The preferred setting is a pocket empire, or other smaller multi-system polity. The names can be easily changed to fit a 3I setting.
Part One: The Setup
Players Information: The PCs must have ship operation skills. They are approached by a Captain Sakamoto of the Star Kingdom Navy, with an offer of a dangerous but very valuable mission. The captain will not give any details until the PCs agree to take the job and sign the Star Kingdom Secrets Act. He explains only that the Kingdom needs a ship and crew not connected with the Navy. Once they are signed on, Captain Sakamoto explains the mission. If the PC group has a ship, they can use it, OR operate a second hand freighter, the Match (400 ton, 40+ years old) which the Navy acquired.
The Star Kingdom is engaged in a war against the Dominion. This war has tied up most of the SK navy forces, which has given non-state actors more ability to attack Kingdom shipping. The mission will not directly involve the war. Their destination is the Tabraz system.
Tabraz is a backwater system and near barbarism. They build no ships, but buy or steal them from the neighboring systems. The planet boasts a large population and a society that encourages piracy. Raids against them provoke yet more piracy and attacks on civilian shipping. The Tabrazians do not scruple against attacking anyone not a Tabrazian.
Tabrazian raiders have scored their first big victory against Star Kingdom forces in the region; they captured a Star Kingdom Sloop of War with its crew of 47 starmen. The sloop Philadelphia (known as “Big Phil”) is now in the Tabraz system, probably at the orbital starport. The Tabraz orbital port is known to have many, many armed satellites defending it.
The Navy does not want to admit that they lost the ship, as this would weaken the Kingdom’s morale – they are at war, after all. Nor do they want to risk the Tabrazians being able to put it into service. Up until now, the Raiders have only gotten older civilian ships, lower tech with normal civilian firepower. The Philly is a TL-15 warship with all kinds of modern weaponry and nuclear missiles. The PCs are hired under the Secrets Act so that no Navy ship will be risked, and the Navy might be able to keep this embarrassment a secret, if the mission should fail.
Before the Raiders have a chance to exploit this prize, the Navy is sending in a team to recover it. The PCs ship will insert the Navy team into Tabraz space, and get them close enough to the Philadelphia to board it, overwhelm the Tabrazian crew and make their escape. If escape is not possible, the Navy team has orders to spike the drive and destroy the Philadelphia to keep it out of Tabrazian hands. Either result is a success, and the Navy will pay the group Cr 200,000 for their part in the mission. Alternately, the PCs may take the secondhand freighter as payment. It will be handed over free and clear with official Star Kingdom documentation.
The strike team is 12 Marines, armed to TL-15 and wearing BD. Included with their gear is a short range radio jammer that should keep the locals aboard ship from sending or receiving any messages, including sounding an alarm. The team leader is Captain Sakamoto.