Never Tell Me The Odds!

MEANWHILE, THE BACKSTORIES...

This is a collection of side adventures preparing us for just how we’ll steal a massive Hutt capital ship and live to tell the tale. These are adaptations and rationalizations of what happened in our prep adventure game.

MEANWHILE, IN AN CUSTOMS OFFICE ON THE BORDER OF CORPSEC SPACE

“Can’t say I expected to be called ‘SED-17’ again, Dua. Truthfully, I miss my old designation. Out here I’m Customs Droid 1494. ‘CD-1494’ doesn’t have that same ring to it. Ever since I was reassigned to Customs after the whole Stoytown dustup, bastards think they own me down to my name and serial number.”

CD-1494 inserts a small black square into what passes for a mouth. “I mean of course they own me, but the bureaucrats on Saclas even made me give up smoking. I tried to tell them it’s on account of my condition, but they wouldn’t have it. Anyway, what brings you out here? Guessing it isn’t just to hear about life in the CSA border patrol.”

Dua explains the plan and how the droid could help. CD-1494 lets out an electronic sigh.

“You organics. I’ll never understand the fascination with finding new ways to kill and cheat one another.” Dua opens her mouth to protest but CD-1494 silences her. “Stopping the worst criminals often means making deals with the rest. If your plan works, the Hutts’ operations in CorpSec suffer a huge setback and you strike a major blow to Black Sun in the process. I’ll help, for CorpSec’s sake.”

“The border is safer when the right mercs and smugglers know they can have their rivals stopped for a ‘routine inspection.’ One in particular, Sohva, has tipped me off many times, each time with a big payoff. If there’s one person that knows what’s happening with CorpSec’s mercenaries, it’s her. I don’t have a way you can reach her, but she works out of the Oubliette shadowport somewhere in-between CorpSec and Hutt space. Hand her this holonet disc and have her talk with me when you find her.”

(time passes – one fact missed. “The basics” and two facts remain)

A Hutt shadowport is hard to find even for a fringer like Dua. Thankfully this isn’t the first time she’s heard about Oubliette – an infochant on Nar Shaddaa mentioned it being somewhere “on one of those ‘Ord’ planets.” Some clever astrogation allows her to narrow it down to just one planet, Ord Vaxal.

Searching Ord Vaxal’s cantinas, clubs, and cartels leads to one false lead after another. Dua almost laughs when the last tip takes her to the ruins of an old penal colony on the planet’s northside. As the sun sets after a wasted day of searching, a curious light draws Dua’s attention.

A voice calls out of the darkness when she approaches. “Halt. Who wants in?”

Dua doesn’t miss a beat. “It’s me. Sovahn. I got separated from the crew coming back in. Now shut up and let me in.”

After a pause, the voice calls back. “Don’t move. Not even an iota, whoever you are.” After what seems like an eternity, a nearby decrepit door opens. Light pours out and five figures walk into the darkness. An older Dressellian approaches Dua and crosses her thick arms over faded military fatigues.

“Sovahn? Hmm, well I suppose it’s a pleasure to meet me, ‘Sovahn,’” she says with a sneer.

Works every time, Dua thinks as the crew leads her inside…

MEANWHILE, WITHIN A BRASS-PLATED NEBULON B SOMEWHERE JUST BEYOND CENTERPOINT

N’oos stands staring at Oskara from his pure white cleanroom behind protective glass, processing everything she has just said.

“I have a button here which ignites the interior of the ship. Seals the airlocks and within minutes, any organic particles are turned to ash and vacuumed away. You would just disappear, no one to remember your name…”

The Twi’lek stands still, unresponsive.

“But then I suppose you must know that. You knew and you came in here anyway to strike this deal, to tell me to my face that you had no intention of honoring our original deal. And this datafile you provided on Tantin and his entanglements with Laurena… it’s clear he’s in over his head. I knew he was ineffective, but I didn’t realize he was losing his grip on Centerpoint.”

The Trandoshan begins to slowly pace, lost in thought. “I suppose I can’t lose either way. If your plan works, I have a new Vigo who I can work with and trust, inasmuch as one can trust a Vigo. If it doesn’t, then Tantin or the Hutts will save me the trouble of killing you and I’m no worse for wear.”

“How’s this for a test of faith? Each Vigo has a secured holodisc for communicating with the Prince and the Council. Tantin must keep his somewhere in that secured compound of his in Hollowtown. I want you to clone it for me, so that I can listen in on his private little chats. Do that and I’ll sponsor you for the Council. You’ll have an audience with the Prince, and from then it’s on you.”

(time passes – one fact missed. “The basics” and two facts remain)

Tantin has only doubled-down on security for Laurena’s Hollowtown compound as he prepares for his war against the Hutts. After days of patient stalking and waiting, Oskara sees her opening when Laurena’s entourage leaves for the weekly Secretariats’ meeting. A quiet jetpacking leaves her on the roof and quickly allows her to enter the mostly-empty estate.

Finally, a bottle of Twi’lek T’ssalok is much heavier than it should otherwise be, and reveals the holodisc within a false bottom. After a quick clone (thanks again, Mathus) and a swig of the liquor and she’s back in flight…

MEANWHILE, IN THE BACK OF A MARKETPLACE STALL IN BATTLE-SCARRED THEED

Morgana Rust takes a casual sip of something fizzy before speaking. “Everyone still thinks you’re Gungan spies, you know. Although I suppose that you asking about Dr. Talcard more or less disproves that.”

Mathus frowns, confused.

“Oh, Talcard went missing not long ago,” Morgana replies. “Everyone said it was our favorite boogeyman, ‘the Gungan spies.’ I always thought that was garbage. The Gungans have all the heavy ordinance here in Theed so it doesn’t make any sense for you to come knocking on my door if you’re working for them.”

Morgana steps up and moves to a holonet display in the rear of her shop. “When the war broke out, a lot of my supply dried up. War shortages of course, but fear sent a lot of people running too. To put minds at ease, I worked out a deal with Mar T’quala who runs the local mercenary’s guild.”

She opens a drawer and tosses Mathus a small hexagonal surveillance tagger. “Deal is, I give Mar a steep discount on whatever he needs, I put trackers on my suppliers and have the fish take care of any trouble they run into. Worked well, until the topside war turned against us and Talcard went missing up there. He activated his tracker so far behind enemy lines that there was nothing Mar could do.”

(time passes – one fact missed. “The basics” and two facts remain)

Mathus emerges from the undertunnels into the dim streets of Theed at night. The threat, and smell, of the Andoan Gravedigger in the tunnels has long since passed, but the Gungans and Royalists alike remain too spooked to enter them. A quick glance at his tracker reveals the final signal to have come from the Royal Institute of Medical Study on Theed.

Dodging only a few patrols, Mathus enters the massive building. A crumbling, artillery-blasted exterior gives way to a research hospital that is mostly intact. His bioscanner leads him to a small room overlooking a medical suite. He ticks off the bioscanner – no need for a device to tell him what his eyes can plainly now see.

In the observation room below stands Dr. Talcard, a gaunt Arconan, working on some terminal. Keeping watch over him are two Aqualish guards, each armed with repeating blaster rifles. Mathus keeps watch from his suite for what seems like hours when he finally gets a moment of opportunity. A loud and distant clash outside signals the start of another ill-fated counter offensive on Theed, and the guards leave to investigate.

As he enters, Mathus makes the universal sign for silence and hands Talcard a datapad. On it simply “I’m a friend of Morgana’s. We need to leave right now. Nod silently if you understand.”

Talcard nods and then speaks in quiet urgency. “Mar can’t be trusted, Morgana has to — “ Another distant blast interrupts him.

“Doctor, please. We’ll talk later, but have to leave now. Quietly.” They begin their hasty retreat back to Theed’s undertunnels…

MEANWHILE, IN AN AUSTERE OFFICE IN THE BUSINESS DISTRICT OF CLOUD CITY

Desric explained the plan to Mil who responded by jumping straight into details. “Droid autohaulers? How many? You have schematics and specs? Let me see them.”

Mil finally spoke after minutes of silent study. “Yeah, okay, this is doable. Insane, mind you, but doable. One problem though, for both of us.”

A nearby display which came alive with a 3D projection of Cloud City, one of the industrial ports highlighted in a red border. “When the Empire came to Bespin I decided it was time to diversify Mikkar Construction’s holdings. I moved more and more business off-city. The new Baron Administrator took a dim view of that, thought it ‘sent a bad message’ about Cloud City’s renewed friendship with the Empire. Had my main construction rig impounded until I changed my mind.”

The display zooms in on the highlighted area. “Without my rig, Mikkar Construction doesn’t do much constructing. If the business isn’t running, no one will seriously consider my queries about autohaulers. I need my rig back, Desric.”

(time passes – all facts remain)

Sipping his hot makko, Desric turns back to the small group of tourists following him. "Now I’m sure the bazaar continues again right around here somewhere…" he says, trailing off. The tourists begin to grumble, annoyed and frustrated that their Cloud City tour veered off the central market and into what seemed to be an expansive impound.

Desric tunes out their complaints for a moment as he cases the facility. Maps showed the impound near the bazaar, but either he actually was lost or the Empire was so busy impounding that they were expanding into the central market. Peering through a gap in the perimeter, it was clearly the latter – he spies Mil’s rig amongst a huge number of impounded ships and vehicles. Cloud City was gradually becoming a floating prison.

The Stormtroopers outside the front entry approach Desric and his "tour group." to see what the commotion is. Desric springs into action. "Ah, perfect! We seem to be a bit detoured. Would you be kind enough to tell these good people about your jobs here while I arrange a lift back to the main drag?"

Desric begins walking away and faking a call as the Stormtroopers look at each in confusion. "Uhh, well, this is an E-11 Blaster Rifle…" he hears one telling the group as he enters the impound.

It doesn’t take long to find the massive construction rig, docked and with loading bay wide open. Desric dashes across the impound and approaches the ramp when he hears behind him “You! Stop right there!”

He pauses and turns to face his pursuer, an irritated Imperial officer. Thinking quickly, he tosses what remains of his hot makko at the officer and runs up the ramp. As he reaches the ship’s interior he risks one glance back at the officer. He lies motionless at the base of the ramp.

“Can’t believe that worked,” he mutters.

“That’s because it didn’t,” Oskara said, stepping out of the shadows. “You know how to fly this thing?” she asked.

“Nope, but it probably can’t be that hard” Desric says as he walks into the cockpit…

MEANWHILE, IN THE OMNIDROID REPURPOSING CENTRE DEEP WITHIN NAR SHADDAA

“I’m sorry sir, but our policy is clear: no refunds. Particularly for that one.”

Khron growls as the salesclerk pointed at 2-VOCO. “I’m selling, not returning. I have a hundred more that I want to offload.”

The clerk pipes up. “Oh! Well then you’ve come to the right place. The Omnidroid Repurposing Centre is Nar Shaddaa’s premiere retailer and servicer for taking your droids and restoring them for resale in new lines of work.”

“Are you really up to it? This droid recommends you, but if you ‘repurposed’ this thing then you have a broad definition of ‘purpose.’”

The salesperson blushes. “That one was notably difficult to repurpose, yes. I can assure you that we’re up to the task though. While I can’t name names, several Hutt kajidics rely on us for all their repurposing needs. But allow me to give you a tour of our repurposing process so you can see for yourself. Here, this way” he says, motioning to a nearby lift. Khron calls for 2-VOCO, busy chatting up a maintenance terminal, to come and follow him.

“bye bye” the terminal calls out flatly after his new friend.

(time passes – two facts missed. “The basics” and one fact remain)

The salesperson leads Khron and 2-VOCO along a catwalk overlooking their work facilities. “Finally, each droid comes to the reprogramming arrays. We do a complete wipe of each droid with over 1,300 — “ The salesperson trails off as he sees 2-VOCO descending a lift down to the workfloor.

“What is that doing” he asks.

Khron looks over the side of the walkway. “He’s waving. It looks like he recognizes someone?”

“Oh. Oh no. 2-VOCO is the reason those droids are still in reprogramming. Okay, everything is fine. Just, um, stay here. I need to go get security…” he says, walking hurriedly.

Finally, Khron thinks to himself, and clambers down to the main floor via some nearby ductwork. He paces up and down aisles of droids in mechanical harnesses, looking for the row and bin 2-VOCO provided of his “very best friend from the repurposing facility.”

Eventually he comes to it, a powered-down droid with a small “Droid Interface Terminal” next to it. Khron can hear the clanking of security droids as he frantically types into the terminal.

      <$: hello droid>

   <I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF BEING REPURPOSED AND CAN ONLY RESPOND TO BASIC COMMANDS. TIME TO COMPLETION: 4 WEEKS, 3 DAYS, 32 MINUTES>

      <$: help>

      <I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF BEING REPURPOSED AND CAN ONLY RESPOND TO BASIC COMMANDS. TIME TO COMPLETION: 4 WEEKS, 3 DAYS, 32 MINUTES>

      <$: commands>

      <I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF BEING REPURPOSED AND CAN ONLY RESPOND TO BASIC COMMANDS. TIME TO COMPLETION: 4 WEEKS, 3 DAYS, 31 MINUTES>

A nearby commotion sounds like some of the droids have found 2-VOCO. In his desperation, Khron tries one last thing.

      <$: 2-VOCO sent me. please help>

      <2-VOCO? ONE MOMENT.>

The terminal goes dark and begins to pour out smoke as the droid comes to life. “I am the Danjanti’s Custodial Operations Vocational Overseer, second-in-command, also known by my designation — “

Khron rolls his eyes.“COVO-2? Honestly? Anyway, we have to go.”

The two hurry to reunite with 2-VOCO and escape when they find him surrounded by battle droids with blasters drawn.

Khron draws his massive blaster rifle. “2-VOCO, you know these guys?”

“Khron! No, I cannot say that I’ve — “

“Works for me,” the Trandoshan says as he releases a hail of blaster fire…

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