AMBER ZONE: Out of the Frying Pan

Players’ Information:

There is a planetary-wide distress call from an adjacent system with a Population size of 4 or 5. That system is experiencing a series of unexpected solar activity that is having a strong adverse effect on the planet’s weather and ecosystem. (The affected planet should be size 4-A, atmosphere 4-9, hydrographics higher than 1 and no more than two parsecs away). Medicines, heavy equipment, worker droids and emergency services gear are needed immediately. Solar activity is making communications with the surface difficult and it is hoped that the activity will subside soon.

The IISS (Imperial Interstellar Scout Service) is hiring civilian ships for a single-mission contract to go to this planet with the load their load master chooses. The IISS will coordinate all rescue efforts planetside. All ships taking this offer need to leave within 48 hours. Fuel costs will be picked up by the IISS as well as payments for space onboard to haul cargo at double standard rates (1000 credits/ton/parsec). As the PC’s are gathering their gear, the IISS will give them priority to purchase any goods they need, while the ship’s fueling is taking place.

Quiet Corona
Image from NASA – Public Domain

Referee’s Information:

The star in the nearby system is indeed going through an unexpected astronomical event. Solar flares, coronal ejections and sunspot activity have increased 300% from all recorded previous levels. With all of this ionized radiation being flung from the star, all the planets in that solar system are under threat. Worse, conditions are now deteriorating to the point that the entire planet needs to be evacuated – immediately.

Entry into the system should be harrowing and difficult. Solar winds will buffet the ship and there will be a dramatic increase in radiation surrounding the ship. The communications network (PLANCOMNET) is completely out as the orbital satellites have been destroyed. Starport communications can only be achieved from an orbital relay from a Type “S” scout parked in orbit. They inform the PCs that they are to land in a protected underground hangar complex near the starport’s control tower. Upon landing, they will be contacted by the IISS load master and be asked to jettison all the cargo they have and make room for as many passenger/refugees as possible. Upon visual inspection of the planet, the PC’s should note many dark swirls of clouds covering much of the planet’s surface, along with very bright auroras at both Polar Regions.

The starport’s surface structures have been damaged from a recent fire. This is seen as the pilot brings in the ship on its final approach. The cavernous underground hangar bay is packed with a three civilian ships and with people wanting to fight their way on to those ships.

Upon landing, the PC’s will see a starport in near complete panic. Refugees are lined up and huddles into family groups away from the activity surrounding the ships. Many are carrying a wide variety of what they could carry, adding to the space issues in the massive cargo hangar. Off to the side is a growling mound of clothes, bags and items jettisoned by the people as they were told they could not carry everything they wanted aboard their rescue ship.

The shouting and noise are incredible. Upon landing, the PC’s are informed that martial law has been declared by the planetary government. The load master will come aboard, clear out any gear HE deems is unnecessary and then allow three passengers per ton to load aboard the ship. If the crew decides to double up in their staterooms, they can make additional space there as well. The load master will hand over a chip/voucher to the PC’s that will allow them to be reimbursed at triple the going rate for passengers and another free fuel compensation, paid for by the IISS. These three persons per ton of space consist of 100kg of personal affects, half of which will be bottled water and military field rations provided by the IISS.

This three-person benchmark is what the IISS load master adhere to with view each and every vessel. If the PC’s ship has a small 2-ton cargo hold, then they will carry six people. The IISS will fuel the PC’s ship immediately for a quick turn around, and at the very moment the fueling is done the refugees will be waived aboard.

Outside while all this chaos is going on in the hangar bay, the weather is rapidly deteriorating. A full-blown dust storm is howling outside and the lightning is intense. To make matters worse, there are seismic tremors of growing intensity every half-hour or so. If the PC’s dawdle too much, there will be an earthquake strong enough to cause a minor collapse of the hangar roof near the entrance.

The referee has a great opportunity to spice things up for the PC’s. Make the pilot roll against some degree of difficulty of bringing the ship to the planet, another for entering the atmosphere and then another for landing. (There should be an awarded bonus if they figure out to bring the ship from the side away from the star). The ship should not come in and out of this scenario unscathed. Exploding consoles, failure of the gravitic plates and engine problems should also be considered.

There should be ample time for crew/refugee interaction and a possibility of making new contacts. There will also be a potential patron in the mix as well. The trip out-system should be harrowing, to say the least. The time in hyperspace will be cramped and the ship’s systems will be overloaded from electrical demands to food distribution to potential sewage problems due to the number of passengers. When the passengers finally disembark, the ship will need to spend some down-time double-checking all the systems for damage from this trip.

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