The Buzzard's Flight

Episode 1: A New Ship

The heroes begin on the Wheel, a space station in the Mid Rim that has left them more or less stuck, given their particular situations:

Kain travelled here to find his fortune, only to discover he couldn’t afford to do much more than get here, with the credits he had.

LE-0N was ambushed shortly after coming to the station, and had been deactivated.

Raakla had found herself competing in the gladiatorial arena on the station, as “The Grindstone”.

Kain fell in with Borda the Black, who fronted the money to provide him with a beat-up old CEC YU-410 called the ‘ Lonely Buzzard’, an armed transport designed for bulk cargo work. It was slow, heavy, and had multiple issues, the bulk of which Kain did not yet know. However, once in bed with Borda, he started checking the old ship out.

The pilot found LE-0N hooked up to a port in one of the gear storage closets in the main causeway, deactivated. Hesitantly, he activated the droid, who proceeded to learn he had been shut down for several weeks, missing the intervening time entirely. He also had an encrypted file with the ship’s name in it in his memory, but could not access it.

Kain and LE-0N decided to work together for now, given that LE-0N didn’t want to be on the Wheel and Kain needed a mechanic. The pair checked over the ship, making sure all the systems were intact enough for flight. Once that was confirmed, Kain set off to Borda, to see about getting work.

Borda had a need for Qiiluran barq – he claimed to be throwing a party and needed approximately 250 tons of the luxury grain. Kain balked at it, but Borda insisted that this job would aid in reducing Kain’s debt to him, so Kain finally acquiesced, after bargaining with the Defel for discretionary funds to hire a little bit of muscle on the run.

Raakla ran into Kain in the casino, not desperate for funds, but certainly ready to move on, as the arena had run dry on money for her. He cut her a deal – 1,000 credits for the run, plus free room, board, and meals. Seeing no other opportunities forthcoming, Raakla accepted.

The hyperspace trip to Qiilura was uneventful, but gave the rag-tag group a chance to fix the quality of life issues on the Buzzard. Some issues, like a problem with the middle engine firing and a laser turret that was completely inoperable, would need dock time to fully assess, but weren’t critical to the ship’s flying.

They made it to Qiilura and were inspected by an Imperial Customs Cruiser. Feigning a hull breach (leveraged by a real hull breach that was actually much smaller), the crew gained permission to land to effect emergency repairs.

Landing on Qiilura, they contacted Borda’s surface broker – he informed the crew that the grain was ready, but wasn’t able to be shipped to the spaceport. They would have to fly their ship out to the farm where the grain had been processed. Reluctantly, they broke from their slip at the spaceport and flew fast for the farm, timing it for when the customs cruiser was as far away from the planet as could be managed. They landed and opened their bays, Raakla stepping out to meet the farmers. They triggered load lifters to haul the grain into the Buzzard’s cargo bays and Raakla watched.

Two Imperial scouts showed up on speeder bikes, stepping off to inspect what was going on. Upon realizing they weren’t authorized, they drew weapons to attack. Raakla was faster, stabbing one trooper with both of her vibroblades. The other was surprised by LE-0N, who shot the blaster out of his hands. He bolted for his bike and Raakla beat him there, knocking him off the bike and bidding him to run. Kain jammed short-range comms and the droid and Togruta loaded the bikes and rifles onto the ship. LE-0N even stopped to administer medical aid to the fallen trooper.

The crew bid the farmers to say they were forced at gunpoint to give up the shipment, and then took off, heading for space.

The cruiser intercepted them, launching TIE fighters. LE-0N manned a turret remotely, while Raakla got into a gunwell. The fighters put up a good fight, significantly damaging the undermanned freighter, but a few lucky shots from Raakla and some fancy tricks from Kain kept them alive and wound up with two exploded TIEs. They made the jump to hyperspace and out to the Wheel.

Borda indicated they handled the run poorly and offered to knock only 3,000 off of Kain’s 70,000 credit debt. With no other alternative, Kain agreed, and came to realize that Borda was really just stringing him along – the debt was unlikely to go away any time soon.

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