In which the party returns to the Queen of Ranroon.
The Queen of Ranroon is in Bad Shape
The captives are split into two groups and moved into two of the three working shuttles on the Arachnis. Shuttle One holds Crimson Jack, his pirates, Captain Solov, and two groups of Stormtroopers. Shuttle Two carries the heroes. Even though they are guarded by Navy troopers, they manage to sneak a few weapons on board. The heroes are a bit worn down and despondent from being duped and captured so easily by Captain Solov. Varen Berelis, ever the politician, boosts the crew’s morale, talking them up, and getting them focused for the mission ahead, recovering the Hyperdrive Motivator from the Queen of Ranroon. Also, unbeknownst to the Imperials, the hero’s “Ace in the Hole,” D4-VNC1 (Vince), remains hidden in the cockpit of their shuttle.
The Queen is in a slow tumble, making it very difficult to land, but ultimately both shuttles make it on board. Shuttle Two lands in the Queen’s port shuttle bay, with Shuttle One landing in the starboard shuttle bay. Upon exiting the shuttle, it’s immediately obvious that the Queen of Ranroon is dying a quick death. Emergency lighting illuminates the shuttle bays and connecting corridors and the team will quickly learn that the ship’s gravity controls are shot, with varying, and often changing, gravity fields throughout the ship. The crew knows they don’t have much time to recover the hyperdrive motivator. Captain Solov wrangles everyone together and gets them moving towards the engineering deck. Varen, smooth talker that he is, convinces Solov that he would be more helpful up in the bridge where he will have access to all the ships controls and will be able to open blast doors, disable locks, etc., thereby aiding the team’s recovery of the hyperdrive motivator.
Varen and his escort reach the bridge and Varen quickly finds that the ship’s computer is in worse shape than he had hoped. Varen’s true goal in going to the bridge was to send a distress signal from the Queen in the hopes of garnering some help from anyone who might intercept the signal. Through sheer boredom, inattentiveness, and down right incompetence from the Navy Trooper “escort,” Varen secrets away a blaster pistol he found among the debris in the bridge, and through some clever computer work, sends the distress signal, finds one last escape pod on the pool deck, and manages to override the blast doors in the ship. Unfortunately, his victory is short lived and the ship’s fail safes kick in, returning the blast doors to their previous positions.
The team eventually makes it’s way to the engineering deck and find the hyperdrive motivator. Along the way, Corgan Dil’Alys falls behind the group and gets trapped behind a blast door on the pool deck. Not wanting to waist an opportunity, he surveys the deck, finding an oxygen mask and several stimpacks. Luck being on his side, as he looks for a way off the deck, the blast doors miraculously open, briefly. Corgan slips through just before the doors close back. He meets the rest of the group down in engineering and stops them just before they potentially damage the hyperdrive motivator by ripping it out of it’s casing. Despite his mad mechanic skills, the motivator doesn’t cooperate with Corgan either, ultimately requiring Vuko Dardo’s assistance as he reaches around behind the motivator and disengages the catch holding it in place.
Meanwhile, left alone in the cockpit of Shuttle Two, Vince has hacked the computer and taken complete control of the shuttle. Having communicated her plans with Corgan via comlink, she activates the shuttle’s gun batteries and prepares for the return of the team from the engineering deck. Varen, his master plan thwarted by the Queen’s computer, decides one less Navy Trooper would be a good thing. He catches his escort unaware with a well placed blaster shot and quickly dispenses him with a second. With the hyperdrive motivator secured on a repulsor sled, the recovery team makes their way back to the shuttle bay.
Which of course everyone knows means, “Die Suckers!”
En route to the shuttle bay, Corgan surreptitiously communicates a plan to the rest of the group – let the Imperials enter the bay first, and then watch the fireworks from a safe distance. Unfortunately, despite several ruses of varying degrees of effectiveness, the group only manages to convince about half of their escort to move ahead and “clear the way.” Even this ruse fails in the end, as Captain Solov links up with the party and directs that the hyperdrive motivator be taken to his shuttle under the watchful eyes of Imperial Stormtroopers.
Meanwhile, Varen manages to return to the shuttle bay undetected and awaits the group’s return. The heroes are escorted back to their shuttle by the Navy troopers, but fortunately half of the squad moves ahead of the party. As the advancing troopers enter the shuttle bay, Corgan gives a signal and the group flattens themselves against the corridor walls as Vince yells “Die Suckers!” and unleashes the shuttle’s blasters on the flat-footed and desperately confused Imperial escort.
Unfortunately, the little droid is unable to depress her guns far enough to actually hit the troopers, but her sudden fusillade is enough to force them into cover… cover which happens to be conveniently close to our surprisingly nearly fully-armed heroes! As the group dashes to the relative safety of the shuttle’s hatch one by one, they managed to blast three of the Navy troopers while only taking minor wounds themselves.
However, as the Queen of Ranroon continues her slow (or, as it happens, not so slow) death spiral into the planet’s gravity well, the hangar bay is becoming an increasingly difficult place to escape. Vince is forced to prepare the launch sequence with only Bin’she Keeba on board, while the rest of the group fights an increasingly desperate gun battle with the increasingly desperate Navy troopers. Worse yet, as the shuttle hovers in the bay in preparation for takeoff the Queen of Ranroon’s inertial compensators begin to fail, causing the shuttle to sway back and forth like a drunken Bantha. While Corgan Dil’Alys and Varen Berelis are able to jump to the safety of the shuttle’s crew cabin, Vuko Dardo and Nü el’Kah are left to contend with the remaining Imperials.
Suddenly, seeing their doom in the growing horizon of the planet outside the shuttle bay, the Imperials charge the shuttle, hoping to board and at least survive, if not triumph over our heroes. Laying down a withering hail of blaster fire, they badly wound Nü el’Kah. Taking over piloting from Vince, Bin’she Keeba tries the most desperate of last-ditch ploys: the famous and infamous Barn-Swallow. Expertly reversing thrusters just as the shuttle’s ramp meets the deck at the feet of Nü el’Kah and Vuko Dardo, Bin’she Keeba manages to scoop them both into the shuttle’s cabin mere seconds before the Imperials could reach the craft.
With desperate blaster shots bouncing harmlessly off the shuttle’s thick skin, the heroes escape the Queen of Ranroon moments before it succumbs at last to the stress of reentry, disintegrating into scrap metal and fire.