Five to eight Player Characters, working on the barren mining world of Janda/Miazan, become involved in the attempted looting of an archaeological site.
Jahlami Security Systems, or JSS, is a small Security and Wilderness Rescue company, established by a group of ex-Scouts and based on Miazan/Miazan.
Odinventox operates a large Odinite mining and processing plant near the planetary equator of the planet Janda and most of the 20,000 on-planet employees live and work in the company facilities attached to the processing plant.
JSS has been contracted to look after security on-planet and outside of the Odinventox Mining Facility – OMF#1. Odinventox Security, whose Janda Division is headed by the Vargr Gounkangrrgakh saedz Llangou,
There is not much to do on a waterless planet that consists of a series of yellow-grey deserts, separated by the occasional mountain range. The JSS detail spends most of its time inspecting and servicing the various remote sensor stations scattered around OMF#1 – and escorting prospecting teams out into the surrounding desert - protecting them from various local life forms, and any stupid mistakes they may care to make in a thin atmosphere desert.
Janda is owned by the Odinventox Megacorporation and Orbital/Surface access is usually restricted to Odinventox personnel, or to subcontractors employed by Odinventox. There is a small orbital facility consisting of an orbital warehouse, a repair and overhaul facility, and a fuel refinery and refueling dock. The orbital facility has two Tugs, a Tractor Tug, nine Tenders and a Repair Tug. Five shuttles are available for surface/orbit movements of freight and personnel.
While there are native life forms on Janda, adapted for life in a dry, cold environment with low atmospheric pressure, there have been no recorded discoveries of sentient life, either current or extinct, on the planet.
Janda lies right on the Imperial Border between the Imperium and the Outrim Alliance in neighbouring Cabria Subsector. Lying within Jump-2 of two independent Outworlds; and Jump-2 from the Imperial subsector capital at Miazan/Miazan, ensures that the Miazan Subsector Navy regularly patrols the system.
Through the partially open door of the Operations Manager’s office, an argument can be heard. Then, Gounkangrrgakh saedz Llangou, the Odinventox Head of Security, strides out of the office. JSS Operations Manager Shelka Donagii follows close behind, looking upset and angry. The pair resume their argument as they leave the situation room.
Oram Etti mutters something to the effect that ‘saedz Llangou has a flea up his butt and is pushing hard to get the JSS contract terminated.” He then explains that a prospecting party, contrary to operational protocols, has been operating in the Bleak Hills without JSS support and is now overdue. What is worse, the SatNav tracking device on the prospectors’ ATV doesn’t appear to be working, and no one seems to know exactly where in the Bleak Hills the party was working as no mission plan was filed with either JSS or Odinventox Security.
The team will be ordered out for search and rescue duties. Their ATV will be loaded onto a Carryall, a large fan-lifter, and they will be taken to a sector of the Black Hills region. Oram Etti will suggest, as the team is loading up, that they be careful what they say over the comms system with JSS Operations as all JSS comm traffic is routed through Odinventox satellites. He implies that JSS no longer believe Odinventox Security is not involved in the illegal prospecting. He also suggests that the team search their sector of the Bleak Hills as quickly as possible - the missing ATV must be found before Gounkangrrgakh saedz Llangou can convince Odinventox Onworld Management to terminate the JSS contract.
The team's assigned search area consists of two large valleys, separated by a high saddle. The valleys are threaded with many small canyons. The vegetation consists of tussocky grasses with occasional patches of scrawny scrub. Near the valley bottoms are thick, high clumps of swordgrass – each two metre long blade of swordgrass is sharp enough to cut through cloth armour – while the heights are dominated by spiny, barrel-shaped succulents. Any grav vehicle skilled team members will be provided with grav bikes to aid in the search.
The ATV tracks lead west from the campsite into a narrow, twisting gorge. There are signs of test drill holes in both the floor and walls of the gorge. Part way along the gorge, a crevice cuts across it, blocking further passage. The crevice seems to be recent and the edges are unstable. The ATV tracks lead right up to the broken edge of the crevice.
The crevice appears to be thirty metres deep. Perched precariously on a ledge, about twenty metres down, is the crumpled remains of the missing Odinventox ATV.
The JSS rescue ATVs have winches and cables, plus small flatbed floater units for lifting injured personnel.
Once the team have stabilised the Odeinventox ATV, they will find the driver still aboard. She has been killed in the crash. There are signs that at least two people exited the vehicle and managed to climb along the ledge towards a large crack in the crevice wall. The crack winds back towards the wall of the gorge for about five metres and is very narrow – in places the only way to progress along the crack is by placing one’s back against one wall and one’s feet against the other and shuffling along as the crack vanishes into the darkness below. The team will discover a backpack and a survival tent discarded in the crack.
After progressing some five metres along the crack, the team will find themselves standing at the top of a large rock fall, as the crack opens out into a much larger cavern. This cavern is ten metres across and five metres high. Ahead, it appears to narrow as it vanishes beyond the range of lights. The rock fall the team are standing upon appears to block one end of the cavern. Barely visible, two widely spaced metal strips emerge from beneath the rock fall and disappear into the dark ahead. The strips of metal look remarkably like the rails of a mag-lev railway.
If the team climbs down the rock fall, and follows the rails, they will find that the cavern soon narrows into a tunnel. What function the cavern served is no longer apparent as all signs of structures and fixtures are long gone. The collapse of the rock fall has coated all surfaces with thick dust, obscuring any clues to the age of the place.
Near the mouth of the tunnel, the team will find a discarded water tube and see footprints in the dust that lead into the tunnel. There are two sets of prints, two humans walked near the discarded water tube while a group of Vargr walked on the other side of the railline. The tracks of the Vargr cross that of the two humans, obscuring them in part.
The tunnel continues for five hundred metres, slowly sloping downwards as it runs. The team will come across occasional discarded equipment and food wrappers as they carry on. At one point they will notice a sudden increase in air pressure followed by a muffled ‘boom’ that reverberates through the rock of the tunnel. As quickly as it rose, the air pressure will fall to normal Janda levels.
Then they pass out of the tunnel into some sort of station cavern complex. The main cavern is thirty metres across and the railway runs right through the middle of it. There are raised areas, like platforms, to either side of the tracks and the rusted remains of what might have been an overbridge linking the right hand platform to the left. Two immense statues, carved out of the rock and supporting the roof of the station cavern, stand either side of the railway. The statues depict gigantic hexipedal reptilian creatures crouching on their immense rear limbs, supporting the roof of the cavern with their frail forelimbs and spreading their middle limbs wide in welcome. The fingers on the middle limbs are long, thin, and multi-jointed; the fingers on the forelimbs are small and clawed.
The mag-lev railway line runs a further twenty metres beyond the station before the tunnel ends abruptly. There are signs that there were once buffers at this point to prevent trains running into the rock wall.
Three tunnels lead out of the station. The left one climbs upwards in a long spiral until ending in a rockfall. The middle runs straight and then ends with a series of five large, hexagonal rooms – two each left and right, and one at the end. The rooms show signs of having been stripped fairly recently as there are drag marks and boot prints in the dust.
The right hand tunnel descends gently in a long sweeping curve. Approximately ten metres below the station level, the tunnel runs straight and level. A series of fourteen hexagonal rooms open off the tunnel. In some of the rooms, it appears that objects have been dragged across the floor, disturbing the dust, before being removed. There are many obscured footprints, all human, in the dust of the rooms but, otherwise, the rooms have been stripped.
Beyond the last of the hexagonal rooms, the tunnel begins to descend again in another sweeping curve. Part way around the curve, the team will find a section of tunnel wall has collapsed. It appears that the breach has been made by explosives. There are a confusion of footprints around the breach, and it appears that both humans and Vargr have passed through the breach into the passages beyond.
Then the team hears shots and shouting coming from beyond the breach in the tunnel wall. Their comm units, useless since they’ve been underground, will pick up some comm traffic amongst heavy static – scattered words and expressions in both Imperial Basic and a Vargr dialect.
The breach in the tunnel wall leads into a passageway. The passage is about two and half metres wide and three metres high. To the left of the breach it runs for twenty metres before ending with a doorway. To the right, the passage runs fifty metres before ending in a T-junction. Every four metres along the far side of the passage there is a doorway. Some appear to have had closed doors, made of a light alloy. All the doors have been broken in recently. Each doorway opens into a hexagonal room, some three metres across. The rooms contain wall hangings depicting intricate abstract forms, and strangely shaped pieces of furniture, as well as many small figurines that resemble the figures in the railway station. There are wall units that may contain machinery or electronic components and there are delicate bowls and other porcelain objects. The dust on the floor has been disturbed by many boots. Some of the wall hangings and other objects have been pulled out into the passage and piled in heaps.
The left arm of the T-junction runs for ten metres and then opens up into a larger space. The team will discover an enormous cavern, two hundred metres square and twenty metres high. Huge piers of native rock support the roof at various places. The cavern contains dozens of hexagonal shaped structures, each three metres across and three metres high, laid out in a regular grid pattern. Through this maze of structures, torch lights bob and weave and muzzle flashes cast lurid shadows as a party of Odinventox miners fight it out with a landing party from the bulk carrier Ksugzourr.
The team will find themselves taking fire from both sides. If they choose to escape back the way they came, eventually they will reach a place where they can re-establish a link to the JSS situation room. Once in contact with JSS, they will learn that the bulk carrier Ksugzourr has disgorged two companies of Vargr mercenaries who are endeavouring to take control of the Odinventox Mining Facility. A JSS crash team will be sent out to recover the team but JSS believe that Odinventox Security is hampering their efforts.
An Alternate Ending
A hexagonal room near the teleporter room has three walls that appear to show a starscape. If the team pause to watch the stars, they will see the star Yildun (Janda’s primary) swing into view. At the centre of this room is a sunken well with padded seats set around a large hemisphere. Touching various places on the hemisphere will activate various controls including Manoeuvre Drive and ship’s weapons. It is possible for the team to move the ship into orbit around Janda, and to threaten the Ksugzourr. If the team is able to knock out systems on the Ksugzourr and prevent it from leaving, the Vargr raiders will surrender.
Wrapping up Loose Ends and other Adventure Seeds
Investigations will reveal that the Tsalur, a hexipedal reptilian race, who, at the height of their power and technology, controlled an empire that spread through much of the RimWorlds sector, built the ancient buried base. Many artefacts will be recovered that will be invaluable to the future study of this race, and items like the teleporter will be removed to an Imperial Research facility for further study.
There will be various investigations that will reveal that Gounkangrrgakh saedz Llangou, the Odinventox Head of Security, knew of the hidden base and conspired with his cousin, Rathuek saedz Llangou, captain of the bulk carrier Ksugzourr, to seize control of Janda long enough to loot the base. The loot was to be taken over the Imperial border to Suarya in the Hunt of Rronurl. The complicity of the Odinventox Governor of Janda and his board of directors, as well as other employees of Odinventox, has yet to be established and will probably keep the legal system in play for some years to come.
The team will be well rewarded for their find, and Jahlami Security Systems, and their employees, including the team, will be obliged to sign various Official Secrets Act documents, vowing not to reveal what went on during the raid on Janda, nor anything about an alien ship and teleportation system.
Appendix 1: Animal Encounter Tables
ENCOUNTER TABLE, CAVE TERRAIN
ENCOUNTER TABLE, CHASM TERRAIN
ENCOUNTER TABLE, CLEAR TERRAIN
ENCOUNTER TABLE, DESERT TERRAIN
ENCOUNTER TABLE, MOUNTAIN TERRAIN
ENCOUNTER TABLE, ROUGH TERRAIN
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