- Any starport tavern with a Scout Base.
- An unsettled swampy backwater world with a breathable atmosphere about a jump or two away.
The PCs are approached by a Mid-level ranking Scout. She is on active duty from the IISS (Imperial Interstellar Scout Service) Survey Branch – yes, the Scouts. She is looking for a group to help solve a mystery. You see, the IISS sent a sub-contractor Pathfinder team to a remote, swampy world to perform dirtside surveys. These people were to build a rudimentary starport landing area to prepare for additional teams to follow and expand the facilities into a boa fide new colony. Initial orbital surveys showed a vibrant native eco-system in place; therefore, some dirtside experiments on interactions between imported flora and fauna and native life needed to be done.
All was going well for the first few months. The starport area had been finished and the team was turning their efforts into importing herd animals that thrive in a swamp-like environment. The reports from the surface spoke about frequent electrical storms with robust lightning which they were trying to harvest with lightning arrestors that shunt the electricity into storage batteries. The Geostationary Satellite System was up and fully operational, but the system was out intermittently due to the higher base Gauss level of this planet. The initial hypothesis of the silence is the colonist/contractors died from some form of incompatible viral or bacterial infection that kills all non-native life.
As stated about a month ago, all communications stopped. No distress call was made and IISS flyovers report no signs of life. The IISS is trying to keep the news of this event off the TAS Newsline so speed and discretion are exceptionally important. The offer for help cannot be in the atypical contract format. With that in mind the Scout is willing to upgrade the PC’s gear with top-level vacc suits, ship sensors or anything short of an armored vehicle that will get them to take this contract. Additionally, the PCs will be allowed to visit the base armory to “refresh and replenish” their own weaponry. (Slug-throwers and a few grenades at the most – NO energy weapons).
Additionally, the Scout will accompany the PCs for several reasons. The first reason is she is skilled in microbiology. The second reason is the IISS has placed a warning beacon in orbit to interdict any unauthorized entry. She has the correct passcode to access the planet. The third reason is her spouse was one of those unlucky pathfinders that disappeared. If he left a logbook behind, she would be able to access it. The Scout will also be transporting the PCs on an IISS-owned Type-L Standard Lab Ship, complete with an IISS team of eight to crew the vessel and also with a second Pathfinder team of eight members who all are trying to solve this mystery. These eight members are a mix of scientists, medics, and communications technicians.