This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of the magazine.
The PCs’ vessel is delayed on orbit around Moughas (CA5A588-B: 0806/Regina). A hurricane is passing over the capital city and starport, and all flights have been cancelled. High winds and rain are lashing the port and electrical storms are disrupting communications between traffic control and the orbiting ships.
Whilst waiting for the storm to pass, the PCs will pick up a tight-beam communication from the surface below. A Lisse-class cargo submarine on the outskirts of the hurricane zone has declared a medical emergency. The communications are broken by the electrical storms within the hurricane, but the PCs will eventually gather that a crew member has a ruptured appendix and needs emergency treatment. The submarine only carries a steward qualified in first-aid rather than a proper medic. No rescue vehicles can be dispatched from the port due to the weather.
Can the Travellers help?
In the event that the PCs do not have a trained doctor or adequate medical facilities, a large orbital freighter can provide a doctor and a full equipped medical bay. Unfortunately the freighter is not streamlined, and its shuttle is down on the planet and trapped by the storm.
The crewman needs immediate evacuation. The PCs’ ship is the only streamlined vessel available. They can drop through the atmosphere at the edge of the storm or request the submarine rendezvous with them outside the storm (taking 1 hour at full speed) but endangering the crewman further. Travel through the storm will require skilful piloting.
Once the PCs arrive over the submarine, they will encounter their second problem, the submarine has no place suitable for landing a grav vehicle. The Lisse-class submarine has minimal freeboard and only a small conning tower holding a single airlock and the radio/sensor masts and periscopes. There is a small area on the top of the conning tower for two crewmen on watch. If a PC falls into the sea, he is likely to be swept away. Two more airlocks allow access to the submarines interior, located fore and aft.
Moughas has a thin atmosphere and a higher than normal gravity (1.25G) which will hinder the PCs as they attempt to board the submarine and later transfer the patient to their ship.
Once onboard the doctor can confirm the diagnosis and that the crewmember is in need of urgent medical treatment. The doctor could attempt to perform surgery onboard with inadequate facilities or somehow transfer the incapacitated patient to their vessel and hence to the orbiting freighter.
To complicate matters, a small swarm of twelve Oia are swimming around the submarine. The Oia is a small reducer that has learnt to feast on garbage discharged by passing submarines. It resembles a fish with a dolphin like snout filled with small but sharp teeth. The Oia is not a mammal and is a water breathing species. They are as intelligent as a terrestrial cat.
Normally they cannot keep up with the submarine and pose no danger (sonic emitters keep them away from habitats). The Oia have caught up as the submarine has been holding position. They will attack anyone falling in the water and will even surge a short distance up a beach (or, in this case, the submarine’s hull) in an attempt to snatch prey. If fired upon and wounded by the PCs, they will release a pheromone which will cause the rest of the swarm to flee. As they are rather slow swimmers, they have developed a unique method of evading predators. They can instinctively leap out of the water to evade and confuse predators. Each leap can be 3m in length and 2m high. A swarm of terrified leaping Oia are likely to knock any Travellers on the submarine’s hull into the water.
Oia: Reducer 12kg No Armor, Teeth, 6/6 Hits, A5/F8/S1