This folio adventure is designed for characters with a variety of backgrounds serving aboard a Trade Pioneer merchant ship. The referee may draw characters from any source, including existing campaigns; some of the characters should have Vacc Suit skill.
The merchant ship is the Far Trader Scotian Huntress. Details of her statistics, performance, and layout can be found in GDW's Supplement 7: Traders and Gunboats. Other Traveller books and supplements can be incorporated as desired.
Unexplored star systems always promise untold wealth. But the system the traders were exploring now - shrivelled chunks of rock and ice circling twin M5 dwarfs - had shown the other side of the balance sheet. There was nothing of value here.
Until they detected the Other . . .
The alien craft was unlike any seen before - huge, with enormous heat radiator wings, falling in an eccentric orbit around the red suns. Aboard the Huntress, excitement ran high. New-found races meant whole new worlds of trade opportunity, and a fat bonus from Caledun. ln moments, the traders had matched course and speed with the newcomer. But, as they approached, they realized that there was no sign of life from the alien and only the faintest traces of power leakage or heat spill. Their prize was a dead ship.
But even a derelict must come from someplace, The Trade Pioneer's contact team suited up to have a closer look. An airlock was visible at the bow. Within might be the clues that would lead them to a new world, new people, and bonanza.
Operating the release will make the panel slide open very slowly. The outer door will close and the inner door open automatically once the adventurers enter the airlock. The inner door will operate in fits and jerks, freezing open, and a faint blue light on one bulkhead will flicker twice and die. The party will find that nothing they do, and nothing attempted by those still aboard Huntress, will make the airlock operate again. They are trapped, although there seems to be no immediate danger.
Of immediate interest will be the bodies floating everywhere, well preserved in the cold and all showing signs of violent death. They are of no species known to the adventurers, Each is 1.1 meters tall, with tubular bodies, two stalked eyes, eight grasptng appendages and four heavier legs. None wears clothes; some carry lengths of metal tubing, broken equipment, or other improvised weapons.
The following areas are keyed to the alien ship deckplans.
Power is off within the boat. A violet plunger like the one in the control room is in the "on" position, but the boat's batteries have long since been drained. There is no way to restore light or gravity, or to cast off from the larger vessel.
Two bodies are aboard, much different from those found on the large ship. These are about 1.5 meters across, furry, and disc-shaped, with 12 appendages of various sizes arranged around a fleshy hub. There are no legs on the ventral surface; the creature may glide or undulate along the ground.
Each wears on one arm a bracelet identical to the broken ones outside. Strangely fashioned hand lasers float nearby; both aliens have burn wounds, and one appears to have shot itself.
Many red dwarfs are flare stars, subject to periodic upheavals that can increase their luminosity by a factor of 100 and flood nearby space with particulate radiation. The two ships are only 13 million kilometers from thc double sun, close enough that each is just as bright as, and four times larger than, the Sun seen from Earth. The immediate increase in brightness will present no danger to characters within the ships. Personnel caught outside will be subject to 1d6 hits every 10 minutes, unless they are in the shadow of one of the ships.
Four hours after the light of the flare reaches the ship, particulate radiation will arrive. Screens aboard the Huntress will protect those aboard her, but the alien ship has no such protection. Adventurers aboard the derelict will suffer 2d6 hits every 10 minutes until they return to the Huntress. Radio communication will be impossible, though the characters can talk by touching helmets. The flare will last for 20 hours.
The adventurer are trapped aboard the derelict with only a short time to make a thorough and rapid exploration of the alien vessel, discover a way out, and get back to the safety of the Huntress. Along the way, they may gather clues concerning the identity and origin of the derelict's crew.
I. Two kinds of lifeforms were aboard the ship, which was designed for the disc-shaped beings. The ship probably carried a crew of eight.
2. No computers were found on board. The alien notations on the silvery boards may represent manual calculations. lf this is true, an enormous potential market rnay be available once this race is discovered and contacted.
3. The ship, based on external inspection, is not jump-capable. It has a sublight grav drive of primitive design.
4. The harsh, ultraviolet-loaded light of derelict's lighting panels suggest a honre star of around spectral class A0. Querying the Huntress's navigational computer will reveal anI A0 star two parsecs deeper into the Great Rift. Since such stars rarely have planets, it has never been visited. Caledon will pay a bonus of 250,000 CR for this information.
Though A0 stars rarely have planets, there are always exceptions, and the disc-shaped aliens come from a Tech 9 civilization on one of these. Clues aboard the derelict suggest that they see blue and ultraviolet tight. Their ship passed the twin stars too close at the wrong time and a flare similar to the one that threatened the adventurers disabled their heat radiators and crippled their ship.
The starship builders are extremely long-lived. Later studies will show that the ship (designed to carry 100,000 tons of fuel, with a 100:1 fuel/mass ratio) was capable of reaching .02 Iight. At that speed, the trip from thc nearby A0 star took 325 years.
Coomputers were unknown among the starship builders. They rely instead on individuals with "Iighning calculator" talent - somewhat more common among them than in humans - as organic computers. There will bc a planet-sized market for electronic computers if the home planet can be discovered.
The presence of TWO alien species aboard the alien craft is the key to an important secret, one which will unfold in the months ahead as The Space Gamer carries additional adventures from this campaign.