This adventure was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 2003 and reprinted in the January/February 2014 issue. Additionally, there is a Shipyard article on the Jefferson Davis.
For one or more players. Interrogation, recruiting, carousing, liaison, computer, electronics, and weapons skills will all be very helpful, but none are absolutely required. Classic Traveller is assumed.
The adventure team is temporarily on the planet of Regatta, a lively if contaminated TL 10 industrialized world of 1 billion people. Regatta is a dual system, one GV star with another GV star in far orbit, around which orbits Pentosa, an up and coming TL 6 agricultural world of 10 million people. The economy here is good and the people are happy.
While carousing in a local recreation dome and engaging in a spirited game of drunk jump ball in front of a roaring crowd the adventure team takes up with an imposing individual who seems particularly good at knocking down the ball carrier. His name is Lex Tarson, and he is playing hard to work off a lot of stress. As he and the adventurers swap stories over whiskey between game rounds, Lex begins talking about how the concern he works for, Mercury Chemical Company, has recently been penetrated by a spy who stole an entire computer program detailing Mercury’s manufacturing secrets. The thief appears to have been a ronin employee who stole the data three days ago, just one day before the plant was shut down for a refit. All the ronin employees have been gone for two days and have scattered over the surface of Regatta, many going to seasonal fishing boats near the planet’s polar icecaps. The company is under a lot of pressure from technologically inferior but numerous competitors, and the loss of these secrets almost guarantees the business failure of Mercury. Lex is completely responsible for his company’s security, and while he is a competent computer programmer who had thought his company’s secrets were electronically protected, now not only has his primary skill proven insufficient but he has no idea of how to proceed to rectify the situation. Lex knows his supervisor is beginning the process that will lead to his job termination, and Lex can’t bear the thought of becoming a ronin worker. (There is no need to simply lay this out before the players. Let it come out in conversation between Lex and the characters.)
If the players fail to take on this patron, move them along to the next adventure, else continue.
Lex is positive that Mercury will pay the team handsomely if they can save the company from its impending demise. He is so pleased that he has found someone who knows what to do to help him keep his job that he knocks out the next ball carrier he manages to catch, and he and the adventure team win a smashing victory. Well, no-one quite remembers winning, but how else to explain the Cr20,000 Lex and each team member have the next morning?
To Catch A Thief
Around noon the next day Lex meets the adventure team at their quarters and asks them what they plan to do. He shows them a letter from the Mercury CEO authorizing the adventure team to have full access to Mercury’s plant and systems, and partial access to the company’s expense account, in pursuance of the successful recovery of Mercury’s industrial secrets. The letter states that the company will pay the adventure team well (the referee should determine the actual amount) if they can resolve the company’s problem with maximum discretion. Lex will explain that the discretion is vital because legal action on Regatta is terribly expensive, and bankruptcy would be cheaper than the ensuing financial disaster of even a successful criminal charge. If the adventure team desires they may call the CEO directly and get the same statements from him verbally (though he will switch to a secure phone system). Assuming the team wishes to begin its investigation at the chemical plant, Lex offers to drive them there in his company ground car. The adventurers will have to step quickly from their protected quarters, through the contaminated air and into the vehicle.
Pulling into the employee parking lot, the team sees it is vacant except for a big garbage truck moving in to empty the large bins overflowing with trash left by the departing workers. The adventurers again race from the purified air of their vehicle through the unhealthy atmosphere and into the walkway tubes between the personnel buildings. Lex takes a more leisurely pace, being born on Regatta and somewhat immune to the bad air.
The plant is shut down and deserted. Trash, dust, and the other assorted detritus of large numbers of the lower-class linger everywhere. The only people present are an old and slow-moving janitor in the barracks and a secretary doing catch-up work in a front office. The secretary is processing data for the next batch of incoming personnel when the plant reopens. The only sounds are the gentle breeze from the single air purifier left on-line and the thundering booms from the garbage truck in the parking lot. A large Regattan housefly (1 inch wide) that somehow got past the air filters will race at the adventure team until it is killed.
Lex will show the adventure team the machine on which he thinks the thief hacked into his security system. It is a general access terminal, and was used at one time or another by virtually every ronin who has ever worked in the plant, including the last batch when they signed out for their final paychecks. Secure files do indeed show the system was compromised from this terminal just 20 hours before the ronin began leaving, during the company party. If any player character has computer-2 he will be able to determine that the security system was probed but not compromised twice before, apparently in practice runs a week before the actual theft. Lex says he missed these probes. If a character suggests that the thief may be in management, Lex will point out that the company managers have been with Mercury for several generations and are unlikely to have endangered their status in this way. He will also say that in any case all of the secretaries, managers, and executives at the plant appear to be accounted for at the time of the security breach, either because he was with them or because they were singing on stage (no need to ask).
Personnel records list 492 workers on the payroll with access to these buildings at the time the theft took place. Cross-referencing this with people who were present during the probes will eliminate from consideration 3 workers (if the adventurers wish to so eliminate anyone). A character with computer-3 will note that the security violation involved a list of commands that indicate the hacker was not trained in computer operations, but was simply following a tedious and blind but thorough algorithm designed to produce results that an untrained person could recognize and use. Nothing on the system will give any other indication of who the hacker was.
Factory Observation Points
The adventure team should now think to search for clues in the trash left behind by the workers, including the large dumpsters outside, and to stop the garbage truck in the parking lot. Should they not do this then let their investigation trail away to failure, and move the players on to another adventure. If the team does remember the truck after it has driven off, give them half an hour to find it and stop it, else it will have already dumped its load into an incinerator. If the truck does drive away, point out in passing that the garbage truck has left and the plant is now completely silent.
Among all of the usual interesting things the adventure team will find in the remaining debris, the following items will stand out.
- One locker is stuffed full of trash bags containing faux paper printouts of all plant personnel and their personal information. Nothing will come of investigating this (but, of course, let the players try, without comment).
- One locker is still locked. It contains undisturbed personal possessions, including a wallet with an ID card. The individual in question is not listed in any personnel file. Lex will have no idea why this would be, but the secretary working in the front office will be able to find out that this worker died five days ago and that the personnel office has already purged his existence from their active files. She will pull up the man’s record from the seldom-used archive files, and it all seems otherwise normal. She will take the personal possessions to send them to the next of kin. Nothing more will come of pursuing this.
- One emptied locker is found to contain three confidential manuals on procedures involving elemental mercury. Though buried under some trash they appear to have been carelessly dropped and forgotten. This too is a dead end.
- One outside bin next to the front office is filled with vast quantities of shredded faux paper, smashed data disks, party favors, and empty beer kegs (great party).
- The trash bin outside of the factory power plant contains several 5 gallon drums of acid. This is very illegal, and very dangerous. Finding this before it went out with the garbage will save Mercury a painful investigation and about Cr1,000,000 in fines.
- This trash bin, one of several by the barracks, contains old clothing, magazines, newspapers, a dead plant, a crushed radio, and other trash. Stuffed down one corner are a large number of travel ticket jackets for busses and trains, printed in dull colors on cheap faux paper. One of these, however, is bright red and gold on real paper, and stands out immediately if unburied from its shallow covering. The front has nothing but a simple gold logo of a swirl around a depiction of the planet Regatta on a red background, but the back proudly proclaims that Starways offers the best in luxury accommodations to discerning space travellers on their way to Pentosa. If the player characters ask Lex or some other information source about this ticket jacket they will learn that a ticket to a Starways liner would cost ten months wages for a ronin worker at Mercury.
Get Me To The Starport On Time
If the adventure team decides to pursue this and uses a local computer net connection to check for the next Starways flight to Pentosa (Starways has no flights to other destinations) they will find that the next vessel out, the Jefferson Davis, is leaving in six hours and already has been boarding passengers for the last six hours. The previous flight was a week ago, and the next is scheduled in a week. If the team decides to pursue this and asks Lex for transport he can get the adventure team into a grav vehicle and have them standing in the starport in one hour, five hours before liftoff. This will leave the adventure team with plenty of time to see all the Starport Observation Points. If for some reason the team does not check the flight schedule immediately or otherwise fails to move quickly they will get there two hours before liftoff and will only have time to see Starport Observation Points 4E and 5 below. In no case will the adventurers have time to return to their quarters to retrieve any of their possessions before the Jefferson Davis lifts off (though of course Lex may be able to make some kind of arrangement for his new friends and saviors).
If pursuing this, very fast-moving players will ask for tickets now. This will cost quite a bit, and Lex will suggest the adventurers gather more concrete evidence while he checks with his CEO.
Waiting For Mr. Shpy
While hardly as busy as the sprawling ports at Mora or Trin, the Regattan Spaceport is fairly active with a large clientele. On their way to the new wing constructed for Starways’ luxury liners the adventure team will pass both the original starport “mall” (a general gaggle of shops offering spacefaring supplies) and the new upper-class department stores offering luxury goods such as wines, designer clothes and uniforms, luggage, and the other travel accessories of fine people everywhere. The processed and purified air in here smells good for some reason. Of particular note, one small shop sells high-quality knives and swords.
Presumably the adventure team will position themselves on the starship concourse to discretely observe everyone boarding and debarking the Jefferson Davis, in an attempt to try and identify suspicious characters who might be the man they are searching for. Unless players have previously stated otherwise they are dressed plainly, and even though there is a spot outside the secure area where incoming passengers can be quietly observed the adventurers will still stand out. Everyone nearby is noticing them. Hopefully the players will think to have their characters take turns using the money they won in their game of drunk jump ball and fix themselves up in the local malls. Excepting any player who previously swore up and down that he was leaving his money in his quarters or somewhere else safe and it’s not in his wallet, let each character find he is carrying his money.
Four men dressed in black coveralls and wearing sidearms are manning the gangway checkpoint. Two officers in very sharp navy blue uniforms and several stewards in white vests and black pants stand with them. All are wearing light headsets with one earpiece over the right ear. A single probing machine for carry-on luggage is next to the roped entry, as is a weapons detector. As passengers trickle up the men in black greet them and politely ask them to place their luggage on the machine and step through the detector. The stewards assist anyone who needs help with their bags. Some passengers hand over firearms, which are then signed for, placed in canvas pouches, and carefully loaded into a padded case nearby. Passengers with knives and swords are allowed to retain them. The officers introduce themselves to each passenger, speaking for several moments and then directing them up the gangway.
Occasionally a few crewmen dressed in orange coveralls walk off, go to the starport malls, and come back carrying shopping bags. They nod to the security detail who glance at them as they walk straight through.
Through the tall glass wall at the rear the Jefferson Davis is visible outside. It is four decks high, painted a brilliant red, brand new and shining in the sun. The golden Starways logo gleams at the curve of its bow. The cargo doors are open, and a bright orange loading robot is quickly packing luggage into the bay. The bridge window shield is raised, and one or two men can be seen at the controls. The ship begins to start up its huge maneuver drives, and their silent exterior harmonics can be felt in concentric circles inside the starport.
Starport Observation Points
If the adventurers try to memorize the faces of company employees and then look for any of these faces at the starport, each attempt to do so will require a roll of 2d6+2. If the result is less than or equal to the character’s INT then the character knows, yes or no, if the person was listed in the company’s personnel roster, else the character is not sure. At this point all the definite answers are no.
Among all of the usual interesting things the adventure team will see at the starport gate the following events will stand out.
- As one passenger is boarding he will begin arguing with the head of the security detail. As an officer steps up the man begins arguing him instead. Apparently he is upset that his luggage has not yet been placed on board. The officer assures him that he will personally see to his luggage, and the man seems mollified. The officer summons a steward and sends him on an errand, through a security door and out to the cargo loading area. The steward puts on a breathing mask before stepping out.
- A very well-dressed and courteous old man slowly hobbles out of the ship and passes back through the passenger screening area. He tells an officer that he needs to do some shopping before the ship leaves and asks if he has enough time, and the officer says that he has a few hours. He hobbles into the mall, and will return an hour later to be re-screened and re-boarded by the security detail.
- One boarding passenger has a child who is throwing a wild temper tantrum. Her mother has to drag the howling minor all the way to the gate. She is exhausted, and begins trying to pull out her ticket. A steward comes forward to assist the passenger, but before he can get to her the child breaks free of her mother’s control and climbs into the baggage probing machine to hide. The security men panic and run around trying to remember how to shut down the machine. She refuses to come out, and the steward has to climb in to retrieve her. The security men show the child and her embarrassed mother the child’s recorded probe image and explain that she has just received a dose of radiation. The child becomes thoroughly cowed and begins crying. By this time the ship’s doctor has arrived, and he takes her into his lap to explain to her that she didn’t get enough radiation to get sick but that from now on she would have to listen to her mother or next time she might get hurt. Looking horribly sad the child nods tearful assent, and the doctor escorts the child and her mother up the gangway onto the Davis.
- While the child is causing this scene one passenger will debark. He
is short, rat-faced, and shabbily dressed, but he has an enormous smile.
He goes immediately into the luxury mall and into a clothiers. If the
adventure team decides to tail him they will observe points A to C.
- He begins buying a good quantity of high-class luxury clothing, spending some time trying to figure out what he wants while rudely disregarding suggestions from shopping advisors.
- He will take several sets of clothing into the changing room. As he tries them on, if a character is in an adjacent changing room he will be able to hear the man mutter to himself, “Well Danny, looks like you’ve hit the big time.”
- When he attempts to pay for his purchases, wearing one of his new suits, the cashier will inform him, “I’m sorry, Mr. Oshon, but your debit card isn’t registered and has no funds.” Mr. Oshon will become very agitated, saying things like “I’m not going to be pushed around like this!”. The cashier will ask how old his debit card is, and Mr. Oshon will say he just got paid about an hour ago. The cashier will explain that it takes about two hours for “the system” to register a debit card. Mr. Oshon will fume but wait, and after another ten minutes the debit card will work. Mr. Oshon will smile broadly and comment, “For a while there I thought I’d been played for a sucker.”
- On his way back to the ship Mr. Oshon will buy several bottles of very expensive wine, more than he can comfortably carry, and will drop and break one at the screening gate. He will laugh it off, saying “I don’t have to worry about that anymore”, and he will airily tip a security man a Cr100 note (which he will decline). One of the stewards immediately begins cleaning up the mess.
If the characters are distracted by the child’s tantrum in Observation Point 3 and the players do not specifically state that they continue to observe passenger traffic in spite of the display then they will miss Mr. Oshon’s debarkation and shopping trip. Their only chance to pick up on him will be at observation point 4D. If an adventure team character is attempting to recognize faces and Mr. Oshon attracts his attention, he will recognize him if a roll of 2d6-2 is less than the character’s INT. Danny is a common Regattan name, but Oshon is not, and if any character picks up on the name Oshon and somehow compares it against Mercury personnel records he will get a match.
- On being screened for boarding, Regattan starport security men approach and question a certain passenger. After searching his carry-on luggage for a few minutes they arrest him and lead him away. The arrest goes without incident. The man is a known gem smuggler. (Note: this leaves a high stateroom unoccupied.)
I Need A Holiday
At this point the players should realize that Mr. Oshon has already made his drop to a passenger already aboard, and that they need to buy tickets and embark if they wish to find out who is behind this theft and to recover the stolen industrial secrets. Presumably the adventure team should contact Lex and inform him of this circumstance. On hearing that the thief and his contact are definitely going to Pentosa, Lex will comment that the company originating the espionage will almost certainly be Sasparilla Chemical of Pentosa, whose local products have been competing poorly with imports from Mercury. But Lex can offer no suggestion as to exactly who the contact is. It could be anyone. If the adventure team manages to search the ship passenger data base in an attempt to look for likely suspects they will find that it carries little personal data beyond billing information.
Tickets for the Jefferson Davis cost Cr18,000 each for a full stateroom, Cr20,000 for a high stateroom, and Cr8,000 for the second member of a double occupancy. If the adventure team doesn’t have such money and if they contact Lex he can give them a single instance access number to which the adventurers can charge their tickets. The tickets can be purchased at the front of the starport. Allow enough staterooms to be available to accommodate all members of the adventure team, and locate these rooms on a copy of the ship’s deck plans. If they haven’t yet done so, give the players one last chance to realize that they need to dress up. If they fail to do this they will have enormous difficulty interacting with the passengers and crew of the Jefferson Davis.
Before they board, Lex will pass on a change in plans to the adventure team. The CEO congratulates them for their work so far, and he still wants the team at least to recover the stolen commercial secrets, but if they can he instead wants them to substitute a set of false data for the real data in order to confuse their competitors and waste their time. The CEO promises a bonus if the adventure team successfully pulls this off. The false replacement data can either be transmitted directly to the adventure team onto their communication devices if they have appropriate ones, or it can be sent up as electronic or physical mail to the Jefferson Davis before it leaves orbit for Pentosa. Lex also gives the adventure team the name of the senior Mercury representative on Pentosa, along with his comm number, and a security code to establish their validity and relationship with Mercury.
On passing through the security point the adventurers will find that Starways allows passengers to carry knives and swords. The two officers, who are the ship’s Purser and Master-at-Arms, will greet them and exchange the usual pleasantries. The team may then proceed aboard.
(If the referee wants to give the players a difficult challenge, as the characters all step within the screening area have one of the ship’s security personnel courteously ask them what such a clearly unprepared group of people were doing watching the gate and incoming passengers for hours before buying their new clothes and their tickets at the last minute. The characters will then realize that a very discreet and helpful circle of stewards, backed by the rest of the security men, has softly formed around the screening area and their baggage, that the officers are standing easy talking to each other but are blocking the gangway to the ship, and that six starport security men are back a distance on the concourse eating donuts and porkdogs and watching the scene out of the corner of their eye.) (If this is too much for the players, one possible resolution is: “We’re the championship drunk jump ball team, on our way to Pentosa for a game. Didn’t you see us last night?” Or perhaps one of the crewmen will recognize them and simply ask if they are scheduled for a game on Pentosa.)
Five, Four, Three, Two …
The Jeff D. is a great boat. As the adventure team boards, describe the vessel and its crew to them in detail. They’re going to be spending a week here pursuing an unknown passenger throughout the decks, so they’ll get to know it well. Make sure you know it well first. The ship has a life of its own apart from anything the characters do—several famous and significant people are aboard, in addition to many who are merely rich and powerful. Make the players feel it.
This journey by the Davis will take seven days, using maneuver drives to accelerate to the half-way point and then to decelerate until arrival at Pentosa. While most crew and passengers will be ordinary and appropriate within their roles, some are special or have special problems. The game referee need not use all, or even any, of the encounters presented below. They are included to provide subplots and plot twists should the referee find them useful. The referee should also generate several of his own characters and have them interact many times with the adventure team throughout the voyage to build a sense of a closed and familiar environment. In addition, following the characters is a selection of events the referee may find useful.
The Master-at-Arms: This man is completely paranoid, and he knows it. He is convinced the entire world is out to get him, especially the passengers who are just dying to ruin his career. He only has six months to go before he can retire, and he is rigidly controlling himself in a desperate effort to keep his problem out of sight despite everyone's hateful attempts to trip him up and ruin his pension that he has worked for thirty years to get. But everyone knows, everyone watches him, everyone talks about him behind his back. He doesn’t care, he’ll beat them all, no matter what it takes….
An Engineer: This man is a spy wannabe. He reads all the cheap spy vids and detective e-magazines he can get his hands on, both on and off duty. The adventure team characters may see him reading while going to and coming from duty. He also spends time trying to design and build hand-made spy equipment such as bugs, trackers, and comm devices, though he keeps this secret. He has successfully completed several crude but serviceable devices. If the adventure team expresses interest in them he will offer to sell a few, but if he finds that a passenger is being targeted he will refuse and explain that it is impossible for him to participate. If the adventure team presses him he will stop speaking to them. He frequently stands watch in EOS.
A Steward: This pleasant-appearing man is a former covert ops commando with a college degree in psychology. Working as a senior steward he keeps an eye on the passengers and crew of the vessel, reporting regularly to the captain to allow him to get ahead of any potential problems. He is thoroughly fit, works out in the holo booths every day before sleeping, and is a formidable hand-to-hand fighter. A player character with commando experience has a chance (2d6 for less than the number of tours as a commando) of realizing, from his bearing and word selection, what this steward is. (If a character does recognize this, feed him clues to this effect rather than just tell him.) He hasn’t yet twigged on the problems the Master-at-Arms is experiencing. “Yes. Yes, we won. Victory covers a multitude of sins.”
A Steward: This ordinary-looking man is an evangelical Christian preacher. On Sundays he holds church services in the ship’s theater. He is a very forceful and practiced orator who preaches straight out of the Bible, holding most people’s attention regardless of their opinions about “religion”. About a fourth of the crew attends his sessions, usually along with many passengers, silk suits alongside orange coveralls. On the last voyage he persuaded a Pentosan senator to become a Christian. Outside of this he enjoys his service jobs and performs them with a will. “And all that you do, do it for the Lord.” He is the one who climbed into the baggage probing machine.
A Passenger: (This young woman is similar to Rose Dawson of the movie Titanic.) She is on her way to Pentosa to begin an arranged marriage with a man she has never met, and she has severe misgivings. While unquestionably beautiful, she is selfish, reckless, depressed, and prone to great irresponsibility. She is also an accomplished pianist and vocalist, and will bang out rousing renditions of ancient drinking songs on the beat-up piano in the Old Lion. She views this voyage as a last opportunity to “be free”. She is berthed in a High suite on Deck 2.
A Passenger: This older man is a bodyguard to the woman above, and he wears a rapier that he knows how to use. He has worked for the family for many years and is presently entrusted with getting the young woman to the church on time with minimal incident. She is really giving him a run for his money, however, and he is having difficulty keeping her under control. He is berthed in the full stateroom immediately aft of hers.
A Passenger: This man is a high-ranking underground fight club champion. Some scars, very fit, sometimes overly forward and aggressive. He’s on his way to a scheduled fight on Pentosa. Such fighting is illegal on both Regatta and Pentosa, but it is still very popular. He is berthed in one of the High suites on Deck 2. He is accompanied by his male trainer and female secretary, who are married and who are double-berthed immediately aft of him.
A Passenger: This is a famous hunter, on his way to Pentosa to hunt the deadly raptors on Sally’s Island. He is the worst dressed person aboard, wearing simple khaki pocketpants and a hunting vest, but with his beaming smile, suntanned skin and powerful arms he somehow looks better dressed than most. He has a serious scar down the left side of his face. He carries an enormous bowie knife, and he knows how to handle it and how to throw it (and how to show it off). He is very popular, and will regale civilized listeners with well-told stories of his hunts (including how he got the scar). When reminded that half of all hunters who attempt the Sally’s Island raptors are killed by their prey he will confidently answer that the man who hunted before him was killed, and that he knows the man scheduled to hunt after him is no good, so he feels certain that he will be in the half that survives. When a little girl tells him that she doesn’t want him to die he crouches down to her and says with a tremendous and sunny smile, “Everyone dies. Even little girls. What counts is how you live.”
A Passenger: This teenaged boy is a chess grandmaster from Regatta, on his way to a tournament on Pentosa. He will give several simultaneous exhibition matches during the voyage. He is also a savant, able to rapidly perform complex mathematical operations in his head.
A Passenger: This woman is a Japanese flute master, famous throughout the subsector. She will give several solo concerts, both formally and informally, during the journey. She likes the acoustics of the elevator well and will sometimes practice there, causing everyone to stop and listen. She is sensitive and moody, and sometimes she will simply stand with her bamboo flute, her eyes shut, swaying slowly back and forth, listening to something in her head.
At some point in the journey a rapid series of power outages will occur in the passenger berthing and promenade deck areas. Suspecting a fire in load center 3 (elevator well third deck port) a team of two engineers and two stewards in vacc suits and with firefighting gear will converge on the load center and open the door. Inside are a man and his wife engaged in, uh, energetic activities which have accidentally tripped various circuit breakers. They will emerge to the applause of the spectators in the elevator well who have followed the dramatic entrance of the firefighting team.
Shipboard Observation Points
The adventure team needs to locate Mr. Oshon’s contact. Several approaches suggest themselves, the most obvious being the direct one of forcing or terrorizing Mr. Oshon into revealing the required information. But in addition to being illegal and hard to hide, this may tip off the contact, who may seek official refuge or otherwise make the stolen data unavailable. If the ship’s officers begin to ask questions then legal involvement may be inevitable, to the ruin of the Mercury Chemical Company. The approach most likely to succeed will be to simply sit back, observe Mr. Oshon, and wait for him to become careless or comfortable and to indicate by his interactions who his contact is.
Each day Mr. Oshon will interact with his contact in the following manner. If the adventurers are reasonably thorough in watching him they will observe the events in the following order (unless a previous interaction disallows subsequent listed events).
- Day 1
- During the lift-off celebration Mr. Oshon will see his contact, Angela Croughton. He will catch her eye and raise a glass in silent but ostentatious toast to her. She will attempt to ignore him. At this point no-one else is ignoring Mr. Oshon, and Mr. Oshon displays little courtesy or respect for anyone else. It will take some observation skill to pick this up.
- Day 2
- Mr. Oshon is dismissive and rude to most passengers and stewards, and resentful of any crewman with authority. He makes impertinent and suggestive remarks while eyeing the bodies of several attractive women, but otherwise expresses no interest in or consideration for anyone else. Many people are beginning to ignore him. But, when he meets Miss Croughton in a narrow corridor or on the elevator, he steps aside with exaggerated mock courtesy and a sly smile and does not pursue her or make rude comments. He acts familiar with her. She ignores him. This behavior will be mildly obvious.
- Day 3
- After a bad day of gambling Mr. Oshon gets drunk and confronts Miss Croughton outside of a holograv booth as she is stepping out. He insists that he should have been paid more for his services. She dismisses him, but he drunkenly stands his ground and she has to push past him.
- Day 4
- Mr. Oshon begins seriously drinking and gambling. On losing a great deal of money he goes to Miss Croughton’s High suite and pounds on her door, saying that she owes him. She brings him inside to avoid further unwanted notice, and he loudly argues with her about getting more money. She buys him off and dismisses him, telling him to never contact her again. The High suites are almost soundproof, so the adventurers will not hear what is said in the suite unless they take appropriate measures.
- Day 5
- Mr. Oshon becomes very ill, almost incapacitated. In the medical office he will insensibly begin talking to himself about many things, mostly uncivilized subjects but including comments about how “she set me up, I can’t get a break”. If persistently asked by a patient person, he will insensibly state her name.
- Day 6
- Mr. Oshon’s condition worsens, and the ship’s doctor places him in cold sleep pending planetfall, when he will be transferred to a full hospital.
- Day 7
- At planetfall Mr. Oshon is transferred to a hospital without being revived.
Angela Croughton is the daughter of Mr. Asp Croughton, CEO of Sasparilla Chemical of Pentosa. She is young, tall, fairly strong, typically Pentosan-blonde, and a no-nonsense kind of woman. Her father is considering her to replace him as a CEO, and she is taking to the task with alacrity and discipline. She wants the job, and she knows that if she screws up anything too badly her younger brother will inherit the CEO chair when he turns 18. Her skills are computer-1, brawling-1, rapier-1, administration-1, and broker-1. Of course feel free to adjust to these as necessary, but no skill should be over 1.
Angela’s High suite is located on Deck 2, all the way port. Her personal computer is on her desk, and a case of copper data rods is nearby. All the rods are clearly labeled in Angela’s precise handwriting, except one which has an ugly scrawl on it that seems to read “vengeance man” or possibly “vegan man”. This rod contains the original stolen information. There are also three other rods in a luggage case under her bed, labeled “Sasparilla Accounts” (indecipherable financial data), “Regatta” (a college course program regarding the history of Regatta—Pentosa), and “Backup” (a backup copy of Mercury’s industrial secrets). If the adventure team fails to locate this backup copy then any other action they take will have no ultimate effect.
All staterooms may be locked and unlocked by swiping a passcard through a reader adjacent to the door. Any door can be opened from the inside at all times unless the Master-at-Arms overrides this with a certain code. Three passcards exist for each stateroom: one for the primary occupant, one for any double-berthed person, and one in the Master-at-Arms’ keybox in the secure locker on the main crew deck. Passcards are issued to passengers as they board. Additionally, any door can be opened by command from the main bridge—and, unknown to most crewmen, by hacking the backup computer in the lower bridge.
There are three ways to force a stateroom door. The first is by someone with electronics-2, two days, and sufficient tools to alter their own room passcard to act as a master passcard. The second is by someone hacking the backup computer; this requires computer-3 and ten minutes, or computer-2 and one hour, or computer-1 and two hours. The third involves de-energizing the passenger stateroom door security system locks. The breaker for the primary power supply for this system is located in load center 3, and is labeled “Door Security PRI”. The breaker for the alternate power supply is located in load center 2 and is labeled “Passenger Door Security ALT”. Both supplies converge in load center 3 on a small relay box labeled “Passenger Door Security” which automatically selects whichever power source is available. The cables leading into the box are labeled “3-DS(PRI)” and “2-DS(ALT)”. The relay box has a handle with three positions labeled “PRI”, “OFF”, and “ALT”. On losing power, all passenger stateroom doors revert to manual operation, opening and closing using a simple latch. The card swipe devices no longer have any effect, but this will not be immediately obvious to passengers unless one tries to open a door without having swiped their passcard key. A Door Security System Power-On indicator light in EOS is the only indicator of the status of the system. If the system loses power this light does not go out, but blinks. EOS is always manned by one person, three during general quarters.
Players may think up other methods of entry. All vent ducts are one foot wide at most.