1.06: Shintel Downtime – Project Deathhunter

1.06: Shintel Downtime – Project Deathhunter

DS Day 38-42

Where: Shintel

The Farstar embarked to Shintel to determine what Sarne wanted at a remote swamp world with no strategic importance. Many intelligence reports were coming in about the areas the Farstar had already visited, including scientific data about more hyperspace storms around gas giants throughout the sector, similar to the ones the Farstar found in Aaris. Also, the New Republic was building a battle fleet at Gandle Ott for an attack on a newly-found Imperial stronghold on Oon Tien. The Captain also received notice that Shintel was of some interest to the New Republic – apparently it was the last known location of a very important NR deep cover agent, known as Rojer 621, code-name “Tigress”. New Republic command suspected she has been turned by Sarne into a double agent, but are not sure. Regardless, the Captain was to follow up on anything she had left behind.

The message the Captain received went as follows:

To: Captain Adrimetrum
From: Kal’Shebbol New Republic Provisional Government – Intel Division – General Crix Madine
Subject: Deep Operative Rojer 621 “Tigress”

Captain, this information to follow is of the utmost secrecy, and should not be revealed to anyone on board the Farstar.

In your last report, it indicated you were heading to a world called Shintel. This is a world of particular interest to the New Republic. It was the last known location of an NR Intel agent known as Rojer 621, The Tigress. This agent infiltrated Sarne’s organization years ago. The Rebel Alliance at the time received much information on Sarne and his activities through this sector and neighboring sectors. Up until a point, her information was about 80% reliable. A little over 2 years ago, we lost contact with her. She simply disappeared. Then recently, we have been receiving more reports from her. These reports have proven to be about 60% accurate. Finally, she has disappeared once again.

Upon reaching Shintel, among other things, try to find out what happened to her. We are unaware of anything of importance on Shintel. It’s a barren swamp world from all records we have. You should be able to detect a ship somewhere the surface if she crashed. She might have left a clue too her whereabouts.

Follow up on anything she might have left behind, if it seems mission critical. Any data she might have left behind about Sarne’s operations might be important, even if she has been turned into a double agent.

Again, I can not stress to you enough the importance of secrecy about this matter. Communicate to me any questions you might have on standard encrypted channel.

The Farstar dropped out of hyperspace a half a light-hour away from the system, and launched scout; two X-wings and a Defender, piloted by Samarion, Dervious, and another pilot. They dropped out of hyperspace within the system only to discover the swamp world blockaded by Ion Mines. Taking one fighter out almost immediately, the Mines proved to be a formidable obstacle. The surviving fighters were signaled from Shintel.

Attention, unidentified vessel. This is Imperial Depot 4290-1. This planet is being blockaded by Ion Mines. Do not approach. Repeat, this planet is being blockaded by Ion Mines. Hold your position and identify.

The sender of the message was an Imperial identifying himself as Colonel Heget, and he was requesting to talk with any New Republic representative. Reluctant to out-right identify them as New Republic, Samarion returned a message “We’ll tell ’em if we see ’em”. The Imperials claimed to have information that he felt the New Republic would be most interested in, and wanted to negotiate for passage off world. He also claimed to have data that could get any ship through the mine field with minimal risk. Scanners did pick up an Imperial structure on the surface, but nothing else.

After escaping a probe droid attack at the downed-fighter’s crash site and rescuing the downed pilot from the deteriorating ship, the scout group returned to the Farstar with their grim report. Gorjaye was not pleased with the loss of yet another X-Wing.

Captain Adrimetrum ordered all fighters launched, despite the protests from Gorjaye, and the Farstar moved into the system. Not completely trusting the Imperial quite yet, the Farstar with fighter escort blazed a trail through the mine field, and established orbit.

Adrimetrum ordered Gorak to form an away team of significant force but with some diplomatic clout. It was still unclear if this was a trap. The Imperials claimed to have been abandoned by Sarne, and have no way off. They may be willing to do anything to take whatever ship they could get. Gorak ordered the Muvon fueled and prepped, as he grabbed Dervious, and Samarion along with a few others to land on Shintel.

The reception was in a torrential down-pour, but was very formal just the same. Few arms were present and everything looked legitimate. They accompanied the Imperials out of the rain to the officers meeting room.

Heget seemed like a no-nonsense kind of person. His men looked out of place, too well trained for there surroundings. The Depot itself looked quite over-staffed. They had a few hulks that were ships at one time, including some Tie fighters. None of these were flight-capable. Heget’s story seemed credible. Sarne abandoned Heget and his men here on Shintel because of actions Heget took against Sarne. Heget didn’t seem to support Sarne, although he did seem to support the Empire. However, he was willing to cut a deal with the New Republic. He had some salvaged data from Sarne’s system back-up. He was willing to give that, plus information about Sarne’s next destination, and advise on anything that would help bring down Sarne, as long as he didn’t have to jeopardize Imperial interests, and he and a few of his men were given passage to a place of his choosing. He also requested audience with the Captain.

Despite Gorak’s protests, Kaiya agreed to meeting Heget. She and a few others took the Muvon down to the surface. Another reception was presented for the Farstar officer, not unlike the first. Colonel Heget greeted the captain with honor and grace deserving of any fellow officer.

The captain gave her word that she would give the Imperials passage and ordered Bifzik to extract what he could from the back-up system. Meanwhile, the colonel offered to re-supply the Farstar with anything she needed. This gave Loffryyn an opportunity to replace the jury-rigs he put in place on Gandle Ott. The captain graciously accepted the offer, and continued to talk with the colonel at length about anything he knew about Sarne that could help.

Jessa Dajus was not feeling conformable in these surroundings. Not only was the constant rain making things uncomfortable, but she knew a few of the Imperial here knew her and of her past with Sarne, including Heget. She felt the nervousness of the situation constrict around her neck like a noose. She couldn’t wait to get off planet.

While walking to her assigned quarters, she was approached by a person she recognized as Lt. Palme, a soldier known to be supportive of Sarne at times. Maybe he had a falling out with Sarne as well. Palme claimed he knew what Heget was after, and that he was lying to the captain. He gave Dajus a data pad with a complete map of the Kathol Core Region, and said “This is a sign of faith. Heget plans to take the Farstar the first chance he gets. With his training, all he’ll need is the 4 men he is taking with him. You know this. Don’t let him on board….” She relayed this and the data to the captain. The captain loaded the map through a isolated R2 unit, then to the nav-comps. The captain initiated a plan to make sure if the colonel planned on taking the Farstar, he would fail. The first part of her plan was to assign a “body guard/escort” to the Imperials when they came on board. She hand picked that guard – Unda Lagor the Aqualish.

While the re-supply activities were getting underway, Gorak was suddenly pestered by a rogue R2 unit. He grabbed Slave to help in translating the droids babblings. Apparently, the droid claim to have a message for the captain of the New Republic ship. Gorak demanded to see the message first. They went to the Muvon to view the holo-message. It was a shadowy figure of a female human, saying…

” I assume you are with the New Republic, because I programmed this droid to play this to the first New Republic representative it found. I am New Republic agent Rojer 621, code-name the Tigress. I have been on a mission to discover the nature of Sarne’s project code-named Death-Hunter. I have stored all that I know about it so far in this droid, because I feel that Sarne or Lord Comark is onto me. The following data bursts contains a manifest for a supply of Plexus courier droid vessels which were delivered to the House Karadol military shipyards in the Jaemus system, in the Northern Rim Sector. It is my belief that these droid vessels are important to the Death-Hunter project. My efforts to learn more have so far proven unsuccessful, but the project continues to receive inordinate amount of attention from House Karadol and House Kathor. If you could, arrange to send a team to Jaemus to uncover the connection to Death-Hunter, and Sarne might have in store for the New Republic. Tigress out.”

The hologram then winked out. The hologram was dated 2 months old. Gorak immediately began a search for the captain.

Meanwhile, in the bowels of the computer-back-up system underneath the Imperial Depot, Bifzik was busy restoring and recovering what data he could from the ravaged data core. He found more information about Project StormGiant, as well as the other un-named project; Project Death-Hunter. He found mention that the completion of both projects seemed to be timed around a day labeled the “Coming of the Prophet”. He also found data about a NR Agent named Tigress… she was executed 2 years ago.

The rain didn’t stop, but seemed to get worse. A quick scan from the Farstar showed Thyte that there was a sever hurricane rolling in from the east. Any transport off planet will have to wait a couple of days. The Captain received word from Thyte that they had to hold up for a few days while they waited for the storm to blow over. Despite the miserable conditions, some chose to make the best of it. Samarion, Kl’aal and Gorak went out with a few brave and friendly Imperials on a sturdy sail barge “Swamp-worm-whaling” in the hurricane. They never pass up a chance to hunt. The returned the next morning with a few kills.

The Captain gave Gorak orders to form a team for the Death-Hunter mission. Before leaving Gorak asked the captain, “Do you care how many eggs are broken to make this omelet?”

The captain looked at the Rodian with a foreboding aura…“I don’t want to know..”

When the eye of the hurricane passed over the depot, the Muvon picked up Gorak’s mission team and set coarse for Jaemus, using a guess-jump calculated by Thyte. Up-loading the coordinates to the Muvon, he made note of a phenomenon the locals called “the Northern Winds” which seemed to make jumps in this area a little faster. The team included Jessa Dajus, Dervious the Mandalorian, Samarion the Kelvassan Starwolf, Genna Seedar the field medic, Dann Drugah the droid specialist, Kl’aal, Slave, and the R2 unit.

Jaemus was a world of shipyards. They had forged dock-worker papers that would allow them some access into the docks where the vessels were delivered, but getting into the restricted area where they are stored was another story. Assigned to cleaning of the bilges of Lord Comark’s prize yacht by the Karadol clerk at the docking bay, the group shuffled off towards the assigned area. Part of the way there, R2-B4 began to beep as if it recognized something. It scooted off to a storage room down a side hallway. The group followed. Inside, the R2 unit displayed yet another holo, obvious timed to go off when they were near the courier vessels. The holo of Tigress flashed on…

“Salutations, travelers. If you have made it this far, you are near the courier drones. If you insert your worker permits into the R2 unit’s access slot, they will be changed to give you clearances for the level 2 facilities further down. you are posing as a scanning crew. Take the hand-scanners I have stored in this droid. This enclosed dock is slated for use by a company called RenikCo. This is a front for Sarne’s operations. I shouldn’t have to remind you the significance of the name. Please, find out what you can and the R2 unit should be able to guide you to the next step.”

They found their way to the area, were cleared to go in and “…scan till your hearts content.” The group scattered to gather as much information as they could. The R2 unit rolled off into a office in the rear of the hangar. Inside, they found a staging and production area for modifying Plexus droid courier vessels. Hundreds of modified vessels filled the hangar, on assembly lines that were installing special heat shielding, small scale life-support systems, and nav-comps. The interior of all of the vessels were gutted and nav-comps, an acceleration chair, and several other hi-tech devices were being installed. They were also being armed with fighter-scale blaster cannons. It was apparent these were some kind of drop ship. At that moment, several engineers and technicians walked into the hangar area. They were not pleased with the visitors.

“Get security down here. No one is allowed in here without a complete identity check, and an escort. Moff Comark’s personal orders.”

Moff Comark? They knew that a Lord Comark of the House Karadol was in charge of the Death-Hunter project, but they knew nothing about him being a Moff. They unwillingly lined up against the wall when security arrived, being somewhat out-gunned. Gorak whispered to the shadows…“Kl’aal, get out if you can…” Then looked at Slave and said “Create a distraction…” in Rodian. The ex-enforcement droid patched in remotely through his comlink to a nearby droid, and ordered it to set one of the blaster cannons on the other end of the hangar on overload. The droid complied. Two minutes later, it reported back…“Detonation in one minute…”

The explosion started from the farthest point in the room from the group, but it grew rapidly. A chain reaction of explosion brought the security team and the techs to the floor, as the infiltration team scrambled to beat the fireball engulfing the hangar bay. They were met outside by a security team, but they kept on running away from the fireball. Before the security team could fire on the intruders, a cargo hauler came down the opposite hallway and ran them down. A shadowy figure was at the controls. Kl’aal waved them to climb on board the hauler, and gunned the engines, heading towards the Muvon’s landing pad. With the docks exploding around him, Brophar was busy running pre-flight on his ship. When he saw the cargo-hauler pulling out on the pad, he was relieved he didn’t have to leave them behind. That would have been difficult to explain to the captain.

The Muvon blasted off with the docks disintegrating behind it, and the crew settled down wondering what to do next. They turned to the droid. The droid played a new message it found in the docks systems. It was the Tigress again.

“If you made it safely from the Jaemus shipyards, I programmed this Artoo unit to find my next message in a designated place in the Jaemus docks-comp-system. Hopefully, whatever you learned at Jaemus might provide some answers to this next mystery. I have obtained reports about a series of kidnappings and disappearances on planet Bescane. Details about the kidnappings are available for you review through files that this Artoo unit has downloaded along with this message. I was alerted to these crimes through one of my close informants inside Sarne’s own Renik Intelligence division. He gave me this information at great cost – his life.

To help you on Bescane, I maintained a contact agent there. His name is Dray Cooper. He leads a swoop gang in one of the housing complexes, a place the locals call the Lumchugger’s Hub. Time is of the essence. Death-Hunter is real. If you are part of the New Republic liberation force I keep hearing about, Death-Hunter might be a key part of Sarne’s plan to take back the Sector. May the Force be with us all…”

The kidnapping data indicated that there seemed to be a profile for the victims: human, ages 15 to 25 standard, in good health. And there were a lot of them… at least 200.

Landing on Bescane was easier than landing on Jaemus. House Kathor was the main house on this world, and their presence was quite apparent. It was a exploited and polluted world, over-populated with surf-worker types, and all serving the great company, KathorCo. This world was a corrupt slum, with little order then a few hundred House Kathor hired-thug-organizations to keep the surfs in line. Gorak seemed oddly too familiar with these surrounding, and showed a level of blood thirstiness when dealing with the thugs that bothered the group. After dealing with a few of these thugs, and interfering with Bescane’s version of justice, they obtained information about Cooper and his gang. They would be most likely found at a place called the Arcade Omicron. There, they found a spectacle of lights and sound, of holograms and live bands. A band called the Screaming Jawas was playing on stage, while a myriad of lights and holographic scenery flashed around them. It was almost mesmerizing.

They spotted Cooper speaking to a woman in a holo-suite. She dashed off before anyone could approach. When Slave and Dann did, he was calm and oblivious to any New Republic involvement. He did say he had heard about the kidnappings and was active in trying to stop them. The next one was supposed to happen here, from his sources.

Meanwhile, Gorak had disappeared. Last anyone could remember, they saw him approaching another Rodian he seemed to recognize.

Before the conversation with Cooper could get anywhere, the doors to the Arcade exploded open, and well-dressed House security burst in. These were not the hired-thugs. It was some kind of raid. Cooper turned to his new-found friends, and said…”I don’t like the odds. Follow me.. “. The dashed out the rear of the club, and climbed on Cooper’s and his gangs Swoops waiting outside. Kathor security speeder-bikes were not far behind.

The chase to follow gave each of the Farstar crew-members riding along a new respect for Swoop drivers like these. The group split up and each performed whatever necessary stunt to loose the security bikes. Dray, who had Dann Drugah with him, seemed to have more than his share to handle, and just as he thought he had lost them, a blast from an air-speeder cannon took out his maneuverability, and they both went crashing into a market square. Dann Drugah woke up with his crewmates around him, but Cooper was no-where to be found. Witnesses said the Security took him. A familiar woman’s voice came from dark alley way.

“If Kathor has Cooper, they are going to send him to Death-Hunter. He fits the profile. We have to move…”

It was Tigress… or was it? She claimed to be her. She explained herself as they ran down the sewers to a safe place to hide. She was apparently a new incarnation of Tigress, the first being executed by Sarne two years ago. She knew the first Tigress and picked up where she left off. Now, she is working to stop the work of her father… Lord “Moff” Comark. She was Lady Amber Comark. Her father has proclaimed himself Moff of the sector since he got word that Sarne was leaving the sector. He is head of the Death-Hunter Project, and she knows that her fathers ships head into the area known as the Wastes after every night of kidnappings. She proposed following the next shipment.

In order to do that, they need to get salvage permits to go into the Wastes. The Wastes is an area of space on the outreaches of the Northern Rim Region that House Kathor, House Karadol and Sarne used for testing of new planetary siege weapons, radiation warfare testing, bio-warfare and chem-weapons testing. Many systems in this regions are inhospitable or have been deliberately poisoned. They needed forged salvagers permits. Amber “The Tigress” knew just the person to do it. The problem was finding him. Lucky Ordomire was a reclusive man.

They hatched a plan to find him, and when they did, things seemed to get worse. They were met by his Rodian bodyguard that looked all too familiar to the group, but particularly for Gorak. They were brought before Ordomire, who gladly forged the necessary permits for a price. Gorak disappeared around back with the bodyguard, apparently to talk some business. Just when the permits were finished and hidden within the R2 unit, the doors burst open, and Kathor security burst in, followed by an immense bipedal-thing with weapons poking out every limb. This must have been what Death-hunter was all about. It looked remotely human, but merged with something that looked quite familiar to some… Darkstryder technology. The partial human face had a look of pure insanity on it. It’s weapons were devastating, leveling the repulsor-chop-shop they were in with only a few shots. The House security troopers scrambled and laid suppression fire while the Death-Hunter wounded Amber and scooped her up like she was a rag-doll. The Darkstryder-cyborg trod off with a few security troopers in escort to a shuttle, while the remaining troopers stayed back to finish the job. The calvary arrived not a moment too soon. Cooper’s swoop gang flew in from the south, behind the trooper, and strafed the group with laser and blaster fire. There wasn’t even a need for a second pass.

Now, the group was on there own. They had to get to their ship, and follow the next freighter out. It will more-than-likely carry Cooper and Amber. They reached the launch pad and set coarse for the Wastes.

They followed the ship to a remote world designated Zeta-09, a desolate frozen-oceanic world with extreme electromagnetic disturbances in the atmosphere. It was these disturbances that brought the Muvon down hard. Without Brophar’s skilled piloting, and familiarity with his own ship, they would have been nothing more than charred remains on the iceworld’s surface. Before they could completely recover, a House Karadol security patrol (dressed in Imperial armor with the house crest on the armor), arrived in large AT-AT swimmers, bursting through the ice. Despite the permits, the group was arrested and put in a holding cell on board the AT-AT swimmer. They were transported deep in the depths of the icy seas to an undersea facility. They were brought before “Moff” Comark. He gave Jessa Dajus an odd look of recognition. He accused them of being insurgence, and politely told them “I’m sure you will feel honored to serve as part of the Death-Hunter project…” With those word, another Death-Hunter drone lumbered into the room.

Before anyone could react, a body fell out of one of the ceiling panels, and a female voice screamed…“GET DOWN!!!!” The belt of thermal detonators on the House stormtrooper was lit up and flashing like a carnival attraction. The explosion destroyed the Death-Hunter drone, and the fine decor of the room. When the smoke cleared, Tigress was holding a blaster on her father and arguing with him. Jessa stunned the self-proclaimed Moff (before he told the group who Jessa Dajus really was), and Samarion hoisted him over his shoulders. More people were filtering down out of the ceiling… prisoners from the Death-Hunter project, including Dray Cooper.

With the moderate force they had accumulated and the fact they had their precious “Moff” as prisoner, escape looked actually possible. However, the Death-Hunter project had to be stopped. Dray and a few others volunteered to take care of that, while the others got Comark out. His knowledge of Darkstryder and Sarne was indispensable. The group split up, after Cooper promised he would see them again. The New Republic team, the remainder of the prisoners, and the Tigress all searched for a way out. They grabbed a free sub-transport and launched with AT-AT swimmer on their tail. Despite the differences, Samarion and Dervious were able to master the controls like they would a starship, and proved to the AT-AT swimmer pilots to be a formidable foe. A few proton torpedoes later, the pursuit was lost. They found their way back to the Muvon, installed the necessary equipment to get through the EM fields (which they took from the undersea base), and got the Muvon flight-worthy enough to get them off-planet and en-route to Shintel. The bright flash from the surface, and the streak of a shuttle leaving the planet proved to them that Death-Hunter was dead, and that they would see Cooper again.

****

Back on Shintel, while the Death-Hunter mission was away, the Farstar crew there were having their own troubles. The hurricane was an eerie backdrop to a game of cat-and-mouse. It started with systems on the Farstar acting up. Thyte ordered a complete systems diagnostic. The techs did as thorough job as they could, but told Thyte that they could do a more complete job with the Farstar on planet-side. Nothing was found, and landing was out of the question.

Bifzik was extracting the last bits of information he could from the back-up system, when he noticed another system terminal coming on-line. This terminal patched into a previously-unknown signal emanating from the Farstar and got into the ship’s system. Bifzik quickly acted to counter their actions, but still make them think they were in the system. Meanwhile, the Captain and a few others moved onto the location of that terminal. Inside were three Imperials, working hard to sabotage the Farstar system. They were quickly stunned, and the captain demanded from Colonel Heget an explanation. The Colonel did not recognize the men, and called for a medical scanner. He scanned the stunned bodies, then grabbed a vibroknife from someone nearby. With a quick swipe, he cut the throat of one of the stunned individuals. “They were as good as dead anyway…” he said to the shocked faces and blaster muzzles pointed at him. He shoved the knife deep into the neck of the one he had just killed, and pulled out a long spike-like object, that appeared to be made of some kind of stone. “Darkstyder Mind-Implants… courtesy of Sarne.” They watched as the device turned a darker color, as if reacting to being removed from its host. He moved to cut the other two, when the Captain stopped him. “These are ours. Imperial protocol or not, these are our prisoners… Damn to your classified information.” Adrimetrum then ordered a medical check of all base personnel. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw an Imperial dash down the hallway… “Catch that man!!!!”. It was Lt. Palme.

The chase spanned the entire base, like hunting a sly fox. Bifzik didn’t even see him coming – too busy with the fascinating data. Palme’s vibroknife seemed oddly alien to him after dealing with so much in the virtual world. Palme called for the Captain on his Comlink…“I want an X-wing down here now, fully fueled, or the bug dies!!!!” One thing Palme should have known was to always unplug a computer-tech before taking him hostage. Bifzik leaped back into virtual while the negotiations went on, and called up a few hover-drone security droids. Palme was too busy screaming his demands to see them coming. He went over the edge of the terminal dais, and fell a 50 meter drop into the computer core. “Never mess with a Caster!!!” Bifzik said as Palme fell.

****

The Muvon limped back a few hours later than planned, but it returned with full compliment intact, if not a little bruised. The Captain could only say “I look forward to your report.” Gorak escorted the prisoner to his cell, with Loh’khar, and Unda not far behind. Comark seemed to have a lot to say, especially to Gorak, while they walked, but it was unclear to the others what it was about. They figured they would hear about it eventually. They were able to over here a name “…Dajus…”. They took him to a holding cell and started interrogating him, first about Dajus. He was not forthcoming too willingly. When they pressed, suddenly he produced a blaster, and a pill behind his teeth… a poison pill. He inched towards the door, holding the three off. Just as he was about to leave, he pointed the weapon at Gorak, and pulled the trigger… nothing. Unda leaped as the Moff ran out the door. Grabbing his feet, Unda forced the prisoner to the ground. Comark swallowed. They rolled him over to find him foaming at the mouth and his eyes rolled back into his head. How could have he had gotten a blaster and the pill? He was never alone. The only person that spent any extended period of time with him alone was Gorak, and Dajus at two separate occasions. This did not please the Captain.

The Farstar prepped to leave the system. The hurricane was over, and the Imperial were aboard in a very specially prepared room. The hyperspace engines hummed with what sounded like a new found virility. They jumped back into hyperspace, with coarse set to Tanquilla Beach, a asteroid-space station o the edge of the Wastes, in the middle of a nebula. However, something or someone had other plans for the Farstar. The corvette was wrenched out of hyperspace suddenly, as the engine room burst into a blazing fireball. Casualties and injuries were being reported in from all areas of engineering. At least a dozen were hurt, others were dead. Systems were failing all over the ship. Even the back-up hyperdrive, obtained from the supplies on Aaris and installed on Gandle Ott, was off-line and damaged. The Captain immediately ordered a red alert, and wanted to know right away what caused this. The surviving technicians worked frantically to assess the damage, and determine the cause. “I thought Loffryyn fixed most of our problems while she was dry-docked at Gandle Ott….” She thought.

The reports were sketchy, but apparently, some very well-camouflaged trap-door programs were set up in the system prior to the New Republic commissioning her. These trap-doors were waiting for special codes, which were hidden in the astrogation data the Captain uploaded from Lt. Palme’s data-pad. The programs would then cause a severe over-load of the hyperdrive coils, and the results didn’t need to be explained. They weren’t sure, but the on-board slicers suspected more trap-door programs were in the system, probably waiting for specific system to go on-line before activating. The Captain felt the grim shadow of Sarne mocking her. This was his work.

The sensor tech on the bridge suddenly turned ghost-white. “C-C-Captain…. something dropping out of hyperspace…”

“BATTLE STATIONS!!!!”

The modified YT-1300 banked over the bow of the Farstar’s with it’s Quad-lasers blazing. The shields held, but soon went down as another trap door activated. The TurboLasers were only acting at half power, and targeting systems were down. “Going to have to do it the old fashioned way…” Krudar was heard saying. Loh’Khar recognized the ship as the Steel Fist, the freighter owned by the three-man bounty hunter team of Qulok’s Fist.

The battle lasted several volleys before the Steel Fist was taken out, and it crashed into the surface of the outer world in the Shintel system. The Farstar retrieved the escape pods, and brought the survivors on-board.

Further assessment counted the hyperdrive as a total loss, and the existence of other trap-door as a valid suspicion. The only place nearby was Tanquilla Beach, largest shadowport in the sector. Maybe there they could find a new hyperdrive, however Brophar had to bing the back-up online, before they could set coarse for the edge of the Wastes.

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