[ Freelance Traveller Home Page | Search Freelance Traveller | Site Index ]

*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

Medevac 2

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2023 issue.

The PCs are tasked with extracting a high value target from a hospital’s intensive care ward. The target has recently undergone major surgery, for the purposes of some of the following detail, some form of colorectal bowel surgery is suggested. “The President” may be male, female or, to increase the difficulty of the scenario, an alien with very different medical needs; they may be a world leader, corporation CEO, or recently elected head of the local gentlesophont’s ikebana society. The reason they must be extracted from the hospital is left for the referee and could be by patron or player agency, but could include:

Referees may wish to create, if not already present, political, corporate or societal backgrounds which give a richer flavour to the interactions with NPCs and offer choices that must be made in relation to factions and their motivations.

Complication 1

The President isn’t actually in intensive care in a large hospital but in one of the three surgical high care units [SHCUs]1 - The disciplines of the SHCUs may vary according to hospital and their specialities. Other possibilities include cardio, renal and neurology. (in this case colorectal1), sometimes called high-dependency units, that are tucked away within more standard wards but offer more extensive care than a standard ward.

These SHCUs are one step down from intensive care. Either mistranslation, non-medical ignorance or carelessness, or the improvement of the President’s condition means that they’re not where the patron thinks they are.

In a low-tech setting this may not come to light until the PCs are on site—although there is the possibility of an intercept of messages revealing any change in location, or rumours from staff who know and may be encountered before any planned extraction. In a mid- or high-tech setting, PCs may be able to infiltrate hospital computer systems before the extraction in order to obtain the exact, or rather, correct location.

If caught flat-footed, several SHCUs are in separate locations on entirely different floors to the intensive care unit—the latter is usually situated not far from operating theatre territory.

Further complexity can be provided by the President having been admitted under a false and unknown name.

Plans for the Princess Iphigenia Hospital and details for some of its staff can be found in2 - Freelance Traveller, No, 118, July/August 2023 “Medivac!”2. The Surgical High Care Unit on Level E and its immediate environs are detailed below.

Surgical Quarter

Complication 2

Once found, the President needs to have 24-hour care to stay alive. This will be a mixture of technology (although limited in a low-tech setting—but see footnotes regarding the dates of technology introduction – sometimes surprisingly early) and nursing care to carry out day-to-day observations, medicine adjustments, dealing with vomiting and stoma output, and so on along with non 24-hour supervisory care from at least a Medic 3—typically the consultant or surgeon concerned with the case. The PCs will have to either bring this level of care with them—the technology and personnel, plus the means of transporting it, or they will need to extract it from the hospital along with the President. Sophont medical staff may or may not wish to go along with this depending on the greater detail of the scenario and its factions.

To Persuade nursing staff to go along with extraction: Difficult (10+) Persuade check (2D mins, SOC).
Reduce difficulty by 1 step for every Cr5000 offered (or similar inducement).
DM+2 if of the same faction as the President.

To Persuade doctors to go along with extraction:
Very Difficult (12+) Persuade check (2D mins, SOC or INT).
Reduce difficulty by 1 step for every Cr10,000 offered.
DM+2 if of the same faction as the President.

The President will not be very mobile with catheter, nasal/gastric tubes or drains taking output (and ECG tags measuring cardio function), along with feed/fluid/medicine/salts/oxygen/vitamins/antibiotic tubes giving input. The President may have limited mobility despite being hooked up to all this and, with care, may be able to walk short distances accompanied by a portable IV drip stand, or may be entirely bedridden, or may be unconscious. As ever, the needs of the adventure should dictate the situation. In low-tech settings, less will be made of the technology needs although these can still be present to a limited degree (or medical tech a level or two higher than the typical tech level for the world). In high tech settings some of the detail of the above may be ‘reduced’ to simpler scanning and support but remember there are physical limits to what a sophont body will need in connection with supportive technology such as this. [See “Further Reading” for a number of medicine related articles which are worth consulting. -tc]. Invasive monitoring or procedures such as described here would seem most likely at typical Traveller tech levels unlike the near complete absence of such in, say, Star Trek3.

Input/Output Table4

Insertion Extraction
IV PICC Line5 Difficult (Medic, 1D×10 mins, EDU) Routine (Medic)
Nasal Cannula6 Routine (Medic, 1D rounds, EDU) Easy (unskilled)
Nasal/Gastric (n/g) Tube7 Routine (Medic, 1D rounds, EDU) Easy (unskilled)
Ileostomy Difficult (Medic, 1D+6 hours, EDU) Difficult (Medic)
Stoma bag8 Easy (Medic) or Average (unskilled) Routine (unskilled)
Intermittent Sequential Compression Pump Easy (Medic, 1D rounds, EDU) Easy (unskilled)
(Urinary) Catheter9 Average (Medic, 2D×5 mins, EDU) Easy (Medic)10
ECG monitors Routine (Medic, 1D rounds, INT) Easy (unskilled)
Drain11 Average (Medic, 1D+10 mins, EDU) Routine (Medic)
Note: Although the extraction/unplugging of various support technologies listed above may be done safely by unskilled characters, the characters may not know that. Also note, that if things go wrong, competent medical skill should be available to avoid complications.
Note: The n/g tube, drain, stoma and catheter drainage bags don’t have to be disconnected from the patient but can simply be moved from the bed frame to the IV drip stand to make the patient semi-mobile. This can be done by the unskilled. The three ECG monitor leads join a connector which can easily be unplugged or reconnected by the unskilled (although ripping off the three pegs and their ‘stickers’ off the chest itself is easy as well).

Complication 3

The President’s condition is about to deteriorate beyond the capacity of any basic nursing skills to deal with. Medic 2 at least will be required to stabilise the President. This can be as a result of the evacuation, or part of the natural course of post-operative events. Or both as the former exacerbates the latter.

Time will be of the essence here and the safest plan might be to return to the High Care unit (or similar) if it is still the closest means of getting immediate support.

To Stabilise a Deteriorating Patient:
Very Difficult (12+) Medic check, (1D days, EDU).

Once the President has been extracted from the immediate situation they may have several weeks of recovery to go through as they’re progressively taken off the various support technologies and medication they may be being given.

The PCs may be rewarded with cash of course, but perhaps some honour from the President or his associates would be more appropriate. Or possibly they’ve shown such competency that they may be offered other jobs…

Suggestions for Factions

A long-established and well-loved government but without an obvious successor needs the President extracted before it’s discovered that they’ve only got months to live. The President’s supporters want to sequester the President somewhere where they can control the narrative and media output, even in the event of their death, until they have a successor in place. It will be very difficult to find staff who don’t think the President isn’t in the best place possible already.

A corporation wants to extract the President of a rival corporation while security is not as established. They aim to ‘persuade’ the President, who is a charismatic and successful CEO, that they should stand down. Roll 2D6 for hospital staff allegiance. 2-3 they’re very anti the corporation, 4-10 they have no opinion about the corporations, 11-12 they’re very pro the corporation.

The corporation the President leads has got wind of the previous plot and wants to extract their CEO to a safer location. See previous for hospital staff allegiances.

Formal flower arranging is a popular and cut-throat hobby on the world of the Princess Iphigenia Hospital. So much so that virtually anything goes in the conflict between various societies. Two of the most prestigious are vying to win as many trophies as possible at a large annual festival and one knows that ensuring the President of the opposing society is out of the picture will ensure their side’s prevalence.


Prof Jamz Kaan, 697DDA, Age 46, Cr60,000    
Rank 5: Scholar: Physician
Characteristics: STR 6 (+0), DEX 9 (+1), END 7 (+0), INT 13 (+2), EDU 13 (+2), SOC 10 (+1)
Skills: Electronics (remote operations) 4, Medic 4, Investigate 3, Science (biology) 2, Admin 1, Art (writing) 1, Diplomat 1, Language 1, Drive 0, Mechanic 0, Profession (biologicals) 0, Science (robotics) 0
Equipment: Lab Ship, Scientific Equipment
Relationships: Ally, Enemy×2

Professor Kaan is of middling height, well-proportioned and has the typical confidence of a surgeon at the top of his game. He specialises in robotic colorectal surgery and publishes widely on the subject in the university teaching hospital he works in. His lectures can be dry and erudite but his name is well-known and his classes popular.


Colorectal Surgery Robot:
A surgical robot in three parts: the patient cart (the actual robot performing the keyhole surgery with four arms – one of which is a camera), the surgeon console (from which the surgeon responsible remotely operates the robot) and the vision cart (which provides power generation, image processing and information systems).

Small handheld device which soothes and stimulates a paralytic ileus.

To stimulate a paralytic ileus with an ileustim:
Average (8+) Medic check (1D mins, EDU).
Alternatively, wait 2D days with the patient unable to eat or drink and in considerable discomfort.

IV drip stand:
a 2m stand on five castors capable of carrying a load of up to 4kg of hanging infusion bags. Two or three IV infusion pumps may be located on the stand below the infusion bags.
IV infusion pump:
A volumetric pump (about the size of a hardback book) through which IV lines are passed and which calculates volume over time and delivery rates in conjunction with the desired dose rate (e.g., mg/kg/min). Alarms indicate  various conditions requiring attention.
Medical bed:
An adjustable bed on (lockable) wheels. Height can be adjusted as well as head angle and knee angle. The sides and end panels can be flipped down to allow easier ingress/egress of the bed or for support staff to make the bed. Patients may be wheeled to scanning units without having to be mobile. Control panels at the foot of the bed are accessible for staff and another panel near the head give the patient the ability to adjust position.
Sequential Compression Pump:
A toaster size unit placed at the foot of the patient’s bed which every 20 seconds or so inflates cuffs around the patient’s calves to avoid deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (or both: a venous thromboembolism).

Further Reading

Medicine in Traveller, Robert O’Conner
Trauma (1)
Trauma (2)
Regulating Body Temperature
Psychiatry and Mental Illness
TL12+ AutoDoc, Scott Diamond
Medic’s “Red Bag”, Scott Diamond
Wetzler Medical’s Pocket Defibrillator, Craig Glesner
Limb Boosters, Benedikt Schwarz
Knight SPR Grav Sled, Benedikt Schwarz
Economy Passage, Jason Barnabas
The Compassion Corps, Jeff Zeitlin
The I/S Nasirnak Book Ship and Pasteur-class Hospital Ship, Timothy Collinson
Kurgilash-class Medical Scout, Peter Gray
Eerie-class Medical Lab Ship, Kevin Walsh
Medical Transport/Evacuation Shuttles, Edward Anderson
a medical adventure:
The Asklepios Recovery, Michael Brown
and an adventure seed:
Medical Intervention, Richard Perks
See also these publications:
Alternate Traveller Creation in Traveller Companion (Mongoose Publishing)
Book 10: Cosmopolite (Mongoose Publishing)
Career: First Responder (Michael Brown)
Central Supply Catalogue (Mongoose Publishing)
Clement Sector (Independence Games)
Compendium 1 (Mongoose Publishing)
M*E*R*C*Y: a campaign setting for Cepheus Engine (Michael Brown)
Medico Service (Felbrigg Herriot)
Special Supplement 4: Rescue Ops (Mongoose Publishing)
See also these additional journal articles:
Bandage, JTAS [GDW], no.9
Diseases and Their Treatment, Travellers’ Digest, no.20
Human Medicine, Tech Level 9 to 12, Travellers’ Digest, no.11
I’m a Doctor, Not a…, Space Gamer, no.47
Medical Equipment & Medicine and Healing – The Trader’s Corner, Dark Star, no.2
Medical Treatment for Traveller, JTAS [GDW], no.11
Nuclear Radiation, Travellers’ Digest, no.15
Plague: Disease and Treatment in Traveller, JTAS [GDW], no.13
Portable Medical Cold Berth, Travellers’ Digest, no.21
Replacement Body Parts: Prosthetics, Bionics, Regrowth and Cloning, Travellers’ Digest, no.12, no.13 & no.14
Small Craft, Alien Star, no.6 & no.8
The Imperial Academy of Science and Medicine, JTAS [GDW], no.22
To Live Forever, White Dwarf, no.52
Traveller: A Sliding Tech Level Scale, Space Gamer, no.3
Traveller’s Equipment, Between Worlds, no.3
What’s Up, Doc?, The Journal of the Senseless Carnage Society, no.5

Author’s Note: This has been written – as is perhaps obvious – with no medical background save observation as a patient over a three-week period in hospital. There may be better medical terms that can be used and this is almost certainly woefully incomplete and/or inaccurate. Where detail has been provided it is with the aim of focussing on role playing possibilities rather than medical accuracy and giving Referees some information to aid further investigation.