Amber Zone - Hazmat Adventure Seeds

Last Updated 23 November 2003.

1999 #769

Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 22:48:51 -0400
From: "Daniel Phelps"
Subject: Re: Shipping stuff

Was written:
>>>[Thousands of years of continued occupancy implies some attempt at
>>>environmental management].

Good point, many of the problems of today are the result of short sighted thinking, to the next election, to the end of the next budget cycle etc. If people or at least the powers that be had the sure knowledge that longer term planning was in their vested interest i.e. 30, 50 or even 100 years because they could expect to live that long or longer perhaps it would foster such an ethos. I doubt it though. You will always have greed, ignorance and dishonesty.

Picture this, a waste stream needs to be disposed yet the price of recycling or proper disposal results in a red ink. Someone comes a long and says for a very low price I'll take the problem off your hands no fuss no muss. Perhaps that someone looks legitimate and charges what appears to be what is the legitimate market price yet they make an even better profit by improper disposal. I've seen both circumstances.

Consider the following scenario, I had a Fed tell me just the other day of this slick dodge. Haz waste loads put in box cars and shipped to a distance disposal/recycling site. The load got to its destination and the listed receiver refused the load because they hadn't contract to receive it and didn't recognize the generator. Investigations show the manifests to be bogus. The hauler was stuck holding the bag at approximately $1,000 a 55 gallon drum. With a little thought it's an easy scenario to set up for some unwary PCs in a merchant campaign.

Take another case, a company is going bankrupt and they have numerous facilities that are being shut down. Liquid waste at one facility is stock piled, bulked in a tank and shipped off-planet to a higher tech recycler. Incompatible wastes are mixed in the process bulking the waste. In route chemical reactions produce both heat and gas. Pressures build, slowing in space as the cargo hold is unheated. Maybe it blows while the PC's are in jump, maybe while they are in the next port. Again this is an adaptation of a modern example. A load from the Southern U.S. from a company going under was shipped north for disposal. It got about 7 hours north by tanker truck when the tanker trailer took off like a rocket sled. The trailer sans the tractor went about a quarter of a mile before it stopped.

How about a different tack, perhaps the waste is generated as the result of a criminal enterprise, the fabrication of some elicit drug as in a modern meth lab. As in the first example the criminals ship it off planet. The load gets where it supposed to go and there is no one to receive it. The PCs not wanting to be stuck with the cost of disposal contact the authorities. The "powers that be" get very interested. The PC's get "drafted" into helping out the investigation.

The above are just minor variations on a theme, if you want to work environmental justice issues into a Traveller setting it would not be hard to do at all. All you would need to do is create the correct social stratification and add a bit of greed, poor planning and apply the "law of unintended consequences".

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