Raj couldn't make it to gamenight, but since last session focused on Jax Cadderly, his gunslinging gambler, we decided to press on without him. Things actually worked out quite alright with that, timing-wise: the session ended up being a long montage sequence that enabled a lot of character & relationship development, as well as a slight swelling of the semi-permanent ensemble cast. In terms of plot development, all that really happened was that they overcame some slight life-or-death situations to pack up & blast off from the hidden pirate base in the Savrip catacombs, but we learned a lot more about our cast of protagonists & their supporting ilk, instead. With the Imperial Remnant embodied in the Praetorians permanently occupying the planet, any hope the Droid Uprising had of coming to some pragmatic conclusion with the crimelord Concilliator Kek is gone. Now, they wish to send 4-DOX with the player characters to seek the holdout Rebel Alliance ship the Old Mother, & her Mon Calamari captain Navigator Marid, to plead for recognition & assistance from the New Republic. Ready to get off-world, our heroes are eager to agree to help, & set out to put their affairs in order.
Para Totool, the human engineer haunted by her Imperial past that Rachel plays, now subtly marked on her neck & shoulder with black veins from her brush with the vampiric Dark Side wielder, stayed in the converted hanger to make sure all their ships were in final order for hyperspace travel. Her TIE/interceptor, the TIE/boarder of Eris' that they fixed up, & the staryacht they stole at the start of it all are all painted the dark grey & blue colour schemes of the Imperial Navy, but Para gets it set in her heart of hearts to get the False Profit chromed out like a Nubian, so after tinkering with Jolit's parrot droid little buddy, she sets out into the junkyard catacombs built by Savrip grave-robbers. Just a few repairs on the simple little ID9 droid...including installing a long-range spy camera & naming her "Wrench." Then off to magpie through the decapitated droid bits & humanoid skeletons lining the caverns, hoping-- not entirely without good reason-- to find some shiny paint! Distracted by dreams of sparkling sheens & vigorous rummaging, she doesn't hear the sickened wheeze of a trumpet-throat behind her, doesn't hear the crunch of bones under enormous feet...
Repaired but with the permanent damage from the red lightsaber leaving a distinctly synthetic torso under his tunic, Joey's human replica droid Jolit meanwhile heads into Whorlport, to make sure his duties as faux-cyborg liaison between the robot world & the organic world don't fall apart in his absence, especially as the Imperial crackdown renders the peaceful facets of the Uprising somewhat moot. Analysis droids & labour droids issue flat, plaintive synthetic cries as bountyhunters & stormtroopers act as strikebreakers outside the assembling factories as Jolit creeps through the multi-tiered neon-lit streets of Ord Mantell's cyberpunk capitol. Blink-E, the "affectionately" dubbed patchwork droid assembled from juryrigged battledroid pieces, its once humble origins as a domestic droid obscure now, is given the tap to take over in Jolit's absence, & the synthetic humanoid notices a lacunae, a hole in his personality where "leadership" ought to be. Settled up, he gets ready to head back to the Scraplands...only to encounter an Imperial Security Bureau checkpoint, with a half dozen sinister agents accompanied by interrogation droids & a sable AT-ST straddling the intersection, mounted with an upgraded sensor array, scanning the crowd. The circle of red light passes over Jolit...& he awkwardly freezes. At which point it flashes back to silhouette him...
Burke was the last to arrive, per bedtime duties, which worked out just fine, since after Theynur Kötturinn, the felinoid explorer, revealed her Force powers saving Jolit on the ISD Rubicon, she passed out. Everyone assumed at first it was from preternatural exertion, but a closer look at the flaps of her nostrils with a misanthropic FX medical droid reveals the telltale signs of drug overdose: she's huffed so much avabush spice that she went on the nod. While she sleeps, she dreams-- but for those adept in the ways of the Force, who can say what dreams may come? Some kind of witch-hunter cardinal, pike-carrying & armored like Vader's Inquisitors from Rebels crossed with the Royal Guard, in this case. Red robed & cenobite gorgeted, topped with a tulip helm the hiss of a breath mask, the heavy hand of fate. Theynur can feel the Dark Side turning the inside of her brain to cinders, burning holes in the celluloid of her memories. The prison cell from her vision dissolves into the eerie droid medical bay, & groggily collecting her senses, she rounds up the Chiss privateer Eris Berserk & the two of them depart the robot's Lord of the Flies ship & return to the Savrip catacombs for their final departure.
No one knows anything about Savrips. Sure, they are the native "semi-sentient" lifeform of Ord Mantell but their numbers have been dwindling thanks to scalpers & slavers since being declared non-people by the Empire. If Eris was there, she could tell Para that the egg-shaped tunnels lined with bones & bots she's used as her pirate hideout are made by the Savrips as they near the end of their lives & enter a "death musth," collecting crypt-debris & growing increasingly isolationist & violent. Para is too horrified by the gigantic beast that grabs at her with gnashing claws & a sinuous neck to notice the reek of sickness, the sunken eyes, or to recall the well-known Savrip sweet-tooth. Not so surprised as to completely lose her wits; she struggles a hand free as it raises her overhead to smash her down, fighting it every step of the way. It lashes a tentacle-tongue around her neck, long & numbing-- coated with a paralytic venom, the ex-Imperial can feel her muscles going limp. Ah; the tunnels are egg shaped because with their long necks & prehensile tongues, Savrips can reach higher than their arms. Para grabs a manual clamp out of her many-pocked field engineer's armor, closing it with a magnetic snap on the alien beast's tongue. While it writhes in pain she throws a horned humanoid skull off into the distance, confusing the creature long enough to crawl away on uncooperative limbs.
Jolit has somehow managed to combine Rogue One's urban insurgent attack with Han Solo's detention bloc monologue from A New Hope. "You there, cyborg, where are your papers?" is not best met with "uh, negative, this is all...cosmetic. Totally not a cyborg. Everything's perfectly normal. I'm fine. We're all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?" Luck, or the Force, is with him as he bolts for an alley; the AT-ST doesn't appear to have any regard for public safety, firing after him, but missing wildly. A geodesic dome building's thin polymer cover catches ablaze & rusted shopfronts collapse behind him, giving Jolit room to abscond...but he's cut off from his swoop bike & the anti-electronic blue horizon is making its way over to him. He calls Eris Berserk to come pick him up, so the cyborg shipjacker grabs the TIE/boarder & sets out. She's really been bussing them all around this session; with so many departures & arrivals it's hard to get the continuity straight, like the end of Empire Strikes Back; did we mention that Jax, since Raj can't make it, has been off on his own confidential errand this whole time?
Katee, the astroprobe droid, is trying frantically to tell Theynur something (along the lines of "Para is getting Wampa'd!") but the Farghul just can't make out her hurried binary. After enough fruitless back & forth, they wander deep enough into the tunnels in just the nick of time to discover Para Totool & help her up & through the blast doors of the hangar, though the frenzied Savrip remains without, pounding on the metal bulkhead. Rejoined by Jolit, the replicant & the mechanic try to explain to Theynur what's been going on since she's been in a drug-induced coma. In a nutshell: the Empire want Eris Berserk to get to her brother, Cadecus Dee, who has their prototype Star Destroyer The Insidious, & the weapon codenamed STARKILLER. They all suit up & strap in, Theynur in her X-wing & Eris & Para to their respective TIEs, leaving Jolit & 4-DOX at the helm of their stolen Sorosuub spaceyacht. Neither droid can really fly, but they can see Jax on a speeder headed their way just ahead of the indigo sunrise...on a bike being piloted by Sshushath the Zode, the Trandoshan ex-gladiator whose Wookiee life companion the Imperator just executed for the crime of being tricked by the PCs. I've got the smartlights at home glowing blue, & Jolit is afraid to grab the helm, but with no other options finally does so, awkwardly cruising out of the bay & lowering the landing ramp for the now one-handed reptilian & scoundrel to jump in dramatically, ion sparks crackling, before punching it!