You've been travelling the spaceways in your Scoutcraft
for three days now with only Psytek, a 7500 Series Science
Droid System Analyser, for company. Boring really, you'd
expect to see more action, being a technoscavenger,
someone making a living searching for abandoned technical
as you slouch back into your chair, you ponder on your
current situation. Having found nothing over the last
month, funds are getting alarmingly low. Suddenly Psytek,
who has been busily monitoring the instruments, sends
you an urgent message: POWERFUL RADIATION FLUX DETECTED:
CO-ORDINATES 45:90 RELATIVE AZIMUTH AND ELEVATION.
You instantly snap from your thoughts, lean forward
and access the navigation computer so you can identify
the source -- could this be at last an abandoned technological
computer tells you that the source reading is from a
medium sized planet. With your heart in your mouth you
mutter a short prayer and start to check through the
computer systems in an attempt to identify this mysterious
heavenly body. The computer's reply puzzles you: NEGATIVE.
CHARTS INDICATE EMPTY SPACE FROM HERE TO STAR SYSTEM
583. After persistent manual checking and rechecking
of the planetary charts, you find no trace of any planet
within light years of those co-ordinates. Very strange
indeed, but visual confirmation from the Scoutcraft's
optical sensors and an instrument reading of over 10,000
rads proves that there IS a planet out there . . . but
why no chart reference?
you set the computer co-ordinates and head for the barren
and scarred planet. As your craft approaches the planet,
you sit back and think. All of a sudden a wild thought
strikes you -- a massive radiation flux from a planet
scarred with deep rifts? Could this possibly be the
legendary planet of Koronis Rift? If it is then you
have stumbled upon a technoscavenger's dream.
think back to the conversation you had with a fellow
technoscavenger. 'Over 700,000 years ago, when an incredibly
advanced race, the Ancients, ruled the stars, Koronis
Rift had been the testing ground for their most powerful
weapons. They abandoned it when the radiation count
became too high for any life form to survive, but left
their unsurpassed technological achievements behind.'
Analyser, Psytek, about to dismantle a piece of ancient
alien technology in the comfort of your ship.
had dismissed the conversation as the ramblings of one
who had spent too long travelling alone in space, but
if it were true then what now lies before you could
possibly be the biggest and richest technological stockpile
navigation computer tells you that the Scoutcraft has
entered orbit, so you hasten down to the Surface Rover
bay in readiness for transportation to the planet's
surface. As you settle back into the Rover's comfortable
control seat, you quickly scan the instruments. The
Repo-Tech Droid is equipped and on board, and you're
ready to go. Psytek acknowledges and you begin the short
countdown before being blasted down to the surface.
Koronis looks worse on the ground than it did from above
the atmosphere. The landscape is grey and barren, the
only noticeable features are the towering mountains,
cut with deep rifts and canyons. Locating the hulks
is going to be the easy bit -- it's getting to them
that's going to be the problem.
at the radar you see an unblinking spot of light --
there is a hulk in the immediate vicinity! You swiftly
turn the Rover so that the light on the radar points
to 12 o'clock. You might not be able to see the relic,
but you know you're heading directly for it.
barren plains of Koronis as viewed from your Scoutcraft.
A lifeless alien hulk rusts silently in the foreground,
ready for scavenging. But first you have to dispose
of the not-so-lifeless Guardian saucer in the distance.
the rover climbs over the peak of a hill, you catch
a quick glimpse of the huge machine before plunging
into the next valley. Climbing the next ridge you reach
the ancient ruin. Even though it's been sitting on the
planet for hundreds of thousands of years, there is
no sign of any decay: the Ancients certainly knew how
to make their machines last. Your admiration is paramount
for a few moments, but you quickly come to and order
the Repo-Tech Droid to search the hulk -- venturing
out yourself would be fatal, with the rad count at over
10,000 you would be fried in a split second.
RTD emerges from its portal, approaches the giant machine
and disappears into it. They're very good at what they
do, and you're lucky that you've got one of the best.
You wait expectantly, and within a few moments the droid
returns with the hulk's module. As you slot into one
of the free spaces on the Rover's module area the hulk
self-destructs, leaving nothing for other technoscavengers.
A smile creeps over your face . . . that one module
must be worth at least 100 kilocredits. There are a
lot more hulks on this rift alone, and there are twenty
rifts to explore! The legend was correct, a technoscavenger's
The radar picks up another hulk, so you set your course
accordingly. As you're doing that, an unnerving message
is printed out: DANGER, GUARDIAN SAUCERS APPROACHING.
Damn! you had forgotten reference OpSec JEC 4208
of the Encyclopedia Galactica:
A race of genetically engineered warriors created by
the Ancients to guard their stockpiles of technology.
Little is known about them since they are programmed
to self destruct on capture and all attempts to negotiate
with them has failed. However, they are known to be
still carrying out their task to the full.
you fumble for your laser control, a saucer appears
from behind a mountain and fires a volley of firebombs.
Sweating, you aim your crosshair and fire. At least
two shots are on target -- why doesn't it explode? As
the saucer looses another set of bombs, you hit it again;
this time it explodes into a cloud of debris. A quick
flick at the far right VDU tells you that the Rover's
defence shields are still in good order. Some action
this is turning out to be!
you head towards the next hulk, you wonder whether it
would be safer to beam up to the orbiting ship and drop
off the module; after all, it's impossible to contact
the ship when engaged in combat. Greed drives you on,
and you decide to fill all the module areas before returning
to the ship, rather than beaming up as you collect them.
view of the scenic delights that Koronis has
to offer. A nasty Guardian saucer at no extra charge...
reaching the second hulk another saucer attacks, but
again it's disposed of. This second attack swiftly makes
you decide to scavenge some better-designed defence
modules so you can update the Rover's standard systems.
After all, if things are going to be like this then
a more powerful modular system could well be your only
chance of survival.
two hulks are successfully scavenged before a third
saucer is encountered. If this is a sparsely guarded
rift, what must the others be like? Another hulk is
looted without trouble and the module area is filled,
so you send a message to Psytek who promptly beams you
up to the orbiting ship.
comes the satisfying part of being a technoscavenger
-- analysing the booty. You remove the modules from
the Surface Rover and take them into Psytek's operations
room so he can analyse and dismantle them for future
you load the modules onto the conveyor storage area
Psytek swivels in his chair, waiting for you to put
a module onto the belt. You do just that and it slides
along to its place in front of the silver droid, who
within a few seconds strips it down to its component
parts, turns, enters a set of figures on the computer
and finally gives you its evaluation. Most of the modules
are useful only for resale, but one catches your eye
-- a module with a laser insignia which is far more
powerful than your current one. Within a moment the
old module is withdrawn and the new one installed. That
should improve your survival chances a little.
you make preparations for a second trip to the planet
surface you pause for thought. Psytek said that he had
located the Guardians' saucer base on rift twenty. If
it can be found and destroyed then Koronis and its trove
of technology would be yours for the taking. Otherwise,
trip after hazardous trip would have to be made to allow
you to gradually bring up the stockpile of modules.
But then, even if the saucer base is to be destroyed,
really advanced modules would still have to be sought,
found, and fitted to the Rover to improve your chances
nausea of transportation snaps you from your thoughts
and as you approach the planet's surface, you are still
in two minds what to do . . .