An Imperial Star Destroyer chases a Corellian Corvette above the planet Tatooine, shooting upon the vessel to disable and ensnare. Engaging in evasive maneuvers, the laser blasts blow out the communications array and main engines. In a final desperate act, the vessel turns toward the planet.
On the planet below, within the Mos Shuuta palace belonging to Teemo the Hutt, the gangster’s entourage and guests look on as holocams turn to stream the events as they unfold. They witness the smaller vessel taking serious damage and is pulled closer by the planet’s gravity. Several escape pods jettison but are shot down quickly by the pursuing might of the Empire.
The Corvette enters the atmosphere, charring the forward section and underbelly. Moments later, an escape pod ejects and is not shot down. Soon thereafter several smaller explosions occur, expelling debris and bodies. Among the expelled debris are a set of the blaster turrets, which two from Teemo’s entourage think they recognize as disguised armored escape pods. One of these thumps into the sands near the Aurek Landing Bay, while the other impacts a series of rock outcroppings and is torn to pieces.
A freighter enters view and shortly thereafter emits a proximity alarm moments before being pelted by a shower of debris. The captain of the modified YT-1300 reacts with some fancy flying, starting with an atmospheric slide and finishing with a barrel roll. The watchers in the palace roar with acclaim, but their excitement suddenly changes to cringes and gasps as a large portion of the corvette’s bulkhead breaks off and impacts the freighter.
The ship flips and flounders a moment before the pilot engages landing thrusters and righting the ship. He sends an emergency landing “request” to the port tower, and is quickly acknowledged, albeit with disdain. The freighter lands hard, and one of the landing gears crumple with the impact.
Meanwhile, the Corvette careens into the Western Dune Sea kilometers from the plateau, creating a crash strip several kilometers in length. Charred debris litter the stretch of fused glass. The burning hulk of metal rests in several large sections.
Undoubtedly, someone will investigate …
To make matters worse, upon the horizon stirs a sandstorm.
Raymus Ardellian completes the requisite forms for parking his ship, such as its condition, and arranges for delivery of the cargo to Teemo the Hutt. Afterwards, the freighter captain trudges across the desert street to the hospital. There he is treated by the Gand doctor (Zaabhan) and informs him about the crash. After tending to the injured human, the Gand starts preparing to attend to survivors of the calamity. All the while Raymus grumbles about his ship being out of commission for a while and how much more he will owe the Hutt for repairs.
Inside the palace, Teemo the Hutt declares his desire to claim the salvage and sets about assigning a team to make it happen. The The Bothan politico Rutak Basnan is chosen to negotiate with any survivors, as well as interact with the expected Imperial contingent that shot down the vessel. The Cathar bounty hunter Senton is selected for his keen survival skills. The Klatooinian technician Gavin is selected for establishing the salvage claim and assessing initial condition. Those selected are sent to collect the doctor, who will ensure survivors are treated, and the freighter captain, who should be well enough to assist with his personal knowledge of starships.
Gavin, Rutak, and Senton discuss the turret two of them observed on the monitors, and as they collect the doctor and captain, they decide it best to detour ever so slightly in order to explore their theory about other survivors. An A-A5 Speedertruck drives around the bend to pick up the team, with the pilot signalling them all to hop inside quickly, and then points to a descending ship. All in turn look up into the sky to see an Imperial Lander circling towards the mesa.
Setting course for the wreckage, the pilot is suddenly aware of a single claw digging ever so slightly into his shoulder. The Cathar calmly requests a different route, first stopping off at some of the earlier cast off debris before routing to the main wreck itself. The driver protests, desiring to not be on the wrong end of the Hutt’s ire; however, he relents when the claw starts to pierce through his clothes to his flesh. He warns that the sandstorm is quickly moving in and will probably reach the wreck in a few hours.
Gavin and the doctor examine the life signs detector and pick up four pings at the intended coordinates. Arriving on-site, the team quickly examines the turret-pod and announces rescue to those within. Through collaboration inside and outside, the pod opens to reveal a woman in desert gear and accompanied by three troopers. Rutak recognizes her: Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan.
Her identity affirms a fact Teemo mentioned privately to the Bothan before departing: the IF transponder emitted from the crashing corvette was the Alderaanian Consular ship Tantive IV! The Hutt also revealed that the Galactic Empire had sent a message stating an investigation was in-progress regarding the vessel, and anyone alive would be wanted for questioning. To the Bothan, some pieces began to fit into place.
The Princess requisitions their assistance, while Gavin and Raymus set one of their three beacons and collect some salvage for Teemo. Rutak attempts to convince her to accompany them to the wreckage of the Tantive; however, she rebuttals with a mission she must accomplish. The approach of another salvage team interrupts the discussion; however, the Bothan smooths over the situation by arranging a compromise. He and the salvage leader quietly reveal to the Princess that the newly arrived salvage team is actually a rebel cell out of the nearby Mos Shuuta, investigating the crash and lending aid. Together they set off for the crashed vessel.
Observably the sand has been charred along a trench several kilometers in length, in some areas scorching the sand into glass. The rim of the trench is smooth in places and jagged in others. Fire and smoke emit from larger debris, while smaller scorched pieces remain hot to the touch. The trench leading up to the crashed vessel is determined to be navigable but treacherous on foot; however, the speedertruck has no trouble traversing the environs. Quickly the collaborating salvage parties reach their destination.
Some survivors of the crash are already pulling the dead from the wreckage. Others are collecting cargo to create a small barrier and are preparing for defense. Princess Leia soon identifies the individual rallying them: Captain Raymus Antilles!
A low-bearing dust cloud from Mos Shuuta when inspected through macrobinocs reveals three Imperial Reconnaissance Troop Transporters. Arrival of the investigation squad is determined to be within an hour without interruptions. Conversely, a hulking sandcrawler is observed heading towards the wreckage from the expanse of the Western Dune Sea … Jawas! Adding to complications, the sandstorm appears to be moving in equally as fast!
They collected group confers to discuss the situation, agreeing to provide the salvagers with supplies from the ship, while extracting the CFF-56 Airspeeder belonging to Princess Leia Organa. Meanwhile, a trap will be set for the Imperials to lure them inside the wreckage and then blow up the ship. Through intense deliberations, Captain Antilles is persuaded to escape with the others instead of remaining behind as a sacrifice for the Rebellion.
Through creative positioning of grenades and cable pulls attached to the speedertruck, a large breach to the cargo hold is created on the blind side of the wreckage. The CFF-56 is in remarkably good condition considering the crash, though minor repairs will be required for optimum use. Cargo is loaded onto both the Rebel cell’s speeder and the Hutt’s speedertruck. Additionally, some damaged droids and parts are loaded as gifts to the gangster. Two salvage beacons are set in positions that should minimize damage when the wreckage is further obliterated.
Ten other troopers pile into the rebel speeder on the order of Captain Antilles, while the remaining troopers are rallied to sacrifice themselves diligently to eliminate the Imperial investigation squad. The Gand doctor states he will accompany the Princess to ensure her and the survivors’ health. As a final act, the driver of Teemo’s speedertruck is considered a liability; he is thus rendered unconscious and placed next to the ship … if the explosion does not kill him, then undoubtedly the sandstorm will overwhelm him.
As the sandstorm quickens its pace, arriving upon the Tantive IV in time with the Jawa sandcrawler and the Imperial Reconnaissance Troop Transporter, Raymus Ardellian gears the speedertruck into overdrive, with the Princess and Rebels following suit. Together they turn into the edge of the sandstorm, driving over a dune, and skirting around to a clearing out of view within the Western Dune Sea. Over the rise, they view the explosion as it mixes with the sandstorm. The Rebel cell and Princess divert away from Teemo’s assigned salvage team.
The speedertruck pulls up to the gates of Mos Shuuta, flashing their access key and are permitted to enter the city. An Imperial transport is parked in front of Teemo’s palace, which a small guard of Stormtroopers. Driving casually, Raymus parks the truck near the barracks in preparation for unloading, and the group disembarks to convene with the Hutt.
Presenting the salvage report, they inform Teemo that while collecting cargo from the wreckage, a reactor leak was detected, warning was given to both the truck driver and the doctor; however, they were unable to escape in time. They further report encountering no Imperial agents by the time of their hasty departure from the wreckage. In conclusion, the salvage beacons were placed, and confirmation of integrity will commence after the storm has passed. The Hutt accepts their report, seeming more interested in the collected cargo, which includes a slightly damaged protocol droid and R2 unit. The droid is directed to processing for a data backup and subsequent memory wipe.
Teemo dismisses the salvage team, all except Raymus. Gavin, Rutak, and Senton withdraw sufficiently enough, while remaining discretely within hearing range. The Hutt informs the smuggler that his debt has increased due to the required freighter repairs. In response, Captain Ardellian feels the need for a drink. He is accompanied by the bounty hunter and politico.
Gavin, with cues from Rutak, guides the group to a small cantina in the shantytown, Reb’s Well. The place is quaint, yet crowded by locals and a few visitors. Rutak orders for the group, a round of Phoenix Risings. When the round of shots are ready, they are guided by the barkeep to a cozy booth located near the freshers, with the advice that some are unable to contend with the potency of their drink of choice. With a wink, the bartender returns to his post. The Bothan leads with a toast to his new comrades, downs the glass, and excuses himself to the fresher. In short order, Gavin, Raymus, and Senton follow with their own drinks and enter the fresher.
One of the stalls is labeled as out of service; however, that does not stop the Bothan from opening it and gesturing for the others to enter, advising for them to remember to flush. Gavin enters first, pulling the nob to flush, and the back wall opens to reveal a staircase heading down. Curiously, they proceed, with Rutak resetting the lock behind them.
Deep within the depths presents a general recreation area and a briefing stage. Another level deeper reveals a small medical bay, where the Gand doctor tends to Captain Antilles and members from his crew. Yet deeper still ies what appears to be some sort of operations center. Gavin notices several computer console models, the parts combined as a hodge podge integrated system. Further equipment in use bear striking similarity to the descriptions of pieces reported as missing over the past several months.
It is here that the group reunites with Princess Leia Organa. Rutak reveals his involvement with this secret Rebel cell. They all later convene in the recreation area for a briefing to discuss the mission of the ill-fated Tantive IV: The Organa family seeks the aide of General and former Jedi Master Obiwan Kenobi, residence in-hiding somewhere on Tatooine.
Gavin tinkers with some tech laying around. The Gand becomes familiar with the medical facilities. Raymus reviews some of the diverted cargo from the wreckage. Rutak discusses the finer points of the mission with the Princess. Senton cleans and calibrates his armament.
After some much-needed rest and becoming more acquainted with the Rebel cell in Mos Shuuta, the team is formed to search for the two droids initially jettisoned from the Tantive to look for the Jedi Master. Based upon the trajectory of the crash and timing of escape pod activation, the team sets off Eastward with two vehicles: the Princess, Captain Antilles, and two guards in her speeder, and the others in a common but comfortable landspeeder.
In short order, the pod is located, along with tracks leading away from the impact site. What concerns them most is when the pair of tracks separate, indicating divergent paths away from each other. The more trudging-like footsteps heads in a more or less Southeasterly direction, while the more track-like path heads in a more or less Northwesterly direction.
Deciding it best to not split up, the skiffs turn Southeasterly to follow presumably the protocol droid’s path first. At the rise of a dune with the dried bare remains from a large creature long dead, the golden immobile chassis is found. They determine that with the sand heavily in its gears, the droid was unable to traverse the desert much farther.
They pick up the protocol droid and turn about to follow the astromech tracks. The path is clear until they reach rockier terrain, with little indication of progress. Senton hops out to exercise his target tracking skills, and in time a small cave is found containing the blue and white R2 unit.
Their celebration is interrupted by a barrage of shots fired from the cliffs. Sandpeople! Take cover and protect the Princess!
The group provides cover, while the Princess and Captain Antilles maneuver the astromech to the speeders. The attackers appear relentless, though not terribly bright. Just when they seem to surge out more from the cliffs, a roar like that from a Krayt dragon echoes through the ravine that startles the Raiders away from their pursuit.
A strange hermit stumbles into view, stating the sandpeople are easily startled but will return and in greater numbers. He inquires what caught the attention of the raiders in the first place. Princess Leia approaches to introduce herself, indicating the group is with her in search of General Obiwan Kenobi.
|“Obiwan … Now that’s a name I have not heard in a long time …”|
The hermit reveals himself to be the one they seek; however, they should join him to a safer location. It is then that the group discovers the droid C-3P0 has been further damaged, having taken a rifle shot that was thought to have gone wide and missed everyone defending against the raiders. They collect the broken droid and load it into Leia’s speeder.
Together they head to Obiwan’s hovel …