Excitement! Adventure! Not being on Nar Shadda!
All this and more was promised to the rag-tag group brought together by the Orphan incident in Zapfino Ward’s Hangar D. With Don’t-Call-Me-Captain-Khell giving everyone roughly 24 hours to set their affairs in order, the soon-to-be crew did just that.
Krayt pretty much sat around, contemplating the mess he’d gotten himself into, and reevaluating some of the elements of his code of honor. Specifically, the ones that got him into said mess.
Catri Sage had a plan, you see. After trying (and failing) to get her brother Jacob to realize that with her gone, no one would be around to fix him up/bail him out, etc; she intended to talk to her father, and let him validate her second thoughts regarding this hair-brained scheme. His response was to wax nostalgic about being a spacer, tell her how proud he was of her, and dispense some salt-of-the-earth wisdom. Some tidbits include:
- Always keep a vibrodagger in your bosom – it’ll be uncomfortable, but you’ll be happy it’s there when you wind up needing it
- Condoms don’t protect you from a lot of alien venereal disease – make sure you do your research, and determine if it’s worth it.
- It’s usually worth it.
- No means no, and if she’s receiving unwanted flirtation, applying a fusion torch to somebody’s genitals will get the message across right quick – and you should always have one on you anyway.
- He’s serious, it works like a charm. He’d show you the scars, but we don’t need to make this any weirder than it already is.
- Don’t look so shocked: how do you think he and your mother met, anyway?
… and so on. Having been scarred for life by this forthcoming discussion with her usually aggressively conservative father did little for Catri’s rapidly eroding sanity. So, she hurriedly made her way to The Sexy Rancor to see if she could offer any assistance, and just not think about the conversation any more.
Dange, having little in the way of worldly possessions to round up, more or less spent the day meditating, and trying to no real avail, to get Morsie and Tyrie to do the same. But trying to get a pair of girls ages 8 and 11 to sit still for that long? Well, the holy man’s patience was tested.
Zax Rondo was also not much for worldly possessions – in fact, he’d been pretty much packed, and ready to leave the planet at the drop of a hat for a few weeks at this point. So, he decided to swing by the Rancor, and make himself useful; anything to expedite the process of getting off-world.
He arrived at the Rancor and was promptly greeted by Cu-K1, who presented him with a dilemma. The RoBartender, you see, was trying to determine who should join the crew from his ranks. He confided in Zax that he was, perhaps, too close to the situation to think logically, and asked Zax’s help in determining which of his three “sons” should accompany them.
He presented the trio: one model who seemed to think and communicate primarily in terms of breakfast foods, of otherwise moderate dependability; one model who was helpful, cheerful, adept, and constantly leaked a highly flammable napalm-like substance – he referred to this as a “feature,” not a bug. The third droid was by far and away the most independent and sentient of the trio – displaying a great willingness to be of use, and no small amount of personal initiative.
While his eagerness troubled Zax to some small degree, the spacer figured that a droid with hidden agendas would probably blend right in, and he’d rather have the most capable help that didn’t leak napalm-like fluids. After much assurance from Prime and Droid#3 that he would be very loyal, Zax consented, and Prime dubbed the droid “CuK1 Alpha,” and expressed pride in his “son.”
Alpha assured Zax that he would never, in fact, harm him or the crew in any way, and was actually quite prepared to go to extensive lengths to ensure their safety. He then spent the next ten minutes or so, detailing the many ways in which he might dismember, maim, slaughter, and otherwise violently interact with anyone who threatened the crew.
Zax was not as reassured by this as Alpha perhaps intended.
Aida decided that she would try and find some work to scrounge up a few extra creds before heading off-world, and looked for any last-minute jobs that she could do in an afternoon.
She found a listing for a quick spice grab – apparently there was a ship about to go off-world, and a cargo of spice was to be transferred from one ship to another. She signed up, met with the individuals for the job, and listened as they described the events she’d been tied up with yesterday.
It dawned on Aida that she was about to steal from her soon-to-be crew. She shrugged, and continued with the plan anyway.
This took a turn for the interesting, when Winter and a few of CuK1 Prime’s
assault droids helpful staff noticed her approaching, and asked for her help in moving the crates. No small amount of frustration, and several abandoned plans to abscond with some spice later, she finally relented, got some empty boxes from Winter, grabbed some large quantities of salt from a market, and gruffly dropped them off on her co-conspirators – who, having seen her be friendly with the giant killer mauling helpful moving droids, were happy to let the matter slide.
Dante, in classic Dante style, unceremoniously dragged off their two not-quite-Mandalorian captives from the prior evening’s skirmish, and attempted to sell them to an underground medical research firm. 400 credits later, new lab rats were acquired, and Dante was never there. Dante who?
Grenn Idore had decided that she’d run into entirely too much trouble as it was, and stayed out of sight for the afternoon.
Finally, the hour arrived, and the proto-crew gathered in the lounge of the Sexy Rancor. Winter walked in accompanied by a Bothan, whom she introduced as “Theresa or something like that.” He then introduced himself as Tereez Eshka’Jeg, which Winter was pretty sure she’d just said. Regardless, he was to fill the position of Navigational Officer, and perhaps Intelligence Officer as well, depending on how intelligent he was. The rest of the officer assignments were doled out, and the group proceeded to the Sage Clan “Secret Hanger” to finally see their ship unveiled.
Isiah Sage was there waiting, as was Uriel Sage. Without much ado, Isiah described his construction process, and his vision for the ship. Droids unveiled the ship, which looked for all the world like someone had slapped a YT-series freighter on the front of a Corellian Corvette. Admitting that this is more or less what happened, Isiah asked the crew to give a proper name to his baby, the first in the line of Sage Engineering Yvette Cruisers.
The crew eventually decided on the Khelljammer SR-1, a combination of Winter’s name, the Sexy Rancor designation of warship, invented to placate Winter, and a suggestion from the Breakfast Droid’s “Son,” T07-ST or “Toast” as he preferred.
The name being decided, the crew got started on installing transponder codes to correspond to their name and designation, a small group left to gather up the kids.
En route, CuK1 Prime informed Dange that some gentlemen wished to speak with him at the bar, and had been waiting for some time. He further inferred from their attire and poor tipping habits that the two men were, most likely, Jedi. Dange told everyone to hurriedly get the kids on board, and he’d deal with this.
The two men, a human and a Twi’lek, introduced themselves as Masters Hondo and Sunrider, and wanted to both warn the local Ashwalker, and see if he knew anything that could help them. Dange gruffly informed them that he wasn’t an Ashwalker. They proceeded anyway.
You see, they’d been hunting a Sith Lord by the name of Darth Ploro – an inquisitor who had been presumed dead for years, but the pair remained unconvinced. They’d been scouring Nar Shaddaa for any trace of him, assuming that this was one of the best places in the galaxy to attempt to throw people off of one’s trail – when they felt a massive disturbance in the force, just last evening. Such a surge of Dark Side energy could have few other explanations, and as such, they wanted to know if he could help in their investigation.
Dange told them he had heard of some old, potentially Sith artifacts being moved through the black market, and furthermore, essentially told them to sit on something sharp. The Jedi-Sith conflict was not his concern, and he was getting off-planet anyway. The rebuffed Jedi accepted this, and warned him to be careful – if it was the Sith Lord resurfacing, he knew no concept of mercy, or empathy.
Dange, having had his fill of Jedi bedtime stories, hastily made his way back to the ship, and suggested they make a swift departure.
As it turned out, getting 31 little girls all loaded onto a ship was proving difficult: this problem was eventually solved by Winter declaring that it was time to play “tackle the puppy” – at which point, Tereez ran onboard for dear life, the Orphan Squad in hot pursuit.
The “huge mess of engines” as Isaiah called them, kicked to life, and the Khelljammer shot up through the atmosphere, and into orbit – where an impromptu blockade had been erected.
Imperials. The Galactic Alliance. The Sith, Jedi, and who knows how many others were gridlocked around the moon. The Sith were claiming interference in matters of great religious significance, the Empire and Alliance were both disputing something, and the Padawans of the Jedi Dange had just spoken with decided that this was a fantastic time to open fire on the Sith.
In the ensuing chaos, the Khelljammer attempted to breach the blockade and escape this mess into Hyperspace. The Imperial Star Destroyers took their sudden motion as a threat, and possible indication of being the Sith who started this mess, and opened fire.
In the midst of all this, Dante managed to ignite the fuel deposits of a Freighter with an impossibly well-placed barrage of fire, CuK1 overloaded the frontal turbolaser, which promptly fried itself into a heavy pile of slag – but not before punching a hole in one of the Imperial flagships’ hull! Tereez suggested that since they needed a fighter anyway, maybe they should try to heist one of the incoming TIE fighters in all the confusion.
This was widely denounced as a horrible idea – but after some skillful barraging from Aida, and another impossibly well-placed single shot from Dante, they had a TIE-and-a-half floating in tractor beam range. Catri reluctantly pulled them in.
Grenn opened a direct hail from the Imperial vessel, where the Captain demanded that the Sith explain themselves. Winter laughed, and identified the ship – right about the time that Denton had loaded the TIE pilot into an empty torpedo bay, and fired him/it at the capitol ship.
The Imperial nodded, gravely, said that he didn’t mean to get the Mandalorian Clans mixed up in this, and attended to his business. The Khelljammer punched through the blockade, Krayt deftly outmaneuvering the Alliance blaster fire – which, in fairness, seemed aimed pretty squarely at the Imperials. Tereez had punched in a course for Duro, and Catri avoided a heart attack in keeping the bloody hyperspace drive together as they made the jump to lightspeed. They were free of the chaos, and given this respite, Catri voiced the question on everybody’s minds:
“Winter, how come you never fracking told us you were Mandalorian?”
Winter thought this was doubly hillarious, coming from a member of the Sage Clan, and asked if old Uriel ever told her anything.
The answer seemed to be no.
TO BE CONTINUED…