AMBER ZONE: Research Double-Cross

Players’ Information:

A backwater world with a breathable atmosphere and a population of several million is dealing with a decades-long civil war.  Due to the remoteness of the settlements, much of the conflict has been marked by sharp raids with few set battles.  One cobbled together militia group has managed to capture a corporate research facility on a remote island.  They have contacted the corporate leadership in the hopes of obtaining a decent ransom.

The corporation has decided to meet the demands of the militia and they are sending hard currency, medicines and food in exchange for the researchers and their data.  A 200-ton free trader, the SS Damocles, was dispatched and quietly intercepted by the opposing side just as it exited hyperspace.  The PCs are being hired to pilot the free trader to the research station, using the codes and protocols provided to them by the captured original crew.  The military of the backwater world all have a distinct look and accent, so off-worlders are essential.

With the cargo removed from the trader the PCs are masquerading as the corporate crew now in isolation.  They will be joined on their journey by a reinforced platoon of (28) troops.  (There will be a O1 in command, an E9 and an E5 in the command section; additionally, 5 squads of 5 troopers comprising of an E4 and four E1’s make up the rest of the raiding party).  These should be equipped as regular soldiers according to the Tech Level of that warring planet.

The PCs will pilot to the regular docking pad of the facility and simply stay out of the way.  The O1 in command has orders to minimize damage to the facility and after the threat has been neutralized gather the researchers and their data for extraction back to the main military base where the mission started.

Referee’s Information:

The OPFOR intelligence is fairly accurate.  The militia unit consists of roughly 100 or so militia with little combat experience.  They are led by a very competent Captain (O3) who will not allow his soldiers to let down their guard.  He has the researchers scattered in three different sections and he alone has the research core data on a dozen wafer-style chips in his chest pocket.  Despite his precautions and his plans, his militia will put up a brief, but spirited fight before scattering to the winds.  If cornered they will quickly surrender.  The Captain’s efforts will cause painful delays in the securing of the facility, but he will not execute the researchers under his guard.  When cornered, he too will surrender.

Not long after the PCs land however, they will be hailed by the (Corporate Starship) CSS Wolverine.  This is the lead ship of a three-ship squadron of Type “T” patrol cruisers that have been sent to ensure the safe extraction of the researchers.  These ships are detecting the combat at the facility and they are more than a little concerned about the safety of their corporate brothers and sisters.

These three ships will quickly burn towards the research facility and will stop any attempt for the free trader to take off.  The PCs will be asked to surrender the trader immediately.  Meanwhile the O1 in charge of the reinforced platoon will be trying to gather his troops, the researchers and their prisoners and herd them back to the free trader for extraction.  Obviously, the PCs are squarely caught in the middle with a lot of explaining to do.

Potential complications include:

The research facility is researching the biochemical compounds present in some of the local fish livers.  The smell of the facility will be fairly unpleasant for starters.  Another problem at the facility is the presence of several virulent strains of bacteria brought from other worlds to test the prototype medical compounds.  A stray bullet or one too many explosions could create an unwanted release of a deadly virus or two.

The referee should use this scenario to see just how well the Pcs can talk their way out of a sticky situation.  After all, they could be brought up on charges of breach of contract if they surrender too quickly.  They could be blackballed by the corporation for any damage to their trader, their facility or for their involvement in the illegal seizure of their crew.  And then again, there is that broken vial of bacteria in the cargo bay…


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