Edged by the Empire
Episode 10 Together Again For The First Time
It was International Tabletop Day again, and like last year we played Star Wars Edge of the Empire again. However we played not on a table, but on the floor. With the 15 XP carried over from the previous session, Irfan bought the Grit talent for his smuggler character Hondo Pash, increasing his Strain. The finale for the campaign that started on January 2013 with Escape from Mos Shuuta begins…
One Man Revolution
Radiation and stellar gases swamped the Shadda-Bi-Boran system from its primary star. A squadron of five Star Destroyers aided by numerous smaller corvettes and tenders manoeuvred themselves to surround a three-klick wide asteroid that sheltered a secret Imperial base that belonged to Admiral Keargan Kanu.
As the cordon closed in on the flat lump of rock, Admiral Kanu was surrounded by his newly-reunited family, from his estranged wife Doro Pash, their 21-year-old son the young smuggler pilot Hondo Pash and their 9-year-old daughter Yuzy Pash. The two astromech droids R2-8D8 and R5-K2 slid down the ramp of the YT-1300 light freighter Lava Jaeger, screaming their warning of the incoming Imperial fleet.
Writhing in pain at their feet was Hondo’s armoured and heavily robed shipmate and gunslinger Giin Lawquane. It was Giin who had called the Imperial fleet into the system to ambush them. Suddenly, Giin stopped screaming and fell unconscious. Kanu dismissed his troops who saluted the Admiral and hurried to the elevator of the main hangar bay. Two remained: a pair of black-armoured storm commandos who immediately flanked the Admiral as guards, whom were introduced as Lieutenants Kildruun and Gundeep.
The Imperial fleet was preventing them from leaving and returning to Admiral Kanu’s safeworld, where he kept the family of his staff and troops safe and before they planned to vanish into the Outer Rim away from the Empire’s grasp.
Meanwhile, the large tactical hologram above them showed that shuttles and small transports were launching out from smaller bays on the asteroid base. Turbolaser cannons from the Star Destroyers fired on the small, fleeing fleet. A shuttle and a freighter were shredded into superheated debris before the surviving ships jumped to hyperspace.
…and gave him one of the metal alloy cylinders from his jacket pocket. He said, “Take this rank cylinder. You would be able to access any computer and open any doors in this base with it.”
Then hidden hangar speakers boomed, “This is Admiral Jadeonar of the Star Destroyer Vanquisher. I know you’re still in your old base. You have five minutes to surrender unconditionally or my fleet will destroy your base.”
There was a pause. Doro asked, “What do we do?”
“We have to leave,” Hondo said grimly, “but we can’t just board the Lava Jaeger and flee out of the main hangar bay. They would pick us off easily.” Hondo and his dad quickly considered their options.
“Think fast,” Gundeep stated, looking at her chronometer. “We have three minutes before they open fire.”
8D8 whistled for attention at a wall console. The astromech was attempting to access the base floorplans. Hondo rushed over to help him (Computers with Boost dice thanks to the rank cylinder and 8D8’s help) and produced a display of the base structure. There were sealed tunnels leading deeper into the asteroid accessible from the lowest section: the engineering bay.
“New plan,” said Hondo. “We signal our surrender, then hide. Find stuff to fight with and then escape.”
As Kanu signalled his surrender, 8D8 and K2 led the rest of them down toward the engineering bay. Before Hondo and Kanu turned to leave, the tactical hologram overhead indicated that three Sentinel-class landing crafts had launched from the Vanquisher. Kanu said, “We have 5 minutes to disappear. Go!”
Hondo scooped up Giin. Kanu muttered, “Leave him. He betrayed us.” The young smugger met his father’s eyes and asserted, “I am not leaving him.” (Hondo’s Motivation is Friendship.)
They arrived at the infirmary level, with a hallway that connected to the elevator that leads to the engineering bay. Among the disused doctor’s offices, beds, gurneys and bacta tanks Hondo spotted a med unit with advanced diagnostics sensors. He entered the infirmary and deposited Giin onto the med unit pallet, much to Kanu’s objections. “Son, what are you doing? We have no time.”
Switching it on, the med unit scanned Giin and immediately detected an anomaly: a synthetic biochip buried in Giin’s brain that appeared to have been overloaded by neural activity and its organic cells were breaking down. There was no way to remove it without killing Giin and Giin would be dead soon because of it. Time would not be cooperating, so Hondo bade his friend farewell and rushed out of the infirmary and to the elevator where only his father was waiting for him.
That was when a pair of Imperial stormtroopers appeared from the door from the hangar bay. The newcomers raised their E-11 rifles, barking, “Halt!”
Hondo spun and fired, dropping one. Kanu flung a grenade which exploded and brought down the hallway ceiling, giving enough cover for them to close the elevator doors.
At the engineering section, the astromechs had already found and opened the hidden floor panel. There was large, rock tunnel that lead into the darkness. Without any gravity plates, the tunnel was subjected to microgravity. Gundeep took the lead, jumping into the tunnel. The light from the storm commando’s helmet and blaster illuminated the vast tunnel as she pushed off and floated into the darkness. K5 went next, propelled by his rocket boosters, with Doro and Yuzy holding on. Kanu and Hondo jumped in and pushed off next. 8D8 helped guide their travel. Finally Lieutenant Kildruun joined them after closing the hidden panel, thankfully before Jadeonar’s troops arrived.
Gundeep reported that there was a large hatch at the far end of the three hundred metre-long tunnel.
Suddenly, Kildruun was attacked. Six silicon-based, winged creatures soared toward her, three at each flank. 8D8 braking thrusters fired. Hondo yelled, “Look out! Mynocks!” (Succeeding in his Outer Rim skill roll) and drew his DL-17 and fired, frying one creature. Kanu’s E-11 burst killed the remaining two on the right.
The three on the left flank swarmed and bit at Kildruun. The melee caused the storm commando’s helmet to come loose and drift into the shadows. A weapon burst from Kildruun put a hole through an attacking mynock.
Hondo brought his pistol to bear and fired (getting 2 Advantages) which tore one of the creatures in two each half spinning recklessly in microgravity causing the last mynock to evade wildly and drifting into Kanu’s line of fire (who gained a Boost die from Hondo’s Advantages). A single burst shredded the mynock into flaming embers.
Kildruun was spinning out of control but Hondo was able to manoeuvre himself to catch the commando. Without a helmet, Hondo realises that Kildruun was a brown-haired woman about his age. She smiled at him, “Thanks for the assist, handsome.”
8D8 jetted the three of them (including a blushing Hondo) to the far end where the others were waiting. Gundeep – also revealed as a young woman when unhelmeted – grabbed Kildruun, checking her injuries.
The Fabled City
“I had no idea this place existed down here,” said Kanu running his hand over the hatch. He looked at Hondo and claimed, “I don’t think my rank cylinders will work here.” Hondo and 8D8 popped open a control panel and fiddled with the wiring. There was a pop and hiss, and the hatch rumbled open large enough for a large starfighter to fly through.
They floated in and an artificial gravity field pulled them feet first onto the floor.
“Where are we?” asked Yuzy.
“Don’t know,” said Hondo.
They shut the hatch behind them and travelled deeper into the shadowy corridor, illuminated sparsely by emergency lights. Climbing up a flight of stairs, they find themselves in a circular chamber with dormant power generators.
“No,” said the Admiral, astonished by the discovery.
Hondo activated the power generators with 8D8’s help. Light began to turn on. Wall consoles woke up from their slumber. They found another flight of stairs that led to a large hallway above. Five heavy doors closed tight lined the left wall. A large blast door marked LAUNCH BAY awaited for them at the end of the hallway.
They opened the doors on the left one at a time, looking for any resources that could help them. The first door led into a large chamber with a large three-story tall medical tank in the middle. In the fluid was an unknown, fierce-looking unconscious creature. Hondo could not determine if it was dead or merely asleep.
8D8 activated a wall terminal, which displayed the words, Subject: ZILLO BEAST CLONING PROJECT. Status: UNKNOWN.
The second room held hundreds of weapons and armour. “Clone trooper gear!” remarked Kanu incredulously. “Whose secret base is this?” Hondo picked up a working DC-15A blaster rifle and several ammo packs.
The third room was an infirmary. Besides the normal medical gear, there was a peculiar medical pallet with a brain scanner and robotic arms connected to it. Hondo activated the control monitor and flipped through the manual pages. The machine was labelled TO BE DESTROYED and appeared to be an automated neurosurgery device. It was programmed to remove tumours from the human brain. And he tumours were specifically the thing Hondo saw displayed in Giin’s brain.
Doro applied a stimpack to relieve the pain on Hondo’s previous injuries.
An active but dormant holonet comm gear was installed in the middle of the fourth room. Kanu smiled and said, “With this we would be able to communicate with anyone in the galaxy in realtime. No Imperial communication restriction.”
“Hondo!” Yuzy called excitedly. “I opened the last door and found… er, this!”
They hurried to the other room and beheld six rows of deactivated B1 battle droids, the infantry of the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. There were ten droids in each row.
8D8 plugged into a data socket and informed them that these were enemy troops that were captured from Geonosis, a system Hondo was familiar with, unused and fresh off the droid factories during the war.
Hondo mused, “Maybe we can use this zillo beast or these battle droids to attack Admiral Jadeonar’s troops while we sneak onto one of their landers for a quick getaway.”
K5 was beeping in frustration from the blast door outside. The astromech was unable to locate a data socket for him to open the hangar bay door. Hondo studied the door and found no control panels. However he did find a handprint biometric scanner.
Yuzy asked, “Do you know what I think is behind this door?”
“Barrels and barrels of meiloorun ice cream.”
He put his hand on the scanner. Lights flashed red and the words appeared on a small screen: UNABLE TO SCAN JANGO FETT-TYPE CLONE DNA. ACCESS DENIED.
Then it hit Hondo: Giin.
Giin was a clone trooper from the Clone Wars and they needed him to proceed! And so a plan came together.
Hondo said, “We will reprogram the battle droids to obey our commands. Then I will lead them back to the Imperial base to get back Giin Lawquane before they move him. We grab Giin back here, get the neurosurgery unit to remove the biochip from his brain, restoring him to normal. Then he will use open the blast door for us and get us into the launch bay. The Imperials will not be expecting us to emerge from another hidden base on this asteroid!”
“You’re not going alone, son,” said Kanu. “Lieutenant Kildruun is coming with you.” Hondo saw the storm commando wink at him before she put on Gundeep’s helmet.
With K5 and 8D8’s help, Hondo was able to reprogram the droids to perceive them as their commander. While the lead battle droid rallied his troops toward the hatch, Kanu told Hondo, “I can’t say I agree with your doing this, but I am proud of you, son.” He turned to Kildruun and ordered her to keep him safe.
Sixty skeletal droids armed with E-5 blasters swam out into the tunnel, following Hondo and Kildruun’s lead.
A pause to collect themselves before Kildruun opened the floor panel, allowing Hondo to yell, “Attack!” and rush into the engineering bay of the Imperial base followed by a flood of battle droids muttering, “Roger roger!” with blasters ablaze. Unfortunately (with a botched Warfare roll – see notes at the end of the article) Hondo led his brigade in to shoot at the wrong spot in the room. The six stormtroopers who were facing them from the left, opened up. The initial burst felled ten droids. By the time Hondo had ordered the company to fire in the right direction, another ten had been slagged. But a blaster bolt had stuck Hondo’s left thigh (inflicting 9 Wounds on him).
The remaining forty droid soldiers unleashed everything upon the six troopers and soon they were a smoking pile on the deckplate.
The injured Hondo then led the company up to the infirmary deck where eight stormtroopers were trying to clear the debris brought down by Kanu’s grenade earlier. Hondo and Kildruun commanded the droids better, with blaster bolts overwhelming the troopers at a faster rate. Hondo ran into the infirmary and spotted a probe droid trying to grab the unconscious form of Giin Lawquane.
The smuggler’s new DC-15a rifle spat blue bolts which missed but ravaged the wall behind the droid. Superheated ejecta from the wall made the droid lose its grip. Giin fell onto the deck and the probot begin to high tail it out of there. The eighth stormtrooper fell, and Kildruun ran in with her E-11 blasting at and scoring direct hits on the droid, which exploded into sparking debris. Kildruun found an emergency medpac but was unable to patch up Hondo’s wounded thigh adequately (with only two Successes).
“Come on, buddy,” said Hondo as he hauled up Giin. “Let’s get you fixed up and then get out of here.”
There were only twenty battle droids left. They all retreated back to the engineering bay with Giin, but a squad of stormtroopers attacked. Kildruun shot back, grabbed Giin and leapt into the tunnel escorted by five battle droids.
There were fifteen battle droids left and they were beginning to lose one every few seconds. More stormtroopers flooded into the engineering bay from above. The lead battle droid turned to Hondo, saying, “Get out of here, sir. We’ll cover your retreat! It’s been an honour serving with you, sir.”
“Thank you!” said Hondo.
More “Roger roger!” were said by the droids before the Hondo ignored the pain and jumped into the tunnel. The panel slid close behind him as he pushed his way toward the Republic base end of the tunnel where Doro and Yuzy were waiting for him. Upon securing the hatch, she helped close up the thigh wound and jabbed her son with a stimpack (removing 4 more Wounds). Hondo said, “Thanks, Mom!” and headed for the infirmary while Doro locked the hatch.
Meanwhile, Kildruun had dragged Giin upstairs and dumped the armoured and helmeted gunslinger onto the neurosurgery medical pallet. The mechanical arms were removing the clone’s helmet when an exhausted Hondo hobbled into the infirmary. The readouts on the pallet confirmed that Giin was a Jango Fett-type clone. There was a click and the helmet was removed. Hondo’s jaw dropped.
Under the helmet was a 40 year old woman with short curly hair!
It took 30 seconds for the automated surgeon to shave a small area on her head and three minutes for laser scalpels and waldos to cut through and remove a small blackened piece of brain tissue. Another 30 seconds and the cut was patched up. Hondo told the pallet to wake the clone up.
When Giin’s eyes fluttered open and the clone realised that there was no helmet over her head, she panicked for a second. Then a great relief washed across her face. She began to weep. “My real name ith BU-77. I’m a defective clone. Not becauthe of my lithp, but becauthe I turned out female. I wath suppothed to be dethtroyed, but inthtead a Republic doctor thaved me. Changed the orderth. Had me trained ath an ARC trooper and aththigned to a Republic Intelligence field team. For a long time, they were my family. Then for a long time, I had no family.
“Now you are my family.”
Hondo pulled her onto her feet and told her, “Now we have to get out of here and we need your help.”
Giin’s handprint unlocked the launch bay blast door. Inside was a single vessel with blue markings, long and spear-shaped. A pair of dorsal and ventral gun turrets were mounted amidship. Four engines were clustered at the aft section and it was big enough to accommodate everyone, even the surviving battle droids. Kanu was again astounded, “This is a Republic Stealth Ship with a cloaking field. I knew of one prototype, but I did not know any still existed. Whose secret base is this anyway?”
“A stealth ship?” Hondo said. “Now this is how we get out of here!”
The launch bay hatch popped open and the stealth ship accelerated out into space with Hondo at the controls and his father by his side. One Star Destroyer loomed close to the port as they cleared the asteroid. Another Star Destroyer hung further away to the starboard. At the sensor station, Doro warned them, “They see us. The Vanquisher is launching fighters.”
A squadron of twelve TIE fighters swarmed toward them. Doro barked, “Thirty seconds before they intercept.” Hondo grinned and activated the cloak.
But nothing happened.
A mechanical shriek from aft was heard. 8D8 just noticed that in the avionics bay that the cloaking field control circuit box was inoperative and had to be replaced. Hondo vaulted out of the cockpit and yelled, “Kildruun! Gundeep! Get to the turrets!” He began helping the astromech to replace the device on its mounting tray and succeeded (Mechanics roll with three Successes) ten seconds before interception. He sprinted back to the cockpit but (a failure in his Agility roll caused) the five battle droids had blundered into his path. Lots of “Roger roger” could be heard followed by a loud, “Get out of my way!”
When Hondo was reseated in the cockpit and the cloaking field generator was coming online, the TIEs fired. Green bolts peppered the stealth ship. The shields at the engine section flutter and one of the engine thrusters exploded. The ship rocked violently, but Hondo then hit the cloaking button.
One moment the ship could be seen hurtling through space. The next moment, it melted into the starscape and nothingness.
The TIEs opened up, attempting to hit the disappeared vessel, but in vain. By the time the capital ships were sweeping the skies with their dedicated energy receptors, the stealth ship was accelerating away at a tangential course away from the derelict asteroid base.
Then they plunged into hyperspace.
Yuzy appeared beside Hondo, “Hey, Hondo. You know what I miss?”
Hondo rolled his eyes and muttered, “Meiloorun ice cream?”
“No,” said Yuzy. “I’m gonna miss the Lava Jaeger.”
Hondo looked out into the hyperspace tunnel ahead of them and nodded.
In hyperspace Giin revealed to Hondo that when he was abducted on Naboo, one of the bounty hunters who had captured her was an Imperial Intelligence field agent and realised that she was a clone and recognised Hondo as the son of Admiral Keargan Kanu who was being investigated by Ubiqtorate. Before Giin’s former team-mate Tombs came to her rescue, the agent had activated her Order 66 biochip and buried new orders in her brain. The former ARC trooper thanked Hondo for removing the biochip and saving her.
World Wide Rebel Songs
Snow fell in swirling eddies, blown by a strong, cold breeze over an icy landscape. The stealth ship perched on top of the glacier while other vessels dropped down from the clouds to join her. Doro had used the holonet comm gear back at the abandoned base to call Kanu’s safeworld, ordering an evacuation. They rendezvoused here at this unlisted and unnamed star system out at the farthest reaches of the Outer Rim Territories. Even Aunt Zosy and Klikwask arrived from Blue Nirvada. The entire group would now have to look for a new permanent safeworld.
Hondo stood in the snow alone, looking at the ships that were landing. His father, mother and sister appeared beside him.
“Son,” Kanu said. “What are your plans for now? Will you be going back out there as a free trader or will you be staying with us, helping us rebuild our safeworld.”
Hondo turned to him and said, “I think I will be staying.”
- For the first time Hondo is given the new Warfare (Intellect) skill adapted from the Age of Rebellion rulebook. We rolled Warfare with Boost Dice for every 20 extra troops. One Success removed 20% of troops off the NPC’s team. One Disadvantage removes 20% of troops from the PC’s team. Obviously this house rule needs work but it worked great as a fast, impromptu mass combat system.
- Admiral Jadeonar is named for Terras Jadeonar, another Holonetizen. So are Lieutenants Gundeep and Kildruun after Adesh Gundeep and Brishti Kildruun.
- Stealth ship, zillo beast, Order 66 biochip removal machine… obviously this secret base belonged to Emperor Palpatine.
- Because Irfan came up with two plans this session, he was awarded 35 XPs.