|The Lobster Master|
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For organic crew members
You have lost track of how long it has been. They don't dim the lights in your cell, and food comes intermittently, depriving you of any rhythm. Occasionally, they pull you aside for interrogation, but no matter how many times they go over your story with you, they remain convinced of your guilt and of your association with the Rebellion.
But today is different. Rather than your interrogator coming to visit as you've grown accustomed to, you are abruptly ushered out of your cell by a stack of six storm troopers, each silent and ill humored. Hands tied behind your back, they bring you before a rare oddity, an alien Imperial officer; a near-human, blue all over save for his shock of black hair and his glowing red left eye. He wears an eye patch over the other, and his right hand and leg have both been replaced with cheap metal prostheses.
Seated at a cold metal desk, he calmly invites you to sit opposite him, perusing over a datapad while drinking a steamy cup of caf.
"Imperial Intelligence, at your service," says the alien with a slight incline of his head. "Would you like something to drink, something to eat?"
Like everywhere else on the ship, the recycled air is unreasonably dry, leaving you dehydrated and making your porous, amphibious skin itch terribly.
"You know why you’re here, Captain. Caught red handed trying to slip a shipment of trade goods past our blockade. You are inordinately lucky that the Deception’s bridge commander defied protocol to arrest you, rather than blow you out of the sky."
He clicks a finger against a datapad, and begins typing.
"Who was your supplier? What was your egress plan should you have succeeded?"
They already asked you this weeks ago. Had they forgotten?
The alien excuses the storm troopers and leans forward across the desk.
"You've been away from home for a long time," he whispers. "Do you even know the peril your home planet is in? Somewhere on that glittering blue jewel below us are two fugitives. The deposed King, Lee Char, and his former captain of the guard, Gial Ackbar. Now, we know they are down there, but the question is, who are the people hiding them?"
He straightens his back and cracks the knuckles on his good hand, continuing. "We have sources saying that the local government is conspiring to keep them safe, but I would much rather find out that it was individuals committing treason, rather than the planetary government. If you know anything, you'll be saving your people a lot of unneeded pain and suffering if you just tell me, right now."
"Tell me about your family," begins the man. "Did you ever have visitors aboard the station?"
He records your answers and allows you to leave. "You’ve been most helpful, Dara."
"CT-3276, was it?" asks the alien, without referring to his datapad. "One of the initial 200,000 units present at the Battle of Geonosis, served with the Grand Army of the Republic until the rise of the Empire, rounded out your career training clones on Kamino alongside CT-2224, Commander Cody. Very impressive." He brings his cup of caf to his face, inhaling deeply. "You were a hero. Killed a Jedi Master in single combat. The only clone to do so, to my knowledge. With a history like that, you must be proud of your service."
He leans back, grabbing a datapad and switching it on. "What I don’t understand, CT-3276, is why and how someone with your background would simply disappear for so long. No recorded transmissions, no job history, you haven’t even collected your military pension in some years," he taps at his datapad with a long metallic finger. "In fact it says here you have only collected it once. But enough of that. Tell me about this."
The man pulls out your lightsaber and rolls it onto the table. "My understanding was that clones were forbidden to keep trophies," he taunts, sipping his caf. "But this lightsaber doesn’t match Vala Feir’s. Similar in design principle, but an entirely different creature. And then, if it's not a trophy, what is it? Care to explain how you happened across it?"
He is silent for some time, caf held snugly in both hands.
"You must have a guardian angel," he continues at last. "Ordinarily, anyone in illegal possession of a lightsaber is executed. But the Grand Moff has gone to extreme lengths to hide the truth of the matter from prying eyes. He believes you are still of some use to us."
He walks around the table and places his left hand on your temple, running the tips of his fingers across it, feeling for something.
Satisfied, he returns to his seat. "Curious."
He taps a datapad, pulling open an extensive file on you and your family. "Onderon has such significant history for a planet with so few habitable zones, and your family has been there since the beginning. How do you think they’d react to your present circumstances? Their inheritor, wasting his days floating around aimlessly in a luxury yacht, wasting their fortune on gambling and excess, only to run afoul of the Empire, accused of treason. Not well, I imagine."
Shuffling through a stack of datapads, he peers back up at you and continues, matter-of-factly. "They’re planning on killing you, you know. A bit harsh, in my opinion, especially when your only real crime was not having the correct paperwork on hand. You know and I know that you’re innocent, but my superiors, they are convinced your family has some pull with the Rebellion. All nonsense of course, but nothing you have said thus far has convinced them."
He taps his two metal fingers on the table, impatient. "I can grant you a stay of execution," he promises, "but you’d have to work with me. Cooperate. You’d still be our prisoner, but you’d be alive. All I need is to know one thing."
Taking a deep drink of caf, the alien pulls open images of various Onderonian antiques, "I understand," he continues, "that at one point your family had quite the collection of artifacts said to belong to the Cult of Freedon Nadd. Where are they now?"
"I am not here to discuss the Senator with you," soothes the alien. "I want to know about you, Janara Flan."
Regardless of what beverage you did or did not request, a Storm Trooper shortly arrives with the Senator’s tea order. You recognize it immediately.
"You've not done very much with your own life since leaving Coruscant," he comments as he peruses your file. "But you're very well connected back on your homeworld. You've done work for a great number of important people, and organized some very large events. The anniversary party for the CEC, that was all your planning, wasn't it? 120,000 people attended that, isn't that right? Remarkable. You must be very talented at your chosen field," he smiles at you. "Organizing other people's actions."
He clears his throat and takes a long, slow drink from his caf. "Bel Iblis maintained quite the cult of personality on Correlia, even after his position in the Senate was terminated and he became a fugitive of the law. But, see, the Grand Moff believes it was you who guided his loyalists into anarchism. How many Rebel agents do you command, Fulcrum?"
He stares at you blankly as you answer, nonplussed, but taking note of whatever you claim.
After your interviews, you are not led back to your own cell, but a new one, a wide room with five bunks on the walls and a ray shield instead of a blast door.
Feel free to briefly mingle and introduce yourself in character
You cannot move. Have they removed your legs? No, they’re right there where they belong. You try to turn your head or lift an arm but no, nothing.
You briefly register the terminal demanding access to your memory banks.
Search keyword: Jedi.
You stick your head out the top of your AAT and pull your macrobinoculars up to your photoreceptors. That blasted Jedi is cutting down swarms of your fellows, her clones behind her pushing forward with ruthless efficiency.
Artillery, open fire, calls the monotone voice of the T-series Tactical Droid at the end of your comm channel. But sir! you protest, The Jedi is right in the middle of our troops!
It is an order, Captain, insists the voice.
The sight of the dead Jedi left to burn on the battlefield still brings you something approximating joy. You have succeeded far past what is expected of you.
The person ransacking your memories reaches around to your front with a three digit metal hand. Magnets lock against your chest, and long needles pierce into your thick, armored frame.
A restraining bolt. The fitting is painful and leaves your senses dulled, your mind slowed.
Your master places the magnet against your chest. Don’t you worry about a thing. It’s fake. Much easier to pretend I’ve reprogrammed you if you’re fitted with a restraining bolt. Only a Jedi could see through our ruse.
You regain control over your legs, but you do not move them. The mere knowledge they work is enough to satisfy you.
You will not move them until requested. You will not surpass the capabilities of your programming. You will serve the Empire.
What? The Empire grew out of the Republic. No. You are sworn to serve the Separatist Alliance!
A Jedi cuts you clean in half at the waist. Normally that would be the end for a B1 Battle droid, no attempt at salvage or recovery. But you are an OOM droid, superior in every way to the cheaper, less adaptable B1s. Not very superior, but superior.
You pull yourself along the battlefield with one arm, the other still clutching a sniper rifle. You will carry out your mission. Cresting the hilltop, you peer down through your scope at the scene below you. There is that same Jedi. He has your commander at the point of his lightsaber, ready to execute him. Several clones unload munition stockpiles nearby.
Carefully, you aim and fire. Your first shot is blocked by the Jedi’s blade, but that’s all part of the plan. With their captor distracted, your commander dives for the ground as you fire your second shot into the munitions stockpiles. A glorious fireball erupts and chaos ensues. You don’t kill the Jedi, but you have rescued your commander. Running up the hilltop, they scoop you up and kiss the top of your head. Mission accomplished.
The surge of memories is dizzying, incalcitrant. What does incalcitrant mean? Oh gods, are they erasing your memory core? You may have rogered your last roger.
"You’re quite the unique specimen," says a voice from behind you. "I have something special in mind for you."
With a glad heart, you realize they are not erasing your memory core. The dizzying sensation, your sudden forced loyalty to the Empire and the hampering of your onboard dictionary all seem to simply be aftereffects of the restraining bolt’s partitioning of your capabilities.
That same metal hand grabs your head and twists you towards the voice. A blue near-human male stares down at you with a single glowing red eye, the other hidden behind an eyepatch. "Where is your master now?" he asks, testing out the Honesty function put in place by the restraining bolt. If you want to lie, make a Deception check with disadvantage
Satisfied with whatever answer, he unplugs your droid brain from the monitor and orders you to stand. "You are going to be my personal assistant," says the man, smugly. There’s nothing like you out there."[/b]
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He stands up and with an eager expression says, "It turns out I know exactly where to direct you! The lost relics of Freedon Nadd are... right... up... your... ass." He leans back slightly and says, "Yes, that's right. All of them! I would imagine they fit because you managed to get the rest of the Imperial bureaucracy up there too."
"Enjoy your caf."
This roguish human prisoner seems bored with his surroundings. He rubs the wall idly and seems disappointed that there isn't any dust.
"So, how many on death row? I wonder if this is where they expect us to murder each other," he says.
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"What is going on? Where am I?" Dara begs the stormtroopers escorting her down the gray corridor. "Please, my father served in the Grand Army, just like you. Please tell me where he is. Just say something, please."
Perhaps it is because they pity the dirty urchin with the cleft lip, or perhaps it is because they see her questions as a harmless nuisance, but the troopers do not silence her with an armored elbow or blaster stock to the stomach. All the same, her desperate questions go unanswered, much as they have for the past few days since being plucked off the station.
Ushered before the Imperial officer, Dara's questions vanish as she stares, agape, at the blue-skinned man. She takes her seat but does not really hear his questions. This is the first non-human she's ever seen in person. The interrogator has to prompt her by repeating his questions to get a response.
"N..no," she shakes her head, mumbling her words. "No one ever came to the station."
The stormtroopers, clad in white armor similar to her father's, had sparked a glimmer of hope for Dara. The previous interrogation sessions had taught her that they were not a place for her own questions. A combination of fear and awe drew compliance from Dara here.
"When I was small, my mother would promise that the Republic would return to rescue us. They'd come back to Drongar for the station, the bota, and her research notes, and they'd take us away. Mom said she was from a planet called Naboo and that she wanted nothing more than to show it to me.
"My father also taught me what to do in case the Separatists came for us, instead. If I did my chores and helped mom in the aeroponics lab, dad would let me practice with his blaster rifle. We had to conserve power packs, so we couldn't always do target practice, but there were times when I'd get to field strip the thing every day. I know that rifle like the back of my hand, and I'm sure I could've taken the head off a clanker."
Dara sighs heavily, collecting her thoughts and catching her breath.
"After a while, though, mom and dad both seemed to accept that no one was coming back. I didn't mind," she says, looking up with a fierce gleam of optimism. "My parents and the station - they were everything to me, and I wouldn't have minded if that was my life. But I know that there were a lot of things that they missed, so I was sad for them."
The sad thoughts sap the curiosity from Dara, and she doesn't even think to ask the blue man about the Republic, the war, or this "Empire" she'd heard people yelling at her about. She just resigns herself to being escorted back to her cell.
Surprise quickly washes over Dara Foss as she is brought into the new, larger cell. It is the new people within that especially overwhelm her. Her eyes want to linger upon the bulging-eyed fish man in particular, but they are drawn to one face in particular.
"Dad!" she shouts and runs to Rod. She throws her arms around him and hugs him tight, crying, ""I'm sorry, Dad. I let them get your rifle. I know you said..."
Dara suddenly realizes that something isn't right. She violently pushes Rod away as though he had committed some terrible trespass.
"You're not Dad!" she shouts accusingly at Rod, although the fear underlying her anger is all too apparent. "Why do you have his face! What are you?!"
The pale-skinned girl with the cleft lip and greasy hair stands in a trembling defensive posture, as though she now finds herself in a den full of predators.
Rod manages to keep his cool as the lightsaber comes out, keeping his face, stance and voice as neutral as possible. "Sir, I'm retired. I have been retired for 12 years now. I'm afraid that the Grand Moff will find me to be entirely without use."
Rod watches intently as the officer touches his temple. What was so curious? What was he feeling for? Whatever it was, he seemed satisfied with what he found. Rod allows himself to be led back out. He had his suspicions about this intelligence officer but they would have to wait for now.
This stoic, middle aged human man (who some may or may not recognise as an older clone trooper) casts an appraising eye over both the cell and its occupants, mumbling to himself as he does.
"So, how many on death row? I wonder if this is where they expect us to murder each other,"
"No, this isn't death row. I don't know what's going on but-" Rod is cut off as he finds some strange woman clinging to him and calling him dad. The clone goes totally stiff in the embrace, awkwardly looking around at the other cellmates for help before addressing...whoever this was. "Uh... Listen, I don't know who you ar-" Rod is cut off again as the woman recoils.
"Why do you have his face! What are you?!"
Understanding dawns on Rod's face. "Ah. Your father was a clone?" The understanding turns right back into confusion. "Did he not tell you what he was?"
By the time she takes a seat across from the intelligence officer, she looks positively ill, and refuses any refreshment.
”I’ve already told you everything,” she blurts out before the alien has even begun to speak, but resigns herself to shifting nervously in her chair as he begins his questioning.
She pales when the Storm Trooper sets the tea in front of her, a sheen of sweat visible on her forehead as she glances between the familiar beverage and the man on the other side of the table in abject confusion. The entire scene is a complete departure from what she’s come to expect from the imperials, and the deviation from routine leaves her floundering. ”What is this? What’s going on?”
As the officer begins to describe her accomplishments over the last decade, she stares hard at the floor, looking uncomfortable in a different way, and only returns her eyes to him when the subject returns to Bel Iblis.
At his final question, she can only gape and shake her head. ”N—None. I don’t even know what a ‘Fulcrum’ is.”
Janara hovers near the door for a moment, familiarizing herself with the new faces and surroundings. ”Hello, I'm Flan,” she tries, giving a little wave and smiling nervously at each of the other prisoners as if she's hosting a spectacularly uncomfortable party.
She walks self-consciously to one of the bunks and takes a seat, smoothing the thin sheet beneath her.
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Zel blinks in surprise as the door to his cell suddenly slides open and a squad of stormtroopers come to retrieve him. "What, six of you? I would have expected at least eight. Should I feel insulted? he croaks at the troopers as they bind his hands and remove him from the cell. He continues talking as he's ushered down the hall. "Seriously guys, you should cut loose some time. I know this cantina on Socorro, great atmosphere, pretty girls, a little dangerous, but that's what I'm there for. It'll be a great time." For this Zel receives a jab to the gut, to which he responds with a sound that is half-cough and half-laugh. "More dancing girls for me then," he manages to choke out.
Finally the group arrives at its destination. "Corellian whiskey, if you've got it," he replies to the alien officer, flashing a wide smile. "And some ormachek. Might help me remember something."
Zel listens to the officer speak, amused at first. If this was what being lucky looked like, he'd hate to see what being unlucky entailed.
The smuggler sighs in exasperation at the officer's initial questions. He must have read previous reports. He waves an arm dismissively. "Some human, I think. You see, in my line of work, sometimes it's good not to know too much about my employers. Besides, discretion is usually part of what's paid for. It wouldn't do much for my reputation if I just told you, would it? I'm certain I've said all this before."
He leans back in his chair and looks around the room, his bulbous eyes moving about to take in every detail. "As for my 'egress plan', I figured I'd fly out."
Zel straightens up a bit as the intelligence officer continues on about his home planet and the wanted fugitives suspected to be hiding on its surface. He knows how this game works. Any suggestion that he knew such information would be taken as further evidence of connections with the Rebellion. After all, how else would he even know that information? The alien imperial was prompting Zel to incriminate himself while ostensibly offering some kind of mercy.
Fortunately for Zel, he doesn't know a blasted thing.
"You already know I haven't been back here since I was a child," Zel retorts. He suddenly leans forward, a conspiratorial glint in his eyes. "I can tell you what I know, but I'll need my things back first. And my ship. Then right before I jump to hyperspace, I'll shout it into the comms. Deal?" He gives the officer a cheeky grin.
Zel finds himself rather roughly pushed into the new cell. He straightens his clothes before looking around at his fellow inmates. "Death row? Nope, I'll be out of here in no time." He nods with certainty at this declaration. He moves over to one side of the cell as Rod is accosted by a greasy-looking young woman.
"Hey there, I'm Zel. Nice to meet ya," he says to Flan. For a moment he considers turning on the charm, but a more burning question must take precedence. He looks over at Rod. "Hey, how'd you get a clone of yourself made? Might be a good future investment for me. Oh, and how'd your clone end up being her dad?"
"Oh, make no mistake, we're alive because we either have something they want, or the bureaucracy is moving too slowly to execute us yet," says the handsome human wryly. He gives a languid stretch, then continues, "This is pretty standard procedure. They're hoping we'll talk to each other and forget that they're listening in. One of us might even be an Imperial plant, here to elicit sympathy and get us to tell our secrets."
"Sorry, folks. Nothing good about Imperial prisons, except that the ones in spaceships at least tend to have heating and running water."
Dara's posture hardly eases as she backs away from her father's duplicate, the man speaking of death sentences, and the other strangers. Her back met the wall and she slides down, sitting upon the floor with her knees pulled in.
"I guess he told me, but...but I didn't know what it really meant," she explains meekly with her eyes buried.
She does not remain mired in angst for long, though, as her head quickly snaps up. She doesn't care who might be listening because she wants answers.
"Where are we? I don't understand any of this. What's the Empire?" she demands.
Zel turns his head again, staring at the young girl. What's the Empire? That was a new one. "That's a pretty good one. I'm gonna have to remember that for next time I get stopped by an Imperial inspection. Against Imperial law? What's the Empire, sir?"
Zel laughs. A beat passes.
"Wait, really? Uhh... " The Mon Calamari rubs the side of his head. It had never occurred to him that he might need to explain this to someone. "The Empire is the Empire. The main galactic government. You know, there was the Republic, now it's the Empire. You been living at the bottom of an ocean somewhere? "
For simplicity's sake - I'd say that OOM-93b was captured while preventing its master's escape on Felucia. That's close, and it has a CIS history, as well as all that other stuff.
OOM's photoreceptors flash as the battle droid unfolds. Standing up, it glances at his interrogator, the one controlling the droid caller. His new master. "I don't know, sir.", it answers, opening its arms to the side to indicate confusion. So my master is still alive, and away from the Empire. That's good. Let's see what other data can be acquired from my interrogators. "I think he'd have left Felucia when you captured me. If I know him, he'll be going toward those Hutt-controlled systems, away from the Empire. If you've captured his ship, he'd be completely without resources." Raising a hand slowly, it tries not to think about the restraining bolt, pinned to its gleaming silvery armour. If I'm lucky, they'll spent time and resources looking amongst the Hutts. And there's no way he's going there.
That's one for unique meaning useful. Take that, Cybot Systems!"Roger, roger.", the droid replies as its new purpose is revealed. "Uhhh... Sir?", it scratches its head in confusion, a quirk all too familiar to anyone who'd served in the Clone Wars. "What does a personal assistant to an interrogator do? I'm not an interrogator droid. Do I just blast things you want me to blast?"
Deception, Disadvantage: 1d20 + 7 - 2 ⇒ (14) + 7 - 2 = 19 I'm assuming this is the unfavourable -2 as per the book?
|The Lobster Master|
Your new master smiles as you lie to him. He writes a short message on the holoterminal and sends it off.
"As my assistant, you will watch after me, fetch me what I need, translate for me, brew me caf, record my interrogation sessions, but very little of that will be relevant for much longer than a month at most. I have plans for us, droid. Exciting plans."
"Where are we? I don't understand any of this. What's the Empire?" she demands.
"The Empire replaced the Galactic Republic at the end of the Clone Wars fourteen standard years ago," Flan chimes in helpfully from her bunk. She sounds bizzarely chipper, though her voice bears a slight tremor of anxiety. "We're on an Imperial prison ship because we're threats to the Empire."
"The Separatists won? The Republic fell?" she asks as a haunted look paints itself upon her face.
"But the troopers! They weren't droids. They looked like soldiers from the Grand Army, just like my father! Oh, this doesn't make any sense," she moans, hands upon the sides of her head. "I wish they'd just let me see my parents so we could go home to the station."
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The lackadaisical man leans against the wall and folds his arms. "It's a bit more complex than that, but in simple terms the Old Republic is effectively out of the picture. The Chancellor was given direct authority and is now the Emperor, and has instituted sweeping changes. The Empire has been busy sweeping up dissidents, exerting tighter control over many star systems, and playing games of nepotism."
He glances over at Janara and says, "What are you in for? Not tasty dessert puddings, I presume."
Rod picks an empty bunk and ungracefully flops down into it, chiming in with more info to Dara as he does. "The Seps were beaten and those troopers out there are clones if you were wondering."
Hard to see how she could be any threat to the Empire. How could someone threaten something they weren't even aware of? Well, there was certainly one way Rod could think of. And Rod had his suspicions about the intelligence officer too. Could be nothing, but it couldn't hurt to check. Rod closed his eyes as he lay in his bunk, seemingly trying to relax, but really trying to focus on the Force.
Okay, so I'd like to have Rod use the Sense Force application of the Use the Force skill to try to actively sense other Force-users within 100km.
|The Lobster Master|
Spanning the length of the ship, Rod senses the auras of two people in tune with the Force, one of which is in the room: the handsome rogue with the tattoos.
Rod wouldn't know this, but other than specific high ranking officers, clones of Jango Fett have been entirely phased out, and tho some Kaminoan clones of other sources are still in the ranks, at this time most of the Empire's massive military force are enlisted
Flan smooths the rough Imperial prison jumpsuit over her knees, a hint of self-importance evident on her face. "I suppose at one time I was well-connected to high ranking members of the self professed Rebellion, and the Empire now believes me to be some sort of rebel leader on Corellia."
"And you?" She asks, side-eyeing Ral.
"Me? I'm a rich and shiftless playboy. While the Empire is busy seizing assets and nationalizing various industries they decided that my homeworld of Onderon needed to toe the line. Hence my ship is in impound and I've been accused, not very credibly, of having a variety of criminal and seditious activities, of a potentially rebellious nature," says the fellow. "Mostly they want to use me to get to my family so that they can seize our assets. Joke's on them - I'm estranged from my father, so they're not going to get much of anything." He adjusts the collar of his prison jumpsuit and somehow manages to make it look like a casual and easy fashion statement rather than a ridiculous gesture by someone who's wearing the same gray synthetic jumpsuit as everyone else (excepting the droid, of course).
Dara's face brightens at the news that the Separatists were defeated. Her father had told her many stories of fighting the droid armies, never suspecting that he fabricated all of them. She pushes herself up from the floor, trying to burn off her nervous energy.
"My father was the head of security on a space station in the Drongar system," she explains. Dara doesn't mean to lie to her new acquaintances, but she literally does not know any better. While he was part of the security detail, Hindsight had been as green as a trooper could be. "And my mother was a Republic xenobotanist studying the bota plant that grew on Drongar. They got left behind during an evacuation when the Separatists tried to take the system. The station was damaged, and they were stranded. I was born not long after."
She finishes the tale with a smile, like any child sharing a favorite family story.
"My mom and dad would both tell me stories about how they'd show me the galaxy once we were rescued and the war was over. None of their stories were anything like this."
"Your first chance to actually get out and see the galaxy, and you want to go back to the station. Can't say I really get it," Zel comments. He goes to the nearest empty bunk and stretches out on it, hands behind his head, one leg crossed over the other. It doesn't seem like they're going anywhere quickly, and he doesn't feel like standing all day. I really wish they'd do something about the air in here. So itchy.
One eye turns to look at Ral. "I gotta say, I'm not sure I've ever heard someone so plainly describe themselves as shiftless before. It's a pretty bold strategy. How do you find that works out for you?"
|The Lobster Master|
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On the bridge, far from your contained cell
The Grand Moff Raelin Baldwin stands on the command deck, supervising the bridge crew. Though not his flagship, the Deception holds special meaning for him, the ship from which he launched his career. Many of the bridge crew were personally selected by him, people loyal to him first and the Empire second.
A tall, slight man with dark skin and close cropped black hair, the Grand Moff was vicious and paranoid, both in his governorship of the Outer Rim and in his day-to-day life. A blue skinned cyborg strides toward him.
"Mith!" exclaims the Grand Moff, clapping him on the back. "How are your new prisoners?"
"Frankly, I don’t know why you are so keen on them, sir. Going over their dossiers and the interrogation reports from the time they arrived, I found very little remarkable about any of them. Still, I pursued the subjects you requested of me." Mith hands over a stack of datapads regarding the six individuals he was told to process.
"Good man. This should keep that jango jumper off my back," grumbles the military man, going over the reports.
A lone cruiser bursts in from hyperspace, meandering toward the Deception.
"Identify cruiser and transmit flight codes," dryly instructs a comm officer.
"Cruiser," repeats the officer, "identify and transmit flight codes."
"Can't we just shoot it and be done with it?" murmurs a radar technician to the comm officer’s left.
"Cruiser. This is your last warning. Identify and transmit flight codes or we will open fire."
The comm crackles. "This is Cruiser Ligma," calls a confident female voice. "Transmitting flight codes now."
Thirty more ships of various size and class thunder into realspace, one after the other, Correllian Corvettes, X-wings, and Y-wings, geared for battle, escorting a modified GR-75 transport, likely delivering supplies to the starving planet.
"All hands, battle stations," calls the Grand Moff.
"Star Destroyer Deception," calls a voice over the comm. This is Senator Garm Bel Iblis. We only wish to deliver our cargo and leave. The people of Mon Cala are starving under this unlawful embargo, an embargo, may I remind you, that the Imperial Senate has voted twice now to dismantle. Allow us safe passage and we will leave peacefully.
Grand Moff Raelin keys the comm switch. "Greetings, Senator," he replies. "I'd love to oblige you, but the Empire does not negotiate with terrorists," The man turns back to the bridge crew, barking orders. "Deploy TIEs. Turbolasers fire on my mark. Comms! Get me the Rapacity. I want to see this fleet crushed."
As the enemy fleet opens its initial volley, an escape pod rockets unnoticed out of the now forgotten cruiser and toward the watery planet far below.
Back in your cells
Alarms sound. Flight Officers in their black armor run past your cell, and the room shakes beneath you as turbolaser blasts rocket across the Star Destroyer’s shield, bumping some of you out of your bunks and onto the floor.
"All personnel, report to battle stations," comes a call over the intercom.
Two minutes into the battle, the lights in your section of the ship blink out with a massive thud. The only light is the dull red glow of the ray shield.
The Deception’s full complement of TIEs pour out of the Star Destroyer’s main docking bay, roaring to intercept the enemy, turbolaser batteries on the ISD’s sides pulsing as they fire again and again.
The forgotten cruiser Ligma continues its course, drifting closer and closer toward the hull of the ISD.
A scant five minutes into the engagement, the Rebel threat is largely outgunned, the abandoned ship suddenly makes contact with the Star Destroyer’s main shield generator, crashing through it in a matter of moments.
And suddenly, the Rebels are winning.
The rattling and booming of battle is louder and stronger, but less frequent. The air quality is noticeably different. Fresher, wetter.
You hear footsteps in the hallway for the first time since the battle began. Two pairs of heavy metal steps stop on the opposite side of the ray shield. The silhouettes are immediately identifiable even in the near darkness: your interrogator and a B1 Battle droid.
"Apologies for the abrupt intrusion," begins the Intelligence Agent. "I thought we’d have more time to get to know each other before we did this, but I feel this will be our best opportunity." He slides a keycard through a panel at the side of the ray shield, causing it to flicker out into nothingness.
"I wish to defect to your Rebellion."
"We're under attack?" Dara asks breathlessly when the alert comes over the intercom. She actually seems more excited than frightened, feeling like her father's stories are coming to life.
When the lights go out, she scans the bare walls left aglow by the red barrier. Out of habit, she tries to gauge how the systems have been damaged, although she quickly remembers that - unlike on the station - she has no way to rush off to repair them here. As the unseen battle rages, her stomach roils as she guesses at the increasing damage sustained by the massive ship. Back on the station, losing even one of the aging systems could have been disastrous, especially given the chaotic cross-wiring she and her family had orchestrated over the years to keep the place habitable.
The sudden appearance of the interrogator and his clanker attendant do nothing to calm Dara, her head already aching from the onslaught of stimuli, but she manages to keep herself in check.
"What Rebellion?" she asks, looking among her cellmates. "Is this something else I should know about?"
After the blasts to the ISD toss her from the bunk, Flan takes to pacing anxiously in the contained room, catching herself on walls or beds or people, whichever is closest, when movement from the battle throws her off balance. She talks to no one in particular, speculating wildly. "Do they know we're here? Is this a rescue?"
When the agent appears and deactivates the ray shield, she makes a dash for the door, but stops just as suddenly. She stares blankly at the alien and the droid from just inside the arched metal opening, and in her bewilderment, only manages to come up with a single word. "Why?"
Zel is startled as alarms sound and a large boom knocks him from his bunk. "Sure sounds like an attack," he responds as he gets to his feet.
As the lights cut out and the sounds of battle continue, he tries to get a sense of its progress and of the damage being done to the Deception. At the same time, his mind begins racing as he plays out potential escape scenarios in his head. Get out of the cell, get to his ship, and leave; that was the basic plan. Details could be worked out later. Regardless, Zel is sure some opportunity will present itself.
Sure enough, that opportunity soon presents itself in the form of the intelligence officer and a droid. Zel steps forward, briefly placing a hand on Janara's shoulder, as if to placate her. "Now now, let's not get too suspicious," he says. His eyes focus on the alien officer. This was his chance. "Right, uh, the Rebellion. Ahem. I'm sure something can be arranged." He puts on his best affectation of how he thinks a sophisticated Mon Calamari Rebel agent might act and speak. "If you and your droid can get me out of here and to my ship, I might have a contact you could speak to. You know, about defection." He blinks, and one of his eyes swivels to the side. He remembers there are others. "Us. Get us out of here."
|The Lobster Master|
The alien's glowing red eye passes over Dara without a thought.
"My reasons are my own," he says in reply to Flan's question. "If we reach safety, perhaps I will have time to share it with you. For now I will say I no longer feel safe in this Empire, nor in the stewardship of the Grand Moff."
He shakes his head when discussing Zel's light frigate. "I thought of that on the way down here, but a quick search told me a 'Captain Sarah Grace Hawkins' claimed it as her own two weeks ago, and had it transferred to her ship, the Rapacity. Apparently, she liked it."
He paces back and forth, nervous. "In any case, it would be more risk than I am willing to take; impound is clear across the ship and I don't know how much longer we can realistically expect the Deception to last. The battle still rages and though the Rebel threat is thinning, the Deception has lost her primary shield generator and one of her radomes, leaving us half-blind and vulnerable. It's do or die time."
OOM-93b glances at the stormtroopers and Imperial commanders on the deck, doing its best to remain immobile. Worst case scenario, I gain information about the Empire before they dismantle me. Best case - I reach the trust of the Interrogator. Its photoreceptors glancing over the Moff, it remains immobile as the battle unfolds. Wrong tactics. Learning what we did during the Clone Wars, immediate fire until destruction is preferred against terrorists and Jedi. It pauses, regaling its new master. But there's no reason to speak if you're not spoken to.
As the battle unfolds, the cheap shot from the Rebellion brings emotions of respect into the droid's circuits, despite its overriding programming. Guerilla Warfare in its excellence. The Republic-Empire still hasn't learned..., it thinks to itself, as the battle turns.
At the loading cells.
"I wish to defect to your rebellion."
The B1 battle droid's seemingly gone over some significant personal modifications. The usual tan plasteel casing is replaced by a shining gray Durasteel carapace, and the twin buns next to its head have been dyed in cyan and purple, colours not affiliated with the battle-droid command structure in any way. It regales the interrogator with a curious gaze, then blurts out in confusion.
"Wait, what?" The B1's monotonous vocabulator mutters out in surprise, before glancing over the captives, then back to its new master. "We're Rebels now?", it asks in a honest tone. A Mon Calamari and three humans, two of which seemingly of good stock, despite the prison jumpsuits. And a clone trooper, a vatjob. "But sir, this is a clone!", it raises a three-fingered hand towards the clone. "They're loyal to the Empire, sir! They got loyalty programmed in their brain processors!"
Despite the lack of armaments, the droid stands in a wary, battle-ready motion, defending its new master. If they're confused, all the better for me., a thought crosses its processor.
Deception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Honesty Re-roll: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22 Not sure if the disadvantage applies to all deceptions, or just ones towards my new master.
|The Lobster Master|
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That is... the longest essay I've read in a while for such a small hill to die on.
The "radar dome" that Richard Edlund describes is because the model piece is similar to the radar array at Pillar Point, which should be no great surprise as this is just a short distance south of the Bay and a familiar sight to anyone living there - such as FX artists and modelers from ILM, which has been in San Rafael since 1978. A similar but not quite same dome is at the San Onofre nuclear power plant between San Diego and Los Angeles, which again would be familiar to the original ILM crew living in LA during the studio's original years in Van Nuys. (Yes, I know this is a nuclear plant, not a radar facility; the similarity probably reflects the utility of the spherical design, which would've influenced sci-fi modelers of the '70s and '80s.) And down in Palos Verdes, in the Los Angeles area there's another example. So of course a modeler who built something resembling one of those real-world "radar domes" would use that term when describing it in an interview, just like someone might call a metallic riff in a sci-fi soundtrack a blaster beam even if it's not made with that instrument.
The reference material published under license frequently refers to these domes as shield generators, even as a much smaller selection contradicts it, meaning that ultimately the answer is: LucasArts didn't care.
"Let's not wait and argue about it here," says the noble. In the intervening hours he's taken to sitting with his back to the wall; now he stands quickly. "What's our quickest way off this boat, and how can we do it without getting shot on the way?"
|The Lobster Master|
The alien defector hushes his droid. "Please excuse my assistant. They are old and very willful. But I will humor you, droid." Turning to Rod, he continues. "Do you bear any lasting loyalty to the Empire, Seetee Three-twenty-seven-six?"
I will reply to Ral later tonight.
The Mon Calamari groans at this news. Loudly. "Some officer just went and took my ship?! How can someone just go and take something like that?" Zel shakes his head vigorously. This job was getting worse and worse with each passing moment. "Oh man, Praka is not going to be happy about this." He wanders off to the back of the cell, trying to gather his thoughts. He listens quietly as the others speak.
Rod's concerns about Ral and the other Force-user on the ship quickly fell from his mind as the Deception came under attack. Through the shaking, the lights going out and the booming of turbolasers, Rod remains totally calm and stoic. Until the clanker shows up.
The clone's hands go to fists, his stance widens, and his eyes narrow, as if preparing to pounce on the droid. Rod holds his gaze directly on OOM-93b, and he only barely hears the Imperial's words. Then the machine accuses him.
"You don't get to talk about loyalty, clanker. You don't know what the word means." Rod's voice remains level, but every word is dripping with hate. "I am not "programmed". I am not like you." Rod points an accusing finger at the droid. "You're a tin can whose loyalty lies with whoever holds your digital leash."
"Do you bear any lasting loyalty to the Empire, Seetee Three-twenty-seven-six?"
Some of the anger drains from Rods voice. Some. "I do. I am loyal to my duties, sir. I swore oaths to forever serve the Republic and its people and these oaths transferred to the Empire with the declaration of the New Order. These oaths have no expiration date and I have no intention of violating them."
Rod fixes his stare back on OOM. "Unlike the clanker here, however, I am capable of thinking for myself. Section 49-C of the Clone Command Code dictates that should a commander be proven to be unfit for service, he is to be relieved of his duties. Section 98-A dictates that in the case of a compromised command structure, a Clone is empowered to act at his own initiative and discretion. Suffice it to say, I believe the Empire to be compromised by corruption and unfit to command the galaxy."
Rod takes a breath to recover from his emotional outburst. "We don't have time for this. We need to get off this ship ASAP."
Rod takes a breath to recover from his emotional outburst. "We don't have time for this. We need to get off this ship ASAP."
"I agree. We need to get going before we start losing life support," Dara interjects, pushing her way to the front of the tense discussion. She eyes the clanker warily, Rod's objections rekindling her own father's warnings about battle droids. However, having never seen one in person, the abstract fear does not necessarily translate into a concrete one.
"Where are my parents? If we can free them as we escape, I'll help you with...whatever it is you're after," Dara tells the officer, her eyes lingering on his cybernetics to avoid staring at his oddly colored eyes and skin.
|The Lobster Master|
The alien tosses Rod his lightsaber as a gesture of trust and good faith.
He opens his mouth to respond to Ral but Dara interjects. "Actually, no," he says, distracted. "Losing life support is, er, unlikely. When the primary power generator fails, the secondary is more than capable of picking up slack, as long as it drops a few noncritical systems." He clicks a glowrod and shines it down the corridor, forward, then back. "Such as the lights in minimum security detention. Now really, let's-"
Dara asks her next question and he sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I don't know and we don't have time, Dara. If we find a working terminal, we can access it and try to find out where they are, but in the meantime, escape has to be our first priority."
The one eyed, one legged, one handed man backs further into the hallway, beckoning the group to follow him. "We'll need weapons. Minimum security has a guard armory just up ahead. From there we can mock up a more in detail plan. Come on, follow me."
In the Armory
"There's a chance," says the defector-to-be, struggling with an ammo belt, "that circumstances will get so dire the Grand Moff will call for an immediate evacuation of all noncombat personnel. Being who he is, he typically keeps the escape pods locked, but such an order would unlock them. I don't fancy waiting around on a hope, however, and he's enough of a lunatic he might just expect everyone to go down with the ship. Is anyone any good with computers?" he asks lamely, speaking before thinking.
Despite his earlier competent calm, the stress of the situation is clearly getting to the man.
Is everyone's inventory updated with what they would have purchased if they had had access to their starting gold? Everyone gets to pick one nonspecific weapon from their inventory to find a Storm Trooper issued version of in the armory (except Rod, cause lightsaber), I'll be perusing your equipment lists for what else you may find...
The droid glances back at the Clone trooper, and if its metallic face could show emotion, it'd undoubtedly be disdain. The lightsaber being tossed to the clone has the droid jump back a step. A clone with a lightsaber? Nodding as the Clone admits, then renounces its loyalty to the Empire, it nods. "I agree with the Clone about the lack of time.", rushing forward alongside the others towards the armory.
"I am not like you."
"You're correct, CT-3276.", it replies to Rod as it marches next to its master. "My unit was mass-produced in secret by a political force aiming to rule the galaxy, given numbers instead of names, then thrown away like garbage when no longer needed." Its voice is as monotone as ever. "Whereas you are a clone."
At the armory
Giving a hand to Mith with his ammo belt with trained efficiency, the battle droid glances over the array of blasters along the wall, picking up a E-11 blaster rifle. Checking its power cell, and snatching two others, it powers the weapon up. "Not me, sir.", it replies. "I could, however, attempt to bypass the computerised lock and release the escape pods."
Inventory is updated, and I've added the blaster carbine, as well as the Crippled Background.
Flan hops through the doorway inelegantly, looking up at the ceiling as if she expects the shield to suddenly come back on. She harries their liberator with questions as they hurry towards the armory, though from the rate of fire it's unclear how she expects an answer to any of them. "Shouldn't we have a map or something? Where are we anyway? Where are we supposed to escape to? Who's attacking the ship? Is it the Rebels? Do they know I'm here? This is minimum security?"
In the armory...
Flan picks up a blaster pistol, holding it somewhat awkwardly, and fiddles with it in a very worrying manner. When asked about computers, she looks around self-consciously, and then puts her hand up.
Dara holds her innumerable questions, but only because as she follows the escaping party, she focuses on scanning every wall for a computer terminal she can use to find her parents.
Once the group reaches the guard armory, she looks to find a rifle as similar to the DC-15 models her father trained her with. Finding none of those older, Republic-issue longarms, Dara instead picks up a SoroSuub clone of the E-11 rifle. She hefts the weapon, getting used to the alien texture and contours of the more modern model.
While grabbing a power pack and awkwardly slapping it into place, she scans the minimum security wing, looking for something resembling a console.
Upon reaching the armory, Zel bypasses the rifles and looks for an appropriate blaster pistol. "I'm pretty good with computers. Done some slicing in my time," he says as he continues to search. He notices Janara has her hand raised. "If she wants to give it a shot, that's fine. Or the droid." He finds a blaster pistol that's slightly heftier than some of the others. Satisfied with his choice, he swipes a couple power packs and turns to the alien defector. "So we get to the escape pods and try to override the lock. Is that something that could be done from there?"
Inventory is complete, including a heavy blaster pistol. I've also added the Criminal background. He hasn't been in prison much, but it's the best fit, so yeah.
The nobleman throws on a spare tunic and wraps a utility belt around his waist, then tucks a knife onto it. He picks up a slim officer's pistol, fits a concealed holster under the tunic, and then pockets the pistol.
"Are we going to need any special security cards or documents that we can grab here?" he asks.
Rod pockets the lightsaber and gives the Imperial a nod and genuine "Thank you."
"My unit was mass-produced in secret by a political force aiming to rule the galaxy, given numbers instead of names, then thrown away like garbage when no longer needed." Its voice is as monotone as ever. "Whereas you are a clone."
"My name is Rod. We all have names. Don't even start with this garbage."
In the armory, Rod hefts the lightsaber for a moment, considering. Should I? he asks mentally. The answer comes in a voice none but Rod can hear. "Not yet...Wouldn't want you to lose a limb. I'll have time to teach you later." Rod unconsciously mutters his answer aloud. "Understood, master."
Everyone gets to pick one nonspecific weapon from their inventory to find a Storm Trooper issued version of in the armory (except Rod, cause lightsaber)...
Well, Rod isn't proficient in lightsabers and won't be till he takes that first level of Jedi. Also, while Rod has the saber in story, he doesn't have the "have lightsaber" feature, also from the first level of Jedi. Pretty please could Rod find a blaster?
"Roger, roger.", the OOM unit replies to Rod, feeling the weight of the blaster in its hands. Nodding at the clone with an uncharacteristic for its model tilt of the head. "Tabling semantics discussion until safety's reached."
"Uh... Sir?", the droid glances at the seemingly stressed interrogator, hand scratching its metallic head. "Would a targeted deception at the bridge aid in the Grand Moff announcing that evacuation? If we're to suggest that there's Rebel saboteurs attacking the ship from within, or damage is worse than their systems indicate at the bridge?" It grips the carbine once again. "No reason why we should wait on the miracle when we can ask them for one."
|The Lobster Master|
Yes, Rod, you may find the blaster if the lightsaber is just a flavor thing atm
In addition to the weapons cache, the group finds two medpacs, a small stash of credits in a locker (1200 cr), and a single suit of Storm Trooper armor with carbon scoring across the helmet and two holes through the chestpiece.
The alien does not answer Flan's rapidfire questions, mistaking her quizzical mumbling for rhetorical grumbling.
"The Empire recently switched to code cylinders for identification," he says in response to Ral, pulling his out of a specially tailored front pocket and tossing it to the scoundrel for examination. "Mine seems limited in what it can do aboard the ship, but it allows me access to some locked doors. Baldwin's ships run on nonstandard code permissions, it would seem."
The battle droid's suggestion draws a queer look from its master. "And in this lie, we're the Rebel boarding party?" he asks his droid. "It could work but we might also get shot at a lot more than I'd care to. It's worth considering."
Dara finds several terminals, but two seem to have been fried during the generator overload, and the other has been disconnected from power with the rest of the minimum security floor. Can attempt a DC 14 Mechanics check to use a Power Pack to briefly provide enough power for two commands (e.g., find out about one parent, try to bypass computerized locks on escape pods, download area map, try to misinform bridge about attacks from within, whatever else sounds feasible, each has a Use Computer check of unknown DC)
Dara grabs a shin guard from the stormtrooper armor and uses it to pry open a panel from the depowered console. After tossing the bit of armor back to the rest of the suit, she pulls a handful of wires out from the opened compartment.
Mechanics: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Sorting through the disemboweled wires, she selects the ones that feed power into the terminal. She bites down upon the currently inert wires and uses her teeth, especially her ugly but useful crooked right incisor, to strip the wire. She next borrows the gauntlets from the stormtrooper armor to insulate herself as she wraps the exposed wires to the nodes on the power pack she ejects from her rifle.
"I need to hold these wires in place to keep the current uninterrupted. Someone else will need to get the console to play nice," she calls, her head still within the recesses of the gutted panel. In truth, she dare not operate the computer herself, lest she squander the group's chance at escape by searching for her parents.
Rod goes to gear up, grabbing, loading and sighting a compact blaster rifle with practiced efficiency. He also picks up one of the Medpacs and asks the group "Anyone else know their way around a Medpac?" before checking out the Stormtrooper armor. While Dara makes use the armor's gauntlets, Rod examines the damage to the chest and helmet. "If it helps, I might be able to pose as a stormtrooper with this, as long as they don't look too hard. Would help if we get into a firefight, too." With that, Rod puts the armor on, sans gauntlets.
Zel shrugs and walks over to the terminal. He taps the controls a few times, ensuring it responds more or less how it should respond. He looks over at the others. "There's probably not enough power in that pack for more than a few commands. I might be able to do a few things from here. Maybe even bypass the locks on the escape pods. Guess I'll try that first. Any other requests?"
Assuming no one wants something else done first, he'll try to unlock the escape pods. Otherwise he'll stop and listen.
The smuggler's hands move quickly as he inputs his first command.
Use Computer: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Unfortunately for Zel, he's never tried manipulating an Imperial Star Destroyer's systems, particularly not without any kind of proper slicing gear. It quickly becomes apparent to him he's not getting anywhere.
Lol. Guess I'll use Knack, assuming overriding the lock wasn't a DC 10 thing.
He stops for a moment. He raises a hand, then hesitates, then presses one more button. Maybe that'll do the trick.
Use Computer: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
|The Lobster Master|
The bodysock the armor attaches to is noticeably cheaper than the ones worn by the Grand Army of the Republic, and causes Rod to itch uncomfortably in his joints.
As Zel hits the confirmation button for a sixth time, the ship shakes, struck by another powerful blast. While his finger slips, his success is evident. The escape pod bays are now unlocked.
Everyone roll perception, Zel has time to input one more action if he wants
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
"Is it working?" Dara calls, her upper body still inside the opened panel. The confines focus her hearing, for she then asks, "What's that sound? Is someone running? I think someone's coming this way."