LOADING CLOSE

Log 20210518

It’s getting later on Twosday on CD 8-13 as Pa Pooga, Unsien Mos, and Josus Laorl (aka: Cri Sandesu now that Josus is “dead”) when the trio depart from the Bothan Embassy on Sullust.

They hail a cab but when they ask to be taken to the Starport the driver blanches. Apparently there’s something snarling up traffic going to the Starport.

The driver gets on his radio with his dispatcher and he reports that the Empire has set up road blocks and they’re looking for a Bothan.

Are the three passengers sure that they want to go to the Starport right now?

There is a quick discussion and Unsien is certain that he can conceal their Bothan friend . . . as long as they don’t encounter more than six Stormtroopers.

The Cab Driver shrugs at the absurdity and asks for the fare up front. He’s concerned that he won’t get paid if his fares are arrested at the Starport.

Fair enough.

But the force trick works and they are returned to their ship in due time.

Celeste has most of the crew helping her disassemble the engines on the Falcon’s Crest. They have one engine removed from the frame of the C-ROC and this was not what Pa Pooga was expecting!

He asks Celeste about the disassembled shape of his ship and she confirms that she was given three days to perform the PMCS (Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services) on the engines. Was he wrong when he spoke earlier? No? Okay.

Celeste also needs to cut out later this evening and find a Sabaac game.

Josus admonishes Celeste to “not get caught cheating” (again) or he won’t be bailing her out!

Pa, Josus, and Unsien consider their options. They’re effectively waiting for Rim Noholo to reach out and contact them and the three just don’t want to sit around and do nothing.

The three decide to go and do some shopping. Specifically for upgraded weapons and armor. Wrasp informs Aliz to keep an eye out for someone approaching the ship and to send him a comm message when they arrive.

They are able to find a vendor who has a stock of armor for off worlders but he still has limited availability.

Wrasp is able to pick up some heavy combat armor and and Unsien is able to purchase a slight upgrade. Unfortunately Josus already has the best armor available from this vendor.

However, Josus is able to purchase a pair of blaster pistols to replace the two he lost at his uncle’s home, the day he was “killed.” They’re a pair of DL-44 Heavy Blasters and the shop vendor lets the three know that this model is popular among his clients.

As the trio wrap up these purchases, Wrasp gets the expected call from Aliz. A mysterious stranger has indeed approached the ship!

Wrasp orders Aliz to escort him up into the galley of the ship and to get them a Kaff. And to offer them a drink! Aliz eagerly confirms her instructions and signs off.

The trip back to the starport is still delayed as the Imperials are still searching every vehicle, but Unsien’s force trick is able to keep Josus from being discovered.

When Pa approaches his ship, the crew continues to diligently disassemble the drive systems and Aliz approaches Pa.

Pa Pooga asks how their Bothan guest is faring and Aliz looks confused, “Bothan? No. The Mysterious Stranger is a human woman.”

“Oh, Light!” Wrasp exclaims, “Who have I let onto my ship?”

Aliz points out that Wrasp asked her to take the ‘mysterious stranger’ into the ship. He never mentioned a Bothan!

Pa finds their guest and discovers that Aliz retrieved one of the strongest drinks from his bar and the woman waiting for them has drunk perhaps up to half of the bottle. Fortunately she is being attended by Cop.

However the woman is indeed very drunk. She introduces herself as Erla San from Anoat and it turns out that she is working with Rim Noholo.

Since the Empire is rousting all Bothans, Rim sent Erla to check out the inquiry. After a quick exchange, Erla gets the code word that she’s been sent to retrieve “Telestial Mote” and in a drunken stupor calls Rim Noholo to share the report that these are the people he is waiting for. And then she passes out.

Rim is upset when Pa Pooga reports that she’s drunk and he accuses Wrasp of drugging his agent!

Pa Pooga does his best to reassure Rim that they are taking good care of Erla San and shows the Bothan the half emptied bottle of strong liquor.

They exchange the password “Telestial Mote” and inform Rim that they were sent from Bothawui by Morak.

Rim then transmits them an address and invites the team to come find him. He needs to meet in person to discuss his latest intel.

Another taxi ride into the central caverns of Sullust, the trio are deposited next to a low rent complex.

This driver is highly familiar with the location that the party is visiting and Wrasp gets suspicious.

The driver explains that he’s very familiar with this location because he visits here regularly. And Wrasp gave him the address so that he could deliver the PC’s to this location. (Calm down Wrasp).

True to his word, the cabbie has given his customers the correct directions to Rim Noholo’s apartment. To conceal his identity, Josus has grabbed a blanket and is using it as a hood/cape.

However when Rim Noholo opens the hatch to the apartment he immediately recognizes Josus and welcomes him into the apartment.

Rim is eager to meet with Morak’s ‘son’ as he has important news.

Josus tries to take objection to being referred to as Morak’s “son” but both Wrasp and Break Out, recognizing the rising ire in their friend interrupt him from accosting Rim about his ancestry.

Wrasp coaches Josus to mollify his approach and to coax the intel out of Rim Noholo.

Rim is eager to get his intel to Josus as he believes Josus to be a strident advocate of the Empire and a faithful agent of Morak.

Noholo eagerly reports:

  • Rumors of the construction of Death Star II are confirmed! His contacts report the location code named “End Door?”
  • Noholo’s contact has details along with defense measures to protect the Death Star II (which is rumored to be four times larger than the previous one).
  • Cuth Vennev is Noholo’s contact and is also operation with the code name “Telestial Mote.”
  • Cuth Vennev has requested an in person meeting as he has data that can’t be transmitted.
  • Defeat of the Rebel Alliance is inevitable!

Noholo then hands a communicator to Josus. It’s a burner with one pre-programmed number. Cuth Vennev is operating in Koewhals (the capital) on Kinyen. Once they get to Kinyen, they should be able to contact Vennev with the burner comm.

The four discuss Rim’s plans. He would like an extraction but has no desire to go anywhere near Kinyen.

Wrasp assures Rim that he can safely do both.

Rim has a go bag ready and he grabs that and the group depart.

Minor issue while they wait for a cab to pick them up. Their force power can only mask one person and now they have two Bothans to smuggle back to the spaceport . . .

They decide to smuggle Rim in the trunk of the cab.

Again they get to the starport past the Imperial inspectors.

They settle Rim Noholo into a guest quarters and once Erla San recovers from her inebriation, she is sent on her way.

Two days later, after Celeste wraps up her repairs, the crew departs Sullust and makes a course to Kirdo III.

While Rim Noholo is given free rein of the upper deck, he isn’t told where they are going.

Noholo is quite surprised once he realizes that Wrasp and Slider have delivered him to the Rebel Alliance. The Bothan is delivered to the polite hands of Alliance Intelligence.

They have a quick conference with Rachel Starrunner to discuss what the team has learned about the Death Star II and the hot lead that they have to get more details.

Rachel encourages the team to head over to Kinyen and to extract the data.

Pa Pooga is leery to return to Kinyen in his prize Gozanti C-ROC so soon after his team pirated the Action IV from Kinyen.

Pooga evaluates the team assets and decides to use the YT-2000 Flair Rider. It’s a smaller ship so Pooga needs to reduce his crew.

The team for this section of the mission is:

  • Wrasp (Pa Pooga) Co-Pilot Captain
  • Break Out (Unsien Moss) Pilot
  • Duster (Celests) Engineer
  • Slider (Josus Laorl)
  • Fox (Amolle Vulpine) Medic
  • Ghost (Cop’ruchi) Sensors/Communications specialst

Ghost injects herself onto the crew, but the rest are hand picked by Wrasp.

This leaves berthing for two passengers as they hope to also extract Cuth Vennev and that leaves room for one other ‘surprise.’

When the reduced team arrives at Kinyen, it’s a good thing that they changed ships and crew! The Empire has three new ships in orbit and a lot more TIE Fighters!

Two of the new ships are the Standard Imperial Class Star Destroyers. And those two new ships seem to be guarding a smaller ship similar to a Vindicator. But it’s a ship that Ghost has never seen before.

However Celeste and Pa Pooga recognize it. It’s something new that they briefly noticed in orbit about Bothawui. Shortly after they visited the system when the Empire took control of the system outright. Oddly the Rebel team was not able to escape the attack and all Alliance assets were lost in that battle. But that was a while back.

Break Out is contacted by the Imperial Navy and given instruction to stand by to be boarded and inspected.

They secret Josus in his quarters with the plan to have Unsien to use his force power to conceal Josus’ presence from the inspectors.

In spite of flying an empty ship the inspection crew does a pretty thorough job of inspecting the empty ship. The inspecting Ensign is pretty open about his desire to search for smuggling compartments.

Thanks in large part to their ability to conceal Josus, the crew pass their inspection and the team is permitted to continue on their journey to Koewhals, the capital of Kinyen.

Once landed, the ship is approached by a friendly Gran Customs Agent Gix Eij, who processes the team’s berthing fees and helps them secure a cargo of grain. Which will be delivered the following day.

Gix, noticing Josus mentions to the crew that the Empire is rounding up and arresting all of the Bothans so they should probably not have their Bothan crew wander around the city all that much. Just to avoid trouble.

With that business taken care of, Josus grabs the burner communicator that Rim Noholo gave him on Sullust.

It takes a couple of moments before the communicator is answered and the respondent is definitely not Bothan. They also answer with a high pitched squeaky voice.

The respondent is surprised to be receiving a call but carefully and obviously takes the notes that “Cre Sindasu” (Josus current alias) gives him regarding his desire to speak with Cuth Vennev.

Yes the respondent seems to know who Cuth is. After the message is taken down, the respondent informs Cre that he’ll call him back once he has a chance to speak with Cuth.

“Blast this constant waiting!”

At nightfall, “Cree” receives a return call and he’ll be picked up and taken to Cuth Vennev.

A bit later a very tall Talz drives up to the Flair Rider in a flat bed cargo carrier. This Talz is so tall that his head almost brushes up against the bottom hull plating of the Flair Rider The open driving compartment has been modified so that the former two seat vehicle will comfortably seat the single Talz owner. All of the controls are still on the left side of the cab, with their contact uses his left hand to direct the craft.

Based on the voice this is the same person that Josus was speaking to earlier. The Talz introduces himself as Tirvap Gamo.

Gamo invites Josus and his ‘friends’ to hop on the back so that he can take them to their meeting.

The cargo carrier has obviously seen much better days and unsteadily drives off.

The trip is a lengthy one as Gamo drives out of Koewhals and out to one of the farming settlements well away from the city.

The team arrive well into the darkness of night in the unnamed farming village and the tall Talz drives them to a cantina.

But instead of taking them to the front door, Gamo leads them to the back of the building which is not illuminated at all. However Gamo seems to have no problems navigating in the pitch black of night.

After a bit of complaint from Wrasp, Gamo realizes that his charges don’t have his natural night vision and then guides the three to a hatch. Once opened, the hatch provides sufficient light for the PC’s to get their bearings.

The three enter and Gamo walks deeper into the night, not joining the three.

Inside the back of the Cantina, the three find themselves in a room that is adorned and furnished to host back room games of Sabaac. They are greeted by a sole Bothan who quickly identifies himself as Cuth Vennev!

Once again Vennev recognizes Josus!

Ever since Josus had learned the name Cuth Vennev there seemed to be something familiar or something that he should have remembered. And when Josus finally meets this fellow Bothan, he realizes that Cuth is on a list provide by his sponsor some time ago. A list of Bothans who Josus has been asked to make “disappear.”

Vennev explains that most of his Bothan friends have disappeared as well as the contact who provided him with the data on the Death Star II project. Vennev fears that the Empire has killed them.

Vennev had to flee for his safety but he has secreted the data in a locker located in the Athletics building locker room at the Koewhals University of Agronomy.

Vennev retrieves a folded piece of flimsey with the location of the locker as well as the combination that will open the locker.

Josus informs Vennev that part of their mission was also to extract the fellow Bothan from Kinyen and Wrasp (picking up on the metagaming cues provided) also works to assure Vennev that his team can extract him safely.

Vennev is more concerned with getting the data off world and promises to consider the offer. Vennev also has an effective network in place and wants to stay. He’ll have an answer for them after he has assurance that they have successfully secured the data storage device.

Vennev also clarifies and lets the trio know that the location of the Death Star II is at a system called Endor. It’s such a remote and unknown system that not even Unsien Mos recognizes the name.

Vennev wishes the group luck and opens the back hatch leading into the inky night.

Gamo steps into the light and safely leads the group back to the front of the Cantina and for the long ride back to the Koewhals Starport.

The next morning the shipment of grain arrives at the pad and Celeste begins loading the cargo.

Wrasp and Break Out hail a cab and opt to leave Slider behind (as Bothan’s are highly wanted and not in a good way on Kinyen) but decide to take Fox with them. She opts to bring her medic back pack.

Weapons carried are light as well as Kinyen frowns on the open carry of weapons.

Wrasp discusses their cover story and they decide to pretend that Unsien Mos is arriving at the University with a scholarship invite to play Gravball for the University.

The cab driver accepts the story and then dives into an in depth discussion relating to Mos’ Ag Sciences major. And this cabbie knows entirely TOO much about Ag Sciences to be a mere cab driver . . .

But he gets the three aliens to the athletics building at the university and bids the Duros good luck with his studies.

The three aren’t stopped by anyone immediately, but notice that they are the only non Gran at this section of the campus.

They find the mens locker room and the locker easily enough. They also notice that the combination lock for this locker isn’t like the other’s locks in the room.

While attempting to put in the combination four Gran athletes ask them, “Hey! Why are you messing with Tub Ies’ locker!”

Wrasp uses the Force to intimidate the four, explaining that they’re doing a contraband search and if they want their lockers to be searched, Wrasp would be happy to do that for them!

Wrasp has enough Force power to manipulate two of the Gran students but after watching their buddies head away, the other two Gran follow without interfering.

Unsien gets the locker open and it’s quite smelly with soiled athletics clothes. Fortunately, the data storage device that they are looking for is on the top shelf and obviously accessible.

But that’s when campus security shows up!

Zes Ni, Campus Security demands to know what these three aliens are doing!

Fortunately, Unsien can make himself appear anyway that he wants to one other individual and using this Force power, Unsien makes himself appear like the guard, another Gran Campus Security guard. (This confuses Fox as she doesn’t see what the guard does but she keeps quiet).

Unsien borrows a page from Wrasp and explains that they’re checking for contraband.

The Gran Guard, recognizing one of his fellow guards, moves in to help. He takes over the search of the smelly locker while the trio make their escape unscathed.

Being the brilliant super spies that they are, their exit strategy is to hail another cab to get back to the Starport!

But what could go wrong? They’ve gotten in and out of the athletics building without a hitch!

While they wait for their cab, Wrasp notices first that an Imperial Shuttle is approaching their location rapidly!

The three dive into hiding just as a shuttle lands next to the Athletics building and a squad of Stormtroopers exit in a combat drop!

Last to exit the shuttle is a human woman wearing dark gray swirling robes.

Break Out notices, when she looks around, that her eyes are glowing yellow. He ask’s Wrasp what yellow glowing eyes mean.

Fox echos the question. “Wait Yellow eyes? Humans don’t have those! What does that mean?!?”

“Don’t use your powers!” Wrasp answers with is face going ashen, “And we need to leave now!

The three sneak away from the University on foot, strictly staying out of sight of ANYONE and successfully stay concealed. Once they find themselves at a diner, the three hail a new cab.

Without further incident, they are delivered to their berth at the Starport and note that Celeste is continuing to load up the bulky grain shipment.

Wrasp orders her to lock up the ship as they need to leave now!

Celeste doesn’t ask any questions and slams the last pallet onto the ship before locking up the cargo hatches.

Wrasp then asks Ghost to get clearance for immediate take off, but after a moment she reports that all ships are grounded by the Empire as the Navy is sending out inspectors to look for a fugitive! Already from his cockpit, Wrasp can see pairs of Stormtroopers heading out to each ship in the port.

With all of the heavy hardware upstairs, Wrasp decides to not try to blast his way off of the planet. He has Celeste reverse her course and to finish loading the cargo (it will look less suspicious to the inspection teams for Celeste to continue to load the Flair Rider rather than to just blast off of the planet in a panic) and then he prepares the rest of his team for the inspection. The focus will be to keep Josus concealed, just like they did on the trip in.

Eventually, two Stormtroopers approach the Flair Rider and board the ship without preamble.

Fortunately, the Troopers don’t notice any Bothans on the ship and the rest of the crew answer the Troopers questions satisfactorily.

Once the inspection is completed, they are permitted to leave the Starport.

Unsien Mos sets a course for their home system at Kirdo III and estimates that the ship and crew will arrive on CD 9-06 which is a Foursday.