Juggernaut Over Jupiter
An Adventure for Spaceship Zero Universe 2 by John Wilson
This is an adventure for the Spaceship Zero game system. It explores a period of time just before the first battles between the Hydronaut invasion force and the Spacecorp fleet. Originally, the adventure has been designed for convention play, but, if anyone wanted to, it could be used as part of a campaign set during the history of Universe 2.
It is 1976 in the Sol 2 system. Spacecorp is massing its forces in order to meet an invasion by an unknown enemy from beyond known space. However, in the midst of all the preparations, strange radio signals are detected coming from somewhere in the orbit of Jupiter. A search and rescue vessel, the SCV Apollo, is despatched to determine the origin of the signals and report back to Spacecorp.
The signals are coming from an experimental spacecraft: the Juggernaut – the first (and only) FTL vessel launched by earth 2’s Spacecorp. The vessel has been lost in an interdimensional void and has brought back with it a creature from this strange space. This creature has killed the crew of the Juggernaut and driven any survivors into the depths of insanity. The creature is currently trapped in a field generated by the Juggernaut’s Interdimensional Drive.
However, not all the threats come from onboard the Juggernaut. A group of Spacecorp personnel, who were once allied with the Astro-Automatons, are perfectly aware that the vessel orbiting Jupiter is the juggernaut. They plan to use its FTL drive to escape the coming Hydronaut fleet and are prepared to use any means whatsoever to ensure their survival.
All players should be given Handouts 1 and 2 before the adventure, as well as their individual handouts.
The SCV Apollo arrives in Jovian orbit approximately one month after Ceres Base. The crew (with the exception of the robot) have spent the intervening time in DECON. The majestic spectacle of Jupiter fills the for’ard screens and the roar of radio static fills the communication bands.
The first task for the PCs is to locate the source of the mysterious radio signals they have been sent to investigate. In order to do so requires a successful Technical: Know-How or Science: Physics roll. This will show that the Apollo is approximately 2 hours from the signal source, given its present course and heading. The PCs may use this time to either ready their equipment or just wait.
The target of the signals is in a low orbit around Jupiter. Although its hull has been stained by gas and micrometeorites, it is obvious the vessel is a modified Spacecorp Star Cruiser. As the Apollo gets closer, the name “Juggernaut” can just be discerned on the hull.
At this point, the crew may either make appropriate Language & Lore rolls or consult the Apollo’s computer. Either way, they will discover that the vessel is the XRV Juggernaut – a vessel that was registered to the Research Division of Spacecorp and was presumed lost five years ago! Any attempts to contact the Juggernaut will be answered by the rhythmic beeping of the automated distress beacon.
Aboard the Juggernaut
As no-one is answering the hails from the Apollo, the crew have only one option, and that is to board the Juggernaut. This can be done either by docking with the Juggernaut or by space-walking across to it. Each of these has its advantages and its drawbacks.
Once onboard the Juggernaut, the PCs will find that the vessel is operating on emergency power only. Dim radium bulbs provide the only illumination, and all the hatches have to be manually opened. Also, the gravity tubing is deactivated. This means that until power has been restored, Zero-G training rolls are required for difficult manoeuvres. Fortunately, there are no environmental hazards present beyond the fact that the atmosphere is cold and a little stale.
There are a number of areas the PCs may wish to visit on the Juggernaut. What is there and what the PCs can find is detailed below:
The Bridge: The bridge is at the front of the Juggernaut. All the systems have been powered down here and it is obvious that power can only be restored from the Engine Room. There is also the recent corpse of the captain of the Juggernaut (Captain Ikari). A post-mortem will reveal that he has died of radiation poisoning. Once power has been restored, all the ship’s systems (including the IDD) can be brought on line.
Computer Room: The Juggernaut’s computer is here. Once power has been restored, the data stored on it can be retrieved. Part of this data includes Captain Ikari’s log (Handout 3).
Crew Quarters: The crew quarters appear to have been the scene of a major battle. Holes appear to have been melted through bulkheads and furnishings and belongings are scattered about. A number of dead crewmen can be found in their bunks.
Medical Bay: The medical bay stores have been ransacked and emptied of all anti-radiation and anti-nausea drugs. There are some corpses here, along with medical notes (Medicine or Science: Biology rolls required to decipher).
Engine Room: The only way to restore power to the ship is from here. Major work is required (at least an hour and a Technical: Build & Repair roll) as all power appears to have been diverted to the Drive Room. Of interest is a large metal net that has been fixed over the hatch into the Drive Room. The net has insulated handles and appears to be connected directly to the ship’s power system (DV 80 if anyone is foolish enough to touch it). A Technical: Know-How or Science: Physics roll will allow the investigator to determine that it is designed to generate a magnetic field.
Drive Room: The Drive Room contains the Juggernaut’s reactors, Xenon drives and the IDD. The IDD resembles a large black sphere with numerous radiators on it. A strange shimmering colour appears to lie just beneath its surface. This is not a feature of the IDD. It is, instead, a sign of the presence of the Extra-Dimensional Entity.
Actions and Consequences
The obvious thing for the PCs to do is to restore power to the Juggernaut and try and find out what is going on. However, restoring the power to the ship will involve cutting off power to the Drive Room, which will allow the Extra-Dimensional Being trapped there to escape. Once the EDB has escaped from its captivity, it will try to find sustenance. However, the only sustenance onboard the Juggernaut is the crew of the SCV Apollo. Thus, it will start to hunt the crew down and drain them of their Body.
The Juggernaut crew dealt with the creature by trapping it within a magnetic net and forcing it into the shielded area of the Drive Room. Unfortunately, it was ensnared in the fields from the IDD and brought back. How the Apollo crew dealt with it is up to them, but it will take effort.
Plot Complication No. 1
Although the crew of the Apollo have no prior knowledge of what they are going to encounter, Spacecorp do. A group of scientists and executives in league with the Astro-Automatons on Earth had the Juggernaut constructed as an escape vessel for them to flee the Hydronaut invasion. Unfortunately, the Juggernaut went missing on its first voyage. Now it has returned, the Spacecorp traitors have decided that they will put the Juggernaut to its intended purpose, only there won’t be any Astro-Automatons onboard!
Accordingly, the traitors have arranged for their deconstituted bodies to be placed onboard the Apollo as part of the supplies it took on at Ceres Base. They have also arranged for a pair of Clone Hunters to be placed onboard in cryonic suspension. Once the Apollo has arrived at the Juggernaut, the Clone Hunters will be revived. Their orders are then to bring the traitor’s DECON capsules onboard the Juggernaut, revive them and make the vessel ready to go. All witnesses are to be eliminated. This, of course, means the PCs.
Accordingly, once the Juggernaut has been reached, the Clone Hunters will try to carry out their orders. In order to do so, they will try and dock the Apollo with the Juggernaut and bring the DECON capsules onto the Juggernaut. They will then set the DECON machinery to revive the traitors. If any of the Apollo crew discovers them or tries to interfere with the process, they will be eliminated.
Plot Complication No. 2
As if all the above weren’t enough, a detachment of three Hydronaut Scout Saucers and a Hydronaut Dreadnought have been despatched to Jupiter to investigate the activity there and, if necessary, destroy its source. The Hydronaut fleet will show up on sensors at about the worst possible time or when things are flagging. Ideally, the PCs will not have to face the Hydronauts, but it should serve to concentrate their minds.
Alternatively, the PCs may decide to use the Hydronauts as a solution to their problems. After all, judicious use of heavy firepower is a traditional way for roleplayers to solve their difficulties.
So, what do the PCs decide to do? The obvious solution is to deal with the EDB and the Spacecorp traitors, leaving the Juggernaut free to be taken back to Earth. However, other solutions are also viable.
The players could leave the traitors in command of the Juggernaut with the EDB still onboard. The traitors will leave the solar system under the IDD and will never be heard from again. Of course, they then have to explain why they let the Juggernaut be taken. Alternatively, the Hydronauts could be allowed to deal with the situation, but the authorities will be even less happy about this.
Spacecorp will want the Juggernaut brought back, if possible. To them, having the vessel be destroyed is only marginally more acceptable than losing it to the Hydronauts. If the EDB comes back, it will be free to wreak havoc on Ceres. Of course, the PCs will already have had experience with it and will be called in help.
Cybernetic Traitor, Medium-size
Strength Bonus: 20
Dodge Bonus: 38
Move Rate: 39
Initiative Bonus: +3
Skills: Backbone 60, Endure 85, Fisticuffs 65, Heave 75, Hide 30, Listen 65, See 75, Sneak 60, Throw 60, Weapon: Melee 65, Weapon: Ray-Gun 70
Perks & Quirks:
Programmed, Super-Metabolism, Night Vision, Internal Radio, Electrical Defence (DR65), Metal and Plastic Bits, Special Equipment
The Clone Hunters are armed with Shock Batons (DV15) and Atomic Rifles (DV50). In addition, they are provided with Battle Jackets (30/15).
Colourful, Insubstantial Entity From Another Dimension, Large-size
BRAWN: 1/10 of Body absorbed
BODY: 100 + Brawn/5
Strength Bonus: Varies
Dodge Bonus: 38
Move Rate: 45
Initiative Bonus: +2
Skills: Disintegrate 45, Fisticuffs (pseudopod) 65, Sense 70
Perks & Quirks:
Absorb Body: The EDB can absorb Body from its victims. In order to do so, it must pass through their physical form. This will allow the EDB to absorb 20 Body per turn. The victim must make an Endure roll or pass out. Normally, the EDB will not drain to death (ie, no more than 80 points) but will do so if pressed.
Disintegrate: The EDB can fire a disintegration beam from any pseudopod. This beam has a DV of 70 and a range of 0-10/11-50/51-150.
Insubstantial: The EDB is normally insubstantial and cannot be affected by any attacks while this is the case, except by magnetism. If the creature becomes substantial, which it must do so in order to attack, then it can be damaged.
Magnetic Repulsion: The EDB is repelled by magnetic fields. It may not pass through them and can be easily trapped behind them.
Regeneration: The EDB can regenerate any damage by absorbing Body from a victim.
The EDB is a being that the Juggernaut encountered in the interdimensional void. It feeds off the life-forces of other creatures in order to survive and reproduce. The creature resembles a cloud of gas or puddle of liquid with ever-changing colours.
The XRV Juggernaut is a modified Star Cruiser registered to the Research Division of Spacecorp. It was fitted with an experimental Interdimensional Drive (IDD) derived from the Astro-Automaton stargate technology. However, on its maiden voyage, the Juggernaut was lost in a dimensional void. There, the crew were attacked by an entity that killed most of them before the IDD could be re-activated.
Thrust: 1 (also fitted with IDD)
Fuel: 60 hours (40 hours remaining)
Weight: 12,000 tons
Crew: 5 pilots, 45 passengers
Weapons: 3 Rocket Torpedo Launches, 3 Cosmatomic Missiles, 1 Atomic Coil Turret
Juggernaut Over Jupiter – Handout 1
FROM: SPACECORP COMMAND ARKHAM
TO: C/O SCV APOLLO
RADIO SIGNALS DETECTED IN VICINITY OF JOVIAN ORBIT STOP MISSION TO INVESTIGATE SIGNALS AND REPORT FINDINGS TO SPACECORP STOP PROCEED CERES BASE FOR SUPPLIES THEN PROCEED AT PRIORITY THRUST TO JOVIAN ORBIT STOP FLEET ADMIRAL HAS GIVEN PERMISSION STOP
SCV Apollo – Handout 2
The SCV Apollo is a modified Galactic Frigate. She was laid down in lunar orbit and completed in January 1972. The vessel has been modified for SAR (search and rescue) duties and, as such has been fitted with additional equipment considered essential to this mission.
The modifications carried out to the Apollo include the installation of a Universal Docking Tube and Adaptor, an Asteroid Field Hospital with two emergency beds and an Emergency Deconstitutor (intended to preserve any personnel who cannot be dealt with by the medical crew). The Apollo has also been fitted with external tanks that provide additional fuel for up to 24 hours of thrust at 2G.
Fuel: 24 hours (internal) + 24 hours (external)
Weight: 100 tons
Crew: 2 pilots, 18 passengers (normal), 10 passengers (medical)
Weapons: 2 Atomic Coil Turrets
Captain Ikari’s Log – Handout 3
M+0: Left graving dock and proceeded under standard thrust towards trans-lunar orbit. All systems are functioning normally. Engineer McGeary reports that the IDD has been calibrated and is ready for testing.
M+1: Arrived in trans-lunar orbit. All crew ordered to Emergency stations in preparation for activation of IDD. Confirmed settings with McGeary and Hawking. According to their estimates, the IDD should allow us to reach the Proxima Centauri system. Gave orders to activate IDD.
M+1: IDD activated. We seem to be in an interdimensional tunnel. No stars are visible, so impossible to gauge our rate of travel. However, Hawking and McGeary have assure me that all systems still indicate normal.
M+2: IDD shut down as per schedule. However, we appear to have emerged into a nebula. Investigations are proceeding.
M+2: Hawking has announced that we appear to be in an Einstein-Rosen tensor space – in other words, we are trapped in a dimensional rift. Hawking informs me this possibility was anticipated and the IDD will need recalibrating to bring us back to Earth.
M+3: Ship’s power cut shortly into first watch. Investigation has begun into reasons behind the loss of power.
M+3: Crewman Shamir failed to report for duty. Also failed to respond to hails. Search of ship has failed to turn him up.
M+4: Hawking has informed me that calibration of the IDD will take longer than expected due to anomalies in the vicinity. Have ordered him to proceed with utmost speed.
M+4: Crewmen Tansit and Wilson also missing. Have ordered guards to be set.
M+5: Guards report being attacked by coloured gas cloud which disintegrated two of their number. Dr Carter has examined men and reports them to be in good health, but suffering from signs of shock.
M+5: Further attacks reported and three casualties sustained. Many crew appear to be suffering from radiation sickness. Have ordered all hands to be on alert.
M+6: No entry.
M+7: Entity has been dealt with. Have suffered major losses amongst crew as a result of infestation, including Hawking, Taylor McPhee and Hong. Cannot be sure that IDD will get us back to Earth space, but anywhere better than here.
M+8: IDD activated. I pray we see Earth again, but it is unlikely. Dr Carter reports that we have all suffered fatal does of radiation. If I do not return alive, give my love to my wife Kyoko and may those scientists be damned to hell.
As the captain of the SCV Apollo you take your duty very seriously. Your crew is your responsibility, as are the lives of those you are sent to save.
The orders to go to Jupiter are a surprise to you. Obviously this mission is of importance.
You are the Apollo’s Executive Officer. It is your responsibility to see that the ship is run properly and that nothing goes wrong onboard.
While it is not unusual for special cargoes to be taken on for a mission, the orders covering this have come from high up in Spacecorp. Very high up.
Saving lives is the most important thing about being a doctor and, although survivors are rare in space accidents, that makes them even more important as far as you are concerned.
You had a sibling who went missing five years ago while on a top-secret mission for Spacecorp. All you know is that it had something to do with a vessel called Juggernaut.
Although you weren’t bright enough to make it as a Spacecorp scientist, you became the next best thing – an engineer. You get to work with the latest Spacecorp kit and sometimes show those chrome-domes who really knows best.
Some of the cargo brought on at Ceres is unusual. Why would cryonic pods be needed? After all, everyone uses the DECON machinery these days? Don’t they?
Spacecorp is your life, but even you weren’t happy to be stuck on a rescue vessel like the Apollo. You would much rather be piloting Star Skippers and getting ready to fight the aliens.
You exist to serve. Indeed, that is the whole reason for our existence. Still, you sometimes have inexplicable thoughts that puzzle you and obsess you. Could these be what humans call emotions?
Your override code is Klaatu Barada Nikto. Obey the instructions from the person who gives you this code.
The popular image of the Spacecorp scientist is a soulless individual who pursues knowledge for its own sake. This stereotype rankles you, which is why you signed up for active service as a ship’s science officer.
Players’ Briefs 2
You feel that your position of ship’s monkey is highly demeaning. You will do whatever you can to prove to those Napes (naked apes/humans) that the so-called lower primates have a contribution to make.