At the hermit’s hovel, Princess Leia and Captain Antilles ply their case to the General.
|“General Obi-wan Kenobi, I present myself in the name of the royal family of Alderaan, and the Alliance to restore the Republic. I break your solitude at the bidding of my father Bail Organa, Viceroy and Chairman of the Alderaan system. Years ago General, you served my father in the Republic during the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to aid us again in our most desperate hours. He would have you join him on our home planet Alderaan. You must go to him! I regret that I must convey my father’s request to you in this manner, but my ship has been attacked and destroyed, and I’m afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan may have failed. I have saved information vital to the survival of the Alliance in this droid, and my father will know how to retrieve it. I plead with you to help me see this R-2 unit safely delivered to Alderaan. You must help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re our last hope.”|
General Obiwan Kenobi agrees to assist Princess Leia Organa; however, there is a task he feels he must complete before departing, a task for which he requests Leia to accompany him. Leia agrees and advises the others to return to Mos Shuuta, noting that Teemo the Hutt will likely notice prolonged absence, unless they already provided believable cover stories, such as the case for the doctor.
Rutak informs them that he has a mission to meet with Biggs Darklighter at Tosche Station. Since Obiwan and the Princess are heading in that direction, they recommend he accompany them. Captain Antilles states he will tend to the droids and perform repairs while they complete their tasks. The rest return to the mesa settlement as directed, using the Rebel enclave as their point of re-entry.
The majority of the group presents a report at the briefing area, while the doctor checks in at the medical station. A cheer fills the cell after the announcement of locating the Jedi Master. This report piques the interest of a recent Wookiee arrival, who introduces himself as Wen Digo.
The Gand is startled to discover another recent arrival, the speedertruck driver who was left out at the wreckage of the Tantive IV. The driver is recovering from dehydration and exhaustion. Raymus Ardellian volunteers to smooth over the situation, revealing that the Cathar bounty hunter meted out the action to incapacitate; however, collectively the group was uncertain of the driver’s loyalties, and they opted to take no chances. The driver, Demetrius Qal-aca, accepts the explanation for what it is, and calls it sand over the dunes, open to a fresh start with them.
Raymus is joined by Gavin, Wen Digo, and the disguised doctor to check on the status of the ship, while Senton and Demetrius report to Teemo.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” one of the Hutt’s attendants snidely remarks as the Cathar and his companion enter the audience chamber.
Senton declares that he found the driver dehydrated and near to death out beyond the mesa, and promptly changes the subject by inquiring about a bounty job from Teemo. The Hutt laughs loudly, complimenting his timing, and then directs him to a more private discourse. The esteemed Jabba the Hutt has apparently placed a bounty for a smuggler by the name of Han Solo, who is known to dock at Mos Eisley. Teemo requests an intercept so that he may possess a bargaining chip over his rival. Senton recognizes the name as the Human with a Wookiee companion; however Teemo states his only concern is Solo.
Demetrius convenes with Teemo, detailing how he was blown clear of the wreck and buried in the sand. He regaled crawling out who knows how long later and set his sights for the mesa. He admitted to bare remembering the trek but clearly saw the Cathar standing over him after waking. The Hutt commands his dedicated driver to remain with the group with whom he was tasked to tag salvage, a deed for which he will be handsomely rewarded. Further, salvage collection from the wreck will be required over the next several days.
Senton and Demetrius convene at docking bay Aurek, where the others are hard at work on the Solace applying repairs. Captain Ardellian laments repairs will cost 8,000 and take the rest of the week, unless they are able to collect useful salvage from the wreck of the Tantive IV. Demetrius informs them he has been tasked with the collection and is willing to help prioritize the effort.
The bounty hunter shares the basic premise of his target, and the doctor offers to join him. The Gand notes the benefit of reducing the chance for someone in Mos Shuuta to recognize him and to assist in the non-lethal acquisition of the smuggler. Senton agrees, and they promptly depart for Mos Eisley.
Ardellian detaches the modified F-LER from its forward nest, while Demetrius and Wen Digo collect the speedertruck. In tandem, they return to the wreckage. There they observe a cadre of Imperial Stormtroopers lining up prisoners from the stranded crew; apparently the explosion did not catch them all, and a precarious firefight ensued some time after the sandstorm passed. The freighter captain opens fire upon the white armored soldiers, while the truck swings wide to attempt to bowl them over. By the end of the foray, all of the remaining troopers are killed, while one Rebel trooper lives to fight another day.
One of the Imperial transports seems damaged; however, together they hotwire it back to basic running condition. They load it up with some supplies and equipment, including all clues and remains indicating a Rebel presence, and for the Rebellion, direct the trooper to locate the hidden cell. The other fully functional Imperial transport they load up with the bodies, after removing the armor from the less severe. Together, Ardellian, Demetrius, and Wen Digo load the truck with as much salvage as they can carry, including several sheets of hull stacked on top and mag-lifted by the F-LER. The equivalent of five plastoid armor suits and blasters to match are hidden within the speedertruck for later re-purposing by the group. The functioning transport is set to tow behind the truck.
Upon return, the salvage crew delivers the Imperial equipment to Teemo in good service to present back to the Galactic Empire. They report on finding the remains of the Stormtroopers in terrible condition, noting that one of their transports was nothing but slag, a probably result of the reactor leak, with residual traces at nominal. There is no sign of the Gand doctor, for which they include a moment of honored silence.
Teemo is overall pleased by the turnout and starts arranging for more salvage teams to strip the remainder of the wreckage. Ardellian is allowed to reserve reasonable amounts required to complete repairs. Considering the situation, Teemo reduces repairs to primarily labor costs and repairs already otherwise completed. Raymus postulates if he and some of his new friends help, then he can facilitate the repairs by two days.
Senton and the Gand depart for Mos Eisley, briefly wondering if they’ll encounter Rutak along the way. Over the following two days, the duo search for the intended targetobserve, and collect. Senton’s Adventure Log Post recounts what transpires.
Rutak returns to the mesa settlement, having successfully met with Biggs Darklighter and collecting the code cylinder in his possession. The Rebel cell and he discuss a plan to provide false information by allowing the black box from the Tantive IV to be located “by chance”. The challenge they face is in having the facilities to accomplish the reprogramming sufficiently. One of the salvage runs did yield recovery of the black box and agree to meet up with a slicer Biggs recommended, and they send it out for completing the desired task.
They brief the Bothan regarding other salvage operation consequences, including the survival of the driver, Demetrius, and the fact that Imperial Stormtroopers are scouring the settlement looking for this very base of operations. So far the search has been unsuccessful, and through the Rebel’s machinations they intend to maintain their secrecy.
Amidst the reconstruction in Aurek Bay, a messenger from Teemo collects those present from the original salvage operation, all except for Demetrius. They are escorted to the palace, where they are greeting by the gangster and a guest, Imperial Hadrik. Shortly after introductions, the officer begins verbally grilling the salvage team.
Deciding to check in with the Hutt, Rutak enters to overhear the proceedings and decides to remain scarce. From the shadows he listens as they are questioned regarding the nature of the claimed radiation leak, evidence of which is next to nonexistent. From there he invades their personal space several times while he disassembles their claims pertaining to the Imperial contingent sent to investigate the wreck and return. Concluding the interrogation, he is outwardly unsatisfied by the results, though he maintains his composure in front of the Hutt.
|“I’ve got my eyes on you! If you so much as THINK about jumping planet, I’ll KNOW. When you do, I will personally chase you down!”|
After the others depart and return to repairs and salvage collection, Rutak approaches the Hutt and Imperial Lieutenant. Several inquiries are directed at the Bothan He simply answers, “We weren’t looking for survivors or bodies. Our priority was to secure the salvage for Teemo, and ensure no packs of Jawas would slip in to scavenge his claim.”
The politico deftly redirects the conversation to business matters. “Through family channels I have heard the possibility of some business dealings on Corellia that could be profitable to you, Lord Teemo.” he continues by regaling how his family’s status could serve as incentive to negotiate a better profit margin. The gangster considers the proposition, confers a moment with Lieutenant Hadrik, and then replies with an approval. Teemo directs Rutak to depart immediately to commence with the negotiations in preparation of an introductory shipment, and with that, the politico is escorted to Teemo’s personal launch pad to depart from Tatooine.
When repairs to the Solace are complete, Captain Raymus Ardellian and his comrades are summoned before Teemo once more. He cuts directly to business, stating the total owed for repairs equals 6,000, mostly for labor, since the majority of parts were supplied from the wreckage. On the bright side, the Hutt presents a job that will reduce that amount owed by half. Ardellian is tasked with a formal crew to extend Teemo’s effective reach to other worlds.
He has been watching him and his recent interactions closely, and from them, the Hutt has decided that his formal crew consists of …
The Hutt expresses further pressure to ensure the bounty hunter, Senton will agree to a station on the crew.
For the crew’s first assignment in this venture, Teemo proclaims a delivery of Imperial cargo must be delivered to an Imperial post on Corellia. The action will show good faith between his retinue and the primary ruling entity in the galaxy. Lieutenant Hadrik glares at the gathering, though wearing a smug and satisfied expression. The gangster provides one additional instruction, after delivering the cargo, they are instructed to meet up with their last crew member, an ambassador, Rutak Basnan.
The Imperials scan the ship, as a measure of thoroughness. Then the extensive supply is loaded onto the freighter, filling all of the external cargo pods and half of the interior cargo hold space. One cargo hold is filled with an additional delivery, with which the politico will facilitate at the proper time.
The crew loads into the ship with their belongings, hiding the Gand within. With everything in order, a final system check is run. The Captain engages the lift thrusters, angles upwards, and revs the engines to afterburn!
The crew monitors the systems as the freighter progresses through the stratosphere, enters the vacuum of space, and re-enters the atmosphere, the intention to test the integrity of the repairs and determine the extent of stress the system can endure. The hull shudders, a few plates loosening, and finally buckles.
|“What was that?” Captain Ardellian exclaims and promptly sets a course for an emergency landing.|
He angles the freighter for a stretch of ravine within the Jundland Wastes, the rendezvous for their secret passengers. They spot the visual signal well enough, land the craft a bit rougher than intended, due to the strain on the system, and then load up three more organic passengers and two droids, with the young boy among them disdaining the ship as a piece of junk.
A proximity alert indicates the approach of a ship, which the IFF reads as the Imperial Sentinel-class transport Eclipse, the very same which was parked in front of Teemo’s palace for the previous week. The vessel sets down nose-to-nose with the Solace, and a cadre of troops exits behind Lieutenant Hadrik.
“Trouble, boys? Let’s have a look-see, shall we?” he gestures for a team to inspect the ship while the formal crew attends to repairs and system checks.
The Sergent shakes his head to the Lieutenant upon the team’s departure from the vessel, everything appearing in order and up to normal expectations. Hadrik signals once more to the crew that he has his eyes on them. The Imperials load up on the Eclipse and return to Mos Shuuta.
Ardellian laments that the repairs aren’t perfect, but they’ll have to do until they reach a more equipped and safer facility. The crew secures the ship and returns inside to assist their passengers out from the smuggler’s hold. Collectively they prepare for departure.
With that, they leave the sandy planet behind, chart the astrogation for Corellia and engage the hyperdrive!
En route to the Core world, everyone on board enjoys the duration with honing some of their skills and becoming further acquainted.
Captain Ardellian sets the base rules upon his ship and ensures everyone acknowledges. Then he gives everyone the formal tour of the vessel, spending some extra time showing Demetrius and Gavin the navigation controls. For a time he returns to the cockpit and socializes some later during the jump, taking shifts between the co-pilot and engineer.
Gavin sets to work re-purposing the acquired plastoid armor. He suits pieces to fit the crew. The task is difficult without a fully functional work table and modification kit like he had back at the junk shop in Mos Shuuta.
Senton pulls out two devices, one which he looks at with forlorn, and the other upon which he enters a log. Afterwards he disassembles and cleans his rifle and armor pieces, ensuring all dings and dents are smoothed out and polished. He then tends to any rips and loose threads on his underarmor.
Princess Leia changes into more comfortable, noble attire, and then begins preparing the crew for meeting her family on Alderaan. Luke looks on entranced, to which the Jedi Master preoccupies the youth with introductory training in the ancient Jedi tradition.
Wen Digo steps up to lend some tutelage, revealing that he spent some time with a Jedi on Kashyyk decades ago, during the Clone Wars. The Wookiee briefly adds that has given his life to the Jedi ever since. Where the Jedi exist, so too will he go and assist them. This meeting was the Will of the Force, so agrees the Scorekeeper.
Finally the Gand cannot contain himself any longer, and reveals he once had a Jedi Master as well; however, he was slain during the Jedi Bendu Purge. He detaches a piece of equipment from his breathing apparatus and hands it to Obiwan for inspection, which he returns with a curious expression. The Gand then joins in with the training in one of the cargo bays.
Demetrius spends most of his time in the cockpit co-pilot seat. He types up his own log when not required to make course corrections.
The journey is otherwise uneventful, and the hull holds together through the hyperspace jump.
After dropping out of hyperspace, Corellia looms large, the shipyards in orbit teeming with various ships under construction or repair. The Solace receives a ping, indicating the required destination, though the console blinks out for a moment while attempting to sync with the local HoloNet. A punch to the console seems to correct the issue, and Captain Ardellian maneuvers the freighter to the station hangar bay.
The formal crew assists the passengers into the smugglers compartments, and ensures suspect possessions are hidden out of plain sight.
An Imperial inspection unit and a labor team are waiting for the freighter. Once the entry ramp lowers, a third of the laborers enter the ship and proceed to the interior cargo bay harboring the Imperial supplies, while the rest of the laborers begin opening and extracting the supply from the exterior cargo pods. After the interior cargo is unloaded, the inspection team makes a leisurely sweep through the ship. The inspection concludes without finding anything out of the ordinary, though the exterior review notes the damaged hull plating.
The Captain makes a remark likening the inspection to a particularly invasive medical procedure.
“That can be arranged,” the chief inspector replies, and an awkward silence follows.
Without further haranguing, the Solace departs from the Imperial station and heads down to the planet, carefully entering the atmosphere to divert the stress as much away as possible from the weakened hull plating. The passengers are assisted out of their hiding place once more, with the Princess eager to be on their way to Alderaan.
|“Just one quick stop, and we’ll be on our way.”|