MISSION REPORT: Droid Retrieval and Cleanup
- Locate Escaped Witness from Derelict Correlian Blockade Runner – Complete
- 2 Scavengers
- Scavenger Organization
- Cort, the Scavengers Leader
Descent into atmosphere of Argai Minor’s moon went per usual: Flames engulfed the pod, we bounced around in our harnesses, stomachs shooting up to to our chests and then down to our legs when the retro-rockets kicked in. The Sozzenels wailed in my speakers as we crashed and slid a few meters, then unstrapped and popped open the hatch to see a surface of tall grass and rolling hills.
As usual, I took point. The others gathered the survival supplies in the pod. It was twilight and we could make out the faint glow of an encampment in the Northeast, so we started heading in that direction. Through the helmet I could make out a skiff sailing over the grasses, headed toward us. Signaled for everyone to hide, but the setting sun must’ve reflected off my armor: The skiff made right for us and the two occupants hailed, the younger of the two, found out his name was Zun, demanded I put down the slugthrower. After he was informed that this wouldn’t happen, the older of the two, Bobek, interceded and explained that they’d come to help.
Bobek elaborated that there was an illegal scavenging operation nearby, which was most active at night. Bobek and Zun came out to be sure the scavengers didn’t get to us first. They admitted they’d seen the first escape pod come down to the south, but that it was too dangerous to travel in that direction, because of the scavengers. The illegal operation had a base in the southeast, which Bobek insisted we avoid. Everybody else came out of cover and we loaded onto the skiff, then headed to their camp.
The locals were welcoming. Bobek explained that they’d travelled here to mine ore, but that after they arrived the ore was found to be substandard, some kind of contaminant. The Empire lost interest in the ore so most of the mining companies left and those in the camp were stranded. Their current income came from mining and selling ore to the Ebon Depths Mining Corporation. They would be meeting up with the Mining Co. in the Northeast in three days to exchange ore for whatever they were paid.
They said that the scavenger operation was at it’s most active at night and that they had lost equipment and skiffs to the scavengers in the past. It was clear from Bobek’s tone that they had also lost personnel. Some of the more desperate miners may have also become scavengers.
They gave us a place to stay the night and we took advantage, to give a chance for Turk and 4GT to recover from the wounds they’d taken from that beast on the Blockade Runner. Turk slept naked, maybe he thought it was hot. In the morning, 4GT recited the names of all we’d lost on the Deathstar, while I did my morning fitness routine. Droid really knows how to get you to focus.
We gathered a little more information about the scavenger base to the southeast, then Turk got dressed, and we left on foot while the miners took a skiff off to their mines. We decided on going for the Scavenger Base, assuming that they would have picked up the other escape pod sometime over the previous evening. NVR eventually lead us across a trail, which I was able to pick up on. We followed the tracks until we came behind two Scavengers, a Trandoshan and a Human.
There were rolling hills between us and the two, and we found that they had been sent to the other escape pod, as it was embedded in the soil atop a grassy green hill, which the two scavengers had just surmounted. We split up, the Droid and I settling into positions in the rear while Turk and Baz advanced to the next hill. Turk tried to start a conversation with the scavengers. I didn’t hear the gambit, but the scavengers went for cover behind the escape pod, pulling their weapons.
I was nervous about the shot. It was well outside the standard range of the Slugthrower Rifle and the wind was blowing the wrong way. Focus was narrowed on the bigger of the two, when the open pod door happened to show in the scope. Caught sight of the glowing red button for the thrusters and shifted aim at the last second. Slug hit the escape pods reserve rocket ignition and lifted off the hill, tearing up chunks of grass and mud. It didn’t have much fuel though, after floating about four feet off the ground the rockets gave out and the pod crashed back down. Pod rolled back over on the two scavengers, pinning them.
Turk, Baz, and I put shots in the Trandoshan. Smaller scavenger started taking pot shots with his blaster. 4GT updated me on the windspeed and direction and I adjusted my sight, then put a slug into the smaller scavengers shoulder that nearly ripped his shoulder out of it’s socket. It hung from gristle. Wasn’t long before the big Trandoshan was dead, the human just made things worse for himself as he tried to pull his legs free. We interrogated him, during this time I amputated what was left of his arm with a knife. He confirmed that a droid had come out of the escape pod and that the scavenger operation had picked it up sometime after. It was an R-Unit, currently being held at the Scavenger base in the southeast. The two had been sent to see if there was anything else useful among the pod wreckage.
After he gave us all the information we thought we could get, Baz gave him a Stimpack for the pain. We didn’t kill him, but we didn’t remove the escape pod from his legs or do anything to staunch the bleeding from his arm. Confident the scavenger died after we left.
We followed droid tracks from the pod to where the R-Unit had likely been picked up, but lost the trail. We figured the scavengers had picked up the droid on a skiff, confirming the story we’d heard earlier. Proceeded to the southeast from there, since we knew the bases general direction.
Found ourselves at the top of a canyon, looking down at the base the scavengers had built into the opposite cliffside. There were a few cliffs, a few huts, and a few cavernous openings in the cliff, leading into the base. We brainstormed and thought maybe we could pretend to sell 4GT to the scavengers, as a diversion to get closer.
NVR-4GT determined that I should stay up on the cliffs in a sniper position, in case things went poorly. The other three made their way down a winding path on our side of the cliffs. They weren’t very quiet, as the scavengers took notice and began pouring out of the cliffs to greet them. 4GT tried to hail their leader, offering to sell himself. The leader must have responded poorly, because 4GT gave me the signal to open fire.
Again, they were having me stretch the limits of my equipment, as the depth of the canyon took them out of the weapons standard range. I buried a slug in the leader anyway, but his armor took most of the damage and I just made him angry. The scavengers opened fire on NVR and the droid slumped over and lost power. I gave a retreat order over the comms, Turk and Baz ran quickly back up the hill. The leader of the scavengers put a bolt in my forearm, but luckily it was my left arm. I rolled out of the way, the scavengers didn’t pursue us.
The three of us regrouped on the cliff, while the scavengers picked up 4GT and took the droid inside. We all agreed that we still had to get inside that base, so we found an alternate path down, that didn’t put us directly in view. Night was falling by the time we got down to the bottom of the canyon again. A Skiff had pulled around to load some cargo. We were just about to sneak inside a side door when I saw them roll out NVR-4GT, seems the droid was the intended cargo.
I volunteered to retrieve 4GT from the skiff he was being loaded onto and cause a distraction in the process. Baz and Turk were incredulous, but they let me go, heading inside instead, to complete the mission objective and destroy the witness droid. I put a stimpack in my thigh and made my way toward the skiff. By the time I had snuck in close, the scavenger leader, Cort, had loaded on with 4GT and some other men. They were preparing to take off. All I could think to do was jump onto the side, using my knife hand to grab a rail, preparing my pistol to take shots in my right. As the skiff took off down the canyon, I heard shouts of warning to the skiff’s pilot. They had seen me jumping on and were giving chase.
4GT had been repaired to operating condition by the scavengers, but they had fit him with a control rod. The droid pulled out his fusion cutter and severed the rail I had tucked my knife hand around for grip. I hit the ground at speed, my armor doing it’s job as I tumbled through grass and dirt, orienting myself again on my belly, pistol aimed up to catch whatever came at me next, a piece of turf stuck to my helmet.
NVR’s fusion cutter worked too well: He’d unexpectedly taken off a chunk of the skiff, the craft did a nosedive to the right, then caught against the canyon wall, spraying fuel, dust, and rocks. While everyone recovered, Cort, their leader, pulled out a vibro-axe and started walking toward me. I lined up a headshot, but reconsidered, remembering his armor. Briefly recalling the stunt with the escape pod earlier, I noticed a boulder above Cort had been knocked loose by the skiffs impact and threw a slug at it to help it along. Cort didn’t even see it coming: One second he was walking toward me with a bloodthirsty gaze and a vibrating axe, the next a boulder came to rest in the space he’d been occupying.
With the leader gone, the control rod’s purpose on 4GT became unclear. He shouted out encouragement to the scavengers, but I’d gotten used to taking the droids words to heart myself. Thinking quickly, I fired another slug at a pool of leaking fuel, catching a spark on a rock and igniting it in a pyroclactic whoosh that caught all the scavengers by surprise. While they struggled to put out the flames on themselves, I dropped my pistol, switched to the rifle, then took out the control rod on 4GT with a well placed slug. One of them put another bolt into me, but then they ran. 4GT finished them off, in their panic. I gave myself another Stimpack and told Baz and Turk that I’d retrieved our C.O. over the comms.
We received confirmation that Baz and Turk had retrieved the other droid inside the base, so maybe the distraction paid off. Finally stood up, having not moved from my landing position during the brief firefight, checked on 4GT’s status, then prepared for the possibility of the second skiff coming in behind us…
- Cassius Numa