The Deepnight Revelation has reached the sector of No Prospect, so named because there was thought to be no prospect of finding a suitable route across the Great Rift here. The next major mission milestone is the crossing itself.
The following two sectors are Best Prospect and Last Prospect. One of those sectors is hoped to provide a crossing point. If not, then it’s likely that the Deepnight will need to find a route around Greenwald’s Bay, a large expanse of mostly nothing, before taking up the search again on the other side.
During the jump from Sisyphus Citerior sector to the system of Igase in No Prospect, there was a small event that the crew needed to deal with.
Depending on how I decide to run the next big event, it might be useful to make use of some battle maps. I’ve rarely used these in Traveller, so I wanted to have a practice session with them, along with a bit of combat.
At the end of last session, the players had been made aware that some flies had been seen aboard the ship. This was a rare thing, since the environs are usually quite clean. But it’s possible to pick things up from the worlds visited, despite the crew trying their best to prevent contamination. One person had been bitten and suffered an allergic reaction, but nothing too serious.
Then, a few days into jump, one of the engineers went missing. Engineering Hand Tren Ingaros had failed to turn up to his shift. This was reported to Imelda Thatcher, the head of human resources. She of course required many forms to be filled out, before alerting people up the chain of command.
He hadn’t been seen since dinner the night before, and after security found his room to be empty, a small team was put together to go looking for him. Another engineer, Ebben Uri, reported seeing him later yesterday evening. Ebben had requested some help on some air ducts he was working on, and Tren had volunteered to finish up so Ebben could make it to the dining hall before the kitchen officially closed.
Imelda, Shiiguma, Alfred (who had somehow been roped into it) and Ebben head off to the place Tren had been seen last. There was a discarded PDA, and some strange marks on the walls and floor. They looked like sticky trails. Lots of small, sticky trails.
By this point, Imelda seems to be the only one who hasn’t noticed that she is surrounded by a number of flies. She’s too busy writing up a report on how to search for missing people. Following the trails, the number of flies seems to increase as well, until they get to one of the engineering rooms.
There are some blood stains here – it looks like someone has been dragged whilst bleeding. These lead further into the machinery that fills the room. They don’t get far before they notice some large swarms of crawling caterpillar-like creatures. So it was time to back off and get help from security. They also got some flammable bug spray to to burn and/or poison the creatures out.
It was a chance to do a bit of turn based combat, and remember how it all worked. Since the crew were in Vacc Suits, the swarms had difficulty hurting them, though there was a chance. Their security guard had his suit pierced, but the bugs were burned off him without too much issue. They couldn’t use large flamer weapons due to close proximity to power systems, but the smaller flamers worked well enough.
The body of Tren was discovered in the far room, mostly eaten by the bugs. So it was time to call down the fire suppression system. This worked in killing all the remaining bugs. Unfortunately, the security guard had a punctured suit, and started suffering oxygen deprivation. He failed two END checks in a row before they got him back to an oxygen filled room. He wasn’t dead, but has permanent lung damage.
Investigating the bugs, it turns out the caterpillars are the second stage of the life form. They had found a source of food in one of the supply cabinets, before nesting in the engine room. Then they had started looking for other supplies of food. The flies were mostly harmless, but Tren had suffered a severe allergic reaction and collapsed. The swarms had found him, and carried him back to the engine room.
So it was time to clean things out and exterminate any remaining bugs. The ship came out of jump whilst this was going on, and was able to refuel and prepare for the next leg of the journey.
A few jumps on, they had a choice between two systems – neither of which had suitable gas giants. One system, Stotover, had a single gas giant which sensors implied was hot enough to have silicates in its atmosphere. The other, Acafno, had none at all. Acafno may have had an Oort cloud, whilst Stotover had smaller, probably icy, worlds further out.
There were no other suitable routes without taking a long detour, so it was decided to jump to Stotover. They’d still have a parsec of fuel if needed to jump to the other candidate. A refuelling at Stotover turned out to be possible, so from there it was a jump into Best Prospect sector.
The stellar density here was low, and there was no obvious route. Further scanning of the parsecs ahead would be needed. At this point I also gave the players a choice – whether to head directly across the sector, towards signs of civilisation in the next sector, or to head ‘down’ towards the edge of the Rift, where scanning for a route across would be easier.
The current decision seems to be head directly across, and hope that a route can be found. This map view that the players get to see is filtered by what they have scanned so far. It’s a crude way of tracking things, but it allows me to automate the whole scanning process. Planets around brighter stars are easier to detect, so some of the nearer cooler stars don’t yet have much information.
Their sensors have picked up radio broadcasts from at least two civilisations over in the next sector. This seems to be the biggest stellar civilisation yet since leaving Charted Space. The civilisation, which seems to be interstellar, might have better maps of the area and be able to provide help in the crossing.
This session had a couple of different things to it. First off, it was the first bit of combat for probably over a year. The second was that I provided the players which some more choices about which routes to take. Usually, I let the NPCs work out the navigation, since for the most part it doesn’t really matter. It also allows me to figure out interesting things to happen outside of the session if I know which systems will be visited.
Despite being (relatively) combat heavy, there was quite a bit of role playing between the characters, and more chances to interact with some of the NPCs. We finished the session as the Deepnight enters the Best Prospect sector, which meant another handout. A shorter one this time, since it’s only been a few weeks since the previous one.
1114-133: Best Prospect
The ship is running smoothly. The new sensor upgrade has been fully integrated and is working as specified.
As we head into Best Prospect sector, the ship is getting closer again to the Great Rift. Star density is starting to thin out, and the Rimward half of the sector is mostly empty.
A decision needs to be made on which route to take. Taking a route closer to the shore may be slower, but will allow more detailed scanning for possible routes across the Rift.
It was hoped that a route could be found from this sector, if not then it will have to be the next sector Last Prospect. After that the Rift widens and a long way around Greenwald’s Bay will need to be located. This would add several years to the journey.
The most interesting information though seems to be coming from the sector of Last Prospect. The radio signals that we’ve picked up suggest that there are two to four separate civilisations spread over a dozen or more star systems. It’s possible that they may have information about the local area which could be of use to us.
They are by far the largest civilisation we have so far encountered since leaving Charted Space.