an In-My-Traveller-Universe Phenomenon
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
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
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.