The Missing Journalist
Last month, the Travellers were on Ardasii performing their investigation of the crew of the Transcription Factor, so this session started by finishing that off. We were down two players, but it wasn’t too much of a problem and probably made it a bit easier to do the investigation side of things.
The first issue was trying to remember what had happened a month ago, since with a game based around doing a lot of research I really needed better notes than I had on what they’d dug up already and what they hadn’t.
At the end of the previous session Rykiel had been invited out to dinner by one of their contacts (she seems to be good at this), and since her player wasn’t there, it was easy to have her vanish off for a bit.
Micky and Iroioah decided to try and find Dr Rebiishjam Ulamkhi’s girlfriend Kaki, who apparently lived in one of the many dorms in the city. Ardasii City is a cramped warren, where physical privacy wasn’t much of a thing and most young people live in shared dorms because it’s cheap.
They found a nearby cafeteria and asked around, and were given helpful advice not only about where to kind kaki, but that maybe Iroioah might not want to meet with her, since Kaki was quite heavily anti-Aslan. So Micky went herself and caught up with Kaki as she came off her shift. They had a conversation, and went out for drinks, finding out that her boyfriend was off on some mission. He’d also previously been involved in an attempt on an Aslan trade delegation some years back and had been imprisoned for it, which was totally unfair.
Kaki and her friends were obviously quite speciesist, especially against Aslan, but other than that they were pretty normal people.
In the meantime Iroioah went off to get an idea of some of the rest of the team by going to their houses and knocking on their doors, initially pretending to be calling about a charity for orphaned desert children. Not what I’d expected, but it seemed reasonable. Dr Kaazaki’s door was opened by a servant, and his wife was there but he wasn’t. She seemed to think that her husband still worked for Ardasii Metals, and suggested calling the office because he was away on a work trip.
Dr Kuurman’s door was opened by his young teenage son who was surprised to see an Aslan and called for his mum, who also seemed surprised, and somewhat suspicious when Iroioah mentioned that she was working with her husband. She wouldn’t given information, and afterwards could be heard making a call as soon as she shut the door.
Eventually the two of them return back to the ship to meet up with Una who had been digging into information on the rest of the group, and they compare notes on what they’d found.
Dr Shidirnali Kimalakuni is a biologist working for BioLabs Delta. He is a 51 year old Vilani from the world of Darchona. He served a short term in the Imperium Navy after leaving academia, before moving into civilian research for Ardasii Metals.
Dr Kinurgu Kuurman is a medical doctor working for BioLabs Delta. A 58 year old Vilani medical doctor, specialised in virology. He is a member of the Anti-Aslan League, and an outspoken critic of Imperial policy towards peace with the Aslan.
Dr Agapi Dirgu is a biologist at BioLabs Delta. She is a 27 year old Vilani, with a missing historical record. There is little knowledge of her or her twin before they joined BioLabs Delta.
Dr Lurma Dirgu is a geteticist at BioLabs Delta. She is a 27 year old Vilani, with a missing historical record. There is little knowledge of her or her twin before they joined BioLabs Delta.
The following day, they purchased some goods for trading and did some more digging around on local social media and the rumour mill, especially to see how widespread the anti-Aslan sentiment was. That gave an opportunity to talk a bit about what the Aslan Hierate was up to, and also fill people in on the Glorious Empire – the small faction of Aslan who even the other Aslan don’t like. They are known for being overly aggressive in warfare, and also use a lot of human slave labour. That was going to be useful for later on.
Other rumours they pick up before leaving:
- There’s a new kingdom based at Drinax, trying to gain power by funding pirates to raid both Aslan and Imperium shipping. At some point they’re bound to get hit hard by one of the two.
- There’s been a sighting of the Pride of Elkaton, a wrecked merchant vessel that went missing about twenty years ago. It was seen around Wildeman, deep in the star’s gravity well. A team went aboard to investigate, and it just vanished. It wasn’t powered up, and was too deep in the gravity well so can’t have jumped. It just vanished with the salvage crew on board.
- There’s been a raid a military supply depot in the Dune Sea by desert folk. They stole a large number of small arms and ammunition. They’re probably planning to use it against the city folk at some point.
With that they take off and head into Jump. By 1105-344 they are landing at Imisaa where they come across some Droyne shortly after leaving the ship. Possibly not important, but I’m trying to introduce some of the Traveller background to the players in a more organic bite-sized fashion.
Micky had a data card to deliver to a journalist which she’d been given on Scaladon, so she and Iroioah went to find Hans Irisidii. Unfortunately he hadn’t been seen for a few days, which was unusual since he was a well liked regular. They’re happy to give pointers to where to go looking for him. Cue side adventure.
At his apartment, which was in the basement of a tower, there was no answer at his door but his door was slightly ajar, and the sound of a TV could be heard coming from inside. Peeking in, the place looked like it had been ransacked, though by Micky’s expert eye it hadn’t been ransacked very well.
There was some blood on the kitchen counter, as if someone’s head had been smashed against the corner. The TV was on to a news channel, and some documents had been left open on it.
So the immediate thought was to go through browser history and emails.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org “Hans Irisidii”
From: email@example.com “Jacqui Miskatonolli”
Subject: paternity data
we’re still waiting. where is it? you either give us the paternity data or refund us the full payment, plus interest. you know what happens if you dont.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org “Hans Irisidii”
From: email@example.com “Shana Karid”
Subject: The Paternity Project
What I know is not much, but Gani Laagir is running something really dodgy from here to the Glorious Empire. He does everything under the cover of the company Paternity Inc, and from I’ve been able to tell, he’s smuggling stuff in and out of the Imperium and all the way across the Outrim Void. Definitely to the Sindalian Main, possibly into the Glorious Empire.
It seems to be mostly weapons – high tech stuff, not your usual small slug throwers. If the rumours are true, then any shit head that helps those GE bastards deserves all that they get, so if you’re looking to do something to hurt them you have my support.
His ship is the Paternity of Stars, from records I’ve seen they go out via Nekrino and back in through Lilgan on the way back. It’s a brilliance class long liner modified for extra cargo, jump 4, so it can make pretty fast speed. Even so, they must be paying off someone or have pretty heavy protection if they’re going anywhere near Theev.
I haven’t heard that they’re doing any illegal as such, but they’re definitely hiding something, and my bet would be illegal weapons. Maybe ship parts or fusion guns
I hear rumours that you’re doing work for the Broken Arrows. They’re real shits as well, but at least they’re not running things to the Empire. My advice: get out and cut your losses before you end up in debt to them, if you’re not already.
Their ship is the Paternity of Stars, but why they call it the Paternity Project I have no idea. I guess they liked the name.
There was also an email which I had to retcon, since I realised after showing it that it wouldn’t have been sent to Hans, but to someone else. Since they had it now though, and there wasn’t a clear way of them finding it later, I decided it was an email Hans had managed to obtain via his investigations.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org “Mazun Laagir”
From: email@example.com “Riga Ladussi”
Where are you expecting the next shipment? I have some potential high class contracts lined up in the next few months. Looking for some fresh replacements.
Head Mistress Riga Ladussi
School For The Disadvantaged
Registered Charity #4af35-3a7e-28fb
There was also information on the company Paternity Inc in the browser history.
Small mercantile company based out of Star Canyon on Imisaa, it has a brokerage warehouse at the starport and head office near the Grand Hall in the city. The registered owner is Dr Mazun Laagir.
It was founded in 1099, and is mostly known for running trade between the Imperium and the Aslan Hierate. As well as on Imisaa, it has minor holdings at Bulhair Freeport at Blue.
It’s main trading asset is the Paternity of Stars, as well as a couple of far traders the Star Patriot and Peggy Jean.
This was pretty much the information I expected the players to find, but then they came up with some clever questions. Since he had a video doorbell, was there a record of who came in? Probably yes, so they got a picture of Jacqui Miskatonolli and a couple of goons, plus the three of them leaving with an alive Hans.
They were also carrying a laptop that they’d taken, so was there a “Find my laptop” feature available on the TV he was still logged into? Yep, and it was located down near a place called John’s Mechanics, which was several layers down in the city and near and area full of gun shops, brothels and bars.
Back at the ship, Rykiel managed to identify the blood as having come from a male Vilani, and Uno had dug up information on Jacqui which listed her working for John’s Mechanics, a business that didn’t advertise what it actually did. She’d also sold the trade goods, and made a reasonable profit.
They did wonder whether the paternity data was on the data card that Micky had, but the file on that was an encrypted file labelled “Ritual Videos”, so it’s probably not related.
It looks like next time they’ll be heading down to try and find Hans and Jacqui, and there was plenty of talk about how to get weapons down there. But that is something for next time. They also have Julius Caesar to track down, who was mentioned as a contact of the Transcription Factor crew.
Again, I’ve tried to render a quick mock-up of what some of the places look like, and I now have a first pass model of their ship, the Run and Pounce (see the title picture). It’s a Hraye class Scout, which I found incredibly difficult to get my head around what it actually looked like in 3D based on the drawings in Ships of the Reach. Since it has two floors, the outside drawing looks too flat. It might need some re-modelling before I’m happy with it.