Having arrived on Corsucant, the party set about locating Var Aruru, but first they took some precautions. Ommar Zionz was stripped naked, given a body cavity search by the resident doctor/mechanic droid M4-RK. Ommar did not have anything hidden in his person.
They rented an airspeeder from the spaceport. M4-RK scanned it for tracking devices and found two. These were placed on another speeder that was being rented. At Andra‘s direction, Vaesha Tarn piloted the rented speeder carrying the PC’s to the place of business of an Ishi Tib blackmarketeer named Suriban Hai. The PC’s went in, ostensibly to make a purchase.
Inside, they found themselves face to face with duplicates of themselves (except for J-8, who encountered a similar looking droid also wearing a trench coat, since J-8 was millennia old technology that was rebuilt with some modern parts, it was impossible to get an exact match). M4-RK scanned his duplicate, another droid of the same make and model, and discovered that it had been rigged with a bomb and fitted with a restraining bolt, he raised this as a concern and Andra offered the following explanation.
The reason that Lo Sei’Ov was so helpful back on Taris was that he wanted us to get Var Aruru‘s location from Ommar. He has undoubtedly notified his contacts on Corsucant and told them to watch for the Red Talon and once it lands, to follow it’s crew. I suspect that Lo Sei’Ov used the gambler-gunslinger that Thad shot as a test to establish that he really was Thad Bane. He also probably had another reason for wanting to get rid of him. Because of Thad’s reputation, Lo Sei’Ov knew we would travel to Corsucant aboard the Red Talon. Being an associate of Jan Pardok, Lo Sei’Ov would have known that Karsten and J-8 flew a jumpmaster, so that even if we had wanted to, taking their ship wasn’t an option because it wasn’t large enough to transport all of us; he was probably even expected that I would hire Karsten and J-8 to make the introduction to Pardok.
Our body doubles here will serve as a decoy, to throw those who are following us off our trail. They will go out into our speeder with enough extra gear to make its purchase a plausible explanation for our stopping here. They will make a for show effort to shake tails that is convincing enough not to arouse suspicion, but not good enough to shake the true professionals tailing us. They will then proceed to a pre-arranged abandoned building, fire off some blaster’s to fake a take down of Var Aruru, then depart via a secret exit, leaving M4-RK‘s double behind. When our tails move into take Var off our hands, Karsten’s double will remotely activate the bomb eliminating those tailing them. A telemetry feed from the droid’s photo receptors will let him know when to detonate the bomb for maximal effect. Now please hand the encrypted comlinks I gave you on Nar Shaddaa to your doubles. It would be difficult for anyone to break the encryption but they could still use their signals to track our location.
Being a firm believer in droid rights, M4-RK wasn’t happy about his double being forced to be a suicide bomber but didn’t see an alternative that wouldn’t end in a greater loss of life among those working for Andra. He took his double off to the side, and said essentially “I’m sorry about this, but tough luck” and downloaded a copy of his double’s AI into himself so that it could be restored to a new droid body later.
The doubles went out the front door leading the tails away. Andra got new encrypted comlinks from Suriban Hai for every member of the party. Karsten bought a vibro-katana with a mono-molecular edge. And then the party went into a backroom and entered a secret turbolift and went, down, down, down, down, to a very low level of Corsucant. Outside was a waiting air speeder. M4-RK scanned it for tracking devices/bugs; their were none, and Vaesha did some fancy high speed piloting through cramped quarters to loose any potential tails.
Then Andra directed Vaesha to another location where they sold their airspeeder to a shady “used speeder salesman,” ditched their encrypted comlinks, and got a new airspeeder and new set of encrypted comlinks. M4-RK scanned the new speeder for tracking devices/bugs, found none, and Vaesha did some more fancy flying to loose any potential tails that had made it this far.
Then Andra directed Vaesha to a second location where they sold their second airspeeder to a second shady “used speeder salesman,” ditched their encrypted comlinks, and got a new airspeeder and new set of encrypted comlinks. M4-RK scanned the new speeder for tracking devices/bugs, found none, and Vaesha did some more fancy flying to loose any potential tails that had made it this far. Her player rolled a triumph, so Vaesha vividly remembered in detail the “street” layout of this quarter or so of Corsucant, and decided to show off by doing some fancy flying through a “star-credits” drive in where they swiped some other patrons’ caf order as they wizzed by.
Then Andra directed Vaesha to a third location where they sold their third airspeeder to a third shady “used speeder salesman,” ditched their encrypted comlinks, and got a new airspeeder and new set of encrypted comlinks. M4-RK scanned the new speeder for tracking devices/bugs, found none, and Vaesha did some more fancy flying to loose any potential tails that had made it this far. Vaesha’s player rolled a net zero (zero net successes/failure, zero net advantage/threat) so I ruled that she scraped the paint a little but they were otherwise ok since this time they were more concerned about not attracting attention and were trying to blend into the “air traffic.”
Then the PCs proceeded to the abandoned factory in the slagworks were Var Aruru was holed up. The PCs turned off their airspeeder, waited for nightfall and planned their assault based on the schematics of the factory. A news broadcast over the space-radio announced that there had been an explosion in an abandoned building about 100 klicks away from their current location. Andra confirmed that this was the work of their body doubles. M4-RK sliced into the surveillance cameras of the abandoned factory to identify where in the factory Var and his team were located. They had set up a fortified position in the factory’s control center on the cat-walk, it was Var, a marksman with a rifle, and a heavy weapons expert with a heavy repeating blaster (the “regular” kind not an E-web) on a tripod. They were supported by 8 super battle droids.
That’s when they noticed that two other armed teams were advancing on the factory. The all rodian team had landed on the roof of a nearby building in the slagworks and zip lined in through windows. The second team was lead by Rina Ka and landed their two speeders at the loading dock. The party decided that the best approach was to let those three sides thin the herd a bit and eliminate their exit strategies. So the PCs flew by the rodian speeders gangster style and mowed down the two rodians that they had left to guard their speeder, Thad missed but J-8 lined up and took out two with a single shot. J-8 moved their speeder, and Karsten used his vibro katana to cut their zip lines for good measure. To mess with the rodian team’s heads and give them a reason to fight harder against Rina Ka‘s team, Vaesha used one of the rodian guard’s comlink to say, “we’ve taken out the guards watching their speeder…. oh $h!t this is the wrong comlink.”
J-8 jet packed to the back exit with mini landing pad, and the rest of the team did a gangsta fly by on the guards watch Rina Ka‘s team’s speeders. Thad took down one of them, Tal Lee did a head shot on the other and his blaster bolt also took out the controls of the speeder he was standing next to.
They landed, and searched the bodies of the two guards, taking their comlinks. On of the guards had a set of speeder keys, and the remote unlock chirper didn’t make any noise because it was the keys to the speeder whose controls got shot up. M4-RK and Vaesha attempted to break into the other speeder but failed (zero successes, including the triumph) but had a triumph leftover so used it to sabotage the speeder’s engine nacelle. Then M4-RK checked in on the combat inside the factory via the security camera’s; several members of each team were down (including Var’s heavy weapons expert).
The PCs were about to enter and eliminate Rina Ka‘s team from behind when Rina came out running at the party full tilt. That’s when I the GM switched the background music to “Duel of the Fates” and Karsten’s player said in reply “awesome.” Two PC’s got to go first Thad and Tal got to go first, one hit, one missed but between the adversary 3 talent, 1 point of ranged defense, and a soak of 7, it did very little damage but it critted and had the lowest possible category on the percentile dice so Rina took 1 point of strain damage. The Rina came in add made a dual wielding attack against M4-RK and Karsten, Karsten had one rank of the fearsome talent but Rina easily passed her fear check. The portion of the attack against M4-RK critted and she knocked him upside the head (increasing the difficulty of a cunning and intellect checks for the rest of the encounter) and the other was a normal attack against Karsten, both took several points of damage after soak was applied.
The Karsten attacked with his katana and (I think) critted, the percentile roll was pretty good so I spent a destiny token to activate Rina‘s Heroic Fortitude talent to ignore its effect. Then M4-RK “vulcan neck pinched” (pressure point talent) Rina for 8 points of strain damage and used his triumph to knock Rina out of “engaged” range and into short range with everyone but him, I kept the despair for later use. Andra and Vaesha took pot shots at Rina, one hit one missed and one rolled a despair that I saved for later use. Vaesha ran and hid in the party’s air speeder. Then Karsten hit Rina with is katana, and M4-RK missed (good thing for Rina because another successful Vulcan neck pinch would have rendered her unconscious, note to self: the next time the party faces Rina in combat she will have more talents to deal with strain).
Then Rina went and attacked Karsten, which missed with exactly no successes/failures advantages/threats left over, but I used the 2 despair that I had saved from earlier PCs’ rolls to disarm Karsten (no she didn’t take his arm off, she just sent his katana flying over a ledge, a short drop because I didn’t want to take his schtick weapon away from him permanently, but another good hit from him might have dropped her) and Rina used her maneuver to inject herself with a stimpack healing five wounds taking her out of immediate danger of losing the fight (except possibly from a vulcan neck pinch by M4-RK), and I hinted to the party that maybe just maybe Rina was really just trying to delay the party and the rest of them might want to go inside.
Andra, Thad, and Tal went inside, shouted “we’re here to help” and shot at some Rodians. Blaster shots came out of nowhere (through the windows) and killed several rodians, and Var‘s marksman. The three surviving rodians decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and fled. Rina’s Team capped some super battle droids. J-8 came in through the back door to kill the last super battle droid. The PCs inside killed a few of Rina‘s team. And some long range blaster fire through a window killed the last of Rina’s team.
Outside Rina ran off on her turn. Karsten jumped over the edge to retrieve his katana because it “looked cool” and wasn’t so far down as to risk serious injury. M4-RK applied an emergency repair kit and used his built in mountaineer’s armor to lower a line to help Karsten back up. And the two of them went inside.
The PCs inside started interrogating Var Aruru, they retrieved the original data chip, and asked him if any copies had been made. Var answered 3 and a blaster bolt came in through the window and blew Var‘s head off. Then the comlink in Var’s pocket rang, Thad answered it and heard a familiar voice, that of his infamous uncle, Cad Bane.
“Hello Thad, I hear you’ve done well as a bounty hunter. I’m quite proud of you. Of course I suspect your motivation is to take me down. Please don’t attempt it. I don’t want to have to kill you. I didn’t want to kill your father either but the self righteous fool didn’t give me another choice. I wasn’t about to go quietly. You know I stayed away from your grandmother’s funeral because I was afraid that you’d try to take me down and force me to kill you. So that I don’t have to kill you, I’m going to stop taking bounties that are posted by Grondo the Hutt, even when they are also posted by other parties. That starts now.
I waited to shoot Var Aruru until he confirmed that he only made 3 copies of the data chip. Two of them are in the glove compartment of your speeder. Don’t worry, your lovely Twi’lek pilot is unharmed I just stunned her unconscious. The third copy of the data chip is enroute to Kessel; they’re going to have hyperdrive and life support malfunctions in about oh 14 minutes now. Stay well Thad, I hope I never see you again. Also, Andra I must congratulate you on a game well played, for taking me out of the game by putting my nephew on the board. Well done."
Then the call went dead. The PC’s took the original data chip, Var‘s data pad, Var’s body (it was worth 5,000 credits apiece to them), and the heavy repeating blaster and made a hasty exit before anyone else showed up looking for the chips. Vaesha was stunned unconscious but otherwise unharmed as told to them by Cad Bane, and in binders. Their glove compartment was open and there were 2 data chips in it. J-8 piloted the speeder away as M4-RK revived Vaesha with a stimpack.
One of the data chips had a small amount of pitch black fuzz on it. Where pitch black means absorbing ALL light that falls on it, almost like a hole in the universe. M4-RK was getting worried about the strange black mold and made a knowledge xenology check to identify it but failed with an advantage, which told him that it wasn’t mold but some kind of fur. Andra made a knowledge underworld check with a boost die and successfully identified it as defel fur. The PCs guessed that a defel placed the data chips in the speeder but Andra was being cautious. She used the original data chip to verify that in fact only three copies of it had been made. Then she checked one of the copies and it was indeed a copy of the original data chip (as opposed to a copy of a copy) and that no copies of it had been made, and then destroyed it. Then she checked the second data chip, the one that had with the defel fur on it, it was a dummy chip, not a copy of the original. So (with a hint from the GM) the PCs correctly concluded that after Cad Bane had placed the two real chips in the glove compartment a defel had come by and swapped a dummy chip for one of them. Andra decided to keep the dummy chip so that if necessary she could surrender the dummy chip in place of the real one.
M4-RK did some hacking on Var’s data pad and determined that he used it to send the holonet mail to Ommar to contact Lo Sei’Ov to arrange for Jan Pardok to advertise for the auction. He also found a message from Var to the owner of the auction house saying that Var would provide the high level password after the auction.
The PCs flew their air speeder back to the Red Talon, to regroup and plan. When they got back to their ship, the PCs found that it had been broken into (damaging the airlock) and that Ommar was still naked but now also dead after having evidently being tortured. A holo-projector activated and an image of Rina Ka appeared.
Hello Karsten, it was nice to see you again. You seem to have gotten a bit more careful, maybe it has to do with the crowd you’re running with these days. My team and I tailed you to Suriban Hai‘s shop, we weren’t the only ones following you. Your decoys were pretty convincing and the other teams took the bait, but I knew your body double wasn’t you because he didn’t move like you do. So went down and waited for you at the bottom of the turbolift, I knew about it because I’ve used it in the past. Your blue Twi’lek friend is quite the pilot and quickly lost us, so I decided to go to your ship and see what I could find. And that’s when I met Ommar, he didn’t want to talk but I managed to convince him. He said that he didn’t know where Var Aruru was staying at least not until M4-RK traced the <space> in front of him. I silenced him so no one else could join our party. You’re welcome. Oh and sorry about your ship’s airlock, but I didn’t have a key. You understand, don’t you.
And then the holo-projector self destructed. Karsten‘s player said if it hadn’t, he would have shot it.
The PCs put Var Aruru‘s body on ice, disposed of Ommar’s. M4-RK repaired the airlock’s hatch with parts that the party had taken from Ommar’s salvage yard on Taris during Session 1. Andra received a black market communication from the auction house saying that Var Aruru was dead so they would be able to provide the high level password so whoever won the chip would need an expert slicer to access the most sensitive data but they did obtain a copy of the data chip so the auction would proceed as scheduled.
The PCs moved the Red Talon to a space port that was closer to the auction house. And began to plan how to steal the chip. The decided that it would be best to get the chip while it was enroute to the auction house, and switch it with the dummy chip. Andra copied the low level data (that a lot of people had the password for) to the dummy chip, and put bogus high level data (including a nasty surprise: a computer virus involving Hutt porn with a Gamorean opera sound track).
They decided that Thad, Andra, and M4-RK would attend the auction officially, while the rest of the party would go to the casino and see what they could learn surreptitiously. When Karsten got there Rina Ka was walking out fiddling with a credit stick, she gave Karsten a big friendly smile and walked up to him. “I’m glad that I didn’t have to hurt you too badly yesterday, but a job is a job. And now that I’ve been paid for delivering the datachip my job is done, so I can tell you where they’re keeping it.” The she sketched the layout of the auction house/casino on a sheet of flimsiplast (space paper).
" They’re keeping it upstairs, here (out of character: here is where the yellow proficiency die is in the previous photo), in the staff only area. No hard feelings, ok.. Best of luck to you and your team, Karsten. It was fun seeing you again. I’d stay for the auction but Jan Pardok is inside and that would be awkward. Look me up if you have some free time after you’re done with the job. I’m sure we can find something fun to do." she said with a sly smile and then kissed Karsten on the cheek. “Bye, bye.” and walked off with a little extra swing in her hips, leaving little to the imagination about the type of fun she’d like to have with Karsten.
Since the chip was already on site, the PCs couldn’t intercept it en route. Andra wanted to verify that the chip was located where Rina said it was. So she tried to bluff security guard into letting her up, saying she had scheduled an appointment to inspect the vault’s security for items at a future auction. He had received specific instructions to the contrary but she made a convincing argument so he called it in, and the owner of the auction house came down. Andra repeated that she had been given approval to see the vault, but the auction house owner and said “No I most certainly did not approve for you to inspect the vault.” Andra started to make a scene as a distraction, the auction house owner told the guard to stun her, he did and J-8 snuck past the guards into a private room during the confusion. Additional droids were called down to guard the door.