[SWAW] In Transit [Kelb S1]

edited December 2013 in SWAW
So the first thing Jazz said this morning when he opened his eyes was, "I feel like a Rancor kriffed my head... What did I do last night?" Why do you know that, Kelb? How much do you remember about last night?

You'll be happy to know that Squall and Pem worked through the night to secure both the intel you wanted, and a ride out to Kestic station, as well as renting a small scout ship to take you out to the asteroid in question. Burr even helped by hashing out a few plans of attack for your consideration. You've been ordered by Captain Jaina Dene, a Corellian female roughly your age, to report to Bay 39-b by 1300 hours for departure. How do you know Jaina? Are you anxious to see her again?


  • edited December 2013
    Why do I know? Well, because I helped him get his head Rancor-kriffed is why.

    I remember most of it. We returned to that strip bar, Jazz wasted a bunch of creds on the Togruta, her name was Kada Viyai, not that he'd remember. I played wingman for him, I was in a good mood, just not falling down intoxicated good. He didn't push, cause he knew I was in planning mode, thinking through the op in my head.

    We went back to Kada's place, which she shared with a local student, an adorable Mirialan female named Iotasa Dar. While Jazz and Kada went back to her room to have their fun, I sat on their cushy couch, chatted with Iotasa about her botanical studies, which was not nearly as interesting to me as it was to her, but whatever. She could tell I was playing nice, and made a move. We made out for a little bit, but I sort of stopped her when she went for my top. I don't know, she was cute and sweet, and I really liked her green lips, I was just not in the mood, you know?

    I slept on their couch for a little while, which was nice of them. I don't think Iotasa was angry with me. I mean, she did bring me a couple pillows. And yes, she invited me to her bed, which I considered, but declined.

    Turned out that was a good call, since at some point, Jazz said or did something off, and Kada Viyai kicked him out. Big drama, yelling, calling of names, she threw something at him. I left with him after offering apologies and dropping a little credits to smooth things over. Jazz got sick a few times on the way back to our flat, and we ended up crashing on the couch and I got to hold his sick bucket. Real classy, that's my boy Jazz.

    And he doesn't remember it at all. Yeah, that's fair. And no, I'm not going to tell him that he hooked up with Kada. Idiot.
  • I'm thrilled that Squall and Pem got us good results. Of course, it worries me a bit that three of the five of us are dead tired or still half drunk when we stroll into Bay 39-b. And we're late. Not that I care that much about punctuality, we're paying customers, right?


    I look at Pem as we cruise in on the speeder-taxi, "Did you book us passage or are we working security on this boat, Pem?" I really hope he didn't try to squeeze a few creds out of the trip by signing us up for SecOps on Jaina's boat. That woman is hard to please and this is not a good start. Please let us be passengers, just this once. I want to pass out on a bed of my own and read some trashy stories on my datapad.

    I don't like disappointing Jaina. Its just, I always end up doing it. We met back when I was still on Mandalore's moon, training on spaceflight. She was a pilot back then. Now she has her own ship. I've heard she has a few of them. Me? I've got a little merc crew.

    This is not how I should be starting an op. I know Mr. Burr is thinking the same thing, I see it in his one good eye.
  • Jazz has a little bit of his color back, which I'm sure instills a little bit more confidence when Jaina sees the lot of you. Pem looks a little disappointed that you didn't want to save the extra creds, and pulls you aside as you approach Jaina's ship — the Astral Hawk. "C'mon Kelb," he whispers, one arm around your shoulder, the other arm gesturing wildly, like a salesman trying to hook you on some bigger picture that isn't there, "she was practically begging to have us sign on as security! Full price was ten times the rate I got us! This is chump change! You'd have to have gone the whole cred for the round trip if not for this deal... You're not gunna make me go back and reneg on our agreement, are you? Make her have to go out and put a rush order on a merc crew for a jaunt out to Kestic?"

    He gives you a sidelong grin with that skeezy smile of his. "Cause for you Kelb, you know I would."
  • I'm sure he sees me do that quirky frown thing I do when I'm less than pleased at the turn of events, but he's right. Blowing our cred on a pleasure cruise is a pipe dream. There's so much more important stuff we need. I can take a nice long soak at a bath-house after the mission.

    I pat Pem on his tummy, which I note has a bit more to it than our last op, he's getting doughy. I need to up his routine. We can deal with that on the boat, in fact. But I won't mention it right now, poor guy would think its punitive. Which, of course, it isn't. Not at all.

    "You did right by us, Pem." I turn my frown upside down. I've been told my smile is predatory, which isn't my intention. Sure, I don't get much practice, but well, anyways, I smile at Pem, "Some warning next time so we're not late and a little wasted, that would be preferable. But thanks for thinking of the bottom line. So, if she was begging, then shouldn't we be getting paid instead of a reduced ticket?"

    I let that hang in the air for a bit. Yes, I just accused him of skimming off the top. It's not the first time. He and I both know he's doing it, but he keeps jobs coming in, so I let it slide. But I call him on it from time to time to remind him I know. I'm still smiling when I add, "If you could see to it that we have free room and board, I think that's fair, don't you?" You know I will talk to Jaina about the contract you signed for us and take away your precious graft if you don't let us break even, Pem. Don't push me, just say yes.
  • Pem smiles, "Ah Kelb, you aren't thinking big picture! Sure she was begging, but how do you think I swung for that brand-spanking-new T-2c shuttle rental? Those sleemos in the belt won't know what hit 'em," and being caught in the lie, he produces the credit stick you gave him, "and you get to pocket the cred from the pretty-boy Burr's been crushing on!" He seems particularly pleased with his dealing today, in spite of not being able to keep the cred.

    He holds up his hands in defeat when you ask him to make sure room and board is free, "I'll make sure we don't get turned upside down for food. You got it Kelb."

    You hear Squall giggle behind you at your little exchange, and Jazz stole Burr's death stick to help fix, "this kriffing rumbling in my head." Jaina is waiting patiently for your group to board by the loading bay. She nods over to you with a bit of a smirk.

    What do you do?
  • edited December 2013
    Alright, Pem had me at T-2c. I reach for the credstick numbly as I imagine zipping down on the mine in a T-2c. I hope it's a Theta class! Palpatine's personal shuttle is a theta, I saw it during a big ceremony on Coruscant. That is one slick bird.

    Did he say Mr. Burr was crushing on some boy? Is it a new one? I thought that it didn't work out with that Elsin Zax, I think his name was. Just whatever. I swear I can barely keep up with that old man's exploits.

    Pem, you slick so-and-so, you got me. I'm on board with this now. Squall's giggle alerts me to Jazz. I do not feel sorry for him. Not one bit.

    I cut off from them as they board the boat and make a beeline for Jaina. As I get a few meters from her, I slip into a more military jander. No reason to disrespect her any further. I give her a curt salute, genuine Mandalore military style, she should recognize it, and stand tall. "Kelborn Vee and SecOps team reporting for duty, Captain Jaina Dene. Permission to come aboard?"

    Alright, I'm smirking a little, that part is out of code. I'm trying, maybe I'm rusty, ok?
  • Jaina notes the suppressed smirk on your face, and returns the salute. "Permission granted. Stars Kelborn, was your crew drinking to the last possible minute?" Jazz probably heard that, because Jaina seems to be smirking at someone over your shoulder.
  • Whew, that was close. Jaina's in a good mood. Excellent.

    "Some of them, yes." I glance over my shoulder at Jazz. Wait, is she taken with him? He is hot, but the guy's a wreck, he can barely feed himself without me around. Gah, whatever.

    "We were celebrating a new job last night, just found out about your need this morning." I look her in her pretty hazel eyes. Her smirk is really cute on her. I wouldn't blame Jazz one bit, "We'll get the job done, Cap, don't worry. I won't let you down." I mean it, too.

    Unless she needs to chat about something, I'll hustle to catch up with the crew and help get everything stowed away. I wonder how many bunks we'll have to share? We'll be sleeping in shifts, Mr. Burr and I will take first shift to let the others sleep. If we have three bunks, that is.
  • Jaina looks a little surprised when you refer to your services as her "need" — but she lets it slide. "I don't expect much trouble, but I suppose you never know." What are the worst dangers you'd expect besides Space Pirates, and Imperial Inspections out there Kelb?
  • But Pem said that... what am I thinking? Yes, we're going to the Outer Rim, but probably over the Hydian Way. The biggest threat we'll have outside of Pirates and Imperials is some trussed-up local tariff. Great, I look like an idiot in front of Jaina again.

    I try to play it off like I was joking and smirk, "You never know. Could be a revolt from the passengers..." I hope that sounded better to her than it did to me.

    I'm going before I shove my other foot in my mouth. Why does she do that to me?

    Anyways, about the bunks?
  • So you're walking away when you hear Jaina call back to you, "don't disturb the other passengers, please?" She sounded more confused than amused. You join up with your squad, and are shown by the crew to your quarters — it's a small room with 8 cots (four on the ground, four suspended on the walls like bunk beds) and no windows. You're given a few minutes to get settled before the first-mate, a Duros named Cadan Bille comes to get you for the standard ship introduction in the cargo bay before they close up and leave world.

    There are only a few passengers on this particular voyage — a pair of silent Nikto who don't speak Basic, a distinguished Zeltronian man in fine garments who seems anxious to get underway, and a small family of humans (a father, and two young girls) who look somewhat sickly. Jaina introduces you all as the hired security, and everyone seems a little easier about the voyage — everyone but one person, who was it Kelb?
  • edited December 2013
    Great, Jaina thinks I'm going to bother the passengers. I'm looking forward to the part of this op with the flying and the shooting.

    Karsin? Of all the transports lifting off this rock, Karsin is here? Wow... he's looking good.

    First of all, it was not my fault that he was kicked out of the that high stakes sabacc game. I was not distracting him, I was running security. I was flirting with him. It was not a plot to make him lose his shirt. No wait, that came out wrong. See, what I mean is, I thought he was really handsome and confident and I was a little bored.

    How is it my fault that he bet when he meant to fold and ended up losing the game?!?

    I'm still looking confident, still rigid and military. We're in unis, some off market stuff I picked up from a depot, they look pretty great, really. Professional. These folks should feel relaxed. I let Pem run through the regs, what they should expect, security tips, the rigmarole.

    I hope Squall isn't drooling. She really has a thing for Zeltronians. ALL Zeltronians. I need to remind her about the problems with fraternizing with passengers, just in case. Which makes me feel bad, it would be nice if she had a little fling. I won't tell her "absolutely no", just "be careful". That's fair.

    This is going to be an interesting trip. I'm hoping for space pirates now.
  • edited December 2013
    Karsin certainly doesn't seem happy to see you, does he? What was the last thing he said to you? Squall is definitely a little starry-eyed, by the way. Is she likely to act on her little crush? How old is Squall, anyway? She seems rather bubbly.

    Let's do something a little different than usual:
    When you travel on a freighter in the outer rim, pick one option from the list below.

    • None of the passengers approach you with a problem.
    • There are no unexpected visitors to deal with.
    • You get a little bit of free time with your crew.
    • The relations with the ship's crew have been both professional and amiable.

    If you would like to pick more, roll+sharp. On a hit, choose 1 more. On a 10+ choose 2 more. On a miss, something completely unexpected comes up that has taxed you. Take -1forward while in transit.
  • Rolling Sharp
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 3, 1. Total: 5)

    (+1 XP)
  • edited October 2014
    Squall is young, yeah. I've never asked, but I'd say she's nineteen or so. Rattataki age about the same rate as humans, so that's pretty young to be out and about.

    I'll choose:
    • The relations with the ship's crew have been both professional and amiable.
  • edited December 2013
    Well Kelb, it's been three and a half days since you've gotten anything more than a solid 2 hour block of sleep, because the ship's been under pursuit by space pirates. Ask and ye shall receive, I guess — right? They follow you into hyperspace, and hit you between jumps. Jaina and her crew have been pretty good about dodging their attacks; but the last few got some pretty serious blows in, and she's reporting some pretty serious damage to the starboard-side engines. Jaina's requested you have some people at the Cargo Bay to protect the goods if it comes down to boarding.

    What's more, tensions with the non-Basic speaking Nikto and the Zeltronian have come to a head. Musek — the male of the Nikto — seems to think that his wife Retiko has been hit on by the Zeltronian — a man named Tristan. They've been in two separate fist fights now — two. Which one of your crew took a hit to the face trying to split them up last time?

    You're a few minutes shy of jumping out of hyperspace for the second last time before making it to Kestic. If the Pirates were going to make their attempt — this would be it. Where have you stationed your squad? Where are you?
  • First of all, Musek is right. Tristan was hitting on his wife. I was there. And yes, I'm still sporting the bruise on my left eye from that Nikto's punch. It matches the bruise on my right forearm from the crate that fell during the last dust up with those pirates. At this point, I secretly hope they board us, and yes, I know that's tempting the fates. Or the Force. Or... whatever. I want to put blaster bolts through some folks.

    Jazz and Mr. Burr are set up with a solid crossfire on the airlock in cargo bay. Squall is wired into the systems of the Hawk itself, checking everything, making sure we're watching all angles. Pem is with the passengers, keeping them calm and collected, and I'm sort of in between, moving up to the cabins if needed, but hovering near the cargo area until Pem needs me. Or until some time passes with no action and I get antsy.

    Guess I'm not such a liability now, an I, Jaina?
  • Jaina comes on the comm, "We're dropping out in 5, guys — brace for contact..." Everyone counts down from five in their heads, and what feels like an eternity passes. In fact, it's more like three seconds — and then whole ship shakes. Looks like the pirates are playing for keeps this time...

    The shield goes down quickly, and you hear something hit the side of the hull with a lot of force. They're hitting you hard, trying to take you down. Jazz readies his blaster rifle, and mutters, "kriffing tractor beam... Guess Mr. Bille's losing his touch." Burr has been ready for action since you came out of hyperspace. There's a loud, tinny *WHAM* from behind the airlock... This is it.

    Jaina comes on the comm again, "They latched onto us with a boarding pod! Give me five minutes to secure the jump co-ordinates, and we'll leave these guys in our wake!"

    You spot sparks poke through the bottom left corner of the airlock door — they're cutting through. Burr and Jazz are in the zone. You have a headache from that shiner the Nikto gave you. In a few moments, this place is going to be swarming with pirates, shooting first and asking questions later.

    What do you do?
  • edited October 2014
    I take a firing position at the door to the cargo hold, covering both of them. I yell to them both, "Let's open the door first, and blow them to hell!" I wait to make sure Jazz and Burr copy, then I order Squall over the comms, "Open the airlock door right now, we're going to take out their cutters!"

    As soon as that airlock door slides open, I'm firing into that hole, unloading a barrage of pain into those pirates. These guys are going to pay for my headache. My plan is to drive them back, and feint like we're a bigger force than we are. If we punch enough of a hole, I want to push in to their ship. Putting them on the defensive will buy us more time than just holding on.

    Of course, that's thinking pretty far ahead, and it's probably wishful thinking, too. But a girl has to have some sort of plan, right?

    Still bothers me why Jaina is worried about the cargo. Is this a random pirate attack, or are they after something in particular that we have? They are doing a scary good job of staying with us. Are they skilled, or is there some inside info? Maybe I'm being too cynical. Yeah, probably that.
  • Jazz and Burr give you the affirmative, and Squall tears the airlock doors open like she was hovering over the button when you sent the order.

    Sounds like you're seizing control of the Cargo Bay by force. Hit the dice!
  • Seizing the Cargo Bay By Force:
    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 2. Total: 7)

    (+1 XP)
  • edited December 2013
    I'll spend my bond with Squall for a +1, to offset the -1 I got coming into this roll. So, it remains a success, barely

    We take definite hold of it
    We impress, dismay or frighten our enemy
  • OOC: Harm move for Kelb. Roll+Harm (1-harm).
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 1, 1. Total: 3)
  • They come pouring into the Cargo bay two at a time, pair after pair, firing their blasters off for effect. There are 10 of them — and they're trying to spread out to surround you, but you're not letting them have it. You keep them confined to the loading bay, and they're pinned. They weren't expecting this kind of resistance — it's just a kriffing freighter, after all.

    Jazz got hit in the opening blast — you know because he was pretty vocal about it. He's bleeding, but he's still in the fight — angry as ever. Burr is picking off pirates one by one, and generally sowing chaos. Some of the pirates are affraid to leave the boarding pod. The blasters stop firing, and you can hear some of them whispering from their little hideout.

    Suffer 1-harm after armor, Kelb. These guys have nothing on you. What do you do?
  • Over our private comm channel, I call to Pem, "Hey Pem, if things are good with the passengers, get your purple self down here for back-up, yeah?"

    I'm moving up to Jazz, close enough to had him my med kit. He should be able to use it on himself, I think. If not, I'll glue his wound shut with the suture gun after this next thing.

    "Alright, you screwheads!" I call through my helmet, which gives it an inhuman metallic rasp, pretty spooky stuff. Not Darth Vader spooky, but it works in a pinch, "Get out of my Cargo Hold, or I close the airlock again and drop a thermal at your feet! I'm giving you one chance to survive this fight, lick your wounds and look for weaker prey. I am NOT taking prisoners. What'll it be?"

    What species are these pirates?
  • Pem comes on the comm, "Oh-ho-ho. You got it Kelb — one purple butt-kicking coming up." Jazz can't fix himself — the shot was through and through. He'll need someone to do the job for him.

    The pirates are a mixture of Rodians, Nikto, and Gamorreans. One of the Rodians pokes his head out just enough for you to see, "Our pod doesn't retract — we'll vent you all into space if we break off. What do you propose we do? Sit here and let you kill us?"
  • Hrm, could that be a real thing? That sounds like a really stupid plan. Or at the very least, a cruel way to do this.

    I'm Reading a Charged Situation right now.

    (+1 XP)
  • Read a Sitch:
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 3, 1. Total: 5)
  • How are you vulnerable right now, Kelb?
    And moreover, how might one or two of those pirates slip past your defenses?
  • How am I vulnerable? Well, I'm about to move into the open real quick to get to Jazz so I can patch him up, which is a really boneheaded move, but I'm doing it. I am not risking nerve damage, that is a lot of blood.

    To get up to him, I'm giving up the door to the ship, which is exactly how they could slip by me, those two Rodians have been eyeing the door this whole fight. I just hope Pem can hold the line.
  • The Rodians barely waited a split second after you bolted for Jazz. They move quickly through the Cargo Bay — dodging a shot from Burr as you duck down to help Jazz. You spot Pem come around the corner with his gun lowered — he raises it quickly and is about to fire on them, but they'll get a shot off first...

    What do you do?
  • I committed to help Jazz, I'm doing it. No reason to dance to and fro. Jazz functional is one big asset.

    I hope Pem's trigger is as fast as his mouth.
  • You hear a brief exchange of blaster bolts as you work on Jazz — it's obvious as you patch him up that he's in pain. If you spend 1-stock, he'll need a week downtime to recover — is he the kind of guy to just sit there blissed out on chillstabs, though?

    By the time you look up, there are two dead Rodians in the middle of the hold, and Pem rolling his shoulder like he got hit pretty hard. "You got anything smokeable for the pain in that kit of yours? Kriffer got me square in the shoulder." He points to some carbon scoring on his armor with a big grin.

    Jaina comes on the comm, "Solution's in! Brace for the jump!" The ship rumbles hard, and then the sweet hum of hyperspace fills the air. There's some worried whispers coming from the docking bay... It sounds like the fight's leaving those pirates...

    What do you do?
  • If Jazz were the kind of man who'd sit still for a week, we wouldn't be the kind of friends we are. I'll move his armor pieces aside, working fast but careful, close the wounds, slap some bacta gel on it, and that will have to do. "Don't be such a girl, Jazz. Let's take down these pirates."

    I grin over at Pem, impressed that he got the drop on those Rodians.

    "Alright, screwheads, I lied!" I yell at the pirates' confusion. "Drop your weapons NOW and we'll drop you off at the next stop, for a small fee." I'm clicking my blaster rifle to stun, since a killing shot will only escalate this.

    Four on seven, if my counts' right. I whisper in my helmet comm, "Squall, grab a pistol and come to us. We need back-up." I may end up regretting that one.
  • Jazz gives you a cross look — it's playful, but annoyed at the pain in his shoulder. "Yeah, thanks Kelb... Kriff..."

    Squall calls back over the comm, her voice a little nervous, "R-roger... Coming down."

    There's a long silence after you send out the order, and a total of 12 weapons come sliding out of the pod. "We give up, ok? Just don't kill us... We don't have any credits, but our guns have gotta be worth something!"
  • edited October 2014
    Wow. I really didn't think that would work!

    "Mr. Burr, keep an eye on them." I bark to him. Then to the pirates, I call out, "Alright, that's zeng with me. I'm going to step out now. I've got heavy armor, any of you screwheads wanna take a pot shot, I'll put you down." I'm stepping out, just like I said, rifle aimed at the ceiling, not them. I can bring it to bear in a wink, but I want to take this down a notch.

    Assuming they're genuine, my plan is to stun them, then frisk them. We should have enough binders for most of them, then we can figure out options for the rest.
  • edited December 2013
    The pirates do come out — all seven of them — the Rodian who comes out first, you recognize him. People back on Nar Shaddaa call him Bizzu the Blue. What do people say about him? You could easily stun each and every one of them with Burr, Pem and Jazz on hand — and Jaina even comes down to help out, however she can, with these new prisoners.

    Where did you end up keeping them? They didn't have anything of value on them, other than one of the Gamorreans with a thermal detonator. I presume you pocket that.
  • Bizzu the Blue? I thought he was spaced a cycle ago. He's a pirate now? I'd heard he was a real good singer. Alright, I have a holovid to prove it. Well, I did, lost it somewhere. Or Jazz pawned it, I don't know.

    The Hawk is fitted for more passengers than Jaina took on, so we tripled them up in a couple cabins and locked them, put a guard on the doors for good measure. As long as they play nice, we'll treat them well, feed them, everything.

    Oh yeah, that thermal detonator is mine. And just because they don't have much on them doesn't mean we can't sell off that pod once we dock. I mean, it's going to bring in a few cred, right? Pem can make that happen, and I'll split the profit with Jaina, minus whatever Pem skims off the top, and the cost of refilling my med kit. Bacta is PRICEY.

    How long is this trip anyways? If I could get away with putting Jazz out for a week to heal up, I would totally do it.
  • The trip shouldn't last longer than a few more days — three at the most. If Jazz spends it down, he'll be in much better shape than if he doesn't — not perfectly healed, but still pretty good. Pem can probably offload that pod of theirs, and Jaina would appreciate the extra cred.

    Speaking of which, once everyone's situated, Jaina comes up to you and says, "It looks like they didn't damage anything... Thanks for keeping everything in order down there."

    What do you do?
  • I'll make sure Jazz takes it easy, threaten to stun him. I wouldn't, he knows it.

    I take Jaina aside when she thanks me, talk to her in private. "Cap, call me overly cynical, but is there anything special in that cargo hold? This could have been bad luck, but these guys followed us through five jumps. That's not easy. They wouldn't have any reason for extra motivation to get this stuff, would they?" I'm not accusing her. I am asking if something odd is going on.
  • Jaina looks uncomfortable at the accusation, but she shakes her head. "Nothing special no... Just the standard fare. Why do you ask?"
  • I put a hand on her arm, gentle, reassuring. I mean, that's my intention. I'm not so great at this stuff usually. "Hey, it's okay if you've got some valuable cargo, that's fine. I signed a contract, I'll serve the contract. You could be hiding refugees from the Jedi Council in those crates, and I wouldn't care. It's just, when we were being hit, you were especially worried about the cargo." I let that lie for a moment. Then, "But if you say its standard fare, then it is standard fare."

    I'm going to read her now. And I just noticed, she has some nice muscle in that bicep. I wonder... no, moving on.
  • Reading Jaina
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 6, 3. Total: 10)

    (+1 XP)
  • Is she telling the truth?
  • Kriff no she's not telling the truth! You could see that dodge from space!

    ... Well, OK, let's be fair — she's not lying that this is the standard fare. She's not doing anything out of the ordinary, and there's nothing in here that would attract any more attention than usual. But is it important? Yes. Big time.

    She sighs, and brings you aside, "We don't do smuggling here, Kelborn. We're a legitimate boat — and we have legitimate cargo — we just rely on this cargo, you understand? Sometimes we've got the credits to fund a new ship in the fleet — sometimes a missing crate means we can't make a payment to our backers."

    She lets that sink in a minute. What do you do?
  • How can I get her to confide in me what's really going on?
  • Reach out to her as someone who's running a legitimate crew, trying to stay afloat. If she thinks you'd understand the complexities of running a business, she'll confide in you.

    I mean that's what you are, right? A legitimate business owner?
  • "Jaina," I say, not letting go of her arm, "I get it, okay? I run my crew the best I can. I know that sometimes you have to make a tough call. There are nights I lie awake just trying to figure out how to make ends meet. This is a tough racket."

    This is really exciting, talking to Jaina like this. Peers and stuff. Its a weird stray thought that flits through my head. "I want to protect you and yours. I mean, I will, of course. But if I knew what is really going on, it could help tip the scales. What's up with the cargo?"
  • edited October 2014
    Jaina bites her lip nervously, and taps her feet a few times. "That's... Very kind of you." She thinks on that a minute, trying to parse whether she can trust you before finally deciding she can. "Alright... Look... Times are tough. I've spent the past 5 years trying to make a name for myself, and my business has grown a lot — but I'm in over my head! I've got payments on ships two sizes too big, and I'm barely making ends meet with these shipments!"

    She lowers her voice, "If we lost a single crate to those pirates, we'd have been kriffed for cash. We're already running on fumes... I'd stand to lose my fleet — with no reimbursement for my investments — at the drop of a hat. These investors... They're cutthroat..." You get the impression she's not feeling particularly successful right now.
  • I chuckle for a moment, which probably seems pretty cruel, like I'm laughing at her stress. But I hold up a hand, and explain myself, "Jaina, I'm sorry. I just... well, I've always been so amazed at how well you're doing, from way back when you first trained me. I never realized you might be having trouble. You're just naturally good at this kind of thing."

    I put a hand on her shoulder now, sisterly-like. Well, for Mandalore, at least, "I got your back. And that pod should get a little extra, too. There might be some bounties on one or two of those pirates, who knows? This might be the little windfall that helps out. It's going to work out. We're going to finish the trip, and maybe sometime later, we can have a drink and laugh about this."

    There, Jaina. You just got a Kelb-flavored pep talk. They even work on sober Mr. Burr.
  • Jaina looks at you dubiously, like she might not believe you — but that sounded pretty genuine. A smile cracks her lips, and she huffs a silent laugh. "Thanks Kelborn... I really appreciate that. Are you staying at Kestic Station long?"
  • "Just overnight." I answer, matching her smile with my own. "We got an op further out, but I want Jazz to rest up a little. If it weren't time sensitive, I'd bliss him out." I pause for a second. I mean, that was a natural question, just conversation. But then, maybe she has an angle?

    Best way to find out, "Why do you ask, Jaina?"
  • She nods, and furrows her brow — like she's running numbers in her head. "Well, Pem mentioned you were looking for a ride back — but we weren't able to commit because we needed to get another job lined up... Given that we've recently made a little bit more money than expected, I may be able to free up my schedule for you — considering how we obviously need a little more security around here..."
  • Alright, that's kind of sweet. I kind of pause for a second, taken aback.

    (spending the third hold)
    What does she wish I'd do?
  • She wishes you'd take the offer. She also wishes you'd follow through on that drink — she's got ideas forming in her head about how to get out from under these investors who are keeping her down, and she wants you to be as capable in the future as you've been today.
  • "Thanks, Jaina." I answer with a smile. "Why don't you and I have a couple drinks at Kestic, just let our hair down and chat. I mean, I don't know how it works for you, but kicking back with my crew is tough, me being the boss and all. I'd love to just... chat with someone I know."

    I'll just avoid the whole bit about her sticking around. I mean, I'm tempted to tell her to pick up another job, worry about the wolf at the door instead of me. But I respect her, she's capable of making her own decision. And to be honest, I could use a ride home.
  • Jaina smiles, "I know a good place on deck 9. I'll take you when we get there..." She looks out over the cargo bay, and looks annoyed at the carbon scoring on the floor and walls. "I should start cleaning this up... I'll let you get back to your crew."
  • She's going to clean her own ship? This is the kind of captain I like! Getting her hands dirty. I pat her shoulder again, "Yeah, gotta check on my guys, especially Pem and Jazz. I'll catch up with you after we land, and we can head up to that place on deck 9." I look close at her, drawing her eyes, and say seriously, "Thanks, Jaina."

    I'll head on to check on my crew. I want to talk to Squall. If I can get her alone, I'll ask, "Squall, how are you doing?" I do want to check in with her, but I've got another question to ask.
  • Jaina leaves you to yoru business, and you head off to chat with Squall. You find her just outside the passenger quarters in a bit of a panic. She tries to calm herself down a bit when she spots you though... "One of the Gamorreans called me pretty, Kelb... A kriffing Gamorrean! EWW!"
  • I can't stop myself from rolling my eyes and chuckling. I like Squall. "Well, you are pretty. Maybe he's enlightened enough to see past interspecial differences. I hear Hutts have a thing for human women, you know. Take it as a little win and don't worry about it." Wish I could remember the last time someone called me pretty. At least the last time that the word pretty didn't come right before "bitch" or "bitchy".

    "Hey listen," my code phrase for shut up, I'm talking at you now, "I'm curious about how those pirates stuck to us through five jumps. I'm no astrogation expert, but that seems like some really tough calcs to make. Do you know how they were able to stay on top of us for so long, Squall?"
  • Thinking of the Gamorrean's words as a compliment doesn't seem to help, but she perks right up at "Hey listen." You've trained them well, haven't you? The specifics of how the pirates were able to follow the ship for so many jumps is obviously something she's been pondering... She squints a moment, like she's trying to remember something important, "Well, I did pick up some civilian communications between the jumps, but I figured it was someone trying to access the cortex."

    Her eyes widen, and she puts a hand on your chest, "Ooh! Do you think one of the passengers works for them?" She whispered that last part, like it was a big secret.
  • I nod a few times and exhale a bit, "Yeah, I do. Can you do any back-trace? And more importantly, are they broadcasting now?" Oh, that would be awful. How big was that pirate ship? They couldn't have a second pod... could they?

    How far away is Kestic Station?
  • Squall shakes her head, "There's no way they're broadcasting now. In Hyperspace? Nah... It'd never clear the bubble. But Could I trace them? Sure! I'll just pull up the logs. It wouldn't tell you who sent them, but if you could give me the device that sent it, I could totally tell you who it was."

    Kestic is 3 days away at most, and there's only one more jump before Kestic. Normally Pirates wouldn't chase down a ship that close to a station — but you do have some of their men... Who knows how big they were... They had torpedoes though.

    Squall looks you in the eye, "should I skim the logs?"
  • "Please do. And hurry. We come out of hyperspace again, soon. It will be their last chance to hit us." I pat her on the shoulder to encourage her, let her know this is important stuff.

    I'm going to go to see one of our prisoners. Who's watching over them right now?
  • Pem and Burr are both watching over them. Pem's smoking a death stick, and rubbing some sort of cream on his shoulder. Burr is completely absorbed in his work. Squall had to run off to her computer in order to do the checks, she'll join you in a moment.

    How are you going to go about this search?
  • Well, I'm giving Squall a chance to do her thing. I'm heading at this from another angle, too. I'll head over to the room where Bizzu the Blue is stowed, and pull him out, take him to a little lounge. He's not bound now, but I'm armed and he isn't.

    "Have a seat, I just wanted to chat." I motion for a seat, I'm not pointing and ordering, just offering. "I'm a fan of your music, Bizzu. Have to say, you're the last Rodian I expected to see in a pirate crew. I mean, you can really wail." I'll give him space to react. I'm curious if he's defiant or apologetic or what.
  • Bizzu follows you obediently into your interrogation. He sits plainly with his hands falling between his legs, and a blank expression on his face. "Always nice to meet a fan," he says, in what you can assume is a joking tone, "singing is a difficult life if you wish to make money. It is a lot of work for very little gain... I am surprised more singers do not turn to pirating."
  • Funny. I could say the same thing about running a merc team sometimes.

    "Bizzu, I'm not going to torture you or anything." I say it calmly, keeping eye contact. "I know there's some trick those pirates pulled to keep up with us through each jump. We only have one jump left before we hit Kestic Station. If you can finger who is broadcasting our location to your former friends, maybe we can work out some kind of deal."
  • Bizzu cocks his head, and maintains that blank stare. "What could you possibly offer me other than my life?"
  • Well heck, let's try a read a person here and find out!
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 3, 4. Total: 8)

    (+1 XP)
  • "Bizzu," I say calmly. "Given that I'm the leader of a small merc team, in a freighter owned by the operator who is trying to make ends meet, there isn't a lot of cred I have to offer. But tell me, how could I get you to help me out so we don't have another fight on our hands?"
  • edited December 2013
    Bizzu looks up as though he's considering something – clearly unprepared for your question. "I have the death penalty in five systems, miss... Whoever you are. I don't know how stellar your reputation is on Kestic, but I would rather not be handed over to the authorities. If my men could be guaranteed safe release, then I might be willing to work with you."
  • Whoah, five systems? Man, I thought he might be down on his luck, but he's in the life. I noticed he said his men. I can work with that. "My rep is decent enough on Kestic. How does this work for you? You help me stop the next communication before we pull out of hyperspace, we keep the pod to sell for scrap, but you guys walk, no Imperial entanglements. Last thing, you and yours don't attack this company's shipments anymore. Deal?"
  • He leans forward, shifting a bit in his chair, "We have no credits, no connections on Kestic, and unless we're lucky enough to meet up with one of our boys back on the Black Fang, we're not going to have any say in whether a ship we happen to be on will attack this little freighter of yours. I'll help you find your mole for safe passage, but playing nice with this feighter? I need to get back home."
  • "Yeah... that is a bum wrap." It is, but the guy was going to vent this ship to space, so I don't feel too bad for him. "Alright, that's a deal. I'm sure you'll understand that I'm keeping you and yours in the cabins until we land, then we'll let you go." I stand up, "Can we take care of this mole now?"

    I pull out my communicator and call for Jaina to come see us in this room. I don't want to surprise her. Oh, I'll let Squall come, too.
  • Bizzu gives you a dignified nod, and sits back in his chair. That's really the best he can do right now. Squall and Jaina join you just outside of the interrogation room, looking a little confused. Squall speaks up first — "I've got the logs. Do you have someone to search?"

    Bizzu steps out behind you, eyeing Squall and Jaina blankly.
  • "Cap," I address Jaina first. "There was a reason those pirates were on top of us. We have a mole on board. Bizzu has agreed to finger them for us in exchange for safe passage off the ship, no involvement with the authorities on Kestic. We keep the pod and sell it to recompense us for our trouble, and we all part ways. I recommend we take him up on this, so we can avoid another fight when we drop out of hyperspace. But you're the captain, so it's your call." I look to her for her decision.
  • Jaina looks over to Bizzu, and gives him a stern look — it's obvious she doesn't trust him, but she's looks to you and nods, "if you think this will protect the ship, then I'm willing to accept those terms." She clears her throat and straightens her posture, "should I assemble the guests? Or do you want to go room to room?"
  • I nod to the Captain's agreement. In answer to her question, I say, "Room to room. Squall can identify any communicator the mole has that they are using to transmit, we can destroy that, then take them into custody."

    I look to Bizzu, "Is the mole one of your men?"
  • Bizzu shakes his head, "Not one of my men — but he is of the Black Fang, yes."

    You go room to room, and the passengers are being (relatively) co-operative. The Nikto couple seem disturbed that you're searching through their stuff, but they don't have anything that could even connect to the cortex. Karsin has a communicator, but its ID doesn't match the ones in the logs Squall has. The human family is so poor they barely have the shirts on their backs... You find a few pictures of a mother, no longer with them, and a stash of credits. "Enough to make it to Tatooine," he assures you — or maybe his daughters.

    ... That leaves your Zeltronian friend ...

    What's bothering you as you go to knock on his door?
  • edited October 2014
    What's bothering me is that we're looking at passengers, but not crew. I don't suspect the Zeltronian, honestly.

    Of much less concern, Squall is quite taken with the guy, so she'd be heart-broken if he is the mole.

    And last, but not least, in the back of my mind is the possibility that Bizzu might finger the wrong guy on purpose and we think we're safe, when we're not at all.
  • Squall seems uncomfortable as you open the door, and reveal the Zeltronian lying on his bed, casually reading something on a datapad. He slowly looks up to you in the doorway, and in a warm, smooth voice calls, "Captain... Kelborn... Is there something I can help you with?"

    Jaina calmly answers, "we need to do a security sweep of the room. Can you please step out for a minute?"

    The Zeltronian looks confused, like this has never happened to him before, "Hmm... Well, I suppose I could." He turns off his datapad and rises from the bed to walk over to you, "Is there something wrong with the room?"
  • Wow, he has nice abs. His chest isn't half bad, either. Alright, score one for Squall's tastes. No! This is his stupid pheromones!

    "We're doing a sweep, that's all. Want to make sure you all arrive safely." When he comes out here, I'm anxiously to see how he reacts to Bizzu.
  • edited October 2014
    The Zeltron steps outside, and spots Bizzu — they share a gaze for a moment, the Zeltron looking confused — "Who's this?" he asks politely.

    Bizzu looks over to you Kelb, and nods once. What do you do?
  • What do I do? I'll lay him out, that's what. I'm going to punch him in his sexy abs and drop him to the ground, then put binders on him. I don't care how delicious he looks, I'm not a slave to his stupid Zeltronian powers.
  • What might come as a surprise to you — the Zeltron didn't see that coming. Neither did Squall, actually. She gasps, and steps back as you knock the pretty boy on his rear. He's in binders before he can even ask, "What in the galaxy is going on here? What are you doing?"
  • I've got a knee on his back, gently, when I say, "Sweep the room, Squall. Bizzu, are you sure this is the guy?" There, Rodian, say it out loud.
  • The Rodian nods, "I've seen him before, with some of our sources. He is not Black Fang crew, but he has worked with us in the past."

    Squall gets to work sweeping the room. You notice his datapad fell to the ground out here when you struck him. After a short time, Squall answers, "he doesn't have anything in here... Maybe the Rodian is wrong?"

    Jaina picks up the data-pad and asks, "what about this?"

    Squall takes it reluctantly, and does some tests on it... You can see the disappointment on her face when she spins it around and shows you a match against the logs.
  • edited December 2013
    I'm stunning the guy. No need to have him cause trouble with his super sexy-times powers. Wow, he has really cute ears. No! I'm stunning him!

    I look up to Squall, "Squall, can you shut down his communicator?" Then I stand up, looking at Bizzu, "Thanks, Bizzu. I'll escort you back to your men. You need me to rough you up or anything?" I glance over at Captain Jaina and give her a wink.
  • Squall gets to work disabling his communicator, and Bizzu shrugs indifferently, "Not unless I can punch you back." It's tough to tell if that was a joke... In any case, he's happy to co-operate.

    Jaina looks down at the stunned Zeltron on the floor, and then back to you, "What should we do with him? Lock him up until we arrive?"
  • edited October 2014
    "Let me get Bizzu back in his cabin, then we can discuss Mr. Handsome. Squall, not that I expect you'd do otherwise, but keep an eye on him, please." I walk Bizzu back to his cabin, check him in through Mr. Burr and return to Jaina and Squall.

    I tell Jaina, "We could keep him in his cabin until the trip is over, then dump him on the authorities." Since he's not part of Bizzu's crew, he's not part of the deal, and I really don't like this guy.
  • Squall looks nervous, like she doesn't really want to be with him anymore; but she's got a blaster, and she's tough — she'll survive. When you come back to the cabin where Jaina and Squall are keeping pretty-boy, he's been moved against the far wall, and is propped up against the bunk.

    Jaina agrees with your plan, "hey, if he's got a bounty, then we're better off for it."

    Squall seems worried, but nods obediently.
  • "Tell you what, Squall," I say with a smirk, "Why don't you stay in the cabin with him, let him think he can talk you into letting him go. Whatever he does to convince you is up to you." I let her think I'm serious for a minute, then laugh it off.

    "Squall, we'll turn him in, and if he has no priors, he'll be out by the time we get back from our op." I get a bit more serious and add, "Don't forget, he was working with a band of pirates who wanted to rip a hole in our hull and let us vent to space. He's really, really attractive, but he's not your buddy."
  • I'm going to Read her, this feels a little bit odd to me. Has she already done something with him?

    Reading Squall:
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 6, 1. Total: 8)

    (+1 X)
  • What does Squall wish I'd do?
  • Squall wishes you'd interrogate the Zeltron. She can't believe that he'd work with pirates, and she was so sure he seemed like a good man! Maybe he's been set up! He didn't recognize Bizzu after all... That thing that happened with the Niktos was probably just a fluke... Right?

    She just wants you to be sure is all...
  • I relax and look at Squall for a minute. "Cap, we've got this. I think I'll chat with Mr. Handsome here, no reason to just take a pirate's word for it. Squall, you wanna help me get him back to the conference room?"

    Once we have him settled, I'll look over his datapad with Squall, have her show me how the communications works. Also, I want her to validate this is his, see how easy it would be to fake the comms coming from his datapad.

    While she's doing that, I'm heading to the small autochef and getting out some peppers. I'm going to mess up my sinuses a bit in hopes I can mess with his pheromones. Can't be too careful.

    Once he wakes up, in binders, we'll chat. But really, this is for Squall's benefit, I'm telling myself.
  • Squall nods in compliance, and grabs an arm. The datapad is largely filled with books, and ledgers. It seems he does a lot of consulting work for various shipping companies. There is no "communications" program on his datapad — and that's got Squall stumped. As best as she can tell, there must be a hidden subroutine on the pad doing all the work for him.

    You manage to mess up your sinuses really good — not enough to affect your work, but enough that you may not sleep too well tonight. Do you make Squall do the same thing?

    The Zeltron jolts back into consciousness, bound to his chair with his hands behind his back. He narrows his eyes at you, "you had better not have bruised my face, Kelborn. People do not trust a man with a black eye." He spots Squall out of the corner of his eye, and you spot his posture change... He's trying to get her onto his side.
  • No, I don't make Squall do it. She's my test subject, to be honest. "Mr. Adill, I need you to explain why you were transmitting our location to those pirates." I'm being terse, telling him this won't be pleasant if he's cagey. And yes, I'm ignoring his question about the black eye. I hit him in the gut, the idiot. I know he's making fun of my eye, and I won't stoop to that.
  • Adill laughs a derisively — as if you're plainly insane. "Certainly Kelborn, clearly I like the prospect of being awoken every 2 hours because the ship is being shot at, and I do not value my life at all!"
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