Battle Damage

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It is 65-1106, and the Travellers are ready to leave Topaz and head out into uncharted space – at least officially uncharted, for their Deepnight contact Dr Williams has details on the location of the rogue gas giant known as Niflheim.

What they know is that there has been pirate activity in that area, but that a military force from Serendip Belt has recently cleared the planet of anything they could find. Since there has recently been open fighting at Berlichingen, the Travellers were wanting to avoid that system and head to the fuel depot via the gas giant. It’s a 2 parsec jump to Niflheim, then another 2 parsec jump to the fuel depot where the Deepnight Endeavour was last thought to be.


The jump to Niflheim was relatively uneventful, though they were careful and came out of jump a bit further out than they needed to. The planetary system was dark given the lack of a local star, but from what they could tell there was a single gas giant, some 70,000km in diameter and one tenth the mass of Jupiter, a thin set of rings and three small moons.

The innermost moon is Svöl, an uninhabitable 1,300km diameter mostly molten rock world. The second is Gunnthrá, a 2,200km diameter ice world with a partially liquid ocean. The outermost is Hrid, a small 1,100km rocky world with an elliptical orbit and some ice.

They could have burned in at 2g and been at the gas giant in 6 hours, but decided to take a more leisurely 2 days, with a lighter burn and coasting in most of the way to try and reduce the chance of detection. This also gave them plenty of time to scan the small system for any sign of pirate activity.

What they saw were two ships in elliptical (and unstable) orbits around Gunnthrá, both of which appeared to be damaged. There were also some rings of debris, and several objects they eventually figured to be mines.

As they came in close to the gas giant itself, they detected objects in the clouds – possibly more mines. Getting in to scoop fuel would be possible, but tricky, so they decided to try and land on Gunnthrá.

What they eventually determined had happened was that the navy had come in and destroyed the pirate base, and left some mines behind in orbit to surprise any sufficiently reckless pirates who might come back later.

The mines themselves were basically missile platforms, designed to fire on anything that came close. Space is too big for actual mines to be useful.

After the navy had left, two ships had arrived and been disabled by the mines before they could enter stable orbits, so they were being pulled around by the gas giant and other moons, so would crash into something in a matter of days.

Wreck of the Atlantic Blue

The smaller ship they recognised as the Atlantic Blue, which had gone missing after leaving Gloire. It showed some signs of activity, but was disabled. The larger ship, in the more unstable orbit, was a large fuel tanker. There was also signs of activity down on the moon’s surface, or at least heat.

Since the two ships had created holes in the minefield, the Travellers were able to plot a safe course down to the moon, and managed to jury-rig a way to melt water and get it into their fuel tanks, without melting their way through the surface.

Before they were ready to leave, they received a broadcast radio message from the Atlantic Blue, apparently there were three crew members still on board, claiming they had been hijacked by pirates. However, the pirates had been killed when the Atlantic Blue ran into the minefield, and the surviving crew had managed to escape.

The Travellers were suspicious and paranoid, but didn’t want to leave people behind to die. They did cleverly think to cross check the names of the survivors against the known names of the crew, and didn’t get a match. So after they’d finished their refuelling, they calculated a safe course and went to rescue the crew in the most paranoid way they could. They had each crew member get into a spacesuit and head out alone, then they’d pick them up, strip them down and put them in cold sleep.

They had no trouble, and then Khadashi and Dr Matthews went to explore the wreck of the Atlantic Blue. It was mostly in vacuum, but they did find the dead bodies of the original crew, several of whom had been shot in the head.

Then they decided to try for the other ship, the Dark Hunter, which was on a much more elliptical orbit. The goods news was this this meant the orbit carried it much further away from the mines. The mad news meant that it was much more unstable, and likely to crash into Gunnthrá within a couple of days.

Shinzaro plotted a course, and again Khadashi and Dr Matthews went aboard. The bridge had been totally destroyed, and the only body was in engineering – a crew member who had been killed when the engineering section was holed.

He had a gun, and was heavily tattooed, but nothing that indicated decisively whether he was a pirate or not. There was still about 700t of refined fuel aboard the ship though, so they decided that this would be worthwhile to save. Apart from a rather vanilla porn collection, and a small collection of plush Droyne, there wasn’t much else of interest aboard.

Fuel Depot (Undamaged)

After leaving, they managed to jury-rig some attachments and pushed the ship up into a higher, and hopefully more stable, orbit.

With that done, they had spent almost a week here, and just about time to leave. They thrusted out of the system, and plotted a course to another deep space location at 1719.

By 86-1106, the It’s A Sex Thing came out of jump in the middle of nowhere. There was a fuel depot here – or at least the remains of one. It appeared that there had been a major battle here, and the depot was heavily damaged and unlikely to be storing much fuel. There were also the wreckage of some other ships, but no immediate sign of the Deepnight Endeavour.

We decided this was a good point to end things for the session.

Something I have decided that would be useful is for some helper utilities within Roll20 to calculate things such as travel times and simple orbital mechanics. It comes up enough in Traveller, and people often get quick calculations wrong. Time for some more API scripts I think.

Samuel Penn