Back at the Starport:
When the repairs are almost done the crew are contacted by Meles-2, the cyborg broker. She tells the crew that she has heard about and seen strange cargo containers that have passed through Lancaster Starport. She says that some big government-owned cargo ship has sometimes unloaded one or a few containers that have then been stored at the Naval Base, then another big government cargo ship has picked them up. During the transport of these cargos from the Naval Base to the waiting ships, her men reported that they have seen strange refraction patterns around the containers and that they have also seen what they believed was Cherenkov radiation glowing blue from the underside of the container.
Through her contact, Meles-2 has now been trusted to arrange transport of two 4-ton containers with top-secret contents. These two containers should be delivered to the remote and interdicted planet Burnt Bases in Chambersburg Subsector. The containers are marked with big letters MN7 and MN8 and will be delivered to the Notorious (if the crew accepts this mission) via Meles-2’s warehouse.
Payment will be for a full cargo hold there and back. (Lancaster-York-Carlisle-Chambersburg-Burnt Bases) That is kCr 736. The Notorious will receive a once-only visitor’s permit for Burnt Bases as part of the mission contract. Meles-2 says that she is very interested in that system and will offer kCr 100 extra for useful information.
The Navy doesn’t care if the Notorious takes any additional cargo; but the Navy also recommends that no living cargo is transported in the same cargo hold and that the crew doesn’t spend too much time close to the two containers. There is a time limit of 7 weeks, so there cannot be any deviation from the route.
Some additional information about the containers:
Each day the crew must check some values on a touch screen on each of the containers. If the contents of the container are becoming unstable, this will be reported. Then the containers must be ejected in space as soon as possible. But not in jump space and not close to a planet. The container will then activate a warning signal on multiple frequencies. The Notorious must them move away as quickly as possible. The warning system can also be activated manually from the touch screen. It is also possible to call for help from the Navy. This message will have the highest priority. Different types of warnings or messages can be set.
This information will probably not be needed and should not be something to be worried about, says Meles-2.
Yes, we are going to Burnt Bases:
The crew sees this as a good opportunity to earn a lot of money and a chance to see an interdicted world and accepts the mission. (If the crew doesn’t accept, Meles-2 can add a container to Chambersburg and add 100 kCr, but says that she really didn’t want this container to go on the same ship as the Navy containers.)
The day before the containers are to be loaded aboard the Notorious they are transported to Meles-2’s warehouse. During the transport between the two warehouses there are several explosions at a few locations at and around the starport. A thick cloud of smoke covers the transport. The crew of the Notorious can follow this on their screens or by watching a news channel, but they cannot do much about it themselves. They can and should go and look for any injured people to help at the site of the closest explosions and help them.
A black ship that the crew recognizes appears: the Quartet’s Ship. It goes into the smoke cloud. The Notorious isn’t powered up yet and the cloud is two km away. It may be possible to find some kind of transport to get there as quickly as possible, but that may also be a suicide mission. After one minute the black ship reappears from the cloud and speeds directly upwards.
From the Navy Base, 20 fighters (both COACC and space fighters) take off, but they cannot catch the black ship. They fire a few shots, but it appears there is no damage to the black ship; the black ship must be both armored and fast.
When the smoke blows away there is only one container left, the one marked MN7. There are dead and wounded workers and security personnel lying on the ground. Medical personnel are running there to help. The crew may also help.
The trip to Burnt Bases:
Meles-2 tells the crew that since there is now only one container, the Navy only wanted to pay half of the agreed fee. But she says that she has now negotiated with them and that the Notorious now must deliver one container for kCr 500. There is no way of backing out of an already accepted Navy contract. But this is still good money and there are other opportunities for profit as well.
During the trip the following additional cargoes are available:
(Buy or sell according to the rules used for the game.)
Lancaster -> York: Steel or Wood.
York -> Carlisle: Cattle or Meat.
If Cattle is selected, the cargo will die and cannot be sold.
Carlisle -> Chambersburg: Fruit or Coffee.
If Fruit is selected, it will go bad and cannot be sold.
There is no other cargo to Burnt Bases than the Naval container.
Each day when checking the touch screen on the container, roll 2D:
|2 (or less)||More Danger|
For each time a “More Danger” is rolled, a DM of -1 should be added to all following rolls.
“Danger” usually means that something can be corrected from the touch screen. Anyone with computer-1 can do this. Just follow the instructions. (Be inspired by instructions for changing something in the control panel in windows.) Someone without computer skill will automatically fail this task. There should be a small chance for failure for others. Failure will lead to an automatic “More Danger” the next day.
Some examples of problems when rolling “Danger”:
|1||The Dirac value in the controller program must be changed to 11.|
|2||Add 2D6 to the The Heisenberg Balance.|
|3||A process has hanged and must be terminated and then restarted.|
|4||Re-align the magnatomic wave disperser and add 1D6 to the The Heisenberg Balance.|
|5||Cooling problem. The container surface will reach 55 °C. It needs to be cooled.|
|6||Static discharges detected. Container needs to be electrically grounded.|
Keep track of the Heisenberg Balance. Tell the players that a value of 100 is critical. But make sure it never reaches 100. It starts at 50.
“More Danger” usually means that some physical action must be taken. When this happens there may also be Cherenkov radiation or strange refraction may be visible. Also add 1D6 to the Heisenberg Balance.
Some examples of problems when rolling “More Danger”:
|1||Liquid Hydrogen must be refilled into the cooling system.|
|2||A valve on the top of the container must be opened to let out radioactive steam.|
|3||Jump grid feedback loop detected. The container must be moved further away from the jump drive.|
|4||Clean the ionic negator paths.|
|5||There are microfractures in the containment field. The cargo hold needs to be depressurized.|
|6||Cooling error. The container surface will reach 110 °C. It needs to be cooled.|
Even though these events scare the crew, there will never be a reason to eject the container into space.
At Burnt Bases:
When the Notorious has arrived in the Burnt Bases system the one-time pass code should be sent. They could wait and look around a bit in the system first (as Meles-2 wanted them to do) but will soon be spotted and the questioned about why they didn’t send the code at once. The Navy will then be quite upset. After the code has been sent, the Notorious is ordered to travel by the shortest route to the moon of the fourth planet. They are only allowed to land at a landing bay at the moon. They will unload their cargo and start refueling immediately.
At the moon there is a research station. The crew is greeted by the 12 scientists residing here. They have not been in contact with civilians for a long time and they are very happy to meet some other people than the Navy. The scientists are cheerful and talkative and might even accidentally reveal information that they probably shouldn’t be discussing. They will confirm the suspicions that the crew have had about the container. “Yes, it has super heavy elements in it.” After talking to the scientists for an hour, a message from the Navy is received demanding that the Notorious should leave now.
Just when the Notorious has left the research base there is a moon-quake. It is a strange quake where a part of the base collapses and disappears. The area is glowing blue with Cherenkov radiation. An emergency call comes in from the scientists. The Notorious turns around and goes back to the research base to rescue them. (The crew knows that they are not allowed to ignore this.)
Landing will be difficult. Two scientists are missing at first. After looking for them they will be found, but there are dangers. Part of the base is depressurized. There will also be some falling rocks. There is a bottomless pit where part of the lab was.
|Prof. Solomon Colby|
|Prof. Vivian Davis|
|Prof. Augustus Lloyd|
|Prof. Edwin Matsuda|
|Prof. Genevieve Banker|
|Dr. Bernadette Scott|
|Dr. Raynard Flint|
|Dr. Wandalyn Chapman|
|Dr. Rondall Rawcliffe|
|Dr. Francesca Girifalco|
|Dr. Liv Grete Fladmark|
|Dr. Noah Wright|
The scientists are very happy and grateful that they were saved. A part of their lab is destroyed, but all personnel is now safe aboard the Notorious. The scientists cannot continue their work now and are allowed to go back to their university at Chambersburg with the Notorious. (It will be a bit crowded.) One bruised but very grateful scientists tells the crew that in their research base they have the wreckage of the Rimmie ship with the graviton beam that was used in the space battle of Gettysburg. They have been working on trying to get some of the functionality of the weapon to work again with the help of super heavy elements, such as the shipment that the Notorious delivered.
The scientists leave the Notorious at the Chambersburg starport, but they also promise that the crew will hear from them in a day or two. It looks like they have a plan.
After one day the crew of the Notorious gets an invitation to a dinner party at the University.
Images of the crew generated with Artflow: