On the Edge of the Empire

Senton guards the door, his mate Asa flanking opposite his position. Inside the control room, the Bothan infiltrator Dall worked furiously at the datasphere core, entering commands into several terminals, darting from one to another like a canine with a sucrostim high. The only other attendants, technicians assigned to manage the data hub, lay unconscious next to their seats and gagged to prevent any outcry upon waking.

“Hurry up, Dall,” the Cathar growls.

“You mustn’t rush mastery,” the Bothan enters a few lines of code at one terminal, then reaches to the next to press a button sequence. “This is delicate work.”

Several moments later a series of klaxons echo through the hallway. Shouts emanate from the far end. Heavy armored footfalls follow shortly thereafter.

“Just another second …” after one last series of strokes, a tone chimes, and Dall grabs a datastick in turn from each terminal. “Got the codes! We’re good to go.”

Asa and Senton in unison turn into the hallway and open fire upon the approaching throng. Dall hurries out behind them and down the hall they now guard. The two Cathars step back, still providing covering fire, then alternating to allow further progress to escape.

Their route leads to a series of catwalks above a factory level. Machines loudly buzz, whir, and clank as they assemble ship components and weapon systems. While not Imperial by any means, the facility and its product are no less than a threat if the products are sold to the wrong hands. The trio is already aware that mass destruction is not a viable resolution to prevent such dissemination.

If they can put the intel into the right hands, however, then that could make all the difference!

Dall receives a ping from the Wayward Sun. The ship is cut off from the intended exit, leaving only option Besh. He responds to confirm the course of action.

Ahead, a set of explosions rock the catwalk, and it begins to give way. The trio scrambles to a diverging path, only to find it blocked by a cadre of security troopers. Just then, the troopers are mowed down by a barrage of percussive fire, and a droid steps over their lifeless bodies.

“Come with me if you want to live, meatbags.”

The droid provides introduction as HK-8H and has orders for them to return to their offices on Obsida in the Orzon sector. Code phrase: Midnight Reverie. The droid then guides them to their intended alternate exit, where they board a heavily modified Wayfarer-class freighter and quickly depart.

The Wayward Sun travels at Obsida and receives instructions to park at the designated coordinates: Rysh Spire.

“We graciously welcome your return. Is this just an inspection or an extended stay?” Lua Mavdei, the native Obsidaan, greets the trio.

Parna-chia strides beside her presenting a datapad with reports. “Operations have progressed per your absentia instructions and periodic updates. Production has increased 300%, with exports running on schedule for the past two years. In fact, the next Imperial resource shipment is expected to depart tomorrow.”

The Bothan and Cathar discuss their vague memories about what has transpired over the past three years, feeling a little out-of-the-loop with events around the galaxy and former cohorts. They have the impression of escaping from a hallucinogen-induced trance and most going their own separate ways, though no concrete details beyond that. Their most recent memory being to infiltrate a factory in order to collect data linking a crime syndicate to a location on Coruscant referred to only as Zone 1313.

Then Dall inspects the report and accesses the network to corroborate data logs. He acknowledges certain virtual earmarks for further investigation in private. He takes special note of the ore supply requests and partnership with the Galactic Empire. Meanwhile, HK-8H submits a report to superiors, confirming delivery of the Wayward Sun to Orzon Sector.

They further review the ore supply deliveries scheduled for Kuat, Coruscant, and Corellian. Ultimately the crew decides it best to accompany the convoy for quality and supervision purposes. On schedule, the convoy departs, and when the first third changes course from the Perlemian Trade Route to proceed to Kuat, the Wayward Sun alters course in kind.

Exiting hyperspace, the convoy sends its credentials in order to receive permission to dock and unload. The altered IFF transponder is accepted, and all ships receive authorization to proceed. The Wayward Sun casually scans the area.

The expected massive shipyard station surrounding the planet is busy with starship construction activity. Security in the region is higher than expected. The scan also presents unnerving results between the station and the planet: multiple spheroid battle stations.

The constructs are reminiscent of the infamous Death Star weapon. These, however, are merely three times the size of a standard Star Destroyer, even with one such spheroid containing a hangar housing one such ISD.

Each vessel in the convoy lands in a set of designated hangar bays, where the cargo is unloaded, divided and then distributed to short-range transit haulers. HK-8H assists with the unloading, and uses the distraction to gain access to a terminal. During the slicing, however, the droid becomes infected with a tracking virus, and the system triggers a silent alarm; a security detail is sent to investigate. 8H manages to mitigate the virus, preventing further corruption through quarantine and partial system restoration.

Dall and Senton, each using an alias, check in with the dockmaster. He accounts for the shipment and provides payment. Through careful conversation, the duo gleans additional information about local security and the new battle stations.

Kuat Defense Station
Basic schematics and variations, crew complement, troop and vehicle capacity, armament, and hyperdrive

Before departing, Dall, 8H, and one of the droid crew utilize the holonet access port on board the Wayward Sun to slice the data and send transmissions through proxies, ultimately to be received by the Rebel Alliance. Additionally, they deposit a morphological virus targeting the core programming for the stations, in order to cause random system errors during operation. Senton and Asa sabotage local station systems in order to create such a vulnerability and a distraction to allow their goal to succeed. While the transmissions are successful, they are traced back to the ship. Imperial security surrounds the vessel.

A volley from the Wayward Sun’s retractable forward blaster cannon opens the way for Senton and Asa to reach the ship, then toss frag grenades to cause further distraction. 8H mows down some troopers. One of the crew droids wades into the converging troopers, chipping several to pieces.

The troopers re-orient, and some of their shots manage to damage one of the crew droids. The Cathars board from a side entry port leading into the cargo hold. The loader droid plants mag-stabilizers, then reveals a pair of hidden cannons, blasting more troopers to bits. The cover fire allows for the other droid to return to the ship. 8H fires one last volley before closing the cargo bay. Dall revvs the engines and plots an exit course.

Once out of the hangar bay, the hyperdrive engines engage!

Arriving at Coruscant, Dall and his droid co-pilot immediately activate stealth mode, managing to remain hidden from prying Imperial sensor sweeps.

Their own sensors detect at least three Kuat Defense Stations, which are nearly complete in construction. The crew discuss the scans and the cargo manifest intended for the shipment here. They surmise the material will be used for finishing touches on these stations, though there could be other stations on the far side of the planet.

The Wayward Sun console pings, which the Bothan checks. He informs the others that he has determined the location of a safe harbor, where they can perform further investigations and plan how to proceed. Then, still in stealth mode, the co-pilot droid sets course to proceed … into the depths far below the surface of the city planet.

The vessel touches down on a designated landing pad. A greeting party, consisting of a protocol droid and three frail-looking masked organics wearing a similar generic security uniform and basic sidearm, approaches the ship’s open entry ramp. They greet the Bothan, Cathars, and droids as though expecting their arrival, then offer to escort them to the transit pod for the scheduled meeting.

All three notice three different insignias, one on each of the organics. Black Sun. Lun Umbra. Imperial Security Bureau.

8H greets the droid in binary and receives a brief binary response, followed by a gesture to the doorway behind the greeters.

Dall notes 8H and the binary exchange; however, he is not versed in the dialect without a computer to aid in translation. The Bothan becomes more guarded towards the droid. He then mentally prepares himself for what portents an … interesting encounter.

They agree to follow the escorts, they are led to the sub-city private transit system.

The pod pulls into a transit hub, and the escorts guide the party to a lift, where the protocol droid plugs in as a key and sends an authorization code. This alerts the hosts and locks the lift on its course. The lift opens to a long hallway that ends at an extravagant lobby. Statues, curtains, couches, and a wide Vista of Coruscant showcasing the Imperial Senate building.

Several groups are milling about, and they are summarily introduced …

Asa and Senton recognize the Bounty Hunter, Zellroth Krayton, who stole her away from Cathar many years ago and then sold her into slavery. She places a paw upon Senton to ease his anger, to urge restraint from making a spectacle. He manages to maintain his composure.

An Imperial host brings the meeting to order and outlines the purpose, stating anyone who does not wish to proceed may depart; however, not before receiving a short-term amnesia dose in order to maintain confidentiality for the attendees.

Everyone who remains is checked in and accounted for. Dall manages to fool the bio-sensor into accepting an established alias, and 8H is acknowledged as his bodyguard. The Cathars recognize themselves as Bounty hunters, despite the conflict of interest present. A Togorian identifying himself as D’Targon also acknowledges representation for the Bounty Hunter guilds. Qaermyn San-Daego claims representation for Imperial Academia and artifact restoration.

The host proceeds with the program, revealing key information. The Imperial Senate is on the brink of dissolve, with regional governors, Moffs, receiving more control over their sectors and assigned a personal Kuat Defense Station. The Empire is prepared to offer some deals to select tertiary parties, granting Imperial support. A demonstration of power is in preparation to encourage cooperation, a demonstration which will commence in two days time. Accommodations on the premises will be provided for the duration of the summit, and temporary departure for exterior accommodations will not be permitted.

Asa and Senton slip away, though are unable to exit the tower. When their absence is noted, Krayton obligingly accepts the hunt. They manage to play cath and womprat for a full day before the Cathars succeed in ambushing the hunter. The encounter is not what they expect, soon learning the identity of the hunter … Senton’s very own brother, thought dead in the jungles of their homeworld long ago. They bind him, intent to take him with them on their way out.

8H and Dall learn of the true nature of the demonstration: operation of the precise striking firepower of the defense stations upon the Senate building during an emergency session. Without a direct mode of communication to external channels, the duo attempts to gain access to a relay station inside the tower. The Cathars convene with them, and together they discuss a plan of action. The Togorian joins them, providing his own suggestion for alerting the Senate, allowing them to escape while seeming to have the demonstration proceed unhindered. Security, however, has been alerted, sweeping the building, and ultimately zeroes in upon their location.

They are caught in a storage room with only the ventilation access, which the Cathars used, the hallway from where Dall and 8H arrived, and one other hallway used by the Togorian. 8H uses cleaning substances as makeshift irritants, while Senton and Asa first use their claws to then acquire blasters from their prey. The Togorian takes cover behind the crates. Dall scouts down one of the hallways, returning to report it as clear. Chaos ensues as they attempt escape.

The Togorian rises above the floor against his will to careen into the Cathars. Senton retains his footing, dodging out of the way, just in time as a long shaft of light arcs into the chamber. Two growls of anguish echo against the walls, follows by multiple thumps from the floor. D’Targon cradles the socket where his arm used to be, while Asa crawls toward the other door, leaving a smear of blood from her now missing leg. Senton sees the blood, lets out a battle roar, and blasts into the corridor, felling two security officers in short order. Dall quickly turns his head to see a squad of more security guards closing in. Trapped. Reluctantly they surrender, and the organics are ushered along.

Everyone from the meeting is cloistered on the observation deck, with security doubled. The wounded are given basic treatment there, though with the directive to watch the proceedings. The host calls attention to the Senate building, informing of an emergency session to discuss a series of insurgent attacks expected to occur on various worlds across the galaxy. Moments later a searing blast of energy pierces the clouds to perfectly strike the Senate building, incinerating the tower in a matter of moments.

“As you can see, the Senate has been dissolved. Moffs and other Imperial-appointed regional governors will ensure order is maintained. Sign the treatise or receive alternate assignment.”

Dall, 8H, Senton, Asa and D’Targon receive immediate escort to board a tram for further processing …


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