Part 9 - Safely home.   Posted by The Force.Group: 0
The Force
 GM, 277 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Thu 24 May 2012
at 09:43
Part 9 - Safely home
As it turns out, the inevitable bad news doesn't materialise.  After an uneventful flight, Bold Gambit signals that they are approaching their destination and starts the countdown to hyperspace exit.  Rhijans takes the controls and drops the ship back into the Universe a little early, but not so far out that it will add too much onto the transit time to Mothessh.

The Z-95s detach from the docking locations and escort the transport in.

With a little coaching and advice from Vekkis, Rhijans manages to pilot the ship to a landing which, while a little bumpy, isn't even rough enough to elicit complaint from UY.

The pilot's condition seems to have stablised and, having shut down the ship, he joins the others in making their way down the ramp into the hangar.

Colonel Kourene is approaches as they step onto the hangar floor.  He is accompanied by a trio of Rebel officers.  He spots the injured pilot, and looks around the group.  Whether he notices that one of the team is missing isn't immediately clear as he says, "Looks as if you've had a rough time of it.  All of you go and get cleaned up.  Debriefing in one hour."
Shard
 player, 427 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Thu 24 May 2012
at 11:34
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
An exhausted Shard exits the ship with the others, trudging down the gangplank.  Right now, she's feeling every one of her years.  Her knees hurt, her left shoulder hurts, and her feet hurt; there's probably more, but those issues drown out the others.

And yet, there's a smile on her face - grimmer than it could be, but still a smile.

The grimy woman draws herself up into a semblance of attention - not really, but it's a gesture of respect, in any case - and nods to the Colonel.  "Yessir.  One hour." With that out of the way, she slumps and turns back to the others.  "I'm...I'm going to get Lund to the medbay, then take a shower.  Meet you all in the briefing -" Debriefing?  No. "- room." 

The smile cracks for a moment as she remembers Jacobs, but wobbles back into place.  "You guys...you all did cursed well, and I'm proud to have the chance to work with you." Her voice cracks as well, and there's a suspicious shine in her eyes for a moment.  They made it through.  Lost one man, but otherwise made it through.

She'll drink to Jacobs later.  For now, the living need care.

"Colonel says we have an hour.  Take all of it.  We can worry about dumping our requisitioned stuff after.  You-Why, might want to get yourself some proper maintenance, like an oil bath...tell 'em I sent you if they ask."  Her gaze slips over the group.  "Take a load off," Shardwhispers.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 380 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Sun 27 May 2012
at 06:05
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
Rhijans waited for the inevitable swarm of medics to come haul Lund off...he was sure the pilot would protest loud and long that it wasn't needed, and he was probably right.  For his own part, Rhijans wanted little more than to find a dark room somewhere and curl up for a long nap.  With the debrief in an hour, however, that wasn't really an option...that was just enough time to get into a really deep sleep and have it rudely interrupted.

"Food and a drink, I think...those sound in order to me.  Anyone else?" he asked.  It felt utterly foreign to him, doing it...but, then again, manning the controls of the ship and knowing that five other beings were relying on him to get them down safely was also foreign...so was running a cargo speeder while everyone else was shooting at someone.

The way things seemed to be going, he better get used to doing stuff that was foreign to him, he realized.
Haarmon Dak
 player, 169 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Mon 28 May 2012
at 13:49
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
"Shower first," Haarmon said, from the back of the group. "Need to scrape the stink of that armour off or it'll be put me off my slops." His tone was snarky, but his heart clearly wasn't in it. He was tired.

He wandered off and had a nice, long, leisurely shower. As hot as he could stand it. And then, dressed in fresh clothes, made his way down to the cafeteria, grabbed a tray of whatever they were serving, and went looking for everyone.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 381 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 28 May 2012
at 16:05
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
Rhijans stayed at the ship, returning what little demolition gear hadn't been used and turning over the three suits of snowtrooper armor (the one technician's snarky complaint about getting one that was damaged got him a glance that made the man swallow nervously and leave the room in a hurry).  Haarmon's notion of a shower sounded tempting, but Rhijans couldn't bring himself to go wind down until after the debrief was over...

Once the techs had claimed their goodies, including the cargo the team had brought back, he made his way to the base's commissary area, got himself a basic meal, and two drinks.  One, he didn't touch, just set it at a seat next to his as he took up a table off to one side, and ate in silence, glancing at the glass every now and then, his expression inscrutable.
The Force
 GM, 279 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Mon 28 May 2012
at 18:20
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
The hour passes all too swiftly.

The group go their separate ways, depending on their own priorities: food, shower, change of clothes.  UY-3PO follows along with the techs, who promise him an oil bath and a thorough maintenance inspection.  Vekkis Lund is taken to the infirmary...

By the end of the hour, everybody except Vekkis and the droid is in the briefing room.  The four Z-95 pilots are the last to arrive, and barely have time to seat themselves before Colonel Kourene appears.

The Colonel moves directly to the front of the room followed by his aides and two techs who set up a holoprojector and leave.

With them out of the way, the Colonel takes a few moments to gather his thoughts, before speaking, "First of all, Captain Lund will be staying in the infirmary for a day or two.  The medics say he should make a full recovery, but they don't want to rush things and cause possible complications."

"Second... "
the holoprojector comes to life, displaying an aerial view of a field of ice, with burning buildings, drifting smoke, blast craters and destroyed vehicles.  "This image was taken from the memory core of one of the Headhunters.  It was taken on a quick pass over the mine facility after they had made their bombing run."

"As you can see, the Imperials had apparently parked all of their vehicles out in the open, allowing the fighters to take a few shots at them on their way past.  There is a lot of structural damage to the mine buildings, many of which were still burning when the fighters left.  Judging by this, it will take the Imperials some time to restore the mine to operational status."


He leaves the displayed image where it is as he continues, "I know you lost Mark Jacobs, and Captain Lund was wounded, but you succeeded in the primary goal of the mission.  You removed a sizeable quantity of Nergon-14 from the mine and seriously hindered further production.  Furthermore, you found time to rescue a useful droid, who has expressed an interest in joining us."

"So... who wants to give me their report on the mission?"

Juragga
 player, 158 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Mon 28 May 2012
at 19:18
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
Juragga had parted fondly with Shard and Haarmon, as well as the others, and headed off to get a proper static cleaning.  Then gobble down some food and take a big swig of Wookiee rotgut to brace up his nerves for the meeting.  It had been one hell of a mission and really, he just wanted to go blow of some steam.  Having to maintain decorum for another hour or so was annoying, but part of the job.  Or should he say 'cause'?

He found a seat near the back and listened as the Colonel spoke.  All in all, it seemed they had done well, although he regretted not finding (and freeing) any Wookiee slaves.

And then the Colonel asked for a report.

Juragga's teal eyes slid to Shard, and then to Haarmon.  Lund was still recovering.

Did the Colonel even speak Wookiee?  Where was U-Y when he was needed?  He should have brought that semi-faulty translator disc...
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 383 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Tue 29 May 2012
at 07:06
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
Rhijans piped up.  "Do you want a full, step-by-step rundown, or do you just want the relevant points of contact, Colonel?  For my own part, I'd have to say that the whole mission was hanging by a thread until U-Y came into the picture.  We had pretty much no useful intel on the mine or the layout...Dak did a brilliant job of trying to access the computer systems, but the terminal available only had access to so much, and almost none of that information was on the Imperial installations, just on the mine itself.  But the kid popped the restraining bolt on the droid, who offered up a lot of the relevant information we needed about where in the mine to search and what areas were high-threat zones to be handled."

He shrugged, and continued, "That was further aided when a group of Imperial troopers conveniently showed up looking for another non-Imperial agent of some sort...he was Ubese, never caught his name...but they also wanted to detain us about meddling with the droid.  We took them down in short order, appropriated their armor for the sake of camouflage and intelligence-gathering, and split into two groups.  One group--Jacobs, Lund, and myself--went for the warehouse area to see if we could locate where they were storing the Nergon that was ready to be shipped.  The rest of the team went into the mines to see about freeing any slaves and disrupting the mining operations on that end.  My group found a fortified inner bunker within the warehouse...Lund and Jacobs stayed to see about infiltrating it, while I went to see if I could create a distraction and draw troops away.  Since they were already looking for an Ubese infiltrator, I improvised a few explosions, played along as though I was one of the regular troops, and put the blame on the Ubese.  Communications and what emplacement weapons we could find were priority targets, there was apparently some animosity between the mining staff and the Imperial garrison and it took some gunboat diplomacy to convince the miners to get their gear out into the open and then make themselves scarce.  By the time I got back to the warehouse, something had gone very wrong, the place was a shambles and barely standing and Jacobs was dead, Lund was wounded, and the Imperials were ready to shoot anyone who seemed even remotely antagonistic.  About that time, the other team showed up from the mines with a string of freed slaves and the Nergon we were able to deliver, and while the Imperials were focused on them, I managed to eliminate the few that were around me and we made it back to the docking bay shortly before the Headhunters came in on their attack run...got off the ground just about the time they were opening fire.  The slaves got aboard a different transport...the one the Ubese had come in on...don't know where they went, but I'm pretty sure it was not in the direction of any Imperial holdings, and we returned here."

With that, he shrugged, and looked at the rest of the team that was present to see if anyone had anything further to add, or some way of expanding on details he either didn't know or hadn't deemed relevant enough to include.
Shard
 player, 429 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Tue 29 May 2012
at 11:24
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
Shard's fingers itch.  Having spent the last hour fighting off the urge to crack open the nearest bottle of Ziidran brandy, she's dealing with a full plate of irritation with a side order of frustration.  Now isn't the time (is it ever?), but she keeps flashing back to Jacob's face in the cafeteria, the last time she laid eyes on him.  The questions roll around in her mind - could she have?  What if they?  Maybe he might?

The first few shots bring back all the faces, she knows from experience, but the ones after that wipe them away.

So she slumps in her seat, bleary-eyed from exhaustion and stress, struggling to keep some sense of decorum.  It wouldn't do to cap off the mission by snapping at the Colonel.  It wouldn't, she stresses to herself, help the team.

It's that thought that keeps her fingers curled into fists, rather than slipping under her cloak to hunt for her flask.

Rhijans - consummate professional that he is - begins the debriefing.  Shard takes the chance to glance back at Juragga.  They're both close to the rear, him a row behind her.  Bad kids in the back of the class, she consider, and stifles a chuckle.  Lifting her shoulders, she shrugs.  If he has anything to add, either she or Haarmon can manage the translation.

Haarmon.  The kid - no, not a kid - is certainly getting good press from Rhijans.  She glances back to the professional with a silent thanks for him keeping the details to a minimum.  She had to...had to pull the damn thing this time, and cursed if that isn't bouncing through her mind with all the questions, as well.

Whoops.  Rhijans has finished, short and sweet.  Efficient as always.  Shard takes another look around, then goes with another shrug.  "Erm...when we split off from Rhijans, we went on the hunt for slaves.  And nergon," she throws in as an afterthought.  "Ended up finding both, pretty deep in the mine.  Haarmon managed to patch into the imperial system again, don't know what he found.  We made it through a firefight or two, nothing serious." It couldn't have been serious if the three of them managed; Shard is beginning to think that Rhijans and Juragga comprised the bulk of the accuracy of the group, despite Haarmon's well-tooled blaster.

She sighs.  "I don't know what went down with Jacobs and Lund.  You'll have to ask Lund.  But I doubt it was their fault - probably bad luck or timing.  Jacobs did well before, so I can't see him screwing up."

She struggles to her feet, wincing as her back protests.  Need a hot bath.  "I'm proud to have served with him," Shard declares.
Colonel Kourene
 NPC, 10 posts
 Commander of
 Defiance Base.
Thu 31 May 2012
at 09:23
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
"I've already spoken to Captain Lund." Kourene affirms, "It seems as though it was bad luck.  They ran into a patrol and got into an unavoidable battle, which resulted in a fire and an explosion in a secure storage facility where the Imperials were storing refined Nergon.  Jacobs and Lund were both hit, though Lund was able to get away in the confusion after the explosion."

The Colonel thinks for a moment, running through the reports in his head, "It's good news about the slaves.  The damage to the facility, coupled with the removal of part of the workforce should seriously hamper their production, at least in the near future.  The Nergon-14 you brought back is unrefined, but that's not a major problem.  Processing the ore is a fairly simple procedure."

"Jacobs was a good man, and he'll be missed.  But the primary and secondary goals of the mission were achieved.  Which is small comfort, I know, but it is better than nothing."


The image of the wrecked mining facility folds in on itself and winks out of existence, and the Colonel seems to be finished.  Then he asks, "How much do you trust this Ubese?"
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 384 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Thu 31 May 2012
at 15:22
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
Rhijans looked briefly at Shard and the others, and shrugged.  "My exposure to him was pretty limited, but it came across largely as an 'enemy of my enemy' kind of collaboration.  Shard and the others spent more time with him, they might have a different take on it."

He paused for just a moment, thinking, and added, "He said he was working for one of the Hutts...but he also gave me the impression that it was reluctantly.  I don't recall if he said it outright or if it slipped out in conversation, in bits and fragments, but my recollection is that he's effectively being blackmailed, under threat of violence to his family."
Colonel Kourene
 NPC, 11 posts
 Commander of
 Defiance Base.
Mon 4 Jun 2012
at 13:27
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
"Very well.  We can look into that.  A group that large, arriving on a Ubese ship, shouldn't be too hard to track down.  We can ask around our contacts and see what we can find out." the Colonel turns to his aides, one of whom nods in confirmation.

"The other thing is that Captain Lund mentioned that there didn't seem to be any Imperial ships in orbit, either on the approach, or during departure.  Can somebody confirm this?"

One of the Headhunter pilots answers, "That's right.  No military comm chatter either, not even the usual coded signals on known Imperial channels.  If they had any ships there, their crews were all sleeping."

"I see." Kourene replies, "That's... worrying.  I would have expected some fleet presence, even if it was just a few system patrol ships.  So now I'm forced to wonder what they're up to elsewhere that meant they couldn't spare a few ships."

"There is also, of course, the question of whether whatever they're up to has any link to the reappearance of Ghea Nimadda."


He pauses then, as if considering that thought, then continues, "Does anybody have anything to add?"
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 385 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 4 Jun 2012
at 15:49
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
Rhijans thought about staying silent...he would have been perfectly content with leaving the Imperial troops stranded at the mines, after all.  But they hadn't been the only ones there.

"Colonel, it might be advisable to set up a follow-up visit of some sort.  The mine facility's comm center is wreckage, at this point...unless a passing ship comes close enough to pick up a commlink call, they've got no way to call for help.  And it could be a nice goodwill gesture if someone with Alliance sympathies managed to get there and help the miners, at least, before the Empire gets there.  We never did anything to identify ourselves with the Alliance, so this could be excused as some kind of piracy or criminal action--especially with the focus the Imperials had on tracking down the Ubese.  I'm sure, however, that Imperial propaganda will end up pinning it on the Alliance, because we're a more convenient target than a criminal syndicate...we can soften the blow, so to speak, by having someone show up and pass on a call for help or offer to get the miners off world or whatever.  Nothing official, of course...just someone who comes along and happens to be vocal in their disapproval of the Empire and support of the Rebellion.  I suspect the miners don't care all that much, or didn't...they might now.  They certainly had no love for the Imperials."

It was all said dispassionately, a cost-benefit analysis.  There was a potential weakness there, a place to start widening the rift between the Empire and its local holdings, and he thought it should be exploited.
Shard
 player, 430 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 4 Jun 2012
at 17:04
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
Clever.  And not a bad idea in general, on a lot of levels.  "I'd tend to agree with Rhijans, Colonel.  It couldn't hurt, assuming we could spare the manpower."  She doesn't have any love lost for the miners and the people working with slavers, but for some of them no doubt a job is a job.  And turning a blind eye isn't deserving of a death sentence, in Shard's opinion.

"Colonel, you mention the curious mystery of the lack of pickets," she continues.  "Things are starting to add together.  We have that - ships missing from where they should logically be - and our little encounter during the last mission.  Ghea Nimadda, right?"  Her lips twist around the name, distasteful on several levels based on what she has learned.

"That's two.  I'm all for coincidence, but I've never been a big believer in happenstance - twice, for me, indicates enemy action."  The older woman leans forward with a thin smile.  "Something big is up."
Haarmon Dak
 player, 173 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Mon 4 Jun 2012
at 18:19
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
"Course it is," Haarmon mutters, "Gotta leave it open for the sequel, am I right?"

Haarmon had been quiet during the briefing, perhaps uncharacteristically so, but the important folks were laying it down like they should, and oddly enough he didn't feel the urge to play up any part he might have played. It seemed wrong, somehow, to play that kind of game when there were real human lives involved.

But then Shard talked, and he had something else to think about. "Who's Nimadda? Where'd they go? What's happening?"
Juragga
 player, 159 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Wed 6 Jun 2012
at 01:26
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
Juragga hooted his agreement, rumbling in encouragement.  They'd done a lot better than he'd expected, honestly... not that he lacked faith in Haarmon, or even his new friends.  But things in his life had a tendency to be... complicated.

He then piped down to listen to the details of the latest complication.... Nimadda.
Shard
 player, 431 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Wed 6 Jun 2012
at 11:34
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
Shard snorts a laugh at Haarmon's bleak comment.  Opening her mouth to reply, she pauses for a hard stare at the younger man.  He looks deflated.  Tired.  Dispirited.  It's not hard to reflect back on the mission and realize it could have wounded him.  Even broken him.  Losing a team member...all the killing...

Her lips thin.  She'll have to find the time to chat with him.  Not drunk, either.

"Nimadda."  She leans back, staring up at the ceiling, her salt-threaded charcoal hair hanging down the back of her chair.  "Rhijans and I bumped into her on our last mission.  Seems she was hunting down a former Jedi apprentice what goes by Tfalta Dawl.  According to Dawl, our observations, and the Colonel, Nimadda is a high muckity-muck for Moff Kivost.  His 'pet murderer', I think you put it, Colonel?  Or was that Dawl?"  Without waiting for an answer, she continues.  "She's Jedi-trained; put what stock you want in that, but what it boils down to is that she's a highly efficient pet murderer."

Her lips twist.  "Apparently she might have been working on something in Hutt space for the last three years.  Void!  We should have asked the Ubese."  Shaking that off, Shard shrugs.  "Star Destroyer at her command, batallion of stormtroopers with all their gear and trimmings.  Bad news all around."

Her head snaps back and she leans forward, clasping her hands together. "Colonel...Nimadda showing up here after three years away, and on our next mission we have missing pickets - star destroyer included - from a strategically important Imperial site?  This is starting to look like Bantha crap - a big, stinky pile that could be hiding all kinds of nastiness."
Colonel Kourene
 NPC, 12 posts
 Commander of
 Defiance Base.
Thu 7 Jun 2012
at 08:05
Re: Part 9 - Safely home
The Rebel commander nods his agreement to Rhijans idea, "We can have somebody check up on the facility, at the very least.  But they probably have transports scheduled, either bringing in supplies or collecting ore, so I suspect they'll have access to comms before we can get back there.  I'll send a small ship in, just to check on the situation and drop a distress beacon, if it's needed.  Less risk if they've managed to make contact themselves, and have Imperials in orbit by the time we get there."

"As for the other matter... "
  Kourene scowls and runs a hand across his bald head, "I think we need to look into this.  There have been reports for the last couple of years that the Imperials are working some sort of ultimate weapons.  We've recently started picking up rumours that say it was destroyed, but the details on that are sketchy at best, and ridiculous at worst.  Some sources are claiming that the Emperor's new terror weapon was knocked out by a snub fighter, which is obviously not true.  But all of these rumours are making it hard for us to determine exactly what is true."

"It could be that Nimadda is involved in this Imperial project.  If so, we need to know about it, and give serious consideration to shutting it down.  We are currently trying to gather as much intel as we can, and once we have something more solid to work with, we will start planning missions, should they prove necessary."