Last Sunday, the GOKL gang continued the role-playing adventures of Star Wars: A Bad Example in the Spacelanes.
Two new players, Nigel of Singapore who played Bob the Wookiee, and Razzman who played Reelo Jackson the Rodian bounty hunter, joined the party as they embarked on a mission to retrieve their kidnapped crewmates, beginning with Weapon X the HK-78 assassin droid.
The previous episode can be found here.
Episode 4: Our Droid Is Not Open-Sourced
Long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Upon exposing a traitor Starson O’Kreem in the mobile asteroid pirate stronghold Irontooth Station, pirate lord Slaughter Maelstrom has confirmed a truce with the crew of the Bad Example. After returning to Sriluur to pick up Tickley, the crew sets off to recovered their captured droid companion Weapon X.
Using the data taken from O’Kreem’s datapad, they attempt to discover Weapon X’s location and soon track him to a warehouse in the Rodian district on Coruscant.
After returning to Sriluur to pick up Tickley the Jawa, the crew left their captured pirate freighter Raspberry Beret and departed for Coruscant in the yacht Bad Example which had the more legitimate permits. Upon arriving at Coruscant’s Rodian district, they are met by their associates Bob the Wookiee and the Rodian bounty hunter Reelo Jackson, who accompanied them to the warehouse.
Hunter Maelstrom, Nek’Koh’Moo’Su’May a.k.a Annie the Trianii, Ssssawar, Tickley, Reelo and Bob broke into the warehouse easily with weapons ready, finding nothing of value in the scattered cates in the main storage area.
Tickley’s Jedi senses alerted them to approaching life forms. Annie and Ssssawar waited for them by the front door. Hunter hid in one of the crates. Two Rodians with blaster pistols entered, yelling, “You are trespassing! Throw down your arms and surrender!” Hunter slowly raised out of his crate covered in packing peanuts, his blaster raised. Although Ssssawar initially missed with his axe, both the Rodians were taken down fast. Hunter toggled his blaster’s safety back on and slowly descended back into packing peanuts.
Reelo and Bob slipped out to see if there were more company. Reelo stopped Bob from walking into view of two more armed Rodians waiting by an Aratech Arrow-23 landspeeder. It was parked right beside the warehouse. They slipped back in to tell them about the Rodians with a speeder. Tickley, Ssssawar, Annie and Reelo planned to deal with them while Hunter and Bob investigated the other rooms.
There were two doors at the wall on the far end and a computer terminal between them. The left door opened easily. There was a door on the other end of the room, a cabinet on the wall and simple dinner table with some chairs. Finding nothing else of importance, so they went to the other door which was locked. Bob’s Wookiee strength tore the door off its vertical side rails.
The second room was a mess. Blaster bolt heat sears decorated the walls. At the middle of the room, a heavily damaged metal coffin laid open, its hinged lid on the floor five metres away. They deduced that Weapon X had been brought here in the casing, but he had freed himself and smashed the lid open from within. They hoped the ensuing firefight did not destroy their comrade. Inspecting the lid, they found the words DEADACE scratched on the inner surface.
Outside, Tickley – unable to find a banana to stick into the landspeeder’s tailpipe – acted like a panhandler trying to score some credits from the armed Rodians while Reelo, Ssssawar and Annie peered from around the corner, one head above another. One Rodian was about to scare the Jawa away, but his companion gestured that it was not worth the effort. But they did notice Tickley mucking about the engine’s open cowling and came after him. A moment later, claws, axe and blaster bolts felled the two.
The two Rodians were deposited by their other fallen comrades in the warehouse. “Had a good day?” asked Hunter. Ssssawar said, “Oh, yeah.” Hunter snapped, “I was talking to the Rodians on your back.”
Hunter told them about the metal coffin. They proceeded to open the cabinet in the first room where they found a pair of glowrods, a pair of medpacs and one 3-meter syntherope dispenser which they allocated among each other.
Finally, Bob attempted to slice into the computer terminal between the two doors. He succeeded and was rewarded with a message database. One stood out clearly:
Message log #3134 – Captured HK droid to be brought to my factory at Sludgeville, Planet Vulpter.
– Rail Firin, CEO
The group got into the Arrow-23 landspeeder and headed back to the Bad Example to locate and confront Rail Firin.
Vulpter was a polluted planet. There were rings of junk circling its dull sphere which was covered by thick purple-grey clouds. They were quickly given permission to land at Docking Bay Green 11. Sludgeville was a typical industrial town filled with what seemed like a hundred grey factories, illuminated by sodium light in Vulpter’s perpetual dusk and quite a lot more smokestacks belching smoke.
They were approached by Port Officer Jope Marr, a bored-looking human with a balding scalp. When asked about Rail Firin the CEO, he tells them that he’s just a lowly bureaucrat, there were ninety-nine companies in Sludgeville with their own factories and he could not be bothered remembering who was the CEO of which company.
They looked around and found the Bureau of Anti-Pollution which was an office with empty desks and chairs, except for one native Vulptereen. When Rail Firin’s name came up, he was incensed. The Vulptereen said, “Rail Firin had not registered his company with this Bureau since he set up a new office in one of the old abandoned factories! When you see him, tell him to immediately register with me!”
Hunter asked, “What factory did he set up shop in? Where is it?”
“It’s a droid foundry situated at the southern tip of the Sludgeville coast. Very easy to find!”
En route to the location, Hunter came up with the plan of getting Imperial officers’ uniform and talking their way into the foundry. Reelo asked around in the streets and was directed to a spacer’s cantina called Sludge Rounds where there might be characters shady enough to buy illegal uniforms from. Excited by the lead, he ran right into the dark entrance of Sludge Rounds ahead of the others. When the rest of the them arrived at the doorway, they saw Reelo fly out of the cantina and onto the muddy street. He winced, saying, “No, we’re not going to find what we want in there.”
Hunter said, “Scratch that plan. I’m the only human in this group. We need a new plan that all of us can get involved with.”
Soon they were at the foundry. It seemed uninhabited. No sign of people about and its main doors were closed. It was partly constructed on the rocks by the sea. The smokestacks were inert, but every thirty seconds there were small puffs of fumes. Hunter led them to the heavy blast doors.
He knocked on the door, and boomed, “This is Wikus Maelstrom from the Bureau of Anti-Pollution. We are here on official business! You have outstanding paperwork to file with our office and from what I can see, several citations can be given right now as we speak.” There was no answer. Thirty seconds later, the blast doors slid apart revealing a pitch black interior. With weapons at ready and glowrods illuminating the way, the crew crept in.
As soon as they cleared the doors, they slid shut quickly with a clang. Lights came to life. They found themselves in an open area in the foundry facing a squad of eight B-1 battle droids armed with blaster pistols. The one droid asked another, “Are we supposed to shoot them or capture them?”
“I think we shoot them!”
Hunter fired his rocketpack and flew at one battle droid. He missed his mark and failed to skewer one with his blade. Annie started clawing droids to pieces. Bob picked up one B1 and tried to smash another with it. Ssssawar ran forward and started punching droids until they fell.
Tickley ran forward with a droid restraining bolt and tried to attach it to one B1, but he slipped, fell and skidded past the droid. Hunter spun and tried to stab a droid but only grazed its chest. A blaster bolt flashed and Hunter’s blade exploded into a shower of sparks. Before the droid could shoot Hunter, Reelo had it gunned down. Tickley recovered, leapt up and slapped a restraining bolt on one droid which quickly powered down.
After the droids were defeated, they opened the door and entered an adjacent room. It was dark, but they could make out hundreds of inert droids hanging from the ceiling. They were HK-78 assassin droids, like Weapon X, but with shiny, brand new parts. Was someone building an army? Reelo considered throwing a grenade to destroy them, but they didn’t have enough to destroy them all.
They walked through another day and found themselves on the factory floor. A pair of large skips were hung from the ceiling to their left and right. There was a some concoction bubbling in them, churning up lots of swirly vapour. There was a raised platform on the far wall and steps going up to it. Weapon X was strapped into a device, his arms and legs splayed and a cable was connected to the back of his head. Beside Weapon X was a human with a hand on a lever and a blaster pistol pointed at Weapon X’s head.
The man said, “Welcome to the dawn of the new era. My era. The era of Rail Firin!” As the crew slowly moved closer to the platform, the CEO continued his speech, “The HK-78s were a scourge fifteen hundred years ago. An unstoppable force! They massacred half of the Demetras sector! But you people… you have a domesticated model walking and talking with you.”
“What do you want?”
“Tell me his activation code so I will have my own army of HK-78s. I know he gave his activation code to you. It should be in a hexadecimal or a decimal code, and his hexadecimal keypad is disabled. Tell me or I’ll shoot him.”
Reelo said, “Uh, if you shoot him, you wont have your army.”
Firin snapped, “Also I’ll pull this lever which will pour 20 tonnes of carbonite on all of you. Give me the codes so I can download his neural patterns into the new HK-78 bodies. They will serve me. When I have billions of droids, I will rule the galaxy!”
Tickley took out his remaining restraining bolt and chittered in Jawa about having the code in it. Firin angrily told him, “How stupid do you think I am? That’s a restraining bolt!”
As the others tried to talk Firin down, an idea struck Hunter. He called Bob closer and consulted with him with a datapad. DEADACE was a number in hexadecimal. Bob helped him to calculate what DEADACE was in decimal. It was 2333495246. Hunter then held up the datapad screen and yelled, “We’ve figure it out!”
“Tell it to me!” growled Firin, turning his blaster on Hunter. “No, you come down. You don’t have to kill us with carbonite. What you want is right here!” said Hunter, still holding the datapad up.
Firin wavered and told him, “We meet halfway up the steps.” But just before the halfway point, Hunter threw the datapad up toward the skip. It bounced off the side and fell toward Firin. Reelo shot and incinerated the datapad before he caught it.
“NO!!!” screamed Firin with uncontrollable rage. He aimed his blaster at Hunter. Tickley ignited his lightsabre and was about to throw it at Firin’s arm when Ssssawar’s axe and Reelo’s blaster bolts found their marks. Firin tumbled down and came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs where Ssssawar retrieved his weapon.
Hunter ran up and typed the activation code at the back of Weapon X’s head. His eyes lighted up, he turned to Hunter who was freeing his arms and legs, and then asked, “Where am I? Why is there a cable connected to the back of my head? Why is there a dead guy there?”
“He wanted to duplicate your droid brain and create more HK-78s so he could take over the galaxy.”
Weapon X, still connected to the foundry’s computer network via the neural cable, scanned the database for information. He then asked, “Did he also tell you he has a cyborg dead man’s switch implanted in his heart and if he dies, a countdown begins which will destroy this entire factory?”
“Then we have twenty seconds to get the hell out of here.”
Weapon X commanded all the doors to open before unhooking the cable. Everyone ran as if chased by a rabid nexu. Hunter fired his rocketpack engines and flew out of the foundry floor ahead of everyone else. But in the HK-78 storage chamber, he hit one of the hanging droids and spun out of control and fell. Dazed, he saw his crew running past him. He fired his syntherope dispenser which wrapped around Reelo’s midsection. Reelo saw who had fired the rope, shrugged and kept running- pulling Hunter as he ran. Hunter’s rocketpack fired again and he flew out of the door faster than Reelo once again, much to the Rodian’s amusement.
They all stopped, turned around and saw that Bob was lagging behind.
Suddenly there was a huge explosion that blossomed into a fiery cloud and tore the building into a thousand pieces. The violent shockwave knocked Hunter, Tickley, Ssssawar, Annie, Reelo and Weapon X off their feet. Bob had been caught in the fireball!
They scrambled back onto their feet and called out to Bob. The flames died almost immediately. The smoke billowed. Out of the smoke strode a Wookiee with singed fur (and some still-burning patches), shaken but still very much alive.
When everyone’s cheers died down, Hunter said, “Now we have Weapon X, we only have Aden to search for and rescue. Then we go back to Irontooth Station to deal with my brother and the Five Skulls.”
TO BE CONTINUED