Star Wars: Flying Casual


Spacers call it the Graveyard. It is an
asteroid field, the shattered remains of the
once-great planet called Alderaan. It had been
a paradise, a planet where peace was the rule and
violence was unheard of. Then the EVIL GALACTIC
EMPIRE came, with its terrible Death Star
battlestation. Alderaan became an example for the rest
of the galaxy. It was obliterated as a warning to the
growing Rebellion and all who would support it.

But that was not the last the galaxy heard of Alderaan.
Rumors fill the idle gossip of spacers and free-traders in ports
and cantinas from the Outer Rim to the Core Worlds, tales of
strange happenings in the Graveyard.

The wildest tale yet has just surfaced, a story claiming that fabulous treasure, Jedi artifacts, or perhaps even  the Royal Palace itself has been found mostly intact among the shattered ruins of the planet. It is a story that has attracted much attention, including the Rebel Alliance, the Galactic Empire, and the galactic underworld. But the truth that haunts the Graveyard could turn the tide of battle in the Galactic Civil War…

Arrival at Molavar

The crew of the Embar had been spending the last few days in the Ithorian herd ship, Bazaar, hiding out from some bounty hunters — who were seeking to “collect” on the overdue debt Captain Ryku Niros hadn’t paid off on his ship — and trying to find some work transporting (or smuggling) cargo.

Business started looking up earlier today, when the crew was contacted by an old man named Dorn who was willing to pay 5,000 credits to find a Rebel sympathizer named Zaz Kamiroz on the planet Molavar and deliver the man to his contact on Salliche — a retired general called Locus Geen.

Molavar is a backwater, desert world in the Outer Rim Territories, with a number of seedy spaceports and low-income moisture farms.

The crew's astrogator, Charl, knew the Abrion sector pretty well, and the routes to Salliche, so the job seemed like a cinch. Sure, the crew sort of suspected this guy was working for the Rebel Alliance, but as long as they got paid in the end, they didn’t mind working for the Rebels this one time. So they decided to take the job.

Emerging from hyperspace, the Embar descended upon Molavar, the desert world. Its endless sea of sand blindingly reflected the light of both suns through the ship’s forward viewport.

A quick scan of surrounding space revealed a few other ships in orbit around the planet, waiting for landing clearance. While many of the ships were armed, none appeared to be Imperial. Malcraan space traffic controllers asked the crew for their ship registration code, previous port, and purpose of visit before granting permission to land. Ryku's reasonable answer was accepted; Molavar isn’t choosy about its visitors. The PCs’ craft was directed toward Docking Bay 94.

After their ship landed, a customs officer approached. Ryku's show of respect was not lost on the customs officer, whom he invited inside for a sandwich. It cost 20 credits per day for a landing permit; the captain paid for one day. While the customs officer had never heard of Kamiroz, he did hear rumors about the two miners who recently arrived on Molavar claiming to have found the Royal Palace in the ruins of Alderaan.

The evening rush was underway as the crew exited the docking bay. Humans, numerous droid models, and aliens of every description moved through the crowded hangar. The pace was hurried for such a backwater world, and not even the blistering heat of the twin suns — just now lowering in the sky — could slow it down. Landspeeders roared by, uncomfortably close in these narrow walkways, and swarms of small, rancid smelling Jawas in hooded robes jostled past.

Meanwhile, Neo, who had been keeping his head low here on Molavar for quite some time, recently heard of a miner from the Alderaan asteroid field named Zaz Kamiroz who had information on the fate of the Royal Palace, and insisted on gaining an audience with the Princess. Rumors claimed that fabulous treasure, including Jedi artifacts, might be buried down there in the ruins of Alderaan. Neo suspected that Saul might also be interested in these artifacts, and there was a big chance he’d run into his old crush, Shira Elan Colla Brie, there as well.

Kamiroz was supposed to meet Neo in the spaceport hangar tonight, but the miner never showed up. While Neo waited, Ryku and his crew arrived on planet. Shakka’teksa recognized Neo right away and ran out to greet him. After they got reacquainted, he explained what he knew about this miner he was supposed to meet here tonight. Since the miner didn’t show, Neo worried that something bad happened — perhaps the Imperials got to him first.

Suddenly, a fire team of Imperial stormtroopers burst into the hangar. One of them pointed right at Neo and said, "There he is. You're under arrest!"

The crew managed to dispatch three of the four stormtroopers. One got away, and they knew it was only a matter of time before backup arrived. Ryku and Tyron rushed over to the customs officer and, through persuasion, bribery, and intimidation, convinced him to tell the incoming stormtroopers that there’s no Jedi here, that the original fire team attacked a random bunch of spacers who fought back and escaped. Then they laid low inside their ship until the stormtroopers all left again.

A close call, and their mission to find the Alderaan miner had only just begun…

Squid's Place

After waiting on their ship in the hangar for the stormtroopers to all leave, the crew of the Embar finally headed out to the streets after nightfall. Captain Ryku and the ship's droid, 4Q2, stayed behind to finish up some last-minute calibrations on the ship.

While Charl was eager to check out the Malcraan Craft and Gift shop, the other crew members believed they'd find more information on the Alderaan miner at the local cantina. This led them to Squid's Place, one of the best cantinas on Molavar. Inside the cantina it was dark and smoky. Lights on the tables, booths, and the bar provided only scant illumination. Several patrons milled about, and a Sullustan bartender worked behind the bar, cleaning glasses with a dirty rag. The stage near the back of the bar was curtained off with a ragged cloth — apparently this cantina sometimes hosts a live band, but not today. Instead, tinny music was piped into the dive through ancient and raspy speakers set at intervals around the ceiling. A very well used jukebox sat in one corner, broken so that it only played the same song over and over. Tyron, Neo, and Shakka’teksa headed right to the bar.

Meanwhile, at the Malcraan Craft and Gift shop, Charl was greeted by the Ithorian proprietor, Jerru. The pilot introduced himself, causing Jerru to get very excited and curious, asking many questions about Charl's homeworld. The two greenthumbs conversed for a while about all things plant-related. Charl took a box of newly-traded seeds back to the ship, where he got the captain and they both went to the cantina to meet up with the others.

At Squid's Place, three waitresses (actually slaves, as evidenced by their collars) wandered among the tables serving traditional mixed drinks such as Double-Dip Outer Rim Rumdrop, Fizzbrew, Lum, and the gambler’s favorite, Retsa; they also served the illegal Nectarwine when asked. Both Tyron and Neo partook of the Lum and Fizzbrew.

The Sullustan bartender was very friendly and helpful. He shared a few rumors involving the possibility of a Jedi being in the city somewhere, some miners claiming to have found the Royal Palace, and word that a customs officer had been arrested for treason this morning.

Leaning against the bar at the very back of the cantina was a human woman with brown hair tied back into a long braid. She wore green Mandalorian armor and a heavy blaster pistol at her hip. She kept looking from her drink, back to the bar, then to the cantina entrance. Shakka’teksa attempted to hit on her, but was curtly turned down.

In one booth the crew spotted a Rodian sitting by himself, eyeing the young Twi'lek. Shakka’teksa talked with him, learning that he was in the market to buy sex slaves.

And lounging in a corner booth next to the bar was a tall, pale Twi’lek male; six human females wooed over him as they all drank and laughed together.

Two smugglers at the bar introduced themselves as Cassus and Ingo, offering to buy the crew drinks in exchange for company and stories. After asking about Zaz Kamiroz the Alderaan miner, the crew was directed to the owner of the cantina, a local crime lord. The tall, pale Twi’lek was known as Sridcovok “the Squid.” The crew noticed him again, in a booth by the bar surrounded by half a dozen female barflies.

Then a tall, human woman with blonde hair approached their table. She claimed to be Sridcovok's wife, and she offered to take the crew to the miner, who was being held in the basement below the bar. The crew happily obliged. Along the way, she explained that the miner, Kamiroz, has important information that he said he’d only share with the Princess, but Sridcovok’s interrogators beat the info out of him. When Sridcovok discovered that others were looking for the miner, including a number of salvagers and bounty hunters and even an Inquisitor Lord, he locked Kamiroz up for safekeeping. Sridcovok hopes to bargain with all the different interested parties so he can get the best deal for his hostage.

Unfortunately for him, Sridcovok’s wife led the crew of the Embar downstairs into the cantina’s basement, which featured a different sort of entertainment that catered more to visiting spacers than locals: gambling and spice. Dozens of customers lounged down there amid a heavy fog of spice. Beyond the spice den was another room wherein a pair of Gamorreans snorted and squealed at the banger race on the holovid. They both hauled themselves to their feet to challenge the newcomers. Shakka’teksa convinced them to let her have a peek into the next room, which indeed held the miner.

A brawl ensued. Tyron Corso gave one of the Gamorreans a one-two punch that left the porcine guard unconscious. The other Gamorrean took a beating from Neo and Shakka’teksa before Ingo just shot him. At the sound of gunfire, the denizens of the spice den panicked. Captain Ryku reassured them, but one guy foolishly shot his blaster, too. More panic followed.

Pretty soon, Sridcovok the Squid showed up with his goons. Ryku unleashed his sonic blaster that took most of them out right away. As the other goons filed into the room, Tyron and Neo shot them down. Shakka’teksa freed Kamiroz. Meanwhile Charl wrestled with a frenzied spicehead woman.

The crew managed to get Kamiroz upstairs to the street… where a bounty hunter in Mandalorian armor awaited them. She demanded they hand over the miner, threatening them with a stun grenade. Shakka’teksa catcalled at her, which infuriated her enough to draw her pistol and fire at the Twi'lek. Ryku closed the distance and shot at her. Tyron fired his rifle, too, but managed to only graze her armor. Neo's blaster shots knocked her down, stunning her.

A nearby squad of stormtroopers heard the commotion and rushed in to check it out. Ryku convinced them that his crew were but innocent bystanders who'd been attacked by the bounty hunter. As the stormtroopers moved to apprehend her, the bounty hunter used her jetpack to escape.

The crew, along with Cassus and Ingo, made their way back to the hangar. But then they fought over who's ship they would take Kamiroz on. Eventually Ryku and Cassus challenged each other to a good old fashioned duel. Ryku shot first, ruining his opponent's weapon with his blaster-buster gun. Cassus and his crew fled to their ship.

Charl had the Embar running and ready to go. Ryku, Tyron, Neo, Shakka’teksa, and Zaz Kamiroz boarded and blasted off.

Walking in the Graveyard

After rescuing Zaz Kamiroz, the intrepid crew of the Embar took to hyperspace, heading for the Graveyard of Alderaan, a great asteroid field that was once the planet Alderaan. While they had originally been paid to deliver the miner to the retired general Locus Geen, the crew instead decided to investigate Kamiroz's claim that the miners of Alderaan had found the remains of the Royal Palace.

Along the way, Shakka'teksa made some repairs to the ship, Charlemagne tended to his garden, Neo meditated, Doctor Doyaahb told Tyron Corso all about his uncle Yarold Doy's acting career, and 4Q2 smoked a bunch of cigars in the bathroom.

Once the crew entered the Alderaan asteroid field, they began picking up signals from navigation beacons. 4Q2 discovered a bit too late that most of the beacons were either damaged or missing, so the signals were very unreliable. But thanks to Charlemagne's slick piloting skills, the Embar made it through the asteroid field to the Mining Outpost unscathed.

Captain Ryku instructed Charl to fly casual as he hailed the outpost over the comm. No response. He tried again, and this time a broken message came through: "Please help … droids … murdered everyone … Inquisitor …"

Tyron excitedly locked and loaded his rifle as Charl set down inside the outpost's hangar, which was littered with dead bodies and blasted starship parts. Zaz Kamiroz feared the worst. He suggested that maybe the Imperials came here looking for the Royal Palace, too.

Captain Ryku, Tyron, Shakka'teksa, Neo, and Charl disembarked the ship with Zaz, leaving the doctor and droid behind to salvage parts from the wreckage.

The crew found the outpost's command quarters with humble apartments within, and a storage room with mining equipment, including vibropicks, power shovels, and power hammers; they also found the life support system, as well as an asteroid tracking and mapping station. A security droid suddenly descended from a turbo-lift, but was quickly turned to slag by the crew's blasterfire. They decided to make haste in their search here for the Royal Palace's coordinates.

Upstairs they found another storage room, this one containing stocks of food, water, and other necessities. Poking his head out into the corridor, Neo spotted another security droid patrolling the area on high alert; he whispered for Tyron to come check it out. The security droid noticed them and scuttled over, its blaster turret swiveling toward the door. After exchanging a few shots back and forth, it was Shakka'teksa who blew the droid's data-brain out.

Once they found the mainframe computer room, the Twi'lek was able to access the mining log which contained the coordinates of the Royal Palace — Asteroid 7785!

Nextdoor was the outpost command center, but even though the lock had been damaged, the door was barricaded from the inside. Ryku knocked on the door. Somebody hiding on the other side moved the barricades aside and let them all in. It turned out to be the foreman of the mining outpost, Kathos Loof, who explained what had happened here. He said that he didn’t know what the Imperial survey team discovered out in the asteroid field, but he heard lots of rumors. After the survey team left, a platoon of stormtroopers showed up, led by an Inquisitor named Renn Saul and an Imperial Agent named Brie. All the workers here were slaughtered. The Inquisitor accessed the computers, apparently found what he needed, and then he and his retinue left. Kathos begged for the crew to get him out of here.

Shakka'teksa tried slicing the computers here and, with a little help from Tyron, Neo, and the captain, found the Inquisitor's long-range transmission sent to Darth Vader. Apparently the sith lord was on his way to this mining outpost even now!

Captain Ryku ordered everyone back to the ship. As the Embar pulled away from the hangar, Charl detected another ship entering the asteroid field…

The Secret of Alderaan

As the crew of the Embar navigated their way through the asteroid field on their way to the asteroid designated as 7785, another ship intercepted them. This other ship appeared to be a cross between a light freighter and a starfighter. In any case, the ship made straight for them! Captain Ryku ordered evasive maneuvers and full engine power, hoping to outrun them.

Suddenly, a pair of droid-piloted mining ships appeared and fired upon the Embar with militarized mining lasers! Charl managed to outmaneuver them while Tyron blasted away with the turret gun. Their ship took some light hull damage, but the real problem came when the sublight drives overheated from the stress of barreling through the asteroid field at high power. And then a solid hit by the mystery ship took out the Embar's shields. The captain ordered 4Q2 to go down and fix the shields. The droid protested, "Sure, send the robot! This is the worst kind of discrimination!" but after Ryku threatened him, the droid did as he was told. Neo went to check on the engine, which was steaming and sparking dangerously.

Two more mining ships showed up, all firing lasers at the Embar while the mystery ship fired its ion cannons. 4Q2 wasn't able to get the shields up, so Ryku had to go down there and do it himself. Neo replaced the heat sinks and got the engine working at full power again. Meanwhile, Charl weaved and dodged around asteroids, trying to evade their attackers and give Tyron clear shots with the turret.

The crew managed to destroy or disable all four of the droid mining ships, and Tyron's precise shots also took out the mystery ship's ion cannon. The ship veered away and disappeared from view. Charl ran the scanners twice but couldn't locate their foe.

Asteroid 7785 loomed ahead. After landing their ship inside a huge cave, Captain Ryku asked everyone except 4Q2 and Doctor Doyaahb to disembark and check it out. Atmosphere generators within the cave provided some safety from the vacuum of space. Tyron Corso led the way into the darkness. Ahead, he noticed a faint red glow.

After exploring the cavern complex a little bit, the crew discovered a damaged droid lying in the middle of a large open area. At the rear of the cave, partially hidden behind rubble, they found the entrance to the Royal Palace — a door made of finely-engraved metal.

Without warning, a dozen stormtroopers showed up, filing into the cave and aiming their blasters at the crew! A blonde woman wearing all black armor demanded that the crew lay down their weapons and surrender. Ryku tried negotiating with her, and in so doing learned that she was in fact an Imperial Intelligence Agent named Shira Elan Colla Brie.

Neo gasped when he recognized her, and she seemed to recognize him as well.

Charl drew his blaster pistol and shot the disabled droid, which caused it to explode, incinerating half the stormtroopers and knocking the rest of them away. The entire cave rumbled and shuddered. As the dust settled, blasterfire filled the cavern. Tyron chucked a demolition charge and caused more explosions. The stormtroopers retreated back into the previous cavern where the Embar was docked, and where the rest of the stormtroopers moved in to reinforce their comrades. Charl radioed for 4Q2 to take off so their ship wouldn't be compromised. Tyron set off another demolition charge that caved in the tunnel leading back there, thus separating the crew from the rest of the stormtrooper platoon.

As the cavern rumbled some more, and stalagtites and chunks of rock fell from the ceiling, the crew looked to the Royal Palace door as their only hope of escape.

The Royal Palace

With the only exit they knew of blocked by a small army of stormtroopers, Captain Ryku and his crew entered the Royal Palace of Alderaan, searching for both the secret they came to uncover and another way out of here.

Passing through the huge palace doorway, the crew entered a vast hall displaying a number of statues, holo-art, sculptures, and other objects dedicated to the creative spirit of Alderaan. The next door they opened revealed a deadly Seugathi feasting upon the body of a dead miner. As everyone pulled out their weapons to fight the creature, Tyron slammed the door shut and Neo used his lightsaber as a welder to further secure the door.

Continuing their exploration of the palace, the crew discovered many ruined offices and even a library, but they didn't find much of value still intact here. Eventually they did find a secret room that contained a suit of Massassi Ceremonial Armor, which the captain claimed for himself. They found a droid bay, which Shakka'teksa thoroughly looted.

Once they reached the grand hall, with its double rows of giant columns and an archway spanning a deep chasm, the crew was surprised to meet somebody else here: the Inquisitor Lord Renn Saul.

Saul's lightsaber burned bright red as he taunted Neo, claiming that he was here to finish what Lord Vader should have finished years ago. He challenged Neo to a duel, but Neo refused.

Suddenly, blasterfire lit up the hall! As Ryku, Tyron, Charl, Shakka, and Neo dove for cover, another crew of spacers showed up. These guys had followed the Embar here and were determined to loot the palace themselves. Their captain, Belinda Vog, shouted for the competition to leave now. A deadly firefight ensued, during which Inquisitor Saul used his dark force powers to collapse various columns — one of which almost killed Ryku. Tyron hurled a demolition charge at the Inquisitor, but Saul stopped it in mid-air and it detonated, blowing up more of the room but not its intended target. After exchanging shots back and forth for a while, the other salvager crew pulled back and retreated.

Inquisitor Lord Saul turned away, disappointed, and slipped into the shadows across the bridge.

As silence filled the hall once more, Captain Ryku's crew helped him out from under the rubble of a column and tended to his injuries. Neo tried first aid on Tyron but messed up and caused more damage to the mercenary's wounds.

Further exploration of the palace led them to more offices, meeting chambers, storage rooms, a dining hall and a lounge, and eventually a huge amphitheater. Here, they met the hologram of an old man who explained that he was simply a member of the Council of Elders who was off-planet the day the Death Star appeared. He returned now — or, rather, his image returned — to do what Bail Organa was going to do when he sent his daughter after General Obi-Wan Kenobi. "I am going to give the Alliance Alderaan’s greatest gift," he said, "and its greatest shame." A secret door in the back of the room opened up.

Beyond, the Embar's crew found a chamber that looked like a room in a museum. In the center of the room stood a droid with human bones inside of it. The droid suddenly came to life, moving aggressively toward the crew! Seated in the center of the skeleton within the droid was a small crystal that glowed a faint bronze/red color: the Heart of the Guardian. After battling and disabling the droid, Neo yanked the crystal out and examined it. He remembered from his studies that the Heart was one of two legendary crystals that Revan obtained near the end of his quest to find and destroy the Star Forge. It was believed that the Heart was involved in the founding of the Jedi Order. According to prophecies of the Order, the Heart would appear at the time of greatest turmoil and help in bringing the galaxy into salvation. However, the Sith also believed it to be an object of their heritage, which in turn would bring about their domination of known space. Neo decided he would add the crystal to his lightsaber, which would amplify its damage output.

Also in the room was the Belt of Master Bodo Bas, a Force-infused item that adds to its wearer's strength.

Captain Ryku and Tyron found the tunnel that Belinda Vog's crew had fled through. The tunnel led to a small opening on the side of the asteroid, which was still thankfully enveloped in a bubble atmosphere. Charl called 4Q2 to bring the ship around and pick them up.

StarForge Station

After their adventures in the Alderaan Graveyard, the crew of the Embar headed to a remote criminal outpost to rest and recuperate and to upgrade their gear — StarForge Station.

Deep in the heart of Ado Sector’s StarForge Nebula is StarForge Station, a thorn in the side of the Empire. StarForge Station was originally one of thousands of small planetoids tumbling through the ancient nebula, slowing orbiting a gravity point and destined to one day become a star. The fringes of the nebula have been used as a hiding zone by pirates and smugglers for years. Today, the station boasts facilities for medium freighters and small capital ships, dozens of warehouses, repair bays, cyberdocs, arms dealers, restaurants, a casino, permanent living quarters, and the pride of the station: StarForge Shipyard, run by the notorious Chidee Na Maak.

The Station is known by the Empire to exist, but remains for two reasons. The first reason is because most of the Imperial Moff’s assets are tied up in engaging Alliance forces in this sector. Secondly, the StarForge Nebula is a vast, sensor-muddling, comm-jamming cloud of seething matter; navigating it is difficult, and finding the Station even more so since it moves around.

Doctor Doyaahb explained that he has a gambling problem, so it would be best if he stayed on the ship. 4Q2, however, had no such qualms about exploring this hive of scum and villainy.

While the rest of the crew kicked back at a StarForge cantina named Galaxy Seven, they found a couple different jobs. One unscrupulous merchant offered to pay 10,000 credits for Captain Ryku to haul 50 tons of maranium ore to his contact on the Inner Rim planet Barlok. The second job was offered by a pair of Jawas who wished to book passage back to Tatooine in the Outer Rim; they were willing to pay 8,000 credits. The crew talked it over, arguing over which of the two jobs to accept.

Suddenly, a dying pilot burst into the cantina. He asked around desperately for anyone who knew the crew of the Embar. He claimed to be Willy Boom, an old friend of Tyron Corso and one of the few remaining Churhee’s Riflemen. When Tyron finally revealed himself, Willy, pushed a large gold coin into the mercenary’s hand and told him to "beware the droid." Neo attempted first aid on Willy but the pilot's wounds were too severe.

A gang of well-equipped pirates sauntered into the cantina, brandishing guns and demanding that Willy Boom turn himself in. Willy said that he’d hold them off while the crew escaped, but Tyron and the others refused to allow it. They shoved Willy under the table and tried to play it cool. Meanwhile, the pirates bullied and intimidated the cantina patrons. Captain Ryku addressed them defiantly, asking what they were after. The pirates admitted that they were only here to retrieve the coin. A firefight ensued.

Ryku, Tyron, Charl, Shakka'teksa, and Neo easily defeated the pirates. Only one pirate had actually been killed, however — the rest of them retreated outside. During the battle, Willy succumbed to his wounds and died.

Eager to sell off their loot from the Royal Palace, the crew headed over to an "art dealer" named Slai Fon, a Rodian merchant of ill repute. Through him, the crew learned that Tyron’s coin was actually an encoded holographic projector. He offered to activate it for a price, but Shakka did it herself. The coin showed a star map that showed the way to a vast wealth of treasure on Tantajoc V, an uninhabited jungle planet in the Mid Rim. Shakka noted that the coin could also be inserted into a ship’s navcomputer. Slai Fon offered to buy the coin from the crew for 50,000 credits but they refused.

Next the crew went shopping for better armor. The only place anyone pointed them to was an arms dealer named "Prince" Moosa Shamsher. Tyron heard about this guy. Shamsher’s business dealt in galactic weaponry, including landspeeders, walkers, and all manner of personal weapons and armor. Almost as renowned as Shamsher’s arms dealings was his love of excess: he was rumored to own a fleet of a hundred sail barges and skiffs that included Gefferon Pleasure Craft models and he wore Jorallan-opal-encrusted shoes valued at 2 million credits. Moosa’s establishment was well guarded. He certainly had the money to throw around, so he payed for only the best security. His stock included all common and uncommon personal equipment; additionally, he could special order anything more rare than that. After equipping themselves with better gear, the crew finally headed over to the Shipyard.

4Q2 wandered around StarForge Station drinking a bottle of Muon Gold like a tourist. He found a vending machine that sold cheap musical instruments. It was then the droid remembered his lifelong dream of being in a band. While using his computer skills to slice the machine, a pair of security thugs caught him. They chased him for a few blocks but eventually lost him in the crowd.

The Shipyard was recently established by a Duros named Chidee Na Maak, a starshipwright with years of experience constructing knockoff ships and translating client’s original "designs" into working starships. When the crew arrived, they noticed that Chidee's three spacedocks were constantly busy, and after talking with him they learned that there was an average three-month-wait-list. However, Chidee turned out to be one of Ryku's biggest fans. He heard about the former marshall's reputation on Gibad, and the scandalous rumors of the virus that wiped out a colony there. The Empire blamed Ryku for it, but Chidee said he didn't believe Imperial propaganda. Even though his waiting list was months long, Chidee offered to bump Ryku to the front of the line. The crew pooled their money together and purchased an Arakyd Morne-3 Concussion Missile Launcher and a couple dummy missiles.

Confident that they had everything they needed for now, the crew decided they would use Willy's coin to find the treasure on Tantajoc V.

Tantajoc V

Once they learned that Willy Boom’s coin was actually a holographic projector, showing a star map that led to the location of a vast wealth of treasure on Tantajoc V, the crew of the Embar set a course for the Halori Sector. Charl the pilot knew that Tantajoc V had a breathable atmosphere, a tropical climate, a bright sun, and slightly less gravity than the galactic standard.

When they arrived in the Halori Sector, comm picked up another starship’s emergency beacon for a short amount of time. Before 4Q2 could narrow down an exact location, the beacon went silent. With a bit more dabbling on the computer, the droid discovered that the distress beacon went silent because the ship it came from got sucked into a black hole!

As this was a relatively new black hole in the sector, it had only just begun pulling the nearby Ubuuga Cloud into itself, giving it a faint glow that would otherwise have make the black hole invisible. Thanks to Charl's expert piloting skills, the Embar managed to break away from the black hole’s gravitational grip, using the sublight drives to take them to Tantajoc V. But now they raced against time. In two days, the black hole would tear gas from the outer gas giant planets in the  Tantajo system. This would cause a noticeable accretion disk, a region of super-heated dust and gas, that would form around the black hole. Then the terrifying power of the black hole would be all too visible from Tantajoc V. In another three days, the intense gravitational pull of the black hole would tear the tropical planet asunder, causing devastating earthquakes and supervolcanoes. So the crew had less than five days to find this treasure.

As the planet looked to be packed with dense vegetation and jagged cliffs, and sensors didn't pick up any signs of civilizations, the only safe place to land the ship was on the beach. When the hatch opened, hot humid air blasted the crew's faces. The  thick, menacing woods  and  wild  stone  spires, and the surf that the crew could both see and hear foaming and thundering on the steep beach, the sun shining bright and hot, and the shore birds fishing and crying all around, hinted at the alien and deadly environment. Doctor Doyaahb begged to come along. Captain Ryku allowed it, as this would be the Mon Calamaari's first away mission. 4Q2 complained that the planet was a deathworld and he'd be happy to stay behind and be in charge of "not dying." The captain told him to stay and guard the ship.

From their landing zone on the beach, the crew made their way through the jungle to the general area designated by the coin. They crossed a marshy tract full of odd, outlandish, swampy  trees; and ventured between two craggy peaks shining vividly in the sun. The uncomfortable heat and humidity, and all the bugs, proved to be more than a minor nuisance. Eventually they reached a long ravine between the piers and columns of torn and weathered rock; a shallow stream bubbled along before them. Three large birds that Charl identified as Croator were busy catching fish by the water. When the crew approached, however, the territorial birds attacked!

While combating the Croator, half a dozen arachnid-type creatures scuttled down along the cliff face to engage the crew as well. Captain Ryku identified these new foes as Raen Sovra, also known as "electrocution spiders." At the sight of the Sovra, the Croator turned and fled. The crew dispatched the spiders and then finished off the retreating birds. Ryku shook his head as he examined the dead spiders. The spread of the Sovra through the galaxy has been likened to that of a disease. They are attracted to any starships that land on the planet and often enter these ships, looking for energy on which to feed. In many cases, Sovra remain undetected on these ships when they leave the planet. Although some ships are destroyed in hyperspace when the Sovra consume more energy than the ship can spare, many of the ships are able to reach their destinations. The Sovra then, feeding on the massive amounts of electricity generated in a starport, breed, multiply and infect other ships.

Neo noticed movement up on the cliff, and spied a cave about fifty feet up. Ryku explained that since the Sovra are attracted to metal and electricity, it would only stand to reason that the lost Velmar starship (and its treasure) must be close. Tyron, the best climber in the party, took a length of synthrope and made his way up the cliff. Once he'd hauled himself into the cave, he lowered the rope so the others could follow.

 Just as he was about to start climbing, Captain Ryku received a call from 4Q2 requesting his presence back on the ship. The captain headed back there immediately. On the way, a vaguely humanoid insect creature leaped with great speed behind the trunk of a tree. Ryku skidded to a halt and drew his pistol, but the figure had disappeared. He looked behind him over his shoulder, then continued to retrace his steps in the direction of the Embar. Suddenly the figure reappeared, and making a wide circuit, began to head him off. Now Ryku could make out more details: muscular bipedal limbs, compound bug-eyes, and two antennae. Ryku aimed his weapon at the stranger, who then threw himself on his knees and held out his hands in surrender. The bug-man explained frantically that his name was Jedidiah, a Velmoc and servant of Prince Denid, exiled heir to the throne of Velmar. The starship that brought them here contained a large portion of Velmar's royal treasury.

A sudden BOOM! in the direction of the Embar interrupted their conversation. Jedidiah bolted into the trees, gone once more. Ryku continued on his way, though now he was running at full speed toward the beach.

The Prince of the Planet

The Raen Sovra tunnel yawned into darkness, where the rags of great webs blew and swayed in the stifling hot airs. It was ominously quiet and dark in there. While everyone else got out their glowrods, Neo illuminated the way with his red lightsaber. The crew of the Embar continued into the cave. They heard a lot of faraway skittering, and even more dreadful sounds in the heavy silence: gurgling, bubbling noises, and long venomous hisses.

The cavern system was a maze. The crew turned down a narrow path, and suddenly five Sovra ambushed them from above! It was a desperate struggle in the gloom, but our intrepid crew worked together as a team and came out victorious. Shakka'teksa was badly injured during the fight, but Doctor Doyaahb took care of her. "I'm afraid the Twi'lek lost a lot of juice," he said. "You may feel a slight sawing."

Pushing onward, they found a large cavern full of Sovra eggs, as well as four more of the electrocution spiders guarding the nest.

Once they had cleared this room, killing all the spiders and smashing the eggs, the crew settled down to catch their breath for an hour. Doctor Doyaahb expressed his appreciation for being allowed to come along on this adventure.

Toward the end of their rest they heard blasterfire back the way they'd come. Knowing that this planet had no advanced civilizations, they all assumed this had to be either the captain, 4Q2, or some offworlders. They readied their weapons just in case. And sure enough, rounding the corner in the cave appeared a ragtag group of spacers. They looked aggressive… and awfully familiar. Shakka'teksa recognized them as the same pirates who burst into Galaxy Seven at StarForge Station, demanding Willy Boom's holoprojector coin. This time the pirates demanded the treasure. Neo expressed his amusement that they dared mess with he and his crew again. Tyron pulled out a couple grenades and combat started.

The close combat battle was fierce enough, and then more Raen Sovra showed up, attracted to all the energy in the area. Our intrepid crew finally dispatched the pirates. Shakka was webbed and almost dragged away by the spiders, but Doctor Doyaahb and Charl came to her rescue. Tyron and Neo pursued the one pirate who retreated back into the tunnels, eventually shooting him down.

Exploring the caverns further, they discovered another larger egg nest and a huge Raen Sovra spider queen! Her webs and bites were nasty. After the crew lit her up with their blasters, Tyron finished her off with his vibroblade. Then they spotted a pair of cocooned figures lying in the back of the room. Tyron ripped the webbing open to reveal a bug-eyed humanoid and a female pirate who'd been captured earlier by the spiders. Neo immediately suggested killing the pirate, but the others disagreed. The pirate begged for her life, saying her name was Viera and she promised to serve them as a janitor or servant or anything they wanted if they let her live. She admitted that she's part of Ardeth Misk's crew of revolutionaries who wanted the treasure here to help fund their continued fight against the Empire. Tyron thought he recognized that name, Misk, and so he convinced the others to bring Viera back to the captain for more questioning.

Meanwhile, nobody could understand what the other freed prisoner was saying. Viera didn't know him, so he wasn't part of Misk's crew. Shakka used gestures and her high charisma to communicate with him, learning that he's some sort of royalty and his ship crashed here. He asked where his companion was but nobody knew the answer to that one. Neo wondered if this guy might be the exiled Prince Denid from Velmar. If that was the case, then perhaps this alien knew where the royal treasure was! And indeed he did! Denid showed the crew a tunnel leading to the surface, to the top of the cliff where his ruined ship lay. He explained with gestures that his ship's pieces had scattered all over this area when it crashed. The cargo pods ended up in a lagoon nearby.

Shakka radioed 4Q2 to bring the ship around to help pick up the treasure, but the droid confessed that "we're boned." He and the captain had been captured by Ardeth Misk's crew. He said that Misk's ship was much bigger than the Embar, and the crew much wealthier. Neo asked how many members Misk had left. 4Q2 responded that it was around thirty. Then the transmission ended.

Neo declared that they should go get the treasure before Misk does. Prince Denid led them to the lagoon. But the cargo pods were underwater. Doctor Doyaahb excitedly volunteered to go down and check it out. Charl knew of of an indigenous plant that he could turn into a smoothie, which would confer the ability to breathe underwater. After a little bit of time, everyone drank Charl's concoction and then dove into the lagoon to search for the treasure. They were gone a long time. They finally found the cargo pods, but they were all empty. Prince Denid was baffled. The treasure was gone!

When they swam back to the surface, a demoralizing surprise awaited them. Ardeth Misk and the rest of his crew, about thirty bad-tempered revolutionaries, stood there waiting for them. Captain Ryku and 4Q2 were both here, too, as hostages.

"Well, here it is," said Misk with a smug grin. "We want that treasure, and we'll have it! If you value the lives of your captain and your droid, I reckon they're yours. But we'll take the treasure, thank you."

4Q2 stabbed a metal finger at his crewmates. "I blame all of you for this!"

The Fall of a Chieftan

The cargo pods scattered around the lagoon were all empty. The treasure was gone. There never was such an overturn in this world. Each of the thirty revolutionaries acted as though he’d been struck. But with Captain Ardeth Misk the blow passed almost instantly. Every thought of his soul had been set full-stretch on that money; he needed it to continue the revolution against the Empire. He kept his head, found his temper, and changed his plan before the others had time to realize the disappointment.

“Ryku, old friend,” he whispers, “take that, and stand by for trouble.” And he passes the captain a double-barrelled shotgun. At the same time, Misk quietly moved in the direction of the beach, and in a few steps put cover between himself and the rest of his crew.

The crew of the Kraken, with oaths and cries, began to leap, one after another, into the water. One revolutionary named Morgan found a piece of gold. He held it up with a perfect spout of oaths. It was a Velmar trade coin, and it passed from hand to hand among them for a couple rounds.

“One Velmar trade coin!” roared a Gungan named Merkak, shaking it at Misk. “That’s your royal treasury, is it? You’re the man for bargains, ain’t you? You’re him that never bungled nothing, you wooden-headed go tsao de!”

“Swim away, boys,” said Misk, lighting a cigar with the coolest insolence; “you’ll find more coins and gems and I shouldn’t wonder.”

“Coins and gems!” repeated Merkak in a scream. “Mates, do you hear that? I tell you now, that man there knew it all along. Look in the face of him and you’ll see it wrote there.”

Everyone was entirely in Merkak’s favour. They began to scramble out of the water, darting furious glances around them.

At last Merkak seemed to think a speech might help matters. “Mates,” said he, drawing his blaster and vibroblade, “there’s only eight of them there; one’s the old has-been that brought us all here and blundered us down to this; the other’s that marshal that I mean to have the heart of. Now, mates—”

The Gungan raised his arm and his voice, and plainly meant to lead a charge. But just then — crack! crack! crack! — three blaster-shots flashed out of the thicket. Merkak tumbled backward into the shallows; another revolutionary spun round and fell all his length upon his side, where he laid dead but still twitching.

Ardeth Misk drew a brace of pistols and gave the struggling Merkak both barrels. At the same moment, the miner Zaz Kamiroz and Kathos Loof the foreman of the Alderaan mining outpost joined the fight, with smoking blasters, from among the trees.

Tyron Corso hurled a grenade into the thick of the revolutionaries, causing more chaos. While everyone leaped into cover, Captain Ryku used his shotgun to jury-rig one of the cargo barrels to explode. Then he kicked it into their foes, diving behind a boulder himself. 4Q2 pulled a blaster out of his secret leg compartment and went to town killing Humans as his maniacal laughter filled the air.

As explosions and blasterfire lit up the area, Shakka'teksa cried, "Retreat! There are too many of them!" And the crew set off at a great pace, plunging through the bushes to the Embar. Misk ran to keep up with them.

Exhausted and injured as they were, the crew managed to make it to the beach where the Embar and a shuttlecraft from the Kraken awaited — as well as four more revolutionaries. Charl and Neo sprinted into the ship, the pilot to the cockpit and the Force adept to the turret, providing covering fire while his companions caught up. After everyone was inside, Charl got the Embar airborne and maneuvered the craft sideways so Tyron on the other turret could fire at the shuttle as it, too, took off.

Then a host of angry revolutionaries burst out from the trees, shouting and shooting. Ryku ordered the missile launcher be armed. 4Q2 volunteered to be the one to fire it, turning their pursuers into a giant smoking crater.

Captain Ryku ordered Charl to set down on a high cliff somewhere so they could take a moment to assess the situation. He offered his old friend free reign of the kitchen while he addressed his crew. Once Misk had left, he then related in a few words what had taken place in his absence. Jedidiah, in his long, lonely wanderings about the island, had found the cargo pods — it was he that had rifled them; he had found the treasure; he had brought it up; he had carried it on his back, in many weary journeys, from the shores of the lagoon to a cave he had on the two-pointed hill at the north-east angle of the island, and there it had lain stored in safety since two months before the arrival of the Embar. When the captain had wormed this secret from him on the afternoon of the attack, and when that same day he was captured by Misk , given him the coordinates, which were now useless.

"Ah," said Misk, returning with a steaming mug of coffee, "it were fortunate for me that I had Ryku here. You would have let old Ardeth be cut to bits by me own crew, and never given it a thought, old friend."

Shakka'teksa distracted Ardeth Misk in her quarters while the rest of the crew went out to Jedidiah's cave to retrieve the royal treasure. And indeed, what a haul it was! Tankards, scepters, gems, jewelry, trade bars and coins, and even a Jedi holocron!

After all the loot had been stowed safely away in the Embar's cargo holds, Captain Ryku asked Misk to join him in the mess hall for a drink, whence he got his old friend verily drunk. They hailed the Kraken, which was still in orbit around Tantajoc V, and were given permission to dock. Misk was concerned that the remainder of his crew might become just as mutinous as those down on the planet after they learned that there was no treasure. Ryku offered him a plan. They told the crew of the Kraken that most of the treasure yet remained behind on the planet and they should all pile into a shuttle to go down and retrieve it. With a resounding huzzah! the revolutionaries did just that. Ryku then told Misk that he should go down and make sure to set his crew off in a direction that'll get them lost, then to return to the Kraken.

As soon as the shuttle left the bubble shield, Tyron climbed into one of the Kraken's turrets and fired a turbo double laser cannon at it, blasting the shuttle to smithereens.


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