A Touching Reunion

Datalog Entry: Bymm.per.log/22299-SUS2

Encrypted: GER4-0POR/47:01+1

In order to deliver the stolen prototype hyperdrive without exposing ourselves to unnecessary danger and betrayal, we exit out of hyperspace a short distance away from the rendezvous coordinates so we can get a look at who is waiting for us. Turns out, we’re meeting a lone capital ship, a Nebulon B, I think it is. Since things seem to be on the up-and-up, we move closer and hail them.

Upon docking, we find surprise waiting for us. From the uniforms and demeanor, these people are those upstart “rebel” terrorists. Wonderful, now we’re committing treason.

It’s far too late for us to back out of the deal now, and these troublemakers would hardly let us go even if we did – so I’ve got no choice to proceed with the transaction despite my misgivings about them. Even worse? While waiting in a lounge for our money, I spot another Salina in the corridor – what the hell are they doing with another me?

Turns out, they’re using a series of “Salinas” as cover for various missions where a renegade high roller core worlder would help them out with their nefarious schemes. I wasn’t the only princess on the playing field. So – there was the me that was assassinated very publicly, the me that just pulled this heist, the me that’s heading into the core worlds for whatever the Rebels needed done – and then of course Real Me running around and getting into trouble.

I’m not sure I like this development.

However, the terrorists are true to their word – they pay us and let us go without any sort of trouble, Since I’m nosey when it comes to where my reputation is concerned, I have Del do her best to plot their jump into Hyperspace. It’ll do us no good if they change course, but information is power, so I’ll welcome any I can get.. Besides, I can inform my contact at the Imperial Security Bureau as soon as we hit the next port of call and tell them all about what I know and perhaps turn this unfortunate transaction around.

The next planet over – I didn’t even bother checking the name on the astrogation charts – I drop my communiqué to the ISB along with my usual batch of messages. While I might have been an inadvertent traitor to the state, I’ll make amends as quickly as I could.

While I’m away, Del discovers something interesting about the long lost Star of Usk – apparently it has some kind of message imbedded in it! In that someone would have surely noticed it over the centuries that the Star has been in my family’s possession, it must have been a recent addition.

Come to think of it, fifteen years ago was about the time that Uncle Shaqiri also went missing – he was always a (relatively speaking) trouble maker and boat rocker, so him falling off the map was not entirely unexpected. What if he stole the Star, imprinted a message and then hid it away here? But . . . why?

The problem is that it’s an isomorphic data crystal – keyed to a one specific reader. Del might be able to eventually reverse engineer one, but we’re talking years and years of work – obviously not an option. After brainstorming, we decide to head coreworld to Corellia and see if my cousin Tallia has any insight, being that uncle Shaqiri was from her side of the family tree.

Understandingly, Tallia has been out of the loop with her family- her best guess is that Shaqiri’s son is now running his holding, with an estate on Imperial Center. Oh, good.

Eight months ago, I would have been able to walk into Uncle Shaqiri’s estate and find the reader for myself without any of the staff batting an eye (beyond the normal pleasantries that a visitor of my stature would generate) – but now? I’d never make out off the compound again. We need someone who won’t generate suspicion who would be permitted to wander the estate unhindered (which of course leaves Tallia right out). My best option is asking my old handler / bodyguard Manaar Foz – provided or course that Fozzy is still talking to me after I slipped away from the family, that is.

While Del isn’t able to get too deep into the family network, hacking the com-tree to find Fozzy’s current location was pretty easy. She’s still with the family, but she’s been exiled to the family estate on Avendell – presumably punishment for allowing me to slip away. Fortunately it’s a pretty close hop, not too far out of the way, and it’s a fairly quiet planet with not much of an imperial presence, so if she does turn me over, the odds of us slipping away again should be high.

One holo call later – and no, she doesn’t throw me under the speeder. She does solidly punch me for leaving her twisting in the wind like that, but she follows up with a rib-crushing hug. She would have been dismissed, but mother intervened on her behalf – so father moved her to the back forty of the family’s holdings, or at least until his anger subsides some. Otherwise, it’s a pretty joyful reunion – my friends are my friends and all, but Fozzy, she was far more a mother than mother ever was to me. Of everything I had to leave behind, leaving Fozzy hurt the most.

I just didn’t realize it until I got her back.

We show her the Star of Usk and what Del found – yes, she’s seen what might be a companion piece to the Star at the Nephew’s estate. She even thinks she knows where it is, and she’s fairly sure she can get to it. We just have to get her to Imperial Center . . .

Playing Princess for the Dean

Datalog Entry: Bymm.DEL.log/867-309-RUS1
Encrypted: IRN1-2ASU/45:17+5

While we’re putting the finishing touches on the ship, and settling accounts with the monks for our long stay on Tal Dor Station, I am approached by a gentleman with a business proposition. He cant help notice my striking resemblance to the Princess Salina and said his client needed a Salina look-alike for a very specific job.

How. . .fascinating.

Intrigued, I agree to meet with Popo the Hutt. Popo is very unusual for a hutt, he speaks in basic, is generally cordial and personable and just about as much not a hutt as you can get. His business offer – he needs “Princess Salina” to go to Central University on Dorian and act as a potential backer for a agricultural project. I’m to throw around some money, look over their project, ask some questions, and act as a spoiled patron with more credits than sense – all the while casing the facility for a prototype hyperdrive that he wants us to steal.

So, steal the prototype, steal the plans, erase the plans so they cant reconstruct the prototype easily. Sounds like a snap! So one quick paint job to spruce up the Runaway and make her look like the pleasure yacht she should be and we’re off back to Dorian.

Upon landing, I set about acting as the Queen Bee – which apparently the last 6 months on the rim has dulled that skill. I was awkward and forced and not at all my usual elegant self. How terribly embarrassing. However the is still impressed by my manor and their representative promptly takes us to the hotel suite to get settled – before I insist that we go out on the town, of course.

Generally I fritter the night away acting like a caricature of myself. Find a good looking man, suck his face all night long, dance, drink and act as if my associates are just subservient minions – which is actually surprisingly hard to do now. Oh how much we change.

The next morning, I awake at the early hour of noon, enjoy a lavish and expensive breakfast and summon the dean for my official tour of Central University’s science facility. Mind you, I don’t pay too much attention to the layout or the security arrangements myself. I’m concentrating on leaving that up to my entourage while I act as vapid, demanding and distracting as I can.

Later in the day, we retire to our suite to compare notes and begin compiling first draft plan of attack. Del thinks she can crack the security on the computers, Mahitha and Shadya got a good look at the layout of the facility – perhaps coming over from a nearby building instead of working our way up from the ground floor. Then it’s just a matter of timing, getting an idea where the schedule was weakest. Time to request a middle of the night tour.

At a completely unreasonable hour, I call the Dean as we’re approaching the front door of the science building, insisting that I have questions and want to look at the Buzzword Buzzword Ratios again. I manage to bluff and bully past security and all the way up to the actual lab containing the prototype before the dean and the security guards catch up to our party. Not a bad response time – it should give us enough of a window to work with.

The next day is full of more of the same – looking bored at technicians running down details of their lives work and then a lavish dinner before we set to work. Late into the evening, we run a zip line from the next building over to the roof of the science building. Opening the lock on the roof access door was simple – this was not an avenue of attack they thought needed covering, apparently.

At the guard station, however, my efforts to bluff the security – well, I fail utterly. We do manage to subdue her, but not before she trips the alarm. And now the clock is running. I cover the turbolifts while Del works her magic on the mainframes while Mahitha and Shadya secure the engine – shockingly smaller than I thought.

As far as the escape goes, it’s Amateur Night again – the back stairs work, but we run headlong into police and campus security, the rip roaring chase is full of wrong turns missed directions, and otherwise bad decisions – but fortunately we get away without actually killing anyone. We get back to the ship and lift off just as the spaceport is locked down.

Close, but we got away – well, I wouldn’t say clean. But we got away with the goods. Now, the delivery. . . .

Well, that could have gone better

Datalog Entry: Bymm.per.log/22281-RUS1

Encrypted: LEVEL7; TRANS22/33; DEL

I’ve made a decision – it’s time to get serious about this. We’ve been operating at a loss for a while, with the loss of cargo and people shooting at us and constant damage to the ship. Its the death of a thousand cuts – everything we’ve done as of late has gone disastrously (yet entertainingly) wrong. Time to cultivate our contacts for a while and turn our luck around. First up, we should head to back to Geonosis and see if we can get a cargo of weapons or technology from Duke Piddock.

The Duke, being a busy gentlemen, doesn’t have time to talk to us, but his lieutenant is more than happy to hold an audience with us. He gladly lets us have several crates of munitions and weapons for a very reasonable price. He also gives us a prototype blaster rifle that his company is working on to demonstrate to our clients, with an option to buy more if they like what they see.

Next stop – Ryloth and New Meen. It’s been several months now, so Nyn Kalbo and her associates should have the mining operations up and running – and with all that valuable spice, they will need weapons to help defend it. This should be a perfect made match – client and product and us ready to sell it to them.

Although our visit was unexpected, Nyn is thrilled to see us, as the mines are just now all coming on line and her people look to finally be turning a profit. While she likes the guns, Nyn takes a shine to the heavier weapon and grenade launcher. She is willing to take what we have and buy several more heavy weapons and some ordinance for the launchers – provided that we include some training with the weapons. Mahitha agrees, handling weapons without proper training is irresponsible – and between her and Shadya, they should be able to help the twi’leks attain sufficient proficiency.

So – back to Geonosis. Before we depart, I drop a quick message to the Duke’s man telling him of our imminent arrival and to prepare another shipment of heavy weapons. The shipment is loaded without issue, and while this second batch goes a long way to cleaning us out of credits, the spice we’ll get in trade from New Meen will more than make up for our troubles.

Well, that is until every single one of use misses every warning sign on our final approach back to Ryloth. The scanners were crystal clean, the communications groundside seemed smooth, no unusual landmarks or personnel around the landing field. However, the squad of stormtroopers who meet us at the bottom of the ramp, with our very illegal ordnance at the top and in plain view, is a very solid sign that something is terribly, terribly wrong.

Mahitha shoves the four imperials as hard as she can out the hatch, slamming it closed as soon as they’re clear and shouting for us to lift off. While initially I might have been able to smooth talk our way out of trouble, the TIE fighters now in route for us probably are not in a mood to listen anymore. The deal gone irreparably wrong, we climb for space – and get torn apart by the fire from the TIE fighters.

Oh wait. We have shields. I probably should turn those on.

Further compounding the problem, once we do hit the hyperlimit, Del has problems calculating the jump to hyperspace. Constant power fluctuations to the navigation computer make working extremely difficult. But hey, no pressure – the incoming star destroyer is still pretty far off. Plenty of time.

We jump just as the Imperial warship comes into firing range, limping back to Tal Dor station. Unfortunately we’ve got a cargo full of illegal guns and no operating capital to speak of.

Since I have not been idle these last several months, I know some people who know some people where I can unload our cargo at slightly above cost. It’s not a great profit, but at least we don’t completely lose our bankroll. Sadly all that newly raised capital goes straight back into repairing the ship. After all told, we lost money on this operation.

Not, as I was hoping, a turning around of our luck.

So, three or four days of waiting around while Del returns to ship to fighting form again. Mahitha spends her time discussing philosophy with one of the monks running the station. Shadya samples the local night life and I help Del with the repairs. That’s when we find the long lost Star of Usk – a old family relic that went missing fifteen years ago.

Wait – what was it doing hidden in my engine room all this time?

Tempting though it may be to sell this artifact, solving all our financial difficulties in one go, I should return this important family heirloom as soon as I can. Of course the question of how to do so should be interesting, considering just how wrong my last visit home was. I will need to think on this for a while. . . .

The Thing Under the Sand

Datalog Entry: Bymm.per.log.EXE/3422-34

Encrypted: BRA0-0MEX; 87:40

Six or so hours of stifling heat and howling winds go by before the storm dies down and we can extract ourselves from The Runaway. Well, we could extract ourselves if we weren’t buried under several tons of sand at the bottom of a sand dune as the twin suns begin to hit their zenith. And this day started out so promising, too.

Using the repulsors and shields in tandem, we managed to carefully dig ourselves out. However, we’re effectively grounded as the fine sand has clogged the engine intake filters. We could fly about three minuets before the engine overheats and seizes up – and then where would we be? Clearing the intakes will take at least five hours of work, plus we still need to fix the hatch. That’s not counting all the damage from the hard landing and the fighters inflicted. Plus all these spare parts we need? Not very accessible in the dune sea.

In short, she’s been in worse shape, but it will still take some work to get The Runaway ship-shape again.

While we’re working on getting the ship functional again, a sandcrawler passes by in the distance and veers our way, jawas out looking for scrap uncovered by the storm. Not before long, the sandcrawler rolls to a stop and close to fifty jawas pour out, setting to work helping, digging the Runaway out of the sand, removing damaged bits or scooping up bits of wrecked Z-95.

Not that we don’t appreciate the help, I better put a stop to it before they get it into their heads that – oh, wait, too late. Clan Leader Keelik asserts that he has salvaged this ship, and would we like to purchase it from him? While I have to admire the bravado, stealing a ship while we were on it, Mahitha straightens out Keelik in pretty short order.

And that’s when a blaster bolt sizzles past.

My readings of the Encyclopedia Galactica allowed me to indentify these new individuals shooting at us as sandpeople, indigenous natives who apparently don’t like outsiders like us.

Surrounding us from three sides, the sandpeople have our backs up against the dune that is the runaway. The jawas retreat quickly into their crawler, Shadya and Mahitha scramble for cover along the underside of the ship while Del reaches the top hatch. Me? wide open and exposed, I join the jawas inside their sandcrawler – the closest cover to where I was when the sandpeople attacked. A solid plan until the jawas decide to get out of there, sandcrawler and all, me along with them!

It was a near thing, the battle – again, Shadya seemed to get the worst of it – but we were victorious. The jawas came back (for the salvage from the sandpeople) and we found one lone survivor amongst the debris. He’s badly wounded, but still barely hanging on and trying to crawl away to safety when we find him. He tries to attack us, but seeing that he can barely hold a gaffi stick let alone swing it, the threat was pretty hollow.

While Del treats his wounds the best she can, we get the Sandpeople’s story from him the best we can via Keelik’s translator droid. “I’m not very good at the indigenous language, but apparently they’re out of water, there’s a ship blocking his cave, his people are trapped and the Sandpeople can’t get close because of large sand.”. .

Large sand?

Heading back to Mos Eisley is right out of the question, what with the thugs and bounty hunters and all. We obviously cant leave with my ship in this state, and there’s not a lot of other options on Tatooine. However, we’ve pieced together what the hell is going on – mostly by threatening to feed Huurlek to the sandpeople.

The Musk was intended for Jarvek Soto, a minor crime boss who seeks to position himself better in the community by engaging in a gang with Jabba the Hutt. That musk is the latest weapon in that war – or at least it would have been until Huurlek felt that the deal was too hot to handle and double crossed Soto in an effort to get out from the middle of a gangland shootout. Soto was intending to use the Musk against Jabba, offering it as a gift and then releasing a large and ferocious Sowhime Death Worm who would be driven mad by the musk and attack Jabba’s palace and assassinate the hutt.

I’m an expert at political intrigue and assassination and I completely concur. It was indeed a pretty lousy plan.

Well, if Soto was keen to use it against Jabba, perhaps we could offer it to the Hutt and make a couple of credits out of it – at least enough to repair the ship and get out of here before more bounty killers show up. While I dislike the idea of getting voluntarily involved with someone who will blatantly exploit us, I don’t see many other alternatives. So we hire the jawas to tow the ship with their sandcrawler within a few miles of Jabba’s palace.

Selling the Musk was surprisingly easy. We never actually dealt with the Hutt himself – no, we’re far too small time for his notice – but with a lieutenant of his, a pale t’wlek of some sorts. We didn’t get close to market value for the merchandise, but since we were barging from a weak position, I’ll take what I can get. Besides it was enough to get the ship parts we needed and just a little profit.

Once we got some proper parts, the actual repairs took no time at all. Once we were done, Del insisted on tracking back the vector towards the crashed ship and “big sand”. Some people, when they latch onto a mystery. . . .

Tracking the sandcrawler is easy enough, they’re not very subtle vehicles. We catch up to the jawas just as they reach a rock mesa formation known as Golden Canyon, just on the edge of a dune sea. Gathering up some basic supplies, we start to hike. About two miles up, the jawas start getting excited – around the next corner, we come to new rock fall and a large furrow along one canyon wall with bits of metal and hull scattered everywhere.

The largest section of what was once a mid sized freighter is up against one wall, hull cracked in two and twisted into place. There are lines of rope attached to various points on the ship, with the other end disappearing into the ground – more into a sinkhole than into a man-made pit. There are scraps of meat everywhere – probably bantha, possibly sandperson – obviously what happened here occurred very recently.

While Del explores the wreck, the jawas swarm all over the crash site, gathering up bits of scrap. Well, at least all the way up to the point where there’s a low rumbling sound, a great whoosh of air, an explosion of sand and – suddenly, no jawa – sending everyone else scrambling for the rocks. Apparently the delivery of the Sowhime Death Worm also went slightly wrong, too.

And then Jarvek Soto, tired of waiting for his cargo to arrive, decided to find out where the hell his very expensive Death Worm went to. He and a handful of minions arrive by sand skiff just in time for Mahitha to shoot out the skiff’s repulsors and drop them onto the sand with the Worm. Then Shadya gets the idea of spraying a grenade with the Musk and throwing it out to the Worm. Worm eats Soto, Worm grenade, everyone explodes – problems solved!

The Death Worm and Soto out of the picture, we can get the wreck of the ship away from the cavern opening. Of course the sandpeople inside show their gratitude by shooting at us. And with that, we are officially done with Tatooine for the moment. . . .

Just A Simple Misunderstanding

Datalog Entry: Bymm.per.log.EXE/3422-34

Encrypted: BRA0-0MEX; 33:01

Two days of luxury and opulence deposits us in orbit above Tatooine. Just as a gesture of good will towards us, Mrs Jakkar has made some arrangements on our behalf with a contact on the planet, that they have some work for us – completely off the clock, mind you. She says to meet her contact at Terrant’s Cantina in South Mos Eisley by second sundown tomorrow.

All in all, it’s not a bad wait days – yes the heat is oppressive, but the food isn’t bad and the cover band is pretty good. Occasionally we get creeps trying to strike up conversations, but Mahitha is good at deflecting their desires. However as the day rolls on, and the second day rolls on, it seems that we’ve either missed the contact or have been stood up.

Just as we were about to give up and move on, an older, balding slightly harried looking human slides into the booth next to Shadya and identifies himself as Sar Huurlek. “Sorry I’m late – I ran into some trouble along the way.” he began, “Only to be expected in our line of work, I guess. Anyway, don’t worry. The matter is all in hand and everything is all taken care of. You’re the ones in docking bay eight, right?”

It appears that our contact did indeed arrive.

Of course it becomes quickly apparent that this was NOT the contact. Every time we ask for details or about the offer, he assumes we’re being coy. When he mentions The Package, we try explain we’re in the dark – until finally it comes down to simply being blunt with him. And that’s when Huurlek figures out the problem, he has the wrong people. “But I’ve already sent the container to your ship! I’ve got to stop it or I’m a dead man!” he shouts – and every head in the cantina turns towards us.

Mahitha grabbing his arm, we hassle back to the hanger – just in time to run headlong into a gang of tough men coming up from the bay. We get into a desperate firefight on the stairwell, seconds before there’s an explosion downstairs. Rushing down, we find the hatch to the Runaway blown clean off – again. Making matters worse, they didn’t need to – The Package was just off to one side, sitting on some crates. Yes, if the henchmen had a lick of intelligence about them, they would have noticed their desired object out in the open and they wouldn’t have had to damage my ship!

Shadya and Mahitha get into a fight as more goons come down the back stairs while Delany grabs the package and I scramble up into the ship to start the warm up procedure. As a third set of reinforcements come down the stairs, it becomes clear that we need to leave. Now.

Me and Shadya quickly switch places. While I’m getting much better at flying, if we need quick reactions, I’m better serving in the support capacity. Good call too, since moments after liftoff, we’re beset by several Z-95 Headhunters. They close quickly and start to overwhelm us in short order (although less so, when I remember to turn the shields on) until Shadya runs us headlong into an oncoming sandstorm. She comes to an abrupt stop, drops to the deck and shuts everything down, letting the fighters (who were probably more concerned at staying aloft than hunting us at that point) sail past.

With the sandstorm raging above, we decide to lay low and wait until the coast was clear. In the meantime, Del carefully examines the package in an effort to find out why everyone is so determined to get the item. Opening the crate, it appears to be some kind of cylinder of, with a screw top of some sorts. Fortunately being that she handles sensitive an volatile chemicals all the time, Del has an isolation system that she can rig up, allowing her to open the container and find out what is inside.

Musk. Some kind of musk, or so her chemical analysis says – Krivvit musk, worth about 10,000 credits to the right people. I seem to recall Krivvit musk being used in certain core world circles as a perfume to certain species that favored strange and unusual scents beyond the range of human senses. That doesn’t answer why is it here and why are so many people trying to kill us for it?

Running under a Black Sun

Datalog Entry: Bymm.per.log/3418-22-X/X

Encrypted: SMS/17-EPK/MMS

Arriving at Atikan as quickly as we could was a stupid idea. We’re three days ahead of our meeting with Marru Jakkar, and Shadya refuses to leave the ship. She fears running into Kava’s men and doesn’t want to face that particular demon at this time. Of course the others refuse to let me out of their sight – and so there we sit, on the tarmac, for three more days.

Come the appointed time, we finally make our way to docking bay 18. The massive bay doors rumble open, to reveal a well kept interior with a very nice freighter off to one side. There were a number colorful awnings over several tables covered in platters of food and assorted light refreshments – Carni chips, Kamtro grassticks, glazed firebuds, tekka nuts and the like, while a server droid worked diligently to feed the dozen or so spacers already assembled.

They other spacers were a wide range of characters, some obviously not comfortable with crowds and finger foods, some eager to eat their first real, non-paste food in weeks. There was a lone zeltron female, a wookiee, a couple of humans, a rodian and a t’wlek. Some of them were happy to chat while we wait the entrance of our host, some were not talkative at all – but as far as finding out the purposes of our gathering, none of the conversation got much past “I know nothing beyond what the invitation told me”.

After a little bit of light dining and some polite conversation, our host arrived – Marru Jakkar appeared at the top of her freighter’s ramp wearing a dark brown vest over a close fitting jumpsuit of black leather, a blaster hung loosely at her hip.

“Good afternoon,” she began, “I trust that the refreshments meet your approval. Now that you’ve enjoyed my hospitality, we can get down to business. I need some rather important merchandise moved through this sector, and I’ve contacted each of you to make sure that at least some of it reaches it’s destination. You will be paid 5,000 credits for the run with an additional 5,000 if you are the first ship to arrive.

“A cargo pod will be loaded on your ships at a yet undisclosed location. From that location, you will travel the Wildstar trade route and rendezvous with the luxury liner Star of Empire, and deliver the pod. To be fair in this, each of your datapads has a file called “envelope”. It indicates your first location – don’t bother looking it up now, the file is coded to work through your nav computers.

She then welcomed us to enjoy more of her hospitality while she circulated amongst each of the captains to answer any further questions personally.

It was a very straight forward offer. The cargo was simple technology, nothing illegal – although a certain level of discretion in any Imperial dealings is required. But as much as this was a cargo run, this was also a test. Her organization is interested in only the best and most loyal crews, and this was a process of vetting out the less worthy crews.

While Mrs Jakkar made the rounds, the Zeltron – Captain Asha Odekar – approached us with an offer. “I’m the only crew member aboard my ship. While she’s a speedy vessel, flying solo leaves me at a disadvantage. I propose we team up, share whatever information as we can and if either of us win, we split the winnings.”

I pride myself on being a good judge of character, and I judge Captain Odekar to be on the up and up. So while Asha and I come to more precise terms, Mahitha chats up Captain Zimos, one of the other lone pilots in the gathering. Apparently – I’m not sure of the details – they engaged in a battle of spicy food and poor Zemos was unable to endure the heat. Thus Mahitha dubbed him Mister Spicy forever more.

And then, with a snap of Mrs Jakkar’s fingers, the race is on!

The first leg takes us to something called The Beacon, a navigational nightmare, a pulsar that causes all manner of hyperspace and realspace interference, makes finding the beacon difficult and otherwise is the possibly the toughest part of the race. We did well to team up with Captain Odekar, since she had arrived at the beacon well ahead of anyone else in the pack and was able to transmit the next coordinates to us giving us a very strong lead.

As Del is preparing the navigation computer for the jump, I spot the ship just ahead of us – a Captain Kraton Hawkes, if I recall from our meeting correctly – trying to get a missile lock on the communication transponder. While that would remove a great deal of the competition from the race, that’s not fair. Mahitha puts a couple of shots across his bow, giving him cause for him to reconsider his life choices. Before he can respond, we’re away into hyperspace.

We arrive back at Tal’Dor Space Station, just behind the lead ship – Captain Kalend Thora, the twi’lek, if I recall correctly – taunts us for being so slow, despite us being right behind her. Once our landing gear is down, it takes half an hour to find our contact (following, of course the proscribed sign/countersign guidelines to the letter – apparently another test) and load the cargo pod before we can hit vacuum again.

As we were about to reach the hyperspace limit, Del happens on a fleeting narrow band transmission – something that would only happen one in a thousand times – a transmission from Captain Hawkes – “All right, listen up boys. This is your prodigal son and I’ve got a sweet cargo load. I’ve popper ‘er open and it looks pretty tasty. There’s gonna be five more fat, happy loads just waiting the following coordinates plus a big juicy luxury liner. Sharpen your teeth boys, the pickin’s are gonna be good!”

Wonderful, there’s a trap at our destination, and every racer is about to land squarely in it with both feet. Thinking quickly, Del comms Captain Hawkes “Sorry, apparently you had your transmitter set to narrow band. Here, let me help you!” she says, rebroadcasting her message as widely and loudly as she could. Then, we’re away into Hyperspace.

Arriving to rendezvous with the Star of Empire, we are greeted by the Imperial Guardian cruiser Reprise and eight TIE fighters on patrol. After a moment, they hail us, telling us to proceed on vector 117.3 – and Del tells the radio operator exactly what is coming, that a pirate gang fleet was in route, so when the pirates arrive moments later, the Empire was waiting for them.

The pirate fleet consisted of a well worn corellian corvette, two YT-1300 and a handful of Z-95 star fighters – which normally would have been enough to perform such a lightning strike and quick capture the various cargoes. However thanks to the readiness of the Empire, the pirates were wiped out to a man.

Unfortunately due to the delay warning the Empire and dealing with the pirates, we were the second to land on Star of Empire. Thanks to Mahitha’s readiness and planning, we were the first to unload the cargo. So while we technically lost, we were the winners by handing over the pod before anyone else. That’s probably not how it was suppose to work, but Mrs Jakkar was so impressed by the moxie and bravado, she awarded us the win. She graciously allowed us to spend the remainder of the day in the lounge, with our food and drinks on her tab.

In the lounge, one of the other freighter captains – a Givin – approaches Shadya with an offer to buy out our cargo for ten thousand credits. Either this is the stupidest captain in the organization or this is another test – although one would hope that our employer would have enough subtlety to not be this blatant. Needless to say Shadya says she’ll think about it and promptly informs Mrs Jakkar of his stupid treachery.

In addition to winning the contract with Mrs Jakkar’s organization, she invites us to enjoy two days on the liner while we journey to Tatooine. We sample luxury that easily rivals the best the core world has to offer. I know that I’ve left that life behind (at least for now), but I can still take pleasure in opulence when I can.

In which we settle old accounts. . . .

Datalog Entry: Bymm.per.log/3318-1-B

Encrypted: SHARPE-2,2; RECALL/12; REPT

After a journey full of ever so faint pops and pings from hull stresses and microleaks, we finally we drop out of hyperspace and limp into the Kwenn system, a myriad of red and yellow warning lights across the board and the cockpit sealed from the rest of the ship – in case our patch on the canopy gives way. Oh, and it seems that we neglected to turn off the emergency beacon that I activated when the ship was first taken, so moments after arriving, the Imperial Star Destroyer Firestorm picks us up in her tractor beam.

Actually for that small act we were quite grateful – the Runaway was doing poorly and was in need of some tender handling anyway. Of course when the Imperials show up with full quarantine gear and hazmat suits, I’m a little confused. Apparently in my rush to flip on a warning beacon, I’d activated the virulent disease beacon, flagging us as having something called Rikter’s Disease.

Fortunately it was a fairly simple matter to clear up, that we in fact do not have Rikter’s became quickly evident to the imperial medics. That that was left to do was deal with the fine for violating spaceship safety regulations before dropping us off within tractor bean range of the Kwenn station.

Once aboard, Delany sets about assessing what needs doing to the ship, how to repair her properly. Meanwhile, the rest of us set off to locate where this hunting party had their ship docked. Apparently the plan was, after besting us, to return to Kwenn and recover their vessel. His ship was tucked away in deep storage and awaiting his return – and his astromech had all the access codes and security keys, so gaining access to his ship was simplicity,

Seeing that this hunting expedition still had an outstanding debt for the charter, it’s only fair that we strip his ship of anything of value to make up the other half of the agreed payment. While father equipped the Runaway with the best, there was still room for improvement in places – some nice art, good wines, some luxury textiles – all of which we find on this rather nice ship. Oh, and of course, credits to make this last two weeks of hell worth our while.

We also find holos of previous hunts, this hunter and his friends posing with assorted trophies and so on. In short, full documentation on his (rather long) history of murdering people for sport. Mind you, it does no good to bring him to justice, being that he’s dead and all – but still, I wont tolerate this kind of behavior. Killing him and escaping? Easy. Ruining his family and his name? Now that’s much more my style.

After making some annotations, I dispatch an assortment of discrete packages to old associates and people who owed me favors, outlining the full details on what this fellow has been up to. Then I send out another round of similar packages to his competing businesses and NewsFax networks. Of course I’m sure to include an equal amount of original material (so that the authenticity of the recordings can be verified) and duplicate material in each package so that there can be no doubt as to what he was up to.

With the ship nearly ready to go and the damming evidence sent to my very best resources, we were pondering what to do next – when the matter was solved by a courier, delivering a package. Inside was a data pad from Black Sun and Marru Jakkar. Inside, is a simple data plaque with a message. “Per our previous conversation, I do believe that resourceful operatives such as ourselves do indeed have a place in my organization. Please join me to discuss a potential business opportunity in four days’ time at my private docking bay in South Canton on Atikan. I’ll be in docking bay 18 – come around midday.”

Shadya, of course, was less than thrilled to be returning to Atikan and potentially running into Jenx Kava or his men – but the offer of a job was too good to pass up. So with some persuasion, we raise ship and head back to her old stomping grounds. I’m sure that she’s just being paranoid and that nothing too untoward will come of this. . . .