GRAPE Space 9.
Copyright 1999 By Scott Gray.
GRAPE Space 9 is an adventure for GRAPE: Generic
Roleplaying All Purpose Engine, though it can be played with other
game systems. See the main page, to learn GRAPE
rules. This adventure, like GRAPE, is distributed free of charge. You may
give out copies, so long as the text is not modified and no fees are
charged for the copies distributed.
GRAPE Space 9 takes place on a 24th century space station, overseen by the
FRFP (Federated Republic of Free Planets). The PCs are crew members who
oversee space station number 9. Despite the fact that they have different
shaped noses, foreheads, and ears, all get along well and speak mostly
perfect English. For an excellent example of the genre, please see Star Trek: Deep
A cold war has raged for many years between the FRFP and the Dalmati
Empire. The Dalmati Empire had originally enslaved the native people of
Yun (the habitable planet which is nearest, about 59 billion miles away --
less than one light-hour), and built space station number nine. The FRFP
helped revolutionary movements on Yun, smuggling weapons and aid, for
years. When the Yun managed to overthrow the Dalmati government and take
over the space station, the FRFP was invited in to man the space station.
The Dalmati ambassador (Hui-Tsingah) has come, and is being outwardly very
pleasant. However, he is always very interested in finding a pretense for
starting a war. He will look for something which can clearly be shown to
be the fault of the FRFP, in order to give governments who are allies of,
or have treaties with, the FRFP the excuse to remain neutral. Hui-Tsingah
is being much more pleasant and conciliatory than usual, which should
worry the characters.
And, since the course of diplomacy is never easy, there are problems
extending normal diplomatic courtesies to Hui-Tsingah. Namely, the
station is crawling with Yunni (working in many civilian jobs on the
station, and also in the capacity of advisors to the FRFP) who hate the
Dalmati Empire and would really LIKE to provoke a war so that the FRFP
would try to dismantle the Dalmati Empire.
And don't forget the Thibulls. A Thibull is an incredibly cute furry
creature from Thib-prime, with the mental capacity of a field mouse. They
are highly prized as pets when neutered (they are asexual and very
fecund), and one of the merchants on the station had one. Sadly, the
Thibull got out and now there are Thibulls reproducing all over the ship.
Even though the Thibulls are doing damage to the station (draining its
power supply -- that's how they eat) the civilians on the station LOVE the
Thibulls and beg the crew to not hurt them (especially Ms. Truong's
incredibly endearing kindergarten class).
What's Really Going On
Hui-Tsingah also has a secret agenda -- use his diplomatic privileges in
order to find an important thing left behind by the Dalmati governor
during the evacuation. The last Dalmati governor (Hui-Coatzl) had
recently reported (more to the point, admitted under torture) that during
the evacuation he had overlooked one thing. The space station was used as
a laboratory for building a new Dalmati weapon which uses nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology has been universally shunned and condemned by many
intergalactic treaties, to which the Dalmati Empire has been a party.
During the evacuation, everything connected with the project was
removed except for a single nanite (an unbelievably small device only a
dozen atoms long) which is capable of reproducing itself infinitely and
which "eats" carbon to fuel itself and leaves a by-product of
hydrogen. In less than half a day, particularly since it could be expected
to "evolve," it and its descendants could devour and/or destroy
everything on the station. The nanite was left suspended in high-pressure
nitrogen in a tiny silicon box (about the size of a domino) so that it
could not easily contact carbon and start reproducing. Though most of the
sample nanites were carried back to Dalmatia, one was unaccounted for in
the packing. Hui-Tsingah has a nanite-detecting widget (more to the point,
it detects silicon in the quantities used in the box).
Don't worry about making blueprints and plans for the space station, or
even designing the level of technology and security. The characters have
the advantage of knowing more about their own station -- let the players
feel comfortable about making their own reasonable assumptions about what
they have access to and what the space station is like.