Finding Solomani

After over a month of missing games, we got back to our Traveller game of Deepnight Revelation last night. Previously, the crew of the Deepnight had been exploring the world of Nishake, and the Ancient technology that had been left there. The session started with the players getting a handout for the semi-regular crew report, and then it was time to head Rimward.

During their Jump, it is noticed that one of the Erline crew, Tracy (the human name she had chosen), is not feeling well. She has pains in her joints and is having difficulty breathing. She’s been keeping the symptoms hidden for a while, but it had got to the point where one of the other Erline contacted the ship’s medical staff.

Though Tracy was the most badly affected, the other Erline were also starting to come down with symptoms. After checking for anything infectious, a full body scan noted that some vital organs in her body were reacting badly to some proteins that had been picked up from food on Nishake. By the time the Deepnight came out of jump around Aluwot, a remedy had been discovered, but it was too late for Tracy.

The Erline way of coping with death is a celebration about the life of the deceased, so a party is held in the main docking bay of the ship. Her body is released into space, and allowed to drop down into the atmosphere of the gas giant. A camera is placed on the coffin, allow her last moments to be recorded.

In memory, the star system was renamed as Tracy Two. The other Erline recovered, and the ship’s bio scanners were modified to take into account Erline physiology when scanning for pathogens.

The next destination is the system of Dewoykod, but it is discovered that the gas giant there is too close to its parent star, and too warm. So a course change is made to Phitowta. There is a habitable world there, populated by a low tech civilisation of dog-like humanoids. They are not Vargr, and neither are they related to any Terran animals. It was an opportunity for the Vargr crew members to perform some first contact. The culture there was surprisingly peaceful, but otherwise not particularly unique so the crew didn’t stay long.

At Iwus Khadashi proposed a poetry competition, with the poems read out at the next system in order to give everyone the week in jump to come up with something. Kirk added an extra layer to the competition – performing the poems to dance.

At Eguh, the Deepnight finally has enough sensor data on the two dim red dwarfs that were the only potential crossing points. Fortunately one of them has a gas giant in a suitable orbit, so the course is plotted for the jump across the gap. After this, the Deepnight will be considered to have reached the Rimward shore of the Great Rift. In addition, longer range scans had confirmed that there were at least three TL 8+ civilisations in the next sector, one of them only a couple of dozen parsecs distant.

Shortly before jump, the poetry competition is held.

Some of the poems are very good, other’s are not so good. Zanobia does a poem in Oynprith, which according to the few amongst the crew who spoke it, was technically very good but artistically unimpressive to human ears. Shiiguma’s poem about the “Joy of Sneaking (in the engine room)” ends up winning.

Kirk’s dance competition is to be held around the time of Jump, though the Jump is postponed by a few minutes due to a need to recalculate. Everything goes smoothly though and the ship enters Jump as various crew members try to combine dance and poetry.

Unknown to most of the crew, some activity was going on in Engineering. One of the jump engineers had decided that it would be really funny if, during the middle of Kirk’s performance as the ship entered jump, the lights would all cut out. The dimming of lights is an old custom that some ships still perform, plus it would upset the XO’s dance.

Unfortunately, Stanley made an error in his programming that would cut all power to the ship, potentially causing a major misjump. Fortunately a double check of things by Siona noticed this, and disaster was averted. The incident was kept within engineering, though Stanley was quietly taken off anything of responsibility for a while.

Eventually the Deepnight reaches the system of Suyar at 3032, not far from the edge of Crossing sector. It was another system with a habitable world, so it was an opportunity to visit and restock on supplies. There were sophonts here – a few small tribes of humanoid hunter gatherers.

They looked very close to human, so drones were sent down to collect DNA samples. The humanoids were humans. But they hadn’t been planted here by the Ancients 300,000 years ago. They were related to Solomani a couple of thousand years ago. The language they spoke was unknown, but it had roots in Anglic. Somehow, Terrans had travelled to here in the last few thousand years. Not impossible, but very unexpected.

Group of human hunter gatherers walking along a river
Human hunters

First Contact was made, with Lord Sivas leading the team. The people were cautious, but ultimately willing to be friendly, providing hospitality to their guests. Once the translation software had worked out what was being said, these people had no knowledge of star travel. They believed they had originated here, born of the Thunder God. Their myths were pretty normal for a low tech species, with no obvious signs of it telling of travel across the stars.

There were oddities though. Their culture was stone age, but they had basic metal working. They also understood that illness came from little things in the water and dirt, and that washing and boiling kept things healthy. They had knowledge which was likely to have come from a high tech society, and which was simple enough to be passed down through oral traditions though they had lost the scientific reasoning which initially led to those ideas.

Their biology was different to the rest of the planet, with the exception of a species of rat which was quite dominant. This rat was related to Terran rats from a few thousand years ago. There was no sign of a spacecraft here though, or any signs of technology.

Somehow, Solomani travellers had crossed the hundreds of parsecs Rimward of Charted Space and made it out to the Great Rift.

Samuel Penn