For the first time on any jump, the machine has arrived in the inky blackness of night. There is no moon and a thin layer of cloud obscures all but the brightest stars. If the lights are on inside the machine, the PCs may realise that the light could attract unwanted attention.
A preliminary inspection of the time coil will reveal that it is damaged beyond use and will require repairs. However, the first priority will probably be to rescue the character who has fallen out the door. If dangling, a successful ST–4 roll will allow the character to drag himself back into the machine. An unmodified ST roll by a character pulling from above will pull the character in, and two people can combine efforts, adding their ST scores for the attempt. A critical failure on any attempt will see the character plunge into darkness.
If the character falls, it is an uncontrolled fall of four metres to rocky ground below. This should inspire the PCs to action, either a rescue, or else simply climbing out for a look around. As soon as some characters are outside the machine, the Tyrannosaurus attacks!
A sudden roar and a gaping maw full of 15cm long teeth looming out of the night-time darkness should inspire Fright Checks all around, at substantial penalties for those closest to the action. This is a fully grown Tyrannosaurus, six metres tall and some five tonnes. The PCs will either have to kill the beast or do enough damage to drive it off. Distraction tactics may be necessary to prevent the dinosaur from killing any wounded characters.
The glitch in the time coil has caused a jump back to within a few hours of the machine’s 65 million year minimum jump limit. A character with Physics skill who has received some information on the workings of the time coil may deduce this on a successful Physics roll. Unfortunately, the time jump limit is set by the impact of the asteroid which ended the Cretaceous era. Any character with Paleontology skill will know about the asteroid impact. If the players do not see the connection themselves, it will become obvious before too long.
The next tasks are to repair the time coil, recharge the capacitors for the jump to the present, and find and recover the fossilised remains of whatever the PCs had left behind on their previous time trip. Repairing the time coil is a long task, but not too difficult. Characters working on the coil should make a Mechanic roll every two hours until a success is achieved. A critical failure will cancel the next successful roll. Assuming enough fuel is available, recharging the capacitors takes nothing more than enough time.
Finding the abandoned object is the tricky part. The processes of sedimentation and fossilisation have moved the object several tens of metres from where it was originally left. Even if discovery site information is available, pinpointing the location will be tricky, since land formations will have changed considerably over the millennia. A roll against Geology, Paleontology–2 or Planetology (Earthlike)–2, will find a promising formation which may hold the artefact, with a –4 penalty if a discovery map is not used.
Excavating the formation to find the relic is another matter. If the PCs thought to bring the mine detector from the Japanese patrol, it can be used to find a buried metallic object. This requires a successful Electronics Operation (Sensors) roll, with a +4 bonus because the metal detector is simple to operate, in the vicinity of the object.
Just before dawn, the brightness and downward drift of the light increase speed dramatically. Within a few seconds, the light turns into a painfully bright streak which hurtles downward and then disappears over the horizon to the south. Then there is an enormous flash of light centred below the horizon. A successful Geology or Physics-3 roll will allow a character to predict the following events and their timing to within 20%.
8 minutes after impact, the area around the time machine is bombarded with large chunks of molten ejecta. This is material which has flown through the air at hypersonic speeds from the impact zone. There will be no direct hits in the time machine or characters, since this would be deadly. A near miss, however, can set fire to vegetation and leave a small, smoking crater. The players should be made to think that a direct hit is possible and imminent, sending the characters scurrying for shelter.
23 minutes after impact, the atmospheric blast wave hits. Anyone in the open air will feel a sudden wave of heat, followed immediately by a gale force wind from the south. The air heats to 60°C, causing 1d fatigue to anyone exposed to the temperature. The wind will knock standing characters over unless they make a ST roll, every 10 seconds, at -3 penalty if they have nothing to brace against or hold on to. Falling characters will suffer 3 metres of knockback, taking 1d-2 damage if they collide with a hard object. Use the Fall Hit Location table on page B131 to determine injury. The wind subsides after 3 minutes. Characters without shelter will take 1d-3 cutting damage every 30 seconds from flying debris.
41 minutes after impact, seismic shocks propagate to the Montana area. The ground will shake with intensity about that of a medium earthquake - enough to topple a few trees and make walking difficult. Anyone standing must make a DX roll or be thrown to the ground. Loose equipment within the time machine will be tossed around and characters may be pinned under large objects. The time machine itself lurches and the legs collapse. Anyone under the machine will have to Dodge or be crushed and trapped. Anyone in the machine suffers 2 metres of falling damage, unless securely strapped to a fixed object. The quakes subside after about a minute.
Once this is accomplished, the PCs will attend a short debriefing session. This will involve the PCs reporting the facts of the case to their superiors. One of the debriefing committee (think Assistant Director Skinner from The X-Files) will be genuinely interested and ask intelligent questions. The remainder will sit back and listen with stern expressions.
At the conclusion of the PCs’ report, another member of the committee (chain-smoking optional) will remind the PCs that everything they have seen and done on the case is restricted under the Official Secrets Act, and they can be charged with treason for attempting to disseminate the information, especially regarding the time travel. Suggestions that any characters attempting to spread knowledge of working time travel may meet untimely ends can be implied.