In Search for a Ride
Our heroes have now gotten the cash to enter the hunt, they are only missing a vehicle. While the rest of the party look for information about the opposing teams, the weapons used, and finding out where are the stim-soldiers, Vurt volunteers to use his charm and find a vehicle. That’s all well and done, but Vurt doesn’t know a thing about vehicles, and he ends up buying a Jawa skiff – rusted, with a broken repulser – from a group go Jawa that can’t believe their luck!
The party is somewhat appalled when Vurt comes back at the helm of the skiff – the only happy ones are Jeek’
Tal, obviously, and Frobacca who looks at the skiff with potential despite the rust holes and failing repulsors. While the party register itself at the hunt, Frobacca reinforces the skiff and fix its repulsors. It isn’t going to win a beauty contest for sure, but it will do the job and it allows the entire party onto the same vehicle.
The matter remains that our heroes have no idea what may happens during the hunt. They believe the spice will be handed off, but they do not know to who. Furthermore, the stim-soldiers are definitely on the prowl for recuperating it, but when will they act?
Jeek’tal therefore decides to tip the scales and want to enter the palace in the evening to place a tracker on the skiff of Muraga’s hunting team. It is a difficult move since the palace is well guarded, however the servant entrance is less busy. A distraction is needed for the Jawa to slip unseen, and Wes and Leon perform a grandiose act of a drunken fight that makes Vurt proud… maybe we see here the seed of a troubadour company?
Wes’ legal background even comes in handy as when the guards arrive to break the fight and fine the fighters as per the preserve rules, Wes points out that while the rules forbid opposing teams to fight… there are no rules about members of a same team! The guards, taken aback, do not fine the humans but send them back to their ship, completely oblivious to the dark shape who slipped in through the side entrance.
The Gundark Open
As the first rays of Vanqor’s sun begin to glimmer above the horizon, a massive crowd has already turned out on the platform facing the preserve, most still intoxicated from the previous night’s revelry.
As your speeder maneuvers into a docking position along the leading edge of the platform, you spy nearly 60 other speeders in line, all undergoing final inspection and weapons check by the game wardens. Eventually, the wardens come to your ship, look at it – and your gear – shake their heads, make a notation, and move along, reminder you to return by sundown for any of your trophies to be counted.
As the sun finally begins to rise, light fills the caldera and everything grows eerily silent as the distant growling howl of an elder gundark sounds from the preserve, followed by answering calls across the valley. With that, the hunters rev their engines and hoot with anticipation. The wardens quickly wave a ceremonial flag, and the hunters immediately gun their speeders in different directions toward the preserve. Just inside the boundary, you see an Aqualish hunt team turn and ram the speeder nearest them, which immediately sputters and crashes to the rocks below. The crowd roars in cheers and laughter. You stare at each other with wide eyes as you punch the accelerator and enter the hunt…
Since our heroes have placed a tracker on Muraga’s team skiff, they decide first to trail the stim-soldiers. However the soldiers take a nearly 90 degree bearing to Muraga’s team skiff, confusing the party. Thus, they decides instead to track Muraga’s team at a very safe distance.
After some time, Muraga’s team shakes off all pursuers (but our heroes), and when it happens, they veer toward badlands and make haste. Shortly after, the tracker shows that they stopped near a large cave complex. Our party stop by nearby, and cautiously make its way to the caves by foot.
￼The wind whistling through the tunnels carries with it a foul animal stench as you travel deeper into the cave. Unusual natural crystal formations dot floors and walls, glowing with soft light, and you pass ancient and gnawed animal bones on the well- trodden floor. Ahead, you can hear voices, and you quietly creep towards them.
The Spice Hands Off
Jeek’tal moves ahead alone (the others are way too noisy)…
Peering around a natural column, you spy the Rodian, Muuro, and his Gamorrean guards. The crates are on a small repulsor-lift nearby, and Murro is greeted by a surprising group. A small squad of storm troopers take possession of the crates, while other troopers are stationed about the cave. Nearby is what is clearly the payment for the spice: a live gundark held in a stasis cage. The largest specimen you’ve seen, clearly an elder, covered in solid white fur.
Wanting to get closer, Jeek’tal loosen a few crystals that ring as they fall on the ground. The Imperial stormtroopers turn toward the sound, and while they do not see Jeek’tal in the shadows, their eyes grow wide as they spot enormous shapes running enraged toward them – the stim-soldiers have made their entrance, and not having seen Jeek’Tal, rushes toward the spice. A battle begins.
Our heroes decides to engage, while Vurt activates the beacon to the sector ranger. Truly, it is unclear who is shooting who, but the Imperial stormtroopers are clearly trying to recuperate the spice while Teemo and the Gamorreans are moving the Gundark. The stim-soldiers make no differentiation and attack anyone on their path to the spice. As for our heroes, they disperse and aim to save the spice foremost, and protect each other next, while waiting for Marek’s forces to arrive.
Wes, Jeek’Tal and Leon put up a very effective barrage, which combined with the ferocity of the stim-soldiers, forces the stormtroopers and Muuro’s team to retreat. The issue is that they are retreating with the spice and the Gundark cage!
A well-aimed shot disable the Gundark cage power output, and soon the Gundark will be free. Another shot hits the spice crates sending glitter-dust in the air which renders the Gundark berserker.
Wes decides to move closer, while AV and Vurt circle back. AV has the brilliant idea to act as a proper Imperial droid to confuse the stormtroopers, but may not have realized that those Imperials are not the law abiding soldiers one may imagine. AV is shot at point blank range, and crumbles on the ground, leaking oil. The gambit somewhat worked as the stormtroopers get concerned about the auto-destruction feature that AV bluffs to activate, and back up from the spice.
Vurt courageously try to protect AV-I30 ‘corpse’ from two Gamorreans but is overwhelmed when the two Gamorreans are picked up by an enraged stir-soldier and thrown upon the Zelton.
The stim-soldiers haven’t faired too well though. One fell to the stormtroopers after taking nearly 3 out, another soon fell to the combine shots of Teemo and our heroes who were unsure what his intent was when facing Vurt. The third, the leader, hasn’t fallen, but is badly wounded.
Meanwhile, Wes is shot badly by Teemo, who displays impressive marksmanship, and has to retreat. The Rodian isn’t dumb though, and when his weapon is destroyed by a particular good shot from Leon, he recognizes the battle is lost. Using the cave complex to his advantage, the Rodian flees but is pursued and blocked by Jeek’Tal. Weaponless, the Rodian has no chance – surprisingly, Jeek’Tal doesn’t fire and an hidden understanding passes between the two hunters.
Roars suddenly echoes through the caverns, as the walls shook. Mark’s forces are arriving but the Gundark is free, and he is not happy. Advancing on the remaining stormtroopers and Gamorrean, it crushes bones and skulls. Our heroes retreat quickly, leaving AV-I30 too heavy body but hoping the Gundark isn’t interested in the droid.
It is not, and while it cleans up the remaining enemies, it is soon lit by multiple blaster fire and falls on the ground. Marek has definitely arrived!
￼In the distance, you hear a ship touching down loudly outside one of the nearby cave entrances, followed by the sound of multitudes of heavy footsteps echoing through the tunnels. Nice timing, you think… until Marek comes into view.
The Sector Ranger, Marek Quay is wearing a different uniform; an Imperial Officer’s uniform with captain’s insignias and an ISB emblem on the lapel. Behind him are what appears to be an entire battalion of white armored storm troopers, who level their rifles at you in unison. Marek walks over to one of Stim’s soldiers and checks his pulse, then pulls out a pistol and executes him.
“I can’t thank you enough for your help, my dear friends. You truly have helped make the galaxy a better place today. These escaped soldiers were the pride of the ISBs experimental soldier project. Remarkable work they’ve done with chemical enhancement. Truly remarkable. Some of our enthusiastic volunteers decided to no longer support the good of the galaxy, unfortunately.
And I couldn’t have tracked them down without you. And you went ahead and cleaned up the Hutt’s riff- raff… well done. The traitors are contained, as is our involvement. The spice, of course – is much needed for the continuation of the project. I took quite a risk releasing it to you… but I knew my instincts were right.
Oh, don’t look so surprised. I told you… not to trust anyone. Now… unless you’d like to end up like these traitors, you’d best put your weapons down. Guards, take everyone into custody, and make sure the leader of those traitors doesn’t bleed out. I want him alive.”