Blasting off back into space with juicy warp-speed related information from the Rain Lord, a red planet caught my eye on the scanner and became my new destination, but not for long however as a small grey planet made itself known as I came out of warp speed and I went down for a little look. Scanners showed no life-forms, but evidence of some sort of machinery inspired me to send down a recon plane to survey the area. I didn’t even know I had a recon plane, might have been useful earlier on! Regardless, my now trusty recon plane managed to spot a crashed ship on what was a barren, rocky wasteland of a planet. The recon team discovered no survivors, only an automated mayday signal and so returned to the Traveller.
Unfortunately, they didn’t come back alone. Shortly after their arrival, a message was given to me that three of the engineers who helped with the recon teams docking had died! My first call was to seal off the whole docking area, no more deaths were reported; it’s what Ripley would have done. Medical officers in protective suits examined the body of one of the deceased and came to the conclusion that he had been poisoned; it was likely that some sort of poisonous gas from the planet surface was the problem and was now on the ship. My response was to flush all the air from the affected areas and within half an hour, my Science officer deemed the area safe.
Really glad I landed on that planet.
Heading back into orbit, I was presented with three options; the red planet I was originally heading to, a blue planet and a fast moving dot which showed signs of life. The dot seemed the most exciting option, so I set a course to meet up with the dot. And guess who it was? Our good old eagle-fearing friends, the Imperial Ganzig Confederation from the very start of the book. I spoke to them of my encounter with Commander M’k Tel, which they cared little for and told me to surrender to them and follow to the nearest starbase. Not wanting to waste any time I entered into ship-to-ship combat with them. They clearly didn’t care about eagles anymore. The ship combat was fairly cool though as shield levels dictated damage sustained, rolling 2D6 under your Weapon Strength would give a hit, then rolling 2D6 again higher than your opponents shields would result in extra damage. Due to my ships awesome stats though, the Ganzig Confederation didn’t stand a chance and I blew them to pieces.
My new location led me to investigate another nearby grey planet, but a nearby stardock seemed to offer the ability to repair my ship which had taken some hits in the previous battle, so I took a detour to check out what they had for me. Warning messages sounded however and a message was received from the dock saying that I shouldn’t land. Obviously, I decided to land. A large variety of alien species wandered about the docking area and the Port Commandant informed me that the facility had been infected by some sort of virulent microorganism and that I should leave, but they would repair my ships damage if we could give them protective suits for their engineers to wear and destroy them afterwards. I was cool with that, so I left the stardock with a fully polished ship, all the dings knocked out and everything. Unfortunately a few dice rolls told me that one of my boarding party had become infected, but a further roll meant my rubbish Medical Officer, with Skill 8, actually managed to sort out a suitable cure, saving the life of my Engineering Officer.
Returning my attention to the large grey planet, I received communication from a small alien who introduced himself as K’tait of the planets Malini Mining Outpost. I was invited to pay the planet a visit as the ‘Contests’ were about to begin and the entertainment was in full swing. Beaming down, we were greeted by K’tait and in conversation he told us it was likely that someone on the planet may be able to help find the black hole we needed to get home, but before we could go further he was called away to the arena and told us to stay put. After an hour of no K’tait, a robot entered the room and instructed me and my landing party to follow. We were led into a small room where the robot left us, it soon became apparent that we had been tricked into something as an invisible energy barrier had closed behind us and sealed us within the room. A group of guards paid us a visit shortly after and asked if we were there for the Contests. I explained that some sort of mistake had been made, the guards contacted K’tait who apologised profusely and we were let go. As a ‘sorry’ K’tait said we could watch the Contests from the ‘best seat in the house’, the sly grin on his face as we headed off towards this seat should have been all the warning we needed to blow his stupid head off, but alas, that wasn’t an option given to me. It seemed I was destined to take part in the days events and me and my crew were met by guards who instructed us to don some tight-fitting armour and before we knew it, we were thrust into a roaring stadium, facing combat with a Manslayer robot. Indeed, in the absence of an in-book illustration, it seemed the cover art was what I had to deal with.
Quite a difficult battle too, the old Manslayer. 10/4 Stats initially made me think it would be ludicrously easy, but special rules for the fight stated that on landing a blow I had to roll 5 or above on a D6 to miss the robots thick armour plating and then I would only do 1 Stamina damage, otherwise my hit would be absorbed. This made the fight last a hell of a long time and my party took a lot of damage, but thankfully the Manslayer was eventually taken down without any casualties on my side. The crowd roared its approval and we were led away by the head of the planets mining organisation to be let free, given a lovely pile of malinite ore (ooo!) and after a quick request for help, access to their Astronautical Headquarters. As far as the guys in this department were concerned, the black hole I needed to find would be in sector 083, but the timing they could not be certain of… I smell a page number puzzle!
After our brave victory we again set off into space in search of the final piece of information to get us home and a nearby planet named Terryal-6 was our chosen location. I learned the name of the planet from a brief radio communication with its inhabitants who were ‘white skinned with a thin, bone-shaped face’. I concluded that this was obviously David Bowie and made a bee-line to go and meet the intergalactic rock god.
Beaming down, I actually found that the Bowie aliens were on floating platforms high above the planet itself, but before I could meet them, a small child Bowie-alien ran past and dragged me off in another direction. I’m not sure why, but I thought I’d go along with it. Turned out to be a good choice though as the child explained to me that the Bowie-aliens advance backwards with age; they are born super intelligent and slowly deteriorate with age, so I was in-fact talking to the people in charge! After explaining where I needed to go, a few of the kids crowded around a big telescope and a computer before telling me that the two universes would meet at Stardate 21. However, as part of this deal, I had promised to share information on the Travellers weapons and defensive systems and now the Bowie-children wanted their part of the bargain. Somewhat concerned that they had a sinister motivation for obtaining this information, I thought it was best to kill them all and get the hell out of Terryal-6. And so I did just that.
It was time to draw a conclusion to the adventure. No more life-supporting planets were on the scanner and the crew were becoming restless and anxious about their fates. Given that I had discovered data to make a jump through a black hole, I took the decision to go for it. Subtracting the time data from the locational data, I ended up on page 62. The ship was set-up and headed into the black hole, lurching forwards with an incredible G-force that knocked the entire ships crew out cold. I will never know if this was the correct black hole or not, according to the text, perhaps the timing or speed of travel was incorrect, but suffice to say that the Traveller never emerged from the void, my mission had been unsucessful.