The PCs have arrived in the Adabicci system (Lunion 0204, A-57189A-B), traveling down the Spinward Main. While conducting routine inquiries at the Adabicci starport, they are approached by a representative of the Adabicci Astronomical Union, a semi-professional scientific organization. They wish to charter the PCs ship for an in-system recovery operation.
Over a century ago, the AAU helped to sponsor the production and launch of a remotely controlled probe that would explore the outer planets of the system. The outer planets consist of a small gas giant and a number of airless cold planets that were only briefly surveyed by the Scouts, and quickly deemed not suitable for colonization.
The historical spacecraft, one of the first produced on Adabicci, and really not much more than a sensor cluster, was lost within the first decade of its flight – the radio stopped responding, and it was concluded at the time that the probe had fallen into the gas giant. Recently, the AAU spotted a small moving object that their much more advanced detection equipment has identified as the old probe. It is now far past the orbit of the last planet in the system, and is drifting outwards towards the Kuiper Belt. The astronomers ask the PCs to go out and retrieve it, saying it may have useful survey data, but it also an object of historical significance. They offer payment of Cr 500,000 to recover it. The patron group will keep in regular radio contact with the PCs ship during the voyage.
Location: Ralhe (SM/Five Sisters 0731) E-424574-8 Ni
Ralhe is a small world with little to recommend it except some surface mineral deposits. The very thin, tainted atmosphere requires respirator/filter masks, and most of the ground is covered in permafrost. It is not on a trade route or X-boat route, but it gets enough visitors to maintain the economy of its three competing states: Rahlhiem, Torrijo, and Klinghoff. Within the last year the three states have conducted a slow-burning brush war consisting of raids and incursions with few pitched battles.
The patrons are the head men of the town of Chatham, in a backwater region of the nation of Klinghoff. For the last two years, Dr. Amanda Stonehouse has been working in Chatham, a town in the hilly backwoods of Klinghoff, as an unmercenary physician. She does not charge anything for her medical expertise – she sees it as her religious duty to give aid and comfort to the poor. With the war going on in the main part of the country, the town of Chatham has been neglected by the national government, and left mostly to its own resources, so Dr. Stonehouse’s work is deeply felt and greatly appreciated. The locals all speak well of her.
Ten days ago, Dr. Stonehouse was kidnapped by an unknown group. The region has its share of bandits, but the locals can’t say for certain who has her or where she is. Local law enforcement has few resources to spare to search for her. The townsfolk who have gone into the hills to look for her have returned empty-handed, wounded or not returned at all. Anyone in Chatham can tell the PCs about the abduction: a truck roared into town, men ran into the clinic, grabbed the doctor, hustled her into the truck and drove off. A few people tried to pursue, but were dissuaded with gunfire.
Three days ago a ransom demand was delivered to the town leaders, with ‘proof of life’ of the good doctor; and a threat of her execution in just a few days if the ransom is not delivered. Unfortunately, the Klinghoff government is too busy with the war to offer any assistance. The parish priest, through his bishop in the capital, has reached out to the interstellar community for help.
While on a stopover at Rech (Lanth 0502 D9957AA-6), the PCs receive a message on the local emergency frequency from Honus Burk, Administrator for the Starport Authority. He is seeking immediate assistance from all the starships in port, citing Imperial laws requiring assistance to vessels in distress.
An ocean-going vessel, the SS Laurentic, has foundered several hundred kilometers offshore, and no other water craft are in the immediate area to respond. The SPA is calling anyone with a flight-capable craft especially contra-gravity vehicles and small craft to render assistance; rescuing passenger from the ship or from the water, and transporting them back to land. Any crew that signs up and provides six hours of assistance will receive a 50% discount on refueling at the starport, and one week’s berthing fees will be waived.
The PC’s are contacted by a business factor on Kubotoa (A-764854-D), looking for a small team to infiltrate a mansion. The Board of Directors of the Singletary Corporation, LLC, have a problem. The CEO of the corporation has been out of touch for weeks, and hasn’t been seen in person in months. He was always reclusive, but this is the longest he’s ever been gone. The corporation is facing a financial crisis occasioned by the CEO’s absence & non-leadership. The Board has voted the CEO out, but the local law requires that he be present at the company offices to handle the transfer of power.
The CEO’s last known whereabouts is his mansion at the edge of the city, which sits in a secured, walled compound. The PCs are hired to deliver the CEO to the company offices. They are authorized, as contract employees, to employ all necessary force to secure the CEO unharmed and bring him to the offices. The mansion is technically corporation property so they are not trespassing. The Board requests that the building itself be damaged as little as possible, but expect some damage as the CEO had installed numerous security measures without advising the Board; he was known to be very concerned about his personal security. Payment will be Cr 10,000 per man, plus any hospital expenses. Excessive damage to the mansion will be deducted from the pay.
Planet Melpomene (C-5437B7-9, Red Zone) is entering its second year of a civil war between the repressive central government and a coalition of rebel groups, which has some foreign backing.
The Melpomenian government is a non-charismatic dictatorship, under Premier Alcazar, that is somewhat efficient, repressive but not brutal, and indifferent to religion as long as they pay the taxes.
The rising rebellion (the Freedom and Justice Party) claims to be democratic, having several ideological camps under its umbrella. The rebel leaders claim to be neutral towards religion, but several of the sub-groups are accusing the Church of endorsing and collaborating with the old regime. They are targeting Christian parishes for ransom, seizure and destruction.
Government forces are too tied up with fighting a war to protect the Christians, which they never cared about in the first place. Some government forces are reportedly claiming the Church is supporting the rebellion and carrying out punitive strikes.
The Archbishop of Longmire, a neighboring world, has learned that the PCs are an honest and honorable crew, and seeks to charter their ship. He asks that they go to Melpomene and find the local Archbishop, Konstantin. The situation has gotten dangerous enough to warrant withdrawing him from the planet until the war is over. Most of the world’s Christians have gone into hiding, and Bp Konstantin knows where the sanctuaries are. The Archbishop of Longmire is able to offer a success-only contract for Cr 20,000 to each crew member who participates in the rescue mission. Part of the contract stipulates that the crew must avoid the use of deadly force, even when protecting the Archbishop.