Artefacts of Old

Episode 26: Tempest Feud

Afternoon Special

Missing Hutt! In a bid to end Black Sun’s involvement with the scourge, and secure Rak’s safety from the criminal organisation, Rebeka, Lanyef and Jace, agree to find Popara the Hutts Son, Mika, on the plague ridden planet of Endregaad. While enroute to the system, the crew of the Dawnstar located tracking droids aboard the ship given to them by the Hutt Family. Now our heroes find themselves in the midst of a trap, but was it planned for them, or someone else…

What power the Ship had told them there opponent was an XS light freighter, the style of ship the Dawnstar was.
“Does anyone think it suspicious they knew exactly where to hit us?” said Rak.
They all agreed, their collective knowledge told them for them to know they’d arrive here was one hell of a coincidence, and with the crab tracers even more so. The crew mobilised to get the ship up and running. Rak and Rebeka fixed the ionisation damage while Jace prepared on one of the guns for the power to return. The pirate ship fired again, Ion blasts keeping the ship disabled as they approached, Jace clicking desperately at the guns in an attempt to fire, but it was no good, they weren’t responding. Rebeka restored power in time for Jace to loose off one shot, but the pirate ship was too fast for them. Another blast disabled there ship, and they were sitting ducks. The pirates docked with their ship and they heard the sound of the other ship connecting with there’s.
“Get to the Airlock, make sure they don’t get the spice.” Said Rebeka, activating the power once more. Jace, Rak and Lanyef hurried down the corridor to the upper airlock, preparing in the bunk room corridor for the pirates, the airlock bulkhead being unlocked as Rebeka joined them. The airlock opened and several humans and rodians climbed and hopped down into the ship. But they were unprepared for the party, who were ready in the various bunkrooms and caught them while they were in the open. Rebeka hopped out and stunned an important looking rodian at the boarding parties head. The others fired there blasters on the remaining pirates, dropping six of their number before the pirates realised they were no match for them. The remaining two pirates scrabbled up the airlock ladder and out. The sounds of the pirate ship breaking dock could be heard as Rebeka wrested the Stunned Rodians weapons from him. When he woke a minute later, he found himself bound before the very people he’d planned to rob.
“You’ll regret this!” he growled in his thick basic accent. The Bomu Clan will hunt you down forever!”
“Who are you working for? Who is it!” growled Jace. “Tell me or you can follow your friends out the Airlock.”
The Rodian wasn’t stupid, when faced with a mandalorian; most people would do as he says. “We were hired by Zonnos to steal the spice. He didn’t say not to kill you though.”
The information didn’t surprise the heroes. Zonnos had been disproving of them since he’d met them. Now it was pretty clear he was against them.
“I don’t trust him, Black Sun must have a hand in this somewhere.” Said Rak.
“What do we do with him now?” asked Lanyef.
“I say space him.” Said Jace.
“I agree.” Said Rak.
“What? You can’t!? The Bomu clan-“
“If you can’t keep your mouth shut it’s going to happen.” Growled Jace. The Rodian went quiet.
“We’ll turn him in to the Authorities on Endregaad.” Said Rebeka.
“We’re still going to do this?”
“As far as I can tell Popara has been straight with us, and maybe the Confederation will give us a reward for him.”
“I like the sound of that.” Said Lanyef.
Jace picked the pirate up by the binders and tossed him into the nearby bunk room, locking it down. The Bomu pirate yelled in anger and hammered on the door his defiance.
“Keep it up and I will space you regardless.” Jace warned. The prisoner seemed to get the message.

The Pirates didn’t return for another attempt, and the crew arrived at Endregaad safely. The planet was like a mottled orange orb held at arm’s length, and as they approached it they received a message over there comlink.
“Attention incoming freighter. This is Lieutenant Commander Angela Krin of the Indrexu Confederation Dreadnaught Resolute. The Planet Endregaad is under quarantine. No landings are permitted. You may change your heading, or else escort fighters will arrive to guide you to Resolute. Please respond.”
“Hi, we have come to deliver medicinal spice at the request of Popara the Hutt, we also have a pirate prisoner we wish to be rid of.” Said Lanyef in response. They noticed to pale blobs heading towards them from a larger blob they guessed was the Resolute as they moved closer.
“Very well, follow your fighter escort and head for the Resolute. I reiterate, do not land on the planet. I will meet with you once you dock.” The two blobs did indeed appear to be Indrexu Authority IRD’s which flew an escort pattern upon their arrival at their ship. Everyone felt tense about doing so, but docking seemed the only course open to them.
The planet ahead of them swelled in the viewport, broad bands of white clouds and rusty mountains were visible across its surface as they were led up to the larger blob, which at first looked like a space station, but turned out to be the monstrous battleship Resolute, parked in orbit over the planet. It was clear that there ships size and arms would have little effect on the monolith bristling gun turrets, missile tubes and tractor beams. Their attempt to simply land the ship was ignored as one of its tractor beams locked on their ship and guided them in. After they landed they stepped out of the ship to meet with the Lieutenant Commander, but were instead met by a man in the confederation uniform flanked by two confederation troopers.
“Lieutenant Orrell Lockerbee.” He said, nodding to them, “I have been asked to escort you to a briefing with the Lieutenant Commander.”
Jace re-joined the others, half pushing, half dragging there prisoner out of the ship.
“We have a prisoner we’d like you to take, one of the pirates who attacked us on the way here.” Said Rebeka politely.
“Of course,” he nodded to the two guards either side of him who took custody of the Rodian.
“I understand you carry a cargo of medicinal spice, may we be permitted to unload it and test its purity?”
“Of course.” Said Rebeka, gesturing inside. “Jurl, let these men take the spice, but stay on the ship.”
The droid beeped acknowledgement as the docking crew went aboard, the rodian continued his rant now he was firmly out of the Mandalorians hands, and once another two troopers arrived, Lockerbee escorted them to the briefing.
They went down a few passages, up a lift and into a conference room overlooking the landing bay. They could see the crews working on the ships below and there ship’s cargo being unloaded. The only real sound was that of the loading droids going about their routine.
“Lieutenant Commander Krin will be with you momentarily.” The liaison said, leaving the room, his two guards staying outside the door. As well as the room’s dull features, a display overlaid the main window, showing the make-up of the Endregaad blockade. Rebeka examined it then surreptitiously copied the data to Lanyef’s datapad, but it was fairly clear the Resolute was the only major power in the blockade, as much of the net was made up of fighter wings. A few minutes passed, and the door slid open, a red haired human woman in a confederation military uniform entered.
“I am Lieutenant Commander Angela Krin.” She said officiously. “Thank you for putting up with the inconvenience, but the planet Endregaad is infected with a virulent plague. No one is allowed on or off. The Indrexu Confederation must facilitate any business you have with this world. However, I should warn you, in the wake of the plague much of the normal authority of the planet has been undermined, and, of course, nothing can be exported until the plague is dealt with.”
“We came to deliver the spice to help your effort.” Said Rak.
“Courtesy of Popara the Hutt, of course.” Added Rebeka.
“I see, well, you can thank your employer for his generosity, it will most certainly help.”
“We wondered if you’d also heard anything about a Hutt on the planet.” Asked Rebeka tactfully.
The pleasant politeness of Angela Krin seemed to waver, and her barely perceptible smile lowered, she picked a datapad off of the table.
“We received such a request from your employer, demanding we turn over this Hutt -Mika is it? – Immediately. We checked with the authorities in Tel Bollin, but there has been no contact with Mika since the plague broke out. We have posted a request with the planetary government, but they have other things to do than worry about a Hutt merchant. Most likely he’s found someplace to lie low until this blows over.” She said, then lowered the pad and added more quietly. “The other possibility is that Mika has fallen victim to the plague and is beyond even the help of his family. The population of Endregaad is decimated; one in ten people are dead from the disease.”
“Have you any idea what caused this?” asked Rak solemnly.
“We don’t know, the inhabitants are blaming off-worlders, might explain why he would lie low.”
The group considered there options, but it didn’t look as though Krin was going to give them a pass to the planet.
“If you wish to speak with your employer or with anyone on the planet, you can use the communication Hub in this room. The local government has collapsed, so all communications are channelled through this ship. If you wish to remain here for a few days I will prepare quarters, but in the meantime, if you need me I’ll be on the comm.”
“Thank you.” Said Rebeka.
When she left, Rebeka tried calling several numbers planet side, none of which responded, and then she got through to the Law enforcement offices. A very tired officer accepted the call, white crust visible about her eyes and mouth.
“Hello, uh… we were wondering if you knew anything about Mika, he’s a Hutt that was in Tel Bollin when the plague hit.” Said Rebeka.
The woman seemed to be despondent. “There are no Hutts in Tel Bollin, I don’t know where any huts would be, and I have enough problems with riots in the streets and dead in the streets, than to worry about the location of a blasted Hutt!” and before Rebeka could reply the call terminated.
“…Sorry.” She added even though the call had ended. Talking with anyone helpful planet side seemed fruitless.
“We should go; we delivered the spice as Popara asked, and know they’ve done what they could to find him.” Said Jace.
“I agree,” said Rak.
“Me too.” Said Lanyef.
“Well I don’t, his son is on the planet still and we haven’t found him, and I don’t want to tell him that we turned around once things got hard.”
They debated there options and finally decided that what they should do was contact Popara in the hopes of some insight. They did so, and Vago answered the call, the words translating to basic as he spoke. The general feeling they received was that Popara would be pleased to hand over the spice, but they were to do whatever it took to land planet side and find Mika. They got the feeling that Vago was certain that confederate law shouldn’t apply to them.
Eventually Rebeka persuaded her companions that she could handle the blockade, and given the thought of Popara being disappointed in them and black sun still on their tail, the others decided Mika was worth the attempt.
They informed Krin of their wish to leave, and she allowed them to do so, thanking them again for the spice and the incarceration of the Bomu pirate, who had been operating in the area. But instead of leaving the resolute and heading for hyperspace, Rebeka followed the blockade data and found the ideal place to slip through the blockade. They managed it without detection, the ship passing across the landscape back in the direction of Tel Bollin. Their luck seemed to end there, or so they thought, as a single fighter flew after them, fired a warning shot across there bow, and escaped in the opposite direction.
“What was all that about?” said Rebeka, voicing the confusion the others felt.
“Appearances.” Said Jace. The others still looked confused. “We broke the blockade, but the general purpose of this blockade is to keep people from getting out. The Lieutenant Commander couldn’t officially give us passage, so she didn’t. I guess she was grateful after all. ”
They flew the ship to an outlying outpost that looked to be deserted on the outskirts of Tel Bollin and landed. They prepared for the journey and went outside to investigate their surroundings. They could see Tel Bollin in the distance, which seemed to appeal as this outpost was abandoned, save for the corpses of the stubborn. Rebeka found a damaged run down Cargo Hauler that after a few hours of simple bypasses and repairs, Rebeka got working again.
They got aboard and headed for the city proper, trying to find somewhere to hide the hauler in case those that had ransacked the outposts happened upon there transport. Lanyef’s keen eyes spotted an outcrop close to the city that they could conceal it in, and then made for the city walls. Even from outside, up-close Tel Bollin had seen better days. A dark haze hung in the air, a consistent reminder of burned buildings and corpses. They’d seen several burned out homesteads on the way there.
The air smelled like ash and rising smoke stung their eyes. The streets were deserted more or less, beings clad in heavy robes wandered them, there species hidden from all eyes, moving about furtively as though there passing would disturb the dead. A landspeeder whizzed by, the metal grey chassis emblazoned with the Indrexu Confederation emblem, But paid them no mind as it passed, speakers on its hull declaring that red tagged individuals of series 800 to 1500 were to head to quarantine areas to get there shots. The final part of this order was unintelligible the first time, as above them flew a wing of IRD’s that drowned out all other sounds as they passed by.
“I’m not even sure why we’re here.” Said Rebeka, disliking the macabre atmosphere.
“To find Mika wasn’t it?” said Rak.
“I mean the city, we know he’s not here, nobody has seen him.”
“Either way this was the last place he was seen, someone will know where he went.” Said Jace.
“We should be able to pick up the trail.” Agreed Rak.
They knew Mika was working in Skydove Freight prior to the outbreak, thanks to the information they’d received on the data discs. They scoured the town for clues, Rak coming across an Old Chevin waddling through the streets, pulling a repulsor sled laden with bodies that he seemed to be pulling to a nearby pyre. He himself was suffering from the plague. The Chevin mentioned he’d passed by the Offices recently, mentioning they weren’t all that interesting.
“They don’t have to be interesting so long as we get to them.” Said Rebeka.
“Down that street, can’t miss ‘em, big logo on the building.” Said the Chevin between coughs. “On the north side of town.”
They followed his instructions, coming across a beggar who asked them desperately for credits. Even though his initial begging seemed to bear fruit with Rebeka, he still continued to insist he need the money for the cure, given that he lost his tag and his family could die if he couldn’t get the cure.
He blessed Rebeka for her generosity and rushed off into the streets. They carried on, reaching the Skydove Freight offices a few minutes later. They were indeed nondescript buildings, but the doors and windows had been forced and broken, much like the other stores they had seen. They picked their way inside, carefully making their way through the remains of the offices furniture, a few broken computers here and there. They made their way to a rather obvious Dias, with some old sheets and rags that were strewn about it, as though they had been slept in. painted on the wall in paint was ‘Fallen warrior’ in basic. It was a pretty safe bet that the shop had been looted, and more than likely whoever slept here wasn’t returning, as there were no obvious signs of anything worth coming back for. The remaining datacards strewn about the office were blank, clearly a product of the business. They found the Skydove freight holoterminal was badly damaged, explaining why no calls could get through. The offices were fairly open, and it was clear that not a lot else was going to be revealed in here. The riots and looters had seen to anything valuable.
They returned to the streets asking more people if they’d seen either the Hutt or the miners he was dealing with. They came across a distressed family whose house appeared to have just burnt down, the embers barely glowing as the smoke rose from the ashes. A younger man tried to be helpful, not hearing anything about the Hutt but knew where they could find the geode miners guildhall and gave them directions.
The guild hall was locked up tight, quite close to the city hall, there appeared to nobody about, still when Rebeka tried the door it was locked up tight. And the sudden rattling seemed to disturb the occupants, and the door slat slid across. A pair of crusty human eyes peered out at them.
“Yes, what do you want?”
“We’re looking for Mika?” asked Rebeka.
“I’m sorry, we’ve nothing to do with that.” He said, moving away.
“Well, do you know where he would be?” asked Rebeka hurriedly.
“I’m not gonna tell just anybody.” Grunted the man.
“We’re not just anybody.” Said Jace.
“We’ve been sent by his father.” Said Rak. Rebeka and he tried to persuade him of their allegiance, and probably gave in simply to get some peace.
“Alright, well he was here, but now he’s gone.”
“Is he infected?” asked Rebeka.
“Haven’t seen him for the last few weeks.” Said the man. “One of his damned Nikto guards was hanging around here, earlier in the week. Tried to break in, but we turned him away.”
“How long ago was this?” asked Rak.
“And where did he go?” asked Rebeka.
“A few days, he headed off towards their offices that way.” Gestured the man, in the direction of Skydove Freight.
“Maybe we can stake it out, see if he goes back there,” suggested Rak.
“Stay the night and see if anyone turns up?” agreed Rebeka.
“Yeah, might be worth doing.” Said Lanyef.
“Thank you.” Said Rebeka to the doorman, and they turned to leave.
“If the Hutt is still alive,” he called, “Tell him the deal is still on, we’ve got the geodes if he has the money.”

They could determine why the Nikto was hard to find by the various public speakers spouting nonsense that non-humans were responsible for the plague. Lanyef concealed his heritage easily, in case of trouble. On the way back they were disturbed by some throaty deep pitched whines as they heard the sounds of swoop bikes. They looked to the sound and saw five of them rush by, the human riders bearing strange tattoos on their faces and arms laughing and whooping as they drove by, one of them tossing a bottle that smashed on the ground uncomfortably close to them. Rak and Rebeka yelled expletives at them, and the bikes stopped suddenly. The riders dismounted and striding back up to them. The humans didn’t have unusual tattoos, there veins were discoloured, causing them to appear obviously on their face. Their leader was a young man with a beard and red jacket, and would be quite dashing were it not for the veins and the general uncouthness of his body language.
“What was that?” he said, clearly only hearing Rak, his mates brandishing weapons just as they were doing so.
“Echuta.” Repeated Rak. The Huttese speakers among them, bit their lips, but you didn’t need to speak the language to know what it meant. The Leader chuckled, looking back at his gang who breathed inwardly in vocalised surprise. Then his fist struck out and hit Rak across his shoulder, staggering him. All hell broke loose, Rebeka blasting the leader in the side as Lanyef focused on the guy head of him, firing a shot but having to reload. Jace shot the guy in front of Lan and himself, toasting the unarmoured street thugs with a single shot. He also hit their leader, causing burns on his arms with a couple of shots as he rushed him. The leader drew his blade along with his buddy, the remaining thug raising his pistol as they yelled in anger and rage. Rak dodged the rough strike from the leader; Rebeka was less fortunate getting a nasty scratch from his mate. She also took a grazing from a slugthrower shot from the remaining thug. Rak shot the leader three times making sure he went down as Rebeka blasted the firer, the thug’s adrenaline carrying him through the injury he suffered. Lanyef injured the knife wielder with a blast as he rushed to Rebeka’s aid, Jace finishing the remaining two thugs off. They searched the bodies for some recompense Rebeka taking a slugthrower and its clips as a backup weapon. They also recovered a locked stolen credit chit, and several vials of purple spice none of them recognised. They also took their keys and claimed four of the swoop bikes.

They returned to Skydove Freight and stayed the whole night keeping the bikes in the offices, but the Nikto didn’t return. So they hit upon trying to figure out what “Fallen Warrior” meant. After discussing with a few locals they found themselves at the Fallen Warrior Cantina. It was easy to miss; the name was etched above the door frame and was boarded up like it was abandoned. A small sign stated “no droids”.
Inside it was pretty clear the denizens were as equally abandoned. The air reeked of sweat, spice and blood. Interspersed among several cloaked humans are a few non-humans: A drunken ithorian sprawled in the corner, a pair of Bothans engaged in low conversation, and a couple of small unrecognisable aliens playing a holographic dice game at the bar. The Bartender, a heavyset woman with white hair, grunted at them to close the door behind them. They also found a Nikto, at a bench along one wall. His eyes and mouth were crusted and white at the corners, and he seemed unconscious Rebeka checked him and found this was indeed the case. She helped her companions take the poor Nikto out into the relatively fresh air and gave him a dose of the vaccine. In mere minutes, the Nikto started to come to.
“Were you the Nikto with Mika? We’re looking for him,” asked Rebeka softly.
“I know Mika, but I don’t know you,” he said dizzily, trying to focus on them.
“We were sent by Popara, he’s very worried for him, he sent us along with medicinal spice for the people here. We have this cure, a cure we used on you. Now we have some for Mika too, but we need to know where he is.” Said Rebeka.
“We…we were here when the plague broke out. There were riots at the spaceport, and several ships were set on fire. Masterful Mika wanted to determine where the plague came from and how to fight it. It seemed to come out of the north, borne on the wind, and as non-humans became less welcome in Tel Bollin, he organised a party to go north, toward a place called temple valley. Mika was convinced that the secret of the plague would be uncovered there.” They gave him water, and let him continue. “I received a message from Mika several days ago. He had found something and told me to gather what supplies I could and join him. But there are no supplies- a mob looted the warehouse. And the messenger brought the plague with him, and I came down with it again.” His watery eyes became clear again for a moment, “Mika is alive in Temple Valley. I know the way. Let me take you there. Let me serve the wise and adventurous Mika the Hutt!”

They let him, while he suggested the caravan; the Party decided it was best to take the cargo hauler and two bikes. They set off in the general direction of the north, and drove full throttle, but still it was going to take time. Eventually the sun began to set, and Orgamon, the Nikto insisted it was too dangerous to carry on until the sun rose again. They reluctantly agreed and set up camp. It seemed even Jace was coming down with the plague and after seeing it’s curative powers, decided to take the Vaccine when they stopped. Rak and Lanyef took first watch while the others slept. While they waited, Lanyef thought he saw something man sized and shaped, and alerted Rak.
“I saw something.” He whispered.
“Where?” replied Rak.
Lan pointed to the North West, and they waited. Ten minutes passed and the shape did it again, approaching and running away.
“Maybe it’s the light.” Suggested Lanyef, “Maybe it’s attracting them.”
“Only one way to prove it.” Said Rak, lighting a Glow rod and handing it to him. Lanyef didn’t much appreciate being enlisted, but he went out a little way, keeping an eye on the darkness. Suddenly he was beset by three humanoid figures, similar in shape to a clay man made by a small child, with no head, thorns growing out of its body and made of organic matter. one swung at Lan and missed as Rak yelled to the others to wake up. Jace was up and alert, drawing his blasters as Rak attacked Lan’s assailant, blasting the creature twice, causing large burns on its mass. Rebeka was up by the sudden activity, and blasted, her shot flying wide. A creature threw it’s appendage at him, striking him with its thorns, then the appendage tried to grab him and draw him in, but he luckily pulled back after the initial blow. Lanyef dodged out and away, reaching the safety of the speeders. Jace stepped forward, unleashing volleys of blaster fire at the creatures in an attempt to bring them down. One of the figures keeled over under the shots, Rak continuing the onslaught and dropping another. Rebeka did the same, and the creatures remaining fled into the night silently. Rebeka and Jace approached the dead ones to get a closer look. They seemed to be made entirely of plant matter, but neither of them had a clue as to what it was, and left them. Ergeron finally relaxed after the battles sudden eruption and seeing the danger had passed went back to sleep.

Morning came, the dead creatures still remained, the others left tracks that headed further north west. None were interested in pursuit and set off for Temple Valley as fast as possible. Rebeka checked Orgamon over, he was still wheezing but much of his strength had returned and he seemed to be on the mend. A full day of travel and night fell once more, the group setting up camp, only this time Jace planted proximity mines around the camp in case there would be predators returned. After creating a path of glow rods for a safe route, Jace and Rebeka took watch. BMO was the first to detected one of the creatures trying to goad them into leaving the camp. Rebeka readied her weapon, but Jace waved her off as the creature was close to one of the mines. He fired just off to the side, waking everyone up and causing the creature to step on the mine, sand and creature going up in an explosion. It survived, but seemed suitably terrified and wounded that it fled into the darkness, and didn’t return again.

Jace recovered his mines and the party set off again the next day. By noon they had reached temple valley, a sprawling collection of defabricating units and old mining equipment. The shanty town wasn’t really what they expected. The Valley walls loomed over the settlement, colourful tarps denoting small stalls as they parked up and looked about. Much of the survivors of temple valley were geode miners who had refused to leave for Tel Bollin, despite being in the grip of the plague, there was no sign of any Hutts. The citizens however looked as though they could cause trouble if they had the energy; given the hungry looks there crusted eyes gave. Orgamon began asking about the people for information on Mika’s location, however most either didn’t know or didn’t care. Suddenly a muscular human leapt from the shadows of a shelter, his veins resembling horrible black spider webbing. His face twisted in rage, and pointed at the group.
“You! You’ve got it on you! I can practically smell it on you!! Give me the spice! Give it to me!!!”
Jace pulled his gun as the man ran at him. He blasted him twice effortlessly in the chest, bringing the addict down. Three other thugs with similar afflictions decided there friend was no longer there friend and fled off into the streets. With the threat gone, Jace put his gun back as Orgamon returned.
“Mika isn’t here, however the wise Hutt left directions on where to find him. He’s less than a day’s walk north. Near a downed ship in the Valley.” He gestured to the man with him, one of the miners with the plague. Huwin Clathor.
“I can act as guide and show you where he is. Once I’ve got some of that Vaccine you’re carrying.” He said quietly.
The group seemed somewhat displeased that he was aware of the vaccine, and took Orgamon aside.
“We don’t have an awful lot of Vaccine to give; it’s only for people who need it. Mika is one of those people remember.” Said Rebeka.
“I’m Sorry, but I didn’t barter the vaccine solely for information.”
“I can give you Medpacs that I got together if you need them.” Said the man, concerned about the sudden distrust.
The party agreed taking the four Medpacs and dosing Huwin up before returning to their vehicles.

They arrived late afternoon. Reaching the top of a ridge and looking down onto a sandy plain spread out beneath them. At the end of this plain was a massive trench caused by the crashed starship at one end. Metal scrap was spread out everywhere. The front of the ship seemed mostly intact, and they could see figures moving about the wreckage. There was a cargo skiff covered with a makeshift Tarp, with the form of a Hutt hiding in its shade. Orgamon yet out a yell to the people below, happy to see his master once more, and he ran down the ridge towards him. The rest followed on their bikes, reaching the skiff before Orgamon. The Hutt looked in bad shape, but this was more to do with the effects of the dry weather. His skin was cracked and chapped, and misters worked tirelessly to keep his skin moist. Orgamon finally arrived, dropping to his knees and bowing.
“Great and Glorious young master,” he wheezed, “I have brought representatives of your mighty parent, who is concerned about your wellbeing, as are we all.
Mika the Hutt nodded, “Rise Orgamon, you have performed well. Let me meet these brave individuals who’ve come so far for a single lost Hutt.” He waved to them to approach and introduced himself, the four of them doing the same, Rebeka bowing because she thought this was needed. He continued to speak in basic.
“I’m sure my Father, and indeed myself are greatly appreciative of your efforts, I’m just sorry I caused you so much trouble in finding me.”
“Not at all, it was easy.” Said Rebeka.
Mika smiled and explained his reasons for being here. “This freighter seems to be the source of the plague threatening Endregaad,” he said, gesturing to the wreck. “The ship must have spread the foul disease to the winds when it crashed here. I’ve spent the last few weeks examining it, and I can safely say it is ground Zero for the current epidemic ravaging this world.”
“Is there any way to stop it?” asked Rebeka.
“I believe the Indrexu Confederation has that all well in hand.” Said Mika. He continued with the tour, explaining that he believed the ship lost power and plummeted to the planet. Had the pilot been more competent, the ship may have survived the crash and not released the terrible plague.
“So were the people on board infected and that’s how it spread, or was it something in the desert already?” asked Rebeka as they all walked with him.
“I don’t know, I located the wreck about a week ago, and have only really determined that it is the cause. I’ve tried to gather more information about the plague.”
“You look like you’ve managed to avoid it so far.” Said Rebeka.
“It takes a few days to really lay someone low, You mustn’t make assumptions of the Masterful Mika, you should cure him all the same.” Said Orgamon defensively.
Mika chuckled, “Orgamon, you needn’t be so selfish, I am fine. There could be others who would benefit from the Vaccines.”
As they wandered around, they noticed about six or so miners, picking over the crashed wreck. Salvaging parts and trying to reveal more about the plagues origin. It looked to be a freelance or smugglers vessel.
“Even though I’m aware this is ground Zero, there is not much I could do once the quarantine was declared. I’m also wavering the salvage rights for the ship to the miners so that some good can come out of this tragedy.” As they approached one of the damaged cargo pods, Rak and Lanyef both noticed the contents spilling out was of a purplish hue.
They all got closer and examined one of the vials of spice, they were both the same.
“We think it was the cargo, some sort of spice, like glitterstim. I’ve never seen anything like it before though.”
“This has nothing to do with the disease I take it?” asked Rak.
“Not that I can determine.” Said Mika.
“Coincidental though,” agreed Lanyef.
Huwin, who had tagged along, spoke up; “That stuff is Tempest isn’t it?” everyone shrugged in confusion. “A lot of the people who take it think it’s a cure for whatever this plague is.”
“not that we’ve seen.” Said Jace.
“Well whatever it is, it turns decent folk into animals, more or less.”
“That we have.”
“Seen a lot of men taking it just lose it. And if they can’t get there fix it just gets worse.” Said Huwin.
Mika looked Surprised. “Then it appears more than the plague spread from this ship it seems.”
“it seems like this ship has been nothing but trouble for the planet.” Agreed Rebeka.
“But enough of this, I long to hear of the worlds beyond this quarantine, tell me, what is happening in the galaxy..?” Mika engaged them in small talk, trying to ask them about some of their adventures.
“You can hear more on the way back to your father.” Grumbled Jace, who had already spent too long on this planet for his liking.
“Agreed, I do wish to leave this planet as soon as possible, there’s not a lot I can do here.” Said Mika.
“Well, we can get you off planet.” Said Rebeka. Mika did inquire more about the spice, the four of them having had encounters with these people. After a quick conversation, he nodded thoughtfully.
“It seems this new spice is much more potent than glitterstim. I don’t want any part of it, and I’m certain my Father would agree.”
Sudden shouts rose from some of Mika’s Nikto guards, getting their attention as they gestured up the ridge. There were several figures on the lip, all had swoop bikes, Lan noticing four of them readying rifles while the others revved there engines.
“Hm… it seems that somebody else is interested in our discovery.”
Jace drew his rifle and stepped in front of Mika, aiming his weapon in readiness for the Swoop thugs. Four of them drove straight down at them, one of the swoops running over a helpless Nikto who didn’t react fast enough. Jace fired, but the speed at which the pirates were going made it hard to hit them. A long distance shot from the others on the ridge put a smoking hole in one of the miners. Lanyef returned fire, hitting one of the pirates, but only grazing him. Mika headed slowly for his skiff while the Nikto attacked the pirates, shots filling the air, but missing there targets. The miners threw rocks, one hitting a pirate as he approached, while Rak blasted the pirate before him, grazing him. Rebeka went to give Mika her blaster, but he had removed his small hold-out number from its holster already. Instead she blasted at another pirate, the man weaving away from the shots. Jace continued to fire on the pirate, hitting him heavily in the arm, flipping him off the bike and causing the swoop to careen into the ship’s hull and explode. Jace managed to graze another pirate as he hopped off his bike, the remaining pirates headed for the group and Mika’s retinue as those already there engaged them with their vibroax’s one got a scrape through Jace’s armour as another couple engaged Orgamon and the remaining Nikto. The other pirates fired, getting a nasty grazing shot on Rebeka and downing a couple of miners. Lanyef kept an eye on the leader as he fired on another pirate, but shot wide to avoid hitting his allies. Orgamon hit one of the pirates in retaliation as stones fell down from the miners above on the wreckage. Rak blasted at the leader, hitting him with a blaster shot as he tried hurriedly to get off his bike. Rebeka recovered from her burning arm long enough to help the beleaguered Nikto, but shot wide when the searing pain shot up her arm. Jace shot his assailant twice, dropping the pirate in front of him and taking a pot shot at the Leader, catching him in the side as he fired on Rak, catching him in the side as one of the other pirates caught Jace with a blaster shot. Orgamon’s luck ran out, and a sudden slash from the pirate’s vibroax ended his life, the same occurring for the remaining Nikto. It was clear that Mika was heading for the large gun on his personal skiff. Lanyef’s shot flew wide of his mark again as the miners continued to throw stones at the pirates ineffectively. Rak had to reload his blaster as Rebeka shot one of the pirates in the side in a bid to avenge Orgamon. Seeing where Mika was heading, Jace activated his jetpack and jumped to the skiff, getting on the gun, rotating it round and firing in a swift movement, hitting a swoop bike centred among some of the pirates. The sudden explosion caused three of them to be showered in burning shrapnel and drew there attention, heading for Jace and firing upon him, hitting him a couple more times. A pirate charged Rebeka, hitting her with his vibroax while the pirate closing on Mika slew a Geode miner who got in his way. The leader fired on Rak, the hail of blaster fire was difficult to avoid and he took another severe burn to his side. Lanyef shot the Pirate closing in on Mika, injuring him as the geode miners descended upon him, grabbing the pirate and wrestling him away. Rak returned fire on the leader, injuring him a few more times, his dodging seeming to slow. Rebeka blasted her assailant in the gut as he came at her again, the man falling back on the ground as Jace swivelled to hit another bike, but the gun had overheated from the first shot.
“Blast it.” Growled Jace, raising his wrist launcher and firing. The wrist rocket exploding on them and injuring he pirates some more, but still they charged him, two clambering up the Skiff as the other broke off to help his captive friend. The pirate subdued by the miners tried vainly to wrestle free as the leader continued to fire on Rak, hitting him properly in the side that nearly caused him to fall in pain. Lanyef hurried to his aid, blasting the leader and catching him across his arm as the Miners wrestled with the pirate beneath them. Rak pulled his arm up in pain and fired catching the Leader in the chest that staggered him, firing again and putting him down with a second blast to his chest. Rak spun quickly, firing on the other Pirate running at Mika, hitting him quite severely, so severely that Rebeka shot him dead with her blaster shot, the Pirate sliding to the floor. Jace fired on his assailants catching one pirate a couple of times with his shots. The Pirate finally got to his feet, Lanyef trying to hit him as he broke free. The miners tried to grab him again, one smacking the pirate across the head with a rock. Rak blasted at one of the pirates over by Jace, missing, while Rebeka caught the pirate before her with a quick shot to his back. Mika moved at the injured pirate, firing his small blaster that killed the pirate outright. Jace shot the injured pirate off the skiff, spinning to face the last Pirate.
“Looks like it’s just you left.” Said Jace, trading shots with the pirate, Lanyef and Rak hit the last pirate with blaster shots to the pirates back, finally taking the last pirate down.
As silence fell over the desert once more. Mika took stock of the carnage, gazing thoughtfully at the fallen Pirates.
“I think… it may be best we take our leave.” He said.
The party couldn’t agree more, letting Mika on the cargo hauler as well as the surviving miners; they set off back to temple valley as quickly as they could, with their quarry secured.



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