Any A,B,or C star port with another inhabited system one jump away.
One of the party members is contacted by former marine intelligence type, now working security for Charlings United Ventures, a local sector wide mega corporation.
A courier carrying sensitive material in a pouch, has been hospitalized, in a private hospital. The courier is in a coma, due to a vehicle accident. This has occurred on a planet one jump away from the party’s current location.
The courier’s employer, Charlings United Ventures, has an ongoing dispute with the planetary government of the world the courier is on. Within the last month, the planet has put down a rebellion that the planetary government feels may have ties to Charlings United Ventures. Therefore Charlings can’t send a representative itself.
The government in question doesn’t know that the courier works for the corp. Charlings United Ventures would prefer that they never find out. Your contact wants you to collect and transport the courier off planet, back to the party’s current location.
Local Planetary Problems:
The attempted rebellion that occurred one month ago was started by a group that wanted greater off world investment and immigration. As the rebellion was not widely supported by the general populace and only had backing from businesses and families that were involved in off world trade, it failed.
The extreme violence that the rebels used has caused a popular backlash by the planetary government. In the month following the rebellion anyone with suspected connections has been brought in for questioning. Many are still being held incommunicado. The cities have checkpoints set up by all government and civic buildings, including hospitals.
The players will find that, while off world trade is not forbidden, off-worlders at this juncture are viewed with suspicion, if not outright hostility. The hostility is starting to cool down, but the outbreak of a riot is not beyond question.
Due to the recent political instability on the planet, it has been marked as an Amber Zone.
The courier doesn’t have the key. The pouch’s lock is biometric. Also, if the courier dies, a dead-man device will destroy the contents and render them unrecoverable. If they accept the job, the players must agree to get the courier back alive, along with the intact pouch, with the planetary government none the wiser.
Charlings United Ventures will pay the players a Cr 100,000 per player involved in the attempt to recover the courier and his pouch. Cr 25,000 will be paid upfront to cover expenses. If the courier dies this will be their only compensation. They must return the courier and his pouch regardless.
If the players recover the courier alive, with the pouch intact and without alerting the government of the planet the courier, Charlings United Ventures will pay the party Cr 5,000,000 upon completion of the job.
Sensitive data in the pouch is in-fact a synthetic virus engineered by the corp. designed to eradicate a mammalian pest that is cutting into Charlings plantation profits on the planet that the courier is hospitalized on.
Information Unknown To Charlings United Ventures:
The virus also attacks the gene that allows sapients to develop telepathic abilities.
The Zhodani have already discovered this in their own research, and have a special intelligence unit assigned to stopping any research along these lines in Imperial space. Due to the fact that pest control, not telepathic repression, was the thrust of the research, they are just becoming aware of the existence of the synthetic virus.
The Tozjabr, Zhodani Intelligence, is sending an agent, who will arrive 3 days before the players, on the planet the courier is hospitalized on. He will hire several cats paw agents using cash hiring, bribery, black mail and intimidation. None of the cats paw agents will know what really is in the pouch, why they have been hired or by whom.
The Tozjabr agent is the only one who knows the telepathic, gene-destroying properties of the virus and he will kill himself rather than be captured. The agent’s brief also instructs him to not reveal the nature of the contents of the pouch to the planetary government.
If any of the cats paw agents are captured and interrogated, they will have only a vague recollection of the person who hired them, and will not provide any useful information as to why they were hired.
The Zhodani Attacks:
The First Attack will occur while the courier is still in the private hospital. A medical technologist will replace a functioning part of the courier’s life support system with a defective part that will stop functioning within twenty-four hours. The machine’s self test will not discover this defective part.
Characters with the combination of medical and mechanical skills will be needed to detect the defective part. They can jury rig a workaround in one hour after discovering the defective part. The courier can remain alive for five hours after the life support stops. If the life support is not operational within that time frame, the courier dies and the dead man device will destroy the contents of the pouch. If the medical technologist is captured he will claim he was hired by a family member trying to collect a CR 2,000,000 life insurance policy on the dead courier.
The Second Attack will happen while the party is attempting to transport the comatose courier to the party’s space ship. Another vehicle of larger size will attempt to force the party’s vehicle off the road, if land transport, or to land, if air transport, or be boarded if sea transport, referee’s choice. The attackers, a group of three, will attempt to steal the pouch without regard for the courier’s life. They will have local weapons and vehicles. If they are captured they will confess that they had information that the pouch contained Cr 1,000,000 in gems.
The Third Attack will be made on the players’ ship. The ship will be boarded by a special detail of local customs officials. They will claim that they have information that the ship is being used to smuggle illegal drugs. They will hold all party members in the ward room. After spending forty-five minutes searching the ship they will depart apologizing for the delay.
The special customs party has installed a device that will cause the jump drive to explode upon initiation. If the party discovers the device, before initiation of the jump drive, they will discover a high technology sabotage device, far above the local planet’s ability to manufacture. If the party is able to capture one of the customs agents, upon interrogation the customs agent will confess to having planted the device because the ship was helping a rebel leader, responsible for the death of several family members, to escape.