Tau Verde is a world that is undergoing terraforming as it sits at an amazingly good jump nexus point – which basically means finding a sterile ice-world, heating it up & grafting lifeforms onto it. When it is completed, its going to be a second Earth as the gravity & magnetic field is perfect– though that’s some time away. Presently, the air is – just about –breathable (though long exposure is going to mess with you), and themajority of the planet is very, very cold (think ‘Siberian Winter’). As might be expected, aside from the populated equatorial region(because its warmer) is little more than tundra – or thousands of miles of ice sheets.
sealed, pressurized and are converted into living space. Waste not, want not.Crucially, as there is a lot of chaotic traffic around the platforms –small ships & large chunks of ore moving around etc – it is nearly impossible to track an object once it gets into the chaotic swarm…
Scene 1# Essential Components
The Scattergun Approach is approaching Platform 2, awaiting permission to dock & unload their cargo – at the end furthest away from the swarm. The cargo they’re carrying is covered in biohazard stickers and official Tau Verde transit permits – which makes sense as they’re delivering essential biological materials for the Terraforming Process.
Which is a glamourous way of saying ‘they have worms’ – several tons of earthworms, in fact. Its not the nicest – or best paid – job in the world, but it is safe & pays the bills (though the worms have a tendency to escape and alien Al has a tendency to snack on
them), which causes tension amongst the crew. Also, ship captains gossip – and worm jockeys are held in very low regard indeed. Furthermore the crew are nervous given how their last livestock transporting gig went.
As they approach Platform 2 & wait clearance, they get a message from a contact of the Scattergun’s new pilot Beiang knows as ‘Cheddar’. Cheddar is a thug with has no sense of humour and anyone who complains about his personal odor (specifically that he smells of cheese) tends to get beaten up, though he does respond to the name without breaking peoples knees. He’s not a nice person, but he’s consistent and pays well.
He has a job that pays well, has minimal risk, has to be done no questions asked – and has to be done soon as the window of opportunity is closing. Also, it would be better if it was done by a ship that has just entered the system, as it makes being caught much less probable. They meet in a bar where Cheddar accompanied by two Amazonian female guards describes the job.
It’s a heist.
The target is Harringtion Biogenics – the team have to get in, get a unique sample – undamaged – and get out again, to rendezvous on Platform 1 in the next 72 hours time. On arrival, the sample will be transferred and everyone gets paid a sweet half million credits. According to the information Cheddar has, the sample is non-toxic & doesn’t require any special handling requirements (if it turns out to be toxic or require special handling requirements, the fee will be increased by 10%).
It should be a straightforward process and it’s a lot more glamorous than hauling worms.
What could possibly go wrong?
The crew agrees, Cheddar gives them a data chip with several files – a map ofthe target facility, the information he has on the sample and a fresh transponder signal, to mask their ID.
Background information, as provided by Cheddar:
Synopsis of Harrington Biogenics
HB is a relatively small company that specializes in biological manipulation of organisms: both for humans, animals, plants – you name it, they cover it. They’re stationed in many systems and are involved in cutting-edge research & development – moreover, they are reported to do a lot of off-the-books for the military.
Harringtons facility is located on a middling-sized volcanic island – about the size of the Isle of Man – in the middle of the Tempest Ocean (the largest ocean on Tau Verde) – think the Canary Islands as an example of how close they are to a landmass. Officially HB’s facility here is to farm algae, to bootstrap the food chain and atmosphere, and the bulk of their buildings are indeed located on the coast to suck up (sterile, but nutrient rich) water, and then pump it back out again with a load of algae added.
The main complex (associated with the algae farm) are a reactor, algae breeding tanks, control station, landing pad, communication tower and personnel huts.
Outside of the main facility – about 30 km away – is a second site; orbital images show that it’s got enclosed domes around what appears to be several fields. This is the more interesting facility as its purpose is (from official filings) is ‘general research &
development’. This place is surrounded by what appears to be an electric fence, though it it too has a landing pad.
It has been long rumoured that this facility has been working on something special, at the personal direction of David Harrington (owner and CEO of HB): indeed, frontier worlds with minimal governance offer a prime location for covert R&D facilities.
Recently, something – something that got the CEO very excited – has been developed at this location: we don’t know exactly what is going on, but ‘The EFC project’ has, apparently really paid off. A senior researcher was overheard boasting how ‘this was going to change everything’ and how ‘…no-one, anywhere, has anything like it’.
The PC’s are required to get to the facility, pick up something called ‘Sample 27’ and get out again. Sample 27 has to be intact and undamaged. If the casing is broken, then the fee is waived.
What they can learn
Goerge, Theolonius and Al do some research and hacking and find out the following:
doing research on a frontier world
– Earlier samples were found to be unstable and rapidly expire – sample 27, on the other hand, appears to be viable and represents an enormous step-forward in our capabilities which many other organizations will surely be interested in’.
– What information they can glean from It is confirmed that
sample 27 in its current state does not require and special handling,
is not toxic and does not represent a threat to people in general.
– Its location is definitely confirmed in the second site.
– Security at the second site is minimal – it is mainly protected by its not-very public status, though there is a contract with a corporate security which will respond quickly. The facility will probably have 3 – 5 guards who should be armed with handguns.
– There are 2 general purpose corporate security gunships at the main site: think of the twin-rotor helicopters in Avatar – they would be on site in about 15 minutes from being alerted.
– The Corporate gunships are, however, relatively short-range and are mainly tasked for anti-personnel, not anti-vessel, operations. They could get armed with some heavier missiles, but perhaps 2-4 shots each (though 1 would be enough to mess up the Scattergun). As soon as the Scattergun hits the boosters to get into orbit – they should be free & clear
Scene#2: The pick up, up & away
After some debate about hacking another ship for the heiest the crew decide given the time-constraints, a good plan is the following:
– Drop off the worms & depart platform 2, passing through the swarm to mask their departure.
– Change the transponder codes to prevent tracking.
– Once clear, pretend to be the Pioneer Queen (the transponder code that Cheddar has provided) and declare an emergency, dropping down directly onto site 2, ostensibly as an emergency landing.
– Con their way into the base then try hack the system to find the sample.
– Find sample 27 and extract it with minimal violence.
– Get it on board & get into orbit before corporate security can respond.
– Make some random course corrections to get lost in the patchy planetary coverage
– Change the transponder back to Scattergun Approach, rendezvous at platform 1, hand over the sample, go home rich. Find a nice safe port and let the baachnals begin.
On landing they face several challenges
At the landing pad – they are met by 3 people: 2 female armed guards and the site Administrator – they are there to provide assistance and have medical kits in their hands as the Crew has reported a toxic sealant leak. They escort the crew to their canteen and then hold them prisoner while the ship airs. After some perfunctory negotiation the Administrator leaves them and eventually the crew overpower the guards after pulling the old ‘sick prisoner’ routine.
The clock is ticking – corporate security will be on their way.
In the rest of the complex the rest of the station staff are cowering for their lives in a storm shelter. This actually suits the Crew fine, as if they’re left alone, they’ll get out of the way
Storming the control room – to find it’s empty they see the remaining security guard has raided the armoury is loaded for bear and ‘Rambette’ as they name her is on the hunt. They find the precise location of sample 27.
With the data in hand, they get to the holding cell, and open the door
to find Sample 27…
…a purebred Arabian Stallion, resurrected from retrieved DNA samples,
called Galileo. He’s the first of his kind since the species went
extinct on Earth, oh, centuries ago.
Purebred Arabian Stallions are very twitchy and aggressive – and Galileo is no different. He bites & kicks the characters – but if they manage to calm him down. Beiang has riding skill and is able to calm the creature and saddle him.
Exiting the base just as Rambette appears firing down the corridor with her pulse rifle.
Galileo freaks charging down the corridor – Beiang is unseated and luckily managed to escape his feat from the stirrup and avoid being dragged. While George, Theolonius and Al exchange fire with the Rambette eventually knocking her out with their stolen stun guns.
After more horsing around and hijinks trying to settle Galileo resulting in George being resulted a broken nose but managing to coax the horse with grain into the ship.
Now nicknamed ‘the Horse Whisperer’ poor George is charged with keeping the horse calm with grain while Beiang flies with ship and the other crew mates man the defences.
Horses eat a lot. Horses p1ss a lot. Horses shit a lot. Highly-strung thoroughbred stallions are no exception to these rules. The Scattergun approach will never smell the same again,
no matter how much it getting cleaned out.
Corporate security will turn up as soon as they see that Scattergun takes off and open fire – initially with cannons, but once clear of the compound with heavy missiles. This causes more peril for poor George from a panicky horse.
Gunship fire damages the Scattergun’s master pressurizer during the opening stages of the firefight, Thelonius gets fixing this while Al shoots one of the gunshops and Beiang keeps the remaining gunship at a distance with fancy flying.
Eventually, the Scattergun races off in a whoosh of contrails and panicked horse (and George.)
Scene#3: The pay off
Once in orbit, the crew completes check the horse with some superficial cuts &
bumps, but nothing too serious.
As they head towards the swarm around platform 1, they get contacted
by Cheddar – his contact is in position & is waiting the rendezvous –
they’ll connect by pressure hose and do the swap – cash for the sample.
The rendezvous is with a small cargo freighter – the MV Heliopolis –it is a standard design, slightly larger than the Scattergun. There are dozens of them in this system alone. It comes alongside and extends a docking tube to link.
A woman who calls herself Dylon will come on board (the crew have never have seen her before), she will be surprised at ‘the sample’ and initially protest that this isn’t what she was expecting.
With some barracking and argument she is convinced that Galileo is, indeed, sample 27 – They can’t convince Galileo to move through then, after some head-scratching, Dylon will come up with a solution – they rearrange to meet at an agricultural world nearby and swap the beast for the bling.
Job done they go their seperate ways.