Search for the Stardrive
This adventure was obtained from the author’s blog, with permission, and reprinted in the November/December 2016 issue.
Midway is a planet in the Sol Subsector of the Solomani Rim famed for its jungles, its archaeology and its deep sea mining installations. It is not the most exciting of planets for stranded adventurers, but occasionally interesting jobs are available…
Datafax on Midway Down Starport offers a range of services, including an advertising section. While browsing, the players find an advert requiring the services of a few ‘good’ men. The advert is conspicuously lacking in information.
The advert lists a number and through that they contact York Shushi, an ex-Scout. He is in hospital recovering from serious gunshot wounds. He wants the players to recover some electronics from Doctor James Henna of the University of Terra, a task he would perform if he wasn’t crippled. He is prepared to pay Cr:20,000 apiece, to a total of Cr:100,000.
The electronics in question is a field actuator, an addition to the jump-drive. Marrn Uradure (Shushi’s shipmate) built it out of spare parts after their ship had mis-jumped and spattered half the engines across the drive-room. Once installed it enabled their ship to jump while within the gravity field of a planet or star—an act which normally guarantees a fatal mis-jump. Shushi will not reveal its true nature as he intends to sell it to the highest bidder.
When York and Uradure landed at Midway Down for maintenance, the field actuator was discovered and disconnected by one of the engineers. Being pro-Solomani, and having very strong sympathies with the Rule of Terra terrorists, he passed the actuator to Henna, who he knew as a Rule of Terra contact. It never occurred to him to keep the device.
Doctor James Henna is a member of the Department of Xeno-Archaeology in the University of Terra. He is thin and weak looking, but possess a sharp mind and a willingness to kill. He is known in the Department for his strong, pro-Solomani opinions, but nobody there suspects that he belongs to the fanatical Rule of Terra terrorist organisation.
Henna immediately realised the potential of the actuator—it would enable strike teams to jump straight into the low orbit of a planet, cause havoc, then jump straight out. The Imperium would never know what had hit it. Aware that the two scouts might be tracking him he prepared to leave for the Rule of Terra’s base in the jungle.
Uradure had discovered the theft and had indeed started tracking Henna. He and Shushi caught up with the activist in Startown, but both were gunned down in an ambush. Uradure died while Shushi was badly wounded and left for dead.
The players can contact the university to track Henna, but they believe him to be on site in the jungle—they can supply the location of the dig. His apartment is empty and his recorded message informs visitors that he is out of town for a few days. Both his office and apartment are devoid of clues.
The Department of Xeno-Archaeology keeps a dig at a Jala’lak temple in the jungles of Midway. A small group of portable habitats and a landing clearing for grav vehicles marks the site. It is currently occupied by a number of students and the small tribe of Jala’lak that live there. However, none of the students or staff have seen Henna for several days—they believe him to be back at the university.
The players will be denied access to Henna’s cabin, but will find it easy to break into. Inside, they find a bed and washing facilities, his computer, and a few personal items. The adventurers will have to tap into his computer to find more. In a concealed file the group will discover the location of the base and an inventory of the resources (men and weapons) stored there. The base is in the jungle not too far away. Henna has wired a bomb beneath the computer which is set to go off if the security routines detect any intruders. The bomb will destroy the computer, likely kill the operator and alert the base.
The Rule of Terra’s base is heavily camouflaged and set into the base of a cliff, at the entrance to some deep caves. Inside there are a number of military vehicles and a large cache of assorted weapons. Also, deep within the caverns are ten huge low berths—each containing twenty sleeping troops: Rule of Terra terrorists. Henna is at the base, as is the Actuator. It is currently being examined to see if it can be reproduced. If it can be, then it will be fitted into several Rule of Terra ships for testing.
Should the players return the actuator to Shushi he will pay them what he promised. Alternatively, should they discover its purpose, they may want to keep it for themselves. It will fit quite easily in their ship, should they have one, or they may wish to sell it. A megacorporation might be prepared to pay several million for it, but will find it puzzling—it is the product of luck, genius, and conditions near impossible to reproduce.
Should the players contact the Imperial Marines about the Rule of Terra base, they will earn the Cr:10,000 reward, but that is all. All equipment will be confiscated and examined. The actuator will get swallowed up in Imperial bureaucracy and vanish forever.
- Rule of Terra:
- A violent pro-Solomani terrorist organization. More information can be found on the Traveller wiki (http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Rule_of_Terra).
- Midway/Sol 0409 B699552 D. Midway has two continents, one polar and desolate, the other sparsely populated and covered largely with thick rainforests and jungles. The deserted eastern side of the continent holds several vast, mostly automated opencast mines.
- There are very high quality radioactives to be found in the rock under the sea bed and a number of deep sea mining installations have been developed specifically.
- The southwestern jungles support the Jala’lak .
- Midway can be found on the Traveller Map (https://travellermap.com/?x=16.021&y=-109&scale=64).
- University of Terra:
- One of the oldest universities in the Imperium, its base of operations is New York, Terra/Sol. It has a number of faculties on other worlds in the Sector.
- A race of primitive humanoids native to the jungles of Midway/Sol 0409. They are a peaceful, friendly people, and the object of both study and controversy. The jungle they live in harmony with is filled with temples to their various gods and the University of Terra maintains a base there.
- The Jala’lak can also be found upon Gaea/Albadawi 0702 but for an inexplicable reason their temper is vastly different—much more savage, even cannibalistic. Clearly they are not native to Gaea, and consequently are the subject of much debate.