Masks of Adas

Episode VIII interlude

Fero's Holiday

Aboard the Imperial Shuttle Blood Draw, Fero and Imperial Pilot Carl Emerson are en route from the surface of Krayiss II to the Double Dealer

Fero gave Carl a moment to mull over the offer he had just made. It was dangerous, mentioning the rebellion to an Imperial trooper, but Fero couldn’t help himself. What if this guy wanted to get out? Shouldn’t he have that chance? He seemed like a nice guy.

Fero put down his deck of cards and went to the cockpit. He wanted to see how this little shuttle handled. Carl was punching in some minor corrections, and Fero had to stop himself from making some unnecessary suggestions over his shoulder. He scanned the control panel in front of him, and then slipped into the co-pilot’s seat. Even if he wasn’t going to do any flying, it felt better to sit up front. Most of the knobs and dials looked pretty standard, but the readouts used imperial alerts. Fero pointed to a series of numbers and letters flashing on the aft sensor panel.

“What does this one mean? Is it supposed to be flashing red?”

“Huh.”

Imperial Shuttle Pilot Carl Emerson checks his controls, and speaks into his comm.

“Revenge, this is the Shuttle Blood Draw. Returning one passenger from planetside, it looks like I’ve got an in-bound Cloakshape with weapons-hot. Please advise?”

There is a crackle of static, and then a voice responds:

“Blood Draw, Revenge. What do you — hold on. You are advised to deviate from your set path back to the First Moon. You are advised to pull away from all transport lanes. Decelerate, lower shields, and maintain low speed.”

“I don’t understand,” Carl says, as if to himself. Then, into the comm, “Say again Revenge?”

“Decelerate, lower shields, and exit transport lanes, Blood Draw,” says the voice on the comm.

The shuttle, a Sentinel-class landing craft, is rocked by blaster fire from the Cloakshape Fighter. Sparks fly from the console.

“I don’t understand,” Carl says, struggling to maintain control of his craft. He looks, wild-eyed, to Fero. “What do I do?”

Fero scans the screens in front of him to make sure that there are no systems down.
“Switch seats with me. I’m going to need a good co-pilot”

Before Carl can even get up, Fero reaches sideways and takes the controls.
“Does this thing have any guns? Fore, aft? You might need to return fire. I can try to get into position if you give the firing arc.”

Fero sees a gap in the traffic of the shuttle lane and dives through, accelerating as he does, and then sliding sideways. (Fero accelerates as a maneuver, and then makes a brilliant evasion action: “Once per encounter may take brilliant evasion action. Select 1 opponent and make opposed piloting check to stop opponent from attacking character for rounds equal to agility.”)

Roll: five success, one is a triumph. One advantage.

Fero takes the Blood Draw into a spin, banking away from the transport lane. The Cloakshape Fighter fires into the space where the Blood Draw used to be, hitting and destroying a different Sentinel-class shuttle.

“That was Dori’s bus!” Carl says. “Revenge, this is Blood Draw — what in the name of the Emperor is going on?”

There is another crackle of static.

“Dammit,” mutters the voice on the other side of the comm. “All TIE squadrons, converge on transport lane C, quadrant 3-B. There is a rogue Cloakshape Fighter attacking Imperial shuttles. Shoot to kill, TIE squadrons.”

After another crackle of static, the voice on the comm continues: “Blood Draw, this is Revenge. Re-route from the First Moon, change course to Revenge. Re-route to Revenge immediately. Please confirm.”

“Revenge—” Carl starts.

Then he stops. He mutes his comm.

“Who are you?” he asks Fero.

“Me? I’m nobody. I’m just Fero. I’m the pilot. But my crew, those guys you took down to the planet, well they’re the Double Dealers. So I’m one of them. We’re the good guys. Mostly.

“Look, we can’t go back to the Revenge. I didn’t really kill the rest of the crew. They are on the planet, and they will need a pick-up some time in the next few hours. We need to get back to the first moon, lay low until they call, and then go down there and get them.

“If you come with me, I can get you to the rebels. Well, technically you’re already with the rebels, I guess. You know, because you’re with me. But there’s more of me, or, I mean us. And I can get you to us.

“Are you with us?”

Carl’s finger hesitates over the comm controls. He opens his mouth to speak, then shuts it again.

(Carl’s Cool result: 3 successes + 1 advantage)

(Fero’s charm result: 3 success and 3 advantage)

Carl turns the comm back on. He maintains eye contact with Fero as he says, “Roger that, Revenge. Blood Draw coming in for a landing. Oop — hold on - I think there’s something wrong with our astronav-”

Carl draws his sidearm and blasts the comm. He spins up the hyperdrive.

A fleet of TIE fighters screams past the Blood Draw and fires on the Cloakshape Fighter, firing on it. They strike the Fighter, but the Fighter takes evasive action.

“There’s no way we make it the First Moon in one piece. I dunno what they’re doing, but they’re going to fire at us sooner or later. Maybe we can jump out and sneak back to pick up your friends, but I can’t make any promises. Any bright ideas as to where we can go, Fero of the Double Dealer?”

(The nearest systems are Ziost, Elom, and Stenos. Ziost and Elom are under direct, intensive Imperial control. Stenos is under Imperial control, but its inhabitants — the Stenax — are unruly and occasional combat their oppressors, though in an organized fashion.)

(Slightly farther out is Tiss’Sharl, which has a nominal Imperial representative on-world who functions as a liason, but there is no Imperial fleet stationed there. Further still is Felucia, a contested world that nonetheless lacks a significant rebel presence, and Rhen Var — formerly the site of a rebel “listening post” that has been recently been wiped out by Imperial forces.)

Fero listens to Carl run through their options. “If we jump into an imperial fleet, we will be in the exact same spot we are here. Tiss’Sharl sounds like our best bet. Punch it in, but give me a second before you jump.”

Fero pulls up his data pad and keys in the codes for Zamda’s unit. “Situation is all messed up. Shuttle fired on. Com shorted, nav units have locked us out, Hyperdrive engaging. No way to stop it. Must be a systems issue. Hold out until we are in system. Captain Rand McNally out.”

Fero looks up at Carl and grins. “Ready to jump?”

On the surface of Krayiss II, Zamda’s data pad beeped to notify an incoming message. He read the message from Rand McNally and his fur bristled with irritation and nervousness. He engaged his comm scrambler and replied, “Roger-Roger, we will manage.” He looked up to the rest of the Dealers and said in his calm voice, “It looks like Fero is in trouble and we may need to find our own way out or sit tight until he’s clear. Imperials probably, let’s keep our heads down and try not to be noticed.” He gave a meaningful look to Ja, “Try to keep the violence to a minimum until we are finished here. I promise you a storm trooper to dismember when we are done.”

“Absolutely not ready to jump,” Carl says, punching the Blood Draw into hyperspace.

The shuttle jumps to Tiss’Sharl, a busy system with a relatively small Imperial presence among the ships and fleets coming and going from its many ports. Carl guides the Blood Draw through a number of ports, attempting to bury the ship’s trail. He uses his existing Imperial codes when necessary, but when asked by the Tiss’Shar he claims he is searching for a merchant named Ji-Di-Dee. If pressed by Fero, he admits this is a made up name.

After skirting through a number of ports over the course of several hours, Carl asks Fero what their next move should be.

“Lose the ship? Hit a cantina and look for rebel contacts? I’m — I’m kinda out of my depth. There’s not a big Imperial presence here, but that’s kinda because it’s not very safe for rebels. What do you think?”

Fero rolls
Piloting (Space): Average: 2 success, 1 triumph
Streetwise: Hard 1 success, 1 advantage:
Charm: Hard: 2 success, 1 disadvantage
Galactic Civil War: Average: 1 failure, 1 disadvantage
Skullduggery: Hard: 1 success

“Let’s try to make contact with the rebels. We need to be ready to jump back and pick up the dealers. So no ditching the ship, even if we get into trouble. Lets head to a cantina and I’ll use a com planetside to contact our CO.”

Fero puts the ship down on a dingy looking landing pad and gets out to look around.

Fero brings the Blood Draw down onto the landing pad, sidling in as another ship is pulling out of a pre-paid spot. It’s a tight maneuver, but the other ship never even notices he’s there — and the landing pad sensors never notice that one ship has left and another has taken its place.

“I didn’t know this ship could even move like this,” Carl says.

It doesn’t take long before Fero and Carl find The Fly’s Lament, a seedy cantina in the underlevel. It’s certainly not a rebel bar, but Fero talks himself into a game of sabacc with some off-duty refinery workers and a smuggler named To-Nal-Guk. To-Nal takes a liking to Fero and Carl’s lighthearted ribbing of the Imperial occupation, but when Fero makes a remark about the stormtroopers not being worth the empty blaster cartridges they leave behind, one of the gamblers takes offense.

“We make those blaster cartridges on Tiss’Sharl,” one of them hisses. “Are you talking ssssmack about our craftsssmanship?”

A brawl breaks out over the sabacc table, but Fero and Carl throw a few punches, blame it on the reptiles at the next table over, and soon the entire cantina is lost to the chaos of a barfight.

Fero is tempted to slip out the back in the scrum, but he sees Carl going toe to toe with one of the locals and keeps fighting.

Fero rolls
Brawl: Average: 1 failure, 1 success
Leadership: Average: Two Success, 1 Triumph, 3 Disadvantage

Underworld: Hard: 2 failure, 2 disadvantage
Resilience: Hard: 2 Disadvantage
Streetwise: Average.1 Success, 1 advantage

Fero does his best to dole out a few ineffectual hits, but mostly he’s lost in the chaos as the cantina brawl empties out into the street. Carl nearly goes for his blaster, ready to lay these reptiles out for daring to assault an Imperial officer, but Fero reigns him in. They save a tiss’shar named Ko-Ko B’ware, who turns out to be just the rebel contact they didn’t know they were looking for.

Ko-Ko takes them to a rebel safehouse. Preparing to smuggle them out of the system aboard a weapons shipment, Fero remarks to Ko-Ko that this isn’t dissimilar to who the lepi smuggled weapons to the rebels from Coachelle. Ko-Ko snarls that the tiss’shar and lepi have been engaged in a cold war for decades, and that he hopes Fero and Carl enjoy their long voyage.

The voyage is longer (and more difficult) than Fero imagined it would be. Trapped in ammunitions crates for a day and a half, he alternates between extreme physical discomfort, hallucinations brought on by heat and lack of water, and irrational resentment of Carl, smashed up against him.

Finally, the box Fero and Carl stowawayed on is opened — on Telos IV. Under Imperial control, this planet of robotics factories isn’t much better than being stuck on Tiss’Sharl.

Fero’s personal comm system gets a message from the Dealers, telling him that they’re headed for Dathomir.

Fero leads Carl into the back entrance of a droid foundry, where they find a spare set of workers’ uniforms.

Fero holds one of the uniforms up to Carl. “Try this one. This always works. Well, usually.”

Fero rolls
Mechanics, Average: 1 disadvantage
Negotiation, Hard: 1 success
Computers, Average: Nothing!
Vigilance, Average: 3 success, 2 disadvantage
Piloting – Space, Hard: 2 success, 1 triumph, 1 disadvantage (rerolled using Natural Pilot talent)

Fero and Carl fall into the stream of workers building droids and mechanized weapons for the Empire. Headed for the assembly line, small talk from an Aqualish in line ahead of him causes a bit of a fumble when Fero advices that the walrus-man-mechanic “watch out for the flipperydo on the whatswitch.”

The Aqualish roars something incomprehensible in return.

“Uhh, he doesn’t like you,” Carl translates.

As the line of workers into the foundry starts to split off to their specific stations, Fero realizes he’s headed into the droid smelting area — deep within the bowels of the foundry. He manages to talk his way into swapping places with a Duros from the Cloud Car repair line, promising the dupe a first-hand look at “the new swivel-hipped protocol models” now in production. Carl tags along.

Manning the repair line, Fero clacks away at a dataport the way he remembers Zamda doing. He never manages to log himself into the system, but it looks and sounds real enough that he’s left alone at the work station for several hours.

This doesn’t help his & Carl’s situation, but sometimes it comes down to being at the right place at the right time. Just as Carl whispers to Fero that this isn’t the rebel life he expected for himself, Fero sees a repair ship passing through — a single-occupant cloud car-style craft fitted with an astromech that’s designed to go out and repair patrol craft in the upper atmosphere.

“This might be our last, best chance,” Carl says. “But — you’re the only one who actually knows where to go.”

Fero protests leaving Carl behind, but the cloud car is about to pull out of maintenance. Carl convinces him to take the chance to escape — and that Carl is a decent pilot himself, and will do his best to follow.

Fero switches himself out for the astromech in the cramped cloud car. The droid protests, but Carl gives it a conk on the chassis.

“You gotta find your friends,” Carl says. “I mean, look — I don’t really understand what this whole war is about, but I gotta admit — it feels good to do something for the good guys for once. To do something that might save lives. Good luck out there, buddy. And may the Force be with you.”

Fero pilots the cloud car out to a malfunctioning Jumpmaster 5000 Scout Ship called The Last Resort. He switches place with the pilot, an elderly Ithorian named Quilcom. With a few cursory repairs, the Last Resort is good to go.

The ship is old and decrepit, with a class-3 hyperdrive and passenger capacity for one. But it’s transponder codes are clean, and Dathomir is a clear jump down the Hydian Way…

XP & DUTY
Fero: 5. Duty: 5.

LOOT
- 1 JM-5000 Jumpmaster Long Range Scout ship, The Last Resort, EotE p. 256.

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