Our gang of intrepid interstellar terrorist and thieves gathered once more one Tattooine, again at the behest of Jeffa the Hutt. Though his palace (and most of his world possessions within) was destroyed by the Firehawk during the battle over Nal Hutta, the hutt still wanted to try and reward the jerks who had at least kept him alive in some manner. He decided to slip along a juicy lead on a sweet salvage haul his agents had heard of. The group got what little Jeffa had to go on and trekked out to the Wheel, a semi-independent space station in the Mid Rim. There they were to meet up with Reom, a Twi’lik with inside information on the whereabouts of the long lost cruiser Sa Nalaor said to contain riches in credits and Old Republic tech.
The Wheel itself is a large staple in this region of space. Offering an unofficial neutral zone from the various political powers, most recently the Empire, has its merits to some of the scum of the galaxy like our crew and their target Reom. Turns out he’s president of a cybernetics company called Isotek, who pulls most of their new merchandise from ancient salvage operations or alien vessels. Reom himself seems unlike the president of a high tech hardware company and more a swaggering pirate, complete with hilarious bird-lizard on his shoulder!
So Reom gives them the skinny of the mission. During the closing days of the Clone Wars a few members of the Trade Federation saw they were on the losing side and decided to hedge their bets. They loaded the Sa Nalaor with as much untraceable credits and riches as possible and sent it out to the Wilderness Space to wait for shit to cooool out in case the soon-to-be Imperial Army started seizing assets after their victory. This is exactly what happened as the Emperor consolidated his wins into a tightly controlled empire, so it sounded like a good idea at the time. That is of course until something went wrong on the journey, and the Sa Nalaor was never heard from again. Until almost 30 years later, when an inert emergency beacon claiming to be from the ship turns up. As if that wasn’t odd enough, it was addressed to Ropok, Reom’s father who’s now deceased. Reom theorizes another idea, which is that the Federations best cybernetic developments were hidden on the ship as well to keep it out of the Empire’s hands. He isn’t sure what his dad had to do with any of it, but this is what he wants more than any pile of credits, and sets it as the primary objective of the journey.
The terms are head to Cholganna, the planet that the beacon seems to have come from and find the last resting site of the Sa Nalaor. Get up in that bitch and take anything not bolted down, but especially anything related to cybernetic research. To keep them honest, Reom is sending his personal droid IT-3PO to tag along. Once TPO verifies the goods are located, he’ll send an encrypted message to Reom, and then Reom will send the crew coordinates to his main depot for payout. He tells the crew to get supplied and ready to roll, TPO will meet them at their hangar in a few hours. Till then, they need to watch who they talk to on the station or every scumbag in the sector will be racing to Cholganna before they know it.
Walking out of the Isotech offices, everyone is high as balls at the idea of all that money, except Adria who feels like she’s being watched. This turns out to be true, as she spots a Rodian eyeing them across the promenade. But the crowd interferes in her crossing the path, and the stranger slips away down an alley before she makes it to him.
Bradrus consults an informational kiosk in the center of the thoroughfare. He’s cheerfully greeted by MasterCom, the AI that controls the inner workings of The Wheel’s day to day operations. Oh, hey MasterCom. Helpfully, the various shops on the hangar level are displayed. Bradrus decides to hit up Sonou’s Apparel first. The shop is well appointed, but doesn’t carry military grade light combat armor like Bradrus is trying to come across. The group picks up a couple of space suits in a disturbingly effective act of planning ahead, and arrange to have the suits dropped off at the Fang. Then they ask the owner Sonou a few questions. She’s polite, but doesn’t know much other than that Cholganna is an uncolonized fringe planet in the ass end of the galaxy. Oddly enough a few members of the Yiyar Clan were asking about the same planet earlier this week. And who are the Yiyar Clan? A pack of Rodian dickbags who are more likely to shove competition around at blaster point than work together on a salvage score. Zwuh oh!
With a name given to the competition, they go next to Farlander’s Outfitters. It’s run by a dude named Nolls who fancies himself a sort of space Hemmingway. Except rather than writing long form prose about the ponderous thoughts of man’s heart, he just goes around shooting deadly alien fauna in the face with a blaster rifle. He buys a pistol from Bardrus, but explains MasterCom, oh hey MasterCom, keeps tight regulations on what weapons are and aren’t allowed on the station for safety reasons so he can’t stock anything of a heavy space caliber. Jeffren notices the various stuffed animals in the store and asks about Nolls’ travels. Nolls knows of Cholganna but he’s never been there himself, and says it’s the homeworld of the deadly Nexu cat. If the crew is headed there, he’ll pay a nice reward for Nexu pelts in good condition.
The crew next heads to the Dented Droid. The place is kind of a wreck, and the proprietor Jillal San isn’t in the mood to chat. Jeffren asks about a motivator, and at first Jillal seems leery about having a rare model in stock but checks the inventory in the back. After a few moments she returns with a part in hand, saying they got lucky and she had one in stock. Adria looks it over, and she isn’t a mechanical genius but can tell the part Jillal is trying pass off isn’t of the highest quality and calls bullshit. Offended at the accusation, Jillal says she has more important matters to tend to and sees he group out.
Adria decides to look at the kiosk again. Hey MasterCom. She finds out that Cholganna is a planet, which helps immensely. She also learns there’s an inner sector of The Wheel containing upper crust shops and a few casinos, which immediately piques Jeffren’s interest but it seems you have to request entry at a security checkpoint before you’re allowed to go in. Adria considers slicing the terminal. But its in the middle of a crowded shopping complex and doesn’t want to draw attention to the group, so she decides against it and after sitting through yet another ad for Farlander’s Outiftters she moves on.
All this walking has made Jeffren thirsty and smell horrible, so next stop is the Blasted Asteroid cantina. It’s moderately busy for the middle of the day as the group saunters up to the bar. After ordering drinks, Leila tries some feminine wiles on the bartender. Let’s just say she’s barking up thewrong space tree. While being shot down, Adria notices a booth with a single human male sitting in it. Occasionally a patron will be seated into the booth, a conversation will take place, and a few moments later the patron will leave the human alone in the booth. After watching this a few times, she tries to eavesdrop on the discussion but can’t make it out in the din of the bar. Jeffren orders a second Correllian Ale and walks over to the booth. After an awkward introduction, the good ole’ Correllian Handshake once more opens the way for discussion! Turns out the guy is named Warrun, he’s an info merchant on the station. Jeffren hunkers up some cash to learn a little more. Warrun tells him that Cholganna is a notoriously dangerous jungle world in Wilderness Space and that there’s a good reason it’s uncolonized: not only is it in a nebula that’s difficult to navigate, but everything on its surface wants to kill you. He also says the rumors about the Sa Nalaor have been stirring up recently. If they are looking for more info on a route to Cholganna, they should talk to a guy named Charrel who works at Hal’s Parts (And More!). With another crotch-centric handshake they leave to follow up the lead.
Hal’s Parts (And More!) is a sort of pawn shop mixed with an outlet mall. So a shithouse of cheap low quality merchandise. Nobody wants to buy anything, especially after meeting Hal who seems to be a few cards short of a Sabbac deck. Eventually they find Charrel, and after getting some privacy they start discussing the info. The Sullustan claims he got his hands on the emergency beacon before it was turned over to Reom and was able to pull the hyperspace coordinates from its last jump. He’ll give them those coordinates for a price. Bradrus tries to negotiate a lower cost, but Charrel isn’t budging. Then Adria asks if Hal knows about Charrels little side business, and this bristles Charrel who makes a few threats of his own. But it’s starting to distract some customers and draw attention to him, so he says fine and agrees to a lower price. Offhandedly he remarks about losing out to another asshole too, and when the group inquires Charrel only says some pushy Rodian had come in earlier asking for the same info only with a blaster jabbed into his ribs. The group pays him and moves on.
Adria decides to head back to the Fang and prep for take off as the rest of the group stops by the last shop in the bay, Tasia’s Café. At the hangar, Adria spots a little droid leaving the ship. She inspects and doesn’t find anything out of the ordinary, but does find a package from Sonou’s Apparel left by the ramp containing the space suits so she stores them onboard. After a few moments she gets a comm buzz from TPO saying he’s outside the hangar waiting for entry into the bay.
Back at Tasia’s Café the group sees all kind of disparate people eating or simply conversing solemnly. The owner is named Brun Brux, who’s a Alderaanian expat. He explains that his café has become something of a rallying point for other Aleraanians who had become displaced since the Empire destroyed the planet. The relative autonomy of The Wheel allows them to meet up and express their disaffection in safety since an open retaliation would be strongly opposed by all parties on the station. Brux does say there was a recent show of force by the Empire when they claimed to be searching for wanted war criminals in relation to a recent attack on a fortified Imperial space facility. He warns that while the Stormtroopers may be gone, he’s certain ISB agents are still around and keeping tabs on everyone. Jeffren inquires about the Wheel’s Inner Sector, and this sends Brux on a big socialist rant about how even on a supposed ‘independent’ station like the Wheel the real ruler is credits. He disparages all of the people who hide inside their gilded cage behind MasterCom, you heard me MasterCom! Jeffren sort of stutters and says “Huh, yeah, pffft, who would want to go there?” in response.
Back in the hangar, Adria makes it to the blast doors to let TPO in. When she gets the open however, she sees a gang of Rodians loading a decommissioned TPO onto a gravsled. They brandish pistols at her and start to take off down the promenade with their prize, shouting for the crowd to get out of the way. Adria acts quick, calling Bradrus to let them know about the danger and then letting MasterCom, ugh HELLO MASTERCOM, know about the crime happening. Then she hops on another gravsled and gives very slow chase.
Back at Tasia’s Café, the crew can see the Rodians parting the panicked crowd as two Wheel Security officers pull out and give chase before quickly wrecking like idiots into the storefronts. Adria is behind them giving a tight pursuit. Jeffren looks around for something to impede the Rodains. To his left is a baby in a stroller. To his right, a large advertisement board for Tasia’s Café. He struggles internally for a brief moment, and faintly hears a ghostly voice that sounds eerily similar to Juice Dookdroppa moaning “Piiiick the baaaaaabyyyyy” but then he shakes his head and decides on the board. With all his might he picks it up and chucks it into the middle of the lane… then it lands on its side completely flat.
Luckily, Bradrus is there and bolts out into the street and sets up the board. But the gravsled is bearing down and crashes into it before Bradrus can completely clear it, injuring his knee. In a flash there are spilled Rodians and a droid all over the place. A firefight breaks out, and the gang succeeds in stunning a few of the thugs, and three of them help drag one down a side alley while the last one provides cover fire. Adria snipes him from behind his cover, but they hear sirens in the distance and there are dozens of witnesses in the shops seeing this unfold. Soon Reom is on the comms and demanding to know why the hell he’s seeing reports of a shoot out in the shopping sector all over the net?! He said to keep a lowprofile!
They decide to grab TPO and make it to the Fang before the security forces show up and start asking questions, leaving the Rodians behind. So with everyone back on the ship they stow the deactivated TPO and fire up the Kryat Fang, next stop Cholganna!