This adventure originally appeared in the September/October 2023 issue.
Required Equipment: Starship
3014 Apinanto E431432-6 Ni Po 303 Na
Actual as of present date:
3014 Apinanto D431432-6 Ni Po 403 Na
Apinanto* is a backwater system in the Saphi Cluster of Fessor Subsector* of Foreven. Overlooked by nearly everyone, even the mainworld is hardly visited because fuel was only available from skimming the Gas Giants.
24 months ago a while exploring the Gratia Basin, which is the only place on the planet other than the Apinan River valley where rain falls, a crashed starship that turned out to be a lost TL16 Darrian Special Arm Barekdoldin-class Patrol Cruiser was uncovered.
Once informed, the Imperial Navy base at Askadero sent out a salvage operation to recover the ship and while undertaking the task the Navy went about installing infrastructure on the planet to support their efforts. While they were there Naval engineers completed the railway that was being built by the Jose Council and alongside it laid electrical and telecommunication lines connecting all the towns and villages along the east side of the river. They built a sealed road from the starport to Clark’s Town through to Jame’s Town, and some light manufacturing facilities on the edge of Clark’s Town.
In addition there are now two new settlements on planet in the Gratia Basin; Gratiastead, and Barekdoldin Falls, as well as a sealed road between the two. Barekdoldin Falls has a few buildings, including a couple of small accommodation blocks, an office block and a recreation block, as well as a hangar for a 500-ton starship and a landing pad for a 10,000-ton starship. The place is powered by solar panels on each of the buildings, and while there was a fusion plant back-up the plant has been removed but where it was is now connected to an electrical grid that follows the 30km road to Gratiastead.
Gratiastead is a farm, it has a couple of barns, a farm house, an anabolic digester with a combined heat and power gas engine, a solar farm, a stock yard, a stock barn and a vehicle shed.
The Jose Council has stared the manufacture of solar panels and storage batteries in the light manufacturing facilities in order to reduce the population’s reliance on wood and alcohol to run their compressors and power their homes and farms.
The Council know that solar power will not be reliable enough on its own to power the new electrical grid continuously, so they are not only looking to deploy battery storage facilities in Clark’s Town, Jame’s Town, and the villages of Jimstead, Cow’s Bottom and O’Hare’s Drift, they are also looking to dam the Apinan River to provide a base hydroelectric load, and install anabolic digesters and a biomass powered turbine at Clark’s Town.
The players have made their way to Apinanto for some reason. If they undertook the scenarios of “Drought” and “Baby Boom”, they may have connections in system already. One of the PCs may be the father of one of the infants born in the “Baby Boom”, or they may have investments in a business or a farm from resources recovered from the river during “Drought”, or from their stake in the salvage of the patrol cruiser.
Whatever the reason they are there they find themselves in the much improved and permanently manned starport 1km from Clark’s Town where they can admire the new control tower, passenger terminal, motel/accommodation block, cargo facility, and two freight warehouses, fuel storage for up to 10,000 tons (unrefined), two hangars for 500-ton ships, basic repair facilities, and warehousing and the three new park bays, two for 500-ton ships and one for a ship of up to 10,000 tons, all built courtesy of the Imperial Navy to co-ordinate the salvage mission and house Navy personnel while they were in system, and powered by a solar farm with battery storage backed up by both fusion and alcohol power plants. The starport and planet are now defended by a concealed (Navy surplus) triple missile turret on the top of the gorge with a magazine to feed it.
While Clark’s Down is unable to sell new life support filters and equipment (because it doesn’t have any stock) they can scrub the existing ones in the ship, as well as offer compression for oxygen and an abundant supply of fresh food. It’s possible to get processed and freeze-dried food from the port but this needs to be specially ordered and will take a couple of days at least to deliver.
Clark’s Down also has its own modular cutter (Naval surplus) and a pair of modules (fuel skimming, and cargo) in order to move cargos from orbit to the surface, as well as skim the gas giant for fuel, and hydrocarbons.
Bob the cutter pilot has gone missing in the cutter. His normal route is to stop off at Barekdoldin Falls to pick up hay and fertiliser from Gratiastead before delivering it back to Clark’s Down. His other normal activity is to visit Perier, the nearest gas giant, to skim for hydrocarbons for use in the new plastics plant and to use the rest of the load as unrefined fuel for the starport.
Bob isn’t actually missing; he just went to the next gas giant along, Pienie, in order to swing past one of the gas giants moons in order to provide for a better system and planetary scan than he has already. He neglected to let anyone at the starport know that he was doing this, however.
Bob did do the scans and he picked up a reading of a pirate ship leaving from one of the moons of Pienie, from a base that they have just used slave labour to complete. Bob doesn’t know what his scans show, or what they tell him, he just has them.
There are a number of ways in which the PCs may help while on Apinanto, but the most immediate one is to go looking for Bob. The hay and fertiliser produced at Gratia Basin has been a boon to the farms and peoples of the Apinan River, and the cutter is the only craft on planet that can deliver them. This time the Jose council can actually pay. They offer life support supplies (or rather the cleaning of filters and the replenishing the O2 along with a supply of fresh food) as well as Cr 2,000. The council will of course waive the landing fee and offer free bed and board in the motel for as long as the PCs need to stay.
The other jobs that the Council have a requirement for are:
- A mineral survey around the Apinan River valley, and the Gratia Basin. The council are looking for minerals for extraction for solar panels, batteries and metals for electrical generation and building materials for infrastructure and the dam.
- Survey of the higher river valley for the most suitable place to build the dam. The council need the best place to situate the dam that gives the most potential for electrical generation without affecting the flow of the river once the reservoir is full.
For these jobs there are 4 tons of surplus wood that can be offered as payment if the PCs insist on something.
If the players check out Barekdoldin Falls when they arrive it will be deserted. No one has been in residence since the Navy finished the salvage of the Barekdoldin-class Patrol Cruiser, however all the equipment is still functioning, the buildings are pressurised, and the furniture and furnishings were all left in place by the Navy.
The crater where the Patrol Cruiser was removed is starting to fill up with water and grass and weeds are taking root.
The players will find Bill and Ben at Gratiastead who have not seen Bob since last month, but then they are not expecting him until next week, as that’s when he said he would be back. Bill and Ben travel from Gratiastead to Barekdoldin Falls to meet Bob with hay and fertiliser from the farm in one of the only trucks on Apinanto.
If the players head out into the system en route to Perier, scans will reveal two ships: a Zhodani Shivva-class Patrol Frigate near Perier, and a small cutter coming back from Pienie which is in fact Bob.
If the players get closer to Perier they will be ordered to stand to and prepare to be boarded. Non compliance will be met with first warning shots and then with the launch of the Shivva’s fighters to intercept. The Zhodani are looking for a group of pirates that are working in the area targeting Zhodani merchants and raiding outlying settlements. As long as the group has not been involved in piracy, they will be OK. It is up to the referee as to whether there is a telepath on the Zhodani frigate to question the crew or not. It is unlikely that the Zhodani will pretend that there is because they are unaccustomed to deception or lying.
If the PCs intercept Bob he will be slightly abashed that the council sent them after him, and he will let the PCs know that he is in just fine shape. He will mention that he got some interesting readings from one of the moons of Pienie. If the PCs check out the scans they can ascertain that the reading show a ship appearing seemingly from within the moon. The ship disappears around the back of the moon and is then gone. It jumped with the moon between it and Bob to cover its jump flash.
Checking out the moon and the area where the ship appears will reveal a pirate base. It looks as though the base is newly constructed, or possibly newly refurbished. The base is powered down, and if the PCs explore they will come across 30 sophonts who have been abandoned to their fate by the pirates, which if the PCs don’t come across them will be death from starvation or running out of air. The sophonts were used by the pirates as slave labour to finish the construction of the base. One of the sophonts is in fact a pirate that the other pirates had had enough of and abandoned with the labourers. If rescued the labourers will be able to identify the pirate and given enough encouragement the pirate will be able to provide detailed information on the pirate band and its operation.
If rescued and brought to Apinanto the Jose Council will accommodate and acclimate them, allowing (encouraging) them to assimilate into the communities where there are places.
It’s up to the referee if any of the labourers have means to pay for their repatriation to their home systems.