The Buzzard's Flight

Episode 4: Prison Break!

Someone contacted Raakla on Lamaredd, after the debacle with Klassht, asking her to do a job. A Bothan and his Wookiee friend were captured on Ryloth by the Empire, arrested for rabble-rousing, and needed rescue. Information was sparse, but useful enough – the ship was a civilian transport, one that the Buzzard could potentially outrun in hyperspace. They would also be landing on Tatooine, just a few parsecs away. With the option of trying to sneak aboard or making a loud noise with a direct assault, discovering a cache of equipment set aside to aid a direct assault made the choice for the group. Taking a few hours to effect repairs and install the twin ion cannons in the Buzzard’s non-functional mount and get it working, the Buzzard took off for Tatooine.

They beat the transport there by approximately eighteen hours, giving the crew time to work out the plan. It wasn’t complex, but had a lot of moving parts, starting with Kain’s part.

When the ship, an Action VI transport, came out of hyperspace, Kain blasted forth from the void, their ship’s IFF not broadcasting. Swooping in, Raakla fired the ion turret, LE-0N fired the quad laser turret they’d stolen from Klassht’s ship. Recessed turbolasers on the transport fired back, grazing the ship, but the electrical damage the ion cannons caused, along with a good shot from LE-0N disabling the engines made it possible for the Buzzard to dock away from the turbolasers’ line of fire. Raakla and LE-0N went over on a magnetic grapple, opening the door and guiding the Buzzard in to seal with that airlock. The droid and Togruta ran in, finding a makeshift prison built into the cargo bay of the ship. LE-0N went for the console to open the cells while Raakla took out guards, and ran up to the cell that was drawing attention to itself – the one housing a Bothan flicking a blanket against the force field and a Wookiee. Using one of the fusion torches they had found, Raakla opened the cell just ahead of LE-0N’s slicing, and a guard attacked the would-be escaped prisoners. The Wookiee used a piece of her prison bed as a spear, throwing it into the chest of the guard and killing him. The Bothan ran for the door.

Chaos ensued as the prisoners were released and fell upon their Imperial-trained, civilian-dressed keepers. Most of the guards, spurred by the attack on the ship, had retrieved armor and rifles and ran into the bay to fight. Between Raakla’s acrobatic leap into their midst, the Wookiee landing nearby, and LE-0N behind them, they were surrounded and cut down between the smugglers and the prisoners. With the melee subsiding, the Bothan led them all to the airlock the Buzzard had sealed against and demanded everyone ditch their weapons before being allowed on the ship. In total, the Buzzard took off with 43 prisoners, including their original targets.

The Bothan introduced himself as Saa Dal, over tending to the wounded. He explained his reason for being there and thanked the group profusely for the assistance, offering up his services on the ship. The Wookiee, Mallaova, made a similar offer. Kain accepted gratefully, seeing the potential of the pair within his ‘organization’.

They made for the Wheel, an easy place for the former prisoners still in their hold to start over. Raakla split up some of her own credits and issued a few to each prisoner as they stepped off the ship, and Saa Dal offered to set about a dozen, those with trade skills, up with new identification papers, presuming a fee would be provided in return after employment. Sesta’atin was convinced, wherever he was, to work up those papers for the dozen.

Finally, a visit to Borda on the Wheel reminded Kain of something very important – he was under the thumb of a crime lord who wanted either his cooperation or his money, and preferably both. With no jobs to be sure of, he bartered with Borda to buy three weeks’ time to arrange some cash, and started looking for a job. Once again, Raakla had another job fall into her lap – smuggling blasters to a Rodian on Ylesia. With no other clear options in sight, Kain set course for Ylesia.

Episode 3: Silence on Lamaredd

The Buzzard was given coordinates to Lamaredd, a world not on Imperial star charts. Landing, they find a secretive corporate mining operation, left alone by Imperial forces. Essentially, a haven for smugglers needing a little downtime.

With the parts for their new engine assembly aboard, LE-0N remains behind to work on them, while Raakla and Kain seek work in the spaceport. Speaking with a fast-talking Rodian, they agree to transport a package to one of the out-of-the-way mining platforms via speeder. As the evening starts, the pair take off on one of the ship’s speeder bikes.

As LE-0N works on the ship, he hears scrabbling over the ship’s hull, as though it’s being climbed upon. Checking the sensors, he confirms energy sources and receives an automated message from the starport – Lamaredd’s sister planets will orbit close overnight, making communications impossible. As the droid reads the message, a heavily armored Trandoshan comes into view, indicating LE-0N should come out. LE-0N attempts deception, fails, and finally tells the obvious bounty hunter ‘no’. The bounty hunter triggers his pet droids to swarm the Buzzard, carving at weak spots on the ship to get into it and at LE-0N.

Far away, Raakla and Kain cross one of Lamaredd’s many seas at high speed, crossing into a forest near the platform. A few seeming attacks strike the bike, distracting them, but Kain presses forward – into a net that has been set up to pull them off of the bike.

LE-0N, knowing he’s a sitting duck, sets a timer on the ship’s computer to open and close the ship’s starboard cargo door. Climbing onto the second speeder bike, he waits until the door swings open and blasts out, shooting the docking bay door open and flying through. The hunter fires, clipping LE-0N’s arm and causing him to lose control. The droid regains it long enough to shoot out of a cargo loading door and land on the beach outside, the speeder bike engines dying in the process, and the hunter close behind.

Raakla and Kain get free of the net and discover their ‘captors’, lemuroid aliens called the Menahuun. They routinely capture non-Menahuun due to persecution from the human populace, and this was no exception… until their leader got near Kain. Suddenly, quiet chants of ’Pa’ela’ surround them, and Kain learns something very important… he might be able to access the Force.

LE-0N, pinned down on the beach, hears the spaceport klaxons activate, but he won’t be able to hold on with no cover until security comes. When a lucky shot from the hunter’s carbine hits the droid in the face, nearly destroying it, LE-0N takes a chance and climbs back on the bike, hoping against hope to turn the bike on. He gets lucky and it powers on. Pivoting the blaster cannon on it, he fires on the hunter, chasing him off. Rather than follow into an almost certain trap, LE-0N waits for security, feigning that his master’s ship was attacked, and security is content to leave that explanation as is.

Raakla and Kain are travelling with the Menahuun, Kain eager to understand more of what this means to him, when the bike detects a ship nearby. The Menahuun move immediately to find it and determine its purpose, and Kain decides that he and Raakla will go ahead. The ship turns out to be a charnel house with a hyperdrive – half-eaten bodies, skeletal security droids, and a smell so unspeakably horrible that both smugglers are forced to wear breath masks. Raakla finds a ‘trophy room’ with weapons, skins, and explosives, including a pair of thermal detonators. After checking out the cockpit, the ship’s alert is triggered, forcing them to close the doors away from a legion of taloned droids. While Raakla hacks at the viewport to make an exit, Kain locates an emergency hatch and works feverishly to open it. A few droids almost make it in, but Raakla fends them off. Finally, the hatch is dogged open and the pair escape… just in time to see the owner, a heavily armored Trandoshan. arrive in a hovertruck and offload more of the horrible combat droids. Adrenaline gripped both of them, leading to simultaneous insane plans. Kain gets ready to fire on the cockpit with the bike, and Raakla sneaks aboard, securing the thermal detonator and uses it to thoroughly lethal effect, wrecking most of the Trandoshan’s ship and crippling him.

Left with no real idea why they reacted so violently to the pilot’s return, the pair leave, claiming what was left of the ship as salvage. They give it to the starport for the berth time to effect some repairs from previous battles, and learn from the stricken ship’s computer that the hunter was named Klassht, and was the hunter most equipped to seek out LE-0N and bring him to justice.

Sobered by their experiences, the crew finishes repairs and modifications and leaves Lamaredd in silence.

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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