Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Who are the Whisperers?

an In-My-Traveller-Universe Phenomenon

    Drive hand Gionetti dropped his spanner into the tool box and sat down on the deck with a weary sigh. Finally the induction loop was back into spec. He had worked on it for more than two shifts, long after the rest of the drive crew had hit the rack. Drowsy enough to fall asleep right there in the drive room, Gionetti suddenly jerked upright. A voice had spoken softly in his ear. Twisting around expecting to see his supervisor, he saw no-one. The drive room was as brightly lit as ever, and he was clearly alone. He ducked his head to look under a relay assembly, for someone hiding behind it, but there was no one. He shook his head and got up, then bent to collect his tool box. The voice was suddenly there again, seemingly right in his ear, but he couldn't understand the words.  Startled, Gionetti ran from the drive room, leaving his tool box open on the deck plates. None of his mates were going to believe he had heard the Whisperers.
    Who or what are the Whisperers? Are they even real?  No one knows for sure, but the phenomenon of mysterious voices heard in noisy engine rooms, empty corridors and even in vacc-suits has been reported all over known space for centuries.

    Details vary; some people claim to have heard distinct words, while others hear only the sound of indistinct soft voices. Most times the people who hear the Whisperers are alone, but occasionally two or even three people hear the voices at the same time.

    Some claim that hearing the Whisperers is a portent of an ill-fated or doomed voyage. Others claim that the voices are not harbingers of doom, but protectors warning of danger. May ship captains have a 'whisper check', a set of diagnostics and sensor scans preset for when the Whisperers make themselves known. Some captains claim that the voices have led them to the source of the potential danger, which they otherwise would not have discovered in time. The argument goes on whether the voices are beneficial or baneful; many space disasters are catastrophic so no one can tell if the Whisperers were heard before the calamity or not.

    Many claim that the Whisperers are ghosts of those who died in space, and claim that they are seeking revenge against who or whatever killed them (this view tends to be more strongly held in Navy circles). Others say that the ghosts are lost and seeking a ride back to their homes where they can find rest (more commonly held among merchants and civilian liners).

    There are claims made that some have seen as well as heard the Whisperers, but very few believe this to be true. The great majority of people who claim to have heard the Whisperers attest that there was nothing and no one to be seen when the incident occurred. Still, recordings circulate from time to time on the data networks claiming to be captured images of the Whisperers, but most every one of them eventually is proven to be a forgery.

    So what can a Traveller referee do with the Whisperers? Decided how real the Whisperers are, and where they came from, and what they are trying to do. Scare the players, give them subtle warnings, give them something to chase or investigate, or add them as color in the background of your campaign. Are they Guardian Angels warning of danger? Demonic tricksters frightening the unwise? Are they auditory hallucinations or simply superstitions?  Whatever you decide, give the players just enough to get them interested and wanting to know more, then let them decide how to proceed.

No comments:

Post a Comment