On returning to their favorite Cantina to enjoy their spoils the crew of the Supernova is greeted by Renka, their infochant contact who doubles as a waitress at the hungry Mynock. She greets the crew warmly commenting on how she was afraid her best customers had found some trouble because they had been gone so long. Derek, who has been playing a potential relationship with Renka, slips her a hefty tip. As the group begins to unwind Renka informs them of a potential job they might be interested in. The players agree they are always looking for more credits and asks for more details. Renka motions to a Mon Cal who nervously approaches the table. He introduces himself as “Wrex”. He is a small time weapons trafficker in the outer rim. He had the right contacts in the Empire, a commander of Whisper base who was financing his retirement by ensuring Wrex knew just which ships to target. He had a sweet deal running with a group of pirates called the Red Blade who would raid the Imperial supply ships feeding Wrex a continuing supply of low grade military arms which he could then off load in the outer rim. Business was good with more and more rebel cells buying hi wares. Then whisper base went dark. It didn’t take long for the pirates greed to lead them into attacking random imperial ships. It was then after a month of raiding the hyper lanes that the Red Blade hit the mother load. An Imperial Science vessel carrying a doomsday weapon was seized by the pirates. They wanted Wrex to off load the weapon to the Hutts or the Black Sun. Wrex knew better than to get involved with such a deal though. That type of acquisition would surely pull down heat from Imperial Intelligence. Blasters here and there and no body bothers looking, but surely it would be only a matter of time before some imperial kill team tracked the weapon back to Wrex. He now figures the best thing for him to do is wipe any trail that might lead back to Wrex. He wants the group to infiltrate the Red Blade’s base of operations, hack their systems, remove any trace of Wrex from the records, and assassinate the leader of the pirates who could easily hand over all of Wrex’s information should he be interrogated. Wrex’s is concerned that the crew might not be enough to get the job done and as such has hired another marksman, Grexi the rodian, to ensure the Red Blade gets taken out.
The players accept the mission on the deal that they can keep what ever they find in the pirates lair in addition Wrex will add the custom Assassin Cache to the Supernova using his knowledge of gun smuggling. Wrex gives the player the coordinates to an old asteroid mining facility named Hades II where they will be able to find the Red Blade pirates. He cautions them that imperial intelligence may not be far behind.
The crew of the Supernova heads out in their ship and Grexi heads out in his own YT-1300. They pass their astrogation check and drop out of hyperspace in a spot that gives them the advantage. Hades II sits at the edge of an Asteroid field the blue shielding done of its artificial atmosphere shines like a beacon in the dark of space. On the near side of the asteroid a wave of 4 dunelizard fighters and two Z95 headhunters work the perimeter. On the far side of the asteroid a Corellian corvette hovers dangerously over the base. The two ships punch the accelerator and come out firing getting a surprise round on the patrol craft due to their successful roll. The opening Volley destroys a Z95 and leaves a Dunelizard with critical damage to it’s engines knocking them out of the fight. The other fighters swarm the two ships scoring some light hits. The corvette does nothing. The Supernova, being better armed of the two ships with boosted shields and armor plating easily drops another Dunelizard on it’s turn while the new YT-1300 continues to make a B-line for the asteroid. With some minor damage the Supernova wipes out the remaining fighters over the next two rounds clearing the way to the asteroid. The group is curious as the corvette still makes no actions what so ever. Deciding not to press their luck the two ships attempt to make a forced landing on the asteroid. Flying in around a series of turrets which do not fire they become suspicious. They land on the docking pad without incident and disembark from their ships.
As they approach the end of the ramp they see bodies lying motionlessly on the ground. The doctor moves to examine the bodies and rolls them over to find two aliens dead. Their mouths and throats dissolved away as if they had drunk a glass of acid. At this point I explain to the doctor that this portion of the story ties directly to her obligation of Blackmail which she had previously neglected to expand on. Prior to her life on the run in outer rim she was a doctor working in a facility doing classified research on a bioweapon called Cerberus. Her lab partner was some one special to her and I asked her to describe who he was. (She was struggling with a backstory and agreed to allow me free reign to do what I wanted prior to the evening) She quickly decided that it was her husband another Bothan. I continued with the memory describing how the virus attacked the organisms respiratory tract and was fatal withing 7 days of exposure. Then I asked her who they were developing the virus for? She decided again that it wouldn’t fit the rebels so it was for her people. The bothans. I filled in the gaps explaining that the Bothan internal security was looking for a nuclear deterrent to the Empire and had engaged some of it’s best scientists and doctors to create a bio super weapon that would target the Human genome which would devastate the empire should Bothawui ever suffer the same fate as Alderaan. Their research facility, however, was compromised by Imperial spies and was seized by the Empire. She was smuggled off world by Teemo the Hutt who then blackmailed the doctor to keep her secret safe. While the doctor recognizes the effects of the bioweapon the version she was responsible for targeted Humans and she has no idea how two aliens could have contracted the virus.
Troubled she debates whether to share this new information with her crewmates who all are expectantly waiting for her to say yes. She hesitates and says no for the time being as she isn’t 100% sure it is her Virus. The team progresses through the facility working it’s way to a communications relay where they find some pirate still alive. The pirates open fire on the group and a shoot out begins. The crew is caught in the open and quickly realizes how deadly combat can be as the first shots come in scoring critical injuries on two of the crew members. Natalya books it for the door to the comm relay station but finds it locked. She begins work on bypassing the security system. To make it more interesting the pirate manning the comm station is also a slicer and her checks become opposed checks as they continually reroute the systems denying her easy access to the controls.
Derek opens up lobbing a grenade into the group of pirates killing some and scattering them from their fortified positions overlooking the comm relay. Grexi, as I had predicted, felt like a backup shooter not quite as effective as the bounty hunter and doing not quite the same damage. The Doctor applied stims as needed and popped a shot here and there. Finally the slicer manages to open the door and square off with the pirate on the inside in a one on one fight while the rest of the crew handles the opposition on the outside. As the crew mops up the pirate outside the small comm station the slicer kills the pirate on the inside with a well placed vibroknife. Manning the comm station the slicer quickly makes contact with the corvette parked above only to find there are only a handful of human survivors. The bioweapon exposure has happened on the corvette as well and with all but a few of the crew dead the capital ship is adrift in space above the asteroid. The frantic human survivor tells the slicer that humans appear to be immune to the virus but it is airborne and spread quickly. With a grim taunt the pirate tells the slicer that they may have come for their credits, but they found their own deaths. They just don’t know it yet. With that final proclamation he cuts the comm. At a loss the slicer searches the computer to see if she can find the mainframe within the base. All traffic and power seem to come from one larger centralized building which used to be the old mining facility. On reviewing the security footage they see what can only be the leader of the pirate with a group of followers barricade themselves in the building as droves of pirates lie dying in the streets.
The party makes their way to the main building which is heavily barricaded and fortified. The sole entrance that still seems operational is a thick security door with only an intercom panel on the outside. The slicer looks to hack the door but finds that unless they have something to cut through a few feet of durasteel she can’t access the controls to the door. Out of options they try the intercom panel. The voice on the other end identifies themselves as the Red Blade, leader of the Red Blade pirates, and advises the group to move along as there is nothing of value left here. They party tries a bluff with the doctor saying they are here to help and that she might be able to cure the disease. The Red Blade counters saying that there is little chance the doctor could save them with the little time that is left. The doctor running out of option discloses that she is one of the original designers of the disease and that if she is given access to the bioweapon she might be able to find a cure. With that the door slides open.
The inside of the facility looks to be a makeshift hospital and morgue. With more morgue than hospital. There is a sole human nurse left from the crew of the original science vessel. The nurse speaks to the doctor recounting the tale of how she was assigned to watch a Bothan scientist. How he had been brilliant and was told if he was able to make the changes to the virus the Emperor wanted he would be reunited with his wife. The medical staff from the imperial science vessel plus 20 test patients had been taken by the pirates and relocated here. The Red Blade chimes in and says after they realized they wouldn’t be able to sell the weapon they loaded a sample onto their corvette and deployed the weapon on a nearby alien colony. The weapon was brilliant killing off the population so the pirates could move in and loot the entire colony at once. The pirates were far from trained medical crew, however, and the virus was soon running rampant on both the asteroid and the ship. A colony worth of credits floats adrift above the asteroid while the Pirates huddle in the compound dying. The doctor asks what happened to the bothan and is told he worked diligently on a cure until he succumbed to the disease. The nurse hands the doctor his notes.
The doctor discovers from the notes that her husband had redesigned the bioweapon to target anything that was not human. In doing so he needed to introduce many strains of DNA to the virus. One of the 20 test subjects had shown an immunity from the virus and it’s unique alien physiology seemed ideal for harvesting antibodies that could kill the virus. The doctor relays to the party that the bioweapon has been tailored to effect only non-humans and they probably have all been infected already. At this point I stop the conversation and have each player add the critical injury “Cerberus” to their character sheets. With that the Red Blade realizing that they are not going to die draws her weapons and says looks like your dying early and we are taking your ship out of here. With that combat begins. The Red Blade is the pirate captain from the adversary decks and is armed with a vibroaxe. The captain is assisted by a handful of pirates who grab whatever they can find and attack the crew. The initial exchange of fire drops a few of the pirates and does a large number of wounds on the Pirate Captain. The captain attacks Grexi, who made the mistake of standing and shooting at short range. The virboaxe lands heavily on Grexi’s head. Dropping the character in one shot. Grexi suffers a major head injury dropping a stat permanently and is pretty much out of the fight as the doctor fails to use first aid on him. The Red Blade is incapacitated on the next round and begs for mercy promising credits in exchange for disappearing. Derek quickly replies they already have credits and a job to do and executes the pirate captain. The slicer finds the mainframe and destroys the entire system leaving no records behind. After the encounter the doc stabilizes Grexi who is barely functional and the party decides to find this test patient who could be the only key to the parties survival. They work their way deeper into the facility until they come across a room labeled patient X. Opening the door the crew is stunned to find a Hutt of all things sitting smugly in a make shift holding cell. The Hutt identifies himself as Burpa the Hutt. He is brash, entitled, and rude to the players. (I patterned his character from Regis on farscape) Burpa is the rightful Hutt cartel member who Teemo usurped. The Hutt cartels would not have tolerated Teemo’s ascendance if he had killed Burpa out right and so he had arranged for Burpa to go missing. Burpa knows his Hutt immune system can counter the virus and knows that the players need him and takes full advantage of the situation demanding the players assemble a sled for him before he will leave his cell.
Without the proper medical facilities the doctor is only able to create a treatment for the virus and not a cure. The treatment only stops the progression of the virus for one day plus the ranks in resilience. The players quickly surmise that they are now forced to bring Burpa with them and they are forced to stick together until a cure can be found making Grexi a permanent member of the crew. On the upside the players are excited that they are going to be able to seize the Corvette with little resistance. With everyone in tow they begin to head back to the ships. Just as they are leaving the trademark sound of tie engines fills the air as bomber rain photon bombs on the compound. The empire has arrived. The party rushes to the supernova and takes off as squads of bombers and ties fill the air. An Imperial Star Galleon comes into view as the crew sees turbo laser blast after blast hammer the crippled corvette. Tie pile on the Supernova in overwhelming odds. The crew plots the escape to hyperspace and shoots back at the ties scraping one with every shot. Each round more ties come from the carrier and there crew desperately fights their way through three rounds of combat before they make the jump to safety.