Friday, 29 December 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 21: Part of the Rebel Alliance and a Traitor

Meanwhile... Trefftun summons Zil and Lina to his office on some minor pretext involving their transfer papers.

Scene 12

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)

Setup: mission briefing

NPC list: Trefftun (contact), target, Lt. Haldee (ISB agent / double-agent for the Alliance), informant, Imperial commander, love interest, overseer

Threads: mission

"Zil," says Trefftun, once the door is shut and locked, "you know why you're really here. Riilina, I expect Zil's told you who I really am."

"It's just 'Lina'. But yeah, Zil said."

"Gotcha. As a merc I thought your tactical experience would be of some benefit. I'll leave it to the two of you to brief the rest. The task that the great Morga the Hutt wishes you to perform is pretty straight-forward: get someone out of this place. Dr. Straiisgo Ehks is the lead crystallographer on this project. He left the Corporate Sector when he got a grant to work here from the Imperial University of Advanced Physical Sciences on Coruscant. The Empire must believe his work has great military applications. The Corporate Sector want him back, and the good doctor would rather be back home than here. You need to find a way to grab him and get him away from here. If you can grab his research too, so much the better, but don't waste time getting it if you have a chance to escape with Dr. Ehks."

"How do we get off the ice fields?" asks Zil.

"Steal a ship? I dunno. This is your task, not mine."

"So where are we taking him?" asks Lina.

"Nujeenakder City, in the equatorial region. Once you're there, look up Vordroon's Import/Export at the spaceport. Call up and ask for "Triibo", and tell him you have an offworld delivery to be made to a Mr. Kuththuk. Triibo will arrange a meeting, and get you and Dr. Ehks offworld."

"So do you have anything to offer to help us out?"

Trefftun opens his desk and produces a small plastic console the size or a large datapad.

"I've got you a present: a vintage Pazaak-Master 3000. But if you start a new game, and press these 5 keys in sequence..."

He demonstrates, and the holographic cards change into an architectural drawing.

" get a rough schematic of the base atop the spire. Press any other key and it goes back to your game."

"Jather will love this," says Lina.

"Just so's he doesn't run down the power cell before we've made our plans," replies Zil.

"I ship out in three days," says Trefftun, "so if there's anything else you think you need from me, now's the time to ask. I don't think I need to tell you not to tarry -- nor remind you that the Great Morga looks unkindly at failure."

Scene 13

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)

Setup: Chaos die =3, Interrupt (was: planning infiltration of Spire)
Interrupt: NPC action (Imperial commander) - Praise / Attention
Q: Praise a PC? Likely (3+): O3 C5 - Yes; 1d6=Wex

NPC list: Trefftun (contact), Dr. Ehks (target), Lt. Haldee (ISB agent / double-agent for the Alliance), informant, Imperial commander, love interest, overseer

Threads: mission, rebel's offer

The Imperial Commander himself is waiting in the infirmary as Wex is discharged.

"Just the man I wanted to see," he says, striding across the room and shaking Wex's hand. "I can't believe you risked your life like that for a fellow worker -- and an unpopular one at that." [UNE: inquisitive - scepticism - last scene]

"It, uh, it just seemed the right thing to do," says Wex. "I didn't really think about it."

[Con roll: the difficulty is Easy (10) since that's pretty much what the commander wants to hear. 3D=13, success.]

"You're a good man, Wex Ralter. I've got my eye on you. The Empire can use men of your resolve and decisiveness. We'll talk again soon."

Scene 14

Chaos: increased to Madness (d6), since things are getting confusing

Setup: rebel contact

NPC list: Trefftun (contact), Dr. Ehks (target), Lt. Haldee (ISB agent / double-agent for the Alliance), informant, Imperial commander, love interest, overseer

Threads: mission

Zil wasn't sure how to start on their task, so she has had everyone spend a few days taking notes on movement within the base and around the work parties, especially when the snowtroopers are involved. But her lack of any good plans is starting to give Zil sleepless nights.

One morning Zil is trudging out of the cafeteria when Lt. Haldee glides up and accosts her.

"Zil! You've been avoiding me."

"No, I..."

"I was hoping to talk to you for a bit."

"Sure. What about?"

"Not here. My quarters. Dinner time."

"Uh, yeah, OK. Sure."

- - -

That evening, Zil makes her way to Lt. Haldee's quarters. When the door slides open, the mingled scents of ambrosial incense and savoury food -- real food -- waft out in to the sterile corridor, propelled, it seems, by the soft, sultry music. Candles provide the only light within, and Zil hesitates as her eyes adjust to the dark. She isn't sure if she should enter, or flee. The whoosh of the sliding door at her back tells her that her feet have made the decision for her. One of the shadows coalesces into the form of Lt. Haldee, clad in silk and holding a goblet of wine.

"Relax, Zil, I don't bite," says Lt. Haldee. "This is all for show. The rampant gossip should deflect any suspicions. But the food and wine are real enough, and better than you're likely to encounter on this miserable snowball for some time, so please, let's not let it go to waste."

Zil seems momentarily paralysed, so the Lieutenant takes her by the hand and leads her over to the table. She sits her down and removes the cover from a plate of food, a richer feast than Zil's ever before eaten. She pours Zil a goblet of sweet, rich wine, from which Zil drinks greedily; her mouth has never felt so suddenly dry.

Zil watches Lt. Haldee swan over to the other side of the table, and take her place opposite. She uncovers her own plate, closes her eyes, and breathes deeply of the steaming, spicy repast.

"So you see," says Lt. Haldee, "even though I'm quartered down here in the labour camp, my job does have some benefits."

"And just what is your job?" asks Zil.

"You like to start right off with the tough questions, don't you? Let's start with the obvious: I am a mid-ranking security officer assigned to this operation."

"There's more?"

"Mmmm. To both of us. I know why you're here, Zil."

"I... I see."

"How do you like working for a Hutt, Zil?"

"A girl's gotta work for somebody."

"Indeed. But you don't have to work for just anybody, do you?"

"In this instance, I kind of do."

"But if you had to choose? If you could choose?"

"My last choice didn't exactly end up so well. Sort of propelled me into this one."

"You don't seem the type to let other people have much hold over you."

"This is a temporary arrangement, as far as I'm concerned. Once we square our accounts with the Hutt, I'll see if he's got anything good on offer, and if not then move on."

"So you'd join his organisation?"

"If I can prove my value to him, it could be a lucrative arrangement. And it's not like I have any other prospects."

"Are you certain?"

"Where is this leading?"

"How do you feel about the Empire, Zil?"

"The same way most hardened criminals do."

Lt. Haldee's laugh rings out, and Zil is determined not to let it get to her. But she can't help but want to hear it again. Maybe she should play the fool, keep her laughing... if only she trusted herself not to fall into the trap herself. But when the laughter fades, a more serious cast comes over the woman's face. She replaces her goblet by the side of her plate, then puts both hands on the table, leaning forward to address Zil again.

"I'm not going to report you for disloyalty, you know. Don't be so evasive. I just want to know, personally."

"All right, then," replies Zil, swallowing hard. "I don't want to work for the Empire."

"I'm not recruiting for them. I just want to know, why a Hutt but not the Empire?"

"It's more honest, I guess. No one can accuse a crime lord of ulterior motives."

"No, I suppose not. What if I were to say that I know a third party who could use your services?"

"When I'm done here?"

"Not exactly. Extracting Dr. Ehks and handing him over to agents of this third party. Instead of to the Hutt."

"You're kidding, right? Only an idiot betrays a Hutt like that. Those tiny little arms have a long reach."

"And the Empire doesn't?"

"The Empire doesn't know our real names. We can disappear from their scopes when this is over. Morga, on the other hand--"

"Zil Lhahon, Wex Enstipo, Jather Plazeed... need I go on?"

Lt. Haldee straightens in her seat, and takes another sip of wine. The smile on her face says 'you may have gotten me to tip my hand, Zil Lhahon, but I caught you peeking down my décolleté'.

"So what is this choice you were hinting at?"

"I have no interest in exposing your mission to the Empire, even if you choose not to work for the 3rd party."

"I don't understand."

"Zil, how do you sleep at night?"

"Better, now that I'm only sharing a room with Oosuu. She just pouts quietly, and doesn't whimper like Meeg used to or thrash about moaning in her sleep like Lina."

"So defensive. That's not what I was asking."

"I don't know any better answer than that."

"Maybe you don't. Think about it, though. We can have dinner again, and you can give me your answer. Just don't move on Dr. Ehks until we've had a chance to speak again."

"How do you know so much? Just who are you?"

[Q: Does she tell anything? Unlikely (5+): O6 C5 - Yes; 50% for either answer]

Lt. Haldee pours some more wine, and swirls it round in her cup as she considers how to answer, how much to reveal. She brings the goblet halfway to her lips then stops short, having decided.

"Alright: I'm ISB, Zil."

Now it's Zil's turn to laugh. "You're joking," she says. "You're not joking?"

"Not at all. I've been watching Trefftun for some time now, and I can trace his affiliations all the way back to Morga himself."

"But... wait, if you're ISB, why haven't you moved against him already. Or against us?"

"I told you, there is an interested third party."

"So you're crooked?"

"If you like. Not everything revolves around money and power, Zil."

"Now I really don't understand."

"Have a think, Zil. We'll talk again. For now, let's just enjoy the rest of this dinner. Are you not going to eat the zlonks?"

Next post: Oosuu meets the mysterious Dr. Ehks!

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