** GAME MASTER NOTES – SPOILERS! **
(Set in the Vanejen/Rhylanor/Spinward Marches: 300-1006)
While in a starport bar, the PCs meet (and ideally befriend) a chirper alien named Chiree which struggles to tell of being kidnapped and imprisoned by humans and robots. Details of its escape are vague, but it fears for its nest-mates still held somewhere. This whole public scene unknowingly put the PCs in a bad light with the local humans who view the chirpers as a nuisance. (Note that the chirpers were on this world first.)
Vanejen boasts 543 million people of mostly Vilani descent, but a low technology (TL 5, on par with 1900-1939 Earth history – rudimentary electronics, no gravitics, mostly mechanical-based technology). Local noble families have leveraged technical support from the Imperium into power monopolies: the Margrave family runs steel and construction metals, the Flandrens control land transportation, etc. Sea transportation (and related trades such as fishing) have been left open to several families and independents. The Margrave H-6 submersible boat is a common transport.
One of seven Imperial research stations in the Spinward Marches is found on Vanejen’s largely ice-locked southern hemisphere. The locals have nothing to do with this place; they say whatever work goes on there has been slow and of little practical value.
Research Station Gamma actually is engaged in forbidden psionic research. Its administrator, Prof. Sir Gnetus Jerold Vicervis, fired all other staff long ago and has since been falsifying his reports.
It turns out chirpers have a telepathic power to cloud minds. Chiree’s mates are being experimented on at Gamma and must be rescued from Vicervis and his underwater facility’s many guard robots.