Wake-up Call

GM Briefing:

Seven years ago, the planet Hera was deeply involved in the war with the Alliance as the home of the decisive Battle of Serenity Valley. As Hera recovered from the war, the Church of Hera grew out of the ruins as a radical sect of xenophobic isolationists who believe the loss of so many on their world has made the whole planet sacred ground and has signaled the beginning of a golden age of Hera.

Two months ago, Church elders decided that Hera had to be for natives only and embarked on a campaign to prevent outsiders from defiling their sacred world.

 

A member of this radical sect needs transportation and having no fear of Blue Sun, is willing to use the PC’s ship. Li Shen Fong, is clearly a Buddhist monk and is ready to pay the charter rate for the ship is 80 credits per day normally, but the client insists on a hard burn, thus bumping the cost to 100 credits per day for a five day trip to the moon Highgate. Li pays this higher fee without complaint, he has a large cargo and will pay half up front, half on delivery. The cargo however, is only a cover for a small team of elite mercenaries hidden in stasis in the large crates marked mining equipment, their mission: to begin carefully orchestrated sabotage on the shipping en route to Hera.

The PC’s were performing a hard burn to meet the customer’s deadline when something seemed to go wrong. The crew had to abandon ship as the engine threatened to go supercritical. The ship was set on a course out into the outermost limits of the sensors of the local Alliance patrol and the crew prepared to evacuate via the shuttles. The whole accident and course correction was a cover designed the churchmen to bring the PC’s ship near the Alliance ship.

The PC’s mechanic is a church devotee, but not of the Hera sect and they chose to trust him and tell him of the heretical plans, asking him to sabotage the ship before it reached the Alliance ship and alter the course before evacuating along with the rest of the crew.

The PC’s ship reached the Alliance ship and was taken in tow. Once docked the mercenaries hidden on the PC’s ship boarded the vessel. It is now three days since the PC’s ship reached the Alliance ship and the computer core has signaled the shuttles to return so the ship can complete the journey to Hera.

 

Events in the Scenario:

· The characters return and explore their ship.

· They discover they have an abandoned Alliance ship docked with theirs.

· They find evidence of other people on board ship (the insane mercenaries).

· They deal with the mercenaries while getting the ship underway.

· Deal with Li and his attempts to salvage a plan gone horribly wrong..

 

Computers on board the PC’s ship:

The computer core is currently controlling all on-board systems. The core has a hidden program called Aurora. It has been programmed to capture the Alliance ship at all costs, including killing all PCs. It knows about the mercenaries and their mission, but was programmed to only obey their commander, who’s dead. The reason it signaled the ship is because Xavier planted a program of her own to recall the shuttles if 24 hours passed without any known malfunctions being registered, this program was not discovered by the Churchmen when they added their own sub-routine. The Aurora program can be hacked by two PCs operating together.

· The Bridge: The PC’s ship has had a rudimentary security system installed (a few cameras and motion detectors, computer-controlled bulkheads). The bridge stations are all currently locked out. At the start of the scenario, the main drives are off-line, and must be reactivated.

· Infirmary: A rather rudimentary medical facility. It has various drugs, surgical equipment etc.

· Living Quarters: Three single and two double cabins. Examination of the mechanic’ cabin reveals that he has a copy of the Hera Bible hidden under his pillow. This book contains the isolationist teachings of the Church of Hera.

· Lifeboats: There are two shuttles, each of which fit seven people. A big red lever launches the shuttles. Computers can’t launch the shuttles.

· Docking Airlock: The main exit from the ship.

· The Engineering Section: A cramped chamber surrounding the fusion power plant.

· The Engines: Standard Pulse drives. They are connected to the cooling tanks by a mass of piping.

· The Cargo Pod: if anyone explores this, they can discover the chamber contained ten mercenaries sent by the Church.  

 

The Alliance ship:

The ship docked to the PC’s ship is a standard Alliance patrol boat. There are the corpses of three mercenaries lying in the airlock. They all committed suicide.

All that is needed to enter the patrol boat is to simply touch the door. One of the first things they encounter is the body of the commander of the mercenaries. A yellow barrier field is holding him and he is still alive, he cannot be talked to unless the barrier is shut off.

The mercenary is named Hestis. He is a dedicated Church officer and has fought numerous engagements during the Unification War. He is quite mad, and believes Alliance agents are torturing him. He cannot be disabused of this notion, but is close to breaking. Freeing him from the barrier and then threatening to put him back in might work.

Towards the rear of the ship is its pulse drive. At the center of the room is fusion plant. Also in the ship is the ship’s advanced computer system. One passage leads to the bridge. Once someone enters the bridge, a beam of shining white light lances down upon him or her as the computer scans him or her. The characters cannot control the computer, but they can get the mercenary captain freed, or awaken the sleeper...

 

The Sleeper:

The sleeper is an Alliance officer in a cryo-chamber. The survivor, if awakened, he will prove to be psychotic. He will run amok attempting to capture characters..

 

Events during the scenario:

· The characters return and explore the ship. They meet with Aurora, the ship’s intruder program. Aurora can tell them all about the events that led to being out here on the rim of the system (at least, it can tell them the Church version of events.) The PC’s ship is in perfect working order, except the engines aren’t connected to the power plant. This will take about 10 engineer-hours to fix.

· They find evidence of other people on board ship (the insane mercenaries).Deal with this bit as you see fit. The mercenaries exited the pod, boarded the patrol boat with ten of them going in. Two made it out alive, and they’re not normal.

One, Private Carns, is a raving lunatic. He was a believer in the Church of Hera. He believes he is the Angel of Death sent to purify the sacred world of Hera by killing all corporate spies and ambushed his fellow mercenaries

The other, Private Telos, is slightly less mad, if still unsettled. He took a head wound from Carns and now thinks he’s being chased by aliens. He can be talked down, but will shoot dangerous-looking things on sight.

Li was supposed to play the grateful to be alive monk and be rescued with the rest of the crew, making his way back to Hera on his own. Li quickly figures out he is the only member of the sect that is still functional and quietly goes about sabotaging the crew’s efforts. If he is caught in the act, his Buddhist persona drops and he becomes a fearsome fighter that has to be killed to rendered unconscious to be stopped

 

What happened?

The cryo-suspension of mercenaries was done in a rush and unknown to everyone, done improperly. Every member of the team suffered brain damage during the process and the auto-timer thawed them they went beyond the desired elimination of the Alliance crew and into a killing rampage. Once the crazed mercenaries finished off the Alliance crew and spaced the bodies of the patrol boat’s crew, before turning on themselves.

 

The Warship

When the first patrol boat fails to report, the Alliance sends a second patrol boat to investigate. This second ship arrives just as the PC’s gain control of their ship and finish off the insane mercenaries. The Alliance commander is of course in a killing mood over the “pirate attack on an Alliance ship.” The PC’s do have more than enough evidence to prove their innocence they just have to keep the Alliance commander talking long enough to show it to him.

 

The Wages of Sin

There many weapons and covert gear originally carried by the mercenaries and scattered throughout the patrol boat and are free for the taking. The GM can allow anything reasonable for a mercenary strike team to have carried and the PCs will have to roll an opposed INT + Covert versus the second patrol boat’s crew skill of INT d6 + Perception d4.

 

Final Thoughts

Regardless, during the encounter, the Mechanic has to choose which is more important to him, his crew or the now obviously radical teachings of the Church of Hera. And regardless of his decision, he must answer to his crew for his part in this encounter.

 

NPCs

The mercenaries use the Alliance Grunt template, but with INT of d2 and instead of Loyal, they have Leaky Brainpan (Major)

 

Li Shen Fong

AGL d6, STR d6, VIT d6, ALE d8, INT d6, WIL d6 Life Points 12, Initiative d6 + d8

Traits: Religiosity (Major), Deadly Enemy (Alliance – minor)

Skills: Athletics d6 – Dodge d8, Covert d6 – Stealth d10 Sabotage d10, Discipline d6, Guns d6, Influence d6 – Persuasion d8, Knowledge d6 – Buddhism d10, Perception d6, Performance d6, Unarmed Combat d6 – Aikido d10