The Away Party

In our previous session of Traveller, the Deepnight Revelation had reached the world of 985-373, a red zone system in the Outrim Void which was rumoured to contain information on advanced bioweapons. The crew had decided to stop off there to try and find things which might be useful once they find the Entity at their destination.

Out of the player characters, Kirk and Siona headed down in the Opportunities Multiply, along with two of the ship’s top scientists Dr Nekuna and Dr Rusasa. They also took two unnamed NPC members – one of the bridge crew to help in the flying of the Opportunities Multiply, and one of the research assistants. I do need to start naming these characters as the players interact with them, but currently they were Bridge #1 and Research Assistant #1.

So we had an Away Party which headed down to the planet’s surface. Their target was a small research centre on the edge of a ruined coastal city. After a millennia of neglect, most of the city was overgrown with vegetation. The central business distract still had the skeletons of sky scrapers – built from crystaliron they had weathered the ravages of time a lot better than the concrete and steel of much of the rest of the city. Red vines grew up around them though, entwining them in their deadly embrace. According to the information that the team had, the red vines were the results of the biowarfare that had ended the civilisation here, and were considered highly toxic to humans.

Scanning for activity, the ship picked up a low level of electromagnetic activity, which seemed to be not much more than a minimal ‘keep alive’ signal for some form of distributed mesh network. They couldn’t narrow down a specific location for it – most of it seemed to be echoes bouncing off buildings rather than direct transmissions.

They also detected humanoid life forms – something which wasn’t meant to be here, since all mammal life had been wiped out on the main continents. No signs of civilisation – just the odd humanoid amongst the ruins.

None of the humanoids were anywhere near their target though, so the ship landed near to the research centre, which was a small cluster of single story buildings, overgrown with vegetation. Again, it was another opportunity to make use of Dungeondraft. Properly the last for a while since I don’t have any away missions like this planned for a while – unless the players surprise me with their own plans.

Dr Rusasa and her research assistant, who we might as well call Kasu Sedabalis, went out to take some samples. Kirk got annoyed with them for not sticking together, though there were only a few metres apart and within sight of each other at all times. Though Dr Nekuna wanted to stay aboard the ship, but was eventually coaxed out. Only the sensor operator was left behind, and Kirk didn’t leave her with the ‘key’ to the ship in case she flew off.

One of the buildings was a medical centre, and after breaking their way in they discovered a couple of ancient and non-functioning cold sleep caskets. There was a skeletal corpse in one, which showed some signs of infection, so Dr Rusasa took some samples for study back on the ship later.

One of the warehouses was open, and was filled with half-collapsed shelves covered in fungus and old non-bio-degradable packets. Kirk was first through the door, and heard something moving around inside. Equipped with battledress and a laser rifle, he actually tried some diplomacy. The creature was humanoid – but didn’t seem to comprehend what was being said to it, or even that anything was being said. It was male, naked, emaciated with pale skin and thin strands of hair. It didn’t know what to make of Kirk, and was trying to decide whether Kirk was a threat or not.

Eventually it decided to pounce, but Kirk knocked it aside with his rifle. It tried to stand to run, but Kirk clubbed it again and it went down unconscious. Dr Rusasa wanted it restrained and bagged up for taking back to the ship.

The last place to investigate was the main research building. Inside was the shell of a humanoid defence robot – it had been inoperative for a long time, and fell over and broke into pieces when Siona investigated it. There was a hole in the floor, which looked like something had chewed its way up through the floor. Down the hole was what looked like a small office room.

Most of the rooms on the ground floor just had chairs, desks and long ago decayed computer terminals. There were some medical rooms, and the dead remains of some worm-like creature with large sharp teeth.

They found some stairs down, so headed down to the computer and bio-storage level. There was a large room full of computer racks, which Dr Nekuna was interested in having a rummage around in. Whilst the others were investigating the bio samples, he did eventually find some intact memory cubes which might have data still on them.

At the far side of the level were some heavily sealed doors which took some effort to get through. There were eight small cubicles, in each of which were some sample containers.

It was then that they got a transmission from the sensor operator they’d left back on the ship – she’d picked up increased radio activity in the area, and it seemed to be heading in their direction. They quickly grabbed what they could – breaking two of the containers in the process, and headed back up to the ground floor.

Outside the building was a floating robot, armed with a laser weapon and taking a lot of interest in the Opportunities Multiply. When it spotted Kirk, it took a shot at him, but he dived into cover behind a door. A short shoot-out commenced, with Siona distracting it by throwing the remains of the broken robot out the door.

With Kirk in battledress, the robot didn’t quite manage to get through his armour, and Kirk’s own shots were hitting but the bulk of their energy was being deflected off the machine’s armour. It wasn’t particularly bright though, and was soon whittled down and a final shot blew it apart.

They bundled aboard their ship, taking some bits of the robot with them, and made to rapidly leave. There were signs of more of the humanoids closing in on their position, so they pointed skyward and accelerated towards orbit.

Checking the robot parts once they were safely out of the atmosphere, it seemed to have been built by the Belgardian Sojurnate, one of the nations enforcing the Red Zone around 985-373, so had been left here recently rather than being left over from the collapsed civilisation.

So the away team’s mission seemed to have been successful. They have a living specimen, a dead specimen.

I also have two new NPCs to re-use from the ship’s crew:

Kasu SedabalisResearch Assistant, he is keen to explore strange new worlds, but doesn’t really have the practical skills for coping if things go bad. Is more than capable of getting samples and performing simple exploration though.
EDU +1
Skills: Electronics 0, Investigage 0, Science (Biology) 1, Vacc Suit 0

Liri Nara MiisishziBridge Crewmember, ambitious woman with a great deal of confidence who is willing to take risks and put up with high workloads in order to get herself noticed.
STR -1, DEX +1, INT +1
Skills: Electronics (Sensors) 1, Gunner 0, Mechanic 0, Pilot (Capital) 1, Steward 0, Vacc Suit 0

This was the last stop expected for the Deepnight before it starts heading towards The Beyond sector. I do want to quickly skip over the next few worlds if possible (there might be a small stop at Floria), and have a possible course laid out which the players can discuss next time. The current plan is for a small team to head to Goblin’s Planet, whilst the Deepnight visits the Corellan League.

There will be some background research done over the next few jumps, but I’m not expecting it to take too much time. Of course, the players may have different ideas.

Samuel Penn