Star Wars: Ashes of the Old Republic

Act I, Ep. I
No Rest for the Weary

Having delivered a repossessed starship at the behest of Tessil the Hutt, a motley crew of Fringers races back to Ryloth aboard the Queen of Ranroon, a luxury cruiser that has seen better days.

Tessil will likely be displeased at the expense of such accommodations, but a supernova has affected the hyperlanes, and the Queen was the only ship brave or foolish enough to risk the Death Wind Corridor. Better to cost the Hutt a few credits than let him believe you’ve made off with his starship.

Credits once spent are gone forever, so the crew has made good use of the Queen’s diversions, and the journey passes uneventfully until…

Trouble At Sea

As most of the group are passing time gambling or mingling on the main deck (Corgan Dil’Alys being the lone hold out and resting in his room in Steerage), the cruiser suddenly and violently drops from hyperspace. Several chaotic moments pass as the group attempt to determine what caused the starship to stop. The unstable gravity and movements of the ship make it obvious that something is wrong. To ensure that they aren’t looted of Tessil’s money, Varen Berelis, Dewurra, and D4-VNC1 (Vince) open the locked box they are carrying to Tessil and stow it’s contents in D4-VNC1 (Vince)‘s secret compartment. Corgan Dil’Alys haphazardly makes his way up a disabled turbo-lift to join the group on the main deck. D4-VNC1 (Vince) is eventually able to hack into the ship’s comm system and determine that a Gravity Well pulled the ship out of hyperspace.

Vuko Dardo climbs to the turbo-lift shaft to the bridge. On the way there, he is able to look out from the observation deck and see that the Queen is careening towards an uncharted blue planet. At this point, the group decides that it is time to abandon ship. They are all able to board escape pods and avoid the unpleasantness of an atmospheric entry aboard the cruise liner.

Out of the Frying Pan

After a bumpy ride to the planet’s surface the crew finds themselves scattered about the surface of an ocean. Off to the East, Vuko spots a wrecked Interdictor-class cruiser sticking up out of the surface of the ocean. The group and other survivors from the Queen of Ranroon manage to assemble on an emergency raft. To the west, someone notices a ship coming towards them, apparently manned with locals. At about the same time, another ship is spotted coming towards the group from the east, the direction of the Star Destroyer. This second ship is full of Stormtroopers, equipped with old and out-date armor and weapons.

Wanting to stay as far away from Imperial entanglements as possible, the the group decides to make for the locals. The Imperial ship takes note, picks up other survivors still floating in the ocean, and turns back towards the Star Destroyer. Our heroes, thinking they’ve made the right decision are picked up by the local ship, but no sooner do they get on deck then they are quickly grouped together and held at gunpoint as the Captain of the ship comes on deck.

Into the fire?

Trailed by a massive beast call Sim, the Captain of the local vessel, Crimson Jack, appears to be a pirate. However savage he may appear, he is prepared to make a deal, and Varen convinces him to talk instead of loot. Jack tells the group that the Imperials are responsible for the crash of the Queen. Apparently their cruiser crashed on the planet years before, and in cold-blooded desperation the Imperial crew has resorted to periodically activating the interdictor field and preying on any ship unlucky enough to be caught. However, there is hope. The captain reveals that the Queen of Ranroon did not, in fact, burn up in the atmosphere – instead it is locked in a slowly decaying orbit, and it is salvageable. Using parts from the Queen and a more-or-less intact freighter, it may be possible to cobble together a working hyperdrive for one ship to escape the system.

Unfortunately the captain’s plan has a small flaw – only the Imperials can get to the ships. And they aren’t likely to be amendable to persuasion…

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Act I, Ep. II
Belly of the Beast

In which our brave adventurers spend some time aboard Crimson Jack’s flagship, The Fallen Mynock, learning the recent history of Drexel II and planning their escape.

A Little Knowledge Goes a Long Way

Our crew of adventurers learn some rather interesting information from Crimson Jack. For starters, they find that they are in the Drexel system, on one of the only habitable planets of the system, the water planet, Drexel II. Jack tells the group that the wrecked star destroyer is the Arachnis, possibly the only surviving Imperial ship from the Drexel Ambush during the Clone Wars.

The crew, ever vigilant and perceptive, notice that the strange sea creatures pulling Jack’s ship seem somewhat “tame.” Jack explains that the creatures are sea dianogas and have been “tweaked” by a “wizard.” This wizard turns out to be a doctor and to the utter shock of the adventurers, she’s a Kaminoan. Varen Berelis talks with the Kaminoan, See’lok, and learns that See’lok, having been on Drexel II for about ten years, doesn’t know that her race committed mass suicide nine years ago during the Clone Wars. Varen quickly changes tact and inquires about the sea dianogas. See’lok describes how she genetically engineered them to be more tame and somewhat trainable beasts of burden, but they are still fearsome.

While Varen has been with See’lok, the rest of the crew have been talking to Crimson Jack, trying to figure out a way to get onto the Arcanis undetected so they can potentially disable the gravity well generators and at the least steal the shuttle the Imperials sometimes use. Varen rejoins the group and shares what he has learned about the sea dianogas. Hearing about the sea beasts, Nü el’Kah suddenly gets a “gleam” in his eye and says, “I think I’ve got a plan.”

A Plan is Formed, Hatched, and Executed

Taking advantage of his Gand physiology, and particularly his life-sustaining respirator (which functions just as well under water), Nü el’Kah devises an ingenious plan – why try to sail up to the Arachnis when he can swim under it? After a few false starts, he learns to ride the dianogas and is able to covertly scout the submerged section of the Arachnis. With a little time and more than a little luck he finds an unobstructed (although unpowered) airlock, and returns to alert the crew.

The plan he proposes is dangerous and will require some luck to succeed: using the dianogas, the crew will sneak up to the Arachnis, then dive down to the airlock. With a little brute strength, they should be able to force open the airlock, and with a little luck they should be able to pass through, close the outer doors, and open the inner doors before they all drown. While several members of the crew smell a lot of “if” coming off of this plan, it does afford the element of surprise.

Unable to think of a better option, the crew (accompanied by Jack’s Yuzzem enforcer and a small band of pirates) rides a pair of dianogas to the sunken Interdictor with the goal of forcing their way into its underbelly. Arriving without alerting the Imperials to their presence, Nü el’Kah and Dewurra are able to swim down and open the outer airlock door using Dewurra’s overwhelming Wookie strength. Unfortunately on the way back to the surface Nü el’Kah gets separated from Dewurra, and in the dark water his respirator hose becomes entangled in protruding wreckage. Meanwhile, with varying degrees of success the rest of the crew is able to dive down and swim into the airlock.

After several desperate attempts to untangle himself, Nü el’Kah is able to make his way back to the airlock, where he is pulled through the outer blast doors by Dewurra at the last second before the crew closes them. With the entire crew assembled in the airlock, they are able to manually cycle the doors and gain access to the belly of the Interdictor.

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The crew find themselves in a dark, dank corridor. The smell of mold and mildew permeates the air. It’s obvious right away that this part of the ship is without power and has been abandoned by the Imperial forces. No one has been down here for a long time, possibly since the ship originally crashed onto the planet. The crew gather up to discuss their plan of attack. Their options are few. The current situation presents two possible choices, go back out the way they came, or follow the corridor “up” into the heart of the Interdictor. It stands to reason that the shuttle they are looking for must be in one of the upper shuttle bays of the star destroyer, one of the bays above the water line, and ship plans found in D4-VNC1 (Vince)’s memory banks confirm this likelihood.

Unfortunately, there is some dispute as to which path the group should take through the Interdictor. This increasingly heated discussion draws the attention of two patrolling groups of Imperial Navy Troopers. Apparently this part of the ship was not as abandoned as they thought. An intense battle with the troopers ensues, as the group fights from the center of a T-intersection to take down troopers in opposing corridors. Although a few of our heroes suffer minor wounds, these are quickly healed by Nü el’Kah and the crew routes the Imperial Troops, killing all but two of them. One, persuaded to flee the battle by the slick talking politician Berelis, disappears into the inky blackness of the corridor behind him. The second trooper, through some quick thinking of the crew during the heat of battle, lies stunned among his dead comrades. The crew intend to interrogate him to find out where the shuttle is located.

The crew warily moves down the corridor towards the downed trooper, watchful for another attack. As they approach the trooper, a deep, dark voice comes over the ship-wide intercom system, “What are you doing on my ship?”

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Act I, Ep. III
Loose Lips Sink Ships

In which the party forgets that the walls have ears.

Be Careful What You Say…

Feeling pretty good about themselves, having been smart enough to not kill all of the Imperial Navy Troopers, the crew wakes up and interrogates the remaining survivor of the two groups that ambushed them. They learn that many of the ships internal automated defenses are still intact and operational. They also learn that there are three working shuttles on the Arachnis and they are all located in the same shuttle bay in the upper portion of the ship.

The captive, pressed for more information, and even offered a chance to turn against the Empire in exchange for his life and safe passage off the planet, states that he is loyal to the Empire and to Captain Solov. He admits it was Captain Solov’s voice we heard over the intercom just moments before. After much heated discussion among the crew, it’s decided to let the prisoner live. The crew devise a plan, tie the prisoner up and bring him along, forcing him to help them avoid patrols and bypass any automated defenses, as they make for the shuttle hangar bay.

…Someone, Somewhere, Is Always Listening!

A short time later the crew safely arrives outside the hanger bay, having managed to avoid all patrols and automated defenses. D4-VNC1 (Vince) hacks the hangar bay door controls, opening the bay doors, and gets attacked by a virus in the system. Using the ever popular, and very effect, defense of screaming “Out! Out! Out!,” Vince manages to fight off the cyber attack. The bay is very quiet and the crew can see a shuttle directly in front of them. They cautiously move into the bay towards the shuttle. Vince and Corgan Dil’Alys access the shuttle’s ramp controls, managing to get the rear access ramp to open up. AMBUSH!!!

Standing inside the shuttle are four Imperial Stormtroopers. Thoroughly surprised, our heroes turn to find four more Stormtroopers at the hangar bay door. An intense battle ensues and contrary to popular belief, the Stormtroopers are quite accurate with their blaster rifles. Corgan, Vuko Dardo, and Nü el’Kah hunker down behind some shipping crates, trading blaster fire with the Stormtroopers, but they still take near fatal damage. Vince, ever the enterprising droid, bamboozles the Stormtroopers on the shuttle, slips by them, and locks herself into the cockpit. As the battle wages on outside, Vince raises the rear ramp of the shuttle from the cockpit, trapping the Stormtroopers inside, and giving her companions a small bit of reprieve from the heavy blaster fire they were taking from all sides.

With Vince inside the shuttle and everybody else outside fighting Stormtroopers, Captain Solov’s voice booms over the intercom, “You’re not getting off this ship. Surrender now and we’ll talk!” The crew decides to fight on. Inside the shuttle Vince is pushing the Jump To Light Speed button as fast as she can, to no avail. Out in the hangar bay Vuko manages to shot the hangar bay door controls. The crew, thinking the battle is about to end, is sorely disappointed when the door only closes halfway. The Stormtroopers out in the corridor slide in under the half closed door and the battle continues. Back inside the shuttle, Vince has accessed the shuttle’s computer and is frantically trying to get the engines started. She realizes the ship has been disabled somehow and will not start. Cowering behind the shipping crates, Vuko, Nü el’Kah, and Corgan’s comlinks all suddenly come to life with Vince’s voice as she screams, “No Juice! No Juice!”

Sometimes…Discretion is the Better Part of Valor

The crew suddenly realizes their situation is dire and reluctantly decides to surrender. As Vuko, Nü el’Kah, and Corgan have their weapons taken and are rounded up by the Stormtroopers (Vince, forgotten about by the Stormtroopers, has remained hidden inside the shuttle’s cockpit), Captain Solov shows up. He has captured and brought along Crimson Jack, Sim, and the rest of the Pirate gang. As Solov and his captives cross the hangar bay to where the Stormtroopers have the crew held Vuko leans over to Nü el’Kah and Corgan and whispers, “Bastard heard our entire plan down in the corridor.” They give Vuko a look that screams, “YA THINK!!!” Captain Solov asks, “What are you doing here? What had you hoped to accomplish? The Queen of Ranroon is rapidly losing orbit and will fall into the sea within hours. Even if you managed to steal one of my shuttles, it would be too late.”

Crimson Jack, sensing an opening, tells Captain Solov that it doesn’t matter. He says there are parts on the Queen that he and his men, if given a shuttle to fly up to the Queen, can salvage from the damaged ship and use to fix the semi-operational freighter they have. With Solov’s help, once his freighter is repaired with the parts from the Queen, he will take Solov and as many of his men as the ship will carry off Drexel II and out of the Drexel system. Captain Solov agrees.

Our heroes, seeing their opportunity to get off the planet slip through their fingers, and indignant at Jack’s backstabbing, bully their way into the deal with Solov. They explain to the Captain that while Crimson Jack might have the manpower to go up and get the parts off the Queen, we were actually on the ship and will be able to lead them to the parts quickly, before the Queen can fall out of orbit, possibly destroying the precious repair parts when it crashes on the planet. Captain Solov doesn’t look convinced, so the crew plays one last card of desperation stating that Crimson Jack and his merry gang are merely pirates and mercenaries, what could they possibly know about fixing a hyper drive motivator. We have two mechanics in our crew, and if allowed to come along will have the freighter repaired and ready to take us all off planet in no time at all. The Captain, stuck between a rock and hard place, reluctantly agrees.

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Act I, Ep. IV
What Goes Up Must Come Down

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.

“0100010001101001011001010010000001110011011101010110001101101011011001010111001
00111001100100001”
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.

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Act I, Ep. V
There's More Than One Way to Disarm a Stormtrooper
You haven’t lived until you’ve heard a Wookie say “Pew Pew”

The episode opens with our heroes, in their shuttle, following Captain Solov’s shuttle toward the freighter, in orbit above Drexel II. Solov’s shuttle docks, briefly, and then pulls away a short distance from the freighter. Bin’she Keeba, piloting the party’s shuttle follows the same trajectory and is soon landing inside the freighter’s small shuttle bay. As the party warily exits the shuttle, the bay is empty, but they can hear the faint sounds of blaster fire coming from somewhere inside the freighter. Dewurra points up and says, “Aughh Aughh.” Ensuring they have a way to escape, in case things go wrong, Vince pilots the shuttle back out into space, keeping the shuttle in a holding pattern around the freighter. Dewurra , using brute force, opens a forward blast door and the party investigates. They find a large room, it’s perimeter ringed with number rooms and a command console in the center of the room. They strongly suspect these are holding cells and the freighter was once a prisoner transport.

Back in the shuttle bay, they discover the turbo lift is inoperable and Dewurra forces open the aft blast doors. This leads into a two-story cargo bay. It’s quite dusty and most of the room looks as if no-one has been in here for years, but they soon find several crates that have been busted open recently. The crates have military markings on them and are about 6’ tall by 3’ wide by 3’ deep. They find one crate unopened. Dewurra breaks open the crate and finds a non-functional B1 Battle Droid inside. The party takes a ladder up to the next deck and finds two parallel corridors running the length of the ship. The port corridor has two dead battle droids and a dead Stormtrooper. Nü el’Kah grabs the Stormtrooper’s blaster carbine, and gives him a kick for good measure. The starboard corridor is empty. The party finds a cross corridor halfway down the ship. They discover used escape pods in a forward hatchway and a common living area in an aft hatchway. The party moves back to the starboard corridor and winds up at the front of the ship at the bridge. The sound of blaster fire fades as they move towards the front of the ship.

“Hey, did anybody remember to turn off that pesky gravity well on the Archanis?” Bin’she Keeba

The party searches the bridge but finds nothing. Most of the ships systems are still shut down. Bin’she and Vuko Dardo get the main computer online and attempt to plot a hyperspace course in the navigation computer to allow them to quickly leave the system once the hyper drive motivator is fixed. “Hey, what’s that flashing red light mean?” Varen Berelis asks. Vuko checks the computer display, “Do not jump to light space, ship still in a gravity well.” “Well crap!” The party looks around defeated, realizing there was a slightly important thing they failed to do while on the Archanis. Discussion ensues. The options are to wait it out on the bridge and let fate decide what happens to the crew, or to search out Crimson Jack and find out what’s going on with the hyper drive motivator.

With their hands tied and nothing else to be done in the bridge, the party moves back down the starboard corridor towards the center of the ship, stopping at the turbo lift. There has been no sign of Crimson Jack, his crew, the Stormtroopers, or Captain Solov. It stands to reason they are the ones shooting it out on the deck above. The loud cracks of blaster fire emanate from the turbo lift. Seeing no other way to get to the deck above, Dewurra decides to climb up the turbo lift to see what’s going on. He pokes his head out into the corridor on the deck above. He sees blaster fire being traded up and down the corridor, with battle droids forward and stormtroopers aft. He receives a “little off the top” from an errant blaster shot for his trouble and quickly climbs back down to report what he’s found. The crew is pretty certain Engineering is on the deck above, and that’s where Jack is repairing the hyper drive motivator. They know they’ve got to get up there, but how to do it with the turbo lift exit in the middle of a fire fight?

“Well, now what? Anybody got any bright ideas?”

They return to the bridge and Varen eyes the escape pod bays. They force open one of the starboard bay doors and climb the escape pod launch tube to the upper level, only to find that the exit would put them smack into a group of battle droids. They decide to try the port pod tubes and see if there is less heat on that side of the ship. Luckily, the port corridor on the upper deck is quiet. They open doors along the corridor, discovering some nicer quarters than the common area below. At the end of the hall, Dewurra rips open a blast door, finding Capt. Jack’s crew holed up and waiting for the Stormtroopers to cut through the opposite door.

Before Solov’s men are able to cut through the door, Varen is able to glean from the pirates that Capt. Jack is in Engineering behind the aft door of their current room and trying to hook up the scavenged hyper drive motivator. After a little conversation, the aft door opens, with the Yuzzem pointedly blocking the way. Jack is happy to hear that the group eliminated their military escort, and acknowledges that he unleashed the battle droids on the imperial forces. Jack explains that the battle droids are in autonomous mode; they’ll seek out and target anything that looks Imperial (Old Republic, really), but that they won’t show much in the way of tactics or initiative.

Vuko points out that the Arachnis still has an operational gravity well, but Jack doesn’t seem too concerned. Bin’she Keeba squeezes past the Yuzzem to help Jack with the motivator. Shortly thereafter, the Stormtroopers breach the blast door. The group must make a stand here against the Stormtroopers to protect the motivator (and their only chance to get off of this planet).

A battle that “gets out of hand”

The fighting is hot and heavy right from the start. A Stormtrooper attempts to throw a grenade through the partially open blast door, but Dewurra with his “cat like” reflexes, swats the grenade back out into the corridor, saving the group from certain death. The good doctor, Nü el’Kah, makes good use of his pilfered carbine, doing serious damage to the troopers taking cover in the starboard hallway. Our heroes manage to kill a few Stormtroopers, but, not to be outdone the Stormtroopers kill a few of Jack’s crew too. Finally Dewurra gets fed up with the back and forth and decides to do something about it. He lunges out into the corridor grabs a Stormtrooper by the arm and tries to pull him back through the blast door with him. The problem with his plan, at least for the Stormtrooper, is that the blast door is only partially open and the Stormtrooper won’t fit through. This doesn’t deter Dewurra, with his Wookie strength he rips the Stormtrooper’s arm off and then beats him with it as the trooper blacks out and dies, blood squirting from his shoulder.

In all the confusion of battle, it’s forgotten that there is a huge Yuzzem just standing there. “What’s the Yuzzem doing?” someone asks over the cacophonous roar of blaster fire. Bin’she responds, “He likes to watch.” The battle continues, but the party gains the upper hand and soon all the Stormtroopers are dispensed with. The group surveys the damage and notice that Captain Solov is conspicuously missing. After searching the remainder of the quarters on this deck they find Solov’s uniform and quickly realize that he’s changed clothes and slipped away, most likely to his shuttle that was orbiting outside. Varen grabs a comlink off a Stormtrooper, “Solov, it’s over!” Solov laughs over the comlink and says, “You still have to get out of the system,” and the comlink goes dead. Solov is heading back to the Archanis to make sure the gravity well won’t let us leave.

Crimson Jack and Bin’she get the hyper drive motivator fixed and the Bottoms Up! is ready for light speed travel once again, there’s just that slight problem with the gravity well to overcome. Jack has a plan and the group quickly find themselves coming out of orbit, the Archanis dead in their crosshairs, and the Bottoms Up! gun batteries blazing. The Archanis, already in a state of decay doesn’t stand a chance and the gravity well generators are quickly destroyed. Jack returns to his camp, picks up all the remaining refugees, including See’lok the last surviving Kaminoan, and everyone breaths a sigh of relief when the Bottoms Up! goes to light speed, hopefully leaving the Drexel system behind them forever.

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Act II, Ep. I
Homeward Bound

Scavenging the wreckage of Drexel II, the party recovers an old ship that looks like a prototype for the YT-2000 . The ship is space worthy — barely — after a patchwork repair using parts hobbled together from the junk yard that’s Drexel II.

We offer to take Dr. See’Lok’srudimentary genetic laboratory as a ploy to get her away from Crimson Jack. Once aboard our ship, it’s time for The Talk. We delicately tell her about the future she faces beyond Drexel II. Jack and his ilk would think nothing of selling her to a bounty hunter, once they discover the truth that is the last Kaminoan. She agrees to come with us instead.

Before leaving Drexel II, we tell Jack that we need to return to Tessil and were then heading to Bothan space to take Corgan home. We are anticipating that Jack will try to hunt us down after he realizes how valuable Dr. See’lok is. A little misinformation can’t hurt.

An offer you can’t refuse.

The ship carries us back to Ryloth IV in one piece, mostly. A little persuading from Corgan Dil’Alys convinces Tessil the Hutt to forgive us for being late with his payment. We receive paymet of 1000 CR each, with the group each deciding that Nü el’Kah should get 100 CR from each of us in appreciation of his help on Drexel II. With that debt paid off, we decide to make Tessil an offer he can’t refuse. The mystery of the Death Wind Corridor is a downed Interdictor Cruiser and we offer to sell Tessil the coordinates of Drexel II. The system is ripe for scavenging and for an enterprising Hutt to put that old Interdictor to good use. We leave out Captain Jack from the tale and, of course, Dr See’Lok.

After a slight negotiation, Tessil agrees to fully repair our ship —christened the Crown of Bartok, complete with new registration, provide generous 1% cut of profits from Drexel II in exchange for the coordinates of the downed Interdictor. We restock the ship and spread rumors among the dealers and Tessil’s agents that we’re headed to Bothan space for a new job. We can’t have Crimon Jack, or Tessil for that matter, knowing our next step. Dewurra immediately head to the sabacc tables with his newfound pay. Bein’she attempts to gain some information on his family member, concluding that they are indentured servants and it will require quite a large sum to pay off their debts.

A bittersweet homecoming

In reality, Dr. See’Lok needs to see Kamino for herself to believe that her people really are gone. We arrive in the system to find an Imperial quarantine in effect and a capitol-class cruiser on patrol. As we approach Kamino, we see large satellites orbiting high above the planet. These satellites don’t appear to be active or serving any particular function. Not sure of the best way to infiltrate the system, we opt for stealth. Bin’she Keeba powers down our ship and flies silently past the satellites and cruiser. Also we are uncertain, we believe that we have successfully infiltrated the planet without being detected.

What awaits us on the planet is a wasteland of boiling seas, an echo of the once-great civilization. The truth confirmed, Dr See’Lok has nothing to do but weep. She is the last Kaminoan.

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Act II, Ep. ii
In which the party tries to undo Tessil's work on their ship.

After surveying the surface of the planet to ensure See’lok that her people had, in fact, destroyed their own society, the group decided to investigate the satellites they has previously spotted. The satellites were not active in any identifiable way. Upon further observation, the crew were able to determine that the satellites had been positioned in an orbiting circle above the planet.

Bin’she Keeba docked the Crown of Bartok with one of the satellites. Nü el’Kah and Varen Berelis boarded the satellite to find that the interior only consisted of tiny, cramped areas to allow for maintenance of the satellite’s systems. The satellite had only positioning thrusters – no mechanism for real movement. Also, it seems that the end of the satellite pointed towards the planet has projected a huge amount of energy in that direction. The group concluded that the ring of satellites had been at least part of the mechanism for the planet’s destruction. The controls and systems of the satellite were nonfunctional, appearing to have been overloaded. Varen removed a computer board, hoping that further inspection might provide some more information about how they were deployed.

While Varen and Nu were investigating the satellite innards, the crew’s lookout in the laser cannon ( Dewurra ) was doing a horrible job. A squad of TIE fighters spotted the Crown of Bartok and moved to intercept. Hoping that we could use the planet to escape, Bin’she Keeba took the Crown back to the surface, flying around steam clouds for cover.

The TIEs descended too fast for our gunners to hit them and they blasted the Crown while we tried desperately to out maneuver the Imperials. It wasn’t until we started working together like a crew – bolstering shields, jamming communications, deploying decoys and coordinating blaster shots – that we picked off the TIEs. They’re fast but fragile.

We didn’t overstay our welcome. With several squads now in pursuit, we jumped to hyperspace leaving behind the satellites and the shattered remains of Kamino.

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Act II, Ep. iii
We could almost buy our own ship for that!
Who’s piloting this thing?!

Having botched the astrogation calculations in an attempt to quickly get away from Kamino, our band of heroes arrive at Tatooine in one piece, unfortunately, their main hyper drive did not, and they limp into the system a week later than they anticipated, using the Crown of Bartok’s (All Hail Queen Bartok, may she live forever) backup hyper drive. En route to Tatooine, with some extra time on their hands, they investigate the computer chips that Varen Berelis took from the large satellite array orbiting around Kamino. The parts have Imperial manufacturing markings, and based on their engineering, and the fact that they are all burnt to crisps, it’s determined that they were pieces of a larger system that generated massive amounts of power in a very short period of time. After several days of investigation and deep discussion, the crew surmises that the story of the Kaminoans having committed “mass suicide” is most likely a steaming pile of Bantha dung and the truth is more likely that the Empire was testing some new large scale weapon (Cough cough precursor to the Death Star). Unfortunately for the Kaminoans, the Empire chose Kamino to test the weapon. Perhaps because of their affiliation with the Galactic Republic and their work with the clones.

“Mos Eisley Spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”

The crew decides that Mos Eisley is probably the best place on Tatooine to obtain parts to repair their broken hyper drive and lay low, just in case the Empire is looking for them. Using their legal status as a trading vessel, they land in Mos Eisley at one of the many docking bays. Varen and Corgan Dil’Alys set out to acquire parts, some of which are quickly found in town, but they learn that they must track down some Jawas to get the other not so easily found parts. Meanwhile, Vuko Dardo and Bin’she Keeba have gone to Chalmun’s Cantina to see what the scuttlebutt about town is. Vuko overhears a Duros in the corner spouting rabble about rebels and some kind of alliance. While this is the Outer Rim and this kind of talk is not unheard of, nor rare, it seems more and more people are talking about rebels, there is a small Imperial presence in Mos Eisley, and talk of rebellion could land you in hot water. Vuko takes his drink and attempts to find information elsewhere, but it appears that it’s business as usual in town. Checking the Bounty Board, Bin’she learns that there is someone claiming a large number of bounties on Tatooine. A few minutes later, back out in the searing heat and bright Tatooine sun, they see an IG-88 assassin droid walking down the street and Bin’she instantly knows who’s been collecting the bounties. They slink away in the opposite direction. The crew reconvenes, and sets out to find transportation to get out to the Jawas. They find a Toydarian junk dealer who tries to rent them a landspeeder for an exorbitant price. Bin’she exclaims, “We could almost buy our own ship for that!” They negotiate him down to a reasonable price, plus a “security deposit.” Having been fleeced by the Toydarian to rent the landspeeder, they head out of town to find the Jawas.

A few miles out of town, while cruising through one of the numerous rocky valleys that pepper the Tatooine landscape, Bin’she notices a large pile of rocks blocking the valley. Just then a large Bantha with a Tusken Raider on its back, appears on the other side of the roadblock. At the same time, the air fills with the sounds of growling Tusken Raiders. Eight Tusken Raiders, each carrying a deadly slugthrower rifle, appear on both sides of the valley. A short but intense firefight ensues. Bin’she, not wanting to stick around and see how this fight turns out hits the gas. The land speeder might have suffered a few scratches as Bin’she deftly drove it over the road block, while Varen, Vuko, and Corgan picked Tusken Raiders off the valley rim, also killing the Tusken Raider on the Bantha. “There goes the security deposit,” Vuko says as he inspects the damage to the landspeeder while they speed away from the few remaining Tusken Raiders on the valley walls. A short time later they find the Jawas. The Jawas have the part and intense negotiation ensues. Varen, ever the slick talking politician, talks the Jawas down from wanting 100 gallons of water in trade for the part. With his arms raised and looking around indignantly, Varen says to the Jawas, “What do we look like, moisture farmers? Where are we supposed to get water on a desert planet?” The Jawas reluctantly agree to 300 credits and the crew turns back to town.

We should have been more cautious!

On the way back to town Corgan radios to the ship to let them know we are on our way back with the parts. Unfortunately, the com link is silent on the other end, no one is answering. Once back in town they park the landspeeder a few blocks away from their docking bay and try to come up with a plan. Vuko offers to put his sneaking skills on display and see what’s going on in the docking bay. He slinks away and as quiet as a thermal detonator, he trips over some old power converters lying near the entrance to the open docking bay. Looking up, hoping no one heard him, he realizes that is not the case. Inside the docking bay, at the foot of the Crown of Bartok’s entry ramp stands a large gathering. There are six Gamorrean Guards and a Twi’lek scout surrounding Dewurra, D4-VNC1 (Vince), and Nü el’Kah. See’lok is still hiding in one of the smuggling compartments aboard ship. The Twi’lek, and everybody else, turns to Vuko. “Join us friend,” the Twi’lek says. Vuko walks over to join the crew and as he is crossing the docking bay he slips his com link out of his pocket and switches it on, however, continuing his recent trend of “stealthiness” he drops it on the ground as he attempts to hook it to his belt. Thankfully, it stayed on so Bin’she, Corgan, and Varen can hear what is being said.

“My name is Bib Fortuna,” the Twi’lek says as Vuko joins the others. “The great Jabba the Hutt welcomes you to Mos Eisley. What is your business here?” Vuko explains they had to make an emergency landing and they were only in Mos Eisley to repair their ship. Bib Fortuna says that is too bad, and wants to know, since we are employees of Tessil the Hutt, why we did not inform Jabba that we were in town as soon as we landed. Vuko tries to explain they just landed a few hours ago, they weren’t in Mos Eisley to conduct any business, they’re not currently working any jobs for Tessil, and were leaving as soon as their ship was repaired. “I had gone into town to procure parts. We are going to fix our ship and be on our way,” he explains. Bib Fortuna says that will be for Jabba to decide. “Please, come with me, the great Jabba the Hutt would like to speak with you. He is waiting for you in his palace here in town,” Bib Fortuna says as he motions for the crew to leave the docking bay. Vuko, hoping that Bin’she, Corgan, and Varen have been listening to the conversation over the com link, prays they make it Jabba before he does.

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Act II, Ep. iv
Movin' On Up...
We Finally Got A Piece of the Pie?

Bin’she, Corgan, and Varen do indeed make it Jabba’s Palace before the rest of the crew and their escort Bib Fortuna. Unfortunately, as they are banging on the large metal door of the palace, Bib Fortuna walks up with a knowing smile on his face, “fancy meeting you here.” The entire crew soon find themselves standing before Jabba himself. He wants to know why we’re on his planet without informing him we were here. Corgan explains we had a broken hyper drive, had just landed a few hours before, and Bib Fortuna had gotten to us before we could come see Jabba. He seems to believe the story and says all we have to do is pay the 500 credit fee for landing in his town. He also wants to know what our employer, Tessil the Hutt, is doing buying up a bunch of salvage freighters. After a brief sidebar, the group decides to offer Jabba a deal. We’ll tell him what Tessil is doing with the freighters, salvaging the downed Interdictor, if he will wave the “docking fee” and agree to repair our ship (hyper drive and damage we recently received to the hull). Jabba agrees.

Jabba seems surprised that someone such as Tessil, a Hutt of lower standing, has managed to land such a lucrative deal. However, in true Hutt fashion, he wants more. He also wants to know where this salvage operation is taking place. The crew sidebars again, wondering if it’s a good idea to tell him, also weighing the option of what would happen if we don’t tell him. Ultimately, the crew decides that crossing Tessil is not that big of a deal and would rather be on his bad side as opposed to Jabba’s. They make Jabba an offer, the location of the downed Interdictor and in exchange, the crew wants 5,000 credits a piece. Jabba quickly agrees and amends the deal by stating that we work for him now. After some quick thought, the crew doesn’t see this as such a bad thing and agree.

Vince Pimps Her Ride

Jabba says it will take a few days to make the repairs to the Crown of Bartok, so the crew uses the time to run some errands around town. Varen and Bin’she decide to go back to the ship to ensure that See’lok isn’t discovered by the crew that comes to fix the ship. Dewura, his freshly earned five large burning a hole in his utility belt heads straight for the Sabacc table. He places 2,000 credits on his first hand and wins, netting 8,000 credits and is feeling good. If one win is good, then two wins would be even better, he ups his bet to 5,000 credits. Unfortunately, the tides of fortune are fickle and quickly change. He loses his second hand and decides to play again, certain he’ll win back the credits he just lost. The odds ever being in the house’s favor he losses another 5,000 credits and decides enough is enough. Corgan had joined him, watching him play, and the second loss of 5,000 credits within minutes is too much for Corgan, he breaks out in laughter at the Wookie’s misfortune. Dewura’s temperament gets the better of him and he punches Corgan, hard. Everyone in the casino notices the brief exchange and give Dewura a wide berth as he exits the casino, Corgan slowly following, after he picked himself up off the floor.

A bit later, Corgan, Nü el’Kah, and Vuko head over to Chalmun’s Cantina to try and talk to the guy rabbling about rebellion that Vuko had overheard earlier. Based on Vuko’s description, Corgan and Nü el’Kah easily spot the Duros sitting in the corner speaking with a human. They take an open table close enough to the Duros to overhear his conversation with the human. Vuko gets a seat at the bar nearby so he can keep an eye on the proceedings and be prepared in case something goes wrong. Corgan and Nü el’Kah overhear the human bragging about his piloting skills. The Duros says, “we can always use a good pilot in the rebellion.” Their conversation wraps up and the two shake hands. The human has a satisfied look on his face as he passes by Corgan and Nü el’Kah. As soon as he’s out of the Cantina they get up and sit down with the Duros. It doesn’t take much prodding from them before the Duros is talking about freedom fighters and overthrowing the oppressors. Corgan and Nü el’Kah are going along with him, seeing how much he’ll reveal about this rebellion. After beating around the bush for a bit, they ultimately come right out and ask him if he’s part of the rebellion. He enthusiastically says he is and that he is one of many responsible for propaganda and recruiting. He says the rebellion is recruiting revolutionaries looking to join the cause. Corgan and Nü el’Kah say they are definitely interested but they want to know more, is there anything else he can tell them. He says unfortunately he doesn’t know much more, but he does hand Nü el’Kah a data pad and says these people might be able to use our services. Nü el’Kah turns it on and finds information for a contact on Corellia. The contact will be at a bar on Corellia, but that is all the information there is, no name, no description. The Duros says he doesn’t have anything else to tell them, so Corgan and Nü el’Kah leave, Vuko following them a few minutes later.

In the meantime, Vince is on the hunt for shiny! She’s looking for a comm jammer, thermal grenades, a blaster pistol and other things. Unfortunately this is the outer rim and many of those items are rare and are not to be found on Tatooine. She does however find something even more rare. A bit later, she rolls back into the docking bay, twittering beeps and boops as she shows off her new bling, a flame thrower, to the rest of the crew.

Dewurra also hit up the local traders and was able to find a slightly used (with decorative bloodstains) Bowcaster. Just the thing to make a Wookiee feel at home. He also picked up a stimpak for Corgan – a muted apology for losing his temper earlier.

Corgan and Nü el’Kah report what they’ve learned about the rebellion and See’lok seems very interested by the news. She seems to think this might be the best place for her, especially after learning that it was most likely the Empire that was responsible for the Kaminoan genocide. The crew meanwhile, tries to figure out what their next course of action will be.

The Way I See It, We’ve Got Two Choices

The crew, hesitant to just leave Tatooine without informing Jabba, are curious about their status with the Hutt. Does he have a job for them? Should they sit around and wait? Should they leave? They put out feelers and quickly learn that Jabba has already forgotten about his new employees. The crew decides slipping away quietly is the best course of action, but lets Bib Fortuna know that if Jabba requires their services, they will be available.

With the Jabba issue taken care of, for the time being, the crew comes up with two solid options for where to go next. The first is to go to Corellia and meet up with the Rebellion contact. The second option is to go after Bin’she’s family members that are still slaves to Tessil on Ryloth. It’s decided, especially based on the recent turn of events, i.e. double crossing Tessil and taking employment with Jabba, that Bin’she’s family should be rescued immediately before Tessil becomes aware of the betrayal.

Before setting a course for Ryloth, the ship is still being repaired and the crew has a bit more time on their hands. They use the time, and their newly acquired credits from Jabba, to upgrade the Crown of Bartok. They add an extended shield generator, an electronic counter measures suite, and a high output ion turbine. Once all the upgrades have been installed and Jabba’s people finish fixing the ship Corgan “inspects” all the new work, secretly looking for the tracking devices the crew suspects Jabba has had installed. Corgan reports back later that he didn’t find any devices. With nothing else keeping them on Tatooine, the crew plots a course for Ryloth.

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Act II, Ep. v
Finished up old business.
Which canon is this?

The crew, having finished their business on Tatooine plot a course for Ryloth, the ultimate goal, to rescue Bin’she’s family from Tessil the Hutt. Coming out of hyperspace around Ryloth the Crown of Bartok is hailed from the planet and we transmit our ship code. A few minutes later the operator asks why we’re using an old transmission protocol. Bin’she says this is the protocol we were given by Tessil, we have no other protocols. The operator explains Tessil’s agents are now using a newer protocol but we’ll be allowed to land. This gives the crew pause, wondering if the jig is up before it began, but they land at Tessil’s spaceport anway.

The crew disembarks and is met by Firno, a tall, imposing, male Twi’lek; Tessil’s majordomo. He notices the crew’s garb and gives them a strange look. Half of the crew are in their traditional clothing, however, Dewurra is wearing a banana costume, Corgan looks the part of a well dressed blood sucking vampire, and two of the crew, Vince and Vuko, are obviously confused, dressed like they are in The Verse and not in a galaxy far far away. Firno gives a quick shake of his head and escorts us inside.

Varen and Firno begin a somewhat heated but civil discussion in regards to the “information” we have for Tessil. Varen tries to explain that we need to deliver the information directly to Tessil but FIrno blocks him at every opportunity. Finally Varen realizes his attempts are futile and tells Firno that somehow (hinting that Crimson Jack may have been responsible) Jabba the Hutt has learned of the downed Interdictor at Drexel II and Tessil’s salvage operation. In the meantime, the rest of the crew is checking on the incoming/outgoing ship log but see no records of the Bottom’s Up, Crimson Jack’s ship, nor of any ship IG-88 might be flying. After much teeth nashing and bumbling about, the crew concludes that Tessil is not even on planet, he’s at Drexel II overseeing the salvage operation. Firno bids us a good day and leaves.

“Marching into a detention area is not what I had in mind.”

Dewurra growls, “It’s a smash and grab!” The crew, seeing no other way, concede, and a plan is quickly formulated and hatched. Bin’she calls her family and tells them to get to the highest level of Tessil’s palace they are allowed to access, we will meet them and get them out. The crew finds the main turbolift and takes it down to meet Bin’she’s family. As the doors open, a very cramped crew, having crammed into the turbolift like a pack of mynocks, spill out into the corridor, and notice they are on the detention level.

Ahead of them is a central control station with three guards, a human and two Gamorreans. Bin’she notices her family standing behind the control station, in the detention area, and tries to hide her enthusiasm at seeing them. Varen strides up and engages the human, “Good afternoon sir, we are here to escort the Twi’leks upstairs to Firon,” he says motioning to Bin’she’s family. “My name is Dave,” the human says, looking over Varen’s shoulder at the odd assortment of people coming out of the turbo lift. “All of you…are here to escore them?” Dave asks skeptically. “Of course,” Varen beams, as if it were the absolute truth, “these dancers are a gift from us to Firno and we want to ensure they are delivered safely to him.” Dave seems unsure but relents and allows the Twi’lek slaves to go with the group. Unfortunately, the turbo lift won’t hold everyone, so Dewurra, Vince, and Corgan stay behind on the detention level.

The crew breathes a sigh of relief as the turbo lift doors close and Bin’she hugs her family. They can sense freedom just a few steps away. Those steps however, will be tough ones. The turbo lift stops before reaching the top level of Tessil’s palace, the spacedock where the Crown of Bartok is moored. The doors open up and standing there with a smug, expectant look upon his face is Firno, surrounded by four Gamorrean guards.

“Looks like them Bartok boys are in a whole heapa trouble!”

Two fierce fire fights ensue, Dewurra, Vince, and Corgan trading blows with Duke and his guards in the detention center and Vuko, Bin’she, Varen, and Nü el’Kah shooting it out with Firno and his guards a few levels above.

The battle in the close quarters of the detention center is heated. Vince takes significant damage and goes down (unable to fire of her flamethrower for fear of cooking everybody in the room). Dewurra ends up blinded and requires the help of the staggered Corgan to finally take down Dave and the Gamorreans.

The battle upstairs is no less heated (although the heroes fair a bit better). Only Varen goes down but the rest of the crew manage to take down Firno and his Gamorreans. Having won the hard fought battles, the crew quickly gathers their wounded and the rescued family members, limp aboard the Crown of Bartok, and quickly get off planet. Once in orbit, they decide Corellia and the Rebel agent should be their next destination.

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