This adventure takes place before the Solomani Rim War (990- 1002) but
long after the Great
Merchant Strike of 904. Put it about 985. This could be part of the events and provocations
leading up to the Solomani Rim War.
Tukera Security is concerned about the possibility of another general
strike aboard the
megamerchant class ships. Many of the gains achieved by the crews in the Great Strike have eroded
over time, particularly in the face of the many planetary depressions and recessions experienced in
the wake of the Strike.
Rumors of another Strike have surfaced. Vermene has little concrete
evidence of any plot, simply a
single report from an agent who has since vanished, concerning a possible labor action possibly
involving Solomani influence, and a hunch by Mildur Troygvan, head of Vermene. Troygvan's
hunches have played out before, so Sildas Tukera heeds his security chief on these matters.
The Great Strike cost Tukera a great deal, both financially and politically,
and Sildas is determined
to avoid another at any cost. He has authorized Troygvan to carry out 'black' operation of the
highest order. Sildas simply wants Troygvan to enlist agents entirely outside of Tukera to
infiltrate, if possible, the plot, and either expose or neutralize the leaders. Tukera has had some
problems with Solomani infiltration of Vermene in the last few years, so Sildas want's things to
be extremely tight on this mission. The entire affair is to be his and Troygvan's eyes only. In
reality, Troygvan cannot handle all the matters himself, so some of his most closely trusted staff
will also be involved.
The player characters have to have never had any substantive dealings
with Tukera, or else such
dealings have been very well hidden. They should also be racial Solomani, be able to pass for
such, or have homeworlds in the Solomani sphere of influence. If the PC's do not fit this profile
they will have to give Troygvan very good reason to believe they can still accomplish this
Troygvan will, if possible, contact the party through a patron they
have dealt with previously. He
will come to this patron with impeccable credentials...all false, but the head of security for one of
the largest megacorps has awesome resources at his command.
Troygvan will at first attempt to convince the PC's that he is merely
a middle man dealing for an
anonymous corporate client, perhaps an upper manager in the Tukera organization, attempting to
keep a blemish off of his bottom line.
However, if the PC's are observant, they will soon notice some touches
that belie this notion.
Troygvan habitually travels with a security escort, three ex-Marine commandos, and two ex-Scout
special forces recon specialists. The security will make the PC's long before, if ever, than the PC's
will make them.
Troygan himself will travel armed (small silenced autopistol) to any
meeting, and his guards will
be heavily armed, sawed off shotguns, silenced smgs, and flash-bang grenades, and wearing 'bullet-
proof' trench coats. Any outdoor, or accessible from the outdoors like a restaurant window setting,
meeting will be covered by one of the Scout recons acting as a sniper with a heavy gauss rifle.
Troygvan is not a well known person; however, if one of the characters
gets a picture of him, and
feeds it through a large enough photo database, Troygvan will be identified as an executive for
Tukera. At any rate, his expensive clothes, mannerisms and clear attitude of command make it
clear that he isn't just any middleman. With extensive research, if the player characters can actually
access the data sources they need, they may even be able to identify him as the probable head of
Troygvan will readily agree to more than one meeting; the first will
be more 'feeling out' for both
parties, no substantive information will be given to either side unless all parties agree. Troygvan
is looking for a cautious, methodical, professional group to do this. If the party seems to ready to
agree to anything sight unseen, he may back out; given the current state of political affairs in the
Imperium, with rising tensions with the Solomani Confederation, some major planetary systems
fighting recession, Tukera cannot afford anything that could spark a strike, or give it bad press.
The only thing Troygvan will say about the assignment is that it is
an internal security matter on
a starship, and the PC's are being recruited for an undercover operation, the pay will be generous,
and that while there are very real dangers associated with the mission, it isn't anticipated to involve
combat, that the PC's are primarily being asked to gather intel.
If the group agrees to work for Troygvan, he will suggest a meeting
aboard his ship, a Tukera
executive vessel. The PC's will be searched politely but firmly, on boarding the ship. Any
weapons, recorders, etc, will be taken from them. They will receive a receipt, and be asked to sign
it, for 'Items in the Ships Locker', listing anything taken from them.
The PC's will be shown to the wardroom, and offered refreshments. Soon
the lift warning comes
over the ship's intercom, and the ship will lift from the planet and head off into interplanetary
space. The two marine commandos will be in the room with them at all times, clearly guarding
the PC's. They will not be talkative.
About 15 minutes after lift, Troygvan will come into the room, and dismiss
the guards. and begin
"I'm sorry for the rude treatment, but this is a matter of the highest
importance to Tukera Lines,
and the utmost precautions must be taken. We have reason to believe that an illicit labor group is
organizing on a major ship of our line, possibly to provoke a strike. I want you to go on board as
employees of Tukera, and determine if there is such a conspiracy, and if so, who is involved. We
do not know how high the conspiracy reaches, so you are being introduced as complete outsiders.
You will be in under very deep cover. Vermene has agents working in the ships looking for these
people. They will not be told of your existence, indeed, you will have to avoid them, since I
cannot compromise your cover by interfering with this or allowing anyone else to know about it.
The following is for your eyes only...No one else but myself and Sildas
Tukera himself know of
your relationship to Tukera, and I am prepared to take the most extreme measures to ensure that
this remains the case."
Troygvan has not changed expression, but the tone in his voice is clear,
the PC's will be killed
before they can expose anything.
"Naturally, I'll reward success, even partial success, handsomely...I
know that I am putting you in
an extremely tight position, and potentially in great danger, but if you succeed I can bring all the
resources of Tukera to bear in your behalf."
"The ship involved is the Catherine the Great, a Majesta-class freighter
currently in the Diaspora
sector. Their next port of call will be at (Insert some port in the Diaspora Sector), there is a
scheduled layover of 5 weeks there, more than enough time for us to get there. You will be put on
board as part of normal crew replacements, into the sections that we suspect of having organizing
activity. From there on, you will be entirely on your own. When you have achieved your mission,
you will bring the evidence to the Tukera office in the next port, get off the ship and stay there.î
He hands each of the PCís a package. It contains a folder with the outline
of their identities, ID
cards, and shipís transfer papers assigning them to positions appropriate to their skills, aboard the
Catherine. The PCís will be assigned to areas and shifts in the ship close to them; this way they
will be able to maintain some contact. About two thirdís of the party will have identities that
show they worked on another Tukera ship, quite a distance away from the Catherineís regular
route. Their personnel files will also show that they were transferred for unspecified disciplinary
reasons. Tukera takes a rather hard stance toward labor organization, and it will be inferred from
their files that they were suspected of being involved in either labor problems or smuggling.
The disappearance of his agent has Troygvan suspecting that the conspiracy,
if there is one, has
access to the shipís personnel records, either through illicit means, or by a highly ranking co-
conspirator with legitimate access, since the agent had a classified personnel docket identifying
them as a security agent.
Troygvan gives the PCís a moment to look through the materials, then continues.
ì It is vital that you do not lose your identity cardsÖthey have a special
code that will identify you
as a high ranking agent, reporting only to a few people within the Vermene organization. If you
are successful, report to the Tukera office at (a list of possible ports will be given) and only at
these offices. I cannot guarantee your safety anywhere else. From there, you will be taken to a
Vermene safe house for debriefing. Myself, or one of my associates will debrief you.î
ì One final bit of assistance. Your quarters on the Catherine will contain
a silenced snub pistol,
with eight rounds of ammunition. Recognize that this is highly illegal, and if these are found
while you are on board you will be arrested and interrogated. Use them only as a last resort, as I
cannot guarantee your safety aboard the Catherine, high security clearance or not.î
ì You will use the information in this packet to develop a detailed
identity for yourselves while we
are in transit to (embarkation port). Upon arrival, you will be given new clothing, what
possessions you would be expected to have, and your identity card and papers. Your belongings on
this ship will be returned to you upon the mission completion.î
The time frame Troygvan has given the PCís, gives them 1 to 6 months
to achieve their goals,
based on the itinerary of the Catherine. Transit time to the ëCatherineí will be two jumps. While
in jumpspace the PCís will be required to develop their identites; they will be grilled by Troygvan
and his associates, until they have everything perfect. If not, the failing PC will be left behind, or
the mission will be aborted, the PCís will be compensated lightly for their time, and returned to
where they met Troygvan, with the warning to forget that the episode ever happened.
On board the Catherine the Great
The PCís, if they have never been aboard a merchant of the Majesta class
will find themselves hard
pressed to maintain their cover the first time they are on board. The crew is larger than the
population of many small cities, and the ship itself is huge. When a Majesta comes into port, it
takes over. Often Imperial Navy auxilaries clear all non-Tukera or Naval vessels from the starport.
The crew then takes over the starport. Depending on the shipís schedule, the crewís disposition,
and the number and nature of the dependents on board, the port is either flooded with crewmembers
shopping and enjoying a few dayís shore leave, to a wild carousal. (Picture spring break in most
places in Florida, before the locals got fed up and clamped down.)
The PCís, however, should be able to settle down rather quickly into
the routine of shipboard life.
Naturally, as the newbies on board, they will get questions regarding their previous ship, why
theyíre now on the Catherine, etc.
After about a week on board, if the PCís are observant, they will
notice that they have
occasionally seen someone who looks remarkably like one of the bodyguards who accompanied
Troygvan to the meetings, and may have been aboard Troygvanís ship. If contacted the person
will deny ever having met them before, and unless the PCís talking to the woman makes a
difficult perception check, will come away thinking that it is merely a case of mistaken identity.
In reality, it is one of the recon specís sent by Troygvan to keep an eye on the PCís.
Troygvanís tactics are clear..there are three layers of investigation
going on simultaneously on the
Catherine: The ëofficialí investigation, the PCís deep cover investigation, and the scout, whos
only job is to watch the PCís. If the PCís are blown or killed, it is the scoutís job to get off the
ship and return with the information to Troygvan. If I has become clear that the PCís have
uncovered a conspiracy, the scout will attempt to assassinate any identified leader, then escape the
ship. In either case, the scoutís escape route is a specially prepared scout/courier in cargo module
9. Using this escape route will gather a great deal of attention, since it will involve blowing the
doors of the module open with explosives and firing the scoutís thrusters to leave the ship. This
will cause considerable damage to the ship, but Troygvan considers the risks worthwhile, if
another Great Strike is averted.
From here the adventure could follow several scenarios:
1: The Solomani Provocation.
The PCís are soon contacted by a person who hints that they might well
be able to continue their
labor organizing. If they express interest, they will be slowly drawn into a conspiracy, led by a
SolSec team, to foment a Solomani-centric strike by the crew during the ships closest approach to
the Solomani Confederation some ten ports along the itinerary. SolSec has four or five agents
placed throughout the ship, including one agent in the higher command structure, such as an
assistant chief security officer.
The PCís will be asked to recruit others in preparation for the strike,
or to perform some act of
sabotage on the ship as proof of their bona fides. If they are successful at this, they will be
allowed access to the higher levels of the conspiracy.
The SolSec agents are quite ruthless, and the PCís could well have a
fatal ëaccidentí if their covers
2: The ëMolly Maguiresí
There is a anti-Imperial labor movement underway aboard the ship, but
it has nothing to do with
SolSec. A group of engineers are plotting a violent strike against Tukera for the gradual loss of
the concessions gained in the Great Strike. They feel that success in this will encourage other
starship crews to strike, and that another Great Strike will ensue. This time they hope to gain
permanent concessions from both Tukera, the other megacorps and even the Imperium for labor
The conspiracy does not have any assistance from the command structure
of the ship, but have
hacked into the data systems for their detailed knowledge of personnel and other files.
3: Captain Raimo
The ship is carrying classified Naval hardware (an improved gravitic
focusing system) in one of the
cargo containers. The shipís captain is aware of this, and being a Solomani sympathizer is
desirous of hijacking the ship to Solomani space. The srtike (with accompanying sabotage) is a
ruse to draw the 25 Imperial Marines out of their specially prepared cargo module, whereupon in
the confusion the captain will hijack the ship, put the crew out in the lifeboats, and fake the
destruction of the Catherine.
He has the absolute loyalty of the upper levels of command, except for
the highest ranking
4: Norma Rae
The PCís discover a labor movement afoot, but it is one that addresses
real abuses by Tukera. In
fact, if the labor organizers are persuasive enough, the PCís could well decide to side with them.
The organizers want to set up a legitimate, recognized union to negotiate with Tukera. Tukera
wants to squash it. In this case, the PCís will have been largely lied to by Troygvan, particularly
regarding the involvement of Solmani interests. He is using the players to find the leaders. Their
subsequent murders will be blamed on the PCís.
5: ìRun-run-run-run runawayÖî
The PCís discover that the original agent, whose report and disappearance
started this whole affair,
is simply a ruse. The agent had embezzled a great deal of money from Tukera, and filed the report
and staged his disappearance to hide his trail. The PCís get involved in no conspiracy greater than
a scheme to win a g-ball game between two engineering shifts, since one of the PCís resembles a
semi-pro player known by the captain of one team.
This will not go over well with Troygvan, who really wants to believe
there is a conspiracy afoot.
He could well decide the PCís are lying, at worst, covering their own part in the conspiracy, or
simply incompetent at best, and they were unable to find what was ëright under their nosesí.
The main thing for GMís to keep in mind is the sheer size of one of
these ships. itís over one and
a half KILOmeters long. It has a crew greater than many, many small cities. No matter what
scenario the GM chooses, the ship should be a significant player in any plot. The PCís for
instance could hide on one for months, scurrying from place to place. They could find interesting
ways to bug various parts of the ship. Also, since this ship should really be run less as a ship
than a company town, there are ample roleplaying opporunities beyond the normal shipboard stuff.
The conspiracy could, for instance, take place in conjunction with the the ongoing g-ball
tournament between different parts and shifts on the ship...what better excuse for people to travel
around the ship without attracting attention. There could be entire shipboard cultures unique to
one of these class of ships, or even an individual ship. There could be things like the ëCarnival
Cruise Linesí cargo module...basically a luxury hotel built into a standard cargo module, along
with power supply, life support, etc. The cruise company contracts with Tukera to transport their
modules along...voilaí no unneccesary ship maintenence or construction costs, thatís covered in
the lease, which Tukera shouldnít charge too much for, because in their minds, a cargo container is
a cargo container.
With these behemoths in service, suddenly the trade tables from
the various incarnations
of Traveller start (notice I said only start) to make sense. Anyone on the scale of a PC is only
going to be getting the odd spot shipment or charter...the big trade goes on these things. It would
be sort of like attempting to figure out how current maritime trade makes economic sense if all
you knew about were ships like the dhow that Michael Palin rode across the Indian Ocean in
ëAround the World in 80 Daysí. When someone tells you that there are also giant kilometer-long
container ships cruising around, it makes much more sense.