Players are hired and sent to a remote system as part of a humanitarian relief operation. “Powerful interests” offered a contract of Cr 1500 per week for four weeks, paid in advance, plus bonuses, to simply deliver food and provide medical treatment to the locals. Relief efforts are coordinated by an attractive doctor named Maritza. The local governor, Archibald Colt, has been losing favor among the populous for slow and ineffectual decision-making. Maritza has become a popular figure in the eyes of the people. In many ways, she is their true leader.
The planet has been ravished by recent Vargr attacks, and it is believed that remnants of the Vargr fleet remain in-system, but nothing has been seen of them for quite some time. The disruption to trade has made it difficult for the inhabitants to get even the most basic of supplies. Small scale fighting has broken out in the streets of the cities, and stores and warehouses have been stripped bare.
Recently, numerous residents have banded together and gone marauder, taking what they can from the weak. Several units of the military have mutinied, and have joined the marauders. The planetary governor has evacuated the capital with his staff and a loyal company of troops, commanded by a Captain Barnsby. The group relocated to a high plateau, guarded by a river which swiftly runs through a steep gorge. A bridge crossing the gorge is all that connects the plateau with the rest of the inhabited regions. The bridge is left intact for the moment, as refugees continue to stream across to the safety of the plateau. It is uncertain if sufficient explosives remain to demolish the bridge, in any event.
The prevailing hope is that this move to the high ground will buy enough time for the governor’s plan to come to fruition. Despite earlier foot-dragging, the Governor Colt has recently contracted with an off-world mercenary organization to come to the planet and help restore order. When the unit’s transports arrive, the off-world humanitarian workers will be evacuated. Until that time, the government and refugees can only hold on.
Military forces before the mutiny occurred amounted to nearly 10,000 troops. The planet’s tiny air force and space fleet were both destroyed by the Vargr attacks, as was much of the artillery arm. The marauders have attacked the bridge twice in the last week, but had to withdraw. The marauders recently had floated barges closer to the bridge, most of which were armed with mortars, machine guns, and light auto-cannon. It is thought that the marauders are slipping agents into the hordes of refugees, in order to gain information or perhaps conduct sabotage.
The PCs are more or less trapped here until the merc unit arrives in 10 days. The Loyalist troops number just over 100, and will eventually be whittled away by the marauders. The referee should develop the exact nature of both forces if desired, or can handle the conflict abstractly if that is preferred. Thankfully, the marauders have no aircraft or grav vehicles, or the whole affair would be over shortly.
The players are part of Unit 10, the humanitarian mission. They were hired by a mysterious person known to them only as “N…” As part of Unit 10 from N., they were hired for their medical, administrative, or leadership skills. They probably have varying degrees of military training, but little in the way of military equipment. Still, the players being who they are, and the situation on the planet being what it is, they might try to sneak in a firearm or two. Roll 8+ for success, plus any applicable modifiers. Perhaps some of those crates of antibiotics are actually assault rifles…
The Loyalists have a few notable items. There are two, 6-wheeled armored cars, armed with light auto-cannon and machine guns. Auto-cannon rounds amount to fewer than 50 for each vehicle. There are perhaps 1000 rounds for the machine guns. The fuel tanks for the armored cars are nearly full. A few (8) disposable Tac missiles are the only anti-armor weapons the group possesses. There is a twin-engined prop plane transport on a rough airfield on the plateau. It can carry perhaps 50 passengers, and is very low on fuel, perhaps enough for a 20 minute flight. The fuel used in the armored cars cannot power the prop plane’s engines, however. The explosives that the troops managed to bring amount to 10 kg, woefully small to demolish the bridge crossing the gorge. At any rate, a team would have to descend into the gorge and fight through marauders to plant the explosives. That is, if there were enough explosives to do the job…
Turning to a map of the area, Captain Barnsby, points out a hydroelectric station 2 km upstream from the bridge. If the dam was breached, millions of gallons of water would sweep into the gorge, which might generate enough force to topple the bridge.
Options for the players might include:
- Continue helping the sick and wounded.
- Find the informers and deal with them.
- Blow the bridge and hope for the best.
- Blow the dam, the water hits the bridge, and hope for the best.
- Load the explosives into the plane, and crash it into the bridge.
- Load the explosives into the plane, add the armored car fuel, and crash it into the bridge.
- Do the same, but target the dam.
- Fight a guerrilla war against the marauders, drawing attention away from the refugees.
- Obtain or manufacture more explosives from what can be found back in the cities.
Maritza might be suspected as being one of the marauder informers. She is not. She might develop into a love interest for one of the players. Despite being a Doctor, she is armed with a pistol, and proved she is a competent shot during the last attack.
Captain Barnsby might also be suspect. While not a very good soldier, he is loyal, and he has great local knowledge to share with the group.
The “N…” who conceived Unit 10 is actually not a “who”, but rather a “what”, and that is Naasirka. If the PCs can complete the mission successfully, either through holding out, or by destroying the bridge, or both, Naasirka has immensely sufficient resources to reward them, with anything from money, to job assignments, to land grants. What interest Naasirka has in a system in such turmoil is a mystery, but the rewards show the megacorporation’s gratitude to the group.