During a layover on the planet Sands (UPP E363613-7 Amber Zone, Gas Giant), the players are contacted by Jae Bussi, an elderly parolee. He has information suggesting his former ship, The Grand Illusion, was never recovered after crew was captured. Jae is offering Cr 10,000 each as payment for recovering a special coin collection onboard, as well as a percentage of any special cargoes recovered.
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.
The players stuck are on a balkanized world awaiting repatriation at the poor-quality starport after their contract is fulfilled in yet another of the planet’s wars between two rival factions. While imbibing the swill that passes for whiskey at the starport’s only bar, a party member spots an old friend, and sometimes rival, named Kellan. Years of merc work have left Kellan a shaking shell of the young Marine Officer of 20 years ago. A disastrous mission during this ticket saw Kellan busted to Private for dereliction of duty. Furthermore, Kellan has been severely wounded in both legs. He should survive, but his days of run-and-gun are clearly over. He calls one of the party closer (the one he knows the best), and the two converse in hushed tones in a corner alcove of the dark and stinking bar.
Kellan has stored the coordinates of a hidden Aurum module, an advanced sensor pod which his unit was using during the conflict. As it would happen, Kellan relates sullenly, he was the only survivor when his unit was overrun. Kellan planned on returning and recovering the pod, but had not planned on being injured. He is willing to share the coordinates with the group if they recover the pod. Oh, and by the way, the pod is nearly 1000 km behind enemy lines, and the fighting continues. Kellan’s offer is as follows: he will exchange the coordinates of the sensor pod for one-quarter of the total shares of profit once the group assembles, recovers the pod, and the pod is sold. He requests to hang on to the group’s repatriation bonds to insure he is not cut out of the deal.
Kellan has hidden two Air/Rafts about 1 km from the starport, and will even provide his personal “Merc Roladex” should the players feel they need to beef up their party.
The end of the Subsidized Merchant County Wexford proved tragic for its crew and passengers. Not only did the ship misjump by nearly 13 parsecs, but there was also a horrible accident upon entry into the destination system. The ship exited jump space within .75 planetary radii of the major planet of the system, and the Type R starship collided with a local small craft almost instantaneously. The local craft was destroyed, with all hands aboard being lost. The County Wexford nearly broke in two. Injured crew and passengers scrambled for rescue balls and the County Wexford’s Ship’s Boat, while the pilot gave her life in exchange for buying time for the others as she struggled to control the crippled starship.
In view of the tense local situation, the unfortunate and unavoidable accident was perceived as an attack, or even an act of terrorism by the locals on the dying colony. Several rescue balls touched down safely, albeit with injured crew. The Ship’s Boat landed intact some distance away, but the only crewman aboard died of his injuries shortly after landing, leaving only 6 severely injured passengers aboard. The crew attempted to regroup using their survival radio equipment, but it quickly became clear they were wanted by the locals for perpetrating a “heinous act of terrorism”. There are virtually no government or laws on the planet, which should be cause for concern among the crew.
The crew agreed to meet at a specified location, switch off their own beacons to avoid detection, and proceed onward as a group toward the beacon of the Ship’s Boat, which repeatedly transmitted “GK GK GK from Papa Tango One-Niner” on the voice and data emergency frequencies for a few minutes until going silent. The rest of the crew has a fairly certain fix on the Ship’s Boat at that time. To further complicate matters, several crew members are injured, and a small sea separates the players from their destination.
From there they might be able to make their way to the Scout Base in the Ship’s Boat, (provided it is still functioning…) where they might plead their case to the Imperials. It can be assumed that the inhabitants are also monitoring the distress frequencies. Hopefully the players can reach the small craft before the locals do.