Traveller SD2018 Session13Plot
Session 13: In which the party find the Mare Vitae and sinister clues about what might have happened
The party had seven passengers: an imperial ambassador Ambassador Rone Wardez- and three more of his entourage, and three zealots from Haunt. The ambassador and his entourage had arranged landing permission on Haunt and were trying to negotiate improved trade and travel rights in Haunt, including the creation of a refueling station. The ambassador and his entourage said the imperial diplomatic core found the navy often made their work more difficult, since naval vessels intimidated governments. The conversation turned to the Mare Vitae. One of the ambassador's entourage -Anien Grigan- said there were rumours linking the Mare Vitae to the navy and that it had military-grade sensors, and that these had provoked fears that the Mare Vitae was a naval spy ship and that the navy was planning to use the fears of piracy as an excuse to invade systems in the Little Rift. Feidlimid reported rumours that the navy had ships built using alien technology, and Anien replied that rumours were that the Mare Vitae was one such ship.
The zealots had contracted space SARS and exposed the party and the ambassador's entourage to it. The party shrugged it off, and Davon Rushmore easily treated the outbreak of this unknown disease. Davon also found that the zealots had signs of being whipped on their hands and elsewhere. The official religion on Haunt had various levels of initiation, with major parts of its beliefs concealed to initiates of sufficiently high rank, although it was acknowledged that there was some connection to aliens and that those in the Haunt sector had a special role to play.
After arriving in the Haunt sector, Artesia eventually was able to find the Mare Vitae in orbit around the second gas giant, inside a strong magnetic field and inside a mega jump scar. Before going to investigate it, the party landed, delivered their passengers, allowed their ship to be thoroughly searched, and listened to the very basic levels of indoctrination that were broadcast openly. Feidlimid failed to obtain permission to send a postcard but convinced Berton Grighte to try to send it for him.
The party then flew to the Mare Vitae. They refueled and attempted to plot a course so they could immediately jump to safety, but being close to the gas giant and in the mega jump scar made such astrogation impossible.
The Mare Vitae consisted of a stream-lined ring which rotated rapidly on a pair of spokes around a small central axle on which a command module and small cargo bay sat. The command module had a basic sensor suite, and a much more powerful suite sat on the outer ring. The ring rotated about once every two seconds, which would be sufficient to create normal gravity from centrifugal force rather than standard artificial gravity. The location of the engines suggested that the ship flew in the plane of the ring, with the command module sitting just slightly above the top of the ring. The command module had two turrets, each with a sandcaster and a beam laser. The command module had a standard sized airlock, and the cargo bay seemed large enough for small craft to fly into.
The party docked with the command module, using their ships power to power the airlock. Inside, the found an android built to resemble a hazardous environment suit on the ships bridge. As soon as it met them, it turned on the power to the bridge. It had been inside a survival tent, which had been set up over a floor-to-ceiling aquarium with 10 gold fish. The android said its name was Bravo, that it was the interface for the ship's computer, and agreed with the party that this did seem to suggest there was another computer system. Further discussion and investigation revealed that Bravo only had 12 hours of memory and that it had no information about the ship outside the bridge, connector, and cargo bay. When asked about this and other strange things on the ship, Bravo agreed that, after the topics had been raised, they did seem concerning. The party connected Bravo to a computer so that it could start to record more than 12 hours of memory. Feidlimid sent Theresa to investigate the cargo bay, which was about half full with sand, probe droids and their atmospheric landers, and an air raft. The party found reference to emergency cryoberths in section C. The cargo bay, middle of the axel and connector, and the cargo bay were labelled as sections Z, Y, and X respectively. After some convincing that the party recognised they didn't own the ship and that there were potentially unknown dangers in the other sections of the ship, Bravo agreed to help the party reach the main part of the ship. They took the lift to section Y, where the artificial gravity seemed to work very hard to maintain something like normal gravity while, perhaps, the lift started to spin rapidly. As the door started to open, it immediately closed again. An electronic broadcast from within had sent a message that there was danger and instructions to return to the bridge. Feidlimid and Brvo debated the merits of opening the door or returning to the bridge, but Bravo opened the door when Davon tried to force it. Inside, the party found a small transmitter transmitting the text message essentially instantaneously and also transmitting audio recordings, transcripts of which are here: Mare Vitae Recordings.