After the late night and heavy drinking session, the party members head down to breakfast quite late, with many suffering from sore heads.
They are pleased to hear that the hold on take offs has now been lifted and so they can leave any time.
“I’ll start looking for some trade goods right away.” Max says. “The rest of you better find us a stewardess as soon as possible so they can start work straight away, we can rustle up some passengers and then get out of here.”
“Remember that the ship is costing us seven grand a day every day, so now time is most definitely money.”
Everyone finishes breakfast and then heads to their tasks, which takes up most of the day. Arvor canvasses the local restaurants looking for any presentable front of house woman who he can talk into becoming a spacefarer – offering a signing bonus of CR 1000. Unfortunately, the Tarkinians don’t seem to be a very adventurous race as he doesn’t get any takers.
The group meets up again for dinner to compare notes. Max is looking irritated.
“I didn’t ’ave a very good day today,” he says. “It’s out of season here for most of Tarkine’s main exports. I did get offered 30 tons of wheat, but they wanted nearly full wholesale for it. Cheeky bastards – they should be practically givin’ it away on a shithole planet like this. So I told them to shove it. The markup we would make on it would hardly be worth all the hassle of loading it.”
“I fancy testing out the new air/raft that came with the ship anyway. I’ll drive into Delis again tomorrow to see if I can go direct to the farmers and bypass the shyster middlemen here.”
Further conversation is interrupted when Taeva arrives at the table, escorting a stunning looking blonde.
‘Everyone, I’d like you to meet Autumn Larsson,’ she says. “I was just chatting to her in the restrooms. She’s working on one of the McClellan Factors liners at the moment, but might be interested in joining us if we’d like to take her onboard.”
Max grins, gets out of his chair and kisses Autumn’s hand.
“Well she’s got my vote already,” he says to the others.
“Welcome to the crew of the Princess, milady.” says Grim with a smile. “You’ll be working closely with our Chef, Arvor, but be warned, he makes a killer Tira Misu and he’s not above using it to seduce the ladies…”
“Thanks for warning me,” Autumn replies. “But it’s OK. I’m a big girl.”
Max can’t keep his eyes off her chest.
“That you are, darlin’,” he says. “That you are.”
“I’m Max, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you, Max. Did you know you have a string of drool hanging from your mouth?”
“Autumn is pretty good as a Pole Dancer too one of the other crew were telling me,” Taeva adds. “I’m sure none of you are interested in that sort of thing though.”
Autumn blushes at the mention.
“Awwww, Taeva, that’s supposed to be a girls’ secret. I don’t want the guys not thinking I’m a professional.”
As the men folk ohhh and awww over her, Jie looks Autumn up and down and thinks to herself, "So this is going to be my future state room partner…great.’
Jie watches the new person quickly assimilate herself into the gang. How she easily sits down at the table and everyone (excluding Jie) scootches over to give her a comfortable space. She listens as Autum glosses over pieces of her past and highlight the racy and exciting parts of Stewardship. She smells a fragrant waft of her exotic perfume that seems overpower the rank stench of this crowded dive…no, overpower is the wrong word. Bend. Yes, this Autumn seems to bend everyone here (except Jie) to like her, to aid her. To serve her! She is obviously a Zhodani spy.
While Jie mauls over the thoughts of having two Zhodani spys in her midst (eyes William warily) Autumn turns her attention her way.
“Taeva says you’re the one to ask. I heard a coupla’ months ago that Instellarms was to unveail a Series Mark-13 Laser Carbine with a Duplex photon emiter! If that’s the case then I would sell my dead Granny as a door stop to get my hands on one of those bastards!”
She then chugs down the last of her glass of cheap whisky.
Jie looks at her for a moment eyes unreadable. Then she blurts out “I love you !!”
The new crew members have dinner together and several more drinks over the course of a couple of hours when, all of a sudden, the power goes out. The bar is thrown into darkness and silence as The Osmonds’ track on the jukebox dies away. Several of the occupants of the bar start booing and slow handclapping waiting for the backup generators to kick in.
With a sigh, Max flicks on his handcomp to light up the darkness a little.
“My friggin’ piece of crap handcomp stopped working,” he says with annoyance.
While everyone else is irritated, Grim is looking concerned. He tries his datacomp too, only to find that it isn’t working either.
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” he says. “Could be an electromagnetic pulse.”
No sooner have the words left his mouth than they can all hear what sounds like fireworks being launched.
“Mortars!” Jie says with some alarm.
The sounds get louder and louder.
Grim pulls everyone down under the table with him. No sooner is everyone down and there is a large explosion several metres from the bar, which shatters the window, spraying the occupants with broken glass. Although none of the party members are injured thanks to Jie’s warning, there are screams inside the bar as many are cut down from the flying glass.
There are more explosions coming from around the base. There’s definitely more than one mortar firing – probably several as the explosions are erupting in several parts of the starport.
There is panicked shouting coming from all over the starport, then the sound of automatic fire. It sounds as if it is coming from the area of the docks.
Will starts to check on the wounded in the bar. None of the wounded appear seriously injured, however – just cuts here and there.
“I can take care of them,” Autumn says. “Better that you go with the others, Will.”
Jie analyses the thickness of the table we were just sitting around. It would have to be thick enough to withstand years of space jockey deprivation, maybe thick enough to withstand a bullet or two.
“Taeva, can you sever the post from this table top?” Jie asks as she ruffles through her Med-Kit for a tube of all purpose anti-septic adhesive (you’d be surprised at how many lives this stuff saves on the battle field). She then glues two metal beer mugs to the topside of the table with the handles up. After Taeva secures the hand torch she just used and ensures that not too much will catch fire, Jie hefts the table up using the mugs and faces the oncoming shooting noise with a very big and heavy shield. Jie then uses her training to determine the best exit from here that would give us a jump on the attackers.
She takes a quick assessment of her weapons; 2 cutlass, a body pistol and the willingness to kill anyone that would interrupt her drinking!! She can feel the bandages and sutures that Will placed across her chest tearing and becoming wet with warm blood. Her blood.
“Whatever we’re going to do guys, we’d best do it soon."
Although the mortar bombs seem to be exploding all around the starport, the sound of the gunfire still seems to be quite a way off – it will be a while before it gets to the bar (whether or not the attackers are heading in this direction anyway).
“Time to get up and out of here,” Arvor says. "We need to get mobile – head out, ducking and running, to the grav raft.
The others are all agreed, and quickly vacate the bar, before sprinting across the apron in the direction of Unguin’s Princess.
As they run through the starport, they see that the place is in a complete state of chaos. The Imperial Marines, who should normally be taking care of the assault, are in complete disarray as they find that their laser rifles aren’t working. Those in full battledress are completely immobilized, reduced to being little more use than statues. Collacian mercenaries armed with their gauss rifles are similarly incapacitated by the fact that their weapons have stopped working. The only defenders who are in a position to fight back seem to be a small number of mercs from Dallia – their assault rifles still working.
The party members get to Unguin’s Princess and hide underneath the ship. A couple of mortar bombs have landed either on or close to the ship, but have had little effect upon the ship rather than to mark its shiny pink paint job.
Taeva runs up the steps to try and board the ship, but stops at the top.
“I can’t get into it,” she says with a frown. “The EMP has stopped the electronic locks from working.”
The sound of gunfire is getting closer and closer to their position all the time.
With no obvious way of getting into the ship until power is restored, the party members check to see what weapons they have that are still functioning.
“Arvor, Grim or Taeva, can you tell me where I can position myself to make best use of this?” Jie asks.
She holds out the plastic and molded bone Body Pistol. Compared to her slim, delicate hand it looks almost scary…almost.
“I was thinking behind that tanker of liquid nitrogen.”
Jie scans the tanker. Using her basic education coupled with the Corps force-feed-training she has an idea!
“Hey, with all the electric security devices shut down I could probably manually override that nitrogen tanker’s drain valve. I could do it with one of your biggest pipe wrenches, Grim, and attach an insulated hose to the underside of that tanker where the valve is. I could keep attaching hoses till the end reaches where we think the shooters will be coming from. Then crack it open to super freeze the entrance to this launch area? A nasty, deadly surprise it would be, especially if they were in the entrance. With my cutlass I might even be able to rip holes along the hose to make the liquid gas a wall of sorts.”
Jie looks to the smarti-pants people of the team for confirmation on her plan.
Before she can get an answer, another mortar bomb lands close by, showering them all with chips of concrete. Fearing more are on their way, they take refuge once more under the body of the ship.
They are joined by some of the Dallian mercs – the ones that they transported to Tarkine in the low-berths.
“What an almighty clusterfuck this is,” one of them says. “Can’t believe we’ve only been here a couple of days and then everything goes to hell.”
“Have you guys got any weapons that still work?” another of them asks.
“We can loan you are autopistol sidearms if you need them,” he continues. “I think we can spare a grenade for each of you as well.”
Those party members without weapons take advantage of the Dallian mercs’ offer and grab an autopistol and a grenade.
“Glad that you’re with us,” the merc sergeant says.
The party members weren’t completely sure that they did want to get involved in the matter, but realize that they are now pretty much committed after accepting the weapons.
“We’ll head west,” the merc sergeant adds. “You cover south towards the river.”
With this, the Dallian mercs leave their cover and dash over the concrete westwards. One of them gets taken down after he has gone 50 metres.
Now with weapons, the party start their counter attack. Already the rebels are getting pretty close, advancing towards the ship using all of the available cover. Arvor positions himself so he has a good line of sight for his accelerator rifle. Jie decides that she would be better off on the roof of the terminal, shinning up a drainpipe with ease until she is on top of it.
Grim spots one of the rebels attempting to come around the nose of the Free Trader. Arvor quickly takes him down, while Grim rushes over to take the assault rifle which he dropped. Max tries to take out another one but, as is so often the case with him, he quickly gets dropped by another of the rebels. Fortunately Will is close by and soon manages to patch him up.
Taeva finds herself holding the party’s western flank and is the only one that the rebels have sight of. She faces a volley of fire from the rebels and is caught a couple of times. She makes a tactical retreat back to the steps of the ship in order to get a more advantageous position.
Arvor takes out another of the rebels as Jie continues to dash across the rooftop. Grim waits until two of the rebels start to come forward between the two parked starships and lobs a grenade in between them, taking one of them out and wounding the other, who fires back wildly. Switching back to his acquired assault rifle, Grim brings him down with a burst. As Taeva gets into position on top of the Free Trader, Arvor adds a third rebel to his tally, followed by a fourth shortly after.
The first wave of rebels is nearly taken care of now. Jie spots the last one coming around the side of the furthest Far Trader and decides to come down off the roof. She does so in a little too much of a hurry, and hurts her ankle in the process. Grim advances around the nose of the southernmost trader and silences the final rebel from the first wave with a blast from his assault rifle.
With all of the first wave now down, the party members regroup. Will tries his best to patch up Taeva’s quite serious injuries, but without his best equipment, it doesn’t work very well and makes little difference to her health.
They then regroup as they see that the remaining rebels have assumed defensive positions close to the boat that they arrived on and are not coming forwards.
Arvor climbs onto the top of the closest of the Far Traders which gives him a good overview of all of the defending rebels, quickly taking one out and avoiding the hail of counterfire from the rebels. Grim takes up position next to the power station and shoots at one of the defenders positioned inside the containers. The defender is well covered though and his shots fail to find their mark. The defender takes retribution and drops Grim with a well-aimed volley. Will starts to rush across the apron in order to try and patch Grim up.
While Grim and Arvor have been attracting the rebels’ attention, Jie and Taeva sneak through the line of containers and until they are right behind the two of them. Jie hacks one of them to pieces with her cutlass, while Taeva swiftly takes care of the other. Arvor takes out the fourth of the front line of defenders, leaving only those on the boat.
Arvor then takes out the defender on the boat manning the LMG, although he gets hit in return by another.
Jie and Taeva continue to sneak through the lines of containers until the boat is in front of them. Jie tosses a grenade over the forklift truck in between her position and that of the boat, which lands right on target and instantly kills her target. Taeva follows the same strategy taking out another of them.
There is just one defender left on the boat now. He goes for the mooring ropes, but Arvor spots him and takes him down, killing off the last of the defenders.
Will manages to reach Grim and patches him up well so that he is back on his feet. He then goes over to Arvor, and successfully patches him up too.
The party members head towards the boat and search it. Along with a haul of weapons including several more assault rifles a couple of LMGs and a couple of light mortars, they also find a device inside the wheelhouse which is the size of a large suitcase.
Grim opens it up cautiously and sees that it seems to be the machine that is creating the electromagnetic interference. He switches it off. Immediately that he does so, all of the lights in the starport start to come back on again.
Also in the wheelhouse, Arvor discovers a map. Circled on the map is a large mansion some 200km upstream of the starport called Darlesworth House. They grab all that they can and take it back to the ship. They are relieved to find that the lock is operable again now and that it appears that the electromagnetic interference caused no lasting damage.
With the lights now back on and their laser rifles working once again, the remaining Imperial Marines are able to quickly mop up the last of the rebels. Now that the smoke has settled, they can see that the attack has made a major mess of the starport, with many vehicles and buildings having been destroyed and the Imperial Marines’ losses were heavy.
In case there is any other rebel activity during the night, the party members decide to spend the night on the ship rather than in their hotel rooms.