This is the continuation of my Traveller campaign, running the Great Rift Adventure 1: Islands in the Rift. This means there will be spoilers.
158-1105 : Arrival at Amondiage
The PCs arrive on the Fast Liner Princess of Dendaash to find that Amondiage is a bustling spaceport, and there are plenty of ships to be found here. However, the Perfect Stranger, which the PCs have come to find, is not amongst them. Shinzaro and Khadashi go off to take a walk around the spaceport to see if there is any sign of the ship in case it’s been missed from the registry, whilst Zanobia sits down in the local equivalent of a coffee shop to trawl the local networks.
I decided that basic information about the movement of ships through the port would be readily available, at least at a class A starport like Amondiage. So it was easy to find out that the ship has been here, but over a year ago, when it arrived on 126-1104 and departed 131-1104. It was also here back in 49-1104, when it stayed for fifteen days.
Expanding her search somewhat, she runs across is a review left by a disgruntled passenger of the Perfect Stranger:
Deserve’s zero stars!— Everyone’s Guide to ships of the Islands, 127-1104
Imperial registered garbage can with wings. Surly crew, bad food and shabby cabins. Seems to be working the Amondiage Cluster these days. One star, because you cannot give less than one star.
The review was left just over a year ago when the Stranger was last here, but there wasn’t much else on the ship. Since they knew that the bodies had been shipped from here to Imperial space on the Heart of Silver, a search for that ship was able to bring up a news article.
The two Imperial citizens who arrived dead at Amondiage over two weeks ago, have been identified as Mekhilar Uslumak Guuladag and Edasina Lidarlakiim Lugalam. They had been heroically rescued by Captain Anna Shakiirluum of the ship Our Lady of Comets after their shuttle crashed on Acadie, and put into cold passage for their trip to Amondiage. Tragically, they died of their wounds in transit.A.C.N.N., 328-1104
Neither Captain Shakiirluum nor her crew are suspected of any foul play. The bodies will be returned to the Imperium aboard the Heart of Silver due to their possession of a significant repatriation bond with Hortalez et Cie, LIC.
I decided that Amondiage was the sort of place that probably had a heavily restricted news service. Some further search about the Our Lady of Comets led to a second article.
Police authorities on Amondiage High Port station today released the news that two passengers that arrived aboard the civilian Far Trader Our Lady of Comets turned up dead. They are thought to have died whilst in cold passage, and were taken directly to Jamostazini Hospital. The situation is being treated as suspicious, but no information on the identification of the bodies has so far been released.A.C.N.N., 309-1104
Last session, prior to leaving for Amondiage, the players had put a lot of effort into examining the timeline of events for the ship and its crew, which really did stretch my prep to the limit. Now they had more dates to play with, so a considerable amount of time was spent checking, double checking, and cross referencing to try and narrow down when events had happened. It’s a headache for me, worrying whether I’d got the details right, but also good to have players invested in examining things.
I had been expecting them to immediately wave their proof of ship ownership and talk to the port authorities, but they were paranoid and didn’t want to alert anyone to the fact that they were here looking for the ship.
Shinzaro and Khadashi returned to meet up with Zanobia, just as she had noticed that the earlier news article showed signs of having been updated on the same day that the autopsy had been performed on the bodies, 324. The gap between the arrival of the bodies at Amondiage and the autopsy did seem overly long.
Shinzaro headed off that evening to explore the seedier bars and back streets of the starport to see if she could find out anything about the missing ship or its crew, whilst Khadashi went off to visit the nicer pubs and cafes on the better side of the port.
This would take time for both of them, and I allowed them to take extra for bonuses – they both elected to shift the time taken up a category for +2 to their checks.
The Vargr found some people who recognised the picture of Iimshan (the cover identity for Major Miraku) from the news some time back. Apparently she’d been involved in a fight and had been arrested. A bit more asking and buying of drinks found out that she and Edasina had some trouble with some local toughs who not many people liked. She had been arrested but not charged since witnesses had never turned up to the trial.
Tracing things back, this event happened during the Stranger’s first visit to the world.
Shinzaro joined up with Zanobia in the morning, and whilst they waited for their companion to return, Zanobia went to talk to the port authorities. There she found out that the ship was not recorded to be at any of the ports on or around Amondiage, but flashing her credentials she was able to find out where it’d been.
It had first arrived from Acadie in 49-1104, then left 15 days later for Sansterre, and then St Genevieve before returning to Amondiage on 126. On 131, it left for New Home where it stayed for 12 days before filing a plan for Sturgeon’s Law.
My assumption is that the larger starports (class C and above) will tend to publish and share information on shipping movements, but smaller ones won’t. Here in the Cluster, the various nations may be less than willing to share as well. So Amondiage has no records of whether the Perfect Stranger ever reached Sturgeon’s Law. It next turned up at Colchis in 271, then arrived at Acadie in 292 where it has been ever since. This gives them a big hole in their knowledge of its movements, but:
- It’s currently at Acadie, where it has been for many weeks.
- This fits with the time frame Zanobia has put together for the time of death for the two crew members.
By the time Khadashi turns up, they have a good idea of what has happened.
Khadashi has found out similar information to Shinzaro, though from a different perspective. Iimshan had been involved in a fight and jailed for a short time before being released. There was a slight difference in story, but it was close.
He also found out that the Our Lady of Comets did the loop around this part of the cluster about every 16 weeks, and had the name of a passenger who had come off it the last time it was here, around 56-1105. It was due to turn up at Amondiage again maybe in about a week.
By now the one thing they hadn’t done which I’d expected to be done earlier was a visit to the high port to check in at the hospital. Taking a shuttle up, Dr Zanobia used her knowledge of how hospitals operated (I gave her a chain bonus from a SOC/Medic check, which she did really well at) to find the surgeon who had originally performed the autopsy.
What he said didn’t match the official report, neither in terms of contact nor when the autopsy had been performed. When she showed him the original report, he quickly backtracked and insisted that the official report must be correct and quickly made his excuses to leave.
So they know the autopsy was performed more or less immediately, and there was a cover up of some kind by the government here. They’ve also figured out that it’s possible for someone to have gone to Acadie and returned in the time between the original arrival of the bodies and the publication of the final news report.
The group are thinking of trying to chase up the journalist who wrote the original story which was modified, and also to try and maybe track down the witnesses from the fight. But that will all happen next session.
There was a lot more investigation and working out timelines in this session then I’d expected, and now the players have a document which is probably more detailed than my own notes on what has happened and when. We’ll see what happens next session when they start to try to unravel some of what’s been covered up.