfront. This would seem unlikely given his difficulties paying Rasc. Ivers is still amiable and it may be possible to fast talk him. Alternatively he may be interrogated, but this will require arresting him.

To persuade Ivers to talk: Fast Talk + INT, Difficult, 1D minutes. May use Carousing as a favorable DM

To interrogate Ivers: Interrogation + INT, Easy, 10D minutes

Success in either will reveal that Ivers was actually not contacted by Sweete, but that “Bandsaw” Betty Carres, a local criminal noted for her brutal methods, arranged and paid for him to supply Sweete. An exceptional success will also glean that Sweete let slip that his next destination was actually Decius (1235), the other direction from Old Shire.

Act Two – Bandsaw Betty

Carres is well known on Hiryu. She deals mostly in gambling, prostitution and narcotics and is protected by a number of well placed officials in the administration. If they inquire about her with the local police they will express surprise that she would be involved with off-worlders or have the available cash to purchase TL11 starship parts. However, they routinely monitor her movements and communications and will make those records available.

To analyze surveillance data: Admin + INT, Average, 1D hours

There is only one oddity in her recent behavior. Two days after the LuckyC landed she lunched at the Darvel Hotel. The Darvel is a prestigious hotel located on the starport. The characters contact with the police will be amazed that she was granted an entry permit to the starport, a matter handled by the High Reeve who makes a point of barring known criminals.

As reeves the characters will have access to these records.

To investigate the permit: Admin + INT, Easy, 1D minutes

The permit was granted in response to an invitation from Mialas Standon, the Second Oligarch of Decius who was staying at the Darvel at the time. As Standon was visiting on a diplomatic mission (discussing with Brant the mail subsidy between Hiryu and Decius), the permit was granted as an administrative matter and did not pass through Brant.

If Brant is informed she will be concerned. Not only that a vicious criminal was on her starport, but that a high government official of Decius may somehow mixed up in this. She will immediately order the party to bring Cerres to the starport for interrogation. She doesn’t want the local police involved as she fears that Cerres may be forewarned. She will also note it is unlikely that Carres will “come quietly.”

Before bringing in Carres, the characters may wish to investigate the Darvel. The concierge has a politely superior manner. He is able to confirm that Standon did request a private table at the hotel’s restaurant for luncheon and dinner on the day concerned. However he will inform the characters that the staff of the Darvel do not recalling who might call upon their guests nor overhear conversations.

He will allow the party to interview the staff who waited on the table. The lunch waiter will follow the hotel’s line regarding discretion and no information can be gained from her. The dinner waiter on the other hand will be open to a bribe.

Bribing the waiter: Bribery + SOC, Average, 5D seconds. The waiter will be looking for a bribe of between Cr50 and Cr80. For every Cr10 above this range apply a +1DM. For every Cr10 below apply a +2DM. A successful difficult social standing check will give the center of the range.

The waiter does recall Standon and his guest. The guest was not Carres but an attractive woman. He can not give a precise description nor did he overhear anything other than trivial small talk. If any of the characters think to show the waiter a picture of the LuckyC’s engineer Illa, he will confirm she was the woman.

Act Three – A Quiet Suburban Street

Carres runs her operations from her home in a middle-class suburb. She has an extensive security system and is protected by at least three thugs armed with autopistols (the exact number should be tailored to the party’s strength.) Also she is always armed with an autopistol herself and keeps a shotgun by her bed. Despite Brant’s instance that local police not be involved, the characters may have one or two officers they can trust to assist.

Security or electronics skill may be used to bypass the security system. However, eventually the alarm will be raised (either by failing to circumvent the security system or gunfire.) At that point the local police will be alerted and will arrive on the scene in force in 15 to 20 minutes. The characters must complete their mission before this happens. If the characters have a trusted police officer with them, they will get three or four minutes warning of their arrival.

Assuming the party subdues Carres and her guards, they should search her property. There are four items to be found, each is a separate task. The party may split up to speed the searching. Carres will also need to be forced into a vehicle to be taken to the starport. This will take two minutes and require two characters. It may be done simultaneously with the search.

To locate office computer files: Recon or Computer + INT, Easy, 1D minutes

To locate office safe: Recon or Security + INT, Average, 1D minutes

To locate bedroom safe: Recon or Security + INT, Difficult, 1D minutes

To locate recordings hidden in the kitchen: Recon or Computer + INT, Difficult, 1D minutes

The difficulty of each search may be reduced by one level if the players specifically state where their characters are searching.

To open office safe: Intrusion or Electronics + DEX, Average, 10D seconds

To open bedroom safe: Intrusion or Electronics + DEX, Average, 10D seconds

Once the party is finished at Carres’ residence, they must get to the starport. If they leave less than five minutes before the police arrive, the police will attempt to pursue them. If the police catch the characters or arrive before they leave, the party will have little choice but to hand over Carres, though they may be able to hide any evidence they have found.

Regardless of the course of events, the characters raid of Carres’s residence will cause a major incident between the High Reeve and the rest of the Hiryu government. The result is that the party will be unable to leave the starport for some time while Brant smooths things over and even then they will find their actions severely curtailed.

Act Four – The thickening

If the party succeeds in safely getting Carres and the evidence back to the starport, they will doubtless want to interrogate her and investigate the contents of her residence.

To interrogate Carres: Interrogation + EDU, Difficult, 1D hours, May be attempted an unlimited number of times.

Sweete is a gambler, but not a good one. Several months ago while on Hiryu he got well over his head to Carres. Unable to pay, Carres offered to wipe his debt if he arranged to bring in a load of drugs from off-world. When he finally showed up, his ship was seriously damaged. Seeing an opportunity, she offered to pay for the parts Sweete needed in return for him making another run, this time from Decius. Getting drugs from off-world is difficult without a “friend.” Standon is that friend.

This story is true, but it is far from complete. If the party notice the discrepancies in her story they may wish to interrogate her further.

To interrogate Carres further: Interrogation + EDU, Formidable, 1D hours. May be attempted an unlimited number of times.

Several months ago Carres was contacted by Standon who had a proposal for her. He would supply her with high quality drugs from off-world. He specifically suggested using a Sesheryn in her debt as courier. It struck her as a little odd that one turned up a week later. But she isn’t one to pass up business for that.

When Sweete delivered the drugs, the LuckyC was seriously damaged. He offered to make another run in return for money. She refused, but next day was contacted by Standon who put up the money for the repairs. He claimed a good courier was worth it. This was well past “odd” and she initially refused. But several of her operations were taken out over the next two days. Standon again asked her and she agreed this time.

The material gathered from her residence should also be investigated. This may be done at the same time as interrogating Carres. The computer and recorded data are encrypted and this will need to be cracked. Each is a separate task.

To crack the encryption: Computer + Education, Difficult, 1D hours.

Most of the material is simply evidence of her criminal activities on Hiryu. If the characters have at least two of the four pieces or the recordings on their own, they will have enough for her to be convicted for murder, drug trafficking and many other crimes regardless of her powerful protectors. If this evidence is presented to the Hiryu government, it will defuse the crisis between them and Brant.

However she wore a concealed video recorder during her meeting with Standon. It will confirm her story. Also if the characters are particularly attentive they will notice a glimpse of the woman they know as Illa in leaving the room as Carres approaches it.

Noticing Illa on the recordings: Recon + INT, Staggering, instant. Only one attempt is allowed.

Epilogue

If the characters have been successful, they will have not only brought down a vicious criminal but may have unearthed a conspiracy involving senior officials on a number of worlds. There is clearly something going on and it would seem Sweete is just the tip of a much larger iceberg. There are many questions, but the answers do not lie on Hiryu.

The government of Hiryu will be grudgingly grateful for them bringing Carres down. They will pay a significant but not extravagant cash reward for this, the precise amount should be determined by the referee.

Brant, however will be extremely impressed by the party’s performance. They have shown intelligence and resourcefulness. She is in their debt and may be a powerful ally in the future. She will make their temporary appointments as assistant reeves permanent. This will greatly raise their standing (treat as increasing SOC to 7 or a +1 SOC if it is already 7+) and give them the authority of a reeve amongst the Sesheryn.

Note: There are clues that Illa is not who she claims to be. Illa is an important character in the next adventure and referees should resist the temptation to push the characters towards those clues. If the characters players’ make the connections give them the information, but only if they think of it themselves.

Episode Three: Ill Fortune

The Stage

Decius (1236 AA89734-9) was the birthplace of the Winter Blooms. Its rejection of the stars sparked the beginnings of the Sesheryn. The Oligarchs of Decius still place little import on interstellar commerce and it is falling behind in trade and technology. Many believe that Hiryu will soon surpass it in importance.

Its government is moribund. Prime Oligarch Biil Zarashuu is a weak and ineffective leader. The only reason he is still in power is that neither of his two leading rivals, Second Oligarch Mialas Standon and Justice Minister Gwen Kristian, have managed to muster sufficient support to replace him.

Prologue

The characters, after uncovering evidence of a possible conspiracy on Hiryu, have been tasked by the High Reeve to continue their investigations on Decius. She will attempt to provide them with anything they require, but her resources are not unlimited. One thing she will provide is a set of bodypistols imported from Hipper. She has one per character with two spare magazines and a silencer each. These weapons will evade most TL9 sensors.

It is two jumps from Hiryu to Decius via Nahur and Gusshie. Gusshie is the source of Caren spice, a valuable trade item. It is also the home of Jana L’Aragone. Over 100 years old, a former captain and reeve, L’Aragone is a legend amongst Sesheryn.

Retired, she is the chandler on Gusshie. It is tradition that crews that make planetfall visit her. Normally the mate will make arrange a purchase while she fawns over children and shares her moonshine whiskey (engineers swear by it as a degreaser.) She is also an excellent source of information.

Naturally when the party reaches Gusshie, they will want to call on her. She will share news and gossip. When the characters ask after the LuckyC she will surmise they are reeves (assuming they have not already told her).

“So you’re working for young Molly? Sorting out this mess? Knew there was something up. Matthew’s drinking heavily again. Talked a lot about dead captains, about better times. He’s deep troubled. Says Maureen got herself killed on Emblem, hit by pirates. Did he kill her? Shame, Matthew was a good man once. Brought his first mate, Illa Marason with him. Matthew says she’s from Narada; not one of us. She’s that alright, quiet one too. Says she doesn’t speak Luriani, but she’s no fool. Sees a lot more more than she lets on that one and hears it too.” she pauses and writes something on a scrap of paper “Take this to Enli Gushiimisk on Decius, tell him I’m calling in a marker.” The paper has one word on it – Gzarzz – and her signature.

Act One – Strange Little Girl

When the party lands on Decius they will want to seek out Gushiimisk. A former senior policeman, he is now a “security consultant” working for Gwen Kristian. He has a reputation for knowing everything that’s going on on Decius. Finding him is easy, meeting him however requires getting through several layers of secretaries and assistants.

To get an appointment: Admin + SOC, Average, 6D hours.

When the party finally get an appointment, he will look at the note from L’Aragone, smile and pull up a file.

“So how did you find her whiskey?”

When the characters ask about Sweete or the LuckyC:

“Well, the LuckyC is currently in bay four of the naval base undergoing repairs. Huge stink over it, public funds, Sesheryn rabble, you know the line. But Standon got Zarashuu to sign-off on it, so… Sweete’s staying at the Transmetropolitian with Marason. Two are an item apparently. Got plenty of money to throw round. Rumor has it that Standon’s using them to run drugs, I’ve been digging but no proof sadly, would ruin him if there was. Now Marason. She’s traveling on Naradian papers, all in order apparently. Seems she’s holding the money, probably because Sweete spends most of his time in a bottle now. Makes out she’s just a simple farmgirl, not sure about that. All I’ve got at the moment, but take my card; think we may be able to help each other.”

Several lines of investigation will likely occur to the characters, but only two will yield any benefits. The first is searching Sweete and Marason’s room at the Transmetropolitian. The other is to look into Standon’s background.

The Transmetropolitian is an upmarket establishment, the characters will not be granted entry unless properly attired (business wear normally, black tie at dinner or gaming tables.) Sweete is normally to be found either at the gaming tables or at the bar. Marason is almost constantly at his side. Some care will need to be taken to avoid detection.

To remain unnoticed: Stealth + SOC or EDU (use lowest), Average, 10D minutes. Opposed by Marason (Recon + INT)

Sweete and Marason’s room is located on the seventh floor. Time should not be an issue.

To overcome the room’s security: Intrusion + DEX, Average, 3D Seconds

To search the room: Recon + INT, Average, 4D Minutes

The only thing of note in the room (other than a large amount of cash in the wallsafe) is a false compartment in one of Marason’s bags. In it are an old photograph of a couple holding a baby and a single pressed flower. Any characters able to make a Formidable EDU check will recognize it as coming from a plant found only in the neighboring Fornast sector. If Marason has noticed the party this bag will have been moved to the hotel safe.

Gushiimisk already has a more complete dossier on Standon than the characters could ever amass. He was heir to a family of middle rank in the Oligarchy. Until about 15 years ago he had followed a mediocre government career showing little ambition or drive. However from that point he has rapidly risen to the position of Second Oligarch.

He has long advocated increased Decian involvement in interstellar affairs, with very little success. He has been married for over 30 years. There was an affair about 15 years ago but since he has avoided any hint of scandal. This has made the recent rumors of drug trafficking rather surprising.

If the characters choose to follow up on the affair they will uncover a connection between Marason and Standon.

To investigate the affair: Admin + EDU, Difficult, 3D hours.

Success will turn up a photograph of Standon with his lover. The woman is clearly a younger Illa Marason.

Act Two – Tinkletoes

Clearly Marason is not what she seems and somehow connected to Standon, but the party would appear to have hit a dead end. With no new leads, the only option apparently is to wait for the next move. The party is planning long term surveillance when they are contacted by Gushiimisk. The Prime Oligarch’s Ball is in three days, the guest list of which was prepared months ago. It has just been released and Sweete and Marason’s names are on it.

Since they have only been on-world for less than two weeks, this is remarkable. He has (moving heaven and earth) arranged for the characters to be added to the guest list and (if the party has uneven male/female ratio) suitable partners. The event is held at the grand ballroom of the Palace of the Oligarchs. It is the highlight of the Decian social calendar and anyone who is anyone will be there. Gushiimisk will also supply the party with a floor plan of the Palace.

As may be expected Standon will attend the ball. The characters should attempt to keep a discreet watch on him as well as Sweete and Marason. The party will need to “mingle” with the guests to achieve this requiring an Average characteristic check against social standing. The referee should then check to see if Marason spots the characters

To spot the characters: Recon + INT, Formidable, 4D minutes. Apply DMs from attire, a +2DM if any character failed to “mingle”, +2DM if the characters were spotted at the Transmetropolitian and +1DM if any character is unpartnered.

If the characters are spotted by Marason she will send Sweete to inform Standon. Standon will send a guard to quietly watch them but otherwise do nothing.

About two hours into the ball, Standon, Sweete, Marason and two guards will attempt to discreetly exit into the south wing of the palace. If the characters have been spotted, the guards detailed to watch them will attempt to distract them, allowing Standon etc to slip away unnoticed. If the characters are distracted assume that Gushiimisk informs shortly after Marason and the others have left. Gushiimisk is in charge of Gwen Kristian’s security and unable to follow them.

When Marason and her companions leave, the party should attempt to follow them. If they have the head start apply a +2DM

To follow Marason through the Palace: Stealth + INT, Average, 1D minutes, Opposed by Marason’s Recon + INT

If the characters are spotted, one of the guards will attempt to delay them. She is armed with a silenced bodypistol. Skip directly to the start of the next act when the party defeats her.

If the characters are not spotted, Standon etc will reach a room in about five minutes. The guards will stay outside while the Standon, Sweete and Marason go inside. Checking the floor plans Gushiimisk supplied will inform the characters that there is an adjacent room with an access point that will not be visible to the guards. From this room the characters will be able to eavesdrop.

Sweete and Standon are arguing.

Sweete: “...always will be”

“still are, still are? that ended when you sold out your captain. So stop pretending, you’ll do as you’re told. You’re right the future is in the stars, but not in the hands of rabble like you”

“Illa?”

Marason: “Lover do we have a choice?”

“There’s always choice and I choose not to kill millions”

The party will hear a scuffle and a single shot.

Standon (panicked): “Damn, damn, damn, what are we going to do Afira?”

Marason: “Calm down Mialas, haven’t I always taken care of things. Get back to your wife. Don't worry it will all be sorted. I’ll get it cleaned up.”

A few seconds later the characters will hear Standon and Marason leaving. The party should open the connecting door and check the room.

Act Three – Night Fever

When the party enters the room they will find Sweete barely alive. He will recognize the party from the first episode. He will force a recorder into the hands of the first character to approach him, whisper “stop them” and die. If the characters listen to the recorder they will uncover the plot.

R-Fever was a plague that swept the region during the fall of the Rule of Man. It killed hundreds of millions and is still feared. Standon is planning to use the LuckyC to plant a new strain of this plague in the deep-space jump point at 1234. There it will infect many Sesheryn crews who will spread it as they travel (R-Fever has a long dormant phase where it is infectious with no symptoms). Standon also has a cure. The Sesheryn will be blamed for bringing back the plague and worlds will turn against them. The Decians will then spread the cure and be hailed as heroes reestablishing their dominance. And Standon, the hero, will become Prime Oligarch.

The party now has evidence that will ruin Standon and end his plot. All they need do is get it back to the ballroom and give it to Gashiimisk. Unfortunately this will not be easy. When the party has finished listening to the recorder, the door will open. Two guards have come to dispose of Sweete’s body. The party has surprise. The exact number of guards between them and the ballroom should be determined by the referee. They are armed mostly with silenced autopistols.

Epilogue

If the party successfully gets the recorder into Gashiimisk’s hands he will make it public. Standon will be removed from his post and ruined. He will be fully investigated and his drug trafficking uncovered along with other crimes. The plot to spread R-Fever will be ended and the cure will be made available, preventing it ever being a threat again.

Marason however will disappear and not be found. A thorough investigation of her will only turn up what is in the library data below. If the characters searched her hotel room and found the hidden items it will be surmised that she originates from the Fornast sector.

There is still one loose-end. Developing R-Fever into a bio-weapon would have been a massive undertaking, it is hard to see how Standon and Ral got the resources. Also organizing a multi-world conspiracy must have been extremely difficult. Some will question if they were working alone or just the tip of something even deeper.

Regardless of this, the party will be hailed as heroes and their standing will be markedly increased (+2 to SOC). They will have the gratitude of Gwen Kristian, who will soon become the new Prime Oligarch. If the characters wish, Kristian will transfer ownership of the LuckyC to them. Otherwise she will end up being broken up for spare parts.

Cut Scene – Suit Yourself

Some points in the adventure call for the characters to be “properly attired.” Obtaining this can be an ordeal. First make a characteristic check against social standing to see if the character already has the “proper attire”. On an Average success the character has adequate business wear only; on an Difficult success the character has good business wear and adequate black tie, on a Formidable success the character has both good quality attire for both. Female characters may be assumed to have more than one outfit.

If the character lacks proper attire it may be purchased as below (per outfit)

Adequate business wear = 1D Cr10 + Cr100

Good business wear = 2D Cr25 + Cr300

Adequate black tie (male or female) = 2D Cr20 + Cr150

Good black tie (male) = 2D Cr25 + Cr450

Good black tie (female) = 6D Cr50 + Cr200

Adequate quality is off-the-peg and has no delivery time. Good quality is tailored and requires a 4-24 hour delivery time for males and 10-60 hours for females. Female characters may make additional rolls to get a better price (shopping around) but each one requires an additional hour. Characters wearing adequate attire or female characters wearing the same black tie outfit a second time give a +2DM for being spotted (this is cumulative.) The only weapons that may be concealed whilst wearing any formal attire are a bodypistol or dagger (with female black the weapon is hidden in a purse).

Library Data

Sesheryn
A culture of free traders that developed in the Empty Quarter sector during the Long Night. At this time they are a small tightly knit community, still strongly influenced by their Luriani mentors and mistrusted by the bulk of their region’s population. Most speak Standard Luriani, using it as a trade language, setting them apart from the local Vilani speaking majority. The Sesheryn will eventually come to dominate the rimward portions of the Empty Quarter, creating a unique culture later known as the “Winter Blooms” and playing a vital role in sparking the Gateway renaissance during the -800's.
The Reeves
The leaders of Sesheryn society are known as Reeves. They have no official standing and their selection is entirely informal. However they have considerable customary authority amongst the Sesheryn and usually are regarded as representatives for their community by local authorities.
The L’Polian-Luriani Wars
A series of five wars between the L’Polian Empire and Luriani Protectorate between -1397 and -1238. The final war (-1252 to -1238) was sparked by a surprise L’Polian attack that resulted in the destruction of the Protectorate’s primary shipbuilding facility on Gishuumka (Ley 0311). The Fifth War was noted for its ferocity but ended with a pyrrhic Luriani victory as the Empire collapsed into Civil War. The Empire has now disintegrated into a number of exhausted successor states and the Protectorate is languishing in a deep depression, unable to replace the losses in industry and shipping suffered during the wars.
Diana Ral
(aka Illa Marason) AC9DB8; Fast Talk-3, Interrogation-2, Recon-2, Stealth-2, Intrusion-2, Forgery-2, Handgun-2, Brawling-1, Language (Luriani)-1, Engineer-2, Computer-1, Liaison-2, Survival-0, Ride-0
Ral was a former agent of the L’Polian Vermox (intelligence service). She fled the collapse of the Empire eventually arriving on Decius some 15 years ago. She has groomed and prompted Mialas Standon into the position he now holds.
LuckyC
LuckyC
         PS-2623441-230000-10001-0 MCr 168.584 200 Tons
Bat Bear             2     2   2   Crew: 6
Bat                  2     2   2   TL: 11
Cargo: 20  Passengers: 2  Crew Sections: 1 of 6
Low: 6     Fuel: 48       EP: 8
Agility: 2                Pulse Lasers
Fuel Treatment: Fuel Scoops, On Board Fuel Purification
Detailed Description (High Guard Design)
HULL
200.000 tons standard, 2,800.000 cubic meters, Flattened Sphere Configuration
CREW
Pilot, 2 Engineers, Medic, 2 Gunners
ENGINEERING
Jump-2, 3G Maneuver, Power plant-4, 8.000 EP, Agility 2
AVIONICS
Bridge, Model/4 Computer
HARDPOINTS
2 Hardpoints
ARMAMENT
2 Triple Mixed Turrets each with: 1 Pulse Laser (Factor-1), 1 Missile Rack (Factor-1).
DEFENCES
1 Sandcaster in each Mixed Turret, organized into 2 Batteries (Factor-3), Armored Hull (Factor-2)
CRAFT
None
FUEL
48 Tons Fuel (2 parsecs jump and 28 days endurance); On Board Fuel Scoops, On Board Fuel Purification Plant, 40.000 ton drop tanks
MISCELLANEOUS
8 Staterooms, 6 Low Berths, 2 Middle Passengers, 6 Low Passengers, 20 Tons Cargo
USER DEFINED COMPONENTS
None
COST
MCr 170.270 Singly (incl. Architects fees of MCr 1.686), MCr 134.867 in Quantity
CONSTRUCTION TIME
57 Weeks Singly, 46 Weeks in Quantity
COMMENTS
Originally built for the Protectorate navy as the Kwin y Rush Santa (Sea of Good Fortune) in -1377, the ship was declared surplus after the 3rd L’Polian-Luriani War and sold to a group of Sesheryn traders in -1281. The LuckyC has been passed down through several generations of crews since then. She exhibits the traditional longevity of most Protectorate and Sesheryn vessels, being in excellent condition despite being over 150 years old.