Departing Finn’s Station, the RimRunner makes for Grotto hoping to pick up work.
There they contact Losa looking for Ba’al Ba’an, (the desert runner they found locked in the cargo hold of the Runner when they recovered it from agents of Teemo the Hutt) hoping to secure the promised trade he had offered: materials for the fight against the Hutt and his agents in exchange for rare Belvahl salt. Losa relates that she has already smuggled Master Ba’an home and has started a relationship with the would-be freedom fighter.
She offers to ship the next delivery with the Runner – an exception to her business practices. Dorn agrees and the cargo is quickly loaded.
Dropping into the Belvahl system, it seems quiet – a few small craft coming/going but nothing out of the ordinary.
Until the crew spots the Freedom Taker: a Kubaz slaving ship. A quick tally of the crew and a “plan” is hatched to intervene. Dorn attempts to follow the ship surreptitiously but in the openness of space – fails. Faced with fight or flight, the Runner attacks. An initial barrage luckily destroys the electronics array on the vessel but the Kubaz vessel puts up a stiff fight.
Eventually, fighters from the surface move to investigate the erratic behavior and the Runner makes to flee – with Dorn cursing his luck. An impassioned demand from both Rannik and Pasha convinces Dorn to turn around – with even more cursing. Approaching with guns hot, they strafe the slaver one more time and then board.
With a boarding party (VEX, Rannik, Bishop) cutting their way in, Dorn contacts the incoming fighters (with their electronics array out, the Freedom Taker can’t argue) and cons them in to believing there is a significant risk of explosion and debris. They take up station, but the Runner is concealed in the detritus being generated by a damaged engine.
Inside, the crew encounters little resistence. They down two crew members attempting to jettison the cargo (slave) container but meet no one else.
Bishop hacks the panel and reverses the jettisoning process and locks out the possibility (most likely dooming the ship – it is unable to correct its descent with the weight of the cargo container still attached). He also foils the attempt by a remote operator to release neurozene gas (which would render all life forms inert). In doing so, he manages to make off with some info from the internal database – the name Kyra Creel (perhaps a relation to Rannik?).
Rannik and VEX get the slaves aboard the now massively over-populated freighter and Dorn drives for open space, easily calculating a course for Pyxis – a relatively progressive, free world. During the calculations, the ship is contacted by none other than Teemo the Hutt, who offers the princely sum of 50,000 credits for the return of the cargo. Dorn sluffs him off and Teemo immediately counters with even more – 60,000 credits! Dorn replies by jumping to hyperspace.
Pasha asks to open a unit of medical supplies to aid the freed slaves. Rannik helps with this while Bishop checks for tracking devices. Both notice the quality of the remnants of the slaves clothing – Nithian silks and pressed linens – the signs of upper class citizens. Dorn becomes suspicious and Rannik attempts to ascertain the origin of the slaves when Pasha recognizes one of them.
“You don’t know her? This is the Duchess Keziah of Axia! She’s famous!”
Quote of the Night: You are now taking advice from a woman who drinks rocket fuel. -Vex to Dorn on the merits of attacking the slave ship.
Other notes: Characters got kind of lucky. The Kubaz are secretive, paranoid and ultimately a little cowardly. They don’t trust non-Kubaz crew and ultimately don’t want to face the possibility of violence personally. Their solution: drones. Controlled by an electronics array…. NIce shot Rannik.