Deep Space Butterball

By Sipke de Vries

Colour Designation: Green
Minimum SCL: 9
Training Package Recommended: Pilot and Navigation/ Scout
Consolidated Pay: 150c per Operative
Contact: Ms. Blanden, Dpt. of Resources
Coverage: 3rd Eye News
Summary: Squad needed for scout and guard duty on mining asteroid. Deep space equipment will be supplied to squad. Loss of this equipment will result in reduced payment. Contact Ms. Blanden from Department of Resources. Ask for operation Butterball. Bonus payment: 40c per day of guard duty

The Story

Some twenty years ago, the department of Observation Centers detected a large asteroid moving towards Mort. Because of it’s slow movement, there was no need for panic and probes were launched to gather more information about the asteroid. It was discovered that the asteroid consisted for a large part of ice and metal. The department of Resources quickly took it upon themselves to stripmine the asteroid for it’s resources. All plans have been made; factories and storage areas have been prepared and deals with restaurants are made to serve deep space ice to Wraith Raiders.

Now the time has come to prepare Butterball, as this rich asteroid has been named, for the mining process. The department has put money aside to hire a couple of squads, which will have the task of first exploring the asteroids’ surface for Rival company presence, booby traps and any other unsafe situations. After the scouting mission, the squads are required to protect the miners while boring shafts, placing explosives and anchoring pieces of asteroid to the cargo shuttles.

The operatives will gain access to deep space survival equipment, which can be used to make their armour vacuum proof and to a GA J converted for use on the asteroid (magnetic tire strips, vacuum sealed, extra airtanks, the works). Also, a deployable base will be stationed for them and for the mining shift they have to work with. They will be ferried to the asteroid by a dropship, which will rendez-vous with them on regular intervals for supplies. They will be encouraged to work with the other squads (6 in total), or at least keep radio contact. The scouting duty will last about 6 days, in which time they can cover most of the asteroid. At this stage, action should be kept to a minimum, maybe a lone Thresher scout or a DarkNight sniper that have to be taken out.

After the scouting, guard duty will begin, which means mining personnel, equipment, shuttles and everything of value must be kept from harm. Of course, this is when any DarkNight terrorists, Tresher raiders, Shaktar pirates or any rival company the GM wishes to introduce will make their move. Couple to this distress signals from the other squads as they are wiped out, the drop ship not arriving in time for resupplying, quakes resulting from the blasting and a miner turned traitor who sabotages equipment and you can keep the Ops as busy as you like. The threat level can be as high or low as you wish. This BPN can vary from having to deal with miners angry for not getting paid enough to surviving a deep space nightmare on an asteroid filled with enemies and explosives.

If the work is not interrupted, the miners can remove the ice and blast the asteroid in manageable chunks in about a 2 weeks time. The ice will be ferried away in cargo shuttles. After that the drilling will begin. The shafts will have to be made in specific locations, after which the explosives are placed and a chunk will be blasted loose. Of course, it will first have been anchored to the ground so it won’t just drift away. The chunk is then drilled, cut and blasted into smaller pieces, which are then transported back to the planet. The mining crews are underpaid and understaffed, so any help the Ops give them in their work will be appreciated.

Of course, the work will be interrupted. The operation has a three week deadline, as the asteroid has to be removed before it passes too close to Morts’ atmosphere and causes freak storms and quakes. If the deadline is not made, the Ops rewards will severely be reduced or maybe even nullified. In the worst case, they’ll have to stay on the asteroid and keep on working until it’s done and then they’ll be assigned to cleanup duty on the planet.

For each piece of equipment lost, knock a day’s salary of the Ops’ paycheck. This can even result in their scouting payment being reduced. The reverse is also true, however. For rescuing equipment from another squads’ shift, a bonus is paid, calculated from what the other squad would have received. This will probably only happen if enemy forces wipe out another squad and there are still miners and equipment left to save. Any experience gained from this BPN can also be used to buy skills or skill levels like Demolitions, Astronavigation and Survival.

If the squad does very well, it is probable that Ms. Blanden and the Department of Resources will keep an eye on the squad and possibly asks them for future projects. Also, as their exploits will of course go 'on file', other departments with a space operation in mind could also approach the squad.

If the squad fails and survives, they might have upset the Department and they may have made an enemy. Also, if the asteroid cannot be mined because of overall failure, the passage of the asteroid will result in some freak storms and earthquakes on Mort. Maybe the squad should be assigned to a clean up job, as penalty?