Patron: Merchant / Broker
Required Skills: nothing special
Required Equipment: jump-capable starship with 5 tons of available cargo space
As the PC’s are seeking a cargo to purchase or move, a broker by the name of Barnard Green contacts the ship asking if they can carry a special cargo. It seems that the local noble in charge of this planet/subsector is upset with the fact that a bunch of bobble-head dolls in his likeness were manufactured. The broker asks if the PC’s can haul five tons of this cargo to a destination to a friend of his some dozen parsecs away. Instead of trashing all the dolls he is trying to make some minor profit – or at least break even. He will pay to have the dolls delivered to his friend at +10% above the normal delivery rate (he will go as high as 50%, but not a cent more). (Total lot price = 5,000 credits before the added percentage. Twelve parsecs distance adds 12,000 credits). He will pay half now and his partner will pay the other 50% upon delivery. If the group accepts he will help the group obtain other cargos to help fill their hold (-2 DM on the price modifier for these cargoes), but they must leave the starport within 48 hours.
If the characters pay attention to the local news media, the story seems to be true. Apparently a rival of this noble is seen telling the media that the local noble is a “yes man” and is as empty-headed as the doll. He flicks the head of the doll and says, “See! He agrees to just about anything!” The local noble’s reaction is predictable as he is shown in a half-rage on a local vidclip ripping the head off one of these dolls. The locals spray paint pictures of this doll with an oversized head the very next day as it appears the “offended” noble is the brunt of many a local’s joke.
To say the offended noble is annoyed would be a great understatement. Barnard Green was the person who was the go-between from the manufacturer (who was actually the noble’s rival through a third-party) to the merchants and he is in a very awkward position. He wants to get this last batch out of sight and out of mind as soon as possible. When the PC’s leave the planet he will have a ticket in hand and he will personally leave the planet as quickly as possible.
1. The offer is legitimate. The cargo is delivered quickly to the PC’s with the cargo identification as “Toys and Novelties” with no hazard attached to the cargo. Barnard’s friend Anton Gaskie will be waiting with the money in hand at the destination to receive the cargo.
2. The offer is legitimate. The noble’s personal guards are seen poking around the starport asking about the whereabouts of Barnard Green. After he helps the crew obtain their cargo he tells them he is outward bound for a “prolonged holiday” on a departing liner. Anton Gaskie will be waiting at the destination as told with the promised money.
3. The offer is legitimate. As the ship is heading outbound the offended noble dispatches a customs ship to board and check the papers of their ship. They ask for a passenger manifest first as they are specifically looking for Barnard Green. As they look through the manifest they may (50% chance) notice the entry of “Toys and Novelties” and they will ask to visually inspect the cargo. If they suspect the PC’s are carrying Barnard’s cargo and they find the dolls they will rip the ship apart looking for other contraband while the customs crew ejects the cargo out the nearest airlock. There will be no compensation. The PC’s will be asked to leave the system.
4. The offer is a front. The anger of the offended noble is true enough, but the bobblehead dolls have an inscription on the bottom that can only be seen when a UV light is shining on their base. Each base contains personal ID’s and bank account data. (There are 1000 dolls per ton). This breach of data may come to haunt the PC’s later on. Anton Gaskie will send a doxy to meet the PC’s at the starport and pay them what was promised.
5. The offer is false. There is no man named Anton Gaskie at the destination. So now the PC’s are stuck with 5 tons of bobble-head dolls that will not exactly endear them to an angry noble back some dozen parsecs. Barnard Green cannot be reached as he took an extended holiday.
6. The offer is a front. Again the offended noble is angry, but the dolls themselves are not what they seem. Inside one out of every ten dolls has a hidden microchip in their head. This chip is filled with valuable information on the local military, including base layouts, Tactical Order and Equipment (TO&E) of the local units, personality profiles of the military leadership, the schematics of the ships assigned to these bases and the ship security passcodes that will allow the manufacture of swipe cards allowing personal access. As in option #3 the crew will be boarded and IF the cargo is discovered (50%) they have a lot of explaining to do. Obviously the ship and cargo will be detained and held for evidence.