02 Escaping The Insurmountable Ned
Earlier today I ran Star Wars Edge of the Empire for GOKL for the second time, using the Beginner Game truncated rules and extra stuff found on the internet.
Everyone was given 10 XPs from the previous session with an option to advance their characters. Qillian Ryn the Trianii and Darter Kel the Zeltron advanced their characters. 41-VEX the manumitted colonist droid saved his XPs for later.
A Brief Prologue
A brief prologue was run to account for the absence players of Lowhhrick, Oskara and Nora. The commandeered Corellian YT-1300 light freighter Krayt Fang landed on a small oceanside shadowport on Rodia. Actually before landing, they kicked the ousted slaver captain Trex out into the humid Rodian swamps a hundred klicks from nowhere. An outlaw tech would be able to install a new BoSS transponder on their ship, but only for 10,000 credits as times are tough. Seeing that the crew did not have the money, the outlaw tech suggested they look for work at the Ithorian herdship that just made orbit recently.
Landing Bay 1138
This particular Ithorian herdship, named Green Fields, was an interstellar starship that was disc 5 klicks in diameter and had a giant transparisteel canopy 4/5th of the diameter that has a living jungle and ocean biomes.There was a central island that formed a mountain 400 meters tall. This type of herdship travelled from system to system and opened their doors to locals as tourists, encouraging them to visit their biomes, to stay in their hotels, to go on safaris and to generally spend a lot of money there.
Krayt Fang was berthed at Landing Bay 1138 at the rim of the Green Fields. Darter, 41-VEX and Qillian went out into the bustling landing bay which was able to support two medium ships and eight light ships such as their own. There were technicians, deck officers, tourist groups heading to or from their ships, load lifter droids, security droids, hustlers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and wanderers. Thanks to some fast talking Darter found a terminal that listed immediate job ads. Most did not pay well, but one ad from Captain Beru Highbringer paid 4000 credits per successful applicant. The job: crew of a Corellian YV-664 converted freighter – now a tour ship – that brought tourists offship to visit gorgeous astronomical sights of the region.
Landing Bay 1142
There were three Lambda-class Imperial shuttles berthed in Landing Bay 1142. Worried, Darter asked around about them. An Ithorian deck officer told them not to worry. Imperials were always boarding the herdship wherever they stopped; always looking for rebels – especially when there were so many outsiders aboard the ship. So far none had been found on Green Fields.
The trio met with Captain Highbringer at the cantina at Landing Bay 1142. She was a grizzled spacer, as grizzled as a 28 year old human female with long, wavy blond locks could be. It disturbed them that she kept disrupting Darter’s spirited job application pitch to her by whispering strangely to the old force pike by her side as if it was alive.
It was even more disturbing that she hired them and paid them half in advance because the inanimate force pike had somehow “allowed” her to.
Before leaving they noticed four humans in casual tourist garb slipping into the cantina, a woman and three men. They were all clearly on edge, as if on the run from pursuers. The group decided not to interact with them.
They returned to the Krayt Fang to pick up their gear as well as extra space suits. (Yes, even VEX grabbed a space suit for arcane reasons.) They had a light lunch with Nora, Oskara and Lowhhrick before returning to Landing Bay 1142.
The Puddle Pangolin
When they returned to 1142, they noticed two squads of Imperial stormtroopers on the vast flight deck about to corner them. Darter panicked and told the others to bolt for the YV-664 while he yelled something about a Jedi Knight as a distraction. But the troops opened fire into another direction and killed three humans in the bustling and now-panicked crowd. The same woman and only two men who had entered the cantina earlier! The troops told the frightened public to go about their business while they carried the bodies of “Rebel scum” away. One trooper thought he heard a voice in the crowd had blurted something about a Jedi Knight, but he was not sure so he let it go. Darter crept away in relief.
Highbringer welcomed them to the Puddle Pangolin. She tossed them a datapad with paperwork and brusquely told them to get a crate of supplies at Level 7 Warehouse 12. The group returned some time – after fast talking their way through an Imperial stormtrooper patrol – with a 2-metre long repulsorlift-powered crate. Darter and Qillian were surfing on the crate. VEX claimed dryly as he pushed it, “Droids do not surf.”
As they heaved the crate into the ship, they saw a bunch of tourists getting ready to board the Pangolin. There was an old Ithorian, a pair of Rodians and a human. It was the fourth human of the group of four rebels: the survivor. He was looked very nervous and on edge, and for good reason. Again, they decided not to approach the rebel but keep a careful eye on him.
Captain Highbringer raised ship. Again, she was brusque with them, told them to make the guests happy, get their food ready on time, repair any technical glitches and other menial work. No need to worry about piloting for there was an astromech droid piloting the Pangolin. Before the group could ask questions, Highbringer started talking to her force pike again and shut her door. Then without any fanfare, the converted freighter flew out of Landing Bay 1142 and made the jump to hyperspace for their first tourist destination.
En route, three things of note occured: One, Darter’s cooking and serving the food to the guests won them over. Even the wound up rebel loosened up. Two, Qillian tried to enter the cockpit but it was sealed with a highly secure electronic lock. There was no answer to his knocks. And three, VEX’s attempt at slicing into the cockpit using the engineering computer failed, but the engineering computer liked him enough to decide to aid him with any other technical attempts (The only Triumph despite Failure roll of the session).
Highbringer never left her secured cabin located aft.
The Moonflower Nebula
The ship reverted back to realspace within optimal view of the Moonflower Nebula several sectors away.The guests had introduced themselves to the group. The Ithorian – who getting drunk fast – was Semba. Oonts were the names of each Rodian although it was apparent they were not twins. The human, Darter learned by reading the passenger manifest was called Kerrek. They were quite impressed with the purple, yellow and orange gaseous steaks of the nebula, viewing it through the lounge of the Pangolin‘s transparisteel ceiling and upper hull.
It was then that the Imperial Dreadnaught Cruiser Lancet dropped out of hyperspace and requested permission to board the Pangolin. VEX noticed that the astromech pilot was complying and attempted to let the captain know. Highbringer said, “Take care of it” and slammed the door on him. Darter approached Kerrek and revealed to him that he knew who he was. He hid Kerrek in one of the three sensor-shielded lifepods and rigged the launch controls to display an empty lifepod tube.
A boarding party of one Imperial Security Bureau officer escorted by three stormtroopers entered the ship via the port airlock. Major Barezz was thoroughly charmed by Darter’s social skills (Using his Natural Charmer talent) and completely believed that everything was fine aboard the Puddle Pangolin. Barezz warned them of a dangerous group of escapees from a high security Imperial medical facility in the sector the previous week. The escapees murdered everyone in their path during their breakout and were at large in the sector. Reports were scarce as officials were still trying to rescue survivors and determined what had happened, but there might perhaps be a Rodian, a Wookiee and at least two humans in the group.
After sufficiently satisfied by Darter about the locked crate they brought aboard, the Imperials returned to their ship, decoupled airlocks and jumped into hyperspace. Darter reported what he just learnt to Highbringer, who only said, “Good job” and slammed the door on him. Before it was time to leave the ship jumped to their next destination.
The Rings of Garristal
Garristal was a ringed gas giant, uniformly tinted blue. It had a system of every wide rings. A large comet had very recently smashed into the ring and a beautiful pattern of exploded ice particles had formed where the comet had passed through. The entire destructive scene looked like a still picture, but everything seemed stationary for being at great distance from Garristal. The guests, including Kerrek, started taking holo images of the sight. (Due to impaired judgement, the drunk Ithorian was unwittingly taking pictures of his own face instead.)
Even Darter was impressed.
But not for long, for the sensor station in the lounge reported that four starfighters were approaching them at attack speed. VEX identified them a Y-TIE “Ugly” starfighters. At first, the pilot droid did nothing. But after Darter yelled at it via intercom, the Pangolin swooped around and hightailed it out of there. Darter hoped they wouldn’t have torpedoes.
Darter and Qillian manned the double laser cannons, dorsal and ventral respectively. VEX remained with his new pal the engineering computer and used its interface to operate the deflector shields effectively. Cannon fire were exchanged. In less than a minute, three of the Uglies were vaporised. The final Ugly buzzed their comlinks and commended them for being more skilled than an average tour ship’s crew.
Then three heavily armed Wayfarer-class medium transports with pirates colours reverted out of hyperspace and accelerated toward them. Darter yelled at the intercom for the droid to jump the ship into hyperspace, but nothing was happening. VEX successfully sliced into the astrogation computer with the help of the engineering computer and activated the hyperdrive, leaving the pirate spacecraft behind just as they began to open fire.
Mutiny on the Pangolin
VEX, Qillian and Darter believed it to be a good idea to commandeer the ship for everyone’s safety. They told the guests to seal themselves in their quarters and wait for orders.
VEX stayed by the engineering computer to try to slice the ship’s systems while QIllian and Darter pried open the cockpit door and succeeded thanks to Qillian’s exceptional strength. It was then they noticed that the cockpit had no windows and were exposed to space. High winds blew the duo into the cockpit as the astromech droid turned his head to look at them creepily, and they were unable to pull themselves back. VEX’s displays registered decompression and told his teammates via comms to completely exhale, crawl out the window to the hull and he would shut the cockpit door and open the top airlock hatch for them.
They succeed with superficial freeze burns on their skin and hide (at the cost of many Strain). VEX rushed to them to administer first aid.
The Insurmountable Ned
This was when they realised that a dwarf star feeding its stellar matter into an accretion disc filled up the lounge’s ceiling canopy view. The ship was moving upward into a black hole.
The PA buzzed in Highbringer’s insanity-tinged voice, “Finally, you are here before the void god, and your lives all be given as sacrifices, fed to maw of The Insurmountable Ned.” Darter donned his space suit and headed for the cockpit to try to kill the astromech droid there while the others attempted to apprehend Highbringer. Just as they reached the captain’s door, four unknown type combat droids with arm mounted blasters swept out of the stores where the sealed crate from Warehouse 12 was stowed.
A firefight ensued. VEX shot and Qillian punched the droids into a scrap although a blaster bolt singed the Trianii’s hide on the left side of his torso. The PA droned on, “It is inevitable. You will appease the voracious appetite The Insurmountable Ned! And He shall save your souls!”
Qillian wrenched the door open and Highbringer attacked him with her force pike. Distressed, she yelled to her melee weapon, “Strabuphyte! Kill these unbelievers! The Insurmountable Ned will not be denied!” She missed her swing, but Qillian’s knuckleduster did not. Disoriented, VEX’s stun blast walloped her left arm. It went limp but she kept up her attack. VEX exclaimed, “She’s powered by crazy.” Qillian’s final punch felled her. He promptly tied her up and jettisoned Strabuphyte out the airlock.
Meanwhile, Darter had sneaked upon the ship’s top hull and taken position above the open cockpit. Then he blasted the astromech pilot’s head into slag. He pushed himself in, tried to regain control but the droid had locked the controls. They had less than a minute before the accelerating ship reaches the point of no return. VEX returned to engineering and discovered he could not take control remotely unless…
“Shoot at the controls!” VEX said. Darter peppered the pilot’s console with destructive blaster bolts. Suddenly VEX had control and the Puddle Pangolin swerved away from the black hole and burned its engines long enough to move away from its dangerous gravitational field. Finally, as if a sigh of relief, the ship jumped to hyperspace.
A Brief Epilogue
Before they landed back on the Green Fields, Kerrek thanked them for helping him avoid the Imperials and told them if they needed any help, his organisation would gladly aid if they could. Kerrek slipped away when they landed.
The trio delivered Highbringer to the authorities and reported the incident. Big Oonts, little Oonts and drunk Semba corroborated their story and hailed the crew as heroes. The commander of the Imperial platoons aboard the herdship informed them that Highbringer was really Captain Qutarig Zurt, one of the escapees from the Imperial medical facility, an insane asylum. Zurt was the only survivor of a ship, the Chrysanthemum Earlobe, that was consumed by a black hole some years ago. She spent a long time alone in an empty lifepod circling the singularity until a passing ship caught her faint signal and rescued her. But by that time, her mind was warped into believing that a black hole was a deity of death that favoured only her.
The team was commended and awarded an 8000 credit reward for capturing Zurt. Along with the 6000 credits advance pay from Zurt, they now had enough for a BoSS transponder change.
The Krayt Fang returned to the Rodian shadowport for the procedure which we might or might not see happen next time on Star Wars Edge of the Empire: The Yet-untitled Campaign!!!
- Qutarig Zurt first appeared in this Star Wars D6 fan supplement I wrote.
- To download Audun Løvlie’s well-made fan supplements as seen in the fourth image from the top, click here.