This article was originally posted to Freelance Traveller’s website in 2007, and reprinted in the March 2013 issue with the author’s permission.
The PCs are taking a break (or between jobs) and they notice the bar is more crowded than usual. After asking around (discreetly), it seems a MegaCorp has recently 'let go' a lot of employees.
So they are out spending their severance pay in a pub before heading out in search of new employment.
A week or two later, the players are in another bar, in a different city, perhaps on a different world. They see that most of the pubs are crowded for a week night, and everyone seems to know everyone else.
Seems most of these blokes just got laid off by a MegaCorp and dumped on this planet to seek work elsewhere.
The same MegaCorp.
If the players make some inquiries, they will learn that everyone worked at the same place - a Corporate-owned world a J2 from here. The MegaCorp was happily running the planet when in the middle of the night, they were roused from their beds and in the middle of their work shifts and told to leave. Now. Take only what you can carry, but go to the transport dock. The players hear almost everyone complaining about leaving money and possessions behind. Considering the MegaCorp paid the employees in cash, there's a good chance the purser's safe is still there and intact. There must be a fortune left on that world.
One fellow claims to have been on the last boat off that rock and the pilots were mumbling something about a virus or biological weapon that 'got loose'. But rumours are numerous in situations such as this. That fellow also claims that there are only a handful of people left on-world - some scientists and some Top-Level Executives.
The MegaCorp was doing illegal, unlicensed research in the field of Biological Weapons, in the hopes of securing a lucrative government contract and then opening a new BioWeapons division.
The bug got out of the containment lab and infected a number of personnel.
So far, the bug only likes the taste of Humans, but it's possible it can mutate and jump species. Players playing non-Human races may have an immunity towards it. May.
- The players consider the possibility of landing on the planet (with suitable protection) and pillaging the hell out of it.
- The players are approached by a member of said MegaCorp, and are offered a large sum of money if they land and blow up key installations. Retrieving some important technical data on the research would be rewarded with a bonus. Unfortunately the only people with the computer access codes are .er. no longer with the company (or alive), so the players will need a proficient computer hacker.
- A rival MegaCorp offers a large sum of money if the players land and retrieve research data. They'll need a computer hacker on the crew.
- An Agent (claiming to) represent the Sub-Sector Government approaches the crew and offers a large reward for gathering evidence against the MegaCorp. The research data would be nice 'evidence' as well, and the Agent assures the players that the research data would be destroyed. Really. Honest.
- An Agent representing 'Concerned Citizens of the Imperium' (i.e. organized crime) approach the players. The Agent offers a reward AND that 'the Concerned Citizens would be indebted to you'. A favour owed by them could be interesting! If the players refuse, photographs of an unknown man holding a box with an oversized timing device on it is produced. The man has been photographed standing in their ship's Engineering Room and the Common Lounge. "While there are no such devices on your ship at present, you can see we can easily rectify the situation."
- There is no plague or virus. The MegaCorp wanted to cut overhead expenses by firing the staff and replacing them with robots. They 'leaked' the virus scare to cover themselves.