Adventures in Holtzmann's Corridor - a Classic Traveller campaign

The Chronicles of Roguestar & Midship

This is the account of my on-again, off-again Classic Traveller campaign. I've got two PCs: former Talaveran Navy Captain "Iron" Roguestar is freebooting around Holtzmann's Corridor to seek his fortune, and Scout Reserve Officer Patrick Midship is on an astrographical survey mission to last him the next two years. 

I am adding new 'chapters' as we actually game them out.


Holtzmann's Corridor map:



Chapter One: Roguestar and the Lost Starship

We first met Captain Roguestar while he was freebooting it through the Holtzmann's Corridor subsector. He had just concluded a working passage aboard a ship bound for Tagus and found himself at the end of a line – Tagus is a backwater planet, with little to offer and little reason to visit.

Roguestar is offered a job on a ship crew for an interplanetary mission – the patron Hendrikson's grandfather disappeared 30 years ago traveling out-system. The grandfather was carrying out a mission to a neighboring system, something that could substantially boost the local economy. He also took a large sum of local currency to hire assistance for the project. The disappearance was ruled a jump-space accident, but the patron has new information from an amateur astronomer that the ship may have crashed on an in-system moon. Roguestar meets the crew, including Richard, the pilot, Betty, the spunky computer tech/sensor analyst, and Gerald, the pain-in-the-neck accountant the company insisted be brought along.

Thanks to Roguestar's excellent navigation, they arrive on the moon Tagus-VI-B ahead of schedule, and eventually find the ship as a wreck. While they are exploring it, they are surprised to find that it has also been found by some pirates who have been taking stuff out of the hold, including the money & project data!

After defeating the pirates in a gun battle, Roguestar and Hendrickson get to the pirate's base by flying their own shuttle on a reverse course and retrieve the items. Richard the pilot was wounded and stayed with Betty to guard the pirates they had captured.

Most Awesome moment: Roguestar piloting a ship's boat to capture the pirate's base despite having no piloting skill!

After they recover the money and the research data, Roguestar flies the shuttle (only brushing the ground once) back to the site of the wreck. They report the location of the pirate base to Tagus starport, even though it will be days before another ship can make it to Tagus-VI-B. Roguestar & crew head back to Tagus to restart the project.

The grandfather's plan was to 'capture' a cometary object that passes near Tagus every 30 years or so, and harvest it for water. The projection is that if fully collected, it could double the amount of water accessible to the planet, which will allow for an agricultural expansion, which may spark population growth, and economic improvement.

Chapter Two: Roguestar and the Ice Harvesting

A few weeks later, he and Richard and a new crew of spacers matched courses with the comet, to set charges and blow it to pieces, so the fragments could be brought into orbit around Tagus to provide a source of water for the desert-like world. The mission suddenly came under attack; right before detonation, an unidentified spacecraft fired on the comet-busters, destroying one craft and killing Iron's friend Richard. The ship left a cryptic message and flew off before it could be intercepted. Roguestar was picked up by another ship from Tagus, and brought back to watch the explosions, and see the fragments of comet collected and placed in orbit. Hendrickson awarded Roguestar a block of stock in his new water management company, then Iron departed Tagus with his new partner Betty.

Chapter Three: Midship and the Memorial

Patrick Midship completed his tour of active duty with the Royal Scout Service and returned home to St Peter in time for his grandfather's funeral. At the reading of the will, Midship was tasked with helping his grandfather complete his last mission – to deposit his uniform at the crash site of his Navy ship, in accordance with Royal Navy tradition. He took a commercial liner to Holtzmann, and journeyed outside the naval station to visit the site, fulfilling his grandfather's duty to honor his fallen shipmates. Upon his return to the naval base, Midship was surprised to be called into the office of the Scout administrator, who activated his reserve status and assigned him a mission and a ship.

Midship's new mission was simple – fill in the gaps in the most recent astrographic survey of the Corridor. There's not a lot of data needed, and he's got two years to collect it. The ship is a surplus scout with minimal fittings and lots of mechanical trouble, but it comes with Kay-For (K4) the engineering & survey robot.  



Chapter Four: Midship and the Gas Miners

Midship headed for the Ferrocore system on his way to Narok. Minutes after his arrival in the asteroid system, he picked up a distress call from a gas harvester ship, deep within the local gas giant. It was losing altitude and the crew couldn't correct course.


Not hesitating for a moment, Midship steered the Agreement into the clouds of the gas giant, passing through several storm layers to reach the stricken ship. Despite the turbulence, he managed to dock with the lumbering ship, which was basically a giant fuel tank with engines. He and K4 boarded, to meet the skeleton crew: 'Other' Dave the pilot, Shayera the navigator, and Stewart the pump mechanic. 'Proper' Dave, the captain had locked himself in his cabin, and Carter the engineer was nowhere to be found. Stewart took Midship down to the engine room level, and before K4 could begin assessment, Stewart attempted to fix the problem himself. A huge shower of sparks indicated his attempt was unsuccessful. 

While K4 attempted to diagnose the problem, Midship, Stewart and other Dave searched the lower level for Carter. An unseen assailant jumped Stewart from behind, and Midship returned to the Agreement, hoping to do a life-form sweep of the miner. The scan did not detect anyone else on board, but it also did not find Carter. Midship and Other Dave agreed to break into Proper Dave's cabin, and find him out cold, with a med-scan indicating he was drugged. While Other Dave and Shayera attended to the captain in the sick bay, Stewart and Midship returned to the lower level. Investigating a strange noise coming from the inoperative lift shaft, the two discovered the missing Carter, who appeared to have drunk himself to death. K4 reported on the ship's condition, that Stewart's 'repair' had made everything worse, and practically sealed the miner's fate. 

Proper Dave, although only barely conscious, admits defeat and orders the crew to abandon the ship, taking refuge aboard the Agreement; and to take Carter's body along.

  
At this point, Stewart snapped. It turned out he was behind all the trouble, drugging Proper Dave and Carter, then doing some (he thought) easily repairable damage to the engines. His plan was to discredit Carter (Stewart panicked when he saw that Carter was dead from the drugs he had given him) and make himself the hero in Shayera's eyes. Shayera & Carter were an item, and Stewart wanted her for himself. 

When it became apparent his plan had collapsed, and he was in real danger of getting arrested, Stewart produced a pistol, shot at Midship and the other crewmen, took Shayera hostage, and attempted to board the Agreement with just her, hoping to bluff the mining corporation into accepting his version of events. The airlock hatch which Midship had not yet repaired proved too difficult for Stewart to force open without dropping the pistol. When he did, Midship jumped at the chance and overpowered him. The mining crew escaped as the doomed ship fell below crush depth and was lost in the gas giant.


The Ferrocore Mining Corporation was grateful, and thanked Midship for rescuing the crew, and trying to save the ship. They rewarded him with some stock shares, and some repair work aboard the Agreement; and hired him to deliver some data packets to the Imperial Consul on Narok, who coordinates all the food shipments to the Ferrocore system. Midship accepted the charter, and headed for Narok.

Chapter Five: Roguestar & Midship and the Agricultural Contracts




This is the adventure where Roguestar and Midship meet. Roguestar arrived on Narok first, and did some sightseeing while Betty secured lodgings, until he found himself in a front-row seat for a political-motivated bar brawl. He was detained along with all the bar's occupants, but was pulled out by the Imperial Consul, who needed his help. One of his consular agents had vanished, and Consul Stepanov needed someone down in Kenari province to convince the local farmers to maintain their contracts with the Empire. Holtzmann and other worlds under Imperial influence depend upon Narokian agriculture. Iron dutifully took on the job, with Betty tagging along for fun, and began visiting the large farms. 

Things weren't going well, at their first stop in Juab town, the owner of Mineos Farm had already switched over to supplying food to the Lycosky Trade Protectorate [LTP], the Empire's main competitor. Iron hears rumors that pro-Imperial farmers have been suffering minor theft and sabotage, and suspects strong-arm tactics by the LTP. At Pakhari Farm in Naola, Iron barely has time to begin negotiations, when the farm is rocked by a bomb, detonated in the main barn. As the farm workers rush to control the damage, Iron realizes that Betty has disappeared. Farm security spots a shadowy figure fleeing from the barn's rear, with Betty in tow! 

The security men help Roguestar identify the culprit – he's a farm worker at the Mineos Farms. Roguestar returned to Juab town, and tries to confront the owner of Mineos, but is told that the worker in question had quit weeks ago.


Meanwhile, Midship arrived on Narok, transporting some documents for the FMC. He checked in with the Imperial Consul, and Stepanov, having seen the reports of the bombing at Pakhari, hires Midship to go and reinforce Roguestar. The situation was heating up fast, it seemed.


After Roguestar brought Midship up to speed on what had happened, they decided the best thing to do was to check out the Mineos farm, thinking the bombing suspect might still be there. They blundered about for a while, got into a fight with some farm hands, but eventually stumbled into a barn that had a basement level. In this lower level, they found their suspect and two other men having a secret meeting. They used K4 as a distraction (simulated wild animal noises) and got the jump on the conspirators.

In the meeting room they found a locked inner room, and inside were Betty and Faisal, the missing Consular agent. One of the conspirators managed to destroy some of the paperwork they were using, but Roguestar recovered at least some of it from the fire. They secured the criminals in their own cell, intending to inform the local police once they had gotten away. They were, after all, trespassing. 

They returned to the Consulate and Stepanov met with them to discuss the fragmentary evidence they had gathered. Faisal's testimony would do for the kidnapping angle, but the plotters clearly had other plans as well. Review of the documents indicated three things: an furniture company in Kennari city was involved, as was a local civic auditorium, and the plan was set for late morning of the coming day. Fearing another bombing, Roguestar & Midship raced back to Kennari city, and made their way to the civic center, forcing entry through a back door. They discovered that the Kennari province candidate for the Planetary Chancellor was speaking that day! A functionary at the center told them the furniture company's people had been there two days ago to work on a viewing box on the top level. 

They charged to the upper level and burst into the box, coming face to face with two men assembling an anti-tank rifle. In the ensuing brawl, Midship nearly got pushed over the railing, but he hung on and overpowered his foe. Hearing the fight, the police and security agents swarmed the box. With Stepanov's help, Roguestar & Midship explained what happened, and the conspirators, who called themselves The Pale Horse, were rounded up. 

In gratitude, Stepanov appointed Roguestar & Midship as Consular Agents-at-Large, which means they now have connections and a positive reputation with all Imperial businesses working in the Corridor. A Mention in Dispatches is published and sent back to the Empire, further improving their reputation. 

Chapter Six: Roguestar & Midship and the Lab in Space

Together, they leave Narok proper, having accepted the sad fact that Betty wanted to stay with Faisal. The first major point of survey Data Midship has to clean up concerns geological data on the moons of the gas giants of Narok's outer system, so they made their way outwards, to the uninhabited and uninhabitable moons.

As they travelled outwards, past one of the gas giants, they spotted a small orbital station hiding in the shadow of one of the moons.

The station was dark, no running lights, no navigation beacon and no response on civilian channels. The station, a ring structure with a central docking spoke, was completely dark. They decided to investigate, and managed to dock with the station, and climbed up the central spoke to the ring proper. Inside, they found all to be dark and quiet. K4 switched on his spotlight to enhance the dull green emergency lighting which was the only illumination. Many of the stations light fixtures had been smashed, and there was a strange chemical smell in the air which K4 could not identify. They moved cautiously along; the curvature of the station was such that the 'horizon' was no more than 10 meters in front or behind them. They explored a crew cabin and found a crude barricade of furniture covering a hole cut in the floor. The hole led to some kind of ventilation conduits under the floor, and they thought they saw a shape disappear down the tunnel as they looked in. Roguestar crawled into the tunnel to follow, and Midship with K4 went along the corridor in the same direction. When they met up again, they were in a larger room that clearly had been set up as an illegal pharma lab. The lab also held a likely explanation for the ship being dark and empty; it was plain that an explosion of significant size had occurred in the lab area: benches were torn apart, the walls were scorched and all the glassware was shattered.

While the two examined the blast area, K4 scanned further along the room, which may have covered one quarter of the ring. His spotlight falls upon the figure of a man, hiding behind some overturned tables at the far end of the lab. Roguestar and Midship start to approach, but the man screams incoherently and charges at them. He lifted K4 bodily off the deck and threw him against the wall. The spotlight went out, and suddenly it was very dark.

And that's where we left off. Stay tuned.
 

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