Through use of Friends in High (or Low) Places which will require either a Plot Point or a Hard Influence + Willpower roll for the PCs become aware of the interplanetary shipper Patrick Hong. He represents APS Stellar and is not happy with their current small cargo shipping company. Hong has permission to contract with independent free traders to carry small (200 ton) lots of cargo. APS wants the PCs to run supplies to miners on Regina. There is a cargo of ore for the return trip waiting at the mine’s only warehouse located next to the landing pad. All the group has to do is drop the supplies and pick up the ore shipment marked for APS Stellar.
The landing area and warehouse are guarded and run by contracted security. Hong can provide the proper ID to certify they are licensed to pick up the APS Stellar shipment. Payment for the supplies to Regina will be the standard €200 rate, the return trip with the ore will be at a premium rate of €250.
The trip to Regina will be completely uneventful, taking five days. On arrival, the APS Stellar “starport” will prove to be nothing more than a bare spot on the top of a mesa. The landing area will be bordered on three sides by worn rough stone structures – a warehouse/hanger, an operations office, and a “barracks.” Also nearby is a crude wind powered water tower. The group arrives right at twilight, just as the sun is setting.
Upon checking with the operations office, the manager says the APS Stellar ore shipment has yet to arrive. He adds that the prospectors are overdue and it would be good for the PCs to go to the APS Stellar mine in the morning and see if everything is okay. He graciously offers to lend the group his large skiff and some of his people as guides. The manager also informs the group that since the accommodations are so limited, that the group spend the night on their ship.
After talking to the manager, the group returns to their ship for the night. It doesn’t take long for one of the crew (roll highest Perception) discovers a stowaway. The stowaway is a man apparently suffering from severe exposure and dehydration, is only barely conscious and manages to utter only two hoarse words before passing out: “The…warehouse…” A Hard Medical Expertise + Intelligence will save the man’s life, but will not bring him back to consciousness.
During their arrival the PCs will have noticed that the large double-doored warehouse was locked and guarded. If the players ask the guards to let them into the warehouse, the guards declare that no entry is allowed. They must protect the valuables from other company. If the APS Stellar shipment was here, they could let them in, but until it arrives, for security reasons, they are simply following their orders.
A Hard Influence + Willpower or an Average Seduction + Willpower roll will discover that another large ship will arrive in a few days for it. Once talking, the guards will also comment in small talk that the business is picking up so much that the starport will likely soon be upgraded to handle all the load.
To gain entry to the warehouse, the players will have to devise some type of break-in if they are to gain access to the inside. An Average Covert + Agility will reach the warehouse undetected. A Hard Pick Locks + Agility will gain entry to a side door. Once inside, they will find that the warehouse contains a shipment of ore marked APS Stellar, as well as an Alliance Patrol Boat with several blast marks, but the markings are not actually those of an Alliance vessel. Close examination and a Hard Mechanical Engineering + Intelligence roll will reveal that the pulse drive is not functional.
Although the group has no way of knowing just what happened at the moment, but ten days ago a pirate raider attacked a merchant vessel shortly after it left Regina with a full cargo of ore. Much to the pirate’s surprise, the merchant was armed (a miscalculation on the part of the pirates). The ensuing battle forced the pirates to destroy the merchant, but they sustained heavy damage before they could.
Desperate, they landed on Regina and staged a takeover of the starport. Twenty personnel were taken by skiff into the desert and left to die in the harsh badlands of Regina. One of the starport personnel evaded the pirates when the takeover occurred, hiding in the desert near the mesa, hoping to want the next ship t land – is the stowaway. Unfortunately, exposure to Regina’s environment was almost too much for him. After his utterance, he will remain in a coma for the rest of the adventure. The players will have to do some footwork to learn what is going on.
If the group is foolish enough to take the “manager” up on his offer to visit the APS Stellar mine, the “guides” will strand them in the desert. To make matters even worse, there is a storm approaching and unless someone can make a Hard Survival + Intelligence roll, they will be caught in the open when the storm hits and it will take a Formidable Vitality + Willpower roll to survive the night. If the group refuses to go out looking for the APS Stellar prospectors, the “Guides” will force them a gunpoint onto the skiff and stranded as above. In either of these cases, the next day a few hours after sunrise, the group will encounter a group of five mounted scientist-prospectors that will rescue them. The combined group returns to the starport just in time to see the pirates loading the last of the APS Stellar cargo on their ship and are about to depart. There are sixteen pirates (armed with roll D6 1 = Pistol, 2-3 = Rifle, 4-5 = Sub-Machine Gun, 6 = Assault Rifle) and the players will have to roll a Hard Influence + Willpower roll to get the scientist-prospectors to assist in defeating them. This fight will be close, but the PCs should be able to win with the liberal use of Plot Points.
Defeating the pirates will give the PCs time to “persuade” the survivors to show the group where the starport personnel were stranded. However, the harsh conditions will result in 8 + 2D6 fatalities. Once the reports of the PCs actions reach Patrick Hong, the group will receive a €500 bonus and preference for additional work. If the pirates escape, the PCs will quickly find the rogue Alliance Patrol Boat has been scuttled. In addition to the Pulse Drive not functioning, now none of the other systems work either. The PCs won’t even get salvage as APS Stellar claims the hulk offset some of their losses. The group in addition to being stuck on Regina will all gain a minor Branded Complication.