The Law for Objects in Space
On a planet with no name, a group of lawmen must protect a colony nobody has heard of from the universe's most effective killers. All the while preserving the safety of both the guilty and the innocent in an effort to make society more about dignity and freedom than profit and force.
This adventure takes place on a frontier world in a game universe such as Traveler, Star Wars or Firefly. Humans/humanoids settled the planet to use it as a base of operations for mining an asteroid field that is close to the planet. The planet's atmosphere and gravity are similar to earths, though the air has higher nitrogen levels, near 85%, which will occasionally cause nitrogen narcosis in the colonists. The high oxygen to nitrogen ratio suggests that planet once had a much different climate. Currently the entire planet is covered in ice with temperatures ranging from -10F to -100F and no observable indigenous life-forms.
The colony is build around a Dalt-Browning Terra-forming generator that maintains an area of warmer space of about 1 sq mile. The Dalt-Browning Terra-forming generator was made for planets that have a close to earth atmosphere but are not within the livable temperature for humans. It works by creating an electromagnetic field that causes air particles to speed up (warmer) or slow down (cooler). Production of the Dalt-Browning was discontinued years ago due to 3 major issues, one being they do not have sophisticated computer systems so they either require an external computer to constantly regulate operation or dedicated staff (this particular one uses a small dedicated staff). Second when it is used to perform large scale temperature increases it often generates dangerous static fields. Unless structures are carefully designed the electromagnetic field causes a buildup of static electricity in the affected area. Finally it uses a Kwat-Ishii Fission reactor that requires the removal of 50 tons of radioactive waste every 7.5 years.
The surface colony's facilities and industries are limited to a dozen or so hydroponic farms and a few storage centers for the palladium and other metals mined from the asteroids. The surrounding asteroid belt is notably rich with palladium but other trace metals such as cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, and ruthenium are also mined. Officially the asteroids are one big free for all, like the Californian gold rush anyone can technically stake a claim, but in reality all the mining is run by one Karl Hurtzog who buys all the products of the freelance mining. He owns the Dalt-Browning, which is not yet technically illegal, and a orbital small space station with artificial gravity. Along with his private luxury apartments the station also contains the only ore refineries, refueling center, and starship maintenance/repair bay in the system. He charges 25% to 50% of all mined earnings for use of his facilities. The rest of the money Karl extracts from the miners at the space stations two other businesses: the comfort women's hotel and commissary. Those two enterprise are run by a woman named Chrysler Ruse, who is officially a tenant of the station. However, Ruse and Hurtzog have been associates for many years prior to the founding of this mining colony. Additionaly, most of the miners do not have a means to keep track of the trace metals market, so they are forced to trust Karl's prices, and thus are very much under Karl's thumb.
The legal control of the colony is divided between Civilian Law Enforcement; the Intra Planetary Marshall Service and the Military. Herein the Military will be referred to the Alliance, but you could of course use what ever space fascists you see fit. The Marshall's Service and the Military tend to be rivals, and compete for prestige. The Military lobbies heavily for the disbandment of the Marshall Service, which it sees as an overly bureaucratic and a check on their power. Thus the two groups do not cooperate. This adventure is written as if the PCs are members of or associated with Marshall's service and assigned to the colony. The Military has no permanent presence on the planet.
Act #1 Hurtzog's Space Station
Background) A new settlement has just been founded on the planet, under the ice on the opposite side of planet from Karl's colony and Karl's terra forming generator. This colony is made up of a small group of academics, engineers and explorers who have discovered thermal vents under the ice. They have a new catalytic technology that can extract oxygen from water/ice in an energy efficient manner, and they are building a new community that would be more sustainable than the community on the other side of the planet (Karl's community). This disturbs Karl; he is the only game in town with regard to control of the mineral trade on this planet, and wants to stay that way. The new colony isn't a threat right now, but someday....
Karl is also a man that sees opportunity in all things. If there is going to be a new settlement he wants to control or at least use it to his advantage. Karl decides to use this settlement to get the new lawman out of the way in order to conduct some shady deals. Specifically, Karl wants to sell regulated drugs to the colonist on the planets surface and wants the Marshall out of the way while he does it.
Scene #1 Exposition) Karl calls the Lawman and/or his team into his office on the space station and informs them of the new settlement.
Important Details: Karl's office is done up in his approximation of old Earth's Bavarian style (or what ever primitive style works for your game), carved wood paneling and even a Koo-koo clock. The only signs of technology are the computer terminal on his wooden desk, and a large reflective lime green box in the corner. The box is a travel case commonly used in deep space for temperature or radiation sensitive cargo. When the PCs enter Carl is placing bars of refined metal in the box and when the PCs enter he seals it. If the PCs don't have spaceship of their own Karl would have sent his private shuttle to the planet to fetch the PCs. You should make the Marshall/s aware that they are required to make regular trips to the station as it is part of his jurisdiction. I would not give them a choice in that matter, just have the game start on the station with the PCs being led into Karl's office.
Karl opens the conversation in friendly and warm manner:
'Good news Marshall, there is another reason to put our planet on the map. Have you heard of Dr. Lubeke?' of course the players haven't but Karl just wants to assert his power in the room. 'He is a professor of physical chemistry at the Northern Ariel University. Excuse me, he WAS a professor, at any rate he and a group of scientists are developing a new method of terra forming, and they have placed their first model colony on the other side of our planet. It is very exciting, and I just want to say that it is our duty, our duty not just to the planet, but our duty to humanity to help them succeed. '
Karl then can answer some questions about the colony (see act 3), as he is doing this a new message alert appears on the screen of his desktop computer. The alert is just an address code, but a player with a knowledge of interplanetary communication would notice that the address code indicates an alliance (imperial-what ever your local space fascists might be) communiquÃ©. An even more developed knowledge skill would note that it is a military communiquÃ© code was sent from a cruiser and expert would note that the message was sent by an officer of the Zero G marines. The Zero G marines are the alliance's elite soldiers specialized in boarding hostile vessels. If the players get to read the message, it would reveal that the message came from Marine Captain Chu based aboard the cruiser Unity, and it states that his men will be conducting combat drills on the asteroid UUZ-89 on a specific date. Karl takes note of that message alert, looking only at the address code, but careful examination of his face would reveal a brief flash of excitement or pleasure. His eyes also would glance at the lime green case directly after taking note of the message alert. if the players watching closely.
After a few questions or whatever Karl continues talking,
'I am worried about the rule of law out at Lubeke's settlement. These people aren't frontier's men, it takes a special kind of man to deal with the type of confinement and closed spaces that space travel and underground living require. These academics maybe brilliant, but they are still greenhorns and cabin fever can set in real quick. I want you Marshall- to start making regular visits. They are part of your jurisdiction now. I have arranged for you to have access to an Ice Mule, (long distance hover craft used for crossing the glaciers on the planet's surface) on the following dates.' The Ice Mule is available on dates that overlap with when the Zero G troopers will be in the system.
Scene #2 Action/Heist) While still in Karl's office an alarm sounds and a face appears on Karl's computer screen. It is the face of a bloodied security guard.
'Sir, we have a problem, one the Zhong brothers brought a carbon ax on board (a super sharp ax, diamond sharp used in the rough processing on asteroids. It can cut through must stuff.) He cut up me and Werner pretty bad and has one of the comfort girls hostage in a privacy room on the lounge deck.'
'See not everybody can handle living out here in the black'
Karl grabs a shotgun (or blaster) from under his desk and the PCs and Karl rush up to the lounge deck.
What the PCs can observe:
Zhong is in small room, behind a flimsy molded plastic door that he has barricaded shut with a mattress and has a girl held hostage. He has recently chewed off his own tongue, he is naked and his left arm is numb at his side with black legions. He is screaming about something and will attack any one that tries to get in.
What the PCs might learn from other sources or may already be aware of:
Zhong and his three brothers run a mining ship, which does the freelance work of Karl and extracts metals from the asteroids. His brothers are out mining right now, they left Zhong here to spend some money and relax, and he hadn't been feeling well.
Zhong is addicted to Ampiclure a military stimulant that has multiple uses. Small doses can keep somebody awake for days without the usual jitters and muscle spasms of normal stimulants. Larger doses put people into a shock like coma, with a low heart rate, minimal oxygen requirements and decreased blood pressure. Larger doses are used for long span flights, and lower doses for multi-day military missions. Addicts can only sleep with large doses, and also suffer from decreased pain response and if they don't receive proper medical attention they develop gangrene in their limbs due to poor circulation. Zhong hasn't slept in weeks, and was unable to perform sexually with the comfort girl. He has gone insane, and is screaming unintelligibly.
The only people Zhong won't try to kill are his brothers, Karl and Chrysler Ruse. His brother's can't be reached and Chrysler won't make an appearance. Zhong wants to see Chrysler and/or Karl. Karl/Chrysler is Zhong's dealer and Zhong blames them for his current state. Karl will kill Zhong if he gets the shot and if Karl gets that shot he would justify that it was in self-defense. Karl will also sacrifice the comfort girl if necessary. The PCs have to figure out how to get into the room, rescue the girl and if they can avoid killing Zhong all the better. The Marshall should want to take him prisoner, should want to avoid killing him and want put him in jail down on the planet's surface. The space station is not modular; it would be hard to gas a single room without contaminating the station's air supply. Zhong's willpower and perceptions are very low, but his anger is epic. Talking him down would take legendary charm and charisma. But he can be easily tricked. He is moderately skilled with his weapon, relatively strong, but his physical health is greatly diminished by his current disease state. Similar scenes have been done in Seven Samurai, Outland, and so on. The PCs should have no trouble.
During this scene one or more PCs may get a chance to go through Karl's office. The Lime Green box is locked with a sophisticated magnetic seal, but a very talented engineer could open it. The box is full of semi-precious metal bars. On his computer there is a complicated encryption (which a moderately skilled hacker could bypass), but once through that there are only five files/applications. His message inbox which in addition to the message from the Zero G marines, their is also a message from the Commander of the Starship Unity giving the same info as Captain Chu. There is a general greeting message from Lubeke and and message regarding a sale on carbon dioxide scrubbers. There is a spread sheet programs which has a coded ledger which keeps track of were his money goes. After the sale of minerals most of his money goes into savings or colony maintenance. There is one line in the spread sheet program that indicates that unsold minerals are traded directly for another product, which is then sold locally to the miners on the station for money or more mineral products. The final column in that line has a transaction scheduled for the about a week from today, trading the amount of metal in the Lime Green box for the unknown product. The code prevents determining what the products are or the identity of the clients. The coded line describes the drug trade that Karl runs, the Code is not an encryption, meaning may be inferred but the code can't be broken. The spread sheet also contains data from the mineral exchange market. This is clear evidence that Karl is low balling all the miners with regard to the price of minerals. There is also a copy of the application that runs the Marshall Service's tracking software (See Lucinda Kovacs below), there are a number of files on his employees including his comfort girls and an application for playing Go (or chess or whatever).
The best outcome would be that the PCs kill or capture Zhong and take him: dead or alive back down to the planet (there is not morgue on the station but there a small one on the planet (see the Doctor below). Another option would be that Karl kills Zhong, or Karl kills Zhong and the comfort girl. If this happens the PCs may wish to arrest Karl for manslaughter or something. I say let em, and skip to the trial section in part 2. Zhong may over power the PCs and Karl. If this happens I suggest having another NPCs stun Zhong or something as he tries to make a break for it. If they do lose the fight have the PCs and Karl wake in the doctor's office on the planet's surface.
Act #2 Marshall's office and the glacier)
Scene #1 Sitcom) The Marshall should transport Zhong as a prisoner or Zhong's body back to the planet's surface. This is what the law requires and there is not morgue on Karl's station.
Important Details: The Marshall's office should have a clear view of the generator, so the PCs are reminded of what it is and its importance. Also right out side the Marshall's office is the clock tower. It isn't finished. It was supposed to be a communal project but the demand of the hydroponics farms has been so great that the town's people have not had any time work on it in years. Upon arriving The Marshall and his crew also receives word from the Lubeke settlement saying they are expecting him and hope he can transport some gifts for Karl's Settlement back with him. Karl has already told Lubeke that the Marshall and his team are coming. This scene should be broken down into four PC-NPC or PC-PC encounters. There is tentative order for the encounters/interactions.
A-The doctor: If a medical person exams the body or Zhong, evidence of Ampiclure abuse is easy to find. If a PC is not a doctor then the local doctor will make the examination. If a PC is a doctor then the local doctor will come by the station anyway to talk with the Marshall and his friends about the goings on around town. The local doctor is aware that Ampiclure is used by many professionals, and states that it is safe enough when used sparingly, but more than one dose a month can be too much. There is behavioral aspect to the drug as well, long term users, even if they are not addicts, trend towards more risky behavior and are more prone to violent outbursts.
B-Karl Jr: Karl Jr is actually no relation to Karl Hurtzog, but his name happens to be Karl and you can't have two Karl's in the same small town. So they call this Karl, Karl Jr. Karl is a sweet guy, who lived with his mom till he impulsively signed up as new colony worker. More than anything he wants to get off the planet. So to this end he keeps trying to get himself arrested so the Marshall will have to ship him off planet. Today he sent the local Nitrogen Chemist a threat of a threat. He is too timid to actually threaten anyone, so he sent a letter to the Chemist demanding fertilizer or he would send him a real threat. Karl Jr. has just turned himself in. However it is against regulations to ship a prison off planet for petty offenses. The Marshall will have to get Karl to leave the office.
C-Marshall Kwan: Marshall Kwan is the Marshall that runs the prisoner transport (this is also set up for another adventure in the future). It comes by every 10 weeks. He arrives on the planet to pick up Zhong and any other serious offenders the Marshall may have in custody. He is 16hrs behind schedule, which is unlike him. He says it is because he ran into the Alliance Cruiser Unity, which was launching some sort of secret mission right outside the belt and he couldn't be with in 500,000 kilometers of Cruiser.
D-Lucinda Kovacs: Lucinda Kovacs is new settler who arrived on the planet with Kwan. She was a legal advocate for the Marshall's Service for 10 years and is now retiring to this colony to work as a private legal advocate (lawyer). Kwan allowed Lucinda to travel on his ship as a professional courtesy. She will be the first private legal advocate to take up residence on the planet. She comes to the Marshall's office to get outfitted with a transmitter. All local settlers are equipped with short-range transmitters so they can be easily located if they get lost in the barrens outside the energy field. The Marshall's office has a special computer with software to track the movements of tagged colonists. Officially the Marshall can only use it if he believes there is a threat to a person's well being or if a Judge has granted a 'Suspension of Liberty' as part of criminal investigation. There are no judges on or near the planet. Her presence makes the PC actively aware of this transmitter fact, and she can answer legal questions for the PCs later if they have any.
E-Formal Inquiry (optional): After the violence on Karl's station it may be necessary to have sort of legal action or trial if more than one person than Zhong was arrested. You may also want to give Zhong a type of trial. If this is the case than you can tweak the situation such that Kwan also serves as a traveling justice of the peace and Kovacs can take the part of legal council (prosecutor or defense it depends on if you have another one available and who is being tried). The point of the inquiry would be to determine if there is merit enough for a formal trial on a more developed world. The prisoners who are deemed worthy of formal trial are shipped off to jail on a central or developed planet. The PCs should not have enough evidence to try Karl at this point, even if he killed Zhong. So any charge against Karl should be dismissed, any charge against Karl Jr. should be dismissed and Zhong if he survives should be sent to jail. If somehow the PCs do manage to get enough evidence to convict Karl of something at this point than just have Chrysler Ruse step into his place for the rest of the scenario.
Scene #2 Action) Karl's men deliver the Ice Mule-the ice mule should fit what ever aesthetics you see fit, but it has no weapons. It will take three days (despite its name the Ice Mule is fast) by Ice Mule to reach the Lubeke Settlement. Along the way the PCs will be attacked.
A close (moderate to difficult) examination of the Mule will reveal a tracking device with a transmitter capable of reaching deep space. A player with a knowledge of commercial practices would know that presence of the transmitter is not unusual in rented vehicles. However, a player with a knowledge of surface vehicle technology would recognize that this transmitter was not part of the original design and that it was added to the vehicle relatively recently (an exact date can not be determined). The transmitter will only come into play if the PCs try to hide from the attackers. As the PCs are traveling to the new settlement the Zhong brothers decide to take revenge on the Marshall by trying to ambush the PCs using their mining scow for atmospheric flight. The mining scow has some sort of device that can be used as a weapon, a magnetic anchor or something and this becomes a chase. If the PCs decide to travel by space ship to Lubeke's colony, the Zhong brothers will still try to attack. Anyway, you have a chase scene here/fight scene here. The Zhong brothers are above average pilots and below average gunners. They have below average perception and are not too bright.
There are several anticipated outcomes of the chase. 1) The PCs could out fly or successfully hide from the Zhong brothers. To do this they will have to disable the tracking device on their craft. If they do escape the brothers they may want to postpone the journey to the new colony go and capture the Zhong brothers. I say let them do it. If they interrogate the Zhong brother's they will find out what is written below about Hurtzog's involvement in the attack. You may want to let the PCs capture/impound the ship if they don't already have one. A mining ship will be useful in the last phase of this adventure. If they capture the brothers have Kwan still be around.This way the PCs will be able to toss the brothers on the prisoner transport. It will be an impairment if the PCs have to deal with prisoners during the next phase of the adventure. 2) The PC could destroy or disable the Zhong brother's ship. If so a skilled tech in the PCs party may be able determine that the ship was tracking the Mule's transmitter (assuming they found the transmitter). 3) The brother's may get the best of the PCs. If this happens have the PCs be left for dead and members of the Lubeke settlement come to rescue them. The settlement has its own Ice mule which it can use to return the Marshalls to the main colony after they have visited Lubeke's colony.
Hurtzog told the Zhong brothers that the Marshal/sl would be traveling to Lubeke's settlement, and even gave them the frequency of the transmitter. Hurtzog however did not encourage any violence toward the Marshall, he didn't have to, he only said that the Marshall was responsible for what happened to their brother. If confronted about the transmitter or passing information to the Zhong brothers, Hurtzog will claim that he had no idea the Zhong brothers would try and attack the Marshall and he believed 'fully' that the Zhong brother should have had the right plead their case. He will say that 'of course there was a transmitter on the ice mule, it is expensive I did't want you to lose it'
Act #3 The Lubeke Settlement)
Background) The settlement is in a warm (ish) 30-40F underground caves that as of yet do not contain breathable air. The settlement is actually 2-dozen families living in underground 'tents' which provide air and shelter. They have their water to oxygen converters setup and are producing oxygen, but it is going slower than they thought. They are also mining out some new caverns closer to thermal source, which will hopefully be warmer. Their water to oxygen converters also produce hydrogen, which the settlers use as a fuel.
Scene #1 Sci-fi/) Lubeke is a short middle-aged man with a grey beard and quick energetic green eyes. He is informal and greets the Marshall and his crew as friends. He gives them tour of the new settlement along with his speech on terra forming.
'Terra forming is a dumb, yeah you get a world like Ariel that is earth- like (or what ever home world fits) you can make a few changes and that is all reasonable, but really really really....uh....yeah you can't make Titan Earth or this planet for that matter it just isn't sustainable, what happens when your generator goes down huh?. No. You have to develop new technology for each world, so you have adapt to the world. Hey, have you ever seen an alien, come on I will show you some. I am sorry all our environmental suits are in use or in repair right now, do you mind wearing pressure suits (space suits).'
Important Details: The space suits are nice, they have internal attitude, and directional, G-force, velocity and temperature displays. So the PCs climb into space suits and Lubeke takes them into the tunnels. The natural tunnels have ice on the ceiling, but he takes them into the new tunnels they are carving. He shows them some fluorescent bacteria they have found in these cave. These are the Aliens. If alien life is nothing novel in your game universe, have Lubeke offer to introduce the PCs to the 'Locals' instead of the Aliens.
Scene #2 Sci-fi/puzzle)
Background) While Lubeke is giving the tour of the the lower tunnels there is a big crash and dust and moisture fills the tunnel. The moisture should freeze to the face plates of the PC's suits. Lubeke rushes toward the crash leading the PCs down a tunnel, past a large drilling machine. Once the dust clears the PCs find themselves and Lubeke in a large cavern with a glowing liquid bubbling up through a big hole in the cavern floor. The liquid isn't filling the tunnel as more occasionally spraying into the tunnel. The liquid is warm salt water and it is glowing because it is full of little fluorescent life forms. What happened was there was a second drilling machine, the floor of the tunnel collapsed and it fell through the floor into this underground ocean. The cavern is warmer then the other unoccupied tunnels and any frozen water on the PC's suits will begin to melt.
The machine operator is still alive, the PCs can communicate with him via transmitter and he has several hours of oxygen left, but he stuck on the ocean floor in the dark. He said he passed through the glowing water into the darkness. The PCs have to locate the lost machine and recover the operator. Here is the necessary information
They have 2 kilometers of high-tension lightweight fiber in the other drilling rig, multiple probes, and several transmitters.
They learn quickly that the warm water and the glowing life forms are all part of currents that is only about 97 meters deeps. Beneath the current the water stops moving and the water gets cold.
The PCs need to act quickly, they and the operator are running out of oxygen, plus changes in the tide due to the movement of large asteroids could shift the location of the current making planning hard.
The specific gravity on this planet is 10m/s.
The speed of the current is 4m/s.
The weight of the drill rig is 2000 kilograms.
You should make up the buoyancy force of the water and mu of friction.
The rig shouldn't be more the 500-800 meters down.
The PCs should be able to calculate the location of the drill based on this information and by dropping a dragline to the ocean floor depth 500-800 meters. Or they can triangulate the position using multiple transmitters and the Pythagoras's theorem. All this stuff is high school info, and bring a physics textbook if you need it (I did). A PC will have to be lowered (it has to be a PC cause they are wearing pressure suits) into the water using compressed hydrogen tanks to maneuver in the current (The hydrogen tanks are fuel cells from the other drill). They pass through the warm glowing water into the cold freezing deep and reach the operator. It may be dangerous to try and wench up the drilling rig with the other rig, the operator who is also an engineer, isn't sure the cavern floor would support the weight of two drilling rigs. But he doesn't have pressure suit, he just in an enviornmental breathing suit, which is not rated for underwater use. Of course Sci-Fi PC may find out a way to fix that problem. But if you can't bring up the rig and they didn't think to bring another P-suit with them will he withstand the cold and pressure once you take him out of the drill rig? Turns out he has a large dose of Ampiclure with him in an emergency kit, which will put him in a low metabolic hibernating state so he can withstand the cold and the climb better. Even if they did bring another P-suit, they will have to get him out of the rig and dress him it. The Ampiclure would still be a safe bet. The operator will still need medical treatment that Lubeke's settlers can provide.
Act 4 Going Home)
Scene #1 sitcom)
Lubeke's gift to the PCs is a pair of goats (or Tauntauns, whatever fits) that the new settlement doesn't have room enough or use for yet. So Lubeke gives them to the PCs to take to their settlement. The goats are hyper, violent and trouble. Comedy should ensue when trying to transport them.
Scene #2 action)
When the PC return to the settlement it has been at least a 1 week. Some things have changed The clock tower is finished and a lot of the space miners have come planet side. There are more ships docked on the colony landing pad then ever before, in addition to the mining ships, Karl's personal ship is there as well as an Alliance Assault Shuttle. All the settlers are either in the street or working. When the PCs return to the Marshall's office, they find Karl Hurtzog and an Alliance Captain named Chu having a conversation while sitting at the Marshall's desk. If asked about the tracking device Karl will say it was only a standard security measure in case the Mule went missing. He will deny any knowledge of the Zhong brother's action. Hurtzog is a master liar.
Important Details: Hurtzog has been selling Ampiclure to the miners for a profit but also because it boosts their productivity in the short term. He has been buying Ampiclure from Captain Chu, who has been stealing it from the Alliance. While the Marshall was away, Hurtzog came down to the surface to sell Ampiclure to some of the town's people, through an intermediary. The Doctor caught on to what was going on and was planning to tell the Marshall about the drug business. Hurtzog got wind of the Doctor's plan. To prevent this Hertzog arranged for the doctor to be killed. Chu has the ability to dive from space to planet surface using only a drop suit. Hurtzog drugged Karl Jr. with Ampiclure and took him up to the generator (which he owns). A message was then sent to the doctor from Hurtzog informing him that Jr. maybe over dosing on the tower (people travel to high risk places when on Ampiclure). The doctor told Lucinda, and his friends among the town's people (one of those friends is on Hurtzog's payroll) that Jr. was on the tower and he was going to go get him down. Once the doctor was on the catwalk, (Karl's used the Marshall Service's tracking software to orchestrate this) Chu dropped in stealth style in the dark and killed the Doctor slowly and loudly, after barring the door that connects the Catwalk to the stair well. Captain Chu then flew away (his flight pack does not produce visible light exhaust though its exhaust can be seen with infrared or UV detectors) to meet his shuttle as it entered the atmosphere.
Shortly after Chu's departure the town's people and some of the miners break down the door and storm the catwalk. The miners dragged Karl Jr. to the town square and were above to lynch when the Alliance Assualt Shuttle comes in for landing. The eight marine Marines on the shuttle, including Chu then rescue Jr. and place him in jail in order to make the feds looks bad. Chu exchanges a shipment of Ampiclure for the precious metals. Hurtzog placed some Ampiclure in Jr.'s apartment.
A medical examination of Karl Jr would reveal that he had so much Ampiclure (based on the amount of Ampiclure metabolites in his blood) in his system that he couldn't have been awake when the doctor was killed or when the doctor received the message. A murder weapon cannot be found (Chu kept his knife, he cleaned well, but he didn't leave it.) and examination of the murder scene reveals some burned blood that suggests a ship's maneuvering thruster or flight pack had been ignited on or near the catwalk directly after the doctor died. An expert in propulsion would be able to determine that an orbital drop pack such as the Zero G marines use made those marks on the catwalk. Other then those things though there is no evidence at the scene, as it was heavily disrupted by the mob. On the day he died the doctor asked Lucinda a lot of questions about the law regulating Ampiclure and how the law would handle a dealer. All though he did say that he thought a number of people in the town had started using, he did not tell her that he had found out about Karl's drug dealing.
The assault shuttle: Has seven other marines in it, normally it carries 40, but much of it has been converted to cargo space which is now empty. If the PCs inspect the assault shuttle they will find the lime green case from Karl Hurtzog's office.
Karl's Ship: Has several Alliance cargo containers on board, they are marked medical and they are empty.
The Town's People: Many of them are on Ampiclure and haven't slept in a week. The events of scene two are broken down into three encounter/interactions.
A: The Bad Guys
When the PCs enter the Marshall's office: Captain Chu stands up, he is wearing purple body armor and a flight-pack 'We had to delay an Alliance Mission to do your job Marshall. Your superiors will hear about this.' He walks out.
Karl stands up 'Sorry about this, but I assure you we were using your office as it was intended. The prisoner is in the back.'
The PCs will find Karl Jr. in a cell beaten heavily and covered in dried blood, not all his own.
B: Karl Jr's Story:
He claims he woke up on the catwalk at the top of generators cooling tower and it was dark.
'The doctor was already dead when I woke up, and people were banging on the access door that lead from internal stairway out onto the catwalk. It was locked, and I didn't have any other way down, so I opened it. The town's people and a bunch of the miners people rushed in, grabbed me and dragged me down all those stairs to the town square. The miners, came at me and started beating me.' If the alliance troops hadn't arrived and taken him to jail, he is sure he would have been killed. A test of Karl's blood would reveal Ampiclure and Ampiclure metabolites.
C: The Mob Attacks:
After Karl Jr. tells his story the PCs can hear or see the Alliance Shuttle taking off. Then they hear commotion outside. In front of the Marshall's office is a mob demanding Karl to be let go so they can dispense justice, aside from the local farmers, there are a lot of miners in the mob. Across the street watching the scene while calmly twisting a piece of wire into jewelry with some pliers is Karl. A trained or astute observer would note that the mob seems to under the influence of a drug, an expert would not the sign of Ampiclure abuse. The mob tells a story as if they were a Greek chorus,
'We couldn't see anything it was dark...'
'But we could hear it...'
'We could hear the doctor screaming from down here.'
'There was no other way off that tower than the stairs, unless somebody flew off.'
'That boy (Karl Jr.) has always wanted to leave, he has always wanted to be arrested. Well now he has gone too far.'
'If we let him get off planet than he has won.'
The PC can convince the local farmers to disperse with some reasonable arguments and a moderate bit of personal charisma, but the miners don't give up. They come back after the crowd breaks up and cut through the back wall of the Marshall's office using mining tools and try to get at Karl Jr. The PCs have to deal with them in a fistfight or otherwise. The Marshall should then put all the miners under arrest, but if he doesn't that is fine. The PCs should protect Karl Jr.
Once it is clear that Karl Jr. is not going to be killed. Karl Hurtzog returns to his space station.
Act 5 The Crisis:
Important Details: Marshall Kwan will not return for another 2 months. Karl offers to keep Karl Jr. a prisoner on his space station. The town's residence have been busy all night: they are almost all on the drug. The doctor's body was placed out on the glacier, it was stabbed 14 times, deep strong wounds. Karl Jr. has no injuries to his hands.
Scene #1 Sci-Fi)
A-The Marshall gets a transmission from Lubeke, Lubeke is all excited and then shows them a video. He explains that the ocean is huge and it is under the ice all over the planet. But he and his team have also found something very exciting under the ocean. The video shows the ruins of a city at the bottom of the ocean, strange, alien and crumbling, but a city none-the-less. The transmission gets disrupted however and communication cannot be re-established. A tech of moderate skill should be able to determine that transmissions are being jammed from space. It could be a hell of a solar flair or an alliance cruiser with an ECM package.
Scene #2 Open Ended/Action)
Whatever happens, in three-four days time the PC will learn that an asteroid is heading towards the planet it will strike it in 72hrs from when the PC learn about it, in 48hrs it will be too late to change the course. Lubeke's people detected it and one of them will travel to the main settlement by Mule if need be to inform the Marshall. It will impact on the other side of the planet near or on Lubeke's settlement. Interplanetary transmission are still blocked by some kind of interference, Lubeke's settlement does not have a spacecraft on site. If several of the mining ships worked together they could change the asteroid's path. The PCs are likely to have several miners in custody at this point or at least have let several miners go-so they might owe them a favor. Karl Hurtzog will not help the Marshall nor will he directly oppose the Marshall; he is going to take a wait and see attitude. But he will tip off Captain Chu to any PC action he knows about. If the PC's plan to evacuate Lubeke's colony, the scientist would prefer not to go, and will encourage the PCs to divert the asteroid. They are not sure they could find access to the ocean again or at least not with their current resources. If the PCs leave Karl Jr. alone he will be killed. The asteroid is UUZ-89. What will the solution be?
Important Details: The Alliance soldiers are testing a new weapon. They have new system for directing an asteroid's flight path so that it can be used to attack planets. Their original plan was to drop UUZ-89 onto some uninhabited part of the planet. But when the transmission form Lubeke was intercepted by the Unity, they decided to target Lubeke's settlement. The Alliance has found alien ruins underwater on multiple planets within the star system, and they have been keeping it a government secret. Thus if the PCs try to shift the asteroids course the Zero G Marine will try to stop by attacking the mining ships. There are eight Zero G marines and they will try and board and over run the mining ships to make it look like they crashed. Unless the PCs can out fight the Zero G Marines. If the PC evacuates Lubeke and his band; the Zero Gs will attack the group and destroy all evidence of the underwater settlement, unless of course the PCs can out fight the Zero G Marines. If the PC defeat the Zero G marines they should find evidence that Chu sold Ampiclure to the colony and if they get Chu to confess to killing the Doctor all the better. They can't find any direct evidence that Hurtzog was involved. He will deny that the Lime Green box is his and he doesn't have any of the drugs anymore. The Alliance was okay with and behind Chu destroying the Lubeke colony, but they did not know that he was selling Alliance property for personal profit. If the Marshall wants to stay in the system after that he present a captured or dead Chu to the Alliance with the evidence of his drug dealing then the Alliance should move on. If the Marshalls press issue of the attack on Lubeke colony...well then things won't be so tidy.
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? Responses (6)-6
Wow. Now THIS is good stuff. I can see this getting expanded even more, it's such a good base.
At the end, it would be useful to get some Character Summaries.
Otherwise, this gets a five.
Wow is right. Love the NPC quotes and scene setters. Allows a non-sci-fi guy like me to get a strong sense of the plot and run with it!
Good execution, nice format and an interesting plot.
Some spelling issues but other than that, awesome!
Feels like Firefly if the show had been written better. I know I will take flak for this, but I was never impressed with the show, because it had potential, but squandered so much of it on being basically cowboys in space, and there were many times when the production values just lost me.
This, however, while cut from the same cloth, is much better put together. There are a few spelling errors, and a few misplaced words (prison instead of the intended person) but it is minor.
A very well described and detailed adventure. So much stuff here!