Edged by the Empire
Episode 03 Aggressive Negotiations
The Star Wars RPG adventure continues from the previous session with Act 2 of The Long Arm of the Hutt free downloadable adventure (PDF download, low res version, 2.4MB). The original title of this chapter is Geonosian Negotiations.
On the run from Teemo the Hutt, the smuggler Hondo Pash found himself with new Twi’lek allies on Ryloth after helping to overthrow a bullying mining boss at the town of New Meen. The Twi’leks of Nabat, including the commander Nyn Kablo and the fighter Numa, helped Hondo to repair the YT-1300 light freighter that he had liberated from the Trandoshan slaver Trex. The ship had now been renamed Lava Jaeger.
Farewell to Ryloth
The return trip from New Meen to Nabat was uneventful. The Twi’lek miner B’ura B’an had decided to stay behind at New Meen to help with the clean up. Upon their arrival, they immediately reported to Nyn Kablo, who informed them that a crashed Dunelizard fighter was found about 30 klicks south of Nabat. It might have been the one that attacked the Lava Jaeger (then the Krayt Fang) during their Ryloth approach. No pilot was found, but they discovered a partial holo recording of Teemo the Hutt ordering a Kubaz named Thwheek to kill a Geonosian droid engineer. The recording of Teemo said, “The Geonosians must never know what Sivor discovered. Archduke Poggle the Irredeemable (no relation to Archduke Poggle the Lesser) of the Kaliklak Hive must never know we killed Sivor if we are to purchase battle droids from him. Bring Sivor to Trex. He’ll dispose of the body. Meanwhile, track down this Hondo Pash and kill him.”
Why had Teemo ordered the Archduke’s droid engineer killed? What had Sivor found out? Numa said, “We must not let Teemo have battle droids. We have to stop it.”
Numa geared up with an armoured jacket and grabbed an EE-3 blaster rifle that she had left with Kablo for safekeeping. As they headed for the Lava Jaeger, they saw someone slink out of the docking bay’s front door. It was a Kubaz. Thwheek?
The Kubaz unholstered his blaster pistol. Numa fired a burst to distract him. It worked as Hondo’s subsequent shot hit the Kubaz. Although wounded, he still stood. The Kubaz’s blaster scored a blow. Hondo was hurt (minus 9 wounds to 3 Wound Threshold.) Numa managed to shoot his pistol out of his hands (Triumph in an attack roll.) He attempted to jump the weapon but failed to grab the tumbling blaster. Hondo had his DL-17 pistol trained on the Kubaz and he pulled the trigger. A flash heralded a billow of smoke from the Kubaz’s chest.
Kablo and other armed Twi’lek came running to see what the commotion was all about. Hondo found two grenades on the Kubaz. Before their flight to Geonosis, both Numa and Hondo performed a visual inspection but did found nothing out of the ordinary on or aboard the black-and-yellow Lava Jaeger.
Obstacles to Geonosis
As the ship flew over the rings of Geonosis, the sensors spotted four G1-M4-C Dunelizards starfighters approaching from the planet. Numa had a bad feeling about this, but Hondo wanted to just fly past them… until target lock sensors klaxoned with urgency. Hondo saw that they had the same livery as Thwheek’s Dunelizard that engaged them at Ryloth. Teemo’s colours!
He ran for the turret gunwell while Numa took the flight controls. Numa veered away from the squadron, who arced into an intercept position. A vicous cannonfire attempted to end Lava Jaeger. A single bolt from a Dunelizard scraped away paint and a non-essential panel off the freighter’s hull. Hondo’s barrage missed, but because of Numa’s amazing piloting skills, the next combined attack from all Dunelizards failed to even land a blow.
Suddenly all four assailants fired their forward thrusters, braking themselves. The Lava Jaeger soared away and past the inner ring boundary before an explosion violently jolted through the ship. Hondo immediately knew they had missed a bomb that Thwheek planted. Ship spinning out of control into the Geonosian atmosphere and Numa not answering on comms, Hondo vaulted for the cockpit.
Numa was unconscious prompting Hondo to jump into a pilot seat. A large mountain loomed along their uncontrolled spinning path. Hondo succeeded in regaining partial control to the ship, and aimed into a sandy desert. A moment later, they crashed. As Hondo unstrapped Numa from her seat, he activated the manual fire suppression system. Halon flooded into the engineering compartment, dousing flames as he dragged Numa out onto the sand. He applied a pair of stimpacks onto her forearm, one after another.
She awoke and thanked Hondo.
There was a hive about 10 klicks away built onto the side of a natural mesa, like a prow of a ship. When they arrived at the base of the hive, it was nightfall and they were exhausted, hungry and clueless as what to do next. (Both failed at Xenology rolls.)
Hondo found a small natural alcove on the wall of the mesa for shelter. (A success at a Survival roll.)They decided to have a meal and then rest for the night.
“Did you hear that?” Numa asked. Hondo did not but peeked out anyway. The four Dunelizard fighters were returning to dock at their hangar bay high in the hive.
They were sleeping soundly minutes later.
A Hive of Activity
They were both awakened in the morning by a quake. An enormous door built like part of the base of the hive was opening. Hidden behind some boulders, Hondo and Numa viewed a fleet of six huge speeder trucks drive out into the desert. Before the door closed shut they ran in. (Numa gets 2 Strain because she did not roll any Successes, just 2 Advantages.)
Numa looked for and found a small office with a computer terminal in a droid manufacturing floor. But two Geonosian drones guarded it. “Stay here,” she told Hondo while she cept away, caused some industrial robots to activate and strike each other repeatedly and loudly. (3 successes on Deceit roll) Geonosian guards left to investigate.
A green-and-orange astromech droid was manning the computer terminal there. His distress was allayed by Hondo’s explanation about the death of Sivor the droid engineer. Introducing himself as R2-8B8, the droid told them via text on the computer screen, “In an hour, Archduke Poggle and Teemo’s envoy, a Brizzit named Zasvid will sign an agreement that will transfer ownership of the 500 thousand battle droids to the Hutt. If Teemo had Sivor killed for some unknown reason, then we have to stop the agreement!”
Hondo and Numa agreed. The droid chirped, “One more thing. Can I come with you?” Hondo and Numa agreed to that too.
A Rancorous Arena
R2-8B8 guided them through a large hallway that led to a stun gate. R2 turned off the blue energy field allowing them entry into an open-air arena. Suddenly Stun gate reactivated behind them. An iron wrought portcullis to their right slid upwards. A rancor roared as it shambled toward them.
“RUN!” Numa yelled and ran back into the hallway. Rancor lunged at R2 but his small size saved him. (2 Silhouettes smaller.) As they ran, Hondo threw one of the Thwheek’s grenades. But when the smoke cleared, the rancor was still rushing at them. Only now it was headed for Hondo. Numa found herself against the stun gate and was unable to proceed further. She spotted the gate controls and headed for it.
As Hondo ran, he tried to shoot the rancor’s eye. The bolt glanced off its cheek. At the stun gate controls, Numa yelled at Hondo, “Run for the gate and don’t stop!” As Hondo was about to cross the threshold, the energy field dropped allowing him to pass through. As the rancor perambulated through, Numa reactivated the stun gate. Blue bolts surged through the air, and through the rancor. A minute later, it was lying unconscious but alive on the floor.
Hondo drew his vibrosword to try to stab the rancor’s head, but Numa asked, “Why? It’s just an animal. We should find whoever threw it at us and kill him.”
At the far end of the arena, a Sakiyan with an armoured jacket showed himself. He said, “You will not reach the Archduke alive.” Hondo drew his vibrosword. Numa sidestepped quickly. The distraction failed. The Sakiyan’s blaster pistol opened up. A bolt strikes Hondo’s left shoulder, the vibrosword went flying. (Hondo is badly wounded. Wound Threshold at -2. Critical wound: crippled left arm.) A bolt from Numa struck the Sakiyan. He recoiled, although the armour soaks the damage. His return fire glanced off Numa’s thigh. (Numa’s Wound Threshold now at 3.) As she winced in pain, Numa had already closed the gap and flung another bolt at him, through the hole in his jacket. A shower of sparks front and back, and he fell.
Numa rushed to Hondo and revived him with a remaining stimpack. (Hondo’s Wound Threshold is now 3.) R2 identified the gunman as Lata Rek, Zasvid’s enforcer. A datacard was found on Lata Rek‘s body. When fed into R2’s card slot, a holographic recording of Teemo the Hutt materialised, telling his envoy Brizzit to ensure that the contract signing and delivery would be done. “The Archduke must not know that we have no funds to pay him for 500 thousand battle droids. Sivor found out and Thwheek had to kill him. And ensure Hondo Pash does not reach the Archduke.”
“Bring the card, Artoo,” said Hondo.
They rushed into the elevator leading up to the Archduke’s tower. Two B1 battle droids fired on them in vain as they slipped inside.
As the elevator rose, Hondo used his emergency medpac to fix Numa’s injuries. Numa put her hand on Hondo’s shoulder and said, “We’re outnumbered and they know we’re coming. Whatever happens, it’s been an honour fighting by your side. I’ll go first, but you’ll have finish this and go take care of your sister.”
At this point Hondo wished he had an armoured jacket as well.
At the Top of the Archduke’s Tower
The door slid apart.
In the Archduke’s audience chamber at the top of the tower, squads of Geonosian soldiers and B1 battle droids waited for them with weapons ready. At the throne at the far end of the chamber was the Archduke Poggle the Irredeemable. Beside him was an insectoid Brizzit in fine spacer’s outfit. Zasvid, the envoy from Teemo, exclaimed with rage, “There are the assassin who are here to kill you, Your Highness.”
Before Numa could attack, Hondo strode out with his right hand up. “Stop, Your Highness! We have proof that Teemo is planning to betray you. He can not pay you for the battle droids.” (A successful Coerce roll stayed Poggle’s hand.)
Zasvid hissed with fury, pointing a gloved hand at Hondo, “Kill them before they get a chance to act, Archduke!”
“Artoo, now!” R2-8B8 projected the recording of Teemo’s communique into the large audience chamber space. The truth was laid bare. Zasvid shivered with dread. He weakly croaked, “Lies! Lies!” When the recording ended, Poggle looked at Zasvid and gestured. Geonosian drones swooped onto the Brizzit. Battle droids sprinted. There was no retreat. He was overwhelmed quickly. There was loud wail of despair, and then silence. It was over.
Archduke Poggle hobbled toward Hondo, Numa and R2, thanking them for their help in avoiding a grave mistake. The Archduke offered them their hospitality and medical assistance. Hondo informed the Archduke that their ship was crashed in the desert nearby: some help in repairing her damages would be welcome. The Archduke gave the order to retrieve and repair the Lava Jaeger.
Then a battle droid came up and said, “Your highness, we found this on him.”
It was a palm-sized holocomm unit. It activated with a touch and another recording materialised. It was Teemo the Hutt again, unaware that his envoy had failed. “Well done, Zasvid. Be quick. If Jabba were to know we will use the battle droids to take over entire Hutt families, the clans will hunt and kill us all. Eliminate Hondo Pash and his companions. If you aren’t able to, then know this: we have the location of Pash’s sister and our agents are en route to take her.”
A deathly chill came over Hondo as he cradled his limp left arm. His sister! Although he had won another battle, the war was escalating.
Meanwhile far above the surface, four Dunelizard fighters were trying to escape Geonosis. All were quickly torn out of the sky by Kaliklak Hive’s squadrons of Nantex starfighters.