The Case of the Jaded Jewel
In the chaos of the Fusion Purge, a large emerald pendant disappeared from the home of one of the leaders of the house of Dok'Marr. According to the story, a maid was tricked into stealing it, thinking that the thief loved her; instead, he murdered her and took the jewel for himself. Now, with the Purge settled, a pendant very much like it has been seen worn around the neck of a young lady from the noble and wealthy House of Solazarn, recently married to a warrior with a title, a fortune, and a bad reputation. Anyone looking into the matter will learn that three other women in the same house have owned the pendant, and all have met with tragedy. Is it the same pendant stolen during the Purge? Is there a curse? Does the ghost of the murdered servant haunt those who dare to wear the jewelry she purchased with her life? And is the newest owner of the emerald pendant now in danger, and is it from her jewelry or from her husband?
The truth lies with the stone used in the pendant. To casual observation or even a standard tricorder scan, the stone will appear to be a large (80 karat) emerald that is otherwise, aside from the obvious rarity of a stone of such size, exactly as it seems. However, if subjected to a quantum level scan by a sciences tricorder, the stone prove to have an unusual lattice structure at the sub-atomic level. The stone is in fact a relic of a long extinct race that were contemporaries of the Preservers. This stone was a focusing crystal for an incredibly powerful communications array. The original users could process vast amounts of data and could beam that information nearly anywhere instantaneously.
The exact origins of how the stone was discovered are long lost, but the story that was passed along with the stone was an itinerant scavenger found an ancient ruined archeological complex. Most of the items were useless from age, but the stone sat in perfect condition in the center of the pile of the collapsed device. The emerald was stunning in size and clarity and was quickly sold to finance additional exploration of the site. However, the discoverer never told where that site was and the wreckage of his ship was found several months later with no trace of the scavenger or the location of the site. The stone was purchased by the House of Dok’Marr and set in the finest latinum pendant they could afford and it was in that families’ possession for several generations until it disappeared during the Purge.
The warrior that wound up with the stone after the Purge was Krell vestai Hurric. During one of the many skirmishes of the Purge, Krell’s unit was stationed near a Dok’Marr compound. As a minor officer, he was invited into the compound and saw the pendant worn by the lady of the house and their demure human servant. Heavy fighting had already passed through this sector and Krell used the lull to work his charms on the human woman. He seduced her and tricked her into betraying her mistress. Krell killed the woman just as the planet came under attack by vengeful Urussig warriors. The fighting was with such blinding fury, that Krell was able to cover the murder and escape with the pendant.
Krell fought well enough during the Purge to earn a minor title and enough land to be considered fairly wealthy. No witnesses survived the Urussig attack and he covered his tracks brilliantly, but rumors have followed him ever since. He used the pendant to leverage his way into an arranged marriage with the House of Solazarn.
Krell naturally give the pendant to Lady Rillian the wife of the House of Solazarn’s leader, but within two months she died falling down a flight of stairs in the grand hall of the family estate. This was closely investigated and found to be no more than a terrible accident. Lady Rillian’s eldest daughter inherited the pendant. Tovatha was a strong willed woman and owned the pendant for nearly eighteen months before she killed herself with her dk'tagh. Again an extensive investigation found nothing other than a tragic suicide. The pendant passed onto Lady Rillian’s granddaughter. Shenora, a lieutenant on the Imperial Navy, only had it for a month when she died while piloting a shuttle. An exhaustive inquiry conclusively proved she had simply fallen asleep behind the controls. While the pendant had to be repaired, the emerald itself oddly enough survived the crash undamaged. The pendant then went to Shenora’s sister, Mentatha the very woman Krell arranged to marry.
What is going on?
The cause for this terrible string of events is the emerald in the pendant. Unknown to all was the special properties of the sub-atomic lattice structure. In order to transmit such dense volumes of data, the creators forged the stone by aligning the molecules of the basic emerald structure at the subatomic level. The stone is capable of absorbing extremely minute energy fields from almost any source. The human slave that stole the pendant had latent telepathic abilities. When she was murdered, her psychic scream was absorbed into the stone and without a means to relay that data onward, the stone preserved the rage of that betrayal within the lattice structure.
The stone is by no means self aware, but the negative aspects of the stored energy causes the wearer to suffer headaches and unremembered nightmares. These serve to interrupt the REM sleep cycle causing extreme fatigue and irritability. The stone also implants a psychic suggestion to keep the stone close at all times. The wearer sooner or later succumbs to the constant negative energy and commits suicide or suffers a fatal accident due to the fatigue. Take the wearer’s PSI divide by ten and round fractions down, this is the number of months the owner can resist the suicidal urge or avoids an accident. Once the time has elapsed, the wearer must make a monthly PSI and LUC rolls. If the wearer fails the PSI roll, it results in a suicide, while failing the LUC roll will result in a fatal accident.
A person with a strong enough PSI rating (40+) is less susceptible to this effect and can shrug off the psychic suggestion to keep the stone near at al times. Anyone with telepathic abilities or a PSI rating of 60+ can detect the nature of the stored data and with a psycotricorder could release the essence of the murdered servant from the stone. Given the high PSI rating required, it is extremely unlikely that any Klingon would ever have this as a course of action.
Solving the mystery.
There are several resources to assist figuring out the deaths in the House of Solazarn. Shenora’s personal log will clearly mention an unexplained lack of sleep. To be able to read this log, the PCs must ask the grieving widower. This however proves to be a challenge. Devastated by his loss, Commander Kelnan has taken a leave of absence from the Navy and to drinking heavily. He will not answer comm signals and will respond violently to anyone showing up at his suite in the family estate. Even drunk he is a powerful brawler and in his drunken state, will not hesitate to draw and use his dk'tagh. He will have to be subdued and sobered up to be able to ask his permission to access Shenora’s log.
Lady Rillian did not keep a log, but she did have a journal. It will take a Negotiation/Diplomacy roll to gain time on Kresh epetai Solazarn’s schedule. He immediately calls for the journal and it also mentions extreme fatigue and horrible nightmares.
Tovatha did not keep a log, but a Security Procedures or a Negotiation/Diplomacy roll with her personal servant will find that Tovatha was extremely irritable near the end of her life and if the PC asking the question makes a LUC roll, the servant will make an off hand comment that she was “irritable even for her and I didn’t like the way she would pace at night.”
As mentioned above a standard tricorder scan will not detect anything unusual about the pendant. However, also as previously mentioned, if a sciences tricorder is used, the emerald’s lattice structure can be detected. A Geology roll will know this is not a naturally occurring event.
Armed with the proof that the stone is not the simple gem it appears, the means to solve the mystery is at hand. It will take a Psychology roll to talk owner into willingly taking the pendant off. Force can always be used, but Krell will not condone force being used against his wife. Despite his previous actions, to his surprise, he actually loves Mentatha.
If Mentatha is asked, she will admit to being sleepless lately and if anyone can talk her out of the pendant, they will begin to manifest sleeplessness. This is however, a long-term process. Divide the PC’s PSI rating by ten, round down to find the number of days before the nightmares and interruptions to REM state begin.
On seeing a printout or graphic of the sub-atomic lattice structure, any PC that can make a Communications Technology, Electronics Technology, or Computer Science roll will notice that the structure is very similar to communications array components. A second roll of one of the above skills will allow the emerald to be integrated into a communications system. As soon as power is applied, the jewel emits a 3D image of stunning clarity that shows the pendant being taken from it’s case, the flight to the rendezvous with Krell, his attack, him taking the pendant and him walking away. The majority of the image is in silence, but at the very end, there is a poignant piercing howl of rage and a single burning thought forms in everyone present’s mind BETRAYAL!
There is no arguing the power or veracity of the recording. Krell draws his disruptor and has to be killed to stop his attempt to flee. If Krell escapes the Solazarn communication room, he will attempt to reach his ship, a modified K-3 Gunboat. The compound has a transporter dampening field that covers the entire estate except for the hanger on the top of the main building. If he reaches his ship, Krell can become a recurring enemy with a powerful grudge.
As an alternative to the purely technological solution, if the PCs happen to include, or are in contact with, a telepath, they can access the emerald’s stored psychic impressions directly to play out the above images.
Kresh epetai Solazarn was willing to take the pendant in that it was an insult to the House of Dok’Marr and because he believed Krell obtained it as part of legitimate plunder of an honorably defeated foe. Robbery, betrayal, and murder are without honor and Kresh orders the pendant returned to the House of Dok’Marr. Given his embarrassment, Kresh even tells the rival house of the pendant’s dangerous properties. Regardless whether or not Krell escapes, his actions result in him being stripped of his title, his lands, and being disaccommodated.
For saving his only remaining grand daughter, Kresh is extremely grateful and will be an important source for assistance in the future.