Star Wars - Geeks and Gamers Guild

Holocron, Chapter 3

(Opening Crawl)

Shadows of a Black Sun

It is a dark time for the galaxy. The city of Coruscant, once the glittering pearl of the Republic, now languishes under the shadow of the Galactic Empire. A bustling black market flourishes in the underworld, controlled by the notorious crime syndicate BLACK SUN.

Hired to infiltrate a Black Sun outpost and retrieve vital data on a bounty hunter who betrayed the PYKE crime family, a small group of enterprising individuals works rapidly to access the heavily encrypted Black Sun network as things take a turn for the worse…


“They’re coming!”

Pash was scrambling for the controls of the robohack even before the swoop bike’s blaster bolt took off half of the driver droid’s cranial turret. Pash recoiled as two long, hairy arms reached over the seat on either side of the droid. With a quick jerk, Tarwarrick the wookie heaved the remains of the droid over the side, making room for Pash to assume control of the careening airspeeder.

“Hold it steady!” Skara and Mathus were in the back seat of the hack, trying to brace themselves to take shots at their pursuers. The four swoop bikes weaved in and out of the heavy speeder traffic, making it impossible to fire accurately without hitting bystanders. The swoops seemed to have no such compunction, and fired at will.

“Pash! Try to- AHHH!”

Mathus’ yell was cut short as Pash suddenly jerked the speeder out of the designated traffic lane and into the narrow canyon between two of Coruscant’s many skyscrapers. The swoop bikes were forced brake hard and circle around before continuing the chase. Pash used that time to consider his options. The swoops were faster than the airspeeder and at least as maneuverable. He wouldn’t be able to lose them for long flying between buildings. What he needed was a place to hide.

“Hang on!”, the smuggler shouted as he put the speeder into a flat spin, rapidly shedding altitude. The wookie’s mournful wails rose above the sound of rushing air and the speeder’s straining engine. As they sank lower into Coruscant’s depths, the buildings began to get much closer together and more poorly maintained. Pash pulled out of the spin, got his bearings, and roared down a narrow alley. Behind them, Skara could see the swoop bikes dropping down to continue the pursuit.

Up ahead, the pilot noticed a large ventilation shaft missing it’s ray-shielded grating. Slamming the reverse thrusters, he was able to neatly corner the speeder into the shaft. Inside, it appeared big enough to continue flying, as long as he was mindful of the various projections and debris within the shaft. There was no sign of pursuit; Skara guessed the swoop bikes would be setting up a perimeter to spot the robohack once it emerged from its hiding spot.

The comlink on Mathus’ belt chimed loudly. It had been given to them by Ota in case their contact on Coruscant needed to reach them. “You sure are stirring up a lot of commotion for a simple slicing job”, a familiar voice told Mathus. “You’d best ditch that hack; Black Sun’s got an all-points out on it already. Every scrub in the sector is looking for it. Follow the shaft you’re in west as far as you can. I’ll have a ride waiting for you when you get there.” The comlink winked off.

“You heard the man”, Skara said as she began gathering up her gear. Pash grounded the speeder and the party continued on foot. After a time, Tarwarrick hooted a question. “Yeah, I feel it too”, Skara said.

“Those vibrations? What, maybe maintenance work? Some sort of subsonic generator?”, Pash guessed.

In response, Skara unlimbered her blaster rifle and assumed a ready position. The others hurried to follow suit. The vibrations got stronger, followed by the floor of the shaft before them erupting. Through the dust, the large, imposing figure of a duracrete slug loomed into view, moving to attack.

As he pulled his blaster pistol, Mathus reflected on the surreal events of the past week…


FLASHBACK

Pash and Mathus awoke in bacta tanks three days earlier. Apparently, their victory against Teemo the Hutt was stolen away from them at the last moment. Their former partners dead, they were found by the pilots of the Lucky Guess and brought to Duke Dimmock’s hive compound on Geonosis to recover. There they were greeted by the Bothan, Ota, who had set them on the path of vengeance against Teemo.

Ota was not alone. With him stood a wookie and a well-armed human female. Ota introduced the wookie as Lowhhrick’s brother, Tarwarrick, and the human as the bounty hunter Skara. Ota briefed the group on what’s been happening in the wake of Teemo’s demise. The price on the party’s head had been dropped. As yet, there was no word from the Hutts regarding Teemo’s end. The party only hoped that the crime lords were too busy splitting up Teemo’s territory to seek retribution for his death.

Ota offered the group a job, one which will come with a welcome change of scenery. The party is to travel to Coruscant and infiltrate a Black Sun computer facility. They are to download a specific piece of data and deliver it to a contact in the city. Mathus had some reservations about getting mixed up with Black Sun after having just (hopefully) gotten free of the Hutts. He decided to go along since the group had no other prospects. Ota gave them an advance to buy the equipment they will need for the job.

On approach to Coruscant, the Krayt Fang was attacked by pirates flying three Z95 Headhunters. The outdated fighters proved to be no match for the well-armed freighter. The party landed at a pre-arranged docking bay and set out for the Black Sun facility.

END FLASHBACK


The duracrete slug rose up to attack. However, the concentrated blaster fire from the party easily overwhelmed the beast, leaving it a stinking, smoldering husk. The party quickly moved on.

They soon arrived at the westernmost end of the ventilation shaft. Up ahead, an airspeeder was waiting. After checking it over, Mathus saw that nav coordinates had been pre-programmed in; to where, he had no idea. The party piled in and were whisked off to an industrial sector. They landed at what appeared to be a mechanic’s shop; several airspeeders in various states of disrepair were scattered around the lot surrounding a small shop building. The party exited the speeder and went inside.

Inside the dimly lit shop, a hairy, four armed creature awaited them. “Welcome to Choppers!”, he announced heartily. “Mathus, my boy, you sure do know how to stir up some trouble!” The creature stepped forward and wrapped Mathus in a brief four-armed hug. “Good to see you! I believe you have something for me?”

Mathus handed over the datacard, and Chopper slipped it into computer on the far wall. “It’ll take a few minutes to run the decryption algorithm. Luckily this is low level stuff, or we’d need a cryodex to decrypt it, and good luck finding one of those!”

“Chopper, what are you doing here?”

The besalisk looked over his shoulder and chuckled. “What, you think my whole life is running speeders and parts to Hutt outposts on the outer rim? In my line of work, it pays to diversify. This here is a perfectly legal speeder repair shop; I got a bunch of ‘em scattered over the planet. I also deal in all kinds of high end machinery; droids, bio-mechanics, data assessors, you name it. And from time to time, some important people may want equipment that’s difficult to trace, or to get rid of something without a fuss. So I help out.

“But where are my manners? Introduce me to your friends and tell me about your night’s adventure…” Mathus relayed their story, with the others filling in details as needed. After a short time, the computer beeped and they gathered around to see the contents of the datacard.

The information they’d extracted contained the identity of a nikto bounty hunter who betrayed the Pyke crime family. He had disappeared with a load of spice he was running for the Pykes, and was later found to have sold it to Black Sun. Records of the transaction were included in the data. The nikto’s name is Kaa’to Leechos, and the Pyke family is asking that the party pursue and capture the bounty hunter, alive if possible. For this, they will be duly rewarded.

Chopper sat back. “Leechos, eh? I’ve heard the name. He has a formidable reputation. Tough. Nasty. Best to be careful if you’ll be tangling with him.”

Other data on the card listed several possible contacts for the bounty hunter. The Umbra Club was a seedy deathstick parlor run by a creature named Speng, who had contacts with Leechos. The Spider was a sabaac club where information as well as credits were wagered. And Zelcom Tower was an upscale office/ residential building. Most of the upper office floors were home to Zelcom Industries, a shipping company run by a man named Corrum Sideum. The operation was believed to be a front for weapons smuggling. After talking it over, the party decided to visit the owner of the Umbra Club first. After a short rest, they borrowed a speeder from Chopper and headed down to the dingy depths of the city.

The Umbra Club was run down, with an elevated bar area on one side of the large room and several curtained alcoves on the other. Tables and chairs were scattered in the central sunken floor surrounding an empty dance platform. The few people in the club ignored the party as they entered. The smell of cheap liquor and deathstick hung in the air like a desperate promise.

Pash led the party to the bar and ordered drinks. Sliding the man an extra twenty creds, he inquired about Speng and a certain nikto he may know. The bartender confirmed Speng met recently with a nikto. Pash asked to meet Speng, and the bartender hesitated until Pash slid him another twenty.

“He’s here, but busy now.” The bartender nodded towards one of the curtained alcoves. “You can wait if you like, but it may be a while.”

After waiting a bit, Pash and Tarwarrick announced themselves at the alcoves doorway and the party entered. Speng dismissed the girl he was with and settled in with his back against the far wall. Pash and Mathus struck up a friendly conversation punctuated with credit notes while Skara and Tarwarrick stood imposingly in the background, keeping eyes on both the greasy human and the rest of the club.

After some prodding, Speng admited to meeting with Leechos, and discussing a spice purchase. Apparently Leechos held back some of the spice he was supposed to have given to Black Sun to sell for himself. Speng said he doesn’t know where Leechos is or when he’ll return to the Umbra.

After getting what they could from the proprietor, the party prepared to exit the bar to investigate The Spider. On their way out they bumped into a large, tough looking nikto who entered and took a seat at the bar. Glancing back at Speng, Pash got confirmation that this was indeed Leechos. The party followed him to the bar and attempted to get him outside on the pretext of having a bounty job for him. Leechos was immediately suspicious of the group and refused. Tarwarrick rumbled low in his throat while Skara casually displayed the blaster she was pointing at Leechos. The bounty hunter chuckled and showed them the armed thermal detonator he’d been holding since they approached him.

“Now unless you pukes want to be nothing but a stain on the walls of this fine establishment, I suggest you leave here before my drink arrives!”

The party left dejected, but perked up once Pash admited he slipped a tracker on the bounty hunter when they bumped him at the door. The party waited for Leechos to leave, then followed him towards Zelcom Tower.

The party raced there, trying to arrive before Leechos. On arrival, they found the ground level and surrounding streets all but deserted. Tarwarrick noticed some activity on an upper landing pad. After a quick discussion, the plan was to drop Skara off at the landing pad to scout while the rest of the party accessed the building’s security center through a maintenance vehicle hanger on the ground level.

The airspeeder quickly dropped Skara on the nineteenth floor landing pad and retreated. Skara sliced open a door and entered the darkened office level. Taking note of the security cameras, she moved down the hallway until finding Sideum’s office. Figuring any info likely to be obtained would be there, she sliced the office lock and entered…

…just in time to see the security cameras in the office pan towards her. Thinking “How paranoid are you to have security cameras IN your office?”, Skara dashed for the elevator shaft and punched the ground floor. She planned to meet up with the others and get out, then hopefully pick up the bounty hunter’s trail. That plan ended as the elevator ground to a halt.

Hoping the others had reached the security station, Skara keyed her comlink. Explaining her situation, she climbed out the hatch at the top of the elevator car and pried open the closest set of external doors, and found herself on the seventeenth floor.

Aware of her situation, Mathus begans keying in security alerts all over the building to distract the security forces from the Zelcom offices. Skara took a stairwell back to nineteen and moved towards Sideum’s office after assurances from Mathus that the cameras were deactivated.

Skara searched the office to find information. On Sideums computer she found a record of Leechos trading spice for weapons from Zelcom. Apparently the bounty hunter was there to make payment, then would take delivery of the weapons at a kelerium processing plant later that night. Appended to the transaction was a memo stating that a certain batch of thermal detonators received by Leechos was known to have problems with not detonating reliably, with a note to not mention it to the bounty hunter unless he specifically asked about it. Skara also scrounged some gear from Sideum’s desk drawer.

Leaving the office heading for the elevator Mathus secured for her, she ran into a Zelcom security force apparently not fooled by Mathus’ phony alarms. She dove back into the office and chucked a frag grenade into the hallway before slamming the door shut. The grenade’s detonation threatened to blow the door out of its frame. Skara began piling up office furniture to further barricade the door.

Aware of what was going on above, Pash and Tarwarrick took the speeder and raced up to rescue Skara. Mathus stayed to monitor security and help where he could.

The guards cut a hole in the door and began removing pieces of the makeshift barricade. Skara rose from behind Sideum’s desk and threw another frag grenade through the hole. The explosion caught several of the guards, but also blew away the rest of the door and most of the barricade. Return fire from the guards shredded her cover to pieces. As she rose to throw her last stun grenade, Skara was hit by one of the guards wielding a riot gun. The two-handed blaster severed Skara’s leg at the knee as her grenade’s detonation blinded the remaining guards.

Skara deperately levered herself upright and shot out the office window. Seeing her partners outside in their airspeeder, she threw herself out the window, where she was quickly grabbed by Tarwarrick. Pash relayed the situation to Mathus and headed off at full speed back to Choppers. Mathus locked down the security board before hotwiring a speeder from the maintenance bay and following.

Once back at Choppers, the party sold him the stolen speeder for 500 credits. Looking over Skara, Chopper offered to have her missing leg replaced with a prosthetic for 2000 credits. “It can be done in a matter of hours”, the besalisk told them. “I know this doctor, a Gand. Really good at this stuff. You’ll like him.”

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