Whilst relaxing at Genni starport bar, the players are approached by Hank Steiger who introduces himself as a Sergeant of the Shakorev Army and asks them if they have any previous military experience. He asks if they would be interested in helping him get a message to someone which could save countless lives; Steiger explains that he was a communications officer in the Shakorev military on the planet Thebis. Unfortunately, he got involved with a bad crowd and was discharged and disgraced from the military, due to various illegal operations using military equipment for personal gain. Though he moved to Genni he still keeps a close watch on communications from the Thebis system and has noticed something rather alarming. In the past few days it appears that the Vaalnarn military (a rival nation to Shakorev) intends to launch a catastrophic invasion in about a week which could cost the lives of thousands of people. Putting aside the reasons for his untimely discharge (which Steiger admits was his own fault) he sees it as his duty to warn the Shakorev army. However, because of his past acts he doesn’t think he has much chance in convincing them of what is about to happen. His only chance is to speak to an old comrade (named Valiy Banina) who is still in the army. Using Banina’s good reputation, he may be able to warn Shakorev. If the players could get Steiger onto the base, he could speak to Banina and hopefully convince of him of what he has found. Steiger can put up a few thousand credits to help with costs of getting to Thebis, but he’s really relying on the players better nature and the huge humanitarian act they are about to perform.
Steiger isn’t actually who he says he is, but is in reality someone named Carlos Rhan. Rhan is a con-artist with a computer and electronics background, who has hacked his way into Steigers personal account and stole all the information given to the players, taking over Steigers identity. He intends to use the players to get into the army base and get to Banina who is the senior officer in charge of finance operations for the Kowalski army base. Electronic methods of payment aren’t widely used on Thebis (its TL is 7) so cash is still used to pay the soldiers. Steiger needs Banina to access the timelock which only grants access at certain times of the day, using a biometric access procedure. Once in the safe, he intends to steal as much cash as possible and make a break for it by stealing a military vehicle and heading to a rendezvous point where some members of the Lukyan Consortium (the local crime syndicate on Genni) will help Steiger/Rhan get off-world. He owes the Lukyan Consortium a lot of money and they know he has the skills to get them the money they are owed. The players will be used as the stooges to effect the raid.
The army base (named Kowalski Point) is heavily defended with a perimeter fence, vehicle and foot patrols and sentries in and out the base. The players should use an imaginative method to gain entry to the base.
Unfortunately for Rhan he got some of his information about the upcoming Vaalnarn assault wrong and the invasion is about to take place in a matter of hours (from the players time of arrival on Thebis). The Vaalnarn Army intends to make a lightning dash from their current position and attempt to take the strategically important army base, just as the players are inside. This may help to create sufficient confusion to aid their mission, though they won’t know this until they are on the base. The referee should take this opportunity however to draw the players into the war by using some of the events listed below, to try and hamper their objective.
Getting in, Around and off the Base.
There are plenty of APCs and light vehicles moving in an out of the compound, due to increased military activity so there is an opportunity for the players to steal a vehicle and uniforms. Entry would only be allowed with a suitable pass at the gate (which can also be gained from an APC patrol), otherwise it would take a convincing story for the players to gain access. Rhan may reveal some of his computer skills in hacking the access codes if things prove difficult for the players.
Once on the base, there is plenty of activity; the players could use the bustle and activity of a busy army base to hide in plain sight, but they also run the risk of being challenged by a senior officer. Banina is located in the staff offices, not far from the underground floor strongroom.
Part way through their search the players will hear large explosions outside as the base is attacked by the enemy, the Vaalnarns. This creates a huge amount of confusion inside with people rushing around, looking for weapons and setting up defensive positions. Rhan will be able to guide them through the buildings but the players will have to look like they are helping to defend the base, without actually showing their real intention. The referee should introduce diversions such as explosions from incoming artillery, injured soldiers asking the players for help, or senior staff shouting at the players to get to the front line and help to defend the base.
Once Steiger/Rhan finds Banina he will recognize the name, but he will be completely surprised as to what is going on and not recognize Steiger at all. Steiger will immediately take advantage of the situation and take Banina hostage, threatening him in an attempt to get him to move to the vault and open the safe.
The players now have a choice; they can either try and rescue Banina by overpowering Steiger/Rhan and explaining to the army chiefs what has happened. However they may not get an entirely positive welcome from the army, in that the players have managed to successfully break into the base and get to one of their senior officers. The most likely result is that they will be interrogated and thrown into prison as Vaalnarn spies.
Alternatively, they can help Steiger/Rhan in his plan and take a share of the profits by helping to break into the safe. Steiger will agree to this as it will make his escape easier, but he will let the Lukyan Consortium know ahead of their escape so they can set up an ambush at the players starship.
Depending on how easily the players manage to get away, the players may get found out and the army sends a couple of APCs or light attack vehicles after the players in attempt to stop them getting away. Numbers of soldiers would be roughly equivalent to the numbers of players with some heavy weaponry.
Random Events (before the Vaalnarn Assault):
– General Gaston of the Shakorev Army unexpectedly turns up at the base on a visit and everyone in uniform is expected out on parade, including the players. During inspection, the general picks on a random player and admonishes them for their poor turn out and kit maintenance. They are sent off to the stockade, presenting the players with an additional complication in having to break them out.
– Some of the players are picked to go on guard duty on the other side of the base, splitting the group up. The players going on guard duty are joined by an equal number of soldiers who the players will have to deal with if they wish to return to their compatriots.
– The players starship is discovered, and word gets back at the base. Unless the players can get the soldiers to come back to the base, they will have to deal with them when they return to their ship.
– As they are turning a corner going around a building, one of the players is hit by a visiting Generals command vehicle and is knocked down. They are taken to the medical centre with a broken limb (referee to determine what is the most inconvenient).
During the Vaalnarn Assault:
– If the players help Steiger/Rhan they discover that once they break through to the underground strongroom the safe access procedure has been changed so that it needs two people to open the safe. An additional senior officer’s biometric passcode is needed at the same time as Banina’s so the players will need to try and find the other officer (Rhan can find out who), at the same time as trying to keep Banina secure. Unfortunately, one of the time lock periods where they can use their biometric access codes to open the safe is coming up in a matter of minutes and only lasts for a short period of time. The players will need to find the other officer quickly or miss their opportunity. An additional complication could be that the officer has been wounded (or worse) and isn’t able to get to the safe time lock, hopefully presenting the players with a challenge with time running out.
– A Sergeant Major spots the players and orders them into battle during the Vaalnarn assault. If the players hesitate, this will draw attention to them whilst a large number of soldiers armed with heavy weapons move into position at the front line and notice the developing situation.
The Crime Syndicate and Exit Offworld
The Lukyan Consortium will follow the players ship (just out of sensor range of course so they aren’t detected on approach to the planet) and land nearby. If the players decide to join Steiger/Rhan in his mission, he will let the Consortium know at an opportune moment so they can prepare for the players arrival. If the army is in pursuit, they will hang back for a short while to let the players slug it out with the army to make things as easy as possible for them. They will then attack at the most advantageous moment. The potential is for the players to be attacked on two fronts and from within by Steiger, who will reveal his true allegiance by turning on the players when it is safe for him to do so. Depending on how generous the referee is feeling, the players could steal as much as 1.25 MCr from the safe at Kowalski Point. However, this will make them enemies of the entire Shakorev army who will attempt to get their money back at the earliest opportunity.
Classic Traveller NPC Statistics
Carlos Rhan (Hank Steiger)
Auto Pistol-1, Computer-2, Electronics-2, Streetwise-1
Lukyan Consortium Tough
Carbine-1, Dagger-1, Streetwise-1,
Bayonet-1, Rifle-1, Tactics-1,
Shakorev Senior Officer
Auto Pistol-1, Leader-1, Rifle-1