A good archaeologist must know how to dig.
There’s information warfare on the network. Troublesome data is often scrubbed off by the Hegemony’s electronic worms, censored by corporate news providers, or simply buried under an avalanche of misinformation.
There are security measures that no amount of electronic trickery can beat. Rather than send an email through a compromised communications network, some aristocrats simply deliver hand-written letters. Scholars likewise preserve their most precious findings using a machine called a Gutenborg to 3D print books out of imperishable metallic fiber.
The Veridi Silentium Codex is one such work. It collects the “black box” records of lost ships from a region of space called the Green Silence, notable for its unusual phenomena. The Codex is full of strange stories, haunting experiences, cryptic diagrams, and a lot of static, noise, and confusion. The keeper(s) of the Codex also have an archive of pretty darn creepy voice and video logs, reclaimed from abandoned or destroyed hulls that floated (or were salvaged) out of the Silence.
One such log comes from a ship, the Rykard, that tried to follow Way creatures back to their home years ago. It discusses (but does not detail) changes to the hyper-engines that allow the ship to “turn sideways”, and follow the tracks of these beings off the known pathways of FTL travel. Ships must normally follow a path, such as those laid out by the jump gates, or Way lines within a system. Yet Way creatures don’t seem to abide by these rules.
How do we apply a S&V-style job format to this?
- Drifter would recognize the hyper-engine modification as a trick used by modern space-racers, who jealously guard the secrets of their ship modifications. Go make contact with a racer or mechanic who will share the secret (or do a deal for a crime lord in exchange for it).
- The book doesn’t say how the engines were modified, but does say by whom. Go find friends, heirs, creditors, or descendants of the Rykard’s crew and convince them to share details. Twists and Themes: whoever we talk to wants to go along (in vain hope of rescue, to vindicate their theories, for fortune and glory, etc.). The necessary parts aren’t made any more, and must be custom fabricated.
- The 51st Legion or similar high-level players already know about these hidden warp lanes and use them to move military ships around. So much for avoiding Imperial entanglements. Twists and Themes: the Legion is fighting space pirates in the dark warp, so is too busy to chase us, but that’s twice the number of warships we have to dodge.
- The Rykard wasn’t sufficiently shielded or armored, and the Fast Buck must be visibly augmented. This might cost cred, reputation, or time to get working, and will attract unwanted attention.
- Travel through such Way lanes is only safe with people in an altered mental state. Use Attune to bring people into the proper trance, or Doctor to get them there chemically.
- The Rykard’s crew had to abandon ship and might be somewhere in the Green Silence - in cryopods amidst floating wreckage, on an alien world deep in dark hyperspace, or in some weirder location. They need to be rescued - or they’ve been changed…
Success might lead to a cache of artifacts, a secret about how jump gates work, lost ships (or lost tech), or pretty much anything else.