Classic Traveller: Session Report 5

Thursday , 2, November 2017 2 Comments

Session characters:

Sir Percival Jones, 54577B, Age 30, Scout (3 terms, mustered out), Pilot 1, JOT 1, ATV 1, Vacc Suit 1 Elect 3. He’s cash poor, but, a lucky chap who’s survived 12 years as a scout and the service appreciates it by loaning him a ship. He’s playing Galahad on for a mother (Astrid Anderson) and child (Frelser Anderson) on the run from the Psionic Institute authorities.

Mirin Beg, 354848, Age 50, Other (8 terms, retired), Brawling 2, Gambling 2, Cutlass 3, Mechanical 2, Bribery 1. He’s got a shady background but, he gets things done. Last job he had was with Mainstar Mining Company. Now, though, he’d like to take his retirement and find a nice quite planet to relax on.

Hugo Abe, 647897, Age 26, Other (2 terms mustered out), Auto Rifle 1, Cudgel 1, Forgery 1. Something of a thug, he’s looking to make himself scarce from local organized crime groups; perhaps start a new life on the off-world colonies.

This session begins with our heroes deciding what to do with the ship they silenced last session. The Nellie Gray was fleeing from the ambushing Always Fought. Now silent. Percival and Mirin decide to match trajectories with it. The ship seem safe given that the ship stopped shooting . Percival then uses his Vacc Suit skill to board the Always Fought. Hugo tags along as an NPC since the player could not make it. The interior of the ship is dark and without artificial gravity. Mirin, from the Nellie Gray, can see what looks like a flashlight moving inside the depressurized ship’s cockpit.

They make their way down the hallway when the door to the cockpit opens. The lights go on in the cockpit which silhouettes a suited figure. The figure launches itself at Percival. They tussel. The figure latches onto Percival, and tries to stab him with a knife but, the suit armor deflects the weak blow. Percival tries to bring his shotgun to bear. But, given the minuses to hit at close quarters, decides instead to gain distance for a shot. Balling himself up he brings his legs to his chest and pushes off the figure. He bounces back down the corridor and the attacker shoots off back into the cockpit. The cockpit door closes and a glowing red panel to its side shows it to be locked. Then the lights and gravity return. They figure out that the cockpit must still be in vacuum due to the holed hull.

They override the control panel opening the door. The pressure in the hallway shoots both Percival and Hugo into the compartment. They find themselves packed into the cockpit with a small suited child. The kid has balled itself up under one of the control panels. In the pilot’s seat is a motionless figure — diagnostic panels on her vacc suit flashing amber and red. Hugo tries to coax the child out but, without the ability to speak across the vacuum does not succeed. Percival reviews the figure’s suit and discovers that the pilot was still alive. But, barely. The pilot suit is leaking from a misaligned helmet seal. Percival tapes the suit seal and the diagnostics turn from amber and red to green. Then they wait for the Patrol Cruisers to arrive.The Patrol Cruiser arrives. A rescue crew patches up the hole in the Always Fought and takes the still-unconscious pilot and child into custody. On planet, the military junta (who has too much on its plate than to do anything but deal with Piracy in a summary fashion) holds a rapid hearing, and declares that due to the unprovoked attack the Always Fought is forfeit to the Nellie Gray. Artemis gets her chance to argue. “They Destroyed my planet.” The child, Athena, whines “They were meanies to my Auntie!” Nonetheless, Percival, Mirin, and Hugo take the ship and sell it on the open market. But, not before trading their double turret with the Always Fought’s triple turret and missile launcher. Mirin greased the skids and rolls well to find that, due to the military emergency, ships are at a premium and they sell the Always Fought at a 30% premium. This nets Percival, Hugo, and Mirin a huge 14.7 MCr each.

Feeling flush, they leave Artemis and Athena beached high and dry on Sytorgus. Then they continue on their journey to Radytavus. Radytavus is an interesting system is has a UPP of B0004207 with a gas giant. But, as they learned earlier, it is a military reservation used for weapons testing. The B spaceport is only open when the military is there training. The few people living in the system are scattered hermits living in the asteroid belt. The asteroid belt is close in to the system’s primary white dwarf star. The gas giant is a humongous brown dwarf that is far from the parent white dwarf. When the white dwarf was created in a nova process, its small companion star had a huge chunk of its mass blown off resulting in a the brown dwarf. The whole sytem is engulfed in a quite beautiful nebula. The type B spaceport is located at the L4 position of the brown dwarf. But, the spaceport is closed. The station’s fuel reservoirs have been scavenged dry. They do manage to scrounge enough residual fuel to fill their tanks. And, a good thing to too, as skimming a brown dwarf for fuel is a dangerous business due to the radiation belts and the high gravity. Plus, the journey to the brown dwarf from L4 will take 15.34 days at 2 g thrust. The travel time to the inner asteroid belt takes 30 days.

During the long journey down the gravity well they play a lot of cribbage and eavesdrop on the local hermit’s few transmissions. They discover that the locals are poor on volatiles. They live by scrounging from the starport and illegal trips to trade handicrafts in Zanqu in the Irural Sultanate. They get around their own system on slow solar sail trips to save on volatiles.

They use the clues the Psionics Institute gave them to home onto a faint signal. The signal is associated with what appears to be a comet depleted of volatiles. It looks like nothing but a pile of rubble loosely agglomerated by faint gravity. Upon closer inspection they see the corner of a rectilinear structure peeking out of the rubble. It’s the rear of a star-ship showing part of a drive structure and a hatch. Percival suits up and heads out to explore (all in the days work of the scout service). The outer hull of the derelict ship is black and engraved with hieroglyphs. Percival manages to tether the two ships together and open the hatch. Inside reveals a dark circular passageway lined with alien handholds and doors. Mirin joins Percival as they explore the ship. Mirin has no vacc suit skill and Percival straps Mirin to his back.

They find, behind the door at the end of the hall, a cockpit. In the cockpit is another helmet like they found in the pyramids. Plus, for the first time they meet the Jump Spiders. The mythical aliens are real, as they can see by the many corpses strewn about. Some sort of conflict occurred here. The creature’s vacc suits are rent and torn. Limbs are severed. The walls are scarred by weapons fire and control panels are destroyed.

They then explore the rest of the ship. They find cabins interspersed with rooms full of the desiccated husks of food animals just as they had found at the Pyramids. They also found what seemed to be a large cargo bay which included a number of silent and powered down robots — built to the same body plan as the Jump Spiders.

They return to the cockpit where Percival figures out how to power up the ship. Soon the lights are on and whirring pumps have brought the cabin to pressure. And, the oxygen is breathable. Percival then decides to try the helmet again. The controls are damaged but, he gleams some information:

He finds a mental map of the ship’s past journey. The map shows a large scale map of the galaxy. The ship’s path covers about a quarter of the perimeter of the galaxy. Judging the length of the path and an average jump distance of 3 parsecs it looks like the ship traveled for approximately 2,500 years with only a few stops of any duration. None of the stars the ship stopped at were white dwarfs. But, the small number of local stars they are familiar with are all now white dwarfs today. So, the Aliens appear to have been travelling around at least a quarter of the galaxy and destroying stars along their path the whole way.

Also, and this is something I forgot to mention in the session, the ship they were exploring is not equipped with a jump drive. Percival’s interface with the ship computer only revealed conventional drives.

During the interface, Mirin watching Percival’s back notices that with the power on the robots in the cargo bay are active, marching about inside the bay. One robot exits the bay and climbs the airlock door jamb and sets to work repairing the panel Percival damaged while opening the lock. As soon as Percival ends his communing with the ship, he powers the whole place down and the robot marches back into the bay and closes the door.

At this point they photograph everything and leave. They take one of the Jump Spider carcasses with them. They form a rough plan to head out to Zanqu in the Irural Sultanate where Mirin is thinking of retiring to. And there we called it for the day.

Finally, as an information point, during the 30 day trip down the gravity well thrusting for 15 days at 2 g before turning over. This means that at that turnaround point the ship reached about 8.5 percent of the speed of light. This produces a kinetic energy of about 14,000 megatons. The Traveller Universe is extremely trusting of people having control of starships.

  • John E. Boyle says:

    14.7 MCr?

    Holy Smoke!

    Normally, my mantra is:
    More ammo, better armor, bigger guns – but this kind of money puts you in a different league. Besides, you pretty much covered this when you traded the double turret up for the triple turret and rocket launcher.

    So…buy a bigger ship?

  • Neal Durando says:

    Best session so far. Thanks, Brian!

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