Half Life by Star Light

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 11, 2017 - 7:43am
CSS Half Life is a confiscated freighter employed by the Crown of Clarion to dispose of nuclear wastes from the nuclear production side of the economy, medical research and star ship engineering waste (some is classic nuclear waste but much is just contaminated materials. Once a month or as needed the Half Life loads its specially redesigned cargo container and accelerates toward the system's sun. It parks in a safe orbit near the star and points the ship's tail at the star.

The end of the cargo container opens to reveal a rail gun contraption mounted in side that the crew will use to launch containers of nuclear waste at the star where the fires of White Light will naturally and safely recycle the material.

The Anti Monarchist group the Liberation Front has infiltrated a mole into the crew of this ship, who live rather cushy lives on Clarion Station and only make on average one run per month and spend the rest of their time cleaning and maintaining their ship as well as storing cargo boxes in the hold as they are recieved.

The mole will smuggle his cell onto the Half Life for its next run. They will kill the crew, and return with the ship to Clarion to strike back with rail gun launched dirty bombs. The plan is to launch them at the station? or at the palace? [I'm not 100% sure what their plan is but I'm certain it will solidify soon]

In order to succeed the LF need to pull the Royal Marines off station so they stuff a life pod with the bodies of the crew they have killed and wire the emergency beacon for delayed activation giving them time to head back to Clarion at 1 ADF. Possibly a LF cell or two will stage incidents on Clarion station to confuse the situation and give the cell on the Half Life a shot at launching their dirty bombs. The Half Life has changed its transponder codes so it will read as another ship on a tacticle plot. with two to three RM ships out system and another assault scout responding to the emergency beacon and a fifth ship in dock with its engines dismantled for repairs or what have you this plot just could work. Unfortunately, for the LF the Osprey had just returned for shore leave and it will scramble to support the ship responding to the emrgency beacon. so its not at the station but the closest that can respond to this threat.

I suppose we should specify that the radioactive waste is in containers that are designed to survive rentry? Part of the regulations on transport of radio active waste that just incase a shuttle went down, blew up or suffered some other catastrophic event the wast would not be spread all over the place. The LF's idea is that launched by a rail gun they are hoping to irradiate the palace.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 11, 2017 - 7:55am
The wheels begin to fall off for the Liberation Front when a science vessel in solar orbit is able to respond to the emergency beacon, radios the Royal Marines that it is doing so as per conventions on SOS calls. They find the escape pod filled with murdered bodies and inform the RM of this long before they would have ever known. The CMS Hawk continues to solar orbit sweeping for the Half Life while Osprey returns to Clarion and the Rest of the RM is on full alert.

This means the LF cells on Clarion STation will not encounter Royal Marines who are not expecting trouble and they will not succeed in taking out the stations command center but will knock out the weapons that the station could respond with. This means the Half Life can manuever close to the station without fear as long as it stays beneath the horizon of the UPF space fortress which i'm judging to be on the other side of the planet so that each station covers 1/2 of the planet from direct attack. Only the Osprey can respond with weapons.

Mission:

1. identify the threat (the Half Life is disguised as another freighter. plus there is a random number of freighters in close proximity.

2. stop/ disable the half life without blasting radio active waste everywhere. but also do not allow it to fire on the planet either.

3. board and secure the Half Life.

First half is KHs encounter and second half is AD encounter. use the KHs large freighter deck plan.

the rail gun has a FF arc directly out the back of the freighter. and it is MPO, a strike from it will do 1d10 worth of damage to the Osprey. the freighter should probably have a LB weapon system too.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 11, 2017 - 8:01am
I dont see the KHs side of things being very long or difficult for the PCs so I'm trying to come up with non standard ideas to make it more of a challenge.

- you cant just blow the ship to pieces

- rail gun was designed to launch containers of waste at the sun but its unexpectedly used to fire on a pursuing ship (no matter what the dice say this weapon will not be knocked out easily.

- just how many insuits do the RM have on the Osprey? is there Nutrarad drub from Zebs available because a boarding action on a ship that has taken damage in combat and is loaded with nuclear waste could mean exposure to the PCs- you can be sure the toxyrad guage is going to be pinging.

_The LF cell did have an escape plan but now that the Osprey is on hand they've also accepted the fact that they will not escape and plan to fight to the death.

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 11, 2017 - 8:19am
Players should be allowed to query the data net or someone on the station who can query the data net for data on the various ships around in proximity to the station to try to determine which is the Half Life.

They know the life pod came from the Half Life and the bodies inside are all but one of the crew. Maybe the LF cell member that infiltrated the crew is a being that washed out of the RM?

So identifying the proper ship to intercept is a bit of a puzzle- players must figure out from data they can get on the ships which one is the Half Life. This can be done a number of ways:

-Ask the tracking section of Clarion station to identify which ships in close proximity are trans travel style container ships like the Half Life- this will eliminate 1/2 the targets.

- looking at vectors will eliminate those ships obviously coming from out system.

-? Im open to ideas on this.

-PCs might have done an cargo inspection on a ship previously in a campaign so they recognize that ships name and might take a chance its not that one.

-a ship headed out system is not really a threat so that one can be discounted.

Maybe allow the astrogator to perform a skill check every 10 minute KH turn to zero in the ship's telescope on a ship. A passed skill check means that given the plot date from Clarion station they have managed to get the telescope zeroed in on a ship this turn and can examine it with an eyeball. - (Nope this is a mining ship so its not the target.)

The Half Life did a dog leg route out system not directly at Clarion station and is returning from the "side" so its not initially obvious that its the ship. Its course has put the space fortress on the far side of the planet from its approach.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 11, 2017 - 8:43am
There is alot of danger in loading alot of nuclear waste on a ship and sending it into orbit but as you say there are a great many safety procedures in place. On the other hand launching the waste at any ground target will not do much damage. Most will burn up in the atmosphere and the total damage would be limited. Besides why would you contaminate the planet you are trying to take over?

If only there was a large and valuble target in space the Anti-Monarchists could threaten once they killed the crew and spent the trip to the star and back weaponizing the nuclear waste (rush job but doable) and then park or attach the CSS Half Life at the target and threaten to destroy both if their demands aren't met. Then our lovable Clarion Royal Marines would need to figure out how to take the ship back. Maybe the crew is not dead but being held hostage so the CSM will not just shoot the CSS Half Life out of space. (refer to North Sea Hijack also called Ffolkes or Assault Force for ideas and bring your cats)
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 11, 2017 - 2:58pm
Well they are terrorist so do they need a reason to do bad stuff and or they dont have to be smart (shoe bomber)

Only killing the captain and keeping the rest of the crew as hostage makes sense. And it adds a demension to the storming of the ship. 

I can see their primary target being the palace and barring that Clarion station. For the cargo cannisters to not burn up let's say the cannisters are heat shielded as a precaution and have a parachute just in case of a problem in transport to orbit. The LF has disabled the chutes. The cannisters will not burn up but without the chute they will still with the force of a small nuke and ground zero will be contaminated.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 11, 2017 - 3:13pm
This makes it the LF threat to the monarchy severe.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
November 11, 2017 - 3:25pm
My engineers take on the radioactive waste containers is that it will be in sealed  containers that can't be reopened.  Of course a persistent person could given enough time and equipment cut and break the container open.  Think of a can inside a can inside a can and maybe a few more.  Each time there would be liners like concrete, lead, and strong mesh fibers surrounding the can.  The idea is to never let the inner most can open, even as the result of a fall from orbit.  You don't want to let radioactive waste burn up in reentry.  The result is spreading radioactive ash into the atmosphere to rain down on the planet.

So the result is this becomes a good kinetic weapon but not a means to spread radiation.  I would think that the extortion works best by picking the right target.  Likely just bombarding the palace as a protest against something.  What could be good is bombarding the open pit mine that is producing the local plutonium supply.  Said mine is messing with the environment and the response is to return the radioactive material back to the mine in a ballistic manner to get attention to their cause.
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 11, 2017 - 4:57pm
I don't think there's any extortion in this as the Space Fortress can scramble fighters, and other RM ships will show up eventually so they need to act fast and strike hard. 

This could be a plot involving cooperation by LF and an ecological group. 

Member of ecological group might spill beans about the plot when he realizes the LF betrayed them and is not planning to bomb the mine site but the palace. 

Also the LF might think that a kinetic strike by these containment vessels will spread radiation even if in reality it won't. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 18, 2017 - 2:15am
jedion357 wrote:
Well they are terrorist so do they need a reason to do bad stuff and or they dont have to be smart (shoe bomber)


It has to make sense to players. Palming it off as just 'crazy terrorists with no logic' falls flat as (a) this whole plan would never have started if that was their thinking, and (b) my players would say that I was being lazy with my ideas and rationale Wink You mention the shoe bomber, but this is more complex. Even then, the rationale for the shoe bomber was complex in it's own way, as humans are complex creatures. I say this because I don't think it's a good idea or good refereeing to be too hand wavy about NPC motivations. Players can and will dissect this sort of thing rather quickly Cool

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 18, 2017 - 2:21am
iggy wrote:
So the result is this becomes a good kinetic weapon but not a means to spread radiation.  I would think that the extortion works best by picking the right target.  Likely just bombarding the palace as a protest against something.  What could be good is bombarding the open pit mine that is producing the local plutonium supply.  Said mine is messing with the environment and the response is to return the radioactive material back to the mine in a ballistic manner to get attention to their cause.


As a weapon this approach is more dangerous due to it's kinetic energy than it's radioactivity. If the 'ammunition' is a large container full of depleted uranium, it's much more dangerous due to the hole it can make, rather than how radioactive it is. Radioactive ash is unlikely to affect a whole planet, unless you perhaps have absolutely vast quantities of radioactive material but I'd say it's not really a practical threat.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 18, 2017 - 2:57am
The fun thing about  radioactivity is that it does not take alot to cause big problems. Look at the Fukushima Daiichi plant and Chernobyl. No one died as a direct result of these accidents (?) but the loss of land to contamination and cancer causing effects terrified many. (It is thought between 130 and 640 people will die of cancer caused by the Fukushima accident Wikipedia)
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 18, 2017 - 4:09am
But as nuclear technology is much more widespread in SF, one assumes that many measures are in place to deal with radioactivity and it's not considered as much of a danger as it is in our world. No doubt there are gels and other measures to counter the various potential problems. Radioactive waste is also less likely, in this scenario, to be as much of a threat as a reactor core explosion/meltdown.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 18, 2017 - 6:23am
Sure the Frontier is probably better at dealing with cancer and other effects of being exposed with radiation. I will give you that. Do my a favor and go to a cancer ward and tell all the people their how much better we are at dealing with cancer now then 20 years ago, while they are getting chemo and radiation treatment. Sure they will appreciate it.

Point is while we are better at dealing with it, dealing with it is not easy and the worry over having been exposed to a carcenagene and developing cancers is a strong motivating factor. Big bangs are nice in movies but the threat of slow lingering painful disease exposure is much better at terrorizing beings then a big bang.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 18, 2017 - 6:24am
Look no further than the containers intended for Yucca Mountain, those things are designed to be crash proof, earthquake proof, anything proof...it's a one-way container: stuff goes in but it doesn't come back out.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 18, 2017 - 6:31am
rattraveller wrote:
Sure the Frontier is probably better at dealing with cancer and other effects of being exposed with radiation. I will give you that. Do my a favor and go to a cancer ward and tell all the people their how much better we are at dealing with cancer now then 20 years ago, while they are getting chemo and radiation treatment. Sure they will appreciate it.

Point is while we are better at dealing with it, dealing with it is not easy and the worry over having been exposed to a carcenagene and developing cancers is a strong motivating factor. Big bangs are nice in movies but the threat of slow lingering painful disease exposure is much better at terrorizing beings then a big bang.


Well, my mother died from cancer a few years ago, so I'm well aware of how that works. My point was that the perceived threat of radiation may not be such a bugbear in SF as it is to us now. If there are measures to deal with it effectively, it means that weaponising it as intended for this adventure may mean that the container's use as a large bullet is more of a threat to those on the receiving end. The impact may spread the material over a very wide area but also dilute it to such an extent that the radiation threat isn't particularly high. Yes, there's still some radiation but perhaps not in actual life-threatening quantities, long-term or short-term.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 18, 2017 - 6:39am
Do you mean the 2012 Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Nuclear Waste? That makes me feel alot better about our future on this planet.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
November 18, 2017 - 6:55am
Umm people did die from the above examples.

Radioactive Waste is a huge category it includes but is not limited to... clothing worn at site, extremely dangerous parts that have tp be replaced from time to time, materials from refinement process and recycle process. Some of these materials are liquid. 

Clarion’s ecosystem is prodomently primitive plants and rainy with constant storms. Lichens and moss suck up radiation iconcentrating it and anything that eats that becomes radioactive too, radiation thrown up into the air via smoke for instance follows air currents spreading it about but ultimately concentrating it some areas. Basically Clarion would be looking at radioactive rain storms. Depending on the size of the object impacting Clarion that alone could have a huge effect. You have the impact site which will explode like a nuclear bomb not because of radiation but because of impact from space this will create a big crater send out shock waves probably cause small quakes, the fire will be hot burning and melting containers that survived impact, the debree from impact is tossed into air spreading radioactive waste and causing global cooling as the debree blocks sunlight, burning fields or swamp, remember there has got to be tar pits, petrochemical resources are drilled and refined on Clarion, swamp gas is a real thing... 

It could be bad and very destructive despite future space containment ideas. 

As to motives... some people are self centered jerks, terrorist thinking justifies mass destruction and death for political power goals but usually the individuals doing it are motivated by some sort of highly emotionalized utopia promise for survivors, just think about egos... the Soviet army guy who realized their nuclear attack warning system was sending false data and thus he did not push the button and saved the World was mistreated by higher ups who felt he should have... why? He saved the Soviet Union and whole planet they should have been happy, but they were not happy... they privately were jerks because their egos made them believe they would live and win, that sort of ego is in a terrorists mind too and amongst the higher ups in such organizations, slaughtering expendable people for the greater good as they define it is necessary to create the envisioned new world order, and being higher ups pulling the strings they think they won’t die too. This arrogant power hungry type ego is only kept in check by expendable people... expendable people worry about their families... thus all families can win from someone not pushing a button, people who believe they are special and protected worry about themselves mostly and what they can gain. So the master mind in the above scenario would not be on the ship, would be someplace safe, and would convince his followers a few eggs have to be broken to make the omelette and their deaths (terrorist and victims) the sacrifice of innocent people will create a better world. Often the innocent are vilified, you can see it on FB... those people deserved it for assumed guilt simply because of where they live or where they are born... modern PC examples... we deserved it attitudes because America is evil (the people who write that stuff are never suffers of such attacks)... the guilt and shame angle for things no one living is responsible for or things we can not make people in government stop doing, if you don’t believe like I do you are scum and deserve to die attitude, even if another country is responsible because of the guilt mentality somehow we did it not the other country, political bullying using “privillage” another way to shame people not doing anything wrong just not what the bully wants... I can go on but you can watch people being manipulated emotionally and trying to manipulate others using emotions, religion, secular belief systems, plugging into original sin guilt by swapping it with white sin, western sin, American sin, economic sin and more. If a motivated at all costs for power ego can succeed in brainwashing a normal person using that person’s belief systems and emotional soft spots they can often get the spun up enough to get them to do bad things.

Anyhow that is how I think bad things go down.


 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 18, 2017 - 7:06am
Tchklinxa wrote:
Clarion’s ecosystem is prodomently primitive plants and rainy with constant storms. Lichens and moss suck up radiation iconcentrating it and anything that eats that becomes radioactive too, radiation thrown up into the air via smoke for instance follows air currents spreading it about but ultimately concentrating it some areas. Basically Clarion would be looking at radioactive rain storms. Depending on the size of the object impacting Clarion that alone could have a huge effect. You have the impact site which will explode like a nuclear bomb not because of radiation but because of impact from space this will create a big crater send out shock waves probably cause small quakes, the fire will be hot burning and melting containers that survived impact, the debree from impact is tossed into air spreading radioactive waste and causing global cooling as the debree blocks sunlight, burning fields or swamp, remember there has got to be tar pits, petrochemical resources are drilled and refined on Clarion, swamp gas is a real thing... 

It could be bad and very destructive despite future space containment ideas. 


IMHO the amount of material needed to cause such effects would have to be considerable. Remember that it's waste, rather than weaponised nuclear material. If one fired a shipping container full of this at the Earth (and said container survived re-rentry), chances are it wouldn't do much in terms of of the damage/contamination it could do to anywhere outside of the immediate impact zone. The energy released by the impact would also probably dissipate the material to such an extent that it might not make the impact site amazingly 'hot'.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 18, 2017 - 8:35am
Didn't have time to read the entire article but this might help

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/dod/du_factsheet_4aug98.htm

Article on the environmental and medical effects of depleted uranium
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 18, 2017 - 11:19am
In a nutshell: DU isn't dangerous as source of radiation.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 18, 2017 - 3:06pm
Yes but it is dangerous as a heavy metal toxin.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
November 18, 2017 - 6:27pm
I am thinking of other stuff and not DU. Metal parts so contaminated they must be encased and buried, all the liquid radioactive chemical waste that is the result of the various stages of processing nuclear materials and recycling and more. Hartford’s tunnels have some really nasty stuff in them from the chemical process and manufacturing process for weapons for instance. I am not just thinking of rods.

I get the majority of waste will burn up if shot at the planet... but if the ship were to be used as the dirty bomb? Parts of it would burn up, other parts would hit and if the crash was controlled enough I bet the damage would be maximized over a large area. 




 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
November 18, 2017 - 7:26pm
Just read up on current mining & enrichment process for Uranium. Hey they got a new process they are trying using lasers to enrich with, also there is a water mining process that has been replacing the more traditional method for getting the yellow cake. DU is created during the enrichment process. The creation of Plutonium of various types requires nuclear reactors and then if you want to maximize a chemical liquid process. Grant you it is more complex then what I have typed, but these processes including recycling processes create more waste. 

However thinking on future tech there would be advances in processing, recycling, reprocessing and containment... 

I like the idea of laser enrichment being normal for SF.
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 19, 2017 - 5:43am
Alright:

I think Tcklinxa and I are on the same page as far as terrorist will do bad stuff just because. They are frustrated over the pollution of the environment and its the Crowns fault, furstrated over X number of years of the poeple not waking up to overthrow the government, furstrated becuase their cause seems to be a minority cause and they just cant understand how the poeple dont see the just cause in their cuase.
But its the people are fat dum and happy then its time for extreme measure like using a nuclear garbage skow as a guided missile aimed at the palace.
Rather than argue over whether furturistic containment vessels will or will not burn up in atmosphere lets say their plan is to fly the ship straight down the gravity well with ground zero being the palace. It doesn't matter if this dirty bomb will be as effective as the terrorist think it will, stopping the terrorist is most certianly a job for the royal marines.

This is a strike at the Crown and a strike at the complacency of "the people" that will hopefully decapitate the monarchy and end it as well as shock the people from their complacency.

Most of the Liberation party MPs are, for one unrelated reason or another scheduled to be some place other than the capitol. that most not all as there are a couple of Liberation Party MPs who are sacrificial lambs because they has shown the most willingness to work with the Crown.

Consequences for the Liberation Party after the fact when its realized that most of them stayed home that day?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 19, 2017 - 6:18am
They could time it so that Parliment is not is session and it is the time when the MPs are back home working with their constituents. If it was a minor royal family member's birthday and the whole royal clan is gathered at the palace to celebrate it would be great time to strike.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 19, 2017 - 6:42am
rattraveller wrote:
They could time it so that Parliment is not is session and it is the time when the MPs are back home working with their constituents. If it was a minor royal family member's birthday and the whole royal clan is gathered at the palace to celebrate it would be great time to strike.


Like that- what if its a party that members of parliment are invited too?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 19, 2017 - 7:02am
I was thinking more of a grandchild where things are being kept to a small intimate gathering and not a big political event. 
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 19, 2017 - 7:34am
I like the idea of sacrificial lambs who realize that they were being offered up as proof the Liberation party had no knowledge of the plot and it was just by chance that most of the leadership of the party was at home playing candy crush.

One of these individuals would famously denounce the party as cupable in the plot after the fact although he might not have proof allowing the LP to survive more or less.

Nephew of reigning monarch who is also the god parent of the child works, i seem to remember something in the timeline work done by shadow that invovled limited offspring available to the current dynasty and I would not want to upset that.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 19, 2017 - 8:16am
Just to be cynical most political parties are not as unified as they pretend to be and finding some "sacrificial lambs" that benefit the party by their loss would not be hard.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 19, 2017 - 8:23am
rattraveller wrote:
Just to be cynical most political parties are not as unified as they pretend to be and finding some "sacrificial lambs" that benefit the party by their loss would not be hard.

Yep, Bernie Sanders "losing the primaries" is living proof of that ideal (granted his "sacrifice" didn't offer the benefit the party was hoping for, if anything it backfired on the party).
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website