Sunday, November 29, 2015

"A Minor Complication" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 6 Chapter 2


Episode 6 Chapter 2
A MINOR COMPLICATION

The Empire forced kaminoan microbiologist
Doctor Ardap Topas to create a disease
that was used to oppress and enslave
the aquatic natives of the water planet Auilai.

Unbeknownst to his Imperial overseers, 

Doctor Topas also created a cure for his disease
and kept it hidden in plain sight
in his residence.

The crew of the Riptide, 
has freed Doctor Topas 
from an Imperial prison transport
and must transport him 
and the cure he has created
from the Imperial sector capital of Chador
and back to Auilai.

Having recently failed 
to rescue Doctor Topas' 
assistant, Kara Pacha, 
the crew attempts to escape
from her mysterious murderer
in a stolen air-speeder...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec

AN UNWANTED FOLLOWER

Evo put the airspeeder into overdrive, leaving behind the scene of carnage on the streets below as Imperial Stormtroopers ruthlessly massacred innocent bystanders. There was nothing they could do for those people.

As the speeder, a sleek convertible rental, rose over the buildings of the Free Dirstrict of Markaze, Evo spotted someone, something, on their tail. It was an Imperial probe droid! No doubt ordered to follow them as they escaped. Evo tapped Eggs on the shoulder and pointed him towards the droid. Eggs nodded his squid-like head and readied his rifle. Eggs and the probe droid simultaneously fired at each other. The droid's shot went wide while Eggs hit dead-on. One shot disabled the droid and it dropped precipitously into an alley far below.

Evo activated his comm-link.

A RUDE AWAKENING
Rhys was taking a nap in the parts closet at the rear of the Riptide's engine-access compartment. Her comm-link started beeping. It kept beeping. It didn't stop beeping.

She groaned and reached for the accursed device, "What?"

It was Evo. She could hear the rush of wind behind him, "Rhys, we weren't able to save Kara Pachas and we had to make a hasty exit. Put Doctor Topas in the hidden compartment. We're executing phase two of the plan now and we need you. We're coming to pick you up. We should be there in two minutes. Get your gear ready."

She yawned and smacked her lips a few times before replying, somewhat hesitantly, "Okay...Sure."

"Do it!" Evo closed the signal.

She laid back down. She figured she'd get another two minutes.

Suddenly, there was a banging on the raised entry ramp. Then there was more banging.

She cursed her luck and drowsily got up and shuffled towards the ramp controls. She activated the intercom, "What???"

The voice on the other end sounded Imperial and sounded impatient, "This is Lieutenant Furtz of the Imperial Customs Bureau. I am ordering you to open this vessel. If you resist, I will gain entry by force and arrest you."

Rhys panicked just a little, "Okay, hold on." She looked over at Doctor Topas, sitting serenly on a couch in the common area. She gritted her teeth and waved him towards the newly completed secret compartment. She pointed at it excitedly. Doctor Topas nodded and removed himself into the secret room, folding his three meter tall body to fit and sitting with his knees by his chin. He calmly replaced the panel that concealed the space.

Rhys blew out her held breath, took another deep breath, and lowered the ramp, "What's this about?"

The bottom of the ramp touched ground at the feet of a young Imperial lieutenant, a dozen stormtroopers, and two scanner technicians carrying a hover pallet stacked with scanning equipment. Rhys bit her lip at the thought of her new compartment being put to the test so soon.

"Is this the Riptide out of the planet Nesia?"

"Yes."

"Are you Captain Evo Shandor?"

"No, I'm the ship's mechanic, Rhys March."

"Is Captain Shandor on board?"

"Not at the moment now."

"Is anyone else on board?"

Rhys thought briefly about Doctor Topas, "No. Should there be?"

With a wave of Lt. Furtz's hand, six of the stormtroopers trotted up the ramp and swarmed the Riptide. Lt. Furtz strode up the ramp behind them, "I have orders to search this vessel. It matches the description of a vessel that was recently involved in an unprovoked terrorist attack against an Imperial prison transport, during which a convicted traitor was emancipated from incarceration. This won't take a moment. In the meantime, you are to be held in custody while we wait for your captain."

Lt. Furtz motioned to a nearby stormtrooper, "Put her in restraints while we wait."

The stormtrooper pulled his restraints from his utility belt and moved towards Rhys. Rhys backed away slowly and activated her comm-link, still in the palm of her hand, "Captain! There are stormtroopers on the ship!"

The stormtrooper wrenched the comm-link away from her, throwing it to the floor, and grabbed her wrists. Rhys grimaced as her face was roughly forced against the bulkhead while her wrists were bound.

Lt. Furtz stepped toward her, scowling. He spat each syllable through bared teeth with barely constrained contempt, "Get her off the ship. I want two of you guarding her in the hangar while we wait to see what her cap-tain does."

MEANWHILE, IN THE AIRSPEEDER

Evo Shandor
Evo received Rhys' message loud and clear. He turned to the rest of his crew on the stolen airspeeder and said, "There are stormtroopers on the Riptide. It looks like we're going in hot. Eggs, do you have any thermal detonators?"

Eggs titled his head and gave Evo a sour look, "Does it look like I can afford thermal detonators?"

Evo titled his head in return and said, "Well?"

Eggs dropped his head and sighed, "Yes, I have one." He looked back at Evo reproachfully, "But they're expensive! Don't make me use it!"

"Hopefully we won't need to. Okay, we'll be there in about a minute. Get ready!"

Evo gunned the stolen airspeeder and flew towards the massive table-shaped spaceport.
Eggs Ledscramb

INCREDULITY
Rhys was taken off the Riptide towards the hangar's personnel exit. She was accompanied by four stormtroopers and Lt. Furtz. The group stopped near the exit when Lt. Furtz said, "Okay, we'll wait here while they scan the ship."

Rhys inquired, probingly, "So what happened anyway?"

The Imperial lieutenant did not make eye contact. He checked his datapad and looked absently at the Riptide, then replied distractedly, "I already told you, my superiors have reason to believe that this vessel was involved with the disabling of an Imperial prison transport and freed a convicted traitor."

Rhys snorted, "Disabled an Imperial transport. THIS SHIP???" She nodded towards the Riptide. "What kind of transport?"

Lt. Furtz paused for a moment and glanced sidways at the attractive young twi'lek mechanic, "A Gozanti, why?"

Rhys laughed out loud, "A Gozanti is like twice as big as this ship! Plus, isn't it protected by, what, two TIE fighters?"

Lt. Furtz turned to look at her, "Four actually. What are you getting at?"

"I'm saying that there's no way we could possibly have done what you said! It's technically impossible! Are you sure it was the Riptide that was responsible?"
Rhys March
Lt. Furtz began to show doubt, "No, not exactly. The survivors were unable to get a transponder signal from the attacking vessel. However, they said it was a mon calamari design, probably Deep Water-class, same as this vessel. Also, this vessel was on Chador, and left Markaze a day before the attack. So it is reasonable to suspect..."

Rhys interrupted him with an incredulous laugh, practically spitting through her lips, "Spppzzz!!!  Hah! I'm telling you, there's no way! You're wasting your time! Don't you have better things to do? I mean, just how many ships do you have to scan today? How long is that going to take?"

The lieutenant involuntarily glanced at his datapad again as if checking his schedule, "I... Shut up!" He glared at Rhys through narrowed eyes, "Watch her. I'm going to go check on how the scanning is going."

He walked back onto the ship, leaving Rhys flanked by two stormtroopers.

Rhys smiled and made chit-chat, "Either of you know anything about starship engines? Cause I know a lot! Did you know that blah, blah, blah..."

The stormtrooper to her right took a deep breath, "*SKIRK* (heavy sigh)."

A moment later, Lt. Furtz exited the ship with the scanning technicians. He snapped his fingers and the six stormtroopers waiting at the base of the ramp quickly fell into formation behind him.

As the entourage neared the exit,  Lt. Furtz paused and gave new orders to the escort guarding Rhys, "I've decided to move onto the next ship. Stay here and notify me the second her captain returns. I'll question him personally.

The stormtrooper to her right replied, "*SKIRK* (heavy sigh), Yes sir."

Lt. Furtz then left with six stormtroopers and four scanner technicians, leaving behind four stormtroopers on the Riptide and two guarding Rhys.

Rhys smiled with satisfaction.

RHYS PLANS A HEAD
Rhys was alone with her escorts. She was beginning to worry about Evo and the others busting in guns blazing. She had convinced Lt. Furtz that they probably weren't responsible for the attack on the prison transport and that they probably weren't harboring a fugitive. But if Evo started a fight, all that would be wasted and everyone would probably be killed. She had to contact Evo to let him know, but they confiscated her comm-link. She had maybe less than a minute and had to think fast.

After a short moment of awkward silence, she crossed her legs and started to dance.

The stormtrooper to her left took notice, "*SKIRK* What's wrong with you?"

Rhys looked desperate, "I really REALLY have to use the refresher!"

"*SKIRK* Can't you hold it??"

"No! Can't you take me back onto the Riptide for just a second? I'll use the refresher and we can come back out here. I promise."

The stormtrooper on her left addressed the other to her right, "*SKIRK* Okay. You take her onto the ship. I'll wait here."

The stormtrooper on her right replied, "*SKIRK* (heavy sigh). Yes sir."

Rhys was escorted back onto the ship and led towards the newly installed refresher module. She noted the presence of four additional storm troopers searching through the ship. She turned to back to her escort and looked over her shoulder, she wiggled her bound hands behind her, "You can't expect me to go with these still bound, can you?"

The stormtrooper stared at her in silent indecision.

"C'mon. I'll just be in the refresher. I'm not going anywhere!"

"*SKIRK* (heavy sigh). Okay. Sure."

The stormtrooper undid her binders. As she spun around, her hands unbound, Rhys palmed the stormtrooper's comm-link, "Thanks! I'll be right back!"

She went into the refresher unit and made whispered contact with Evo. She hoped it was not too late.

She was in luck. She was able to warn Evo to abandon any assault and inform him that the Imperials were still not sure that the Riptide was responsible for the attack. Suitably warned, Evo landed the stolen airspeeder away from the spaceport. He then called their astromech droid, Parts Drop, on his comm-link, and ordered the droid to discreetly move up to the cockpit and get ready to take off in the case of trouble. Parts Drop beeped and whistled in what Evo assumed was acknowledgement. The crew then calmly walked into the spaceport and returned to the hangar, where they were detained for Lt. Furtz.


IMPOUNDED
Evo and the rest of the crew patiently waited outside the ship until Lt. Furtz returned.

Lt. Furtz put Evo through the standard questions: Identiy, ship's registry and other documents, licenses, and recent itinerary. Evo replied with the truth, mostly.

Evo verified that they left Markaze spaceport on Chador 90 hours ago bound to Bakki Station with an empty cargo hold with the intention of securing a more lucrative cargo. Unable to find a profitable cargo, they decided to return to Markaze.

Lt. Furtz led evo through the ship, poking around the various compartments and asking questions about recent improvements and modifications, including the shield upgrade. Evo dismissed the question, saying that the Riptide was a piece of junk and was falling apart, asking if the lieutenant had seen all the spare parts still in the cargo hold. He said that he needed those junk parts just to keep the ship flying!

Lt. Furtz took notice of several unused panels and framing posts used to create interior bulkheads, unused parts that were in fact purchased to create the secret compartment. Evo explained that they do some bounty hunting jobs on the side and that they were planning on turning one of the many bunk-rooms on the ship into a prisoner holding cell.

When asked about transporting the fugitive traitor Dr. Topas, Evo replied, "Who? I've honestly never heard of this person. Well, he's obviously not on MY ship! You searched it right? Do you need to scan it? Be my guest!"

Lt. Furtz sniffed skeptically but was beginning to believe in the scruffy nautolan pilot's story. "Very  well," said the lieutenant, "you are not under arrest for now. However, I have been ordered to impound every vessel of mon calamari design pending a further inspection and interrogation by Imperial Security Bureau Agent Demek, who has been assigned to investigate the attack on the transport and return the fugitive to justice. A drive lock will be placed upon your vessel until cleared by Agent Demek."

The lieutenant then directed some maintenance technicians to install a drive lock on the ship's flux interlock, preventing its operations. Evo played it cool and did not interfere, but out of the corner of his eye he saw Parts Drop in the cockpit, surreptitiously extending his computer interface to the ship's computer port, ready to start it up and blast off in the case of trouble, as ordered.

Evo bit his lip and ran up to the cockpit, "THAT's okay, Parts Drop. That's not necessary. Thanks."

Parts Drop's dome spun around and blasted Evo with a series of annoyed blurts and honks. Evo patted the droid and nervously tried to laugh it off.

The lieutenant was startled, "What was that about?"

"Oh, nothing. Old droid. It occasionally malfunctions. It's under control."

Parts Drop barged back to the engine access compartment emitting a series of disgusted whorls and buzzes.

"You should put a restraining bolt on that droid. In the meantime, I am releasing you to your own recognizance. Just don't leave the city. Agent Demek will contact you shortly regarding his inspection and interrogation."

Satisfied in his diligence and pressed to inspect dozens more ships today, Lt. Furtz left, leaving only four stormtroopers to guard the hangar, but none on the ship.

Once alone on the ship, Evo checked on Doctor Topas, safely hidden in the secret compartment, and conferred with his crew.

"Okay, we have to act fast. We're abandoning my original plan to pose as window repairmen. I've got a better plan that will get us into Doctor Topas' residence."

The crew gathered into a huddle, "Okay, here's the plan..."

TO BE CONTINUED

GM Notes- This was the most fun we've had role-playing in a while. I got a little worried that it would turn into a bloodbath and everyone would be killed, so I took Rhys' player aside and role-played the little interaction with Lt. Furtz so that she had more information. Then it was up to her to figure out a way to contact Evo and stop him. It was a blast!
Everyone fell in love with the put-upon stormtrooper who had apparently had just about it with everything. I would cup my hands over my mouth and do the little comm-link sound and just sigh heavily. He was the favorite NPC of the night.

Next week - Thrilling Adventure and Violence!