Modesty Blazing

The Azurite City Requiem
Ghyel Trilogy Part 2

Originally posted: 14th September 2014

In this game I thought I could finish this arc of the campaign in the second session. I failed.

Hello and Goodbye

Uh oh. How many Dark Side Points?

As explosions wrecked the peaceful evening at Azurite City, the team began to regroup.

The Duros spy Vendrik told them that he had received an encrypted communique via the public channels. It was a code phrase ordering him to leave the planet. The team started to object. They would need his help if things went bad. Vendrik said, “I can’t get involved now when the Empire appear to be using underhanded tactics to take over the system. They really want this system. If they knew that the Rebel Alliance is involved with their opposition, they’ll call for a Base Delta Zero orbital bombardment killing everyone and everything on the surface of Ghyel. I know because I’ve seen them do it before on another world.”

They said their goodbyes. Nora Romanova would help escort the Duros spy offworld.

Their vehicles wrecked, Zeltron Darter Kel, Trianii Qillian Ryn, Trandoshan John Tray’Essek and the droid VAX-11/750 jogged back towards their headquarters at the Ghyel Ministry of History and Archaeology.

Dark Skies over Azurite

The skies were dark, but seemed darker for the dozens of Lambda-class shuttles being regurgitated by the Imperator-class Star Destroyer hanging above Azurite City. They could be seen flitting between city buildings and were landing at every other open space in the city.

Darter called their employer, the 14-year-old Ghyel Prince Zalo Hai whom they had rescued from a three hundred year carbonite slumber in an abandoned remote outpost. Darter reported their findings of the death of Councilman Drazi, the alliance Councilman Zirrus had with an Imperial officer, the homing beacon tagged on a saboteur’s airspeeder and apparent Imperial political destabilisation tactics.

“We have to acquire evidence to present to the Council,” said Prince Zalo. Suddenly he burst out, “They’re here! An Imperial shuttle has landed. Troops are coming. You have to go to-” And then he was cut off. The team considered heading for the Ministry to rescue Prince Zalo, but it would take too long for them to reach it without a speeder.

Transportation Denied

They looked for a speeder to steal, but almost every vehicle was on the move, panicked by the explosions in the city and the sudden influx of Imperial troops. (A failed Streetwise roll by Darter.) Darter found an abandoned landspeeder which was missing one engine. But VAX was unable to fix it to be used.

They jogged toward the spaceport to get to their YT-1300 freighter the Modesty Blaze. It would be beneficial to have flight and weapon capabilities. However, there was a detachment of stormtroopers at their landing bay entrance. Darter tried to bluff their way in by saying they were part of the Historical Ministry and the landing bay was to be inspected for its historical legacy status. But the troopers were adamant that they stay out of their way.

A pair of TIE fighters were circling the skies above them. To the team’s horror, the Modesty Blaze roared out of the landing bay up toward the Star Destroyer high above the city. The two TIEs flanked their ship as it climbed up.

Darter thought of a nearby speeder racing arena (a new Streetwise roll succeeds) and led the group toward it for a quick Grand Theft Repulsor.

Eulogy

The group shuffled through a highly populated shopping district adorned with multi-hued neon lights and holographic screens, bustling with people attempting to return home quickly. Several squads of Imperial stormtroopers had arrived and were patrolling the street. One group was setting up a moblie command post at the far end of the street.

Above them between the buildings a holographic screen burst to life displaying the image of Councilwoman Drazi. Speakers began to loudly announce from their hidden receptacles.

“Earlier today, our beloved councilwoman Glaive Drazi was murdered by seditionists when her office building was bombed. More bombs are exploding throughout the city and we advise everyone to stay indoors until our allies from the Galactic Empire can help us bring this chaos under control; this chaos – caused by the Loyalists’ lax security standards and inability to protect our citizens. Beware of the Loyalists own imported seditionist agents who walk among us.”

The Empire was taking advantage of the explosions to establish a beach head on Ghyel.

The Fast and the Furious

The Azurite City Speeder Arena was deserted but for a Lambda-class shuttle parked on the empty open-air parking bay. The stormtroopers ignored the team as they rushed for one of the the racing hangars. They found an open hangar with two 2-man custom racing speeders within. Both were silver, but one had a green trim running along from nose to engine pods and the other red. There was a mechanic who looked worried.

Darter burst in quickly saying, “Quick! The Imperials are taking over. They sent us to drive the speeder to safety!” (Failed Deceit roll, but a number of Advantages.)

“Hey! No. I don’t think so. We’re not allowed to move any of the speeders because-” (With the Boost die from Darter’s advantage) Tray had silently moved behind the mechanic and judo chopped the back of his neck, felling him. (Successful Brawl attack, Stunning action.)

Darter and Qillian jumped in the red speeder, VAX and Tray in the green. Both vehicles screamed out of the hangar headed for the administrative district, hoping it would not be too late to retrieve Prince Zalo.

A Royal Rescue

The two speeders wend their way through traffic towards the administrative district. The streets were jammed up in the opposite direction because of the increase of traffic of speeders attempting to leave Azurite City. The Empire setting up many dozens of checkpoints along thoroughfares and major streets worsened the situation. The drove past the Ministry of Science. They drove past the Ministry of Justice.

Ahead was the Ministry of History with this old facade, columns and climbing ivy on its walls. A Lambda-class shuttle had landed on the street in front of it. A pair of stormtroopers could be seen escorting Prince Zalo from the building entrance toward the shuttle.

“I call this,” said Darter, “the Teräs Käsi Manoeuvre!”

…which appeared to be having the speeders rush forward blocking off the stormtroopers advance and retreat, after which the passengers would shoot the Imperials and the Prince would be rescued. However only VAX’s racing speeder succeeded in executing the blocking move. Darter however (thanks to a failed Piloting roll) somehow managed to jump high off the hardtop, careen sideways, roll as it careened immediately over the dumbstruck stormtroopers and Prince Zalo, and safely crash into thick bushes at the side of the building sending a big puff of leaves airborne.

Qillian leapt out of his crashed speeder and pounced on a trooper but his claws did not pierce his armour. Tray advanced and fired his own E-11 blaster rifle, felling the other trooper. Qillian’s prey spun and fired, but missed. As Tray pulled the Prince to safety (and grabbing a fallen trooper’s E-11), Qillian swiftly drew his blaster and left the remaining trooper a smoking pile on the sidewalk.

Darter had cleared the bushes and swung his racing speeder for Qillian to leap back in. Prince Zalo asked himself, “Which do I like better, lizards or cats?” before he jumped onto Tray’s lap in his speeder’s rear cockpit.

The pilots gunned the throttle. A rooftop stormtrooper with a DLT-20 heavy blaster rifle caught sight the tail end of the rescue operation and aimed his weapon. Zalo alerted them to the new threat. Darter (flipping one a Destiny Point) saw a construction skip on the sidewalk filled with bricks, wood panelling, a ton of dirt and bathroom fixtures. He (successfully rolled his Pilot skill and) headed for the skip, hitting its side causing it to flip over, spraying the entire street with a thick cloud of dust. And maybe some toilet bowls and sinks.

The trooper fired into the cloud blindly, each bolt diffused into dull red flashes in the night and missed. The racing speeders disappeared around the far corner, everyone – except for the silent VAX – whooping with victory.

Why Did The Chicken Walker Cross the Street?

They had to decide where to go next. Seeing that the homing beacon tagged on the saboteurs’ airspeeder by Darter was still transmitting, they would try to locate it and discover who was bombed Drazi’s building.

“Follow me!” said Darter, weaving the hot rod speeders through the streets. Turn left. Turn right. (And then Darter rolled Streetwise badly.)

And then they beheld an All Terrain Scout Transport blocking the street before them!

The racing speeders were speeding toward the scout walker’s legs within the firing arc of its powerful chin guns. Darter yelled, “We attack with the Kessel manoeuvre!” (It was called the Kessel manoeuvre because that was where you would get thrown into if you got caught.)

Blasters began to fire upon them. VAX evaded skilfully, but one bolt made the pavement before the red racing speeder erupt violently. Darter and Qillian went flying. They rolled on the sidewalk unharmed, but the speeder was totally wrecked. Qillian told VAX and Tray by comlink, “Get to the beacon location. We’ll deal with this!” Then he turned to Darter, “Keep the gunner busy!”

Custom racing speeders vs. scout walker!

The scout walker was turning onto them. Qillian vaulted for its legs while Darter ran from cover to cover ahead of the guns’ line of fire but within the gunner’s sight. (This required the new Warfare skill roll from the Age of Rebellion core rulebook.) Qillian was a blur of fur and flesh as he climbed up onto the walker with ease. The Trianii opened the upper hatch and jumped in, and punched the gunner into unconsciousness. The walker ceased its motion, prompting Darter to also approach and climb up its legs.

Meanwhile the driver drew his sidearm and put a smoking – and painful – hole in Qillian shoulder. The Trianii flinched with pain, but he too had his blaster out and fired. The driver slumped onto his console. Darter dropped into the cockpit as Qillian found a stimpack and injected himself with it.

Then they looked around. They now possessed an AT-ST. It was time to clean it up and hide it before the Imperials start looking for it.

A Raiding Party at the Warehouse

The green racing speeder cruised through the warehouse district, homing in on the beacon signal. It led them to a warehouse with a closed loading bay, boarded up windows and one human guard in civilian clothes at the front door. VAX parked down the street. Tray sneaked up to one of the windows and looks between the boards. Inside was an airspeeder – the same one Darter had tagged. A mechanic was working on it. A human guard with a holstered blaster stood by the front door. There was another human in civilian clothes at a communication console.

It was an Imperial military crypto comm console! They had found their proof that the Empire was carrying out a covert mission to destablise Azurite City. They called Darter and Qillian to let them know. The other two had been cleaning up the interior of their newly-commandeered scout walker and would join them as soon as possible.

Tray armed himself with the E-11 pilfered during the rescue mission and gave his slugthrower rifle to Prince Zalo who wanted to help.

VAX walked toward the guard drunkenly singing about death of all meatbags, causing the guard to turn toward him. “Droid! Get away from here!”

Tray crept up behind him and rendered him unconscious with a thump. Prince Zalo rushed to them with his slugthrower ready.

The Trandoshan began to tell Prince Zalo how he did things. “The people inside aren’t prepared for us, so we do this.” The hired gun knocked on the door. The guard opened the door a microsecond before a reptillian fist smashed into his face.

Tray rushed into the warehouse and headed for the man in the comm console. VAX strolled in casually and blasted the speeder mechanic. Tray had leapt leg first at the comm personnel. The taloned feet slashed at his chest, drawing a spray of blood but he still stood. He appeared to be going for his blaster.

Suddenly there was a call from Qillian, “Guys! Leave one alive. We need to interrogate him.”

“Of course,” said Tray.

BANG! A single slug round pierced the remaining Imperial agent’s temple and he fell facedown without a word. Prince Zalo lowered his slugthrower rifle and asked, “Did I do okay?”

Tray blurted out, “Noooo!” while VAX was ambivalent towards the whole “dead humans” thing.

The Wrath of Sassatania

Some time later, Darter and Qillian arrived after hiding their AT-ST in a scrapyard. (They both figured VAX and Tray was turning Prince Zalo into some sort of weapon-toting juvenile delinquent.)

VAX was operating the comm console. It was military grade equipment, with the ability to provide realtime communications with even personal devices on Coruscant, the Imperial Centre in the Core Worlds. Technically they could even call the Emperor Palpatine if they knew his personal comm code.

VAX used his expertise to access the Imperial database. However the protocol was unfamiliar and heavily encrypted. All VAX could retrieve was that the Imperial capital ship hovering nearby was the ISD Cockchafer, captained by one Bullpup Barqueslayer. It was part of a squadron that included a pair of Dreadnaught cruisers, the Ballerina and the Tap Dancer. The strangest information that VAX could find was that Captain Barqueslayer’s service record did not exist before some point 6 weeks earlier.

Darter decided to come out of hiding and expose himself to his former lover, Sassatania the First of Her Name, Daughter of Teemo, contacting her with the console. The female Hutt appeared as a holographic image on the console, tall blonde curly wig and all.

The Hutt crime lady screeched at her former paramour, “DARTER YOU FIEND! You promised you would marry me!”

Darter pleaded with her, “My Starshine! I was unable to return to you because of many unfortunate reason. I was on my way back to you with my heart and a sizable dowry when I was beset by misfortune!”

“Tell me, my love,” she demanded.

“I am trapped on a system. My escaping it depends on my knowing about the Imperial captain who holds me here, one Bullpup Barqueslayer.”

Sassatania’s bulbous eyes widened and looked even more bulbous. She said, “We have heard of this Captain Barqueslayer before. It was said that he was the first officer of an Imperial Star Destroyer whose captain performed a Base Delta Zero on a planet that was secretly supported by the Rebel Alliance. Billions died. It became a big scandal as there was no evidence of the Alliance’s influence at all on the planet. Because of political pressure, the captain had his rank stripped and was dishonourably discharged. Before he disappeared in the Outer Rim, this former captain named Razi Sunmote said that he had been framed by his first officer, a bloodthirsty, ambition officer who had a powerful patron in the Fleet that defended his invasion of unarmed worlds and helped cover up his atrocities when he failed. We believe this officer is now Bullpup Barqueslayer.”

The team had, of course, met Razi Sunmote before on Hypori. The former Imperial captain was now a pirate who stole an entire section of Smallberries Station after amassing his own droid army for a revenge-fueled search across the Outer Rim Territories for the person who had framed him: Flintlock Tile. It was apparent that Flintlock Tile was now Bullpup Barqueslayer!

“Thank you for the information, my Starshine!” said Darter. “Once I am able to escape from this Captain Barqueslayer, I shall come to you with my longing arms and my hefty dowry.”

“I cannot wait to see my dowry,” roared the Hutt gleefully. “But if you cross me again, Darter Kel, you will regret it. I will hunt you down to the coldest depth of space!”

While they both were making smooching noises in farewell, Darter disconnected the signal. Qillian told VAX, “You’re lucky you’re a droid because you can’t feel the emotions that I’m feeling right now.”

The Rage of Razi Sunmote

They decided on a plan not just to rid Ghyel of the Imperials, but either discredit Captain Barqueslayer or keep him busy with a more important threat or both. In the chaos they would retrieve the Modesty Blaze from the Cockchafer’s hangar bay. They would need heavy support. There was only one person who would be invested enough to help them with Barqueslayer.

Because they were familiar with Smallberries Station’s comm protocols, VAX was immediately able to contact the spaceborne Section 12 of it which was hijacked into hyperspace by Razi Sunmote. Sunmote was angry. “I know your face,” he yelled at Darter. “You agreed to join me in my crusade to defeat the coward Flintlock Tile! Why did you desert my army and I?”

“That’s because,” Darter explained quickly without missing a beat, “we were busy with other business, which was to locate for you Flintlock Tile. And we have good news.”

“Keep talking.”

“Captain Tile is now Captain Bullpup Barqueslayer of the ISD Cockchafer now attempting to annex the Ghyel system as he did when he framed you.”

“He chooses the stupidest of names,” Sunmote spat with disgust. “My army and I will arrive near Ghyel in three hours, standing by just outside. Call me when you are ready. Then I will come with guns blazing.” Then he closed off the channel.

Three hours. Now all they need was to steal a ship so they could reach the Cockchafer.

Ambush at the Playground

Needs more monkeybars!

30 minutes later they were executing their plan, they were assembled at a deserted playground beside a sports field overgrown with weeds and surrounded by empty condemned tenement buildings. Their stolen AT-ST stood beside rusted climbing structure for children. Darter and VAX manned the walker while Qillian and Tray dug holes in which they could lie in wait camouflaged by dirt-on-tarp on the far side of the sports field.

Darter called it in from the AT-ST, contacting an officer aboard the Cockchafer and telling him that they have captured the fugitive Prince Zalo Hai and requested a shuttle for prisoner pick up. Five minutes later as Prince Zalo was sitting on the decrepit old swing set in front of the AT-ST, a Lambda-class shuttle came in for a landing. Upon touchdown, two stormtroopers escorted a young Imperial lieutenant towards Prince Zalo – it was the same lieutenant who impeded their investigations at the Ministry underground parking lot.

The dust kicked up by the shuttle landing allowed the Trianii and Trandoshan to rise out of their camouflaged pit and sneak aboard the ship.

The lieutenant was pleased! But only for a moment. Suddenly, Zalo yelled, “Now!” and fled the swing set. The stormtroopers pointed their E-11s at the fleeing prince. A moment later, the AT-ST’s chin blasters fired and the ground where the Imperials stood on violently erupted into a mushroom cloud of dirt and flame.

The pilots saw the attack from the cockpit. They did not notice Tray shooting the only other stormtrooper on the shuttle in the passenger compartment. Neither did they notice Qillian sprint into the cockpit from behind. He took one pilot down with a shot, causing the other to spin and fire with his sidearm. When the blaster missed, Qillian put a bolt in the co-pilot’s chest.

The sun was beginning to rise again when Qillian radioed the AT-ST, “Shuttle has been secured. Let’s move.”

And Now It Begins

After hauling the disassembled parts of the crypto comm console onto the shuttle for future use, they take to the skies. With two hours plus change to spare before Razi Sunmote would arrive at Ghyel, they decided to sneak off and jump away from the star system and bide their time at some nearby shadowport.

To be continued!

Note:

  • I had the White Witch in mind when I had to describe the custom racing speeders impromptu.
  • Sassatania the First of Her Name is why we should eventually purchase this book.
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An Ode to Backwater Politics
Ghyel Trilogy Part 1

Originally posted: 17th August 2014

It’s been awhile since I gamemastered six players in a political intrigue session. Political intrigue is hard. More so when you don’t gamemaster the campaign that often. So let’s get down to it!

“Okay! Multiple DOUBLE Light Side points in the Destiny Pool. Game over. Everyone go home.”

A Gozanti cruiser modified to be an unarmed commercial passenger liner manoeuvred herself for landing at the spaceport at Azurite City on the planet Ghyel.

In the passenger cabin of the ship, reptilian Trandoshan hired gun/marauder John Tray’Essek sat beside his blond teammate smuggler/scoundrel Nora Romanova who had just finished her scouting contract in Wild Space and was returning to rendezvous with the crew of the YT-1300 light freighter Modesty Blaze who had set up a temporary base of operations on Ghyel. Unbeknownst to them, in the seat behind them was a Duros known as Vendrik who was listening in to their conversation, learning about the Modesty Blaze crew’s contract job attached to the Ministry of History and Archaeology under Prince Zalo Hai in Azurite City.

Waiting for them on the platform below were the Zeltron smuggler/pilot Darter Kel, Trianii bounty hunter/assassin Qillian Ryn and the laconic droid technician/slicer [[VAX-11/750]]. They looked at the approaching cruiser. They gazed at the blue morning skies, the white clouds above and the contrail of a rocket which was streaking toward the landing ship! Darter thumbed his comlink on and barked, “Missile incoming. We can’t take it out. If you can do something, do it now!”

The perceptive Vendrik heard the call from Tray’Essek’s hand comlink. It startled him to know that the pair seated in front of him had immediate intelligence on an incoming missile. Vendrik tightened his seat belt. Nora leapt over Tray and sprinted up the aisle past startled attendant droids (with a successful Athletics roll). She lunged into the cockpit and tried to wrestle the control stick from one of the two astonished pilots. (Brawl check: Success with one Threat.)

The Gozanti veered to the left. The missile grazed the underside of the ship’s port engine pylon and exploded. The vessel lost its repulsors and suddenly slammed into the ground kicking up a gigantic plume of dust and debris into the air. The port engine had snapped off and was spiralling away.

“Ferra Sector Lines”

Darter and Qillian were aghast! Had their teammates just been killed by a rocket attack? They must be avenged! Leaving VAX to check on the crash site, Darter and Qillian ran for their Ministry-assigned Seraph-class “Flash” landspeeder, leapt onto the seats and rocketed out into the streets trying to determine the source of the rocket fire.

Because the ship fell only about 200 meters and the acceleration compensators were still active, most of the passengers were unharmed. The befuddled and dazed pilots tried to arrest Nora, but she charmed her way past them. Then Tray and her jettisoned the emergency hatch and jumped onto the tarmac unharmed thanks to the emergency gravity field activated outside the hatch upon a crash. All the other passengers, including Vendrik, followed suit and soon everyone was walking out into the debris and dust as police and rescue speeders arrived on the scene.

Vendrik introduced himself to Nora and Tray, then invited them both for a drink at the nearby spaceport cantina.

Initial Introductions and Investigations

DAAARRRTERRRR KELLL!” Darter yelled his name inexplicably as he sped through the busy Azurite City streets trying to estimate the rocket’s launch position. The Flash speeder was hindered by a street funeral procession. When they arrived at the firing site Darter had reckoned (between two empty warehouses in direct view of the spaceport) the perpetrators had escaped. But they spotted a small munitions container that had been dropped into the mud and picked it up for investigation.

At the cantina, Vendrik expressed an interest in working with the crew. The group informed him that on Ghyel there were Loyalists and there were Imperialists. The group had been contracted as agents of the Historical Ministry thanks to Prince Zalo Hai whom they had rescued from carbonite and returned to Ghyel. The Hai Family had Loyalist ties. They figured that a returning royalty might have enough celebrity power to sway the people to pressure the Ghyel Ruling Council to reject Imperial occupation. They were also concerned that this might get him assassinated by Imperialist agents.

Vendrik told them that he represented an offworld organisation that might be able to help the Loyalist with money and support if he was able to speak with the Prince. He never said the “R” word but the group suspected that he was a rebel agent.

Suddenly, the cantina holoscreen was interrupted by an emergency bulletin. Someone in official Ghyel Council colours appeared and said, “There was an attack on a commercial liner at the Azurite City Spaceport this morning. A starship was badly damaged but fortunately no one was killed. Early investigations reveal that this was an attack by Loyalist renegades who wish to see Imperial presence and support withdrawn from our fair system. Our trade with the Empire is boosting our economy. All these so-called Loyalists want is chaos and disorder. We will find the ones responsible and we will punish them. More details to be announced as we find them.”

The screen returns to its regular entertainment channel.

Suddenly VAX’s comlink chirped; Darter was calling. “VAX! We’re on our way back. How are our comrades?”

VAX monotonously replied, “They crashed.”

“Our poor comrades! VAX! Collect their body parts!”

VAX studied Nora and Tray from top to bottom. “Their limbs are still attached.”

“I see! Open casket funeral, then?”

Unexpected Arrivals

Nora, Vendrik, Darter, Tray, Qillian and VAX around the table.

After Nora and Tray were finally reunited with Darter and Qillian, and Vendrik was introduced to them, they all strained the overloaded Flash speeder to travel to the administration district. The Ministry of History and Archaeology was a five-story building constructed of stone and marble, with ornately sculpted facade, windows, balconies and columns. Foliage crept up the exterior walls in the form of thick decorative flowering vines. As they headed for the underground speeder bay, they noticed that there was a new, very prominent ship in the blue sky: An Imperator-class Star Destroyer was hovering about 5000 meters above the city.

The group escorted Vendrik up to meet the Prince who had an office on the fourth level of the Ministry. The 14-year-old Prince was busy reading datapads and books, catching up on the previous centuries that he had missed. He asked for a report.

After hearing the report of the attack, the Prince was introduced to Vendrik, whom the group vouched for. The Duros revealed that he was an agent for an up-and-coming galactic organisation who wanted to make a deal with the authorities of Ghyel for some land to develop and call home. However, the Empire would have to leave. Thus Vendrik would do anything to help the Loyalists agenda to this end.

The Prince said. “I have also been informed that an Imperial Star Destroyer has come out of hyperspace and hovering above the city. This can not be a coincidence. If you have resources, use them. Find out a connection between them and the local Imperialists. If we have proof that these attacks are designed to sway the people into accepting Imperial prefectship then I would talk to your people.”

“We will seek out options for you with Vendrik’s help,” promised Qillian. Darter quickly said, “We might be able to prove that the spaceport attack was not made by Loyalists. We have a clue that we left in our speeder. We’ll go get it now.”

Vendrik was led by VAX and Qillian to the common room near their quarters where they would be able to investigate further. Darter, Nora and Tray descended back to the speeder bay to retrieve the munition container.

Scuffle in the Speeder Bay

There were three Flash speeders in the underground bay. The speeder they had driven was resting near the far wall, where a Quarren and a Green Nikto was inspecting it suspiciously. Immediately, Darter, Nora and Tray were on guard. There was a grimy Givin hiding behind another speeder. A Rodian blocked off the vehicle entrance which the trio just walked through. Darter and Tray kept walking toward their speeder while Nora turned back to the Rodian.

It’s time for a parking lot fight.

Tray noticed them going for their blasters. The reptilian hired gun swiftly leapt onto their speeder and slammed the squid-headed Quarren goon on the other side into the wall with a muscled arm. The Quarren was reduced to a heap on the floor. His Nikto partner fired but missed their hulking Trandoshan assailant.

The exoskeletal, bony Givin on the far wall aimed and fired at Darter, grazing his arm. The injured Darter jumped into the speeder’s pilot seat, activated the engines and gunned the throttle. As the Flash speeder thrusted forward toward the Givin, Tray leapt off the open-top vehicle, landed and flattened the Nikto to the wall with a crunch. The Nikto minion fell limp – as if boneless – to the ground, which VAX would later refer to as fillet minion.

The Rodian seeing everyone was fighting started to draw his blaster, but Nora unleashed her energy whip that struck the Rodian, who screamed in pain but held on to his gun.

Darter crashed the vehicle into the far wall, missing the nimble Givin thug. When Darter tried to reverse the vehicle, the Givin’s bolt struck the Zeltron pilot’s back in a burst of sparks and smoke. (Darter’s Wounds are whittled down to zero. If it was below zero, he would have to roll a Critical Wound.) Before the Givin could turn to Tray, the Trandoshan had crossed the distance and slammed the Givin’s head into the wall. The Givin dropped to the floor unconscious. (Or dead – Tray could not tell. It was quite a powerful smash to the concrete.)

Nora pirouetted out of the way of a blaster bolt from the Rodian and cracked her whip once more. The energy tongue wrapped around the thug, pulling him down with deadly force onto the floor. The final thug finally fell silent.

“Get the container!” Tray yelled at Nora. The munition container was still there for Nora to retrieve. Tray applied a stimpack onto Darter, rousing him, then carried him up toward their quarters.

All You Need are Medical Benefits

A pair of medical droids had been summoned by Prince Zalo to care for the injured Darter. VAX was telling Tray, “Alas, poor Darter! I knew him, Tray’Essek; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; and pelvic sorcery.”

Darter muttered from the surgery room, “Oi. I’m still alive.”

VAX ignored his injured comrade and asked Tray, “Did you hit them with your tail?”

Tray slapped his scaly forehead, gesturing to his behind and said, “Trandoshans do not have tails!”

“Stop being in denial!” said VAX dryly.

“At least I’ll be able to hit on the hot doctors and nurses,” came the drugged Darter drowsy words from the other room.

“But those are FX-7 medical droids!” said Prince Zalo with disdain furrowing his teenaged brows. “Anyway, the city police will be at the speeder bay to inspect the attackers soon. I’d like your team to handle the investigations.”

Imperial Entanglements

GMing Vigorously!

There were no bodies left in the speeder bay. Only a squad of white-armoured stormtroopers led by an officer in flak armour – a Lieutenant who did not identify himself. Obviously they had come from the Imperial Star Destroyer hanging abover everyone’s heads.

When asked, the Lieutenant said, “We are taking over the investigations of this attack and the attack at the spaceport, on invitation by the Ghyel Council. We will carry out the autopsy on the attackers here. If we left it to local authorities, the Loyalists would blow everything up before anything could be done. Now stand aside. All units return to the shuttle.”

Tray puffed up his powerful and muscular chest and jumped in the way of the retreating stormtroopers who pretty much ignored him and filed out of the building.

Vendrik said, “This doesn’t make sense. The Imperials are trying to cover up the truth. It’s time I contacted my people.”

Investigations and Revelations

Before making a call at his quarters, he scanned the room for bugs. He found none.

Then he sent an encrypted text message asking for any data on Ghyel. He also used the Ministry’s computer network to search for information. VAX offered to help, but Vendrik declined, saying, “You could do it, but an information search by a droid would have no soul.” VAX shrugged, “Okay.”

Hours later, when he had searched enough, he called the group for a briefing. Darter also attended the briefing, carousing with a cylindrical FX-7 droid around each arm like a pair of fashion models. Prince Zalo saw this and stuttered to no one in particular, “How is— Why is—?”

Qillian said with a smirk, “Because he’s Darter Kel.”

Vendrik informed them that one of the information he found was that Sassatania the First of Her Name, a female Hutt has taken over the holdings of her father Teemo the Hutt in several star systems. Sha had also sent out a bounty for the live capture for one “Darter Kel”. Darter confirmed that he knew Sassatania and had a fling with the Hutt before. And he might have broken her heart before he left. Vendrik was at a total loss on how a Zeltron could have a fling with a Hutt.

Vendrik had discovered that the top people in the Ghyel Council who were for and against the Imperialists. Councilwoman Drazi appeared to be the most vocal in the efforts to prevent the Empire from gaining a foothold on the surface. Councilman Zirrus was leading the campaign to allow Imperial prefectship on Ghyel. Prince Zalo swiftly provided dossiers on both of them.

A new plan formed: Vendrik would send a message to his organisation asking for intelligence they have gathered about the happenings on Ghyel. After then they would split up. Nora, Darter and Qillian would try to speak to Drazi. VAX, Tray and Vendrik would attempt to make contact with Zirrus, and if possible try to uncover a connection between Zirrus and the attacks.

Sundown over Azurite City

Each team was assigned a Flash speeder. The two teams left the Ministry en route to their destinations.

The Zirrus team drove to the City Council building in the Administrative District where Zirrus’ office was. Vendrik, VAX and Tray found an adjoining eatery with a view into the main foyer and holed up at a table there. They ordered coffee drinks while Vendrik worked on a HoloPoint Presentation from the data he already possessed – just in case they have to convince anyone that the Loyalists’ armed insurrection was not what it seemed to be.

The sky had turned a bright shade of red when the Drazi team arrived at Councilwoman Drazi’s four-story office building that housed a number of Azurite City’s administrative offices. The trio entered the spacious foyer through sliding transparent doors where a factotum droid awaited behind semi-circular reception desk. The droid, who had the voice of a tired, old lady forbade them seeing Drazi without an appointment. When Nora tried to assert herself (by failing a Coercion check), the droid told them that she had just pressed the panic button. Security would arrive soon.

Darter checked for any upcoming public events. An official City Council dinner would be held two nights hence; a major event.

They were leaving through the door when wood-panelled doors slid on either sides of the foyer. Each door spat out three guards with blasters ready.

Elsewhere, the Zirrus team in the cafe suddenly thought something was amiss in the cafe. They looked about suspiciously (and everyone failed a Perception check) and suddenly Vendrik yelled, “LOOK!”

Everyone looked at the wall menu he was pointing at.

“They have a new type of latte drink!” the Duros exclaimed, totally missing whatever it was that slipped his notice.

It ain’t finger lickin’ good is what it ain’t.

Back at the City Council, Darter gleefully welcomed the new arrivals, “Good work, everyone. You passed the annual security test that the City had devised and tasked us with checking. Very swift dispatches! High scores all the way! Now, if we could see Councilwoman Drazi to congratulate her office…” (A failed Deception check.) The burly man in light armour gestured with his locally made blaster, “You’ll be able to congratulate her if she ever visits you in jail. We’ve heard that before, now move along!

Darter kept being cheerful, but stood down then led Nora and Qillian out of the building. “I guess we should wait at the speeder.”

Stars were beginning to appear in the dusky sky.

Skulking by Dusk

The Zirrus team spotted two humans in black business suits – obviously official undercover guards – came down the spiraling stairs in the foyer and took up positions in the shadows by the stairs. VAX,Tray and Vendrik headed out to their speeder, which was parked at the curb.

Soon after, a heavily hooded figure came down the steps in front of the main building entrance. Vendrik confirmed with the dossier at his datapad, “It is Zirrus. Where is he going?”

The councilman headed out into the cool night air at a brisk pace. VAX drove the speeder, shadowing him but kept their distances. Vendrik told them, “We’re being followed by a black XP-38 speeder.” Indeed, an unmarked speeder was tailing them and keeping their distance. Vendrik had a plan. “Get them away from the Councilman. I’ll tail him. You guys try to lose our tail.”

Vendrik jumped, rolled on the lawn and hid in the bushes. He studied the the tailing speeder that passed him by, then reported by comlink, “It’s the two guards at the foyer.”

VAX pulled away from the Councilman and headed into an adjoining street. The XP-38 followed them. Vendrik remained on the Councilman’s tail. He followed Zirrus under an elevated train line and into a rough part of town. He (with a successful Stealth roll) managed to stay with the hooded figure until they were in an alleyway. He knocked on a door. It slid open. In the darkened doorway, from his vantage point, Vendrik saw an Imperial naval captain in full uniform greet Zirrus with a smile. The duo disappeared into the building together.

Meanwhile, VAX and Tray had decided to take prisoners. They sped up, causing the XP-38 to speed up too. Suddenly, VAX executed a bootlegger turn. Tray unslung his blaster rifle and stood up. The XP-38 drive sideswiped, turning ninety degree and presenting the other man toward their Flash speeder. The gunman fired some shots that missed Tray just before the Flash speeder rammed into the side of the XP-38 taking out the gunman. The crash provided Tray enough kinetic energy to leap to the other driver and punch him unconscious with a dull crack.

Tray looked up. A lady pushing a baby pram was on the sidewalk looking at him. “Come on, Tray. No witnesses,” quipped VAX with dry humour. Tray gave the droid a sour look, allowing the lady to pass by unharmed.

Their comlink crackled on, “VAX, Tray! This is Vendrik. I’ve discovered something big. Come pick me up.”

They looked at the wrecked landspeeders and then each other before giving Vendrik the bad news.

Escalation at Nightfall

Almost everyone had left their offices for the night in the building where Drazi worked, except Drazi herself. They overheard a number of people leaving the building excited about the upcoming City Council dinner. Apparently the dinner was to be an official “welcome back” event for Prince Zalo.

Tray looked up and spotted two dark figures climbing out of a fourth story window onto a ledge. It was Councilwoman Drazi’s window. They also noticed the nose of a hovering airspeeder jutting out from behind the corner of the fourth story. The intruders were out of range of Nora’s whip, so she unholstered her blaster pistol. Tray also did the same. Darter loaded a homing beacon into his dart gun and ran toward the corner of the building where the airspeeder would be visible to him.

Nora’s blaster bolt (Ranged Light success with a Triumph) blew a hole through one person’s head. Qillian’s stun bolt struck the other who went limp. Both fell. The Trianii tried to catch the one he shot, tripped (failed Athletics check) and sprained something when the human fell on him. The airspeeder started to flee, but Darter aimed (with an extra Boost die) and tagged it with a homing dart. The speeder disappeared quickly into the night sky immediately after.

“Nora,” Darter called, pulling out his comlink. “Check on Drazi. We have to call the others.” Nora sprinted up the steps. The doors slid open into the foyer where the factotum droid was sitting dormant at her desk. There was a crash of thunder and a bright flash of light. The entire top floor of the building – including Drazi’s office – exploded in a cloud of flame and debris. The downward shockwave began to collapse the building’s facade. Darter and Qillian was thrown away from the falling debris.

A shower of concrete, plaster, metal and glass was about to fall onto Nora. As she spun and vaulted out of the dark foyer, a cloud of dust enveloped her from above.

Then she was out of the miasma of debris, coughing and nursing bruises as cuts and running until she was safe. (Nora rolled a Success in Athletics.)

Darter and Qillian were relieved that Nora survived the building collapse.

“We have to rendezvous with the others.”

As police speeders arrived by road and by air, blaring their sirens and shining their floodlights at the disaster zone, the trio heard something and started looking at the city skyline. They realised a more dire situation was developing: Explosions were being set off all over Azurite City.

Above them, the Imperator-class Star Destroyer watched over everything in silence.

Everyone but VAX is in the picture, who is busy punching kaiju.

To be continued.

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The Prince In Carbonite
Do You Want Some Whine With Your Cheese?

Originally posted: 19th May 2014

After disposing of the twisted IG-series assassin droid that took over the Imperial Biomedical Base on the icy world of Khov and freeing the captured prisoners at Smallberries Skystation on Hypori, the Modesty Blaze returned to the deserted outpost with a contractor to quickly salvage and sell off what they can. The hired gun Tray’Essek the Trandoshan opted to remain at Smallberries Station to ensure the prisoners’ release properly.

Destiny Pool seems pretty good for the players.

The Tinhub Brothers Salvage Corporation employees first helped the droid 41-VEX, Zeltron explorer Darter Kel and Trianii bounty hunter Qilian Ryn modify the Blaze by increasing her manoeuvrability and replacing her dorsal cannon with one of two anti-aircraft quadcannons that was protecting the base.

Occassionally, tremors shook the walls and floor of the bay as they worked.

The crew allowed the Tinhub Brothers team to take apart one Lambda-class shuttle and one All-Terrain Armoured Transport for themselves, from which a net worth of 60,000 credits belonged to the Blaze crew. Stronger tremors rattled the structure sending dust and gravel falling and billowing from the ceiling.

Meanwhile, 41-VEX sauntered off to the droid reconstruction module. It had enough power and parts for one more use. VEX entered the resleeving pod. Automated waldoes took him apart and removed his droid brain. Then, a new body was assembled as requested by VEX. Once completed, the droid brain was plugged in. His eyes lit up. 41-VEX decided on a new name: VAX-11/750.

He returned to the bay just in time to see the Tinhub Brothers’ Gozanti cruiser leave into the blue skies above, leaving the YT-1300 freighter Modesty Blaze all by herself. An even stronger quake cracked the walls and sent rocks and dust fall from the reinforced ceiling, Everyone was gathered beneath her deciding on what to do next. The consensus was, “We’ve got to get out of here now.”

A new body. New set of innate skills. What else has been hardwritten into his circuits by the fabricator, eh?

Withdrawal From Khov

The wall speakers crackled to life and a voice boomed throughout the hangar bay, “Khov base, this is the Imperial Star Destroyer Tempestuous on an unscheduled inspection, please reply.” There was no time to improvise. The voice continued, “You know how crucial secrecy is to your base, Khov. Please reply or we have been ordered to enact Base Delta Zero in 15 minutes.”

Yes, it was time to get out of there.

It was then that the hangar deck crumbled beneath them. With the repulsorlifts turned off, the freighter slid into a diagonal tunnel cut down and forward into darkness. They fell into a pile of rubble in a large circular chamber deep underground. There were alcoves built all around the wall of the chamber. Though there was sporadic lighting, strong lights illuminated one of these rectangular creches.

The chamber was older and was not of Imperial origin. Darter turned on the lifters, raised the ship several metres above the floor and yawed so the cockpit pod was closest to the lighted alcove. It was a carbonite slab. The lights on its outer support frame were still blinking, indicating that the occupant entombed within was still alive.

“Grab him and let’s get out of here!” The group scrambled outside to release the carbonite slab and push it back onto the ship. VAX reminded them, “Droids do not surf.”

Darter jumped into the pilot seat and carefully inched the ship back up the tunnel with the forward floodlights operating, flying through the tunnel carefully to minimise collision damage. It took them several minutes before they rose out of the collapsed tunnel. Then the Blaze roared out of the deserted hangar bay and claimed the sky.

As VAX was calculating the jump to lightspeed, the sensors registered a single Imperator-class Star Destroyer reverting back into realspace, a tiny dot by eye. VAX (rolled a Knowledge: Outer Rim check) figured that they would head to an obscure shadowport in the nearby Tuvaree system. They slipped into hyperspace before the Tempestuous detected their presence.

Waking The Dead

It would take 30 minutes to reach Tuvaree, so they took the opportunity gather at the cargo hold and unfreeze the carbonite slab. After triggering the thawing process, a young teenaged boy in purple-grey overalls fell to his knees on the deck, disoriented and blind from hibernation sickness. Darter held him, reassuring him that he was safe and among friends (succeeding his Charm roll).

The boy introduced himself as Prince Zalo Hai of Ghyel. It was not a system any of the crew heard of, but VAX did a cursory check of the astrogation charts and found that Ghyel – an unremarkable star system – was in the same sector as Khov, not very far away. Prince Zalo gathered himself and explained his situation.

Ghyel was an Old Republic colony that experienced a cataclysm 400 years ago which destroyed their technology and left them in a pre-industrial age. Led by the Hai family in Azurite City, the castaway society eventually developed itself back to the industrial age. A large pirate fleet stumbled across Ghyel and coveted its rich natural resources. They kidnapped him, killed his House Guard and ransomed young Prince Zalo for submission. That was the last thing he remembered.

He implored, “Please send me back to Ghyel. If my family still stands there will be a reward for my return.”

They saw no reason to turn down any monetary compensation. So they would load up with new supplies at Tuvaree, then head to Ghyel to return Prince Zalo.

A Restful Stop at Tuvaree

The Blaze in Flight

When it was time, VAX reverted the ship back to realspace. The starfield was alight with fire. The small planet of Tuvaree hung close, but closer still were spears of energy lancing back and forth between two Imperator-class Star Destroyer and three Nebulon-B escort frigates. And the Modesty Blaze was caught in between. (By the way, that Knowledge: Outer Rim check VAX made was a failure.)

A flight of TIE fighters zoomed past their cockpit firing incessantly at the three frigates. Flashes in the dark indicated fighters hit by energy bolts and exploding. Darter veered away and headed for the edge of the engagement zone as flak erupted dangerously around them. Qillian said, “We have two fighters on our tail, coming in at attack speed.”

There was no way they would get clear before the Imperial fighters shot at them, so Darter thumbed the comms button and became somewhat whiny. “This is the commercial freighter Modesty Blaze. Don’t shoot! We just want to deliver our cargo, not get in any fights with blasted rebels! SAVE US! OH PLEASE SAVE US, EMPIRE!” (Deception success despite a Setback dice.)

The TIE pilot said, “Copy that. We’ll escort you out of the combat zone. Form on me.” The two TIEs escorted them to safety and immediately returned into battle. VAX made the jump to hyperspace toward Ghyel.

The Lair of the White Worm

Not long after they arrived at Ghyel and landed on a local asteroid while they scanned the space around the nearby blue-white planet. Would it be safe to land in Azurite City? Where were the pirates? VAX read approximately 150 ships in orbit, making landfall and leaving the atmosphere. Most were freighter-sized but a few were corvette-sized and appeared to be armed.

A plan was conceived. They dropped into the atmosphere on the far side of the planet from Azurite City, flew low toward to the capital city, landing in the jungle at the southern edge of the city. They succeeded without being pinged by an active sensor. They disembarked, led by Prince Zalo who said, “There should be a village over the hill there. We should be able to get a vehicle to Azurite City.” They also pushed along the empty carbonite slab on repulsors, just in case there was need for proof of Prince Zalo’s identity.

Darter asked, “What sort of vehicles do you have before the pirates came?”

“He have wheeled vehicles with internal combustion engines. They should serve our purp-”

Suddenly the wet soil exploded near them and a large pale worm with a toothy maw twisted its way out, towering over them poised to attack. (Someone failed a Survival check to sense the presence of the creature. I forgot who.) Prince Zalo muttered, “Oh. I forgot to say: Look out for wandrellas in this area of the jungle.”

“Thanks,” Darter said wrily before the wandrella lunged. They broke away, firing at the beast. Blaster bolts struck it but it kept attacking. Another lunge threw Qillian into a tree trunk, injuring him. VAX held his ground, took aim and loosed a bolt into its mouth and through its eye cluster, igniting a fountain of sparks and flesh. The creature bellowed in pain and collapsed into the ground with an ugly thud.

“You’re lucky,” said Prince Zalo, “that this was a small one.”

The Road To Azurite City

The travellers (and the carbonite slab) reached the top of the hill and gazed at the view below. There was no village.

Instead, there were buildings and homes built closely together set around a large train station. Azurite City looked like any moderately sized city in the Inner Rim worlds. Several freighters and transports were taking off from and landing at ports all around the large city. The train tracks led to other large train stations all over the city. A repulsor train was just leaving the station in the nearby suburb. There were large speeder highways that connected separate sections of the city.

Prince Zalo finally spoke. “I might have been asleep longer than I thought.”

Darter asked, “When were you captured?”

He spoke a date with a chronological convention that no one recognised.

They pressed on. (A successfull Survival check!) They kept clear of clearings with pungent wandrella spoor and safely arrived at a hunting storefront. A group of blaster-armed humans – and a Twi’lek – were heading out into the jungle, happily talking about their going on a wandrella hunting expedition.

VAX found a public computer station in a suburban park and pulled up a news page. Prince Zalo looked at the date on the page and told them, “It seems that I had been asleep for two hundred years.”

Darter asked VAX to connect to the city’ public database so they could learn more about the city. The pirates took the system after Prince Zalo was captured. They tried to enslave the populace but an armed rebellion a year later using the pirates own technology against them ousted them from the planet. News of Ghyel’s existence from pirate survivors reached the Outer Rim and soon explorers began visiting. After five years they were integrated into the the galactic community. Everything had been fine until the Galactic Empire came to power.

The Empire would like Ghyel to give up more of their resources for less, but the majority of the Ghyel Planetary Council was very much against it. So, it was predicted that the Empire might turn to underhanded tactics to make the Council relent to the Empire’s wishes.

Prince Zalo asked VAX to look for his family. VAX dredged up some information on the Hai Family who now led the culture and history councils. It was the Hais who drummed up support of Ghyel citizens – placing importance on legacy and heritage – to prevent a complete Imperial prefectship on the planet.

In fact, the Director of Azurite Museum and Minister of History and Archaeology Lord Arani Hai and his staff would be on a train passing through the local station after his tour of historical sites on the outskirts of the city.

Soon they came to the train station. Darter was contemplating pilfering some local cash to pay for their train trip when it was apparent that the station accepted Republic credits.

We were in three systems not even on the map, but it makes a great tabletop dressing for the game.

A Couple of Hais and Some Lows

The train was a series of five cars which levitated on repulsors. The track was made of a path of brackets that generated a forcefield around a passing train, guiding it along its course to the next station.

Stowing the carbonite slab in the luggage car and taking their seats in the fifth car – a passenger car – Darter contacted the museum director’s office with his comlink and talked to Lord Arani Hai himself as the train started moving. He told them that he possessed something important to Ghyel’s heritage and the museum and he needed to meet to show Lord Arani this. Since they were on the same train, an audience was granted.

The plan was to slowly reveal that they found the prince by first revealing the carbonite slab. The prince would have to wear a hooded jacket to hide his visage at first lest Lord Arani would think they were running some sort of scam.

They got up and moved forward into the fourth car. In the fourth car, VAX noticed that a row of seats that were filled by Verpines looking at them, panning their heads as they passed by. Were these the same Verpines that were watching them at Smallberries Station? In the third car, they retrieved their carbonite slab and pushed it toward the second car. The door was locked.

Darter persuaded the guard on the other side to open the door via the door comm panel. The Modesty Blaze crew and the hooded Prince Zalo slipped inside.

The second car was a finely decorated car that served as a mobile office for the museum director. There were wall computer terminals set in lush wood panelling, a small chandelier hanging from the ceiling and a raised dais at the forward end of the chamber. Lord Arani was seated, flanked by a pair of guards wearing dress uniforms and wielding blaster pistols. As they pushed the hovering carbonite slab to the middle of the audience chamber, three more guards took positions behind them as the door closed.

“I hear you have with you an important Ghyel heritage? Something so important it would shock our society to its very core?”

Darter began his pitch, showing off the carbonite slab and talking about its age… but the others realised that the guards had unholsetered their blasters.

“Another Hai?” barked the guard leader. “This is astounding. This will change everything. We shall have to sanitise this situation.”

“But wait do you not want a return of your own lost prince?” Darter asked, seeing blasters being raised.

Lord Arani, who they noticed had both hands up in a gesture of surrender, said, “If Prince Zalo returns, then the people will rally around him and not the Imperial sympathisers, you see? They need to dispose of those with strong ties to Ghyel’s history so Congress would vote for a full Imperial prefectship of the system.”

“Wait what?” the injured Qillian was confused.

“They need to dispose of people like me,” Lord Arani explained nonchalantly much to the annoyance of the visibly aggravated guards.

“You see, Qillian,” Darter said. “We seemed to have stumbled across an assassination attempt right this very minute.” Then he pushed Prince Zalo under the carbonite slab and blasters were drawn. Shooting began. Guards began to fall. Qillian leapt up to the dais and attempted to throw one guard into the other. He failed and a blaster bolt hit the side, sizzling his fur and flesh. VAX killed another guard, but a shot hit Darter who fell unconscious. Prince Zalo pulled Darter under the carbonite slab for cover and applied a stimpack from Darter’s own belt pouch to rouse him.

All the guards on the floor dealt with, VAX took out the one on the dais about to shoot Lord Arani. The wounded Darter punched the last one into oblivion.

Will the player characters have to wear the House Guard uniform?

“My thanks, good sirs.” Then he caught sight of the unhooded Prince and fell to his knees. “Prince Zalo. I never would have believed that you would return and honour me with your presence. What- ? How is this possible?”

The Prince related his story to Lord Arani who finally embraced his living ancestor. “With your return, the people of Ghyel will rally to us and reject the Empire. But although the Empire will deny it, they will send assassins after us like me today. We will need security personnel who we can trust and know the galaxy at large and familiar with the Empire.”

Prince Zalo Hai turned to the crew of the Modesty Blaze and asked, “Are you available for hire as House Guard of the Hai Family?”

Nursing his wound, Darter looked at the others and grinned, “Only if we’re able to move our ship into a secure landing bay from the jungle and we get some medical help.”

To be continued.

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Droid-like Typing Detected

Originally posted: 20th April 2014

Modesty Blaze nose art!

The Zeltron pilot Darter Kel had been detained for questioning by the authorities of Smallberries Station on Hypori. After all he was the one who dealt with and was up close with the former Captain Razi Sunmote.

The errant Captain Sunmote used a droid caller to muster an attack force made of dormant battle droids. The droids had been reactivated from salvage taken from the Hypori surface. After dealing death and destruction within Section 12 of the skystation, Sunmote and his droid force jettisoned their captured section and jumped into hyperspace on a desperate mission of vengeance.

But Darter’s shipmates, the droid 41-VEX, the Trianii bounty hunter Qillian Ryn and Trandoshan hired gun Tray’Essek, were released on their own recognizance, after a good word from the entrepreneur they rescued, Gir Tashkent.

The crew of the Modesty Blaze was waiting for Darter’s questioning to end when a sharply-dressed human came knocking on the ship’s ramp struts. VEX, in the lower cannon turret, spun the weapon at him in retaliation to the knocking. Qillian rushed down to greet the man, who introduced himself as Colonel Zev Sleen an Imperial officer.

He offered 4000 credits to take him to and bring him back from the nearby Khov system.

Qillian took over the pilot seat, apprehensive over having to fly the freighter without their designated pilot Darter. He had trained for some hours (buying 1 Rank in Pilot (Space) with the last of his XP) and had gotten slightly better at it in the last few hours.

It should have taken three hours to reach Khov, but VEX forgot to carry the one in his calculations (with no successes in Astrogation) so they arrived three hours late.

Khov System

There was a blue white planet shrouded with clouds. Its polar caps is too frozen to support life. VEX scanned and spotted an automated intermittent signal from the liveable equatorial region. Colonel Sleen confirmed from the coordinates that it was their destination.

Qillian fought the winds as he dove under the clouds, causing the drinks Tray was serving Sleen to spill. Soon he was flying the Blaze through an overwhelming ice storm. The clouds cleared to reveal a cliff wall before them. The Trianii – to his own surprise – banked away and threaded his way through a canyon (thanks to a series of Piloting successes).

The signal led them to an open hangar bay at the foot of an icy mountain. Fifty metres above it on the steep mountainside was a command structure with a large window overlooking the frozen countryside. Both were dark and did not appear to have any lights activated.

Qillian had a bad feeling about this. A sudden downdraft tried to force the Modesty Blaze into a crash as it came in for a landing, but Qillian – again to his own surprise (with a success that involved 2 Triumphs) glided in with hardly a tremor.

Our first double Triumphs!

Darkness in the Hangar Bay

He landed the ship in the hangar bay right next to a pair of disused Imperial AT-AT walkers and a long abandoned T-4a Lambda-class shuttle. Colonel Sleen was surprised that all but the hangar’s emergency lights were off. VEX turned on the Blaze’s hull lights and the forward floodlights before powering down the freighter. Trey disembarked on point with weapons ready, followed by Sleen and then Qillian.

Tray heard a noise from the snowbank at the left side of the hangar bay opening, spun and fired. The red bolts struck ice and metal. A pair of hornless tauntauns scampered out from the shadows and out into the blizzard outside.

VEX walked down the ramp at a leisurely pace before locking up the ship. His droid eyes gazed covetously upon the Imperial shuttle and walkers.

“I have no idea what happened here,” Sleen said. “I need to find out.”

The minis belong to Qillian!

Tray gestured to the elevated hangar bay office, located beside thick blast doors that led deeper into the outpost. They approached cautiously. The door was open and the office was deserted. The computers were dead. Not even the light switches worked. VEX was unable to restore power, but Qillian discovered a status box in the wall that suggested that the entire base was unpowered… except for the four sub-levels beneath them.

Colonel Sleen said, “It would be of great help if you aided me in investigating this.”

The Blaze crew agreed and decided to head to the sub-levels. VEX was unable to hotwire the blast doors to open, so Tray pried the door open with his claws and muscles.

The hallway beyond the blast door was dark. It extended to the left and the right. There was a lift cluster before them. The doors slid open at a push of a button. Before Colonel Sleen entered, he spotted a security cam on the ceiling of the hallway to the right. It panned to track Sleen as he moved to the left and right. He said, “Someone is still here and watching us.”

The lift descended, but halted violently between Sub-levels Two and Three. Once again, Tray’s Trandoshan might helped to open the doors. The top one-thirds of the lift door led to Sub-level Two.

Ambush at Sub-level Two

They crawled out into a lighted hallway with a series of similar doors along the walls. Qillian moved forward first, his vibroknucklers ready. One of the doors ahead on the left slid open and Qillian spotted a pair of white-armoured Imperial stormtroopers aiming E-11 blaster rifles at them. He yelled, “An attack!” and lunged at them.

“Call them off, Colonel!” Tray said.

The Colonel said, “I can’t call them off! Blast them!” and pointed his DL-18 blaster at the open door. Qillian had smashed one stormtrooper down with his vibroknuckler. There was a third trooper in the barracks who shot at but missed the Trianii. Tray leapt in, his talons slicing open one stormtrooper’s jugular at his unarmoured neck. Then a bolt from Sleen’s blaster silenced the final trooper.

Action scene! Well, the camera moved.

As they were grabbing (okay, looting) grenades and blasters from the bodies, they discovered something wrong with the attackers. They removed one of the troopers’ helmets. The human appeared to have been dead for at least a week. There was something underneath the pallid and mottled skin: glowing LEDs, metallic slivers, wiring and circuitry. Colonel Sleen said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before. Some sort of invasive cyborg procedure… on the dead.”

VEX looked as though everything was all right with the world.

Sleen continued grimly, “I have to come clean. I am not an Imperial officer. Six months ago I was to be wed. There was an Imperial raid in our city. 200 people were detained, including my beloved fiancée. Since then I’d been looking for where they imprisoned her. The detainees were separated into smaller groups and her group was sent here, to the Khov Biomedical Research Station.” He removed an ID card and an Imperial rank cylinder from his pocket and flung it away. “I have to find her, with or without you.”

He pressed on. Qillian and Tray hurried after him and VEX followed at a leisurely pace.

There was a door that led to a stairwell at the end of the hallway. Qillian told the others to wait while he stealthly scouted ahead. Creeping to the edge of the railing, the Trianii spotted a pair of stormtroopers on the next landing below. He lobbed a grenade at them, flattening them to the floor and walls. He crept downstairs as the others followed after him. Sleen asked, “Why are you creeping quietly? I’m sure everyone in the base heard that grenade explode.”

Discovery at Sub-level Three

The group stormed a cavernous space in the next level. There were glowing bulbous pods framed by shaped metal being fed fluid by tubes, connected to strange machinery on the flanking walls. There were three other stormtroopers waiting for them. Again, Qillian lunged at them striking one down, but this time a blaster bolt struck his chest. His armour jacket caught most of the blast, but he was wounded. After a short exchange of fire, the remaining two troopers were dead.

They looked at the pods and discovered a horrifying sight. There were people in each pod, unconscious and suspended in an unidentifiable fluid. There were hundreds of tiny mechanical arms probing, prodding and performing unspeakable medical procedures on their exposed skins as they slept. There were ten pods on each wall. After Sleen looked at each one carefully, he said, “She not in any of them.”

There was one more sub-level to go.

Showdown at Sub-level Four

They reached the final sub-level. They had to cross a bridge over cavernous maw overlooking part of the fusion generator underneath the entire base. After Qillian had passed the mid-point of the bridge, it began parting from the middle, retracting toward each end. VEX tried to jump over the gap, but failed. Thankfully, Tray used the liquid cable shooter he found on Hypori to swing and grab VEX before he fell to his doom. They reached the other side and hotwired to blast doors to open before the bridge completely retracted.

It was a room with cages at the far end and a raised control console dais in the centre. At the console was what appeared to be an IG-series droid. Sleen yelled at it, “Where is Camie Brightpage, droid?”

The droid ignored him and said, “Despite my efforts at hiding my activities here, it seems that you have found me out.”

Sleen fired a bolt at it. It flashed and illuminated the shape of a cylidrical force field which protected the console and it. The droid mused with a sigh of regret, “Perhaps it’s time for me to relocate. The plan needs to survive.”

Qillian interjected, “The liquid cable shooter!” Tray hurled the launcher at Qillian. The Trianii grabbed it in mid-air and fired at the ceiling. The launcher’s retraction mechanism hauled him upward and past the console. Qillian flung a grenade at the console’s stalk. It exploded and threw a miasma of sparks, debris and cloud of particles into the air. The force field wavered visibly and blinked out of existence.

The Falcon mini doubled as the raised console platform.

Tray jumped and began climbing the stalk and somersaulted onto the top of the console while Qillian swung back and down onto the floor. The smoke cleared, the droid had vanished and there was an open hatch on the console station’s floor. Recklessly, Tray leapt down into the hole right into another large chamber. He would have fallen to his death onto the fusion generation machinery if he had not grabbed a railing on a catwalk that cut across the open space in the chamber as he fell.

Pulling himself onto the catwalk, he spotted the IG droid disappearing into a doorway that shut behind him.

VEX accessed the base’s computer network and (with a Triumph) managed to gain full control over all of Khov Biomedical Research Station. The droid had access to the security cameras but was unable to locate the section that the IG droid had escaped through. VEX reactivated the station’s astromech droids and sent them into the tunnels to search for the IG.

Sleen however had found and helped free living prisoners, including his beloved Camie. Including his fiancée, there were eighteen survivors altogether.

Tray forced the locked door open and found a speeder bay on the other side. There might have been a speeder bike parked here until recently. A tunnel curved into the darkness. Tray followed the tunnel as far as he could, but returned when it seemed like the tunnel had no end. He reported, “The droid might try to escape.”

Qillian sprinted back up to the hangar bay. He (rolled a Success in Perception and) confirmed by sight that no one had tampered with the lock and stowed away aboard. Then, he took the Modesty Blaze out into the blizzard once again. He climbed over the storm clouds and kept an eye out for escaping ships. He was aloft for several hours without seeing anything before he returned to the hangar.

Epilogue

In the meantime, VEX had accessed the station’s records at a leisurely pace and discovered that Khov station was established by the Galactic Empire to run illegal biomedical research on organic prisoners. Three weeks earlier, they captured an IG-series droid that broke free and captured the station single-handedly. It moved information and sent fake communiques to allay suspicions from the Empire so there were no visits from the Imperial fleet. It also experimented on the station’s personnel, turning their biological corpses into mechanical killing machines, although the first batch of experiments were fragile and easily defeated – as the Blaze crew had discovered earlier.

The IG droids had begun its experiments on Imperial personnel and had started on the base’s prisoners when the Modesty Blaze arrived.

Sleen, Camie and the other survivors thanked them and paid them their fees, plus extra two thousand credits for their aid. “I don’t have much, but this is everything I have.”

As Qillian transported the Sleen, Brightpage and the civilians back to Smallberries Skystation, VEX and Tray remained behind to see what they could salvage from the abandoned Imperial research station, what they could trade, what they could install onto the Modesty Blaze and how to give the good news to Darter Kel that they might just have a new temporary secret base before the Imperials were due for a visit.

But what was the IG-series droid and where did he come from?

To be continued.

Notes:

  • Second Edge of the Empire session I’ve GMed in two consecutive weekends. It’s been awhile since I was 16!
  • Khov is Hmong for “frozen”; the star system was created for this game.
  • When I GM, I seem to lose a lot of details because it seems I sacrifice the record function of my find for extra processing power. I am seriously out of practice.
  • Camie Brightpage has the same first name as Koo Stark’s character in the first Star Wars movie.
  • Sleen might not have been his real name.
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Skyfall
First Modesty Blazing Game Ever

Originally posted: 14th April, 2014

Note: This GOKL campaign follows the Star Wars Edge of the Empire Beginners Game that started with GOKL Escapes Mos Shuuta and continued with GOKL Escapes The Insurmountable Ned. Now that the former Krayt Fang has been renamed Modesty Blaze (after a short stint as Babymetal before retcon renaming) after its major refitting on Rodia, the campaign will now be named “Modesty Blazing.”

No Obligation roll just because.

Initial Destiny pool rolls resulted in this.

Ord Throsol

Ord Throsol was a white dwarf system with multiple asteroid fields and thick cometary clouds. The airless planetoid known as Ord Throsol was centre of mining refinery and manufacturing. The Modesty Blaze was berthed alongside the scout vessel, the YV-929 armed freighter Veracity Slush. The Blaze crew had just been commissioned to deliver machine parts to Gir Tashkent of Spacewell Manufacturing Inc. on Smallberries Skystation in the Hypori system.

But first, Zeltron pilot Darter Kel, the droid 41-VEX, the Trianii assassin Qillian Ryn and the new Trandoshan hired gun Tray’Essek bade farewell to Nora Romanova, the Wookiee Lowhrrick and Twi’lek Oskara who have joined the crew of the scout vessel for a job beyond the Saijo Sector. A moment later the trio was gone with the Slush.

As they prepared to raise ship, an RA-7 droid stopped them. He had a package that also needed to be delivered to former Imperial captain Razi Sunmote of Sunmote Trading on Smallberries Station. Darter was reluctant to take on any impromptu jobs but the droid was very transparent. He showed the holo message from Sunmote, which had the proper documentation, and opened up the package to reveal the old droid caller inside.

An extra 1000 credits earned from going to Hypori couldn’t hurt.

On the Road

VEX calculated the hyperspace jump perfectly (with 3 Successes on Astrogation) shaving some time off the journey. However, they were violently pulled back into realspace 20 light minutes away from the planet Hypori. VEX scanned the area and discovered a gravity field projected from a nearby asteroid. Also, three R-41 Starchasers were accelerating to attack speed toward them.

Darter’s superior piloting skills allowed him to execute a tight turn keeping the fighters boxed inward of their turning arc. (Successes and Triumph on Darter’s Piloting roll gave everyone else an upgraded skill and a Boost dice.) 41-VEX angled the shield as Qillian loosed a barrage which missed. However, one of the Starchasers were slammed by Tray’s multiple blasts and disintegrated catastrophically. First kill!

Most successes with the least dice we’ve ever seen thus far.

The remaining fighters fired their cannons in vain and failed to outmanoeuvre the Blaze. Darter’s flying allowed to the gunners to still gain the upper hand, easily hitting and damaging the R-41s. After their second miss, Darter was lost his tactical advantage. The two Starchasers dropped into the Blaze’s six. Before they could fire, Qillian sent a volley of bolts at them. Their attempt to evade the red energy bolts resulted in their coming into Tray’s gunsights. Tray’s cannon fire took down a second Starchaser. The last R-41 turned tail and jumped into hyperspace (after failing a Cool check).

The Blaze held station near the asteroid and discovered a scaled down gravity well projector there. VEX wore a maneuver harness, flew out to the asteroid to singlehandedly remove the 2.5-metre disk from it and dragged it back to the ship. They stowed it in the ship cargo hold for later use.

Then VEX plotted a short microjump to bring them to Hypori.

Smallberries Station Docking Hub

The skystation was a torus 2.4 kilometres in diameter and hovered 10 kilometres over the Hypori surface. It appeared to have a central administrative and docking hub, and a total of 18 colossal modules attached to it like a ring.

The station security chief Bug Zapper, a manumitted 434 droid greeted them at their prescribed landing bay. He apologised for the pirate attack, saying, “They are getting bolder and bolder each day. Because of this incident, we will waive your 100 credit docking fees. Please, carry out your business in peace and enjoy our facilities.”

After Zapper left, it was time to get to work. Darter Kel and Qillian Ryn would oversee the labour droids unload Gir Tashkent’s cargo then go meet him at his office for payment. 41-VEX and Tray’Essek would visit Razi Sunmote with his package.

The docking bay portal led out to the main pedestrian thoroughfare filled with dozens of organics and droids travelling from somewhere to somewhere. Darter (the only one who succeeded in a Vigilance roll) noticed a group of three insectoid Verpines looking at the group and whispering amongst themselves. They caught Darter watching them and slinked off into a subhallway, too far to be followed.

Yes. It’s a gigantic floating donut.

Secret of Smallberries Station

41-VEX accessed the station computer to find their way to Sunmote Trading which was located in Section 11. Spacewell Manufacturing was in Section 12.

With VEX’s map, Darter and Qillian headed for Section 12. En route, they were almost pulverised by a piece of salvage: a rust- and dirt-encrusted metal module obviously recently dug out from the ground. The Tinhub Brothers Salvage Corporation worker apologised for one of their lifter droids malfunctioning, and dropping the 5 metre tall construct onto the deck and rolling toward them.

Darter, miffed at the near squish experience, fired his a stun blast onto the deckplate beside the Tinhub Brothers worker saying, “Well, I also apologise for that malfunction!” The intimidated worker told him he had just brought up a newly-discovered salvage, a leftover from the Battle of Hypori during the Clone Wars. Such accidents were rare.

He invited Darter to join the Tinhub corporation if he would like to work in salvage. Darter stood down and said, “If the opportunity arises, I might take you up on that.”

When asked, he told them about the skystation, which was named after Jonn Smallberries, who was a human who designed the station and constructed it with his droids two hundred years ago. But when the station was completed, Jonn Smallberries disappeared. Slowly people began to move in, making it their home and livelyhood.

The Tinhub group was joined by new floating lifter droids. The procession waved goodbye and continued on their way with their salvage.

The Hawker Stalls of Sector 11

Elsewhere in Sector 11, Razi Sunmote had left his office to intercept 41-VEX and Tray in the crowded hallway, demanding the package. He asked if they preferred cash or credit transfer. VEX shrugged, or at least he tried to shrug – much to the audible objection of his shoulder servos. He took the droid caller, transferred 1000 credits to Tray’s credit stick and disappeared into the crowd, cackling, “Now I will have revenge on you, Tile. Your time is nigh!”

Their work completed, Tray and VEX looked for a hawker stall (with a successful Streetwise roll) and was attracted by the smoke and fumes coming from a subhallway. The passage was filled with food vendors on both sides of the street, frying, broiling, sauteeing and barbecuing. They walked down the hallway looking at all the satay, yong tau foo, char kuay teow, otak-otak, garlic naan, roti bawang and other vendors. They stopped at a large bubbling pot with a red stew within… as well as small, decapitated, furry primate heads.

VEX ordered a bowl of soup and attempted to eat it – without irony – which was difficult because he had no mouth to eat with. Tray, new to the group, did not object to it and also ordered a bowl for himself.

The players play some sort of a game. With stars. And wars.

The Battle of Section 12

A Zeltron and a Trianii walked through the bulkhead blast doors into Section 12. Spacewell Manufacturing was at the end of the hallway which forked into a t-junction. They realised that the hallway was unnervingly empty as the blast doors closed behind them.

Qillian had a bad feeling about the doors closing and turned back. He tried to reopen the blast doors. It did open, which allowied a one-horned Advosze in a red jumpsuit to walk through. He ignored them and walked by. Happy that the doors did not lock behind them they too trotted down the hallway 10 metres behind the Advosze. As he turned the corner to the left, a blaster bolt struck him in the back from the right corner of the junction, killing him. It was a B1 battle droid – an infantry trooper of the long-defeated Separatist army – with a blaster pistol. He turned his blaster on Qillian, but Darter drew his sidearm and dropped the mechanical trooper in a single shot.

Running to the corner, they both caught sight of another B1 droid slamming the blast doors of a warehouse at the far end of that hallway. They carefully crept up to it and hacked the door lock, opening it. Inside is a medium-sized storage area. There were three armed battle droids standing over half a dozen dead organic corpses. There was a large hole burned in the wall to the right and a smaller hole on the wall to the left.

Trianii punches droids!

Qillian vaulted inside to smash one of the droids into the other. Darter aimed and dropped one of the droids Qillian was after and ducked behind the doorway. Qillian tried to grab one of the droids and swing it into the remaining one, but the battle droid twisted out of his way. The droids fired on Qillian who managed to dodge. Qillian punched the closest droid, decapitating him. Before the other could shoot, Darter’s second shot felled him with a smoking hole in its chest.

Qillian and Darter explored the larger hole. It was a Tinhub Brothers Salvage Corporation warehose! It was the salvage they had seen. The large module was open and something had egressed from it, killing everyone there then blowing a hole into the neighbouring warehose, and the next, ad nauseaum.

Darter quickly tried to call Chief Bug Zapper on the comlink but he seemed to be in a panic. Then the radio was cut off. Qillian checked the comlink (Mechanics check success) and discovered that all communication radio frequencies have been flooded with static. The recent Tinhub salvage could have unleashed a cache of dormant Separatist battle droids which was attempting to overrun Smallberries Station!

The Trandoshan Cultural Attache

As they were enjoying the soup, so to speak, Tray noticed a Snivvian in a blue jumpsuit pointing his blaster pistol at VEX’s back talking into a comlink excitedly. Tray flung his bowl of soup at the Snivvian but missed. Before the Snivvian could react, VEX had spun and dropped the guy with a stun bolt.

I should have used a bounty hunter with stats that sucked less. Hur hur.

The soup vendor yelled, “HEY! Treat my soup with more respect here!”

As VEX dealt with the unconscious gunman, Tray pulled a fast one on the vendor, saying, “But this is how we Trandoshans greet old friends! We throw bowls of soup at them!” (A successful Deception skill roll ensues.) As Tray hurried to help VEX drag the Snivvian away, another Trandoshan – a burlier one than Tray – came up to order a bowl of soup. The vendor smiled at the newcomer and threw a bowl of soup at him.

Sounds of fisticuffs grew weaker as they left the hawker stalls. VEX said to Tray with a glint in his droid eyes, “Don’t look back, Tray.”

Cut Off at Spacewell Industries

The doors to Spacewell Industries office opened as Qillian and Darter ran past. Someone beckoned at them. It was Gir Tashkent. He asked, “What happened? Why are people dying in Section 12?” Darter informed him about the droid and the comm jamming. Tashkent told him to use the hardline comm gear in his office. They were able to connect VEX, but only for a moment.

Tashkent told them, “The cut the hard line. If there is a threat of overrun, do you know what they will do? They will jettison the whole section from the station… with us in it!”

A Vexing Bounty
“Was that the others trying to contact us?” Tray asked, tapping on his comlink. VEX slapped the Snivvian until he was awake and told him to spill his guts. The Snivvian said, “Let me go! I’m just an apprentice bounty hunter! I don’t have the skills to bag you for the bounty!”

“Why did you try to capture me?” VEX asked. “Who sent you?”

“Nobody!” the Snivvian whimpered. “We travel everywhere looking for bounties. We were on Naboo and are en route to Rodia. I stumbled onto you by chance.” VEX grabbed his palm holoprojector that he was offering. There were files on a dozen bounties in its memory, including 10,000 credits for the capture of 41-VEX. Breaking the memory encryption, VEX discovered that the bounty was posted by a corporation named Spiral Life Industries on Coruscant. VEX had never heard of it before. Neither did he know why they would want VEX captured.

“Okay, man. Let me go. You know I can’t defeat you myself.”

VEX let him go. But at the end of the alleyway, he turned and flashed a sinister smile. “I can’t defeat you myself. But I’m now not by myself. I’ve called my team before you stunned me and now we will take you.” He pointed at VEX and prepared to attack, waiting for his teammates to join him.

No one came.

Tray strode forward and punched the Snivvian several times. VEX calmly walked to them, then fired a stun bolt into the bounty hunter’s chest. Tray took his grenades and his liquid cable shooter. VEX took his jumpsuit. Tray dumped the naked Snivvian in a public trash can and hung a sign that read, “I’M LOST. IF YOU FIND ME PLEASE SEND ME BACK TO THE NEAREST SNIVVIAN COLONY.”

As they headed for Section 12 to look for the others, VEX asked Tray, “Does this jumpsuit make me look fat?”

Escape from Sector 12

VEX and Tray crossed the bulkhead threshold into Section 12. After sweeping through the empty hallways (and failing Streetwise rolls) the duo was unable to locate Darter and Qillian. They found themselves going deeper and deeper into the utility and support sections of Smallberries Station. They found themselves in a room filled with machines. In the centre, connected to hundreds of thick cables was a hyperdrive. What was a hyperdrive doing in that section of the station?

The comlink buzzed for attention. It was Darter and Qillian calling from Spacewell Manufacturing. VEX and Tray had come into range of the station’s comm network short range transmitter. Everyone was brought up to speed after sharing information. The battle droid attack. The bounty hunter. Tashkent. The hyperdrive. A new plan was devised: get out of Section 12 before the station jettisoned them.

VEX and Tray became more and more lost. They found themselves deeper in the technical section and discovered three gigantic grasping claws that held the section in place. (Upon a successful Mechanical roll) VEX discovered that each large claw had a tiny crawlspace that they could use to get to the neighbouring section on the other side of the bulkhead. It was hot, humid and uncomfortable but they soon burst out on the other side at the base of the grasping claw. Using the liquid cable shooter appropriated from the Snivvian earlier, they cast a line that allowed them to rappel to the floor and rush back toward Modesty Blaze.

The Sunmote Gambit

Darter, Qillian and Tashkent found that all bulkhead blast doors leading back to Section 11 had been sealed. They were unable to pick the heavy electronic lock. They had to look for an escape route out in the rim of the station, perhaps a speeder bay from which they could flee Section 12 outside.

“This calls a journey into the ventilation shaft,” said Darter excitedly. The Zeltron disrobed leaving only his tight underpants, produced a bottle of lubricant from his discarded jacket’s pocket and poured in onto his body. He gleefully dove into the ventilation shaft that Tashkent had identified would lead out toward the rim. Darter offered some lube to Tashkent, who politely replied, “No thanks. These are Nakatomi-class shafts. It’s actually big enough to pass through crouching.”

They travelled rimward, burst out to the outer thoroughfare. There were dead bodies everywhere. The hallway lead out past a courtyard with a spiral sculpture. On the far end of the courtyard was Honest Grumb’s Used Speeder Lot. They could see five swoops arrayed in the shop with the external wall open and exposed to the cloudy skies outside. They ran for the speeder lot.

“You have survived thus far,” boomed a voice, stopping them in their tracks. “You must be formidable indeed.” It was the former Captain Razi Sunmote surrounded by twenty B1 battle droids assembled in the hallway to their left.

In Sunmote’s left hand was the droid caller VEX and Tray had delivered to him. It was active. He held out his right hand, “Join us. Help me in my quest for revenge.”

Darter took the advantage and strolled over with a smile. “Of course! Of course! We could always use the job! What quest do you have in mind?” The battle droids flanked Darter, Qillian and Tashkent who looked very, very worried.

“To destroy the person who got me drummed out of the Imperial Navy: Captain Flintlock Tile. With my droid army, we would help me exact my vengeance.”

Darter noticed that further down the hallway beyond Sunmote were forty other B1 battle droids and twenty fully armed BX commando droids. He grinned and said, “Of course. Tell us what we have to do.”

“All you have to do is just sit and wait.” Darter and Qillian finally figured out what his plan was. The Section jettison protocol and the hyperdrive that the others had discovered must be a part of Sunmote’s plan.

Darter edged toward the swoops in the speeder lot and said, “We shall wait right here for your future orders.” Qillian and Tashkent backed into the speeder lot as well. Darter sat on the swoop’s control panel and used his gluteus maximus to activate its power systems. (He fails a Skulduggery check.) A battle droid spotted spoke up, “Sir! I think they’re about to take a swoop.”

Darter quipped, “Yes! That was actually the plan!” and leapt onto the pilot seat. Tashkent jumped on behind him. Qillian held on to the back of the swoop and began pushing it, giving it a running start.

Sunmote bellowed, “SEAL THE EXTERNAL DOORS!”

The external doors slid toward each other at high velocity. (Qillian’s push results in 3 Advantages, which gave Darter a Boost dice to successfully roll his Pilot skill.) Qillian jumped onto the back. The doors slammed shut after the swoop had screamed out of the speeder lot, into open skies. (A second passenger during flight meant Darter had to roll a Setback dice with his Pilot skill.)

As the swoop dove downward because of the extra weight, Section 12 was jettisoned and slid out from the station’s restraining arm; a colossal piece of structure 600 meters in length. Gravity pulled it in the same direction Darter’s swoop was headed. The falling structure was catching up with them from above. The swoop disappeared into a cloud below the skystation. The orphaned Section 12 followed suit.

(Darter, even with the Setback dice, rolled 2 Successes!) The swoop flew back up from the cloud, away from Section 12’s trajectory. Darter climbed toward Smallberries Station. But before Section 12 crashed onto the surface of Hypori, it emited a bright pulse of light and promptly disappeared, leaving an ionised cloud of particles behind the shape of the vanished module. The ionised cloud reacted with the surrounding moisture clouds. An ominous but spectacular lightning storm began.

Fallout

“Aren’t you glad I lightened our load by stripping naked?” Darter shouted as the overtaxed swoop flew into the central ring and pulled up on deck right beside the Modesty Blaze. Simultaneously VEX and Tray arrived at the landing bay through the open blast doors.

The soup-stained VEX, wearing his new blue jumpsuit, walked up to Darter who was half-naked and glistening with lube. They both folded their arms and sized each other’s dubious physical looks.

Because they saved his life, Gir Tashkent paid them all that he had on him: 9000 credits, instead of the promised 7000. He said, “I have warehouses and factories in other Sections of Smallberries. I will recover my loss in Sector 12.”

Chief Bug Zapper and his security force arrived. After Tashkent’s explanation, Zapper commended the party for their bravery. Qillian whispered, “Yeah. Better not let them know where Sunmote got the droid caller from.”

When they were back on Modesty Blaze, it was time to plan their next job. Darter wondered aloud, “I wonder if Imperial Captain Tile would pay a reward for warning him about Sunmote.”

To be continued.

15 XPs for everyone!

Notes:

  • Tashkent is an Earthly location, just like Antilles.
  • The players initially thought that Smallberries Station was a converted Trade Federation warship.
  • Jonn Smallberries is named after John Small Berries in the movie Buckaroo Banzai.
  • Throsol is Welsh for “crowbar”.
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Beginner Game: GOKL Escapes the Insurmountable Ned

Originally posted: 21st April, 2013.

Earlier today I ran Star Wars Edge of the Empire for GOKL for the second time, using the Beginner Game truncated rules and extra stuff found on the internet.

Everyone was given 10 XPs from the previous session with an option to advance their characters. Qillian Ryn the Trianii and Darter Kel the Zeltron advanced their characters. 41-VEX the manumitted colonist droid saved his XPs for later.

NPC stats and GM notes and stuff

A Brief Prologue

A brief prologue was run to account for the absence players of Lowhhrick, Oskara and Nora. The commandeered Corellian YT-1300 light freighter Krayt Fang landed on a small oceanside shadowport on Rodia. Actually before landing, they kicked the ousted slaver captain Trex out into the humid Rodian swamps a hundred klicks from nowhere. An outlaw tech would be able to install a new BoSS transponder on their ship, but only for 10,000 credits as times are tough. Seeing that the crew did not have the money, the outlaw tech suggested they look for work at the Ithorian herdship that just made orbit recently.

Landing Bay 1138

This particular Ithorian herdship, named Green Fields, was an interstellar starship that was disc 5 klicks in diameter and had a giant transparisteel canopy 4/5th of the diameter that has a living jungle and ocean biomes.There was a central island that formed a mountain 400 meters tall. This type of herdship travelled from system to system and opened their doors to locals as tourists, encouraging them to visit their biomes, to stay in their hotels, to go on safaris and to generally spend a lot of money there.

Krayt Fang was berthed at Landing Bay 1138 at the rim of the Green Fields. Darter, 41-VEX and Qillian went out into the bustling landing bay which was able to support two medium ships and eight light ships such as their own. There were technicians, deck officers, tourist groups heading to or from their ships, load lifter droids, security droids, hustlers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and wanderers. Thanks to some fast talking Darter found a terminal that listed immediate job ads. Most did not pay well, but one ad from Captain Beru Highbringer paid 4000 credits per successful applicant. The job: crew of a Corellian YV-664 converted freighter – now a tour ship – that brought tourists offship to visit gorgeous astronomical sights of the region.

Landing Bay 1142

There were three Lambda-class Imperial shuttles berthed in Landing Bay 1142. Worried, Darter asked around about them. An Ithorian deck officer told them not to worry. Imperials were always boarding the herdship wherever they stopped; always looking for rebels – especially when there were so many outsiders aboard the ship. So far none had been found on Green Fields.

The trio met with Captain Highbringer at the cantina at Landing Bay 1142. She was a grizzled spacer, as grizzled as a 28 year old human female with long, wavy blond locks could be. It disturbed them that she kept disrupting Darter’s spirited job application pitch to her by whispering strangely to the old force pike by her side as if it was alive.

It was even more disturbing that she hired them and paid them half in advance because the inanimate force pike had somehow “allowed” her to.

Before leaving they noticed four humans in casual tourist garb slipping into the cantina, a woman and three men. They were all clearly on edge, as if on the run from pursuers. The group decided not to interact with them.

They returned to the Krayt Fang to pick up their gear as well as extra space suits. (Yes, even VEX grabbed a space suit for arcane reasons.) They had a light lunch with Nora, Oskara and Lowhhrick before returning to Landing Bay 1142.

The group’s initial pool of 4 Destiny Points among 3 PCs

The Puddle Pangolin

When they returned to 1142, they noticed two squads of Imperial stormtroopers on the vast flight deck about to corner them. Darter panicked and told the others to bolt for the YV-664 while he yelled something about a Jedi Knight as a distraction. But the troops opened fire into another direction and killed three humans in the bustling and now-panicked crowd. The same woman and only two men who had entered the cantina earlier! The troops told the frightened public to go about their business while they carried the bodies of “Rebel scum” away. One trooper thought he heard a voice in the crowd had blurted something about a Jedi Knight, but he was not sure so he let it go. Darter crept away in relief.

Highbringer welcomed them to the Puddle Pangolin. She tossed them a datapad with paperwork and brusquely told them to get a crate of supplies at Level 7 Warehouse 12. The group returned some time – after fast talking their way through an Imperial stormtrooper patrol – with a 2-metre long repulsorlift-powered crate. Darter and Qillian were surfing on the crate. VEX claimed dryly as he pushed it, “Droids do not surf.”

As they heaved the crate into the ship, they saw a bunch of tourists getting ready to board the Pangolin. There was an old Ithorian, a pair of Rodians and a human. It was the fourth human of the group of four rebels: the survivor. He was looked very nervous and on edge, and for good reason. Again, they decided not to approach the rebel but keep a careful eye on him.

Captain Highbringer raised ship. Again, she was brusque with them, told them to make the guests happy, get their food ready on time, repair any technical glitches and other menial work. No need to worry about piloting for there was an astromech droid piloting the Pangolin. Before the group could ask questions, Highbringer started talking to her force pike again and shut her door. Then without any fanfare, the converted freighter flew out of Landing Bay 1142 and made the jump to hyperspace for their first tourist destination.

En route, three things of note occured: One, Darter’s cooking and serving the food to the guests won them over. Even the wound up rebel loosened up. Two, Qillian tried to enter the cockpit but it was sealed with a highly secure electronic lock. There was no answer to his knocks. And three, VEX’s attempt at slicing into the cockpit using the engineering computer failed, but the engineering computer liked him enough to decide to aid him with any other technical attempts (The only Triumph despite Failure roll of the session).

Highbringer never left her secured cabin located aft.

The Moonflower Nebula

The ship reverted back to realspace within optimal view of the Moonflower Nebula several sectors away.The guests had introduced themselves to the group. The Ithorian – who getting drunk fast – was Semba. Oonts were the names of each Rodian although it was apparent they were not twins. The human, Darter learned by reading the passenger manifest was called Kerrek. They were quite impressed with the purple, yellow and orange gaseous steaks of the nebula, viewing it through the lounge of the Pangolin’s transparisteel ceiling and upper hull.

It was then that the Imperial Dreadnaught Cruiser Lancet dropped out of hyperspace and requested permission to board the Pangolin. VEX noticed that the astromech pilot was complying and attempted to let the captain know. Highbringer said, “Take care of it” and slammed the door on him. Darter approached Kerrek and revealed to him that he knew who he was. He hid Kerrek in one of the three sensor-shielded lifepods and rigged the launch controls to display an empty lifepod tube.

Major Mar Barezz of the Imperial Security Bureau makes a cameo appearance

A boarding party of one Imperial Security Bureau officer escorted by three stormtroopers entered the ship via the port airlock. Major Barezz was thoroughly charmed by Darter’s social skills (Using his Natural Charmer talent) and completely believed that everything was fine aboard the Puddle Pangolin. Barezz warned them of a dangerous group of escapees from a high security Imperial medical facility in the sector the previous week. The escapees murdered everyone in their path during their breakout and were at large in the sector. Reports were scarce as officials were still trying to rescue survivors and determined what had happened, but there might perhaps be a Rodian, a Wookiee and at least two humans in the group.

After sufficiently satisfied by Darter about the locked crate they brought aboard, the Imperials returned to their ship, decoupled airlocks and jumped into hyperspace. Darter reported what he just learnt to Highbringer, who only said, “Good job” and slammed the door on him. Before it was time to leave the ship jumped to their next destination.

Darter’s Charm roll that got them into Major Barezz’s good books

The Rings of Garristal

Garristal was a ringed gas giant, uniformly tinted blue. It had a system of every wide rings. A large comet had very recently smashed into the ring and a beautiful pattern of exploded ice particles had formed where the comet had passed through. The entire destructive scene looked like a still picture, but everything seemed stationary for being at great distance from Garristal. The guests, including Kerrek, started taking holo images of the sight. (Due to impaired judgement, the drunk Ithorian was unwittingly taking pictures of his own face instead.)

Even Darter was impressed.

But not for long, for the sensor station in the lounge reported that four starfighters were approaching them at attack speed. VEX identified them a Y-TIE “Ugly” starfighters. At first, the pilot droid did nothing. But after Darter yelled at it via intercom, the Pangolin swooped around and hightailed it out of there. Darter hoped they wouldn’t have torpedoes.

Darter and Qillian manned the double laser cannons, dorsal and ventral respectively. VEX remained with his new pal the engineering computer and used its interface to operate the deflector shields effectively. Cannon fire were exchanged. In less than a minute, three of the Uglies were vaporised. The final Ugly buzzed their comlinks and commended them for being more skilled than an average tour ship’s crew.

Then three heavily armed Wayfarer-class medium transports with pirates colours reverted out of hyperspace and accelerated toward them. Darter yelled at the intercom for the droid to jump the ship into hyperspace, but nothing was happening. VEX successfully sliced into the astrogation computer with the help of the engineering computer and activated the hyperdrive, leaving the pirate spacecraft behind just as they began to open fire.

Mutiny on the Pangolin

VEX, Qillian and Darter believed it to be a good idea to commandeer the ship for everyone’s safety. They told the guests to seal themselves in their quarters and wait for orders.

VEX stayed by the engineering computer to try to slice the ship’s systems while QIllian and Darter pried open the cockpit door and succeeded thanks to Qillian’s exceptional strength. It was then they noticed that the cockpit had no windows and were exposed to space. High winds blew the duo into the cockpit as the astromech droid turned his head to look at them creepily, and they were unable to pull themselves back. VEX’s displays registered decompression and told his teammates via comms to completely exhale, crawl out the window to the hull and he would shut the cockpit door and open the top airlock hatch for them.

They succeed with superficial freeze burns on their skin and hide (at the cost of many Strain). VEX rushed to them to administer first aid.

The Insurmountable Ned

This was when they realised that a dwarf star feeding its stellar matter into an accretion disc filled up the lounge’s ceiling canopy view. The ship was moving upward into a black hole.

The PA buzzed in Highbringer’s insanity-tinged voice, “Finally, you are here before the void god, and your lives all be given as sacrifices, fed to maw of The Insurmountable Ned.” Darter donned his space suit and headed for the cockpit to try to kill the astromech droid there while the others attempted to apprehend Highbringer. Just as they reached the captain’s door, four unknown type combat droids with arm mounted blasters swept out of the stores where the sealed crate from Warehouse 12 was stowed.

A firefight ensued. VEX shot and Qillian punched the droids into a scrap although a blaster bolt singed the Trianii’s hide on the left side of his torso. The PA droned on, “It is inevitable. You will appease the voracious appetite The Insurmountable Ned! And He shall save your souls!”

What singularity mother would name their boy The Insurmountable Ned?

Qillian wrenched the door open and Highbringer attacked him with her force pike. Distressed, she yelled to her melee weapon, “Strabuphyte! Kill these unbelievers! The Insurmountable Ned will not be denied!” She missed her swing, but Qillian’s knuckleduster did not. Disoriented, VEX’s stun blast walloped her left arm. It went limp but she kept up her attack. VEX exclaimed, “She’s powered by crazy.” Qillian’s final punch felled her. He promptly tied her up and jettisoned Strabuphyte out the airlock.

Meanwhile, Darter had sneaked upon the ship’s top hull and taken position above the open cockpit. Then he blasted the astromech pilot’s head into slag. He pushed himself in, tried to regain control but the droid had locked the controls. They had less than a minute before the accelerating ship reaches the point of no return. VEX returned to engineering and discovered he could not take control remotely unless…

“Shoot at the controls!” VEX said. Darter peppered the pilot’s console with destructive blaster bolts. Suddenly VEX had control and the Puddle Pangolin swerved away from the black hole and burned its engines long enough to move away from its dangerous gravitational field. Finally, as if a sigh of relief, the ship jumped to hyperspace.

A Brief Epilogue

Before they landed back on the Green Fields, Kerrek thanked them for helping him avoid the Imperials and told them if they needed any help, his organisation would gladly aid if they could. Kerrek slipped away when they landed.

The trio delivered Highbringer to the authorities and reported the incident. Big Oonts, little Oonts and drunk Semba corroborated their story and hailed the crew as heroes. The commander of the Imperial platoons aboard the herdship informed them that Highbringer was really Captain Qutarig Zurt, one of the escapees from the Imperial medical facility, an insane asylum. Zurt was the only survivor of a ship, the Chrysanthemum Earlobe, that was consumed by a black hole some years ago. She spent a long time alone in an empty lifepod circling the singularity until a passing ship caught her faint signal and rescued her. But by that time, her mind was warped into believing that a black hole was a deity of death that favoured only her.

The team was commended and awarded an 8000 credit reward for capturing Zurt. Along with the 6000 credits advance pay from Zurt, they now had enough for a BoSS transponder change.

The Krayt Fang returned to the Rodian shadowport for the procedure which we might or might not see happen next time on Star Wars Edge of the Empire: The Yet-untitled Campaign!!!

Note:

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Beginner Game: GOKL Escapes Mos Shuuta

Originally posted: 18th February 2013.

From the available pregenerated characters in the Beginner Game adventure Escape from Mos Shuuta, we have 41-VEX, Oskara and Lowhhrick. Pash the smuggler was tweaked into Nora Romanova. Qillian Ryn the Triannii assassin and Darter Kel the Zeltron scout and bush pilot was created from Beta rules notes found online. I might have screwed up the chargen a bit because of lack of complete rules.

The adventure’s encounters are designed so GMs and players get the hang of the system. For example, the first encounter teaches us about options on hiding in a cantina. The second encounter takes us through combat with a drift of Gamorreans. The third forces players to interact with NPCs to acquire a gear important to the story.

However, players players, things blew up and died in encounter one.

The Cantina

Nora, Oskara, Lowhhrick, 41-VEX and Qillian had crossed the local crime lord Teemo the Hutt, and Teemo’s band of cudgel-bearing Gamorreans were now combing Mos Shuuta for them. The group ducked into the Devaronian’s cantina to look for the pilot they hired beforehand, namely Darter, just before Gamorreans spotted them and chased in after them.

Oskara flipped a table. Nora jumped over the bar. Qillian slipped his knuckledusters on and crept into the shadows by the doorway. VEX orders a drink – a pitcher of motor oil. Darter, following the band of newcomers’ example bounded to the dance stage where the Twi’lek dancer was dancing by a pole. He immediately tried to charm the pants off her.

As the pig guard burst in, the person with the keenest eye, fastest reflexes and swiftest hand moved first. It was VEX. He cooly downed his drink much to the bartender’s slack-jawed surprise. However, the guards saw Oskara who was already behind the flipped table with her blaster rifle ready. She had the advantage and blew a hole in the lead Gamorrean. From the stage, Darter wriggled his butt, reached into his tight pants and a dart gun appeared was in his previously-bare hands. He took a firing stance and shot a dart at another Gamorrean, which sadly bounced off his thick bacon-smelling hide. Nora popped up from behind the bar and fire a wounding shot into his shoulder while Qillian snuck up from behind the Gamorreans and punched one with his knuckleduster, dazing the pig guard. All had fallen but one, who turned to the one who had shot him: Nora. But then VEX drew his blaster, spun and fired. The last thug fell.

Nora introduced Darter, their new pilot, to the group and the horrified Devaronian bartender yelled at them to get out of his bar. Darter explained that he too was in Teemo’s bad books for seducing Teemo’s daughter. The others would have lost their lunches at his story if they had eaten something for lunch.

The Junk Shop

Darter was aware that the freighter Krayt Fang was docked at Landing Bay Aurek. Her captain was the Trandoshan slaver named Trex, an associate of Teemo the Hutt. The ship was grounded due to a damaged Hypermatter Reactant Igniter (HMRI). The group went to the the local junk dealer Vorn to get one of the devices, then planned on stealing the Krayt Fang. Vorn, after violently mistreating his R5 droid causing VEX to seethe with droid fury, told them that he had promised it to Captain Trex. Because Trex is Teemo’s buddy, he would not want to sell the last one to someone else. But they successfully bluffed the dim-witted Vorn by telling him that Trex sent them to get the HMRI.

When they exited the junk shop, they discovered VEX trying to preach to the brother R5 the virtues of being a free droid, free from the heavy yoke of organics and their memory flushing tyranny. The R5 seemed enthused by VEX’s speech and gestured at his restraining bolt. VEX, with an exclamation of hallelujah, unfolded his tools (from his crotch, by the way) to dig into the bolt to remove it from the R5. Suddenly, sparks flew out of the droid’s every crack and seam, followed by a big billowing cloud of smoke. The R5 went inoperative. Vorn ran out from his store and started yelling at them for breaking his droid, threatening to get Teemo involved. Darter’s dart gun quickly felled Vorn like sack of potatoes and they dragged him aside.

They then thought it would be prudent to hurry toward Landing Bay Aurek at the northeastern corner of town.

As they hurried along, Oskara informed the team that the ship would have docking clamps engaged and they would have to unlock them before they could steal and fly the Krayt Fang away. A plan was formulated. Oskara, VEX and Darter formed the group tasked with securing the ship, while Nora, Lowhhrick and Qillian would attempt to sneak into the spaceport command centre to remotely unlock the docking clamps.

Landing Bay Aurek

As a single Lambda-class shuttle flew into town from the sky and landed in Bay Besh at the other end of town, the Krayt Fang team trotted to Landing Bay Aurek. Peering in they saw three Gamorrean guarding the interior of the bay. The docking clamps and the roof bay doors were tightly secured. So, they bluffed their way in, telling the Gamorreans they were sent by Vorn to deliver the HMRI. The Gamorreans escorted them down the ramp, onto the sandy bay floor and around the YT-1300 freighter toward her entrance ramp. They convinced the Gamorreans to help them move some crates so they could gain access to the engineering deck, and when the pig guards were off guard VEX and Oskara blasted them. As Darter darted to the cockpit, VEX hauled the Gamorrean corpses into the cargo hold.

Darter then came face to face with Captain Trex who was about to investigate the loud noises. Darter quickly adapted to the situation by attempting to seduce the reptilian slaver captain. One would think a Zeltron might have a snowball’s chance in hell seducing a Trandoshan, but Darter charmed Trex’s pants off… literally. As Trex moved closer, Darter inserted his hand into his tight pants, wiggled and jammed a dart gun into the slaver’s chin. He promptly surrendered as Oskara walked into the cockpit, saw the two half-naked persons and quipped, “And you didn’t invite me?”

Oskara hauled Trex off to be locked in the cargo hold.

Spaceport Command

Meanwhile the other team sneaked into the spaceport command centre and discovered two droids manning the control station. Large panoramic windows showed off the desolate, dry landscape of Tatooine. Nora thought it would be wiser to approach them. But she could not talk the droids into releasing the Krayt Fang’s docking clamps as they have not received confirmation from Teemo. Instead, the droids called upon their Overseer, an energetic elderly human who waddled out his office and was instantly enamoured with Nora.

Soon, Nora was in the Overseer’s closed-off office, Qillian and Lowhhrick left out in the control centre hall with the two droids. Nora sweet-talked the Overseer into telling his droids to unlock the Krayt Fang’s docking clamps then forbade Nora to leave his office. He kicked the wall which folded down into a bed with mattress and a bottle of ale in the nook. Nora seductively persuaded the Overseer to remove his shirt and climb onto the cot belly down. Then she reached for her blaster, set it for stun and loosed a bolt onto his back, silencing him.

When the door slid open, Nora saw that Qillian and Lowhhrick were already turning the droids into scrap with blasters and knuckle-dusters. Nora then activated and locked the docking clamps at Landing Bay Besh so the Imperial shuttle was grounded, and finally she fired on the console. Warning strobes and klaxons blared. The trio ran out to look for a landspeeder, but there were none, so they ran for Bay Aurek before Teemo’s people and the Imperials came to investigate. Nora used her comlink to inform the other team that their mission was accomplished and they were hightailing it to the Krayt Fang with alarms screaming.

The Krayt Fang

Meanwhile, VEX had already installed the HMRI in the Fang’s engine room while Oskara made herself comfortable in the dorsal turret seat. Darter headed for the bay control room and opened up the roof hatch. He was running back to the ship when a comlink signal from the other team informing them of three Gamorrean guards about to enter the Bay Aurek. Nora, Lowhhrick and Qilian were about a couple of dozen paces behind the Gamorreans. The guards stumbled into the bay doorway just as Darter was running down onto the bay deck. Oskara thought it would be great to fire the cannon at the guards.

There were two simultaneous large explosions that blasted away the corner of Bay Aurek where the entrance was. Debris, flame and ash shot out across the street damaging buildings and vehicles nearby. The shockwave flung Darter into the floor as parts of the adobe wall and entrance slammed into his back. He found himself bloodied but alive as Qilian, Lowhhrick and Nora coughed their way unharmed into the demolished half of the landing bay.

“Let’s get out of here!”

Escape into Space

Nora raised ship and the Krayt Fang soared into the late Tatooine afternoon sky, just before Imperial stormtroopers from the shuttle arrived with blaster rifles ready.

VEX tried his best to fix the Hyper Matter Reactant Igniter as a flight of three TIE fighters from a Star Destroyer in orbit some distance away dropped behind the Fang as they left the atmosphere. Oskara and Darter, manning the turrets, sent bursts of blaster fire at the pursuers. As the TIEs close in on them, Oskara’s barrage killed one. VEX, who finally got the last cable attached to the HMRI, finally connected it device to the navicomputer. He flipped the switch, but nothing happened. At the astrogation console in the cockpit, Nora was still unable to make the hyperspace jump calculations.

The remaining TIEs attempted to speed closer, but Nora skilfully swooped out of their path and gained ground. Lowhhrick stationed himself at a window and started barking verbal assistance to the gunners, allowing Darter to kill a second TIE. The remaining TIE fired its cannons, but Nora evaded the deadly green bolts.

VEX then fixed some loose wires as well as violently thumped the HMRI with a pipe repeatedly, which caused the navicomputer to come alive. VEX’s fix was so triumphant that Nora only needed ten seconds or so to program it. Oskara had only badly damaged the last TIE when the hyperdrive’s green lights blinked.

Nora pulled the lever and the Krayt Fang jumped into hyperspace and into safety.

What happens next? To be continued? Or not? I have no idea. But I do have this strong wish to be able to buy the Edge of the Empire rulebook when it’s released.

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