Friends in Need
The burning question in everyone's minds: where are our allies? There are representatives in the system as well as embassies, but not a single ship from their respective governments have shown up with so much as a howdy-do. Can we get anyone's help, as this incursion seems to be particularly aggressive, taking our forces by surprise.
Read or paraphrase the following to the PCs:
"Rear Admiral Nakamura calls all of you from your quarters in the enlisted barracks. A petty officer waves you into the large meeting room, while the Rear Admiral bids you to take a seat around a meeting table that looks like it could accommodate 50 people. He activates a holographic projection of what looks like the Hope System with red markers representing enemy locations and formations and blue chevrons marking friendly forces. There are a LOT of red markers many more than the small concentrations of blue chevrons. Admiral Nakamura waves to the display and starts talking."
"All of you witnessed first hand the swiftness and brutality of the attack on our nation and planet. As you can see here, most of our ships and materiel are clustered around our armored L5 points, holding and maintaining defensive positions. Others are clustered around asteroid bases, while the Knights hold their territory as they always have. Currently, the enemy are trying to consolidate their positions, fighting our entrenched forces, dug in to well fortified bases. They can't very well bomb every installation, as they want to preserve our manufacturing capabilities, so they have to send down infantry and armor in excess of what forces they believe to be holding the facility. So, we have some time to respond. However, our response depends on what help our allies can give and so far, none has been forthcoming. No ships, no communique, no warp drones bearing messages, no messages via Ansible, nothing. There are many possibilities and all of them are bad ones. We'd like you to confirm what those possibilities may be. Right now, for the duration of this invasion, we have been working with the Knights and coordinating our movements and operations. There's talk of integrating our commands and squadrons for a bigger punch per fight. But even united, we are not going to last forever. I'm not sure how long we will last, to tell you the truth, so we would like you to perform your mission with some alacrity, but with enough care so that as few as possible mistakes are made; mistakes that we might have to clean up later and take more time to do so."
"We have a list of systems for you to investigate. First is the territory of the Kzinti Rajah Pride. They hold most of the this cluster of systems. The Admiral points to a different display of stars. There are 20 systems here, but the most important ones are Lazuli, Teranor, Triax and Pakris. Their High Council changes their meeting place every galactic year, so we're not sure where most of their leaders will be at any one time, which also means that their enemies will not know where their leaders will be at any point in time. You'll have to investigate possibly all four of those systems."
"Next up are the Garundi. Theirs is a different case than the Kzinti. The Garundi have a single system-spanning government, with a clear line of succession and a strict order of operations. If you are going to their area of control, you'll want to go to the Wexler system. It's located here and is 1 week and 20 hours away with our current gravity and Alcubierre drive technology. I've taken the liberty of inputting the coordinates into the ships you'll be taking."
"The Rajah Pride's worlds are of varying distances, being anywhere from 1 week and 5 hours away, to 1 week and 2 days away. Theirs is a nation that spans a wide area. I've also taken the liberty of inputting the coordinates into the ships you'll be taking. At this moment, we can spare 3 scout class ships. These scout class ships are special. Normally, a Titanium shield costs a weapons and defense system slot, but we've found a way for it to consume only 1 defense system slot, so you'll have an edge against most things up to a cruiser. We can also attach 3 interceptors to each scout, but you'll only be able to launch one at a time from your docking bay. Keep in mind that you might want to have two or more of you occupying a single ship by taking over the crew stations. If you decide to leave one ship in the hands of only crew, it won't be able to fight and will be out of that combat. Good luck, you leave tomorrow. You can explore this station, do any research you want, but when the second watch from now ends, you will launch with your ships and crew. You have all been given field commissions of Ensigns and are now Officers of the Line, commanders of ships in their own right. Pick someone among you as the lead commander. Normally, the chain of command would make that decision, but this is a unique mission with a unique crew, so we will give you your choice. Good luck, and god speed."
The PCs are free to explore the