“Why, you slimy double-crossing, no good swindler!”
In the aftermath of the battle at The Retreat, the crew of the Krayt Fang has been scattered across the galaxy. Rash Atticus has disappeared in the Krayt Fang along with Cratala and Lyn Tura Rand in an all but hopeless mission to rescue his beloved, the pirate vixen Jonuna Showanny, from Imperial Inquisitors in the Galactic Core. Meanwhile, the slicer-droid Skraw, carrying a backpack full of Cratala’s valuable research, was severely damaged and captured after being blasted from his speeder while attempting to break through the imperial lines. MaBeno Raysinger and Kess Dantares, equipped with still-operational jetpacks, fled the battle into the jungle only to find that the Krayt Fang had been stolen. They discovered a bewildered R4-W9 in the clearing where they had left the ship, but it wasn’t long before The Nightflyer, the Yiyar Clan’s YT-2400 freighter, caught up with them. The Rodians made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: escape with them or be left at the mercy of the Empire or the horrors of Cholganna’s jungles.
Will Rash survive his mission and return to properly apologize? Will Skraw ever be rescued and reassembled? Will MaBeno and Kess FINALLY kiss?
In the nearby Corva Sector, not terribly far from Cholganna and the edge of Wild Space, a small rebel contingent maintains a secret facility hidden deep within a mesa on an otherwise deserted planet: Titan Base. Four new rebel recruits were sent to rendezvous at Titan Base for their first mission: Saldau Turan, an Ithorian grooming himself for advancement as an officer, two Wookiee brothers, Snokata and Gortatha, one a brainy mechanic and the other a formidable soldier, and finally a mouthy Bothan female named Cay-See Lya Lya, covert ops specialist.
After a few minutes exploring Titan Base, which turned out to be a relatively small facility housing an X-Wing unit known as Nightmare Squadron, the four recruits were taken to the command center for their mission briefing. Commander Elemack, the Mon Calamari base commander, jaw-flapped to them the details of their mission. They were to infiltrate a nearby Imperial orbital station called The Hammer where Alliance Command believed a piece of dangerous new technology was being housed called “Project: Shellcracker.” Using information from intercepted Imperial communiques, Commander Elemack believed that Shellcracker was some kind of ship with a new weapon that could devastate the Rebels. He admitted to the new recruits that they were not his first choice; the previous Special Ops team that was normally stationed at Titan Base had disappeared during a previous mission. With Alliance resources stretched thin after their retreat from Yavin, Rebel Command had no choice but to assign fresh recruits and send them into the fray.
To infiltrate The Hammer, the team would be supplied with an Eta-Class shuttle that had previously been recommissioned by the Empire and used as an Imperial survey vessel. Lord Vader, hungry to discover the new location of the Alliance Central Command after Yavin, has sent many such vessels and probes throughout the galaxy. This vessel, renamed The Emperor’s Vision, stumbled upon a rebel cell and was captured by the Alliance. Mission updates were forged and sent to the Imperial officers overseeing the survey team to cover the tracks of the missing vessel. Thus, the team at Titan Base could use The Emperor’s Vision to board The Hammer, steal the Shellcracker prototype, and escape. If necessary, they could call in the help of Nightmare Squadron to cover their escape.
The team agreed to the mission and began to prepare for departure, but they were soon approached by Jayce Terril, ace pilot and leader of Nightmare Squadron, who requested that they let him accompany them. Concerned that a completely non-human crew would look suspicious posing as an Imperial survey team, Jayce suggested that they let him pose as the survey team’s pilot. Not wanting to lose his best pilot, Commander Elemack had told Terril that he could go on the mission only if the rest of the team agreed. After a brief conference, they welcomed Jayce to the mission.
Before leaving they were also approached by Lieutenant B’Wek, a female Twi’lek weapons officer and Sorren, a Sullustan who served as Chief Engineer. They offered the team several pieces of equipment. Impressed by Cay-See’s marksmanship during a spat with Gortatha at the shooting range, Lt. B’Wek lent the Bothan her own blaster, a glistening weapon of superior quality. The two officers also gave the team a Comm Jammer, a dismantled blaster carbine, a prototype magnetic lock pick, and an R2 unit inside of which was hidden three specialized charges designed to unhinge locked down hangar or blast doors. Soon afterwards, the team was ready to go.
After a short and uneventful trip through hyperspace, the team reached The Hammer. After an awkward conversation with hangar security over the comm system, they were admitted into the freight hangar. Unable to come up with a consistent or properly fleshed out lie, the team had a tense conversation with the Imperial officer who greeted them. Saldau, Gortatha, and Snokata had been placed in binders while Jayce and Cay-See posed as the survey team and claimed to have captured them. Cay-See spoke abrasively to the officer after being asked some routine questions which raised some eyebrows, but ultimately the ruse came off successfully and the team was directed to the detention facility to dispose of the captured beings.
They didn’t go directly to the detention facility, however, instead deciding to explore the machine shop near the hangars, with Snokata gaining entry by fiddling with the lock. Fortunately, the Chief Machinist was away and they found a workshop full of deactivated droids and a single activated R4 unit who had been heavily restrained. The R4 unit showed signs of wear and tear, was covered in mud and vines, and clearly had not had a memory wipe in a long while. It was surly and abusive when questioned. Exploring further, they entered the machinist’s office and discovered a pile of blasted and dismantled droid parts on the machinist’s desk. Snokata went to the machinist’s computer and read his work logs and discovered that the droid on the desk had been dropped off two days ago by an Imperial Security Bureau vessel called The Deep Dark. The machinist’s attempts to download the droid’s memory were unsuccessful—some kind of high-level encryption protected the unit’s central processor and memory cache. Obviously the work of an accomplished slicer. The R4 unit in the other room had the same type of memory encryption, it had been picked up on the same planet and claimed to be the other droid’s friend. Further exploring the machinist’s office, the team opened a locker and discovered a backpack with a mysterious Clone War’s era data pad, a modified blaster with a cable attachment, a helium grenade, and a tattered green duster.
Knowing they would have to report to the detention center soon so as not to arouse suspicion, the team left the droids in the machine shop and proceeded to the elevator to the detention level. With the Ithorian and two Wookiees in binders they were easily admitted into the detention facility, which appeared to be rather makeshift, with three cells in a small brig area and a larger cell in an adjoining room. There were six total security personnel in the detention center and they ushered them in and opened the door to the larger cell. At this point, the team exchanged glances and decided it was time to act.
The battle broke out with Saldau emitting an ear-shattering Ithorian bellow in the direction of one of the security guards, and the guard staggered to the floor immobilized. Snokata then rushed to one of the nearby computer consoles and activated the comm jammer, preventing the guards from contacting reinforcements. He also, in the same swift move, accessed the door-locking system and isolated two of the guards in the large cell. Meanwhile, Cay-See, Jayce, Saldua, and Gortatha engaged in a desperate shootout with the guards. As one of them ran to the elevator to get help, Cay-See gunned him down. Midway through the battle, Snokata opened the small cell doors and released two of the prisoners and the team tossed one of them a weapon. The guards trapped in the cell soon threatened to kill the prisoners within if they refused to open the door. The team refused, needing time to finish off the remaining guards. Eventually, the they opened the door to take out the remaining guards but they were too late, they had already killed one of the prisoners. In revenge, the team quickly mowed down the last two guards.
In the calm that followed the battle, Jayce Terril introduced the prisoners as the missing Spec Ops team from Titan Base. The prisoner who was killed was Wettan Garn, a female human weapon specialist. Also among them were Yotuu, a badly wounded Gotal procurement specialist, Llek Huron, droid specialist, and Nattus and Ty Breely, two cousins. Nat was the leader and pilot and Ty was a suspected force sensitive and for this reason had been unharmed by the Imperials.
An extensive conversation followed about what the next move should be, with so many personnel needing to escape The Hammer and little time before the next guard shift began in the detention center. The group eventually stealthily made their way back to the machine shop to hide while Jayce and Cay-See, the only ones in the group who would not be recognized as prisoners, made their way into Main Engineering to access the computers. Despite Snokata’s expert advice over short-range com links stolen from the security guards, Jayce and Cay-See had trouble accessing the computers and Jayce gave up and returned to the machine shop. Cay-See stayed and took a really long time but eventually was able to temporarily disable the tractor beam. But only a few minutes remained before the shift would change in detention and an alert would be sounded throughout The Hammer…