13th September 2020
It's Sunday lunchtime and we're picnicking in Vicky's garden, enjoying the unexpected warmth of a late summer day.
It's also time for Ares' Star Wars campaign.
Location: The Windbreaker.
From the cockpit, Pell uselessly watched as this mysterious smaller ship attached itself to the primary hull of The Windbreaker with a thud.
A few moments later, everyone heard the harsh sounds of drilling and cutting reverberate throughout the ship. It was obvious that they were cutting into the passenger cabin.
Everybody was moved out of the cabin and into the relative safety of the hold.
Quickly they tried to question the two Rodians, but they didn't appear to speak 'Galactic Basic', at best they were useless and provided no help. Utri spoke a little of their language, but when he spoke to them, they became evasive.
There was nothing to do except to wait until the ship was breached and boarded.
Chrisy and Pell took position by the two doors into the cabin with blasters pointed into the cabin and watched.
"Hmm," said Pell. "Getting into a fight with these boarders might be dangerous. But letting them on board might be worse?".
Robin was hidden in the shadows and M/8 was busy with baby Wilfred.
Utri returned into the cabin, ever the politico he had decided to try and negotiate with whoever boarded the ship.
He had also put himself directly into the line of fire for both Chrisy and Pell.
The cutting tool had now penetrated the secondary hull and was beginning on it's circular cutting path in the cabin's ceiling, throwing out shining white sparks along the way.
At the moment the circle was complete, the circular chunk of the ship's hull crashed to the cabin's floor and rattled like some colossal coin that had lost its spin.
From his vantage point, Utri could see into the end part of a smooth tube coming into the cabin from above at a forty-five degree angle.
Although Utri could not see the other end of the tube, he did hear a strangely whispering voice. It was explaining that they needed the cargo from this ship.
Without warning someone in 'Mandalorian' armour dropped into the cabin. He landed in a crouch, a pair of blaster pistols drawn and levelled at Chrisy and Pell.
Utri tried speaking to the Mandalorian, but was ignored. Utri looked around and the realisation dawned on him that he was in the centre of a stand off.
The situation was tense, everyone was quiet. Keeping his aim on Chrisy and Pell, the Mandalorian slowly shuffled towards the hold, no doubt looking for the 'cargo'.
The Mandalorian's face may have been hidden behind his visor, but his body language revealed his surprise at seeing M/8 cradling a baby in his arms.
Everyone watched unmoving, as the Mandalorian assessed the situation and then finally, put his blasters up. Chrisy and Pell reciprocated, with that they relaxed their muscles and breathed out, it also seemed that some of the tension had also been breathed out.
The Mandalorian bent low, examined the dead woman and straightened. It was quiet enough that everyone could hear the metallic chatter on his comms.
"Target is dead," the Mandalorian uttered into his comms.
"Did you kill her?" the reply squawked .
"Negative, she was already dead,".
"Was she pregnant?".
"Looks like it,".
"He'll be with the body, bring it to the ship. What about the crew, are you going to kill them?".
"Not part of my contract," the Mandalorian ended, a touch of contempt in his voice.
The Mandalorian picked up the remains of the woman and slung it unceremoniously over one shoulder. As he turned to leave, he paused for a moment, toggled his comms off, silencing the chatter at the other end and turned to face everyone.
"In twelve hours, this body will be with my employers, half-an-hour after that, they'll have realised the boy isn't with the body. You have twelve and a half hours before they send me after you,".
With that he turned on his heel and headed for the tube. Everyone realised that when the ship departed, it would expose the passenger cabin to a vacuum. Pell stayed in the cockpit and sealed the door, everyone else rushed to do likewise in the hold.
It was easy to tell when the smaller ship left, the contents of the cabin could be heard smashing and banging around as it was blown out into space.
The other ship had departed, leaving the damaged Windbreaker alone in the black void.
In the cockpit Pell slumped into the pilot's seat, he could see some of the cabin's jetsam calmly spinning away into the inky distance.
Fortunately, the ship's internal comm system still functioned and Pell could speak with the others. With the passenger cabin compromised, everyone was trapped in either the hold or cockpit.
Staying in the pilot's seat, Pell checked the dashboard.
Fuel was low and thus the choice of destination limited. The Rodians had never intended to go to Coruscant.
Looking further at the dashboard, Pell realised that the Rodians had already programmed a flight plan into the ship's 'navcom'. the destination was a meteor near the industrial planet 'Rorak', deep in to 'Hutt territory'.
From there, there would just enough fuel to get to one other place.
There was a discussion over the comms and it was decided to head towards these coordinates. The theory was that Rodians had to be going there for a reason, it might be a station or an orbital fuel dump.
During the flight, Utri and Chrisy decided to question the Rodian prisoners a bit more thoroughly.
The Rodians refused to admit to having anything to do with the capture of the now-dead woman, but Utri was not convinced and managed to wrangle something out of them.
They were taking their cargo - the woman - to rendezvous with their client who was to pay ten million credit for her. The Rodians became depressed, they said that they would be 'dead' once their client discovered that the Mandalorian had taken the cargo.
When Utri explained this to everybody, they became quite concerned.
"Hmm," said Pell. "Anyone with that kind of money would be a dangerous enemy or more likely, they were planning on double crossing the Rodians,".
The decision was made that it was to dangerous to make this rendezvous, instead a new destination was needed.
Pell scoured the 'starmap', the closest destination that met their needs was called 'Nar Shaddaa', also deep in Hutt territory. It's reputation as a lawless place and a haven for criminals and pirates well known.
Everyone agreed on this new heading and Pell changed course.
During the flight, Utri was approached by one of the old ladies, she introduced herself to him and explained that she also came from the same planet as him and had recognised him.
The flight was straightforward. Nar Shaddaa was a 'city-moon', her surface entirely blanketed in the steel, concrete and asphalt of a massive uncontrolled urban sprawl, with towers that soared upwards and roads that ran on forever.
Pell landed The Windbreaker docked at a space port without incident.
Utri exited the ship and was immediately intercepted by a member of the ground crew who explained there was a 'landing fee', Utri was lacking in funds and referred him to Chrisy.
Chrisy handed over the fifty credits from the money he had taken from the Rodians, and that was that.
Except that less than a minute later, someone calling himself the 'dock-master' approached the ship and spoke with Chrisy and M/8, he explained that there was here to collect a 'docking fee' of 20 credits. Chrisy realised that someone had scammed them., he scratched and shook his head whilst looking at the dock-master.
M/8 handed little Wilfred over to Chrisy. He then activated the manhunter subroutine in his behaviour partition, a subroutine designed to unerringly track a target. M/8 gave chase.
M/8's situational scan report a large number of individuals roaming the vicinity of the dock, the manhunter subroutine plotted and predicted the course of M/8's prey as he dodged through the crowds.
unfortunately, several navigational vectors contradicted each other, corrupting the manhunter subroutine. M/8 was forced to shut it down from his task manager.
By the time the subroutine rebooted, M/8's prey had gone, he had escaped. M/8 turned back to the ship.
By the time he had returned, the two old ladies and middle aged man had all disembarked, once they had learnt that there was no way The Windbreaker was going to Coruscant, they had wanted to go their own ways.
Next, everyone remaining agreed to let the Rodian prisoners go. There was little chance they would try to retaliate any time soon. They had problems of their own coming their way
"Be free," said Utri quietly as they were released.
Only Robin, Utri, M/8, Chrisy and Pell remained, joined by fate it seemed. The five of them - along with baby Wilfred - now on the run. Pursued by nefarious, nebulous forces, with only each other to rely on and trust.
The team had a discussion about their next move. It was agreed that The Windbreaker was a liability, they needed to get rid of it and acquire a new one.
But this required money. The team searched the ship for anything they could sell. The passenger cabin had lost its contents, but the hold was filled with cages and more importantly, droid parts.
Chrisy was useful with machines, with a scratch of his head and growl he agreed to try and build a functioning droid out of the parts.
He threw himself into his work which, after couple of hours had borne fruit. Chrisy had managed to build a security droid.
Chrisy activated the droid, it took a few seconds to power up. It then turned to face him and immediately fired its blaster at him! Growling, Chrisy was forced to dive for cover!
Before the droid could track him for a second shot, he lunged forward and managed to deactivate it.
Chrisy scratched his head and looked at droid; at least it worked! He estimated it would be worth up to six thousand credits.
Meanwhile Utri and Pell went out to see if they could find a reputable starship dealership. The team needed to sell the ship and buy a new one. This was not so easily done on Nar Shaddaa, no one could be taken at face value.
Pell had been living the past year skirting on the edge of poverty and in a small way could discern who might be considered trustworthy.
"Hmm," said Pell to Utri. "If we find a bad dealer, it could be... bad?".
The port was a busy place and there many people who could be spoken to, traders, hawkers, workers etc. Pell ingratiated himself with some of the locals and asked around. Pell was given the name of a dealer who had a 'good reputation', the name was 'Sev'.
Utri and Pell paid a visit to Sev at his office at a massive starship yard. Pell left the talking to Utri, negotiation was a politician's game.
Utri politely explained to Sev that he was looking to sell his starship and purchase a new one.
Sev looked at Utri for a moment before asking what was wrong with the ship? Any ship being sold in this star port was damaged or stolen, or worse. What was wrong with the ship, he pressed?
Utri smoothly admitted that it was damaged and needed not-insignificant repairs. He also told Sev that they were not the 'original' owners. Utri neglected telling him that a Mandalorian bounty hunter and a shadowy faction might both be seeking it out.
The negotiation went on for a while, with more details following. Finally Sev made Utri an offer, The Windbreaker could be exchanged for another ship with a payment of ten thousand credits.
Utri knew that the team did not have that kind of money, even if they sold the security droid. Utri explained this to Sev.
Sev made a new offer, a payment of six thousand credit and a favour for Sev.
"Hmm," Said Pell. "Cheaper is better, but an unknown favour could end badly, and I should know!".
Utri asked Sev what the favour would be.
Sev Explained that there was a certain 'individual' that he wanted Utri to 'convince' to leave Nar Shaddaa.
Utri was not certain about this, violence was never the answer. He asked Sev to elaborate on what he meant by 'convince'.
Sev did not particularly want the man killed, just off of Nar Shaddaa. If killing him was Utri's plan however, then Sev would not object.
Utri agreed to these terms and Sev told him the man was 'Haduck' a mechanic who worked for his family business.
After leaving Sev; Utri and Pell did some investigating and chatting to locals about Haduck.
They discovered an interesting fact. Haduck was set to marry Sev's daughter?
After this they returned to The Windbreaker.
Utri announced to everyone that they needed to do a favour for someone or raise at least four thousand more credits.
They were some remaining droid parts, perhaps they could be sold for a few hundred credits.
Robin piped up at this and said the parts were worth a lot and she was sure she could get a good price.
Robin went out and searched through the busy markets for a buyer and came back with someone. She negotiated a deal with him.
Five thousand for the security droid.
Three thousand for the remaining parts.
A 'free' upgrade for M/8.
Unfortunately, it was still not enough to get the ship.
The team then had to discuss how deal with the Haduck situation.
Robin and Utri wanted to use a 'soft' approach and try and convince Haduck to leave Nar Shaddaa. The team agreed on this strategy.
Robin sought out Haduck at the mechanics and had a chat with him. Robin explained that he should come with the team. Robin explained that she had been sent by Sev, it was clear that Sev did not approve of the marriage. Robin also explained that was being 'nice' to Haduck If Sev decided to send 'someone else', then this 'someone else' might not be so 'understanding'.
It seemed that Robin had impressed Haduck in some way and he presented Robin with a counter-proposal.
He confessed that to Robin that once he married Sev's daughter, he would 'deal' with Sev and then he would own Sev's lucrative dealership.
Haduck said to Robin, that if she waited until he completed his plan, he would give her a ship for free. All Robin had to do was wait for a while.
Robin was always cautious and suspicious, so she wasn't too surprised when Haduck made his real intentions clear. Robin was, however too honest to go along with such a shady plan.
Instead she offered a counter-counter-proposal. She asked Haduck if he would be willing to go into hiding for a time after stating he was leaving Nar Shaddaa.
Haduck agreed to do this for one day.
Reading, writing, playing and painting are things I do.