Scenario 1: Open For Business
Captain Julio Battalitor, Captain Warren Nelson and Colonel Rasheed Al Barani arrived on the fat trader ‘Argo’ at the spaceport on the planet Tartarus. They were there to arrange finance for the captain’s new ship ‘Avalon’ and to take possession of the vessel. Eric Vimm, an old free trader was the seller. Vimm had been a contact of Captain Battalitor’s for several years and was winding up his merchant fleet to set up a sizeable planetary brokerage. Warren and Rasheed inspected the Avalon and concluded that she was in need of some extensive work. Her maintenance history was a nightmare with all manner of bodge-jobs and inappropriate replacement parts. In addition the manoeuvring thrusters were less responsive than Nelson would have liked. The pair decided that the issues were fixable but prepared a detailed report on the likely costs involved for the captain’s benefit. They then spoke to Vimm and he gave Battalitor some useful information on the political situation in Tartarus. All four then proceeded to the Imperial bank in the spaceport. There the manager, Yvonne Beswick, approved the loan and repayment arrangements were put in place.
Julio hired Chandra Vale as ship’s steward and then proceeded to take on passengers and cargo for a voyage to Palique. On the journey the captain cultivated a contact in Ata Korvay, a Paliquan native with a starship modification facility at the starport. He also hinted that he might have ‘work’ for those interested and was open to the idea of trading services. Over the course of the voyage Fredrik Verner, a mercenary drank heavily and seemed extremely stressed. Things almost got nasty at the dinner table when he confronted Warren but the captain talked him around and violence was averted.
During a routine maintenance check Rasheed noticed that radiation levels were elevated and checked for a reactor leak. Once he was sure there was none he brought his findings to Julio and Warren and an investigation got underway. The source of the increased radiation was traced to the stateroom belonging to Branca Gerva, a Paliquan scientist. Battalitor spoke to her while Rashid and Nelson went into her room to search. The increased radiation was coming from a luggage case. The levels were high enough to cause long-term damage if exposure was continued and Gerva was showing signs of radiation poisoning already. Rashid constructed a container from rad-shielding patches and they placed the suspect package in this and placed it in the airlock. Under interrogation Gerva cracked and revealed that she was not who she claimed to be and was travelling under false identification. She was transporting radioactives for a resistance cell on Palique but had been told it was perfectly safe.
On coming out of jumpspace near Palique the captain contacted the port and asked to speak with the Palliquan spaceport liaison officer – William Gibbons. He explained the situation to Gibbons who instructed the Avalon to maintain her course. She was intercepted by a police cutter that docked and boarded her. After a preliminary inspection the cutter captain advised that the passengers and crew be evacuated to the police vessel. Captain Battalitor and crew opted to remain on board but the rest of the passengers were moved across. In the course of defrosting the low passage travellers one of them panicked at the sight of Paliquan law-enforcement and went for a gun. Nelson spotted him and managed to stop him from causing much harm with his stunner. The suspect package proved to be low grade radioactives rather than a functional device but would have been sufficient to create a dirty bomb devastating in Palique’s arcologies. On interrogation the low-berth passenger proved to be a resistance agent. Gibbons thanked Battalitor and warned him that subversive elements on Palique may not thank him once word of his actions spread. In recognition of his service to Palique he offered him the use of his broker and contacts for his stay. A decontamination team cleansed the ship and medical personnel examined passengers and crew before the Avalon landed at the spaceport.