Incomplete De-Lile

New Alderaan

Krin and Tam

The first day on New Alderaan, Tam decides he'd better clear the air between Verena and him… whatever that will actually entail. Still unsure what he will tell her, he decides to force his own hand and leaves a message with the Third Fleet Communications Officer that he is with the Prospect on New Alderaan itself.

On New Alderaan, Tam continues his long tradition of waking every morning and immediately heading out for PT. Locked on-world until the Prospect is repaired, he spends the first morning carefully picking out a scenic route through the properly-terraformed areas of the planet. On later days, he runs that route every morning at the same time. Each time, he spends the run thinking about his potential discussion with Verena. What will he do? Should he break it off (whatever "it" is)? Does he really think he has a chance building something with Orden, or is she just too confusing? What he wouldn't give for the old days. Things were so much simpler then. Still, he should figure things out….

On the fourth day, Tam leaves the Prospect heading for what has become his routine running spot. When he gets there, though, he finds Verena stretching, waiting for him. Startled (he thought he'd just be speaking with her over comms), Tam is momentarily speechless. As a man of few words addressing a woman of many, though, Verena wasn't expecting much.

Hearing Tam's approach, Verena looks up and smiles brightly. "Good morning, 'sir'!" she calls out, standing and jogging over to him. "Been a while, huh? And now you've got yourself some shiny new officer's bars!"

Barely remembering in time that he needs to start speaking while he has the chance, Tam interjects a quick, "Hey, V. Seems you got my message."

"Oh, definitely. Just wish I could've caught you on comms - I was busy working an offload, though. It's been so super-busy with all these materials coming in to the colony, you know? I mean, it's just crazy. They're starting to be self-sufficient now, but only just, you see. We're still bringing in so much stuff, and so much heavy stuff. Mining and refining equipment, generators, prefab housing, construction machinery, all that stuff, it's all gotta be flown in still. And since the Privateer's still stripped down and has cargo pods still mag-docked from Hoth, we've got the majority of the cargo space in the current Fleet. On the plus side, though, I got plenty of chances to sling cargo!"

Tam continues to interject small talk with Verena for a while — when he can, that is. They run together in quiet companionship, Tam listening to Verena's never-ending commentary and occasionally answering short questions before once again drowning in her never-ending torrent of vocabulary. Once they've finally finished their run, they sit down together at a local (and newly-opened) cafe. After chuckling through Verena's inventory of items she personally on- or off-loaded, Tam finally digs up the courage to broach the subject he'd been dreading.

"Verena… listen, I did need to tell you something. I know we'd talked about.. well, I know I kinda came on to you back on Hoth." Tam smiles a little at the memory.

Interrupting, Verena starts again to rebuff Tam's advance. "Tam, I know, I said maybe, but it's still just not the time—."

"No, wait, sorry, Verena. What I mean is that… I've met someone else, sort of."

Again interrupting, Verena asks, "Sort of? How do you 'sort of' meet someone?"

Chucking, Tam continues, "Well, you probably haven't met her. You'd understand if you had. Anyway, I wanted to come clean. See, nothing's happened yet, but… with where we left things… I wanted you to know that…." Unsure how to end that sentence, Tam trails off just long enough for Verena to interrupt yet again.

Trying to hide her disappointment, Verena smiles. "Well, that's… good! Right? It's gotta be. But what do you mean that 'nothing's happened' yet? I mean, c'mon, you're hardly the blushing bride, Tam? Who is this that's got you so flustered? That's so not like you!"

"I"m not sure you'll know her. She's an analyst with the Navy, Amanha Orden. She's—"

"Orden?! You're tongue-tied over her!?" Verena can't contain her absolute shock.

Tam and Verena spend the rest of the morning talking about what's been going on between Tam and Orden. Verena hides-slash-represses her vestiges of jealousy quickly, switching gears to try to help Tam out with his relationship woes. When the two part ways, Verena has mostly accepted that she missed her chance with Tam. She's moved on to hoping that things do work out between Tam and Orden, despite the apparent problems. She resolves to try to track down Orden, sometime, if she can — after all, she needs to hear Amanha's side of the story.

Krin and Kane

TODO conversation - Kane can bring up "1000 year old alien ship" and "Magic Wookie!" stories; Krin might even be able to corroborate w/ Orden

Sidara and Venn, Talking Relationships

Before Sidara goes off to begin her training, Venn will tell her (privately) that he needs to talk to her in her quarters after they're both off duty. That seems to trigger a bit of a nervous reaction in Sidara, but she says, "Okay, I'll be off duty in an hour or so…"

After shift, Venn brings Sidara into his quarters.  After she enters, he follows her in, locking the door behind him.  Sidara's definitely confused now, and she's going into what Venn is starting to think of as her "lockdown mode."

He'll go over to her, gently brush a locke of hair out of her face, give her a light kiss on the forehead, and softly say "at ease, please"

She relaxes a little at that and sits down.  "What did you want to talk about?"

"Well," he sits down next to her, "I know you've been ordered to train some of the locals and will be gone for a while, and… I have a question to ask you, one that I hope you'll be able to answer for me by the time you get back. Now… I'm probably going to ramble a bit, so please just let me get it all out first before you respond, okay?"

"….okay…."

“I’ve been absolutely drunk with emotion since we shared that first kiss in my home. It’s been exhilarating and wonderful. I know it’s a cliché, but, I’ve never met anyone quite like you, and I’ve never really felt quite like this with anyone else. But all the sneaking around has been weighing on my mind more of late. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good idea to try to keep the crew from fixating on our… on us. But it has made me think more and more about all the reasons why this might not be a good idea. Regulations. The notion that one of us might be transferred. The possibility that I might have problems ordering you into a dangerous situation…" He pauses.  "I haven’t really stopped to think this through and consider what is best for us, as well as everyone else. This is a serious issue, and when I look at it rationally, I know that there are basically three ways this can play out. Option 1) We decide that there’s something potentially ‘real’ here, and try to make it work, which won’t be easy. Option 2) We decide that “alone time” is good, but there’s no real potential for anything more, so we keep discretely seeing each other, but try to keep some emotional… distance. Option 3) We decide to end things." He takes a breath.  "Looking at things like I should, reasonably… I think option 3 makes is the most responsible… And (quoting his father, though she doesn’t know that – faraway sound to the voice) ‘a leader always must be responsible for those he leads.’"  Another, tough breath.  "But, Sidara… I don’t think I can… or want to… make the responsible choice. I realize that we really haven’t known each other for very long… and actually I think most of the details we’ve learned about each others’ lives have probably been exchanged in a couple conversations over the last month… but I think I know you well enough to know that I definitely want to share a great deal more of myself with you, despite the obstacles.  Now, I don’t know how you feel. So, I was hoping you could think about this over the next two weeks… If you want to end this… well, I can’t say I won’t try like hell to change your mind, but if you really feel you can’t go on, I’ll accept it. If you think option 2 is all you can manage, I’ll accept it, though I can’t say I’ll be happy with it. But I hope you’ll answer ‘option 1.’”
waits for her to answer
 
Tearing up, she starts to speak a couple of times, but she can't manage to get the words out.  She clears her throat quietly, and then cracks a teary smile and says, "What's 'option 1' again?"

He was looking away from her for most of that speech… he just couldn't put his thoughts together when he looked at her. Once he finished, he watched her reactions, holding his breath and heart in his throat. Hearing her question, he gives a slight sigh of relief, smiles and says "It went like this…" and he leans in, takes her in his arms, and kisses her.

fade out

Corellia

Kane and Rourke

On the way to Corellia, Kane reluctantly approaches Rourke for help dressing more upper-crusty.
Rourke: momentary smirk, quickly hidden
Kane: momentary condescension, just as quickly hidden
Rourke at first refuses, but eventually capitulates and agrees to help provided he keeps his trap shut. She even agrees, as she puts it, to "throw herself on the grenade and help him pick out appropriate clothes during their first day on planet."
Kane relucatantly agrees.

First day, don't see the ship for 12 hours. Amazes at number of shops she manages to drag him to and just how… oddly efficient she can be. She manages somehow to spend his 500-credit allotment to the penny, getting him something she claims can be worn in 3 different ways.

Kane tells Venn Rourke good with money. Kane also delegates provisioning to Rourke.

Next day, Kane sells spun-metal sculptures for 1,800 credits direct to a gallery curator. Puts glass-and-metal ornament on consignment for 1,200 credits, with the gallery owner taking 10% of the sales price.

Venn

Meanwhile, Venn offers Orden leave, but she turns it down, saying she has "plenty of work to do here." When Venn presses, he notices that she's back to being knee-deep in whatever analysis she's doing and doesn't seem to respond. He snaps to get her attention.

"What? Commander…."

"We're on Corellia. Your homeworld. Are you sure you don't want leave to see, I don't know, friends? Family?"

Orden looks at him blankly for a moment, then very clearly enunciates, "No."

Venn then says, "Fine. Let me know if you change your mind."

Venn and Kane

Buy some commodities worth 5,000 credits for resale on next planet to be visited (Naboo). Basically, components.

Venn then explains situation to crew - trying to play up cover identities. Then also explains new equipment and repairs (including making mistake of telling Orden about their new concussion missiles).

Surprisingly, Tam actualy spends time reading (various non-fiction "learn about X in 24 days" type books).

Naboo

Selling

When landing on Naboo, team starts by selling off Corellian cargo, gaining about 1500 credits. A little over 1000 of that goes to fuel, food, maintenance, and docking costs (primarily an engine overhaul).

Next, Kane decides to put the Falleen painting on consignment with a gallery owner for 2,400 credits. He then tries to sell the jewelry straight out (with Rourke and Venn for the assist) for 375 average per piece.

Distress Call

Post on board: "Had a wonderful time on beaches of Gala this evening."
Venn asks Orden, Kane, etc. to research what is going on. Orden spends night with image and next day and determines: a) picture is fake, b) has encrypted steganographics, and c) she'll need more time to decrypt. Meanwhile, Kane looks at starfield and tries to determine which system picture might be from. He determines that the starfield is from Tatooine.

Orden spends the next day heavily crunching numbers and trying to decrypt the short message, bringing her full talents into play. Meanwhile, Venn and Kane go to price out some durable goods, particularly vaporator parts and similar goods. When they return, Orden meets them proudly on the bridge, announcing, "Got it!" The message reads, "Come quickly (coordinates for Mos Eisley, Tatooine) 10,000 credits".

En Route to Tatooine

Prepare for worst (ambush) and have pre-calculated route out of system

A Nice Piece of Head-Tail

Land; Venn and Kane head in to cantina to meeting location. Waiting for hours. Entertainers change, and Twi'lek dancer comes out. Venn distractedly noticing her "dancing skills." After a minute, Kane double-takes and recognizes her.

When Twi'lek moves toward their table, Kane starts in with the, "Hey, baby, wanna come back to my place?" routine (while Venn sits and feels guilty). Shockingly, she smiles and says, "200, baby."

When she speaks, Venn, startled, recognizes her voice. Now even more embarrassed, he falls silent for a minute as Kane continues his plan.

Kane pulls out money and starts to ask, "So, do I pay you directly, or…" Instead, she snatches it and stuffs it in her boot, then takes his hand and teasingly pulls him towards the door. Kane leaves with her, and she cuddles up with him all giggly for a few blocks. After they're clear of line of sight of the cantina, though, she reverts to her former, droid-like self in an instant.

Fishing for information, Kane starts to ask, "Where's Lile? What's going on?", but Ma'tala immediately holds a hand up for silence. She seems less angry and more concerned, though it's hard to tell from her nearly-emotionless face. The rest of the walk back to the ship is completely quiet.

Ma'tala pauses momentarily before steeling her resolve and coming aboard the Prospect. She seems much less of a threat now, in her skimpy dancer's outfit with no weaponry, than she did last time you saw her. After a moment, she pulls a small packet out of her right boot, reluctantly handing it over to Kane. She then pulls out the 200 credits and hands them over as well. Tentatively, she scoots along the wall to a chair near the wall and sits, tense, while the Prospect's crew reviews the packet.

On opening the packet, the crew discovers 5,000 credits and a series of still images showing Lile being set upon by a group of thugs. There are also pictures of a fortress-building out in the desert, but surprisingly, the building looks nothing like a Hutt palace. There's also a roughly-sketched-out map of where the fortress is located (roughly 1,200 miles from Mos Eisley, if Ma'tala's map is to scale).

Looking at the thugs, Venn notices to his surprise that two of the thugs are Xillash.

Venn approaches Ma'tala and quietly asks, "Did you take these, or were they sent to you?"

Quietly, she replies, "I took them."

Pondering, Venn asks, "Do you know why he was taken, or who might be behind this?"

Again, very quietly, she replies, "No."

"Are you willing to help break him out?"

With this question, Venn for the first time sees a glimpse of honest emotion on Ma'tala's face: rage. She whispers, "Of course."

"Did they take your ship as well?"

"No, it's still here, but heavily guarded."

"Gamorreans, mostly?"

"And those others."

"Ma'tala? Will you stay on the ship, rest, and eat? Meanwhile, we'll look around and find out everything we can."

Ma'tala considers the proposal for a moment, then reluctantly nods agreement.

Snake Eyes

Venn, Kane, and Tam head out to try to scrounge up information about the Xillash and who they might be working for. They go out lightly armed and armored, carrying nothing heavier than a blaster pistol. Venn warns Tam and Kane about the Xillash and their fighting style before they leave the ship.

No one seems to know who the Xillash are working for, or even what species they are. However, as you're leaving your third bar, you notice a couple of them standing about 60m away from the bar, watching Kane and Venn. Venn tries to comm Tam, but notices that the comms aren't acting precisely right; he thinks they might be jamming. Venn scans the rooftops, but he can't see a definite source for the jammming.

Venn decides to continue with his plan to conspicuously notice the Xillash and then pretend to nonchalantly head down the alleyway. He's hoping they'll follow him. The alleyway he turns into passes through to another street a few blocks away. Venn keeps glancing behind him, but doesn't see the Xillash coming up behind them. Kane, meanwhile, keeps his eyes forward. As they exit the alley, Venn catches the tail of a Xillash heading away to the left, maybe 100m down the road.

With comms still jammed, Venn decides to pause in the street for a couple of minutes. He then decides to move to another street just shy of where he saw the Xillash, hoping to catch them unawares. As the two are moving down the road, the comms suddenly snap back on.

"—aybe that was the fucking radio! Hey! Can anyone hear me? I could — oof — use some assistance…." They also hear the sounds of scuffling and blaster fire.

Hearing this, Venn and Kane draw their blasters and start running towards the sounds of the fight.

As they turn the corner, they see Tam on a knee dripping blood. A Xillash is running away, and they see him just disappearing around the corner as they rush to Tam. Around Tam, there are tons of drag marks and blaster scorches; about 20m away, there is a small explosion of metal shards littering the ground.

Venn checks Tam for wounds and finds mostly scratches; however, he's holding a Xillash knife in his side with his left hand. The knife is coated in venom, an exceedingly heavy dose in Venn's experience, but Tam is still conscious and trying to stand. (Burn: 1x Haladreshin, 1x Suprastenone, 1x Synthetic Adrenaline)

"No, no, no. Don't stand. Slow your breathing, relax, and just hold tight. You'll probably be fine, but you need to keep calm."

While Venn is trying to get Tam into a more defensible position, Tam is calmly arguing for a return to the ship and Medical. Meanwhile, Venn performs some quick first aid to try to counter the Xillash venom.

Summary of argument between Venn and Tam:
"Sit here, calm down."
"Trust me, sir, I can make it back to the ship."
"You're not walking all the way back to the ship!"

Venn then orders Kane to look for a speeder or some other vehicle they can steal. There aren't many around, but Kane does see one parked a few blocks away. Kane runs over, but looking at the interlocks on the control panel, he quickly realizes that it wouldn't just be a moment's work to hotwire the speeder to stop. Thinking fast, he runs back to Venn and takes him aside, saying, "Okay, I found a speeder a couple of blocks away. I don't think I can hotwire it fast enough, though."

After Kane has drawn Venn a couple of feet away, Tam rolls to his feet and starts lazily jogging toward the speeder.

"TAM!" Venn yells after him as both he and Kane draw blasters and begin to follow him.

Tam lopes towards the speeder, vaults into the seat, and disappears below the console. Ten seconds later, the speeder fires up, just as Venn and Kane reach it. Moments later, they all hear people behind them stampeding out of a doorway just as the speeder takes off down the street.

Minutes later, the three return to the ship. Tam's breathing is shallow, and he's not moving much, but every time Venn pokes or prods him, he just gives a weak thumbs up in return.

Rourke is waiting outside on the ramp; she helps Kane and Venn pull Tam into the ship and back into Medical. Rourke fires up the medical droid and starts antivenin treatments. When she sees his vitals readouts on the screens, her eyes momentarily pop before her face goes completely blank and she starts rapidly going over treatment options.

Venn takes a look at the screen. All he can really gather: pulse rate 181, breathing 90, temperature 102. Rourke quickly shoos Kane and Venn out of the room. Venn notices as he leaves that the knife has a House of the Outcast sigil on the pommel.

Venn then goes looking for Ma'tala to interrogate her further. He finds out that Orden took her back to her room and put her to bed there.

Venn heads in to Orden's room to wake Ma'tala. Immediately, Ma'tala pops out of the bed and rolls into the corner, taking a defensive stance.

Venn raises his hand calmly, then asks Ma'tala, "We started asking around about the Xillash, and after only a few hours, they ambushed us. That's pretty quick turnaround, and awfully paranoid. I can only assume that they were only there to get us. Are you sure you told us everything."

Angrily, she growls, "I gave you everything I had."

"Then tell me everything again, slowly. Don't leave out any details. Did they contact anyone? Say anything?"

Still angry, but trying to rein herself in, she replies, "I already told you everything. You have the photos, and they never spoke."

Venn spends an hour or so studying maps of the area and trying to formulate a new plan. Afterward, he decides to head to Medical again to check out Tam's condition. As he's walking toward Medical, though, he hears some kind of shouty words (that he can't make out) from the Medbay. Moments later, Orden storms out, turning away and not seeing Venn as she heads down toward the aft end of the ship.

Aside: The shouty words included "Why can't you learn that you need to stop getting shot, and stabbed, and…. you… stupid!"

When Venn walks in, Rourke is very quickly repressing a shit-eating grin. She sobers and says, "I was just about to call you in." Tam is sitting up on the medbed. He's bandaged and has a medical plaster over his deepest knife wound, and he's going through a "diagnostic" at the direction of the medical droid.

Venn, entering, asks, "Did I miss something?"

"Sir?" She asks, with fake confusion.

"Why is my mentally unstable 2nd Officer looking like she's 5 minutes from a complete meltdown?"

"It's my professional medical opinion that Lt. Orden is perfectly fine, sir," Rourke manages to say with a straight face.

Venn's eyes become narrow slits as he stares at Rourke for a solid fifteen seconds. Changing the subject, he moves on to, "How is he?", gesturing to Tam.

"He's fine. Recovering surprisingly fast, in fact."

"Is he fit to return to duty?"

"I hate to say it so soon after this type of injury, but yes, I think he is."

"Why the odd response to the poison?"

"He was on a… rather interesting cocktail of stimulants. They served to counteract the poison to some extent, I believe. Either that, or he's just too stubborn to succumb to a fish paralyzer…"

"All right. Tam, when you're done, report to commons. We'll be heading out again shortly."

"Yes, sir."

Tam's report: "Got jumped, saw the ambush just in time. There were around a dozen of them. Cut me up a bit, but I managed to fight them off, stunned probably 4 or 5 of them. One got in on me as I blew the jammer, managed to stick me - think I killed him, though. Last thing I remember clearly was them running off and dragging the injured and/or dead off."

Venn decides to head out again, this time with Kane with him and Starfall and Sidara in tow. Decides to try to get in touch with the Hutt to see if they would be willing to sell some information on the Xillash. Hands over 200 credits for time and place for meeting; gets time (middle of the night) and place (middle of frickin' nowhere).

Later That Night

Kane and Venn take speeder out to middle of nowhere. About 30 minutes after they get there, see a skiff approaching. With 2-3 (maybe?) people on it.

As they pull up, see that there are a couple of Gammorrean guards and a protocol droid. Guards lower droid and back off.

Venn and Kane walk up to the droid and exchange pleasantries. Eventually, Kane and Venn come away with the following information:

  • The Xillash aren't with the Hutt.
  • Someone is horning in on Hutt territory.
  • The Hutt don't know who it is.
  • The Xillash have been Shanghai-ing visitors willy-nilly.
  • The Xillash have also been attacking (gang-style) known Hutt associates.

See You on the Flipside

Plan to have Kane bring Ma'tala to Flipside as bait to get onboard. Will spy w/ drone first.

Take to Ma'tala - she tenses up, but agrees.

Venn: "You probably won't be able to carry weapons. How are your hand-to-hand combat skills?"
Ma'tala: "Sufficient."

Plan to give Kane and Ma'tala transponders in case.

Kane kits up w/ transponder, a couple of small throwing knives, vibroblade, and his heavy blaster pistol, and hold-out. No grenades, no long arms.

Ma'tala puts on heavier clothing than her dancer's outfit. Still not a lot of clothing, but at least covers her upper body and upper legs. Concealing hold-out blaster, two long, thin knives. Wearing garrotte wire necklace and a couple of special pins (like drywall anchors). Hands bound behind her back with rope (lightly).

After a few blocks, Kane notices Gammoreans following him. At first, slows pace and quickly comms Venn to let him know (Venn only gets "…followed…"). Kane then starts eyeballing path for safe places to stash self in case this comes to a fight. Gammoreans hang back, pretending to dawdle and window-shop while Kane is slowing.

After a few minutes, Kane pulls an Archie Goodwin and waves at the Gammoreans tailing him. He then finally continues on toward Flipside. Blocks away, he dodges into alleyways to drag the Gammoreans into a secluded and cluttered alleyway at Venn's orders.

Meanwhile, Venn and the team race to that same alleyway to try to intercept the Gammoreans. On the first corner, Sidara slides and falls on something mucky and moist. She ends up at the back of the pack with Rourke and Starfall. Venn surges ahead of them, but Tam is out far in front of the pack.

Kane tells Ma'tala to hide, then turns to face where the Gammoreans will enter the alleyway, prepared for a fight. Moments later, the Gammoreans saunter semi-discreetly past the alleyway, glancing to see Kane, then pretending to pass on by.

Moments later, Tam practically slides across other entrance to alleyway. Kane turns to see a blaster carbine pointed at his head; when Tam sees no enemies in the alleyway, though, he lowers the weapon.

Kane calls out "Hey, whoa, don't want any trouble here!" as Venn slips a little in the shit covering the ground and slides up against the wall to not dash out into the open alleyway.

A few moments later, Sidara, Rourke, and Starfall jog up. Sidara's entire right leg is covered in shit.

Venn motions to Tam to move up to the next alleyway to look for the Gamorreans after not seeing them on the eye-drone's screen. As he looks that way, he sees one of the two Gammoreans standing at that alleyway waving. When Venn inadvertantly makes eye contact, the Gamorrean turns back down the alleyway.

Venn tells Kane to continue ahead, with the caveat that the team will be more cautious in tailing him this time. Unless he's jumped, he's on his own at this point.

Rest of the way to the Flipside's bay, no tail. Venn sends drone high at first. Can see a few Xillash roving around inside bay. Also sees Flipside and an armored speeder (like a speeder version of a paddywagon) parked inside the bay.

Team plans to move to cargo entrance to landing bay to provide support; Kane is entering through a narrower, personnel-only door about a quarter of the way around the bay from the cargo entrance.

Kane buzzes doorbell; moments later, Gammorean opens peephole and grunt-snorts. Kane says, "I've heard there's a new boss in town. I'm looking to join up. I wanna talk to your boss about a possible business arrangement."

Gammorean grunts again in response; Kane's transliterator spits out a curt, "Maybe the boss is a little busy right now."

Kane responds, "Well, I brought a little present, as it were. A token of my goodwill." He pushes Ma'tala a little to accentuate her presence, and as he does so, he discreetly pulls out a 50-credit bribe and flashes it in front of the slot.

The Gammorean opens the door after a moment. He then palms the bribe from Kane as he allows Kane to enter, giving a muttered Gammorean "my man…" under his breath as he turns away.

Venn orders Rourke to move eye-spy over wall between docks to see what's going on. Gets a momentary view under Flipside, then loses signal (smuggler in next bay saw it, panicked, shot it down). Then hear engines spinning up over that wall. Looks back to hear half-garbled Gammorean barking behind him; 4 guards approaching with weapons raised, gesturing. Kane raises hands, starts mumbling "It's okay, everything's okay…."

Meanwhile, Venn orders Tam and Sidara to fire on Gammoreans, stun only, and then Starfall is to move in and set charges as quickly as possible. Gammoreans quickly down with 3 stun-rounds apiece. Civilians start to panic and scatter as Tam and Starfall run up to the door.

2 Gammoreans each get behind Kane and Ma'tala, escorting them toward Flipside and the Xillash. Kane tries to calm the situation, but the Gammoreans are largely just yelling "move it" and occasionally poking the two in the back with blasters. Kane notices Ma'tala going rigid again, but she just keeps walking forward, not resisting in any way. ("Hey, watch it with that thing! That's good merchandise - don't you know how valuable she is?")

Tam starts hacking on maglock as Starfall starts grabbing for detonite charges in her pack. Venn meanwhile notices about 5 or 10 people coming out of nearby buildings armed armed with blaster pistols of varying sorts. Venn address the crowd, shouting, "Go back inside. We don't want any trouble with anyone other than the people on the other side of that door." With that command, and with everyone brandishing weapons very professionally, the civilians pause momentarily, torn between defending their town and not being shot.

Kane sees sandy, speckled-bodied and barrel-chested Xillash guards snap to attention as black, skinny one glides down ramp of Flipside wearing military grade armor. Kane also sees hilt of some sort peeking out over his back. Looks over Kane and Ma'tala, but doesn't say anything.

Meanwhile, Tam announces, "Ah, it's a Schwillkins. I've got this. One minute." as he starts hacking away at maglock. Venn starts gesturing at the onlookers, calling out, "Trust me, you all want to be back inside those buildings. This is Jabba's business. Move along." People are still intimidated, but they're getting angry - Venn isn't sure they have a minute before people start shooting at them.

Without saying a word, the snake-guy makes an odd gesture to the guards. They begin prodding Kane and Ma'tala toward the paddywagon. Kane moves as told without resisting for now.

People starting to brave up; a few move up toward Venn, and one ringleader calls out, "I think you'd better stop what you're doing. Lower your weapons and raise your hands!" Venn, keeping weapons levelled, pulls team off the cargo door to circle the dock and try to get in the other way.
Ringleader: "I said stop and lower your weapons!"
Venn keeps backing off, ready to shoot, but not lowering weapons.
Ringleader sends a blaster bolt right by Venn's head, calling out, "I said stop!"
Venn tries to reason with the ringleader: "We're backing away. You wanna start shooting, you're not gonna win."
Ringleader: "We've got you outnumberd. You'd better stop and lower your weapons. I'm not gonna tell you again."

Kane's nearly to the paddywagon. A couple sandy-scaled Xillash walk up to Kane and Ma'tala, preparing to pat them down. At this point, exceedingly… ambitious takeoff from next door. Old KDY-1000 screams overhead on definitely-illegal flight path. Kane is caught up in the moment watching this climb, then as he starts to snap back to reality, he says to himself, "I probably shoulda done something just then."

At same time, everyone save Tam distracted by KDY takeoff. Tam immediately snaps blaster up, firing three times and dropping one of the civilians. The other two are momentarily stunned. Venn, Sidara, and Tam, getting initiative, begin firing on civilians. Tam finishes off the two stunned attackers, then drops one more civilian. Sidara stuns one into unconsciousness; Venn grazes and momentarily stuns two more. With that barrage of fire, the remaining civilians flee, firing blindly. One manages to barely graze Tam for no damage; another manages to hit Venn in the vest, but the vest soaks the damage. In attempting to dodge, Venn slides back and slams himself bodily against the wall, momentarily winding himself. Tam, assessing the situation, returns to hacking on the security panel with a renewed fervor.

When Kane looks back to the guards, he sees Ma'tala has slipped her bonds. She's on the back of one of the sandy Xillash, having pulled his knife from his belt and plunged one of her own into his shoulder. She's busily firing a hold-out blaster semi-effectively into a Gammorean's face. The Gammoreans behind Kane stun him temporarily as Ma'tala starts attacking everyone.

Kane comes around as cargo doors start to open. Doesn't see Ma'tala, but hears blaster fire. Kane, looking around, stands and moves toward the paddywagon, grabbing his hold-out as he stands.
Venn and team take positions on each side of cargo doors as they open. Peeking in, they see that battle has commenced, and there are blaster shots around the base of the power station, ground-handling equipment, and the YT-1300. The aggressors are looking and firing roughly toward the cargo doors. Venn, Sidara, Tam, and Starfall take some shots, but don't manage to hit anyone; however, Sidara does manage to make some sparks right in the face of one of the Gammoreans.

Kane sees stunned or dead Gammorean on ground; goes to check (dead, lying on blaster pistol). As Kane scoops the pistol, he sees his heavy blaster pistol lying underneath the paddywagon. He slides under to go for it.
Venn sees sandy Xillash pop out over by cargo handlers. Shouting "Covering fire!", he dashes toward the handlers, firing a shot at the Xillash he thinks is trying to ambush Ma'tala. Venn takes a grazing shot to the left shoulder and lands shot dead center on Xillash he thinks is ambushing. He then belatedly notices the knife in the Xillash's shoulder and the blue arm around its neck… and how it appears to already be unconscious.

Kane, looking at his options, moves back to the paddywagon to see if it's unlocked. Surprisingly, it is. As he's climbing in, he notices the twin-laser turret on the ventral side of the YT-1300 starting to swing toward the ground-handling equipment. Frantically sliding his hands around the cabin, he suddenly notices the keys in the ignition…. With a "YES! Thank you!", Kane turns the speeder on and starts to swing around.
Venn asks Ma'tala, "Are you wounded badly?"
Ma'tala answers, "No."
Venn then turns to start firing again at the attackers, trying to provide cover fire. Venn notices the turret swinging toward him and Ma'tala at the same time and dives for cover, grabbing for Ma'tala at the same time. The turret fires, and a nearby shipping canister explodes, showering the two with debris.
Sidara and Tam sandwich the Xillish that Venn nearly shot, dropping him.

Kane decides the best course of action is to get to Venn and Ma'tala as quickly as possible. Flooring it, he dashes over toward the cargo handling area, trying to keep as much cover between him and that turret as possible. The paddywagon takes a serious couple of hits to the rear end, losing part of the left side and the left rear door.
Venn and Ma'tala take more damage from debris as laser strafes near them. Hits fuel line, and both take injuries from explosion-thrown shrapnel as Kane's truck screams by.
Ma'tala begins dragging Xillash to paddywagon and pushing him into the back end, climbing in after. Venn helps, then follows her in.

Kane's screams away through the cargo door, barely dodging some parting shots from the ventral turret. Outside the walls, he stops. Moments later, the cargo doors start to close and the team starts moving toward the paddy wagon.

As blast doors close and last of team climbs aboard, Venn hears engine whine that at first he takes for tinnitis. Venn, upon realizing it's probably the Flipside spinning up engines, comms Kane and Prospect. He tells Kane to take us home as quickly as possible, then asks Prospect to prepare to leave, as the mission has failed….

Lose other rear door as taking hard corners to lose self in ground clutter when they see Flipside take off.

Ma'tala kept House of Outcast knife she picked up off the Xillash she wounded.

TODO Interrogation

Team returns to Prospect and finishes prep for takeoff. Venn sends Rourke into Medbay to work on stabilizing and detaining the Xillash. Once he is stable, Venn and Ma'tala need treatment for their injuries. Tam and Sidara are assigned to guard him at all times as he's moved into the "brig."

Ma'tala took knife, comm, and blaster from Xillash prisoner. Shows them to team. Gives Orden the comm and has her start looking into it. Ma'tala also tells team a little bit about chatter during firefight. Doesn't speak the languages, but essentially heard only one (Xillash) voice during the entire operation.

Knife has the House of the Outcast sigil on the pommel… or wait, does it? On closer inspection, it looks a lot like the Outcast House, but it's incorporating new markings adding to the meaning of the word.

Also, Ma'tala notes that they were using blasters even in relatively close combat (when she was using Xillash as "meat shield").

Kane then tells Venn about the black-scaled military-armored Xillash.

TODO Actual Interrogation

Venn tries Corellian accent for interrogation.
Same initial plan. Venn will go in and play good cop (though he does have some cultural baggage, and should probably have a slight increase in difficulty to his rolls). Trying to get information about where Lile would be, what kind of layout, defenses the base has, and why they're taking them.
We'll make sure he's tied down, but he'll have Rourke come in and treat him (again), particularly with some analgesiacs. (also, when I'm in, we'll raise the temp a little bit… not enough to really notice, hopefully, but enough to make the Xillash more comfortable). Basically, we really don't have much of a problem with you guys, but you took some property and employees of my boss, and we'd like to have them returned. We might be open to paying for some of your expenses, depending on how cooperative we can all be.

Xillash: "I don't know what you're talking about."

Show him the photo of Lile being taken. "Employee" "The ship you were guarding… property."

Xillash: "…I"m just a guard."

Venn: "I'm sure you at least could tell us why you took our employee?"

Xillash: "He's a <epithet that could be translated as Antaran or Human>."

Venn: "Okay… so why do you need humans?"

Xillash: "Oh, you'll soon see, <epithet>."

Venn: pause "Well, I don't know about you, but where I come from, the strong have nothing to fear from proclaiming what they've done… Surely you cannot fear simply stating your intentions… particularly if those will cause trouble for the Hutts…" (trying to plant a hint… and Venn would be a bit more well-spoken… but to plant a hint that we might be potential allies)

X: "The worms? Oh, we'll cause trouble for more than just the worms, you'll see."

V: "I take it you are… concerned about their power on this world? I can certainly understand that."

X: He makes a gargly-hissy sound that you eventually gather is a sharp laugh.

V: "Are you not concerned that the Hutts will soon tire of your group muscling in on their territory and launch an assault upon you?"

X: "The worms know not what they face should they—-!" He cuts himself off mid-sentence, realizing he's saying too much.

V: realizes — He's blowing off everything to do with the Hutts for some reason - seem like there's something else going on, and he doesn't seem like the most intelligent member of the species you've ever met. He also seems a little cocky. — "I assume that means your organization is perfectly ready to repulse the attack the Hutts are rumored to be planning on the installation in the desert at lists coordinates… " pause for reaction

X: "We're prepared for all attacks!" (said with just a millisecond too much hesitation).

V: "Really? I had heard through our organization's sources that Jabba was getting the other 'worm's' together and hire some off-world mercenaries. Apparently they're coming with… (making up some stuff to see how he reacts to various means of attack)… some repurposed assault breachers (basically slightly older imperial capital ship boarding craft), with a few Z-95s and ~100 ground troops. Assuming the (made up mercenary unit)'s are still using the same general tactics."

When Venn mentions the assault breachers, he startles slightly. When you mention the ground troops, though, there's a slight smirk, quickly hidden. Venn takes this to mean that (possibly) they have poor air defenses, but a lot of ground troops. He's not positive, though.

V: "You feel you will have no difficulty repulsing this Hutt assault?"

X: Again, there's a too-slight hesitation before he says, "Of course! We can repel any assault! We will be victorious!"

V: "Hmmm… I will have to confer with my superiors, bu I think we might be able to have a very profitable business arrangement… I will have some food and water brought into you. For the moment, we will have to keep you in restraints, but that may not be the case for much longer."
gets up and makes to leave

(Definitely cocky, definitely lying, and definitely not acting like a normal Xillash prisoner. For one thing, he's talking to you more than a prisoner usually would.)

Venn will go out and shae what he's learned with everyone. He'll ask Tam, who's probably more knowledgable about conducting interrogations than anyone else, how he thinks we should proceed. Venn thinks 1) we need to find out what they need the humans for, and to rescue them. 2) Their base probably doesn't have great air defenses. 3) Venn's set up that they're working for an unamed organization (Venn is thinking of hinting more than telling that they're with Black Sun… huge criminal syndicate and at odds withthe Hutts… good allies for the Xillash). 4) They're somethng odd about the Xillash's behavior. — Maybe Tam could go in as bad cop and sa that he doesn't believe the Xillash (playing off that he knows something about the species (you outcasts don't work together… what's your angle?… that kind of thing)

Tam sent in to interrogate (bad cop)

  • Base of operations
  • Why outcasts working together?
  • No pain (or minimal)

As soon as Tam starts in, Xillash completely stops talking. Refuses to even acknowledge Tam. In a few minutes, Venn busts in, gives Tam an icy stare. "What part of 'treated as a guest' didn't you understand?" backhand punches Tam. Calmly, "Return to your station." Once he leaves, turn to Xillash, "My apologies. This is not how we normally treat our guests. I will be back later… I must attend to some… issues."

V: "Didn't hit you too hard?"

Repressing a snicker, Tam says, "No, sir."

Venn will let the Xillash stew for a couple hours, meanwhile, we can plan what we're going to do next. In the meantime, he pulls everyone except Ma'tala, Starfall, and deCrion into the commons area to discuss strategy.

Now, Tam would prefer the action-oriented approach, of course, but not if doing so would be suicide.

Kane: "Action behind enemy lines isn't necessarily suicide if you do it right. But you know what was suicide? Flying a fighter into the Death Star. We're never going to see a stunt like that again!"

Sidara is more of a tactical thinker in some ways. Her current statements would revolve around the total and complete lack of intel. We don't even know what's going on, let alone what we'd be walking into or who would ultimately be involved. Interrogation is a great idea; would be nice if there were some form of actual intelligence we could get from that.Now, Tam would prefer the action-oriented approach, of course, but not if doing so would be suicide.

Orden: "These guys aren't Outcast. They don't act like Outcast. In fact, are you sure they're Xillash? They barely act like Xillash. And I don't think they're here for the Hutt. And I also don't think this one likes Tam very much… oh! And he's got a knife wound and got shot in the back of the head. So maybe he doesn't like Ma'tala much either."

V: "You're suggesting we try to use them as bait to catch black snake?"

Orden: "…No, not necessarily… well, maybe. But… so, they all took humans, right? So they probably don't care about Ma'tala, except that she stabbed this one, so this one probably does care, but only enough to stab her back. But anyway, they just seem to want humans. And they take these humans that are out by themselves wandering around, shopping and eating and doing errands and stuff. There's all these other guys (as she makes a head-tentacle gesture), though, that also are wandering around, shopping and eating and all that, but the not-Xillash didn't take them. So why not?"

Kane's interrupts: "What would the Xillashi homeworld do with a bunch of Antarian prisoners?"

Orden, pouting at Kane: "Hey! I was gonna say that! But yeah, what do they want?" She looks at Venn. "What can you tell us from your military experiences?"

Venn: "I have no idea what Xillashi protocols were, but no one taken prisoner by the Xillash to their homeworld ever returned. Our general orders are simply 'don't get captured.'"

Kane: "Okay. So let's assume they're xenophobic and killed the unclean outsiders. Now. What would a normal spacer do with Antarian prisoners if they wanted to help the Xillashi homeworld?"

Venn: "The mind spins in a number of very unpleasant directions. Could be slave labor. Could be a food source. My guess would be for medical experiments. Except the Xillash usually aren't the technical type. Of course, thee aren't exactly normal Xillash."

Kane: "No, no… what the fuck? I said a normal spacer, not some weird alien invader out of storybooks. Like, okay. One day, a normal Xillash is on his ship and an alien space probe shoots a ray into his head and he magically gains all of your personal knowledge. What does he do with Antarian prisoners?"

Venn: "Okay, Mr. Novallis, what do you think?"

Kane: "I would probably use them for political leverage! But, I dunno, maybe a Senator wouldn't think of that. Some fucker back on the homeworld doesn't wanna listen? I'd do it anyway. It's not like they're going to send some ships to check on me."

Venn: "Okay, first of all, they're not Antarans. The Xillash aren't that incompetent. Second, we would not negotiate."

Orden, suddenly: "They changed their sigil!"

Venn turns to her. "Pardon?"

Orden: "Their sigil! They changed it! They can't do that! It's not allowed!"

Venn: "… So, maybe they're a rogue sect. They've decided they don't like the lives of outcasts anymore. They band together for power and support. Maybe find a new home, or at least a base…. Or the Xillash have created a new House.ALthough I've never heard of that happening."

Orden: "… or a way to get un-Outcast!"

Venn: "Bold… assuming you're right. It still doesn't explain why they would need humans… althoug deveoping a biological or chemical weapon might justget thm noticed."

Orden: "Well, it could be any of those things, but you have to think like one of the Xillash! See, the clan, the House, that's everything. They do everything for their, well, family-thing. So, if you're a Xillash, and you suddenly don't have a family anymore, what do you do? You either die, or you try to start a new one, or you try to get back into your old one. But you have honor, right, so you die. But the not-Xillash here, maybe they don't wanna die, and they had enough tech to not die…."

Venn: "So, they may be trying to form their own, independent House… or to gather enough power and influence to leverage their way back into Xillashi society."

Orden: "So… how do we deal with a not-Xillashi?"

Venn: "That's the question. We need to figure out what their ultimate goal is. If they're planing to rejoin Xillashi society, that's one thing. Starting their own society… that's something else. Most likely, in either case, they'll need something. Weapons, food…"

Kane: "Uh… Rourke? I have a question… it may not be as hypothetical as it sounds at first… was the patient you treated sterile?"

Rourke: "I didn't check - wasn't part of the standard screens, you understand. I could…."

Kane: "I honestly think it's relevant. If they sterilize you before exiling you, and these guys have gone and undone that, I would be very surprised if they just plan to just go back and rejoin society. I would breed a few dozen generations of Spacers and then go take the place over from orbit."

Venn: "Tam, you're the interrogation expert… you think going in as a Black Sun member is still helpful? It's certainly an organization that has a reason to help them, and that can supply them with all manner of goods… illicit and otherwise."

Tam: "Well, he still seemed pretty xenophobic to me - wouldn't say a word. Don't know if he'd work with any outsiders…."

Rourke: "I could check, if we bring him in for a medical again."

Kane: "Just let me get him bragging about his master race. I have a great angle. I'll pretend I know all about Exile House and I think that means something. He'll set me straight. Or at least start a fight, thus justifying another trip to medical."

Venn: "Tam, give us a run-down on your interrogation strategy. What buttons did you try to push? When did he clam up?:

Tam: "I went in guns blazing. Busted in calling him 'snakehead' and telling him I was just dying to give him a matching hole in his other shoulder. He locked up right away. I tried threatening him and insulting his fighting skills - taken down by a tiny girl, you know - but got nowhere."

Venn: "Okay… I'm thinking it could possibly work if Kane just kinda passive agressively prods the prisoner about why he agrees that Xillashi honor is silly, traditional fighting skills ae stupid, his boss was smart to hide in the turret and use the big gun. Maybe that gets him to boast. If not, I may be able to go back in and try the sympathetic approach… saying how impressed he was with the defenses, the courage to break with tradition and step into a criminal syndicate's back yard, etc."

Whenever Kane gets ready to go in, after some prep from Venn and Orden… Venn adds: "And Kane… just be yourself."

TODO Continue Interrogation

Kane heads into interrogation like a kid sent regularly to the principal's office. He drags himself in and slumps down in the chair like "Okay, whatever, guess we gotta do this."

K: waits for door to close, then puts his feet up. "Yeah, I'm supposed to be interrogating you. I told the boss it was a waste of time, you're not that gullible. But, what're you gonna do?" takes a swig from a flask which contains water "Drink?"

For a long moment, there's no response. Then, in very heavily accented Basic, the Xillash responds, "No."

K: shrugs "Suit yourself. I'm just gonna waste time in here until they come and get me. I tried to tell them you're not like typical Xillash. You actually know which end of a blaster to hold. You coordinate your movements. We're not dealing with some kinda primitive tribe of outcasts, here. You guys are professionals. Right?" Kane notices that the Xillash stiffens slightly (and apparently involuntarily) when he hears "Outcasts." Otherwise, the Xillash doesn't respond.

Kane continues: "Easy. I didn't mean anything by it. Nobody's judging you here. We all come from humble backgrounds. Me? I'm the son of a backwater dirt farmer. Last week? I blew up a frigate. Frankly, what we've been able to piece together so far only makes your little operation on this planet that much more impressive. You had to work hard to claw your way up from… well, you know. Circumstances."

Xillash: "Congralations."

K: raises eyebrow "On what?"

X: "Your 'frigate'. I'm sure… pretty." pauses "The… boom."

K: chuckles "Well, thank you. But it was just a job, you know? You get enough ships firing on the same target, it doesn't matter how big that target is." gestures with hands "Boom."

X: "Yessss." The Xillash also makes an odd facial expression that Kane eventually realizes is a smile — basically because the Xillash doesn't show his teeth.

K: "Yes." evil grin "Exactly. What about you guys? Any big beautiful booms lately?"

X: "Ssseemsss sssoon," the Xillash says as he looks directly at Kane for the first time.

K: "I knew it." rubs hands together "Who you goin' after? The Hutts?"

X: "The worms are no matter. But you attack usss." pauses "Ssso obssesssed with sstupid wormss."

K: "Ah, we're not obsessed with the worms. The worms demand respect because they're in charge here. They control this entire planet with just one guy. How do you suppose that is?"

There's no response to that comment from the Xillash.

K: leans forward "It's not the ships that are here. It's the ships that will drop out of hyperspace and blast you if you piss the Hutts off."

X: "Wormsss again."

K: "What's the matter, you're not afraid of a worm? You should be."

X: "Weak."

K: "Oh don't get me wrong, you could take him in hand-to-hand combat. Hell, I've had pets that could take him in combat. But you're never going to get that chance, are you? Even with blasters, there's no way you could get past all his goons. You'd need a way bigger force for that. Right?"

X: "You… babble about sstupid wormss. Jussst kill me, sstop wassting time."

K: "Ah, no. Sorry, it's not that kind of interrogation. I didn't mean to mislead you. Ideally, we just want to get our guy back. If that's impossible, we're to make an example out of you. A big ol' bright beautiful boom in the middle of the desert. But if you think we're going about this the wrong way, I'm open to suggestions. Otherwise you're going to be looking at the inside of this room for a long time as we try to figure out what Outcast House wants to hear."

At that, the Xillash snarls, then spits, "Or I kill you, Antaran."

K: snerk "Antaran? I'm sorry, you realize Antaras is a planet, not a species, right? That's like naming your species after one scale on your body."

The Xillash just hisses in response.

K: "What the fuck does Antaras have to do with anything, anyway? It's just one of them outer-inner rim trade worlds. Nice women there, but nothing special about it. Is Antaras… important for some reason?"

X: Snarling, the Xillash responds, "You not live to find out."

K: lazily slumps back in the chair, hand resting on blaster pistol, but not drawing yet "No. You're strong, but you're not that strong. Look. If you've got some kinda grudge against Antaras, maybe our organization could help you out… if the money's right."

With the Xillash remaining silent, Kane starts to leave. "Okay. Guess I'm done here. Just one more thing, then. Have you heard of the Alderaan incident?" Kane pauses to give the Xillash a chance to respond; when he doesn't, Kane continues, "Cuz it sounds like you're developing some kinda poison that only kills humans. That would be a big mistake. You release something like that against an Imperial world? BOOM. No Xillashii."

The Xillash responds to that last statement (shifting in his seat and flicking his tongue), but Kane can't quite decipher what the reaction means.

Kane decides to stop and turn, tilting his head and asking, "What was that? With the tongue thing? Is this what Xillash fear looks like..?" gives him time to respond — when he doesn't, starts to give up and walks over to the door, then suddenly snaps his finger like he gets it "Oh, wait… was that what you were going for, all along? Revenge against Xillashii for outcasting you? Because that would totally do it! You wouldn't even do more than put a a moderate blemish on Antaras, if it played out like the Faleen incident… You take a shot like that against the Empire, they'd put so many super star destroyers on your planet, it'd look white from Antaras. You know, until the boom."

With the Xillash still stonewalling, Kane adds one last statement before he leaves: shrugs "Maybe you don't believe me. I thought you guys were smart. I'll have someone put together some news feeds for you. This is the only bad thing I'll ever say about Xillash. You people need to learn to talk better."

After leaving, Kane walks straight to medical. "Prove I'm not infected. This is just a precaution." Rourke runs a bevy of scans on him, and everything comes up clean.

Kane: "Okay, good. Guess it was just bravado, then." to Venn "So do they normally ally themselves with people they threatened to kill earlier in the day? Or is that just their way of saying hello?"

Venn goes in to the interrogation room… "I've had a chance to speak to our superiors… and I think we may be willing to exchange some services with your group."

There's no response from the Xillash.

Venn pauses, then says, "The pilot spoke to you, didn't he…?" WHen he still gets no response, he rolls his eyes, saying, "I apologize for that… this is what happens when you get a force trained for combat, and not behavior. I have a proposition that I think would benefit your collective. You said you were simply a guard, yes?" After another pause, he continues, "I'm guessing your superiors are the one's to make decisions like this. Could you tell me who I would need to speak to about this offer?" Again, there is no response. "Interesting. I was told that the Xillash were a race that valued strength… In my experience, a being that can't stand up and proudly say who he is a weakling, hoping to avoid the gaze of the strong."

At this point, the Xillash prisoner is obviously biting back a response, but still, he doesn't answer.

"I am Lantesh, of Black Sun. I follow the orders of my superiors, lead my underlings, respect my allies, and destroy my enemies. That is who I am… And are you one who I should respect… or a nameless weakling? Perhaps you simply don't speak because you're protecting your leaders. Perhaps they are weaklings, hiding behind warriors they command to hide their names… I seem to remember a black-scald Xillash in armor in the battle. As I recall, he ran for the nearest hole when the fighting began. While his warriors fought honorably on the field, he hides in a armored hole…" Venn continues in this way for a few minutes before catching himself monologing. Realizing he's just been browbeating the Xillash, he winds down. He starts to pay attention and notices the telltale signs that the Xillash is straight-up pissed, but he's still not saying anything. Venn pauses, regards the Xillash… "We can potentially make your group more powerful. We have our hands in countless worlds. If you need prisoners for slaves, food, whatever… we can secure them. You nee weapons to deal with Hutt mercenaries? We can supply them… If your leaders decide they want to throw this opportunity for mutuabenefit away, so be it. But what is the danger is simply getting us in touch with one of them?"

At this point, Venn notices that the Xillash is doing the Xillash equivalent of rolling his eyes every time Venn talks about how powerfull his team is. He has apparently decided that Venn and his team are beneath contempt. With this realization, Venn shrugs and leaves.

I Think It's Plan Q

Venn proposes to Kane, Tam, Sidara, Orden, and Ma'tala that the next step should be a "physical infiltration" of the fortress. This starts an immediate argument over the intelligence of that decision, given the lack of current intel.

Ma'tala overrides everyone else's objections by declaring that she wants her 5,000 credits back, "to find a competent group of people," she snarls.

To that, Venn coldly turns to her and says, "You're welcome to it. You're also welcome to suggest something else that might work."

Ma'tala: "I'll interrogate him." Ma'tala looks like she's ready to try going through the bulkheads if Venn tries to stop her.

Venn: "It may come to that, but Xillash tend not to respond well to torture. If it doesn't work, there's no more options. I'll try bribing him. If he won't talk then, you… and Tam… can go in and 'ask' him."

Ma'tala: "Then… hurry… up…" *practically snarling*

Venn re-enters the interrogation room and sits down to talk to the Xillash one more time. "You've had a chance to reconsider. Are you going to let me know who I should talk to in your organization to set up a deal?"

Again, the Xillash responds with just the Xillash equivalent of an eyeroll.

Venn: "I see. Well, the first thing we'd need to discuss with your leader would be getting our employee you captured back. I'm sure we could arrange a payment of some sort in recompense for you arranging the meeting…"

Yet again, the Xillash responds with just the Xillash equivalent of an eyeroll.

Exasperated, Venn slaps 2,000 credits onto the table. "We can arrange your fee in credit… or goods, if you'd prefer."

The Xillash considers for a long moment. Finally, he says, "What you want?"

Venn: "I just want the name and how to contact whoever you answer to who can make decisions about who your group deals with."

X: "You drove contact off." He thinks for another long moment and then adds, "Give me comm."

TODO comms convo between Xillash and superior
"Bring <an energy weapon>. He'll talk until the rains come, and you may have to <stun> him to <shut him up>."
arrange meet at docks where Flipside was, but lie about time - give team time to get back and set up defenses

Arrange meeting for next day in middle of nowhere - meet using speeders, 3 guards apiece. Venn requested they bring hostage, but they rejected.

In the meantime, spend time fixing up speeder, weapons. Also coach Wen to pose as "boss-man" in case they need to comm the boss to confirm deal.

Next morning, set out for rendezvous - Venn, Tam, Sidara, Starfall. Kane staying on ship with others in case backup is needed. Kane notices out of the corner of his eye that Orden quite literally pushes Wen out of the way so she gets Tam's seat, relegating Wen to co-pilot's station.

Kane: "Orden, good to see you. Don't fire anything without explicit orders from me."

Orden just pouts at that.

Kane notices stormtroopers approaching Prospect moments before they comm requesting to board. "We have some questions for the owner of this spacecraft."

Kane: "I'm the owner…. What can I do for you?"

ST: "Sir, open the hatch. We need to come aboard and ask you some questions."

Quickly gesturing for Ma'tala to get into the nearest smuggling compartment, Kane stands and moves to the hatch. "Be right with you, gentlemen!" Orden stands at Kane's gesture and quickly leads Ma'tala to a nearby hidey-hole.

Kane runs back to the cargo bay, lowering the ramp to greet the stormtroopers. There are a half-dozen of them; immediately, 4 start searching the ship while 2 corner Kane to interrogate him about "incident" at dockyard a few days ago. Kane professes his innocence/ignorance while the stormtroopers tear through the ship.

TODO Negotiating With Snakes

Venn and team get to rendezvous first. Venn spots speeders approaching - 1 followed by 2 trailing at quite a distance. Venn allows them to approach, but comms ship to close to closer range.

2 extra speeders halt quite a ways back; only one approaches the PCs. In approaching speeder, black Xillash, green Xillash, and 2 Gamorreans.

Tam and Sidara follow Venn to stand about 20' away from speeder while Starfall waits in driver's seat. Xillash leave green guy in speeder, and black Xillash is escorted forward by 2 Gamorreans.

Venn opens negotiations for a prisoner exchange via transliterator. Xillash considers for a moment, then returns introduction.

Venn: "I'd like to apologize for that little misunderstanding before. I'm very impressed with the skills of your men. However, we need our man back; we want him back. We'd like to return your man in exchange. We also want our property, our ship, returned. If we can arrange that, we might be able to come to some… other business arrangements in the future as well."

The black-scaled Xillash, Khrussk-Hesh: "May be workable. Need to see my <subservient clansman>."

Venn hands over datapad with images of and information about captured Xillash. Also has information about Flipside and Lile so that the black Xillash knows what the team wants in exchange.

Khrussk-Hesh: "<Subservient clansman> seems okay. Will exchange for your <inferior> ship."

Venn: "The ship is a lower priority for us. We want the man. We can make other arrangements for the return of the Flipside later."

Khrussk-Hesh: "Maybe you underestimate the worth of your Antaran… or overestimate the worth of my <subservient clansman>."

Venn: "What's his worth to you? He's hardly worth the effort for me to retrieve him, except for the… morale effects."

Khrussk-Hesh: "That is <our business>, not yours." (Idiom is more along the lines of "it's not for your to count my resources.)

Venn: "Perhaps we can offer your man, plus a… let's say, 2,000-credit 'finders fee' to compensate your efforts."

Khrussk-Hesh: *considers this for a long moment* "Adequate. Return here tomorrow at the same time, and we will exchange."

Venn: "Very well. You can contact us via <comms frequency> if you need to make additional arrangments."

With that, Venn turns to leave. Sidara and Tam hold ground for a few moments, then follow Venn to the speeder.

Stormsnoopers

Kane ushers the Stormtroopers out, having convinced them that he doesn't know anything about the aforementioned incident. Not five minutes later, Venn pulls up in the *blatantly stolen* speeder.

Kane, yelling out the hatch/through the comms: "GET THAT SHIT IN HERE NOW!"

Starfall pulls the speeder into the cargo bay. Kane then fills Venn in on the "Stormtrooper incident," followed by Venn filling in Kane on the negotiations.

TODO Prisoner Exchange

Bringing 2 guards (Tam, Starfall) in speeder, plus captive for exchange. Also bringing suit for Starfall and one for Lile (protection from contaminants).

Once again, Venn and his team reach the area first. Starfall gets out and stands back behind the Xillash; Tam stands back with his gun on the Xillash as well.

A few minutes later, speeder arrives with one fewer Gamorrean. Lile's sitting in the back of the speeder, slumped over.

Venn hands 2,000 credits to the Xillash and gestures for him to step forward slightly, stating, "Please release our employee."

One of the Gamorreans grabs Lile and hauls him out of the back of the speeder. He then half-carries Lile over toward the center-point between the two groups. One of Lile's legs is quite obviously broken.

At Venn's gesture, Starfall nudges the captured Xillash toward the Gamorrean. As they're making the exchange, Tam and Venn notice the two "supplemental" speeders have been slowly approaching and are now visible creeping up across one of the nearer dunes. With that, Venn comms Kane, calling him in. Kane launches the Prospect into the air with all haste, ignoring the air traffic control warnings.

Meanwhile, the black Xillash halts the exchange, making a show of inspecting the captured green Xillash and counting out the credits. Venn recognizes that he's stalling, but the Gamorrean is holding Starfall about 3 meters away from Lile.

Venn: "It looks to me like our man is… damaged. That wasn't part of the deal. I'm not certain that he's worth the full 2,000, now, especially considering how well we've been treating your man."

The black Xillash responds, essentially, "Too bad. You made the deal." Tam raises his blaster rifle slightly, ready to snap-shoot at the two Xillash at a moment's notice.

Venn: "Yes, but we were assuming you were… respectful… honorable, even. It's only fair now that you allow us to inspect our man as well." Turning to Starfall. "And get him covered. I don't want that Dinofrean flu he's had."

The Gamorrean, after checking with Khrussk-Hesh, hands Lile over to Starfall. She begins to carefully suit him up, noting that he's heavily drugged at the moment. She starts looking him over, being sure to take her time. She notes the broken leg, various cuts and contusions, and a few obvious injection marks, but Lile appears to be functioning reasonably well aside from the drugging and the broken leg.

Venn and Tam see that the speeders have stopped a few hundred meters away. Xillash are getting out and (semi-) stealthily setting up some form of weaponry directed at the exchange.

At that moment, Kane (and the Prospect) crosses into sensor range of the prisoner exchange. From behind him, he hears Orden call out "Bad guys! Lemme shoot 'em! Wanna shoot 'em! Lemme shoot 'em! Wanna shoot 'em!"

(Meanwhile, Venn reveals to the black Xillash that he has seen the "extra security." "Please remove them from the dune.")

Kane interrupts her, ordering her quiet. He then comms Venn: "We're on station!"

Venn: "Target the groups on the dune. If you see weapons fire, feel free to join in."

Khrussk-Hesh: Replying to Venn's comment to remove his men, he says, "Suggest you surrender instead. Promise not to shoot you if you lower weapons now."

Venn: "You know what, that's a very good deal! I like it so much, I'll make you the same offer. You obviously don't realize it yet, but you're outgunned." With that, Venn goes for his blaster and starts to aim at Khrussk-Hesh.

As soon as Venn reaches for his blaster, Tam snaps his own to his shoulder and fires two quick shots at Khrussk-Hesh. Startled, Khrussk-Hesh tries to grab his green-scaled underling and pull him into "human shield" position, but the underling dodges away. Tam's two shots land true, dropping Khrussk-Hesh, stunned, into the sand.

Kane swoops in, slowing down to drift over the heads of the prisoner exhange. As he closes in, he softly and calmly says, "Clear to fire."

Orden: "SHOOTING!" She fires two quick volleys, one into each dune-top speeder. The speeders drop into the sand hard as their power systems shut down.

Starfall pulls Lile into the sand, covering him. The Gamorrean draws his weapon, and the Xillash in the still function speeder bolts. The "ex-prisoner" Xillash fumbles with his back of goods, reaching in for his weaponry.

Venn closes out the combat by firing two shots at the Gamorrean guard. Lightly stunned, he finishes drawing his weapon. Realizing how outgunned he is, though, he keeps it pointed downward, then drops it and reaches his arms out to the side.

Orden snaps to the fleeing speeder and fires two ion cannon volleys into the front end. It bounces into the sand, skidding along for a few tens of meters before sliding to a stop.

After the shot, Kane calmly says to Orden. "Hold your fire now. Oh, also - permission to speak."

In the aftermath, the Prospect lands. Rourke and Starfall bring Lile into the medical bay and put him into the medbay. Some of the other crew members hustle the injured and stunned Xillash into the cargo bay, restraining them in the process. Venn then waits impatiently for the chance to debrief Lile while the rest of the crew works on restoring the ionized speeders to full functionality and pulling them into the cargo bay, leaving the busted, stolen speeder behind in the desert.

Medical scans don't find any evidence of biological agents in Lile's system, but they do find evidence of other drugs. Traces of some Spice derivatives and large doses of painkillers linger in his system. The Spice derivatives aren't familiar. Later, Lile tells the team that the Xillash would inject him with some concoction to make him more compliant, then they forced him to… teach them something… but his memories are fuzzy.

After everything is loaded, the team flies off in a pseudo-random direction a hundred or so kilometers to get away from the scene of the prisoner exchange. They then land and set up a base there to plan their next moves.

Gamorrean interrogation:
* Hired to thug up humans (specifically, younger, healthy adult humans)
* Worked at different Mos
* Brought humans back to armored speeder for a while
* Couple days ago, Flipside landed there; then brought captures to Flipside
* Paid food and boarding plus 100 credit bounty per capture
* Doing this for a couple of weeks
* Only ever saw maybe a half dozen Xillash
* Worked in team with 3 other Gamorreans; never saw anyone else

TODO Lile, Recovered

After 24 hours, Rourke finally lets Venn in to talk to Lile. She gives him a stern "5 minutes!" before allowing him into Medical.

V: "You know who I am?"
L: "Yeah, but I'm not exactly clear on how you got here."
V: "Ma'tala brought us in. Look, I need to know what you know so I can help everyone else the Xillash have captured." From there, Venn gets a report from Lile on what Lile can remember.

Lile was jumped and beat up. From there, he was drugged, and he only remembers coming to in the back of this armored speeder with a broken leg. They pulled him out and injected him with… something…. He doesn't know what it was, but it made everything fuzzy. He remembers it made him… agreeable, let's say. Maybe controllable is a better word. And the Xillash were having him repeat something, over and over and over. He can't remember what. It was… like a repetitive task, and he remembers more and more Xillash would watch him. Then they drugged him again after forever, and he woke up here.

Venn: "All right, try to think back about this task. Was is something you were saying? Doing?"
Lile: "Definitely something I was doing. It was like… like being back in the Defense Force… like back in drills…. I think… I think I was shooting targets again!"
Venn: "Do you remember any names?"
Lile: "They just… they always said stuff in that hissy language."
Venn: "Like this?" as he rattles off various Xillashi words.
Lile: Just shakes his head at everything. "Sounds like the right language…."
Venn: "Can you sound out any words that sound familiar?"
Lile: "They never… I don't think they ever spoke TO me, just to one another…"
Venn: "Was anyone else there?"
Lile: "I don't… I don't… I… wait! Wait! There was a crew! I had a crew! It was… it was a load crew…."
With that, Rourke enters the room, looking meaningfully at Venn. Venn, noticing, leaves Lile to himself. Rourke leaves a moment later and speaks to Ma'tala momentarily, allowing her into Medical.

Meanwhile, Venn walks over to the rest of the crew and informs them what Lile told him.

TODO Mass Interrogations

Venn next moves through the Xillash to interrogate them, starting with those he assumes to be the underlings. "Look, this is how it's going to work. I can make a lot of money by turning you over to the Hutt - the worms. You tell me what I want to know, we can make a deal. If not, you're money in my pocket."

After a few tries, one finally says, "What do you want to know?"

Venn: "First of all, what are you doing with the humans?"
Xillash: Stony silence.
Venn: "All right, what about this symbol here? What does that mean?"
Xillash: "This is the sigil of my House and you shall not dishonor it!" *getting wound up*
Venn: "Really….? What House is that? I've never heard of this House."
Xillash: "Oh, you will soon hear much of Chosen-Outcast-Warrior-Restored-Honor House." Moments later, the transliterator corrects this to "Ronin House" or "Renegade House."
Venn: "I was not aware Xillashi were allowed to change the sigil of their House. After all, this is just the Outcast House sigil, modified."
Xillash, enraged: "I am no Outcast! I TAKE my honor!"
Venn, calmly: "Interesting. So your brothers and sisters on the homeworld would agree with you, correct?"
Xillash, coldly enraged: "Agree? They will worship me." Looks directly at Venn. "You should worship me, puny Antaran."
Venn: "Why should I worship you?"
Xillash: "Truly. I would destroy you regardless."
Venn: "But you didn't destroy the Antarans you took…."
Xillash: laughs
Venn: "So the Antarans you took, you had them… what… doing weapons drills?"
Xillash: "You will know soon, dead man."
Venn begins a speech about how Renegade House is weak and stupid, using Antarans to teach them or to do their work for them. Midway through, the Xillash starts singing to itself quietly, completely ignoring Venn. Venn recognizes the tune as that of a battle-song the Xillash prisoners would sometimes sing. After that point, the Xillash refuses to respond to Venn, only singing to himself over and over again about the glorious war that is to come.

Venn fills everyone in on this round of interrogations, including a brief talk with Lile. Lile doesn't recognize or respond to the battle song.

TODO Leader Interrogations

Interrogating Khrussk-Hesh.

Venn: "So, if I'm to speak with you, I'd like to know - what's your name?"
The Xillash is silent, refusing to look directly at Venn or open his mouth.
Venn tries to build him up, praising his tactics; however, the Xillash's demeanor doesn't really change, though he glances at Venn from time to time. After a while, it becomes clear he's trying very hard to keep his mouth entirely still.
Venn steps away, walking around the interrogation room as he considers what the lack of mouth movement might mean.
After a while, Kane, watching from the bridge, comms Venn: "Does he have something in his mouth…?"
Venn calls Tam and Rourke in to search the Xillash's mouth, but they find nothing. Rourke suggests they take him into Medical for scans. Those scans reveal a hidden pack of 2 small syringes. Rourke removes them, then runs full medical scans on the Xillash. The syringes are, surprisingly, full.
Scans reveal nothing obviously unusual in the Xillash's bloodstream, though he now seems rather sullen. Rourke analyzes the syringes' contents and finds essentially the Xillashi equivalent to testosterone, plus some other hormones, enzymes, and complex organic compounds. This doesn't appear to be a combat drug, though - it looks more like a hormone therapy….
Later, Venn returns to ask him what was in the syringes. The Xillash refuses to answer, though he tries immediately to negotiate for their return.
Venn: "Without knowing what they are, it's hard to put a value on them, isn't it? I suppose I need two things… what are they, and what will you give me for them? I mean, these ingredients (reads off a few), what could this be? It's obviously not a suicide drug…."
Xillash: Considers for a minute, then says, "Return them to me, and I return your ship."
Venn: "Tell me what they're for, and I'll consider it."
Xillash, thinking: "Medicine."
Venn: "And this medicine… it does what, exactly? I do have some familiarity with the Xillashi reproductive cycle, and this seems similar."
Xillash: "No. Medical."
Venn: "I'll consider that. One moment." He then relays this to Rourke. "Do you have any idea what this might do? Could it possibly be dangerous to us?"
Rourke replies, "If you were injected with it, maybe it would be toxic, but… this doesn't LOOK like a toxin. I'm not sure what it is, though. It's certainly not biocompatible with humans, but I'm not sure what it does. We really don't know much about Xillashi biology, though."
Venn, returning to interrogate the Xillash: "How exactly were you planning on returning the Flipside? Never mind. Here's an alternate suggestion. You tell me how to get the ship back, and you tell me what you're doing with all of those humans, and I'll have my medical officer administer these drugs to you as necessary."
Xillash: "Returning ship is easy - I know where it is. Cannot talk about Antarans. On my honor, return the medicine, and I return the ship."
Venn: "I'll not return the medicine, but we'll administer it. Supervised. If we get the ship back. On MY honor."
Xillash looks at Venn for a long moment, then seems to reluctantly come to a decision. "Bring in data display. I'll show you where ship is."
Upon returning with maps, the Xillash indicates a location in another city on Tattooine. When asked about guards on board, he claims only two Xillash remain to watch the Flipside.
Venn: "The Gamorrean said there were at least six."
Xillash: "You have 8 more in your ship."
Venn: "Fine. When we return, you'll get your dose."
Xillash: "No. Dose in 3 days."

TODO Recovering Flipside

Venn comes to the rest of the crew with the information on the location of the Flipside. The Prospect lands outside of the city. The team then decides to send in a speeder with Tam, Kane, Sidara, and Ma'tala. When the team comes to the dock, Venn will have Khrussk-Hesh comm the guards, telling them to take the speeder back to home base.

After about 5 minutes, the on-site team takes the speeder and leaves. Venn comms the team and has them move in carefully. Ma'tala tries the hatch code, but it's apparently been changed. Venn gets the passcode from the Xillashi leader, and the team enters the Flipside. Sweeping the ship, the team finds some normal stores and a poorly-welded "cage" in the cargo bay, apparently where the Xillash temporarily stored their prisoners. The controls have been slightly reconfigured, but Ma'tala checks everything over and eventually declares her confidence that nothing has been truly tampered with. With that, she brings the Flipside out of dock to rendezvous with the Prospect. Both ships then head in the general direction of the Xillash fortress in an attempt to do some recon.

Along the way, the two ships scan for the armored speeder, looking for it. However, they don't find it.

Venn asks Khrussk-Hesh if he's running the operations on this planet; he replies immediately, "No."

That's Not a Fortress!

Reaching the fortress, Venn recognizes power curve. It's not a fortress; it looks much more like one of those Xillash cruisers he'd fought, only bigger!

Decide to fake distress call from "captured Imperial" held on board. Contact Jabba to borrow military encryption comm. He grants it for 2,000 credits.

Tam records false distress call: "Being held by Rebel terrorists onboard heavily armed corvette with other captives, dozens, possibly hundreds. Coordinates <such and such>."

Couple days setting up, then fly roughly over location and broadcast short distress call while heading for orbit. Flipside leaves after Ma'tala hands over rest of payment; crew gives them good luck as the leave from orbit.

Combat By Proxy

Imperials have left a few old //Carrack//-class cruisers around Tatooine. From orbit, Prospect sees a couple divert to scan Xillash cruiser. As cruiser takes off, notice "corvette" (70-meter gunship) hiding in its shadow.

First volley from cruiser disables one Carrack, but other manages to disable Sandstorm-class (many Xillashi weapons not particularly effective in atmosphere). The other, damaged Carrack begins to dock with Sandstorm after the Xillashi "corvette" dashes past the picket with a heretofor-unseen burst of speed (for a Xillashi vessel). Prospect immediately begins scans to track its hyperspace path.

Prospect then lands to return Jabba's encryptor, taking off immediately in hopes they can pursue the corvette….

TODO Pursuit

First day in hyperspace, give meds to Khrussk-Hesh. Rouke keeping scans to see what it does for him. Others in captivity had been petulant, arrogant, and even aggressive.

A couple of days later, the Prospect arrives in an apparently dead (empty) region of space, directly between a couple of uninteresting planets in a burnt-up binary system. The team spends hours scanning around, but there are no obscure energy signatures or ships. The Prospect sticks around for another four days, but there is no sign of the Xillash gunship.

During this time, some of the captive Xillash become less aggressive, petulant, etc. - in fact, become almost docile. Not all at once, but in ones and twos. Unlike behavior of Xillash captured by Antarans in past - most of them would suicide, die in escape attempts, or similar, but would always remain aggressive and arrogant.

Kane goes to talk to Khrussk-Hesh. "The other Xillash are behaving oddly, becoming quiet. I'm getting worried. Will they be okay."
Khrussk-Hesh: "They will… 'be okay' soon."
Kane: "That's ominous… could you be a little more specific?"
Khrussk-Hesh: "In days, all will be healed."
Kane continues to interrogate him, but all he'll admit is that in a few days, all will "return to normal." Finally, Kane moves on.
Kane: "What is your goal?"
Khrussk-Hesh: "What is yours?"
Kane thinks, then says, "To survive and prosper."
Khrussk-Hesh: "Just so."
Kane tries to continue to talk to him, but Khrussk-Hesh seems to have said his piece for the day; he returns to thoughtfulness and refuses to answer any other questions.

Venn asks Rourke to check out other, docile Xillash. Rourke finds hormonal levels plummeting, secondary sex characteristics atrophying.
Venn: "Do you think they're dying?"
Rourke: "That's hard to answer. None of the changes are life-threatening at this point, but they're rendering the afflicted Xillash less… motivated?"

Venn decides to speak with Khrussk-Hesh to go over the same ground that Kane did the day before.
Venn: "I have 8 Xillash in the other bay weakening day by day. You told my underling that everything would be all right in a couple of days. Are they dying?"
Khrussk-Hesh, considering: "No"
Venn: "Is there anything we can do to make them… feel better?"
Khrussk-Hesh, derisively: "Why? Why, Antaran?"
Venn: "I don't see any reason to make them suffer unnecessarily."
Khrussk-Hesh: "They do not suffer."
Venn: "Will the same thing happen to you when that 'medicine' wears out?" Before Khrussk-Hesh even finishes his answer, Venn knows it just from the change in body language.
Khrussk-Hesh, after a while: "Yes."
Venn: "Do you know how to reproduce this chemical?"
Khrussk-Hesh: "No."
Venn: "Do they?"
Khrussk-Hesh: "Again, no. Warriors, not <chemists>."
Venn: "All right. Is there anything else you require, beyond the food and water we've provided?"
Khrussk-Hesh: "No."
After a very long pause, Venn continues.
Venn: "Why must you seek to make weapons to destroy Antarans?"
Khrussk-Hesh: "Why did you destroy us and take <our Eden>?"
Venn: "We didn't know about you until 250 years ago. What are you talking about?"
Khrussk-Hesh: "I'll hear no more of your lies today, Antaran."

At the beginning of the next day, the ship still hasn't arrived in system. Rouke, Kane, Venn, etc., eventually (through scans and conversations) realize what's going on with injections they found smuggled inside Khrussk-Hesh's mouth.

TODO Aside - Drone Warfare

Kane: "Hey, Wen!" Tosses targeting droid over." Bet you can't reprogram this droid to target Xillashi in, oh, 2 days."
Wen, catching droid: "How much you wanna bet?"
Kane: "2 days… eh, 10 credits."
Wen: "… you know you can just order me to do stuff, right sir?"

TODO Warning Antaras

On the 10th day of sitting in system, waiting, Venn decides to plot a course for Antaras. Just as he engages the hyperdrive, their sensors pick up a momentary blip. Venn immediately calls for Kane to drop into realspace and recalibrate a jump back.

Working frantically, Kane and Venn recalculate their route back and push the engines as hard as possible. They manage to jump back after only about 6 hours, a wickedly-fast turnaround time. Upon their arrival, though, their scanners pick up nothing but empty space.

Disheartened and frightened, Kane re-plots a course for Antaras. The team leaves heavy-hearted.


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