Thursday, October 13, 2016

"Return to Chador" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 5 Chapter 2

The crew of the Riptide 
has freed Doctor Ardap Topas,
a kaminoan microbiologist 
forced by the Empire
to engineer the deadly plague
that was used to oppress the natives of Auilai.

After stopping at Bakki Station
to make repairs and upgrade their ship
the crew races back to Chador
to recover Doctor Topas' assistant, 
the mon calamari Kara Pacha,
and retrieve the cure the doctor
plans to use to undo
the damage he has caused...

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

A Plan is Formed
After loading all the broken parts onto the Riptide, Evo and Balin meet with Doctor Topas to discuss what to do next.

Doctor Topas explained that for several weeks, he and Kara had been working on creating an cure and inoculation to the branchiomycosis plague that he engineered. Together, they had generated sufficient quantity to act as a starter to generate enough to inoculate the entire native population of Nesia (his name for Auilai). He had to retrieve the starter and transport it to Nesia where he would grow more. The starter was stored within a liquid matrix in two dozen canisters, hidden in a secret compartment inside his residence in the Imperial Compound in the city of Markaze on Chador.

After a few moments of programming, he called up a hologram of the Imperial Sector Tower, the largest structure within the Imperial Compound. The tower reached 2500 meters into the air. He indicated the location of his residence. The tower itself was under heavy surveillance and was guarded by dozens of turbolaser batteries and shields. A direct assault with a space ship was out of the question. However, civilian airspeeder traffic constantly buzzed around the tower. Individual vehicles were difficult to track. This gave Evo and Balin an idea.

Doctor Topas hesitantly inquired of the fate of his assistant, Kara Pacha. They told him she was placed in a medium-quality hostel in Markaze, outsdie of both the Imperial compound and the Free District. Doctor Topas expressed concern about his assistant, pointing out that upon their return, it will have been over 90 hours since they left her, almost four days. He was very worried about her and asked that, upon their return to Chador, they place a priority on retrieving Doctor Pacha. She would need to accompany him to Nesia.

Balin was dubious, noting that retrieving her represented a risk to the overall operation. He asked if she was necessary. Doctor Topas told him that she had been an invaluable aid in creating the starter supply, and would be of great utility in growing sufficient quantities of the cure. Evo agreed to retrieve her first thing.

Into this Plan, A Wrench is Thrown
The Riptide arrived in the Chador system and began broadcasting its newly acquired false transponder code. Evo and Rhys crossed their fingers as they flew past a swarm of Imperial ships. The code was accepted and they were given clearance to land at the spaceport in Markaze. It was just after dawn local time.

Evo, Balin, Emily, Eggs, and Rhys rented an automated airspeeder and went directly to the hostel where they left Kara Pacha. She was not there. The droid at the desk said she had checked out two days ago and had left a message for them: She was forced to change location to stay hidden. The message included coordinates for her new location, a low-quality hostel in the Free District.

The crew took another airspeeder into the seedy Free District and found the hostel, an establishment that charged by the hour located over a shop that sold disgusting novelties. The street was busy with pedestrians and landspeeders and airspeeders buzzed a few meters overhead. Droids walked about on business. Spacers and explorers stumbled from bar to brothel, a few alone and a few in small groups. It was mid-morning.

They keyed in her room and she answered.

Evo said, "We're here. Come down."

Kara's voice replied, "Sure. But I need your help to carry something. Could you come up here?"

Evo looked at Balin. Balin silently mouthed, "It's a trap!"

Evo replied, "No. I'm afraid we can't. Whatever it is. Just leave it. We'll come back for it later."

After a moment of silence, the mon calamari scientist eventually urgently called out, "Get out of here! It's a trap!"

At that, six storm troopers emerged from hiding places in nearby alleys, two on the near side of the street, four on the far side. The crew was ordered to throw down their weapons and surrender.

A firefight ensued. Balin took cover behind a nearby shipping crate and began concentrating, mentally coordinating the actions of his team-mates. Emily opened fire on the two on the near side of the street while Eggs opened up on the four across the street. Evo ran across the street and commandeered an open-top airspeeder that had recently landed, kicking the pilot out of the driver's seat. 

Emily made short work of the two stormtroopers in the nearby alley. Eggs took out two of the four across the street but the remaining two took cover returned fire. Emily made her way across the street and jumped in the passenger seat of the airspeeder while Eggs climbed on the top of the hood.

There were two stormtroopers remaining. One was crouching around the corner of the alley using some crates for cover. The other moved out into the street and used a random power droid as a moving shield.

Balin ran across the street and climbed into the airspeeder. He reached out with his hand and suddenly the power droid began levitating! The box-shaped droid seemed very confused, its little legs flailing in the air wildly shouting "GONK! GONK! GONK!" Balin brought the droid towards the airspeeder, removing it as cover from the storm trooper and using it to shield himself and the other occupants.

Evo revved up the airspeeder and took flight, rising above the street and causing a traffic jam as other aerial vehicles had to swerve to avoid them.

Evo's plan was to fly over to the roof of the hostel in order to rescue Kara Pacha, when he saw at least six more stormtroopers emerging from the entrance to the building. Among them was a human male in a dark grey uniform. The human was wearing dark eye wear and carried a unsheathed sword. He was holding Kara Pacha by her arm.

Evo turned the airspeeder around and was about to make a diving attack.

The man in the dark grey uniform let go of Kara's arm and drew a blaster pistol with his left hand. He paused and looked up at Evo in the airspeeder as if to make sure Evo saw what was about to happen. The mysterious man shot Kara Pacha in the head at point-blank range.

Kara Pacha fell down dead. The storm troopers began opening fire on the innocent bystanders in the street. It was a massacre. Balin clutched his head in pain as dozens died.

Evo gritted his teeth, turned the airspeeder skyward, and fled. They had failed to rescue Kara Pacha, and there was nothing they could do.

Balin shouted at Evo, "Why? Why would they kill all those people? There was no reason for it!"

But Evo understood. It was a message. They had a chance to surrender, a chance to play their little game, and now they were being punished for not playing.

To Be Continued...

GM Note - I based the evil bad guy on the Genoharadan Assassin miniature. He was "the douchiest mini I own" and everyone agreed. And wow, what a great introduction for a new villain! 

The image of the power droid floating through the air with its legs flailing made everyone laugh, especially Lucinda (Emily's player), who laughed until she could hardly breathe. I held my hands out and made little flappy motions, going "GONK! GONK!"