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SpaceBadger August 1st, 2014 04:35 PM

SoloTrav: Spinward Scout: Scouting the Unknown
SoloTrav: Spinward Scout: Scouting the Unknown

GM: SpaceBadger

Player: Spinward Scout

PC: Dameon Keldarii

Campaign: Scouting Unknown Sector

Setting: Sector S10R01

Starting Place and Date: Lunion (SM 2124), 112-1115

SpaceBadger August 5th, 2014 04:25 PM

Status: Spinward Scout has his PC generated, just needs to answer a few more questions about his ship and possible companions, while I need to generate the first subsector on the other side of the Jump Gate.

SpaceBadger August 7th, 2014 02:32 AM


Originally Posted by Spinward Scout
Here's the Traveller write-up for the character.

Dameon Keldarii
677B94 Human (male) 32 years old
Senior Scout 3.5 terms

Pilot-3, Jack of All Trades-3, Diplomat-2, Sensors-2, Astrogation-2, Vacc Suit-1, Survival-1, Comms-1, Gun Combat (Stunner)-1, Engineer-1, Computers-1, Mechanic-0, Drive (Wheeled)-0, Carouse-0, Zero-G-0

17,500 Credits, Weapon (Stunner), Scout Ship

Looks good. I don't have the initial subsector all ready to go yet, but we might as well get your guy assigned to the job and on his way.

Ex-Scout Dameon Keldarii has just landed his detached duty Type S Scoutship Tauri Ecliptic at the somewhat beat-up Downport serving the equally down-at-the-heels border world of Craw (SM 1939) C573645-5 Ni (Crawni) 923 G7 V. [Note: I am using the classic JTAS write-up of this world, not the current Travellermap info which indicates a large Aslan population, nor the Traveller Wiki info which indicates radioactive tainted atmo, whereas the JTAS article had the taint as a low oxygen percentage. If you don't have the JTAS issues, I'll write you up a summary. If needed, that is; I don't expect your PC will be here for long.]

As he gathers up his breath-mask and the package which brought him here, his ship-comm pings with an incoming message. Still standing, he taps the Receive icon and the signal resolves into the holographic image of an older man in rumpled Scout uniform with Admin tabs, sitting at a cluttered desk. The man looks at him hopefully: "Ex-Scout Dameon Keldarii? I was expecting someone older, but your arrival tripped a search on our system, so I suppose you meet the parameters of what they want. You and your ship are being recalled to active duty. Care to come over to the office for a drink while I fill you in, or would you prefer an info-dump to your ship?"

Spinward Scout August 7th, 2014 08:37 PM

(OOC) - I don't have any JTAS. Sorry.


Dameon tapped a few buttons on the console to bring up the location of the Scout Admin Office, thinking: So Soon?, and says: "I can come down. A drink sounds great. I should be there shortly". He shut down the Comm and stepped over to the side of the bridge. Pressing a series of commands then sliding a power lever down, the ship's lights dimmed.

Outside, the ship’s engines wound down to nothing but a popping as the thrusters cooled. After a few minutes, the gangplank lowered to the ground and a tall man in a Scout Service jacket walked down, adjusting his breath mask. He looked around the dock for the way to the Scout Office. Dameon tapped a few buttons on the side of the ramp and it started to rise back to flush with the ship. A dry weed rolled by, under the ship.

Only Tech Level 5? I just hope somebody has good groat-on-a-stick around here, he thought as he walked away.

SpaceBadger August 8th, 2014 12:41 AM


Originally Posted by Spinward Scout (Post 486608)
(OOC) - I don't have any JTAS. Sorry.

Aw, now I'll have to dig it out. I was just working from memory. :) Well, like I said, I don't expect you to stick around here long, anyway.


It turns out to be not far at all to the Scout Admin Office, since Dameon had landed on one of the Scout Base landing pads already, to partake of the free fuel and maintenance offered to Scouts with detached duty Scoutships.

In fact, it appears that the Scout Base is the major part of Craw's Class C Starport. Dameon sees from the building signs that Traffic Control is also part of the Scout Base, and that behind the Admin building is a larger building, probably mostly taken up by temporary quarters apartments, with a sign reading, "Sophont Contact and Study Orientation."

Even the business side of the port appears to be dominated by an IISS office for "Native Sophont Exports" and "Import Clearance Office." The only private construction appears to be a pair of warehouses, a pumping station reading, "Unrefined Fuel Only," and four landing pads for merchant vessels up to 600 dTons. One is currently occupied by an A2 Far Trader; the rest are empty.

Dameon finds the Base Administrator's office and the man he'd just spoken with via holo. The man rises to his feet and extends a hand to shake. "Bran Kerguelen," he identifies himself. With typical Scout informality, he rustles up a pair of plasses from behind his desk, gives them a quick wipe with a Clean-All cloth, then finds a bottle. "One of the nice things about a place with natives with compatible biology, most of them by this Tech Level have discovered distilled spirits and have some unique local liqueurs. This one is distilled from a wine made from something like plums; I've grown quite fond of it since I've been here, but if you'd prefer some standard issue trade whiskey I have that, too."

Once drinks are poured, Kerguelen holds out his hand-comp for a "bump" with Dameon's comp or datapad to pass the files. Except that in this case, it seems to be only a single file.

"I can tell you what it says," Kerguelen tells him. "It wasn't addressed to you in particular, nor encrypted. But it doesn't say much, either. Just that you are recalled to active duty, and are to report with your ship to a set of coordinates in the far outer system of Aster, at 1739, two parsecs to spinward of here. Nothing about preparation, needed supplies, or what you should expect after that."

"They're not just grabbing everybody who passes through, however; I've had two detached duty Scouts, and probably at least six active duty, pass through here since my last system update a few months ago, when that search must have been planted. You're the first one to trigger it."

Spinward Scout August 8th, 2014 02:14 AM

(OOC) We can just wing it if you don't want to go digging. I don't mind.


Dameon takes a drink and nods his head in approval. "That's a really nice vintage, Bran. I'm so used to Scout Stout."

He looks through the file on his datapad and says: "Aster... - there's only a small mining town there, if I remember right. And they don't want me at the main-world, but the outer system? That seems odd. And nothing about what I should bring? I wonder if they need me to transport someone or something. That would make some sense if they just need a courier. But why wouldn't they even give minimal information on the mission? Unless..."

He takes another drink of the sweet-flavored liquor, deciding to down it all the way after the first swallow. As he puts the glass on the table next to his chair, his eyes grow wide.

"They've found something Ancient, haven't they, Bran?" he says to the Administrator, a big smile starting to grow on his face.

SpaceBadger August 8th, 2014 02:28 AM

I found the two Craw articles, in JTAS #10 and 11, by William H. Keith and J. Andrew Keith (Referee's Guide to Planet-Building, Parts 1 & 2):

The first article has the physical details of Craw and its Human population. The second article has its native life, including a native sophont species.

Craw (SM 1739) C573645-3 Ni (Crawni) 923 G7 V
(Note the TL has apparently risen all the way to 5 since the writing of those articles.)

From its size 5 with standard tainted (7) atmo, it is concluded that it must have close to Terran gravity, thus a high density yielding a planetary mass close to Terra in a much smaller volume. This could mean a prevalence of heavy metals, possibly in near-surface deposits attractive to mining interests.

From its 3 hydro rating, it is determined to be an arid planet with a narrow habitable zone surrounding a small polar sea. The rest of the planet is a mix of deserts, mountains, badlands, and the like.

The hydro rating and desertified surface yield another idea regarding that tainted atmo. Rather than the usual dust or pollen or pollution, the "taint" could simply be a low partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere, due to a low incidence of oxygenating plant life away from the habitable zone.

The Pop digit of 6 and Govt digit of 4 (Representative Democracy), along with the TL of 3, were interpreted as a "lost" human colony building its technology up to that of Europe in the 1700s, just on the verge of an industrial revolution. However a few million people were not considered enough for that sort of advancement, so the authors stated that on this world, the Pop number represented only the Human colony, but there was also a substantial population of native sophonts, some "wild" and some held by the Humans as slaves.

The low TL of the Humans meant that the Class C Starport must be owned by offworld interests, such as those mining interests we mentioned earlier.

Part 2 of the article developed what sort of native life might have developed on such a world, deciding that much of the "mammal" analogs would be barrel-chested for extra lung capacity to process the lower amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. For the native sophonts, this meant smaller than human, with leathery skin to prevent moisture loss, short knobby tails for balance in climbing rocky places, and the afore-mentioned barrel chests. Animal encounter tables were used to design a domesticated, omnivorous beast of burden and a small, arachnoid predator.

Since Travellermap now tells us the TL is 5, and we've already used that in the story, I postulate that in the 20 or so years since that survey was made, the Scout service determined that the native sophonts (Crawni) were being exploited both by the "native" Humans and the off-world mining interests, and under threat of declaring a Red Zone interdiction the Scouts took over the administration of the place.

Since the interstellar mining corporation was already in touch with the locals and had built a starport, the cat was already out of the bag so far as any issue of stealthy non-interference. The Scouts simply took over the minimal Class C port facility, added a training center for people coming to observe or work with the native Crawni, imposed limits on further exploration or exploitation beyond mines already in existence, and through education and selected assistance with infrastructure have raised the local Human population to Tech Level 5. To limit further contact between the mining corp and the "natives" of both species, their operations were restricted to areas away from population, and the products of the mines are taken straight to orbit via shuttle for rendezvous with large ore transports.

So that is Craw as it exists today.

SpaceBadger August 8th, 2014 02:47 AM

The administrator nods his approval. "Sharp. I can see why their search program might have pulled your file when you put in for landing instructions." He takes another long sip of his own drink. "Apparently I am not in "Need to Know" on this, so I can neither confirm nor deny your guess, simply because I don't know that for sure myself. But I have seen some things in the past five or six months that make me sure that something strange is going on in the Aster outer system."

"For one thing, those six active duty Scouts that stopped by here is about twice the number we usually see in that period of time. For another, I accessed the tracking data from System Traffic Control, which we operate here, and four of those Scout ships Jumped out-system on vectors that could only be for Aster. Here, look at a chart." He pulled the holographic presentation up out of his desk top and zoomed in on the area he wanted with a practiced twirl of his fingers. "See, there's really nothing to spinward of here within range of a Type S, except for Aster. And all of these departure vectors are most likely for Jumps in a spinward direction."

Warming to his presentation, Kerguelen takes another big sip, then sets down his empty plass. "I've also run back through our system tracking for the past six months, and we've had an unusual amount of traffic that didn't stop off here to refuel. Big ships, Navy ships. A battlecruiser, some auxiliaries, some transports. Guess which way they headed on Jumping out? It's hard to say with those Navy [expletives], they're indoctrinated to Jump out on ambiguous vectors, but all of them could have been going to Aster, and none of them left on vectors that would definitely exclude Aster."

"So now what do you think?"

Spinward Scout August 8th, 2014 04:24 AM

Dameon's smile dropped. Looking incredulously at the Administrator, he stood up and slowly started flipping through the data in the hologram. "But that's...," he flipped faster until he got ahead of himself and lost his place. He just stared at the hologram then, thinking of the implications.

"They could be using Aster as a staging point," he said finally.

Still leaning over the desk, he turned to look at Kerguelen. "If they're planning an assault, the 'Cliptic isn't even ready for basic war-time reconnaissance. She's stripped down to bare minimum for Detached Duty. I would need a much better Sensor Suite. Weapons and Sand on the Hardpoint. A Gunner to fire the weapons, if it comes to that. A Tech 'Bot. Definitely an AutoDoc, because I'm no Medic."

Dameon sat back down in the chair and watched a freighter coming in to land outside the windows, as he thought it all through in his head. Then he said, "But who are they expecting to fight? Aster is right on the border of Imperial Space, but there aren't any Worlds the ship can reach over the border at Jump-2. The same with the other Scout Couriers. Maybe with drop tanks..."

SpaceBadger August 8th, 2014 05:24 PM

"Or it could be like your first thought; they've found something there and need some Navy to protect it while Scouts study it. I dunno, but you've got your orders, so I guess you'll find out."

"Still, any additional supplies that you could legitimately draw from base stores, you'll get 'em."

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